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Tr'^f)si^tc<l \iiiii!c^iiyitixvciikfijiri)iiic 

i'ej)^i'ecl Toi' 

M^aTEF>LOW_& SOT )S Lr h^tT ED. Loi7DOI)W /i LL 
- 1886. 








(Lane, III. 627. The Story of ''Abd Allah of the Land and 
\4bd Allah of the Sea.) 







(La7ze, III. 671, The Story of Maaroof.) 




Index to the Tales and Proper Names .... 387 

Contributions to the Bibliography of the Thousand 
and One Nights and their Imitations, by W. F. 
Kirby 398 

Comparative Table of the Tales in the Principal 

Editions of the Thousand and One Nights . . 405 

Conclusion. "The Opinions of the Press" . . . 427 


The Book of the Thozisand Nights a7id a Night. 

iSoto tolbfn It tons tj^e i^tne i^imtrrctr nnt( J7ortB=fift!) iSig^bt, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah 
of the Sea said to Abdullah of the Land, " And if a thousand or 
more of this kind hear an Adamite cry a single cry, forthright all die, 
nor hath one of them power to remove from his place ; so, whenever 
a son of Adam falleth into the sea, we take him and anoint him with 
this fat and go round about the depths with him, and whenever we 
see a Dan dan or two or three or more, we bid him cry out and they 
all die forthright for his once crying." Quoth the fisherman, " I put 
my trust in Allah ; " and doffing his clothes, buried them in a hole 
which he dug in the beach ; after which he rubbed his body from 
head to heels with that ointment. Then he descended into the 
water and diving, opened his eyes and the brine did him no hurt : so 
he walked right and left, and if he would, he rose to the sea-face, and 
if he would, he sank to the base. And he beheld the water as it were 
a tent over his head, yet it wrought him no hurt. Then said the 
Merman to him, " What seest thou, O my brother ? " and said he, " O 
my brother, I see naught save weal ^; and indeed thou spakest truth in 
that which thou saidst to me ; for the water doth me no hurt." Quoth 
the Merman, " Follow me." So he followed him and they ceased 
not faring on from place to place whilst Abdullah discovered before 
him and on his right and left mountains of water and solaced him- 
self by gazing thereon and on the various sorts of fish, some great and 
some small, which disported themselves in the main. Some of them 
favoured buffaloes,- others oxen and others dogs and yet others 
human beings ; but all to which they drew near fled, whenas they 
saw the fisherman, who said to the Merman, " O my brother, how is 
it that I see all the fish to which we draw near flee from us afar ? " 
Said the other, "Because they fear thee, for all things that Allah 
hath made fear the son of Adam.^" The fisherman ceased not to 

^ An euphemistic answer, nnberiifefi as the Germans say. 

^ It is a temptation to derive this word (the classical " Bubalis ") from Bceuf a 
Veau, but I fear that the theory will not hold water. The "buffaloes" of 
Alexandria laughed it to scorn. 

^ Here the writer's zoological knowledge is at fault. Animals, which never or 
very rarely see man, have no fear of him whatever. This is well-known to those 
who visit the Gull-fairs at Ascension Island, Santos and many other isolated 
rocks ; the hen birds will peck at the intruder's ankles but they do not rise from 
off their eggs. For details concerning the "Gull-fair" of the Summer Islands 
consult p. 4 "The History of the Bermudas," edited by Sir J. H. Lefroy for the 
Hakluyt Society, 1882. I have seen birds on Fernando Po peak quietly await 

2 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

divert himself with the marvels of the deep, till they came to a high 
mountain and fared on beside it. Suddenly, he heard a mighty loud 
cry and turning, saw some black thing, the bigness of a camel or 
bigger, coming down upon him from the liquid mountain and crying 
out. So he asked his friend, "What is this, O my brother?" and 
the Merman answered, "This is the Dandan. He cometh in search 
of me, seeking to devour me ; so cry out at him, O my brother, ere 
he reach us ; else he will snatch me up and devour me." Accordingly 
Abdullah cried out at the beast and behold, it fell down dead; 
which when he saw, he said, " Glorified be the perfection of God 
and His praise ! I smote it not with sword nor knife ; how cometh 
it that, for all the vastness of the creature's bulk, it could not bear 
my cry, but died?'' Replied the Merman, "Marvel not, for, by 
Allah, O my brother, were there a thousand or two thousand of 
these creatures, yet could they not endure the cry of a son of 
Adam." Then they walked on till they made a city, whose inhabit- 
ants the fisherman saw to be all women, there being no male among 
them ; so he said to his companion, " O my brother, what city is 
this and what are these women ? " " This is the city of women ; for 
its inhabitants are of the women of the sea." "Are there any males 
among them ? " " No ! The King of the Sea banisheth them hither, 
and all the women of the sea, with whom he is wroth, he sendeth to 
this city, and they cannot leave it ; for, should one of them come 
forth therefrom, any of the beasts of the sea that saw her would eat 
her. But in other cities of the main there are both males and 
females." Thereupon asked the fisherman, "Are there then other 
cities than this in the sea ? " and the Merman answered, " There are 
many." Quoth the fisherman, "And is there a Sultan over you in 
the sea?" "Yes," quoth the Merman. Then said Abdullah, "O 
my brother, I have indeed seen many marvels in the main ! " But 
the Merman said, "And what hast thou seen of its marvels?^ Hast 
thou not heard the saying : — The marvels of the sea are more mani- 
fold than the marvels of the land?" "True," rejoined the fisherman, 
and fell to gazing upon those women, whom he saw with faces like 
moons and hair like women's hair, but their hands and feet were in 
their middle and they had tails like fishes' tails. Now when the 

a second shot ; and herds of antelopes, the most timid of animals, in the plains 
of Somali-land, only stared but were not startled by the report of the gun. But 
Arabs are not the only moralists who write zoological nonsense ; witness the 
notable verse, 

Birds in their little nests agree, 
when the feathered tribes are the most pugnacious of breathing beings. 

^ Meaning, " Thou hast as yet seen little or nothing." In most Eastern tongues 
a question often expresses an emphatic assertion. 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 3 

Merman had shown him the people of the city, he carried him 
forth therefrom and forewalked him to another city, which he found 
full of folk, both males and females, formed like the women aforesaid 
and having tails ; but there was neither selling nor buying amongst 
them, as with the people of the land, nor were they clothed. Said 
Abdullah, "O my brother, I see folk all unclothed;" and the other 
said, "This is because the folk of the sea have no clothes." Quoth 
Abdullah, "This is unlawful !" and quoth the other, "We are not 
all of one religion : some of us are Moslems, believers in the Unity, 
others Nazarenes and what not else ; and each marrieth in accord- 
ance with the ordinances of his creed ; but those of us who marry 
are mostly Moslems." The fisherman continued, " Ye are naked 
and have neither buying nor selling among you : of what then is 
your wives' dowry? Do ye give them jewels and precious stones ? " 
The Merman rejoined, " Gems with us are only stones without 
worth; but upon the Moslem who is minded to marry they impose 
a dowry of a certain number of fishes of various kinds that he must 
catch, a thousand or two thousand, more or less, according to the 
agreement between himself and the bride's father. As soon as he 
bringeth the amount required, the families of the bride and bride- 
groom assemble and eat the marriage- banquet ; after which they 
bring him in to his bride, and he catcheth fish and feedeth her ; or, 
if he be unable, she catcheth fish and feedeth him." Abdullah 
marvelled at this, and the Merman carried him to another city and 
thence to another and yet another, till he had diverted him with the 
sight of eighty cities, and he saw the people of each city unlike those 
of every other. Then said he to the Merman, "O my brother, are 
there yet other cities in the main ? " whereto said the other, " And 
what hast thou seen of the cities of the sea and its wondrous spec- 
tacles ? By the virtue of the noble Prophet, the benign, the com- 
passionate, were I to show thee every day a thousand cities for a 
thousand years, and in each city a thousand marvels, I should not 
have shown thee one carat of the four-and-twenty carats of the cities 
of the sea and its miracles ! I have but shown thee our own pro- 
vince and country, nothing more." The fisherman thus resumed, 
" O my brother, since this is the case, what I have seen sufficeth 
me, for I am a-weary of eating fish, and these fourscore days I have 
been in thy company, thou hast fed me, morning and night, upon 
nothing but raw fish, neither broiled nor boiled." "And what is 
broiled and boiled ?" " We broil fish with fire and boil it in water 
and dress it in various ways and make many dishes of it." " And 
how should we come by fire in the sea ? We know not broiled nor 
boiled nor aught else of the kind." " We also fry it in olive-oil and 

4 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

oil of sesame^." " How should we come by olive-oil and oil of 
sesame in the sea ? Verily we know nothing of that thou namest." 
" True, but O my brother, thou hast shown me many cities ; yet 
hast thou not shown me thine own city." " As for mine own city, 
we passed it a long way, for it is near the land whence we came, and 
I left it and came with thee hither, thinking only to divert thee with 
the sight of the greater cities of the sea." " That which I have seen 
of them sufficeth me ; and now I would have thee show me thine 
own city." " So be it," answered Abdullah of the Sea ; and, return- 
ing on his traces, carried him back thither and said to him, "This 
is my city." Abdullah of the Land looked and saw a city small by 
comparison with those he had seen ; then he entered with his comrade 
of the deep and they fared on till they came to a cave. Quoth the 
Merman, "This is my house and all the houses in the city are like 
this, caverns great and small in the mountains ; as are also those of 
every other city of the sea. For whoso is minded to make him a 
house must repair to the King and say to him, I wish to make me 
a house in such a place. Whereupon the King sends with him a 
band of the fish called ' Peckers,'^ which have beaks that crumble the 
hardest rock, appointing for their wage a certain quantum of fish. 
They betake themselves to the mountain chosen by the intended 
owner and therein pierce the house, whilst the owner catcheth fish for 
them and feedeth them, till the cave is finished, when they wend their 
ways and the house-owner taketh up his abode therein. On such 
wise do all the people of the sea ; they traffic not one with other nor 
serve each other save by means of fish ; and their food is fish and 
they themselves are a kind of fish."^ Then he said to him, " Enter !" 
So Abdullah entered and the Merman cried out, saying, " Ho, 
daughter mine ! " when behold, there came to him a damsel with a 
face like the rondure of the moon and hair long, hips heavy, eyes 
black-edged and waist slender ; but she was unclothed and had a 
tail. When she saw Abdullah of the Land, she said to her sire, *'0 
my father, what is this No-tail * thou hast brought with thee ? " He 

^ Arab. "Shiraj"=oil extracted from rape-seed but especially from sesame. 
The I'ersians pronounce it " Siraj " apparently unaware that it is their own word 
"Shirah "(= juice, in Arabic garb) and have coined a participle " Musayrij," (S.^. 
Bii-i-musayrij, taint of sesame-oil applied especially to the Jews who very wisely 
prefer, in Persia and elsewhere, oil which is wholesome to butter which is not. 
The Moslems, however, declare that its immoderate use in cooking taints the 
exudations of the skin. 

" Arab. " Nakkariin," probably congeners of the redoubtable " Dandan." 

^ Bresl. Edit. xi. 78. The Mac. says "They are all fish" (Kullu-hum) and 
the Bui. " Their food (aklu-hum) is fish." 

* Aral). " Az'ar," usually = having thin hair. The general term for tailless is 
" abtar." See Koran cviii. 3, where it means childless. 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman, 5 

replied, " O my daughter, this is my friend of the land, from whom 
I used to bring thee the fruits of the ground. Come hither and 
salute him with the salam." So she came forward and saluted the 
fisherman with loquent tongue and eloquent speech : and her father 
said to her, "Bring meat for our guest, by whose visit a blessing 
hath betided us : " ' whereupon she brought him two great fishes, 
each the bigness of a lamb, and the Merman said to him, "Eat." 
So he ate for stress of hunger, despite himself ; because he was tired 
of eating fish and they had naught else save fish. Before long, in 
came the Merman's wife, who was beautiful of form and favour and 
with her two children, each having in his hand a young fish, which 
he craunched as a man would craunch a cucumber. When she saw 
the fisherman with her husband, she said, " What is this No-Tail ?" 
And she and her sons and their sister came up to him and fell to 
saying, "Yea, by Allah, he is tailless ! " and they laughed at him. 
So he said to the Merman, "O my brother, hast thou brought me 
hither to make me a butt and a laughing-stock for thy children and 

thy consort ? " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

Jloto foibm it toas tf)t i^inc l^untircli anJj J[FottB=s{.xt]^ i^tgi^t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah 
of the Land said to Abdullah of the Sea, " O my brother, hast thou 
brought me hither to make me a butt and a laughing-stock for thy 
children and thy consort ? " Cried the Merman, " Pardon, O my 
brother ! Those who have no tails are rare among us, and when- 
ever one such is found, the Sultan taketh him, to make fun of him, 
and he abideth a marvel amongst us, and all who see him laugh at 
him. But, O my brother, excuse these young children and this 
woman, for they lack wits." Then he cried out to his family, saying, 
" Silence ! " so they were afraid and held their peace ; whilst he 
went on to soothe Abdullah's mind. Presently, as they were talking, 
behold, in came some ten Mermen, tall and strong and stout, and 
said to him, " O Abdullah, it hath reached the King that thou hast 
with thee a No-tail of the No-tails of the earth.'' Answered the 
Merman, " Yes ; and this is he ; but he is not of us nor of the 
children of the sea. He is my friend of the land and hath come to 
me as a guest and I purpose to carry him back to the land." Quoth 

A common formula of politeness. 

6 Alf Laylah wa Lay/ah. 

they, " We cannot depart but with him ; so, an thou have aught to 
say, arise and come with him before the King; and whatso thou 
wouldst say to us, say thou that same to the King." Then quoth 
the Merman to the fisherman, " O my brother, my excuse is mani- 
fest, and we may not disobey the King : but go thou with me to 
him and I will do my best to deliver thee from him, Inshallah ! 
Fear not, for he deemeth thee of the children of the sea ; but, when 
he seeth thee, he will know thee to be of the children of the land, 
and he will surely entreat thee honourably and restore thee to the 
earth." And Abdullah of the Land rephed, " 'Tis thine to decide, I 
will trust in Allah and wend with thee." So he took him and 
carried him to the King who, when he saw him, laughed at him and 
said, " Welcome to the No-tail ! " And all who were about the King 
began to laugh at him and say, " Yea, by Allah, he is tailless ! " Then 
Abdullah of the Sea came forward and acquainted the King with 
the fisherman's case, saying, " This man is of the children of the 
earth and he is my comrade and cannot live amongst us, for that he 
loveth not the eating of fish, except it be fried or boiled ; wherefore 
I desire that thou give me leave to restore him to the land." 
Whereto the King replied, " Since the case is so, and he cannot 
live among us, I give thee leave to restore him to his place, after 
due entertainment," presently adding, " Bring him the guest-meal." 
So they brought him fish of various kinds and colours, and he ate, 
in obedience to the royal behest ; after which the King said to him, 
" Ask a boon of me." Quoth he, "■ I ask of thee that thou give me 
jewels;" and the King said, "Carry him to the jewel-house and let 
him choose that whereof he hath need." So his friend carried him 
to the jewel-house and he picked out whatso he would, after which 
the Merman brought him back to his own city and pulling out a 
purse, said to him, " Take this deposit and lay it on the tomb of the 
Prophet, whom Allah save and assain ! " And he took it, knowing 
not what was therein. Then the Merman went forth with him, to 
bring him back to land, and by the way he heard singing and merry- 
making and saw a table spread with fish and folk eating and singing 
and holding mighty high festival. So Abdullah of the Land said to 
his friend, " What aileth these people to rejoice thus ? Is there a 
wedding among them ? " Replied Abdullah of the Sea, " Nay ; one 
of them is dead." Asked the fisherman, " Then do ye, when one 
dieth amongst you, rejoice for him and sing and feast?" and the 
Merman answered, " Yes : and ye of the earth, what do ye ? " Quoth 
Abdullah of the Land, " When one dieth amongst us, we weep and 
keen for him and the women beat their faces and rend the bosoms 
of their raiment, in token of mourning for the dead." But Abdullah 

Abdtcllah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 7 

the Merman stared at him with wide e)'es and said to him, "Give 
me the deposit ! " So he gave it to him. Then he set him ashore 
and said to him, "I have broken off our companionship and our 
amity ; wherefore from this day forward thou shalt no more see me, 
nor I see thee." Cried the fisherman, " Why sayst thou this ? " and 
the other said, " Are ye not, O folk of the land, a deposit of Allah ? " 
"Yes." "Why then," asked the Merman, "is it grievous to you 
that Allah should take back His deposit and wherefore weep ye 
over it ? How can I entrust thee with a deposit for the Prophet 
(whom Allah save and assain !) seeing that when a child is born to 
you, ye rejoice in it, albeit the Almighty setteth the soul therein as 
a deposit ; and yet, when he taketh it again, it is grievous to you and 
ye weep and mourn ? Since it is hard for thee to give up the 
deposit of Allah, how shall it be easy to thee to give up the deposit 
of the Prophet ? ^ Wherefore we need not your companionship." 
Saying thus he left him and disappeared in the sea. Thereupon 
Abdullah of the Land donned his dress and taking the jewels, went 
up to the King, who met him lovingly and rejoiced at his returnj, 
saying, " How dost thou, O my son-in-law, and what is the cause of 
thine absence from me this while ? " So he told him his tale and 
acquainted him with that which he had seen of marvels in the sea, 
whereat the King wondered. Then he told him what Abdullah the 
Merman had said ;" and the King replied, " Indeed 'twas thou wast 
at fault to tell him this." Nevertheless, he continued for some time 
to go down to the shore and call upon Abdullah of the Sea, but he 
answered him not nor came to him ; so, at last, he gave up all hope 
of him and abode, he and the King his father-in-law and the families 
of them both in the happiest of ease and the practice of righteous 
ways, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the 
Severer of societies and they died all. Wherefore glory be to the 
Living, who dieth not, whose is the empire of the vSeen and the 
Unseen, who over all things is Omnipotent and is gracious to His 
servants and knoweth their every intent ! And amongst the tales 
they tell is one anent 

^ Bresl. Edit. xi. 82 ; meaning, "You will probably keep it for yourself." 
Abdullah of the Sea is perfectly logical ; but grief is not. We weep over the 
deaths of friends mostly for our own sake : theoretically we should rejoice that 
they are at rest ; but practically we areafliicted by the thought that we shall never 
again see their pleasant faces. 

'^ i.e. about rejoicing over the newborns and mourning over the dead. 

Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 


The Caliph Harun Al-Rashid was one night wakeful exceedingly j 
so he called Masrur and said to (him as soon as he came, " Fetch 
me Ja'afar in haste." Accordingly, he went out and returned with 
the Wazir, to whom said the Caliph, " O Ja'afar, wakefulness hath 
mastered me this night and forbiddeth sleep from me, nor wot I 
what shall drive it away from me." Replied Ja'afar, "O Commander 
of the Faithful, the wise say : — Looking on a mirror, entering the 
Hammam-bath and hearkening unto song banish care and chagrin." 
He rejoined, "O Ja'afar I have done all this, but it hath brought 
me naught of relief, and I swear by my pious forbears unless thou 
contrive that which shall abate from me this insomny, I will smite 
thy neck." Quoth Ja'afar, " O Commander of the Faithful, wilt 
thou do that which I shall counsel thee ? " whereupon quoth the 
Caliph, " And what is that thou counsellest ? " He replied, " It is 
that thou take boat with us and drop down Tigris River with the tide 
to a place called Karn al-Sirdt, so haply we may hear what we never 
heard or see what we never saw, for 'tis said : — The solace of care is 
in one of three things ; that a man see what he never before saw or 
hear what he never yet heard or tread an earth he erst hath never 
trodden. It may be this shall be the means of remedying thy rest- 
lessness, O Commander of the Faithful, Inshallah ! There, on 
either side of the river, are windows and balconies, one facing 
other, and it may be we shall hear or see from one of these some- 
what wherewith our hearts may be heartened." Ja'afar's counsel 
pleased the Caliph, so he rose from his place and taking with him 
the Wazir and his brother Al-Fazl and Isaac ^ the boon-companion 

and Abu Nowas and Abu Dalaf ^ and Masrur the Sworder And 

Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying her 
permitted say. 

1 i.e. Ishak of Mosul, for whom see Night cclxxix. The Bresl. Edit, has Fazil 
for Fazl. 

■* Abu Dalaf al-Ijili, a well-known soldier, equally famed for liberality and 

Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 

BM toftcn it toas x\z i^inc ^unUreti anti Jportg-sebEutlb iSigl)t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
CaHph arose from his seat with Ja'afar and the rest of the party, all 
entered the wardrobe, where they donned merchant's gear. Then 
they went down to the Tigris and embarking in a gilded boat, dropped 
down with the stream till they came to the place they sought, when 
they heard the voice of a damsel singing to the lute and chanting 
these couplets : — 

To him when the wine cup is near I declare, * ^^^lile in coppice loud shrilleth 

and trilleth Hazar, 
"How long this repining from joys and delight? * Wake up, for this life is a 

borrowed ware ! " 
Take the cup from the hand of the friend who is dear * With languishing eyelids 

and languorous air. 
I sowed on his cheek a fresh rose, which amid * His side-locks the fruit of 

granado-tree bare. 
Thou wouldst deem that the place where he tare his fair cheek ^ * Were ashes, 

while cheeks hue incendiary wear. 
Quoth the blamer, " Forget him ! But where's my excuse * When his side-face 

is growing the downiest hair ? " • 

When the Caliph heard this, he said, " O Ja'afar, how goodly is that 
voice ! " and the Wazir replied, " O our lord, never smote my hearing 
aught sweeter or goodlier than this singing ! But, fair my lord, 
hearing from behind a wall is only half hearing ; how would it be an 
we heard it from behind a curtain ? " Quoth the Caliph, " Come, 
O Ja'afar, let us play the parasites with the master of this house ; and 
haply we shall look upon the songstress, face to face ; " and quoth 
Ja'afar, " I hear and I obey." So they landed and sought admit- 
tance ; when behold, there came out to them a young man, fair of 
favour, sweet of speech and fluent of tongue, who said to them, 
"Well come and welcome, O lords that honour me with your 
presence ! Enter in all comfort and convenience ! " So they went 
in (and he with them) to a saloon with four faces, whose ceiling was 
decorated with gold and its walls adorned with ultramarine.^ At its 
upper end was a dais, whereon stood a goodly row of seats * and 
thereon sat an hundred damsels like moons. The house-master 

1 Arab. " Takhmish," alluding to the familiar practice of tearing face and hair 
in grief for a loss, a death, etc. 

^ i.e. when he is in the very prime of life. 

^ Arab. "Lazuward" : see Night cxxxiv. 

■1 Arab. " Sidillah." The Bresl. Edit. (v. 99), has, "a couch of ivory and 
ebony, whereon was that which befitted it of mattresses and cushions * « » * 
and on it five damsels." 

lo Alf Laylah wa Lay la h. 

cried out to them, and they came down from their seats. Then he 
turned to Ja'afar and said to him, " O my lord, I know not the 
honourable of you from the more honourable : Bismillah ! deign he 
that is highest in rank among you favour me by taking the head of 
the room, and let his brethren sit each in his several stead." So 
they sat down, each according to his degree, whilst Masrur abode 
standing before them in their service ; and the host asked them, " O 
my guests, with your leave, shall I set somewhat of food before 
you ? " and they answered, " Yes." Hearing this he bade his hand- 
maids bring food, whereupon four damsels with girded waists placed 
in front of them a table, whereon were rare meats of that which flieth 
and walketh earth and swimmeth seas, sand-grouse and quails and 
chickens and pigeons ; and written on the raised edge of the tray 
were verses such as sorted with the entertainment. So they ate till 
they had enough and washed their hands, after which said the young 
man, " O my lords, if you have any want let us know it, that we may 
have the honour of satisfying it." They replied, '"Tis well: we 
came not to thy dwelling save for the sake of a voice we heard from 
behind the wall of thy house, and we would fain hear it again and 
know her to whom it belongeth. So, an thou deem right to vouch- 
safe us this favour, it will be of the generosity of thy nature, and 
after we will return whence we came." Quoth the host, "Ye are 
welcome ; '' and, turning to a black slave-girl, said to her, " Fetch me 
thy mistress Such-an-one." So she went away and returning with a 
chair of chinaware, cushioned with brocade, set it down : then with- 
drew again and presently reappeared with a damsel, as she were the 
moon on the night of its full, who sat down on the chair. Then the 
black girl gave her a bag of satin wherefrom she brought out a lute, 

inlaid with gems and jacinths and furnished with pegs of gold. 

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

Xoto h)i)cn it toas ti)c Nine l^unUiclJ nntf Jportji-figl^tjb Xtgf)t» 

She continued. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the damsel came forward, she took her seat upon the chair and 
brought out from its case a lute, and behold, it was inlaid with gems 
and jacinths and furnished with pegs of gold. Then she tuned its 
strings, even as saith the poet of her and her lute in these lines : — 

She sits it in lap like a mother fond * And she strikes the strings that can make 
it speak : 

Harun Al-Rashid ajid Abu Hasan. ii 

And ne'er smiteth her right an injurious touch * But her left repairs of her right 
the wreak.' 

Then she strained the lute to her bosom, bending over it as mother 
bendeth over babe, and swept the strings which complained as child 
to mother complaineth; after which she played upon it and began 
improvising these couplets : — 

An Time my lover restore me I'll blame him fain, * Saying, " Pass, O my dear, 

the bowl and in passing drain 
The wine, which hath never mixed with the heart of man * But he passes to joy 

from annoy and to pleasure from pain." 
Then Zephyr arose to his task of sustaining the cup : * Didst e'er see full Moon 

that in hand the star hath ta'en ? ^ 
How oft I talked thro' the night, when its rounded Lune * Shed on darkness of 

Tigris' bank a beamy rain ! 
And when Luna sank in the West 'twas as though she'd wave * O'er the length 

of the watery waste a gilded glaive. 

When she had made an end of her verse, she wept with sore weep- 
ing and all who were in the place wept aloud till they were well- 
nigh dead ; nor was there one of them but took leave of his wits and 
rent his raiment and beat his face for the goodliness of her singing. 
Then said Al-R.ashid, "This damsel's song verily denoteth that she 
is a lover departed from her beloved." Quoth her master, "She 
hath lost father and mother ; " but quoth the Caliph, " This is not 
the weeping of one who hath lost mother and father, but the yearn- 
ing of one who hath lost him she loveth." And he was delighted 
with her singing and said to Isaac, " By Allah, never saw I her like !" 
and Isaac said, " O my lord, indeed I marvel at her with utterest 
marvel and am beside myself for delight." Now Al-Rashid with all 
this stinted not to look upon the house-master and note his charms 
and the daintiness of his fashion ; but he saw on his face a pallor as 
he would die; so he turned to him and said, "Ho, youth !" and 
the other said, " Adsum — at thy service, O my lord." The Caliph 
asked, "Knowest thou who we are?" and he answered, "No." 
Quoth Ja'afar, " Wilt thou that I tell thee the names of each of 
us ? " and quoth the young man, " Yes ; " when the Wazir said, 
" This is the Commander of the Faithful, descendant of the uncle of 
the Prince of the Apostles," and named to him the others of the 
company ; after which quoth Al-Rashid, " I wish that thou acquaint 

' i.e. As she untunes the lute by "pinching" the strings over-excitedly with 
her right, her other hand retunes it by turning the pegs. 

^ i.e. The slim cupbearer (Zephyr) and fair-faced girl (Moon) handed round the 
bubbling bowl (star). 

12 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

me with the cause of the paleness of thy face, whether it be 
acquired or natural from thy birth-tide." Quoth he, " O Prince of 
True Believers, my case is wondrous and my affair marvellous ; 
were it graven with gravers on the eye-corners it were a warner to 
whoso will be warned." Said the Caliph, " Tell it to me : haply thy 
healing may be at my hand." Said the young man, " O Commander 
of the Faithful, lend me thine ears and give me thy whole mind." 
And he, " Come ; tell it me, for thou makest me long to hear it." 
So the young man began : — Know then, O Prince of True Believers, 
that I am a merchant of the merchants of the sea and come from 
Oman city, where my sire was a trader and a very wealthy trader, 
having thirty ships trafficking upon the main, whose yearly hire 
was thirty thousand dinars ; and he was a generous man and had 
taught me writing and all whereof a wight hath need. When his 
last hour drew near, he called me to him and gave me the customary 
charge ; then Almighty Allah took him and admitted him to His 
mercy and may He continue the Commander of the Faithful on 
life ! Now my late father had partners trading with his coin and 
voyaging on the ocean. So one day, as I sat in my house with a 
company of merchants, a certain of my servants came in to me and 
said, " O my lord, there is at the door a man who craveth admit- 
tance to thee ! " I gave leave and he came in, bearing on his head 
a something covered. He set it down and uncovered it, and 
behold it was a box wherein were fruits out of season and herbs 
conserved in salt and fresh, such as are not found in our land. I 
thanked him and gifted him with an hundred dinars, and he went 
away grateful. Then I divided these things amongst my friends 
and guests who were present and asked them whence they came. 
Quoth they, " They come from Bassorah," and praised them and 
went on to portray the beauties of Bassorah and all agreed that 
there was naught in the world goodlier than Baghdad and its 
people. Then they fell to describing Baghdad and the fine manners 
of its folk and the excellence of its air and the beauty of its 
ordinance, till my soul longed for it and all my hopes clave to 
looking upon it. So I arose and selling my houses and lands, ships 
and slaves, negroes and handmaids, I got together my good, to wit, 
a thousand thousand dinars, besides gems and jewels, wherewith I 
freighted a vessel and setting out therein with the whole of the 
property, voyaged awhile. Then I hired a barque and embarking 
with all my monies sailed up the river for some days till we 
arrived at Baghdad. I enquired where the merchants abode and 
what part was pleasantest for domicile and was answered, "The 
Karkh quarter." So I went thither and hiring a house in a 

Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 13 

thoroughfare called the Street of Saffron, transported all my goods 
to it and took up my lodging therein for some time. At last one day 
which was a Friday, I sallied forth to solace myself carrying with 
me somewhat of coin. I went first to a cathedral-mosque, called 
the Mosque of Mansur, where the Friday service was held, and 
when we had made an end of congregational prayers, I fared forth 
with the folk to a place hight Karn al-Sirat, where I saw a tall and 
goodly mansion, with a balcony overlooking the river-bank and 
pierced with a lattice-window. So I betook myself thither with a 
company of folk and sighted there an old man sitting, handsomely 
clad and exhaling perfumes. His beard forked upon his breast in 
two waves like silver-wire, and about him were four damsels and 
five pages. So I said to one of the folk, " What is the name of this 
old man and what is his business? " and the man said, " His name 
is Tahir ibn al-Alaa, and he is a keeper of open house : all who go 
in to him eat and drink and look upon fair faces." Quoth I, " By 
Allah, this long while have I wandered about in search of something 

like this ! " And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day 

and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Koto tuljcn it toas tf)e Nine fi^untircti anb JportB=nintt Nigfit, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
young merchant cried, " By Allah this long while I have gone about 
in search of something like this ! So I went up to the Shaykh, O 
Commander of the Faithful, and saluting him said to him, " O my 
lord, I need somewhat of thee ! " He replied, " What is thy need ? " 
and I rejoined, " 'Tis my desire to be thy guest to-night." He said, 
" With all my heart ;" whereupon he committed me to a page, who 
carried me to a Hammam within the house and served me with 
goodly service. When I came out of the Bath he brought me to a 
chamber and knocked at the door, whereupon out came a handmaid, 
to whom said he, "Take thy guest ! " She met me with welcome 
and cordiality, laughing and rejoicing, and brought me into a 
mighty fine room decorated with gold. I considered her and saw 
her like the moon on the night of its fulness having in attendance 
on her two damsels as they were constellations. She made me sit 
and seating herself by my side, signed to her slave-girls who set 
before us a tray covered with dishes of various kinds of meats, 
pullets and quails and sand-grouse and pigeons. So we ate our 
sufficiency, and never in my life ate I aught more delicious than 
this food. When we had eaten she bade remove the tray and set 

14 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

on the service of wine and flowers, sweetmeats and fruits. When 
I had made an end of eating and the tray had been removed, she 
took the lute and sang thereto these couplets : — 

waftings of musk from the Babel-land ! * Bear a message from me which my 

longings have planned : 
My troth is pledged to that place of yours, * And to friends there 'biding — 

a noble band ; 
And wherein dwells she whom all lovers love * And would hend, but she 

Cometh to no man's hand. 

After this I went to the Shaykh and heard a great noise and loud 
voices ; so I asked him, "What is to do?" and he answered, say- 
ing, " This is the night of our remarkablest nights, when all souls 
embark on the river and divert themselves by gazing one upon 
other. Hast thou a mind to go up to the roof and solace thyself 
by looking at the folk } " " Yes," answered I, and went up to the 
terrace-roof^ whence I could see a gathering of people with flam- 
beaux and cressets, and great mirth and merriment. Then I went 
up to the end of the roof and beheld there, behind a goodly 
curtain, a little chamber in whose midst stood a couch of juniper '- 
wood plated with shimmering gold and covered with a handsome 
carpet. On this sat a lovely young lady, confounding all beholders 
with her beauty and comeliness and symmetry and perfect grace. 
When I saw her, O Prince of True Believers, I could not contain 
myself nor knew where I was, so dazed and dazzled was I by her 
beauty : but, when I came down, I questioned the damsel with 
whom I was and described the young lady to her. " What wilt 
thou with her?" asked she; and I, " She hath taken my wit." "O 
Abu al-Hasan, hast thou a mind to her ? " " Ay, by Allah ! for she 
hath captivated my heart and soul." " This is the daughter of Tahir 
ibn al-Alaa ; she is our mistress and we are all her handmaids ; and 
she is a regret to the heart of Kings ! " ■' " By Allah, I will spend all 

1 have on this damsel ! " So saying, I lay, heartsore for desire, 
through the livelong night till the morning, when I repaired to the 
Hammam and presently donned a suit of the richest royal raiment 

^ Arab. " Al-Sath," whence the Span. Azotea. The lines that follow are 
from the Bresl. Edit. v. Iio. 

-This '"Ar'ar" is probably the Callitris quadrivalvis whose resin 
("Sandarac") is imported as varnish from African Mogador to England. Also 
called Thuja, it is of cypress shape, slow growing and tinely veined in the lower 
part of the base. Most travellers are agreed that it is the Citrus-tree of Roman 
Mauritania, concerning which Pliny (xiii. 29) gives curious details, a single 
table costing from a million sesterces (;^90o) to 1,400,000. For other details see 
p. 95, " Morocco and the Moors," by my late friend Dr. Leared (London : 
Sampson Low, 1876). 

^ i.e. Kings might sigh for her in vain. 

Harun Al-RasJiid and Abu Hasan. 15 

and betaking myself to Ibn al-Alaa, told him of my love. Accord- 
ingly he took me and carried me to an apartment than which my 
eyes never saw a goodlier on the earth's face and there I found the 
young lady seated. When I saw her, O Commander of the Faithful, 
my reason was confounded with her beauty, for she was like the 

full moon on its fourteenth night, And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

^ofcD iDj^en it foas tj^e iStne l^untrrcU anti jFiftictf) iSig^t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
young man continued to describe before the Prince of True Believers 
the young lady's characteristics, saying : — She was like the full moon 
.on her fourteenth night, a model of grace and symmetry and loveli- 
ness. Her speech shamed the tones of the lute, and it was as it 
were she whom the poet meant in these verses^ : — 

A fair one, to idolaters if she her face should show, They'd leave their idols and 

her face for only Lord would know. 
If in the Eastward she appeared unto a monk, for sure. He'd cease from turning 

to the West and to the East bend low ; 
And if into the briny sea one day she chanced to spit, Assuredly the salt sea's 

floods straight fresh and sweet would grow. 

And that of another : — 

I looked at her one look and that dazed me * Such rarest gifts of mind and 

form to see, 
When doubt inspired her that I loved her, and » Upon her cheeks the doubt 

showed showily. 

I saluted her and she said to me, " Well come and welcome and 
fair welcome ! " and taking me by the hand, O Prince of True 
Believers, made me sit down by her side ; whereupon, of the excess 
of my desire, I fell a-weeping for fear of severance and pouring 
forth the tears of the eye, recited these two couplets : — 

I love the nights of parting though I joy not in the same * Time haply may 

exchange them for the boons of Union day : 
And the days that bring Union I unlove for single thought, * Seeing everything 

in life lacking steadfastness of stay. 

Then she strave to solace me with soft sweet speech, but I was 
drowned in the deeps of passion, fearing even in union the pangs of 
disunion, for excess of longing and ecstasy of passion ; and I be- 

' These lines occur before. I quote Mr. Payne. 

1 6 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

thought me of the lowe of absence and estrangement and repeated 
these two couplets : — 

I thought of estrangement in her embrace # And my eyes rained tears red as 

So I wiped the drops on that long white neck ; * For camphor ^ is wont to stay 

flow of blood. 

Then she bade bring food and there came four damsels, who set 
before us food and fruits and confections and flowers and wine, such 
as befit none save kings. So, O Commander of the Faithful, we 
ate, and sat over our wine, compassed about with blooms and herbs 
of sweet savour, in a chamber suitable only for kings. Presently, 
one of her maids brought her a silken bag, which she opened and 
taking thereout a lute, laid it in her lap and smote its strings, whereat 
it complained as child complaineth to mother, and she sang these 
two couplets : — 

Drink not pure wine except from hand of slender youth * Like wine for 
daintiness and like him eke the wine : 

For wine no joyance brings to him who drains the cup * Save bring the cup- 
boy cheek as fair and fain and fine. 

So I abode with her, O Commander of the Faithful, month after 
month in similar guise, till all my money was spent ; wherefore I 
began to bethink me of separation as I sat with her one day and 
my tears railed down upon my cheeks like rills, and I became not 
knowing night from light. Quoth she, "Why dost thou weep?" 
and quoth I, "O light of mine eyes, I weep because of our parting." 
She asked, " And what shall part me and thee, O my lord?" and I 
answered, " By Allah, O my lady, from the day I came to thee, thy 
father hath taken of me, for every day, five hundred dinars, and now 
I have nothing left. Right soothfast is the saw : — Penury maketh 
strangerhood at home and money maketh a home in strangerhood ; 
and indeed the poet speaks truth when he saith : — 

Lack of good is exile to man at home ; * And inoney shall house him where'er 
he roam.'' 

She replied, " Know that it is my father's custom, whenever a mer- 
chant abideth with him and hath spent all his capital, to entertain 
him three days ; then doth he put him out and he may return to us 
nevermore. But keep thou thy secret and conceal thy case and I 
will so contrive that thou shalt abide with me till such time as Allah 

^ A most unsavoury comparison to a Persian, who always connects camphor 
with the idea of a corpse. 

Harun Al-Rashid and Abti Hasan. 17 

will •} for, indeed, there is in my heart a great love for thee. Thou 
must know that all my father's money is under my hand and he 
wotteth not its full tale ; so, every morning, I will give thee a purse 
of five hundred dinars which do thou offer to my sire, saying : — 
Henceforth, I will pay thee only day by day. He will hand the 
sum to me, and I will give it to thee again, and we will abide 
thus till such time as may please Allah." ' Thereupon I thanked 
her and kissed her hand ; and on this wise, O Prince of True 
Believers, I abode with her a whole year, till it chanced on a 
certain day that she beat one of her handmaids grievously and the 
slave-girl said, " By Allah, I will assuredly torture thy heart even as 
thou hast tortured me ! " So she went to the girl's father and exposed 
to him all that had passed, first and last, which when Tahir ibn 
Alaa heard he arose forthright and coming in to me, as I sat with 
his daughter, said, " Ho, Such-an-one ! " and I said, " At thy ser- 
vice." Quoth he, " 'Tis our wont, when a merchant grow poor 
with us, to give him hospitality three days ; but thou hast had a 
year with us, eating and drinking and doing what thou wouldst." 
Then he turned to his pages and cried to them, " Pull off h:s 
clothes." They did as he bade them and gave me ten dirhams 
and an old suit worth five silvers; after which he said to me, "Go 
forth ; I will not beat thee nor abuse thee ; but wend thy ways 
and if thou tarry in this town, thy blood be upon thine own head." 
So I went forth, O Commander of the Faithful, in my own de- 
spite, knowing not whither to hie, for had fallen on my heart all 
the trouble in the world and I was occupied with sad thought and 
doubt. Then I bethought me of the wealth which I had brought 
from Oman and said in myself, " I came hither with a thousand 
thousand dinars, part price of thirty ships, and have made away 
with it all in the house of yonder ill-omened man, and now I go 
forth from him, bare and broken-hearted ! But there is no Majesty 
and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " 
Then I abode three days in Baghdad, without tasting meat or drink, 
and on the fourth day seeing a ship bound for Bassorah, I took 
passage in her of the owner, and when we reached our port, I 
landed and went into the bazar, being sore anhungered. Presently, 
a man saw me, a grocer, whom I had known aforetime, and coming 
up to me, embraced me, for he had been my friend and ray father's 
friend before me. Then he questioned me of my case, seeing me 
clad in those tattered clothes ; so I told him all that had befallen 
me, and he said, " By Allah, this is not the act of a sensible man ! 

^ Arab. " Ila ma shaa' llah," i.e. as long as you like. 

i8 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

But after this that hath befallen thee what dost thou purpose to do ?" 
Quoth I, " I know not what I shall do," and quoth he, " Wilt thou 
abide with me and write my outgo and income and thou shalt have 
two dirhams a day, over and above thy food and drink ? " I agreed 
to this and abode with him, O Prince of True Believers, selling and 
buying, till I had gotten an hundred dinars ; when I hired me an 
upper chamber by the river-side, so haply a ship should come up 
with merchandise, that I might buy goods with the dinars and go 
back with them to Baghdad. Now it fortuned that one day, there 
came ships with merchandise, and all the merchants resorted to them 
to buy, and I went with them on board, when behold, there came 
two men out of the hold and setting themselves chairs on the deck, 
sat down thereon. The merchants addressed themselves to the 
twain with intent to buy, and the man said to one of the crew, 
" Bring the carpet." Accordingly he brought the carpet and spread 
it, and another came with a pair of saddle-bags, whence he took a 
budget and emptied it on the carpet ; and our sights were dazzled 
with that which issued therefrom of pearls and corals and jacinths 

and carnelians and other jewels of all sorts and colours. And 

Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying her 
permitted say. 

^oto tol^en it tons tlje iEine |^untiv£l» anb Jpiftu^first jBigj^t, 

She said. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young 
merchant, after recounting to the Caliph the matter of the bag and 
its containing jewels of all sorts, continued : — Presently, O Com- 
mander of the Faithful, said one of the men on the chairs, " O 
company of merchants, we will sell but this to-day, by way of spend- 
ing money, for that we are weary." So the merchants fell to bidding 
one against other for the jewels, and bid till the price reached four 
hundred dinars. Then said to me the owner of the bag (for he was 
an old acquaintance of mine, and when he saw me, he came down 
to me and saluted me), " Why dost thou not speak and bid like the 
rest of the merchants?" I said, " O my lord, by Allah, the shifts of 
fortune have run against me and I have lost my wealth and have 
only an hundred dinars left in the world." Quoth he, "O Omdni, 
after this vast wealth, can only an hundred dinars remain to thee?" 
And I was abashed before him, and my eyes filled with tears ; 
whereupon he looked at me, and indeed my case was grievous to 
him. So he said to the merchants, " Bear witness against me that I 
have sold all that is in this bag of various gems and precious stones 

Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 19 

to this man for an hundred gold pieces, albeit I know them to be 
worth so many thousand dinars, and this is a present from me to 
him." Then he gave me the saddle-bag and the carpet, with all the 
jewels that were thereon, for which I thanked him, and each and 
every of the merchants present praised him. Presently I carried all 
this to the jewel-market and sat there to sell and buy. Now among 
the precious stones was a round amulet of the handiwork of the 
masters,^ weighing half a pound: it was red of the brightest, a car- 
nelian on both whose sides were graven characts and characters, like 
the tracks of ants ; but I knew not its worth. I sold and bought a 
whole year, at the end of which I took the amulet ^ and said, " This 
hath been with me some while, and I know not what it is nor what 
may be its value." So I gave it to the broker, who took it and 
went round with it and returned, saying, " None of the merchants 
will give me more than ten dirhams for it." Quoth I, " I will not 
sell it at that price ; " and he threw it in my face and went away. 
Another day I again offered it for sale, and its price reached fifteen 
dirhams ; whereupon I took it from the broker in anger and threw it 
back into the tray. But a few days after, as I sat in my shop, there 
came up to me a man, who bore the traces of travel, and saluting 
me, said, " By thy leave, I will turn over what thou hast of wares." 
Said I, " 'Tis well," and indeed, O Commander of the Faithful, I 
was still wroth by reason of the lack of demand for the talisman. 
So the man fell to turning over my wares, but took naught thereof 
save the amulet, which when he saw, he kissed his hand and cried, 
" Praised be Allah ! " Then said he to me, " O my lord, wilt thou 
sell this?" and I replied, "Yes," being still angry. Quoth he, 
"What is its price?" And I asked, " How much wilt thou give? " 
He answered, " Twenty dinars ; " so I thought he was making mock 
of me and exclaimed, " Wend thy ways." But he resumed, " I will 
give thee fifty dinars for it." I made him no answer, and he con- 
tinued, "A thousand dinars." But I was silent, declining to reply, 
whilst he laughed at my silence and said, " Why dost thou not 
return me an answer?" "Hie thee home," repeated I, and was 
like to quarrel with him. But he bid thousands after thousands, and 
I still made him no reply, till he said, " Wilt thou sell it for twenty 
thousand dinars ? " I still thought he was mocking me ; but the 
people gathered about me and all of them said, " Sell to him, and if 

^ i.e. of gramarye. 

" Arab. " Ta'wiz " = the Arab Tilasm, our Talisman, a charm, an amulet ; and 
in India mostly a magic square. The subject is complicated and occupies in 
Herklots some sixty pages, 222-284. 

20 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

he buy not, we will all up and at him and drub him and thrust him 

forth the city." So quoth I to him, " Wilt thou buy or dost thou 

jest?" and quoth he, "Wilt thou sell or dost thou joke?" I 

said, " I will sell if thou wilt buy ; " then he said, " I will buy it 

for thirty thousand dinars ; take them and make the bargain ; so I 

cried to the bystanders, "Bear witness against him," adding to 

him, " But on condition that thou acquaint me with the virtues 

and profit of this amulet for which thou payest all this money." 

He answered, " Close the bargain, and I will tell thee this ; " I 

rejoined, "I sell it to thee ; " and he retorted, "Allah be witness of 

that which thou sayst and testimony ! " Then he brought out the 

gold and giving it to me, took the amulet, and set it in his bosom ; 

after which he turned to me and asked, " Art thou content ? " 

Answered I, "Yes," and he said to the people, "Bear witness 

against him that he hath closed the bargain and touched the price, 

thirty thousand dinars." Then he turned to me and said, " Harkye, 

my poor fellow, hadst thou held back from selling, by Allah I would 

have bidden thee up to an hundred thousand dinars, nay, even to a 

thousand thousand ! " When I heard these words, O Commander 

of the Faithful, the blood fled my face, and from that day there 

overcame it this pallor thou seest. Then said I to him, " Tell me 

the reason of this and what is the use of this amulet." And he 

answered, saying : — Know that the King of Hind hath a daughter, 

never was seen a thing fairer than she, and she is possessed with a 

falling sickness.^ So the King summoned the Scribes and men of 

science and Divines, but none of them could relieve her of this. 

Now, I was present in the assembly ; so I said to him, " O King, I 

know a man called Sa'adu'llah the Babylonian, than whom there is 

not on the face of the earth one more masterly in these matters, and 

if thou see fit to send me to him, do so." Said he, "Go to him ;" 

and quoth I, " Bring me a piece of carnelian." Accordingly he gave 

me a great piece of carnelian and an hundred thousand dinars and a 

present, which I took, and with which I betook myself to the land 

of Babel. Then I sought out the Shaykh and, when he was shown 

to me, I delivered to him the money and the present, which he 

accepted and, sending for a lapidary, bade him fashion the carnelian 

into this amulet. Then he abode seven months in observation of 

the stars, till he chose out an auspicious time for engraving it, when 

^ The Bui. and Mac. Edits, give the Princess's malady, in error, as Daa al- 
Suda' (megrims'), instead of Daa al-Sar' (epilepsy), as in the Bresl. Edit. The 
latter would mean that she is possessed by a demon, again the old Scriptural 

Harnn Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 21 

he carved upon it these taUsmanic characters which thou seest, and 
I took it and returned with it to the King. And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

.iEotD tujbcn it hjas tj^e j^inf f^untircti nnti jptftg-seconti iliaijt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
young man said to the Commander of the Faithful : — So after the 
Shaykh had spoken, I took this taUsman and returned with it to the 
King. Now the Princess was bound with four chains, and every 
night a slave-girl lay with her and was found in the morning with 
her throat cut. The King took the amulet and laid it upon his 
daughter who was straightway made whole. At this he rejoiced with 
exceeding joy and invested me with a vest of honour and gave alms 
of much money; and he caused set the amulet in the Princess's 
necklace. It chanced, one day, that she embarked with *her women 
in a ship and went for a sail on the sea. Presently one of her maids 
put out her hand to her, to sport with her, and the necklace brake 
asunder and fell into the waves. From that hour the Possessor^ of 
the Princess returned to her, wherefore great grief betided the King 
and he gave me much money, saying, " Go thou to Shaykh Sa'adu'llah 
and let him make her another amulet, in lieu of that which is lost." 
I journeyed to Babel, but found the old man dead ; whereupon I 
returned and told the King, who sent me and ten others to go round 
about in all countries, so haply we might find a remedy for her : and 
now Allah hath caused me happen on it with thee." Saying these 
words, he took from me the amulet, O Commander of the Faithful, 
and went his ways. Such, then, is the cause of the wanness of my 
complexion. As for me, I repaired to Baghdad, carrying all my 
wealth with me, and took up my abode in the lodgings where I lived 
whilome. On the morrow, as soon as it was light, I donned my 
dress and betook myself to the house of Tahir ibn al-Alaa, that 
haply I might see her whom I loved, for the love of her had never 
ceased to increase upon my heart. But when I came to his home, I 
saw the balcony broken down and the lattice builded up ; so I stood 
awhile, pondering my case and the shifts of Time, till there came to me 
a serving man, and I questioned him, saying, " What hath God done 
with Tahir ibn al-Alaa?" He answered, " O my brother, he hath 
repented to Almighty Allah." Quoih I, " What was the cause of his 

' Arab. " 'AI-' Ariz" = the demon who possessed her. 

22 A If Lay! ah wa Lay /ah. 

repentance?" and quoth he, "O my brother, in such a year there 
came to him a merchant, by name Abu al-Hasan the Omani, who 
abode with his daughter awhile, till his wealth was all spent, when 
the old man turned him out, broken-hearted. Now the girl loved 
him with exceeding love and, when she was parted from him, she 
sickened of a sore sickness and became nigh upon death. As soon as 
her father knew how it was with her, he sent after and sought for 
Abu al-Hasan through the lands, pledging himself to bestow upon 
whoso should produce him an hundred thousand dinars ; but none 
could find him nor come on any trace of him ; and she is now hard 
upon death." Quoth I, "And how is it with her sire ? " and quoth 
the servant, " He hath sold all his girls, for grief of that which 
hath befallen him, and hath repented to Almighty Allah." Then 
asked I, "What wouldst thou say to him who should direct thee 
to Abu al-Hasan the Omani ? " and he answered, " Allah upon 
thee, O my brother, that thou do this and quicken my poverty 
and the poverty of my parents ^ !" I rejoined, " Go to her father 
and say to him. Thou owest me the reward for good news, for 
that Abu al-Hasan the Omani standeth at the door." With this 
he set off trotting, as he were a mule loosed from the mill, and 
presently came back, accompanied by Shaykh Tahir himself, who 
no sooner saw me than he returned to his house and gave the man 
an hundred thousand dinars which he took and went away blessing 
me. Then the old man came up and embraced me and wept, saying, 
"O my lord, where hast thou been absent all this while? Indeed, 
my daughter hath been killed by reason of her separation from thee ; 
but come with me into the house." So we entered and he prostrated 
himself in gratitude to the Almighty, saying, " Praised be Allah who 
hath reunited us with thee ! " Then he went in to his daughter and 
said to her, "The Lord hath healed thee of this sickness ;" and said 
she, " O my papa, I shall never be whole of my sickness, save I 
look upon the face of Abu al-Hasan." Quoth he, " An thou wilt 
eat a morsel and go to the Hammam, I will bring thee in company 
with him." Asked she, " Is it true that thou sayest ? " and he 
answered, " By the Great God, 'tis true ! " She rejoined, " By Allah, 
if I look upon his face, I shall have no need of eating ! " Then said 
he to his page, " Bring in thy lord." Thereupon I entered, and 
when she saw me, O Prince of True Believers, she fell down in a 
swoon, and presently coming to herself, recited this couplet : — 

Yea, Allah hath joined the parted twain, * When no thought they thought e'er 
to meet again. 

* AHuding to the favourite Eastern saying, " The poor man hath no life." 

Haritn Al-Rashid atid Abu Hasan. 23 

Then she sat upright and said, "By Allah, O my lord, I had not 
deemed to see thy face ever more, save it were in a dream ! " So 
she embraced me and wept, and said, " O Abu al-Hasan, now will 
I eat and drink." The old man her sire rejoiced to hear these 
words and they brought her meat and drink and we ate and drank, 
O Commander of the Faithful. After this, I abode with them 
awhile, till she was restored to her former beauty, when her father 
sent for the Kazi and the witnesses and bade write out the marriage- 
contract between her and me and made a mighty great bride-feast ; 
and she is my wife to this day and this is my son by her." So saying 
he went away and returned with a boy of rare beauty and symmetry 
of form and favour to whom said he, " Kiss the ground before the 
Commander of the Faithful." He kissed ground before the Caliph, 
who marvelled at his beauty and glorified his Creator ; after which 
Al-Rashid departed, he and his company, saying, "O Ja'afar, verily, 
this is none other than a marvellous thing, never saw I nor heard I 
aught more wondrous." When he was seated in the palace of the 
Caliphate, he cried, " O Masrur ! " who replied, " Here am I, O my 
lord ! " Then said he, " Bring the year's tribute of Bassorah and 
Baghdad and Khorasan, and set it in this recess.^" Accordingly he 
laid the three tributes together and they were a vast sum of money, 
whose tale none might tell save Allah. Then the Caliph bade draw 
a curtain before the recess and said to Ja'afar, " Fetch me Abu 
al-Hasan." Replied Ja'afar, " I hear and obey," and going forth, 
returned presently with the Omani, who kissed ground before the 
Caliph, fearing lest he had sent for him because of some fault that 
he had committed when he was with him in his house. Then said 
Al-Rashid, " Harkye, O Omani!" and he replied, "Adsum, O 
Prince of True Believers ! May Allah ever bestow his favours upon 
thee ! " Quoth the Cahph, " Draw back yonder curtain." There- 
upon Abu al-Hasan drew back the curtain from the recess and was 
confounded and perplexed at the mass of money he saw there. 
Said Al-Rashid, *' O Abu al-Hasan, whether is the more, this money 
or that thou didst lose by the amulet ? " - and he answered, " This 
is many times the greater, O Commander of the Faithful ! " Quoth 
the Caliph, "Bear witness, all ye who are present, that I give this 
money to this young man." So Abu al-Hasan kissed ground 
and was abashed and wept before the Caliph for excess of joy. Now 

^ In this and the following lines some change is necessary for the Bresl. and 
Mac. texts are very defective. The Arabic word here translated "recess" is 
" Ay wan," prop, a hall, an open saloon. 

* i.e. by selling it for thirty thousand gold pieces, when he might have got a 
million for it. 

24 A If Lay /ah wa Laylah. 

when he wept, the tears ran down from his eyeHds upon his cheeks 
and the blood returned to its place and his face became like the 
moon on the night of its fulness. Whereupon quoth the Caliph, 
" There is no god but the God ! Glory be to Him who decreeth 
change upon change and is Himself the Everlasting who changeth 
not." Saying these words, he bade fetch a mirror and showed Abu 
al-Hasan his face therein, which when he saw, he prostrated himself, 
in gratitude to the Most High Lord. Then the Caliph bade trans- 
port the money to Abu al- Hasan's house and charged the young 
man not to absent himself from him, so he might enjoy his company 
as a cup-companion. Accordingly he paid hmi frequent visits, till 
AI-Rashi(l departed to the mercy of Almighty Allah ; and glory be 
to Him who dieth not, the Lord of the Seen and the Unseen ! And 
among tales they tell is one touching 


Al-Khasib,'- Wazir of Egypt, had a son named Ibrahim, than whom 
there was none goodlier, and of his fear for him, he suffered him not 
to go forth, save to the Friday prayers. One day, as the youth was 
returning from the mosque, he came upon an old man, with whom 
were many books ; so he lighted down from his horse and, seating 
himself beside him, began to turn over the tomes and examine 
them. In one of them he espied the semblance of a woman which 
all but spoke, never was seen on the earth's face one more beautiful ; 
and as this captivated his reason and confounded his wit, he said to 
the old man, "O Shaykh, sell me this picture." The bookseller 
kissed ground between his hands and said, " O my lord, 'tis thine 
without price."" Ibrahim gave him an hundred dinars and, taking 

' The tale is not in the Bresl. Edit. 

- Al-Khasib (= the fruitful) was the son of'Abd al-Hamid and intendant of 
the tribute of Egypt under Harun Al-Kashid, but neither Lord nor Sultan. 
Lane (iii. 669) quotes three couplets in his honour by Abu Nowas from p. 119 of 
" Elmacini (Al-Makin) Ilistoria Saracenica." 

If our camel visit not the land of Al-Khasib, what man after Al-Khasib shall 
they visit ? 

For generosity is not his neighbour ; nor hath it sojourned near him ; but gene- 
rosity goeth wherever he goeth : 

He is a mnn who purchaseth praise with his wealth, and who knoweth that the 
periods of Fortune revolve. 

' The old story '" Ala judi-k " = upon thy generosity, which means at least ten 
times the proper price. 

Ibrahijn and Javiilah. 25 

the book in which was the picture, fell to gazing upon it and weepnig 
night and day, abstaining from meat and drink and sleep. Then 
said he in his mind, " An I ask the bookseller of the painter of this 
picture, haply he will tell me ; and if the original be living, I will 
seek access to her ; but, if it be only a picture, I will leave doting 
upon it and plague myself no more for a thing which hath no real 

existence." And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day 

and ceased saying her permitted say. 

:Nroto totcn it foas tj^e Wine l^imUretJ antr dFtftB=tl)trti Ntgibt, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
youth Ibrahim said in his mind, "An I ask the bookseller of the 
painter of this picture, haply he will tell me ; and, if it be only a 
picture, I will leave doting upon it and plague myself no more for 
a thing which hath no real existence." So on the next Friday he 
betook himself to the bookseller, who sprang up to receive him, and 
said to him, " O uncle, tell me who painted this picture." He 
replied, " O my lord, a man of the people of Baghdad painted it, by 
name Abu al-Kasim al-Sandalani, who dwelleth in a quarter called 
Al-Karkh ; but I know not of whom it is the portraiture." So 
Ibrahim left him without acquainting any of his household with his 
case, and returned to the palace, after praying the Friday prayers. 
Then he took a bag and filling it with gold and gems to the value of 
thirty thousand dinars, waited till the morning, when he went out, 
without telling any, and presently overtook a caravan. Here he saw 
a Badawi and asked him, "O uncle, what is the distance between 
me and Baghdad ; " and the other answered, " O my son, where art 
thou and where is Baghdad ? ^ Verily, between thee and it is two 
months' journey." Quoth Ibrahim, " O nuncle, an thou wilt guide 
me to Baghdad, I will give thee an hundred dinars and this mare 
under me that is worth other thousand gold pieces ; " and quoth the 
Badawi, " Allah be witness of what we say ! Thou shalt not lodge 
this night but with me." So Ibrahim agreed to this and passed the 
night with him. At break of dawn, the Badawi took him and fared 
on with him in haste by a near road, for his greed to the mare and 
the promised good : nor did they leave wayfaring till they came to 
the walls of Baghdad, when said ihe wildling, " Praised be Allah for 
safety ! O my lord, this is Baghdad." Whereat Ibrahim rejoiced 
with exceeding joy and alighting from the mare, gave her to the 

^ i.e. The distance is enormous. 

26 A If Lay 1 ah wa Lay la h. 

Desert-man, together with the hundred dinars. Then he took the 
bag and entering the city walked on, enquiring for the quarter Al- 
Karkh and the station of the merchants, till Destiny drave him to 
a by-way, wherein were ten houses, five fronting five, and at the 
farther end was a two-leaved door with a silver ring. By the gate 
stood two benches of marble, spread with the finest carpets, and on 
one of them sat a man of handsome aspect and reverend, clad in 
sumptuous clothing and attended by five Mamelukes like moons. 
AVhen the young Ibrahim saw the street, he knew it by the descrip- 
tion the bookseller had given him ; so he salamed to the man, who 
returned his salutation and bidding him welcome, made him sit down 
and asked him of his case. Quoth Ibrahim, " I am a stranger man 
and desire of thy favour that thou look me out a house in this street 
where I may take up my abode." With this the other cried out, 
saying, " Ho, Ghazalah ! " ^ and there came forth to him a slave- 
girl, who said, " At thy service, O my lord ! " Said her master, 
" Take some servants and fare ye all and every to such a house and 
clean it and furnish it with whatso is needful for this handsome youth." 
So she went forth and did his bidding ; whilst the old man took the 
youth and showed him the house ; and he said, " O my lord, how 
much may be the rent of this house ? " The other answered, " O 
bright of face, I will take no rent of thee whilst thou abidest therein." 
Ibrahim thanked him for this and the old man called another slave- 
girl, whereupon there came forth to him a damsel like the sun, to 
whom said he, "Bring the chess." So she brought it and one of the 
servants set the cloth ; - whereupon said the Shaykh to Ibrahim, 
" Wilt thou play with me ? " and he answered, " Yes." So they 
played several games and Ibrahim beat him, when his adversary 
exclaimed, " Well done, O youth ! Thou art indeed perfect in 
qualities. By Allah, there is not one in Baghdad can beat me, and 
yet thou hast beaten me I " Now when they had made ready the 
house and furnished it with all that was needful, the old man delivered 
the keys to Ibrahim and said to him, " O my lord, wilt thou not 
enter my place and eat of my bread ? " He assented and walking 
in with him, found it a handsome house and a goodly, decorated with 
gold and full of all manner pictures and furniture galore and other 
things, such as tongue faileth to set out. The old man welcomed 
him and called for food, whereupon they brought a table of the 

' A gazelle ; here the slave-girl's name. 

- Ilerklots (PI. vii. fig. 2) illustrates the cloth used in playing the Indian game, 
Pachlsi. The " board " is rather European than Oriental, but it has of late 
years spread far and wide, especially the backgammon board. 

Ibrahim and Jainilah. 27 

make of Sana'a of Al-Yaman and spread it with all manner rare 
viands, than which there was naught costlier nor more delicious. 
So Ibrahim ate his sufficiency, after which he washed his hands and 
proceeded to inspect the house and furniture. Presently, he turned 
to look for the leather bag, but found it not and said in himself, 
"There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the 
Glorious, the Great ! I have eaten a morsel worth a dirham or two 
and have lost a bag wherein is thirty thousand dinars' worth : but I 

seek aid of Allah ! " And he was silent and could not speak 

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

i^olt) foficn ft foas tf)e Nine l^unUtelr antJ Jpiftg-fourtjb iSigl^t 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
youth Ibrahim saw that his bag was lost, he was silent and could not 
speak for the greatness of his trouble. Presently his host brought 
the chess and said to him, " Wilt thou play with me?" and he said, 
" Yes." So they played and the old man beat him. Ibrahim cried, 
" Well done ! " and left playing and rose : upon which his host asked 
him, "What aileth thee, O youth?" whereto he answered, "I want 
the bag." Thereat the Shaykh rose and brought it out to him, 
saying, " Here it is, O my lord. Wilt thou now return to playing with 
me?" "Yes," replied Ibrahim. Accordingly they played and, as 
the young man beat him, quoth the Shaykh, " When thy thought was 
occupied with the bag, I beat thee : but, now I have brought it back 
to thee, thou beatest me. But, tell me, O my son, what countryman 
art thou ?" Quoth Ibrahim," I am from Egypt," and quoth the oldster, 
" And what is the cause of thy coming to Baghdad?" whereupon 
Ibrahim brought out the portrait and said to him, " Know, O uncle, 
that I am the son of Al-Khasib, Wazir of Egypt, and I saw with a 
bookseller this picture, which bewildered my wit. I asked him who 
painted it and he said, " He who wrought it is a man, Abu al-Kasim 
al-Sandalani hight, who dwelleth in a street called the Street of 
Saffron in the Karkh quarter of Baghdad." Accordingly I took with 
me somewhat of money and came hither alone, none knowing of 
my case ; and I desire of the fulness of thy favour that thou direct 
me to Abu al-Kasim, so I may ask him of the cause of his painting 
this picture and whose portrait it is. And whatsoever he desireth 
of me, I will give him that same." Said his host, " By Allah, O 
my son, I am Abu al-Kasim al-Sandalani, and this is a prodigious 
thing how Fate hath thus driven thee to me ! " Now when Ibra- 

28 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

him heard these words, he rose to him and embraced him and 
kissed his head and hands, saying, " Allah upon thee, tell me whose 
portrait it is ! " The other replied, " I hear and I obey," and 
rising, opened a closet and brought out a number of books, wherein 
he had painted the same picture. Then said he, " Know, O my 
son, that the original of this portrait is my cousin, the daughter of 
my father's brother, whose name is Abu al-Lays.^ She dwelleth 
in Bassorah of which city her father is governor, and her name is 
Jamilah — the beautiful. There is not on the face of the earth a 
fairer than she ; but she is averse from men and cannot hear the 
word ' man ' pronounced in her presence. Now I once repaired 
to my uncle, to the intent that he should marry me to her, and 
was lavish of wealth to him ; but he would not consent thereto : 
and when his daughter knew of this she was indignant and sent to 
me to say, amongst other things : — An thou have wit, tarry not in 
this town ; else w^ilt thou perish and thy sin shall be on thine own 
neck.'^ For she is a virago of viragoes. Accordingly I left Bassorah, 
brokenhearted, and limned this likeness of her in books and scat- 
tered them abroad in various lands, so haply they might fall into 
the hands of a comely youth like thyself and he contrive access to 
her and peradventure she might fall in love with him, purposing to 
take a promise of him that, when he should have wedded her, he 
would show her to me, though I look but for a moment from afar 
off." When Ibrahim son of Al-Khasib heard these words, he bowed 
his head awhile in thought and Al-Sandalani said to him, "O my 
son, I have not seen in Baghdad a fairer than thou, and meseems 
that, when she seeth thee, she will love thee. Art thou willing, 
therefore, in case thou be united with her, to show her to me, if I 
look but for a moment from afar? " Ibrahim replied, " Yes ; " and 
the painter rejoined, "This being so, tarry with me till thou set out." 
But the youth retorted, " I cannot tarry longer; for my heart with 
love of her is all afire." " Have patience three days," said the 
Shaykh, " till I fit thee out a ship, wherein thou mayst fare to Bas- 
sorah." Accordingly he waited whilst the old man equipped him a 
craft and stored therein all that he needed of meat and drink and 
so forth. When the three days were past, he said to Ibrahim, 
" Make thee ready for the voyage ; for I have prepared thee a 
packet-boat furnished with all thou requirest. The craft is my pro- 
perty and the seamen are of my servants. In the vessel is what will 
suffice thee till thy return, and I have charged the crew to serve 

' i.e. " Father of the Lion." 

- Or as we should say, " Thy blood will be on thine own head." 

Ibiahifu and Jamilah. 29 

thee till thou come back in safety." Thereupon Ibrahim farewelled 
his host and embarking, sailed down the river till he came to Bas- 
sorah, where he pulled out an hundred dinars for the sailors ; but 
they said, "We have gotten our hire of our lord." However he 
replied, "Take this by way of largesse; and I will not acquaint him 
therewith." So they took it and blessed him. Then the youth 
landed and entering the town asked, "Where do the merchants 
lodge ? " and was answered, " In a Khan called the Khan of Hama- 
ddn." ' So he walked to the market wherein stood the Khan, and 
all eyes were fixed upon him and men's sight was attracted to him 
by reason of his exceeding beauty and loveliness. He entered the 
caravanserai, with one of the sailors in his company ; and, asking 
for the porter, was directed to an aged man of reverend aspect. 
He saluted him and the doorkeeper returned his greeting; after 
which Ibrahim said to him, " O uncle, hast thou a nice chamber? " 
He replied, "Yes," and taking him and the sailor, opened to them 
a handsome room decorated with gold, and said, " O youth, this 
chamber befitteth thee." Ibrahim pulled out two dinars and gave 
them to him, saying, "Take these to key-money." ^ And the 
porter took them and blessed him. Then the youth Ibrahim sent 
the sailor back to the ship and entered the room, where the door- 
keeper abode with him and served him, saying, " O my lord, thy 
coming hath brought us joy ! " Ibrahim gave him a dinar, and 
said, " Buy us herewith bread and meat and sweetmeats and wine." 
Accordingly the doorkeeper went to the market ; and buying ten 
dirhams' worth of victual, brought it back to Ibrahim and gave him 
the other ten dirhams. But he cried to him, " Spend them on 
thyself;" whereat the porter rejoiced with passing joy. Then he 
ate a scone with a little kitchin ^ and gave the rest to the concierge, 
adding, " Carry this to the people of thy household." The porter 
carried it to his family and said to them, " Methinketh there is not 
on the face of the earth a more generous than the young man who 
has come to lodge with us this day, nor yet a pleasanter than he. 
An he abide with us, we shall grow rich." Then he returned to 
Ibrahim and found him weeping ; so he sat down and began to 
rub * his feet and kiss them, saying, " O my lord, wherefore weepest 

' Called after the famous town in Persian Mesopotamia, which however is spelt 
with the lesser aspirate, in the geographical work of Sadik-i-Ispahani, London : 
Oriental Transl. Fund, 1882. 

■ Arab. " Hulwan al-miftah." Mr. Payne compares it with the French denier 
a Dieu, given to the concierge on like occasions. 

" Arab. "'Udm," a rehsh, the Scotch "kitchen," Lat. Opsonium, Ital. Com- 
panatico and our " by-meat." See Night 284. 

* Arab. "Kabasa" — he shampoo'd. 

30 Alf Laylah wa Lay/ah. 

thou ? May Allah not make thee weep ! " Said Ibrahim, " O 
uncle, I have a mind to drink with thee this night ;" and the porter 
replied, " Hearing and obeying ' " So he gave him five dinars and 
said, " Buy us fresh fruit and wine ;" and presently added other 
five, saying, " With these buy also for us dessert ' and flowers and 
five fat fowls and bring me a lute." The doorkeeper went out and, 
buying what he had ordered, said to his wife, " Strain this wine and 
cook us this food and look thou dress it daintily, for this young man 
overwhelmeth us with his bounties." She did as he bade her, to 
the utmost of desire ; and he took the victuals and carried them to 

Ibrahim son of the Sultan. And Shahrazad was surprised by the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

iSotx) tof)cn it toas tte iiinc ^^untivcti antJ Jptftii-fiftf) i^igj^t, 

She said. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that then they 
ate and drank and made merry, and Ibrahim wept and repeated the 
following verses : — 

O my friend ! an I rendered my life, my sprite, » My wealth and whatever the 

world can unite ; 
Nay, th' Eternal Garden and Paradise'" * For an hour of Union my heart 

would buy't ! 

Then he sobbed a great sob and fell down a-swoon. The porter 
sighed, and when he came to himself, he said to him, " O my lord, 
what is it makes thee weep and who is she to whom thou alludest 
in these verses ? Indeed, she cannot be but as dust to thy feet." 
But Ibrahim arose and for all reply brought out a parcel of the 
richest raiment that women wear and said to him, " Take this to 
thy Harim." So he carried it to his wife and she returned with him 
to the young man's lodging, and behold, she found him weeping. 
Quoth the doorkeeper to him, "Verily, thou breakest our hearts! 
Tell us what fair one thou desirest, and she shall be naught save 
thy handmaid." Quoth he, " O uncle, know that I am the son of 
Al-Khasib, Wazir of Egypt, and I am enamoured of Jamilah, 
daughter of Abu al-Lays the Governor." Exclaimed the porter's 
wife, " Allah ! Allah ! O my brother, leave this talk, lest any hear 
of us and we perish. Verily there is not on earth's face a more 

^ Arab. " Nukl." See supra, Night 944. 

^ .\rab. "Jannat al-Khuld" and " Firdaus," two of the Heavens repeatedly 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 31 

masterful than she, nor may any name to her the word ' man,' for 
she is averse from men. Wherefore, O my son, turn from her to 
other than her." Now when Ibrahim heard this, he wept with sore 
weeping, and the doorkeeper said to him, "I have nothing save my 
life; but that I will risk for thy love and find thee a means of 
winning thy will." Then the twain went out from him, and on the 
morrow he betook himself to the Hammam and donned a suit of 
royal raiment, after which he returned to his lodging, when behold, 
the porter and his wife came in to him and said, " Know, O my lord, 
that there is a humpbacked tailor here who seweth for the lady 
Jamilah, Go thou to him and acquaint him with thy case ; 
haply he will show thee the way of attaining thine aim." So 
the youth Ibrahim arose and betaking himself to the shop of 
the humpbacked tailor, went in to him and found with him 
ten Mamelukes as they were moons. He saluted them with 
the salam, and they returned his greeting and bade him welcome 
and made him sit down ; and indeed they rejoiced in him 
and were amazed at his charms and loveliness, especially the 
hunchback, who was confounded at his beauty of form and favour. 
Presently he said to the Gobbo, " I desire that thou sew me up my 
pocket ; " and the tailor took a needleful of silk and sewed up his 
pocket which he had torn purposely ; whereupon Ibrahim gave him 
five dinars and returned to his lodging. Quoth the tailor, " What 
thing have I done for this youth, that he should give me five gold 
pieces ? " And he passed the night pondering his beauty and 
generosity. And when morning morrowed Ibrahim repaired to the 
shop and saluted the tailor, who returned his salam and welcomed 
him and made much of him. Then he sat down and said to the 
Hunchback, "O uncle, sew up my pocket, for I have rent it again." 
Rephed the tailor, " On my head and eyes, O my son," and sewed it 
up ; whereupon Ibrahim gave him ten ducats and he took them, 
amazed at his beauty and generosity. Then said he, '"• By Allah, O 
youth, for this conduct of thine needs must be a cause, this is no 
matter of sewing up a pocket. But tell me the truth of thy case. If 
thou wish for one of my slaves, by Allah, they are each and every as 
the dust at thy feet ! and behold, they are all thy slaves and at thy 
command. Or if it be other than this, tell me." Replied Ibrahim, 
" O uncle, this is no place for talk, for my case is wondrous and my 
affair marvellous." Rejoined the tailor, " An it be so, come with me 
to a place apart." So saying, he rose up in haste and took the youth 
by the hand and, carrying him into a chamber behind the shop, 
said, "Now tell me thy tale, O youth." Accordingly Ibrahim related 
his story first and last to the tailor, who was amazed at his speech 

32 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

and cried, "O youth, fear Allah for thyself:^ indeed she of whom 
thou speakest is a virago and averse from men. Wherefore, O my 
brother, do thou guard thy tongue, else thou wilt destroy thyself." 
When Ibrahim heard the hunchback's words, he wept with sore 
weeping and, clinging to the tailor's skirts, said, " Help me, O my 
uncle, or I am a dead man ; for I have left my kingdom and the 
kingdom of my father and grandfather and am become a stranger in 
the lands and lonely; nor can I endure without her." When the 
tailor saw how it was with him, he pitied him and said, " O my son, 
I have but my life and that I will venture for thy love, for thou 
makest my heart ache. But by to-morrow I will contrive thee some- 
what whereby thy soul shall be solaced." Ibrahim blessed him 
and, returning to the Khan, told the doorkeeper what the hunchback 
had said, and he answered, " Indeed, he hath dealt kindly with 
thee." Next morning the youth donned his richest dress and, 
taking a purse of gold, repaired to the Gobbo and saluted him. 
Then he sat down and said, " O uncle, keep thy word with me." 
Quoth the hunchback, "Arise forthright and take thee three fat 
fowls and three ounces- of sugar-candy and two small jugs, which do 
thou fill with wine; also a cup. Lay all these in a budget^ and to- 
morrow, after the morning-prayers, take boat with them, saying to 
the boatman : — I would have thee row me down the river below 
Bassorah. An he say to thee : — I cannot go farther than a parasang, 
do thou answer : — As thou will ; but, when he shall have come so 
far, lure him on with money to carry thee farther ; and the first 
flower-garden thou wilt descry after this will be that of the lady 
Jamilah. Go up to the gate as soon as thou espiest it and there 
thou wilt see two high steps, carpeted with brocade, and seated 
thereon a Quasimodo like me. Do thou complain to him of thy 
case and crave his favour : belike he will have compassion on thy 
condition and bring thee to the sight of her, though but for a moment 
from afar. This is all I can do for thee ; and unless he be moved to 
pity for thee, we be dead men, I and thou. This then is my rede 
and the matter rests with the Almighty." Quoth Ibrahim, *' I seek 
aid of Allah ; whatso He willeth becometh ; and there is no Majesty 

^ i.e. " Have some regard for thy life." 

- Arab. ''Awak," plur. of Ukiyyah, a word known throughout the Moslem 
East. As an ounce it weighs differently in eveiy country and in Barl^ary (Mauri- 
tania), which we call Marocco, it is a nominal coin containing twelve Fliis (luliis), 
now about = a penny. It is a direct descendant from the " Uk " or " Wuk " 
(ounce) of the hieroglyphs (see Sharpe's Egypt or any other Manual) and first 
appeared in Europe as the Greek oiyKia. 

^ Arab. " Karah," usually a large bag. 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. -TtZ 

and there is no Might save in Allah ! " Then he left the hunchback 
tailor and returned to his lodging, where, taking the things his adviser 
had named, he laid them in a bag. On the morrow, as soon as it 
was day, he went down to Tigris bank, where he found a boatman 
asleep ; so he awoke him and, giving him ten sequins, bade him 
row him down the river below Bassorah. Quoth the man, " O my 
lord, it must be on condition that I go no farther than a parasang ; 
for if I pass that distance by a span, I am a lost man, and thou 
too." And quoth Ibrahim, " Be it as thou wilt." Thereupon he took 
him and dropped down the river with him till he drew near the 
flower-garden, when he said to him, " O my son, I can go no 
farther ; for, if I pass this limit, we are both dead men." Hereat 
Ibrahim pulled out other ten dinars and gave them to him, saying, 
" Take this spending money and better thy case therewithal." The 
boatman was ashamed to refuse him and fared on with him, crying, 

" I commit the affair to Allah the Almighty ! " And Shahrazad 

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

Xoto tolbfn it tons i^z "^xm iBuntireU anti _-|piftp=sixt]^ Nigi)t, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the youth Ibrahim gave the boatman other ten dinars, the man 
took them, saying, " I commit the affair to Allah the Almighty ! " 
and fared on with him down stream. When they came to the 
flower-garden, the youth sprang out of the boat, in his joy, a spring 
of a spear's throw from the land, and cast himself down, whilst the 
boatman turned and fled. Then Ibrahim fared forward and found 
all as it had been described by the Gobbo : he also saw the garden- 
gate open, and in the porch a couch of ivory, whereon sat a hump- 
backed man of pleasant presence, clad in gold-laced clothes and 
bending in hand a silvern mace plated with gold. So he hastened 
up to him and seizing his hand kissed it ; whereupon asked the 
hunchback, "Who art thou and whence comest thou and who 
brought thee hither, O my son ? " And indeed, when the man saw 
Ibrahim Khasib-son, he was amazed at his beauty. He answered, 
" O uncle, I am an ignorant lad and a stranger ; " and he wept. 
The hunchback had pity on him and taking him up on the couch, 
wiped away his tears and said to him, " No harm shall come to 
thee. An thou be in debt, may Allah settle thy debt : and if thou 
be in fear, may Allah appease thy fear!" Replied Ibrahim, "O 
uncle, I am neither in fear nor am I in debt, but have money in 
plenty, thanks to Allah." Rejoined the other, " Then, O my son, 

VOL. VI. c 

34 -^if Laylah wa Laylah. 

what is thy need that thou venturest thyself and thy loveliness to 
a place wherein is destruction ? " So he told him his story and 
disclosed to him his case, whereupon the man bowed his head 
earthwards awhile, then said to him, "Was he who directed thee 
to me the humpbacked tailor?" "Yes," answered Ibrahim, and 
the keeper said, "This is my brother, and he is a blessed man ! " 
presently adding, " But, O my son, had not affection for thee sunk 
into my heart, and had I not taken compassion on thee, verily thou 
wert lost, thou and my brother and the doorkeeper of the Khan and 
his wife. For know that this flower-garden hath not its like on the 
face of the earth and that it is called the Garden of the Wild 
Heifer,! nor hath any entered it in all my life long, save the Sultan 
and myself and its mistress Jamilah ; and I have dwelt here twenty 
years and never yet saw any else attain to this stead. Every forty 
days the Lady Jamilah cometh hither in a bark and landeth in the 
midst of her women, under a canopy of satin, whose skirts ten 
damsels hold up with hooks of gold, whilst she entereth, and I see 
nothing of her. Natheless, I have but my life and I will risk it for the 
sake of thee." Then he took him by the hand and carried him into 
the flower-garden which, when he saw, he deemed it Eden, for therein 
were trees intertwining and palms high towering and waters welling 
and birds with various voices carolling. Presently, the keeper 
brought him to a domed pavilion and said to him, " This is where 
the Lady Jamilah sitteth." So he examined it and found it of the 
rarest of pleasances, full of all manner paintings in gold and lapis 
lazuli. It had four doors, whereto man mounted by five steps, and 
in its centre was a cistern of water, to which led down steps of gold 
all set with precious stones. In the middle of the basin was a 
fountain of gold, with figures, large and small, and water jetting in 
jets from their mouths ; and when, by reason of the issuing forth of 
the water, they attuned themselves to various tones, it seemed to 
the hearer as though he were in Eden. Round the pavilion ran a 
channel of water, turning a Persian wheel- whose buckets'' were silvern 
covered with brocade. To the left of the pavilion * was a lattice of 

^ Arab. " Liiluah," which mav mean the Union-pearl; but here used in the 
sense of "wild cow," the bubalus antelope, alluding to the /ar^?/M<f nature of 
Mistress Jamilah. We are also told infra that the park was full of " Wuhush" = 
wild cattle. 

* Arab. " Sakiyah," the venerable old Persian wheel, for whose music see 
Pilgrimage ii. 198. But " Sakiyah" is also applied, as here, to the water-channel 
which turns the wheel. 

^ Arab." Kawadis," plur. of " Kadus," the pots round the rim of the Persian 
wheel : usually they are of coarse pottery. 

* In the text " Sakiyah," a manifest error for " Kubbah." 

Ibrahhn and Jamilah. 35 

silver, giving upon a green park, wherein were all manner wild cattle 
and gazelles and hares, and on the right hand was another lattice, 
overlooking a meadow full of birds of all sorts, warbling in various 
voices and bewildering the hearers' wits. Seeing all this the youth 
was delighted and sat down in the doorway by the gardener, who 
said to him, "How seemeth to thee my garden?" Quoth Ibrahim, 
" 'Tis the Paradise of the world ! " Whereat the gardener laughed. 
Then he rose and was absent awhile, and presently returned with a 
tray full of fowls and quails and other dainties including sweetmeats 
of sugar, which he set before Ibrahim, saying, " Eat thy sufficiency." 
So he ate his fill, whereat the keeper rejoiced and cried, " By Allah, 
this is the fashion of Kings and sons of Kings ! " ^ Then said he, 
*' O Ibrahim, what hast thou in yonder bag ? " Accordingly he 
opened it before him and the keeper said, " Carry it with thee ; 'twill 
serve thee when the Lady Jamilah cometh ; for when once she is 
come, I shall not be able to bring thee food." Then he rose and 
taking the youth by the hand, brought him to a place fronting the 
pavilion, where he made him an arbour - among the trees and said 
to him, " Get thee up here, and when she cometh thou wilt see her 
and she will not see thee. This is the best I can do for thee, and 
on Allah be our dependence ! Whenas she singeth, drink thou to 
her singing, and whenas she departeth, thou shalt return in safety 
whence thou earnest, Inshallah ! " Ibrahim thanked him and would 
have kissed his hand, but he forbade him. Then the youth laid the 
bag in the arbour and the keeper said to him, " O Ibrahim, walk 
about and take thy pleasure in the garth and eat of its fruits, for thy 
mistress's combing is appointed to be to-morrow." So he solaced 
himself in the garden and ate of its fruits ; after which he nighted 
with the keeper. And when morning morrowed and showed its 
sheen and shone, he prayed the dawn-prayer and presently the 
keeper came to him with a pale face, and said to him, " Rise, O 
my son, and go up into the arbour : for the slave-girls are come to 

order the place, and she cometh after them \ " And Shahrazad 

was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted 

' Easterns greatly respect a belle fourcJiette, especially when the eater is a 

' Arab. " 'Arishah," a word of many meanings, tent, nest, vine-trellis, etc. 

36 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Nofo hjf)cn It inas tjbc ^inc l^untircti ant( Jpifti}=stfacntlj Nigj^t, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
keeper came to Ibrahim Khasib-son in the Garden he said to him, 
" Rise, O my son, and go up into the arbour ; for the slave-girls are 
come to order the place and she cometh after them. So beware 
lest thou spit or sneeze or blow thy nose,^ else we are dead men, 
I and thou." Hereupon Ibrahim rose and went up into his nest, 
whilst the keeper fared forth, saying, " Allah grant thee safety, O my 
son ! " Presently, behold, up came four slave-girls, whose like none 
ever saw, and entering the pavilion, doffed their outer dresses and 
washed it. Then they sprinkled it with rose-water and incensed it 
with ambergris and aloes-wood and spread it with brocade. After 
these came fifty other damsels, with instruments of music, and 
amongst them Jamilah, within a canopy of red brocade, whose skirts 
the handmaidens bore up with hooks of gold, till she had entered the 
pavilion, so that Ibrahim saw naught of her or of her raiment. Accord- 
ingly he said to himself, " By Allah, all my travail is lost ! But needs 
must I wait to see how the case will be." Then the damsels brought 
meat and drink and they ate and drank and washed their hands, 
after which they set her a royal chair and she sat down ; and all 
played on instruments of music and with ravishing voices incompar- 
ably sang. Presently, out ran an old woman, a duenna, and clapped 
hands and danced, whilst the girls pulled her about, till the curtain 
was lifted and forth came Jamilah laughing. Ibrahim gazed at her 
and saw that she was clad in costly robes and ornaments, and on 
her head was a crown set with pearls and gems. About her long 

^ To spit or blow the nose in good society is " vulgar." Sneezing (Al-'Atsah) 
is a complicated affair. For Talmudic tradiiions of death by sneezing see Lane 
(M. E. chapt viii). Amongst Hindus sneezmg and yawning are caused by evil 
spirits whom they drive away by snapping thumb and forefinger as loudly as pos- 
sible. The pagan Arabs held sneezing a bad omen, which often stopped their 
journeys. Moslems believed that when Allah placed the Soul (life?) in Adam, 
the dry clay became flesh and bone, and the First Man, waking to life, sneezed 
and ejaculated '' Alhamdolillah ;" whereto tiabriel replied, "Allah have mercy 
upon thee, O Adam !" Mohammed, who liked sneezing because accompanied 
by lightness of body and openness of pores, said of it, " If a man sneeze and say 
'Alhamdolillah' he averts seventy diseases of which the least is leprosy" 
( Juzam) ; also, " If one of you sneeze, let him exclaim, ' Alhamdolillah,' and let 
those around salute him in return with, ' Allah have mercy upon thee ! ' and 
lastly let him say, 'Allah direct you and strengthen your condition.' " Moderns 
prefer, Allah avert what mny joy thy foe! (= our God bless you!) to which the 
answer is " Alhamdohllah ! " Mohammed disliked yawning (Suaba or Thuaba), 
because not beneficial as a sneeze, and said, "If one of you gape and rover not 
his mouth, a devil leaps into it." This is still a popular superstition from 
Baghdad to Marocco. 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 37 

fair neck she wore a necklace of unions and her waist was clasped 
with a girdle of chrysolite bugles, with tassels of rubies and pearls. 
The damsels kissed ground before her, and, "When I considered 
her " (quoth Ibrahim), " I took leave of my senses and wit and I 
was dazed and my thought was confounded for amazement at the 
sight of lovehness whose like is not on the face of the earth. So I 
fell into a swoon and coming to myself, weeping-eyed, recited these 
two couplets : — 

I see thee and close not mine eyes for fear, * Lest their lids prevent me behold- 
ing thee : 

An I gazed with mine every glance, these eyne * Ne'er could sight all the love- 
liness moulding thee." 

Then said the old Kahramanah ^ to the girls, " Let ten of you arise 
and dance and sing." And Ibrahim when looking at them said in 
himself, " I wish the lady Jamilah would dance." When the hand- 
maidens had made an end of their pavane, they gathered round the 
Princess and said to her, " O my lady, we long for thee to dance 
amongst us, so the measure of our joy may be fulfilled, for never saw 
we a more delicious day than this." Quoth Ibrahim to himself, 
" Doubtless the gates of Heaven are open 2 and Allah hath granted 
my prayer." Then the damsels kissed her feet and said to her, 
" By Allah, we never saw thee broadened of breast as to-day ! " Nor 
did they cease exciting her, till she doffed her outer dress and stood 
in a gown of cloth of gold,^ broidered with various jewels, unveiling 
a face as it were the moon on the night of fulness. Then she began 
to dance, and Ibrahim beheld motions he had never in his life seen 
their like, for she showed such wondrous skill and marvellous inven- 
tion, that she made men, forget the dancing of bubbles in wine-cups 
and called to mind the inclining of the turbands from head-tops ; ^ 
even as saith of her the poet '" : — 

A dancer whose form is like branch of Ban ! * Flies my soul well nigh as his 

steps I greet : 
While he dances no foot stands still and meseems * That the fire of my heart is 

beneath his feet. 

' A duenna, nursery governess, etc. 

- For this belief see the tale called " The Night of Power." 
•^ The An^lo-Indian " Kincob " (Kimkh'ab) ; brocade, silk flowered with gold 
or silver. 

* Lane finds a needless difliculty in this sentence, which is far-fetched only 
because Kuus (cups) requires Runs (head-tops) by way of jingle. It means only 
" 'Twas merry in hall when beards vvag all." 

* The Mac. Edit, gives two couplets which have already occurred from the 
Bui. Edit. 

38 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

And as quoth another ^: — 

A dancer whose figure is like a willow-branch : my soul almost quitteth me at the 

sight of her movements. 
No foot can remain stationary at her dancing, she is as though the fire of my 

heart were beneath her feet. 

Quoth Ibrahim : — As I gazed upon her, she chanced to look up and 
caught sight of me, whereupon her face changed and she said to 
her women, " Sing ye till I come back to you." Then, taking up a 
knife half a cubit long, she made towards me, crying, " There is no 
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the 
Great ! " Now when I saw this, I well-nigh lost my wits ; but, whenas 
she drew near me and face met face, the knife dropped from her 
hand, and she exclaimed, " Glory to him who changeth men's hearts !" 
Then said she to me, "O youth, be of good cheer, for thou art safe 
from what thou dost fear ! " Whereupon I fell to weeping, and she 
to wiping away my tears with her hand and saying, " O youth, tell 
me who thou art, and what brought thee hither." I kissed the 
ground before her and seized her skirt; and she said, "No harm 
shall come to thee ; for, by Allah, no male hath ever filled mine eyes - 
but thyself! Tell me, then, who thou art." So I recited to her my 
story from first to last, whereat she marvelled and said to me, " O 
my lord, I conjure thee by Allah, tell me if thou be Ibrahim bin 
al-Khasib?" I replied, "Yes!" and she threw herself upon me, 
saying, "O my lord, 'twas thou madest me averse from men; for, 
when I heard that there was in the land of Egypt a youth than whom 
there was none more beautiful on earth's face, I fell in love with thee 
by report, and my heart became enamoured of thee, for that which 
reached me of thy passing comeliness, so that I was, in respect of 
thee, even as saith the poet : — 

Mine ear forewent mine eye in loving him ; * For ear shall love before the eye 
at times. 

So praised be Allah who hath shown thy face I But, by the 
Almighty, had it been other than thou, I had crucified the keeper 
of the garden and the porter of the Khan and the tailor and him 
who had recourse to them ! " And presently she added, " But how 
shall I contrive for somewhat thou mayst eat, without the know- 
ledge of my women?" Quoth I, "With me is somewhat we may 

' The lines are half of four couplets cited before, so I quote Lane. 
- i.e. none hath pleased me. I have quoted the popular saying, " The son of 
the quarter fiUeth not the eye ;" i.e. women prefer stranger faces. 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 39 

eat and drink ; " and I opened the bag before her. She took a 
fowl and began to morsel me and I to morsel her ; which when I 
saw, it seemed to me that this was a dream. Then I brought out 
wine and we drank, what while the damsels sang on ; nor did they 
leave to do thus from morn to noon, when she rose and said, " Go 
now and get thee a boat and await me in such a place, till I come 
to thee : for I have no patience left to brook severance." I replied, 
" O my lady, I have with me a ship of my own, whose crew are in 
my hire, and they await me." Rejoined she, " This is as we would 
have it " and returning to her women, And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

XofcD toj^cn It tiias tf)e Kinc ^untireti antJ jpiftp-£tg!)t]b ^^igtt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Lady Jamilah returned to her women, she said to them, " Come, 
let us go back to our palace." They replied, "Why should we 
return now, seeing that we use to abide here three days ? " Quoth 
she, " I feel an exceeding oppression in myself, as though T were 
sick, and I fear lest this increase upon me." ^ So they answered, 
" We hear and obey," and donning their walking-dresses went down 
to the river-bank and embarked in a boat ; whereupon behold, the 
keeper of the garden came up to Ibrahim and said to him, knowing 
not what had happened, " O Ibrahim, thou hast not had the luck to 
enjoy the sight of her, and I fear lest she have seen thee, for 'tis her 
wont to tarry here three days." Replied Ibrahim, " She saw me not 
nor I her ; for she came not forth of the pavilion." - Rejoined the 
keeper, " True, O my son, for, had she seen thee, we were both 
dead men : but abide with me till she come again next week, and 
thou shalt see her and take thy fill of looking at her." Replied the 
Prince, " O my lord, I have with me money and fear for it : I also 
left men behind me and I dread lest they take advantage of my 
absence."^ He retorted, "O my son 'tis grievous to me to part 
with thee ; " and he embraced and farewelled him. Then Ibrahim 

^ Here after the favourite Oriental fashion, she tells the truth but so enigmati- 
cally that it is more deceptive than an untruth ; a good Eastern quibble infinitely- 
more dangerous than an honest downright lie. The consciousness that the false- 
hood is part fact applies a salve to conscience and supplies a force lacking in the 
mere fib. When an Egyptian lies to you look straight in his eyes and he will 
most often betray himself either by boggling or by a look of injured innocence. 

- Another true lie. 

' Arab. " Yastaghibuni," lit. = they deem my absence too long. 

40 AIJ LaylaJi wa Lay ink. 

returned to the Khan where he lodged, and foregathering with the 
doorkeeper, took of him all his property, and the porter said, " Good 
news, Inshallah ! " ^ But Ibrahim said, " I have found no way to my 
want, and now I am minded to return to my people." Whereupon 
the porter wept ; then taking up his baggage, he carried them to the 
ship and bade him adieu. Ibrahim repaired to the place which 
Jamilah had appointed him and awaited her there till it grew 
dark, when, behold, she came up, disguised as a bully-boy with 
rounded beard and waist bound with a girdle. In one hand she 
held a bow and arrows and in the other a bared blade, and she 
asked him, " Art thou Ibrahim, son of Al-Khasib, lord of Eg)'pt ? " 
"He I am," answered the Prince; and she said, "What ne'er-do- 
well art thou, who comest to debauch the daughters of Kings ? 
Come : speak with the Sultan." " Therewith (quoth Ibrahim) I fell 
down in a swoon and the sailors died ^ in their skins for fear ; but, 
when she saw what had betided me, she pulled off her beard and 
throwing down her sword, ungirdled her waist, whereupon I knew 
her for the Lady Jamilah and said to her, " By Allah, thou hast rent 
my heart in sunder ! " * adding to the boatmen, " Hasten the vesseVs 
speed." So they shook out the sail and putting off, fared on with 
all diligence ; nor was it many days ere we made Baghdad, where 
suddenly we saw a ship lying by the river-bank. When her sailors 
saw us, they cried out to our crew, saying, " Ho, Such-an-one and 
Such-an-one, we give you joy of your safety ! " Then they drave 
their ship against our craft and I looked and in the other boat 
beheld Abu al-Kasim al-Sandalani, who when he saw us exclaimed, 
"This is what I sought: go ye in God's keeping; as for me, I 
have a need to be satisfied ! " Then he turned to me and said, 
" Praised be Allah for safety ! Hast thou accomplished thine 
errand ? " I replied, " Yes ! " Now Abu al-Kasim had a flambeau 
before Inm ; so he brought it near our boat,* and when Jamilah 
saw him, she was troubled and her colour changed : but when he 
saw her, he said, " Fare ye in Allah's safety. I am bound to 
Bassorah, on business for the Sultan ; but the gift is for him who 

' An euphemistic form of questioning after absence: "Is all right with 
thee ? " 

- Arab. " Kallim al-Sultan ! " the formula of summoning which has often 
occurred in The Nights. 

^ Lane translates "almost died ;" Payne " well-nigh died ; " but the text says 
"died." I would suggest to translators 

Be bould, be bould and everywhere be bould ! 

* He is the usual poltroon contrasted with the manly and masterful girl, a con- 
junction of the lioness and the lamb sometimes seen in real life. 

* That he might see Jamilah as Ibrahim had promised. 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 4^ 

is present.'"^ Then he brought out a box of sweetmeats, wherein 
was Bhang and threw it into our boat ; whereupon quoth I to 
Jamilah, "O coolth of mine eyes, eat of this." But she wept and 
said, " O Ibrahim, wottest thou who that is ? " and said I, " Yes, 'tis 
Such-an-one." Rephed she, "He is my first cousin, son of my 
father's brother,^ who sought me aforetime in marriage of my sire ; 
but I would not accept of him. And now he is gone to Bassorah 
and most like he will tell my father of us." I rejoined, " O my 
lady, he will not reach Bassorah till we are at Mosul." But we 
knew not what lurked for us in the Secret Purpose. Then (con- 
tinued Ibrahim) I ate of the sweetmeat, but hardly had it reached 
my stomach when I smote the ground with my head ; and lay there 
till near dawn, when I sneezed and the Bhang issued from my 
nostrils. With this, I opened my eyes and found myself naked 
and cast out among ruins ; so I buffeted my face and said in 
myself, " Doubtless this is a trick Al-Sandalani hath played me." 
But I knew not whither I should wend, for I had upon me naught 
save my bag-trousers.' However, I rose and walked on a little, till 
I suddenly espied the Chief of Police coming towards me, with 
a posse of men with swords and targes ;* whereat I took fright and 
seeing a ruined Hatnmam hid myself there. Presently, my foot 
stumbled upon something; so I put my hand to it, and it became 
befouled with blood. I wiped my hand upon my bag-trousers, 
unknowing what had befouled it, and put it out a second time, 
when it fell upon a corpse whose head came up in my hand. I 
threw it down, saying, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might 
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " and I took refuge in one 
of the corner-cabinets of the Hammam. Presently the Wali stopped 
at the bath-door and said, " Enter this place and search." So ten 
of them entered with cressets, and I of my fear retired behind a 
wall and looking upon the corpse, saw it to be that of a young lady* 

^ A popular saying, i.e. les absents ont toujours tort. 

^ Who had a prior right to marry her, but not against her consent after she 
was of age. 

^ Arab. " Sirwal." In Al-Hariri it is a singular form (see No. ii. of the twelve 
riddles in Ass. xxiv.) ; but Mohammed said to his followers, " Tuakhkhizii " 
(adopt ye) " Sarawilat." The latter is regularly declinable but the broken form 
Sarawil is imperlectly declinable on account of its " heaviness," as are all plurals 
whose third letter is an Alif followed by i or i in the next syllable. 

* Arab. " Matarik " from mitrak or mitrakah a small wooden shield coated 
with hide. This even in the present day is the policeman's equipment in the outer 
parts of the East. 

^ Arab. " Sabiyah," for which I prefer Mr. Payne's "young lady" to Lane's 
"damsel" ; the latter should be confined to Jariyah as both bear the double 
sense of girl and slave (or servant) girl. " Bint " again is daughter, maid or 
simply girl. 

42 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

with a face like the full moon ; and her head lay on one side and 
her body clad in costly raiment on the other. When I saw this my 
heart fluttered with affright. Then the Chief of Police entered and 
said, " Search the corners of the bath." So they entered the place 
wherein I was, and one of them seeing me, came up hending in 
hand a knife half a cubit long. When he drew near me, he cried, 
"Glory be to God, the Creator of this fair face ! O youth, whence 
art thou ? " Then he took me by the hand and said, " O youth, 
why slewest thou this woman ? " Said I, " By Allah, I slew her 
not, nor wot I who slew her, and I entered not this place but in fear 
of you ! " And I told him my case, adding, " Allah upon thee, 
do me no wrong, for I am in concern for myself ! " Then he 
took me and carried me to the Wali who, seeing the marks of 
blood on my hand said, " This needeth no proof : strike off his 

head ! " And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

XoId hjf)cn It bas ti)£ Nine ?BunUrtli anD ,-jFtftp^nmtl) tNTigijt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ibrahim 
continued : — Then they carried me before the Wali and he, seeing 
the blood-stains on my hand, cried, "This needeth no proof: strike 
off his head ! " Now hearing these words, I wept with sore 
weeping, the tears streaming from my eyes, and recited these two 
couplets^ : — 

We trod the steps that for us were writ, * And whose steps are written he needs 

must tread ; 
And whose death is decreed in one land to be * He ne'er shall perish \\\ other 


Then I sobbed a single sob and fell a-svvoon ; and the headsman's 
heart was moved to ruth for me and he exclaimed, " By Allah, this 
is no murtherer's face ! " But the Chief said, " Smite his neck." 
So they seated me on the rug of blood and bound my eyes ; after 
which the Sworder drew his sword and asking leave of the Wali, 
was about to strike off my head, whilst I cried out, "Alas my 
strangerhood ! " when lo and behold ! I heard a noise of horse 
coming up and a voice calling aloud, " Leave him ! Stay thy hand, 
O Sworder ! " Now there was for this a wondrous reason and a 
marvellous cause ; and 'twas thus. Al-Khasib, ^Vazir of Egypt, had 

^ The sense of them is found in Night xxxviii. 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 43 

sent his Head Chamberlain to the Caliph Harun al-Rashid with 
presents and a letter, saying, " My son hath been missing this year 
past, and I hear that he is in Baghdad ; wherefore I crave of the 
bounty of the Viceregent of Allah that he make search for tidings 
of him and do his endeavour to find him and send him back to me 
with the Chamberlain." When the Caliph read the missive, he 
commanded the Chief of Police to search out the truth of the 
matter, and he ceased not to enquire after Ibrahim, till it was told 
that he was at Bassorah, whereupon he informed the Caliph, who 
wrote a letter to the viceroy and giving it to the Chamberlain of 
Egypt, bade him repair to Bassorah and take with him a company 
of the Wazir's followers. So, of his eagerness to find the son of 
liis lord, the Chamberlain set out forthright and happened by the 
way upon Ibrahim, as he stood on the rug of blood. When the 
Wali saw the Chamberlain, he recognised him and alighted to him ; 
and he asked, "What young man is that and what is his case?" 
The Chief told him how the matter was and the Chamberlain said 
(and indeed he knew him not for the son of the Sultan^), " Verily 
this young man hath not the face of one who murtherelh." And 
he bade loose his bonds ; so they loosed him and the Chamberlain 
said, "Bring him to me ! " and they brought him, but the officer 
knew him not, his beauty being all gone for the horrors he had 
endured. Then the Chamberlain said to him, " O youth, tell me 
thy case and how cometh this slain woman with thee." Ibrahim 
looked at him and knowing him, said to him, "Woe to thee ! Dost 
thou not know me? Am I not Ibrahim, son of thy lord? Haply 
thou art come in quest of me." With this the Chamberlain con- 
sidered him straitly and knowing him right well, threw himself at 
his feet ; which when the Wali saw, his colour changed ; and the 
Chamberlain cried to him " Fie upon thee, O tyrant ! Was it thine 
intent to slay the son of my master Al-Khasib, Wazir of Egypt?" 
The Chief of Police kissed his skirt, saying, "O my lord,^ how 
should I know him ? We found him in this plight and saw the 
girl lying slain by his side." Rejoined the Chamberlain, " Out on 

' Here the text is defective, but I hardly like to supply the omission. Mr. 
Payne introduces from below, "for that his charms were wasted and his favour 
changed by reason of the much terror and affliction he had suffered." The next 
lines also are very abrupt and unconnected. 

• Arab. " Ya Maulaya ! " the term is still used throughout Moslem lands ; but 
in Barbary, where it is pronounced " Moolaee," Europeans have converted it to 
"Muley" as if it had some connected with the mule. Even in Robinson 
Crusoe we find " Muly" or " Moly Ismael" {chap ii.) ; and we hear the high- 
sounding name Maula-i-ldris, the patron saint of the Sunset Land, debased to 
" Muley Drls." 

44 Alf Lay la h wa Lay /ah. 

thee ! Thou art not fit for the office. This is a lad of fifteen and 
he hath not slain a sparrow ; so how should he be a murtherer ? 
Why didst thou not have patience with him and question him of 
his case ?" Then the Chamberlain and the Wall cried to the men, 
" Make search for the young lady's murtherer." So they re-entered 
the bath and finding him, brought him to the Chief of Police, who 
carried him to the Caliph and acquainted him with that which had 
occurred. Al-Rashid bade slay the slayer and sending for Ibrahim, 
smiled in his face and said to him, " Tell me thy tale and that 
which hath betided thee." So he recounted to him his story from 
first to last, and it was grievous to the Caliph, who called Masrur 
his Sworder, and said to him, " Go straightway and fall upon the 
house of Abu al-Kasim al-Sandalani and bring me him and the 
young lady." The eunuch went forth at once and breaking into 
the house, found Jamilah bound with her own hair and nigh upon 
death ; so he loosed her and taking the painter, carried them both 
to the Caliph, who marvelled at Jamilah's beauty. Then he turned 
to Al-Sandalani and said, " Take him and cut off his hands, where- 
with he beat this young lady ; then crucify him and deliver his 
monies and possessions to Ibrahim." They did his bidding, and 
as they were thus, behold, in came Abu al-Lays, Governor of 
Bassorah, the Lady Jamilah's father, seeking aid of the Caliph 
against Ibrahim bin al-Khasib, Wazir of Egypt, and complaining 
to him that the youth had taken his daughter. Quoth Al-Rashid, 
" He hath been the means of delivering her from torture and 
slaughter." Then he sent for Ibrahim, and when he came, he said 
to Abu al-Lays, '■' Wilt thou not accept of this young man, son of 
the Sultan of Egypt, as husband to thy daughter ? " Replied Abu 
al-Lays, " I hear and I obey Allah and thee, O Commander of the 
Faithful ; " whereupon the Caliph summoned the Kazi and the 
witnesses and married the young lady to Ibrahim. Furthermore, he 
gave him all Al-Sandalani's wealth and equipped him for his return 
to his own country, where he abode with Jamilah in the utmost of 
bliss and the most perfect of happiness, till there came to them the 
Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies ; and glory 
be to the Living who dieth not ! They also relate, O auspicious 
King, a tale anent 

Abu Al-Hasa7i of Khorasan. 45 


The Caliph Al-Mu'tazid Bi 'llah^ was a Jiigh-spirited Prince and a 
noble-minded lord ; he had in Baghdad six hundred Wazirs and of 
the affairs of the folk naught was hidden from him. He went forth 
one day, he and Ibn Hamdiin,^ to divert himself with observing his 
lieges and hearing the latest news of the people ; and, being over- 
taken with the heats of noonday, they turned aside from the main 
thoroughfare into a little by-street, at the upper end whereof they 
saw a handsome and high-builded mansion, discoursing of its owner 
with the tongue of praise. They sat down at the gate to take rest, 
and presently out came two eunuchs as they were moons on their 
fourteenth night. Quoth one of them to his fellow, " Would 
Heaven some guest would seek admission this day ! My master 
will not eat but with guests and we are come to this hour and I 
have not yet seen a soul." The Caliph marvelled at their speech 
and said, " This is a proof of the house-master's liberality ; there is 
no help but that we go in to him and note his generosity, and this 
shall be a means of favour betiding him from us." So he said to 
the eunuch, " Ask leave of thy lord for the admission of a company^ 
of strangers." For in those days it was the Caliph's wont, whenas he 
was minded to observe his subjects, to disguise himself in merchant's 
garb. The eunuch went in and told his master, who rejoiced, and 
rising, came out to them in person. He was fair of favour and fine 
of form, and he appeared clad in a tunic of Ni'shapiir ^ silk and a 

^ Lane omits this tale because "it is very similar, but inferior in interest, to 
the Story told by the Sulian's Steward." 

^ Sixteenth Abbaside, A.H. 27Q-289 ( z= A.D. 891-902). "He was comely, 
intrepid, of grave exterior, majestic in presence, of considerable intellectual 
power and the fiercest of ihe Caliphs of the House of Abbas. He once had the 
courage to attack a lion " (Al-Siyuti). I may add that he was a good soldier 
and an excellent administrator, who was called Saffah the Second because he 
refounded the House of Abbas. He was exceedingly fanatic and died of excess, 
having first kicked his doctor to death, and he spent his last moments in versi- 

* Hamdim bin Isma'il, called the Katib or Scribe, was the first of his family 
who followed the profession of a Nadim or cup-companion. His son Ahmad 
(who is in the text) was an oral transmitter of poetry and history. Al-Siyuti 
(p. 390) and De Slane Ibn Khali, (ii. 304) notice him. 

* Probably the Caliph had attendants, but the text afterwards speaks of them 
as two. Mac. Edit. iv. p. 55S, line 2 ; and a few lines below, "the Caliph and 
the man with him," 

^ Arab. " Naysabur,'" the famous town in Khorasan where Omar-i-Khayj'an 
(whom our people will call Omar Khayyam) was buried and where his tomb is 

46 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

gold laced mantle ; and he dripped with scented waters and wore 
on his hand a signet-ring of rubies. When he saw them, he said 
to them, " Well come and welcome to the lords who favour us 
with the utmost of favour by their coming ! " So they entered the 
house and found it such as would make a man forget family and 

fatherland, for it was like a piece of Paradise. And Shahrazad 

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

Koh) tB|)En It luas ti)£ :^^^int ^unljrctr anti ^i.xtict!) ISTigtt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Caliph entered the mansion, he and the man with him, they saw 
it to be such that would make one forget family and fatherland, for 
it was like a piece of Paradise. Within it was a flower-garden, full 
of all kinds of trees, confounding sight, and its dwelling-places were 
furnished with costly furniture. They sat down and the Caliph 
fell to gazing at the house and the household gear. (Quoth Ibn 
Hamdun) I looked at the Caliph and saw his countenance change, 
and being wont to know from his face whether he was amused 
or anangered, said to myself, "I wonder what hath vexed him." 
Then they brought a golden basin and we washed our hands, 
after which they spread a silken cloth and set thereon a table of 
rattan. When the covers were taken off the dishes, we saw therein 
meats rare as the blooms of Prime in the season of their utmost 
scarcity, twofold and single, and the host said, " Bismillah. O my 
lords ! By Allah, hunger pricketh me ; so favour me by eating of 
this food, as is the fashion of the noble." Thereupon he began 
tearing fowls apart and laying them before us, laughing the while 
and repeating verses and telling stories and talking gaily with pleasant 
sayings such as sorted with the entertainment. We ate and drank, 
then removed to another room, which confounded beholders with its 
beauty and which reeked with exquisite perfumes. Here they brought 
us a tray of fruits freshly-gathered and sweetmeats the finest flavoured, 
whereat our joys increased and our cares ceased. But withal the 
Caliph (continued Ibn Hamdun) ceased not to wear a frowning face 
and smiled not at that which gladdened all souls, albeit it was his 

still a place of pious visitation. A sketch of it has lately appeared in the illus- 
trated papers. For an affecting tale concerning the astronomer-poet's tomb, 
borrowed from the Nigaristan, see the Preface by the late Mr. Fiizgerald, whose 
admirable excerpts from the Rubaiyat (loi out of 820 quatrains) have made the 
poem popular among all the English-speaking races. 

