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(Puris omnia para) 

Niuna corrotU mente intesc mai sanamente parole." 

"D*cam*ron " condusion, 

"Bmbait, posuitqne menm Lucre tia lib rum 

Sed coram Brnto. Brute I recede, Uge*. " 


" Mieul x est de r i s que de larmes escripre, 

Pour ce que rire est le propre des bommei. " 

The pleasure we derive from perusing the Thousaad-aad-Oae 
as regret that we possess only a rnirysjMflnitj email 
tmiy enchanting fictions." 


m . ^H 




anfc a 








Shammar Edition 

Limited to one thousand numbered sets, 
of which this is 



AY i 2 1372 





If there be such a thing as "continuation,** 
you will see these lines in the far Spirit-land and 
you will find that your old friend has not forgotten 
you and Annie. 





JAMAL (Continued) . . 

(Lane, III. 308. The Story of Seif El-Mulook and Badeea El-Jamal, 
-with the Introduction transferred to a note p. 372 J 


(Lane, III. 335. The Story of Hasan of El-Basrah). 


(Lane, IV. 527. The Story of Khaleefeh the Fisherman.) 



(Lane, III. $73. Note.) 


(Lane omits, III- tf2.) 

The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. 

Nofo fo&w (t foas t&e Sbeben f^twfcrrt anfc ^ebentg-scfaentj 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the old Queen heard the handmaid's words she was wroth with 
sore wrath because of her and cried, " How shall there be accord 
between man and Jinn?" But Sayf al-Muluk replied, " Indeed, 
I will conform to thy will and be thy page and die in thy love 
and will keep with thee covenant and regard none but thee: so 
right soon shalt thou see my truth and lack of falsehood and the 
excellence of my manly dealing with thee, Inshallah ! " The old 
woman pondered for a full hour with brow earthwards bent ; after 
\vhich she raised her head and said to him, "O thou beautiful 
youth, wilt thou indeed keep compact and covenant?" He 
replied, "Yes, by Him who raised the heavens and dispread the 
earth upon the waters, I will indeed keep faith and troth ! " 
Thereupon quoth she, " I will win for thee thy wish, Inshallah ! 
but for the present go thou into the garden and take thy pleasure 
therein and eat of its fruits, that have neither like in the world nor 
qual, whilst I send for my son Shahyal and confabulate with him 
of the matter. Nothing but good shall come of it, so Allah please, 
for he will not gainsay me nor disobey my commandment and I 
will marry thee with his daughter Badi'a al-Jamal. So be of good 
heart for she shall assuredly be thy wife, O Sayf al-Muluk." The 
Prince thanked her for those words and kissing her hands and 
feet, went forth from her into the garden ; whilst she turned to 
Marjanah and said to her, " Go seek my son Shahyal wherever he 
is and bring him to me." So Marjanah went out in quest of King 
Shahyal and found him and set him before his mother. On such 
wise fared it with them ; but as regards Sayf al-Muluk, whilst he 
walked in the garden, lo and behold ! five Jinn of the people of 
the Blue King espied him and said to one another, "Whence 
cometh yonder wight and who brought him hither ? Haply 'tis 
he who slew the son and heir of our lord and master the Blue 
King;" presently adding, "But we will go about with him and 
question him and find out all from him." So they walked gently 
and softly up to him, as he sat in a corner of the garden, and 
sitting down by him, said to him, " O beauteous youth, thou didst 
right well in slaying the son of the Blue King and delivering from 
him Daulat Khatun ; for he was a treacherous hound and had 

2 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

tricked her, and had not Allah appointed thee to her, she had 
never won free; no, never! But how diddest thou slay him?" 
Sayf al-Muluk looked at them and deeming them of the garden- 
folk, answered, " I slew him by means of this ring which is on my 
finger." Therewith they were assured that it was he who had 
slain him ; so they seized him, two of them holding his hands, whilst 
other two held his feet and the fifth his mouth, lest he should cry out 
and King Shahyal's people should hear him and rescue him from 
their hands. Theh they lifted him up and flying away with him 
ceased not their flight till they came to their King and set him 
down before him, saying, " O King of the Age, we bring thee the 
murderer of thy son. " Where is he ? " asked the King and they 
answered, " This is he." So the Blue King said to Sayf al-Muluk, 
" How slewest thou my son, the core of my heart and the light of 
my sight, without aught of right, for all he had done thee no ill 
deed ? " Quoth the Prince, " Yea, verily ! I slew him because of 
his violence and frowardness, in that he used to seize Kings' 
daughters and sever them from their families and carry them to 
the Ruined Well and the High-builded Castle of Japhet son of 
Noah and entreat them lewdly by debauching them. I slew 
him by means of this ring on my finger, and Allah hurried 
his soul to the fire and the abiding-place dire." Therewithal the 
King was assured that this was indeed he who slew his son ; so 
presently he called his Wazirs and said to them, " This is the 
murtherer of my son sans shadow of doubt : so how do you 
counsel me to deal with him ? Shall I slay him with the foulest 
slaughter or torture him with the terriblest torments or how ? " 
Quoth the Chief Minister, "Cut off his limbs, one a day." Apother, 
"Beat him with a grievous beating every day till he die." A 
third, " Cut him across the middle." A fourth, " Chop off all his 
fingers and burn him with fire." A fifth, " Crucify him ; " and so 
on, each speaking according to his rede. Now there was with the 
Blue King an old Emir, versed in the vicissitudes and experienced 
in the exchanges of the times, and he said, "O King of the Age, 
verily I would say to thee somewhat, and thine is the rede whether 
thou wilt hearken or not to my say." Now he was the King's 
privy Councillor and the Chief Officer of his empire, and the sovran 
was wont to give ear to his word and conduct himself by his 
counsel and gainsay him not in aught. So he rose and kissing 
ground before his liege lord, said to him, "O King of the Age, if I 
advise thee in this matter, wilt thou follow my advice and grant me 

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad? a al-Jamal. 3 

indemnity ? " Quoth the King, " Set forth thine opinion, and thou 
shalt have immunity," Then quoth he, " O King of the Age, an 
thou slay this one nor accept my advice nor hearken to my word, in 
very sooth I say that his death were now inexpedient, for that he is 
thy prisoner and in thy power, and under thy protection; so whenas 
thou wilt, thou mayst lay hand on him and do with him what thou 
desirest, Have patience, then, O King of the Age, for he hath 
entered the garden of Iram and is become the betrothed of Badi'a 
al-Jamal, daughter of King Shahyal, and one of them. Thy people 
seized him there and brought him hither and he did not hide his 
case from them or from thee. So an thou slay him, assuredly 
King Shahyal will seek blood-revenge and lead his host against 
thee for his daughter's sake, and thou canst not cope with him nor 
make head against his power." So the King hearkened to his 
counsel and commanded to imprison the captive. Thus fared it 
with Sayf al-Muluk ; but as regards the old Queen, grandmother 
of Badi'a al-Jamal, when her son Shahyal came to her she des- 
patched Marjanah in search of Sayf al-Muluk ; but she found him 
not and returning to her mistress, said, " I found him not in the 
garden." So the ancient dame sent for the gardeners and ques- 
tioned them of the Prince. Quoth they, "We saw him sitting 
under a tree when behold, five of the Blue King's folk alighted by 
him and spoke with him, after which they took him up and having 
gagged him flew away with him." When the old Queen heard 
the damsel's words it was no light matter to her and she was 
wroth with exceeding wrath : so she rose to her feet and said to 
her son, King Shahyal, " Art a King and shall the Blue King's 
people come to our garden and carry off our guests unhindered, 
and thou alive ? " And she proceeded to provoke him, saying, " It 
behoveth not that any trangress against us during thy lifetime." * 
Answered he, " O mother of me, this man slew the Blue King's 
son, who was a Jinni and Allah threw him into his hand. He is a 
Jinni and I am a Jinni : how then shall I go to him and make war 
on him for the sake of a mortal ? " But she rejoined, " Go to him 
and demand our guest of him, and if he be still alive and the Blue 
King deliver him to thee, take him and return ; but an he have 
slain him, take the King and all his children and Harim and 
household depending on him ; then bring them to me alive that I 
may cut their throats with my own hand and lay in ruins his 

1 Ironic^ ; we are safe as long as we are defended bv such a brave. 

4 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

reign. Except thou go to him and do my bidding, I will not 
acquit thee of my milk and my rearing of thee shall be counted 

unlawful." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

ttfofo fofcen it foas fte gbebtn pjunfcre* an* Sbebenlg--f^tJ 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the grand- 
mother of Badi'a al-Jamal said to Shahyal, " Fare thee to the 
Blue King and look after Sayf al-Muluk : if he be still in life 
come with him hither ; but an he have slain him take that King 
and all his children and Harim and the whole of his dependents 
and protege's and bring them here alive that I may cut their throats 
with my own hand and ruin his realm. Except thou go to him 
and do my bidding, I will not acquit thee of my milk and my 
rearing of thee shall be accounted unlawful." Thereupon Shahyal 
rose and assembling his troops, set out, in deference to his mother, 
desiring to content her and her friends, and in accordance with 
whatso had been fore-ordained from eternity without beginning ; 
nor did they leave journeying till they came to the land of the 
Blue King, who met them with his army and gave them battle. 
The Blue King's host was put to the rout and the conquerors 
having taken him and all his sons, great and small, and Grandees 
and officers bound and brought them before King Shahyal, who 
said to the captive, " O Azrak, 1 where is the mortal Sayf al-Muluk 
who whilome was my guest ? " Answered the Blue King, " O 
Shahyal, thou art a Jinni and I am a Jinni and is't on account of 
a mortal who slew my son that thou hast done this deed ; yea, 
the murtherer of my son, the core of my liver and solace of my 
soul. How couldest thou work such work and spill the blood 
of so many thousand Jinn ?" He replied, " Leave this talk ! 
Knowest thou not that a single mortal is better, in Allah's sight, 

1 Blue, azure. This is hardly the place for a protest, but I must not neglect the 
opportunity of cautioning my readers against rendering Bahr al-Azrak (" Blue River") 
by " Blue Nile." No Arab ever knew i.t by that name or thereby equalled it with the 
White Nile. The term was a pure invention of Abyssinian Bruce who was well aware of 
the unfact he was propagating, but his inordinate vanity and self-esteem, contrasting so 
curiously with many noble qualities, especially courage and self-reliance, tempted him to 
this and many other a traveller's tale. 

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad? a al-Jamal. 5 

than a thousand Jinn ? l If he be alive, bring him to me, and 
I will set thee free and all whom I have taken of thy sons and 
people ; but an thou have slain him, I will slaughter thee and thy 
sons." Quoth the Malik al-Azrak, " O King, is this man of more 
account with thee than my son ? "; and quoth Shahyal, " Verily, 
thy son was an evildoer who kidnapped Kings' daughters and shut 
them up in the Ruined Well and the High-builded Castle of Japhet 
son of Noah and entreated them lewdly." Then said the Blue 
King, " He is with me ; but make thou peace between us." So 
he delivered the Prince to Shahyal, who made peace between him 
and the Blue King, and Al-Azrak gave him a bond of absolution 
for the death of his son. Then Shahyal conferred robes of honour 
on them and entertained the Blue King and his troops hospitably 
for three days, after which he took Sayf al-Muluk and carried him 
back to the old Queen, his own mother, who rejoiced in him with 
an exceeding joy, and Shahyal marvelled at the beauty of the 
Prince and his loveliness and his perfection. Then the Prince 
related to him his story from beginning to end, especially what 
did befel him with Badi'a al-Jamal and Shahyal said, " O my 
. mother, since 'tis thy pleasure that this should be, I hear and I 
obey all that to command it pleaseth thee ; wherefore do thou take 
him and bear him to Sarandib and there celebrate his wedding 
and marry him to her in all state, for he is a goodly youth and 
hath endured horrors for her sake." So she and her maidens set 
out with Sayf al-Muluk for Sarandib and, entering the Garden 
belonging to the Queen of Hind, foregathered with Daulat Khatun 
and Badi'a al-Jamal. Then the lovers met, and the old Queen 
acquainted the two Princesses with all that had passed between 
Sayf al-Muluk and the Blue King and how the Prince had been 
nearhand to a captive's death ; but in repetition is no fruition* 
Then King Taj al-Muluk father of Daulat Khatun assembled the 
lords of his land and drew up the contract of marriage between 
Sayf al-Muluk and Badi'a al-Jamal ; and he conferred costly robes 
of honour and gave banquets to the lieges. Then Sayf al-Muluk 
rose and, kissing ground before the King, said to him, " O King, 
pardon ! I would fain ask of thee somewhat but I fear lest thou 

1 This is orthodox Moslem doctrine and it does something for the dignity of human 
nature which has been so unwisely depreciated and degraded by Christianity. The 
contrast of Moslem dignity and Christian abasement in the East is patent to every 
unblind traveller. 

6 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

refuse it to my disappointment." Taj al-Muluk replied, " By 
Allah, though thou soughtest my soul of me, I would not refuse 
it to thee, after all the kindness thou hast done me ! " Quoth 
Sayf al-Muluk, " I wish thee to marry the Princess Daulat Khatun 
to my brother Sa'id, and we will both be thy pages." " I hear and 
obey," answered Taj al-Muluk, and assembling his Grandees a 
second time, let draw up the contract of marriage between his 
daughter and Sa'id ; after which they scattered gold and silver 
and the King bade decorate the city. So they held high festival 
and Sayf al-Muluk went in unto Badi'a al-Jamal and Sa'id went 
in unto Daulat Khatun on the same night. Moreover Sayf al- 
Muluk abode forty days with Badi'a al-Jamal, at the end of which 
she said to him, " O King's son, say me, is there left in thy heart 
any regret for aught ? " And he replied, " Allah forfend ! I have 
accomplished my quest and there abideth no regret in my heart 
at all : but I would fain meet my father and my mother in the 
land of Egypt and see if they continue in welfare or not." So 
she commanded a company of her slaves to convey them to Egypt, 
and they carried them to Cairo, where Sayf al-Muluk and Sa'id 
foregathered with their parents and abode with them a week ; 
after which they took leave of them and returned to Sarandib- 
city ; and from this time forwards, whenever they longed for their 
folk, they used to go to them and return. Then Sayf al-Muluk 
and Badi'a al-Jamal abode in all solace of life and its joyance 
as did Sa'id and Daulat Khatun, till there came to them the 
Destroyer of delights and Severer of Societies ; and they all died 
good Moslems. So glory be to the Living One who dieth not, 
who createth all creatures and decreeth to them death and who is 
the First, without beginning, and the Last, without end ! This 
is all that hath come down to us of the story of Sayf al-Muluk 
and Badi'a al-Jamal. And Allah alone wotteth the truth. 1 But 
not less excellent than this tale is the History of 

1 Here ends vol. iii. of the Mac. Edit. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 


THERE was once of days of yore and in ages and times long gone 
before, a merchant, who dwelt in the land of Bassorah and who 
owned two sons and wealth galore. But in due time Allah, the 
All-hearing the All-knowing, decreed that he should be admitted 
to the mercy of the Most High ; so he died, and his two sons laid 
him out and buried him, after which they divided his gardens and 
estates equally between them and of his portion each one opened 
a shop. 2 Presently the elder son, Hasan hight, a youth of passing 
beauty and loveliness, symmetry and perfect grace, betook himself 
to the company of lewd folk, women and low boys, frolicking with 
them in gardens and feasting them with meat and wine for months 
together and occupying himself not with his business like as his 
father had done, for that he exulted in the abundance of his good. 
After some time he had wasted all his ready money, so he sold 
all his fathers lands and houses and played the wastrel until there 
remained in his hand nothing, neither little nor muchel, nor was 
one of his comrades left who knew him. He abode thus anhungred, 
he and his widowed mother, three days, and on the fourth day, as 
he walked along, unknowing whither to wend, there met him a 
man of his father's friends, who questioned him of his case. He 
told him what had befallen him and the other said, " O my son, I 
have a brother who is a goldsmith ; an thou wilt, thou shalt be 
with him and learn his craft and become skilled therein." Hasan 
consented and accompanied him to his brother, to whom he 
commended him, saying, " In very sooth this is my son ; do thou 

1 This famous tale is a sister prose-poem to the "Arabian Odyssey" Sindbad the 
Seaman ; only the Bassorite's travels are in Jinn-land and Japan. It has points of 
resemblance in "fundamental outline" with the Persian Romance of the Fairy Hasan 
Banu and King Bahram-i-Gur. See also the Katha (s.s.) and the two sons of the 
Asiira Maya; the Tartar " Sidhi Kur" (Tales of a Vampire or Enchanted Corpse) 
translated by Mr. W. J. Thorns (the Father of "Folk-lore" in 1846,) in" Lays and 
Legends of various Nations"; the Persian Bahdr-i-Danish (Prime of Lore). Miss 
Stokes' "Indian Fairy Tales"; Miss Frere's " Old Deccan Days" and Mrs. F. A. 
Steel's " Tale of the King and his Seven Sons," with notes by Lieut, (now Captain) 
R. C. Temple (Folk-lore of the Panjab, Indian Antiquary of March, 1882). 

2 In the Mac. Edit. (vol. iv. i.) the merchant has two sons who became one a 
brazier ("dealer in copper-wares" says Lane iii. 385) and the other a goldsmith. The 
Bresl. Edit. (v. 264) mentions only one son, Hasan, the hero of the story which it 
entitled, " Tale of Hasan al-Basrf and the Isles of Wak Wak." 

8 A If Laylah wa Lay! ah. 

teach him for my sake." So Hasan abode with the goldsmith 
and busied himself with the craft; and Allah opened to him the 
door of gain and in due course he set up shop for himself. One 
day, as he sat in his booth in the bazar, there came up to him an 
'Ajamf, a foreigner, a Persian, with a great white beard and a 
white turband 1 on his head, having the semblance of a merchant 
who, after saluting him, looked at his handiwork and examined it 
knowingly. It pleased him and he shook his head, saying, " By 
Allah, thou art a cunning goldsmith ! What may be thy name ? " 
" Hasan," replied the other, shortly. 2 The Persian continued ta 
look at his wares, whilst Hasan read in an old book 5 he hent in 
hand and the folk were taken up with his beauty and loveliness 
and symmetry and perfect grace, till the hour of mid-afternoon 
prayer, when the shop became clear of people and the Persian 
accosted the young man, saying, " O my son, thou art a comely 
youth ! What book is that ? Thou hast no sire and I have no 
son, and I know an art, than which there is no goodlier in the 
world. -- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 
saying her permitted say. 

ttfofo fo&m ft foas tje Sbebm ^un&rrtf an* SbebentB-ntntft 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Persian 
accosted the young man saying, " O my son, thou art a comely 
youth ! Thou hast no sire and I have no son, and I know an art 
than which there is no goodlier in the world. Many have sought 
of me instruction therein, but I consented not to instruct any of 
them in it ; yet hath my soul consented that I teach it to thee, for 
thy love hath gotten hold upon my heart and I will make thee my 
son and set up between thee and poverty a barrier, so shalt thou 
be quit of this handicraft and toil no more with hammer and 
anvil, 4 charcoal and fire." Hasan asked, "Omy lord and whea 

1 Arab. Sha"sh Abyaz : this distinctive sign of the True Believer was adopted by the 
Persian to conceal his being a fire-worshipper, Magian or Guebre." The latter word 
was introduced from the French by Lord Byron and it is certainly far superior to Moore's 

2 Persians being always a suspected folk. 

3 Arab. Al-Budikah afterwards used (Night dcclxxix) in the sense of crucible or 
melting-pot in mod. parlance a pipe-bowl ; and also written Butakah, an Arab distortion 
of the Persian " Butah." 

4 Arab. Sindan or Sindiyan (Dozy.) Sandan, anvil ; Sindan, big, strong (Steingass). 

Hasan of Bassorah. 9 

wilt thou teach me this ? "; and the Persian answered, " To-morrow, 
Inshallah, I will come to thee betimes and make thee in thy 
presence fine gold of this copper." Whereupon Hasan rejoiced 
and sat talking with the Persian till nightfall, when he took leave 
of him and going in to his mother, saluted her with the salam and 
ate with her ; but he was dazed, without memory or reason, for 
that the stranger's words had gotten hold upon his heart. So she 
questioned him and he told her what had passed between himself 
and the Persian, which when she heard, her heart fluttered and 
she strained him to her bosom, saying, " O my son, beware of 
hearkening to the talk of the folk, and especially of the Persians, 
and obey them not in aught ; for they are sharpers and tricksters, 
who profess the art of alchemy 1 and swindle people and take their 
money and devour it in vain." Replied Hasan, " O my mother, 
we are paupers and have nothing he may covet, that he should 
put a cheat on us. Indeed, this Persian is a right worthy Shaykh 
and the signs of virtue are manifest on him ; Allah hath inclined 
his heart to me and he hath adopted me to son." She was silent 
in her chagrin, and he passed the night without sleep, his heart 
being full of what the Persian had said to him ; nor did slumber 
visit him for the excess of his joy therein. But when morning 
morrowed, he rose and taking the keys, opened the shop, where- 
upon behold, the Persian accosted him. Hasan stood up to him 
and would have kissed his hands ; but he forbade him from this 
and suffered it not, saying, " O Hasan, set on the crucible and 
apply the bellows." 2 So he did as the stranger bade him and 
lighted the charcoal. Then said the Persian, " O my son, hast 
th'ou any copper ? " and he replied, " I have a broken platter." So 
he bade him work the shears 3 and cut it into bittocks and cast it 
into the crucible and blow up the fire with the bellows, till the 
copper became liquid, when he put hand to turband and took 

1 Arab. Kfmiyd, (see vol. i. 305) property the substance which transmutes metals, 
the " philosopher's stone " which, by the by, is not a stone ; and comes from 
fcv/m'a, xv/xos = a fluid, a wet drug, as opposed to Iksir (AI-) >?poV, rjpiov, a dry 
drug. Those who care to see how it is still studied will consult my History of Sindh 
(chapt. vii) and my experience which pointed only to the use made of it in base coinage. 
Hence in mod. tongue Kimiyawi, an alchemist, means a coiner, a smasher. The reader 
must not suppose that the transmutation of metals is a dead study : I calculate that 
there are about one hundred workers in London alone. 

2 Arab. " Al-Kir," a bellows also = Kiir, a furnace. For the full meaning of this 
sentence, see my " Book of the Sword," p. 119. 

3 Lit. "bade him lean upon it with the shears" (Al-Kaz). 

IO Alf Lay la h wa Lay I ah. 

therefrom a folded paper and opening it, sprinkled thereout into 
the pot about half a drachm of somewhat like yellow Kohl or eye- 
powder. 1 Then he bade Hasan blow upon it with the bellows, 
and he did so, till the contents of the crucible became a lump of 
gold. 2 When the youth saw this, he was stupefied and at his wits' 
end for the joy he felt and taking the ingot from the crucible 
handled it and tried it with the file and found it pure gold of the 
finest quality : whereupon his reason fled and he was dazed with 
excess of delight and bent over the Persian's hand to kiss it. But 
he forbade him, saying, " Art thou married ? " and when the youth 
replied " No ! " he said, " Carry this ingot to the market and sell it 
and take the price in haste and speak not." So Hasan went down 
into the market and gave the bar to the broker, who took it and 
rubbed it upon the touchstone and found it pure gold. So they 
opened the biddings at ten thousand dirhams and the merchants 
bid against one another for it up to fifteen thousand dirhams, 3 at 
which price he sold it and taking the money, went home and told 
his mother all that had passed, saying, " O my mother, I have 
learnt this art* and mystery." But she laughed at him, saying* 
" There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the 

Glorious, the Great !" And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of 

day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

^ofo fo&en ft toas tf)e &tben ^untoufc anto Ictgbttetft jgigljt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan the goldsmith told his mother what he had done with the 
Ajami and cried, " I have learnt this art and mystery/' she laughed 
at him, saying, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might save 
in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!"; and she was silent for 
vexation. Then of his ignorance, he took a metal mortar and 
returning to the shop, laid it before the Persian, who was still 
sitting there and who asked him, " O my son, what wilt thou do 
with this mortar ? " Hasan answered, " Let us put it in the fire, 
and make of it lumps of gold." The Persian laughed and rejoined, 

1 There are many kinds of Kohls (Hindos. Surm* and Kajjal) used in medicine and 
magic. See Herklots, p. 227. 

3 Arab. Sabikah = bar, lamina, from " Sabk " = melting, smelting : the lump in 
the crucible would be hammered out into an ingot in order to conceal the operation. 

3 /.'. 375- 

Hasan of Bassorah. 1 1 

" O my son, art thou Jinn-mad that thou wouldst go down into 
the market with two ingots of gold in one day ? Knowest thou 
not that the folk would suspect us and our lives would be lost ? 
Now, O my son, an I teach thee this craft, thou must practise it 
but once in each twelvemonth ; for that will suffice thee from year 
to year." Cried Hasan, " True, O my lord," and sitting down in 
his open shop, set on the crucible and cast more charcoal on the 
fire. Quoth the Persian, "What wilt thou, O my son?"; and 
quoth Hasan, " Teach me this craft." " There is no Majesty and 
there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! ''exclaimed 
the Persian, laughing ; " Verily, O my son, thou art little of wit 
and in nowise fitted for this noble craft. Did ever any during all 
his life learn this art on the beaten way or in the bazars ? If we 
busy ourselves with it here, the folk will say of us, These practise 
alchemy ; and the magistrates will hear of us, and we shall lose 
our lives. 1 Wherefore, O my son, an thou desire to learn this 
mystery forthright, come thou with me to my house." So Hasan 
barred his shop and went with that Ajami ; but by the way he 
remembered his mother's words and thinking in himself a thousand 
thoughts he stood still, with bowed head. The Persian turned and 
seeing him thus standing laughed and said to him, " Art thou 
mad ? What ! I in my heart purpose thee good and thou mis- 
doubtest I will harm thee ! " presently adding, " But, if thou fear 
to go with me to my house, I will go with thee to thine and teach 
thee there." Hasan replied, " Tis well, O uncle," and the Persian 
rejoined, " Go thou before me." So Hasan led the way to his own 
house, and entering, told his mother of the Persian's coming, for 
he had left him standing at the door. She ordered the house for 
them and when she had made an end of furnishing and adorning 
it, her son bade her go to one of the neighbours' lodgings. So she 
left her home to them and wended her way, whereupon Hasan 
brought in the Persian, who entered after asking leave. Then he 
took in hand a dish and going to the market, returned with food, 
which he set before the Persian, saying, t( Eat, O my lord, that 
between us there may be bread and salt and may Almighty Allah 
do vengance upon- the traitor to bread and salt ! " The Persian 
replied with a smile, " True, O my son ! Who knoweth the virtue 

1 Such report has cost many a life : the suspicion was and is still deadly as heresy in 
" new Christian " under the Inquisition. 

12 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and worth of bread and salt ? " l Then he came forward and ate 
with Hasan, till they were satisfied ; after which the Ajami said, 
" O my son Hasan, bring us somewhat of sweetmeats." So Hasan 
went to the market, rejoicing in his words, and returned with ten 
saucers 2 of sweetmeats, of which they both ate and the Persian 
said, " May Allah abundantly requite thee, O my son ! It is the 
like of thee with whom folk company and to whom they discover 
their secrets and teach what may profit him ! " 3 Then said he, 
" O Hasan bring the gear." But hardly did Hasan hear these 
words than he went forth like a colt let out to grass in spring-tide, 
and hastening to the shop, fetched the apparatus and set it before 
the Persian, who pulled out a piece of paper and said, " O Hasan, 
by the bond of bread and salt, wert thou not dearer to me than 
my son, I would not let thee into the mysteries of this art, for I 
have none of the Elixir 4 left save what is in this paper ; but by and 
by I will compound the simples whereof it is composed and will 
make it before thee. Know, O my son Hasan, that to every ten 
pounds of copper thou must set half a drachm of that which is in 
this paper, and the whole ten will presently become unalloyed 
virgin gold ; " presently adding, " O my son, O Hasan, there are 
in this paper three ounces, 5 Egyptian measure, and when it is 
spent, I will make thee other and more." Hasan took the packet 
and finding therein a yellow powder, finer than the first, said to 
the Persian, " O my lord, what is the name of this substance and 
where is it found and how is it made ? " But he laughed, longing 
to get hold of the youth, and replied, " Of what dost thou question ? 
Indeed thou art a froward boy! Do thy work and hold thy 
peace." So Hasan arose and fetching a brass platter from the 
house, shore it in shreds and threw it into the melting-pot ; then 

1 Here there is a double entendre : openly it means, *' Few men recognise as they 
should the bond of bread and salt : " the other sense would be (and that accounts for the 
smile), " What the deuce do I care for the bond ? " 

2 Arab. "Kabbat" in the Bresl. Edit. "Ka'absin": Lane (iii. 519) reads " Ka'ab- 
plur. of Ka'ab a cup." 

3 A most palpable sneer. But Hasan is purposely represented as a "softy" till 
aroused and energized by the magic of Love. 

* Arab. Al-iksir (see Night dcclxxix. supra p. 9) : the Greek word gqpov which has 
returned from a trip to Arabia and reappeared in Europe as " Elixir." 

9 "Awak" plur. of " Uklyah," the well-known "oke," or "ocque," a weight 
varying from I to 2 Ibs. In Morocco it is pronounced " Wukfyah," and = the Spanish 
ounce (p. 279 Rudimentos del Arabe Vulgar, etc., by Fr. Jose* de Lorchundi, Madrid, 
Rivadeneyra, 1872.) 

Hasan of Bassorak. i 3 

he scattered on it a little of the powder from the paper and it 
became a lump of pure gold. When he saw this, he joyed with 
exceeding joy and was filled with amazement and could think of 
nothing save the gold ; but, whilst he was occupied with taking up 
the lumps of metal from the melting-pot, the Persian pulled out 
of his turband in haste a packet of Cretan Bhang, which if an 
elephant smelt, he would sleep from night to night, and cutting off 
a little thereof, put it in a piece of the sweetmeat. Then said he, 
" O Hasan, thou art become my very son and dearer to me than 
soul and wealth, and I have a daughter whose like never have eyes 
beheld for beauty and loveliness, symmetry and perfect grace. 
Now I see that thou befittest none but her and she none but thee ; 
wherefore, if it be Allah's will, I will marry thee to her." Replied 
Hasan, " I am thy servant and whatso good thou dost with me 
will be a deposit with the Almighty ! " and the Persian rejoined, 
" O my son, have fair patience and fair shall betide thee." There- 
with he gave him the piece of sweetmeat and he took it and kissing 
his hand, put it in his mouth, knowing not what was hidden for 
him in the after time for only the Lord of Futurity knoweth the 
Future. But hardly had he swallowed it, when he fell down, head 
foregoing heels, and was lost to the world ; whereupon the Persian, 
seeing him in such calamitous case, rejoiced exceedingly and 
cried, " Thou has fallen into my snares, O gallows-carrion, O dog 
of the Arabs ! This many a year have I sought thee and now I 

have found thee, O Hasan ! " And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Jioto fotjm ft toas tfje Sbeben l^untrrrtr an& Utg&tgsfiret !X T tgf)t, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan the goldsmith ate the bit of sweetmeat given to him by the 
Ajami and fell fainting to the ground, the Persian rejoiced ex- 
ceedingly and cried, " This many a year have I sought thee and 
now I have found thee ! " Then he girt himself and pinioned 
Hasan's arms and binding his feet to his hands laid him in a chest, 
which he emptied to that end and locked it upon him. Moreover, 
he cleared another chest and laying therein all Hasan's valuables, 
together with the piece of the first gold-lump and the second ingot 
which he had made locked it with a padlock. Then he ran to the 
market and fetching a porter, took up the two chests and made off 
with them to a place within sight of the city, where he set them 

14 A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

down on the sea-shore, hard by a vessel at anchor there. Now 
this craft had been freighted and fitted out by the Persian and her 
master was awaiting him ; so, when the crew saw him, they came 
to him and bore the two chests on board Then the Persian 
called out to the Rais or Captain, saying, " Up and let us be off, 
for I have done my desire and won my wish." So the skipper 
sang out to the sailors, saying, " Weigh anchor and set sail ! " 
And the ship put out to sea with a fair wind. So far concerning 
the Persian ; but as regards Hasan's mother, she awaited him till 
supper-time but heard neither sound nor news of him ; so she 
went to the house and finding it thrown open, entered and saw 
none therein and missed the two chests and their valuables ; where- 
fore she knew that her son was lost and that doom had overtaken 
him ; and she buffeted her face and rent her raiment crying out 
and wailing and saying, " Alas, my son, ah ! Alas, the fruit of my 
vitals, ah ! "' And she recited these couplets : 

My patience fails me and grows anxiety ; o And with your absence 

growth of grief I see. 
By Allah, Patience went what time ye went ! o Loss of all Hope how Buffer 

patiently ? 
When lost my loved one how can' joy I sleep ? o Who shall enjoy such life of 

low degree ? 
Thou 'rt gone and, desolating house and home, o Hast fouled the fount erst 

flowed from foulness free : 
Thou wast my fame, my grace 'mid folk, my stay ; o Mine aid wast thou in all 

adversity ! 
Perish the day, when from mine eyes they bore o My friend, till sight I thy 

return to me ! 

And she ceased not to weep and wail till the dawn, when the 
neighbours came in to her and asked her of her son, and she told 
them what had befallen him with the Persian, assured that she 
should never, never see him again. Then she went round about 
the house, weeping, and wending she espied two lines written upon 
the wall ; so she sent for a scholar, who read them to her ; and 
they were these : 

Leyla's phantom came by night, when drowsiness had overcome me, towards 
morning while my companions were sleeping in the desert, 

But when we awoke to behold the nightly phantom, I saw the air vacant and 
the place of visitation was distant. 1 

1 These lines have occurred in vol. iv. 267, where references to other places is given. 
I quote Lane by way of variety. In the text they are supposed to have been written 
by the Persian, a hint that Hasan would never be seen again. 

Hasan of Bassorah. i c 

When Hasan's mother heard these lines, she shrieked and said, 
" Yes, O my son ! Indeed, the house is desolate and the visitation- 
place is distant ! " Then the neighbours took leave of her and 
after they had prayed that she might be vouchsafed patience and 
speedy reunion with her son went away ; but she ceased not to 
weep all watches of the night and tides of the day and she built 
amiddlemost the house a tomb whereon she let write Hasan's 
name and the date of his loss, and thenceforward she quitted it 
not, but made a habit of incessantly biding thereby night and day. 
Such was her case ; but touching her son Hasan and the Ajami, 
this Persian was a Magian, who hated Moslems with exceeding 
hatred and destroyed all who fell into his power. He was a lewd 
and filthy villain, a hankerer after alchemy, an astrologer and a 
hunter of hidden hoards, such an one as he of whom quoth the 
poet : 

A dog, dog-fathered, by dog-grandsire bred ; o No good in dog from dog race 

issued : 
E'en for a gnat no resting-place gives he o Who is composed of seed by 

all men shed. 1 

The name of this accursed was Bahram the Guebre, and he was 
wont, every year, to take a Moslem and cut his throat for his own 
purposes. So, when he had carried out his plot against Hasan 
the goldsmith, they sailed on from dawn till dark, when the ship 
made fast to the shore for the night, and at sunrise, when they 
set sail again, Bahram bade his black slaves and white servants 
bring him the chest wherein were Hasan. They did so, and he 
opened it and taking out the young man, made him sniff up 
vinegar and blew a powder into his nostrils. Hasan sneezed and 
vomited the Bhang ; then, opening his eyes, he looked about him 
right and left and found himself amiddleward the sea on aboard a 
ship in full sail, and saw the Persian sitting by him ; wherefore he 
knew that the accursed Magian had put a cheat on him and that 
he had fallen into the very peril against which his mother had 
warned him. So he spake the saying which shall never shame 
the sayer, to wit, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save 
in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! Verily, we are Allah's and 
unto Him we are returning ! O my God, be Thou gracious to me 
in Thine appointment and give me patience to endure this Thine 

1 i.e. a superfetation of iniquity. 

1 6 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

affliction, O Lord of the three Worlds ! " Then he turned to the 
Persian and bespoke him softly, saying, " O my father, what 
fashion is this and where is the covenant of bread and salt and 
the oath thou swarest to me ? " But Bahram stared at him and 
replied, "O dog, knoweth the like of me bond of bread and salt ? 
I have slain of youths like thee a thousand, save one, and thou 
shalt make up the thousand." And he cried out at him and 
Hasan was silent, knowing that the Fate-shaft had shot him. -- 
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her 
permitted say. 

fo&en ft foas t&e &*ben ^untorcfc anfc lEi 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan beheld himself fallen into the hands of the damned Persian 
he bespoke him softly but gained naught thereby for the Ajami 
cried out at him in wrath, so he was silent, knowing that the Fate- 
shaft had shot him. Then the accursed bade loose his pinion- 
bonds and they gave him a little water to drink, whilst the Magian 
laughed and said, " By the virtue of the Fire and the Light and 
the Shade and the Heat, methought not thou wouldst fall into my 
nets ! But the Fire empowered me over thee and helped me to 
lay hold upon thee, that I might win my wish and return and 
make thee a sacrifice, to her 2 so she may accept of me." Quoth 
Hasan^'Thou hast foully betrayed bread and salt"; whereupon 
the Magus raised his hand and dealt him such a buffet that he fell 
and, biting the deck with his fore-teeth, swooned away, whilst the 
tears trickled down his cheeks. Then the Guebre bade his servants 
light him a fire and Hasan said, " What wilt thou do with it ? " 
Replied the Magian, " This is the Fire, lady of light and sparkles 
bright ! This it is I worship, and if thou wilt worship her even as 
I, verily I will give thee half my monies and marry thee to my 
maiden daughter." Thereupon Hasan cried angrily at him, " Woe 
to thee ! Thou art a miscreant Magian who to Fire dost pray in 
lieu of the King of Omnipotent sway, Creator of Night and Day ; 

1 Arab " Kurban," Heb. pip Corban =r offering, oblation to be brought to the 
priest's house or to the altar of the tribal God Yahveh, Jehovah (Levit. ii, 2-3 etc.) 
Amongst the Maronites Kurban is the host (-wafer) and amongst the Turks 'Id al 
Kurban (sacrifice-feast) is the Greater Bayram, the time of Pilgrimage. 

* Kar = fire, being feminine, like the names of the other "elements."' 

Hasan of Bassorak. 17 

and this is naught but a calamity among creeds ! " At this the 
Magian was wroth and said to him, " Wilt thou not then conform 
with me, O dog of the Arabs, and enter my faith ? " But Hasan 
consented not to this: so the accursed Guebre arose and prostra- 
ting himself to the fire, bade his pages throw him flat on his face. 
They did so, and he beat him with a hide whip of plaited thongs 1 
till his flanks were laid open, whilst he cried aloud for aid but 
none aided him, and besought protection, but none protected him. 
Then he raised his eyes to the All-powerful King and sought of 
Him succour in the name of the Chosen Prophet. And indeed 
patience failed him ; his tears ran down his cheeks, like rain, and 
he repeated these couplets twain : 

In patience, O my God, Thy doom forecast o I'll bear, an thereby come Thy 

grace at last : 
They've dealt us wrong, transgressed and ordered ill ; o Haply Thy Grace 

shall pardon what is past. 

Then the Magian bade his negro-slaves raise him to a sitting 
posture and bring him somewhat of, meat and drink. So they sat 
food before him ; but he consented not to eat or drink ; and 
Bahram ceased not to torment him day and night during the 
whole voyage, whilst Hasan took patience and humbled himself in 
supplication before Almighty Allah to whom belong Honour and 
Glory; whereby the Guebre's heart was hardened against him. 
They ceased not to sail the sea three months, during which time 
Hasan was continually tortured till Allah Almighty sent forth 
upon them a foul wind and the sea grew black and rose against 
the ship, by reason of the fierce gale ; whereupon quoth the captain 
and crew, 2 " By Allah, this is all on account of yonder youth, who 
hath been these three months in torture with this Magian. Indeed, 
this is not allowed of God the Most High." Then they rose 
against the Magian and slew his servants and all who were with 
him ; which when he saw, he made sure of death and feared for 
himself. So he loosed Hasan from his bonds and pulling off the 
ragged clothes the youth had on, clad him in others ; and made 
excuses to him and promised to teach him the craft and restore 

1 The Egyptian Kurbaj of hippopotamus-hide (Burkh. Nubia, pp. 62, 282) or 
elephant-hide (Turner ii. 365). Hence the Fr. Cravache (as Cravat is from Croat). 

2 In Mac. Edit. "Bahriyah" : in Bresl. Edit. " Nawatiyah." See vol. vi. 242, far 
Navnjs, navita, nauta. 


1 8 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

him to his native land, saying, " O my son, return me not evil for 
that I have done with thee." Quoth Hasan, " Kow can I ever rely 
upon thee again ? "; and quoth Bahram, " O my son, but for sin, 
there were no pardon. Indeed, I did all these doings with thee, 
but to try thy patience, and thou knowest that the case is 
altogether in the hands of Allah." So the crew and captain 
rejoiced in Hasan's release, and he called down blessings on them 
.and praised the Almighty and thanked Him. With this the wind 
\vas stilled and the sky cleared and with a fair breeze they con- 
tinued their voyage. Then said Hasan to Bahram, " O Master, 1 
whither wendest thou ? " Replied the Magian, " O my son, I am 
bound for the Mountain of Clouds, where is the Elixir which we 
use in alchemy." And the Guebre swore to him by the Fire and 
the Light that he had no longer any cause to fear him. So 
Hasan's heart was set at ease and rejoicing at the Persian's 
words, he continued to eat and drink and sleep with the Magian,. 
who clad him in his own raiment. They ceased not sailing on 
other three months, when the ship came to anchor off a long shore- 
line of many-coloured pebbles, white and yellow and sky-blue and 
black and every other hue, and the Magian sprang up and said, 
" O Hasan, come, let us go ashore for we have reached the place 
of our wish and will." So Hasan rose and landed with Bahram, 
after the Persian had commended his goods to the captain's care. 
They walked on inland, till they were far enough from the ship to 
be out of sight, when Bahram sat down and taking from his 
pocket a kettle-drum 2 of copper and a silken strap, worked in gold 
with characts, beat the drum with the strap, until there arose 
a cloud of dust from the further side of the waste. Hasan 
marvelled at the Magian's doings and was afraid of him : he 
repented of having come ashore with him and his colour changed . 
But Bahram looked at him and said, " What aileth thee, O my 
son ? By the truth of the Fire and the Light, thou hast naught to 
fear from me ; and, were it not that my wish may never be won 
save by thy means, I had not brought thee ashore. So rejoice in 
all good ; for yonder cloud of dust is the dust of somewhat we 

1 In Bresl. Edit. (iv. 285) * ' Ya Khwajah," for which see vol. vi. 46. 

8 Arab. Tabl {vulg. baz) =r a kettle-drum about half a foot broad held in the left hand 
and beaten with a stick or leathern thong. Lane refers to his description (M.E. ii. 
chapt. v.) of the Dervish's drum of tinned copper with parchment face, and renders 
Zakhmah or Zukhmah (strap, stirrup-leather) by " plectrum," which gives a wrong 
idea. The Bresl. Edit, ignores the strap. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 19 

will mount and which will aid us to cut across this wold and make 

easy to us the hardships thereof." And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Noto foBen ft foas tfje gbebw f^utrtrrefc anfc SfgiM8-t&ft& Nt'gfjt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Persian said to Hasan, " In very sooth yonder dust-cloud is the 
cloud of something we will mount and which will aid us to 
cut across this wold and will make easy to us the hardships 
thereof." Presently the dust lifted off three she-dromedaries, one 
of which Bahram mounted and Hasan another. Then they loaded 
their victual on the third and fared on seven days, till they came 
to a wide champaign and, descending into its midst, they saw a 
dome vaulted upon four pilasters of red gold ; so they alighted 
and entering thereunder, ate and drank and took their rest. Anon 
Hasan chanced to glance aside and seeing from afar a something 
lofty said to the Magian, " What is that, O nuncle ? " Bahram 
replied, " 'Tis a palace," and quoth Hasan, " Wilt thou not go 
thither, that we may enter and there repose ourselves and solace 
ourselves with inspecting it ? " But the Persian was wroth and 
said, " Name not to me yonder palace ; for therein dwelleth a foe, 
with whom there befel me somewhat whereof this is no time to tell 
thee." Then he beat the kettle-drum and up came the dromedaries, 
and they mounted and fared on other seven days. On the eighth 
day, the Magian said, " O Hasan, what seest thou ? " Hasan 
replied, " I see clouds and mists twixt east and west" Quoth 
Bahram, " That is neither clouds nor mists, but a vast mountain and 
a lofty whereon the clouds split, 1 and there are no clouds above it,, 
for its exceeding height and surpassing elevation. Yon mount is 
my goal and thereon is the need we seek. 'Tis for that I brought 
thee hither, for my wjsh may not be won save at thy hands." 
Hasan hearing this gave his life up for lost and said to the Magian, 
<( By the right of that thou worshippest and by the faith wherein 
thou believest, I conjure thee to tell me what is the object where- 
for thou hast brought me ! " Bahram replied, " The art of alchemy 
may not be accomplished save by means of a herb which groweth 

1 The " Spartivento " of Italy, mostly a tall headland which divides the clouds. The 
most remarkable feature of .the kiod is the Dalmatian Island, Pelagosa. 

2o A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

in the place where the clouds pass and whereon they split. Such 
a site is yonder mountain upon whose head the herb groweth and 
I purpose to send thee up thither to fetch it ; and when we have 
it, I will show thee the secret of this craft which thou desirest to 
learn." Hasan answered, in his fear, " Tis well, O my master ; " 
and indeed he despaired of life and wept for his parting from his 
parent and people and patrial stead repenting him of having gain- 
said his mother and reciting these two couplets : 

Consider but thy Lord, His work shall bring Comfort to thee, with quick 

relief and near : 
Despair not when thou sufferest sorest bane : In bane how many blessed 

boons appear ! 

They ceased not faring on till they came to the foot-hills of that 
mountain where they halted ; and Hasan saw thereon a palace and 
asked Bahram, " What be yonder palace ? "; whereto he answered, 
" 'Tis the abode of the Jann and Ghuls and Satans." Then the 
Magian alighted and making Hasan also dismount from his 
dromedary kissed his head and said to him, " Bear me no ill will 
anent that I did with thee, for I will keep guard over thee in thine 
ascent to the palace ; and I conjure thee not to trick and cheat 
me of aught thou shalt bring therefrom ; and I and thou will 
share equally therein." And Hasan replied, " To hear is to obey." 
Then Bahram opened a bag and taking out a handmill and a 
sufficiency of wheat, ground the grain and kneaded three round 
cakes of the flour ; after which he lighted a fire and baked the 
bannocks. Then he took out the copper kettle-drum and beat it 
with the broidered strap, whereupon up came the dromedaries. 
He chose out one and said, ** Hearken, O my son, O Hasan, to 
what I am about to enjoin on thee ;" and Hasan replied, " 'Tis 
well." Bahram continued, " Lie down on this skin and I will sew 
thee up therein and lay thee on the ground ; whereupon the 
Rakham birds 1 will come to thee and carry thee up to the 
mountain-top. Take this knife with thee ; and, when thou feelest 
that the birds have done flying and have set thee down, slit open 
therewith the skin and come forth. The vultures will then take 
fright at thee and fly away ; whereupon do thou look down from 
the mountain head and speak to me, and I will tell thee what to 

1 The " Rocs" (Al-Arkha"kh) in the Bresl. Edit. (iv. 290). The Rakham = aquiline, 

Hasan of Bassorak. 21 

do." So he sewed him up in the skin, placing therein three cakes 
and a leathern bottle full of water, and withdrew to a distance. 
Presently a vulture pounced upon him and taking him up, flew 
away with him to the mountain-top and there set him down, As 
soon as Hasan felt himself on the ground, he slit the skin and 
coming forth, called out to the Magian, who hearing his speech 
rejoiced and danced for excess of joy, saying to him, " Look 
behind thee and tell me what thou seest." Hasan looked and 
seeing many rotten bones and much wood, told Bahram, who 
said to him, " This be what we need and seek. Make six bundles 
of the wood and throw them down to me, for this is wherewithal 
we do alchemy." So he threw him the six bundles and when he 
had gotten them into his power he said to Hasan, " O gallows 
bird, I have won my wish of thee; and now, if thou wilt, thou 
mayst abide on this mountain, or cast thyself down to the earth 
and perish." So saying, he left him ? and went away, and Hasan 
exclaimed, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in 
Allah, the Glorious, the Great \ This hound hath played the 
traitor with me." And he sat bemoaning himself and reciting 
these couplets : 

When God upon a man possessed of reasoning, Hearing and sight His will in 

aught to pass would bring, 
He stops his ears and blinds his eyes and draws his wit, From him, as one 

draws out the hairs to paste that cling ; 
Till, His decrees fulfilled, He gives him back His wit, That therewithal he 

may receive admonishing. 
So say thou not of aught that haps, "How happened it?" For Fate and 

fortune fixed do order everything. 2 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

Nofo tofjen it teas tfie S>ebcn f^unbrcb anfc 1Eigf)tg=fourt& Nfgftt, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Magian sent Hasan to the mountain-top and made him throw 

1 Lane here quotes a similar incident in the romance " Sayf Zu al-Yazan," so called 
from the hero, whose son, Misr, is sewn up in a camel's hide by Bahram, a treacherous 
Magian, and is carried by the Rukhs to a mountain-top. 

a These lines occurred in Night xxvi. vol. i. 275 : 1 quote Mr. Payne for variety. 

22 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

down all he required he presently reviled him and left him and 
wended his ways and the youth exclaimed, " There is no Majesty 
and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! 
This damned hound hath played the traitor." Then he rose to 
his feet and looked right and left, after which he walked on along 
the mountain top, in mind making certain of death. He fared on 
thus till he came to the counterslope of the mountain, along which 
he saw a dark-blue sea, dashing with billows clashing and yeasting 
waves each as it were a lofty mount. So he sat down and repeated 
what he might of the Koran and besought Allah the Most High 
to ease him of his troubles, or by death or by deliverance from 
such strait. Then he recited for himself the funeral-prayer T and 
cast himself down into the main ; but, the waves bore him up by 
Allah's grace, so that he reached the water unhurt, and the angel 
in whose charge is the sea watched over him, so that the billows 
bore him safe to land, by the decree of the Most High. There- 
upon he rejoiced and praised Almighty Allah and thanked Him ; 
after which he walked on in quest of something to eat, for stress 
of hunger, and came presently to the place where he had halted 
with the Magian, Bahram. Then he fared on awhile, till behold, 
he caught sight of a great palace, rising high in air, and knew 
it for that of which he had questioned the Persian and he had 
replied, " Therein dwelleth a foe, of mine." Hasan said to him- 
self, " By Allah, needs must I enter yonder palace ; perchance 
relief awaiteth me there." So coming to it and finding the gate 
open, he entered the vestibule, where he saw seated on a bench 
two girls like twin moons with a chess-cloth before them and they 
were at play. One of them raised her head to him and cried out 
for joy saying, " By Allah, here is a son of Adam, and methinks 
'tis he whom Bahram the Magian brought hither this year ! " So 
Hasan hearing her words cast himself at their feet and wept with 
sore weeping and said, " Yes, O my ladies, by Allah, I am indeed 
that unhappy." Then said the younger damsel to her elder sister, 
" Bear witness against me, 2 O my sister, that this is my brother 
by covenant of Allah and that I will die for his death and live 
for his life and joy for his joy and mourn for his mourning." So 

1 Thus a Moslem can not only circumcise and marry himself but can also bury 
canonically himself. The form of this prayer is given by Lane M. E. chapt. xv. 

2 i.e. If I fail in my self-imposed duty, thou shalt charge me therewith on the 

Hasan of Bassorah. 23 

saying, she rose and embraced him and kissed him and presently 
taking him by the hand and her sister with her, led him into the 
palace, where she did off his ragged clothes and brought him a 
suit of Kings' raiment wherewith she arrayed him. Moreover, she 
made ready all manner viands l and set them before him, and sat 
and ate with him, she and her sister. Then said they to him, 
" Tell us thy tale with yonder dog, the wicked, the wizard, from 
the time of thy falling into his hands to that of thy freeing thee 
from him ; and after we will tell thee all that hath passed between 
us and him, so thou mayst be on thy guard against him an thou 
see him again/' Hearing these words and finding himself thus 
kindly received, Hasan took heart of grace and reason returned 
to him and he related to them all that had befallen him with the 
Magian from first to last. Then they asked, " Didst thou ask him 
of this palace ? "; and he answered, "Yes, but he said : Name it 
not to me ; for it belongeth to Ghuls and Satans." At this, 
the two damsels waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and said, 
"Did that Miscreant style us Ghuls and Satans?" And Hasan 
answered, " Yes." Cried the younger sister, " By Allah, I will 
assuredly do him die with the foulest death and make him to 
lack the wind of the world ! " Quoth Hasan, " And how wilt 
thou get at him, to kill him, for he is a crafty magician ?"; and 
quoth she, <tp He is in a garden by name Al-Mushayyad, 2 and 
there is no help but that I slay him before long." Then said 
her sister, " Sooth spake Hasan in everything he hath recounted 
to us of this cur ; but now tell him our tale, that all of it may 
abide in his memory." So the younger said to him, " Know, O 
my brother, that we are the daughters of a King of the mightiest 
Kings of the Jann, having Marids for troops and guards and 
servants, and Almighty Allah blessed him with seven daughters 
by one wife ; but of his folly such jealousy and stiff-neckedness 
and pride beyond compare gat hold upon him that he would not 

1 Arab. Al-Alwan, plur. of laun (colour). The latter in Egyptian Arabic means a 
"dish of meat." See Burckhardt No. 279. I repeat that the great traveller's "Arabic 
Proverbs " wants republishing for two reasons. First he had not sufficient command of 
English to translate with the necessary laconism and assonance : secondly in his day 
British Philistinism was too rampant to permit a literal translation. Consequently the 
book falls short of what the Oriental studenU requires ; and I have prepared it for my 
friend Mr. Quaritch. 

2 i.e. Lofty, high-builded. See Night dcclxviii. vol vii. p. 347. In the Bresl. Edit. 
Al-Masid (as in Al-Kazwini) : in the Mac. Edit. Al-Mashid. 

24 >Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

give us in marriage to -ny one and, summoning his Wazirs and 
Emirs, he said to them : Can ye tell me of any place untrodden 
by the tread of men and Jinn and abounding in trees and fruits 
and rills ? And quoth they, What wilt thou therewith, O King 
of the Age ? And quoth he, I desire there to lodge my seven 
daughters. Answered they, O King, the place for them is the 
Castle of the Mountain of Clouds, built by an Ifrit of the rebel- 
lious Jinn, who revolted from the covenant of our lord Solomon, 
on whom be the Peace ! Since his destruction, none hath dwelt 
there, nor man nor Jinni, for 'tis cut off 1 and none may 
win to it. And the Castle is girt about with trees and fruits 
and rills, and the water running around it is sweeter than 
honey and colder than snow: none who is afflicted with leprosy 
or elephantiasis 2 or what not else drinketh thereof but he is 
healed forthright." Hearing this our father sent us hither, with 
an escort of his troops and guards and provided us with all that we 
need here. When he is minded to ride to us he beateth a kettle- 
drum, whereupon all his hosts present themselves before him and 
he chooseth whom he shall ride and dismisseth the rest ; but, when 
he desireth that we shall visit him, he commandeth his followers, 
the enchanters, to fetch us and carry us to the presence ; so he 
may solace himself with our society and we accomplish our desire 
of him ; after which they again carry us back hither. Our five 
other sisters are gone a-hunting in our desert, wherein are wild 
beasts past compt or calculation and, it being our turn to do this 
we two abode .at home, to make ready for them food. Indeed, we 
had besought Allah (extolled and exalted be He !) to vouchsafe us 
a son of Adam to cheer us with his company and praised be He 

1 Arab. Munkati' here = cut off from the rest of the world. Applied to a man, and 
a popular term of abuse in Al-Hijaz, it means one cut off from the blessings of Allah 
and the benefits of mankind ; a pauvre sire. Pilgrimage ii. 22. 

2 Arab. "Baras au Juzam," the two common forms of leprosy. See vol. iv. 51. 
Popular superstition in Syria holds that coition during the menses breeds the Juzam, 
Daa al-Kabif (Great Evil) or Daa al-Fil (Elephantine Evil), i.e. Elephantiasis and that 
the days between the beginning of the flow (Sabil) to that of coition shows the age when 
the progeny will be attacked ; for instance if it take place on the first day, the disease 
will appear in the tenth year, on the fourth the fortieth and so on. The only diseases 
really dreaded by the Badawin are leprosy and small-pox. Coition during the menses is 
forbidden by all Eastern faiths under the severest penalties. Al-Mas'udi relates how a 
man thus begotten became a determined enemy of Ali ; and the ancient Jews attributed 
the magical powers of Joshua Nazarenus to this accident of his birth, the popular idea 
being that sorcerers are thus impurely engendered. 

Hasan of Bassorak. 25 

who hath brought thee to us ! So be of good cheer and keep thine 
eyes cool and clear, for no harm shall befal thee." Hasan rejoiced 
and said, " Alhamdolillah, laud to the Lord who guideth us into 
the path of deliverance and inclineth hearts to us ! " Then his 
sister 1 rose and taking him by the hand, led him into a private 
chamber, where she brought out to him linen and furniture that no 
mortal can avail unto. Presently, the other damsels returned from 
hunting and birding and their sisters acquainted them with 
Hasan's case ; whereupon they rejoiced in him and going into him 
in his chamber, saluted him with the salam and gave him joy of 
his safety. Then he abode with them in all the solace of life and 
its joyance, riding out with them to the chase and taking his 
pleasure with them whilst they entreated him courteously and 
cheered him with converse, till his sadness ceased from him and he 
recovered health and strength and his body waxed stout and fat, 
by dint of fair treatment and pleasant time among the seven 
moons in that fair palace with its gardens and flowers ; for indeed 
he led the delightsomest of lives with the damsels who delighted 
in him and he yet more in them. And they used to give him 
drink of the honey-dew of their lips, 2 these beauties with the high 
bosoms, adorned with grace and loveliness, the perfection of 
brilliancy and in shape very symmetry. Moreover the youngest 
Princess told her sisters how Bahram the Magian had made them 
of the Ghuls and Demons and Satans, 3 and they sware that they 
would surely slay him. Next year the accursed Guebre again 
made his appearance, having with him a handsome young Moslem, 
as he were the moon, bound hand and foot and tormented with 
grievous tortures, and alighted with him below the palace-walls. 
Now Hasan was sitting under the trees by the side of the stream ; 
and when he espied Bahram, his heart fluttered, 4 his hue changed 

1 By adoption: See vol'. iii. 151. This sudden affection (not love) suggests the 
"Come to my arms, my slight acquaintance ! " of the Anti-Jacobin. But it is true to 
Eastern nature ; and nothing can be more charming than this fast friendship between the 
Princess and Hasan. 

2 En tout bien et en tout honneur, be it understood. 

3 He had done nothing of the kind ; but the feminine mind is prone to exaggeration. 
Also Hasan had told them a fib, to prejudice them against the Persian. 

4 These nervous movements have been reduced to a system in the Turk. " Ihtilaj- 
nameh "rr Book of palpitations, prognosticating from the subsultus tend inum and othex 
involuntary movements of the body from head to foot; according to Ja'afar the Just, 
Daniel the Prophet, Alexander the Great ; the Sages of Persia and the Wise Men of 
Greece. In England we attend chiefly to the eye and ear. 

26 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and he smote hand upon hand. And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fo&en it foas tje &ebw ^unfcreti antr 1ii$tg~fiftf) Ntg&t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan the goldsmith saw the Magian, his heart fluttered, his hue 
changed and he smote hand upon hand. Then he said to the 
Princesses, " O my sisters, help me to the slaughter of this accursed, 
for here he is come back and in your grasp, and he leadeth with 
him captive a young Moslem of the sons of the notables, whom he 
is torturing with all manner grievous torments. Lief would I kill 
him and console my heart of him ; and, by delivering the young 
Moslem from his mischief and restoring him to his country and 
kith and kin and friends, fain would I lay up merit for the world to 
come, by taking my wreak of him. 1 This will be an almsdeed 
from you and ye will reap the reward thereof from Almighty 
Allah." " We hear and we obey Allah and thee, O our brother, O 
Hasan," replied they and binding chin-veils, armed themselves and 
slung on their swords : after which they brought Hasan a steed of 
the best and equipped him in panoply and weaponed him with 
goodly weapons. Then they all sallied out and found the Magian 
who had slaughtered and skinned a camel ill-using the young 
Moslem, and saying to him, " Sit thee in this hide." So Hasan 
came behind him, without his knowledge, and cried out at 
him till he was dazed and amazed. Then he came up to 
him, saying, " Hold thy hand, O accursed ! O enemy of Allah 
and foe of the Moslems ! O dog \ O traitor ! O thou that 
flame dost obey ! O thou that walkest in the wicked ones' ways, 
worshipping the fire and the light and swearing by the shade 
and the heat ! " Herewith the Magian turned and seeing Hasan, 
thought to wheedle him and said to him, " O my son, how 
diddest thou escape and who brought thee down to earth ? " 
Hasan replied, " He delivered me, who hath appointed the taking 
of thy life to be at my hand, and I will torture thee even as thou 

1 Revenge, amongst the Arabs, is a sacred duty ; and, in their state of civilization, 
society could not be kept together without it. So the slaughter of a villain is held to be 
a sacrifice to Allah, who amongst Christians claims for Himself the monopoly of 

Hasan of Bassorah. 27 

torturedst me the whole way long. O miscreant, O atheist, 1 thou 
hast fallen into the twist and the way thou hast missed ; and 
neither mother shall avail thee nor brother, nor friend nor solemn 
covenant shall assist thee ; for thou saidst, O accursed, Whoso 
betrayeth bread and salt, may Allah do vengeance upon him ! 
And thou hast broken the bond of bread and salt ; wherefore the 
Almighty hath thrown thee into my grasp, and far is thy chance of 
escape from me." Rejoined Bahram, " By Allah, O my son, O 
Hasan, thou art dearer to me than my sprite and the light of mine 
eyes ! " But Hasan stepped up to him and hastily smote him 
between the shoulders, that the sword issued gleaming from his 
throat-tendons and Allah hurried his soul to the fire, and abiding- 
place dire. Then Hasan took the Magian's bag and opened it, 
then having taken out the kettle-drum he struck it with the strap, 
whereupon up came the dromedaries like lightning. So he 
unbound the youth from his bonds and setting him on one of the 
camels, loaded him another with victual and water, 2 saying, " Wend 
whither thou wilt." So he departed, after Almighty Allah had 
thus delivered him from his strait at the hands of Hasan. When 
the damsels saw their brother slay the Magian they joyed in him 
with exceeding joy and gat round him, marvelling at his valour 
and prowess ; 3 and thanked him for his deed and gave him joy of 
his safety, saying, " O Hasan thou hast done a deed, whereby thou 
hast healed the burning of him that thirsteth for vengeance and 
pleased the King of Omnipotence ! " Then they returned to the 
palace, and he abode with them, eating and drinking and laughing 
and making merry ; and indeed his sojourn with them was joyous 
to him and he forgot his mother ; 4 but while he led with them this 
goodly life one day, behold, there arose from the further side of the 
desert a great cloud of dust that darkened the welkin and made 
towards them. When the Princesses saw this, they said to him, 
"Rise, O Hasan, run to thy chamber and conceal thyself; or an 
thou wilt, go down into the garden and hide thyself among the 

1 Arab. " Zindik." See vol. v. 230. 

2 Lane translates this "put for him the remaining food and water; " but Al-Akhar 
(Mac. Edit.) evidently refers to the Najib (dromedary). 

3 We can hardly see the heroism of the deed, but it must be remembered that Bahram 
was a wicked sorcerer, whom it was every good Moslem's bounden duty to slay. Com- 
pare the treatment of witches in England two centuries ago. 

* The mother, in Arab tales, is ma mtre, now becoming somewhat ridiculous in France 
on account of the over use of that venerable personage. 

28 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

trees and vines ; but fear not, for no harm shall befal thee." So 
he arose and entering his chamber, locked the door upon himself, 
and lay lurking in the palace. Presently the dust opened out 
and showed beneath it a great and conquering host, as it were a 
surging sea, coming from the King, the father of the damsels. 
Now when the troops reached the castle, the Princesses received 
them with all honour and hospitably entertained them three 
days ; after which they questioned them of their case and tidings 
and they replied saying, " We come from the King in quest of 
you." They asked, " And what would the King with us ? " ; and 
the officers answered, "One of the Kings maketh a marriage 
festival, and your father would have you be present thereat and take 
your pleasure therewith." The damsels enquired, " And how 
long shall we be absent from our place?"; and they rejoined, 
" The time to come and go, and to sojourn may be two months.'' 
So the Princesses arose and going in to the palace sought Hasan, 
acquainted him with the case and said to him-, u Verily this place 
is thy place and our house is thy house ; so be of good cheer 
and keep thine eyes cool and clear and feel nor grief nor fear, 
for none can come at thee here ; but keep a good heart and a glad 
mind, till we return to thee. The keys of our chambers we leave 
with thee ; but, O our brother, we beseech thee, by the bond of 
brotherhood, in very deed not to open such a door, for thou hast 
no need thereto." Then they farewelled him and fared forth with 
the troops, leaving Hasan alone in the palace. It was not long 
before his breast grew straitened and his patience shortened : 
solitude and sadness were heavy on him and he sorrowed for 
his severance from them with passing chagrin. The palace for all 
its vastness, waxed small to him and finding himself sad and 
solitary, he bethought him of the damsels and their pleasant 
converse and recited these couplets : 

The wide plain is narrowed before these eyes o And the landscape troubles 

this heart of mine. 
Since my friends went forth, by the loss of them Joy fled and these eyelids 

rail floods of brine : 
Sleep shunned these eyeballs for parting woe * And my mind is worn with 

sore pain and pine : 
Would I wot an Time shall rejoin our lots o And the joys of love with 

night-talk combine. 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say 

her permitted say. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 29 

to&en ft foa* tje gbeben f^untjrefc an* 3E(g6tg~0fxt{) Kfgtjt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that after the 
departure of the damsels, Hasan sat in the palace sad and solitary 
and his breast was straitened by severance. He used to ride 
forth a-hunting by himself in the wold and bring back the game 
and slaughter it and eat thereof alone : but melancholy and dis* 
quiet redoubled on him, by reason of his loneliness. So he arose 
and went round about the palace and explored its every part ; he 
opened the Princesses' apartments and found therein riches and 
treasures fit to ravish the beholder's reason ; but he delighted not 
in aught thereof, by reason of their absence. His heart was fired 
by thinking of the door they had charged him not to approach or 
open on any account and he said in himself, " My sister had never 
enjoined me not to open this door, except there were behind 
it somewhat whereof she would have none to know ; but, by Allah, 
I will arise and open it and see what is within, though within it 
were sudden death ! " Then he took the key and, opening the 
door, 1 saw therein no treasure but he espied a vaulted and winding 
staircase of Yamani onyx at the upper end of the chamber. So 
he mounted the stair, which brought him out upon the terrace- 
roof of the palace, whence he looked down upon the gardens and 
vergiers, full of trees and fruits and beasts and birds warbling 
praises of Allah, the One, the All-powerful ; and said in himself 
" This is that they forbade to me." He gazed upon these 
pleasaunces and saw beyond a surging sea, dashing with clashing 
billows, and he ceased not to explore the palace right and left, 
till he ended at a pavilion builded with alternate courses, two 
bricks of gold and one of silver and jacinth and emerald and 
supported by four columns. And in the centre he saw a sitting- 
room paved and lined with a mosaic of all manner precious stones 
such as rubies and emeralds and balasses and other jewels of 
sorts ; and in its midst stood a basin 2 brimful of water, over 

1 The forbidden closet occurs also in Sayf Zu al-Yazan, who enters it and finds the 
bird-girls. Tre"butien ii, 208 says, " II est assez remarquable qu'il existe en Allemagne 
une tradition & peu pres semblable, et qui a fourni le sujet d'un descontes de Musaeus, 
entitule le voile enlevt." Here Hasan is artfully left alone in a large palace without 
other companions but his thoughts and the reader is left to divine the train of ideas 
which drove him to open the door, 

2 Arab. " Buhayrah " (Bresl. Edit. " Bahrah"), the tank or cistern in the Hosh 
(=r court-yard) of an Eastern house. Here, however, it is a rain-cistern on the flat 
roof of the palace (See Night dcccviii). 

30 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

which was a trellis-work of sandal-wood and aloes-wood 
reticulated with rods of red gold and wands of emerald and set 
with various kinds of jewels and fine pearls, each sized as a 
pigeon's egg. The trellis was covered with a climbing vine, 
bearing grapes like rubies, and beside the basin stood a throne of 
lign-aloes latticed with red gold, inlaid with great pearls and 
comprising vari-coloured gems of every sort and precious minerals, 
each kind fronting each and symmetrically disposed. About it the 
birds warbled with sweet tongues and various voices celebrating 
the praises of Allah the Most High : brief, it was a palace such 
as nor Caesar nor Chosroes ever owned ; but Hasan saw therein 
none of the creatures of Allah, whereat he marvelled and said in 
himself, " I wonder to which of the Kings this place pertaineth, or 
is it Many-Columned Iram whereof they tell, for who among 
mortals can avail to the like of this ? " And indeed he was 
amazed at the spectacle and sat down in the pavilion and cast 
glances around him marvelling at the beauty of its ordinance and 
at the lustre of the pearls and jewels and the curious works which 
therein were, no less than at the gardens and orchards aforesaid 
and at the birds that hymned the praises of Allah, the One, the 
Almighty ; and he abode pondering the traces of him whom the 
Most High had enabled to rear that structure, for indeed He is 
muchel of might. 1 And presently, behold, he espied ten birds 2 

1 This description of the view is one of the most gorgeous in The Nights. 

2 Here again are the "Swan-maidens" (See vol. v. 346) "one of the primitive 
myths, the common heritage of the whole Aryan (Iranian) race." In Persia Bahram-i-Gur 
when carried off by the Dfv Sapid seizes the Peri's dove-coat : in Santhali folk-lore 
Torica, the Goatherd, steals the garment doffed by one of the daughters of the sun ; and 
hence the twelve birds of Russian Story. To the same cycle belong the Seal-tales of 
the Faroe Islands (Thorpe's Northern Mythology) and the wise women or mermaids of 
Shetland (Hibbert). Wayland the smith captures a "wife by seizing a mermaid's 
raiment and so did Sir Hagan by annexing the wardrobe of a Danubian water-nymph. 
Lettsom, the translator, mixes up this swan-raiment with that of the Valkyries or 
Choosers of the Slain. In real life stealing women's clothes is an old trick and has 
often induced them, after having been seen naked, to offer their persons spontaneously. 
Of this I knew two cases in India, where the theft is justified by divine example. The 
blue god Krishna, a barbarous and grotesque Hindu Apollo, robbed the raiment of the 
pretty Gopalis (cowherdesses) who were bathing in the Arjun River and carried them 
to the top of a Kunduna tree ; nor would he restore them till he had reviewed the naked 
girls and taken one of them to wife. See also Imr al-Kays (of the Mu'allakah) with 
"Onaiza" at the port of Daratjuljul (Clouston's Arabian Poetry, p. 4). A critic has 
complained of my tracing the origin of the Swan-maiden legend to the physical 
resemblance between the bird and a high-bred girl (vol. v. 346). I should have 
explained my theory which is shortly, that we must seek a material basis for all so-called 

Hasan of Bassorah. 31 

flying towards the pavilion from the heart of the desert and knew 
that they were making the palace and bound for the basin, to 
drink of its waters : so he hid himself, for fear they should see him 
and take flight. They lighted on a great tree and a goodly and 
circled round about it ; and he saw amongst them a bird of marvel- 
beauty, the goodliest of them all, and the nine stood around it and 
did it service ; and Hasan marvelled to see it peck them with its 
bill and lord it over them while they fled from it. He stood 
gazing at them from afar as they entered the pavilion and perched 
on the couch ; after which each bird rent open its neck-skin with 
its claws and issued out of it ; and lo ! it was but a garment of 
feathers, and there came forth therefrom ten virgins, maids whose 
beauty shamed the brilliancy of the moon. They all doffed their 
clothes and plunging into the basin, washed and fell to playing- 
and sporting one with other ; whilst the chief bird of them lifted 
up the rest and ducked them down, and they fled from her and 
dared not put forth their hands to her. When Hasan beheld her 
thus he took leave of his right reason and his sense was enslaved, 
so he knew that the Princesses had not forbidden him to open the 
door save because of this ; for he fell passionately in love with her, 
for what he saw of her beauty and loveliness, symmetry and perfect 
grace, as she played and sported and splashed the others with the 
water. He stood looking upon them whilst they saw him not, 
with eye gazing and heart burning and soul l to evil prompting ; 
and he sighed to be with them and wept for longing, because of 
the beauty and loveliness of the chief damsel. His mind was 
amazed at her charms and his heart taken in the net of her love ; 
lowe was loosed in his heart for her sake and there waxed on him 
a flame, whose sparks might not be quenched, and desire, whose 
signs might not be hidden. Presently, they came up out of that 
basin, whilst Hasan marvelled at their beauty and loveliness and 
the tokens of inner gifts in the elegance of their movements. 
Then he cast a glance at the chief damsel who stood mother- 
naked and there was manifest to him what was between her thighs 

supernaturalisms, and that anthropomorphism satisfactorily explains the Swan-maiden, 
as is does the angel and the devil. There is much to say on the subject ; but this is not 
the place for long discussion. 

1 Arab. " Nafs Ammzlrah," corresponding with our canting term " The Flesh." Nafs 
al-Ndtikah is the intellectual soul or function ; Nafs al-Ghazabiyah = the animal function 
,and Nafs al Shahwaniyah =z the vegetative property. 

32 A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

a goodly rounded dome on pillars borne, like a bowl of silver or 
crystal, which recalled to him the saying of the poet i 1 

When I took up her shift and discovered the terrace-roof of her kaze, I found 

it as strait as my humour or eke my worldly ways : 
So I thrust it, incontinent, in, halfway, and she heaved a sigh. " For what dost 

thou sigh ? " quoth I. " For the rest of it sure," she says. 

Then coming out of the water they all put on their dresses and 
ornaments, and the chief maiden donned a green dress, 2 wherein 
she surpassed for loveliness all the fair ones of the world and the 
lustre of her face outshone the resplendent full moons : she excelled 
the branches with the grace of her bending gait and confounded 
the wit with apprehension of disdain ; and indeed she was as 
saith the poet : 3 

A maiden 'twas, the dresser's art had decked with cunning sleight ; 

The sun thou 'd'st say had robbed her cheek and shone with borrowed light. 

She came to us apparelled fair in under vest of green, 

Like as the ripe pomegranate hides beneath its leafy screen ; 

And when we asked her what might be the name of what she wore, 

She answered in a quaint reply that double meaning bore : 

The desert's heart we penetrate in such apparel dressed, 

And Fierce-heart therefore is the name by which we call the vest. 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

her permitted say. 

Nofo fojen ft foas t&e Sbcben ^un&reto anto lEi^tg-sebent!) 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan saw the damsels issue forth the basin, the chief maiden 
robbed his reason with her beauty and loveliness compelling him 
to recite the couplets forequoted. And after dressing they sat 
talking and laughing, whilst he stood gazing on them, drowned in 
the sea of his love, burning in the flames of passion and wandering 
in the Wady of his melancholy thought. And he said to himself, 

1 The lines occur in vol. ii. 331 : I have quoted Mr. Payne. Here they are singularly 
out of place. 

2 Not the " green gown " of Anglo-India i.e. a white ball-dress with blades of grass 
sticking to it in consequence of a " fall backwards." 

3 These lines occur in vol. i. 219 : I have borrowed from Torrens (p. 219). 

Hasan of Bassomk. 33 

4t By Allah, my sister forbade me not to open the door, but for 
cause of these maidens and for fear lest I should fall in love with 
one of them ! How, O Hasan shalt thou woo and win them ? 
How bring down a bird flying in the vasty firmament ? By Allah 
thou hast cast thyself into a bottomless sea and snared thyself in 
a net whence there is no escape ! I shall die desolate and none 
shall wot of my death." And he continued to gaze on the charms 
of the chief damsel, who was the lovliest creature Allah had made 
in her day, and indeed she outdid in beauty all human beings. 
She had a mouth magical as Solomon's seal and hair blacker than 
the night of estrangement to the love-despairing man ; her brow 
was bright as the crescent moon of the Feast of Ramadan 1 and her 
eyes were like eyes wherewith gazelles scan ; she had a polished 
nose straight as a cane and cheeks like blood-red anemones of 
Nu'uman, lips like coralline and teeth like strung pearls in 
carcanets of gold virgin to man, and a neck like an ingot of silver, 
above a shape like a wand of Ban : her middle was full of folds, 
a dimpled plain such as enforceth the distracted lover to magnify 
Allah and extol His might and main, and her navel 2 an ounce of 
musk, sweetest of savour could contain : she had thighs great and 
plump, like marble columns twain or bolsters stuffed with down 
from ostrich ta'en, and between them a somewhat, as it were a 
hummock great of span or a hare with ears back lain while terrace- 
roof and pilasters completed the plan ; and indeed she surpassed 
the bough of the myrobalan with her beauty and symmetry, and 
the Indian rattan, for she was even as saith of them the poet whom 
love did unman : 3 

Her lip-dews rival honey-sweets, that sweet virginity 5 o Keener than Hindi 

scymitar the glance she casts at thee : 
She shames the bending bough of Bn with graceful movement slow o And 

as she smiles her teeth appear with leven's brilliancy : 

1 The appearance of which ends the fast and begins the Lesser Festival. See vol. 
i. 84. 

2 See note, vol. i. 84, for notices of the large navel ; much appreciated by Easterns. 

3 Arab. " Sha'ir Al-Walahan " =: the love-distraught poet; Lane has "a distracted 
poet." My learned friend Professor Aloys Sprenger has consulted, upon the subject of 
Al-Walahan the well-known Professor of Arabic at Halle, Dr. Thorbeck, who remarks 
that the word (here as further on) must be an adjective, mad, love-distraught, not a 
" lakab " or poetical cognomen. He generally finds it written Al-Sha'ir al-Walahan 
(the love-demented poet) not Al-Walahan al-Sha'ir= Walahan the Poet. Note this 
burst of song after the sweet youth falls in love : it explains the cause of verse-quotation 
in The Nights, poetry being the natural language of love and battle. 


34 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

When I compared with rose a-bloom the tintage of her cheeks, * She laughed 

in scorn and cried, " Whoso compares with rosery 
My hue and breasts granados terms, is there no shame in him ? o How should 

pomegranates bear on bough such fruit in form or blee ? 
Now by my beauty and mine eyes and heart and eke by Heaven o Of favours 

mine and by the Hell of my unclemency, 
They say ' She is a garden-rose in very pride of bloom '; * And yet no rose can 

ape my cheek nor branch my symmetry ! 
If any garden own a thing which unto me is like, o What then is that he comes 

to crave of me and only me ? " 

They ceased not to laugh and play, whilst Hasan stood still 
a-watching them, forgetting meat and drink, till near the hour of 
mid-afternoon prayer, when the beauty, the chief damsel, said to 
her mates, " O Kings 1 daughters, it waxeth late and our land is 
afar and we are weary of this stead. Come, therefore, let us 
depart to our own place." So they all arose and donned their 
feather vests, and becoming birds as they were before, flew away 
all together, with the chief lady in their midst. Then, Hasan, 
despairing of their return, would have arisen and gone down into 
the palace but could not move or even stand ; wherefore the tears 
ran down his cheeks and passion was sore on him and he recited 
these couplets : 

May God deny me boon of troth if I * After your absence sweets of 

slumber know : 
Yea ; since that sev'rance never close mine eyes,* Nor rest repose me since 

departed you ! 
'Twould seem as though you saw me in your sleep ;* Would Heaven the dreams 

of sleep were real-true ! 
Indeed I dote on sleep though needed not,* For sleep may bring me 

that dear form to view. 

Then Hasan walked on, little by little, heeding not the way he 
went, till he reached the foot of the stairs, whence he dragged him- 
self to his own chamber ; then he entered and shutting the door, 
lay sick eating not nor drinking and drowned in the sea of his 
solitude. He spent the night thus, weeping and bemoaning him- 
self, till the morning, and when it morrowed he repeated these 
couplets : 

The birds took flight at eve and winged their way ; o And sinless he who died 

of Love's death-blow. 
I'll keep my love-tale secret while I can o But, an desire prevail, its needs 

must show : 
Night brought me nightly vision, bright as dawn ; o While nights of my desire 

lack morning-glow. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 35 

I mourn for them 1 while they heart-freest sleep o And winds of love on me their 

* plaything blow : 

Free I bestow my tears, my wealth, my heart o My wit, my sprite : most gain 

who most bestow ! 
The worst of woes and banes is enmity o Beautiful maidens deal us to our 

Favour they say 's forbidden to the fair o And shedding lovers' blood their laws 

allow ; 
That naught can love-sicks do but lavish soul, o And stake in love-play life on 

single throw : 2 
I cry in longing ardour for my love : o Lover can only weep and wail Love- 


When the sun rose he opened the door, went forth of the chamber 
and mounted to the stead where he was before : then he sat down 
facing the pavilion and awaited the return of the birds till night- 
fall ; but they returned not ; wherefore he wept till he fell to the 
ground in a fainting-fit. When he came to after his swoon, he 
dragged himself down the stairs to his chamber ; and indeed, 
the darkness was come and straitened upon him was the whole 
world and he ceased not to weep and wail himself through the 
livelong night, till the day broke and the sun rained over hill and 
dale its rays serene. He ate not nor drank nor slept, nor was 
there any rest for him ; but by day he was distracted and by night 
distressed, with sleeplessness delirious and drunken with melan- 
choly thought and excess of love-longing. And he repeated the 
verses of the love -distraught poet : 

O thou who shamest sun in morning sheen o The branch confounding, yet with 

nescience blest ; 
Would Heaven I wot an Time shall bring return o And quench the fires which 

flame unmanifest, 
Bring us together in a close embrace, o Thy cheek upon my cheek, thy breast 

abreast ! 
Who saith, hi Love dwells sweetness ? when in Love o Are bitterer days than 

Aloe's 3 bitterest. 

1 Them " as usual for " her." 

2 Here Lane proposes a transposition, for " Wa-huwa (and he) fi 'l-hubbi, M to read 
" Fi '1-hubbi wa huwa (wa-hwa) ; " but the latter is given in the Mac. Edit. 

3 For the pun in " Sabr " =aloe or patience. See vol. i. 138. In Herr Landberg 
(i. 93) we find a misunderstanding of the couplet 

Aw'akibu s-sabri (Kala ba'azuhum) 
Mahmudah : Kultu, " khshi an takhirrinf." 

" The effects of patience " (or aloes) quoth one " are praiseworthy ! * Quoth I, much I 
fear lest it make me stooL Mahmudah is not only un laxatif, but a slang name for a 

confection cf alcer.. 

36 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say 

her permitted say. 

Jiofo fo&en tt foas tfte S>eben l^unDreti anto 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan the goldsmith felt love redouble upon him, he recited those 
lines ; and, as he abode thus in the stress of his love-distraction, 
alone and finding none to cheer him with company, behold, there 
arose a dust-cloud from the desert, wherefore he ran down and hid 
himself knowing that the Princesses who owned the castle had 
returned. Before long, the troops halted and dismounted round 
the palace and the seven damsels alighted and entering, put off 
their arms and armour of war. As for the youngest, she stayed 
not to doff her weapons and gear, but went straight to Hasan's 
chamber, where rinding him not, she sought for him, till she 
lighted on him in one of the sleeping closets hidden, feeble and 
thin, with shrunken body and wasted bones and indeed his colour 
was changed and his eyes sunken in his face for lack of food and 
drink and for much weeping, by reason of his love and longing for 
the young lady. When she saw him in this plight, she was 
confounded and lost her wits ; but presently she questioned him 
of his case and what had befallen him, saying, " Tell me what 
aileth thee, O my brother, that I may contrive to do away thine 
affliction, and I will be thy ransom ! " * Whereupon he wept with 
sore weeping and by way of reply he began reciting : 

Lover, when parted from the thing he loves, o Has naught save weary woe and 

bane to bear. 
Inside is sickness, outside living lowe, o His first is fancy and his last 


When his sister heard this, she marvelled at his eloquence and 
loquent speech and his readiness at answering her in verse and 
said to him, " O my brother, when didst thou fall into this thy 
case and what hath betided thee, that I find thee speaking in song 
and shedding tears that throng ? Allah upon thee, O my brother, 

1 Arab. " Akuna fida-ka." Fida = ransom, self-sacrifice and Fida'an =: instead of. 
The phrase, which everywhere occurs in The Nights, means, "I would give my life to 
save thine." 

Hasan of Bassorah. 37 

and by the honest love which is between us, tell me what aileth 
thee and discover to me thy secret, nor conceal from me aught of 
that which hath befallen thee in our absence ; for my breast is 
straitened and my life is troubled because of thee." He sighed 
and railed tears like rain, after which he said, " I fear, O my sister, 
if I tell thee, that thou wilt not aid me to win my wish but wilt 
leave me to die wretchedly in mine anguish." She replied, "No, 
by Allah, O my brother, I will not abandon thee, though it cost me 
my life ! " So he told her all that had befallen him, and that the 
cause of his distress and affliction was the passion he had con- 
ceived for the young lady whom he had seen when he opened the 
forbidden door ; and how he had not tasted meat nor drink for 
ten days past. Then he wept with sore weeping and recited 
these couplets : 

Restore my heart as 'twas within my breast, o Let mine eyes sleep again, then 

fly fro' me. 
Deem ye the nights have had the might to change o Love's vow ? Who 

changeth may he never be ! 

His sister wept for his weeping and was moved to ruth for his 
case and pitied his strangerhood ; so she said to him, " O my 
brother, be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear, for I 
will venture being and risk existence to content thee and devise 
thee a device wherewith, though it cost me my dear life and all I 
hold dear, thou mayst get possession of her and accomplish thy 
desire, if such be the will of Allah Almighty. But I charge thee, 
O my brother, keep the matter secret from . my sisterhood and 
discover not thy case to any one of them, lest my life be lost 
with thy life. An they question thee of opening the forbidden 
door, reply to them : I opened it not ; no, never ; but I was 
troubled at heart for your absence and by my loneliness here and 
yearning for you." ! And he answered, " Yes : this is the right 
rede." So he kissed her head and his heart was comforted and 
his bosom broadened. He had been nigh upon death for excess 
of affright, for he had gone in fear of her by reason of his having 
opened the door ; but now his life and soul returned to him. 
Then he sought of her somewhat of food and after serving it she 
left him, and went in to her sisters, weeping and mourning for 

1 Thus accounting for his sickness, improbably enough but in flattering way. Like a 
good friend ^feminine) she does not hesitate a moment in prescribing a fib. 

38 A If Laytah wa Laylah. 

him. They questioned her of her case and she told them how she 
was heavy at heart for her brother, because he was sick and for 
ten days no food had found way into his stomach. So they asked 
the cause of his sickness and she answered, " The reason was our 
severance from him and our leaving him desolate ; for these days 
we have been absent from him were longer to him than a thousand 
years and scant blame to him, seeing he is a stranger, and solitary 
and we left him alone, with none to company with him or hearten 
his heart ; more by token that he is but a youth and may be he 
called to mind his family and his mother, who is a woman in 
years, and bethought him that she weepeth for him all whiles of 
the day and watches of the night, ever mourning his loss ; and we 
used to solace him with our society and divert him from thinking 
of her." When her sisters heard these words they wept in the 
stress of their distress for him and said, " Wa'llahi 'fore Allah, he 
is not to blame ! " Then they went out to the army and dis- 
missed it, after which they went in to Hasan and saluted him with 
the salam. When they saw his charms changed with yellow 
colour and shrunken body, they wept for very pity and sat by his 
side and comforted him and cheered him with converse, relating 
to him all they had seen by the way of wonders and rarities and 
what had befallen the bridegroom with the bride. They abode 
with him thus a whole month, tendering him and caressing him 
with words sweeter than syrup ; but every day sickness was added 
to his sickness, which when they saw, they bewept him with sore 
weeping, and the youngest wept even more than the rest. At the 
end of this time, the Princesses having made up their minds to 
ride forth a-hunting and a-birding invited their sister to accom- 
pany them but she said, " By Allah, O my sisters, I cannot go 
forth with you, whilst my brother is in this plight, nor indeed till 
he be restored to health and there cease from him that which is 
with him of affliction. Rather will I sit with him and comfort 
him." They thanked her for her kindness and said to her, 
" Allah will requite thee all thou dost with this stranger." Then 
they left her with him in the palace and rode forth taking with 

them twenty days' victual ; And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Hasan of Bassorak. 39 

Nofo fofien ft toas t&e &tben ^untaefc an* lEi 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Princesses mounted and rode forth a-hunting and a-birding, after 
leaving in the palace their youngest sister sitting by Hasan's 
side ; and as soon as the damsel knew that they had covered a 
long distance from home, she went in to him and said, " O my 
brother, come, show me the place where thou sawest the maidens." 
He rejoiced in her words, making sure of winning his wish, and 
replied, " Bismillah ! On my head ! " Then he essayed to rise 
and show her the place, but could not walk ; so she took him up 
in her arms, holding him to her bosom between her breasts ; and, 
opening the staircase-door, carried him to the top of the palace, 
and he showed her the pavilion where he had seen the girls and 
the basin of water, wherein they had bathed. Then she said to 
him, " Set forth to me, O my brother, their case and how they 
came." So he described to her whatso he had seen of them and 
especially the girl of whom he was enamoured ; but hearing these 
words she knew her and her cheeks paled and her case changed. 
Quoth he, " O my sister, what aileth thee to wax wan and be 
troubled ? "; and quoth she, " O my brother, know thou that this 
young lady is the daughter of a Sovran of the Jann, of one of the 
most puissant of their Kings and her father had dominion over 
men and Jinn and wizards and cohens and tribal chiefs and guards 
and countries and cities and islands galore and hath immense 
wealth in store. Our father is a Viceroy and one of his vassals 
and none can avail against him, for the multitude of his many and 
the extent of his empire and the muchness of his monies. He 
hath assigned to his offspring, the daughters thou sawest, a tract 
of country, a whole year's journey in length and breadth, a region 
girt about with a great river and a deep ; and thereto none may 
attain, nor man nor Jann. He hath an army of women, smiters 
with swords and lungers with lances, five-and -twenty thousand in 
number, each of whom, whenas she mounteth steed and donneth 
battle-gear, eveneth a thousand knights of the bravest. Moreover, 
he hath seven daughters, who in valour and prowess equal and 
even excel their sisters, 1 and he hath made the eldest of them, the 

1 **.*. the 25,000 Amazons who in the Bresl. Edit. (ii. 308) are all made to be the King's 
'Banat" =. daughters or protegees. The Amazons of Dahome (see my "Mission") 
who may now number 5,000 are all officially wives of the King and are called by the 
lieges " our mothers." 

40 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

damsel whom thou sawest, 1 queen over the country aforesaid and 
who is the wisest of her sisters and in valour and horsemanship 
and craft and skill and magic excels all the folk of her dominions. 
The girls who companied with her are the ladies of her court and 
guards and grandees of her empire, and the plumed skins where- 
with they fly are the handiwork of enchanters of the Jann. Now 
an thou wouldst get possession of this queen and wed this jewel 
seld-seen and enjoy her beauty and loveliness and grace, do thou 
pay heed to my words and keep them in thy memory. They 
resort to this place on the first day of every month ; and thou must 
take seat here and watch for them ; and when thou seest them coming 
hide thee near the pavilion sitting where thou mayst see them, 
without being seen of them, and beware, again beware lest thou show 
thyself, or we shall all lose our lives. When they doff their dress 
note which is the feather-suit of her whom thou lovest and take 
it, and it only, for this it is that carrieth her to her country, and 
when thou hast mastered it, thou hast mastered her. And beware 
lest she wile thee, saying : O thou who hast robbed my raiment^ 
restore it to me, because here am I in thine hands and at thy 
mercy ! For, an thou give it her, she will kill thee and break down 
over us palace and pavilion and slay our sire : know, then, thy case 
and how thou shalt act. When her companions see that her 
feather-suit is stolen, they will take flight and leave her to thee v 
and beware lest thou show thyself to them, but wait till they have 
flown away and she despaireth of them : whereupon do thou go in 
to her and hale her by the hair of her head 2 and drag her to thee ;. 
which being done, she will be at thy mercy. And I rede thee 
discover not to her that thou hast taken the feather-suit, but keep 
it with care ; for, so long as thou hast it in hold, she is thy prisoner 
and in thy power, seeing that she cannot fly to her country save 
with it. And lastly carry her down to thy chamber where she will 
be thine." When Hasan heard her words his heart became at 
ease, his trouble ceased and affliction left him ; so he rose to his 
feet and kissing his sister's head, went down from the terrace with 
her into the palace, where they slept that night. He medicined 

1 The tale-teller has made up his mind about the damsel ; although in this part of the 
story she is the chief and eldest sister and subsequently she appears as the youngest 
daughter of the supreme Jinn King. The mystification is artfully explained by the extra* 
ordinary likeness of the two sisters. (See Night dcccxi.) 

2 This is a reminiscence of the old-fashioned "marriage by capture," of which many 
traces survive, even among the civilised who wholly ignore their origin. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 41 

himself till morning morrowed ; and when the sun rose, he sprang 
up and opened the staircase-door and ascending to the flat roof 
sat there till supper-tide when his sister brought him up somewhat 
of meat and drink and a change of clothes and he slept. And thus 
they continued doing, day by day until the end of the month. When 
he saw the new moon, he rejoiced and began to watch for the birds, 
and while he was thus, behold, up they came, like lightning. As soon 
as he espied them, he hid himself where he could watch them, un- 
watched by them, and they lighted down one and all of them, and 
putting off their clothes, descended into the basin. All this took 
place near the stead where Hasan lay concealed, and as soon as 
he caught sight of the girl he loved, he arose and crept under 
cover, little by little, towards the dresses, and Allah veiled him so 
that none marked his approach for they were laughing and play- 
ing with one another, till he laid hand on the dress. Now when 
they had made an end of their diversion, they came forth of the 
basin and each of them slipped on her feather-suit. But the damsel 
he loved sought for her plumage that she might put it on, but found 
it not ; whereupon she shrieked and beat her cheeks and rent her 
raiment. Her sisterhood l came to her and asked what ailed her, 
and she told them that her feather-suit was missing; wherefore 
they wept and shrieked and buffeted their faces : and they were 
confounded, wotting not the cause of this, and knew not what to 
do. Presently the night overtook them and they feared to abide 
with her lest that which had befallen her should befal them also ; 
so they farewelled her and flying away left her alone upon the 

terrace-roof of the palace, by the pavilion basin.- And Shah- 

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

Nofo fofjcn it toas t&e S>eten f^unfcrtfr anfc Nuutiet!) Ni'fl&t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Hasan 
had carried off the girl's plumery, she sought it but found it not 
and her sisterhood flew away leaving her alone. When they were 
out of sight, Hasan gave ear to her and heard her say, " O who 
hast taken my dress "and stripped me, I beseech thee to restore it to 
me and cover my shame, so may Allah never make thee taste of my 

Meaning her companions and suite. 

42 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

tribulation ! " But when Hasan heard her speak thus, with speech 
sweeter than syrup, his love for her redoubled, passion got the 
mastery of his reason and he had riot patience to endure from her. 
So springing up from his hiding-place, he rushed upon her and 
laying hold of her by the hair dragged her to him and carried her 
down to the basement of the palace and set her in his own cham- 
ber, where he threw over her a silken cloak * and left her weeping 
and biting her hands. Then he shut the door upon her and going 
to his sister, informed her how he had made prize of his lover and 
carried her to his sleeping-closet, "And there/' quoth he, "she is 
now sitting, weeping and biting her hands." When his Sister heard 
this, she rose forthright and betook herself to the chamber, where 
she found the captive weeping and mourning. So she kissed 
ground before her and saluted her with the salam and the young 
lady said to her, "O King's daughter, do folk like you do such 
foul deed with the daughters of Kings ? Thou knowest that my 
father is a mighty Sovran and that all the liege lords of the Jinn 
stand in awe of him and fear his majesty : for that there are with 
him magicians and sages and Cohens and Satans and Marids, such 
as none may cope withal, and under his hand are folk whose num- 
ber none knoweth save Allah. How then doth it become you, O 
daughters of Kings, to harbour mortal men with you and disclose 
to them our case and yours ? Else how should this man, a 
stranger, come at us ? " Hasan's sister made reply, " O King's 
daughter, in very sooth this human is perfect in nobleness and 
purposeth thee no villainy ; but he loveth thee, and women were 
not made save for men. Did he not love thee, he had not fallen 
sick for thy sake and well-nigh given up the ghost for desire of 
thee." And she told her the whole tale how Hasan had seen her 
bathing in the basin with her attendants, and fallen in love with 
her, and none had pleased him but she, for the rest were all her 
handmaids, and none had availed to put forth a hand to her. 
When the Princess heard this, she despaired of deliverance and 
presently Hasan's sister went forth and brought her a costly dress, 
wherein she robed her. Then she set before her somewhat of 
meat and drink and ate with her and heartened her heart and 
soothed her sorrows. And she ceased not to speak her fair with 
soft and pleasant words, saying, " Have pity on him who saw thee 
once and became as one slain by thy love;" and continued to 

1 Arab. 'Abaah " vulg. 'Abdyah." See vol. ii. 133. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 43 

console her and caress her, quoting fair says and pleasant in- 
stances. But she wept till daybreak, when her trouble subsided 
and she left shedding tears, knowing that she had fallen into the 
net and that there was no deliverance for her. Then said she to 
Hasan's sister, " O King's daughter, with this my strangerhood 
and severance from my country and sisterhood which Allah wrote 
upon my brow, patience becometh me to support what my Lord 
hath foreordained." Therewith the youngest Princess assigned 
her a chamber in the palace, than which there was none goodlier 
and ceased not to sit with her and console her and solace her 
heart, till she was satisfied with her lot and her bosom was 
broadened and she laughed and there ceased from her what 
trouble and oppression possessed her, by reason of her separation 
from her people and country and sisterhood and parents. There- 
upon Hasan's sister repaired to him, and said, " Arise, go in to 
her in her chamber and kiss her hands and feet. 1 " So he went 
in to her and did this and bussed her between the eyes, saying, 
" O Princess of fair ones and life of sprites and beholder's delight, 
be easy of heart, for I took thee only that I might be thy bonds- 
man till the Day of Doom, and this my sister will be thy servant ; 
for I, O my lady, desire naught but to take thee to wife, after 
the law of Allah and the practice of His Apostle, and whenas 
t.hou wilt, I will journey with thee to my country and carry thee 
to Baghdad-city and abide with thee there : moreover, I will buy 
thee handmaidens and negro chattels; and I have a mother, of 
the best of women, who will do thee service. There is no goodlier 
land than our land ; everything therein is better than elsewhere 
and its folk are a pleasant people and bright of face." Now as 
he bespake her thus and strave to comfort her, what while she 
answered him not a syllable, lo ! there came a knocking at the 
palace-gate. So Hasan went out to see who was at the door and 
found there the six Princesses, who had returned from hunting 
and bird ing, whereat he rejoiced and went to meet them and 
welcomed them. They wished him safety and health and he 
wished them the like ; after which they dismounted and going 
each to her chamber doffed their soiled clothes and donned fine 
linen. Then they came forth and demanded the game, for they 
had taken a store of gazelles and wild cows, hares and lions, 
hyaenas, and others ; so their suite brought out some thereof for 

1 Feet in the East lack that development of sebaceous glands which afflicts Europeans. 

44 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

butchering, keeping the rest by them in the palace, and Hasan 
girt himself and fell to slaughtering for them in due form, 1 whilst 
they sported and made merry, joying with great joy to see him 
standing amongst them hale and hearty once more. When they 
had made an end of slaughtering, they sat down and addressed 
themselves to get ready somewhat for breaking their fast, and 
Hasan, coming up to the eldest Princess, kissed her head and on 
like wise did he with the rest, one after other. Whereupon said 
they to him, " Indeed, thou humblest thyself to us passing mea- 
sure, O our brother, and we marvel at the excess of the affection 
thou showe*st us. But Allah forfend that thou shouldst do this 
thing, which it behoveth us rather to do with thee, seeing thou 
art a man and therefor worthier than we, who are of the Jinn. 2 " 
Thereupon his eyes brimmed with tears and he wept sore; so 
they said to him, " What causeth thee to weep ? Indeed, thou 
troublest our pleasant lives with thy weeping this day. 'Twould 
seem thou longest after thy mother and native land. An things 
be so, we will equip thee and carry thee to thy home and thy 
friends/' He replied, " By Allah, I desire not to part from you ! " 
Then they asked, "Which of us hath vexed thee, that thou art 
thus troubled ? " But he was ashamed to say, " Naught troubleth 
me save love of the damsel/' lest they should deny and disavow 
him : so he was silent and would tell them nothing of his case. 
Then his sister came forward and said to them, " He hath caught 
.a bird from the air and would have you help him to tame her." 
Whereupon they all turned to him and cried, "We are at thy 
service every one of us and whatsoever thou seekest that will we 
do: but tell us thy tale and conceal from us naught of thy case.'* 
So he said to his sister, " Do thou tell them, for I am ashamed 

before them nor can I face them with these words." And 

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

1 i.e. cutting the animals' throats after Moslem law. 

