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(Puris omnia pura) 

Arab Proverb. 

"Niuna corrotta mente intese mai sanamente parole." 

"Decameron " conclusion. 

' Erabuit, posuitque meum Lucretia librum 

Sed coram Bruto. Brute I recede, leget. " 


Mieulx est de ris que de larmes escripre, 

Pour ce que rire est le propre des hommes. " 


"The pleasure we derive from perusing the Thousand-and-One 
Stones makes us regret that we possess only a comparatively small 
part of these truly enchanting fictions." 

CRICHTON'S "History of Arabia*, 





and a 








Shammar Edition 

Limited to one thousand numbered sets, 
of which this is 


1 2 872 




I avail myself of a privilege of authorship, not yet utterly 
obsolete, to place your name at the head of this volume, Your long 
residence in Egypt and your extensive acquaintance with its "politic," 
private and public, make you a thoroughly competent judge of the merits 
and demerits of this volume ; and encourage me to hope that in reading 
it you will take something of the pleasure I have had in writing it. 

TANGIER, December $ist t 1885. 




(Lane omits, III. tfz.) 


(Lane omits.) 

(Lane, Anecdote of a Man of Baghdad and His Slave-Girl, III. 572 ) 









g. THE CROWS AND THE HAWK ....... 53 


*. THE SPIDER AND THE WIND ....... 59 

/ THE Two KINGS , . * 6$ 

viii Contents. 










(Lane* III. 580, The Story of Aboo Seer and A boo Keer.) 


(Lane, 11 7. 627. The Story of 'Abd Allah of the Land and *Abd Allah of 

the Sea). 


OMAN . 188 





The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night. 

fofien ft foas tfje Qigftt l^untotr an* ( 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Nur al-Din heard the voice singing these verses he said in himself, 
" Verily this be the Lady Miriam chanting without hesitation or 
doubt or suspicion of one from without. 1 Would Heaven I knew 
an my thought be true and if it be indeed she herself or other 
self! " And regrets redoubled upon him and he bemoaned him- 
self and recited these couplets : 

"When my blamer saw me beside my love o Whom I met in a site that lay open 

I spake not at meeting a word of reproach o Though oft it comfort sad heart to 

chide ; 
Quoth the blamer, " What means this silence that bars o Thy making answer 

that hits his pride ? " 
And quoth I, " O thou who as fool dost wake, o To misdoubt of 

lovers and Love deride j 
The sign of lover whose love is true o When he meets his beloved is mum to 


When he had made an end of these verses, the Lady Miriam 
fetched inkcase and paper and wrote therein : " After honour due 
to the Basmalali, 2 may the peace of Allah be upon thee and His 
mercy and blessings be ! I would have thee know that thy slave- 
girl Miriam saluteth thee, who longeth sore for thee; and this is 
her message to thee. As soon as this letter shall fall into thy 
(hands, do thou arise without stay and delay and apply thyself to 
that she would have of thee with all diligence and beware with all 
wariness of transgressing her commandment and of sleeping. 
When the first third of the night is past, (for that hour is of the 
most favourable of times) apply thee only to saddling the two 
stallions and fare forth with them both to the Sultan's Gate. 3 If 
any ask thee whither thou wend, answer, I am going to exercise 
the steeds, and none will hinder thee ; for the folk of this city trust 
to the locking of the gates." Then she folded the letter in a 

1 Arab. " Wa la rajma ghaybin : " lit. = without stone-throwing (conjecture) of one 

2 i.e. saying Bismillah, etc. See vol. v. 206. 

3 Where he was to await her. 


8 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

silken kerchief and threw it out of the latticed window to Nur al- 
Din, who took it and reading it, knew it for the handwriting of the 
Lady Miriam and comprehended all its contents. So he kissed 
the letter and laid it between his eyes ; then, calling to mind that 
which had betided him with her of the sweets of love-liesse, he 
poured forth his tears whilst he recited these couplets : 

Came your writ to me in the dead of the night o And desire for you stirred 

heart and sprite ; 
And, remembered joys we in union joyed, o Praised the Lord who placed 

us in parting plight. 


As soon as it was dark Nur al-Din busied himself with making 
ready the stallions and patiented till the first watch of the night 
was past ; when, without a moment delay, Nur al-Din the lover 
full of teen, saddled them with saddles of the goodliest, and leading 
them forth of the stable, locked the door after him and repaired 
with them to the city-gate, where he sat down to await the coming 
of the Princess. Meanwhile, Miriam returned forthright to her 
private apartment, where she found the one-eyed Wazir seated, 
elbow-propt upon a cushion stuffed with ostrich-down ; but he was 
ashamed to put forth his hand to her or to bespeak her. When 
she saw him, she appealed to her Lord in heart, saying, " Allah- 
umma O my God bring him not to his will of me nor to me 
defilement decree after purity ! " Then she went up to him and 
made a show of fondness for him and sat down by his side and 
coaxed him, saying, " O my lord, what is this aversion thou dis- 
playest to me ? Is it pride or coquetry on thy part ? But the 
current byword saith : An the salam-salutation be little in demand, 
the sitters salute those who stand. 1 So if, O my lord, thou come 
not to me neither accost me, I will go to thee and accost thee." 
Said he, " To thee belong favour and kindness, O Queen of the 
earth in its length and breadth ; and what am I but one of thy 
slaves and the least of thy servants. Indeed, I was ashamed to 
intrude upon thine illustrious presence, O unique pearl, and my 
face is on the earth at thy feet." She rejoined, " Leave this talk 
and bring us to eat and drink." Accordingly he shouted to his 
eunuchs and women an order to serve food, and they set before 

1 As a rule, amongst Moslems the rider salutes the man on foot and the latter those 
who sit. The saying in the text suggests the Christian byword anent Mohammed and 
the Mountain, which is, I need hardly say, utterly unknown to Mahommedans* 

AH Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 3 

them a tray containing birds of every kind that walk and fly and in 
nests increase and multiply, such as sand-grouse and quails and 
pigeon-poults and lambs and fatted geese and fried poultry and 
other dishes of all sorts and colours. The Princess put out her 
hand to the tray and began to eat and feed the Wazir with her fair 
finger-tips and kiss him on the mouth. They ate till they had 
enough and washed their hands, after which the handmaidens 
removed the table of food and set on the service of wine. So 
Princess Miriam filled the cup and drank and gave the Wazir to 
drink and served him with assiduous service, so that he was like to 
fly for joy and his breast broadened and he was of the gladdest. 
When she saw that the wine had gotten the better of his senses, 
she thrust her hand into her bosom and brought out a pastile of 
virgin Cretan-Bhang, which she had provided against such an hour, 
whereof if an elephant smelt a dirham's weight, he would sleep 
from year to year. She distracted his attention and crumbled the 
drug into the cup : then, filling it up, handed it to the Wazir, who 
could hardly credit his senses for delight. So he took it and 
kissing her hand, drank it off, but hardly had it settled in his 
stomach when he fell head foremost to the ground. Then she rose 
and filling two great pairs of saddle-bags with what was light of 
weight and weighty of worth of jewels and jacinths and precious 
stones, together with somewhat of meat and drink, donned harness 
of war and armed herself for fight. She also took with her for Nur 
al-Din what should rejoice him of rich and royal apparel and 
splendid arms and armour, and shouldering the bags (for indeed 
her strength equalled her valiancy), hastened forth from the new 
palace to join her lover. On this wise fared it with the Lady 

Miriam ; but as regards Nur al-Din, And Shahrazad perceived 

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

tfoto toljen it tons t&c Sig&t fDun&rett an* Ninetieth 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Lady Miriam left the new palace, she went straightways to 
meet her lover for indeed she was as valiant as she was strong ; 
but Nur al-Din the distracted, the full of teen, sat at the city-gate 
hending the horses' halters in hand, till Allah (to whom belong 
Majesty and Might) sent a sleep upon him and he slept glory be 
to Him who sleepeth not ! Now at that time the Kings of the 

4 A If Lay la k wa Laylah. 

Islands had spent much treasure in bribing folk to steal the two 
steeds or one of them ; and in those days there was a black slave, 
who had been reared in the islands skilled in horse-lifting ; where- 
fore the Kings of the Franks seduced him with wealth galore to 
steal one of the stallions and promised him, if he could avail to lift 
the two, that they would give him a whole island and endue him 
with a splendid robe of honour. He had long gone about the city of 
France in disguise, but succeeded not in taking the horses, whilst 
they were with the King ; but, when he gave them in free gift to 
the Wazir and the monocular one carried them to his own stable, 
the blackamoor thief rejoiced with joy exceeding and made sure 
of success, saying in himself, " By the virtue of the Messiah and 
the Faith which is no liar, I will certainly steal the twain of them ! * 
Now he had gone out that very night, intending for the stable, to 
lift them ; but, as he walked along, behold, he caught sight of 
Nur al-Din lying asleep, with the halters in his hands. So he 
went up to the horses and loosing the halters from their heads, 
was about to mount one of them and drive the other before him, 
when suddenly up came the Princess Miriam, carrying on her 
shoulders the couple of saddle-bags. She mistook the black for 
Nur al-Din and handed him one pair of bags, which he laid on 
one of the stallions : after which she gave him the other and he set 
It on the second steed, without word said to discover that it was not 
her lover. Then they mounted and rode out of the gate 1 in 
silence till presently she asked, " O my lord Nur al-Din, what 
aileth thee to be silent ? " Whereupon the black turned to her 
and cried angrily, " What sayst thou, O damsel ? " When she 
heard the slave's barbarous accents, she knew that the speech was 
not of Nur al-Din ; so raising her eyes she looked at him and saw 
that he was a black chattel, snub-nosed and wide-mouthed, with 
nostrils like ewers ; whereupon the light in her eyes became night 
and she asked him, " Who art thou, O Shaykh of the sons of Ham 
and what among men is thy name ? " He answered, " O daughter 
of the base, my name is Mas'ud, the lifter of horses, when folk 
slumber and sleep." She made him no reply, but straightway 
baring her blade, smote him on the nape and the blade came out 

* The story-teller does not remember that " the city-folk trust to the locking of the 
gates '* (dccclxxxix.) ; and forgets to tell us that the Princess took the keys from the 
"Wazir whom she had hocussed. In a carefully corrected Arabic Edition of The Nights, 
a book much wanted, the texts which are now in & mutilated state would be supplied 
with these details. 

.Alt Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Ctrl. 5 

gleaming from his throat-tendons, whereupon he fell earthwards, 
weltering in his blood, and Allah hurried his soul to the Fire and 
abiding-place dire. Then she took the other horse by the bridle 
and retraced her steps in search of Nur al-Din, whom she found 
lying, asleep and snoring, in the place where she had appointed 
him to meet her, hending the halters in hand, yet knowing not his 
fingers from his feet So she dismounted and gave him a cuff, 1 
whereupon he awoke in affright and said to her, " O my lady, 
praised be Allah for thy safe coming ! " Said she " Rise and 
back this steed and hold thy tongue ! " So he rose and mounted 
one of the stallions, whilst she bestrode the other, and they went 
forth the city and rode on awhile in silence. Then said she to 
him, " Did I not bid thee beware of sleeping ? Verily, he pros- 
pereth not who sleepeth." He rejoined, " O my lady, I slept not 
but because of the cooling of my heart by reason of thy promise. 
But what hath happened, O my lady ? " So she told him her 
adventure with the black, first and last, and he said, " Praised be 
Allah for safety ! " Then they fared on at full speed, committing 
their affair to the Subtle, the All-wise and conversing as they 
went, till they came to the place where the black lay prostrate in 
the dust, as he were an Ifrit, and Miriam said to Nur al-Din, 
*' Dismount ; strip him of his' clothes and take his arms/' He 
answered, " By Allah, O my lady, I dare not dismount nor ap- 
proach him." And indeed he marvelled at the blackamoor's 
stature and praised the Princess for her deed, wondering the while 
at her valour and stout-heartedness. They fared on lustily and 
ceased not so doing all that night and halted not till the day 

1 Which probably would not be the last administered to him by the Amazonian young 
person, who after her mate feared to approach the dead blackamoor must have known 
him to be cowardly as Cairenes generally are. Moreover, he had no shame in his pol- 
troonery like the recreant Fellah-soldiers, in the wretched Sawakin campaign against the 
noble Sudani negroids, who excused their running away by saying, " We are Egyptians** 
*./. too good men and Moslems to lose our lives as becomes you Franks and dog-Chris- 
tians. Yet under Mohammed Ali the Great, Fellah-soldiers conquered the " colligated w 
Arabs (Pilgrimage iii. 48) of Al-Asir (Ophir) at Bissel and in Wahhabi-land and put the 
Turks to flight at the battle of Nazib, and the late General Jochmus assured me that he 
saved his command, the Ottoman cavalry in Syria, by always manoeuvring to refuse a 
pitched battle. But Mohammed Ali knew his men. He never failed to shoot a run- 
away, and all his officers, even the lieutenants, were Turks or Albanians. Sa'id Pasha 
was the first to appoint Fellah -officers and under their command the Egyptian soldier, 
one of the best in the East, at once became the worst. We have at last found the right 
way to make them fight, by officering them with Englishmen, but we must not neglect 
the shooting process whenever they dare to turn tail. 

6 A If Lay ia h wa Laylah. 

broke with its shine and sheen and the sun shone bright upon 
plain and height when they came to a wide riverino lea wherein 
the gazelles were frisking gracefully. Its surface was clothed 
with green and on all sides fruit trees of every kind were seen : its 
slopes for flowers like serpents' bellies showed, and birds sang on 
boughs aloud and its rills in manifold runnels flowed. And indeed 
it was as saith the poet and saith well and accomplished! the 
hearer's desire : 

Rosy red Wady hot with summer-glow, o Where twofold tale of common growth 
was piled. 

In copse we halted wherein bent to us o Branches, as bendeth nurse o'er wean- 

And pure cold water quenching thirst we sipped : o To cup-mate sweeter than 
old wine and mild : 

From every side it shut out sheen of sun e Screen-like, but wooed the breeze 
to cool the wild : 

And pebbles, sweet as maidens deckt and dight o And soft as threaded pearls, 
the touch beguiled. 

And as saith another : 

And when birdies o'er warble its lakelet, it gars e Longing ' lover to seek it 

where morning glows ; 
For likest to Paradise lie its banks With shade and fruitage and fount that 


Presently Princess Miriam and Nur al-Din alighted to rest in this 

Wady And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fojm it foas rtje (JBtgJt f^untrtrtr antr 'Nttutg-first 

She said, It hath reached me, Q auspicious King, that when 
Princess Miriam and Nur al-Din alighted in that valley, they 
ate of its fruits and drank of its streams, after turning the stallions 
loose to pasture : then they sat talking and recalling their past 
and all that had befallen them and complaining one to other of 
the pangs of parting and of the hardships suffered for estrange- 
ment and love-longing. As they were thus engaged, behold, there 

1 " Al-walhan" (as it should be printed in previous places, instead of Al-walahan) is 
certainly not a P.M. in this place- 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. J 

arose in the distance a dust-cloud which spread till it walled the 
world, and they heard the neighing of horses and clank of arms 
and armour. Now the reason of this was, that after the Princess 
had been bestowed in wedlock upon the Wazir who had gone in 
to her that night, the King went forth at daybreak, to give the 
couple good morrow, taking with him, after the custom of Kings 
with their daughters, a gift of silken stuffs and scattering gold and 
silver among the eunuchs and tire-women, that they might snatch 
at and scramble for it. And he fared on escorted by one of his 
pages ; but when he came to the new palace, he found the Wazir 
prostrate on the carpet, knowing not his head from his heels ; so 
he searched the place right and left for his daughter, but found 
her not ; whereat he was troubled sore with concern galore and 
his wits forlore. Then he bade bring hot water and virgin vinegar 
and frankincense * and mingling them together, blew the mixture 
into the Wazir's nostrils and shook him, whereupon he cast the 
Bhang forth of his stomach, as it were a bit of cheese. He re- 
peated the process, whereupon the Minister came to himself and 
the King questioned him of his case and that of his daughter. 
He replied, " O mighty King, I have no knowledge of her save 
that she poured me out a cup of wine with her own hand ; and 
from that tide to this I have no recollection of aught nor know I 
what is come of her." When the King heard this, the light in 
his eyes became night, and he drew his scymitar and smote the 
Wazir on the head, that the steel came out gleaming from between 
his grinder teeth. Then, without an instant delay, he called the 
grooms and syces and demanded of them the two stallions : but 
they said, " O King, the two steeds were lost in the night and 
together with them our chief, the Master of Horse ; for, when we 
awoke in the morning, we found all the doors wide open." Cried 
the King, " By "the faith of me and by all wherein my belief is 
stablished on certainty, none but my daughter hath taken the 
steeds, she and the Moslem captive which used to tend the Church 
and which took her aforetime ! Indeed I knew him right well and 
none delivered him from my hand save this one-eyed Wazir ; but 
now he is requited his deed." Then the King called his three 
sons, who were three doughty champions, each of whom could 
withstand a thousand horse in the field of strife and the stead 

1 Arab. " Kundur," Pers. and Arab, manna, mastich, frankincense, the latter being 
here meant. 

8 A If Laylah wa Lay la h. 

where cut and thrust are rife ; and bade them mount So they 
took horse forthwith and the King and the flower of his knights 
and nobles and officers mounted with them and followed on the 
trail of the fugitives till Miriam saw them, when she mounted her 
charger and baldrick'd her blade and took her arms. Then she said 
to Nur al-Din, " How is it with thee and how is thy heart for fight 
and strife and fray ? " Said he, " Verily, my steadfastness in 
battle-van is as the steadfastness of the stake in bran. 1 " And he 
improvised and said : 

Miriam thy chiding I pray, forego ; o Nor drive me to death or injurious 

blow : 

How e'er can I hope to bear fray and fight o Who quake at the croak of the 
corby-crow ? 

1 who shiver for fear when I see the mouse o And for very funk I bepiss my 

clo' ! 
I love no foin but the poke in bed, o When coynte well knoweth my 

prickle's prow ; 
This is rightful rede, and none other shows o Righteous as this in my sight, I 


Now when Miriam heard his speech and the verse he made, she 
laughed and smilingly said, " O my lord Nur al-Din, abide in thy 
place and I will keep thee from their ill grace, though they be as 
the sea-sands in number. But mount and ride in rear of me, and 
if we be defeated and put to flight, beware of falling, for none can 
overtake thy steed." So saying, she turned her lance-head towards 
foe in plain and gave her horse the rein, whereupon he darted off 
under her, like the stormy gale or like waters that from straitness 
of pipes outrail. Now Miriam was the doughtiest of the folk of 
her time and the unique pearl of her age and tide; for her father 
had taught her, whilst she was yet little, on steeds to ride and dive 
deep during the darkness of the night in the battle tide. When 
the King saw her charging down upon them, he knew her but too 
well and turning to his eldest son, said, " O Bartaut, 2 thou who art 
surnamed Ras al-Killaut, 3 this is assuredly thy sister Miriam who 
chargeth upon us, and she seeketh to wage war and fight fray with 

>. 4 

1 So Emma takes the lead and hides her lover under her cloak during their flight to the 
place where they intended to lie concealed. In both cases the women are the men. 

2 Or " Bartut," in which we recognise the German Berthold. 

3 i.e. Head of Killaut which makes, from the Muhit, " the name of a son of the sons 
of the Jinn and the Satans." 

Ali Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle- Girl. 9 

us. So go thou out to give her battle : and I enjoin thee by the 
Messiah and the Faith which is no liar, an thou get the better of 
her, kill her not till thou have propounded to her the Nazarene faith. 
An she return to her old creed, bring her to me prisoner ; but an 
she refuse, do her die by the foulest death and make of her the 
vilest of examples, as well as the accursed which is with her." 
Quoth Bartaut, " Hearkening and obedience "; and, rushing out 
forthright to meet his sister, said to her, " O Miriam, doth not 
what hath already befallen us on thine account suffice thee, but 
thou must leave the faith of thy fathers and forefathers and follow 
after the faith of the Vagrants in the lands, that is to say, the faith 
of Al-Islam ? By the virtue of the Messiah and. the Faith which 
is no liarjs except thou return to the creed of the Kings thy Fore- 
bears and walk therein after the goodliest fashion, I will put thee 
to an ill death and make of thee the most shameful of ensamples ! " 
But Miriam laughed at his speech and replied, "Well-away! Far 
be it that the past should present stay or that he who is dead 
should again see day ! I will make thee drink the sourest of 
regrets ! By Allah, I will not turn back upon the faith of 
Mohammed son of Abdullah, who made salvation general ; for his 
is the True Faith ; nor will I leave the right road though I drain 

the cup of ruin ! " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo fofjen it foas tfje lEfgJt f^untofc an& < Nuut2=secon& tNTifiJt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Miriam exclaimed to her brother, " Well-away ! Heaven forfend 
that I turn back from the faith of Mohammed Abdullah-son who 
made salvation general ; for his is the Right Road nor will I leave 
it although I drain the cup of ruin." When the accursed Bartaut 
heard this, the light in his eyes became night, the matter was great 
and grievous to him and between them there befel a sore fight. The 
twain swayed to and fro battling throughout the length and 
breadth of the valley and manfully enduring the stress of combat 
singular, whilst all eyes upon them were fixed in admiring sur- 
prise : after which they wheeled about^and foined and feinted for 
a long bout and as often as Bartaut opened on his sister Miriam 
a gate of war, 1 she closed it to and put it to naught, of the goodli- 

'"''"_ . 

1 i*. attacked her after a new fashion : see vol. i. 136.. 

IO A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

ness of her skill and her art in the use of arms and her cunning of 
cavalarice. Nor ceased they so doing till the dust overhung their 
heads vault-wise and they were hidden from men's eyes ; and she 
ceased not to baffle Bartaut and stop the way upon him, till he 
was weary and his courage wavered and his resolution was 
worsted and his strength weakened ; whereupon she smote him on 
the nape, that the sword came out gleaming from his throat 
tendons and Allah hurried his soul to the Fire and the abiding- 
place which is dire. Then Miriam wheeled about in the battle- 
plain and the stead where cut and thrust are fain ; and championed 
it and offered battle, crying out and saying, " Who is for fighting ? 
Who is for jousting ? Let come forth to me to-day no weakling or 
nidering ; ay, let none come forth to me but the champions who 
the enemies of The Faith represent, that I may give them to drink 
the cup of ignominious punishment, O worshippers of idols, O 
miscreants, O rebellious folk, this day verily shall the faces of the 
people of the True Faith be whitened and theirs who deny the 
Compassionate be blackened ! " Now when the King saw his 
eldest son slain, he smote his face and rent his dress and cried out 
to his second son, saying, " O Bartus, thou who art surnamed 
Khara al-Sus, 1 go forth, O my son, in haste and do battle with thy 
sister Miriam ; avenge me the death of thy brother Bartaut and 
bring her to me a prisoner, abject and humiliated ! " He answered, 
4( Hearkening and obedience, O my sire, and charging down drave 
at his sister, who met him in mid-career, and they fought, he and 
she, a sore fight, yet sorer than the first. Bartus right soon found 
himself unable to cope with her might and would have sought 
safety in flight, but of the greatness of her prowess could not avail 
unto this sleight ; for, as often as he turned to flee, she drave after 
him and still clave to him and pressed him hard, till presently she 
smote him with the sword in his throat, that it issued gleaming 
from his nape, and sent him after his brother. Then she wheeled 
about in the mid-field and plain where cut and thrust are dealed, 
crying out and saying, " Where be the Knights ? Where be the 
Braves ? Where is the one-eyed Wazir, the lameter, of the crooked 

1 i.e. Weevil's dung ; hence Suez = Suways the little weevil, or " little Sus " from the 
Maroccan town: see The Mines of Midian p. 74 for a note on the name. Near 
Gibraltar is a fiumara called Guadalajara i.e. Wady al-Khara, of dung. " Bartus " is 
evidently formed "on the weight" of " Bartut;" and his metonym is a caricature, a 
chaff fit for Fellahs. 

Alt Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. II 

faith 1 the worthy believer ? " Thereupon the King her father cried 
out with heart in bleeding guise and tear-ulcerated eyes, saying, 
" She hath slain my second son, by the virtue of the Messiah and 
the Faith which is no liar ! " And he called aloud to his youngest 
son, saying, " O Fasyan, surnamed Salh al-Subyan, 2 go forth, O my 
son, to do battle with thy sister and take of her the blood-wreak 
for thy brothers and fall on her, come what may ; and whether 
thou gain or thou lose the day 3 ; and if thou conquer her, slay her 
with foulest slaughter ! " So he drave out to Miriam, who ran 
at him with the best of her skill and charged him with the good- 
liness of her cleverness and her courage and her cunning in fence 
and cavalarice, crying to him, " O accursed, O enemy of Allah 
and the Moslems, I will assuredly send thee after thy brothers 
and woeful is the abiding-place of the Miscreants ! " So saying, 
she unsheathed her sword and smote him and cut off his head 
and arms and sent him after his brothers and Allah hurried his 
soul to the Fire and the abiding-place dire. Now when the 
Knights and the riders who rode with her sire saw his three sons 
slain, who were the doughtiest of the folk of their day, there fell 
on their hearts terror of the Princess Miriam, awe of her over- 
powered them ; they bowed their heads earthwards and they 
made sure of ruin and confusion, disgrace and destruction. So 
with the flames of hate blazing in heart they turned their backs forth- 
right and addressed themselves to flight. When the King saw his 
sons slain and on his flying troops cast sight, there fell on him bewil- 
derment and affright, whilst his heart also was a-fire for despight. 
Then quoth he to himself, "In very sooth Princess Miriam hath 
belittled us ; and if I venture myself and go out against her alone, 
haply she will gar me succumb and slay me without ruth, even as 
she slew her brothers, and make of me the foulest of examples, 
for she hath no longer any desire for us nor have we of her 
return any hope. Wherefore it were the better rede that I guard 
mine honour and return to my capital." So he gave reins to his 

1 Arab. "Al-Din al-a'raj," the perverted or falsified Faith, Christianity having been 
made obsolete and abolished by the Mission of Mohammed, even as Christianity claims 
to have superseded the Mosaic and Noachian dispensations. Moslems are perfectly 
logical in their deductions, but logic and truth do not always go together. 

2 The "Breaker of Wind" (faswah = a fizzle, a silent crepitus) " son of Children's 

3 Arab. "Amma laka au 'alayk " lit. = either to thee (be the gain) or upon thee 
(be the loss). This truly Arabic idiom is varied in many ways. 

12 A If Laylak wa Lay la k. 

charger and rode back to his city. But when he found himself in 
his palace, fire was loosed in his heart for rage and chagrin at the 
death of his three gallant sons and the defeat of his troops and 
the disgrace to his honour ; nor did he abide half an hour ere he 
summoned his Grandees and Officers of state and complained to 
them of that his daughter Miriam had done with him of the 
slaughter of her brothers and all he suffered therefrom of passion 
and chagrin, and sought advice of them. They all counselled 
him to write to the Vicar of Allah in His earth, the Commander 
of the Faithful, Harun al-Rashid, and acquaint him with his cir- 
cumstance. So he wrote a letter to the Caliph, containing, after 
the usual salutations, the following words. " We have a daughter, j 
Miriam the Girdle-girl hight, who hath been seduced and 
debauched from us by a Moslem captive, named Nur al-Din All, 
son of the merchant Taj al-Din of Cairo, and he hath taken her 
by night and went forth with her to his own country ; wherefore 
I beg of the favour of our lord the Commander of the Faithful 
that he write to all the lands of the Moslems to seize her and 

send her back to us by a trusty messenger. And Shahrazad 

perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted 

fofjen it toas tje CBigftt f^unbrtti anfc jRttwtB~t{rir& Nig&t, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
King of France wrote to the Caliph and Prince of True Believers, 
Harun al-Rashid, a writ humbling himself by asking for his 
daughter Miriam and begging of his favour that he write to all 
the Moslems, enjoining her seizure and sending back to him by 
a trusty messenger of the servants of his Highness the Commander 
of the Faithful ; adding, " And in requital of your help and 
aidance in this matter, we will appoint to you half of the city of 
Rome the Great, that thou mayst build therein mosques for the 
Moslems, and the tribute thereof shall be forwarded to you." 
And after writing this writ, by rede of his Grandees and Lords of 
the land, he folded the scroll and calling his Wazir, whom he had 
appointed in the stead of the monocular Minister, bade him seal 
it with the seal of the kingdom, and the Officers of state also set 
hands and seals thereto ; after which the King bade the 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle- Girl. 13 

bear the letter to Baghdad, 1 the Palace of Peace, and hand it into 
the Caliph's own hand, saying, " An thou bring her back, thou 
shalt have of me the fiefs of two Emirs and I will bestow on thee 
a robe of honour with two-fold fringes of gold." The Wazir set 
out with the letter and fared on over hill and dale, till he came 
to the city of Baghdad, where he abode three days, till he was 
rested from the way, when he sought the Palace of the Commander 
of the Faithful and when guided thereto he entered it and craved 
audience. The Caliph bade admit him ; so he went in and 
kissing ground before him, handed to him the letter of the King 
of France, together with rich gifts and rare presents beseeming 
the Commander of the Faithful. When the Caliph read the writ 
and apprehended its significance, he commanded his Wazir to 
write, without stay or delay, despatches to all the lands of the 
Moslems, setting out the name and favour of Princess Miriam 
and of Nur al-Din, stating how they had eloped and bidding all 
who found them lay hands on them and send them to the 
Commander of the Faithful, and warning them on no wise in that 
matter to use delay or indifference. So the Wazir wrote the 
letters and sealing them, despatched them by couriers to the 
different Governors, who hastened to obey the Caliph's command- 
ment and addressed themselves to make search in all the lands for 
persons of such name and favour. On this wise it fared with 
the Governors and their subjects ; but as regards Nur al-Din and 
Miriam the Girdle-girl, they fared on without delay after defeating 
the King of France and his force and the Protector protected 
them, till they came to the land of Syria and entered Damascus- 
city. Now the couriers of the Caliph had foregone them thither 
by a day and the Emir of Damascus knew that he was commanded 
to arrest the twain as soon as found, that he might send them to 
the Caliph. Accordingly, when they entered the city, the secret 
police 2 accosted them and asked them their names. They told 
them the truth and acquainted them with their adventure and all 
that had betided them ; whereupon they knew them for those of 

1 In addition to what was noted in vol. Hi. loo and viii. 51, I may observe that in the 
" Masnavi " the " Baghdad of Nulliquity " is opposed to the Ubiquity of the World. 
The popular derivation is Bagh (the idol-god, the slav " Bog 1 ') and dad a gift, he 
gave (Persian). It is also called Al-Zaur = a bow, from the bend of the Tigris where 
it was built. 

* Arab. " Jawasts " plur. of Jasiis lit. the spies. 

14 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

whom they were in search and seizing them, carried them before 
the Governor of the city. He despatched them to the city of 
Baghdad under escort of his officers who, when they came thither, 
craved audience of the Caliph which he graciously granted ; so 
they came into the presence ; and, kissing ground before him, 
said, " O Commander of the Faithful, this is Miriam the Girdle- 
girl, daughter of the King of France, and this is the captive Nur 
al-Din, son of the merchant Taj al-Din of Cairo, who debauched 
her from her sire and stealing her from his kingdom and country 
fled with her to Damascus, where we found the twain as they 
entered the city, and questioned them. They told us the truth 
of their case : so we laid hands on them and brought them 
before thee." The Caliph looked at Miriam and saw that she was 
slender and shapely of form and stature, the handsomest of 
the folk of her tide and the unique pearl of her age and her 
time; sweet of speech 1 and fluent of tongue, stable of soul 
and hearty of heart. Thereupon she kissed the ground between 
his hands and wished him permanence of glory and pros- 
perity and surcease of evil and enmity. He admired the 
beauty of her figure and the sweetness of her voice and the readi- 
ness of her replies and said to her, " Art thou Miriam the Girdle- 
girl, daughter of the King of France ? " Answered she, " Yes, 
O Prince of True Believers and Priest of those who the Unity 
of Allah receive and Defender of the Faith and cousin of the 
Primate of the Apostles ! " Then the Caliph turned to Nur al-Din 
Ali and seeing him to be a shapely youth, as he were the shining 
full moon on fourteenth night, said to him, " And thou, art thou 
Ali Nur al-Din, son of the merchant Taj al-Din of Cairo ? " Said 
he, " Yes, O Commander of the Faithful and stay of those who 
for righteousness are care-full ! " The Caliph asked, " How 
cometh it that thou hast taken this damsel and fled forth with 
her of her father's kingdom ? " So Nur al-Din proceeded to 
relate to the Commander of the Faithful all his past, first and 
last ; whereat the Caliph was astonied with extreme astonish- 
ment and diverted and exclaimed, " How manifold are the 

1 The Caliph could not " see " her "sweetness of speech " ; so we must understand 
that he addressed her and found out that she was fluent of tongue. But this idiomatic 
use of the word ' see " is also found in the languages of Southern Europe : so Caraoens 
(Lus. i. ii.), " Ouvi vereis " lit. = " hark, you shall see * which sounds 

All Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-GM. 15 

sufferings that men suffer ! " And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo fofjen ft foas tje <t$t l^utrtrrt an& Ntndp-fouttJ Nigftt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Caliph Harun al-Rashid asked Nur al-Din of his adventure 
and was told of all that had passed, first and last, he was astonied 
with extreme astonishment and exclaimed, " How manifold are 
the sufferings that men suffer!" Then he turned to the Princess 
and said to her, " Know, O Miriam, that thy father, the King of 
France, hath written to me anent thee. What sayst thou ? " She 
replied, " O Vicar of Allah on His earth and Executor of the 
precepts of His prophet and commands to man's unworth, 1 may 
He vouchsafe thee eternal prosperity and ward thee from evil and 
enmity ! Thou art Viceregent of Allah in His earth and I have 
entered thy Faith, for that it is the creed which Truth and 
Righteousness inspire ; and I have left the religion of the Mis- 
creants who make the Messiah a liar, 2 and I am become a True 
Believer in Allah the Bountiful and in the revelation of His com- 
passionate Apostle. I worship Allah (extolled and exalted be 
He !) and acknowledge Him to be the One God and prostrate 
myself humbly before Him and glorify Him ; and I say before 
the Caliph : Verily, I testify that there is no god but the God 
and I testify that Mohammed is the Messenger of God, whom 
He sent with the Guidance and the True Faith, that He might 
make it victorious over every other religion, albeit they who assign 
partners to God be averse from it. 3 Is it therefore in thy com- 
petence, O Commander of the Faithful, to comply with the letter 
of the King of the heretics and send me back to the land of the 
shismatics who deny The Faith and give partners to the All-wise 
King, who magnify the Cross and bow down before idols and 
believe in the divinity of Jesus, for all he was only a creature ? 