Abu A i- Hasan of Khorasati. 47 

wont to love mirth and merriment and the putting away of cares, 
and I wot that he was no envious wight and oppressor. So I said 
to myself, " Would Heaven I knew what is the cause of his morose- 
ness and why we cannot dissipate his ill-humour ! " Presently they 
brought the tray of wine which friends doth conjoin and clarified 
draughts in flagons of gold and crystal and silver, and the host smote 
with a rattan-wand on the door of an inner chamber, whereupon 
behold, it opened and out came three damsels, high bosomed virginity, 
with faces like the sun at the fourth hour of the day, one a lutist, 
another a harpist and the third a dancer-artiste. Then he set before 
us dried fruits and confections and drew between us and the damsels 
a curtain of brocade, with tassels of silk and rings of gold. The 
Caliph paid no heed to all this, but said to the host, who knew not 
who was in his company, " Art thou noble ?" ^ Said he, " No, my 
lord ; I am but a man of the sons of the merchants and am known 
among the folk as Abii al-Hasan Ali, son of Ahmad of Khorasan." 
Quoth the Caliph, " Dost thou know me, O man ? " and quoth he, 
" By Allah, O my lord, I have no knowledge of either of your 
honours ! " Then said I to him, " O man, this is the Commander 
of the Faithful, Al-Mu'tazid Bi'llah, grandson of Al-Mutawakkil 
alk'llah."^ Whereupon he rose and kissed the ground before the 
Caliph, trembling for fear of him, and said, " O Prince of True 
Behevers, I conjure thee, by the virtue of thy pious forbears, an thou 
have seen in me any shortcomings or lack of good manners in thy 
presence, do thou forgive me ! " Replied the Caliph, " As for that 
which thou hast done with us of honouring and hospitahty nothing 
could have exceeded it ; and as for that wherewith I have to reproach 
thee here, an thou tell me the truth respecting it and it commend 
itself to my sense, thou shalt be saved from me ; but, an thou tell me 
not the truth, I will take thee with manifest proof and punish thee 
with such punishment as never yet punished any." Quoth the man, 
" Allah forbid that I tell thee a lie ! But what is it that thou re- 
proachest to me, O Commander of the Faithful ? " Quoth the Caliph 
" Since I entered thy mansion and looked upon its grandeur, I have 
noted the furniture and vessels therein, nay, even to thy clothes, and 
behold, on all of them is the name of my grandfather Al-Mutawakkil 

^ Arab. " A-Sharif anta ?" (with the Hamzah-sign of interrogation) = Art 
thou a Sharif (or descendant of the Apostle) ? 

- Tenth Abbaside (A.H. 234-247 — 848-861), grandson of Al-Rashid and born of 
a slave concubine. He was famous for his hatred of the Alides (he destroyed the 
tomb of Al-Husayn) and claimed the pardon of Allah for having revived orthodox 
traditionary doctrines. He compelled the Christians to wear collars of wood or 
leather and was assassinated by five Turks. 

48 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

ala 'llah." ^ Answered Abu al-Hasan, " Yes, O Commander of the 
Faithful (the Almighty protect thee), truth is thine inner garb and 
sincerity is thine outer garment, and none may speak otherwise 
than truly in thy presence." The Caliph bade him be seated and 
said, " Tell us." So he began, " Know, O Commander of the 
Faithful, that my father belonged to the markets of the money- 
changers and druggists and linendrapers and had in each bazar a 
store and an agent and all kinds of goods. Moreover, behind the 
money-changer's shop he had an apartment, where he might be 
private, appointing the shop for buying and selling. His wealth was 
beyond count and to his riches there was none amount : but he had 
no child other than myself, and he loved me and was tenderly fain 
of me. When bis last hour was at hand, he called me to him and 
commended my mother to my care and charged me to fear Almighty 
Allah. Then he died, may Allah have mercy upon him and con- 
tinue the Prince of True Believers on life ! And I gave myself up 
to pleasure and eating and drinking and took to myself comrades 
and intimates. My mother used to forbid me from this, and to 
blame me therefor, but I would not hear a word from her, till my 
money was all gone, when I sold my lands and houses and naught 
was left me save the mansion wherein I now dwell, and it was a 
goodly stead, O Commander of the Faithful. So I said to my 
mother, " I wish to sell the house ; " but she said, " O my son, an 
thou sell it, thou wilt be dishonoured and wilt have no place wherein 
to take shelter." Quoth I, " 'Tis worth five thousand dinars, and 
with one thousand of its price I will buy me another house and 
trade with the rest." Quoth she, " Wilt thou sell it to me at that 
price?" and I replied, "Yes." Whereupon she went to a coffer and 
opening it, took out a porcelain vessel, wherein were five thousand 
dinars. When I saw this meseemed the house was all of gold, and 
she said to me, " O my son, think not that this is of thy sire's 
good. By Allah, O my son, it was of my own father's money, and I 
have treasured it up against a time of need ; for in thy father's day 
I was a wealthy woman and had no need of it." I took the money 
from her, O Prince of True Believers, and fell again to feasting and 

1 His father was Al-Mu' tasim bi 'llah (A.H. 218-227 = 833-842) the son of Al- 
Rashid by Maridah, a slavc-concubiDe of foreign origin — Al-Mu'tasim was brave 
and of hi.L;h spirit, but destitute of education ; and his personal strength was such 
that he could break a man's elbow between his fingers. He imitated the apparatus 
of Persian kings ; and he was called the " Octonary " because he was the 8th 
Abbaside ; the 8th in descent from Abbas ; the 8th son of Al-Rashid ; he began 
his reign in A.H. 218; lived 48 years; was born under Scorpio (8th Zodiacal 
sign) ; was victorious in 8 expeditions ; slew 8 important foes and left 8 male and 
8 female children. 

Abu Al-Hasan of'Khorasan. 49. 

carousing and merrymaking with my friends, unheeding my mother's 
words and admonitions, till the five thousand dinars came to an end, 
when I said to her, "I wish to sell the house." Said she, "O my 
son, I forbade thee from selling it before, of my knowledge that thou 
hadst need of it ; so how wilt thou sell it a second time ? " Quoth 
I, " Be not longsome of speech with me, for I must and will sell 
it ; " and quoth she, " Then sell it to me for fifteen thousand dinars, 
on condition that I take charge of thine affairs." So I sold her the 
house at that price and gave up my affairs into her charge, where- 
upon she sought out the agents of my father and gave each of them 
a thousand dinars, keeping the rest in her own hands and ordering 
the outgo and the income. Moreover she gave me money to trade 
withal, and said to me, " Sit thou in thy father's shop." So I did 
her bidding, O Commander of the Faithful, and took up my abode 
in the chamber behind the shop in the market of the money- 
changers, and my friends came and bought of me and I sold to 
them : whereby I made good cheape and my wealth increased. 
When my mother saw me in this fair way, she discovered to me that 
which she had treasured up of jewels and precious stones, pearls, 
and gold, and I bought back my houses and lands that I had squan- 
dered and my wealth became great as before. I abode thus for 
some time, and the factors of my father came to me and I gave 
them stock-in-trade, and I built me a second chamber behind the 
shop. One day, as I sat there, according to my custom, O Prince 
of True Believers, there came up to me a damsel, never saw e3'es 
a fairer than she of favour, and said, " Is this the private shop of 
Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Ahmad al-Khorasani ?" Answered I, " Yes," 
and she asked, "Where is he?" "He am I," said I, and indeed 
my wit was dazed at the excess of her loveliness. She sat down and 
said to me, " Bid thy page weigh me out three hundred dinars." 
Accordingly I bade him give her that sum and he weighed it out to 
her, and she took it and went away, leaving me stupefied. Quoth 
my man to me, "Dost thou know her?" and quoth I, "No, by 
Allah!" He asked, "Then why didst thou bid me give her the 
money ? " and I answered, " By Allah, I knew not what I said, of 
my amazement at her beauty and loveliness ! " Then he rose and 
followed her, without my knowledge, but presently returned, weeping 
and with the mark of a blow on his face. I enquired of him what 
ailed him, and he replied, " I followed the damsel, to see whither 
she went ; but, when she was aware of me, she turned and dealt me 
this blow and all but knocked out my eye." After this, a month 
passed without her coming, O Commander of the Faithful, and I 
abode bewildered for love of her ; but, at the end of this time, she 


50 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

suddenly appeared again and saluted me, whereat I was like to fly 
for joy. She asked me how I did and said to me, " Haply thou 
saidst to thyself. What manner of trickstress is this, who hath taken 
my money and made off? " Answered I, " By Allah, O my lady, 
my money and my life are all thy very own ! " With this she un- 
veiled herself and sat down to rest, with the trinkets and ornaments 
playing over her face and bosom. Presently, she said to me, 
"Weigh me out three hundred dinars." "Hearkening and obe- 
dience," answered I, and weighed out to her the money. She took 
it and went away, and I said to my servant, " Follow her." So he 
followed her, but returned dumbstruck, and some time passed with- 
out my seeing her. But, as I was sitting one day. behold, she came 
up to me and after talking awhile, said to me, " Weigh me out five 
hundred dinars, for I have need of them." I would have said to 
her, "Why should I give thee my money ? " but my love immense 
hindered me from utterance ; for, O Prince of True Believers, when- 
ever I saw her, I trembled in every joint and my colour paled and I 
forgot what I would have said and became even as singeth the poet ; — 

"'Tis naught but this ! When a-sudden I see her, * Mumchance I bide nor a 
word can say her." 

So I weighed out for her the five hundred ducats, and she took 
them and went away ; whereupon I arose and followed her myself, 
till she came to the jewel-bazar, where she stopped at a man's 
shop and took of him a necklace. Then she turned and seeing 
me, said, " Pay him five hundred dinars for me." When the 
jeweller saw me, he rose to me and made much of me, and I said 
to him, " Give her the necklace and set down the price to me." 
He replied, " I hear and obey," and she took it and went away ; 

And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

Noto tofjcn it tons tf)c Nine |i^untircD nniJ ^i.\tii=first Xigijt, 

She pursued. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu 
Hasan the Khorasani thus pursued his tale : — So I said to the 
jeweller, " Give her the necklace and set down the price to me." 
Then she took it and went away ; but I followed her, till she came 
to the Tigris and boarded a boat there, whereupon I signed with 
my hand to the ground, as who should say, " I kiss it before thee." 
She went off laughing, and I stood watching her, till I saw her 

Abti A /-Hasan of Khorasan. 51 

land and enter a palace, which when I considered, I knew it for 
the palace of the Caliph Al-Mutawakkil. So I turned back, O 
Commander of the Faithful, with all the cares in the world fallen 
on my heart, for she had of me three thousand dinars, and I said 
to myself, " She hath taken my wealth and ravished my wit, and 
peradventure I shall lose my life for her love." Then I returned 
home and told my mother all that had befallen me, and she said, 
" O my son, beware how thou have to do with her after this, or 
thou art lost." When I went to my shop, my factor in the drug- 
market, who was a very old man, came to me and said, "O my 
lord, how is it that I see thee changed in case and showing marks 
of chagrin? Tell me what aileth thee." So I told him all that 
had befallen me with her and he said, " O my son, this is indeed one 
of the handmaidens of the palace of the Commander of the Faithful 
and haply she is the Caliph's favourite : so do thou reckon the money 
as spent for the sake of Almighty Allah^ and occupy thyself no more 
with her. ' An she come again, beware lest she have to do with thee, 
and tell me of this, that I may devise thee some device lest perdition 
betide thee." Then he fared forth and left me with a flame of fire 
in my heart. At the end of the month behold, she came again and 
I rejoiced in her with exceeding joy. Quoth she, " What ailed thee 
to follow me?" and quoth I, "Excess of passion that is in my 
heart urged me to this," and I wept before her. She wept for 
ruth of me and said, "By Allah, there is not in thy heart aught of 
love -longing but in my heart is more ! Yet how shall I do ? By 
Allah, I have no resource save to see thee thus once a month." 
Then she gave me a bill saying, " Carry this to Such-an-one of such 
a trade, who is my agent, and take of him what is named therein.' 
But I replied, " I have no need of money; be my wealth and my 
life thy sacrifice ! " Quoth she, " I will right soon contrive thee a 
means of access to me, whatever trouble it cost me." Then she 
farewelled me and fared forth, whilst I repaired to the old druggist 
and told him what had passed. He went with me to the palace of 
Al-Mutawakkil which I knew for that which the damsel had entered ; 
but the Shaykh was at a loss for a device. Presently he espied a 
tailor sitting with his prentices at work in his shop, opposite the 
lattice giving upon the river bank, and said to me, " Yonder is one 
by whom thou shalt win thy wish ; but first tear thy pocket and 
go to him and bid him sew it up. When he hath done this, give 
him ten dinars." " I hear and obey," answered I, and taking with 

' i.e. as it were given away in cliaiity. 

5 2 Alf Laylah wa Layiah. 

me two pieces^ of Greek brocade, I went to the tailor and bade him 
make of them four suits, two with long-sleeved coats and two 
without. When he had finished cutting them out and sewing 
them, I gave him to his hire much more than of wont, and he put 
out his hand to me with the clothes ; but I said, " Take them for 
thys-lf and for those who are with thee." And I fell to sitting with 
him and sitting long : I also bespoke of him other clothes and said 
to him, " Hang them out in front of thy shop, so the folk may see 
them and buy them." He did as I bade him, and whoso came 
forth of the Caliph's palace and aught of the clothes pleased him, I 
made him a present thereof, even to the doorkeeper. One day of 
the days the tailor said to me, " O my son, I would have thee tell 
me the truth of thy case ; for thou hast bespoken of me an hundred 
costly suits, each worth a mint of money, and hast given the most 
of them to the folk. This is no merchant's fashion, for a merchant 
calleth an account for every dirham, and what can be the sum of 
thy capital that thou givest these gifts and what thy gain every year ? 
Tell me the truth of thy case, that I may assist thee to thy desire ;" 
presently adding, " I conjure thee by Allah, tell me, art thou not in 
love?" "Yes," replied I; and he said, "With whom?" Quoth 
I, " With one of the handmaids of the Caliph's palace ;" and quoth 
he, " Allah put them to shame ! How long shall they seduce the 
folk? Knowest thou her name?" Said I, "No;" and said he, 
*' Describe her to me." So I described her to him and he cried, 
" Out on it ! This is the lutanist of the Caliph Al-Mutawakkil and 
his pet concubine. But she hath a Mameluke,^ and do thou make 
friends with him ; it may be he shall become the means of thy 
having access to her." Now as we were talking, behold, out walked 
the servant in question from the palace, as he were a moon on the 
fourteenth night ; and, seeing that I had before me the clothes 
which the tailor had made me, and they were of brocade of all 
colours, he began to look at them and examine them. Then he 
came up to me and I rose and saluted him. He asked, "Who art 
thou ? " and I answered, " I am a man of the merchants.'' Quoth 
he, "Wilt thou sell these clothes?" and quoth I, "Yes." So he 
chose out five of them and said to me, " How much these five ? " 
Said I, " They are a present to thee from me in earnest of friend- 
ship between me and thee." At this he rejoiced and I went home. 

' Arab. " Shukkah," a word much used in the Zanzibar trade, where it 
means a piece of long-cloth one fathom long. See my *' Lake Regions of Central 
Africa," vol. i. 147, etc. 

^ He is afterwards called in two places " Khadim " = eunuch. 

Abu Al- Hasan of Khorasan. 53 

and fetching a suit embroidered with jewels and jacinths, worth 
three thousand dinars, returned therewith and gave it to him. He 
accepted it and carrying me into a room within the palace, said to 
me, " What is thy name among the merchants ? " Said I, " I am a 
man of them.^ " He continued, " Verily I misdoubt me of thine 
affair." I asked, "Why so?" and he answered, "Because thou 
hast bestowed on me a costly gift and won my heart therewith, and 
I make certain that thou art Abu al-Hasan of Khorasan the Shroff." 
With this I fell a-weeping, O Prince of True Believers ; and he said 
to me, "Why dost thou weep? By Allah, she for whom thou 
weepest is yet more longingly in love with thee than thou with her ! 
And indeed her case with thee is notorious among all the palace 
women. But what wouldst thou have ? " Quoth I, " I would have 
thee succour me in my calamity." So he appointed me for the 
morrow and I returned home. As soon as I rose next morning, I 
betook myself to him and waited in his chamber till he came in and 
said to me, " Know that yesternight when, after having made an 
end of her service by the Caliph, she returned to her apartment, I 
related to her all that had passed between me and thee and she is 
minded to meet with thee. So stay with me till the end of the 
day." Accordingly I stayed with him till dark, when the Mameluke 
brought me a shirt of gold-inwoven stuff and a suit of the Caliph's 
apparel, and clothing me therein, incensed me ^ and I became like 
the Commander of the Faithful. Then he brought me to a gallery 
with rows of rooms on either side and said to me, " These are the 
lodgings of the chief of the slave-girls ; and when thou passest along 
the gallery, do thou lay at each door a bean, for 'tis the custom of 

the Caliph to do this every night. —And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

"Noto toijen it toas tiie l^iwi f^untiitti anU ^iit|.)=seconti Nfgbt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Mameluke said to Abu Hasan, " When thou passest along the 
gallery set down at each door a bean, for 'tis the custom of the 
Caliph so to do, till thou come to the second passage on thy right 

^ A courteous way of saying, " Never mind my name : I wish to keep it 
hidden." The formula is still popular. 

* Arab. " Bakhkhara-ni," i.e. fumigated me with burning aloes-wood, Calumba 
or similar material. 

54 -^ij Lay la h wa Laylah. 

hand, when thou wilt see a door with a marble threshold.^ Touch 
it with thy hand or, an thou wilt, count the doors, which are so 
many, and enter the one whose marks are thus and thus. There 
thy mistress will see thee and take thee in with her. As for thy 
coming forth, verily Allah will make it easy to me, though I carry 
thee out in a chest." Then he left me and returned, whilst I went 
on, counting the doors and laying at each a bean. When I had 
reached the middle of the gallery, I heard a great clatter and saw 
the light of flambeaux coming towards me. As the light drew near 
me, I looked at it and behold, the Caliph himself came, surrounded 
by the slave-girls carrying waxen lights, and I heard one of the 
women - say to another, " O my sister, have we two Caliphs ? Verily, 
the Caliph whose perfumes and essences I smelt, hath already 
])assed by my room and he hath laid the bean at my door, as is his 
wont ; and now I see the light of his flambeaux^ and here he cometh 
with them." Replied the other, " Indeed this is a wondrous thing, 
for disguise himself in the Caliph's habit none would dare." Then the 
light drew near me, whilst I trembled in every limb ; and up came 
an eunuch, crying out to the slaves and saying, " Hither ! " AVhere- 
upon they turned aside to one of the chambers and entered. Then 
they came out again and walked on till they came to the chamber 
of my mistress and I heard the Caliph say, " Whose chamber is 
this? " They answered, " This is the chamber of Shajarat al-Durr." 
And he said, "Call her." So they called her and she came out and 
kissed the feet of the Caliph, who said to her, " AVilt thou drink to- 
night } " Quoth she, " But for thy presence and the looking on 
thine auspicious countenance, I would not drink, for I incline not to 
wine this night." Then quoth the Commander of the Faithful to the 
eunuch, " Bid the treasurer give her such necklace ; " and he com- 
manded to enter her chamber. So the waxen lights entered before 
him and he followed them into the apartment. At the same moment, 
behold, there came up a damsel, the lustre of whose face outshone 
that of the flambeau in her hand, and drawing near she said, "Who 
is this?" Then she laid hold of me and carrying me into one of 
the chambers, said to me, " Who art thou ? " I kissed the ground 
before her, saying, " I implore thee by Allah, O my lady, spare my 
blood and have ruth on me and commend thyself unto Allah by 
saving my life ! " and I wept for fear of death. Quoth she, " Doubt- 
less thou art a robber;" and quoth I, "No, by Allah, I am no 

^ In sign of honour. The threshold is important amongst Moslems : in one of 
the Mameluke Soldans' sepulchres near Cairo I found a granite slab bearing the 
"cartouche" (shield) of Khufu (Cheops) with the four hieroglyphs hardly effaced. 

^ i.e. one of the women by whose door he had passed. 

Aim Al-Hasan of Khorasan. 55 

robber. Seest thou on me the signs of thieves?" Said she, "Tell 
me the truth of thy case and I will put thee in safety." So I said, 
" I am a silly lover and an ignorant, whom passion and my folly 
have moved to do as thou seest, so that I am fallen into this slough 
of despond." Thereat cried she, "Abide here till I come back to 
thee ; " and going forth she presently returned with some of her 
handmaid's clothes wherein she clad me and bade me follow her ; so 
I followed her till she came to her apartment and commanded me to 
enter. I went in and she led me to a couch, whereon was a mighty 
fine carpet, and said, " Sit down here : no harm shall befal thee. 
Art thou not Abu al-Hasan Ali the Khorasani, the Shroff?" I 
answered, " Yes," and she rejoined, " Allah spare thy blood, given 
thou speak truth ! An thou be a robber, thou art lost, more by 
token that thou art dressed in the Caliph's habit and incensed with 
his scents. But, an thou be indeed Abu al-Hasan, thou art safe and 
no hurt shall happen to thee, for that thou art the friend of Shajarat 
al-Durr, who is my sister and ceaseth never to name thee and to tell 
us how she took of thee money, yet wast thou not chagrined, and how 
thou didst follow her to the river bank and madest sign as thou 
wouldst kiss the earth in her honour ; and her heart is yet more 
aflame for thee than is thine for her. But how camest thou hither ? 
Was it by her order or without it ? She hath indeed imperilled thy 
life.^ But what seekest thou in this assignation with her ? " I replied, 
" By Allah, O my lady, 'tis 1 who have imperilled my own life, and 
my aim in foregathering with her is but to look on her and hear her 
pretty speech." She said, "Thou hast spoken well;" and I added, 
"O my lady, Allah is my witness when I declare that my soul 
prompteth me to no offence against her honour." Cried she, " In this 
intent may Allah deliver thee I Indeed compassion for thee hath 
gotten hold upon my heart." Then she called her handmaid and said 
to her, " Go to Shajarat al-Durr and say to her : — Thy sister saluteth 
thee and biddeth thee to her ; so favour her by coming to her this 
night, according to thy custom, for her breast is straitened. " The 
slave-girl went out and presently returning, told her mistress that 
Shajarat al-Durr said, " May Allah bless me with thy long life and 
make me thy ransom ! By Allah, hadst thou bidden me to other 
than this, I had not hesitated : but the Caliph's migraine con- 
straineth me and thou knowest my rank with him." But the other 
said to her damsel, " Return to her and say : — Needs must thou 
come to my mistress upon a private matter between thee and her ! " 

' Epistasis without the prostasis, " An she ordered thee so to do : " the situa- 
tion justifies the rhetorical figure. 

56 Alj Lay (ah wa Laylah. 

So the girl went out again and presently returned with the damsel, 
whose face shone like the full moon. Her sister met her and 
embraced her ; then said she, " Ho, Abu al-Hasan, come forth to 
her and kiss her hands ! " Now I was in a closet within the apart- 
ment ; so I walked out, O Commander of the Faithful, and when 
my mistress saw me, she threw herself upon me and strained me to 
her bosom, saying, " How camest thou in the Caliph's clothes and 
his ornaments and perfumes ? Tell me what hath befallen thee." 
So I related to her all that had befallen me and what I had suffered 
for affright and so forth ; and she said, " Grievous to me is what 
thou hast endured for my sake and praised be Allah who hath caused 
the issue to be safety, and the fulfilment of safety is thy entering my 
lodging and that of my sister." Then she carried me to her own 
apartment, saying to her sister, " I have covenanted with him that I 
will not be united to him unlawfully ; but, as he hath risked himself 
and incurred these perils, I will be earth to his treading and dust to 

his sandals ! " And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day 

and ceased saying her permitted say. 

:NFoto luijcn it teas t|)£ Kinc |SuntJitti anti §:i.\ti)=tf)u)3 ;Ntai)t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth the 
damsel to her sister, " I have covenanted with him that I will not 
be united to him unlawfully ; but, as he hath risked himself and 
incurred these perils, I will be earth for his treading and dust to his 
sandals!" Replied her sister, "In this intent may Allah deliver 
him ! " and my mistress rejoined, " Soon shalt thou see how I will 
do, so I may lawfully foregather with him and there is no help but 
that I lavish my heart's blood to devise this." Now as we were in 
talk, behold, we heard a great noise and, turning, saw the Caliph 
making for her chamber, so engrossed was he by the thought of her ; 
whereujDon she took me, O Prince of True Believers, and hid me in 
a souterrain^ and shut down the trap-door upon me. Then she 
went out to meet the Caliph, who entered and sat down, whilst she 
stood between his hands to serve him, and commanded to bring 
wine. Now the Caliph loved a damsel by name Banjah, who was 
the mother of Al-Mu'tazz bi 'llah;' but they had fallen out and 

^ Arab. " Sardab," — an underground room. 

''' Thirteenth Abbaside, A.H. 252-255 (= S66-869). His mother was a Greek 
slave called Kabihah (Al-Mas'udi and Al-Siyuti) ; for which " Banjah " is pro- 
bably a clerical error. He was exceedingly beautiful and was the first to ride out 

Abu Al-Hasan of Khorasan. 57 

parted ; and in the pride of her beauty and loveUness she would not 
make peace with him, nor would Al-Mutawakkil, for the dignity of 
the Caliphate and the kingship, make peace with her neither humble 
himself to her, albeit his heart was aflame with passion for her, but 
sought to solace his mind from her with her mates among the slave- 
girls. Now he loved Shajarat al-Durr's singing; so he bade her 
sing, when she took the lute and, tuning the strings, sang these 
verses : — 

The world-tricks I admire betwixt me and her ; * How, us parted, the World 
would to me incline : 

I shunned thee till said they, " He knows not Love ; " * I sought thee till said 
they, " No patience is mine ! " 

Then, O Love of her, add to my longing each night * And, O Solace, thy com- 
forts for Doomsday assign ! 

Soft as silk is her touch and her low sweet voice * 'Twixt o'er much and o'er 
little aye draweth the line : 

And eyne whereof Allah " Be ye ! " said and they * Became to man's wit as the 
working of wine. 

When the Caliph heard these verses, he was pleasured with exceeding 
pleasure, and I also, O Commander of the Faithful, was pleasured 
in my hidmg-place, and but for the bounty of Almighty Allah, I had 
cried out and we had been disgraced. Then she sang also these 
couplets : 
I embrace him, yet after him yearns my soul * For his love, but can aught than 

embrace be nigher ? 
I kiss his lips to assuage my lowe ; * But each kiss gars it glow with a fiercer 


The Caliph was delighted and said, " O Shajarat al-Durr, ask a 
boon of me." She repHed, " O Commander of the Faithful, I ask 
of thee my freedom, for the sake of the reward thou wilt obtain 
therein."^ Quoth he, "Thou art free for the love of Allah ;" where- 
upon she kissed ground before him. He resumed, "Take the 
lute and sing me somewhat on the subject of my slave -girl, of 
whom I am enamoured with warmest love : the folk seek my 
pleasure and I seek hers." So she took the lute and sang these 
two couplets : — 

My charmer, who spellest my piety," « On all accounts I'll \\oo thee, woo 

Or by humble suit which besitteth Love * Or by force more fitting my sov- 


with ornaments of gold. But he was impotent in the hands of the Turks, who 
caused the mob to depose him and kill him — his death being related in various 

' i.e. The reward from Allah for thy good deed. 

" Arab. "Nusk," a part of the Zahid's asceticism. 

58 A If Lay la h zva Lay la h. 

The Caliph admired these verses and said, " Now, take up thy lute 
and sing me a song setting out my case with three damsels who 
hold the reins of my heart and make rest depart ; and they are 
thyself and that wilful one and another I will not name, who hath 
not her like.^ So she took the lute and playing a lively measure, 
sang these couplets : — 

Three lovely girls hold my bridle-rein * And in highest stead my heart over- 
I have none to obey amid all mankind * But obeying them I but win disdain : 
This is done through the Kingship of Love, whereby * The best of my kingship 
they made their gain. 

The Caliph marvelled with exceeding marvel at the aptness of 
these verses to his case, and his delight inclined him to reconcilia- 
tion with the recalcitrant damsel. So he went forth and made for 
her chamber whither a slave-girl preceded him and announced to her 
the coming of the Caliph. She advanced to meet him and kissed 
the ground before him ; then she kissed his feet and he was recon- 
ciled to her and she was reconciled to him. Such was the case 
with the Caliph ; but as regards Shajarat al-Durr, she came to me 
rejoicing and said, " I am become a free woman by thy blessed 
coming ! Surely Allah will help me in that which I shall contrive, 
so I may foregather with thee in lawful way." And I said, " Alham- 
dolillah ! " Now as we were talking, behold her Mameluke-eunuch 
entered and we related to him that which had passed, when he said, 
" Praised be Allah who hath made the affair to end well, and we 
implore the Almighty to crown His favours with thy safe faring forth 
the palace I " Presently appeared my mistress's sister, whose name 
was Fatir, and Shajarat al-Durr said to her, " O my sister, how shall 
we do to bring him out of the palace in safety ; for indeed Allah 
hath vouchsafed me manumission and, by the blessing of his coming, 
I am become a free woman." Quoth Fatir, "I see nothing for it 
but to dress him in woman's gear." So she brought me a suit of 
women's clothes and clad me therein ; and I went out forthwith, 
O Commander of the Faithful ; but, when I came to the midst of 
the palace, behold. I found the Caliph seated there, with the eunuchs 
in attendance upon him. When he saw me, he misdoubted of me 
with exceeding doubt, and said to his suite, " Hasten and bring me 
yonder handmaiden who is faring forth." So they brought me back 
to him and raised the veil from my face, which when he saw, he 

^ Arab. " Munazirah," the verbal noun of which, " Munazarah," may also 
mean "dispute." The student will distinguish between "Munazarah" and 
" Munafarah " = a contention for precedence in presence of an umpire. 

Abu Al-Hasa7i of Khorasan. 59 

knew me and questioned me of my case. I told him the whole 
truth, hiding naught, and when he heard my stor)% he pondered my 
case awhile, and going without stay or delay into Shajarat al-Durr's 
chamber, said to her, " How couldst thou prefer before me one of 
the sons of the merchants ? " She kissed ground between his 
hands and told him her tale from first to last, in accordance with 
the truth ; and he hearing it had compassion upon her and his 
heart relented to her and he excused her by reason of love and 
its circumstance. Then he went away and her eunuch came in 
to her and said, "Be of good cheer ; for, when thy lover was set 
before the Caliph, he questioned him and he told him that which 
thou toldest him, word by word." Presently the Caliph returned 
and calling me before him, said to me, " What made thee dare to 
violate the palace of the Caliphate ? " I replied. " O Commander 
of the Faithful, 'twas my ignorance and passion and my con- 
fidence in thy clemency and generosity that drave me to this." 
And I wept and kissed the ground before him. Then said he, 
" I pardon you both," and bade me be seated. So I sat down and 
he sent for the Kazi Ahmad ibn Abi Duwdd ^ and married me to 
her. Then he commanded to make over all that was hers to me, 
and they displayed her to me - in her lodging. After three days I 
went forth and transported all her goods and gear to my own house ; 
so everything thou hast seen, O Commander of the Faithful, in my 
house and whereof thou misdoubtest, is of her marriage-equipage. 
After this, she said to me one day. " Know that Al-Mutawakkil is a 
generous man and I fear lest he remember us with ill mind, or that 
some one of the envious remind him of us ; wherefore I purpose to 
do somewhat that may ensure us against this." Quoth I, "And 
what is that?" and quoth she, " I mean to ask his leave to go the 
pilgrimage and repent^ of singing." I replied, "Right is this rede 
thou redest ; " but, as we were talking, behold, in came a messenger 
from the Caliph to seek her, for that Al-Mutawakkil loved her 
singing. So she went with the officer and did her service to the 
Caliph, who said to her, " Sever not thyself from us ; " ■* and she 

^ The Mac. Edit, gives by mistake "Abu Daiid " : the Bui. correctly "Abu 
Duwad." He was Kazi al-Kuzat (High Chancellor) under Al-Mu'tasim, Al- 
Wasik bi 'llah (Vathek) and Al-Mutawakkil. 

- Arab. "Zaffu " =they led the bride to the bridegroom's house ; but here used 
in the sense of displaying her as both were in the palace. 

^ i.e. renounce the craft which though not sinful (Haram) is " Makruh " or reli- 
giously unpraiseworthy ; Mohammed having objected to music, and indeed to the 
arts in general. 

* Arab. " La tankati'i ; " do not be too often absent from us. I have noticed 
the whimsical resemblance of " Kat' " and our "cut ; " and here the metaphorical 
sense is almost identical. 

6o Alf Layiah wa Lay 1 ah. 

answered, " I hear and I obey." Now it chanced one day, after 
this, she went to him, he having sent for her, as was his wonrt ; but, 
before I knew, she came back, with her raiment rent and her eyes 
full of tears. At this I was alarmed, misdoubting me that he had 
commanded to seize upon ns, and said, " Verily we are Allah's and 
unto Him shall we return ! Is Al-Mutawakkil wroth with us ? " She 
replied, " Where is Al-Mutawakkil ? Indeed Al-Mutawakkil's rule 
is ended and his trace is blotted out!" Cried I, "Tell me what 
hath happened ; " and she, " He was seated behind the curtain, 
drinking, with Al-Fath bin Khakan ^ and Sadakah bin Sadakah, 
when his son Al-Muntasir fell upon him, with a company of the 
Turks,- and slew him ; and merriment was turned to misery and joy 
to weeping and wailing for annoy. So I fled, I and the slave-girl, 
and Allah saved us." When I heard this, O Commander of the 
Faithful, I arose forthright and went down stream to Bassorah, where 
the news reached me of the falling out of war between Al-Muntasir 
and Al-Musta'in bi 'llah ; -^ wherefore I was affrighted and transported 
my wife and all my wealth to Bassorah. This, then, is my tale, O 
Prince of True Believers, nor have I added to or taken from it a 
single syllable. So all that thou seest in my house, bearing the 
name of thy grandfather, Al-Mutawakkil, is of his bounty to us, and 
the fount of our fortune is from thy noble sources ; ^ for indeed ye 
are people of munificence and a mine of beneficence. — The Caliph 
marvelled at his story and rejoiced therein with joy exceeding : and 
Abu al-Hasan brought forth to him the lady and the children she 
had borne him, and they kissed ground before the Caliph, who 
wondered at their beauty. Then he called for inkcase and paper 
and wrote Abu al-Hasan a patent of exemption from taxes on his 
lands and houses for twenty years. Moreover, he rejoiced in him 
and made him his cup-companion, till the world parted them and 
they took up their abode in the tombs after having dwelt under 
palace-domes ; and glory be to Allah, the King Merciful of doom. 
And they also tell a tale concerning 

^ See Ibn Khallikan, ii. 455. 

• The Turkish body-guard. 

^ Twelfth Abliaside (A.H. 248 — 252 = 862 — 866) the son of a slave-girl 
Mukbarik. He was virtuous and acconijolished, comely, fair-skinned, pock- 
marked and famed for defective pronunciation ; and he first set the fashion of 
shortening men's capes and widening the sleeves. After many troubles witii the 
Turks, who were now the Praetorian guard of Baghdad, he was murdered at the 
instigation of Al-Mu'tazz, who succeeded him, by his Chamberlain Sa'id bin 

* Arab. " Usui," his forbears, his ancestors. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 6i 


There was oncCj in time of old, a merchant hight Abd al-Rahman, 
whom Allah had blessed with a son and daughter, and for their much 
beauty and loveliness, he named the girl Kaukab al-Sabdh and the 
boy Kamar al-Zamdn.- When he saw what Allah had vouchsafed 
the twain of beauty and loveliness, brilliancy and symmetry, he 
feared for them the evil eyes ^ of the espiers and the jibing tongues 
of the jealous and the craft of the crafty and the wiles of the wicked 
and shut them up from the folk in a mansion for the space of four- 
teen years, during which time none saw them save their parents and 
a slave-girl who served them. Now their father could recite the 
Koran, even as Allah sent it down, as also did his wife, wherefore 
the mother taught her daughter to read and recite it and the father 
his son, till both had gotten it by heart. Moreover, the twain learned 
from their parents writing and reckoning and all manner of know- 
ledge and polite letters, and needed no master. When Kamar al- 
Zaman came to years of manhood, the wife said to her husband, 
" How long wilt thou keep thy son Kamar al-Zaman sequestered 
from the eyes of the folk ? Is he a girl or a boy ? " He answered, 
" A boy." Rejoined she, " An he be a boy, why dost thou not bear 
him to the bazar and seat him in thy shop, that he may know the 
folk and they know him, to the intent that it may become notorious 
among men that he is thy son, and do thou teach him to sell and to 
buy. Peradventure somewhat may befal thee ; so shall the folk know 
him for thy son and he shall lay his hand on thy leavings. But, an 
thou die, as the case now is, and he say to the folk : — I am the son 
of the merchant Abd al-Rahman, verily they will not believe him, 
but will cry : — We have never seen thee and we knew not that he had 

1 Lane rejects this tale ; but he quotes the following marginal note by his 
Shaykh : — " Many persons (women) reckon marr)'ing a second time amongst the 
most disgraceful of actions. This opinion is commonest in the country towns and 
villages ; and my mother's relations are thus distinguished ; so that a woman of 
them, when her husband dielh or divorceth her while she is young, passeth in 
widowhood her life, however long it may be, and disdaineth to marry a second 
time." I fear that this state of things belongs to the good old days now utterly 
gone by ; and the loose rule of the stranger, especially the English, in Egypt, will 
renew the scenes which characterised Sind when Sir Charles Napier hanged every 
husband who cut down an eriing wife. I have elsewhere noticed the ignorant idea 
that Moslems deny to women souls and seats in Paradise, whilst Mohammed 
canonised two women in his own family. 

^ ' Moon of the age," a name which has before occurred. 

* The Malocchio or gettatura, so often noticed. 

62 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

a son, wherefore the Government will seize thy goods, and thy child 
will be despoiled. In like manner the girl ; I mean to make her 
known among the folk, so may be some one of her condition may 
ask her in marriage, and we will wed her to him and rejoice in her." 
Quoth he, *' I did thus of my fear for them from the eyes of the folk," 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say 

her permitted say. 

Noh) toten it toas t^e Nine f^untrreii anU ^ixtB=foutt]^ Kigtt 

She continued. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Merchant's wife spake to him in such wise, he replied, " I did 
thus of my fear for them from the eyes of the folk, and because I 
love them both, and love is jealous exceedingly, and well saith he 
who spoke these verses : — 

Of my sight I am jealous for thee, of me, * Of thyself, of thy stead, of thy 

destiny : 
Though I shrined thee in eyes by the craze of me * In such nearness irk I should 

never see : 
Though wert thou by my side all the days of me « Till Doomsday I ne'er had 

enough of thee. 

Said his wife, " Put thy trust in Allah, for no harm betideth him 
whom He protecteth, and carry him with thee this very day to 
the shop." Then she clad the boy in the costliest clothes and he 
became a seduction to all who on him cast sight and an affliction 
to the heart of every wight. His father took him and carried him to 
the market, whilst all who saw him were ravished with him and 
accosted him, kissing his hand and saluting him with the salam. 
Quoth one, " Indeed the sun hath risen in such a place and blazeth 
in the bazar;" and another, "The rising-place of the full moon is in 
such a quarter;" and a third, "The new moon of the Festival^ 
hath appeared to the creatures of Allah." And they went on to 
allude to the boy in talk and call down blessings upon him. But 
his father scolded the folk for following his son to gazj upon him, 
because he was abashed at their talk, but he could not hinder one 
of them from talking ; so he fell to abusing the boy's mother and 
cursing her because she had been the cause of his bringing him 
out. And as he gazed about he still saw the people crowding upon 

^ The crescent of the month Zu '1-Ka'dah, when the Ramazan-fast is broken. 
This allusion is common. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeiueller's Wife. 63 

him behind and before. Then he walked on till he reached his 
shop and opening it, sat down and seated his son before him : after 
which he again looked out and found the thoroughfare blocked 
with a press, for all the passers-by, going and coming, stopped before 
the shop to stare at that beautiful face and could not leave him, 
and all the men and women crowded in knots about him, applying 
to themselves the words of him who said : — • 

Thou madest Beauty to spoil man's sprite » And saidst, " O my servants, fear 

My reprove : " 
But lovely Thou lovest all loveliness * How, then, shall Thy servants refrain 

from Love ? 

When the merchant Abd al-Rahman saw the folk thus gathering 
about him and standing in rows, both women and men, to fix eyes 
upon his son, he was sore ashamed and confounded and knew not 
what to do ; but presently there came up from the end of the bazar 
a man of the wandering Dervishes, clad in haircloth, the garb of the 
pious servants of Allah, and seeing Kamar al-Zaman sitting there 
as he were a branch of Ban springing from a mound of saffron, 
poured ibrth copious tears and recited these two couplets : — 

A wand uprising from a sandy knoll, * Like full moon shining brightest sheen, 

I saw ; 
And said, "What is thy name?" Replied he "Lulu" * "What (asked I) 
Lily?'' and he answered '"La, la?"' 

Then the Dervish fell to walking, now drawing near and now moving 
away,"^ and wiping his gray hairs with his right hand, whilst the heart 
of the crowd was cloven asunder for awe of him. When he looked 
upon the boy, his eyes were dazzled and his wit confounded. 
Then he came up to the boy and gave him a root^ of sweet basil, 
whereupon his father put forth his hand to his pouch and brought 
out for him some small matter of silver, saying, " Take thy portion, 
O Dervish, and wend thy ways." He took the dirhams, but sat 
down on the masonry-bench alongside the shop and opposite the 
boy, and fell to gazing upon him and heaving sigh upon sigh, 
whilst his tears flowed like springs founting. The folk began 
to look at him and remark upon him, saying, "All Dervishes 

^ This line contains one of the Yes, Yes and No, No trifles alluded to before. 
Captain Lockett (M. A. 103) renders it, " I saw a fawn upon a hillock whose 
beauty eclipsed the full moon. I said, What is thy name ? she answered Deer. 
What my Dear, said I, but she replied, No, no ! " To preserve the sound I have 
sacrificed sense: LuUi is a pearl, Li? li? ( = for me, forme?), and La! La! = 
no ! no ! 

- Arab. " Al-huwayna," a rare term. 

■^ Arab. " Trk " = a root, which must here mean a sprig, a twig. The basil 
grows to a comparatively large size in the East. 

64 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

are bad fellows." Now when Abd al-Rahman saw this case, he 
arose and said to the boy, "Come, O my son, let us lock up the 
shop and hie us home, for it booteth not to sell and buy this day : 
and may Almighty Allah requite thy mother that which she hath 
done with us, for she was the cause of all this ! " Then said he, 
" O Dervish, rise, that I may shut my shop." So the Dervish rose 
and the merchant shut his shop, and taking his son, walked away. 
The Dervish and the folk followed them till they reached their 
place, when the boy went in, and his father, turning to the mendicant, 
said to him, " What wouldst thou, O Dervish, and why do I see thee 
weep?" He replied, "O my lord, I would fain be thy guest this 
night, for the guest is the guest of Almighty Allah." Quoth the 
merchant, "Welcome to the guest of God: enter, O Dervish!" 

And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

l<^otD toibftt it teas t!)e l^Tinp ]^untrrcli anti ^i.\tti--fift]^ Kfgl^t, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
merchant, the father of Kamar al-Zaman, heard the saying of the 
Dervish, " I am Allah's guest," he replied, " Welcome to the guest 
of God : enter, O Dervish ! " But he said to himself, " An the 
beggar be thinking to cast the evil eye upon the boy, needs must I 
slay him this very night and bury him secretly ; but, an there be no 
craft in him, the guest shall eat his portion." Then he brought him 
into a saloon, where he left him with Kamar al-Zaman, after he had 
said privily to the lad, " O my son, sit thou beside the Dervish when 
I am gone out, but if he seek to hurt thee, I, who will be watching 
you from the window overlooking the saloon, will come down to him 
and kill him." So, as soon as Kamar al-Zaman was alone in the 
room with the Dervish, he sat down by his side and the old man 
began to look upon him and sigh and weep. Whenever the lad 
bespake him, he answered him kindly, trembling the while and 
would turn to him groaning and crying, and thus he did till 
supper was brought in, when he fell to eating, with his eyes on 
the boy, but refrained not from shedding tears. When a fourth 
part of the night was past and talk was ended and sleep-tide 
came, Abd al-Rahman came and said to the Dervish, " O my 
brother, since thou art in such case, why dost thou weep and sigh 
when thou seest my son? Say me, is there a reason for this?" 
He replied, "There is;" and Abd al-Rahman pursued, "When I 
saw thee weep at his sight, I deemed evil of thee, thinking thou 
wouldst bewitch the lad. But now I know thee for one of those who 

Kamar Al-Zaman afid the Jeiveller's Wife. 65 

are virtuous to the end. Now Allah upon thee, tell me the cause 
of thy weeping ! " The Dervish sighed and said, " O my lord, 
chafe not a closed wound." ^ But the merchant said, " There is no 
help but thou tell me ;" and the other began : — Know thou that I 
am a Dervish who wander in the lands and the countries, and take 
warning by the display - of the Creator of Night and Day. It 
chanced that one Friday I entered the city of Bassorah in the 

undurn And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say. 

Noh) tot)en it toas ti^t Xine l^untrrctr anti ^t.xtB=sixtl^ Nt'ott, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Dervish said to the merchant : — Know, then, that I a wandering 
mendicant chanced one Friday to enter the city of Bassorah in the 
undurn and saw the shops open and full of all manner wares and 
meat and drink ; but the place was deserted and therein was neither 
man nor woman nor girl nor boy : nor in the markets and the main 
streets was there dog or cat nor sounded sound nor friend was found. 
I marvelled at this and said to myself, " I wonder whither the people 
of the city be gone with their cats and dogs and what hath Allah 
done with them ? " Now I was anhungered so I took hot bread 
from a baker's oven and going into the shop of an oilman, spread 
the bread with clarified butter and honey and ate. Then I entered 
the shop of a sherbet-seller and drank what I would ; after which, 
seeing a coffee-shop open, I went in and found the pots on the fire, 
full of coffee ; ^ but there was no one there. So I drank my fill 
and said, "Verily, this is a wondrous thing ! It seemeth as though 
Death had stricken the people of this city and they had all died this 
very hour, or as if they had taken fright at something which befel 
them and fled, without having time to shut their shops." Now 
whilst pondering this matter, lo ! I heard a sound of a band of 
drums beating ; whereat I was afraid and hid myself for a while : 
then, looking out through a crevice, I saw damsels, like moons, come 
walking through the market, two by two, with uncovered heads and 
faces displayed. They were in forty pairs, thus numbering fourscore, 
and in their midst a young lady, riding on a horse that could hardly 

* Arab. " Sakin " = quiescent, Let a sleeping hound lie. 

* Arab. " Asar," lit. traces, i.e. the works, the mighty signs and marvels. 

^ The mention of coffee now frequently occurs in this tale and in that which 
follows : the familiar use of it showing a comparatively late date, and not suggest- 
ing the editor's or the copyist's hand. 


66 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

move his legs for that which was upon it of silvern trappings and 
golden and jewelled housings. Her face was wholly unveiled, and 
she was adorned with the costliest ornaments and clad in the richest 
of raiment and about her neck she wore a collar of gems and on 
her bosom were necklaces of gold ; her wrists were clasped with 
bracelets which sparkled like stars, and her ankles with bangles of 
gold set with precious stones. The slave-girls walked before her 
and behind and on her right and left, and in front of her was a 
damsel bearing in baldric a great sword, with grip of emerald and 
tassels of jewel-encrusted gold. When that young lady came to 
where I lay hid, she pulled up her horse and said, "O damsels, I 
hear a noise of somewhat within yonder shop : so do ye search it, 
lest haply there be one hidden there, with intent to enjoy a look 
at us whilst we have our faces unveiled." So they searched the 
shop opposite the coffee-house^ wherein I lay hid, whilst I abode 
in terror ; and presently I saw them come forth with a man and 
they said to her, " O our lady, we found a man there and here he 
is before thee." Quoth she to the damsel with the sword, " Smite 
his neck." So she went up to him and struck off his head ; then, 
leaving the dead man lying on the ground, they passed on. When 
I saw this, I was affrighted ; but my heart was taken with love of 
the young lady. After an hour or so, the peoi)le reappeared and 
everyone who had a shop entered it ; whilst the folk began to 
come and go about the bazars and gathered around the slain man, 
staring at him as a curiosity. Then I crept forth from my hiding 
place by stealth, and none took note of me, but love of that lady 
had gotten possession of my heart, and I began to enquire of her 
privily. None, however, gave me news of her ; so I left Bassorah, 
with vitals yearning for her love ; and when I came upon this thy 
son, I saw him to be the likest of all creatures to the young lady ; 
wherefore he reminded me of her and his sight revived the fire of 
passion in me and kindled anew in my heart the flames of love- 
longing and distraction. And such is the cause of my shedding tears ! " 
Then he wept with sore weeping till he could no more, and said, 
" O my lord, I conjure thee by Allah, open the door to me, so I 
may gang my gait ! " Accordingly Abd al-Rahman opened the door 
and he went forth. Thus fared it with him ; but as regards Kamar 
al-Zaman, when he heard the Dervish's story, his heart was taken 
with love of the lady and passion gat the mastery of him, and raged 
in him longing and distraction ; so, on the morrow, he said to his 

' Arab. " Al-Kahwah," the place being called from its produce. See Pilgrimage 
i. 317-18. 

Kamar Al-Zama7i and the Jeweller's Wije. 67 

sire, " All the sons of the merchanls wander about the world to 
attain their desire, nor is there one of them but his father provideth 
for him a stock-in-trade wherewithal he may travel and traffic for 
gain. Why, then, O my father, dost thou not outfit me with mer- 
chandise, so I may fare with it and find my luck ? " He replied, 
" O my son, such merchants lack money ; so they send their sons 
to foreign parts for the sake of profit and pecuniary gain and pro- 
vision of the goods of the world. But I have monies in plenty, nor 
do I covet more : why then should I exile thee ? Indeed, I cannot 
brook to be parted from thee an hour, more especially as thou art 
unique in beauty and loveliness and perfect grace and I fear for 
thee." But Kamar al-Zaman said, " O my father, nothing will serve 
but thou must furnish me with merchandise wherewithal to travel ; 
else will I fly from thee at unawares though without money or mer- 
chandise. So, an thou wish to solace my heart, make ready for me 
a stock-in-trade, that I may travel and amuse myself by viewing the 
countries of men." Abd al-Rahman, seeing his son enamoured of 
travel, acquainted his wife with this, saying, "Verily, thy son would 
have me provide him with goods, so he may fare therewith to far 
regions, albeit Travel is Travail.^" Quoth she, "What is there to 
displease thee in this ? Such is the wont of the sons of the merchants 
and they all vie one with other in glorifying globe-trotting and gain." 
Quoth he, " Most of the merchants are poor and seek growth o f 
good ; but I have wealth galore." She replied, " More of a good 
thing hurteth not ; and, if thou comply not with his wish, I will 
furnish him with goods of my own monies. Quoth Abd al-Rahman, 
" I fear strangerhood for him, inasmuch as way fare is the worst of 
woefare;" but she said, "There is no harm in strangerhood for him 
when it leadeth to gaining good ; and, if we consent not, our son 
will go away and we shall seek him and not find him and be dis- 
honoured among the folk." The merchant accepted his wife's 
counsel and provided his son with merchandise to the value of ninety 
thousand gold pieces, whilst his mother gave him a purse containing 
forty bezel-stones, jewels of price, the least of the value of one 
thereof being five hundred ducats, saying, " O my son, be careful of 
this jewellery for 'twill be of service to thee." Thereupon Kamar 

al-Zaman took the jewels and set out for Bassorah, And Shah- 

razad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying her 
permitted say. 

^ Arab. " Al-Ghurbah Kurbah : " the translation in the text is taken from my 
late friend Edward Eastwick, translator of the Gulistan and author of a host of 
works which show him to have been a ripe Oriental scholar. 

68 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

WotD tojbfn it toas tjbc Nine l^untircb anJj ^ixtp=scbEnt!j l^iQ|)t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Kamar al- 
Zaman took the jewels and set out for Bassorah after he had laid 
them in a belt, which he buckled about his waist ; and he stayed not 
till there remained naught but a day's journey between that city and 
himself ; when the Arabs came out upon him and stripped him 
naked and slew his men and servants ; but he lay himself down among 
the slain and wallowed in their blood, so that the wildlings took him 
for dead and left him without even turning him over and made off 
with their booty. When the Arabs had gone their ways, Kamar al- 
Zaman arose, having naught left but the jewels in his girdle, and fared 
on nor ceased faring till he came to Bassorah. It chanced that his 
entry was on a Friday and the town was void of folk, even as the 
Dervish had informed him. He found the market-streets deserted 
and the shops wide open and full of goods ; so he ate and drank 
and looked about him. Presently, he heard a band of drums beating 
and hid himself in a shop, till the slave-girls came up, when he looked 
at them ; and, seeing the young lady riding amongst them, love and 
longing overcame him and desire and distraction overpowered him, 
so that he had no force lo stand. After a while, the people re- 
appeared and the bazars filled. Whereupon he went to the market 
and, repairing to a jeweller and pulling out one of his forty gems, sold 
it for a thousand dinars, wherewith he returned to his place and 
passed the night there ; and when morning morrowed he changed 
his clothes and going to the Hammam came forth as he were the 
full moon. Then he sold other four stones for four thousand dinars 
and sauntered solacing himself about the main streets of Bassorah, 
clad in the costliest of clothes ; till he came to a market, where he 
saw a barber's shop. So he went in to the barber, who shaved his 
head; and, picking up an acquaintance with him, the youth said to him, 
*' O my father, I am a stranger in these parts and yesterday I entered 
this city and found it void of folk, nor was there in it any living 
soul, man nor Jinni. Then I saw a troop of slave-girls and amongst 
them a young lady riding in state :" and he went on to tell him all 
he had seen. Said the barber, " O my son, hast thou told any but 
me of this ? " and he said, " No." The other rejoined, " Then, O 
my son, beware thou mention this before any but myself; for all folk 
cannot keep a secret, and thou art but a little lad, and I fear lest the 
talk travel from man to man till it reach those whom it concerneth 
and they slay thee. For know, O my son, that this thou hast seen, 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 69 

none ever kenned nor knew in any other than our city. As for the 
people of Bassorah they are dying of this annoy ; for every Friday 
forenoon they shut up the dogs and cats to hinder them from going 
about the market-streets, and all the people of the city enter the 
cathedral-mosques, where they lock the doors on them,i and not one 
of them can pass about the bazar nor even look out of casement ; 
nor wotteth any the cause of this calamity. But, O my son, to- 
night I will question my wife concerning the reason thereof, for she 
is a midwife and entereth the houses of the notables and knoweth all 
the city news. So Inshallah, do thou come to me to-morrow and I 
will tell thee what she shall have told me." With this Kamar al- 
Zaman pulled out a handful of gold and said to him, " O my father, 
take this gold and give it to thy spouse, for she is become my mother." 
Then he gave him a second handful, saying, " Take this for thyself." 
Whereupon quoth the barber, " O my son, sit thou in thy place, till 
I go to my wife and ask her and bring thee news of the true state of 
the case." So saying, he left him in the shop, and going home, 
acquainted his wife with the young man's case, saying, " I would 
have thee tell me the truth of this city-business, so I may report it 
to this young merchant, for he hath set his heart on weeting the 
reason why men and beasts are forbidden the market-streets every 
Friday forenoon ; and methinks he is a lover, for he is open-handed 
and liberal, and if we tell him what he would trow, we shall get 
great good of him." Quoth she, " Go back and say to him : — Come, 
speak with thy mother, my wife, who sendeth her salam to thee and 
saith to thee, Thy wish is won." Accordingly he returned to the 
shop, where he found Kamar al-Zaman sitting awaiting him and 
repeated him the very words spoken by his spouse. Then he 
carried him in to her and she welcomed him and bade him sit 
down : whereupon he pulled out an hundred ducats and gave them 
to her, saying, " O my mother, tell me who this young lady may 
be." Said she : — Know, O my son, that there came a gem to the 
Sultan of Bassorah from the King of Hind, and he was minded to 
have it pierced. So he summoned all the jewellers in a body and 
said to them, " I wish you to drill me this jewel. Whoso pierceth it, 
I will give him whatsoever he shall ask ; but if he break it, I will 
cut off his head." At this they were afraid and said, " O King of 

' The fiction may have been suggested by the fact that in all Moslem cities 
from India to Barlaary the inner and outer gates are carefully shut during the 
noontide devotions, not " because Friday is the day on which creation was finished 
and Mohammed entered Al-Medinah; " but because there is a popular idea that 
in times now approaching, the Christians will rise up against the Moslems during 
prayers and will repeat the "Sicilian Vespers." 

7© Alf Laylah wa Lay/ah. 

the age, a jewel is soon spoilt and there are few who can pierce 
gems without injury, for most of them have a flaw. So do not thou 
impose upon us a task to which we are unable ; for our hands can- 
not avail to drill this jewel. However, our Shaykh^ is more ex- 
perienced than we." Asked the King, " And who is your Shaykh ? " 
and they answered, " Master Obayd : he is more versed than we in 
this art and hath wealth galore and of skill great store. Therefore 
do thou send for him to the presence and bid him pierce thee this 
jewel." Accordingly the King sent for Obayd and bade him pierce 
the jewel, imposing on him the condition aforesaid. He took it and 
pierced it to the liking of the King, who said to him, " Ask a boon 
of me, O master ! " and said he, " O King of the age, allow me delay 
till to-morrow." Now the reason of this was that he wished to take 
counsel with his wife, who is the young lady thou sawest riding 
in procession ; for he loveth her with exceeding love, and of the 
greatness of his affection for her, he doth naught without consulting 
her ; wherefore he put off asking till the morrow. When he went 
home he said to her, " I have pierced the King a jewel and he hath 
granted me a boon which I deferred asking till to-morro%v, that I 
might consult thee. Now what dost thou wish, that I may ask it ? " 
Quoth she, " We have riches such as fires may not consume ; but, an 
thou love me, ask of the King to make proclamation in the streets 
of Bassorah that all the townsfolk shall every Friday enter the 
mosques two hours before the hour of prayer, so none may abide in 
the town at all, great or small, except they be in the mosques or in 
the houses and the doors be locked upon them, and that every shop 
of the town be left open. Then will I ride with my slave-women 
through the heart of the city and none shall look on me from 
window or lattice; and everyone whom I find abroad I will kill."" 
So he went in to the King and begged of him this boon, which he 
granted him and caused proclamation to be made amongst the Bas- 

sorites And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

i^oto \xi^iXi ft tons ti^e iSinc l^untirctr anti ^ixtg^tftjbtf) i^iglJt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Jeweller begged his boon, the King bade proclamation be made 
amongst the Bassorites to the effect aforesaid, but the people objected 

' i.e. the Syndic of the Guild of Jewellers. 

^ This is an Arab Lady Godiva of the wrong sort. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jewellers Wife. 71 

that they feared for their goods from the cats and dogs ; wherefore 
he commanded to shut the animals up till the folk should come 
forth from the Friday prayers. So the jeweller's wife fell to sallying 
forth every Friday, two hours before the time of congregational 
prayer, and riding in state through the city with her women ; during 
which time none dareth pass through the market-place nor look out 
of casement or lattice. This, then, is what thou wouldest know and 
I have told thee who she is ; but, O my son, was it thy desire, only 
to have news of her or hast thou a mind to meet her ? Answered 
he, "O my mother, 'tis my wish to foregather with her." Quoth 
she, " Tell me what valuables thou hast with thee ; " and quoth he, 
" O my mother, I have with me precious stones of four sorts, the 
first worth five hundred dinars each, the second seven hundred, the 
third eight hundred and the fourth a thousand ducats." She asked, 
"Art thou willing to spend four of these.?" and he answered, "I 
am ready to spend all of them." She rejoined : — Then, arise, O 
my son, and go straight to thy lodging and take a bezel-gem of those 
worth five hundred sequins, with which do thou repair to the jewel 
market and ask for the shop of Master Obayd, the Shaykh of the 
Jewellers. Go thither and thou wilt find him seated in his shop, clad 
in rich clothes, with workmen under his hand. Salute him and sit 
down on the front shelf of his shop ; ' then pull out the jewel and 
give it to him, saying, " O master, take this stone and fashion it into 
a seal-ring for me with gold. Make it not large, a Miskal " in weight 
and no more ; but let the fashion of it be thy fairest." Then give 
him twenty dinars and to each of his prentices a dinar. Sit with 
him awhile and talk with him, and if a beggar approach thee, show 
thy generosity by giving him a dinar, to the intent that he may affect 
thee, and after this, leave him and return to thy place. Pass the 
night there, and next morning take an hundred dinars and bring 
them and give them to thy father the barber, for he is poor. Quoth 
Kamar al-Zaman, " Be it so," and returning to his caravanserai, took 
a jewel worth five hundred gold pieces and went with it to the jewel- 
bazar. There he enquired for the shop of Master Obayd, Shaykh of 
the Jewellers, and they directed him thereto. So he went thither 
and saw the Shaykh, a man of austere aspect and robed in sump- 
tuous raiment, with four journeymen under his hand. He addressed 
him with " Peace be upon you ! " and the jeweller returned his greet- 
ing, and welcoming him made him sit down. Then he brought out 

^ This is explained in my Pilgrimage, i. 99 et seq. 

■^ About three pennyweights. It varies, however, everywhere, and in Marocco 
the " Mezkal " as tliey call it is an imaginary value, no such coin existing. 

72 A If Lay I ah wa Laylah. 

the jewel and said, "■ O master, I wish thee to make me this jewel 
into a seal-ring with gold. Let it be the weight of a Miskal and 
no more, but fashion it excellently." Then he pulled out twenty 
dinars and gave them to him, saying, " This is the fee for chasing 
and the price of the ring shall remain."^ and he gave each of 
the apprentices a gold piece, wherefore they loved him, and so did 
Master Obayd. Then he sat talking with the jeweller and when- 
ever a beggar came up to him he gave him a gold piece and they 
all marvelled at his generosity. Now Master Obayd had tools at 
home, like those he had in the shop, and whenever he was minded 
to do any unusual piece of work, it was his custom to carry it home 
and do it there, that his journeymen might not learn the secrets of 
his wonderful workmanship.- His wife used to sit before him, 
and when she was sitting thus and he looking at her,^ he would 
fashion all manner of marvellously wroughten trinkets, such as were 
fit for none but Kings. So he went home and sat down to mould 
the ring with admirable workmanship. When his wife saw him thus 
engaged, she asked him, " What wilt thou do with this bezel-gem ? " 
and he answered, " I mean to make it into a ring with gold, for 'tis 
worth tive hundred dinars." She enquired, " For whom ? " and he 
answered, " For a young merchant, who is fair of face, with eyes 
that wound with desire and cheeks that strike fire and mouth like 
the seal of Sulayman and cheeks like the bloom of Nuu'mdn and 
lips red as coralline and neck like the antelope's, long and fine. 
His complexion is white, dashed with red, and he is well-bred, 
pleasant and generous, and dolh thus and thus." And he went on 
to describe to her now his beauty and loveliness, and then his per- 
fection and bounty, and ceased not to vaunt his charms and the 
generosity of his disposition, till he had made her in love with 
him. So she said to him, " Is aught of my charms found in him ? " 
Said he, "He hath all thy beauties; and he is thy counterpart in 
qualities. Meseemeth his age is even as thine, and but that I fear 
to hurt thy feelings, I would say that he is a thousand times hand- 
somer than thou art." She was silent, yet the fire of fondness 
was kindled in her heart. And the jeweller ceased not to talk 

* i.e. over and above the value of the gold, etc. 

- This was the custom of contemporary Europe, and more than one master 
cutler has put to death an apprentice playing Peeping Tom to detect the secret 
of sword-making. 

3 Among Moslems hushands are divided into three species ; (l) of " Bahr," 
who is married for love: (2) of " Dahr," for defence against the world, and 
(3) of " Mahr," for marriage-settlements (money). Master Obayd was an un- 
happy compound of the two latter, but he did not cease to be a man of honour. 

Kamar Al-Zamaii a?id the Jeweller's Wife. 73 

with her and to set out Kamar al-Zaman's charms before her till 
he had made an end of moulding the ring ; when he gave it to her 
and she put it on her finger, which it fitted exactly. Quoth she, 
"O my lord, my heart loveth this ring and I long for it to be mine 
and will not take it from my finger." Quoth he, "Have patience ! 
The owner of it is generous, and I will seek to buy it of him, and 
if he will sell it, I will bring it to thee. Or if he have another such 

stone, I will buy it and fashion it for thee into a ring hke this." 

And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying 
her permitted say. 

Noh) toj^tn it toas ti)£ Xiiu l^unlirftr anti 5:«ut]j=nintt Nigjbt, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
jeweller said to his wife, " Have patience ! The owner of it is 
generous and I will seek to buy it of him ; and, if he will sell it, I 
will bring it to thee ; or, if he have another such stone I will buy 
it and fashion it for thee into a ring like this." On this wise it 
fared with the jeweller and his wife ; but as regards Kamar al- 
Zaman, he passed the night in his lodging and on the morrow he 
took an hundred dinars and carried them to the old woman, the 
barber's wife, saying to her, "Accept these gold pieces," and she 
replied, " Give them to thy father." So he gave them to the barber 
and she asked, " Hast thou done as I bade thee ? " He answered, 
" Yes," and she said, " Go now to the Shaykh, the jeweller, and if 
he give thee the ring, put it on the tip of thy finger and pull it off 
in haste and say to him, O master, thou hast made a mistake ; the 
ring is too tight. He will say, O merchant, shall I break it and 
mould it again larger ? And do thou say, It booteth not to break 
it and fashion it anew. Take it and give it to one of thy slave- 
women. Then pull out another stone worth seven hundred dinars 
and say to him, Take this stone and set it for me, for 'tis hand- 
somer than the other. Give him thirty dinars and to each of the 
prentices two, saying. These gold pieces are for the chasing, and the 
price of the ring shall remain. Then return to thy lodging for the 
night and on the morrow bring me two hundred ducats, and I will 
complete thee the rest of the device." So the youth went to the 
jeweller, who welcomed him and made him sit down in his shop ; 
and he asked him, "Hast thou done my need?" "Yes," answered 
Obayd and brought out to him the seal-ring ; whereupon he set it 
on his finger-tip and pulhng it off in haste, cried, •' Thou hast made a 
mistake, O master ;" and threw it to him, saying, " 'Tis too strait for 

74 A If Lay la h u<a Laylah. 

my finger." Asked the jeweller, " O merchant, shall I make it larger ? " 
But he answered, " Not so ; take it as a gift and give it to one of thy 
slave-girls. Its worth is trifling, some five hundred dinars ; so it 
booteth not to fashion it over again." Then he brought out to him 
another stone worth seven hundred sequins and said to him, " Set 
this for me : 'tis a finer gem." Moreover he gave him thirty dinars 
and to each of his workmen two. Quoth Obayd, " O my lord, we 
will take the price of the ring when we have made it."^ But Kamar 
al-Zaman said, " This is for the chasing, and the price of the ring 
remains over." So saying, he went away home, leaving the jeweller 
and his men amazed at the excess of his generosity. Presently the 
jeweller returned to his wife and said : — O Halimah,^ never did I 
set eyes on a more generous than this young man, and as for thee, 
thy luck is good, for he hath given me the ring without price, 
saying, " Give it to one of thy slave- women." And he told her what 
had passed, adding, " Methinks this youth is none of the sons 
of the merchants, but that he is of the sons of the Kings and 
Sultans." Now the more he praised him, the more she waxed in 
distraction for him. So she took the ring and put it on her finger, 
whilst the jeweller made another one, a little larger than the first. 
When he had finished moulding it, she put it on her finger, under 
the first, and said, " Look, O my lord, how well the two rings show 
on my finger ! I wish they were both mine." Said he, " Patience ! 
It may be I shall buy thee this second one." Then he lay that 
night and on the morrow h<--. took the ring and went to his shop. 
As for Kamar al-Zaman, as soon as it was day he repaired to the 
barber's wife and gave her two hundred dinars. Quoth she, "Go 
to the jeweller and when he giveth thee the ring, put it on thy 
finger and pull it off again in haste, saying : — Thou hast made a 
mistake, O master ! This ring is too large. A master like thyself, 
when the like of me cometh to him with a piece of work, it 
behoveth him to take right measure ; and if thou hadst measured 
my finger, thou hadst not erred. Then pull out another stone 
worth a thousand dinars and say to him : — Take this and set it, and 
bestow this ring upon one of thy slave-women. Give him forty ducats 
and to each of his journeymen three, saying, This is for the chasing, 
and for the cost of the ring, that shall remain. And see what he 
will say. Then bring three hundred dinars and give them to thy 

^ The Mac. Edit, here is a mass of blunders and misprints. 

'" The Mac. Edit, everywhere calls her " Sabiyah " = the young lady, and does 
not mention her name Halimah = the Mild, the Gentle till the cmlxxivth Night. 
I follow Mr. Payne's example by introducing it earlier into the story, as it avoids 
vagueness and repetition of the indetinite. 

Kamar Al-Zaman mid the Jetvellef''s Wife. 75 

father the barber, that he may mend his fortune withal, for he is a 
poor man." Answered Kamar al-Zaman, " I hear and obey," and 
betook himself to the jeweller, who welcomed him, and making him 
sit down, gave him the ring. He took it and put it on his finger ; 
then pulled it off in haste and said, " It behoveth a master like thy- 
self, when the like of me bringeth him a piece of work, to take his 
measure. Hadst thou measured my finger, thou hadst not erred ; 
but take it and give it to one of thy slave-women." Then he 
brought out to him a stone worth a thousand sequins and said to 
him, "Take this and set it in a signet-ring for me after the measure 
of my finger." Quoth Obayd, " Thou hast spoken sooth and art 
in the right ;" and took his measure, whereupon he pulled out forty 
gold pieces and gave them to him, saying, " Take these for the 
chasing and the price of the ring shall remain." Cried the jeweller, 
" O my lord, how much hire have we taken of thee : verily, thy 
bounty to us is great ! " " No harm," replied Kamar al-Zaman and 
sat talking with him awhile and giving a dinar to every beggar who 
passed by the shop. Then he left him and went away, whilst the 
jeweller returned home and said to his wife, " How generous is this 
young merchant ! Never did I set eyes on a more open-handed or 
a comeHer than he ; no, nor a sweeter of speech." And he went on 
to recount to her his charms and generosity and was loud in his 
praise. Cried she, " O thou lack-tact,' since thou notest these 
([ualities in him, and indeed he hath given thee two seal-rings of 
price, it behoveth thee to invite him and make him an entertainment 
and entreat him lovingly. When he seeth that thou affectest him 
and Cometh to our place, we shall surely get great good of him ; and 
if thou grudge him the banquet do thou bid him and I will entertain 
him of my moneys." Quoth he, " Dost thou know me to be niggardly, 
that thou sayest this say ? " and quoth she, " Thou art no niggard, 
but thou lackest tact. Invite him this very night and come not 
without him. An he refuse, conjure him by the divorce oath and be 
persistent with him." " On my head and eyes," answered he and 
moulded the ring till he had finished it, after which he passed the night 
and went forth on the morrow to his shop and sat there. On this wise 
it was with him ; but as for Kamar al-Zaman, he took three hundred 
dinars and carrying them to the old wife, gave thenn to her for the 
barber, her husband. Said she, " Most like he will invite thee to 
his house this day ; and if he do this and thou pass the night there, 

' Arab. " Adim al-Zauk," = without savour, applied to an insipid mannerless 
man as "barid" (cold) is to a fool. " Ahl Zauk " is a man of pleasure, a 
voluptuary, a hedonist. 

76 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

tell me in the morning what befalleth thee and bring with thee four 
hundred dinars and give them to thy father." Answered he, 
" Hearing and obeying." And as often as he ran out of money, he 
would sell some of his stones. So he repaired to the jeweller, who 
rose to him and received him with open arms, greeted him heartily 
and sought companionship with him. Then he gave him the 
ring, and he found it after the measure of his finger and said to the 
jeweller, " Allah bless thee, O prince of artists ! The setting is con- 
formable, but the stone is not to my liking." And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

i^ofa) tDJben it tuas tljE i^ine f^untivttr anU ^cbentiftf) iSigibt, 

She resumed. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Kamar 
al-Zaman said to the jeweller, "The setting is conformable to my 
wishes, but the stone is not to my liking. I have a handsomer than 
this : so take the seal-ring and give it to one of thy slave-women." 
Then he handed to him a fourth stone and an hundred dinars, saying, 
" Take thy hire and excuse the trouble we have given thee." 
Obayd replied, " O merchant, all the trouble thou hast given us 
thou hast requited us and hast overwhelmed us with thy great 
bounties : and indeed my heart is taken with love of thee and I 
cannot brook parting from thee. So, Allah upon thee, be thou my 
guest this night and heal my heart." He rejoined, '' So be it ; but 
needs must I go to my Khan, that I may give a charge to my 
domestics and tell them that I shall sleep abroad to-night, so they 
may not expect me." " Where dost thou lodge ? " asked the 
jeweller; and he answered, "In such a Khan." Quoth Obayd, " I 
will come for thee there; " and quoth the other, " 'Tis well." So 
the jeweller repaired to the Khan before sundown, fearing lest his 
wife should be anangered with him, if he returned home without his 
guest ; and, carrying Kamar al-Zaman to his house, seated him in a 
saloon that had not its match. Halimah saw him, as he entered 
and was ravished with him. They talked till supper was served 
when they ate and drank ; after which appeared coffee and sherbets, 
and the jeweller ceased not to entertain him with talk till eventide, 
when they prayed the obligatory prayers. Then entered a handmaid 
with two cups ^ of night drink, which when they had drunk, drowsi- 
ness overcame them and they slept. Presently in came the jeweller's 

* Arab. " Finjan," the egg-shell cujjs from which the Easterns still drink coffee. 

Kaviar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife, 77 

wife and seeing them asleep, looked upon Kamar al-Zaman's face, and 
her wit was confounded at his beauty. Presently she rained down 
kisses on his cheeks, till the forebrow of Morn grew white and the 
dawn broke forth in light ; when she put in his pocket four cockals^ 
and went away. Then she sent her maid with something like snuff, 
which she applied to their nostrils and they sneezed and awoke, when 
the slave-girl said, " O my lords, devotion is a duty ; so rise ye and 
pray the dawn-prayer." And she brought them basin and ewer.^ 
Quoth Kaman al-Zamar, " O master, 'tis late and we have overslept 
overselves ; " and quoth the jeweller, " O my friend, verily the air of 
this room is heavy ; for, whenever I sleep in it, this happeneth to me." 
Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, " True," and proceeded to make the 
Wuzu-ablution ; but, when he put the water to his face, his cheeks 
burned. Cried he, " Prodigious ! If the air of the room be heavy and 
we have been drowned in sleep, what ailelh my cheeks that they burn 
me ? " And he said to the jeweller, " O master, my cheeks burn 
me." The other replied, " I guess this cometh of the mosquito- 
bites." " Strange ! " said Kamar al-Zaman. " Hath this thing 
happened to thee?" Replied Obayd, "No ! But whenever I have 
by me a guest like thee, he complaineth in the morning of the 
mosquito-bites, and this happeneth only when he is like thee beard- 
less. If he be bearded the mosquitoes sting him not, and naught 
hindereth them from me but my beard : it seems mosquitoes love 
not bearded men." ^ Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, "True." Then 
the maid brought them early breakfast and they broke their fast and 
went out. Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to the old woman, who 
exclaimed, when she saw him, " Tell me what thou hast seen." Said 
he, " I have seen nothing. Only I supped with the house-master in 
a saloon and prayed the night prayer, after which we fell asleep and 
woke not till morning." She laughed and said, " What be those 
marks on thy cheeks ? " He answered, " 'Twas the mosquitoes of 

' Arab. " Awashik," a rare word, which Dozy translates " osselet " (or osselle) 
and Mr. Payne. " hucklebones," concerning which he has obliged me with this 
note. Chambaud renders osselet by "petit os avec lequel les enfants jouent." 
Hucklebone is the hip-bone, but in the plural it applies to our cockals or cockles : 
Latham gives "hucklebone," (or cockal), one of the small vertebrae of the os 
coccygis, and Littleton translates "Talus," a hucklebone, a bone to play with 
like a dye, a play call cockal. (So also in Rider). Hucklebones and knuckle- 
bones are syn. ; but the latter is modern and liable to give a false idea, besides 
being tautological. It has nothing to do with the knuckles and derives from the 
German " Knochel" (dialetically Knochelein) a bonelet. 

*.'^ For ablution after sleep and before prayer. The address of the slave-girl is 
perfectly natural : in a Moslem house we should hear ic this day ; nor does it 
show the least sign of forwardness." 

^ The perfect stupidity of the old fool is told with the driest Arab humour. 

7 8 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

the saloon that did this with me;" and she rejoined, "'Tis well. 
But did the same thing betide the house master ? " He retorted, 
" Nay ; but he told me that the mosquitoes of that saloon molest not 
bearded men, but sting those only who have no hair on face, and 
that whenever he hath for guest one who is beardless, the stranger 
awaketh complaining of the mosquito-bites ; whereas an he have a 
beard, there befalleth him naught of this." Said she, " Sooth thou 
speakest : but say me, sawest thou aught save this ? " And he 
answered, " I found four cockals in my pocket." Quoth she, 
"Show them to me." So he gave them to her and she laughed and 
said, "Thy mistress laid these in thy pocket." He asked, "How 
so?" And she answered, *''Tis as if she said to thee, in the lan- 
guage of signs •} — An thou wert in love, thou wouldst not sleep, for 
a lover sleepeth not : but thou hast not ceased to be a child and fit 
for nothing but to play with these cockals. So what drave thee to 
fall in love with the fair ? Now she came to* thee by night and 
finding thee asleep, scored thy cheeks with her kisses and left thee 
this sign. But she will certainly send her husband to invite thee 
again to-night ; so, when thou goest home with him, hasten not to 
fall asleep, and on the morrow bring me five hundred dinars and 
come and acquaint me with what hath passed, and I will perfect for 
thee the device." Answered he, " I hear and obey," and went back 
to the Khan. Thus it befel him ; but as regards the jeweller's wife, 
she said to her husband, "Is the guest gone?" Answered he, 
"Yes : but, O Halimah,'^ the mosquitoes plagued him last night and 
scarified his cheeks, and indeed I was abashed before him." She 
rejoined, " This is the wont of the mosquitoes of our saloon ; for 
they love none save the beardless. But do thou invite him again to- 
night." So he repaired to the Khan where the youth abode, and, 
bidding him, carried him to his house, where they ate and drank 
and prayed the night-prayer in the saloon, after which the slave-girl 

entered and gave each of them a cup of night-drink, And Shah- 

razad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying her 
permitted say. 

Xoto b)bm tt teas tf)c Xinc ^unbrclJ antJ ^cbcntp-first Nigtt, 

.>he said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the slave- 
^irl went in to the twain and gave each of them a cup of night- 

* This is a rechauffe of the language of signs in "Aziz and Azizah." 
^ In the Mac. Edit. " Ya Fulanah " = O certain person. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 79 

drink, and they drank and fell asleep. Presently, in came Halimah 
and said, " O good-for-nothing, how canst thou sleep and call thy- 
self a lover ? A lover sleepeth not ! " Then she kissed his cheeks, 
till the morning, when she put in his pocket a knife and sent her 
handmaid to arouse them. And when the youth awoke, his cheeks 
were on fire, for excess of redness. Quoth the jeweller, " Did the 
mosquitoes plague thee last night ? " and quoth the other, " Nay ! " 
for he now knew the deceit and left complaining. Then he felt the 
knife in his pocket and was silent ; but when he had broken his fast 
and drunk coffee, he left the jeweller, and going to the Khan, took 
five hundred dinars of gold and carried them to the old woman, 
to whom he related what had passed, saying, " I slept despite 
myself, and when I woke at dawn I found nothing but a knife in 
my pocket." Exclaimed the old trot, " May Allah protect thee from 
her this next night ! For she saith to thee by this sign. An thou 
sleep again, I will cut thy throat. Thou wilt once more be bidden to 
the jeweller's house to-night,^ and if thou sleep, she will slay thee." 
Said he, " What is to be done ? " and said she, " Tell me what thou 
atest and drankest before sleeping." Quoth he, " We supped as was 
our wont and prayed the night-prayer, after which there came in to 
us a maid, who gave each of us a cup of night-drink, which when I 
had drunk, I fell asleep and awoke not till the morning." Quoth the 
old woman, " The mischief is in the cup ; so, when the maid giveth 
it to thee, take it from her, but drink not and wait till the master of 
the house have drunken and fallen asleep ; then say to her. Give me 
a draught of water, and she will go to fetch thee the gugglet. Thereat 
do thou empty the cup behind the pillow and lie down and feign 
sleep. So when she cometh back with the gugglet, she will deem 
that thou hast fallen asleep after having drunk off the cup, and will 
kiave thee ; and presently the case will appear to thee ; but beware 
of disobeying my bidding." Answered he, " I hear and I obey," 
and returned to the Khan. Meanwhile the jeweller's wife said to 
her husband, " A guest's due honour is three nights' entertainment : 
so do thou invite him a third time ; " whereupon he betook himself 
to the youth, and inviting him, carried him home and sat down with 
him in the saloon. When they had supped and prayed the night- 
prayer, behold, in came the handmaid and gave each of them a cup. 
Her master drank and fell asleep ; but Kamar al-Zaman forbore to 
drink, whereupon quoth the maid, " Wilt thou not drink, O my 
lord?" Answered he, "I am athirst, bring me the gugglet." 

' Arab. " Laylat al-kabilah," lit.= the coming night ; our to-night. 

8o Aif Laylah wa Laylah. 

Accordingly she went to fetch it, and he emptied the cup behind 
the pillow and lay down. When the slave-girl returned, she saw him 
lying down and going to her mistress said, " He hath drunk off the 
cup and fallen asleep ; " whereupon quoth Halimah to herself, 
"Verily, his death is better than his life." Then, taking a sharp 
knife, she went in to him, saying, " Three times, and thou notedst 
not the sign, O fool.^ So now I will rip up thy maw." When he 
saw her making for him knife in hand, he opened his eyes and rose, 
laughing ; whereupon said she, " 'Twas not of thine own wit, that 
thou camest at the meaning of the sign, but by the help of some wily 
cheat ; so tell me^.whence thou hadst this knowledge." " From an 
old woman, "r replied he, "between whom and me befel such and 
such ;" and he told her all that had passed. Quoth she, " If thou 
have a mind to my company, take me a house beside thine own and 
we will abide thus, now I sitting with thee till the time of sleep, and 
now with me thou. Then I will go to my place and thou to thy Harim, 
and this will be a better rede than that I hinder thee from thy Harim 
every night. Then will my husband come to me and take counsel 
with me, and I will advise him to turn out our neighbour, for the 
house wherein he liveth is our house and he renteth it of us : and 
once thou art in the house, Allah will make easy to us the rest of 
our scheme." And presently she added, "Go now and do as I bid 
thee." Answered he, "I hear and obey;" whereupon she left 
him and went away, whilst he lay down and feigned to be asleep. 
Presently, the handmaid came and aroused them ; and when the 
jeweller awoke, he said to his guest, " O merchant, have the mos- 
quitoes worried thee ? " He replied, " No," and Obayd said, " Belike 
thou art grown used to them." Then they broke their fast and drank 
coffee, after which they fared forth to their affairs, and Kamar al- 
Zaman betook himself to the old crone, and related to her what had 

passed. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

Noh) tobcn it tons tibc Nine l^untircti anU ^tbcntiuscconU Xigijt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to the old crone, he related to her 
what had passed. Quoth she, " O my son, here endeth my con- 
trivance, and now I am at the term of my devices." Upon this he 

' Arab. " Ya Ahmak," which in Marocco means a madman, a maniac, a 

Kamar Al-Za??ian a?id the Jeweller's Wife. 8r 

left her and returned to the Khan where, as eventide evened, the 
jeweller came to him and invited him. He said, "I cannot go with 
thee.'' Asked the merchant, "Why so? I love thee and cannot 
brook separation from thee : Allah upon thee, come with me ! " 
The other replied^ " An it be thy wish to continue our comradeship 
and keep up the friendship betwixt thee and me, take me a house 
by the side of thine own, and when thou wilt, thou shalt pass the 
evening with me and I with thee ; but, as soon as the time of sleep 
Cometh, each of us shall hie him to his own home and lie there." 
Quoth Obayd, " I have a house adjoining mine, which is my own 
property : so go thou with me to-night, and to-morrow I will have 
the house untenanted for thee." Accordingly he went with him 
and they supped and prayed the night-prayer, after which the jeweller 
drank the cup of drugged^ liquor and fell asleep : but in Kamar 
al-Zaman's cup there was no trick ; so he drank it and slept not. 
Then came the jeweller's wife and sat chatting with him through the 
dark hours, whilst her husband lay like a corpse. When he awoke 
in the morning as of wont, he sent for his tenant and said to him, 
" O man, quit me the house, for I have need of it." " On my head 
and eyes," answered the other, and voided the house to him, where- 
upon Kamar al-Zaman took up his abode therein and transported 
thither all his baggage. The jeweller passed that evening with him, 
then went to his own house. On the next day his wife sent for a 
cunning builder and bribed him with money to make her an under- 
ground-way^ from her chamber to Kamar al-Zaman's house, with a 
trap-door under the earth. So, before the youth was ware, she 
came in to him with two bags of money, and he said to her, 
"Whence comest thou?" She showed him the tunnel and said to 
him, " Take these two bags of his money." Then she sat with him, 
when she said, "Wait for me, till I go to him and wake him, so he 
may fare to his shop, and I return to thee." He sat expecting 
her, whilst she went away and awoke her husband, who made the 
Wuzu-ablution and prayed and went to his shop. As soon as he 
was gone, she took four bags and, carrying them through the sou- 
terrain to Kamar al-Zaman, said to him, " Store these up ; " then she 

* Arab. *' 'Amal"= action, operation. In Hindostani it is used (often with an 
Alif for an Ayn) as intoxication, e.g. Amal pani (strong waters), and applied to 
Sharab (wine), Bozah (beer), Tadi (toddy or the fermented juice of the Tad, Borassus 
flabelliformis), Naryali (juice of the cocoa-nut tree), Sayndi (of the wild date, 
Elate Sylvestris), Afyiin (opium and its preparations, as post = poppy seeds), %nd 
various forms of Canjiabis Sativa, as Ganja, Charas, Madad, Sabzi, etc., for 
which see Herklots' Glossary. 

'^ Arab. " Sardab," mostly an underground room, but here a tunnel. 


82 Alj Lay la h wa Laylah. 

sat with him awhile, after which she retired to her home and he 
betook himself to the bazar. When he returned at sundown, he 
found in his house ten purses and jewels and much besides. Pre- 
sently the jeweller came to him and carried him to his own house, 
where they passed the evening in the saloon, till the handmaid came 
in according to custom, and brought them the drink. Her master 
drank and fell asleep, whilst naught betided Kamar al-Zaman for that 
his cup was wholesome and there was no trick therein. Then came 
Halimah, who sat down with him, whilst the slave-girl transported the 
jeweller's goods to Kamar al-Zaman's house by the secret passage. 
Thus they did till morning, when the handmaid awoke her lord and 
gave them to drink coffee, after which they went each his own way. 
On the third day the wife brought out to him a knife of her hus- 
band's, which he had chased and wrought with his own hand, and 
which he priced at five hundred dinars. But there was no knife like 
it, and because of the eagerness with which folk sought it of him, he 
had laid it up in a chest and could not bring himself to sell it to 
anyone in creation. Quoth she, "Take this knife and set it in thy 
waist-shawl and go to my husband and sit with him. Then pull out 
the knife and say to him, O master, look at this knife I bought to-day 
and tell me if I have the worst or the best of the bargain. He will 
know it, but will be ashamed to say to thee. This is my knife ; so he 
will ask thee. Whence didst thou buy it and for how much? and do 
thou make answer : — I saw two Levantines ^ disputing, and one said 
to the other. Where hast thou been ? Quoth his companion, I have 
been with my love, and whenever I foregather with her, she giveth 
me ten dirhams ; but this day she said to me. My hand is empty of 
silver for thee to-day, but take this knife of my husband's. So I 
took it and intend to sell it. The knife pleased me, and hearing his 
tale I said to him, Wilt thou sell it to me ? when he replied. Buy. So 
I got it of him for three hundred gold pieces and I wonder whether 
it was cheap or dear. And note what my husband will say to thee. 
Then talk with him awhile and rise and come back to me in haste. 
Thou wilt find me awaiting thee at the tunnel-mouth, and do thou 
give me the knife." Replied Kamar al-Zaman,'," I hear and I obey," 
and taking the knife set it in his waist-shawl. Then he went to the 
shop of the jeweller, who saluted him with the salam and welcomed 
him and made him sit down. He spied the knife in his waist-shawl, 
at which he wondered and said to himself, "That is my knife : who 

' Arab. '* Al-Lawandiyah" : this and the frequent mention of coffee and pre- 
sently of a watch (sa'ah) show that the tale in its present state cannot be older 
than the end of the sixteenth century. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jewellei^s Wife. 83 

can have conveyed it to this merchant ? " And he fell a-musing and 
saying in his mind, " I wonder an it be my knife or a knife like 
it ! " Presently Kamar al-Zaman pulled it out and said to him, 
" Harkye, master; take this knife and look at it." Obayd took it 
and knew it right well, but was ashamed to say, "This is my knife." 

And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

ilotu tDf)en it toas tf)e iEmc |^unJjt£ti anU ^cbcntp.-tlbitti iaig!)t 

She pursued. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
jeweller took the knife from Kamar al-Zaman, he knew it, but was 
ashamed to say, " This is my knife." So he asked, " Where didst 
thou buy it ? " Kamar al-Zaman answered as Halimah had charged 
him, and the jeweller said, "The knife was cheap at that price, for 
it is worth five hundred dinars." But fire flamed in his heart and 
his hands were tied from working at his craft. Kamar al-Zaman 
continued to talk with him, whilst he was drowned in the sea of 
solicitude, and for fifty words wherewith the youth bespoke him, 
he answered him but one ; for his heart ached and his frame was 
racked and his thoughts were troubled, and he was even as saith the 
poet : — 

I have no words though folk would have me talk * And who bespeak me find 

me thought-waylaid : 
Plunged in the Care-sea's undiscovered depths, « Nor aught of difference see 

'twixt man and maid ! 

When Kamar al-Zaman saw his case thus changed, he said to him, 
" Belike thou art busy at this present," and leaving him, returned 
in hottest haste to his own house, where he found Halimah standing 
at the passage-door awaiting him. Quoth she, " Hast thou done as 
I bade thee?" and quoth he, "Yes." She asked, "What said he 
to thee?" and he answered, " He told me that the knife was cheap 
at that price, for that it was worth five hundred dinars : but I could 
see that he was troubled ; so I left him and know not what befel 
him after that." Cried she, " Give me the knife and reck thou not 
of him." Then she took the knife and restoring it to its place, sat 
down. Now after Kamar al-Zaman's departure fire flamed in the 
jeweller's heart and suspicion was sore upon him and he said to 
himself, " Needs must I get up and go look for the knife and cut 

84 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

down doubt with certainty." So he rose and repaired to his house 
and went in to his wife, snorting like a dragon ; ^ and she said to 
him, " What mattereth thee, O my lord ? " He asked, " Where is 
my knife ? " and she answered, " In the chest," and smote hand upon 
breast, saying, " O my grief ! Belike thou hast fallen out with some 
one and art come to fetch the knife to smite him withal." Said he, 
" Give me the knife. Let me see it." But said she, "Not till thou 
swear to me that thou wilt not smite anyone therewith." So he 
swore this to her and she opened the chest and brought out to him 
the knife and he fell to turning it over, saying, " Verily, this is a 
wondrous thing ! " Then quoth he to her, " Take it and lay it back 
in its place ; " and she, " Tell me the meaning of all this." He 
answered, "I saw with our friend a knife like this," and told her all 
that had passed between himself and the youth, adding, " But, when 
I found it in the chest, my suspicion ended in certainty." Said she, 
" Haply thou misdoubtedst of me and deemedst that I was the 
Levantine's friend and had given him the knife." He replied, 
" Yes ; I had my doubts of this ; but, when I saw the knife, suspicion 
was lifted from my heart." Rejoined she, " O man, there is now 
no good in thee ! " And he fell to excusing himself to her, till he 
appeased her ; after which he fared forth and returned to his shop. 
Next day, she gave Kamar al-Zaman her husband's watch, which he 
had made with his own hand and whereof none had the like, saying, 
" Go to his shop and sit by his side and say to him : — I saw again 
to-day him whom I saw yesterday. He had a horologe in his hand 
and said to me, Wilt thou buy this watch ? Quoth I, Whence hadst 
thou it ? and quoth he, I was with my friend and she gave me this 
watch. So I bought it of him for eight-and-fifty gold pieces. Look at 
it : is it cheap at the price or dear ? Note what my husband shall say to 
thee ; then return to me in haste and give me the watch." So Kamar 
al-Zaman repaired to the jeweller and did with him as she had 
charged him. When Obayd saw the watch, he said, "This is worth 
seven hundred ducats;" and suspicion entered into him. Then the 
youth left him and returning to the wife, gave her back the watch. 
Presently, her husband suddenly came in snorting, and said to her, 
" Where is my watch?" Said she, "Here it is;" and he cried, 
" Give it to me." So she brought it to him and he exclaimed, 
"There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the 
Glorious, the Great ! " and she too exclaimed, " O man, there is 
something the matter with thee. Tell me what it is." He replied, 

1 Arab. " Su'ban." 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 85 

" What shall I say ? Verily, I am bewildered by these chances ! " 
And he recited these couplets ^ : — 

Although the Merciful be doubtless with me, 
Yet am I sore bewildered, for new griefs 
Have compassed me about, or ere I knew it, 
I have endured till Patience self became 
Impatient of my patience. — I have endured 
Waiting till Heaven fulfil my destiny. — 
I have endured till e'en endurance owned 
How I bore up with her ; (a thing more bitter 
Than bitter aloes) yet though a bitterer thing 
Is not, than is that drug, it were more bitter 
To me should Patience leave me unsustained. 

Then said he to his wife, " O woman, I saw with the merchant our 
friend, first my knife, which I knew, for that its fashion was a device 
of my own wit, nor doth its like exist ; and he told me of it a story 
that troubled the heart : so I came back and found it at home. Again 
to-day I see him with the watch, whose fashion also is of my 
own device, nor is there the fellow of it in Bassorah, and of this 
also he told me a story that saddened my heart. Wherefore I am 
bewildered in my wit and know not what is to come to me." Quoth 
she, " The purport of thy speech is that thou suspectedst me of being 
the friend of that merchant, and eke of giving him thy good ; so thou 
earnest to question me and make proof of my perfidy ; and, had I 
not shown thee the knife and the watch, thou hadst been certified 
of my treason. But since, O man, thou deemest me this ill deme, 
henceforth I will never again break with thee bread nor drain with 
thee drink, for I loathe thee with the loathing of prohibition." ^ So 
he gentled her and excused himself till he had appeased her, and 
returned, repenting him of having bespoken her thus, to his shop, 

where he sat And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

' The lines have occurred before; when I have noted the punning *' Sabr " 
= patience or aloes. 1 quote Torrens : the Templar, however, utterly abolishes 
the pun in the last couplet : — 

The case is not at my command ; but in fair Patience hand « I'm set by Him who 
order' th all and doth such case command. 

" Amr" here = case (circumstance) or command (order) with a suspicion of re- 
ference to AJurr = myrrh, bitterness. The reader will note the resignation to 
Fate's decrees which here and in a host of places elevates the tone of the book. 

* i.e. as one loathes that which is prohibited, and with a loathing which makes 
it unlawful for me to dwell with thee as thy wife. 

86 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

XotD toften tt teas tficNittE f^untirctJ anti ^cbcnni--fourtt Niglbt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
jeweller quitted his wife, he repented having bespoken her thus, and, 
returning to his shop, he sat there in disquiet sore and anxiety galore, 
between belief and unbelief About eventide he went home alone, 
not bringing Kamar al-Zaman with him : whereupon quoth his wife, 
" Where is the merchant ? " and quoth he, " In his lodgings." She 
asked, "Is the friendship between thee and him grown cold?" and 
he answered, " By Allah, I have taken a dislike to him, because of 
that which hath betided me from him." ^ Quoth she, " Go fetch 
him, to please me." So he arose and went in to Kamar al-Zaman 
in his house ; where he saw his own goods strewn about and knew 
them. At this sight, fire was kindled in his heart and he fell a-sighing. 
Quoth the youth, " How is it that I see thee melancholy? " Obayd 
was ashamed to say, " Here are my goods in thy house : who brought 
them hither ? " so he replied only, " A vexation hath betided me ; 
but come thou with me to my house, that we may solace ourselves 
there." The other rejoined, " Let me be in my place : I will not go 
with thee." But the jeweller conjured him to come and took him 
to his house, where they supped and passed the evening together, 
Kamar al-Zaman talking with the jeweller, who was drowned in the 
sea of solicitude, and for a hundred words wherewith the guest 
bespoke him, answered him only one word. Presently, the handmaid 
brought them two cups of drink, as usual, and they drank ; where- 
upon the jeweller fell asleep, but the youth abode on wake, because 
his cup was not drugged. Then came Halimah and said to her 
lover, *' How deemest thou of yonder fool, who is drunken in his 
heedlessness and weeteth not the wiles of women ? There is no 
help for it but that I cozen him into divorcing me. To-morrow I 
will disguise myself as a slave-girl and walk after thee to his shop, 
where do thou say to him, O master, I went to-day into the Khan of 
Al Yasiijiyah, where I saw this damsel and bought her for a thousand 
dinars. Look at her for me and tell me whether she was cheap at 
that price or dear. Then uncover to him my face and show me to 
him ; after which do thou carry me back to thy house, whence I will 
go to my chamber by the secret passage, so I may see the issue of our 
affair with him." Then the twain passed the night in mirth and merri- 
ment, converse and good cheer, dalliance and delight, till dawn, when 

' This is quite natural to the sensitive Eastern. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 87 

she returned to her own place and sent the handmaid to arouse her 
lawful lord and her lover. Accordingly they arose and prayed the 
dawn-prayer and brake their fast and drank coffee, after which 
Obayd repaired to his shop and Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to 
his own house. Presently, in came Halimah to him by the tunnel, 
in the guise of a slave-girl, and indeed she was by birth a slave-girl.^ 
Then he went out and she walked behind him, till he came to 
the jeweller's shop and, saluting him, sat down and said, "O master, 
I went into the Khan of Al-Yasirjiyah to-day, to look about me, and 
saw this damsel in the broker's hands. She pleased me ; so I bought 
her for a thousand dinars and I would have thee look upon her and 
see if she be cheap at that price or no." So saying, he uncovered 
her face and the jeweller saw her to be his own wife, clad in her 
costliest clothes, tricked out in her finest trinkets and kohl'd and 
henna'd, even as she was -vvont to adorn herself before him in the 
house. He knew with full knowledge her face and dress and 
trinkets, for those he had wrought with his own hand, and he saw 
on her fingers the seal-rings he had newly made for Kamar al-Zaman, 
whereby he was certified with entire assurance that she was indeed 
his very wife. So he asked her, " What is thy name, O slave-girl ? " 
and she answered, " Halimah," naming to him her own name ; 
whereat he was amazed and said to the youth, "For how much didst 
thou buy her ? " He replied, " For a thousand dinars ; " and the 
jeweller rejoined, "Thou hast gotten her gratis: for her rings and 
clothes and trinkets are worth more than that." Said Kamar al- 
Zaman, " May Allah rejoice thee with good news ! Since she pleaseth 
thee, I will carry her to my house ; " and Obayd said, " Do thy will." 
So he took her off to his house, whence she passed through the 
secret passage to her own apartment and sat there. Meanwhile, fire 
flamed in the jeweller's heart and he said to himself, " I will go see 
my wife. If she be at home, this slave-girl must be her counterpart, 
and glory be to Him who alone hath no counterpart ! But, if she 
be not at home, 'tis she herself without a doubt." Then he set oif 
running, and coming to his house, found his wife sitting in the same 
clothes and ornaments he had seen upon her in the shop ; whereupon 
he beat hand upon hand, saying, " There is no Majesty and there is 
no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " " O man," asked 
she, " art thou mad or what aileth thee ? 'Tis not thy w^ont to do 
thus, and needs must it be that something hath befallen thee." 
Answered he, " If thou wilt have me tell thee, be not vexed." Quoth 

^ Hence, according to Moslem and Eastern theory generally, her treasonable 

SB Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

she, " Say on " ; so he said, *' Our friend the merchant hath bought 
a slave-girl, whose shape is as thy shape and her height as thy height ; 
moreover, her name is even as thy name and her apparel is the like 
of thine apparel. Brief, she resembleth thee in all her attributes, 
and on her fingers are seal-rings like thy seal-rings and her trinkets 
are as thy trinkets. So, when he displayed her to me, methought it 
was thyself and I was perplexed concerning my case. Would we 
had never seen this merchant nor companied with him ; and would 
he had never left his own country and we had not known him, for 
he hath troubled my life which before was serene, causing ill-feeling 
to succeed good faith and making doubt to enter into my heart." 
Said she, " Look in my face : belike I am she who was with him and 
he is my lover, and I disguised myself as a slave-girl and agreed with 
him that he should display me to thee, so he might lay a snare for 
thee." He replied, "What words are these? Indeed, I never 
suspected that thou wouldst do the like of this deed. Now that 
jeweller was unversed in the wiles of women and knew not how 
they deal with men, nor had he heard the saying of him who 
said : — 

A heart bore thee oft in chase of the fair, * As fled Youth and came Age wi' his 

hoary hair : 
Layla troubles me and love-joys are far ; * And rival and risk bring us cark and 

An would'st ask me of woman, behold I am * In physic of womankind wise and 

ware : 
\A'hen grizzleth man's head and his moneys fail, * His lot in their love is a poor 


Nor that of another : ^ — 

Gainsay women ; he obeyeth Allah best, who saith them nay And he prospers 

not who givelh them his bridle-rein to sway : 
For they'll hinder him from winning to perfection in his gifts, Though a thousand 

years he study, seeking after wisdom's way. 

And a third : — 

Women Satans are, made for woe of man : * To Allah I fly from such 

Satanesses I 
Whom they lure by their love he to grief shall come * And lose worldly bliss 

and the Faith that blesses. 

Said she, " Here am I sitting in my chamber ; so go thou to him 
forthright and knock at the door and contrive to go into him quickly. 

' These lines have occurred before : I quote Mr. Payne. 

Kamar Al-Zavian and the Jeiveller^s Wife. 89 

An thou see the damsel with him 'tis a slave-girl of his who resem- 
bleth me (and Glory be to Him who hath no resemblance ! ^ But, 
an thou see no slave-girl with him, then am I myself she whom 
thou sawest with him in the shop, and thine ill thought of me 
will be stablished." " True," answered Obayd, and went out 
leaving her, whereupon she passed through the hidden passage, 
and seating herself by Kamar al-Zaman, told him what had 
passed, saying, "Open the door quickly and show me to him." 
Now, as they were talking, behold, there came a knocking at the 
door. Quoth Kamar al-Zaman, "Who is at the door?" and 
quoth the jeweller, " I, thy friend : thou displayedst to me thy 
slave-girl in the bazar, and I rejoiced for thee in her, but my joy 
in her was not completed ; so open the door and let me look at 
her again." Rejoined he, "So be it," and opened the door to him, 
whereupon he saw his wife sitting by him. She rose and kissed 
their hands ; and he looked at her ; then she talked with him 
awhile and he saw her not to be distinguished from his wife in 
aught and said, " Allah createth whatso He will ! " Then he went 
away more disheartened than before and returned to his own house 
where he saw his wife sitting, for she had foregone him thither by 

the souterrain. x\nd Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day 

and ceased saying her permitted say. 

NotD foi)cn It toas ti)£ Nine f^uutircti antt ^cbentu=fiftft Nigtt 

She said. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young 
lady forewent her spouse by the souterrain as he fared through the 
door and sat down in her upper chamber ; - so as soon as he entered 
she asked him, "What hast thou seen?" and he answered, "I 
found her with her master ; and she resembleth thee." Then said 
she, " Off to thy shop and let this suffice thee of ignoble suspicion 
and never again deem ill of me." Said he, " So be it : accord me 
pardon for what is past." And she, "Allah grant thee grace !"-^ 
whereupon he kissed her right and left and went back to his shop. 
Then she again betook herself to Kamar al-Zaman through the 
underground passage, with four bags of money, and said to him, 
" Equip thyself at once for the road and be ready to carry off the 

^ This ejaculation, as the waw shows, is parenthetic ; spoken either by Halimah, 
by Sliahrazad, or by the wiiter. 
' Arab. " Kasr," here meaning an upper room. 
^ To avoid saying, I pardon thee. 

90 Alf Lay /ah wa Lay /ah. 

money without delay, against I devise for thee the device I have in 
mind." So he went out and purchased mules and loaded them and 
made ready a travelling litter; he also bought Mamelukes and 
eunuchs, and sending, without let or hindrance, the whole without 
the city, returned to Halimah and said to her, " I have made an 
end of my affairs." Quoth she, "And I on my side am ready; for 
I have transported to thy house all the rest of his moneys and 
treasures and have left him nor little nor much, whereof he may 
avail himself. All this is of my love for thee, O dearling of my 
heart, for I would sacrifice my husband to thee a thousand times. 
But now it behoveth thou go to him and farewell him saying : — 
I purpose to depart after three days and am come to bid thee 
adieu : so do thou reckon what I owe thee for the hire of the house, 
that I may send it to thee and acquit my conscience. Note his 
reply and return to me and tell me ; for I can no more : I have 
done my best, by cozening him, to anger him with me and cause 
him to put me away, but I find him none the less infatuated with 
me. So nothing will serve us but to depart to thine own country." 
And quoth he, " O rare ! an but dreams prove true ! "^ Then he 
went to the jeweller's shop and sitting down by him, said to him, 
" O master, I set out for home in three days' time, and am come 
to farewell thee. So I would have thee reckon what I owe thee for 
the hire of the house, that I may pay it to thee and acquit my 
conscience." Answered Obayd, " What talk is this ? Verily, 'tis 
I who am indebted to thee. By Allah, I will take nothing from 
thee for the rent of the house, for thou hast brought down blessings 
upon us ! However, thou desolatest me by thy departure, and but 
that it is forbidden to me, I would certainly oppose thee and hinder 
thee from returning to thy country and kinsfolk." Then he took 
leave of him, whilst they both wept with sore weeping, and the 
jeweller went with him, and when they entered Kamar al-Zaman's 
house, there they found Halimah who stood before them and served 
them : but when Obayd returned home, he found her sitting there ; 
nor did he cease to see her thus in each house by turns, for the space 
of three days, when she said to Kamar al-Zaman, " Now have I trans- 
ported to thee all that he hath of moneys and hoards and carpets 
and things of price, and there remaineth with him naught save the 
slave-girl, who used to come into you with the night drink ; but I 
cannot part with her, for that she is my kinswoman and she is dear 
to me as a confidante. So I will beat her and be wroth with her, and 

^ A proverbial saying which here means I could only dream of such good luck. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 9 1 

when my spouse cometh home, I will say to him : — ^I can no longer 
put up with this slave-girl nor stay in the house with her ; so take 
her and sell her. Accordingly he will sell her and do thou buy her, 
that we may carry her with us." Answered he, " No harm in that." 
So she beat the girl, and when the jeweller came in he found her 
weeping and asked her why she wept. Quoth she, " My mistress 
hath beaten me." He then went in to his wife and said to her, 
" What hath that accursed girl done, that thou hast beaten her ? " 
She replied, " O man, I have but one word to say to thee, and 'tis 
that I can no longer bear the sight of this girl ; so take her and sell 
her, or else divorce me." Quoth he, " I will sell her, that I may not 
cross thee in aught ; " and when he went out to go to the shop he 
took her and passed with her by Kamar al-Zaman. No sooner had 
he gone out than his wife slipped through the underground passage 
to Kamar al-Zaman, who placed her in the litter, before the Shaykh 
her husband reached him. When the jeweller came up and the 
lover saw the slave-girl with him, he asked him, " What girl is this ? " 
and the other answered, " 'Tis my slave-girl who used to serve us 
with the night-drink ; she hath disobeyed her mistress, who is wroth 
with her and hath bidden me sell her." Quoth the youth, "An her 
mistress have taken an aversion to her, there is for her no abiding 
with her ; but sell her to me, that I may smell your scent in her, 
and I will make her handmaid to my slave Halimah." " Good," 
answered Obayd ; "take her." Asked Kamar al-Zaman, " What is 
her price ? " but the jeweller said, " I will take nothing from thee, 
for thou hast been bountiful to us." So he accepted her from him 
and said to Halimah, " Kiss thy lord's hand." Accordingly she 
came out from the litter, and kissing Obayd's hand, remounted, 
whilst he looked hard at her. Then said Kamar al-Zaman, " I 
commend thee to Allah, O Master Obayd ! Acquit my conscience 
of responsibility." ^ Answered the jeweller, " Allah acquit thee ! 
and carry thee safe to thy family ! " Then he bade him farewell 
and went to his shop weeping, and indeed it was grievous to him to 
part from Kamar al-Zaman, for that he had been his friend, and 
friendship hath its debtorship ; yet he rejoiced in the dispelling of 
the doubts which had befallen him anent his wife, since the young 
man was now gone and his suspicions had not been stablished. 
Such was his case ; but as regards Kamar al-Zaman, the young lady 
said to him, " An thou wish for safety, travel with me by other than 

' A good old custom amongst Moslems who have had business transactions 
with each other : such acquittance of all possible claims will be quoted on 
"Judgment- Day," when debts will be severely enquired into. 

92 A If Lay I ah wa Lay la h. 

the wonted way." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased to say her permitted say. 

:N[otD to!)cn ft bas tf)t Nine f^untfrelJ anlr ^€bcntii=st.xtt Nigtt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
HaHmah said to Kamar al-Zaman, " An thou wish for safety, travel 
with me by other than the wonted way," he replied, " Hearing and 
obeying ; " and, taking a road other than that used by folk, fared on 
without ceasing from region to region till he reached the confines of 
Egypt-land ^ and sent his sire a letter by a runner. Now his father 
the merchant Abd al-Rahman was sitting in the market among the 
merchants, with a heart on fire for separation from his son, because 
no news of the youth had reached him since the day of his departure ; 
and while he was in such case the runner came up and cried, " O 
my lords, which of you is called the merchant Abd al-Rahman ? " 
They said, " What wouldst thou of him ? " and he said, " I have a 
letter for him from his son Kamar al-Zaman, whom I left at Al- 
Arish.-" At this Abd al-Rahman rejoiced and his breast was 
broadened, and the merchants rejoiced for him and gave him joy of 
his son's safety. Then he opened the letter and read as follows : — 
" From Kamar al-Zaman to the merchant Abd al-Rahman. And 
after. Peace be upon thee and upon all the merchants. An ye ask 
concerning us, to Allah be the praise and the thanks. Indeed we 
have sold and bought and gained and are come back in health, 
wealth and weal." Whereupon Abd al-Rahman opened the door ^ 
of rejoicing and made banquets and gave feasts and entertainments 

^ Arab. " Kutr (tract or quarter) Misr," vulgarly pronounced " Masr." I may 
remind the reader that the Assyrians called the Nile-valley "Musur," whence 
probably the Heb. " Misraim," a dual form denoting Upper and Lower Egypt, 
which are still distinguished by the Arabs into Sa'id and JMisr. The hieroglyphic 
term is Ta-mera = Land of the Flood ; and the Greek Aigyptos is probably 
derived from Kahi-Ptah (region of the great God Ptah) or Ma Ka Ptah (House of 
the soul of Ptah). The word "Copt" or " Kopt," in Egyptian " Kubti " 
and pronounced " Gubti," contains the same consonants. 

" Now an unimportant frontier fort and village dividing Syria-Palestine from 
Egypt and famed tor the French battle with the JVIamelukes (Feb. 19, 1799) and 
the convention for evacuating Egypt. In the old times it was an important site 
built upon the " River of Egypt," now a dried up Wady ; and it was the chief 
port of the then populous Najab or South Country. According to Abulfeda it 
derived its name (the " boolhy," the nest) from a hut built theie by the brothers 
of Joseph when stopped at the frontier by the guards of Pharaoh. But this is 
usual Jewish infection of history. 

^ Arab. '* Bab." which may also = " chapter " or category. In Egypt " Bab " 
sometimes means a sepulchral cave hewn in a rock (plur. *' Biban) from the 
Coptic "Bib." 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jewellet^s Wife. 93 

galore, sending for instruments of music and addressing himself to 
festivities after rarest fashion. When Kamar al-Zaman came to 
Al-Salihiyah,^ his father and all the merchants went forth to meet 
him, and Abd al-Rahman embraced him and strained him to his 
bosom and sobbed till he swooned away. When he came to him- 
self he said, "Oh 'tis a boon day, O my son, whereon the Omni- 
potent Protector hath reunited us with thee!" ,^.-i he repeated 
the words of the bard : — 

The return of the friend is the best of all boons, * And the joy-cup circles o' 

morns and noons : 
So well come, welcome, fair welcome to thee « The light of the time and the 

moon o' full moons. 

Then, for excess of joy, he poured forth a flood of tears rom his 
eyes and he recited also these two couplets : — 

The Moon o' the Time,- shows unveiled light ; * And his journey done, at our 

door doth alight : 
His locks as the nights of his absence are black * And the sun upstands from 

his collar's -^ white. 

Then the merchants came up to him and saluting him, saw with 
him many loads and servants and a travelling litter enclosed in a 
spacious circle.* So they took him and carried him home ; and 
when Halimah came forth from the litter, his father held her a 
seduction to all who beheld her. Presently they opened her an upper 
chamber, as it were a treasure from which the talismans had been 
loosed :^ and when his mother saw her, she was ravished with her 
and deemed her a queen of the wives of the Kings. So she re- 
joiced in her and questioned her ; and she answered, " I am wife 
to thy son ; " and the mother rejoined, " Since he is wedded to thee 
we must make thee a splendid marriage-feast, that we may rejoice 
in thee and in my son." On this wise it befel her; but as regards 

' i.e. " The Holy," a town some three marches (60 miles) N. East of Cairo ; 
thus showing the honour done to our unheroic hero. There is also a Salihiyah 
quarter or suburb of Damascus famous for its cemetery of holy men ; but the 
facetious Cits change the name to Zalliniyah = causing to stray ; in allusion to 
its Kurdish population. Baron von Hammer reads " le faubourg Adelieh " built 
by Al-Malik Al-Adil and founds a chronological argument on a clerical error. 

" Kamar al-Zaman ; the normal pun on the name ; a practice as popular in 
the East as in the West, and worthy only of a pickpocket in either place. 

^ Arab. " Azrar," plur. of "Zirr," and lit. = " buttons," i.e. of his robe collar, 
from which his white neck and face appear shining as the sun. 

* Arab. " Dairah " : the usual enclosure of Kanats or tent-flaps pitched for 
privacy during the halt. 

^ i.e. it was so richly ornamented that it resembled an enchanted hoard whose 
spells, hiding it from sight, had been broken by some happy treasure seeker. 