2 In Night dcclxxviii. supra p. 5, we find the orthodox Moslem doctrine that "a 
single mortal is better in Allah's sight than a thousand Jinns." For, I repeat, 
AMslam systematically exalts human nature which Christianity takes infinite trouble 
to degrade and debase. The results of its ignoble teaching are only too evident in 
the East: the Christians of the so-called (and miscalled) "Holy Land" are a disgrace 
to the faith and the idiomatic Persian term for a Nazarene is Tarsa - = funker 

Hasan of Bassorah. 45 

Jlofo foljen ft foas tfje &rfjen ^untirefc an* Jimetg=Erst Jltc^t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Hasan 
said to his sister, " Do thou tell them my tale, for before them 
I stand abashed nor can I face them with these words." So she 
said to them, " O my sisters, when we went away and left alone 
this unhappy one, the palace was straitened upon him and he 
feared lest some one should come in to him, for ye know that 
the sons of Adam are light of wits. So, he opened the door of 
the staircase leading to the roof, of his loneliness and trouble, and 
sat there, looking upon the Wady and watching the gate, in his 
fear lest any should come thither. One day, as he sat thus, sud- 
denly he saw ten birds, approach him, making for the palace, and 
they lighted down on the brink of the basin which is in the 
pavilion-terrace. He watched these birds and saw, amongst 
them, one goodlier than the rest, which pecked the others and 
flouted them, whilst none of them dared not put out a claw to 
it. Presently, they set their nails to their neck-collars and, 
rending their feather-suits, came forth therefrom and became 
damsels, each and every, like the moon on fullest night. Then 
they doffed their dress and plunging into the water, fell to play- 
ing with one another, whilst the chief damsel ducked the others, 
who dared not lay a finger on her and she was fairest of favour 
and most famous of form and most feateous of finery. They 
ceased not to be in this case till near the hour of mid-afternoon 
prayer, when they came forth of the basin and, donning their 
feather-shifts, flew away home. Thereupon he waxed distracted, 
with a heart afire for love of the chief damsel and repenting him 
that he had not stolen her plumery. Wherefore he fell sick and 
abode on the palace-roof expecting her return and abstaining 
from meat and drink and sleep, and he ceased not to be so till 
the new moon showed, when behold, they again made their 
appearance according to custom and doffing their dresses went 
down into the basin. So he stole the chief damsel's feather-suit, 
knowing that she could not fly save therewith, hiding himself 
carefully lest they sight him and slay him. Then he waited 
till the rest had flown away, when he arose and seizing the 
damsel, carried her down from the terrace into the castle." Her 
sisters asked, " Where is she ? " ; and she answered, " She is with 
him in such a chamber." Quoth they, " Describe her to us, O 

4 6 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

our sister:" so quoth she, "She is fairer than the moon on the 
night of fullness and her face is sheenier than the sun ; the dew 
of her lips is sweeter than honey and her shape is straighter 
and slenderer than the cane ; one with eyes black as night and 
brow flower-white; a bosom jewel-bright, breasts like pome- 
granates twain and cheeks like apples twain, a waist with 
dimples overlain, a navel like a casket of ivory full of musk in 
grain, and legs like columns of alabastrine vein. She ravisheth 
all hearts with Nature-kohl'd eyne, and a waist slender-fine and 
hips of heaviest design and speech that heals all pain and pine ; 
she is goodly of shape and sweet of smile, as she were the moon in 
fullest sheen and shine." When the Princesses heard these praises, 
they turned to Hasan and said to him, " Show her to us." So he 
arose with them, all love-distraught, and carrying them to the 
chamber wherein was the captive damsel, opened the door and 
entered, preceding the seven Princesses. Now when they saw her 
and noted her loveliness, they kissed the ground between her hands, 
marvelling at the fairness of her favour and the significance which 
showed her inner gifts, and said to her, " By Allah, O daughter of 
the Sovran Supreme, this is indeed a mighty matter : and haddest 
thou heard tell of this mortal among women thou haddest marvelled 
at him all thy days. Indeed, he loveth thee with passionate love ; 
yet, O King's daughter, he seeketh not lewdness, but desireth thee 
only in the way of lawful wedlock. Had we known that maids can 
do without men, we had impeached him from his intent, albeit he 
sent thee no messenger, but came to thee in person ; and he telleth 
us he hath burnt the feather dress; else had we taken it from 
him." Then one of them agreed with the Princess and becoming 
her deputy in the matter of the wedding contract, performed the 
marriage ceremony between them, whilst Hasan clapped palms 
with her, laying his hand in hers, and she wedded him to the 
damsel by consent ; after which they celebrated her bridal feast, 
as beseemeth Kings' daughters, and brought Hasan in to her. So 
he rose and rent the veil and oped the gate and pierced the forge 1 
and brake the seal, whereupon affection for her waxed in him and 
he redoubled in love and longing for her. Then, since he had 
gotten that which he sought^ he gave himself joy and improvised 
these couplets : 

1 Arab. " Sakaba Kuraha ; " the forge in which children are hammered out? 

Hasan of Bassorak. 


Thy shape's temptation, eyes as Houri's fain o And sheddeth Beauty's sheen 1 
that radiance rare : 

My glance portrayed thy glorious portraiture : o Rubies one-half and gems the 
third part were : 

Musk made a fifth : a sixth was ambergris o The sixth a pearl but pearl with- 
out compare. 

Eve never bare a daughter evening thee o Nor breathes thy like in Khuld's* 
celestial air. 

An thou would torture me 'tis wont of Love o And if thou pardon 'tis thy choice 
I swear : 

Then, O world bright'ner and O end of wish ! o Loss of thy charms who could 
in patience bear ? 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say 

her permitted say. 

Nofo fo&cn it foas tje fteben ^unfcrrtr antr Ntnets=secon& 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan went in unto the King's daughter and did away her maiden- 
head, he enjoyed her with exceeding joy and affection for her 
waxed in him and he redoubled in love-longing for her; so he 
recited the lines aforesaid. Now the Princesses were standing 
at the door and when they heard his verses, they said to her, " O 
King's daughter, hearest thou the words of this mortal ? How 
canst thou blame us, seeing that he maketh poetry for love of thee 
and indeed he hath so done a thousand times. 3 " When she heard 
this she rejoiced and was glad and felt happy and Hasan abode 
with her forty 4 days in all solace and delight, joyance and happiest 
plight, whilst the damsels renewed festivities for him every day 
and overwhelmed him with bounty and presents and rarities ; and 
the King's daughter became reconciled to her sojourn amongst 
them and forgot her kith and kin. At the end of the forty days, 
Hasan saw in a dream, one night, his mother mourning for him 
and indeed her bones were wasted and her body had waxed 
Shrunken and her complexion had yellowed and her favour had 

1 Arab. " Ma al-Malahat " = water (brilliancy) of beauty. 

2 The fourth of the Seven Heavens, the " Garden of Eternity," made of yellow coral. 
8 How strange this must sound to the Young Woman of London in the nineteenth 


4 " Forty days " is a quasi-religious period amongst Moslem for praying, fasting and 
religious exercises : here it represents our " honey-moon." See vol. v. p. 62. 

48 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

changed the while he was in excellent case. When she saw him 
in this state, she said to him, " O my son, O Hasan, how is it that 
thou livest thy worldly life at thine ease and forgettest me? Look 
at my plight since thy loss ! I do not forget thee, nor will my 
tongue cease to name thy name till I die ; and I have made thee 
a tomb in my house, that I may never forget thee. Would Heaven 
I knew 1 if I shall live, O my son, to see thee by my side and if we 
shall ever again foregather as we were." Thereupon Hasan awoke 
from sleep, weeping and wailing, the tears railed down his cheeks 
like rain and he became mournful and melancholy ; his tears dried 
not nor did sleep visit him, but he had no rest, and no patience 
was left to him. When he arose, the Princesses came in to him 
and gave him good-morrow and made merry with him as was 
their wont ; but he paid no heed to them ; so they asked his wife 
concerning his case and she said, u I ken not." Quoth they, 
" Question him of his condition." So she went up to him and 
said, " What aileth thee, O my lord ? " Whereupon he moaned 
anc. groaned and told her what he had seen in his dream and 
repeated these two couplets: 

Indeed afflicted sore are we and all distraught, o Seeking for union ; yet we 

find no way : 
And Love's calamities upon us grow o And Love though light with 

heaviest weight doth weigh. 

His wife repeated to the Princesses what he said and they, hearing 
the verses, had pity on him and said to him, " In Allah's name, do 
as thou wilt, for we may not hinder thee from visiting thy mother; 
nay, we will help thee to thy wish by what means we may. But 
it behoveth that thou desert us not, but visit us, though it be only 
once a year.'* And he answered, " To hear is to obey : be your 
behest on my head and eyes!" Then they arose forthright and 
making him ready victual for the voyage, equipped the bride for 
him with raiment and ornaments and everything of price, such as 
defy description, and they bestowed on him gifts and presents 

1 Ya layta, still popular. Herr Carlo Landberg (Proverbes et Dietons du Peuple 
Arabe, vol. i. of Syria, Leyden, E. J. Brill, 1883) explains layta for rayta (=raayta) by 
permutation of liquids and argues that the contraction is ancient (p. 42). But the Herr 
is no Arabist: " Layta" means " would to Heaven," or, simply "I wish," " I pray" 
(for something possible or impossible); whilst "La'alla" {perhaps, it may be) prays 
only for the possible; and both are simply particles governing the noun in the oblique, 
or accusative case. 

Hasan of Bassorak. 


which pens of ready writers lack power to set forth. Then they 
beat the magical kettle-drum and up came the dromedaries 
from all sides. They chose of them such as could carry all the 
gear they had prepared ; amongst the rest five-and-twenty chests 
of gold and fifty of silver ; and, mounting Hasan and his bride on 
others, rode with them three days, wherein they accomplished a 
march of three months. Then they bade them farewell and ad- 
dressed themselves to return ; whereupon his sister, the youngest 
damsel, threw herself on Hasan's neck and wept till she fainted. 
When she came to herself, she repeated these two couplets : 

Ne'er dawn the severance-day on any wise * That robs of sleep these heavy- 
lidded eyes. 

From us and thee it hath fair union torn * It wastes our force and makes 
our forms its prize. 

Her verses finished she farewelled him, straitly charging him, when- 
as he should have come to his native land and have foregathered 
with his mother and set his heart at ease, to fail not of visiting her 
once in every six months and saying, " If aught grieve thee or 
thou fear aught of vexation, beat the Magian's kettle-drum, where- 
upon the dromedaries shall come to thee ; and do thou mount and 
return to us and persist not in staying away." He swore thus 
to do and conjured them to go home. So they returned to the 
palace, mourning for their separation from him, especially the 
youngest, with whom no rest would stay nor would Patience her 
call obey, but she wept night and day. Thus it was with them ; 
but as regards Hasan and his wife, they fared on by day and night 
over plain and desert site and valley and stony heights through 
noon-tide glare and dawn's soft Itght ; and Allah decreed them 
safety, so that they reached Bassorah-city without hindrance and 
made their camels kneel at the door of his house. Hasan then 
dismissed the dromedaries and, going up to the door to open it, 
heard his mother weeping and in a faint strain, from a heart worn 
with parting-pain and on fire with consuming bane, reciting these 
couplets : 

How shall he taste of sleep who lacks repose * Who wakes a-night when all 

in slumber wone ? 
He owned wealth and family and fame * Yet fared from house and home an 

exile lone : 

jo A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

Live coal beneath his 1 ribs he bears for bane, * And mighty longing, mightier 

ne'er was known : 
Passion hath seized him, Passion mastered him ; Yet is he constant while he 

maketh moan : 
His case for Love proclaimeth aye that he, * (As prove his tears) is 

wretched, woe-begone. 

When Hasan heard his mother weeping and wailing he wept also 
and knocked at the door a loud knock. Quoth she, " Who is at 
the door ? "; and quoth he, " Open ! " Whereupon she opened the 
door and knowing him at first sight fell down in a fainting fit ; 
but he ceased not to tend her till she came to herself, when he 
embraced her and she embraced him and kissed him, whilst his 
wife looked on mother and son. Then he carried his goods and 
gear into the house, whilst his mother, for that her heart was 
comforted and Allah had reunited her with her son versified with, 
these couplets : 

Fortune had ruth upon my plight o Pitied my long long bane and blight ; 
Gave me what I would liefest sight; o And set me free from all affright. 
So pardon I the sin that sin o ned she in days evanisht quite ; 

E'en to the sin she sinned when she o Bleached my hair-parting silvern white. 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

fo&en it foas t&e gbeben f^utrtrrrt atrtr 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Hasan 
with his mother then sat talking and she asked him, " How faredst 
thou, O my son, with the Persian ? " whereto he answered, " O 
my mother, he was no Persian, but a Magian, who worshipped the 
fire, not the All-powerful Sire." Then he told her how he dealt 
with him, in that he had journeyed with him to the Mountain of 
Clouds and sewed him up in the camel's skin, and how the 
vultures had taken him up and set him down on the summit 
and what he had seen there of dead folk, whom the Magian had 
deluded and left to die on the crest after they had done his desire. 
And he told her how he had cast himself from the mountain-top 

1 " His" for "her," i.e. herself, making somewhat of confusion between hef state and 
that of her son. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 5 1 

into the sea and Allah the Most High had preserved him and 
brought him to the palace of the seven Princesses and how the 
youngest of them had taken him to brother and he had sojourned 
with them, till the Almighty brought the Magian to the place 
where he was and he slew him. Moreover, he told her of his 
passion for the King's daughter and how he had made prize of 
her and of his seeing her l in sleep and all else that had befallen 
him up to the time when Allah vouchsafed them reunion. She 
wondered at his story and praised the Lord who had restored 
him to her in health and safety. Then she arose and examined 
the baggage and loads and questioned him of them. So he told 
her what was in them, whereat she joyed with exceeding joy. 
Then she went up to the King's daughter, to talk with her and 
bear her company ; but, when her eyes fell on her, her wits were 
confounded at her brilliancy and she rejoiced and marvelled at 
her beauty and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace : and 
she sat down beside her, cheering her and comforting her heart 
while she never ceased to repeat " Alhamdolillah, O my son, for 
thy return to me safe and sound ! " Next morning early she 
went down into the market and bought mighty fine furniture and 
ten suits of the richest raiment in the city, and clad the young 
wife and adorned her with everything seemly. Then said she to 
Hasan, " O my son, we cannot tarry in this town with all this 
wealth ; for thou knowest that we are poor folk and the people 
will suspect us of practising alchemy. So come, let us depart to 
Baghdad, the House 2 of Peace, where we may dwell in the Caliph's 
Sanctuary, and thou shalt sit in a shop to buy and sell, in the fear 
of Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty !) and He shall 
open to thee the door of blessings with this wealth." Hasaa 
approved her counsel and going forth straightway, sold the house 
and summoned the dromedaries, which he loaded with all his goods 
and gear, together with his mother and wife. Then he went down 
to the Tigris, where he hired him a craft to carry them to Baghdad 
and embarked therein all his possessions and his mother and wife. 

1 i.e. his mother j the words are not in the Mac. Edit. 

2 Baghdad is called House of Peace, amongst other reasons, from the Dijlah (Tigris) 
River and Valley " of Peace." The word was variously written Baghdad, Baghdad, 
(our old Bughdaud and Bagdat), Baghzaz, Baghzan, Baghdan, Baghzdm and Maghdad 
as Makkah and Bakkah (Koran iii. 90). Religious Moslems held Bagh (idol) and 
Dad (gift) an ill-omined conjunction, and the Greeks changed it to Eirenopolis. (See 
Ouseley's Oriental Collections, vol. i. pp. 18-20.) 

52 A If Laylah wa Laylah< 

They sailed up the river with a fair wind for ten days till they 
drew in sight of Baghdad, at which they all rejoiced, and the ship 
landed them in the city, where without stay or delay Hasan hired 
a storehouse in one of the caravanserais and transported his goods 
thither. He lodged that night in the Khan and on the morrow, 
he changed his clothes and going down into the city, enquired for 
a broker. The folk directed him to one, and when the broker saw 
him, he asked him what he lacked. Quoth he, " I want a house, 
a handsome one and a spacious." So the broker showed him 
the houses at his disposal and he chose one that belonged to one 
of the Wazirs and buying it of him for an hundred thousand golden 
dinars, gave him the price. Then he returned to his caravanserai 
and removed all his goods and monies to the house ; after which 
he went down to the market and bought all the mansion needed 
of vessels and carpets and other household stuff", besides servants 
and eunuchs, including a little black boy for the house. He abode 
with his wife in all solace and delight of life three years, during 
which time he was vouchsafed by her two sons, one of whom he 
named Nasir and the other Mansur : but, at the end of this time 
he bethought him of his sisters, the Princesses, and called to mind 
all their goodness to him and how they had helped him to his 
desire. So he longed after them and going out to the market- 
streets of the city, bought trinkets and costly stuffs and fruit- 
confections, such as they had never seen or known. His mother 
asked him the reason of his buying these rarities and he answered, 
" I purpose to visit my sisters, who showed me every kind of 
kindness, and all the wealth that I at present enjoy is due to their 
goodness and munificence : wherefore I will journey to them and 
return soon, Inshallah ! " Quoth she, " O my son, be not long 
absent from me ;" and quoth he, " Know, O my mother, how thou 
shalt do with my wife. Here is her feather-dress in a chest, buried 
under ground in such a place ; do thou watch over it, lest haply 
she hap on it and take it, for she would fly away, she and her 
children, and I should never hear of them again and should die of 
grieving foe them ; wherefore take heed, O my mother, while I 
warn thee that thou name this not to her. Thou must know that 
she is the daughter of a King of the Jinn, than whom there is not 
a greater among the Sovrans of the Jann nor a richer in troops 
and treasure, and she is mistress of her people and dearest to her 
father of all he hath. Moreover, she is passing high-spirited, so 
do thou serve her thyself and suffer her not to go forth the door 

Hasan of Bassorah. 53 

neither look out of window nor over the wall, for I fear the air for 
her when it bloweth, 1 and if aught befel her of the calamities of 
this world, I should slay myself for her sake." She replied, " O 
my son, I take refuge with Allah 2 from gainsaying thee ! Am 1 
mad that thou shouldst lay this charge on me and I disobey thee 
therein ? Depart, O my son, with heart at ease, and please Allah, 
soon thou shalt return in safety and see her and she shall tell thee 
how I have dealt with her : but tarry not, O my son, beyond the 
time of travel." -- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 
and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Woto fojen ft foas tie Sbtbm f^untetr antr NinetB-fouttf) ftTtg&t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan had determined to visit the Princesses, he gave his mother 
the orders we have mentioned. 3 Now, as Fate would have it, his 
wife heard what he said to his mother and neither of them knew 
it. Then Hasan went without the city and beat the kettle-drum, 
whereupon up came the dromedaries and he loaded twenty of 
them with rarities of Al-Irak; after which he returned to his 
mother and repeated his charge to her and took leave of her and 
his wife and children, one of whom was a yearling babe and the 
other two years old. Then he mounted and fared on, without 
stopping night or day, over hills and valleys and plains and wastes 
for a term of ten days till, on the eleventh, he reached the palace 
and went in to his sisters, with the gifts he had brought them. 
The Princesses rejoiced at his sight and gave him joy of his safety, 
whilst his sister decorated the palace within and without. Then 
they took the presents and, lodging him in a chamber as before, 
asked him of his mother and his wife, and he told them that she 
had borne him two sons. And the youngest Princess, seeing hirrv 
well and in good case, joyed with exceeding joy and repeated this 
couplet : 

1 This is a popular saying but hardly a ' vulgar proverb." (Lane iii. 522). It reminds 
rather of Shakespear's : 

" So loving to my mother, 
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven 

Visit her face too roughly. " 
* i.e. God forbid that I should oppose thee ! 

3 Here the writer again forgets apparently that Shahrazad is speaking : she may, 
however, use the plural for the singular when speaking of herself. 

54 J(lf Lay tali wa Lay I ah. 

I ever ask for news of you from whatso breezes pass o And never any but 
yourselves can pass across my mind. 

Then he, abode with them in all honour and hospitality, for three 
months, spending his time in feasting and merrymaking, joy and 
delight, hunting and sporting. So fared it with him ; but as 
regards his wife, she abode with his mother two days after her 
husband's departure, and on the third day, she said to her, " Glory 
be to God ! Have I lived with him three years and shall I never 
go to the bath ? " Then she wept and Hasan's mother had pity 
on her condition and said to her, " O my daughter, here we are 
strangers and thy husband is abroad. Were he at home, he would 
serve thee himself, but, as for me, I know no one. However, O 
my daughter, I will heat thee water and wash thy head in the 
Hammam-bath which is in the house." Answered the King's 
daughter, "O my lady, hadst thou spoken thus to one of the 
slave-girls, she had demanded to be sold in the Sultan's open 
market and had not abode with thee. 1 Men are excusable, because 
they are jealous and their reason telleth them that, if a woman go 
forth the house, haply she will do frowardness, But women, O 
my lady, are not all equal and alike and thou knowest that, if 
woman have a mind to aught, whether it be the Hammam or 
what not else, none hath power over her to guard her or keep her 
chaste or debar her from her desire ; for she will do whatso she 
willeth and naught restraineth her but her reason and her religion. 2 ' 1 
Then she wept and cursed fate and bemoaned herself and her 
strangerhood, till Hasan's mother was moved to ruth for her case 
and knew that all she said was but truth and that there was 
nothing for it but to let her have her way. So she committed 
the affair to Allah (extolled and exalted be He!) and making 
ready all that they needed for the bath, took her and went with 
her to the Hammam. She carried her two little sons with her, and 
when they entered, they put off their clothes and all the women 
fell to gazing on the Princess and glorifying God (to whom belong 
Might and Majesty!) for that He had created so fair a form. 
The women of the city, even those who were passing by, flocked 
to gaze upon her, and the report of her was noised abroad in 
Baghdad till the bath was crowded that there was no passing 
through it. Now it chanced there was present on that day and 

1 i.e. She would have pleaded ill-treatment and lawfully demanded to be sold. 

2 The Hindus speak of the only bond that woman knows-her heart." 

Hasan of Bassorah. 55 

on that rare occasion with the rest of the women in the Hammam, 
one of the slave-girls of the Commander of the Faithful, Harun 
al-Rashid, by name Tohfah i the Lutanist, and she, finding the 
Hammam over crowded and no passing for the throng of women 
and girls, asked what was to do ; and they told her of the young 
lady. So she walked up to her and, considering her closely, was 
amazed at her grace and loveliness and glorified God (magnified 
be His majesty !) for the fair forms He hath created. The sight 
hindered her from her bath, so that she went not farther in nor 
washed, but sat staring at the Princess, till she had made an end 
of bathing and coming forth of the caldarium donned her raiment, 
whereupon beauty was added to her beauty. She sat down on 
the divan, 2 whilst the women gazed upon her ; then she looked at 
them and veiling herself, went out. Tohfah went out with her 
and followed her, till she saw where she dwelt, when she left her 
and returned to the Caliph's palace ; and ceased not wending till 
she went in to the Lady Zubaydah and kissed ground between her 
hands ; whereupon quoth her mistress, " O Tohfah, why hast thou 
tarried in the Hammam ? " She replied, " O my lady, I have seen 
a marvel, never saw I its like amongst men or women, and this it 
was that distracted me and dazed my wit and amazed me, so that 
I forgot even to wash my head." Asked Zubaydah, " And what 
was that ? " ; and Tohfah answered, " O my lady, I saw a damsel 
in the bath, having with her two little boys like moons, eye never 
espied her like, nor before her nor after her, neither is there the 
fellow of her form in the whole world nor her peer amongst Ajams 
or Turks or Arabs. By the munificence, O my lady, an thou 
toldest the Commander of the Faithful of her, he would slay her 
husband and take her from him, for her like is not to be found 
among women. I asked of her mate and they told me that he is 
a merchant Hasan of Bassorah hight. Moreover, I followed her 
from the bath to her own house and found it to be that of the 
Wazir, with the two gates, one opening on the river and the other 
on the land. 3 Indeed, O my lady, I fear lest the Prince of True 
Believers hear of her and break the law and slay her husband and 

take love-liesse with her." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 

of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

1 i.e. a rarity, a present (especially in Persian). 

2 Arab. Al-bisat wa' 1-masnad lit. the carpet and the cushion, 

3 For ' Bab al-bahr" and "Bab al-Barr" see vol. iii. 281. 

56 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

fofjen ft toas t&e Sbtben l^untrrrtr antr Nfaetp.fiftfr Xfj&t, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Tohfah, after seeing the King's daughter, described her beauty to 
the Lady Zubaydah ending with, " Indeed, O my mistress, I fear 
lest the Prince of True Believers hear of her and break the law 
and slay her mate and take her to wife," Zubaydah cried, " Woe 
to thee, O Tohfah, say me, doth this damsel display such passing 
beauty and loveliness that the Commander of the Faithful should, 
on her account, barter his soul's good for his worldly lust and 
break the Holy Law ! By Allah, needs must I look on her, and 
if she be not as thou sayest, I will bid strike off thy head ! O 
strumpet, there are in the Caliph's Serraglio three hundred and 
three score slave girls, after the number of the days of the year, yet 
is there none amongst them so excellent as thou describest ! " 
Tohfah replied, " No, by Allah, O my lady ! : nor is there her like 
in all Baghdad ; no, nor amongst the Arabs or the Daylamites 
nor hath Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty !) created the 
like of her ! " Thereupon Zubaydah called for Masrur, the eunuch, 
who came and kissed the ground before her, and she said to him, 
" O Masrur, go to the Wazir's house, that with the two gates, one 
giving on the water and the other on the land, and bring me the 
damsel who dwelleth there, also her two children and the old 
woman who is with her, and haste thou and tarry not." Said 
Masrur, " I hear and I obey," and repairing to Hasan's house, 
knocked at the door. Quoth the old woman, "Who is at the 
door ? " and quoth he, " Masrur, the eunuch of the Commander 
of the Faithful." So she opened the door and he entered and 
saluted her with the salam ; whereupon she returned his salute 
and asked his need ; and he replied, ' The Lady Zubaydah, daughter 
of Al-Kasim 1 and queen-spouse of the Commander of the Faithful 
Harun al-Rashid sixth 2 of the sons of Al-Abbas, paternal uncle 
of the Prophet (whom Allah bless and keep !) summoneth thee to 
her, thee and thy son's wife and her children ; for the women have 

1 She was the daughter of Ja'afar bin Mansur ; but, as will be seen, The Nights again 
and again call her father Al-Kasim. 

2 This is an error for the fifth which occurs in the popular saying, Is he the fifth 
of the sons of Al-Abbas ! " i.e. Harun al-Rashid. Lane (note, in loco) thus accounts 
for the frequent mention of the Caliph, the greatest of the Abbasides in The Nights 
But this is a causa non causa. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 57 

told her anent her and her beauty" Rejoined the old woman, O 
my lord Masrur, we are foreigner folk and the girl's husband (my 
son) who is abroad and far from home hath strictly charged me 
not to go forth nor let her go forth in his absence, neither show 
her to any of the creatures of Allah Almighty ; and I fear me, if 
aught befal her and he come back, he will slay himself; wherefore 
of thy favour I beseech thee, O Masrur, require us not of that 
whereof we are unable. Masrur retorted, " O my lady, if I knew 
aught to be feared for you in this, I would not require you to go ; 
the Lady Zubaydah desireth but to see her and then she may 
return. So disobey not or thou wilt repent ; and like as I take 
you, I will bring you both back in safety, Inshallah ! " Hasan's 
mother could not gainsay him ; so she went in and making the 
damsel ready, brought her and her children forth and they all 
followed Masrur to the palace of the Caliphate where he carried 
them in and seated them on the floor before the Lady Zubaydah. 
They kissed ground before her and called down blessings upon 
her; and Zubaydah said to the young lady (who was veiled), "Wilt 
thou not uncover thy face, that I may look on it ? " So she kissed 
the ground between her hands and discovered a face which put to 
shame the full moon in the height of heaven. Zubaydah fixed her 
eyes on her and let their glances wander over her, whilst the palace 
was illumined by the light of her countenance ; whereupon the 
Queen and the whole company were amazed at her beauty and all 
who looked on her became Jinn-mad and unable to bespeak one 
another. As for Zubaydah, she rose and making the damsel 
stand up, strained her to her bosom and seated her by herself on 
the couch. Moreover, she bade decorate the palace in her honour 
and calling for a suit of the richest raiment and a necklace of the 
rarest ornaments put them upon her. Then said she to her, " O 
'liege lady of fair ones, verily thou astoundest me and fillest mine 
eyes. 1 What arts knowest thou ? " She replied, " O my lady, I 
have a dress of feathers, and could I but put it on before thee, 
thou wouldst see one of the fairest of fashions and marvel thereat, 
and all who saw it would talk of its goodliness, generation after 
generation." Zubaydah asked, "And where is this dress of 
thine ? "; and the damsel answered, " Tis with my husband's 
mother. Do thou seek it for me of her." So Zubaydah said to 

1 i.e. I find thy beauty all-sufficient. So the proverb " The son of the quarter (young 
neighbour) filleth not the eye," which prefers a stranger. 

58 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

the old woman, "O my lady the pilgrimess, O my mother, go 
forth and fetch us her feather-dress, that we may solace ourselves 
by looking on what she will do, and after take it back again." 
Replied the old woman, " O my lady, this damsel is a liar. Hast 
thou ever seen any of womankind with a dress of feathers ? Indeed, 
this belongeth only to birds." But the damsel said to the Lady 
Zubaydah, " As thou livest, O my lady, she hath a feather-dress 
of mine and it is in a chest, which is buried in such a store-closet 
in the house." So Zubaydah took off her neck a riviere of jewels, 
worth all the treasures of Chosroe and Caesar, and gave it to the 
old woman, saying, " O my mother, I conjure thee by my life, take 
this necklace and go and fetch us this dress, that we may divert 
ourselves with the sight thereof, and after take it again ! " But 
she sware to her that she had never seen any such dress and wist 
not what the damsel meant by her speech. Then the Lady 
Zubaydah cried out at her and taking the key from her, called 
Masrur and said to him as soon as he came, " Take this key and 
go to the house ; then open it and enter a store-closet there whose 
door is such and such and amiddlemost of it thou wilt find a chest 
buried. Take it out and break it open and bring me the feather- 
dress which is therein and set it before me." And Shahrazad 

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

Nofo fo&en ft foas tf)0 Sbeben l^unttrrti antr Nmetg-sixt?) 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Lady 
Zubaydah, having taken the key from Hasan's mother, handed it 
to Masrur, saying, " Take this key and open such a closet ; then 
bring forth of it the chest ; break it open ; bring me the feather- 
dress which is therein and set it before me." " Hearkening and 
obedience," replied he and taking the 'key went forth, whereupon 
the old woman arose and followed him, weeping-eyed and re- 
penting her of having given ear to the damsel and gone with her 
to the bath, for her desire to go thither was but a device. So she 
went with him to the house and opened the door of the closet, 
and he entered and brought out the chest. Then he took there- 
from the feather-dress and wrapping it in a napkin, carried it to 
the Lady Zubaydah, who took it and turned it about, marvelling 
at the beauty of its make ; after which she gave it to the damsel, 
saying, " Is this thy dress of feathers ? " She replied, " Yes, O my 

Hasan of Bass or ah. 59 

lady, and at once putting forth her hand, took it joyfully, Then 
she examined it and rejoiced to find it whole as it was, not a 
feather gone. So she rose and came down from beside the Lady 
Zubaydah and taking her sons in her bosom, wrapped herself in 
the feather-dress and became a bird, by the ordinance of Allah 
(to whom belong Might and Majesty !), whereat Zubaydah mar- 
velled as did all who were present. Then she walked with a 
swaying and graceful gait and danced and sported and flapped 
her wings, whilst all eyes were fixed on her and all marvelled at 
what she did. Then said she with fluent tongue, " Is this goodly, 
O my ladies ? "; and they replied, " Yes, O Princess of the fair ! 
All thou dost is goodly." Said she, " And this, O my mistresses, 
that I am about to do is 'better yet/' Then she spread her wings 
and flying up with her children to the dome of the palace, perched 
on the saloon-roof whilst they all looked at her, wide-eyed and 
said, " By Allah, this is indeed a rare and peregrine fashion ! 
Never saw we its like." Then, as she was about to take flight for 
her own land, she bethought her of Hasan and said, " Hark ye, 
my mistresses ! " and she improvised these couplets 1 : 

O who hast quitted these abodes and faredst lief and light o To other objects 

of thy love with fain and fastest flight ! 
Deem'st thou that 'bided I with you in solace and in joy o Or that my days 

amid you all were clear of bane and blight ? 
When I was captive ta'en of Love and snared in his snare, o He made of Love 

my prison and he fared fro' me forthright : 
So when my fear was hidden, he made sure that ne'er should I * Pray to the 

One, th' Omnipotent to render me my right : 
He charged his mother keep the secret with all the care she could, <> In closet 

shut and treated me with enemy's despight : 
But I o'erheard their words and held them fast in memory o And hoped for 

fortune fair and weal and blessings infinite : 
My faring to the Hammam-bath then proved to me the means o Of making 

minds of folk to be confounded at my sight : 
Wondered the Bride of Al-Rashid to see my brilliancy o When she beheld me 

right and left with all of beauty dight : 
Then quoth I, " O our Caliph's wife, I once was wont to own A dress of 

feathers rich and rare that did the eyes delight : 
An it were now on me thou shouldst indeed see wondrous things o That 

would efface all sorrows and disperse all sores of sprite : " 
Then deigned our Caliph's Bride to cry, "Where is that dress of thine ?" * 

And I replied, " In house of him kept darkling as the night." 

1 They are mere doggrel, like most of the pieces de circonstance. 

60 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

So down upon it pounced Masrtir and brought it unto her, o And when 'twas 

there each feather cast a ray of beaming light : 
Therewith I took it from his hand and opened it straightway o And saw its 

plumed bosom and its buttons pleased my sight : 
And so I clad myself therein and took with me my babes j o And spread my 

wings and flew away with all my main and might ; 
Saying, " O husband's mother mine tell him when cometh he o An ever 

wouldest meet her thou from house and home must flee. 

When she had made an end of her verses, the Lady Zubaydah 
said to her, " Wilt thou not come down to us, that we may take 
our fill of thy beauty, O fairest of the fair ? Glory be to Him 
who hath given thee eloquence and brilliance!" But she said, 
" Far be from me that the Past return should see ! " Then said 
she to the mother of the hapless, wretched Hasan, " By Allah, O 
my lady, O mother of my husband, it irketh me to part from 
thee ; but, whenas thy son cometh to thee and upon him the 
nights of severance longsome shall be and he craveth reunion 
and meeting to see and whenas breezes of love and longing shakr- 
him dolefully, let him come in the islands of Wak 1 to me." Then 

1 Afterwards called Wak Wak, and in the Bresl. Edit. Wak al-Wak. See Lane's 
notes upon these Islands. Arab Geographers evidently speak of two Wak Waks. Ibn 
al-Fakih and Al-Mas'iidi (Fr. Transl., vol. iii. 6-7) locate one of them in East Africa 
beyond Zanzibar and Sofala. " Le territoire des Zendjes (Zanzibar-Negroids) commence 
au canal (Al-Khalij) derive du haut Nil (the Juln River?) et se prolonge jusqu'au pays 
de Sofalah et des Wak-Wak." It is simply the peninsula of Guardafui (Jard Hafun.) 
occupied by the Gallas, pagans and Christians, before these were ousted by the Moslem 
Somalj and the former perpetually ejaculated "Wak" (God) as Moslems cry upon 
Allah. This identification explains a host of other myths such as the Amazons, who as 
Marco Polo tells us held the "Female Island" Socotra (Yule ii. 396), The fruit 
which resembled a woman's head (whence thepuellae Wakwakienses hanging by the hair 
from trees), and which when ripe called out " Wak Wak" and " Allah al-Khalldk " 
(the Creator) refers to the Calabash-tree (Adausonia digitata), that grotesque growth, 
a vegetable elephant, whose gourds, something larger than a man's head, hang by a 
slender filament. Similarly the "cocoa "got its name, in Port. = Goblin, from the 
fancied face at one end. The other Wak Wak has been identified in turns with the 
Seychelles, Madagascar, Malacca, Sunda or Java (this by Langles), China and Japan. 
The learned Prof, de Goeje (Arabishe Berichten over Japan, Amsterdam Muller, 1880) 
informs us that in Canton the name of Japan is Wo-Kwok, possibly a corruption of 
Koku-tan, the ebony-tree (Diospyros ebenum) which Ibn Khordabah and others find 
together with gold in an island 4,500 parasangs from Suez and East of China. And we 
must remember that Basrah was the chief sfarting-place for the Celestial Empire during 
the rule of the Tang dynasty (seventh and ninth centuries). Colonel J. W, Watson of 
Bombay suggests New Guinea or the adjacent islands where the Bird of Paradise is said 
to cry " Wak Wak ! " Mr. W. F. Kirby in the Preface (p. ix.) to his neat little book "The 
New Arabian Nights," says: "The Islands of Wak-Wak, seven years' journey from 
Bagdad, in the story of Hasan, have receded to a distance of a hundred and fifty years' 

Hasan of Bassorah. 6 1 

she took flight with her children and sought her own country, 
whilst the old woman wept and beat her face and moaned and 
groaned till she swooned away. When she came to herself, she 
said to the Lady Zubaydah, " O my lady, what is this thou hast 
done ? " And Zubaydah said to her, " O my lady the pilgrimess, I 
knew not that this would happen and hadst thou told me of the 
case and acquainted me with her condition, I had not gainsaid 
thee. Nor did I know until now that she was of the Flying Jinn ; 
else had I not suffered her to don the dress nor permitted her to 
take her children : but now, O my lady, words profit nothing ; so 
do thou acquit me of offence against thee." And the old woman 
could do no otherwise than shortly answer, " Thou art acquitted ! " 
Then she went forth the palace of the Caliphate and returned to 
her own house, where she buffeted her face till she swooned away. 
When she came to herself, she pined for her daughter-in-law and 
her grandchildren and for the sight of her son and versified with 
these couplets : 

Your faring on the parting-day drew many a tear fro' me, o Who must your 
flying from the home long mourn in misery : 

And cried I for the parting pang in anguish likest fire o And tear-floods 
chafed mine eyelids sore that ne'er of tears were free ; 

41 Yes, this is Severance, Ah, shall we e'er joy return of you ? o For your de- 
parture hath deprived my power of privacy ! " 

Ah, would they had returned to me in covenant of faith o An they return 
perhaps restore of past these eyne may see. 

Then arising she dug in the house three graves and betook her- 
self to them with weeping all whiles of the day and watches of 
the night ; and when her son's absence was longsome upon her 
and grief and yearning and unquiet waxed upon her, she recited 
these couplets : 

Deep in mine eye-balls ever dwells the phantom-form of thee o My heart when 

throbbing or at rest holds fast thy memory : 
And love of thee doth never cease to course within my breast, o As course the 

juices in the fruits which deck the branchy tree : 

journey in that of Majin (of Khorasan). There is no doubt (?) that the Cora Islands, 
near New Guinea, are intended ; for the wonderful fruits which grow there are Birds of 
Paradise, which settle in flocks on the trees at sunset and sunrise, uttering this very cry." 
Thus, like Ophir, Wak Wak has wandered all over the world and has been found even 
in Peru by the Turkish work Tarikh al-Hind al-Gharbi = History of the West Indies 
(Orient. Coll. ii. 189). 

62 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

And every day I see thee not my bosom straightened is o And even censurers 

excuse the woes in me they see : 
O thou whose love hath gotten hold the foremost in the heart * Of me whose 

fondness is excelled by mine insanity : 
Fear the Compassionate in my case and some compassion show ! o Love of 

thee makes me taste of death in bitterest pungency. 

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

ttfofo fofcen ft foas tje >eben fgimtrtrtr an* jiutttg.sebemf) 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Hasan's mother bewept through the watches of the night and the 
whiles of the day her separation from her son and his wife and 
children. On this wise it fared with her ; but as regards Hasan, 
when he came to the Princesses, they conjured him to tarry with 
them three months, after which long sojourn they gave him five 
loads of gold and the like of silver and one load of victual and 
accompanied him on his homeward way till he conjured them to 
return, whereupon they fare welled him with an embrace ; but 
the youngest came up to him, to bid him adieu and clasping his 
neck wept till she fainted. Then she recited these two couplets : 

When shall the severance-fire be quenched by union, love, with you ? o When. 

shall I win my wish of you and days that were renew ? 
The parting-day affrighted me and wrought me dire dismay o And doubleth. 

woe, O master mine, by the sad word " Adieu." 

Anon came forward the second Princess and embraced him and 
recited these two couplets ; 

Farewelling thee indeed is like to bidding life farewell o And like the loss of 
Zephyr * 'tis to lose thee far our sight : 

Thine absence is a flaming fire which burneth up my heart o And in thy pre- 
sence I enjoy the Gardens of Delight. 2 

Presently came forward the third and embraced him and recited 
these two couplets : 

1 I accept the emendation of Lane's Shaykh, " Nasim " (Zephyr) for "Nadim" 

2 "Jannat al-Na'im " = Garden of Delights is No. V Heaven, made of white 

Hasan of Bassorah. 6$ 

We left not taking leave of thee (when bound to other goal) o From aught of 
ill intention or from weariness and dole : 

Thou art my soul, my very soul, the only soul of me : o And how shall I fare- 
well myself and say, " Adieu my Soul ? " l 

After her came forward the fourth and embraced him and recited 
these two couplets : 

Nought garred me weep save where and when of severance spake he o Per* 

sisting in his cruel will with sore persistency : 
Look at this pearl-like ornament I've hung upon mine ear : o Tis of the tears 

of me compact, this choicest jewelry I 

In her turn came forward the fifth and embraced him and recited 
these two couplets: x* 

Ah, fare thee not ; for I've no force thy faring to endure, o Nor e'en to say the 

word farewell before my friend is sped : 
Nor any patience to support the days of severance, o Nor any tears on ruined 

house and wasted home to shed. 

Next came the sixth and embraced him and recited these two 
couplets : 

I cried, as the camels went off with them, o And Love pained my vitals with 

sorest pain : 
Had I a King who would lend me rule o I'd seize every ship that dares sail 

the Main. 

Lastly came forward the seventh and embraced him and recited 
these couplets : 

When thou seest parting, be patient still, o Nor let foreign parts deal thy 

soul affright : 
But abide, expecting a swift return, o For all hearts hold parting in sore 


And eke these two couplets : 

Indeed Pm heart-broken to see thee start, * Nor can I farewell thee ere thou 

depart ; 
Allah wotteth I left not to say adieu * Save for fear that saying would melt 

your heart. 

Hasan also wept for parting from them, till he swooned, and re- 
peated these couplets : 

1 This appears to her very prettily put. 

64 A If Laylah wa Lay la h. 

Indeed, ran my tears on the severance-day * Like pearls I threaded in neck- 
lace-way : 

The cameleer drove his camels with song * But I lost heart, patience and 
strength and stay : 

I bade them farewell and retired in grief * From tryst- place and camp where 
my dearlings lay : 

I turned me unknowing the way nor joyed * My soul, but in hopes to return 
some day. 

Oh listen, my friend, to the words of love * God forbid thy heart forget all I 

O my soul when thou partest wi' them, part too * With all joys of life nor for 
living pray ! 

Then he farewelled them and fared on diligently night and day, 
till he came to Baghdad, the House of Peace and Sanctuary of 
the Abbaside Caliphs unknowing what had passed during his 
wayfare. At once entering his house he went in to his mother 
to salute her, but found her worn of body and wasted of bones, 
for excess of mourning and watching, weeping and wailing, till 
she was grown thin as a tooth-pick and could not answer him a 
word. So he dismissed the dromedaries then asked her of his 
wife and children and she wept till she fainted, and he seeing 
her in this state searched the house for them, but found no trace 
of them. Then he went to the store-closet and rinding it open 
and the chest broken and the feather-dress missing, knew forth- 
right that his wife had possessed herself thereof and flown away 
with her children. Then he returned to his mother and, finding 
her recovered from her fit, questioned her of his spouse and babes, 
whereupon she wept and said, " O my son, may Allah amply re- 
quite thee their loss ! These are their three tombs." ! When Hasan 
heard these words of his mother, he shrieked a loud shriek and 
fell down in a fainting-fit in which he lay from the first of the 
day till noon-tide ; whereupon anguish was added to his mother's 
anguish and she despared of his life. However, after a-while, he 
came to himself and wept and buffeted his face and rent his 
raiment and went about the house clean distraught, reciting these 
two couplets 2 

1 This is the " House of Sadness " of our old chivalrous Romances. See chapt. vi. 
of " Palmerin of England," by Francisco de Moraes (ob, 1572), translated by old 
Anthony Munday (dateless, 1590 ?) and " corrected" (read spoiled) by Robert Southey. 
London, Longmans, 1807. 

2 The lines have occurred in Night clix. (vol. iii. 183), I quote Mr. Payne who, like 
Lane, prefers " in my bosom " to " beneath my ribs." 

Hasan of Bassorah. 65 

Folk have made moan of passion before me, of past years, * And live and 

dead for absence have suffered pains and fears ; 
But that within my bosom I harbour, with mine eyes # I've never seen the 

like of nor heard with mine ears. 

Then finishing his verses he bared his brand and coming up to his 
mother, said to her, " Except thou tell me the truth of the case, I 
will strike off thy head and kill myself." She replied, " O my 
son, do not such deed : put up thy sword and sit down, till I tell 
thee what hath passed." So he sheathed his scymitar and sat by 
her side, whilst she recounted to him all that had happened in his 
absence from first to last, adding, " O my son, but that I saw her 
weep in her longing for the bath and feared that she would go and 
complain to thee on thy return, and thou wouldst be wroth with 
me, I had never carried her thither ; and were it not that the 
Lady Zubaydah was wroth with me and took the key from me by 
force, I had never brought out the feather-dress, though I died for 
it. But thou knowest, O my son, that no hand may measure 
length with that of the Caliphate. When they brought her the 
dress, she took it and turned it over, fancying that somewhat 
might be lost thereof, but she found it uninjured ; wherefore she 
rejoiced and making her children fast to her waist, donned the 
feather-vest, after the Lady Zubaydah had pulled off to her all 
that was upon herself and clad her therein, in honour of her and 
because of her beauty. No sooner had she donned the dress than 
she shook and becoming a bird, promenaded about the palace, 
whilst all who were present gazed at her and marvelled at her 
beauty and loveliness. Then she flew up to the palace roof and 
perching thereon, looked at me and said : Whenas thy son cometh 
to thee and the nights of separation upon him longsome shall 
be and he craveth reunion and meeting to see and whenas the 
breezes of love and longing shake him dolefully let him leave his 
native land and journey to the Islands of Wak and seek me. 

This, then, is her story and what befel in thine absence." And 

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

JJofo fo&m it foas tje gbeten f^untofc an* 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that as soon 
as Hasan's mother had made an end of her story, he gave a great 

66 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

cry and fell down in a fainting fit which continued till the end of 
day, when he revived and fell to buffeting his face and writhing 
on the floor like a scotched snake. His mother sat weeping 
by his head until midnight, when he came to himself and wept 
sore and recited these couplets 1 : 

Pause ye and see his sorry state since when ye fain withdrew ; o Haply, when 

wrought your cruelty, you'll have the grace to rue : 
For an ye look on him, you'll doubt of him by sickness-stress o As though, 

by Allah, he were one before ye never knew. 
He dies for nothing save for love of you, and he would be o Numbered amid 

the dead did not he moan and groan for you. 
And deem not pangs of severance sit all lightly on his soul ; o Tis heavy load 

on lover-wight ; 'twere lighter an ye slew. 

Then having ended his verse he rose and went round about the 
house, weeping and wailing, groaning and bemoaning himself, five 
days, during which he tasted nor meat nor drink. His mother 
came to him and conjured him, till he broke his fast, and besought 
him to leave weeping ; but he hearkened not to her and continued 
to shed tears and lament, whilst she strove to comfort him and he 
heeded her not. Then he recited these couplets 2 : 

Beareth for love a burden sore this soul of me, o Could break a mortal's 

back however strong that be; 
I am distraught to see my case and languor grows o Making my day and night 

indifferent in degree : 
I own to having dreaded Death before this day : o This day I hold my death 

mine only remedy. 

And Hasan ceased not to do thus till daybreak, when his eyes 
closed and he saw in a dream his wife grief-full and repentant for 
that which she had done. So he started up from sleep crying out 
and reciting these two couplets : 

Their image bides with me, ne'er quits me, ne'er shall fly ; oBut holds within 

my heart most honourable stead ; 
But for reunion-hope, I'd see me die forthright, o And but for phantom-form of 

thee my sleep had fled. 

1 In this tale the Bresl. Edit, more than once adds " And let us and you send a 
blessing to the Lord of Lords" (or to " Mohammed," or to the " Prophet ") ; and in 
vol.- v. p. 52 has a long prayer. This is an act of contrition in the tale-teller for 
romancing against the expressed warning of the Founder of Al-Islam. 

2 From Bresl. Edit. (vi. 29) : the four in the Mac. Edit, are too irrelevant. 

Hasan of Bass or ah. 67 

And as morning morrowed he redoubled his lamentations. He 
abode weeping-eyed and heavy-hearted, wakeful by night and 
eating little, for a whole month at the end of which he bethought 
him to repair to his sisters and take counsel with them in the 
matter of his wife, so haply they might help him to regain her. 
Accordingly he summoned the dromedaries and loading fifty of 
them with rarities of Al-Irak, committed the house to his mother's 
care and deposited all his goods in safe keeping, except some few 
he left at home. Then he mounted one of the beasts and set out 
on his journey single handed, intent upon obtaining aidance from 
the Princesses, and he stayed not till he reached the Palace of the 
Mountain of Clouds, when he went in to the damsels and gave them 
the presents, in which they rejoiced. Then they wished him joy 
of his safety and said to him, " O our brother, what can ail thee to 
come again so soon, seeing thou wast with us but two months 
since ? " Whereupon he wept and improvised these couplets : 

My soul for loss of lover sped I sight ; <* Nor life enjoying neither life's 

delight : 
My case is one whose cure is all unknown ; o Can any cure the sick but doctor 

wight ? 
O who hast reft my sleep-joys, leaving me o To ask the breeze that blew from 

that fair site, 
Blew from my lover's land (the land that owns o Those charms so sore a grief 

in soul excite), 
W breeze, that visitest her land, perhaps o Breathing her scent, thou mayst 

revive my sprite ! w 

And when he ended his verse he gave a great cry and fell down in 
a fainting-fit. The Princesses sat round him, weeping over him, 
till he recovered and repeated these two couplets : 

Haply and happily may Fortune bend her rein a Bringing my love, for 

Time's a freke of jealous strain ; l 
Fortune may prosper me, supply mine every want, o And bring a blessing 

where before were ban and bane. 

Then he wept till he fainted again, and presently coming to 
himself recited the two following couplets : 

Arab. Ghayurrr jealous, an admirable epithet which Lane dilutes to "changeable " 
making a truism of a metaphor. 

68 A If Laylah wa Lay! ah. 

My wish, mine illness, mine unease ! by Allah, own o Art thou content ? then 

I in love contented wone ! 
Dost thou forsake me thus sans crime or sin o Meet me in r'th, 1 

pray, and be our parting gone. 

Then he wept till he swooned away once more and when he 
revived he repeated these couplets : 

Sleep fled me, by my side wake ever shows And hoard of tear-drops from 

these eyne aye flows ; 
For love they weep with beads cornelian-like * And growth of distance greater 

dolence grows : 
Lit up my longing, O my love, in me # Flames burning 'neath my 

ribs with fiery throes ! 
Remembering thee a tear I never shed * But in it thunder roars and 

leven glows. 

Then he wept till he fainted away a fourth time, and presently 
recovering, recited these couplets : 

Ah ! for lowe of love and longing suffer ye as suffer we ? o Say, as pine we 
and as yearn we for you are pining ye ? 

Allah do the death of Love, what a bitter draught is his ! o Would I wot of 
Love what plans and what projects nurseth he ! 

Your faces radiant-fair though afar from me they shine, o Are mirrored in 
our eyes whatsoe'er the distance be j 

My heart must ever dwell on the memories of your tribe ; o And the turtle- 
dove reneweth all as oft as moaneth she : 

Ho thou dove, who passest night-tide in calling on thy fere, o Thou doublest 
my repine, bringing grief for company ; 

And leavest thou mine eyelids with weeping unfulfilled o For the dear- 
lings who departed, whom we never more may see : 

I melt for the thought of you at every time and hour, o And I long for 
you when Night showeth cheek of blackest blee. 

Now when his sister heard these words and saw his condition 
and how he lay fainting on the floor, she screamed and beat her 
face and the other Princesses hearing her scream came out and 
learning his misfortune and the transport of love and longing 
and the passion and distraction that possessed him they ques- 
tioned him of his case. He wept and told them what had befallen 
in his absence and how his wife had taken flight with her children, 
wherefore they grieved for him and asked him what she said at 
leave-taking Answered he, " O my sisters, she said to my mother, 
Tell thy son, whenas he cometh to thee and the nights of sever- 
ance upon him longsome shall be and he craveth reunion and 

Hasan of Bassorah. 69 

meeting to see, and whenas the winds of love and longing shake 
him dolefully, let him fare in the Islands of Wak to me." When 
they heard his words they signed one to other with their eyes and 
shook their heads, and each looked at her sister, whilst Hasan 
looked at them all. Then they bowed their heads groundwards 
and bethought themselves awhile ; after which they raised their 
heads and said, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might save 
in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! "; presently adding, "Put forth 
thy hand to heaven and when thou reach thither, then shalt thou 

win to thy wife." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased saying her permitted say. 

KTofo fofjcn it foas tfje Sbefcen f^utrtrrrtr airtr VinttB-nfntft 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Princesses said to Hasan, " Put forth thy hand to Heaven 
and when thou reach thither, then shalt thou win to wife and 
children," thereat the tears ran down his cheeks like rain and 
wet his clothes, and he recited these couplets : 

Pink cheeks and eyes enpupil'd black have dealt me sore despight ; o And 

whenas wake overpowered sleep my patience fled in fright : 
The fair and sleek-limbed maidens hard of heart withal laid waste o My very 

bones till not a breath is left for man to sight : 
Houris, who fare with gait of grace as roes o'er sandy-mound : o Did Allah's 

saints behold their charms they'd doat thereon forthright ; 
Faring as fares the garden breeze that bloweth in the dawn, o For love of 

them a sore unrest and troubles rack my sprite : 
I hung my hopes upon a maid, a leveling fair of them, o For whom my heart 

still burns with lowe in Laza"-hell they light ; 
A dearling soft of sides and haught and graceful in her gait, o Her grace is 

white as morning, but her hair is black as night : 
She stirreth me ! But ah, how many heroes have her cheeks o Upstirred for 

love, and eke her eyes that mingle black and white. 

Then he wept, whilst the Princesses wept for his weeping, and 
they were moved to compassion and jealousy for him. So they 
fell to comforting him and exhorting him to patience and offering 
up prayers for his reunion with his wife ; whilst his sister said to 
him, " O my brother, be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool 
and clear and be patient ; so shalt thou win thy will ; for whoso- 
hath patience and waiteth, that he seeketh attaineth. Patience 
holdeth the keys of relief and indeed the poet saith : 

70 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Let destiny with slackened rein its course appointed fare ! And lie thou down 

to sleep by night, with heart devoid of care ; 
For 'twixt the closing of an eye and th' opening thereof, God hath it in His 

power to change a case from foul to fair. 1 

So hearten thy heart and brace up thy resolve, for the son of ten 
years dieth not in the ninth. 2 Weeping and grief and mourning 
gender sickness and disease ; wherefore do thou abide with us till 
thou be rested, and I will devise some device for thy winning 
to thy wife and children, Inshallah so it please Allah the Most 
High ! " And he wept sore and recited these verses : 

An I be healed of disease in frame, I'm unhealed of illness in heart and 

sprite : 
There is no healing disease of love, o Save lover and loved one to re-unite. 

Then he sat down Reside her and she proceeded to talk with him 
and comfort him and question him of the cause and the manner 
of his wife's departure. So he told her and she said, " By Allah, 
O my brother, I was minded to bid thee burn the feather-dress, but 
Satan made me forget it." She ceased not to converse with him 
and caress him and company with him other ten days, whilst sleep 
visited him not and he delighted not in food ; and when the case 
was longsome upon him and unrest waxed in him, he versified 
with these couplets : 

A beloved familiar o'erreigns my heart o And Allah's ruling reigns 

evermore : 
She hath all the Arabs' united charms o This gazelle who feeds on 

my bosom's core. 
Though my skill and patience for love of her fail, o I weep whilst I wot that 

'tis vain to deplore. 
The dearling hath twice seven years, as though o She were moon of five 

nights and of five plus four. 3 

When the youngest Princess saw him thus distracted for love and 
longing-for passion and the fever-heat of desire, she went in to 
her sisterhood weeping-eyed and woeful-hearted, and shedding 
copious tears threw herself upon them, kissed their feet and 
besought them to devise some device for bringing Hasan to 

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

2 i.e. One fated to live ten years. 

3 This poetical way of saying " fourteen " suggests Camoens (The Lusiads) 
Canto v. 2. 


Hasan of Bassorah. 71 

the Islands of Wak and effecting his reunion with his wife 
and wees. She ceased not to conjure them to further her 
brother in the accomplishment of his desire and to weep before 
them, till she made them weep and they said to her, " Hearten 
thy heart : we will do our best endeavour to bring about his 
reunion with his family, Inshallah ! " And he abode with them 
a whole year, during which his eyes never could retain their 
tears. Now the sisterhood had an uncle, brother-german to 
their sire and his name was Abd al-Kaddus, or Slave of the 
Most Holy; and he loved the eldest with exceeding love and 
was wont to visit her once a year and do all she desired. 
They had told him of Hasan's adventure with the Magian and 
how he had been able to slay him ; whereat he rejoiced and gave 
the eldest Princess a pouch 1 which contained certain perfumes, 
saying, " O daughter of my brother, an thou be in concern for 
aught, or if aught irk thee, or thou stand in any need, cast of 
these perfumes upon fire naming my name and I will be with 
thee forthright and will do thy desire." This speech was spoken 
on the first of Moharram 2 ; and the eldest Princess said to 
one of the sisterhood, " Lo, the year is wholly past and my uncle 
is not come. Rise, bring me the fire-sticks and the box of per- 
fumes." So the damsel arose rejoicing and, fetching what she 
sought, laid it before her sister, who opened the box and taking 
thence a little of the perfume, cast it into the fire, naming her 
uncle's name ; nor was it burnt out ere appeared a dust-cloud at 
the farther end of the Wady ; and presently lifting, it discovered a 
Shaykh riding on an elephant, which moved at a swift and easy 
pace, and trumpeted under the rider. As soon as he came within 
sight of the Princesses, he began making signs to them with his 
hands and feet ; nor was it long ere he reached the castle and, 
alighting from the elephant, came in to them, whereupon they 
embraced him and kissed his hands and saluted him with the 
salam. Then he sat down, whilst the girls talked with him and 
questioned him of his absence. Quoth he, " I was sitting but now 
with my wife, your aunt, when I smelt the perfumes and hastened 
to you on this elephant. What wouldst thou, O daughter of my 
brother ? " Quoth she, " O uncle, indeed we longed for thee, as 

1 Arab. " Surrah," lit. = a purse: a few lines lower down it is called "'Ulbah * 
z a box which, of course, may have contained the bag. 
a The month which begins the Moslem year. 

72 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

the year is past and 'tis not thy wont to be absent from us more- 
than a twelvemonth." Answered he, " I was busy, but I purposed 
to come to you to-morrow." Wherefore they thanked him and 
blessed him and sat talking with him. And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

tofien it toas tje lEtgfit 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
girls sat down to chat with their uncle the eldest said to him, " O 
my uncle, we told thee the tale of Hasan of Bassorah, whom 
Bahram the Magian brought and how he slew the wizard and 
how, after enduring all manner of hardships and horrors, he made 
prize of the Supreme King's daughter and took her to wife and 
journeyed with her to his native land ? " Replied he, "Yes, and 
what befel him after that ? " Quoth the Princess, " She played 
him false after he was blest with two sons by her ; for she took 
them in his absence and fled with them to her own country, saying 
to his mother : Whenas thy son returneth to thee and asketh 
for me and upon him the nights of severance longsome shall be 
and he craveth reunion and meeting to see and whenas the breezes 
of love and longing shake him dolefully, let him come in the 
Islands of Wak to me." When Abd al-Kaddus heard this, he 
shook his head and bit his forefinger ; then, bowing his brow 
groundwards he began to make marks on the earth with his 
finger-tips j 1 after which he again shook his head and looked right 
and left and shook his head a third time, whilst Hasan watched 
him from a place where he was hidden from him. Then said the 
Princesses to their uncle, " Return us some answer, for our hearts 
are rent in sunder." But he shook his head at them, saying, " O 
my daughters, verily hath this man wearied himself in vain and 
cast himself into grievous predicament and sore peril ; for he may 
not gain access to the Islands of Wak." With this the Princesses 
called Hasan, who came forth and, advancing to Shaykh Abd al. 
Kaddus, kissed his hand and saluted him. The old man rejoiced 
in him and seated him by his side ; whereupon quoth the damsels, 

1 As an Arab often does when deep in thought. Lane appositely quotes John viii. 6. 
"Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground." Mr. Payne translates, 
" He fell a-drumming on the earth with his fingers," but this does not complete the- 

Hasan of Bassorah. 73 

" O uncle, acquaint our brother Hasan with that thou hast told us." 
So he said to Hasan, " O my son, put away from thee this peine 
forte et dure for thou canst never gain access to the Islands of 
Wak, though the Flying Jinn and the Wandering Stars were with 
thee ; for that betwixt thee and these islands are seven Wadys and 
seven seas and seven mighty mountains. How then canst thou 
come at this stead and who shall bring thee thither ? Wherefore, 
Allah upon thee, O my son, do thou reckon thy spouse and sons 
as dead and turn back forthright and weary not thy sprite ! Indeed, 
I give thee good counsel, an thou wilt but accept it." Hearing 
these words from the Shaykh, Hasan wept till he fainted, and the 
Princesses sat round him, weeping for his weeping, whilst the 
youngest sister rent her raiment and buffeted her face, till she 
swooned away. When Shaykh Abd al-Kaddus saw them in this 
transport of grief and trouble and mourning, he was moved to ruth 
for them and cried, " Be ye silent ! " Then said he to Hasan, " O 
my son, hearten thy heart and rejoice in the winning of thy wish, 
an it be the will of Allah the Most High ; " presently adding, 
" Rise, O my son, take courage and follow me." So Hasan arose 
forthright and after he had taken leave of the Princesses followed 
him, rejoicing in the fulfilment of his wish. Then the Shaykh 
called the elephant and mounting, took Hasan up behind him and 
fared on three days with their nights, like the blinding leven, till 
he came to a vast blue mountain, whose stones were all of azure 
hue and amiddlemost of which was a cavern, with a door of Chinese 
iron. Here he took Hasan's hand and let him down and alighting 
dismissed the elephant. Then he went up to the door and 
knocked, whereupon it opened and there came out to him a black 
slave, hairless, as he were an I frit, with brand in right hand and 
targe of steel in left. When he saw Abd al-Kaddus, he threw 
sword and buckler from his grip and coming up to the Shaykh 
kissed his hand. Thereupon the old man took Hasan by the 
hand and entered with him, whilst the slave shut the door behind 
them ; when Hasan found himself in a vast cavern and a spacious^ 
through which ran an arched corridor and they ceased not faring 
on therein a mile or so, till it abutted upon a great open space 
and thence they made for an angle of the mountain wherein were 
two huge doors cast of solid brass. The old man opened one of 
them and said to Hasan, " Sit at the door, whilst I go within and 
come back to thee in haste, and beware lest thou open it and 
enter." Then he fared inside and, shutting the door after him, 

74 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

was absent during a full sidereal hour, after which he returned, 
leading a black stallion, thin of flank and short of nose, which was 
ready bridled and saddled, with velvet housings ; and when it ran 
it flew, and when it flew, the very dust in vain would pursue ; and 
brought it to Hasan, saying, " Mount ! " So he mounted and Abd 
al-Kaddus opened the second door, beyond which appeared a vast 
desert. Then the twain passed through the door into that desert 
and the old man said to him, " O my son, take this scroll and 
wend thou whither this steed will carry thee. When thou seest 
him stop at the door of a cavern like this, alight and throw the 
reins over the saddle-bow and let him go. He will enter the 
cavern, which do thou not enter with him, but tarry at the door 
five days, without being weary of waiting. On the sixth day there 
will come forth to thee a black Shaykh, clad all in sable, with a 
long white beard, flowing down to his navel. As soon as thou 
seest him kiss his hands and seize his skirt and lay it on thy head 
and weep before him, till he take pity on thee and he will ask thee 
what thou wouldst have. When he saith to thee, " What is thy 
want ? " give him this scroll which he will take without speaking 
and go in and leave thee. Wait at the door other five days, with- 
out wearying, and on the sixth day expect him ; and if he come 
out to thee himself, know that thy wish will be won, but, if one of 
his pages come forth to thee, know that he who cometh forth to 
thee, purposeth to kill thee ; and the Peace ! l For know, O my 

son, that whoso self imperilleth doeth himself to death ; " And 

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

Noto to&en ft foas t&e <2Mg&t J^unfcrrtr an* Jpfrst Nigl^ 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that after 
handing the scroll to Hasan, Shaykh Abd al-Kaddus told him 
what would befal him and said, "Whoso self imperilleth doeth 
himself to death; "but also "who ventureth naught advantageth 
naught." However an thou fear for thy life, cast it not into 
danger of destruction ; but, an thou fear not, up and do thy will, 
for I have expounded to thee the whole case. Yet shouldest thou 

1 i.e. " And the peace of Allah be upon thee ! that will end thy story." The Arajb 
formula, " Wa al-Salam" (pron. Wassalam) is used in a variety of senses. 

Hasan of Bassorak. 75 

be minded to return to thy friends the elephant is still here and he 
will carry thee to my nieces, who will restore thee to thy country 
and return thee to thy home, and Allah will vouchsafe thee a 
better than this girl, of whom thou art enamoured." Hasan 
answered the Shaykh, saying, " And how shall life be sweet to 
me, except I win my wish ? By Allah, I will never turn back, 
till I regain my beloved or my death overtake me ! " And he 
wept and recited these couplets : 

For loss of lover mine and stress of love I dree, o I stood bewailing self in 

deep despondency. 
Longing for him, the Spring-camp's dust I kissed and kissed, o But this bred 

more of grief and galling reverie. 
God guard the gone, who in our hearts must e'er abide o With nearing woes 

and joys which still the farther flee. , 

They say me, " Patience ! " But they bore it all away : o On parting-day, 

and left me naught save tormentry. 
And naught affrighted me except the word he said, o " Forget me not when 

gone nor drive from memory." 
To whom shall turn I ? hope in whom when you are lost ? a Who were my only 

hopes and joys and woes of me ? 
But ah, the pang of home-return when parting thus ! o How joyed at seeing 

me return mine enemy. 
Then well-away ! this 'twas I guarded me against ! o And ah, thou lowe of 

Love double thine ardency ! l 
An fled for aye my friends I'll not survive the flight ; o Yet an they deign 

return, Oh joy ! Oh ecstacy ! 
Never, by Allah tears and weeping I'll contain o For loss of you, but tears on 

tears and tears will rain. 

When Abd al-Kaddus heard his verse he knew fhat he would not 
turn back from his desire nor would words have effect on him, 
and was certified that naught would serve him but he must imperil 
himself, though it lose him his life. So he said to him, " Know, O 
my son, that the Islands of Wak are seven islands, wherein is a 
mighty host, all virgin girls, and the Inner Isles are peopled by 
Satans and Marids and warlocks and various tribesmen of the 
Jinn ; and whoso entereth their land never returneth thence; at 
least none hath done so to this day. So, Allah upon thee, return 
presently to thy people, for know that she whom thou seekest is 
the King's daughter of all these islands; and how canst thou 

1 Like Camoens, one of the model lovers, he calls upon Love to torment him still 
inore ad majorem Dei (amoris) gloriam. 

7 5 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

attain to her ? Hearken to me, O my son, and haply Allah will 
vouchsafe thee in her stead a better than she." "O my lord," 
answered Hasan, " though for the love of her I were cut in pieces 
yet should I but redouble in love and transport ! There is no 
help but that I enter the Wak Islands and come to the sight of 
my wife and children ; and Inshallah, I will not return save with 
her and with them." Said the Shaykh, " Then nothing will serve 
thee but thou must make the journey ?" Hasan replied, 
"Nothing! and I only ask of thee thy prayers for help and 
aidance; so haply Allah will reunite me with my wife and 
children right soon." Then he wept for stress of longing and 
recited these couplets : 

You are my wish, of creatures brightest-light o I deem you lief as hearing, 

fain as sight : 
You hold my heart which hath become your home o And since you left me, 

lords, right sore's my plight : 
Then think not I have yielded up your love, o Your love which set this wretch 

in fierce affright : 
You went and went my joy whenas you went ; o And waned and waxed wan 

the brightest light : 
You left me lone to watch the stars in woe : o Railing tears likest rain-drops 

Thou'rt longsome to the wight, who pining lies o On wake, moon-gazing 

through the night, O Night ! 
Wind ! an thou pass the tribe where they abide o Give them my greeting, 

life is fain of flight. 
And tell them somewhat of the pangs I bear : o The loved one kenneth not my 

case aright. 

Then he wept with sore weeping till he fainted away ; and when 
he came to himself, Shaykh Abd al-Kaddus said to him, "O my 
son, thou hast a mother ; make her not taste the torment of thy 
loss." Hasan replied, " By Allah, O my lord, I will never return 
except with my wife, or my death shall overtake me." And he 
wept and wailed and recited these couplets : 

By Love's right ! naught of farness thy slave can estrange * Nor am I one to 

fail in my fealty : 
I suffer such pains did I tell my case * To folk, they'd cry, " Madness ! clean 

witless is he ! " 
Then ecstasy, love-longing, transport and lowe ! * Whose case is such case 

how shall ever he be ? 

With this the old man knew that he would not turn from his 

Hasan of Bassorah. 77 

purpose, though it cost him his life ; so he handed him the scroll 
and prayed for him and charged him how he should do, saying 
" I have in this letter given a strict charge concerning thee to Abu 
al-Ruwaysh^son of Bilkis, daughter of Mu'i'n, for he is my Shaykh 
and my teacher, and all, men and Jinn, humble themselves to him 
and stand in awe of him. And now go with the blessing of God." 
Hasan forthright set out giving the horse the rein, and it flew off 
with him swiftlier than lightning, and stayed not in its course ten 
days, when he saw before him a vast loom black as night, walling 
the world from East to West. As he neared it, the stallion 
neighed under him, whereupon there flocked to it horses in 
number as the drops of rain, none could tell their tale or against 
them prevail, and fell to rubbing themselves against it. Hasan 
was affrighted at them and fared forwards surrounded by the 
horses, without drawing rein till he came to the cavern which 
Shaykh Abd al-Kaddus had described to him. The steed stood 
still at the door and Hasan alighted and bridged the bridle over 
the saddle-bow 2 ; whereupon the steed entered the cavern, whilst 
the rider abode without, as the old man had charged him, ponder- 
ing the issue of his case in perplexity and distraction and un- 
knowing what would befal him. And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Noto tojen tt foas tj* lEfg&t juntos anfc Sbeconfc 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Hasan, dismounting from the steed, stood at the cavern-mouth 
pondering the issue of his case and unknowing what might befal 
him. He abode standing on the same spot five days with their 
nights, sleepless, mournful, tearful-eyed ; distracted, perplexed, 
pondering his severance from home and family, comrades and 
friends, with weeping eye-lids and heavy heart. Then he be- 
thought him of his mother and of what might yet happen to him 
and of his separation from his wife and children and of all that he 
had suffered, and he recited these couplets : 

1 Pron. Aboor-Ruwaysh. "The Father of the little Feather": he is afterwards called 
" Son of the daughter of the accursed Iblis" ; yet, as Lane says, "he appears to be a 
virtuous person." 

* Arab. " Kantara al-lijam fi Karbus(bow) sarjih." 

7$ A If Laylah wa Laytah. 

With you is my heart-cure a heart that goes ; o And from hill-foot of eyelids 

the tear-rill flows : 
And parting and sorrow and exile and dole o And farness from country and 

throe that o'erthrows : 
Naught am I save a lover distracted by love, o Far parted from loved one 

and wilted by woes. 
And 'tis Love that hath brought me such sorrow, say where o Is the noble of 

soul who such sorrow unknows ? 

Hardly had Hasan made an end of his verses, when out came the 
Shaykh Abu al-Ruwaysh, a blackamoor and clad in black raiment, 
and at first sight he knew him by the description that Abd al- 
Kaddus had given him. He threw himself at his feet and 
rubbed his cheeks on them and seizing his skirt, laid it on his 
head and wept before him. Quoth the old man, " What wantest 
thou, O my son ? " Whereupon he put out his hand to him with 
the letter, and Abu al-Ruwaysh took it and re-entered the cavern, 
without making him any answer. So Hasan sat down at the 
cave-mouth in his place other five days as he had been bidden, 
whilst concern grew upon him and terror redoubled on him and 
restlessness gat hold of him, and he fell to weeping and bemoaning 
himself for the anguish of estrangement and much watching. 
And he recited these couplets : 

Glory to Him who guides the skies ! * The lover sore in sorrow lies. 
Who hath not tasted of Love's food * Knows not what mean its miseries. 
Did I attempt to stem my tears * Rivers of blood would fount and rise, 
How many an intimate is hard o Of heart, and pains in sorest wise ! 
An she with me her word would keep, o Of tears and sighs I'd fain devise, 
But I'm forgone, rejected quite o Ruin on me hath cast her eyes. 

At my fell pangs fell wildlings weep o And not a bird for me but cries. 

Hasan ceased not to weep till dawn of the sixth day, when 
Shaykh Abu al-Ruwaysh came forth to him, clad in white raiment, 
and with his hand signed 1 to him to enter. So he went in, re- 
joicing and assured of the winning of his wish, and the old man 
took him by the hand and leading him into the cavern, fared on 
with him half a day's journey, till they reached an arched door- 
way with a door of steel. The Shaykh opened the door and they 
two entered a vestibule vaulted with onyx stones and arabesqued 

1 I do not translate "beckoned" because the word would give a wrong ides. Ovr 
beckoning with the finger moved towards the beckoner makes the so-beckoned Eastern 
depart in all haste. To call him you must wave the hand from you. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 79 

with gold, and they stayed not walking till they came to a great 
hall and a wide, paved and walled with marble. In its midst was 
a flower-garden containing all manner trees and flowers and fruits, 
with birds warbling on the boughs and singing the praises of 
Allah the Almighty Sovran ; and there were four daises, each 
facing other, and in each dai's a jetting fountain, at whose corners 
stood lions of red gold, spouting gerbes from their mouths into 
the basin. On each da'fs stood a chair, whereon sat an elder, 
with exceeding store of books before him 1 and censers of gold, 
containing fire and perfumes, and before each elder were students, 
who read the books to him. Now when the twain entered, the 
elders rose to them and did them honour ; whereupon Abu 
al-Ruwaysh signed to them to dismiss their scholars and 
they did so. Then the four arose and seating themselves before 
that Shaykh, asked him of the case of Hasan to whom he said, 
" Tell the company thy tale and all that hath betided thee from 
the beginning of thine adventure to the end." So Hasan wept 
with sore weeping and related to them his story with Bahram ; 
whereupon all the Shaykhs cried out and said, " Is this indeed 
he whom the Magian caused to climb the Mountain of Clouds by 
means of the vultures, sewn up in the camel-hide ? " And Hasan 
said, " Yes." So they turned to the Shaykh, Abu al-Ruwaysh 
and said to him, O our Shaykh of a truth Bahram contrived 
his mounting to the mountain-top ; but how came he down 
and what marvels saw he there?" And Abu al-Ruwaysh 
said, " O Hasan, tell them how thou earnest down and acquaint 
them with what thou sawest of marvels." So he told them all 
that had befallen him, first and last ; how he had gotten the 
Magian into his power and slain him, how he had delivered the 
youth from him and sent him back to his own country, and how 
he had captured the King's daughter of the Jinn and married her ; 
yet had she played him false and taken the two boys she had 
borne him and flown away ; brief, he related to them all the hard- 
ships and horrors he had undergone ; whereat they marvelled, 
each and every, and said to Abu al-Ruwaysh, " O elder of elders, 
verily by Allah, this youth is to be pitied ! But belike thou wilt 

aid him to recover his wife and wees." And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

1 The Arabs knew what large libraries were ; and a learned man could not travel 
without camel-loads of dictionaries. 

So A If Laylah wa Lay la ft. 

Nofo fofcm it foas tljc Zffi&t ^unfcretr an* 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan told his tale to the elders, they said to Shaykh Abu al- 
Ruwaysh, " This youth is to be pitied and haply thou wilt aid him 
to recover his wife and wees." He replied, " O my brothers, in 
very sooth this is a grave matter and a perilous ; and never saw I 
any loathe his life save this youth. You know that the Islands 
of Wak are hard of access and that none may come to them but 
at risk of life ; and ye know also the strength of their people and 
their guards. Moreover I have sworn an oath not to tread their 
soil nor transgress against them in aught ; so how shall this man 
come at the daughter of the Great King, and who hath power to 
bring him to her or help him in this matter ? " Replied the other, 
" O Shaykh of Shaykhs, verily this man is consumed with desire 
and he hath endangered himself to bring thee a scroll from thy 
brother Abd al-Kaddus ; wherefore it behoveth thee to help him." 
And Hasan arose and kissed Abu al-Ruwaysh's feet and raising 
the hem of his garment laid it on his head, weeping and crying, 
" I beseech thee, by Allah, to reunite me with my wife and children, 
though it cost me my life and my soul!" The four elders all 
wept for his weeping and said to Abu al-Ruwaysh, "Deal 
generously with this unhappy and show him kindness for the sake 
of thy brother Abd al-Kaddus and profit by this occasion to earn 
reward from Allah for helping him." Quoth he, " This wilful 
youth weeteth not what he undertaketh ; but Inshallah ! we will 
help him after the measure of our means, nor leave aught feasible 
undone." When Hasan heard the Shaykh's words, he rejoiced 
and kissed the hands of the five elders, one after other, imploring 
their aidance. Thereupon Abd al-Ruwaysh took inkcase and a 
sheet of paper and wrote a letter, which he sealed and gave to 
Hasan, together with a pouch of perfumed leather, 1 containing 
incense and fire-sticks 2 and other needs, and said to him, " Take 
strictest care of this pouch, and whenas thou fallest into any strait, 
burn a little of the incense therein and name my name, whereupon 
I will be with thee forthright and save thee from thy stress.'* 

1 Arab. " Adim ; " now called Bulghar, our Moroccan leather. 

2 Arab. " Zinad," which Lane renders by " instruments for striking fire," and Mr. 
Payne, after the fashion of the translators of Al- Hariri, " flint and steel." 

Hasan of Bassorak. 8 1 

Moreover, he bade one of those present fetch him an Ifrit of the 
Flying Jinn ; and he did so incontinently ; whereupon quoth Abu 
al-Ruwaysh to the fire-drake, " What is thy name! " Replied the 
Ifrit, " Thy thrall is hight Dahnash bin Faktash. And the 
Shaykh said " Draw near to me ! " So Dahnash drew near to 
him and he put his mouth to his ear and said somewhat to him, 
whereat the Ifrit shook his head and answered, " I accept, O 
elder of elders ! " Then said Abu al-Ruwaysh to Hasan, " Arise, 
O my son, mount the shoulders of this Ifrit, Dahnash the Flyer ; 
but, when he heaveth thee heaven-wards and thou hearest the 
angels glorifying God a-welkin with ' Subhdna 'llah/ have a care 
lest thou do the like; else wilt thou perish and he too." Hasan 
replied, " I will not say a word ; no, never ; " and the old man 
continued, "O Hasan P after faring with thee all this day, to- 
morrow at peep of dawn he will set thee down in a land cleanly 
white, like unto camphor, whereupon do thou walk on ten days by 
thyself, till thou come to the gate of a city. Then enter and 
enquire for the King of the city ; and when thou comest to his 
presence, salute him with the salam and kiss his hand : then give 
him this scroll and consider well whatso he shall counsel thee." 
Hasan replied, " Hearing and obeying," and rose up and mounted 
the I frit's shoulders, whilst the elders rose and offered up prayers 
for him and commended him to the care of Dahnash the Firedrake. 
And when he had perched on the Flyer's back the Ifrit soared 
with him to the very confines of the sky, till he heard the angels 
glorifying God in Heaven, and flew on with him a day and a 
night till at dawn of the next day he set him down in a land 
white as camphor, and went his way, leaving him there. When 
Hasan found himself in the land aforesaid with none by his side 
he fared on night and day for ten days, till he came to the gate 
of the city in question and entering, enquired for the King. They 
directed him to him and told him that his name was King 
Hassun, 1 Lord of the Land of Camphor, and that he had troops 
and soldiers enough to fill the earth in its length and breadth. So 

1 A congener of Hasan and Husayn, little used except in Syria where it is a favourite 
name for Christians. The Muhit of Butrus Al-Bostanf (s.v.) tells us that it also means a 
bird called Abu Hasan and supplies various Egyptian synonyms. In Mod. Arab. Grammar 
the form Fa"ul is a diminutive as Hammud for Ahmad, 'Ammur for 'Amru. So the fem. 
form, Fa' 'ulah, e.g. Khaddugah = little Khadijah and Naflvisah = little Nafisah ; 
Ar'urah=z little clitoris : whereas in Heb. it is an incrementative e.g. dabbiilah a large 
dablah (cake or lump of dried figs, etc). 


82 A If Laylah iva Laylak. 

he sought audience of him and, being admitted to his presence, 
found him a mighty King and kissed ground between his hands. 
Quoth the King, " What is thy want ? " Whereupon Hasan 
kissed the letter and gave it to him. The King read it and shook 
his head awhile, then said to one of his officers, " Take this youth 
and lodge him in the house of hospitality." So he took him and 
stablished him in the guest-house, where he tarried three days, 
eating and drinking and seeing none but the eunuch who waited 
on him and who entertained him with discourse and cheered him 
with his company, questioning him of his case and how he came to 
that city ; whereupon he told him his whole story, and the perilous 
condition wherein he was. On the fourth day, that eunuch 
carried him before the King, who said to him, " O Hasan, thou 
comest to me, seeking to enter the Islands of Wak, as the Shaykh 
of Shaykhs adviseth me. O my son, I would send thee 
thither this very day, but that by the way are many perils 
and thirsty wolds full of terrors ; yet do thou have patience and 
naught save fair shall befal thee for needs must I devise to bring 
thee to thy desire, Inshallah ! Know, O my son, that here is a 
mighty host, 1 equipped with arms and steeds and warlike gear, 
who long to enter the Wak Islands and lack power thereto. But, 
O my son, for the sake of the Shaykh Abu al-Ruwaysh, son of 
Bilkis, 2 the daughter of Mu'in, I may not send thee back to him 
unfulfilled of thine affair. Presently there will come to us ships 
from the Islands of Wak and the first that shall arrive I will send 
thee on board of her and give thee in charge to the sailors, so they 
may take care of thee and carry thee to the Islands. If any 
question thee of thy case and condition, answer him saying : I 
am kinsman to King Hassun, Lord of the Land of Camphor ; and 
when the ship shall make fast to the shore of the Islands of Wak 
and the master shall bid thee land, do thou land. Now as soon as 
thou comest ashore, thou wilt see a multitude of wooden settles 
all about the beach, of which do thou choose thee one and 
crouch under it and stir not. And when dark night sets in, thou wilt 
see an army of women appear and flock about the goods landed 

1 In the Mac. Edit. "Soldiers of Al-Daylam" i.e. warlike as the Daylamites or 
Medes. See vol. ii. 94. 

2 Bilkis, it will be remembered, is the Arab, name of the Queen of Sheba who visited 
Solomon. In Abyssinia she is termed Kebra za negest or za makada, the latter 
(according to Ferdinand Werne's "African Wanderings," Longmans, 1852) being 
synonymous with Ityopia or Habash (Ethiopia or Abyssinia.) 

Hasan of Bassorak. 83 

from the ship, and one of them will sit down on the settle, under 
which thou hast hidden thyself, whereupon do thou put forth 
thy hand to her and take hold of her and implore her protection. 
And know thou, O my son, that an she accord thee pro- 
tection, thou wilt win thy wish and regain thy wife and children ; 
but, if she refuse to protect thee, make thy mourning for thyself 
and give up all hope of life, and make sure of death for indeed 
thou art a dead man. Understand, O my son, that thou 
adventurest thy life and this is all I can do for thee, and the 
peace ! -- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 
to say her permitted say. 

fo&cn it foas t&c t$t ^untrrrti an* jpourtfj 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King 
Hassun spake these words to Hasan and charged him as we have 
related, ending with, " This is all I can do for thee and know that 
except the Lord of Heaven had aided thee, thou hadst not come 
hither ! " The youth wept till he swooned away, and when he 
recovered, he recited these two couplets : 

A term decreed my lot I 'spy ; * And, when its days shall end, I die. 
Though lions fought with me in lair * If Time be mine I'd beat them, I! 

Then having ended his verse he kissed the ground before the 
Sovran and said to him, " O mighty King, how many days remain 
till the coming of the ships ? " Replied the other, " In a month's 
time they will come and will tarry here, selling their cargueson, 
other two months, after which they will return to their own 
country ; so hope not to set out save after three whole months." 
Then the King bade him return to the house of hospitality 
and bade supply him with all that he needed of meat and drink 
and raiment fit for Kings. Hasan abode in the guest-house a 
month, at the end of which the vessels arrived and the King and 
the merchants went forth to them, taking Hasan with them. 
Amongst them he saw a ship with much people therein, like the 
shingles for number ; none knew their tale save He who created 
them. She was anchored in mid-harbour and had cocks which 
transported her lading to the shore. So Hasan abode till the 
crew had landed all the goods and sold and bought and to the 
time of departure there wanted but three days ; whereupon the 
King sent for him and equipped him with all he required and 

84 A If Lay I ah wa Laylak. 

gave him great gifts ; after which he summoned the captain of 
the great ship and said to him, " Take this youth with thee in 
the vessel, so none may know of him save thou, and carry him to 
the Islands of Wak and leave him there ; and bring him not 
back." And the Rais said, " To hear is to obey : with love and 
gladness ! " Then quoth the King to Hasan, " Look thou tell 
none of those who are with thee in the ship thine errand nor 
discover to them aught of thy case ; else thou art a lost man ; " 
and quoth he, " Hearing and obedience !" With this he fare- 
welled the King, after he had wished him long life and victory 
over his enviers and his enemies ; wherefore the King thanked 
him and wished him safety and the winning of his wish. Then 
he committed him to the captain, who laid him in a chest which he 
embarked in a dinghy, and bore him aboard, whilst the folk were 
busy in breaking bulk and no man doubted but the chest con- 
tained somewhat of merchandise. After this, the vessels set sail 
and fared on without ceasing ten days, and on the eleventh day 
they made the land. So the Rais set Hasan ashore and, as he 
walked up the beach, he saw wooden settles 1 without number, 
none knew their count save Allah, even as the King had told him. 
He went on, till he came to one that had no fellow and hid under 
it till nightfall, when there came up a mighty many of women, 
as they were locusts over-swarming the land and they marched 
afoot and armed cap-a-pie in hauberks and strait-knit coats of 
mail hending drawn swords in their hands, who, seeing the 
merchandise landed from the ships, busied themselves therewith. 
Presently they sat down to rest themselves, and one of them 
seated herself on the settle under which Hasan had crouched : 
whereupon he took hold of the hem of her garment and laid it 
on his head and throwing himself before her, fell to kissing her 
hands and feet and weeping and crying, " Thy protection ! thy 
good-will ! " Quoth she, " Ho, thou ! Arise and stand up, ere 
any see thee and slay thee." So he came forth and springing up 
kissed her hands and wept and said to her, " O my mistress, I am 
under thy protection ! "; adding, " Have ruth on one who is parted 
from his people and wife and children, one who hath haste to 
rejoin them and one who adventureth life and soul for their sake ! 
Take pity on me and be assured that therefor Paradise will be thy 
reward ; or, an thou wilt not receive me, I beseech thee, by Allah 

1 Arab. " Dakkah," which Lane translates by " settee." 

Hasan of Basso rah. 8$ 

the Great, the Concealer, to conceal my case ! " The merchants 
stared to see him talking with her; and she, hearing his words 
and beholding his humility, was moved to ruth for him ; her heart 
inclined to him and she knew that he had not ventured himself 
and come to that place, save for a grave matter. So she said to 
him, " O my son, be of good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and 
clear, hearten thy heart and take courage and return to thy 
hiding-place till the coming night, and Allah shall do as He will." 
Then she took leave of him and Hasan crept under the wooden 
settle as before, whilst the troops lighted flambeaux of wax mixed 
with aloes-wood and Nadd-perfume and crude ambergris 1 and 
passed the night in sport and delight till the morning. At day- 
break, the boats returned to the shore and the merchants busied 
themselves with buying and selling and the transport of the goods 
and gear till nightfall, whilst Hasan lay hidden beneath the settle, 
weeping-eyed and woeful-hearted, knowing not what was decreed 
to him in the secret preordainment of Allah. As he was thus, 
behold, the merchant-woman with whom he had taken refuge 
came up to him and giving him a habergeon and a helmet, a 
spear, a sword and a gilded girdle, bade him don them and seat 
himself on the settle after which she left him, for fear of the troops. 
So he arose and donned the mail-coat and helmet and clasped 
the girdle about his middle ; then he slung the sword over his 
shoulder till it hung under his armpit, and taking the spear in his 
hand, sat down on that settle, whilst his tongue neglected not to 

name Allah Almighty and call on Him for protection. And 

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

Nofo fojw it foas t&c ffit's&t ^utrtrrelr anfc $ fftft Nfg&t, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan received the weapons which the merchant-woman had 
given to him, saying, " Sit thee upon the settle and let none wot 
thy case," he armed himself and took his seat, whilst his tongue 
neglected not to name Allah Almighty and to call upon Him for 
protection. And behold, there appeared cressets and lanthorns 
and flambeaux and up came the army of women. So he arose and 

1 Arab. " Ambar al-Kham," the latter word (raw) being pure Persian. 

86 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

mingling with them, became as one of them : A little before day* 
break, they set out, and Hasan with them, and fared on till they 
came to their camp, where they dispersed each to her tent, and 
Hasan followed one of them and lo ! it was her's for whose pro- 
tection he had prayed. When she entered, she threw down her 
arms and doffed her hauberk and veil. So Hasan did the like 
and looking at his companion, saw her to be a grizzled old woman, 
blue-eyed and big-nosed, a calamity of calamities, the foulest of 
all created things, with face pock-marked and eyebrows bald, gap- 
toothed and chap-fallen, with hair hoary, nose running and mouth 
slavering j 1 even as saith the like of her the poet : 

In her cheek-corners nine calamities o Wone, and when shown, each one 

Jehannam is : 
Hideous the face and favour foulest foul o As cheek of hog ; yea, 'tis a cesspool 


And indeed she was like, a pied snake or a scald she-wolf. Now 
when the old woman looked at Hasan, she marvelled and said, 
" How came this one to these lands and in which of the ships was 
he and how arrived he hither in safety ? " And she fell to 
questioning him of his case and admiring at his arrival, whereupon 
he fell at her feet and rubbed his face on them and wept till he 
fainted ; and, when he recovered himself, he recited these 
couplets : 

When will Time grant we meet, when shall we be o Again united after sever- 
ance stark? 

And I shall win my choicest wish and view ? o Blame end and Love abide 
without remark? 

Were Nile to flow as freely as my tears, o 'Twould leave no region but 
with water-mark : 

'Twould overthrow Hijaz and Egypt-land o 'Twould deluge Syria and 
'twould drown Irak. 

This, O my love, is caused by thy disdain, o Be kind and promise meeting 
fair and fain ! 

1 The author neglects to mention the ugliest part of old-womanhood in the East, 
long empty breasts like tobacco-pouches. In youth the bosom is beautifully high, arched 
and rounded, firm as stone to the touch, with the nipples erect and pointing outwards. 
But after the girl-mother's first child (in Europe le premier embellit) all changes. Nature 
and bodily power have been overtasked ; then comes the long suckling at the mother's 
expense : the extension of the skin and the enlargement of its vessels are too sudden 
and rapid for the diminished ability of contraction and the bad food aids in the 
continual consumption of vitality. Hence, among Eastern women age and ugliness are 
synonymous. It is only in the highest civilisation that we find the handsome old woman. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 87 

Then he took the crone's skirt and laid it on his head and fell to 
weeping and craving her protection. When she saw his ardency 
and transport and anguish and distress, her heart softened to him 
and she promised him her safeguard, saying, " Have no fear 
whatsoever." Then she questioned him of his case and he told 
her the manner of his coming thither and all that had befallen 
him from beginning to end, whereat she marvelled and said, " This 
that hath betide thee, methinks, never betided any save thyself and 
except thou hadst been vouchsafed the especial protection of Allah, 
thou hadst not been saved : but now, O my son, take comfort and 
be of good courage ; thou hast nothing more to fear, for indeed 
thou hast won thy wish and attained thy desire, if it please the 
Most High ! " Thereat Hasan rejoiced with joy exceeding and 
she sent to summon the captains of the army to her presence, and 
it was the last day of the month. So they presented themselves 
and the old woman said to them, " Go out and proclaim to all 
the troops that they come forth to-morrow at daybreak and let 
none tarry behind, for whoso tarryeth shall be slain." They 
replied, ' We hear and we obey," and going forth, made pro- 
clamation to all the host anent a review next morning, even as 
she bade them, after which they returned and told her of this ; 
whereby Hasan knew that she was the Commander-in-chief of the 
army and the Viceregent in authority over them ; and her name 
was Shawahi the Fascinator, entituled Umm al-Dawahi, or Mother 
of Calamities. 1 She ceased not to bid and forbid and Hasan 
doffed not off his arms from his body that day. Now when the 
morning broke, all the troops fared forth from their places, but 
the old woman came not out with them, and as soon as they were 
sped and the stead was clear of them, she said to Hasan, " Draw 
near unto me, O my son 2 ." So he drew near unto her and stood 
between her hands. Quoth she, " Why and wherefore hast thou 
adventured thyself so boldly as to enter this land, and how came 
thy soul to consent to its own undoing ? Tell me the truth and 

1 The name has occurred in the Knightly tale of King Omar and his sons vol. ii. 269. 
She is here called Mother of Calamities, but in p. 123, vol. iv. of the Mac. Edit, she 
becomes "Lady (Zat) al-Dawahi." It will be remembered that the title means 
calamitous to the foe. 

2 By this address she assured him that she had no design upon his chastity. In 
Moslem lands it is always advisable to accost a strange woman, no matter how young, 
with, " Ya Ummi !" = O my mother. This is pledging one's word, as it were, not to 
make love to her. 

88 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

the whole truth and fear aught of ill come of it, for thou hast my 
plighted word and I am moved to compassion for thy case and 
pity thee and have taken thee under my protection. So, if thou 
tell me the truth, I will help thee to win thy wish, though it 
involve the undoing of souls and the destruction of bodies ; and 
since thou hast come to seek me, no hurt shall betide thee from 
me, nor will I suffer any to have at thee with harm of all who be 
in the Islands of Wak." So he told her his tale from first to last, 
acquainting her with the matter of his wife and of the birds; 
how he had captured her as his prize from amongst the ten and 
married her and abode with her, till she had borne him two sons, 
and how she had taken her children and flown away with them, 
whenas she knew the way to the feather-dress. Brief, he con- 
cealed from her no whit of his case, from the beginning to that 
day. But when Shawahi heard his relation, she shook her head 
and said to him, " Glory be to God who hath brought thee hither 
in safety and made thee hap upon me ! For, hadst thou happened 
on any but myself, thou hadst lost thy life without winning thy 
wish ; but the truth of thine intent and thy fond affection and the 
excess of thy love-longing for thy wife and yearning for thy 
children, these it was that have brought thee to the attainment 
of thine aim. Didst thou not love her and love her to distraction, 
thou hadst not thus imperilled thyself, and Alhamdolillah Praised 
be Allah for thy safety ! Wherefore it behoveth us to do thy 
desire and conduce to thy quest, so thou mayst presently attain 
that thou seekest, if it be the will of Almighty Allah. But know, 
O my son, that thy wife is not here, but in the seventh of the 
Islands of Wak and between us and it is seven months' journey, 
night and day. From here we go to an island called the Land of 
Birds, wherein, for the loud crying of the birds and the flapping 

of their wings, one cannot hear other speak." And Shahrazad 

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

STofo fof)*n tt toas tj Sigjtf f^untorefc an* fttxtft Nig&t, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
old woman said to Hasan, " Indeed thy wife is in the Seventh 
Island, 1 the greatest amongst the Islands of Wak and betwixt 

1 Apparently the Wakiles numbered their Islands as the Anglo-Americans do their 

streets. For this they have been charged with " want of imagination "; but the custom 

strictly classical. See at Pompeii " Reg (io) I ; Ins (ula) I, Via Prima, Secunda," etc. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 89 

us and it is a seven-months' journey. From here we fare for the 
Land of Birds, whereon for the force of their flying and the 
flapping of their wings, we cannot hear one other speak. Over 
that country we journey night and day, eleven days, after which 
we come forth of it to another called the Land of Ferals where, 
for stress of roaring of lions and howling of wolves and laughing 
of hyaenas and the crying of other beasts of prey we shall hear 
naught, and therein we travel twenty days' journey. Then we 
issue therefrom and come to a third country, called the Land of 
the Jann, where, for stress of the crying of the Jinn and the 
flaming of fires and the flight of sparks and smoke from their 
mouths and the noise of their groaning and their arrogance in 
blocking up the road before us, our ears will be deafened and 
our eyes blinded, so that we shall neither hear nor see, nor dare 
any look behind him, or he perisheth : but there horseman boweth 
head on saddle-bow and raiseth it not for three days. After this, 
we abut upon a mighty mountain and a running river contiguous 
with the Isles of Wak, which are seven in number and the extent 
whereof is a whole year's journey for a well-girt horseman, And 
thou must know, O my son, that these troops are all virgin girls, 
and that the ruler over us is a woman of the Archipelago of Wak. 
On the bank of the river aforesaid is another mountain, called 
Mount Wak, and it is thus named by reason of a tree which 
beareth fruits like heads of the Sons of Adam. 1 When the sun 
riseth on them, the heads cry out all, saying in their cries : 
Wak ! Wak ! Glory be to the Creating King, Al-Khallak ! And 
when we hear their crying, we know that the sun is risen. In 
like manner, at sundown, the heads set up the same cry, Wak! 
Wak ! Glory to Al-Khallak ! and so we know that the sun hath 
set. No man may abide with us or reach to us or tread our earth ; 
and betwixt us and the abiding-place of the Queen who ruleth 
over us is a month's journey from this shore, all the lieges 

1 These are the Puellae Wakwakienses of whom Ibn Al-Wardi relates after an ocular 
witness, " Here too is a tree which bears fruits like women who have fair faces and 
are hung by their hair. They come forth from integuments like large leathern bags 
(calabash-gourds?) and when they sense air and sun they cry " Wak ! Wak!" (God! 
God !) till their hair is cut, and when it is cut they die j and the islanders understand 
this cry wherefrom they augure ill. The Ajaib al-Hind (chapt. xv.) places in Wak-land 
the Samandal, a bird which enters the fire without being burnt evidently the Egyptian 
Pi-Benni," which the Greeks metamorphised to "Phcenix." It also mentions a 
^hare-like animal, now male then female ; and the Somal behind Cape Guardafui tell the 
same tale of their Cynhyaenas. 