1 Here " Farz" (Koranic obligation which it is mortal sin to gainsay) follows whereas 
k should precede "Sunnat" (sayings and doings of the Apostle) simply because 
" Farz " jingles with " Arz " (earth.) 

* Moslems, like modern Agnostics, hold that Jesus of Nazareth would be greatly 
scandalized by the claims to Godship advanced for him by his followers. 

s Koran ix. 33 : See also v. 85. In the passage above quoted Mr. Rod well makes 
the second " He " refer to the deity. 

1 6 , A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

An thou deal with me thus, O Viceregent of Allah, I will lay 
hold upon thy skirts on the Day of Muster before the Lord and 
make my complaint of thee to thy cousin the Apostle of Allah 
(whom God assain and preserve !) on the Day when wealth 
availeth not neither children save one come unto Allah whole- 
hearted * ! " Answered the Caliph, " O Miriam, Allah forfend 
that I should do this ever! How can I send back a Moslemah 
believer in the one God and in His Apostle to that which Allah 
hath forbidden and eke His Messenger hath forbidden?" Quoth 
she, " I testify that there is no God but the God and that 
Mohammed is the Apostle of God ! " Rejoined the Caliph, " O 
Miriam, Allah bless and direct thee in the way of righteousness! 
Since thou art a Moslemah and a believer in Allah the One, I 
owe thee a duty of obligation and it is that I should never trans- 
gress against thee nor forsake thee, though be lavished unto me 
on thine account the world full of gold and gems. So "be of good 
cheer and eyes clear of tear; and be thy breast broadened and 
thy case naught save easy. Art thou willing that this youth 
Ali of Cairo be to thee man and thou to him wife ? " Replied 
Miriam, " O Prince of True Believers, how should I be other 
than willing to take him to husband, seeing that he bought me 
with his money and hath entreated me with the utmost kindness 
and, for crown of his good offices, he hath ventured his life for 
my sake many times ?" So the Caliph summoned the Kazi and 
the witnesses and married her to him assigning her a dowry and 
causing the Grandees of his realm be present and the marriage 
day was a notable. Then he turned to the Wazir of the French 
King, who was present, and said to him, " Hast thou heard her 
words? How can I her send back to her father the Infidel, 
seeing that she is a Moslemah and a believer in the Unity? 
Belike he will evil entreat her and deal harshly with her, more 
by token that she hath slain his sons, and I shall bear blame 
for her on Resurrection-day. And indeed quoth the Almighty 
* Allah will by no means make a way for the Infidels over the 
True Believers. 2 ' So return to thy King and say to him: 
Turn from this thing and hope not to come at thy desire thereof." 
Now this Wazir was a Zany : so he said to the Caliph, " O 

1 Koran xxvi. 88, 89. For a very indifferent version (and abridgment) of this speech, 
see Saturday Review, July 9, 1881, 
8 Koran iv. 140. 

Nur al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl. 17 

Commander of the Faithful, by the virtue of the Messiah and 
the Faith which is no liar, were Miriam forty times a Moslemah 
and forty times thereto, I may not depart from thee without that 
same Miriam ! And if thou send her not back with me of 
free will, I will hie me to her sire and cause him despatch thee 
an host, wherewith I will come upon you from the landward and 
the seaward ; and the van whereof shall be at your capital city 
whilst the rear is yet on the Euphrates ' and they shall lay waste 
thy realms." When the Caliph heard these words from the 
accursed Wazir of the King of France, the light in his face 
became night and he was wroth at his speech with exceeding 
wrath and said to him, " O damned one, O dog of the Nazarenes, 
art thou come to such power that thou durst assail me with the 
King of the Franks ? " Then quoth he to his guards, " Take this 
accursed and do him die" ; and he repeated this couplet 2 : 

This be his recompense who will o Oppose and thwart his betters' will. 

Then he commanded to cut off the Wazir's head and burn his 
body ; but Princess Miriam cried, " O Commander of the Faith- 
ful, soil not thy sword with the blood of this accursed." So 
saying, she bared her brand and smote him and made his head 
fly from his corpse, and he went to the house of ungrace ; his 
abode was Gehenna, and evil is the abiding-place. The Caliph 
marvelled at the force of her fore-arm and the strength of her 
mind, and they carried the dead Wazir forth of the pavilion and 
burnt him. Then the Commander of the\Faithful bestowed upon 
Nur al-Din a splendid robe of honour and assigned to him and 
her a lodging in his palace. Moreover, he appointed them solde 
and rations, and commanded to transport to their quarters all 
they needed of raiment and furniture and vessels of price. They 
sojourned awhile in Baghdad in all delight of life and solace 
thereof till Nur al-Din longed for his mother and father. So he 

f- * Arab. "Furdt " from the Arab. " Faruta" = being sweet, as applied to water. 
Al-Furatani = the two sweet (rivers), are the Tigris and Euphrates. The Greeks, who 
in etymology were satisfied with Greek, derived the latter from ev<f>pau'w (to gladden, 
Isetificare, for which .see Pliny and Strabo, although both are correct in explaining 
"Tigris") and Selden remarks hereon, "Talibus nugis nugantur Grseculi." But not 
only the " Gr#culi " ; e.g. Parkhurst's good old derivations from the Heb. " Farah M 
of fero, fructus, Freya (the Goddess), frayer (to spawn), friand, fry (of fish), etc., etc. 

* The great Caliph was a poet ; and he spoke verses as did all his contemporaries : 
his lament over his slave-girl Haylanah (Helen) is quoted by Al-Suyuti, p. 305. 

1 8 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

submitted the matter to the Caliph and sought his leave to revisit 
his native land and visit his kinsfolk, and he granted him the 
permission he sought and calling Miriam, commended them each 
to other. He also loaded them with costly presents and rarities 
and bade write letters to the Emirs and Olema and notables of 
Cairo the God-guarded, commending Nur al-Din and his wife 
and parents to their care and charging them honour them with 
the highmost honour. When the news reached Cairo, the 
merchant Taj al-Din joyed at the return of his son and Nur 
al-Din's mother likewise rejoiced therein with passing joy. The 
Emirs and the notables of the city went forth to meet him, in 
obedience to the Caliph's injunctions, and indeed it was for them 
a right note-worthy day, wherein foregathered the lover and the 
beloved and the seeker attained the sought. Moreover, all the 
Emirs made them bride-feasts, each on his own day, and joyed in 
them with joy exceeding and vied in doing them honour, one the 
other succeeding. When Nur al-Din foregathered with his mother 
and father, they were gladdened in each other with the utmost 
gladness and care and affliction ceased from them, whilst his 
parents joyed no less in the Princess Miriam and honoured her 
with the highmost honour. Every day, there came to them 
presents from all the Emirs and great merchants, and they were 
in new delight and gladness exceeding the gladness of festival. 
Then they ceased not abiding in solace and pleasance and good 
cheer and abounding prosperity, eating and drinking with mirth 
and merriment, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights 
and Sunderer of societies, Waster of houses and palace-domes 
and Peopler of the bellies of the tombs. So they were removed 
from worldly stead and became of the number of the dead ; and 
glory be to the Living One, who dieth not and in whose hand are 
the keys of the Seen and the Unseen ! And a tale was also told 
by the Emir Shuja' al-Din, 1 Prefect of Cairo anent 

"The Brave of the Faith." 

The Man of Upper Egypt and his Prankish Wife. 19 



WE lay one night in the house of a man of the Sa'fd or Upper 
Egypt, and he entertained us and entreated us hospitably. Now 
he was a very old man swart with exceeding swarthiness, and he 
had little children, who were white, of a white dashed with red. 
So we said to him, " Harkye, such an one, how cometh it that 
these thy children are white, whilst thou thyself art passing 
swart?" And he said, " Their mother was a Frankish woman, 
whom I took prisoner in the days of Al-Malik al-Ndsir Salah 
al-D/n, 1 after the battle of Hattm,* when I was a young man." 
We asked, " And how gottest thou her ? " and he answered, " I 
had a rare adventure with her." Quoth we, " Favour us with it ;" 
and quoth he : With all my heart ! You must know that I once 
sowed a crop of flax in these parts and pulled it and scutched it 
and spent .on it five hundred gold pieces ; after which I would 
have sold it, but could get no more than this therefor, and the 
folk said to me, " Carry it to Acre : for there thou wilt haply 
make good gain by it." Now Acre was then in the hands of the 
Franks 3 ; so I carried my flax thither and sold part of it at six 
months' credit One day, as I was selling, behold, there came up 
a Frankish woman, (now 'tis the custom of the women of the 
Franks to go about the market streets with unveiled faces), to 
buy flax of me, and I saw of her beauty what dazed my wits. 
So I sold her somewhat of flax and was easy with her concerning 
the price ; and she took it and went away. Some days after, she 

1 i.e. Saladin. See vol. iv. p. 116. 

2 Usually called the Horns of Hattin (classically Hittin) North of Tiberias where 
Saladin by good strategy and the folly of the Franks annihilated the Latin kingdom of 
Jerusalem. For details see the guide-books. In this action (June 23, 1187), after three 
bishops were slain in its defence, the last fragment of the True Cross (or rather the 
cross verified by Helena) fell into Moslem hands. The Christians begged hard for it, 
but Saladin, a conscientious believer, refused to return to them even for ransom "the 
object of their iniquitous superstition." His son, however, being of another turn, 
would have sold it to the Franks who then lacked money to purchase. It presently 
disappeared and I should not be surprised if it were still lying, an unknown and inutile 
lignum in some Cairene mosque. 

3 'Akkd (Acre) was taken by Saladin on July 29, 1187. The Egyptian states that he 
was at Acre in 1184 or three years before the affair of Hattin (Night dcccxcv.). 

2O A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

returned and bought somewhat more flax of me and I was yet 
easier with her about the price ; and she repeated her visits to me. 
seeing that I was in love with her. Now she was used to walk in 
company of an old woman to whom I said, " I am sore enamoured 
of thy mistress. Canst thou contrive for me to enjoy her ? " 
Quoth she, " I will contrive this for thee ; but the secret must not 
go beyond us three, me, thee and her ; and there is no help but 
that thou be lavish with money, to boot." And I answered, 
saying, M Though my life were the price of her favours 'twere no 

great matter." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fojm ft toas tfce 3t$t l^untafc antr Nuutg-fiftj) Nig&t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the old 
woman said to the man, " However the secret must not go beyond 
us three, to wit me, thee and her ; and there is no help but thou 
be lavish of thy money to boot." He replied, " Though my life 
were the price of her favours 'twere no great matter." So it was 
agreed (continued the man of Upper Egypt), that I should pay 
her fifty dinars and that she should come to me ; whereupon I 
procured the money and gave it to the old woman. She took it 
and said, " Make ready a place for her in thy house, and she will 
come to thee this night/' Accordingly I went home and made 
ready what I could of meat and drink and wax candles and 
sweetmeats. Now my house overlooked the sea and 'twas the 
season of summer ; so I spread the bed on the terrace roof. 
Presently, the Frank woman came and we ate and drank, and the 
night fell dark. We lay down under the sky, with the moon 
shining on us, and fell to watching the shimmering of the stars in 
the sea : and I said to myself, " Art thou not ashamed before 
Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty !) and thou a stranger, 
under the heavens and in presence of the deep waters, to disobey 
Him with a Nazarene woman and merit the torment of Fire ? " 
Then said I, " O my God, I call Thee to witness that I abstain 
from this Christian woman this night, of shamefastness before 
Thee and fear of Thy vengeance ! " So I slept till the morning; 
and she arose at peep of day full of anger and went away, I 
walked to my shop and sat there ; and behold, presently she 
passed, as she were the moon, accompanied by the old woman 

The Man of Upper Egypt and his Prankish Wife. 21 

who was also angry; whereat my heart sank within me and I 
said to myself, " Who art thou that thou shouldst refrain from 
yonder damsel ? Art thou Sari al-Sakatf or Bishr Barefoot or 
Junayd of Baghdad or Fuzayl bin 'lyaz 1 ? " Then I ran after the 
old woman and coming up with her said to her, " Bring her to me 
again ; " and said she, " By the virtue of the Messiah, she will not 
return to thee but for an hundred ducats ! " Quoth I, " I will 
give thee a hundred gold pieces." So I paid her the money and 
the damsel came to me a second time ; but no sooner was she 
with me than I returned to my whilome way of thinking and 
abstained from her and forbore her for the sake of Allah 
Almighty. Presently she went away and I walked to my shop, 
and shortly after the old woman came up, in a rage. Quoth I 
to her, " Bring her to me again ; " and quoth she, " By the virtue 
of the Messiah, thou shalt never again enjoy her presence with 
thee, except for five hundred ducats, and thou shalt perish in thy 
pain ! " At this I trembled and resolved to expend the whole price 
of my flax and therewith ransom my life. But, before I could think, 
I heard the crier proclaiming and saying, " Ho, all ye Moslems, 
the truce which was between us and you is expired, and we give 
all of you Mahometans who are here a week from this time to 
have done with your business and depart to your own country. 11 
Thus her visits were cut off from me and I betook myself to* 
getting in the price of my flax which men had bought upon, 
credit, and to bartering what remained in rny hands for other 
goods. Then I took with me fair merchandise and departed Acre 
with a soul full of affection and love-longing for the Prankish 
woman, who had taken my heart and my coin. So I journeyed 
till I made Damascus, where I sold the stock in trade I had 
brought from Acre, at the highest price, because of the, cutting off 
of communication by reason of the term of truce having expired ; 
and Allah (extolled and exalted be He ! ) vouchsafed me good 
gain. Then I fell to trading in captive slave-girls, thinking thus 
to ease my heart of its pining for the Prankish woman, and in this 
traffic engaged I abode three years, till there befel between Al- 
Malik al-Ncisir and the Franks what befel of the action of Hattin 
and other encounters and Allah gave him the victory over them, 

1 Famous Sufis and ascetics of the second and third centuries A.H. For Bishr 
Barefoot, see vol. ii. p. 127. Al-Sakati means." the old-clothes man ; " and the names 
of the others are all recorded in D'Herbelot. 

22 A If Laylah wa Lay/ah. 

so that he took all their Kings prisoners and he opened 1 the coast 2 
cities by His leave. Now it fortuned one day after this, that a 
man came to me and sought of me a slave-girl for Al-Malik ai- 
Nasir. Having a handsome handmaid I showed her to him and 
he bought her of me for an hundred dinars and gave me ninety 
thereof, leaving ten still due to me, for that there was no more 
found in the royal treasury that day, because he had expended 
all his monies in waging war against the Franks. Accordingly 
they took counsel with him and he said, " Carry him to the 
treasury 3 where are the captives' lodging and give him his choice 
among the damsels of the Franks, so he may take one of them 

for the ten dinars And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo foftm it foas t&e <i$t f^unfcrrti anb Ninetg-sixtft 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
whenas Al-Malik al-Nasir said, " Give him his choice to take one 
of the girls for the ten dinars that are due to him ; " they brought me 
to the captives' lodging and showed me all who were therein, 
and I saw amongst them the Frankish damsel with whom I had 
fallen in love at Acre and knew her right well. Now she was the 
wife of one of the cavaliers of the Franks. So I said, " Give me 
this one," and carrying her to my tent, asked her, " Dost thou 
know me?" She answered, " No ;" and I rejoined, "I am thy 
friend, the sometime flax-merchant with whom thou hadst to do 
at Acre and there befel between us what befel. Thou tookest 
money of me and saidest, * Thou shalt never again see me but 
for five hundred dinars/ And now thou art become my property 
for ten ducats." Quoth she, " This is a mystery. Thy faith is the 
True Faith and I testify that there is no god but the God and that 
Mohammed is the Messenger of God ! And she made perfect 

1 i.e. captured, forced open their gates. 

2 Arab. " Al-Sahil" i.e. the seaboard of Syria ; properly Phoenicia or the coast-lands 
of Southern Palestine. So the maritime lowlands of continental Zanzibar are called in 
the plur. Sawahil = " the shores'* and the people Sawahflf = Shore-men. 

3 Arab. " Al-Khizanah " both in Mac. Edit, and Breslau x, 426. Mr. Payne has 
translated " tents" and says, " Saladin seems to have been encamped without Damascus 
and the slave -merchant had apparently come out and pitched his tent near the camp fo* 
the purposes of his trade." But I can find no notice of tents till a few lines below. 

The Man of Upper Egypt and his Prankish Wife. 23 

profession of Al-Islam. Then said I to myself, " By Allah, I will 
not go in unto her till I have set her free and acquainted the 
Kazi." So I betook myself to Ibn Shaddad 1 and told him what 
had passed and he married me to her. Then I lay with her that 
night and she conceived ; after which the troops departed and we 
returned to Damascus. But within a few days there came an 
envoy from the King of the Franks, to seek the captives and the 
prisoners, according to the treaty between the Kings. So Al- 
Malik al-Nasir restored all the men and women captive, till there 
remained but the woman who was with me and the Franks said, 
" The wife of such an one the Knight is not here." Then they 
asked after her and making strict search for her, found that she 
was with me ; whereupon they demanded her of me and I went in 
to her sore concerned and with colour changed ', and she said to 
me, " What aileth thee and what evil assaileth thee ? " Quoth I, 
"A messenger is come from the King to take all the captives, and 
they demand thee of me." Quoth she, " Have no fear, bring me 
to the King and I know what to say before and to him." I carried 
her into the presence of the Sultan Al-Malik al-Nasrr, who was 
seated, with the envoy of the King of the Franks on his right 
hand, and I said to him, " This is the woman that is with me." 
Then quoth the King and the envoy to her, " Wilt thou go to thy 
country or to 8 thy husband ? For Allah hath loosed thy bonds 
and those of thy fellow captives." Quoth she to the Sultan, " I am 
become a Moslemah and am great with child, as by my middle ye 
may see, and the Franks shall have no more profit of me." The 
envoy asked, " Whether is dearer to thee, this Moslem or thy first 
husband the knight such an one ? ; " and she answered him even 
as she had answered the Sultan. Then said the envoy to the 
Franks with him, " Heard ye her words ? " They replied, " Yes." 
And he said to me, " Take thy wife and depart with her." So I 
took her and went away ; but the envoy sent after me in haste and 
cried, " Her mother gave me a charge for her, saying, My daughter 
is a captive and naked : and I would have thee carry her this chest 
Take it thou and deliver it to her." Accordingly I carried the 
chest home and gave it to her. She opened it and found in it alt 
her raiment as she had left it and therein I saw the two purses of 

1 Baha al-Din ibn Shadddd, then Kazi al-Askar (of the Army) or Judge- Advocate- 
General under Saladin. 

2 i.*. "abide with " thy second husband, the Egyptian. 

2 4 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

fifty and an hundred dinars which I had given her, untouched and 
tied up with my own tying, wherefore I praised Almighty Allah. 
These are my children by her and she is alive to this day and 'twas 
she dressed you this food. We marvelled at his story and at that 
which had befallen him of good fortune, and Allah is All-knowing. 
But men also tell a tale anent the 


THERE was of old time in Baghdad a man of condition, who had 
inherited from his father abounding affluence. He fell in love with 
a slave-girl ; so he bought her and she loved him as he loved her ; 
and he ceased not to spend upon her, till all his money was gone 
and naught remained thereof; whereupon he sought a means of 
getting his livelihood, but availed not to find any. Now this young 
man had been used, in the days of his affluence, to frequent the 
assemblies of those who were versed in the art of singing and had 
thus attained to the utmost excellence therein. Presently he took 
counsel with one of his intimates, who said to him, " Meseems thou 
canst find no better profession than to sing, thou and thy slave- 
girl ; for on this wise thou wilt get money in plenty and wilt eat 
and drink."" But he misliked this, he and the damsel, and she said 
to him, " I have bethought me of a means of relief for thee." He 
asked, " What is it ? ; " and she answered, " Do thou sell me ; 
thus shall we be delivered of this strait, thou and I, and I shall be 
in affluence ; for none will buy the like of me save a man of fortune, 
and with this I will contrive for my return to thee." He carried 
her to the market and the first who saw her was a Hdshimf 1 of 
Bassorah, a man of good breeding, fine taste and generosity, who 
bought her for fifteen hundred dinars. (Quoth the young man, the 
damsel's owner), When I had received the price, I repented me 
and wept, I and the damsel ; and I sought to cancel the sale ; but 
the purchaser would not consent. So I took the gold in a bag, 

1 A descendant of Hashim, the Apostle's great-grandfather from whom the Abbasides 
were directly descended. The Ommiades were less directly akin to Mohammed, being 
the descendants of Hashim's brother, Abd al-Shams. The Hashim is were famed for 
liberality ; and the quality seems to have been inherited. The first Hashim got his 
name from crumbling bread into the Sarid or brewis of the Meccan pilgrims during " The 
Ignorance." He was buried at Ghazzah (Gaza) but his tomb was soon forgotten. 

The Ruined Man of Baghdad and his Slave-Girl. 25 

knowing not whither I should wend, now my house was desolate 
of her, and buffeted my face and wept and wailed as I had never 
done before. Then I entered a mosque and sat shedding tears, till 
I was stupefied and losing my senses fell asleep, with the bag of 
money under my head by way of pillow. Presently, ere I could be 
ware, a man plucked the bag from under my head and ran off with 
it at speed : whereupon I started up in alarm and affright and would 
have arisen to run after him ; but lo ! my feet were bound with a 
rope and I fell on my face. Then I took to weeping and buffeting 
myself, saying, "Thou hast parted with thy soul 1 and thy wealth 

is lost!" And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

fofjcn t't foas tfje IBfg&t f^utrtrrefc anto :tfmetp-SEbentf) 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
young man continued : So I said to myself, " Thou hast parted 
with thy soul and thy wealth is lost." Then, of the excess of my 
chagrin, I betook myself to the Tigris and wrapping my face in 
my gown, cast myself into the stream. The bystanders -saw me 
and cried, " For sure, this is because of some great trouble that 
hath betided him." They cast themselves in after me and 
bringing me ashore, questioned me of my case. I told them what 
misadventure had befallen me and they condoled with me. Then 
an old man of them came to me and said, " Thou hast lost thy 
money, but why goest thou about to lose thy life and become of 
the people of The Fire ? 2 Arise, come with me, that I may see 
thy lodging." I went with him to my house and he sat with me 
awhile, till I waxed calmer, and becoming tranquil I thanked him 
and he went away. When he was gone, I was like to kill myself, 
but bethought me of the Future and the Fire ; so I fared forth 
my house and fled to one of my friends and told him what had 
befallen me. He wept for pity of me and gave me fifty dinars, 
saying, " Take my advice and hie thee from Baghdad forthright 
and let this provide thee till thy heart be diverted from the love 
of her and thou forget her. Thy forbears were Secretaries and 
Scribes and thy handwriting is fine and thy breeding right good : 

1 *'.#. thy lover. 

* i.e. of those destined to hell ; the especial home of Moslem suicides. 

26 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

seek out, then, whom thou wilt of the Intendants * and throw 
thyself on his bounty ; thus haply Allah shall reunite thee with 
thy slave-girl/' I hearkened to his words (and indeed my mind 
was strengthened and I was somewhat comforted) and resolved to 
betake myself to Wasit, 2 where I had kinsfolk. So I went down 
to the river-side, where I saw a ship moored and the sailors 
embarking goods and goodly stuffs. I asked them to take me 
with them and carry me to Wasit ; but they replied, " We cannot 
take thee on such wise, for the ship belongeth to a Hashimi." 
However I tempted them with promise of passage-money and 
they said, " We cannot embark thee on this fashion ; 3 but, if it 
must be, doff those fine clothes of thine and don sailor's gear and 
sit with us as thou wert one of us." I went away and buying 
somewhat of sailors' clothes, put them on ; after which I bought 
me also somewhat of provisions for the voyage ; and, returning to 
the vessel, which was bound for Bassorah, embarked with the 
crew. But ere long I saw my slave-girl herself come on board, 
attended by two waiting-women ; whereupon what was on me of 
chagrin subsided and I said in myself, " Now shall I see her and 
hear her singing, till we come to Bassorah." Soon after, up rode 
the Hashimi, with a party of people, and they embarked aboard 
the ship, which dropped down the river with them. Presently the 
Hashimi brought out food and ate with the damsel, whilst the rest 
ate amidships. Then said he to her, " How long this abstinence 
from singing and permanence in this wailing and weeping ? Thou 
art not the first that hath been parted from a beloved ! " Where- 
fore I knew what she suffered for love of me. Then he hung a 
curtain before her along the gunwale and calling those who ate 
apart, sat down with them without the curtain ; and I enquired 
concerning them and behold they were his brethren. 4 He set 
before them what they needed of wine and dessert, and they 
ceased not to press the damsel to sing, till she called for the lute 
and tuning it, intoned these two couplets : 

1 Arab. " 'Ummal " (plur. of 'Amil) viceroys or governors of provinces. 

2 A town of Irak Arabi (Mesopotamia) between Baghdad and Bassorah built upon 
the Tigris and founded by Al-Hajjaj : it is so called because the " Middle " or half-way 
town between Basrah and Kufah. To this place were applied the famous lines: 

41 In good sooth a right noble race are they ; 

Whose men " yea " can't say nor their women " nay." 
* i.e. robed as thou art. 
4 i.e. his kinsfolk of the Hashimis. 

The Ruined Man of Baghdad and his Slave-Girl^ 27 

The company left with my love by night, o Nor forbore to fare with my 

heart's delight : 
And raged, since their camels off paced, a fire o As of Ghazd'-wood in the 

lover's sprite. 

Then weeping overpowered her and she threw down the lute and 
ceased singing ; whereat the folk were troubled and I slipped 
down a-swoon. They thought I was possessed 2 and one of them 
began reciting exorcisms in my ear ; nor did they cease to comfort 
her and beseech her to sing, till she tuned the lute again and 
chaunted these couplets twain : 

I stood and bewailed who their loads had bound o And far yode but still in 

my heart are found : 
I drew near the ruins and asked of them o And the camp was void 

and lay waste the ground. 

Then she fell down in a fainting-fit and weeping arose amongst 
the folk ; and I also cried out and fainted away. The sailors 
were startled by me and one of the Hashimi's pages said to them, 
" How came ye to take this madman on board ? " So they said 
one to other, " As soon as we come to the next village, we will 
set him ashore and rid us of him." When I heard this, I was sore 
troubled but I heartened and hardened myself, saying in thought, 
" Nothing will serve me to deliver myself from their hands, except 
I make shift to acquaint her with my presence in the ship, so she 
may prevent my being set ashore. Then we sailed when we came 
hard by a hamlet 3 and the skipper said, " Come, let us go ashore." 
Therewith they all landed, save myself: and as evening fell I rose 
and going behind the curtain took the lute and changed its accord, 
mode 4 by mode, and tuning it after a fashion of my own, 5 that 

1 See vol. ii. 24. 

3 Arab. " Sur'itu "= I was possessed of a Jinn, the common Eastern explanation of 
an epileptic fit long before the days of the Evangel. See vol. iv. 89. 

3 Arab. " Zf'ah," village, feof or farm. 

Arab. "Tarikah." 

5 " Most of the great Arab musicians had their own peculiar fashion of tuning the 
lute, for the purpose of extending its register or facilitating the accompaniment of songs 
composed in uncommon keys and rhythms or possibly of increasing its sonority, and it 
appears to have been a common test of the skill of a great musician, such as Ishac el- 
Mausili or his father Ibrahim, to require him to accompany a difficult song on a lute 
purposely untuned. As a (partial) modern instance of the practice referred to in the 
text, may be cited Paganini's custom of lowering or raising the G string of the violin in 

28 A If Laytah wa Laylah. 

she had learnt of me, returned to my place in the ship ; And 

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

Nofo fo&en ft foa* tfcc lEifi&t ^untrrrtr antr Niiutg-n'gjti) 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
young man continued : I returned to my place in the ship ; and 
presently the whole party came on board again and the moon 
shone bright upon river and height. Then said the Hashimi to 
the damsel, " Allah upon thee, trouble not our joyous lives ! " So 
she took the lute, and touching it with her hand, gave a sob, that 
they thought her soul had fled her frame, and said, " By Allah, 
my master and teacher is with us in this ship ! " Answered the 
Hashimi,- " By Allah, were this so, I would not forbid him our 
conversation ! Haply he would lighten thy burthen, so we might 
enjoy thy singing : but his being on board is far from possible." 
However she said, " I cannot smite lute-string or sing sundry airs 
I was wont to sing whilst my lord is with us." Quoth the 
Hashimi, " Let us ask the sailors ;" and quoth she, " Do so." He 
questioned them, saying, " Have ye carried anyone with you ! "; 
and they answered, " No." Then I feared lest the enquiry should 
end there ; so I laughed and said, " Yes ; I am her master and 
taught her whenas I was her lord." Cried she, " By Allah, that 
is my lord's voice ! " Thereupon the pages carried me to the 
Hashimi, who knew me at first sight and said to me, " Out on 
thee ! What plight is this in which 1 see thee and what hath 
brought thee to such condition ? " I related to him all that had 
befallen me of my affair, weeping the while, and the damsel made 
loud wail from behind the curtain. The Hashimi wept with sore 
weeping, he and his brethren, for pity of me, and he said, " By 
Allah, I have not drawn near this damsel nor enjoyed her, nor 
have I even heard her sing till this day ! I am a man to whom 
Allah hath been ample and I came to Baghdad but to hear singing 
and seek my allowances of the Commander of the Faithful. I 

playing certain of his own compositions. According to the Kitab el-Aghani, Ishac 
el-Mausili is said to have familiarized himself, by incessant practice, with the exact 
sounds produced by each division of the strings of the four course lute of his day, under 
every imaginable circumstance of tuning." It is regrettable that Mr. Payne does not 
give us more of such notes. 

The Ruined Man of Baghdad and his Slave-Girl 29 

accomplished both my needments and being about to return home, 
said to myself, * Let us hear some what of the singing of Baghdad.' 
Wherefore I bought this damsel, knowing not that such was the 
case with you twain ; and I take Allah to witness that, when I 
reach Bassorah I will free her and marry her to thee and assign 
you what shall suffice you, and more ; but on condition that, when- 
ever I have a mind to hear music, a curtain shall be hung for her 
and she shall sing to me from behind it, and thou shalt be of the 
number of my brethren and boon-companions." Hereat I rejoiced 
and the Hashimi put his head within the curtain and said to her, 
" Will that content thee ? " ; whereupon she fell to blessing and 
thanking him. Then he called a servant and said to him, " Take 
this young man and do off his clothes and robe him in costly 
raiment and incense him 1 and bring him back to us." So the 
servant did with me as his master bade him and brought me back 
to him, and served me with wine, even as the rest of the com- 
pany. Then the damsel began singing after the goodliest fashion 
and chanted these couplets : 

They blamed me for causing my tears to well o When came my beloved to 

bid farewell : 
They ne'er tasted the bitters of parting nor felt o Fire beneath my ribs that 

flames fierce and fell ! 
None but baffled lover knows aught of Love, * Whose heart is lost where 

he wont to dwell. 

The folk rejoiced in her song with exceeding joy and my gladness 
redoubled, so that I took the lute from the damsel and preluding 
after the most melodious fashion, sang these couplets : 

Ask (if needs thou ask) the Compassionate, o And the generous donor of high 

estate . 
For asking the noble honours man o And asking the churl entails bane and 

bate : 
When abasement is not to be 'scaped by wight o Meet it asking boons of the 

good and great. 
Of Grandee to sue ne'er shall vilify man, o But 'tis vile on the vile of mankind 

to 'wait. 

The company rejoiced in me with joy exceeding and they ceased 
not from pleasure and delight, whilst anon I sang and anon the 
damsel, till we came to one of the landing-places, where the vessel 

1 See vol. vii. 363 for the use of these fumigations. 

30 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

moored and all on board disembarked and I with them. Now I 
was drunken with wine and squatted on my hams to make water ; 
but drowsiness overcame me and I slept, and the passengers re- 
turned to the ship which ran down stream without any missing 
me, for that they also were drunken, and continued their voyage 
till they reached Bassorah. As for me I awoke not till the heat 
of the sun aroused me, when I rose and looked about me, but saw 
no one. Now I had given my spending-money to the damsel and 
had naught left : I had also forgotten to ask the Hashimi his name 
and where his house was at Bassorah and his titles ; thus I was 
confounded and my joy at meeting the damsel had been but a 
dream ; and I abode in perplexity till there came up a great vessel 
wherein I embarked and she carried me to Bassorah. Now I knew 
none there much less the Hashimi's house, so I accosted a grocer 

and taking of him inkcase and paper, And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fojen it foas tftt ISigJt f^untofc anto Nfartg.nfotJ 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
Baghdad man who owned the maid entered Bassorah, he was 
perplexed for not knowing the Hashimi's house. So I accosted 
(said he) a grocer and, taking of him inkcase and paper, sat down 
to write. He admired my handwriting and seeing my dress stained 
and soiled, questioned me of my case, to which I replied that I 
was a stranger and poor. Quoth he, " Wilt thou abide with me 
and order the accounts of my shop and I will give thee thy food 
and clothing and half a dirham a day for ordering the accompts of 
my shop ? " ; and quoth I, " Tis well," and abode with him and 
kept his accounts and ordered his income and expenditure for a 
month, at the end of which he found his income increased and his 
disbursements diminished ; wherefore he thanked me and made 
my wage a dirham a day. When the year was out, he proposed 
to me to marry his daughter and become his partner in the shop. 
I agreed to this and went in to my wife and applied me to the 
shop. But I was broken in heart and spirit, and grief was mani- 
fest upon me ; and the grocer used to drink and invite me thereto, 
but I refrained for melancholy. I abode on this wise two years 
till, one day, as I sat in the shop, behold, there passed by a parcel 
of people with meat and drink, and I asked the grocer what was 

The Ruined Man of Baghdad and his Slave-Girl. 31 

the matter. Quoth he, " This is the day of the pleasure-makers, 
when all the musicians and dancers of the town go forth with the 
young men of fortune to the banks of the Ubullah river ! and eat 
and drink among the trees there." The spirit prompted me to 
solace myself with the sight of this thing and I said in my mind, 
" Haply among these people I may foregather with her I love." 
So I told the grocer that I had a mind to this and he said, " Up 
and go with them an thou please." He made me ready meat and 
drink and I went till I came to the River of Ubullah, when, behold, 
the folk were going away : I also was about to follow, when I 
espied the Rais of the bark wherein the Hashimi had been with 
the damsel and he was going along the river. I cried out to 
him and his company who knew me and took me on board with 
them and said to me, " Art thou yet alive ? " ; and they embraced 
me and questioned me of my case. I told them my tale and they 
said, " Indeed, we thought that drunkenness had gotten the better 
of thee and that thou hadst fallen into the water and wast drowned." 
Then I asked them of the damsel, and they answered, " When she 
came to know of thy loss, she rent her raiment and burnt the lute 
and fell to buffeting herself and lamenting and when we returned 
with the Hashimi to Bassorah we said to her, " Leave this weeping 
and wailing." Quoth she, " I will don black and make me a tomb 
beside the house and abide thereby and repent from singing. 2 
We allowed her so to do and on this wise she abideth to this day." 
Then they carried me to the Hashimi's house, where I saw the 
damsel as they had said. When she espied me, she cried out a 
great cry, methought she had died, and I embraced her with a 
long embrace. Then said the Hashimi to me, " Take her ; " and I 
said, " 'Tis well : but do thou free her and according to thy 
promise marry her to me." Accordingly he did this and gave us 
costly goods and store of raiment and furniture and five hundred 
dinars, saying, " This is the amount of that which I purpose to 

1 In the Mac. Edit. "Aylah" for Ubullah: the latter is one of the innumerable 
canals, leading from Bassorah to Ubullah-town a distance of twelve miles. Its banks 
are the favourite pleasure-resort of the townsfolk, being built over with villas and pavilions 
(now no more) and the orchards seem to form one great garden, all confined by one wall. 
See Jaubert's translation of Al-Idrisi, vol. i. pp. 368-69. The Aylah, a tributary of the 
Tigris, waters (I have noted) the Gardens of Bassorah. 