94 Alf Lay la h wa Laylah. 

the merchant Abd al-Rahman, when the folk had dispersed and 
each had wended his way, he foregathered with his son and said to 
him, " O my son, what is this slave-girl thou hast brought with 
thee and for how much didst thou buy her ? "^ Kamar al-Zaman 
said, " O my father, she is no slave-girl ; but 'tis she who was the 
cause of my going abroad." Asked his sire, " How so ? " and he 
answered, " 'Tis'^t^he whom the Dervish described to us the night 
he lay with us ; for indeed my hopes clave to her from that 
moment and I sought not to travel save on account of her. The 
Arabs came out upon me by the way and stripped me and took 
my money and goods, so that I entered Bassorah alone, and there 
befel me there such and such things ; " and he went on to relate 
to his parent all that had befallen him from commencement to 
conclusion. Now when he had made an end of his history, his 
father said to him, " O my son, and after all this didst thou marry 
her?" "No; but I have promised her marriage." "Is it thine 
intent to marry her?" " An thou bid me marry her, I will do so ; 
otherwise I will not marry her." Thereupon quoth his father, 
" An thou marry her, I am quit of thee in this world and in the 
next, and I shall be incensed against thee with sore indignation. 
How canst thou wed her, seeing that she hath dealt thus with her 
husband ? For, even as she did with her spouse for thy sake, so 
will she do the like with thee for another's sake, because she is a 
traitress and in a traitor there is no trusting. Wherefore an thou 
disobey me, I shall be wroth with thee ; but, an thou give ear to my 
word, I will seek thee out a girl handsomer than she, who shall be 
pure and pious, and marry thee to her, though I spend all my sub- 
stance upon her ; and I will make thee a wedding without equal and 
will glory in thee and in her : for 'tis better that folk should say, 
Such-an-one hath married Such-an-one's daughter, than that they 
say, He hath wedded a slave-girl sans birth or worth." And he went 
on to persuade his son to give up marrying her, by citing in support 
of his say, proofs, stories, examples, verses and moral instances, till 
Kamar al-Zaman exclaimed, " O my father, since the case is thus, 
'tis not right and proper that I marry her." And when his father 
heard him speak on such wise, he kissed him between the eyes 
saying, " Thou art my very son, and as I live, O my son, I will 
assuredly marry thee to a girl who hath not her equal ! " Then the 
merchant set Obayd's wife and her handmaid in a chamber high up 

^ The merchant, who is a "stern parient " and exceedingly ticklish on the 
Pundonor, saw at first sight her servile origin, which had escaped the mother. 
Usually it is the other way. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 95 

in the house, and before locking the door upon the twain, he 
appointed a black slave-girl to carry them their meat and drink, and 
he said to Halimah, " Ye shall abide imprisoned in this chamber, 
thou and thy maid, till I find one who will buy you, when I will sell 
you to him. An ye resist, I will slay you both, for thou art a traitress, 
and there is no good in thee." Answered she, " Do thy will : I 
deserve all thou canst do with me." Then he locked the door upon 
them and gave his Harim a charge respecting them, saying, " Let 
none go up to them nor speak to them, save the black slave-girl 
who shall give them their meat and drink through the casement of 
the upper chamber." So she abode with her maid, weeping and 
repenting her of that which she had done with her spouse. Mean- 
while Abd al-Rahman sent out the marriage-brokers to look out a 
maid of birth and worth for his son, and the women ceased not to 
make search, and as often as they saw one girl, they heard of a 
fairer than she, till they came to the house of the Shaykh al-Islam ^ 
and saw his daughter. In her they found a virgin whose equal was 
not in Cairo for beauty and loveliness, symmetry and perfect grace, 
and she was a thousand-fold handsomer than the wife of Obayd. 
So they told Abd al-Rahman of her, and he and the notables repaired 
to her father and sought her in wedlock of him. Then they wrote 
out the marriage contract and made her a splendid wedding ; after 
which Abd al-Rahman gave bride-feasts and held open house forty 
days. On the first day he invited the doctors of the law, and they 
held a splendid nativity f and on the morrow he invited all the 
merchants, and so on during the rest of the forty days, making a 
banquet every day to one or other class of folk, till he had bidden 
all the Olema and Emirs and Antients * and Magistrates, whilst the 
kettle-drums were drummed and the pipes were piped and the 
merchant sat to greet the guests, with his son by his side, that he 
might solace himself by gazing on the folk, as they ate from the 

' Not the head of the Church, or Chief Pontiff, but the Chief of the Olema and 
Fukaha (Fakihs or D.D.'s), men learned in the Law (divinity). The order is 
peculiarly Moslem and the title shows the modern date of the tale. 

' Arab. " Maulid," prop, apphed to the Birth-feast of Mohammed, which 
begins on the 3rd day of Rabi al-Awwal (third Moslem month) and lasts a week 
or ten days (according to local custom), usually ending on the 12th and celebrated 
with salutes of cannon, circumcision-feasts, marriage-banquets, Zikr-litanies, 
perlections of the Koran and all manner of solemn festivities, including the 
"powder-play" (Lab al-Barut) in the wilder corners of Al-Islam. It is also 
applied to the birth-festivals of great Santons (as Ahmad al-Badawi), for which 
see Lane M. E. chapt. xxiv. In the text it is used like the Span. " Funcion " 
or the Hind " Tamasha," any great occasion of merry-making. 

^ Arab. " Sanajik," plur. of Sanjak (Turk.) = a banner, also applied to the 
bearer (ensign or cornet) and to a military rank mostly corresponding with Bey 
or ColoneL 

96 Alf Layiah wa Laylah. 

trays. Each night Abd al-Rahman illuminated the streets and the 
quarter with lamps, and there came every one of the mimes and 
jugglers and mountebanks and played all manner play ; and indeed 
it was a peerless wedding. On the last day he invited the Fakirs, 
the poor and the needy, far and near, and they flocked in troops 
and ate, whilst the merchant sat, with his son by his side.i And 
among the paupers, behold, entered Shaykh Obayd the jeweller, and 
he was naked and weary and bare on his face the marks of wayfare. 
When Kamar al-Zaman saw him, he knew him and said to his sire, 
"Look, O my father, at yonder poor man who is but now come in 
by the door." So he looked and saw him clad in worn clothes and 
on him a patched gown ^ worth two dirhams : his face was yellow 
and he was covered with dust and was as he were an offcast of the 
pilgrims.^ He was groaning as groaneth a sick man in need, 
walking with a tottering gait and swaying now to the right and then 
to the left, and in him was realized his saying who said •* : — 

Lack-gold abaseth man and doth his worth away, Even as the setting sun that 

pales with ended day. 
He passeth 'mongst the folk and fain would hide his head ; And when alone, 

he weeps with tears that never stay. 
Absent, none taketh heed to him or his concerns ; Present, he hath no part in 

life or pleasance aye. 
By Allah, whenas men with poverty are cursed, But strangers midst their kia 

and countrymen are they! 

And the saying of another : — 

The poor man fares by everything opposed : * On him to shut the door Earth 

ne'er shall fail : 
Thou seest men abhor him sans a sin, • And foes he finds albe no cause 

avail : 
The very dogs, when sighting wealthy man, • Fawn at his feet and wag the 

flattering tail ; 
Yet, an some day a pauper loon they sight, * All at him bark and, gnashing 

fangs, assail. 

And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

^ I have followed Mr. Payne's ordering of the text, which, bo'h in the Mac. 
and Bui. Edits., is wholly inconsequent and has not the excuse of rhyme. 

- Arab. "Jilbab," a long coarse veil or gown t\hich in Barbary becomes a 
" Jallabiyah," a striped and hooded cloak of woollen stuff. 
i.e. a broken down pilgrim left to die on the road. 

* These lines have occurred before. I quote Mr. Payne. 

Kamar Al-Zatnan and the Jetveller's Wife. 97 

iEobi h)$cn ft toas t^e iEinc f^uixUretr anti ^cbtntg-Sfbtnt^ if^igftt 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
his son said to Abd al-Rahman, " Look at yonder pauper ! " he 
asked, " O my son, who is this ? " And Kamar al-Zaman answered, 
" This is Master Obayd the jeweller, husband to the woman who is 
imprisoned with us." Quoth Abd al-Rahman, " Is this he of 
whom thou toldest me ? " and quoth his son, " Yes ; and indeed I 
wot him right well." Now the manner of Obayd's coming thither 
was on this wise. When he had farewelled Kamar al-Zaman he 
went to his shop, and thence going home laid his hand on the door, 
whereupon it opened and he entered and found neither his wife 
nor the slave-girl, but saw the house in sorriest plight, quoting in 
mute speech his saying who said : ^ — 

The chambers were like a bee-hive well stocked : when their bees quitted it, 
they became empty. 

When he saw the house void, he turned right and left and presently 
went round about the place, like a madman, but came upon no one. 
Then he opened the door of his treasure-closet, but found therein 
naught of his money nor his hoards ; whereupon he recovered 
from the intoxication of fancy and shook off his infatuation and 
knew that it was his wife herself who had turned the tables upon 
him and outwitted him with her wiles. He wept for that which 
had befallen him, but kept his affairs secret, so none of his foes 
might crow over him nor any of his friends be concerned, knowing 
that, if he disclosed his secret, it would bring him naught but dis- 
honour and contumely from the folk ; wherefore he said in himself, 
"O Obayd, hide that which hath betided thee of affliction and 
ruination ; it behoveth thee to do in accordance with his saying 
who said : — 

If a man's breast with bane he hides be straitened, * The breast that tells its 
hidden bale is straiter still. 

Then he locked up his house and, making for his shop, gave it in 
charge of one of his apprentices, to whom said he, " My friend 
the young merchant hath invited me to accompany him to Cairo, 
for solacing ourselves with the sight of the city, and sweareth 
that he will not march except he carry us with him, me and my 
wife. So, O my son, I make thee my steward in the shop, and if 
the King ask for me, say thou to him : — He is gone with his Harim 

^ These lines have occurred in Night dcxix, where the pun on Khaliyah is 
explained. I quote Lane. 


98 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

to the Holy House of Allah." ^ Then he sold some of his effects 
and bought camels and mules and Mamelukes, together with a 
slave-girl," and placing her in a litter, set out from Bassorah after 
ten days. His friends farewelled him and none doubted but 
that he had taken his wife and gone on the Pilgrimage, and 
the folk rejoiced in this, for that Allah had delivered them from 
being shut up in the mosques and houses every Friday. Quoth 
some of them, "Allah grant he may never return to Bassorah, 
so we may no more be boxed up in the mosques and houses 
every P>iday, for that this usage had caused the people of 
Bassorah exceeding vexation ! " Quoth another, '* Methinks he will 
not return from his journey, by reason of the much-praying of the 
people of Bassorah against him."^ And yet another, "An he return, 
'twill not be but in reversed case."* So the folk rejoiced with 
exceeding joy in the jeweller's departure, after they had been in 
mighty great chagrin, and even their cats and dogs were comforted. 
When Friday came round, however, the crier proclaimed as usual 
that the people should repair to the mosques two hours before 
prayer-time or else hide themselves in their houses, together with 
their cats and dogs ; whereat their breasts were straitened and they 
assembled in general assembly and, betaking themselves to the 
royal divan, stood between his hands and said, " O King of the 
age, the jeweller hath taken his Harim and departed on the pilgrim- 
age to the Holy House of Allah : so the cause of our restraint hath 
ceased to be, and why therefore are we now shut up ? " Quoth the 
King, " How came this traitor to depart without telling me ? But, 
when he cometh back from his journey, all will not be save well;^ 
so go ye to your shops and sell and buy, for this vexation is removed 
from you." Thus far concerning the King and the Bassorites; but 
as for the jeweller, he fared on ten days' journey, and, as he drew 
near Baghdad, there befel him that which had befallen Kamar al- 
Zaman, before his entering Bassorah ; for the Arabs** came out upon 

^ The usual pretext of *' God-bizness," as the Comoro men call it. For the 
title of the Ka'abah see my Pilgrimage vol. iii. 149. 

^ This was in order to travel as a respectable man ; he could also send the 
girl as a spy into the different Ilarims to learn news of the lady who had eloped. 

^ A polite form of alluding to their cursing him. 

* i.e. on account of the King taking offence at his unceremonious departure. 

^ i.e. It will be the worse for him. 

^ I would here remind the reader that ♦' 'Arabiyyun," pi. 'Urb, is a man of 
pure Arab race, whether of the Ahl al-Madar (= people of mortar, i.e. citizens) or 
Ahlal-Wabar( = tents of goat or camel's hair) ; whereas " A'rabiyyun," pi. A'rab, 
is one who dwells in the desert, whether Arab or not. Hence the verse : — 

They name us Al-A'rab, but Al-'Urb is our name. 

Kajnar Al-Zainan and the Jeweller's Wije. 99 

him and stripped him and took all he had, and he escaped only by 
feigning himself dead. As soon as they were gone, he rose and 
fared on, naked as he was, till he came to a village, where Allah 
inclined to him the hearts of certain kindly folk, who covered his 
body with some old clothes ; and he asked his way, begging from 
town to town, till he reached the city of Cairo the God-guarded. 
There, burning with hunger, he went about alms-seeking in the 
market-streets, till one of the townsfolk said to him, " O poor man, 
off with thee to the house of the wedding-festival and eat and drink \ 
for to-day there is open table for paupers and strangers." Quoth 
he, "I know not the way thither;" and quoth the other, "Follow 
me and I will show it to thee." He followed him till he brought 
him to the house of Abd al-Rahman, and said to him, " This is the 
house of the wedding ; enter and fear not, for there is no door- 
keeper at the door of the festival." Accordingly he entered and 
Kamar al-Zaman knew him and told his sire, who said, " O my son, 
leave him at this present : belike he is anhungered ; so let him eat 
his sufficiency and recover himself and after we will send for him." 
Accordingly they waited till Obayd had eaten his fill and washed his 
hands and drunk coffee and sherbets of sugar flavoured with musk 
and ambergris and was about to go out, when Abd al-Rahman sent 
after him a page, who said to hmi, " Come, O stranger, and speak 
with the merchant Abd al-Rahman." "Who is he?" asked Obayd ; 
and the man answered, "He is the master of the feast." There- 
upon the jeweller turned back, thinking that he meant to give him 
a gift, and coming up to Abd al-Rahman, saw his friend Kamar 
al-Zaman and went nigh to lose his senses for shame before him. 
But Kamar al-Zaman rose to him and, embracing him, saluted him 
with the salam, and they both wept with sore weeping. Then he 
seated him by his side, and Abd al-Rahman said to his son, "O 
destitute of good taste, this is no way to receive friends ! Send him 
first to the Hammam and despatch after him a suit of clothes of 
the choicest, worth a thousand dinars," ^ Accordingly they carried 

^ I would remind the reader that the Dinar is the golden denarius (or solidus) 
of Eastern Rome^ while the Dirham is the silver denarius, whence denier, danaro, 
dinheiro, etc., etc. The oldest dinars date from A.H. 91-92 (= 714-15), and 
we find the following description of one struck in A.H. 96 by Al-Walid the Sixth 
Ommiade : — 

a / Area. " There is no ilah but Allah : He is one : He hath no partner." 
j; 1 Circle. " Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah, who hath sent him with 
^ j the true Guidance and Religion that he manifest it above all other 

O \ Creeds." 

w (Area. "Allah is one: Allah is Eternal: He begetteth not, nor is He 

^ < begot." 

^ I Circle. " Bismillah : This dinar was struck anno Heg. 96. 

I oo Alf Layiah wa Laylah. 

him to the bath, where they washed his body and clad him in a 
costly suit, and he became as he were Consul of the Merchants. 
Meanwhile the bystanders questioned Kamar al-Zaman of him, 
saying, "Who is this and whence knowest thou him?" Quoth he, 
"This is my friend, who lodged me in his house and to whom I am 
indebted for favours without number, for that he entreated me with 
exceeding kindness. He is a man of competence and condition and 
by trade a jeweller, in which craft he hath no equal. The King 
of Bassorah loveth him dearly and holdeth him in high honour 
and his word is law with him." And he went on to enlarge 
before them on his praises, saying, " Verily, he did with me thus 
and thus and I have shame of him and know not how to requite 
him his generous dealing with me." Nor did he leave to extol him, 
till his worth was magnified to the bystanders and he became vener- 
able in their eyes ; so they said, " We will all do him his due 
and honour him for thy sake. But we would fain know the 
reason why he hath departed his native land and the cause of his 
coming hither, and what Allah hath done with him that he is reduced 
to this plight ? " Replied Kamar al-Zaman, " O folk, marvel not, 
for a son of Adam is still subject to Fate and Fortune, and what 
while he abideth in this world, he is not safe from calamities. Indeed 
he spake truly who said these couplets : — 

The world tears man to shreds, so be thou not * Of those whom lure of rank and 

title draws : 
Nay ; 'ware of slips and turn from sin aside * And ken that bane and bale are 

worldly laws : 
How oft high Fortune falls by least mishap * And all things bear inbred of Change 

a cause ! 

Know that I entered Bassorah in yet iller case and worse distress 
than this man, for that he entered Cairo with his shame hidden by 
rags ; but I indeed came into his town with my nakedness un- 
covered, one hand behind and another before ; and none availed 
me but Allah and this dear man. Now the reason of this was that 
the Arabs stripped me and took my camels and mules and loads 
and slaughtered my pages and serving-men ; but I lay down among 
the slain and they thought that I was dead, so they went away 
and left me. Then I arose and walked on, mother-naked, till 

See '"Ilam-en-Nas" (Warnings for Folk), a pleasant little volume by Mrs. 
Godfrey Clarke (London, King and Co., 1873), mostly consisting of the minor 
tales from The Nights, especially this group between Nights ccxlvii. and cdlxi. ; 
but rendered valuable by the annotations of my old friend, the late Frederick 

Kainar Al-Zainan and the Jeweller's Wife. loi 

I came to Bassorah where this man met me and clothed me and 
lodged me in his house ; he also furnished me with money, and all 
I have brought back with me I owe to none save to Allah's goodness 
and his goodness. When I departed, he gave me great store of 
wealth and I returned to the city of my birth with a heart at 
ease. I left him in competence and condition, and haply there hath 
befallen him some bale of the banes of Time, that hath forced 
him to quit his kinsfolk and country, and there happened to him 
by the way the like of what happened to me. There is nothing 
strange in this ; but now it behoveth me to requite him his 
noble dealing with me and do according to the saying of him 
who saith : — 

O who jaraisest Time with the fairest appraise, * Knowest thou what Time hath 

made and unmade ? 
What thou dost at least be it kindly done,^ * For with pay he pays shall man be 


As they were talking and telling the tale, behold, up came Obayd 
as he were Consul" of the Merchants ; whereupon they all rose to 
salute him and seated him in the place of honour. Then said 
Kamar al-Zaman to him, " O my friend, verily, thy day^ is blessed 
and fortunate ! There is no need to relate to me a thing that befel 
me before thee. If the Arabs have stripped thee and robbed thee 
of thy wealth, verily our money is the ransom of our bodies, so let 
not thy soul be troubled ; for I entered thy city naked and thou 
clothedst me and entreatedst me generously, and I owe thee many 

a kindness. But I will requite thee And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nohj to|)tn It foas tj^c Nine l^unUreti anti ^cbentiun'gjbtft Nigibt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Kamar 
al-Zaman said to Master Obayd the jeweller, " Verily I entered thy 
city naked and thou clothedst me and I owe thee many a kindness. 
But I will requite thee and do with thee even as thou didst with 
me ; nay, more : so be of good cheer and eyes clear of tear.' And 
he went on to soothe him and hinder him from speech, lest he 
should name his wife and what she had done with him ; nor did he 

^ The reader will note the persistency with which the duty of universal benevo- 
lence is preached. 

- Arab, from Pers. " Shah -bandar." 

' I.e. of thy coming, a popular compliment. 

I02 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

cease to ply him with saws and moral instances and verses and 
conceits and stories and legends and console him, till the jeweller 
saw his drift and took the hint and kept silence concerning the past, 
diverting himself with the tales and rare anecdotes he heard and 
repeating in himself these lines :— 

On the brow of the World is a writ ; an thereon thou look, * Its contents will 

compel thine eyes tears of blood to rain : 
For the World never handed to humans a cup with right, * But with left it 

compelled them a beaker of ruin to drain. 

Then Kamar al-Zaman and his father took Obayd and carrying him 
into the saloon of the Harim, shut themselves up with him ; and 
Abd al-Rahman said to him, " We did not hinder thee from speaking 
before the folk, but for fear of dishonour to thee and to us : but now 
we are private ; so tell me all that hath passed between thee and thy 
wife and my son." So he told him all, from beginning to end, and 
when he had made an end of his story, Abd al-Rahman asked him, 
" Was the fault with my son or with thy wife ? " He answered, " By 
Allah, thy son was not to blame, and the fault lieth with my wife." 
Then Abd al-Rahman arose and taking his son aside, said to him, 
" O my son, we have proved his wife and know her to be a traitress ; 
and now I mean to prove him and see if he be a man of honour and 
manliness, or a fool." "How so?" asked Kamar al-Zaman; and 
Abd al-Rahman answered, " I mean to urge him to make peace with 
his wife, and if he consent thereto and forgive her, I will smite him 
with a sword and slay him and kill her after, her and her maid, for 
there is no good in the life of a fool and a quean ; ^ but, if he turn 
from her with aversion I will marry him to thy sister and give him 
more of wealth than that thou tookest from him." Then he went 
back to Obayd and said to him, " O master, verily the way of women 
requireth patience and magnanimity, and whoso loveth them hath 
need of fortitude, for that they order themselves viper-wise towards 
men and evilly entreat them, by reason of their superiority over them 
in beauty and loveliness : wherefore they magnify themselves and 
belittle men. This is notably the case when their husbands show 
them affection ; for then they requite them with hauteur and coquetry 
and harsh dealing of all kinds. But, if a man be wroth whenever 
he seeth in his wife aught that offendeth him, there can be no fellow- 
ship between them ; nor can any hit it off with them who is not 

^ This is taking the law into one's own hands with a witness ; yet amongst 
races who preserve the Pundonor in full and pristine force, e.g. the Afghans and 
the Persian Ilyat, the killing, so far from being considered murder or even justifi- 
able homicide, would be highly commended by public opinion. 

Kamar Al-Zamaji and the Jetveller's Wife. 103 

magnanimous and long-suffering ; and unless a man bear with his 
wife and requite her faults with forgiveness, he shall get no good 
of her conversation. Indeed, it hath been said of them : — Were they 
in the sky, the necks of men would incline themwards ; and he who 
hath the power and pardoneth, his reward is with Allah. Now this 
woman is thy wife and thy companion and she hath long consorted 
with thee ; wherefore it behoveth that thou entreat her with indulgence 
which in fellowship is of the essentials of success. Furthermore, 
women fail in wit and Faith, ^ and if she have sinned she repenteth, 
and Inshallah she will not again return to that which she whilome 
did. So 'tis my rede that thou make peace with her and I will 
restore thee more than the good she took ; and if it please thee to 
abide with me, thou art welcome, thou and she, and ye shall see naught 
but what shall joy you both ; but, an thou seek to return to thine own 
land I will send thee. For that which falleth out between a man and his 
wife is manifold, and it behoveth thee to be indulgent and not take 
the way of the violent." Said the jeweller, " O my lord, and where 
is my wife ? " and said Abd al-Rahman, " She is in that upper 
chamber, go up to her and be easy with her for my sake, and 
trouble her not ; for, when my son brought her hither, he would 
have married her, but I forbade him from her and shut her up in 
yonder room, and locked the door upon her, saying in myself: — 
Haply her husband will come and I will hand her over to him safe ; 
for she is fair of favour ; and when a woman is like unto this one, it 
may not be that her husband will let her go. What I counted on 
is come about and praised be Allah Almighty for thy reunion with 
thy wife ! As for my son, I have sought him another woman in 
marriage and have married him to her : these banquets and rejoicings 
are for his wedding, and to-night I bring him to his bride. So here 
is the key of the chamber where thy wife is : take it and open the 
door and go to her." Cried Obayd, " May Allah requite thee for 
me with all good, O my lord ! " and taking the key, went up, 
rejoicing. The other thought his words had pleased him and that 
he consented thereto ; so he took the sword and following him 
unseen, stood to espy what should happen between him and his 
wife. This is how it fared with the merchant Abd al-Rahman ; but 
as for the jeweller, when he came to the chamber-door, he heard his 
wife weeping with sore weeping for that Kamar al-Zaman had married 
another than her, and the handmaid saying to her, " O my lady, how 

' Arab. " Nakisatu 'aklin wa din" : the words are attributed to the Prophet, 
whom we find saying, " Verily in your wives and children ye have an enemy, 
wherefore beware of them " (Koran Ixiv. 14) : compare i Cor. vii. 28, 32. 

I04 Alf LayCah wa Laylah. 

often have I warned thee and said, Thou wilt get no good of this 
youth : so do thou leave his company. But thou heededst not my 
words and spoiledst thy husband of all his goods and gavest them 
to him. After the Avhich thou forsookest thy place, of thy fondness 
and infatuation for him, and camest with him to this country. And 
now he hath cast thee out from his thought and married another 
and hath made the issue of thy foolish fancy for him to be durance 
vile." Cried Halimah, " Be silent, O accursed ! Though he be 
married to another, yet some day needs must I recur to his thought. 
I cannot forget the time I have spent in his company and in any 
case I console myself with his saying who said : — 

my lords, shall he to your mind occur * Who recurs to you only sans other 

mate ? 
Grant Heaven you ne'er shall forget his state * Who for state of you forgot own 
estate ! 

It cannot be but he will bethink him of my affect and converse and 
ask for me, wherefore I will not turn from living him nor change 
from passion for him, though I perish in prison ; for he is my love 
and my leach,^ and my reliance is on him that he will yet return to 
me and deal fondly with me." When the jeweller heard his wife's 
words, he went in to her and said to her, " O traitress, thy hope in 
him is as the hope of Iblis," in Heaven. All these vices were in 
thee and I knew not thereof; for, had I been ware of one single vice, 

1 had not kept thee with me an hour. But now I am certified of 
this in thee, it behoveth me to do thee die, although they put me to 
death for thee, O traitress ! " and he clutched her with both hands 
and repeated these two couplets : — 

O fair ones forth ye cast my faithful love * With sin, nor had ye aught regard for 

right : 
How long I fondly clung to you, but now * My love is loathing and I hate your 


Then he pressed hardly upon her windpipe and brake her neck, 

' Arab. " Ilabibi wa tabibi," the common jingle, 

2 Iblis and his connection with Diabolos has been noticed. The word is foreign 
as well as a P.N. and therefore is imperfectly declined, although some authorities 
deduce it from "ablasa" = he despaired (of Allah's mercy). Others call him 
Al-Haris (the Lion), hence Eve's first-born was named in his honour Abd al-Haris. 
His angelic name was Azazil before he sinned liy refusing to prostrate himself to 
Adam, as Allah had commanded the heavmly host for a trial of faith, not to 
worship the first man, but to make him a Kiblah or direction of prayer addressed 
to the Almighty. Hence Iblis was ejected from Heaven and became the arch- 
enemy of mankind (Koran xviii. 48). He was an angel but related to the 
Jinn: Al-Bayzawi, however (on Koran ii. 82), opines that angelic by nature he 
became a Jinn by act. 

Kamar Al-Zamati and the Jezueller' s Wife. 105 

whereupon her handmaid cried out " Alas, my mistress ! " Said he, 
" O wretch, 'tis thou who art to blame for all this, for that thou 
knewest this evil inclination to be in her and toldest me not." 
Then he seized upon her and strangled her. All this happened 
while Abd al-Rahman stood, brand in hand, behind the door espying 
with his eyes and hearing with his ears. Now when Obayd the 
jeweller had done this, apprehension came upon him and he feared 
the issue of his affair and said to himself, " As soon as the 
merchant learneth that I have killed them in his house, he will 
surely slay me ; yet I beseech Allah that He appoint the taking of 
my life to be while I am in the True Belief!" And he abode 
bewildered about his case and knew not what to do ; but, as he 
was thus, behold, in came Abd al-Rahman from his lurking-place 
without the door and said to him, " No harm shall befal thee, for 
indeed thou deservest safety. See this sword in my hand. 'Twas 
in my mind to slay thee, hadst thou made peace with her and 
restored her to favour, and I would also have slain her and the 
maid. But since thou hast done this deed, welcome to thee and 
again welcome ! And I will reward thee by marrying thee to my 
daughter, Kamar al-Zaman's sister." Then he carried him down 
and sent for the woman who washed the dead : whereupon it was 
bruited abroad that Kamar al-Zaman had brought with him two 
slave-girls from Bassorah and that both had deceased. So the 
people began to condole with him saying, " May thy head live ! " 
and "May Allah compensate thee!" And they washed and 
shrouded them and buried them, and none knew the truth of the 
matter. Then Abd al-Rahman sent for the Shaykh al-Islam and 
all the notables and said, " O Shaykh, draw up the contract 
of marriage between my daughter Kaukab al-Sabdh^ and Master 
Obayd the jeweller, and set down that her dowry hath been paid to 
me in full." So he wrote out the contract and Abd al-Rahman gave 
the company to drink of sherbets, and they made one wedding 
festival for the two brides, the daughter of the Shaykh al-Islam and 
Kamar al-Zaman's sister ; and paraded them in one litter on one 
and the same night ; after which they carried Kamar al-Zaman and 
Obayd in procession together and brought them in to their brides. ^ 
Then Obayd abode with them awhile in pleasance and joyance, after 

^ i.e. Star of the Morning : the first word occurs in Bar Cokba, or Barcho- 
cheba = Son of the Star, i.e. which was to come out of Jacob (Numbers xxiv. 
17). The root, which does not occur in Heb. , is Kaukab to shine. This Rabbi 
Akilah was also called Bar Cozla := Son of the Lie. 

* Here some excision has been ju^Jged advisable as the names of the bride- 
grooms and the brides recur too often. 

io6 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

which he began to yearn for his native land : so he went in to Abd 
al-Rahman and said to him, " O uncle, I long for my own country, 
for I have there estates and effects, which I left in charge of one of 
my prentices ; and I am minded to journey thither that I may sell 
my properties and return to thee. So wilt thou give me leave to go 
to my country for that purpose ? " Answered the merchant, " O my 
son, I give thee leave to do this and there be no fault in thee or 
blame to thee for these words, for ' Love of mother-land is a part 
of Religion ' ; and he who hath not good in his own country hath 
none in other folk's country. But, haply, an thou depart without 
thy wife, when thou art once come to thy native place, it may seem 
right to thee to settle there, and thou wilt be perplexed between 
returning to thy wife and sojourning in thine own home ; so it were 
the better rede that thou carry thy wife with thee ; and after, an 
thou desire to return to us, return and welcome to you both ; for we 
are folk who know not divorce and no woman of us marrieth twice, 
nor do we lightly discard a man."^ Quoth Obayd, " Uncle, I fear 
me thy daughter will not consent to journey with me to my own 
country." Replied Abd al-Rahman, " O my son, we have no women 
amongst us who gainsay their spouses, nor know we a wife who is 
wroth with her man." The jeweller cried, "Allah bless you and 
your women ! " and going in to his wife, said to her, " I am minded 
to go to my country : what sayst thou ? " Quoth she, " Indeed, my 
sire had the ordering of me whilst I was a maid, and when I 
married the ordering all passed into the hands of my lord and 
master, nor will I gainsay him." Quoth Obayd, "Allah bless thee 
and thy father ! " Then he cut his thongs - and applied himself to 
making ready for his journey. His father-in-law gave him much 
wealth and they took leave each of other, after which the jeweller and 
his wife journeyed on without ceasing till they reached Bassorah, 
where his kinsmen and comrades came out to meet him, doubting 
not but that he had been in Al-Hijd,z. Some rejoiced at his return, 
whilst others were vexed, and the folk said one to another, " Now 
will he straiten us again every Friday, as before, and we shall 
be shut up in the mosques and houses, even to our cats and our 
dogs." On such wise it fared with him ; but as regards the King 
of Bassorah, when he heard of his return, he was wroth with 
him and, sending for him, upbraided him and said to him, "Why 

' See the note by Lane's Shaykh at the beginning of the tale. The contrast 
between the vicious wife of servile origin and the virtuous wife of noble birth is 
fondly dwelt upon but not exaggerated. 

- i.e. those of his water skins for the journey, which as usual required patching 
and supplying with fresh handles after long lying dry. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 107 

didst thou depart without letting me know of thy departure? 
Was I unable to give thee somewhat wherewith thou mightest 
have succoured thyself in thy pilgrimage to the Holy House of 
Allah?" Replied the jeweller, "Pardon, O my lord! By Allah, 
I went not on the pilgrimage ! but there have befallen me such 
and such things." Then he told him all that had betided him 
with his spouse and with i\.bd al-Rahman of Cairo and how the 
merchant had given him his daughter to wife, ending with these 
words, "And I have brought her to Bassorah." Said the King, " By 
the Lord, did I not fear Allah the Most High, I would slay thee and 
marry this noble lady after thy death, though I spent on her mints 
of money, because she befitteth none but Kings. But Allah hath 
appointed her of thy portion and may He bless thee in her ! So 
look thou use her well." Then he bestowed largesse on the jeweller, 
who went out from before him and abode with his wife five years, 
after which he was admitted to the mercy of the Almighty. Pre- 
sently the King sought his widow in wedlock ; but she refused, 
saying, " O King, never among my kindred was a woman who 
married again after her husband's death ; wherefore I will never take 
another husband, nor will I marry thee ; no, though thou kill me." 
Then he sent to her one who said, " Dost thou seek to go to thy 
native land?" And she answered, "An thou do good, thou shalt 
be requited therewith." So he collected for her all the jeweller's 
wealth and added unto her of his own, after the measure of his 
degree. Lastly he sent with her one of his Wazirs, a man famous 
for goodness and piety, and an escort of five hundred horse, who 
journeyed with her till they brought her to her father ; and in 
his home she abode, without marrying again, till she died and they 
died all. So, if this woman would not consent to replace her dead 
husband with a Sultan, how shall she be compared with one who 
replaced her husband, whilst he was yet alive, with a youth of unknown 
extraction and condition ? Wherefore he who deemeth all women 
alike,^ there is no remedy for the disease of his insanity. And glory 
be to Him to whom belongeth the Empire of the Seen and the 
Unseen, and He is the Living, who dieth not ! And among the tales 
they tell, O auspicious King, is one of 

^ A popular saying also applied to men. It is usually accompanied with show- 
ing the open hand and a reference to the size oi the fingers. 

io8 Alf Lay /ah iva Laylah. 


The Caliph Harun al-Rashid was one day examining the tributes of 
his various provinces and viceroyalties, when he observed that the 
contributions of all the countries and regions had come into the 
treasury, except that of Bassorah, which had not arrived that year. 
So he held a Divan because of this and said, *' Hither to me with 
the Wazir Ja'afar;" and when they brought him into the presence 
he thus bespoke him, " The tributes of all the provinces have come 
into the treasury save that of Bassorah, no part whereof hath arrived." 
Ja'afar replied, "O Commander of the Faithful, belike there hath 
befallen the Governor of Bassorah something that hath diverted him 
from sending the tribute." Quoth the Caliph, " The time of the 
coming of the tribute was twenty days ago ; what, then, can be his 
excuse, for that in this time, he hath neither sent it nor sent to show 
cause for not doing so ? " And quoth the Minister, " O Commander of 
the Faithful, if it please thee, we will send him a messenger." Rejoined 
the Cahph, " Send him Abu Ishak al-Mausili,'-^ the boon companion j 
and Ja'afar, " Hearkening and obedience to Allah and to thee, O 
Prince of True Believers ! " Then he returned to his house and 
summoning Abu Ishak, wrote him a royal writ and said to him, 
" Go to Abdullah bin Fazil, Viceroy of Bassorah, and see what 
hath diverted him from sending the tribute. If it be ready, do thou 
receive it from him in full and bring it to me in haste, for the 
Caliph hath examined the tributes of the provinces and findeth that 
they are all come in, except that of Bassorah : but an thou see that 
it is not ready and he make an excuse to thee, bring him back with 
thee, that he may report his excuse to the Caliph with his own 
tongue." Answered Abu Ishak, " I hear and I obey ;" and taking 
with him five thousand horse of Ja'afar's host set out for Bassorah. 
Now when Abdullah bin Fazil heard of his approach, he went out to 
meet him with his troops, and led him into the city and carried him 
to his palace, whilst the escort encamped without the town-walls, 

^ Lane owns that this is " one of the most entertaining tales in the work," but 
he omits it " because its chief and best portion is essentially the same as ' The 
Story of the First of the Three Ladies of Baghdad.' " The truth is he was 
straitened for space by his publisher and thus compelled to cut out some of the 
best stories in The Nights. 

- i.e. Ibrahim of Mo^ul, the musician poet often mentioned in The Nights. I 
must again warn the reader that the name is pronounced Is-hdk (like Isaac with 
a central aspirate) not Ishak. This is not unnecessary when we hear Tait-shill 
for Tail's hill and " Frederick-shall " for Friedrichshall. 

Abdullah din Fazil afid his Brothers. 109 

where he appointed to them all whereof they stood in need. So 
Abu Ishak entered the audience-chamber and sitting down on the 
throne, seated the Governor beside himself, whilst the notables sat 
round him according to their several degrees. After salutation 
with the salam Abdullah bin Fazil said to him, " C my lord, is there 
for thy coming to us any cause?" and said Abu Ishak, "Yes, I 
come to seek the tribute ; for the Caliph enquireth of it and the 
time of its coming is gone by." Rejoined Abdullah bin Fazil, "O 
my lord, would Heaven thou hadst not wearied thyself nor taken 
upon thyself the hardships of the journey ! For the tribute is ready 
in full tale, and complete, and I purpose to despatch it to-morrow. 
But, since thou art come, I will entrust it to thee, after I have en- 
tertained thee three days ; and on the fourth day I will set the 
tribute between thine hands. But it behoveth us now to offer thee 
a present in part requital of thy kindness and the goodness of the 
Commander of the Faithful." *' There is no harm in that," said Abu 
Ishak. So Abdullah bin Fazil dismissed the Divan, and carrying 
him into a saloon that had not its match, bade set a tray of food 
before him and his companions. They ate and drank and made 
merry and enjoyed themselves ; after which the tray was removed 
and there came coffee and sherbets. They sat conversing till a 
third part of the night was past, when they spread for Abu Ishak 
bedding on an ivory couch inlaid with gold glittering sheeny. So 
he lay down and the Viceroy lay down beside him on another 
couch ; but wakefulness possessed Abu Ishak and he fell to medi- 
tating on the metres of prosody and poetical composition, for 
that he was one of the primest of the Caliph's boon-companions 
and he had a mighty fine fore-arm^ in producing verses and 
pleasant stories ; nor did he leave to lie awake improvising poetry 
until half the night was passed. Presently, behold, Abdullah bin 
Fazil arose, and girding his middle, opened a locker,^ whence he 
brought out a whip ; then, taking a lighted waxen taper, he went 

forth by the door of the saloon And. Shahrazad was surprised 

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

Koto to|)£n It foas ti^e Nine f^untircti anti ^ebcntg=nint]^ Ni'gj^t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ab- 
dullah bin Fazil went forth by the door of the saloon deeming Abu 

' i.e. he was a proficient, an adept. 

"^ Arab, from Pers. Dulab — a waterwheel, a buttery, a cupboard. 

no Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Ishak asleep, the Caliph's cup-companion, seeing this, marvelled 
and said in himself, " Whither wendeth Abdullah bin Fazil with that 
whip ? Perhaps he is minded to punish somebody. But needs must 
I follow him and see what he will do this night." So he arose and 
went out after him softly, very softly, that he might not be seen, and 
presently saw him open a closet and take thence a tray containing 
four dishes of meat and bread and a gugglet of water. Then he 
went on, carrying the tray and secretly followed by Abu Ishak, till 
he came to another saloon and entered, whilst the cup-companion 
stood behind the door and, looking through the chink, saw a 
spacious saloon, furnished with the richest furniture and having in 
its midst a couch of ivory plated with gold glittering sheeny, to which 
two dogs were made fast with chains of gold. Then Abdullah set 
down the tray in a corner and tucking up his sleeves, loosed the 
first dog, which began to struggle in his hands and put its muzzle to 
the floor, as it would kiss the ground before him, whining the while 
in a weak voice. Abdullah tied its paws behind its back and 
throwmg it on the ground, drew forth the whip and beat it with a 
painful beating and a pitiless. The dog struggled, but could not 
get free, and Abdullah ceased not to beat it with the same whip till 
it left groaning and lay without consciousness. Then he took it 
and tied it up in its place, and unbinding the second dog, did 
with him as he had done with the first ; after which he pulled out a 
kerchief and fell to wiping away their tears and comforting them, 
saying, " Bear me not malice ; for by Allah, this is not of my will, 
nor is it easy to me ! But it may be Allah will grant you relief 
from this strait and issue from your affliction." And he prayed for 
the twain what while Abu Ishak the cup-companion stood hearken- 
ing with his ears and espying with his eyes, and indeed he marvelled 
at his case. Then Abdullah brought the dogs the tray of food and 
fell to morselUng them with his own hand, till they had enough, 
when he wiped their muzzles and lifting up the gugglet, gave them 
to drink ; after which he took up the tray, gugglet and candle and 
made for the door. But Abu Ishak forewent him and making his 
way back to his couch, lay down ; so that he saw him not, neither 
knew that he had walked behind him and watched him. Then the 
Governor replaced the tray and the gugglet in the closet, and return- 
ing to the saloon, opened the locker and laid the whip in its place ; 
after which he doffed his clothes and lay down. But Abu Ishak 
passed the rest of that night pondering this affair, neither did sleep 
visit him for excess of wonderment, and he ceased not to say in 
himself, " I wonder what may be the meaning of this ! " Nor did 
he leave wondering till daybreak, when they arose and prayed the 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. iii 

dawn-prayer. Then they set the breakfast ^ before them and they 
ate and drank coffee, after which they went out to the Divan. Now 
Abu Ishak's thought was occupied with this mystery all day long, but 
he concealed the matter and questioned not Abdullah thereof. 
Next night, he again followed the Governor and saw him do with the 
two dogs as on the previous night, first beating them and then 
making his peace with them and giving them to eat and to drink ; and 
so also he did the third night. On the fourth day Abdullah brought 
his tribute to Abu Ishak who took it and departed, without opening 
the matter to him. He fared on, without ceasing, till he came to 
Baghdad, where he delivered the tribute to the Caliph, who ques- 
tioned him of the cause of its delay. Replied he, " O Commander 
of the Faithful, I found that the Governor of Bassorah had made 
ready the tribute and was about to despatch it ; and had I delayed 
a day, it would have met me on the road. But, O Prince of True 
Believers, I had a wondrous adventure with Abdullah bin Fazil ; 
never in my life saw I its like." "And what was it, O Abu Ishak?" 
asked the Caliph. So he replied, " I saw such and such ; " and, 
brief, acquainted him with that which the Governor had done with 
the two dogs, adding, " After such fashion I saw him do three suc- 
cessive nights, first beating the dogs, then making his peace with 
them and comforting them and giving them to eat and drink, I 
watching him, and he seeing me not." Asked the Caliph, " Didst 
thou question him of the cause of this ? " and the other answered, 
" No, as thy head liveth, O Commander of the Faithful." Then 
said Al-Rashid, " O Abu Ishak, I command thee to return to Bas- 
sorah and bring me Abdullah bin Fazil and the two dogs." Quoth 
he, " O Commander of the Faithful, excuse me from this ; for 
indeed Abdullah entertained me with exceedingly hospitable enter- 
tainment and I became ware of this case by chance undesigned and 
acquainted thee therewith. So how can I go back to him and bring 
him to thee ? Verily, if I return to him, I shall find me no face for 
shame of him : wherefore 'twere meet that thou send him another 
than myself, with a letter under thine own hand, and he shall bring 
him to thee, him and the two dogs." But quoth the Caliph, " If I 
send him other than thyself, peradventure he will deny the v/hole 
affair and say, I have no dogs. But if I send thee and thou say to 
him, I saw them with mine own eyes, he will not be able to deny 

^ Arab. " Futiir," the Chhotihaziri of Anglo-India or break-fast proper, eaten 
by Moslems immediately after the dawn-prayer except in Ramazan. Amongst 
sensible people it is a substantial meal of bread and boiled beans, eggs, cheese, 
curded milk and the pastry called fatirah, followed by coffee and a pipe. See 
Lane M.E. chapt. v. and my Pilgrimage ii. 48. 

112 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

that. Wherefore nothing will serve but that thou go and fetch 

him and the two dogs ; otherwise I will surely slay thee." ^ 

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

iJCotu tDJbcn it hjas \\z Nine f^unlircU anti ([BiattiEtlb llCtgtt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
the Caliph Harun al-Rashid said to Abu Ishak, "Nothing will 
serve but that thou go and fetch him and the two dogs ; otherwise 
I will surely slay thee." Abu Ishak replied, " Hearing and obeying, 
O Commander of the Faithful : Allah is our aidance and good 
is the Agent. He spake sooth who said, ' Man's wrong is from 
the tongue ; ' ^ and 'tis I who sinned against myself in telling thee. 
But write me a royal rescript ^ and I will go to him and bring him 
back to thee." So the Caliph gave him an autograph and he took 
it and repaired to Bassorah. Seeing him come in, the Governor said, 
" Allah forfend us from the mischief of thy return, O Abu Ishak ! 
How Cometh it I see thee return in haste ! Peradventure the tribute 
is deficient and the Caliph will not accept it?" Answered Abu 
Ishak, " O Emir Abdullah, my return is not on account of the defi- 
ciency of the tribute, for 'tis full measure and the Caliph accepteth 
it ; but I hope that thou wilt excuse me, for that I have failed in my 
duty as thy guest and indeed this lapse of mine was decreed of Allah 
Almighty." Abdullah enquired, "And what maybe the lapse?" 
and he replied, " Know that when I was with thee, I followed thee 
three following nights and saw thee rise at midnight and beat the 
dogs and return ; whereat I marvelled, but was ashamed to question 
thee thereof. When I came back to Baghdad, I told the CaUph of 
thine affair, casually and without design, whereupon he charged me 
to return to thee, and here is a letter under his hand. Had I known 
that the affair would lead to this, I had not told him, but Destiny 
foreordained thus." And he went on to excuse himself to him ; 
whereupon said Abdullah, " Since thou hast told him this, I will 
bear out thy report with him, lest he deem thee a liar, for thou art 
my friend. Were it other than thou, I had denied the affair and 

^ This "off-with-his-head" style must not be understood literally. As I have 
noted, it is intended by the writer to show the kingship and the majesty of the 
♦' Vicar of Allah." 

■■^ Lit. " the calamity of man (insan) is from the tongue" (lisan). 

^ For Khatt Sharif, lit. = a noble letter. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 113 

given him the he. But now I will go with thee and carry the two 
dogs with me, though this be to me ruin-rife and the ending of my 
term of life." Rejoined the other, " Allah will veil ' thee, even as 
thou hast veiled my face with the Caliph ! " Then Abdullah took a 
present beseeming the Commander of the Faithful and mounting 
the dogs with him, each on a camel, bound with chains '^ of gold, 
journeyed with Abu Ishak to Baghdad, where he went in to the 
Caliph and kissed ground before him. He deigned bid him sit ; so 
he sat down and brought the two dogs before Al-Rashid, who said to 
him, "What be these dogs, O Emir Abdullah? " Whereupon they 
fell to kissing the floor between his hands and wagging their tails and 
weeping, as if complaining to him. The Caliph marvelled at this 
and said to the Governor, " Tell me the history of these two dogs 
and the reason of thy beating them and after entreating them with 
honour." He replied, " O Vicar of Allah, these be no dogs, but 
two young men, endowed with beauty and seemliness, symmetry 
and shapeliness, and they are my brothers and the sons of my 
father and mother." Asked the Caliph, " How is it that they were 
men and are become dogs ? " and he answered, " An thou give me 
leave, O Prince of True Believers, I will acquaint thee with the 
truth of the circumstance." Said Al-Rashid, " Tell me and 'ware of 
leasing, for 'tis of the fashion of the hypocrites ; and look thou speak 
truth, for that is the Ark ^ of safety and the mark of virtuous men." 
Rejoined Abdullah, " Know then, O Vice-regent of Allah, when I 
tell thee the story of these dogs, they will both bear witness against 
me : an I speak sooth they will certify it and if I lie they will give 
me the he." Cried the Caliph, " These are of the dogs ; they can- 
not speak nor answer ; so how can they testify for thee or against 
thee ? " But Abdullah said to them, " O my brothers, if I speak a 
lying word, do ye lift your heads and stare with your eyes ; but an 
sooth I say, hang down your heads and lower your eyes." Then said 
he to the Caliph : — Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that we 
are three brothers by one mother and the same father. Our sire's 

^ Arab. "Allah yastura-k "= protect thee by hiding what had better be 

^ Arab. "Janazir"=: chains, an Arabised plural of the Pers. Zanjir with the 
metathesis or transposition of letters peculiar to the vulgar; " Janazlr " for 

^ Arab. "Safinah" = (Noah's) Ark, a myth derived from the Baris of Egypt 
with subsequent embellishments from the Babylonian deluge legends : the latter 
may have been survivals of the days when the waters of the Persian Gulf 
extended to the niuuntains of Eastern Syria. Hence I would explain the 
existence of extinct volcanoes within sight of Damascus (see Unexplored Syria 
i. p. 159) visited, I believe, for the first time by my late friend Charles F. 
Tyrwhitt Drake and myself in May, 187 1. 


114 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

name was Fazil and he was so named because his mother bare two 
sons at one birth, one of whom died forthright and the other twin 
remained ahve, wherefore his sire named him Fazil — the Remainder. 
His father brought him up and reared him well till he grew to 
manhood, when he married him to our mother and died. Our mother 
conceived a first time and bare this my first brother, whom our sire 
named Mansiir ; then she conceived again and bare this my 
second brother, whom he named Nasir^; after which she con- 
ceived a third time and bare me, whom he named Abdullah. My 
father reared us all three till we came to man's estate, when he 
died, leaving us a house and a shop full of coloured stuffs of all 
kinds, Indian and Greek and Khordsani and what not, besides 
sixty thousand dinars. We washed him and buried him to the ruth 
of his Lord, after which we built him a splendid monument and let 
pray for him prayers for the deliverance of his soul from the fire and 
held perlections of the Koran and gave alms on his behalf, till the 
forty days ^ were past ; when I called together the merchants and 
nobles of the folk and made them a sumptuous entertainment. As 
soon as they had eaten, I said to them, " O merchants, verily this 
world is ephemeral, but the next world is eternal, and extolled be 
the perfection of Him who endureth always after His creatures 
have passed away ! Know ye why I have called you together this 
blessed day ? " And they answered, " Extolled be Allah, sole Scient 
of the hidden things." ^ Quoth I, " My father died, leaving much 
of money, and I fear lest any have a claim against him for a debt or 
a pledge ^ or what not else, and I desire to discharge my father's obli- 
gations towards the folk. Accordingly whoso hath any demand on him, 
let him say : — He oweth me so and so, and I will satisfy it to him, 
that I may acquit the responsibility of my sire."^ The merchants 
replied, " O Abdullah, verily the goods of this world stand not in 

^ Mansiir and Nasirare passive and active participles from the same root, Nasr 
= victory ; the former means triumphant and the latter triumphing. 

■ The normal term of Moslem mourning, which Mohammed greatly reduced 
disliking the abuse of it by the Jews, who even in the present day are the strictest 
in its oi)servance. 

^ An euphuistic and euphemistic style of saying, " No, we don't know.'' 

* Arab. " Rahan," an article placed with him in pawn. 

* A Moslem is bound, not only by honour but by religion, to discharge the 
debts of his dead father and mother and so save them from punishment on Judg- 
ment-day. Mohammed, who enjoined mercy to debtors while in the flesh 
(chapt. ii. 280, etc.), said, " Allah covereth all faults except debt ;" that is to say, 
there will be punishment therefor. Also "A martyr shall be pardoned every 
fault but debt." On one occasion he refused to pray for a Moslem who died 
insolvent. Such harshness is a curious contrast with the leniency which advised 
the creditor to remit debts by way of alms ; and practically this mild view of 
indebtedness renders it highly unadvisable to oblige a Moslem friend with a loan. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 115 

stead of those of the world to come, and we are no fraudful folk, but 
all of us know the lawful from the unlawful and fear Almighty Allah 
and abstain from devouring the substance of the orphan. We know 
that thy father (Allah have mercy on him !) still let his money lie 
with the folk,' nor did he suffer any man's claim on him to go 
unquitted, and we have ever heard him declare = — I am fearful of 
the people's substance. He used always to say in his prayers, O my 
God, Thou art my stay and my hope ! Let me not die while in 
debt. And it was of his wont that, if he owed anyone aught, 
he would pay it to him, without being pressed, and if any owed 
him aught he would not dun him, but would say to him, At thy 
leisure. If his debtor were poor, he would release him from his 
liability and acquit him of responsibility ; and if he were not poor 
and died in his debt, he would say, " Allah forgive him what he owed 
me ! And we all testify that he owed no man aught." Quoth I, 
" May Allah bless you ! " Then I turned to these my brothers and 
said, " Our father owed no man aught and hath left us much money 
and stuffs, besides the house and the shop. Now we are three and 
each of us is entitled to one third part. So shall we agree to waive 
division and dwell copartners in our wealth and eat together and 
drink together, or shall we apportion the stuffs and the money 
and take each his part ? " Said they, " We will divide them and 
take each his share." (Then Abdullah turned to the two dogs and 
said to them, " Did it happen thus, O my brothers ? " and they 
bowed their heads and lowered their eyes, as to say, " Yes.") 
Abdullah continued : — I called in a departitor from the Kazi's 
court, O Prince of True Believers, and he distributed amongst us 
the money and the stuffs and all our father had left, allotting the 
house and shop to me in exchange for a part of the coin and clothes 
to which I was entitled. We were content with this ; so the house 
and shop fell to my share, whilst my brothers took their portion in 
money and stuffs. I opened the shop and stocking it with my 
stuffs bought others with the money apportioned to me, over and 
above the house and shop, till the place was full, and I sat selling 
and buying. As for my brothers, they purchased stuffs and hiring a 
ship, set out on a voyage to the far abodes of folk. Quoth I, 
" Allah aid them both ! As for me, my livelihood is ready to my 
hand and peace is priceless." I abode thus a whole year, during 
which time Allah opened the door of fortune to me and I gained 
great gains, till I became possessed of the like of that which 

^ i.e. he did not press them for payment ; and, it must be remembered, he 
received no interest upon his moneys, this being forbidden in the Koran. 

1 1 6 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

our father had left us. One day, as I sat in my shop, with two 
fur pehsses on me, one of sable and the other of meniver,^ for 
it was the season of winter and the time of the excessive cold, 
behold, there came up to me my two brothers, each clad in a ragged 
shirt and nothing more, and their lips were white with cold, and 
they were shivering. When I saw them in this plight, it was 

grievous to me and I mourned for them And Shahrazad was 

surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

l<robD toi)en it bjas tfte tNTine f^unUrctr anti lEigfitr) -first ^tgfjt, 

She pursued. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah 
bin Fazil continued to the Caliph : — When I saw them in this 
plight, it was grievous to me and I mourned for them and my 
reason fled my head. So I rose and embraced them and wept over 
their condition : then I put on one of them the pelisse of sable and 
on the other the fur coat of meniver ^ and, carrying them to the 
Hammam, sent thither for each of them a suit of apparel such as 
befitted a merchant worth a thousand.- When they had washed and 
donned each his suit, I carried them to my house where, seeing 
them well nigh famished, I set a tray of food before them and ate 
with them, caressing them and comforting them. (Then he again 
turned to the two dogs and said to them, " Was this so, O my 
brothers ? " and they bent their heads and lowered their eyes.) So 
Abdullah continued : — When they had eaten, O Vicar of Allah, 
quoth I to them, "What hath befallen you and where are your 
goods? " and quoth they, " We fared up the river,^ till we came to 
a city called Cufa, where we sold for ten dinars the piece of stuff 
that had cost half a ducat and that which cost us a ducat for twenty. 
So we profited greatly and bought Persian stuffs at the rate of ten 
sequins per piece of silk worth forty at Bassorah. Thence we 

^ Al-Mas'udi (chap, xvii.) alludes to furs of sable (Samur), hermelline 
(Al-Farwah) and Bortas (Turkish) furs of black and red foxes. Sinjab is Persian 
for the skin of the grey squirrel {Mus lennnus the lemming), the meniver, 
erroneously miniver (menu vair), as opposed to the ermine = Mus Armenius, or 
miistela ermiuia. I never visit England without being surprised at the vile furs 
worn by the rich, and the folly of the poor in not adopting the sheepskin with the 
wool inside and the leather well tanned which keeps the peasant warm and 
comfortable between Croatia and Afghanistan. 

^ Arab. " Tajir Alfi," which may mean a thousand dinars (;^50o) or a thousand 
purses (— ;^5,ooo). "Alfi" is not an uncommon P. N., meaning that the bearer 
(Pasha or pauper) had been bought for a thousand, left indefinite. 

3 Tigris-Euphrates. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 117 

removed to a city called Al-Karkh ^ where we sold and bought and 
made gain galore and amassed of wealth great store." And they 
went on to set forth to me the places and the profits. So I said to 
them, " Since ye had such good luck and lot, how cometh it that I 
see you return naked?" They sighed and answered, "O our 
brother, someone must have evil-eyed us, and in travel there is no 
trusting. When we had gotten together these moneys and goods, we 
freighted a ship therewith and set sail, intending for Bassorah. We 
fared on three days, and on the fourth day we saw the sea rise and 
fall and roar and foam and swell and dash, whilst the waves clashed 
together with a crash, striking out sparks like fire " in the darks. 
The winds blew contrary for us and our craft struck upon the point 
of a hill-projected rock, when it brake up and plunged us into the 
river, and all we had with us was lost in the waters. We abode 
struggling on the surface a day and a night, till Allah sent us 
another ship, whose crew picked us up and we begged our way from 
town to town, suffering mighty sore hardships and selling our body- 
clothes piecemeal, to buy us food, till we drew near Bassorah ; nor 
did we make the city till we had drained the draught of a thousand 
miseries. Indeed, had we come safely off with that which was by us, 
we had brought back riches that might be evened with those of the 
King : but this was fore-ordained to us of Allah." I said, " O my 
brothers, let not your hearts be grieved, for wealth is the ransom of 
bodies and safety is property. Since Allah hath written you of the 
saved, this is the end of desire, for want and wealth are but as it 
were illusions of dreams, and God-gifted is he who said : — 

An a man from destruction can save his head * Let him hold his wealth as a 
slice of nail. 

I continued, " O my brothers, we will suppose that our sire died 
to-day and left us all this wealth that is with me, for I am right 
willing to share it with you equally." So I fetched a departitor 
from the Kazi's court and brought out to him all my money, which 
he distributed into three equal parts, and we each took one. Then 
said I to them, '' O my brothers, Allah blesseth a man in his daily 
bread, if he be in his own country : so let each of you open him a 
shop and sit therein to get his living ; and he to whom aught is 
ordained in the Secret Purpose," needs must he get it." Accordingly, 

^ Possibly the quarter of Baghdad so called and mentioned in The Nights more 
than once. 

- For this fiery sea see Sind Revisited, i. 19. 

^ Arab. " Al-Ghayb," which may also mtan "in the future" (unknown to 

ii8 A If Lay /ah wa Laylah. 

I helped each of them to open a shop and filled it for him with 
goods, saying to them, " Sell and buy and keep your moneys and 
spend naught thereof; for all ye need of meat and drink and so 
forth I will furnish to you." I continued to entreat them generously, 
and they fell to selling and buying by day and returning at eventide 
to my house where they lay the night ; nor would I suffer them to 
expend aught of their own substance. But, whenever I sat talking 
with them, they would praise travel and proclaim its pleasures and 
vaunt the gains they had made therein ; and they ceased not to 
urge me to accompany them in travelling over foreign parts. (Then 
he said to the dogs, " Was this so, O my brothers? " and they again 
bowed their heads and lowered their eyes in confirmation of his 
words.) He continued : — On such wise, O Vicar of Allah, they 
continued to urge me and tempt me to travel by vaunting the great 
gains and profits to be obtained thereby, till I said to them, " Needs 
must I fare with you for your sake ! " Then I entered into a con- 
tract of partnership with them and we chartered a ship, and packing 
up all manner of precious stuffs and merchandise of every manner, 
freighted her therewith ; after which we embarked in her all we needed 
and, setting sail from Bassorah, launched out into the dashing sea, 
swollen with clashing surge, whereinto whoso entereth is lone and 
lorn and whence whoso cometh forth is as a babe new-born. We 
ceased not sailing till we came to a city of the cities, where we sold 
and bought and made great cheape. Thence we went on to another 
place, and we ceased not to pass from land to land and port to port, 
selling and buying and profiting, till we had gotten us great wealth 
and much advantage. Presently, we came to a mountain,^ where 
the captain cast anchor and said to us, " O passengers, go ye ashore ; 
ye shall be saved from this day,^ and make search ; it may be ye 
shall find water." So all landed, I amongst the crowd, and dis- 
persed about the island in search of water. As for me, I climbed 
to the top of the mountain, and whilst I went along, lo and behold ! 
I saw a white snake fleeing and followed by a black dragon foul of 
favour and frightful of form, hotly pursuing her. Presently he over- 
took her and catching her, seized her by the head and wound his 
tail about her, whereupon she cried out and I knew that he purposed 
to kill her. So 1 was moved to ruth for her, and taking up a lump 
of granite,^ five pounds or more in weight, hurled it at the dragon. 

^ " Arab. " Jabal " ; here a mountainous island. 

- i.e. ye shall be spared this day's miseries. See my Pilgrimage, vol. i. 314, 
and the deli.eht with which we glided into Marsa Damghah. 

•'' Arab. " Suwan "= " Syenite " (-granite), also used for flint and other hard 

Abdullah biji Fazil and his Brothers. 119 

It smote him on the head and crushed it, and ere I knew, the white 
snake changed and became a young girl bright with beauty and love- 
liness and brilliancy and perfect grace, as she were the shining full 
moon, who came up to me, and, kissing my hands, said to me, 
" Allah veil thee with two-fold veils, one from shame in this world 
and the other from the flame in the world to come on the day of the 
Great Upstanding, the day when neither wealth nor children shall 
avail save to him who shall come to Allah with a sound heart ! " ■• 
And presently she continued, " O mortal, thou hast saved my life 
and I am indebted to thee for kindness, wherefore it behoveth me 
to requite thee." So saying, she signed with her hand to the earth, 
which opened and she descended thereinto : then it closed up again 
over her and by this I knew that she was of the Jinn. As for the 
dragon, fire was kindled in him and consumed him and he became 
ashes. I marvelled at this and returned to my comrades, whom I 
acquainted with whatso I had seen, and we passed the night on the 
island. When the morrow came the captain weighed anchor and spread 
the sails and coiled the ropes and we sailed till the shore faded from 
our gaze. We fared on twenty days, without seeing or land or bird, 
till our drink was at an end, and quoth the Rais to us, " O folk, 
our fresh water is spent." Quoth we, " Let us make for land ; haply 
we shall find water." But he exclaimed, " By Allah, I have lost my 
way and I know not what course will bring me to the seaboard." 
Thereupon betided us sore chagrin and we wept and besought 
Almighty iVllah to guide us into the right course. We passed that 
night in the sorriest case : but God-gifted is he who said : — 

How many a night have I spent in woes * That would grizzle the suckling-babe 

with fear : 
But morrowed not morn ere to me there came * 'Aidance from Allah and victory 


But when the day arose in its sheen and shone, we caught sight of a 
high mountain and rejoiced therein, and when we came to its skirts, 
the captain said to us, " O folk, go ashore and seek for water." So 
we all landed and sought water but found none, whereat we were 

' Koran xxiv. Male children are to the Arab as much prized an object of 
possession as riches, since without them wealth is of no value to him. Mohammed, 
therefore, couples wealth with children as the two things wherewith one wards 
off the ills of this world, though they are powerless against those of the world to 

^ An exclamation derived from the Surat Nasr (ex. i) one of the most affecting 
in the Koran. It gave Mohammed warning of his death and caused Al-Abbas 
to shed tears ; the Prophet sings a song of victory in the ixth year of the Hijrah 
(he died in the xth) and implores the pardon of his lord. 

120 Alf Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

sore afflicted because we were suffering for want of it. As for me, 
I climbed up to the mountain-top and on the other side thereof 
I saw a spacious circle ^ distant from us an hour's journey or more. 
Presently I called my companions and as soon as they all rejoined 
me, said to them, " Look at yonder basin behind this mountain ; for 
I see therein a city high of base and a strong-cornered place girt 
with sconce and rampartry, pasturage and lea, and doubtless it 
Avanteth not water and good things. So hie we thither and fetch 
drink therefrom and buy what we need of provisions, meat and fruit, 
and return." But they said, " We fear lest the city-folk be Kafirs 
ascribing to Allah partners and they be foes of The Faith and lay hand 
on us and take us captive or else slay us ; so should we cause the 
loss of our own lives, having cast ourselves into destruction and evil 
emprise. Indeed, the proud and presumptuous are never praise- 
worthy, for that they ever fare in danger of calamities, even as saitii 
of such an one a certain poet : — 

Long as earth is earth, long as sky is sky, * The o'erproud is blamed tho' from 
risk he fly ! 

So we will not expose ourselves to peril." I replied, " O folk, I have 
no authority over you ; so 1 will take my brothers and go to yonder 
city." But my brothers said to me, "We also fear this thing and 
will not go with thee." Quoth I, " As for me, I am resolved to go 
thither, and I put my trust in Allah and accept whatsoever He shall 
decree to me. Do ye therefore await me, whilst I wend thither and 

return to you twain." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Xobj bji)cn it luas tijc Niw; |i.^unDrcti ant( ©igl)tg=SfConti l^'x^x. 

She resumed. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah 
said, " Do ye twain await me whilst I wend thither and return to 
you." So I left them and walked on till I came to the gate of the 
place and saw it a city of building wondrous and projection marvel- 
lous, with boulevards high-towering and towers strong-builded and 
palaces high-soaring. Its portals were of Chinese iron, rarely gilded 
and graven on such wise as confounded the wit. I entered the gate- 
way and saw there a stone bench, whereon sat a man bearing on 
his forearm a chain of brass, whereto hung fourteen keys ; so I knew 

• Arab. '« Dairah," a basin surrounded by hills. The words which follow may 
mean, "An hour's journey or more in breaath. " 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 121 

him to be the porter of the city and that it had fourteen gates. I 

drew near him and said to him, " Peace be with thee !" but he 

returned not my salam and I saluted him a second and a third time ; 

but he made me no reply. Then I laid my hand on his shoulde r 

and said to him, " Ho thou, why dost thou not return my salam ? 

Art thou asleep or deaf or other than a Moslem, that thou refrainest 

from exchanging the salutation ? " But he answered me not, neither 

stirred ; so I considered him and saw that he was stone. Quoth I, 

"Verily an admirable matter! This is a stone wroughten in the 

semblance of a son of Adam and warning in naught save speech ! " 

Then I left him and entering the city, beheld a man standing in the 

road : so I went up to him and scrutinised him and found him stone. 

Presently, as I walked adown the broadways and saw that this was 

everywhere the case, I met an old woman bearing on her head a 

bundle of clothes ready for washing ; so I went up to her and examining 

her, saw that she was stone, and the bundle of clothes on her head was 

stone also.^ Then I fared for the market, where I sighted an oilman 

with his scales set up and fronted by various kinds of wares such as 

cheese and so forth, all of stone. Moreover, I espied all manner of 

tradesmen seated in their shops, and men and women and children, 

some standing and some sitting ; but they were all stone ; and the 

stuffs were like spiders' webs. I amused myself with looking upon 

them, and as often as I laid hold upon a piece of stuff, it powdered 

in my hands like dust dispread. Presently I beheld some chests, and 

opening one of them, found it full of gold in bags ; so I laid hold 

upon the bags, but they crumbled away in my grasp, whilst the gold 

abode unchanged. I carried off of it what I could carry and said to 

myself, " Were my brothers with me, they might take of this gold 

their fill and possess themselves of these hoards which have no 

owner." Then I entered another shop and found therein more than 

this, but could bear away no more than I had borne. I left this 

market and went on to another and thence to another and another, 

much enjoying the sight of all manner of creatures of various kinds, 

all several stones, even to the dogs and the cats, till I came to the 

goldsmiths' bazar, where I found men sitting in their shops, with their 

stock-in-trade about them, some in their hands and others in crates 

of wicker-work. When I saw this, O Commander of the Faithful, 

I threw down the gold and loaded myself with goldsmiths' ware, as 

much as I could carry. Then I went on to the jewel-market and 

sighted there the jewellers seated in their shops, each with a tray before 

^ These petrified folk have occurred in the " Eldest Lady's Tale," where they 
are of " black stone." 

122 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

him, full of all sorts of precious stones, jacinths and diamonds and 
emeralds and balass rubies and so forth : but all the shop-keepers 
were stones ; whereupon I threw away the goldsmiths' ware and 
carried off as many jewels as I could carry, regretting that my 
brothers were not with me, so they might take what they would of 
those costly gems. Then I left the jewel-market and went on till I 
came to a great door, quaintly gilded and decorated after the fairest 
fashion, within which were wooden benches, and in the porch sat 
eunuchs and body-guards, horsemen, and footmen and officers of 
police, each and every robed in the richest of raiment ; but they 
were all stones. I touched one of them and his clothes crumbled 
away from his body like cobwebs. Then I passed through the door 
and saw a palace without equal for its building and the goodliness 
of the works that were therein. Here I found an audience-chamber, 
full of Grandees and Wazirs and Officers and Emirs, seated upon 
chairs and every one of them stone. Moreover, I espied a throne of 
red gold, crusted with pearls and gems, and seated thereon a son of 
Adam arrayed in the most sumptuous raiment and bearing on his 
head a Chosroan ^ crown, diademed with the finest stones that shed 
a light like the light of day ; but, when I came up to him, I found 
him stone. Then I went on to the gate of the Harim and entering, 
found myself in the Queen's presence-chamber, wherein I saw a 
throne of red gold, inlaid with pearls and gems, and the Queen 
seated thereon. On her head she wore a crown diademed with 
finest jewels, and round about her were women like moons, 
seated upon chairs and clad in the most sumptuous clothing of all 
colours. There also the eunuchry, with their hands upon their 
breasts, were standing in the attitude of service, and indeed this 
hall confounded the beholder's wits with what was therein of quaint 
gilding and rare painting and curious carving and fine furniture. 
There hung the most brilliant lustres ^ of limpid crystal, and in 
every globe •* of the crystal was an unique jewel, whose price money 
might not fulfil. So I threw down that which was with me, O Prince 
of True Believers, and fell to taking of these jewels what I could 
carry, bewildered as to what I should bear away and what I should 

^ Arab. " Taj Kisrawi," such as was worn by the Chosroes Kings. 

- The familiar and far-famed Napoleonic pose, with the arms crossed over the 
breast is throughout the East the attitude assumed by slave and servant in pre- 
sence of his master. Those who send statues to Anglo-India should remember 

^ Arab. " Ta' alik " = hanging lamps, often in lantern shape with coloured 
glass and profuse ornamentation : the Maroccan are now familiar to England. 

* Arab. " Kidrah," lit. = a pot, kettle : it can hardly mean "an interval." 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 123 

leave ; for indeed I saw the place as it were a treasure of the trea- 
sures of the cities. Presently I espied a wicket ^ standing open and 
within it a staircase : so I entered and mounting forty steps, heard a 
human voice reciting the Koran in a low tone. I walked towards 
that sound till I came to the main door hung with a silken curtain, 
laced with wires of gold whereon were strung pearls and coral and 
rubies and cut emeralds which gave forth a light like the light of 
stars. The voice came from behind the curtain : so I raised it and 
discovered a gilded door, whose beauty amazed the mind. I passed 
through the door and found myself in a saloon as it were a hoard 
upon earth's surface ^ and therein a girl as she were the sun 
shining fullest sheen in the zenith of a sky serene. She was robed in 
the costliest of raiment and decked with ornaments the most pre- 
cious that could be, and withal she was of passing beauty and loveli- 
ness, a model of symmetry and seemliness, of elegance and per- 
fect grace, with waist slender and dewy lips such as heal the sick ; 
and eyelids lovely in their languour, as it were she of whom the sayer 
spake when he said : — 

My best salam to what that robe enrobes of symmetry, * And whal that blooming 

garth of cheek enguards of rosy blee : 
It seems as though the Pleiades depend upon her brow ; * And other lights of 

Night in knots upon her breast we see : 
Did she but don a garment weft of Rose's softest leaf, * The leaf of Rose would 

draw her blood ' when pluckt that fruit from tree : 

' The wicket or small doorway, especially by the side of a gate or portal, is 
called "the eye of the needle " and explains Matt. xix. 24, and Koran vii. 38. 
In the Rabbinic form of the proverb the camel becomes an elephant. Some 
have preferred to change the Koranic Jamal (camel) for Habl (cable) and much 
ingenuity has been wasted by commentators on Mark x. 25, and Luke xviii. 25. 

^ i.e. a " Kanz " (enchanted treasury) usually hidden underground but opened 
by a counter-spell and transferred to earth's face. The reader will note the gor- 
geousness of the picture. 

^ " Oriental writers, Indian and Persian, as well as Arab, lay great stress upon 
the extreme delicacy of the skin of the fair ones celebrated in their works, con- 
stantly attributing to their heroines bodies so sensitive as to brook with difficulty the 
contact of the finest gauze. Several instances of this will be found in the present 
collection, and we may fairly assume that the skin of an Eastern beauty, under 
the influence of constant seclusion and the unremitting use of cosmetics and the 
bath, would in time attain a pitch of delicacy and sensitiveness such as would in 
some measure justify the seemingly extravagant statements of their poetical 
admirers, of which the following anecdote (quoted by Ibn Khellikan from the 
historian Et Teberi) is a fair specimen. Ardeshir ibn Babek (Artaxerxes I.), the 
first Sassanian King of Persia (A.D. 226-242), having long unsuccessfully besieged 
El Hedr, a strong city of Mesopotamia belonging to the petty King Es Satiroun, 
at last obtained possession of it by the treachery of the owner's daughter Nezireh 
and married the latter, this having been the price stipulated by her for the betrayal 
to him of the place. It happened afterwards that, one night, as she was unable to 
sleep and turned from side to side in the bed, Ardeshir asked her what prevented 
her from sleeping. She replied, ' I never yet slept on a rougher bed than this ; 

124 ^tf I.aylah iva Layiah. 

And did she spit in Ocean's face, next morn would see a change » To sweeter 

than the honeycomb of what was briny sea : 
And did she deign her hand to grant to grey-beard staff enpropped, * He'd 

wake and rend the lion's limbs for might and valiancy. 

Then Abdullah continued : — O Prince of True Believers, as soon as 
I saw that girl I fell passionately in love with her and, going straight 
up to her, found her seated on a high couch, reciting by heart and 
in grateful memory the Book of Allah, to whom belong honour and 
glory ! Her voice was like the harmony of the gates of Heaven, 
when Rizwan openeth them, and the words came from her lips like 
a shower of gems ; whilst her face was with beauty dight, bright and 
blossom-white, even as saith the poet of a similar sight : — 

O thou who gladdenest man by speech and rarest quality ; * Grow longing and 

repine for thee and grow beyond degree ! 
In thee two things consume and melt the votaries of Love ; • The dulcet song of 

David joined with Joseph's brilliancy. 

When I heard her voice of melody reciting the sublime Koran, ray 
heart quoted from her killing glances, ' Peace, a word from a com- 
passionating Lord ; ' ^ but I stammered^ in my speech and could not 

I feel something irk me.' He ordered the bed to be changed, but she was still 
unable to sleep. Next morning she complained ot her side, and on examination, 
a myrtle-leaf was found adhering to a fold ot the skin, from which it had drawn 
blood. Astonished at this circumstance, Ardeshir asked her if it was this that 
had kept her awake and she replied in the affirmative. ' How then,' asked he, 
' did your father bring you up ? ' She answered, ' He spread me a bed of satin 
and clad me in silk and led me with marrow and cream and the honey of virgin 
bees and gave me pure wine to drink.' Quoth Ardeshir, ' The same return which 
you made your father for his kindness would be made much more readily to me ; ' 
and bade bind her by the hair to the tail of a horse, which galloped off with her 
and killed her." It will be remembered that the true princess, in the well-known 
German popular tale, is discovered by a similar incident to that of the mrytle- 
leaf. I quote this excellent note from Mr. Payne (ix. 148) only regretting that 
annotation did not enter into his plan of producing The Nights. Amongst Hindu 
story-tellers a phenomenal softness of the skin is a lieu commun ; see Vikram and 
the Vampire (p. 285, " Of the marvellous delicacy of three Queens") ; and the 
Tale of the Sybarite might be referred to in the lines given above. 

^ " (55) Indeed joyous on that day are the people of Paradise in their employ , 
(56) In shades, on bridal couches reclining they and their wives ; (57) Fruits have 
they therein and whatso they desire ; {58) ' Peace ! ' shall be a word from a com- 
passionating Lord." See Koran xxxvi. 55-58, the famous Chapt. "Yd Sin," 
which most educated Moslems learn by heart. In addition to the proofs there offered 
that the Moslem Paradise is not wholly sensual, I may quote, " No soul wotteth 
what coolth of the eyes is reserved (for the good) in recompense of their works " 
(Koran Ixx. 17). The Paradise of eating, drinking and revelling was preached 
solely to the baser sort of humanity which can understand and appreciate only the 
pleasures of the flesh. To talk of spiritual joys before the Badawin woul. nave 
been a iiotisens, even as it would be to the roughs of our great cities. 

- Arab. " Lajlaj," lit. = roUing anything round the mouth when eating ; hence 
speaking inarticulately, being tongue-tied, stuttering, etc. 

Abdullah bm Fazil a?id his Brothers. 125 

say the salam-salutation aright, for my mind and sight were con- 
founded and I was become as saith the bard : — 

Love-longing urged me not except to trip in speech o'er free ; * Nor, save to 

shed my blood I passed the campment's boundary : 
I ne'er will hear a word from those who love to rail, but I * Will testify to love 

of him with every word of me. 

Then I hardened myself against the horrors of repine and said to 
her, " Peace be with thee, O noble lady and treasured jewel ! Allah 
grant endurance to the foundation of thy fortune fair and upraise 
the pillars Of thy glory rare ! " Said she, " And on thee from me be 
peace and salutation and high honour, O Abdullah, O son of Fazil ! 
Well come and welcome and fair welcome to thee, O dearling mine 
and coolth of mine eyne ! " Rejoined I, "O my lady, whence 
wottest thou my name and who art thou and what case befel the 
people of this city that they are become stones ? I would have thee 
tell me the truth of the matter, for indeed I am admiring at this 
city and its citizens, and that I have found none alive therein save 
thyself. So, Allah upon thee, tell me the cause of all this, according 
to the truth ! " Quoth she, " Sit, O Abdullah, and Inshallah, I will 
talk with thee and acquaint thee in full with the facts of my case 
and of this place and its people ; and there is no Majesty and there 
is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " So I sat me 
down by her side and she said to me, " Know, O Abdullah (may 
Allah have mercy on thee !), that I am the daughter of the King of 
this city, and that it is my sire whom thou sawest seated on the high 
stead in the Divan, and those who are round about him were the 
Lords of his land and the Guards of his empery. He was a King 
of exceeding prowess, and had under his hand a thousand thousand 
and sixty thousand troopers. The number of the Emirs of his 
Empire was four-and-twenty thousand, all of them Governors and 
Dignitaries. He was obeyed by a thousand cities, besides towns, 
hamlets and villages ; and sconces and citadels, and the Emirs ^ of 
the wild Arabs under his hand were a thousand in number, each 
commanding twenty thousand horse. Moreover, he had moneys 
and treasures and precious stones and jewels and things of price, 

such as eye never saw nor of which ear ever heard. And 

Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying her 
permitted say. 

^ The classical " Phylarchs," who had charge of the Badawin. 

126 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

iSofo toi)cn it toas tbf iSinc f^unUreti ano ^lattp-ttirtr iai'gtt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Princess, 
daughter to the King of the Stone-city, thus continued : — Verily. O 
Abdullah, my father had moneys and hoards, such as eye never saw 
and of which ear never heard. He used to debel Kings and do to 
death champions and braves in battle and in the field of fight, so 
that the Conquerors feared him and the Chosroes ^ humbled them- 
selves to him. For all this, he was a miscreant in creed, ascribing 
to Allah partnership and adoring idols, instead of the Lord of 
worship ; and all his troops were of images fain in lieu of the All- 
knowing Sovereign. One day of the days as he sat on the throne of 
his Kingship, compassed about with the Grandees of his realm, 
suddenly there came in to him a Personage, whose face illumined 
the whole Divan with its light. My father looked at him and saw 
him clad in a garb of green," tall of stature and with hands that 
reached beneath his knees. He was of reverend aspect and awe- 
some and the light ^ shone from his face. Said he to my sire, " O 
rebel, O idolater, how long wilt thou take pride in worshipping idols 
and abandoning the service of the All-knowing King ? Say : — I 
testify that there is no god but the God and that Mohammed is His 
servant and His messenger. And embrace Al-Islam, thou and thy 
tribe ; and put away from you the worship of idols, for they neither 
suffice man's need nor intercede. None is worshipful save Allah 
alone, who raised up the heavens without columns and spread out 
the earths like carpets in mercy to His creatures."'^ Quoth my father, 
" Who art thou, O man who rejectest the worship of idols, that thou 
sayst thus ? Fearest thou not that the idols will be wroth with thee ? " 
He rephed, "The idols are stones ; their anger cannot prejudice me 
nor their favour profit me. So do thou set in my presence thine idol 
which thou adorest and bid all thy folk bring each his image : and 
when they are all present, do ye pray them to be wroth with me and 
I will pray my Lord to be wroth with them, and ye shall descry the 
difference between the anger of the creature and that of the Creator. 
For your idols, ye fashioned them yourselves and the Satans clad 

' "The Tababirah " (giant-rulers of Syria) and the " Akasirah " (Chosroes- 
Kings of Persia). 

- This shows (and we are presently told) that the intruder was Al-Khizr, the 
" Green Prophet." 

■'• i.e. of salvation supposed to radiate from all Prophets, esp. from Mohammed. 

* This formula which has occurred from the beginning is essentially Koranic : 
See Chapt. li. 18-19 and passim. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 127 

themselves therewith as with clothing, and they it is who spake to 
you from within the bellies of the images/ for your idols are 
made and the maker is my God to whom naught is impossible. 
An the True appear to you, do ye cleave to it, and if the False appear 
to you, do ye leave it." Cried they, " Give us a proof of thy god, 
that we may see it ; " and quoth he, " Give me proof of your 
gods." So the King bade everyone who worshipped his Lord in 
image-form to bring it, and all the armies brought their idols to 
the Divan. Thus fared it with them ; but as for me, I was sitting 
behind a curtain, whence I could look upon my father's Divan, and 
I had an idol of emerald whose bigness was as the bigness of a 
son of Adam. My father demanded it, so I sent it to the Divan, 
where they set it down beside that of my sire, which was of jacinth, 
whilst the Wazir's idol was of diamond.- As for those of the 
Grandees and Notables, some where of balass-ruby and some of 
carnelian, others of coral or Comorin aloes-wood and yet others of 
ebony or silver or gold ; and each had his own idol, after the 
measure of his competence ; whilst the idols of the common soldiers 
and of the people were some of granite, some of wood, some of 
pottery and some of mud ; and all were of various hues, yellow 
and red; green, black and white. Then said the Personage to 
my sire, "Pray your idol and these idols to be wroth with me." So 
they aligned the idols in a Divan,^ setting my father's idol on a 
chair of gold at the upper end, with mine by its side, and ranking 
the others each according to the condition of him who owned it 
and worshipped it. Then my father arose and prostrating himself 
to his own idol, said to it, " O my god, thou art the Bountiful Lord, 
nor is there among the idols a greater than thyself. Thou knowest 
that this person cometh to me, attacking thy divinity and making mock 
of thee ; yea, he avoucheth that he hath a god stronger than thou 
and he ordereth us leave adoring thee and adore his god. So be thou 

^ This trick of the priest hidden within the image may date from the days of 
the vocal Memnon, and was a favourite in India, esp at the shrine of Somnauth 
(Soma-nath), the Moon-god, Atergatis, Aphrodite, etc, 

- Arab. "Almas" = Gr. Adamas. In opposition to the learned ex-Professor 
Maskelyne I hold that the cutting of the diamond is of very ancient date. Mr. 
W. M. Flinders Petrie (The Pyramids and Temples of Gizah, London : 
Field and Tuer, 18S4) whose studies have thoroughly demolished the freaks and 
unfacts, the fads and fancies of the " Pyramidists," and who may be said to have 
raised measurement to the rank of a fine art, believes that the euritic statues of 
old Egypt such as that of Khufu (Cheops) in the Bulak Museum were drilled by 
means of diamonds. Athenseus tells us (lib. v.) that the Indians brought pearls 
and diamonds to the procession of Ptolemy Philadelphus ; and this suggests 
cutting, as nothing can be less ornamental than the uncut stone. 

^ i.e. as if they were holding a "Durbar"; the King's idol in the Sadr or 
place of honour and the others ranged about it in their several ranks. 

128 Alf Laylah u>a Laylah. 

wrath with him, O my god ! " And he went on to supphcate the 
idol ; but the idol returned him no reply neither bespoke him with 
aught of speech : whereupon quoth he, " O my god, this is not 
of thy wont, for thou usedst to answer me, when I addressed thee. 
How cometh it that I see thee silent and speaking not ? Art thou 
unheeding or asleep ? ^ Awake ; succour me and speak to me ! " 
And he shook it with his hand ; but it spake not neither stirred 
from its stead. Thereupon quoth the Personage, "What aileth 
thine idol that it speaketh not?" and quoth the King, " Methinks 
he is absent-minded or asleep." Exclaimed the other, " O enemy of 
Allah, how canst thou worship a god that speaketh not nor availeth 
unto aught and not worship my God, who to prayers deigns assent 
and who is ever present and never absent, neither unheeding nor 
sleeping, whom conjecture may not ween, who seeth and is not seen 
and who over all things terrene is omnipotent ? Thy god is power- 
less and cannot guard itself from harm ; and indeed a stoned Satan 
had clothed himself therewith as with a coat that he might debauch 
thee and delude thee. But now hath its devil departed : so do thou 
worship Allah and testify that there is no god but He and that none 
is worshipful nor worshipworth but Himself; neither is there any 
good but His good. As for this thy god, it cannot ward off hurt from 
itself: so how shall it ward off harm from thee ? See with thine own 
eyes its impotence." So saying, he went up to the idol and dealt it 
a cuff on the neck, that it fell to the ground ; whereupon the King 
waxed wroth and cried to the bystanders, " This fro ward atheist hath 
smitten my god. Slay him ! " So they would have arisen to smite 
him, but none of them could stir from his place. Then he pro- 
pounded to them Al-Islam ; but they refused to become Moslems, 
and he said, " I will show you the wroth of my Lord." Quoth they, 
" Let us see it ! " So he spread out his hands and said, "O my God 
and my Lord, Thou art my stay and my hope ; answer Thou my 
prayer against these lewd folk, who eat of Thy good and worship other 
gods. O Thou the Truth, O Thou of All-might, O Creator of Day and 
Night, I beseech Thee to turn these people into stones, for Thou art 
the Puissant nor is aught impossible to Thee, and Thou over all things 
art omnipotent ! " And Allah transformed the people of this city into 

' These words are probably borrowed from ihe taunts of Elijah to the priests 
of Baal (i Kings xviii. 27). Both Jews and Moslems wilfully ignored the proper 
use of the image or idol which was to serve as a Kiblah or direction of prayer 
and an object upon which to concentrate thought, and looked only to ihe abuse 
of the ignobile vulgus who believe in its intrinsic powers. Christendom has 
perpetuated the dispute : Romanism affects statues and pictures ; Greek orthodoxy 
pictures and not statues, and Protestantism ousts both. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 129 

stones ; but, as for me, when I saw the manifest proof of His deity, 
I submitted myself to Him and was saved from that which befel 
the rest. Then the Personage drew near me and said " Felicity ' 
was fore-ordained of Allah to thee and in this a purpose had He." 
And he went on to instruct me and I took unto him the oath and 
covenant.^ I was then seven years of age and am now thirty years old. 
Presently said I to him, " O my lord, all that is in the city and 
all its citizens are become stones by thine effectual prayer, and I am 
saved, for that I embraced Al-Islam at thy hands. Wherefore thou 
art become my Shaykh ; so do thou tell me thy name and succour 
me with thy security and provide me with provision whereon I may 
subsist." Quoth he, "My name is Abu al-'Al)b^s al-Khizr ;" and 
he planted me a pomegranate-tree, which forthright grew up and 
foliaged, flowered and fruited, and bare one pomegranate ; where- 
upon quoth he, " Eat of that wherewith Allah the Almighty provideth 
thee and worship Him with the worship which is His due." Then 
he taught me the tenets of Al-Islam and the canons of prayer and 
the way of worship, together with the recital of the Koran, and I 
have now worshipped Allah in this place three-and-twenty years. 
Each day the tree yieldeth me a pomegranate which I eat and it 
sustaineth me from tide to tide ; and every Friday, Al-Khizr (on 
whom be Peace !) cometh to me and 'tis he who acquainted me with 
thy name and gave me the glad tidings of thy soon coming hither, 
saying to me, "When he shall come to thee, entreat him with 
honour and obey his bidding and gainsay him not ; but be thou to 
him wife and he shall be to thee man, and wend with him whitherso 
he will." So, when I saw thee, I knew thee, and such is the story 
of this city and of its people, and — the Peace ! Then she showed 
me the pomegranate-tree, whereon was one granado, which she took, 
and eating one-half thereof herself, gave me the other to eat, and 
never did I taste aught sweeter or more savoury or more satisfying 
than that pomegranate. After this, I said to her, "Art thou content, 
even as the Shaykh Al-Khizr charged thee, to be my wife and take 
me to mate ; and art thou ready to go with me to my own country 
and abide with me in the city of Bassorah ? " She replied, " Yes, 
Inshallah — an it please Almighty Allah — I hearken to thy word 
and obey thy best without gainsaying." Then I made a binding 
covenant with her and she carried me into her father's treasury, 

^ Arab. " Sa'adah" = worldly prosperity and future happiness. 

^ Arab. "Al-'Ahd wa al-Misak," the troth pledged between the Murid or 
apprentice-Darwaysh and the Sliaykh or Master-Darwaysh, binding the former to 
implicit obedience, etc. 


130 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

whence we took what we could carry, and going forth that city, 
walked on till we came to my brothers, whom I found searching for 
me. They asked, "Where hast thou been? Indeed thou hast 
tarried long from us, and our hearts were troubled for thee." And 
the captain of the ship said to me, "O merchant Abdullah, the 
wind hath been fair for us this great while, and thou hast hindered 
us from setting sail." Whereto I answered, " There is no harm in that : 
ofttimes slow ^ is sure, and my absence hath wrought us naught but 
advantage, for indeed, there hath betided me therein the attainment 
of our hopes^ and God-gifted is he who said : — 

I weet not, whenas to a land I wend * In quest of good, what I shall there 

obtain ; 
Or gain I fare with sole desire to seek ; * Or loss that seeketh me when seek I 


Then said I to them, '' See what hath fallen to me in this mine 
absence ; " and displayed to them all that was with me of treasures, 
and told them what I had beheld in the City of Stone, adding, " Had 
ye hearkened to me and gone with me, ye had gotten of these 

things great gain." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased to say her permitted say. 

tN^otD fo^tn It tuas tftf i^ine f^untircti anti 1Etgf)tji=fourt|^ tKTigf)!, 

She continued, it hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah 
bin Fazil said to his shipmates and to his two brothers, " Had ye 
gone with me, ye had gotten of these things great gain." But they 
said, "By Allah, had we gone, we had not dared to go in to 
the King of the city ! " Then I said to my brothers, " No harm 
shall befal you ; for that which I have will suffice us all and 
this is our lot." ^ So I divided my booty into four parts accord- 
ing to our number and gave one to each of my brothers and to 
the Captain, taking the fourth for myself, setting aside some- 
what for the servants and sailors, who rejoiced and blessed me : 
and all were content with what I gave them, save my brothers, who 
changed countenance and rolled their eyes. I perceived that lust 
of lucre had gotten hold of them both ; so I said to them, " O my 
brothers, methinketh what I have given you doth not satisfy you ; 

' Arab. " Taakhir," lit. postponement and meaning acting with deliberation 
as opposed to " Ajal " (haste) precipitate action condemned in the Koran Ixv. 38. 
* i.e. I have been lucky enough to get this and we will share it amongst us. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 131 

but we are brothers and there is no difference between us. My good 
and yours are one and the same thing, and if I die none will inherit 
of me but you." And I went on to soothe them. Then I bore the 
Princess on board the galleon and lodged her in the cabin, wliere I 
sent her somewhat to eat, and we sat talking, I and my brothers. 
Said they, "O our brother, what wilt thou do with that damsel of 
surpassing beauty?" And I replied, " I mean to contract marriage 
with her as soon as I reach Bassorah, and make a splendid wedding 
and marry her there." Exclaimed one of them, "O my brother, 
verily this young lady excelleth in beauty and loveliness, and the 
love of her is fallen on my heart ; wherefore I desire that thou give 
her to me and I will espouse her." And the other cried, " I too 
desire this : give her to me, that I may espouse her." " O my 
brothers," answered I, " indeed she took of me an oath and a cove- 
nant that I would marry her myself ; so, if I give her to one of you, 
I shall be false to my oath and to the covenant between me and her, 
and haply she will be broken-hearted, for she came not with me but 
on condition that I marry her. So how can I wed her to other 
than myself? As for your both loving her, I love her more than you 
twain, for she is my treasure-trove, and as for my giving her to one 
of you, that is a thing which may not be. But, if we reach Bassorah 
in safety, I will look you out two girls of the best of the damsels ot 
Bassorah and demand them for you in marriage and pay the dower 
of my own moneys and make one wedding, and we will all three 
be married on the same day. But leave ye this damsel, for she 
is of my portion." They held their peace, and I thought they were 
content with that which I had said. Then we fared onwards for 
Bassorah, and every day I sent her meat and drink ; but she came 
not forth of the cabin, whilst I slept between my brothers on deck. 
We sailed thus forty days, till we sighted Bassorah city and rejoiced 
that we were come near it. Now I trusted in my brothers, and was 
at my ease with them, for none knoweth the hidden future save Allah 
the Most High ; so I lay down to sleep that night ; but, as I abode 
drowned in slumber, I suddenly found myself caught up by these 
my brothers, one seizing me by the legs and the other by the arms, 
for they had taken counsel together to drown me in the sea for the 
sake of the damsel. When I saw myself in their hands, I said to 
them, " O my brothers, why do ye this with me ? " And they replied, 
" Ill-bred that thou art, wilt thou barter our affection for a girl ? we 
will cast thee into the sea, because of this." So saying, they threw 
me overboard. (Here Abdullah turned to the dogs and said to 
them, " Is this that I have said true, O my brothers, or not? '' and 
they bowed their heads and fell a-whining, as if confirming his 

132 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

speech ; whereat the Caliph wondered). Then Abdullah resumed : 

Commander of the Faithful, when they threw me into the sea, 

1 sank to the bottom ; but the water bore me up again to the surface, 
and before I could think, behold, a great bird, the bigness of a man, 
swooped down upon me and snatching me up, flew up with me into 
upper air. I fainted, and when I opened my eyes I found myself in 
a strong-pillared place, a high-builded palace, adorned with magnifi- 
cent paintings and pendants of gems of all shapes and hues. Therein 
were damsels standing with their hands crossed over their breasts, 
and, behold, in their midst was a lady seated on a throne of red 
gold, set with pearls and gems, and clad in apparel whereon no 
mortal might open his eyes, for the lustre of the gems wherewith 
they were decked. About her waist she wore a girdle of jewels no 
money could pay their worth, and on her head a three-fold tiara 
dazing thought and wit and dazzling heart and sight. Then the 
bird which had carried me thither shook and became a young lady 
bright as sun raying light. I fixed my eyes on her and behold, it 
was she whom I had seen in snake form on the mountain and had 
rescued from the dragon which had wound his tail around her. 
Then said to her the lady who sat upon the throne, *' Why hast 
thou brought hither this mortal?" and she replied, "O my 
mother, this is he who was the means of saving my life among 
the maidens of the Jinn." Then quoth she to me, " Knowest 
thou who I am ? " and quoth I, " No." Said she, " I am she 
who was on such a mountain, where the black dragon strave with 
me and would have killed me, but thou slewest him." And I 
said, " I saw but a white snake with the dragon." She rejoined, 
" 'Tis I who was the white snake ; but I am the daughter of the 
Red King, Sovran of the Jann and my name is Sa'i'dah.^ She 
who sitteth there is my mother and her name is Mubarakah, wife 
of the Red King. The black dragon who attacked me and would 
have killed me was Wazir to the Black King, Darfi'l by name, 
and he was foul of favour. It chanced that he saw me and fell 
in love with me ; so he sought me in marriage of my sire, who 
sent to him to say, " Who art thou, O scum of Wazirs, that thou 
shouldst wed with Kings' daughters ? " Whereupon he was wroth 
and sware an oath that he would assuredly kill me to spite my 
father. Then he fell to tracking my steps and following me whither- 
soever I went, designing to kill me ; wherefore there befel between 
him and my parent mighty fierce wars and bloody jars, but my sire 

' Sa'fdah = the auspicious (fern.): Mubarakah, = the blessed; both names 
showing that the bearers were Moslemahs. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 133 

could not prevail against him, for that he was fierce as fraudful, and 
as often as my father pressed hard upon him and seemed like to 
conquer, he would escape from him, till my sire was at his wits' 
ends. Every day I was forced to take new form and hue ; for, as 
often as I assumed a shape, he would assume its contrary, and to 
whatsoever land I fled he would snuff my fragrance and follow me 
thither, so that I suffered sore affliction of him. At last I took the 
form of a snake and betook myself to the mountain where thou 
sawest me : whereupon he changed himself to a dragon and pursued 
me, till I fell into his hands, when he strove with me and I struggled 
with him, till he wearied me and overcame me, meaning to kill me 
but thou camest and smotest him with the stone and slewest him. 
Then I returned to my own shape and showed myself to thee, 
saying : — I am indebted to thee for a service such as is not lost save 
with the son of evil.^ So, when I saw thy brothers do with thee 
this treachery and throw thee into the sea, I hastened to thee and 
saved thee from destruction, and now honour is due to thee from 
my mother and my father." Then she said to the Queen, " O my 
mother, do thou honour him as deserveth he who saved my life." 
So the Queen said to me, " Welcome, O mortal ! Indeed thou hast 
done us a kindly deed which meriteth honour." Presently she 
ordered me a treasure-suit,^ worth a mint of money, and store of 
gems and precious stones, and said, " Take him and carry him in 
to the King." Accordingly, they carried me to the King in his 
Divan, where I found him seated on his throne, with his Marids 
and guards before him ; and when I saw him my sight was blent 
for that which was upon him of jewels , but when he saw me, he 
rose to his feet and all his officers rose also, to do him worship. 
Then he saluted me and welcomed me and entreated me with the 
utmost honour, and gave me of that which was with him of good 
things ; after which he said to some of his followers, " Take him 
and carry him back to my daughter, that she may restore him to 
the place whence she brought him." So they carried me back to 
the Lady Sa'idah, who took me up and flew away with me and my 
treasures. On this wise fared it with me and the Princess ; but as 
regards the captain of the galleon, he was aroused by the splash 
of my fall, when my brothers cast me into the sea, and said, " What 
is that which hath fallen overboard ? " Whereupon my brothers 
fell to weeping and beating of breasts and replied, " Alas, for our 

' i.e. the base-born, from whom base deeds may be expected. 
- Arab. " Badlat Kunuziyah = such a dress as would be found in enchanted 
hoards (Kunuz) ; e.g. Prince Esterhazy's diamond jacket. 

134 ^^f Laylah wa Laylah. 

brother's loss ! He thought to look over the ship's side and fell 
into the water ! " Then they laid their hands on my good, but 
there befel dispute ^between them because of the damsel, each 
saying, " None shall have her but I." And they abode jangling 
and wrangling each with other and remembered not their brother 
nor his drowning, and their mourning for him ceased. As they 
were thus, behold Sa'idah alighted with me in the midst of the 

galleon, And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

NotD b)]^£n it toas t]^e Xnu f^untireti anti (!Big!)tg-fift!j '^i^x, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah 
bin Fazil continued : — As they were thus, behold, Sa'idah alighted 
with me in the midst of the galleon, and when my brothers saw me, 
they embraced me and rejoiced in me, saying, " O our brother, how 
hast thou fared in that which befel thee ? Indeed our hearts have 
been occupied with thee." Quoth Sa'idah, " Had ye any heart-yearn- 
ings for him or had ye loved him, ye had not cast him into the sea ; 
but choose ye now what death ye will die." Then she seized on 
them and would have slain them : but they cried out, saying, " In thy 
safeguard, O our brother ! " Thereupon I interceded and said to 
her, " I claim of thine honour not to kill my brothers." Quoth 
she, "There is no help but that I slay them, for they are traitors." 
However, I ceased not to speak her fair and conciliate her till she 
said, " To content thee, I will not kill them, but I will enchant them." 
So saying, she brought out a cup and filling it with sea-water, pro- 
nounced over it words that might not be understood ; then saying, 
"Quit this human shape for the shape of a dog;" she sprinkled 
them with the water, and immediately they were transmewed into 
dogs, as thou seest them, O Vicar of Allah. (Hereupon he turned 
to the dogs and said to them, "Have I spoken the truth, O my 
brothers ? " and they bowed their heads, as they would say, " Thou 
hast spoken sooth.") At this he continued : — Then she said to those 
who were in the galleon, " Know ye that Abdullah bin Fazil here 
present is become my brother and I shall visit him once or twice 
every day ; so, whoso of you crosseth him or gainsayeth his bidding 
or doth him hurt with hand or tongue, I will do with him even as I 
have done with these two traitors and bespell him to a dog, and he 
shall end his days in that form, nor shall he find deliverance." And 
they all said to her, " O our lady, we are his slaves and his servants 
every one of us, and will not disobey him in aught." Moreover, 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 135 

she said to me, " When thou comest to Bassorah, examine all thy pro- 
perty, and if there lack aught thereof, tell me and I will bring it to thee, 
in whose hands and in what place soever it may be, and will change 
him who took it into a dog. When thou hast magazined thy goods, 
clap a collar ^ of wood on the neck of each of these two traitors 
and tie them to the leg of a couch and shut them up by themselves. 
Moreover, every night at midnight, do thou go down to them and 
beat each of them a bout till he swoon away ; and if thou suffer a 
single night to pass without beating them, I will come to thee and 
drub thee a sound drubbing, after which I will drub them." And 
I answered, "To hear is to obey." Then said she, "Tie them up 
with ropes till thou come to Bassorah." So I tied a rope about each 
dog's neck and lashed them to the mast, and she went her way. 
On the morrow we entered Bassorah and the merchants came out 
to meet me and saluted me, and no one of them enquired of my 
brothers. But they looked at the dogs and said to me, " Ho, Such- 
and-such,2 what wilt thou do with these two dogs thou hast brought 
with thee ? " Quoth I, " I reared them on this voyage and have 
brought them home with me." And they laughed at them, knowing 
not that they were my brothers. When I reached my house, I put 
the twain in a closet and busied myself all that night with the un- 
packing and disposition of the bales of stuffs and jewels. Moreover, 
the merchants were with me, being minded to offer me the salam ; 
wherefore I was occupied with them and forgot to beat the dogs or 
chain them up. Then without doing them aught of hurt, I lay 
down to sleep, but suddenly and unexpectedly there came to me the 
Red King's daughter Sa'idah and said to me, " Did I not bid thee 
clap chains on their necks and give each of them a bout of beating ? " 
So saying, she seized me and pulling out a whip, flogged me till I 
fainted away, after which she went to the place where my brothers 
were, and with the same scourge beat them both till they came nigh 
upon death. Then said she to me, " Beat each of them a like bout 
every night, and if thou let a night pass without doing this, I will 
beat thee." I rephed, " O my lady, to-morrow I will put chains on 
their necks, and next night I will beat them, nor will I leave them 

^ Arab. " GhuU," a collar of iron or other metal, sometimes made to resemble 
the Chinese Kza or Cangue, a kind of ambulant pillory, serving like the old 
stocks which still show in England the veteris vestigia ruris. See Davis, " The 
Chinese," i. 241. According to Al-Siyuti (p. 362) the Caliph Al-Mutawakkil 
ordered the Christians to wear these Ghulls round the neck, yellow head-gear 
and girdles, to use wooden stirrups and to place figures of devils before their 
houses. The writer of The Nights presently changes Ghull to "chains" and 
" fetters of iron." 

- Arab. " Ya fulan," O certain person ! 

136 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

one night unbeaten." And she charged me strictly to beat them and 
disappeared. When the morning morrowed it being no hght matter 
for me to put fetters of iron on their necks, I went to a goldsmith 
and bade him make them collars and chains of gold. He did this 
and I put the collars on their necks and chained them up, as she 
bade me ; and next night I beat them both in mine own despite. 
This befel in the Caliphate of Al-Mahdi,^ third of the sons of 
Al-Abbas, and I commended myself to him by sending him 
presents, so he invested me with the government and made me 
Viceroy of Bassorah. On this wise I abode some time, and after a 
while I said to myself, " Haply her wrath is grown cool," and left 
them a night unbeaten ; whereupon she came to me and beat me 
a bout whose burning I shall never forget as long as I live. So, from 
that time to this I have never left them a single night unbeaten 
during the reign of Al-Mahdi ; and when he deceased and thou 
earnest to the succession, thou sentest to me, confirming me in the 
government of Bassorah. These twelve years past have I beaten 
them every night, in mine own despite, and after I have beaten them, 
I excuse myself to them and comfort them and give them to eat 
and drink ; and they have remained shut up, nor did any of the 
creatures of Allah know of them, till thou sentest to me Abu Ishak 
the boon-companion, on account of the tribute, and he discovered 
my secret, and returning to thee acquainted thee therewith. Then 
thou sentest him back to fetch me and them ; so I answered with 
" Hearkening and obedience," and brought them before thee, where- 
upon thou questionedst me and I told thee the truth of the case ; 
and this is my history. The Caliph marvelled at the case of the 
two dogs and said to Abdullah, " Hast thou at this present forgiven 
thy two brothers the wrong they did thee, yea or nay ? " He replied, 
"O my lord, may Allah forgive them and acquit them of responsi- 
biUty in this world and the next ! Indeed, 'tis I who stand in need 
of their forgiveness, for that these twelve years past I have beaten 

* Father of Harun al-Rashid A.H. 15S-169 (= 775-785) third Abbaside, who 
both in the Mac. and in the Bui. Edits, is called "the fifth of the sons of Al- 
Abbas." He was a good poet and a man of letters, also a fierce persecutor of 
the "Zindiks" (Al-hiyuti 278), a term especially applied to those who read the 
Zend books and adhered to Zoroastrianism, although afterwards given to any 
heretic or atheist. He made many changes at Meccah and was the first who had 
a train of camels laden with snow for his refreshment along a measured road of 
700 miles (Gibbon, chapt. lii). He died of an accident when hunting: others 
say he was poisoned after leaving his throne to his sons Musa al-Hadi and Harun 
al-Rashid. The name means "Heaven-directed" and must not be confounded 
with the title of the twelfth Shi'ah Imam Mohammed Abu al-Kasim born at 
Sarramanrai A.H. 255, whom Sale (sect, iv.) calls " Mahdi or Director," and 
whose expected return has caused and will cause so much trouble in Al-Islam. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 137 

them a grievous bout every night ! " Rejoined the Cahph, " Inshallah, 
O Abdullah, I will endeavour for their release and that they may 
become men again, as they were before, and I will make peace 
between thee and them ; so shall you hve the rest of your lives as 
brothers loving one another ; and like as thou hast forgiven them, 
so shall they forgive thee. But now take them and go down with 
them to thy lodging and this night beat them not, and to-morrow 
there shall be naught save weal." Quoth Abdullah, "O my lord, 
as thy head liveth, if I leave them one night unbeaten, Sa'idah will 
come to me and beat me, and I have no body to brook beating." 
Quoth the Caliph, " Fear not, for I will give thee a writing under my 
hand.^ An she come to thee, do thou give her the paper and if, 
when she has read it, she spare thee, the favour will be hers ; but, 
if she obey not my bidding, commit thy business to Allah and let 
her beat thee a bout and suppose that thou hast forgotten to beat 
them for one night and that she beateth thee because of that : and 
if it fall out thus and she thwart me, as sure as I am Commander of 
the Faithful, I will be even with her." Then he wrote her a letter 
on a piece of paper, two fingers broad, and sealing it with his signet- 
ring, gave it to Abdullah, saying, " O Abdullah, if Sa'idah come, say 
to her : — The CaUph, King of mankind, hath commanded me to 
leave beating them and hath written me this letter for thee ; and he 
saluteth thee with the salam. Then give her the warrant and fear 
no harm." After which he exacted of him an oath and a solemn 
pledge that he would not beat them. So Abdullah took the dogs 
and carried them to his lodging, saying to himself, " I wonder what 
the Caliph will do with the daughter of the Sovran of the Jinn, if 
she cross him and trounce me to-night ! But I will bear with a bout 
of beating for once and leave my brothers at rest this night, though 
for their sake I suffer torture." Then he bethought himself awhile, 
and his reason said to him, " Did not the Caliph rely on some great 
support, he had never forbidden me from beating them." So he 
entered his lodging and doffed the collars from the dogs' necks, 
saying, " I put my trust in Allah," and fell to comforting them and 
saying, " No harm shall befal you ; for the Caliph, fifth ^ of the sons 

^ This speciosum miraculum must not be held a proof that the tale was written 
many years after the days of Al-Rashid. Miracles grow apace in the East and a 
few years sutftce to mature them. The invasion of Abraha the Abyssinian took 
place during the year of Mohammed's birth ; and yet in an early chapter of the 
Koran (No. cv.) written perhaps forty-five years afterwards, the small-pox is 
turned into a puerile and extravagant miracle. I myself became the subject of 
a miracle in Sind which is duly chronicled in the family annals of a certain Pir 
or religious teacher. See History of Sindh (p. 230) and Sind Revisited (i. 156). 

- In the texts, " Sixth." 

1 38 Alf Lay la h wa Lay la h. 

of Al-Abbas, hath pledged himself for your deliverance and I have 
forgiven you. An it please Allah the Most High, the time is come 
and ye shall be delivered this blessed night ; so rejoice ye in the 
prospect of peace and gladness." When they heard these words, 

they fell to whining with the whining of dogs, And Shahrazad 

perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted 

i^ofo to|)cn It foas t]^e i^ine l^untrrcti anlr 1cig]^tB=sixt]b iSigf)t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O aupicious King, that Abdullah 
bin Fazil said to his brothers, " Rejoice ye in the prospect of 
comfort and gladness." And when they heard his words they fell 
to whining with the whining of dogs, and rubbed their jowls against 
his feet, as if blessing him and humbling themselves before him. 
He mourned over them and took to stroking their backs till supper 
time ; and when they set on the trays he bade the dogs sit. So 
they sat down and ate with him from the tray, whilst his officers 
stood gaping and marvelling at his eating with dogs and all said, 
" Is he mad or are his wits gone wrong ? How can the Viceroy of 
Bassorah city, he who is greater than a Wazir, eat with dogs? 
Knoweth he not that the dog is unclean ? " ' And they stared at 
the dogs, as they ate with him as servants eat with their lords,^ 
knowing not that they were his brothers ; nor did they cease staring 
at them, till they had made an end of eating, when Abdullah washed 
his hands and the dogs also put out their paws and washed ; 
whereupon all who were present began to laugh at them and to 
marvel, saying, one to other, " Never in our lives saw we dogs 
eat;and wash their paws after eating!" Then the dogs sat 
down on the divans beside Abdullah, nor dared any ask him ot 
this ; and thus the case lasted till midnight, when he dismissed the 
attendants and lay down to sleep and the dogs with him, each on a 
couch ; whereupon the servants said one to other, " Verily, he hath 
lain down to sleep and the two dogs are lying with him." Quoth 
another, "Since he hath eaten with the dogs from the same tray, 
there is no harm in their sleeping with him ; and this is naught save 
the fashion of madmen." Moreover, they ate not anything of the 

^ Arab. "Najis" = ceremonially impure, especially the dog's mouth, like the 
cow's mouth amongst the Hindus ; and requiring after contact the Wuzu-ablution 
before the Moslem can pray. 

-Arab. " Akl al-hashamah " (hashamah = retinue ; hishmah = reverence, 
l^ashfulness) which may also mean " decorously and respectfully," according to 
the vowel-points. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 139 

food which remained in the tray, saying, " 'Tis unclean." Such was 
their case ; but as for Abdullah, ere he could think, the earth clave 
asunder and out rose Sa'idah, who said to him, " O Abdullah, why 
hast thou not beaten them this night and why hast thou undone the 
collars from their necks ? Hast thou acted on this wise perversely 
and in mockery of my commandment ? But I will at once beat 
thee and spell thee into a dog like them." He replied, "O my 
lady, I conjure thee by the graving upon the seal-ring of Solomon 
David-son (on the twain be the Peace !) have patience with me till I 
tell thee my cause and after do with me what thou wilt." Quoth she, 
" Say on ;" and quoth he, " The reason of my not punishing them is 
only this. The King of mankind, the Commander of the Faithful, 
the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, ordered me not to beat them this night 
and took of me oaths and covenants to that effect ; and he saluteth 
thee with the salam and hath committed to me a mandate under his 
own hand, which he bade me give thee. So I obeyed his order, for 
to obey the Commander of the Faithful is obligatory ; and here is 
the mandate. Take it and read it and after work thy will." She 
replied, " Hither with it ! " So he gave her the letter and she 
opened it and read as follows, " In the name of Allah, the Com- 
passionating, the Compassionate ! From the King of mankind, 
Harun al-Rashid, to the daughter of the Red King, Sa'idah ! But, 
after. Verily, this man hath forgiven his brothers and hath waived 
his claim against them, and we have enjoined them to reconciliation. 
Now, when reconciliation ruleth, retribution is remitted, and if you 
of the Jinn contradict us in our commandments, we will contrary 
you in yours and traverse your ordinances ; but, an ye obey our 
bidding and further our orders, we will indeed do the like with 
yours. Wherefore I bid thee hurt them no hurt, and if thou believe 
in Allah and in His Apostle, it behoveth thee to obey and us to 
command.^ So an thou spare them, I will requite thee with that 
whereto my Lord shall enable me ; and the token of obedience is 
that thou remove thine enchantment from these two men, so they 
may come before me to-morrow, free. But an thou release them 
not, 1 will release them in thy despite, by the aid of Almighty 
Allah." When she had read the letter, she said, " O Abdullah, I 
will do naught till I go to my sire and show him the mandate of 
the monarch of mankind and return to thee with the answer in 
haste." So saying, she signed with her hand to the earth, which 
clave open and she disappeared therein, whilst Abdullah's heart 

^ i.e. as the Vice-regent of Allah and Vicar of the Prophet. 