9O A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

whereof are under her hand, as are also the tribes of the Jinn, 
Marids and Satans, while of the warlocks none kenneth the 
number save He who created them. Wherefore, an thou be 
afraid, I will send with thee one who will convey thee to the 
coast and there bring one who will embark thee on board 
a ship that bear thee to thine own land. But an thou be 
content to tarry with us, I will not forbid thee and thou shalt 
be with me in mine eye, 1 till thou win thy wish, Inshallah ! " 
Quoth he, " O my lady, I will never quit thee till I foregather 
with my wife or lose my life ! "; and quoth she, " This is a light 
matter ; be of good heart, for soon shalt thou come to thy 
desire, Allah willing; and there is no help but that I let the 
Queen know of thee, that she may help thee to attain thine 
aim." Hasan blessed her and kissed her head and hands, 
thanking her for her good deed and exceeding kindness and 
firm will. Then he set out with her, pondering the issue of his 
case and the horrors of his strangerhood ; wherefore he fell 
a-weeping and a-wailing and recited these couplets : 

A Zephyr bloweth from the lover's site ; <* And thou canst view me in the 

saddest plight : 
The Night of Union is as brilliant morn ; o And black the Severance-day as 

blackest night : 
Farewelling friend is sorrow sorest sore o Parting from lover's merest un- 

I will not blame her harshness save to her, o And 'mid mankind nor friend 

nor fere I sight : 
How can I be consoled for loss of you ? o Base censor's blame shall not 

console my sprite ! 
O thou in charms unique, unique's my love ; o O peerless thou, my heart hath 

peerless might ! 
Who maketh semblance that he loveth you o And dreadeth blame is most 

blame-worthy wight. 

Then the old woman bade beat the kettle-drums for departure and 
the army set out. Hasan fared with her, drowned in the sea of 
solicitude and reciting verses like those above, whilst she strave to 
comfort him and exhorted him to patience; but he awoke not from 
his tristesse and heeded not her exhortations. They journeyed 
thus till they came to the boundaries of the Land of Birds 2 and 

1 i.e. I will keep thee as though thou wert the apple of my eye. 

2 A mere exaggeration of the "Gull-fairs" noted by travellers in sundry islands as 
Ascension and the rock off Brazilian Santos. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 91 

when they entered it, it seemed to Hasan as if the world were 
turned topsy-turvy for the exceeding clamour. His head ached 
and his mind was dazed, his eyes were blinded and his ears 
deafened, and he feared with exceeding fear and made certain of 
death, saying to himself, " If this be the Land of Birds, how will 
be the Land of Beasts ? " But, when the crone hight Shawahi 
saw him in this plight, she laughed at him, saying, " O my son, if 
this be thy case in the first island, how will it fare with thee, when 
thou comest to the others ? " So he prayed to Allah and humbled 
himself before the Lord, beseeching Him to assist him against that 
wherewith He had afflicted him and bring him to his wishes; 
and they ceased not going till they passed out of the Land of 
Birds and, traversing the Land of Beasts, came to the Land of 
the Jann which when Hasan saw, he was sore affrighted and 
repented him of having entered it with them. But he sought aid 
of Allah the Most High and fared on with them, till they were 
quit of the Land of the Jann and came to the river and set down 
their loads at the foot of a vast mountain and a lofty, and pitched 
their tents by the stream-bank. Then they rested and ate and 
drank and slept in security, for they were come to their own 
country. On the morrow the old woman set Hasan a couch of 
alabaster, inlaid with pearls and jewels and nuggets of red gold, 
by the river-side, and he sat down thereon, having first bound his 
face with a chin-kerchief, that discovered naught of him but his 
eyes. Then she bade proclaim among the troops that they should 
all assemble before her tent and put off their clothes and go 
down into the stream and wash ; and this she did that she might 
parade before him all the girls, so haply his wife should be 
amongst them and he know her. So the whole army mustered 
before her and putting off their clothes, went down into the 
stream, and Hasan seated on his couch watched them washing 
their white skins and frolicking and making merry, whilst they 
took no heed of his inspecting them, deeming him to be of the 
daughters of the Kings. When he beheld them stripped of their 
clothes, his chord stiffened for that looking at them mother-naked 
he saw what was between their thighs, and that of all kinds, soft 
and rounded, plump and cushioned ; large-lipped, perfect, re- 
dundant and ample, 1 and their faces were as moons and their hair 

1 Arab. " Kamil wa Basil wa Wafir" = the names of three popular metres, for 
which see the Terminal Essay. 

92 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

as night upon day, for that they were of the daughters of the 
Kings. When they were clean, they came up out of the water, 
stark naked, as the moon on the night of fullness and the old 
woman questioned Hasan of them, company by company, if his 
wife were among them ; but, as often as she asked him of a troop, 

he made answer, " She is not among these, O my lady." And 

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

Nofo fojjen ft foas tfce Zfj&t l^untofc an* &ebenti) N fftftt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
old woman questioned Hasan of the girls, company after company, 
if haply his wife were among them ; but as often as she asked 
him of a troop, he made answer, " She is not among these, O my 
lady ! " Last of all, there came up a damsel, attended by ten 
slave-girls and thirty waiting-women, all of them high-bosomed 
maidens. They put off their clothes and went down into the 
river, where the damsel fell to riding the high horse over her 
women, throwing them down and ducking them. On this wise 
she continued for a full hour, after which all came up out of the 
water and sat down ; and they brought her napkins 1 of gold-purfled 
silk, with which she dried herself. Then they brought her clothes 
and jewels and ornaments of the handiwork of the Jinn, and she 
donned them and rose and walked with graceful pace among the 
troops, she and her maidens. When Hasan saw her, his heart 
was ready to fly from his breast and he said, " Verily this girl is 
the likest of all folk to the bird I saw in the basin atop of the 
palace of my sisters the Princesses, and she lorded it over her 
lieges even as doth this one." The old woman asked, " O Hasan, 
is this thy wife ? " ; and he answered, " No, by thy life, O my 
lady ; this is not my wife, nor ever in my life have I set eyes on 
her ; neither among all the girls I have seen in these islands is 
there the like of my wife nor her match for symmetry and grace 
and beauty and loveliness ! " Then said Shawaki, " Describe her 
to me and acquaint me with all her attributes, that I may have her 
in my mind ; for I know every girl in the Islands of Wak, being 

1 Arab. "Manashif" = drying towels, Plur. of Minshafah, and the popular term 
which Dr. Jonathan Swift corrupted to " Munnassaf." Lane (Nights, Introduct. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 93 

commander of the army of maids and governor over them ; where- 
fore, an thou describe her to me, I shall know her and will contrive 
for thee to take her." Quoth he, " My wife hath the fairest face 
and a form all grace ; smooth is she of cheeks and high of breasts 
with eyes of liquid light, calves and thighs plump to sight, teeth 
snowy white, with dulcet speech dight ; in speech soft and bland 
as she were a willow-wand ; her gifts are a moral and lips are red 
as coral ; her eyes wear natural Kohl-dye and her lower labia 1 in 
softness lie. On her right cheek is a mole and on her waist, under 
her navel, is a sign ; her face shines as the rondure of the moon 
in sheen, her waist is slight, her hips a heavy weight, and the water 
of her mouth the sick doth heal, as it were Kausar or Salsabil." 2 
Said the old woman, "Give me an increased account of her, Allah 
increase thee of passion for her!" Quoth he, "My wife hath a 
face the fairest fair and oval cheeks the rarest rare ; neck long and 
spare and eyes that Kohl wear ; her side face shows the Anemones 
of Nu'uman, her mouth is like a seal of cornelian and flashing 
teeth that lure and stand one in stead of cup and ewer. She is 
cast in the mould of pleasantness and between her thighs is the 
throne of the Caliphate, there is no such sanctuary among the 
Holy Places ; as saith in its praise the poet : 

The name of what drave me distraught o Hath letters renowned among men : 
A four into five multiplied o And a multiplied six into ten. 3 

1 Arab. " Shafaif " opposed to " Shafah" the mouth-lips. 

. * Fountains of Paradise. This description is a fair instance of how the Saj'a (prose- 
rhyme) dislocates the order ; an Arab begins with hair, forehead, eyebrows and lashes 
and when he reaches the nose, he slips down to the toes for the sake of the assonance. If 
the latter be neglected the whole list of charms must be otherwise ordered ; and the 
student will compare Mr. Payne's version of this passage with mine. 

3 A fair specimen of the Arab logogriph derived from the Abjad Alphabet which con- 
tains only the Hebrew and Syriac letters not the six Arabic. Thus 4 X 5 = 20 which 
represents the Kaf (K) and 6 X 10 = 60, or Sin (S). The whole word is thus " Kus," 
the Greek /oxros or KOTO-OS, ar d the lowest word, in Persian as in Arabic, for the female 
pudenda, extensively used in vulgar abuse. In my youth we had at the University 
something of the kind, 

To five and five and fifty-five 

The first of letters add 
To make a thing to please a King 
And drive a wise man mad. 

Answer WLVA. Very interesting to the anthropological student is this excursus of 
Hasan, who after all manner of hardships and horrors and risking his life to recover his 
wife and children, breaks out into song on the subject of her privities. And it can 
hardly be tale-teller's gag as both verse and prose show considerable art in composition. 

94 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Then Hasan wept and chanted the following Mawwal i : 

O heart, an lover false thee, shun the parting bane o Nor to forgetfulness thy 

thoughts constrain : 
Be patient ; thou shalt bury all thy /oes ; Allah ne'er falseth man of patience 


And this also : 

An wouldst be life-long safe, vaunt not delight ; * Never despair, nor wone 

o'erjoyed in sprite ! 
Forbear, rejoice not, mourn not o'er thy plight * And in ill day c ' Have not 

we oped ? "recite. 

Thereupon the old woman bowed her head groundwards awhile, 
then, raising it, said, "Laud be to the Lord, the Mighty of 
Award ! Indeed I am afflicted with thee, O Hasan ! Would 
Heaven I had never known thee ! This woman, whom thou 
describest to me as thy wife, I know by description and I know 
her to be none other than the eldest daughter of the Supreme 
King, she who ruleth over all the Islands of Wak. So open both 
eyes and consider thy case ; and if thou be asleep, awake ; for, 
if this woman be indeed thy wife, it is impossible for thee ever to 
obtain her, and though thou come to her, yet couldst thou not 
avail to her possession, since between thee and her the distance 
is as that between earth and Heaven. Wherefore, O my son, 
return presently and cast not thyself into destruction nor cast me 
with thee; for meseemeth thou hast no lot in her; so return 
whence thou earnest lest our lives be lost." And she feared for 
herself and for him. When Hasan heard her words, he wept till 
he fainted and she left not sprinkling water on his face, till he 
came to himself, when he continued to weep, so that he drenched 
his dress with tears, for the much cark and care and chagrin which 

1 Egyptian and Syrian vulgar term for Mawaliyah or Mawaliyah, a short poem on 
subjects either classical or vulgar. It generally consists of five lines all rhyming except 
the penultimate. The metre is a species of the Basil which, however, admits of con- 
siderable poetical license ; this being according to Lane the usual <( Weight," 

_/__/ _ / 

The scheme is distinctly anapaestic and Mr. Lyall (Translations of Ancient Arabic 
Poetry) compares wi'th a cognate metre, the Tawil, certain lines in Abt Vogler, e.g. 

" Ye know why the forms are fair, ye hear how the tale is told." 

* i.e. repeat the chapter of the Koran termed The Opening, and beginning with these 
words, " Have we not opened thy breast for thee and eased thee of thy burden which 
galled thy back? * * * Verily with the difficulty cometh case! " Koran xciv. vol. -I, 5. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 95 

betided him by reason of her words. And indeed he despaired of 
life and said to the old woman, " O my lady, and how shall I go 
back, after having come hither? Verily, I thought not thou 
wouldst forsake me nor fail of the winning of my wish, especially 
as thou art the Commander-in-chief of the army of the girls." 
Answered Shawahi, " O my son, I doubted not but thy wife was a 
maid of the maids, and had I known she was the King's daughter, 
I had not suffered thee to come hither nor had I shown the 
troops to thee, for all the love I bear thee. But now, O my son, 
thou hast seen all the girls naked ; so tell me which of them 
pleaseth thee and I will give her to thee, in lieu of thy wife, and 
do thou put it that thy wife and children are dead and take her 
and return to thine own country in safety, ere thou fall into the 
King's hand and I have no means of delivering thee. So, Allah 
upon thee, O my son, hearken unto me. Choose thyself one of 
these damsels, in the stead of yonder woman, and return presently 
to thy country in safety and cause me not quaff the cup of thine 
anguish ! For, by Allah, thou hast cast thyself into affliction sore 
and peril galore, wherefrom none may avail to deliver thee ever- 
more ! " But Hasan hung down his head and wept with long 
weeping and recited these couplets : 

" Blame not ! " said I to all who blamed me ; * " Mine eye-lids naught but 

tears were made to dree :" 
The tears that brim these orbs have overflowed * My cheeks, for lovers and 

love's cruelty. 
Leave me to love though waste this form of me ! For I of Love adore the 

insanity : 
And, Oh my dearling, passion grows on me * For you and you, why grudge 

me clemency ? 
You wronged me after swearing troth and plight, * Falsed my companionship 

and turned to flee : 
And cup of humbling for your rigours sore * Ye made me drain what day 

departed ye : 
Then melt, O heart, with longing for their sight * And, O mine eyes, with 

crowns of tears be dight. 

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

Nofo fojm tt foa* tfje SfeW l^un&rrtr atrtr { 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the old woman said to Hasan, " By Allah, O my son, hearken to 

g6 A If Laylah wa Lay la k. 

my words ! Choose thee one of these girls in lieu of thy wife and 
presently return to thy country in safety," he hung down his head 
and recited the couplets quoted above. Then he wept till he 
swooned away and Shawahi sprinkled water on his face till he 
revived, when she addressed him, " O my lord, I have no shift 
left ; because if I carry thee to the city thy life is lost and mine 
also : for, when the Queen cometh to know of this, she will blame 
me for admitting thee into her lands and islands, whereto none of 
Adam's sons hath access, and will slay me for bringing thee with 
me and for suffering mortal to look upon the virgins seen by thee 
in the sea, whom ne'er touched male, neither approached mate.'* 
And Hasan sware that he had never looked on them with evil of 
eye. She resumed, " O my son, hearken to me and return to thy 
country and I will give thee wealth and treasures and things of 
price, such as shall suffice thee for all the women in the world. 
Moreover, I will give thee a girl of the best of them, so lend an 
ear to my words and return presently and imperil not thyself; 
indeed I counsel thee with good counsel." But he wept and 
rubbed both cheeks against her feet, saying, " O my lady and 
mistress and coolth of mine eyes, how can I turn back now that I 
have made my way hither, without the sight of those I desire, and 
now that I have come near the beloved's site, hoping for meeting 
forthright, so haply there may be a portion in reunion to my 
plight ? " And he improvised these couplets : 

Kings of beauty, grace to prisoner ta'en * Of eyelids fit to rule the Chosroes* 

reign : 
Ye pass the wafts of musk in perfumed breath ; * Your cheeks the charms of 

blooming rose disdain. 
The softest Zephyr breathes where pitch ye camp * And thence far-scattered 

sweetness fills the plain : 
Censor of me, leave blame and stint advice ! * Thou bringest wearying words 

and wisdom vain : 
Why heat my passion with this flame and up- * braid me wnen naught thoto 

knowest of its bane ? 
Captured me eyes with passion maladifs t # And overthrew me with Love's 

might and main : 

1 scatter tears the while I scatter verse ; * You are my theme for rhyme and 

prosy strain. 
Melted my vitals glow of rosy cheeks * And in the Lazd-lowe my heart is 

lain : 
Tell me, an I leave to discourse of you, * What speech my breast shall 

broaden ? Tell me deign ! 
Life-long I loved the lovelings fair, but ah, To grant my wish eke Allah 

must be fain ! 

Hasan of Bassorah, 97 

Hearing his verses the old woman was moved to ruth for him and 
Allah planted the seed of affection for him in her heart.; so 
coming up to him she consoled him, saying, " Be of good cheer 
and keep thine eyes cool and clear and put away trouble from thy 
thought, for, by Allah, I will venture my Life with thee, till thou 
attain thine aim or death undo me ! " With this, Hasan's heart 
was comforted and his bosom broadened and he sat talking with 
the old woman till the end of the day, when all the girls dispersed, 
some entering their town-mansions and others nighting in the 
tents. Then the old woman carried him into the city and lodged 
him in a place apart, lest any should come to know of him and 
tell the Queen of him and she should slay him and slay her who 
had brought him thither. Moreover, she served him herself and 
strave to put him in fear of the awful majesty of the Supreme 
King, his wife's father ; whilst he wept before her and said, " O 
my lady, I choose death for myself and loathe this worldly life, if I 
foregather not with my wife and children : I have set my existence 
on the venture and will either attain my aim or die," So the old 
woman fell to pondering the means of bringing him and his wife 
together and casting about how to do in the case of this unhappy 
one, who had thrown himself into destruction and would not be 
diverted from his purpose by fear or aught else ; for, indeed he 
recked not of his life and the sayer of bywords saith, " Lover in 
nowise hearkeneth he to the speech of the man who is fancy-free." 
Now the name of the Queen of the island wherein they were was 
Nur al-Huda, 1 eldest daughter of the Supreme King, and she had 
six virgin sisters, abiding with their father, whose capital and 
court were in the chief city of that region and who had made her 
ruler over all the lands and islands of Wak. So when the ancient 
dame saw Hasan on fire with yearning after his wife and children, 
she rose up and repaired to the palace and going in to Queen Nur 
al-Huda kissed ground before her ; for she had a claim on her 
favour because she had reared the King's daughters one and all 
and had authority over each and every of them and was high in 
honour and consideration with them and with the King. Nur 
al-Huda rose to her as she entered and embracing her, seated 
her by her side and asked her of her journey. She answered, 
" By Allah, O my lady 'twas a blessed journey and I have 

1 Lane renders Nur al-HudSt (Light of Salvation) by Light of Day which would be 
Nur al-Hada. 


98 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

brought thee a gift which I will presently present to thee," adding, 
"O my daughter, O Queen of the Age and the time, I have a 
favour to crave of thee and I fain would discover it to thee, that 
thou mayst help me to accomplish it, and but for my confidence that 
thou wilt not gainsay me therein, I would not expose it to thee." 
Asked the Queen, " And what is thy need ? Expound it to me, 
and I will accomplish it to thee, for I and my kingdom and 
troops are all at thy commandment and disposition/' There- 
withal the old woman quivered as quivereth the reed on a day 
when the storm-wind is abroad and saying in herself, " O 1 Pro- 
tector, protect me from the Queen's mischief 2 ! " fell down before 
her and acquainted her with Hasan's case, saying, " O my lady, a 
man, who had hidden himself under my wooden settle on the sea- 
shore, sought my protection ; so I took him under my safeguard 
and carried him with me among the army of girls armed and 
accoutred so that none might know him, and brought him into the 
city ; and indeed I have striven to affright him with thy fierce- 
ness, giving him to know of thy power and prowess ; but, as 
often as I threatened him, he weepeth and reciteth verses and 
sayeth : Needs must I have my wife and children or die, and I 
will not return to my country without them. And indeed he 
hath adventured himself and come to the Islands of Wak, and never 
in all my days saw I mortal heartier of heart than he or doughtier 
of derring-do, save that love hath mastered him to the utmost 

of mastery. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo to&en tt toas t&e lEtgfjt ^unfcrrt anb Jftbitfi 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
old woman related to Queen Nur al-Huda the adventure of 
Hasan, ending with, " Never I saw any one heartier of heart than 
he save that love hath mastered him to the utmost of mastery," 
the Queen, after lending an attentive ear and comprehending the 
case, waxed wroth at her with exceeding wrath and bowed her 
head awhile groundwards ; then, raising it, she looked at Shawahi 

1 In the Bresl. Edit. " Ya Salam " = O safety ! a vulgar ejaculation. 
* A favourite idiom meaning from the mischief which may (or will) come from the 

Hasan of Bassorah.. ao 

and said to her, "O ill-omened beldam, art thou come to such a 
pass of lewdness that thou earnest males, men, with thee into the 
Islands of Wak and bringest them into me, unfearing of my mis- 
chief? Who hath foregone thee with this fashion, that thou 
shouldst do thus ? By the head of the King, but for thy claim on 
me for fosterage and service, I would forthwith do both him and 
thee to die the foulest of deaths, that travellers might take 
warning by thee, O accursed, lest any other do the like of this 
outrageous deed thou hast done, which none durst hitherto ! But 
go and bring him hither forthright, that I may see him ; or I will 
strike off thy head, O accursed." So the old woman went out 
from her, confounded unknowing whither she went and saying, 
"All this calamity hath Allah driven upon me from this Queen 
because of Hasan ! " and going in to him, said, Rise, speak 
with the Queen, O wight whose last hour is at hand ! " So he 
rose and went with her, whilst his tongue ceased not to call upon 
Almighty Allah and say, O my God, be gracious to me in 
Thy decrees and deliver me from this Thine affliction 1 1 " And 
Shawahi went with him charging him by the way how he should 
speak with the Queen. When he stood before Nur al-Huda, he 
found that she had donned the chinveil 2 ; so he kissed ground 
before her and saluted her with the salam, improvising these two 
couplets : 

God make thy glory last in joy of life : . Allah confirm the boons he deigned 
bestow : 

Thy grace and grandeur may our Lord increase * And aye Th> Almighty aid 
thee o'er thy foe ! " 

When he ended his verse Nur al-Huda bade the old woman ask 
him questions before her, that she might hear his answers : so she 
said to him, The Queen returneth thy salam-greeting and saith 
to thee," What is thy name and that of thy country, and what are 
the names of thy wife and children, on whose account thou art 
come hither ?' Quoth he, and indeed he had made firm his heart 
and destiny aided him, O Queen of the age and tide and peerless 
jewel f the epoch and the time, my name is Hasan the full- 

' He is not strong-minded but his feminine persistency of purpose, likest to that of a 
mmg hen, is confirmed by the Consolations of religion.'* The character is delicately 

In token that she intended to act like a man. 

loo A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

'filled of sorrow, and my native city is Bassorah. I know not 
the name of my wife l but my children's names are Nasir and 
Mansur." When the Queen heard his reply and his provenance, 
she bespoke him herself and said, " And whence took she her 
children ? " He replied, " O Queen, she took them from the city 
of Baghdad and the palace of the Caliphate." Quoth Nur 
al-Huda, " And did she say naught to thee at the time she flew 
away ? ; " and quoth he, " Yes ; she said to my mother : Whenas 
thy son cometh to thee and the nights of severance upon him 
longsome shall be and he craveth meeting and reunion to see, and 
whenas the breezes of love and longing shake him dolefully let 
him come in the Islands of Wak to me." Whereupon Queen Nur 
al-Huda shook her head and said to him. " Had she not desired 
thee she had not said to thy mother this say, and had she not 
yearned for reunion with thee, never had she bidden thee to her 
stead nor acquainted thee with her abiding-place." Rejoined 
Hasan, " O mistress of Kings and asylum of prince and pauper, 
whatso happened I have told thee and have concealed naught 
thereof, and I take refuge from evil with Allah and with thee ; 
wherefore oppress me not, but have compassion on me and earn 
recompense and requital for me in the world to come, and aid me 
to regain my wife and children. Grant me my urgent need and 
cool mine eyes with my children and help me to the sight of them." 
Then he wept and wailed and lamenting his lot recited these two 
couplets : 

Yea, I will laud thee while the ring-dove moans, Though fail my wish of due 

and lawful scope : 
Ne'er was I whirled in bliss and joys gone by Wherein I found thee not 

both root and rope. 2 

The Queen shook her head and bowed it in thought a long time ; 
then, raising it, she said to Hasan (and indeed she was wroth), " I 
have ruth on thee and am resolved to show thee in review all the 
girls in the city and in the provinces of my island ; and in case 
thou know thy wife, I will deliver her to thee ; but, an thou know 
her not and know not her place, I will put thee to death and 

1 This is not rare even in real life : Moslem women often hide and change their names 
for superstitious reasons, from the husband and his family. 

2 Arab. " Sabab " which also means cause. Vol. ii. 14. There is the same meta- 
phorical use of " Habl " = cord and cause. 

Hasan of Bassorah. IOI 

crucify thee over the old woman's door." Replied Hasan, " I accept 
this from thee, O Queen of the Age, and am content to submit to 
this thy condition. There is no Majesty and there is no Might 
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " And he recited these 
couplets : 

You've roused my desire and remain at rest, o Waked my wounded lids 

while you slept with zest. 
And ye made me a vow ye would not hang back o But your guile when you 

chained me waxt manifest 
I loved you in childhood unknowing Love ; o Then slay me not who am 

sore opprest- 
Fear ye not from Allah when slaying a friend o Who gazeth on stars when 

folk sleep their best ? 
By Allah, my kinsmen, indite on my tomb o '* This man was the slave of 

Love's harshest hest ! " 
Haps a noble youth, like me Love's own thrall, o When he sees my grave on 

my name shall call. 

Then Queen Nur al-Huda commanded that not a girl should 
abide in the city but should come up to the palace and pass in 
review before Hasan and moreover she bade Shawahi go down in 
person and bring them up herself. Accordingly all the maidens 
in the city presented themselves before the Queen, who caused 
them to go in to Hasan, hundred after hundred, till there was no 
girl left in the place, but she had shown her to him ; yet he saw 
not his wife amongst them. Then said she to him, " Seest thou her 
amongst these ? "; and he replied, " By thy life, O Queen, she is 
not amongst them." With this she was sore enraged against him 
and said to the old woman, " Go in and bring out all who are in 
the palace and show them to him." So she displayed to him 
every one of the palace-girls, but he saw not his wife among them 
and said to the Queen, " By the life of thy head, O Queen, she is 
not among these." Whereat the Queen was wroth and cried out 
at those around her, saying, " Take him and hale him along, face 
to earth, and cut off his head, least any adventure himself after 
him and intrude upon us in our country and spy out our estate by 
thus treading the soil of our islands." So they threw him down 
on his face and dragged him along ; then, covering his eyes with 
his skirt, stood at his head with bared brands awaiting royal 
permission. Thereupon Shawahi came forward and kissing the 
ground before the Queen, took the hem of her garment and laid it 
on her head, saying, " O Queen, by my claim for fosterage, be not 

102 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

hasty with him, more by token of thy knowledge that this poor 
wretch is a stranger, who hath adventured himself and suffered 
what none ever suffered before him, and Allah (to whom belong 
Might and Majesty,) preserved him from death, for that his life 
was ordained to be long. He heard of thine equity and entered 
thy city and guarded site ; 1 wherefore, if thou put him to death, 
the report will dispread abroad of thee, by means of the travellers, 
that thou hatest strangers and slayest them. He is in any case 
at thy mercy and the slain of thy sword, if his wife be not found 
in thy dominions ; and whensoever thou desireth his presence, I 
can bring him back to thee. Moreover, in very sooth I took him 
under my protection only of my trust in thy magnanimity through 
my claim on thee for fosterage, so that I engaged to him that thou 
wouldst bring him to his desire, for my knowledge of thy justice 
and quality of mercy. But for this, I had not brought him into thy 
kingdom; for I said to myself: The Queen will take pleasure in 
looking upon him, and hearing him speak his verses and his sweet 
discourse and eloquent which is like unto pearls strung on string. 
Moreover, he hath entered our land and eaten of our meat ; where- 
fore he hath a claim upon us." And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo fo&en it foas tfce IStgJt ^unfcre* an* 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Queen Nur al-Huda bade her pages seize Hasan and smite his 
neck, the old woman, Shawahi, began to reason with her and say, 
" Verily he hath entered our land and eaten of our meat, where- 
fore he hath a claim upon us, the more especially since I promised 
him to bring him in company with thee ; and thou knowest that, 
parting is a grievous ill and severance hath power to kill, especially 
separation from children. Now he hath seen all our women, save 
only thyself; so do thou show him thy face ? " The Queen smiled 
and said, " How can he be my husband and have had children by 
me, that I should show him my face ? " Then she made them 
bring Hasan before her and when he stood in the presence, she 

Arab. " Hima," a word often occurring in Arab poetry, domain, a pasture or watered 
land forcibly kept as far as a dog's bark would sound by some masterful chief like 
11 King Kulayb." (See vol. ii. 77). This tenure was forbidden by Mohammed except 
for Allah and the Apostle (i.e. himself). Lane translates it "asylum." 

Hasan of Bassorah. 103 

unveiled her face, which when he saw, he cried out with a great 
cry and fell down fainting. The old woman ceased not to tend 
him, till he came to himself and as soon as he revived he recited 
these couplets : 

O breeze that blowest from the land Irak o And from their corners whoso 

cry " Wak ! Wak ! " 
Bear news of me to friends and say for me o I've tasted passion-food of 

bitter smack. 

dearlings of my love, show grace and ruth a My heart is melted for this 


When he ended his verse he rose and looking on the Queen's face, 
cried out with a great cry, for stress whereof the palace was like to 
fall upon all therein. Then he swooned away again and the old 
woman ceased not to tend him till he revived, when she asked him 
what ailed him and he answered, " In very sooth this Queen is 

either my wife or else the likest of all folk to my wife." And 

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

ttfofo fo&en tt foas t&e Zigfit f^unfcrrtr an& IBIebentJ) Ntg&t, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the old woman asked Hasan what ailed him, he answered, " In 
very sooth this Queen is either my wife or else the likest of all 
folk to my wife." Quoth Nur al-Huda to the old woman, " Woe 
to thee, O nurse! This stranger is either Jinn-mad or out of his 
mind, for he stareth me in the face with wide eyes and saith I am 
his wife/' Quoth the old woman, " O Queen, indeed he is 
excusable ; so blame him not, for the saying saith : For the 
love-sick is no remedy and alike are the madman and he." And 
Hasan wept with sore weeping and recited these two couplets : 

1 sight their track and pine for longing love ; * And o'er their homesteads 

weep I and I yearn : 

And I pray Heaven who willed we should part, * Will deign to grant us boon 
of safe return. 

Then said Hasan to the Queen once more, " By Allah, thou art 
not my wife, but thou art the likest of all folk to her ! " Here- 
upon Nur al-Huda laughed till she fell backwards and rolled round 
on her side. 1 Then she said to him, " O my friend, take thy time 

1 She was a maid and had long been of marriageable age. 

104 Alf Laytak wa Laylak. 

and observe me attentively : answer me at thy leisure what I shall 
ask thee and put away from thee insanity and perplexity and 
inadvertency for relief is at hand." Answered Hasan, " O mistress 
of Kings and asylum of all princes and paupers, when I looked 
upon thee, I was distracted, seeing thee to be either my wife or the 
Hkest of all folk to her ; but now ask me whatso thou wilt." Quoth 
she, "What is it in thy wife that resembleth me ? "; and quoth he, 
" O my lady, all that is in thee of beauty and loveliness, elegance 
and amorous grace, such as the symmetry of thy shape and the 
sweetness of thy speech and the blushing of thy cheeks and the 
jutting of thy breasts and so forth, all resembleth her and thou art 
her very self in thy faculty of parlance and the fairness of thy 
favour and the brilliancy of thy brow. 1 '* When the Queen heard 
this, she smiled and gloried in her beauty and loveliness and her 
cheeks reddened and her eyes wantoned ; then she turned to 
Shawahi Umm Dawahi and said to her, " O my mother, carry 
him back to the place where he tarried with thee and tend him 
thyself, till I examine into his affair ; for, an he be indeed a man 
of manliness and mindful of friendship and love and affection, it 
behoveth we help him to win his wish, more by token that he hath 
sojourned in our country and eaten of our victual, not to speak 
of the hardships of travel he hath suffered and the travail and 
horrors he hath undergone. But, when thou hast brought him 
to thy house, commend him to the care of thy dependents and 
return to me in all haste ; and Allah Almighty willing ! 2 all shall 
be well." Thereupon Shawahi carried him back to her lodging 
and charged her handmaids and servants and suite wait upon 
him and bring him all he needed nor fail in what was his due. 
Then she returned to Queen Nur al-Huda, who bade her don 
her arms and set out, taking with her a thousand doughty 
horsemen. So she obeyed and donned her war-gear and having 
collected the thousand riders reported them ready to the Queen, 
who bade her march upon the city of the Supreme King, her 
father, there to alight at the abode of her youngest sister, Mandr 
al-Sand, 3 and say to her, " Clothe thy two sons in the coats of 

1 The young man had evidently " kissed the Blarney stone'*; but the flattery is the 
more telling as he speaks from the heart. 

* " Inshallah " here being = D. V. 

3 i.c. The " Place of Light " (Pharos), or of Splendour. Here we find that Hasan's 
wife is the youngest sister, but with an extraordinary resemblance to the eldest, a very 
masterful young person. The anagnorisis is admirably well managed. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 105 

mail which their aunt hath made them and send them to her ; 
for she longeth for them." Moreover the Queen charged her 
keep Hasan's affair secret and say to Manar al-Sana, after 
securing her children, "Thy sister inviteth thee to visit her." 
" Then," she continued, " bring the children to me in haste and 
let her follow at her leisure. Do thou come by a road other 
than her road and journey night and day and beware of dis- 
covering this matter to any. And I swear by all manner oaths 
that, if my sister prove to be his wife and it appear that her 
children are his, I will not hinder him from taking her and 

them and departing with them to his own country." And 

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

Nofo fo&en ft foas tfie lEigJt ^untrretr atrtr ^fodftf) Nfgjt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Queen said, I swear by Allah and by all manner of oaths that if 
she prove to be his wife, I will not hinder him from taking her 
but will aid him thereto and eke to departing with them to his 
mother-land." And the old woman put faith in her words, 
knowing not what she purposed in her mind, for the wicked 
Jezebel had resolved that if she were not his wife she would 
slay him ; but if the children resembled him, she would believe 
him. The Queen resumed, " O my mother, an my thought tell 
me true, my sister Manar al-Sana is his wife, but Allah alone is 
All-knowing ! seeing that these traits of surpassing beauty and 
excelling grace, of which he spoke, are found in none except 
my sisters and especially in the youngest." The old woman 
kissed her hand and returning to Hasan, told him what the 
Queen had said, whereat he was like to fly for joy and coming 
up to her, kissed her head. Quoth she, " O my son, kiss not my 
head, but kiss me on the mouth and be this kiss by way of sweet- 
meat for thy salvation. 1 Be of good cheer and keep thine eyes 
cool and clear and grudge not to kiss my mouth, for I and only 
I was the means of thy foregathering with her. So take comfort 

1 i.e. the sweetmeats of the feast provided for the returning traveller. The old woman 
(like others) cannot resist the temptation of a young man's lips. Happily for him she 
goes so far and no farther. 

JO 5 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

and hearten thy heart and broaden thy breast and gladden thy 
glance and console thy soul for, Allah willing, thy desire shall be 
accomplished at my hand." So saying, she bade him farewell 
and departed, whilst he recited these two couplets : 

Witnesses unto love of thee I've four ; o And wants each case two wit- 
nesses ; no more ! 

A heart aye fluttering, limbs that ever quake, o A wasted frame and tongue 
that speech forswore. 

And also these two : 

Two things there be, an blood-tears thereover o Wept eyes till not one trace 

thou couldst discover, 
Eyes ne'er could pay the tithe to them is due o The prime of youth and 

severance from lover. 

Then the old woman armed herself and, taking with her a 
thousand weaponed horsemen, set out and journeyed till she 
came to the island and the city where dwelt the Lady Manar 
al-Sana and between which and that of her sister Queen Nur 
al-Huda was three days' journey. When Shawahi reached the 
city, she went in to the Princess and saluting her, gave her her 
sister's salam and acquainted her with the Queen's longing for 
her and her children and that she reproached her for not visiting 
her. Quoth Manar al-Sana, " Verily, I am beholden to my sister 
and have failed of my duty to her in not visiting her, but I will 
do so forthright." Then she bade pitch her tents without the city 
and took with her for her sister a suitable present of rare things. 
Presently, the King her father looked out of a window of his 
palace, and seeing the tents pitched by the road, asked of them, 
and they answered him, " The Princess Manar al-Sana hath 
pitched her tents by the way-side, being minded to visit her 
sister Queen Nur al-Huda." When the King heard this, he 
equipped troops to escort her to her sister and brought out to 
her from his treasuries meat and drink and monies and jewels 
and rarities which beggar description. Now the King had 
seven daughters, all sisters-german by one mother and father 
except the youngest : the eldest was called Nur al-Huda, the 
second Najm al-Sabdh,- the third Shams al-Zuha, the fourth 
Shajarat al-Durr, the fifth Kut al-Kuliib, the sixth Sharaf al- 
Bandt and the youngest Manar al-Sana, Hasan's wife, who was 

Hasan of Bassorak. 107 

their sister by the father's side only. 1 Anon the old woman 
again presented herself and kissed ground before the Princess, 
who said to her, " Hast thou any need, O my mother ? " Quoth 
Shawahi, " Thy sister, Queen Nur al-Huda, biddeth thee clothe 
thy sons in the two habergeons which she fashioned for them 
and send them to her by me, and I will take them and forego 
thee with them and be the harbinger of glad tidings and the 
announcer of thy coming to her." When the Princess heard 
these words, her colour changed and she bowed her head a 
long while, after which she shook it and looking up, said to 
the old woman, " O my mother, my vitals tremble and my 
heart fluttereth when thou namest my children ; for, from the 
time of their birth none hath looked on their faces either Jinn 
or man, male or female, and I am jealous for them of the zephyr 
when it breatheth in the night. Exclaimed the old woman, 
" What words are these, O my lady ? Dost thou fear for them 

from thy sister ? And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased saying her permitted say. 

to&en (t foas t&e (Mgfit ^untrrefc an& 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the old 
v/oman said to the Princess Manar al-Sana, " What words be 
these, O my lady ? Dost thou fear for them from thy sister ? 
Allah safeguard thy reason 1 Thou mayst not cross the Queen's 
majesty in this matter, for she would be wroth with thee. How- 
ever, O my lady, the children are young, and thou art excusable 
in fearing for them, for those that love well are wont to deem ill : 
but, O my daughter, thou knowest my tenderness and mine 
affection for thee and thy children, for indeed I reared thee before 
them. I will take them in my charge and make my cheek their 
pillow and open my heart and set them within, nor is it needful to 
charge me with care of them in the like of this case ; so be of 
cheerful heart and tearless eye and send them to her, for, at the 
most, I shall but precede thee with them a day or at most two 
days." And she ceased not to urge her, till she gave way, fearing 

1 The first, fourth, fifth and last names have already occurred : the others are in order, 
Star o* Morn, Sun of Undurn and Honour of Maidenhood. They are not merely 
fanciful, but are still used in Egypt and Syria. 

108 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

her sister's fury and unknowing what lurked for her in the dark 
future, and consented to send them with the old woman. So she 
called them and bathed them and equipped them and changed their 
apparel. Then she clad them in the two little coats of mail and 
delivered them to Shawahi, who took them and sped on with them 
like a bird, by another road than that by which their mother should 
travel, even as the Queen had charged her ; nor did she cease to 
fare on with all diligence, being fearful for them, till she came in 
sight of Nur al-Huda's city, when she crossed the river and enter- 
ing the town, carried them in to their aunt. The Queen rejoiced 
at their sight and embraced them, and pressed them to her breast ; 
after which she seated them, one upon the right thigh and the 
other upon the left ; and turning round said to the old woman, 
" Fetch me Hasan forthright, for I have granted him my safeguard 
and have spared him from my sabre and he hath sought asylum in 
my house and taken up his abode in my courts, after having 
endured hardships and horrors and passed through all manner 
mortal risks, each terribler than other ; yet hitherto is he not safe 
from drinking the cup of death and from cutting off his breath." 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

Nofo foficn (t foas tft* Ufj&t f^untarti atrtr jpouttecntj 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Queen Nur al-Huda bade the old woman bring Hasan she said, 
" Verily he hath endured hardships and horrors and passed through 
all manner mortal risks each terribler than other ; yet hitherto he 
is not safe from death and from the cutting off of his breath." 
Replied Shawahi, " An I bring him to thee, wilt thou reunite him 
with these his children? Or, if they prove not his, wilt thou 
pardon him and restore him to his own country ? " Hearing these 
her words the Queen waxed exceeding wroth and cried to her, 
" Fie upon thee, O ill-omened old woman ! How long wilt thou 
false us in the matter of this strange man who hath dared to in- 
trude himself upon us and hath lifted our veil and pried into our 
conditions ? Say me : thinkest thou that he shall come to our 
land and look upon our faces and betray our honour, and after 
return in safety to his own country and expose our affairs to his 
people, wherefore our report will be bruited abroad among all the 

Hasan of Bassorah. 109 

Kings of the quarters of the earth and the merchants will journey 
bearing tidings of us in all directions, saying : A mortal entered 
the Isles of Wak and traversed the Land of the Jinn and the Lands 
of the Wild Beasts and the Islands of Birds and set foot in the 
country of the Warlocks and the Enchanters and returned in 
safety ? " This shall never be ; no, never ; and I swear by Him 
who made the Heavens and builded them ; yea, by Him who 
dispread the earth and smoothed it, and who created all creatures 
and counted them, that, an they be not his children, I will 
assuredly slay him and strike his neck with mine own hand ! " 
Then she cried out at the old woman, who fell down for fear ; and 
set upon her the Chamberlain and twenty Mamelukes, saying, " Go 
with this crone and fetch me in haste the youth who is in her 
house." So they dragged Shawaki along, yellow with fright and 
with side-muscles quivering, till they came to her house, where 
she went in to Hasan, who rose to her and kissed her hands and 
saluted her. She returned not his salam, but said to him, " Come ; 
speak the Queen. Did I not say to thee: Return presently 
to thine own country and I will give thee that to which no 
mortal may avail ? And did I forbid thee from all this ? But 
thou wouldst not obey me nor listen to my words ; nay, thou 
rejecteds^my counsel and chosest to bring destruction on me and 
on thyself. Up, then, and take that which thou hast chosen ; for 
death is near hand. Arise : speak with yonder vile harlot 1 and 
tyrant that she is ! " So Hasan arose, broken-spirited, heavy- 
hearted, and full of fear, and crying, " O Preserver, preserve Thou 
me ! O my God, be gracious to me in that 1 which Thou hast 
decreed to me of Thine affliction and protect me, O Thou the 
most Merciful of the Mercifuls ! " Then, despairing of his life, he 
followed the twenty Mamelukes, the Chamberlain and the crone 
to the Queen's presence, where he found his two sons Nasir and 
Mansur sitting in her lap, whilst she played and made merry with 
them. As soon as his eyes fell on them, he knew them and crying 
a great cry fell down a-fainting for excess of joy at the sight of 

his children. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

1 Arab. " Fdjirah " and elsewhere " 'Ahirah," =. whore and strumpet used often in 
loose talk as mere abuse without special meaning. 

no A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Jiofo fofittt ft foas t&e <&i$t ^unbretr antr jFiftecntf) 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan's eyes fell upon his two sons, he knew them both and 
crying a great cry fell down a-fainting. They also knew him 1 
and natural affection moved them, so that they freed themselves 
from the Queen's lap and fell upon Hasan, and Allah (to whom 
belong Might and Majesty,) made them speak and say to him, " O 
our father ! " Whereupon the old woman and all who were 
present wept for pity and tenderness over them and said, " Praised 
be Allah, who hath reunited you with your Sire ! " Presently, 
Hasan came to himself and embracing his children, wept till 
again he swooned away, and when he revived, he recited these 
verses : 

By rights of you, this heart of mine could ne'er aby * Severance from you 

albeit Union death imply ! 
Your phantom saith to me, "A-morrow we shall meet ! " * Shall I despite the 

foe the morrow-day espy ? 
By rights of you I swear, my lords, that since the day * Of severance ne'er 

the sweets of lips enjoyed I ! 
An Allah bade me perish for the love of you, * Mid greatest martyrs for your 

love I lief will die. 
Oft a gazelle doth make my heart her browsing stead * The while her form 

of flesh like sleep eludes mine eye : 
If in the lists of Law my bloodshed she deny, * Prove it two witnesses those 

cheeks of ruddy dye. 

When Nur al-Huda was assured that the little ones were indeed 
Hasan's children and that her sister, the Princess Manar al-Sana, 
was his wife, of whom he was come in quest, she was wroth 

against her with wrath beyond measure. And Shahrazad 

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

JJofo fo&en ft foas tje lEfg&t fl^un&rtfr anfc btxte*nrt) 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Nur al-Huda was certified that the little ones were Hasan's 

1 This to Westerns would seem a most improbable detail, but Easterns have their own 
ideas concerning '* Al-Muhabbat al-ghariziyah "=natural affection, blood speaking to 
blood, etc. 

Hasan of Bassorak. 1 1 1 

children and that her sister Manar al-Sana was his wife of whom 
he had come in quest, she raged with exceeding rage, too great to 
be assuaged and screamed in Hasan's face and reviled him and 
kicked him in the breast, so that he fell on his back in a swoon. 
Then she cried out at him, saying, " Arise ! fly for thy life. But 
that I swore that no evil should betide thee from me, should thy 
tale prove true, I would s<ay thee with mine own hand forthright ! " 
And she cried out at the old woman, who fell on her face for fear, 
and said to her, " By Allah, but that I am loath to break the oath 
that I swore, I would put both thee and him to death after the 
foulest fashion ! "; presently adding, " Arise, go out from before 
me in safety and return to thine own country, for I swear by my 
fortune, if ever mine eye espy thee or if any bring thee in to me 
after this, I will smite off thy head and that of whoso bringeth 
thee ! " Then she cried out to her officers, saying, " Put him out 
from before me ! " So they thrust him out, and when he came to 
himself, he recited these couplets : 

You're far. yet to my heart you're nearest near ; o Absent yet present in my 
sprite you appear : 

By Allah, ne'er to other I've inclined o But tyranny of Time in patience 

Nights pass while still I love you and they end, And burns my breast with 
flames of fell Sa'fr 1 ; 

I was a youth who parting for an hour o Bore not, then what of months that 
make a year ? 

Jealous am I of breeze-breath fanning thee ; o Yea jealous-mad of fair soft- 
sided fere I 

Then he once more fell down in a swoon, and when he came to 
himself, he found himself without the palace whither they had 
dragged him on his face ; so he rose, stumbling over his skirts 

1 One of the Hells (see vol. iv. 143). Here it may be advisable to give the names of 
the Seven Heavens (which are evidently based upon Ptolemaic astronomy) and which 
correspond with the Seven Hells after the fashion of Arabian system-mania, (i) Dar al- 
Jalal (House of Glory), made of pearls ; (2) Dar al-Salam (of Rest), rubies and jacinths ; 
(3) Jannat al-Maawa (Garden of Mansions, not "of mirrors," as Herklots has it, p. 98), 
made of yellow copper ; (4) Jannat al-Khuld (of Eternity), yellow coral ; (5) Jannat 
al-Na'im (of Delights), white diamond ; (6) Jannat al-Firdaus (of Paradise), red gold ; 
and (7) Jannat al-'Adn (of Eden., or Al-Karar = of everlasting abode, which some make 
No. 8), of red pearls or pure musk. The seven Hells are given in vol. v. 241 ; 
they are intended for Moslems (Jahannam) ; Christians (Laza) ; Jews (Hutamah) ; 
Sabians (Sa'ir) ; Guebres (Sakar) ; Pagans or idolaters (Jahfm) ; and Hypocrites 

112 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and hardly crediting his escape from Nur al-Huda Now this was 
grievous to Shawahi ; but she dared not remonstrate with the 
Queen by reason of the violence of her wrath. And forthright 
Hasan went forth, distracted and knowing not whence to come or 
whither to go * the world, for all its wideness, was straitened upon 
him and he found none to speak a kind word with him and 
comfort him, nor any to whom he might resort for counsel or to 
apply for refuge ; wherefore he made sure of death for that he 
could not journey to his own country and knew none to travel 
with him, neither wist he the way thither nor might he pass 
through the Wady of the Jann and the Land of Beasts and the 
Islands of Birds. So giving himself up for lost he bewept himself, 
till he fainted, and when he revived, he bethought him of his 
children and his wife and of that might befal her with her sister, 
repenting him of having come to those countries and of having 
hearkened to none, and recited these couplets : 

Suffer mine eye-babes weep lost of love and tears express : o Rare is my 

solace and increases my distress : 
The cup of Severance-chances to the dregs I've drained ; o Who is the man to 

bear love-loss with manliness ? 
Ye spread the Carpet of Disgrace 1 betwixt us twain ; o Ah, when shalt be 

uprolled, O Carpet of Disgrace ? 
I watched the while you slept ; and if you deemed that I o Forgot your love I 

but forget forgetfulness : 
Woe's me ! indeed my heart is pining for the love Of you, the only leaches 

who oan cure my case : 
See ye not what befel me from your fell disdain ? o Debased am I before the 

low and high no less. 
I hid my love of you but longing laid it bare, o And bums my heart wi' fire ol 

passion's sorest stress : 
Ah 1 deign have pky on my piteous case, for I o Have kept our troth in 

secresy and patent place ! 
Would Heaven I wot shall Time e'er deign us twain rejoin ! o You are my 

heart's desire, my sprite's sole happiness : 
My vitals bear the Severance-wound : would Heaven that you o With tidings 

from your camp would deign my soul to bless ! 

Then he went on, till he came without the city, where he found 
the river, and walked along its bank, knowing not whither he 
went. Such was Hasan's case ; but as regards his wife Manar 

1 Arab. '"Atb," more literally = " blame," " reproach," 

Hasan of Bassorah. 1 1 3 

al-Sana, as she was about to carry out her purpose and to set out, 
on the second day after the departure of the old woman with her 
children, behold, there came in to her one of the chamberlains of 

the King her sire, and kissed ground between his hands, And 

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

Nofo fojen it foas tfje <&\$\ f^untfrefc an& g^benteentf) Nfjs&t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Manar al-Sana was about to set out upon the journey, behold, a 
chamberlain of the King, her sire, came in to her and kissing 
the ground before her, said, " O Princess, the Supreme King, thy 
father saluteth thee and biddeth thee to him." So she rose and 
accompanied the chamberlain to learn what was required by her 
father, who seated her by his side on the couch, and said to her, 
" O my daughter, know that I have this night had a dream which 
maketh me fear for thee and that long sorrow will betide thee 
from this thy journey." Quoth she, " How so, O my father, and 
what didst thou see in thy dream ? " and quoth he, " I dreamt that 
I entered a hidden hoard, wherein was great store of monies, of 
jewels, of jacinths and of other riches ; but 'twas as if naught 
pleased me of all this treasure and jewelry save seven bezels, 
which were the finest things there. I chose out one of the seven 
jewels, for it was the smallest, finest and most lustrous of them 
and its water pleased me ; so I took it in my hand-palm and fared 
forth of the treasury. When I came without the door, I opened 
my hand, rejoicing, and turned over the jewel, when, behold > 
there swooped down on me out of the welkin a strange bird 
from a far land (for it was not of the birds of our country) and, 
snatching it from my hand, returned with it whence it came; 1 
Whereupon sorrow and concern and sore vexation overcame me 
and my exceeding chagrin so troubled me that I awoke, mourning 
and lamenting for the loss of the jewel. At once on awaking I 
summoned the interpreters and expounders of dreams and declared 
to them my dream. 2 and they said to me: Thou hast sever* 

1 Bresl. Edit. In the Mac. "it returned to the place whence I had Brought it "an 
inferior reading. 

* The dreams play an important part in the Romances of Chivalry, e.g. the dream of 
King Perion in Amadis de Gaul, chapt. ii. (London ; Longmans, 1803). 


1 14 A If Laylah wet Laylak. 

daughters, the youngest of whom thou wilt lose, and she will be 
taken from thee perforce, without thy will. Now thou, O my girl, 
art the youngest and dearest of my daughters and the most affec- 
tionate of them to me, and look'ye thou art about to journey to 
thy sister, and I know not what may befal thee from her ; so go 
thou not ; but return to thy palace." But when the Princess 
heard her father's words, her heart fluttered and she feared for her 
children and bent earthwards her head awhile : then she raised it 
and said to her sire, " O King, Queen Nur al-Huda hath made 
ready for me an entertainment and awaiteth my coming to her,, 
hour by hour. These four years she hath not seen me and if I 
delay to visit her, she will be wroth with me. The utmost of my 
stay with her shall be a month and* then I will return to thee. 
Besides, who is the mortal who can travel our land and make 
his way to the Islands of Wak ? Who can gain access to the 
White Country and the Black Mountain and come to the Land 
of Camphor and the Castle of Crystal, and how shall he traverse 
the Island of Birds and the Wady of Wild Beasts and the Valley 
of the Jann and enter our Islands ? If any stranger came hither, 
he would be drowned in the seas of destruction : so be of good 
cheer and eyes without a tear anent my journey ; for none may 
avail to tread our earth." And she ceased not to persuade him, 

till he deigned give her leave to depart. And Shahrazad 

perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted 

Nofo btfjEtt ft foas t&e <Btc$t f^utrtrrrtr an* (Eigftteentft Nfg&t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Princess ceased not to persuade him till he deigned give her leave 
to depart, and bade a thousand horse escort her to the river and 
abide there, till she entered her sister's city and palace and 
returned to them, when they should take her and carry her back 
to him. Moreover, he charged her tarry with her sister but two 
days and return to him in haste; and she answered, " Hearing 
and obedience." Then rising up she went forth and he with her 
and farewelled her. Now his words had sunken deep into her 
heart and she feared for her children ; but it availeth not to fortify 
herself by any device against the onset of Destiny. So she set out 
and fared on diligently three days, till she came to the river and 
pitched her tents on its bank. Then she crossed the stream, 

Hasan of Bassoraft. 1 1 5 

with some of her counsellors, pages and suite and, going up to 
the city and the palace, went in to Queen Nur al-Huda, with 
whom she found her children who ran to her weeping and crying 
out, " O our father ! " At this, the tears railed from her eyes and 
she wept ; then she strained them to her bosom, saying, " What ! 
Have you seen your sire at this time ? Would the hour had never 
been, in which I left him ! If I knew him to be in the house of 
the world, I would carry you to him." Then she bemoaned her- 
self and her husband and her children weeping and reciting these 
couplets : 

My friends, despite this distance and this cruelty, I pine for you, incline to 

you where'er you be. 
My glance for ever turns towards your hearth and home o And mourns my 

heart the bygone days you woned with me , 
How many a night foregathered we withouten fear One loving, other faithful 

ever fain and free ! 

When her sister saw her fold her children to her bosom, saying, 
44 'Tis I who have done thus with myself and my children and have 
ruined my own house ! " she saluted her not, but said to her, " O 
whore, whence haddest thou these children ? Say, hast thou 
married unbeknown to thy sire or hast thou committed fornica- 
tion ? l An thou have played the piece, it behoveth thou be 
exemplarily punished ; and if thou have married sans our 
knowledge, why didst thou abandon thy husband and separate 

thy sons from thy sire and bring them hither ? " And 

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

1 Amongst Moslems bastardy is a sore offence and a love-child is exceedingly rare. The 
girl is not only carefully guarded but she also guards herself knowing that otherwise she 
will not find a husband. Hence seduction is all but unknown. The wife is equally 
well guarded and lacks opportunities hence adultery is found difficult except in books* 
Of the Ibn (or Walad) Haram (bastard as opposed to the Ibn Halal) the proverb 
says, "This child is not thine, so the madder he be the more is thy glee !" Yet 
strange to say public prostitution has never been wholly abolished in Al-Islam Al- 
Mas'udi tell us that in Arabia were public prostitutes (Baghaya), even before the days ol 
the Apostle, who affected certain quarters as in our day the Tartushah of Alexandria 
and the Hosh Bardak of Cairo. Here says Herr Carlo Landberg (p. 57, Syrian Proverbs) 
"Ellesparlentunelanguetouteaelle." So pretentious and dogmatic a writer as the author 
of Proverbes et Dictons de la Province de Syrie, ought surely to have known that the 
Hosh Bardak is the head-quarters of the Cairene Gypsies. This author, who seems 
to write in order to learn, reminds me of an acute Oxonian undergraduate of my day who, 
when advised to take a " coach," became a " coach " himself. 


A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Noto fojen ft tons t&e JBl$t 

anlr jStneteentS Nfg^t, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth 
Nur al-Huda, the Queen, to her sister Manar al-Sana, the 
Princess, "An thou have married sans our knowledge, why didst 
thou abandon thy husband and separate thy sons from their sire 
and bring them to our land ? Thou hast hidden thy children 
from us. Thinkest thou we know not of this ? Allah Almighty, 
He who is cognisant of the concealed, hath made known to us 
thy case and revealed thy condition and bared thy nakedness/' 
Then she bade her guards seize her and pinion her elbows and 
shackle her with shackles of iron. So they did as she com- 
manded and she beat her with a grievous beating, so that her skin 
was torn, and hanged her up by the hair ; after which she cast her 
in prison and wrote the King her father a writ acquainting htm 
with her case and saying, " There hath appeared in our land a man, 
a mortal, by name Hasan, and our sister Manar al-Sana avoucheth 
that she is lawfully married to him and bare him two sons, whom 
she hath hidden from us and thee ; nor did she discover aught of 
herself till there came to us this man and informed us that he 
wedded her and she tarried with him a long while ; after which 
she took her children and departed, without his knowledge, 
bidding as she went his mother tell her son, whenas longing began 
to rack to come to her in the Islands of Wak. So we laid hands 
on the man and sent the old woman Shawahi to fetch her and her 
offspring, enjoining her to bring us the children in advance of 
her. And she did so, whilst Manar al-Sana equipped herself and 
set out to visit me. When the boys were brought to me and 
ere the mother came, I sent for Hasan the mortal who claimeth 
her to wife, and he on entering and at first sight knew them and 
they knew him ; whereby was I certified that the children were 
indeed his children and that she was his wife and I learned that 
the man's story was true and he was not to blame, but that the 
reproach and the infamy rested with my sister. Now I feared 
the rending of our honour-veil before the folk of our Isles ; so, 
when this wanton, this traitress, came in to me, I was incensed 
against her and cast her into prison and bastinado'd her grievously 
and hanged her up by the hair. Behold, I have acquainted thee 
with her case and it is thine to command, and whatso thou 
orderest us that we will do, Thou knowest that in this affair is 

Hasan of Bassoran. 117 

dishonour and disgrace to our name and to thine, and haply the 
islanders will hear of it, and we shall become amongst them a 
byword ; wherefore it besitteth thou return us an answer with all 
speed." Then she delivered the letter to a courier and he carried 
it to the King who, when he read it, was wroth with exceeding 
wrath with his daughter Manar al-Sana and wrote to Nur al-Huda, 
saying, " I commit her case to thee and give thee command over 
her life ; so, if the matter be as thou sayest, kill her without con- 
sulting me.'' When the Queen had received and read her father's 
letter, she sent for Manar al-Sana and they set before her the 
prisoner drowned in her blood and pinioned with her hair, shackled 
with heavy iron shackles and clad in hair-cloth ; and they made 
her stand in the presence abject and abashed. When she saw 
herself in this condition of passing humiliation and exceeding 
abjection, she called to mind her former high estate and wept with 
sore weeping and recited these two couplets 1 : 

Lord my foes are fain to slay me in despight o Nor deem I anywise to find 

escape by flight : 

1 have recourse to Thee t' annul what they have done; o Thou art th* 

asylum, Lord, of fearful suppliant wight. 

Then wept she grievously, till she fell down in a swoon, and 
presently coming to herself, repeated these two couplets 1 : 

Troubles familiar with my heart are grown and I with them, o erst shunning ; 

for the generous are sociable still. 
Not one mere kind alone of woe doth lieger with me lie ; Praised be God ! 

There are with me thousands of kinds of ill. 

And also these : 

Oft times Mischance shall straiten noble breast o With grief, whence issue is 

for Him to shape : 
But when the meshes straitest, tightest, seem o They loose, though deemed 1 

ne'er to find escape. 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say 

her permitted say. 

1 These lines occur in vol. vii, p. 340. I quote Mr. Payne. 

Il8 A If Laylah wa Lay la ft. 

Noto fo$w it toas tje JEi$i f^unteb anfc Btfoentfeft 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Queen Nur al-Huda ordered into the presence her sister Princess 
Manar al-Sana, they set her between her hands and she, pinioned 
as she was recited the verses aforesaid. Then the Queen 1 sent for 
a ladder of wood and made the eunuchs lay her on her back, with 
her arms spread out and bind her with cords thereto ; after which 
she bared her head and wound her hair about the ladder-rungs and 
indeed all pity for her was rooted out from her heart. When 
Manar al-Sana saw herself in this state of abjection and humilia- 
tion, she cried out and wept ; but none succoured her. Then said 
she to the Queen, " O my sister, how is thy heart hardened against 
me ? Has thou no mercy on me nor pity on these little children ? " 
But her words only hardened her sister's heart and she insulted 
her, saying, " O Wanton ! O harlot ! Allah have no ruth on whoso 
sueth for thee! How should I have compassion on thee, O 
traitress ? " Replied Manar al-Sana who lay stretched on the 
ladder, " I appeal from thee to the Lord of the Heavens, concerning 
that wherewith thou revilest me and whereof I am innocent ! By 
Allah, I have done no whoredom, but am lawfully married to him, 
and my Lord knoweth an I speak sooth or not! Indeed, my heart 
is wroth with thee, by reason of thine excessive hardheartedness 
against me ! How canst thou cast at me the charge of harlotry, 
without knowledge ? But my Lord will deliver me from thee and 
if that whoredom whereof thou accusest me be true, may He 
presently punish me for it ! " Quoth Nur al-Huda after a few- 
moments of reflection " How durst thou bespeak me thus ? " and 
rose and beat her till she fainted away 2 ; whereupon they sprinkled 
water on her face till she revived ; and in truth her charms were 
wasted for excess of beating and the straitness of her bonds and 

1 She shows all the semi-maniacal rancour of a good woman, or rather a woman who 
has not broken the eleventh commandment, ' Thou shall not be found out," against 
an erring sister who has been discovered. In the East also these unco' guid dames 
have had, and too often have, the power to carry into effect the cruelty and diabolical 
malignity winch ia London and Paris must vent itself in scan. mag. and anonymous 

2 These faintings and trances are as common in the Romances of Chivalry e.g. 
Amadis of Gaul, where they unlace the-garments to give more liberty, pour cold water 
on the face and bathe the temples and pulses with diluted vinegar (for rose water) 
exactly as they do in The Nights. 

Hasan of Basso rah. 1 19 

the sore insults she had suffered. Then she recited these two 
couplets : 

If aught I've sinned in sinful way, * Or done ill deed and gone astray, 
The past repent I and I come o To you and for your pardon pray ! 

When Nur al-Huda heard these lines, her wrath redoubled and 
she said to her, " Wilt speak before me in verse, O whore, and 
seek to excuse thyself for the mortal sins thou hast sinned ? Twas 
my desire that thou shouldst return to thy husband, that I might 
witness thy wickedness and matchless brazenfacedness ; for thou 
gloriest in thy lewdness and wantonness and mortal heinousness." 
Then she called for a palm-stick and, whenas they brought the 
Jarfd, she arose and baring arms to elbows, beat her sister from 
head to foot ; after which she called for a whip of plaited thongs, 
wherewith if one smote an elephant, he .would start off at full 
speed, and came down therewith on her back and her stomach 
and every part of her body, till she fainted. When the old woman 
Shawahi saw this, she fled forth from the Queen's presence, 
weeping and cursing her ; but Nur al-Huda cried out to her 
eunuchs, saying, " Fetch her to me ! " So they ran after her and 
seizing her, brought her back to the Queen, who bade throw her 
on the ground and making them lay hold of her, rose and took 
the whip, with which she beat her, till she swooned away, when 
she said to her waiting-women, " Drag this ill-omened beldam 
forth on her face and put her out." And they did as she bade 
them. So far concerning them ; but as regards Hasan, he walked 
on beside the river, in the direction of the desert, distracted, 
troubled, and despairing of life ; and indeed he was dazed and 
knew not night from day for stress of affliction. He ceased not 
faring on thus, till he came to a tree whereto he saw a scroll 
hanging : so he took it and found written thereon these 
couplets : 

When in thy mother's womb thou wast, * I cast thy case the bestest best ; 
And turned her heart to thee, so she * Fostered thee on fondest breast. 
We will suffice thee in whatever * Shall cause thee trouble or unrest; 
We'll aid thee in thine enterprise o So rise and bow to our behest. 

When he had ended reading this scroll, he made sure of 
deliverance from trouble and of winning reunion with those he 
loved. Then he walked forward a few steps and found himself 
alone in a wild and perilous wold wherein there was none to 

I2O A If Laylah iva Laylak. 

company with him; upon which his heart sank within him for 
horror and loneliness and his side-muscles trembled, for that 
fearsome place, and he recited these couplets : 

O Zephyr of Morn, an thou pass where the dear ones dwell, o Bear greeting 
of lover who ever in love-longing wones ! 

And tell them I'm pledged to yearning and pawned to pine o And the might of 
my passion all passion of lovers unthrones. 

Their sympathies haply shall breathe in a Breeze like thee o And quicken forth- 
right this framework of rotting bones. 1 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

lier permitted say. 

fo&en ft foas fte lEtgijt f^untrrefc anlr foentp-firgt 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan read the scroll he was certified of deliverance from his 
trouble and made sure of winning reunion with those he loved. 
Then he walked forward a couple of steps and stopped finding 
himself alone in a wild and perilous wold wherein was none 
to company with him, so he wept sore and recited the verses 
before mentioned. Then he walked on a few steps farther beside 
the river, till he came upon two little boys of the sons of the 
sorcerers, before whom lay a rod of copper graven with talismans, 
and beside it a skull-cap 2 of leather, made of three gores and 
wroughten in steel with names and characts. The cap and rod 
were upon the ground and the boys were disputing and beating 
each other, till the blood ran down between them ; whilst each 
cried, " None shall take the wand but I." So Hasan interposed 
and parted them, saying, " What is the cause of your contention ? " 
and they replied, O uncle, be thou judge of our case, for Allah the 
Most High hath surely sent thee to do justice between us." Quoth 
Hasan, " Tell me your case, and I will judge between you ; " and 
quoth one of them, " We twain are brothers-german and our sire 

1 So Hafiz, "Bad-i-Sabdchubugzart" etc. 

2 Arab. " Takiyah." See vol. i. 224 and for the Tarn-Kappe vol. iv. p. 176. In the 
Sinthasana Dwatrinsati (vulgo. Singhasan Battisi), or Thirty-two Tales of a Throne, we 
find a bag always full of gold, a bottomless purse ; earth which rubbed on the forehead 
overcomes all ; a rod which during the first watch of the night furnishes jewelled 
ornaments ; in the second a beautiful girl ; in the third invisibility, and in the fourth a 
deadly foe or death ; a flower-garland which renders the possessor invisible and an un- 
fading lotus- flower which produces a diamond every day. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 121 

was a mighty magician, who dwelt in a cave on yonder mountain. 

He died and left us this cap and rod ; and my brother saith : 

None shall have the rod but I, whilst I say the like ; so be thou 
judge between us and deliver us each from other." Hasan asked, 
" What is the difference between the rod and the cap and what is 
their value ? The rod appears to be worth six coppers 1 and the 
cap three ; " whereto they answered, " Thou knowest not their pro- 
perties." " And what are their properties ? " " Each of them hath 
a wonderful secret virtue, wherefore the rod is worth the revenue of 
all the Islands of Wak and their provinces and dependencies, and 
the cap the like ! " " By Allah, O my sons, discover to me their 
secret virtues." So they said, " O uncle, they are extraordinary ; 
for our father wrought an hundred and thirty and five years at 
their contrivance, till he brought them to perfection and ingrafted 
them with secret attributes which might serve him extraordinary 
services and engraved them after the likeness of the revolving 
sphere, and by their aid he dissolved all spells ; and when he had 
made an end of their fashion, Death, which all needs must suffer, 
overtook him. Now the hidden virtue of the cap is, that whoso 
setteth it on his head is concealed from all folk's eyes, nor can 
any see him, whilst it remaineth on his head ; and that of the rod 
is that whoso owneth it hath authority over seven tribes of the 
Jinn, who all serve the order and ordinance of the rod ; and when- 
ever he who possesseth it smiteth therewith on the ground, their 
Kings come to do him homage, and all the Jinn are at his service." 
Now when Hasan heard these words, he bowed his head ground- 
wards awhile, then said in himself, " By Allah, I shall conquer 
every foe by means of this rod and cap, Inshallah! and I am 
worthier of them both than these two boys. So I will go about 
forthright to get them from the twain by craft, that I may use 
them to free myself and my wife and children from yonder 
tyrannical Queen, and then we will depart from this dismal stead, 
whence there is no deliverance for mortal man nor flight. Doubt- 
less, Allah caused me not to fall in with these two lads, but that 
I might get the rod and cap from them." Then he raised his 
head and said to the two boys, "If ye would have me decide the 
case, I will make trial of you and see what each of you deserveth. 
He who overcometh his brother shall have the rod and he who 

1 Arab. " Judad," plur of Jadid, lit. = new coin, ergo applied to those old and 
obsolete ; lo Judad were == one nusf or half dirham. 

122 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

faileth shall have the cap." They replied, " O uncle, we depute 
thee to make trial of us and do thou decide between us as thou 
deems fit." Hasan asked, " Will ye hearken to me and have 
regard to my words ? "; and they answered, (t Yes." Then said he, 
4i I will take a stone and throw it and he who outrunneth his 
brother thereto and picketh it up shall take the rod, and the other 
who is outraced shall take the cap." And they said, " We accept 
and consent to this thy proposal." Then Hasan took a stone 
and threw it with his might, so that it disappeared from sight. 
The two boys ran under and after it and when they were at a 
distance, he donned the cap and hending the rod in hand, removed 
from his place that he might prove the truth of that which the 
boys had said, with regard to their scant properties. The younger 
outran the elder and coming first to the stone, took it and returned 
with it to the place where they had left Hasan, but found no signs 
of him. So he called to his brother, saying, " Where is the man 
ivho was to be umpire between us ? " Quoth the other, " I espy 
him not neither wot I whether he hath flown up to heaven above 
or sunk into earth beneath." Then they sought for him, but saw 
him not, though all the while he was standing in his stead hard by 
them. So they abused each other, saying, " Rod and Cap are 
both gone ; they are neither mine nor thine : and indeed our father 
warned us of this very thing ; but we forgot whatso he said." 
Then they retraced their steps and Hasan also entered the city, 
wearing the cap and bearing the rod ; and none saw him. Now 
when he was thus certified of the truth of their speech, he rejoiced 
with exceeding joy and making the palace, went up into the 
lodging of Shawahi, who saw him not, because of the cap. Then 
he walked up to a shelf 1 over her head upon which were vessels 
of glass and chinaware, and shook it with his hand, so that what 
was thereon fell to the ground. The old woman cried out and 
beat her face ; then she rose and restored the fallen things, to their 
places, 2 saying in herself, " By Allah, methinks Queen Nur al- 
Huda hath sent a Satan to torment me, and he hath tricked me 

1 Arab. " Raff," a shelf proper, running round the room about 7 7$ feet from the 
ground. During my day it was the fashion in Damascus to range in line along the Raff 
splendid porcelain bowls brought by the Caravans in olden days from China, whilst on 
the table were placed French and English specimens of white and gold " china " worth 
perhaps a franc each. 

2 Lane supposes that the glass and china-ware had fallen upon the divan running round 
the walls under the Raff and were not broken. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 123 

this trick! I beg Allah Almighty deliver me from her and 
preserve me from her wrath, for, O Lord, if she deal thus abomin- 
ably with her half-sister, beating and hanging her, dear as she is 
to her sire, how will she do with a stranger like myself, against 

whom she is incensed ? " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 

of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo fofien ft foas t&e <u$t f^unftreti anti ( 2rfoentg=sccon& Ntc$t, 

She said, It hath reached me, auspicious King, that the ancient 
Lady of Calamities cried, " When Queen Nur al-Huda doeth such 
misdeed to her sister, what will she do to a stranger like myself, 
against whom she is incensed ? " Then said she, " I conjure thee, 
O devil, by the Most Compassionate, the Bountiful-great, the High 
of Estate, of Dominion Elate who man and Jinn did create, and 
by the writing upon the seal of Solomon David-son (on both be 
the Peace !) speak to me and answer me ; " Quoth Hasan, " I am 
no devil ; I am Hasan, the afflicted, the distraught." Then he 
raised the cap from his head and appeared to the old woman, who 
knew him and taking him apart, said to him, " What is come to thy 
reason, that thou returnest hither ? Go hide thee ; for, if this wicked 
woman have tormented thy wife with such torments, and she her 
sister, what will she do, an she light on thee ? " Then she told him 
all that had befallen his spouse and that wherein she was of travail 
and torment and tribulation, and straitly described all the pains 
she endured adding, " And indeed the Queen repenteth- her of 
having let thee go and hath sent one after thee, promising him an 
hundred- weight of gold and my rank in her service ; and she hath 
sworn that, if he bring thee back, she will do thee and thy wife 
and children dead." And she shed tears and discovered to Hasan 
what the Queen had done with herself, whereat he wept and said, 
" O my lady, how shall I do to escape from this land and deliver 
myself and my wife and children from this tyrannical Queen and 
how devise to return with them in safety to my own country ? " 
Replied the old woman, "Woe to thee! Save thyself." Quoth 
he, " There is no help but I deliver her and my children from the 
Queen perforce and in her despite ; " and quoth Shawahi, " How 
canst thou forcibly rescue them from her ? Go and hide thyself, 
O my son, till Allah Almighty empower thee." Then Hasan 
showed her the rod and the cap, whereat she rejoiced with joy 
exceeding and cried, " Glory be to Him who quickeneth the bones, 

124 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

though they be rotten ! By Allah, O my son, thou and thy wife 
were but of lost folk ; now, however, thou art saved, thou and thy 
wife and children ! For I know the rod and I know its maker, 
who was my Shaykh in the science of Gramarye. He was a 
mighty magician and spent an hundred and thirty and five years 
working at this rod and cap, till he brought them to perfection, 
when Death the Inevitable overtook him. And I have heard him 
say to his two boys : O my sons, these two things are not of 
your lot, for there will come a stranger from a far country, who 
will take them from you by force, and ye shall not know how he 
taketh them." Said they; O our father, tell us how he will 
avail to take them. But he answered : I wot not." " And O 
my son," added she, " how availedst thou to take them ? " So he 
told her how he had taken them from the two boys, whereat 
she rejoiced and said, " O my son, since thou hast gotten the 
whereby to free thy wife and children, give ear to what I shall 
say to thee. For me there is no woning with this wicked woman, 
after the foul fashion in which she durst use me ; so I am minded 
to depart from her to the caves of the Magicians and there abide 
with them until I die. But do thou, O my son, don the cap and 
hend the rod in hand and enter the place where thy wife and 
children are. Unbind her bonds and smite the earth with the 
rod saying : Be ye present, O servants of these names ! where- 
upon the servants of the rod will appear ; and if there present 
himself one of the Chiefs of the Tribes, command him whatso 
thou shalt wish and will." So he farewelled her and went forth 
donning the cap and hending the rod and entered the place 
where his wife was. He found her well-nigh lifeless bound to 
the ladder by her hair, tearful-eyed and woeful-hearted, in the 
sorriest of plights, knowing no way to deliver herself. Her 
children were playing under the ladder, whilst she looked at 
them and wept for them and herself, because of the barbarities 
and sore treatings and bitter penalties which had befallen her; 
and he heard her repeat these couplets ' : 

There remaaneth not aught save a fluttering, breath and an eye whose owner 

is confounded. 
And a desirous lover whose bowels arc burned with fire notwithstanding which 

she is silent. 
The exulting foe pitieth her at the sight of her. Alas for her whom the 

exulting foe pkieth ! 

1 These lines have occurred in Night dclxxxix, vol. vii. .p. 119. I quote Lane. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 12$ 

When Hasan saw her in this state of torment and misery and 
ignominy and infamy, he wept till he fainted; and when he 
recovered, he saw his children playing and thek mother aswoon 
for excess of pain ; so he took the cap from his head and the 
children saw him and cried out, " O our father ! " Then he 
covered his head again and the Princess came to herself, hearing 
their cry, but saw only her children weeping and shrieking, " O 
our father!" When she heard them name their sire and weep, 
her heart was broken and her vitals rent asunder and she said 
to them, " What maketh you in mind of your father at this 
time?" And she wept sore and cried out, from a bursten liver 
and an aching bosom, " Where are ye and where is your father ? " 
Then she recalled the days of her union with Hasan and what 
had befallen her since her desertion of him and wept with sore 
weeping till her cheeks were seared and furrowed and her face 
was drowned in a briny flood. Her tears ran down and wetted 
the ground and she had not a hand loose to wipe them from her 
cheeks, whilst the flies fed their fill on her skin, and she found 
no helper but weeping and no solace but improvising verses. 
Then she repeated these couplets : 

I call to mind the parting-day that rent our loves in twain, When, as I turned 
away, the tears in very streams did rain. 

The cameleer urged on his beasts with them, what while I found Nor strength 
nor fortitude, nor did my heart with me remain. 

Yea, back I turned, unknowing of the road nor might shake off The trance of 
grief and longing love that numbed my heart and brain ; 

And worst of all betided me, on my return, was one Who came to me, in 
lowly guise, to glory in my pain. 

Since the beloved's gone, O soul, forswear the sweet of life Nor covet its con- 
tinuance, for, wanting him, 'twere vain, 

List, O my friend, unto the tale of love, and God forbid That I should speak 
and that thy heart to hearken should not deign ! 

As 'twere El Asmai himself, of passion I discourse Fancies rare and mar- 
vellous, linked in an endless chain. 1 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

her permitted say. 

1 The lines have occurred before. I quote Mr. Payne. 

126 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

ft foas rt)e (f 

She continued, When Hasan went in to his wife he saw his 
children and heard her repeating the verses afore mentioned. 1 
Then she turned right and left, seeking the cause of her 
children's crying out, " O our father ! " but saw no one and 
marvelled that her sons should name their sire at that time 
and call upon him. But when Hasan heard her verses, he wept 
till he swooned away and the tears railed down his cheeks like 
rain. Then he drew near the children and raised the cap from 
his head unseen of his wife, whereupon they saw him and they 
knew him and cried out, saying, " O our father ! " Their mother 
fell a-weeping again, when she heard them name their sire's 
name and said, " There is no avoiding the doom which Almighty 
Allah hath decreed ! " adding, " O Strange ! What garreth them 
think of their father at this time and call upon him, albeit it 
is not of their wont?" Then she wept and recited these 
couplets : 

The land of lamping moon is bare and drear ; o O eyne of me pour forth the 

brimming tear ! 
They marched : how shall I now be patient ? That I nor heart nor patience 

own I swear ! 
O ye, who marched yet bide in heart of me, o Will you, O lords of me, 

return to that we were ? 
What harm if they return and I enjoy o Meeting, and they had ruth 

on tears of care ? 
Upon the parting-day they dimmed these eyne, o For sad surprise, and lit the 

flames that flare. 
Sore longed I for their stay, but Fortune stayed o Longings and turned my 

hope to mere despair. 
Return to us (O love !) by Allah, deign ! o Enow of tears have flowed 

for absence-bane. 

Then Hasan cowld no longer contain himself, but took the cap 
from his head ; whereupon his wife saw him and recognising him 
screamed a scream which startled all in the palace, and said to 
him, " How earnest thou hither ? From the sky hast thou dropped 
or through the earth hast thou come up ?" And her eyes brimmed 
with tears and Hasan also wept. Quoth she, " O man, this be no 

1 This formula, I repeat, especially distinguishes the Tale of Hasan of Bassorah. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 1 27 

time for tears or blame. Fate hath had its course and the sight 

was blinded and the Pen hath run with what was ordained of 

Allah when Time was begun : so, Allah upon thee, whencesoever 

thou comest, go hide, lest any espy thee and tell my sister 

and she do thee and me die ! " Answered he, " O my lady and 

lady of all Queens, I have adventured myself and come hither, 

and either I will die or I will deliver thee from this strait and 

travel with thee and my children to my country, despite the 

nose of this thy wickedest sister." But as she heard his words 

she smiled and for awhile fell to shaking her head and said, 

" Far, O my life, far is it from the power of any except Allah 

Almighty to deliver me from this my strait ! Save thyself by 

flight and wend thy ways and cast not thyself into destruction \ 

for she hath conquering hosts none may withstand. Given that 

thou tookest me and wentest forth, how canst thou make thy 

country and escape from these islands and the perils of these 

awesome places ? Verily, thou hast seen on thy way hither, the 

wonders, the marvels, the dangers and the terrors of the road, 

such as none may escape, not even one of the rebel Jinns. 

Depart, therefore, forthright and add not cark to my cark and 

care to my care, neither do thou pretend to rescue me from this 

my plight ; for who shall carry me to thy country through all 

these vales and thirsty wolds and fatal steads ? " Rejoined Hasan, 

" By thy life, O light of mine eyes, I will not depart this place 

nor fare but with thee ! Quoth she, " O man ! How canst thou 

avail unto this thing and what manner of man art thou ? Thou 

knowest not what thou sayest ! None can escape from these 

realms, even had he command over Jinns, Ifrits, magicians, chiefs 

of tribes and Marids. Save thyself and leave me; perchance 

Allah will bring about good after ill." Answered Hasan, " O lady 

of fair ones, I came not save to deliver thee with this rod and 

with this cap." And he told her what had befallen him with the 

two boys ; but, whilst he was speaking, behold, up came the 

Queen and heard their speech. Now when he was ware of her, 

he donned the cap and was hidden from sight, and she entered 

and said to the Princess, " O wanton, who is he with whom thou 

wast talking?" Answered Manar al-Sanar, "Who is with me 

that should talk with me, except these children ? " Then the 

Queen took the whip and beat her, whilst Hasan stood by and 

looked on, nor did she leave beating her till she fainted ; 

whereupon she bade transport her to another place. So they 

128 A If Laylah wa Lay tab. 

loosed her and carried her to another chamber whilst Hasan 
followed unseen. There they cast her down, senseless, and stood 
gazing upon her, till she revived and recited these couplets : l 

I have sorrowed on account of our disunion with a sorrow that made the tears 

to overflow from my eyelids ; 
And I vowed that if Fortune reunite us, I would never again mention our 

separation ; 
And I would say to the envious, Die ye with regret ; By Allah I have now 

attained my desire ! 
Joy hath overwhelmed me to such a degree that by its excess it hath made 

me weep. 

eye, how hath weeping become thy habit ? Thou weepest in joy as well as 

in sorrows. 

When she ceased her verse the slave-girls went out from her and 
Hasan took off the cap ; whereupon his wife said to him, " See, O 
man, all this befel me not save by reason of my having rebelled 
against thee and transgressed thy commandment and gone forth 
without thy leave. 2 So, Allah upon thee blame me not for my 
sins and know that women never wot a man's worth till they have 
lost him. Indeed, I have offended and done evil ; but I crave 
pardon of Allah Almighty for whatso I did, and if He reunite us, 

1 will never again gainsay thee in aught, no, never ! " And 

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

Nofo fo&en ft foas tjc ffiigjt ^untoe* anfc 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Hasan's 
wife besought pardon of him saying, " Blame me not for my sin ; 
and indeed I crave mercy of Allah Almighty." Quoth Hasan 
(and indeed his heart ached for her), " 'Twas not thou that wast in 
fault ; nay, the fault was mine and mine only, for I fared forth 
and left thee with one who knew not thy rank, neither thy worth 
nor thy degree. But know, O beloved of my heart and fruit of 
my vitals and iight of mine eyes, that Allah (blessed be He!) 
hath ordained to me power of releasing thee ; so, say me, wouldst 

1 These lines have occurred in vol. i. 249. I quote Lane. 

2 She speaks to the " Gallery," who would enjoy a loud laugh against Mistress 
Gadabout. The end of the sentence must speak to the heart of many a widow. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 129 

thou have me carry thee to thy father's home, there to accomplish 
what Allah decreeth unto thee, or wilt thou forthright depart with 
me to mine own country, now that relief is come to thee?" 
Quoth she. " Who can deliver me save the Lord of the Heavens ? 
Go to thy mother-land and put away from thee false hope ; for 
thou knowest not the perils of these parts which, an thou obey 
me not, soon shalt thou sight." And she improvised these 
couplets : 

On me and with me bides thy volunty; o Why then such anger such 

despite to me ? 
Whatever befel us Heaven forbid that love o Fade for long time or e'er 

forgotten be ! 
Ceased not the spy to haunt our sides, till seen o Our love estranged and then 

estranged was he : 
In truth I trusted to fair thoughts of thine o Though spake the wicked spy 

We'll keep the secret 'twixt us twain and hold o Although the brand of blame 

unsheathed we see. 
The livelong day in longing love I spend o Hoping acceptance-message 

from my friend. 

Then wept she and her children, and the handmaidens heard 
them : so they came in to them and found them weeping, but 
saw not Hasan with them ; wherefore they wept for ruth of them 
and damned Queen Nur al-Huda. Then Hasan took patience 
till night came on and her guards had gone to their sleeping- 
places, when he arose and girded his waist ; then went up to her 
and loosing her kissed her on the head and between the eyes and 
pressed her to his bosom, saying, " How long have we wearied for our 
mother-land and for reunion there ! Is this our meeting in sleep, 
or on wake ? " Then he took up the elder boy and she took up 
the younger and they went forth the palace ; and Allah veiled 
them with the veil of His protection, so that they came safe to 
the outer gate which closed the entrance to the Queen's Serraglio. 
But finding it locked from without, Hasan said, "There is no 
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the 
Great ! Verily we are Allah's and unto Him shall we return ! " 
With this they despaired of escape and Hasan beat hand upon 
hand, saying, O Dispeller of dolours ! Indeed, I had bethought 
me of every thing and considered its conclusion but this ; and 
now, when it is daybreak, they will take us, and what device 

130 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

have we in this case?" And he recited the following two 
couplets :" 

Thou madest fair thy thought of Fate, whenas the days were fair, And fearedst 

not the unknown ills that they to thee might bring. 
The nights were fair and calm to thee ; thou wast deceived by them, For in 

the peace of night is born full many a troublous thing. 

Then Hasan wept and his wife wept for his weeping and for the 
abasement she had suffered and the cruelties of Time and 
Fortune : 

Baulks me my Fate as tho' she were my foe ; o Each day she showeth me 

new cark and care : 
Fate, when I aim at good, brings clear reverse, o And lets foul morrow wait 

on day that's fair. 

And also these : 

Irks me my Fate and clean unknows that I o Of my high worth her shifts 

and shafts despise. 
She nights parading what ill-will she works : o I night parading Patience to 

her eyes. 

Then his wife said to him, " By Allah, there is no relief for us but 
to kill ourselves and be at rest from this great and weary travail ; 
else we shall suffer grievous torment on the morrow." At this 
moment, behold, they heard a voice from without the door say, 
" By Allah, O my lady Manar al-Sana, I will not open to thee and 
thy husband Hasan, except ye obey me in whatso I shall say to 
you ! " When they heard these words they were silent for excess 
of fright and would have returned whence they came ; when lo ! 
the voice spake again saying, " What aileth you both to be silent 
and answer me not ? " Therewith they knew the speaker for the 
old woman Shawahi, Lady of Calamities, and said to her, "What- 
soever thou biddest us, that will we do ; but first open the door to 
us ; this being no time for talk." Replied she, " By Allah, I will 
not open to you until ye both swear to me that you will take me 
with you and not leave me with yonder whore : so, whatever 
befalleth you shall befal me and if ye escape, I shall escape, and 
if ye perish, I shall perish: for yonder abominable woman, tribade 2 

1 These lines occur in vol. i. 25 : so I quote Mr. Payne. 

* Arab. " Musahikah ;" the more usual term for a Tribade is "Sahfkah" from 
" Sahk " in the sense of rubbing : both also are applied to onanists and masturbators ol 
the gender feminine. 

Hasan of Bassorah. 131 

that she is ! entreateth me with indignity and still tormenteth me 
on your account ; and thou, O my daughter, knowest my worth." 
Now recognising her they trusted in her and sware to her an oath 
such as contented her, whereupon she opened the door to them 
and they fared forth and found her riding on a Greek jar of red 
earthenware with a rope of palm-fibres about its neck, 1 which 
rolled under her and ran faster than a Najdi colt, and she came 
up to them, and said, " Follow me and fear naught, for I know 
forty modes of magic by the least of which I could make this city 
a dashing sea, swollen with clashing billows, and ensorcel each 
damsel therein to a fish, and all before dawn. But I was not able 
to work aught of my mischief, for fear of the King her father and 
of regard to her sisters, for that they are formidable, by reason of 
their many guards and tribesmen and servants. However, soon will 
I show you wonders of my skill in witchcraft ; and now let us on, 
relying upon the blessing of Allah and His good aid." Now 

Hasan and his wife rejoiced in this, making sure of escape, 

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

Nofo foi)*n (t foas t&* lEfgfit ?un&rrtr anU ^foentg^fiftft 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Hasan and his wife, accompanied by the ancient dame Shawahi, 
fared forth from the palace, they made sure of deliverance and 
they walked on till they came without the city, when he fortified 
his heart and, smiting the earth with the rod, cried, " Ho, ye 
servants of these names, appear to me and acquaint me with your 
conditions ! " Thereupon the earth clave asunder and out came 
ten 2 Ifrits, with their feet in the bowels of the earth and their 
heads in the clouds. They kissed the earth three times before 
Hasan and said as with one voice, " Adsumus ! Here are we at 
thy service, O our lord and ruler over us ! What dost thou bid us 
do ? For we hear and obey thy commandment. An thou wilt, 
we will dry thee up seas and remove mountains from their places/' 
So Hasan rejoiced in their words and at their speedy answer to his 

1 i.e. by way of halter. This jar is like the cask in Auerbach's Keller ; and has already 
been used by witches ; Night dlxxxvii. vol. vi. 158. 

2 Here they are ten but afterwards they are reduced to seven : I see no reason for 
changing the text with Lane and Payne. 

I3 2 A If Laylah iva Laylah. 

evocation ; then taking courage and bracing up his resolution, he 
said to them, "Who are ye and what be your names and your 
races, and to what tribes and clans and companies appertain ye ? " 
They kissed the earth once more and answered as with one voice, 
saying, " We are seven Kings, each ruling over seven tribes of the 
Jinn of all conditions, and Satans and Marids, flyers and divers, 
dwellers in mountains and wastes and wolds and haunters of the 
seas : so bid us do whatso thou wilt ; for we are thy servants and 
thy slaves, and whoso possesseth this rod hath dominion over all 
our necks and we owe him obedience." Now when Hasan heard 
this, he rejoiced with joy exceeding, as did his wife and the old 
woman, and presently he said to the Kings of the Jinn, " I desire 
of you that ye show me your tribes and hosts and guards." " O 
our lord," answered they, "if we show thee our tribes, we fear for 
thee and these who are with thee, for their name is legion and 
they are various in form and fashion, figure and favour. Some of 
us are heads sans bodies and others bodies sans heads, and others 
again are in the likeness of wild beasts and ravening lions. How- 
ever, if this be thy will, there is no help but we first show thee 
those of us who are like unto wild beasts. But, O our lord, what 
wouldst thou of us at this present ? " Quoth Hasan, " I would 
have you carry me forthwith to the city of Baghdad, me and my 
wife and this honest woman." But, hearing his words they hung 
down their heads and were silent, whereupon Hasan asked them, 
" Why do ye not reply ? " And they answered as with one voice, 
" O our lord and ruler over us, we are of the covenant of Solomon 
son of David (on the twain be Peace !) and he sware us in that we 
would bear none of the sons of Adam on our backs ; since which 
time we have borne no mortal on back or shoulder : but we will 
straightway harness thee horses of the Jinn, that shall carry thee 
and thy company to thy country." Hasan enquired, " How far are 
we from Baghdad ? " and they, " Seven years' journey for a diligent 
horseman." Hasan marvelled at this and said to them, " Then 
how came I hither in less than a year?"; and they said "Allah 
softened to thee the hearts of His pious servants else hadst thou 
never come to this country nor hadst thou set eyes on these 
regions ; no, never ! For the Shaykh Abd al-Kaddus, who 
mounted thee on the elephant and the magical horse, traversed 
with thee, in ten days, three years' journey for a well-girt rider, 
and the Ifrit Dahnash, to whom the Shaykh committed thee, 
carried thee a three years' march in a day and a night ; all which 

Hasan of Bassorah. 133 

\vas of the blessing of Allah Almighty, for that the Shaykh Abu 
al-Ruwaysh is of the seed of Asaf bin Barkhiya 1 and knoweth the 
Most Great name of Allah. 2 Moreover, from Baghdad to the 
palace of the damsels is a year's journey, and this maketh up 
the seven years." When Hasan heard this, he marvelled with 
exceeding marvel and cried, " Glory be to God, Facilitator of the 
hard, Fortifier of the weak heart, Approximator of the far arid 
Humbler of every froward tyrant, Who hath eased us of every 
accident and carried me to these countries and subjected to me 
these creatures and reunited me with my wife and children ! I 
know not whether I am asleep or awake or if I be sober or 
drunken ! " Then he turned to the Jinn and asked, " When ye 
have mounted me upon your steeds, in how many days will they 
bring us to Baghdad ? " ; and they answered, " They will carry you 
thither under the year, but not till after ye have endured terrible 
perils and hardships and horrors and ye have traversed thirsty 
Wadys and frightful wastes and horrible steads without number ; 
and we cannot promise thee safety, O our lord, from the people of 

these islands, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

bljcn it toaa tljc Sgljt fLJun&refc anb icntp'SixtS ISTtgfjt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Jann 
said to Hasan, " We cannot promise thee safety, O our lord, from 
this Islandry, nor from the mischief of the Supreme King and his 
enchanters and warlocks. It may be they will overcome us and 
take you from us and we fall into affliction with them, and all to 
whom the tidings shall come after this will say to us: Ye are 
wrong-doers ! How could ye go against the Supreme King and 
carry a mortal out of his dominions, and eke the King's daughter 
with him ? " adding, " Wert thou alone with us the thing were 
light ; but He who conveyed thee hither is capable to carry thee 
back to thy country and reunite thee with thine own people forth- 
right and in readiest plight. So take heart and put thy trust in 
Allah and fear not ; for we are at thy service, to convey thee to thy 

1 Wazir of Solomon. See vol i. 42 ; and vol. iii. 97. 

2 Arab. Ism al-A'azam, the Ineffable Name, a superstition evidently derived from the 
Talmudic fancies of the Jews concerning their tribal god, Yah or Yahvah. 

134 A If Lay I ah wa Laylak. 

country." Hasan thanked them therefor and said, " Allah requite 
you with good ! but now make haste with the horses ;" they 
replied, " We hear and we obey," and struck the ground with their 
feet, whereupon it opened and they disappeared within it and were 
absent awhile, after which they suddenly reappeared with three 
horses, saddled and bridled, and on each saddle-bow a pair of 
saddle-bags, with a leathern bottle of water in one pocket and the 
other full of provaunt. So Hasan mounted one steed and took a 
child before him, whilst his wife mounted a second and took the 
other child before her. Then the old woman alighted from the jar 
and bestrode the third horse and they rode on, without ceasing, all 
night. At break of day, they turned aside from the road and made 
for the mountain, whilst their tongues ceased not to name Allah. 
Then they fared on under the highland all that day, till Hasan 
caught sight of a black object afar as it were a tall column of 
smoke a-twisting skywards ; so he recited somewhat of the Koran 
and Holy Writ, and sought refuge with Allah from Satan the 
Stoned. The black thing grew plainer as they drew near, and 
when hard by it, they saw that it was an I frit, with a head like a 
huge dome and tusks like grapnels and jaws like a lane and 
nostrils like ewers and ears like leathern targes and mouth like a 
cave and teeth like pillars of stone and hands like winnowing forks 
and legs like masts : his head was in the cloud and his feet in the 
bowels of the earth had plowed. Whenas Hasan gazed upon him 
he bowed himself and kissed the ground before him, saying, " O 
Hasan, have no fear of me ; for I am the chief of the dwellers in 
this land, which is the first of the Isles of Wak, and I am a 
Moslem and an adorer of the One God. I have heard of you and 
your coming and when I knew of your case, I desired to depart 
from the land of the magicians to another land, void of inhabitants 
and far from men and Jinn, that I might dwell there alone and 
worship Allah till my fated end came upon me. So I wish to 
accompany you and be your guide, till ye fare forth of the Wak 
Islands ; and I will not appear save at night ; and do ye hearten 
your hearts on my account ; for I am a Moslem, even as ye are 
Moslems." When Hasan heard the Ifrit's words, he rejoiced with 
exceeding joy and made sure of deliverance ; and he said to him, 
" Allah requite thee weal ! Go with us relying upon the blessing of 
Allah ! " So the Ifrit forewent them and they followed, talking 
and making merry, for their hearts were pleased and their breasts 
were eased and Hasan fell to telling his wife all that had befallen 

Hasan of Bassorah. 135 

him and all the hardships he had undergone, whilst she excused 
herself to him and told him, in turn, all she had seen and suffered. 
They ceased not faring all that night And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo tofjen ft toas tfje Ztjj&t ^un&refc antr ^toentg-sebentl) Nt'afit, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that they ceased 
not faring all that night and the horses bore them like the blinding 
leven, and when the day rose all put their hands to the saddle-bags 
and took forth provaunt which they ate and water which they 
drank. Then they sped diligently on their way, preceded by the 
I frit, who turned aside with them from the beaten track into 
another road, till then untrodden, along the sea-shore, and they 
ceased not faring on, without stopping, across Wadys and wolds a 
whole month, till on the thirty-first day there arose before them a 
dust-cloud, that walled the world and darkened the day; and 
when Hasan saw this, he was confused and turned pale ; and more 
so when a frightful crying and clamour struck their ears. There- 
upon the old woman said to him, " O my son, this is the army of 
the Wak Islands, that hath overtaken us ; and presently they will 
lay violent hands on us." Hasan asked, " What shall I do, O my 
mother ? "; and she answered, " Strike the earth with the rod." He 
did so whereupon the Seven Kings presented themselves and 
saluted him with the salam, kissing ground before him and saying, 
*' Fear not neither grieve." Hasan rejoiced at these words and 
answered them, saying, " Well said, O Princes of the Jinn and the 
Ifrits ! This is your time ! " Quoth they, " Get ye up to the 
mountain-top, thou and thy wife and children and she who is with 
thee and leave us to deal with them, for we know that you all are 
in the right and they in the wrong and Allah will aid us against 
them." So Hasan and his wife and children and the old woman 
dismounted and dismissing the horses, ascended the flank of the 

mountain. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo to&en it foas tfce lEigfjt ^utrtreU anfc BmtB=n'$t!) Nigfit, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Hasan 
with his wife, his children and the ancient dame ascended the 

Aif Laylak wa Laylah 

flew from trunks 

their steeds' res ed u^nL" Id tvVT "f a ' ighting ^ 
Therewith the Seven Kin- wen up to H "* !, f had kl ' ndled ' 
before him He Dre P T 7 f " a " d kissed the ea rth 

theman "^ them and tha "ke 

themandpavedAho , em an tha "ked 

how they had ^ted th O " ^ VktOly and ask ^ d them 

of good cheer and broad of Ire^The^T "? be tOld ' S be 

of good cheer and broad of re^The^T "? be tOld ' S be 
went down to look after thTsafetv oTtK y ^"^ Wm a " d 
ceased not to keep up the fires HM!/ tr PS ; and the y 

and shone, when L filS.'* m rning r SC with itsshee " 

strain and ^^S^TS^f t f ^ 
brown of bill they thrustam^nr^^u ged Skea " and with 
to darraign. Moreover tT they CCaSC that da y ba "le 

dashing t g ogethe?,rd;h h n : y se ^ n '' ght " ^^ 
of war and they stinted not ffo^h ^ / m ng them ^ fires 
Wak were defeated ^ and th dr D ?", ^ *" the armi of 
quelled; their feet slSL ^^ Oken 3 " d thdr coura g e 
was before them ; wheSe th ? ^ ^ ^ S eVer defeat 
to avail; but the most pt'ofTh *? ^ f % h t ^gan 

and her chief officers and I T ^ $Ia ' n a " d their Q ueen 
ta'en. When 2e mom? n *! grand f es , of her real were captive 
themselves before H a Ta7andT?' ?' ^^ ^ PreSe " ted 
in.aid with pearls jewels and t T ,' thrO " e f a 
also set thereby a throneTf ' ?* S&t d Wn thereon ' 

the Princess S2^^^.^-#** 

Shawahi Zat al-DawaL Then ^ ^ ^ ^ a " dent dame 
P,-soners and among the 

Hasan of Bassorah. 1 37- 

pin ioned and feet fettered, whom when Shawahi saw, she said to 
her, <; Thy recompense, O harlot, O tyrant, shall be that two- 
bitches be starved and two mares stinted of water, till they be 
athirst : then shalt thou be bound to the mares' tails and these 
driven to the river, with the bitches following thee that they may 
rend thy skin ; and after, thy flesh shall be cut off and given them 
to eat. How couldst thou do with thy sister such deed, O 
strumpet, seeing that she was lawfully married, after the ordinance 
of Allah and of His Apostle ? For there is no monkery in 
Al-Islam and marriage is one of the institutions of the Apostles 
(on whom be the Peace I) 1 nor were women created but for men." 
Then Hasan commanded to put all the captives to the sword 
and the old woman cried out, saying, " Slay them all and spare 
none 2 ! " But, when Princess Manar al-Sana saw her sister in this 
plight, a bondswoman and in fetters, she wept over her and said, 
" O my sister, who is this hath conquered us and made us captives 
in our own country ? " Quoth Nur al-Huda, " Verily, this is a 
mighty matter. Indeed this man Hasan hath gotten the mastery 
over us and Allah hath given him dominion over us and over all 
our realm and he hath overcome us, us and the Kings of the Jinn.'* 
And quoth her sister, " Indeed, Allah aided him not against you 
nor did he overcome you nor capture you save by means of this 
cap and rod." So Nur al-Huda was certified and assured that he 
had conquered her by means thereof and humbled herself to her 
sister, till she was moved to ruth for her and said to her husband, 
" What wilt thou do with my sister ? Behold, she is in thy hands 
and she hath done thee no misdeed that thou shouldest punish 
her." Replied Hasan, " Her torturing of thee was misdeed enow.'* 
But she answered, saying, " She hath excuse for all she did with 
me. As for thee, thou hast set my father's heart on fire for the 
loss of me, and what will be his case, if he lose my sister also ? " 
And he said to her, " Tis thine to decide ; do whatso thou wilt." 
So she bade loose her sister and the rest of the captives, and they 

1 The tradition is that Mohammed asked Akaf al-Wadd'ah "Hast a wife?"; and 
when answered in the negative, " Then thou appertainest to the brotherhood of Satans ! 
An thou wilt be one of the Christian monks then company therewithal ; but an thou be 
of us, know that it is our custom to marry ! " 

2 The old woman, in the East as in the West, being the most vindictive of her kind. 
I have noted (Pilgrimage iii. 70) that a Badawi will sometimes though in shame take 
the blood-wit ; but that if it be offered to an old woman she will dash it to the ground 
and clutch her knife and fiercely swear by Allah that she will not eat her son's blood. 