2 Music having been forbidden by Mohammed who believed with the vulgar that the 
Devil has something to do with it. Even Paganini could not escape suspicion in the 
nineteenth century. 

'32 . A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

allow you^every month, but on condition that thou be my cup* 
companion and that I hear the girl sing when I will." Further-' 
more, he assigned us private quarters and bade transport thither all 
our need ; so, when I went to the house, I found it filled full of 
furniture and stuffs and carried the damsel thither. Then I betook 
me to the grocer and told him all that had betided me, begging 
to hold me guiltless for divorcing his daughter, without offence 
on her part ; and I paid her her dowry ! and what else behoved 
me. 2 I abode with the Hashimi in this way two years and 
became a man of great wealth and was restored to the former 
estate of prosperity wherein I had been at Baghdad, I and the 
damsel. And indeed Allah the Bountiful put an end to our 
troubles and loaded us with the gifts of good fortune and caused 
our patience to result in the attainment of our desire : wherefore 
to Him be the praise in this world and the next whereto we are, 
ireturning.* And among the tales men tell is_that of 





THERE was once in days of yore and in ages and times long gone' 
before, in the land of Hind; a mighty King, tall of presence and 
fair of favour and goodly of parts, noble of nature and generous, 
beneficent to the poor and loving to his lieges_and all the people 

1 The " Mahr," or Arab dowry consists of two parts, one paid down on consumma- 
tion and the other agreed to be paid to the wife, contingently upon her being divorced by 
her husband. If she divorce him this portion, which is generally less than the half, 
cannot be claimed by her ; and I have related the Persian abomination which compels 
the woman to sacrifice her rights. See vol. iii. p. 304. 

z t.e. the cost of her maintenance during the four months of single blessedness which 
must or ought to elapse before she can legally many again. 

8 Lane translates most incompletely, "To Him, then, be praise, first and last! " 

4 Lane omits because it is " extremely puerile " this most characteristic tale, one of 
the two oldest in The Nights which Al-Mas'udi mentions as belonging to the Haza> 
Afsaneh (See Terminal Essay). Von Hammer (Preface in Trebutien's translation p. xxv.) 
refers the fables to an Indian (Egyptian ?) origin and remarks, " sous le rapport de leur 
antiquit6 et de la morale qu'ils renferment, elles me>itent la plus grande attention, mais 
d'un autre c6te elles ne sont rien moins qu' amusantes." 

King Jolt ad of Hind and his _Wazir Skimas. 3$ 

of his realm. His name was Jali'ad and under his hand were two 
and-seventy Kings and in his cities three hundred and fifty Kazis. 
He had three score and ten Wazirs and over every ten of them he 
set a premier. The chiefest of all his ministers was a man called 
Shimas 1 who was then 2 two-and-twenty years old, a statesman 
of pleasant presence and noble nature, sweet of speech and ready 
in reply ; shrewd in all manner of business, skilful withal and 
sagacious, for all his tender age," a man of good counsel and fine 
manners versed in all arts and sciences and accomplishments ; and 
the King loved him with exceeding love and cherished him by y 
reason of his proficiency in eloquence and /hetoric and the art of 
government and for that which Allah had given him of compassion 
and brooding care 3 with his lieges for he was a King just in his 
Kingship and a protector of his peoples, constant in beneficence 
to great and small and giving them that which befitted them of 
good governance and bounty and protection and security and a 
lightener of their loads in taxes and tithes. And indeed he was 
loving to them each and every, high and low, entreating them with 
kindness and solicitude and governing them in such goodly guise 
as none had done before him. But, with all this, Almighty Allah 
had not blessed him with a child, and this was grievous to him and 
to the people of his reign. It chanced, one night, as Jali'ad 4 lay 
in his bed, occupied with anxious thought of the issue of the affair 
of his Kingdom, that sleep overcame him and he dreamt that he 

poured water upon the roots of a tree, And Shahrazad per-/ 

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

foften.ftfoa* t&e^Jime ||un&re&t!) Nt' 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
King saw himself in his vision pouring water upon the roots of a 
tree, about which were many other trees ; and lo and behold ! there 
came fire out of this tree and burnt up every growth which 
encompassed it ; whereupon Jali'ad awoke affrighted and trembl- 
ing, and calling one of his pages said to him, " Go fetch the Wazir 

1 Lane (iii. 579) writes the word " Shemmas " : the Bresl. Edit', (viii. 4) " Shim**.** 

2 i.e. When the tale begins. 

3 Arab. "Khafz al-jinah " drooping the wing as a brooding bird. In the Koran 
(Ivii. 88) "lowering the wing" = demeaning oneself gently. 

* The Bresl. Edit. (viii. 3) writes " Kil'ad '_': Trebutien (iii. I) le roi Djilia.' rl 
VOL. IX , 

34 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Shimas in all haste." So he betook himself to Shimas and said 
to him, " The King calleth for thee forthright because he hath 
awoke from his sleep in affright and hath sent me to bring thee to 
him in haste." When Shimas heard this, he arose without stay or 
delay and going to the King, found him seated on his bed. He 
prostrated himself before him, wishing him permanence of glory 
and prosperity, and said, " May Allah not cause thee grieve, O 
King ! What hath troubled thee this night, and what is the cause 
of thy seeking me thus in haste ? " The King bade him be seated ; 
and, as soon as he sat down, began telling his tale and said to 
him, " I have dreamt this night a dream which terrified me, and 
'twas, that methought I poured water upon the roots of a tree 
where about were many other trees and as I was thus engaged, 
lo and behold ! fire issued therefrom and burnt up all the growths 
that were around it ; wherefore I was affrighted and fear took me. 
Then I awoke and sent to bid thee to me, because of thy know- 
ledge and skill in the interpretation of dreams and of that which 
I know of the vastness of thy wisdom and the greatness of thine 
understanding." At this Shimas the Wazir bowed his head 
groundwards awhile and presently raising it, smiled ; so the King 
said to him, "What deemest thou, O Shimas ? Tell me the truth 
of the matter and hide naught from me." Answered Shimas, 
"O King, verily Allah Almighty granteth thee thy wish and 
cooleth thine eyes ; for the matter of this dream presageth all 
good, to wit, that the Lord will bless thee with a son, who shall 
inherit the Kingdom from thee, after thy long life. But there is 
somewhat else I desire not to expound at this present, seeing that 
the time is not favourable for interpretation." The King rejoiced 
in these words with exceeding joy and great was his contentment ; 
his trouble departed from him, his mind was at rest and he said, 
"If the case be thus of the happy presage of my dream, do thou 
complete to me its exposition when the fitting time betideth : for 
that which it behoveth not to expound to me now, it behoveth 
that thou expound to me when its time cometh, so my joy may 
be fulfilled, because I seek naught in this save the approof of 
Allah extolled and exalted be He ! " Now when the Wazir Shimas 
saw that the King was urgent to have the rest of the exposition, 
he put him off with a pretext ; but Jali'ad assembled all the 
astrologers and interpreters of dreams of his realm and as soon as 
they were in the presence related to them his vision, saying, " I 
desire you to tell me the true interpretation of this." Whereupon 

The Mouse and the Cat. 35 

one of them came forward and craved the King's permission to 
speak, which being granted, he said, u Know, O King, that thy 
Wazir Shimas is nowise unable to interpret this thy dream ; but 
he shrank from troubling thy repose : wherefore he disclosed not 
unto thee the whole thereof : but, an thou suffer me to speak I 
will expose to thee that which he concealed from thee." The 
King replied, " Speak without respect for persons, O interpreter, 
and be truthful in thy speech." The interpreter said, " Know then, 
O King, that there will be born to thee a boy-child who shall 
inherit the Kingship from thee, after thy long life ; but he shall 
not order himself towards the lieges after thy fashion ; nay, he shall 
transgress thine ordinances and oppress thy subjects, and there 
shall befal him what befel the Mouse with the Cat 1 ; and I seek 
refuge with Almighty Allah 2 ! " The King asked, "But what is 
the story of the Cat and the Mouse ? "; and the interpreter answered 
"May Allah prolong the King's life! They tell the following 
tale of 


A GRIMALKIN, that is to say, a Cat, went out one night to a 
certain garden, in search of what she might devour, but found 
nothing and became weak for the excess of cold and rain that 
prevailed that night. So she sought for some device whereby to 
save herself. As she prowled about in search of prey, she espied 
a nest at the foot of a tree, and drawing near unto it, sniffed 
thereat and purred till she scented a Mouse within and went round 
about it, seeking to enter and seize the inmate. When the Mouse 
smelt the Cat, he turned his back to her and scraped up the earth 
with his forehand, to stop the nest-door against her ; whereupon 
she assumed a weakly voice and said, " Why dost thou thus, O my 
brother ? I come to seek refuge with thee, hoping that thou wilt 
take pity on me and harbour me in thy nest this night ; for I am 
weak because of the greatness of my age and the loss of my 
strength, and can hardly move. I have ventured into thy garden 

1 As the sequel shows the better title would be, " The Cat and the Mouse" as in the 
headings of the Mac. Edit, and " What befel the Cat with the Mouse," as a punishment 
for tyranny. But all three Edits, read as in the text and I have not cared to change it. 
In our European adaptations the mouse becomes a rat. 

2 So that I may not come to grief by thus daring to foretell evil things. 

3^ Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

to-night, and how many a time have I called upon death, that I 
might be at rest from this pain ! Behold, here am I at thy door, 
prostrate for cold and rain and I beseech thee, by Allah, take of 
thy charity my hand and bring me in with thee and give me 
shelter in the vestibule of thy nest ; for I am a stranger and 
wretched and 'tis said : Whoso sheltereth a stranger and a 
wretched one in his home his shelter shall be Paradise on the 
Day of Doom. And thou, O my brother, it behoveth thee to 
earn eternal reward by^ succouring me and suffering me abide 
with thee this night till the morning, when I will wend my way." 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

her permitted say. 

tofim ft toa* tje JJine f^un&relr an& Jptrst 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth 
the Cat to the Mouse, " So suffer me to night with thee this night, 
after which I will wend my way." Hearing these words the 
Mouse replied, " How shall I suffer thee enter my nest seeing 
that thou art my natural foe and thy food is of my flesh ? Indeed 
I fear lest thou false me, for that is of thy nature and there is no 
faith in thee, and the byword saith : It befitteth not to entrust a 
lecher with a fair woman nor a moneyless man with money nor 
fire with fuel. Neither doth it behove me to entrust myself to 
thee ; and 'tis said : Enmity of kind, as the enemy himself 
groweth weaker groweth stronger." The Cat made answer in the 
faintest voice, as she were in most piteous case, saying, " What 
thou advancest of admonitory instances is the truth and I deny 
not my offences against thee ; but I beseech thee to pardon that 
which is past of the enmity of kind between me and thee ; for 
'tis said : Whoso forgiveth a creature like himself, his Creator 
will forgive him his sins. 'Tis true that whilome I was thy foe, 
but here am I a suitor for thy friendship, and they say, " An thou 
wilt have thy foe become thy friend, do with him good. O my 
brother, I swear to thee by Allah and make a binding covenant 
with thee that I will hurt thee nevermore and for the best of 
reasons, to wit, that I have no power thereto ; wherefore place thy 
trust in Allah and do good and accept my oath and covenant." 
Quoth the Mouse, " How can I accept the covenant of one between 

The Mouse and the Cat. 37 

whom and me there is a rooted enmity, and whose wont it is to 
deal treacherously by me ? Were the feud between us aught but 
one of blood, this were light to me ; but it is an enmity of kind 
between souls, and it is said : Whoso trusteth himself to his foe 
is as one who thrusteth hand into a serpent's l mouth." Quoth 
the Cat, full of wrath, " My breast is strait and my soul is faint : 
indeed I am in articulo mortis and ere long I shall die at thy door 
and my blood will be on thy head, for that thou hadst it in thy 
power to save me in mine extremity : and this is my last word to 
thee." Herewith the fear of Allah Almighty overcame the Mouse 
and ruth gat hold upon his heart and he said in himself, "Whoso 
would have the succour of Allah the Most High against his foe, 
let him entreat him with compassion and kindness show. I rely 
upon the Almighty in this matter and will deliver this Cat from 
this her strait and earn the divine reward for her." So he went 
forth and dragged into his nest the Cat, where she abode till she 
was rested and somewhat strengthened and restored, when she 
began to bewail her weakness and wasted strength and want of 
gossips, The Mouse entreated her in friendly guise and comforted 
her and busied himself with her service ; but she crept along till 
she got command of the issue of the nest, lest the Mouse should 
escape. So when the nest-owner would have gone out after his 
wont, he drew near the Cat ; whereupon she seized him and taking 
him in her claws, began to bite him and shake him and take him 
in her mouth and lift him up and cast him down and run after 
him and cranch him and torture him. 2 The Mouse cried out for 
help, beseeching deliverance of Allah and began to upbraid the 
Cat, saying, "Where is the covenant thou madest with me and 
where are the oaths thou swarest to me ? Is this my reward from 

1 Arab. "Af'V pi. Afa'i = 3< tS) both being derived from 0. Egypt. Hfi, a 
worm, snake. Af 'a is applied to many species of the larger ophidia, all supposed to 
be venomous, and synonymous with "Sail" (a malignant viper) in Al-Mutalammis* 
See Preston's Al-Hariri, p. 101. 

2 This apparently needless cruelty of all the feline race is a strong weapon in the 
band of the Eastern "Dahri " who holds that the world is God and is governed by its 
own laws, in opposition to the religionists believing in a Personal Deity whom, more- 
over, they style the Merciful, the Compassionate, etc. Some Christians have opined 
that cruelty came into the world with "original Sin;" but how do they account for 
the hideous waste of life and the fearful destructiveness of the fishes which certainly 
never learned anything from man? The mystery of the cruelty of things can be 
explained only by a Law without a Law-giver, 

3$ A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

thee ? I brought thee into my nest and trusted myself to thee : 
but sooth he speaketh that saith : Whoso relieth on his enemy's 
promise desireth not salvation for himself. And again : Whoso 
confideth himself to his foe deserveth his own destruction. Yet 
do I put my trust In my Creator, for He will deliver me from 
thee." Now as he was in this condition, with the Cat about to 
pounce on him and devour him, behold, up came a huntsman, 
with hunting dogs trained to the chase. One of the hounds 
passed by the mouth of the nest and hearing a great scuffling, 
thought that within was a fox tearing somewhat ; so he crept into 
the hole, to get at him, and coming upon the Cat, seized on her. 
When she found herself in the dog's clutches, she was forced to 
take thought anent saving herself and loosed the Mouse alive and 
whole without wound. Then the hound brake her neck and 
^ ra gging her forth of the hole, threw her down dead : and thus 
was exemplified the truth of the saying, "Who hath compassion 
shall at the last be compassionated. Whoso oppresseth shall pre- 
sently be oppressed." "This, then, O King," added the inter- 
preter, " is what befel the Mouse and the Cat and teacheth that 
none should break faith with those who put trust in him ; for who- 
ever doth perfidy and treason, there shall befal him the like of 
that which befel the Cat. As a man meteth, so shall it be meted 
unto him, and he who betaketh himself to good shall gain his 
eternal reward. But grieve thou not, neither let this trouble thee, 
O King, for that assuredly thy son, after his tyranny and oppres- 
sion, shall return to the goodliness of thy policy. And I would 
that yon learned man, thy Wazir Shimas, had concealed from thee 
naught in that which he expounded unto thee ; and this had been 
well-advised of him, for 'tis said : Those of the folk who most 
abound in fear are the amplest of them in knowledge and the 
most emulous of good." The King received the interpreter's 
speech with submission and gifted him and his fellows with rich 
gifts ; then, dismissing them he arose and withdrew to his own 
apartments and fell to pondering the issue of his affair. When 
night came, he went in to one of his women, who was most in 
favour with him and dearest to him of them all, and lay with 
her : and ere some four months had passed over her, the child 
stirred in her womb, whereat she rejoiced with joy exceeding and 
told the King. Quoth he, " My dream said sooth, by Allah the 
Helper ! " ; and he lodged her in the goodliest of lodgings and 

King Jalfad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. 39 

entreated her with all honour, bestowing on her store of rich gifts 
and manifold boons. Then he sent one of his pages to fetch 
his Wazir Shimas and as soon as he was in the presence told the 
Minister what had betided, rejoicing and saying, " My dream is 
come true and I have won my wish. It may be this burthen will 
be a man-child and inherit the Kingship after me ; what sayest 
thou of this, O Shimas ? " But he was silent and made no reply, 
whereupon cried the King, " What aileth thee that thou rejoicest 
not in my joy and returnest me no answer ? Doth the thing 
mislike thee, O Shimas ? " Hereat the Wazir prostrated himself 
before him and said, " O King, may Allah prolong thy life ! What 
availeth it to sit under the shade of a tree, if there issue fire there 
from, and what is the delight of one who drinketh pure wine, if he 
be choked thereby, and what doth it profit to quench one's thirst 
with sweet cool water, if one be drowned therein ? I am Allah's 
servant and thine, O King ; but there are three things 1 whereof it 
besitteth not the understanding to speak, till they be accomplished ; 
to wit, the wayfarer, till he return from his way, the man who is in 
fight, till he have overcome his foe, and the pregnant woman, till 

she have cast her burthen. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 

of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

JLofo tofjen it foas tfje Nine pjuntixtti antr Sfceconfc 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that after 
Shimas had enumerated to the King the three things whereof it 
besitteth not the understanding to speak save after they are done, 
he continued, <% For know, O King, that he, who speaketh of aught 
before its accomplishment is like the Fakir who had hung over his 
head the jar of clarified butter. 2 " " What is the story of the 
Fakir," asked the King, " and what happened to him ? " Answered 
the Wazir, " O King, they tell this tale anent 

1 The three things not to be praised before death in Southern Europe are a horse, a 
priest and a woman ; and it has become a popular saying that only fools prophesy 
before the event. 

* Arab, " Samn " = butter melted and skimmed. See vol. i. 144. 

40 A7f Laylah wa Laylah. 


A FAKIR 2 abode once with one of the nobles of a certain town, 
who made him a daily allowance of three scones and a little 
clarified butter and honey. Now such butter was dear in those 
parts and the Devotee laid all that came to him together in a jar 
he had, till he filled it and hung it up over his head for safe 
keeping. One night, as he sat on his bed staff in hand, he fell a- 
musing upon the butter and the greatness of its price and said in 
himself: Needs must I sell all this butter I have by me and buy 
with the price an ewe and take to partner therein a Fellah 3 fellow 
who hath a ram. The first year she will bear a male lamb and a 
female and the second a female and a male and these in their turn 
will bear other males and other females, nor will they give over 
bearing females and males, till they become a great matter. Then 
will I take my share and vent thereof what I will. The males I 
will sell and buy with them bulls and cows, which will also increase 
and multiply and become many; after which I will purchase such 
a piece of land and plant a garden therein and build thereon a 
mighty fine 4 palace. Moreover, I will get me robes and raiment 
and slaves and slave-girls and hold a wedding never was seen the 
like thereof. I will slaughter cattle and make rich meats and 
sweetmeats and confections and assemble all the musicians and 
mimes and mountebanks and player-folk and after providing 
flowers and perfumes and all manner sweet herbs I will bid rich 
and poor, Fakirs and Olema, captains and lords of the land, and 
whoso asketh for aught, I will cause it to be brought him ; and, I 

1 This is a mere rechauffe of the Barber's tale of his Fifth Brother (vol. i. 335). In 
addition to the authorities there cited I may mention the school reading-lesson in 
Addison's Spectator derived from Galland's version of " Alnaschar and his basket of 
Glass ;" the Persian version of the Hitopadesa or "Anwar-i-Suhayli (Lights of Canopes) 
by Husayn Va'iz; the Foolish Sachali of " Indian Fairy Tales" (Miss Stokes); the 
allusion in Rabelais to the fate of the " Shoemaker and his pitcher of milk " and the 
"Dialogues of creatures moralised" (1516), whence probably La Fontaine drew his 
fable, " La Lailiere et le Pot au lait." 

2 Arab. " Nasik," a religious, a man of Allah from Nask, devotion : somewhat like 
Salik (Dabistan iii. 251). 

3 The well-known Egyptian term for a peasant, a husbandman, extending from the 
Nile to beyond Mount Atlas. 

* This is again, I note, the slang sense of '"Azim," which in classical Arabic means 
simply great. 

The Fakir and his Jar of Butter. 41 

will make ready all manner of meat and drink and send out a 
crier to cry aloud and say, " Whoso seeketh aught, let him ask and 
get it." Lastly I will go in to my bride, after her unveiling and 
enjoy her beauty and loveliness ; and I will eat and drink and 
make merry and say to myself, " Verily, hast thou won thy wish/' 
and will rest from devotion and divine worship. Then in due time 
my wife will bear me a boy, and I shall rejoice in him and make 
banquets in his honour and rear him daintily and teach him 
philosophy and mathematics and polite letters ; l so that I shall 
make his name renowned among men and glory in him among the 
assemblies of the learned ; and I will bid him do good and he 
shall not gainsay me, and I will forbid him from lewdness and 
iniquity and exhort him to piety and the practice of righteousness ; 
and, I will bestow on him rich and goodly gifts ; and, if I see him 
obsequious in obedience, I will redouble my bounties towards him : 
but, an I see him incline to disobedience, I will come down on him 
with this staff. So saying, he raised his hand, to beat his son 
withal but the staff hit the jar of butter which overhung his head, 
and brake it ; whereupon the shards fell upon him and the butter 
ran down upon his head, his rags and his beard. So his clothes 
and bed were spoiled and he became a caution to whoso will be 
cautioned. " Wherefore, O King," added the Wazir, " it behoveth 
not a man to speak of aught ere it come to pass." Answered the 
King, " Thou sayest sooth ! Fair fall thee for a Wazir ! Verily the 
truth thou speakest and righteousness thou counsellest. Indeed, 
thy rank with me is such as thou couldst wish 2 and thou shalt 
never cease to be accepted of me." Thereupon the Wazir pros- 
trated himself before the King and wished him permanence of 
prosperity, saying," Allah prolong thy days and thy rank upraise! 
Know that I conceal from thee naught, nor in private nor in public 
aught ; thy pleasure is my pleasure, and thy displeasure my dis- 
pleasure. There is no joy for me save in thy joyance and I cannot 
sleep o' nights an thou be angered against me, for that Allah the 
Most High hath vouchsafed me all good through thy bounties to 
me ; wherefore I beseech the Almighty to guard thee with His 

1 Arab. " Adab " ; see vol. i. 132. It also implies mental discipline, the culture 
which leads to excellence, good manners and good morals ; and it is sometimes synony- 
mous with literary skill and scholarship. " Ilm al-Adab," says Haji Khalfah (Lane's 
Lex.), "is the science whereby man guards against error in the language of the Arabs 
spoken or written." 

2 i.e. I esteem thee as thou deservest. 

42 A if Laylak wa Laylah. 

angels, and to make fair thy reward whenas thou meetest Him." 
The King rejoiced in this, whereupon Shimas arose and went out 
from before him. In due time the King's wife bare a male child, 
and the messengers hastened to bear the glad tidings and to con- 
gratulate the Sovran, who rejoiced therein with joy exceeding and 
thanked all with abundant thanks, saying, " Alhamdolillah laud 
to the Lord who hath vouchsafed me a son, after I had despaired, 
for He is pitiful and ruthful to His servants." Then he wrote to 
all the lieges of his land, acquainting them with the good news 
and bidding them to his capital ; and great were the rejoicings and 
festivities in all the realm. Accordingly there came Emirs and 
Captains, Grandees and Sages, Olema and literati, scientists and 
philosophers from every quarter to the palace and all presenting 
themselves before the King, company after company, according to 
their different degrees, gave him joy, and he bestowed largesse 
upon them. Then he signed to the seven chief Wazirs, whose 
head was Shimas, to speak, each after the measure of his wisdom, 
upon the matter which concerned him the most. So the Grand 
Wazir Shimas began and sought leave of the King to speak, which 
being granted, he spake as follows. 1 " Praised be Allah who 
brought us into existence from non-existence and who favoureth 
His servants with Kings that observe justice and equity in that 
wherewith He hath invested them of rule and dominion, and who 
act righteously with that which he appointeth at their hands of 
provision for their lieges ; and most especially our Sovereign by 
whom He hath quickened the deadness of our land, with that 
which He hath conferred upon us of bounties, and hath blessed us 
of His protection with ease of life and tranquillity and fair dealing ! 
What King did ever with his folk that which this King hath done 
with us in fulfilling our needs and giving us our dues and doing us 
justice, one of other, and in abundant carefulness over us and 
redress of our wrongs ? Indeed, it is of the favour of Allah to 
the people that their King be assiduous in ordering their affairs 
and in defending them from their foes ; for the end of the enemy's 
intent is to subdue his enemy and hold him in his hand ; and 
many peoples 2 bring their sons as servants unto Kings, and they 

1 The style is intended to be worthy of th statesman. In my " Mission to Dahome " 
the reader will find many a similar scene. 

2 The Bresl. Edit, (vol viii. 22) reads " Turks " or "The Turk " in lieu of " many 

The Fishes and the Crab. 43 

become with them in the stead of slaves, to the intent that they 
may repel ill-willers from them. 1 As for us, no enemy hath 
trodden our soil in the days of this our King, by reason of this 
passing good fortune and exceeding happiness, that no describer 
may avail to describe, for indeed it is above and beyond all 
description. And verily, O King, thou art worthy of this highest 
happiness, and we are under thy safeguard and in the shadow of 
thy wings, may Allah make fair thy reward and prolong thy life ! 2 
Indeed, we have long been diligent in supplication to Allah 
Almighty that He would vouchsafe an answer to our prayers and 
continue thee to us and grant thee a virtuous son, to be the coolth 
of thine eyes : and now Allah (extolled and exalted be He !) hath 

accepted of us and replied to our petition" And Shahrazad 

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

Nofo fo&en ft foas tfie Nine f^un&rrtr antr ?)fai Nfgftt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Shimas 
the Wazir said to the King, "And now Almighty Allah hath 
accepted of us and answered our petition and brought us speedy 
relief, even as He did to the Fishes in the pond of water." The 
King asked, " And how was that, and what is the tale ? " ; and 
Shimas answered him, " Hear, O King the story of 


IN a certain place there was a piece of water, wherein dwelt a 
number of Fishes, and it befel that the pond dwindled away and 
shrank and wasted, till there remained barely enough to suffice 
them and they were nigh upon death and said, " What will become 
of us ? How shall we contrive and of whom shall we seek counsel 
for our deliverance ? " Thereupon arose one of them, who was the 
chiefest in wit and age, and cried, " There is nothing will serve us 

1 i.e. the parents. 

2 The humour of this euphuistic Wazirial speech, purposely made somewhat pompous, 
is the contrast between the unhappy Minister's praises and the result of his prognostica- 
tion. I cannot refrain from complimenting Mr. Payne upon the admirable way in which 
he has attacked and mastered all the difficulties of its abstruser passages. 

44 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

save that we seek salvation of Allah ; but let us consult the Crab 
and ask his advice : so come ye all 1 and hie we himwards and 
hear his rede for indeed he is the chiefest and wisest of us all in 
coming upon the truth." Each and every approved of the Fish's 
advice and betook themselves in a body to the Crab, whom they 
found squatted in his hole, without news or knowledge of their 
strait. So they saluted him with the salam and said, " O our lord, 
doth not our affair concern thee, who art ruler and the head of us?" 
The Crab returned their salutation, replying, " And on you be The 
Peace ! What aileth you and what d'ye want ? " So they told 
him their case and the strait wherein they were by reason of the 
wastage of the water, and that, when it should be dried up, 
destruction would betide them, adding, " Wherefore we come to 
thee, expecting thy counsel and what may bring us deliverance, 
for thou art the chiefest and the most experienced of us." The 
Crab bowed his head awhile and said, " Doubtless ye lack under- 
standing, in that ye despair of the mercy of Allah Almighty and 
His care for the provision of His creatures one and all. Know ye 
not that Allah (extolled and exalted be He !) provtdeth all His 
creatures without account and that He fore-ordained their daily 
meat ere He created aught of creation and appointed to each of 
His creatures a fixed term of life and an allotted provision, of His 
divine All might ? How then shall we burthen ourselves with con- 
cern for a thing which in His secret purpose is indite ? Wherefore 
it is my rede that ye can do naught better than to seek aid of 
Allah Almighty, and it behoveth each of us to clear his conscience 
with his Lord, both in public and private, and pray Him to succour 
us and deliver us from our difficulties ; for Allah the Most High 
disappointeth not the expectation of those who put their trust in 
Him and rejecteth not the supplications of those who prefer their 
suit to Him. When we have mended our ways, our affairs will be 
set up and all will be well with us, and when the winter cometh 
and our land is deluged, by means of a just one's prayer, He will 
not cast down the good He hath built up. So 'tis my counsel that 

1 Arab. "Halummu" plur. of " Halumma " = draw near ! The latter form is used 
by some tribes for all three numbers ; others affect a dual and a plural (as in the text). 
Preston (Al-Hariri, p. 210) derives it from Heb. dvH but the geographers of Kufah 
and Basrah (who were not etymologists) are divided about its origin. He translates 
(p. 221) " Halumma Jarran "=being the rest of the tale in continuation with this, i.e. 
in accordance with it, like our "and so forth." And in p. 271, he makes Halumma=5 
Hayya i.e. hither ! (to prayer, etc). 

The Fishes and the Crab. 45 

we take patience and await what Allah shall do with us. An 
death come to us, as is wont, we shall be at rest, and if there befat 
us aught that calleth for flight, we will flee and depart our land 
whither Allah will." 1 Answered all the fishes with one voice 
" Thou sayst sooth, O our lord : Allah requite thee for us with 
weal ! " Then each returned to his stead, and in a few days the 
Almighty vouchsafed unto them a violent rain and the place of 
the pond was rilled fuller than before. " On like wise, O King," 
continued Shimas, " we despaired of a child being born to thee, 
and now that God hath blessed us and thee with this well-omened 
son, we implore Him to render him blessed indeed and make him 
the coolth of thine eyes and a worthy successor to thee and grant 
us of him the like of that which He hath granted us of thee ; for 
Almighty Allah disappointeth not those that seek Him and it 
behoveth none to cut off hope of the mercy of his God." Then, 
rose the second Wazir and saluting the King with the salam spake, 
after his greeting was returned, as follows : " Verily, a King is not 
called a King save he give presents and do justice and rule with 
equity and show munificence and wisely govern his lieges, main- 
taining the obligatory laws and apostolic usages established among 
them and justifying them, one against other, and sparing their 
blood and warding off hurt from them ; and of his qualities should 
be that he never abide incurious of the poor and that he succour 
the highest and lowest of them and give them each the rights to 
them due, so that they all bless him and are obedient to his com- 
mand. Without doubt, a King who is after this wise of his lieges 
is beloved and gaineth of this world eminence and of the next 
honour and favour with the Creator thereof. And we, the body 
politic of thy subjects, acknowledge in thee, O King, all the 
attributes of kingship I have noted, even as it is said: The best of 
things is that the King of a people be just and equitable, their 
physician skilful and their teacher experience-full, acting according 
to his knowledge. Now we enjoy this happiness, after we had 

1 This is precisely the semi-fatalistic and wholly superstitious address which would find 
favour with Moslems of the present day : they still prefer "calling upon Hercules" to 
putting their shoulders to the wheel. Mr. Redhouse had done good work in his day but 
of late he has devoted himself, especially in the "Mesnevi," to a rapproachement between 
Al-Islam and Christianity which both would reject (see supra, vol. vii. p. 135). The 
Calvinistic predestination as shown in the term "vessel of wrath," is but a feeble 
reflection of Moslem fatalism. On this subject I shall have more to say in a future 

46 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

despaired of the birth of a son to thee, to inherit thy kingship ; 
however, Allah (extolled be His name !) hath not disappointed 
thine expectation, but hath granted thy petition, by reason of the 
goodliness of thy trust in Him and thy submission of thine affairs 
to Him, Then fair fall thy hope ! There hath betided thee that 
which betided the Crow and the Serpent." Asked the King, 
" What was that ? J '; and the Wazir answered, Hear, O King, the 
tale of 


A CROW once dwelt in a tree, he and his wife, in all delight of life, 
till they came to the time of the hatching of their young, which 
was the midsummer season, when a Serpent issued from its hole 
and crawled up the tree wriggling around the branches till it came 
to the Crows' nest, where it coiled itself up and there abode all 
the days of the summer, whilst the Crow was driven away and 
found no opportunity to clear his home nor any place wherein to 
lie. When the days of heat were past, the Serpent went away to 
its own place and quoth the Crow' to his wife* " Let us thank 
Almighty Allah, who hath preserved us and delivered us from 
this Serpent, albeit we are forbidden from increase this year. Yet 
the Lord will not cut off our hope ; so let us express our gratitude 
to Him for having vouchsafed us safety and soundness of body: 
indeed, we have none other in whom to confide, and if He will 
and we live to see the next year, He shall give us other young in 
the stead of those we have missed this year." Next summer when 
the hatching-season came round, the Serpent again sallied forth 
from its place and made for the Crows' nest : but, as it was coiling 
up a branch, a kite swooped down on it and struck claws into its 
head and tare it, whereupon it fell to the ground a-swoon, and the 
ants came out upon it and ate it." 1 So the Crow and his wife 

1 The inhabitants of temperate climates have no idea what ants can do in the tropics. 
The Kafirs of South Africa used to stake down their prisoners (among them a poor 
friend of mine) upon an ant-hill and they were eaten atom after atom in a few hours. 
The death must be the slowest form of torture ; but probably the nervous system soon 
becomes insensible. The same has happened to more than one hapless invalid, help- 
lessly bedridden, in Western Africa. I have described an invasion of ants in my 
" Zanzibar," vol. ii. 169; and have suffered from such attacks in many places between 
that and Dahomey. 