140 A If Lay I ah wa Lay I ah. 

was like to fly for joy and he said, " Allah advance the Com- 
mander of the Faithful ! " As for Sa'idah, she went in to her 
father ; and, acquainting him with that which had passed, gave 
him the Caliph's letter, which he kissed and laid on his head. 
Then he read it and understanding its contents said, " O my 
daughter, verily, the ordinance of the monarch of mankind obligeth 
us, and his commandments are effectual over us, nor can we disobey 
him ; so go thou and release the two men forthwith and say to 
them : — Ye are freed by the intercession of the monarch of man- 
kind. For, should he be wroth with us, he would destroy us to the 
last of us ; so do not thou impose upon us that which we are unable." 
Quoth she, " O my father, if the monarch of mankind were wroth 
with us, what could he do with us ? " and quoth her sire, " He hath 
power over us for several reasons. In the first place, he is a man 
and hath thus pre-eminence over us ; secondly he is the Vicar of 
Allah ; and thirdly, he is constant in praying the dawn-prayer of 
two bows -^ therefore were all the tribes of the Jinn assembled 
together against him from the Seven Worlds they could do him no 
hurt. But he, should he be wroth with us would pray the dawn- 
prayer of two bows and cry out upon us one cry, when we should 
all present ourselves before him obediently and stand before him as 
sheep before the butcher. If he would, he could command us to 
quit our abiding-places for a desert country wherein we might 
not endure to sojourn ; and if he desired to destroy us, he would 
bid us destroy ourselves, whereupon we should destroy one another. 
Wherefore we may not disobey his bidding for, if we did this, he 
would consume us with fire nor could we flee from before him to 
any asylum. Thus it is with every True Believer who is persistent 
in praying the dawn-prayer of two bows ; his commandment is 
effectual over us : so be not thou the means of our destruction 
because of two mortals, but go forthright and release them ere the 
anger of the Commander of the Faithful fall upon us." So she 
returned to Abdullah and acquainted him with her father's words, 
saying, " Kiss for us the hands of the Prince of True Believers and 
seek his approval for us." Then she brought out the tasse and 
filling it with water, conjured over it and uttered words which might 
not be understood ; after which she sprinkled the dogs with the 
water, saying, " Quit the form of dogs and return to the shape of 
men ! " Whereupon they became men as before and the spell of the 
enchantment was loosed from them. Quoth they, " I testify that 

^ According to Al-Siyuti, Ilarun Al-Rashid prayed every day a hundred bows. 

Abdullah bifi Fazil and his Brothers. 141 

there is no god but the God and I testify that Mohammed is the 
Apostle of God ! " Then they fell on their brother's feet and 
hands, kissing them and beseeching his forgiveness : but he said, 
" Do ye forgive me ;" and they both repented with sincere repent- 
ance, saying, "Verily, the damned Devil lured us and covetise 
deluded us : but our Lord hath requited us after our deserts, and 
forgiveness is of the signs of the noble." And they went on to 
supplicate their brother and weep and profess repentance for that 
which had befallen him from them.^ Then quoth he to them, 
" What did ye with my wife whom I brought from the City of 
Stone?" Quoth they, "When Satan tempted us and we cast 
thee into the sea, there arose strife between us, each saying, I will 
have her to wife. Now when she heard these words and beheld our 
contention, she knew that we had thrown thee into the sea ; so she 
came up from the cabin and said to us : — Contend not because of 
me, for I will not belong to either of you. My husband is gone into 
the sea and I will follow him. So saying, she cast herself overboard 
and died." Exclaimed Abdullah, "In very sooth she died a 
martyr ! But there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in 
Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " Then he wept for her with sore 
weeping and said to his brothers, " It was not well of you to do this 
deed and bereave me of my wife." They answered, " Indeed, we 
have sinned, but our Lord hath requited us our misdeed and this 
was a thing which Allah decreed unto us ere He created us." And 
he accepted their excuse ; but Sa'idah said to him, " Have they 
done all these things to thee and wilt thou forgive them ? " He 
replied, " O my sister, whoso hath power - and spareth, for Allah's 
reward he prepareth." Then said she, " Be on thy guard against 

them, for they are traitors ; " and farewelled him and fared forth. 

And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying 
her permitted say. 

Koto tnlbfn it tnas i^i Kme l^unbreti anti15igf)t)i=sebfnt]^ Nfg!)t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah, 
when Sa'idah warned him and blessed him and went her ways, 
passed the rest of the night with his brothers, and on the morrow he 

^ As the sad end of his betrothed was still to be accounted for. 
^ i.e. if he have the power to revenge himself. The sentiment is Christian 
rather than Moslem. 

142 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

sent them to the Hammam and clad each of them, on his coming 
forth, in a suit worth a hoard of money. Then he called for the 
tray of food and they set it before him and he ate, he and his 
brothers. When his attendants saw the twain and knew them for 
his brothers they saluted them and said to him, " O our lord, Allah 
give thee joy of thy reunion with thy dear brothers ! Where have 
they been this while?" He replied, " It was they whom ye saw in 
the guise of dogs ; praise be to Allah who hath delivered them from 
prison and grievous torment ! " Then he carried them to the Divan 
of the Caliph and, kissing ground before Al-Rashid, wished him 
continuance of honour and fortune and surcease of evil and enmity. 
Quoth the Caliph, " Welcome, O Emir Abdullah ! Tell me what 
hath befallen thee." And quoth he : — O Commander of the Faithful 
(whose power Allah increase !) when I carried my brothers home to 
my lodging, my heart was at rest concerning them, because thou 
hadst pledged thyself to their release and I said in myself, " Kings 
fail not to attain aught for which they strain, inasmuch as the 
divine favour aideth them." So I took off the collars from their 
necks, putting my trust in Allah, and ate with them from the same 
tray, which when my suite saw, they made light of my wit and said 
one to other, " He is surely mad ! How can the Governor of 
Bassorah, who is greater than the Wazir, eat with dogs ? " Then 
they threw away what was in the tray, saying, " We will not eat the 
dogs' orts." And they went on to befool my reason, whilst I heard 
their words, but returned them no reply because of their unknowing 
that the dogs were my brothers. When the hour of rest came, I 
sent them away and addressed myself to sleep ; but, ere I was ware, 
the earth clave in sunder and out came Sa'idah, the Red King's 
daughter, enraged against me, with eyes like fire. And he went 
on to relate to the Caliph all that had passed between him and her 
and her father, and how she had transmewed his brothers from canine 
to human form, adding, " And here they are before thee, O Com- 
mander of the Faithful ! " The Caliph looked at them and, seeing 
two young men Hke moons, said, "Allah requite thee for me with 
good, O Abdullah, for that thou hast acquainted me with an advan- 
tage ^ I knew not ! Henceforth, Inshallah, I will never leave to pray 
these two-bow orisons before the breaking of the dawn, what while I 
live." Then he reproved Abdullah's brothers for their past trans- 
gressions against him and they excused themselves before the 

' i.e. the power acquired (as we afterwards learn) by the regular praying of the 
dawn-prayer. It is not often that The Nights condescend to point a moral or 
inculcate a lesson as here ; and we are truly thankful for the immunity. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 143 

Caliph, who said, " Join hands ^ and forgive one another and Allah 
pardon what is past ! " Upon which he turned to Abdullah and 
said to him, " O Abdullah, make thy brothers thine assistants and 
be careful of them." Then he charged them to be obedient to their 
brother and bade them return to Bassorah after he had bestowed 
on them abundant largesse. So they went down from the Caliph's 
Divan, whilst he rejoiced in this advantage he had obtained by the 
action aforesaid, to wit, persistence in praying two inclinations before 
dawn, and exclaimed. He spake truth who said, "The misfortune 
of one tribe fortuneth another tribe." ^ On this wise befel it to them 
from the Caliph ; but as regards Abdullah, he left Baghdad carrying 
with him his brothers in all honour and dignity and increase of 
quality, and fared on till they drew near Bassorah, when the notables 
and chief men of the place came out to meet them, and after deco- 
rating the city, brought them thereinto with a procession which had 
not its match, and all the folk shouted out blessings on Abdullah 
as he scattered amongst them silver and gold. None, however, took 
heed to his brothers ; wherefore jealousy and envy entered their 
hearts, for all he entreated them tenderly as one tenders an 
ophthalmic eye ; but the more he cherished them, the more they 
redoubled in envy and hatred of him : and indeed it is said on the 
subject : — 

I'd win good will of every one, but whoso envies me * Will not be won on 

any wise and makes mine office hard : 
How gain the gree of envious wight who coveteth my good, * AMien naught will 

satisfy him save to see my good go marr'd ? 

Then he gave each a slave-girl that had not her like, and eunuchs 
and servants and slaves white and black, of each kind forty. He 
also gave each of them fifty steeds, all thoroughbreds, and they got 
them guards and followers ; and he assigned to them revenues and 
appointed them solde and stipends and made them his assistants, 
saying to them, " O my brothers, I and you are equal and there is no 

distinction between me and you twain, And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

^ Arab. "Musafahah," which, I have said, serves for our shaking hands: and 
extends over wide regions. They apply the palms of the right hands flat to each 
other without squeezing the fingers and then raise the latter to the forehead 
Pilgrimage ii. 332, has also been quoted. 

- Equivalent to our saying about an ill wind, etc. 

144 -^^f Laylah wa Laylah. 

i^ofo fcoficn ft toas tj^c i^inc f^imUreti antJ OBigttp-cigtt]^ i^igj^t. 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Abdullah assigned stipends to his brothers and made them his 
assistants, saying, " O my brothers, I and you are equal and there 
is no distinction between me and you twain, and after Allah and 
the Caliph, the commandment is mine and yours. So rule you at 
Bassorah in my absence and in my presence, and your command- 
ments shall be effectual ; but look that ye fear Allah in your 
ordinances and beware of oppression, which if it endure depopu- 
lateth ; and apply yourselves to justice, for justice, if it be prolonged, 
peopleth a land. Oppress not the True Believers, or they will curse 
you and ill report of you will reach the Caliph, wherefore dis- 
honour will betide both me and you. Go not therefore about to 
violence any, but whatso ye greed for of the goods of the folk, take 
it from my goods, over and above that whereof ye have need ; for 
'tis not unknown to you what is handed down in the Koran of 
prohibition versets on the subject of oppression, and Allah-gifted 
is he who said these couplets :-;- 

Oppression ambusheth in sprite of man * Whom naught -withholdeth save the 

lack of might : 
The sage shall ne'er apply his wits to aught * Until befitting time direct his 

sight : 
The tongue of wisdom woneth in the heart ; * And in his mouth the tongue of 

foolish wight. 
Who at Occasion's call lacks power to rise * Is slain by feeblest who would glut 

his spite. 
A man may hide his blood and breed, but aye * His deeds on darkest hiddens 

cast a light. 
Wights of ill strain with ancestry as vile * Have lips which never spake one 

word aright ; 
And who committeth case to hands of fool * In folly proveth self as fond and 

light ; 
And who his secret tells to folk at large * Shall rouse his foes to work him 

worst despight. 
Suffice the generous what regards his lot # Nor meddles he with aught regards 

him not. 

And he went on to admonish his brothers and bid them to equity 
and forbid them from tyranny, doubting not but they would love 
him the better for his boon of good counsel,^ and he relied upon 
them and honoured them with the utmost honour ; but notwith- 

A proof of his extreme simplicity and bonhomie. 

Abdullah bm Fazil and his Brothers. 145 

standing all his generosity to them, they only waxed in envy and 
hatred of him, till, one day, the two being together alone, quoth 
Nasir to Mansur, " O my brother, how long shall we be mere sub- 
jects of our brother Abdullah, and he in this estate of lordship and 
worship ? After being a merchant he is become an Emir, and from 
being little he is grown great : but we, we grow not great nor is there 
aught of respect or degree left us ; for, behold, he laugheth at us and 
maketh us his assistants ! What is the meaning of this ? Is it not 
that we are his servants and under his subjection ? But, long as he 
abideth in good case, our rank will never be raised nor shall we be 
aught of repute ; wherefore we shall not fulfil our wish, except we 
slay him and win to his wealth, nor will it be possible to get his gear 
save after his death. So, when we have slain him, we shall become 
lords and will take all that is in his treasuries of gems and things of 
price and divide them between us. Then will we send the Caliph a 
present and demand of him the government of Cufah, and thou 
shalt be Governor of Cufah and I of Bassorah. Thus each of us 
shall have formal estate and condition, but we shall never effect this, 
except we put him out of the world ! " Answered Mansur, '■'■ Thou 
sayest sooth, but how shall we do to kill him?" Quoth Nasir, "We 
will make an entertainment in the house of one of us and invite him 
thereto and serve him with the uttermost service. Then will we sit 
through the night with him in talk and tell him tales and jests and 
rare stories till his heart melteth with sitting up, when we will spread 
him a bed, that he may lie down to sleep. When he is asleep, 
we will kneel upon him and throttle him and throw him into the 
river ; and on the morrow we will say : — His sister the Jinniyah 
came to him, as he sat chatting with us, and said to him: — 
thou scum of mankind, who art thou that thou shouldst complain 
of me to the Commander of the Faithful ? Deemest thou that we 
dread him ? As he is a King, so we too are Kings, and if he mend 
not his manners in our regard we will do him die by the foulest of 
deaths. But meantime I Avill slay thee, that we may see what the 
hand of the Prince of True Believers availeth to do. So saying, 
she caught him up and clave the earth and- disappeared with him, 
which when we saw, we swooned away. Then we revived and we 
reck not what is become of him. And saying this we will send to 
the Caliph and tell him the case and he will invest us with the 
government in his room. After a while, we will send him a sump- 
tuous present and seek of him the government of Cufah, and one 
of us shall abide in Bassorah and the other in Cufah. So shall 
the land be pleasant to us and we will be down upon the True 
Believers and win our wishes." And quoth Mansur, "Thou coun- 


146 A// Lay la h wa Laylah. 

sellest well, O my brother," and they agreed upon the murther. 
So Nasir made an entertainment and said to Abdullah " O my 
brother, verily I am thy brother, and I would have thee hearten 
my heart, thou and my brother Mansur, and eat of my banquet in 
my house, so I may boast of thee and that it may be said, The 
Emir Abdullah hath eaten of his brother Nasir's guest-meal ; when 
my heart will be solaced by this best of boons." Abdullah replied, 
" So be it, O my brother ; there is no distinction between me and 
thee, and thy house is my house ; but since thou invitest me, none 
refuseth hospitality save the churl." Then he turned to Mansur and 
said to him, "Wilt thou go with me to thy brother Nasir's house 
and we will eat of his feast and heal his heart ? " Replied Mansur, 
"As thy head liveth, O my brother, I will not go with thee, unless 
thou swear to me that, after thou comest forth of our brother Nasir's 
house, thou wilt enter my home and eat of my banquet ! Is Nasir 
thy brother and am not I thy brother ? So even as thou heartenest 
his heart, do thou hearten mine." Answered Abdullah, " There is 
no harm in that : with love and gladly gree ! When I come out 
from Nasir's house, I will enter thine, for thou art my brother even 
as he." So he kissed his hand and going forth of the Divan, made 
ready his feast. On the morrow, Abdullah took horse and repaired, 
with his brother Mansur and a company of his officers, to Nasir's 
house, where they sat down, he and Mansur and his many. Then 
Nasir set the trays before them and welcomed them ; so they ate 
and drank and sat in mirth and merriment ; after which the trays 
and the platters were removed and they washed their hands. They 
passed the day in feasting and wine-drinking and diversion and 
delight till nightfall, when they supped and prayed the sundown 
prayers, and the night orisons ; after which they sat conversing and 
carousing, and Nasir and Mansur fell to telling stories, whilst Ab- 
dullah hearkened. Now they three were alone in t.he pavilion, 
the rest of the company being in another place, and they ceased 
not to tell quips and tales and rare adventures and anecdotes, till 
Abdullah's heart was dissolved within him for watching, and sleep 

overcame him. And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of 

day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Notu \ss\yi\\ ft toas tljc l^xwz p^untntti ant (!B(gfjtn=nmtf) Nta!)t, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Abdullah was a-wcaried with watching and wanted to sleep, they 
also lay beside him on another couch and waited till he was 

Abdullah bm Fazil and his Brothers, 147 

drowned in slumber, and when they were certified thereof they 
arose and knelt upon him : whereupon he awoke and seeing them 
kneeling on his breast, said to them, "What is this, O my 
brothers?" Cried they, "We are no brothers of thine, nor do 
we know thee, unmannerly that thou art ! Thy death is become 
better than thy life." Then they gripped him by the throat and 
throttled him, till he lost his senses and abode without motion ; so 
that they deemed him dead. Now the pavilion wherein they were 
overlooked the river ; so they cast him into the water ; but when 
he fell, Allah sent to his aid a dolphin^ who was accustomed to 
come under that pavilion because the kitchen had a window that 
gave upon the stream ; and, as often as they slaughtered any 
beast there, it was their wont to throw the refuse into the river, 
and the dolphin came and picked it from the surface of the 
water ; wherefore he ever resorted to the place. That day they 
had cast out much offal by reason of the banquet ; so the dolphin 
ate more than of wont and gained strength. Hearing the splash 
of Abdullah's fall, he hastened to the spot, where he saw a son of 
Adam, and Allah guided him so that he took the man on his back, 
and crossing the current made with him for the other bank, where 
he cast his burthen ashore. Now the place where the dolphin 
threw up Abdullah was a well-beaten highway, and presently up 
came a caravan, and finding him lying on the river bank, said, 
" Here is a drowned man, whom the river hath cast up ; " and the 
travellers gathered around to gaze at the corpse. The Shaykh of 
the caravan was a man of worth, skilled in all sciences and versed 
in the mystery of medicine, and withal sound of judgment : so 
he said to them, " O folk, what is the news ? " They answered, 
"Here is a drowned man;" whereupon he went up to Abdullah 
and examining him, said to them, " O folk, there is life yet in this 
young man, who is a person of condition and of the sons of the 
great, bred in honour and fortune, and, Inshallah, there is still hope 
of him." Then he took him and clothing him in dry clothes 
warmed him before the fire ; after which he nursed him and tended 
him during three days' march till he revived ; but he was passing feeble 
by reason of the shock, and the chief of the caravan proceeded to 
medicine him with such simples as he knew, what while they ceased 
not faring on till they had travelled thirty days' journey from 
Bassorah and came to a city in the land of the Persians, by name 

1 Arab. *' Darfil = the Gr. Se\<^t9, later 8eX0tv, suggesting that the writer had 
read of Arion in Herodotus i. 23. 

148 AIJ Laylah tva Laylah. 

'Auj.^ Here they alighted at a Khan and spread Abdullah a bed, 
where he lay groaning all night and troubling the folk with his 
moans. And when morning morrowed the concierge of the Khan 
came to the chief of the caravan and said to him, " What is this 
sick man thou hast with thee ? Verily, he disturbeth us." Quoth 
the chief, " I found him by the way, on the river-bank and well 
nigh drowned ; and I have tended him, but to no effect, for he 
recovereth not." Said the porter, "Show him to the Shaykhah* 
Rajihah." "Who is this Religious?" asked the chief of the 
caravan, and the door-keeper answered, "There is with us a holy 
woman, a clean maid and a comely, called Rajihah, to whom they 
present whoso hath any ailment ; an he pass a single night within 
her house he awaketh on the morrow whole and ailing naught." 
Quoth the chief, " Direct me to her ; " and quoth the porter, " Take 
up thy sick man." So he took up Abdullah and the door-keeper 
forewent him till he came to a hermitage, where he saw folk enter- 
ing with many an ex voto offering and other folk coming forth, 
rejoicing. The porter went in, till he came to the curtain,^ and 
said, " Permission, O Shaykhah Rajihah ! Take this sick man." 
Said she, " Bring him within the curtain ; " and the porter said to 
Abdullah, " Enter." So he entered and looking upon the holy 
woman, saw her to be his wife whom he had brought from the City 
of Stone. And when he knew her she also knew him and saluted 
him and he returned her salam. Then said he, " Who brought thee 
hither ? " and she answered, " When I saw that thy brothers had 
cast thee away and were contending concerning me, I threw myself 
into the sea ; but my Shaykh Al-Khizr Abu al-' Abbas took me up 
and brought me to this hermitage, where he gave me leave to heal 
the sick and bade cry in the city : — Whoso hath any ailment, let 
him repair to the Shaykhah Rajihah ; and he also said to me : — 
Tarry in this hermitage till the time betide, and thy husband shall 
come to thee here. So all the sick used to flock to me and I 
rubbed them and shampoo'd them and they awoke on the morrow 
whole and sound ; whereby the report of me became noised abroad 

^ 'Aiij ; I can only suggest, with due diffidence, that this is intended for Ki'ich, 
the well-known Baloch city in Persian Carmania (Kirman) and meant by 
Richardson's " Koch u Buloch." But as the wiiter borrows so much from 
Al-Mas'udi it may possibly be Auk in Sistan, where stood the heretical city 
" Shadrak," chapt. cxxii. 

- i.e. The excellent (or surpassing) Religious. Shaykhah, the fern, of Shaykh, 
is a she-chief: even the head of the dancing-girls will be entitled "Shaykhah." 

^ The curtain would screen her from the sight of men-invalids and probably 
hung across the single room of the " Zawiyah " or hermit's cell. This conceal- 
ment is noticed in the tales of two other reverend women. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 149 

among the folk, and they brought me votive gifts, so that I have with 
me abundant wealth. And now I live here in high honour and 
worship, and all the people of these parts seek my prayers." Then 
she rubbed him and by the ordinance of Allah the Most High, he 
became whole. Now Al-Khizr used to come to her every Friday 
night, and it chanced that the day of Abdullah's coming was a 
Thursday.^ Accordingly, when the night darkened he and she sat, 
after a supper of the richest meats, awaiting the coming of Al-Khizr, 
who made his appearance anon, and carrying them forth of the 
hermitage, set them down in Abdullah's palace at Bassorah, where 
he left them and went his way. As soon as it was day, Abdullah 
examined the palace and knew it for his own ; then, hearing the 
folk clamouring without, he looked forth of the lattice and saw his 
brothers crucified, each on his own cross. Now the reason of this 
was as ensueth. When they had thrown him into the Tigris, the 
twain arose on the morrow, weeping and saying, " Our brother ! the 
Jinniyah hath carried off our brother ! " Then they made ready a 
present and sent it to the Caliph, acquainting him with these 
tidings and suing from him the government of Bassorah. He sent 
for them and questioned them and they told him the false tale we 
have recounted, whereupon he was exceeding wroth.- So that 
night he prayed a two-bow prayer before daybreak, as of his wont, 
and called upon the tribes of the Jinn, who came before him subject- 
wise, and he questioned them of Abdullah : when they sware to 
him that none of them had done him aught of hurt and said, " We 
know not what is become of him." Then came Sa'idah, daughter of 
the Red King, and acquainted the Caliph with the truth of 
Abdullah's case, and he dismissed the Jinn. On the morrow, he 
subjected Nasir and Mansur to the bastinado till they confessed, 
each against other : whereupon the Caliph was enraged wdth them 
and cried, " Carry them to Bassorah and crucify them there before 
Abdullah's palace." Such was their case ; but as regards Abdullah, 
when he saw his brothers crucified, he commanded to bury them, 
then took horse and repairing to Baghdad, acquainted the Caliph, 
with that which his brothers had done with him, from first to last, 
and told him how he had recovered his wife ; whereat Al-Rashid 
marvelled, and summoning the Kazi and the witnesses, bade draw 
up the marriage-contract between Abdullah and the damsel whom 
he had brought from the City of Stone. So he married her and 

^ Abdullah met his wife on Thursday, the night of which would, amongst 
Moslems, be Friday night. 
- t.e. with Sa'idah. 

1^0 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

woned with her at Bassorah till there came to them the Destroyer 
of delights and the Severer of societies ; and extolled be the per- 
fection of the Living, who dieth not ! Moreover, O auspicious 
King, I have heard a tale anent 


There dwelt once upon a time in the God-guarded city of Cairo a 
cobbler who lived by patching old shoes. ^ His name was Ma'aruf ^ 
and had a wife called Fatimah, whom the folk had nicknamed " The 
Dirt ;" ^ for that she was a worthless wretch, scanty of shame and 
mickle of mischief. She ruled her spouse and used to abuse him 
and curse him a thousand times a day ; and he feared her malice 
and dreaded her misdoings \ for that he was a sensible man and 
careful of his repute, but poor-conditioned. When he earned much, 
he spent it on her, and when he gained little, she revenged herself 
with her tongue that night, leaving him no peace and making his 
night black as her book f for she was even as of one like her saith 
the poet : — 

How manifold nights have I passed with my wiTe * In the saddest plight with 

all misery rife : 
Would Heaven when first I did look on her * With a cup of cold poison I'd 

ta'en her life. 

Amongst other afflictions which befel him from her one day she 
said to him, " O Ma'aruf, I wish thee to bring me this night a 
veyi:iicelli-cake dressed with bees' honey." ^ He replied, " So Allah 

^ Arab. "Zarabin" (pi. of zarbim), lit. slaves' shoes or sandals, the chaussure 
worn by Mamelukes. Here the word is used in its modern sense of stout shoes 
or walking boots. 

^ The popular word means goodness, etc., e.g. " A'mil al-Ma'ariif" = have 
the kindness ; do me the favour. 

^ Dozy translates " 'Urrah" = Une Megere : Lane terms it a "vulgar word 
signifying; a wicked, mischievous shrew." But it is the fern, form of 'Urr = dirt; 
not a bad name lor a daughter of Billingsgate ; and reminds us of the term 
applied by the amiable Hallgerda to her enemy's sons. (The Story of Burnt 

* i.e. black like the book of her actions which would be shown to her on 
Doomsday. (See Night dccclxxi.) The ungodly hold it in the left hand, the 
right being bound behind their backs, and they appear in foul forms, apes, swine 
etc., for which see Sale, sect. iv. 

* The " Kunafah " (vermicelli-cake) is a favourite dish of wheaten flour 
worked somewhat finer than our vermicelli, fried with Samn (liutter melted and 
clarified) and sweetened with honey or sugar. See Lane M. E. chapt. v. Bees' 
honey is opposed to various syrups which are used as sweeteners. 

Mdaritf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 151 

Almighty aid me to its price, I will bring it thee. By Allah, I have 
no dirhams to-day, but our Lord will make things easy." ^ Rejoined 

she, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

Notu iiil)£n it luas ti)e Nine l^unUwiJ anti l^inctictt Higtt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ma'arut 
the Cobbler said to his spouse, " If Allah aid me to its price, I will 
bring it to thee this night. By Allah, I have no dirhams to-day, but 
our Lord will make things easy to me ! " She rejoined, " I wot 
naught of these words ; whether He aid thee or aid thee not, look 
thou never come to me save with the vermicelli and bees' honey ; and 
if thou come without it I will make thy night black as thy fortune 
whenas thou marriedst me and fellest into my hand." Quoth he, 
" Allah is bountiful ! " and going out with grief scattering itself from 
his body, prayed the dawn-prayer and opened his shop, saying, " I 
beseech thee, O Lord, to vouchsafe me the price of the Kunafah 
and ward off from me the mischief of yonder wicked woman this 
night ! " After which he sat in the shop till noon, but no work came 
to him and his fear of his wife redoubled. Then he arose and 
locking his shop, went out perplexed as to how he should do in the 
matter of the vermicelli-cake, seeing he had not even the where- 
withal to buy bread. Presently he came up to the shop of the 
Kunafah-seller and stood before it distraught, whilst his eyes brimmed 
with tears. The pastry-cook glanced at him and said, " O Master 
Ma'aruf, why dost thou weep ? Tell me what hath befallen thee." 
So he acquainted him with his case, saying, " My wife is a shrew, a 
virago, who would have me bring her a Kunafah ; but I have sat in 
my shop till past mid-day and have not gained even the price of 
bread ; wherefore I am in fear of her." The cook laughed and said, 
•' No harm shall come to thee. How many pounds wilt thou have ?" 
" Five pounds," answered Ma'aruf. So the man weighed him out 
five pounds of vermicelli-cake and said to him, " I have clarified 
butter, but no bees' honey. Here is drip-honey,^ however, which is 
better than bees' honey ; and what harm will there be, if it be with 

^ i.e. will send us aid. The shrew's rejoinder is highly impious in Moslem 

^ Arab. "Asal Katr," " a fine kind of black honey, treacle " says Lane ; but it 
is afterwards called cane-honey ('Asal Kasab). I have never heard it applied 
to " the syrup which exudes from ripe dates, when hung up." 

152 Alf Laylah wa Lay la h. 

drip-honey?" Ma'aruf was ashamed to object, because the pastry- 
cook was to have patience with him for the price, and said, " Give 
it me with drip-honey." So he fried a vermicelh-cake for him with 
butter and drenched it with drip-honey, till it was fit to present to 
Kings. Then he asked him, " Dost thou want bread ^ and cheese ? " 
and Ma'aruf answered, "Yes." So he gave him four half dirhams 
worth of bread and one of cheese, and the vermicelli was ten nusfs. 
Then said he, " Know, O Ma'aruf, that thou owest me fifteen nusfs, 
so go to thy wife and make merry and take this nusf for the 
Hammam ; and thou shalt have credit for a day or two or three till 
Allah provide thee with thy daily bread. And straiten not thy wife, 
for I will have patience with thee till such time as thou shalt have 
dirhams to spare." So Ma'aruf took the vermicelli-cake and bread 
and cheese and went away, with a heart at ease, blessing the pastry- 
cook and saying, " Extolled be Thy perfection, O my Lord ! How 
bountiful art Thou ! " When he came home, his wife enquired of 
him, " Hast thou brought the vermicelli-cake ? " and, replying, 
" Yes," he set it before her. She looked at it and seeing that it was 
dressed with cane-honey," said to him, " Did I not bid thee bring it 
with bees' honey ? Wilt thou contrary my wish and have it dressed 
v.'ith cane-honey ? " He excused himself to her, saying, I bought 
it not save on credit ;" but said she, " This talk is idle; I will not 
eat Kunafah save with bees' honey." And she was wroth with it 
and threw it in his face, saying, " Begone, thou rogue, and bring me 
other than this ! " Then she dealt him a buffet on the cheek and 
knocked out one of his teeth. The blood ran down upon his breast 
and for stress of anger he smote her on the head a single blow and 
a slight ; whereupon she clutched his beard and fell to shouting out 
and saying, " Help, O Moslems !" So the neighbours came in and 
freed his beard from her grip ; then they reproved and reproached 
her, saying, " We are all content to eat Kunafah with cane-honey. 
Why, then, wilt thou oppress this poor man thus ? Verily, this is 
disgraceful in thee ! " And they went on to soothe her till they 
made peace between her and him. But, when the folk were gone, 
she sware that she would not eat of the vermicelli, and Ma'aruf, 
burning with hunger, said in himself, " She sweareth that she will 
not eat ; so I will e'en eat." Then he ate, and when she saw 
him eating, she said, " Inshallah, may the eating of it be poison 

' Aral). '"Aysh," lit. = that on which man lives : "Khubz" being the more 
popular term. " Hubz and Joobn " is well known at Malta. 

^ Arab. " Asal Kasab," t.e. sugar, possibly made from sorgho-stalks Holctis 
sori^liiiDi of which I made syrup in Central Africa. 

Md'aricf the Cobbler a?id his Wife Fatimah. 153 

to destroy the far one's body." ^ Quoth he, " It shall not be at thy 
bidding," and went on eating, laughing and saying, " Thou swarest 
that thou wouldst not eat of this ; but Allah is bountiful, and 
to-morrow night, an the Lord decree, I will bring thee Kunafah 
dressed with bees' honey, and thou shalt eat it alone." And he 
applied himself to appeasing her, whilst she called down curses upon 
him ; and she ceased not to rail at him and revile him with gross 
abuse till the morning, when she bared her forearm to beat him. 
Quoth he, " Give me time and I will bring thee other vermiceUi- 
cake." Then he went out to the mosque and prayed, after which he 
betook himself to his shop and opening it, sat down ; but hardly had 
he done this when up came two runners from the Kazi's court and 
said to him, " Up with thee, speak with the Kazi, for thy wife hath 
complained of thee to him and her favour is thus and thus." He 
recognised her by their description; and saying, "May Allah 
Almighty torment her ! " walked with them till he came to the Kazi's 
presence, where he found Fatimah standing with her arm bound up 
and her face-veil besmeared with blood ; and she was weeping and 
wiping away her tears. Quoth the Kazi, " Ho man, hast thou no 
fear of Allah the Most High ? Why hast thou beaten this good 
woman and broken her forearm and knocked out her tooth and 
entreated her thus ? " And quoth Ma'aruf, " If I beat her or put out 
her tooth, sentence me to what thou wilt ; but in truth the case was 
thus and thus and the neighbours made peace between me and her." 
And he told him the story from first to last. Now this Kazi was a 
benevolent man ; so he brought out to him a quarter dinar, saying, 
" O man, take this and get her Kunafah with bees' honey and do ye 
make peace, thou and she." Quoth Ma'aruf, "Give it to her." So 
she took it and the Kazi made peace between them, saying, " O 
wife, obey thy husband; and thou, O man, deal kindly with her."- 
Then they left the court, reconciled at the Kazi's hands, and the 
woman went one way, whilst her husband returned by another way 
to his shop and sat there, when, behold, the runners came up to 
him and said, " Give us our fee." Quoth he, " The Kazi took not 
of me aught ; on the contrary, he gave me a quarter dinar." But 
quoth they, " 'Tis no concern of ours whether the Kazi took of thee 
or gave to thee, and if thou give us not our fee, we will exact it in 

^ This unpleasant euphemy has been previously explained. 

" This is a true picture of the leniency with which women were treated in the 
Kazi's court at Cairo ; and the effect was simply deplorable. I have noted that 
matters have grown even worse since the English occupation, for history repeats 
herself; and the same was the case in Afghanistan and in Sind. We govern too 
much in these matters, which should be directed not changed, and too little in other 
things, especially in exacting respect lor the conquerors Irom the conquered. 

154 AIJ Lay /ah wa Lay la h. 

despite of thee." And they fell to dragging him about the market ; 
so he sold his tools and gave them half a dinar, whereupon they let 
him go and went away, whilst he put his hand to his cheek and sat 
sorrowful, for that he had no tools wherewith to work. Presently, 
up came two ill-favoured fellows and said to him, " Come, O man, 
and speak with the Kazi ; for thy wife hath complained of thee 
to him." Said he, " He made peace between us just now." But 
said they, " We come from another Kazi, and thy wife hath com- 
plained of thee to our Kazi." So he arose and went with them to 
their Kazi, calling on Allah for aid against her ; and when he saw 
her, he said to her, "Did we not make peace, good woman?" 
Whereupon she cried, " There abideth no peace between me and 
thee." Accordingly he came forward and told the Kazi his story, 
adding, " And indeed the Kazi Such-an-one made peace between us 
this very hour.*' Whereupon the Kazi said to her, " O wretch, since 
ye two have made peace with each other, why comest thou to me 
complaining?" Quoth she, " He beat me after that;" but quoth 
the Kazi, " Make peace each with other, and beat her not again, 
and she will cross thee no more." So they made peace and the 
Kazi said to Ma'aruf, "Give the runners their fee." So he gave 
them their fee and going back to his shop, opened it and sat 
down, as he were a drunken man for excess of the chagrin which 
befel him. Presently, while he was still sitting, behold, a man 
came up to him and said, " O Ma'aruf, rise and hide thyself, for 
thy wife hath complained of thee to the High Court ^ and Abu 
Tabak^ is after thee." So he shut his shop and fled towards the 
Gate of Victory.^ He had five nusfs of silver left of the price 
of the lasts and gear ; and therewith he bought four worth of bread 
and one of cheese, as he fled from her. Now it was the winter 
season and the hour of mid-afternoon prayer ; so, when he came out 
among the rubbish-mounds the rain descended upon him, like water 
from the mouths of water-skins, and his clothes were drenched. He 
therefore entered the 'Adiliyah,'' where he saw a ruined place and 
therein a deserted cell without a door ; and in it he took refuge and 

^ Arab. " Bab al-'Ali " = the high gate or Sublime Porte ; here used of the 
Chief Kazi's court : the phrase is a descendant of the Coptic " Per-ao," whence 
" Pharaoh." 

- "Abu Tabak," in Cairene slang, is an officer who arrests by order of the Kazi 
and means " Father of whipping " (,= tabaka, a low word for beating, thrashing, 
whopping), because he does his duty with all possible violence in terrorem. 

^ Bab al-Nasr, the Eastern or Desert Gate. 

* This is a mosque outside the great gate built by Al-Malik al-'Adil Tuman Bey 
in A.H. 906 ( =1501). The date is not worthy of much remark, as these names 
are often inserted by the scribe — for which see Terminal Essay. 

Ma'am/ the Cobbler and his Wife Faiiiaah. 155 

found shelter from the rain. The tears streamed from his eyeUds, 
and he fell to complaining of what had betided him and saying, 
" Whither shall I flee from this wretch ? I beseech Thee, O Lord, 
to vouchsafe me one who shall conduct me to a far country, where 
she shall not know the vfdy to me ! " Now while he sat weeping, 
behold, the wall clave and there came forth to him therefrom 
one of tall stature, whose aspect caused his hair to bristle and his 
flesh to creep, and said to him, " O man, what aileth thee that thou 
disturbest me this night ? These two hundred years have I dwelt 
here and have never seen any enter this place and do as thou dost. 
Tell me what thou wishest and I will accomplish thy need, as ruth for 
thee hath gotten hold upon my heart.'"' Quoth Ma'aruf, "Who and 
what art thou ? " and quoth he, " I am the Haunteri of this place." 
So Ma'aruf told him all that had befallen him with his wife and he 
said, " Wilt thou have me convey thee to a country where thy 
wife shall know no way to thee?" "Yes," said Ma'aruf; and the 
other, "Then mount my back." So he mounted on his back and 
he flew with him from after supper-tide till daybreak, when he set 

him down on the top of a high mountain -And Shahrazad was 

surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

She said. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Marid 
having taken up Ma'aruf the Cobbler, flew off with him and set him 
down upon a high mountain and said to him, " O mortal, descend 
this mountain and thou wilt see the gate of a city. Enter it, for 
therein thy wife cannot come at thee." He then left him and went 
his way, whilst Ma'aruf abode in amazement and perplexity till the 
sun rose, when he said to himself, " I will up with me and go down 
into the city : indeed there is no profit in my abiding upon this 
highland." So he descended to the mountain-foot and saw a city 
girt by towering walls, full of lofty palaces and gold-adorned build- 
ings, which was a dehght to beholders. He entered in at the gate 
and found it a place such as lightened the grieving heart ; but as 
he walked through the streets the townsfolk stared at him as a 

' Arab. " 'Amir " lit. = one who inhabiteth, a peopler ; here used in technical 
sense. As has been seen, ruins and impure places, such as lavatories and 
Hammam-baths are the favourite homes of the Jinn. The fire-drake in the text 
was summoned by the Cobbler's e-xclamation, and even Marids at times do a 
kindly action. 

156 A If Lay la /i wa Laylah. 

curiosity and gathered about him, marvelHng at his dress, for it 
was unlike theirs. Presently, one of them said to him, " O man, 
art thou a stranger ? " " Yes." " What countryman art thou ? " "I 
am from the city of Cairo the Auspicious." " And when didst thou 
leave Cairo ? " "I left it yesterday, at the hour of afternoon-prayer." 
Whereupon the man laughed at him and cried out, saying, " Come 
look, O folk, at this man and hear what he saith ! " Quoth they, 
"What doth he say?" and quoth the townsman, " He pretendeth 
that he cometh from Cairo and left it yesterday at the hour of after- 
noon-prayer ! " At this they all laughed and gathering round Ma'aruf, 
said to him, " O man, art thou mad to talk thus ? How canst thou 
pretend that thou leftest Cairo at mid-afternoon yesterday and 
foundedst thyself this morning here, when the truth is that between 
our city and Cairo lieth a full year's journey?" Quoth he, " None 
is mad but you. As for me, I speak sooth, for here is bread which 
I brought with me from Cairo, and see, 'tis yet new." Then he 
showed them the bread and they stared at it, for it was unlike their 
country bread. So the crowd increased about him and they said to 
one another, " This is Cairo bread : look at it ; " and he became a 
gazing-stock in the city and some believed him, whilst others gave 
him the lie and made mock of him. W^hilst this was going on, 
behold, up came a merchant, riding on a she-mule and followed by 
two black slaves, and brake a way through the people, saying, " O 
folk, are ye not ashamed to mob this stranger and make mock of 
him and scoff at him?" And he went on to rate them, till lie 
drave them away from Ma'aruf, and none could make him any 
answer. Then he said to the stranger, "Come, O my brother, no 
harm shall betide thee from these folk. Verily they have no shame."^ 
So he took him and carrying him to a spacious and richly-adorned 
house, seated him in a speak-room fit for a King, whilst he gave an 
order to his slaves, who opened a chest and brought out to him a 
dress such as might be worn by a merchant, worth a thousand.- He 
clad him therewith and Ma'aruf, being a seemly man, became as 
he were consul of the merchants. Then his host called for food 
and they set before them a tray of all manner exquisite viands. 
The twain ate and drank and the merchant said to Ma'aruf, "O my 
brother, what is thy name ? " " My name is Ma'aruf and I am a 
cobbler by trade and patch old shoes." " "What countryman art 
thou ? " "I am from Cairo." " What quarter ? " " Dost thou know 

The style is modern Cairene jargon. 
Purses or gold pieces. 

Md'arvf the Cobbler ufid his Wife Fatimah. 157 

Cairo?" "I am of its children.' I come from the Red Street.^" 
" And whom dost thou know in the Red Street ? " I know Such- 
an-one and Such-an-one," answered Ma'aruf, and named several 
people to him. Quoth the other, " Knowest thou Shaykh Ahmad 
the druggist?"^ " He was my next neighbour, wall to wall." "Is 
he well?" "Yes." "How many sons hath he?" "Three, 
Mustafa, Mohammed, and Ali." " And what hath Allah done with 
them?" "As for Mustafa, he is well and he is a learned man, a 
professor : ^ Mohammed is a druggist and opened him a shop 
beside that of his father, after he had married, and his wife hath 
borne him a son named Hasan." " Allah gladden thee with good 
news ! " said the merchant ; and Ma'aruf continued, " As for 
Ali, he was my friend, when we were boys, and we always 
played together, I and he. We used to go in the guise of the 
children of the Nazarenes and enter the church and steal the 
books of the Christians and sell them and buy food with the 
price. It chanced once that the Nazarenes caught us with a book ; 
whereupon they complained of us to our folk and said to Ali's 
father : — An thou hinder not thy son from troubling us, we will 
complain of thee to the King. So he appeased them and gave Ali 
a thrashing ; wherefore he ran away none knew whither and he hath 
now been absent twenty years and no man hath brought news of 
him." Quoth the host, " I am that very Ali, son of Shaykh Ahmad 
the druggist, and thou art my playmate Ma'aruf." ^ So they saluted 
each other and after the salam Ali said, "Tell me why, O Ma'aruf, 
thou earnest from Cairo to this city." Then he told him all that had 
befallen him of ill-doing with his wife Fatimah the Dirt, and said, 
" So, when her annoy waxed on me, I fled from her towards the 
Gate of Victory and went forth the city. Presently, the rain fell 
heavy on me ; so I entered a ruined cell in the Adiliyah and sat 
there, weeping ; whereupon there came forth to me the Haunter of 
the place, which was an Ifrit of the Jinn, and questioned me. I 
acquainted him with my case and he took me on his back and flew 
with me all night between heaven and earth, till he set me upon 

^ i.e. I am a Cairene. 

- Arab. '• Darb al-Ahmar," a street still existing near to and outside the noble 
Bab Zuwaylah. 

■^ Arab. '* 'Attar," perfume seller and druggist ; the word is connected with 
our •' Ottar " ('Atr). 

* Arab. " Mudarris," lit.= one who gives lessons or lectures (dars) and pop. 
applied to a professor in a collegiate mosque like Al-Azhar of Cairo. 

^ This thoroughly dramatic scene is told with a charming naivete. No wonder 
that The Nights has been made the basis of a national theatre amongst the 

1^8 Alf Laylah iva Lay /ah. 

yonder mountain and gave mc to know of this city. So I came 
down from the mountain and entered the city, when the people 
crowded about me and questioned me, I told them that I had left 
Cairo yesterday, but they believed me not, and presently thou camest 
up and driving the folk away from me, carriedst me to this house. 
Such, then, is the cause of my quitting Cairo ; and thou, what object 
brought thee hither? " Quoth Ali, " The giddiness ^ of folly turned 
my head when I was seven years old, from which time I wandered 
Irom land to land and city to city, till I came to this city, the name 
whereof is Ikhtiyan al-Khatan.- I found its people an hospitable 
folk and a kindly, compassionate for the poor man and selling to 
him on credit and believing all he said. So quoth I to them : — I 
am a merchant and have preceded my packs and I need a place 
wherein to bestow my baggage. And they believed me and assigned 
me a lodging. Then quoth I to them : — Is there any of you will 
lend me a thousand dinars till my loads arrive, when I will repay 
it to him ; for I am in want of certain things before my goods come ? " 
They gave me what I asked and I went to the merchants' bazar, 
where, seeing goods, I bought them and sold them next day at a 
profit of fifty gold pieces and bought others.-^ And I consorted with 
the folk and entreated them liberally, so that they loved me, and I 
continued to sell and buy, till I grew rich. Know, O my brother, 
that the proverb saith, " The world is show and trickery : and the 
land where none wotteth thee, there do whatso liketh thee. Thou 
too, an thou say to all who ask thee, I'm a cobbler by trade and 
poor withal, and I fled from my wife and left Cairo yesterday, they 
will not believe thee and thou wilt be a laughing-stock among them 
as long as thou abidest in the city ,; whilst, an thou tell them, An 
Ifrit brought me hither, they will take fright at thee and none will 
come near thee ; for they will say. This man is possessed of an Ifrit 
and harm will betide whoso approacheth him. And such public 

^ Arab. "Taysh," lit. — vertigo, swimming of head. 

- Here Trebutien (iii. 265) reads " la ville de Khaitan (so the Mac. Edit, 
iv. 708) capital du royaume de Sohatan." Ikhtiyan, Lane suggests to be fictitious : 
Ivhatan is a district of Tartary, east of Kashgar, so called by Sadik al-Isfahani, 
p. 24. 

^ This is a true picture of the tact and savoir /aire of the Cairenes. It was a 
study to see how, under the late Khedive, they managed to take precedence of 
Europeans who found themselves in the background before they knew it. For 
instance, every Bey, whose degree is that of a Colonel, was made an ' ' Excellency " 
and ranked accordingly at Court, whilst his father, some poor Fellah, was plough- 
ing the ground. Taufik Pasha began his ill-omened rule by always placing 
natives close to him in the place of honour, addressing them first and otherwise 
snubbing Europeans who, when English, were often too obtuse to notice the 
petty insults lavished upon them. 

Ma'am/ the Cobbler and his JVife Fatimah. 159 

report will be dishonouring both to thee and to me, because they ken 
I come from Cairo." Ma'aruf asked : — How then shall I do ? " 
and Ah answered, " I will tell thee how thou shalt do, Inshallah ! 
To-morrow I will give thee a thousand dinars and a she-mule to ride 
and a black slave, who shall walk before thee and guide thee to the 
gate of the merchants' bazar ; and do thou go in to them. I will be 
there sitting amongst them, and when I see thee, I will rise to thee 
and salute thee with the salam and kiss thy hand and make a great 
man of thee. Whenever I ask thee of any kind of stuff, saying, Hast 
thou brought with thee aught of such a kind? do thou answer, 
Plenty.^ And if they question me of thee, I will praise thee and 
magnify thee in their eyes and say to them, Get him a store-house 
and a shop. I also will give thee out for a man of great wealth and 
generosity ; and if a beggar come to thee, bestow upon him what 
thou mayst ; so will they put faith in what I say and believe in thy 
greatness and generosity and love thee. Then will I invite thee to 
my house and invite all the merchants on thy account and bring 
together thee and them, so that all may know thee and thou know 

them, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say. 

Nota toj^m it toas tl)c Nine p)unt(r£l3 $c Niiutg-seconti ISfigl^t, 

She continued, it hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
merchant Ali said to Ma'aruf, " I will invite thee to my house and 
invite all the merchants on thy account and bring together thee and 
them, so that all may know thee and thou know them, whereby 
thou shalt sell and buy and take and give with them ; nor will it 
be long ere thou become a man of money." Accordingly, on the 
morrow he gave him a thousand dinars and a suit of clothes and a 
black slave, and mounting him upon a she-mule, said to him, "Allah 
give thee quittance of responsibility for all this,^ inasmuch as thou 
art my friend and it behoveth me to deal generously with thee. 
Have no care ; but put away from thee the thought of thy wife's 
misways and name her not to any." " Allah requite thee with 
good ! " replied Ma'aruf and rode on, preceded by his blackamoor 
till the slave brought him to the gate of the merchants' bazar, where 

^ Arab. "Kathir" (pron. Katir) = much: here used in its slang sense, "no 

- i.e. "May the Lord soon make thee able to repay me; but meanwhile I 
give it to thee for thy own free use." 

1 60 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

they were all seated, and amongst them AH, who when he saw him, 
rose and threw himself upon him, crying, " A blessed day, O Mer- 
chant Ma'aruf, O man of good works and kindness ! " ^ And he 
kissed his hand before the merchants and said to them, " Our 
brothers, ye are honoured by knowing- the merchant Ma'aruf." 
So they saluted him, and Ali signed to them to make much of 
him, wherefore he was magnified in their eyes. Then Ali helped 
him to dismount from his she-mule and saluted him with the salam ; 
after which he took the merchants apart, one after other, and 
vaunted Ma'aruf to them. They asked, " Is this man a mer- 
chant ? " and he answered, " Yes ; and indeed he is the chiefest 
of merchants ; there liveth not a wealthier than he, for his wealth 
and the riches of his father and forefathers are famous among the 
merchants of Cairo. He hath partners in Hind and Sind and Al- 
Yaman and is high in repute for generosity. So know ye his rank 
and exalt ye his degree and do him service, and wot also that his 
coming to your city is not for the sake of traffic, and none other 
save to divert himself with the sight of folk's countries : indeed, he 
hath no need of strangerhood for the sake of gain and profit, having 
wealth that fires cannot consume, and I am one of his servants." 
And he ceased not to extol him, till they set him above their heads 
and began to tell one another of his qualities. Then they gathered 
round him and offered him junkets ^ and sherbets, and even the 
Consul of the Merchants came to him and saluted him ; whilst Ali 
proceeded to ask him, in the presence of the traders, " O my lord, 
haply thou hast brought with thee somewhat of such and such a 
stuff?" and Ma'aruf answered, "Plenty." Now AH had that day 
shown him various kinds of costly cloths and had taught him the 
names of the different stuffs, dear and cheap. Then said one of 
the merchants, " O my lord, hast thou brought with thee yellow 
broad cloth ? " and Ma'aruf said, " Plenty ! " Quoth another, " And 
gazelles' blood red?" * and quoth the Cobbler, "Plenty;" and as 
often as he asked him of aught, he made him the same answer. So 
the other said, " O Merchant Ali had thy countryman a mind to 
transport a thousand loads of costly stuffs, he could do so ; " and 
Ali said, " He would take them from a single one of his store-houses, 

^ Punning upon his name. Much might be written upon the significance of 
names as ominous of good and evil ; but the subject is far too extensive for a 

''■ " Lane translates " Anisa-kum" by " he hath delighted you by his arrival ;" 
Mr. Payne " I commend him to you." 

^ Arab. " Fatiirat," = light food for the early breakfast, of which the 
" Fatirah "-cake was a favourite item. 

* A dark red dye (Lane). 

Ma'aricf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. i6i 

and miss naught thereof." Now whilst they were sitting, behold, up 
came a beggar and went the round of the merchants. One gave 
him a half dirham and another a copper,' but most of them gave 
him nothing, till he came to Ma'aruf who pulled out a handful of 
gold and gave it to him, whereupon he blessed him and went his 
ways. The merchants marvelled at this and said, " Verily, this is a 
King's bestowal, for he gave the beggar gold without count, and 
were he not a man of vast wealth and money without end, he had not 
given an asker a handful of gold." After a while there came to him 
a poor woman and he gave her another handful of gold, whereupon 
she went away, blessing him, and told the other beggars, who came 
to him, one after other, and he gave them each a handful of gold, till 
he disbursed the thousand dinars. Then he struck hand upon hand 
and said, Allah is our sufficient aid and excellent is the Agent ! " 
Quoth the Consul, "What aileth thee, O Merchant Ma'aruf?" and 
quoth he, " It seemeth that the most part of the people of this city 
are poor and needy ; and had I known their misery I would have 
brought with me a large sum of money in my saddle-bags and given 
largesse thereof to the poor. I fear me I may be long abroad ^ 
and 'tis not in my nature to baulk a beggar ; and I have no gold left : 
so, if a pauper come to me, what shall I say to him?" Quoth the 
Consul, " Say, Allah will send thee thy daily bread ! " ^ but Ma'aruf 
replied, " That is not my practice and I am care-ridden because 
of this. Would I had other thousand dinars, wherewith to give alms 
till my baggage come ! " " Have no care for that," quoth the Consul, 
and, sending one of his dependents for a thousand dinars, handed 
them to Ma'aruf, who went on giving them to every beggar who 
passed till the call to noon-prayer. Then they entered the cathedral- 
mosque and prayed the noon-prayers, and what was left him of the 
thousand gold pieces he scattered upon the heads of the worshippers. 
This drew the people's attention to him and they blessed him, whilst 
the merchants marvelled at the abundance of his generosity and 
openhandedness. Then he turned to another trader and, borrowing 
of him another thousand ducats, gave these also away, whilst 
Merchant Ali looked on at what he did, but could not speak. 
He ceased not to do thus till the call to mid-afternoon prayer, when 
he entered the mosque and prayed and distributed the rest of the 
money. On this wise, by the time they locked the doors of the 

' Arab. "Jadid." 

^ Both the texts read thus, but the reading has little sense. Ma'aruf probably 
would say, " I fear that my loads will be long coming." 
^ One of the many formulas of polite refusal. 


1 62 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

bazar,^ he had borrowed five thousand sequins and given them away, 
saying to every one of whom he took aught. " Wait till my baggage 
come, when, if thou desire gold, I will give thee gold, and if thou 
desire stuffs, thou shalt have stuffs, for I have no end of them." 
At eventide Merchant Ali invited Ma'aruf and the rest of the traders 
to an entertainment and seated him in the upper end, the place of 
honour, where he talked of nothing but cloths and jewels, and when- 
ever they made mention to him of aught, he said, " I have plenty of 
it." Next day, he again repaired to the market-street where he 
showed a friendly bias towards the merchants and borrowed of them 
more money, which he distributed to the poor ; nor did he leave 
doing thus twenty days, till he had borrowed threescore thousand 
dinars, and still there came no baggage, no, nor a burning plague.^ 
At last folk began to clamour for their money and say, " The 
merchant Ma'aruf's baggage cometh not. How long will he take 
people's moneys and give them to the poor ? " And quoth one of 
them, " My rede is that we speak to Merchant Ali." So they went 
to him and said, " O Merchant Ali, Merchant Ma'aruf's baggage 
cometh not." Said he, " Have patience, it cannot fail to come 
soon." Then he took Ma'aruf aside and said to him, " O Ma'aruf, 
what fashion is this? Did I bid thee brown^ the bread or burn it? 
The merchants clamour for their coin and tell me that thou owest 
them sixty thousand dinars, which thou hast borrowed and given 
away to the poor. How wilt thou satisfy the folk, seeing that thou 
neither sellest nor buyest ? " Said Ma'aruf, " What matters it * and 
what are threescore thousand dinars ? When my baggage shall come, 
I will pay them in stuffs or in gold and silver, as they will." Quoth 
Merchant Ali, " Allah is Most Great ! Hast thou then any baggage ? " 
and he said, "Plenty." Cried the other, "Allah and the Hallows^ 
requite thee thine impudence ! Did I teach thee this saying, that 
thou shouldst repeat it to me ? But I will acquaint the folk with 
thee." Ma'aruf rejoined, " Begone and prate no more ! Am I a 
poor man ? I have endless wealth in my baggage and as soon as 

^ Each bazar, in a large city like Damascus, has its tall and heavy wooden doors, 
which are locked in the evening and opened in the morning by the Ghafir or guard. 
The "silver key," however, always lets one in. 

'■^ Arab."Wa la Kabbata hamiyah," a Cairene vulgarism meaning ** There 
came nothing to j^rofit him nor to rid the people of him." 

^ Arab. " Hammir," i.e. brown it before the fire, toast it. 

* It is insinuated that he had lied till he himself believed the lie to be truth — 
not an uncommon process, I may remark. 

^ Arab. " Rijal "= the Men, equivalent to the Walis, Saints or Santons; with 
perhaps an allusion to the Rijal al-Ghayb, the Invisible Controls, concerning 
whom I have quoted Herklots. 

Md!aruf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 163 

it Cometh, they shall have their money's worth, two for one. I 
have no need of them." At this Merchant AH waxed wroth and 
said, " Unmannerly wight that thou art, I will teach thee to lie to me 
and be not ashamed ! " Said Ma'aruf, " E'en work the worst thy 
hand can do ! They must wait till my baggage come, when they 
shall have their due and more." So Ali left him and went away, 
saying in himself, " I praised him whilome and if I blame him 
now, I make myself out a liar and become of those of whom it is 
said : — Whoso praiseth and then blameth lieth twice." ^ And he 
knew not what to do. Presently, the traders came to him and said, 
"O Merchant Ali, hast thou spoken to him?" Said he, "O folk, 
I am ashamed and, though he owe me a thousand dinars, I cannot 
speak to him. When ye lent him your money ye consulted me not ; 
so ye have no claim on me. Dun him yourselves, and if he pay you 
not, complain of him to the King of the city, saying : —He is an 
impostor who hath imposed upon us. And he will deliver you from 
the plague of him." Accordingly, they repaired to the King and 
told him what had passed, saying, " O King of the age, we are per- 
plexed anent this merchant, whose generosity is excessive ; for he 
doeth thus and thus, and all he borroweth he giveth away to the 
poor by handsful. Were he a man of naught, his sense would not 
suffer him to lavish gold on this wise ; and were he a man of wealth 
his good faith had been made manifest to us by the coming of his 
baggage ; but we see none of his luggage, although he avoucheth 
that he hath a baggage-train, and hath preceded it. Now some 
time hath past, but there appeareth no sign of such baggage-train, 
and he oweth us sixty thousand gold pieces, all of which he hath 
given away in alms." And they went on to praise him and extol 
his generosity. Now this King was a very covetous man, a more 
covetous than Ash'ab ; - and when he heard tell of Ma'arufs 
generosity and openhandedness, greed of gain got the better of him 
and he said to his Wazir, " Were not this merchant a man of 

^ A saying .ittributed to Al-Hariri (Lane). It is good enough to be his : the 
Persians say, " Cut not down the tree thou plantedst," and the idea is universal 
throughout the East. 

- A quotation from Al-Hariri (Ass. of the Badawin). Ash'ab (ob. A.H. 54), 
a Medinite servant of Caliph Osman, was proverbial for greed and sanguine with 
Micawber-like expectation of " windfalls." The Scholiast Al-Sbarishi (of Xeres) 
describes him in Theophrastic style. He never saw a man put hand to pocket 
without expecting a present, or a funeral go by. without hoping for a legacy, or 
a bridal procession without preparing his own house, hoping they might bring the 
bride to him by mistake. * * * When asked if he knew aught greedier than 
himself he said " Yes ; a sheep I once kept upon my terrace-roof seeing a rain- 
bow mistook it for a rope of hay and jumping to seize it broke its neck ! " Hence 
" Ash'ab's sheep" became a by-word (Preston tells the tale in full, p. 288). 

164 Alf Lay la h wa Lay I ah. 

immense wealth, he had not shown all this munificence. His 
baggage-train will assuredly come, whereupon these merchants will 
flock to him and he will scatter amongst them riches galore. Now 
I have more right to this money than they ; wherefore I have 
a mind to make friends with him and profess affection for him, 
so that, when his baggage cometh, whatso the merchants would 
have gotten I shall get of him ; and I will give him my daughter 
to wife and join his wealth to my wealth." Replied the Wazir, 
" O King of the age, methinks he is naught but an impostor, and 

'tis the impostor who ruineth the house of the covetous ; " And 

Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying her 
permitted say. 

iSoto fcDf)fn it toas tf)E iEine |^unti«U §r iBmctg-tibitti iaigibt. 

She pursued, It hath reached me, auspicious King, that when 
the Wazir said to the King, " Methinks he is naught but an 
impostor, and 'tis the impostor who ruineth the house of the 
covetous ; " the King said, " O Wazir, I will prove him and soon 
know if he be an impostor or a true man and whether he be a 
rearling of Fortune or not." The Wazir asked, " And how wilt thou 
prove him?" and the King answered, "I will send for him to the 
presence and entreat him with honour and give him a jewel which 
I have. An he know it and wot its price, he is a man of worth and 
wealth ; but an he know it not, he is an impostor and an upstart 
and I will do him die by the foulest fashion of deaths." So he sent 
for Ma'aruf, who came and saluted him. The King returned his 
salam and seating him beside himself, said to him, " Art thou the 
merchant Ma'aruf?" and said he, "Yes." Quoth the King, "The 
merchants declare that thou owest them sixty thousand ducats. Is 
this true ? " " Yes," quoth he. Asked the King, " Then why dost 
thou not give them their money?" and he answered, "Let them 
wait till my baggage come and I will repay them twofold. An they 
wish for gold, they shall have gold ; and should they wish for silver, 
they shall have silver ; or an they prefer merchandise, I will give 
them merchandise ; and to whom I owe a thousand I will give two 
thousand in requital of that wherewith he hath veiled my face 
before the poor ; for I have plenty." Then said the King, " O 
merchant, take this and look what is its kind and value." And he 
gave him a jewel the bigness of a hazel-nut, which he had bought 
for a thousand sequins and not having its fellow, prized it highly. 
Ma'aruf took it and pressing it between his thumb and forefinger 
brake it, for it was brittle and would not brook the squeeze. Quoth 

Ma'arnf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 165 

the King, " Why hast thou broken the jewel ? " and Ma'aruf laughed 
and said, " O King of the age, this is no jewel. This is but a bittock 
of mineral worth a thousand dinars ; why dost thou style it a jewel ? 
A jewel I call such as is worth threescore and ten thousand gold 
pieces and this is called but a piece of stone. A gem that is not of 
the bigness of a w^alnut hath no worth in my eyes and I take no 
account thereof. How cometh it, then, that thou, who art King, 
stylest this thing a jewel, when 'tis but a bit of mineral worth a 
thousand dinars ? But ye are excusable, for that ye are poor folk 
and have not in your possession things of price." The King asked, 
" O merchant, hast thou stones such as those whereof thou speakest ? " 
and he answered, " Plenty." Whereupon avarice overcame the 
King and he said, " Wilt thou give me real jewels ? " Said 
Ma'aruf, " When my baggage-train shall come, I will give thee no 
end of gems ; and all that thou canst desire I have in plenty and 
will give thee, without price." At this the King rejoiced and said 
to the traders, " Wend your ways and have patience with him, till 
his baggage arrive, when do ye come to me and receive your moneys 
from me." So they fared forth and the King turned to his Wazir 
and said to him, " Pay court to Merchant Ma'aruf and take and give 
with him in talk and bespeak him of my daughter, Princess Dunya, 
that he may wed her and so we gain these riches he hath." Said the 
Wazir, " O King of the age, this man's fashion misliketh me and 
methinketh he is an impostor and a liar : so leave this whereof thou 
speakest lest thou lose thy daughter for naught." Now this Minister 
had sued the King aforetime to give him his daughter to wife, and 
he was willing to do so, but when she heard of it she consented 
not to marry him. Accordingly, the King said to him, " O traitor, 
thou desirest no good for me, because in past time thou soughtest 
my daughter in wedlock, but she would none of thee ; so now thou 
wouldst cut off the way of her marriage and wouldst have the 
Princess lie fallow, that thou mayst take her. But hear from me one 
word — Thou hast no concern in this matter. How can he be an 
impostor and a liar, seeing that he knew the price of the jewel, even 
that for which I bought it, and brake it because it pleased him -not ? 
He hath jewels in plenty, and when he goeth to my daughter and 
seeth her to be beautiful, she will captivate his reason and he will 
love her and give her gems and things of price : but, as for thee, 
thou wouldst forbid my daughter and myself these good things." 
So the Minister was silent, for fear of the King's anger, and said to 
himself, " Set the curs on the cattle^! " Then, with show of friendly 

^ i.e. " Show a miser money and hold him back, if you can." 

1 66 A!/ Lay la Ii 7i<a Laylah. 

bias, he betook himself to Ma'aruf and said to him, " His Highness 
the King loveth thee and hath a daughter, a winsome lady and a 
lovesome, to whom he is minded to marry thee. What saj'St 
thou ? " Said he, " No harm in that ; but let him wait till my baggage 
come, for marriage settlements on Kings' daughters are large and 
their rank demandeth that they be not endowed save with a dowry 
befitting their degree. At this present I have no money with me 
till the coming of my baggage, but I have wealth in plenty, and 
needs must I make her marriage-portion five thousand purses. 
Then I shall need a thousand purses to distribute amongst the poor 
and needy on my wedding-night and other thousand to give to those 
w^ho walk in the bridal procession and yet other thousand wherewith 
to provide provaunt for the troops and others ; ^ and I shall want an 
hundred jewels to give to the Princess on the wedding-morning- and 
other hundred gems to distribute among the slave-girls and eunuchs, 
for I must present to each of them a jewel in honour of the bride ; and 
I need wherewithal to clothe a thousand naked paupers, and alms too 
must perforce be given. All this cannot be done till my baggage 
come ; but I have plenty and, once it is here, I shall make no 
account of all this outlay." The Wazir returned to the King and 
told him what Ma'aruf said, whereupon quoth he, "Since this is his 
wish, how canst thou style him impostor and liar?" Replied the 
Minister, " And I cease not to say this." But the King chid him 
angrily and threatened him, saying, " By the life of my head, an 
thou cease not this talk, I will slay thee. Go back to him and fetch 
him to me and I will manage matters with him myself." So the 
Wazir returned to Ma'aruf and said to him, " Come and speak with 
the King." " I hear and I obey," said Ma'aruf, and went in to the 
King, who said to him, " Thou shalt not put me off with these excuses, 
for my treasury is full ; so take the keys and spend all thou needest 
and give what thou wilt and clothe the poor and do thy desire and 
have no care for the girl and the handmaids. When the baggage 
shall come, do what thou wilt with thy wife by way of generosity, and 
we will have patience with thee anent the marriage-portion till then, 
for there is no manner of difference betwixt me and thee ; none at 
all." Then he sent for the Shaykh Al-Islam ^ and bade him write 
out the marriage-contract between his daughter and Merchant 
Ma'aruf, and he did so ; after which the King gave the signal for 
beginning the wedding festivities, and bade decorate the city. The 

He wants ;if40,ooo to begin with. 

Arab. '• Sabihat al-'urs," /.<:. the morning after the wedding. 

Another sign of modern composition, as in Kamar al-Zaman II. 

Md'aruf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 167 

kettle drums beat and the tables were spread with meats of all 
kinds and there came performers who paraded their tricks. 
Merchant Ma'aruf sat upon a throne in a parlour and the players 
and gymnasts and dancing-men of wondrous movements and 
posture-makers of marvellous cunning came before him, whilst he 
called out to the Treasurer and said to him, " Bring gold and 
silver." So he brought gold and silver and JNIa'aruf went round 
among the spectators and largessed each performer by the handful ; 
and he gave alms to the poor and needy, and clothes to the naked, 
and it was a clamorous festival and a right merry. The treasurer 
could not bring money fast enough from the treasury, and the 
Wazir's heart was like to burst for rage ; but he dared not say a 
word, whilst jMerchant Ali marvelled at this waste of wealth, and 
said to Merchant Ma'aruf, "Allah and the Hallows visit this upon 
thy head-sides ! ^ Doth it not suffice thee to squander the traders' 
money, but thou must squander that of the King to boot?" 
Replied Ma'aruf, " 'Tis none of thy concern : whenas my baggage 
shall come, I will requite the King manifold." And he went on 
lavishing money and saying in himself, "A burning plague ! What 
shall happen will happen, and there is no flying from that which is 
foreordained." The festivities ceased not for the space of forty 
days, and on the one-and-fortieth day, they made the bride's 
cortege, and all the Emirs and troops walked before her. When 
they brought her in before Ma'aruf, he began scattering gold on 
the people's heads, and they made her a mighty fine procession, 
whilst Ma'aruf expended in her honour vast sums of money. Then 
they brought him in to Princess Dunya, and he sat down on the 
high divan ; after which they let fall the curtains and shut the 
doors and withdrew, leaving him alone with his bride ; whereupon 
he smote hand upon hand and sat awhile sorrowful and saying, 
"There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the 
Glorious, the Great ! " Quoth the Princess, " O my lord, Allah 
preserve thee ! What aileth thee that thou art troubled?" Quoth 
he, "And how should I be other than troubled, seeing that thy 
father hath embarrassed me and done with me a deed which is 
like the burning of green corn ? " She asked, " And what hath 
my father done with thee ? Tell me ! " and he answered, " He 
hath brought me in to thee before the coming of my baggage, and 
I want at very least an hundred jewels to distribute among thy 
handmiaids, to each a jewel, so she might rejoice therein and 

^ Lane translates this, " May Allah and the Rijal retaliate upon thy temple!" 

1 68 Alf Laylah wa Lay la h. 

say, My lord gave me a jewel on the night of his marriage to my 
lady. This good deed would I have done in honour of thy station 
and for the increase of thy dignity ; and I have no need to stint 
myself in lavishing jewels, for I have of them great plenty." Re- 
joined she, " Be not concerned for that. As for me, trouble not 
thyself about me, for I will have patience with thee till thy baggage 

shall come ; and as for my women, have no care for them." And 

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

i^oto tof)cn It tons tf)£ i^ine l^untrrtti antr iSttnttB-fourtl) i^igl)!, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Princess Dunya comforted Merchant Ma'aruf till the dawn of day, 
when he arose and entered the Hammam, whence, after donning a 
suit for sovrans suitable, he betook himself to the King's divan. 
All who were there rose to him and received him with honour and 
worship, giving him joy and invoking blessings upon him ; and he 
sat down by the King's side and asked, "Where is the Treasurer?" 
They answered, " Here he is, before thee," and he said to him, 
" Bring robes of honour for all the Wazirs and Emirs and dignitaries 
and clothe them therewith." The Treasurer brought him all he 
sought and he sat giving to all who came to him and lavishing 
largesse upon every man according to his station. On this wise he 
abode twenty days, whilst no baggage appeared for him nor aught 
else, till the Treasurer was straitened by him to the uttermost and 
going in to the King, as he sat alone with the Wazir in Ma'aruf s 
absence, kissed ground between his hands and said, " O King of 
the age, I must tell thee somewhat, lest haply thou blame me for 
not acquainting thee therewith. Know that the treasury is being 
exhausted ; there is none but a little money left in it and in ten 
days more we shall shut it upon emptiness." Quoth the King, " O 
AVazir, verily my son-in-law's baggage-train tarrieth long and there 
appeareth no news thereof." The Minister laughed and .said, 
" Allah be gracious to thee, O King of the age ! Thou art none 
other but heedless with respect to this impostor, this liar. As thy 
head liveth, there is no baggage for him, no, nor a burning plague 
to rid us of him ! Nay, he hath but imposed on thee without sur- 
cease, so that he hath wasted thy treasures and married thy daughter 
for naught. How long therefore wilt thou be heedless of this liar ?" 
Then quoth the King, " O Wazir, how shall we do to learn the 
truth of his case ! " and quoth the Wazir, " O King of the age, none 

Ma'ariif the Cobbler and his Wife Fatiinah. 169 

may come at a man's secret but his wife ; so send for thy daughter 
and let her come behind the curtain, that I may question her of 
the truth of his estate, to the intent that she may make question of 
him and acquaint us with his case." Cried the King, "There is no 
harm in that ; and, as my head hveth, if it be proved that he is a 
liar and an impostor, I will verily do him die by the foulest of 
deaths ! " Then he carried the Wazir into the sitting-chamber and 
sent for his daughter, who came behind the curtain, her husband 
being absent, and said, " What wouldst thou, O my father ? " Said 
he "Speak with the Wazir." So she asked, " Ho thou, the Wazir, 
what is thy will? " and he answered, " O my lady, thou must know 
that thy husband hath squandered thy father's substance and 
married thee without a dower; and he ceaseth not to promise us 
and break his promises, nor cometh there any tidings of his bag- 
gage ; in short we would have thee inform us concerning him." 
Quoth she, " Indeed his words be many, and he still cometh and 
promiseth me jewels and treasures and costly stuffs ; but I see 
nothing." Quoth the W^azir, " O my lady, canst thou this night take 
and give with him in talk and whisper to him : — Say me sooth and 
fear from me naught, for thou art become my husband and I will 
not transgress against thee. So tell me the truth of the matter and 
I will devise thee a device whereby thou shalt be set at rest. And do 
thou play near and far ^ with him in words and profess love to him 
and win him to confess and after tell us the facts of his case." And 
she answered, " O my papa, I know how I will make proof of him." 
Then she went away and after supper her husband came in to her, 
according to his wont, whereupon Princess Dunya rose to him 
and wheedled him with winsomest wheedling (and all-sufficient ^ are 
woman's wiles whenas she would aught of men) ; and she ceased not 
to caress him and beguile him with speech sweeter than the honey- 
comb till she stole his reason ; and when she saw that he altogether 
inclined to her, she said to him, " O my beloved, O coolth of 
my eyes and fruit of my vitals, Allah never desolate me by less of 
thee nor Time sunder us twain, me and thee ! Indeed, the love of 
thee hath homed in my heart, nor will I ever forsake thee or trans- 
gress against thee. But I would have thee tell me the truth, for 
that the sleights of falsehood profit not, nor do they secure credit 
at all seasons. How long wilt thou impose upon my father and lie 
to him ? I fear lest thine affair be discovered to him, ere we can 

' As we should say, " play fast and loose." 

- Arab. " Nahi-ka," lit. = thy prohibition, but idiomatically used = let it suffice 

170 AlJ Laylah wa Laylah. 

devise some device and he lay violent hands upon thee ? So 
acquaint me with the facts of the case, for naught shall befal thee 
save that which shall begladden thee ; and, when thou shalt have 
spoken sooth, fear not harm shall betide thee. How often wilt thou 
declare that thou art a merchant and a man of money and hast a 
luggage-train ? This long while past thou sayest, My baggage ! 
my baggage ! but there appeareth no sign of thy baggage, and 
visible in thy face is anxiety on this account. So an there be no 
worth in thy words, tell me and I will contrive thee a contrivance 
whereby thou shalt come off safe, Inshallah ! " He replied, " I will 
tell thee the truth, and then do thou whatso thou wilt." Rejoined 
she, " Speak and look thou speak soothly ; for sooth is the ark of 
safety, and beware of lying, for it dishonoureth the liar, and God- 
gifted is he who said : — 

'Ware that truth thou speak, albe sooth when said * Shall cause thee in 

' threatened fire to fall : 
And seek Allah's approof, for most foolish he * Who shall anger his Lord to 
make friends with thrall." 

He said, " Know then, O my lady, that I am no merchant and have 
no baggage, no, nor a burning plague ; nay, I was but a cobbler in 
my own country and had a wife called Fatimah the Dirt, with whom 
there befel me this and that." And he told her his story from 
beginning to end; whereat she laughed and said, "Verily, thou art 
clever in the practice of lying and imposture ! " Whereto he 
answered, " O my lady, may Allah Almighty preserve thee to veil 
sins and countervail chagrins ! " Rejoined she, " Know, that thou 
imposedst upon my sire and deceivedst him by dint of thy deluding 
vaunts, so that of his greed for gain he married me to thee. Then 
thou squanderedst his wealth and the Wazir beareth thee a grudge 
for this. How many a time hath he spoken against thee to my 
father, saying, Indeed, he is an impostor, a liar ! But my sire 
hearkened not to his say, for that he had sought me in wedlock 
and I consented not that he be baron and I femme. However, 
the time grew longsome upon my sire and he became straitened and 
said to me. Make him confess. So I have made thee confess and 
that which was covered is discovered. Now my father purposeth 
thee a mischief because of this ; but thou art become my husband 
and I will never transgress against thee. An I told my father 
what I have learnt from thee, he would be certified of thy falsehood 
and imposture and that thou imposest upon Kings' daughters and 
squanderest royal wealth : so would thine offence find with him no 

Ma'am/ the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 171 

pardon and he would slay thee sans a doubt : wherefore it would 
be bruited among the folk that I married a man which was a liar, 
an impostor, and this would smirch mine honour. Furthermore an 
he kill thee, most like he will require me to wed another, and to 
such thing I will never consent ; no, not though I die ? " ^ So rise 
now and don a Mameluke's dress and take these fifty thousand 
dinars of my moneys and mount a swift steed and get thee to a land 
whither the rule of my father doth not reach. Then make thee a 
merchant and send me a letter by a courier who shall bring it privily 
to me, that I may know in what land thou art, so I may send thee 
all my hand can attain. Thus shall thy wealth wax great and if 
my father die, I will send for thee, and thou shalt return in respect 
and honour ; and if we die, thou or I, and go to the mercy of God 
the Most Great, the Resurrection shall unite us. This, then, is the 
rede that is right : and while we both abide alive and well, I will not 
cease to send thee letters and moneys. Arise ere the day wax bright 
and thou be in perplexed plight and perdition upon thy head alight ! " 
Quoth he, "O my lady, I beseech thee of thy favour to bid me fare- 
well with thine embracement." So he embraced her. Then, donning 
the dress of a white slave, he bade the syces saddle him a thoroughbred 
steed. Accordingly, they saddled him a courser and he mounted, 
and farewelling his wife, rode forth the city at the last of the night, 
whilst all who saw him deemed him one of the Mamelukes of the 
Sultan going abroad on some business. Next morning, the King 
and his Wazir repaired to the sitting-chamber and sent for Princess 
Dunya, who came behind the curtain ; and her father said to her, 
''O my daughter, what sayest thou?" Said she, "I say, Allah 
blacken thy Wazir's face, because he would have blackened my face 
in my husband's eyes!" Asked the King, " How so?" and she 
answered, " He came in to me yesterday ; but, before I could name 
the matter to him, behold, in walked Faraj the Chief Eunuch, letter 
in hand, and said : — Ten white slaves stand under the palace 
window and have given me this letter, saying Kiss for us the 
hands of our lord, Merchant Ma'aruf, and gave him this letter, for 
we are of his Mamelukes with the baggage, and it hath reached us 
that he hath wedded the King's daughter, so we are come to 
acquaint him with that which befel us by the way. Accordingly I 
took the letter and read as follows : — From the five hundred 
Mamelukes to his highness our lord, Merchant Ma'aruf. But further. 

^ A character-sketch like that of Princess Dunya makes ample amends for a 
book full of abuse of women. And yet the superficial say that none of the 
characters have much personal individuality. 

172 A If Lay la h tva Laylah. 

We give thee to know that, after thou quittedst us, the Arabs * came 
out upon us and attacked us. They were two thousand horse and 
we five hundred mounted slaves and there befel a mighty sore fight 
between us and them. They hindered us from the road thirty days 
doing battle with them, and this is the cause of our tarrying from 

thee. And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

jEoto tojben it teas tj^e Jiinc l^untrreti nnu iginetp-fift]^ iStgftt, 

She said. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Princess 
Dunya said to her sire, " My husband received a letter from his 
dependents ending with : — The Arabs hindered us from the road 
thirty days, which is the cause of our being behind time. They also 
took from us of the luggage two hundred loads of cloth and slew 
of us fifty Mamelukes. When the news reached my husband, he 
cried, Allah disappoint them ! What ailed them to wage war with 
the Arabs for the sake of two hundred loads of merchandise ? 
What are two hundred loads ? It behoved them not to tarry on 
that account, for verily the value of the two hundred loads is only 
some seven thousand dinars. But, needs must I go to them and 
hasten them. As for that which the Arabs have taken, 'twill not be 
missed from the baggage, nor doth it weigh with me a whit, for I 
reckon it as if I had given it to them by way of an alms. Then he 
went down from me, laughing and taking no concern for the wastage 
of his wealth nor the slaughter of his slaves. As soon as he was 
gone, I looked out from the lattice and saw the ten Mamelukes 
who had brought him the letter, as they were moons, each clad in 
a suit of clothes worth two thousand dinars ; there is not with 
my father a chattel to match one of them. He went forth with 
them to bring up his baggage, and hallowed be Allah who hindered 
me from saying to him aught of that thou badest me, for he would 
have made mock of me and thee, and haply he would have eyed 
me with the eye of disparagement and hated me. But the fault 
is all with thy Wazir,-' who speaketh against my husband words that 

' As we are in Tartary "Arabs" here means plundering nomades, like the 
Persian "Iliyat" and other shepherd races. 

'-' The very cruelty of love which hates nothing so much as a rejected lover. 
The Princess, be it noted, is not supposed to be merely romancing, but speaking 
with the second sight, the clairvoyance, of perfect affection. Men seem to know 
very little upon this subject, though everyone has at times been more or less 
startled by the abnormal introvision and divination of things hidden which are 
the property and prerogative of perfect love. 

Md'aruf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 173 

besit him not." Replied the King, " O my daughter, thy husband's 
wealth is indeed endless and he recketh not of it ; for, from the day 
he entered our city, he hath done naught but give alms to the poor. 
Inshallah, he will speedily return with the baggage, and good in 
plenty shall betide us from him." And he went on to appease her 
and menace the Wazir, being duped by her device. So fared it 
with the King ; but as regards Merchant Ma'aruf he rode on into 
waste lands, perplexed and knowing not to what quarter he should 
betake him ; and for the anguish of parting he lamented and in the 
pangs of passion and love-longing he recited these couplets : — 

Time falsed our Union and divided who were one in tway ; * And the sore 

tyranny of Time doth melt my heart away : 
Mine eyes ne'er cease to drop the tear for parting with my dear ; * When shall 

Disunion come to end and dawn the Union-day ? 
O favour like the full moon's face of sheen, indeed I'm he * Whom thou didst 

leave with bosom torn when faring on thy way, 
Would I had never seen thy sight, or met thee for an hour ; * Since after 

sweetest taste of thee to bitters I'm a prey. 
Ma'aruf will never cease to be enthralled by Dunya's' charms * And long live 

she albe die he whom love and longing slay, 
O brilliance, like resplendent sun of noontide, deign them heal * His heart for 

kindness" and the fire of longing love allay ! 
Would Heaven I wot an e'er the days shall deign conjoin our lots, * Join us in 

pleasant talk o' nights, in Union glad and gay : 
Shall my love's palace hold two hearts that savour joy, and I * Strain to my 

breast the branch I saw upon the sand-hill'* sway ? 
O favour of full moon in sheen, never may sun o' thee * Surcease to rise from 

Eastern rim with all-enlightening ray ! 
I'm well content with passion-pine and all its bane and bate, * For luck in love 

is evermore the butt of jealous Fate. 

And when he ended his verses, he wept with sore weeping, for 
indeed the ways were walled up before his face and death seemed 
to him better than dreeing life, and he walked on like a drunken 
man for stress of distraction, and stayed not till noontide, when he 
came to a little town and saw a plougher hard by, ploughing with a 
yoke of bulls. Now hunger was sore upon him ; and he went up 
to the ploughman and said to him, " Peace be with thee ! " and he 
returned his salam and said to him, " Welcome, O my lord ! Art 
thou one of the Sultan's Mamelukes ? " Quoth Ma'aruf, " Yes 3 " 

^ The name of the Princess meaning " The World," not unusual amongst 
Moslem women. 

^ Another pun upon his name '* Ma'aruf." 

^ Arab. " Naka," the mound of pure sand which delights the eye of the Badawi 
leaving a town. 

174 Aif Laylah wa Lay /ah. 

and the other said, " Ahght with me for a guest-meal." Where- 
upon Ma aruf knew him to be of the hberal and said to him, " O 
my brother, I see with thee naught wherewith thou mayest feed 
me : how is it, then, that thou invitest me ? " Answered the 
husbandman, " O my lord, weal is well nigh.^ Dismount thee here : 
the town is near hand and I will go and fetch thee dinner and fodder 
for thy stallion." Rejoined Ma'aruf, " Since the town is near at 
hand, I can go thither as quickly as thou canst and buy me what I 
have a mind to in the bazar and eat." The peasant replied, " O my 
lord, the place is but a little village - and there is no bazar there, 
neither selling nor buying. So I conjure thee by Allah, alight 
here with me and hearten my heart, and I will run thither and 
return to thee in haste." Accordingly he dismounted and the 
Fellah left him and went off to the village, to fetch dinner for him 
whilst Ma'aruf sat awaiting him. Presently he said in himself, " I 
have taken this poor man away from his work ; but I will arise and 
plough in his stead, till he come back, to make up for having 
hindered him from his work."' Then he took the plough and 
starting the bulls, ploughed a little, till the share struck against some- 
thing and the beasts stopped. He goaded them on, but they could 
not move the plough ; so he looked at the share and finding it 
caught in a ring of gold, cleared away the soil and saw that it was 
set centre-most a slab of alabaster, the size of the nether millstone. 
He strave at the stone till he pulled it from its place, when there 
appeared beneath it a souterrain with a stair. Presently he descended 
the flight of steps and came to a place like a Hammam, with four 
daises, the first full of gold, from floor to roof, the second full of 
emeralds and pearls and coral also from ground to ceiling ; the third 
of jacinths and rubies and turquoises and the fourth of diamonds 
and all manner other preciousest stones. At the upper end of the 
place stood a coffer of clearest crystal, full of union-gems each the 
size of a walnut, and upon the coffer lay a casket of gold, the bigness 
of a lemon. When he saw this, he marvelled and rejoiced with joy 
exceeding and said to himself, "I wonder what is in this casket?" 
So he opened it and found therein a seal-ring of gold, whereon were 
graven names and talismans, as they were the tracks of creeping 
ants. He rubbed the ring and behold, a voice said, " Adsum ! Here 

^ Euphemistic : " I will soon fetch thee food.'' To say this bluntly might have 
brought misfortune. 

' Arab. " Kafr " ::= a village in Eg)'pt and Syria, e.g. Capernaum (Kafr Nahum). 
^ He has all the bonhomie of the Cairene and will do a kindness whenever he 

Md!aruf the Cobbler a?id his Wife Fatimah. 175 

am I, at thy service, O my lord ! Ask and it shall be given unto 
thee. Wilt thou raise a city or ruin a capital or kill a king or dig 
a river-channel or aught of the kind ? Whatso thou seekest, it shall 
come to pass, by leave of the King of All-might, Creator of day 
and night." Ma'aruf asked, "O creature of my lord, who and 
what art thou ? " and the other answered, " I am the slave of 
this seal-ring standing in the service of him who possesseth it. 
Whatsoever he seeketh, that I accomplish for him, and I have no 
excuse in neglecting that he biddeth me do ; because I am Sultan 
over two-and-seventy tribes of the Jinn, each two-and-seventy 
thousand in number every one of which thousand ruleth over a 
thousand Marids, each Marid over a thousand Ifrits, each Ifrit 
over a thousand Satans and each Satan over a thousand Jinn : and 
they are all under command of me and may not gainsay me. As 
for me, I am spelled to this seal-ring and may not thwart whoso 
holdeth it. Lo ! thou hast gotten hold of it and I am become thy 
slave ; so ask what thou wilt, for I hearken to thy word and obey 
thy bidding ; and if thou have need of me at any time, by land or 
by sea, rub the signet-ring and thou wilt find me with thee. But 
beware of rubbing it twice in succession, or thou wilt consume me 
with the fire of the names graven thereon ; and thus wouldst thou 
lose me and after regret me. Now I have acquainted thee with my 

case and — the Peace ! " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of 

day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

:Nrofo tof)cn it teas tl)c Nine f^unijrea antr Kinetp=sixt]b TSTigl^t 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Slave of the Signet-ring acquainted Ma'aruf with his case, the 
Merchant asked him, " What is thy name ? " and the Jinni answered, 
" My name is Abu al-Sa'a'dat." ^ Quoth Ma'aruf, " O Abu al- 
Sa'adat what is this place and who enchanted thee in this casket ? " 
and quoth he, " O my lord, this is a treasure called the Hoard of 
Shaddad son of Ad, him who the base of ' Many-columned Iram, 
laid, the like of which in the lands was never made.^ I was his 
slave in his hfetime and this is his seal-ring, which he laid up in his 
treasure ; but it hath fallen to thy lot." Ma'aruf enquired, " Canst 
thou transport that which is in this hoard to the surface of the 

^ i.e. the Father of Prosperities : pron. Aboosa'adat ; as ia the tale of Hasan 
of Bassorah. 

" Koran Ixxxix. " The Daybreak," which also mentions Thamudand Pharaoh. 

176 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

earth ? " and the Jinni repHed, "^ Yes ! Nothing were easier." Said 
Ma'aruf, " Bring it forth and leave naught." So the Jinni signed 
with his hand to the ground, which clave asunder, and he sank and 
was absent a litde while. Presently, there came forth young boys 
full of grace and fair of face, bearing golden baskets filled with gold 
which they emptied out and going away, returned with more ; nor 
did they cease to transport the gold and jewels, till ere an hour had 
sped they said, " Naught is left in the hoard." Thereupon out 
came Abu al-Sa'adat and said to Ma'aruf, " O my lord, thou seest 
that we have brought forth all that was in the hoard." Ma'aruf 
asked, " Who be these beautiful boys ? " and the Jinni answered, 
" They are my sons. This matter merited not that I should muster 
for it the Marids, wherefore my sons have done thy desire and are 
honoured by such service. So ask what thou wilt beside this." 
Quoth Ma'aruf, " Canst thou bring me he-mules and chests and fill 
the chests with the treasure and load them on the mules ? " Quoth 
Abu al-Sa'adat, "Nothing easier," and cried a great cry; whereupon 
his sons presented themselves before him, to the number of eight 
hundred, and he said to them, " Let some of you take the semblance 
of he-mules and others of muleteers and handsome Mamelukes, the 
like of the least of whom is not found with any of the Kings ; and 
others of you be transmewed to muleteers, and the rest to menials." 
So seven hundred of them changed themselves into bat-mules and 
other hundred took the shape of slaves. Then Abu al-Sa'adat 
called upon his Marids, who presented themselves between his 
hands and he commanded some of them to assume the aspect of 
horses saddled with saddles of gold crusted with jewels. And 
when Ma'aruf saw them do as he bade he cried, " Where be the 
chests? " They brought them before him and he said, " Pack the 
gold and the stones, each sort by itself." So they packed them 
and loaded three hundred he-mules with them. Then asked 
Ma'aruf, " O Abu al-Sa'adat, canst thou bring me some loads of 
costly stuffs?" and the Jinni answered, "Wilt thou have Egyptian 
stuffs or Syrian or Persian or Indian or Greek ? " Ma'aruf said, 
" Bring me an hundred loads of each kind, on five hundred mules ; " 
and Abu al-Sa'adat, " O my lord, accord me delay that I may 
dispose my Marids for this and send a company of them to each 
country to fetch an hundred loads of its stuffs and then take 
the form of he-mules and return, carrying the stuffs." Ma'aruf 
enquired, " What time dost thou want ? " and Abu al-Sa'adat 
replied, "The time of the blackness of the night, and day shall not 
dawn ere thou have all thou desirest." Said Ma'aruf, "I grant 
thee this time," and bade them pitch him a pavilion. So they 

Ma^aruf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 177 

pitched it and he sat down therein and they brought him a table 
of food. Then said Abu al-Sa'adat to him, "O my lord, tarry 
thou in this tent and these my sons shall guard thee : so fear 
thou nothing ; for I go to muster my Marids and despatch them 
to do thy desire." So saying, he departed, leaving Ma'aruf 
seated in the pavilion, with the table before him and the Jinni's 
sons attending upon him, in the guise of slaves and servants and 
suite. And while he sat in this state behold, up came the husband- 
man, with a great porringer of lentils ^ and a nose-bag full of barley, 
and seeing the pavilion pitched and the Mamelukes standing, hands 
upon breasts, thought that the Sultan was come and had halted on that 
stead. Hereat he stood open-mouthed and said in himself, " Would 
I had killed a couple of chickens and fried them red with clarified 
cow-butter for the Sultan ! " And he would have turned back to 
kill the chickens as a regale for the King ; but Ma'aruf saw him 
and cried out to him and said to the Mamelukes, " Bring him hither." 
So they brought him and his porringer of lentils before Ma'aruf, who 
said to him, " What is this ? " Said the peasant, " This is thy dinner 
and thy horse's fodder ! Excuse me, for I thought not that the 
Sultan would come hither ; and, had I known that, I would have 
killed a couple of chickens and entertained him in goodly guise." 
Quoth Ma'aruf, " The Sultan is not come : I am his son-in-law and 
was vexed with him. However he hath sent his oificers to make his 
peace with me, and now I am minded to return to the city. But thou 
hast made me this guest-meal without knowing me, and I accept it 
from thee, lentils though it be, and will not eat save of thy cheer." 
Accordingly he bade him set the porringer amiddlemost the table 
and ate of it his sufficiency, whilst the Fellah filled his maw with 
those rich meats. Then Ma'aruf washed his hands and gave the 
Mamelukes leave to eat ; so they fell upon the remains of the meal 
and ate ; and, when the porringer was empty, he filled it with gold 
and gave it to the peasant, saying, " Carry this to thy dwelling and 
come to me in the city, and I will entreat thee with honour." There- 
upon the peasant took the porringer full of gold and returned to the 
village, driving the bulls before him and deeming himself akin to the 
King. Meanwhile, they brought Ma'aruf girls of the Brides of the 
Treasure,^ who smote on instruments of music and danced before 
him, and he passed that night in joyance and delight, a night not to 
be reckoned among lives. Hardly had dawned the day when there 

^ In Egypt the cheapest and poorest of food, never seen at a table d'hote 
or in a wealthy house. 

^ The beautiful girls who guard ensorcelled hoards. 


178 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

arose a great cloud of dust which, presently lifting, discovered seven 
hundred mules laden with stuffs and attended by muleteers and 
baggage-tenders and cresset-bearers. With them came Abu al-Sa'adat, 
riding on a she-mule, in the guise of a caravan-leader, and before him 
was a travelling-litter, with four corner-terminals ^ of glittering red 
gold, set with gems. When Abu al-Sa'adat came up to the tent, he 
dismounted and, kissing the earth, said to Ma'aruf, " O my lord, thy 
desire hath been done to the uttermost and in the litter is a treasure- 
suit which hath not its match among Kings' raiment : so don it and 
mount the litter and bid us do what thou wilt." Quoth Ma'aruf, 
" O Abu al-Sa'adat, I wish thee to go to the city of Ikhtiyan al- 
Khutan and present thyself to my father-in-law the King ; and go 
thou not in to him but in the guise of a mortal courier ; " and quoth 
he, " To hear is to obey." So Ma'aruf wrote a letter to the Sultan 
and sealed it and Abu al-Sa'adat took it and set out with it ; and 
when he arrived, he found the King saying, " O Wazir, indeed my 
heart is concerned for my son-in-law and I fear lest the Arabs slay 
him. Would Heaven I wot whither he was bound, that I might 
have followed him with the troops ! Would he had told me his 
destination ! " Said the Wazir, " Allah be merciful to thee for this 
thy heedlessness ! As thy head liveth, the wight saw that we were 
awake to him and feared dishonour and fled, for he is nothing but 
an impostor, a liar." And behold, at this moment in came the 
courier and kissing ground before the Sultan, wished him permanent 
glory and prosperity and length of life. Asked the King, " \Vho art 
thou and what is thy business ? " "I am a courier," answered the 
Jinni, " and thy son-in-law who is come with the baggage sendeth 
me to thee with a letter, and here it is ! " So he took the writ and 
read therein these words, "After salutations galore to our uncle ^ 
the glorious King ! Know that I am at hand with the baggage- 
train : so come thou forth to meet me with the troops." Cried the 
King, " Allah blacken thy brow, O Wazir ! How often wilt thou 
defame my son-in-law's name and call him liar and impostor ? Be- 
hold, he is come with the baggage-train and thou art naught but 
a traitor." The Minister hung his head ground-wards in shame 
and confusion and replied, "O King of the age, I said not this save 
because of the long delay of the baggage and because I feared the 

' Arab. " Asakir," the ornaments of litters, which are either plain balls of 
metal or tapering cones based upon crescents or upon balls and crescents. See 
in Lane (M. E. chapt. xxiv.) the sketch of the Mahmal. 

- Arab. " 'Amm " = father's brother, courteously used for " father-in-law." 
Thus by a pleasant fiction the husband represents himself as having married his 
first cousin. 

Md!aruf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 179 

loss of the wealth he hath wasted." The King exclaimed, " Q 
traitor, what are my riches ! Now that his baggage is come he 
will give me great plenty in their stead. " Then he bade decorate 
the city and going to his daughter, said to her, " Good news for 
thee ! Thy husband will be here anon with his bales ; for he 
hath sent me a letter to that eifect and here am I now going forth 
to meet him." The Princess Dunya marvelled at this and said in 
herself, " This is a wondrous thing ! Was he laughing at me and 
making mock of me, or had he a mind to try me, when he told 
me that he was a pauper ? But Alhamdolillah, Glory to God, for 
that I failed not of my duty to him ! " On this wise fared it in the 
Palace ; but as regards Merchant Ali, the Cairene, when he saw the 
decoration of the city and asked the cause thereof, they said to him, 
"The baggage-train of Merchant Ma'aruf, the King's son-in-law, 
is come." Said he, " Allah is Almighty ! What a calamity is this 
man ! ^ He came to me, fleeing from his wife, and he was a poor 
wight. Whence then should he get a baggage-train ? But haply this 
is a device which the King's daughter hath contrived for him, fear- 
ing his disgrace, and Kings are not unable to do anything. May 
Allah the Most High veil his fame and not bring him to public 

shame ! " And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

Noto b3f)en it toas tfte ^ine l^untrrtU aiitr Ninctp-scbcntft Ntgt)t 

She pursued. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Merchant Ali asked the cause of the decorations, they told him the 
truth of the case ; so he blessed Merchant Ma'aruf and cried, " May 
Allah Almighty veil his fame and not bring him to public shame ! " 
And all the merchants rejoiced and were glad for that they would 
get their moneys. Then the King assembled his troops and rode 
forth, whilst Abu al Sa'adat returned to Ma'aruf and acquainted him 
with the delivering of the letter. Quoth Ma'aruf, " Bind on the 
loads ;" and when they had done so, he donned the treasure-suit, 
and mounting the litter became a thousand times greater and more 
majestic than the King. Then he set forward ; but when he had 
gone half-way, behold, the Sultan met him with the troops, and, seeing 
him riding in the Takhtrawan and clad in the dress aforesaid, threw 
himself upon him and saluted him, and giving him joy of his 
safety, greeted him with the greeting of peace. Then all the Lords 

^ i.e. a calamity to the enemy. 

i8o A if Lay la h wa Lay la h. 

of the land saluted him and it was made manifest that he had 
spoken the truth and that in him was no lie. Presently he entered 
the city in such state-procession as would have caused the gall- 
bladder of the lion to burst i for envy, and the traders pressed up to 
him and kissed his hands, whilst Merchant Ali said to him, " Thou 
hast played off this trick and it hath prospered to thy hand, O 
Shaykh of Impostors ! But thou deservest it and may Allah the 
Most High increase thee of His bounty ! " whereupon Ma'aruf 
laughed. Then he entered the palace and sitting down on the 
throne said, " Carry the loads of gold into the treasury of my uncle 
the King and bring me the bales of cloth." So they brought them 
to him and opened them before him, bale after bale, till they had 
unpacked the seven hundred loads, whereof he chose out the best 
and said, " Bear these to Princess Dunya that she may distribute them 
among her slave-girls, and carry her also this coffer of jewels that she 
may divide them among her handmaids and eunuchs." Then he 
proceeded to make over to the merchants in whose debt he was 
stuffs by way of payment for their arrears, giving him whose due was a 
thousand stuffs' worth two thousand or more ; after which he fell to 
distributing to the poor and needy, whilst the King looked on with 
greedy eyes and could not hinder him ; nor did he cease largesse 
till he had made an end of the seven hundred loads, when he 
turned to the troops and proceeded to apportion amongst them 
emeralds and rubie«^ and pearls and coral and other jewels by hands- 
ful, without count, till the King said to him, " Enough of this giving, 
O my son ! There is but little left of the baggage." But he said, 
** I have plenty." Then, indeed, his good faith was become manifest 
and none could give him the lie ; and he had come to reck not of 
giving, for that the Slave of the Seal-ring brought him whatsoever he 
sought. Presently, the treasurer came in to the King, and said, "O 
King of the age, the treasury is full indeed and will not hold the rest 
of the loads. Where shall we lay that which is left of the gold and 
jewels ? " And he assigned to him another place. As for the Princess 
Dunya, when she saw this, her joy redoubled and she marvelled 
and said in herself, "Would I wot how came he by all this 
wealth ! " In like manner the traders rejoiced in that which he 
had given them and blessed him ; whilst Merchant Ali marvelled 
and said to himself, " I wonder how he hath lied and swindled, 
that he hath gotten him all these treasures ? - Had they come 

^ Both texts read " Asad " (Lion) and Lane accepts it : there is no reason to 
change it for " Hasid " (Envier), the Lion being the Sultan of the Beasts and the 
most majestic. 

■^ The Cairene knew his fellow-Cairene and was not to be taken in by him. 

Ma'aruf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. i8i 

from the King's daughter, he had not wasted them on this wise ! 
But how excellent is his saying who said : — 

When the kings' King giveth, in reverence p.iu52 * And venture not to enquire 

the cause : 
Allah gives His gifts unto whom He will, * So respect and abide by His Holy 

Laws ! " 

So far concerning him ; but as regards the Sultan, he also marvelled 
with passing marvel at that which he saw of Ma'arufs generosity 
and open-handedness in the largesse of wealth. Then the mer- 
chant went in to his wife, who met him, smiling and laughing-lipped 
and kissed his hand, saying, " Didst thou mock me or hadst thou 
a mind to prove me with thy saying : — I am a poor man and a 
fugitive from my wife ? Praised be Allah for that I failed not of 
my duty to thee ! for thou art my beloved and there is none 
dearer to me than thou, whether thou be rich or poor. But I 
would have thee tell me what didst thou design by these words." 
Said Ma'aruf, "I wished to prove thee and see whether thy love 
were true or for the sake of wealth and the greed of worldly 
good. But now 'tis become manifest to me that thine affection is 
sincere and as thou art a true woman, so welcome to thee ! I know 
thy worth." Then he went apart into a place by himself and 
rubbed the seal-ring, whereupon Abu al-Sa'adat presented himself 
and said to him, "Adsum, at thy service! Ask what thou wilt." 
Quoth Ma'aruf, " I want a treasure-suit and treasure-trinkets for 
my wife, including a necklace of forty unique jewels." Quoth the 
Jinni, " To hear is to obey," and brought him what he sought, 
whereupon Ma'aruf dismissed him, and carrying the dress and 
ornaments in to his wife, laid them before her and said, " Take 
these and put them on and welcome ! " When she saw this, her 
wits fled for joy, and she found among the ornaments a pair of 
anklets of gold set with jewels of the handiwork of the magicians, 
and bracelets and earrings and a belt ^ such as no money could 
buy. So she donned the dress and ornaments and said to Ma'aruf, 
" O my lord, I will treasure these up for holidays and festivals." 
But he answered, " Wear them always, for I have others in plenty." 
A.nd when she put them on and her women beheld her, they 
rejoiced and bussed his hands. Then he left them and going 

^ Arab. " Hizam " : Lane reads " Khizam " =a nose-ring, for which see 
appendix to Lane's M. E. The untrained European eye dislikes these decora- 
tions, and there is certainly no beauty in the hoops which Hindu women insert 
through the nostrils, camel-fashion, as if tf) receive the cord acting bridle. But a 
drop-pearl hanging to the septum is at least as pretty as the heavy pendants by 
which some European women lengthen their ears. 

1 82 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

apart by himself, rubbed the seal-ring whereupon its Slave appeared 
and he said to him, " Bring me an hundred suits of apparel, with 
their ornaments of gold." " Hearing and obeying," answered Abu 
al-Sa'adat and brought him the hundred suits, each with its orna- 
ments wrapped up within it. Ma'aruf took them and called aloud 
to the slave-girls, who came to him and he gave them each a suit : 
so they donned them and became hke the black-eyed girls of 
Paradise, whilst the Princess Dunya shone amongst them as the 
moon among the stars. One of the handmaids told the King of 
this and he came in to his daughter and saw her and her women 
dazzling all who beheld them ; whereat he wondered with passing 
wonderment. Then he went out and calling his Wazir, said to 
him, " O Wazir, such and such things have happened ; what sayest 
thou now of this affair?" Said he, "O King of the age, this be 
no merchant's fashion ; for a merchant keepeth a piece of linen 
by him for years and selleth it not but at a profit. How should 
a merchant have generosity such as this generosity, and whence 
should he get the like of these moneys and jewels, of which but a 
slight matter is found with the Kings ? So how should loads 
thereof be found with merchants ? Needs must there be a cause 
for this ; but, an thou wilt hearken to me, I will make the truth of 
the case manifest to thee." Answered the King, " O Wazir, I will 
do thy bidding." Rejoined the Minister, " Do thou foregather 
with thy son-in-law and make a show of affect to him and talk 
with him and say : — O my son-in-law, I have a mind to go, I and 
thou and the Wazir, but no more, to a flower-garden that we may 
take our pleasure there. When we come to the garden, we will 
set on the table wine, and I will ply him therewith and compel 
him to drink ; for when he shall have drunken, he will lose his 
reason and his judgment will forsake him. Then we will question 
him of the truth of his case, and he will discover to us his secrets, 
for wine is a traitor and Allah-gifted is he who said : — 

When we drank the wine, and it crept its way * To the place of Secrets, I cried, 

* O stay ! ' 
In my fear lest its influence stint my wits * And my friends spy matters that 

hidden lay. 

When he hath told us the truth we shall ken his case and may deal 
with him as we will ; because I fear for thee the consequences of this 
his present fashion : haply he will covet the kingship and win over 
the troops by generosity and lavishing money and so depose thee 

and take the kingdom from thee." " True," answered the King. 

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

McHaruf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 183 

Nofo tDf)cn it toas tftc Nine l^unlirctf anti Nm£tB=eia]&t|) Nigf)t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
Wazir devised this device the King said to him, " Thou hast spoken 
sooth !" and they passed the night on this agreement. And when 
morning morrowed the King went forth and sat in the guest- 
chamber, when lo and behold ! the grooms and serving-men came 
in to him in dismay. Quoth he, " What hath befallen you ? " and 
quoth they, " O King of the age, the Syces curried the horses and 
foddered them and the he-mules which brought the baggage ; but, 
when we arose in the morning, we found that thy son-in-law's 
Mamelukes had stolen the horses and mules. We searched the 
stables, but found neither horse nor mule ; so we entered the 
lodging of the Mamelukes and saw none there, nor wot we how 
they fled." The King marvelled at this, unknowing that the horses 
and Mamelukes were all Ifrits, the subjects of the Slave of the 
Spell, and asked the grooms, " O accursed, how could a thousand 
beasts and five hundred slaves and servants flee without your know- 
ledge?" Answered they, "We know not how it happened," and he 
cried, " Go, and when your lord cometh forth of the Harim, tell 
him the case." So they went out from before the King and sat 
down bewildered, till Ma'aruf came out and seeing them chagrined 
enquired of them, " What may be the matter ? " They told him all 
that had happened and he said, " What is their worth that ye 
should be concerned for them ? Wend your ways." And he sat 
laughing and was neither angry nor grieved concerning the case ; 
whereupon the King looked in the Wazir's face and said to him, 
" What manner of man is this, with whom wealth is of no worth ? 
Needs must there be a reason for this ! " Then they talked with 
him awhile and the King said to him, " O my son-in-law, I have a 
mind to go, I and thou and the Wazir, to a garden, where we may 
divert ourselves." " No harm in that," said Ma'aruf. So they went 
forth to a flower-garden, wherein every sort of fruit was of kinds 
twain and its'waters were flowing and its trees towering and its birds 
carolling. There they entered a pavilion, whose sight did away 
sorrow from the soul, and sat talking, whilst the Minister entertained 
them with rare tales and quoted merry quips and mirth-provoking 
sayings, and Ma'aruf attentively listened, till the time of dinner came, 
when they set on a tray of meats and a flagon of wine. As soon as 
they had eaten and washed hands, the Wazir filled the cup and gave 
it to the King, who drank it off; then he filled a second and handed 

184 A If Lay la h wa Laylah. 

it to Ma'aruf, saying, " Take the cup of the drink to which Reason 
boweth neck in reverence." Quoth Ma'aruf, " What is this, O 
Wazir?" and quoth he, "This is the grizzled^ virgin and the old 
maid long kept at home,- the giver of joy to hearts, whereof saith 
the poet : — 

The feet of sturdy Miscreants^ went trampling heavy tread, * And she hath ta'en 

a vengeance dire on every Arab's head. 
A Kafir youth like fullest moon in darkness hands her round » Whose eyne are 

strongest cause of sin by him inspirited. 

And Allah-gifted is he who said : — 

'Tis as if wine and he who bears the bowl, » Rising to show her charms for man 

to see,'' 
Were dancing forenoon-Sun whose face the moon * Of night adorned with stars 

of Gemini. 
So subtle is her essence it would seem * Through every limb like course of soul 

runs she. 

And how excellent is the saying of the poet : — 

Slept in mine arms full Moon of brightest blee * Nor did that sun eclipse in 

goblet see : 
I nighted spying fire whereto bow down * Magians, which bowed from ewer's 

lip to me. 

And that of another : 

It runs through every joint of them as runs * The surge of health returning to 
the sick. 

And yet another : — 

I marvel at its pressers, how they died * And left us aqtia vita — lymph of life ! 

And yet goodlier is the saying of Abu Nowas : — 

Cease then to blame, because thy blame doth anger bring, * And with the draught 

that madded me come med'cining : 
A yellow girl ^ whose court cures every carking care ; * Did a stone touch 

it 'twould with joy and glee upspring : 

' Arab. " Shamta," one of the many names of wine, the "speckled" 
alluding to the bubbles which dance upon the freshly filled cup. 

* ?.t'. in the cask. These "merry quips" strongly suggest the dismal toasts 
of our not remote ancestors. 

^ Arab. ' A'laj " plur. of " 'Ilj " and rendered by Lane, " the stout foreign 
infidels." The next line alludes to the cupbearer who was generally a slave and 
a n on -Moslem. 

* As if it were a bride. The stars of Jauza (Gemini) are the cup-bearer's 

® i.e. lighl -coloured wine. 

Md'aruf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatiinah. 185 

She riseth in her ewer during darkest night, * The house with brightest, sheeniest 

light illumining ; 
And going round of youths to whom the world inclines^ * Ne'er, save in whatso 

way they please, their hearts shall wring. 

But best of all is the saying of Ibn al-Mu'tazz" : — 

On the shaded woody island^ His showers Allah deign * Shed on Convent 

hight Abdun* drop and drip of railing rain : 
Oft the breezes of the morning have awakened me therein * When the Dawn 

shows her blaze,' ere the bird of flight was fain ; 
And the voices of the monks that with chants awoke the walls * Black-frocked 

shavelings ever wont the cup amorn to drain. ^ 
Then I rose and spread my cheek like a carpet on his path * In homage, and 

with skirts wiped his trail from off the plain ; 
But threatening disgrace rose the Crescent in the sky * Like the paring of a nail, 

yet with light would never wane. 

And gifted of God is he who saith : — 

In the morn I am richest of men * And in joy at good news I start up. 
For I look on the liquid gold'' * And I measure it out by the cup. 

And how goodly is the saying of the poet : — 

By Allah, this is th' only alchemy : * All said of other science false we see ! 
Carat of wine on hundredweight of woe » Transmuteth gloomiest grief to joy 
and glee. 

And that of another : — 

The glasses are heavy when empty brought, * Till we charge them all with 

unmixed wine. 
Then so light are they that to fly they're fain * As bodies lightened by soul 


' The usual homage to youth and beauty. 

^ Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tn7z, son of Al-Mu'tozz bi 'llah, the 13th Abbaside, and 
great-great-grandson of Harun al-Rashid. He was one of the most renowned 
poets of the third century (A.H.) and died in A.D. 908, strangled by the parti- 
sans of his nephew Al-Miiktadir bi 'llah, i8th Abbaside. 

■* Jazirat ibn Omar, an island and town on the Tigris north of Mosul. " Some 
versions of the poem, Irom which these verses are quoted, substitute El-Mutireh, 
a village nenr Samara (a town on the Tigris, 60 miles north of Baghdad), for 
El-Jezireh, i.e. Jeziret ibn Omar." (Payne.) 