138 A If Laylah wa Ldylah. 

did her bidding. Then she went up to Queen Nur al-Huda and 
embraced her, and they wept together a long while ; after which 
quoth the Queen, " O my sister, bear me not malice for that I did 
with thee ; " and quoth Manar al-Sana, " O my sister, this was 
foreordained to me by Fate." Then they sat on the couch talking 
and Manar al-Sana made peace between the old woman and her 
sister, after the goodliest fashion, and their hearts were set at 
ease. Thereupon Hasan dismissed the servants of the rod, 
thanking them for the succour which they had afforded him 
against his foes, and Manar al-Sana related to her sister all that 
had befallen her with Hasan her husband and every thing he had 
suffered for her sake, saying, " O my sister, since he hath done 
these deeds and is possessed of this might and Allah Almighty 
hath gifted him with such exceeding prowess, that he hath 
entered our country and beaten thine army and taken thee 
prisoner and defied our father, the Supreme King, who hath 
dominion over all the Princes of the Jinn, it behoveth us to fail 
not of what is due to him." Eeplied Nur al-Huda, " By Allah, O 
my sister, thou sayest sooth in whatso thou tellest me of the 
marvels which this man hath seen and suffered ; and none may 
fail of respect to him. But was all this on thine account, O my 

sister ?" And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

Koto foScn it foas t&e ififit f^untitrtJ atrti toentg--nmtf) 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Princess Manar al-Sana repeated to her sister these praises of 
Hasan, the other replied, "By Allah, this man can claim all 
respect more by token of his generosity. But was all this on 
thine account ? " " Yes," answered Manar al-Sana, and they 
passed the night in converse till the morning morrowed and the 
sun rose and they were minded to depart. So they farewelled 
one another and Manar al-Sana gave God-speed to the ancient 
dame after the reconciling her with Queen Nur al-Huda. There- 
upon Hasan smote the earth with the rod and its servants the Jinn 
appeared and saluted him, saying, " Praised be Allah, who hath 
set thy soul at rest ! Command us what thou wilt, and we will 
do it for thee in less than the twinkling of an eye." He thanked 
them for their saying and said to them, " Allah requite you with 

Hasan of Bassorah. 1 39 

good ! Saddle me two steeds of the best." So they brought him 
forthwith two saddled coursers, one of which he mounted, taking 
his elder son before him, and his wife rode the other, taking the 
younger son in front of her. Then the Queen and the old woman 
also backed horse and departed, Hasan and his wife following the 
right and Nur al-Huda and Shawahi the left hand road. The 
spouses fared on with their children, without stopping, for a whole 
month, till they drew in sight of a city, which they found com- 
passed about with trees and streams and making the trees dis- 
mounted beneath them thinking to rest there. As they sat 
talking, behold, they saw many horsemen coming towards them, 
whereupon Hasan rose and going to meet them, saw that it was 
King Hassun, lord of the Land of Camphor and Castle of Crystal, 
with his attendants. So Hasan went up to the King and kissed 
his hands and saluted him ; and when Hassun saw him, he dis- 
mounted and seating himself with Hasan upon carpets under the 
trees returned his salam and gave him joy of his safety and 
rejoiced in him with exceeding joy, saying to him, "O Hasan, 
tell me all that hath befallen thee, first and last." So he told 
him all of that, whereupon the King marvelled and said to him, 
" O my son, none ever reached the Islands of Wak and returned 
thence but thou, and indeed thy case is wondrous ; but Alham- 
dolillah praised be God for safety!" Then he mounted and 
bade Hasan ride with his wife and children into the city, where 
he lodged them in the guest-house of his palace ; and they abode 
with him three days, eating and drinking in mirth and merriment, 
after which Hasan sought Hassun's leave to depart to his own 
country and the King granted it. Accordingly they took horse 
and the King rode with them ten days, after which he farewelled 
them and turned back, whilst Hasan and his wife and children 
fared on a whole month, at the end of which time they came to a 
great cavern, whose floor was of brass. Quoth Hasan to his wife, 
" Kennest thou yonder cave ? "; and quoth she, " No." Said he, 
" Therein dwelleth a Shaykh, Abu al-Ruwaysh hight, to whom I 
am greatly beholden, for that he was the means of my becoming 
acquainted with King Hassun." Then he went on to tell her all 
that had passed between him and Abu al-Ruwaysh, and as he was 
thus engaged, behold, the Shaykh himself issued from the cavern- 
mouth. When Hasan saw him, he dismounted from his steed and 
kissed his hands, and the old man saluted him and gave him joy 
of his safety and rejoiced in him. Then he carried him into the 

140 A if Laylak wa Laylak. 

antre and sat down with him, whilst Hasan related to him what 
had befallen him in the Islands of Wak ; whereat the Elder 
marvelled with exceeding marvel and said, " O Hasan, how didst 
thou deliver thy wife and children ? " So he told them the tale 
of the cap and the rod, hearing which he wondered and said, "O 
Hasan, O my son, but for this rod and the cap, thou hadst never 
delivered thy wife and children." And he replied, " Even so, O 
my lord." As they were talking, there came a knocking at the 
door and Abu al-Ruwaysh went out and found Abd al-Kaddus 
mounted on his elephant. So he saluted him and brought him 
into the cavern, where he embraced Hasan and congratulated him 
on his safety, rejoicing greatly in his return. Then said Abu 
al-Ruwaysh to Hasan, -'Tell the Shaykh Abd al-Kaddus all that 
hath befallen thee, O Hasan." He repeated to him every thing 
that had passed, first and last, till he came to the tale of the rod 

and cap, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

Noto fo&cn ft fons ilje CBigljt |DunbrctJ antt ^Tfjirltctlj Xt'gijt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Hasan 
began relating to Shaykh Abd al-Kaddus and Shaykh Abd 
al-Ruwaysh (who sat chatting in the cave) all that had passed, 
first and last, till he came to the tale of the rod and cap ; where- 
upon quoth Abd al-Kaddus, " O my son, thou hast delivered thy 
wife and thy children and hast no further need of the two. Now 
we were the means of thy winning to the Islands of Wak, and I 
have done thee kindness for the sake of my nieces, the daughters 
of my brother ; wherefore I beg thee, of thy bounty and favour, to 
give me the rod and the Shaykh Abu al-Ruwaysh the cap." 
When Hasan heard this, he hung down his head, being ashamed 
to reply, " I will not give them to you," and said in his mind, 
" Indeed these two Shaykhs have done me great kindness and 
were the means of my winning to the Islands of Wak, and but 
for them I had never made the place, nor delivered my children, 
nor had I gotten me this rod and cap." So he raised his head and 
answered, " Yes, I will give them to you : but, O my lords, I fear 
lest the Supreme King, my wife's father, come upon me with his 
commando and combat with me in my own country, and I be 
unable to repel them, for want of the rod and the cap." Replied 

Hasan of Bassorah. 141 

Abd al-Kaddus, " Fear not, O my son ; we will continually suc- 
cour thee and keep watch and ward for thee in this place ; and 
whosoever shall come against thee from thy wife's father or any 
other, him we will fend off from thee ; wherefore be thou of good 
cheer and keep thine eyes cool of tear, and hearten thy heart and 
broaden thy breast and feel naught whatsoever of fear, for no 
harm shall come to thee." When Hasan heard this he was 
abashed and gave the cap to Abu al-Ruwaysh, saying to Abd 
al-Kaddus, " Accompany me to my own country and I will give 
thee the rod." At this the two elders rejoiced with exceeding joy 
and made him ready riches and treasures which beggar all descrip- 
tion. He abode with them three days, at the end of which he set 
out again and the Shaykh Abd al-Kaddus made ready to depart 
with him. So he and his wife mounted their beasts and Abd 
al-Kaddus whistled when, behold, a mighty big elephant trotted 
up with fore hand and feet on amble from the heart of the desert 
and he took it and mounted it. Then they farewelled Abu 
al-Ruwaysh who disappeared within his cavern ; and they fared 
on across country traversing the land in its length and breadth 
wherever Abd al-Kaddus guided them by a short cut and an easy 
way, till they drew near the land of the Princesses; whereupon 
Hasan rejoiced at finding himself once more near his mother, and 
praised Allah for his safe return and reunion with his wife and 
children after so many hardships and perils ; and thanked Him 
for His favours and bounties, reciting these couplets : 

Haply shall Allah deign us twain unite o And lockt in strict embrace we'll 

hail the light : 
And wonders that befel me I'll recount, o And all I suffered from the Sever- 

ance-blight : 
And fain I'll cure mine eyes by viewing you o For ever yearned my heart to 

see your sight : 
I hid a tale for you my heart within * Which when we meet o' morn I'll fain 

recite : 
I'll blame you for the deeds by you were done o But while blame endeth love 

shall stay in site. 

Hardly had he made an end of these verses, when he looked and 
behold, there rose to view the Green Dome 1 and the Jetting 
Fount and the Emerald Palace, and the Mountain of Clouds 

1 Neither dome nor fount etc. are mentioned before, the normal inadvertency. 

142 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

showed to them from afar ; whereupon quoth Abd al-Kaddus, 
" Rejoice, O Hasan, in good tidings : to-night shalt thou be the 
guest of my nieces ) " At this he joyed with exceeding joy and 
as also did his wife, and they alighted at the domed pavilion, 
where they took their rest x and ate and drank ; after which they 
mounted horse again and rode on till they came upon the palace. 
As they drew near, the Princesses who were daughters of the 
King, brother to Shaykh Abd al-Kaddus, came forth to meet 
them and saluted them and their uncle who said to them, " O 
daughters of my brother, behold, I have accomplished the need 
of this your brother Hasan and have helped him to regain his wife 
and children." So they embraced him and gave him joy of his 
return in safety and health and of his reunion with his wife and 
children, and it was a day of festival 2 with them. Then came 
forward Hasan's sister, the youngest Princess, and embraced him, 
weeping with sore weeping, whilst he also wept for his long deso- 
lation : after which she complained to him of that which she had 
suffered for the pangs of separation and weariness of spirit in his 
absence and recited these two couplets : 

After thy faring never chanced Pspy * A shape, but did thy form therein 

descry : 
Nor closed mine eyes in sleep but thee I saw, * E'en as though dwelling 'twixt 

the lid and eye. 

When she had made an end of her verses, she rejoiced with joy 
exceeding and Hasan said to her, " O my sister, I thank none in 
this matter save thyself over all thy sisters, and may Allah 
Almighty vouchsafe thee aidance and countenance ! " Then he 
related to her all that had past in his journey, from first to last, 
and all that he had undergone, telling her what had betided him 
with his wife's sister and how he had delivered his wife and wees 
and he also described to her all that he had seen of marvels and 
grievous perils, even to how Queen Nur al-Huda would have slain 
him and his spouse and children and none saved them from her 
but the Lord the Most High. Moreover, he related to her the 

1 In Eastern travel the rest comes before the eating and drinking. 

2 Arab. 'Id (pron. 'Eed; which I have said (vol. i. 42, 317) is applied to the two 
great annual festivals, the "Fete of Sacrifice," and the "Break-Fast." The word 
denotes restoration to favour and Moslems explain as the day on which Adam (and Eve) 
who had been expelled from Paradise for disobedience was re-established (U'ida) by the 
relenting of Allah. But the name doubtless dates amongst Arabs from days long before 
they had heard of the " Lord Nomenclator." 

Hasan of Bassorah. 143 

adventure of the cap and the rod and how Abd al-Kaddus and 
Abu al-Ruwaysh had asked for them and he had not agreed 
to give them to the twain save for her sake; wherefore she 
thanked him and blessed him wishing him long life ; and he cried, 
" By Allah, I shall never forget all the kindness thou hast done 

me from incept to conclusion. And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

fofjen it foas t&e <&i$t f^untrrefc anft ^frirtg^tst Nt'jj&t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Hasan 
foregathered with the Princesses, he related to his sister all that 
he had endured and said to her, " Never will I forget what thou 
hast done for me from jncept to conclusion." Then she turned to 
his wife Manar al-Sana and embraced her and pressed her children 
to her breast, saying to her, " O daughter of the Supreme King, 
was there no pity in thy bosom, that thou partedst him and his 
children and settedst his heart on fire for them ? Say me, didst thou 
desire by this deed that he should die ? " The Princess laughed 
and answered, " Thus was it ordained of Allah (extolled and 
exalted be He!) and whoso beguileth folk, him shall Allah 
beguile ;" 1 Then they set on somewhat of meat and drink, and 
they all ate and drank and made merry. They abode thus ten 
days in feast and festival, mirth and merry-making, at the end of 
which time Hasan prepared to continue his journey. So his sister 
rose and made him ready riches and rarities, such as defy descrip- 
tion. Then she strained him to her bosom, because of leave- 
taking, and threw her arms round his neck whilst he recited on 
her account these couplets : 

The solace of lovers is naught but far, * And parting is naught save 

grief singular : 
And ill-will and absence are naught but woe, * And the victims of Love naught 

but martyrs are j 
And how tedious is night to the loving wight * From his true love parted 'neath 

evening star ! 
His tears course over his cheeks and so * He cries, "O tears be there 

more to flow ? " 

With this Hasan gave the rod to Shaykh Abd al-Kaddus, who 
1 Alluding to Hasan seizing her feather dress and so taking her to wife, 

144 A if Laylah wa Laylak. 

joyed therein with exceeding joy and thanking him and securing 
it mounted and returned to his own place. Then Hasan took 
horse with his wife and children and departed from the Palace of 
the Princesses, who went forth 1 with him, to farewell him. Then 
they turned back and Hasan fared on, over wild and wold, two 
months and ten days, till he came to the city of Baghdad, the 
House of Peace, and repairing to his home by the private postern 
which gave upon the open country, knocked at the door. Now 
his mother, for long absence, had forsworn sleep and given herself 
to mourning and weeping and wailing, till she fell sick and ate no 
meat, neither took delight in slumber but shed tears night and 
day. She ceased not to call upon her son's name albeit she 
despaired of his returning to her ; and as he stood at the door, he 
heard her weeping and reciting these couplets : 

By Allah, heal, O my lords, the unwhole * Of wasted frame and heart 

worn with dole : 
An you grant her a meeting 'tis but your grace * Shall whelm in the boons of 

the friend her soul : 
I despair not of Union the Lord can grant And to weal of meeting our 

woes control ! 

When she had ended her verses, she heard her son's voice at the 
door, calling out, " O mother, mother ah ! fortune hath been kind 
and hath vouchsafed our reunion ! " Hearing his cry she knew 
his voice and went to the door, between belief and misbelief ; but, 
when she opened it she saw him standing there and with him his 
wife and children ; so she shrieked aloud, for excess of joy, and 
fell to the earth in a fainting-fit. Hasan ceased not soothing her, 
till she recovered and embraced him ; then she wept with joy, and 
presently she called his slaves and servants and bade them carry 
all his baggage into the house. 2 So they brought in every one of 
the loads, and his wife and children entered also, whereupon 
Hasan's mother went up to the Princess and kissed her head and 
bussed her feet, saying, " O daughter of the Supreme King, if I 
have failed of thy due, behold, I crave pardon of Almighty Allah." 
Then she turned to Hasan and said to him, " O my son, what was 
the cause of this long strangerhood ? " He related to her all his 
adventures from beginning to end ; and when she heard tell of 

1 Arab. " Kharaju " = they (masc.) went forth, a vulgarism for " Kharajna " (fern.) 

2 Note the notable housewife who, at a moment when youth would forget ev%rything, 
looks to the main chance. 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 145 

all that had befallen him, she cried a great cry and fell down 
a-fainting at the very mention of his mishaps. He solaced her, 
till she came to herself and said, " By Allah, O my son, thou hast 
done unwisely in parting with the rod and the cap for, hadst thou 
kept them with the care due to them, thou wert master of the 
whole earth, in its breadth and length ; but praised be Allah, for 
thy safety, O my son, and that of thy wife and children ! " They 
passed the night in all pleasance and happiness, and on the 
morrow Hasan changed his clothes and donning a suit of the 
richest apparel, went down into the bazar and bought black slaves 
and slave-girls and the richest stuffs and ornaments and furniture 
such as carpets and costly vessels and all manner other precious 
things, whose like is not found with Kings. Moreover, he pur- 
chased houses and gardens and estates and so forth and abode 
with his wife and his children and his mother, eating and drinking 
and pleasuring : nor did they cease from all joy of life and its 
solace till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and the 
Severer of societies. And Glory be to Him who hath dominion 
over the Seen and the Unseen, 1 who is the Living, the Eternal, 
Who dieth not at all ! And men also recount the adventures of 


THERE was once in tides of yore and in ages and times long 
gone before in the city of Baghdad a fisherman, Khalifah 
hight, a pauper wight, who had never once been married in all his 
days. 2 It chanced one morning, that he took his net and went 
with it to the river, as was his wont with the view of fishing before 
the others came. When he reached the bank, he girt himself and 
tucked up his skirts ; then stepping into the water, he spread his 
net and cast it a first cast and a second but it brought up naught. 
He ceased not to throw it, till he had made ten casts, and still 
naught came up therein ; wherefore his breast was straitened and 
his mind perplexed concerning his case and he said, " I crave 

1 Arab. " Al-Malakut" (not " Malkut" as in Freytag) a Sufi term for the world of 
Spirits (De Lacy Christ, Ar. i. 451). Amongst Eastern Christians it is vulgarly used 
in the fern, and means the Kingdom of Heaven, also the preaching of the Gospel. 

2 This is so tare, even amongst the poorest classes in the East, that it is mentioned 
with some emphasis. 


146 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

pardon of God the Great, there is no god but He, the Living, the 
Eternal, and unto Him I repent. There is no Majesty and there 
is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! Whatso He 
willeth is and whatso He nilleth is not ! Upon Allah (to whom 
belong Honour and Glory !) dependeth daily bread ! Whenas 
He giveth to His servant, none denieth him ; and whenas He 
denieth a servant, none giveth to him." And of the excess of his 
distress, he recited these two couplets : 

An Fate afflict thee, with grief manifest, * Prepare thy patience and make 

broad thy breast ; 
For of His grace the Lord of all the worlds * Shall send to wait upon unrest 

sweet Rest. 

Then he sat awhile pondering his case, and with his head bowed 
down recited also these couplets : 

Patience, with sweet and with bitter Fate ! o And weet that His will He shall 

consummate : 
Night oft upon woe as on abscess acts o And brings it up to the bursting 

state : 
And Chance and Change shall pass o'er the youth o And fleet from his thoughts 

and no more shall bait. 

Then he said in his mind, " I will make this one more cast, trusting 
in Allah, so haply He may not disappoint my hope ; " and he rose 
and casting into the river the net as far as his arm availed, gathered 
the cords in his hands and waited a full hour, after which he 

pulled at it and, rinding it heavy, And Shahrazad perceived 

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

fofjen (t foa* tfje 3Sfaf)t ^uutofc airtr / 3T6(rtB--seconti Nigljt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Khalifah the Fisherman had cast his net sundry times into the 
stream, yet had it brought up naught, he pondered his case and im- 
provised the verses afore quoted. Then he said in his mind, " I 
will make this one more cast, trusting in Allah who haply will not 
disappoint my hope." So he rose and threw the net and waited a 
full hour, after which time he pulled at it and, finding it heavy, 
handled it gently and drew it in, little by little, till he got it ashore, 
when lo and behold ! he saw in it a one-eyed, lame-legged ape. 
Seeing this quoth Khalifah, " There is no Majesty and there is no 

Kkalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 147 

Might save in Allah ! Verily, we are Allah's and to Him 
we are returning ! What meaneth this heart-breaking, 
miserable ill-luck and hapless fortune ? What is come to me 
this blessed day ? But all this is of the destinies of Almighty 
Allah ! " Then he took the ape and tied him with a cord to a 
tree which grew on the river-bank, and grasping a whip he had 
with him, raised his arm in the air, thinking to bring down the 
scourge upon the quarry, when Allah made the ape speak with 
a fluent tongue, saying, "O Khalifah, hold thy hand and beat 
me not, but leave me bounden to this tree and go down to the 
river and cast thy net, confiding in Allah ; for He will give thee 
thy daily bread." Hearing this Khalifah went down to the river 
and casting his net, let the cords run out. Then he pulled it in 
and found it heavier than before ; so he ceased not to tug at it, till 
he brought it to land, when, behold, there was another ape in it, 
with front teeth wide apart, 1 Kohl-darkened eyes and hands stained 
with Henna-dyes ; and he was laughing and wore a tattered waist- 
cloth about his middle. Quoth Khalifah, " Praised be Allah who 
hath changed the fish of the river into apes 2 ! " Then, going up to 
the first ape, who was still tied to the tree, he said to him, " See, O 
unlucky, how fulsome was the counsel thou gavest me ! None but 
thou made me light on this second ape : and for that thou gavest 
me good-morrow with thy one eye and thy lameness, 3 1 am become 
distressed and weary, without dirham or dinar." So saying, he 
hent in hand a stick 4 and flourishing it thrice in the air, was about 
to come down with it upon the lame ape, when the creature cried 
out for mercy and said to him, " I conjure thee, by Allah, spare 
me for the sake of this my fellow and seek of him thy need ; for 
he will guide thee to thy desire ! " So he held his hand from him 
and throwing down the stick, went up to and stood by the second 
ape, who said to him, " O Khalifah, this my speech 5 will profit thee 

1 A beauty amongst the Egyptians, not the Arabs. 

2 True Fellah-" chaff." 

3 Alluding to the well-known superstition, which has often appeared in The Nights, 
that the first object seen in the morning, such as a crow, a cripple, or a Cyclops determines 
the fortunes of the day. Notices in Eastern literature are as old as the days of the 
Hitopadesa ; and there is a something instinctive in the idea to a race of early risers. 
At an hour when the senses are most impressionable the aspect of unpleasant spectacles 
has double effect. 

4 Arab. " Masukah," the stick used for driving cattle, bdton gourdin (Dozy). Lane 
applies the word to a wooden plank used for levelling the ground. 

* i.e. the words I am about to speak to thee. 

148 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

naught, except thou hearken to what I say to thee ; but, an thou 
do my bidding and cross me not, I will be the cause of thine en- 
richment." Asked Khalifah, " And what hast thou to say to me 
that I may obey thee therein ? " The Ape answered, " Leave me 
bound on the bank and hie thee down to the river ; then cast thy 
net a third time, and after I will tell thee what to do." So he took 
his net and going down to the river, cast it once more and waited 
awhile. Then he drew it in and finding it heavy, laboured at it 
and ceased not his travail till he got it ashore, when he found in it 
yet another ape; but this one was red, with a blue waistcloth 
about his middle ; his hands and feet were stained with Henna 
and his eyes blackened with Kohl. When Khalifah saw this, he 
exclaimed, " Glory to God the Great ! Extolled be the perfection 
of the Lord of Dominion ! Verily, this is a blessed day from 
first to last : its ascendant was fortunate in the countenance of the 
first ape, and the scroll 1 is known by its superscription ! Verily, 
to-day is a day of apes : there is not a single fish left in the 
river, and we are come out to-day but to catch monkeys ! " Then 
he turned to the third ape and said, " And what thing art thou also, 
O unlucky ? " Quoth the ape, " Dost thou not know me, O 
Khalifah ! " ; and quoth he, " Not I ! " The ape cried, " I am the 
ape of Abu al-Sa'adat 2 the Jew, the shroff." Asked Khalifah, 
" And what dost thou for him ? " ; and the ape answered, u I give 
him good-morrow at the first of the day, and he gaineth five ducats ; 
and again at the end of the day, I give him good-even and he 
gaineth other five ducats." Whereupon Khalifah turned to the 
first ape and said to him, " See, O unlucky, what fine apes other 
folk have ! As for thee, thou givest me good-morrow with thy 
one eye and thy lameness and thy ill-omened phiz and I become poor 
and bankrupt and hungry ! " So saying, he took the cattle-stick and 
flourishing it thrice in the air, was about to come down with it on the 
first ape, when Abu al-Sa'adat 's ape said to him, " Let him be, 
O Khalifah, hold thy hand and come hither to me, that I may 
tell thee what to do." So Khalifah threw down the stick and 
walking up to him cried, " And what hast thou to say to me, O 
monarch of all monkeys ?" Replied the ape, " Leave me and 
the other two apes here, and take thy net and cast it into the 

1 Arab. "Sahi'fah," which may mean ' page " (Lane) or "book" (Payne). 

2 Pronounce, "Abussa'adat " = Father of Prosperities: Lane imagines that it came from 
the Jew's daughter being called " Sa'adat." But the latter is the Jew's wife (Night 
dcccxxxiii) and the word in the text is plural. 

Kkalifak the Fisherman of Baghdad. 


river ; and whatever cometh up, bring it to me, and I will tell 
thee what shall gladden thee." -- And Shahrazad perceived the 
dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fofcen ft to tje 1Ef$t pjutrtrre* mrt Jfr%t5frtr tMafif, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
ape of Abu al-Sa'adat said to Khalifah, " Take thy net and cast it 
into the river ; and whatever cometh up bring it to me and I will 
tell thee what shall gladden thee." He replied, " I hear and obey," 
and took the net and gathered it on his shoulder, reciting these 
couplets : 

When straitened is my breast I will of my Creator pray, o Who may and can 

the heaviest weight lighten in easiest way ; 
For ere man's glance can turn or close his eye by God His grace o Waxeth the 

broken whole and yieldeth jail its prison-prey. 
Therefore with Allah one and all of thy concerns commit o Whose grace and 

favour men of wit shall nevermore gainsay. 

And also these twain : 

Thou art the cause that castest men in ban and bane ; Sorrow e'en so and 

sorrow's cause Thou canst assain : 
Make me not covet aught that lies beyond my reach ; o How many a greedy 

wight his wish hath failed to gain ! 

Now when Khalifah had made an end of his verse, he went down 
to the river and casting his net, waited awhile ; after which he 
drew it up and found therein a fine young fish, 1 with a big head, 
a tail like a ladle and eyes like two gold pieces. When Khalifah saw 
this fish, he rejoiced, for he had never in his life caught its like, 
so he took it, marvelling, and carried it to the ape of Abu al-Sa'adat 
the Jew, as 'twere he had gotten possession of the universal world. 
Quoth the ape, " O Khalifah, what wilt thou do with this and 
with thine ape ? " ; and quoth the Fisherman, I will tell thee, O 
monarch of monkeys all I am about to do. Know then that 
first, I will cast about to make away with yonder accursed, my 
ape, and take thee in his stead and give thee every day to eat of 
whatso thou wilt" Rejoined the ape, Since thou hast made 

1 Arab. "Furkh samak " lit. a fish-chick, an Egyptian vulgarism. 

150 A If Laylah wa Lay la ft. 

choice of me, I will tell thee how thou shalt do wherein, if it 
please Allah Almighty, shall be the mending of thy fortune. 
Lend thy mind, then, to what I say to thee and 'tis this ! Take 
another cord and tie me also to a tree, where leave me and go to 
the midst of The Dyke 1 and cast thy net into the Tigris. 2 Then 
after waiting awhile, draw it up and thou shalt find therein a 
fish, than which thou never sawest a finer in thy whole life. Bring 
it to me and I will tell thee how thou shalt do after this." So 
Khalifah rose forthright and casting his net into the Tigris, drew 
up a great cat-fish 3 the bigness of a lamb ; never had he set 
eyes on its like, for it was larger than the first fish. He carried 
it to the ape, who said to him, " Gather thee some green grass 
and set half of it in a basket ; lay the fish therein and cover it 
with the other moiety. Then, leaving us here tied, shoulder the 
basket and betake thee to Baghdad. If any bespeak thee or 
question thee by the way, answer him not, but fare on till thou 
comest to the market-street of the money-changers, at the upper 
end whereof thou wilt find the shop of Master * Abu al-Sa'adat 
the Jew, Shaykh of the shroffs, and wilt see him sitting on a 
mattress, with a cushion behind him and two coffers, one for gold 
and one for silver, before him, while around him stand his Mame- 
lukes and negro-slaves and servant-lads. Go up to him and set 
the basket before him, saying, : O Abu al-Sa'adat, verily I went 
out to-day to fish and cast my net in thy name, and Allah 
Almighty sent me this fish. He will ask, Hast thou shown it to 
any but me ? ; and do thou answer, No, by Allah ! Then will he 
take it of thee and give thee a dinar. Give it him back and he 
will give thee two dinars ; but do thou return them also and so 
do with everything he may offer thee ; and take naught from 
him, though he give thee the fish's weight in gold. Then will he 
say to thee, Tell me what thou wouldst have ; and do thou reply, 

1 Arab. *'Al-Rasif"; usually a river-quay, leve'e, an embankment. Here it refers 
to the great dyke which distributed the Tigris-water. 

2 Arab. " Dajlah," see vol. I, p. 180. It is evidently the origin of the biblical 
44 Hid-dekel " "Hid " = fierceness, swiftness. 

3 Arab. " Bayaz " a kind of Silurus (S. Bajad> Forsk.) which Sonnini calls Bayatto, 
Saksatt and Hebede ; also Bogar (Bakar, an ox). The skin is lubricous, the flesh is 
soft and insipid and the fish often grows to the size of a man. Captain Speke and I 
found huge specimens in the Tangany ika Lake. 

4 Arab. Mu'allim," rulg. " M'allim," prop. = teacher, master esp of a trade, a 
craft. In Egypt and Syria it is a civil address to a Jew or a Christian, as Hajj is to a 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 151 

By Allah, I will not sell the fish save for two words ! He will 
ask, What are tlrey ? And do thou answer, Stand up and say, 
Bear witness, O ye who are present in the market, that I give 
Khalifah the fisherman my ape in exchange for his ape, and that I 
barter for his lot my lot and luck for his luck. This is the price 
of the fish, and I have no need of gold. If he do this, I will every 
day give thee good-morrow and good-even, and every day thou 
shalt gain ten dinars of good gold ; whilst this one-eyed, lame- 
legged ape shall daily give the Jew good-morrow, and Allah shall 
afflict him every day with an avanie which he must needs pay, 
nor will he cease to be thus afflicted till he is reduced to beggary 
and hath naught. Hearken then to my words ; so shalt thou 
prosper and be guided aright." Quoth Khalifah, " I accept thy 
counsel, O monarch of all the monkeys ! But, as for this unlucky, 
may Allah never bless him ! I know not what to do with him." 
Quoth the ape, " Let him go 2 into the water, and let me go 
also." " I hear and obey," answered Khalifah and unbound the 
three apes, and they went down into the river. Then he took up 
the cat-fish 3 which he washed then laid it in the basket upon some 
green grass, and covered it with other ; and lastly shouldering his 
load, set out chanting the following Mawwal : 

Thy case commit to a Heavenly Lord and thou shalt safety see ; o Act kindly 

through thy worldly life and live repentance-free. 
Mate not with folk suspected, lest eke thou shouldst suspected be o And from 

reviling keep thy tongue lest men revile at thee ! 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say 

her permitted say. 

fo&en ft foas tje ffifgfit f^un&trti antr 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Khalifah 
the Fisherman, after ending his song, set out with the basket upon 

1 Arab. "Gharamah," an exaction, usually on the part of government like a corve*e 
etc. The Europeo-Egyptian term is Avania (Ital.) or Avanie (French.) 

2 Arab. " Sayyib-hu " an Egyptian vulgarism found also in Syria. Hence Saibah, 
a woman who lets herself go (a-whoring) etc. It is syn. with " Dashar," which Dozy 
believes to be a softening of Jashar ; as Jashsh became Dashsh. 

3 The Silurus is generally so called in English on account of the length of its feeler* 
acting mustachios. 

4 See Night dcccvii, vol. viii. p. 94. 

152 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

his shoulder and ceased not faring till he entered the city of 
Baghdad. And as he threaded the streets the folk knew him 
and cried out to him, saying, " What hast thou there, O Khalifah ? " 
But he paid no heed to them and passed on till he came to the 
market-street of the money-changers and fared between the shops, 
as the ape had charged him, till he found the Jew seated at the 
upper end, with his servants in attendance upon him, as he were a 
King of the Kings of Khorasan. He knew him at first sight ; so 
he went up to him and stood before him, whereupon Abu al- 
Sa'adat raised his eyes and recognising him, said, " Welcome, O 
Khalifah ! What wantest thou and what is thy need ? If any 
have missaid thee or spited thee, tell me and I will go with thee 
to the Chief of Police, who shall do thee justice on him." Replied 
Khalifah, " Nay, as thy head liveth, O chief of the Jews, none hath 
missaid me. But I went forth this morning to the river and, 
casting my net into the Tigris on thy luck, brought up this fish." 
Therewith he opened the basket and threw the fish before the Jew 
who admired it and said, " By the Pentateuch and the Ten Com- 
mandments, 1 I dreamt last night that the Virgin came to me and 
said: Know, O Abu al-Sa'adat, that I have sent thee a pretty 
present ! And doubtless 'tis this fish." Then he turned to Khalifah 
and said to him, " By thy faith, hath any seen it but I ? " Khalifah 
replied, " No, by Allah, and by Abu Bakr the Viridical, 2 none hath 
seen it save thou, O chief of the Jews ! " Whereupon the Jew 
turned to one of his lads and said to him, " Come, carry this fish 
to my house and bid Sa'adah 3 dress it and fry and broil it, 
against I make an end of my business and hie me home.' 1 And 
Khalifah said, " Go, O my lad ; let the master's wife fry some 
of it and broil the rest." Answered the boy, " I hear and I obey, 
O my lord " and, taking the fish, went away with it to the house. 
Then the Jew put out his hand and gave Khalifah the fisherman a 
dinar, saying, " Take this for thyself, O Khalifah, and spend it on 
thy family." When Khalifah saw the dinar on his palm, he took 
it, saying, " Laud to the Lord of Dominion ! " as if he had never 

1 This extraordinary confusion of two distinct religious mythologies cannot be the 
result of ignorance. Educated Moslems know at least as much as Christians do, on 
these subjects, but the Rawi or story-teller speaks to the " Gallery." In fact it becomes 
a mere " chaff" and The Nights give some neat specimens of our modern linguistic. 

2 See vol. ii. 197. " Al-Siddikah" (fern.) is a title of A>ishah, who, however, does 
not appear to have deserved it. 

The Jew's wife. 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 153 

seen aught of gold in his life, and went somewhat away; but, 
before he had gone far, he was minded of the ape's charge and 
turning back threw down the ducat, saying, "Take thy gold and 
give folk back their fish ! Dost thou make a laughing stock of 
folk ? " The Jew hearing this thought he was jesting and offered 
him two dinars upon the other, but Khalifah said, " Give me the 
fish and no nonsense. How knewest thou I would sell it at this 
price ?" Whereupon the Jew gave him two more dinars and said, 
" Take these five ducats for thy fish, and leave greed." So Khalifah 
hent the five dinars in hand and went away, rejoicing, and gazing 
and marvelling at the gold and saying, " Glory be to God ! There 
is not with the Caliph of Baghdad what is with me this day ! " 
Then he ceased not faring on till he came to the end of the 
market-street, when he remembered the words of the ape and his 
charge and returning to the Jew, threw him back the gold. Quoth 
he, "What aileth thee, O Khalifah? Dost thou want silver in 
exchange for gold ? " Khalifah replied, " I want nor dirhams nor 
dinars. I only want thee to give me back folk's fish." With this 
the Jew waxed wroth and shouted out at him, saying, " O fisher- 
man, thou bringest me a fish not worth a sequin and I give thee 
five for it ; yet art thou not content ! Art thou Jinn-mad ? Tell 
me for how much thou wilt sell it." Answered Khalifah, " I will 
not sell it for silver nor for gold, only for two sayings ! thou shalt 
say me." When the Jew heard speak of the " Two Sayings," his 
eyes sank into his head, he breathed hard and ground his teeth for 
rage and said to him, " O nail-paring of the Moslems, wilt thou 
have me throw off my faith for the sake of thy fish, and wilt thou 
debauch me from my religion arid stultify my belief and my con- 
viction which I inherited of old from my forbears ? " Then he 
cried out to the servants who were in waiting and said, " Out on 
you ! Bash me this unlucky rogue's neck and bastinado him 
soundly ! " So they came down upon him with blows and ceased 

1 Here is a double entendre. The fisherman meant a word or two. The Jew under- 
stood the Shibboleth of the Moslem Creed, popularly known as the "Two Words," I 
testify that there is no Ilah (god) but Allah (the God) and I testify that Mohammed is the 
Messenger of Allah. Pronouncing this formula would make the Jew a Moslem. Some 
writers are surprised to see a Jew ordering a Moslem to be flogged ; but the former was 
rich and the latter was poor. Even during the worst days of Jewish persecutions their 
money-bags were heavy enough to lighten the greater part, if not the whole of their 
disabilities. And the Moslem saying is, The Jew is never your (Moslem or Christian) 
equal : he must be either above you or below you. This is high, because unintentional 
praise of the (self-) Chosen People. 

154 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

not beating him till he fell beneath the shop, and the Jew said to 
them, " Leave him and let him rise." Whereupon Khalifah jumped 
up, as if naught ailed him, and the Jew said to him, "Tell me 
what price thou asketh for this fish and I will give it thee : for 
thou hast gotten but scant good of us this day." Answered the 
Fisherman, " Have no fear for me, O master, because of the 
beating ; for I can eat ten donkeys' rations of stick." The Jew 
laughed at his words and said, "Allah upon thee, tell me what 
thou wilt have and by the right of my Faith, I will give it thee ! " 
The Fisherman replied, "Naught from thee will remunerate me 
for this fish save the two words whereof I spake." And the Jew 
said, "Meseemeth thou wouldst have me become a Moslem?" 1 
Khalifah rejoined, " By Allah, O Jew, an thou islamise 'twill nor 
advantage the Moslems nor damage the Jews ; and in like manner, 
an thou hold to thy misbelief 'twill nor damage the Moslems nor 
advantage the Jews. But what I desire of thee is that thou rise 
to thy feet and say : Bear witness against me, O people of the 
market, that I barter my ape for the ape of Khalifah the Fisher- 
man and my lot in the world for his lot and my luck for his luck." 
Quoth the Jew, " If this be all thou desirest 'twill sit lightly upon 

me." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

Noto tojm ft foas tjc IStgJt f^untortr anfc 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Jew said to Khalifah the Fisherman, " If this be all thou desirest, 
'twill sit lightly upon me." So he rose without stay or delay and 
standing on his feet, repeated the required words ; after which he 
turned to the Fisherman and asked him, " Hast thou aught else 
to ask of me?" "No," answered he, and the Jew said, "Go in 
peace ! " Hearing this Khalifah sprung to his feet forthright ; 
took up his basket and net and returned straight to the Tigris, 
where he threw his net and pulled it in. He found it heavy and 
brought it not ashore but with travail, when he found it full of fish 
of all kinds. Presently, up came a woman with a dish, who gave 

1 He understands by the "two words" (Kalmatani) the Moslem's double profession 
of belief ; and Khalifah's reply embodies the popular idea that the number of Moslems 
(who will be saved) is preordained and that no art of man can add to it or take 
from it. 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 155 

him a dinar, and he gave her fish for it ; and after her an eunuch, 
who also bought a dinar's worth of fish, and so forth till he had 
sold ten dinars' worth. And he continued to sell ten dinars' worth 
of fish daily for ten days, till he had gotten an hundred dinars. 
Now Khalifah the Fisherman had quarters in the Passage of the 
Merchants, 1 and, as he lay one night in his lodging much bemused 
with Hashish, he said to himself, " O Khalifah, the folk all know 
thee for a poor fisherman, and now thou hast gotten an hundred 
golden dinars. Needs must the Commander of the Faithful, 
Harun al-Rashid, hear of this from some one, and haply he will 

be wanting money and will send for thee and say to thee : 1 

need a sum of money and it hath reached me that thou hast an 
hundred dinars : so do thou lend them to me those same." I 
shall answer, " O Commander of the Faithful, I am a poor man, 
and whoso told thee that I had an hundred dinars lied against 
me ; for I have naught of this." Thereupon he will commit me 
to the Chief of Police, saying: Strip him of his clothes and 
torment him with the bastinado till he confess and give up the 
hundred dinars in his possession. Wherefore, meseemeth to 
provide against this predicament, the best thing I can do, is to 
.rise forthright and bash myself with the whip, so to use myself to 
beating." And his Hashish 2 said to him, " Rise, doff thy dress." 
So he stood up and putting off his clothes, took a whip he had by 
him and set handy a leathern pillow ; then he fell to lashing 
himself, laying every other blow upon the pillow and roaring out 
the while, " Alas ! Alas ! By Allah, 'tis a false saying, O my 
lord, and they have lied against me ; for I am a poor fisherman 
and have naught of the goods of the world ! " The noise of the 
whip falling on the pillow and on his person resounded in the still 
of night and the folk heard it, and amongst others the merchants, 
and they said, " Whatever can ail the poor fellow, that he crieth 
and we hear the noise of blows falling on him ? 'Twould seem 
robbers have broken in upon him and are tormenting him.'* 
Presently they all came forth of their lodgings, at the noise of the 

1 Arab. Mamarr al-Tujjar (passing-place of the traders) which Lane renders "A 
chamber withia the place through which the merchants passed." At the end of the 
tale (Night dcccxlv.) we find him living in a Khan and the Bresl. Edit, (see my terminal 
note) makes him dwell in a magazine (i.e.. ground-floor store-room) of a ruined Khan. 

2 The text is somewhat too concise and the meaning is that the fumes of the Hashish 
he had eaten ("his mind under the influence of hasheesh," says Lane) suggested to 
him, etc. 

156 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

blows and the crying, and repaired to Khalifah's room, but they 
found the door locked and said one to other, " Belike the 
robbers have come in upon him from the back of the adjoining 
saloon. It behoveth us to climb over by the roofs." So they 
clomb over the roofs and coming down through the sky-light, 1 savfr 
him naked and flogging himself and asked him, "What aileth 
thee, O Khalifah ? " He answered, " Know, O folk, that I have 
gained some dinars and fear lest my case be carried up to the 
Prince of True Believers, Harun al-Rashid, and he send for me 
and demand of me those same gold pieces ; whereupon I should 
deny, and I fear that, if I deny, he will torture me, so I am 
torturing myself, by way of accustoming me to what may come." 
The merchants laughed at him and said, " Leave this fooling, may 
Allah not bless thee and the dinars thou hast gotten ! Verily 
thou hast disturbed us this night and hast troubled our hearts." 
So Khalifah left flogging himself and slept till the morning, when 
he rose and would have gone about his business, but bethought 
him of his hundred dinars and said in his mind, " An I leave them 
at home, thieves will steal them, and if I put them in a belt 2 about 
my waist, peradventure some one will see me and lay in wait for 
me till he come upon me in some lonely place and slay me and take 
the money : but I have a device that should serve me well, right 
well." So he jumped up forthright and made him a pocket in the 
collar of his gaberdine and tying the hundred dinars up in a 
purse, laid them in the collar-pocket. Then he took his net and 
basket and staff and went down to the Tigris And Shahrazad 
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

fofjen ft foas tje lEfeftf |^tmto& anfc 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Khalifah 
the Fisherman, having set his hundred dinars in the collar-pocket 

1 Arab. " Mamrak " either a simple aperture in ceiling or roof for light and air or a 
more complicated affair of lattice-work and plaster ; it is often octagonal and crowned 
with a little dome. Lane calls it " Memrak," after the debased Cairene pronunciation, 
and shows its base in his sketch of a Ka'ah (M. E, Introduction). 

2 Arab. " Kamar." This is a practice especially amongst pilgrims. In Hindostan the 
girdle, usually a waist-shawl, is called Kammar-band our old " Cummerbund." Easterns 
are too sensible not to protect the pit of the stomach, that great ganglionic centre, 
against sun, rain and wind, and now our soldiers in India wear flannel-belts on the 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 157 

took basket, staff and net and went down to the Tigris, where he 
made a cast but brought up naught. So he removed from that 
place to another and threw again, but once more the net came up 
empty ; and he went on removing from place to place till he had 
gone half a day's journey from the city, ever casting the net which 
kept bringing up naught. So he said to himself, " By Allah, I 
will throw my net a-stream but this once more, whether ill come 
of it or weal 1 ! " Then he hurled the net with all his force, of the 
excess of his wrath and the purse with the hundred dinars flew 
out of his collar-pocket and, lighting in mid-stream, was carried 
away by the strong current ; whereupon he threw down the net 
and doffing his clothes, left them on the bank and plunged into 
the water after the purse. He dived for it nigh a hundred times, 
till his strength was exhausted and he came up for sheer fatigue 
without chancing on it. When he despaired of finding the purse, 
he returned to the shore, where he saw nothing but staff, net and 
basket and sought for his clothes, but could light on no trace of 
them : so he said in himself, " O vilest of those wherefor was 
made the byword : The pilgrimage is not perfected save by 
copulation with the camel 2 ! " Then he wrapped the net about 
him and taking staff in one hand and basket in other, went 
trotting about like^a camel in rut, running right and left and 
backwards and forwards, dishevelled and dusty, as he were a rebel 
Marid let loose from Solomon's prison. 3 So far for what concerns 
the Fisherman Khalifah; but as regards the Caliph Harun 
al-Rashid, he had a friend, a jeweller called Ibn al-Kirnds, 4 and all 
the traders, brokers and middle-men knew him for the Caliph's 
merchant ; wherefore there was naught sold in Baghdad, by way 
of rarities and things of price or Mamelukes or handmaidens, but 
was first shown to him. As he sat one day in his shop, behold, 

1 Arab. " Fa-immd 'alayhd wa-immd biha," /.*. whether (luck go) against it or (luck 
go) with it. 

2 "O vilest of sinners !" alludes to the thief. "A general plunge into worldly 
pursuits and pleasures announced the end of the pilgrimage-ceremonies. All the 
devotees were now " whitewashed " the book of their sins was a tabula rasa : too many 
of them lost no time in making a new departure down South and in opening a fresh 
account " (Pilgrimage iii. 365). I have noticed that my servant at Jeddah would carry a 
bottle of Raki, uncovered by a napkin, through the main streets. 

3 The copper cucurbites in which Solomon imprisoned the rebellious Jinns, often 
alluded to in The Nights. 

4 i.e. Son of the Chase : it is prob. a corruption of the Persian Kurnas, a pimp, a 
cuckold, and introduced by way of chaff, intelligible only to a select few "fast men." 

1^8 A If Laylah it .1 Laylah. 

there came up to him the Shaykh of the brokers, with a slave-girl, 
whose like seers never saw, for she was of passing beauty and 
loveliness, symmetry and perfect graee, and among her gifts was 
that she knew all arts and sciences and could make verses and 
play upon all manner musical instruments. So Ibn al-Kirnas 
bought her for five thousand golden dinars and clothed her with 
other thousand ; after which he carried her to the Prince of True 
Believers, with whom she lay the night and who made trial of her 
in every kind of knowledge and accomplishment and found her 
versed in all sorts of arts and sciences, having no equal in her 
time. Her name was Kut al-Kulub 1 and she was even as saith the 
poet : 

I fix my glance on her, whene'er she wends ; o And non-acceptance of my 

glance breeds pain : 
She favours graceful-necked gazelle at gaze ; o And " Graceful as gazelle' 7 to 

say we're fain. 

And where is this 2 beside the saying of another ? 

Give me brunettes ; the Syrian spears, so limber and so straight, Tell of the 

slender dusky maids, so lithe and proud of gait. 
Languid of eyelids, with a down like silk upon her cheek, Within her wasting 

lover's heart she queens it still in state. 

On the morrow the Caliph sent for Ibn al-Kirnas the Jeweller, 
and bade him receive ten thousand dinars to her price. And his 
heart was taken up with the slave-girl Kut al-Kulub and he for- 
sook the Lady Zubaydah bint al-Kasim, for all she was the 
daughter of his father's brother 3 and he abandoned all his favourite 
concubines and abode a whole month without stirring from Kut 
al-Kulub's side save to go to the Friday prayers and return to her 
all in haste. This was grievous to the Lords of the Realm and they 
complained thereof to the Wazir Ja'afar the Barmecide, who bore 
with the Commander of the Faithful and waited till the next 
Friday, when he entered the cathedral-mosque and, foregathering 

1 For the name see vol. i. 61, in the Tale of Ghdnim bin 'Ayyub where the Caliph's 
concubine is also drugged by the Lady Zubaydah. 

2 We should say, " What is this ?" etc. The lines have occurred before so I quote 
Mr. Payne. 

3 Zubaydah, I have said, was the daughter of Ja'afar, son of the Caliph al-Mansur, 
second Abbaside. The story-teller persistently calls her daughter of Al-Kasim for some 
reason of his own ; and this he will repeat in Night dcccxxxix. 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 150, 

with the Caliph, related to him all that occurred to him of extra- 
ordinary stories anent seld-seen love and lovers with intent to draw 
out what was in his mind. Quoth the Caliph, " By Allah, O 
Ja'afar, this is not of my choice ; but my heart is caught in the 
snare of love and wot I not what is to be done ! " The Wazir 
Ja'afar replied, " O Commander of the Faithful, thou knowest 
how this girl Kut al-Kulub is become at thy disposal and of the 
number of thy servants, and that which hand possesseth soul 
coveteth not. Moreover, I will tell thee another thing which is 
that the highest boast of Kings and Princes is in hunting and the 
pursuit of sport and victory ; and if thou apply thyself to this, 
perchance it will divert thee from her, and it may be thou wilt 
forget her." Rejoined the Caliph, " Thou sayest well, O Ja'afar ; 
come let us go a-hunting forthright, without stay or delay." So 
soon as Friday prayers were prayed, they left the mosque and at 

once mounting their she-mules rode forth to the chase. And 

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

Nofo fojcn ft foas tfje ISigfit ^un^fretr antr ^JfttB^cbcntft 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Caliph Harun al-Rashid and the Wazir Ja'afar would go forth 
a-hunting and a-chasing, they mounted two she-mules and fared 
on into the open country, occupied with talk, and their attendants 
outwent them. Presently the heat became overhot and Al-Rashid 
said to his Wazir, " O Ja'afar, I am sore athirst." Then he looked 
around and espying a figure in the distance on a high mound, 
asked Ja'afar, " Seest thou what I see ? " Answered the Wazir, 
" Yes, O Commander of the Faithful ; I see a dim figure on a high 
mound ; belike he is the keeper of a garden or of a cucumber-plot, 
and in whatso wise water will not be lacking in his neighbour- 
hood ;" presently adding, " I will go to him and fetch thee some." 
But Al-Rashid said, " My mule is swifter than thy mule ; so do 
thou abide here, on account of the troops, whilst I go myself to 
him and get of 'this person * drink and return." So saying, he 
urged his she-mule, which started off like racing wind or railing- 
water and, in the twinkling of an eye, made the mound, where he 

1 Arab. " Shakhs,' ; a word which has travelled as far as Hinuostan. 

160 A If Laylak wa Laylah* 

found the figure he had seen to be none other than Khalifah the 
Fisherman, naked and wrapped in the net ; and indeed he s was 
horrible to behold, as to and fro he rolled with eyes for very red- 
ness like cresset-gleam and dusty hair in dishevelled trim, as he 
were an Ifrit or a lion grim. Al-Rashid saluted him and he 
returned his salutation ; but he was wroth and fires might have 
been lit at his breath. Quoth the Caliph, " O man, hast thou any 
water ? "; and quoth Khalifah, " Ho thou, art thou blind, or Jinn- 
mad ? Get thee to the river Tigris, for 'tis behind this mound." 
So Al-Rashid went around the mound and going down to the 
river, drank and watered his mule : then without a moment's delay 
he returned to Khalifah and said to him, " What aileth thee, O 
man, to stand here, and what is thy calling ? " The Fisherman 
cried, " This is a stranger and sillier question than that about the 
water ! Seest thou not the gear of my craft on my shoulder ? " 
Said the Caliph, " Belike thou art a fisherman ? "; and he replied, 
" Yes." Asked Al-Rashid, " Where is thy gaberdine, 1 and where 
are thy waistcloth and girdle and where be the rest of thy 
raiment ? " Now these were the very things which had been taken 
from Khalifah, like for like ; so, when he heard the Caliph name 
them, he got into his head that it was he who had stolen his clothes 
from the river-bank and coming down from the top of the mound, 
swiftlier than the blinding leven, laid hold of the mule's bridle, 
saying, " Harkye, man, bring me back my things and leave jesting 
and joking." Al-Rashid replied, " By Allah, I have not seen thy 
clothes, nor know aught of them ! " Now the Caliph had large 
cheeks and a small mouth ; 2 so Khalifah said to him, " Belike, thou 
art by trade a singer or a piper on pipes ? But bring me back my 
clothes fairly and without more ado, or I will bash thee with this 
my staff till thou bepiss thyself and befoul thy clothes." When 
Al-Rashid saw the staff in the Fisherman's hand and that he had 
the vantage of him, he said to himself, " By Allah, I cannot brook 
from this mad beggar half a blow of that staff! " Now he had on 
a satin gown ; so he pulled it off and gave it to Khalifah, saying, 
" O man, take this in place of thy clothes." The Fisherman took it 
and turned it about and said, " My clothes are worth ten of this 

1 Arab. " Shamlah " described in dictionaries, as a cloak covering the whole body. 
For Hizam (girdle) the Bresl. Edit, reads "Hiram" vulg. "Ehrdm," the waist-cloth, 
the Pilgrim's attire. 

2 He is described by Al-Siyuti (p. 309) as " very /air, tall, handsome and of capti- 
vating appearance." 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 161 

painted 'Aba-cloak ;" and rejoined the Caliph, " Put it on till I 
bring thee thy gear." So Khalifah donned the gown, but finding 
it too long for him, took a knife he had with him, tied to the 
handle of his basket, 1 and cut off nigh a third of the skirt, so that 
it fell only beneath his knees. Then he turned to Al-Rashid and 
said to him., Allah upon thee, O piper, tell me what wage thou 
gettest every month from thy master, for thy craft of piping/* 
Replied the Caliph, " My wage is ten dinars a month," and Khalifah 
continued, " By Allah, my poor fellow, thou makest me sorry for 
thee ! Why, I make thy ten dinars every day ! Hast thou a mind 
to take service with me and I will teach thee the art of fishing and 
share my gain with thee ? So shalt thou make five dinars a day 
and be my slavey and I will protect thee against thy master with 
this staff." Quoth Al-Rashid, " I will well "; and quoth Khalifah, 
" Then get off thy she-ass and tie her up, so she may serve us to 
carry the fish hereafter, and come hither, that I may teach thee to 
fish forthright." So Al-Rashid alighted and hobbling his mule, 
tucked his skirts into his girdle, and Khalifah said to him, " O 
piper, lay hold of the net thus and put it over thy fore-arm thus 
and cast it into the Tigris thus." Accordingly, the Caliph took 
heart of grace and, doing as the fisherman showed him, threw the 
net and pulled at it, but could not draw it up. So Khalifah came 
to his aid and tugged at it with him ; but the two together could 
not hale it up : whereupon said the fisherman, " O piper of ill-omen, 
for the first time I took thy gown in place of my clothes ; but this 
second time I will have thine ass and will beat thee to boot, till 
thou bepiss and beskite thyself! An I find my net torn." Quoth 
Al-Rashid, " Let the twain of us pull at once." So they both 
pulled together and succeeded with difficulty in hauling that net 
ashore, when they found it full of fish of all Vinds and colours ; 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say 

her permitted say. 

fofjen ft teas t&e lEigJt f^un&tclr an& JirtB=tt'86tJ 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Khalifah the Fisherman and the Caliph hauled that net ashore, 

1 Arab. " Uzn al-Kuffah" lit. "Ear of the basket," which vulgar Egyptian pro- 
nounce " Wizn," so " Wajh " (face) becomes " Wishsh " and so forth. 


1 6*2 A If Lay I ah wa Laylah. 

they found it full of fish of all kinds ; and Khalifah said to 
Al-Rashid, " By Allah, O piper, thou art foul of favour but, an 
thou apply thyself to fishing, thou wilt make a mighty fine fisher- 
man. But now 'twere best thou bestraddle thine ass and make for 
the market and fetch me a pair of frails, 1 and I will look after the 
fish till thou return, when I and thou will load it on thine ass's 
back. I have scales and weights and all we want, so we can take 
them with us and thou wilt have nothing to do but to hold the 
scales and pouch the price ; for here we have fish worth twenty 
dinars. So be fast with the frails and loiter not." Answered the 
Caliph, " I hear and obey " and mounting, left him with his fish, 
and spurred his mule, in high good humour, and ceased not 
laughing over his adventure with the Fisherman, till he came up 
to Ja'afar, who said to him, " O Commander of the Faithful, 
belike, when thou wentest down to drink, thou foundest a pleasant 
flower-garden and enteredst and tookest thy pleasure therein 
alone ? " At this Al-Rashid fell a laughing again and all the 
Barmecides rose and kissed the ground before him, saying, " O 
Commander of the Faithful, Allah make joy to endure for thee 
and do away annoy from thee ! What was the cause of thy delay- 
ing when thou faredst to drink and what hath befallen thee ? " 
Quoth the Caliph, " Verily, a right wondrous tale and a joyous 
adventure and a wondrous hath befallen me." And he repeated 
to them what had passed between himself and the Fisherman and 
his words, " Thou stolest my clothes ! " and how he had given him 
his gown and how he had cut off a part of it, finding it too long 
for him. Said Ja'afar, " By Allah, O Commander of the Faithful, 
I had it in mind to beg the gown of thee : but now I will go 
straight to the Fisherman and buy it of him." The Caliph replied, 
" By Allah, he hath cut off a third part of the skirt and spoilt it ! 
But, O Ja'afar, I am tired with fishing in the river, for I have 
caught great store of fish which I left on the bank with my master 
Khalifah, and he is watching them and waiting for me to return to 
him with a couple of frails and a matchet. 2 Then we are to go, I 

1 Arab. Bi-fardayn = with two baskets, lit. " two singles," but the context shows what 
is meant. English Frail and French Fraile are from Arab. " Farsalah " a parcel (now 
esp. of coffee-beans) evidently derived from the low Lat. " Parcella " (Du Cange, Parts, 
Firmin Didot, 1845). Compare "ream," vol.v. 109. 

2 Arab. Satiir, a kind of chopper which here would be used for the purpose of splitting 
and cleaning and scaling the fish. 

Khalifak the Fisherman of Baghdad. 163 

and he, to the market and sell the fish and share the price.* 
Ja'afar rejoined, "O Commander of the Faithful, I will bring you 
a purchaser for your fish." And Al-Rashid retorted, "O Ja'afar, 
by the virtue of my holy forefathers, whoso bringeth me one of the 
fish that are before Khalifah, who taught me angling, I will give 
him for it a gold dinar ! " So the crier proclaimed among the 
troops that they should go forth and buy fish for the Caliph, and 
they all arose and made for the river-side. Now, while Khalifah 
was expecting the Caliph's return with the two frails, behold, the 
Mamelukes swooped down upon him like vultures and took the 
fish and wrapped them in gold-embroidered kerchiefs, beating one 
another in their eagerness to get at the Fisherman. Whereupon 
quoth Khalifah, " Doubtless these are of the fish of Paradise l ! " 
and hending two fish in right hand and left, plunged into the water 
up to his neck and fell assaying, " O Allah, by the virtue of these 
fish, let Thy servant the piper, my partner, come to me at this 
very moment." And suddenly up to him came a black slave which 
was the chief of the Caliph's negro eunuchs. He had tarried 
behind the rest, by reason of his horse having stopped to make 
water by the way, and finding that naught remained of the fish , 
little or much, looked right and left, till he espied Khalifah stand- 
ing in the stream, with a fish in either hand, and said to him, 
" Come hither, O Fisherman ! " But Khalifah replied, " Begone 
and none of your impudence 2 ! " So the eunuch went up to him 
and said, " Give me the fish and I will pay thee their price." 
Replied the Fisherman, " Art thou little of wit ? I will not sell 
them." Therewith the eunuch drew his mace upon him, and 
Khalifah cried out, saying, " Strike not, O loon ! Better largesse 
than the mace. 8 " So saying, he threw the two fishes to the 
eunuch, who took them and laid them in his kerchief. Then he 
put hand in pouch, but found not a single dirham and said to 
Khalifah, " O Fisherman, verily thou art out of luck for, by Allah, 
I have not a silver about me ! But come to-morrow to the Palace 
of the Caliphate and ask for the eunuch Sandal ; whereupon the 
castrates will direct thee to me and by coming thither thou shalt 
get what falleth to thy lot and therewith wend thy ways." Quoth 
Khalifah, " Indeed, this is a blessed day and its blessedness was 

1 And, consequently, that the prayer he is about to make will find ready acceptance. 

2 Arab. " Ruh bild Fuztil" (lit. excess, exceeding) still a popular phrase. 
8 *>. better give the fish than have my head broken. 

164 A If Laylak wa Laylak. 

manifest from the first of it ! " Then he shouldered his net and 
returned to Baghdad ; and as he passed through the streets, the 
folk saw the Caliph's gown on him and stared at him till he came 
to the gate of his quarter, by which was the shop of the Caliph's 
tailor. When the man saw him wearing a dress of the apparel of 
the Caliph, worth a thousand dinars, he said to him, " O Khalifah, 
whence hadst thou that gown ? " Replied the Fisherman, " What 
aileth thee to be impudent ? I had it of one whom I taught to fish 
and who is become my apprentice. I forgave him the cutting off 
of his hand 2 for that he stole my clothes and gave me this cape in 
their place." So the tailor knew that the Caliph had come upon 
him as he was fishing and jested with him and given him the 

g 0wn j And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

Note foftftt it foas t&e <&i$t f^untrreU an& 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Caliph came upon Khalifah the Fisherman and gave him his own 
gown in jest wherewith the man fared home. Such was his case ; 
but as regards Harun al-Rashid, he had gone out a-hunting and 
a-fishing only to divert his thoughts from the damsel, Kut al- 
Kulub. But when Zubaydah heard of her and of the Caliph's 
devotion to her, the Lady was fired with the jealousy which the 
more especially fireth women, so that she refused meat and drink 
and rejected the delights of sleep and awaited the Caliph's going 
forth on a journey or what not, that she might set a snare for the 
damsel. So when she learnt that he was gone hunting and fishing, 
she bade her women furnish the Palace fairly and decorate it 
splendidly and serve up viands and confections ; and amongst the 
rest she made a China dish of the daintiest sweetmeats that can be 
made wherein she had put Bhang. Then she ordered one of her 
eunuchs go to the damsel Kut al-Kulub and bid her to the 
banquet, saying, " The Lady Zubaydah bint Al-Kasim, the wife 
of the Commander of the Faithful, hath drunken medicine to-day 
and, having heard tell of the sweetness of thy singing, longeth to 

1 Said ironice, a favourite figure of speech with the Fellah : the day began badly and 
threatened to end unluckily. 
* The penalty of Theft. See vol. i. 274. 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 165 

divert herself with somewhat of thine art." Kut al-Kulub replied, 
" Hearing and obedience are due to Allah and the Lady Zubay- 
dah," and rose without stay or delay, unknowing what was hidden 
for her in the Secret Purpose. Then she took with her what 
instruments she needed and, accompanying the eunuch, ceased 
not faring till she stood in the presence of the Princess. When 
she entered she kissed ground before her again and again, then 
rising to her feet, said, " Peace be on the Lady of the exalted seat 
and the presence whereto none may avail, daughter of the house 
Abbas/ and scion of the Prophet's family ! May Allah fulfil thee 
of peace and prosperity in the days and the years x ! " Then she 
stood with the rest of the women and eunuchs, and presently the 
Lady Zubaydah raised her eyes and considered her beauty and 
loveliness. She saw a damsel with cheeks smooth as rose and 
breasts like granado, a face moon-bright, a brow flower-white 
and great eyes black as night ; her eyelids were langour-dight 
and her face beamed with light, as if the sun from her forehead 
arose and the murks of the night from the locks of her brow ; 
and the fragrance of musk from her breath strayed and flowers 
bloomed in her lovely face inlaid ; the moon beamed from her 
forehead and in her slender shape the branches swayed. She 
was like the full moon shining in the nightly shade; her eyes 
wantoned, her eyebrows were like a bow arched and her lips of 
coral moulded. Her beauty amazed all who espied her and her 
glances amated all who eyed her. Glory be to Him who formed 
her and fashioned her and perfected her ! Brief, she was even as 
saith the poet of one who favoured her : 

When she's incensed thou seest folk lie slain, o And when she's pleased, their 

souls are quick again : 
Her eyne are armed with glances magical o Wherewith she kills and 

quickens as she's fain. 
The Worlds she leadeth captive with her eyes o As tho' the Worlds were all 

her slavish train. 

Quoth the Lady Zubaydah, " Well come, and welcome and fair 
cheer to thee, O Kut al-Kulub ! Sit and divert us with thine 
art and the goodliness of thine accomplishments." Quoth the 
damsel, " I hear and I obey "; and, putting out her hand, took 

This is the model of a courtly compliment ; and it would still be admired wherever 
Arabs are not " frank ified." 

1 66 A If Laylah wa Lay la ft. % 

the tambourine, whereof one of its praisers speaketh in the 
following verses : 

Ho thou o' the tabret, my heart takes flight o And love-smit cries while thy 

fingers smite ! 
Thou takest naught but a wounded heart, o The while for acceptance longs 

the wight : 
So say thou word or heavy or light ; o Play whate'er thou please it will 

charm the sprite. 
Sot's bonne, unveil thy cheek, ma belle o Rise, deftly dance and all hearts 


Then she smote the tambourine briskly and so sang thereto, that 
she stopped the birds in the sky and the place danced with them 
blithely ; after which she laid down the tambourine and took the 
pipe * whereof it is said : 

She hath eyes whose babes wi' their fingers sign o To sweet tunes without a 
discordant line. 

And as the poet also said in this couplet : 

And, when she announceth the will to sing, o For Union-joy 'tis a time 
divine ! 

Then she laid down the pipe, after she had charmed therewith 
all who were present, and took up the lute, whereof saith the 
poet : 

How many a blooming bough in glee-girl's hand is fain o As lute to 'witch 

great souls by charm of cunning strain ! 
She sweeps tormenting lute strings by her artful touch o Wi' finger-tips that 

surely chain with endless chain. 

Then she tightened its pegs and tuned its strings and laying it 
in her lap, bended over it as mother bendeth over child ; and 
it seemed as it were of her and her lute that the poet spoke in 
these couplets: 

Sweetly discourses she on Persian string o And Unintelligence makes 

And teaches she that Love's a murtherer, o Who oft the reasoning Mos- 
lem hath unmann'd. 

1 Arab. " Shibabah ; " Lane makes it a kind of reed-flageolet. 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 167 

A maid, by Allah, in whose palm a thing o Of painted wood like mouth 

can speech command. 
With lute she stauncheth flow of Love ; and so o Stops flow of blood the 

cunning leach's hand. 

Then she preluded in fourteen different modes and sang to the 
lute an entire piece, so as to confound the gazers and delight 
her hearers. After which she recited these two couplets : 

The coming unto thee is blest : * Therein new joys for aye attend : 
Its blisses are continuous o Its blessings never, never end. 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

fo&m ft foas tjc i$t f^utrtttefc anft Jportietj) Wfg&t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the maiden, 
Kut al-Kulub, after singing these songs and sweeping the strings 
in presence of the Lady Zubaydah, rose and exhibited tricks of 
sleight of hand and legerdemain and all manner pleasing arts, till 
the Princess came near to fall in love with her and said to herself, 
" Verily, my cousin Al-Rashid is not to blame for loving her ! " 
Then the damsel kissed ground before Zubaydah and sat down, 
whereupon they set food before her. Presently they brought her 
the drugged dish of sweetmeats and she ate thereof ; and hardly 
had it settled in her stomach when her head fell backward and 
she sank on the ground sleeping. With this, the Lady said to 
her women, " Carry her up to one of the chambers, till I summon 
her "; and they replied, " We hear and we obey." Then said she 
to one of her eunuchs, " Fashion me a chest and bring it hitherto 
to me ! ", and shortly afterwards she bade make the semblance of 
a tomb and spread the report that Kut al-Kulub had choked and 
died, threatening her familiars that she would smite the neck of 
whoever should say, " She is alive." Now, behold, the Caliph 
suddenly returned from the chase, and the first enquiry he made 
was for the damsel. So there came to him one of his eunuchs, 
whom the Lady Zubaydah had charged to declare she was dead, 
if the Caliph should ask for her and, kissing ground before him, 
said, " May thy head live, O my lord ! Be certified that Kut 
al-Kulub choked in eating and is dead." Whereupon cried Al- 
Rashid, " God never gladden thee with good news, O thou bad 

1 68 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

slave ! " and entered the Palace, where he heard of her death from 
every one and asked, " Where is her tomb ? " So they brought 
him to the sepulchre and shov/ed him the pretended tomb, saying, 
'* This is her burial-place." When he saw it, he cried out and 
wept and embraced it, quoting these two couplets 1 : - 

By Allah, O tomb, have her beauties ceased and disappeared from sight And 
is the countenance changed and wan, that shone so wonder-bright ? 

O tomb, O tomb, thou art neither heaven nor garden, verily : How comes it 
then that swaying branch and moon in thee unite ? 

The Caliph, weeping sore for her, abode by the tomb a full hour, 
after which he arose and went away, in the utmost distress and 
the deepest melancholy. So the Lady Zubaydah saw that her 
plot had succeeded and forthright sent for the eunuch and said, 
" Hither with the chest ! " He set it before her when she bade 
bring the damsel and locking her up therein, said to the 
Eunuch, " Take all pains to sell this chest and make it a condition 
with the purchaser that he buy it locked ; then give alms with its 
price. 2 " So he took it and went forth, to do her bidding. Thus 
fared it with these ; but as for Khalifah the Fisherman, when 
morning morrowed and shone with its light and sheen, he said 
to himself, " I cannot do aught better to-day than visit the Eunuch 
who bought the fish of me, for he appointed me to come to him 
in the Palace of the Caliphate." So he went forth of his lodging, 
intending for the palace, and when he came thither, he found 
Mamelukes, negro-slaves and eunuchs standing and sitting; and 
looking at them, behold, seated amongst them was the Eunuch 
who had taken the fish of him, with the white slaves waiting on 
him. Presently, one of the Mameluke-lads called out to him ; 
whereupon the Eunuch turned to see who he was an lo ! it was the 
Fisherman. Now when Khalifah was ware that he saw him and 
recognised him, he said to him, " I have not failed thee, O my 
little Tulip 3 ! On this wise are men of their word." Hearing his 

1 These lines occur in vol. i, 76 : I quote Mr. Payne. 

* The instinctive way of juggling with Heaven like our sanding the sugar and going 
lo church. 

3 Arab. "Yd Shukayr," from Shakar, being red (clay etc.) : Shukar is an anemone or 
a tulip and Shukayr is its dim. form. Lane's Shaykh made it a dim. of ' Ashkar " =. 
tawny, ruddy (of complexion), so the former writes, " O Shukeyr." Mr. Payne prefers 
" O Rosy cheeks." 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 

address Sandal the Eunuch laughed and replied, " By Allah, thou 
art right, O Fisherman/' and put his hand to his pouch, to give 
him somewhat ; but at that moment there arose a great clamour. 
So he raised his head to see what was to do and finding that it 
was the Wazir Ja'afar the Barmecide coming forth from the 
Caliph's presence, he rose to him and forewent him, and they 
walked about, conversing for a longsome time. Khalifah the 
Fisherman waited awhile; then, growing weary of standing and 
finding that the Eunuch took no heed of him, he set himself in 
his way and beckoned to him from afar, saying, " O my lord Tulip, 
give me my due and let me go ! " The Eunuch heard him, but 
was ashamed to answer him because of the Minister's presence ; 
so he went on talking with Ja'afar and took no notice whatever 
of the Fisherman. Whereupon quoth Khalifah, " O Slow o' Pay ! 2 
May Allah put to shame all churls and all who take folks's goods 
and are niggardly with them ! I put myself under thy protection, 
O my lord Bran-belly, 3 to give me my due and let me go ! " The 
Eunuch heard him, but was ashamed to answer him before Ja'afar ; 
and the Minister saw the Fisherman beckoning and talking to him, 
though he knew not what he was saying ; so he said to Sandal, 
misliking his behaviour, " O Eunuch, what would yonder beggar 
with thee ? " Sandal replied, " Dost thou not know him, O my 
lord the Wazir ? "; and Ja'afar answered, " By Allah, I know him 
not ! How should I know a man I have never seen but at this 
moment ? " Rejoined the Eunuch, " O my lord, this is the Fisher- 
man whose fish we seized on the banks of the Tigris. I came too 
late to get any and was ashamed to return to the Prince of True 
Believers, empty-handed, when all the Mamelukes had some. 
Presently I espied the Fisherman standing in mid-stream, calling 
on Allah, with four fishes in his hands, and said to him : Give 
me what thou hast there and take their worth. He handed me 
the fish and I put my hand into my pocket, purposing to gift him 
with somewhat, but found naught therein and said : Come to me 
in the Palace, and I will give thee wherewithal to aid thee in thy 

1 For " Sandal," see vol. ii. 50. Sandalf properly means an Eunuch clean nw/, but 
here Sandal is a P.'N. = Sandal-wood. 

2 Arab. " Ya mumitil," one who retards payment. 

3 Arab. " Kirsh aNNukhal" = Guts of bran, a term little fitted for the handsome 
and distinguished Persian. But Khalifah is a Fellah -grazioso of normal assurance shrewd 
withal j he blunders like an Irishman of the last generation and he uses the first epithet 
that comes to bis tongue. See Night dcccxliii. for the sudden change in Khalifah. 

170 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

poverty. So he came to me to-day and I was putting hand to 
pouch, that I might give him somewhat, when thou earnest forth 
and I rose to wait on thee and was diverted with thee from him, 
till he grew tired of waiting ; and this is the whole story, how he 

cometh to be standing here." And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

fo&m ft foas t&e CEfgfu l^untoU anto JFottg=first NigSt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Sandal the Eunuch related to Ja'afar the Barmecide the tale of 
Khalifah the Fisherman, ending with, " This is the whole story and 
how he cometh to be standing here ! " the Wazir, hearing this 
account, smiled and said, " O Eunuch, how is it that this Fisher- 
man cometh in his hour of need and thou satisfiest him not ? Dost 
thou not know him, O Chief of the Eunuchs ? " " No," answered 
Sandal and Ja'afar said, " This is the Master of the Commander of 
the Faithful, and his partner and our lord the Caliph hath arisen this 
morning, strait of breast, heavy of heart and troubled in thought, 
nor is there aught will broaden his breast save this fisherman. So 
let him not go, till I crave the Caliph's pleasure concerning him 
and bring him before him ; perchance Allah will relieve him of 
his oppression and console him for the loss of Kut al-Kulub, by 
means of the Fisherman's presence, and he will give him where- 
withal to better himself; and thou wilt be the cause of this." 
Replied Sandal, " O my lord, do as thou wilt and may Allah 
Almighty long continue thee a pillar of the dynasty of the 
Commander of the Faithful, whose shadow Allah perpetuate 1 and 
prosper it, root and branch ! " Then the Wazir Ja'afar rose up 
and went in to the Caliph and Sandal ordered the Mamelukes not 
to leave the Fisherman ; whereupon Khalifah cried, " How goodly 
is thy bounty, O Tulip ! The seeker is become the soiight. I 
come to seek my due, and they imprison me for debts in arrears 2 !" 
When Ja'afar came in to the presence of the Caliph, he found 

1 So the Persian " May your shadow never be less " means, I have said, the shadow 
which you throw over your servant. Shade, cold water and fresh breezes are the joys ol 
life in arid Arabia. 

2 When a Fellah demanded money due to him by the Government of Egypt, he was 
at once imprisoned for arrears of taxes and thus prevented from being troublesome. I 
tm told that matters have improved under English rule, but I " doubt the fact. n 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 171 

him sitting with his head bowed earthwards, breast straitened and 
mind melancholy, humming the verses of the poet : 

My blamers instant bid that I for her become consoled ; o But I, what can I 

do, whose heart declines to be controlled ? 
And how can I in patience bear the loss of lovely maid, o When fails me 

patience for a love that holds with firmest hold ! 
Ne'er I'll forget her nor the bowl that 'twixt us both went round o Ar\<~i wine of 

glances maddened me with drunkenness ensoul'd. 

Whenas Ja'afar stood in the presence, he said, " Peace be upon 
thee, O Commander of the Faithful, Defender of the honour of the 
Faith and descendant of the uncle of the Prince of the Apostles, 
Allah assain him and save him and his family one and all ! " The 
Caliph raised his head and answered, " And on thee be peace and 
the mercy of Allah and His blessings ! " Quoth Ja'afar ; " With 
leave of the Prince of True Believers, his servant would speak 
without restraint." Asked the Caliph, " And when was restraint 
put upon thee in speech and thou the Prince of Wazirs ? Say 
what thou wilt." Answered Ja'afar, " When I went out, O my 
lord, from before thee, intending for my house, I saw standing at 
the door thy master and teacher and partner, Khalifah the Fisher- 
man, who was aggrieved at thee and complained of thee saying : 
Glory be to God ! I taught him to fish and he went away to fetch 
me a pair of frails, but never came back : and this is not the way 
of a good partner or of a good apprentice. So, if thou hast a 
mind to partnership, well and good ; and if not, tell him, that he 
may take to partner another." Now when the Caliph heard these 
words he smiled and his straitness of breast was done away with 
and he said, " My life on thee, is this the truth thou sayest, that 
the Fisherman standeth at the door ? " and Ja'afar replied, " By 
thy life, O Commander of the Faithful, he standeth at the door." 
Quoth the Caliph, " O Ja'afar, by Allah, I will assuredly do my 
best to give him his due ! If Allah at my hands send him misery, 
he shall have it ; and if prosperity he shall have it." Then he took 
a piece of paper and cutting it in pieces, said to the Wazir, " O 
Ja'afar, write down with thine own hand twenty sums of money, 
from one dinar to a thousand, and the names of all kinds of offices 
and dignities from the least appointment to the Caliphate ; also 
twenty kinds of punishment from the lightest beating to death. 1 " 

1 This freak is of course not historical. The tale-teller introduces it to enhance the 
grandeur and majesty of Harun al-Rashid, and the vulgar would regard it as a right 
kingly diversion. Westerns only wonder that such things could be. 

172 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

" I hear and I obey, O Commander of the Faithful," answered 
Ja'afar and did as he was bidden. Then said the Caliph, "O 
Ja'afar, I swear by my holy forefathers and by my kinship to 
Hamzah 1 and Akfl, 2 that I mean to summon the fisherman and 
bid him take one of these papers, whose contents none knoweth 
save thou and I ; and whatsoever is written in the paper which 
he shall choose, I will give it to him ; though it be the Caliphate 
I will divest myself thereof and invest him therewith and grudge 
it not to him ; and, on the other hand, if there be written 
therein hanging or mutilation or death, I will execute it upon 
him. Now go and fetch him to me." When Ja'afar heard this, 
he said to himself, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might 
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! It may be somewhat 
will fall to this poor wretch's lot that will bring about his 
destruction, and I shall be the cause. But the Caliph hath sworn ; 
so nothing remains now but to bring him in, and naught will 
happen save whatso Allah willeth." Accordingly he went out to 
Khalifah the Fisherman and laid hold of his hand, to carry him 
in to the Caliph, whereupon his reason fled and he said in himself, 
" What a stupid I was to come after yonder ill-omened slave, 
Tulip, whereby he hath brought me in company with Bran-belly!" 
Ja'afar fared on with him, with Mamelukes before and behind, 
whilst he said, " Doth not arrest suffice, but these must go 
behind and before me, to hinder my making off ? " till they had 
traversed seven vestibules, when the Wazir said to him, " Mark 
my words, O Fisherman ! Thou standest before the Commander 
Df the Faithful and Defender of the Faith ! " Then he raised the 
great curtain and Khalifah's eyes fell on the Caliph, who was 
seated on his couch, with the Lords of the realm standing in 
attendance upon him. As soon as he knew him, he went up to 
him and said, " Well come, and welcome to thee, O piper ! Twas 
not right of thee to make thyself a Fisherman and go away, leaving 
me sitting to guard the fish, and never to return ! For, before I 
was aware, there came up Mamelukes on beasts of all manner 
colours, and snatched away the fish from me, I standing alone, 
and this was all of thy fault ; for, hadst thou returned with the 
frails forthright, we had sold an hundred dinars' worth of fish. 

1 Uncle of the Prophet : for his death see Pilgrimage ii. 248. 

2 First cousin of the Prophet, son of Abii Talib, a brother of Al- Abbas from whonv 
the Abbasides claimed descent. 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. \ 73 

And now I come to seek my due, and they have, arrested me. 
But thou, who hath imprisoned thee also in this place ? " The 
Caliph smiled and raising a corner of the curtain, put forth his 
head and said to the Fisherman, " Come hither and take thee one 
of these papers." Quoth Khalifah the Fisherman, Yesterday 
thou wast a fisherman, and to-day thou hast become an astrologer ; 
birt the more trades a man hath, the poorer he waxeth." There- 
upon Ja'afar, said, " Take the paper at once, and do as the Com- 
mander of the Faithful biddeth thee without prating." So he 
came forward and put forth his hand saying, " Far be it from me 
that this piper should ever again be my knave and fish with me ! " 
Then taking the paper he handed it to the Caliph, saying, " O 
piper, what hath come out for me therein ? Hide naught thereof." 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

Nofo fofrn ft foas tfje <2Bt'j$t f^un&reii an* JFortg*secon& 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Khalifah the Fisherman took up one of the papers and handed it 
to the Caliph he said, " O piper, what have come out to me therein ? 
Hide naught thereof." So Al-Rashid received it and passed it on 
to Ja'afar and said to him, " Read what Is therein." He looked 
at it and said, " There is no Majesty there is no Might save in 
Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " Said the Caliph, " Good news, 1 
O Ja'afar ? What seest thou therein ? " Answered the Wazir, " O 
Commander of the Faithful, there came up from the paper : Let 
the Fisherman receive an hundred blows with a stick." So the 
Caliph commanded to beat the Fisherman and they gave him an 
hundred sticks : after which he rose, saying, " Allah damn this, 
O Bran-belly ! Are jail and sticks part of the game ? " Then 
said Ja'afar, " O Commander of the Faithful, this poor devil is 
come to the river, and how shall he go away thirsting ? We hope 
that among the alms-deeds of the Commander of the Faithful, he 
may have leave to take another paper, so haply somewhat may 
come out wherewithal he may succour his poverty." Said the 
Caliph, " By Allah, O Ja'afar, if he take another paper and death 
be written therein, I will assuredly kill him, and thou wilt be the 

1 i.e. I hope thou hast or Allah grant thou have good tidings to tell me. 

1/4 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

cause." Answered Ja'afar, " If he die he will be at rest." But 
Khalifah the Fisherman said to him, " Allah ne'er gladden thee 
with good news ! Have I made Baghdad strait upon you, that 
ye seek to slay me ? " Quoth Ja'afar, " Take thee a paper and crave 
the blessing of Allah Almighty ! " So he put out his hand and 
taking a paper, gave it to Ja'afar, who read it and was silent. The 
Caliph asked, " Why art thou silent, O son of Yahya ? " ; and he 
answered, " O Commander of the Faithful, there hath come out 
on this paper : Naught shall be given to the Fisherman." Then 
said the Caliph, " His daily bread will not come from us : bid him 
fare forth from before our face." Quoth Ja'afar, " By the claims 
of thy pious forefathers, let him take a third paper, it may be it 
will bring him alimony ; " and quoth the Caliph, " Let him take 
one and no more." So he put out his hand and took a third 
paper, and behold, therein was written, " Let the Fisherman be 
given one dinar." Ja'afar cried to him, " I sought good fortune 
for thee, but Allah willed not to thee aught save this dinar." And 
Khalifah answered, " Verily, a dinar for every hundred sticks were 
rare good luck, may Allah not send thy body health!" The 
Caliph laughed at him and Ja'afar took him by the hand and 
led him out. When he reached the door, Sandal the eunuch saw 
him and said to him, ." Hither, O Fisherman ! Give us portion of 
that which the Commander of the Faithful hath bestowed on thee, 
whilst jesting with thee." Replied Khalifah, " By Allah, O Tulip, 
thou art right ! Wilt thou share with me, O nigger ? Indeed, I 
have eaten stick to the tune of an hundred blows and have 
earned one dinar, and thou art but too welcome to it." So saying, 
he threw him the dinar and went out, with the tears flowing down 
the plain of his cheeks. When the Eunuch saw him in this plight, 
he knew that he had spoken sooth and called to the lads to fetch 
him back : so they brought him back and Sandal, putting his 
hand to his pouch, pulled out a red purse, whence he emptied an 
hundred golden dinars into the Fisherman's hand, saying, " Take 
this gold in payment of thy fish and wend thy ways." So Khalifah, 
in high good humour, took the hundred ducats and the Caliph's 
one dinar and went his way, and forgot the beating. Now, 
as Allah willed it for the furthering of that which He had 
decreed, he passed by the mart of the hand-maidens and seeing 
there a mighty ring where many folks were forgathering, said to 
himself, "What is this crowd?" So he brake through the 
merchants and others, who said, " Make wide the way for Skipper 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 175 

Rapscallion,! and let him pass." Then he looked and behold, he 
saw a chest, with an eunuch seated thereon and an old man 
standing by it, and the Shaykh was crying, " O merchants, O 
men of money, who will hasten and hazard his coin for this chest 
of unknown contents from the Palace of the Lady Zubaydah bint 
al-Kasim, wife of the Commander of the Faithful ? How much 
shall I say for you, Allah bless you all ! " Quoth one of the 
merchants, " By Allah, this is a risk ! But I will say one word 
and no blame to me. Be it mine for twenty dinars." Quoth 
another, " Fifty," and they went on bidding, one against other, 
till the price reached an hundred ducats. Then said the 
crier, " Will any of you bid more, O merchants ? " And 
Khalifah the Fisherman said, " Be it mine for an hundred dinars 
and one dinar." The merchants, hearing these words, thought 
he was jesting and laughed at him, saying, " O eunuch 
sell it to Khalifah for an hundred dinars and one dinar ! " Quoth 
the eunuch, " By Allah, I will sell it to none but him ! Take it, 
O Fisherman, the Lord bless thee in it, and here with thy gold." 
So Khalifah pulled out the ducats and gave them to the eunuch, 
who, the bargain being duly made, delivered to him the chest and 
bestowed the price in alms on the spot ; after which he returned to 
the Palace and acquainted the Lady Zubaydah with what he had 
done, whereat she rejoiced. Meanwhile the Fisherman hove the 
chest on shoulder, but could not carry it on this wise for the excess 
of its weight ; so he lifted it on to his head and thus bore it to the 
quarter where he lived. Here he set it down and being weary, sat 
awhile, bemusing what had befallen him and saying in himself, 
" Would Heaven I knew what is in this chest ! " Then he opened 
the door of his lodging and haled the chest till he got it into his 
closet; after which he strove to open it, but failed. Quoth he, 
" What folly possessed me to buy this chest ? There is no help 
for it but to break it open and see what is herein." So he applied 
himself to the lock, but could not open it, and said to himself, " I 
will leave it till to-morrow." Then he would have stretched him 
out to sleep, but could find no room ; for the chest filled the whole 
closet. So he got upon it and lay him down ; but, when he had 
lain awhile, behold, he felt something stir under him whereat sleep 

1 Arab. " Nakhuzah Zulayt." The former, from the Persian Nakhoda* or ship- 
captain which is also used in a playful sense " a godless wight," one owning no (na) 
God (Khuda). Zulayt == a low fellow, blackguard. 

176 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

forsook him and his reason fled And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

JJoto fofjen ft foas tje lEtg&t f^untofc anU JForty--tfn'rtJ 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Khalifah the Fisherman lay down upon the chest and thus tarried 
awhile, behold, something stirred beneath him ; whereat he was 
affrighted and his reason fled. So he arose and cried, " Meseems 
there be Jinns in the chest. Praise to Allah who suffered me not 
to open it ! For, had I done so, they had risen against me in the 
dark and slain me, and from them would have befallen me naught 
of good." Then he lay down again when, lo ! the chest moved a 
second time, more than before ; whereupon he sprang to his feet 
and said, ' There it goes again : but this is terrible ! " And he 
hastened to look for the lamp, but could not find it and had not the 
wherewithal to buy another. So he went forth and cried out, " Ho, 
people of the quarter ! " Now the most part of the folk were 
asleep ; but they awoke at his crying and asked, " What aileth 
thee, O Khalifah ? " He answered, " Bring me a lamp, for the 
Jinn are upon me." They laughed at him and gave him a lamp, 
wherewith he returned to his closet. Then he smote the lock of 
the chest with a stone and broke it and opening it, saw a damsel 
like a Houri lying asleep within. Now she had been drugged with 
Bhang, but at that moment she threw up the stuff and awoke ; 
then she opened her eyes and feeling herself confined and cramped, 
moved. At this sight quoth Khalifah, " By Allah, O my lady, 
whence art thou ? " ; and quoth she. " Bring me Jessamine, and 
Narcissus. 1 " And Khalifah answered, " There is naught here but 
Henna-flowers. 2 " Thereupon she came to herself and considering 
Khalifah, said to him, " What art thou ? " presently adding, " And 
where am I ? " He said, " Thou art in my lodging." Asked she, 
" Am I not in the Palace of the Caliph Harun al-Rashid ? " And 
quoth he, " What manner of thing is Al-Rashid ? 3 O madwoman, 
Thou are naught but my slave-girl : I bought thee this very day 

1 Yasamin and Narjis, names of slave-girls or eunuchs. 

2 Arab. Tamar-hanna, the cheapest of dyes used ever by the poorest classes. Its smell, 
I have said, is that of newly mown hay, and is prized like that of the tea-rose. 

* The formula (meaning, " What has he to do here " ?) is by no means complimen- 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 177 

for an hundred dinars and one dinar, and brought thee home, and 
thou wast asleep in this here chest." When she heard these words 
she said to him, " What is thy name ? " Said he, " My name is 
Khalifah. How comes my star to have grown propitious, when I 
know my ascendant to have been otherwise ? " She laughed and 
cried, " Spare me this talk ! Hast thou anything to eat ? " Replied 
he, " No, by Allah, nor yet to drink ! I have not eaten these two 
days and am now in want of a morsel." She asked, " Hast thou 
no money ? " ; and he said, " Allah keep this chest which hath 
beggared me : I gave all I had for it and am become bankrupt." 
The damsel laughed at him and said, " Up with thee and seek of 
thy neighbours somewhat for me to eat, for I am hungry." So he 
went forth and cried out, " Ho, people of the quarter ! " Now the 
folk were asleep ; but they awoke and asked, " What aileth thee, O 
Khalifah ? " Answered he, " O my neighbours, I am hungry and 
have nothing to eat." So one came down to him with a bannock 
and another with broken meats and a third with a bittock of 
cheese and a fourth with a cucumber ; and so on till his lap was 
full and he returned to his closet and laid the whole between her 
hands, saying, " Eat." But she laughed at him, saying, " How 
can I eat of this, when I have not a mug of water whereof to 
drink ? I fear to choke with a mouthful and die." Quoth he, " I 
will fill thee this pitcher. 1 " So he took the pitcher and going 
forth, stood in the midst of the street and cried out, saying, " Ho, 
people of the quarter!" Quoth they, "What calamity is upon 
thee to-night, 2 O Khalifah ! " And he said, Ye gave me food 
and I ate ; but now I am a-thirst ; so give me to drink." There- 
upon one came down to him with a mug and another with an ewer 
and a third with a gugglet ; and he filled his pitcher and, bearing 
it back, said to the damsel, " O my lady, thou lackest nothing 
now." Answered she, " True, I want nothing more at this pre- 
sent." Quoth he, " Speak to me and say me thy story." And 
quoth she, " Fie upon thee ! An thou knowest me not, I will tell 
thee who I am. I am Kut al-Kulub, the Caliph's handmaiden, 
and the Lady Zubaydah was jealous of me ; so she drugged me 
with Bhang and set me in this chest," presently adding " Alham- 

1 Arab. " Jarrah " (pron. Garrah ") a " jar." See Lane (M. E. chapt. v.) who was 
deservedly reproached by Baron von Hammer for his superficial notices. The "Jarrah 
is of pottery, whereas the " Dist " is a large copper chauldron and the Khalkinah one of 
lesser size. 

2 i.e. What a bother thou art, etc. 


178 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

dolillah praised be God for that the matter hath come to easy 
issue and no worse ! But this befel me not save for thy good luck, 
for thou wilt certainly get of the Caliph Al-Rashid money galore, 
that will be the means of thine enrichment." Quoth Khalifah, " Is 
not Al-Rashid he in whose Palace I was imprisoned ? " " Yes/' 
answered she ; and he said, " By Allah, never saw I more niggardly 
wight than he, that piper little of good and wit ! He gave me an 
hundred blows with a stick yesterday and but one dinar, for all I 
taught him to fish and made him my partner ; but he played me 
false." Replied she, " Leave this unseemly talk, and open thine 
eyes and look thou bear thyself respectfully, whenas thou seest 
him after this, and thou shalt win thy wish." When he heard her 
words, it was if he had been asleep and awoke ; and Allah removed 
the veil from his judgment, because of his good luck, 1 and he 
answered, " On my head and eyes ! " Then said he to her, " Sleep, 
in the name of Allah. 2 " So she lay down and fell asleep (and he 
afar from her) till the morning, when she sought of him ink- 
case 3 and paper and, when they were brought wrote to Ibn 
al-Kirnas, the Caliph's friend, acquainting him with her case 
and how at the end of all that had befallen her she was with 
Khalifah the Fisherman, who had bought her. Then she gave 
him the scroll, saying, "Take this and hie thee to the jewel- 
market and ask for the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas the Jeweller and 
give him this paper and speak not." " I hear and I obey," 
answered Khalifah and going with the scroll to the market, 
enquired for the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas. They directed him thither 
and on entering it he saluted the merchant, who returned his salam 
with contempt and said to him, " What dost thou want ? " There- 
upon he gave him the letter and he took it, but read it not, thinking 
the Fisherman a beggar, who sought an alms of him, and said to 
one of his lads, " Give him half a dirham." Quoth Khalifah, " I 

1 This sudden transformation, which to us seems exaggerated and unnatural, appears in 
many Eastern stories and in the biographies of their distinguished men, especially stu- 
dents. A youth cannot master his lessons ; he sees a spider climbing a slippery wall and 
after repeated falls succeeding. Allah opens the eyes of his mind, his studies become 
easy to him, and he ends with being an Allamah (doctissimus). 

* Arab. " Bismillah, Naraf '!" here it is not a blessing but a simple invitation, " Now 
please go to sleep." 

3 The modern inkcase of the Universal East is a lineal descendant of the wooden 
palette with wiiting reeds. See an illustration of that of " Amasis, the good god and 
lord of the two lands" (circ. B.C. 1350) in British Museum (p. 41, "The Dwellers on 
the Nile," by E. A. Wallis Bridge, London, 56, Paternoster Row, 1885). 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 179 

want no alms ; read the paper." So Ibn al-Kirnas took the letter 
and read it ; and no sooner knew its import than he kissed it and 

laying it on his head And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of 

day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Wofo fojen ft foas t&e (Bt'gftt f^untoU an* Jfortg^fouttJ Nt 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Ibn al-Kirnas read the letter and knew its import, he kissed it and 
laid it on his head ; then he arose and said to Khalifah, " O my 
brother, where is thy house ? " Asked Khalifah, " What wantest 
thou with my house ? Wilt thou go thither and steal my slave- 
girl ? " Then Ibn al-Kirnas answered, " Not so : on the contrary, 
I will buy thee somewhat whereof you may eat, thou and she." 
So he said, " My house is in such a quarter ; " and the merchant 
rejoined, " Thou hast done well. May Allah not give thee health, 
O unlucky one 1 ! " Then he called out to two of his slaves and 
said to them, " Carry this man to the shop of Mohsin the Shrofif 
and say to him, " O Mohsin, give this man a thousand dinars of 
gold ; then bring him back to me in haste." So they carried him 
to the money-changer, who paid him the money, and returned 
with him to their master, whom they found mounted on a dapple 
she-mule worth a thousand dinars, with Mamelukes and pages 
about him, and by his side another mule like his own, saddled 
and bridled. Quoth the jeweller to Khalifah, " Bismillah, mount 
this mule." Replied he, " I won't ; for by Allah, I fear she throw* 
me ; " and quoth Ibn al-Kirnas, " By God, needs must thou 
mount." So he came up and mounting her, face to crupper,, 
caught hold of her tail and cried out ; whereupon she threw him 
on the ground and they laughed at him ; but he rose and said, 
" Did I not tell thee I would not mount this great jenny-ass ? " 
Thereupon Ibn al-Kirnas left him in the market and repairing to 
the Caliph, told him of the damsel ; after which he returned and 
removed her to his own house. Meanwhile Khalifah went home 
to look after the handmaid and found the people of the quarter 
foregathering and saying, " Verily, Khalifah is to-day in a terrible 

1 This is not ironical, as Lane and Payne suppose, but 9 specimen of inverted speech 
Thou art iu luck this time ! 

i8o A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

pickle ! I Would we knew whence he can have gotten this 
damsel ? " Quoth one of them, " He is a mad pimp : haply he 
found her lying on the road drunken, and carried her to his own 
house, and his absence showeth that he knoweth his offence/' 
As they were talking, behold, up came Khalifah, and they said to 
him, "What a plight is thine, O unhappy! knowest thou not 
what is come to thee ? " He replied, " No, by Allah ! " and they 
said, "But just now there came Mamelukes and took away thy 
slave-girl whom thou stolest, and sought for thee, but found thee 
not." Asked Khalifah, " And how came they to take my slave- 
girl ? " ; and quoth one, " Had he fallen in their way, they had 
slain him." But he, so far from heeding them, returned running 
to the shop of Ibn al-Kirnas, whom he met riding, and said to 
him, "By Allah, 'twas not right of thee to wheedle me and 
meanwhile send thy Mamelukes to take my slave-girl ! " Replied 
the jeweller, " O idiot, come with me and hold thy tongue." So 
he took him and carried him into a house handsomely builded, 
where he found the damsel seated on a couch of gold, with ten 
slave-girls like moons round her. Sighting her Ibn al-Kirnas 
kissed ground before her and she said, " What hast thou done 
with my new master, who bought me with all he owned ? " He 
replied, " O my lady, I gave him a thousand golden dinars; " and 
.related to her Khalifah's history from first to last, whereat she 
laughed and said, "Blame him not; for he is but a common 
wight. These other thousand dinars are a gift from me to him 
and Almighty Allah willing, he shall win of the Caliph what shall 
enrich him." As they were talking, there came an eunuch from 
the Commander of the Faithful, in quest of Kut al-Kulub for, 
when he knew that she was in the house of Ibn al-Kirnas, he 
could not endure the severance, but bade bring her forthwith. So 
she repaired to the Palace, taking Khalifah with her, and going 
into the presence, kissed ground before the Caliph, who rose to 
her, saluting and welcoming her, and asked her how she had fared 
with him who had bought her. She replied, " He is a man, 
Khalifah the Fisherman hight, and there he standeth at the door. 
He telleth me that he hath an account to settle with the Com- 
mander of the Faithful, by reason of a partnership between him 
and the Caliph in fishing." Asked Al-Rashid, "Is he at the 

1 Arab. Marhiib = terrible : Lane reads Mar' ub = terrified. But the former may also 
mean, threatened with something terrible* 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 

door ? " and she answered, " Yes." So the Caliph sent for him 
and he kissed ground before him and wished him endurance of 
glory and prosperity, The Caliph marvelled at him and laughed 
at him and said to him, "O Fisherman, wast thou in very deed my 
partner 1 yesterday ? " Khalifah took his meaning and heartening 
his heart and summoning spirit replied, " By Him who bestowed 
upon thee the succession to thy cousin, 2 I know her not in any- 
wise and have had no commerce with her save by way of sight 
and speech ! " Then he repeated to him all that had befallen 
him, since he last saw him,3 whereat the Caliph laughed and his 
breast broadened and he said to Khalifah, " Ask of us what thou 
wilt, O thou who bringest to owners their own ! " But he was 
silent ; so the Caliph ordered him fifty thousand dinars of gold 
and a costly dress of honour such as great Sovrans don, and a 
she-mule, and gave him black slaves of the Suddn to serve him, so 
that he became as he were one of the Kings of that time. The 
Caliph was rejoiced at the recovery of his favourite and knew that 

all this was the doing of his cousin-wife, the Lady Zubaydah, 

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

Jiofo fofien ft foa* tfc BC$t ^untrrelr an* ^ortg-fiftfi Jlfgfit, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Caliph 
rejoiced at the recovery of Kut al-Kulub and knew that all this 
was the doing of the Lady Zubaydah, his cousin-wife ; wherefore 
he was sore enraged against her and held aloof from her a great 
while, visiting her not neither inclining to pardon her. Whea she 
was certified of this, she was sore concerned for his wrath and 
her face, that was wont to be rosy, waxed pale and wan till, when 
her patience was exhausted, she sent a letter to her cousin, the 
Commander of the Faithful making her excuses to him and 
confessing her offences, and ending with these verses : 

I long once more the love that was between us to regain, o That I may quench 
the fire of grief and bate the force of bane. 