The Crow and the Serpent. 4% 

abode in peace and quiet and bred a numerous brood and thanked 1 
Allah for their safety and for the young that were born to them. 
In like manner, O King, continued the Wazir, " it behoveth us to 
thank God for that wherewith He hath favoured thee and us in 
vouchsafing us this blessed child of good omen, after despair and 
the cutting off of hope. May He make fair thy future reward 

and the issue of thine affair!" -And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Jiiofo fo&en it foa* t&* 1$im ^un&teb an* jfourtfi 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, 'that when 
the second Wazir had ended with the words, " Allah make fair 
thy future reward and the issue of thine affair ! "; the third Wazir 
presently rose and said, " Rejoice, O just King, in the assurance 
of present prosperity and future felicity ; for him, whom the deni- 
zens of Earth love, the denizens of Heaven likewise love ; and 
indeed Almighty Allah hath made affection to be thy portion 
and hath stablished it in the hearts of the people of thy kingdom ; 
wherefore to Him be thanks and praise from us and from thee, so 
He may deign increase His bounty unto thee and unto us in thee ! 
For know, O King, that man can originate naught but by command 
of Allah the Most High and that He is the Giver and all good 
which befalleth a creature hath its end and issue in Him, He 
allotteth His favours to His creatures, as it liketh Him ; to some 
he giveth gifts galore while others He doometh barely to win their 
daily bread. Some He maketh Lords and Captains, and others 
Recluse's, who abstain from the world and aspire but to Him, for 
He it is who saith : I am the Harmer with adversity and the 
Healer with prosperity. I make whole and make sick. I enrich 
and impoverish, I kill and quicken : in my hand is everything 
and unto Me all things do tend. Wherefore it behoveth all men 
to praise Him. Now, especially thou, O King, art of the fortunate, 
the pious, of whom it is said : The happiest of the just is he for 
whom Allah uniteth the weal of this world and of the next world ; 
who is content with that portion which Allah allotteth to him and 
who giveth Him thanks for that which He hath stablished. And 
indeed he that is rebellious and seeketh other than the dole which 
God hath decreed unto him and for him, favoureth the wild Ass 

48 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and the Jackal." 1 The King asked, " And what is the story of 
the twain ? "; the Wazir answered, " Hear, O King, the tale of 


r A CERTAIN Jackal was wont every day to leave his lair and fare 
forth questing his daily bread. Now one day, as he was in a certain 
mountain, behold, the day was done and he set out to return when 
he fell in with another Jackal who saw him on the tramp, and each 
began to tell his mate of the quarry he had gotten. Quoth one 
of them, " The other day I came upon a wild Ass and I was 
an-hungred, for it was three days since I had eaten ; so I rejoiced 
in this and thanked Almighty Allah for bringing him into my 
power. Then I tare out his heart and ate it and was full and 
returned to my home. That was three days ago, since which 
time I have found nothing to eat, yet am I still full of meat." 
When the other Jackal heard his fellow's story, he envied his 
fulness and said in himself, " There is no help but that I eat the 
heart of a wild Ass." So he left feeding for some days, till he became 
emaciated and nigh upon death and bestirred not himself neither 
did his endeavour to get food, but lay coiled up in his earth. And 
whilst he was thus, behold, one day there came out two hunters 
trudging in quest of quarry and started a wild Ass. They followed 
on his trail tracking him all day, till at last one of them shot at 
him a forked 2 arrow, which pierced his vitals and reached his heart 
and killed him in front of the Jackal's hole. Then the hunters 
came up and finding him dead, pulled out the shaft from his heart, 
but only the wood came away and the forked head abode in the 
Ass's belly. So they left him where he lay, expecting that others 
of the wild beasts would flock to him ; but, when it was even-tide 

1 Arab. " Sa'lab." See vol. iii. 132, where it is a fox. I render it jackal because 
that cousin of the fox figures as a carrion-eater in Hindu folk-lore, the Hitopadesa, 
Panchopakhyan, etc. This tale, I need hardly say, is a mere translation ; as is shown 
by the Kathi s.s. " Both jackal and fox are nicknamed Joseph the Scribe (Talib Yusuf) 
in the same principle that lawyers are called landsharks by sailors." (P. 65, Moorish 
Lotus Leaves, etc., by George D. Cowan and R. L. N. Johnston, London, Tinsleys, 

2 Arab. "Sahm mush'ab" not ' barbed " (at the wings) but with double front, much 
used for birding and at one time familiar in the West as in the East. And yet " barbed " 
would make the fable read much better. 

The Wild Ass and the Jackal. 49 

and nothing fell to them, they returned to their abiding-places. 
The Jackal, hearing the commotion at the mouth of his home, lay 
quiet till nightfall, when he came forth of his lair, groaning for 
weakness and hunger, and seeing the dead Ass lying at his door, 
rejoiced with joy exceeding till he was like to fly for delight and 
said, " Praised be Allah who hath won me my wish without toil ! 
Verily, I had lost hope of coming at a wild Ass or aught else ; 
and assuredly ' the Almighty hath sent him to me and drave him 
fall to my homestead." Then he sprang on the body and tearing 
open its belly, thrust in his head and with his nose rummaged 
about its entrails, till he found the heart and tearing a tid-bit 
swallowed it : but, as soon as he had so done, the forked head of 
the arrow struck deep in his gullet and he could neither get it 
down into his belly nor bring it forth of his throttle. So he made 
sure of destruction and said, " Of a truth it beseemeth not the 
creature to seek for himself aught over and above that which 
Allah hath allotted to him. Had I been content with what He 
appointed to me, I had not come to destruction." " Wherefore, 
O King," added the Wazir, " it becometh man to be content with 
whatso Allah hath distributed to him and thank Him for His 
bounties to him and cast" not off hope of his Lord. And behold, 
O King, because of the purity of thy purpose and the fair intent 
)f thy good works, Allah hath blessed thee with a son, after 
lespair : wherefore we pray the Almighty to vouchsafe him length 
>f days and abiding happiness and make him a blessed successor, 
faithful in the observance of thy covenant, after thy long life." 
Then arose the fourth Wazir and said, " Verily, an the King be a 

man of understanding, a frequenter of the gates of wisdom," 

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

Nofo fo&en ft teas tfje Nine pjun&refc anU dFiW) Nfjjt, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
fourth Wazir arose and said, " Verily an the King be a man of 
understanding, a frequenter of the gates of wisdom, versed in 
science, government and policy, and eke upright in purpose and 
just to his subjects, honouring those to whom honour is due, 

1 Arab. " la'lla," usually = haply, belike; but used here and elsewhere = forsure* 

VOL; ix: ,D 

SO A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

revering those who are dign of reverence, tempering puissance 
with using clemency whenas it behoveth, and protecting both 
governors and governed, lightening all burthens for them and 
bestowing largesse on them, sparing their blood and covering their 
shame and keeping his troth with them. Such a King, I say, is 
worthy of felicity both present and future worldly and other- 
worldly, and this is of that which protecteth him from ill-will and 
helpeth him to the stablishing of his Kingdom and the victory 
over his enemies and the winning of his wish, together with in- 
crease of Allah's bounty to him and His favouring him for his 
praise of Him and the attainment of His protection. But an the 
King be the contrary of this, he never ceaseth from misfortunes 
and calamities, he and the people of his realm ; for that his op- 
pression embraceth both stranger far and kinsman near and there 
cometh to pass with him that which befel the unjust King with 
the pilgrim Prince." King Jali'ad asked, "And how was that?" 
and the Wazir answered, " Hear, O King, the tale of 


THERE was once in Mauritania-land 1 a King who exceeded in his 
rule, a tyrant, violent and over severe, who had no respect for the 
welfare or protection of his lieges nor of those who entered his 
realm ; and from everyone who came within his Kingdom his 
officers took four-fifths of his monies, leaving him one-fifth and 
no more. Now Allah Almighty decreed that he should have a 
son, who was fortunate and God-favoured and seeing the pomps 
and vanities of this world to be transient as they are unrighteous, 
renounced them in his youth and rejected the world and that 
which is therein and fared forth serving the Most High, wandering 
pilgrim-wise over wolds and Wastes and bytimes entering towns 
and cities. One day, he came to his father's capital and the 
guards laid hands on him and searched him but found naught 

1 Arab. " Maghrib " (or in full Maghrib al-Aks) lit. = the Land of the setting sun for 
vrhose relation to "Mauritania 1 * see vol. vii. 220. It is almost synonymous with 
"Al-Gharb" = the West whence Portugal borrowed the two Algarves, one being in 
Southern Europe and the other over the straits about Tangier-Ceuta ; fronting Spanish 
Trafalgar, i.e. Taraf al-Gharb, the edge of the West. I have noted (Pilgrimage i. 9) 
the late Captain Peel's mis-translation " Cape of Laurels " (Al-Ghar). 

The Unjust King and the Pilgrim Prince. 5 1 

upon him save two gowns, one new and the other old. 1 So they 
stripped the new one from him and left him the old, after they 
had entreated him with contumely and contempt ; whereat he 
complained and said, "Woe to you, O ye oppressors! I am a 
poor man and a pilgrim, 2 and what shall this gown by any means 
profit you ? Except ye restore it to me, I will go to the King and 
make complaint to him of you." They replied, "We act thus 
by the King's command : so do what seemeth good to thee." 
Accordingly he betook himself to the King's palace and would 
have entered; but the chamberlains denied him admittance, and 
he turned away, saying in himself, "There is nothing for me 
except to watch till he cometh out and complain to him of my 
case and that which hath befallen me." And whilst he waited, 
behold, he heard one of the guards announce the King's faring 
forth ; whereupon he crept up, little by little, till he stood before 
the gate ; and presently when the King came out, he threw him- 
self in his way and after blessing him and wishing him weal, he 
made his complaint to him informing him how scurvily he had 
been entreated by the gatekeepers. Lastly he gave him to know 
that he was a man of the people of Allah 3 who had rejected the 
world seeking acceptance of Allah and who went wandering over 
earth and entering every city and hamlet, whilst all the folk he 
met gave him alms according to their competence. " I entered 
this thy city " (continued he), " hoping that the folk would deal 
kindly and graciously with me as with others of my condition 4 ; 
but thy followers stopped me and stripped me of one of my gowns 
and loaded me with blows. Wherefore do thou look into my case 
and take me by the hand and get me back my gown and I will 
not abide in thy city an hour. Quoth the unjust King, " Who 
directed thee to enter this city, unknowing the custom of its 
King ? "; and quoth the pilgrim, " Give me back my gown and do 
with me what thou wilt." Now when the King heard this, his 

1 Even the poorest of Moslem wanderers tries to bear with him a new suit of clothes 
for keeping the two festivals and Friday service in the Mosque. See Pilgrimage i. 235 ; 
iii. 257, etc. 

* Arab. "Sayih" lit. a wanderer, subaudi for religious and ascetic objects; and not 
to be confounded with the " pilgrim " proper. 

8 i.e. a Religious, a wandering beggar. 

* This was the custom of the whole Moslem world and still is where uncorrupted by 
Christian uncharity and contempt for all ' men of God " save its own. But the change 
in such places as Egypt is complete and irrevocable. Even in 1852 my Dervish's frock 
brought me nothing but contempt in Alexandria and Cairo. 

$2 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

temper changed for the worse and he said, " O fool, 1 we stripped 
thee of thy gown, so thou mightest humble thyself to us ; but 
since thou makest this clamour I will strip thy soul from thee/' 
Then he commanded to cast him into gaol, where he began to 
repent of having answered the King and reproached himself for 
not having left him the gown and saved his life. When it was the 
middle of the night, he rose to His feet and prayed long and 
prayerfully, saying, u O Allah, Thou art the Righteous Judge ; 
Thou knowest my case and that which hath befallen me with this 
tyrannical King, and I, Thine oppressed servant, beseech Thee, 
of the abundance of Thy mercy, to deliver me from the hand of 
this unjust ruler and send down on him Thy vengeance; for Thou 
art not unmindful of the unright of every oppressor. Wherefore, 
if Thou know that he hath wronged me, loose on him Thy ven- 
geance this night and send down on him Thy punishment ; for 
Thy rule is just and Thou art the Helper of every mourner, O 
Thou to whom belong the power and the glory to the end of 
time ! " When the gaoler heard the prayer of the poor prisoner 
he trembled in every limb, and behold, a fire suddenly broke out 
in the King's palace and consumed it and all that were therein, 
even to the door of the prison, 2 and none was spared but the 
gaoler and the pilgrim. Now when the gaoler saw this, he knew 
that it had not befallen save because of the pilgrim's prayer ; so 
he loosed him and fleeing with him forth of the burning, betook 
himself, he and the King's son, to another city. So was the 
unjust King consumed, he and all his city, by reason of his in- 
justice, and he lost the goods both of this world and the next 
world. " As for us, O auspicious King" continued the Wazir, 
" we neither lie down nor rise up without praying for thee and 
thanking Allah the Most High for His grace in giving thee to us, 
tranquil in reliance on thy justice and the excellence of thy 
governance ; and sore indeed was our care for thy lack of a son 
to inherit thy kingdom, fearing lest after thee there betide us a 
King unlike thee. But now the Almighty hath bestowed His 
favours upon us and done away our concern and brought us glad- 
ness in the birth of this blessed child ; wherefore we beseech the 

1 Arab " Ya jahil," lit. =O ignorant. The popular word is Ahmak which, however, 
in the West means a maniac, a madman, a San ton ; " Bohli " being = a fool. 

2 The prison according to the practice of the East being in the palace : so the 
Moorish " Kasbah," which lodges the Governor and his guard, always contains the jafl. 

The Crows and the Hawk. 53 

Lord to make him a worthy successor to thee and endow him 
with glory and felicity enduring and good abiding." Then rose 

the fifth Wazir and said, "Blessed be the Most High, And 

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

Nofo fofien ft toas t&e Nine ^untafc anfc >txt|) Xig&t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
fifth Wazir said, " Blessed be the Most High, Giver of all good 
gifts and graces the most precious ! But to continue : we are well 
assured that Allah favoureth whoso are thankful to Him and 
mindful of His faith ; and thou, O auspicious King, art far-famed 
for these illustrious virtues and for justice and equitable dealing 
between subject and subject and in that which is acceptable to 
Allah Almighty. By reason of this hath the Lord exalted thy 
dignity and prospered thy days and bestowed on thee the good 
gift of this august child, after despair, wherefrom there hath betided 
us gladness abiding and joys which may not be cut off ; for we 
before this were in exceeding cark and passing care, because of thy 
lack of issue, and full of concern bethinking us of all thy justice 
and gentle dealing with us and fearful lest Allah decree death to* 
thee and there be none to succeed thee and inherit the kingdoms 
after thee, and so we be divided in our counsels and dissensions 
arise between us and there befal us what befel the Crows*" Asked 
the King, " And what befel the Crows ? "; and the Wazir answered 
saying, " Hear O auspicious King, the tale of 


THERE was once, in a certain desert, a spacious Wady, full of rills 
and trees and fruits and birds singing the praises of Allah the One 
of All-might, Creator of day and night ; and among them was a 
troop of Crows, which led the happiest of lives. Now they were 
under the sway and government of a Crow who ruled them with 
mildness and benignity, so that they were with him in peace and 
contentment; and by reason of their wisely ordering their affairs, 
none of the other birds could avail against them, Presently it 
chanced that there befel their chief the doom irrevocably appointed 

54 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

to all creatures and he departed life> ; whereupon the others 
mourned for him with sore mourning, and what added to their grief 
was that there abided not amongst them like him one who should 
fill his place. So they all assembled and took counsel together 
concerning whom it befitted for his goodness and piety to set over 
them : and a party of them choose one Crow, saying, "It 
beseemeth that this be King over us ;" whilst others objected to 
him and would none of him ; and thus there arose division and 
dissension amidst them and the strife of excitement waxed hot 
between them. At last they agreed amongst themselves and con- 
sented to sleep the night upon it and that none should go forth at 
dawn next day to seek his living, but that all must wait till high 
morning, when they should gather together all in one place. 
" Then/' said they," we will all take flight at once and whichsoever 
shall soar above the rest in his flying, he shall be accepted of us as 
ruler and be made King over us." The fancy pleased them ; so 
they made covenant together and did as they had agreed and took 
flight all, but each of them deemed himself higher than his fellow ; 
wherefore quoth this one, - ( I am highest," and that, " Nay ; that 
am I." Then said the lowest of them, " Look up, all of you, and 
whomsoever ye find the highest of you, let him be your chief.'* So 
they raised their eyes and seeing the Hawk soaring over them, said 
each to other, " We agreed that which bird soever should be the 
highest of us we will make king over us, and behold, the Hawk is 
the highest of us : what say ye to him ? " And they all cried out, 
11 We accept of him." Accordingly they summoned the Hawk and 
said to him, " O Father of Good, 2 we have chosen thee ruler over 
us, that thou mayst look into our affair." The Hawk consented, 
saying, " Inshallah, ye shall win of me abounding weal," So they 
rejoiced and made him their King. But after awhile, he fell to 
taking a company of them every day and betaking himself with 
them afar off to one of the caves, where he struck them down and 
eating their eyes and brains, threw their bodies into the river. 
And he ceased not doing on this wise, it being his intent to destroy 
them all till, seeing their number daily diminishing, the Crows, 
flocked to him and said, " O our King, we complain to thee because 

1 Arab. " Tuwuffiya," lit.= was received (into the grace of God), an euphemistic and 
more polite term than mata " = he died. The latter term is avoided by the Founder 
of Christianity ; and our Spiritualists now say "passed away to a higher life,'* a phrase 
embodying a theory which, to say the least, is " not proven.'* 

* Arab. " Yd Aba al-Khayr " = our my good lord, sir, fellow, ete. 

The Crows and the Hawk. 55 

from the date we made thee Sovran and ruler over us, we are in the 
sorriest case and every day a company of iis is missing and we 
know not the reason of this, more by token that the most part 
thereof are the high in rank and of those in attendance on thee. 
We must now look after our own safety/' Thereupon the Hawk 
waxed wroth with them and said to them, "Verily, ye are the 
murtherers, and ye forestall me with accusation ! " So saying, he 
pounced upon them and tearing to pieces half a score of their 
chiefs in front of the rest, threatened them and drave them out 
sorely cuffed and beaten, from before him. Hereat they repented 
them of that which they had done and said, " We have known no 
good since the death of our first King especially in the deed of this 
stranger in kind ; but we deserve our sufferings even had he 
destroyed us one by one to the last of us, and there is exemplified 
in us the saying of him that saith, " Whoso submitteth him not to 
the rule of his own folk, the foe hath dominion over him, of his 
folly." And now there is nothing for it but to flee for our lives, 
else shall we perish." So they took flight and dispersed to various 
places. "And we also, O King," continued the Wazir, "feared 
lest the like of this befal us and there become ruler over us a 
King other than thyself ; but Allah hath vouchsafed us this boon 
and hath sent us this blessed child, and now we are assured of 
peace and union and security and prosperity in our Mother-land. 
So lauded be Almighty Allah and to Him be praise and thanks 
and goodly gratitude ! And may He bless the King and us all his 
subjects and vouchsafe unto us and him the acme of felicity and 
make his life-tide happy and his endeavour constant ! " Then 
arose the sixth Wazir and said, " Allah favour thee with all felicity, 
O King, in this world and in the next world ! ' Verily, the ancients 
have left us this saying : Whoso prayeth and fasteth and giveth 
parents their due and is just in his rule meeteth his Lord and He 
is well pleased with him. Thou hast been set over us and hast 
ruled us justly and thine every step in this hath been blessed ; 
wherefore we beseech Allah Almighty to make great thy reward 
eternal and requite thee thy beneficence. I have heard what this 
wise man hath said respecting our fear for the loss of our pros- 
perity, by reason of the death of the King or the advent of another 
who should not be his parallel, and how after him dissensions would 
be rife among us and calamity betide from our division and how it 
behoved us therefore to be instant in prayer to Allah the Most 
High, so haply He might vouchsafe the King a happy son, to 

56" A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

inherit the kingship after him. But, after all, the issue of tha 
which man desireth of mundane goods and wherefor he lusteth is 
unknown to him and consequently it behoveth a mortal to ask not 
of his Lord a thing whose end he wotteth not ; for that haply the 
hurt of that thing is nearer to him than its gain and his destruction 
may be in that he seeketh and there may befal him what befel the 
Serpent-charmer, his wife and children and the folk of his house. 
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 
her permitted say. 

Nofo fo&m it foa* tf>e Nine ^un&tt& an* &*bcnt&. 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
sixth Wazir said, " It behoveth not a man to ask of his Lord aught 
whereof he ignoreth the issue for that haply the hurt of that thing 
may be nearer than its gain, his destruction may be in that he 
seeketh and there may befal him what befel the Serpent-charmer, 
his children, his wife and his household," the King asked, 
" What was that ? " ; and the Wazir answered, ' Hear, O King the 
tale of 


THERE was once a man, a Serpent-charmer, 1 who used to train 
serpents, and this was his trade ; and he had a great basket, 2 
wherein were three snakes but the people of his house knew this 
not. Every day he used to go round with this pannier about the 
town gaining his living and that of his family by showing the 
snakes, and at eventide he returned to his house and clapped them 
back into the basket privily. This lasted a long while ; but it 
chanced one day, when he came home, as was his wont, his wife asked 

1 Arab. " Hwi " from " Hayyah," a serpent. See vol. iii. 145. Most of the Egyp- 
tian snake-charmers are Gypsies, but they do not like to be told of their origin. At 
Baroda in Guzerat I took lessons in snake-catching, but found the sport too danger- 
ous ; when the animal flies, the tail is caught by the left hand and the right is slipped up 
to the neck, a delicate process, as a few inches too far or not far enough would be fol- 
lowed by certain death in catching a Cobra. At last certain of my messmates killed one 
of the captives and the snake-charmer would have no more to do with me. 

2 Arab. " Sallah," also Pers., a basket of wickerwork. This article is everywhere 
used for lodging snakes from Egypt to Morocco. 

The Serpent Charmer and his Wife. 57 

him, saying, " What is in this pannier ? " ; and he replied, " What 
wouldest thou with it ? Is not provision plentiful with you ? Be thou 
content with that which Allah hath allotted to thee and ask not of 
aught else." With this the woman held her peace ; but she said 
in herself, " There is no help but that I search this basket and 
know what is there." So she egged on her children and enjoined 
them to ask him of the pannier and importune him with their 
questions, till he should tell them what was therein. They pre- 
sently concluded that it contained something to eat and sought 
every day of their father that he should show them what was 
therein ; and he still put them off with pleasant pretences and 
forbade them from asking this. On such wise they abode awhile, 
the wife and mother still persisting in her quest till they agreed 
with her that they would neither eat meat nor drain drink with 
their father, till he granted them their prayer and opened the 
basket to them. One night, behold, the Serpent-charmer came 
home with great plenty of meat and drink and took his seat 
calling them to eat with him : but they refused his company and 
showed him anger ; whereupon he began to coax them with fair 
words, saying, " Lookye, tell me what you would have, that I may 
bring it you, be it meat or drink or raiment." Answered they, 
" O our father, we want nothing of thee but that thou open this 
pannier that we may see what is therein : else we will slay our- 
selves." He rejoined, " O my children, there is nothing good for 
you therein and indeed the opening of it will be harmful to you." 
Hereat they redoubled in rage for all he could say, which when he 
saw, he began to scold them and threaten them with beating, 
except they returned from such condition ; but they only increased 
in anger and persistence in asking, till at last he waxed wroth and 
took a staff to beat them, and they fled from before him within 
the house. Now the basket was present and the Serpent-charmer 
had not hidden it anywhere ; so his wife left him occupied with 
the children and opened the pannier in haste, that she might see 
what was therein. Thereupon behold, the serpents came out and 
first struck their fangs into her and killed her ; then they hied, 
round about the house and slew all, great and small, who were 
therein ; except the Serpent-charmer, who left the place and went 
his way. " If then, O auspicious King," continued the Wazir, 
" thou consider this, thou wilt be convinced that it is not for a 
man to desire aught save that which God the Great refuseth not 
to him ; nay, he should be content with what He willeth. And 

58 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

thou, O King, for the overflowing of thy wisdom and the excellence 
of thine understanding, Allah hath cooled thine eyes with the 
advent of this thy son, after despair, and hath comforted thy heart ; 
wherefore we pray the Almighty to make him of the just succes- 
sors acceptable to Himself and to his subjects/' Then rose the 
seventh Wazir and said, " O King, I know and certify all that my 
brethren, these Ministers wise and learned, have said in the pre- 
sence, praising thy justice and the goodness of thy policy and 
proving how thou art distinguished in this from all Kings other 
than thyself ; wherefore they gave thee the preference over them. 
Indeed, this be of that which is incumbent on us, O King, and I 
say : Praised be Allah in that He hath guerdoned thee with His 
gifts and vouchsafed thee of His mercy, the welfare of the realm ; 
and hath succoured thee and ourselves, on condition that we in- 
crease in gratitude to Him ; and all this no otherwise than by 
thine existence! What while thou remainest amongst us, we 
fear not oppression neither dread unright, nor can any take long- 
handed advantage of our weakness ! and indeed it is said, The 
greatest good of a people is a just King and their greatest ill an 
unjust King ; and again, Better dwell with rending lions than with 
a tyrannous Sultan. So praised be Almighty Allah with eternal 
praise for that He hath blessed us with thy life and vouchsafed 
thee this blessed child, whenas thou wast stricken in years and 
hadst despaired of issue ! For the goodliest of the gifts in this 
world is a virtuous sire, and it is said, Whoso hath no progeny his 
life is without result and he leaveth no memory. As for thee, 
because of the righteousness of thy justice and thy pious reliance 
on Allah the Most High, thou hast been vouchsafed this happy 
son ; yea, this blessed ] child cometh as a gift from the Most High 
Lord to us and to thee, for the excellence of thy governance and 
the goodliness of thy long-sufferance ; and in this thou hast fared 
even as fared the Spider and the Wind." Asked the King, 

" And what is the story of the Spider and the Wind ? " And 

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

1 Arab. " Mubirak." It is a favourite name for a slave in Morocco ; the slave-girl 
being called Mubarakah ; and the proverb being, " Blessed is the household which hatk 
neither M'bark nor M'barkah " (as they contract the word*). 

The Spider and the Wind. 

Nofo fo&en ft foas (fje Nine f^untoreUi ana igf)t!) Kffifjt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the King asked, "And what is the story of the twain ? " ; the Wazir 
answered, " Give ear, O King, to the tale of 


A SPIDER once attached herself to a high gate l and a retired 
and span her web there and dwelt therein in peace, giving thanks 
to the Almighty, who had made this dwelling-place easy to her 
and had set her in safety from noxious reptiles. On this wise she 
abode a long while, still giving thanks to Allah for her ease and 
regular supply of daily bread, till her Creator bethought Him to 
try her and make essay of her gratitude and patience. So he 
sent upon her a strong east Wind, which carried her away, web 
and all, and cast her into the main. The waves washed her ashore 
and she thanked the Lord for safety and began to upbraid the 
Wind, saying, " O Wind, why hast thou dealt thus with me and 
what good hast thou gotten by bearing me hither from my abiding- 
place, where indeed I was in safety, secure in my home on the top 
of that gate ? " Replied the Wind, saying, " O Spider, hast thou 
not learnt that this world is a house of calamities ; and, say me, 
who can boast of lasting happiness that such portion shall be 
thine? Wottest thou not that Allah tempteth His creatures in 
order to learn by trial what may be their powers of patience ? 
How, then, doth it beset thee to upbraid me, thou who hast been 
saved by me from the vasty deep ? " " Thy words are true, O 
Wind," replied the Spider, " yet not the less do I desire to escape 
from this stranger land into which thy violence hath cast me." 
The Wind rejoined, " Cease thy blaming ; for right soon I wiM 
bear thee back and replace thee in thy place, as thou wast afore- 
time." So the Spider waited patiently, till the north-east Wind 
left blowing and there arose a south-west Wind, which gently 
caught her up and flew with her towards her dwelling-place ; and 

1 The Bresl. Edit. (viii. 48) instead of the Gate (Bab) gives a Bddhanj = a Ventila- 
tor ; for which latter rendering see vol. i. 257. The spider's web is Koranic (Ixxxi. 40) 
Verily frailest of all houses is the house of the spider.*' 

60 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

when she came to her abode, she knew it and clung to it. " And 
we," continued the Wazir, " beseech Allah (who hath rewarded 
the King for his singleness of heart and patience and hath taken 
pity on his subjects and blessed them with His favour/ and 'hath 
vouchsafed the King this son in his old age, after he had despaired 
of issue and removed him not from the world, till He had blessed 
him with coolth of eyes and bestowed on him what He hath 
bestowed of Kingship and Empire !) to vouchsafe unto thy son 
that which He hath vouchsafed unto thee of dominion and 
Sultanship and glory! Amen." Then said the King, " Praised 
be Allah over all praise and thanks be to Him over all thanks ! 
There is no god but He, the Creator of all things, by the light of 
whose signs we know the glory of His greatness and who giveth 
kingship and command over his own country to whom He willeth 
of His servants ! He chooseth of them whomso He please to 
make him His viceroy and viceregent over His creatures and 
commandeth him to just and equitable dealing with them and 
the maintenance of religious laws and practices and right conduct 
and constancy in ordering their affairs to that which is most 
acceptable to Him and most grateful to them. Whoso doth thus 
and obeyeth the commandment of his Lord, his desire attaineth 
and the orders of his God maintaineth ; so Providence preserveth 
him from the perils of the present world and maketh ample his 
recompense in the future world ; for indeed He neglecteth not the 
reward of the righteous. And whoso doth otherwise than as 
Allah biddeth him sinneth mortal sin and disobeyeth his Lord, 
preferring his mundane to his supra-mundane weal. He hath no 
trace in this world and in the next no portion : for Allah spareth 
not the unjust and the mischievous, nor doth He neglect any of 
His servants. These our Wazirs have set forth how, by reason of 
our just dealing with them and our wise governance of affairs, 
Allah hath vouchsafed us and them His grace, for which it 
behoveth us to thank Him, because of the great abundance of 
His mercies : each of them hath also spoken that wherewith the 
Almighty inspired Him concerning this matter, and they have 
vied one with another in rendering thanks to the Most High Lord 
and praising Him for His favours and bounties. I also render 
thanks to Allah for that I am but a slave commanded ; my heart 
is in His hand and my tongue in His subjection, accepting that 
which He adjudgeth to me and to them, come what may thereof. 
Each one of them hath said what passed through his mind on the 

King Jalfad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. 6 1 

subject of this boy and hath set forth that which was of the 
renewal of divine favour to us, after my years had reached the 
term when confidence faileth and despair assaileth. So praised 
be Allah who hath saved us from disappointment and from the 
alternation of rulers, like to the alternation of night and day! 
For verily, this was a great boon both to them and to us ; where- 
fore we praise Almighty Allah who hath given a ready answer to 
our prayer and hath blessed us with this boy and set him in high 
place, as the inheritor of the kingship. And we entreat Him, of 
His bounty and clemency, to make him, happy in his actions, 
prone to pious works, so he may become a King and a Sultan 
governing his people with justice and equity, guarding them from 
perilous error and frowardness, of His grace, goodness and 
generosity ! " When the King had made an end of his speech, 
the sages and Olema rose and prostrated themselves before Allah 
and thanked the King ; after which they kissed his hands and 
departed, each to his own house, whilst Jali'ad withdrew into his 
palace, where, he looked upon the new-born and offered up 
prayers for him and named him Wird Khdn. 1 The boy grew up 
till he attained the age of twelve, 2 when the King being minded 
to have him taught the arts and sciences, bade build him a palace 
amiddlemost the city, wherein were three hundred and threescore 
rooms, 3 and lodged him therein. Then he assigned him three 
wise men of the Olema and bade them not be lax in teaching him 
day and night and look that there was no kind of learning but 
they instruct him therein, so he might become versed in all 
knowledge. He also commanded them to sit with him one day 
in each of the rooms by turn and write on the door thereof that 
which they had taught him therein of various kinds of lore and 
report to himself, every seven days, whatso instructions they had 
imparted to him. So they went in to the Prince and stinted not 
from educating him day nor night, nor withheld from him aught of 
that they knew ; and presently there appeared in him readiness to 
receive instruction such as none had shown before him. Every 
seventh day his governors reported to the King what his son had 

1 Prob. from the Persian Wird = a pupil, a disciple. 

4 And yet, as the next page shows the youth's education was complete in his twelftfc 
year. But as all three texts agree, I do not venture upon changing the number to six 
or seven, the age at which royal education outside the Harem usually begins. 