* The Convent of Abdun on the east bank of the Tigris opposite the Jezirah 
was so called frcm a statesman who caused it to be built. P'or a variant of these 
lines see Ibn Khallikan, vol. ii. 42 : here we miss " the shady groves of 

* Aral). "Ghurrah," the white blaze on a horse's brow. In Ibn Khallikan 
the bird is the lark. 

" Arab. " Tay'i "= thirsty, used with Jay'i = hungry. 
' i.e. gold-coloured wine, as the Vino d'Oro. 

1 86 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

And yet another : — 

Wine-cup and ruby-wine high worship claim ; * Dishonour 'twere to see their 

honour waste : 
Bury me, when I'm dead, by side of vine * Whose veins shall moisten bones in 

clay misplaced ; 
Nor bury me in wold and wild, for I * Dread only afcer death no wine to 

taste." 1 

And he ceased not to egg him on to the drink, naming to him 
such of the virtues of wine as he thought fit and reciting to him 
what occurred to him of poetry and pleasantries on the theme, till 
Ma'aruf addressed himself to sucking the cup-lips and cared no 
longer for aught else. The Wazir ceased not to fill for him and he 
to drink and enjoy himself and make merry, till his wits wandered 
and he could not distinguish right from wrong. When the Minister 
saw that drunkenness had attained in him to utterest and the 
bounds transgressed, he said to him, " By Allah, O Merchant 
Ma'aruf, I admire whence thou gottest these jewels whose like the 
Kings of the Chosroes possess not 1 In all our lives never saw we 
a merchant that had heaped up riches like unto thine or more 
generous than thou, for thy doings are the doings of Kings, and 
not merchants' doings. Wherefore, Allah upon thee, do thou 
acquaint me with this, that I may know thy rank and condition." 
And he went on to test him with questions and cajole him, till 
Ma'aruf, being reft of reason, said to him, "I'm neither merchant 
nor King," and told him his whole story from first to last. Then 
said the Wazir, " I conjure thee, by Allah, O my lord Ma'aruf, 
show us the ring, that we may see its make." So, in his drunken- 
ness, he pulled off the ring and said, "Take it and look upon it." 
The Minister took it and turning it over, said, " If I rub it, will 
its Slave appear ? " Replied Ma'aruf, "Yes. Rub it and he will 
appear to thee, and do thou divert thyself with the sight of him." 

' Compare the charming song of Abu Mijan, translated from the German of 
Dr. Weil in Bohn's Edit, of Ockley (p. 149), 

When the Death-angel cometh mine eyes to close, 

Dig my grave 'mid the vines on the hill's fair side ; 
For though deep in earth may my bones repose, 

The juice of the grape shall their food provide. 
Ah, bury me not in a barren land, 

Or Death will appear to me dread and drear ! 
WTiile fearless I'll wait what he hath in hand 

An the scent of the vineyard my spirit cheer. 

The glorious old drinker ! Compare also Omar-i-Khayyam, the quatrain 
beginning, "Ah, with the grape my fading life provide," etc. The idea is 
universal in the Moslem East and it has a secondary mystical sense. 

Ma'aruf the Cobbler a?id his Wife Fatimah. 187 

Thereupon the Wazir rubbed the ring and behold, forthright ap- 
peared the Jinni and said, " Adsum, at thy service, O my lord ! 
Ask and it shall be given to thee. Wilt thou ruin a city or raise 
a capital or kill a king ? Whatso thou seekest, I will do for thee, 
sans fail." The Wazir pointed to Ma'aruf and said, "Take up 
yonder wretch and cast him down in the most desolate of desert 
lands, where he shall find nothing to eat nor drink, so he may die 
of hunger and perish miserably, and none know of him." Accord- 
ingly, the Jinni snatched him up and flew with him betwixt heaven 
and earth, which when Ma'aruf saw, he made sure of destruction 
and wept and said, "O Abu al-Sa'adat, whither goest thou with 
me?" Replied the Jinni, "I go to cast thee down in the Desert 
Quarter,^ O ill-bred wight of gross wits. Shall one have the like 
of this talisman and give it to the folk to gaze at ? Verily, thou 
deservest that which hath befallen thee ; and but that I fear Allah, 
I would let thee fall from a height of a thousand fathoms, nor 
shouldst thou reach the earth, till the winds had torn thee to 
shreds." Ma'aruf was silent' and did not again bespeak him till 
Abu al-Sa'adat reached the Desert Quarter, and casting him down 

there, went away and left him in that horrible place. And Shah- 

razad was surprised by the dawn of day and ceased saying her 
permitted say. 

iEofo tuj^cn it Inas tfic i^inc l^untirtts anK iainet5=nmt]^ ^mftt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Slave 
of the Seal-ring took up Ma'aruf and cast him down in the Desert 
Quarter, where he left him and went his ways. So much con- 
cerning him ; but returning to the Wazir, who was now in possession 
of the talisman, he said to the King, " How deemest thou now ? 
Did I not tell thee that this fellow was a liar, an impostor, but 
thou wouldst not credit me ? " Rephed the King, " Thou wast in 
the right, O my Wazir, Allah grant thee weal ! But give me the 
ring, that I may solace myself with the sight." The Minister looked 
at him angrily and spat in his face, saying, " O lack-wits, how shall 
I give it to thee and abide thy servant, after I am become thy 

^ Arab. "Rub'a al-Kharab," in Ibn al-Wardi, Central Africa south of the 
Nile-sources, one of the richest regions in the world. Here it prob. alludes to 
the Rub'a al-Khali, or Great Arabian Desert ; for which see Might dclxxvi. In 
rhetoric it is opposed to the " Rub'a Maskun," or populated fourth of the world, 
the rest being held to be ocean. 

- This is the noble resignation of the Moslem. What a dialogue there would 
have been in a European book between man and devil ! 

1 88 Alf Lay /ah wa Laylah. 

master ? But I will spare thee no more on life." Then he rubbed 
the seal-ring and said to the Slave, " Take up this ill-mannered 
churl and cast him down by his son-in-law the swindler-man." So 
the Jinni took him up and flew off with him, whereupon quoth the 
King to him, " O creature of my Lord, what is my crime ? " Abu 
al-Sa'adat replied, " That wot I not, but my master hath commanded 
me and I cannot cross whoso hath compassed the enchanted ring." 
Then he flew on with him, till he came to the Desert Quarter and, 
casting him down where he had cast Ma'aruf left him and returned. 
The King hearing Ma'aruf weeping, went up to him and acquainted 
him with his case ; and they sat weeping over that which had 
befallen them and found neither meat nor drink. Meanwhile the 
Minister, after driving father-in-law and son-in-law from the country, 
went forth from the garden and summoning all the troops held a 
Divan, and told them what he had done with the King and with 
Ma'aruf and acquainted them with the affair of the talisman, adding, 
" Unless ye make me Sultan over you, I will bid the Slave of the 
Seal-ring take you up one and all and cast you down in the Desert 
Quarter where you shall die of hunger and thirst." They replied, 
" Do us no damage, for we accept thee as Sultan over us and will 
not anywise gainsay thy bidding." So they agreed, in their own 
despite, to his being Sultan over them, and he bestowed on them 
robes of honour, seeking all he had a mind to of Abu al-Sa'adat, who 
brought it to him forthwith. Then he sat down on the throne and 
the troops did homage to him ; and he sent to Princess Dunya, the 
King's daughter, saying, " Make thee ready, for I mean to wed thee 
this day, because I long for thee with love." When she heard this 
she wept, for the case of her husband and father was grievous to 
her, and sent to him saying, "Have patience with me till my period 
of widowhood ^ be ended : then draw up thy contract of marriage 
with me and wed me according to law." But he sent back to say to her, 
" I know neither period of widowhood nor to delay have I a mood ; 
and I need not a contract, nor know I lawful from unlawful ; but 
needs must I wed thee this day." She answered him saying, " So 
be it, then, and welcome to thee ! " but this was a trick on her part. 
When the answer reached the Wazir, he rejoiced and his breast 
was broadened, for that he was passionately in love with her. He 
bade set food before all the folk, saying, "Eat; this is my bride- 

^ Arab. '• Al-'Iddah," the period of four months and ten days which must 
elapse before she could legally marry again. But this was a palpable wile : she 
was not sure of her husband's deiah and he had not divorced her ; so that although 
a "grass widow," a " Strohwitwe " as the Germans say, she could not wed again 
either with or without interval. 

Ma'anif the Cobbler and his Wife Fatitnah. 189 

feast ; for I purpose to wed the Princess Dunya this day." Quoth 
the Shaykh al-Islam, " It is not lawful for thee to wed her till her 
days of widowhood be ended and thou have drawn up thy contract 
of marriage with her." But he ansAvered, "I know neither days of 
widowhood nor other period : so multiply not words on me." The 
Shaykh Al-Islam was silent,' fearing his mischief, and said to the 
troops, "Verily this man is a Kafir, a Miscreant, and hath neither 
creed nor religious conduct." As soon as it was evenfall, he went 
in to her and found her robed in her richest raiment and decked 
with her goodliest adornments. When she saw him, she came to 
meet him, laughing and said, "A blessed day ! ^Vithal, hadst thou 
slain my father and my husband, it had been more to my mind." 
And he said, '-There is no help but I slay them." Then she made 
him sit down and began to jest with him and make show of love, 
caressing him and smiling in his face so that his reason fled ; but 
she cajoled him with her coaxing and cunning only that she might 
get possession of the ring and change his joy into calamity on the 
mother of his forehead : ^ nor did she deal thus with him but after 
the rede of him who said ^ : — 

I attained by my wits * What no sword had obtained, 
And return wi' the spoils * Whose sweet pluckings I gained. 

When he saw her caress him and smile upon him he besought her 
to kiss him ; but, when he approached her, she drew away from him 
and burst into tears, saying, " O my lord, seest thou not the man 
looking at us? I conjure thee by Allah, screen me from his eyes ! 
How canst thou kiss me what while he looketh on us ? " When he 
heard this he was angry and asked, "Where is the man?" and 
answered she, "There he is, in the bezel of the ring; putting out 
his head and staring at us ! " He thought that the Jinni was looking 
at them and said laughing, "Fear not ; this is the Slave of the Seal- 
ring, and he is subject to me." Quoth she, " I am afraid of Ifrits ; 
pull it off and throw it afar from me." So he plucked it off and 
laying it on the cushion, drew near to her, but she dealt him a kick, 
and he fell over on his back senseless ; whereupon she cried out to 
her attendants, who came to her in haste, and said to them, " Seize 
him ! " So forty slave-girls laid hold on him, whilst she hurriedly 

^ Here the silence is of cowardice and the passage is a fling at the "time- 
serving " of the Olema, a favourite theme, like "banging the bishops" among 
certain Westerns. 

^ Arab. " Umm al-raas," the poll, crown of the head, here the place where 
a calamity coming down from heaven would first alight. 

* From Al-Hariri (Lane); the lines are excellent. 

1 90 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

snatched up the ring from the cushion and rubbed it ; whereupon 
Abu al-Sa'adat presented himself, saying, " Adsum, at thy service, O 
my mistress." Cried she, " Take up yonder Infidel and clap him in 
jail and shackle him heavily." So he took him and throwing him 
into the Prison of Wrath,^ returned and reported, " I have laid him 
in limbo." Quoth she, "Whither wentest thou with my father and 
my husband ? " and quoth he, " I cast them down in the Desert 
Quarter." Then cried she, " I command thee to fetch them to me 
forthwith." He replied, " I hear and I obey," and taking flight at 
once, stayed not till he reached the Desert Quarter, where he 
lighted down upon them and found them seated, weeping and 
complaining each to other. Quoth he, " Fear not, for relief is come 
to you ;" and he told them what the Wazir had done, adding, 
" Indeed I imprisoned him with my own hands in obedience to her, 
and she hath bidden me bear you back." And they rejoiced in 
his news. Then he took them both up and flew home with them ; 
nor was it more than an hour before he brought them in to 
Princess Dunya, who rose and saluted sire and spouse. Then 
she made them sit down and brought them meat and sweetmeats, 
and they passed the rest of the night with her. On the next day 
she clad them in rich clothing and said to the King, " O my papa, 
sit thou upon thy throne and be King as before and make my 
husband thy Wazir of the Right and tell thy troops that which hath 
happened. Then send for the Minister out of prison and do him 
die, and after burn him ; for that he is a Miscreant, and would have 
married me against the law of God, and he hath testified against 
himself that he is an Infidel and believeth in no religion. And do 
tenderly by thy son-in-law, whom thou makest thy Wazir of the 
Right." He replied, " Hearing and obeying, O my daughter. But 
do thou give me the ring or give it to thy husband." Quoth she, 
"It behoveth not that either thou or he have the ring. I will keep 
the ring myself, and belike I shall be more careful of the ring than 
you. Whatso ye wish seek it of me and I will demand it for you of the 
Slave of the Seal-ring. So fear no harm so long as I live and after 
my death, do what ye twain will with the ring." Quoth the King, 
" This is the right rede, O my daughter," and taking his son-in-law 
went forth to the Divan. Now the troops had passed the night in 
sore chagrin for Princess Dunya and that which the Wazir had done 
and for his ill-usage of the King and Ma'aruf, and they feared lest the 
law of Al-Islam be dishonoured, because it was manifest to them 

^ Arab. " Sijn al-Ghazab,'' the dungeons appropriated to the worst of 
criminals, where they suffer penalties far worse than hanging or guillotining. 

Ma'arnf the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 191 

that he was a Kafir, So they assembled in the Divan and fell to 
reproaching the Shaykh al-Islam, saying, "Why didst thou not forbid 
him from wedding the Princess ? " Said he, " O folk, the man is a 
Miscreant and hath gotten possession of the ring and I and you may 
not prevail against him. But Almighty Allah will requite him his 
deed, and be ye silent, lest he slay you." And as the host was thus 

engaged in talk, behold the King and Ma'aruf entered the Divan. 

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

i^ofo toj^cn It toas tj^e ^j^ousantitlb Ni'gl^t, 

She continued. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the troops sorely chagrined sat in the Divan talking over the ill- 
deeds done by the Wazir to their Sovran, his son-in-law and his 
daughter, behold, the King and Ma'aruf entered. Then the King 
bade decorate the city and sent to fetch the Wazir from the place 
of duresse. So they brought him, and as he passed by the troops, 
they cursed him and abused him and menaced him, till he came to 
the King, who commanded to do him dead by the vilest of deaths. 
Accordingly, they slew him and after burned his body, and he went 
to Hell after the foulest of plights ; and right well quoth one of 
him : — 

The Compassionate show no ruth to the tomb where his bones shall lie * And 
Munkar and eke Nakir^ ne'er cease to abide thereby. 

The King made Ma'aruf his Wazir of the Right and the times were 
pleasant to them and their joys were untroubled. They abode thus 
five years till, in the sixth year, the King died and Princess Dunya 
made Ma'aruf Sultan in her father's stead, but she gave him not the 
seal-ring. During this time she had borne him a boy of passing 
loveliness, excelling in beauty and perfection, who ceased not to be 
reared in the laps of nurses till he reached the age of five, when his 
mother fell sick of a deadly sickness and calling her husband to her, 
said to him, " I am ill." Quoth he, "Allah preserve thee, O dear- 
ling of my heart ! " But quoth she, " Haply I shall die and thou 
needest not that I commend to thy care thy son : wherefore I charge 

^ According to some modern Moslems Munkar and Nakir visit the graves of 
Infidels (non-Moslems) and Bashshir and Mubashshir ("Givers of glad tidings") 
those of Mohammedans. Petis de la Croix (Les Mille et un Jours, vol. iii. 258) 
speaks of the "Zoubanya," black angels who torture the damned under their 
chief Dabilah. 

192 Alf Lay /ah wa Lay la h. 

thee, but be careful of the ring, for thine own sake and for the sake 
of this thy boy." And he answered, " No harm shall befal him 
whom Allah preserveth ! " Then she pulled off the ring and gave it 
to him, and on the morrow she was admitted to the mercy of Allah 
the Most High,^ whilst Ma'aruf abode in possession of the kingship 
and applied himself to the business of governing. Now it chanced 
that one day, as he shook the handkerchief^ and the troops with- 
drew to their places that he betook himself to the sitting-chamber, 
where he sat till the day departed and the night advanced with 
murks bedight. Then came in to him his cup-companions of the 
notables according to their custom, and sat with him by way of 
solace and diversion, till midnight, when they craved permission to 
withdraw. He gave them leave and they retired to their houses ; 
after which there came in to him a slave-girl affected to the service 
of his bed, who spread him the mattress, and doffing his apparel 
clad him in his sleeping-gown. Then he lay down and she kneaded 
his feet, till sleep overpowered him ; whereupon she withdrew to 
her own chamber and slept. But suddenly he felt something beside 
him in the bed and awaking started up in alarm and cried, " I seek 
refuge with Allah from Satan the stoned ! " Then he opened his 
eyes and seeing by his side a woman foul of favour, said to her, 
" Who art thou ? " Said she, " Fear not, I am thy wife Fatimah 
al-Urrah." Whereupon he looked in her face and knew her by her 
loathly form and the length of her dog-teeth : so he asked her, 
"Whence camest thou in to me and who brought thee to this 
country?" " In what country art thou at this present ? " "In the 
city of Ikhtiyan al-Khutan ; and thou, when didst thou leave 
Cairo?" " But now." " How can that be ? " " Know," said she, 
"that, when I fell out with thee and Satan prompted me to do thee 
a damage, I complained of thee to the magistrates, who sought for 
thee and the Kazis enquired of thee, but found thee not. When 
two days were passed, repentance gat hold upon me and I knew that 
the fault was with me ; but penitence availed me not, and I abode 
for some time weeping for thy loss, till what was in my hand failed 
and I was obliged to beg my bread. So I fell to asking of all, 
from the courted rich to the contemned poor, and since thou leftest 
me, I have eaten of the bitterness of beggary and have been in the 
sorriest of conditions. Every night I sat beweeping our separation 

^ Very simple and pathetic is this short sketch of the noble-minded Princess's 

"^ In sign of dismissal. I have 'oted that "throwing the kerchief" is not an 
Eastern practice : the idea probably arose from the Oriental practice of sending 
presents in richly embroidered napkins and kerchiefs. 

Ma^aruf the Cobbler and his Wife Fafimah. 1 93 

and that which I suffered, since thy departure, of humihation and 
ignominy, of abjection and misery." And she went on to tell him 
what had befallen her, whilst he stared at her in amazement, till she 
said, "Yesterday, I went about begging all day but none gave me 
aught ; and as often as I accosted anyone and craved of him a crust 
of bread, he reviled me and gave me naught. When night came, I 
went to bed supperless, and hunger burned me and sore on me was 
that which I suffered : and I sat weeping when, behold, one appeared 
to me and said, O woman why weepest thou ? Said I, Erst I had a 
husband who used to provide for me and fulfil my wishes ; but he is 
lost to me and I know not whither he went and have been in sore 
straits since he left me. Asked he, What is thy husband's name ? 
and I answered. His name is Ma'aruf. Quoth he, I ken him. Know 
that thy husband is now Sultan in a certain city, and if thou wilt, I 
will carry thee to him. Cried I, I am under thy protection : of thy 
bounty bring me to him ! So he took me up and flew with me 
between heaven and earth, till he brought me to this pavilion and 
said to me : — Enter yonder chamber, and thou shalt see thy hus- 
band asleep on the couch. Accordingly I entered and found thee 
in this state of lordship. Indeed I had not thought thou wouldst 
forsake me, who am thy mate, and praised be Allah who hath 
united thee with me!" Quoth Ma'aruf, "Did I forsake thee or 
thou me ? Thou complainedst of me from Kazi to Kazi and endedst 
by denouncing me to the High Court and bringing down on me 
Abii Tabak from the Citadel : so I fled in mine own despite." And 
he went on to tell her all that had befallen him and how he was 
become Sultan and had married the King's daughter and how his 
beloved Dunya had died leaving him a son who was then seven 
years old. She rejoined, " That which happened was fore-ordained 
of Allah ; but I repent me and I place myself under thy protection, 
beseeching thee not to abandon me, but suffer me to eat bread 
with thee by way of an alms." And she ceased not to humble 
herself to him and to supplicate him till his heart relented towards 
her and he said, " Repent from mischief and abide with me, and 
naught shall betide thee save what shall pleasure thee : but, an thou 
work any wickedness, I will slay thee nor fear anyone. And fancy 
not that thou canst complain of me to the High Court and that 
Abu Tabak will come down on me from the Citadel ; for I am become 
Sultan and the folk dread me; but I fear none save Allah Almighty, 
because I have a talismanic ring, which when I rubj the Slave of 
the Signet appeareth to me. His name is Abu al-Sa'adat, and 
whatsoever I demand of him he bringeth to me. So, an thou 
desire to return to thine own countr}', I will give thee what shall 


194 -^V Laylah wa Laylah. 

suffice thee all thy life long and will send thee thither speedily ; 
but, an thou desire to abide with me, I will clear for thee a palace 
and furnish it with the choicest of silks and appoint thee twenty 
slave-girls to serve thee and provide thee with dainty dishes and 
sumptuous suits, and thou shalt be a Queen and live in all delight 
till thou die or I die. What sayest thou of this ? " "I wish to 
abide with thee," she answered and kissed his hand and vowed 
repentance from frowardness. Accordingly, he set apart a palace 
for her sole use and gave her slave-girls and eunuchs, and she 
became a Queen. The young Prince used to visit her as he visited 
his sire ; but she hated him for that he was not her son ; and when 
the boy saw that she looked on him with the eye of aversion and 
anger, he shunned her and took a dislike to her. As for Ma'aruf, 
he bethought him not of his wife Fatimah the Dirt, for that she 
was grown a grizzled old fright, foul-favoured to the sight, a bald- 
headed blight, loathlier than the snake speckled black and white ; 
the more that she had beyond measure evil entreated him afore- 
time ; and as saith the adage, " Ill-usage the root of affection dis- 
parts and sows aversion in the soil of hearts ; " and God-gifted is he 
who saith : — 

Beware of losing hearts of men by thine injurious deed ; * For whenas Hatred 

takes his place none may dear Love restore : 
Hearts, wh- n affection flies from them, are hkest unto glass, * Which broken 
cannot whole be made, — 'tis breactied for evermore. 

And indeed Ma'aruf had not given her shelter by reason of any 
praiseworthy quality in her, but he dealt with her thus generously 

only of desire for the approval of Allah Almighty. Here Dun- 

yazad interrupted her sister Shahrazad, saying, " How winsome are 
these words of thine which win hold of the heart more forcibly 
than enchanters' eyne ; and how beautiful are these wondrous 
books thou hast cited and the marvellous and singular tales thou 
hast recited!" Quoth Shahrazad, "And where is all this com- 
pared with what I shall relate to thee on the coming night, an I 
live and the King deign spare my days ? " So when morning 
morrowed and the day brake in its sheen and shone, the King 
arose from his couch with breast broadened and in high expec- 
tation for the rest of the tale ; and saying, " By Allah, I will not 
slay her till I hear the last of her story, " repaired to his Durbar 
while the Wazir, as was his wont, presented himself at the palace, 
shroud under arm. Shahriyar tarried abroad all that day, bidding 
and forbidding between man and man ; after which he returned 

McHaruf the Cobbler and his Wife Fafi?nak. 195 

to his Harim and, according to his custom, went in to his wife 

jlotD toj^En It luas tf)c ^jbousanH anl3 Jptrst iEigJbt, 

Dunyazad said to her sister, " Do thou finish for us the History of 
Ma'aruf." She rephed, " With love and goodly gree, an my lord 
deign permit me recount it." Quoth the King, " I permit thee ; 
for that I am fain of hearing it." So she said : — It hath reached 
me, O auspicious King, that Ma'aruf would have naught to do 
with his wife by way of conjugal love. Now when she saw that 
he held aloof from her, she hated him and jealousy gat the mastery 
of her and Iblis prompted her to take the seal-ring from him and 
slay him and make herself Queen in his stead. So she went forth 
one night from her pavilion, intending for that wherein was her 
husband King Ma'aruf. And it was his wont, of the excellence of 
his piety, that, when he was minded to sleep, he would doff the 
enchanted seal-ring from his finger, in reverence to the Holy Names 
graven thereon, and lay it on the pillow. Moreover, when he went 
to the Hammam he locked the door of the pavilion till his return, 
when he put on the ring, and after this, all were free to enter 
according to custom. His wife Fatimah the Dirt knew of all this 
and went not forth from her place till she had certified herself of 
the case. So she sallied out, when the night was dark, purposing 
to go in to him, whilst he was drowned in sleep, and steal the ring 
unseen of him. Now it chanced at this time that the King's son 
had gone out to take the air, leaving the door open. Presently, he 
saw Fatimah come forth of her pavilion and make stealthily for that 
of his father and said in himself, " What aileth this witch to leave 
her lodging in the dead of the night and make for my father's 
pavilion ? Needs must there be some reason for this ; " so he went 
out after her and followed in her steps unseen of her. Now he had 
a short sword of watered steel, which he held so dear that he went 
not to his father's Divan, except he were girt therewith ; and his 

^ Curious to say, both Lane and Payne omit this passage which appears in both 
texts (Mac. and Bui.). The object is evidently to prepare the reader for the 
ending by reverting to the beginning of the tale ; and its prolixity has its effect, as 
in the old Romances of Chivalry from Amadis of Ghaul to the Seven Champions 
of Christendom. If it provoke impatience, it also heightens expectation : " it 
is like the long elm-avenues of our forefathers ; we wish ourselves at the end j 
but we know that at the end there is something great." 

196 Alf Lay la h wa Laylah. 

father used to laugh at him and exclaim, " Mashallah !'^ This is a 
mighty fine sword of thine, O my son ! But thou hast not gone 
down with it to battle nor cut off a head therewith." Whereupon 
the boy would reply, " I will not fail to cut off with it some head 
which deserveth- cutting." And Ma'aruf would laugh at his words. 
Now when treading in her track he drew the sword from its sheath and 
he followed her till she came to his father's pavilion and entered, 
whilst he stood and watched her from the door. He saw her 
searching about and heard her say to herself, " Where hath he laid 
the seal-ring?" whereby he knew that she was looking for the ring, 
and he waited till she found it and said, "Here it is." Then she 
picked it up and turned to go out ; but he hid behind the door. 
As she came forth, she looked at the ring and turned it about in her 
grasp ; but when she was about to rub it, he raised his hand with 
the sword and smote her on the neck ; and she cried a single cry 
and fell down dead. With this Ma'aruf awoke, and seeing his wife 
strown on the ground, with her blood flowing, and his son standing 
with the drawn sword in his hand, said to him, " What is this, O my 
son ? " He replied, " O my father, how often hast thou said to me, 
Thou hast a mighty fine sword ; but thou hast not gone down with 
it to battle nor cut off a head. And I have answered thee, saying, 
I will not fail to cut off with it a head which deserveth cutting. 
And now, behold, I have therewith cut off for thee a head well worth 
the cutting ! " And he told him what had passed. Ma'aruf sought 
for the seal-ring, but found it not ; so he searched the dead woman's 
body till he saw her hand closed upon it ; whereupon he took it 
from her grasp and said to the boy, "Thou art indeed my very son, 
without doubt or dispute ; Allah ease thee in this world and in the 
next, even as thou hast eased me of this vile woman ! Her attempt 
led only to her own destruction, and Allah-gifted is he who said : — 

\Yhen Allah's aid deigns further man's intent, • Man's wish in every case shall 

find consent : 
But an that aid of Allah be refused, * Man's first attempt shall do him damagement. 

Then King Ma'aruf called aloud to some of his attendants, who 
came in haste, and he told them what his wife Fatimah the Dirt 
had done and bade them to take her and lay her in a place till the 
morning. They did his bidding, and next day he gave her in 

^ Here the exclamation wards off the Evil Eye from the Sword and the wearer. 
Mr. Payne notes, " The old English exclamation ' Cock's 'ill ! ' {i.e., God's will, 
thus corrupted for the purpose of evading the statute of 3 Jac. i. against profane 
swearing exactly corresponds to the Arabic " — with a difference, I add. 

^ Arab. " Mustahakk" = deserving (Lane) or worth (Payne) the cutting. 

Ma'am/ the Cobbler and his Wife Fatimah. 197 

charge to a number of eunuchs, who washed her and shrouded her 
and made her a tomb^ and buried her. Thus her coming from 
Cairo was but to her grave, and Allah-gifted is he who said^: — 

We trod the steps appointed for us : and he whose steps are appointed must 

tread them. 
He whose death is decreed to take place in one land shall not die in any land 

but that. 

And how excellent is the saying of the poet : — 

I wot not, whenas to a land I fare, * Good luck pursuing, what my lot shall be : 
Whether boon fortune I perforce pursue « Or the misfortune which pursueth me." 

After this, King Ma'aruf sent for the husbandman, whose guest he 
had been when he was a fugitive, and made him his Wazir of the 
Right and his Chief Counsellor.^ Then, learning that he had a 
daughter of passing beauty and loveliness, of quahties nature- 
ennobled at birth and exalted of worth, he took her to ■wife ; and 
in due time he married his son. So they abode awhile in all solace 
of life and its enjoyment, and their days were serene and their joys 
untroubled, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and 
the Sunderer of societies, the Depopulator of populous places and 
the Orphaner of sons and daughters. And glory be to the Livin,,' 
who dieth not and in whose hand are the Keys of the Seen and the 
Unseen ! 


Now, during this time, Shahrazad had borne the King three boy 
children : so, when she had made an end of the story of Ma'aruf, 
she rose to her feet and kissing ground before him, said, "O King of 
the time and unique one^ of the age and the tide, I am thine hand- 
maid ; and these thousand nights and a night have I entertained 
thee with stories of folk gone before and admonitory instances of 
the men of yore. May I then make bold to crave a boon of thy 
Highness ? " He repUed, " Ask, O Shahrazad, and it shall be 

^ Arab. " Mashhad " the same as " Shahid " = the upright stones at the head 
and foot of the grave. Lane mistranslates, '' Made for her a funeral procession." 

" These lines have occurred before. I quote Lane. 

•^ There is nothing strange in such sudden elevations amongst Moslems, and 
even in Europe we still see them occasionally. The family in the East, however 
humble, is a model and miniature of the state, and learning is not always necessary 
to wisdom. 

* Arab. " Farid," which may also mean " union-pearl." 

198 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

granted to thee."^ Whereupon she cried out to the nurses and the 
eunuchs, saying, " Bring me my children." So they brought them 
to her in haste, and they were three boy children, one walking, one 
crawling, and one sucking. She took them and setting them before 
the King, again kissed the ground and said, " O King of the age, 
these are thy children and I crave that thou release me from the 
doom of death, as a dole to these infants ; for, an thou kill me, 
they will become motherless and will find none among women to 
rear them as they should be reared." "When the King heard this, 
he wept and straining the boys to his bosom, said, " By Allah, O 
Shahrazad, I pardoned thee before the coming of these children, for 
that I found thee chaste, pure, ingenuous, pious ! Allah bless 
thee and thy father and thy mother and thy root and thy branch ! 
I take the Almighty to witness against me that I exempt thee 
from aught that can harm thee." So she kissed his hands and 
feet and rejoiced with exceeding joy, saying, *' The Lord make thy 
life long and increase thee in dignity and majesty I^ presently 
adding, " Thou marvelledst at that which befel thee on the part of 
women ; yet there betided the Kings of the Chosroes before thee 
greater mishaps and more grievous than that which hath befallen 
thee, and indeed I have set forth unto thee that which happened 
to Caliphs and Kings and others with their women, but the relation 
is longsome and hearkening groweth tedious, and in this is all- 
sufficient warning for the man of wits and admonishment for the 
wise." Then she ceased to speak, and when King Shahriyar heard 
her speech and profited by that which she said, he summoned up 
his reasoning powers and cleansed his heart and caused his under- 
standing revert and turned to Allah Almighty and said to himself 
" Since there befel the Kings of the Chosroes more than that which 
hath befallen me, never, whilst I live, shall I cease to blame myself 
for the past. As for this Shahrazad, her like is not found in the 
lands ; so praise be to Him who appointed her a means for 
delivering His creatures from oppression and slaughter ! " Then 
he arose from his stance and kissed her head, whereat she rejoiced, 
she and her sister Dunyazad, with exceeding joy. When the 
morning morrowed, the King went forth and sitting down on the 
throne of the Kingship, summoned the Lords of his land ; where- 
ui)on the Chamberlains and Nabobs and Captains of the host went 

' Trebutien (iii 497) cannot deny himself the pleasure of a French touch, making 
the King reply, " C'est assez ; qu'on lui coupe la tete, car ces dernieres histoires 
surtout m'ont cause un ennui mortel." This reading is found in some ol the MSS. 

" After this I borrow from the Bresl. Edit, inserting, however, passages from 
the Mac. Edit. 

Conclusion. 199 

in to him and kissed ground before him. He distinguished the 
Wazir, Shahrazad's sire, with special favour and bestowed on him 
a costly and splendid robe of honour and entreated him with the 
utmost kindness, and said to him, " Allah protect thee for that thou 
gavest me to wife thy noble daughter, who hath been the means 
of my repentance from slaying the daughters of folk. Indeed I 
have found her pure and pious, chaste, ingenuous, and Allah hath 
vouchsafed me by her three boy children ; wherefore praised be 
He for his passing favour. Then he bestowed robes of honour 
upon his Wazirs and Emirs and Chief Officers, and he set forth to 
them briefly that which had betided him with Shahrazad and how 
he had turned from his former ways and repented him of what he 
had done and proposed to take the Wazir's daughter, Shahrazad, 
to wife and let draw up the marriage-contract with her. When 
those who were present heard this, they kissed the ground before 
him and blessed him, and his betrothed^ Shahrazad and the Wazir 
thanked her. Then Shahriyar made an end of his sitting in all 
weal, whereupon the folk dispersed to their dwelling-places and the 
news was bruited abroad that the King purposed to marry the 
Wazir's daughter, Shahrazad. So he proceeded to make ready 
the wedding gear, and presently he sent after his brother, King 
Shah Zaman, who came, and King Shahriyar went forth to meet 
him with the troops. Furthermore they decorated the city after 
the goodliest fashion and diffused scents from censers and burnt 
aloes-wood and other perfumes in all the markets and thorough- 
fares and rubbed themselves with saffron,- what while the drums 
beat and the flutes and pipes sounded and mimes and mountebanks 
played and plied their arts and the King lavished on them gifts 
and largesse ; and in very deed it was a notable day. When they 
came to the palace, King Shahriyar commanded to spread the 
tables with beasts roasted whole and sweetmeats and all manner 
of viands and bade the crier cry to the folk that they should come 
up to the Divan and eat and drink and that this should be a 
means of reconciliation between him and them. So, high and 
low, great and small came up unto him and they abode on 
that wise, eating and drinking, seven days with their nights. Then 
the King shut himself up with his brother and related to him 
that which had betided him with the Wazir's daughter, Shahrazad, 

' i.e. whom he intended to marry with regal ceremony. 

^ The use of coloured powders in sign of holiday-making is not obselete in 
India. See Herklots for the use of -'Huldee" (Haldi) or turmeric powder, 
pp. 64-65. 

200 A If Lay I ah wa Lay la h. 

during the past three years and told him what he had heard 
from her of proverbs and parables, chronicles and pleasantries, 
quips and jests, stories and anecdotes, dialogues and histories 
and elegies and other verses ; whereat King Shah Zaman mar- 
velled with the uttermost marvel and said, " Fain would I take 
her younger sister to wife, so we may be two brothers-german 
to two sisters-german, and they on like wise be sisters to us ; 
for that the calamity which befel me was the cause of our dis- 
covering that which befel thee and all this time of three years 
past I have taken no delight in love save that I wed each 
night with a damsel of my kingdom, and every morning I do her 
to death ; but now I desire to marry thy wife's sister Dunyazad." 
When King Shahriyar heard his brother's words, he rejoiced with 
joy exceeding and arising forthright, went in to his wife Shahrazad 
and acquainted her with that which his brother purposed, namely 
that he sought her sister Dunyazad in wedlock ; whereupon she 
answered, " O King of the age, we seek of him one condition, to 
wit, that he take up his abode with us, for that I cannot brook to 
be parted from my sister an hour, because we were brought up 
together and may not endure separation each from other.^ If he 
accept of this pact, she is his handmaid." King Shahriyar returned 
to his brother and acquainted hmi with that which Shahrazad had 
said; and he replied, "Indeed, this is what was in my mind, for 
that I desire nevermore to be parted from thee one hour. As for 
the kingdom, Allah the Most High shall send to it whomso He 
chooseth, for that I have no longer a desire for the Kingship." 
When King Shahriyar heard his brother's words, he rejoiced 
exceedingly and said, " Verily, this is what I wished, O my brother. 
So Alhamdolillah — Praised be AWah. — who hath brought about union 
between us." Then he sent after the Kazis and Olema, Captains and 
Notables, and they married the two brothers to the two sisters. The 
contracts were written out and the two Kings bestowed robes of 
honour of silk and satin on those who were present, whilst the city 
was decorated and the rejoicings were renewed. The King com- 
manded each Emir and Wazir and Chamberlain and Nabob to 
decorate his palace and the folk of the city were gladdened by the 
presage of happiness and contentment. King Shahriyar also bade 
slaughter sheep and set up kitchens and made bride-feasts and fed all 
comers, high and low ; and he gave alms to the poor and needy and 
extended his bounty to great and small. Then the eunuchs went 

' Many Moslem families insist upon this before giving their girls in marriage, 
and the practice is still popular amongst many Mediterranean peoples. 

Cofidusion. 201 

forth, that they might perfume the Hammam for the brides ; so they 
scented it with rose-water and willow-flower-water and pods of musk 
and fumigated it with Kakili^ eagle-wood and ambergris. Then 
Shahrazad entered, she and her sister Dunyazad, and they cleansed 
their heads and clipped their hair. When they came forth of the 
Hammam-bath, they donned raiment and ornaments, such as men 
were wont to prepare for the Kings of the Chosroes ; and among 
Shahrazad's apparel was a dress purfled with red gold and wrought 
with counterfeit presentments of birds and beasts. And the two 
sisters encircled their necks with necklaces of gems of price, in the 
like whereof Iskander- rejoiced not, for therein were great jewels 
such as amazed the wit and dazzled the eye ; and the imagination was 
bewildered at their charms, for indeed each of them was brighter 
than the sun and the moon. Before them they lighted briUiant 
flambeaux of wax in candelabra of gold, but their faces outshone the 
flambeaux, for that they had eyes sharper than unsheathed swords 
and the lashes of their eyelids bewitched all hearts. Their cheeks 
were rosy red and their necks and shapes gracefully swayed and their 
eyes wantoned like the gazelle's, as the slave-girls came out to meet 
them with instruments of music. Then the two Kings entered the 
Hammam-bath, and when they fared forth, they sat down on a 
couch set with pearls and gems, whereupon the two sisters came up 
to them and stood between their hands, as they were moons, bend- 
ing and leaning from side to side in their beauty and loveliness. 
Presently they brought forward Shahrazad and displayed her in a red 
suit for the first dress ; whereupon King Shahriyar rose to look 
upon her, and the wits of all present, men and women, were bewitched 
for that she was even as saith of her one of her describers ^ : — 

A sun on wand in knoll of sand she showed, *Clad in her cramoisy-hued 

chemisette : 
Of her lips honey-dew she gave me drink * And with her rosy cheeks quencht fire 

she set. 

Then they attired Dunyazad in a dress of blue brocade and she 
became as she were the full moon when it shineth forth. So they 
displayed her in this, for the first dress, before King Shah Zaman, 
who rejoiced in her and well-nigh swooned away for love, yea, he was 
distraught with passion for her whenas he saw her, because she was 
as saith of her one of her describers in these couplets ^ : — 

^i.e. Sumatran. 

^ i.e. Alexander, according to the Arabs. 

^ These lines occur before. 

202 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

She comes apparelled in an azure vest, * Ultramarine as skies are deckt and 

dight : 
I view'd th' unparallel'd sight, which showed my eyes * A Summer-moon upon a 


Then they returned to Shahrazad and displayed her in the second 
dress, a suit of surpassing goodliness, and veiled her face with her 
hair like a chin-veil.^ Moreover, they let down her side locks and 
she was even as saith of her one of her describers in these 
couplets : — 

O hail to him whose locks his cheeks o'ershade * Who slew my life by cruel hard 

despight : 
Said I, " Hast veiled the Morn in Night ?" He said, * " Nay, I but veil the 

Moon in hue of Night." 

Then they displayed Dunyazad in a second and a third and a fourth 
dress and she paced forward like the rising sun, and swayed to and 
fro in the insolence of beauty ; and she was even as saith the poet 
of her in these couplets^: — 

The sun of beauty she to all appears j^ And, lovely coy, she mocks all loveli- 
ness : 

And when he fronts her favour and her smile * A-morn, the sun of day in clouds 
must dress. 

Then they displayed Shahrazad in the third dress and the fourth and 
the fifth and she became as she were a Bdn-branch snell or a thirsting 
gazelle, lovely of face and perfect in attributes of grace, even as saith 
of her one in these couplets-: — 

She comes like fullest moon on happy night -^ Taper of waist, with shape of 
magic might : 

She hath an eye whose glances quell mankind, * And ruby on her cheeks reflects 
his light : 

Enveils her hips the blackness of her hair ; * Beware of curls that bite wiih viper- 
bite ! 

Her sides are silken-soft, what while the heart » Mere rock behind that snrface 
'scapes our sight : 

From the fringed curtains of her eyne she shoots * Shafts that at furthest range 
on mark alight. 

Then they returned to Dunyazad and displayed her in the fifth dress 
and in the sixth, which was green, when she surpassed with her love- 

^ All these coquetries require as much inventiveness as a cotillon ; the text 
alludes to fastening the bride's tresses across her mouth giving her the semblance 
of beard and muscachios. 

^ Quoted before. 

Conclusion. 203 

liness the fair of the four quarters of the world and outvied, with the 
brightness of her countenance, the full moon at rising tide ; for she 
was even as saith of her the poet in these couplets : — 

A damsel 'twas the tirer's art had decked with snare and sleight * And robed with 

rays as though the sun from her had borrowed light : 
She came before us wondrous clad in chemisette of green, « As veiled by his 

leafy screen Pomegranate hides from sight : 
And when he said, " How callest thou the fashion of thy dress?" * She answered 

us in pleasant way with double meaning dight, 
"We call this garment crive-cceur ; and rightly is it bight, * For many a heart 

wi' this we brake and harried many a sprite." 

Then they displayed Shahrazad in the sixth and seventh dresses and 
clad her in youth's clothing, whereupon she came forward swaying 
from side to side and coquettishly moving and indeed she ravished 
wits and hearts and ensorcelled all eyes with her glances. She shook 
her sides and swayed her hips, then put her hand on sword-hilt 
and went up to King Shahriyar, who embraced her as hospitable 
host embraceth guest, and threatened her in her ear with the taking 
of the sword ; and she was even as saith of her the poet in these 
words : — 

Were not the Murk' of gender male, * Than feminines surpassing fair. 
Tirewomen they had grudged the bride, * Who made her beard and whiskers 
wear ! 

Thus also they did with her sister Dunyazad, and when they had 
made an end of the display, the King bestowed robes of honour on 
all who were present and sent the brides to their own apartments. 
Then Shahrazad paid the first visit to King Shahriyar and Dunyazad 
to King Shah Zaman, and each of them solaced himself with the 
company of his beloved consort and the hearts of the folk were 
comforted. When morning morrowed, the Wazir came in to the 
two Kings and kissed ground before them ; wherefore they thanked 
him and were large of bounty to him. Presently they went forth and 
sat down upon their couches of Kingship, whilst all the Wazirs and 
Emirs and Grandees and Lords of the land presented themselves 
and kissed ground. King Shahriyar ordered them dresses of honour 
and largesse and they prayed for the permanence and prosperity 
of the King and his brother. Then the two Sovrans appointed 
their sire-in-law the Wazir to be Viceroy in Samarcand and 
assigned him five of the Chief Emirs to accompany him, charging 
them attend him and do him service. The Minister kissed the 

' Arab. " Sawad " = the blackness of the hair. 

204 Alf Layiah iva LayiaJi. 

ground and prayed that they might be vouchsafed length of life : 
then he went in to his daughters, whilst the Eunuchs and Ushers 
walked before him, and saluted them and farewelled them. They 
kissed his hands and gave him joy of the Kingship and bestowed 
on him immense treasures ; after which he took leave of them 
and setting out, fared days and nights, till he came near Samar- 
cand, where the townspeople met him at a distance of three 
marches and rejoiced in him with exceeding joy. So he 
entered the city and they decorated the houses and it was a notable 
day. He sat down on the throne of his kingship and the Wazirs 
did him homage and the Grandees and Emirs of Samarcand, and 
all prayed that he might be vouchsafed justice and victory and length 
of continuance. So he bestowed on them robes of honour and 
entreated them with distinction and they made him Sultan over 
them. As soon as his father-in-law had departed for Samarcand, 
King Shahriyah summoned the Grandees of his realm and made 
them a stupendous banquet of all manner of delicious meats and 
exquisite sweetmeats. He also bestowed on them robes of honour 
and guerdoned them and divided the kingdoms between himself and 
his brother in their presence, whereat the folk rejoiced. Then the 
two Kings abode, each ruling a day in turn, and they were ever in 
harmony each with other while on similar wise their wives continued 
in the love of Allah Almighty and in thanksgiving to Him ; and the 
peoples and the provinces were at peace and the preachers prayed 
for them from the pulpits, and their report was bruited abroad and 
the travellers bore tidings of them to all lands. In due time King 
Shahriyah summoned chroniclers and copyists and bade them write 
all that had betided him with his wife, first and last ; so they wrote 
this and named it '' ^f)C ^tOrfcS Of tj^C ©^IjOUSnutl i}^lQf)tS autr a 
^tgj^t." The book came to fill thirty volumes and these the King 
laid up in his treasury. And the two brothers abode with their 
wives in all pleasance and solace of life and its dehghts, for that 
indeed Allah the Most High had changed their annoy into joy ; and 
on this wise they continued till there took them the Destroyer of 
delights and the Severer of societies, the Desolator of dwelling- 
places and Garnerer of grave-yards, and they were translated to the 
ruth of Almighty Allah ; their houses fell waste and their palaces 
lay in ruins ^ and the Kings inherited their riches. Then there 
reigned after them a wise ruler, who was just, keen-witted and ac- 
complished and who loved tales and legends, especially those which 
chronicle the doings of Sovrans and Sultans, and he found in the 

' Because Easterns build, but never repair. 

Conclusion. 205 

treasury these marvellous stories and wondrous histories, contained 
in the thirty volumes aforesaid. So he read in them a first book 
and a second and a third and so on to the last of them, and each 
book astounded and delighted him more than that which preceded 
it, till he came to the end of them. Then he admired whatso he 
had read therein of description and discourse and rare traits and 
anecdotes and moral instances and reminiscences and bade the folk 
copy them and dispread them over all lands and climes ; wherefore 
their report was bruited abroad and the people named them '* "^TfjC 

marbcls anti toonUcrs of tt)t ^i)ousnnti iRigf)ts anti a i^igi^t," 

This is all that hath come down to us of the origin of this book, and 
Allah is All-knowing.^ So Glory be to Him whom the shifts of 
Time waste not away, nor doth aught of chance or change affect 
His sway : whom one case diverteth not from other case and Who 
is sole in the attributes of perfect grace. And prayer and peace be 
upon the Lord's Pontiff and Chosen One among His creatures, our 
lord MOHAMMED, the Prince of mankind, through whom we sup- 
plicate Him for a goodly and a godly 



i.e. God only knows if it be true or not. 

Terminal Essay. 207 

CBtminal CBssag. 


The reader who has reached this terminal stage will hardly 
require my assurance that he has seen the mediaev^al Arab 
at his best and, perhaps, at his worst. In glancing over the 
myriad pictures of this panorama, those who can discern the 
soul of goodness in things evil will note the true nobility of 
the Moslem's mind in the Moyen Age, and the cleanliness of 
his life from cradle to grave. As a child he is devoted to his 
parents, fond of his comrades and respectful to his " pastors 
and masters," even schoolmasters. As a lad he prepares for 
manhood with a will and this training occupies him through- 
out youthtide : he is a gentleman in manners without awk- 
wardness, vulgar astonishment or mauvaise-honte. As a man 
he is high-spirited and energetic, always ready to fight for his 
Sultan, his country and, especially, his Faith : courteous and 
affable, rarely failing in temperance of mind and self-respect, 
self-control and self-command : hospitable to the stranger, 
attached to his fellow-citizens, submissive to superiors and 
kindly to inferiors — if such classes exist : Eastern despotisms 
have arrived nearer the idea of equality and fraternity than 
any republic yet invented. As a friend he proves a model to 
the Damons and Pythiases. As a lover an examplar to Don 
Quijote without the noble old Caballero's touch of eccen- 
tricity. As a knight he is the mirror of chivalry, doing 
battle for the weak and debelling the strong, while ever 
" defending the honour of women." As a husband his patri- 

2o8 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

archal position causes him to be loved and fondly loved by- 
more than one wife. As a father affection for his children 
rules his life : he is domestic in the highest degree and he 
finds few pleasures beyond the bosom of his family. Lastly, 
his death is simple, pathetic and edifying as the life which led 
to it. 

Considered in a higher phase, the mediaeval Moslem mind 
displays, like the ancient Egyptian, a most exalted moral 
idea, the deepest reverence for all things connected with his 
religion and a sublime conception of the Unity and Omni- 
potence of the Deity. Noteworthy too is a proud resignation 
to the decrees of Fate and Fortune (Kaza wa Kadar), of 
Destiny and Predestination — a feature which ennobles the 
low aspect of Al-Islam even in these her days of comparative 
degeneration and local decay. Hence his moderation in 
prosperity, his fortitude in adversity, his dignity, his perfect 
self-dominance and, lastly, his lofty quietism which sounds 
the true heroic ring. This again is softened and tempered by 
a simple faith in the supremacy of Love over Fear, an un- 
bounded humanity and charity for the poor and helpless ; an 
unconditional forgiveness of the direst injuries (" which is the 
note of the noble ") ; a generosity and liberality which at 
times seem impossible, and an enthusiasm for universal bene- 
volence and beneficence which, exalting kindly deeds done 
to man above every form of holiness, constitute the root and 
base of Oriental, nay, of all, courtesy. And the whole is 
crowned by pure trust and natural confidence in the progress 
and perfectibility of human nature, which he exalts instead 
of degrading ; this he holds to be the foundation-stone of 
society and indeed the very purpose of its existence. His 
Pessimism resembles far more the optimism which the so- 
called Books of Moses borrowed from the Ancient Copt than 
the mournful and melancholy creed of the true Pessimist, as 
Solomon the Hebrew, the Indian Buddhist and the esoteric 
European imitators of Buddhism. He cannot but sigh when 
contemplating the sin and sorrow, the pathos and bathos of 

Ter?nmal Essay. 209 

the world ; and feel the pity of it, with its shifts and changes 
ending in nothingness, its scanty happiness and its copious 
misery. But his melancholy is expressed in — 

"A voice divinely sweet, a voice no less 
Divinely sad." 

Nor does he mourn as they mourn who have no hope. He 
has an absolute conviction in future compensation ; and, 
meanwhile, his lively poetic impulse, the poetry of ideas, not 
of formal verse, and his radiant innate idealism breathe a 
soul into the merest matter of squalid work-a-day life and 
awaken the sweetest harmonies of Nature epitomised in 

Such was the Moslem at a time when " the dark clouds of 
ignorance and superstition hung so thick on the intellectual 
horizon of Europe as to exclude every ray of learning that 
darted from the East and when all that was polite or elegant 
in literature was classed among the Stiidia Arabumr^ 

Nor is the shady side of the picture less notable. Our 
Arab at his worst is a mere barbarian who has not forgotten 
the savage. He is a model mixture of childishness and 
astuteness, of simplicity and cunning, concealing levity of 
mind under solemnity of aspect. His stolid instinctive con- 
servatism grovels before the tyrant rule of routine, despite 
that turbulent and licentious independence which ever 
suggests revolt against the ruler : his mental torpidity, 
founded upon physical indolence, renders immediate action 
and all manner of exertion distasteful : his conscious weak- 
ness shows itself in overweening arrogance and intolerance. 
His crass and self-satisfied ignorance makes him glorify the 
most ignoble superstitions, while acts of revolting savagery 
are the natural results of a malignant fanaticism and a 
furious hatred of every creed beyond the pale of Al-Islam. 

It must be confessed that these contrasts make a curious 
and interesting tout ensemble. 

^ Ouseley's Orient. Collect. I, vii. 

2IO Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 


A. — The Birthplace. 

Here occur the questions, Where and When was written and 
to Whom do we owe a prose-poem which, like the dramatic 
epos of Herodotus, has no equal ? 

I proceed to lay before the reader a proces-verbal of the 
sundry pleadings already in court as concisely as is compa- 
tible with intelligibility, furnishing him with references to 
original authorities and warning him that a fully-detailed 
account would fill a volume. Even my own reasons for 
decidedly taking one side and rejecting the other must be 
stated briefly. And before entering upon this subject I 
would distribute the prose-matter of our Recueil of Folk-lore 
under three heads. 

1. The Apologue or Beast-fable proper, a theme which 
may be of any age, as it is found in the hieroglyphs and in the 

2. The Fairy-tale, as for brevity we may term the stories 
based upon supernatural ^agency : this was a favourite with 
olden Persia ; and Mohammed, most austere and puritanical 
of the " Prophets," strongly objected to it because preferred 
by the more sensible of his converts to the dry legends of the 
Talmud and the Koran, quite as fabulous without the halo 
and glamour of fancy. 

3. The Histories and historical anecdotes, analects, and 
acroamata, in which the names, when not used achronistically 
by the editor or copier, give unerring data for the earliest 
date a quo, and which, by the mode of treatment, suggest 
the latest. 

Terminal Essay. 211 

Each of these constituents will require further notice when 
the subject-matter of the book is discussed. The metrical 
portion of The Nights may also be divided into three 
categories, viz. : — 

1. The oldest and classical poetry of the Arabs, e.g. the 
various quotations from the " Suspended Poems." 

2. The mediaeval, beginning with the laureates of Al- 
Rashid's court, such as Al-Asma'i and Abu Nowas ; and 
ending with Al-Hariri, A.H. 446-516 = 1030-1100. 

3. The modern quotations and the pieces de circonstance 
by the editors or copyists of the Compilation.^ 

Upon this metrical portion also further notices must be 
offered at the end of this Essay. 

In considering the unde derivatur of The Nights we must 
carefully separate subject-matter from language-manner. 
The neglect of such essential difference has caused the 
remark, " It is not a little curious that the origin of a work 
which has been known to Europe and has been studied 
by many during nearly two centuries, should still be so 

' This three-fold distribution occurred to me many years ago and when far 
beyond reach of literary authorities ; I was, therefore, much pleased to find the 
subjoined classification with minor details made by Baron von Hammer- 
Purgstall (Preface to Contes Inedits, etc., of G. S. Trebutien, Paris, mdcccxxviii.) 

(1) The older stories which serve as a base to the collection, such as the Ten 
Wazirs {" Malice of Women ") and Voyages of Sindbad (?) which may date from 
the days of Mahommed. These are distributed into two sub-classes ; (a) the 
marvellous and purely imaginative [e.g. Jamasp and the Serpent Queen) and 
(1^) the realistic mixed with instructive fables and moral instances. (2) The 
stories and anecdotes peculiarly Arab, relating to the Caliphs and especially to 
Al-Rashid ; and (3) The tales of Egyptian provenance, which mostly date from 
the times of the puissant "Aaron the Orthodox." Mr. John Payne (Villon 
Translation, vol. ix. pp. 367-73) distributes the stories roughly under five chief 
heads as follows : (i) Histories or long Romances, as King Omar bin Al-Nu'man. 

(2) Anecdotes or short stories dealing with historical personages and with incidents 
and adventures belonging to the every-day life of the period to which they refer : 
e.g. those concerning Al-Rashid and Hatim of Tayy. (3) Romances and romantic 
fictions comprising three different kinds of tales ; (a) purely romantic and super- 
natural ; {b) fictions and 7ioiivelles with or without a basis and background of 
historical fact; and (c) contes fantastiques. (4) Fables and Apologues ; and 
(5) Tales proper, as that of Tawaddud. 

212 Alf Laylah wa Lay la h. 

mysterious, and that students have failed in all attempts 
to detect the secret." Hence also the chief authorities at 
once branched off into two directions. One held the work 
to be practically Persian : the other as persistently declared 
it to be purely Arab. 

Professor Galland, in his Epistle Dedicatory to the Mar- 
quise d'O, daughter of his patron M. de Guillerague, showed 
his literary acumen and unfailing sagacity by deriving The 
Nights from India via Persia ; and held that they had been 
reduced to their present shape by an Aiiteur Arabe iiiconnu. 
This reference to India, also learnedly advocated by M. 
Langles, was inevitable in those days : it had not then been 
proved that India owed all her literature to far older civi- 
lisations, and even that her alphabet the Nagari, erroneously 
called Devanagari, was derived through Phoenicia and 
Himyar-land from Ancient Egypt. So Europe was contented 
to compare The Nights with the Fables of Pilpay for upwards 
of a century. At last the Pehlevi or old Iranian origin of 
the work found an able and strenuous advocate in Baron von 
Hammer-Purgstall,^ who worthily continued what Galland 
had begun : although a most inexact writer, he was exten- 
sively read in Oriental history and poetry. His contention 
was that the book is an Arabisation of the Persian Hazar 
Afsanah or Thousand Tales and he proved his point. 

Von Hammer began by summoning into Court the " Hero- 
dotus of the Arabs," (Ali Abu al-Hasan) Al-Mas'udi who, 
in A.H. 333 (= 944), about one generation before the found- 
ing of Cairo, published at Bassorah the first edition of his 
far-famed Muruj al-Dahab wa Ma'adin al-Jauhar, Meads of 
Gold and Mines of Gems. The Styrian Orientalist ^ quotes 
with sundry misprints ^ an ampler version of a passage in 

^ Journal Asiatique (Paris, Dondey-Dupre, 1826) " Sur I'origine des Mille et 
une Nuits." 

- Baron von Hammer-Purgstall's chateau is near Styrian Graz; and, when I 
last saw his library, it had been left as it was at his death. 

2 At least, in Trebutien's Preface, pp. xxx.-xxxi., reprinted from the Joum. 
Asiat. August, 1S39: for corrections see De Sacy's " Memoire," p. 39. 

Terminal Essay. 213 

chapter Ixviii., which is abbreviated in the French translation 
of M. C. Barbier de Meynard.^ 

" And, indeed, many men well acquainted with their (Arab) 
histories ^ opine that the stories above mentioned and other 
trifles were strung together by men who commended them- 
selves to the Kings by relating them, and who found favour 
with their contemporaries by committing them to memory 
and by reciting them. Of such fashion ^ is the fashion of 
the books which have come down to us translated from the 
Persian (Farasiyah), the Indian (Hindiyah),'* and the Graeco- 
Roman (Rumi'yah) ^ : we have noted the judgment which 
should be passed upon compositions of this nature. Such is 
the book ejitituled Hazdr Afsdnah, or T/ie Thousand Tales, 
which word hi Arabic signifies Khurdfah (FaceticE) : it is 
known to the public under the name of the Book of a Thousand 
Nights and a Night (Kitab A If LaylaJi wa Laylah).^ This 
is an history of a King and his Wazir, the minister's daughter 
and a slave-girl (jariyah) who are named Shirzad (lion-born), 
and Dinar-zad (ducat-born)." Such also is the tale of Farzah^ 

^ Vol. iv. pp. 89-90, Paris, mdccclxv. Trebutien quotes, chapt. lii. (for Ixviii.) 
one of Von Hammer's manifold inaccuracies. 

'" Alluding to Iram the many-columned, etc. 

^ In Trebutien " Siha," for which the Editor of the Journ. Asiat. and De Sacy 
rightly read " Sabil-ha." 

* For this some MSS. have " Fahlawiyah " = Pehlevi, 

5 i.e. Lovi^er Roman, Grecian, of Asia Minor, etc., the word is still applied 
throughout Marocco, Algiers and Northern Africa to Europeans in general. 

^ De Sacy (Dissertation prefixed to the Bourdin Edition) notices the "thousand 
and one," and in his Memoire "a thousand:" Von Hammer's MS. reads a 
thousand, and the French translation a thousand and one. Evidently no stress 
can be laid upon the numerals. 

'' These names are noticed by me. According to De Sacy some MSS. read 
" History of the Wazir and his Daughters." 

8 Lane (iii. 735) has Wizreh or Wardeh, which guide us to Wird Khan, the 
hero of the tale. Von Hammer's MS. prefers Djilkand (Jilkand), whence 
probably the Isegil or Isegild of Langles (1814), and the Tseqyl of De Sacy 
(1833). The mention of " Simas " (Lane's Shemmas) identifies it with " King 
Jali'ad of Hind," etc. (Night dcccxcix. ). Writing in A.D. 961 Hamzah Isfahan! 
couples with the libri Sindbad and Schimas, the libri Baruc and Barsinas, fou 
nouvelles out of nearly seventy. See also Al-Makri'zi's Khitat or Topography 
(ii. 485) for a notice of the Thousand or Thousand and one Nights. 

214 -^^f Laylah wa Laylah. 

(alii Firza), and Simas, containing details concerning the 
Kings and Wazirs of Hind : the Book of Al-Sindibad ^ and 
others of a similar stamp." 

Von Hammer adds, quoting chapt. cxvi. of Al-Mas'udi, 
that Al-Mansiir (second Abbaside, A.H. 136-158 = 754-775, 
and grandfather of Al-Rashid) caused many translations of 
Greek and Latin, Syriac and Persian (Pehlevi) works to be 
made into Arabic, specifying the Kali'lah wa Damnah," ^ the 
Fables of Bidpai (Pilpay), the Logic of Aristotle, the Geo- 
graphy of Ptolemy and the elements of Euclid. Hence he 
concludes " L'original des Mille et une Nuits * * * selon 
toute vraisemblance, a ete traduit au temps du Khalife 
Mansur, c'est-a-dire trente ans avant le regne du Khalife 
Haroun al-Raschid, qui, par la suite, devait lui-meme jouer 
un si grand role dans ces histoires." He also notes that, 
about a century after Al-Mas'udi had mentioned the Hazar 
Afsanah, it was versified and probably remodelled by one 
" Rasti," the Takhallus or nom de plume of a bard at the 
Court of Mahmud, the Ghaznevite Sultan who, after a reign 
of thirty-three years, ob. A.D. 1030.^ 

Von Hammer some twelve years afterwards (Journ. Asiat. 
August, 1839) brought forward, in his "Note sur Torigine 
Persane des Mille et une Nuits,'' a second and an even more 

^ Alluding to the "Seven Wazirs" alias "The Malice of Women" (Night 
dlxxviii.), which Von Hammer and many others have carelessly confounded with 
Sindbad the Seaman. We find that two tales once separate have now been 
incorporated with The Nights, and this suggests the manner of its composition 
by accretion. 

- Arabised by a most *' elegant " stylist, Abdullah ibn al-Mukaffa (ihe 
shrivelled), a Persian Guebre named Roz-bih (Day good), who islamised and 
was barbarously put to death in A.H. 158 (= 775) by command of the Caliph 
Al-Mansur (Al-Siyuti, p. 277). " He also translated from Pehlevi the book 
entitled Sekiscran, containing the annals of Isfandiyar, the death of Rustam, and 
other episodes of old Persic history," says Al-Mas'udi, chapt. xxi. See also Ibn 
Khallikan (i, 43) who dates the murder in A.H. 142 (= 759-6o). 

^ " Notice sur Le Schah-namah de Firdoussi, a posthumous publication of 
M. de Wallenbourg, Vienna, 1810, by M. A. de Bianchi. In sect. iii. I shall 
quote another passage of Al-Mas'udi (viii. 175) in which I find a distinct allusion 
to the Gaboriau-detective tales " of The Nights. 

Terminal Essay. 215 

important witness : this was the famous Kitab al-Fihrist/ 
or Index List of (Arabic) works, written (in A.H. Z^J-^ 987) 
by Mohammed bin Ishak al-Nadim (cup companion or 
equerry), "popularly known as Ebou Yacoub el-Werrek." ^ 
The following- is an extract (p. 304) from the Eighth Dis- 
course which consists of three arts (fumin.)^ "The first 
section on the history of the confabulatores nocturni (tellers 
of night-tales) and the relaters of fanciful adventures, together 
with the names of books treating upon such subjects. 
Mohammed ibn Ishak saith : — The first who indited themes 
of imagination and made books of them, consigning these 
works to the libraries, and who ordered some of them as 
though related by the tongues of brute beasts, were the 
palaeo-Persians (and the Kings of the First Dynasty). The 
Ashkanian Kings of the Third Dynasty appended others to 
them and they were augmented and amplified in the days of 
the Sassanides" (the fourth and last royal house). The 
Arabs also translated them into Arabic, and the loquent and 
eloquent polished and embellished them and wrote others 
resembling them. The first work of such kind was entituled 
' The Book of Hazar Afsan,' signifying Alf Khurafah, the 
argument whereof was as follows. A King of their Kings 
was wont, when he wedded a woman, to slay her on the 
next morning. Presently he espoused a damsel of the 
daughters of the Kings, Shahrazad"^ hight, one endowed with 
intellect and eruditon, and she fell to telling him tales of 

' Here Von Hammer shows his customary inexactitude, As we learn from Ibn 
Khallikan (Fr. Tr. i. 630), the author's name was Abu al-Faraj Mohammed ibn 
Is'hak, popularly known as Ibn Ali Ya'kiib al-Warrak, the bibliographe, 
librarian, copyist. It was published (vol. i. Leipzig, 1 871) under the editorship 
of G. Fluegel, J. Roediger, and A. Mliller. 

- See also the Journ. Asiat., August, 1839, and Lane iii. 736-37. 

* Called " Afsanah " by Al-Mas'udi, both words having the same sense = tale, 
story, parable, "facetice." Moslem fanaticism renders it by the Arab 
" Khurafah " = silly fables, and in Hindostan it = a jest: — "Bat-ki bat; 
khurafat-ki khurafat (a word for a word, a joke for a joke.) 

* Al-Mas'udi (chapt. xxi.) makes this a name of the Mother of Queen Humai 
or Humayah, for whom see below. 

2i6 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

fancy ; moreover she used to connect the story at the end of 
the night with that which might induce the King to preserve 
her ahve and to ask her of its ending on the next night until 
a thousand nights had passed over her. Meanwhile he dwelt 
with her till she was blest by boon of child of him, when she 
acquainted him with the device she had wrought upon him ; 
wherefore he admired her intelligence and inclined to her 
and preserved] her life. That King had also a Kahramdnah 
(nurse and duenna), hight Dinarzad (Dunyazad ?), who 
aided the wife in this (artifice). It is also said that this book 
was composed for (or by) Humai, daughter of Bahman ^ 
and in it were included other matters. Mohammed bin 
Is'hak adds : — And the truth is, Inshallah,^ that the first 
who solaced himself with hearing night-tales was Al- 
Iskandar (he of Macedon) and he had a number of men who 
used to relate to him imaginary stories and provoke him to 
laughter : he, however, designed not therein merely to please 
himself, but that he might thereby become the more cautious 
and alert. After him the Kings in like fashion made use of 
the book entitled ' Hazar Afsan.' It containeth a thousand 
nights, but less than two hundred night-stories, for a single 
history often occupied several nights. I have seen it com- 
plete sundry times ; and it is, in truth, a corrupted book of 
cold tales."3 

' The preface of a copy of the Shah-nameh (by Firdausi, ob. A.D. 1021), col- 
lated in A.H. 829 by command of Bayisunghur Bahadur Khan (Atkinson p. x.) 
informs us that the Hazar Afsanah was composed for or by Queen Humai, whose 
name is Arabised to Humayah. This Persian Marguerite de Navarre was 
daughter and wife to (Ardashir) Bahman, sixth Kayanian and surnamed Diraz- 
dast (Artaxerxes Longimanus) Abu Sasan from his son, the Eponymus of the 
Sassanides who followed the Kayanians when these were extinguished by 
Alexander of Macedon. Humai succeeded her husband as seventh Queen, 
reigned thirty-two years, and left the crown to her son Dara or Darab 
1st = Darius Codomanus. She is better known to Europe (through Herodotus) 
as Parysatis = Peri-zadeh or the Fairy-born. 

" i.e. if Allah allow me to say sooth. 

^ i.e. of silly anecdotes : here speaks the good Moslem ! 

Terminal Essay. 217 

A writer in The AtJienmim^ objecting to Lane's modern 
date for The Nights, adduces evidence to prove the greater 
antiquity of the work. (Abu al-Hasan) Ibn Sa'id (bin Musa 
al-Gharnati = of Granada) born in A.D. 12 18 and ob. Tunis 
in 1286, left his native city and arrived at Cairo in 1241. 
This Spanish poet and historian wrote Al-Muhalla bi-al- 
Ash'ar (The Adorned with Verses), a Topography of Egypt 
and Africa, which now is apparently lost. In this he quotes 
from Al-Kurtubi, the Cordovan ;^ and he in his turn is 
quoted by the Arab historian of Spain, Abu al-Abbas 
Ahmad bin Mohammed al-Makkari, in the " Windwafts of 
Perfume from the Branches of Andalusia the Blooming "^ 
(A.D. 1628-29). Mr. Payne (x. 301) thus translates from 
Dr. Dozy's published text : — 

" Ibn Said (may God have mercy upon him !) sets forth in 
his book, El Muhella bi-1-ashar, quoting from El Curtubithe 
story of the building of the Houdej in the Garden of Cairo," 
the which was of the magnificent pleasaunces of the Fatimite 
Khalifs, the rare of ordinance and surpassing, to wit that the 
Khalif El Aamir bi-ahkam-illah'* let build it for a Bedouin 
woman, the love of whom had gotten the mastery of him, in 
the neighbourhood of the ' Chosen Garden ' '^ and used to 
resort often thereto and was slain as he went thither ; and it 
ceased not to be a pleasuring-place for the Khalifs after him. 

^ No. 622, Sept. 29, '39; a review of Torrens which appeared shortly after 
Lane's vol. i. The author quotes from a MS. in the British Museum, No. 7334, 
fol. 136. 

'■* There are many Spaniards of this name : Mr. Payne (ix. 302) proposes Abu 
Ja'afar ibn Abd al-Hakk al-Khazraji, author of a History of the Caliphs about 
the middle of the twelfth century. 

^ The well-known Rauzah, or Garden-island, of old Al-Sana'ah for Dar 
al-Sanaah, the Darsana, the Arsenal (Ibn Khali, iii. 573) ; (AI-Mas'udi, chapt. 
xxxi.), which is more than once noticed in The Nights. The name of the 
pavilion Al-Haudaj = a camel-litter, was probably intended to flatter the Badawi 

* He was the Seventh Fatimite Cahph of Egypt: regn. A.D. iioi — 1 129. 

^ Suggesting a private pleasaunce in Al -Rauzah which has ever been and is stilj 
a succession of gardens. 

2i8 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

The folk abound in stories of the Bedouin girl and Ibn 
Meyyah^ of the sons of her uncle (cousin ?) and what hangs 
thereby of the mention of El-Aamir, so that the tales told of 
them on this account became like unto the story of El BettaP 
and the Thousand Nights and a Night and what resembleth 

The same passage from Ibn Sa'id, corresponding in three 
MSS., occurs in the famous Khitat^ attributed to Al-Makrizi 
(ob. A.D. 1444) and was thus translated from a MS. in the 
British Museum by Mr. John Payne (ix. 303). 

" The Khalif El-Aamir bi-ahkam-illah set apart, in the 
neighbourhood of the Chosen Garden, a place for his beloved 
the Bedouin maid (Aaliyah) ^ which he named El Houdej. 
Quoth Ibn Said, in the book El-Muhella bi-1-ashar, from the 
History of El Curtubi, concerning the traditions of the folk 
of the story of the Bedouin maid and Ibn Menah (Meyyah) 
of the sons of her uncle and what hangs thereby of the 
mention of the Khalif El Aamir bi-ahkam-illah, so that their 
traditions (or tales) upon the garden became like unto El 
BettaF and the Thousand Nights and what resembleth them." 

This evidently means either that The Nights existed in 
the days of Al-'Amir (xiith cent.) or that the author com- 
pared them with a work popular in his own age. Mr, Payne 
attaches much importance to the discrepancy of titles, which 

* The writer in The Athencetim calls him Ibn Miyyah, and adds that the 
Badawiyah wrote to her cousin certain verses complaining of her thraldom, which 
the youth answered, abusing the Caliph. Al-'Amir found the correspondence 
and ordered Ibn Meyyah's tongue to be cut out, but he saved himself by timely 

^ In Night dccclxxxv. we have the passage " He was a wily thief: none could 
avail against his craft as he were Abu Mohammed Al-Battal" : the word ety- 
mologically means The Bad ; but see infra. 

' Amongst other losses which Orientalists have sustained by the death of 
Rogers Bey, I may mention his proposed translation of Al-Makrizi' s great topo- 
graphical work. 

■* The name appears only in a later passage. 

* Mr. Payne notes (viii. 137) *' apparently some famous brigand of the time " 
(of Charlemagne). But the title may signify The Brave as well as the Bad, and the 
tale may be much older. 

Terminal Essay. 219 

appears to me a minor detail. The change of names is 
easily explained. Amongst the Arabs, as amongst the wild 
Irish, there is divinity (the proverb says luck) in odd numbers 
and, consequently, the others are inauspicious. Hence, as 
SirWm. Ouseley says (Travels ii. 21), the number Thousand 
and One is a favourite in the East (Olivier, Voyages vi. 385, 
Paris, 1807), and quotes the Cistern of the "Thousand and 
One Columns " at Constantinople, Kaempfer (Amoen. Exot. 
p. 38) notes of the Takiyahs or Dervishes' Convents and the 
Mazars or Santons' tombs near Koni'ah (Iconium), " Multa 
seges sepulchralium quae virorum ex omni aevo doctissimorum 
exuvias condunt, mille et unum recenset auctor Libri qui 
inscribitur Hassaaer we jek mesaar (Hazar ve yek Mezar), 
i.e. mille et unum mausolea." A book, The Hazar o yek 
Riiz (= looi Days), was composed in the mid-xviith century 
by the famous Dervaysh Mukhlis, Chief Sufi of Isfahan : it 
was translated into French by Petis de la Croix, with a pre- 
face by Cazotte, and was Englished by Ambrose Phillips. 
Lastly, in India and throughout Asia where Indian influence 
extends, the number of cyphers not followed by a significant 
number is indefinite ; for instance, to determine hundreds 
the Hindus affix the required figure to the end and for 100 
write loi ; for looo, lOOi. But the grand fact of the Hazar 
Afsanah is its being the archetype of The Nights, unquestion- 
ably proving that the Arab work borrows from the Persian 
bodily its cadre or frame-work, the principal characteristic ; 
its exordium and its denouement, whilst the two heroines 
still bear the old Persic names. 

Baron Silvestre de Sacy^ — clarum et venerabile nomen — 

' In his " Memoire sur I'origine du Recueil des Contes intitule Les Mille et 
une Nuits" (Mem. d'Hist. et de Litter. Orientale, extrait des tomes ix. et x. des 
Memoires de I'Inst. Royal Acad, des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, Paris, Im- 
primerie Royale, 1833). He read the Memoir before the Royal Academy on 
July 31, 1829. See also his Dissertation "Sur les Mille' et une Nuits "(pp. i.-viii), 
prefixed to the Bourdin Edit. When the first Arabist in Europe landed at 
Alexandria, he could not exchange a word with the people ; the same is told of 
Golius the lexicographer at Tunis. 

220 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

is the chief authority for the Arab provenance of The Nights. 
Apparently founding his observations upon Galland/ he is 
of opinion that the work, as now known, was originally com- 
posed in Syria 2 and written in the vulgar dialect ; that it was 
never completed by the author, whether he was prevented by 
death or by other cause ; and that imitators endeavoured to 
finish the work by inserting romances which were already 
known but which formed no part of the original recueil, such 
as the Travels of Sindbad the Seaman, the Book of the Seven 
Wazirs and others. He accepts the Persian scheme and 
cadre of the work, but no more. He contends that no con- 
siderable body of prse-Mohammedan or non-Arabic fiction 
appears in the actual texts ; ^ and that all the tales, even 
those dealing with events localised in Persia, India, China 
and other Infidel lands and dated from anti-islamitic ages, 
mostly with the naivest anachronism, confine themselves to 
depicting the people, manners and customs of Baghdad and 
Mosul, Damascus and Cairo, during the Abbaside epoch ; 
and he makes a point of the whole being impregnated with 
the strongest and most zealous spirit of Mohammedanism. 
He points out that the language is the popular or vulgar 
dialect, differing widely from the classical and literary ; that 
it contains many words in common modern use and that 
generally it suggests the decadence of Arabian literature. 
Of one tale he remarks : — The History of the loves of 
Camaralzaman and Budour, Princess of China, is no more 
Indian or Persian than the others. The prince's father has 
Moslems for subjects, his mother is named Fatimah and, 
when imprisoned, he solaces himself with reading the Koran. 

' Lane, Nights ii. 218. 

^ This origin had been advocated a decade of years before by Shaykh Ahmad 
al-Shirawani : Editor of the Calc. text. (1814-18) : his Persian preface opines that 
the author was an Arabic-speaking Syrian who designedly wrote in a modern and 
conversational style, none of the purest withal, in order to instruct non-Arabists. 
Here we find the genus " Professor" pure and simple. 

^ Such an assertion makes us enquire. Did de Sacy ever read through The 
Nights in Arabic ? 

Terminal Essay. 221 

The Genii who interpose in these adventures are, again, those 
who had deahngs with Solomon. In fine, all that we here 
find of the City of the Magians, as well as of the fire- 
worshippers, suffices to show that one should not expect to 
discover in it anything save the production of a Moslem 

All this, with due deference to so high an authority, is very 
superficial. Granted, which nobody denies, that the arche- 
typal Hazar Afsanah was translated from Persic into Arabic 
nearly a thousand years ago, it had ample time and verge 
enough to assume another and a foreign dress; the corpus, 
however, remaining untouched. Under the hands of a host 
of editors, scribes and copyists, who have no scruples anent 
changing words, names and dates, abridging descriptions and 
attaching their own decorations, the florid and rhetorical 
Persian would readily be converted into the straightforward, 
business-like, matter-of-fact Arabic. And what easier than 
to islamise the old Zoroasterism, to transform Ahriman into 
Iblis the Shaytan, Jan bin Jan into Father Adam, and the 
Divs and Peris of Kayomars and the olden Guebre Kings 
into the Jinns and Jinniyahs of Sulayman .-* Volumes are 
spoken by the fact that the Arab adapter did not venture to 
change the Persic names of the two heroines and of the royal 
brothers or to transfer the mise-en-scene any whither from 
Khorasan or outer Persia. Where the story has not been too 
much worked by the literato's pen, for instance the " Ten 
Wazirs" (in the Bresl. Edit. vi. 191-343), which is the Guebre 
Bakhtiyar-namah, the names and incidents are old Iranian 
and, with few exceptions, distinctly Persian. And at times 
we can detect the process of transition, e.g. when the Mazin 
of Khorasan,^ of the Wortley Montague MS., becomes the 
Hasan of Bassorah of the Turner Macan MS. (Mac. Edit.). 

Evidently the learned Baron had not studied such works 
as the Tota-kahani or Parrot-chat which, notably translated 

^ Dr. Jonathan Scott's "translation," vi. 283. 

222 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

by Nakhshabi from the Sanskrit Suka-Saptati, has now be- 
come as orthodoxically Moslem as The Nights. The old 
Hindu Rajah becomes Ahmad Sultan of Balkh, the Prince is 
Maymiin and his wife Khujisteh Another instance of such 
radical change is the later Syriac version of Kalilah wa 
Dimnah/ old " Pilpay " converted to Christianity. We find 
precisely the same process in European folk-lore ; for instance, 
the Gesta Romanorum, wherein, after five hundred years, the 
life, manners and customs of the classical Romans lapse into 
the knightly and chivalrous, the Christian and ecclesiastical 
developments of mediaeval Europe. Here, therefore, I hold 
that the Austrian Arabist has proved his point whilst the 
Frenchman has failed. 

Mr. Lane, during his three years' labour of translation, first 
accepted Von Hammer's view and then came round to that 
of De Sacy ; differing, however, in minor details, especially 
concerning the native country of The Nights. Syria had been 
chosen because then the most familiar to Europeans : " the 
Wife of Bath" had made three pilgrimages to Jerusalem ; but 
few cared to visit the barbarous and dangerous Nile- Valley. 
Mr. Lane, however, was an enthusiast for Egypt or rather 
for Cairo, the only part of it he knew ; and, when he pro- 
nounces The Nights to be of purely " Arab," that is, of 
Nilotic origin, his opinion is entitled to no more deference 
than his deriving the sub-African and negroid Fellah from 
Arabia, the land per excellentiam of pure and noble blood. 
Other authors have wandered still further afield. Some 
finding Mosul idioms in the Recueil, propose " Middlegates " 
for its birth-place and Mr. W. G. P. Palgrave boldly says, 
" The original of this entertaining work appears to have been 
composed in Baghdad about the eleventh century ; another 

1 In the annotated translation by Mr. I. G. N. Keith-Falconer, Cambridge 
University Press. I regret to see the wretched production called the "Fables of 
Pilpay" in the " Chandos Classics" (London, F. Warne). The words are so 
mutilated that few will recognise them, e.g. Carchenas for Kar-shinas, Chasch- 
manah for Chashmey-e-Mah (Fountain of the Moon), etc. 

Terminal Essay, 223 

less popular but very spirited version is probably of Tunisian 
authorship and somewhat later."^ 

B.~The Date. 

The next point to consider is the date of The Nights in 
its present form ; and here opinions range between the tenth 
and the sixteenth centuries. Professor Galland began by 
placing it arbitrarily in the middle of the thirteenth. De 
Sacy, who abstained from detailing reasons and who, for- 
getting the number of editors and scribes through whose 
hands it must have passed, argued only from the nature of 
the language and the peculiarities of style, proposed as its 
latest date, le milieu du neuvieme siecle de I'hegire (= A.D. 
1445-6). Mr. Hole, who knew The Nights only through 
Galland's version, had already advocated in his " Remarks " 
the close of the fifteenth century ; and M. Caussin (de 
Perceval, vol. viii., p. viii.), upon the authority of a MS. note 
in Galland's MS.^ (vol. iii. fol. 20, verso), declares the com- 
piler to have been living in the seizieme siecle, A.D. 1548 
and 1565. Mr. Lane says, " Not begun earlier than the last 
fourth of the fifteenth century nor ended before the first 

^ Article Arabia in Encyclop. Brit., 9th Edit., p. 263, col. 2. I do not quite 
understand Mr. Palgrave, but presume that his " other version" is the Bresl. 
Edit., the MS. of which was brought from Tunis ; see its Vorwort (vol. i. p. 3), 

- There are three distinct notes according to De Sacy (Mem., p. 50). The 
first (in MS. 1508) says, " This blessed book was read by the weak slave, etc., 
Wahabah son of Rizkallah the Katib (secretary, scribe) of Tarabulus al-Sham 
(Syrian Tripoli), who prayeth long life for its owner (li maliki-h). This tenth 
day of the month First Rabi'a A.H. 955 ( — 1548)." A similar note by the 
same Wahabah occurs at the end of vol. ii. (MS. 1507) dated A.H. 973 (=1565) 
and a third (MS. 1506) is undated. Evidently M. Caussin has given undue weight 
to such evidence. For further information see "Tales of the East," to which is 
prefixed an Introductory Dissertation (vol. i. pp. 24-26, note) by Henry Webber, 
Esq., Edinburgh, 1812, in 3 vols. M. Zotenberg has also pointed out to me the 
earliest inscription by Rizkallah b. Yohanna b. Shaykh al-Najj, father of 
Wahabah, dated Jamada ii. A.H. 943= 1537-8 : it is in four lines at the end of 
vol. ii. There is also a fifth, and the latest, by Mohammed ibn Mahmud, A.H. 
1030 = A.D. 1592. 

2 24 -^tf Lay la h wa Laylah^ 

fourth of the sixteenth," i.e. soon after Egypt was conquered 
by Selim, Sultan of the OsmanH Turks in A.D. 15 17. Lastly 
the learned Dr. Weil says in his far too scanty Vorvvort 
(p. ix. 2nd Edit.) : — " Das wahrscheinlichste diirfte also sein, 
das im 15. Jahrhundert ein Egyptier nach altern Vorbilde 
Erzahlungen fur looi Nachte theils erdichtete, theils nach 
miindlichen Sagen, oder frlihern schriftlichen Aufzeichnungen 
bearbeitete, dass er aber entweder sein Werk nicht vollendete, 
oder dass ein Theil desselben verloren ging, so dass das 
Fehlende von Andern bis ins 16. Jahrhundert hinein durch 
neue Erzahlungen erganzt wurde." 

But, as justly observed by Mr, Payne, the first step when 
enquiring into the original date of The Nights is to deter- 
mine the nucleus of the Repertory by a comparison of the four 
printed texts and the dozen MSS. which have been collated 
by scholars.^ This process makes it evident that the tales 
common to all are the following thirteen : — 

1. The Introduction (with a single incidental story " The 

Bull and the Ass"). 

2. The Trader and the Jinni (with three incidentals). 

3. The Fisherman and the Jinni (with four). 

4. The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. 

5. The Tale of the Three Apples. 

6. The Tale of Nur al-Di'n Ali and his son Badr al-Din 


7. The Hunchback's Tale (with eleven). 

8. Nur al-Di'n and Ani's al-Jali's. 

9. Tale of Ghanim bin 'Ayyiib (with two). 

10. All bin Bakkar and Shams al-Nahar (with two). 

11. Tale of Kamar al-Zaman. 

12. The Ebony Horse ; and 

13. Julnar the Seaborn. 

These forty-two tales, occupying one hundred and twenty 

^ "Notice sur les douze manuscrits connus des Milles et uue Nuits, qui 
existent en Europe." Von Hammer in Trebutien, Notice, vol. i. 

Terminal Essay. 225 

Nights, form less than a fifth part of the whole collection 
which, in the Mac. Edit.,^ contains a total of two hundred 
and sixty-four. Hence Dr. Patrick Russell,^ the Natural 
Historian of Aleppo,^ whose valuable monograph amply 
deserves study even in this our day, believed that the 
original Nights did not outnumber two hundred, to which 
subsequent writers added till the total of a thousand and 
one was made up. Dr. Jonathan Scott,* who quotes Russell, 
"held it highly probable that the tales of the original 
Arabian Nights did not run through more than two hundred 
and eighty Nights, if so many." To this suggestion I may 
subjoin, " Habent sua fata libelli." Galland, who preserves in 
his Mille et une Nuits only about one fourth of The Nights, 
ends them in No. cclxiv^ with the seventh voyage of Sindbad, 
after which he intentionally omits the dialogue between the 
sisters and the reckoning of time, to proceed uninterruptedly 
with the tales. And so his imitator, Petis de la Croix,** in 
his Mille et un Jours, reduces the thousand to two hundred 
and thirty-two. 

The internal chronological evidence offered by the Col- 
lection is useful only in enabling us to determine that the 

* Printed from the M.S. of Major Turner Macan, Editor of the Shahnamah : 
he bought it from the heirs of Mr. Salt, the historic Consul-General of England 
in Egypt, and after Macan's death it became the property of the now extinct 
Aliens, then of Leadenhall Street (Torrens, Preface, i). I have vainly enquired 
of the present house about its later adventures. 

- The short paper by "P. R. " in the Gentleman's Magazine (Feb. 19th, 
1799, vol. Ixix. p. 61) tells us that MSB. of The Nights were scarce at Aleppo 
and that he found only two vols. (280 Nights) which he had great difficulty in 
obtaining leave to copy. He also noticed (in 1771) a MS., said to be complete, 
in the Vatican and another in the " King's Library " (Bibliotheque Nationale),. 

^ Aleppo has been happy in finding such monographers as Russell and 
Maundrell, while poor Damascus fell into the hands of Mr. Missionary Porter 
and suffered accordingly. 

* Vol. vi. Appendix, p. 452. 

^ The numbers, however, vary with the Editions of Galland : some end the 
formula with Night cxcvii ; others with the ccxxxvi. ; I adopt that of the De 
Sacy Edition. 

^ Contes Persans ; suivis des Contes Turcs. Paris, Bechet Aine, 1826. 
VOL. VI. p 

2 26 Alf Laylah 7va Laylah. 

tales were not written after a certain epoch ; the actual dates 
and, consequently, all deductions from them, are vitiated by 
the habits of the scribes. For instance we find the Tale of 
the Fisherman and the Jinni (vol. i. 35) placed in A.D. 785,^ 
which is hardly possible. The immortal Barber in the 
" Tailor's Tale " (vol. i. 265) dates his adventure with the 
unfortunate lover on Safar 10, A.H. 653 ( = March 25th 
1255) and 7,320 years of the era of Alexander.- This is 
supported in his Tale of Himself (vol. i. pp. 280-282), where 
he places his banishment from Baghdad during the reign 
of the penultimate Abbaside, Al-Mustansir bi 'llah^ (A.D. 
1225-1242), and his return to Baghdad after the accession 
of another Caliph who can be no other but Al-Muntasim 
bi 'llah (A.D. 1242-1258). Again at the end of the tale he 
is described as " an ancient man, past his ninetieth year," 
and " a very old man " in the days of Al-Mustansir ; so that 
the Hunchback's adventure can hardly be placed earlier than 
A.D. 1265, or seven years after the storming of Baghdad by 
Hulaku Khan, successor of Janghiz Khan, a terrible catas- 
trophe which resounded throughout the civilised world. Yet 
there is no allusion to this crucial epoch and the total silence 
suffices to invalidate the date.'* Could we assume it to be true, 
by adding to A.D. 1265 half a century for the composition of 

' In the old translatioa we have "eighteen hundred j'cars since the prophet 
Solomon died," (B.C. 975) = A.D. 825. 

* Meaning the era of the Seleucides. Dr. Jonathan Scott shows (vol. ii. 324) 
that A.H. 653 and A.D. 1255 would correspond with 1557 of that epoch; so 
that the scribe has here made a little mistake of 5,763 years. Ex uno disce. 

" The Saturday Reviczu (Jan 2nd, '86), writes, '' Captain Burton has fallen 
into a mistake by not distinguishing between the names of the by no means 
identical Calihhs Al-Muntasir and Al-Mustansir." Quite true: it was an ugly 
confusion of the melancholy madman and parricide with one of the best and 
wisest of the Caliphs. I can explain (not extenuate) my mistake only by a mis- 
print in Al-Siyuti (p. 554). 

* In the Galland MS. and the Bresl. Edit. (ii. 253), we find the Barber saying 
that the Caliph (Al-Mustansir) was at that time (yaumaizin) in Baghdad ; and 
this has been held to imply that the Caliphate had fallen. But such conjecture 
is evidently based upon insufficient grounds. 

Terminal Essay. 227 

the Hunchback's story and its incidentals, we should place 
the earliest date in A.D. 13 15. 

As little can we learn from inferences which have been 
drawn from the body of the book : at most they point to its 
several editions or redactions. In the Tale of the " Ensor- 
celled Prince" Mr, Lane (i. 135) conjectured that the four 
colours of the fishes were suggested by the sumptuary laws 
of the Mameluke Soldan, Mohammed ibn Kala'un, " sub- 
sequently to the commencement of the eighth century of the 
Flight, or fourteenth of our era." But he forgets that the 
same distinction of dress was enforced by the Caliph Omar 
after the capture of Jerusalem in A.D. 6})6\ that it was 
revived by Harun al-Rashid, a contemporary of Carolus 
Magnus, and that it was noticed as a long-standing grievance 
by the so-called Maundeville in A.D. 1322. In the Tale of 
the Porter and the Ladies of Baghdad the " Sultani oranges" 
have been connected with Sultaniyah city in Persian Irak, 
which was founded about the middle of the thirteenth 
century : but " Sultani " may simply mean " royal," a superior 
growth. The same story makes mention of Kalandars or 
religious mendicants, a term popularly corrupted, even in 
writing, to Karandal." ^ Here again " Kalandar " may be 
due only to the scribes, as the Bresl. Edit, reads Sa'aluk = 
asker, beggar. The Khan al-Masrur in the Nazarene 
Broker's Story (i, 231) was a ruin during the early ninth 
century, A.D. 1420; but the Bab Zuwaylah dates from A.D. 
1087. In the same tale occurs the Darb al-Munkari (or 
Munakkari), which is probably the Darb al-Munkadi of 
Al-Makrizi's careful topography, the Khitat (ii. 40). Here 
we learn that in his time (about A.D, 1430) the name had 
become obsolete, and the highway was known as Darb al- 

* De Sacy makes the "Kalandar" order originate in A.D. 1150; but the 
Shaykh Sharif bri Ali Kalandar died in A.D. 1323-24, In Sind the first 
Kalandar, Osman-i-Marwandi surnamed Lai Shahbaz, the Red Goshawk, from 
one of his miracles, died and was buried at Sehwan in A,D. 1 274 : see my 
'' History of Sindh," chapt. viii. for details. The dates, therefore, run wild. 

2 28 Alf Laylah zva Laylah. 

Amir Baktamir al-Ustaddar, from one of two high officials 
who both died in the fourteenth century (circ. A.D. 1350). 
And lastly we have the Khan al-Jawali built about A.D. 
1320. In Badr al-Din Hasan, " Sahib " is given as a Wazirial 
title and it dates only from the end of the fourteenth 
century.^ In Sindbad the Seaman, there is an allusion to the 
great Hindu kingdom, Vijayanagar of the Narasimha,^ the 
paramount power of the Deccan ; but this may be due to editors 
or scribes, as the despotism was founded only in the four- 
teenth century (A.D. 1320). The Ebony Horse apparently 
dates before Chaucer ; and " The Sleeper and the Waker " 
(Bresl. Edit. iv. 134-189) may precede Shakespeare's 
"Taming of the Shrew"; no stress, however, can be laid 
upon such resemblances, the nouvelles being world-wide. 
But when we come to the last stories, especially to Kamar 
al-Zaman II. and the tale of Ma'aruf, we are apparently in 
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The first contains 
(Night cmlxvii.) the word Lawandiyah = Levantine, the 
mention of a watch =r Sa'ah in the next Night ;^ and, further 
on (cmlxxvi.), the " Shaykh Al-Islam," an officer invented by 
Mohammed II. after the capture of Stambul in A.D. 1453. 

^ In this same tale H. H. Wilson observes that the title of Sultan of Egypt was 
not assumed before the middle of the xiith century. 

^ Popularly called Bisnagar of the Narsingha. 

' Time-measurers are of very ancient date. The Greeks had clepsydrae and 
the Romans gnomons, portable and ring-shaped, besides large standing town- 
dials as at Aquileja and San Sabba near Trieste. The "Saracens" were the 
perfecters of the clepsydra : Bosseret (p. l6) and the Chronicon Turense (Beck- 
mann ii. 340 et seq.) describe the water-clock sent by Al-Rashid to Karl the 
Great as a kind of " cuckoo-clock." Twelve doors in the dial opened succes- 
sively and little balls dropping on brazen bells told the hour : at noon a dozen 
mounted knights paraded the face and closed the portals. Trithonius mentions 
an horologium presented in A.D. 1232 by Al-Malik al-Kamil, the Ayyubite 
Soldan, to the Emperor Frederick II. : like the Strasbourg and Padua clocks, it 
struck the hours, told the day, month and year, showed the phases of the moon, 
and registered the position of the sun and the planets. Towards the end of the 
fifteenth century Gaspar Visconti mentions in a sonnet the watch proper (certi 
orologii piccioli e portativi) ; and the "animated eggs" of Nuremburg became 
famous. The earliest English watch (Sir Ashton Lever's) dates from 1541 ; and 
in 1 544 the portable chronometer became common in France. 

Terminal Essay. 229 

In Ma'aruf the 'Adilayah is named — the mosque founded 
outside the Bab al-Nasr by Al-Malik al-'Adil Tuman Bey, in 
A.D. 1501. But, I repeat, all these names may be mere 

On the other hand, a study of the vie intime in Al-Islam 
and of the manners and customs of the people proves that 
the body of the work, as it now stands, must have been 
written before A.D. 1400. The Arabs use wines, ciders and 
barley-beer, not distilled spirits ; and they have neither coffee 
nor tobacco. The battles in The Nights are fought with 
bows and javelins, swords, spears (for infantry) and lances 
(for cavalry) : and, whenever fire-arms are mentioned, we 
must suspect the scribe. This consideration would deter- 
mine the work to have been written before the fourteenth 
century. We ignore the invention-date and the inventor of 
gunpowder, as of all old discoveries which have affected 
mankind at large : all we know is that the popular ideas 
betray great ignorance and here we are led to suspect that an 
explosive compound, having been discovered in the earliest 
ages of human society, was utilised by steps so gradual that 
history has neglected to trace the series. According to 
Demmin,^ bullets for stuffing with some incendiary composi- 
tion, in fact bombs, were discovered by Dr. Keller in the 
Palafites or Crannogs of Switzerland ; and the Hindu's 
Agni-Astar ("fire-weapon"), Agni-ban ("fire-arrow") and 
Shatagni (" hundred-killer "), like the Roman Phalarica, and 
the Greek fire of Byzantium, suggest explosives. Indeed, 
Dr. Oppert- accepts the statement of Flavius Philostratus 
that when Appolonius of Tyana, that grand semi-mythical 
figure, was travelling in India, he learned the reason why 
Alexander of Macedon desisted from attacking the Oxy- 

^ An illustrated History of Arms and Armour, etc. (p. 59) ; London : Bell and 
Sons, 1877. The best edition is the Guide des Amateurs d'Armes ; Paris: 
Renouard, 1879. 

- Chapt. iv. Dr. Gustav. Oppert, " On the Weapons, etc., of the Ancient 
Hindus ; " London : Trubner and Co., 1880. 

230 Alf Laylah 7va Laylah. 

dracae who live between the Ganges and the Hyphasis 
(Satadru or Sutledge) : — " These holy men, beloved by the 
gods, overthrew their enemies with tempests and thunder- 
bolts shot from their walls." Passing over the Arab sieges 
of Constantinople (A.D. 668) and Meccah (A.D. 690) and 
the disputed passage in Firishtah touching the Tufang or 
musket during the reign of Mahmud the Ghaznevite^ (ob. 
A.D. 1030), we come to the days of Alphonso the Valiant, 
whose long and short guns, used at the Siege of Madrid in 
A.D. 1084, are preserved in the Armeria Real. Viardot has 
noted that the African Arabs first employed cannon in A.D. 
1200 and that the Maghribis defended Algeciras near 
Gibraltar with great guns in A.D. 1247, and utilised them to 
besiege Seville in A.D. 1342. This last feat of arms intro- 
duced the cannon into barbarous Northern Europe, and it 
must have been known to civilised Asia for many a decade 
before that date. 

The mention of wine in The Nights, especially the Nabiz 
or fermented infusion of raisins well known to the prae- 
Mohammedan Badawis, perpetually recurs. As a rule, except 
only in the case of holy personages and mostly of the Caliph 
Al-Rashid, the "service of wine" appears immediately after 
the hands are washed ; and women, as well as men, drink, 
like true Orientals, for the honest purpose of getting drunk — 
la recherche de I'ideal, as the process had been called. Yet 
distillation becaaie well known in the fourteenth century. 
Amongst the Greeks and Romans it was confined to manu- 
facturing aromatic waters, and Nicander the poet (B.C. 140) 
used for a still the term a/^^i^, like the Irish "pot" and its 
produce " poteen." The simple art of converting salt water 
into fresh, by boiling the former and passing the steam through 
a cooled pipe into a recipient, would not have escaped the 
students of the Philosophers' " stone ; " and thus we find 

^ I liave given other details on this subject in pp. 631-637 of " Camoens, his 
Life and his Lusiads." 

Terminal Essay. 231 

throughout Europe the Arabic modifications of Greek terms 
Alchemy, Alembic (Al-a/ift^), Chemistry and Elixir ; while 
"Alcohol" (Al-Kohl), originally meaning "extreme tenuity 
or impalpable state of pulverulent substances," clearly shows 
the origin of the article. Avicenna, who died in A.D. 1036, 
nearly two hundred years before we read of distillation in 
Europe, compared the human body with an alembic, the 
belly being the cucurbit and the head the capital. Spirits of 
wine were first noticed in the xiiith century, when the Arabs 
had overrun the Western Mediterranean, by Arnaldus de 
Villa Nova, who dubs the new invention a universal panacea ; 
and his pupil, Raymond Lully (nat. Majorca A.D. 1236), 
declared this essence of wine to be a boon from the Deity. 
Now The Nights, even in the latest adjuncts, never allude 
to the "white coffee" of the "respectable" Moslem, the 
Raki (raisin-brandy) or Ma-hayat (aqua vitae) of the modern 
Mohametan : the drinkers confine themselves to wine like our 
contemporary Dalmatians, one of the healthiest and the most 
vigorous of seafaring races in Europe. 

The Nights, I have said, belongs to the days before coffee 
(A.D. 1550) and tobacco (A.D. 1650) had overspread the 
East. The former, which derives its name from the Kafa or 
Kaffa province, lying south of Abyssinia proper and peopled 
by the Sidama Gallas, was introduced to Mokha of Al-Yaman 
in A.D. 1429-30 by the Shaykh al-Shazili who lies buried 
there, and found a congenial name in the Arabic Kahwah ■=. 
old wine.^ In The Nights (Mac. Edit.) it is mentioned twelve 
times 2 ; but never in the earlier tales : except in the case of 

' For another account of the transplanter and the casuistical questions to which 
coffee gave rise, see my " First Footsteps in East Africa " (p. 76). 

'" The first mention of coffee proper (not of Kaiiwah or old wine) is in Night 
cdxxvi. where the coffee-maker is called Kahwahjiyyah, a mongrel term showing 
the modern date of the passage in Ali the Cairene. As the work advances notices 
become thicker, e.g. in Night dccclxvi., where Ali Nur al-Din and the Frank 
King's daughter seems to be a modernisation of the story "Ala al-Din Abu al- 
Shamat," and in Abu Kir and Abu Sir (Nights cmxxx. and cmxxxvi.) where coffee 
is drunk with sherbet after present fashion. The use culminates in Kamar al- 

232 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Kamar al-Zaman II. it evidently does not belong to the 
epoch and we may fairly suspect the scribe. In the xvith 
century coffee began to take the place of wine in the nearer 
East ; and the barbarous gradually ousted the classical drink 
from daily life and from folk-tales. 

It is the same with tobacco, which is mentioned only once 
by The Nights (cmxxxi.), in conjunction with meat, vege- 
tables and fruit and where it is called " Tabah." Lane 
(iii. 615) holds it to be the work of a copyist; but in the 
same tale of Abu Kir and Abu Sir, sherbet and coffee appear 
to have become en vogue, in fact, to have gained the ground 
they now hold. The result of Lord Macartney's Mission to 
China was a suggestion that smoking might have originated 
spontaneously in the Old World. ^ This is undoubtedly true. 
The Bushmen and other wild tribes of Southern Africa threw 
their Dakha (cannabis indica) on the fire and sat round it 
inhaling the intoxicating fumes. Smoking without tobacco 
was easy enough. The North American Indians of the Great 
Red Pipe Stone Quarry and those who lived above the line 
where nicotiana grew, used the kinni-kinik or bark of the red 
willow and some seven other succedanea."^ But tobacco 
proper, which soon superseded all materials except hemp and 
opium, was first adopted by the Spaniards of Santo Domingo 
in A.D. 1496 and reached England in 1565, Hence the 
word, which, amongst the so-called Red Men, denoted the 
pipe, the container, not the contained, spread over the Old 
World as a generic term with additions, like '' Tutun,"^ for 

Zaman II., where it is mentioned six times (Nights cmlxvi., cmlxx., cmlxxi. twice ; 
cmlxxiv. and cmlxxvii.), as being drunk after the dawn-breakfast and following 
the meal as a matter of course. The last notices are in Abdullah bin Fazil, 
Nights cmlxxviii. and cmlxxix. 

' It has been suggested that Japanese tobacco is an indigenous growth, and 
sundry modern travellers in China contend that the potato and the maize, both 
white and yellow, have there been cultivated from time immemorial. 

- For these see my " City of the Saints," p. 136. 

■' Lit. meaning smoke : hence the Arabic '' Dukhan," with the same signifi- 

Terminal Essay. 233 

especial varieties. The change in Enghsh manners brought 
about by the cigar after dinner has already been noticed ; and 
much of the modified sobriety of the present day may be 
attributed to the influence of the Holy Herb en cigarette. 
Such, we know from history was its effect amongst Moslems ; 
and the normal wine-parties of The Nights suggest that the 
pipe was unknown even when the latest tales were written. 


We know absolutely nothing of the author or authors who 
produced our marvellous Recueil. Galland justly observes 
(Epist. Dedic), "Probably this great work is not by a single 
hand ; for how can we suppose that one man alone could own 
a fancy fertile enough to invent so many ingenious fictions ? " 
Mr. Lane, and Mr. Lane alone, opined that the work was 
written in Egypt by one person, or at most by two, one ending 
what the other had begun, and that he or they had re-written 
the tales and completed the collection by new matter com- 
posed or arranged for the purpose. It is hard to see how the 
distinguished Arabist came to such a conclusion : at most it 
can be true only of the editors and scribes of MSS. evidently 
copied from each other, such as the Mac. and the Bui. texts. 
As the Reviewer (Forbes Falconer ?) in the " Asiatic Journal " 
(vol. XXX., 1839) says, "Every step we have taken in the 
collation of these agreeable fictions has confirmed us in the 
belief that the work called the Arabian Nights is rather a 
vehicle for stories, partly fixed and partly arbitrary, than a 
collection fairly deserving, from its constant identity with 
itself, the name of the distinct work, and the reputation of 
having wholly emanated from the same inventive mind ; to 
say nothing of the improbability of supposing that one 
individual, with every licence to build upon the foundation 
of popular stories, a work which had once received a definite 
form from a single writer, would have been multiplied by the 

234 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

copyist with some regard at least to his arrangement of words 
as well as matter. But the various copies we have seen bear 
about as much mutual resemblance as if they had passed 
through the famous process recommended for disguising a 
plagiarism : ' Translate your English author into French and 
again into English.' " 

Moreover, the style of the several tales, which will be 
considered in a future page, so far from being homogeneous 
is heterogeneous in the extreme. Different nationalities show 
themselves ; West Africa, Egypt and Syria are all represented, 
and while some authors are intimately familiar with Baghdad, 
Damascus and Cairo, others are equally ignorant. All copies, 
written and printed, absolutely differ in the last tales and a 
measure of the divergence can be obtained by comparing the 
Bresl. Edit, with the Mac. text : indeed it is my conviction 
that the MSS. preserved in Europe would add sundry volumes 
full of tales to those hitherto translated ; and here the 
Wortley-Montague copy can be taken as a test. We may 
I believe, safely compare the history of The Nights with the 
so-called Homeric poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, a 
collection of immortal ballads and old Epic formulae and 
verses traditionally handed down from rhapsode to rhapsode, 
incorporated in a slowly-increasing body of poetry and finally 
welded together about the age of Pericles, 

To conclude. From the data above given I hold myself 
justified in drawing the following deductions : — 

1. The framework of the book is purely Persian per- 
functorily arabised ; the archetype being the Hazar Afsanah.^ 

2. The oldest tales, such as Sindibad (the Seven Wazirs) 
and King Jili'ad, may date from the reign of Al-Mansur, 
eighth century A.D. 

3. The thirteen tales mentioned above as the nucleus of 

^ Unhappily the book is known only by name : for years I have vainly troubled 
friends and correspondents to hunt for a copy. Yet I am sanguine enough to 
think that some day we shall succeed : Mr. Sidney Churchill, of Teheran, is ever 
on the look-out. 

Terminal Essay. 235 

the Repertory, together with " Dalilah the Crafty,"^ may be 
placed in our tenth century. 

4. The most modern tales, notably Kamar al-Zaman the 
Second and Ma'aruf the Cobbler, are as late as the sixteenth 

5. The work assumed its present form in the thirteenth 

6. The author is unknown for the best reason ; there never 
was one : for information touching the editors and copyists 
we must await the fortunate discovery of some MSS. 

^ In ^ 3 I shall suggest that this tale also is mentioned by Al-Mas'udi. 

236 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 



Thp: history of The Nights in Europe is one of slow and 
gradual development. The process was begun (1704-17) by 
Galland a Frenchman, continued (1823) by Von Hammer an 
Austro-German, and finished by Mr. John Payne (1882-84) 
an Englishman. But Ave must not forget that it is wholly and 
solely to the genius of the Gaul that Europe owes the 
" Arabian Nights' Entertainments " over which Western 
childhood and youth have spent so many spelling hours. 
Antoine Galland was the first to discover the marvellous 
fund of material for the story-teller buried in the Oriental 
mine ; and he had in a high degree that art of telling a tale 
which is far more captivating than culture or scholarship. 
Hence his delightful version (or perversion) became one of 
the world's classics and at once made " Scheherazade " and 
" Dinarzarde," " Haroun Alraschid," the " Calendars " and a 
host of other personages as familiar to the home reader as 
Prospero, Robinson Crusoe, Lemuel Gulliver and Dr. 
Primrose. Without the name and fame won for the work by 
the brilliant paraphrase of the learned and single-minded 
Frenchman, Lane's curious hash and latinized English, at 
once turgid and empty, would have found few readers. Mr. 
Payne's admirable version appeals to the Orientalist and 
the " stylist," not to the many-headed ; and mine to the 
anthropologist and student of Eastern manners and customs. 
Galland did it and alone he did it: his fine literary yf^zV^, 
his pleasing style, his polished taste and perfect tact at once 
made his work take high rank in the republic of letters, nor 
will the immortal fragment ever be superseded in the infallible 
judgment of childhood. As the Encyclopaedia Britannica 

Terminal Essay. 237 

has been pleased to ignore this excellent man and admirable 
Orientalist, numismatologist and litterateur, the reader may 
not be unwilling to see a short sketch of his biography.^ 

Antoine Galland was born in A.D. 1646 of peasant parents 
" poor and honest " at Rollot, a little bourg in Picardy some 
two leagues from Montdidier. He was a seventh child, and 
his mother, left a widow in early life and compelled to earn 
her livelihood, saw scant chance of educating the boy who 
was but four years old, when the kindly assistance of a Canon 
of the Cathedral and the President of the College de Noyon 
relieved her difficulties. In this establishment Galland 
studied Latin, Greek and Hebrew for nine or ten years, after 
which he lost his patrons, and the *' strait thing at home " 
apprenticed him to a trade. But he was made for letters ; he 
hated manual labour, and after a twelvemonth of Purgatory, 
he removed en cachette to Paris, where he knew only an 
ancient kinswoman. She introduced him to a priestly 
relative of the Canon of Noyon, who in turn recommended 
him to the " Sous-principal " of the College du Plessis, 
Here he made such notable progress in Oriental studies, that 
M. Petitpied, a " Doctor of Sorbonne," struck by his abilities, 
enabled him to study at the College Royal and eventually to 
catalogue the Eastern MSS. in the great ecclesiastical 
Society. Thence he passed to the College Mazarin, where 
a Professor, M. Godouin, was making an experiment which 
might be revived to advantage in our present schools. He 
collected a class of boys, aged about four, the Due de 
Meilleraye amongst the number, and proposed to teach them 
Latin speedily and easily by making them converse in the 
classical language as well as read and write it.^ Galland, his 

^ I have extracted it from many books, especially from Hoeffer's Biographic 
Generale, Paris, Fiimin Didot, mdccclvii. ; Biographic Universellc, Paris, Didot, 
1816, etc. etc. All are taken from the work of M. de Boze, his *' Bozzy," the 
Secretaire Perpetual de I'Acad. dcs Inscriptions, etc. 

- As learning a language is an affair of pure memory, almost without other 
irxercise of the mental faculties, it should be assisted by the ear and the tongue as 

238 Alf Laylah lua Laylah. 

assistant, had not time to register success or failure before he 
was appointed attache-secretary to M. de Nointel named 
in 1670 Ambassadeur de France for Constantinople. His 
special province was to study the dogmas and doctrines and 
to obtain official attestations concerning the articles of the 
Orthodox (or Greek) Christianity, which had then been a 
subject of lively discussion amongst certain Catholics, 
especially Arnaud (Antoine) and Claude the Minister, and 
which even in our day occasionally crops up amongst 
" Protestants." ^ Galland, by frequenting the cafes and 
listening to the tale-tellers, soon mastered Romaic and 
grappled with the religious question, under the tuition of a 
deposed Patriarch and of sundry Matrans or Metropolitans, 
whom the persecutions of the Pashas had driven for refuge to 
the Palais de France. M. de Nointel, after settling certain 
knotty points in the Capitulations, visited the harbour-towns 
of the Levant and the " Holy Places," including Jerusalem, 
where Galland copied epigraphs, sketched monuments and 
collected antiques, such as the marbles in the Baudelot 
Gallery of which Pere Dom Bernard de Montfaucon presently 
published specimens in his " Palaeographia Grseca," etc. 
(Parisiis, 1708). 

In Syria Galland was unable to buy a copy of The Nights : 
as he expressly states in his Epistle Dedicatory, // a fallu le 
faire venir de Syrie. But he prepared himself for translating 
it by studying the manners and customs, the religion and 
superstitions of the people ; and in 1676, leaving his chiet 
who was ordered back to Stambul, he returned to France. 
In Paris his numismatic fame recommended him to MM. 
Vaillant, Carcavy and Giraud, who strongly urged a second 

well as the eyes. I would invariably make pupils talk, during lessons, Latin and 
Greek, no matter how badly at first ; but unfortunately I should have to begin 
with teaching the pedants who, as a class, are far more unwilling and unready 
to learn than are those they teach. 

^ The late Dean Stanley was notably trapped by the wily Greek who had only 
political purposes in view. In religions as a rule the minimum of difierence 
lireeds the maxium of disputation, dislike and disgust. 