1 i.e. in Kut al-Kulttb. 

2 Lit. to the son of thy paternal uncle, i.e. Mohammed. 

3 In the text he tells the whole story beginning with the eunuch and the hundred 
dinars, the chest, etc ; but" of no avail is a twice-told tale," 

1 82 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

O lords of me, have ruth upon the stress my passion deals o Enough to roe is 

what you doled of sorrow and of pain. 
Tis life to me an deign you keep the troth you deigned to plight o Tis death 

to me an troth you break and fondest vows profane : 
Given I've sinned a sorry sin, yet grant me ruth, for naught o By Allah, 

sweeter is than friend who is of pardon fain. 

When the Lady Zubaydah's letter reached the Caliph, and reading 
it he saw that she confessed her offence and sent her excuses to 
him therefor, he said to himself, " Verily, all sins doth Allah 
forgive ; aye, Gracious, Merciful is He ! " 1 And he returned her 
an answer, expressing satisfaction and pardon and forgiveness for 
what was past, whereat she rejoiced greatly. As for Khalifah, 
the Fisherman, the Caliph assigned him a monthly solde of fifty 
dinars, and took him into especial favour, which would lead to 
rank and dignity, honour and worship. Then he kissed ground 
before the Commander of the Faithful and went forth with stately 
gait. When he came to the door, the Eunuch Sandal, who had 
given him the hundred dinars, saw him and knowing him, said to 
him, " O Fisherman, whence all this ? " So he told him all that 
had befallen him, first and last, whereat Sandal rejoiced, because 
he had been the cause of his enrichment, and said to him, " Wilt 
thou not give me largesse of this wealth which is now become 
thine ?" So Khalifah put hand to pouch and taking out a purse 
containing a thousand dinars, gave it to the Eunuch, who said, 
" Keep thy coins and Allah bless thee therein ! " and marvelled 
at his manliness and at the liberality of his soul, for all his late 
poverty. 2 Then leaving the eunuch, Khalifah mounted his she- 
mule and rode, with the slaves' hands on her crupper, till he came 
to his lodging at the Khan, whilst the folk stared at him in surprise 
for that which had betided him of advancement. When he alighted 
from his beast they accosted him and enquired the cause of his 
change from poverty to prosperity, and he told them all that had 
happened to him from incept to conclusion. Then he bought a 
fine mansion and laid out thereon much money, till it was perfect 
in all points. And he took up his abode therein and was wont to 
recite thereon these two couplets : 

1 Koran xxxix. 54. I have quoted Mr. Rodwell who affects the Arabic formula, 
omitting the normal copulatives. 

2 Easterns find it far easier to "get the chill of poverty out of their bones" than 

Khalifah the Fisherman of Baghdad. 183 

Behold a house that's like the Dwelling of Delight ; ! * Its aspect heals the 

sick and banishes despite. 
Its sojourn for the great and wise appointed is, * And Fortune fair therein 

abideth day and night. 

Then, as soon as he was settled in his house, he sought him in 
marriage the daughter of one of the chief men of the city, a 
handsome girl, and went in unto her and led a life of solace and 
satisfaction, joyaunce and enjoyment ; and he rose to passing 
affluence and exceeding prosperity. So, when he found himself 
in this fortunate condition, he offered up thanks to Allah (extolled 
and excelled be He !) for what He had bestowed on him of wealth 
exceeding and of favours ever succeeding, praising his Lord with 
the praise of the grateful and chanting the words of the poet : 

To Thee be praise, O Thou who showest unremitting grace ; o O Thou 

whose universal bounties high and low embrace ! 
To Thee be praise from me ! Then deign accept my praise for I o Accept Thy 

boons and gifts with grateful soul in every case. 

Thou hast with favours overwhelmed me, benefits and largesse o And gra- 
cious doles my memory ne'er ceaseth to retrace. 
All men from mighty main, Thy grace and goodness, drain and drink ; o And 

in their need Thou, only Thou, to them art refuge-place ! 
Thou heapest up, O Lord, Thy mercy-signs on mortal men ; o Thou par- 

donest man's every sin though he be high or base : 
So for the sake of him who came to teach mankind in ruth o Prophet, 

pure, truthful-worded scion of the noblest race ; 
Ever be Allah's blessing and His peace on him and all o His aids 2 and 

kin while pilgrims fare his noble tomb to face ! 
And on his helpmeets 3 one and all, Companions great and good, o Through time 

Eternal while the bird shall sing in shady wood J 

And thereafter Khalifah continued to pay frequent visits to the 
Caliph Harun al-Rashid, with whom he found acceptance and 

1 Arab. " Dar al-Na'im." Name of one of the seven stages of the Moslem heaven. 
This style of inscription dates from the days of the hieroglyphs. A papyrus describing 
the happy town of Raamses ends with these lines : 

Daily is there a supply of food : 
Within it gladness doth ever broad 

* * 

Prolonged, increased ; abides there Joy, etc. , etc, 

2 Arab. Ansar =: auxiliaries, the men of Al-Medinah (Pilgrimage ii. 130, etc.). 

? Arab. Ashab = the companions of the Prophet who may number 500 (Pilgrimage 
ii. Si, etc.). 

1 84 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

who ceased not to overwhelm him with boons and bounty : and 
he abode in the enjoyment of the utmost honour and happiness 
and joy and gladness and in riches more than sufficing and in 
rank ever rising ; brief, a sweet life and a savoury, pure as 
pleasurable, till there came to him the Destroyer of delights and 
the Sunderer of societies ; and extolled be the perfection of Him 
to whom belong glory and permanence and He is the Living, the 
Eternal, who shall never die ! 

NOTE. I have followed the example of Mr. Payne and have translated in its entirety the 
Tale of Khalifah the Fisherman from the Breslau Edit. (Vol. iv. pp. 315-365, Night 
cccxxi-cccxxxii.) in preference to the unsatisfactory process of amalgamating it with that 
of the Mac. Edit, given above. 


THERE was once, in days of yore and in ages and times long gone 
before, in the city of Baghdad, a fisherman, by name Khalif, a man 
of muckle talk and little luck. One day, as he sat in his cell, 1 he 
bethought himself and said, " There is no Majesty and there is no 
Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! Would Heaven I 
knew what is my offence in the sight of my Lord and what caused 
the blackness of my fortune and my littleness of luck among the 
fishermen, albeit (and I say it who should not) in the city of 
Baghdad there is never a fisherman like myself." Now he lodged 
in a ruined place called a Khan, to wit, an inn, 2 without a door, 
and when he went forth to fish, he would shoulder the net, without 
basket or fish-slicers, 3 and when the folk would stare at him and 
say to him, " O Khalif, why not take with thee a basket, to hold 
the fish thou catchest ? " ; he would reply, " Even as I carry it 
forth empty, so would it come back, for I never manage to catch 
aught." One night he arose, in the darkness before dawn, and 
taking his net on his shoulder, raised his eyes to heaven and said, 
" Allah mine, O Thou who subjectedst the sea to Moses son of 

1 Arab* *' Hasilah " prob. a corner of a " Godown" in some Khan or Caravanserai. 

2 Arab. " Funduk " from the Gr. 7rav8oxtov, whence the Italian Fondaco e.g. at 
Venice the Fondaco de' Turchi. 

8 Arab. " Astar" plur. of Satr: in the Mac. Edit. Satur, both (says Dozy) meaning 
" Couperet " (a hatchet). Habicht translates it " a measure for small fish," which 
seems to be a shot and a bad shot as the text talks only of means of carrying fish. 
Nor can we accept Dozy's emendation Astal (plur. of Sail) pails, situla. In Petermann's 
Reisen (i. 89) Satr =. assiette. 

Khalif the Fisherman of Baghdad. 185 

Imran, give me this day my daily bread, for Thou art the best of 
bread-givers ! " Then he went down to the Tigris and spreading 
his net, cast it into the river and waited till it had settled down, 
when he haled it in and drew it ashore, but behold, it held naught 
save a dead dog. So he cast away the carcase, saying, " O morn- 
ing of ill doom ! What a handsel is this dead hound, after I had 
rejoiced in its weight J ! " Then he mended the rents in the net, 
saying, " Needs must there after this carrion be fish in plenty f 
attracted by the smell," and made a second cast. After awhile, he 
drew up and found in the net the hough 2 of a camel, that had 
caught in the meshes and rent them right and left. When Khalif 
saw his net in this state, he wept and said, " There is no Majesty 
and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! I 
wonder what is my offence and the cause of the blackness of my 
fortune and the littleness of my luck, of all folk, so that I catch 
neither cat-fish nor sprat, 3 that I may broil on the embers and eat, 
for all I dare say there is not in the city of Baghdad a fisherman 
like me." Then with a Bismillah he cast his net a third time, and 
presently drawing it ashore found therein an ape scurvy and one- 
eyed, mangy, and limping hending an ivory rod in forehand. 
When Khalif saw this, he said, " This is indeed a blessed opening ! 
What art thou, O ape ? " " Dost thou not know me ? " " No, by 
Allah, I have no knowledge of thee ! " " I am thine ape ! " 
" What use is there in thee, O my ape ? " " Every day I give thee 
good-morrow, so Allah may not open to thee the door of daily 
bread." " Thou failest not of this, O one-eye 4 of ill-omen ! May 

1 "Which made him expect a heavy haul. 

8 Arab. " Urkub" = tendon Achilles in man hough or pastern in beast, etc. It is 
held to be an inciementative form of 'Akab (heel); as Kur'ub of Ka'b (heel) and Khur- 
tum of Khatm (snout) 

3 Arab. " Karmtit " and Zakzuk. The former (pronounced Garmut) is one of the 
many Siluri (S. Carmoth Niloticus) very commdn and resembling the Shal. It is smooth 
and scaleless with fleshy lips and soft meat and as it haunts muddy bottoms it was for- 
bidden to the Ancient Egyptians. The Zakzuk is the young of the Shl (Synodontis 
Schal : Seetzen) ; its plural form Zakdzik (pronounced Zigazig) gave a name to the 
flourishing town which has succeeded to old Bubastis and of which I have treated in 
"Midian " and " Midian Revisited." 

4 " Ya A'awar " = O one-eye ! i.e. the virile member. So the vulgar insult " Ya 
ibn al-aur " (as the vulgar pronounce it) '* O son of a yard ! " When Al-Mas'udi writes 
(Fr. Trans, vii. 106), " Udkhul usbu'ak fi aynih," it must not be rendered " II faut lui 
fatre violence " : thrust thy finger into his eye ('Ayn) means " put thy penis up his fun- 
dament !" ('Ayn being = Dubur). The French remarks, " On en trouverait I'e'quivalent 
dans les bas-fonds de notre langue." So in English " pig's eye," " blind eye." etc. 

1 86 A If Laylah wa Lay! ah. 

Allah never bless thee ! Needs must I pluck out thy sound eye 
and cut off thy whole leg, so thou mayst become a blind cripple 
and I. be quit of thee. But what is the use of that rod thou 
hendest in hand ? " " O Khalif, I scare the fish therewith, so 
they may not enter thy net." " Is it so ? : then this very day 
will I punish thee with a grievous punishment and devise thee all 
manner torments and strip thy flesh from thy bones and be at 
rest from thee, sorry bit of goods that thou art ! " So saying, 
Khalif the Fisherman unwound from his middle a strand of rope 
and binding him to a tree by his side, said, " Lookee, O dog of 
an ape ! I mean to cast the net again and if aught come up 
therein, well and good ; but, if it come up empty, I will verily and 
assuredly make an end of thee, with the cruellest tortures and be 
quit of thee, thou stinking lot." So he cast the net and drawing 
it ashore, found in it another ape and said, " Glory be to God the 
Great ! I was wont to pull naught but fish out of this Tigris, but 
now it yieldeth nothing bu.t apes." Then he looked at the second 
ape and saw turn fair of form and round of face with pendants of 
gold in his ears and a blue waistcloth about his middle, and he 
was like unto a lighted taper. So he asked him, " What art thou, 
thou also, O ape ? " ; and he answered, saying, " O Khalif, I am 
the ape of Abu al-Sa'adat the Jew, the Caliph's shroff. Every 
day, I give hhn good-morrow, and he maketh a profit of ten gold 
pieces." Cried the Fisherman, " By Allah, thou art a fine ape, 
not like this ill-omened monkey o' mine ! " So saying, he took a 
stick * and came down upon the sides of the ape, till he broke his 
ribs and he jumped up and down. And the other ape, the hand- 
some one, answered him, saying, " O Khalif, what will it profit 
thee to beat him, though thou belabour him till he die ?" Khalif 
replied, " How shall I do ? Shall I let him wend his ways that he 
may scare me the fish with his hang-dog face and give me good- 
even and good-morrow every day, so Allah may not open to me 
the door of daily bread ? Nay, I will kill him and be quit of him 
and I will take thee in his stead ; so shalt thou give me good- 
morrow and I shall gain ten golden dinars a day." Thereupon the 
comely ape made answer, " I will tell thee a better way than that, 
and if thou hearken to me, thou shalt be at rest and I will become 
thine ape in lieu of him." Asked the Fisherman, " And what dost 
thou counsel me ? " ; and the ape answered, saying, " Cast thy net 

1 Arab. Nabbut = a quarterstaff : see vol. I. 234. 

Khalif the Fisherman of Baghdad. 187 

and thou shalt bring up a noble fish, never saw any its like, and I 
will tell thee how thou shalt do with it." Replied Khalif, 
"Lookee, thou too! An I throw my net and there come up 
therein a third ape, be assured that I will cut the three of you 
into six bits/' And the second ape rejoined, " So be it, O Khalif. 
I agree to this thy condition." Then Khalif spread the net and 
cast it and drew it up, when behold, in it was a fine young barbel * 
with a round head, as it were a milking-pail, which when he sawj 
his wits fled for joy and he said, " Glory be to God ! What is this 
noble creature ? Were yonder apes in the river, I had not brought 
up this fish." Quoth the seemly ape, " O Khalif, an thou give ear 
to my rede, 'twill bring thee good fortune "; and quoth the Fisher- 
man, " May God damn him who would gainsay thee henceforth ! " 
Thereupon the ape said, " O Khalif, take some grass and lay the 
fish thereon in the basket 2 and cover it with more grass and take 
also somewhat of basil 3 from the greengrocer's and set it in the 
fish's mouth. Cover it with a kerchief and push thee through the 
bazar of Baghdad. Whoever bespeaketh thee of selling it, sell it 
not but fare on, till thou come to tire market street of the jewellers 
and money-changers. Then count five shops on the right-hand 
side and the sixth shop is that of Abu al-Sa'adat the Jew, the 
Caliph's Shroff. When thou standest before him, he will say to 
thee, What seekest thou ? ; and do thou make answer, I am a fisher- 
wight, I threw my net in thy name and took this noble barbel, 
which I have brought thee as a present. If he give thee aught of 
silver, take it not, be it little or mickle, for it will spoil that which 
thou wouldst do, but say to him, I want of thee naught save one 
word, that thou say to me, I sell thee my ape for thine ape and 
my luck for thy luck. An the Jew say this, give him the fish and 
I shall become thine ape and this crippled, mangy and one-eyed 
ape will be his ape." Khalif replied, " Well said, O ape," nor did 
he cease faring Baghdad-wards ancl observing that which the ape 
had said to him, till he came to the Jew's shop and saw the Shroff 
seated, with eunuchs and pages about him, bidding and forbidding 

1 Arab. " Bannf," vulg. Benni and in Lane (Lex. Bunni) the Cyprinus Bynni (Forsk.), 
a fish somewhat larger than a barbel with lustrous silvery scales and delicate flesh, which 
Sonnini believes may be the " Lepidotes" (smooth-scaled) mentioned by Athenseus. I 
may note that the Bresl. Edit. (iv. 332) also affects the Egyptian vulgarism " Farkh- 
Banni " of the Mac. Edit. (Night dcccxxxii.) 

2 The story-teller forgets that Khalif had neither basket nor knife. 
* Arab. *' Rayhan" which may here mean any scented herb. 

1 88 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and giving and taking. So he set down his basket, saying, " O 
Sultan of the Jews, I am a fisher-wight and went forth to-day to 
the Tigris and casting my net in thy name, cried : This is for the 
luck of Abu al-Sa'adat ; and there came up to me this Banni which 
I have brought thee by way of present." Then he lifted the grass 
and discovered the fish to the Jew, who marvelled at its make and 
said, " Extolled be the perfection of the Most Excellent Creator ! " 
Then he gave the fisherman a dinar, but he refused it and he gave 
him two. This also he refused and the Jew stayed not adding to 
his offer, till he made it ten dinars ; but he still refused and Abu 
al-Sa'adat said to him, " By Allah, thou art a greedy one. Tell 
me what thou wouldst have, O Moslem ! " Quoth Khalif, " I 
would have of thee but a single word. 1 " When the Jew heard this, 
he changed colour and said, " Wouldst thou oust me from my faith ? 
Wend thy ways ; " and Khalif said to him, " By Allah, O Jew, 
naught mattereth an thou become a Moslem or a Nazarene ! " 
Asked the Jew, " Then what wouldst thou have me say ? " ; and 
the fisherman answered, " Say, I sell thee my ape for thy ape 
and my luck for thy luck." The Jew laughed, deeming him little 
of wit, and said by way of jest, " I sell thee my ape for thy 
ape and my luck for thy luck. Bear witness against him, O 
merchants ! By Allah, O unhappy, thou art debarred from further 
claim on me ! " So Khalif turned back, blaming himself and 
saying, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in 
Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! Alas that I did not take the 
gold ! " and fared on blaming himself in the matter of the money 
till he came to the Tigris, but found not the two apes, whereupon 
he wept and slapped his face and strewed dust on his head, saying, 
" But that the second ape wheedled me and put a cheat on me, 
the one-eyed ape had not escaped." And he gave not over 
wailing and weeping, till heat and hunger grew sore on him : so he 
took the net, saying, Come, let us make a cast, trusting in Allah's 
blessing ; belike I may catch a cat-fish or a barbel which I may 
boil and eat." So he threw the net and waiting till it had settled, 
drew it ashore and found it full of fish, whereat he was consoled 
and rejoiced and busied himself with unmeshing the fish and 
casting them on the earth. Presently, up came a woman seeking 

1 In the text " Fard Kalmah," a vulgarism. The Mac Edit. (Night dcccxxxv.) more 
aptly says, " Two words " (Kalmatani, vulg. Kalmatayn) the Twofold Testimonies to the 
Unity of Allah and the Mission of His Messenger, 

Khalif the Fisherman of Baghdad. 1 89 

fish and crying out, " Fish is not to be found in the town." She 
caught sight of Khalif, and said to him, " Wilt thou sell this fish, 
O Master ? " Answered Khalif, " I am going to turn it into clothes, 
'tis all for sale, even to my beard. 1 Take what thou wilt." So she 
gave him a dinar and he filled her basket. Then she went away and 
behold, up came another servant, seeking a dinar's worth of fish ; 
nor did the folk cease till it was the hour of mid-afternoon prayer 
and Khalif had sold ten golden dinars' worth of fish. Then, 
being faint and famisht, he folded and shouldered his net and, 
repairing to the market, bought himself a woollen gown, a calotte 
with a plaited boarder and a honey-coloured turband for a dinar, 
receiving two dirhams by way of change, wherewith he purchased 
fried cheese and a fat sheep's tail and honey and setting them in 
the oilman's platter, ate till he was full and his ribs felt cold 2 
from the mighty stuffing. Then he marched off to his lodgings 
in the magazine, clad in the gown and the honey-coloured turband 
and with the nine golden dinars in his mouth, rejoicing in what 
he had never in his life seen. He entered and lay down, but 
could not sleep for anxious thoughts and abode playing with the 
money half the night. Then said he in himself, " Haply the 
Caliph may hear that I have gold and say to Ja'afar : Go to 
Khalif the Fisherman and borrow us some money of him. If I 
give it him, it will be no light matter to me, and if I give it not, 
he will torment me ; but torture is easier to me than the giving 
up of the cash. 3 However, I will arise and make trial of myself 
if I have a skin proof against stick or not." So he put off his 
clothes and taking a sailor's plaited whip, of an hundred and sixty 
strands, ceased not beating himself, till his sides and body were 
all bloody, crying out at every stroke he dealt himself and saying 
" O Moslems ! I am a poor man ! O Moslems, I am a poor man ! 

1 The lowest Cairene chaff which has no respect for itself or others. 

2 Arab. " Karrat azla' hu" : alluding to the cool skin of healthy men when digesting 
a very hearty meal. 

3 This is the true Fellah idea. A peasant will go up to his proprietor with the 
" rint " in gold pieces behind his teeth and undergo an immense amount of flogging 
before he spits them out. Then he will return to his wife and boast of the number of sticks 
he has eaten instead of paying at once and his spouse will say, " Verily thou art a 
man." Europeans know nothing of the Fellah. Napoleon Buonaparte, for political 
reasons, affected great pity for him and horror of his oppressors, the Beys and Pashas ; 
and this affectation gradually became public opinion. The Fellah must either tyrannise 
or be tyrannised over ; he is never happier than under a strong-handed despotism and 
he has never been more miserable than under British rule or rather misrule. Our; 
attempts to constitutionalise him have made us the laughing-stock of Europe. 

190 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

O Moslems, whence should I have gold, whence should I have 
coin ? " till the neighbours, who dwelt with him in that place, 
hearing him crying and saying, " Go to men of wealth and take of 
them," thought that thieves were torturing him, to get money 
from him, and that he was praying for aidance. Accordingly they 
flocked to him each armed with some weapon and finding the 
door of his lodging locked and hearing him roaring out for help, 
deemed that the thieves had come down upon him from the 
terrace-roof; so they fell upon the door and burst it open. 
Then they entered and found him mother-naked and bareheaded 
with body dripping blood, and altogether in a sad pickle ; so 
they asked him, " What is this case in which we find thee > 
Hast thou lost thy wits and hath Jinn-madness betided thee this 
night ? " And he answered them, " Nay ; but I have gold with 
me and I feared lest the Caliph send to borrow of me and it 
were no light matter to give him aught ; yet, an I gave not to 
him 'tis only too sure that he would put me to the torture ; 
wherefore I arose to see if my skin were stick-proof or not." 
When they heard these words they said to him, " May Allah not 
assain thy body, unlucky madman that thou art ! Of a surety 
thou art fallen mad to-night ! Lie down to sleep, may Allah 
never bless thee ! How many thousand dinars hast thou, that 
the Caliph should come and borrow of thee ? " He replied, " By 
Allah, I have naught but nine dinars." And they all said, " By 
Allah, he is not otherwise than passing rich ! " Then they left him 
wondering at his want of wit, and Khalif took his cash and 
wrapped it in a rag, saying to himself, " Where shall I hide all 
this gold ? An I bury it, they will take it, and if I put it out on 
deposit, they will deny that I did so, and if I carry it on my 
head, 1 they will snatch it, and if I tie it to my sleeve, they will 
cut it away." Presently, he espied a little * breast-pocket in the 
gown and said, " By Allah, this is fine ! 'Tis under my throat 
and hard by my mouth : if any put out his hand to hend it, I 
can come down on it with my mouth and hide it in my throttle." 
So he set the rag containing the gold in the pocket and lay down, 
but slept not that night for suspicion and trouble and anxious 
thought. On the morrow, he fared forth of his lodging on fishing 

1 The turban is a common substitute for a purse with the lower classes of Egyptians ; 
and an allusion to the still popular practice of turban-snatching will be found in 
vol. i. p. 259. 

Kkalif the Fisherman of Baghdad. 191 

intent and, betaking himself to the river, went down into the 
water, up to his knees. Then he threw the net and shook it with 
might and main ; whereupon the purse fell down into the stream. 
So he tore off gown and turband and plunged in after it, saying, 
" There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the 
Glorious, the Great ! " Nor did he give over diving and searching 
the stream-bed, till the day was half spent, but found not the 
purse. Now one saw him from afar diving and plunging and his 
gown and turband lying in the sun at a distance from him, with no 
one by them ; so he watched him, till he dived again when he 
dashed at the clothes and made off with them. Presently, Khalif 
came ashore and, missing his gown and turband, was chagrined 
for their loss with passing cark and care and ascended a mourtd, 
to look for some passer-by, of whom he might enquire concerning 
them, but found none. Now the Caliph Harun al-Rashid had 
gone a-hunting and chasing that day ; and, returning at the time 
of the noon heat, was oppressed thereby and thirsted ; so he looked 
for water from afar and seeing a naked man standing on the mound 
said to Ja'afar, " Seest thou what I see ? " Replied the Wazir, 
" Yes, O Commander of the Faithful ; I see a man standing on 
a hillock." Al-Rashid asked, "What is he?"; and Ja'afar 
answered, " Haply he is the guardian of a cucumber-plot." Quoth 
the Caliph, " Perhaps he is a pious man 1 ; I would fain go to 
him, alone, and desire of him his prayers ; and abide ye 
where you are." So he went up to Khalif and saluting him with 
the salam said to him, " What art thou, O man ? " Replied the 
fisherman, "Dost thou not know me ? I am Khalif the Fisherman ; " 
and the Caliph rejoined, " What ? The fisherman with the woollen 
gown and the honey-coloured turband 2 ? " When Khalif heard him 
name the clothes he had lost, he said in himself, " This is he who 
took my duds : belike he did but jest with me." So he came down 
from the knoll and said, " Can I not take a noontide nap 3 but thou 
must trick me this trick ? I saw thee take my gear and knew 
that thou wast joking with me." At this, laughter got the better 

1 Arab. " Salih," a devotee ; here, a naked Dervish. 

2 Here Khalif is made a conspicuous figure in Baghdad like Boccaccio's Calandrino 
and Co. He approaches in type the old Irishman now extinct, destroyed by the reflux 
action of Anglo- America (U.S.) upon the miscalled " Emerald Isle." He blunders into 
doing and saying funny things whose models are the Hibernian "bulls" and acts 
purely upon the impulse of the moment, never reflecting till (possibly) after all is over. 

8 Arab. " Kaylulah," explained in vol. i. 51. 

192 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

of the Caliph and he said, " What clothes hast thou lost ? I know 
nothing of that whereof thou speakest, O Khalif." Cried the 
Fisherman, " By God the Great, except thou bring me back the 
gear, I will smash thy ribs with this staff!" (For he always 
carried a quarterstaff.) Quoth the Caliph, " By Allah, I have not 
seen the things whereof thou speakest ! "; and quoth Khalif, " I 
will go with thee and take note of thy dwelling-place and com- 
plain of thee to the Chief of Police, so thou mayst not trick me 
this trick again. By Allah, none took my gown and turband but 
thou, and except thou give them back to me at once, I will throw 
thee off the back of that she-ass thou ridest and come down on 
thy pate with this quarterstaff, till thou canst not stir ! " There- 
upon he tugged at the bridle of the mule so that she reared up on 
her hind legs and the Caliph said to himself, " What calamity is 
this I have fallen into with this madman ? " Then he pulled off a 
gown he had on, worth an hundred dinars, and said to Khalif, 
" Take this gown in lieu of thine own." He took it and donning 
it saw it was too long; so he cut it short at the knees and 
turbanded his head with the cut-off piece ; . then said to the 
Caliph, " What art thou and what is thy craft ? But why ask ? 
Thou art none other than a trumpeter." Al-Rashid asked, 
"What showed thee that I was a trumpeter by trade?"; and 
Khalif answered > " Thy big nostrils and little mouth." Cried 
the Caliph, " Well guessed ! Yes, I am of that craft." Then said 
Khalif, " An thou wilt hearken to me, I will teach thee the art 
of fishing: 'twill be better for thee than trumpeting and thou 
wilt eat lawfully 1 ." Replied the Caliph, " Teach it me so that I 
may see whether I am capable of learning it." And Khalif 
said, " Come with me, O trumpeter." So the Caliph followed 
him down to the river and took the net from him, whilst he 
taught him how to throw it. Then he cast it and drew it up, 
when, behold, it was heavy, and the fisherman said, " O trumpeter, 
an the net be caught on one of the rocks, drag it not too hard, or 
'twill break and by Allah, I will take thy she-ass in payment 
thereof! " The Caliph laughed at his words and drew up the net, 
little by little, till he brought it ashore and found it full of fish ; 
which when Khalif saw, his reason fled for joy and presently he 

*/.*. thy bread lawfully gained. The "Bawwak" (trumpeter) like the "Zammdr" 
(piper of the Mac. Edit.) are discreditable craftsmen, associating with Almahs and loose 
women and often serving as their panders. 

Khalif the Fisherman of Baghdad. 193 

cried, " By Allah, O trumpeter, thy luck is good in fishing ! Never 
in my life will I part with thee ! But now I mean to send thee to 
the fish-bazar, where do thou enquire for the shop of Humayd the 
fisherman and say to him : My master Khalif saluteth thee and 
biddeth thee send him a pair of frails and a knife, so he may 
bring thee more fish than yesterday. Run and return to me 
forthright ! " The Caliph replied (and indeed he was laughing), 
" On my head, O master ! " and, mounting his mule, rode back to 
Ja'afar, who said to him, " Tell me what hath betided thee." So 
the Caliph told him all that had passed between Khalif the 
Fisherman and himself, from first to last, adding, " I left him 
awaiting my return to him with the baskets and I am resolved 
that he shall teach me how to scale fish and clean them." 
Quoth Ja'afar, " And I will go with thee to sweep up the scales 
and clean out the shop." And the affair abode thus, till presently 
the Caliph cried, " O Ja'afar, I desire of thee that thou despatch 
the young Mamelukes, saying to them : Whoso bringeth me a 
fish from before yonder fisherman, I will give him a dinar; for I 
love to eat of my own fishing." Accordingly Ja'afar repeated to 
the young white slaves what the Caliph had said and directed 
them where to find the man. They came down upon Khalif 
and snatched the fish from him ; and when he saw them and 
noted their goodliness, he doubted not but that they were of the 
black-eyed Houris of Paradise : so he caught up a couple of fish 
and ran into the river, saying, "O Allah mine, by the secret 
virtue of these fish, forgive me ! " Suddenly, up came the chief 
eunuch, questing fish, but he found none ; so seeing Khalif 
ducking and rising in the water, with the two fish in his hands, 
called out to him, saying, " O Khalif, what hast thou there ? " 
Replied the fisherman, " Two fish," and the eunuch said, " Give 
them to me and take an hundred dinars for them." Now when 
Khalif heard speak of an hundred dinars, he came up out of the 
water and cried, " Hand over the hundred dinars." Said the 
eunuch, " Follow me to the house of Al-Rashid and receive thy 
gold, O Khalif;" and, taking the fish, made off to the Palace of 
the Caliphate. Meanwhile Khalif betook himself to Baghdad, 
clad as he was in the Caliph's gown, which reached only to above 
his knees, 1 turbanded with the piece he had cut off therefrom and 

*>. he was indecently clad. Man's " shame" extends from navel to knees. See 
rol. vi. 30. 


194 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

girt about his middle with a rope, and he pushed through the 
centre of the city. The folk fell a-laughing and marvelling at 
him and saying, " Whence hadst thou that robe of honour ? " 
But he went on, asking, " Where is the house of Al-Rashad 1 ? ;" 
and they answered, " Say, ' The house of Al-Rashid ';" and he 
rejoined, " 'Tis all the same," and fared on, till he came to the 
Palace of the Caliphate. Now he was seen by the tailor, who had 
made the gown and who was standing at the door, and when he 
noticed it upon the Fisherman, he said to him, " For how many 
years hast thou had admission to the palace ? " Khalif replied, 
" Ever since I was a little one ; " and the tailor asked, " Whence 
hadest thou that gown thou hast spoilt on this wise ? " Khalif 
answered, " I had it of my apprentice the trumpeter." Then he 
went up to the door, where he found the Chief Eunuch sitting 
with the two fishes by his side: and seeing him sable-black of 
hue, said to him, "Wilt thou not bring the hundred dinars, O 
uncle Tulip?" Quoth he, "On my head, O Khalif/' when, 
behold, out came Ja'afar from the presence of the Caliph and 
seeing the fisherman talking with the Eunuch and saying to him, 
" This is the reward of goodness, O nuncle Tulip," went in to 
Al-Rashid and said to him, " O Commander of the Faithful, thy 
master the Fisherman is with the Chief Eunuch, dunning him for 
an hundred dinars." Cried the Caliph, " Bring him to me, 
O Ja'afar ; " and the Minister answered, " Hearing and obeying." 
So he went out to the Fisherman and said to him, " O 
Khalif, thine apprentice the trumpeter biddeth thee to him ; " 
then he walked on, followed by the other till they reached 
the presence-chamber, where he saw the Caliph seated, with 
a canopy over his head. When he entered, Al-Rashid wrote 
three scrolls and set them before him, and the Fisherman said 
to him, " So thou hast given up trumpeting and turned astro- 
loger ! " Quoth the Caliph to him, " Take thee a scroll." Now in 
the first he had written, " Let him be given a gold piece/' in the 
second, " An hundred dinars," and in the third, " Let him be given 
an hundred blows with a whip." So Khalif put out his hand and 
by the decree of the Predestinator, it lighted on the scroll wherein 
was written, " Let him receive an hundred lashes," and Kings, 
whenas they ordain aught, go not back therefrom. So they threw 
him prone on the ground and beat him an hundred blows, whilst 

1 Rashad would be = garden-cresses or stones : Rashfd the heaven-directed. 

Khalif the Fisherman of Baghdad. 195 

he wept and roared for succour, but none succoured him, and said, 
" By Allah, this is a good joke O trumpeter ! I teach thee fishing 
and thou turnest astrologer and drawest me an unlucky lot. Fie 
upon thee, 1 in thee is naught of good ! " When the Caliph heard 
his speech, he fell fainting in a fit of laughter and said, " O Khalif, 
no harm shall betide thee : fear not. Give him an hundred gold 
pieces." So they gave him an hundred dinars, and he went out, 
and ceased not faring forth till he came to the trunk-market, where 
he found the folk assembled in a ring about a broker, who was 
crying out and saying, " At an hundred dinars, less one dinar ! A 
locked chest ! " So he pressed on and pushed through the crowd 
and said to the broker, " Mine for an hundred dinars ! " The 
broker closed with him and took his money, whereupon there was 
left him nor little nor much. The porters disputed awhile about 
who should carry the chest and presently all said, " By Allah, none 
shall carry this chest but Zurayk ! " 2 And the folk said, " Blue- 
eyes hath the best right to it.'" So Zurayk shouldered the chest, 
after the goodliest fashion, and walked a-rear of Khalif. As they 
went along, the Fisherman said in himself, " I have nothing left to 
give the porter ; how shall I rid myself of him ? Now I will 
traverse the main streets with him and lead him about, till he be 
weary and set it down and leave it, when I will take it up and 
carry it to my lodging." Accordingly, he went round about the 
city with the porter from noontide to sundown, till the man began 
to grumble and said, " O my lord, where is thy house ? " Quoth 
Khalif, " Yesterday I knew it, but to-day I have forgotten it." And 
the porter said, " Give me my hire and take thy chest" But 
Khalif said, " Go on at thy leisure, till I bethink me where my 
house is," presently adding, " O Zurayk, I have no money with 
me. J Tis all in my house and I have forgotten where it is." As 
they were talking, there passed by them one who knew the 
Fisherman and said to him, " O Khalif, what bringeth thee 
hither ? " Quoth the porter, " O uncle, where is Khalif s house ? " 
and quoth he, " 'Tis in the ruined Khan in the Rawdsin Quarter/' 3 ; 
Then said Zurayk to Khalif, " Go to ; would Heaven thou hadst 

1 Arab. " Uff 'alayka" = fie upon thee! Uff = lit. Sordes Aurium and Tuff (a 
i&hnilar term of disgust) = Sordes unguinum. To the English reader the blows adminis- 
tered to Khalif appear rather hard measure. But a Fellah's back is thoroughly broken 
to the treatment and he would take ten times as much punishment for a few piastres. 

2 Arab. " Zurayk " dim. of Azrak = blue-eyed. See vol. iii. 104. 

3 Of Baghdad. 

I $6 A If Lay I ah wa Lay I ah. 

never lived nor been ! " And the Fisherman trudged on, followed 
by the porter, till they came to the place when the Hammal said, 
" O thou whose daily bread Allah cut off in this world, have we 
not passed this place a score of times ? Hadst thou said to me, 
'Tis in such a stead, thou hadst spared me this great toil ; but now 
give me my wage and let me wend my way." Khalif replied 
" Thou shalt have silver, if not gold. Stay here, till I bring thee 
the same." So he entered his lodging and taking a mallet he had 
there, studded with forty nails (wherewith an he smote a camel, he 
had made an end of it), rushed upon the porter and raised his 
forearm to strike him therewith; but Zurayk cried out at him, 
saying, " Hold thy hand ! I have no claim on thee," and fled. 
Now having got rid of the Hammal, Khalif carried the chest into 
the Khan, whereupon the neighbours came down and flocked 
about him, saying, " O Khalif, whence hadst thou this robe and 
this chest?" Quoth he, " From my apprentice Al-Rashid who 
gave them to me/' and they said, " The pimp is mad ! Al-Rashid 
will assuredly hear of his talk and hang him over the door of his 
lodging and hang all in the Khan on account of the droll. This 
is a fine farce ! " Then they helped him to carry the chest into 
his lodging and it filled the whole closet. 1 Thus far concerning 
Khalif ; but as for the history of the chest, it was as follows : 
The Caliph had a Turkish slave-girl, by name Kut al-Kulub, whom 
he loved with love exceeding and the Lady Zubaydah came to 
know of this from himself and was passing jealous of her and 
secretly plotted mischief against her. So, whilst the Commander 
of the Faithful was absent a-sporting and a-hunting, she sent for 
Kut al-Kulub and, inviting her to a banquet, set before her meat 
and wine, and she ate and drank. Now the wine was drugged 
with Bhang ; so she slept and Zubaydah sent for her Chief Eunuch 
and putting her in a great chest, locked it and gave it to him, 
saying, " Take this chest and cast it into the river." Thereupon 
he took it up before him on a he-mule and set out with it for the 
sea, but found it unfit to carry ; so, as he passed by the trunk- 
market, he saw the Shaykh of the brokers and salesmen and said 
to him, "Wilt thou sell me this chest, O uncle?" The broker 
replied, " Yes, we will do this much." " But," said the Eunuch, 
" look thou sell it not except locked ; " and the other, " 'Tis well ; 

1 Arab. " Hasil," i.e. cell in a Khan for storing goods : elsewhere it is called a 
Makhzan (magazine) with the same sense. 

Khalif the Fisherman of Baghdad. 197 

we will do that also/' 1 So he set down the chest, and they cried 
it for sale, saying, " Who will buy this chest for an hundred 
dinars ? "; and behold, up came Khalif the Fisherman and bought 
the chest after turning it over right and left; and there passed 
between him and the porter that which hath been before set out. 
Now as regards Khalif the Fisherman ; he lay down on the chest 
to sleep, and presently Kut al-Kulub awoke from her Bhang and 
finding herself in the chest, cried out and said, " Alas ! " Where- 
upon Khalif sprang off the chest-lid and cried out and said, " Ho, 
Moslems ! Come to my help ! There are Ifrits in the chest.'* So 
the neighbours awoke from sleep and said to him, " What mattereth 
thee, O madman ? " Quoth he, " The chest is full of Ifrits ;" and 
quoth they, " Go to sleep ; thou hast troubled our rest this night 
may Allah not bless thee ! Go in and sleep, without madness.' * 
He ejaculated, " I cannot sleep ;" but they abused him and he 
went in and lay down once more. And behold, Kut al-Kulub 
spoke and said, " Where am I ? " Upon which Khalif fled forth 
the closet and said, " O neighbours of the hostelry, come to my 
aid ! " Quoth they, " What hath befallen thee ? Thou troublest 
the neighbours' rest." " O folk, there be Ifrits in the chest, 
moving and speaking." " Thou liest : what do they say ? " "They 
say, Where am I ? " " Would Heaven thou wert in Hell ? Thou dis- 
turbest the neighbours and hinderest them of sleep. Go to sleep, 
would thou hadst never lived nor been ! " So Khalif went in fearful 
because he had no place wherein to sleep save upon the chest-lid 
when lo ! as he stood, with ears listening for speech, Kut al-Kulub 
spake again and said, " I'm hungry." So in sore affright he fled 
forth and cried out, " Ho neighbours ! ho dwellers in the Khan, 
come aid me ! " Said they, " What is thy calamity now ? " 2 And 
he answered, "The Ifrits in the chest say, We are hungry.'* 
Quoth the neighbours one to other, " 'Twould seem Khalif is 
hungry ; let us feed him and give him the supper-orts ; else he 
will not let us sleep to-night." So they brought him bread and 
meat and broken victuals and radishes and gave him a basket 
full of all kinds of things, saying, " Eat till thou be full and go to 
sleep and talk not, else will we break thy ribs and beat thee to 

1 The Bresl. text (iv. 347) abbreviates, or rather omits ; so that in translation details 
must be supplied to make sense. 

2 Arab. " Kaman," vulgar Egyptian, a contraction from Kami (as) + anna (since, 
because). So "Kaman shuwayh " = wait a bit; "Kaman marrah ' = once more 
and "Wa Kamana-ka" = that is why. 

198 A If Lay I ah wa Laylah. 

death this very night." So he took the basket with the provaunt 
and entered his lodging. Now it was a moonlight night and the 
moon shone in full sheen upon the chest and lit up the closet with 
its light, seeing this he sat down on his purchase and fell to eating 
of the food with both hands. Presently Kut al-Kulub spake again 
and said, " Open to me and have mercy upon me, O Moslems ! " 
So Khalif arose and taking a stone he had by him, broke the 
chest open and behold, therein lay a young lady as she were the 
sun's shining light with brow flower-white, face moon-bright, 
cheeks of rose-hue exquisite and speech sweeter than sugar-bite, 
and in dress worth a thousand dinars and more bedight. Seeing 
this his wits flew from his head for joy and he said, " By Allah, 
thou art of the fair ! " She asked him, " What art thou, O fellow ?" 
and he answered, " O my lady, I am Khalif the Fisherman." 
Quoth she, " Who brought me hither ? " ; and quoth he, " I bought 
thee, and thou art my slave-girl." Thereupon said she, " I see on 
thee a robe of the raiment of the Caliph." So he told her all 
that had betided him, from first to last, and how he had bought 
the chest ; wherefore she knew that the Lady Zubaydah had 
played her false ; and she ceased not talking with him till the 
morning, when she said to him, " O Khalif, seek me from some 
one inkcase and reed-pen and paper and bring them to me." So 
he found with one of the neighbours what she sought and brought 
it to her, whereupon she wrote a letter and folded it and gave it 
to him, saying, " O Khalif, take this paper and carry it to the 
jewel-market, where do thou enquire for the shop of Abu al-Hasan 
the jeweller and give it to him." Answered the Fisherman, " O 
my lady, this name is difficult to me ; I cannot remember it." And 
she rejoined, "Then ask for the shop of Ibn al-'Ukab."' Quoth 
he, " O my lady, what is an 'Ukab ? "; and quoth she, " Tis a bird 
which folk carry on fist with eyes hooded." And he exclaimed, 
" O my lady, I know it." Then he went forth from her and fared 
on, repeating the name, lest it fade from his memory ; but, by 
the time he reached the jewel-market, he had forgotten it. So he 
accosted one of the merchants and said to him, " Is there any here 
named after a bird ? " Replied the merchant, " Yes, thou meanest 
Ibn al-Ukab." Khalif cried, "That's the man I want," and 
making his way to him, gave him the letter, which when he read 

1 i.e. Son of the Eagle : See vol. iv. 177. Here, however, as the text shows it is 
hawk or falcon. The name is purely fanciful and made mnemonically singular. 

Khalif the Fisherman of Baghdad. 199 

and knew the purport thereof, he fell to kissing it and laying it on 
his head ; for it is said that Abu al-Hasan was the agent of the 
Lady Kut al-Kulub and her intendant over all her property in 
lands and houses. Now she had written to him, saying, " From 
Her Highness the Lady Kut al-Kulub to Sir Abu al-Hasan the 
jeweller. The instant this letter reacheth thee, set apart for us a 
saloon completely equipped with furniture and vessels and negro- 
slaves and slave-girls and what not else is needful for our residence 
and seemly, and take the bearer of the missive and carry him to 
the bath. Then clothe him in costly apparel and do with him 
thus and thus." So he said " Hearing and obeying," and locking 
up his shop, took the Fisherman and bore him to the bath, where 
he committed him to one of the bathmen, that he might serve 
him, according to custom. Then he went forth to carry out the 
Lady Kut al-Kulub's orders. As for Khalif, he concluded, of his 
lack of wit and stupidity, that the bath was a prison and said to the 
bathman, "What crime have I committed that ye should lay me 
in limbo ? " They laughed at him and made him sit on the side 
of the tank, whilst the bathman took hold of his legs, that he 
might shampoo them. Khalif thought he meant to wrestle with 
him and said to himself, u This is a wrestling-place 1 and I knew 
naught of it." Then he arose and seizing the bathman's legs, 
lifted him up and threw him on the ground and broke his ribs. 
The man cried out for help, whereupon the other bathmen came 
in a crowd and fell upon Khalif and overcoming him by dint of 
numbers, delivered their comrade from his clutches and tunded 
him till he came to himself. Then they knew that the Fisherman 
was a simpleton and served him till Abu al-Hasan came back 
with a dress of rich stuff and clad him therein ; after which he 
brought him a handsome she-mule, ready saddled, and taking him 
by the hand, carried him forth of the bath and said to him, " Mount" 
Quoth he, " How shall I mount ? I fear lest she throw me and 
break my ribs into my belly." Nor would he back the mule, 
save after much travail and trouble, and they stinted not faring 
on, till they -came to the place which Abu al-Hasan had set apart 
for the Lady Kut al-Kulub Thereupon Khalif entered and found 
her sitting, with slaves and eunuchs about her and the porter at 

1 The Egyptian Fellah knows nothing of boxing like the Hausa man ; but he is fond 
of wrestling after a rude and uncultivated fashion, which would cause shouts of laughter 
in Cumberland and Cornwall. And there are champions in this line. See vol. iii. 93. 

2OO A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

the door, staff in hand, who when he saw the Fisherman sprang up 
and kissing his hand, went before him, till he brought him within 
the saloon. Here the Fisherman saw what amazed his wit, and 
his eye was dazzled by that which he beheld of riches past count 
and slaves and servants, who kissed his hand and said, " May the 
bath be a blessing to thee!" 1 When he entered the saloon and 
drew near unto Kut al-Kulub, she sprang up to him and taking 
him by the hand, seated him on a high-mattrassed divan. Then 
she brought him a vase of sherbet of sugar, mingled with rose- 
water and willow-water, and he took it and drank it off and left 
not a single drop. Moreover, he ran his finger round the inside of 
the vessel 2 and would have licked it, but she forbade him, saying, 
" That is foul." Quoth he, " Silence ; this is naught but good 
honey ; " and she laughed at him and set before him a tray of meats, 
whereof he ate his sufficiency. Then they brought an ewer and 
basin of gold, and he washed his right hand and abode in the 
gladdest of life and the most honourable. Now hear what befel 
the Commander of the Faithful. When he came back from his 
journey and found not Kut al-Kulub, he questioned the Lady 
Zubaydah of her and she said, " She is verily dead, may thy head 
live, O Prince of True Believers ! " But she had bidden dig a grave 
amiddlemost the Palace and had built over it a mock tomb, for her 
knowledge of the love the Caliph bore to Kut al-Kulub : so she said 
to him, " O Commander of the Faithful, I made her a tomb amiddle- 
most the Palace and buried her there." Then she donned black, 3 a 
mere sham and pure pretence ; and feigned mourning a great while.. 
Now Kut al-Kulub knew that the Caliph was come back from his 
hunting excursion ; so she turned to Khalif and said to him, 
" Arise ; hie thee to the bath and come back." So he rose and 
went to the Hammam-bath, and when he returned, she clad him: 
in a dress worth a thousand dinars and taught him manners and 
respectful bearing to superiors. Then said she to him, " Go hence 
to the Caliph and say to him : O Commander of the Faithful, 
'tis my desire that this night thou deign be my guest." So Khalif 
arose and mounting his she-mule, rode, with pages and black 
slaves before him, till he came to the Palace of the Caliphate. 

1 The usual formula. See vol. ii. 5. 

' 2 As the Fellah still does after drinking a cuplet (" fingan " he calls it) of sugared 
3 He should have said " white," the mourning colour under the Abbasides. 

Khalif the Fisherman of Baghdad. 


Quoth the wise, " Dress up a stick and "twill look chique? 1 And 
indeed his comeliness was manifest and his goodliness and the folk 
marvelled at this. Presently, the Chief Eunuch saw him, the same 
who had given him the hundred dinars that had been the cause of 
his good fortune ; so he went in to the Caliph and said to him, 
" O Commander of the Faithful, Khalif the Fisherman is become 
a King, and on him is a robe of honour worth a thousand dinars." 
The Prince of True Believers bade admit him ; so he entered and 
said, " Peace be with thee, O Commander of the Faithful and 
Vice-regent of the Lord of the three Worlds and Defender of the 
folk of the Faith ! Allah Almighty prolong thy days and honour 
thy dominion and exalt thy degree to the highmost height ! '* 
The Caliph looked at him and marvelled at him and how fortune 
had come to him at unawares ; then he said to him, " O Khalif, 
whence hadst thou that robe which is upon thee ? " He replied, 
" O Commander of the Faithful, it cometh from my house." Quoth 
the Caliph, " Hast thou then a house ? " ; and quoth Khalif, "Yea, 
verily ! and thou, O Commander of the Faithful, art my guest 
this day." Al-Rashid said, " I alone, O Khalif, or I and those 
who are with me ?"; and he replied, " Thou and whom thou wilt." 
So Ja'afar turned to him and said, " We will be thy guests this 
night ; " whereupon he kissed ground again and withdrawing, 
mounted his mule and rode off, attended by his servants and 
suite of Mamelukes leaving the Caliph marvelling at this and 
saying to Ja'afar, " Sawest thou Khalif, with his mule and dress, 
his white slaves and his dignity ? But yesterday I knew him for 
a buffoon and a jester." And they marvelled at this much. 
Then they mounted and rode, till they drew near Khalif s house, 
when the Fisherman alighted and, taking a bundle from one of 
his attendants, opened it and pulled out therefrom a piece of tabby 
silk 2 and spread it under the hoofs of the Caliph's she-mule ; then 
he brought out a piece of velvet-Kimcob 3 and a third of fine satin 

1 Anglice, " Fine feathers make fine birds " ; and in Eastern parlance, " Clothe the 
reed and it will become a bride." (Labbis al-Busah tabki 'Ariisah, Spitta Bey, 
No. 275.) I must allow myself a few words of regret for the loss of this Savant, one 
of the most single-minded men known to me. He was vilely treated by the Egyptian 
Government, under the rule of the Jew-Moslem Riyaz ; and, his health not allowing 
him to live in Austria, he died shortly after return home. 

* .Arab. " Saub (Tobe) 'Atdbi " : see vol. iii. 149. 

8 In text ' Kimkha," which Dozy also gives Kucukh = chenille, tissu de soie veloutee : 
Damasquete de soie or et argent de Venise, du Levant, i fleurs, etc. It comes from 
Kamkhab or Kimkhab. a cloth of gold, the well-known Indian " Kimcob." 

2O2 A If Laylah iva Laylah. 

and did with them likewise ; and thus he spread well nigh twenty 
pieces of rich stuffs, till Al-Rashid and his suite had reached the 
house ; when he came forward and said, " Bismillah, 1 O Commander 
of the Faithful ! " Quoth Al-Rashid to Ja'afar, " I wonder to 
whom this house may belong/' and quoth he, " It belongeth to a 
man hight Ibn al-Ukab, Syndic of the Jewellers." So the Caliph 
dismounted and entering, with his courtiers, saw a high-builded 
saloon, spacious and boon, with couches on dais and carpets and 
divans strown in place. So he went up to the couch that was set 
for himself on four legs of ivory, plated with glittering gold and 
covered with seven carpets. This pleased him and behold, up 
came Khalif, with eunuchs and little white slaves, bearing all 
manner sherbets, compounded with sugar and lemon and perfumed 
with rose and willow-water and the purest musk. The Fisherman 
advanced and drank and gave the Caliph to drink, and the cup- 
bearers came forward and served the rest of the company with 
the sherbets. Then Khalif brought a table spread with meats of 
various colours and geese and fowls and other birds, saying, " In 
the name of Allah ! " So they ate their fill ; after which he bade 
remove the tables and kissing the ground three times before the 
Caliph craved his royal leave to bring wine and music. 2 He 
granted him permission for this and turning to Ja'afar, said to 
him, " As my head liveth, the house and that which is therein is 
Khalif's ; for that he is ruler over it and I am in admiration at 
him, whence there came to him this passing prosperity and 
exceeding felicity ! However, this is no great matter to Him 
who saith to a thing, * Be ! ' and it becometh ; what I most 
wonder at is his understanding, how it hath increased, and whence 
he hath gotten this loftiness and this lordliness ; but, when Allah 
willeth weal unto a man, He amendeth his intelligence before 
bringing him to worldly affluence." As they were talking, behold, 
up came Khalif, followed by cup-bearer lads like moons, belted 
with zones of gold, who spread a cloth of siglaton 3 and set 
thereon flagons of chinaware and tall flasks of glass and cups 
of crystal and bottles and hanaps 4 of all colours ; and those flagons 

1 Here meaning = Enter in Allah's name ! 

2 The Arabs have a saying, Wine breeds gladness, music merriment and their 
offspring is joy. 3 Arab. " Jokh al-Saklat," rich kind of brocade on broadcloth. 

4 Arab. " Hanabat," which Dozy derives from O. German Hnapf, Hnap now Napf : 
thence too the Lat. Hanapus and Hanaperium : Ital. Anappo, Nappo ; Provenc. Enap 
and French and English " Hanap = rich bowl, basket, bag. But this is known 
even to the dictionaries. 

Khalif the Fisherman of Baghdad. 203 

they filled with pure clear and old wine, whose scent was as the 
fragrance of virgin musk and it was even as sakh the poet : 

Ply me and also my mate be plied o With pure wine prest in the olden 

tide. 1 

Daughter of nobles 2 they lead her forth 3 o In raiment of goblets beautified . 
They belt her round with the brightest gems, o And pearls and unions, the 

Ocean's pride ; 
So I by these signs and signets know o Wherefore the Wine is entitled 

" Bride." 4 

And round about these vessels were confections and flowers, such 
as may not be surpassed. When Al-Rashid saw this from Khalif, 
he inclined to him and smiled upon him and invested him with an 
office ; so Khalif wished him continuance of honour and endurance 
of days and said, " Will the Commander of the Faithful deign 
give me leave to bring him a singer, a lute-player her like was 
never heard among mortals ever ? " Quoth the Caliph, " Thou 
art permitted ! " So he kissed ground before him and going to 
a secret closet, called Kut al-Kulub, who came after she had 
disguised and falsed and veiled herself, tripping in her robes 
and trinkets ; and she kissed ground before the Commander of 
the Faithful. Then she sat down and tuning the lute, touched 
its strings and played upon it, till all present were like to faint 
for excess of delight ; after which she improvised these verses : 

Would Heaven I wot, will ever Time bring our beloveds back again ? o And, 

ah ! will Union and its bliss to bless two lovers deign ? 
Will Time assure to us united days and joined joy, ? While from the storms 

and stowres of life in safety we remain ? 
Then O Who bade this pleasure be, our parting past and gone, o And made 

one house our meeting-stead throughout the Nights contain ; 
By him, draw near me, love, and closest cling to side of me o Else were 

my wearied wasted life, a vanity, a bane. 

When the Caliph heard this, he could not master himself, but rent 
his raiment and fell down a-swoon ; whereupon all who were 

1 Arab. " Kiram," nobles, and " Kurum," vines, a word which appears in Carmel 
Karam-El (God's vineyard). 

2 Arab. " Sulaf al-Khandarlsf," a contradiction. Sulaf = the ptisane of wine. 
Khandarfsf, from Greek X V ^P O $> lit. gruel, applies to old wine. 

3 i.e. in bridal procession. 

4 Arab. " Al-'Arus, one of the innumerable tropical names given to wine by the Arabs. 
Mr. Payne refers to Grangeret de la Grange, Anthologie Arabe, p. 190. 

2O4 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

present hastened to doff their dress and throw it over him, whilst 
Kut al-Kulub signed to Khalif and said to him, " Hie to yonder 
chest and bring us what is therein ;" for she had made ready 
therein a suit of the Caliph's wear against the like of such hour 
as this. So Khalif brought it to her and she threw it over the 
Commander of the Faithful, who came to himself and knowing 
her for Kut al-Kulub, said, " Is this the Day of Resurrection and 
hath Allah quickened those who are in the tombs ; or am I asleep 
and is this an imbroglio of dreams ? " Quoth Kut al-Kulub, 
"We are on wake, not on sleep, and I am alive, nor have I drained 
the cup of death." Then she told him all that had befallen her, 
and indeed, since he lost her, life had not been light to him nor 
had sleep been sweet, and he abode now wondering, then weeping 
and anon afire for longing. When she had made an end of her 
story, the Caliph rose and took her by the hand, intending for 
her palace, after he had kissed her inner lips, and had strained her 
to his bosom ; whereupon Khalif rose and said, " By Allah, O 
Commander of the Faithful! Thou hast already wronged me 
once, and now thou wrongest me again." Quoth Al-Rashid, 
" Indeed thou speakest sooth, O Khalif," and bade the Wazir 
Ja'afar give him what should satisfy him. So he straightway 
gifted him with all for which he wished and assigned him a 
village, the yearly revenues whereof were twenty thousand 
dinars. Moreover Kut al-Kulub generously presented him the 
house and all that was therein of furniture and hangings and 
white slaves and slave-girls and eunuchs great and small. So 
Khalif became possessed of this passing affluence and exceeding 
wealth and took him a wife, and prosperity taught him gravity 
and dignity, and good fortune overwhelmed him. The Caliph 
enrolled him among his equerries and he abode in all solace of 
life and its delights till he deceased and was admitted to the 
mercy of Allah. Furthermore they relate a tale anent 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 205 


THERE was once in days of yore and in ages and times long 
gone before a man and a merchant Masrur hight, who was of the 
comeliest of the folk of his tide, a wight of wealth galore and in 
easiest case ; but he loved to take his pleasure in vergiers and 
flower-gardens and to divert himself with the love of the fair. 
Now it fortuned one night, as he lay asleep, he dreamt that he 
was in a garth of the loveliest, wherein were four birds, and 
amongst them a dove, white as polished silver. That dove 
pleased him and for her grew up in his heart an exceeding 
love. Presently, he beheld a great bird swoop down on him 
and snatch the dove from his hand, and this was grievous to 
him. After which he awoke and not finding the bird strave 
with his yearnings till morning, when he said in himself, "There 
is no help but that I go to-day to some one who will expound 

to me this vision." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of 

day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

fo&en it foas tfce lEfgfjt |^un&re& anto JFortg-sfxtj) 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the merchant awoke, he strave with his yearnings till morning 
wherfthe said to himself, "There is no help but that I go this 
day to some one who will expound to me this vision." So he 
went forth and walked right and left, till he was far from his 
dwelling-place, but found none to interpret the dream to him. 
Then he would have returned, but on his way behold, the fancy 
took him to turn aside to the house of a certain trader, a man 
of the wealthiest, and when he drew near to it, suddenly he heard 
from within a plaintive voice from a sorrowful heart reciting these 
couplets : 

1 i.e. " Adornment of (good) Qualities." See the name punned on in Night dcccli. 
Lane omits this tale because it contains the illicit " Amours of a Christian and a Jewess 
who dupes her husband in various abominable ways." The text has been taken 
from the Mac. and the Bresl. Edits, x. 72 etc. In many parts the former is a mere 

2o6 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

The breeze o' Morn blows uswards from her trace o fragrant, and heals the 

love-sick lover's case. 
I stand like captive on the mounds and ask o While tears make answer 

for the ruined place : 
Quoth I, "By Allah, Breeze o' Morning, say o Shall Time and Fortune 

aye this stead regrace ? 
Shall I enjoy a fawn whose form bewitched o And langourous eyelids 

wasted frame and face?" 

When Masrur heard this, he looked in through the doorway and 
saw a garden of the goodliest of gardens, and at its farther end a 
curtain of red brocade, purfled with pearls and gems, behind which 
sat four damsels, and amongst them a young lady over four feet 
and under five in height, as she were the rondure of the lune and 
the full moon shining boon : she had eyes Kohl'd with nature's 
dye and joined eyebrows, a mouth as it were Solomon's seal and 
lips and teeth bright with pearls and coral's light ; and indeed she 
ravished all wits with her beauty and loveliness and symmetry 
and perfect grace. When Masrur espied her, he entered the porch 
and went on entering till he came to the curtain : whereupon she 
raised her head and glanced at him. So he saluted her and she 
returned his salam with sweetest speech ; and, when he con- 
sidered her more straitly, his reason was dazed and his heart 
amazed. Then he looked at the garden and saw that it was 
full of jessamine and gilly flowers and violets and roses and 
orange blossoms and all manner sweet-scented blooms and herbs. 
Every tree was girt about with fruits and there coursed down 
water from four daises, which faced one another and occupied 
the four corners of the garden. He looked at the first Lfwdn 
and found written around it with vermilion these two couplets : 

Ho thou the House !! Grief never home in thee ; o Nor Time work treason 

on thine owner's head : 
All good betide the House which every guest o Harbours, when sore dis 

trest for way and stead ! 

Then he looked at the second dais and found written thereon in 
red gold these couplets : 

Robe thee, O House, in richest raiment Time, o Long as the birdies on the 

branchlets chime ! 
And sweetest perfumes breathe within thy walls o And lover meet beloved in 

bliss sublime' 
And dwell thy dwellers all in joy and pride o Long as the wandering stars 

Heaven-hill shall climb. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 207 

Then he looked at the third, whereon he found written in ultra- 
marine these two couplets : 

Ever thy pomp and pride, O House I display o While starkeneth Night and 

shineth sheeny Day ! 
Boon Fortune bless all entering thy walls, o And whomso dwell in thee, for 

ever and aye ! 

Then he looked at the fourth and saw painted in yellow characters 
this couplet : 

This garden and this lake in truth o Are fair sitting-steads, by the Lord of 
Ruth ! 

Moreover, in that garden were birds of all breeds, ring-dove and 
cushat and nightingale and culver, each singing his several song, 
and amongst them the lady, swaying gracefully to and fro in her 
beauty and grace and symmetry and loveliness and ravishing all 
who saw her. Presently quoth she to Masrur, " Hola man ! what 
bringeth thee into a house other than thy house and wherefore 
comest thou in unto women other than thy women, without leave 
of their owner ? " Quoth he, " O my lady, I saw this garden, and 
the goodliness of its greenery pleased me and the fragrance of its 
flowers and the carolling of its birds ; so I entered, thinking to 
gaze on it awhile and wend my way/' Said she, " With love and 
gladness ! " ; and Masrur was amazed at the sweetness of her 
speech and the coquetry of her glances and the straightness of 
her shape, and transported by her beauty and seemlihead and 
the pleasantness of the garden and the birds. So in the dis- 
order of his spirits he recited these couplets : 

As a crescent-moon in the garth her form * 'Mid Basil and Jasmine and Rose 

I scan ; 
And Violet faced by the Myrtle-spray * And Nu'umaVs bloom and Myro- 

balan : 
By her perfume the Zephyrs perfumed breathe * And with scented sighings 

the branches fan. 
O Garden, thou perfect of beauty art * All charms comprising in perfect 

And melodious birdies sing madrigals * And the Full Moon 1 shineth in 

branch-shade wan ; 

The face of her who owns the garden. 

208 A If Laylah wa Lay lab. 

Its ring-dove, its culver, its mocking-bird * And its Philomel sing my soul t' 

unman ; 
And the longing of love all my" wits confuseth For her charms, As the man 

whom his wine bemuseth. 

Now when Zayn al-Mawasif heard his verse, she glanced at him 
with eyes which bequeathed a thousand sighs and utterly ravished 
his wisdom and wits and replied to him in these lines : 

Hope not of our favours to make thy prey * And of what thou wishest thy 

greed allay : 
And cease thy longing j thou canst not win * The love of the Fair thou'rt fain 

t' essay, 
My glances to lovers are baleful and naught # I reek of thy speech : I have 

said my say ! 

41 Ho, thou ! Begone about thy business, for we are none of the 
woman-tribe who are neither thine nor another's. 1 r And he 
answered, " O my lady, I said nothing ill." Quoth she, " Thou 
soughtest to divert thyself 2 and thou hast had thy diversion ; so 
wend thy ways." Quoth he, "O my lady, belike thou wilt give 
me a draught of water, for I am athirst." Whereupon she cried, 
" How canst thou drink of a Jew's water, and thou a Nazarene ? " 
But he replied, " O my lady, your water is not forbidden to us nor 
ours unlawful to you, for we are all as one creation." So she 
said to her slave-girl, " Give him to drink ; " and she did as she 
was bidden. Then she called for the table of food, and there 
came four damsels, high-bosomed maids, bearing four trays of 
meats and four gilt flagons full of strong old-wine, as it were the 
tears of a slave of love for clearness, and a table around whose 
edge were graven these couplets : 

For eaters a table they brought and set * In the banquet-hall and 'twas dight 
with gold : 

Like th' Eternal Garden that gathers all * Man wants of meat and wines mani- 

And when the high-breasted maids had set all this before him, 
quoth she, " Thou soughtest to drink of our drink ; so up and 
at our meat and drink ! " He could hardly credit what his ears 
had heard and sat down at the table forthright ; whereupon she 

1 i.e. I am no public woman. 

s i.e. with the sight of the garden and its mistress purposely left vague. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 209 

bade her nurse 1 give him a cup, that he might drink. Now her 
slave-girls were called, one Hubub, another Khutub and the 
third Sukub, 2 and she who gave him the cup was Hubub. So 
he took the cup and looking at the outside there saw written 
these couplets : 

Drain not the. bowl but with lovely wight Who loves thee and wine makes 

brighter bright. 
And 'ware her Scorpions 3 that o'er thee creep * And guard thy tongue lest thou 

vex her sprite. 

Then the cup went round and when he emptied it he looked 
inside and saw written : 

And 'ware her Scorpions when pressing them, * And hide her secrets from 
foes' despight. 

Whereupon Masrur laughed her-wards and she asked him, " What 
causeth thee to laugh ? " " For the fulness of my joy, ?> quoth he. 
Presently, the breeze blew on her and the scarf 4 fell from her 
head and discovered a fillet 5 of glittering gold, set with pearls 
and gems and jacinths ; and on her breast was a necklace of all 
manner ring-jewels and precious stones, to the centre of which 
hung a sparrow of red gold, with feet of red coral and bill of white 
silver and body full of Nadd-powder and pure ambergris and 
odoriferous musk. And upon its back was engraved : 

The Nadd is my wine-scented powder, my bread ; * And the bosom 's my bed 

and the breasts my stead : 
And my neck-nape complains of the weight of love, * Of my pain, of my pine, 

of my drearihead. 

Then Masrur looked at the breast of her shift and behold, thereon 
lay wroughten in red gold this verse : 

The fragrance of musk from the breasts of the fair o Zephyr borrows, to 
sweeten the morning air. 

1 Arab. "Dadat." Night dcclxxvi. vol. vii. p. 372. 

* Meaning respectively "Awaking" (or blowing hard), "Affairs" (or Misfortunes) 
and " Flowing" (blood or water). They are evidently intended for the names of Jewish 

* i.e. the brow-curls, or accroche-cceurs. See vol. i. 168. 

4 Arab. "Wishah" usually applied to woman's broad belt, stomacher (Al- Hariri 
Ass. of Rayy). 

* The old Greek." Stephane." 



A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

Masrur marvelled at this with exceeding wonder and was dazed 
by her charms and amazement gat hold upon him. Then said 
Zayn al-Mawasif to him, " Begone from us and go about thy 
business, lest the neighbours hear of us and even us with the 
lewd." He replied, "By Allah, O my lady, suffer my sight to 
enjoy the view of thy beauty and loveliness." With this she was 
wroth with him and leaving him, walked in the garden, and he 
looked at her shift-sleeve and saw upon it embroidered these 
lines : 

The weaver-wight wrote with gold-ore bright o And her wrists on brocade 
rained a brighter light : 

Her palms are adorned with a silvern sheen ; o And favour her fingers the 
ivory's white : 

For their tips are rounded like priceless pearl ; o And her charms would en- 
lighten the nightiest night. 

And, as she paced the garth, Masrur gazed at her slippers and saw 
written upon them these pleasant lines : 

The slippers that carry these fair young feet o Cause her form to bend 

in its gracious bloom : 
When she paces and waves in the breeze she owns, o She shines fullest moon 

in the murkiest gloom. 

She was followed by her women leaving Hubub with Masrur by the 
curtain, upon whose edge were embroidered these couplets : 

Behind the veil a damsel sits with gracious beauty dight, o Praise to the Lord 

who decked her with these inner gifts of sprite ! 
Guards her the garden and the bird fain bears her company ; o Gladden her 

wine-draughts and the bowl but makes her brighter-bright. 
Apple and Cassia-blossom show their envy of her cheeks ; o And borrows Pearl 

resplendency from her resplendent light ; 
As though the sperm that gendered her were drop of marguerite * o Happy who 

kisses her and spends in her embrace the night. 

So Masrur entered into a long discourse with Hubub and presently 
said to her, " O Hubub, hath thy mistress a husband or not ? "" 
She replied, "My lady hath a husband ; but he is actually abroad 
on a journey with merchandise of his." Now whenas he heard 
that her husband was abroad on a journey, his heart lusted after 
her and he said, " O Hubub, glorified be He who created this- 

1 Alluding to the popular fancy of the rain-drop which becomes a pearl. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 2 1 1 

damsel and fashioned her ! How sweet is her beauty and her 
loveliness and her symmetry and perfect grace ! Verily, into my 
heart is fallen sore travail for her. O Hubub, so do that I come 
to enjoy her, and thou shalt have of me what thou wilt of wealth 
and what not else/' Replied Hubub, " O Nazarene, if she heard 
thee speak thus, she would slay thee, or else she would kill herself, 
for she is the daughter of a Zealot ! of the Jews nor is there her 
like amongst them : she hath no need of money and she k'eepeth 
herself ever cloistered, discovering not her case to any." Quoth 
Masrur, " O Hubub, an thou wilt but bring me to enjoy her, I will 
be to thee slave and foot page and will serve thee all my life and 
give thee whatsoever thou seekest of me." But quoth she, " O 
Masrur, in very sooth this woman hath no lust for money nor yet 
for men, because my lady Zayn al-Mawasif is of the cloistered, 
going not forth her house-door in fear lest folk see her ; and but 
that she bore with thee by reason of thy strangerhood, she had not 
permitted thee to pass her threshold ; no, not though thou wert 
her brother." He replied, " O Hubub, be thou our go-between 
and thou shalt have of me an hundred gold dinars and a dress 
.worth as much more, for that the love of her hath gotten hold of 
my heart." Hearing this she said, " O man, let me go about with 
her in talk and I will return thee an answer and acquaint thee with 
[what she saith. Indeed, she loveth those who berhyme her and 
she affecteth those who set forth her charms and beauty and 
loveliness in verse, and we may not prevail over her save by wiles 
and soft speech and beguilement." Thereupon Hubub rose and 
going up to her mistress, accosted her with privy talk of this and 
that and presently said to her, " O my lady, look at yonder young 
man, the Nazarene ; how sweet is his speech and how shapely his 
shape ! " When Zayn al-Mawasif heard this, she turned to her 
and said, " An thou like his comeliness love him thyself. Art thou 
not ashamed to address the like of me with these words ? Go, bid 
him begone about his business ; or I will make it the worse for 
him/' So Hubub returned to Masrur, but acquainted him not 
with that which her mistress had said. Then the lady bade her 
hie to the door and look if she saw any of the folk, lest foul befal 
them. So she went and returning, said, " O my lady, without are 
folk in plenty and we cannot let him go forth this night." Quoth 
Zayn al-Mawasif, " I am in dole because of a dream I have seen 

1 Arab. " Ghazi " = one who fights for the faith. 

212 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

and am fearful therefrom.'* And Masrur said, " What sawest thou ? 
Allah never trouble thy heart ! " She replied, " I was asleep in 
the middle of the night, when suddenly an eagle swooped down 
upon me from the highest of the clouds and would have carried me 
off from behind the curtain, wherefore I was affrighted at him. 
Then I awoke from sleep and bade my women bring me meat and 
drink, so haply, when I had drunken, the dolour of the dream 
would cease from me." Hearing this, Masrur smiled and told her 
his dream from first to last and how he had caught the dove, 
whereat she marvelled with exceeding marvel. Then he went on 
to talk with her at great length and said, " I am now certified of 
the truth of my dream, for thou art the dove and I the eagle, and 
there is no hope but that this must be, for, the moment I set eyes 
on thee, thou tookest possession of my vitals and settest my heart 
a-fire for love of thee ! " Thereupon Zayn al-Mavvasif became 
wroth with exceeding wrath and said to him, " I take refuge with 
Allah from this ! Allah upon thee, begone about thy business ere 
the neighbours espy thee and there betide us sore reproach," adding, 
" Harkye, man ! Let not thy soul covet that it shall not obtain. 
Thou weariest thyself in vain ; for I am a merchant's wife and a 
merchant's daughter and thou art a druggist ; and when sawest 
thou a druggist and a merchant's daughter conjoined by such 
sentiment ? " He replied, " O my lady, never lacked love-liesse 
between folk *; so cut thou not off from me hope of this and what- 
soever thou seekest of me of money and raiment and ornaments 
and what not else, I will give thee.'* Then he abode with her in 
discourse and mutual blaming whilst she still redoubled in anger, 
till it was black night, when he said to her, " O my lady, take this 
gold piece and fetch me a little wine, for I am athirst and heavy 
hearted." So she said to the slave-girl Hubub, "Fetch him wine 
and take naught from him, for we have no need of his dinar." So 
she went whilst Masrur held his peace and bespake not the lady, 
who suddenly improvised these lines : 

Leave this thy design and depart, O man ! o Nor tread paths where lewdness 

and crime trepan J 
Love is a net shall enmesh thy sprite, o Make thee rise a-morning sad, 

weary and wan : 
For our spy thou shalt eke be the cause of talk; o And for thee shall blame 

me my tribe and clan : 

1 i.e. people of different conditions. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 213 

Yet scant I marvel thou lovest a Fair : o Gazelles hunting lions we aye shall 
scan ! 

And he answered her with these : 

Joy of boughs, bright branch of Myrobalan ! Have ruth on the heart 

all thy charms unman : 
Death-cup to the dregs thou garrest me drain * And don weed of Love 

with its bane and ban : 
How can soothe I a heart which for stress of pine * Burns with living coals 

which my longings fan ? 

Hearing these lines she exclaimed, " Away from me ! Quoth the 
saw ' Whoso looseth his sight wearieth his sprite. By Allah, I am 
tired of discourse with thee and chiding, and indeed thy soul 
coveteth that shall never become thine ; nay, though thou gave me 
my weight in gold, thou shouldst not get thy wicked will of me ; 
for, I know naught of the things of the world, save pleasant life, 
by the boon of Allah Almighty ! " He answered, " O my lady 
Zayn al-Mawasif, ask of me what thou wilt of the goods of the 
world." Quoth she, " What shall I ask of thee ? For sure thou 
wilt fare forth and prate of me in the highway and I shall become 
a laughing-stock among the folk and they will make a byword of 
me in verse, me who am the daughter of the chief of the merchants 
and whose father is known of the notables of the tribe. I have no 
need of money or raiment and such love will not be hidden from 
the people and I shall be brought to shame, I and my kith and 
kin." With this Masrur was confounded and could make her no 
answer; but presently she said, " Indeed, the master-thief, if he 
steal, stealeth not but what is worth his neck, and every woman 
who doth lewdness with other than her husband is styled a thief ; 
so, if it must be thus and no help 1 , thou shalt give me whatsoever 
my heart desireth of money and raiment and ornaments and what 
not." Quoth he, "An thou sought of me the world and all its 
regions contain from its East to its West, 'twere but a little thing,, 
compared with thy favour ; " and quoth she, " I will have of thee 
three suits, each worth a thousand Egyptian dinars, and adorned 
with gold and fairly purfled with pearls and jewels and jacinths, 

1 The sudden change appears unnatural to Europeans ; but an Eastern girl talking to 
a strange man in a garden is already half won. The beauty, however, intends to make 
trial of her lover's generosity before yielding. 

214 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

the best of their kind. Furthermore I require that thou swear to 
me thou wilt keep my secret nor discover it to any and that thou 
wilt company with none but me ; and I in turn will swear to thee 
a true oath that I will never false thee in love." So he sware to 
her the oath she required and she sware to him, and they agreed 
upon this ; after which she said to her nurse Hubub, " To-morrow 
go thou with Masrur to his lodging and seek somewhat of musk 
and ambergris and Nadd and rose-water and see what he hath. If 
he be a man of condition, we will take him into favour ; but an 
he be otherwise we will leave him." Then said she to him, " O 
Masrur, I desire somewhat of musk and ambergris and aloes-wood 
and Nadd ; so do thou send it me by Hubub ; " and he answered, 
" With love and gladness ; my shop is at thy disposal ! " Then 
the wine went round between them and their stance was sweet ; 
but Masrur's heart was troubled for the passion and pining which 
possessed him ; and when Zayn al-Mawasif saw him in this plight, 
she said to her slave-girl Sukub, " Arouse Masrur from his stupor ; 
mayhap he will recover." Answered Sukub, " Hearkening and 
obedience," and sang these couplets : 

Bring gold and gear an a lover thou, o And hymn thy love so success shalt 

r ow ; 
Joy the smiling fawn with the black-edged eyne o And the bending lines of 

the Cassia-bough : 
On her look, and a marvel therein shalt sight, o And pour out thy life ere thy 

life-term show : 
Love's affect be this, an thou weet the same ; o But, an gold deceive thee, leave 

gold and go ! 

Hereupon Masrur understood her and said," I hear and apprehend. 
Never was grief but after came relief, and after affliction dealing 
He will order the healing." Then Zayn al-Mawasif recited these 
couplets : 

From Love-stupor awake, O Masrur, 'twere best ; * For this day I dread my 

love rend thy breast ; 
And to-morrow I fear me folks' marvel-tale o Shall make us a byword from 

East to West : 
Leave love of my like or thou'lt gain thee blame ; o Why turn thee us-wards ? 

Such love's unblest ! 
For one strange of lineage whose kin repel o Thou shalt wake ill-famed, of 

friends dispossest : 
I'm a Zealot's child and affright the folk : o Would my life were ended and I at 


Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 215 

Then Masrur answered her improvisation and began to say these 
lines : 

To grief leave a heart that to love ne'er ceased ; o Nor blame, for your blame 

ever love increased : 
You misrule my vitals in tyrant-guise ; * Morn and Eve I wend not or West 

or East ; 
Love's law forbids me to do me die ; o They say Love's victim is ne'er 

released : 
Well-away ! Could I find in Love's Court a judge <i I'd 'plain and win to my 

rights at least. 

They ceased not from mutual chiding till morning morrowed, 
when Zayn al-Mawasif said, " O Masrur 'tis time for thee to 
depart, lest one of the folk see thee and foul befal us twain." So 
he arose and accompanied by nurse Hubub fared on, till they 
came to his lodging, where he talked with her and said to her, " All 
thou seekest of me is ready for thee, so but thou wilt bring me to 
enjoy her." Hubub replied, " Hearten thy heart ; " whereupon he 
rose and gave her an hundred dinars, saying " O Hubub, I have 
by me a dress worth an hundred gold pieces." Answered she, " O 
Masrur, make haste with the trinkets and other things promised 
her, ere she change her mind, for we may not take her, save with 
wile and guile, and she loveth the saying of verse." Quoth he, 
" Hearing and obeying," and bringing her the musk and ambergris 
and lign-aloes and rose-water, returned with her to Zayn al- 
Mawasif and saluted her. She returned his salam with the 
sweetest speech, and he was dazed by her beauty and improvised 
these lines : 

O thou sheeniest Sun who in night dost shine I * O who stole my soul with 

those large black eyne ! 
O slim-shaped fair with the graceful neck ! o O who shamest Rose wi' those 

cheeks o' thine ! 
Blind not our sight wi' thy fell disdain, o Disdain, that shall load us with pain 

and pine ; 
Passion homes in our inmost, nor will be quenched o The fire of yearning in 

vitals li'en : 
Your love has housed in heart of me *> And of issue but you see I ne'er a 

Then haply you'll pity this hapless wight o Thy sad lover and then -0 the 

Morn divine ! 

When Zayn al-Mawasif heard his verses, she cast at him a glance 
<tf eyes, that bequeathed him a thousand regrets and sighs and his 

216 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

wits and soul were ravished in such wise, and answered him with 
these couplets *: 

Think not from her, of whom thou art enamoured aye To win delight ; so put 

desire from thee away. 
Leave that thou hop'st, for 'gainst her rigours whom thou lov'st Among the fair, 

in vain is all thou canst essay. 
My looks to lovers bring discomfiture and woe : Indeed, I make no count of 

that which thou dost say. 

When Masrur heard this, he hardened his heart and took patience 
concealing his case and saying in himself, " There is nothing for 
it against calamity save long-suffering ; " and after this fashion 
they abode till nightfall when Zayn al-Mawasif called for food and 
they set before her a tray, wherein were all manner of dishes, 
quails and pigeons and mutton and so forth, whereof they ate 
their sufficiency. Then she bade take away the tables and they 
did so and fetched the lavatory gear ; and they washed their hands, 
after which she ordered her women to bring the candlesticks, and 
they set on candlelabra and candles therein of camphorated wax. 
Thereupon quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, " By Allah, my breast is 
straitened this night and I am a-fevered ; " and quoth Masrur 
"Allah broaden thy breast and banish thy bane ! " Then she said, 
" O Masrur, I am used to play at chess : say me, knowest aught of 
the game ? " He replied, " Yes ; I am skilled therein ; " where- 
upon she commanded her handmaid Hubub fetch her the chess- 
board. So she went away and presently returning with the board, 
set it before her, and behold, it was of ivory-marquetried ebony 
with squares marked in glittering gold, and its pieces of pearl and 

ru by. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say. 

ttfofo to&en ft foas tje ^Btgfjt ^untetr antr JfortB^Ebentf) Nfgftt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn 
al-Mawasif bade the chessboard be brought, they set it between 
her hands ; and Masrur was amazed at this, when she turned to 
him and said, " Wilt have red or white ? " He replied, " O 
Princess of the fair and adornment of morning air, do thou take 

1 These lines have occurred in the earlier part of the Night : I quote Mr. Payne for 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 217 

the red for they formous are and fitter for the like of thee to bear 
and leave the white to my care." Answered she, " So be it ;" and, 
taking the red pieces, ranged them opposite the white, then put out 
her hand to a piece purposing the first pass into the battle-plain. 
Masrur considered her fingers, which were white as paste, and was 
confounded at their beauty and shapely shape ; whereupon she 
turned to him and said, U O Masrur, be not bedazed, but take 
patience and calm thyself." He rejoined, " O thou whose beauty 
shameth the moon, how shall a lover look on thee and have 
patience-boon ? " And while this was doing she cried, " Check- 
mate * ! " and beat him ; wherefore she knew that he was Jinn-mad 
for love of her and said to him, " O Masrur, I will not play with 
thee save for a set stake." He replied, " I hear and obey," and 
she rejoined, " Swear to me and I will swear to thee that neither 
of us will cheat 2 the adversary." So both sware this and she 
said, " O Masrur, an I beat thee, I will have ten dinars of thee, 
but an thou beat me, I will give thee a mere nothing." He 
expected to win, so he said, " O my lady, be not false to thine 
oath, for I see thou art an overmatch for me at this game ! " 
" Agreed," said she and they ranged their men and fell again to 
playing and pushing on their pawns and catching them up with 
the queens and aligning and matching them with the castles and 
solacing them with the onslaught of the knights. Now the 
" Adornment of Qualities " wore on head a kerchief of blue 
brocade so she loosed it off and tucking up her sleeve, showed a 
wrist like a shaft of light and passed her palm over the red 
pieces, saying to him, "Look to thyself," But he was dazzled 
at her beauty, and the sight of her graces bereft him of reason, so 
that he became dazed and amazed and put out his hand to the 
white men, but it alit upon the red. Said she, " O Masrur, where 
be thy wits ? The red are mine and the white thine ;" and he 
replied, " Whoso looketh at thee perforce loseth all his senses." 
Then, seeing how it was with him, she took the white from him 
and gave him the red, and they played and she beat him. He 

1 Arab. ' Al-Shah mat'* = the King is dead, Pers. and Arab, grotesquely mixed : 
Europeans explain " Checkmate " in sundry ways, all more or less wrong. 

2 Cheating (Ghadr) is so common that Easterns who have no tincture of Western 
civilisation look upon it not only as venial but laudable when one can take advantage 
of a simpleton. No idea of " honour " enters into it. Even in England the old lady 
whist-player of the last generation required to be looked after pretty closely if Mr. 
Charles Dickens is to be trusted. 

2 1 8 A If Laylah . ^va Laylah. 

ceased not to play with her and she to beat him, whilst he paid 
her each time ten dinars, till, knowing him to be distraught for 
love of her, she said, " O Masrur, thou wilt never win to thy wish, 
except thou beat me, for such was our understanding ; and hence- 
forth, I will not play with thee save for a stake of an hundred 
dinars a game." " With love and gladness," answered he and 
she went on playing and ever beating him and he paid her an 
hundred dinars each time ; and on this wise they abode till the 
morning, without his having won a single game, when he suddenly 
sprang to his feet. Quoth she, " What wilt thou do, O Masrur ? "; 
and quoth he, " I mean to go to my lodging and fetch somewhat 
of money : it may be I shall come to my desire." " Do whatso 
seemeth good to thee," said she ; so he went home and taking 
all the money he had, returned to her improvising these two 
couplets : 

In dream I saw a bird o'er speed (meseem'd), o Love's garden decked with 

blooms that smiled and gleamed : 
But I shall ken, when won my wish and will o Of thee, the truthful sense 

of what I dreamed. 

Now when Masrur returned to her with all his monies they fell 
a-playing again ; but she still beat him and he could not beat her 
once ; and in such case they abode three days, till she had gotten 
of him the whole of his coin ; whereupon said she, " O Masrur, 
what wilt thou do now ? "; and he replied, " I will stake thee a 
druggist's shop." " What is its worth ? " asked she ; and he 
answered, " Five hundred dinars." So they played five bouts and 
she won the shop of him. Then he betted his slave-girls, lands, 
houses, gardens, and she won the whole of them, till she had 
gotten of him all he had ; whereupon she turned to him and said, 
" Hast thou aught left to lay down ? " Cried he, " By Him who 
made me fall into the snare of thy love, I have neither money to 
touch nor aught else left, little or much ! " She rejoined, " O 
Masrur, the end of whatso began in content shall not drive man to 
repent ; wherefore, an thou regret aught, take back thy good and 
begone from us about thy business and I will hold thee quit 
towards me." Masrur rejoined, " By Him who decreed these 
things to us, though thou sought to take my life 'twere a wee 
thing to stake for thine approof, because I love none but thee ! " 
Then said she, " O Masrur, fare forthright and fetch the Kazi and 
the witnesses and make over to me by deed all thy lands and 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif t 219 

possessions." "Willingly," replied he and, going forth without 
stay or delay, brought the Kazi and the witnesses and set them 
before her. When the judge saw her, his wits fled and his mind 
was amazed and his reason was dazed for the beauty of her 
ringers, and he said to her, " O my lady, I will not write out the 
writ of conveyance, save upon condition that thou buy the lands 
and mansions and slave-girls and that they all pass under thy 
control and into thy possession/' She rejoined, " We're agreed 
upon that. Write me a deed, whereby all Masrur's houses and 
lands and slave-girls and whatso his right hand possesseth shall 
pass to Zayn al-Mawasif and become her property at such a 
price." So the Kazi wrote out the writ and the witnesses set 
hands thereto; whereupon she took it. And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

tNTofo fofjen ft foa* tfje Zfjjfit f^utrtrreti anfc JFortg^f$)tf) 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Zayn al-Mawasif took from the Kazi the deed which made over to 
her lover's property she said to him, " O Masrur, now gang thy 
gait." But her slave-girl Hubub turned to him and said, " Recite 
us some verses." So he improvised upon that game of chess these 
couplets : 

Of Time and what befel me I complain, o Mourning my loss by chess and eyes 

of bane. 
For love of gentlest, softest-sided fair o Whose like is not of maids or mortal 

strain : 
The shafts of glances from those eyne who shot o And led her conquering host 

to battle-plain 
Red men and white men and the clashing Knights o And, crying " Look to 

thee ! " came forth amain : 
And, when down charging, finger-tips she showed o That gloomed like blackest 

night for sable stain, 
The Whites I could not rescue, could not save o While ecstasy made tear- 

floods rail and rain : 
The Pawns and Castles with their Queens fell low o And fled the Whites nor 

could the brunt sustain : 
Yea, with her shaft of glance at me she shot o And soon that shaft had pierced 

my heart and brain : 
She gave me choice between her hosts, and I o The Whites like moonlight first 

to choose was fain, 
Saying, "This argent folk best fitteth me o I love them, but the Red by 

thee be ta'en I " 

22O A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

She played me for free accepted stake o Yet amorous mercy I could ne'er 
obtain : 

fire of heart, O pine and woe of me, o Wooing a fair like moon mid starry 

train : 
Burns no' my heart O no ! nor aught regrets o Of good or land, but ah ! her 

eyes' disdain ! 
Amazed I'm grown and dazed for drearihead o And blame I Time who brought 

such pine and pain. 
Quoth she, "Why artthou so bedazed ! "quoth I o " Wine-drunken wight shall 

more of wine assain?" 
That mortal stole my sense by silk-soft shape, o Which doth for heart-core 

hardest rock contain. 

1 nerved self and cried, " This day she's mine " o By bet, nor fear I prove she 

unhumane : 
My heart ne'er ceased to seek possession, till o Beggared I found me for 

conditions twain : 
Will youth you loveth shun the Love-dealt blow, o Tho' were he whelmed in 

Love's high-surging main ? 
So woke the slave sans e'en a coin to turn, o Thralled to repine for what he 

ne'er shall gain ! 

Zayn al-Mawasif hearing these words marvelled at the eloquence 
of his tongue and said to him, " O Masrur, leave this madness and 
return to thy right reason and wend thy ways ; for thou hast 
wasted all thy moveables and immoveables at the chess-game, yet 
hast not won thy wish, nor hast thou any resource or device 
whereby thou mayst attain to it." But he turned to her and said, 
" O my lady, ask of me whatso thou wilt and thou shalt have it ; 
for I will bring it to thee and lay it at thy feet." Answered she, 
" O Masrur, thou hast no money left." " O goal of all hopes, if I 
have no money, the folk will help me." " Shall the giver turn 
asker ? " " I have friends and kinsfolk, and whatsoever I seek of 
them, they will give me." " O Masrur, I will have of thee four 
pods of musk and four vases of civet 1 and four pounds of amber- 
gris and four thousand dinars and four hundred pieces of royal 
brocade, purfled with gold. An thou bring me these things, O 
Masrur, I will grant thee my favours." " This is a light matter to 
me, O thou that puttest the moons to shame," replied he and went 
forth to fetch her what she sought. She sent her maid Hubub 
after him, to see what worth he had with the folk of whom he had 

1 Arab. ' Al-Ghaliyah," whence the older English Algallia. See vol. i., 128. The 
Voyage of Linschoten, etc. Hakluyt Society MDCCCLXXXV., with notes by my learned 
friend the late Arthur Coke Burnell whose early death was so sore a loss to Oriental 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 221 

spoken to her ; but, as he walked along the highways he turned 
and seeing her afar off, waited till she came up to him and said to 
her, " Whither away, O Hubub ? " So she said to him, " My 
mistress sent me to follow for this and that," and he replied, " By 
Allah, O Hubub, I have nothing to hand ! " She asked, " Then 
why didst thou promise her ? "; and he answered, " How many a 
promise made is unkept of its maker! Fine words in love-matters 
needs must be." When she heard this from him, she said, "O 
Masrur, be of good cheer and eyes clear for, by Allah, most 
assuredly I will be the means of thy coming to enjoy her ! " Then 
she left him nor ceased walking till she stood before her mistress 
weeping with sore weeping, and said, " O my lady, indeed he is a 
man of great consideration, and good repute among the folk." 
Quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, " There is no device against the destiny 
of Almighty Allah ! Verily, this man found not in me a pitiful 
heart, for that I despoiled him of his substance and he got of me 
neither affection nor complaisance in granting him amorous joy ; 
but, if I incline to his inclination, I fear lest the thing be bruited 
abroad." Quoth Hubub, " O my lady, verily, grievous upon us is 
his present plight and the loss of his good and thou hast with thee 
none save thyself and thy slave-girl Sukub ; so which of us two 
would dare prate of thee, and we thy handmaids ? " With this, 
she bowed her head for a while ground-wards and the damsels 
said to her, " O my lady, it is our rede that thou send after him 
and show him grace and suffer him not ask of the sordid ; for how 
bitter is such begging ! " So she accepted their counsel and calling 
for inkcase and paper, wrote him these couplets : 

Joy is nigh, O Masrur, so rejoice in true rede ; * Whenas night shall fall thou 

shall do kind-deed : 
Crave not of the sordid a loan, fair youth, o Wine stole my wits but they now 

take heed : 
All thy good I reft shall return to thee, o O Masrtir, and I'll add to them 

amorous meed ; 
For indeed th' art patient, and sweet of soul When wronged by thy lover's 

tyrannic greed. 
So haste to enjoy us and luck to thee ! Lest my folk come between 

us speed, love, all speed ! 
Hurry uswards thou, nor delay, and while * My mate is far, on Love's 

fruit come feed. 

Then she folded the paper and gave it to Hubub the handmaid, 
who carried it to Masrur and found him weeping and reciting in 
a transport of passion and love-longing these lines : 

222 A If Laylak wa Laylak. 

A breeze of love on my soul did blow * That consumed rny liver for stress 

of lowe ; 
When my sweetheart went all my longings grew ; * And with tears in torrent 

mine eyelids flow : 
Such my doubt and fears, did I tell their tale * To deaf rocks and pebbles 

they'd melt for woe. 
Would Heaven I wot shall I sight delight, * And shall win my wish and my 

friend shall know ! 
Shall be folded up nights that doomed us part * And I be healed of what 

harms my heart ? 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

her permitted say. 

jtfofo fofjen ft foas tje lEigftt f^unfcrrtr anfc 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that while 
Masrur, transported by passion and love-longing, was repeating 
his couplets in sing-song tone Hubub knocked at his door ; so he 
rose and opened to her, and she entered and gave him the letter. He 
read it and said to her, " O Hubub, what is behind thee of thy 
lady's news 1 ? " She answered, " O my lord, verily, in this letter 
is that dispenseth me from reply, for thou art of those who 
readily descry! " Thereat he rejoiced with joy exceeding and 
repeated these two couplets : 

Came the writ whose contents a new joy revealed, * Which in vitals mine I 

would keep ensealed : 
And my longings grew when I kissed that writ, * As were pearl of passion 

therein concealed. 

Then he wrote a letter answering hers and gave it to Hubub, who 
wrote it and returned with it to her mistress and forthright fell 
to extolling his charms to her and expiating on his good gifts 
and generosity; for she was become a helper to him, to bring 
about his union with her lady. Quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, " O Hubub, 
indeed he tarrieth to come to us ; " and quoth Hubub, " He will 
certainly come soon." Hardly had she made an end of speaking 
when behold, he knocked at the door, and she opened to him and 

1 A favourite idiom, " What news bringest thou ?" (' O Asam ! " Arab. Prov. ii. 589) 
ased by Haris bin Amru, King of Kindah, to the old woman Asam whom he had sent 
to inspect a girl he purposed marrying. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 223 

brought him in to her mistress, who saluted him with the salam 1 
and welcomed him and seated him by her side. Then she said 
to Hubub, " Bring me a suit of brocade ; " so she brought a robe 
broidered with gold and Zayn al-Mawasif threw it over him, 
whilst she herself donned one of the richest dresses and crowned 
her head with a net of pearls of the freshest water. About this 
she bound a fillet of brocade, purfled with pearls, jacinths and 
other jewels, from beneath which she let down two tresses 2 each 
looped with a pendant of ruby, charactered with glittering gold, 
and she loosed her hair, as it were the sombrest night ; and lastly 
she incensed herself with aloes-wood and scented herself with 
musk and ambergris, and Hubub said to her, " Allah save thee 
from the evil eye ! " Then she began to walk, swaying from side 
to side with gracefullest gait, whilst Hubub who excelled in verse- 
making, recited in her honour these couplets : 

Shamed is the bough of Ba"n by pace of her ; o And harmed are lovers by 

the gaze of her. 
A moon she rose from murks, the hair of her, o A sun from locks the 

brow encase of her : 
Blest he she nights with by the grace of her, o Who dies in her with oath by 

days of her ! 

So Zayn al-Mawasif thanked her and went up to Masrur, as she 
were full moon displayed. But when he saw her, he rose to his 
feet and exclaimed, <f An my thought deceive me not, she is no 
human, but one of the brides of Heaven ! " Then she called for 
food and they brought a table, about whose marge were written 
these couplets 3 : 

Dip thou with spoons in saucers four and gladden heart and eye With many 

a various kind of stew and fricassee and fry. 
Thereon fat quails (ne'er shall I cease to love and tender them) And rails and 

fowls and dainty birds of all the kinds that fly. 
Glory to God for the Kabobs, for redness all aglow, And potherbs, steeped in 

vinegar, in porringers thereby ! 

1 Amongst the Jews the Arab Salam becomes " Shahim" and a Jewess would 
certainly not address this ceremonial greeting to a Christian. But Eastern story-tellers 
care little for these minutiae ; and the " Adornment of Qualities," was not by birth a 
Jewess as the sequel will show. 

3 Arab. ' Salifah," the silken plaits used as adjuncts. See vol. iii, 313. 

8 I have translated these lines in vol. i. 131, and quoted Mr. Toirens in vol. iv. 235. 
Here I borrow from Mr. Payne. 

224 A' If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Fair fall the rice with sweet milk dressed, wherein the hands did plunge And 

eke the forearms of the fair were buried, bracelet-high ! 
How my heart yearneth with regret over two plates of fish That by two 

manchet-cakes of bread of Tewarij 1 did lie ! 

Then they ate and drank and made mirth and merriment, after 
which the servants removed the table of food and set on the wine 
service ; so cup and tasse 2 passed round between them and they 
were gladdened in soul. Then Masrur filled the cup and saying, 
" O whose thrall am I and who is my mistress ! " 3 chanted these 
improvised couplets : 

Mine eyes I admire that can feed their fill o On charms of a girl rising worlds 

to light : 
In her time she hath none to compare for gifts o Of spirit and body a mere 

Her shape breeds envy in Cassia-tree o When fares she forth in her symmetry 

dight : 
With luminous brow shaming moon of darko And crown-like crescent the 

brightest bright. 
When treads she earth' surface her fragrance scents o The Zephyr that breathes 

over plain and height. 

When he ended his extempore song she said, " O Masrur, whoso 
religiously keepeth his faith and hath eaten our bread and salt, it 
behoveth us to give him his due ; so put away from thee all 
thought of what hath been and I will restore thee thy lands and 
houses and all we have taken from thee." He replied, " O my 
lady, I acquit thee of that whereof thou speakest, though thou 
hadst been false to the oath and covenant between us ; for I will 
go and become a Moslem." Zayn al-Mawasif protested that she 
would follow suit 4 when Hubub cried to her, " O my lady, thou 

1 Mr. Payne notes : Apparently some place celebrated for its fine bread, as Gonesse 
in seventeenth-century France. It occurs also in Bresl. Edit. (iv. 203) and Dozy does 
not understand it. But Arj the root = good odour. 