3 i.e. One for each day in the Moslem year. For these object-lessons, somewhat in 
Kinder-garten style, see the Book of Sindibad or The Malice of Women (vol. vi. 126). 

62 A If Laylah wa Lay/ah. 

learnt and mastered, whereby Jali'ad became proficient in goodly 
learning and fair culture , and the Olema said to him, " Never 
saw we one so richly gifted with understanding as is this boy : 
Allah bless thee in him and give thee joy of his life ! " When the 
Prince had completed his twelfth year, he knew the better part of 
every science and excelled ail the Olema and sages of his day: 
wherefore his governors brought him to his sire and said to him, 
" Allah gladden thine eyes, O King, with this auspicious youth ! 
We bring him to thee, after he hath learnt all manner knowledge, 
and there is not one of the learned men of the time nor a scientist 
who hath attained to that whereto he hath attained of science." 
The King rejoiced in this with joy exceeding and thanking the 
Almighty prostrated himself in gratitude before Allah (to whom 
belong Majesty and Might!), saying, "Laud be to the Lord for His 
mercies incalculable ! " Then he called his Chief Wazir and said 
to him, " Know, O Shimas, that the governors of my son are come 
to tell me that he hath mastered every kind of knowledge and 
there is nothing but they have instructed him therein, so that he 
surpasseth in this all who forewent him. What sayst thou, O 
Shimas?" Hereat the Minister prostrated himself before Allah 
(to whom belong Might and Majesty !) and kissed the King's 
hand, saying, " Loath is the ruby-stone, albe it be bedded in the 
hardest rock on hill, to do aught but shine as a lamp, and this thy 
son is such a gem ; his tender age hath not hindered him from 
becoming a sage and Alhamdolillah praised be Allah for that 
which He deigned bestow on him ! But to-morrow I will call an 
assembly of the flower of the Emirs and men of learning and 
examine the Prince and cause him speak forth that which is with 

him in their presence, Inshallah ! " And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo tofjen it foas ifjc Nine ffcjun&rrti ant) Ninti) 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the King Jali'ad heard the words of his Wazir Shimas, he com- 
manded the attendance of the keenest-witted * of the Olema and 
most accomplished of the learned and sages of his dominions, and 

1 Arab. "Jahabizah " plur. of "Jahbiz "= acute, intelligent (from the Pers. Kahbad 
or Kihbad?). 

King fatfad of Hind and his Wazir Shintas. 63 

they all presented themselves on the morrow at the door of the 
palace, whereupon the King bade, admit them. Then entered 
Shimas and kissed the hands of the Prince, who rose and 
prostrated himself to the Minister : but Shimas said, " It 
behoveth not the lion-whelp to prostrate himself to any of the 
wild beasts, nor besitteth it that Light prostrate itself to shade/' 
Quoth the Prince, " Whenas the lion-whelp seeth the leopard, 1 he 
riseth up to him and prostrateth himself before" him, because of 
his wisdom, and Light prostrateth itself to shade for the purpose 
of disclosing that which is therewithin." Quoth Shimas, " True, 
O my lord ; but I would have thee answer me anent whatso I shall 
ask thee, by leave of His Highness and his lieges." And the 
youth said, " And I, with permission of my sire, will answer thee." 
So Shimas began and said, " Tell me what is the Eternal, the 
Absolute, and what are the two manifestations 2 thereof and 
whether of the two is the abiding one ? " Answered the Prince, 
" Allah (to whom belong Might and Majesty ! ) is the Eternal, the 
Absolute ; for that He is Alpha, without beginning, and Omega 
without end. Now his two manifestations are this world and the 
next ? and the abiding one of the two is the world to come." 
(<) " Thou sayst truly and I approve thy reply : but I would have 
thee tell me, how knowest thou that one of Allah's manifestations 
is this world and the other the world to come ? " " I know this 
because this world was created from nothingness and had not its 
being from any existing thing ; wherefore its affair is referable to 
the first essence. Moreover, it is a commodity swift of ceasing, 
the works whereof call for requital of action and this postulateth 
the reproduction 3 of whatso passeth away : so the next world is 
the second manifestation/' Q) 'Now inform me how knowest 
thou that the world to come is the abiding one of the two 
existences ? " " Because it is the house of requital for deeds done 
in this world prepared by the Eternal sans surcease." (<) " Who 

1 Arab. "Nimr" in the Bresl. Edit. viii. 58. The Mac. Edit, suggests that the 
leopard is the lion's Wazir. 

3 Arab. "Kaun" lit. = Being, existence. Tr^butien (iii. 20), has it, " Qu'est-ce que 
1'etre (God), ^existence (Creation), 1'etre dans Pexistence (the world), et la duree de 
1'etre dans 1'existence (the other world). 

3 i.e. for the purpose of requital. All the above is orthodox Moslem doctrine, which 
utterly ignores the dictum " ex nihilo nihil fit ; " and which would look upon Creation 
by Law (Darwinism) as opposed to Creation by miracle (e.g. the Mosaic cosmogony) 
as rank blasphemy. On the other hand the Eternity of Matter and its transcendental 
essence are tenets held by a host of Gnostics, philosophers and Eastern Agnostics. 

64 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

are the people of this world most to be praised for their practice ? " 
" Those who prefer their weal in the world to come before their 
weal in this world." Q) " And who is he that preferreth his 
future to his present welfare ? " " He who knoweth that he 
dwelleth in a perishing house, that he was created but to vade 
away and that, after vading away, he will be called to account ; 
and indeed, were there in this world one living and abiding for 
ever, he would not prefer it to the next world." (<) Can the 
future life subsist permanently without the present ? " " He who 
hath no present life hath no future life : and indeed I liken this 
world and its folk and the goal to which they fare with certain 
workmen, for whom an Emir buildeth a narrow house and 
lodgeth them therein, commanding each of them to do a certain 
task and assigning to him a set term and appointing one to act 
as steward over them. Whoso doeth the work appointed unto 
him, the steward bringeth him forth of that straitness ; but 
whoso doeth it not within the stablished term is punished. After 
awhile, behold, they find honey exuding from the chinks of the 
house, 1 and when they have -eaten thereof and tasted its sweetness 
of savour, they slacken in their ordered task and cast it behind 
their backs. So they patiently suffer the straitness and distress 
wherein they are, with what they know of the future punishment 
whereto they are fast wending, and are content with this worthless 
and easily won sweetness : and the Steward leaveth not to fetch 
every one of them forth of the house, for ill or good, when his 
appointed period shall have come. Now we know the world to 
be a dwelling wherein all eyes are dazed, and that each of its 
folk hath his set term ; and he who findeth the little sweetness 
that is in the world and busieth himself therewith is of the number 
of the lost, since he preferreth the things of this world to the 
things of the next world : but whoso payeth no heed to this poor 
sweetness and preferreth the things of the coming world to those 
of this world, is of those who are saved." (<) " I have heard 
what thou sayest of this world and the next and I accept thine 
answer ; but I see they are as two placed in authority over man ; 
needs must he content them both, and they are contrary one to 
other. So, if the creature set himself to seek his livelihood, it is 
harmful to his soul in the future : and if he devote himself to 

1 This is a Moslem lieu commun ; usually man is likened to one suspended in a 
bottomless well by a thin rope at which a rodent is continually gnawing and who amuse* 
himself in licking a few drops of honey left by bees on the revetemenU 

The Two Kings. 65 

the next world, it is hurtful to his body ; and there Is no way 
for him of pleasing these two contraries at once."" Indeed, the 
quest of one's worldly livelihood with pious intent and on lawful 
wise is a viaticum for the quest of the goods of the world to come, 
if a man spend a part of his days in seeking his livelihood in 
this world, for the sustenance of his body, and devote the rest of 
his day to seeking the goods of the next world, for the repose of 
his soul and the warding off of hurt therefrom ; and indeed I see 
this world and the other world as they were two Kings, a just and 
an unjust." Asked Shimas, "How so?" and the youth began 
the tale of 


THERE were once two Kings, a just and an unjust ; and this one 
had a land abounding in trees and fruits and herbs ; but he let 
no merchant pass without robbing him of his monies and his 
merchandise, and the traders endured this with patience, by 
reason of their profit from the fatness of the earth in the 
means of life and its pleasantness, more by token that it was 
renowned for its richness in precious stones and gems. Now 
the just King, who loved jewels, heard of this land and sent one 
of his subjects thither, giving him much specie and bidding him 
pass with it into the other's realm and buy jewels therefrom. 
So he went thither ; and, it being told to the unjust King that 
a merchant was come to his kingdom with much money to buy 
jewels withal, he sent for him to the presence and said to him, 
" Who art thou and whence comest thou and who brought thee 
thither and what is thy errand ? " Quoth the merchant, " I am 
of such and such a region, and the King of that land gave me 
money and bade me buy therewith jewels from this country ; 
so I obeyed his bidding and came." Cried the unjust King, 
*' Out on thee ! Knowest thou not my fashion of dealing with 
the people of my realm and how each day I take their monies ? 
How then comest thou to my country ? And behold, thou hast 
been a sojourner here since such a time ! " Answered the trader, 
" The money is not mine, not a mite of it ; nay, 'tis a trust in 
my hands, till I bring its equivalent to its owner." But the 
King said, " I will not let thee take thy livelihood of my land 
or go out therefrom, except thou ransom thyself with this money 

66 A If Laylah wa Lay la k. 

all of it." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo fofjen (t foas tfje Nfn* f^untirft anfo nttf) Nffi!)t f 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
unjust Ruler said to the trader who came to buy jewels from 
his country, " 'Tis not possible for thee to take thy livelihood of 
my land except thou ransom thy life with this money, all of it ; 
else shalt thou die." So the man said in himself, " I am fallen 
between two Kings, and I know that the oppression of this ruler 
embraceth all who abide in his dominions : and if I satisfy him 
not, I shall lose both life and money (whereof is no doubt) and 
shall fail of my errand ; whilst, on the other hand, if I give him 
all the gold, it will most assuredly prove my ruin with its owner, 
the other King : wherefore no device will serve me but that I 
give this one a trifling part thereof and content him therewith 
and avert from myself and from the money perdition. Thus shall 
I get my livelihood of the fatness of this land, till I buy that 
which I desire of jewels ; and, after satisfying the tyrant with 
gifts, I will take my portion of the profit and return to the owner 
of the money with his need, trusting in his justice and indulgence, 
and unfearing that he will punish me for that which this unjust 
King taketh of the treasure, especially if it be but a little." Then 
the trader called down blessings on the tyrant and said to him, " O 
King, I will ransom myself and this specie with a small portion 
thereof, from the time of my entering thy country to that of my 
going forth therefrom." The King agreed to this and left him at 
peace for a year, till he bought all manner jewels with the rest of 
the money and returned therewith to his master, to whom he made 
his excuses, confessing to having saved himself from the unjust 
King as before related. The just King accepted his excuse and 
praised him for his wise device and set him on his right hand in 
his divan and appointed him in his kingdom an abiding inherit- 
ance and a happy life-tide. 1 Now the just King is the similitude 
of the future world and the unjust King that of the present world ; 
the jewels that be in the tyrant's dominions are good deeds and 
pious works. The merchant is man and the money he hath with 

1 A curious pendent to the Scriptural parable of the Unjust Steward. 

The Blind Man and the Cripple. 6j 

him is the provision appointed him of Allah. When I consider 
this, I know that it behoveth him who seeketh his livelihood in 
this world to leave not a day without seeking the goods of the 
world to come, so shall he content this world with that which he 
gaineth of the fatness of the earth and satisfy the other world with 
that which he spendeth of his life in seeking after it.'* (<) " Are 
the spirit J and the body alike in reward and retribution, or is the 
body, as the luster of lusts and doer of sinful deeds, and especially 
affected with punishment ? " " The inclination to lusts and sins 
may be the cause of earning reward by the withholding of the soul 
therefrom and the repenting thereof; but the command 2 is in the 
hand of Him who doth what He will, and things by their contraries 
are distinguished. Thus subsistence is necessary to the body, but 
there is no body without soul ; and the purification of the spirit is 
in making clean the intention in this world and taking thought to 
that which shall profit in the world to come. Indeed, soul and 
body are like two horses racing for a wager or two foster-brothers 
or two partners in business. By the intent are good deeds dis- 
tinguished and thus the body and soul are partners in actions and 
in reward and retribution, and in this they are like the Blind man 
and the Cripple with the Overseer of the garden." Asked Shimas, 
" How so ? " ; and the Prince said, " Hear, O Wazir, the tale of 


A BLIND man and a Cripple were travelling-companions and used 
to beg alms in company. One day they sought admission into the 
garden of some one of the benevolent, and a kind-hearted wight, 
hearing their talk, took compassion on them and carried them into 
his garden, where he left them after plucking for them some of its 
produce and went away, bidding them do no waste nor damage 
therein. When the fruits became ripe, the Cripple said to the 
Blind man, " Harkye, I see ripe fruits and long for them ; but I 
cannot rise to eat thereof; so go thou arise, for thou art sound of 
either leg, and fetch us somewhat that we may eat." Replied the 

1 Arab. "Ruh " Heb. Ruach: lit. breath (spiritus) which in the animal kingdom is 
the surest sign of life. See vol. v. 29. Nothing can be more rigidly materialistic than 
the so-called Mosaic law. 

2 Arab. " Al-Amr" which may also mean the business, the matter, the affair. 

68 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Blind, " Fie upon thee ! I had no thought of them, but now that 
thou callest them to my mind, I long to eat of them and I am 
impotent unto this, being unable to see them ; so how shall we do 
to get at them ?" At this moment, behold, up came the Overseer 
of the garden, who was a man of understanding, and the Cripple 
said to him, " Harkye, O Overseer ! I long for somewhat of those 
fruits ; but we are as thou seest ; I am a cripple and my mate here 
is stone-blind : so what shall we do ? y> Replied the Overseer, 
" Woe to you ! Have ye forgotten that the master of the garden 
stipulated with you that ye should do nothing whereby waste or 
damage befal it : so take warning and abstain from this." But 
they answered, " Needs must we get our portion of these fruits that 
we may eat thereof: so tell us some device whereby we shall con- 
trive this." When the Overseer saw that they were not to be 
turned from their purpose, he said, " This, then, is my device, O 
Cripple, let the Blind bear thee on his back and take thee under 
the tree whose fruit pleaseth thee, so thou mayst pluck what thou 
canst reach thereof/' Accordingly the Blind man took on his 
back the Cripple who guided him, till he brought him under a tree, 
and he fell to plucking from it what he would and tearing at its 
boughs till he had despoiled it : after which they went roundabout 
and throughout the garden and wasted it with their hands and 
feet, nor did they cease from this fashion, till they had stripped all 
the trees of the garth. Then they returned to their place and 
presently up came the master of the garden, who, seeing it in this 
plight, was wroth with sore wrath and coming up to them said, 
" Woe to you ! What fashion is this ? Did I not stipulate with 
you that ye should do no damage in the garden ? " Quoth they, 
" Thou knowest that we are powerless to come at any of the fruit, 
for that one of us is a cripple and cannot rise and the other is 
blind and cannot see that which is before him : so what is our 
offence ? " But the master answered, " Think ye I know not how 
ye wrought and how ye have gone about to do waste in my garden ? 
I know, as if I had been with thee, O Blind, that thou tookest the 
Cripple pick-a-back and he showed thee the way till thou borest him 
to the trees." Then he punished them with grievous punishment 
and thrust them out of the garden. Now the Blind is the simili- 
tude of the body which seeth not save by the spirit, and the Cripple 
that of the soul, for that it hath no power of motion but by the 
body ; the garden is the works, for which the creature is rewarded 
or punished, and the Overseer is the reason which biddeth to good 

King Jali ad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. 69 

and forbiddeth from evil. Thus the body and the soul are partners 
in reward and retribution." (<>) " Which of the learned men is 
most worthy of praise, according to thee ? " " He who is learned 
in the knowledge of Allah and whose knowledge profiteth him." 
({) " And who is this ? " " Whoso is intent upon seeking to 
please his Lord and avoid His wrath." (<;) " And which of them 
is the most excellent ? " " He who is most learned in the know- 
ledge of Allah." ({) "And which is the most experienced of 
them?" "Whoso in doing according to his knowledge is most 
constant." (<) " And which is the purest-hearted of them ? " 
" He who is most assiduous in preparing for death and praising 
the Lord and least of them in hope, and indeed he who penetrateth 
his soul with the awful ways of death is as one who looketh into a 
clear mirror, for that he knoweth the truth, and the mirror still 
increaseth in clearness and brilliance." (<) "What are the good- 
liest of treasures? ""The treasures of heaven." (<) "Which is 
the goodliest of the treasures of Heaven ? " " The praise of Allah 
and His magnification." (<) " Which is the most excellent of the 
treasures of earth ? " " The practice of kindness." - And Shah- 
razad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted 

Nofo fo&tn ft teas tfjc Nine f^unfcretr antr lEIebcntft Ntgf)t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
Wazir Shimas asked the King's son, saying, " Which is the most 
excellent of the treasures of earth ? " he answered, " The practice 
of kindness." So the Minister pursued, " Tell me of three several 
and different things, knowledge and judgment and wit, and of that 
which uniteth them." " Knowledge cometh of learning, judgment 
of experience and wit of reflection, and they are all stablished and 
united in reason. Whoso combineth these three qualities attaineth 
perfection and he who addeth thereto the piety and fear of the 
Lord is in the right course." (<) " Take the case of a man of 
learning and wisdom, endowed with right judgment, luminous 
intelligence and a keen wit and excelling, and tell me can desire 
and lust change these his qualities ? " " Yes ; for these two 
passions, when they enter into a man, alter his wisdom and under- 
standing and judgment and wit, and he is like the Ossifrage ! 
L . - -. - . 

1 Arab " Ukab al-kisir/' lit. = the breaker eagle. . 

7O A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

which, for precaution against the hunters, abode in the upper air, 
of the excess of his subtlety ; but, as he was thus, he saw a fowler 
set up his nets and when the toils were firmly staked down bait 
them with a bit of meat ; which when he beheld, desire and lust 
thereof overcame him and he forgot that which he had seen of 
springes and of the sorry plight of all birds that fell into them. 
So he swooped down from the welkin and pouncing upon the 
piece of meat, was meshed in the same snare and could not win 
free. When the fowler came up and saw the Ossifrage taken in 
his toils he marvelled with exceeding marvel and said, " I set up 
my nets, thinking to take therein pigeons and the like of small 
fowl ; how came this Ossifrage to fall into it ? " It is said that 
when desire and lust incite a man of understanding to aught, he 
considereth the end thereof and refraineth from that which they 
make fair and represseth with his reason his lust and his con- 
cupiscence ; for, when these passions urge him to aught, it behoveth 
him to make his reason like unto a horseman skilled in horseman- 
ship who mounting a skittish horse, curbeth him with a sharp bit, 1 
so that he go aright with him and bear him whither he will. As 
for the ignorant man, who hath neither knowledge nor judgment, 
while all things are obscure to him and desire and lust lord it over 
him, verily he doeth according to his desire and his lust and is of 
the number of those that perish ; nor is there among men one in 
worse case than he." (<f) " When is knowledge profitable and when 
availeth reason to ward off the ill effects of desire and lust ? " 
" When their possessor useth them in quest of the goods of the 
next world, for reason and knowledge are altogether profitable ; 
but it befitteth not their owner to expend them in the quest of the 
goods of this world, save in such measure as may be needful for 
gaining his livelihood and defending himself from its mischief; but 
to lay them out with a view to futurity." Q) "What is most worthy 
that a man should apply himself thereto and occupy his heart 
withal ? " " Good works and pious." (<?) " If a man do this it 
diverteth him from gaining his living : how then shall he do for 
his daily bread wherewith he may not dispense ? "- *' A man's day 

1 Arab. " Lijam shad id : " the ring-bit of the Arabs is perhaps the severest form 
known : it is required by the Eastern practice of pulling up the horse when going at 
full speed and it is too well known to require description. As a rule the Arab rides 
with a "lady's hand" and the barbarous habit of "hanging on by the curb " is unknown 
to him. I never pass by Rotten Row or see a regiment of English Cavalry without 
wishing to leave riders nothing but their snaffles. 

.King Jalt'ad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. J\ 

is four-and-twenty hours, and it behoveth him to employ one- 
third thereof in seeking his living", another in prayer and repose 
and the other in the pursuits of knowledge j 1 for a reasonable man 
without knowledge is a barren land, which hath no place for 
tillage, tree-planting or grass-growing. Except it be prepared 
for tilth and plantation no fruit will profit therein ; but, if it be 
tilled and planted, it bringeth forth goodly fruits. So with the 
man lacking education ; there is no profit in him till knowledge be 
planted in him : then doth he bear fruit." (<i) " What sayst thou of 
knowledge without understanding ? " " It is as the knowledge 
of a brute 2 beast, which hath learnt the hours of its foddering 
and waking, but hath no reason.'* (<f) " Thou hast been brief 
in thine answer here anent ; but I accept thy reply. Tell me, 
how shall I guard myself against the Sultan ? " " By giving 
him no way to thee." (<j) " And how can I but give him 
way to me, seeing that he is set in dominion over me and that 
the reins of my affair be in his hand?" "His dominion over 
thee lieth in the duties thou owest him ; wherefore, an thou give 
him his due, he hath no farther dominion over thee." (<) " What 
are a Wazir's duties to his King?" " Good counsel and zealous 
service both in public and private, right judgment, the keeping 
of his secrets and that he conceal from his lord naught of that 
whereof he hath a right to be informed, lack of neglect of aught 
of his need with the gratifying of which he chargeth him, the 
seeking his approval in every guise and the avoidance of his 

1 We find this orderly distribution of time (which no one adopts) in many tongues and 
many forms. In the Life of Sir W. Jones (vol. i. p. 193, Poetical Works etc.) the 
following occurs, *' written in India on a small piece of paper" : 

Sir Edward Coke 

" Six hours to sleep, in law's grave study six ! 
Four spend in prayer, the rest on Heaven fix!** 

Rather : 

" Seven hours to law, to soothing slumber seven ;1 
Ten to the world allot, and all to Heaven ! " 

But this is not practical. I must prefer the Chartist distribution: 

Six hours sleep and six hours play : 
Six hours work and six shillings a day. 

Mr. Froude (Oceana) speaks of New Zealanders having attained that ideal of operative 
felicity : 

Eight to work, eight to play ; 

Eight to sleep and eight shillings a day. 
* Arab. "Bahimah," mostly = black cattle : see vol. iv. 54. 

7 2 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

anger." Q) How should the Wazir do with the King ? " An 
thou be Wazir to the King and wouldst fain become safe from 
him, let thy hearing and thy speaking to him surpass his 
expectation of thee and be thy seeking of thy want from him 
after the measure of thy rank in his esteem, and beware lest thou 
advance thyself to a dignity whereof he deemeth thee unworthy, 
for this would be like presuming against him. So, if thou take 
advantage of his mildness and raise thee to a rank beyond that 
which he deemeth thy due, thou wilt be like the hunter, whose 
wont it was to trap wild beasts for their pelts and cast away the 
flesh. Now a lion used to come to that place and eat of the 
carrion ; and in course of time, he made friendship with the hunter, 
who would throw meat to him and wipe his hands on his back, 
whilst the lion wagged his tail. 1 But when the hunter saw his 
tameness and gentleness and submissiveness to him, he said to 
himself, " Verily this lion humbleth himself to me and I am 
master of him, and I see not why I should not mount him and 
strip off his hide, as with the other wild beasts." So he took 
courage and sprang on the lion's back, presuming on his mildness 
and deeming himself sure of him ; which when the lion saw, he 
raged with exceeding rage and raising his fore paw, smote the 
hunter, that he drove his claws into his vitals ; after which he cast 
him under foot and tare him in pieces and devoured him. By 
this we may know that it behoveth the Wazir to bear himself 
towards the King according to that which he seeth of his condition 
and not presume upon the superiority of his own judgment, lest 

the King^. become jealous of him." And Shahrazad perceived 

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

Nofo fojjen tt foag tfy Nine f^uufcrefc antr 'JJfodftJ Ni'gfit, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
youth, the son of King Jali'ad, said to Shimas the Wazir, " It 
behoveth the Minister to bear himself towards the Monarch 
according to that which he seeth of his condition, and not to 
presume upon the superiority of his own judgment lest the King 
wax jealous of him." Quoth Shimas, " How shall the Wazir 
grace himself in the King's sight." " By the performance of the 

1 As a rule when the felidae wag their tails, it is a sign of coming anger, the reverse 
with the canidse. 

d of Hind and his Wazir Skimas. 73 

trust committed to him and of loyal counsel and sound judgment 
and the execution of his commands." (<) " As for what thou 
sayest of the Wazir's duty to avoid the King's anger and perform 
his wishes and apply himself diligently to the doing of that where- 
with he chargeth him, such duty is always incumbent on him : but 
how, an the King's whole pleasure be tyranny and the practice 
of oppression and exorbitant extortion ; and what shall the Wazir 
do, if he be afflicted by intercourse with this unjust lord ? An he, 
strive to turn him from his lust and his desire, he cannot do this, 
and if he follow him in his lusts and flatter him with false counsel, 
he assumeth the weight of responsibility herein and becometh an 
enemy to the people. What sayst thou of this ? " " What thou 
speakest, O Wazir, of his responsibility and sinfulness ariseth only 
in the case of his abetting the King in his wrong-doing ; but it 
behoveth the Wazir, when the King taketh counsel with him of 
the like of this, to show forth to him the way of justice and equity 
and warn him against tyranny and oppression and expound to 
him the principles of righteously governing the lieges ; alluring 
him with the future reward that pertaineth to this and restraining 
him with warning of the punishment he otherwise will incur. 
If the King incline to him and hearken unto his words, his end is 
gained, and if not, there is nothing for it but that he depart from 
him after courteous fashion, because in parting for each of them is 
ease." (<;) " What are the duties of the King to his subjects and 

what are the obligations of the lieges to their lord ? " " They 

shall do whatso he ordereth them with pure intent and obey him 
in that which pleaseth him and pleaseth Allah and the Apostle 
of Allah. And the lieges can claim of the lord that he protect 
their possessions and guard their women, 1 even as it is their duty to 
hearken unto him and obey him and expend their lives freely in 
his defence and give him his lawful due and praise him fairly for 
that which he bestoweth upon them of his justice and bounty." 
Q) " Have his subjects any claim upon the King other than that 

which thou hast said ? " "Yes : the rights of the subjects from 

their Sovran are more binding than the liege lord's claim upon his 
lieges ; for that the breach of his duty towards them is more 
harmful than that of their duty towards him; because the 
ruin of the King and the loss of his kingdom and fortune 

1 In India it is popularly said that the Rajah can do anything with the Ryots provided 
he respects their women and their religion not their property. 

74 A If Laylah wa Laylahi 

befal not save by the breach of his devoir to his subjects : 
wherefore it behoveth him who is invested with the kingship 
to be assiduous in furthering three things, to wit, the fostering 
of the faith, the fostering of his subjects and the fostering of 
government ; for by the ensuing of these three things, his king- 
dom shall endure." (<;) " How doth it behove him to do for his 

subjects' weal ? " " By giving them their due and maintaining 

their laws and customs 1 and employing Olema and learned men 
to teach them and justifying them, one of other, and sparing their 
blood and defending their goods and lightening their loads and 
strengthening their hosts." ( <j ) " What is the Minister's claim 

upon the Monarch ? " " None hath a more imperative claim on 

the King than hath the Wazir, for three reasons : firstly, because 
of that which shall befal him from his liege lord in case of error 
in judgment, and because of the general advantage to King and 
commons in case of sound judgment : secondly, that folk may 
know the goodliness of the degree which the Wazir holdeth 
in the King's esteem and therefore look on him with eyes of 
veneration and respect and submission 2 ; and thirdly, that the 
Wazir, seeing this from King and subjects, may ward off from 
them that which they hate and fulfil to them that which they 
love." (<) " I have heard all thou hast said of the attributes of 
King and Wazir and liege and approve thereof: but now tell me 
what is incumbent in keeping the tongue from lying and folly and 

slandering good names and excess in speech." " It behoveth a 

man to speak naught but good and kindness and to talk not of 
that which toucheth him not ; to leave detraction nor carry talk 
he hath heard from one man to his enemy, neither seek to harm 
his friend nor his foe with his Sultan and reck not of any 
(neither of him from whom he hopeth for good nor of him whom 
he feareth for mischief) save of Allah Almighty ; for He indeed is 
the only one who harmeth or profiteth. Let him not impute 
default unto any nor talk ignorantly, lest he incur the weight and 
the sin thereof before Allah and earn hate among men ; for know 

1 Arab. " Sunan " for which see vol. v. 36, 167. Here it is = Rasm or usage, 
equivalent to our precedents, and held valid, especially when dating from olden time, in 
all matters which are not expressly provided for by Koranic command. For instance a 
Hindi Moslem (who doubtless borrowed the customs from Hindus) will refuse to eat 
with the Kafir and when the latter objects that there is no such prohibition in the Koran 
will reply, " No : but it is our Rasm." As a rule the Anglo-Indian is very ignorant on 
this essential point. 

* Lit. " lowering the wings," see supra p. 33. 

King Jalf ad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. 75 

thou that speech is like an arrow which once shot none can avail 
to recall. Let him also beware of disclosing his secret to one who 
shall discover it, lest he fall into mischief by reason of its disclosure, 
after confidence on its concealment ; and let him be more careful 
to keep his secret from his friend than from his foe ; for the keeping 
a secret with all folk is of the performance of faithful trust." (<) 
"Tell me how a man should bear himself with his family and 

friends/' " There is no rest for a son of Adam save in righteous 

conduct : he should render to his family that which they deserve 
and to his brethren whatso is their due/ 7 (<j) "What should one 

render to one's kinsfolk ? " " To parents, submission and soft 

speech and affability and honour and reverence. To brethren 
good counsel and readiness to expend money for them and 
assistance in their undertakings and joyance in their joy and 
grieving for their grief and closing of the eyes toward the errors 
that they may commit ; for, when they experience this from a man, 
they requite him with the best of counsel they can command and 
expend their lives in his defence ; wherefore, an thou know thy 
brother to be trusty, lavish upon him thy love and help him in all 

his affairs." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

jlofo fofjen ft foas tljc jlme ^unfcctfr aito 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
youth, the son and heir of King Jali'ad, when questioned by the 
Wazir upon the subjects aforesaid, returned him satisfactory replies ; 
when Shimas resumed, " I see that brethren are of two kinds, 
brethren of trust and brethren of society. 1 As for the first who be 
friends, there is due to them that which thou hast set forth ; but 
now tell me of the others who be acquaintances." "As few- 
brethren of society thou gettest of them pleasance and goodly 
usance and fair speech and enjoyable company ; so be thou not 
sparing to them of thy delights, but be lavish to them thereof, like 
as they are lavish to thee, and render to them that which they 
render to thee of affable countenance and an open favour and 
sweet speech ; so shall thy life be pleasant and thy words be 
accepted of them." (<?) " Tell me now of the provision decreed by 

1 i.e. friends and acquaintances. 

76 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

the Creator to all creatures. Hath He allotted to men and beasts 
each his several provision to the completion of his appointed life- 
term ; and if this allotment be thus, what maketh him who seeketh 
his livelihood to incur hardships and travail in the quest of that 
which he knoweth must come to him, if it be decreed to him, 
albeit he incur not the misery of endeavour ; and which, if it be 
not decreed to him, he shall not win, though he strive after it with 
his uttermost striving ? Shall he therefore stint endeavour and in 

his Lord put trust and to his body and his soul give rest ? " 

" Indeed, we see clearly that to each and every there is a provision 
distributed and a term prescribed ; but to all livelihood are a way 
and means, and he who seeketh would get ease of his seeking by 
ceasing to seek; withal there is no help but that he seek his 
fortune. The seeker is, however, in two cases ; either he gaineth 
his fortune or he faileth thereof. In the first case, his pleasure 
consisteth in two conditions ; first, in the having gained his fortune, 
and secondly, in the laudable 1 issue of his quest; and in the other 
case, his pleasure consisteth, first, in his readiness to seek his daily 
bread, secondly, in his abstaining from being a burthen to the folk, 
and thirdly, in his freedom from liability to blame." (<) " What 

sayst thou of the means of seeking one's fortune ? " " A man 

shall hold lawful that which Allah (to whom belong Might 
and Majesty) alloweth, and unlawful whatso He forbiddeth." 
Reaching this pass the discourse between them came to an 
end, and Shim as and all the Olema present rose and prostrat- 
ing themselves before the young Prince, magnified and extolled 
him, whilst his father pressed him to his bosom and seating 
him on the throne of kingship, said, "Praised be Allah who 
hath blessed me with a son to be the coolth of mine eyes in 
my lifetime ! " Then said the King's son to Shimas in presence 
of all the Olema, "O sage that art versed in spiritual questions, 
albeit Allah have vouchsafed to me but scanty knowledge, yet do I 
comprehend thine intent in accepting from me what I proffered in 
answer concerning that whereof thou hast asked me, whether I hit 
or missed the mark therein, and belike thou forgavest my errors ; 
but now I am minded to question thee anent a thing, whereof my 
judgment faileth and whereto my capacity is insufficient and which 
my tongue availeth not to set forth, for that it is obscure to me, 
with the obscurity of clear water in a black vessel. Wherefore I 

1 Arab. " Hamidah" =r praiseworthy or satisfactory. 

King Jatfad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. 77 

would have thee expound it to me so no iota thereof may remain 
doubtful to the like of me, to whom its obscurity may present 
itself in the future, even as it hath presented itself to me in the 
past ; since Allah, even as He hath made life to be in lymph 1 and 
strength in food and the cure of the sick in the skill of the leach, 
so hath He appointed the healing of the fool to be in the learning 
of the wise. Give ear, therefore, to my speech." Replied the 
Wazir, " O luminous of intelligence and master of casuistical ques- 
tions, thou whose excellence all the Olema attest, by reason of the 
goodliness of thy discretion of things and thy distribution 2 thereof 
and the justness of thine answers to the questions I have asked 
thee, thou knowest that thou canst enquire of me naught but 
thou art better able than I to form a just judgment thereon and 
expound it truly : for that Allah hath vouchsafed unto thee such 
wisdom as He hath bestowed on none other of men. But inform 
me of what thou wouldst question me," Quoth the Prince, " Tell 
me from what did the Creator (magnified be His all-might !) create 
the world, albeit there was before it naught and there is naught 
seen in this world but it is created from something; and the 
Divine Creator (extolled and exalted be He !) is able to create 
things from nothing, 3 yet hath His will decreed, for all the per- 
fection of His power and grandeur, that He shall create naught 
but from something." The Wazir replied, " As for those, who 
fashion vessels of potter's clay, 4 and other handicraftsmen, who 
cannot originate one thing save from another thing, they are them- 
selves only created entities : but, as for the Creator, who hath 
wrought the world after this wondrous fashion, an thou wouldst 
know His power (extolled and exalted be He !) of calling things 
into existence, extend thy thought and consider the various kinds 
of created things, and thou wilt find signs and instances, proving 
the perfection of His puissance and that He is able to create the 
ens from the non-ens : nay, He called things into being, after 
absolute non-existence, for the elements which be the matter of 

1 Not only alluding to the sperm of man and beast ; but also to the " Neptunist " 
doctrine held by the ancient Greeks and Hindus and developed in Europe during the 
last century. 