Terminal Essay. 239 

visit to the Levant, for the purpose of collecting, and he set 
out without delay. In 1679 ^^ made a third journey, 
travelling at the expense of the Compagnie des Indes 
orientales, with the main object of making purchases for the 
Library and Museum of Colbert the Magnificent. The com- 
mission ended eighteen months afterwards with the changes 
of the Company, when Colbert and the Marquis de Louvois 
caused him to be created " Antiquary to the King," Louis le 
Grand, and charged him with collecting coins and medals for 
the royal cabinet. As he was about to leave Smyrna, he had 
a narrow escape from the earthquake and subsequent fire 
which destroyed some fifteen thousand of the inhabitants : he 
was buried in the ruins ; but, his kitchen being cold as becomes 
a philosopher's, he was dug out unburnt.^ 

Galland again returned to Paris where his familiarity with 
Arabic and Hebrew, Persian and Turkish recommended him 
to MM. Thevenot and Bignon : this first President of the 
Grand Council acknowledged his services by a pension. 
He also became a favourite with D'Herbelot whose Biblio- 
theque Orientale, left unfinished and but half printed at his 
death, he had the honour of completing and prefacing.^ 
He also furnished materials for the first volume of the 
"Menagiana" and sundry translations from Turkish and 
other Eastern tongues. President Bignon died within the 
twelvemonth, which made Galland attach himself in 1697 to 
M. Foucault, Councillor of State and Intendant (Governor) of 
Caen in Lower Normandy, then famous for its academy : in 
his new patron's fine library and numismatic collection he 
found materials for a long succession of works, including a 
version of the Koran.^ They recommended him strongly to 

^ See in Trebutien (Avertissement iii.) how Baron von Hammer escaped 
drowning by the blessing of The Nights. 

'^ He signs his name to the Discours pour servir de Preface. 

^ I need not trouble the reader with their titles, which fill up nearly a column 
and a half in M. Hoeffer. His collection of maxims from Arabic, Persian and 
Turkish authors appeared in English in 1695. 

24P Alf Laylah iva Laylah. 

the literary world and in 1701 he was made a member of the 
Academic des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. 

At Caen Galland issued in 1704/ the first part of his Mille 
et une Nuits, Conies Arabes tradiiits en Frangois, which at once 
became famous as "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments." 
Abridged to one-fourth, mutilated, fragmentary and para- 
phrastic though the tales were, the glamour of imagination, 
the marvel of the miracles and the gorgeousness and magni- 
ficence of the scenery at once secured an exceptional success : 
it was a revelation in romance, and the public recognised that 
it stood in presence of a monumental literary work. France 
was a-firc with delight at a something so new, so unconven- 
tional, so entirely without purpose, religious, moral or philo- 
sophical ; the Oriental wanderer in his stately robes was a 
startling surprise to the easy-going and utterly corrupt Europe 
of the ancien regime with its indecently tight garments and 
perfectly loose morals. " lis produisirent," said Charles 
Nodier, a genius in his way, " des le moment de leur publi- 
cation, cet effet qui assure aux productions del'esprit une 
vogue populaire, quoiqu'ils appartinssent a une litterature peu 
connue en France ; et que ce genre de composition admit ou 
plutot exigeat des details de moeurs, de caractere, de costume 
et de localites absolument etrangers a toutes les idees etablies 
dans nos contes et nos romans. On fut etonne du charme 
que resultait du leur lecture. C'est que la verite des senti- 
mens, la nouveaute des tableaux, une imagination feconde en 
prodiges, un coloris plein de chaleur, I'attrait d'une sensibility 
sans pretention, et le sel d'un comique sans caricature, c'est 
que I'esprit et le naturel enfin plaisent partout, et plaisent a 
tout le monde."^ 

' Galland's version was published by Barbin of Paris in 1704 — 1717 in I2 volb. 
(M. de Boze says 10 vols.) i2mo. (Hoeffer's Biographic ; Graesse's Tresor de 
Livres rares and Encyclop. Britannica, ixth Edit.) This Edit. Princeps is extra- 
ordinarily rare : even the Bibhotheque Nationale of Paris (the Bib. du Roi) ha^ 
not a copy ; thus rivalling in neglect the British Museum. 

2 See also Leigh Hunt "The Book of the Thousand Nights and one Night,'* 
etc., etc. London and Westminster Review, Art. iii.. No. Ixiv., mentioned in 
Lane, iii. 746. 

Terminal Essay. 241 

The Contes Arabes at once made Galland's name, and a 
popular tale is told of them and him, known to all reviewers, 
who, however, mostly mangle it. In the Biographic Univer- 
selle of Michaud^ we find : — Dans les deux premiers volumes 
de ces contes I'exorde etait toujours, " Ma chere soeur, si vous 
ne dormez pas, faites-nous un de ces contes que vous savez." 
Ouelques jeunes gens, ennuyes de cette plate uniformite 
allerent une nuit qu'il faisait tres-grand froid, frapper a la 
porte de I'auteur, qui courut en chemise a sa fenetre. Apres 
I'avoir fait morfondre quelque temps par diverses questions 
insignificantes, ils terminerent en lui disant, " Ah, Monsieur 
Galland, si vous ne dormez pas, faites-nous un de ces beaux 
contes que vous savez si bien." Galland profita de la le9on 
et supprima dans les volumes suivants le preambule qui lui 
avait attire la plaisanterie. This legend has the merit of 
explaining why the Professor so soon gave up the Arab 
framework which he had deliberately adopted. 

England at once annexed The Nights from France,^ though 
when, where and by whom the work was done no authority 
seems to know. In Lowndes' " Bibliographer's Manual " the 
English Editio Princeps is thus noticed : "Arabian Nights' 
Entertainments, translated from the French, London, 1724, 
i2mo, 6 vols." and a footnote states that this translation, 
very inaccurate and vulgar in its diction, was often reprinted. 
In 1712 Addison introduced into the Spectator (No. 535, 
Nov. 13) the "Story of Alnaschar " ( = Al-Nashshar, the 
Sawyer) and says that his remarks on Hope " may serve as a 
moral to an Arabian tale which I find translated into French 
by M. Galland." His version appears, from the tone and 

' Edition of 1856, vol. xv. 

- To France England also owes her first translation of the Koran, a poor and 
mean version by Andrew Ross of that made from the Arabic (No. iv.) by Andre 
du Reyer, Consul de France for Egypt. It kept the field till ousted in 1734 by 
the learned lawyer George Sale, whose conscientious work, including the Prelimi- 
nary Discourse and Notes (4to London), a mine of reference for all subsequent 
writers, brought him the ill-fame of having "turned Turk." 


242 A If Lay I ah wa Lay la h. 

style, to have been made by himself, and yet in that year a 
second English edition had appeared. The nearest approach 
to the Edit. Prin. in the British Museum ^ is a set of six 
volumes bound in three and corresponding with Galland's 
first half dozen (decade ?). Tomes i. and ii. are from the 
fourth edition of 17 13, Nos. iii. and iv. are from the second 
of 171 2, and V. and vi. are from the third of 171 5. It is con- 
jectured that the first two volumes were reprinted several 
times, apart from their subsequents, as was the fashion of the 
day ; but all is mystery. We (my friends and I) have turned 
over scores of books in the British Museum, the University 
Library, and the Advocates' Libraries of Edinburgh and 
Glasgow : I have been permitted to put the question in 
*' Notes and Queries," and in the " Antiquary ; " but all our 
researches hitherto have been in vain. 

The popularity of The Nights in England must have 
rivalled their vogue in France, judging from the fact that in 
1 71 3, or nine years after Galland's Edit. Prin. appeared, they 
had already reached a fourth issue. Even the ignoble 
national jealousy which prompted Sir William Jones grossly 
to abuse that valiant scholar, Anquetil du Perron, could not 
mar their popularity. But as there are men who cannot read 
Pickwick, so they were not wanting who spoke of " Dreams 
of the distempered fancy of the East." - " When the work 

^ Catalogue of Printed Books, 1S84, p. 159, col. i. I am ashamed to state this 
default in the British Museum, concerning which Englishmen are apt to boast and 
which so carefully mulcts modern authors in unpaid copies. But it is only a 
slight specimen of the sad state of art and literature in England, neglected equally 
by Conservatives, Liberals and Radicals. What has been done for the endow- 
ment of research? What is our equivalent for the Prix de Rome? Since the 
death of Dr. Birch, who can fairly deal with a Demotic papyms ? Contrast the 
Sjciete Anthropologique and its palace and professors in Paris with our " Insti- 
tute" ail second in a corner of Hanover Square and its skulls in the cellar ! In 
speaking thus of the British Museum, I would by no means reflect upon any of 
the officials, to whose kindness and attention I am greatly indebted, and notably 
to Mr. Ellis, M.A., Assistant in the Dep. of Printed Books, who lent me valuable 
assistance in finding Hindi versions of The Nights. 

- Art. vii. pp. 139-168, " On the Arabian Nights and translators, Weil, Torrens 

Terminal Essay. 243 

first appeared in England," says Henry Weber,^ " it seems 
to have made a considerable impression upon the public. 
Pope [in 1720] sent a copy [two volumes : French ? or 
English ?] to Bishop Atterbury, without making any remarks 
on it ; but, from his very silence, it may be presumed 
that he was not displeased with the perusal. The bishop, 
who does not appear to have joined a relish for the flights of 
imagination to his other estimable qualities, expressed his 
dislike of these tales pretty strongly, and stated it to be his 
opinion, formed on the frequent description of female dress, that 
they were the work of some Frenchman \i.e. Petis de la Croix, 
a mistake afterwards corrected by VVarburton]. The Arabian 
Nights, however, quickly made their way to public favour. 
We have been informed of a singular instance of the effect 
they produced soon after their first appearance. Sir James 
Stewart, Lord Advocate for Scotland, having one Saturday 
evening found his daughters employed in reading these 
volumes, he seized them, with a rebuke for spending the even- 
ing before the sabbath in such worldly amusements ; but the 
grave advocate became himself a prey to the fascination of these 
tales, being found up on the morning of the sabbath itself em- 
ployed in their perusal, from which he had not risen the whole 
of the night." As late as 1780 Dr. Beattie professed himself un- 
certain whether they were translated or fabricated by M. 
Galland ; and, while Dr. Pusey wrote of them " Noctes Mille et 
Una dictae, quae in omnium firme populorum cultiorum linguas 
conversse, in deliciis omnium habentur, manibusque omnium 

and Lane (vol. i.) with the Essaiof A. Loisseleur Deslongchamps." The Foreign 
Quarterly Review, vol. xxiv.. Oct. 1S39 — Jan. 1S40 ; London, Black and Arm- 
strong, 1840. 

^ Introduction to his Collection " Tales of the East," 3 vols. Edinburgh, 1812 ; 
vol. i. pp. xxi. xxii. note. He was the first to point out the resemblance 
between the introductory adventures of Shahryar and Shah Zaman and those 
of Astolfoand Giacondo in the Orlando Furioso (Canto xxviii.). M. E. Leveque 
in Les Mythes et les Legendes de I'lnde et la Perse (Paris, 1880), gives French 
versions of the Arabian and Italian narratives, side by side in p. 543 ff. (Clouston) 

244 -^V Laylah wa Laylah. 

terentur," ^ the amiable Carlyle, in the gospel according to 
Saint Froude, characteristically termed them " downright lies " 
and forbade the house to such " unwholesome literature." 
What a sketch of character in two words ! 

The only fault found in France with the Contes Arabes 
was that their style is pen correcte ; in fact they want classi- 
cism. Yet all Gallic imitators, Trebutien included, have 
carefully copied their leaders and Charles Nodier remarks : — 
" II me semble que Ton n'a pas rendu assez de justice au 
style de Galland. Abondant sans etre prolixe, naturel et 
familier sans etre lache ni trivial, il ne manque jamais de 
cette elegance qui resulte de la facilite, et qui presente je ne 
sais quel melange de la naivete de Perrault et de la bonhomie 
de La Fontaine." 

Our Professor, with a name now thoroughly established, 
returned in 1706 to Paris, where he was an assiduous and 
efficient member of the Societe Numismatique, and corre- 
sponded largely with foreign Orientalists. Three years 
afterwards he was made Professor of Arabic at the College 
Royal de France, succeeding Pierre Dippy ; and, during the 
next half decade, he devoted himself to publishing his valu- 
able studies. Then the end came. In his last illness, an attack 
of asthma complicated with pectoral mischief, he sent to 
Noyon for his nephew Julien Galland ^ to assist in ordering 
his MSS. and in making his will after the simplest military 
fashion : he bequeathed his writings to the Biblioth^que 
du Roi, his Numismatic Dictionary to the Academy, and his 
Alcoran to the Abbe Bignon. He died, aged sixty-nine,^ on 

^ Notitioe Codicis MI. Noctium. Dr. Pusey studied Arabic to familiarise him- 
self with Hebrew, and was very different from liis predecessor at Oxford in my 
day, who, when applied to for instruction in Arabic, refused to lecture except to 
a class. 

'^ This nephew was the author of " Recueil des Rits et Ceremonies du Pelerinage 
de la Mecque," etc., etc. Paris and Amsterdam, 1754, in l2mo. 

* M. de Doze says, " II avait soixante-dix-neuf ans," which his own dates 

Terminal Essay. 245 

February 17, 1715, leaving his Second Part of The Nights 

Professor Galland was a French litterateur of the good old 
school which is rapidly becoming extinct. Homme vrai dans 
les moindres choses (as his Eloge stated) ; simple in life and 
manners and single-hearted in his devotion to letters, he was 
almost childish in worldly matters, while notable for penetra- 
tion and acumen in his studies. He would have been as 
happy, one of his biographers remarks, in teaching children 
the elements of education as he was in acquiring his 
immense erudition. Briefly, truth and honesty, exactitude 
and indefatigable industry characterised his most honourable 

Galland informs us (Epist. Ded.) that his MS. consisted of 
four volumes, only three of which are extant," bringing the 

^ The concluding part did not appear, I have said, till 1717 : his " Contes et 
Fables Indiennes de Bidpai et de Lokman," were first printed in 1724, 2 vols, in 
l2mo. Hence, I presume, Lowndes' mistake. 

- M. Caussin (de Perceval), Professor of Arabic at the Imperial Library, who 
edited Galland in 1806, tells us that he found there only two MSS., both imper- 
fect. The first (Galland's) is in three small vols. 4to, each of about pp. 140. The 
stories are more detailed, and the style, more correct than that of other MSS., is 
hardly intelligible to many Arabs, whence he presumes that it contains the 
original (an early ?) text which has been altered and vitiated. The date is sup- 
posed to be circa A.D. 1600. The second Parisian copy is a single folio of some 
800 pages, and is divided into 29 sections and cmv. Nights, the last two sections 
being reversed. The MS. is very imperfect, the I2lh, 15th, i6th, i8th, 20th, 
2ist-23rd, 25th and 27th parts are wanting ; the sections which follow the 17th 
contain sundry stories repeated, there are anecdotes from Bidpai, the Ten Wazirs 
and other popular works, and lacunae everywhere abound. Galland's Arab, copy 
of The Nights in the Bibliotheque Nationale (Cat. MSS. Bibl. Reg., Tome i. 258) 
is attributed by the learned M. Hermann Zotenberg to the xivth century. It is 
inversely numbered in the catal. ; for instance, " mdvi. Codex bombycinus, olim 
Gallandianus, quo continetur fabula romanensis inscripta Noctes Mille et Una ; 
incipit a centesima sexagesima septima," is vol. iii. ; '' mdvii. " is vol. ii., and 
" MDViii. " is vol. i. The first volume proper (70 feuillets, date of registering, 
Jan. 22, 1876) contains 25 lines to the page (19 centimetres X 12) ; white paper 
with 15 yellow leaves at the end ; titles in red ink : no vowel-points ; marginal 
corrections in rare places ; a few notes (Latin and French) and scribblings at the 
beginning, not at the end (suggesting that it was originally the first half of what is 
now vol. ii.). This tome ends with half-Night Ixvii. The second volume (76 

246 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

work down to Night cclxxxii., or about the beginning 01 
" Camaralzaman." The missing portion, if it contained, like 
the other volumes, 140 pages, would end that tale, together 
with the Stories of Ghanim and the Enchanted (Ebony) 
Horse; and such is the disposition in the Bresl. Edit, which 
mostly favours in its ordinance the text used by the first 
translator. But this would hardly have filled more than 
two-thirds of his volumes ; for the other third he interpo- 
lated, or is supposed to have interpolated, the ten ^ following 
tales : — 

1. Histoire du Prince Zeyn Al-asnam et du Roi des 


2. „ de Codadad et de ses freres (including La 

Priiicesse de Deryabar). 

3- „ de la Lampe Merveilleuse (Aladdin). 

4- „ de I'Aveugle Baba Abdalla. 

5- J, de Sidi Nouman. 

6. „ de Cogia Hassan Alhabbal. 

7- J. d'Ali Baba et de Ouarante Voleurs exter- 

mines par une Esclave. 
8. „ d'Ali Cogia, marchand de Bagdad. 

feuillets, Jan. 22, 1876) is the largest, the edges having been less trimmed (yet 
cuttings show in verso, p. 64) ; 25 lines to page and 26 to first page (20 cent. X 12); 
yellow paper ; only 18 leaves white ; few marginal corrections (a long one in 
p. 30), and inscription of Rizkallah, four lines, in p. 60, with erasure and hiatus 
between it and p. 61 ; scribblings on pp. 64, 65. Begins by ending Night Ixvii. 
and ends Night clxvi. all but two lines. The third volume, 81 feuillets, Jan. 22, 
1876) same format as vol. i. (page 19 cent. X 12) ; edges much cut ; of total 81 
leaves 34 are yellow and the rest white ; few marginal corrections, vowel-points 
as everywhere omitted, long inscription p. 20 ; ends Night cclxxxii. and begins 
the next ; colophon reads, " Here endeth the third Juz ( = section) of the wondrous 
and marvellous Tales of a Thousand Nights and a Night, and Allah is the Aider," 
— proving a defective codex. 

^ Mr. Payne (ix. 264) makes eleven, including the Histoire du Dormeur eveille 
= The Sleeper and the Waker, which he afterwards translated from the Bresl. 
Edit, in his " Tales from the Arabic" (vol. i. 5, etc.). 

" Mr. E. J. W. Gibb has come upon this tale in a Turkish story-book, from which 
he drew his " Jewad." I have printed it in vol. iii " Supplemental Nights." 

Terminal Essay. 247 

9. Histoire du Prince Ahmed et de la fee Peri-Banou. 
10. „ de deux Soeurs jalouses de leur Cadette.^ 
Concerning these interpolations (?) which contain two of 
the best and most widely known stories in the work, 
Alaeddin ^ and the Forty Thieves, conjectures have been 
manifold, but they mostly ran upon three lines. De Sacy 
held that they were found by Galland in the public libraries 
of Paris. Mr. Chenery, whose acquaintance with Arabic 
grammar was ample, suggested that the Professor had 
borrowed them from the recitations of the Rawis, rhapsodists 
or professional story-tellers, in the bazars of Smyrna and 
other ports of the Levant. The late Mr. Henry Charles 
Coote (in the " P^olk-Lore Record," vol. iii. part ii. p. 178 et 
seq.), " On the Source of some of M. Galland's Tales," quotes 
from popular Italian, Sicilian and Romaic stories incidents 
identical with those in Prince Ahmad, Alaeddin, Ali Baba 
and the Envious Sisters, suggesting that the Frenchman 
had heard th^sQ paramythia in Levantine coffee-houses and 
had inserted them into his unequalled corpus fabularwn. 
Mr. Payne (ix. 268) conjectures the probability " of their 
having been composed at a comparatively recent period by 
an inhabitant of Baghdad, in imitation of the legends of 
Haroun er Rashid and other well-known tales of the original 
Avork ; " and adds, " It is possible that an exhaustive ex- 
amination of the various MS. copies of the Thousand and 
One Nights known to exist in the public libraries of Europe 
might yet cast some light upon the question of the origin of 
the interpolated tales." I quite agree with him, taking 
" The Sleeper and the Waker " and " Zeyn Al-asnam " as 
cases in point ; but I should expect, for reasons before given. 

' A litterateur lately assured me that Nos. ix. and x. have been fuund in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale (du Roi) Paris ; but two friends were kind enough tc 
enquire and ascertained that it was a mistake. Such Persianisms as Codadad 
(Khudadad), Baba Cogia (Khwajah) and Peri (fairy) suggest a Persic MS. 

- I shall prefer this form when translating the tale even to IM. de Sacy' 

248 A If Laylah wa Lay/ah. 

to find the stories in a Persic rather than an Arabic MS. 
xAnd I feel convinced that all will be recovered : Galland was 
not the man to commit a literary forgery. 

As regards Alaeddin, the most popular tale of the whole 
work, I am convinced that it is genuine, although my un- 
fortunate friend, the late Professor Palmer, doubted its being 
an Eastern story. It is laid down upon all the lines of 
Oriental fiction. The mise-en-scene is China, " where they 
drink a certain warm liquor " (tea) ; the hero's father is a 
poor tailor ; and, as in " Judar and his Brethren," the 
Maghrabi Magician presently makes his appearance, intro- 
ducing the Wonderful Lamp and the Magical Ring. Even 
the Sorcerer's cry, " New lamps for old lamps ! " — a prime 
point — is paralleled in the Tale of the Fisherman's Son,' 
where the Jew asks in exchange only old rings, and the 
Princess, recollecting that her husband kept a shabby, well- 
worn ring in his writing-stand, and he being asleep, took it 
out and sent it to the man. In either tale the palace is 
transported to a distance, and both end with the death of the 
wicked magician and the hero and heroine living happily 
together ever after.- 

All Arabists have remarked the sins of omission and com- 
mission, of abridgment, amplification and substitution, and 
the audacious distortion of fact and phrase in which Galland 

' Vol. vi. 212, "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments (London : Longmans, 
181 1 ) by Jonathan Scott, with the Collection of New Tales from the Wortley 
Montague MS. in the Bodleian." I regret to see that Messieurs Nimmo in 
reprinting Scott have omitted his sixth volume. The Rev. George F. 
Townsend, M.A. "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments," (London: Warne, 
1866 and 1869) has followed in his so-called "Revised Edition " Dr. Scott's 
text, " as being at once more accurate (!) than that of M. Galland ; less diffuse 
and verbose than that of Forster ; less elevated (!), difficult (! !} and abstruse (! ! !) 
than that of Lane." (Pref.) 

^ Since this was written M. Hermann Zotenberg, the well-known translator of 
Tabari, bought for the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, two Arabic folios con- 
taining Zayn al-Asnam and Alaeddin. The learned Arabist kindly lent me his 
transcript for my translation (Supplemental Volumes No. iii.), and is printing the 
text in Paris. 

Terminal Essay. 249 

freely indulged, whilst his knowledge of Eastern languages 
proves that he knew better. But literary licence was the 
order of his day, and at that time French, always the most 
bcgueiUe of European languages, was bound by a rigorisme 
of the narrowest and the straightest of lines from which the 
least ecart condemned a man as a barbarian and a tiidesque. 
If we consider Galland fairly we shall find that he errs mostly 
for a purpose, that of popularising his work ; and his success 
has indeed justified his means. He has been derided (by 
scholars) for " He Monsieur ! " and " Ah Madame ! " but he 
could not write " O mon sieur " and " O ma dame ; " although 
we can borrow from biblical and Shakespearean English, " O 
my lord!" and "O my lady!" "Bon Dieu ! ma soeur " 
(which our translators english by " O heavens," Night xx.) is 
good French for Wa 'llahi — by Allah ; and " cinquante 
cavaliers bien faits " (" fifty handsome gentlemen on horse- 
back ") is a more familiar picture than fifty knights. 
" L'ofificieuse Dinarzade " (Night Ixi.), and " Cette plaisante 
querelle des deux freres " (Night Ixxii.), become ridiculous 
only in translation — " the officious Dinarzade " and " this 
pleasant quarrel ; " while " ce qu'il y a de remarquable " 
(Night Ixxiii.) would relieve the Gallic mind from the morti- 
fication of" Destiny decreed." " Plusieurs sortes de fruits et 
de bouteilles de vin " (Night ccxxxi., etc.) europeanises 
flasks and flagons ; and the violent convulsions in which the 
girl dies (Night cliv., her head having been cut off by her 
sister) is mere Gallic squeamishncss : France laughs at " le 
shoking " in England, but she has only to look at home, 
especially during the reign of Galland's contemporary — Roi 
Soleil. The terrible " Old man " (Shaykhj " of the Sea " 
(-board) is badly described by " I'incommode vieillard " (" the 
ill-natured old fellow ") : " Brave Maimune " and " Agreable 
Maimune " are hardly what a Jinni would say to a Jinniyah 
(ccxiii.) ; but they are good Parisian. The same may be 
noted of " Plier les voiles pour marque qu'il se rendait " 
(Night ccxxxv.), a European practice ; and of the false note 

250 Alf Laylah wa Lay la k. 

struck in two passages. " Je m'estimais heureuse d'avoir fait 
une si belle conquete " (Night Ixvii.) gives a Gaulois turn ; 
and " Je ne puis voir sans horreur cet abominable barbier que 
voila : quoiqu'il soit ne dans un pays oli tout le monde est 
blanc, il ne laisse pas a resembler a un Ethiopien ; mais il a 
lame encore plus noire et horrible que le visage " (Night 
clvii.), is a mere affectation of Orientalism. Lastly, "Une 
vieille dame de leur connaissance " (Night clviii.) puts French 
polish upon the matter-of-fact Arab's "old woman." 

The list of absolute mistakes, not including violent liber- 
ties, can hardly be held excessive. Professor Weil and 
Mr. Payne (ix. 271) justly charged Galland with making the 
Trader (Night i.) throw away the shells {ecorces) of the date, 
which has only a pellicle, as Galland certainly knew ; but 
dates were not seen every day in France, while almonds and 
walnuts were of the quatre mendiants. He preserves the 
ecorces, which later issues have changed to noyaux, pro- 
bably in allusion to the jerking practice called Inwa. Again 
in the " First Shaykh's Story" (vol. i. 24) the " maillet " is 
mentioned as the means of slaughtering cattle, because 
familiar to European readers : at the end of the tale it 
becomes '* le couteau funeste." In Badr al-Din a " tarte a 
la creme," so well known to the West, displaces, naturally 
enough, the outlandish '* mess of pomegranate-seeds." 
Though the text especially tells us the hero removed his 
bag-trousers (not only " son habit ") and placed them under 
the pillow, a crucial fact in the history, our Professor sends 
him to bed fully dressed, apparently for the purpose of 
informing his readers in a foot-note that Easterns " se 
couchent en cale^on " (Night Ixxx.). It was mere ignorance 
to confound the arbalete or cross-bow with the stone-bow 
(Night xxxviii.), but this has universally been done, even by 
Lane, who ought to have known better ; and it was an un- 
pardonable carelessness or something worse to turn Nar(fire; 
and Dun (in lieu of) into " le faux dieu Nardoun " (Night 
Ixv.) : as this has been untouched by De Sacy, I cannot but 

Terminal Essay. 251 

conclude that he nev^er read the text with the translation. 
Nearly as bad also to make the Jewish physician remark, 
when the youth gave him the left wrist (Night cL), " Voila 
une grande ignorance de ne savoir pas que Ton presente la 
main droite a un medecin et non pas la gauche " — whose 
exclusive use all travellers in the East must know. I have 
noticed the incuriousness which translates " along the Nile- 
shore " by " up towards Ethiopia " (Night cli.), and the 
" Islands of the Children of Khaledan " (Night ccxi.) instead 
of the Khalidatani or Khalidat, the Fortunate Islands. It 
was by no means " des petits soufflets " (" some tips from 
time to time with her fingers ") which the sprightly dame 
administered to the Barber's second brother (Night clxxi.), 
but sound and heavy " cuffs " on the nape ; anid the sixth 
brother (Night clxxx.) was not " aux levres fendues " (" he 
of the hair-lips"), for they had been cut off by the Badawi 
jealous of his fair wife. Abu al-Hasan would not greet his 
beloved by saluting " le tapis a ses pieds :" he would kiss her 
hands and feet. Hai'atalnefous (Hayat al-Nufiis, Night 
ccxxvi.) would not "throw cold water in the Princess's 
face :" she would sprinkle it with eau-de-rose, " Camaral- 
zaman " I. addresses his two abominable wives in language 
purely European (ccxxx.), " et de la vie il ne s'approche 
d'elles," missing one of the fine touches of the tale which 
shows its hero a weak and violent man, hasty and lacking 
the pundonor. " La belle Persienne," in the Tale of Nur 
al-Din, was no Persian ; nor would her master address her 
" Venez ca, impertinente " (" come hither, impertinence ") . In 
the story of Badr, one of the Comoro Islands becomes " L'ile 
de la Lune." " Dog " and '• dog-son " are not " injures atroces 
et indignes d'un grand roi :" the greatest Eastern kings allow 
themselves far more energetic and significant language, 
Fitnah^ is by no means "Force de coeurs :" our author 

^ Dr. Scott, who uses Fitnah (iv. 42), makes it worse by adding " Alcolom (Al- 
Kuliib?), signifying Ravisher of Hearts," and his names for the six slave-girls 
(vol. iv. 37), such as "Zohorob Bostan " (Zahr al-Bustan), which Galland 

252 Alf Laylah wa Layiah. 

misread " Kut al-Kuliib " (Food of Hearts) and made it 
" Kuwwat al-Kulub = Force of Hearts. Lastly the ddnoile- 
inent of The Nights is widely different in French and in 
Arabic ; but that is not Galland's faidt, as he never saw the 
original ending, and indeed he deserves high praise for having 
invented so pleasant and sympathetic a close, inferior only to 
the Oriental device.^ 

Galland's fragment has a strange effect upon the Orientalist 
and those who take the scholastic view, be it wide or narrow. 
De Sacy does not hesitate to sa)^ that the work owes much 
to his fellow-countryman's hand ; but I venture to judge other- 
wise : it is necessary to dissociate the two works and to regard 
Galland's paraphrase, which contains only a quarter of The 
Thousand Nights and a Night, as a wholly different book. 
Its attempts to amplify beauties and to correct or conceal 
the defects and the grotesqueness of the original, absolutely 
suppress much of the local colour, clothing the bare body in 
the best of Parisian suits. It ignores the rhymed prose and 
excludes the verse, rarely, and very rarely, rendering a few 
lines in a balanced style. It generally rejects the proverbs, 
epigrams and moral reflections which form the pith and 
marrow of the book ; and, worse still, it disdains those finer 
touches of character which are often Shakesperian in their 
depth and delicacy, and which, applied to a race of familiar 
ways and thoughts, manners and customs, would have been 

rightly renders by " Fleur du Jardin," serve only to heap blunder upon blunder. 
Indeed the Anglo-French translations are below criticism : it would be waste of 
lime to notice them. The characteristic is a servile suit paid to the original, 
e.g. rendering hair " accommode en boucles" by "hair festooned in buckles" 
(Night ccxiv.), and He d'Ebene (Jazirat al-Abniis, Night xliii.) by "the Isle of 
Ebene.'' That surly old litterateur Henry Reeve tells me that he prefers these 
wretched versions to Mr. Payne's. Padrone ! as the Italians say : I cannot 
envy his taste or his temper. 

' De Sacy (Memoire, p. 52) notes that in some MSS., the Sultan, ennuye by 
the last tales cf Shahrazad, proposes to put her to death, when she produces her 
three children and all ends merrily without marriage-bells. Von Hammer 
prefers this version as the more dramatic, the Frenchman rejects it on account of 
certain difficulties of detail, and here he strains at the gnat — a common process. 

Termhial Essay. 253 

the wonder and delight of Europe. It shows only a single 
side of the gem that has so many facets. By deference to 
public taste it was compelled to expunge the often repulsive 
simplicity, the childish indecencies and the wild revels of 
the original, contrasting with the gorgeous tints, the elevated 
morality and the religious tone of passages which crowd upon 
them. We miss the odeur du sang which taints the parfums 
du harem ; also the humoristic tale and the Rabelaisian out- 
break which relieve and throw out into strong relief the 
splendour of Empire and the havoc of Time, Considered in 
this light it is a caput mortuum, a magnificent texture seen 
on the wrong side ; and it speaks volumes for the genius of 
the man who could recommend it in such blurred and cari- 
catured condition to readers throughout the civilised world. 
But those who look only at Galland's picture, his effort to 
" transplant into European gardens the magic flowers of 
Eastern fancy," still compare his tales with the sudden 
prospect of magnificent mountains seen after a long desert- 
march : they arouse strange longings and indescribable de- 
sires ; their marvellous imaginativeness produces an insensible 
brightening of mind and an increase of fancy-power, making 
one dream that behind them lies the new and unseen, the 
strange and unexpected — in fact, all the glamour of the 

The Nights has been translated into every far-extending 
Eastern tongue, Persian, Turkish and Hindostani. The latter 
entitles them Hikayat al-Jalilah or Noble Tales, and the 
translation was made by Munshi Shams al-Din Ahmad for 
the use of the College of Fort George in A.H. 1252 = 1836.^ 
All these versions are direct from the Arabic ; my search for 
a translation of Galland into any Eastern tongue has hitherto 
been fruitless.^ 

^ See Journ. Asiatique, iii. serie, vol. viii., Paris, 1S39. 

^ Since this was written I have found no less than three in Hindostani alone ; 
and these wU be noticed in my " Supplemental Nights," vol. iii. 

254 -^^f Laylah iva Laylah 

I was assured by the late Bertholdy Seemann that the 
*' language of Hoffmann and Heine " contained a literal and 
complete translation of The Nights ; but personal enquiries 
at Leipzig and elsewhere convinced me that the work still 
remains to be done. The first attempt to improve upon 
Galland and to show the world what the work really is was 
made by Dr. Max Habicht and was printed at Breslau 
(1824-25), in fifteen small square volumes.^ Thus it appeared 
before the " Tunis Manuscript," ^ of which it purports to be 
a translation. The German version is, if possible, more con- 
demnable than the Arabic original. It lacks every charm of 
style ; it conscientiously shirks every difficulty ; it abounds 
in the most extraordinary blunders and it is utterly useless 
as a picture of manners or a book of reference. We can 
explain its laches only by the theory that the eminent 
Professor left the labour to his collaborateurs and did not 
take the trouble to revise their careless work. 

The next German translation was by Aulic Councillor J. 
von Hammer-Purgstall ^ who, during his short stay at Cairo 

^ " Tausend und Eine Nacht : Arabische Erzahlungen. Zum erstenmale aus 
einer Tunesischen Handschrift erganzt und voUstiindig iibersetzt," Von Max, 
Habicht, F. H. von der Hagen und Karl Schall (the offenders ?) 

- Dr. Habicht informs us (Vorwort iii., vol. ix. 7) that he obtained his MS. 
with other valuable works from Tunis, through a personal acquaintance, a learned 
Arab, Herr M. Annagar (Mohammed Al-Najjar ?) and was aided by Baron de 
Sacy, Langles and other savants in filling up the lacunae by means of sundry MSS. 
The editing was a prodigy of negligence : the corrigenda (of which brief lists are 
given) would fill a volume ; and, as before noticed, the indices of the first four 
tomes were printed in the fifth, as if the necessity of a list of tales had just struck 
the dense editor. After Habicht's death in 1839 his work was completed in four 
vols. (ix. — xii.) by the well-known Prof. H. J. Fleischer, who had shown some 
tartness in his " Dissertatio Critica de Glossis Habichtianis.'' He carefully 
imitated all the shortcomings of his predecessor and even omitted the Verzeichniss, 
etc., the Varianten and the Glossary of Arabic words not found in Golius. which 
formed the only useful part of the first eight volumes. 

^ Der Tausend und Eine Nacht noch nicht iibersetzte Marchen, Erzahlungen 
und Anekdoten, zum erstenmale aus dem Arabischen in's Franzosische iibersetzt 
von Joseph von Hammer, und aus dem Franzosischen in's Deutsche von Aug. 
E. Zinserling, Professor. Stuttgart und Tubingen, 1823. Drei Bande. 8". 
Trebutien's, therefore, is the translation of a translation of a translation. 

Termitiol Essay. 255 

and Constantinople, turned into French the tales neglected by 
Galland. After some difference with M. Caussin (de Perceval) 
in 1 8 10, the Styrian Orientalist entrusted his MS. to HerrCotta 
the publisher of Tubingen. Thus a German version appeared, 
the translation of a translation, at the hand of Professor 
Zinserling, while the French version was unaccountably lost 
en route to London. Finally the " Contes inedits," etc., 
appeared in a French translation by G. S. Trebutien (Paris, 
mdcccxxviii.). Von Hammer took liberties with the text 
which can compare only with those of Lane : he abridged 
and retrenched till the likeness in places entirely disappeared ; 
he shirked some difficult passages and he misexplained 
others. In fact the work did no honour to the amiable and 
laborious historian of the Turks. 

The only good German translation of The Nights is due to 
Dr. Gustav Weil who, born on April 24, 1808, is still (1886) 
professing at Heidelburg.^ His originals (he tells us) were 
the Breslau Edition, the Bulak text of Abd al-Rahman al- 
Safati, and a MS. in the library of Saxe Gotha. The 
venerable savant, who has rendered such service to Arabism, 
informs me that Aug. Lewald's " Vorhalle " (pp. i. — xv.)^ 
was written without his knowledge. Dr. Weil neglects the 
division of days which enables him to introduce any number 
of tales : for instance, Galland's decade occupies a large part 
of vol. iii. The Vorwort wants dev^elopment ; the notes, 
confined to a few words, are inadequate and verse is every- 

' Tausend und Eine Nacht : Arabische Erzahlungen. Zum Erstenmale aus dem 
Urtext vollstandig und treu uebersetzt von Dr. Gustav Weil. He began his 
work on return from Egypt in 1836 and completed his first version of the 
Arabische Meisterwerk in 1838 — 42 (3 vols. roy. oct.). I have the Zweiter 
Abdruck der dritten Auflage (2nd reprint of 3rd) in 4 vols. 8vo., Stuttgart, 1872. 
It has more than a hundred woodcuts, all of that art fashionable in Europe 
till Lane taught what Eastern illustrations should be. 

" My learned friend Dr. Wilhelm Storck, to whose admirable translations of 
Camoens I have often borne witness, also notes that this Vorhalle, or Porch to the 
first edition, a rhetorical introduction addressed to the general public, is held in 
Germany to be valueless, and that it was noticed only for the Bemerkung con- 
cerning the offensive passages which Professor Weil had toned down in his 
translation. In the Vorwort of the succeeding editions (Stuttgart) it is wholly 

256 A If Lay I ah wa Laylah. 

where rendered by prose, the Saj'a or assonance being wholly 
ignored. On the other hand the scholar shows himself by a 
correct translation, contrasting strongly with those which 
preceded him, and by a strictly literal version, save where 
the treatment required to be modified in a book intended for 
the public. Under such circumstances it cannot well be 
other than longsome and monotonous reading. 

Although Spain and Italy have produced many and 
remarkable Orientalists, I cannot find that they have taken 
the trouble to translate The Nights for themselves : cheap 
and gaudy versions of Galland seem to have satisfied the 
public.^ Notes on the Romaic, Icelandic, Russian (.'') and 
other versions will be found in Appendix No. II. 

Professor Galland has never been forgotten in France, 
where, amongst a host of editions, four have claims to dis- 
tinction ; ^ and his success did not fail to create a host of 
imitators, and to attract what De Sacy justly terms " une 
prodigieuse importation de marchandise de contrabande." 
As early as 1823 Von Hammer numbered seven in France 
(Trebutien, Preface xviii.), and during later years they have 
grown prodigiously. Mr. William F. Kirby, who has made 
a special study of the subject, has favoured me with detailed 
bibliographical notes on Galland's imitators which are 
printed in Appendix No. II. 

^ The older are, " Novelle Arabe divise in Mille ed una Notte, tradoUe dall' 
idioma Francese nel volgare Italiano" : in Bingen, nidccxxiii., per Sebastiano 
Coleti (12 vols. 8vo) ; and " Le Mille ed una Notte: Novelle Arabe ; Milano 
presso la Libraria Ferrario Editria. The most popular are now " Mille ed una 
Notte- Novelle Arabe." Napoli, 1867, Svo, illustrated, 4 francs ; the " Mille 
ed una Notte. Novelle Arabe, versione italiana nuovamente emendata e corre- 
data di note ; " 4 vols, in-32 (dateless) Milano, Svo, 4 francs ; and Prof. Pietro 
Malan's so-called "translation " (Persur, Perino, 1882). It is not a little curious 
that the illustrations are almost the same in Weil, De Sacy, Malan, and Mr. W, 
F. Kirby's " New Arabian Nights ; " and I may add that nothing could be more 
grotesque — Orientalism drawn from the depths of European self-consciousness. 

^ These are — (i) by M. Caussin (de Perceval), Paris, 1806, 9 vols. i2mo, now 
exceedingly rare and expensive ; (2) Edouard Gauttier, Paris, 1822 — 24, 7 vols. 
Svo, valued for its hideous illustrations, yet I procured a good copy for 
15 francs; (3) M. Destain, Paris, 1823 — 25, 6 vols. Svo; and ^4) Baron de Sac,y 
Paris, 1838 (?) 3 vols, large Svo, illustrated (and vilely illustrated). 

Terminal Essay. 257 

§ III. 



A. — The Matter. 

Returning to my threefold distribution of this Prose Poem 
(§ i) into Fable, Fairy Tale and Historical Anecdote/ let me 
proceed to consider these sections more carefully. 

The Apologue or Beast-fable, which apparently antedates 
all other subjects in The Nights, has been called " One of the 
earliest creations of the awakening consciousness of man- 
kind." I should regard it, despite a monumental antiquity, 
as the offspring of a comparatively civilised age, when a 
jealous despotism or a powerful oligarchy threw difficulties and 
dangers in the way of speaking " plain truths " A hint can 
be given and a friend or foe can be lauded or abused as Belins 
the sheep or Isengrim the wolf, when the Author is debarred 
the higher enjoyment of praising him or dispraising him by 
name. And, as the purposes of fables are twofold — 

Duplex libelli dos est: quod risum movet, 
Et quod prudenti vitam consilio monet — 

the speaking of brute beasts would give a piquancy and a 
pleasantry to moral design as well as to social and political 

The literary origin of the fable is not Buddhistic : we must 
especially shun that " Indo-Germanic " school which goes to 
India for its origins, when Pythagoras, Solon, Herodotus, 

^ The number of fables and anecdotes varies in the different texts, but may 
assumed to be upwards of four hundred, about half of which were translated or 
abridged by Lane. 


258 Alf Laylah iva Laylah. 

Plato, Aristotle and possibly Homer sat for instruction at the 
feet of the Hir-seshtha, the learned grammarians of the 
pharaohnic court. Nor was it vEsopic : evidently ^sop 
inherited the hoarded wealth of ages. As Professor Lepsius 
taught us, " In the olden times within the memory of man, 
we know of only one advanced culture ; of only one mode of 
writing, and of only one literary development, viz. those of 
Egypt." The invention of an alphabet, as opposed to a 
syllabary, unknown to Babylonia, to Assyria and to that 
extreme bourne of their civilising influences, China, would 
for ever fix their literature — poetry, history and criticism,^ 
the apologue and the anecdote. To mention no others. The 
Lion and the Mouse appears in a Leyden papyrus dating 
from B.C. 1200 — 1166 the days of Rameses III. (Rham- 
psinitus) or Hak On, not as a rude and early attempt, but in 
a finished form, postulating an ancient origin and illustrious 
ancestry. The dialogue also is brought to perfection in the 
discourse between the Jackal Koufi and the Ethiopian Cat 
(Revue Egyptologique ivme. annee, Part i.). Africa, there- 
fore, was the home of the Beast-fable ; not, as Professor 
Mahaffy thinks, because it was the chosen land of animal 
worship, where 

Oppida tota canem venerantur nemo Dianam ; ^ 
but simply because the Nile-land originated every form of 
literature from Fabliau to Epos. 

^ I have noticed these points more fully in the beginning of chapt. iii., *' The 
Book of the Sword." 

^ A notable instance of Roman superficiality, incuriousness and ignorance. 
Every old Egyptian city had its idols (images of metal, stone or wood), in which 
the Deity became incarnate as in the Catholic Host ; besides its own symbolic 
animal used as a Kiblah or prayer-direction (Jerusalem or Meccah), the visible 
means of fixing and concentrating the thoughts of the vulgar, like the crystal of 
the hypnotist or the disk of the electro-biologist. And goddess Diana was in no 
way better than goddess Pasht. For the true view of idolatry see Koran xxxix. 4. 
I am deeply grateful to Mr. P. le Page Renouf (Soc. of Biblic. Archaeology, 
April 6, 1886), for identifying the Manibogh, Michabo or Great Hare of the 
American indigenes with Osiris Unnefer ("Hare God"). These are the lines 
upon which scientific investigation should run. 

Terminal Essay. 259 

From Kemi the Black-land it was but a step to Phoenicia, 
Judaea,^ Phrygia and Asia Minor, whence a ferry led over to 
Greece. Here the Apologue found its populariserin Ato-wTros, 
yEsop, whose name, involved in myth, possibly connects 
with Ai6'toi/' : — " vEsopus et Aithiops idem sonant" say the 
sages. This would show that the Hellenes preserved a 
legend of the land where the beast-fable arose, and we may 
accept the fabulist's aera as contemporary with Croesus and 
Solon (B.C. 570), about a century after Psammeticus 
(Psamethik ist) threw Egypt open to the restless Greek.^ 
From Africa too the Fable would in early ages migrate east- 
wards and make for itself a new home in the second great 
focus of civilisation formed by the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. 
The late Mr. George Smith found amongst the cuneiforms 
fragmentary beast-fables, such as dialogues between the Ox 
and the Horse, the Eagle and the Sun. In after centuries, 
when the conquests of Macedonian Alexander completed 
what Sesostris and Semiramis had begun, and mingled the 
manifold families of mankind by joining the eastern to the 
western world, the Orient became formally hellenised. Under 
the Seleucidae and during the life of the independent Bactrian 
kingdom (B.C. 255-125), Grecian art and science, literature 
and even language overran the old Iranic reign and extended 
eastwards throughout northern India. Porus sent two 
embassies to Augustus in B.C. 19, and in one of them the 
herald Zarmanochagas (Shramanacharya) of Bargosa, the 
modern Baroch in Gujarat, bore an epistle upon vellum 
v/ritten in Greek (Strabo xv. i § 78). " Videtis gentes 
populosque mutasse sedes," says Seneca (De Cons, ad Helv. 

^ See Jotham's fable of the Trees and King Bramble (Judges Ixi. 8) and Nathan's 
parable of the Poor Man and his little ewe Lamb (2 Sam. ix. i). 

- Herodotus (ii. c. 134) notes that " yEsop the fable-writer (6 XoyoTrotos) was 
one of her (Rhodopis) fellow slaves." Aristophanes (Vesp«, 1446) refers to his 
murder by the Delphians and his fable beginning, " Once upon a time there was 
a fight;" while the Scholiast finds an allusiou to The Serpent and the Crabjiu 
Pax 1084; and others in Vespoe 14OI, and Aves 651. 

26o AlJ Laylah wa Laylah. 

c. vi.). Quid sibi volunt in mediis barbarorum regionibus 
Graecae artes ? Quid inter Indos Persasque Macedonicus 
sermo ? Atheniensis in Asia turba est," Upper India, in 
the Macedonian days, would have been mainly Buddhistic, 
possessing a rude alphabet borrowed from Egypt through 
Arabia and Phoenicia, but still in a low and barbarous con- 
dition : her buildings were wooden, and she lacked, as far as 
we know, stone-architecture — the main test of social develop- 
ment. But the Bactrian kingdom gave an impulse to her 
civilisation and the result was classical opposed to vedic 
Sanskrit. From Persia Greek letters, extending southwards 
to Arabia, would find indigenous imitators, and there ^sop 
would be represented by the sundry sages who share the 
name Lokman.^ One of these was of servile condition, 

^ There are three distinct Lokmans who are carefully confounded in Sale 
(Koran, chapt. xxxi.) and in Smith's Diet, of Biography, etc., art. iEsopus. The 
first or eldest Lokman, entitled Al- Hakim (the Sage) and the hero of the Koranic 
chapter which bearshis name, was son of Ba'iira of the Children of Azar, sister's 
son to Job or son of Job's maternal aunt ; he witnessed David's miracles of mail- 
making and when the tribe of 'Ad was destroyed, he became King of the country. 
The second, also called the Sage, was a slave, an Abyssinian negro, sold to the 
Israelites during the reign of David or Solomon, synchronous with the Persian 
Kay Kaiis and Kay Khusrau, also with Pythagoras the Greek (!) His physique is 
alluded to in the saying, " Thou resemblest Lokman (in black ugliness) but not 
in wisdom" (Ibn Khallikan i. 145). This negro or negroid, after a godly and 
edifying life, left a volume of " Amsal," proverbs and exempla (not fables or 
apologues) ; and Easterns still say, " One should not pretend to teach Lokman " 
— in Persian, " Hikmat ba Lokman amokhtan." Three of his apothegms dwell 
in the public memory : " The heart and the tongue are the best and worst parts of 
the human body." ** I learned wisdom from the blind, who make sure of things 
by touching them " (as did St. Thomas) ; and, when he ate the colocynth offered 
by his owner, " I have received from thee so many a sweet that 'twould be sur- 
prising if I refused this one bitter." He was buried (says the Tarikh Muntakhab) 
at Ramlah in Judaea, with the seventy Prophets stoned in one day by the Jews. 
The youngest Lokman ' ' of the vultures " was a prince of the tribe of 'Ad who 
lived 3,500 years, the age of seven vultures (Tabari). He could dig a well with 
his nails; hence the saying, "Stronger than Lokman" (A.P. i. 701) ; and he 
loved the arrow-game, hence "More gambhng than Lokman" (ibid. ii. 938). 
" More voracious than Lokman " (ibid. i. 134) alludes to his eating one camel for 
breakfast and another for supper. His wife Barakish also appears in proverb, 
e.g. "Camel us and camel thyself" (ibid. i. 295), i.e. give us camel flesh to eat, 

Terminal Essay. 26 1 

tailor, carpenter or shepherd ; and a " Habashi " (^Ethiopian) 
meaning a negro slave with blubber lips and splay feet, so 
far showing a superficial likeness to the ^sop of authentic 

The iEsopic fable, carried by the Hellenes to India, might 
have fallen in with some rude and fantastic barbarian of 
Buddhistic "persuasion " and indigenous origin : so'Reynard 
the Fox has its analogue amongst the Kafirs and the Vai 
tribe of Mandengan negroes in Liberia/ amongst whom one 
Doalu invented or rather borrowed a syllabarium. The 
modern Gypsies are said also to have beast-fables which 
have never been traced to a foreign source (Leland). But I 
cannot accept the refinement of difference which^ Professor 
Benfey, followed by Mr. Keith-Falconer, discovers between 
the ^sopic and the Hindu apologue: — "In the former 
animals are allowed to act as animals : the latter makes them 
act as men in the form of animals." The essence of the 
beast-fable is a reminiscence of Homo primigenius with 
erected ears and hairy hide, and its expression is to make 
the brother brute behave, think and talk like him with the 
superadded experience of ages. To early man the "lower 
animals," which are born, live and die like himself, showing 
all the same affects and disaffects, loves and hates, passions, 
prepossessions and prejudices, must have seemed quite 
human enough and on an equal level to become his sub- 
stitutes. The savage, when he began to reflect, would regard 
the carnivor and the serpent with awe, wonder and dread ; 
and would soon suspect the same mysterious potency in the 
brute as in himself: so the Malays still look upon the 
Uran-utan, or Wood-man, as the possessor of superhuman 
wisdom. The hunter and the herdsman, who had few other 

said when her son by a former husband brought her a fine joint which she and 
her husband rehshed. Also " Barakish hath sinned against her kin" (ibid. ii. 89)- 
More of this in Chenery's Al-Hariri, p. 422; but the three Lokmans are there 
reduced to two. 

' I have noticed them elsewhere : see " To the Gold Coast for Gold." 

262 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

companions, would presently explain the peculiar relations 
of animals to themselves by material metamorphosis, the 
bodily transformation of man to brute, giving increased 
powers of working him weal and woe. A more advanced 
stage would find the step easy to metempsychosis, the beast 
containing the Ego {alias soul) of the human : such instinctive 
belief explains much in Hindu literature, but it was not 
wanted at first by the Apologue. 

This blending of blood, this racial baptism, would produce 
a fine robust progeny ; and, after our second century, 
iEgypto-Graeco-Indian stories overran the civilized globe 
between Rome and China. Tales have wings and fly farther 
than the jade hatchets of proto-historic days. And the 
result was a book which has had more readers than any 
other except the Bible. Its original is unknown.^ The 
volume, which in Pehlevi became the Javidan Khirad 
(" Wisdom of Ages ") or the Testament of Hoshang, that 
ancient guebre King, and in Sanskrit the Panchatantra 
(" Five Chapters "), is a recueil of apologues and anecdotes 
related by the learned Brahman, Vishnu Sharma, for the 
benefit of his pupils, the sons of an Indian Rajah. The 
Hindu original has been adapted and translated, under a 
host of names, into a number of languages Arabic, Hebrew 
and Syriac, Greek and Latin, Persian and Turkish.^ Voltaire^ 
wisely remarks of this venerable production : — Quand on 

^ I can hardly accept the dictum that the Katha Sarit Sagara, of which more 
presently, is the "earliest representation of the first collection." 

" The Pehlevi version of the days of King Anushirwan (A.D. 531-72) became 
the Humayun-nameh ("August Book "), turned into Persian for Bahram Shah the 
Ghaznavite : the Hitopadesa (" Friendship-boon ") of Prakrit, avowedly compiled 
from the " Panchatantra," became the Hindu Panchopakhyan, the Hindostani 
Akhlak-i-Hindi ("Moralities of Ind"), and in Persia and Turkey the Anvar-i- 
Suhayli ("Lights of Canopus"). Arabic, Hebrew and Syriac writers entitle 
their version Kalilah wa Damnah, or Kalilaj wa Damnaj, from the name of the 
two jackal-heroes, and Europe knows the recueil as the Fables of Pilpay or 
Bidpay (Bidya-pati, Lord of learning?), a learned Brahman reported to have 
been Premier at the Court of the Indian King Dabishlim. 
* Diet. Philosoph. s. v. Apocryphes. 

Terminal Essay. 263 

fait reflexion que presque toute la terre a ete enfatuee de 
pareils contes, et qu'ils ont fait I'education du genre humain, 
on trouve les fables de Pilpay, de Lokman/ d'Esope, bien 
raisonnables. But methinks the sage of Ferney might have 
said far more. These fables speak with the large utterance 
of early man ; they have also their own especial beauty 
— the charms of well-preserved and time-honoured old 
age. There is in their wisdom a perfume of the past, 
homely and ancient-fashioned like a whiff of pot poiirri, 
wondrous soothing withal to olfactories agitated by the 
patchoulis and jockey clubs of modern pretenders and petit- 
maitres, with their grey young heads and pert intelligence 
the motto of whose ignorance is " Connu ! " Were a dose of 
its antique, mature experience adhibited to the Western 
before he visits the East, those few who could digest it might 
escape the normal lot of being twisted round the fingers of 
every rogue they meet from Dragoman to Rajah. And a 
quotation from them tells at once : it shows the quoter to be 
a man of education, not a " Jangali','' a sylvan or savage, as 
the Anglo-Indian official is habitually termed by his more 
civilised " fellow-subject." 

The main difference between the classical apologue and 
the fable in the Nights is that while -^sop and Gabrias write 
laconic tales with a single event and a simple moral, the 
Arabian fables are often " long-continued novelle involving a 
variety of events, each characterised by some social or 
political aspect, forming a narrative highly interesting in 
itself, often exhibiting the most exquisite moral, and yet 
preserving, with rare ingenuity, the peculiar characteristics 
of the actors." - And the distinction between the ancient 
and the mediaeval apologue, including the modern, which, 
since " Reineke Fuchs," is mainly German, appears equally 

' The older Arab writers, I repeat, do not ascribe fables or beast-apologues to 
Lokman ; they record only " dictes" and proverbial sayings. 
• Professor Taylor Lewis : Preface to Pilpay. 

264 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

pronounced. The latter is humorous enough and rich in the 
wit which results from superficial incongruity ; but it ignores 
the deep underlying bond which connects man with beast. 
Again, the main secret of its success is the strain of pungent 
satire, especially in the Renardine Cycle, which the people 
could apply to all unpopular " lordes and prelates, gostly 
and worldly." 

Our Recueil contains two distinct sets of apologues.^ The 
first (vol. ii.) consists of eleven, alternating with five 
anecdotes (Nights cxlvi. — cliii.), following the lengthy and 
knightly romance of King Omar bin al Nu'uman and 
followed by the melancholy love tale of Ali bin Bakkar. 
The second series in vol. v., consisting of eight fables, not 
including ten anecdotes (Nights cmi. — cmxxiv.), is injected 
into the romance of King Jali'ad and Shimas mentioned by 
Al-Mas'udi as independent of The Nights. In both places 
the beast-fables are introduced with some art and add variety 
to the subject-matter, obviating monotony — the deadly sin of 
such works — and giving repose to the hearer or reader after 
a climax of excitement such as the murder of the Wazirs. 
And even these are not allowed to pall upon the mental 
palate, being mingled with anecdotes and short tales, such 
as The Hermits (ii. 227), with biographical or literary 
episodes, acroamata, table-talk and analects where humorous 
Rabelaisian anecdote finds a place ; in fact the fabliau or 
novella. This style of composition may be as ancient as 
the apologues. We know that it dates as far back as 
Rameses III., from the history of the Two Brothers in the 
Orbigny papyrus,- the prototype of Yusuf and Zulaykha, the 

' In the Katha Sarit Sagara the beast-apologues are more numerous, but they 
can be reduced to two great nuclei ; the first in chapter Ix. (lib. x.) and the 
second in the same book, chapters Ixii-lxv. Here too they are mixed up with 
anecdotes and acroamata after the fashion of The Nights, suggesting greai 
antiquity for this style of composition. 

- Brugsch, History of Egypt, vol. i. 266 et seq. This fabliau is interesting in 
more ways than one. Anepu the elder (Potiphar) understands the language of 
cattle, an idea ever cropping up in Folk-lore; and Bata (Joseph), his " little 

Terminal Essay. 265 

Koranic Joseph and Potiphar's wife. It is told with a charm- 
ing naivete and sharp touches of local colour. 

Some of the apologues in The Nights are pointless enough, 
rien moins qu'amusants ; but in the best specimens, such as 
the Wolf and the Fox^ (the wicked man and the wily man), 
both characters are carefully kept distinct, and neither action 
nor dialogue ever flags. Again the Flea and the Mouse 
(ii. 251), of a type familiar to students of the Pilpay cycle, 
must strike the home-reader as peculiarly quaint. 

Next in date to the Apologue comes the Fairy Tale proper, 
where the natural universe is supplemented by one of purely 
imaginative existence. '' As the active world is inferior to 
the rational soul," says Bacon with his normal sound sense, 
"so Fiction gives to Mankind what History denies and in 
some measure satisfies the Mind with Shadows when it cannot 
enjoy the Substance. And as real History gives us not the 
success of things according to the deserts of vice and virtue, 
Fiction corrects it and presents us with the fates and fortunes 
of persons rewarded and punished according to merit." But 
I would say still more. History paints or attempts to paint 
life as it is, a mighty maze with or without a plan : Fiction 
shows or would show us life as it should be, wisely ordered 

brother," who becomes a " panther of the South (Nubia) for rage," at the wife's 
wicked proposal, takes the form of a bull — metamorphosis full blown. It is not, 
as some have called it, the " oldest book in the world ;" that name was given by 
M. Chabas to a MS. of Proverbs, dating from B.C. 2200. See also the " Story of 
Saneha," a novel earlier than the popular date of Moses, in the Contes Populaires 

^ The fox and the jackal are confounded by the Arabic dialects, not by the Per- 
sian, whose " Rubah " can never be mistaken for "Shaghal." " Sa'lab " among 
the Semites is locally applied to either beast and we can distinguish the two only 
by the fox being solitary and rapacious, and the jackal gregarious and a carrion- 
eater. In all Hindu tales the jackal seems to be an awkward substitute for the 
Grecian and classical fox, the Giddar or Kola {Cams aureus) being by no means 
sly and wily as the Lomri {Vulpes vulgaris). This is remarked by Weber 
(Indische Studien) and Prof. Benfey's retort about " King Nobel," the lion, is by 
no means to the point. See Katha Sarit Sagara, ii. 28. 

I may add that in Northern Africa jackal's gall, like jackal's grape {Solatium 
nigrum = h\ack nightshade), ass's milk and melted camel-hump, is used as an 
unguent by both sexes. 

266 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

and laid down on fixed lines. Thus Fiction is not the mere 
handmaid of History : she has a household of her own and 
she claims to be the triumph of Art, which, as Goethe 
remarked, is "Art because it is not Nature." Fancy, la folk 
du logis, is " that kind and gentle portress who holds the gate 
of Hope wide open, in opposition to Reason, the surly and 
scrupulous guard. "1 As Palmerin of England says, and says 
well, "For that the report of noble deeds doth urge the 
courageous mind to equal those who bear most commenda- 
tion of their approved valiancy ; this is the fair fruit of Imagi- 
nation and of ancient histories." And, last but not least, the 
faculty of Fancy takes count of the cravings of man's nature 
for the Marvellous, the Impossible, and of his higher aspira- 
tions for the Ideal, the Perfect : she realises the wild dreams 
and visions of his generous youth and portrays for him a 
portion of that " other and better world," with whose expecta- 
tion he would fain console his age. 

The imaginative varnish of The Nights serves admirably as 
a foil to the absolute realism of the picture in general. We 
enjoy being carried away from trivial and commonplace 
characters, scenes and incidents ; from the matter-of-fact 
surroundings of a work-a-day world, a life of eating and 
drinking, sleeping and waking, fighting and loving, into a 
society and a mise-en-scene which we suspect can exist and 
which we know does not. Every man at some turn or term 
of his life has longed for supernatural powers and a glimpse 
of Wonderland. Here he is in the midst of it. Here 
he sees mighty spirits summoned to work the human 
mite's will, however whimsical ; who can transport him in 
an eye-twinkling whithersoever he wishes ; who can ruin 
cities and build palaces of gold and silver, gems and 
jacinths ; who can serve up delicate viands and delicious 
drinks in priceless chargers and impossible cups and bring 
the choicest fruits from farthest Orient ; here he finds 

* Rambler, No. Ixvii. 

Terminal Essay. 267 

magas and magicians who can make kings of his friends, 
slay armies of his foes and bring any number of beloveds 
to his arms. And from this outraging probabiHty and 
outstripping possibility arises not a little of that strange 
fascination exercised for nearly two centuries upon the life 
and literature of Europe by The Nights, even in their 
mutilated and garbled form. The reader surrenders himself 
to the spell, feeling almost inclined to enquire " And why 
may it not be true .'* " ^ His brain is dazed and dazzled by the 
splendours which flash before it, by the sudden procession of 
Jinns and Jinniyahs, demons and fairies, some hideous, others 
preternaturally beautiful ; by good wizards and evil sorcerers, 
whose powers are unlimited for weal and for woe ; by mermen 
and mermaids, flying horses, talking animals, and reasoning 
elephants ; by magic rings and their slaves and by talis- 
manic couches which rival the Carpet of Solomon. Hence, 
as one remarks, these Fairy Tales have pleased and still 
continue to please almost all ages, all ranks and all different 

Dr. Hawkesworth ^ observes that these Fairy Tales find 
favour " because even their machinery, wild and wonderful 
as it is, has its laws ; and the magicians and enchanters 
perform nothing but what was naturally to be expected from 
such beings, after we had once granted them existence." 
Mr. Heron " rather supposes the very contrary is the truth 
of the fact. It is surely the strangeness, the unknown 
nature, the anomalous character of the supernatural agents 
here employed, that make them to operate so powerfully on 
our hopes, fears, curiosities, sympathies, and, in short, on all 
the feelings of our hearts. We see men and women, who 
possess qualities to recommend them to our favour, subjected 

^ Some years ago I was asked by my old landlady if ever in the course of my 
travels I had come across Captain Gulliver. 

* In "The Adventurer," quoted by Mr. Heron, "Translator's Preface to the 
Arabian Tales of Chaves and Cazotte." 

268 Alf Lay la h wa Laylah, 

to the influence of beings whose good or ill will, power or 
weakness, attention or neglect, are regulated by motives and 
circumstances which we cannot comprehend : and hence, we 
naturally tremble for their fate, with the same anxious con- 
cern as we should for a friend wandering, in a dark night, 
amidst torrents and precipices ; or preparing to land on a 
strange island, while he knew not whether he should be 
received on the shore by cannibals waiting to tear him 
piecemeal and devour him, or by gentle beings, disposed 
to cherish him with fond hospitality." Both writers have 
expressed themselves well, but meseems each has secured, 
as often happens, a fragment of the truth and holds it to be 
the whole Truth. Granted that such spiritual creatures as 
J inns walk the earth, we are pleased to find them so very 
human, as wise and as foolish in word and deed as ourselves: 
similarly we admire in a landscape natural forms like those 
of Staffa or the Palisades, which favour the works of architec- 
ture. Again, supposing such preternaturalisms to be around 
and amongst us, the wilder and more capricious they prove, 
the more our attention is excited and our forecasts are baffled 
to be set right in the end. But this not all. The grand 
source of pleasure in Fairy Tales is the natural desire to learn 
more of the Wonderland which is known to many as a word 
and nothing more, like Central Africa before the last half 
century : thus the interest is that of the " Personal Narra- 
tive " of a grand exploration to one who delights in travels. 
The pleasure must be greatest where faith is strongest ; for 
instance amongst imaginative races like the Kelts and 
especially Orientals, who imbibe supernaturalism with their 
mothers' milk. " I am persuaded," writes Mr. Bayle St. 
John,i " that the great scheme of preternatural energy, so 
fully developed in The Thousand and One Nights, is believed 

* " Life in a Levantine Family,'' chapt. xi. Since the able autlior found his 
"family" firmly believing in Tlie Nights, much has been changed in Alex- 
andria ; but the faith in Jinn and Ifrit, ghost and vampire is lively as ever. 

Terminal Essay. 269 

in by the majority of the inhabitants of all the religious pro- 
fession both in Syria and Egypt." He might have added 
" by every reasoning being from prince to peasant, from 
Mullah to Badawi, between Marocco and Outer Ind." 

The Fairy Tale in The Nights is wholly and purely 
Persian. The gifted Iranian race, physically the noblest 
and the most beautiful of all known to me, has exercised 
upon the world-history an amount of influence which has 
not yet been fully recognised. It repeated for Babylonian 
art and literature what Greece had done for Egyptian, whose 
dominant idea was that of working for eternity a KT^/^a «« dei. 
Hellas and Iran instinctively chose as their characteristic 
the idea of Beauty, rejecting all that was exaggerated and 
grotesque ; and they made the sphere of Art and Fancy as 
real as the world of Nature and Fact. The innovation was 
hailed by the Babylonian Hebrews. The so-called Book of 
Moses deliberately and ostentatiously ignored the future state 
of rewards and punishments, the other world which ruled the 
life of the Egyptian in this world : the lawgiver, whoever he 
may have been, Osarsiph or Moshe, apparently held the tenet 
to be unworthy of a race whose career he was directing to 
conquest and isolation in dominion. But the Jews, removed 
to Mesopotamia, the second cradle of the creeds, presently 
caught the infection of their i\siatic media ; superadded 
Babylonian legend to Egyptian myth ; stultified The Law 
by supplementing it with the " absurdities of foreign fable," 
and ended, as the Talmud proves, with becoming the most 
wildly superstitious and " other-worldly " of mankind. 

The same change befel Al-Islam. The whole of its 
supernaturalism is borrowed bodily from Persia, which had 
" imparadised earth by making it the abode of angels." 
Mohammed, a great and commanding genius blighted and 
narrowed by surroundings and circumstance to something 
little higher than a Covenanter or a Puritan, declared to his 

" I am sent to 'stablish the manners and customs ; " 

270 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

and his deficiency of imagination made him dislike every- 
thing but " women, perfumes and prayers," with an especial 
aversion to music and poetry, plastic art and fiction. Yet 
his system, unlike that of Moses, demanded thaumaturgy 
and metaphysical entities, and these he perforce borrowed 
from the Jews who had borrowed them from the Baby- 
lonians : his soul and spirit, his angels and devils, his 
cosmogony, his heavens and hells, even the Bridge over the 
Great Depth, are all either Talmudic or Iranian. But there 
he stopped and would have stopped others. His enemies 
among the Koraysh were in the habit of reciting certain 
Persian fabliaux and of extolling them as superior to the 
silly and equally fictitious stories of the *' Glorious Koran." 
The leader of these scoffers was one Nazr ibn Haris who, 
taken prisoner after the Battle of Bedr, was incontinently 
decapitated, by apostolic command, for what appears to be 
a natural and sensible preference. It was the same furious 
fanaticism and one-idea'd intolerance which made Caliph 
Omar destroy all he could find of the Alexandrian Library 
and prescribe burning for the Holy Books of the Persian 
Guebres. And the taint still lingers in Al-Islam : it will be 
said of a pious man, " He always studies the Koran, the 
Traditions and other books of Law and Religion ; and he 
never reads poems nor listens to music or to stories." 

Mohammed left a dispensation or rather a reformation so 
arid, jejune and material that it promised little more than 
the " Law of Moses," before this was vivified and racially 
baptised by Mesopotamian and Persic influences. But 
human nature was stronger than the Prophet and, thus out- 
raged, took speedy and absolute revenge. Before the first 
century had elapsed, orthodox Al-Islam was startled by the 
rise of Tasawwuf or Sufyism,^ a revival of classic Platonism 
and Christian Gnosticism, with a mingling of modern 
Hylozoism ; which, quickened by the glowing imagination 

' The name dates from the second century A.H. or before A.D. 815. 

Terminal Essay. 271 

of the East, speedily formed itself into a creed the most 
poetical and impractical, the most spiritual and the most tran- 
scendental ever invented ; satisfying all man's hunger for 
" belief," which, if placed upon a solid basis of fact and proof, 
would forthright cease to be belief. 

I will take from The Nights, as a specimen of the true 
Persian Romance, " The Queen of the Serpents " (vol. iii. 337), 
the subject of Lane's Carlylean denunciation. The first 
gorgeous picture is the Session of the Snakes, which, like their 
Indian congeners the Naga kings and queens, have human 
heads and reptile bodies, an Egyptian myth that engendered 
the *' old serpent " of Genesis. The Sultanah welcomes Hasib 
Kari'm al-Din, the hapless lad who had been left in a cavern 
to die by the greedy woodcutters ; and, in order to tell him 
her tale, introduces the "Adventures of Bulukiya,:" the latter is 
an Israelite converted by editorandscribeto Mohammedanism; 
but we can detect under his assumed faith the older creed. 
Solomon is not buried by authentic history " beyond the Seven 
(mystic) Seas," but at Jerusalem or Tiberias ; and his seal- 
ring suggests the Jam.-i-Jam, the crystal cup of the great 
King Jamshi'd. The descent of the Archangel Gabriel, so 
familiar to Al-Islam, is the manifestation of Bahman, the 
First Intelligence, the mightiest of the Angels, who enabled 
Zarathustra-Zoroaster to walk like Bulukiya, over the Dalati 
or Caspian Sea.^ Amongst the sights shown to Bulukiya, as 
he traverses the Seven Oceans, is a battle royal between the 
believing and the unbelieving Jinns, true Magian dualism, the 
eternal duello of the Two Roots or antagonistic Principles, Good 
and Evil, Hormuzd and Ahriman, which Milton has debased 
into a commonplace modern combat fought also with cannon. 
Sakhr the Jinni is Eshem, chief of the Divs, and Kaf, the 
encircling mountain, is a later edition of Persian Alborz. So 
in the Mantak al-Tayr (Colloquy of the Flyers) the Birds, 
emblems of souls, seeking the presence of the gigantic 

^ Dabistan i. 231, etc. 

272 Alf Lay la h wa Laylah. 

feathered biped Simurgh, their god, traverse seven Seas 
(according to others seven Wadys) of Search, of Love, of 
Knowledge, of Competence, of Unity, of Stupefacation, and 
of Altruism (z>. annihilation of self ), the several stages of 
contemplative life. At last, standing upon the mysterious 
island of the Simurgh and " casting a clandestine glance at 
him they saw thirty birds' in him ; and when they turned their 
eyes to themselves the thirty birds seemed one Simurgh ; 
they saw in themselves the entire Simurgh ; they saw in the 
Simurgh the thirty birds entirely." Therefore they arrived 
at the solution of the problem " We and TJiou ; " that is, the 
identity of God and Man ; they were for ever annihilated in 
the Simurgh and the shade vanished in the sun (ibid.) 
The wild ideas concerning Khalit and Malit (vol. iii. 393) are 
again Guebre. " From the seed of Kayomars (the androgyne, 
like pre-Adamite man) sprang a tree shaped like two human 
beings and thence proceeded Meshia and Meshianah, first man 
and woman, progenitors of mankind ; " who, though created 
for " Shidistan, Lightland," were seduced by Ahriman. This 
" two-man-tree " is evidently the duality of Physis and Anti- 
physis. Nature and her counterpart, the battle between Mihr, 
Izad or Mithra with his Surush and Feristeh (Seraphs and 
Angels) against the Divs, who are the children of Time led 
by the arch-demon Eshem. Thus when Hormuzd created 
the planets, the dog, and all useful animals and plants, 
Ahriman produced the comets, the wolf, noxious beasts 
and poisonous growths. The Hindus represent the same 
metaphysical idea by Bram.ha the Creator and Visva- 
karma, the Anti-creator,- miscalled by Europeans Vulcan ; 

* Because Si = thirty and Murgh = bird. In McClenachan's Addendum to 
Mackay's Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry we find the following definition : 
" Simorgh, a monstrous griffin, guardian of the Persian mysteries." 

- For a poor and inadequate description of the festivals commemorating this 
"Architect of the Gods" see vol. iii. 177, "View of the History, etc., of the 
Hindus," by the learned Dr. Ward, who could see in them only the "low and 
sordid nature of idolatry." But we can hardly expect better things from a 
missionary in 1822, when no one took the trouble to understand what " idolatry " 

Termhial Essay. 273 

the former fashions a horse and a bull and the latter caricatures 
them with an ass and a buffalo, — " evolution " turned topsy- 
turvy. After seeing nine angels and obtaining an explana- 
tion of the Seven Stages of Earth, which is supported by the 
Gav-i-Zamin, the energy, symbolised by a bull, implanted by 
the Creator in the mundane sphere, Bulukiya meets the four 
Archangels, to wit Gabriel who is the Persian Rawanbakhsh 
or Life-giver ; Michael or Beshter, Raphael or Israfil alias 
Ardibihisht, and Azazel or Azrail who is Duma or Mordad, 
the Death-giver; and the four are about to attack the Dragon, 
that is, the demons hostile to mankind who were driven 
behind Alborz-Kaf by Tahmuras the ancient Persian king. 
Bulukiya then recites an episode within an episode, the 
" Story of Janshah," itself a Persian name and accompanied 
by two others (vol. iii. 401), the mise-en-scene being Kabul 
and the King of Khorasan appearing in the proem. Janshah, 
the young Prince, no sooner comes to man's estate than he 
loses himself out hunting and falls in with cannibals whose 
bodies divide longitudinally, each moiety going its own way: 
these are the Shikk (split ones) which the Arabs borrowed 
from the Persian Nim-chihrah or Half-faces. They escape 
to the Ape-island whose denizens are human in intelligence 
and speak articulately, as the universal East believes they 
can : these Simiads are at chronic war with the Ants, alluding 
to some obscure myth which gave rise to the gold-diggers of 
Herodotus and other classics, "emmets in size somewhat 
less than dogs but bigger than foxes."^ The episode then 
falls into the banalities of Oriental folk-lore. Janshah, pass- 
ing the Sabbation river and reaching the Jews' city, is per- 

' Eawlinson (ii. 491) on Herod, iii. c. 102. Nearchus saw the skins of these 
formicse Indicse, by some rationalists explained as "jackals," whose stature 
corresponds with the text, and by others as "pangolins" or ant-eaters {manis 
pentedactyla). The learned Sanskritist, Horace H. Wilson, quotes the name 
Pippilika = ant-gold, given by the people of Little Thibet to the precious dust 
thrown up in the emmet heaps. 


2 74 -^if Layiah wa Laylah. 

suaded to be sewn up in a skin and is carried in the normal 
way to the top of the Mountain of Gems where he makes 
acquaintance with Shaykh Nasr, Lord of the Birds : he enters 
the usual forbidden room ; falls in love with the pattern 
Swan- maiden ; wins her by the popular process ; loses her 
and recovers her through the Monk Yaghmus, whose name, 
like that of King Teghmus, is a burlesque of the Greek ; and, 
finally, when she is killed by a shark, determines to mourn 
her loss till the end of his days. Having heard this story 
Bulukiya quits him ; and, resolving to regain his natal land, 
falls in with Khizr ; and the Green Prophet, who was Wazir 
to Kay Kobad (sixth century B. C.) and was connected with 
Macedonian Alexander (!), enables him to win his wish. The 
rest of the tale calls for no comment. 

Thirdly and lastly we have the histories, historical stories 
and the " Ana " of great men, in which Easterns as well as 
Westerns delight : the gravest writers do not disdain to 
relieve the dulness of chronicles and annals by means of 
such discussions, humorous or pathetic, moral or grossly 
indecent. The dates must greatly vary : some of the anec- 
dotes relating to the early Caliphs appear almost contempo- 
rary ; others, like AH of Cairo and Abu al-Shamat, may be 
as late as the Ottoman Conquest of Egypt (sixteenth century). 
All are distinctly Sunnite and show fierce animus against the 
Shi'ah heretics, suggesting that they were written after the 
destruction of the Fatimite dynasty (twelfth century) by Salah 
al-Din (Saladin the Kurd) one of the latest historical personages 
and the last king named in The Nights.^ These anecdotes are 
so often connected with what a learned Frenchman terms the 

^ A writer in the Edinburgh Rndew (July, '86), of whom more, and much 
more, presently, suggests that The Nights assumed essentially their present shape 
during the general revival of letters, arts and requirements which accompanied 
the Kurdish and Tartar irruptions into the Nile Valley, a golden age which 
embraced the whole of the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and 
ended with the Ottoman Conquest in A.D. 1527. 

Terminal Essay. 275 

" regne feerique de Haroun er-Reschid,"^ that the Great Caliph 
becomes the hero of this portion of The Nights. Aaron the 
Orthodox was the central figure of the most splendid empire 
the world had seen, the Viceregent of Allah combining the 
powers of Csesar and Pope, and wielding them right worthily 
according to the general voice of historians. To quote a 
few : Ali bin Talib al-Khorasani described him, in A,D. 934, 
a century and-a-half after his death, when flattery would be 
tougue-tied, as " one devoted to war and pilgrimage, whose 
bounty embraced the folk at large." Sa'adi (ob. A.D. 1291) 
tells a tale highly favourable to him in the " Gulistan " (lib. 
i. 16). Fakhr al-Din^ (fourteenth century) lauds his merits, 
eloquence, science and generosity ; and Al-Siyuti (nat. A.D. 
1445) asserts, " He was one of the most distinguished of 
Caliphs and the most illustrious of the Princes of the Earth " 
(p. 290). The Shaykh al-Nafzawi (sixteenth century) in his 
Rauz al-'Atir fi Nazah al-Khatir =: the Scented Garden Man's 
Heart to gladden, calls Harun (chapt. vii.) the " Master of 
munificence and bounty, the best of the generous." And 
even the latest writers have not ceased to praise him. Says 
All Aziz Efendi, the Cretan, in the Story of Jewad ^ (p. 81), 
'' Harun was the most bounteous, illustrious and upright of 
the Abbaside Caliphs." 

The fifth Abbaside was fair and handsome, of noble and 
majestic presence, a sportsman and an athlete who delighted 
in polo and archery. He showed sound sense and true wis- 
dom in his speech to the grammarian-poet Al-Asma'i, who 

' Let us humbly hope not again to hear of the golden prime of 
" The good (fellow ?) Haroun Alrasch'id," 

a mispronunciation which suggests only a rasher of bacon. Why will not poets 
mind their quantities, in lieu of stultifying their lines by childish ignorance? 
What can be more painful than Byron's 

" They laid his du-st in Ar'qua (for Arqua') where he died " ? 

" See De Sacy's Chrestomathie Arabe (Paris, 1826), vol. i. 
■' Translatea by a well-known Turkish scholar, Mr. E. J. W. Gibb, Glasgow, 
Wilson and McCormick, 1884). 

276 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

had undertaken to teach him : — " Ne m'enseignez jamais en 
public, et ne vous empressez pas trop de me donner des avis 
en particulier. Attendez ordinairement que je vous interroge, 
et contentez-vous de me donner une reponse precise a ce 
que je vous demanderai, sans y rien ajouter de superflu. 
Gardez vous surtout de vouloir me preoccuper pour vous 
attirer ma creance, et pour vous donner de I'autoritd Ne 
vous etendez jamais trop en long sur les histoires et les 
traditions que vous me raconterez, si je ne vous en donne la 
permission. Lorsque vous verrai que je m'eloignerai de 
I'equit^ dans mes jugements, ramenez-moi avec douceur, sans 
user de paroles facheuses ni de reprimandes. Enseignez-moi 
principalement les choses qui sont les plus necessaries pour 
les discours que je dois faire en public, dans les mosquees et 
ailleurs ; et ne parlez point en termes obscurs ou myste- 
rieux, ni avec des paroles trop recherchees." ^ 

He became well read in science and letters, especially history 
and tradition, for " his understanding was as the understanding 
of the learned ;" and, like all educated Arabs of his day, he was 
a connoisseur of poetry which at times he improvised with 
success."- He made the pilgrimage every alternate year and 
sometimes on foot, while " his military expeditions almost 
equalled his pilgrimages." Day after day during his Cali- 
phate he prayed a hundred " bows," never neglecting them, 
save for some especial reason, till his death ; and he used to give 
from his privy purse alms to the extent of a hundred dirhams 
per diem. He delighted in panegyry and liberally rewarded 
its experts, one of whom, Abd al-Sammak the Preacher, fairly 
said of him, " Thy humility in thy greatness is nobler than 
thy greatness." " No Caliph," says Al-Niftawayh, *' had been 

^ D'Herbelot (s. v. *' Asmai"): I am reproached by a dabbler in Orientalism 
for using this admirable writer, who shows more knowledge in one page than my 
critic ever did in a whole volume. 

* For specimens see Al-Siyuli, pp. 301 and 304; and the Shaykh al-Nafzawi, 
pp. 134-35- 

Termi7ial Essay. 277 

so profusely liberal to poets lawyers and divines, although 
as the years advanced he wept over his extravagance amongst 
other sins." There was vigorous manliness in his answer to 
the Grecian Emperor who had sent him an insulting missive : 
— " In the name of Allah ! From the Commander of the 
Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, to Nicephorus the Roman dog. I 
have read thy writ, O son of a miscreant mother ! Thou 
shalt not hear, thou shalt see my reply." Nor did he cease 
to make the Byzantine feel the weight of his arm till he 
"nakh'd"^ his camel in the imperial court-yard; and this 
was only one instance of his indomitable energy and hatred 
of the Infidel. Yet, if the West is to be believed, he forgot 
his fanaticism in his diplomatic dealings and courteous inter- 
course with Carolus Magnus.^ Finally, his civilised and well 
regulated rule contrasted as strongly with the barbarity and 
turbulence of occidental Christendom, as the splendid Court 
and the luxurious life of Baghdad and its carpets and hang- 
ings devanced the quasi-savagery of London and Paris whose 
palatial halls were spread with rushes. 

The great Caliph ruled twenty-three years and a few 
months (A. H. 170-193 = A.D. 786-808) ; and, as his youth 
was chequered and his reign was glorious, so was his end 

^ The word "nakh" (to make a camel kneel) has been explained. 

" The present of the famous horologium-clepsydra-cuckoo-clock, the dog 
Becerillo and the elephant Abu Lubabah sent by Harun to Charlemagne is not 
mentioned by Eastern authorities and consequently no reference to it will be 
found in my late friend Professor Palmer's little volume " Haroun Alraschid," 
London, Marcus Ward, 1881. We have allusions to many presents, the clock 
and elephant, tent and linen hangings, silken dresses, perfumes, and candelabra 
of auricalch brought by the Legati (Abdalla, Georgius Abba et Felix) of Aaron 
Amiralmumminim Regis Persarum who entered the Port of Pisa (A.D. 801) in 
(vol. V. 178) Recueil des Hist, des Gaules et de la France, etc., par Dom 
Martin Bouquet, Paris mdccxliv. The author also quotes the lines : — 

Persarum Princeps illi devinctus amore 

Prsecipuo fuerat, nomen habens Aaron. 

Gratia cui Caroli prse cunctis Regibus atque 
Illis Principibus tempora cara fuit. 

278 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

obscure.^ After a vision foreshadowing his death,^ which 
happened, as becomes a good Moslem, during a military 
expedition to Khorasan, he ordered his grave to be dug and 
himself to be carried to it in a covered litter. When sighting 
the fosse he exclaimed, " O son of man, thou art come to 
this ! " Then he commanded himself to be set down and a 
perlection of the Koran to be made over him in the litter on 
the edge of the grave. He was buried (aet. forty-five) at 
Sanabad, a village near Tus. 

Aaron the Orthodox appears in The Nights as a head- 
strong and violent autocrat, a right royal figure according 
to the Moslem ideas of his day. But his career shows that 
he was not more tyrannical nor more sanguinary than the 
normal despot of the East or the contemporary Kings of the 
West : in most points, indeed, he was far superior to the 
historic misrulers who have afflicted the world from Spain 
to furthest China. But a single great crime, a tragedy whose 
details are almost incredibly horrible, marks his reign with 
the stain of infamy, with a blot of blood never to be 
washed away. This tale, " full of the waters of the eye," as 
Firdausi sings, is the massacre of the Barmecides ; a story 
which has often been told and which cannot here be passed 
over in silence. The ancient and noble Iranian house, 
belonging to the " Ebna " or Arabised Persians, had long 
served the Ommiades, till, early in our eighth century, Khalid 
bin Bermek,^ the chief, entered the service of the first Abba- 
side and became Wazir and Intendant of Finance to Al- 
Safifah. The most remarkable and distinguished of the 

' Many have remarked that the actual date of the decease is unknown. 

^ See Al-Siyuti (p. 305) and Dr. Jonathan Scott's "Tales, Anecdotes, and 
Letters " (p. 296). 

^ I have given the vulgar derivation of the name ; and D'Herbelot (s. v. 
Barmakian) quotes some Persian lines alluding to the " supping up." Al- 
Mas'udi's account of the family's early history is unfortunately lost. This 
Khalid succeeded Abu Salamah, first entitled " Wazir " under Al-SaflTah (Ibn 
Khallikan i. 468). 

Terminal Essay. 279 

family, he was in office when Al-Mansur transferred the 
capital from Damascus, the head-quarters of the hated 
Ommiades, to Baghdad, built ad hoc. After securing the 
highest character in history by his personal gifts and public 
services, he was succeeded by his son and heir Yahya (John), 
a statesman famed from early youth for prudence and pro- 
found intelligence, liberality and nobility of soul.^ He was 
charged by the Caliph Al-Mahdi with the education of his 
son Harun, hence the latter was accustomed to call him 
father ; and, until the assassination of the fantastic tyrant 
Al-Hadi, who proposed to make his own child Caliph, he 
had no little difficulty in preserving the youth from death in 
prison. The Orthodox, once seated firmly on the throne, 
appointed Yahya his Grand Wazir. This great administrator 
had four sons, Al-Fazl, Ja'afar, Mohammed, and Musa,^ in 
whose time the house of Bermek rose to that height from 
which decline and fall are, in the East, well nigh certain and 
imminent Al-Fazl was a foster-brother of Harun, an ex- 
change of suckling infants having taken place between the 
two mothers for the usual object, a tightening of the ties of 
intimacy : he was a man of exceptional mind, but he lacked 
the charm of temper and manner which characterised Ja'afar. 
The poets and rhetoricians have been profuse in their praises 
of the cadet who appears in The Nights as an adviser of 
calm sound sense, an intercessor and a peace-maker, and 
even more remarkable than the rest of his family for an 
almost incredible magnanimity and generosity — une generosite 
effrayante. Mohammed was famed for exalted views and 
nobility of sentiment, and Musa for bravery and energy : of 
both it was justly said, " They did good and harmed not." ^ 

For ten years (not including an interval of seven) from the 
time of Al-Rashid's accession (A.D. j^6) to the date of their 

^ For his poetry see Ibn Khallikan iv. 103. 

" Their flatterers compared them with the four elements. 

^ Al-Mas'udi, chapt. cxii. 

28o Alf Lay la h wa Lay la h. 

fall (A.D. 803), Yahya and his sons Al-Fazl and Ja'afar 
were virtually rulers of the great heterogeneous empire 
which extended from Mauritania to Tartary, and they did 
notable service in arresting its disruption. Their downfall 
came sudden and terrible like " a thunderbolt from the 
blue." As the Caliph and Ja'afar were halting in Al-'Umr 
(the convent) near Anbar-town on the Euphrates, after a 
convivial evening spent in different pavilions, Harun during 
the dead of the night called up his page Yasir al-Rikhlah ^ 
and bade him bring Ja'afar's head. The messenger found 
Ja'afar still carousing with the blind poet Abii Zakkar ^ and 
the Christian physician Gabriel ibn Bakhtiashu, and was 
persuaded to return to the Caliph and report his death ; the 
Wazir adding, " An he express regret I shall owe thee my life ; 
and if not, whatso Allah will, be done." Ja'afar followed to 
listen and heard only the Caliph exclaim, " O slave, if thou 
answer me another word, I will send thee before him ! " 
whereupon he at once bandaged his own eyes and received 
the fatal blow. Al-Asma'i, who was summoned to the pre- 
sence shortly after, recounts that when the head was brought 
to Harun he gazed at it, and summoning two witnesses com- 
manded them to decapitate Yasir, crying, " I cannot bear to 
look upon the slayer of Ja'afar ! " His vengeance did not 
cease with the death : he ordered the head to be gibbetted at 
one end and the trunk at the other abutment of the Tigris 
Bridge, where the corpses of the vilest malefactors used to be 
exposed , and, some months afterwards, he insulted the remains 
by having them burned — the last and worst indignity which 
can be offered to a Moslem. There are indeed pity and terror 
in the difference between two such items in the Treasury- 

' Ibn Khallikan (i. 310) says the Eunuch Abu Hashim Masriir, the Sworder of 
Vengeance, who is so pleasantly associated with Ja'afar in many nightly disguises ; 
but the Eunuch survived the Caliph. Fukhral-Uin (p. 27) adds that Masrur was 
an enemy of Ja'afar ; and gives further details concerning the execution. 

- For the verses which Abu Zakkar was singing at the time, see De Sacy, 
Chrest., iii. 519. 

Teriniiial Essay. 281 

accounts as these : " Four hundred thousand dinars (;^200,ooo) 
to a robe of honour for the Wazir Ja'afar bin Yahya ; " and 
" Ten ki'rat (5 shillings) to naphtha and reeds for burning 
the body of Ja'afar the Barmecide." 

Meanwhile Yahya and Al-Fazl, seized by the Caliph 
Harun's command at Baghdad, were significantly cast into the 
prison " Habs al-Zanadikah " — of the Guebres — and their 
immense wealth, which, some opine, hastened their downfall, 
was confiscated. According to the historian Tabari (vol. iv. 
468), who, however, is not supported by all the annalists, the 
whole Barmecide family, men, women, and children, number- 
ing over a thousand, were slaughtered with only three 
exceptions ; Yahya, his brother Mohammed, and his son Al- 
Fazl. The Caliph's foster-father, who lived to the age of 
seventy-four, was allowed to die in jail (A.H. 805) after two 
years' imprisonment at Rakkah. Al-Fazl, after having been 
tortured with two hundred blows in order to make him pro- 
duce concealed property, survived his father three years and 
died in Nov. A.H. 808, some four months before his terrible 
foster-brother, A pathetic tale is told of the son warming 
water for the old man's use by pressing the copper ewer to his 
own stomach. 

The motives of this terrible massacre are variously re- 
counted, but no sufficient explanation has yet been, or possibly 
ever will be given. The popular idea is embodied in The 
Nights.' Harun, wishing Ja'afar to be his companion even 
in the Harem, had wedded him, pro forma, to his eldest sister 
Abbasah, " the loveliest woman of her day," and brilliant in 
mind as in body ; but he had expressly said, " I will marry 
thee to her, that it may be lawful for thee to look upon her, 
but thou shalt not touch her." Ja'afar bound himself by a 
solemn oath; but his mother Attabah was mad enough 

^ Bresl. Edit., Night dlxvii., translated in Mr. Pa)Tie's " Tales from the Arabic," 
vol. i. 189, and headed "Al-Rashid and the Barmecides." It is far less lively 
and dramatic than the account of the same event given by Al-Mas'udi, chapt. 
cxii., by Ibn Khallikan, by Tabari and by Fakhr al-Din. 

282 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

to deceive him in his cups and the result was a boy (Ibn 
KhalHkan) or, according to others, twins. The issue was sent 
under the charge of a confidential eunuch and a slave-girl to 
Meccah for concealment; but the secret was divulged to 
Zubaydah, who had her own reasons for hating husband and 
wife and who cherished an especial grievance against Yahya.^ 
Thence it soon found its way to head-quarters. Harun's 
treatment of Abbasah supports the general conviction : accord- 
ing to the most credible accounts she and her child were 
buried alive in a pit under the floor of her apartment. 

But, possibly, Ja'afar's perjury was only "the last straw." 
Already Al-Fazl bin Rabi'a, the deadliest enemy of the 
Barmecides, had been entrusted (A.D. "j^G) with the Wazirate, 
which he kept seven years. Ja'afar had also acted generously 
but imprudently in abetting the escape of Yahya bin Abdillah, 
Sayyid and Alide, for whom the Caliph had commanded 
confinement in a close dark dungeon : when charged with 
disobedience the Wazir had made full confession and Harun 
had (they say) exclaimed, " Thou hast done well ! " but 
was heard to mutter, " Allah slay me an I slay thee not." ^ 
The great house seems at times to have abused its 
powers by being too peremptory with Harun and Zubay- 
dah, especially in money matters;^ and its very greatness 
would have created for it many and powerful enemies and 
detractors who plied the Caliph with anonymous verse and 
prose. Nor was it forgotten that, before the spread of Al- 
Islam, they had presided over the Naubehar or Pyraethrum 
of Balkh ; and Harun is said to have remarked anent Yahya, 
" The zeal for magianism, rooted in his heart, induces him to 
save all the monuments connected with his faith. "^ Hence 

' Al-Mas'udi, chapt. cxi. 

-See Dr. Jonathan Scott's extracts from Major Ouseley's "Tarikh-i- 

^ Al-Mas'udi, chapt. cxii. For the liberties Ja'afar took see Ibn Khali, i. 303. 

* Ibid, chapt. xxiv. For Al-Rashid's hatred of the Zindiks see Al-Siyuti, 
pp. 292, 301 ; and as regards the religious troubles, ibid. p. 362 and passim. 

Terminal Essay. 283 

the charge that they were " Zanadikah," a term properly 
appHed to those who study the Zend scripture, but popularly 
meaning Mundanists, Positivists, Reprobates, Agnostics 
(know-nothings), Atheists ; and, it may be noted that, im- 
mediately after Al-Rashid's death, violent religious troubles 
broke out in Baghdad. Ibn Khallikan' quotes Sa'id ibn 
Salim, a well-known grammarian and traditionist, who 
philosophically remarked, "Of a truth the Barmecides did 
nothing to deserve Al-Rashid's severity, but the day (of 
their power and prosperity) had been long and whatso 
endureth long waxeth longsome." Fakhr al-Din says (p. 27), 
" On attribue encore leur ruine aux manieres fieres et 
orgueilleuses de Djafar (Ja'afar) et de Fadhl (Al-Fazl), 
manieres que les rois ne sauroient supporter." According 
to Ibn Badriin the poet, when the Caliph's sister 'Olayyah 
asked him, " O my lord, I have not seen thee enjoy one happy 
day since putting Ja'afar to death: wherefore didst thou slay 
him?" he answered, " My dear life, an I thought that my shirt 
knew the reason I would tear it in tatters ! " I therefore hold 
with Al-Mas'udi, '* As regards the intimate cause (of the 
catastrophe) it is unknown, and Allah is Omniscient." 

Aaron the Orthodox appears sincerely to have repented his 
enormous crime. From that date he never enjoyed refreshing 
sleep : he would have given his whole realm to recall Ja'afar 
to life ; and, if any spoke slightingly of the Barmecides in his 
presence, he would exclaim, " Allah curse your fathers ! Cease 
to blame them, or fill the void they have left." And he had 
ample reason to mourn the loss. After the extermination of the 
wise and enlightened family, the affairs of the Caliphate never 
prospered : Fazl bin Rabi'a, though a man of intelligence and de- 
voted to letters, proved a poor substitute for Yahya and Ja'afar ; 
and the Caliph is reported to have applied to him the couplet : — 

No sire to your sire,'^ I bid you spare * Your calumnies or their place replace. 

' Biogr. Diet. i. 309. 

^ i.e. Perdition to your fathers, Allah's curse on your ancestors. 

284 A If Lay I ah wa Laylah. 

His unwise elevation of his two rival sons filled him with 
fear of poison, and, lastly, the violence and recklessness of the 
popular mourning for the Barmecides,^ whose echo has not 
yet died away, must have added poignancy to his tardy 
penitence. The crime still "sticks fiery off" from the rest of 
Harun's career : it stands out in ghastly prominence as one of 
the most terrible tragedies recorded by history, and its horrible 
details make men write passionately on the subject to this 
our day.^ 

As of Harun so of Zubaydah it may be said that she was far 
superior in most things to contemporary royalties, and she was 
not worse at her worst than the normal despot-queen of the 
Morning-land. We must not take seriously the tales of her 
jealousy in The Nights, which mostly end in her selling off 
or burying alive her rivals ; but, even were all true, she acted 
after the recognised fashion of her exalted sisterhood. The 
secret history of Cairo, during the last generation, tells of 
many a viceregal dame who committed all the crimes, without 
any of the virtues, which characterised Harun's cousin-spouse. 
And the difference between the manners of the Caliphate 
and the " respectability " of the nineteenth century may be 
measured by the Tale called " Al-Maamun and Zubaydah."^ 
The lady, having won a game of forfeits from her husband, 
and being vexed with him for imposing unseemly conditions 
when he had been the winner, condemned him to marry the 
foulest and filthiest kitchen-wench in the palace ; and thus 
was begotten the Caliph who succeeded and destroyed her 

Zubaydah was the grand-daughter of the second Abbaside 

^ See " Ja'afar and the Bean-seller ;" where the great Wazir is said to have been 
"crucified." Also Roebuck's Persian Proverbs, i. 2, 346, " This also is through 
the munificence of the Barmecides." 

^ I especially allude to my friend Mr. Payne's admirably written account of it 
in his concluding Essay (vol. ix.) From his views of the Great Caliph and the 
Lady Zubaydah I must differ in every point except the destruction of the Barmecides. 

^ Bresl. Edit., vol. vii. 261-62. 

Terminal Essay. 285 

Al-Mansur, by his son Ja'afar, whom The Nights persistently 
term Al-Kasim : her name was Amat al-Azi'z or Handmaid 
of the Almighty ; her cognomen was Umm Ja'afar as her 
husband's was Abu Ja'afar ; and her popular name " Cream- 
kin " derives from Zubdah,^ cream or fresh butter, on account 
of her plumpness and freshness. She was as majestic and 
munificent as her husband ; and the hum of prayer was never 
hushed in her palace. Al-Mas'udi ^ makes a historian say to 
the dangerous Caliph Al-Kahir, " The nobleness and gene- 
rosity of this Princess, in serious matters as in her diversions, 
place her in the highest rank ; " and he proceeds to give 
ample proof. Al-Siyuti relates how she once filled a poet's 
mouth with jewels which he sold for twenty thousand dinars. 
Ibn Khallikan (i. 523) affirms of her, " Her charity was ample, 
her conduct virtuous, and the history of her pilgrimage to 
Meccah and of what she undertook to execute on the way is 
so well known that it were useless to repeat it." I have 
noted (Pilgrimage iii. 2) how the Darb al-Sharki or Eastern 
road from Meccah to Al-Medinah was due to the piety of 
Zubaydah, who dug wells from Baghdad to the Prophet's 
burial place and built not only cisterns and caravanserais, but 
even a wall to direct pilgrims over the shifting sands. She 
also supplied Meccah, which suffered severely from want of 
water, with the chief requisite for public hygiene by connect- 
ing it, through levelled hills and hewn rocks, with the Ayn 
al-Mushash in the Arafat subrange ; and the fine aqueduct, 
some ten miles long, was erected at a cost of 1,700,000 to 
2,000,000 of gold pieces.^ We cannot wonder that her name 
is still famous among the Badawin and the " Sons of the Holy 

^ Mr. Grattan Geary, in a work previously noticed, informs us (i. 212), " The 
Sitt al-Zobeide, or the Lady Zobeide, was so named from the great Zobeide tribe 
of Arabs occupying the country East and West of the Euphrates near the Hindi'ah 
Canal; she was the daughter of a powerful Sheik of that tribe." Can this ex- 
plain the " Kasim ''? 

"^ Vol. viii. 296. 

* Burckhardt, "Travels in Arabia," vol. i. 185. 

2 86 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Cities." She died at Baghdad, after a protracted widowhood, 
in A.H. 216, and her tomb, which still exists, was long visited 
by the friends and dependents who mourned the loss of a 
devout and most liberal woman. 

The reader will bear with me while I run through the tales 
and add a few remarks to the notices given in the notes : the 
glance must necessarily be brief, however extensive be the 
theme. The admirable introduction follows, in all the texts 
and MSS. known to me, the same main lines, but differs 
greatly in minor details, as will be seen by comparing Mr. 
Payne's translation with Lane's and mine. In the tale of the 
Sage Duban appears the speaking head which is found in 
the Kamil, in Mirkhond and in the Kitab al-Uyun : M. C. 
Barbier de Meynard (v. 503) traces it back to an abbreviated 
text of Al-Mas'udi. I would especially recommend to students 
The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad (i. 73), whose 
mighty revel ends in general marriage. To judge by the 
style and changes of person, some of the most " archaic " ex- 
pressions suggest the hand of the Rawi or professional tale- 
teller. The next tale, sometimes called " The Two Wazirs," 
is notable for its regular and genuine drama-intrigue, which, 
however, appears still more elaborate and perfected in other 
pieces. The richness of this Oriental plot-invention contrasts 
strongly with all European literatures except the Spaniard's, 
whose taste for the theatre determined his direction, and the 
Italian's, which in Boccaccio's day had borrowed freely 
through Sicily from the East. And the remarkable deficiency 
lasted till the romantic movement dawned in France, when 
Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas showed their marvellous 
powers of faultless fancy, boundless imagination and scenic 
luxuriance, " raising French poetry from the dead and 7iot 
mortally wounding French prose.''' The Two Wazirs is 

^ The reverse has been remarked by more than one writer ; and contemporary 
French opinion seems to be that Victor Hugo's influence on French prose was, on 
the whole, not beneficial. 

Terminal Essay. 287 

followed by the gem of the volume, The Adventure of the 
Hunchback-jester, also containing an admirable surprise and 
a fine development of character, while its " wild but natural 
simplicity " and its humour are so abounding that it has 
echoed through the world to the farthest West, It gave to 
Addison the Story of Alnaschar ^ and to Europe the term 
" Barmecide Feast," from the " Tale of Shacabac." The 
adventures of the corpse were known to the Occident long 
before Galland, as shown by three fabliaux in Barbazan. I 
have noticed that the Barber's Tale of Himself is histori- 
cal, and I may add that it is told in detail by Al-Mas'udi 
(chap. cxiv). 

Follows the tale of Nur al-Di'n Ali, and what Galland mis- 
calls " The Fair Persian," a brightly written historiette with 
not a few touches of true humour. Noteworthy are the Slaver's 
address, the fine description of the Baghdad garden, the 
drinking-party, the Caliph's frolic and the happy end of the 
hero's misfortunes. Its brightness is tempered by the gloomy 
tone of the tale which succeeds, and which has variants in the 
Bagh o Bahar, a Hindustani version of the Persian " Tale of 
the Four Darwayshes ;" and in the Turkish Kirk Vezir or 
" Book of the Forty Vezirs." Its dismal p^ripeties are relieved 
only by the witty tale of Eunuch Bukhayt and the admirable 
humour of Eunuch Kafur, whose " half-lie " is known 
throughout the East. Here also the lover's agonies are piled 
upon him for the purpose of unpiling at last : the Oriental 

' Mr. W. S. Clouston, the " Storiologist," who has lately published an excellent 
work entitled "Popular Tales and Fictions ; their Migrations and Transformations," 
informs me the first to adapt this witty anecdote was Jacques de Vitry, the 
crusading bishop of A ccon (Acre), who died at Rome in 1240, after setting the 
example of " Exempla " or instances in his sermons. He had probably heard it 
in Syria, and he changed the day-dreamer into a Milkmaid and her Milk-pail to 
suit his " flock." It then appears as an " Exemplum " in the Liber de Donis or 
de Septem Donis (or De Dono Timoris from Fear, the first gift) of Stephanus de 
Borbone, the Dominican, ob. Lyons, 1261 : the book treated of the gifts of the 
Holy Spirit (Isaiah xi. 2, 3), Timor, Pietas, Scientia, Fortitudo, Consilium, 
Intellectus et Sapientia ; and was plentifully garnished with narratives for the use 
of preachers. 

288 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

tale-teller knows by experience that, as a rule, doleful endings 
" don't pay." 

The next is the long romance of chivalry, " King Omar 
bin al-Nu'uman," etc., which occupies an eighth of the whole 
repertory and the best part of two volumes. Mr. Lane omits 
it because " obscene and tedious," showing the licence with 
which he translated ; and he was set right by a learned 
reviewer,^ who truly declared that " the omission of half-a- 
dozen passages out of four hundred pages would fit it for 
printing in any language and the charge of tediousness could 
hardly have been applied more unhappily." The tale is inter- 
esting as a picture of mediaeval Arab chivalry and has many 
other notable points ; for instance, the lines beginning " Allah 
holds the kingship ! " are a lesson to the manichaeanism of 
Christian Europe. It relates the doings of three royal gene- 
rations and has all the characteristics of Eastern art : it is a 
phantasmagoria of Holy Places, palaces and Harems, con- 
vents, castles and caverns, here restful with gentle landscapes, 
and there bristling with furious battle-pictures and tales of 
princely prowess and knightly derring-do. The characters 
stand out well. King Nu'uman is an old villain who deserves 
his death ; the ancient Dame Zat al-Dawahi merits her title 
Lady of Calamities (to her foes) ; Princess Abrizah appears 
as a charming Amazon, doomed to a miserable and pathetic 
end ; Zau al-Makan is a wise and pious royalty ; Nuzhat al- 
Zaman, though a longsome talker, is a model sister ; the 
Wazir Dandan, a sage and sagacious counsellor, contrasts 
with the Chamberlain, an ambitious miscreant ; Kanmakan 
is the typical Arab knight, gentle and brave : — 

Now managing the mouthes of stubborne steedes, 
Now practising the proof of warlike deedes ; 

and the kind-hearted, simple-minded Stoker serves as a foil 

' The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register (new series, vol. xxx. Sept. -Dec. 
1830, London, Aliens, 1839); p. 69, Review of the Arabian Nights, the Mac. 
Edit. vol. i., and H. Torrens. 

Terminal Essay. 289 

to the villains, the kidnapping Badawi and Ghazban the detes- 
table negro. The fortunes of the family are interrupted by- 
two episodes, both equally remarkable. Taj al-Muluk is the 
model lover whom no difficulties or dangers can daunt. In 
"Aziz and Azizah " we have the beau ideal of a loving maiden : 
the writer's object was to represent a " softy " who had the 
luck to win the love of a beautiful and clever cousin and the 
mad folly to break her heart. The poetical justice which he 
receives at the hands of women of quite another stamp leaves 
nothing to be desired. Finally the plot of " King Omar " is 
well worked out ; and the gathering of all the actors upon 
the stage before the curtain drops may be improbable but is 
highly artistic. 

The long Crusading Romance is relieved by a sequence of 
sixteen fabliaux, partly historiettes of men and beasts and 
partly apologues proper — a subject already noticed. We have 
then the saddening and dreary love-tale of Ali bin Bakkar, a 
Persian youth, and the Caliph's concubine Shams al-Nahar. 
Here the end is made doleful enough by the deaths of the 
" two martyrs," who are killed off, like Romeo and Juliet,^ a 
lesson that the course of true Love is sometimes troubled and 
that men as well as women can die of the so-called " tender 
passion." It is followed by the long tale of Kamar al-Zaman, 
or Moon of the Age, the first of that name, the " Camaral- 
zaman " whom Galland introduced into the best European 
society, Like " The Ebony Horse " it seems to have been 
derived from a common source with " Peter of Provence " and 
" Cleomades and Claremond "; and we can hardly wonder at its 
wide diffusion : the tale is brimful of life, change, movement ,* 
containing as much character and incident as would fill a 
modern three-volumer and the Supernatural pleasantly jostles 

* I have lately found these lovers at Schloss Sternstein near Cilli in Styria, the 
property of my excellent colleague. Mr. Consul Faber, of Fiume, dating from 
A.D. 1300 when Jobst of Reichenegg and Agnes of Sternstein were aided and 
abetted by a Capuchin of Seizkloster. 


290 Alf Laylah wa Laylah, 

the Natural ; Dahnash the Jinn and Maymunah daughter of 
Al-Dimiryat, a renowned King of the Jann, being as human 
in their jealousy about the virtue of their lovers as any 
children of Adam, and so their metamorphosis to fleas has all 
the effect of a surprise. The troupe is again drawn with a 
broad firm touch. Prince Charming, the hero, is weak and 
wilful, shifty and immoral, hasty and violent : his two spouses 
are rivals in abominations, as his sons Amjad and As'ad 
are examples of a fraternal affection rarely found in half- 
brothers by sister-wives. There is at least one fine melodra- 
matic situation ; and marvellous feats of indelicacy, a practical 
joke which would occur only to the canopic mind, emphasise 
the recovery of her husband by that remarkable " blackguard," 
the Lady Budiir. The interpolated tale of Ni'amah and 
Naomi, a simple and pleasing narrative of youthful amours, con- 
trasts well with the boiling passions of the murderous Queens, 
and serves as a pause before the grand denoitement when the 
parted meet, the lost are found, the unwedded are wedded 
and all ends merrily as a xixth century " society novel." 

The long tale of Ala al-Di'n, our old friend " Aladdin," is 
wholly out of place in its present position : it is a counterpart 
of Ali Nur al-Di'n and Miriam the Girdle-girl ; and the mention 
of the Shahbandar or Harbour-master, the Kunsul or Consul, 
the Kaptan (Capitano), the use of cannon at sea and the choice 
of Genoa-city prove that it belongs to the xvth or xvith century 
and should accompany Kamar al-Zaman II. and Ma'aruf at 
the end of The Nights. Despite the lutist Zubaydah being 
carried off by the Jinn, the Magic Couch, a modification of 
Solomon's carpet, and the murder of the King who refused to 
Islamize, it is evidently a European tale, and I believe with 
Dr. Bacher that it is founded upon the legend of " Charle- 
magne's" daughter Emma and his secretary Eginhardt, as 
has been noted in the counterpart. 

This quasi-historical fiction is followed by a succession of 
fabliaux, novelle and historiettes till we reach the terminal 
story. The Queen of the Serpents. It appears to me that 

Terminal Essay, 291 

most of them are historical and could easily be traced. Not 
a few are in Al-Mas'udi ; for instance the grim Tale of Hatim 
of Tayy is given bodily in " Meads of Gold " (iii. 327) ; and 
the two adventures of Ibrahim al-Mahdi with the barber- 
surgeon (vol. iv. 103) and the Merchant's sister are also in his 
pages (vol. vii. pp. 68 and iS). The City of Lubtayt embodies 
the legend of Don Rodrigo, last of the Goths, and may have 
reached the ears of Washington Irving ; Many-columned Iram 
is held by all Moslems to be factual ; and sundry writers have 
recorded the tricks played by Al-Maamun with the Pyramids 
of Ji'zah which still show his handiwork.' The germ of Isaac 
of Mosul is found in Al-Mas'udi who (vii. 65) names *' Buran " 
the poetess (Ibn Khali, i. 268) ; and the Tale of Harun 
al-Rashid and the Slave-girl is told by a host of writers. 
AH the Persian is a rollicking bit of fun from some Iranian 
jest-book : Abu Mohammed hight Lazybones belongs to the 
cycle of " Sindbad the Seaman," with a touch of Whittington 
and his Cat; and Zumurrud (" Smaragdine ") in AH Shar 
shows at her sale the impudence of Miriam the Girdle-girl 
and the curious device of the Lady Budur. The " Ruined 
Man who became Rich," etc., is historical and Al-Mas'udi 
(vii. 281) relates the coquetry of Mahbubah the concubine: 
the historian also quotes four couplets, two identical with 
Nos. I and 2 in The Nights, and adding : — 

Then see the slave who lords it o'er her lord « In lover privacy and public site : 
Behold these eyes that one like Ja'afar saw : * Allah on Ja'afar reign boons 
infinite ! 

^ Omitted by Lane for some reason unaccountable as usual. A correspondent 
sends me his version of the lines which occur in The Nights. 

Behold the Pyramids and hear them teach 

What they can tell of Future and of Past : 
They would declare, had they the gift of speech, 

The deeds that Time hath wrought from first to last. 
* * * * 

My friends, and is there aught beneath the sky 

Can with th' Egyptian Pyramids compare? 
In fear of them strong Time hath passed by ; 

And everything dreads Time in earth and air. 

292 A if Layiah wa Laylah. 

Uns al Wujud is a love tale which has been translated into a 
host of Eastern languages ; and The Lovers of the Banu 
Ozrah belong to Al-Mas'udi"s " Martyrs of Love" (vii. 355), 
with the " Ozrite love " of Ibn Khallikan (iv. 537). " Harun 
and the Three Poets " has given to Cairo a proverb which 
Burckhardt renders " The day obliterates the word or promise 
of the Night," for 

The promise of night is effaced by day. 