2 Arab. "Tas," from Pers. Tasah. M. Charbonneau a Professor of Arabic at Con- 
stantine and Member of the Asiatic Soc. Paris, who published the Histoire de Chams- 
Eddine et Nour-Eddine with Maghrabi punctuation (Paris, Hachette, 1852) remarks the 
similarity of this word to Tazza and a number of other whimsical coincidences as Zauj, 
vyosjugum; Inkar, negare ; matrah, matelas ; Ishttra, acheter etc. To which I may 
add wasat, waist ; zabad, civet ; Bas, buss (kiss) ; uzrub (pron. Zrub), drub ; Kat', cut ; 
Tarik, track; etc., etc. 

We should say " To her (I drink) " etc. 

4 This is ad captandum. The lovers becoming Moslems would secure the sympathy 
of the audience. In the sequel (Night dccclviii) we learn that the wilful young woman 
was a born Moslemah who had married a Jew but had never Judaized. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 225 

art young of years and knowest many things, and I claim the 
intercession of Almighty Allah with thee for, except thou do my 
bidding and heal my heart, I will not lie the night with thee in 
the house." And she replied, " O Hubub, it shall be as thou wilt. 
Rise and make us ready another sitting-room/' So she sprang 
to her feet and gat ready a room and adorned and perfumed it 
after fairest fashion even as her lady loved and preferred ; after 
which she again set on food and wine, and the cup went round 

between them and their hearts were glad. And Shahrazad per* 

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

JJofo fofjen it foas tfje 3Eu$t f^unfcrrtf antr JptfttBt!) 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Zayn al-Mawasif bade ; her maid Hubub make ready a private 
sitting-room she arose and did her bidding, after which she again 
set food and wine before them and cup and tasse went round 
gladdening their hearts. Presently quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, " O 
Masrur, come is the time of Union and favour ; so, as thou 
studiest my love to savour recite us some verses surpassing of 
flavour." Upon this he recited the following ode 1 : 

I am taken : my heart burns with living flame 
For Union shorn whenas Severance came, 
In the love of a damsel who forced my soul 
And with delicate cheeklet my reason stole. 
She hath eyebrows united and eyes black-white 
And her teeth are leven that smiles in light : 
The tale of her years is but ten plus four ; 
Tears like Dragon's blood 2 for her love I pour. 
First I saw that face 'mid parterre and rill, 
Outshining full Lune on horizon-hill ; 
And stood like a captive for awe, and cried, 
" Allah's Peace, O who in demesne 3 doth hide ! * 
She returned my salam, gaily answering 
With the sweetest speech likest pearls a-string. 
But when heard my words, she right soon had known 
My want and her heart waxed hard as stone, 
And quoth she^ " Be not this a word silly-bold ? " 
But quoth I, " Refrain thee nor flyte and scold ! 
An to-day thou consent such affair were light ; 

1 The doggrel of this Kasidah is not so phenomenal as some we have seen. 

2 Arab. 'Andam = Brazil wood, vol. iii. 263. 

3 Arab. " Hima." See supra, p. 102. 


226 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Thy like is the loved, mine the lover-wight ! " 

When she knew my mind she but smiled in mirth 

And cried, " Now, by the Maker of Heaven and Earth f 

" I'm a Jewess of Jewry's driest e'er seen 

And thou art naught save a Nazarene. 

<{ Why seek my favours ? Thine's other caste ; 

An this deed thou do thou'lt repent the past. 

"Say, does Love allow with two Faiths to play? 

Men shall blame thee like me, at each break of day ! 

'* Wilt thou laugh at beliefs and deride their rite, 

And in thine and mine prove thee sinful sprite ? 

"An thou lovedest me thou hadst turned Jew, 

Losing worlds for love and my favours due ; 

" And by the Evangel strong oath hadst sworn 

To keep our secret intact from scorn ! " 

So I took the Torah and sware strong oath 

I would hold to the covenant made by both. 

Then by law, religion and creed I sware, 

And bound her by oaths that most binding were ; 

And asked her, " Thy name, O my dear delight ? " 

And she, "Zayn al-Mawdsif at home I'm hight ! " 

"O Zayn al-Mawasif! "(cried I) "Hear my call : 

Thy love hath made me thy veriest thrall ! " 

Then I peeped 'neath her chin-veil and 'spied such charms 

That the longing of love filled my heart with qualms. 

'Neath the curtain I ceased not to humble me, 

And complain of my heart-felt misery ; 

But when she saw me by Love beguiled 

She raised her face-veil and sweetly smiled : 

And when breeze of Union our faces kiss'd 

With musk-pod she scented fair neck and wrist ; 

And the house with her essences seemed to drip, 

And I kissed pure wine from each smiling lip : 

Then like branch of Ban 'neath her robe she swayed 

And joys erst unlawful x she lawful made : 

And joined, conjoined through our night we lay 

With clip, kiss of inner lip, langue fourrte. 

The world hath no grace but the one loved fere 

In thine arms to clasp with possession sheer ! 

With the morn she rose and she bade Good-bye 

While her brow shone brighter than moon a-sky ; 

Reciting at parting (while tear-drops hung 

On her cheeks, these scattered and other strung),* 

" Allah's pact in mind all my life I'll bear 

And the lovely nights and strong oath I sware." 

1 i.e. her favours were not lawful till the union was sanctified by heart-whole (if nol 
pure) love. 
* Arab. " Mansur wa mun&zzam " = oratio soluta et ligata. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 227 

Zayn al-Mawasif was delighted and said to him, " O Masrur, how 
goodly are thy inner gifts ! May he live not who would harm 
thy heart ! " Then she entered her boudoir and called him : so 
he went in to her and taking her in his arms, embraced her and 
hugged her and kissed her and got of her that which he had deemed 
impossible and rejoiced in winning the sweet of amorous will. 
Then said she, " O Masrur, thy good is unlawful to me and is law- 
fully thine again now that we are become lovers." So she re- 
turned to him all she had taken of him and asked him, " O Masrur, 
hast thou a flower-garden whither we may wend and take our 
pleasure ? " ; whereto he answered, " Yes, O my lady, I have a 
garden that hath not its like." Then he returned to his lodgings 
and bade his slave-girls make ready a splendid banquet in a hand- 
some room ; after which he summoned Zayn al-Mawasif who 
came surrounded by her damsels, and they ate and drank and made 
mirth and merriment, whilst the cup passed round between them 
and their spirits rose high. Then lover withdrew with beloved 
and Zayn al-Mawasif said to Masrur, "I have bethought me 
of some dainty verses, which I would fain sing to the lute." 
He replied, *' Do sing them " ; so she took the lute and tuning 
it, sang to a pleasant air these couplets : 

Joy from stroke of string doth to me incline, o And sweet is a-morning our 

early wine ; 
Whenas Love unveileth the amourist's heart, o And by rending the veil he 

displays his sign, 
With a draught so pure, so dear, so bright, o As in hand of Moons 1 the 

Sun's sheeny shine 
O' nights it cometh with joy to 'rase o The hoar of sorrow by boon 


Then ending her verse, she said to him, " O Masrur, recite us 
somewhat of thy poetry and favour us with the fruit of thy 
thought." So he recited these two couplets :-<- 

We joy in full Moon who the wine bears round, o And in concert of lutes 

that from gardens sound ; 
Where the dove moans at dawn and where bends the bough * To Morn, and 

all pathways of pleasure are found 

When he had finished his recitation she said to him, " Make us 
some verses on that which hath passed between us an thou be 

r i.e. tire cupbearers. 

228 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

occupied with love of me." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 

of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fo&m (t foas tfi? SfjjBt ^utrtrrefc an* $ift$=fa%t 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Zayn al-Mawasif said to Masrur, "An thou be occupied with love 
of me, make us some verses on that hath passed between us," 
" With love and gladness," he replied and improvised the following 
Kasfdah J : 

Stand thou and hear what fell to me o For love of you gazelle to dree ! 
Shot me a white doe with her shaft o O* glances wounding woundily. 
Love was my ruin, for was I o Straitened by longing ecstasy : 

I loved and woo'd a young coquette o Girded by strong artillery, 
Whom in a garth I first beheld o A form whose sight was symmetry. 

I greeted her and when she deigned o Greeting return, " Saldm," quoth 


14 What be thy name ?" said I, she said, o My name declares my quality ! * 
" Zayn al-Mawasif I am hight." o Cried I, " Oh deign I mercy see, 

" Such is the longing in .my heart o No lover claimeth rivalry ! " 
Quoth she, <l With me an thou 'rt in love o And to enjoy me pleadest plea, 
" I want of thee oh ! muchel wealth ; o Beyond all compt my wants o' thee ! 
" I want o' thee full many a robe o Of sendal, silk and damaskry ; 

" A quarter quintal eke of musk: o These of one night shall pay the fee. 

" Pearls, unions and carnelian 3 -stones o The bestest best of jewelry ! " 
Of fairest patience showed I show o In contrariety albe : 
At last she favoured me one nighl o When rose the moon a crescent wee ; 
An stranger blame me for her sake o I say, " O blamers listen ye! 
She showeth locks of goodly length o And black as blackest night its blee ; 
While on her cheeks the roses glow o Like Laza-flame incendiary : 
In every eyelash is a sword o And every glance hath archery: 

Her liplets twain old wine contain, o And dews of fount-like purity : 
Her teeth resemble strings o' pearls, o Arrayed in line and fresh from sea : 
Her neck is like the neck of doe, o Pretty and carven perfectly : 

Her bosom is a marble slab o Whence rise two breasts like towers 

on lea : 

And on her stomach shows a crease o Perfumed with rich perfumery ; 
Beneath which same there lurks a Thingo Limit of mine expectancy. 

1 Which is not worse than usual. 

2 i.e. Ornament of Qualities." 

3 The 'Akik, a mean and common stone, ranks high in Moslem poetry on 'account of 
the saying of Mohammed recorded by AH and Ayishah " Seal with seals of Carnelian." 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 229 

A something rounded, cushioned-high * And plump, my lords, to high 

degree : 

To me 'tis likest royal throne * Whither my longings wander free ; 
There 'twixt two pillars man shall find * Benches of high-built tracery. 
It hath specific qualities * Drive sanest men t } insanity ; 

Full mouth it hath like mouth of neck * Or well begirt by stony key ; 
Firm lips with camelry's compare * And shows it eye of cramoisie. 
An draw thou nigh with doughty will # To do thy doing lustily, 
Thou'll find it fain to face thy bout * And strong and fierce in valiancy. 
It bendeth backwards every brave * Shorn of his battle-bravery. 
At times imberbe, but full of spunk * To battle with the Paynimry. 
'Twill show thee liveliness galore * And perfect in its raillery : 
Zayn al-Mawasif it is like * Complete in charms and courtesy. 

To her dear arms one night I came * And won meed given lawfully : 
I passed with her that self-same night * (Best of my nights !) in gladdest glee ; 
And when the morning rose, she rose * And crescent like her visnomy : 
Then swayed her supple form as sway * The lances lopt from limber tree ; 
And when farewelling me she cried, * " When shall such nights return to 

Then I replied, "O eyen-light, * When He vouchsafeth His decree!" 1 

Zayn al-Mawasif was delighted with this Ode and the utmost 
gladness gat hold of her. Then said she, " O Masrur day-dawn 
draweth nigh and there is naught for it save to fly for fear of 
scandal and spy ! " He replied, " I hear and obey," and rising 
led her to her lodging, after which he returned to his quarters 2 and 
passed the rest of the night pondering on her charms. When the 
morning morrowed with its sheen and shone, he made ready a 
splendid present and carried it to her and sat by her side. And 
thus they abode awhile, in all solace of life and its delight, till one 
day there came to Zayn al-Mawasif a letter from her husband 
reporting to her his speedy return. Thereupon she said in herself, 
" May Allah not keep him nor quicken him ! If he come hither, 
our life will be troubled : would Heaven I might despair of him ! '* 
Presently entered Masrur and sat with her at chat, as was his 
wont, whereupon she said to him, " O Masrur, I have received a 
missive from my mate, announcing his speedy return from his 
wayfaring. What is to be done, since neither of us without other 

1 See note ii. at the end of this volume. 

8 Arab. "Mahall" as opposed to the lady's " Manzil," which would be better 
" Makdm." The Arabs had many names for their old habitations, e.g. ; Kubbah, of 
brick ; Sutrah, of sun-dried mud ; Hazirah, of wood ; Tiraf, a tent of leather ; Khabaa, 
of wool ; Kash'a, of skins ; Nakhad, of camel's or goat's hair ; Khaymah of cotton 
cloth; Wabar, of soft hair as the camel's undercoat and Fustat (the well-known P.N.) a 
tent of horsehair or any hair (Sha'ar) but Wabar. 

230 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

can live ? " He replied, " I know not ; but thou art better able to 
judge, being acquainted with the ways of thy man, more by token 
that thou art one of the sharpest-witted of women and past 
mistress of devices such as devise that whereof fail the wise." 
Quoth she, " He is a hard man and jealous of his household : but, 
when he shall come home and thou hearest of his coming, do thou 
repair to him and salute him and sit down by his side, saying: 
O my brother, I am a druggist. Then buy of him somewhat of 
drugs and spices of sorts and call upon him frequently and prolong 
thy talks with him and gainsay him not in whatsoever he shall 
bid thee ; so haply that I would contrive may betide, as it were by 
chance." " I hear and I obey," quoth Masrur and fared forth from 
her, with heart a- fire for love.. When her husband came home, 
she rejoiced in meeting him and after saluting him bade him 
welcome ; but he looked in her face and seeing it pale and sallow 
(for she had washed it with saffron, using one of women's arts),- 
asked her of her case. She answered that she had been sick, she 
and her women, from the time of his wayfaring, adding, " Verily, 
our hearts have been engrossed with thoughts of thee because 
of the length of thine absence." And she went on to complain 
to him of the misery of separation and to pour forth copious 
tears, saying, " Hadst thou but a companion with thee, my heart 
had not borne all this cark and care for thee. So, Allah upon 
thee, O my lord, travel not again without a comrade and cut 
me not off from news of thee, that my heart and mind may be 
at rest concerning thee ! " -- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 
of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

fo&En it foas tjje lEigJt f^un&rrt! anil JFtftg-stconb 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Zayn al-Mawasif said to her mate, " Travel not without comrade 
and cut me not off from news of thee, that my heart and mind 
may be at rest concerning thee," he replied, " With love and glad- 
ness ! By Allah thy bede is good indeed and right is thy rede ! 
By thy life, it shall be as thou dost heed." Then he unpacked 
some of his stock-in-trade and carrying the goods to his shop, 
opened it and sat down to sell in the Soko. 1 No sooner had he 

1 This is the Maghribi form of the Arab. Suk = a bazar-street, known from Tanjah 
(Tangiers) to Timbuctoo- 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 231 

taken his place than lo and behold ! up came Masrur and saluting 
him, sat down by his side and began talking and talked with, 
him awhile. Then he pulled out a purse and taking forth gold, 
handed it to Zayn al-Mawasifs man and said, " Give me the 
worth of these dinars in drugs and spices of sorts, that I may sell 
them in my shop," The Jew replied, " I hear and I obey," and 
gave him what he sought. And Masrur continued to pay him 
frequent visits till, one day, the merchant said to him, " I have a 
mind to take me a man to partner in trade." Quoth Masrur, 
" And I also, desire to take a partner ; for my father was a 
merchant in the land of Al-Yaman and left me great store of 
money and I fear lest it fare from me." Quoth the Jew, turning 
towards him, " Wilt thou be my partner, and I will be thy partner 
and a true friend and comrade to thee at home and abroad ; and 
I will teach thee selling and buying, giving and taking?" And 
Masrur rejoined, " With all my heart." So the merchant carried him 
to his place and seated him in the vestibule, whilst he went in to his 
wife and said to her, " I have provided me with a partner and have 
bidden him hither as a guest ; so do thou get us ready good guest- 
cheer." Whenas she heard this, she rejoiced divining that it was 
Masrur, and made ready a magnificent banquet, 1 of her delight in 
the success of her device. Then, when the guest drew nigh, her 
husband said to her, " Come out with me to him and bid him 
welcome and say, Thou gladdenest us 2 ! " But Zayn al-Mawasif 
made a show of anger, crying, " Wilt thou have me display myself 
before a strange man ? I take refuge with Allah ! Though thou 
cut me to bits, I will not appear before him ! " Rejoined he, 
" Why shouldst thou be abashed at him, seeing that he is a 
Nazarene and we are Jews and, to boot, we are become chums, he 
and I ? " Quoth she, I am not minded to present myself before a 
strange man, on whom I have never once set eyes and whom I 
know not any wise." Her husband thought she spoke sooth and: 
ceased not to importune her, till she rose and veiling herself, took 

1 Arab. " Wai imah " usually = a wedding-feast. According to the learned Nasff 
al-Yazajf the names of entertainments are as follows: Al-Jafala=:a general invita- 
tion, opp. to Al-Nakara, especial ; Khurs, a childbirth feast ; 'Akikah, when the boy- 
babe is first shaved ; A'zar circumcision-feast ; Hizak, when the boy has finished his 
perfection of the Koran ; Milak, on occasion of marriage-offer ; Wazimah, a mourning 
entertainment ; Wakirah = a " house-warming "j Naki'ah, on returning from wayfare ; 
'Akfrah, at beginning of the month Rajab ; Kira =a guest-feast and Maadubah, a feast 
for other cause ; any feast. 

? Arab. "Anistana " the pop. phrase = thy company gladdens us. 

232 A If Lay I ah wa Lay I ah. 

the food and went out to Masrur and welcomed him ; whereupon 
he bowed his head groundwards, as he were ashamed, and the 
Jew, .seeing such dejection said in himself, " Doubtless, this man is 
a devotee." They ate their fill and the table being removed, wine 
was set on. As for Zayn al-Mawasif, she sat over against Masrur 
and gazed on him and he gazed on her till ended day, when he 
went home, with a heart to fire a prey. But the Jew abode 
pondering the grace and the comeliness of him ; and, as soon as it 
was night, his wife according to custom served him with supper 
and they seated themselves before it. Now he had a mocking- 
bird which was wont, whenever he sat down to meat, to come and 
eat with him and hover over his head ; but in his absence the fowl 
was grown familiar with Masrur and used to flutter about him as 
he sat at meals. Now when Masrur disappeared and the master 
returned, it knew him not and would not draw near him, and this 
made him thoughtful concerning his case and the fowl's with- 
drawing from him. As for Zayn al-Mawasif, she could not sleep 
with her heart thinking of Masrur, and thus it was with her a 
second and even a third night, till the Jew became aware of her 
condition and, watching her while she sat distraught, began to 
suspect somewhat wrong. On the fourth night, he awoke in the 
middle thereof and heard his wife babbling in her sleep and 
naming Masrur, what while she lay on her husband's bosom,, 
wherefore he misdoubted her ; but he dissembled his suspicions 
and when morning morrowed he repaired to his shop and sat 
therein. Presently, up came Masrur and saluted him. He re- 
turned his salam and said to him, " Welcome, O my brother ! " 
adding anon, " I have wished for thee ;" and he sat talking with 
him for an hour or so, after which he said to him, " Rise, O my 
brother, and hie with me to my house, that we may enter into the 
pact of brotherhood." 1 Replied Masrur, " With joy and goodly 
gree," and they repaired to the Jew's house, where the master 
went in and told his wife of Masrur's visit, for the purpose of 
conditioning their partnership, and said, " Make us ready a goodly 
entertainment, and needs must thou be present and witness our 
brotherhood." But she replied, " Allah upon thee, cause me not 
show myself to this strange man, for I have no mind to company 
with him." So he held his peace and forbore to press her and 

1 Here " Muakhat" or making mutual brotherhood would be centering into a formal 
agreement for partnership. For the forms of " making brotherhood," see vol. iii. 15 . 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawastf. 233 

bade the waiting-women bring food and drink. Then he called 
the mocking-bird but it knew not its lord and settled upon 
Masrur's lap ; and the Jew said to him, " O my master, what is 
thy name ? " He answered, " My name is Masrur ; " whereupon 
the Jew remembered that this was the name which his wife had 
repeated all night long in her sleep. Presently, he raised his 
head and saw her making signs 1 with her forefingers to Masrur 
and motioning to him with her eyes, wherefore he knew that he 
had been completely cozened and cuckolded and said, " O my 
lord, excuse me awhile, till I fetch my kinsmen, so they may be 
present at our swearing brotherhood." Quoth Masrur, " Do what 
seemeth good to thee ; " whereupon the Jew went forth the house 

and returning privily by a back way And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

foftm ft foas tfje (Bi'gjt f^utrtmU an& Jpfft^tjirti 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zayn 
al-Mawasif's husband said to Masrur, " Excuse me awhile, till I 
fetch my cousins to witness the brother-bond between me and 
thee." Then he went forth and, privily returning behind the 
sitting-room, there took his station hard by a window which gave 
upon the saloon and whence he could watch them without their 
seeing him. Suddenly quoth Zayn al-Mawasif to her maid 
Sukub, " Whither is thy master gone ? "; and quoth she, " He is 
gone without the house." Cried the mistress, " Lock the door 
and bar it with iron and open thou not till he knock, after thou 
hast told me." Answered Sukub, " So shall it be done." Then, 
while her husband watched them, she rose and filling a cup with 
wine, flavoured with powdered musk and rose-water, went close 
to Masrur, who sprang up to meet her, saying, " By Allah, the 
water of thy mouth is sweeter than this wine ! " " Here it is for 
thee," said she and filling her mouth with wine, gave him to drink 
thereof, whilst he gave her the like to drink ; after which she 
sprinkled him with rose-water from front to foot, till the perfume 

1 Arab. "Isharah" in classical Arab, signs with the finger (beckoning); Aumd with 
the hand ; Ramz, with the lips ; Khalaj, with the eyelids (wink) ; and Ghamz with the 
eye. Aumaz is a furtive glance, especially of women, and Ilhaz, a side-glance from 
lahaza, limis oculis intuitus est. See Preston's Al-Hariri, p. 181. 

234 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

scented the whole place. All this while, the Jew was looking or. 
and marvelling at the stress of love that was between them, and 
his heart was filled with fury for what he saw and he was not only 
wroth, but jealous with exceeding jealousy. Then he went out 
again and coming to the door found it locked and knocked a loud 
knock of the excess of his rage ; whereupon quoth Sukub, " O my 
lady, here is my master ;" and quoth Zayn al-Mawasif, " Open to 
him ; would that Allah had not brought him back in safety ! " 
So Sukub went and opened the door to the Jew, who said to her, 
" What ailed thee to lock the door ? " Quoth she, " It hath never 
ceased to be locked thus during thine absence ; nor hath it been 
opened night nor day : " and cried he, " Thou hast done well ; 
this pleaseth me." Then he went in to Masrur, laughing and dis- 
sembling his chagrin, and said to him, " O Masrur, let us put off 
the conclusion of our pact of brotherhood this day and defer it to 
another." Replied Masrur, " As thou wilt," and hied him home, 
leaving the Jew pondering his case and knowing not what to do ; 
for his heart was sore troubled and he said in himself, " Even the 
mocking-bird disowneth me and the slave-girls shut the door in 
my face and favour another." And of his exceeding chagrin, he 
fell to reciting these couplets : 

Masrur joys life made fair by all delight of days, o Fulfilled of boons, while 

mine the sorest grief displays. 
The Days have falsed me in the breast of her I love o And in my heart are 

fires which all-consuming blaze : 
Yea, Time was clear for thee, but now 'tis past and gone o While yet her lovely 

charms thy wit and senses daze : 
Espied these eyes of mine her gifts of loveliness : o Oh, hard my case and sore 

my woe on spirit weighs ! 
I saw the maiden of the tribe deal rich old wine o Of lips like Salsabfl to friend 

my love betrays : 
E'en so, O mocking-bird, thou dost betray my breast o And to a rival teaehest 

Love and lover-ways : 
Strange things indeed and wondrous saw these eyne of me o Which were they 

sleep-drowned still from Sleep's abyss would raise : 
I see my best beloved hath forsworn my love o And eke like my mocking-bird 

fro' me a-startled strays. 
By truth of Allah, Lord of Worlds who, whatso wills o His Fate, for creatures 

works and none His hest gainsays, 
Forsure I'll deal to that ungodly wight his due Who but to sate his wicked 

will her heart withdrew ! 

When Zayn al-Mawasif heard this, her side-muscles trembled and 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 235 

quoth she to her handmaid, " Heardest thou those lines ? "; where- 
upon quoth the girl, " I never heard him in my born days recite 
the like of these verses ; but let him say what he will." Then 
having assured himself of the truth of his suspicions, the Jew 
began to sell all his property, saying to himself, " Unless I part them 
by removing her from her mother land the twain will not turn 
back from this that they are engaged in, no, never ! " So, when 
he had converted all his possessions into coin, he forged a letter 
and read it to Zayn al-Mawasif, declaring that it had come from 
his kinsmen, who invited him to visit them, him and his wife. She 
asked, "How long shall we tarry with them ?" and he answered, 
" Twelve days." Accordingly she consented to this and said, 
" Shall I take any of my maids with me ? "; whereto he replied, 
" Take Hubub and Sukub and leave Khutub here." Then he 
made ready a handsome camel-litter 1 for his spouse and her 
women and prepared to set out with them ; whilst she sent to her 
leman, telling him what had betided her and saying, " O Masrur, 
an the trysting-time 2 that is between us pass and I come not back, 
know that he hath cheated and cozened us and planned a plot to 
separate us each from other, so forget thou not the plighted faith 
betwixt us, for I fear that he hath found out our love and I dread 
his craft and perfidy." Then, whilst her man was busy about his 
march she fell a-weeping and lamenting and no peace was left her* 
night or day. Her husband saw this, but took no note thereof; 
and when she saw there was scant help for it, she gathered together 
her clothes and gear and deposited them with her sister, telling 
her what had befallen her. Then she farewelled her and going 
out from her, drowned in tears, returned to her own house, where 
she found her husband had brought the camels and was busy load- 
ing them, having set apart the handsomest dromedary for her 
riding, and when she saw this and knew that needs must she be 
separated from Masrur, she waxt clean distraught. Presently it 
chanced that the Jew went out on some business of his ; so she 
fared forth to the first or outer door and wrote thereon these couplets: 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say 

her permitted say. 

1 Arab. "Haudaj" (Hind. Haudah, vdlg. Howda = elephant-saddle), the women's 
camel -litter, a cloth stretched over a wooden frame. See the Prize-poem of Lebid, v. 12. 

2 i.e. the twelve days' visit. 

236 A If Laylah wa Layiah. 

Nofo fofjen it foas tfte {g(t |^uirtrr& an* Jptftg=lourt5 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Zayn al-Mawasif saw her spouse summon the camels and knew 
that the march needs must be, she waxt clean distraught. Pre- 
sently it chanced that the Jew went out on some business so she 
fared forth to the first door and wrote thereon these couplets : 

Bear our salams, O Dove, from this our stead * From lover to beloved far 

severed ! 
Bid him fro' me ne'er cease to yearn and mourn O'er happy days and hours 

for ever fled : 
Eke I in grief shall ever mourn and yearn, * Dwelling on days of love and 

lustihead ; 
Long was our joyance, seeming aye to last, * When night and morning to 

reunion led ; 
Till croaked the Raven 1 of the Wold one day o His cursed croak and did 

our union dead. 
We sped and left the homestead dark and void o Its gates unpeopled and its 

dwellers sped. 

Then she went to the second door and wrote thereon these 
couplets : 

O who passest this doorway, by Allah, see o The charms of my fere in 

the glooms and make plea 
For me, saying, " I think of the Past and weep o Yet boot me no tears flowing 

full and free." 
Say, " An fail thee patience for what befel o Scatter earth and dust on 

the head of thee ! 
And o'er travel lands East and West, and deem o God sufBceth thy case, so 

bear patiently ! " 

Then she went to the third door and wept sore and thereon wrote 
these couplets : 

1 See note, vol. vii. 267. So Dryden (Virgil) : 

And the hoarse raven on the blasted bough 

By croaking to the left presaged the coining blow* 

And Gay (Fable xxxvii.) : 

That raven on the left-hand oak, 
Curse on bis ill-betiding croak ! 

In some Persian tales two crows seen together are a good omen. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 237 

Fare softly, Masrur! an her sanctuary o Thou seek, and read what 

a-door writ she. 
Ne'er forget Love-plight, if true man ; how oft o Hast savoured Nights' bitter 

and sweetest gree ! 

O Masrur ! forget not her neighbourhood o For wi' thee must her glad- 
ness and joyance flee ! 
But beweep those dearest united days o When thou earnest veiled 

in secresy ; 
Wend for sake of us over farthest wone ; o Span the wold for us, for us 

dive in sea ; 
Allah bless the past days ! Ah, how glad they were o When in Gardens of 

Fancy the flowers pluckt we ! 
The nights of Union from us are fled o And parting-glooms dim their 

radiancy ; 
Ah ! had this lasted as hoped we, but o He left only our breasts and the 

Will revolving days on Re-union dawn? o Then our vow to the Lord shall 

accomplisht be. 
Learn thou our lots are in hand of Him o Who on lines of skull l writes our 

destiny ! 

Then she wept with sore weeping and returned to the house, wail- 
ing and remembering what had passed and saying, " Glory be to 
God who hath decreed to us this ! " And her affliction redoubled 
for severance from her beloved and her departure from her mother- 
land, and she recited these couplets : 

Allah's peace on thee, House of Vacancy ! o Ceased in thee all our joys, all 

our jubilee. 
O thou Dove of the homestead, ne'er cease to bemoan o Whose moons and 

full moons * sorest severance dree : 
Masrur, fare softly and mourn our loss ; o Loving thee our eyes lose their 

brilliancy : 
Would thy sight had seen, on our marching day, o Tears shed by a heart in 

Hell's flagrancy ! 
Forget not the plight in the garth-shade pledged o When we set enveile'd in 

privacy : 

Then she presented herself before her husband, who lifted her into 
the litter he had let make for her ; and, when she found herself on 
the camel's back, she recited these couplets : 

1 Vulgar Moslems hold that each man's fate is written in the sutures of his skull but 
none can read the lines. See vol. iii. 123. 
* ~e. cease not to bemoan her lot whose moon-faced beloved ones are gone. 

238 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

The Lord, empty House ! to thee peace decree o Long we bore therein 

growth of misery : 
Would my life-thread were shorn in that safe abode * And o' night I had died 

in mine ecstasy ! 
Home-sickness I mourn, and my strangerhood * Irks my soul, nor the 

riddle of future I ree. 
Would I wot shall I ever that house resee o And find it, as erst, 

home of joy and glee ! 

Said her husband, " O Zayn al-Mawasif grieve not for thy depar- 
ture from thy dwelling ; for thou shalt return to it ere long 
Inshallah ! " And he went on to comfort her heart and soothe her 
sorrow. Then all set out and fared on till they came without the 
town and struck into the high road, whereupon she knew that 
separation was certain and this was very grievous to her. And 
while such things happened Masrur sat in his quarters, pondering 
his case and that of his mistress, and his heart forewarned him of 
severance. So he rose without stay and delay and repairing to her 
house, found the outer door padlocked and read the couplets she 
had written thereon ; upon which he fell down in a fainting fit. 
When he came to himself, he opened the first door and entering, 
read what was written upon the second and likewise upon the third 
doors ; wherefore passion and love-longing and distraction grew 
on him. So he went forth and hastened in her track, till he came 
up with the light caravan 1 ^and found her at the rear, whilst her 
husband rode in the van, because of his merchandise. When he 
saw her, he clung to the litter, weeping and wailing for the anguish 
of parting, and recited these couplets : 

Would I wot for what crime shot and pierced are we o Thro' the days with 

Estrangement's archery ! 
O my heart's desire, to thy door I came o One day, when high waxt mine 

expectancy : 
But I found the home waste as the wold and void o And I 'plained my pine 

and groaned wretchedly : 
And I asked the walls of my friends who fared o With my heart in pawn 

and in pendency ; 

1 Arab. " Rukb " used of a return caravan; and also meaning travellers on 
camels. The vulgar however apply " Rakib " (a camel-rider) to a man on horseback 
who is properly Faris plur. " Khayyalah," while " Khayyal" is a good rider. Other 
names are "Fayydl" (elephant-rider), Baghghal (mule- rider) and Hamma'r (donkey- 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 239 

And they said, " All marched from the camp and left o An ambushed sorrow on 

hill and lea;" 
And a writ on the walls did they write, as write Folk who keep their 

faith while the Worlds are three. 

Now when Zayn al-Mawasif heard these lines, she knew that it was 

Masrur And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fo&m it foa* tje CEig&t ^untrtrtr an* Jpfftg-fiftf) 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn 
al-Mawasif heard these lines she knew that it was Masrur and 
wept, she and her handmaids, and said to him, " O Masrur, I 
conjure thee by Allah, turn back, lest my husband see us twain 
together ! " At her words he swooned away ; and when he 
revived, they took leave each of other and he recited the following 
couplets : 

The Caravan-chief calleth loud o' night * Ere the Breeze bear his cry 

in the morning-light : 
They girded their loads and prepared to fare, * And hurried while murmured 

the leader-wight. 
They scent the scene on its every side, * As their march through the 

valley they expedite. 
After winning my heart by their love they went * O' morn when their track 

could deceive my sight. 
O my neighbour fair, I reckt ne'er to part, * Or the ground bedewed with 

my tears to sight ! 
Woe betide my heart, now hath Severance hand * To heart and vitals dealt 

bane and blight. 

Then he clung to the litter, weeping and wailing, whilst she 
besought him to turn back ere morn for fear of scorn. So he 
came up to her Haudaj and farewelling her a second time, fell 
down in a swoon. He lay an hour or so without life, and when 
he revived he found the caravan had fared forth of sight. So he 
turned in the direction of their wayfare and scenting the breeze 
which blew from their quarter, chanted these improvised lines : 

No breeze of Union to the lover blows o But moan he maketh burnt with fiery 

woes : 
The Zephyr fans him at the dawn o' day; o But when he wakes the horizon 

lonely shows : 

240 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

On bed of sickness strewn in pain he lies, o And weeps he bloody tears in 

burning throes, 
For the fair neighbour with my heart they bore o 'Mid travellers urging 

beasts with cries and blows . 
By Allah from their stead no Zephyr blew o But sniffed I as the wight 

on eyeballs goes ; l 
And snuff the sweetest South as musk it breathes o And on the longing lover 

scent bestows. 

Then Masrur returned, mad with love-longing, to her house, and 
finding it lone from end to end 2 and forlorn of friend, wept till he 
wet his clothes ; after which he swooned away and his soul was 
like to leave his body. When he revived, he recited these two 
couplets : 

O Spring-camp have ruth on mine overthrowing * My abjection, my leanness, 

my tears aye flowing, 
Waft the scented powder 3 of breezes they breathe * In hope it cure heart of a 

grief e'er growing. 

Then he returned to his own lodging confounded and tearful-eyed, 
and abode there for the space of ten days. Such was his case ; 
but as regards the Jew, he journeyed on with Zayn al-Mawasif half 
a score days, at the end of which he halted at a certain city and 
she, being by that time assured that her husband had played her 
false, wrote to Masrur a letter and gave it to Hubub, saying, 
" Send this to Masrur, so he may know how foully and fully we 
have been tricked and how the Jew hath cheated us." So Hubub 
took it and despatched it to Masrur, and when it reached, its news 
was grievous to him and he wept till he watered the ground. 
Then he wrote a reply and sent it to his mistress, subscribing it 
with these two couplets : 

Where is the way to Consolation's door How shall console him flames 

burn evermore ? 
How pleasant were the days of yore all gone : * Would we had somewhat of 

those days of yore ! 

1 A popular exaggeration. See vol. i. 117. 

2 Lit. Empty of tent-ropes (Atnab). 

3 Arab. " 'Abfr," a fragrant powder sprinkled on face, body and clothes. In India it 
is composed of rice flower or powdered bark of the mango, Deodar (uvaria longifolia]^ 
Sandal-wood, lign-aloes or curcuma (zerumbat or zedoaria) with rose-flowers, camphor, 
civet and anise-seed. There are many of these powders : see in Herklots Chiksd, Phul, 
Ood, Sundul, Ujwur, and Urgujja. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 241 

When the missive reached Zayn al-Mawasif, she read it and again 
gave it to her handmaid Hubub, saying to her, " Keep it secret ! " 
However, the husband came to know of their correspondence and 
removed with her and her two women to another city, at a distance 
of twenty days' march. Thus it befel Zayn al-Mawasif ; but as 
regards Masrur, sleep was not sweet to him nor was peace peaceful 
to him or patience left to him, and he ceased not to be thus till, 
one night, his eyes closed for weariness and he dreamt that he 
saw Zayn al-Mawasif come to him in the garden and embrace 
him ; but presently he awoke and found her not : whereupon his 
reason fled and his wits wandered and his eyes ran over with 
tears; love-longing to the utterest gat hold of his heart and he 
recited these couplets : 

Peace be to her, who visits me in sleeping phantasy o Stirring desire and 

growing love to uttermost degree : 
Verily from that dream I rose with passion maddened o For sight of fairest 

phantom come in piece to visit me : 
Say me, can dreams declare the truth anent the maid I love, o And quench the 

fires of thirst and heal my love-sick malady ? 
Anon to me she is liberal and she strains me to her breast ; o Anon she soothes 

mine anxious heart with sweetest pleasantry: 
From off her dark-red damask lips the dew I wont to sip o The fine old wine 

that seemed to reek of musk's perfumery. 
I wondered at the wondrous things between us done in dreams, o And won my 

wish and all my will of things I hoped to see ; 
And from that dreamery I rose, yet ne er could hope to find o Trace of my 

phantom save my pain and fiery misery : 
And when I looked on her a-morn, 'twas as a lover mad o And every 

eve was drunken yet no wine brought jollity. 
O breathings of the northern breeze, by Allah fro' me bear P Them-wards 

the greetings of my love and best salams that be : 
Say them, " The wight with whom ye made that plight of fealty o Time with 

his changes made him drain Death's cup and slain is he ! " 

Then he went out and ceased not to weep till he came to her house 
and looking on it, saw it empty and void. Presently, it seemed to 
him he beheld her form before him, whereupon fires flamed in 

him and his griefs redoubled and he fell down a-swoon ; And 

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


242 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Jlofo fofjen ft foas tlje lEfgfit f^unte* antr JpfftB-ahtft 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Masrur saw the vision of Zayn al-Mawasif and felt her embrace,, 
he joyed with passing joy. As soon as he awoke he sought her 
house, but finding it empty and void he fell down a-swoon ; and 
when he came to himself, he recited these couplets : 

Fro' them inhale I scent of Ottar and of Bdn ; * So fare with heart 

which ecstasies of love unman : 
I'd heal thy longings (love-sick lover !) by return * To site of beauty void 

sans friend or mate to scan : 
But still it sickeneth me with parting's ban and bane * Minding mine olden 

plight with friend and partisan. 

When he had made an end of these verses, he heard a raven croak 
beside the house and wept, saying, " Glory be to God ! The raven 
croaketh not save over a ruined homestead." Then he moaned 
and groaned and recited these couplets : 

What ails the Raven that he croaks my lover's house hard by, o And in my 

vitals lights a fire that flameth fierce and high ? 
For times now past and gone I spent in joyance of their love o With love my 

heart hath gone to waste and I sore pain aby : 
I die of longing love and lowe still in my liver raging o And wrote to her but 

none there is who with the writ may hie : 
Ah well-away for wasted frame ! Hath fared forth my friend o And if she will 

o' nights return Oh would that thing wot I ! 
Then, Ho thou Breeze of East, and thou by morn e'er visit her ; o Greet her 

from me and stand where doth her tribe encamped lie ! 

Now Zayn al-Mawasif had a sister, by name Nasfm the Zephyr 
who stood espying him from a high place ; and when she saw him 
in this plight, she wept and sighed and recited these couplets : 

How oft bewailing the place shall be this coming and going, o While the 
House bemoaneth its builder with tear-flood ever a-flowing ? 

Here was bestest joy ere fared my friend with the caravan hieing o And its- 
dwellers and brightest-suns l ne'er ceased in its walls a-glowing : 

Where be those fullest moons that here were alway arising ? o Bedimmed them, 
the Shafts of Days their charms of spirit unknowing : 

fair faced boys and women. These lines are from the Bresl. Edit. x. 160. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 2 ^ 

any see thee and dee m thou comest on myLount Tndeed tnou 
hast caused my sister quit it and now thou wouldst drive me also 



Allah s sake, wnte me a writ to her, as from thyself, 



angmsh of severance, saying :-This letter is from the lover 
despairing and sorrowful . the bereaved, the woeful . with whim 
no peace can stay . nor by night nor by day . but he weeneth 
COP.OUS tear, a.way. . Indeed, tears hiLye'lids have uTce Ed 
and his sorrows have kindled in his liver a fire unsated. His 
lamentat.on rs lengthened and restlessness is strengthened and 
he is as he were a bird unmated . While for sudden death he 
awa,teth . Alas, my desolation for the loss of thee " and alas 
my yearnmg affliction for the companionship of thee! . Indeed hath wasted my frame . and my tears a torrent 
became * mountains and plains are straitened upon nTe 2 
grame . and of the excess of my distress, I go sa^:- 

the tale of my Iove And 

SSfromhome My 

With "* ^ ^ my hear, redoubt 

244 Alf Laylah wa Lay la h. 

Greet my love and say him that naught except o Those brown - red lips 
deals me remedy : 

They bore him away and our union rent o And my vitals with Severance-shaft 
shot he : 

My love, my lowe and my longing to him o Convey, for of parting no 
cure I see : 

I swear an oath by your love that I o Will keep pact and covenant faith- 

To none I'll incline or forget your love o How shall love-sick lover forgetful 

So with you be the peace and my greeting fair o In letters that perfume of 
musk-pod bear. 

Her sister Nasim admired his eloquence of tongue and the good- 
liness of his speech and the elegance of the verses he sang, and 
was moved to ruth for him. So she sealed the letter with virgin 
musk and incensed it with Nadd-scent and ambergris, after which 
she committed it to a certain of the merchants saying, " Deliver 
it not to any save to Zayn al-Mawasif or to her handmaid 
Hubub." Now when the letter reached her sister, she knew it 
for Masrur's dictation and recognised himself in the grace of 
its expression. So she kissed it and laid it on her eyes, whilst 
the tears streamed from her lids and she gave not over weeping, 
till she fainted. As soon as she came to herself, she called for 
pencase and paper and wrote him the following answer; com- 
plaining the while of her desire and love-longing and ecstasy 
and what was hers to endure of pining for her lover and yearning 

to him and the passion she had conceived for him. And 

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

Nofo to&en it foa* t&e lEt'g&t f^untaefc an* dFfftg-sebentft Ntgf)t 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zayn 

al-Mawasif wrote the following reply to Masrur's missive : 

"This letter to my lord and master I indite * the king of my 
heart and my secret sprite * Indeed, wakefulness agitateth me # 
and melancholy increaseth on me * and I have no patience to 
endure the absence of thee * O thou who excellest sun and moon 
in brilliancy * Desire of repose despoileth me * and passion 
destroyeth me * and how should it be otherwise with me, seeing 
that I am of the number of the dying ? # O glory of the world and 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 245 

Ornament of life, she whose vital spirits are cut off shall her cup 
be sweet to quaff? * For that she is neither with the quick nor 
with the dead." And she improvised these couplets and said : 

Thy writ, O Masrur, stirred my sprite to pine * For by Allah, all patience and 

solace I tyne : 
When 1 read thy scripture, my vitals yearned * And watered the herbs of the 

wold these eyne. 
On Night's wings I'd fly an a bird * And sans thee I weet not the 

sweets of wine : 
Life's unlawful to me since thou faredst far * To bear parting-lowe is no 

force of mine. 

Then she sprinkled the letter with powder of musk and ambergris 
and, having sealed it with her signet, committed it to a merchant, 
saying, " Deliver it to none save to my sister." When it reached 
Nasim she sent it to Masrur, who kissed it and laid it on his eyes 
and wept till he fell into a trance. Such was their case ; but as 
regards the Jew, he presently heard of their correspondence and 
began again to travel from place to place with Zayn al-Mawasif 
and her damsels, till she said to him, " Glory to God ! How long 
wilt thou fare with us and bear us afar from our homes ? " Quoth 
he, " I will fare on with you a year's journey, so no more letters 
may reach you from Masrur. I see how you take all my monies and 
give them to him ; so all that I miss I shall recover from you : and 
I shall see if Masrur will profit you or have power to deliver you 
from my hand." Then he repaired to a blacksmith, after stripping 
her and her damsels of their silken apparel and clothing them in 
raiment of hair-cloth, and bade him make three pairs of iron 
shackles. When they were ready, he brought the smith in to his 
wife, having said to him, " Put the shackles on the legs of these 
three slave-girls." The first that came forward was Zayn al- 
Mawasif, and when the blacksmith saw her, his sense forsook him 
and he bit his finger tips and his wit fled forth his head and his 
transport grew sore upon him. So he said to the Jew, " What is 
the crime of these damsels ? " Replied the other, " They are my 
slave-girls, and have stolen my good and fled from me." Cried 
the smith, " Allah disappoint thy jealous whims ! By the Almighty, 
were this girl before the Kazi of Kazis, 1 he would not even reprove 

1 i.e. the Chief Kazi. For the origin of the Office and title see vol. ii. 90, and for 
the Kazi al-Arab who administers justice among the Badawin see Pilgrimage iii. 45. 

246 A If Laylah wa Laylah* 

her, though she committed a thousand crimes a day. Indeed, she 
showeth not thief's favour and she cannot brook the laying of 
irons on her legs," And he asked him as a boon not to fetter her, 
interceding with him to forbear the shackles. When she saw the 
blacksmith taking her part in this wise she said to her husband, 
" I conjure thee, by Allah, bring me not forth before yonder 
strange man ! " Said he, " Why then earnest thou forth before 
Masrur ? " ; and she made him no reply. Then he accepted the 
smith's intercession, so far as to allow him to put a light pair of 
irons on her legs, for that she had a delicate body, which might 
not brook harsh usage, whilst he laid her handmaids in heavy 
bilboes, and they ceased not, all three, to wear hair-cloth night and 
day till their bodies became wasted and their colour changed. As 
for the blacksmith, exceeding love had fallen on his heart for Zayn 
al-Mawasif; so he returned home in great concern and he fell to 
reciting extempore these couplets : 

Wither thy right, O smith, which made her bear * Those iron chains her hands 

and feet to wear ! 
Thou hast ensoiled a lady soft and bright, * Marvel of marvels, fairest of the 

Hadst thou been just, those anklets ne'er had been * Of iron : nay of purest 

gold they were : 
By Allah ! did the Kazis' Kazi sight * Her charms, he'd seat her in the 

highest chair. 

Now it chanced that the Kazi of Kazis passed by the smith's house 
and heard him improvise these lines ; so he sent for him and as 
soon as he saw him said to him, " O blacksmith, who is she on 
whom thou callest so instantly and eloquently and with whose love 
thy heart is full filled ? " The smith sprang to his feet and kissing 
the Judge's hand, answered, " Allah prolong the days of our lord 
the Kazi and ample his life ! " Then he described to him Zayn 
al-Mawasif 's beauty and loveliness, brilliancy and perfection, and 
symmetry and grace and how she was lovely faced and had a 
slender waist and heavily based ; and acquainted him with the 
sorry plight wherein she was for abasement and durance vile and 
lack of victual. When the Kazi heard this, he said, " O black- 
smith, send her to us and show her that we may do her justice, for 
thou art become accountable for the damsel and unless thou guide 
her to us, Allah will punish thee at the Day of Doom." " I hear 
and obey," replied the smith and betook himself without stay and 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 247 

delay to Zayn al-Mawasif's lodging, but found the door barred 
and heard a voice of plaintive tone that came from heart forlorn 
and lone ; and it was Zayn al-Mawasif reciting these couplets : 

I and my love in union were unite ; * And filled my friend to me cups clearly 

Between us reigned high mirth and jollity, * Nor Eve nor Morn brought 

'noyance or affright 
Indeed we spent most joyous time, with cup * And lute and dulcimer to add 

Till Time estranged our fair companionship ; * My lover went and blessing 

turned to blight. 
Ah would the Severance-raven's croak were stilled * And Union-dawn of Love 

show blessed light ! 

When the blacksmith heard this, he wept like the weeping of the 
clouds. Then he knocked at the door and the women said, " Who 
is at the door ? " Answered he, " 'Tis I, the blacksmith," and told 
them what the Kazi had said and how he would have them appear 
before him and make their complaint to him, that he might do 

them justice on their adversary. And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Jiofo fo&en ft foas t&e ffi{$t ?untrrrtf anlr ^iftg-efg&t]) 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the blacksmith told Zayn al-Mawasif what the Kazi had said, and 
how he summoned them that he might apply the Lex Talionis to 
their adversary, she rejoined, " How can we go to him, seeing the 
door is locked on us and our feet shackled and the Jew hath the 
keys ? " The smith replied, " I will make the keys for the pad- 
locks and therewith open door and shackles." Asked she, " But 
who will show us the Kazi's house ? " ; and he answered, " I will 
describe it to you." She enquired, " But how can we appear before 
him, clad as we are in haircloth reeking with sulphur ? " And the 
smith rejoined, " The Kazi will not reproach this to you, considering 
your case." So saying, he went forthright and made keys for the 
padlocks, wherewith he opened the door and the shackles, and 
loosing the irons from their legs, carried them forth and guided 
them to the Kazi's mansion. Then Hubub did off the hair-cloth 
garments from her lady's body and carried her to the Hammam, 
where she bathed her and attired her in silken raiment, and her 

248 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

colour returned to her. Now it happened, by exceeding good 
fortune, that her husband was abroad at a bride-feast in the house 
of one of the merchants ; so Zayn al-Mawasif, the Adornment of 
Qualities, adorned herself with the fairest ornaments and repaired 
to the Kazi, who at once on espying her rose to receive her. She 
saluted him with softest speech and winsomest words, shooting 
him through the vitals the while with the shafts of her glances, 
and said, " May Allah prolong the life of our lord the Kazi and 
strengthen him to judge between man and man ! " Then she 
acquainted him with the affair of the blacksmith and how he had 
done nobly by them, whenas the Jew had inflicted on her and her 
women heart-confounding torments ; and how his victims death- 
wards he drave, nor was there any found to save. " O damsel," 
quoth the Kazi, " what is thy name ? " " My name is Zayn al- 
Mawasif, Adornment of Qualities and this my handmaid's name 
is Hubub." " Thy name accordeth with the named and its sound 
conformeth with its sense." Whereupon she smiled and veiled her 
face, and he said to her, " O Zayn al-Mawasif, hast thou a husband 
or not?" "I have no husband"; "And what is thy Faith?" 
" That of Al-Islam, and the religion of the Best of Men." " Swear 
to me by Holy Law replete with signs and instances that thou 
ownest the creed of the Best of Mankind." So she swore to him 
and pronounced the profession of the Faith. Then asked the 
Kazi, " How cometh it that thou wastest thy youth with this 
Jew?" And she answered, "Know, O Kazi (may Allah prolong 
thy days in contentment and bring thee to thy will and thine acts 
with benefits seal !), that my father left me, after his death, fifteen 
thousand dinars, which he placed in the hands of this Jew, that he 
might trade therewith and share his gains with me, the head of the 
property J being secured by legal, acknowledgment. When my 
father died, the Jew coveted me and sought me in marriage of my 
mother, who said : How shall I drive her from her Faith and 
cause to become a Jewess ? By Allah, I will denounce thee to 
the rulers I He was affrighted at her words and taking the money, 
fled to the town of Adan. 2 When we heard where he was, we came 

1 Arab. " Raas al-Mal"= capital, as opposed to Riba or Ribh = interest. This legal 
expression has been adopted by all Moslem races. 

1 Our Aden which is thus noticed by Abulfeda (A.D. 1331) : " Aden in the lowlands of 
Tehamah * * also called Abyana from a man (who found it?), built upon the sea- 
shore, a station (for land travellers) and a sailing-place for merchant ships India-bound, is 
dry and sunparcht (Kashifah, squalid, scorbutic) and sweet water must be imported. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 249 

to Adan in search of him, and when we foregathered with him 
there, he told us that he was trading in stuffs with the monies and 
buying goods upon goods. So we believed him and he ceased not 
to cozen us till he cast us into jail and fettered us and tortured us 
with exceeding sore torments ; and we are strangers in the land 
and have no helper save Almighty Allah and our lord the Kazi." 
When the Judge heard this tale he asked Hubub the nurse, " Is 
this indeed thy lady and are ye strangers and is she unmarried ? " ; 
and she answered, " Yes." Quoth he, " Marry her to me and on 
me be incumbent manumission of my slaves and fasting and pil- 
grimage and almsgiving of all my good an I do you not justice on 
this dog and punish him for that he hath done ! " And quoth 
she, " I hear and obey." Then said the Kazi, " Go, hearten thy 
heart and that of thy lady ; and to-morrow, Inshallah, I will send 
for this Miscreant and do you justice on him and ye shall see 
prodigies of his punishment." So Hubub called down blessings 
upon him and went forth from him with her mistress, leaving him 
with passion and love-longing fraught and with distress and desire 
distraught. Then they enquired for the house of the second Kazi 
and presenting themselves before him, told him the same tale. On 
like wise did the twain, mistress and maid with the third and the 
fourth, till Zayn al-Mawasif had made her complaint to all the 
four Kazis, each of whom fell in love with her and besought her to 
wed him, to which she consented with a " Yes " ; nor wist any one 
of the four that which had happened to the others. All this 
passed without the knowledge of the Jew, who spent the night 
in the house of the bridefeast. And when morning morrowed, 
Hubub arose and gat ready her lady's richest raiment ; then she 
clad her therewith and presented herself with her before the four 

* * It lies 86 parasangs from San' a but Ibn Haukal following the travellers makes 
it three stages. The city, built on the skirt of a wall-like mountain, has a Watergate and 
a landgate known as Bab al-Sakayn. But 'Adan La' ah (the modest, the timid, the less 
known as opposed to Abyan, the better known ?) is a city in the mountains of Sabir, 
Al-Yaman, whence issued the supporters of the Fatimite Caliphs of Egypt." 'Adan 
etymologically means in Arab, and Heb. pleasure (vJSovi?)* Eden (the garden), the 
Heaven in which spirits will see Allah and our " Coal-hole of the East," which we can 
hardly believe ever to have been an Eden. Mr. Badger who supplied me with this note 
described the two Adens in a papetf in Ocean Highways, which he cannot now find. In 
the'Ajaib al-Makhlukit, Al-Kazwini (ob. A.D. 1275) derives the name from Ibn Sinan 
bin Ibrahim ; and is inclined there to place the Bfr al-Mu'attal (abandoned well) and 
the Kasr al-Mashid (lofty palace) of Koran xxii. 44; and he adds " Kasr al-Misyad" 
to those mentioned in the tale of Sayf al-Muluk and Badi'a al-Jamal. 

250 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Kazis in the court of justice. As soon as she entered, she veiled 
her face and saluted the judges, who returned her salam and each 
and every of them recognised her. One was writing, and the 
reed-pen dropped from his hand, another was talking, and his 
tongue became tied, and a third was reckoning and blundered in 
his reckoning; and they said to her, " O admirable of attributes 
and singular among beauties ! be not thy heart other than hearty, 
for we will assuredly do thee justice and bring thee to thy desire." 
So she called down blessings on them and farewelled them and 

went her ways. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

to$m ft foas tfie 1E(c$t ^untrrefc an& ^tftg-nintj Nt'gfjt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Kazis said to Zayn al-Mawasif, " O admirable of attributes and 
singular among beauties ! Be not thy heart other than hearty 
for our doing thy desire and thy winning to thy will." So she 
called down blessings on them and farewelled them and went 
her ways, the while her husband abode with his friends at the 
marriage-banquet and knew naught of her doings. Then she 
proceeded to beseech the notaries and scribes and the notables 
and the Chiefs of Police to succour her against that unbelieving 
miscreant and deliver her from the torment she suffered from him. 
Then she wept with sore weeping and improvised these couplets : 

Rain showers of torrent tears, O Eyne and see o An they will quench the fires 

that flame in me : 
After my robes of gold-embroidered silk o I wake to wear the frieze of 

monkery : 
And all my raiment reeks of sulphur-fumes o When erst my shift shed musky 

fragrancy : 
And hadst thou, O Masrur, my case descried, * Ne'er hadst thou borne my 

shame and ignomy. 
And eke Hubub in iron chains is laid o By Miscreant who unknows God's 

The creed of Jewry I renounce and home, o The Moslem's Faith accepting 

Eastwards 1 I prostrate self in fairest guise o Holding the only True Belief 

that be : 

1 Meaning that she had been carried to the Westward of Meccah. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 251 

Masrur ! forget not love between us twain * And keep our vows and troth 

with goodly gree : 
IVe changed my faith for sake of thee, and I * For stress of love will cleave 

to secrecy : 
So haste to us, an us in heart thou bear, * As noble spirit, nor as laggard 


After this she wrote a letter to Masrur, describing to him all that 
the Jew had done with her from first to last and enclosed the 
verses aforesaid. Then she folded the scroll and gave it to her 
maid Hubub, saying, " Keep this in thy pocket, till we send it to 
Masrur." Upon these doings lo and behold ! in came the Jew 
and seeing them joyous, said to them, " How cometh it that I 
find you merry ? Say me, hath a letter reached you from your 
bosom friend Masrur ? " Replied Zayn al-Mawasif, " We have 
no helper against thee save Allah, extolled and exalted be He ! 
He will deliver us from thy tyranny, and except thou restore us 
to our birth-place and homestead, we will complain of thee to- 
morrow to the Governor of this town and to the Kazi. Quoth 
he, " Who struck off the shackles from your legs ? But needs 
must I let make for each of you fetters ten pounds in weight 
and go round about the city with you." Replied Hubub, " All 
that thou purposest against us thou shall fall into thyself, so it 
please Allah the Most High, by token that thou hast exiled us 
from our homes, and to-morrow we shall stand, we and thou, 
before the Governor of the city." They nighted on this wise and 
next morning the Jew rose up in haste and went out to order new 
shackles, whereupon Zayn al-Mawasif arose and repaired with her 
women to the court-house, where she found the four Kazis and 
saluted them. They all returned her salutation and the Kazi of 
Kazis said to those about him, " Verily this damsel is lovely as 
the Venus-star * and all who see her love her and bow before her 

1 Arab. " Zahrawiyah " which contains a kind of double entendre. Fatimah the 
Prophet's only daughter is titled Al-Zahra the " bright -blooming " \ and this is also an 
epithet of Zohrah the planet Venus. For Fatimah see vol. vi. 145. Of her Mohammed 
said, " Love your daughters, for I loo am a father of daughters " and, " Love them, 
they are the comforters, the dearlings." The Lady appears in Moslem history a dreary 
young woman (died set. 28) who made this world, like Honorius, a hell in order to win 
a next -world heaven. Her titles are Zahra. and Batul (Pilgrimage ii. 90) both signifying 
virgin. Burckhardt translates Zahra by " bright blooming " (the etymological sense) : 
it denotes literally a girl who has not menstruated, in which state of purity the Prophet's 
daughter is said to have lived and died. " Batul " has the sense of a " clean maid " 
and is the title given by Eastern Christians to the Virgin Mary. The perpetual virginity 

252 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

beauty and loveliness." Then he despatched four sergeants, who 
were Sharifs, 1 saying, " Bring ye the criminal after abjectest 
fashion." So, when the Jew returned with the shackles and found 
none in the house, he was confounded ; but, as he abode in 
perplexity, suddenly up came the officers and laying hold of him 
beat him with a sore beating and dragged him face downwards 
before the Kazi. When the judge saw him, he cried out in his 
face and said to him, " Woe to thee, O foe of God, is it come to 
such a pass with thee that thou doest the deed thou hast done and 
bringest these women far from their country and stealest their 
monies and wouldst make them Jews ? How durst thou seek to 
make Miscreants of Moslems ? " Answered the Jew, " O my lord 
this woman is my wife." Now when the Kazis heard this, they 
all cried out, saying, " Throw this hound on the ground and come 
down on his face with your sandals and beat him with sore blows, 
for his offence is unpardonable." So they pulled off his silken 
gear and clad him in his wife's raiment of hair-cloth, after which 
they threw him down and plucked out his beard and belaboured 
him about the face with sandals. Then they sat him on an ass, 
face to crupper, arsi-versy, and making him take its tail in his 
hand, paraded him round about the city, ringing the bell before 
him in every street ; after which they brought him back to the 
Judges in sorriest plight ; and the four Kazis with one voice 
condemned him to have his feet and hands cut off and lastly to be 
crucified. When the accursed heard this sentence his sense 
forsook him and he was confounded and said, " O my lords the 

of Fatimah even after motherhood (Hasan and Husayn) is a point of orthodoxy in Al- 
Islam as Juno's with the Romans and Uma's with the Hindu worshippers of Shiva. 
During her life Mohammed would not allow Ali a second wife, and he held her one of 
the four perfects, the other three being Asia wife of '* Pharaoh," the Virgin Mary and 
Khadijah his own wife. She caused much scandal after his death by declaring that he 
had left her the Fadak estate (Abulfeda I, 133, 273) a castle with a fine palm-orchard 
near Khaybar. Abu Bakr dismissed the claim quoting the Apostle's Hadis. "We 
prophets are folk who will away nothing : what we leave is alms-gift to the poor." 
and Shi'ahs greatly resent his decision. (See Dabistan iii. 51-52 for a different render- 
ing of the words). I have given the popular version of the Lady Fatimah's death and 
burial (Pilgrimage ii. 315) and have remarked that Moslem historians delight in the 
obscurity which hangs over her last resting-place, as if it were an honour even for the 
receptacle of her ashes to be concealed from the eyes of men. Her repute is a curious 
comment on Tom Hood's 

" Where woman has never a soul to save." 
1 For Sharif and Sayyid, descendants of Mohammed, see vol. iv. 170. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif 253 

Kazis, what would ye of me ? " They replied, " Say thou : This 
damsel is not my wife and the monies are her monies, and I have 
transgressed against her and brought her far from her country." 
So he confessed to this and the Kazis recorded his confession in 
legal form and taking the money from him, gave it to Zayn al- 
Mawasif, together with the document. Then she went away 
and all who saw her were confounded at her beauty and loveli- 
ness, whilst each of the Kazis looked for her committing herself 
to him. But, when she came to her lodging, she made ready all 
matters she needed and waited till night. Then she took what 
was light of load and weighty of worth, and setting out with her 
maids under cover of the murks three days with their nights fared 
on without stopping. Thus it was with her ; but as regards the 
Kazis they ordered the Jew to prison. - And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nob fo&en ft foas t&e t'ajjt f^unfcrrtji an& Sfcixtfeti) 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kazis 
ordered the Jew to prison and on the morrow they looked for 
Zayn al-Mawasif coming to them, they and their assessors ; but 
she presented herself not to any of them. Then said the Chief 
Kazi, " I wish to-day to make an excursion without the town on 
business there." So he mounted his she-mule and taking his page 
with him, went winding about the streets of the town, searching 
its length and width for Zayn al-Mawaslf, but never finding her. 
On this errand he came upon the other three Kazis, going about 
on the same, each deeming himself the only one to whom she had 
given tryst. He asked them whither they were riding and why 
they were going about the streets; when they told him their 
business, whereby he saw that their plight was as his plight and 
their quest as his quest. So they all four rode throughout the 
city, seeking her, but could hit on no trace of her and returned to 
their houses, sick for love, and lay down on the bed of langour. 
Presently the Chief Kazi bethought himself of the blacksmith ; so 
he sent for him and said to him, " O blacksmith, knowest thou 
aught of the damsel whom thou didst direct to me ? By Allah, 
an thou discover her not to me, I will whack thee with whips." 
Now when the smith heard this, he recited these couplets 1 : 

1 These lines have occurred with variants in vol. Hi. 257, and iv. 50. 

254 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

She who my all of love by love of her hath won * Owns every Beauty and for 

others leaves she none : 
She gazes, a gazelle ; she breathes, fresh ambergris * She waves, a lake ; she 

sways, a bough ; she shines, a Sun. 

Then said the blacksmith, " By Allah, O my lord, since she fared 
forth from thy worshipful presence, 1 I have not set eyes on her ; 
no, not once. Indeed she took possession of my heart and wits 
and all my talk and thoughts are of her. I went to her lodging 
but found her not, nor found I any who could give me news of 
her, and it is as if she had dived into the depths of the sea or 
had ascended to the sky." Now when the Kazi heard this, he 
groaned a groan, that his soul was like to depart therefor, and he 
said, " By Allah, well it were had we never seen her ! " Then the 
smith went away, whilst the Kazi fell down on his bed and became 
sick of languor for her sake, and on like wise fared it with the 
other three Kazis and assessors. The mediciners paid them fre- 
quent calls, but found in them no ailment requiring a leach : so 
the city-notables went in to the Chief Kazi and saluting him, 
questioned him of his case ; whereupon he sighed and showed 
them that was in his heart, reciting these couplets : 

Stint ye this blame ; enough I suffer from Love's malady o Nor chide the Kazi 

frail who fain must deal to folk decree ! 
Who doth accuse my love let him for me find some excuse : o Nor blame ; for 

lovers blameless are in lover-slavery ! 
I was a Kazi whom my Fate deigned aid with choicest aid o By writ and reed 

and raised me to wealth and high degree ; 
Till I was shot by sharpest shaft that knows nor leach nor cure o By Damsel's 

glance who came to spill my blood and murther me. 
To me came she, a Moslemah and of her wrongs she 'plained o With lips that 

oped on Orient-pearls ranged fair and orderly : 
I looked beneath her veil and saw a wending moon at full o Rising below the 

wings of Night engloomed with blackest blee : 
A brightest favour and a mouth bedight with wondrous smiles ; o Beauty had 

brought the loveliest garb and robed her cap-a-pie. 
By Allah, ne'er beheld my eyes a face so ferly fair o Amid mankind whoever 

are, Arab or Ajami. 
My Fair ! What promise didst thou make what time to me thou said'st 

*' Whenas I promise I perform, O Kazi, faithfully." 
Such is my stead and such my case calamitous and dire o And ask me not, ye 

men of spunk, what dreadful teen I dree. 

1 Arab. "Hazrat," esp. used in In3ia and corresponding wifli our mediaeval 
" prasentia vostra" 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 255 

When he ended his verse he wept with sore weeping and sobbed 
one sob and his spirit departed his body, which seeing they 
washed him and shrouded him and prayed over him and buried 
him graving on his tomb these couplets : 

Perfect were lover's qualities in him was brought a-morn, o Slain by his love 

and his beloved, to this untimely grave : 
Kdzi was he amid the folk, and aye 'twas his delight a To foster all the folk and 

keep a-sheath the Justice-glaive : 
Love caused his doom and ne'er we saw among mankind before o The lord 

and master louting low before his thralled slave. 

Then they committed him to the mercy of Allah and went away 
to the second Kazi, in company with the physician, but found in 
him nor injury nor ailment needing a leach. Accordingly they 
questioned him of his case and what preoccupied him ; .so he told 
them what ailed him, whereupon they blamed him and chid him 
for his predicament and he answered them with these couplets : 

Blighted by her yet am I not to blame ; o Struck by the dart at me her fair 

hand threw. 
Unto me came a woman called Hubub o Chiding the world from year to year 

anew : 
And brought a damsel showing face that shamed o Full moon that sails 

through Night-tide's blackest hue, 
She showed her beauties and she 'plained her plain o Which tears in torrents 

from her eyelids drew : 
I to her words gave ear and gazed on her o Whenas with smiling lips she 

made me rue. 
Then with my heart she fared where'er she fared o And left me pledged to 

sorrows soul subdue. 
Such is my tale I So pity ye my case o And this my page with Kazi's gear 


Then he sobbed one sob and his soul fled his flesh ; whereupon 
they gat ready his funeral and buried him commending him to the 
mercy of Allah ; after which they repaired to the third Kazi and 
the fourth, and there befel them the like of what befel their 
brethren. 1 Furthermore, they found the Assessors also sick for 
love of her, and indeed all who saw her died of her love or, 

an they died not, lived on tortured with the lowe of passion 

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

1 This wholesafe slaughter by the tale-teller of worshipful and reverend men would 
bring down the gallery like a Spanish tragedy in which all the actors are killed. 

256 A If Laylah wa Laylah* 

Nofo fo&m ft toas tje <&i$t f^unlirrtr an* g?fxte=fim Ntgfjt, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
city folk found all the Kazis and the Assessors sick for love of 
her, and all who saw her died love-sick or, an they died not, lived 
on tortured with the lowe of passion for stress of pining- to no 
purpose Allah have mercy on them one and all ! Meanwhile 
Zayn al-Mawasif and her women drave on with all diligence till 
they were far distant from the city and it so fortuned that they 
came to a convent by the way, wherein dwelt a Prior called Danis 
and forty monks. 1 When the Prior saw her beauty, he went out 
to her and invited her to alight, saying, " Rest with us ten days 
and after wend your ways." So she and her damsels alighted 
and entered the convent ; and when Danis saw her beauty and 
loveliness, she debauched his belief and he was seduced by her : 
wherefore he fell to sending the monks, one after other with love- 
messages ; but each who saw her fell in love with her and sought 
her favours for himself, whilst she excused and denied herself to 
them. But Danis ceased not his importunities till he had 
dispatched all the forty, each one of whom fell love-sick at first 
sight and plied her with blandishments never even naming Danis ; 
whilst she refused and rebuffed them with harsh replies. At last 
when Danis's patience was at an end and his passion was sore on 
him, he said in himself, " Verily, the sooth-sayer saith : Naught 
scratcheth my skin but my own nail and naught like my own feet 
for mine errand may avail." So up he rose and made ready rich 
meats, and it was the ninth day of her sojourn in the convent 
where she had purposed only to rest. Then he carried them 
in to her and set them before her, saying, " Bismillah, favour us 
by tasting the best of the food at our command." So she put 
forth her hand, saying, " For the name of Allah the Compas- 
sionating, the Compassionate ! " and ate, she and her handmaidens. 
When she had made an end of eating, he said to her, " O my lady, 
I wish to recite to thee some verses." Quoth she, " Say on," and 
he recited these couplets : 

Thou hast won my heart by cheek and eye of thee, o 111 praise for love in 
prose and poesy. 

1 They are called indifferently " Ruhbin" = monks or " Batirikah " = patriarchs. 
See vol. ii. 89. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 257 

"Wilt fly a lover, love-sick, love-distraught o Who strives in dreams some 

cure of love to see ? 
Leave me not fallen, passion-fooled, since I o For pine have left tmcared the 

Monast'ry : 
O Fairest, 'tis thy right to shed my blood, o So rue my case and hear the 

cry of me ! 

When Zayn al-Mawasif heard his verses, she answered him with 
these two couplets : 

O who suest Union, ne'er hope such delight o Nor solicit my favours, O 

hapless wight ! 
Cease to hanker for what thou canst never have : o Next door are the greedy 

to sore despight. 

Hearing this he returned to his place, pondering in himself and 
knowing not how he should do in her affair, and passed the night 
in the sorriest plight. But, as soon as the darkness was darkest 
Zayn al-Mawasif arose and said to her handmaids, " Come, let us 
away, for we cannot avail against forty men, monks, each of 
whom requireth me for himself." Quoth they, " Right willingly ! " 
So they mounted their beasts and issued forth the convent gate, 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

Nofo fojen ft foa* rtje <($! ^untrreli anlr SfefxtBSConb 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Zayn 
al-Mawasif and her handmaids issued forth the convent gate 
and, under favour of the night, rode on till they overtook a 
caravan, with which they mingled and found it came from the 
city of 'Adan wherein the lady had dwelt. Presently, Zayn 
al-Mawasif heard the people of the caravan discoursing of her 
own case and telling how the Kazis and Assessors were dead of 
love for her and how the townsfolk had appointed in their stead 
others who released her husband from prison. Whereupon she 
turned to her maids and asked them, "Heard ye that?"; and 
Hubub answered, " If the monks were ravished with love of thee, 
whose belief it is that shunning women is worship, how should it 
be with the Kazis, who hold that there is no monkery in Al-Islam ? 
But let us make our way to our own country, whilst our affair is 
yet hidden." So they drave on with all diligence. Such was 

258 A If Laylah wa Lay la ft. 

their case ; but as regards the monks, on the morrow, as soon as 
it was day they repaired to Zayn al-Mawasif s lodging, to salute 
her, but found the place empty, and their hearts sickened within 
them. So the first monk rent his raiment and improvised these 
couplets : 

Ho ye, my friends, draw near, for I forthright o From you depart, since parting 

is my lot : 
My vitals suffer pangs o' fiery love; o Flames of desire in heart burn 

high and hot, 
For sake of fairest girl who sought our land o Whose charms th 1 horizon's 

full moon evens not. 
She fared and left me victimed by her love And slain by shaft those lids 

death-dealing shot. 

Then another monk recited the following couplets : 

O ye who with my vitals fled, have ruth o On this unhappy : haste ye home- 
ward-bound : 

They fared, and fared fair Peace on farthest track o Yet lingers in mine ear 
that sweetest sound : 

Fared far, and far their fane ; would Heaven I saw o Their shade in vision 
float my couch around : 

And when they went wi' them they bore my heart o And in my tear-floods 
all of me left drowned. 

A third monk followed with these extempore lines : 

Throne you on highmost stead, heart, ears and sight o Your wone's my heart ; 

mine all's your dwelling-site : 
Sweeter than honey is your name a-lip, o Running, as 'neath my ribs runs 

vital sprite : 
For Love hath made me as a tooth-pick * lean o And drowned in tears of 

sorrow and despight : 
Let me but see you in my sleep, belike o Shall clear my cheeks of tears that 

lovely sight. 

Then a fourth recited the following couplets: 

Dumb is my tongue and scant my speech for thee * And Love the direst 

torture gars me dree : 
O thou full Moon, whose place is highest Heaven, o For thee but double 

pine and pain in me. 

1 Arab. "Khilal." The toothpick, more esteemed by the Arabs than by us, is, I 
have said, often used by the poets as an emblem of attenuation without offending good 
taste. Nizami (Layla u Majnun) describes a lover as "thin as a toothpick." The 
" elegant " Hariri (Ass. of Barkaid) describes a toothpick with feminine attributes, 
" shapely of shape, attractive, provocative of appetite, delicate as the leanest of lovers, 
polished as a poinard and bending as a green bough." 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 259 

And a fifth these ': 

I love a moon of comely shapely form ' o Whose slender waist hath 

title to complain : 
Whose lip-dews rival must and long-kept wine ; o Whose heavy haunches 

haunt the minds of men : 
My heart each morning burns with pain and pine o And the night-talkers note 

I'm passion-slain ; 
While down my cheeks carnelian-like the tears o Of rosy red shower down 

like railing rain. 

And a sixth the following : 

O thou who shunnest him thy love misled I o O Branch of Bdn, O star of 

highmost stead ! 
To thee of pine and passion I complain, o O thou who fired me with 

cheeks rosy-red. 
Did e'er such lover lose his soul for thee, o Or from prostration and from 

prayers fled ? 

And a seventh these : 

He seized my heart and freed my tears to flow o Brought strength to Love and 

bade my Patience go. 
His charms are sweet as bitter his disdain ; o And shafts of love his suitors 

Stint blame, O blamer, and for past repent o None will believe thee who 

dost Love unknow ! 

And on like wise all the rest of the monks shed tears and repeated 
verses. As for Danis, the Prior, weeping and wailing redoubled 
on him, for that he found no way to her enjoyment, and he chanted 
the following couplets 2 : 

My patience failed me when my lover went o And fled that day mine aim and 
best intent. 

Guide o' litters lead their camels fair, o Haply some day they'll deign 

with me to tent ! 

On parting-day Sleep parted from my lids o And grew my grieving and my 
joy was shent. 

1 moan to Allah what for Love 1 dree'd o My wasted body and my forces 


Then, despairing of her, they took counsel together and with one 
mind agreed to fashion her image and set it up with them, and 
applied themselves to this till there came to them the Destroyer 

1 From Bresl. Edit. x. 194. 

2 Trbutien (vol. ii. 344 et seq.) makes the seven monks sing as many anthems, viz. 
(i) Congregammi ; (2) Vias tuas demonstra mihi; (3) Dominus illuminatis; (4) Custodi 
linguam ; (5) Unam petii a Domino ; (6) Nee adspiciat me visus, and (7) Turbatus est 
furore oculus meus. Danis the Abbot chaunts Anima mea turbata est valde. 

26o Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

of delights and Severer of societies. Meanwhile, Zayn al-Mawasif 
fared on, without ceasing, to find her lover Masrur, till she reached 
her own house. She opened the doors, and entered ; then she 
sent to her sister Nasim, who rejoiced with exceeding joy at the 
news of her return and brought her the furniture and precious 
stuffs left in her charge. So she furnished the house and dressed 
it, hanging the curtains over the doors and burning aloes-wood 
and musk and ambergris and other essences till the whole place 
reeked with the most delightful perfumes : after which the Adorn- 
ment of Qualities donned her finest dress and decorations and sat 
talking with her maids, whom she had left behind when journeying, 
and related to them all that had befallen her first and last. Then 
she turned to Hubub and giving her dirhams, bade her fetch them 
something to eat. So she brought meat and drink and when they 
had made an end of eating and drinking, 1 Zayn al-Mawasif bade 
Hubub go and see where Masrur was and how it fared with him. 
Now he knew not of her return ; but abode with concern overcast 

and sorrow might not be overpast ; And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

fo&m ft foas t&e 3E(gf)t |^un*rrtr an* &fxtg;tf)ftii Nfgjt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Zayn 
al-Mawasif entered her house she was met by her sister Nasim 
who brought her the furniture and stuffs wherewith she furnished 
the place ; and then she donned her finest dress. But Masrur 
knew naught of her return and abode with concern overcast and 
sorrow might not be overpast ; no peace prevailed with him nor 
was patience possible to him. Whenas pine and passion, desire 
and distraction waxed on him, he would solace himself by reciting 
verse and go to the house and set him its walls to buss. It 
chanced that he went out that day to the place where he had 
parted from his mistress and repeated this rare song : 

My wrongs hide I, withal they show to sight \ o And now mine eyes from sleep 

to wake are dight. 
I cry when melancholy tries my sprite e Last not, O world nor work 

more despight ; 

Lo hangs my soul 'twixt hardship and affright. 

1 A neat and characteristic touch : the wilful beauty eats and drinks before she thinks 
of her lover. Alas for Masrur married. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 261 

Were the Sultan hight Love but fair to me, * Slumber mine eyes' companion 

were to me, 
My Lords, some little mercy spare to me, * Chief of my tribe : be debonnair 

to me, 

Whom Love cast down, erst rich now pauper-wight ! 

Censors may blame thee tut I look beyond * Mine ears I stop and leave their 

lies unconned 
And keep my pact wi' those I love so fond : # They say, " Thou lov'st a 

runaway ! " I respond, 

"Whist ! whenas Fate descends she blinds the sight ! " 

Then he returned to his lodging and sat there weeping, till sleep 
overcame him, when he saw in a dream as if Zayn al-Mawasif 
were come to the house, and awoke in tears. So he set off to go 
thither, improvising these couplets : 

Shall I be consoled when Love hath mastered the secret of me * And my 

heart is aglow with more than the charcoal's ardency ? 
I love her whose absence I plain before Allah for parting-siower * And the 

shifts of the days and doom which allotted me Destiny : 
When shall our meeting be, O wish o' my heart and will ? * O favour of fullest 

Moon, when shall we Re-union see ? 

As he made an end of his recitation, he found himself walking 
adown in Zayn al-Mawasif 's street and smelt the sweet savour 
of the pastiles wherewithal she had incensed the house ; where- 
fore his vitals fluttered and his heart was like to leave his breast 
and desire flamed up in him and distraction redoubled upon him ; 
when lo, and behold ! Hubub, on her way to do her lady's errand 
suddenly appeared at the head of the street and he rejoiced with joy 
exceeding. When she saw him, she went up to him and saluting 
him, gave him the glad news of her mistress's return, saying, " She 
hath sent me to bid thee to her." Whereat he was glad indeed, 
with gladness naught could exceed ; and she took him and 
returned with him to the house. When Zayn al-Mawasif saw 
him, she came down to him from the couch and kissed him and 
he kissed her and she embraced him and he embraced her ; nor 
did they leave kissing and embracing till both swooned away for 
stress of affection and separation. They lay a long while sense- 
less, and when they revived, Zayn al-Mawasif bade Hubub fetch 
her a gugglet of sherbet of sugar and another of sherbet of lemons. 
So she brought what she desired and they sat eating and drinking 
nor ceased before nightfall, when they fell to recalling all that had 

262 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

befallen them from commencement to conclusion. Then she 
acquainted him with her return to Al-Islam, whereat he rejoiced 
and he also became a Moslem. On like wise did her women, and 
they all repented to Allah Almighty of their infidelity. On the 
morrow she bade send for the Kazi and the witnesses and told 
them that she was a widow and had completed the purification- 
period and was minded to marry Masrur. So they drew up the 
wedding-contract between them and they abode in all delight of 
life. Meanwhile, the Jew, when the people of Adan released him 
from prison, set out homewards and fared on nor ceased faring till 
he came within three days' journey of the city. Now as soon as 
Zayn al-Mawasif heard of his coming she called for her handmaid 
Hubub and said to her, " Go to the Jews' burial-place and there 
dig a grave and plant on it sweet basil and jessamine and sprinkle 
water thereabout. If the Jew come and ask thee of me, answer : 
My mistress died twenty days ago of chagrin on thine account. 
If he say, show me her tomb, take him to the grave and after 
weeping over it and making moan and lament before him, con- 
trive to cast him therein and bury him alive." 1 And Hubub 
answered, " I hear and I obey." Then they laid up the furniture 
in the store closets, and Zayn al-Mawasif removed to Masrur's 
lodging, where he and she abode eating and drinking, till the 
three days were past ; at the end of which the Jew arrived and 
knocked at the door of his house. Quoth Hubub, " Who's at the 
door ? " ; and quoth he, " Thy master." So she opened to him 
and he saw the tears railing down her cheeks and said, " What 
aileth thee to weep and where is thy mistress ? " She replied, 
" My mistress is dead of chagrin on thine account." When he 
heard this, he was perplexed and wept with sore weeping and 
presently said, " O Hubub, where is her tomb ? " So she carried 
him to the Jews* burial-ground and showed him the grave she had 
dug; whereupon he shed bitter tears and recited this pair of 
couplets 2 : 

1 The unfortunate Jew, who seems to have been a model husband (Orientally speak- 
ing), would find no pity with a coffee-house audience because he had been guilty of 
marrying a Moslemah. The union was null and void therefore the deliberate murder 
was neither high nor petty treason. But, The Nights, though their object is to adorn a 
tale, never deliberately attempt to point a moral and this is one of their many charms. 

8 These lines have repeatedly occurred. I quote Mr. Payne,. 

Masrur and Zayn al-Mawasif. 263 

Two things there are, for which if eyes wept tear on tear o Of blood, till they 

were like indeed to disappear, 
They never could fulfil the Tithe of all their due : o And these are prime of 

youth and loss of leveling dear. 

Then he wept again with bitter tears and recited these also : 

Alack and Alas ! Patience taketh flight ; o And from parting of friend to sore 
death I'm dight : 

how woeful this farness from dear one, and oh o How my heart is rent by 

mine own unright ! 

Would Heaven my secret I erst had kept o Nor had told the pangs and my 
liver-blight : 

1 lived in all solace and joyance of life o Till she left and left me in piteous 

plight : 

Zayn al-Mawasif, I would there were o No parting departing my frame and 

sprite : 

1 repent me for troth-breach and blame my guilt o Of unruth to her whereon 

hopes I built. 

When he had made an end of this verse, he wept and groaned and 
lamented till he fell down a-swoon, whereupon Hubub made haste 
to drag him to the grave and throw him in, whilst he was in- 
sensible yet quick withal. Then she stopped up the grave on 
him and returning to her mistress acquainted her with what had 
passed, whereat she rejoiced with exceeding joy and recited these 
two couplets : 

The world sware that for ever 'twould gar me grieve : o Tis false, O world, so 

thine oath retrieve 1 ! 

The blamer is dead and my love's in my arms : o Rise to herald of joys 

and tuck high thy sleeve 2 ! 

Then she and Masrur abode each with other in eating and 
drinking and sport and pleasure and good cheer, till there came 
to them the Destroyer of delights and Sunderer of societies and 
Slayer of sons and daughters. And I have also heard tell the 
following tale of 

1 i.e. by the usual expiation. See vol. iii. 136. 
8 Arab. " Shammiri "= up and ready ! 

264 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 


THERE was once in days of yore and in ages and times long gone 
before in the parts of Cairo, a merchant named Taj al-Din who 
was of the most considerable of the merchants and of the chiefs 
of the freeborn. But he was given to travelling everywhere and 
loved to fare over wild and wold, waterless lowland and stony 
waste, and to journey to the isles of the seas, in quest of dirhams 
and dinars : wherefore he had in his time encountered dangers 
and suffered duresse of the way such as would grizzle little children 
and turn their black hair grey. He was possessed of black slaves 
and Mamelukes, Eunuchs and concubines, and was the wealthiest 
of the merchants of his time and the goodliest of them in speech, 
owning horses and mules and Bactrian camels and dromedaries ; 
sacks great and small of size ; goods and merchandise and stuffs 
such as muslins of Hums, silks and brocades of Ba'allak, cotton 
of Mery, stuffs of India, gauzes of Baghdad, burnouses of Moor- 
land and Turkish white slaves and Abyssinian castratos and 
Grecian girls and Egyptian boys ; and the coverings of his bales 
were silk with gold purfled fair, for he was wealthy beyond 
compare. Furthermore he was rare of comeliness, accomplished 
in goodliness, and gracious in his kindliness, even as one of his 
describers doth thus express : 

A merchant I spied whose lovers o Were fighting in furious guise : 

Quoth he, " Why this turmoil of people ? * o Quoth I, " Trader, for those fine 
eyes ! " 

And saith another in his praise and saith well enough to accom- 
plish the wish of him : 

1 I borrow the title from the Bresl. Edit. x. 204. Mr. Payne prefers " Ali Noureddirt 
and the Frank King's Daughter." Lane omits also this tale because it resembles Ali 
Shar and Zumurrud (vol. iv. 187) and Al al-Din Abu al-Sha"mat ^vol. iv. 29), "neither 
of which is among the text of the collection." But he has unconsciously omitted one of 
the highest interest. Dr. Bacher (Germ. Orient. Soc.) finds the original in Charlemagne's 
daughter Emma and his secretary Eginhardt as given in Grimm's Deutsche Sagcn. I 
shall note the points of resemblance as the tale proceeds. The correspondence with 
the King of France may be a garbled account of the letters which passed between Harua 
al-Rashid and Nicephorus, "the Roman dog." 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl 265 

Came a merchant to pay us a visit o Whose glance did my heart surprise : 
Quoth he, "What surprised thee so ?" o Quoth I, "Trader, 'twas those fine 

Now that merchant had a son called AH Nur al-Din, as he were 
the full moon whenas it meeteth the sight on its fourteenth night 
a marvel of beauty and loveliness, a model of form and symmetrical 
grace, who was sitting one day as was his wont, in his father's 
shop, selling and buying, giving and taking when the sons of the 
merchants girt him around and he was amongst them as moon 
among stars, with brow flower-white and cheeks of rosy light in 
down the tenderest dight, and body like alabaster-bright even as 
saith of him the poet : 

" Describe me ! " a fair one said, o Said I, " Thou 'art Beauty's queen." 
And, speaking briefest speech, o " All charms in thee are seen." 

And as saith of him one of his describers ; 

His mole upon plain of cheek is like o Ambergris-crumb on marble plate. 
And his glances likest the sword proclaim o To all Love's rebels " The Lord 
is Great ! "* 

The young merchants invited him saying, " O my lord Nur al-Din, 
we wish thee to go this day a-pleasuring with us in such a garden." 
And he answered, " Wait till I consult my parent, for I cannot go 
without his consent." As they were talking, behold, up came 
Taj al-Din, and his son looked to him and said, " O father mine, 
the sons of the merchants have invited me to wend a-pleasuring 
with them in such a garden. Dost thou grant me leave to go? " 
His father replied, " Yes, O my son, fare with them ; " and gave 
him somewhat of money. So the young men mounted their mules 
and asses and Nur al-Din mounted a she-mule and rode with them 
to a garden, wherein was all that soul desireth and that eye 
charmeth. It was high of walls which from broad base were seen 
to rise; and it had a gateway vault-wise with a portico like a 
saloon and a door azure as the skies, as it were one of the gates of 
Paradise : the name of the door-keeper was Rizwan, 2 and over 
the gate were trained an hundred trellises which grapes overran ; 

1 Arab. " Allaho Akbar," the Moslem slogan or war-cry. See vol. ii. 89. 

2 The gate-keeper of Paradise. See vol. iii. 15, 20. 

266 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and these were of various dyes, the red like coralline, the black 
like the snouts of Sudan^men and the white like egg of the pigeon- 
hen. And in it peach and pomegranate were shown and pear, 
apricot and pomegranate were grown and fruits with and without 

stone hanging in clusters or alone, And Shahrazad perceived 

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

Koto fofjw it foas tfje fjfjjt ?^utrtrre& antr S>fxtg=fourrt) 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
when the sons of the merchants entered the vergier, they found 
therein all that soul desireth or eye charmeth, grapes of many hues 
grown, hanging in bunches or alone, even as saith of them the 
poet : 

Grapes tasting with the taste of wine Whose coats like blackest Raven's 

shine : 
Their sheen, amid the leafage shows, o Like women's fingers henna'd fine. 

And as saith another on the same theme ; 

Grape-bunches likest as they sway o A-stalk, my body frail and snell : 
Honey and water thus in jar, o When sourness past, make Hydromel. 

Then they entered the arbour of the garden and saw there Rizwan 
the gate-keeper sitting, as he were Rizwan the Paradise-guardian, 
and on the door were written these lines ; 

Garth Heaven- watered wherein clusters waved o On boughs which full of 

sap to bend were fain : 
And, when the branches danced on Zephyr's palm, o The Pleiads shower'd as 

gifts 2 fresh pearls for rain. 

1 Negroes. Vol. iii. 75. 

2 Arab. " Nakat," with the double meaning of to spot and to handsel especially 
dancing and singing women ; and, as Mr. Payne notes in this acceptation it is practically 
equivalent to the English phrase ** to mark (or cross) the palm with silver." I have 
translated " Anwa" by Pleiads ; but it means the setting of one star and simultaneous 
rising of another foreshowing rain. There are seven Anwa (plur of nawa) in the Solar 
year viz. Al-Badri (Sept. Oct.); Al-Wasmiyy (late autumn and December); Al- 
Waliyy (to April) ; Al-Ghamir (June) ; Al-Busriyy (July) ; Barih al-Kayz (August) and 
Ahrak al-Hawa extending to September 8. These are tokens of approaching rain, meta- 
phorically used by the poets to express "bounty." See Preston's Hariri (p. 43) and 
Chenery upon the Ass. of the Banu Haram. 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 267 

And within the arbour were written these two couplets : 

Come with us, friend, and enter thou o This garth that cleanses rust of grief : 
Over their skirts the Zephyrs trip l o And flowers in sleeve to laugh are lief.* 

So they entered and found all manner fruits in view and birds of 
every kind and hue, such as ringdove, nightingale and curlew ; and 
the turtle and the cushat sang their love lays on the sprays. 
Therein were rills that ran with limpid wave and flowers suave ; 
and bloom for whose perfume we crave and it was even as saith 
of it the poet in these two couplets ; 

The Zephyr breatheth o'er its branches, like o Fair girls that trip as in fair 

skirts they pace : 
Its rills resemble swords in hands of knights o Drawn from the scabbard and 

containing-case. 3 

And again as singeth the songster ; 

The streamlet swings by branchy wood and aye o Joys in its breast those 

beauties to display ; 
And Zephyr noting this, for jealousy o Hastens and bends the 

branches other way. 

On the trees of the garden were all manner fruits, each in two 
sorts, and amongst them the pomegranate, as it were a ball of 
silver-dross, 4 whereof saith the poet and saith right well : 

Granados of finest skin, like the breasts o Of maid firm-standing in sight of 

When I strip the skin, they at once display o The rubies compelling all sense 

to quail. 

And even as quoth another bard ; 

Close prest appear to him who views th' inside o Red rubies in brocaded skirts 

bedight : 
Granado I compare with marble dome o Or virgin's breasts delighting every 

sight : 
Therein is cure for every ill as e'en o Left an Hadfs the Prophet pure of 

sprite ; 
And Allah (glorify His name) eke deigned o A noble say in Holy Book indite. 5 

1 i.e. They trip and stumble in their hurry to get there. 

2 Arab. " Knmm " = sleeve or petal. See vol. v. 32. 

3 Arab. " Kirab " = sword-case of wood, the sheath being of leather. 

4 Arab. " Akrkayrawan," both rare words. 

5 A doubtful tradition in the Mishka*t al-Masabih declares that every pomegranate 
contains a grain from Paradise. See vol. i. 134. The Koranic reference is to vi. 99. 

268 A If Laylah wa Laylah* 

The apples were the sugared and the musky and the Damdni, 
amazing the beholder, whereof saith Hassan the poet : 

Apple which joins hues twain, and brings to mind o The cheek of lover and 

beloved combined : 
Two wondrous opposites on branch they show o This dark * and that with 

hue incarnadined 
The twain embraced when spied the spy and turned o This red, that yellow for 

the shame designed. 2 

There also were apricots of various kinds, almond and camphor 
and Jildni and 'Antdbi, 3 whereof saith the poet :- 

And Almond-apricot suggesting swain o Whose lover's visit all his wits hath 

Enough oflove-sick lovers' plight it shows o Of face deep yellow and heart torn 

in twain. 4 

And saith another and saith well : 

Look at that Apricot whose bloom contains o Gardens with brightness gladding 

all men's eyne : 
Like stars the blossoms sparkle when the boughs o Are clad in foliage dight 

with sheen and shine. 

There likewise were plums and cherries and grapes, that the sick 
of all diseases assain and do away giddiness and yellow choler 
from the brain ; and figs the branches between, varicoloured red 
and green, amazing sight and sense, even as saith the poet : 

'Tis as the Figs with clear white skins outhrown o By foliaged trees, athwart 

whose green they peep, 
Were sons of Roum that guard the palace-roof o When shades close in and 

night-long ward they keep. 5 

And saith another and saith well : 

1 Arab. " Aswad," lit. black but used for any dark colour, here green as opposed to 
the lighter yellow. 

2 The idea has occurred in vol. i. 158. 

3 So called from the places where they grow. 

4 See vol. vii. for the almond-apricot whose stone is cracked to get at the kernel. 

8 For Roum see vol. iv. 100 : in Morocco " Roumi " means simply a European. The 
tetrastich alludes to the beauty of the Greek slaves. 

Ali Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 269 

Welcome 1 the Fig! To us it comes o Ordered in handsome plates they 

bring : 
Likest a Sufrah '-cloth we draw oTo shape of bag without a ring. 

And how well saith a third : 

Give me the Fig sweet-flavoured, beauty-clad, o Whose inner beauties rival 

outer sheen : 
And when it fruits thou tastest it to find o Chamomile's scent and 

Sugar's saccharine : 
And eke it favoureth on platters poured o Puff-balls of silken thread 

and sendal green. 

And how excellent is the saying of one of them ! 

Quoth they (and I had trained my taste thereto o Nor cared for other fruits 

whereby they swore), 
"Why lovest so the Fig?'* whereto quoth I o "Some men love Fig and 

others Sycamore. 3 

And are yet goodlier those of another : 

Pleaseth me more the fig than every fruit o When ripe and hanging from 

the sheeny bough ; 
Like Devotee who, when the clouds pour rain, o Sheds tears and Allah's power 

doth avow. 

And in that garth were also pears of various kinds Sinai'tic, 4 Alep- 
pine and Grecian growing in clusters and alone, parcel green and 

parcel golden And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo foiKn it foas tfe lEtgfjt f^un&xetr anb Sbtxtg-Hftft 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the merchants' sons went down into the garth they saw therein all 

1 Arab. " Ahlan " in adverb form lit. = " as one of the household " : so in the greet- 
ing '* Ahlan wa Sahlan " (and at thine ease), wa Marhaba (having a wide free place). 

2 For the Sufrah table-cloth see vol. i. 178. 

3 See vol. iii. 302, for the unclean allusion, in fig and sycamore. 

4 In the text "of Tor " : see vol. ii. 242. The pear is mentioned by Homer and grows 
wild in South Europe. Dr. Victor Hehn (The Wanderings of Plants, etc.) comparing 
the Gr. aTnos with the Lat. pyrus, suggests that the latter passed over to the Kelts and 
Germans amongst whom the fruit was not indigenous. Our fine pears are mostly from the 
East. e.g. the '* bergamot " is the Beg Armud, Prince of Pears, from Angora. 

270 A If Laylak wa Laylak. 

the fruits we mentioned and found pears SinaTtic, Aleppine and 
Grecian of every hue, which here clustering there single grew, 
parcel green and parcel yellow to the gazer a marvel-view, as saith 
of them the poet : 

With thee that Pear agree, whose hue a-morn o Is hue of hapless lover yellow 

Like virgin cloistered strait in strong Harfm o Whose face like racing steed 

outstrips the veil. 

And Sultani l peaches of shades varied, yellow and red, whereof 
saith the poet : 

Like Peach in vergier growing o And sheen of Andam 2 showing : 
Whose balls of yellow gold, o Are dyed with blood-gouts flowing. 

There were also green almonds of passing sweetness, resembling 
the cabbage 3 of the palm-tree, with their kernels within three 
tunics lurking of the Munificent King's handiworking, even as is 
said of them : 

*Three coats yon freshest form endue o God's work of varied shape and hue ; 
Hardness surrounds it night and day; o Prisoning without a sin to rue. 

And as well saith another : 

Seest not that Almond plucked by hand o Of man from bough where wont to 

dwell : 
Peeling it shows the heart within o As union-pearl in oyster-shell. 

And as saith a third better than he ; 

How good is Almond green I view ! o The smallest fills the hand of you : 
Its nap is as the down upon o The cheeks where yet no beardlet grew : 

Its kernels in the shell are seen, o Or bachelors or married two, 
As pearls they were of lucent white o Cased and lapped in Jasper's hue. 

And as saith yet another and saith well : 

Mine eyes ne'er looked on aught the Almond like o For charms, when blos- 
soms'* in the Prime show bright : 

' i.e. " Royal . " it may or may not come from Sultanfyah, a town near Baghdad. See 
vol. i. 83 ; where it applies to oranges and citrons. 
* 'Andam = Dragon's blood : see vol. iii. 263. 

3 Arab. "Jamar," the palm-pith and cabbage, both eaten by Arabs with sugar. 

4 Arab. " Anwar " = lights, flowers (mostly yellow) : hence the Moroccan " N'war," 
with its usual abuse of Wakf or quiescence. 

AH Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl 271 

Its head to hoariness of age inclines o The while its cheek by youth's fresh 
down is dight. 

And jujube-plums of various colours, grown in clusters and alone 
whereof saith one, describing them : 

Look at the Lote-tree, note on boughs arrayed o Like goodly apricots on reed- 

strown floor, 1 
Their morning-hue to viewer's eye is like o Cascavels 2 cast of purest golden 


And as saith another and saith right well : 

The Jujube-tree each Day o Robeth in bright array. 
As though each pome thereon o Would self to sight display. 
Like falcon-bell of gold o Swinging from every spray. 

And in that garth grew blood oranges, as they were the Khau- 
lanjan, 3 whereof quoth the enamoured poet 4 : 

Red fruits that fill the hand, and shine with sheen o Of fire, albe the scarf-skin's 

white as snow. 
'Tis marvel snow on fire doth never melt And, stranger still, ne'er 

burns this living lowe ! 

And quoth another and quoth well : 

And trees of Orange fruiting ferly fair o To those who straitest have their charms 

surveyed ; 
Like cheeks of women who their forms have decked o For holiday in robes of 

gold brocade. 

1 Mr. Payne quotes Eugene Fromentin, " Un Etc* dans le Sahara," Paris, 1857, 
p. 194. Apricot drying can be seen upon all the roofs at Damascus where, however, the 
season for each fruit is unpleasantly short, ending almost as soon as it begins. 

2 Arab. Jalajal =r small bells for falcons : in Port, cascaveis, whence our word. 

3 Khulanjan. Sic all editions; but Khalanj, or Khaulanj adj. Khalanji, a tree with 
a strong-smelling wood which held in hand as a chaplet acts as perfume, as is probably 
intended. In Span. Arabic it is the Erica-wood. The "Muhit " tells us that is a tree 
parcel yellow and red growing in parts of India and China, its leaf is that of the Tamarisk 
(Tarfa) ; its flower is coloured red, yellow and white ; it bears a grain like mustard-seed 
(Khardal) and of its wood they make porringers. Hence the poet sings : 

Yut 'amu '1-shahdu fi '1-jifani, wa yuska * Labanu '1-Bukhti fi Kusa'i '1-Khalanji : 
Honey's served to them in platters for food ; * Camels' milk in bowls of the Khalanj 

The pi. Khalanij is used by Himyan bin Kahafah in this "bayt " : 

Hatta izd m qazati '1-Hawaija * Wa malaat Halaba-ha '1-Khalanija : 

Until she had done every work of hers * And with sweet milk had filled the porringers. 