2 Arab. " Taksim " dividing into parts, analysis. 

8 This is the usual illogical contention of all religions. It is not the question whether 
an Almighty Being can do a given thing: the question is whether He has or has 
not done it. 

4 Upon ihe old simile of the potter I shall have something to say in a. coming volume., 

7% A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

created things were sheer nothingness. I will expound this to 
thee, so thou mayst be in no scepticism thereof, and the marvel- 
signs of the alternation of Night and Day shall make this clear to 
thee. When the light goeth and the night cometh, the day is 
hidden from us and we know not the place where it abideth ; and 
when the night passeth away with its darkness and its terror, the 
day cometh and we know not the abiding-place of the night. 1 In 
like manner, when the sun riseth upon us, we know not where it 
hath laid up its light, and when it setteth, we ignore the abiding- 
place of its setting : and the examples of this among the works of 
the Creator (magnified be His name and glorified be His might ;) 
abound in what confoundeth the thought of the keenest-witted of 
human beings." Rejoined the Prince, "O sage, thou hast set 
before me of the power of the Creator what is incapable of denial ; 
but tell me how He called His creatures into existence." Answered 
Shimas, " He created them by the sole power of His one Word, 2 
which existed before time, and wherewith he created all things." 
Quoth the Prince, "Then Allah (be His name magnified and His 
might glorified !) only willed the existence of created things, before 
they came into being?." Replied Shimas, "And of His will, He 
created them with His one Word and but for His speech and that 

one Word, the creation had not come into existence/' And 

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

Nofo fo&en ft foas t&e Nine f^unfcrrti an* JfouruentJ Nigftt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that after 
the King's son had asked his sire's Wazir the casuistical questions 

1 A fine specimen of a peculiarity in the undeveloped mind of man, the universal con- 
fusion between things objective as a dead body and states of things as death. We begin 
by giving a name, for facility of intercourse, to phases, phenomena and condiiions of 
matter ; and, having created the word we proceed to supply it with a fanciful entity, 
t.g. " The Mind (a useful term to express the aggregate action of the brain, nervous 
system etc.) of man is immortal." The next step is personification as Time with his 
forelock, Death with his skull and Night (the absence of light) with her starry mantle. 
For poetry this abuse of language is a sine qua non. but it is deadly foe to all true 

2 Christians would naturally understand this * One Word " to be the Aoyos of the 
Platonists, adopted by St. John (comparatively a late writer) and by the Alexandrian 
school, Jewish (as Philo Judaeus) and Christian. But here the tale-teller alludes to the 
Divine Word 4< Kun " (be !) whereby the worlds came into existence. 

King J alt' ad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. 79 

aforesaid, and had received a sufficient answer, Shimas said to 
him, " O dear my son, 1 there is no man can tell thee other but this 
I have said, except he twist the words handed down to us of the 
Holy Law and turn the truths thereof from their evident meaning. 
And such a perversion is their saying that the Word hath inherent 
and positive power and I take refuge with Allah from such a mis- 
belief! Nay, the meaning of our saying that Allah (to whom 
belong Might and Majesty) created the world with His Word is 
that He (exalted be His name !) is One in His essence and His 
attributes and not that His Word hath independent power. On 
the contrary, power is one of the attributes of Allah, even as speech 
and other attributes of perfection are attributes of Allah (exalted 
be His dignity and extolled be His empery !) ; wherefore He may 
not be conceived without His Word, nor may His Word be con- 
ceived without Him ; for, with His Word, Allah (extolled be His 
praise!) created all His creatures, and without His Word, the Lord 
created naught. Indeed, He created all things but by His Word 
of Truth, and by Truth are we created." Quote the Prince, " I 
comprehend that which thou hast said on the subject of the Creator 
and from thee I accept this with understanding ; but I hear thee 
say that He created the world by His Word of Truth. Now Truth 
is the opposite of Falsehood ; whence then arose Falsehood with 
its opposition unto Truth, and how cometh it to be possible that it 
should be confounded therewith and become doubtful to human 
beings, so that they need to distinguish between the twain ? And 
doth the Creator (to whom belong Might and Majesty) love False- 
hood or hate it? An thou say He loveth Truth and by it created 
all things and abhorreth Falsehood, how came the False, which the 
Creator hateth, to invade the True which He loveth ? " Quoth 
Shimas, " Verily Allah the Most High created man all Truth 2 , 
loving His name and obeying His word, and on this wise man had 

1 Arab. *' Ya bunayyi" a dim. form lit. "O my little son !" an affectionate address 
frequent in Russian, whose " little father " (under " Bog ") is his Czar. 

2 Thus in two texts. Mr. Payne has, "Verily God the Most High created man after 
His own image, and likened him to Himself, all of Him truth, without falsehood ; then 
He gave him dominion over himself and ordered him and forbade him, and it was man 
who ttansgressed His commandment and erred in his obedience and brought falsehood 
upon himself of his own will." Here he borrows from the Bresl. Edit. viii. 84 (five 
fiist lines). But the doctrine is rather Jewish and Christian than Moslem : Al-Mas'iidi 
(" 389) introduces a Copt in the presence of Ibn Tutun saying, "Prince", these people 
(designing a Jew) pretend that Allah Almighty created Adam (i.e. mankind) after His 
own image" ('Ala Surati-h). 

8o A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

no need of repentance till Falsehood invaded the Truth whereby 
he was created by means of the capability 1 which Allah had placed 
in him, being the will and the inclination called lust of lucre. 2 
When the False invaded the True on this wise, right became con- 
founded with wrong, by reason of the will of man and his capa- 
bility and greed of gain, which is the voluntary side of him 
together with the weakness of human nature : wherefore Allah 
created penitence for man, to turn away from him Untruth and 
stablish him in Truth ; and He created for him also punishment, 
if he should abide in the obscurity of Falsehood." Quoth the 
Prince, "" Tell me how came Untruth to invade Truth, so as to be 
confounded therewith and how became man liable to punishment 
and so stood in need of repentance." Replied Shimas, " When 
Allah created man with Truth, He made him loving to Himself 
and there was for him neither repentance nor punishment ; but he 
abode thus till Allah put in him the soul, which is of the per- 
Tection of humanity, albeit naturally inclined to lust which is 
inherent therein. From this sprang the growth of Untruth and 
its confusion with Truth, wherewith man was created and with 
the love whereof his nature had been made; and when man came 
to this pass, he declined from the Truth with disobedience and 
whoso declineth from the Truth falleth into Falsehood." Said the 
Prince, " Then Falsehood invaded Truth only by reason of dis- 
obedience and transgression ? " Shimas replied, * e Yes : and it is 
thus because Allah loveth mankind, and of the abundance of His 
love to man He created him having need of Himself, that is to 
say, of the very Truth : but oftentimes man lapseth from this by 
cause of the inclination of the soul to lusts and turneth to fro- 
wardness, wherefore he falleth into Falsehood by the act of dis- 
obeying his Lord and thus deserveth punishment; and by putting 
away from himself Falsehood with repentance and by the return- 
ing to the love of the Truth, he meriteth future reward." Quoth 
the Prince, " Tell me the origin of sin, whilst all mankind trace 

1 Arab. " Istita'ah "= ableness e.g. "Al-hajj 'inda 'Mstita'ah " = Pilgrimage when 
a man is able thereto (by easy circumstances). 

2 Arab. "Al-Kasab," which phrenologists would translate "acquisitiveness," The 
author is here attempting to reconcile man's moral responsibility, that is Freewill, with 
Fate by which all human actions are directed and controlled. I cannot see that he fails 
to c< apprehend the knotty point of doctrine involved " ; but I find his inability to make 
two contraries agree as pronounced as that of all others, Moslems and Christians, that 
preceded him in the same path. 

King Jatfad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. 8 1 

their being to Adam, and how cometh it that he, being created 
of Allah with truth, drew disobedience on himself; then was his 
disobedience coupled with repentance, after the soul had been set 
in him, that his issue might be reward or retribution ? Indeed, 
we see some men constant in sinfulness, inclining to that which 
He loveth not and transgressing in this the original intent and 
purpose of their creation, which is the love of the Truth, and 
drawing on themselves the wrath of their Lord, whilst we see 
others constant in seeking the satisfaction of their Creator and 
obeying Him and meriting mercy and future recompense. What 
causeth this difference prevailing between them ? " Replied 
Shimas, "The origin of disobedience descending upon mankind 
is attributable to Iblis, who was the noblest of all that Allah 
(magnified be His name!) created of angels 1 and men and Jinn, 
and the love of the Truth was inherent in him, for he knew naught 
but this ; but whenas he saw himself unique in such dignity, there 
entered into him pride and conceit, vainglory and arrogance which 
revolted from loyalty and obedience to the commandment of His 
Creator ; wherefore Allah made him inferior to all creatures and 
cast him out from love, making his abiding-place to be in dis- 
obedience. So when he knew that Allah (glorified be His name !) 
loved not disobedience and saw Adam and the case wherein he 
was of truth and love and obedience to his Creator, envy entered 
into him and he devised some device to pervert Adam from the 
truth, that he might be a partaker with himself in Falsehood ; and 
by this, Adam incurred chastisement for his * inclining to dis- 
obedience, which his foe made fair to him, and his subjection to 
his lusts, whenas he transgressed the charge of his Lord, by reason 
of the appearance of Falsehood. When the Creator (magnified 
be the praises of Him and hallowed be the names of Him !) saw 
the weakness of man and the swiftness of his inclining to his 
enemy and leaving the truth, He appointed to him, of His mercy, 
repentance, that therewith he might arise from the slough 2 of 
inclination to disobedience and taking the arms and armour of 

1 The order should be, "men, angels and Jinn," for which see vol. i. p. IO. . But 
."angels" here takes precedence because Iblis was one of them. 

2 Arab. " Wartah " zr precipice, quagmire, quicksand and hence sundry secondary 
and metaphorical significations, under which, as in the " Samitic " (Arabic) tongues 
generally, the prosaical and material sense of the word is clearly evident. I noted 
.this in Pilgrimage iii. 66, and was soundly abused for so saying by a host of 


82 Alf Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

repentance, overcome therewith his foe Iblis and his hosts and 
return to the Truth, wherein he was created. When Iblis saw 
that Allah (magnified be His praise !) had appointed him a pro- 
tracted term, 1 he hastened to wage war upon man and to beset 
him with wiles, to the intent that he might oust him from the 
favour of his Lord and make him a partaker with himself in the 
wrath which he and his hosts had incurred ; wherefore Allah 
(extolled be His praises !) appointed unto man the capability of 
penitence and commanded him to apply himself to the Truth and 
persevere therein ; and forbade him from disobedience and froward- 
ness and revealed to him that he had on the earth an enemy 
warring against him and relaxing not from him night nor day. 
Thus hath man a right to future reward, if he adhere to the 
Truth, in the love of which his nature was created ; but he be- 
cometh liable to punishment, if the flesh master him and incline 

him to lusts." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

Noto to&m it toas tty Nine f^utrtrefc an* J^t'tomf) Ntgbt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
young Prince had questioned Shimas touching disputed points of 
olden time and had been duly answered, he presently said, " Now 
tell me by what power is the creature able to transgress against 
his Creator, seeing that His omnipotence is without bounds, even 
as thou hast set forth, and that naught can overcome Him or 
depart from His will ? Deemest thou not that He is able to turn 
His creatures from this disobedience and compel them eternally 
to hold the Truth ? " Answered Shimas, " In very sooth Almighty 
Allah (honoured be His name !) is just and equitable and loving- 
kind to the people of His affection. 2 He created His creatures 
with justice and equity and of the inspiration of His justice and 
the overflowing of His mercy, He gave them kingship over them- 
selves, that they should do whatever they might design. He 
showeth them the way of righteousness and bestoweth on them 
the power and ability of doing what they will of good : and if 
they do the opposite thereof, they fall into destruction and dis- 

1 i.e. Allowing the Devil to go about the world and seduce mankind until Dooms- 
day when "auld Sootie's " occupation will be gone. Surely "Providence" might 
have managed better. 

* i.e. to those who deserve His love. 

King Jatfad of Hind and his Wazir Skimas. 83 

obedience." Q) " If the Creator, as thou sayest, have granted to 
mankind power and ability 1 and they by reason thereof are em- 
powered to do whatso they will, why then doth He not come 
between them and that which they desire of wrong and turn them 
to the right ? " " This is of the greatness of His mercy and the 
goodliness of His wisdom ; for, even as aforetime he showed 
wrath to Iblis and had no mercy on him, even so he showed 
Adam mercy, by means 2 of repentance, and accepted of him, 
after He had been wroth with him." (<<) " He is indeed mere 
Truth, for He it is who requiteth every one according to his 
works, and there is no Creator save Allah who hath power over 
all things. But tell me, hath He created that which He loveth 
and that which He loveth not or only that which He loveth ? >% 
" He created all things, but favoureth only that which he loveth." 
(<;) "What reckest thou of two things, one whereof is pleasing 
to God and earneth future reward for him who practiseth it and 
the other offendeth Allah and entaileth lawful punishment upon 
the doer ? " u Expound to me these two things and make me to 
apprehend them, that I may speak concerning them." " They are 
good and evil, the two things inherent in the body and in the 
soul." " O wise youth, I see that thou knowest good and evil to 
be of the works which the soul and the body combine to do. Good 
is named good, because it is in favour with God, and evil is termed 
ill, for that in it is His ill-will. Indeed, it behoveth thee to know 
Allah and to please Him by the practice of good, for that He hath 
bidden us to this and forbidden us to do evil/' (;) " I see these 
two things, to wit, good and evil, to be wrought only by the five 
senses familiarly known in the body of man, which be the sen- 
sorium 3 whence proceed speech, hearing, sight, smell and touch. 
Now I would have thee tell me whether these five senses were 
created altogether for good or for evil." " Apprehend, O man, the 
exposition of that whereof thou askest and it is a manifest proof; 
so lay it up in thine innermost thought and take it to thy heart. 

1 Here "Istita'ah" would mean capability of action, i.e. freewill, which is a mere 
word like "free trade.'* 

2 Arab. " Bi al-taubah" which may also mean "for (on account of his) penitence." 
The reader will note how the learned Shimas " dodges'* the real question. He is 
asked why the "Omnipotent, Omniscient did not prevent (i.e. why He created) sin?" 
He answers that He kindly permitted (i.e. created and sanctioned) it that man might 
repent. Proh pudor ! If any one thus reasoned of mundane matters he would be 
looked upon as the merest fool. 

3 Arab. " Mahall al-Zauk," lit. = seat of taste. 

84 . A If Laylak wa Laylak. 

And this it is that the Creator (extolled and exalted be He!) 
created man with Truth and impressed him with the love thereof 
and there proceedeth from it no created thing save by the puis- 
sance of the Most High, whose trace is in every phenomenon. 
He 1 (extol we Him and exalt we Him !) is not apt but to the 
ordering of justice and equity and beneficence, and He created man 
for the love of Him and set in him a soul, wherein the inclination 
to lusts was innate and assigned him capability and ableness and 
appointed the Five Senses aforesaid to be to him a means of 
winning Heaven or Hell." (<) " How so ? " " In that He created 
the Tongue for speech, the Hands for action, the Feet for walking 
and the Eyes for seeing and the Ears for hearing, and upon each 
bestowed especial power and incited them to exercise and motion, 
bidding each of them do naught save that which pleaseth Him. 
Now what pleaseth Him in Speech is truthfulness and abstaining 
from its opposite, which is falsehood ; and what pleaseth Him in 
Sight is turning it unto that which He loveth and leaving the con- 
trary, which is turning it unto that which He hateth, such as looking 
unto lusts : and what pleaseth Him in Hearing is hearkening to 
naught but the True, such as admonition and that which is in 
Allah's writ and leaving the contrary, which is listening to that 
which incurreth the anger of Allah ; and what pleaseth Him in the 
Hands is not hoarding up that which He entrusteth to them, but 
expending it in such way as shall please Him and leaving the 
contrary, which is avarice or spending in sinfulness that which He 
hath committed to them ; and what pleaseth Him in the Feet is 
that they be constant in the pursuit of good, such as the quest of 
instruction, and leave its contrary, which is the walking in other 
than the way of Allah. Now respecting the rest of the lusts which 
man practiseth, they proceed from the body by command of the 
soul. But the lusts which proceed from the body are of two kinds, 
the lust of reproduction and the lust of the belly. As for the 
former, that which pleaseth Allah thereof is that it be not other 
than lawful 2 and He is displeased with it if contrary to His law. 

1 Mr. Payne translates " it " i-e. the Truth ; but the formula following the word shows 
that Allah is meant. 

2 Moslems, who do their best to countermine the ascetic idea inherent in Christianity, 
are not ashamed of the sensual appetite ; but rather the reverse. I have heard in Persia 
of a Religious, highly esteemed for learning and saintly life who, when lodged by a dis- 
ciple at Shiraz, came out of his sleeping room and aroused his host with the word* 
' Shahwat daram ! " equivalent to our " I want a woman." He was at once married K> 
one of the slave-girls and able to gratify the demands of the flesh. 

King Jalfad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. 85 

As for the lust of the belly, eating and drinking, what pleaseth 
Allah thereof is that each take naught save that which the 
Almighty hath appointed him be it little or mickle, and praise 
the Lord and thank Him : and what angereth Him thereof is that 
a man take that which is not his by right. All precepts other than, 
these are false, and thou knowest that Allah created every thing 
and delighteth only in Good and commandeth each member of the 
body to do that which He hath made on it incumbent, for that He 
is the All-wise, the All-knowing." (<f) " Was it foreknown unto 
Allah Almighty (exalted be His power !) that Adam, by eating of 
the tree from which He forbade him and whence befel what befel, 
would leave obedience for disobedience ? " " Yes, O sage youth. 
IThis was foreknown unto Allah Almighty ere He created Adam ; 
and the proof and manifestation attached thereto is the warning 
He gave him against eating of the. tree and His informing him 
that, if he ate of the fruit he would be disobedient. And this was 
in the way of justice and equity, lest Adam should have an argu- 
'ment wherewith he might excuse himself against his Lord. When, 
therefore, he fell into error and calamity and when disgrace waxed 
sore upon him and reproach, this passed to his posterity after him ; 
wherefore Allah sent Prophets and Apostles and gave to them. 
Books and they taught us the divine commandments and ex- 
pounded to us what was therein of admonitions and precepts andi 
made clear to us and manifest the way of righteousness and 
explained to us what it behoved us to do and what to leave- 
undone. Now we are endowed with Freewill and he who acteth 
within these lawful limits winneth his wish and prospereth, while 
whoso transgresseth these legal bounds and doeth other than that 
which these precepts enjoin, resisteth the Lord and is ruined in 
both Abodes. This then is the road of Good and Evil.. Thou 
knowest that Allah over all things is Omnipotent and created not 
lusts for us but of His pleasure and volunty and He bade us use 
them in the way of lawfulness, so they might be to us a good ; but, 
when we use them in the way of sinfulness they are to us an evil. 
Therefore what of righteous we compass is from Allah Almighty, 
and what of wrongous from ourselves ! His creatures, not from the 

Creator, exalted be He herefor with highmost exaltation ! " 

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

1 Koran iv. 8 1, " Whatever good betideth thee is from God,' and whatever betidelh 
thee of evil is from thyself" : rank manichseism is pronounced as any in Christendom^ 

86 A If Lay I ah wa Lay I ah. 

Noto tofccn it foas tfjc Nine J^untefc anfc gbixteenrt) 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the youth, King Jali'ad's son had questioned Shimas concerning 
these subtleties and had been duly answered, he pursued, " That 
which thou hast expounded to me concerning Allah and His 
creatures I understand ; but tell me of one matter, concerning 
which my mind is perplexed with extreme wonderment, and that 
is that I marvel at the sons of Adam, how careless they are of 
the life to come and at their lack of taking thought thereof and 
their love to this world, albeit they know that they must needs 
leave it and depart from it, whilst they are yet young in years." 
" Yes, verily ; and that which thou seest of its changefulness 
and traitorousness with its children is a sign that Fortune to the 
fortunate will not endure nor to the afflicted affliction ; for none of 
its people is secure from its changefulness and even if one have 
power over it and be content therewith, yet there is no help but 
that his estate change and removal hasten unto him. Wherefore 
man can put no trust therein nor profit by that which he enjoyeth 
of its gilding and glitter 1 ; and we knowing this will know that the 
sorriest of men in condition are those who are deluded by this 
world and are unmindful of the other world ; for that v whatso of 
present ease they enjoy will not even the fear and misery and 
horrors which will befal them after their removal therefrom. 
Thus are we certified that, if the creature knew that which will 
betide him with the coming of death 2 and his severance from that 
which he enjoyeth of pleasure and delight, he would cast away 
the world and that which is therein ; for we are certified that the 

1 Arab. "Zukhruf" which Mr. Payne picturesquely renders "painted gawds." 

2 It is the innate craving in the "Aryan "(Iranian, not the Turanian) mind, this longing 
to know what follows Death, or if nothing follow it, which accounts for the marvellous 
diffusion of the so-called Spiritualism which is only Swedenborgianism systematised and 
carried out into action, amongst nervous and impressionable races like the Anglo- 
American. In England it is the reverse ; the obtuse sensitiveness of a people bred on 
beef and beer has made the " Religion of the Nineteenth Century " a manner of harm- 
less magic, whose miracles are table-turning and ghost seeing whilst the prodigious 
rascality of its prophets (the so-called Mediums) has brought it into universal disrepute. 
It has been said that Catholicism must be true to co-exist with the priest and it is the 
same with Spiritualism proper, by which I understand the belief in a life beyond the 
grave, a mere continuation of this life ; it flourishes (despite the Medium) chiefly because 
it has laid before man the only possible and intelligible idea of a future state. 

.King Jalfad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. 87 

next life is better for us and more profitable." Said the Prince, 
"O sage, thou hast dispelled the darkness that was upon my 
heart by the light of thy shining lamp and hast directed me into 
the right road I must tread on the track of Truth and hast given 
me a lantern whereby I may see." Then rose one of the learned 
men who were in the presence and said, " When cometh the 
season of Prime, needs must the hare seek the pasture as well as 
the elephant ; and indeed I have heard from you twain such 
questions and solutions as I never before heard ; but now leave 
that and let me ask you of somewhat. Tell me, what is the best 
of the goods of the world ? " Replied the Prince, " Health of 
body, lawful livelihood and a virtuous son." (<?) "What is the 
greater and what is the less ? " " The greater is that to which a 
lesser than itself submitteth and the less that which submitteth to 
a greater than itself." (<) " What are the four things wherein 
concur all creatures ? " " Men concur in meat and drink, the 
sweet of sleep, the lust of women and the agonies of death." 
(<) "What are the three things whose foulness none can do 
away ? " " Folly, meanness of nature, and lying." (<) " What is 
the best kind of lie, 1 though all kinds are foul ? "" That which 
averteth harm from its utterer and bringeth gain." (<f) " What 
kind of truthfulness is foul, though all kinds are fair ? " " That 
of a man glorying in that which he hath and vaunting himself 
thereof." (<) What is the foulest of foulnesses ? " " When a man 
boasteth himself of that which he hath not." (<) ''Who is the 
most foolish of men ? " (l He who hath no thought but of what he 
shall put in his belly." Then said Shimas, " O King, verily thou 
art our King, but we desire that thou assign the kingdom to thy 
son after thee, and we will be thy servants and lieges." So the 
King exhorted the Olema and others who were in the presence to 
remember that which they had heard and do according thereto 
and enjoined them to obey his son's commandment, for that he 
made him his heir-apparent, 2 so he should be the successor of the 
King his sire ; and he took an oath of all the people of his empire, 

1 See vol. vi. p. 7. The only lie which degrades a man in his own estimation and in 
that of others, is that told for fear of telling the truth. Au reste, human society and 
civilised intercourse are built upon a system of conventional lying ; and many droll 
stories illustrate the consequences of disregarding the dictum, la veritt ? est pas toujours 
bonne d dire. 

* Arab. " Waif 'ahd " which may mean heir-presumptive (whose heirship is contingent) 
or heir-apparent. 

88 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

literates and braves and old men and boys, to mention none 
other, that they would not oppose him in the succession nor 
transgress against his commandment. Now when the Prince was 
seventeen years old, the King sickened of a sore sickness and 
came nigh to die ; so, being certified that his decease was at hand, 
he said to the people of his household, " This is disease of Death 
which is upon me ; wherefore do ye summon my son and kith and 
kin and gather together the Grandees and Notables of my empire, 
so not one of them may remain except he be present." Accordingly 
they fared forth and made proclamation to those who were near 
and published the summons to those who were afar off, and they 
all assembled and went in to the King. Then said they to him, 
" How is it with thee, O King, and how deemest thou for thyself 
of these thy dolours ? " Quoth Jali'ad, " Verily, this my malady is 
mortal and the shaft of death hath executed that which Allah 
Almighty decreed against me : this is the last of my days in the 
world here and the first of my days in the world hereafter." Then 
said he to his son, " Draw near unto me." So the youth drew 
near, weeping with weeping so sore, that he well nigh drenched the 
bed, whilst the King's eyes welled tears and all who were present 
wept. Quoth Jali'ad, " Weep not, O my son ; I am not the first 
whom this Inevitable betideth ; nay, it is common to all that Allah 
hath created. But fear thou the Almighty and do good deeds 
which shall precede thee to the place whither all creatures tend 
and wend. Obey not thy lusts, but occupy thy soul with lauding 
the Lord in thy standing up and thy sitting down, in thy waking 
and in thy sleeping. Make the Truth the aim of thine eyes ; this 

is the last of my speech with thee and The Peace." And 

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

foften ft foas tfje JJme 2^unfcre& antr jbebenteentf) 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
King Jali'ad charged his son with such injunctions and made him 
his heir to succeed him in his reign, the Prince said, " O dear 
father mine, 1 thou knowest that I have ever been to thee obedient 
and thy commandment carrying out, mindful of thine injunctions 

1 Arab. " Ya abati " = O my papa (which here would sound absurd). 

King J ali' ad of Hind and his Wazir Shimas. 89 

and thine approof seeking ; for thou hast been to me the best of 
fathers ; how, then, after thy death, shall I depart from that which 
contenteth thee ? And now, having fairly ordered my nurture thou 
art about to depart from me and I have no power to bring thee 
back to me ; but, an I be mindful of thy charge, I shall be blessed 
therein and great good fortune shall betide me." Quoth the 
King, and indeed he was in the last agony of departing life, 
" Dear my son, cleave fast unto ten precepts, which if thou 
hold, Allah shall profit thee herewith in this world and the next 
world, and they are as follows. Whenas thou art wroth, curb thy 
wrath ; when thou art afflicted, be patient ; when thou speakest be 
soothfast ; when thou promisest, perform ; when thou judgest, do 
justice ; when thou hast power, be merciful ; deal generously by 
thy governors and lieutenants ; forgive thy foes ; be lavish of good 
offices to thine adversary, and stay thy mischief from him. Ob- 
serve also other ten precepts, 1 wherewith Allah shall profit thee 
among the people of thy realm, to wit, when thou dividest, be just ; 
when thou punishest, oppress not ; when thou engagest thyself, 
fulfil thine engagement; hearken to those that give thee loyal 
counsel ; when offence is offered to thee, neglect it ; abstain from 
contention ; enjoin thy subjects to the observance of the divine 
laws and of praiseworthy practices ; abate ignorance with a sharp 
sword; withhold thy regard from treachery and its untruth ; and, 
lastly, do equal justice between the folk, so they may love thee, 
great and small, and the wicked and corrupt of them may fear 
thee." Then he addressed himself to the Emirs and Olema which 
were present when he appointed his son to be his successor, say- 
ing, " Beware ye of transgressing the commandment of your King 
and neglecting to hearken to your chief, for therein lieth ruin for 
your realm and sundering for your society and bane for your 
bodies and perdition for your possessions ; and your foe would 
exult over you. Well ye wot the covenant ye made with me, and 
even thus shall be your covenant with this youth and the troth 
which plighted between you and me shall be also between you and 
him ; wherefore it behoveth you to give ear unto and obey his 
commandment, for that in this is the well-being of your condi- 
tions. So be ye constant with him anent that wherein ye were 
with me and your estate shall prosper and your affairs be fair ; 
for behold, he hath the Kingship over you and is the lord of your 

1 All the texts give a decalogue; but Mr. Payne has reduced it to a heptalogue. 

90 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

fortune, and The Peace?" Then the death-agony 1 seized him 
and his tongue was bridled : so he pressed .his son to him and 
kissed him and gave thanks unto Allah ; after which his hour came 
and his soul fared forth. All his subjects and the people of his 
court mourned and keened over him and they shrouded him and 
buried him with pomp and honour and reverence ; after which 
they returned with the Prince and clad him in the royal robes and 
crowned him with his father's crown and put the seal-ring on his 
finger, after seating him on the Throne of Sovranship. The young 
King ordered himself towards them, after his father's fashion of 
mildness and justice and benevolence, for a little while till the world 
waylaid him and entangled him in its lusts, whereupon, its plea- 
sures made him their prey and he turned to its gilding and gew- 
gaws, forsaking the engagements which his father had imposed 
upon him and casting off his obedience to him, neglecting the 
affairs of his reign and treading a road wherein was his own de- 
struction. The love of women waxed stark in him and came to 
such a pass that, whenever he heard tell of a beauty, he would 
send for her and take her to wife; and after this wise, he collected 
women more in number than ever had Solomon, David-son, King 
of the children of Israel. Also he would shut himself up with a 
company of them for a month at a time, during which he went 
not forth neither enquired of his realm or its rule nor looked into 
the grievances of such of his subjects as complained to him ; and 
if they wrote to him, he returned them no reply. Now when they 
saw this and witnessed his neglect of their affairs and lack of care 
for their interests and those of the state, they were assured that 
ere long some calamity would betide them and this was grievous 
to them. So they met privily one with other and took counsel 
together blaming their King, and one of them said to the rest, 
" Come, let us go to Shimas, Chief of the Wazirs, and set forth to 

1 The Arabs who had a variety of anaesthetics never seem to have studied the subject 
of "euthanasia." They preferred seeing a man expire in horrible agonies to relieving 
him by means of soporifics and other drugs : so I have heard Christians exult in saying 
that the sufferer " kept his senses to the last." Of course superstition is at the bottom 
of this barbarity ; the same which a generation ago made the silly accoucheur refuse to 
give ether because of the divine (?) saying "In sorrow shalt thoil bring forth children." 
(Gen. iii. 16). In the Bosnia-Herzegovina campaign many of the Austrian officers carried 
with them doses of poison to be used in case of being taken prisoners by the ferocious 
savages against whom they were fighting. As many anecdotes about " Easing off the 
poor dear" testify, the Eulhanasia-system is by no means unknown to the lower classes 
in England. I shall have more to say on this subject. 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 91 

him our case and acquaint him with that wherein we are by reason 
of this King, so he may admonish him ; else, in a little, calamity 
will dawn upon us, for the world hath dazzled the Sovran with its 
delights and seduced him with its snares." Accordingly, they re- 
paired to Shimas and said to him, " O wise man and prudent, the 
world hath dazed the King with its delights and taken him in its 
toils, so that he turneth unto vanity and worketh for the undoing 
of the state. Now with the disordering of the state the commons 
will be corrupted and our affairs will run to ruin. We see him not 
for days and months nor cometh there forth from him any com- 
mandment to us or to the Wazir or any else. We cannot refer aught 
of our need to him and he looketh not to the administration of justice 
nor taketh thought to the condition of any of his subjects, in his 
disregard of them. 1 And behold we are come to acquaint thee with 
the truth of things, for that thou art the chiefest and most accom- 
plished of us and it behoveth not that calamity befal a land 
wherein thou dwellest, seeing that thou art most able of any to 
amend this King. Wherefore go thou and speak with him : haply 
he will hearken to thy word and return unto the way of Allah." 2 
So Shimas arose forthright and repairing to the palace, fore- 
gathered with the first page he could find and said to him, " Fair 
my son, I beseech thee ask leave for me to go in to the King, for I 
have an affair, concerning which I would fain see his face and 
acquaint him therewith and hear what he shall answer me there- 
anent." Answered the page, " O my lord, by Allah, this month 
past hath he given none leave to come in to him, nor have I all 
this time looked upon his face ; but I will direct thee to one who 
shall crave admission for thee. Do thou lay hold of such a blacka- 
moor slave who standeth at his head and bringeth him food from 
the kitchen. When he cometh forth to go to the kitchen, ask him 
what seemeth good to thee ; for he will do for thee that which thou 
desirest." So the Wazir repaired to the door of the kitchen and 
sat there a little while, till up came the black and would have 
entered the kitchen ; but Shimas caught hold of him and said to 

1 See vol. iii. p. 253 for the consequences of royal seclusion of which Europe in the 
present day can contribute examples. The lesson which it teaches simply is that the 
world can get on very well without royalties. 

2 The grim Arab humour in the text is the sudden change for the worse of the good 
young man. Easterns do not believe in the Western saw, " Nemo repente fuit turpissi- 
mus." The spirited conduct of the subjects finds many parallels in European history, 
especially in Portugal : see my Life of Camoens p. 234. 