The Simpleton and the Sharper, like the Foolish Dominie, 
is an old Joe Miller in Hindu as well as Moslem folk-lore. 
" Kisra Anushirwan" is "The King, the Owl and the Villages" 
of Al-Mas'udi (iii. 171), who also notices the Persian 
monarch's four seals of office ; and " Masrur the Eunuch and 
Ibn Al-Karibi" (vol. iii. 221) is from the same source as Ibn 
al-Maghazili the Reciter and a Eunuch belonging to the 
Caliph Al-Mu'tazad. In the Tale of Tawaddud we have 
the fullest development of the disputations and displays of 
learning then so common in Europe, teste the " Admirable 
Crichton "; and these were affected not only by Eastern tale- 
tellers but even by sober historians. To us it is much like 
*' padding " when Nuzhat al-Zaman fags her hapless hearers 
with a discourse covering sixteen mortal pages ; when the 
Wazir Dandan reports at length the cold speeches of the five 
high-bosomed maids and the Lady of Calamities ; and when 
Wird Khan, in presence of his papa, discharges his patristic 
exercitations and heterogeneous knowledge. Yet Al-Mas'udi 
also relates, at dreary extension (vol. vi. 369) the disputation 
of the twelve sages in presence of Barmecide Yahya upon the 
origin, the essence, the accidents and the omnes res of Love ; 
and in another place (vii. 181) shows Honayn, author of the 
Book of Natural Questions, undergoing a long examination 
before the Caliph Al-Wasik (Vathek) and describing, amongst 
other things, the human teeth. See also the dialogue or 
catechism of Al-Hajjaj and Ibn al-Kirri'ya in Ibn Khallikan 
(vol. i. 238-240). 

Terminal Essay. 293 

These disjecta membra of tales and annals are pleasantly- 
relieved by the seven voyages of Sindbad the Seaman. The 
"Arabian Odyssey" may, like its Greek brother, descend 
from a noble family, the " Shipwrecked Mariner," a Coptic 
travel-tale of the twelfth dynasty (B.C. 3500) preserved on a 
papyrus at St. Petersburg. In its actual condition " Sind- 
bad " is a fanciful compilation, like De Foe's " Captain 
Singleton," borrowed from travellers' tales of an immense 
variety with extracts from Al-Idrisi, Al-Kazwini and Ibn 
al-Wardi. Here we find the Polyphemus, the Pygmies 
and the cranes of Homer and Herodotus ; the escape of 
Aristomenes ; the Plinian monsters well known in Persia ; 
the magnetic mountain of Saint Brennan (Brandanus) ; the 
aeronautics of " Duke Ernest of Bavaria " ' and sundry cut- 
tings from Moslem writers dating between our ninth and 
fourteenth centuries.^ The " Shaykh of the Seaboard," the 
true reading of The Old Man of the Sea, appears in the 
Persian romance of Kamarupa, translated by Francklin, all 
the particulars absolutely corresponding. The " Odyssey " 
is valuable because it shows how far Eastward the medi- 
aeval Arab had extended : already in The Ignorance he had 
reached China and had formed a centre of trade at Canton. 
But the higher merit of the cento is to produce one of the 
most charming books of travel ever written, like Robin- 
son Crusoe, the delight of children and the admiration of 
all ages. 

The hearty life and realism of Sindbad are made to stand 
out in strong relief by the deep melancholy which pervades 

^ A rhyming Romance by Henry of Waldeck (flor. A.D. 1160) with a Latin 
poem on the same subject by Odo and a prose version still popular in Germany. 
(Lane's Nights, iii. 81 ; and Weber's " Northern Romances.") 

- e.g. 'Ajaib al-Hind (^Marvels of Ind) ninth century, translated by J. Marcel 
Devic, Paris, 1878 ; and about the same date the Two Mohammedan Travellers, 
translated by Renaudot. In the eleventh century we have the famous Sayyid al- 
Idrisi ; in the thirteenth the 'Ajaib al-Makhliikat of Al-Kazwini (see De Sacy, 
vol. iii.), and in the fourteenth the Kharidat al-Ajaib of Ibn al-Wardi. Lane 
(in loco) traces most of Sindbad to the two latter sources. 

294 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

" The City of Brass," a dreadful book for a dreary day. It 
is curious to compare the doleful verses with those spoken 
to Caliph Al-Mutawakkil by Abu al-Hasan AH (Al-Mas'udi, 
vii. 246), We then enter upon the venerable Sindibad- 
nameh, the Malice of Women, of which, according to 
the Kitab al-Fihrist, there were two editions, a greater 
(Sinzibad al-Kabi'r) and a lesser (Sinzibad al-Saghir), the 
latter being probably an epitome of the former. This bundle 
of legends, I have shown, was incorporated with The 
Nights as an editor's addition ; and as an independent work 
it has made the round of the world. Space forbids any 
detailed notice of this choice collection of anecdotes, for which 
a volume would be required. I may, however, note that the 
"Wife's Device" has its analogues in the Katha (chapt. xiii.), 
in the Gesta Romanorum (No. xxviii.) and in Boccaccio 
(Day iii. 6 and Day vi. 8), modified by La Fontaine to Richard 
Minutolo (Contes, lib. i. tale 2) ; and it is quoted almost in the 
words of The Nights by the Shaykh al-Nafzawi. Another 
form of that witty tale The Three Wishes is found in the 
Arab proverb " More luckless than Basus " (Kamus), a fair 
Israelite who persuaded her husband, also a Jew, to wish that 
she might become the loveliest of women. Allah granted it, 
spitefully as Jupiter ; the consequence was that her contuma- 
cious treatment of her mate made him pray that the beauty 
might be turned into a dog ; and the third wish restored her 
to her original state. 

The Story of Jiidar is Egyptian, to judge from its local 
knowledge together with its absolute ignorance of Marocco. 
It shows a contrast, in which Arabs delight, of an almost 
angelical goodness and forgiveness with a well-nigh diabolical 
malignity, and we find the same extremes in Abu Sir the noble- 
minded Barber and the hideously inhuman Abii Kir. The 
excursion to Mauritania is artfully managed and gives a novelty 
to the mise-en-scene. Ghari'b and A jib belongs to the cycle 
of Antar and King Omar bin al-Nu'uman : its exaggerations 
make it a fine type of Oriental Chauvinism, pitting the super- 

Terminal Essay. 295 

human virtues, valour, nobility and success of all that is 
Moslem, against the scum of the earth which is non-Moslem. 
Like the exploits of Friar John of the Chopping-knives 
(Rabelais i. c. 27), it suggests ridicule cast on impossible battles 
and tales of giants, paynims and paladins. The long romance 
is followed by thirteen historiettes all apparently historical : 
compare " Hind, daughter of Al-Nu'uman " and " Isaac of 
Mosul and the Devil " with Al-Mas'udi v. 365 and vi. 340. 
They end in two long detective-tales like those which M. 
Gaboriau has popularised : the Rogueries of Dalilah and the 
Adventures of Mercury AH, being based upon the principle, 
" One thief wots another." The former, who has appeared 
before, seems to have been a noted character : Al-Mas'udi 
says (viii. 175) " In a word this Shaykh (Al-'Ukab) outrivalled 
in his rogueries and the ingenuities of his wiles Ddllah 
(Dalilah ?) the Crafty and other tricksters and coney-catchers, 
ancient and modern." 

The Tale of Ardashir lacks originality : we are now 
entering upon a series of pictures which are replicas of 
those preceding. This is not the case with that charming 
Undine, J ulnar the Sea-born, which, like i\bdullah of the 
Land and Abdullah of the Sea, describes the vie intime 
of mermen and merwomen. Somewhat resembling Swift's 
inimitable creations, the Houyhnhnms for instance, they 
prove, amongst other things, that those who dwell in a denser 
element can justly blame and severely criticise the contra- 
dictory prejudices and unreasonable predilections of man- 
kind. Sayf al-Muluk, the romantic tale of two lovers, shows 
by its introduction that it was originally an independent 
work, and it is known to have existed in Persia during the 
eleventh century : this novella has found its way into every 
Moslem language of the East even into Sindi, which calls 
the hero " Sayfal." Here we again meet the " Old Man of 
the Sea " and make acquaintance with a Jinni whose soul 
is outside his body : thus he resembles Hermotimos of 
Klazamunae in Apollonius, whose spirit left his mortal 

296 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

frame a discretion. The author, philanthropically remarking 
" Knowest thou not that a single mortal is better, in Allah's 
sight, than a thousand Jinn ? " brings the wooing to a happy- 
end which leaves a pleasant savour upon the mental palate, 

Hasan of Bassorah is a Master Shoetie on a large scale 
like Sindbad, but his voyages and travels extend into the 
supernatural and fantastic rather than the natural world. 
Though long, the tale is by no means wearisome and the 
characters are drawn with a fine firm hand. The hero with 
his hen-like persistency of purpose, his weeping, fainting and 
versifying, is interesting enough and proves that " Love can 
find out the way." The charming adopted sister, the model 
of what the feminine friend should be ; the silly little wife 
who never knows that she is happy till she loses happiness ; 
the violent and hard-hearted queen with all the cruelty of a 
good woman, and the manners and customs of Amazon-land 
are outlined with a life-like vivacity. Khalifah, the next tale, 
is valuable as a study of Eastern life, showing how the fisher- 
man emerges from the squalor of his surroundings and becomes 
one of the Caliph's favourite cup-companions, Ali Nur al- 
Din and King Jali'ad have been noticed elsewhere and there 
is little to say of the concluding stories which bear the evident 
impress of a more modern date. 

Dr, Johnson thus sums up his notice of The Tempest. 
" Whatever might have been the intention of their author, 
these tales are made instrumental to the production of many 
characters, diversified with boundless invention, and preserved 
with profound skill in nature ; extensive knowledge of 
opinions, and accurate observation of life. Here are exhibited 
princes, courtiers and sailors, all speaking in their real 
characters. There is the agency of airy spirits and of earth}' 
goblin, the operations of magic, the tumults of a storm, the 
adventures on a desert island, the native effusion of un- 
taught affection, the punishment of guilt, and the final 
happiness of those for whom our passions and reason are 
equally interested." 

Terminal Essay. 297 

We can fairly say this much and far more for our Tales. 
Viewed as a tout ensemble in full and complete form, they 
are a drama of Eastern life, and a Dance of Death made 
sublime by faith and the highest emotions, by the certainty 
of expiation and the fulness of atoning equity ; where virtue 
is victorious, vice is vanquished and the ways of Allah are 
justified to man. They are a panorama which remains ken- 
speckle upon the mental retina. They form a phantasma- 
goria in which archangels and angels, devils and goblins, men 
of air, of fire, of water, naturally mingle with men of earth ; 
where flying horses and talking fishes are utterly realistic ; 
where King and Prince meet fisherman and pauper, lamia and 
cannibal ; where citizen jostles Badawi, eunuch meets knight ; 
the Kazi hob-nobs with the thief ; the pure and pious sit down 
to the same tray with the pander and the procuress ; where the 
professional religionist, the learned Koranist and the strictest 
moralist consort with the wicked magician, the scoffer and 
the debauchee-poet like Abu Nowas ; where the courtier jests 
with the boor and where the sweep is wedded with the noble 
lady. And the characters are " finished and quickened by a 
few touches swift and sure as the glance of sunbeams." The 
work is a kaleidoscope where everything falls into picture ; 
gorgeous palaces and pavilions ; grisly underground caves 
and deadly wolds ; gardens fairer than those of the Hesperid ; 
seas dashing with clashing billows upon enchanted mountains ; 
valleys of the Shadow of Death ; air-voyages and prome- 
nades in the abysses of ocean ; the duello, the battle and the 
siege ; the wooing of maidens and the marriage-rite. All the 
splendour and squalor, the beauty and baseness, the glamour 
and grotesqueness, the magic and the mournfulness, the 
bravery and the baseness of Oriental life are here : its pictures 
of the three great Arab passions, love, war and fancy, entitle 
it to be called " Blood, Musk and Hashish."^ And still more. 

^ So Hector France proposed to name his admirably realistic volume " Sous le 
Burnous" (Paris, Charpentier, 1886). 

298 Alf Lay la h wa Laylah 

the genius of the story-teller quickens the dry bones of history, 
and by adding Fiction to Fact revives the dead past : the 
Caliphs and the Caliphate return to Baghdad and Cairo, 
whilst Asmodeus kindly removes the terrace-roof of every 
tenement and allows our curious glances to take in the whole 
interior. This is perhaps the best proof of their power. 
Finally, the picture-gallery opens with a series of weird and 
striking adventures and shows as a tail-piece an idyllic scene 
of love and wedlock in halls before reeking with lust and 

I have noticed in my Foreword that the two main charac- 
teristics of The Nights are Pathos and Humour, alternating 
with highly artistic contrast, and carefully calculated to pro- 
voke tears and smiles in the coffee-house audience which paid 
for them. The sentimental portion mostly breathes a tender 
passion and a simple sadness : such are the Badawi's dying 
farewell ; the lady's broken heart on account of her lover's 
hand being cutoff; the Wazir's death ; the mourner's song 
and the " tongue of the case " ; the murder of Princess 
Abn'zah with the babe sucking its dead mother's breast ; and, 
generally, the last moments of good Moslems, which are 
described with inimitable terseness and naivet^. The sad and 
the gay mingle in the character of the good Hammam-stoker 
who becomes Roi Crotte ; and the melancholy deepens in the 
Tale of the Mad Lover, the Blacksmith who could handle 
fire without hurt, the Devotee Prince and the whole Tale of 
Azi'zah, whose angelic love is set off by the sensuality and 
selfishness of her more fortunate rivals. A new note of abso- 
lutely tragic dignity seems to be struck in the Sweep and the 
Noble Lady, showing the piquancy of sentiment which can be 
evolved from the common and the unclean. The pretty 
conceit of the Lute is afterwards carried out in a Song which 
is a masterpiece of originality' and (in the Arabic) of exquisite 

* I mean in European literature, not in Arabic where it is a lieu commun. Se 
three several forms of it in one page (505) of Ibn Khallikan, vol. iii. 

Ter7ninal Essay. 299 

tenderness and poetic melancholy, the wail over the past and 
the vain longing for reunion. And the very depths of melan- 
choly, of majestic pathos and of true sublimity are reached in 
Many-columned Iram and the City of Brass : the metrical part 
of the latter shows a luxury of woe ; it is one long wail of 
despair which echoes long and loud in the hearer's heart. 

In my Foreword I have compared the humorous vein of the 
comic tales with our northern " wut," chiefly for the dryness 
and slyness which pervade it. But it differs in degree as much 
as the pathos varies. The staple article is Cairene " chaff," 
a peculiar banter possibly inherited from their pagan fore- 
fathers : instances of this are found in the Cock and Dog, 
the Eunuch's address to the Cook, the Wazir's exclamation 
" Too little pepper ! " the self-communing of Judar the 
Hashish-eater in Ali Shar, the scene between the brother- 
Wazirs, the treatment of the Gobbo, the water of Zemzem and 
the Eunuchs Bukhayt and Kafur.^ At times it becomes a 
masterpiece of fun, of rollicking Rabelaisian humour underlaid 
by the caustic mother-wit of Sancho Panza, as in the revel of 
the ladies of Baghdad, the Holy Ointment applied to the beard 
of Luka the Knight, " unxerunt regem Salomonem," and 
Ja'afar and the old Badawi with its reminiscence of " chaffy " 
King Amasis. This reaches its acme in the description of ugly 
old age, in The Three Wishes, in Ali the Persian, in the Lady 
and her Five Suitors, which corresponds and contrasts with 
the dully told Story of Upakosa and her Four Lovers of the 
Katha ; and in The Man of Al-Yaman, where we find the true 
Falstaffian touch. But there is sterling wit, sweet and bright, 
expressed without any artifice of words, in the immortal 
Barber's tales of his brothers, especially the second, the fifth 
and the sixth. Finally, wherever the honest and independent 
old debauchee Abu Nowas makes his appearance the fun 
becomes fescennine and milesian. 

* My attention has been called to the resemblance between the half-lie and 
Job (i. 13-19), an author who seems to be growing more modern with every 
generation of commentators. 

300 Alf Laylah wa Laylah 

B.— The Manner of The Nights. 

And now, after considering the matter, I will glance at the 
language and style of The Nights. The first point to remark 
is the peculiarly happy framework of the Receuil, which I can- 
not but suspect set an example to the Decamerone and its host 
of successors.^ The admirable Introduction, a perfect mise-en- 
scene, gives the amplest raison d'etre of the work, which thus 
has all the unity required for a great romantic cento. We 
perceive this when reading the contemporary Hindu work the 
Katha Sarit Sagara,- which is at once so like and so unlike The 
Nights : here the preamble is insufficient ; the whole is clumsy 

' Boccaccio (ob. Dec. 2, 1375) may easily have heard of The Thousand Nights 
and a Night or of its archetype the Hazar Afsanah. He was followed by the 
Piacevoli Notti ofGiovan Francisco Straparola (A. D. 1550), translated intoalmost 
all European languages but English ; the original Italian is now rare. Then came 
the Heptameron ou Histoire des Amans fortunez of Marguerite d'Angouleme, 
Reyne de Navarra and only sister of Francis I. She died in 1549 before the Days 
were finished: in 1558 Pierre Boaistuan published the Histoire des Amans 
fortunez, and in 1559 Claude Guiget the " Heptameron." Next is the Hexameron 
of A. de Torquemada, Rouen, 1610 ; and lastly, the Pentamerone, or El Cunto 
de 11 Cunte of Giambattista Basile (Naples, 1637), known by the meagre abstract 
of J. E. Taylor and the caricatures of George Cruikshank (London, 1847-50). I 
propose to translate this Pentamerone direct from the Neapolitan and have already 
finished half the work. 

* Translated and well annotated by Prof. Tawney, who, however, affects 
asterisks and has considerably bowdlerised sundry of the tales, e.g. the Monkey 
who picked out the Wedge (vol. ii. 28). This tale, by the by, is found in the 
Khirad Afroz (i. 128) and in the Anwar-i-Suhayli (chapt. i.) and gave rise to the 
Persian proverb, " What has a monkey to do with carpentering ? " It is curious 
to compare the Hindu with the Arabic work whose resemblances are as remarkable 
as their differences, while even more notable is their correspondence in impression- 
ising the reader. The Thaumaturgy of both is the same : the Indian is profuse in 
demonology and witchcraft ; in transformation and restoration ; in monsters as 
wind-men, fire-men and water-men ; in air-going elephants and flying horses 
(i. S41-43) ; in the wishing cow, divine goats and laughing fishes (i. 24) and in 
the speciosa miracula of magic weapons. He delights in fearful battles (i. 400) 
fought with the same weapons as the Moslem and rewards his heroes with a 
'•turband of honour" (i. 266) in lieu of a robe. There is a quaint family like- 
ness arising from similar stages and states of society : the city is adorned for 

Terminal Essay. 301 

for want of a thread upon which the many independent tales 
and fables could be strung ; ' and the consequent disorder 

gladness ; men carry money in a robe-corner and exclaim " Ha ! good ! " (for 
"Good, by Allah!"); lovers die with exemplary facihty ; the "soft-sided" 
ladies drink spirits (i. 61) and princesses get drunk (i. 476) ; whilst the Eunuch, 
the Hetaira and the Mercury (Kuttini) play the same preponderating parts as in 
The Nights. Our Brahman is strong in love-making; he complains of the pains 
of separation in this phenomenal universe ; he revels in youth, " twin-brother to 
mirth," and beauty which has illuminating powers ; he foully reviles old age and 
he alternately praises and abuses the sex, concerning which more presently. He 
delights in truisms, the fashion of contemporary Europe (see Palmerin of England, 
chapt. vii.), such as, " It is the fashion of the heart to receive pleasure from those 
things which ought to give it," etc., etc. " What is there the wise cannot under- 
stand? " and so forth. He is liberal in trite reflections and frigid conceits (i. 19, 
55) 97> I03> io7> i" fact everywhere) ; and his puns run through whole lines ; 
this in fine Sanskrit style is inevitable. Yet some of his expressions are admirably 
terse and telling, e.g.. Ascending the swing of Doubt : Bound together (lovers) 
by the leash of gazing : Two babes looking like Misery and Poverty : Old Age 
seized me by the chin : (A lake) first essay of the Creator's skill : (A vow) diffi- 
cult as standing on a sword-edge : My vital spirits boiled with the fire of woe : 
Transparent as a good man's heart : There was a certain convent full of fools : 
Dazed with scripture-reading : The stones could not help laughing at him : The 
Moon kissed the laughing forehead of the East : She was like a wave of the Sea 
of Love's insolence (ii. 127), a wave of the Sea of Beauty tossed up by the breeze 
of Youth : The King played dice, he loved slave-girls, he told lies, he sat up o 
nights, he waxed wroth without reason, he took wealth wrongously, he despised 
the good and honoured the bad (i. 562) ; with many choice bits of the same kind. 
Like the Arab the Indian is profuse in personification ; but the doctrine of pre- 
existence, of incarnation and emanation and an excessive spiritualism, ever aiming 
at the infinite, makes his imagery run mad. Thus we have Immoral Conduct 
embodied ; the God of Death ; Science ; the Svarga- heaven ; Evening ; Untime- 
liness ; and the Earthbride, while the Ace and Deuce of dice are turned into a 
brace of Demons. There is also that grotesqueness which the French detect even 
in Shakespeare, e.g. She drank in his ambrosial form with thirsty eyes like 
partridges (i. 476), and it often results from the comparison of incompatibles, e.g. 
a row of birds likened to a garden of nymphs ; and from forced allegories, the 
favourite figure of contemporary Europe. Again, the rhetorical Hindu style 
differs greatly from the sobriety, directness and simplicity of the Arab, whose 
motto is " Brevity combined with Precision," except where the latter falls into 
" fine writing." And, finally, there is a something in the atmosphere of these 
Tales which is unfamiliar to the West and which makes them, as more than one 
has remarked to me, very hard reading. 

^ The Introduction (i. 1-5) leads to the Curse of Pushpadanta and Malyavan 
who live on Earth as Vararuchi and Gunadhya, and this runs through lib. i. 
Lib. ii. begins with the Story of Udayana to whom we must be truly grateful as 
our only guide : he and his son Naravahanadatta fill up the rest and end with 

302 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

and confusion tell upon the reader, who cannot remember the 
sequence without taking notes. 

As was said in my Foreword, " without the Nights no Ara- 
bian Nights ! " and now, so far from holding the pauses " an 
intolerable interruption to the narrative," I attach additional 
importance to these pleasant and restful breaks introduced 
into long and intricate stories. Indeed, beginning again, I 
should adopt the plan of the Calc. Edit, opening and ending 
every division with a dialogue between the sisters. Upon this 
point, however, opinions wall differ and the critic will remind 
me that the consensus of the MSS. would be wanting : The 
Bresl. Edit, in many places merely interjects the number of 
the night without interrupting the tale ; and Galland ceases 
to use the division after the ccxxxvith Night and in some 
editions after the cxcviith.' A fragmentary MS., according 
to Scott, whose friend J. Anderson found it in Bengal, breaks 
away after Night xxix. ; and in the VVortley Montague, the 
Sultan relents at an early opportunity, the stories, as in Gal- 
land, continuing only as an amusement. I have been careful to 
preserve the balanced sentences with which the tales open ; the 
tautology and the prose-rhyme serving to attract attention, e.g. 
" In days of yore and in times long gone before there was a 
King," etc. ; in England where we strive not to waste words this 
becomes " Once upon a time." The closings also are artfully 
calculated, by striking a minor chord after the rush and hurry 
of the incidents, to suggest repose : " And they led the most 
pleasurable of lives and the most delectable, till there came to 
them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies 
and they became as though they had never been." Place 

lib. xviii. Thus the want of the clew or plot compels a division into books, which 
begin for instance with "We worship the elephantine proboscis of Ganesha " 
(lib. X. i), a reverend and awful object to a Hindu, but to Englishmen mainly 
suggesting the "Zoo." The "Bismillah" etc. of The Nights is much more 

' See pp. 5-6 Avertissement des Editeurs, Le Cabinet des Fees, vol. xxxviii. : 
Geneva, 1788. Galland's Edit, of mdccxxvi. ends with Night ccxxxiv. and the 
English translations with ccxxxvi. and cxcvii. See retro, p. 82. 

Terminal Essay. 303 

this by the side of Boccaccio's favourite formulae : — Egli con- 
quisto poi la Scozia, e funne re coronato (ii. 3) ; Et onorevol- 
mente visse infino alia fine (ii. 4) ; Molte volte goderono del 
loro amore : Iddio faccia noi goder del nostro (iii. 6) ; E cosi 
nella sua grossezza si rimase e ancor vi si sta (vi. 8). We 
have further docked this tail into : — " And they lived happily 
ever after." 

I cannot take up The Nights, in their present condition, 
without feeling that the work has been written down from the 
Kawi or Nakkal,' the conteur or professional story-teller, also 
called Kassas and Maddah, corresponding with the Hindu 
Bhat or Bard. To these men my learned friend Baron A. 
von Kremer would attribute the Mu'allakat, vulgarly called 
the Suspended Poems, as being " indited from the relation of 
the Rawi." Hence in our text the frequent interruption of 
the formula Kal' al-Rawi = quotes the reciter ; dice Turpino, 
Moreover, The Nights read in many places like a hand-book 
or guide for the professional, who would learn them by heart ; 
here and there introducing his " gag " and " patter." To this 
" business " possibly we may attribute much of the ribaldry 
which starts up in unexpected places : it was meant simply 
to provoke a laugh. How old the custom is and how un- 
changeable is Eastern life is shown, a correspondent suggests, 
by the Book of Esther which might form part of The Alf 
Laylah. "On that night (we read in chap. vi. i) could not 
the King sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of 
records of the chronicles ; and they were read before the 
King." The Rawi would declaim the recitative somewhat in 
conversational style ; he would intone the Saj'a or prose- 
rhyme and he would chant to the twanging of the Rabab, a 

^ There is a shade of difference in the words ; the former is also used for 
Reciters of Traditions — a serious subject. But in the case of Hammad surnamed 
Al-Rawiyah (the Rhapsode) attached to the Court of Al-Walid, it means simply a 
conteur. So the Greeks had Homerist3e = reciters of Homer, as opposed to the 
Homeridse or School of Homer. 

304 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

one-stringed viol, the poetical parts. Dr. Scott ' borrows from 
the historian of Aleppo a life-like picture of the Story-teller. 
" He recites walking to and fro in the middle of the coffee- 
room, stopping only now and then, when the expression 
requires some emphatical attitude. He is commonly heard 
with great attention ; and not unfrequently in the midst of 
some interesting adventure, when the expectation of the 
audience is raised to the highest pitch, he breaks off abruptly 
and makes his escape, leaving both his hero or heroine and 
his audience in the utmost embarrassment. Those who 
happen to be near the door endeavour to detain him, insist- 
ing upon the story being finished before he departs ; but he 
always makes his retreat good ; ^ and the auditors suspending 
their curiosity are induced to return at the same time next 
day to hear the sequel. He has no sooner made his exit 
than the company in separate parties fall to disputing about 
the characters of the drama or the event of an unfinished 
adventure. The controversy by degrees becomes serious and 
opposite opinions are maintained with no less warmth than if 
the fall of the city depended upon the decision." 

At Tangier, where a murder in a " coffee-house " had closed 
these hovels,^ pending a sufficient payment to the Pasha ; and 
where, during the hard winter of 1885-86, the poorer classes 
were compelled to puff their Kayf (Bhang, cannibis indicd) 
and sip their black coffee in the muddy streets under a rainy 
sky, I found the Rawi active on Sundays and Thursdays, the 

' Vol.i. Preface, p. v. He notes that Mr. Dallaway (" Constantinople, Ancient 
and Modern ") describes the same scene at Stamboul, where the Story-teller was 
used, like the modern " Organs of Government " in newspaper shape, for 
"reconciling the people to any recent measure of the Sultan and Vizier." 
There are women Rawiyahs for the Harems, and some have become famous like 
the Mother of Hasan al-Basri (Ibn Khali, i. 370). 

- Hence the Persian proverb, " Baki-e-dastan farda "=the rest of the tale to- 
morrow, said to askers of silly questions. 

^ This was in 1885-6 ; in 1887 His Shereefian Majesty has peremptorily forbidden 
the smoking of " Kayf " (Bhang) and tobacco, and the result has been the crowding 
of prisons by the energy of the corrupt police. 

Terminal Essay. 305 

market-days. The favourite place was the " Soko de Barra," 
or large bazar, outside the filthy town, whose condition is that 
of Suez and Bayrut half a century ago. The stage is a foul 
slope ; now slippery with viscous mud, then powdery with 
fetid dust, dotted with graves and decaying tombs, unclean 
booths, gargottes and tattered tents, and frequented by 
women, mere bundles of unclean rags, and by men wearing 
the haik or burnus, a Franciscan frock, tending their squatting 
camels and chaffering over cattle for Gibraltar beef-eaters. 
Here the market-people form ring about the reciter, a stal- 
wart man affecting little raiment besides a broad waist-belt 
into which his lower chiffons are tucked, and noticeable only 
for his shock hair, wild eyes, broad grin and generally dis- 
reputable aspect. He usually handles a short stick ; and, 
when drummer and piper are absent, he carries a tiny 
tomtom shaped like an hour-glass, upon which he taps the 
periods. This " Scealuidhe," as the Irish call him, opens the 
drama with extempore prayer, proving that he and the 
audience are good Moslems : he speaks slowly and with 
emphasis, varying the diction with breaks of animation, 
abundant action and the most comical grimace : he advances, 
retires and wheels about, illustrating every point with 
pantomime ; and his features, voice and gestures are so 
expressive that even Europeans, who cannot understand a 
word of Arabic, divine the meaning of his tale. The audience 
stands breathless and motionless, surprising strangers ^ by the 
ingenuousness and freshness of feeling hidden under their 
hard and savage exterior. The performance usually ends 
with the embryo actor going round for alms and flourishing 
in air every silver bit, the usual honorarium being a few 
" f lus," that marvellous money of Barbary, big coppers worth 
one-twelfth of a penny. All the tales I heard were purely 

^ The scene is excellently described in, " Morocco : Its People and Places," 
by Edmondo de Amicis (London : Cassell, 1882), a most refreshing volume after 
the enforced platitudes and commonplaces of English travellers. 


3o6 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

local, but Fakhri Bey, a young Osmanli domiciled for some 
time in Fez and Mequinez, assured me that The Nights are 
still recited there. 

Many travellers, including Dr. Russell, have complained 
that they failed to find a complete MS. copy of The Nights. 
Evidently they never heard of the popular superstition which 
declares that no one can read through the said series without 
dying — it is only fair that my patrons should know this. Ya- 
coub Arti'n Pasha declares that the superstition dates from the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and he explains it in two 
ways. Firstly, it is a facetious exaggeration, meaning that 
no one has leisure or patience to wade through the long 
repertory. Secondly, the work is condemned as futile. 
When Egypt produced savants and legists like Ibn al-Hajar, 
Al-'Ayni, and Al-Kastallani, to mention no others, the taste 
of the country inclined to dry factual studies and positive 
science ; nor, indeed, has this taste wholly died out : there 
are not a few who, like Khayri Pasha, contend that the 
mathematic is more useful even for legal studies than history 
and geography ; and at Cairo the chief of the Educational 
Department has always been an engineer, i.e. a mathema- 
tician. The Olema declared war against all " futilities," in 
which they included not only stories but also what is politely 
entitled Authentic History. From this to the fatal effect of 
such lecture is only a step. Society, however, cannot rest 
without light literature ; so the novel-reading class was 
thrown back upon writings which had all the indelicacy and 
few of the merits of The Nights.^ 

Turkey is the only Moslem country which has dared to 
produce a regular drama - and to arouse the energies of such 

' About the close of the last century Col. James Capper, " Observations on a 
Passage to India through Egypt " (London, 1785, I vol. 8vo), tells us that 
"They (the Arabian Nights) are universally read and admired throughout Asia 
by all ranks of men, both young and old." Duhalde (vol. iii.) mentions them in 
China, and Capt. Lyons (ii. 44 Fr. Transl.) in Inner Africa. 

■ It began; however, in Persia, where the celebrated Darwaysh Mukhlis, Chief 

Terminal Essay. 307 

brilliant writers as Munif Pasha, statesman and scholar ; 
Ekrem Bey, literato and professor ; Kemal Bey, held by some 
to be the greatest writer in modern Osmanli-land and Abd 
al-Hakk Hami'd Bey, first Secretary of the London Embassy. 
The theatre began in its ruder form by taking subjects bodily 
from The Nights ; then it annexed its plays as we do — the 
Novel having ousted the Drama— -from the French; and 
lastly it took courage to be original. Many years ago I saw 
Harun al-Rashid and the Three Kalandars, with deer-skins 
and all their properties de rigueur, in the court-yard of 
Government House, Damascus, declaiming to the extreme 
astonishment and delight of the audience. It requires only 
to glance at The Nights for seeing how much histrionic 
matter they contain. 

In considering the style of The Nights we must bear in 
mind that the work has never been edited according to our 
ideas of the process. Consequently there is no just reason 
for translating the whole verbatim et literatim, as has been 
done by Torrens, Lane and Payne in his " Tales from the 
Arabic." ^ This conscientious treatment is required for 

Sofi of Isfahan in the xviith century, translated into Persian tales certain Hindu 
plays, of which a MS- entitled AlfaragaBadal-Schidda (Al-Faraj ba'd Al-Shiddah 
= Joy after Annoy) exists in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. But to give an 
original air to his work, he entitled it, " Hazar o yek Ruz" = Thousand and One 
Days, and in 1675 he allowed his friend Petis de la Croix, who happened to be at 
Isfahan, to copy it. Le Sage (of Gil Bias) is said to have converted many of the 
tales of Mukhlis into comic operas, which were performed at the Theatre Italien. 
I still hope to see The Nights at the Lyceum. 

^ This author, however, when hazarding a change of style which is, I think, 
regretable, has shown abundant art by filling up the frequent deficiencies of the 
text after the f.ishion of Baron McGuckin de Slane in Ibn Khallikan. As regards 
the tout ensemble of his work, a noble piece of English, my opinion will ever be 
that expressed in my Foreword. A carping critic has remarked that the trans- 
lator, "as may be seen in every page, is no Arabic scholar." If I be a judge, 
the reverse is the case : the brilliant and beautiful version thus ignobly traduced is 
almost entirely free from the blemishes and carelessness which disfigure Lane's, and 
thus it is far more faithful to the original. But it is no secret that on the staff of 
that journal the translator of Villon has sundry enemies, vrais diables enjupones, 
who take every opportunity of girding at him because he does not belong to the 

3o8 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

versions of an author like Camoens, whose works were care- 
fully corrected and arranged by a competent litterateur, but 
it is not merited by The Nights as they now are. The Mac- 
naghten, the Bulak and the Bayrut texts, though printed 
from MSS. identical in order, often differ in minor matters. 
Many friends have asked me to undertake the work : but, 
even if lightened by the aid of Shaykhs, Munshis and copyists, 
the labour would be severe, tedious and thankless : better 
leave the holes open than patch them with fancy work or 
with heterogeneous matter. The learned, indeed, as Lane 
tells us (i. 74 ; iii. 740), being thoroughly dissatisfied with 
the plain and popular, the ordinary and " vulgar " note of the 
language, have attempted to refine and improve it and have 
more than once threatened to remodel it, that is, to make it 
odious. This would be to dress up Robert Burns in plumes 
borrowed from Dry den and Pope. 

The first defect of the texts is in the distribution and 
arrangement of the matter, as I have noticed in the case of 
Sindbad the Seaman. Moreover, many of the earlier Nights 
are overlong and not a few of the others are overshort ; this, 
however, has the prime recommendation of variety. Even the 
vagaries of editor and scribe will not account for all the in- 
coherences, disorder and inconsequence, and for the vain 
iterations which suggest that the author has forgotten what 
he said. In places there are dead allusions to persons and 
tales which are left dark. The digressions are abrupt and 
useless, leading nowhere, while sundry pages are wearisome 
for excess of prolixity or hardly intelligible for extreme con- 
ciseness. The perpetual recurrence of mean colloquialisms 
and of words and idioms peculiar to Egypt and Syria^ also 

clique and because he does good work and theirs is mostly sham. The sole fault 
I find with Mr. Payne is that his severe grace of style treats an unclassical work 
as a classic, when the romantic and irregular would have been a more appropriate 
garb. But this is a mere matter of private judgment. 

^ Here I offer a few, but very few, instances from the Breslau text which is 
the greatest sinner in this respect. Mas. for fem., vol. i. p. 9, and three 

Tcrnimal Essay. 309 

takes from the pleasure of the perusal. Yet we cannot deny- 
that it has its use : this unadorned language of familiar 
conversation in its day, adapted for the understanding of the 
people, is best fitted for the Rawi's craft in the camp and 
caravan, the Harem, the bazar arid the coffee-house. More- 
over, as has been well said, The Nights is the only written half- 
way house between the literary and colloquial Arabic which 
is accessible to readers, and thus it becomes necessary to all 
students who would qualify themselves for service in Moslem 
lands from Mauritania to Mesopotamia. It freely uses Turkish 
words like " Khatiin " and Persian terms as " Shahbandar," 
thus requiring for translation not only a somewhat archaic 
touch, but also a vocabulary borrowed from various sources : 
otherwise the effect would not be reproduced. In places, 
however, the style rises to the highly ornate, approaching the 

times in seven pages. Ahna and nahna for nahnii (iv. 370, 372) : Ana ba-ashtari 
= I will buy (iii. 109) : and Ana 'Amil = I will do (v. 367) : Alayki for Alayki 
(i. 18) : Anti for Anti (iii. 66) and generally long i for short i. 'Ammal (from 
'amala = he did) tahlam — certainly thou dreamest, and 'Ammalin yaakulu = 
they were about to eat (ix. 315) : Aywa, a time-honoured corruption, for Ay 
wa'llahi = yes, by Allah (passim) : Bita, =: belonging to, e.g. Sara bita'k = it is 
become thine (ix. 352) and Mata' with the same sense (iii. 80) : Da '1-khurj = 
this saddle-bag (ix. 336) and Di (for hazah) = this woman (iii. 79) or this time 
(ii. 162) : Fayn as raha fayn — whither is he gone ? (iv. 323) : Kama badri = he 
rose early (ix. 318) : Kaman = also, a word known to every European (ii. 43) : 
Katt = never (ii. 172) : Kawam (pronounced 'awam) — fast, at once (iv. 385) : 
and Rih asif kawi (pron. 'awi) = a wind, strong very. Laysh, e.g. bi-tasalni 
laysh (ix. 324) = why do you ask me ? a favourite form for Ii ayya shayyin, also 
an old form : so Mafish = ma fihi shayjam (there is no thing) in which Herr 
Landberg (p. 425) makes " Sha, le present de pouvoir ": Min ajali = for my 
sake ; and Li-ajal al-taudi'a = for the sake of taking leave (Mac. Edit. i. 384) : 
Rijal nautiyah = men sailors when the latter word would suffice: Shuwayh (dim. 
of shayy) = a small thing, a little (iv. 309) like Moyyah (dim. of Ma) a little 
water : Waddiini = they carried me (ii. 172) and lastly the abominable Wahid 
gharib — one (for a) stranger. These ie.v{ must suffice : the tale of Judar and his 
Brethren, which in style is mostly Egyptian, will supply a number of others. It 
must not, however, be supposed, as many have done, that vulgar and colloquial 
Arabic is of modern date : we find it in the first century of Al-Islam, as is proved 
by the tale of Al-Hajjaj and Al-Shabi (Ibn Khallikan, ii. 6). The former asked 
" Kam ataa-k?" (= how much is thy pay?) to which the latter answered, 
" Alfayn !" (= two thousand !) " Tut," cried the Governor, "Kam atau-ka? " 
to which the poet replied as correctly and classically, " Alfani." 

3IO A If Lay la h tea Laylah. 

pompous ; e.g. the Wazirial addresses in the tale of King 
Jali'ad. The battle-scenes, mostly admirable, are told with 
the conciseness of a despatch and the vividness of an artist ; 
the two combining to form perfect " word-pictures." Of the 
Badi'a or euphuistic style, " parleying euphuism," and of 
Al-Saj'a, the prose rhyme, I shall speak in a future page. 

The characteristics of the whole are naiVete and simplicity, 
clearness and a singular concision. The gorgeousness is in 
the imagery, not in the language ; the words are weak while 
the sense, as in the classical Scandinavian books, is strong ; 
and here the Arabic differs diametrically from the florid 
exuberance and turgid amplifications of the Persian story- 
teller, which sound so hollow and unreal by the side of a 
chaster model. It abounds in formulae such as repetitions of 
religious phrases which are unchangeable. There are certain 
stock comparisons, as Lokman's wisdom, Joseph's beauty, 
Jacob's grief. Job's patience, David's music, and Maryam the 
Virgin's chastity. The eyebrow is a Niin ; the eye a Sad, the 
mouth a Mi'm. A hero is more prudent than the crow, a better 
guide than the Kata-grouse, more generous than the cock, 
warier than the crane, braver than the lion, more aggressive 
than the panther, finer sighted than the horse, craftier than 
the fox, greedier than the gazelle, more vigilant than the dcg, 
and thriftier than the ant. The cup-boy is a sun rising from 
the dark underworld symbolised by his collar ; his cheek-mole 
is a crumb of ambergris, his nose is a scymitar grided at the 
curve ; his lower lip is a jujube ; his teeth arc the Pleiades, or 
hailstones ; his browlocks are scorpions ; his young hair on 
the upper lip is an emerald ; his side beard is a swarm of 
ants or a Lam (1-letter) enclosing the roses or anemones of 
his cheek. The cup-girl is a moon who rivals the sheen 
of the sun ; her forehead is a pearl set off by "the jet of her 
" idiot-fringe ; " her eyelashes scorn the sharp sword ; and 
her glances are arrows shot from the bow of the 
eyebrows. A mistress necessarily belongs, though living in 
the next street, to the Wady Liwa in Al-Naja, the Arabian 

Terminal Essay. 3 1 1 

Arcadia ; also to a hostile clan of Badawin whose blades are 
ever thirsting for the lover's blood and whose malignant 
tongues aim only at the " defilement of separation." Youth 
is upright as an Alif ( 1 ), or slender and bending as a branch 
of the Ban tree which we should call a willow-wand,^ while 
Age, crabbed and crooked, stoops groundward, vainly seeking 
in the dust his lost juvenility. As Baron de Slane says of 
these stock comparisons (Ibn Khali, i. xxxvi), " The figurative 
language of Moslem poets is often difficult to be understood. 
The narcissus is the eye ; the feeble stem of that plant bends 
languidly under its flower, and thus recalls to mind the languor 
of the eyes. Pearls signify both tears and teeth ; the latter are 
sometimes called Jiailstones, from their whiteness and moisture ; 
the lips are cornelians or rubies ; the g-7(ms, 2. potnegranate flozver ; 
the dark foliage of the myrtle is synonymous with the black 
hair of the beloved, or with the first down on the cheeks of 
puberty. The down itself is called the isdr, or head-stall of 
the bridle, and the curve of the izar is compared to the letters 
lam (J) and nun {J}? Ringlets trace on the cheek or neck 
the letter Waw {}) ; they are called Scorpions (as the Greek 
a-KopTTLo^), either from their dark colour or their agitated move- 
ments ; the eye is a sword ; the eyelids scabbards ; the whiteness 
of the complexion, camphor ; and a mole or beauty-spot, musk, 
which term denotes also dark hair. A mole is sometimes 
compared also to an ant creeping on the cheek towards the honey 
of the mouth ; a handsome face is both a fidl moon and day ; 
black hair \s night; the zuaist is a zvillow-brancJi or 3. lance ; 
the water of the face ^ is self-respect : a poet sells the water of 
his face when he bestows mercenary praises on a rich patron." 

^ In Russian folk-songs a young girl is often compared with this tree, e.g. — 

Ivooshka, ivooshka zelonaia moia — 
(O Willow, O green Willow mine !) 

^ So in Hector France ("La Vache enragee ") " Le sourcil en accent circon- 
flexe et I'oeil en point d'interrogation." 

^ In Persian "Ab-i-ru," by Indians pronounced Abrti. 

312 Alf Laylah iva Laylah. 

This does not sound promising : yet, as has been said ot 
Arab music, the persistent repetition of the same notes in the 
minor key is by no means monotonous and ends with haunting 
the ear, occupying the thought and touching the soul. Like 
the distant frog-concert and chirp of the cicada, the creak of 
the water-wheel and the stroke of hammers upon the anvil 
from afar, the murmur of the fountain, the sough of the wind 
and the plash of the wavelet, they occupy the sensorium with 
a soothing effect, forming a barbaric music full of soothing 
sweetness and peaceful pleasure. 

Terjuinav Essay. 313 



I HERE propose to treat of the Social Condition which The 
Nights discloses and of Al-Islam at the earlier period of its 

A. — Al-Islam. 

A splendid and glorious life was that of Baghdad in the 
days of the mighty Caliph,^ when the capital had towered to 
the zenith of grandeur and was already trembling and totter- 
ing to the fall. The centre of human civilisation, which was 
then confined to Greece and Arabia, and the metropolis of an 
Empire exceeding in extent the widest limits of Rome, it was 
essentially a city of pleasure, a Paris of the ninth century. 
The " Palace of Peace " (Dar al-Salam), worthy successor of 
Babylon and Nineveh, which had outrivalled Damascus, the 
" Smile of the Prophet," and Kufah, the successor of Hira 
and the magnificent creation of Caliph Omar, possessed un- 
rivalled advantages of site and climate. The Tigris-Euphrates 
Valley, where the fabled Garden of Eden has been placed, in 
early ages succeeded the Nile-Valley as a great centre of 
human development : and the prerogative of a central and 
commanding position still promises it, even in the present 
state of decay and desolation under the unspeakable Turk, a 
magnificent future,^ when railways and canals shall connect it 
with Europe. The city of palaces and government offices, 

^ For further praises of his poetry and eloquence see the extracts from Fakhr 
al-Din of Rayy (an annalist of the xivth century A.D.) in De Sacy's Chresto- 
mathie Arabe, vol. i. 

* After this had been written I received " Babylonien, das reichste Land in der 
Vorzeit und das lohnendste Kolonisationsfeld fur die Gegenwart," by my learned 
friend Dr. Aloys Sprenger, Heidelberg, 1886. 

314 -^V Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

hotels and pavilions, mosques and colleges, kiosks and squares, 
bazars and markets, pleasure grounds and orchards, adorned 
with all the graceful charms which Saracenic architecture had 
borrowed from the Byzantines, lay couched upon the banks 
of the Dijlah-Hiddekel under a sky of marvellous purity and 
in a climate which makes mere life a "Kayf" — the luxury 
of tranquil enjoyment. It was surrounded by far-extending 
suburbs, like Rusafah (the Dyke) on the Eastern side and 
villages like Baturanjah, dear to the votaries of pleasure ; and 
with the roar of a gigantic capital mingled the hum of prayer, 
the trilling of birds, the thrilling of harp and lute, the shrilling 
of pipes, the minstrel's lay, and the witching strains of the 
professional Almah. 

The population of Baghdad must have been enormous when 
the smallest number of her sons who fell victims to Hulaku 
Khan in 1258 was estimated at eight hundred thousand, while 
other authorities more than double that terrible " butcher's 
bill." Her policy and polity were unique. A well-regulated 
routine of tribute and taxation, personally inspected by the 
Caliph ; a network of waterways and canaux d'arrosage ; a 
noble system of highways, provided with viaducts, bridges 
and caravanserais, and a postal service of mounted couriers 
enabled it to collect as in a reservoir the wealth of the outer 
world. The facilities for education were upon the most 
extended scale ; large sums, from private as well as public 
sources, were allotted to Mosques, each of which, by the 
admirable rule of Al-Islam, was expected to contain a school : 
these establishments were richly endowed and stocked with 
professors collected from every land between Khorasan and 
Marocco,^ and immense libraries ^ attracted the learned of all 

' The first school for Arabic literature was opened by Ibn Abbas who lectured 
to multitudes in a valley near Meccah ; this rude beginning was followed by 
public teaching in the great Mosque of Damascus. For the rise of the 
" Madrasah," Academy or College, see Introd. to Ibn Khallikan, pp. xxvii.-xxxii. 

- When Ibn Abbad the Sahib (Wazir) was invited to visit one of the Samanides, 
he refused, one reason being that he would require 400 camels to carry only his books. 

J'erminal Essay. 3 1 5 

nations. It was a golden age for poets and panegyrists, 
koranists and literati, preachers and rhetoricians, physicians 
and scientists who, besides receiving high salaries and fabulous 
presents, were treated with all the honours of Chinese 
Mandarins ; and, like these, the humblest Moslem — fisherman 
or artizan — could aspire through knowledge of savoir faire to 
the highest offices of the Empire. The efifect was a grafting 
of Egyptian and old Mesopotamian, of Persian and Graeco- 
Latin fruits, by long Time deterioriated, upon the strong 
young stock of Arab genius ; and the result, as usual after 
such imping, was a shoot of exceptional luxuriance and 
vitality. The educational establishments devoted themselves 
to the three main objects recognized by the Moslem world, 
Theology, Civil Law and Belles Lettres ; and a multitude of 
trained Councillors enabled the ruling powers to establish and 
enlarge that complicated machinery of government, at once 
concentrated and decentralized, a despotism often fatal to the 
wealthy great but never neglecting the interests of the humbler 
lieges, which forms the beau ideal of Oriental administration. 
Under the Chancellors of the empire the Kazis administered 
law and order, justice and equity ; and from their decisions 
the poorest subject, Moslem or miscreant, could claim with 
the general approval of the lieges, access and appeal to the 
Caliph who, as Imam or Antistes of the Faith, was High 
President of a Court of Cassation. 

Under wise administration Agriculture and Commerce, the 
twin pillars of national prosperity, necessarily flourished. A 
scientific canalisation, with irrigation-works inherited from the 
ancients, made the Mesopotamian Valley a rival of Kemi the 
Black Land, and rendered cultivation a certainty of profit, 
not a mere speculation as it must ever be to those who per- 
force rely upon the fickle rains of Heaven. The remains of 
extensive mines prove that this source of public wealth was 
not neglected ; navigation laws encouraged transit and traffic ; 
and ordinances for the fisheries aimed at developing a branch of 
industry which is still backward even during the xixth century. 
Most substantial encouragement was given to trade and com- 

3 1 6 Alf Laylah in a Laylah. 

merce, to manufactures and handicrafts, by the flood of gold 
which poured in from all parts of earth ; by the presence of a 
splendid and luxurious court, and by the call for new arts and 
industries which such a civilisation would necessitate. The 
crafts were distributed into guilds and syndicates under their 
respective chiefs, whom the Government did not " govern too 
much : " these Shahbandars, Mukaddams and Naki'bs regu- 
lated the several trades, rewarded the industrious, punished 
the fraudulent, and were personally answerable, as we still see 
at Cairo, for the conduct of their constituents. Public order, 
the sine qua non of stability and progress, was preserved, first, 
by the satisfaction of the lieges, who, despite their charac- 
teristic turbulence, had few if any grievances ; and, secondly, 
by a well-directed and efficient police, an engine of statecraft 
which in the West seems most difficult to perfect. In the 
East, however, the Wali or Chief Commissioner can reckon 
more or less upon the unsalaried assistance of society : the 
cities are divided into quarters shut off one from other 
by night, and every Moslem is expected, by his law and 
religion, to keep watch upon his neighbours, to report their 
delinquencies and, if necessary, himself to carry out the 
penal code. But in difficult cases the guardians of the 
peace were assisted by a body of private detectives, women 
as well as men : these were called Tawwdbun = the Peni- 
tents, because like our Bow-street runners, they had given up 
an even less respectable calling. Their adventures still 
delight the vulgar, as did the Newgate Calendar of past 
generations ; and to this class we owe the tales of Calamity 
Ahmad, Dalilah the Wily One, Saladin with the three Chiefs 
of Police (vol. iii. 1 16), and Al-Malik al-Zahir with the Sixteen 
Constables (Bresl. Edit, xi, pp. 321-99). Here and in many 
other places we also see the origin of that " picaresque " 
literature which arose in Spain and overran Europe ; and 
which begat Le Moyen de Parvenir,^ 

' This " Salmagondis'' by Francois Beroalde de Verville was afterwards 
worked by Tabarin, the pseudo-Bruscambille d'Aubigne and Sorel. 

Terminal Essay. 317 

I need say no more on this heading, the civilization of 
Baghdad contrasting with the barbarism of Europe then 
Germanic, The Nights itself being the best expositor. On 
the other hand the action of the state-religion upon the state, 
the condition of Al-Islam during the reign of Al-Rashid, its 
declension from the primitive creed and its relation to 
Christianity and Christendom, require a somewhat extended 

Al-Islam, it has been said, is essentially a fighting faith and 
never shows to full advantage save in the field. The exceed- 
ing luxury of a wealthy capital, the debauchery and variety of 
vices which would spring up therein, naturally as weeds in 
a rich fallow, and the cosmopolitan views which suggest 
themselves in a meeting-place of nations, were sore trials to 
the primitive simplicity of the " Religion of Resignation " — 
the saving faith. Harun and his cousin-wife, as has been 
shown, were orthodox and even fanatical ; but the Barmecides 
were strongly suspected of heretical leanings ; and while the 
many-headed showed itself, as usual, violent, and ready to do 
battle about an Azan-call, the learned, who sooner or later 
leaven the masses, were profoundly dissatisfied with the 
dryness and barrenness of Mohammed's creed, so acceptable 
to the vulgar, and were devising a series of schisms and 

In the Tale of Tawaddud the reader has seen a fairly 
extended catechism of the Creed (Ui'n), the ceremonial 
observances (Mazhab) and the apostolic practices (Sunnat) of 
the Shafi'i school which, with minor modifications, applies to 
the other three orthodox. Europe has by this time clean 
forgotten some tricks of her former bigotry, such as 
"Mawmet" (an idol!) and "Mahommerie" (mummery^), a 

^ I prefer this derivation to Strutt's adopted by the popular, " ftmin/n is said 
to be derived from the Danish word miini/ne, or momme in Dutch (Germ. = larva) 
and signifies disguise in a mask, hence a mummer." In the Promptorium 
Parvulorum we have " Mummynge, mussacio, vel mussatus : " it was a panto- 
mime in dumb show, e.g. " I mumme in a mummynge ; " " Let us go niumme 

31 8 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

place of Moslem worship : educated men no longer speak 
with Ockley of the " great impostor Mahomet," nor believe 
with the learned and violent Dr. Prideaux that he was foolish 
and wicked enough to dispossess " certain poor orphans, the 
sons of an inferior artificer " (the Banu Najjar !). A host of 
books has attempted, though hardly with success, to enlighten 
popular ignorance upon a crucial point ; namely, that the 
Founder of Al-Islam, like the Founder of Christianity, never 
pretended to establish a new religion. His claims, indeed, 
were limited to purging the " School of Galilee " of the dross 
of ages and of the manifold abuses wherewith long use had 
infected its early constitution : hence to the unprejudiced 
observer his reformation seems to have brought it nearer the 
primitive and original doctrine than any subsequent attempts, 
especially the Judaizing tendencies of the so-called neo- 
" Protestant " churches. The Meccan Apostle preached that 
the Hanafiyyah or orthodox belief, which he subsequently 
named Al-Islam, was first taught by Allah, in all its purity 
and perfection, to Adam, and consigned to certain inspired 
volumes now lost ; and that this primal Holy Writ received 
additions in the days of his descendants Shi's (Seth) and 
Idri's (Enoch i*), the founder of the Sabian (not " Sabaean ") 
faith. Here, therefore, Al-Islam at once avoided the 
deplorable assumption of the Hebrews and the Christians, — 
an error which has been so injurious to their science and 
their progress, — of placing their " first man " in circa 
B.C. 4000, or somewhat subsequent to the building of the 
Pyramids : the Pre- Adamite^ races and dynasties of the 

(mummer) to nyghte in women's apparayle." " Mask " and " Mascarade," for 
persona, larva or vizard, also derive, I have noticed, from an Arabic word — 

^ The Pre-Adamite doctrine has been preached but with scant success in 
Christendom. Peyrere, a French Calvinist, published (A.D. 1655) his Prae- 
adamitee, sive exercitatio supra versibus 12, 13, 14, cap. v. Epist. Paul ad 
Romanos," contending that Adam was called the first man because with him the 
law began. It brewed a storm of wrath and the author was fortunate to escape 
witli only imprisonment for belief in "Adam Kadmon." 

Terminal Essay. 319 

Moslems remove a great stumbling-block and square with 
the anthropological views of the present day. In process of 
time, when the Adamite religion demanded a restoration and 
a supplement, its pristine virtue was revived, restored and 
further developed by the books communicated to Abraham, 
whose dispensation thus takes the place of the Hebrew Noah 
and his Noachidae. In due time the Torah, or Pentateuch, 
superseded and abrogated the Abrahamic dispensation ; the 
" Zabur " of David (a book not confined to the Psalms) 
reformed the Torah ; the Inji'l or Evangel reformed the 
Zabur and was itself purified, quickened and perfected by the 
Koran which means Ka-rlioyyiv The Reading or The Recital. 
Hence Locke, with many others, held Moslems to be 
unorthodox, that is anti-Trinitarian Christians who believe in 
the immaculate Conception, in the Ascension and in the 
divine mission of Jesus ; and when Priestley affirmed that 
*' Jesus was sent from God," all Moslems do the same. Thus 
they are, in the main point of doctrine connected with the 
Deity, simply Arians as opposed to Athanasians. History 
proves that the former was the earlier faith which, though 
formally condemned in A.D. 325 by Constantine's Council 
of Nice,^ overspread the Orient beginning with Eastern 
Europe, where Ulphilas converted the Goths ; which ex- 
tended into Africa with the Vandals, claimed a victim or 
martyr as late as in the sixteenth century^ and has by no 
means died out in this our day, 

The Talmud had been completed a full century before 
Mohammed's time and the Evangel had been translated into 
Arabic ; moreover travel and converse with his Jewish and 
Christian friends and companions must have convinced the 
Meccan apostle that Christianity was calling as loudly for 
reform as Judaism had done. An exaggerated Trinitarianism 

^ According to Socrates the verdict was followed by a free fight of the Bishop- 
voters over the word " consubstantiality. " 

"^ Servetus burnt (in A.D. 1553 for publishing his Arian tractate) by Calvin. 

320 AlJ Lay /ah wa Lay 1 ah. 

or rather Tritheism, a " Fourth Person," and Saint-worship 
had virtually dethroned the Deity ; whilst Mariolatry had 
made the faith a religio muliebris, and superstition had drawn 
from its horrid fecundity an incredible number of heresies 
and monstrous absurdities. Even ecclesiastic writers draw 
the gloomiest pictures of the Christian Church in the fourth 
and seventh centuries, and one declares that the " Kingdom 
of Heaven had become a Hell." Egypt, distracted by the 
blood-thirsty religious wars of Copt and Greek, had been 
covered with hermitages by a gens aeterna of semi-maniacal 
superstition. Syria, ever " feracious of heresies," had allowed 
many of her finest tracts to be monopolised by monkeries 
and nunneries.^ After many a tentative measure Mohammed 
seems to have built his edifice upon two bases, the unity of 
the Godhead and the priesthood of the paterfamilias. He 
abolished for ever the " sacerdos, alter Christus " whose ex- 
istence, as someone acutely said, is the best proof of Chris- 
tianity, and whom all know to be its weakest point. The 
Moslem family, however humble, was to be the model in 
miniature of the State, and every father in Al-Islam was 
made priest and pontiff in his own house, able unaided to 
marry himself, to circumcise (to baptise as it were) his chil- 
dren, to instruct them in the law and canonically to bury 
himself. Ritual, properly so called, there was none ; con- 
gregational prayers were merely those of the individual en 
masse and the only admitted approach to a sacerdotal order 
were the Olema or scholars learned in the legistic and the 
Mullah or schoolmaster. By thus abolishing the priesthood 
Mohammed reconciled ancient with modern wisdom. " Scito 
dominum," said Cato, " pro tota familiarcm divinam facere : " 
" No priest at a birth, no priest at a marriage, no priest at a 
death," is the aspiration of the present Rationalistic School. 

' It was the same in Jlngland before the " Reformation," and in France where, 
during our days, a returned priesthood collected in a few years " Peter-pence" to 
the tune of five hundred millions of francs. And these men wonder at being 
turned out ! 

Terminal Essay. 321 

The Meccan apostle wisely retained the compulsory sacra- 
ment of circumcision and the ceremonial ablutions of the 
Mosaic law ; and the five daily prayers not only diverted 
man's thoughts from the world but tended to keep his body 
pure. These two institutions had been practised throughout 
life by the Flounder of Christianity ; but the followers who 
had never even seen him, abolished them for purposes evi- 
dently political and propagandist. By ignoring the truth that 
cleanliness is next to godliness they paved the way for such 
saints as Simon Stylites and Sabba who, like the lowest 
Hindu orders of ascetics, made filth a concomitant and an 
evidence of piety : even now English Catholic girls are at 
times forbidden by Italian priests a frequent use of the bath 
as a penance against the sin of " luxury." Mohammed would 
have accepted the morals contained in the Sermon on the 
Mount much more readily than did the Jews from whom its 
matter was borrowed.^ He did something to abolish the use 
of wine, which in the East means only its abuse ; and he de- 
nounced games of chance, well knowing that the excitable 
races of sub-tropical climates cannot play with patience, 
fairness or moderation. He set aside certain sums for charity 
to be paid by every Believer and he was the first to establish 
a poor-rate (Zakat) : thus he avoided the shame and scandal 
of mendicancy which, beginning in the Catholic countries of 
Southern Europe, extends to Syria and as far East as Chris- 
tianity is found. By these and other measures of the same 
import he made the ideal Moslem's life physically clean, 
moderate and temperate. 

But Mohammed, the " master mind of the age," had, we 
must own, a " genuine prophetic power, a sinking of self in 
the Divine, not distinguishable in kind from the inspiration 
of the Hebrew prophets," especially in that puritanical and 
pharisaic narrowness which, with characteristic simplicity, 

^ Deutsch on the Talmud : Quarterly Review, 1S67. 

32 2 Alf Laylah wa Lay la h. 

can see no good outside its own petty pale. He had insight 
as well as outsight, and the two taught him that personal and 
external reformation were mean matters compared with 
elevating the inner man. In the " purer Faith," which he was 
commissioned to abrogate and to quicken, he found two vital 
defects equally fatal to its energy and to its longevity. These 
were (and are) its egoism and its degradation of humanity. 
Thus it cannot be a " pleroma : " it needs a Higher Law. 
As Judaism promised the good Jew all manner of temporal 
blessings, issue, riches, wealth, honour, power, length of days, 
so Christianity offered the good Christian, as a bribe to lead 
a godly life, personal salvation and a future state of happiness, 
in fact, the Kingdom of Heaven, with an alternative threat 
of Hell. It never rose to the height of the Hindu Brahmans 
and Lao-Tse (the "Ancient Teacher"), of Zeno the Stoic 
and his disciples the noble Pharisees ^ who believed and 
preached that Virtue is its own reward. It never dared to say 
'' Do good for Good's sake ; " - even now it does not declare 
with Cicero, " The sum of all is, that what is right should be 
sought for its own sake, because it is right, and not because 
it is enacted." It does not even now venture to say with 
Philo Judaeus, " The good man seeks the day for the sake of 
the day, and the light for the light's sake : and he labours to 
acquire what is good for the sake of the Good itself, and not 

' These Hebrew Stoics would justly charge the Founder of Christianity with 
preaching a more popular and practical doctrine, but a degradation from their own 
far higher : nd more ideal standard. 

•^ Dr. Theodore Christlieb (" Modern Doubt and Christian Belief," Edinburgh : 
Clark, 1874) can even now write: — "So then the 'full age' to which humanity 
is at present supposed to have attained, consists in man's doing good purely for 
goodness sake ! Who sees not the hollowness of this bombastic talk ? That 
man has yet to be born whose practice will be regulated by this insipid theory 
(diestr ^^rauen Theorie). What is the idea of goodness per se? * * * The 
abstract idea of goodness is not an effectual motive for well-doing " (p. 104). My 
only comment is c'cst ignoble! His reverence acts the part of Satan in Holy 
Writ, " Does Job serve God for naught ? " Compare this selfish, irreligious, and 
immoral view with Philo Judceus (On the Allegory of the Sacred Laws, cap. Iviii.), 
to measure the extent of the fall from Pharisaism to Christianity. 

Terminal Essay. 323 

of anything else." So far for the egotism, naive and uncon- 
scious, of Christianity, whose burden is, " Do good to escape 
Hell and gain Heaven." 

A no less defect in the " School of Galilee " is its low view 
of human nature. Adopting as sober and authentic history 
an Osirian-Hebrew myth which Philo and a host of Rabbis 
explain away, each after his own fashion, Christianity dwells, 
lovingly, as it were, upon the " Fall " of man ^ and seems to 
revel in the contemptible condition to which " original sin " 
condemned him ; thus grovelling before God ad majorem 
Dei gloriam. To such a point was and is this carried that 
the Synod of Dort declared, Infantes infidelium morientes 
in infantia reprobates esse statuimus ; nay, many of the 
orthodox still hold a Christian babe dying unbaptised to 
be unfit for a higher existence, and some have even created 
a " limbo " expressly to domicile the innocents, " of whom 
is the Kingdom of Heaven." Here, if anywhere, the 
cloven foot shows itself and teaches us that the only solid 
stratum underlying priestcraft is one composed of jQ s. d. 

And I never can now believe it, my Lord ! (Bishop) we come to this earth 
Ready damned, with the seeds of evil sown quite so thick at our birth, 

sings Edwin Arnold.^ We ask, can infatuation or hypocrisy, 
for it must be the one or the other, go farther } But the 
Adamical myth is opposed to all our modern studies. The 
deeper we dig into the Earth's " crust," the lower are the 
specimens of human remains which occur ; and hitherto not 
a single " find " has come to revive the faded glories of 

Adam the goodliest man of men since born (!) 
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve. 

Thus Christianity, admitting like Judaism, its own saints and 

^ Of the doctrine of the Fall the heretic Marcion wrote : " The Deity must 
either be deficient in goodness if he willed, in prescience if he did not foresee, or 
in power if he did not prevent it." 

■^ In his charming book, " India Revisited." 

324 Alf Laylah wa Layiah. 

santons, utterly ignores the Progress of Humanity, perhaps 
the only belief in which the wise man can take unmingled 
satisfaction. Both have proposed an originally perfect being 
with hyacinthine locks, from whose type all the subsequent 
humans are degradations physical and moral. We on the other 
hand hold, from the evidence of our senses, that early man was 
a savage very little superior to the brute ; that during man's 
millions of years upon earth there has been a gradual advance 
towards perfection, at times irregular and even retrograde, 
but in the main progressive ; and that a comparison of man in 
the xixth century with the caveman ^ affords us the means 
of measuring past progress and of calculating the future of 

Mohammed was far from rising to the moral heights of the 
ancient sages : he did nothing to abate the egotism of Christi- 
anity ; he even exaggerated the pleasures of its Heaven and the 
horrors of its Hell. On the other hand he did much to exalt 
human nature. He passed over the " Fall " with a light hand ; 
he made man superior to the angels : he encouraged his fellow- 
creatures to be great and good by dwelling upon their nobler 
not their meaner side ; he acknowledged, even in this world, the 
perfectability of mankind, including womankind, and in pro- 
posing the loftiest ideal he acted unconsciously upon the grand 
dictum of chivalry — Honneur oblige.^ His prophets were 
mostly faultless men ; and, if Adam, the " Pure of Allah," 
sinned, he " sinned against himself." Lastly, he made Allah 
predetermine the career and fortunes, not only of empires, 
but of every created being ; tlius inculcating sympathy and 
tolerance of others, which is true humanity, and a proud resig- 
nation to evil as to good fortune. This is the doctrine which 
teaches the vulgar Moslem a dignity observed even by the 

' This is the answer to those who contend with much truth that the moderns 
are by no means superior to the ancients of Europe : they look at the results of 
only 3,000 years instead of 30,000 or 300,000. 

* As a maxim the saying is attributed to the Due de Levis, but it is much 

Terminal Essay. 325 

" blind traveller," and which enables him to display a moder- 
ation, a fortitude, and a self-command rare enough amongst 
the followers of the " purer creed." 

Christian historians explain variously the portentous rise 
of Al-Islam and its marvellous spread over vast regions not 
only of pagans and idolaters but of Christians. Prideaux dis- 
ingenuously suggests that it " seems to have been purposely 
raised up by God, to be a scourge to the Christian church for 
not living in accordance with their most holy religion." The 
popular excuse is by the free use of the sword ; this, however, 
is mere ignorance : in Mohammed's day and early Al-Islam 
only actual fighters were slain ^ : the rest were allowed to pay 
the Jizyah, or capitation tax, and to become tributaries, 
enjoying almost all the privileges of Moslems. But even had 
forcible conversion been most systematically practised, it would 
have afforded an insufficient explanation of the phenomenal rise 
of an empire which covered more ground in eighty years than 
Rome had gained in eight hundred. During so short a time 
the grand revival of Christian Monotheism had consolidated 
into a mighty nation, despite their eternal blood-feuds, the 
scattered Arab tribes ; a six-years' campaign had conquered 
Syria, and a lustre or two utterly overthrew Persia, humbled 
the Graeco-Roman, subdued Egypt and extended The Faith 
along northern Africa as far as the Atlantic. Within three 
generations the Copts of Nile-land had formally cast out 
Christianity, and the same was the case with Syria, the cradle 
of the Nazarene, and Mesopotamia, one of his strongholds 
although both were backed by all the remaining power of the 
Byzantine empire. North-Western Africa, which had rejected 
the idolatro-philosophic system of pagan and imperial Rome, 
and had accepted, after lukewarm fashion, the Arian Christianity 

There are a few, but only a few, frightful exceptions to this rule, especially in 
the case of Khalid bin Walid, the Sword of Allah, and his ferocious friend, Darar 
ibn al-Azwar. But their cruel excesses were loudly blamed by the Moslems, 
and Caliph Omar only obeyed the popular voice in superseding the fierce and 
furious Khalid by the mild and merciful Abii Obaydah. 

326 Alj Lay la h wa Layiah. 

imported by the Vandals, and the " Nicene mystery of the 
Trinity," hailed with enthusiasm the doctrines of the Koran 
and has never ceased to be most zealous in its Islam. And 
while Mohammedanism speedily reduced the limits of 
Christendom by one-third, while throughout the Arabian, 
Saracenic and Turkish invasions whole Christian peoples 
embraced the monotheistic faith, there are hardly any instances 
of defection from the new creed, and, with the exception of 
Spain and Sicily, it has never been suppressed in any land 
where once it took root. Even now, when Mohammedanism 
no longer wields the sword, it is spreading over wide regions in 
China, in the Indian Archipelago, and especially in Western 
and Central Africa, propagated only by self-educated indi- 
viduals, trading travellers, while Christianity makes no progress 
and cannot exist on the Dark Continent without strong sup- 
port from Government. Nor can we explain this honourable 
reception by the " licentiousness " ignorantly attributed to 
Al-Islam, one of the most severely moral of institutions ; or by 
the allurements of polygamy and concubinage, slavery,^ and a 
" wholly sensual Paradise " devoted to eating, drinking ^ and 
the pleasures of the sixth sense. The true and simple ex- 
planation is that this grand Reformation of Christianity was 
urgently wanted when it appeared, that it suited the people 
better than the creed which it superseded, and that it has not 
ceased to be sufficient for their requirements, social, sexual and 
vital. As the practical Orientalist Dr. Leitner well observes 
from his own experience, " The Mohammedan religion can 

1 This too when St. Paul sends the Christian slave Onesimus back to his 
unbelieving (?) master Philemon ; which in Al-Islam would have created a 

'^ This too when the Founder of Christianity talks of " Eating and drinking at 
his table ! " (Luke xxii. 29). My notes have often touched upon this inveterate 
prejudice, the result, like the soul-less woman of Al-Islam, of ad captandum, 
pious fraud. " No soul knoweth what joy of the eyes is reserved for the good in 
recompense for their works " (Koran xxxii. 17) is suiely as "spiritual" as St. 
Paul (l Cor. ii. 9). Some lies, however, are very long-lived, especially those 
begotten by self-interest. 

Terminal Essay. 327 

adapt itself better than any other, and has adapted itself to 
circumstances and to the needs of the various races which 
profess it, in accordance with the spirit of the age." ^ Hence, 
I add, its wide diffusion and its impregnable position. " The 
dead hand, stiff and motionless " is a forcible simile for the 
present condition of Al-Islam ; but it results from limited and 
imperfect observation and it fails in the sine qua non of 
similes and metaphors, a solid foundation of fact. 

I cannot quit this subject without a passing reference to an 
admirably written passage in Mr. Palgrave's travels ^ which is 
essentially unfair to Al-Islam. The author has had ample 
opportunities of comparing creeds ; of Jewish blood and born 
a Protestant, he became a Catholic and a Jesuit (Pere Michel 
Cohen) 3 in a Syrian convent ; he crossed Arabia as a good 
Moslem and he finally returned to his premier amour, Angli- 
canism. But his picturesque depreciation of Mohammedanism, 
which has found due appreciation in more than one popular 
volume,'^ is a notable specimen of special pleading, of the ad 
captandum in its modern and least honest form. The writer 
begins by assuming the arid and barren Wahhabi-ism, which 
he had personally studied, as a fair expression of the Saving 
Faith. What should we say to a Moslem traveller who would 
make the Calvinism of the sourest Covenanter, model, genuine 

^ I have elsewhere noted its strict conservatism which, however, it shares with 
all Eastern faiths in the East. But progress, not quietism, is the principle which 
governs humanity and it is favoured by events of most different nature. In Egypt 
the rule of Mohammed Ali the Great and in Syria the Massacre of Damascus 
(i860} have greatly modified the constitution of Al-Islam throughout the nearer 

^ Chapt. viii. " Narrative of a Year's Journey through Central and Eastern 
Arabia ;" London, Macmillan, 1865. 

' The Soc. Jesu has, I believe, a traditional conviction that converts of Israelitic 
blood bring only misfortune to the Order. 

* I especially allude to an able but most superficial book, the "Ten Great 
Religions," by James F. Clarke (Boston, Osgood, 1876), which caricatures and 
exaggerates the false portraiture of Mr. Palgrave. The writer's admission that, 
*' Something is always gained by learning what the believers in a system have to 
say in its behalf," clearly shows us the man we have to deal with and the "depths 
of his self-consciousness." 

328 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

and ancient Christianity ? What would sensible Moslems say 
to these propositions of Professor Maccovius and the Synod 
of Dort : — Good works are an obstacle to salvation, God 
does by no means will the salvation of all men : He does will 
sin and He destines men to sin, as sin ? What would they 
think of the Inadmissible Grace, the Perseverance of the Elect, 
the Supralapsarian and the Sublapsarian and, finally, of a 
Deity, the author of man's existence, temptation and fall, who 
deliberately pre-ordains sin and ruin ? " Father Cohen " 
carries out into the regions of the extreme his strictures on the 
one grand vitalising idea of Al-Islam, " There is no god but 
God ;"^ and his deduction concerning the Pantheism of Force 
sounds unreal and unsound, compared with the sensible 
remarks upon the same subject by Dr. Badger,^ who sees the 
abstruseness of the doctrine and does not care to include it in 
hard and fast lines or to subject it to mere logical analysis. 
Upon the subject of " predestination " Mr. Palgrave quotes, 
not from the Koran, but from the Ahadi's or Traditional Say- 
ings of the Apostle ; what importance, however, attaches to a 
legend in the Mischnah, or Oral Law, of the Hebrews utterly 
ignored by the Written Law .'' He joins the many in complain- 
ing that even the mention of " the love of God " is absent 
from Mohammed's theology, burking the fact that it never 
occurs in the Jewish scriptures, and that the genius of Arabic, 
like Hebrew, does not admit the expression : worse still ; he 
keeps from his reader such Koranic passages as, to quote no 
other, " Allah loveth you and will forgive your sins " (iii. 29), 
He pities Allah for having " no son, companion or counsellor " 
and, of course, he must equally commiserate Jehovah. Finally 

' But how could the Arabist write such hideous grammar as "La Ilah ilia 
Allah " for La ilaha (accus.) ill' Allah ? 

- p. 996 "Muhammad" in vol. iii. Dictionary of Christian Biography. See 
also the Illustration of the Mohammedan Creed, etc. from Al-Ghazali introduced 
(pp. 72 — 77) into Bell and Sons' "History of the Saracens" by Simon Ockley, 
B.D. (London, 1878). I regret that some Orientalist did not correct the proofs : 
everybody will not detect " Al-Lauh al-Mahfiiz" (the Guarded Tablet) in 
" Allauh ho'hnehphoud " (p. 171) ; and this but a pinch out of a camel-load. 

TerJiiinal Essay. 329 

his views of the lifelessness of Al-Islam are directly opposed 
to the opinions of Dr. Leitner and the experience of all who 
have lived in Moslem lands. Such are the ingenious but not 
ingenuous distortions of fact, the fine instances of the pathetic 
fallacy, and the noteworthy illustrations of the falsehood of 
extremes, which have engendered " Mohammedanism a Re- 
lapse : the worst form of Monotheism,"' and which have been 
eagerly seized upon and further deformed by the authors of 
popular books, that is, volumes written by those who know 
little for those who know less. 

In Al-Rashid's day a mighty change had passed over the 
primitive simplicity of Al-Islam, the change to which faiths 
and creeds, like races and empires and all things sublunary, 
are subject. The proximity of Persia and the close inter- 
course with the Graeco-Romans had polished and greatly modi- 
fied the physiognomy of the rugged old belief: all manner of 
metaphysical subtleties had cropped up, with the usual dis- 
integrating effect, and some of these threatened even the unity 
of the Godhead. Musaylimah, Al-Aswad and Aywalah bin 
Ka'b had left traces of their handiwork ; whilst Karmat was 
about to preach and the Mutazilites (separatists or secessors) 
actively propagated their doctrine of a created and temporal 
Koran. The Khariji or Ibazi, who rejects and reviles Abu 
Turab (Caliph Ali), contended passionately with the Shi'ah 
who reviles and rejects the other three " Successors ;" and 
these sectarians, favoured by the learned, and by the Abba- 

' The word should have been Arianism. This " heresy " of the early Christians 
was much aided by the "Discipline of the Secret," supposed to be of apostolic 
origin, which concealed from neophytes, catechumens and penitents all the higher 
mysteries, like the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Metastoicheiosis (transubstanti- 
ation), the Real Presence, the Eucharist and the Seven Sacraments ; when Arno- 
bius could ask, Quid Deo cum vino est? and when Justin, fearing the charge of 
Polytheism, could expressly declare the inferior nature of the Son to the Father. 
Hence the creed was appropriately called Symbol, i.e., Sign of the Secret. This 
" mental reservation " lasted till the Edict of Toleration, issued by Constantine in 
the fourth century, held Christianity secure when divulging her "mysteries" ; 
and it allowed Arianism to become the popular creed. 

33© Alf Laylah 7va Laylah. 

sides in their jealous hatred of the Ommiades, went to the 
extreme length of the Ali-Ilahi— the God-makers of Ali — 
whilst the Dahri and the Zindi'k, the Mundanist and the 
Agnostic, proposed to sweep away the whole edifice. The 
neo-Platonism and Gnosticism, which had not essentially 
affected Christendom,^ found in Al-Islam a rich fallow and 
gained strength and luxuriance by the solid materialism and 
stolid conservatism of its basis. Such were a few of the dis- 
tracting and resolving influences which Time had brought to 
bear upon the True Believer, and which, after some half a 
dozen generations, had separated the several schisms by a 
wider breach than that which yawns between Orthodox 
Romanist and Lutheran. Nor was this scandal in Al-Islam 
abated until the Tartar sword applied to it the sharpest 

B.— Woman. 

The next point I propose to consider is the position of woman- 
hood in The Nights, so curiously at variance with the stock 
ideas concerning the Moslem home and domestic polity still 
prevalent, not only in England but throughout Europe. Many 
readers of these volumes have remarked to me with much 
astonishment that they find the female characters more 
remarkable for decision, action and manliness than the male ; 
and are wonderstruck by their masterful attitude and by the 
supreme influence they exercise upon public and private life. 
I have glanced at the subject of the sex in Al-Islam to such 
an extent throughout my notes that little remains here to be 
added. Women, all the world over, are what men make them ; 
and the main charm of Amazonian fiction is to see how they 

> The Gnostics played rather a fantastic role in Chistianity with their Demiurge, 
their ^onogony, their ^ons by syzygies or couples, their Maio and Sabscho and 
their beatified bride of Jesus, Sophia Achamoth ; and some of them descended to 
absolute absurdities, e.g. the Tascodrugitiie and the Pattalorhinchitte who during 
prayers placed their fingers upon their noses or in their mouths, &c., reading 
literally Psalm cxli. 3. 

Terminal Essay. 331 

live and move and have their being without aid masculine. 
But it is the old ever-nev\- fable 

" Who drew the Hon vanquished ? 'Twas a man ! " 

The books of the Ancients, written in that stage of civilisation 
when the sexes are at civil war, make women even more than 
in real life the creatures of their masters : hence from the dawn 
of literature to the present day the sex has been the subject of 
disappointed abuse and eulogy almost as unmerited. Eccle- 
siastes, perhaps the strangest specimen of an " inspired 
volume " the world has yet produced, boldly declares " One 
(upright) man among a thousand I have found ; but a woman 
among all have I not found " (vol. vii. 28), thus confirming 
the pessimism of Petronius : — 

Femina nulla bona est, at si bona contigit ull.i, 
Nescio quo fato res mala facta bona est. 

In the Psalms again (xxx. 15) we have the old sneer at 
the three insatiables, Hell, Earth and the Feminine ; and 
Rabbinical learning has embroidered these and other texts, 
producing a truly hideous caricature. A Hadis attributed to 
Mohammed runs, " They (women) lack wits and faith. When 
Eve was created Satan rejoiced saying : — Thou art half of my 
host, the trustee of my secret and my shaft wherewith I shoot 
and miss not ! " Another tells us, *' I stood at the gate of 
Heaven, and lo ! most of its inmates were poor, and I stood at 
the gate of Hell, and lo ! most of its inmates were women. "^ 
" Take care of the glass-phials ! " cried the Prophet to a 
camel-guide singing with a sweet voice. Yet the Meccan 
apostle made, as has been seen, his own household produce 
two perfections. The blatant popular voice follows with such 
"dictes" as, "Women are made of nectar and poison;" 
" Women have long hair and short wits," and so forth. Nor are 
the Hindus behindhand. Woman has fickleness implanted in 

' "Kitab al-'Unwan fi Makaid al-Niswan " = The Book of the Beginnings on 
the Wiles of Womankind (Lane i. 38.) 

332 A If Lay I ah wa Lay la h. 

her by Nature like the flashings of lightning (Katha, ss. i. 
147) ; she is valueless as a straw to the heroic mind (169) ; 
she is hard as adamant in sin and soft as flour in fear (170) ; 
and, like the fly, she quits camphor to settle on compost 
(ii. 17). " What dependence is there in the crowing of a hen ? " 
(women's opinions) says the Hindi proverb : also " A virgin 
with grey hairs ! " [i.e. a monster), and " Wherever wendeth a 
fairy face a devil wendeth with her." The same superficial view 
of holding woman to be lesser (and very inferior) man is taken 
generally by the classics ; and Euripides distinguished himself 
by misogyny, although he drew the beautiful character of 
Alcestis. Simonides, more merciful than Ecclesiastes, after 
naming swine-women, dog-women, cat-women, etc., ends the 
decade with the admirable bee-woman thus making ten per 
cent, honest. In mediaeval or Germanic Europe the doctrine 
of the Virgin mother gave the sex a status unknown to the 
ancients except in Egypt, where Isis was the help-mate and 
completion of Osiris, in modern parlance " The Woman 
clothed with the Sun." The kindly and courtly Palmerin of 
England, in whose pages " gentlemen may find their choice 
of sweet inventions and gentlewomen be satisfied with courtly 
expectations," suddenly blurts out, " But in truth women are 
never satisfied by reason, being governed by accident or 
appetite " (chapt. xHx). 

The Nights, as might be expected from the emotional East, 
exaggerate these views. Women are mostly " Sectaries of the 
god Wiinsch ;" beings of impulse, blown about by every gust 
of passion ; stable only in instability ; constant only in incon- 
stancy. The false ascetic, the perfidious and murderous crone 
and the old hag-go-between who misleads like Umm Kulsum,^ 
for mere pleasure, are drawn with an experienced and loving 

^ This person was one of the Amsal or Exempla of Arabian history, and she 
lived a life of peculiar infamy. These proverbial models will be found quoted 
and explained by those who care to study the subject in the Arabum Pro- 
verbia, Arabicc et Latiuc, Commentarii illustravit Freytag, 3 vols. Bonnas, 

Terminal Essay. 333 

hand. Yet not the less do we meet with examples of the 
dutiful daughter, the model lover matronly in her affection, 
the devoted wife, the perfect mother, the saintly devotee, the 
learned preacher, Univira the chaste widow and the self- 
sacrificing heroic woman. If we find (vol. iii. 216) the sex 
described as — 

An ofFal cast by kites where'er they list, 

and the studied insults of sundry tales, we also come upon 
admirable sketches of conjugal happiness ; and, to mention 
no other, Shahryar's attestation to Shahrazad's excellence in 
the last charming pages of The Nights. And modern Moslem 
feeling upon the subject has apparently undergone a change. 
Ashraf Khan, the Afghan poet, sings. 

Since I, the parted one, have come the secrets of the world to ken. 
Women in hosts therein I find, but few (and very few) of men. 

And the Osmanli proverb is, " Of ten men nine are women ! " 
It is the same with the Katha, whose praise and dispraise 
are equally enthusiastic ; e.g. " Women of good family are 
guarded by their own virtue, the sole efficient chamberlain ; 
but the Lord himself can hardly guard the vicious. Who can 
stem a furious stream and a frantic woman .'"' (i. 328). " Ex- 
cessive love in woman is your only hero for daring" (i. 339). 
" Thus fair ones, naturally feeble, bring about a series of evil 
actions which engender discontent and aversion to the 
world ; but here and there you will find a virtuous woman 
who adorneth a glorious house as the streak of the moon 
arrayeth the breadth of the Heavens " (i. 346.) " So you see, 
King, honourable matrons are devoted to their husbands and 
'tis not the case that women are always bad " (ii. 624). And 
there is true wisdom in that even balance of feminine qualities 
advocated by our Hindu-Hindi class-book the Toti-nameh or 
Parrot volume. The perfect woman has seven requisites. 
She must not always be merry (i) nor sad (2) ; she must not 
always be talking (3) nor silently musing (4) ; she must not 
always be adorning herself (5) nor neglecting her person (6) ; 
and (7) at all times she must be moderate and self-possessed. 

334 -^^f Lay I ah wa Lay I ah. 

The legal status of womankind in Al-Islam is exceptionally 
high, a fact of which Europe has often been assured, although 
the truth has not even yet penetrated into the popular 
brain. Nearly a century ago one Mirza Abu Talib Khan, an 
Amildar or revenue collector, after living two years in 
London, wrote an " apology " for, or rather a vindication of, 
his Indian countrywomen which is still worth reading and 
quoting.^ Nations are but superficial judges of one another: 
where customs differ they often remark only the salient dis- 
tinctive points which, when examined, prove to be of minor 
importance, Europeans seeing and hearing that women in 
the East are " cloistered " as the Grecian matron was wont IvSov 
/AeVeiv and olKovpliv ; that wives may not walk out with their 
husbands and cannot accompany them to " balls and parties ;" 
moreover, that they are always liable, like the ancient Hebrew, 
to the mortification of the " sister-wife," have most ignorantly 
determined that they are mere serviles and that their lives are 
not worth living. Indeed, a learned lady, Miss Martineau, 
once visiting a Harem went into ecstasies of pity and sorrow 
because the poor things knew nothing of— say trigonometry 
and the use of the globes, Sonnini thought otherwise, and my 
experience, like that of all old dwellers in the East, is directly 
opposed to this conclusion. 

I have noted (Night cmlxii.) that Mohammed, in the fifth 
year of his reign^, after his ill-advised and scandalous mar- 

' His Persian paper "On the Vindication of the Liberties of the Asiatic 
Women " was translated and printed in the Asiatic Annual Register for i3oi 
(pp. 100-107) ; it is quoted by Dr, Jon. ^cott (Introd. vol. i, p. xxxiv. et scq.) and 
by a host of writers. He also wrote a book of Travels translated by Prof. Charles 
Stewart in 1810 and re-issued (3 vols. 8vo.) in 1814. 

■^ The be ;inning of which 1 date from the Hijrah, lit. = the separation, 
popularly "The Flight." ^-tating the case broadly, it has become the practice 
of modern writers to look upon Mohammed as an honest enthusiast at Meccah 
and an unscrupulous despot at Al-Medinah, a view which appears to me eminently 
unsound and unfair. In a private station the Meccan Prophet was famed as 
good citizen, teste his title Al-Amin = the Trusty. But when driven from his 
home by the pagan facti-m, he became de facto as de jure a king: nay a royal 
pontiff; and the preacher was merged in the Conqueror of his foes and the Com- 
mander of the Faithful. 

Terminal Essay. 335 

riage^ with his foster-daughter Zaynab, established the Hijab 
or veihng of women : probably an exaggeration of local usage, 
a modified separation of the sexes, which extended and still ex- 
tends even to the Badawi ; it must long have been customary 
in Arabian cities, and its object was to deliver the sexes from 
temptation, as the Koran says (xxxii. 32), " Purer will this 
(practice) be for your hearts and their hearts." - The women, 
who all the world over delight in restrictions which tend to 
their honour, accepted it willingly and still affect it ; they do 
not desire a liberty or rather a licence which they have learned 
to regard as inconsistent with their tlme-honoured notions of 
feminine decorum and delicacy, and they would think very 
meanly of a husband who permitted them to be exposed, like 
hetairae, to the public gaze.^ As Zubayr Pasha, exiled to 
Gibraltar for another's treason, said to my friend General 
Buckle, after visiting quarters evidently laid out by a jealous 
husband, " We Arabs think that when a man has a precious 
jewel, 'tis wiser to lock it up in a box than to leave it about 
for anyone to take," The Eastern adopts the instinctive, the 
Western prefers the rational method. The former jealously 
guards his treasure, surrounds it with all precautions, fends 

^ It was not, however, "incestuous:" the scandal came from its ignoring the 
Arab "pundonor." 

* The "opportunism" of Mohammed has been made a matter of obloquy by 
many who have not reflected and discovered that time-serving is the very essence 
of "Revelation." Says the Rev. \V. Smith ("Pentateuch" chapt. xiii.), "As 
the journey (Exodus) proceeds, so laws originate from the accidents of the way," 
and he applies this to successive decrees (Numbers xxvi. 32 — 36 ; xxvii. 8 — li 
and xxxvi. i — 9) holding it indirect internal evidence of Mosaic authorship (?) 
Another tone, however, is used in the case of Al-Islam. "And now, that he 
might not stand in awe of his wives any longer, down comes a revelation" says 
Ockley in his bluff and homely style, which admits such phrases as, "the impostor 
has the impudence to say." But why, in common honesty, refuse to the Koran 
the concessions freely made to the Torah ? It is a mere petitio principii to argue 
that the latter is " inspired " while the former is not ; moreover, although we may 
be called upon to believe things beyond Reason, it is hardly fair to require our 
behalf in things contrary to Reason. 

* This is noticed in my wife's volume on The Inner Life of Syria, chapt. xii. 
vol. i. 155. 

336 AIJ Lay la h wa Lay /ah. 

off from it all risks, and if the treasure go astray, kills it. The 
latter, after placing it en evidence upon an eminence in ball 
dress with back and bosom bared to the gaze of society, a 
bundle of charms exposed to every possible seduction, allows 
it to take its own way, and if it be misled, he kills or tries to 
kill the misleader. It is a fiery trial ; and the few who safely 
pass through it may claim a higher standpoint in the moral 
world than those who have never been sorely tried. But the 
crucial question is whether Christian Europe has done wisely 
in offering such temptations. 

The second and main objection to Moslem custom is the 
marriage-system which begins with a girl being wedded to a 
man whom she knows only by hearsay. This was the habit 
of our forbears not many generations ago, and it still prevails 
amongst noble houses in Southern Europe, where a lengthened 
study of it leaves me doubtful whether the " love-marriage," 
as it is called, or wedlock with an utter stranger, evidently 
the two extremes, is likely to prove the happier. The 
" sister-wife " is or would be a sore trial to monogamic races 
like those of Northern Europe, where Caia, all but the equal 
of Caius in most points, mental and physical, and superior in 
some, not unfrequently proves herself the " man of the 
family," the " only man in the boat." But in the East, 
where the sex is far more delicate, where a girl is brought up 
in polygamy, where religious reasons separate her from her 
husband during pregnancy and lactation ; and where often 
enough, like the Mormon damsel, she would hesitate to 
" nigger it with a one-wife-man," the case assumes a very 
different aspect and the load, if burden it be, falls compara- 
tively light. Lastly, the " patriarchal household " is mostly 
confined to the grandee and the richard, whilst Holy Law 
and public opinion, neither of which can openly be disre- 
garded, assign command of the household to the equal or 
first wife and jealously guard the rights and privileges of the 

Terminal Essay, 337 

Mirza Abu Talib, " the Persian Prince," ^ offers six reasons 
why " the liberty of the Asiatic women appears less than that 
of the Europeans," ending with, 

I'll fondly place on either eye 
The man that can to this reply. 

He then lays down eight points in which the Moslem wife has 
greatly the advantage over her Christian sisterhood ; and we 
may take his first as a specimen. Custom, not contrary to 
law, invests the Mohammedan mother with despotic govern- 
ment of the homestead, slaves, servants and children, especi- 
ally the latter : she alone directs their early education, their 
choice of faith, their marriage and their establishment in life ; 
and in case of divorce she takes the daughters, the sons going 
to the sire. She has also liberty to leave her home, not only 
for one or two nights, but for a week or a fortnight, without 
consulting her husband ; and whilst she visits a strange house- 
hold, the master and all males above fifteen are forbidden the 
Harem. But the main point in favour of the Moslem wife is 
her being a " legal sharer " : inheritance is secured to her by 
Koranic law : she must be dowered by the bridegroom to 
legalise marriage and all she gains is secured to her ; whereas 
in England a " Married Woman's Property Act " was com- 
pleted only in 1882 after many centuries of the grossest 

^ Mirza preceding the name means Mister and following it Prince. Addison's 
" Vision of Mirza" (Spectator, No. 159), is therefore *' The Vision of Mister." 


/ ^J 

538 -^U Laylah 7va Laylah. 



A.— The Saj'a. 

According to promise in my Foreword (p. xiv.), I here 
proceed to offer a few observations concerning the Saj'a or 
rhymed prose, and the Sh'ir or measured sentence, that is, the 
verse of The Nights. The former has in composition, metrical 
or unmetrical, three distinct forms. Saj'a mutawazi (parallel), 
the most common, is when the ending words of sentences agree 
in measure, assonance and final letter, in fact our full rhyme ; 
next is Saj'a mutarraf (the affluent), when the periods, 
hemistichs or couplets end in words whose terminal letters 
correspond, although differing in measure and number ; and 
thirdly, Saj'a muwazanah (equilibrium) is applied to the 
balance which affects words corresponding in measure but 
differing in final letters. ^ 

Al Saj'a, the fine style or style fleuri, also termed Al-Badi"a, 
or euphuism, is the basis of all Arabic euphony. The whole of 
the Koran is written in it ; and the same is the case with the 
Makamat of Al-Hariri and the prime master-pieces of rheto- 
rical composition : without it no translation of the Holy Book 
can be satisfactory or final ; and where it is not, the Assemblies 
become the prose of prose. Thus universally used the asso- 
nance has necessarily been abused, and its excess has given 
rise to the saying " Al-Saj'a faj'a" — prose rhyme 's a pest. Eng- 
lish translators have, unwisely I think, agreed in rejecting it, 
while Germans have not. Mr. Preston assures us that "rhyming 

' For detailed examples and specimens see p. lo of Gladwin's "Dissertations 
on Rhetoric," etc., Calcutta, iSoi. 

Terminal Essay. 339 

prose is extremely ungraceful in English and introduces an 
air of flippancy : " this was certainly not the case with Friedrich 
Riickert's version of the great original, and I see no reason 
why it should be so or become so in our tongue. Torrens 
(Pref. p. vii.) declares that " the effect of the irregular sentence 
with the iteration of a jingling rhyme is not pleasant in our 
language : " he therefore systematically neglects it and gives 
his style the semblance of being " scamped " with the object 
of saving study and trouble. Mr. Payne (ix. 379) deems it 
an " excrescence born of the excessive facilities for rhyme 
afforded by the language," and of Eastern delight in antithesis 
of all kinds, whether of sound or of thought ; and, aiming 
elaborately at grace of style, he omits it wholly, even in the 

The weight of authority was against me but my plan com- 
pelled me to disregard it. The dilemma was simply either to 
use the Saj'a or to follow Mr. Payne's method and "arrange 
the disjecta membra of the original in their natural order ; " 
that is to remodel the text. Intending to produce a faithful 
copy of the Arabic, I was compelled to adopt the former and 
still hold it to be the better alternative. Moreover I question 
Mr. Payne's dictum (ix. 383) that "the Seja-form is utterly 
foreign to the genius of English prose, and that its preservation 
would be fatal to all vigour and harmony of style." The 
English translator of Palmerin of England, Anthony Mun- 
day, attempted it in places with great success as I have before 
noted ; and my late friend Edward Eastwick made artistic 
use of it in his Gulistan. Had I rejected the " Cadence of 
the cooing-dove " because un-English, I should have adopted 
the balanced periods of the Anglican marriage service' or the 

' For instance : I, M. j take thee N. | to my wedded wife, | to have and to 
hold I from this day forward, ) for better for worse, | for richer for poorer, | in 
sickness and in healtk, | to love and to cherish, | till death do us part, etc. Here 
it becomes mere blank verse which is, of course, a defect in prose style. In that 
delightful old French the Saj'a frequently appeared when attention was solicited for 
the titles of books: e.g. Le Romant de la Rose, cu tout I'art d'amours est enclose. 

340 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

essentially English system of alliteration, requiring some such 
artful aid to distinguish from the vulgar recitative style the 
elevated and classical tirades in The Nights. My attempt has 
found with reviewers more favour than I expected ; and a 
kindly critic writes of it, " These melodious fragments, these 
little eddies of song set like gems in the prose, have a charming 
effect on the ear. They come as dulcet surprises and mostly 
recur in highly-wrought situations, or they are used to convey 
a vivid sense of something exquisite in nature or art. Their 
introduction seems due to whim or caprice, but really it arises 
from a profound study of the situation, as if the Tale-teller 
felt suddenly compelled to break into the rhythmic strain." 

B. — The Verse. 

The Shi'r or metrical part of The Nights is considerable, 
amounting to not less than ten thousand lines, and these I 
could not but render in rhyme or rather in monorhyme. This 
portion has been a bugbear to translators. De Sacy noticed 
the difficulty of the task (p. 283). Lane held the poetry 
untranslatable because abounding in the figure Tajni's, our 
paronomasia or paragram, of which there are seven distinct 
varieties,' not to speak of other rhetorical flourishes. He 
therefore omitted the greater part of the verse as tedious, and, 
through the loss of measure and rhyme, " generally intolerable 
to the reader." He proved his position by the bald literalism 
of the passages which he rendered in truly prosaic prose and 
succeeded in changing the facies and presentment of the work. 
For the Shi'r, like the Saj'a, is not introduced arbitrarily ; 
and its unequal distribution throughout The Nights may be 
accounted for by rule of art. Some tales, like Omar bin al 
Nu'uman and Tawaddud, contain very little because the theme 
is historical or realistic ; whilst in stories of love and courtship, 

1 See Gladwin loc. cit. p. 8 : Tajnis also is = alliteration (Ibn Khali, ii. 316). 

Terminal Essay. 341 

as that of Rose-in-hood, the proportion may rise to one-fifth 
of the whole. And this is true to nature. Love, as Addison 
said, makes even the mechanic (the British mechanic !) poetical, 
and Joe Hume of material memory once fought a duel about 
a fair object of dispute. 

Before discussing the verse of The Nights it may be advisable 
to enlarge a little upon the prosody of the Arabs. We know 
nothing of the origin of their poetry, which is lost in the 
depths of antiquity, and the oldest bards of whom we have 
any remains belong to the famous epoch of the war Al-Basus, 
which would place them about A.D. 500. Moreover, when 
the Muse of Arabia first shows, she is not only fully developed 
and mature, she has lost all her first youth, her beauts du 
diable, and she is assuming the characteristics of an age beyond 
" middle age." No one can study the earliest poetry without 
perceiving that it results from the cultivation of centuries and 
that it has already assumed that artificial type and conven- 
tional process of treatment which presages inevitable decay. 
Its noblest period is included in the century preceding the 
Apostolate of Mohammed, and the oldest of that epoch is the 
prince of Arab songsters, Imr al-Kays, "The Wandering King." 
The Christian Fathers characteristically termed poetry Vinum 
Daemonorum. The stricter Moslems called their bards 
" enemies of Allah ; " and when the Prophet, who hated verse 
and could not even quote it correctly, was asked who was the 
best poet of the Peninsula he answered that the " Man of Al- 
Kays," i.e. the worshipper of the Lampsacus-idol, would usher 
them all into Hell. Here he only echoed the general verdict 
of his countrymen who loved poetry, and, as a rule, 
despised poets. The earliest complete pieces of any volume 
and substance saved from the wreck of old Arabic literature 
and familiar in our day are the seven Kasi'dahs (purpose- 
odes or tendence-elegies) which are popularly known as the 
Gilded or the Suspended Poems ; and in all of these we find, 
with an elaboration of material and formal art which can go 
no further, a subject-matter of trite imagery and stock ideas 

342 Alf Lay/ah wa Laylah. 

which suggest a long ascending hne of model ancestors and 

Scholars are agreed upon the fact that many of the earliest 
and best Arab poets were, as Mohammed boasted himself, 
unalphabetic ' or rather could neither read nor write. They 
addressed the ear and the mind, not the eye. They " spoke 
verse," learning it by rote and dictating it to the Rawi, and 
this reciter again transmitted it to the musician whose pipe or 
zicher accompanied the minstrel's song. In fact the general 
practice of writing began only at the end of the first century 
after The Flight. 

The rude and primitive measure of Arab song, upon which 
the most complicated system of metres subsequently arose, 
was called Al-Rajaz, literally " the trembling," because it 
reminded the highly imaginative hearer of a pregnant she- 
camel's weak and tottering steps. This was the carol of the 
camel-driver, the lover's lay and the warrior's chaunt of the 
heroic ages ; and its simple, unconstrained flow adapted it well 
for extempore effusions. Its merits and demerits have been 
extensively discussed amongst Arab grammarians, and many, 
noticing that it was not originally divided into hemistichs, make 
an essential difference between the Sha'ir who speaks poetry 
and the Rajiz who speaks Rajaz. It consisted, to describe it 
technically, of iambic dipodia (w-u -), the first three syllables 
being optionally long or short. It can generally be read like 
our iambs and, being familiar, is pleasant to the English ear. 
The dipodia are repeated either twice or thrice ; in the former 

' He calkd himself " Nabiyun ummi" = illiterate prophet ; but only his most 
ijrnorant followers believe that he was unable to read and write. His last words, 
accepted by all traditionists, were *' Aatini dawata wa kalani" (bring me ink-case 
and pen) ; upon which the Shi'ah or Persian sectaries base, not without proba- 
bility, a theory that Mohammed intended to write down the name of Ali as his 
Caliph or successor, when Omar, suspecting the intention, exclaimed, "The 
Prophet is delirious ; have we not the Koran ? " thus impiously preventing the 
precaution. However that may be, the legend proves that Mohammed could read 
and write even when not " under inspiration." The vulgar idea would arise from 
a pious intent to add miracle to the miraculous style of the Koran. 

Terminal Essay. 343 

case Rajaz is held by some authorities, as Al-Akhfash (Sa'i'd 
ibn Masadah), to be mere prose. Although Labi'd and Antar 
composed in iambics, the first Kasi'dah or regular poem in 
Rajaz was by Al-Aghlab al-Ajibi, temp. Mohammed : the 
Alfi'yah-grammar of Ibn Malik is in Rajaz Muzdawij, the 
hemistichs rhyming and the assonance being confined to the 
couplet. Al-Hariri also affects Rajaz in the third and fifth 
Assemblies. So far Arabic metre is true to Nature : in im- 
passioned speech the movement of language is iambic : we 
say, " I will, I will^' not " I will." 

For many generations the Sons of the Desert were satisfied 
with Nature's teaching ; the fine perceptions and the nicely 
trained ear of the bard needing no aid from art. But in time 
came the inevitable prosodist under the formidable name of 
Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Khalil, i. Ahmad, i. Amrii, i. Tami'm 
al-Farahidi (of the Farahidsept), al-Azdi (of the Azd clan), al- 
Yahmadi (of the Yahmad tribe), popularly known as Al-Khali'l 
ibn Ahmad al-Basri of Bassorah, where he died set. 68, scanning 
verses they say, in A.H. 170 (= 786 — 87). Ibn Khallikan 
relates (i. 493) on the authority of Hamzah al-Isfahani how 
this " father of Arabic grammar and discoverer of the rules of 
prosody " invented the science as he walked past a copper- 
smith's shop on hearing the strokes of a hammer upon a metal 
basin : " two objects devoid of any quality which could serve 
as a proof and an illustration of anything else than their own 
form and shape and incapable of leading to any other know- 
ledge than that of their own nature." ^ According to others 

^ I cannot but vehemently suspect that this legend was bodily taken from much 
older traditions. We have Jubal the semi-mythical, who, " by the different falls of 
his hammer on the anvil, discovered by the ear the first rude music that pleased the 
antediluvian fathers." Then came Pythagoras, of whom Macrobius (lib. ii.) 
relates how this Grteco-Egyptian philosopher, passing by a smithy, observed that 
the sounds were grave or acute according to the weights of the hammers ; and he 
ascertained by experiment that such was the case when different weights were 
hung by strings of the same size. The next discovery was that two strings of the 
same substance and tension, the one being double the length of the other, gave 
the diapason-interval or an eighth ; and the same was effected from two strings 

344 -^if Laylah wa Laylah. 

he was passing through the Fullers' Bazar at Basrah when his 
ear was struck by the Dak-dak (j^ ji) and the Dakak- 
dakak (jii ^y:i) of the workmen. In these two ono- 
mapoetics we trace the expression which characterises the 
Arab tongue : all syllables are composed of consonant and 
vowel, the latter long or short as Ba and Ba ; or of a vowelled 
consonant followed by a consonant as Bal, Bau (^>). 

The grammarian, true to the traditions of his craft, which 
looks for all poetry to the Badawi,^ adopted for metrical 
details the language of the Desert. The distich, which 
amongst Arabs is looked upon as one line, he named " Bayt," 
nighting-place, tent or house ; and the hemistich Misra'ah, 
the one leaf of a folding door. To this " scenic " simile all 
the parts of the verse were more or less adapted. The metres, 
our feet, were called " Arkan," the stakes and stays of the 
tent ; the syllables were " Usui " or roots divided into three 
kinds : the first or " Sabab " (the tent-rope) is composed of 
two letters, a vowelled and a quiescent consonant, as " Lam." - 
The " Watad" or tent-peg of three letters is of two varieties ; 
the Majmu', or united, a foot (iamb) in which the two first conso- 
nants are moved by vowels and the last is jazmated or made 
quiescent by apocope as " Lakad " (trochee); and the Mafruk, 
or disunited, when the two moved consonants are separated 
by one jazmated, as " Kabia ". And lastly the " Fdsilah " or 
intervening space, applied to the main pole of the tent, consists 
of four letters (anapsest). 

The metres were called Buhur or " seas " (plur. of Bahr), 

of similar length and size, the one having four times the tension of the other. 
Belonging to the same cycle of invention-anecdotes are Galileo's discovery of the 
pendulum by the lustre of the Pisan Duomo ; and the kettle-lid, the falling apple 
and the copper hook which inspired Watt, Newton and Galvani. 

^ To what an absurd point this has been carried we may learn from Ibn Khal- 
likdn (i. 114). A poet addressing a single individual does not say " My friend ! " 
or " My friends ! " but " My two friends ! " (in the dual) because a Badawi 
required a pair of companions, one to tend the sheep and the other to pasture the 

''■ For further details concerning the Sabab, Watad and Fasilah, see at the end 
of this Essay the learned remarks of Dr. Steingass. 

Terminal Essay. 345 

also meaning the space within the tent-walls, the equivoque 
alluding to pearls and other treasures of the deep. Al-Khalil 
the systematiser, found in general use only five Dairah (circles, 
classes or groups of metre) ; and he characterised the harmo- 
nious and stately measures, all built upon the original Rajaz, 
as Al-Tawil (the long),i Al-Kamil (the complete), Al-Wafir 
(the copious), Al-Basit (the extended) and Al-Khafif (the 
light).^ These embrace all the Mu'allakat and the Hamasah, 
the great Anthology of Abu Tammam ; but the crave for 
variety and the extension of foreign intercourse had multiplied 
wants, and Al-Khalil deduced, from the original five Dairah, 
fifteen, to which Al-Akhfash (ob. A.D, 830) added a sixteenth, 
Al-Khabab. The Persians extended the number to nineteen. 
The first four were peculiarly Arab ; the fourteenth, the 
fifteenth and seventeenth peculiarly Persian, and all the rest 
were Arab and Persian.^ 

Arabic metre so far resembles that of Greece and Rome 
that the value of syllables depends upon the " quantity " or 
position of their consonants, not upon accent as in English 
and the Neo-Latin tongues. Al-Khalil was doubtless fami- 
liar with the classic prosody of Europe, but he rejected 
it as unsuited to the genius of Arabic and like a true 
Eastern Gelehrte he adopted a process devised by himself. 
Instead of scansion by pyrrhics and spondees, iambs and 
trochees, anapaests and similar simplifications he in- 
vented a system of weights (" wuzun "). Of these there are 
nine* memorial words used as quantitive signs, all built upon 

^ e.g. the Mu'allakats of " Amriolkais," Tarafah 'and Zuhayr compared by 
Mr. Lyall (Introduction to Translations) with the metre of Abt Vogler, e.g. 

Ye know why the forms are fair, ye hear how the tale is told. 

* e.g. the Poem of Hareth, which often echoes the hexameter. 
^ Gladwin, p. 80. 

* Gladwin (p. 77) gives only eight, omitting Fa'iil, which he or his author 
probably considers the Muzahaf^ imperfect or apocoped form of Fa'ulQn, as 
Mafa'il of Mafa'iliin. For the infinite complications of Arabic prosody the 
Khafif (soft breathing) and Sahih (hard breathing) ; the Sadr and Aruz (first apd 

346 Alf Lay la h tuia Lay la h. 

the root " fa'l " which has rendered such notable service to 
Arabic and Hebrew ^ grammar and varying from the simple 
" fa'al," in Persian " fa'ul," ( ^ -) to the complicated " Muta- 
fa'ilun "(«-«-'-«-' -), anapsest + iamb. Thus the prosodist would 
scan the Shahnameh of Firdausi as 

Fa'ulun, fa'iilun, fa'ulun, fa'iil. 

These weights also show another peculiarity of Arabic 
verse. In English we have few if any spondees : the Arabic 
contains about three longs to one short ; hence its gravity, 
stateliness and dignity. But these longs again are peculiar, 
and sometimes strike the European ear as shorts, thus adding 
a difficulty for those who would represent Oriental metres 
by western feet, ictus and accent. German Arabists can 
register an occasional success in such attempts : English- 
men none. My late friend Professor Palmer of Cambridge 
tried the tour de force of dancing on one leg instead of two 
and notably failed : Mr. Lyall also strove to imitate Arabic 
metre and produced only prose bewitched. ^ Mr. Payne 
appears to me to have wasted trouble in " observing the 
exterior form of the stanza, the movement of the rhyme and 
(as far as possible) the identity in number of the syllables 
composing the belts." There is only one part of his admirable 

last feet), the Ibtida and Zarb (last foot of everj^ line) ; the Hashvv (cushion- 
stuffing) or body-part of verse; the 'Amud al-Kasidah or Al-Musammaf (the 
strong) and other details I must refer readers to such specialists as Freytag and 
Sam. Clarke (Prosodia Arabica), and to Dr. Steingass's notes infra. 

^ The Hebrew grammarians of the Middle Ages wisely copied their Arab 
cousins by turning Fa'la into Pael and so forth. 

- Mr. Lyall, whose "Ancient Arabic Poetry" (Williams and Norgate, 1885) 
I reviewed in The Academy of Oct. 3, '85, did the absolute reverse of what is 
required : he preserved the metre and sacrificed the rhyme even when it 
naturally suggested itself. For instance, in the last four lines of No. xli. what 
would be easier than to write, 

Ah sweet and soft wi' thee her ways : bethink thee well ! The day shall be 
When someone favoured as thyself shall find her fair and fain and free ; 
And if she swear that parting ne'er sliall break her word of constancy, 
When did rose-tinted finger-tip with pacts and pledges e'er agree ? 

Ter}ni7ial Essay. 347 

version concerning which I have heard competent readers 
complain ; and that is the metrical, because here and there it 
sounds strange to their ears. 