4 In text Al-Sha'ir Al-Walahan, vol. iii. 226. 

272 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

And yet another as well : 

Like are the Orange-hills 1 when Zephyr breathes o Swaying the boughs and 

spray with airy grace, 
Her cheeks that glow with lovely light when met o At greeting-tide by cheeks 

of other face. 

And a fourth as fairly : 

And fairest Fawn, we said to him " Portray o This garth and oranges thine 

eyes survey :" 
And he, *' Your garden favoureth my face, o Who gathereth orange gathereth 

fire alway." 

In that garden too grew citrons, in colour as virgin gold, hanging 
down from on high and dangling among the branches, as they were 
ingots of growing gold ; 2 and saith thereof the 'namoured poet : 

Hast seen a Citron-copse so weighed adown Thou fearest bending roll 

their fruit on mould ; 
And seemed, when Zephyr passed athwart the tree, e Its branches hung with 

bells of purest gold ? 

And shaddocks, 3 that among their boughs hung laden as though 
each were the breast of a gazelle-like maiden, contenting the most 
longing wight, as saith of them the poet and saith aright : 

And Shaddock mid the garden-paths, on bough # Freshest like fairest damsel 

met my sight ; 
And to the blowing of the breeze it bent * Like golden ball to bat of 


And the lime sweet of scent, which resembleth a hen's egg, but its 
yellowness ornamenteth its ripe fruit, and its fragrance hearteneth 
him who plucketh it, as saith the poet who singeth it : 

Seest not the Lemon, when it taketh form, # Catch rays of light and all 

to gaze constrain ; 
Like egg of pullet which the huckster's hand * Adorneth dyeing with the 

saffron-stain ? 

1 The orange I have said is the growth of India and the golden apples of the 
Hesperides were not oranges but probably golden nuggets. Captain Rolleston (Clobf t 
Feb. 5, '84, on * Morocco-Lixus") identifies the Garden with the mouth of the Lixus 
River while M. Antichan would transfer it to the hideous and unwholesome Bissagos 

2 Arab. " Ikyan," the living gold which is supposed to grow in the ground. 

3 For the Kubbador Captain Shaddock's fruit see vol. ii. 310, where it is misprinted 

Ali Nur a I- Din and Miriam the Girdle- Girl. 273 

Moreover in this garden were all manner of other fruits and sweet- 
scented herbs and plants and fragrant flowers, such as jessamine 
and henna and water-lilies 1 and spikenard 2 and roses of every kind 
and plantain 3 and myrtle and so forth ; and indeed it was without 
compare, seeming as it were a piece of Paradise to whoso beheld 
it. If a sick man entered it, he came forth from it like a raging 
lion, and tongue availeth not to its description, by reason of that 
which was therein of wonders and rarities which are not found but 
in Heaven : and how should it be otherwise when its door-keeper's 
name was Rizwan ? Though widely different were the stations of 
those twain ! Now when the sons of the merchants had walked 
about gazing at the garden after taking their pleasure therein, they 
sat down in one of its pavilions and seated Nur al-Din in their 

midst. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say. 

fo&cn tt foag tlK lEfgfit $^unfctrtr antr 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the sons of the merchants sat down in the pavilion they seated 
Nur al-Din in their midst on a rug of gold-purfled leather of 
Al-Taif, 4 leaning on a pillow 5 of minever, stuffed with ostrich 
down. And they gave him a fan of ostrich feathers, whereon were 
written these two couplets : 

A fan whose breath is fraught with fragrant scent ; o Minding of happy days 

and times forspent, 
Wafting at every time its perfumed air o O'er face of noble youth 

on honour bent. 

1 Full or Fill in Bresl. Edit. = Arabian jessamine or cork-tree (^cAAov). The Bui. 
and Mac. Edits, read " filfil" pepper or palm-fibre. 

2 Arab. ' Sumbul al-'Anbart "; the former word having been introduced into England 
by patent medicines. ** Sumbul " in Arab, and Pers. means the hyacinth, the spikenard 
or the Sign Virgo. 

3 Arab. " Lisan al-Hamal " lit. = Lamb's tongue. 

4 See in Bresl. Edit, x, 221. Taif, a well-known town in the mountain region East 
of Meccah, and not in the Holy Land, was once famous for scented goat's leather. It is 
considered to be a " fragment of Syria'' (Pilgrimage ii. 207) and derives its name = the 
circumambulator from its having circuited pilgrim-like round the Ka'abah (Ibid.) 

5 Arab. " Mikhaddah " = cheek-pillow : Ital. guanciale. In Bresl. Edit. Mudaw- 
warah (a round cushion) Sinjabiyah (of Ermine). For " Mudawwarah " see vol. iv. 135. 


274 A If Laylah wu Lay 1 ah. 

Then they laid by their turbands and outer clothes and sat talking 
and chatting and inducing one another to discourse, while they all 
kept their eyes fixed on Nur al-Din and gazed on his beauteous 
form. After the sitting had lasted an hour or so, up came a slave 
with a tray on his head, wherein were platters of china and crystal 
containing viands of all sorts (for one of the youths had so charged 
his people before coming to the garden) ; and the meats were of 
whatever walketh earth or wingeth air or swimmeth waters, such 
as Katd-grouse and fat quails and pigeon-poults and mutton and 
chickens and the delicatest fish. So, the tray being sat before 
them, they fell to and ate their fill ; and when they had made an 
end of eating, they rose from meat and washed their hands with 
pure water and musk-scented soap, and dried them with napery 
embroidered in silk and bugles ; but to Nur al-Din they brought 
a napkin laced with red gold whereon he wiped his hands. Then 
coffee 1 was served up and each drank what he would, after which 
they sat talking, till presently the garden-keeper who was young- 
went away and returning with a basket full of roses, said to them, 
" What say ye, O my masters, to flowers ? " Quoth one of them, 
" There is no harm in them, 2 especially roses, which are not to be 
resisted " Answered the gardener, " 'Tis well, but it is of our wont 
not to give roses but in exchange for pleasant converse; so 
whoever would take aught thereof, let him recite some verses 
suitable to the situation." Now they were ten sons of merchants 
of whom one said, " Agreed : give me thereof and I will recite thee 
somewhat of verse apt to the case." Accordingly the gardener 
gave him a bunch of roses 3 which he took and at once improvised 
these three couplets : 

The Rose in highest stead I rate o For that her charms ne'er satiate ; 

All fragrant flow'rs be troops to her o Their general of high estate : 

Where she is not they boast and vaunt ; o But, when she comes, they stint 
their prate. 

'* Coffee " is here evidently an anachronism and was probaby inserted by the copyist.. 
See vol. v. 169, for its first mention. But " Kahwah " may have preserved its original 
meaning = strong old wine (vol. ii. 261) ; and the amount of wine-drinking and drunken- 
ness proves that the coffee movement had not set in. 

2 i.e. they are welcome. In Marocco "La baas" means, "I am pretty well " (in 

3 The Rose (Ward) in Arab, is masculine, sounding to us most uncouth.. But there is- 
a fem. form Wardah = a single rose. 

Ali Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 275 

Then the gardener gave a bunch to another and he recited these 
two couplets : 

Take, O my lord, to thee the Rose * Recalling scent by musk be shed . 
Like virginette by lover eyed o Who with her sleeves 1 enveileth head. 

Then he gave a bunch to a third who recited these two couplets : 

Choice Rose that gladdens heart to see her sight ; o Of Nadd recalling fragrance 

The branchlets clip her in her leaves for joy, * Like kiss of lips that never 

spake in spite. 

Then he gave a bunch to a fourth and he recited these two 
couplets : 

Seest not that rosery where Rose a-flowering displays o Mounted upon her 

steed of stalk those marvels manifold ? 
As though the bud were ruby-stone and girded all around o With chrysolite and 

held within a little hoard of gold. 

Then he gave a posy to a fifth and he recited these two couplets : 

Wands of green chrysolite bare issue, which o Were fruits like ingots of 

the growing gold. 2 
And drops, a dropping from its leaves, were like o The tears my languorous 

eyelids railed and rolled. 

Then he gave a sixth a bunch and he recited these two 
couplets : 

O Rose, thou rare of charms that dost contain o All gifts and Allah's 

secrets singular, 
Thou ' rt like the loved one's cheek where lover fond * And fain of Union sticks 

the gold dindr. 3 

1 Arab. " Akmam," pi. of Kumm, a sleeve, a petal. See vol. iv. 107 and supra 
p. 267. The Moslem woman will show any part of her person rather than her face, 
instinctively knowing that the latter may be recognised whereas the former cannot. 
The traveller in the outer East will see ludicrous situations in which the modest one 
runs away with hind parts bare and head and face carefully covered. 

2 Arab. Ikyan which Mr. Payne translates " vegetable gold " very picturesquely but 
not quite preserving the idea. See supra p. 272. 

3 It is the custom for fast youths, in Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere to stick small gold 
pieces, mere spangles of metal on the brows, cheeks and lips of the singing and dancing 
girls and the perspiration and mask of cosmetics make them adhere for a time till fresh 
movement shakes them off. 

276 A If Laylak wa Lcylah. 

Then he gave a bunch to a seventh and he recited these two 
couplets : 

To Rose quoth I, " What gars thy thorns to be put forth o For all who touch 

thee cruellest injury ? " 
Quoth she, " These flowery troops are troops of me o Who be their lord 

with spines for armoury." 

And he gave an eighth a bunch and he recited these two 
couplets : 

Allah save the Rose which yellows a-morn * Florid, vivid and likest the 

nugget-ore ; 
And bless the fair sprays tnat displayed such flowers # And mimic suns gold- 

begilded bore. 

Then he gave a bunch to a ninth and he recited these two 
couplets : 

The bushes of golden-hued Rose excite * In the love-sick lover joys 

manifold : 
Tis a marvel shrub watered every day * With silvern lymph and it 

fruiteth gold. 

Then he gave a bunch of roses to the tenth and last and he 
recited these two couplets : 

Seest not how the hosts of the Rose display o Red hues and yellow in rosy 

I compare the Rose and her arming thorn o To emerald lance piercing 

golden shield 

And whilst each one hent bunch in hand, the gardener brought 
the wine-service and setting it before them, on a tray of porcelain 
arabesqued with red gold, recited these two couplets : 

Dawn heralds day-light : so wine pass round, o Old wine, fooling sage till his 

wits he tyne : 
Wot I not for its purest clarity o An 'tis wine in cup or 'tis cup in wine. 1 

Then the gardener filled and drank and the cup went round, till 
it came to Nur al-Din's turn, whereupon the man filled and 
handed it to him ; but he said, " This thing I wot it not nor have 
I ever drunken thereof, for therein is great offence and the Lord 

See the same idea in vol. i. 132, and 349. 

AH Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 277 

of All-might hath forbidden it in His Book." Answered the 
gardener, "O my Lord Nur al-Din, an thou forbear to drink 
only by reason of the sin, verily Allah (extolled and exalted be 
He !) is bountiful, of sufferance great, forgiving and compassionate 
and pardoneth the mortalest sins : His mercy embraceth all 
things, Allah's ruth be upon the poet who saith : 

Be as thou wilt, for Allah is bountiful o And when thou sinnest feel thou 

naught alarm : 
But 'ware of twofold sins nor ever dare o To give God partner or mankind 

to harm. 

Then quoth one of the sons of the merchants, " My life on thee, O 
my lord Nur al-Din, drink of this cup ! " And another conjured 
him by the oath of divorce and yet another stood up persistently 
before him, till he was ashamed and taking the cup from the 
gardener, drank a draught, but spat it out again, crying, " 'Tis 
bitter." Said the young gardener, " O my lord Nur al-Din, knowest 
thou not that sweets taken by way of medicine are bitter ? Were 
this not bitter, 'twould lack of the manifold virtues it poss'esseth ; 
amongst which are that it digesteth food and disperseth cark and 
care and dispelleth flatulence and clarifieth the blood and 
cleareth the complexion and quickeneth the body and hearteneth 
the hen-hearted and fortifieth the sexual power in man ; but to 
name all its virtues would be tedious. Quoth one of the poets : 

Well drink and Allah pardon sinners all o And cure of ills by sucking cups 

I'll find : 
Nor aught the sin deceives me ; yet said He o " In it there be advantage 1 to 


1 " They will ask thee concerning wine and casting of lots; say : In both are great 
sin and great advantages to mankind ; but the sin of them both is greater than their 
advantage." See Koran ii. 216. Mohammed seems to have made up his mind about 
drinking by slow degrees ; and the Koranic law is by no means so strict as the Mullahs 
have made it. The prohibitions, revealed at widely different periods and varying in 
import and distinction, have been discussed by Al-Bayza"wi in his commentary on the 
above chapter. He says that the first revelation was in chapt. xvi. 69 but, as the 
passage was disregarded, Omar and others consulted the Apostle who replied to them in 
chapt. ii. 216. Then, as this also was unnoticed, came the final decision in chapt. v. 92, 
making wine and lots the work of Satan. Yet excuses are never wanting to the Moslem, 
he can drink Champagne and Cognac, both unknown in Mohammed's day and he can. 
use wine and spirits medicinally, like sundry of ourselves, who turn up the nose of 
contempt at the idea of drinking for pleasure. 

278 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

Then he sprang up without stay or delay and opened one of the 
cupboards in the pavilion and taking out a loaf of refined sugar, 
broke off a great slice which he put into Nur al-Din's cup, saying, 
" O my lord, an thou fear to drink wine, because of its bitterness, 
drink now, for 'tis sweet." So he took the cup and emptied it : 
whereupon one of his comrades filled him another, saying, " O my 
lord Nur al-Din, I am thy slave," and another did the like, 
saying, * I am one of thy servants/' and a third said, " For my 
sake ! " and a fourthj " Allah upon thee, O my lord Nur al-Din, 
heal my heart!" And so they ceased not plying him with wine, 
each and every of the ten sons of merchants till they had made 
him drink a total of ten cups. Now Nur al-Din's body was 
virgin of wine-bibbing, or never in all his life had he drunken 
vine-juice till that hour, wherefore its fumes wrought in his brain 
and drunkenness was stark upon him and he stood up (and 
indeed his tongue was thick and his speech stammering) and 
said, " O company, by Allah, ye are fair and your speech is 
goodly and your place pleasant ; but there needeth hearing of 
sweet music ; for drink without melody lacks the chief of its 
essentiality, even as saith the poet : 

Pass round the cup to the old and the young man, too, And take the bowl 

from the hand of the shining moon, 1 
But without music, I charge you, forbear to drink ; I see even horses drink to 

a whistled tune. 2 

Therewith up sprang the gardener lad and mounting one of the 
young men's mules, was absent awhile, after which he returned 
with a Cairene girl, as she were a sheep's tail fat and delicate, or 
an ingot of pure silvern ore or a dinar on a porcelain plate or a 
gazelle in the wold forlore. She had a face that put to shame the 
shining sun and eyes Babylonian 3 and brows like bows bended 
and cheeks rose-painted and teeth pearly-hued and lips sugared 
and glances languishing and breasts ivory white and body slender 
and slight, full of folds and with dimples dight and hips like 
pillows stuffed and thighs like columns of Syrian stone, and 

1 i.e. a fair-faced cup-bearer. The lines have occurred before : so I quote Mr. 

2 It is the custom of the Arabs to call their cattle to water by whistling ; not to 
whistle to them, as Europeans do, whilst making water. 

3 i.e. bewitching. See vol. i. 85. These incompatible metaphors are brought 
together by the Saj'a (prose rhyme) in " iyah." 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle- Girl. 279 

between them what was something like a sachet of spices in 
wrapper swathed, Quoth the poet of her in these couplets : 

Had she shown her shape to idolaters' sight, * They would gaze on her face 

and their gods detest : 
And if in the East to a monk she'd show'd, * He'd quit Eastern posture 

and bow to West. 1 
An she crached in the sea and the briniest sea * Her lips would give it the 

sweetest zest 

And quoth another in these couplets : 

Brighter than Moon at full with kohl'd eyes she came o Like Doe, on chasing 

whelps of Lioness intent : 
Her night of murky locks lets fall a tent on her o A tent of hair 2 that 

lacks no pegs to hold the tent ; 
And roses lighting up her roseate cheeks are fed o By hearts and livers 

flowing fire for languishment : 
An 'spied her all the Age's Fair to her they'd rise o Humbly, 3 and cry 

" The meed belongs to precedent!'' 

And how well saith a third bard 4 : 

Three things for ever hinder her to visit us, for fear Of the intriguing spy 
and eke the rancorous envier ; 

Her forehead's lustre and the sound of all her ornaments And the sweet scent 
her creases hold of ambergris and myrrh. 

Grant with the border of her sleeve she hide her brow and doff Her orna- 
ments, how shall she do her scent away from her ? 

She was like the moon when at fullest on its fourteenth night, and 
was clad in a garment of blue, with a veil of green, over brow flower- 
white that all wits amazed and those of understanding amated 

1 Mesopotamian Christians, who still turn towards Jerusalem, face the West, instead 
of the East, as with Europeans : here the monk is so dazed that he does not know what 
to do. 

2 Arab. " Bayt Sha'ar "= a house of hair (tent) or a couplet of verse. Watad (a tent- 
peg) also is prosodical, a foot when the two first letters are "moved" (vowelled) and 
the last is jazmated (quiescent), e.g. Lakad. It is termed Majmu'a (united), as opposed 
to "Mafruk" (separated), e.g. Kabla, when the "moved" consonants are disjoined 
by a quiescent. 

3 Lit. standing on their heads, which sounds ludicrous enough in English, not in 

4 These lines are in vol. Hi. 251. I quote Mr. Payne who notes " The bodies of 
Eastern women of the higher classes by dint of continual maceration, Esther-fashion, in 
aromatic oils and essences, would naturally become impregnated with the sweet scents 
of the cosmetics used." 

280 A If Laylah wa Lay la k. 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

her permitted say. 

Nofo foljen it foas t&e fgjt f^untot) antr gbuctg^bentf) Nfgf)t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
gardener brought a girl whom we have described possessed of the 
utmost beauty and loveliness and fine stature and symmetrical 
grace as it were she the poet signified when he said 1 : 

She came apparelled in a vest of blue, 
That mocked the skies and shamed their azure hue ; 
I thought thus clad she burst upon my sight, 
Like summer moonshine on a wintry night. 

And how goodly is the saying of another and how excellent ! 

She came thick veiled, and cried I, " O display That face like full moon bright 
with pure-white ray." 

Quoth she, " I fear disgrace," quoth I, " Cut short o This talk, no shift of days 
thy thoughts affray." 

Whereat she raised her veil from fairest face * And crystal spray on gems 
began to stray : 

And I forsooth was fain to kiss her cheek, * Lest she complain of me on Judg- 

And at such tide before the Lord on High * We first of lovers were redress to 

So " Lord, prolong this reckoning and review" * (Prayed I) "that longer I 
may sight my may." 

Then said the young gardener to her, " Know thou, O lady of the 
fair, brighter than any constellation which illumineth air we sought, 
in bringing thee hither naught but that thou shouldst entertain 
with converse this comely youth, my lord Nur al-Din, for he hath 
come to this place only this day." And the girl replied, " Would 
thou hadst told me, that I might have brought what I have with 
me ! " Rejoined the gardener, " O my lady, I will go and fetch it 
to thee." " As thou wilt," said she : and he, " Give me a token." 
So she gave him a kerchief and he fared forth in haste and returned 
after awhile, bearing a green satin bag with slings of gold. The 
girl took the bag from him and opening it shook it, whereupon 

1 These lines occur in vol. i. 218: I quote Torrens for variety. 

Alt Nur al-Dm and Miriam the GirdU-GirL 281 

there fell thereout two-and-thirty pieces of wood, which she fitted 
one into other, male into female and female into male 1 till they 
became a polished lute of Indian workmanship. Then she un- 
covered her wrists and laying the lute in her lap, bent over it with 
the bending of mother over babe, and swept the strings with her 
finger-tips ; whereupon it moaned and resounded and after its 
olden home yearned ; and it remembered the waters that gave it 
drink and the earth whence it sprang and wherein it grew and it 
minded the carpenters who cut it and the polishers who polished it 
and the merchants who made it their merchandise and the ships 
that shipped it ; and it cried and called aloud and moaned and 
groaned ; and it was as if she asked it of all these things and it 
answered her with the tongue of the case, reciting these 
couplets 2 : 

A tree whilere was I the Bulburs home * To whom for love I bowed my grass- 
green head : 
They moaned on me, and I their moaning learnt * And in that moan my secret 

all men read : 
The woodman felled me falling sans offence, * And slender lute of me (as view 

ye) made : 
But, when the fingers smite my strings, they tell * How man despite my patience 

did me dead ; 
Hence boon-companions when they hear my moan * Distracted wax as though 

by wine misled : 
And the Lord softens every heart to me, * And I am hurried to the highmost 

stead : 
All who in charms excel fain clasp my waist,; Gazelles of languid eyne and 

Houri maid : 
Allah ne'er part fond lover from his joy Nor live the loved one who unkindly 


Then the girl was silent awhile, but presently taking the lute in 
lap, again bent over it, as mother bendeth over child, and preluded 
in many different modes; then, returning to the first, she sang 
these couplets : 

Would they 3 the lover seek without ado, * He to his heavy grief had bid adieu : 

1 So we speak of a " female screw." The allusion is to the dove-tailing of the pieces. 
This personification of the lute has occurred before : but I solicit the reader's attention 
to it ; it has & fulness of Oriental flavour all its own. 

2 I again solicit the reader's attention to the simplicity, the pathos and the beauty of 
this personification of the lute. 

"They" for she, 

282 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

With him had vied the Nightingale * on bough * As one far parted from his 

lover's view : 
Rouse thee ! awake ! The Moon lights Union-night * As tho' such Union woke 

the Morn anew. 
This day the blamers take of us no heed * And lute-strings bid us all our joys 

Seest not how four-fold things conjoin in one * Rose, myrtle, scents and blooms 

of golden hue 2 . 
Yea, here this day the four chief joys unite Drink and dinars, beloved and 

lover true : 
So win thy worldly joy, for joys go past And naught but storied tales and 

legends last. 

When Nur al-Din heard the girl sing these lines he looked on her 
with eyes of love and could scarce contain himself for the violence 
of his inclination to her ; and on like wise was it with her, because 
she glanced at the company who were present of the sons of the 
merchants and she saw that Nur al-Din was amongst the rest as 
moon among stars ; for that he was sweet of speech and replete 
with amorous grace, perfect in stature and symmetry, brightness 
and loveliness, pure of all defect, than the breeze of morn softer, 
than Tasnim blander, as saith of him the poet 8 : 

By his cheeks' unfading damask and his smiling teeth I swear, By the arrows 

that he feathers with the witchery of his air, 

By his sides so soft and tender and his glances bright and keen, By the white- 
ness of his forehead and the blackness of his hair, 
By his arched imperious eyebrows, chasing slumber from my lids With their 

yeas and noes that hold me 'twixt rejoicing and despair, 
By the scorpions that he launches from his ringlet-clustered brows, Seeking 

still to slay his lovers with his rigours unaware, 
By the myrtle of his whiskers and the roses of his cheek, By his lips' incarnate 

rubies and his teeth's fine pearls and rare, 
By the straight and tender sapling of his shape, which for its fruit Doth the 

twin pomegranates, shining in his snowy bosom, wear, 
By his heavy hips that tremble, both in motion and repose, And the slender 

waist above them, all too slight their weight to bear, 
By the silk of his apparel and his quick and sprightly wit, By all attributes of 

beauty that are fallen to his share ; 
Lo, the musk exhales its fragrance from his breath, and eke the breeze From 

his scent the perfume borrows, that it scatters everywhere. 
Yea, the sun in all his splendour cannot with his brightness vie And the 

crescent moon's a fragment that he from his nails doth pare. 

1 The Arabs very justly make the '"Andalfb" nightingale, masculine. 

a Anwdr = lights or flowers : See Night dccclxv. supra p. 270. 

8 These couplets have occurred in vol. i. 168 ; so I quote Mr. Payne. 

Alt Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 283 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

Nofo fojen it foas tfje Ufjjftt ^unfrrefc an& gbtxtp-effijtj Wgfjt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nur 
al-Din was delighted with the girl's verses and he swayed from 
side to side for drunkenness and fell a-praising her and saying : 

A lutanist to us inclined o And stole our wits bemused with wine : 

And said to us her lute, " The Lord o Bade us discourse by voice divine." 

When she heard him thus improvise the girl gazed at him with 
loving eyes and redoubled in passion and desire for him increased 
upon her, and indeed she marvelled at his beauty and loveliness, 
symmetry and grace, so that she could not contain herself, but 
took the lute in lap again and sang these couplets : 

He blames me for casting on hhn my sight o And parts fro' me bearing my 

life and sprite : 
He repels me but kens what my heart endures As though Allah himself had 

inspired the wight : 
I portrayed his portrait in palm of hand o And cried to mine eyes, " Weep 

your doleful plight." 
For neither shall eyes of me spy his like o Nor my heart have patience to bear 

its blight : 
Wherefore, will I tear thee from breast, O Heart o As one who regards him 

with jealous spite. 
And when say I, " O heart be consoled for pine," 'Tis that heart to none 

other shall e'er incline : 

Nur al-Din wondered at the charms of her verse and the elegance 
of her expression and the sweetness of her voice and the elo- 
quence of her speech and his wit fled for stress of love and 
longing, and ecstasy and distraction, so that he could not refrain 
from her a single moment, but bent to her and strained her to 
his bosom ; and she in like manner bowed her form over his 
and abandoned herself to his embrace and bussed him between the 
eyes. Then he kissed her on the mouth and played with her at 
kisses, after the manner of the billing of doves ; and she met him 
with like warmth and did with him as she was done by till the 
others were distracted and rose to their feet ; whereupon Nur al- 
Din was ashamed and held his hand from her. Then she took 

284 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

her lute and, preluding thereon in manifold modes, lastly returned 
to the first and sang these couplets : 

A Moon, when he bends him those eyes lay bare o A brand that gars gazing 

gazelle despair : 
A King, rarest charms are the host of him o And his lance-like shape men 

with cane compare : 
Were his softness of sides to his heart transferredo His friend had not suffered 

such cark and care : 
Ah for hardest heart and for softest sides ! o Why not that to these alter, make 

here go there ? 

thou who accusest my love excuse : o Take eternal and leave me the transient 

share. 1 

When Nur al-Din heard the sweetness of her voice and the rare- 
ness of her verse, he inclined to her for delight and could not 
contain himself for excess of wonderment ; so he recited these 
couplets : 

Methought she was the forenoon sun until she donned the veil o But lit she fire 
in vitals mine still flaring fierce and high, 

How had it hurt her an she deigned return my poor saHm o With finger-tips 
or e'en vouchsafed one little wink of eye ? 

The cavalier who spied her face was wholly stupefied o By charms that glorify 
the place and every charm outvie. 

" Be this the Fair who makes thee pine and long for love liesse ?-o Indeed thou 
art excused ! " " This is my fairest she ;" (quoth I) 

Who shot me with the shaft of looks nor deigns to rue my woes o Of stranger- 
hood and broken heart and love I must aby : 

1 rose a-morn with vanquished heart, to longing love a prey o And weep I 

through the live long day and all the night I cry. 

The girl marvelled at his eloquence and elegance and taking her 
lute, smote thereon with the goodliest of performance, repeating 
all the melodies, and sang these couplets : 

By the life o' thy face, O thou life o' my sprite ! o I'll ne'er leave thy love for 

despair or delight : 
When art cruel thy vision stands hard by my side c And the thought of thee 

haunts me when far from sight : 
O who saddenest my glance albe weeting that I o No love but thy love will for 

ever requite ? 
Thy cheeks are of Rose and thy lips-dews are wine ; e Say, wilt grudge them to 

us in this charming site ? 

1 i.e. You may have his soul but leave me his body : company with him in the next 
world and let me have him in this. 

Ali Nur at- Dm and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 285 

Hereat Nur al-Din was gladdened with extreme gladness and 
wondered with the utmost wonder, so he answered her verse with 
these couplets : 

The sun yellowed not in the murk gloom li'en o But lay pearl enveiled 'neath 

horizon-chine ; 
Nor showed its crest to the eyes of Morn o But took refuge from parting with 

Morning-shine. 1 
Take my tear-drops that trickle as chain on chain o And they'll tell my case 

with the clearest sign. 
An my tears be likened to Nile-flood, like o Malak's * flooded flat be this love 

o j mine. 
Quoth she, " Bring thy riches ! " Quoth I, " Come, take ! " o "And thy sleep ?" 

" Yes, take it from lids of eyne ! " 

When the girl heard Nur al-Din's words and noted the beauty of 
his eloquence her senses fled and her wit was dazed and love of 
him gat hold upon her whole heart. So she pressed him to her 
bosom and fell to kissing him like the billing of doves, whilst he 
returned her caresses with successive kisses ; but preeminence 
appertaineth to precedence. 3 When she had made an end of 
kissing, she took the lute and recited these couplets : 

Alas, alack and well-away for blamer's calumny ! o Whether or not I make 
my moan or plead or show no plea : 

spurner of my love I ne'er of thee so hard would deem o That I of thee 

should be despised, of thee my property. 

1 wont at lovers' love to rail and for their passion chide, o But now I fain 

debase myself to all who rail at thee : 
Yea, only yesterday I wont all amourists to blame o But now I pardon hearts 

that pine for passion's ecstacy ; 
And of my stress of parting-stowre on me so heavy weighs o At morning 

prayer to Him I'll cry, " In thy name, O Ali ! 

And also these two couplets : 

His lovers said, " Unless he deign to give us all a drink Of wine, of fine old 
wine his lips deal in their purity ; 

We to the Lord of Threefold Worlds will pray to grant our prayer o And all ex- 
claim with single cry " In thy name, O Ali ! " 

1 Alluding to the Koranic (cxiii. I.), " I take refuge with the Lord of the Day- 
break from the mischief of that which He hath created, etc." This is shown by the 
first line wherein occurs the Koranic word ' Ghasik " (cxiii. 3) which may mean the 
first darkness when it overspreadeth or the moon when it is eclipsed. 

2 " Malak " = level ground ; also tract on the Nile sea. Lane M.E. ii. 417, and 
Burckhardt Nubia 482. 

3 This sentiment has often been repeated. 

286 A If Laylak wa Laylak. 

Nur al-Din, hearing these lines and their rhyme, marvelled at the 
fluency of her tongue and thanked her, praising her grace and 
passing seductiveness ; and the damsel, delighted at his praise, 
arose without stay or delay and doffing that was upon her of 
outer dress and trinkets till she was free of all encumbrance sat 
down on his knees and kissed him between the eyes and on his 

cheek-mole. Then she gave him all she had put off. And 

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

Nofo tofiw it toa& tfic lEfg&t f^tfntoett an* &ixtBm'nr!) 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
girl gave to Nur al-Din all she had doffed, saying, " O beloved 
of my heart, in very sooth the gift is after the measure of the 
giver." So he accepted this from her and gave it back to her 
and kissed her on the mouth and cheeks and eyes. When this 
was ended and done, for naught is durable save the Living, the 
Eternal, Provider of the peacock and the owl, 1 Nur al-Din rose 
from the stance and stood upon his feet, because the darkness 
was now fallen and the stars shone out ; whereupon quoth the 
damsel to him, " Whither away, O my lord ? " ; and quoth he, 
" To my father's home.'* Then the sons of the merchants conjured 
him to night with them, but he refused and mounting his she- 
mule, rode, without stopping, till he reached his parent's house,, 
where his mother met him and said to him, " O my son, what hath 
kept thee away till this hour? By Allah, thou hast troubled 
myself and thy sire by thine absence from us, and our hearts have 
been occupied with thee." Then she came up to him, to kiss him 
On his mouth, and smelling the fumes of the wine, said, " O my 
son, how is it that, after prayer and worship thou hast become a 
wine-bibber and a rebel against Him to whom belong creation 
and commandment?" But Nur al-Din threw himself down on 
the bed and lay there. Presently in came his sire and said, 
" What aileth Nur al-Din to lie thus ? "; and his mother answered, 
" 'Twould seem his head acheth for the air of the garden." So 
Taj al-Din went up to his son, to ask him of his ailment, and 

1 The owl comes in because " Bum " (pron. boom) rhymes with Kayyunr= the 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 287 

salute him, and smelt the reek of wine. 1 Now the merchant loved 
not wine-drinkers ; so he said to Nur al-Din, " Woe to thee, O 
my son ! Is folly come to such a pass with thee, that thou 
drinkest wine ? " When Nur al-Din heard his sire say this, he 
raised his hand, being yet in his drunkenness, and dealt him a 
buffet, when by decree of the Decreer the blow lit on his father's 
right eye which rolled down on his cheek ; whereupon he fell 
a-swoon and lay therein awhile. They sprinkled rose-water on 
him till he recovered, when he would have beaten his son ; but 
the mother withheld him, and he swore, by the oath of divorce 
from his wife that, as soon as morning morrowed, he would 
assuredly cut off his son's right hand. 2 When she heard her hus- 
band's words, her breast was straitened and she feared for her 
son and ceased not to soothe and appease his sire, till sleep over-^ 
came him. Then she waited till moon-rise, when she went in to 
her son, whose drunkenness had now departed from him, and said 
to him, "O Nur al-Din, what is this foul deed thou diddest with* 
thy sire?" He asked, "And what did I with him?"; and 
answered she, " Thou dealtest him a buffet on the right eye and 
struckest it out so that it rolled down his cheek; and he hath 
sworn by the divorce-oath that, as soon as morning shall morrow 
he will without fail cut off thy right hand." Nur al-Din repented 
him of that he had done, whenas repentance profited him naught, 
and his mother said to him, " O my son, this penitence will not 
profit thee; nor will aught avail thee but that thou arise forth- 
with and seek safety in flight : go forth the house privily and take 
refuge with one of thy friends and there what Allah shall da 
await, for he changeth case after case and state upon state." 
Then she opened a chest and taking out a purse of an hundred 
dinars said, " O my son, take these dinars and provide thy wants 
therewith, and when they are at an end, O my son, send and let 
me know thereof, that I may send thee other than these, and at 
the same time convey to me news of thyself privily : haply Allah 

1 For an incident like this see my Pilgrimage (vol. i. 176). How true to nature the 
whole scene is ; the fond mother excusing her boy and the practical father putting the 
excuse aside. European paternity, however, would probably exclaim, " The beast's in 
liquor 1 " 

2 In ancient times this seems to have been the universal and perhaps instinctive 
treatment of the hand that struck a father. By Nur al-Din's flight the divorce-oath 
became technically null and void for Taj al-Din had sworn to mutilate his son next 

288 Alf Laylak wa Laylah. 

will decree thee relief and thou shalt return to thy home/' And 
she farewelled him and wept passing sore, nought could be more. 
Thereupon Nur al-Din took the purse of gold and was about to 
go forth, when he espied a great purse containing a thousand 
dinars, which his mother had forgotten by the side of the chest. 
So he took this also and binding the two purses about his middle, 1 
set out before dawn threading the streets in the direction of 
Buldk, where he arrived when day broke and all creatures arose, 
attesting the unity of Allah the Opener and went forth each of 
them upon his several business, to win that which Allah had unto 
him allotted. Reaching Bulak he walked on along the river- 
bank till he sighted a ship with her gangway out and her four 
anchors made fast to the land. The folk were going up into her 
and coming down from her, and Nur al-Din, seeing some sailors 
there standing, asked them whither they were bound, and they 
answered, " To Rosetta-city." Quoth he, " Take me with you ; " 
and quoth they, " Well come, and welcome to, thee to thee, O 
goodly one ! " So he betook himself forthright to the market 
and buying what he needed of vivers and bedding and covering, 
returned to the port and went on board the ship, which was 
ready to sail and tarried with him but a little while before she 
weighed anchor and fared on, without stopping, till she reached 
Rosetta, 1 where Nur al-Din saw a small boat going to Alexandria. 
So he embarked in it and traversing the sea-arm of Rosetta fared 
on till he came to a bridge called Al-Jamf, where he landed and 
entered Alexandria by the gate called the Gate of the Lote-tree. 
Allah protected him, so that none of those who stood on guard 
at the gate saw him, and he walked on till he entered the city. 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say 

her permitted say. 

Jtofo toftm ft foa* t&e Xfg]>t f^unUrefc anU cbentteti> 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Nur al-Din entered Alexandria he found it a city goodly of 

1 So Roderic Random and his companions "sewed their money between the lining 
and the waistband of their breeches, except some loose silver for immediate expense on 
the road." For a description of these purses see Pilgrimage i. 37. 

2 Arab. Rashid (our Rosetta), a corruption of the Coptic Trashit ; ever famous for the 

Ali Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-GitL 289 

pleasaunces, delightful to its inhabitants and inviting to inhabit 
therein. Winter had fared from it with his cold and Prime was 
come to it with his roses : its flowers were kindly ripe and welled 
forth its rills. Indeed, it was a city goodly of ordinance and 
disposition ; its folk were of the best of men, and when the gates 
thereof were shut, its folk were safe. 1 And it was even as is said 
of it in these couplets : 

Quoth I to a comrade one day, A man of good speech and rare, 
"Describe Alexandria." * Quoth he, " Tis a march-town 2 fair." 

Quoth I, " Is there living therein ?" * And he, "An the wind blow there." 

Or as saith one of the poets ; 

Alexandria's a frontier ;* * Whose dews of lips are sweet and clear ; 
How fair the coming to it is, So one therein no raven speer J 

Nur al-Din walked about the city and ceased not walking till he 
came to the merchants' bazar, whence he passed on to the mart 
of the money-changers and so on in turn to the markets of the 
confectioners and fruiterers and druggists, marvelling, as he went, 
at the city, for that the nature of its qualities accorded with its 
name. 3 As he walked in the druggists' bazar, behold, an old man 
came down from his shop and saluting him, took him by the hand 
and carried him to his home. And Nur al-Din saw a fair by- 
street, swept and sprinkled, whereon the zephyr blew and made 
pleasantness pervade it and the leaves of the trees overshaded it. 
Therein stood three houses and at the upper end a mansion, 
whose foundations were firm sunk in the water and its walls 
towered to the confines of the sky. They had swept the space 
before it and they had sprinkled it freshly ; so it exhaled the 
fragrance of flowers, borne on the zephyr which breathed upon 
the place; and the scent met there who approached it on such 
wise as it were one of the gardens of Paradise. And, as they had 
cleaned and cooled the by-street's head, so was the end of it with 

1 For a parallel passage in praise of Alexandria see vol. i. 290, etc. The editor or 
scribe was evidently an Egyptian. 

2 Arab. "-Saghr" (Thagr), the opening of the lips showing the teeth. See vol. i. 
p. i$6. 

3 Iskandariyah, the city of Iskandar or Alexander the Great, whose "Soma" was 
attractive to the Greeks as the corpse of the Prophet Daniel afterwards was to the 
Moslems. The choice of site, then occupied only by the pauper village of Rhacotis, is 
one proof of many that the Macedonian conqueror had the inspiration of genius. 


290 A If Laylah wa Lay la k. 

marble spread. The Shaykh carried Nur al-Din into the house 
and setting somewhat of food before him ate with his guest. 
When they had made an end of eating, the druggist said to him, 
"When earnest thou hither from Cairo?"; and Nur al-Din replied, 
" This very night, O my father." Quoth the old man, ' What is 
thy name ? "; and quoth he, " Ali Nur al-Din." Said the druggist, 
" O my son, O Nur al-Din, be the triple divorce incumbent on 
me, an thou leave me so long as thou abidest in this city ; and I 
will set thee apart a place wherein thou mayst dwell." Nur 
al-Din asked, " O my lord the Shaykh, let me know more of* 
thee "; and the other answered, " Know, O my son, that some 
years ago I went to Cairo with merchandise, which I sold there 
and bought other, and I had occasion for a thousand dinars. 
So thy sire Taj al-Din weighed them out 1 for me, all unknowing 
me, and would take no written word of me, but had patience with 
me till I returned hither and sent him the amount by one of my 
servants, together with a gift. I saw thee, whilst thou wast little ; 
and, if it please Allah the Most High, I will repay thee somewhat 
of the kindness thy father did me." When Nur al-Din heard the 
old man's story, he showed joy and pulling out with a smile the 
purse of a thousand dinars, gave it to his host the Shaykh and 
said to him, " Take charge of this deposit for me, against I buy 
me somewhat of merchandise whereon to trade." Then he abode 
some time in Alexandria city taking his pleasure every day in its 
thoroughfares, eating and drinking and indulging himself with 
mirth and merriment till he had made an end of the hundred 
dinars he had kept by way of spending-money ; whereupon he 
repaired to the old druggist, to take of him somewhat of the 
thousand dinars to spend, but found him not in his shop and took 
a seat therein to await his return. He sat there gazing right and 
left and amusing himself with watching the merchants and 
passers-by, and as he was thus engaged behold, there came into 
the bazar a Persian riding on a she-mule and carrying behind 
him a damsel; as she were argent of alloy free or a fish Balti 2 
in mimic sea or a doe-gazelle on desert lea. Her face outshone 
the sun in shine and she had witching eyne and breasts of ivory. 

1 i.e. paid them down. See vol. i. 281 ; vol. ii. 145. 

8 Arab. " Baltiyah," Sonnini's "Bolti" and Ne"buleux (because it is dozid -coloured 
when fried), the Labrus Niloticus from its labra or large fleshy lips. It lives on the 
" leaves of Paradise" hence the flesh is delicate and savoury and it is caught with the 
epervier or sweep-net in the Nile, canals and pools- 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 291 

white, teeth of marguerite, slender waist and sides dimpled deep 
and calves like tails of fat sheep 1 ; and indeed she was perfect in 
beauty and loveliness, elegant stature and symmetrical grace, even 
as saith one, describing her 2 : 

'Twas as by will of her she was create * Nor short nor long, but 

Beauty's mould and mate : 
Rose blushes reddest when she sees those cheeks o And fruits the bough 

those marvel charms amate : 
Moon is her favour, Musk the scent of her o Branch is her shape : 

she passeth man's estate : 
'Tis e'en as were she cast in freshest pearl o And every limblet shows 

a moon innate. 

Presently the Persian lighted down from his she-mule and making 
the damsel also dismount loudly summoned the broker and said 
to him as soon as he came, " Take this damsel and cry her for 
sale in the market/' So he took her and leading her to the 
middlemost of the bazar disappeared for a while and presently 
he returned with a stool of ebony, inlaid with ivory, and setting 
it upon the ground, seated her thereon. Then he raised her veil 
and discovered a face as it were a Median targe 3 or a cluster of 
pearls 4 : and indeed she was like the full moon, when it filleth on 
its fourteenth night, accomplished in brilliant beauty. As saith 
the poet : 

Vied the full moon for folly with her face, o But was eclipsed 5 and split for 

rage full sore ; 
And if the spiring Bdn with her contend o Perish her hands who load of 

fuel bore 6 I 

And how well saith another : 

Say to the fair in the wroughten veil o How hast made that monk-like 

worshipper ail ? 

1 Arab. " Liyyah," not a delicate comparison, but exceedingly apt besides rhyming 
to "Baltiyah." The cauda of the " five-quarter sheep, whose tails are so broad and 
thick that there is as nrmch flesh upon them as upon a quarter of their body,'* must not 
be confounded with the lank appendage of our English muttons. See i. 2$, Dr. 
Burnell's Linschoten (Hakluyt Soc. 1885). 

A variant occurs in vol. iv. 191. 

Arab. "Tars Daylami," a small shield of brigTit metal. 

Arab. " Kaukab al-durri," see Pilgrimage ii. 82. 

Arab. " Kusuf" applied to the moon; Khusuf being the solar eclipse. 

" May Abu Lahab's hands perish . . . and his wife be a bearer of faggots.!** 
Koran cxi. 184. The allusion is neat. 

292 A If Lay I ah wa Laylah. 

Light of veil and light of face under it o Made" the hosts of darkness to 

fly from bale ; 
And, when came my glance to steal look at cheek, o With a meteor-shaft the 

Guard made me quail. 1 

Then said the broker to the merchants, 2 " How much do ye bid for 
the union-pearl of the diver and prize-quarry of the fowler ? " 
Quoth one, " She is mine for an hundred dinars." And another 
said, "Two hundred/' and a third, "Three hundred"; and they 
ceased not to bid, one against other, till they made her price nine 
hundred and fifty dinars, and there the biddings stopped awaiting 

acceptance and consent. 3 And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 

of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Woto fo&ot ft foas t&e ISigJt f^utrtirea an* S>cfaEntgsfirst 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the mer- 
chants bid one against other till they made the price of the girl 
nine hundred and fifty dinars. Then the broker went up to her 
Persian master and said to him, " The biddings for this thy slave- 
girl have reached nine hundred and fifty dinars : so say me, wilt 
thou sell her at that price and take the money ? " Asked the 
Persian, " Doth she consent to this ? I desire to fall in with her 
wishes, for I sickened on my journey hither and this hand- 
maid tended me with all possible tenderness, wherefore I sware 
not to sell her but to him whom she should like and approve, 
and I have put her sale in her own hand. So do thou consult 
her and if she say, I consent, sell her to whom thou wilt : but an 
she say, No, sell her not." So the broker went up to her and 
asked her, " O Princess of fair ones, know that thy master putteth 
thy sale in thine own hands, and thy price hath reached nine 
hundred and fifty dinars ; dost thou give me leave to sell thee ? " 
She answered, " Show me him who is minded to buy me before 
clinching the bargain." So he brought her up to one of the 
merchants a man stricken with years and decrepit ; and she 

1 Alluding to the Angels who shoot down the Jinn. See vol. i. 224. The index 
misprints " Shibah." 

2 For a similar scene see AH Shar and Zumurrud, vol. iv. 187. 

3 i.e. of the girl whom as the sequel shows, her owner had promised not to sell without 
her consent. This was and is a common practice. See vol. iv. 192. 

Ali Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 293 

looked at him a long while, then turned to the broker and said 
to him, "O broker, art thou Jinn-mad or afflicted in thy wit?" 
Replied he, " Why dost thou ask me this, O Princess of fair 
ones ? "; and said she, " Is it permitted thee of Allah to sell the 
like of me to yonder decrepit old man, who saith of his wife's case 
these couplets : 

Quoth she to me, and sore enraged for wounded pride was she, o For she in 

sooth had bidden me to that which might not be, 
" An if thou swive me not forthright, as one should swive his wife, o Thou be 

made a cuckold straight, reproach it not to me. 
Meseems thy yard is made of wax, for very flaccidness ; o For when I rub it 

with my hand, it softens instantly." 1 

And said he likewise of his yard : 

I have a yard that sleeps in base and shameful way tf When grants m> 

lover boon for which I sue and pray : 
But when I wake o' mornings 2 all alone in bed, o Tis fain o' foin and 

fence and fierce for futter-play. 

And again quoth he thereof of his yard : 

I have a froward yard of temper ill o Dishonouring him who shows it most 

regard : 
It stands when sleep I, when I stand it sleeps o Heaven pity not who pitieth 

that yard ! 

When the old merchant heard this ill flouting from the damsel, 
he was wroth with wrath exceeding beyond which was no pro- 
ceeding and said to the broker, " O most ill-omened of brokers, 
thou hast not brought into the market this ill-conditioned 
wench but to gibe me and make mock of me before the 
merchants." Then the broker took her aside and said to her,, 
" O my lady, be not wanting in self-respect. The Shaykh at 
whom thou didst mock is the Syndic of the bazar and Inspector * 
thereof and a committee-man of the council of the merchants.'* 
But she laughed and improvised these two couplets : 

1 These lines have occurred in vol. iii. p. 303. I quote Mr. Payne. 

2 Alluding to the erectio et distensio penis which comes on before dawn in tropical 
lands and which does not denote any desire for women. Some Anglo-Indians term the 
symptom signum scdulis, others a urine-proud pizzle. 

3 Arab. " Mohtasib," in the Maghrib " Mohtab," the officer charged with inspecting 
weights and measures and with punishing fraud in various ways such as nailing the 
cheat's ears to his shop's shutter, etc. 

294 A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

It behoveth folk who rule in our time, o And 'tis one of the duties of magis 

To hang up the Wali above his door o And beat with a whip the Mohtasib ! 

Adding, " By Allah, O my lord, I will not be sold to yonder old 
man ; so sell me to other than him, for haply he will be abashed 
at me and vend me again and I shall become a mere servant 1 and 
it beseemeth not that I sully myself with menial service ; and 
indeed thou knowest that the matter of my sale is committed to 
myself." He replied, " I hear and I obey," and carried her to a 
man which was one of the chief merchants. And when standing 
hard by him the broker asked, " How sayst thou, O my lady ? 
Shall I sell thee to my lord Sharif al-Din here for nine hundred 
and fifty gold pieces ? " She looked at him and, seeing him to 
be an old man with a dyed beard, said to the broker, " Art thou 
silly, that thou wouldst sell me to this worn out Father Antic ? 
Am I cotton refuse or threadbare rags that thou marchest me 
about from greybeard to greybeard, each like a wall ready to fall 
or an Ifrit smitten down of a fire-ball ? As for the first, the poet 
had him in mind when he said 2 : 

" I sought of a fair maid to kiss her lips of coral red, But, " No, by Him who 

fashioned things from nothingness ! " she said. 
Unto the white of hoary hairs I never had a mind, And shall my mouth be 

stuffed, forsooth, with cotton, ere I'm dead?" 

And how goodly is the saying of the poet : 

The wise have said that white of hair is light that shines and robes o The face 

of man with majesty and light that awes the sight ; 
Yet until hoary seal shall stamp my parting-place of hair o I hope and pray 

that same may be black as the blackest night. 

Albe Time-whitened beard of man be like the book he bears 3 o When to his 
. Lord he must return, I'd rather 'twere not white, 

1 Every where in the Moslem East the slave holds himself superior to the menial 
freeman, a fact which I would impress upon the several Anti-slavery Societies, honest 
men whose zeal mostly exceeds their knowledge, and whose energy their discretion. 

2 These lines, extended to three couplets, occur in vol. iv. 193. I quote Mr. Payne. 

3 " At this examination (on Judgment Day) Mohammedans also believe that each 
person will have the book, wherein all the actions of his life are written, delivered to 
him ; which books the righteous will receive in their right hand, and read with great 
pleasure and satisfaction; but the ungodly will he obliged to take them, against their 
wills, in their left (Koran xvii. xviii. Ixix. and Ixxxiv.), which will be bound behind 
their backs, their right hand being tied to their necks." Sale, Preliminary Discourse ; 
Sect, iv, 

AH Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 29$ 
And yet goodlier is the saying of another : 

A guest hath stolen on my head and honour may he lack ! e The sword a 

milder deed hath done that dared these locks to hack. 
Avaunt, O Whiteness, 1 wherein naught of brightness gladdens sight o Thou 

'rt blacker in the eyes of me than very blackest black ! 

As for the other, he is a model of wantonness and scurrilousness 
and a blackener of the face of hoariness ; his dye acteth the 
foulest of lies : and the tongue of his case reciteth these lines 2 : 

Quoth she to me, " I see thou dy'st thy hoariness ;" and I, '* 1 do but hide it 

from thy sight, O thou mine ear and eye ! " 
She laughed out mockingly and said, " A wonder 'tis indeed ! Thou so 

aboundest in deceit that even thy hair's a lie." 

And how excellent is the saying of the poet : 

thou who dyest hoariness with black, o That youth wi' thee abide, at 

least in show ; 

Look ye, my lot was dyed black whilome o And (take my word !) none other 
hue 'twill grow. 

When the old man with dyed beard heard such words from the 
slave-girl, he raged with exceeding rage in fury's last stage and 
said to the broker, " O most ill-omened of brokers, this day thou 
hast brought to our market naught save this gibing baggage to 
flout at all who are therein, one after other, and fleer at them with 
flyting verse and idle jest ? " And he came down from his shop 
and smote on the face the broker who took her an angered and 
carried her away saying to her, " By Allah, never in my life saw 

1 a more shameless wench than thyself 3 ! Thou hast cut off my 
daily bread and thine own this day and all the merchants will 
bear me a grudge on thine account." Then they saw on the way 
a merchant called Shihab al-Dfn who bid ten dinars more for 
her, and the broker asked her leave to sell her to him. Quoth 
she, " Trot him out that I may see him and question him of a 
certain thing, which if he have in his house, I will be sold to him ; 
and if not, then not." So the broker left her standing there and 
going up to Shihab al-Din, said to him, " O my lord, know that 

* " Whiteness " (bayaz) also meaning lustre, honour. 

2 This again occurs in vol. iv. 194. So I quote Mr. Payne. 

3 Her impudence is intended to be that of a captive Princess, 

296 A If Laylah wa Lay la k. 

yonder damsel tells me she hath a mind to ask thee somewhat, 
which an thou have, she will be sold to thee. Now thou hast 

heard what she said to thy fellows, the merchants, And 

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

Nofo toljen it foas t&e !fof)t f^untoto anto gbcbnttB-SEConfc 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
broker said to the merchant, " Thou hast heard what this hand- 
maid said to thy fellows, the traders, and by Allah, I fear to bring 
her to thee, lest she do with thee like as she did with thy neigh- 
bours and so I fall into disgrace with thee : but, an thou bid me 
bring her to thee, I will bring her." Quoth the merchant, " Hither 
with her to me." " Hearing and obeying," answered the broker 
and fetched for the purchaser the damsel, who looked at him and 
said, " O my lord, Shihab al-Din hast thou in thy house round 
cushions stuffed with ermine strips ? " Replied Shihab al-Din, 
" Yes, O Princess of fair ones, I have at home half a score such 
cushions ; but I conjure thee by Allah, tell me, what will thou 
do with them ? " Quoth she, " I will bear with thee till thou be 
asleep, when I will lay them on thy mouth and nose and press 
them down till thou die." Then she turned to the broker and 
said to him, " O thou refuse of brokers, meseemeth thou art mad,, 
in that thou showest me this hour past, first to a pair of grey- 
beards, in each of whom are two faults, and then thou proferrest 
me to my lord Shihab al-Din wherein be three defects ; firstly, 
he is dwarfish, secondly, he hath a nose which is big, and thirdly, 
he hath a beard which is long. Of him quoth one of the poets : 

We never heard of wight nor yet espied o Who amid men three gifts hath 

unified : 
To wit, a beard one cubit long, a snout o Span-long and figure tall a finger 

wide : 

And quoth another poet : 

From the plain of his face springs a minaret o Like a bezel of ring on his 
finger set : 

Did creation enter that vasty nose o No created thing would else- 

where be met. 

Alt Nur at- Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 297 

When Shihab al-Din heard this, he came down from his shop and 
seized the broker by the collar, saying, " O scurviest of brokers, 
what aileth thee to bring us a damsel to flout and make mock of 
us, one after other, with her verses and talk that a curse is ? " So 
the broker took her and carried her away from before him and 
fared, saying, " By Allah, all my life long, since I have plied this 
profession never set I eyes on the like of thee for unmannerliness 
nor aught more curst to me than thy star, for thou hast cut off my 
livelihood this day and I have gained no profit by thee save cuffs 
on the neck-nape and catching by the collar ! " Then he brought 
her to the shop of another merchant, owner of negro slaves and 
white servants, and stationing her before him, said to her, " Wilt 
thou be sold to this my lord 'Aid al-Din ? " She looked at him 
and seeing him hump-backed, said, " This is a Gobbo," and quoth 
the poet of him : 

Drawn in thy shoulders are and spine thrust out, o As seeking star which 

Satan gave the lout 1 ; 
Or as he tasted had first smack of scourge o And looked in marvel 

for a second bout 

And safth another on the same theme : 

As one of you who mounted mule, o A sight for men to ridicule : 

Is 't not a farce ? Who feels surprise o An start and bolt with him the mule .* 

And another on a similar subject : 

Oft hunchback addeth to his bunchy back Faults which gar folk upon 

his front look black : 
Like branch distort and dried by length of days o With citrons hanging from 

it loose and slack. 

With this the broker hurried up to her and, carrying her to another 
merchant, said to her, " Wilt thou be sold to this one ? " She 
looked at him and said, "In very sooth this man is blue-eyed 2 ; 
how wilt thou sell me to him ? " Quoth one of the poets : 

His eyelids sore and bleared o Weakness of frame denote : 
Arise, ye folk and see o Within his eyes the mote ! 

1 i.e. bent groundwards. 

2 See vol. iv. 192. In Marocco Za'ar is applied to a man with fair skin, red hair and 
blue eyes (Gothic blood?) and the term is not complimentary as "Sultan Yazid Za'ar." 

298 A If Laylah wa Lay/ah. 

Then the broker carried her to another and she looked at him and 
seeing that he had a long beard, said to the broker, " Fie upon 
thee ! This is a ram, whose tail hath sprouted from his gullet. 
Wilt thou sell me to him, O unluckiest of brokers ? Hast thou 
not heard say : All long of beard are little of wits ? Indeed, 
after the measure of the length of the beard is the lack of sense ; 
and this is a well-known thing among men of understanding." As 
saith one of the poets : 

Ne'er was a man with beard grown overlong, o Tho' be he therefor reverenced 

and fear'd, 
But who the shortness noted in his wits o Added to longness noted in his 


And quoth another J : 

I have a friend with a beard which God hath made to grow to a useless length, 
It is like unto one of the nights of winter long and dark and cold. 

With this the broker took her and turned away with her, and she 
asked, " Whither goest thou with me ? " He answered, " Back to 
thy master the Persian ; it sufficeth me what hath befallen me 
because of thee this day ; for thou hast been the means of spoiling 
both my trade and his by thine ill manners." Then she looked 
about the market right and left, front and rear till, by the decree 
of the Decreer her eyes fell on Ali Nur al-Din the Cairene. So 
she gazed at him and saw him 2 to be a comely youth of straight 
slim form and smooth of face, fourteen years old, rare in beauty 
and loveliness and elegance and amorous grace like the full moon 
on the fourteenth night with forehead flower-white, and cheeks 
rosy red, neck like alabaster and teeth than jewels finer and dews 
of lips sweeter than sugar, even as saith of him one of his 
describers : 

Came to match him in beauty and loveliness rare o Full moons and gazelles, 

but quoth I, " Soft fare ! 
Fare softly, gazelles, nor yourselves compare. o With him and, O Moons, 

all your pains forbear ! " 

1 The lines have occurred before (vol. iv. 194). I quote Mr. Lape ii. 440. Both he 
and Mr. Payne have missed the point hi " ba'zu laydli " a certain night when his mistress 
had left him so lonely. 

2 Arab. " Raat-hu." This apparently harmless word suggests one similar in sound 
and meaning which gave some trouble in its day. Says Mohammed in the Koran (ii. 98) 
" O ye who believe ! say not (to the Apostle) Ra'ina (look at us) but Unzurn5 (regard 
us)." "Ra'ina "as pronounced in Hebrew means 4 *"our bad one.*' 

Alt Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 299 

And how well saith another bard : 

Slim-waisted leveling, from his hair and brow <* Men wake a-morn in night 

and light renewed. 
Blame not the mole that dwelleth on his cheek o For Nu'uman's bloom aye 

shows spot negro-hued. 

When the slave-girl beheld Nur al-Din he interposed between her 
and her wits ; she fell in love to him with a great and sudden fall 

and her heart was taken with affection for him; And Shahrazad 

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

JJofo fofjm tt foas tje <i$t f^untoefc an& 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the slave-girl beheld Nur al-Din, her heart was taken with affection 
for him ; so she turned to the broker and said to him, " Will not 
yonder young merchant who is sitting among the traders in the 
gown of striped broadcloth bid somewhat more for me ? " The 
broker replied, " O lady of fair ones, yonder young man is a 
stranger from Cairo, where his father is chief of the trader-guild 
and surpasseth all the merchants and notables of the place. He 
is but lately come to this our city and lodgeth with one of his 
father's friends ; but he hath made no bid for thee nor more nor 
less." When the girl heard the broker's words, she drew from her 
finger a costly signet-ring of ruby and said to the man, " Carry me 
to yonder youth, and if he buy me, this ring shall be thine, in 
requital of thy travail with me this day." The broker rejoiced at 
this and brought her up to Nur al-Din, and she considered him 
straitly and found him like the full moon, perfect in loveliness and 
a model of fine stature and symmetric grace, even as saith of him 
one of his describers : 

Waters of beauty o'er his cheeks flow bright, * And rain his glances shafts 

that sorely smite : 
Choked are his lovers an he deal disdain's o Bitterest draught denaying 

His forehead and his stature and my love Are perfect perfected per- 

fection-dight ; 
His raiment folds enfold a lovely neck o As crescent moon in collar 

buttoned tight : 
His eyne and twinned moles and tears of me o Are night that nighteth to 

the nightliest night. 

30O A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

His eyebrows and his features and my frame 1 o Crescents on crescents are 

as crescents slight : 
His pupils pass the wine-cup to his friends o Which, albe sweet, tastes 

bitter to my sprite ; 
And to my thirsty throat pure drink he dealt o From smiling lips what day 

we were unite : 
Then is my blood to him, my death to him o His right and rightful and 

most righteous right. 

The girl gazed at Nur al-Din and said, " O my lord, Allah upon 
thee, am I not beautiful ? "; and he replied, " O Princess of fair 
ones, is there in the world a comelier than thou ? " She rejoined, 
" Then why seest thou all the other merchants bid high for me 
and art silent nor sayest a word neither addest one dinar to my 
price ? 'Twould seem I please thee not, O my lord ! " Quoth he, 
" O my lady, were I in my own land, I had bought thee with all 
that my hand possesseth of monies ; " and quoth she, " O my lord, 
I said not, Buy me against thy will yet, didst thou but add some- 
what to my price, it would hearten my heart, though thou buy me 
not, so the merchants may say : Were not this girl handsome, 
yonder merchant of Cairo had not bidden for her, for the Cairenes 
are connoisseurs in slave-girls." These words abashed Nur al- 
Din and he blushed and said to the broker, " How high are the 
biddings for her?" He replied, " Her price hath reached nine 
hundred and sixty dinars, 2 besides brokerage, as for the Sultan's 
dues, they fall on the seller." Quoth Nur al-Din, " Let me have 
her for a thousand dinars, brokerage and price." And the damsel 
hastening to the fore and leaving the broker, said, " I sell myself to 
this handsome young man for a thousand dinars/' But Nur al-Din 
held his peace. Quoth one, " We sell to him ; " and another, " He 
deserveth her ; " and a third, " Accursed, son of accursed, is he 
who biddeth and doth not buy ! " ; and a fourth, " By Allah, they 
befit each other!" Then, before Nur al-Din could think, the 
broker fetched Kazis and witnesses, who wrote out a contract of 
sale and purchase ; and the broker handed the paper to Nur 
al-Din, saying, " Take thy slave-girl and Allah bless thee in her 

1 By reason of its leanness. 

* In the Mac. Edit. " Fifty." For a scene which illustrates this mercantile transac- 
tion see my Pilgrimage i. 88, and its deduction. " How often is it our fate, in the West 
as in the East, to see in bright eyes and to hear from rosy lips an implied, if not aa 
expressed ' Why don't you buy me ? ' or, worse still, ' Why can't you buy me ? ' " 

Alt Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle- Girl. 301 

for she beseemeth none but thee and none but thou beseemeth 
her." And he recited these two couplets: 

Boon Fortune sought him in humblest way 1 o And came to him draggle-tailed, 

all a-stir : 
And none is fittest for him but she c And none is fittest but he for 


Hereat Nur al-Din was abashed before the merchants ; so he arose 
without stay or delay and weighed out the thousand dinars which 
he had left as a deposit with his father's friend the druggist, and 
taking the girl, carried her to the house wherein the Shaykh had 
lodged him. When she entered and saw nothing but ragged 
patched carpets and worn out rugs, she said to him, " O my lord, 
have I no value to thee and am I not worthy that thou shouldst 
bear me to thine own house and home wherein are thy goods, that 
thou bringest me into thy servant's lodging ? Why dost thou not 
carry me to thy father's dwelling?" He replied, "By Allah, O 
Princess of fair ones, this is my house wherein I dwell ; but it 
belongeth to an old man, a druggist of this city, who hath set it 
apart for me and lodged me therein. I told thee that I was a 
stranger and that I am of the sons of Cairo city." She rejoined, 
" O my lord, the least of houses sufficeth till thy return to thy 
native place ; but, Allah upon thee, O my lord, go now and fetch 
us somewhat of roast meat and wine and dried fruit and dessert." 
Quoth Nur al-Din, " By Allah, O Princess of fair ones, I had no 
money with me but the thousand dinars I paid down to thy price 
nor possess I any other good. The few dirhams I owned were 
spent by me yesterday." Quoth she, " Hast thou no friend in the 
town, of whom thou mayst borrow fifty dirhams and bring them to 
me, that I may tell thee what thou shalt do therewith ? " And he 
said, " I have no intimate but the druggist." Then he betook 
himself forthright to the druggist and said to him, " Peace be with 
thee, O uncle ! ' He returned his salam and said to him, " O my 
son, what hast thou bought for a thousand dinars this day?" 
Nur al-Din replied, " I have bought a slave-girl ; " and the oldster 
rejoined, " O my son, art thou mad that thou givest a thousand 
dinars for one slave-girl ? Would I knew what kind of slave-girl 

1 See vol. ii. 165 dragging or trailing the skirts = walking without the usual strut or 
swagger : here it means assuming the. humble manners of a slave in presence of the 

302 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

she is ? " Said Nur al-Din, " She is a damsel of the children of 

the Franks ; " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

fojjm ft to tfje C(g!)t ^untofc anto ^cbentg-fourtfj 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nur 
al-Din said to the ancient druggist, " The damsel is of the children 
of the Franks ; " and the Shaykh said, " O my son, the best of the 
girls of the Franks are to be had in this our town for an hundred 
dinars, and by Allah, O my son, they have cheated thee in the 
matter of this damsel ! However, an thou have taken a fancy to 
her, lie with her this night and do thy will of her and to-morrow 
morning go down with her to the market and sell her, though thou 
lose by her two hundred dinars, and reckon that thou hast lost 
them by shipwreck or hast been robbed of them on the road." 
Nur al-Din replied, " Right is thy rede, O uncle, but thou knowest 
that I had but the thousand dinars wherewith I purchased the 
damsel, and now I have not a single dirham left to spend ; so I 
desire of thy favour and bounty that thou lend me fifty dirhams, 
to provide me withal, till to-morrow, when I will sell her and repay 
thee out of her price." Said the old man, " Willingly, O my son," 
and counted out to him the fifty dirhams. Then he said to him, 
" O my son, thou art but young in years and the damsel is fair, 
so belike thy heart will be taken with her and it will be grievous 
to thee to vend her. Now thou hast nothing to live on and these 
fifty dirhams will readily be spent and thou wilt come to me and I 
shall lend thee once and twice and thrice, and so on up to ten 
times ; but, an thou come to me after this, I will not return thy 
salam 1 and our friendship with thy father will end ill," Nur 
al-Din took the fifty dirhams and returned with them to the 
damsel, who said to him, " O my lord, wend thee at once to the 
market and fetch me twenty dirhams' worth of stained silk of five 
colours and with the other thirty buy meat and bread and fruit 
and wine and flowers." So he went to the market and purchasing 

1 This is the Moslem form of " boycotting " : so amongst early Christians they refused 
to give one another God-speed. Amongst Hindus it takes the form of refusing 
" Hukkah (pipe) and water" which practically makes a man an outcaTt. In the text 
the old man expresses the popular contempt for those who borrow and who do not repay. 
He had evidently not read the essay of Elia on the professional borrower. 

AH Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 303 

for her all she sought, brought it to her, whereupon she rose and 
tucking up her sleeves, cooked food after the most skilful fashion, 
and set it before him. He ate and she ate with him, till they had 
enough, after which she set on the wine, and she drank and he 
drank, and she ceased not to ply him with drink and entertain 
him with discourse, till he became drunken and fell asleep. There- 
upon she arose without stay or delay and taking out of her bundle 
a budget of Tdiff leather 1 opened it and drew forth a pair of 
knitting needles, wherewith she fell to work and stinted not till 
she had made a beautiful zone$ which she folded up in a wrapper 
after cleaning it and ironing it and laid it under her pillow. Then 
she doffed her dress till she was mother-naked and lying down 
beside Nur al-Din shampoo'd him till he. awoke from his heavy 
sleep. He found by his side a maiden like virgin silver, softer 
than silk and delicater than a tail of fatted sheep than standard 
more conspicuous and goodlier than the red camel, 2 in height five" 
feet tall with breasts firm and full, brows like bended bows, eyes 
like gazelles' eyes and cheeks like blood-red anemones, a slender 
waist with dimples laced and a navel holding an ounce of the 
unguent benzoin, thighs like bolsters stuffed with ostrich-down, 
and between them what the tongue fails to set forth and at men- 
tion whereof the tears jet forth. Brief it was as it were she to 
whom the poet alluded in these two couplets : 

From her hair is Night, from her forehead Noon o From her side-face Rose ; 

from her lip wine boon : 
From her Union Heaven, her Severance Hell : o Pearls from her teeth ; from 

her front full Moon. 

And how excellent is the saying of another bard 3 : 

A Moon she rises, Willow-wand she waves o Breathes ambergris and 
gazeth a gazelle. 

Meseems that sorrow wooes my heart and wins o And when she wends makes 
haste therein to dwell. 

Her face is fairer than the Stars of Wealth * o And sheeny brows the cres- 
cent Moon excel. 

1 See note p. 273. 

2 i.e. the best kind of camels. 

3 This first verse has occurred three times. 

4 Arab. "Surayya" in Dictionaries a dim. of Sarvva* = moderately rich. It may 
cither denote abundance of rain or a number of stars forming a constellation. Hence 
in Job (xxxviii. 31) it is called a heap (ldmah) t 

304 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

And quoth a third also : 

They shine fullest Moons, unveil Crescent-bright ; o Sway tenderest Branches 

and turn wild kine ; 
'Mid which is a Dark-eyed for love of whose charms o The Sailors 1 would joy 

to be ground low-li'en. 

So Nur al-Din turned to her at once and clasping her to his 
bosom, sucked first her upper lip and then her under lip and slid 
his tongue between the twain into her mouth. Then he rose to 
her and found her a pearl unthridden and a filly none but he had 
ridden. So he abated her maidenhead and had of her amorous 
delight and there was knitted between them a love-bond which 
might never know breach nor severance. 2 He rained upon her. 
cheeks kisses like the falling of pebbles into water, and struck with 
stroke upon stroke, like the thrusting of spears in battle brunt ; 
for that Nur al-Din still yearned after clipping of necks and 
sucking of lips and letting down of tress and pressing of waist 
and biting of cheek and cavalcading on breast with Cairene 
buckings and Yamani wrigglings and Abyssinian sobbings and 
Hindi pamoisons and Nubian lasciviousness and Rffi leg-liftings 5 
and Damiettan meanings and Sa'idf 4 hotness and Alexandrian 
languishment 5 and this damsel united in herself all these virtues, 
together with excess of beauty and loveliness, and indeed she was 
even as saith of her the poet : 

This is she I will never forget till I die o Nor draw near but to those who 

to her draw nigh. 
A being for semblance like Moon at full o Praise her Maker, her Modeller 

glorify ! 
Tho' be sore my sin seeking love-Hesse, o On esperance-day ne'er repent 

can I ; 
A couplet reciting which none can know o Save the youth who in couplets 

and rhymes shall cry, 
" None weeteth love but who bears its load o Nor passion, save pleasures and 

pains he aby." 

1 Pleiads in Gr. the Stars whereby men sail. 

2 This is the Eastern idea of the consequence of satisfactory coition which is supposed 
to be the very seal of love. Westerns have run to the other extreme. 

3 "Al-Rff " simply means lowland: hence there is a Rif in the Nile-delta. The 
word in Europe is applied chiefly to the Maroccan coast opposite Gibraltar (not, as is 
usually supposed the North-Western seaboard) where the Berber-Shilhi race, so famous 
as the " Rif pirates" still closes the country to travellers. 

4 i.e. Upper Egypt. 

6 These local excellencies of coition are described jocosely rather than anthropo- 

AH Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl'. 305 

So Nur al-Din lay with the damsel through the night in solace 
and delight, -- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 
ceased saying her permitted say, 

fo&en ft foas tje 3Et$t f^unfcrft antt Sbebentpfifrt) Nte$t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nur al-Din 
lay with that damsel through the night in solace and delight, the 
twain garbed in the closely buttoned garments of embrace, safe 
and secure against the misways of nights and days, and they 
passed the dark hours after the goodliest fashion, fearing naught, 
in their joys love-fraught, from excess of talk and prate. As saith 
of them the right excellent poet * : 

Go, visit her thou lovest, and regard not 

The words detractors utter ; envious churls 

Can never favour love. Oh ! sure the merciful 

Ne'er make a thing more fair to look upon, 

Then two fond lovers in each other's arms, 

Speaking their passion in a mute embrace. 

When heart has turned to heart, the fools would part them 

Strike idly on cold steel. So when thou'st found 

One purely, wholly thine, accept her true heart, 

And live for her alone. Oh ! thou that blamest 

The love-struck for their love, give o'er thy talk 

How canst thou minister to a mind diseased ? 

When the morning morrowed in sheen and shone, Nur al-Din 
awoke from deep sleep and found that she had brought water : * 
so they made the Ghusl-ablution, he and she, and he performed 
that which behoved him of prayer to his Lord, after which she 
set before him meat and drink, and he ate and drank. Then the 
damsel put her hand under her pillow and pulling out the girdle 
which she had knitted during the night, gave it to Nur al-Din, 
who asked, " Whence cometh this girdle ? " 3 Answered she, 
" O my lord, 'tis the silk thou boughtest yesterday for twenty 
dirhams. Rise now and go to the Persian bazar and give it to 

1 See vol. i. 223 : I take from Torrens, p. 223. 

2 For the complete ablution obligatory after copulation before prayers can be said. 
See vol. vi. 199. 

* Arab. "ZunnaV* the Greek favapiov, for which, see vol. ii. 215. 


306 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

the broker, to cry for sale, and sell it not for less than twenty 
gold pieces in ready money." Quoth Nur al-Din, "O Princess 
of fair ones how can a thing, that cost twenty dirhams and will 
sell for as many dinars, be made in a single night ? "; and quoth 
she, " O my lord, thou knowest not the value of this thing ; but 
go to the market therewith and give it to the broker, and when he 
shall cry it, its worth will be made manifest to thee. Herewith 
he carried the zone to the market and gave it to the broker, 
bidding him cry it, whilst he himself sat down on a masonry bench 
before a shop. The broker fared forth and returning after a while 
said to him, " O my lord, rise take the price of thy zone, for it 
hath fetched twenty dinars money down." When Nur al-Din 
heard this, he marvelled with exceeding marvel and shook with 
delight Then he rose, between belief and misbelief, to take the 
money and when he had received it, he went forthright and spent 
it all on silk of various colours and returning home, gave his 
purchase to the damsel, saying, " Make this all into girdles and 
teach me likewise how to make them, that I may work with thee ; 
for never in the length of my life saw I a fairer craft than this 
craft nor a more abounding in gain and profit. By Allah, 'tis 
better than the trade of a merchant a thousand times ! " She 
laughed at his language and said, " O my lord, go to thy friend 
the druggist and borrow other thirty dirhams of him, and to-morrow 
repay him from the price of the girdle the thirty together with 
the fifty already loaned to thee." So he rose and repaired to the 
druggist and said to him, " O Uncle, lend me other thirty dirhams, 
and to-morrow, Almighty Allah willing, I will repay thee the whole 
fourscore." The old man weighed him out thirty dirhams, where- 
with he went to the market and buying meat and bread, dried 
fruits, and flowers as before, carried them home to the damsel 
whose name was Miriam, 1 the Girdle-girl. She rose forthright 
and making ready rich meats, set them before her lord Nur al-Din ; 
after which she brought the wine-service and they drank and plied 
each other with drink. When the wine began to play with their 
wits, his pleasant address and inner grace pleased her, and she 
recited these two couplets : 

1 Miriam (Arabic Maryam), is a Christian name, in Moslem lands. Abu Maryam 
" Mary's father " (says Motarrazi on AI-Hariri, Ass. of Alexandria) is a term of con- 
tempt, for men are called after sons (e.g. Abu Zayd), not after daughters. In more 
modern authors Abu Maryam is the name of ushers and lesser officials in the Kazi's court.. 

Alt Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 307 

Said I to Slim -waist who the wine engraced Brought in musk-scented bowl 

and a superfine, 
"Was it prest from thy cheek ?" He replied "Nay, nay! o When did man 

from Roses e'er press the Wine ? 5> 

And the damsel ceased not to carouse with her lord and ply him, 
with cup and bowl and require him to fill for her and give her to 
drink of that which sweeteneth the spirits, and whenever he put 
forth hand to her, she drew back from him, out of coquetry. The 
wine added to her beauty and loveliness, and Nur al-Din recited 
these two couplets : 

Slim-waist craved wine from her companeer ; o Cried (in meeting of friends 

when he feared for his fere,) 
" An thou pass not the wine thou shalt pass the night, o A-banisht my bed ! " 

And he felt sore fear. 

They ceased not drinking till drunkenness overpowered Nur al-Din 
and he slept ; whereupon she rose forthright and fell to work upon 
a zone, as was her wont. When she had wrought it to end, she 
wrapped it in paper and doffing her clothes, lay down by his side 

and enjoyed dalliance and delight till morn appeared. And 

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

Nofo fo&en ft foas tjc SfgJt f^untefc anto 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Miriam the Girdle-girl, having finished her zone and wrapped it 
in paper doffed her dress and lay down by the side of her lord ; 
and then happened to them what happened of dalliance and 
delight ; and he did his devoir like a man. On the morrow, she 
gave him the girdle and said to him, " Carry this to the market 
and sell it for twenty dinars, even as thou soldest its fellow yester- 
day." So he went to the bazar and sold the girdle for twenty 
dinars, after which he repaired to the druggist and paid him back 
the eighty dirhams, thanking him for his bounties and calling 
down blessings upon him. He asked, " O my son, hast thou sold 
the damsel ? " ; and Nur al-Din answered, " Wouldst thou have 
me sell the soul out of my body ? " and told him all that had 
passed, from commencement to conclusion, whereat the druggist 
joyed with joy galore, than which could be no more and said to 

A If Lay I ah wa Laylah. 

him, "By Allah, O my son, thou gladdenest me! Inshallah, 
mayst thou ever be in prosperity ! Indeed I wish thee well by 
reason of my affection for thy father and the continuance of my 
friendship with him." Then Nur al-Din left the Shaykh and 
straightway going to the market, bought meat and fruit and wine 
and all that he needed according to his custom and returned there- 
with to Miriam. They abode thus a whole year in eating and 
drinking and mirth and merriment and love and good comradeship, 
and every night she made a zone and he sold it on the morrow for 
twenty dinars, wherewith he bought their needs and gave the rest to 
her, to keep against a time of necessity. After the twelvemonth she 
said to him one day, " O my lord, whenas thou sellest the girdle to- 
morrow, buy for me with its price silk of six colours, because I am 
minded to make thee a kerchief to wear on thy shoulders, such as 
never son of merchant, no, nor King's son, ever rejoiced in its like." 
So next day he fared forth to the bazar and after selling the zone 
brought her the dyed silks she sought and Miriam the Girdle-girl 
wrought at the Kerchief a whole week, for, every night, when she 
had made an end of the zone, she would work awhile at the ker- 
chief till it was finished. Then she gave it to Nur al-Din, who 
put it on his shoulders and went out to walk in the market-place, 
whilst all the merchants and folk and notables of the town 
crowded about him, to gaze on his beauty and that of the ker- 
chief which was of the most beautiful. Now it chanced that 
one night, after this, he awoke from sleep and found Miriam 
weeping passing sore and reciting these couplets: 

Nears my parting fro' my love, nigher draws the Severance-day o Ah well- 
away for parting ! and again ah well-away ! 

And in tway is torn my heart and O pine I'm doomed to bear o For the nights 
that erst witnessed our pleasurable play ! 

No help for it but Envier the twain of us espy o With evil eye and win to us 
his lamentable way. 

For naught to us is sorer than the jealousy of men o And the backbiter's eyne 
that with calumny affray. 

He said, " O my lady Miriam, 1 what aileth thee to weep ? " ; 
and she replied, " I weep for the anguish of parting for my heart 

1 This formality, so contrary to our Western familiarity after possession, is an especial 
sign of good breeding amongst Arabs and indeed all Eastern nations. It reminds us of 
the " grand manner " in Europe two hundred years ago, not a trace of which no* 

Alt Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 309 

presageth me thereof." Quoth he, " O lady of fair ones, and who 
shall interpose between us, seeing that I love thee above all 
creatures and tender thee the most ? " ; and quoth she, " And I 
love thee twice as well as thou me ; but fair opinion of fortune 
still garreth folk fall into affliction, and right well saith the 
poet 1 : 

Think'st thou thyself all prosperous, in days which prosp'rous be, 
Nor fearest thou impending ill, which comes by Heaven's decree? 
We see the orbs of heav'n above, how numberless they are, 
But sun and moon alone eclips'd, and ne'er a lesser star ! 
And many a tree on earth we see, some bare, some leafy green, 
Of them, not one is hurt with stone save that has fruitful been ! 
See'st not th* refluent ocean, bear carrion on its tide, 
While pearls beneath its wavy flow, fixed in the deep, abide? 

Presently she added, " O my lord Nur al-Din, an thou desire to 
nonsuit separation, be on thy guard against a swart-visaged old- 
ster, blind of the right eye and lame of the left leg ; for he it is 
who will be the cause of our severance. I saw him enter the city 
and I opine that he is come hither in quest of me." Replied Nur 
al-Din, " O lady of fair ones, if my eyes light on him, I will slay 
him and make an example of him." Rejoined she, " O my lord, 
slay him not ; but talk not nor trade with him, neither buy nor 
sell with him nor sit nor walk with him nor speak one word to 
him, no, not even the answer prescribed by law 2 and I pray Allah 
to preserve us from his craft and his mischief?" Next morning, 
Nur al-Din took the zone and carried it to the market, where he 
sat down on a shop-bench and talked with the sons of the mer- 
chants, till the drowsiness preceding slumber overcame him and 
he lay down on the bench and fell asleep. Presently, behold, up 
came the Frank whom the damsel had described to him, in com- 
pany with seven others, and seeing Nur al-Din lying asleep on the 
bench, with his head wrapped in the kerchief which Miriam had 
made for him and the edge thereof in his grasp, sat down by him 
and hent the end of the kerchief in hand and examined it turning 

1 These lines are in Night i. ordered somewhat differently : so I quote Torrens 
(p. 14). 

* i.e. to the return Salim " And with thee be peace and the mercy of Allah and 
His blessings { " See vol. ii. 146. The enslaved Princess had recognised her father's 
Waiir and knew that he could have but one object, which being a man of wit and her 
lord a "raw laddie," he was sure to win. 

310 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

it over for some time. Nur al-Din sensed that there was some- 
thing and awoke ; then, seeing the very man of whom Miriam 
had warned him sitting by his side, cried out at him with a great 
cry which startled him. Quoth the Frank, " What aileth thee to 
cry out thus at us ? Have we taken from thee aught ? " ; and 
quoth Nur al-Din, " By Allah, O accursed, haddest thou taken 
aught from me, I would carry thee before the Chief of Police ! " 
Then said the Frank, " O Moslem, I conjure thee by thy faith and 
by that wherein thou believest, inform me whence thou haddest 
this kerchief;" and Nur al-Din replied, "Tis the handiwork of my 
lady mother, - And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 
ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fofien ft foas tf)e 3Ef 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
Frank asked Nur al-Din anent the maker of the kerchief, he 
answered, saying, " In very sooth this kerchief is the handiwork of 
my mother, who made it for me with her own hand." Quoth 
the Frank " Wilt thou sell it to me and take ready money for it ?," 
and quoth Nur al-Din, " By Allah, I will not sell it to thee or to 
any else, for she made none other than it." " Sell it to me and I 
will give thee to its price this very moment five hundred dinars, 
money down ; and let her who made it make thee another and a 
finer." " I will not sell it at all, for there is not the like of it in 
this city." " O my lord, wilt thou sell it for six hundred ducats of 
fine gold ? " And the Frank went on to add to his offer hundred 
by hundred, till he bid nine hundred dinars ; but Nur al-Din said, 
" Allah will open to me otherwise than by my vending it. I will 
never sell it, not for two thousand dinars nor more than that ; no, 
never." The Frank ceased not to tempt him with money, till he 
bid him a thousand dinars, and the merchants present said, " We 
sell thee the kerchief at that price : ! pay down the money." Quoth 
Nur al-Din, " I will not see it, I swear by Allah ! " 2 But one of 

1 It is quite in Moslem manners for the bystanders to force the sale seeing a silly lad 
reject a most advantageous offer for sentimental reasons. And the owner of the article 
would be bound by their consent. 

a Arab. " Wa'llahi." "Bi" is the original particle of swearing, a Harf al-jarr 
(governing the genitive as Bi'llahi) and suggesting the idea of adhesion : "Wa'* 
(noting union) is its substitute in oath-formulae and "Ta" takes the place of Wa as 
Ta'llahi. The three-fold forms are combined in a great *' swear.*' 

Alt Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 311 

the merchants said to him, " Know thou, O my son, that the value 
of this kerchief is an hundred dinars at most and that to an eager 
purchaser, and if this Frank pay thee down a thousand for it, thy 
profit will be nine hundred dinars, and what gain canst thou desire 
greater than this gain ? Wherefore 'tis my rede that thou sell him 
this kerchief at that price and bid her, who wrought it make thee 
other finer than it : so shalt thou profit nine hundred dinars by this 
accursed Frank, the enemy of Allah and of The Faith." Nur 
al-Din was abashed at the merchants and sold the kerchief to the 
Frank, who, in their presence, paid him down the thousand dinars, 
with which he would have returned to his handmaid to congratu- 
late her on what had passed ; but the stranger said, " Harkye, O 
company of merchants, stop my lord Nur al-Din, for you and he 
are my guests this night. I have a jar of old Greek wine and a 
fat lamb, fresh fruit, flowers and confections ; wherefore do ye all 
cheer me with your company to-night and not one of you tarry 
behind." So the merchants said, " O my lord Nur al-Din, we 
desire that thou be with us on the like of this night, so we may 
talk together, we and thou, and we pray thee, of thy favour and 
bounty, to bear us company, so we and thou, may be the guests of 
this Frank, for he is a liberal man.'-* And they conjured him by 
the oath of divorce 1 and hindered him by main force from going 
home. Then they rose forthright and shutting up their shops, took 
Nur al-Din and fared with the Frank, who brought them to a 
goodly and spacious saloon, wherein were two daises. Here he 
made them sit and set before them a scarlet tray-cloth of goodly 
workmanship and unique handiwork, wroughten in gold with 
figures of breaker and broken, lover and beloved, asker and asked, 
whereon he ranged precious vessels of porcelain and crystal, full of 
the costliest confections, fruits and flowers, and brought them a 
flagon of old Greek wine. Then he bade slaughter a fat lamb and 
kindling fire, proceeded to roast of its flesh and feed the merchants 
therewith and give them draughts of that wine, winking at them 
the while to ply Nur al-Din with drink. Accordingly they ceased 
not plying him with wine till he became drunken and took leave 
of his wits ; so when the Frank saw that he was drowned in liquor, 
he said to him, " O my lord Nur al-Din, thou gladdenest us with 
thy company to-night : welcome, and again welcome to thee ? " 
Then he engaged him awhile in talk, till he could draw near to 

1 i.e. of divorcing their own wives. 

3 ' 2 A If Lay la k wa Laylah. 

him, when he said, with dissembling speech, " O my lord, Nur 
al-Din, wilt thou sell me thy slave-girl, whom thou boughtest in 
presence of these merchants a year ago for a thousand dinars? I 
will give thee at this moment five thousand gold pieces for her and 
thou wilt thus make four thousand ducats profit." Nur al-Din 
refused, but the Frank ceased not to ply him with meat and drink 
and lure him with lucre, still adding to his offers, till he bid him 
ten thousand dinars for her ; whereupon Nur al-Din, in his 
drunkenness, said before the merchants, " I sell her to thee for ten 
thousand dinars : hand over the money." At this the Frank 
rejoiced with joy exceeding and took the merchants to witness the 
sale. They passed the night in eating and drinking, mirth and 
merriment, till the morning, when the Frank cried out to his 
pages, saying, " Bring me the money." So they brought it to him 
and he counted out ten thousand dinars to Nur al-Din, saying, a O 
my lord, take the price of thy slave-girl, whom thou soldest to me 
last night, in the presence of-these Moslem merchants." Replied 
Nur al-Din, " O accursed, I sold thee nothing and thou liest anent 
me, for I have no slave-girls." Quoth the Frank, " In very sooth 
thou didst sell her to me and these merchants were witnesses to 
the bargain." Thereupon all said, "Yes, indeed! thou soldest 
him thy slave-girl before us for ten thousand dinars, O Nur al-Din 
and we will all bear witness against thee of the sale. Come, take 
the money and deliver him the girl, and Allah will give thee a 
better than she in her stead. Doth it irk thee, O Nur al-Din, that 
thou boughtest the girl for a thousand dinars and hast enjoyed for 
a year and a half her beauty and loveliness and taken thy fill of 
her converse and her favours ? Furthermore thou hast gained 
some ten thousand golden dinars by the sale of the zones which 
she made thee every day and thou soldest for twenty sequins, and 
after all this thou hast sold her again at a profit of nine thousand 
dinars over and above her original price. And withal thou deniest 
the sale and belittlest and makest difficulties about the profit ! 
What gain is greater than this gain and what profit wouldst thou 
have profitabler than this profit ? An thou love her thou hast had 
thy fill of her all this time : so take the money and buy thee 
another handsomer than she ; or we will marry thee to one of our 
daughters, lovelier than she, at a dowry of less than half this price, 
and the rest of the money will remain in thy hand as capital." 
And the merchants ceased not to ply him with persuasion and 
specious arguments till he took the ten thousand dinars, the price 

All Nur at- Din and Miriam the Girdle- Girl. 313 

of the damsel, and the Frank straightway fetched Kazis and wit- 
nesses, who drew up the contract of sale by Nur al-Din of the 
handmaid hight Miriam the Girdle-girl. Such was his case; but 
as regards the damsel's, she sat awaiting her lord from morning till 
sundown and from sundown till the noon of night ; and when he 
returned not, she was troubled and wept with sore weeping. The 
old druggist heard her sobbing and sent his wife, who went in to 
her and finding her in tears, said to her, " O my lady, what aileth 
thee to weep ? " Said she, " O my mother, I have sat waiting the 
return of my lord, Nur al-Din all day ; but he cometh not, and I 
fear lest some one have played a trick on him, to make him sell 

me, and he have fallen into the snare and sold me." And 

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

Jioto fossa ft foas t&e lEt'gfjt l^un&rrtr ant! 

She resumed, It hath reacheji me, O auspicious King, that Miriam 
the Girdle-girl said to the druggist's wife, " I am fearful lest some 
one have been playing a trick on my lord to make him sell me, 
and he have fallen into the snare and sold me." Said the other, " O 
my lady Miriam, were they to give thy lord this hall full of gold 
as thy price, yet would he not sell thee, for what I know of his 
love to thee. But, O my lady, belike there be a company come 
from his parents at Cairo and he hath made them an entertain- 
ment in the lodging where they alighted, being ashamed to bring 
them hither, for that the place is not spacious enough for them or 
because their condition is less than that he should bring them to 
his own house ; or belike he preferred to conceal thine affair from 
them, so passed the night with them ; and Inshallah ! to-morrow 
he will come to thee safe and sound. So burden not thy soul with 
cark and care, O my lady, for of a certainty this is the cause of 
his absence from thee last night and I will abide with thee this 
coming night and comfort thee, until thy lord return to thee/' So 
the druggist's wife abode with her and cheered her with talk 
throughout the dark hours and, when it was morning, Miriam 
saw her lord enter the street followed by the Frank and amiddle- 
niost a company of merchants, at which sight her side-muscles 
quivered and her colour changed and she fell a-shaking, as ship 
shaketh in mid-ocean for the violence of the gale. When the 

314 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

druggist's wife saw this, she said to her, " O my lady Miriam 
what aileth thee that I see thy case changed and thy face grown 
pale and show disfeatured ? " Replied she, " By Allah, O my lady, 
my heart forebodeth me of parting and severance of union ! " 
And she bemoaned herself with the saddest sighs, reciting these 
couplets * : 

Incline not to parting, I pray ; o For bitter its savour is aye. 

E'en the sun at his setting turns pale o To think he must part from the day ; 

And so, at his rising, for joy o Of reunion, he's radient and gay. 

Then Miriam wept passing sore wherethan naught could be more, 
making sure of separation, and cried to the druggist's wife, "O 
my mother, said I not to thee that my lord Nur al-Din had been 
tricked into selling me ? I doubt not but he hath sold me this 
night to yonder Frank, albeit I bade him beware of him ; but 
deliberation availeth not against destiny. So the truth of my 
words is made manifest to thee." Whilst they were talking, 
behold, in came Nur al-Din, and the damsel looked at him and 
saw that his colour was changed and that he trembled and there 
appeared on his face signs of grief and repentance : so she said to 
him, " O my lord Nur al-Din, meseemeth thou hast sold me." 
Whereupon he wept with sore weeping and groaned and lamented 
and recited these couplets 2 : 

When e'er the Lord 'gainst any man, 
Would fulminate some harsh decree, 
And he be wise, and skilled to hear, 
And used to see ; 

He stops his ears, and blinds his heart, 
And from his brain ill judgment tears, 
And makes it bald as 'twere a scalp, 
Reft of its hairs 8 ; 
Until the time when the whole man 
Be pierced by this divine command ; 
Then He restores him intellect 
To understand. 

Then Nur al-Din began to excuse himself to his handmaid, saying, 
" By Allah, O my lady Miriam, verily runneth the Reed with 

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

2 These lines are in Night xxvi., vol. i. 275 : I quote Torrens (p. 277), with a correc- 
tion for " when ere." 

8 This should be " draws his senses from him as one pulls hairs out of paste." 

All Nur al~Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 315 

whatso Allah hath decreed. The folk put a cheat on me to make 
me sell thee, and I fell into the snare and sold thee. Indeed, I 
have sorely failed of my dnty to thee ; but haply He who decreed 
our disunion will vouchsafe us reunion. " Quoth she, " I warned 
thee against this, for this it was I dreaded." Then she strained him 
to her bosom and kissed him between the eyes, reciting these 
couplets ; 

Now, by your love ! your love I'll ne'er forget, o Though lost my life for stress 
of pine and fret : 

I weep and wail through livelong day and night As moans the dove on sand- 
hill-tree beset. 

O fairest friends, your absence spoils my life ; o Nor find I meeting-place as 
erst we met. 

At this juncture, behold, the Frank came in to them and went up 
to Miriam, to kiss her hands ; but she dealt him a buffet with 
her palm on the cheek, saying, " Avaunt, O accursed ! Thou hast 
followed after me without surcease, till thou hast cozened my lord 
into selling me ! But O accursed, all shall yet be well, Inshallah! " 
The Frank laughed at her speech and wondered at her deed and 
excused himself to her, saying, " O my lady Miriam, what is my 
offence ? Thy lord Nur al-Din here sold thee of his full consent 
and of his own free will. Had he loved thee, by the right of the 
Messiah, he had not transgressed against thee ! And had he not 
fulfilled his desire of thee, he had not sold thee." Quoth one of 
the poets : 

Whom I irk let him fly fro' me fast and faster o If I name his name I am no 

Nor the wide wide world is to me so narrow o That I act expecter to this 

rejecter. 1 

Now this handmaid was the daughter of the King of France, the 
which is a wide and spacious city, 2 abounding in manufactures and. 
rarities and trees and flowers and other growths, and resembleth 
the city of Constantinople : and for her going forth of her father's 
city there was a wondrous cause and thereby hangeth a marvellous 
tale which we will set out in due order, to divert and delight the 

1 Raghib and Zahid : see vol. v. 141. 

2 Carolus Magnus then held court in Paris ; but the text evidently alludes to one of the 
port-cities of Provence as Marseille which we English will miscall Marseilles. 

316 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

hearer 1 And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 
saying her permitted say. 

fofjtn ft foas tfje lEfgfjt Jguntolr antr &ebent2=nintj 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the cause 
of Miriam the Girdle-girl leaving her father and mother was a 
wondrous and thereby hangeth a marvellous tale. She was reared 
with her father and mother in honour and indulgence and learnt 
rhetoric and penmanship and arithmetic and cavalarice and all 
manner crafts, such as broidery and sewing and weaving and 
girdle-making and silk-cord making and damascening gold on 
silver and silver on gold, brief all the arts both of men and women, 
till she became the union-pearl of her time and the unique gem of 
her age and day. Moreover, Allah (to whom belong Might and 
Majesty !) had endowed her with such beauty and loveliness and 
elegance and perfection of grace that she excelled therein all the 
folk of her time, and the Kings of the isles sought her in marriage 
of her sire, but he refused to give her to wife to any of her suitors, 
for that he loved her with passing love and could not bear to be 
parted from her a single hour. Moreover, he had no other daughter 
than herself, albeit he had many sons, but she was dearer to him 
than all of them. It fortuned one year that she fell sick of an 
exceeding sickness and came nigh upon death, wherefore she made 
a vow that, if she recovered from her malady, she would make 
the pilgrimage to a certain monastery, situate in such an island, 
which was high in repute among the Franks, who used to make 
vows to it and look for a blessing therefrom. When Miriam 
recovered from her sickness, she wished to accomplish her vow 
anent the monastery and her sire despatched her to the convent 
in a little ship, with sundry daughters of the city-notables to wait 
upon her and patrician Knights to protect them all. As they drew 
near the island, there came out upon them a ship of the ships of 
the Moslems, champions of The Faith, warring in Allah's way, 
who boarded the vessel and making prize of all therein, knights 
and maidens, gifts and monies, sold their booty in the city of 

1 Here the writer, not the young wife, speaks ; bat as a tale-teller he says " hearer 
not " reader." 

AH Nur at- Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl 317 

Kayrawan. 1 Miriam herself fell into the hands of a Persian 
merchant, who was born impotent 2 and for whom no woman had 
ever discovered her nakedness; so he set her to serve him. 
Presently, he fell ill and sickened well nigh unto death, and the 
sickness abode with him two months, during which she tended 
him after the goodliest fashion, till Allah made him whole of his 
malady, when he recalled her tenderness and loving-kindness to 
him and the persistent zeal with which she had nurst him and 
being minded to requite her the good offices she had done him, 
said to her, " Ask a boon of me ? " She said, " O my lord, I ask- 
of thee that thou sell me not but to the man of my choice." He 
answered, u So be it. I guarantee thee. By Allah, O Miriam, 
I will not sell thee but to him of whom thou shalt approve, and I 
put thy sale in thine own hand." And she rejoiced herein with 
joy exceeding. Now the Persian had expounded to her Al-Islam 
and she became a Moslemah and learnt of him the rules of 
worship. Furthermore during that period the Persian had taught 
her the tenets of The Faith and the observances incumbent upon 
her: he had made her learn the Koran by heart and master 
somewhat of the theological sciences and the traditions of the 
Prophet ; after which, he brought her to Alexandria-city and sold 
her to Nur al-Din, as we have before set out. Meanwhile, when 
her father, the King of France, heard what had befallen his 
daughter and her company, he saw Doomsday break and sent 
after her ships full of knights and champions, horsemen and 
footmen ; but they fell not in any trace of her whom they sought 
in the Islands 3 of the Moslems ; so all returned to him, crying out 
and saying, " Well-away ! " and " Ruin ! " and " Well worth the 

1 Kayrawan, the Arab, form of the Greek Cyrene which has lately been opened to 
travellers and has now lost the mystery which enshrouded it. In Hafiz and the Persian 
poets it is the embodiment of remoteness -and secrecy ; as we till the last quarter century 
spoke of the " deserts of Central Africa." 

2 Arab. " 'Innin ": alluding to all forms of impotence, from dislike, natural deficiency 
or fascination, the favourite excuse. Easterns seldom attribute it to the true cause, 
weak action of the heart ; but the Romans knew the truth when they described one of 
its symptoms as cold feet. " Clino-pedalis, ad venerem invalidus, .ab ea antiqua 
opinione, frigiditatem pedum concubituris admodum officere." Hence St. Francis and 
the bare-footed Friars. See Glossarium Eroticum Linguse Latinse, ^Parisiis, Dondey- 

3 I have noted the use of 4I island" for "land" in general. So in the European 
languages of the sixteenth century,, insula was useg for peninsula, t.g* Insula de Cori 
e= the Corean peninsula. 