9 2 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

him, " Dear my son, I would fain stand in presence of the King 
and speak with him of somewhat especially concerneth him ; so 
prithee, of thy kindness, when he hath ended his undurn-meal and 
his temper is at its best, speak for me and get me leave to 
approach him, so I may bespeak him of that which shall suit him." 
" I hear and obey," answered the black and taking the food carried 
it to the King, who ate thereof and his temper was soothed 
thereby. Then said the black to him, " Shimas standeth at the 
door and craveth admission, so he may acquaint thee with matters 
that specially concern thee." At this the King was alarmed and 

disquieted and commanded to admit the Minister. And 

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

Nofo fojen it foas tje Jim* f^untrrefc an* ffif 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the King bade the blackamoor admit Shimas, the slave went forth 
to him and bade him enter; whereupon he went in and falling 
prone before Allah, kissed the King's hands and blessed him. 
Then said the King, " What hath betided thee, O Shimas, that 
thou seekest admission unto me ? " He answered, " This long while 
have I not looked upon the face of my lord the King and indeed I 
longed sore for thee ; and now, behold, I have seen thy countenance 
and come to thee with a word which I would lief say to thee, O 
King stablished in all prosperity ! " Quoth the King, " Say what 
seemeth good to thee ;" and quoth Shimas, " I would have thee 
bear in mind O King, that Allah Almighty hath endowed thee 
with learning and wisdom, for all the tenderness of thy years, such 
as He never vouchsafed unto any of the Kings before thee, and 
hath fulfilled the measure of his bounties to thee with the King- 
ship; and He loveth not that thou depart from that wherewith He 
hath endowed thee unto other than it, by means of thy disobedience 
to Him ; wherefore it behoveth thee not to levy war against 1 Him 
with thy hoards but of His injunctions to be mindful and unto 
His commandments obedient. Indeed, I have seen thee, this while 
past, forget thy sire and his charges and reject his covenant and 

1 Arab. " Muharabah" lit. = doing battle; but is sometimes used in the sense of 
gainsaying or disobeying. 

The Foolish Fisherman. 93 

neglect his counsel and words of wisdom and renounce his justice 
and good governance, remembering not the bounty of Allah to 
thee neither requiting it with gratitude and thanks to Him," The 
King asked, " How so ? And what is the manner of this ? ;" and 
Shimas answered, " The manner of it is that thou neglectest to 
administer the affairs of the state and that which Allah hath com- 
mitted unto thee of the interests of thy lieges and surrenderest 
thyself to thy lower nature in that which it maketh fair to thee of 
the slight lusts of the world. Verily it is said that the welfare of 
the state and of the Faith and of the folk is of the things which it 
behoveth the King to watch ; wherefore it is my rede, O King, 
that thou look fairly to the issue of thine affair, for thus wilt thou 
find the manifest road wherein is salvation, and not accept a 
trifling pleasure and a transient which leadeth to, the abyss of 
destruction, lest there befal thee that which befel the Fisherman." 
The King asked, " What was that ? "; and Shimas answered/' There 
hath reached me this tale of 


A FISHERMAN went forth to a river for fishing therein as was his 
wont ; and when he came thither and walked upon the bridge, he 
saw a great fish and said in himself, " 'Twill not serve me to abide 
here, but I will follow yonder fish whitherso it goeth, till I catch it, 
for it will relieve me from fishing for days and days." So he did 
off his clothes and plunged into the river after the fish. The 
current bore him along till he overtook it and laid hold of it, when 
he turned and found himself far from the bank. But albeit he saw 
what the stream had done with him, he would not loose the fish and 
return, but ventured life and gripping it fast with both hands, let 
his body float with the flow, which carried him on till it cast him 
into a whirlpool 1 none might enter and come out therefrom. With 
this he fell to crying out and saying, " Save a drowning man ! " 
And there came to him folk of the keepers- of the river and said to 
him, " What ailed thee to cast thyself into this great peril ? " 
Quoth he, " It was I myself who forsook the plain way wherein 

1 Arab. "Duwa'mah" (from " duwdm " =: vertigo, giddiness) aho applied to a boy's 

94 Alf Laylak wa Laylah. 

was salvation and gave myself over to concupiscence am! perdition." 
Quoth they, " O fellow, why didst thou leave the way of safety 
and cast thyself into this destruction, knowing from of old that 
none may enter herein and be saved ? What hindered thee from 
throwing away what was in thy hand and saving thyself? So hadst 
thou escaped with thy life and not fallen into this perdition, whence 
there is no deliverance ; and now not one of us can rescue thee 
from this thy ruin." Accordingly the man cut off all his hopes of 
life and lost that which was in his hand and for which his flesh had 
prompted him to venture himself, and died a miserable death. 
" And I tell thee not this parable, O King," added Shimas, " but 
that thou mayest leave this contemptible conduct that diverteth 
thee from thy duties and look to that which is committed to thee 
of the rule of thy folk and the maintenance of the order of thy 
realm, so that none may see fault in thee." The King asked, 
" What wouldst thou have me do ? " And Shimas answered, " To- 
morrow, an thou be well and in good case, 1 give the folk leave to 
come in to thee and look into their affairs and excuse thyself to 
them and promise them of thine own accord good governance and 
prosperity." Quoth the King, " O Shimas, thou hast spoken 
sensibly and rightly ; and to-morrow, Inshallah, I will do that 
which thou counsellest me." So the Wazir went out from him and 
told the lieges all he had said to him ; and, when morning- 
morrowed, the King came forth of his privacy and bade admit the 
people, to whom he excused himself, promising them that thence- 
forward he would deal with them as they wished, wherewith they 
were content and departed each to his own dwelling. 2 Then one 
of the King's wives, who was his best-beloved of them and most 
in honour with him, visited him and seeing him changed of colour 

1 Arab. " Khayr o (wa) Afiyah," a popular phrase much used in salutations, &c. 

2 Another instance, and true to life, of the democracy of despotism in which the 
express and combined will of the people is the only absolute law. Hence Russian 
autocracy is forced into repeated wars for the possession of Constantinople which, in the 
present condition of the Empire, would be an unmitigated evil to her and would be only 
too glad to see a Principality of Byzantium placed under the united protection of the 
European Powers. I have treated of this in my paper on the " Partition of Turkey," 
which first appeared, headed the " Future of Turkey," in the Daily Telegraph, of 
March 7, 1880, and subsequently by its own name in the Manchester Examiner, January 3, 
1 88 1. The main reason why the project is not carried out appears to be that the 
" politicals " would thereby find their occupation gone and they naturally object to 
losing so fine a field of action. So Turkey still plays the rdle of the pretty young lady 
being courted by a rabble of valets. 

The Boy and the Thieves. 95 

and thoughtful over his affairs, by reason of that which he had 
heard from his chief Wazir, said to him, " O King, how is it that 
I see thee troubled in mind ? Hast thou aught to complain of ? " 
Answered he, " No : but my pleasures have distracted me from 
my duties. What right have I to be thus negligent of my affairs 
and those of my subjects ? If I continue on this wise, soon, very 
soon, the kingdom will pass out of my hand." She rejoined, " I 
see, O King, that thou hast been duped by the Wazirs and 
Ministers, who wish but to torment and entrap thee, so thou 
mayst have no joyance of this thy kingship neither feel ease nor 
taste delight ; nay, they would have thee consume thy life in 
warding off trouble from them, till thy days be wasted in travail 
and weariness and thou be as one who slayeth himself for the 
benefit of another or like the Boy and the Thieves." Asked the 
King, " How was that ? " and she answered, " They tell the follow- 
ing tale anent 


SEVEN Thieves once went out to steal, according to their custom, 
and fell in with a Boy, poor and orphaned to boot, who besought 
them for somewhat to eat. One of them asked him, " Wilt go 
with us, O Boy, and we will feed thee and give thee drink, clothe 
thee and entreat thee kindly ?" And he answered, "Needs must 
I go with you whitherso ye will and ye are as my own kith and 
kin." So they took him and fared on with him till they came to 
a garden, and entering, went round about therein, till they found 
a walnut-tree laden with ripe fruit and said to him, " O Boy, wilt 
thou enter this garden with us and swarm up this tree and eat of 
its walnuts thy sufficiency and throw the rest down to us ? " He 

consented and entered with them, And Shahrazad perceived 

the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Note fojjen it foas tfje Nine f^un&refc anli Niiuteentf) 

She said. It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Boy consented and entered with the Thieves, one of them 
said to other " Look which is the lightest and smallest of us and 
make him climb the tree." And they said, " None of us is 

^ A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

slighter than this Boy." So they sent him up into the tree and 
said to him, " O Boy, touch not aught of the fruit, lest some one 
see thee and work thee a mischief." He asked, u How then shall 
I do ? ", and they answered, * Sit among die boughs and shake 
diem one by one with all thy might, so that which is thereon 
nay fall, and we will pick it up. Then, when thou hast made an 
end of shaking down the fruit, come down and take thy share of 
that which we have gathered." Accordingly he began to shake 
every branch at which he could come, so that the nuts fell and the 
thieves picked them up and ate some and hid other some till all 
were full, save the Boy who had eaten naught. As they were 
thus engaged, behold, up came the owner of the garden who, 
standing to witness the spectacle, enquired of them, a What do 
ye with this tree?" They replied "We have taken naught 
thereof; but we were passing by and seeing yonder Boy on the 
tree, took him for the owner thereof and besought him to give 
us to eat of the fruit Thereat he fell to shaking one of die 
branches, so that the nuts dropped down, and we are not at 
fault" Quoth the master to the Boy, "What sayst thou?"; 
and quoth he, "These men lie; but I will tell thee the truth. 
It is that we all came hither together and they bade me **ih 
the tree and shake its boughs that the nuts might fall down to 
them, and I obeyed their bidding." Said the master, "Thou hast 
cast thyself into sore calamity ; but hast thou profited by eating 
aught of the fruit? 99 ; and he said, "I have eaten naught thereof." 
Rejoined the owner of the garden, " Now know I thy folly and 
thine ignorance in that thou hast wrought to ruin thyself and 
profit others." Then said he to the Thieves, * I have no resort 
against you, so wend your ways!" But he laid hands on the 
Boy and punished him. " On like wise," added the favourite, M thy 
Wazirs and Officers of state would sacrifice thee to their interests 
and do with thee as did die Thieves with the Boy." Answered 
the King, "Thou sayst sooth, and speakest truth: I will not go 
forth to them nor leave my pleasures." Then he passed the night 
with bis wife in all delight till the morning, when the Grand 
Wazier arose and, assembling the Officers of state, together with 
those of the lieges who were present with them, repaired with 
them to the palace-gate, congratulating one another and rejoicing. 
But the door opened not nor did the "King come forth unto them 
nor give them leave to go in to him. So, when they despaired of 
him, they said to Shimas, " O excellent Wazir and 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. Qf 

sage, seest thou not the behaviour of this lad, young of years and 
little of wit, how he addeth to his offences falsehood ? See how 
he hath broken his promise to us and hath not performed that for 
which he engaged unto us, and this sin it behoveth thee join unto 
his other sins ; but we beseech thee go in to him yet again and 
discover what is the cause of his holding back and refusal to 
come forth ; for we doubt not but that the like of this action 
cometh of his corrupt nature, and indeed he is now hardened 
to the highest degree." Accordingly, Shimas went in to the 
King and bespake him, saying, " Peace be with thee, O King ! 
How cometh it that I see thee give thyself up to these slight 
pleasures and neglect the great affair whereto it behoveth thee 
sedulously apply thyself? Thou art like unto a man who had a 
milch-camel and, coming one day to milk her, the goodness of her 
milk made him neglect to hold fast her halter ; which whenas she 
felt, she haled herself free and made off into the wold. Thus 
the man lost both milk and camel and the loss that betided him 
surpassed his gain. Wherefore, O King, do thou look unto that 
wherein is thy welfare and the weal of thy subjects; for, even as 
it behoveth not a man to sit for ever at the kitchen door, because 
of his need unto food, so should he not alway company with 
women, by reason of his inclination to them. And as a man 
should eat but as much food as will guard him from the pains of 
hunger and drink but what will ward off the pangs of thirst, in 
like manner it behoveth the sensible man to content himself with 
passing two of the four-and-twenty hours of his day with women 
and expend the rest in ordering his own affairs and those of his 
people. For to be longer than this in company with women is 
hurtful both to mind and body, seeing that they bid not unto 
good neither direct thereto : wherefore it besitteth not a man to 
accept from them or word or deed, for indeed it hath reached me 
that many men have come to ruin through their women, and 
amongst others a certain man who perished through conversation 
with his wife at her command." The King asked, " How was 
that ? " and Shimas answered, saying, a Hear, O King the 
tale of 

A If Laylah wa Laylak. 


THEY relate that a certain man had a wife whom he loved and 
honoured, giving ear to her speech and doing according to her 
rede. Moreover, he had a garden, which he had newly planted 
with his own hand, and was wont to go thither every day, to tend 
it and water it. One day his wife asked him, " What hast thou 
planted in thy garden ? " ; and he answered, " All thou lovest and 
desirest, and I am assiduous in tending and watering it." Quoth 
she, " Wilt thou not carry me thither and show it to me, so I may 
look upon it and offer thee up a pious prayer for its prosperity, 
seeing that my orisons are effectual?" Quoth he, "I will well; 
but have patience with me till the morrow, when I will come and 
take thee." So early on the ensuing day, he carried her to the 
garden which he entered with her. Now two young men saw 
them enter from afar and said each to other, " Yonder man is an 
adulterer and yonder woman an adulteress, and they have not 
entered this garden but to commit adultery." Thereupon they 
followed the couple to see what they would do, and hid themselves 
in a corner of the garden. The man and his wife after entering 
abode awhile therein, and presently he said to her, " Pray me 
the prayer thou didst promise me ; " but she replied, saying, " I 
will not pray for thee, until thou do away my desire of that 
which women seek from men." Cried he, " Out on thee, O 
woman ! Hast thou not thy fill of me in the house ? Here I fear 
scandal, especially as thou divertest me from my affairs. Fearest 
thou not that some one will see us ? " Quoth she, " We need 
have no care for that, seeing that we do neither sin nor lewdness ; 
and, as for the watering of the garden, that may wait, because 
thou canst water it when thou wilt.'' And she would take 
neither excuse nor reason from him, but was instant with him in 
seeking carnal coition. So he arose and lay with her, which when 
the young men aforesaid saw, they ran upon them and seized 
them, 1 saying, " We will not let you go, for ye are adulterers, and 
except we have carnal knowledge of the woman, we will report 

1 Good Moslems are bound to abate such scandals ; and in a case of the kind even 
neighbours are expected to complain before the Chief of Police. This practice forms 
' Vigilance Committees" all over the Mahommedan East : and we may take a leaf out 
of their books if dynamite-outrages continue. 

The Man and his Wife. 99 

you to the police." Answered the man, " Fie upon you ! This is 
my wife and I am the master of the garden." They paid no 
heed to him, but fell upon the woman, who cried out to him for 
succour, saying, " Suffer them not to defile me ! " Accordingly 
he came up to them, calling out for help ; but one of them turned 

on him and smote him with his dagger and slew him. And 

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

fojjEn it foas tje jitne f^untato an& 'STfoentietf) 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that after 
slaying the husband the two young men returned to the wife and 
ravished her "This I tell thee, O King," continued the Wazir, 
" but that thou mayst know that it becometh not men to give ear 
unto a woman's talk neither obey her in aught nor accept her 
judgment in counsel. Beware, then, lest thou don the dress of 
ignorance, after the robe of knowledge and wisdom, and follow 
perverse rede, after knowing that which is righteous and profitable. 
Wherefore pursue thou not a paltry pleasure, whose trending is to 
corruption and whose inclining is unto sore and uttermost perdition/' 
When the King heard this from Shimas he said to him, " To- 
morrow I will come forth to them, an it be the will of Allah the 
Most 'High." So Shimas returned to the Grandees and Notables 
who were present and told them what the King had said. But 
this came to the cans of the favourite wife ; whereupon she went in 
to the King and said to him, " The subjects of a King should be 
his slaves ; but I see, O King, thou art become a slave to thy 
subjects, because thou standest in awe of them and fearest their 
mischief. 1 They do but desire to make proof of thine inner man ; 
and if they find thee weak, they will disdain thee ; but, if they find 
thee stout and brave, they will dread thee. On this wise do ill Wazirs 
with their King, for that their wiles are many ; but I will make mani- 
fest unto thee the truth of their malice. An thou comply with the 
conditions they demand, they will cause thee cease ruling and do 
their will ; nor will they leave leading thee on from affair to affair, 

1 But a Hadis, attributed to Mohammed, says, " The Prince of a people is their 
servant." See Matth. xx. 26-27. 

lOOj A If Laylah wa Laylah* 

till they cast thee into destruction ; and thy case will be as that of 
the Merchant and the Robbers." Asked the King, " How was 
that ? " and she answered, " I have heard tell this tale anent 


THERE was once a wealthy Merchant, who set out for a certain: 
city purposing to sell merchandise there, and when he came thither^ 
he hired him a lodging wherein he took up his abode. Now certain 
Robbers saw him, men wont to lie in wait for merchants, that they] 
might rob their goods ; so they went to his house and sought some 
device whereby to enter in, but could find no way thereto, and 
their Captain said, " I'll manage you his matter." Then he went 
away and, donning the dress of a leach, threw over his shoulder a 
bag containing somewhat of medicines, after which he set out, 
crying, " Who lacks a doctor ?" and fared on till he came to the 
merchant's lodging and him sitting eating the noon-day dinner. 
So he asked him, " Dost thou need thee a physician ? ; " and the 
trader answered, " I need naught of the kind ; but sit thee down 
and eat with me." The thief sat down facing him and began to 
eat. Now this merchant was a belle fourchette ; and the Robber 
seeing this, said to himself, " I have found my chance/' Then he 
turned to his host and said to him, " 'Tis but right for me to give 
thee an admonition ; and after thy kindness to me, I cannot hide it 
from thee. I see thee to be a great eater and the cause of this is a 
disorder in thy stomach ; wherefore unless thou take speedy 
measures for thy cure, thine affair will end in perdition." Quoth 
the merchant, " My body is sound and my stomach speedy of 
digestion, and though I be a hearty eater, yet is there no disease 
in my body, to Allah be the praise and the thanks ! " Quoth the 
Robber, " It may appear thus unto thee ; but I know thou hast a 
disease incubating in thy vitals and if thou hearken to me, thou' 
wilt medicine thyself." The Merchant asked, " And where shall I; 
find him who knoweth my remedy ? " ; and the Robber answered] 
"Allah is the Healer; but a physician like myself cureth the; 
sick to the best of his power." Then the other said, v Show me at 
once my remedy and give me thereof.". Hereupon he gave 
him a powder, wherein was a strong dose of aloes, 1 saying, " Use 

1 Easterns are well aware of the value of this drug which has become the base of so 
many of our modern medicines* 

The Merchant and the Robbers. lOt; 

this to-night ; " and he accepted it gratefully. When the night 
came, the Merchant tasted somewhat of the powder and found it 
nauseous of gust ; nevertheless he misdoubted not of it, but 
swallowed it all and therefrom found ease that night. Next night 
the thief brought him another powder, wherein was yet more aloes, 
and he took it : it purged him that night, but he bore patiently 
with this and rejected it not. When the Robber saw that he gave 
ear unto his word and put trust in him nor would gainsay him in 
aught, he brought him a deadly drug 1 and gave it to him. The 
Merchant swallowed it and no sooner had he done this than that 
which was in his stomach fell down and his bowels were rent in 
sunder, and by the morrow he was a dead man ; whereupon the 
Robbers came and took all the merchandise and monies that 
belonged' to him. " This I tell thee, O King," added the favourite 
" but that thou mayst not accept one word from these deluders ; 
else will there befal thee that whereby thou wilt destroy thyself." 
Cried the King, "Thou sayst sooth ; I will not go forth to them. 
Now when the morning morrowed, the folk assembled together and 
repairing to the King's door, sat there the most part of the day, 
till they despaired of his coming forth, when they returned to 
Shimas and said to him, "O sage philosopher and experienced 
master, seest thou not that this ignorant lad doth naught but; 
redouble in falsehood to us ? Verily 'twere only reasonable and 
right to take the Kingdom from him and give it to another, so 
our affairs may be ordered and our estates maintained ; but ga 
thou in to him a third time and tell him that naught hindereth usi 
from rising against him and taking the Kingship from him but 
his father's goodness to us and that which he required from us of 
oaths and engagements. However, to-morrow, we will all, to the 
last of us, assemble here with our arms and break down the gate 

1 The strangest poison is mentioned by Sonnini who, as anile, is a trustworthy writer. 
Noticing the malignity of Egyptian women he declares (p. 628, English trans.) that 
they prepare a draught containing a quant, suff. of menstruous discharge at certain 
phases of the moon, which produces symptoms of scurvy ; the gums decay, the teeth, 
beard and hair fall off, the body dries, the limbs lose strength and death follows within 
a year. He also asserts that no counterpoison is known and if this be true he confers a 
boon upon the Locustae and Brinvilliers of modern Europe. In Morocco "Ta'am" 
is the vulgar name for a mixture of dead men's bones, eyes, hair and similar ingredients 
made by old wives and supposed to cause a wasting disease for which the pharmacopoeia! 
has no cure. Dogs are killed by needles cunningly inserted into meat-balls ; and this] 
^process is known throughout the Moslem world. 

'TO2 A If Lay tab wa Laylah. 

of the citadel 1 ; and if he come forth to us and do that which we 
wish, no harm is yet done 2 ; else we will go in to him and slay 
him and put the Kingdom in the hand of other than he/' So the 
Wazir Shimas went in to him and said, " O King, that grovellest 
in thy gusts and thy lusts, what is this thou dost with thyself ? 
Would Heaven I wot who seduced thee thereto ! An it, be thou 
who sinnest against thyself, there hath ceased from thee that which 
we knew in thee aforetime of integrity and wisdom and eloquence. 
Could I but learn who hath thus changed thee and turned thee 
from wisdom to folly and from fidelity to iniquity and from 
mildness to harshness and from acceptation of me to aversion from 
me ! How cometh it that I admonish thee thrice and thou acceptest 
not mine admonition and that I counsel thee rightfully and still 
thou gainsayest my counsel ? Tell me, what is this child's play 
and who is it prompteth thee thereunto ? Know that the people 
of thy Kingdom have agreed together to come in to thee and 
slay thee and give thy Kingdom to another. Art able to cope 
with them all and save thyself from their hands or canst quicken thy- 
self after being killed ? If, indeed, thou be potent to do all this, 
thou art safe and hast no occasion for my rede ; but an thou have 
any concern for thy life and thy kingship, return to thy sound 
sense and hold fast thy reign and show forth to the folk the power 
of thy prowess and persuade the people with thine excuse, for 
they are minded to tear away that which is in thy hand and 
commit it unto other, being resolved upon revolt and rebellion, 
led thereto by that which they know of thy youth and thy self- 
submission to love-liesse and lusts; for that stones, albeit they 
lie long under water, an thou withdraw them therefrom and smite 
one upon other, fire will be struck from them. Now thy lieges 
are many folk and they have taken counsel together against thee, 
with a design to transfer the Kingship from thee to another and 
accomplish upon thee whatso they desire of thy destruction. So 

shalt thou fare as did the Jackals with the Wolf," And 

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

1 Which contained the Palace. 

* Arab. "La baas.'* See Night vol. iv. 164. 

The Jackals and the Wolf. 103 

JFlolo fo&en it tuas tljc Jliiu Hjuntirctr antr Ttocnty~urst 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Wazir Shimas concluded with saying, " And they shall accomplish 
upon thee whatso they desire of thy destruction : so shalt thou 
fare as fared the Jackals with the Wolf." Asked the King, How 
was that ? " and the Wazir answered, " They tell the following 
tale of 


A PACK of Jackals 1 went out one day to seek food, and as they 
prowled about in quest of this, behold, they happened upon a dead 
camel and said in themselves, " Verily we have found wherewithal 
we may live a great while ; but we fear lest one of us oppress the 
other and the strong bear down the weak with his strength and so 
the puny of us perish. Wherefore it behoveth us seek one who 
shall judge between us and appoint unto each his part, so the 
force-full may not lord it over the feeble." As they consulted 
together on such subject, suddenly up came a Wolf, and one of 
the Jackals said to the others, " Right is your rede ; let us make 
this Wolf judge between us, for he is the strongest of beasts and 
his father was Sultan over us aforetime ; so we hope in Allah that 
he will do justice between us." Accordingly they accosted the 
Wolf and acquainting him with what they had resolved concerning 
him said, " We make thee judge between us, so thou mayst allot 
unto each of us his day's meat, after the measure of his need, lest 
the strong of us bear down the weak and some of us destroy other 
of us." The Wolf accepted the governance of their affairs and 
allotted to each of them what sufficed him that day ; but on the 
morrow he said in his mind, " An I divide this camel amongst 
these weaklings, no part thereof will come to me, save the pittance 
they will assign to me, and if I eat it alone, they can do me no 
harm, seeing that they are a prey to me and to the people of my 
house. Who, then, is the one to hinder me from taking it all for 
myself? Surely, 'tis Allah who hath bestowed it on me by way o/ 

1 For Ta' lab (Sa 1 lab) see supra, p. 48. In Morocco it is undoubtedly the red or 
common fox which, however, is not gregarious as in the text. 

104 A If Lay la k wa Lay la k* 

provision without any obligation to any of them. It were best 
that I keep it for myself, and henceforth I will give them naught." 
Accordingly, next morning when the Jackals came to him, as was 
their wont, and sought of him their food, saying, " O Abu Sirhdn, 1 
give us our day's provender, 2 " he answered saying, " I have 
nothing left to give you." Whereupon they went away in the 
sorriest plight, saying, " Verily, Allah hath cast us into grievous 
trouble with this foul traitor, who regardeth not Allah nor feareth 
'Him ; but we have neither stratagem nor strength on our side.'* 
jMoreover one of them said, " Haply 'twas but stress of hunger 
that moved him to this ; so let him eat his fill to-day, and to- 
morrow we will go to him again/' Accordingly, on the morrow, 
they again betook themselves to the Wolf and said to him, " O 
Father of Foray, we gave thee authority over us, that thou mightest 
apportion unto each of us his day's meat and do the weak justice 
against the strong of us, and that, when this provaunt is finished, 
thou shouldst do thine endeavour to get us other and so we be 
always under thy watch and ward. Now hunger is hard upon us, 
for that we have not eaten these two days ; so do thou give us our 
day's ration and thou shalt be free to dispose of all that remaineth 
as thou wilt." But the Wolf returned them no answer and 
redoubled in his hardness of heart and when they strave to turn 
him from his purpose he would not be turned. Then said one of 
the Jackals to the rest, " Nothing will serve us but that we go to 
the Lion and cast ourselves on his protection and assign unto 
him the camel. If he vouchsafe us aught thereof, 'twill be of his 
favour, and if not, lie is worthier of it than this scurvy rascal." 
So they betook themselves to the Lion and acquainted him with 
that which had betided them from the Wolf, saying, " We are thy 
slaves and come to thee imploring thy protection, so thou mayst 
deliver us from this Wolf, and we will be thy thralls." When the 
Lion heard their story, he was jealous for Almighty Allah 3 ana 
went with them in quest of the Wolf who, seeing him approach 

1 See vol. iii. 146. 

* Arab. " Muunah" which in Morocco applies to the provisions furnished gratis by 
the unfortunate village-people to travellers who have a passport from the Sultan : its 
root is Maun supplying necessaries. " The name is supposed to have its origin in that 
of Manna, the miraculous provision bestowed by the bounty of Heaven on the Israelites 
while wandering in the deserts of Arabia." Such is the marvellous information we find 
in p. 40, " Morocco and the Moors " by John Drummond Hay (Murray, 1861). 

3 $.e. He resolved to do them justice and win a reward from Heaven. 

The Jackals and the Wolf. 1O$ 

addressed himself to flight ; but the Lion ran after him and seizing 
him, rent him in pieces and restored their prey to the Jackals. 
" This showeth," added Shimas, " that it fitteth no King to neglect 
the affairs of his subjects ; wherefore do thou hearken to my rede 
and give credit to the words which I say to thee." Quoth the King, 
" I will hearken to thee and to-morrow, Inshallah, I will go forth 
to them." Accordingly Shimas went from him and returning to 
the folk, told them that the King had accepted his advice and pro- 
mised to come out unto them on the morrow. But, when the 
favourite heard this saying reported of Shimas and was certified 
that needs must the King go forth to his subjects, she betook her- 
self to him in haste and said to him, " How great is my wonder at 
thy submissiveness and thine obedience to thy slaves ! Knowest 
thou not that these Wazirs are thy thralls ? Why then dost thou 
exalt them to this highmost pitch of importance that they imagine 
them it was they gave thee this kingship and advanced thee to 
this rank and that it is they who confer favours on thee, albeit 
they have no power to do thee the least damage ? Indeed, 'tis not 
thou who owest submission to them ; but on the contrary they 
owe it to thee, and it is their duty to carry out thine orders. How 
cometh it then, that thou art so mightily affrighted at them ? It 
is said : Unless thy heart be like iron, thou art not fit to be *a 
Sovran. But thy mildness hath deluded these men, so that they 
presume upon thee and cast off their allegiance, although it 
behoveth that they be constrained unto thy obedience and enforced 
to thy submission. Therefore an thou hasten to accept their 
words and leave them as they now are and vouchsafe to them the 
least thing against thy will, they will, weigh heavily upon thee and 
require other concessions of thee, and this will become their habit. 
But, an thou hearken to me, thou wilt not advance any one of 
them to power neither wilt thou accept his word nor encourage 
him to presume upon thee ; else wilt thou fare with them as did 
the Shepherd with the Rogue." Asked the King, " How was 
that ? " and she answered, " They relate this adventure of 

106 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 


THERE was once a Shepherd, who fed a flock of sheep in the wold 
and kept over them strait watch. One night, there came to him a 
Rogue thinking to steal some of his charges and finding him 
assiduous in guarding them, sleeping not by night nor neglecting 
them by day, prowled about him all the livelong night, but could 
plunder nothing from him. So, when he was weary of striving, he 
betook himself to another part of the waste and trapping a lion, 
skinned him and stuffed his hide with bruised straw 2 ; after which 
he set it up on a high place in the desert, where the Shepherd 
might see it and be assured thereof. Then he accosted the 
Shepherd and said to him, <( Yonder lion hath sent me to demand 
his supper of these sheep." The Shepherd asked, " Where is the 
lion ? " and the Rogue answered, " Lift thine eyes : there he 
standeth." So the Shepherd raised his eyes and seeing the 
semblance deemed it a very lion and was much affrighted ; -- 
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her 
permitted say. 

Nofo fo&en it foas tfje jgtne ^unfcrefc anfc tJto0ntp*secotrtr Ntfi&t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Shepherd saw the semblance of the lion, he deemed it a very 
lion and was affrighted with the sorest fright, trembling for dread ; 
so he said to the thief, " O my brother take what thou wilt, I will 
not gainsay thee." Accordingly the Rogue took what he would of 
the sheep and redoubled in greed by reason of the excess of the 
Shepherd's fear. Accordingly, every little while, he would hie to 
him and terrify him, saying, " The lion hath need of this and re- 
quireth that, and his intent is to do thus and thus," and take his 
sufficiency of the sheep ; and he stinted not to do thus with him, 
till he had wasted the most part of his flock. " This, O King," 
added the favourite, " I tell thee only that thou suffer not the 

1 Arab. " Luss" = thief, robber, rogue, rascal, the Persian " Luti " of popular usage. 
This is one of the many "Simpleton stories " in which Eastern folk-lore abounds. I 
hear that Mr. Clouston is preparing a collection, and look forward to it with interest. 