I have already stated my conviction that there are two 
and only two ways of translating Arabic poetry into English. 
One is to represent it by good heroic or lyric verse as did 
Sir William Jones ; the other is to render it after French 
fashion, by measured and balanced Prose, the little sister of 
Poetry. It is thus and thus only that we can preserve the 
peculiar cachet of the original. This old-world Oriental song 
is spirit-stirring as a " blast of that dread horn," albeit the 
words be thin. It is heady as the " Golden Wine " of Libanus, 
to the tongue water, and brandy to the brain — the clean 
contrary of our nineteenth century effusions. Technically 
speaking, it can be vehicled only by the verse of the old 
English ballad or by the prose of the Book of Job. And 
Badawi poetry is a perfect expositor of Badawi life, especially 
in the good and gladsome old Pagan days ere Al-Islam, like 
the creed which it abolished, overcast the minds of men with 
its dull grey pall of realistic superstition. They combined to 
form a marvellous picture — those contrasts of splendour and 
squalor amongst the sons of the sand. Under airs pure as 
aether, golden and ultramarine above and melting over the 
horizon into a diaphanous green which suggested a reflection 
of Kaf, that unseen mountain-wall of emerald, the so-called 
Desert changed face twice a year ; now brown and dry as 
summer-dust ; then green as Hope, beautified with infinite 
verdure and broad sheetings of rain-water. The vernal and 
autumnal shiftings of camp, disruptions of homesteads and 
partings of kith and kin, friends and lovers, made the life 
many-sided as it was vigorous and noble, the outcome of hardy 
frames, strong minds and spirits breathing the very essence of 
liberty and independence. The day began with the dawn- 
drink, " generous wine bought with shining ore," poured into 
the crystal goblet from the leather bottle swinging before 
the cooling breeze. The rest was spent in the practice of 

348 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

weapons ; in the favourite arrow-game known as Al-Maysar, 
gambling which at least had the merit of feeding the poor ; 
in racing for which the Badawin had a mania, and in the 
chase, the foray and the fray which formed the serious business 
of his life. And how picturesque the hunting scenes ; the 
greyhound, like the mare, of purest blood ; the falcon cast at 
francolin and coney ; the gazelle standing at gaze ; the desert 
ass scudding over the ground-waves ; the wild cows or bovine 
antelopes browsing with their calves and the ostrich-chickens 
flocking round the parent bird ! The Musamarah or night- 
talk round the camp-fire was enlivened by the lute-girl and 
the gleeman, whom the austere Prophet described as " roving 
distraught in every vale " and whose motto in Horatian vein 
was, " To-day we shall drink, to-morrow be sober ; wine this 
day, that day work." Regularly once a year, during the 
three peaceful months when war and even blood revenge were 
held sacrilegious, the tribes met at Ukadh (Ocaz) and other 
fairsteads, where they held high festival and the bards strave 
in song and prided themselves upon doing honour to women 
and to the successful warriors of their tribe. Brief, the object 
of Arab life was to be — to be free, to be brave, to be wise ; 
while the endeavours of other peoples was and is to Jiave — to 
have wealth, to have knowledge, to have a name ; and while 
moderns make their " epitome of life " to be, to do and to 
suffer. Lastly the Arab's end was honourable as his life was 
stirring : few Badawin had the crowning misfortune of dying 
" the straw-death." 

The poetical forms in The Nights are as follows : — The 
Misra'ah or hemistich is half the " Bayt " which, for want of a 
better word I have rendered couplet : this, however, though 
formally separated in MSS. is looked upon as one line, one 
verse ; hence a word can be divided, the former part pertain- 
ing to the first and the latter to the second moiety of the 
distich. As the Arabs ignore blank verse, when we come 
upon a rhymeless couplet we know that it is an extract from 
a longer composition in monorhyme. The Kit'ah is a frag- 

Terminal Essay. 349 

ment, either an occasional piece or more frequently a portion 
of a Ghazal (ode) or Kasidah (elegy), other than the Matla, 
the initial Bayt with rhyming distichs. The Ghazal and 
Kasidah differ mainly in length : the former is popularly 
limited to eighteen couplets : the latter begins at fifteen and 
is of indefinite number. Both are built upon monorhyme, 
which appears twice in the first couplet and ends all the others, 
e.g. aa + ba + ca, etc. ; nor may the same assonance be re- 
peated, unless at least seven couplets intervene. In the best 
poets, as in the old classic verse of France, the sense must be 
completed in one couplet and not run on to a second ; and, as 
the parts cohere very loosely, separate quotation can generally 
be made without injuring their proper effect. A favourite 
form is the Ruba'i or quatrain, made familiar to English ears 
by Mr. Fitzgerald's masterly adaptation of Omar-i- Khayyam : 
the movement is generally aa + ba ; but it also appears as 
ab + cb, in which case it is a Kit'ah or fragment. The 
Murabba tetrastichs, or four-fold song, occurs once only in 
The Nights (vol. i. 89, 90) ; it is a succession of double Bayts 
or of four-lined stanzas rhyming aa + be + dc + ec : in strict 
form the first three hemistichs rhyme with one another only, 
independently of the rest of the poem, and the fourth with 
that of every other stanza, e.g. aa + ab + cb + db. The 
Mukhammas, cinquains or pentastichs (Night cmlxiv.), 
represent a stanza of two distichs and a hemistich in mono- 
rhyme, the fifth line being the " bob " or burden : each 
succeeding stanza affects a new rhyme, except in the fifth line, 
e.g. aaaab + ccccb + ddddb, and so forth. The Muwwal is a 
simple popular song in four to six lines ; specimens of it 
are given in the Egyptian grammar of my friend the late 
Dr. Wilhelm Spitta.^ The Muwashshah, or ornamented 

^ See p. 439 Grammatik des Arabischen Vulgar Dialekts von Egyptian, by 
Dr. Wilhelm Spitta Bey, Leipzig, 18S0. In pp. 489-493 he gives specimens of 
eleven Mawawil varying in length from four to fifteen lines. The assonance 
mostly attempts monorhyme : in two tetrastichs it is aa + ba, and it does not 
disdain alternates, ab + ab + ab. 

35° -^^J Lay^ah iva Laylah. 

verse, has two main divisions : one applies to our acrostics in 
which the initials form a word or words ; the other is a kind 
of Musaddas, or sextines, which occurs once only in The 
Nights (cmlxxxvii.). It consists of three couplets or six-line 
strophes : all the hemistichs of the first are in monorhyme ; 
in the second and following stanzas the three first hemistichs 
take a new rhyme, but the fourth resumes the assonance of 
the first set and is followed by the third couplet of No. i 
serving as bob or refrain, e.g. aaaaaa -f bbbaaa + cccaaa, and 
so forth. It is the most complicated of all the measures and 
is held to be of Morisco or Hispano-Moorish origin. 

Mr. Lane (Lex.) lays down, on the lines of Ibn Khallikan 
(i. 476, etc.) and other representative literati, as our sole 
authorities for pure Arabic, the precedence in following order. 
First of all ranks the Jahili (Ignoramus) of The Ignorance, the 
Apa^tas d'petoi/ e^vos : these pagans left hemistichs, couplets, 
pieces and elegies which once composed a large corpus and 
which are now mostly forgotten. Hammad al-Rawiyah, the 
Reciter, a man of Persian descent (ob. A.H. 160 = TJ7), who 
first collected the Mu'allakat, once recited by rote in a seance 
before Caliph Al-VValid two thousand poems of prae-Moham- 
medan bards.^ After the Jahili stands the Mukhadram or 
Muhadrim, the " Spurious," because half Pagan half Moslem, 
who flourished either immediately before or soon after the 
preaching of Mohammed. The Islami or full-blooded 
Moslem at the end of the first century A.H. (= 720) began 
the process of corruption in language ; and, lastly, he was 
followed by the Muwallad of the second century, who fused 
Arabic with non-Arabic and in whom purity of diction dis- 

I have noticed (I. § A) that the versical portion of The 
Nights may be distributed into three categories. First are 

^ Al-Siyuti, p. 235, from Ibn Khallikan. Our knowledge of oldest Arab verse 
is drawn chiefly from the Kitab al-Aghani (Song-book) of Abu al-Faraj the 
Isfahani, who flourished A.H. 284-356 (=S97-967): it was printed at the 
Bulak Press in 1868, 

Teriiiinal Essay. 351 

the olden poems which are held classical by all modern 
Arabs ; then comes the mediaeval poetry, the effusions of 
that brilliant throng which adorned the splendid Court of 
Harun al-Rashid and which ended with Al-Han'ri (ob. A.H. 
516); and, lastly, are the various pieces de circonstance 
suggested to editors or scribes by the occasion. It is not my 
object to enter upon the historical part of the subject : a mere 
sketch would have neither value nor interest whilst a finished 
picture would lead too far : I must be contented to notice a 
few of the most famous names. 

Of the prai-Islamites we have Adi bin Zayd al-Ibadi, the 
"celebrated poet" of Ibn Khallikan (i. 188) ; Nabighat (the 
full-grown) al-Zubyani, who flourished at the Court of 
Al-Nu'uman in A.D. 580-602, and whose poem is compared 
with the " Suspendeds," ^ and Al-Mutalammis the " perti- 
nacious " satirist, friend and intimate with Tarafah of the 
" Prize Poem." About Mohammed's day we find Imr al- 
Kays " with whom poetiy began," to end with Zu al- 
Rummah ; Amru bin Madi Karab al-Zubaydi, Labi'd ; Ka'b 
ibn Zuhayr, the father, one of the Mu'allakah-poets, and the 
son-author of the Burdah or Mantle-poem (see vol. iii. p. 2}, 
and Abbas bin Mirdas, who lampooned the Prophet and had 
" his tongue cut out," i.e. received a double share of booty 
from Ali. In the days of Caliph Omar we have Alkamah 
bin Olatha followed by Jamil bin Ma'mar of the Banu Ozrah 
(ob. A.H. 82), who loved Azza. Then came Al-Kuthayyir 
(the dwarf, ironice), the lover of Buthaynah, " who was so 
lean that birds might be cut to bits with her bones : " the 
latter was also a poetess (Ibn Khali, i. 87), like Hind bint 
al-Nu'man, who made herself so disagreeable to Al-Hajjaj 
;^ob. A.H. 95). Jarir al-Khatafah, the noblest of the Islami 
poets in the first century, is noticed at full length by Ibn 
Khallikan (i. 294), together with his rival in poetry and 
debauchery, Abu Firas Hammam or Homaym bin Ghalib 

^ See Lyall loc. cit. p. 97. 

352 Alf Lay la h wa Laylah. 

al-Farazdak, the Tami'mi, the Ommiade poet " without whose 
verse half Arabic would be lost : " ^ he exchanged satires with 
Jan'r and died forty days before him (A.H. no). Another 
contemporary, forming the poetical triumvirate of the period, 
was the debauched Christian poet Al-Akhtal al-Taghlibi. 
They were followed by Al-Ahwas al-i\.nsari, whose witty 
lampoons banished him to Dahlak Island in the Red Sea 
(ob. A.H. 179 = 795) ; by Bashshar ibn Burd and by Yunus 
ibn Habib (ob. A.H. 182). 

The well-known names of the Harun-cycle are Al-Asma'i, 
rhetorician and poet, whose epic with Antar for hero is not 
forgotten (ob. A.H. 216) ; Isaac of Mosul (Ishak bin Ibrahim 
of Persian origin) ; Al-'Utbi " the Poet" (ob. A.H. 228) ; Abu 
al-Abbas al-Rakashi ; Abu al-Atahiyah, the lover of Otbah ; 
Muslim bin al-Walid al-Ansari ; Abu Tammam of Tay, com- 
piler of the Hamasah (ob. A.H. 230), " a Muwallad of the first 
class " (says Ibn Khallikan, i. 392) ; the famous or infamous 
Abu Nowas ; Abu Mus'ab (Ahmad ibn Ali), who died in 
A.H. 242 ; the satirist Dibil al Khuzai (ob. A.H. 246), and a 
host of others quos nunc perscribere longum est. They were 
followed by Al-Bohtori " the Poet " (ob. A.H. 286) ; the royal 
author Abdullah ibn al-Mu'tazz (ob. A.H. 315) ; Ibn Abbad 
the Sahib (ob. A.H. 334) ; Mansur al-Halldj, the martyred 
Sufi; the Sahib ibn Abbad; Abu Faras al-Hamdani (ob. 
A.H. 357) ; Al-Nami (ob. A.H. 399), who had many en- 
counters with that model Chauvinist Al-Mutanabbi, nicknamed 
Al-Mutanabbih (the "wide-awake"), killed A.H. 354; Al- 
Manazi of Manazjird (ob. 427) ; Al-Tughrai, author of the 
Lamiyat al-Ajam (ob. A.H. 375) ; Al-Hari'ri, the model 
rhetorician (ob. A.H. 516) ; Al-Hajiri al-Irbili, of Arbela (ob. 
A.H. 632); Baha al-Din al-Sinjari (ob. A.H. 622) ; Al-Katib 
or the Scribe (ob. A.H. 656) ; Abdun al-Andalusi the Spaniard 
(our xiith centuryj, and about the same time Al-Nawaji, 

^ His Diwan has been published with a French translation, par R. Boucher. 
Paris, Labitte, 1870. 

Terminal Essay. 3:; 3 

author of the Halbat al-Kumayt or "Race-course of the 
Bay-Horse " — poetical slang for wine.^ 

Of the third category, the pieces d'occasion, little need be 
said : I may refer readers to my notes on the doggrels in 
preceding volumes. 

Having a mortal aversion to the details of Arabic prosody, 
I have persuaded my friend Dr. Steingass to undertake in 
the following pages the subject as far as concerns the poetry 
of The Nights. He has been kind enough to collaborate 
with me from the beginning, and to his minute lexicographical 
knowledge I am deeply indebted for discovering not a few 
blemishes which would have been *' nuts to the critic." The 
learned Arabist's notes will be highly interesting to students : 
mine (§ V.) are intended to %\\q. a superficial and popular 
idea of the Arab's verse-mechanism. 

The principle of Arabic Prosody (called 'Aruz, pattern 
standard, or 'Ilm al-'Aruz, science of the 'Aruz), in so far 
resembles that of classical poetry, as it chiefly rests on metrical 
weight, not on accent, or in other words a verse is measured 
by short and long quantities, while the accent only regulates 
its rhythm. In Greek and Latin, however, the quantity of 

^ I find also minor quotations from the Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Askari (of 
Sarra man raa) ob. A.D. 868; Ibn Makiila (murdered in A.D. 862?); Ibn 
Durayd (ob. A.D. 933) ; Al-Zahr the Poet (ob. A.D. 963) ; Abu Bakr al-Zubaydi 
(ob. A.D. 989); Kabus ibn Wushmaghir (murdered in A.D. 1012-13) ; Ibn 
Nabatah the Poet (ob. A.D. 1015) ; Ibn al-Sa'ati (ob. A.D. 1028) ; Ibn Zaydun 
al-Andalusi, who died at Hums (Emessa, the Arab name for Seville) in A.D. 
107 1 ; Al-Mu'tasim ibn Sumadih (ob. A.D. 1091) ; Al-Murtaza ibn al-Shah- 
rozuri the Sufi (ob. A.D. 1 117); Ibn Sara al-Shantarani (of Santarem), who 
sang of Hind and died A.D. 1123 ; Ibn al-Khazin (ob. A.D. 1124) ; Ibn Kalakis 
(ob. A.D. 1172); Ibn al-Ta'wizi (ob. A.D. 1188); Ibn Zabadah (ob. A.D. 
1 198); Baha al-Din Zuhayr (ob. A.D. 1249); Muwaffak al-Din Muzaffar (ob. 
A.D. 1266), and sundry others. Notices of Al-Utayyah (vol. i, 10), of Ibn al- 
Sumam (vol. i. 81) and of Ibn Sahib al-Ishbili of Seville (vol. i. 91), are deficient. 
The most notable point in Arabic verse is its savage satire, the language of 
excited " destructiveness " which characterises the Badawi : he is "keen for 
satire as a thirsty man for water ; " and half his poetry seems to consist of foul 
innuendo, of lampoons, and of gross personal abuse. 


354 -Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

the syllables depends on their vowels, which may be either 
naturally short or long, or become long by position, i.e. if 
followed by two or more consonants. We all remember from 
our school-days what a fine string of rules had to be committed 
to and kept in memory, before we were able to scan a Latin or 
Greek verse, without breaking its neck by tripping over false 
quantities. In Arabic, on the other hand, the answer to the 
question, what is metrically long or short, is exceedingly 
simple, and flows with stringent cogency from the nature of 
the Arabic alphabet. This, strictly speaking, knows only 
consonants (Harf, pi. Huruf). The vowels which are required, 
in order to articulate the consonants, were at first not repre- 
sented in writing at all. They had to be supplied by the 
reader, and are not improperly called " motions " (Harakat), 
because they move or lead on as it were, one letter to another. 
They are three in number, a (Fathah), i (Kasrah), u (Zammah), 
originally sounded as the corresponding English vowels in bat, 
bit and butt respectively, but in certain cases modifying their 
pronunciation under the influence of a neighbouring consonant. 
When the necessity made itself felt to represent them in 
writing, especially for the sake of fixing the correct reading 
of the Koran, they were rendered by additional signs, placed 
above or beneath the consonant, after which they are pro- 
nounced in a similar way as it is done in some systems of 
English shorthand. A consonant followed by a short vowel 
is called a " moved letter " (Muharrakah) ; a consonant without 
such vowel is called " resting " or " quiescent " (Sakinah), and 
can stand only at the end of a syllable or word. 

And now we are able to formulate the one simple rule, 
which determines the prosodical quantity in Arabic : any 
moved letter, as ta, li, mu, is counted short ; any moved letter 
followed by a quiescent one, as taf, lun, mus, i.e. any closed 
syllable beginning and terminating with a consonant and 
having a short vowel between, forms a long quantity. This 
is certainly a relief in comparison with the numerous rules 
of classical Prosody, proved by not a few exceptions, which, 

Terminal Essay. 355 

for instance, in Dr. Smith's Elementary Latin Grammar fill 
eight closely printed pages. 

Before I proceed to show how from the prosodical unities, 
the moved and the quiescent letter, first the metrical elements, 
then the feet, and lastly the metres are built up, it will be 
necessary to obviate a few misunderstandings, to which our 
mode of transliterating Arabic into the Roman character might 
give rise. 

The line : 

"Love in my heart they lit and went their ways," (vol. i. 204). 

runs in Arabic : 

" Akamii al-wajda fi kalbi wa sarii." (Mac. Ed. i. 179). 

Here, according to our ideas, the word akamii would begin 
with a short vowel a, and contain two long vowels a and u ; 
according to Arabic views neither is the case. The word 
begins with " Alif," and its second syllable ka closes in Alif 
after Fathah (a), in the same way, as the third syllable mii 
closes in the letter Waw (w) after Zammah (u). 

The question, therefore, arises, what is " Alif." It is the 
first of the twenty-eight Arabic letters, and has through the 
medium of the Greek Alpha nominally entered into our 
alphabet, where it now plays rather a misleading part. 
Curiously enough, however, Greek itself has preserved for us 
the key to the real nature of the letter. In 'AX<^a the initial 
a is preceded by the so-called spiritus lenis ('), a sign which 
must be placed in front or at the top of any vowel beginning 
a Greek word, and which represents that slight aspiration or 
soft breathing almost involuntarily uttered, when we try to 
pronounce a vowel by itself. We need not go far to find 
how deeply rooted this tendency is and to what exaggerations 
it will sometimes lead. Witness the gentleman, who after 
mentioning that he had been visiting his " favourite haunts " 
on the scenes of his early life, was sympathetically asked how 
the dear old ladies were. This spiritus lenis is the silent h of 
the French " homme " and the English " honour," correspond- 

356 Alf Laylali wa Laylah. 

ing exactly to the Arabic Hamzah, whose mere prop the Alif 
is, when it stands at the beginning of a word : a native Arabic 
Dictionary does not begin with Bab al-AHf (Gate or Chapter 
oftheAHf), but with Bab al-Hamzah. What the Greeks 
call Alpha and have transmitted to us as a name for the vowel 
a, is in fact nothing else but the Arabic Hamzah- Alif (^), 
moved by Fathah, i.e. bearing the sign I for a at the top ( \ ), 
just as it might have the sign Zammah ( - ), superscribed to 
express u ( ( ), or the sign Kasrah ( ; ) subjoined to represent 
i ( I ). In each case the Hamzah-Alif, although scarcely 
audible to our ear, is the real letter and might fitly be rendered 
in transliteration by the above-mentioned silent h, wherever 
we make an Arabic word begin with a vowel not preceded by 
any other sign. This latter restriction refers to the sign ' , 
which in Sir Richard Burton's translation of The Nights, as 
frequently in books published in this country, is used to repre- 
sent the Arabic letter c in whose very name 'Ayn it occurs. 
The 'Ayn is " described as produced by a smart compression 
of the upper part of the windpipe and forcible emission of 
breath," imparting a guttural tinge to a following or preceding 
vowel-sound ; but it is by no means a mere guttural vowel, 
as Professor Palmer styles it. For Europeans, who do not 
belong to the Israelitic dispensation, as well as for Turks and 
Persians, its exact pronunciation is most difficult, if not im- 
possible to acquire. 

In reading Arabic from transliteration for the purpose of 
scanning poetry, we have therefore in the first instance to keep 
in mind that no Arabic word or syllable can begin with a 
vowel. Where our mode of rendering Arabic in the Roman 
character would make this appear to be the case, either 
Hamzah (silent h), or 'Ayn (represented by the sign ') is the 
real initial, and the only element to be taken in account as 
a letter. It follows as a self-evident corollary that wherever a 
single consonant stands between two vowels, it never closes 
the previous syllable, but always opens the next one. The 
word '* Akamii," for instance, can only be divided into the 

Terminal Essay. 357 

syllables : A (properly Ha)-ka-mu, never into Ak-a-mu or 

It has been stated above that the syllable ka is closed by 
the letter Alif after Fathah, in the same way as the syllable 
mu is closed by the letter Waw, and I may add now, as the 
word fi is closed by the letter Ya (y). To make this perfectly 
clear, I must repeat that the Arabic alphabet, as it was 
originally written, deals only with consonants. The signs for 
the short vowel-sounds were added later for a special purpose, 
and are generally not represented even in printed books, e.g. 
in the various editions of The Nights, where only quotations 
from the Koran or poetical passages are provided with the 
vowel-points. But among those consonants there are three, 
called weak letters (Huriif al-'illah), which have a particular 
organic affinity to these vowel-sounds : the guttural Hamzah, 
which is akin to a, the palatal Ya, which is related to i, and 
the labial Waw, which is homogeneous with u. Where any of 
the weak letters follows a vowel of its own class, either at the 
end of a word or being itself followed by another consonant, 
it draws out or lengthens the preceding vowel and is in this 
sense called a letter of prolongation (Harf al-Madd). Thus, 
bearing in mind that the Hamzah is in reality a silent h, the 
syllable ka might be written kah, similarly to the German 
word " sah," where the h is not pronounced either, but imparts 
a lengthened sound to the a. In like manner mu and fi are 
written in Arabic muw and fiy respectively, and form long 
quantities not because they contain a vowel long by nature, 
but because their initial " Muharrakah " is followed by a 
" Sakinah," exactly as in the previously mentioned syllables 
taf, lun, mus.^ In the Roman transliteration, Akamu forms 
a word of five letters, two of which are consonants, and 
three vowels ; in Arabic it represents the combination 

' If the letter preceding Waw or Ya is moved by Fathah, they produce the 
diphthongs au (aw), pronounced like ou in "bout," and ai, pronounced as i in 

358 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

H(a)k(a)hm(u)w, consisting also of five letters but all conso- 
nants, the intervening vowels being expressed in writing 
either merely by superadded external signs, or more frequently 
not at all. Metrically it represents one short and two long 
quantities («-» - -), forming in Latin a trisyllabic foot called 
Bacchi'us, and in Arabic a quinqueliteral " Rukn " (pillar) or 
" Juz" (part, portion), the technical designation for which we 
shall introduce presently. 

There is one important remark more to be made with 
regard to the Hamzah : at the beginning of a word it is 
either conjunctive, Hamzat al-Wasl, or disjunctive, Hamzat 
al Kat'. The difference is best illustrated by reference to 
the French so-called aspirated h, as compared with the above- 
mentioned silent h. If the latter, as initial of a noun, is 
preceded by the article, the article loses its vowel, and. 
ignoring the silent h altogether, is read with the following 
noun almost as one word : le homme becomes I'homme 
(pronounced lomme), as le ami becomes I'ami. This resem- 
bles very closely the Arabic Hamzah Wasl. If, on the other 
hand, a French word begins with an aspirated h, as for 
instance heros, the article does not drop its vowel before the 
noun, nor is the h sounded as in the English word " hero," 
but the effect of the aspirate is simply to keep the two vowel 
sounds apart, so as to pronounce le eros with a slight hiatus 
between, and this is exactly what happens in the case of the 
Arabic Hamzah Kat'. 

With regard to the Wasl, however, Arabic goes a step 
further than French. In the French example quoted above, 
we have seen it is the silent h and th^ preceding \o\\q\, which 
are eliminated ; in Arabic both the Hamzah and its own 
Harakah, i.e. the short vowel following it, are supplanted by 
their antecedent. Another example will make this clear. 
The most common instance of the Hamzah Wasl is the 
article al (for h(a)l = the Hebrew hal), where it is moved by 
Fathah. But it has this sound only at the beginning of a 
sentence or speech, as in " Al-hamdu " at the head of the 

Terminal Essay. 359 

Fatihah, or in " Allahu " at the beginning of the third Surah. 
If the two words stand in grammatical connection, as in the 
sentence " Praise be to God," we cannot say " Al-Hamdu 
li-Allahi," but the junction (Wasl) between the dative particle 
li and the noun which it governs must take place. Accord- 
ing to the French principle, this junction would be effected at 
the cost of the preceding element and li Allahi would become 
TAllahi ; in Arabic, on the contrary, the kasrated 1 of the 
particle takes the place of the following fathated Hamzah 
and we read li 'llahi instead. Proceeding in the Fatihah we 
meet with the verse " lyyaka na'budu wa iyyaka nasta'i'nu," 
Thee do we worship and of Thee do we ask aid. Here the 
Hamzah of iyyaka (properly hiyyaka with silent h) is 
disjunctive, and therefore its pronunciation remains the same 
at the beginning and in the middle of the sentence, or to put 
it differently, instead of coalescing with the preceding wa 
into wa'yyaka, the two words are kept separate, by the 
Hamzah reading wa iyyaka, just as it was the case with the 
French Le heros. 

If the conjunctive Hamzah is preceded by a quiescent 
letter, this takes generally Kasrah : " Talat al-Laylah," the 
night was longsome, would become Talati '1-Laylah, If, 
however, the quiescent letter is one of prolongation, it mostly 
drops out altogether, and the Harakah of the next preceding 
letter becomes the connecting vowel between the two words, 
which in our parlance would mean, that the end-vowel of the 
first word is shortened before the elided initial of the second. 
Thus " fi al-bayti," in the house, which in Arabic is written 
f(i)y h(a)l-b(a)yt(i) and which we transliterate fi '1-bayti, is 
in poetry read fil-bayti, where we must remember, that the 
syllable fil, in spite of its short vowel, represents a long 
quantity, because it consists of a moved letter followed by a 
quiescent one. Fi'l would be over-long and could, according 
to Arabic prosody, stand only in certain cases at the end of 
a verse, i.e. in pause, where a natural tendency prevails to 
prolong a sound. 

360 Alf Laylah wa Lay la h. 

The attentive reader will now be able to fix the prosodical 
value of the line quoted above with unerring security. For 
metrical purposes it syllabifies into : A-ka-mul-vaj-da fi 
kal-bi wa sa-ru, containing three short and eight long quanti- 
ties. The initial unaccented a is short, for the same reason 
why the syllables da and wa are so, that is, because it 
corresponds to an Arabic letter, the Hamzah or silent h, 
moved by Fathah. The syllables ka, fi, bi, sa, ru, are long 
for the same reason why the syllables mul, waj, kal are so, 
that is, because the accent in the transliteration corresponds 
to a quiescent Arabic letter, following a moved one. The 
same simple criterion applies to the whole list, in which I 
give in alphabetical order the first lines and the metre of all 
the poetical pieces contained in the Mac. edition, and which 
will be found at the end of Sir R. Burton's tenth volume. 

The prosodical unities, then, in Arabic are the moved and 
the quiescent letter, and we are now going to show how they 
combine into metrical elements, feet, and metres. 

i. The metrical elements (Usui) are : 

1. The Sabab,^ which consists of tiuo letters and is either 
khafif (light) or sakil (heavy). A moved letter followed by 
a quiescent, t.e. a closed syllable, like the aforc-mentioned 
taf, lun, mus, to which we may now add fa = fah, '1 ='iy, 
'li =:'uw, form a Sabab khafif, corresponding to the classical 
long quantity (-). Two moved letters in succession, like 
muta 'ala, constitute a Sabab sakil, for which the classical 
name would be Pyrrhic (»-'«-'). As in Latin and Greek, they 
are equal in weight and can frequently interchange, that is to 
say, the Sabab khafif can be evolved into a sakil by moving 
its second Harf, or the latter contracted into the former by 
making its second letter quiescent. 

2. The Watad, consisting of three letters, one of which is 
quiescent. If the quiescent follows the two m.oved ones, the 

^ For the explanation of this name and those of the following terms, see 
Terminal Essay, p. 344. 

Terminal Essay. 361 

Watad is called majmii' (collected or joined), as fa'u (=fa'uw), 
mafa {=. mafah), 'ilun, and it corresponds to the classical 
Iambus (<-»-). If, on the contrary, the quiescent intervenes 
between or separates the two moved letters, as in fa'i (= fah'i), 
latu (= lahtu), taf'i, the Watad is called mafriik (separated), 
and has its classical equivalent in the Trochee ( - ^ ). 

3. The Fasilah,^ containing four letters, i.e. three moved 
ones followed by a quiescent, and which, in fact, is only a 
shorter name for a Sabab saki'l followed by Sabab khafi'f, as 
muta + fa, or 'ala + tun, both of the measure of the classical 
Anapaest, ( o «-» -). 

ii. These three elements, the Sabab, Watad and Fasilah, 
combine further into feet Arkan, pi. of Rukn, or Ajza, pi. of 
Juz, two words explained supra p. 358. The technical terms 
by which the feet are named are derivatives of the root fa'l, 
to do, which as the student will remember, serves in Arabic 
Grammar to form the Auzan or weights, in accordance with 
which words are derived from roots. It consists of the three 
letters Fa (f), Ayn ('), Lam (1), and, like any other Arabic 
root, cannot strictly speaking be pronounced, for the intro- 
duction of any vowel-sound would make it cease to be a root 
and change it into an individual word. The above fa'l, for 
instance, where the initial Fa is moved by Fathah (a), is the 
Infinitive or verbal noun, " to do," " doing." If the 'Ayn 
also is moved by Fathah, we obtain fa'al, meaning in collo- 
quial Arabic "he did" (the classical or literary form would 
be fa'ala). Pronouncing the first letter with Zammah (u), 
the second with Kasrah (i), i.e. fu'il, we say "it was done " 
(classically fu'ila). Many more forms are derived by pre- 
fixing, inserting or subjoining certain additional letters called 
Huruf al-Ziyadah (letters of increase) to the original radicals : 

' This Fasilah is more accurately called sughra, the smaller one ; there is another 
Fasilah kubra, the greater, consisting of four moved letters followed by a 
quiescent, or of a Sabab sakil followed by a Watad majmii'. But it occurs only 
as a variation of a normal foot, not as an integral element in its composition, and 
consequently no mention of it was needed in the text. 

362 Alf Laylah wa Lay la h. 

fa'il, for instance, with an Alif of prolongation in the first 
syllable, means "doer;" maful (= mafuwl), where the 
quiescent Fa is preceded by a fathated Mi'm (m), and the 
zammated 'Ayn followed by a lengthening Waw, means 
" done " ; Mufa'alah, where in addition to a prefixed and 
inserted letter, the feminine termination ah is subjoined after 
the Lam, means " to do a thing reciprocally." Since these 
and similar changes are with unvarying regularity applicable 
to all roots, the grammarians use the derivatives of Fa'l as 
model-forms for the corresponding derivations of any other 
root, whose letters are in this case called its Fa, 'Ayn and 
Lam. From a root, e.g. which has Kaf (k) for its first letter 
or Fa, Ta (t) for its second letter or 'Ayn, and Ba (b) for its 
third letter or Lam, 

fa'l would be katb = to write, writing ; 
fa'al would be katab := he wrote ; 
fu'il would be kutib = it was written ; 
fa'il would be katib = writer, scribe ; 
maful would be maktub = written, letter ; 
mufa'alah would be mukatabah = to write reciprocally, 

The advantage of this system is evident. It enables the 
student, who has once grasped the original meaning of a root, 
to form scores of words himself, and in his readings, to under- 
stand hundreds, nay thousands, of words, without recourse to 
the Dictionary, as soon as he has learned to distinguish their 
radical letters from the letters of increase, and recognises in 
them a familiar root. We cannot wonder, therefore, that the 
inventor of Arabic Prosody readily availed himself of the 
same plan for his own ends. The Taf I'l, as it is here called, 
that is the representation of the metrical feet by current 
derivatives of fa'l, has in this case, of course, nothing to do 
with the etymological meaning of those typical forms. But 
it proves none the less useful in another direction : in simple- 
naming a particular foot it shows at the same time its pro- 

Termi7ial Essay. 363 

sodical measure and character, as will now be explained in 

We have seen supra p. 357 that the word Akamu consists 
of a short syllable followed by two long ones ( v-* - - ), and 
consequently forms a foot, which the classics would call 
Bacchi'us. In Latin there is no connection between this 
name and the metrical value of the foot : we must learn both 
by heart. But if we are told that its Taf I'l in Arabic is 
Fa'ulun, we understand at once that it is composed of the 
Watad majmu' fa'ii («-'") and the Sabab khafif lun ( " ), and 
as the Watad contains three, the Sabab two letters, it forms 
a quinqueliteral foot or Juz khamasi. 

In combining into feet, the Watad has the precedence over 
the Sabab and the Fasilah, and again the Watad majmii' over 
the Watad mafruk. Hence the Prosodists distinguish between 
Ajza asliyah or primary feet (from Asl, root), in which this 
precedence is observed, and Ajza far'i'yah or secondary feet 
(from Far' = branch), in which it is reversed. The former 
are four in number : — 

1. Fa'u.lun, consisting, as we have just seen, of a Watad 
majmu' followed by a Sabab khafif, := the Latin Bacchi'us 

2. Mafa.'i'.lun, i.e. Watad majmu' followed by two Sabab 
khafif = the Latin Epitritus primus ( «-» ). 

3. Mufa.'alatun, i.e. Watad majmu' followed by Fasilah = 
the Latin Iambus followed by Anapaest ( v-» - o «-» - ) . 

4. Fa', i.e. Watad mafruk followed by two Sabab 
khafif = the Latin Epitritus secundus ( - u - -). 

The number of the secondary feet increases to six, for as 
No. 2 and 4 contain two Sabab, they '* branch out " into two 
derived feet each, according to both Sabab or only one 
changing place with regard to the Watad. They are : 

5. Fa.'ilun, i.e. Sabab khafif followed by Watad majmu' = 
the Latin Creticus ( - w - ). The primary Fa'u.lun becomes 
by transposition Lun.fa'ii. To bring this into conformity 
with a current derivative of fa'I, the initial Sabab must be 

364 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

made to contain the first letter of the root, and the Watad 
the two remaining ones in their proper order. Fa is there- 
fore substituted for lun, and 'ilun for fa'u, forming together 
the above Fa.'ilun. By similar substitutions, which it would 
be tedious to specify in each separate case, Mafa.'i'.lun 
becomes : 

6. Mus.taf.'ilun, for 'llun.mafa, i.e. two Sabab khafff 
followed by Watad majmu' = the Latin Epitritus tertius 

7. Fa.'ila.tun, for Lun.mafa.'i, i.e. Watad majmu' between 
two Sabab khafi'f =: the Latin Epitritus secundus ( - u - - ). 

8. Mutafa.'ilun (for 'Alatun.mufa, the reversed Mufa.'alatun) 
i.e. Fasilah followed by Watad majmu' = the Latin Anapaest 
succeeded by Iambus ( u o - o - ). The last two secondary 
feet are transpositions of No. 4, Fa'.ila.tun, namely : 

9. Maf.'ii.latu, for La.tun.fa'i, i.e. two Sabab khafi'f followed 
by Watad mafriik = the Latin Epitritus quartus ( <-» ). 

10. Mus.taf'i.lun, for Tun.fa', i.e. Watad mafriik between 
two Sabab khafi'f = the Latin Epitritus tertius ( - - u - ).^ 

The " branch "-foot Fa.'ilun (No. 5), like its ''root" 
Fa'ulun (No. i), is quinqueliteral. All other feet, primary 
or secondary, consist necessarily of seven letters, as they 
contain a triliteral Watad (see supra i. 2) with either two 
biliteral Sabab khafi'f (i. i) or a quadriliteral Fasilah. (i. 3). 
They are, therefore, called Saba'i = seven lettered. 

iii. The same principle of the Watad taking precedence 
over Sabab and Fasilah, rules the arrangement of the Arabic 
metres, which are divided into five circles (Dawair, pi. of 
Dairah) so called for reasons presently to be explained. The 
first is named : 

' It is important to keep in mind that the seemingly identical feet lo and 6, 
7 and 3, are distinguished by the relative positions of the constituting elements in 
either pair. For as it will be seen that Sabab and Watad are subject to different 
kinds of alterations, it is evident that the effect of such alteration upon a foot will 
Vary, if Sabab and Watad occupy dijferent places with regard to each other. 

Terminal Essay. 365 

A. Dairat al-Mukhtalif, circle of " the varied " metre, 
because it is composed of feet of various length, the five- 
lettered Fa'ulun (supra ii. i) and the seven-lettered Mafa'i'lun 
(ii, 2) with their secondaries Fa'ilun, Mustaf 'ilun and Fa.'ilatun 
(ii. 5-7), and it comprises three Buhiir or metres (pi. of Bahr, 
sea), the Tawil, Madid and Basit. 

1. Al-Tawil, consisting of twice 

Fa'ii.lun Mafa.'ilun Fa'u.lun Mafa.'ilun, 

the classical scheme for which would be 

^--|u |o--|^ I 

If we transfer the Watad Fa'u from the beginning of the 
line to the end, it would read : 

Lun.mafa'i Lun.fa'u Lun.mafa'i Lun.fa'ii, which, after the 
substitutions indicated above (ii. 7 and 5), becomes : 

2. Al-Madi'd, consisting of twice 

Fa.'ilatun Fa. 'ilun Fa.'ilatun Fa. 'ilun, 

which may be represented by the classical scheme 


If again, returning to the Tawi'l, we make the break after 
the Watad of the second foot we obtain the line : 

'f lun.fa'u. Lun.mafa 'Ilun.fa'u Lun.mafa, and as metrically 
'Ilun.fa'u (two Sabab followed by Watad) and Lun.mafa (one 
Sabab followed by Watad) are ='llun.mafa and Lun.fa'u 
respectively, their Taf'il is effected by the same substitutions 
as in ii. 5 and 6, and they become : 

3. Basi't, consisting of twice 

Mastaf.'ilun Fa. 'ilun Mustaf.'ilun Fa. 'ilun, 

in conformity with the classical scheme : 

Thus one metre evolves from another by a kind of rotation, 
which suggested to the Prosodists an ingenious device of 
representing them by circles (hence the name Dairah), round 
the circumference of which on the outside the complete Taf I'l 

366 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

of the original metre is written, while each moved letter is 
faced by a small loop, each quiescent by a small vertical stroke^ 
inside the circle. Then, in the case of this present Dairat al- 
Mukhtalif, for instance, the loop corresponding to the initial f 
of the first Fa'ulun is marked as the beginning of the Tawi'l, 
that corresponding to its 1 (of the Sabab lun) as the beginning 
of the Madid, and that corresponding to the 'Ayn of the next 
Mafa'ilun as the beginning of the Basit. The same process 
applies to all the following circles, but our limited space 
compels us simply to enumerate them, together with their 
Buhur, without further reference to the mode of their evolution. 


B. Dairat al-Mutalif, circle of "the agreeing" metre, so 
called because all its feet agree in length, consisting of seven 
letters each. It contains : 

' i.e. vertical to the circumference. 

Terminal Essay. 367 

1. Al-Wafir, composed of twice 

Mufa.'alatun Mufa.'alatun Mufa.'alatun (ii. 3). 

where the Iambus in each foot precedes the Anapaest and 
its reversal : 

2. Al-Kamil, consisting of twice 

Miitafa.'ilun Mutafa.'ilun Mutafa.'ilun (ii. 8) 
=: KJ\j-\j-\\j\j-\j-\\j\j-\j-\ 

where the Anapaest takes the first place in every foot. 

C. Dairat al-Mujtalab, circle of " the brought on " metre, so 
called because its seven-lettered feet are brought on from the 
first circle. 

1. Al-Hazaj, consisting of twice 

Mafa.'ilun Mafa.'ilun Mafa.'ilun (ii. 2) 
_ ^ 1^ 1^ j^ I 

2. Al-Rajaz, consisting of twice 

Mustaf 'ilun Mustaf.'ilun Mustaf.'ilun, 

and, in this full form, almost identical with the Iambic 
Trimeter of the Greek Drama : 

3. Al-Ramal, consisting of twice 

Fa.'ilatun Fa.'ilatun Fa.'ilatun, 

the trochaic counterpart of the preceding metre 

D. Dairat al-Mushtabih, circle of " the intricate " metre, 
so called from its intricate nature, primary mingling with 
secondary feet, and one foot of the same verse containing a 
Watad majmu', another a Watad mafruk, i.e. the iambic rhythm 
alternating with the trochaic and vice versa. Its Buhur are : 
I. Al-Sari", twice 

Mustaf.'ilun Mustaf.'ilun MaPu.latu (ii. 6 and 9), 

2. Al-Munsarih, twice 

Mustaf.'ilun Mafu.latu Mustaf.'ilun (ii. 6. 9. 6) 

368 AlJ Laylah wa Lay la h. 

3. Al-Khafi'f, twice 

Fa.'ilatun Mustafi.lun Fa.'ilatun (ii. 7. 10. 7) 

4. Al-Muzari', twice 

Mafa 'ilun Fa'i.latun Mafa.'ilun (ii. 2. 4. 2) 
= ^ \- yj - -\yj I 

5. Al-Muktazib, twice 

Mafu.latu Mustaf.'ilun MaPu.latu (ii. 9. 6. 9) 
_ ^j__^.| ^1 

6. Al-Mujtass, twice 

Mustafi.lun Fa.'ilatun Mustafi.lun (ii. 10. 7. 10) 

E. Dairat al-Muttafik, circle of " the concordant " metre, so 
called for the same reason why circle B is called " the agreeing," 
i.e. because the feet all harmonise in length, being here, hov\^- 
ever quinqueliteral, not seven-lettered as in the Mutalif Al- 
Khali'l, the inventor of the 'Ilm al-'Aruz, assigns to it onl)- 
one metre : 

I. Al-Mutakarib, twice 

Fa'iilun Fa'ulun Fa'ulun Fa'ulun (ii. i) 

Later Prosodists added : 
2, Al-Mutadarak, twice 

Fa'ilun Fa'ilun Fa'ilun Fa'ilun (ii. 5) 
= -^-|-^-l-^-|-v^-| 

The feet and metres as given above, are however to a certain 
extent merely theoretical ; in practice the former admit of 
numerous licences and the latter of variations brought about 
by modification or partial suppression of the feet final in a 
verse. An Arabic poem (Kasidah, or if numbering less than 
ten couplets, Kat'ah) consists of Bayts or couplets, bound 
together by a continuous rhyme, which connects the first two 
lines and is repeated at the end of every second line through- 
out the poem. The last foot of every odd line is called 'Ariiz 
(fcm. in contradistinction of 'Ariiz in the sense of Prosody 

Terminal Essay. 369 

which is masc.) pi. A'ariz, that of every even line is called 
Zarb, pi. Azrub, and the remaining feet may be termed 
Hashw (stuffing), although in stricter parlance a further 
distinction is made between the first foot of every odd and 
even line as well. 

Now with regard to the Hashw on the one hand, and the 
'Aruz and Zarb on the other, the changes which the normal feet 
undergo are of two kinds: Zuhaf (deviation) and 'Illah (defect). 
Zuhaf applies, as a rule, occasionally and optionally to the 
second letter of a Sabab in those feet which compose the Hashw 
or body-part of a verse, making a long syllable short by sup- 
pressing its quiescent final, or contracting two short quantities 
in a long one, by rendering quiescent a moved letter which 
stands second in a Sabab saki'l. In Mustaf ilun (ii. 6. =r --«-»-), 
for instance, the s of the first syllable, or the f of the second, 
or both may be dropped and it will become accordingly 
Mutaf'ilun, by substitution, Mafa'ilun («-»-«-»-) or Musta'ilun, 
by substitution Mufta'ilun ( - w «-»-), or Muta'ilun, by substitu- 
tion Fa'ilatun (vjw»u-).i This means that wherever the foot 
Mustaf.'ilun occurs in the Hashw of a poem, we can represent 
it by the scheme s^ w v-» - i,e. the Epitritus tertius can, by poetical 
licence change into Diiambus, Choriambus or Paeon quartus. 
In Mufa'alatun (ii. 3, = «-»-«-'<-'-) and Mutafa'ilun (ii. 8, =: 
o (^ - u» - ) again the Sabab 'ala and muta may become khafif 
by suppression of their final Harakah and thus turn into 

Mufa'altun, by substitution Mafa'ilun (ii. 2, = w ), and 

Mutfa'ilun, by substitution Mustaf'ilun (ii. 6, =:--*-»- as above. 
In other words the two feet correspond to the schemes u_w~w- 
and w~o_u- , where a Spondee can take the place of the Ana- 
paest after or before the Iambus respectively. 

'Illah, the second way of modifying the primitive or normal 
feet, applies to both Sabab and Watad, but only in the 'Aruz 
and Zarb of a couplet, being at the same time constant and 
obligatory. Besides the changes already mentioned, it consists 

^ This would be a Fasilah kubra spoken of in the note p. 361. 


370 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

in adding one or two letters to a Sabab or Watad, or curtail- 
ing them more or less, even to cutting them off altogether. 
We cannot here exhaust this matter any more than those 
touched upon until now, but must be satisfied with an example 
or two, to show the proceeding in general and indicate its 

We have seen that the metre Basi't consists of the two lines : 

Mustaf.'ilun Fa.'ilun Mustafilun Fa'ilun 
Mustaf ilun Fa'ilun Mustafilun Fa'ilun. 

This complete form, however, is not in use amongst Arab 
poets. If by the Zuhaf Khabn, here acting as 'Illah, the Alif 
in the final Fa'ilun is suppressed, changing it into Fa'ilun 
( u v-> -), it becomes the first 'Aruz, called makhbunah, of the 
Basi't, the first Zarb of which is obtained by submitting the 
final Fa'ilun of the second line to the same process. A second 
Zarb results, if in Fa'ilun the final n of the Watad 'ilun is cut 
off and the preceding 1 made quiescent by the 'Illah Kat' thus 
giving Fa'il and by substitution Fa'lun (""). Thus the 
formula becomes : — 

Mustafilun Fa'ilun Mustafilun Fa'ilun 

Mustafilun Fa'ilun Mustafilun \ 

i Fa'ilun 

As in the Hashw, i.e. the first three feet of each line, the Khabn 
can likewise be applied to the medial Fa'ilun, and for Mus- 
tafilun the poetical licences, explained above, may be intro- 
duced ; this first 'Aruz or Class of the Basi't with its two Zarb 
or subdivisions will be represented by the scheme : 

- - \j - \ \j \j 

- -yj -\ - - 

that is to say in the first subdivision of this form of the Basi't 
both lines of each couplet end with an Anapaest and every 
second line of the other subdivision terminates in a Spondee. 
The Basi't has four more A'ariz, three called majzuah, because 
each line is shortened by a Juz or foot, one called mashturah 

Terminal Essay. 371 

(halved), because the number of feet is reduced from four to 
two, and we may here notice that the former kind of lessening 
the number of feet is frequent with the hexametrical circles 
(B.C.D.), while the latter can naturally only occur in those 
circles whose couplet forms an octameter (A. E.) Besides 
being majzuah, the second 'Aruz is sahi'hah (perfect), consisting 
of the normal foot Mustaf'ilun. It has three Azrub : i. Mus- 
taf'ilan (--«-» ^, with an overlong final syllable, supra p. 359), 
produced by the 'Illah Tazyi'l, i.e. addition of a quiescent 
letter at the end (Mustaf'ilunn, by substitution Mustaf'ilan) ; 

2. Mustaf'ilun, like the 'Aruz ; 3. Maf'ulun ( ), produced 

by the 'Illah Kat' (see the preceding page ; Mustaf'ilun, by 
dropping the final n and making the 1 quiescent becomes 
Mustafil and by substitution Maf ulun). Hence the formula is : 

Mussaf'ilun Fa'ilun Mustaf ilun 

e Mustafilan 
Mustafilun Fa'ilun J Mustafilun 

y MaPiilun, 

which, with its allowable licences, may be represented by the 
scheme : 

- - v-» 


The above will suffice to illustrate the general method of the 
Prosodists, and we must refer the reader for the remaining 
classes and subdivisions of the Basi't as well as the other 
metres to more special treatises on the subject, to which this 
Essay is intended merely as an introduction, with a view to 
facilitate the first steps of the student in an important, but I 
fear somewhat neglected, field of Arabic learning. 

If we now turn to the poetical pieces contained in The Nights, 
we find that out of the fifteen metres known to al-Khah'l, or 
the sixteen of later Prosodists, instances of thirteen occur in 
the Mac. N. edition, but in vastly different proportions. The 

372 A 1/ Lay la h wa Laylah. 

total number amounts to 1,385 pieces (some, however, re- 
peated several times), out of which 1,128 belong to the first 
two circles, leaving only 257 for the remaining three. The 
same disproportionality obtains with regard to the metres of 
each circle. The Mukhtalif is represented by 331 instances of 
Tawi'l and 330 of Basit against 3 of Madid ; the Mutalif by 
321 instances of Kamil against 143 of Wafir ; the Mujtalab 
by 32 instances of Ramal and 30 of Rajaz against i of Hazaj ; 
the Mushtabih by 72 instances of Khafi'f and 52 of San" 
against 18 of Munsarih and 15 of Mujtass ; and lastly the 
Muttafik by 37 instances of Mutakarib. Neither the Mutadarak 
(E. 2), nor the Muzari' and Muktazib (D. 4, 5) are met with. 

Finally it remains for me to quote a couplet of each metre, 
showing how to scan them, and what relation they bear to the 
theoretical formulas exhibited on p. 363 to p. 368. 

It is characteristic for the preponderance of the Tawi'l over 
all the other metres, that the first four lines, with which my 
alphabetical list begins, are written in it. One of these 
belongs to a poem which has for its author Baha al-Di'n 
Zuhayr (born A.D. 11 86 at Mekkah or in its vicinity, ob. 
1249 at Cairo), and is to be found in full in Professor Palmer's 
edition of his works, p. 164. Sir Richard Burton translates 
the first Bayt (vol. i. 256) : 

An I quit Cairo and her pleasances » ^^^lere can I hope to find so gladsome 
ways ? 

Professor Palmer renders it : 

Must I leave Egypt where such joys abound ? 
What place can ever charm me so again. 

In Arabic it scans : 

A-arhalu 'an Misrin wa tibi na'imihi ^ 

Fa-ayyu makanin ba'daha li-ya shaiku. 

^ In pause that is at the end of a line, a short vowel counts either as long or is 
dropped, according to the exigencies of the metre. In the Hashw the u or i of 

Ternmial Essay. 373 

In referring to iii. A. i, p. 365, it will be seen that in the Hashw 
Fa'ulun (»-'--) has become Fa'iilu («-'-«-') by a Zuhaf called 
Kabz (suppression of the fifth letter of a foot if it is quiescent), 

and that in the 'Aruz and Zarb Mafa'i'lun {^ ) has changed 

into Mafa'ilun (*-»-«-»-) by the same Zuhaf acting as 'Illah. 
The latter alteration shows the couplet to be of the second 
Zarb of the first 'Aruz of the Tawi'l. If the second line did 
terminate in Mafa'ilun, as in the original scheme, it would 
be the first Zarb of the same 'Aruz ; if it did end in Fa'ulun 
(«-»--) or Mafa'il («-»-'- ) it would represent the third or fourth 
subdivision of this first class respectively. The Tawi'l has 
one other 'Aruz, Fa'ulun, with a twofold Zarb, either Fa'ulun 
also, or Mafa'ilun. 

The first instance of the Basi't occurring in The Nights are 
the lines translated vol. i. p. 23 : 

Containeth Time a twain of days, this of blessing, that of bane * 
And holdeth Life a twain of halves, this of pleasure, that of pain. 

In Arabic (Mac. N. i. 11): 


Al-Dahru yaumani za amnun wa za hazaru. 

Wa 'l-'Ayshu shatrani za safwun wa za kadaru. 

Turning back to p. 365, where the A'ari'z and Azrub of the 
Basi't are shown, the student will have no difficulty to recog- 
nise the Bayt as one belonging to the first Zarb of the first 

As an example of the Madid we quote the original of the 
lines (vol. iii. p. 240) : — 

I had a heart, and with it lived my life * 'Twas seared with fire and burnt with 

the pronominal affix for the third person sing, masc, and the final u of the enlarged 
pronominal plural forms, humu and kumu may be either short or long, according 
to the same exigencies. The end-vowel of the pronoun of the first person ana, 
I, is generally read short, although it is written with AUf. 

374 -^^f Laylah wa Laylah. 

They read in Arabic : — 

Kana li kalbun a'lshu bihi 

■ ^ - - I - ^ - I ^ - I 
Fa'ktawa bi'1-nari wa'htarak. 

If we compare this with the formula (iii. A. 2, p. 365), we find 
that either line of the couplet is shortened by a foot ; it is 
therefore majzu. The first 'Aruz of this abbreviated metre is 
Fa'ilatun ( -u--), and is called sahi'hah (perfect) because it 
consists of the normal third foot. In the second 'Ariiz 
Fa'ilatun loses its end syllable tun by the 'Illah Hafz (sup- 
pression of a final Sabab khafif), and becomes Fa'ila (-«-'-) 
for which Fa'ilun is substituted. Shortening the first syllable 
of Fa'ilun, i.e. eliminating the Alif by Khabn, we obtain the 
third 'Ariiz Fa'ilun ( u o - ) as that of the present lines, which 
has two Azrub : Fa'ilun, like the 'Aruz and Fa'lun ( - - ), here, 
again by Khabn, further reduced to Fa'al («-'-). 

Ishak of Mosul, who improvises the piece, calls it " so diffi- 
cult and so rare, that it went nigh to deaden the quick and to 
quicken the dead ; " indeed, the native poets consider the 
metre Madid as the most difficult of all, and it is scarcely 
ever attempted by later writers. This accounts for its rare 
occurrence in The Nights, where only two more instances are 
to be found, Mac. N. ii. 244 and iii. 404. 

The second and third circle will best be spoken of together, 
as the Wafir and Kamil have a natural affinity to the Hazaj 
and Rajaz. Let us revert to the line : — 

^ \^ l^--| 

Akamii '1-wajda fi kalbi wa saru. 

Translated, as it were, into the language of the Prosodists it 
will be : — 

Mafa'ilun ^ 'Mafa'ilun Fa'ulun, 

^ On p. 274 the word akamii, as read by itself, was identified with the foot 
Fa'ulun. Here it must be read together with the following syllable as " akamul- 
waj," which is Mafa'ilun. 

Terminal Essay. 

and this, standing by itself, might prima facie be taken for a 
line of the Hajaz (iii. C. i), with the third Mafa'ilun shortened 
by Hafz (see above) into Mafa'i for which Fa'ulun would be 
substituted. We have seen (p. 369) that and how the foot 
Mufa'alatun can change into Mafa'ilun, and if in any poem 
which otherwise would belong to the metre Hazaj, the former 
measure appears even in one foot only along with the latter, it 
is considered to be the original measure, and the poem counts 
no longer as Hazaj but as Wafir. In the piece now under 
consideration, it is the second Bayt where the characteristic 
foot of the Wafir first appears : — 

Naat 'anni'l-rubu'u wa sakiniha 

Wakad ba'uda '1-mazaru fa-la mazaru 

Anglice : — 

Far lies the camp and those who camp therein ; « Far is her tent-shrine where I 
ne'er shall tent. 

It must, however, be remarked that the Hazaj is not in use 
as a hexameter, but only with an 'Ariiz majzuah or shortened 
by one foot. Hence it is only in the second 'Aruz of the Wafir, 
which is likewise majzuah, that the ambiguity as to the real 
nature of the metre can arise •} and the isolated couplet : — 

o - - - 1 o — 1,^ - : I 

Yaridu '1-mar-u an yu'ta munahu 

Wa yaba 'Uahu ilia ma yuridu 

Man wills his wish to him accorded be, * But Allah naught accords save what he 
wills (vol. iii. 35), 

being hexametrical forms undoubtedly part of a poem in 
Wafir although it does not contain the foot Mufa'alatun at all. 

* Prof. Palmer, p. 328 of his Grammar, identifies this form of the Wafir, 
when everj^ Mufa'alatun of the Hashw has become Mafa'ilun, with the second 
form of the Rajaz. It should be Hazaj. Professor Palmer was misled, it seems , 
by an evident misprint in one of his authorities, the Muhit al-Daira by Dr. Van 
Dayk, p. 52. 

37^ Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Thus the solitary instance of Hazaj in The Nights is Abu 
Nuwas' abomination, beginning with : — 

Fa -la tas'au ila ghayri 
I I 

Fa-'indi ma'dinu '1-khayri (Mac. N. ii. 377). 

Steer ye your steps to none but me « Who hath a mine of luxury. 

If in the second 'Ariiz of the Wafir Mafai'lun {y ) is further 

shortened to Mafa'ilun ( «-» - u - j, the metre resembles the second 
'Ariiz of Rajaz, where, as we have seen, the latter foot can, by 
licence, take the place of the normal Mustaf'ilun (- - u - ). 

The Kamil bears a similar relation to the Rajaz, as the 
Wafir bears to the Hajaz. By way of illustration we quote 
from Mac. N. ii. 8 the first two Bayts of a little poem taken 
from the 23rd Assembly of Al-Hariri : — 


Ya khatiba '1-dunya '1-daniyyati innaha 


Sharaku '1-rada wa kararatu '1-akdari 

Darun mata ma azhakat fi yaumiha 

Abkat ghadan bu'dan laha min dari 
In Sir Richard Burton's translation : — 

O thou who woo'st a World unworthy, learn * 'Tis house of evils, 'tis Per- 
dition's net : 

A house where whoso laughs this day shall weep * The next, then perish house 
of fume and fret. 

The 'Aruz of the first couplet is Mutafd'ilun, assigning 
the piece to the first or perfect (sahi'hah) class of the Kamil. 
In the Hashw of the opening line and in that of the whole 
second Bayt this normal Mutafa'ilun has, by licence, become 
Mustaf ilun, and the same change has taken place in the 'Aruz 
of the second couplet ; for it is a peculiarity which this metre 
shares with a few others, to allow certain alterations of the 

Terminal Essay. 377 

kind Zuhaf in the 'Ariiz and Zarb as well as in the Hashw. 
This class has three subdivisions : the Zarb of the first is 
Mutafa'ilun, like the 'Aruz ; the Zarb of the second is Fa'a- 
latun (wu--), a substitution for Mutafa'il, which latter is 
obtained from Mutafa'ilun by suppressing the final n and 
rendering the 1 quiescent; the Zarb of the third is Fa'lun 
( - - ) for Mutfa, derived from Mutafa'ilun by cutting off the 
Watad 'ilun and dropping the medial a of the remaining 

If we make the 'Ayn of the second Zarb Fa'alatun also 
quiescent by the permitted Zuhaf Izmar, it changes into 

Fa'latun, by substitution Maf'ulun ( ) which terminates 

the rhyming lines of the foregoing quotation. Consequently 
the two couplets taken together, belong to the second Zarb 
of the first 'Aruz of the Kamil, and the metre of the poem 
with its licences may be represented by the scheme : 

Taken isolated, on the other hand, the second Bayt might 
be of the metre Rajaz, whose first 'Aruz Mustafilun has two 
Azrub : one equal to the 'Aruz, the other Maf'ulun as above, 
but here substituted for Mustafil after applying the 'Illah 
Kat' (see p. 370) to Mustafilun. If this were the metre of 
the poem throughout, the scheme with the licences peculiar to 
the Rajaz would be : 

- - \J - - - \J - 
- - \J - - - \J - 

- - \-» 


The pith of Al- Hariri's Assembly is that the knight errant, 
not to say the arrant wight of the Romance, Abu Sayd of 
Saruj, accuses before the Wali of Baghdad his pretended 
pupil, in reality his son, to have appropriated a poem of his 

378 Alf Laylah wa Laylah 

by lopping off two feet of every Bayt. If this is done in the 
quoted lines, they read : 

. . ^ . I . . ^ . , 

Ya khatiba 'I-dunya '1-daniy. 

Yati innaha sbaraku I'-rada 

- - . - I - - u - I 
Darun mata ma azhakat 

_ . ^ _ I _ _ ^ . I 

Fi yaumiha abkat ghada, 

with a different rhyme and of a different variation of metre. 
The amputated piece belongs to the fourth Zarb of the third 
'Aruz of Kamil, and its second couplet tallies with the second 
sub-division of the second class of Rajaz. 

The Rajaz, a iambic metre pure and simple, is the most 
popular, because the easiest, in which even the Prophet was 
caught napping sometimes, at the dangerous risk of following 
the perilous leadership of Imru '1-Kays. It is the metre of 
improvisation, of ditties, and of numerous didactic poems. 
In the latter case, when the composition is called Urjuzah, 
the two lines of every Bayt rhyme, and each Bayt has a 
rhyme of its own. This is the form in which, for instance, 
Ibn Malik's Alfiyah is written, as well as the remarkable 
grammatical work of the modern native scholar, Nasi'f al- 
Yaziji, of which a notice will be found in Chenery's Introduc- 
tion to his Translation of Al-Hariri. 

While the Hazaj and Rajaz connect the third circle with 
the first and second, the Ramal forms the link between the 
third and fourth Dairah. Its measure Fa'ilatun (-«-»- - ) and 

the reversal of it, Mafiilatu ( «->), affect the trochaic 

rhythm, as opposed to the iambic of the two first-named 
metres. The iambic movement has a ring of gladness about 
it, the trochaic a wail of sadness : the former resembles a 
nimble pedestrian, striding apace with an elastic step and a 
cheerful heart ; the latter is like a man toiling along on the 
desert path, where his foot is ever and anon sliding back in the 

Terminal Essay. 379 

burning sand (Rami, whence probably the name of the metre). 
Both combined in regular alternation, impart an agitated 
character to the verse, admirably fit to express the conflicting 
emotions of a passion-stirred mind. 

Examples of these more or less plaintive and pathetic 
metres are numerous in the Tale of Uns al-Wujud and the 
Wazir's Daughter, which being throughout a story of love, as 
has been noted vol. iii. 167, abounds in verse, and, in particular, 
contains ten out of the thirty-two instances of Ramal occur- 
ing in The Nights. We quote : 

Ramal, first Zarb of the first 'Aruz (Mac. N. ii. 361) : 

Inna li '1-bulbuli sautan fi '1-sahar 


Ashghala 'l-'ashika 'an husni '1-watar 

The Bulbul's note, whenas dawn is nigh * Tells the lover from strains of strings 
to fly (vol. iii. 180). 

San", second Zarb of the first 'Ariiz (Mac. N. ii. 359) : 

Wa fakhitin kad kala fi nauhihi 

Ya Daiman shukran 'ala balwati 

I heard a ringdove chanting soft and plaintively, • " I thank Thee, O Eternal, 
for this misery" (vol. iii. 179). 

Khafi'f, full or perfect form (sahi'h), both in Zarb and 'Aruz 
(Mac. N. ii. 356) : 

- \J - -\\J-KJ-\-\J--\ 

Ya li-man ashtaki '1-gharama 'Uazi bi 

Wa shujiini wa furkati 'an habibi 

O to whom now of my desire complaining sore shall I * Bewail my parting from 
my fere compelled thus to fly (vol. iii. 176). 

Mujtass, the only 'Aruz (majzuah sahi'hah, i.e. shortened by 
one foot and perfect) with equal Zarb (Mac. N. ii. 367) : 

380 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Ruddu 'alayya habil)i ' 

La hajatan li bi-malin 
To me restore my dear * I want not wealth untold (vol. iii. 186). 

As an instance of the Munsarih, I give the second occurring 
in The Nights, because it affords me an opportunity to show 
the student how useful a knowledge of the laws of Prosody 
frequently proves for ascertaining the correct reading of a text. 
Mac. N. i. 33 we find the line : 

Arba'atun ma 'jtama'at kattu a. 

This would be Rajaz with the licence Mufta'ilun for Mus- 
taf'ilun. But the following lines of the fragment evince, that 
the metre is Munsarih ; hence, a clerical error must lurk some- 
where in the second foot. In fact, on page 833 of the same 
volume, we find the piece repeated, and here the first couplet 

Arba'atun ma 'jtama'na kattu siw^ 

Ala aza mujhati wa safki dami 

Four things which ne'er conjoin unless it be « To storm my vitals and to shed my 

The Mutakarib, the last of the metres employed in The 
Nights, has gained a truly historical importance by the part 
which it plays in Persian literature. In the form of trimetrical 
double-lines, with a several rhyme for each couplet, it has 
become the " Nibelungen-" stanza of the Persian epos : Fir- 
dausi's immortal " Book of Kings" and Nizami's Iskander- 
namah are written in it, not to mention a host of Masnawis in 
which Sufic mysticism combats Mohammedan orthodoxy. On 
account of its warlike and heroical character, therefore, I choose 
for an example the knightly Jamrakan's challenge to the 
single fight in which he conquers his scarcely less valiant 
adversary Kaurajan (Mac. N. iii. 296) : 

Terminal Essay. 381 

Ana '1-Jamrakanu kawiyyu '1-janani 


Jami'u '1-fawarisi takhsha kitaU. 

Here the third syllable of the second foot in each line is 
shortened by licence, and the final Kasrah of the first line, 
standing in pause, is long, the metre being the full form of 
the Mutakarib as exhibited p. 368, iii. E. i. If we suppress 
the Kasrah of Al-Janani, which is also allowable in pause, 
and make the second line to rhyme with the first, saying, for 
instance ; 

\j - - \ \j - \j \\j - - \\j - 

Ana '1-Jamrakanu kawiyyu '1-janan 
La-yaksha kitali shija'u '1-zaman, 

we obtain the powerful and melodious metre in which the 
Shahnamah sings of Rustam's lofty deeds, of the tender love 
of Riidabah and the tragic downfall of Siyawush. 

Shall I confess that in writing the foregoing pages it has 
been my ambition to become a conqueror, in a modest way, 
myself: to conquer, I mean, the prejudice frequently enter- 
tained, and shared even by my accomplished countryman, 
Riickert, that Arabic Prosody is a clumsy and repulsive 
doctrine. I have tried to show that it springs naturally from 
the character of the language, and, intimately connected as 
it is with the grammatical system of the Arabs, it appears 
to me quite worthy of the acumen of a people, to whom, 
amongst other things, we owe the invention of Algebra, the 
stepping-stone of our whole modern system of Mathematics. 
I cannot refrain, therefore, from concluding with a little 
anecdote anent al-Khalil, which Ibn Khallikan tells in the 
following words. His son went one day into the room where 
his father was, and on finding him scanning a piece of poetry 
by the rules of prosody, he ran out and told the people that 

382 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

his father had lost his wits. They went in immediately and 
related to al-Khali'l what they had heard, on which he 
addressed his son in these terms : 

" Had you known what I was saying, you would have 
excused me, and had you known what you said, I should 
have blamed you. But you did not understand me, so you 
blamed me, and I knew that you were ignorant, so I pardoned 


Here end, to my sorrow, the labours of a quarter-century, 
and here I must perforce say with the " poets' Poet," 

" Behold ! I see the haven nigh at hand. 
To which I mean my wearie course to bend ; 

Vere the main shete, and bear up with the land 
The which afore is fairly to be ken'd." 

Nothing of importance now indeed remains for me but 
briefly to estimate the character of my work and to take 
cordial leave of my readers, thanking them for the interest 
they have accorded to these volumes and for enabling me 
thus successfully to complete ten volumes. 

Without over-diffidence I would claim to have fulfilled the 
promise contained in my Foreword. The anthropological 
notes and notelets, which not only illustrate and read between 
the lines of the text, but assist the student of Moslem life 
and of Arabo-Egyptian manners, customs and language in 
a multitude of matters, form a repertory of Eastern know- 

That the work contains errors, shortcomings and many a 
lapsus, I am the first and foremost to declare. Yet in justice 

Terminal Essay. 383 

to myself I must also notice that the maculae are few and far 
between ; even the most unfriendly and interested critics have 
failed to point out an abnormal number of slips. And 
before pronouncing the " Vos plaudite ! " or, as Easterns more 
politely say, " I implore that my poor name may be raised 
aloft on the tongue of praise," let me invoke the fair field and 
courteous favour which the Persian poet expected from his 

JjJ Lni. y cJ'^ »-i-> ^t* <*•' 

Veil it, an fault thou find, nor jibe nor jeer : — 
None may be found of faults and failings clear ! 


Trieste, September 20, '87. 



VOL. v;. B B 

Appendix. 387 


N.B. — The Roman iftm'.rals denote the volume, the Arabic the page. 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman, v. 502. 

Do. bin Fazl and his Brothers, vi. 108. 

Do. bin Ma'amar with the Man of Bassorah and his Slave-girl, 
iii. 194. 

Do. son of Abu Kalabah and the City of the Many-Columned Iram, 
ii. 515. 
Abd al-Rahman the Maghrabi's story of the Rukh, iii. 233. 
Abu Hasan al-Ziyadi and the Khorasan Man, iii. 129. 
Abu Isa and Kurrat al-Ayn, The Loves of, iii. 250. 
Abu Ja'afar the Leper, Abu al-Hasan and, iii. 370. 
Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber, v. 474. 
Abu al-Hasan and Abu Ja'afar the Leper, iii. 370. 

Do of Khorasan, vi. 45. 

Abu al-Husn and his slave-gfrl Tawaddud, iii. 277. 
Abu Mohammed bight Lazybones, iii. 39. 
Abu Sir the Barber, Abu Kir the Dyer and, v. 474. 
Abu Yusuf with Al-Rashid and Zubaydah, The Imam, iii. 31. 
Adi bin Zayd and the Princess Hind, iii. 234. 
Ajib, The History of Gharib and his Brother, iv. 184. 
Ala al-Din Abu al-Shamat, ii. 443. 

Alexandria, The Sharper of, and the Master of Police, iii. 115. 
Ali bin Bakkar and Shams al-Nahar, ii. 261. 
Ali of Cairo, The Adventures of Mercury, iv. 374. 
Ali Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-girl, v. 279. 
Ali the Cairene and the Haunted House in Baghdad, iii. 256. 
Ali the Persian, iii. 27. 
Ali Shah and Zumurrud, iii. 62. 

Al-Malik al-Nasir and the Three Chiefs of PoHce, iii. 116. 
Almsgiving, The Woman whose hands were cut off for, iii. 126. 
Angel of Death and the King of the Children of Israel, The, iii. 331. 

Do. with the Proud King and the Devout Man, The, iii. 326. 

Do. and the Rich King, The, iii. 329. 

3^8 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Anis al-Jalis, Nur al-Din Ali and the damsel, i. 311. 
Anushirwan (Kisra) and the Village Damsel, iii. 202. 

Do, the Righteousness of King, iii. 334. 

Apples, The Three, i. 165. 
Arab Girl, Harun al-Rashid and the, iv. 319. 

Do. Youth, The Caliph Hashim and the, ii. 505. 
Ardashir and Hayat al-Nufus, iv. 406. 
Ass, The Bull and the, i. 13. 
Do. The Wild, and the Jackal, v. 395. 
Aziz and Azizah, Tale of, ii. 91. 
Azizah, Aziz and, ii. 91. 
Badawi, Ja'afar the Barmecide and the old, iii. 212. 

Do. Omar bin al-Khattab and the young, iii. 213. 

Do. and his Wife, The, iv. 331. 
Badi'a al-Jamal, Sayf al-Muluk and, iv. 501. 

Badr Basim of Persia, Julnar the Sea-born, and her son King, iv. 456. 
Badr al-Din Hasan, Nur al-Din Ali of Cairo and his son, i. 172. 
Baghdad, Ali the Cairene and the Haunted House in, iii. 256. 
Do. Khalifah the Fisherman of, v. 172. 
Do. The Porter and the Three Ladies of, i. T^. 
Do. The Ruined Man of, and his Slave-girl, v. 373. 
Banu Tayy, The Lovers of the, iii. 243. 
Banu Ozrah, The Lovers of the, iii. 195. 
Barber's Tale of himself. The, i. 280. 

Do. First Brother, Story of the, i. 282. 

Do. Second Brother, Stor)^ of the, i. 286. 

Do. Third Brother, Story of the, i. 290. 

Do. Fourth Brother, Story of the, i. 293. 

Do. Fifth Brother, Story of the, i. 296. 

Do. Sixth Brother, Story of the, i. 304. 
Barber, Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the, v. 474. 
Barber-Surgeon, Ibrahim bin al-Mahdi and the, ii. 507. 
Barmecide, Ja'afar the, and the old Badawi, iii. 212. 
Bassorah, The Man of, and his Slave-girl, Abdullah bin Ma'amar with, 
iii. 194. 

Do. Hasan of, v. 46. 

Do. The Lovers of, iv. 336. 
Beanseller, Ja'afar the Barmecide and the, iii. yj . 
Behram, Prince of Persia, and the Princess al-Datma, iv. 118. 
Belvedere, The House with the, iv. 122. 
Birds and Beasts and the Carpenter, The, ii. 217. 
Do. The Page who feigned to know the speech of, iv. 105. 
Black Slave, The Pious, iii. 341. 

Blacksmith who could handle fire without hurt, The, iii. 348. 
Blind Man and the Cripple, The, v. 413. 

Appendix. 389 

Boy and Girl at School, The Loves of the, iii. 196. 

Do. and the Thieves, The, v. 439. 
Brass, The City of, iv. 31. 

Budur and Jubayr bin Umayr, The Loves of, iii. 97. 
Bulak Police, Story of the Chief of the, iii. 119. 
Bull and the Ass, Story of the, i. 13. 
Bulukiya, Adventures of, iii. 378. 
Butter, The Fakir and his Jar of, v. 388. 
Cairo ('New) Police, Story of the Chief of the, iii. 117. 

Do. (Old) Police, Story of the Chief of the, iii. 120. 

Do. The Adventures of Mercury Ali of, iv. 374. 
Caliph Al-Ma'amun and the Strange Scholar, iii. 60. 
Caliph, The Mock, iii. 11. 

Cashmere Singing-girl, The Goldsmith and the, iv. 93. 
Cat and the Crow, The, ii. 248. 

Do. and the Mouse, The, v. 384. 

Champion (The Moslem) and the Christian Lady, iii. 355. 
Christian King's Daughter and the Moslem, iii. 359. 
City of Labtayt, The, ii. 503. 

Cloud (The Devotee to whom Allah gave a) for service, iii. 351. 
Cobbler (Ma'aruf the) and his wife Fatimah, vi. 1 50. 
Confectioner, his Wife and the Parrot, The, iv. 75. 
Crab, The Fishes and the, v. 391. 
Craft and Malice of Women, The, iv. 66. 
Cripple, The Blind Man and the, v. 413. 
Crow, The Fox and the, ii. 250. 

Do. and the Serpent, The, v. 393. 

Do. The Cat and the, ii. 248. 
Crows and the Hawk, The, v. 400. 
Dalilah the Crafty and her daughter Zaynab the Coney-catcher, The 

Rogueries of, iv. 349. 
Datma (The Princess A1-), Prince Behram of Persia, and, iv. 118. 
Death, The Angel of, and the King of the Children of Israel, iii. 331. 

Do do. with the Proud King and the Devout Man, iii. 326 

Do do. and the Rich King, iii. 329. 

Debauchee and the Three-year-old Child, The, iv. 138. 
Desert (The Old Woman who dwelt in the) and the Pilgrim, iii. 275. 
Device, The Wife's, to cheat her Husband, iv. 89. 
Devil, Ibrahim of Mosul and the, iv. 321. 

Do. Isaac of Mosul and his Mistress and the, iv. 341. 
Devotee Prince, The, iii. 223. 

Do. to whom Allah gave a Cloud for service and the Devout 
King, The, iii. 351. 
Devout Israelite, The, iii. 128. 

Do. Traymaker and his Wife, The, iii. 343. 

39° A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Devout Woman and the Two Wicked Elders, The, iii. 211. 

Dibil al-Khuzai with the Lady and Muslim bin al-Walid, iii. 237. 

Dish of Gold, The Man who stole the Dog's, iii. 112. 

Doctor's Tale, The Jewish, i. 254. 

Dog's Dish of Gold, The Man who stole the, iii. 112. 

Dominie, The Foolish, iii. 230. 

Dream, The Ruined Man who became Rich through a, iii. 134. 

Drop of Honey, The, iv. 82. 

Duban, The Wazir and the Sage, i. 40. 

Dunya, Taj al-Muluk and the Princess, ii. 79. 

Dust, The Woman who made her Husband sift, iv. 83. 

Dyer, Abu Sir the Barber and Abu Kir the, v. 474. 

Eagle, The Sparrow and the, ii. 254. 

Ebony Horse, The, iii. 137. 

Egypt, The Man of Upper, and his Frank Wife, v. 364. 

Elders, The Devout Woman and the Two Wicked, iii. 211. 

Eldest Lady's Tale, The, i. 143. 

Enchanted Spring, The, iv. 84. 

Ensorcelled Prince, The, i. 62. 

Envied, The Envier and the, i. 107. 

Envier and the Envied, The, i. 107. 

Fakir and his Jar of Butter, The, v. 388. 

Falcon and the Partridge, The, ii. 239. 

Falcon, King Sindibad and his, i. 45. 

Fatimah, Ma'aruf the Cobbler and his wife, vi. 150. 

Ferryman of the Nile and the Hermit, The, iii. 364. 

Fisherman, Abdullah the Merman and Abdullah the, v. 502. 

Do. of Baghdad, Khalifah the, v. 172. 

Do. The Foolish, v. 437. 

Do. and the Jinni, The, i. -^^t^. 

Do. Khusrau and Shirin and the, iii. 205. 
Fishes and the Crab, The, v. 391. 
Five Suiters, The Lady and her, iv. 108. 
Flea and the Mouse, The, ii. 25r. 
Folk, The Fox and the, iv. 142. 
Foolish Dominie, The, iii. 230. 
Fox and the Crow, The, ii. 250. 
Do. and the Folk, The, iv. 142. 
Do. The Wolf and the, ii. 233. 
Francolin and the Tortoises, The, v. 454. 
Frank Wife, The Man of Upper Egypt and his, v. 364. 
Fuller and his Son, The, iv. 76. 

Generous dealing of Yahya bin Khalid with a man who forged a letter in 
his name, iii. 57. 

Do. do. do. the Barmecide with Mansur, iii. 54. 

Appe7idix. 391 

Generous Friend, The Poor Man and his, iii. 133. 
Ghanim bin Ayyub the Thrall o' Love, i. 351. 
Gharib and his brother Ajib, The History of, iv. 184. 
Girl, Harun al-Rashid and the Arab, iv. 319 
Girl at School, The Loves of the Boy and, iii. 196. 
Goldsmith and the Cashmere Singing-Girl, The, iv. 93. 
Goldsmith's Wife, The Water-Carrier and the, iii. 20 ^. 
Hajjaj (A1-) Hind daughter of Al-Nu'uman and, iv. 308. 

Do. bin Yusuf and the Pious Man, iii. 347. 
Hakim (The Caliph A1-) and the Merchant, iii. 201. 
Hammad the Badawi, Tale of, ii. 207. 
Harun al-Rashid and the Arab Girl, iv. 319. 

Do. and the Slave-Girl and the Imam Abu Yusuf, iii. 31. 

Do. and Abu Hasan the Merchant of Oman, vi. 8. 

Hasan of Bassorah, v. 46. 

Do. King Mohammed bin Sabaik and the Merchant, iv. 496. 
Hatim of the Tribe of Tayy, ii. 498. 

Haunted House in Baghdad, The, and Ali the Cairena, ;ii. 256. 
Hawk, The Crows and the, v. 400. 
Hayat al-Nufus, Ardashir and, iv. 406. 
Hedgehog and the Wood Pigeons, The, ii. 255. 
Hermit, The Ferryman of the Nile and the, iii. 364. 
Hermits, The, ii. 227. 

Hind, Adi bin Zayd and the Princess, iii. 234. 
Do. daughter of Al-Nu'uman and Al-Hajjaj, iv. 308. 
Do. (King Jali'ad of; and his Wazir Shimas, v. 38 1. 
Hisham and the Arab Youth, The Caliph, ii. 505. 
Honey, The Drop of, iv. 82. 
Horse, The Ebony, iii. 137. 
House with the Belvedere, The, iv. 122. 
Hunchback's Tale, The, i. 224. 
Husband and the Parrot, The, i. 47. 
Ibn al-Karibi, Masrur and, iii. 221. 
Ibrahim and Jamilah, vi. 24. 

Do. of Mosul and the Devil, iv. 321. 

Do. bin al-Mahdi and the Barber-Surgeon, ii. 507. 

Do. do. and the Merchant's Sister, iii. 123. 

Ichneumon, The Mouse and the, ii. 247. 
Ifrit's Mistress and the King's Son, The, iv. 130. 
Ikrimah al-Fayyaz, Khuzaymah bin Bishr and, iv. 310. 
Illiterate who set up for a Schoolmaster, The, iii. ^^31. 
Imam Abu Yusuf with Al-Rashid and Zubaydah, The, iii. 31. 
Introduction. Story of King Shahryar and his Brother, i. i. 
Iram and Abdullah, son of Abu Kalabah, The City of Many-Columned, 
ii. 515. 

392 Alf Lay la h iva Laylah. 

I saac of Mosul, iii. 6. 

Do. do. and the Merchant, iii. 238. 
Do. do. and his Mistress and the Devil, iv. 341. 
Island King and the Pious Israelite, The, iii. 366. 
Iskandar Zu Al-Karnayn and a certain Tribe of Poor Folk. iii. 332. 
Israelite, The Devout, iii. 128. 
Jackal, The Wild Ass and the, v. 395. 
Jackals and the Wolf, The, v. 445. 
Ja'afar the Barmecide and the Beanseller, iii. 37. 

Do. do. and the old Badawi, iii. 212. 

Jamilah, Ibrahim and, vi. 24. 
Janshah, The Story of, iii. 401. 

Jali'ad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas, King, v. 381. 
Jeweller's Wife, Kamar al-Zaman and the, vi. 61. 
Jewish Kazi and his Pious Wife, The, iii. 335. 

Do. Doctor's Tale, The. i. 254. 
Jinni, The Fisherman and the, i. 33. 

Do. The Trader and the, i. 21. 
Jubayr bin Umayr and Budur, The Loves of, iii. 97. 
Judar and his Brethren, iv. 143. 

Julnar the Sea-boni and her son King Badr Basim of Persia, iv. 456. 
Justice of Providence and the Prophet, The, iii. 362. 
Kafur, Tale of, i. 355. 
Kalandar's Tale, The first, i. 91. 

Do. The second, i. 99. 

Do. The third, i. 122. 

Kamar al-Zaman, Tale of, ii. 307. 

Do. and the Jeweller's Wife, vi. 61. 

Kazi, The Jewish, and his Pious Wife, iii. 335. 
Khalif the Fisherman of Baghdad ('note from Bresl. Edit.), v. 172. 
Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad, v. 172. 
Ivhorasan, Abu Hasan al-Ziyadi and the man from, iii. 129. 

Do. Abu al-Hasan of, vi. 45. 
Khusrau and Shirin and the Fisherman, iii. 205. 
Khuzaymah bin Bishr and Ikrimah al-Fayyaz, iv. 310. 
King Jali'ad, Shimas his Wazir and his son Wird Khan, v. 381. 
King and the Pious Israelite, The Island, iii. 366. 
Do. and the Pilgrim Prince, The Unjust, v. 397. 
Do. and his Wazir's Wife, The, iv. 72. 
King's Son and the Ifrit's Mistress, The, iv. 130. 
Do. do. and the Merchant's Wife, The, iv. 103. 
Do. do. and the Ogress, The, iv. 79. 
Kings, The Two, v. 411. 

Kisra Anushirwan and the Village Damsel, Khig, iii. 202. 
Kurrat al-Ayn and Abu Isa, iii. 250. 

Appendix. 393 

Kus Police and the Sharper^ Chief of the, iii. 122. 
Labtayt, The City of, ii. 503. 
Lady's Tale, The Eldest, i. 143. 
Lady and her Five Suitors, The, iv. 108. 
Do. and her Lovers, The, iv. 78. 
Ladies of Baghdad, The Porter and the Three, i. 73. 
Laughed again. The Man who never, iv. 96. 
Lazybones, Abu Mohammed hight, iii. 39. 
Leper, Abu al-Hasan and Abu Ja'afar the, iii, 370. 
Loaves of Bread, The Miser and the, iv. t"]. 
Lover, The Mad, iii. 244.. 

Lover who feigned himself a thief. The, iii. '^■i,. 
Lovers of Bassorah, The, iv. 336. 
Do. of the Banu Tay}', The, iii. 243. 
Do. of the Banu Ozrah, The, iv. 324. 
Do. The Lady and her, iv. 78. 
Do. of Al-Madinah, The, iv. 344. 
Loves of the Boy and Girl at School, The, iii. 196. 
Loves of Abu Isa and Kurrat al-Ayn, The, iii. 250. 
Maamun (A1-) and the Pyramids of Eg^^pt, iii. 218. 

Do. and the strange Scholar, The Caliph, iii. 60. 
Ma'an the son of Zaidah and the Three Girls, ii. 500. 

Do. do. and the Badaw^i, ii. 501. 

Mad Lover, The, iii. 144. 
Madinah (A1-), The Lovers of, iv. 344. 
Mahbubah, Al-Mutawakkil and his Concubine, iii. 135. 
Malik al-Nasir (A1-) and the three Masters of Police, iii. 116. 

Do. and his Wazir, iv. 347. 

Man and his Wife, The, v. 441. 

Do. who never laughed during the rest of his days, The, iv. 96. 
Do. of Upper Egypt and his Frank Wife, v. 368.]! 
Do. who stole the dish of gold whereon the dog ate. The, iii. 112. 
Do. who saw the Night of Power (Three Wishes), iv. 114. 
Ma'aruf the Cobbler and his wife Fatimah, vi. 150. 

Mansur, Generous Dealing of Yahya bin Khalid the Barmecide with, 
iii. 54. 

Masrur the Eunuch and Ibn al-Karibi, iii. 221. 

Do. and Zayn al-Mawasif, v. 226. 
Merchant of Oman, Harun al-Rashid and Abu Hasan, The, vi. 8. 

Do. and the Robbers, The, v. 443. 

Do. and the two Sharpers, The, ii. 257. 

Do. The Thief and the, iii. 220. 
Merchant's Sister, Ibrahim bin al-Mahdi and the, iii. 123. 

Do. Wife, The King's Son and the, iv. 103. 
Mercury Ali of Cairo, The Adventures of, iv. 374. 

394 -^^f Layiah iva Laylah. 

Merman and Abdullah the Fisherman, Abdullah the, v. 5C2. 

Miller and his Wife, The, iii. 199. 

Miriam, Ali Nur al-Din and, v. 279. 

Miser and the Loaves of Bread, The, iv. ']']. 

Mock Caliph, The, iii. 11, 

Mohammed al-Amin and the Slave-girl, iii. 208. 

Mohammed bin Sabaik and the Merchant Hasan, King, iv. 496 

Monkey, The Thief and his, ii. 258. 

Moslem Champion and the Christian Lady, The, iii. 355. 

Do. The Christian King's Daughter and the, iii. 359. 
Mouse and the Cat, The, v. 384. 

Do. and the Flea, The, ii. 251. 

Do. and the Ichneumon, The, ii. 247. 
Muslim bin al-Walid, Dibil al-Khuzai with the Lady and, iii. 237. 
Mutawakkil (A1-) and his Concubine Mahbubah, iii. 135. 
Mutalammis (A1-) and his wife Umaymah, iii. 197. 
Naomi, Ni'amah bin al-Rabi'a and his Slave-girl, ii. 41 S. 
Nazarene Broker's Story, The, i. 231. 
Necklace, The Stolen, iv. 116. 
Night of Power, The Man who saw the, iv. 114. 
Nile (The Ferryman of the') and the Hermit, iii. 364. 
Ni'amah bin al-Raby'a and Naomi his Slave-girl, ii. 418. 
Nur al-Din Ali and the damsel Anis al-Jahs, i. 311. 
Nur al-Din of Cairo and his son Badr al-Din Hasan, i. 17-- 
Ogress, The King's Son and the, iv. 79. 
Old Man's Story, The First, i. 24. 
Do. do. The Second, i. 28. 

Do. do. The Third, i. 31. 

Omar bin al-Nu'uman and his sons Sharrkan and Zau al-Makan, Tale 

of King, i. 376. 
Omar bin al-Khattab and the young Badawi, iii. 213. 
Oman, Harun al-Rashid and Abu Hasan, the Merchant of, vi. 8. 
Otbah and Rayya, iv. 303. 

Page who feigned to know the speech of birds, The, iv. 105. 
Peacock, The Sparrow and the, ii. 259. 
Persian, Ali the, iii. 27. 
Pilgrim Man and the Old Woman, The, iii. 275. 

Do. Prince. The Unjust King and the, v. 397. 
Pious Black Slave, The, iii. 341. 
Pigeons, The Hedgehog and the, ii. 255. 

Do. The Two, iv. 117. 
Police of Bulak, Story of the Chief of the, iii. 119. 

Do. of Kus and the Sharper, The Chief of the, iii. 122. 

Do. of New Cairo, Story of the Chief of the, iii. 117. 

Do. of Old Cairo, Story of the Chief of the, iii. 1 20. 

Appendix. 395 

Police (The Three Masters of), Al-Malik al-Nasir and, iii. 116. 

Poor Man and his Friend in Need, The, iii. 133. 

Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad, The, i. 73. 

Portress, The Tale of the, i. 153. 

Prince Behram and the Princess Al-Datma, iv. iio. 

Do, The Ensorcelled, i. 62. 

Do. and the Ogress, The, i. 48. 

Do. The Devotee, iii. 223. 

Do. (the Pilgrim), The Unjust King and, v. 397. 
Prior who became a Moslem, The, iii. 246. 
Prophet and the Justice of Providence, The, iii. 362. 
Purse, The Stolen, iv. 139. 

Pyramids of Egypt, Al-Maamun and the, iii. 218. 
Queen of the Serpents, The, iii. 373. 
Rayya, Otbah and, iv. 303. 
Reeve's Tale, The, i. 245. 
Rogue, The Shepherd and the, v. 448. 
Rogueries of Dalilah the Crafty and her daughter Zaynab the Coney - 

catcher, The, iv. 349.' 
Rose-in-Hood, Uns al-Wujud and the Wazir's Daughter, iii. 165. 
Ruined Man of Baghdad and his Slave-girl, The, v. 373. 

Do. who became rich again through a dream, The, iii. 134. 
Rukh, Abd al-Rahman the Maghrabi's Story of the, iii. 233. 
Said bin Salim al-Bahili, The Sons of Yahyabin Khalid and, iii, 209. 
Saker and the Birds, The, ii. 253. 
Sandalwood Merchant and the Sharpers, The, iv. 133. 
Sayf al-Muluk and Badi'a al-Jamal, iv. 501. 
School, The Loves of the Boy and the Girl at, iii. 196. 
Schoolmaster who fell in love by report. The, iii. 229. 
Do. The Illiterate who set up for a, iii. 231. 

Serpent, The Crow and the, v. 393. 
Serpent-charmer and his Wife, v. 403. 
Serpents, The Queen of the, iii. 373. 
Shahryar and his brother. King (Introduction), i. 2. 

Do. (King) and his brother, i. 2. 
Shams al-Nahar, Ali bin Bakkar and, ii. 261. 
Sharper of Alexandria and the Chief of Police, The, iii. 115. 
Do. The Chief of the Kus Police and the, iii. 122. 
Do. The Simpleton and the, iii. 200. 
Sharpers, The Merchant and the Two, ii. 257. 

Do. The Sandalwood Merchant and the, iv. 133. 
Sharrkan and Zau al-Makan, The Tale of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman 

and his sons, i. 376. 
Shaykh's Story, The First, i. 24. 

Do. The Second, i. 28. 

396 Alf Laylah wa Layiah. 

Shaykh's Story, The Third, i. 31. 

Shepherd and the Rogue, The, v. 448. 

Shimas, King Jali'ad of Hind and his Wazir, v. 381. 

Shipwrecked Woman and her Child, The, iii. 338. 

Shirin and the Fisherman, Khusrau and, iii. 205. 

Simpleton and the Sharper, The, iii. 100. 

Sindbad the Seaman and Sindbad the Landsman, iii. 463 

Do. First Voyage of, iii. 467. 

Do. Second Voyage of, iii. 475. 

Do. Third Voyage of, iii. 483. 

Do. Fourth Voyage of, iii. 494. 

Do. Fifth Voyage of, iii. 506. 

Do. Sixth Voyage of, iv. 5. 

Do. Seventh Voyage of, iv. 15. 

Do. (Note from Cal. Edit.) iv. 25. 

Sindibad and his Falcon, King, i. 45. 
Singing-girl, The Goldsmith and the Cashmere, iv. 93. 
Slave, The Pious Black, iii. 341. 

Slave-girl, The Ruined Man of Baghdad and his, v. 373. 
Sons of Yahya bin Khalid and Said bin Salim al-Bahili, iii. 209. 
Sparrow and the Eagle, The, ii. 254. 

Do. and the Peacock, The, ii. 259. 
Spider and the Wind, The, v. 405. 
Spring, The Enchanted, iv. 84. 
Stolen Necklace, The, iv. 116. 

Do. Purse, The, iv. 139. 
Suitors, The Lady and her Five, iv. 108. 
Tailor's Tale, The, i. 265. 

Taj al-Muluk and the Princess Dunya, The Tale of, ii. 79. 
Tawaddud, Abu al-Hasan and his Slave-girl, iii. 277. 
Thief, The Lover who feigned himself a, iii. 33. 
Do. and the Merchant, The, iii. 220. 
Do. and the Shroff, The, iii. 121. 
Do. and his Monkey, The, ii. 258. 
Thieves, The Boy and the, v. 439. 
Three-year-old child. The Debauchee and the, iv. 138. 
Three Apples, The, i. 165. 
Do. Unfortunates, The, iii. 242. 

Do. Wishes, or the Man who longed to see the Night of Power, The, 
iv. 114. 
Tortoise, The Waterfowl and the, ii. 230. 
Tortoises, The Francolin and the, v. 454. 
Trader (The) and the Jinni, i. 21. 
Traymaker and his Wife, The Devout, iii. 343. 
Two Kings, The, v. 411. 

Appendix. 397 

Two Pigeons, The, iv. 117. 

Umaymah, Al-Mutalammis and his Wife, iii. 197. 

Unfortunates, The Three, iii. 242. 

Unjust King and the Pilgrim Prince, The, v. 397. 

Uns al-Wujud and the Wazir's Daughter Rose-in-Hood, iii. 165. 

Upper Egypt (The Man of) and his Frank Wife, v. 364. 

WaUd bin Sahl, Yunus the Scribe and the Caliph, iv. 315. 

Water-carrier and the Goldsmith's Wife, The, iii. 204. 

Waterfowl and the Tortoise, The, ii. 230. 

Wazir and the Sage Duban, The, i. 40. 

Do. Al-Malik al-Nasir and his, iv. 347. 
Wazir's Wife, The King and his, iv. 72. 
Weaver, The Foolish, ii. 258. 
Wife, The Badawi and his, iv. 331. 
Do. The King and his Wazir's, iv. 72. 
Do. The Man and his, v. 441. 
Wife's Device to cheat her Husband, The, iv. 89. 
Wild Ass, The Jackal and the, v. 395. 
Wind, The Spider and the, v. 405. 
Wolf and the Fox, The, ii. 233. 

Do. The Jackals and the, v. 445. 
Woman (The Shipwrecked) and her Child, iii. 338. 
Do. who made her Husband sift dust. The, iv. 83. 
Do. whose hands were cut off for Almsgiving, The, iii. 126. 
Woman's Trick against her Husband, The, iii. 210. 
Women, The Malice of, iv. 66. 

Yahya bin Khalid with a man who forged a letter in his name. 
Generous Dealing of, iii. 57. 
Do. the Barmecide with Mansur, Generous Dealing of, 

iii. 54. 
Do. and the Poor Man, iii. 207. 

Do. and Said bin Salim al-Bahili, The sons of, iii. 209. 

Yunus the Scribe and the Caliph Walid bin Sahl, iv. 315. 
Zau al-Makan, The Tale of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman and his Sons 

Sharrkan and, i. 376. 
Zayn al-Mawasif, Masrur and, v. 226. 
Zaynab the Coney-Catcher, The Rogueries of Dalilah the Wily and 

her Daughter, iv. 349. 
Zumurrud, Ali Shar and, iii. 62. 

398 Alf Lalyah 7c>a Laylah. 


By AV. F. K I R B Y, 

Author of 
'■'■ Ed-Dimiryah : an Oriejital Rotnance," " The New Arabian Nights,''' t^c. 

The European editions of the Thousand and One Nights, even excluding 
the hundreds of popular editions which have nothing specially noticeable 
about them, are very numerous ; and the following Notes must, I am fully 
aware, be incomplete, though they will, perhaps, be found useful to persons 
interested in the subject. Although I believe that editions of most of the 
English, French and German versions of any importance have passed 
through my hands, I have not had an opportunity of comparing many in 
other languages, some of which at least may be independent editions, not 
derived from Galland. The imitations and adaptations of The Nights 
are, perhaps, more numerous than the editions of The Nights themselves, 
if we exclude mere reprints of Galland ; and many of them are even more 
difficult of access. 

In the following Notes, I have sometimes referred to tales by their 
numbers in the Table. 


The first MS. of The Nights known in Europe was brought to Paris 
by Galland at the close of the 17th century; and his translation was pub- 
lished in Paris, in twelve small volumes, under the title of " Les Mille et 
une Nuit: Contes Arabes, traduits en Frangois par M. Galland." These 
volumes appeared at intervals between 1704 and 17 17. Galland himself 
died in 1715, and it is uncertain how far he was responsible for the latter 
part of the work. Only the first six of the twelve vols, are divided into 
Nights, vol. 6 completing the story of Camaralzaman, and ending with 

Appendix. 399 

Night 234. The Voyages of Sindbad are not found in Galland's MS. 
though he has intercalated them as Nights 69-90 between Nos. 3 and 4. 
It should be mentioned, however, that in some texts (Bresl., for instance) 
No. 133 is placed much earlier in the series than in others. 

The Stories in Galland's last six vols, may be divided into two classes, 
viz., those known to occur in genuine texts of The Nights, an 1 those which 
do not. To the first category belong Nos. 7, 8, 59, 153 and 170 ; and 
some even of these are not found in Galland's own MS., but were derived 
by him from other sources. The remaining tales (Nos. 191-198) do not 
really belong to The Nights ; and, strange to say, although they are cer- 
tainly genuine Oriental tales, the actual originals have never been found. 
I am inclined to think that Galland may, perhaps, have written and 
adapted them from his recollection of stories which he himself heard 
related during his own residence in the East, especially as most of these 
tales appear to be derived rather from Persian or Turkish than from 
Arabian sources. 

The following Preface appeared in vol. 9 which I translate from 
Talander's German edition, as the original is not before me : 

" The two stories with which the eighth volume concludes do not 
properly belong to the Thousand and One Nights. They were added and 
printed without the previous knowledge of the translator, who had not the 
slightest idea of the trick that had been played upon him until the eighth 
volume was actually on sale. The reader must not, therefore, be surprised 
that the story of the Sleeper Awakened, which commences vol. 9 is 
written as if Scheherazade . had related it immediately after the story 
of Ganem, which forms the greater part of vol. 8. Care will be taken to 
omit these two stories in a new edition, as not belonging to the work." 

It is, perhaps, not to be wondered at that when the new edition was 
actually published, subsequently to Galland's death, the condemned 
stories were retained, and the preface withdrawn ; though No. 170 still 
reads as if it followed No. 8. 

The information I have been able to collect respecting the disputed 
tales is very slight. I once saw a MS. advertised in an auction catalogue 
(I think that of the library of the late Prof. H. H. Wilson) as containing 
two of Galland's doubtful tales, but which they were was not stated. The 
fourth and last volume of the MS. used by Galland is lost ; but it is 
almost certain that it did not contain any of these tales (compare Payne 
ix. 265, note). 

The story of Zeyn Alasnam (No. 191) is derived from the same source 
as that of the Fourth Durwesh, in the well-known Hindustani reading- 
book, the Bagh o Bahar. If it is based upon this, Galland has greatly 
altered and improved it, and has given it the whole colouring of a 
European moral fairy tale. 

The story of Ali Baba (No. 195) is, I have been told, a Chinese tale. It 
occurs under the title of the Two Brothers and the Forty-nine Dragons 
in Geldart's Modern Greek Tales. It has also been stated that the late 
Prof. Palmer met with a very similar story among the Arabs of Sinai 
(Payne, ix. 266). 

400 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

The story of Sidi Nouman (No. 194b) may have been based partly 
upon the Third Shaykh's Story (No. ic), which Galland omits. The 
feast of the Ghoolsis, I believe. Greek or Turkish, rather than Arabian, in 
character, as vampires, personified plague, and similar horrors are much 
commoner in the folk-lore of the former peoples. 

Many incidents of the doubtful, as well as of the genuine tales, are 
common in European folk-lore (versions of Nos. 2 and 198, for instance, 
occur in Grimm's Kinder und Hausmarchen), and some of the doubtful 
tales have their analogues in Scott's MS. 

I have not seen Galland's original edition in 12 vols. ; but the Stadt- 
Bibliothek of Frankfort-on-Main contains a copy, published at La Haye, 
in 12 vols, (with frontispieces), made up of two or more editions, as 
follows : — 

Vol. i. (ed. 6) 1729 ; vols. ii. iii. iv. (ed. 5) 1729 ; vols. v. vi. viii. (ed. 5) 
1728 ; vol. vii. (ed. 6) 1731 ; vols. ix. to xi. (ed. not noted) 1730; and 
vol. xii. (ed. not noted) 1731. 

The discrepancies in the dates of the various volumes looks (as 
Mr. Clouston has suggested) as if separate volumes were reprinted as 
required, independently of the others. This might account for vols. v. 
vi. and viii. of the fifth edition having been apparently reprinted before 
vols. ii. iii. and iv. 

The oldest French version in the British Museum consists of the first 
eight vols,, published at La Haye, and likewise made up of different 
editions, as follows : — 

i. (ed. 5) 1714 ; ii. iii. iv. (ed. 4) 1714 ; v. vi. (ed. 5) 1728 ; vii. (ed. 5) 
1719 ; viii. (" suivant la copie imprimee k Paris") 1714. 

Most French editions (old and new) contain Galland's Dedication, 
" A Madame Madame la Marquise d'O., Dame du Palais de Madame la 
Duchesse de Bourgogne,'' followed by an " Avertissement." In addition 
to these, the La Haye copies have Fontenelle's Approbation prefixed to 
several volumes, but in slightly different words, and bearing different 
dates: — December 27th, 1703 (vol. i.) ; April 14th, 1704 (vol. vi.) ; and 
October 4th, 1705 (vol. vii.). This is according to the British Museum 
copy ; I did not examine the Frankfort copy with reference to the 
Approbation. The Approbation is translated in full in the old English 
version as follows : " I have read, by order of my Lord Chancellor, this 
Manuscript, wherein I find nothing that ought to hinder its being 
Printed. And I am of opinion that the Publick will be very well pleased 
with the Perusal of these Oriental Stories. Paris, 27th December, 1705 
[apparently a misprint for 1703]. (Signed) Fontenelle." 

In the Paris edition of 1726 (vide infrk), Galland says in his Dedication, 
" 11 a fallu le faire venir de Syrie, et mettre en Francois, le premier 
volume que voici, de quatre seulement qui m'ont ete envoyez." So, also, 
in a Paris edition (in eight vols. i2mo) of 1832 ; but in the La Haye 
issue of 1 7 14, we read not " quatre "but " six" volumes. The old German 
edition of Talander (vide infra) does not contain Galland's Dedication 
(Epitre) or Avertissement. 

Appendix. 401 

The earliest French editions were generally in 12 vols., or six ; I 
possess a copy of a six-volume edition, published at Paris in 1726. The 
title-page of the latter designates it as " nouvelle edition, corrigde." 

Galland's work was speedily translated into various European 
languages, and even now forms the original of all the numerous popular 
editions. The earliest English editions were in six volumes, corre- 
sponding to the first six of Galland, and ending with the story of 
Camaralzaman ; nor was it till nearly the end of the i8th century that 
the remaining half of the work was translated into English. The date 
of appearance of the first edition is unknown to bibliographers ; Lowndes 
quotes an edition of 1724 as the oldest ; but the British Museum contains 
a set of six vols., made up of portions of the second, third and fourth 
editions, as follows : — 

Vols. i. ii. (ed. 4) 1713 ; vols. iii. iv. (ed. 2) 1712 ; and vols. v. vi. 
(ed. 3) 1715. 

Here likewise the separate volumes seem to have been reprinted 
independently of each other ; and it is not unlikely that the English trans- 
lation may have closely followed the French publication, being issued 
volume by volume, as the French appeared, as far as vol. vi. The title- 
page of this old edition is very quaint : 

"Arabian Nights Entertainments, consisting of One thousand and one 
Stories, told by the Sultaness of the Indies to divert the Sultan from 
the Execution of a Bloody Vow he had made, to marry a Lady every 
day, and have her head cut off ne.xt Morning, to avenge himself for the 
Disloyalty of the first Sultaness, also containing a better account of the 
Customs, Manners and Religion of the Eastern Nations, viz., Tartars, 
Persians and Indians than is to be met with in any Author hitherto 
published. Translated into French from the Arabian MSS. by Mr. 
Galland of the Royal Academy, and now done into English. Printed 
for Andrew Bell at the Cross Keys and Bible, in Comhill." 

The British Museum has an edition in 4to published in 1772, in 
farthing numbers, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It extends 
to 79 numbers, forming five volumes. 

The various editions of the old English version appear to be rare, and 
the set in the British Museum is very poor. The oldest edition which I 
have seen which contains the latter half of Galland's version is called the 
14th edition, and was published in London in four volumes, in 1778. 
Curiously enough, the '' 13th edition," also containing the conclusion, 
was published at Edinburgh in three volumes in 1780. Perhaps it is a 
reprint of a London edition published before that of 1778. The Scotch 
appear to have been fond of The Nights, as there are many Scotch 
editions both of The Nights and the imitations. 

Revised or annotated editions by Piguenit (4 vols., London, 1792) 
and Gough (4 vols., Edinburgh, 1798) may deserve a passing notice. 

A new translation of Galland, by Rev. E. Forster, in five vols. 4tc, 
with engravings from pictures by Robert Smirk e, R.A., appeared in 1802; 
and now commands a higher price than any other edition of Galland. 


402 Alf Lay la h wa Lay la h. 

A new edition in 8vo appeared in 1810. Most of the recent popular 
English versions are based either upon Forster's or Scott's. 

Another translation from Galland by G. S. Beaumont (four vols. 8vo), 
appeared in 181 1. (Lowndes writes Wzliam Beaumont.) 

Among the various popular editions of later date we may mention an 
edition in two vols., 8vo, published at Liverpool (1813), and containing 
Gazette's Continuation ; an edition published by Grififin and Co., in 1866, 
to which Beckford's "Vathek" is appended; an edition "arranged for 
the perusal of youthful readers,'' by the Hon. Mrs. Sugden (Whittaker 

6 Co., 1863); and "Five Favourite Tales from The Arabian Nights in 
words of one syllable, by A. & E. Warner" (Lewis, 1871). 

Some of the English editions of Galland aim at originality by 
arranging the tales in a different order. The cheap edition pubhshed by 
Dicks in 1868 is one instance. 

An English version of Galland was published at Lucknow, in four 
vols., 8vo, in 1880. 

I should, perhaps, mention that I have not noticed De Sacy's " Mille 
et une Nuit," because it is simply a new edition of Galland ; and I have 
not seen either Destain's French edition (mentioned by Sir R. F. Burton), 
nor Cardonne's Continuation (mentioned in Cabinet des Fees, xxxvii. 
p. 8;^). As Cardonne died in 1784, his Continuation, if genuine, would 
be the earliest of all. 

The oldest German version, by Talander, seems to have appeared in 
volumes, as the French was issued ; and these volumes were certainly 
reprinted w^hen required, without indication of separate editions ; but in 
shghtly varied style, and with alteration of dates. This old German 
version is said to be rarer than the French. It is in twelve parts — some, 
however, being double. The set before me is clearly made up of different 
reprints, and the first title-page is as follows : " Die Tausend und eine 
Nacht, worinnen seltzame Arabische Historien und wunderbare Begeben- 
heiten, benebst artigen Liebes-Intriguen, auch Sitten und Gewohnheiten 
der MorgenlJinder, auf sehr anmuthige Weise erzehlet werden ; Erstlich 
vom Hru. Galland, der Konigl. Academie Mitgliede aus der Arabischen 
Sprache in die Franzosische und aus selbiger anitzo ins Deutsche iiber- 
setzt : Erster und Anderer Theil. Mit der Vorrede Herru Talanders. 
Leipzig : Verlegts Moritz Georg Weidmann Sr. Konigl. Maj. in Hohlen 
und Churfiirstl. Durchl. zu Sachsen Buchhiindler, Anno 1730." Talan- 
ders Preface relates chiefly to the importance of the w^ork as illustrative 
of Arabian manners and customs, &c. It is dated from " Liegnitz, den 

7 Sept., Anno 17 10," which fixes the approximate date of publication 
of the first part of this tran.slation. Vols. i. and ii. of my set (double 
vol. with frontispiece) are dated 1730, and have Talander's preface ; vols, 
iii. and iv. (divided, but consecutively paged, and with only one title-page 
and frontispiece and reprint of Talander's preface) are dated 1719 ; vols. 
V. and vi. (same remarks, except that Talander's preface is here dated 
1717) are dated 1737 ; vol. vii. (no frontispiece ; preface dated 1710) is 
dated 1721 ; vol. viii. (no frontispiece nor preface, nor does Talander's 
name appear on the title-page) is dated 1729 ; vols. ix. and x. (divided, 

Appendix. 403 

but consecutively paged, and with only one title-page and frontispiece ; 
Talander's name and preface do not appear, but Galland's preface to 
vol. ix., already mentioned, is prefixed) are dated 1731 ; and vols xi. 
and xii. (same remarks, but no preface) are dated 1732. 

Galland's notes are translated, but not his preface and dedication. 

There is a later German translation (6 vols. 8vo, Bremen, 1781-1785) 
by J. H. Voss, the author of the standard German translation of Homer. 

The British Museum has just acquired a Portuguese translation of 
Galland, in 4 volumes : " As Mil e uma Noites, Contos Arabes," pub- 
lished by Ernesto Chardron, Editor, Porto e Braga, 1881. 

There are two editions of a modern Greek work in the British Museum, 
(1792 and 1804) published at Venice (EvertT/ptv) in three small volumes. 
The first volume contains Galland (Nos. 1-6 of the table) and vols. ii. 
and iii. chiefly contain the Thousand and One Days. It is, apparently, 
translated from some Italian work. 

Several editions in Italian (Mille ed una Notte) have appeared at 
Naples and Milan ; they are said by Sir R. F. Burton to be mere reprints 
of Galland. 

There are, also, several in Dutch, one of which, by C. Van der Post, 
in 3 vols. 8vo, published at Utrecht in 1S48, purports, I believe, to be a 
translation from the Arabic, and has been reprinted several times. The 
Dutch editions are usually entitled, " Arabische Vertellinge.'' A Danish 
edition appeared at Copenhagen in 18 18, under the title of " Prindsesses 
Schehezerade. Fortallinger eller de saakatle Tusende og een Nat. 
Udgivna paa Dansk vid Heelegaan." Another, by Rasmassen, was 
commenced in 1824 ; and a third Danish work, probably founded on the 
Thousand and One Nights, and published in 1816, bears the title, "Digt 
og Eventyr fra Osterland, af arabiska og persischen utrykta kilder." 

I have seen none of these Italian, Dutch or Danish editions ; but there 
is little doubt that most, if not all, are derived from Galland's work. 

The following is the title of a Javanese version, derived from one of 
the Dutch editions, and published at Leyden in 1865, " Eenige Vertellingen 
uit de Arabisch duizend en een Nacht. Naar de Nederduitsche vertaling 
in bet Javaansch vertaald, door Winter-Roorda." 

Mr. A. G. Ellis has shown me an edition of Galland's Aladdin (No. 
193) in Malay, by M. Van der Lawan (?) printed in Batavia A.D. 1869. 

Appendix. 405 

ONE NIGHTS, viz.:— 

1. Galland (French). 

2. Caussin de Perceval (French). 

3. Gauttier (French). 

4. Scott's MS. (Wortley Montague) (Arabic). 

5. Ditto (Anderson ; marked A) (Arabic). 

6. Scott's Arabian Nights (English). 

7. Scott's Tales and Anecdotes (marked A) (English). 

8. Von Hammer's MS. (Arabic). 

9. Zinserling (German). 

10. Lamb (English). 

11. Trebutien (French), 

12. Bui. text (Arabic). 

13. Lane (English). 

14. Bres. text (Arabic). 

15. Habicht (German). 

16. Weil (German). 

17. Mac. text (Arabic). 

18. Torrens (English). 

19. Payne (English). 

20. Payne's Tales from the Arabic (marked L IL IIL) 


21. Calc. (Arabic). 

22. Lady Burton (English). 

23. Sir R. F. Burton (Supplementary Nights marked L 

IL IIL) (EngHsh). 

As nearly all editions of The Nights are in several volumes, the 
volumes are indicated throughout, except in the case of some of the 
texts. Only those tales in No. 5, not included in No. 4, are here 
indicated in the same column. All tales which there is good 
reason to believe do not belong to the genuine Nights are marked 
with an asterisk. 



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Appendix. 407 

f) ^) 


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N M r) M ro ro ro fO fO ro '•■. ro ro (^ ro 






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Appendix. 411 

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Appendix, 413 

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Appendix. 415 



->: CO 00 00 oQ- c^ 








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>-> c3 


Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 


0^0^ C\G^C^C^G^O, 

•(Xpci) uowng 

lOio vovOvOvO'OvO 



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