318 A If Lay la k wa Laylah. 

day ! " The King grieved for her with exceeding grief and sent 
after her that one-eyed lameter, blind of the left, 1 for that he was 
his chief Wazir, a stubborn tyrant and a froward devil, 2 full of 
craft and guile, bidding him make search for her in all the lands 
of the Moslems and buy her, though with a ship-load of gold. So 
the accursed sought her, in all the islands of the Arabs and all 
the cities of the Moslems, but found no sign of her till he came to 
Alexandria-city where he made quest for her and presently dis- 
covered that she was with Nur al-Din AH the Cairene, being 
directed to the trace of her by the kerchief aforesaid, for that 
none could have wrought it in such goodly guise but she. Then 
he bribed the merchants to help him in getting her from Nur 
al-Din and beguiled her lord into selling her, as hath been 
already related. When he had her in his possession, she ceased 
not to weep and wail : so he said to her, " O my lady Miriam, 
put away from thee this mourning and grieving and return with 
me to the city of thy sire, the seat of thy kingship and the place 
of thy power and thy home, so thou mayst be among thy servants 
and attendants and be quit of this abasement and this stranger- 
hood. Enough hath betided me of travail, of travel and of 
disbursing monies on thine account, for thy father bade me buy 
thee back, though with a shipload of gold ; and now I have spent 
nigh a year and a half in seeking thee." And he fell to kissing 
her hands and feet and humbling himself to her ; but the more he 
kissed and grovelled she only redoubled in wrath against him, and 
said to him, " O accursed, may Almighty Allah not vouchsafe 
thee to win thy wish ! " Presently his pages brought her a she- 
mule with gold-embroidered housings and mounting her thereon, 
raised over her head a silken canopy, with staves of gold and 
silver, and the Franks walked round about her, till they brought 
her forth the city by the sea-gate, 8 where they took boat with her 
and rowing out to a great ship in harbour embarked therein. 
Then the monocular Wazir cried out to the sailors, saying, " Up 
with the mast ! " So they set it up forthright and spreading the 
newly bent sails and the colours manned the sweeps and put out 

1 As has been noticed (vol. i. 333), the monocular is famed for mischief and men 
expect the mischief to come from his blinded eye. 

2 Here again we have a specimen of "inverted speech" (vol. ii. 265); abusive 
epithets intended for a high compliment, signifying that the man was a tyrant over rebels 
and a froward devil to the foe. 

3 Arab. "Bab al-B?hr/ : see vol. iii. 281. 

AH Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 319 

to sea. Meanwhile Miriam continued to gaze upon Alexandria, 
till it disappeared from her eyes, when she fell a-weeping in her 
privacy with sore weeping -- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 
of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Koto fobm tt foas tfje lEtgljt ^unbrefc an* Itj&tietfc 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Wazir of the Prankish King put out to sea in the ship- 
bearing Miriam the Girdle-girl she gazed Alexandria-wards till 
the city was hidden from her sight when she wailed and wept 
copious tears and recited these couplets ; 

O dwelling of my friends say is there no return * Uswards ? But what ken I 

of matters Allah made ? 
Still fare the ships of Severance, sailing hastily * And in my wounded eyelids 

tears have ta'en their stead, 
For parting from a friend who was my wish and will * Healed every ill and 

every pain and pang allay'd. 
Be thou, O Allah, substitute of me for him Such charge some day the 

care of Thee shall not evade.. 

Then she could not refrain from weeping and wailing. So the 
patrician 1 knights came up to her and would have comforted her, 
but she heeded not their consoling words, being distracted by the 
claims of passion and love-longing. And she shed tears and 
moaned and complained and recited these couplets : 

The tongue of Love within my vitals speaketh * Saying, " This lover boon of 

Love aye seeketh ! " 
And burn my liver hottest coals of passion * And parting on my heart sore 

suffering wreaketh. 
How shall I face this fiery love concealing * When fro' my wounded lids 

the tear aye leaketh ? 

In this plight Miriam abode during all the voyage ; no peace was 
left her at all nor would patience come at her call. Such was 
her case in company with the Wazir, the monocular, the lameter ; 
but as regards Nur al-Din the Cairene, when the ship had sailed 
with Miriam, the world was straitened upon him and he had 

1 Arab. " Batarikah " see vol. ii. 89. The Templars, Knights of Malta and other 
orders half ecclesiastic half military suggested the application of the term. 

320 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

neither peace nor patience. He returned to the lodging where 
they twain had dwelt, and its aspect was black and gloomy in his 
sight. Then he saw the metier wherewith she had been wont to 
make the zones and her dress that had been upon her beauteous 
body : so he pressed them to his breast, whilst the tears gushed 
from his eyes and he recited these couplets : 

Say me, will Union after parting e'er return to be * After long-lasting 

torments, after hopeless misery ? 
Alas! Alas! what wont to be shall never more return o But grant me stilt 

return of dearest her these eyne may see^ 
I wonder me will Allah deign our parted lives unite o And will my deal 

one's plighted troth preserve with constancy ! 
Naught am I save the prey of death since parting parted us ; o And will my 

friends consent that I a weird so deadly dree ? 
Alas my sorrow ! Sorrowing the lover scant avails ; o Indeed I melt away in 

grief and passion's ecstacy : 
Past is the time of my delight when were we two conjoined : o Would 

Heaven I wot if Destiny mine esperance will degree ! 
Redouble then, O Heart, thy pains and, O mine eyes, o'erflow o With tears 

till not a tear remain within these eyne of me ? 
Again alas for loved ones lost and loss of patience eke t o For helpers fail 

me and my griefs are grown beyond decree. 
The Lord of Threefold Worlds I pray He deign to me return * My lover and 

we meet as wont in joy and jubilee. 

Then Nur al-Din wept with weeping galore than which naught 
could be more ; and peering into every corner of the room, re- 
cited these two couplets : 

I view their traces and with pain I pine o And by their sometime home I weep 

and yearn ; 
And Him I pray who parting deigned decree o Some day He deign vouchsafe 

me their return ! 

Then Nur al-Din sprang to his feet and locking the door of the 
house, fared forth running at speed, to the sea shore whence he 
fixed his eyes on the place of the ship which had carried off his 
Miriam whilst sighs burst from his breast and tears from his lids 
as he recited these couplets : 

Peace be with you, sans you naught compensateth me o The near, the far, two 

cases only here I see : 
I yearn for you at every hour and tide as yearns o For water-place wayfarer 

plodding wearily. 

All Nur al-Din and _Miriam the Girdle-GirL 321 

With you abide my hearing, heart and eyen-sight o And (sweeter than the, 

honeycomb) your memory, 
Then, O my Grief when fared afar your retinue o And bore that ship away 

my sole expectancy. 

And Nur al-Din wept and wailed, bemoaned himself and com- 
plained, crying out and saying", " O Miriam ! O Miriam ! Was 
it but a 'vision of thee I saw in sleep or in the allusions of 
dreams ? " And by reason of that which grew on him of regrets, 
he recited these couplets 1 : 

Mazed with thy love no more I can feign patience, 

This heart of mine has held none dear but thee ! 

And if mine eye hath gazed on other's beauty, 

Ne'er be it joyed again with sight of thee ! 

I've sworn an oath I'll ne'er forget to love thee, 

And sad's this breast that pines to meet with thee ! 

Thou'st made me drink a love-cup full of passion^ 

Blest time ! When I may give the draught to thee! 

Take with thee this my form where'er thou goest, 

And when thou ; rt dead let me be laid near thee ! 

Call on me in my tomb, my bones shall answer 

And sigh responses to a call from thee ! 

If it were asked, " What wouldst thou Heaven should order ?'* 

" His will," I answer, " First, and then what pleases thee." 

As Nur al-Din was in this case, weeping and crying out, " O 
Miriam ! O Miriam ! " behold, an old man landed from a 
vessel and coming up to him, saw him shedding tears and heard 
him reciting these verses : 

O Maryam of beauty 2 return, for these eyne o Are as densest clouds railing 
drops in line : 

Ask amid mankind and my railers shall say o That mine eyelids are drown- 
ing these eyeballs of mine. 

Said the old man, " O my son, meseems thou weepest for the 

1 These lines have occurred in vol. i. 280 I quote Torrens (p. 283). 

2 Maryam al-Husn containing a double entendre, ' O place of the white doe (Rim) 
of beauty !" The girl's name was Maryam the Arab, form of Mary, also applied to the B.V. 
by Eastern Christians. Hence a common name of Syrian women is " Husn Maryam" 
(one endowed with the spiritual beauties of Mary : vol. iv. 87). I do not think that 
the name was " manufactured by the Arab story-tellers after the pattern of their own 
names (e.g. Nur al-Din or Noureddin, light of the faifh.'Tajeddin, crown of faith, etc,) 
for the use of their imaginary Christian female characters." 


322 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

damsel who sailed yesterday with the Frank ? " When Nur al- 
Din heard these words of the Shaykh he fell down in a swoon 
and lay for a long while without life ; then, coming to himself, 
he wept with sore weeping and improvised these couplets : 

Shall we e'er be unite after severance-tide o And return in the perfectest 

cheer to bide ? 
In my heart indeed is a lowe of love o And I'm pained by the spies who my 

pain deride : 
My days I pass in amaze distraught, o And her image a-nights I would see 

by side : 

By Allah, no hour brings me solace of love o And how can it when make- 
bates vex me and chide ? 
A soft-sided damsel of slenderest waist o Her arrows of eyne on my heart 

hath plied ? 
Her form is like Bdn'-tree branch in garth o Shame her charms the sun who 

his face most hide : 
Did I not fear God (be He glorified !) o My F*ir be glorified ! Had I 


The old man looked at him and noting his beauty and grace 
and symmetry and the fluency of his tongue and the seductive- 
ness of his charms, had ruth on him and his heart mourned for 
his case. Now that Shaykh was the captain of a ship, bound 
to the damsel's city, and in this ship were a hundred Moslem 
merchants, men of the Saving Faith ; so he said to Nur al-Din, 
" Have patience and all will yet be well ; I will bring thee to her 

an it be the will of Allah, extolled and exalted be He ! And 

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

fo&en it foa* tje ffiw&t f^unta* an& 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the old skipper said to Nur al-Din, " I will bring thee to her, 
Inshallah ! " the youth asked, " When shall we set out ? " and 
the other said, " Come but three days more and we will depart in 
peace and prosperity." Nur al-Din rejoiced at the captain's words 
with joy exceeding and thanked him for his bounty and 

1 I may here remind readers that the Ban, which some Orientalists will write " Ben," 
is a straight and graceful species of Moririga wkh plentiful and intensely green foliage. 

Ali Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 323 

benevolence. Then he recalled the days of love-Hesse dear and 
union with his slave-girl without peer, and he shed bitter tears 
and recited these couplets: 

Say, will to me and you the Ruthful union show o My lords ! Shall e'er 
I win the wish of me or no ? 

A visit-boon by you will shifty Time vouchsafe ? o And seize your image eye- 
lids which so hungry grow ? 

With you were Union to be sold, I fain would buy ; o But ah, I see such grace 
doth all my means outgo t 

Then Nur al-Din went forthright to the market and bought 
what he needed of vitiacum and other necessaries for the voyage 
and returned to the Rais, who said to him, " O my son, what is 
that thou hast with thee ? " said he, " My provisions and all 
whereof I have need for the voyage/' Thereupon quoth the old 
man, laughing, " O my son, art thou going a-pleasuring to Pompey's 
Pillar * ? Verily, between thee and that thou seekest is two 
months' journey an the wind be fair and the weather favourable." 
Then he took of him somewhat of money and going to the bazar, 
bought him a sufficiency of all that he needed for the voyage 
and filled him a large earthen jar 2 with fresh water. Nur al- 
Din abode in the ship three days until the merchants had made 
an end of their precautions and preparations and embarked, when 
they set sail and putting out to sea, fared on one-and-fifty days. 
After this, there came out upon them corsairs, 3 pirates who sacked 
the ship and taking Nur al-Din and all therein prisoners, carried 
them to the city of France and paraded them before the King,, 
who bade cast them into jail, Nur al-Din amongst the number. 
As they were being led to prison the galleon 4 arrived with the 
Princess Miriam and the one-eyed Wazir, and when it made the 
harbour, the lameter landed and going up to the King gave 
him the glad news of his daughter's safe return : whereupon they 
beat the kettledrums for good tidings and decorated the city after 
the goodliest fashion. Then the King took horse, with all his 

1 Arab. " Amud al-Sawari " = the Pillar of Masts, which is still the local name of 
Diocletian's column absurdly named by Europeans " Pompey's Pillar.." 

2 Arab. 4< Batiyah," also used as a wine-jar (amphora), a flagon. 

3 Arab. " Al-Kursan," evidently from the Ital. " Corsaro," a runner. So the Port. 
f< Cabo Corso," which we have corrupted to " Cape Coast Castle " (Gulf of GuioeaL 
means the Cape of Tacking. 

* Arab. " Ghurab," which Europeans torn to "Grab." 

3 2 4 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

guards and lords and notables and rode down to the sea to meet 
her. The moment the ship cast anchor she came ashore, and the 
King saluted her and embraced her and mounting her on a blood- 
steed, bore her to the palace, where her mother received her with 
open arms, and asked her of her case and whether she was a maid 
as before or whether she had become a woman carnally known by 
man. 1 She replied, " O my mother, how should a girl, who hath 
been sold from merchant to merchant in the land of Moslems, a 
slave commanded, abide a virgin ? The merchant who bought me 
threatened me with the bastinado and violenced me and took my 
maidenhead, after which he sold me to another and he again to a 
third." When the Queen heard these her words, the light in her 
eyes became night and she repeated her confession to the King 
who was chagrined thereat and his affair was grievous to him. So 
he expounded her case to his Grandees and Patricians 2 who said to 
him, " O King, she hath been defiled by the Moslems and naught 
will purify her save the striking off of an hundred Mohammedan 
heads." Whereupon the King sent for the True Believers he had 
imprisoned ; and they decapitated them, one after another, begin- 
ning with the captain, till none was left save Nur al-Din. They 
tare off a strip of his skirt and binding his eyes therewith, led him 
to the rug of blood and were about to smite his neck, when behold, 
an ancient dame came up to the King at that very moment and 
said, u O my lord, thou didst vow to bestow upon each and every 
church five Moslem captives, to help us in the service thereof, so 
Allah would restore thee thy daughter 'the Princess Miriam ; and 
now she is restored to thee, so do thou fulfil thy vow." The King 
replied, "O my mother, by the virtue of the Messiah and the 
Veritable Faith, there remaineth to me of the prisoners but this 
one captive, whom they are about to put to death : so take him 
with thee to help in the service of the church, till there come to 
me more prisoners of the Moslems, when I will send thee other 
four. Hadst thou come earlier, before they hewed off the heads 
of these, I had given thee as many as thou wouldest have." The 
old woman thanked the King for his boon and wished him con- 
tinuance of life, glory and prosperity. Then without loss of time 

1 Arab. " Sayyib " (Thayyib) a rare word : it mostly applies to a woman who leaves 
her husband after lying once with him. 

2 Arab. " Batarikah :" here meaning knights, leaders of armed men as in Night 
dccclxii., supra p. 256, it means " monks." 

AH Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 325 

she went up to Nur al-Din, whom she raised from the rug of blood ; 
and, looking narrowly at him saw a comely youth and a dainty, 
with a delicate skin and a face like the moon at her full ; where- 
upon she carried him to the church and said to him, " O my son, 
doff these clothes which are upon thee, for they are fit only for the 
service of the Sultan. 1 " So saying the ancient dame brought him 
a gown and hood of black wool and a broad girdle, 2 in which she 
clad and cowled him ; and, after binding on his belt, bade him do 
the service of the church. Accordingly, he served the church 
seven days, at the end of which time behold, the old woman came 
up to him and said, " O Moslem, don thy silken dress and take 
these ten dirhams and go out forthright and divert thyself abroad 
this day, and tarry not here a single moment, lest thou lose thy 
life/' Quoth he, " What is to do, O my mother?"; and quoth 
she, "Know, O my son, that the King's daughter, the Princess 
Miriam the Girdle-girl, hath a mind to visit the church this day, 
to seek a blessing by pilgrimage and to make oblation thereto, a 
douceurs of thank-offering for her deliverance from the land of the 
Moslems and in fulfilment of the vows she vowed to the Messiah, 
so he would save her. With her are four hundred damsels, not 
one of whom but is perfect in beauty and loveliness and all of them 
are daughters of Wazirs and Emirs and Grandees : they will be 
here during this very hour and if their eyes fall on thee in this 
church, they will hew thee in pieces with swords." Thereupon 
Nur al-Din took the ten dirhams from the ancient dame, and 
donning his own dress, went out to the bazar and walked about the 
city and took his pleasure therein, till he knew its highways and 

gates, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say. 

Nofo to&en it foa* t&e IGijjJt fountain an* 3t'gf)tg=#econ& Nigfjt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nur 
al-Din, after donning his own dress and taking the ten dirhams 
from the ancient dame, fared forth to the market streets and wan- 

1 i.e. for the service of a temporal monarch. 

3 Arab. " Sayr " = a broad strip of leather still used by way of girdle amongst certain 
Christian religions in the East. 

8 Arab. "Halawat al-Salamah," the sweetmeats offered to friends after returning from 
a journey or escaping sore peril. See vol. iv. 60. 

326 A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

dered about a while till he knew every quarter of the city, after 
which he returned to the church 1 and saw the Princess Miriam the 
Girdle-girl, daughter of the King of France come up to the fane, 
attended by four hundred damsels, high-bosomed maids like moons, 
amongst whom was the daughter of the one-eyed Wazir and those 
of the Emirs and Lords of the realm ; and she walked in their 
midst as she were moon among stars. When his eyes fell upon 
her Nur al-Din could not contain himself, but cried out from the 
core of his heart, "O Miriam! O Miriam.!" When the damsels 
heard his outcry they ran at him with swords shining bright like 
flashes of leven-light and would have slain him forthright. But 
the Princess turned and looking on him, knew him with fullest 
knowledge, and said to her maidens, " Leave this youth ; doubt- 
less he is mad, for the signs of madness be manifest on his face." 
When Nur al-Din heard this, he uncovered his head and rolled his 
eyes and made signs with his hands and twisted his legs, foaming 
the while at the mouth. Quoth the Princess, " Said I not that the 
poor youth was mad ? Bring him to me and stand off from him, 
that I may hear what he saith ; for I know the speech of the Arabs 
and will look into his case and see if his madness admit of cure or 
not." So they laid hold of him and brought him to her ; after 
which they withdrew to a distance and she said to him," Hast thou 
come hither on my account and ventured thy life for my sake and 
feignest thyself mad ? " He replied, " O my lady, hast thou not 
heard the saying of the poet 2 ? : 

Quoth they, " Thou'rt surely raving mad for her thou lov'st ;" and I, "There is 

no pleasantness in life but for the mad," reply. 
Compare my madness with herself for whom I rave ; if she Accord therewith, 

then blame me not for that which I aby. 

Miriam replied, " By Allah, O Nur al-Din, indeed thou hast sinned 
against thyself, for I warned thee of this before it befel thee : yet 
wouldst thou not hearken to me, but followedst thine own lust : 
albeit that whereof I gave thee to know I learnt not by means of 
inspiration nor physiognomy 3 nor dreams, but by eye-witness and 

1 So Eginhardt was an Erzeapeilan and belonged to the ghostly profession. 

2 These lines are in vols. iii. 258 and iv. 204. I quote Mr. Payne. 

3 Arab. " Firasah," lit. = skill in judging of horse flesh (Faras) and thence applied, 
like " Kiyafah," to physiognomy. One Kari was the first to divine man's future by 
worldly signs ( Al-Maydani, Arab. prov. ii. 132) and the knowledge was hereditary in the 
lube Mashij. 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 327 

very sight ; for I saw the one-eyed Wazir and knew that he v/as 
not come to Alexandria but in quest of me." Said he, " O my 
lady Miriam, we seek refuge with Allah from the error of the 
intelligent * ! " Then his affliction redoubled on him and he recited 
this saying 2 : 

Pass o'er my fault, for 'tis the wise man's wont 
Of other's sins to take no harsh account ; 
And as all crimes have made my breast their site, 
So thine all shapes of mercy should unite. 
Who from above would mercy seek to know, 
Should first be merciful to those below. 

Then Nur al-Din and Princess Miriam ceased not from lovers* 
chiding which to trace would be tedious, relating each to other 
that which had befallen them and reciting verses and making 
moan, one to other, of the violence of passion and the pangs of 
pine and desire, whilst the tears ran down their cheeks like rivers, 
till there was left them no strength to say a word and so they 
continued till day departed and night darkened. Now the Princess 
was clad in a green dress, purfled with red gold and broidered 
with pearls and gems which enhanced her beauty and loveliness 
and inner grace ; and right well quoth the poet of her 3 : 

Like the full moon she shineth in garments all of green,. With loosened vest 

and collars and flowing hair beseen. 
" What is thy name ? " I asked her, and she replied, " Pm she Who roasts the 

hearts of lovers on coals of love and teen. 
I am the pure white silver, ay, and the gold wherewith The bondmen 

from strait prison and dour released been." 
Quoth I, "I'm all with rigours consumed ;" but "On a rock," Said she, "such 

as my heart is, thy plaints are wasted clean." 
" Even if thy heart," I answered, " be rock in very deed, Yet hath God 

caused fair water well from the rock, I ween." 

And when night darkened on them the Lady Miriam went up to 
her women and asked them, " Have ye locked the door ? "; and 
they answered, " Indeed we have locked it." So she took them 
and went with them to a place called the Chapel of the Lady 
Mary the Virgin. Mother of Light, because the Nazarenes hold 

1 Reported to be a " Hadis" or saying of Mohammed, to whom are attributed many 
such shrewd aphorisms, e.g. "Allah defend us from the ire of the mild (tempered)." 

2 These lines are in vol. i. 126. I quote Torrens (p. 120). 

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

328 A If Lay! ah wa Laylah. 

that there are her heart and soul. The girls betook themselves to 
prayer for blessings from above and circuited all the church ; and 
when they had made an end of their visitation, the Princess turned 
to them and said, " I desire to pass the night alone in the Virgin's 
chapel and seek a blessing thereof, for that yearning after it hath 
betided me, by reason of my long absence in the land of the 
Moslems ; and as for you, when ye have made an end of your 
visitation, do ye sleep whereso ye will." Replied they, " With love 
and goodly gree : be it as thou wilt ! "; and leaving her alone in 
the chapel, dispersed about the church and slept. The Lady 
Miriam waited till they were out of sight and hearing, then went 
in search of Nur al-Din, whom she found sitting in a corner on 
live coals, awaiting her. He rose and kissed her hands and feet 
and she sat down and seated him by her side. Then she pulled ofif 
all that was upon her of raiment and ornaments and fine linen and 
taking Nur al-Din in her arms strained him to her bosom. And 
they ceased not, she and he, from kissing and clipping and 
strumming to the tune of " hocus-pocus, 1 " saying the while, " How 
short are the nights of Union and the nights of Disunion how 
long are they ! " and reciting these verses ; 

O Night of Union, Time's virginal prize, * White star of the Nights with 

auroral dyes, 
Thou garrest Dawn after Noon to rise Say art thou Kohl in Morning's 


Or wast thou Slumber to bleared eye lief? 
O Night of Parting, how long thy stay # Whose latest hours aye the first 

This endless circle that noways may Show breach till the coming of 

Day when dies the lover of parting-grief. 2 

As they were in this mighty delight and joy engrossing they heard 
one of the servants of the Saint 3 smite the gong 4 upon the roof, 

1 Arab. " Khak-bak," an onomatopoeia like our flip-flap and a host of similar words. 
This profaning a Christian Church which contained the relics of the Virgin would hugely 
delight the coffee-house habituh^ and the Egyptians would be equally flattered to hear 
that the son of a Cairene merchant had made the conquest of a Frankish Princess Royal. 
That he was an arrant poltroon mattered very little, as his cowardice only set off his 

9 i.e. after the rising up of the dead. 

3 Arab. " Nafisah," the precious one i.e. the Virgin. 

4 Arab. " Nakus," a wooden gong used by Eastern Christians which were wisely 
forbidden by the early Moslems. 

Ali Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 329 

to call the folk to the rites of their worship, and he was even as 
saith the poet ; 

I saw him strike the gong and asked of him straightway, " Who made the 

Fawn 1 at striking gong so knowing, eh ? " 
And to my soul, " What smiting irketh thee the more * Striking the gong 

or striking note of going, 2 say ? " 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

her permitted say. 

Nofo fofjen it toa* t&e tg&t ^utrtrrrtj anb <2Bu$tB4jufo Nifi&t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Nur al-Din 
and Miriam the Girdle-girl rose forthwith and donned her clothes 
and ornaments ; but this was grievous to Nur al-Din, and his 
gladness was troubled ; the tears streamed from his eyes and he 
recited these couplets ; 

I ceased not to kiss that cheek with budding roses dight And eyes down 

cast and bit the same with most emphatic bite ; 
Until we were in gloria? and lay him down the spy o And sank his 

eyes within his brain declining further sight : 
And struck the gongs as they that had the charge of them were like Muezzin 

crying duty-prayers in Allah's book indite. 
Then rose she up right hastily and donned the dress she'd doffed, o Sore fear- 

ing lest a shooting-star 4 upon our heads alight. 
And cried, " O wish and will of me, O end of all my hopes 1 o Behold the 

morning comes to us in brightest whitest light." 
I swear if but one day of rule were given to my life o And I were made 

an Emperor of majesty and might, 
Adown I'd break the buttresses of churches one and all o And by their 

slaughter rid the earth of every shaveling wight. 

Then the Lady Miriam pressed him to her bosom and kissed his 

1 i.e. a graceful, slender youth. 

2 There is a complicated pun in this line : made by splitting the word after the fashion 
of punsters. "Zarbu 'l-Nawkfsi = the striking of the gongs, and "Zarbu '1 Nawd, 
Kisf striking the departure signal : decide thou " (fern, addressed to the Nafs, soul or 
self) I have attempted a feeble imitation. 

3 The modern Italian term for the venereal finish. 

4 Arab. " Najm al-Munkazzi," making the envious spy one of the prying Jinns at 
whom is launched the Shihab or shooting-star by the angels who prevent them listening 
at the gates of Heaven . See vol. i. 224. 

33O A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

cheek and asked him, " O Nur al-Din, how long hast thou been 
in this town ? " " Seven days." " Hast thou walked about in it, 
and dost thou know its ways and issues and its sea-gates and 
land gates ? " " Yes ! " " Knowest thou the way to the offertory- 
chest 1 of the church?" Yes!" "Since thou knowest all this, 
as soon as the first third 2 of the coming night is over, go to the 
offertory-chest and take thence what thou wishest and wiliest. 
Then open the door that giveth upon the tunnel 3 leading to the 
sea, and go down to the harbour, where thou wilt find a little ship 
and ten men therein, and when the Rais shall see thee, he will put 
out his hand to thee. Give him thy hand and he will take thee 
up into the ship, and do thou wait there till I come to thee. But 
'ware and have a care lest sleep overtake thee this night, or thou 
wilt repent whenas repentance shall avail thee naught." Then the 
Princess farewelled him and going forth from Nur al-Din, aroused 
from sleep her women and the rest of the damsels, with whom she 
betook herself to the church door and knocked ; whereupon the 
ancient dame opened to her and she went forth and found the 
knights and varlets standing without. They brought her a dapple 
she-mule and she mounted : whereupon they raised over hej head 
a canopy 4 with curtains of silk, and the knights took hold of the 
mule's halter. Then the guards 5 encompassed her about drawn 
brand in hand and fared on with her, followed by her, till they 
brought her to the palace of the King her father. Meanwhile, Nur 
al-Din abode concealed behind the curtain, under cover of which 
Miriam and he had passed the night till it was broad day, when 
the main door was opened and the church became full of people. 
Then he mingled with the folk and accosted the old Prioress, the 
guardian 6 of the shrine, who said to him, "Where didst thou lie 
last night ? " Said he, " In the town as thou badest me." Quoth 
she, " O my son, thou hast done the right thing ; for, hadst thou 
nighted in the Church, she had slain thee on the foulest wise." 
And quoth he, " Praised be Allah who hath delivered me from the 
evil of this night ! " Then he busied himself with the service of 

1 Arab, " Sanduk al-Nuzur," lit. " the box of vowed oblations." This act of sacrilege 
would find high favour with the auditory. 

* The night consisting like the day of three watches. See vol. i. 

3 Arab. " Al-Khaukhah," a word now little used. 

* Arab. " Namusiyah," lit. mosquito curtains. 

4 Arab. *' Jawashiyah," see vol. ii. 49. 

6 Arab. ' Kayyimah," the fern, of " Kayyim," misprinted " Kayim " in vol. ii. 93- . 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-GirL 331 

the church and ceased not busying till day departed and night 
with darkness starkened when he arose and opened the offertory- 
chest and took thence of jewels whatso was light of weight and 
weighty of worth. Then he tarried till the first watch of the night 
was past, when he made his way to the postern of the tunnel and 
opening it, went forth, calling on Allah for protection, and ceased 
not faring on until, after finding and opening the door, he came 
to the sea. Here he discovered the vessel moored to the shore 
near the gate ; and her skipper, a tall old man of comely aspect 
with a long beard, standing in the waist, his ten men being ranged 
before him. Nur al-Din gave him his hand, as Miriam had bidden 
him, and the captain took it and pulling him on board of the ship 
cried out to his crew, saying, " Cast off the moorings and put out 
to sea with us, ere day break." Said one of the ten, "O my lord 
the Captain, how shall we put out now, when the King hath noti- 
fied us that to-morrow he will embark in this ship and go round 
about the sea, being fearful for his daughter Miriam from the 
Moslem thieves ? " But the Rais cried out at them saying, " Woe 
to you, O accursed ; Dare ye gainsay me and bandy words with 
me ? " So saying the old captain bared his blade and with it 
dealt the sailor who had spoken a thrust in the throat, that the 
steel came out gleaming from his nape, and quoth another of the 
sailors, " What hath our comrade done of crime, that thou shouldst 
cut his throat ? " Thereupon the captain clapped hand to sword 
and smote off the speaker's head, nor did he leave smiting the rest 
of the sailors, till he had slain them all, one after other, and cast 
the ten bodies ashore. Then he turned to Nur al-Din and cried 
out at him with a terrible great cry, that made him tremble, saying, 
" Go down and pull up the mooring-stake." Nur al-Din feared 
lest he should strike him also with the sword ; so he sprang up and 
leapt ashore and pulling up the stake jumped aboard again, swiftlier 
than the dazzling leven. The captain ceased not to bid him do 
this and do that and tack and wear hither and thither and look at 
the stars, and Nur al-Din did all that he bade him, with heart 
a-quaking for affright ; whilst he himself spread the sails, and the 
ship fared with the twain into the dashing sea, swollen with clashing 

billows. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say. 

33* A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

foJjen it foas t&e CBi$t l^un&rrtr anfc $igf)ts=fourt!) Nt'gfjt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the old skipper had made sail he drave the ship, aided by Nur al- 
Din, into the dashing sea before a favouring gale. Meanwhile, 
Nur al-Din held on to the tackle immersed in deep thought, and 
drowned in the sea of solicitude, knowing not what was hidden for 
him in the future ; and whenever he looked at the captain, his. 
heart quaked and he knew not whither the Rais went with him. 
He abode thus, preoccupied with care and doubt, till it was high 
day, when he looked at the skipper and saw him take hold of his 
long beard and pull at it, whereupon it came off in his hand and 
Nur al-Din, examining it, saw that it was but a false beard glued 
on. So he straitly considered that same Rais, and behold, it was 
the Princess Miriam, his mistress and the dearling of his heart, 
who had contrived to waylay the captain and slay him and skinned 
off his beard, which she had stuck on to her own face. At this 
Nur al-Din was transported for joy, and his breast broadened and 
he marvelled at her prowess and the stoutness of her heart and 
said to her, " Welcome, O my hope and my desire and the end of 
mine every wish ! " Then love and gladness agitated him and he 
made sure of winning to his hopes and his expectancy ; wherefore 
he broke out into song and chanted these couplets : 

To all who unknown my love for the May o From whom Fate dis- 

joins me O say, I pray, 
" Ask my kith and kin of my love that aye o Ensweetens my verses 

to lovely lay : 

For the loss of the tribesmen my life o'er sway I " 
Their names when named heal all malady ; o Cure and chase from 

heart every pain I dree : 
And my longings for love reach so high degree o That my Sprite is 

maddened each morn I see, 

And am grown of the crowd to be saw and say. 
No blame in them will I e'er espy r o No ! nor aught of solace 

sans them descry : 
Your love hath shot me with pine, and I o Bear in heart a flame 

that shall never die, 

But fire my liver with fiery ray. 
All folk my sickness for marvel score o That in darkest night I 

wake evermore 
What ails them to torture, this heart forlore o And deem right for 

loving my blood t' outpour : 

And yet how justly unjust are they ! 

Alt Nur al-Dw ana Miriam the Girdle- Girl. 333 

Would I wot who 'twas could obtain of you o To wrong a youtn.wWs 

so fain of you : 
By my life and by Him who made men of you o And the spy tell aught I 

complain of you 

He lies, by Allah, in foulest way ! 

May the Lord my sickness never dispel, o Nor ever my heart of its 

pains be well, 
What day I regret that in love I fell o Or laud any land but 

wherein ye dwell : 

Wring my heart and ye will or make glad and gay ! 

I have vitals shall ever be true to you o Though racked by the 

rigours not new to you 
Ere this wrong and this right I but sue to you : o Do what you will to 

thrall who to you 

Shall ne'er grudge his life at your feet to lay. 

When Nur al-Din ceased to sing, the Princess Miriam marvelled 
at his song and thanked him therefor, saying, " Whoso's case is 
thus it behoveth him to walk the ways of men and never do the 
deed of curs and cowards." Now she was stout of heart and cun- 
ning in the sailing of ships over the salt sea, and she knew all the 
winds and their shiftings and every course of the main. So Nur 
al-Din said, " O my lady, hadst thou prolonged this case on me, 1 I 
had surely died for stress of affright and chagrin, more by token 
of the fire of passion and love-longing and the cruel pangs of 
separation." She laughed at his speech and rising without stay or 
delay brought out somewhat of food and liquor ; and they ate and 
drank and enjoyed themselves and made merry. Then she drew 
forth rubies and other gems and precious stones and costly trinkets 
of gold and silver and all manner things of price, light of weight 
and weighty of worth, which she had taken from the palace of her 
sire and his treasuries, and displayed them to Nur al-Din, who 
rejoiced therein with joy exceeding. All this while the wind blew 
fair for them and merrily sailed the ship nor ceased sailing till 
they drew near the city of Alexandria and sighted its landmarks, 
old and new, and Pompey's Pillar. When they made the port Nur 
al-Din landed forthright and securing the ship to one of the 

1 i.e. hadst thou not disclosed thyself. He has one great merit in a coward of not 
being ashamed for his cowardice ; and this is a characteristic of the modern Egyptian, 
whose proverb is, " He ran away, Allah shame him ! is better than, He was slam, Allah 
bless him t" 

334 A If Lay I ah wa Lay I ah. 

Fulling-Stones, 1 took somewhat of the treasures that Miriam had 
brought with her, and said to her, " O my lady, tarry in the ship, 
against I return and carry thee up into the city in such way as I 
should wish and will." Quoth she, "It behoveth that this be 
done quickly, for tardiness in affairs engendereth repentance " 
Quoth he, " There is no tardiness in me ; - 9 and, leaving her in the 
ship, went up into the city to the house of the druggist his father's 
old friend, to borrow of his wife for Miriam veil and mantilla, and 
walking boots and petticoat-trousers after the usage of the women 
of Alexandria, unknowing that there was appointed to betide him 
of the shifts of Time, the Father of Wonders, that which was far 
beyond his reckoning. Thus it befel Nur al-Din and Miriam the 
Girdle-girl ; but as regards her sire the King of France, when he 
arose in the morning, he missed his daughter and questioned her 
women and her eunuchs of her. Answered they, " O our lord, she 
went out last night, to go to Church and after that we have no 
tidings of her." But, as the King talked with them, behold, there 
arose so great a clamour of cries below the palace, that the place 
rang thereto, and he said, " What may be the news ? " The folk 
replied, " O King, we have found ten men slain on the sea-shore, 
and the royal yacht is missing. Moreover we saw the postern of 
the Church, which giveth upon the tunnel leading to the sea, wide 
open ; and the Moslem prisoner, who served in the Church, is 
missing." Quoth the King, " An my ship be lost, without doubt 

or dispute." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

fo&en ft toas tje Utg&t f^un&tefc anfc 1Etgf)tg?fift{) 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the King of France missed his daughter they brought him tidings 
of her, saying, " Thy yacht is lost "; and he replied, " An the craft 
be lost, without dispute or doubt my daughter is in it." So he 
summoned without stay or delay the Captain of the Port and cried 

1 Arab. "Ahjar al-Kassarfn" nor forgotten. In those days ships anchored in the 
Eastern port of Alexandria which is now wholly abandoned on account of the rocky 
bottom and the dangerous " Levanter," which as the Gibraltar proverb says 

Makes the stones canter. 

Ali Nur aL-Diu and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 335 

out at him, saying, By the virtue 1 of the Messiah and the Faith 
which is no liar, except thou and thy fighting men overtake my 
ship forthright and bring it back to me, with those who are therein, 
I will do thee die the foulest of deaths and make a terrible example 
of thee ! " Thereupon the captain went out from before him, 
trembling, and betook himself to the ancient dame of the Church,' 
to whom said he, ' Heardest thou aught from the captive, that 
was with thee, anent his native land and what countryman he 
was ? " l And she answered, " He used to say, I come from the 
town of Alexandria." When the captain heard the old woman's 
words he returned forthright to the port and cried out to the 
sailors, " Make ready and set sail." So they did his bidding and 
straightway putting out to sea, fared night and day till they 
sighted the city of Alexandria at the very time when Nur al-Din 
landed, leaving the Princess in the ship. They soon espied the 
royal yacht and knew her ; so they moored their own vessel at a 
distance therefrom and putting off in a little frigate they had with 
them, which drew but two cubits of water and in which were an 
hundred fighting-men, amongst them the one-eyed Wazir (for that 
he was a stubborn tyrant and a froward devil and a wily thief, 
none could avail against his craft, as he were Abu Mohammed 
al-Battdl 2 ), they ceased not rowing till they reached the bark and 
boarding her, all at once, found none therein save the Princess 
Miriam. So they took her and the ship, and returning to their 
own vessel, after they had landed and waited a long while, 3 set 
sail forthright for the land of the Franks, having accomplished 
their errand, without a fight or even drawing sword. The wind 
blew fair for them and they sailed on, without ceasing and with all 
diligence, till they reached the city of France and landing with the 
Princess Miriam carried her to her father, who received her, seated 
on the throne of his Kingship. As soon as he saw her, he said to 
her, " Woe to thee, O traitress ! What ailed thee to leave the faith 

1 Arab. " Hakk '* = rights, a word much and variously used. To express the posses- 
sive "mine"aBadawisays"Hakki" (pron. Haggi) and " Lilf ;" a Syrian "Shiti" 
for Shayyati, my little thing or " taba 'i " my dependent ; an Egyptian " Bita' i " my 
portion and a Maghribi " M'ta' i " and " diyyali " (di allazi li = this that is to me). 
Thus "mine " becomes a shibboleth. 

2 ie. The "Good for nothing," the, "Bad'unj" not some forgotten ruffian of the 
day, but the hero of a tale antedating The Nights in their present form. See Terminal 
Essay, s. ii. 

* i.e. Hoping to catch Nur al-Din. 

336 Alf Laytah wa Laylah. 

of thy fathers and forefathers and the safeguard of the Messiah, on 
whom is our reliance, and follow after the faith of the Vagrants, 1 
to wit, the faith of Al-Islam, the which arose with the sword 
against the Cross and the Images ? " Replied Miriam, " I am 
not at fault, I went out by night to the church, to visit the Lady 
Mary and seek a blessing of her, when there fell upon me unawares 
a band of Moslem robbers, who gagged me and bound me fast and 
carrying me on boani the barque, set sail with me for their own 
country. However, I beguiled them and talked with them of 
their religion, till they loosed my bonds ; and ere I knew it thy 
men overtook me and delivered me. And by the virtue of the 
Messiah and the Faith which is no liar and the Cross and the 
Crucified thereon, I rejoiced with joy exceeding in my release 
from them and my bosom broadened and I was glad for my 
deliverance from the bondage of the Moslems!" Rejoined the 
King, " Thou liest, O whore ! O adultress ! By the virtue of that 
which is revealed of prohibition and permission in the manifest 
Evangel, 2 I will assuredly do thee die by the foulest of deaths 
and make thee the vilest of examples! Did it not suffice thee 
to do as thou didst the first time and put off thy lies upon us, 
but thou must return upon us with thy deceitful inventions ? " 
Thereupon the King bade kill her and crucify her over the palace 
gate ; but, at that moment the one-eyed Wazir, who had long been 
enamoured of the Princess, came in to him and said, " Ho King ! 
slay her not, but give her to me to wife, and I will watch over her 
with the utmost warding, nor will I go in unto her, till I have 
built her a palace of solid stone, exceeding high of foundation, so 
no thieves may avail to climb up to its terrace-roof; and when I 
have made an end of building it, I will sacrifice thirty Moslems 
before the gate thereof, as an expiatory offering to the Messiah for 

1 Arab. " Sawwahun " = the Wanderers, Pilgrims, wandering Arabs, whose religion, 
Al-Islam, so styled by its Christian opponents. And yet the new creed was at once 
accepted by whole regions of Christians, and Mauritania, which had rejected Roman 
paganism and Gothic Christianity. This was e.g. Syria and the so-called *' Holy Land," 
not because, as is fondly asserted by Christians, Al-Islam was forced upon them by the 
sword, but on account of its fulfilling a need, its supplying a higfter belief, unity as 
opposed to plurality, and its preaching a more manly attitude of mind and a more sensible 
rule of conduct. Arabic still preserves a host of words special to the Christian creed ; 
and many of them have been adopted by Moslems but with changes of signification. 

* i.e. of things commanded and things prohibited. The writer is thinking of the 
.Koran in which there are not a few abrogated injunctions. 

AK Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 


they did his bidding, whereupon he b^de set abo 

strong and lofty palace, befitting her rank and the wo 

to work upon ,t On this wise it betided the Princess 

and her and the one-eyed Wazir ; but as regards Nur 

when he came back with the petticoat-trousers and mantiHa and 

walking boots and all the attire of Alexandrian women 

had borrowed of the druggist's wife, he "found the air void and 
the fane afar "; -And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 
and ceased to say her permitted say. y 

Noto tofcn it tons tljc eft* fgniOK* an* 


She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Nur al-Din, -found the air void* and the fane afar/' his heart 
sank within him and he wept floods of tears and recited these 
verses 3 : 

The phantom of Soada came by night to wake me towards morning while my 

companions were sleeping in the desert : 
But when we awoke to behold the nightly phantom, I saw the air vacant, and 

tne place of visitation distant 

Then Nur al-Din walked on along the sea-shore and turned right 
and left, till he saw folk gathered together on the beach and heard 

1 See below for the allusion. 

. 3 Arab. " Kafra " = desert place. It occurs in this couplet : 

Wa Kabrun Harbin fi'-makanin Kafrin ; 

Wa laysa Kurba Kabri Harbin Kabrun. 
Harb's corse is quartered in coarse wold accurst ; 
Nor close to corse of Harb is other corse ; 

words made purposely harsh because uttered by a Jinni who killed a traveller named 
"Harb." So Homer ; 

TToXXa 8' avavra, Kdravra, irdpavrd re^a^ta r'rjXOov. 
and Pope 

O'er hills, o'er dales, o'er crags, o'er rocks they go, etc. 

See Preface (p. v.) to Captain A. Lockett's learned and whimsical volume, " The Miut 
Amil" etc. Calcutta, 1814. 
* These lines have occurred vol. iv. 267. I quote Mr. Lane. 


338 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

them say, " O Moslems, there remaineth no honour to Alexandria- 
city, since the Franks enter it and snatch away those who are 
therein and return to their own land, at their leisure l nor pursued 
of any of the Moslems or fighters for the Faith ! " Quoth Nur al- 
Din to them, " What is to do ? "; and quoth they, " O my son, 
one of the ships of the Franks, full of armed men, came down but 
now upon the port and carried off a ship which was moored here, 
with her that was therein, and made unmolested for their own 
land." Nur al-Din fell down a-swoon, on hearing these words ;. 
and when he recovered they questioned him of his case and he 
told them all that had befallen him first and last ; whereupon they 
all took to reviling him and railing at him, saying, " Why couldst 
thou not bring her up into the town without mantilla and muffler ?" 
And all and each of the folk gave him some grievous word, 
berating him with sharp speech, and shooting at him some shaft 
of reproach, albeit one said, " Let him be ; that which hath befallen 
him sufficeth him/' till he again fell down in a fainting-fit. And 
behold, at this moment, up came the old druggist, who, seeing the 
folk gathered together, drew near to learn what was the matter 
and found Nur al-Din lying a-swoon in their midst. So he sat 
down at his head and arousing him, said to him as soon as he 
recovered, " O my son, what is this case in which I see thee ? " 
Nur al-Din said, " O uncle, I had brought back in a barque my 
lost slave-girl from her father's city, suffering patiently all I 
suffered of perils and hardships ; and when I came with her to this 
port, I made the vessel fast to the shore and leaving her therein, 
repaired to thy dwelling and took of thy consort what was needful 
for her, that I might bring her up into the town ; but the Franks 
came and capturing barque and damsel made off unhindered, and 
returned to their own land." Now when the Shaykh, the druggist, 
heard this, the light in his eyes became night and he grieved with 
sore grieving for Nur al-Din and said to him, " O my son, why 
didst thou not bring her out of the ship into the city without 
mantilla ? But speech availeth not at this season ; so rise, O my 
son, and come up with me to the city ; haply Allah will vouchsafe 
thee a girl fairer than she, who shall console thee for her. 
Alhamdolillah praised be Allah who hath not made thee lose 

1 The topethesia is here designedly made absurd. Alexandria was one of the first 
cities taken by the Moslems <A.H. 21 = 642) and the Christian pirates preferred attack- 
ing weaker places, Rosetta and Damietta. 

Ali Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 339 

aught by her ! Nay, thou hast gained by her. And bethink thee, 
O my son, that Union and Disunion are in the hands of the Most 
High King." Replied Nur al-Din, "By Allah, O uncle, I can 
never be consoled for her loss nor will I ever leave seeking her, 
though on her account I drink the cup of death ! " Rejoined the 
druggist, " O my son, and what art thou minded to do ? " Quoth 
Nur al-Din, " I am minded to return to the land of the Franks 1 
and enter the city of France and emperil myself there ; come what 
may, loss of life or gain of life." Quoth the druggist, " O my 
son, there is an old saw : Not always doth the crock escape the 
shock ; and if they did thee no hurt the first time, belike they will 
slay thee this time, more by token that they know thee now with 
full knowledge." Quoth Nur al-Din, " O my uncle, let me set out 
and be slain for the love of her straightway and not die of despair 
for her loss by slow torments. Now as Fate determined there 
was then a ship in port ready to sail, for its passengers had made 
an end of their affairs 2 and the sailors had pulled up the mooring- 
stakes, when Nur al-Din embarked in her. So they shook out 
their canvas and relying on the Compassionate, put out to sea and 
sailed many days, with fair wind and weather, till behold, they fell 
in with certain of the Frank cruisers, which were scouring those 
waters and seizing upon all ships they saw, in their fear for the 
King's daughter from the Moslem corsairs : and as often as they 
made prize of a Moslem ship, they carried all her people to the 
King of France, who put them to death in fulfilment of the vow 
he had vowed on account of his daughter Miriam. So, seeing 
the ship wherein was Nur al-Din they boarded her and taking him 
and the rest of the company prisoners, to the number of an 
hundred Moslems, carried them to the King and set them between, 
his hands. He bade cut their throats. Accordingly they slaughtered 
them all forthwith, one after another, till there was none left but 
Nur al-Din, whom the headsman had left to the last, in pity of his 
tender age and slender shape. When the King saw him, he knew 
him right well and said to him, " Art thou not Nur al-Din, who 
was with us before ? " Said he, " I was never with thee ; and my 
name is not Nur al-Din, but Ibrahim." Rejoined the King ; " Thou 
liest, thou art Nur al-Din, he whom I gave to the ancient dame 

1 Arab. "Bilad al-Riim," here and elsewhere applied to Franco 

2 Here the last line of p. 324, vol. iv. in the Mac. Edit, is misplaced and belongs to 
the next page. 

340 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

the Prioress, to help her in the service of the church." But Nur al- 
Din replied, " O my lord, my name is Ibrahim." Quoth the King, 
" Wait a while," and bade his knights fetch the old woman forth- 
right, saying, " When she cometh and seeth thee, she will know 
an thou be Nur al-Din or not." At this juncture, behold, in came 
the one-eyed Wazir who had married the Princess and kissing the 
earth before the King said to him, "Know, O King, that the 
palace is finished ; and thou knowest now I vowed to the Messiah 
that, when I had made an end of building it, I would cut thirty 
Moslems' throats before its doors ; wherefore I am come to take 
them of thee, that I may sacrifice them and so fulfil my vow to 
the Messiah. They shall be at my charge, by way of loan, and 
whenas there come prisoners to my hands, I will give thee other 
thirty in lieu of them." Replied the King, "By the virtue 
of the Messiah and the Faith which is no liar, I have but this one 
captive left ! " And he pointed to Nur al-Din, saying, " Take him 
and slaughter him at this very moment and the rest I will send 
thee, when there come to my hands other prisoners of the Moslems." 
Thereupon the one-eyed Wazir arose and took Nur al-Din and 
carried him to his palace, thinking to slaughter him. on the 
threshold of the gate ; but the painters said to him, " O my lord, 
we have two days' painting yet to do : so bear with us and delay 
to cut the throat of this captive, till we have made an end of our 
work ; haply by that time the rest of the thirty will come, so thou 
mayst despatch them all at one bout and accomplish thy vow in 
a single day." Thereupon the Wazir bade imprison Nur al-Din 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

her permitted say. 

Note fofcen ft foas tje JE,i$i ffiuntoe* anto t's&tg-Sbmt& 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
Wazir bade imprison Nur aWDin, they carried him to the stables 
and left him there in chains, hungering and thirsting and making 
moan for himself; for indeed he saw death face to face. Now it 
fortuned, by the ordinance of Destiny and fore-ordained Fate ( 
that the King had two stallions, own brothers, 1 such as the Chosroe 

1 Arab. Akhawin shakikn = brothers gerraan (of men and beasts) bora of one father 
and mother, sire and dam. 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 341 

Kings might sigh in vain to possess themselves of one of them ; 
they were called Sabik and Lahik 1 and one of them was pure 
silvern white while the other was black as the darksome night. 
And all the Kings of the isles had said, " Whoso stealeth us one 
of these stallions, we will give him all he seeketh of red gold and 
pearls and gems ; " but none could avail to steal them. Now one 
of them fell sick of a jaundice and there came a whiteness over his 
eyes 2 ; whereupon the King gathered together all the farriers in the 
city to treat him ; but they all failed of his cure. Presently the 
Wazir came into the King ; and finding him troubled because of 
the horse, thought to do away his concern and said to him, " O 
King, give me the stallion and I will cure him." The King con- 
sented and caused carry the horse to the stable wherein Nur al-Din 
lay chained ; but, when he missed his brother, he cried out with 
an exceeding great cry and neighed, so that he affrighted all the 
folk. The Wazir, seeing that he did thus but because he was 
parted from his brother, went to tell the King, who said, " If this, 
which is but a beast, cannot brook to be parted from his brother, 
how should it be with those that have reason ? " And he bade 
his grooms take the other horse and put him with his brother 
in the Wazir's stables, saying, u Tell the Minister that the two 
stallions be a gift from me to him, for the sake of my daughter 
Miriam." Nur al-Din was lying in the. stable, chained and 
shackled, when they brought in the two stallions and he saw that 
one of them had a film over his eyes. Now he had some know- 
ledge of horses and of the doctoring of their diseases ; so he said 
to himself, "This by Allah is my opportunity ! I will go to the 
Wazir and lie to him, saying, " I will heal thee this horse : then 
will I do with him somewhat that shall destroy his eyes, and he will 
slay me and I shall be at rest from this woe-full life." So he waited 
till the Wazir entered the stable, to look upon the steed, and said 
to him, " O my lord, what will be my due, an I heal this horse, 
and make his eyes whole again ? " Replied the Wazir, " As my 
head liveth, an thou cure him, I will spare thy life and give thee 
leave to crave a boon of me ! " And Nur al-Din said, " my 
lord, bid my hands be' unbound ! " So the Wazir bade unbind 

1 "The Forerunner " and " the Overtaken," terms borrowed from the Arab Epsom. 

* Known tons as " the web and pin," it is a film which affects Arab horses in the 
damp hot regions of Malabar and Zanzibar and soon blinds them. This equine cataract 
combined with loin-disease compels men to ride Pegu and other ponies. 

34 2 -A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

him and he rose and taking virgin glass, 1 brayed it and mixed 
it with unslaked lime and a menstruum of onion-juice. Then 
he applied the whole to the horse's eyes and bound them up, 
saying in himself, " Now will his eyes be put out and they will 
slay me and I shall be at rest from this woe-full life." Then he 
passed the night with a heart free from the uncertainty 2 of cark 
and care, humbling himself to -Allah the Most High and saying, 
"O Lord, in Thy knowledge is that which dispenseth with asking 
and craving ! " Now when the morning morrowed and the sun 
shone, the Wazir came to the stable and, loosing the bandage 
from the horse's eyes considered them and found them finer than 
before, by the ordinance of the King who openeth evermore. So 
he said to Nur al-Din, " O Moslem, never in the world saw I the. 
like of thee for the excellence of thy knowledge. By the virtue of 
the Messiah and the Faith which is no liar, thou makest me with 
wonder to admire, for all the farriers of our land have failed to 
heal this horse ! " Then he went up to Nur al-Din and, doing off 
his shackles with his own hand, clad him in a costly dress and 
made him his master of the Horse ; and he appointed him 
stipends and allowances and lodged him in a story over the 
stables. So Nur al-Din abode awhile, eating and drinking and 
making merry and bidding and forbidding those who tended the 
horses ; and whoso neglected or failed to fodder those tied up in 
the stable wherein was his service, he would throw down and beat 
with grievous beating and lay him by the legs in bilboes of iron. 
Furthermore, he used every day to descend and visit the stallions 
and rub them down with his own hand, by reason of that which 
he knew of their value in the Wazir's eyes and his love for them ; 
wherefore the Minister rejoiced in him with joy exceeding and his 
breast broadened and he was right glad, unknowing what was to 
be the issue of his case. Now in the new palace, which the one- 
eyed Wazir had bought for the Princess Miriam, was a lattice- 
window overlooking his old house and the flat wherein Nur al-Din 
lodged. The Wazir had a daughter, a virgin of extreme love- 

1 Arab. " Zujaj bikr" whose apparent meaning would be glass in the lump and 
unworked. Zaj aj bears, however, fhe meaning of clove-nails (the ripe bud of the 
clove-shrub) and may possibly apply to one of the manifold " Alfaz Adwiyah " (names 
of drugs). Here, however, pounded glass would be all sufficient to blind a horse : it is 
much used in the East especially for dogs affected by intestinal vermicules. 

2 Alluding to the Arab saying " The two rests" (Al-rahata"ni) "certainty of success 
or failure," as opposed to " Wiswas " when the mind fluctuates in doubt. 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 343 

liness, as she were a fleeing gazelle or a bending branchlet, and it 
chanced that she sat one day at the lattice aforesaid and behold, 
she heard Nur al-Din singing and solacing himself under his 
sorrows by improvising these verses : 

O my Censor who wakest a-morn to see o The joys of life and its jubilee ! 
Had the fangs of Destiny bitten thee o In such bitter case thou hadst pled 
this plea : 

Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me : 

My heart is burnt by the fires I dree I 

But from Fate's despight thou art safe this day ; o From her falsest fay and 

her crying "Nay!" 

Yet blame him not om his woes waylay o Who distraught shall 
say in his agony, 

Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me : 

My heart is burnt by the fires I dree ! 

Excuse such lovers in flight abhorr'd o Nor to Love's distresses thine aid 

afford : 

Lest thy self be bound by same binding cord o And drink of Love's bitterest 

Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me : 

My heart is burnt by the fires I dree ! 

In His service I wont as the days went by o With freest heart through the 

nights to lie ; 
Nor tasted wake, nor of Love aught reckt o Ere my heart to subjection 

summoned he : 

Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me : 

My heart is burnt by the fires I 'dree ! 

None weet of Love and his humbling wrong o Save those he sickened so 

sore, so long, 

Who have lost their wits 'mid the lover-throng o Draining bitterest cup by his 
hard decree : 

Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me : 
My heart is burnt by the fires I dree ! 

How oft in Night's gloom he cause wake to rue o Lovers' eyne, and from eye- 
lids their sleep withdrew ; 

Till tears to the railing of torrents grew, o Overflowing cheeks, unconfined 
and free : 

Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me : 

My heart is burnt by the fires I dree I 

How many a man he has joyed to steep o In pain, and for pine hath he 

plundered sleep, 

Made don garb of mourning the deepest deep o And even his dreaming forced 
to flee : 

Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me : 
My heart is burnt by the fires I dree ! 

How oft sufferance fails me ! How bones are wasted o And down my cheeks 
torrent tear-drops hasted : 

344 Atf Laylah wa Laylah. 

And embittered She all the food I tasted o However sweet it was wont to be : 

Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me : 

My heart is burnt by the fires I dree ! 

Most hapless of men who like me must love, o And must watch when 

Night droops her wing from above, 

Who, Swimming the main where affection drove o Must sigh and sink in that 
gloomy sea : 

Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me 

My heart is burnt by the fires I dree ! 

Who is he to whom Love e'er stinted spite o And who scaped his springes 

and easy sleight ; 

Who free from Love lived in life's delight? o Where is he can boast of 
such liberty ? 

Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me : 

My heart is burnt by the fires I dree ! 

Deign Lord such suffering wight maintain o Then best Protector, protect him 

deign ! 

Establish him and his life assain o And defend him from all calamity : 
Ah me, for Love and his case, ah me : 
My heart is burnt by the fires I dree ! 

And when Nur al-Din ended his say and ceased to sing his 
rhyming lay, the Wazir's daughter said to herself, " By the virtue 
of the Messiah and the Faith which is no liar, verily this Moslem 
is a handsome youth ! But doubtless he is a lover separated from 
his mistress. Would Heaven I wot an the beloved of this fair one 
is fair like unto him and if she pine for him as he for her ! An 
she be seemly as he is, it behoveth him to pour forth tears and 
make moan of passion ; but, an she be other than fair, his days 
are wasted in vain regrets and he is denied the taste of delights." 
- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 
say her permitted say. 

tfoto toijcn it toa* t$e ZtgSt |Duntirrti an* Gigfjt^cfgfjtf) 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Wazir's daughter said to herself, " An his beloved be fair as he, it 
behoveth him to pour forth tears ; and, if other than fair, his 
heart is wasted in vain regrets ! " Now Miriam the Girdle-girl, 
the Minister's consort, had removed to the new palace the day 
before and the Wazir's daughter knew that she was straitened of 
breast ; so she was minded to seek her and talk with her and tell 
her the tidings of the young man and the rhymes and verses she 

AH Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 345 

had heard him recite ; but, before she could carry out her design 
the Princess sent for her to cheer her with her converse. So she 
went to her and found her heavy at heart and her tears hurrying 
down her cheeks ; and whilst she was weeping with sore weeping 
she recited these couplets : 

My life is gone but love-longings remain o And my breast is straitened with 

pine and pain : 

And my heart for parting to melt is fain o Yet hoping that union will come 

And join us in one who now are twain. 
Stint your blame to him who in heart's your thrall o With the wasted frame 

which his sorrows gall, 

Nor with aim of arrow his heart appal o For parted lover is saddest of all, 
And Love's cup of bitters is sweet to drain ! 

Quoth the Wazir's daughter to her, " What aileth thee, O Princess, 
to be thus straitened in breast and sorrowful of thought ? " 
Whereupon Miriam recalled the greatness of the delights that 
were past and recited these two couplets : 

I will bear in patience estrangement of friend o And on cheeks rail tears that 

like torrents wend : 
Haply Allah will solace my sorrow, for He o Neath the ribs of unease 

maketh ease at end. 

Said the Wazir's daughter, " O Princess, let not thy breast be 
straitened, but come with me straightway to the lattice ; for there 
is with us in the stable 1 a comely young man, slender of shape 
and sweet of speech, and meseemeth he is a parted lover." 
Miriam asked, "And by what sign knowest thou that he is a 
parted lover ? "; and she answered, " O Queen, I know it by his 
improvising odes and verses all watches of the night and tides of 
the day." Quoth the Princess in herself, " If what the Wazir's 
daughter says be true, these are assuredly the traits of the baffled, 
the wretched All Nur al-Din. Would I knew if indeed he be the 
youth of whom she speaketh ? " At this thought, love-longing 
and distraction of passion redoubled on her and she rose at once 
and walking with the maiden to the lattice, looked down upon the 
stables, where she saw her love and lord Nur al-Din and fixing 
her eyes steadfastly upon him, knew him with the bestest knowledge 

1 She falls in love with the groom, thus anticipating the noble self-devotion of Miss 
Aurora Floyd, 

346 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

of love, albeit he was sick, of the greatness of his affection for her 
and of the fire of passion, and the anguish of separation and 
yearning and distraction. Sore upon him was emaciation and he 
was improvising and saying : 

My heart is a thrall ; my tears ne'er abate And their rains the 

railing of clouds amate ; 
'Twixt my weeping and watching and wanting love ; o And whining and pining 

for dearest mate. 
Ah my burning heat, my desire, my lowe ! o For the plagues that 

torture my heart are eight ; 
And five upon five are in suite of them j o So stand and listen to 

all I state : 
Mem'ry, madding thoughts, moaning languishment, o Stress of longing love, 

plight disconsolate ; 
In travail, affliction and strangerhood, o And annoy and joy when on her 

I wait. 
Fail me patience and stay for engrossing care o And sorrows my suffering soul 

On my heart the possession of passion grows o O who ask of what fire in my 

heart's create, 
Why my tears in vitals should kindle flame, o Burning heart with ardours 

Know, I'm drowned in Deluge ! of tears and my soul o From Laza-lowe fares 

to Hdwiyah-goal. 2 

When the Princess Miriam beheld Nur al-Din and heard his 
loquence and verse and speech, she made certain that it was 
indeed her lord Nur al-Din ; but she concealed her case from the 
Wazir's daughter and said to her, " By the virtue of the Messiah 
and the Faith which is no liar, I thought not thou knewest of 
my sadness ! " Then she arose forthright and withdrawing from 
the window, returned to her own place, whilst the Wazir's 
daughter went to her own occupations. The Princess awaited 
patiently awhile, then returned to the window and sat there, 
gazing upon her beloved Nur al-Din and delighting her eyes 
with his beauty and inner and outer grace. And indeed, she 
saw that he was like unto moon at full on fourteenth night ; but 
he was ever sighing with tears never drying, for that he recalled 
whatso he had been abying. So he recited these couplets; 

1 Arab. " Tufan " see vol. v. 156 : here it means the Deluge of Noah." 
a Two of the Hells. See vol. v. 240. 

Ali Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 347 

I hope for Union with my love which I may ne'er obtain At all, but bitter- 
ness of life is all the gain I gain : 

My tears are likest to the main for ebb and flow of tide ; o But when I meet 
the blamer- wight to staunch my tears I'm fain. 

Woe to the wretch who garred us part by spelling of his spells ; l o Could I 
but hend his tongue in hand I 'd cut his tongue in twain : 

Yet will I never blame the days for whatso deed they did o Mingling with 
merest, purest gall the cup they made me drain ! 

To whom shall I address myself ; and whom but you shall seek o A heart 
left hostage in your Court, by you a captive ta'en ? 

Who shall avenge my wrongs on you, 2 tyrant despotical o Whose tyranny but 
grows the more, the more I dare complain ? 

I made him regnant of my soul that he the reign assain o But me he wasted 
wasting too the soul I gave to reign. 

Ho thou, the Fawn, whom I so lief erst gathered to my breast o Enow of sever- 
ance tasted I to own its might and main, 

Thou'rt he whose favours joined in one all beauties known to man, o Yet I 
thereon have wasted all my Patience' fair domain. 

I entertained him in my heart whereto he brought unrest o But I am satisfied 
that I such guest could entertain . 

My tears for ever flow and flood, likest the surging sea o And would I wot 
the track to take that I thereto attain. 

Yet sore I fear that I shall die in depths of my chagrin o And must despair 
for evermore to win the wish I'd win. 

When Miriam heard the verses of Nur al-Din the loving-hearted, 
the parted ; they kindled in her vitals a fire of desire, and, 
whilst her eyes ran over with tears, she recited these two 
couplets : 

I longed for him I love ; but, when we met, o I was amazed nor tongue nor 

eyes I found. 
I had got ready volumes of reproach ; o But when we met, could syllable no 


When Nur al-Din heard the voice of Princess Miriam, he knew 
it and wept bitter tears, saying, " By Allah, this is the chanting 

of the Lady Miriam. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of 

day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

1 Lit. " Out upon a prayer who imprecated our parting ! " 

a The use of masculine for feminine has frequently been noted. I have rarely changed 
the gender or the number the plural being often employed for the singular (vol. i. 98)- 
Such change may *void "mystification and confusion " but this is the very purpose of 
the substitution which must be preserved if " local colour " is to be respected. 

348 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

NOTE. (p. 93). There is something wondrous naive in a lover who, when asked 
by his mistress to sing a song in her honour, breaks out into versical praises of her parts. 
But even the classical Arab authors did not disdain such themes. See in Al-Harfri 
(Ass. of Mayyafarikfn) where Abu Zayd laments the impotency of old age in form of a 
Rasy or funeral oration (Preston-p. 484, and Chenery p. 321). It completely deceived 
Sir William Jones, who inserted it into the chapter " De Poesi Funebri," p. 527 
(Poeseos Asiatics Commentarii) gravely noting, " Haec Elegia non admodum dissimilis 
esse videtur pulcherrimi illius carminis de Sauli et Jonathan! obitu ; at que ade6 versus 
iste ' ubi provocant adversaries nunquam rediit a pugnoe contentione sine spiculo sanguine 
imbuto,' ex Hebraeo reddi videtur, 

A sanguine occisorum, a fortium virorum adipe, 
Arcus Jonathani non rediit irritus." 

I need hardly say with Captain Lockett (226) that this "Sabb warrior,** this Arabian 
Achilles is the celebrated Bonus Deus or Hellespontiacus of the Ancients. The oration 
runs thus: 

folk I have a wondrous tale, so rare 
Much shall it profit hearers wise and ware ! 

1 saw in salad-years a potent Brave 

And sharp of edge and point his warrior glaive ; 

Who entered joust and list with hardiment 

Fearless of risk, of victory confident, 

His vigorous onset straitest places oped 

And easy passage through all narrows groped : 

He ne'er encountered foe in single fight 

But came from tilt with spear in blood stained bright; 

Nor stormed a fortress howso strong and stark 

With fenced gates defended deep and dark 

When shown his flag without th* auspicious cry 

" Aidance from Allah and fair victory nigh ! MI 

Thuswise full many a night his part he played 

In strength and youthtide's stately garb arrayed, 

Dealing to fair young girl delicious joy 

And no less welcome to the blooming boy. 

But Time ne'er ceased to stint his wondrous strength 

(Steadfast and upright as the gallows' length) 

Until the Nights o'erthrew him by their might 

And friends contemned him for a feckless wight ; 

Nor was a wizard but who wasted skill 

Over his case, nor leach could heal his ill. 

Then he abandoned arms abandoned him 

Who gave and took salutes so fierce and grim ; 

And now lies prostrate drooping haughty crest ; 

For who lives longest him most ills molest. 

Then see him, here he lies on bier for bed ; 

Who will a shroud bestow on stranger dead ? 

1 The well-known Koranic verse, whereby Allah is introduced into an indecent tale 
and " Holy Writ" is punned upon. I have noticed (iii. 206) that victory Fat'h lit. = 
opening everything (as e.g. a maidenhead). 

AH Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 349 

A fair measure of the difference between Eastern and Western manners is afforded by 
such a theme being treated by their gravest writers and the verses being read and heard 
by the gravest and most worshipful men, whilst amongst us Preston and Chenery do not 
dare even to translate them. The latter, indeed, had all that immodest modesty for 
which English professional society is notable in this xix th century. He spoiled by need- 
lessly excluding from a scientific publication (Mem. R. A.S.) all of my Proverbia Communia 
Syriaca (See Unexplored Syria, i. 364) and every item which had a shade of double entendre. 
But Nemesis frequently found him out : during his short and obscure rule in Printing 
House Square The Thunderer was distinguished by two of the foulest indecencies that 
ever appeared in an English paper. 



(vulg. 'Abayah) = cloak 42 

Abir (a fragrant powder sprinkled on 

face, body and clothes) . . 240 
Abjad. (logogriphs derived from it) . 93 
Ablution obligatory after copulation . 305 
Abu al-Ruwaysh = little feather . 77 
Abu al-Sa'adat = Father of Pros- 
perities 148 

Abu Lahab and his wife . . . 291 
Abu. Maryam (a term of contempt) . 306 
Abu Mohammed al-Battal (hero of 

an older tale) . . . 335 
Adan = our Aden .... 248 
Adim = leather (Bulghar, Marocco) 80 
Ahirah zz: strumpet (see Fajirah) . 109 
Ahjar al-Kassirfn z= Fulling-stones . 334 
Ahlan = as one of the household . 269 
Air (I fear it for her when it 

bloweth) 53 

Akhawan shakiksCn = (two) brothers 

german 340 

Akik = carnelian ("Seal with 

seals of") 228 

Akil(sonofAbuTalib) . . . 172 

Akmam (see Kumm) 

Akr Kayrawdn = ball of silver- 

dross 267 

Akuna ftdaka = may I be thy ran* 

som 36 

Alchemy (its practice has cost many 

a life) II 

Alexandria (praise of) ... 289 
Allah (I take refuge with Him from 

gainsaying thee God forbid that 

I should oppose *hee). . . 53 


Allah (perpetuate his shadow) . .170 
Allaho akbar (the Moslem war-cry). 265 
Alwdn (pi. of laun, colour) r= viands, 

dishes 23 

Amazons (of Dahome) ... 39 
Ambar al-Kham = rude ambergris . 85 
Amud al-Sawari = the Pillar of 

Masts (Diocletian's column) . 323 
Anagnorisis (admirably managed) . 104 
Andalib =: nightingale (masc. in 

Arabic) 282 

'Andam = Brasil wood . . . 225 
Angels shooting Jinn , . . 292 
Anista-na =: thy company gladdens 

us 231 

Ansar = auxiliaries. . . .183 
Anwa, pi. of Nau q. v. . . . 266 
Anwar = lights, flowers, . 270 ; 282 
Apricots (various kinds) . . . 268 
Arabian Odyssey .... 7 
Arus (A1-) =: the bride (tropical name 

for wine) .... 203 

Asaf bin Barkhiyah (Solomon's 

Wazir) 133 

Ashab = companions . . .183 
Astar (pi. of Satr) = chopper. . 184 
Aswad = black (used for any dark 

colour) 268 

'Atb= blame, reproach (for dis- 
grace) ii 

Atheist (Ar. Zindik). ... 27 
Atndb = tent -ropes . . .240 
Avanie (Ar. Ghardmah) . . 181 
Awak = ounces (pi. of Ukiyah) . 12 
Azrak blue 4 


A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

BAB AL-BAHR and Bab al-Barr 5$; 318 
Babylonian eyes = bewitching ones 278 
Baghdad (House of Peace) . .51 
Bahr al-azrak = blue liver, not Blue 

Nile . . . - . . . 4 
Bahn'yah r='crew . . .- 17. 
Baltiyah = Labrus Niloticus . . 290 
Banat = daughters, prote'ge'es . . -39 
Ban (species of Moringa). . . 322 
Banni (BunnI) = Cyprinus Bynni . 187 
Baras =. leprosy . 24 

Bastardy (a sore offence ampngst 

Moslems) . . . . 115 
Batarikah = patriarchs ; monks . 256 

= knights . . 319 ; 324 

Bath (may it be a blessing to thee) . 200 
Batiyah. =. jar, flagon . . . 323 
Bawwak = truiripeter (a discredit- 
able character) . . , .192 
Bayaz Whiteness. . . . 295 
Baya"z =: Silurus Bajad (cat-fish) . 150 
Bayt Sha'ar = house of hair (for a 
couplet) . . . . .279 

Bdz (vulg. for Tabl) = kettledrum . 
Belt (Ar. Kamar) . 
Better largesse than the mace . 
Bi-Fardayn = "with two singles" 

(meaning baskets) 

Bilad al-Rum (applied to France) 
Bilkls (Queen of Sheba) . 
Bird-girls . 

Bisdt (A1-) wa'1-masnad = carpet and 


Bismillah Nairn = Now please, go 

to sleep . 

Bismillah = enter in Allah's name . 
Books (of the Judgment-day) . 
Box (Ar. 'Ulbah) . 
Boycotting (Oriental forms of) . 
Bread and salt (bond of ) . 
Breslau edition quoted 7; 18; 66; 

113; 197; 242; 264; 273. 
Budakah (Butakah) = crucible. 
Buhayrah = tank, cistern. 
Bum = owl (introduced to rhyme 

with Kayyum = the Eternal) 
Burckhafdt quoted ... 23 
Bystanders (forcing on a sale) . 

Cask in Auerbach's Keller . . 131 
Cat-fish (Ar. Baydz) . . .150 

Chaff . . . . 147 ; 152 ; 175 ; 189 

Change (sudden, of disposition) . 213 
Cheating (not only venial but laud- 
able under circumstances) . .217 
Checkmate (Pers. Ar. Shdh mdt) = 

the King is dead . . . it. 
Chin-veil donned (showing intention 

to act like a man) ... 99 

Cloak (Ar. 'Abaah) ... 42 

Closet (the forbidden and bird-girls) 29 

Coffee (anachronism) . . . 274 

Coition (the seal of love) . . . 304 

(local excellencies of) . . ib. 

(ablution obligatory after it) 305 

Compliment (model of a courtly one) 165 
Composed of seed by all men shed = 

superfetation of iniquity . . I $ 
Confusion of religious mythologies 

by way of chaff) .... 152 

Contrition for romancing ... 66 

Cowardice (proverb anent) . .. 333 

Crescent-like (for emaciated) . . 300 

Crew (Ar. Bahriyah, NawatfyahJ^ . 17 

DAA AL-KABfR (Great Evil) = Daa 
al-Fil (Elephantine Evil, i".f., 

Elephantiasis) .... 24 

Dadat = nurse (Pers.) . . . 209 
Dajlah (Dijlah) = Tigris (Heb. 

Hid-dekel) 150 

Dakkah = settle .... 84 

Da> al-Na'im =r Dwelling of Delight 183 
Daylam (A1-), soldiers of = warlike 

as the Daylamites ... 82 

Demesne (Ar. Hima) . . . 225 
Dijlah (Tigris) River and Valley of 

Peace 51 

Dirhams ^thousand ;375) IO 

Disposition (sudden change of) . . 213 

Dist (Dast) = large copper chauldron 177 

Diversion of an Eastern Potentate . 171 

Doggrel 22$ ; 228 

Double entendre . . . 1 53; 251 
Dreams (play an important part in the 

Romances of Chivalry) . . 113 
Drunken son (excused by mother, 

rebuked by father) . . .28? 
Dues demanded lead to imprison- 
ment for arrears . . . .* 170 


3 S3 


thinking of the lover) . . . 260 

East and West (confounded by a 

beauty-dazed monk) . . . 279 

Eginhardt (belongs to the clerical pro. 

fession) ..... 326 

Entertainments (names of) . . 231 

Euphemistic speech. . . 173 

Eye (Thou shall be in mine = I will 
keep thee as though thou wert the 
apple of my eye) ... 90 

Eyes (Babylonian) = bewitching . 278 

= whether (luck go) against it or 
(luck go) with it. . . -IS? 

Paintings and trances (common in 

Romances of Chivalry) . Il8 

Fajirah harlot (often mere abuse 

without special meaning) . .109 

Fard Kalmah = a single word (vul- 
garism) ..... 188 

Farkh Samak = fish- chick (for young 

fish) 149 

Farsalah = parcel . . . .162 

Fate (written in the sutures of the 

skull) 237 

Fath = opening (e.g. of a maiden- 
head) 348 

Fatimah (daughter of Mohammed) . 252 

Favours (not lawful until sanctified 

by love) 226 

Fawn (for a graceful youth) . . 329 

Feet (lack the European develop- 
ment of sebaceous glands) . . 43 

(coldness of, a symptom of im- 
potence) ..... 3*7 

Female (Amazon) Island ... 60 
Feminine (persistency of purpose, 
confirmed by "Consolations of 
religion ") 99 

(mind prone to exaggera- 
tion) 25 

(friend does not hesitate to 

prescribe fibs) .... 37 

Festival (Ar. *fd) .... 142 

Fidd = ransom, self- sacrifice . . 36 

Fidaan = instead oC #. 
Fig and Sycamore (unclean allusion 

in) 269 

Fillet the Creek " Stephane '* . 209 

Fine feathers make fine birds . .201 
Fingan (for Finjan) = (coffee-) cup . 200 
Finger (run round the inside of a 

vessel) ft. 

Finger-tips (making marks in the 

ground) 72 

Firasah = physiognomy . . . 326 
Fish changed into apes (true Fellah- 

" chaff") 147 

(of Paradise, promising accep- 
tance of prayer) . . .163 
Flattery (more telling if proceeding 

from the heart) . . . .104 
Formality (a sign of good breeding) . 308 
" ^orty days " = our honeymoon . 47 
Fourteen (poetically expressed) . 70 
Frail (Ar. Farsalah) . . .162 
Frame (crescent-like by reason of 

leanness) * 300 

Friend (feminine, does not hesitate 

to prescribe a fib) . . -37 
Front-teeth wide apart (a beauty 

amongst the Egyptians, not the 

Arabs) 147 

Funduk = Fondaco . . .184 
Funeral oration on an Arabian 

Achilles (after Hariri) . . 348 
Full (Fill) = Arabian jessamine . 273 

" GALLERY " (Speaking to the) . 128 
Ghadr = cheating . . . .217 
Ghaliyah (A1-) = older English 

"Algallia" .... 220 
Gharamah = avanie . . . 151 
Ghayur = jealous (applied to Time) 67 
Ghazi = one who fights for the faith 

(Zealot) 211 

Ghurab = galleon (grab) . . . 323 
Gloria (in, Italian term for the 

.venereal finish) .... 329 
Gold -pieces (stuck on the cheeks^of 

singing-girls, etc.) . . . 275 
Green gown ( Anglo- Indice = white 

ball-dress with blades of grass 

behind) 32 

Groom (falling in love with) . . 345 
" Guebre " (introduced by Lord 

Byron) 8 

Gull-fairs 9O 

HABITATIONS (names given to them 
by the Arabs) . 9 


A If Laylah wa Laylak, 

Habl = cord ; cause . . 100 

Ha fiz quoted . . . . . 120 

Hakk = right (Hakki = mine) . 335 
Halawat al-Saldmah = sweetmeat 

for the returning of a friend . 325 
Haling by the hair (reminiscence of 

" marriage by capture ") . . 40 

Hamzah (uncle of the Prophet) . 172 

Hanabat = "hanap" . . . 202 

Hand (cut off in penalty for theft) . 164 

(cut off for striking a father) . 287 

Harun al-Rashid (described by Al- 

Siyuti) 160 

Hashish (said trf him = his mind, 
under its influence, suggested to 

him) 155 

Hasil, Hasilah = cell in a Khan for 

storing goods . . . 184; 196 
Hassun (diminutive of Hasan) . . 81 
Haudaj (Hind. Howda) = camel- 
litter for women .... 235 

Hawiyah (name of a Hell) . . 346 
Hazrat = our mediaeval "presentia 

vostra" . . . .. . 254 

" Hearer " not " Reader " addressed 316 
Heavens (names of the seven) . .in 
Hells (names of the seven and in- 
tended inhabitants) . , . ib, 
Heroism of a doubtful character . 27 
Hesperides (apples of, probably 
golden nuggets) ..... 272 

Hima = guarded side, demesne 102 ; 225 

"His' 1 for "her" . . . 50 
Hizara girdle . . . .160 

" Holy Writ " punned upon . . 348 

44 House of Sadness" . 64 

Housewife (looks to the main chance) 144 
Hubub (Pr. N.) = awaking, blowing 

hard ...... 209 

Humbly (expressed by standing on 

their heads) .... 279 

Hump-back (graphically described).. 297 

IBN AL-KiRNAs (Pr. N.) = son of 
the chase (for Pers. Kurnas = 

pimp, cuckold ?) . . '57 
Ibn al-'Ukab {Pr. N.) = Son of the 

Eagle 198 

'Idan = festivals (the two of al-Islam) 142 

Ihti'laj-namah = book of palpitations 25 
Iksfr (Al-)=dry drug (from 6/poV) 9; 12 

Ikyan =. living gold . . 272 ; 275 
Ill-treatment (a slave's plea for a law- 
ful demand to be sold) . . 54 
Impudence (intended to be that of a 

captive Princess) , ; . 295 
Inadvertency of the tale-teller. . . 141 
Ink-case (origin of) . . . .178 
Innin = impotence . .. . - 317 
Inshallah = D.V. . 104 

Inverted speech . . . .179 
Irishman (the typical in Arab garb) . 191 
Ironical speech .... 3 

(a favourite with the Fellah) 164 

Isharah =: beckoning . . . 233 
Iskandariyah = city of Alexander . 289 
Island for Land . . . . 317 
Ism al-A'azam = the most Great 

name of Allah . . . .133 

JALAJIL = small bells for falcons etc. 271 

Jar (ridden by witches) . . . 131 

Jarrahmjar . . . . . 177 

Jawsisfyah = guard . . . . 330 
Jew (never your equal, either above 

or below you) . . . 153 
(marrying a Moslemah deserves 

no pity) 262 

Jokh al-Saklet = rich brocade on 

broad -cloth . . . .202 
Judad (for Judud) pi. of Jadid = 

"new ""(.*. old) coin , . 121 

Juggling with heaven . . . 168 

Jummar = palm-pith and cabbage . 270 

Juzam = Elephantiasis . . 24 

KABBAT = saucers . . . .12 
Kafra = desert place . . .337 
Kaman = Kama (as) + anna (that, 

since) 197 

Kamar = belt 156 

Kamil, Basil, Wafir (names of three 

popular metres) . . . 91 

Karbus = saddle-bow . . -77 
Karmut = Silurus Carmoth Niloticus 185 
Karrat azla'hu = his ribs felt cold 

(after hearty eating) . . .189 
Kaukab al-Durri = cluster of pearls . 291 
Kay lulah = noon -tide nap . .191 
Kayrawan = the Greek Cyrene , 317 
Kayyimah = guardian (fern.) . . 330 
K4z(Al-) = shears 9 



Kazi of Kazfs = Chief Kazi * 
Khak-bak = " hocus pocus " etc. 
Khalanj (vessels made of it) 
Khalkinah = copper chauldron 
Kharaju they (masc.) went forth 

(vulg. for kharajna (fern.) . 
Khaukhah =r tunnel . . 

Khoran quoted (iii. 90) . 
. (xxxix. 54) . 

(vi. 99) .. 

xvi. 69; ii. 216; v. 92 . 

(cxiii. 13) . 

(cxi. 184) . 

(xvii. ; xviii. ; Ixix ; Ixxxiv.) 







Khuld = fourth (yellow coral) heaven 
Khutub (Pr. N.) = affairs, . mis- 
fortunes. . . * . 209 
Khilal (emblem of attenuation). . 258 
Kimiya = Alchemy (from x v / / t ' a =: 

wet drug) ..... 9 

Kimkha = (velvet of) " Kimcob " . '201 

Kir = bellows 9 

Kirab = wooden sword-case .. . 267 

Kiram rr nobles ; Kuram = vines . 203 

Kirsh al-Nukhal = guts of bran . 169 
Kissing (en tout bien et en tput hon- 

neur) 25 

Kohls (many kinds of) . .10 

Kubbad = Shaddock . . .272 

Kur = furnace 9 

( = forge where children are 

hammered out) .... 46 
Kumm = sleeve ; petal . . 267 ; 275 

Kurbaj = cravache . . . 17 

Kurban = sacrifice . . . 16 

Kursan = "Corsaro,"a runner ; 323 

Kus(s) = Vulva .... 93 
Kusjif = eclipse of the moon . .291 
Kiit al-Kulub (Pr. N.) = nourishment 

of the hearts . . . * 158 

LA BAAS = (in Marocco) " I am 

well" - . . . .274 
Labbis al.Busah tabkl 'Ariisah = 

clothe the reed and it becomes a 

bride 201 

Lahik = the Overtaker . .. . 341 
Lone quoted, 7 ; 14 ; 18 ; 21 ; 27 ; 35 ; 

53;62;67;77;8o;84; 94 ;97; 102; 

122; 124; 128; 131; 147; 148; 155; 

156 j 166 ; 177 ; 179 ; 180 ; 187 ; 205 ; 

364; 285; 298; 337 

Largesse (better than the mace) . 163 
Laza (name of a Hell) . . .346 
Liberality (after Poverty) . . .182 
Libraries (large . ones appreciated by 

the Arabs) .... 79 
Lisan al-Hamal =: Lamb's tongue 

(plantain). 273 

Liyyah = fat sheep (calves like tails 

of) . . . . . .291 

Logogriphs 93 

Love (called upon to torment the 

lover still more) . 75 

Love-children (exceedingly rare 

among Moslems) . . US 
Love-Hesse (never lacked between 
folk, i.e. people of different con- 
ditions) 212 

Lovers (becoming Moslems s'ecure 

the goodwill of the audience) . 224 
Lute (personification of ) . . . 281 

MA AL-MAL^HAH = water (bril- 
liancy) of beauty ... 47 
Maghdad (for Baghdad, as Makkah 

and Bakkah) . . . . 5 1 
Mahall =; (a man's) quarters . . 229 
Mahmudah =. praiseworthy ; confec- 
tion of Aloes . 35 
Malak = level ground . . . 285 
Malakut (A1-) = The world of 

spirits (Sufi term) . . .145 
Mamarr al-Tujjar = passing-place 

of the traders . '55 
Mamrakrr sky-window, etc. . .156 
Man (one worthier in Allah's sight 

than a .thousand Jinn) . 5 > 44- 
Manar al-Sana (Pr. N.) = Place of 

Light, ..... 104 
Manashif '(pi- of Minshafah q.v.) . 92 
Mansvir wa Munazzam = oratio 

soluta et ligata . . . .226 
Manzil, Makam= (a lady's) lodgings. 229 
Marhub = terrible . . . .180 
Marriage (" by capture ") . . 40 

(one of the institutions of the 

Apostles '37 

Married never once (emphasizes 

poverty) *45 

Marseille (probably alluded to) . 315 
Maryam (a Christian name) . . 306 
Masukah = stick used for, driving 
cattle J 47 


A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

Maryam al-Husn = place of the white 

doe (Rim) of beauty . . . 321 
Mawwal (for Hawaii yah) = short 

poem. . . . . 94; 151 

Menses (coition during and leprosy) . 24 

Mikhaddah = cheek-pillow . . 273 

Mine (idioms for expressing it). . 335 
Minshafah (pi. Manashif) = drying 

towel 92 

Moharram = first month of the 

Moslem year . . . 71 
Mohtasib = Inspector of weights and 

measures ..... 293 

Money (carried round the waist) ^ 288 

(weighed = paid down) . 290 
Monkery (none in Al-IsUm) . . 137 
Monoculars (famed for mischief) . 318 
Moons (for cup-bearers) . . . 227 
Mortal (one better in Allah's sight 

than a thousand Jinn). .5 ; 44 
Moslem (dignity contrasting with 

Christian abasement) . . .5 ; 44 
' ' (can circumcise, marry and 

bury himself) . . .22 

Moslems (their number pre-ordained) 154 

Mother (in Arab, tales = ma mere) . 27 
Muakhat = entering in a formal 

agreement of partnership . . 232 
Mu'allim = teacher, master (address- 
ing a Jew or Christian) . . 150 
Muhabbat (A1-) al-ghariziyah = 

natural affection ... no 

MUnkati' = cut off . . . 24 

Musahikah = Tribade . 130 

Mushayyad = lofty, high-built. 23 
Mystification explained by extra 

ordinary likeness ... 40 

NABB#T = quarterstaff . . .186 
Nafs Ammarah = the Flesh . .31 

al-Natikah = intellectual soul . ib. 

al- Ghazabiyah = animal function ib. 
al-Shahwaniyah = vegetative 

property ib. 

Najm al-Sabah (Pr. N.) = Star o 

Morn 107 

Nakhuzah Zulayt r^ Skipper Rap. 

scallion 175 

Na> = fire (fern, like the names of 

the other elements) 16 

Narjis Narcissus (name of a slave 

girl) 176 

Nasim = Zephyr (emendation for 

Nadim = cup-bearer). . . 62 

Navel (largeness of much appreciated) 33 

Nawatiyah = crew (nauta, navita) . 1 7 

Naflsah (Pr. N.) = The Precious one 328 

Najm al-Munkazzi = shooting star . 329 

Nakat = to spot ; to handsel . . 266 

Nakus == wooden gong . . . 328 

Nau (pi. Anwa) setting of one star 

simultaneous with another's 

rising. ..... 266 

Ndmusiyah = mosquito curtain . 330 
News (what is behind thee of, O 

Asam?) 222 

Night (consists of three watches) . 330 
Numbering the streets etc., a classical 

custom . .88 

Nur al-Huda (Pr. N.) = Light of 

Salvation 97 

OATH (retrieved by expiation) < . 263 

(of divorce). . . . 187; 311 

Object first seen in the morning de- 
termines the fortunes of the day . 147 
Orange (a growth of India) . .272 
O whose thrall am I = To her (I drink) 224 

PALM ERIN of England ... 64 
Particles of swearing . . . 310 
Partner in very deed . . .181 
Payne quoted 21 ; 32 ; 64 ; 70 ; 72 ; 80 ; 

117 ; 125 ; 130 ; 131 ; i48 ; 158 ; 168; 

179; 216; 223; 224; 262; 264; 271; 

275 ; 278 ; 279 ; 282 ; 293 , 294 ; 314 ; 

326 ; 327. 

Peaches (" Sultani," Andam) . . 270 
Pears (various kinds) . . . 269 
Persians always suspected . . 8 
Person (Ar. Shakhs) . . .159 
Physiognomy (Ar. Firasah, Kiyafah) 326 
Pieces de circonstance (mostly mere 

doggrel) 59 

Pilgrimage quoted (iii. 70) . . 137 

(iii. 365) .... 157 

(ii. 248) . . . .172 

(ii. 130, etc.) . . .183 

(ii. 207) .... 273 

(i. 176) .... 287 

*- (ii. 82) .... 291 

(i. 88; 300 

Pilgrimage (not perfected save by 

copulation with the camel) . . 157 



Pleiads (the stars whereby men sail) 304 
Pomegranate (alluded to in Hadis 

and Koran) .... 267 
Pouch (Ar Surrah) . . . .71 
Precedence (claims pre-eminence) . 285 
Premier (Le, embellit) . .- .86 
Prognostication from nervous move- 
ments 25 

Prostitution (never wholly abolished 

in Islam) 115 

Puellae Wakwakienses ... 89 
Pun (on Sabr) . . . . -35 
(on a name) . 228 
(complicated) .... 329 

QUEEN'S mischief = the mischief 
which may (or will) come from 
the Queen .... * 98 

RAAS AL-MAL == capital . . 248 
Raat-hu = she saw him . . . 298 
Rjighib = expecterj Zdhid = rejecter 315 
Raff = shelf running round a room . 122 
Rdhatani (A1-) = the two rests * 342 
Rakham = aquiline vulture . . 20 
Ramazdn (moon of) 33 

Rashad = garden-cresses; stones; 

Rashid = the heaven-directed . 194 
Rashid = Rosetta . . . .288 
Rasif = river-quay, dyke . . 450 
Raven of the Wold . . . .236 
Rayhan = scented herb . . .187 
Rest (in Eastern travel before eating 

and drinking) .... 142 
Return-Salam . . . 39 

Revenge (a sacred duty) ... 26 
Riba, Ribh = interest . . . 248 
Riders (names of on various beasts). 238 
Rff= low land . . . 34 
Rizwan (door-keeper of Paradise) . 265 
Rose (in Arab, masc.) . . 274 
Roumi (in Marocco.rr European) . 268 
Ruh bila Fuziil = Begone and none 

of your impudence . .163 
Ruhban = monks .... 256 
Rukb = travellers on camels, return 

caravan 238 

SABAB = robe ; cause . 100 
Sabaka Kura-ha" = he pierced her 
forge 46 








Sabik = Forerunnei . 

Sabikah = bar, lamina, ingot . 

Sabr = patience ; Aloes (pun on) . 

Sacrifice (Ar. Kurban) . 

Sadness (House of ) . . . , 

Sahifah = page, book . 

Sahikah = Tribade. 

Sa'id = Upper Egypt . 

Saibah = woman who lets herself go 
(a- whoring, etc.) . . .151 

Salam (becomes Shalum with the 
Jews) 223 

(not returned, a Moslem form 

of Boycotting) .... 

Sale (forced on by the Bystanders) . 

Sdlifah = silken plait . 

Salih a pious man . . . 

Sandal (Pr. N.) = Sandal-wood . 

Sanduk al-Nuzur = box of vowed 
oblations '..... 

Sdtur = chopper .... 

Saub (Tobe) 'Atabi = tabby silk . 

Sawwahun = Wanderers, Pilgrims . 

Sayf Zii al Yazan (hero of a Persian 
Romance) 21 

Sayr = broad girdle . . . 325 

Sayyib-hu = let him go . . .151 

Sayyib (Thayyib) = woman who 
leaves her husband after consum- 
mation ...... 3 2 4 

Scorpions (for brow-curls) . 209 

Shadow (may yours never be less) . 170 

Shafaif = lower labia ... 93 

Shah (A1-) mat = the King is dead 
(checkmate) . . . .217 

Shakhs - person . . . .159 

" Shame" (extends from navel to 

knees 193 

Shamlah = gaberdine . . . 160 

Shammir = up and ready ! . . 263 

Shams al-Zuha" (Pr. N.) = Sun of 
Undurn 107 

Sharaf al-Banat (Pr. N.) = Honour 
of Maidenhood . . . # 

Shash Abyaz = white turband (dis- 
tinctive sign of the True Believer) 8 

Shawdhi Umm al-Dawa"hi = the Fas- 
cinator, mother of Calamities 87 

Shibdbah = reed-pipe . . "' 166 

Siddfkah.(Al-) = the veridical (ap- 
parently undeserved title of 
Ayishah) '5* 


A If Laylah wa Lay lab. 

Signing with the han<J not our 

beckoning ..... 78 

Signs (by various parts of the body) 233 

Signum salutis .... 293 

Sindan, Sandan = anvil . . . 8 

Sister (by adoption) ... 25 

Sisterhood =: companions, suite . 41 

Sixth Abbaside Caliph error for fifth 56 
Slave (holds himself superior to a 

menial freeman) . . . 294 
Slave-girl (can be sold only with her 

consent) 292 

Slaughter (wholesale for the delight 

of the gallery) . . . 255 
Slaughtering (by cutting the animal's 

throat) . ... 44 
Slaves (if ill-treated may claim to be 

sold) 54 

Soko (Maghribi form for Suk)=Bazar- 

street ..... 230 
Soldiers of Al-Daylam = warlike as 

the Daylamites . . 82 

Solomon's prison (copper cucurbites) 157 
Son of ten years dieth not in the 

ninth 70 

Soul (you may have his, but leave me 

the body) 284 

Spartivento = mountain whereon the 

clouds split \ . , .19 

Speaking to the "gallery" . . 128 
Speech (this my = the words I am 

about to speak) . . . . 147 
' (inverted form of) . .318 
Spells (for prayers deprecating part- 
ing) 347 

Sperm (though it were a drop of 

marguerite) . . . .210 

Suddn-men = Negroes . . . 266 

Sukub (Pr. N.) = flowing, pouring . 209 

Sufrah =: table-cloth . . . 269 

Suldf al-Khandarlsi (a contradiction) 203 

Sumbul al 'Anbari = spikenard . 273 

Suns (for fair-faced boys and women) 242 
Sultan (fit for the service of = for the 

service of a temporal monarch) . .325 

Supernaturalism (has a material basis) 30 

Surayyd = Stars of wealth . 303 

Surrah purse, pouch ... 71 

Swan-maidens .... 30 
Sweetmeat for salvation (provided 

for the returning traveller) . 105 

TABL = kettledrum 18 
Taif (A1-), town famous for scented 

leather 273 

Taifi leather 33 

Takiyah = skull-cap . . . I2O 

Tamar Hanna = Henna flowers . 176 

Tarn-Kappe (making invisible) . 120 

Tars Daylami = Median targe . 291 

Tas (from Pers. Tasah> = tasse . 224 

tawfl (and Abt. Vogler) ... 94 
Theft (penalty for) . . . .164 

"Them" for her .... 35 

"They "for she .... 281 
Thou fillest mine eyes = I find thy 

beauty all-sufficient ... 57 
Tigris (Ar-Dijlah, Dajlah) . .150 

Tohfah = rarity, present . . 55 

Topothesia (designedly made absurd) 338 
Torture easier to bear than giving up 

cash 189 

Torrens quoted 280 ; 30.5 ; 309 ; 314 ; 321 ; 

Trailing the skirt (for assuming 

humble manners) . . . 301 
Trances and faintings (common in 

Romances of Chivalry) . 1 18 
Transformation (sudden) of character 

frequent in Eastern stories . .178 

Tribade (Ar. Sahikah, Musahikah) . 130 

Tufan = Deluge of Noah . . 346 
Tuff =: Sordes ungninum (fie ! see 

Uff) 195 

Turban (substitute for a purse) . . 190 

Two Sayings (double entendre) . 153 

UFF 'ALAYKA = fie upon thee ! (Uff 

= sordes aurium) . . . 195 

Ulbah = box. . . , 71 

Urkub = tendon Achilles, bough . 185 

Uzn al-Kuflah = ear (handle) of the 

basket 161 

VERSES afore-mentioned (distinguish- 
ing formula of " Hasan of Bas- 

sorah")- 126 

(purposely harsh) . . . 337 

View (gorgeous description of) . 30 

WA AL-SALAM (used in a variety of 

senses) 74 

WaTcites (number their islands) . 88 

WakWak (Islands of) ... 60 



Walahaix(Al-) = the love-distraught 

(abjective, not lakab) . . 33 
Wa'llahi = I swear by Allah . . 310 
Walimah = a wedding feast . .231 
Ward = rose ; Wardah =. a single 

rose 274 

Watad = tent-peg (also a prosodical 

term) 279 

Web and pin (eye disease of horses) 341 
What calamity is upon thee = what 

a bother thou art . . . 177 
What manner of thing is Al-Rashid P 

= What has he to do here ? . 176 
Whistling (to call animals to water) 278 
White (not black) mourning colour 

under the Abbasides . . 200 
Whiteness (for lustre, honour) . 295 
Whoso beguileth folk, him shall 

Allah beguile .... 143 
" Why don't (can't) you buy me " ? 300 
Wishah = belt, scarf . . . 209 
Wine (breeds gladness, etc.) . . 2O2 
(Mohammed's teaching anent 

it) 277 

(in cup or cup in wine ? . ib. 

Witness (bear it against me, meaning 

of the phrase) . . . .22 
Woman, Women (stealing of their 

clothes) 30 

(her heart the only bond 

known by her) 54 

(reasons for their aging 

early in the East) . . .86 
(always to be addressed 

" Ummi " = my mother) . . 87 
(often hide their names from 

the husband and his family) . 100 
(semi-maniacal rancour of a 

good one against an erring sister) nS 

Woman, when old, the most vindic- 
tive of her kind) . . .137 

-5- (who are neither thine nor 

another's) ...... 208 

(their bodies impregnated 

with scent) .... 279 

Wrestling amongst the Egyptian 

Fellah 199 

YA A'AWAR = O one-eye (obscene 

meaning of the phrase) . . 185 

Khvvajah = O Master . . 18 

layta = would to heaven . . 48 

Mumatil = O Slow o' pay . 169 

Salam = O Safety (a vulgar 

ejaculation) .... 98 

Shukayr = O little tulip . . 168 

Yasamin = Jessamine (name of a 

slave-girl) 176 

ZA'AR=aman with fair skin, red 

hair, and blue eyes . . . 297 
Zahrawiyah = lovely as the Venus-star 2$ I 
Zakhmah (Zukhmah)=strap, stirrup- 
leather 18 

Zakziib = young of the Shal . . 185 
Zarbu '1 Nawakfsi = striking of 

gongs (pun on the word) . , 329 
Zayn al-Mawasif (Pr-.N.) ==. Adorn- 
ment of (good) Qualities . . 205 
Zinad = fire-sticks .... 80 
Zindik = Atheist . . . .27 
Zubaydah (wife of Harun al- 

Rashid . . . .565158 
Zujaj bikr = unworked glass . . 342 
Zunnar = <t>vap>v 35 
Zurayk (diminutive of Azrak = blue- 
eyed) 195 

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