2 Arab. " Tibn " ; for which see vol. i. 16. 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 107 

Grandees of thy realm to be deluded by thy mildness and easiness" 
of temper and presume on thee ; and, in right rede, their death 
were better than that they deal thus with thee." Quoth the King, 
*' I accept this thy counsel and will not hearken to their admoni- 
tion neither will I go out unto them/' On the morrow the Wazirs 
and Officers of State and heads of the people assembled ; and, 
taking each with him his weapon, repaired to the palace of the 
King, so they might break in upon him and slay him and seat 
another in his stead. When they came to the door, they required 
the doorkeeper to open to them; but he refused, whereupon they sent 
to fetch fire, wherewith to burn down the doors and enter. The door- 
keeper, hearing what they said went in to the King in haste and 
told him that the folk were gathered together at the gate, adding, 
" They required me to open to them, but I refused ; and they have 
sent to fetch fire to burn down the doors withal, so they may come 
into thee and slay thee. What dost thou bid me do ? " Quoth 
the King in himself, " Verily, I am fallen into uttermost perdition." 
Then he sent for the favourite ; and, as soon as she came, said to 
her, " Indeed, Shimas never told me aught but I found it true, and 
now great and small are come purposing to slay me and thee : and 
because the doorkeeper would not open to them, they have sent to 
fetch fire, to burn the doors withal : so will the house be burnt and 
we therein. What dost thou counsel me to do?" She replied, 
" No harm shall betide thee, nor let thine affair affright thee. This 
is a time when the simple rise against their Kings." Quoth he, 
" What dost thou counsel me to do and how shall I act in this 
affair ? " Quoth she, " My rede is that thou fillet thy head and 
feign thyself sick : then send for the Wazir Shimas, who will come 
and see the plight wherein thou art ; and do thou say to him : 
Verily I purposed to go forth to the folk this day ; but this malady 
hindered me. So go thou out to them and acquaint them with 
my condition and tell them that to-morrow I will fare forth with- 
out fail to them and do their need and look into their affairs, 
so they may be reassured and their rage may subside. Then do 
thou summon ten of thy father's slaves, stalwart men of strength 
and prowess, to whom thou canst entrust thyself, hearing to thy 
hest and complying with thy commandment, surely keeping thy 
secret and lief to thy love ; and charge them on the morrow to 
stand at thy head and bid them suffer none of the folk to enter, 
save one by one ; and all who enter do thou say : Seize them and 
do them die. An they agree with thee upon this, to-morrow set 

io8 Alf Laylak wa Laylah. 

up thy throne in the Divan 1 and open thy doors. When the folk 
see that thou hasfc opened to them their minds will be set at ease 
and they will come to thee with a whole heart, and seek admission 
to thee. Then do thou admit them, one after one, even as I said 
to thee and work with them thy will ; but it behoveth thee begin 
by slaying Shimas, their chief and leader ; for "he is the Grand 
Wazier and head of the matter. Therefore do him die first and 
after put all the rest to death, one after other, and spare none 
whom thou knowest to have broken with thee his covenant ; and 
in like way slaughter all whose violence thou fearest. An thou 
deal thus with them, there will be left them no power to make head 
against thee ; so shalt thou be at rest from them with full repose, 
and shalt enjoy thy kingship in peace and do whatso thou wilt ; 
and know that there is no device that will profit thee more than 
this." Quoth the King, "Verily, this thy counsel is just and that 
which thou biddest me is to the point and I will assuredly do as 
thou directest." So he called for a fillet and bound his head there- 
with and shammed sickness. Then he sent for the Grand Wazir 
and said to him, " O Shimas, thou knowest that I love thee and 
hearken to the counsel of thee and thou art to me as brother and 
father both in one ; also thou knowest that I do all thou biddest 
me and indeed thou badest me go forth to the lieges and sit to 
judge between them. Now I was assured that this was right rede 
on thy part, and purposed to go forth to them yesterday ; but this 
sickness assailed me and I cannot sit up. It hath reached me that 
the folk are incensed at my failure to come forth to them and are 
minded of their mischief to do with me that which is unmeet for 
that they know not what ailment aileth me. So go thou forth to 
them and acquaint them with my case and the condition I am in ; 
and excuse me to them, for I am obedient to their bidding and 
will do as they desire ; wherefore order this affair and engage thy- 
self for me herefor, even as thou hast been a loyal counsellor to me 
and to my sire before me, and it is of thy wont to make peace 
between the people. To-morrow, Inshallah, I will without fail 
come forth to them, and peradventure my sickness will cease from 
me this night, by the blessing of the purest intent and the good 

1 A fanciful origin of "Divan " (here an audience-chamber) which may mean demons 
(plural of Div) is attributed to a King of Persia. He gave a series of difficult documents 
and accounts to his scribes and surprised at the quickness and cleverness with which they 
were- ordered exclaimed, "These men be Divs ! " Hence a host of secondary 
meanings as a book of Odes with distichs rhymed in alphabetical order and so forth. 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 109 

I purpose them in my heart." So Shimas prostrated himself to 
Allah and called down blessings on the King and kissed his hand, 
rejoicing at this. Then he went forth to the folk and told them 
what he had heard from the King and forbade them from that 
which they had a mind to do, acquainting them with what excused 
the King for his absence and informing them that he had promised 
to come forth to them on the morrow and deal with them accord- 
ing to their desires ; whereupon they dispersed and hied them to 

their houses. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

foijen ft foa* tije Jltae f^untoetr anto tfoentpt&tr& 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Shimas 
went from the presence to the ringleaders of the commons and said 
to them, " To-morrow the Sovran will come forth to you and will 
deal with you as ye desire." So they hied them to their homes. 
On such wise fared it with them ; but as regards the Monarch, he 
summoned ten slaves of gigantic stature, 1 men of hard heart and 
prow of prowess, whom he had chosen from amongst his father's 
body-guards ; and said to them, " Ye know the favour, esteem and 
high rank ye held with my sire and all the bounties, benefits and 
honours he bestowed on you, and I will advance you to yet higher 
dignity with me than this. Now I will tell you the reason thereof 
and ye are under safeguard of Allah from me. But first I will ask 
you somewhat, wherein if ye do my desire, obeying me iri that 
which I shall bid you and conceal my secret from all men, ye shall 
have of me largesse and favour surpassing expectation. But above 
all things obedience ! " The ten thralls answered him with one 
mouth and in sequent words, saying, " Whatso thou biddest us, O 
our liege, that we will do, nor will we depart in aught from thy 
commandment, for thou art our lord and master." Quoth the 
King, " Allah allot you weal ! Now will I tell you the reason why 
I have chosen you out for increase of honour with me. Ye know 
how liberally my father dealt with the folk of his realm and the 
oath he took from them on behalf of me and how they promised 

1 In both cases the word " Jabdbirah" is used, the plur. of Jabbdr, the potent, espe- 
cially applied to the Kings of the Canaanites and giants like the mythical Og of Bashan. 
So the Heb. Jabburah is a title of the Queens of Judah. 

no Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

him that they would not break faith with me nor gainsay the bid- 
ding of me ; and ye saw how they did yesterday, whenas they 
gathered all together about me and would have slain me. Now I 
am minded to do with them somewhat ; and 'tis this, for that I 
have considered their action of yesterday and see that naught will 
restrain them from its like save exemplary chastisement : where- 
fore I perforce charge you privily to do to death whom I shall 
point out to you, to the intent that I may ward off mischief and 
calamity from my realm by slaying their leaders and Chiefs ; and 
the manner thereof shall be on this wise. To-morrow I will sit on 
this seat in this chamber and give them admission to me one by 
one, coming in at one door and going out at another ; and do ye, 
all ten, stand before me and be attentive to my signs : and whoso 
entereth singly, take him and drag him into yonder chamber and 
kill him and hide his corpse." The slaves answered, " We hearken 
to thy hest and obey thy order " : whereupon he gave them gifts 
and dismissed them for the night. On the morrow he summoned 
the thralls and bade set up the royal seat : then he donned his 
kingly robes and taking the Book of law-cases 1 in his hands, 
posted the ten slaves before him and commanded to open the 
doors. So they opened the doors and the herald proclaimed 
aloud, saying, " Whoso hath authority, let him come to the King's 
carpet 2 ! " Whereupon up came the Wazirs and Prefects and 
Chamberlains and stood, each in his rank. Then the King bade 
admit them, one after one, and the first to enter was Shimas, 
according to the custom of the Grand Wazir ; but no sooner had 
he presented himself before the King, and ere he could beware, the 
ten slaves gat about him, and dragging him into the adjoining 
chamber, despatched him. On like wise did they with the rest of 
the Wazirs and Olema and Notables, slaying them, one after 
other, till they made a clean finish. 3 Then the King called the 

1 Arab. "Kitab al-Kaza" = the Book of Judgments, such as the Kazi would use 
when deciding cases in dispute, by legal precedents and the Rasm or custom of the 

2 i.e. sit before the King as referee, etc. 

3 This massacre of refractory chiefs is one of the grand moyens of Eastern state-craft, 
and it is almost always successful because circumstances require it ; popular opinion 
approves of it and it is planned and carried out with discretion and secrecy. The two 
familiar Instances in our century are the massacre of the Mamelukes by Mohammed AH 
Pasha the Great and of the turbulent chiefs of the Omani Arabs by our ancient ally Sayyid 
Sa'fd, miscalled the "Imam of Maskat." 

King Wird Khan with kis Women and Wazirs* III 

Headsmen and bade them ply sword upon all who remained of the 
folk of valour and stowre : so they fell on them and left none 
whom they knew for a man of mettle but they slew him, sparing 
only the proletaires and the refuse of the people. These they 
drove away and they returned each to his folk, whilst the King 
secluded himself with his pleasures and surrendered his soul to its 
lusts, working tyranny, oppression and violence, till he outraced all 
the men of evil who had forerun him. 1 Now this King's dominion 
was a mine of gold and silver and jacinths and jewels and the 
neighbouring rulers, one and all, envied him this empire and looked 
for calamity to betide him. Moreover, one of them, the King of 
Outer Hind, said in himself, " I have gotten my desire of wresting 
the realm from the hand of yonder silly lad", by reason of that which 
hath betided of his slaughter of the Chiefs of his State and of all 
men of valour and mettle that were in his country. This is my 
occasion to snatch away that which is in his hand, seeing he is 
young in years and hath no knowledge of war nor judgment 
thereto, nor is there any left to counsel him aright or succour him. 
Wherefore this very day will I open on him the door of mischief 
by writing him a writ wherein I will flyte him and reproach him 
with that which he hath done and see what he will reply." So he 
indited him a letter to the following effect : " In the name of 
Allah the Compassionating, the Compassionate # And after * I 
have heard tell of that which thou hast done with thy Wazirs and 
Olema and men of valiancy # and that whereinto thou hast cast 
thyself of calamity # so that there is neither power nor strength 
left in thee to repel whoso shall assail thee, more by token that 
thou transgressest and orderest thyself tyrannously and profli- 
gately * Now Allah hath assuredly given me the conquering of 
thee and the mastery over thee and into my hand hath delivered 
thee ; wherefore do thou give ear to my word and obey the com 
mandment of me and build me an impregnable castle amiddlemost 
the sea * An thou can not do this, depart thy realm and with thy 
life go flee * for I will send unto thee, from the farthest ends of 
Hind, twelve hordes 2 of horse, each twelve thousand fighting-men 
strong, who shall enter thy land and spoil thy goods and slay thy 
men and carry thy women into captivity * Moreover, I will make 

1 The metaphor (Sabaka) is from horse-racing, the Arabs being, I have said, a horsey 

2 Arab. Kurdus " = A body of horse. 

112 A If Laylah wa Laylafc 

my Wazir, Badf'a captain over them and bid him lay strait siege 
to thy capital till the master he be; * and I have bidden the 
bearer of this letter that he tarry with thee but days three * So, 
an thou do my demand, thou shalt be saved ; else will I send that 
which I have said unto thee." Then he sealed the scroll and gave 
it to a messenger, who journeyed with it till he came to the 
capital of Wird Khan and delivered it to him. When the King 
read it, his strength failed him, his breast waxed strait and he 
made sure of destruction, having none to whom he might resort 
for aid or advice. Presently he rose and went in to his favourite 
wife who, seeing him changed of colour, said to him, " What 
mattereth thee, O King ? " Quoth he, " This day I am no King, 
but slave to the King." And he opened the letter and read it to 
her, whereupon she fell to weeping and wailing and rending her 
raiment. Then he asked her, " Hast thou aught of rede or resource 
in this grievous strait ? " ; but she answered, " Women have no 
resource in time of war, nor have women any strength or aught of 
counsel. 'Tis men alone who in like of this affair have force and 
discourse and resource." When the King heard her words, there 
befel him the utmost regret and repentance and remorse for that 
he had transgressed against his Wazirs and Officers and Lords of 

his land, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say. 

Nofo fofjm it foaa tfie Nine ^untrrrtr anb STtoenlg.fourtft Nfgftt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
King Wird Khan heard the words of his favourite wife there befel 
him the utmost regret and repentance for having transgressed 
against and slain his Wazirs and the chiefs of his state, and he 
would that he had died ere there came to him the like of these 
shameful tidings. Then he said to his women, " Verily, there hath 
betided me from you that which befel the Francolin and the 
Tortoises." Asked they, " What was that ? ", and he answered, 
tell this tale of 

The Francolin and the Tortoises.' 


IT is said that sundry Tortoises dwelt, once in a certain island 
abounding in trees and fruiterers and rills, and it fortuned, one 
day, that a Francolin, passing over the island, was overcome with 
the fiery heat and fatigue and being in grievous suffering stayed 
his flight therein. Presently, looking about for a cool place, he 
espied the resort of the Tortoises and alighted down near their 
home. Now they were then abroad foraging for food, and 
when they returned from their feeding-places to their dwelling, 
they found the Francolin there. His beauty pleased them and 
Allah made him lovely in their eyes, so that they exclaimed 
" Subhdna 'llah," extolling their Creator and loved the Francolin 
with exceeding love and rejoiced in him, saying one to other, 
41 Forsure this is of the goodliest of the birds ; " and all began to 
caress him and entreat him with kindness. When he saw that 
they looked on him with eyes of affection, he inclined to them and 
companioned with them and took up his abode with them, flying 
away in the morning whither he would and returning at eventide 
to pass the night by side of them. On this wise he continued a 
long while until the Tortoises, seeing that his daily absence from 
them desolated them and finding that they never saw him save by 
night (for at dawn he still took flight in haste and they knew not 
\vhat came of him, for all that their love grew to him), said each 
to other, " Indeed, we love this Francolin and he is become our 
true friend and we cannot bear parting from him, so how shall we 
devise some device tending to make him abide with us always ? 
For he flieth away at dawn and is absent from us all day and we 
see him not save by night." Quoth one of them, "Be easy, O my 
sisters : I will bring him not to leave us for the turn of an eye ? " 
and quoth the rest, saying, " An thou do this, we will all be thy 
thralls." So, when J:he Francolin came back from his feeding- 
place and sat clown amongst them, that wily Tortoise drew near 
unto him and called down blessings on him, giving him joy of his 
safe return and saying, " O my lord, know that Allah hath vouch- 
safed thee our love and hath in like manner set in thy heart the 
love of us, whereby thou art become to us a familiar friend and a 
comrade in this desert. Now the goodliest of times for those 
who love one another is when they are united and the sorest of 

H4 -A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

calamities for them are absence and severance. But thou departest 
from us at peep of day and returnest not to us till sundown, 
wherefore there betideth us extreme desolation. Indeed this is 
exceeding grievous to us and we abide in sore longing for such 
reason." The Francolin replied, " Indeed, I love you also and 
yearn for you yet more than you can yearn for me, nor is it easy 
for me to leave you ; but my hand hath no help for this, seeing that 
I am a fowl with wings and may not wone with you always, 
because that is not of my nature. For a bird, being a winged 
creature, may not remain still, save it be for the sake of sleep 
o' nights ; but, as soon as it is day, he flieth away and seeketh his 
morning-meal in what place soever pleaseth him." Answered the 
Tortoise, " Sooth thou speakest \ Nevertheless he who hath wings 
hath no repose at most seasons, for that the good he getteth is not 
a fourth part of what ill betideth him, and the highmost aims of 
the creature are repose and ease of life. Now Allah hath bred 
between us and thee love and fellowship and we fear for thee, lest 
some of thine enemies catch thee and thou perish arid we be 
denied the sight of thy countenance." Rejoined the Francolin, 
" True ! But what rede hast thou or resource for my case ? " 
Quoth the Tortoise, " My advice is that thou pluck out thy wing- 
feathers, wherewith thou speedest thy flight, and tarry with us in 
tranquillity, eating of our meat and drinking of our drink in this 
pasturage, that aboundeth rn trees rife with fruits yellow-ripe and 
we will sojourn, we and thou, in this fruitful stead and enjoy the 
company of one another." The Francolin inclined to her speech, 
seeking ease for himself, and plucked out his wing-feathers, one 
by one, in accordance with the rede approved of by the Tortoise ; 
then he took up his abode with them and contented himself with 
the little ease and transient pleasure he enjoyed. Presently up 
came a Weasel * and glancing at the Francolin, saw that his wings 
were plucked, so that he could not fly, whereat he rejoiced with 
joy exceeding and said to himself, " Verily yonder Francolin is fat 
of flesh and scant of feather." So he went up to him and seized 
him, whereupon the Francolin called out to the Tortoises for 
help ; but when they saw the Weasel hend him, they drew apart 
from him and huddled together, choked with weeping for him, 
for they witnessed how the beast tortured him. Quoth the 
Francolin, " Is there aught with you but weeping ? "; and quoth 

1 Arab. " Ibn 'Irs." See vol. Hi. 147. 

The Francolin and the Tortoises. \ 1 5 

they, " O our brother, we have neither force nor resource nor any 
course against a Weasel." At this the Francolin was grieved and 
cutting off all his hopes of life said to them, " The fault is not 
yours, but mine own fault, in that I hearkened to you and plucked 
out my wing-feathers wherewith I used to fly. Indeed I deserve 
destruction for having obeyed you, and I blame you not in aught." 
" On like wise," continued the King, " I do not blame you, O 
women ; but I blame and reproach myself for that I remembered 
not that ye were the cause of the transgression of our father 
Adam, by reason whereof he was cast out from the Garden of 
Eden and for that I forgot ye are the root of all evil and hearkened 
to you, in mine ignorance, lack of sense and weakness of judgment, 
and slew my Wazirs and the Governors of my State, who were 
my loyal advisers in all mine actions and my glory and my 
strength against whatsoever troubled me. But at this time find 
I not one to replace them nor see I any who shall stand me in 

their stead ; and I fall into utter perdition. And Shahrazad 

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

tujen (t foas tfje Nine ^unDftefc anto tfoents=fifrt) 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
King blamed himself saying, " 'Twas I that hearkened to you in 
mine ignorance and slew my Wazirs so that now I find none to 
stand in their stead ; and unless Allah succour me with one of 
sound judgment, who shall guide me to that wherein is my 
deliverance, I am fallen into utter perdition." Then he arose and 
withdrew into his bedchamber, bemoaning his Wazirs and wise 
men and saying, " Would Heaven those lions were with me at this 
time, though but for an hour ; so I might excuse myself unto 
them and look on them and bemoan to them my case and the 
travail that hath betided me after them ! " And he abode all his 
day sunken in the sea of cark and care neither eating nor drinking. 
But as soon as the night fell dark, he arose and changing his 
raiment, donned old clothes and disguised himself and went forth 
at a venture to walk about the city, so haply he might hear from 
any some word of comfort. As he wandered about the main 
streets, behold, he chanced upon two boys who had sought a 
retired seat by a wall and he observed that they were equal in 
age, or about twelve years old. As they talked together he drew 

il6 A If Lay I ah wa Lay I ah. 

near them whereas he might hear and apprehend what they said, 
unseen of them, and heard one say to the other, " Listen, O my 
brother, to what my sire told me yesternight of the calamity 
which hath betided him in the withering of his crops before their 
time, by reason of the rarity of rain and the sore sorrow that is 
fallen on this city." Quoth the other, " Wottest thou not the cause 
of this affliction ? "; and quoth the first, " No ! and, if thou ken it, 
pray tell it me." Rejoined the other, " Yes, I wot it and will tell 
it thee. Know that I have heard from one of my father's friends 
that our King slew his Wazirs and Grandees, not for aught of 
offence done of them, but only by reason of his love for women 
and inclination to them ; for that his Ministers forbade him from 
this, but he would not be forbidden and commanded to do them 
die in obedience to his wives. Thus he slew Shimas my sire, who 
was his Wazir and the Wazir of his father before him and the 
chief of his council ; but right soon thou shalt see how Allah will 
do with him by reason of his sins against them and how He shall 
avenge them of him." The other boy asked, " What can Allah do 
now that they are dead ? "; and his fellow answered, " Know that 
the King of Outer Hind ' maketh light of our monarch, and hath 
sent him a letter berating him and saying to him : Build me a 
castle amiddlemost the sea, or I will send unto thee BadPa my 
Wazir, with twelve hordes of horse, each, twelve thousand strong, 
to seize upon thy kingdom and slay thy men and carry thee and 
thy women into captivity. And he hath given him three days' 
time to answer after the receipt of that missive. Now thou must 
know, O my brother, that this King of Outer Hind is a masterful 
tyrant, a man of might and prowess in fight, and in his realm are 
much people ; so unless-our King make shift to fend him off from 
himself, he will fall into perdition, whilst the King of Hind, after 
slaying our Sovran, will seize on our possessions and massacre our 
men and make prize of our women." When the King heard this 
their talk, his agitation increased and he inclined to the boys, 
saying, "-Surely, this boy is a wizard, in that he is acquainted with 
this thing without learning it from me ; for the letter is in my 
keeping and the -secret also and none hath knowledge of such 
matter but myself. How then knoweth this boy of it ? I will 

1 Arab. " Al-Hind -al-Aksa." The Sanskrit S'mdhu (lands on the Indus River) 
became in Zend " Hendu " and hence in Arabic Sind and Hind, which latter I wish we 
had preserved instead of the classical " India " or the poetical " Ind." 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 117 

resort to him and talk with him and I pray Allah that our 
deliverance may be at his hand." Hereupon the King approached 
the boy softly and said to him, " O thou dear boy, what is this 
thou sayest of our King, that he did ill of the evilest in slaying 
his Wazirs and the Chiefs of his State ? Indeed he sinned against 
himself and his subjects and thou art right in that which thou 
sayest. But tell me, O my son, whence knowest thou that the 
King of Outer Hind hath written him a letter, berating him and 
bespeaking him with the grievous speech whereof thou tellest ? " ( 
The boy replied, " O brother, I know this from the sand ' where- 
with I take compt of night and day and from the saying of the 
ancients : No mystery from Allah is hidden ; for the sons of 
Adam have in them a spiritual virtue which discovereth to them 
the darkest secrets." Answered Wird Khan, " True, O my son, 
but whence learnedest thou geomancy and thou young of years ? " 
Quoth the boy, " My father taught it me;" and quoth the King, 
" Is thy father alive or dead ? " " He is dead," replied the boy. 
Then Wird Khan asked, "Is there any resource or device for 
our King, whereby to ward off from himself and his kingdom this 
sore calamity ? " And the boy answered, saying, " It befitteth. 
not that I speak with thee of this ; but, an the King send for me 
and ask me how he shall do to baffle his foe and get free of his- 
snares, I will acquaint him with that wherein, by the power of 
Allah Almighty, shall be his salvation." Rejoined Wird Khan, 
" But who shall tell the King of this that he may send for thee 
and invite thee to him?" The boy retorted, "I hear that he 
seeketh men of experience and good counsel, so I will go up with 
them to him and tell him that wherein shall be his welfare and 
the warding off of this affliction from him ; but, an he neglect the 
pressing matter and busy himself with his love-Hesse among his 
women and I go to him of my own accord designing to acquaint 
him with the means of deliverance, he will assuredly give orders 
to slay me, even as he slew those his Wazirs, and my courtesy to 
him will be the cause of my destruction. Wherefore the folk will 
think slightly of me and belittle my wit and I shall be of those of 
whom it is said : He whose science excelleth his sense perisheth 
by his ignorance." When the King heard the boy's words, he 
was assured of his sagacity ; and the excellence of his merit was 

1 '"' by geomancy : see vol. iii, 269 for a note on Al-Raml. The passage is not in 
the Mac. Edit. 

Il8 A If Laylah wa Lay la h. 

manifest and he was certified that deliverance would betide him 
and his subjects at the boy's hands. So presently he resumed the 
colloquy and asked him, " Whence art thou and where is thy 
home ? "; and the boy answered, " This is the wall of our house." 
The King took note of the place and farewelling the boy, returned 
to his palace in high spirits. There he changed his clothes and 
called for meat and wine, forbidding his women from him ; and he 
ate and drank and returned thanks .to Allah the Most High and 
besought Him of succour and deliverance ; and he craved His 
pardon and forgiveness for that which he had done with his Wazirs 
and Olema and turned to Him with sincere repentance, imposing 
on himself many a prayer and long fasting, by way of discipline- 
vow. On the morrow, he called one of his confidential eunuchs 
and describing to him the boy's home, bade him repair thither and 
bring him to his presence with all gentleness*, Accordingly the 
slave sought out the boy and said to him, " The King summoneth 
thee, that good may betide thee from him and that he may ask 
thee a question ; then shalt thou return safe and sound to thy 
dwelling." Asked the boy, " What is the King's need of me that 
he biddeth me to him on this wise ? "; and the eunuch answered, 
" My lord's occasion with thee is question and answer." " A 
thousand times hearkening and a thousand times obeying the 
commandment of the King ! " replied the boy and accompanied 
the slave to the palace. When he came into the presence, he 
prostrated himself before Allah and after salaming, called down 
blessings on the King who returned his salutation and bade him 

be seated.^ And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say* 

Nofo fo&en ft foa tjje Nine f^untKefc antr foent|^surtj) 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that wher\ 
the boy appeared before the King and saluted him with the salam, 
Wird Khan returned his salutation and bade him be seated. So 
he sat down and the King asked him, "Knowest thou who talked 
with thee yesternight?" Answered the boy, "Yes;" and the 
King said, "And where is he ?" " 'Tis he who speaketh with me 
a.t this present," said the boy. Rejoined the King, " Thou sayst 
sooth, O friend," and bade set him a chair beside his own, whereon 
he made him sit and called for meat and drink. Then they 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 119 

talked awhile and the King said, " Ho thou the Wazir, 1 in our 
talk yesternight thou toldest me that thou hadst a device whereby 
thou couldst defend us from the malice of the King of Hind. 
What is this contrivance and how shall we manoeuvre to ward off 
his mischief from us ? Tell me, that I may make thee chief of 
those who speak with me in the realm and choose thee to be, 
my Grand Wazir and do according to thy judgment in all 
thou counsellest me and assign thee a splendid honorarium.!* 
Answered the boy, " O King, keep thy honorarium to thyself 
and seek counsel and policy of thy women, who directed thee to 
slay my father Shimas and the rest of the Wazirs." When the 
King heard this, he was ashamed and sighed and said, " O thou 
dear boy, was Shimas indeed thy sire?" The boy replied, 
" Shimas was indeed my sire, and I am in truth his son," 
Whereupon the King bowed his head, whilst the tears ran from 
his eyes, and he craved pardon of Allah. Then said he, " O boy, 
indeed .1 did this of my ignorance and by the evil counsel of the 
women ; for * Great indeed is their malice **: but I beseech thee to 
forgive me and I will set thee in thy father's stead and make thy 
rank higher than his rank. Moreover, an thou do away from us 
this retribution sent down from Heaven, I will deck thy neck with 
a collar of gold and mount thee on the goodliest of steeds and bid 
the crier make proclamation before thee, saying : This is the lief 3 
boy, the Wazir who sitteth in the second seat after the King ! 
And touching what thou sayest of the women, I have it in mind 
to do vengeance on them at such time as Almighty Allah shall 
will it. But tell me now what thou hast with thee of counsel and 
contrivance, that my heart may be content." Quoth the boy, 
" Swear to me an oath that thou wilt not gainsay me in whatso I 

1 This address gave the boy Wazirial rank. In many parts of Europe, England 
included, if the Sovereign address a subject with a title not belonging to him, it is a 
disputed point if the latter can or cannot claim it. 

2 Koran, chapter of Joseph xii. 28, spoken by Potiphar after Joseph's innocence Tiad 
been proved by a witness in Potiphar's house or according to the Talmud (Sepher 
Hadjascher) by an infant in the cradle. The texts should have printed this as a 
quotation (with vowel-points). 

3 Arab. "Al-'Aziz," alluding to Joseph the Patriarch entitled in Egypt "Aziz 
al-Misr "== Magnifico of Misraim (Koran xii. 54). It is generally believed that Ismail 
Pasha, whose unwise deposition has caused the English Government such a host of 
troubles and load of obloquy, aspired to be named "'Azfz"by the Porte; but was 
compelled to be satisfied with Khadiv (vulg. written Khedive, and pronounced even 
" Kedive" "), a Persian title, which simply means prince or Rajah, as Khadiv-i-Hind. 

120 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

shall say to thee and that I from that which I fear shall be safe ; " 
and quoth the King, " This is the covenant of Allah between me 
and thee, that I will not go from thy word and that thou shalt be my 
chief counsellor and whatsoever thou biddest me, that will I do ; 
and the Almighty Lord is witness betwixt us twain whatso I say." 
Therewith the boy's breast waxed broad and the field of speech 
was opened to him wide and he said, " O King, my rede to thee is 
that thou await the expirati6n of the delay appointed to thee for 
answering the courier of the King of Hind ; and when he cometh 
before thee seeking the reply, do thou put him off to another day. 
With this he will excuse himself to thee, on the ground of his 
master having appointed him certain fixed days, and importune 
for an answer ; but do thou rebut him and defer him to another day, 
without specifying what day it be. Then will he go forth from thee 
an-angered and betake himself into the midst of the city and 
speak openly among the folk, saying : O people of the city, I am 
a courier of the King of Outer Hind, who is a monarch of great 
puissance and of determination such as softeneth iron, He sent 
me with a letter to the King of this city appointing to me certain 
days, saying : An thou be not with me by the time appointed, 
my vengeance shall fall on thee. Now, behold, I went in to the 
King of this city and gave him the missive, which when he had 
read, he sought of me a delay of three days, after which he 
would return me an answer to the letter and I agreed to this of 
courtesy and consideration for him. When the three days were 
past, I went to seek the reply of him, but he delayed me to 
another day ; and now I have no patience to wait longer ; so I 
am about to return to my lord, the King of Outer Hind, and 
acquaint him with that which hath befallen me ; and ye, O folk, 
are witnesses between me and him. All this will be reported to 
thee and do thou send for him and speak him gently and say to 
him : O thou who seekest thine own ruin, what hath moved thee 
to blame us among our subjects ? Verily, thou deservest present 
death at our hands ; but the ancients say : Clemency is of the 
attributes of nobility. Know that our delay in answering arose not 
from helplessness on our part, but from our much business and lack 
of leisure to look into thine affair and write a reply to thy King/' 
Then call for the scroll and read it again and laugh loud and long 
and say to the courier : Hast thou a letter other than this? If 
so, we will write thee an answer to that also. He will say, I have 
none other than this letter ; but do thou repeat thy question to 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 121 

him a second time and a third time, and he will reply, I 
have none other at all. Then say to him, Verily, this thy King 
is utterly witless in that he writeth us the like of this writ 
seeking to arouse our wrath against him, so that we shall go forth 
to him with our forces and domineer over his dominions and 
capture his kingdom. But we will not punish him this time for 
his unmannerly manners as shown Ln this letter, because he is 
wanting in wit and feeble of foresight, and it beseemeth our dignity 
that we first warn him not to repeat the like of these childish 
extravagances ; and if he risk his life by returning to the like of 
this, he will deserve speedy destruction. Indeed, methinks this 
King of thine who sent thee on such errand must be an ignorant 
fool, taking no thought to the issue of things and having no Wazir 
of sense and good counsel, with whom he may advise. Were he 
a man of mind, he had taken counsel with a Wazir, ere sending 
us the like of this laughable letter. But he shall have a reply 
similar to his script and surpassing it ; for I will give it to one of 
the boys of the school to answer." Then send for me ; and, when 
I come to the presence, bid me read the letter and reply thereto." 
When the King heard the boy's speech, his breast broadened and 
he approved his proposal and his device delighted him. So he 
conferred gifts upon him and installing him in his father's office, 
sent him away rejoicing. And as soon as expired the three days 
of delay which he had appointed, the courier presented himself 
and going in to the King, demanded the answer ; but he put him 
off to another day ; whereupon he went to the end of the carpet- 
room 1 and spake with unseemly speech, even as the boy had fore- 
said. Then he betook himself to the bazar and cried, " Ho, 
peopie of this city, I am a courier of the King of Outer Hind and 
came with a message to your monarch who still putteth me off 
from a reply. Now the term is past which my master limited to 
me and your King hath no excuse, and ye are witnesses unto this." 
When these words reached the King, he sent for that courier and 
said to him, " O thou that seeketh thine own ruin, art thou not the 
bearer of a letter from King to King, between whom are secrets, 
and how cometh it that thou goest forth among the fofk and 
publishest Kings' secrets to the vulgar ? Verily, thou meritest 
retribution from us , but this we will forbare, for the sake of 
returning an answer by thee to this fool of a King of thine : 


1 i.e. The Throne room. 

122 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and it befitteth not that any return to him reply but the least of 
the boys of the school/ 1 Then he sent for the Wazir's son, who 
cfame and prostrating himself before Allah, offered up prayers 
for the King's lasting glory and long life ; whereupon Wird Khan 
threw him the letter, saying, " Read that letter and write me an 
acknowledgment thereof in haste/' The boy took the letter and 
read it, smiled ; then he laughed ; then he laughed aloud and 
asked the King, " Didst thou send for me to answer this letter ? " 
M Yes," answered Wird Khan, and the boy said, " O King, me- 
thought thou hadst sent for me on some grave occasion ; indeed, 
a lesser than I had answered this letter but 'tis thine to command, 
O puissant potentate." Quoth the King, " Write the reply forth- 
right, on account of the courier, for that he is appointed a term 
and we have delayed him another day." Quoth the boy, " With 
the readiest hearkening and obedience," and pulling out paper 

and inkcase 1 wrote as follows : And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say 

Nofo fo&en it foaa t&e jifne f^untrtetf atrtr 'Sfoentp^ebcntf) Nigfjt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that whe'n the 
boy took the letter and read it, he forthright pulled out inkcase 
and paper and wrote as foflows : "In the name of Allah the 
Compassionating, the Compassionate ! Peace be upon him who 
hath gotten pardon and deliverance and the mercy of the 
Merciful ! But after. O thou who pretendest thyself a mighty 
King and art but a King in word and not in deed, we give thee 
to know that thy letter hath reached us and we have read it and 
have taken note of that which is therein of absurdities and 
peregrine extravagances, whereby we are certified of thine ignor- 
ance and ill-will to us. Verily, thou hast put out thy hand 
to that whereunto thou canst never reach ; and, but that we have 
compassion on Allah's creatures and the lieges, we had not held 
back from thee. As for thy messenger, he went forth to the 
market-streets and published the news of thy letter to great and 
small, whereby he merited retaliation from us ; but we spared him 

1 For the " Dawit " or wooden inkcase containing reeds see vol. v. 239 and viii. 178. 
I may remark that its origin is the Egyptian " Pes," of which there is a specimen in the 
British Museum inscribed, " Amasis the good god and Lord of the two Lands." 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 123 

and remitted his offence, of pity for him, seeing that he is 
excusable with thee and not for aught of respect to thyself. As 
for that whereof thou makest mention in thy letter of the slaying 
of my Wazirs and Olema and Grandees, this is the truth and this 
I did for a reason that arose with me, and I slew not one man of 
learning but there are with me a thousand of his kind, wiser than 
he and cleverer and wittier ; nor is there with me a child but is 
filled with knowledge, and I have, in the stead of each of the 
slain, of those who surpass in his kind, what is beyond count. 
Each man of my troops also carl cope with an horde of thine, 
whilst, as for monies I have a manufactory that maketh every 
day a thousand pounds of silver, besides gold, and precious stones 
are with me as pebbles ; and as for the people of my possessions I 
cannot set forth to thee their goodliness and abundance of means. 
How darest thou, therefore, presume upon us and say to us, Build 
me a castle amiddlemost the main ? Verily, this is a marvellous 
thing, and doubtless it ariseth from the slightness of thy wit ; for 
hadst thou aught of sense, thou hadst enquired of the beatings of 
the billows and the waftings of the winds. But wall it off from 
the waves and the surges of the sea and still the winds, and we 
will build thee the castle. Now as for thy pretension that thou wilt 
vanquish me, Allah forfend that such thing should befal and the 
like of thee should lord it over us and conquer our realm ! Nay, 
the Almighty hath given me the victory over thee, for that thou 
hast transgressed against me and rebelled without due cause. 
Know, therefore, that thou hast merited retribution from the Lord 
and from me ; but I fear Allah in respect of thee and thy 
subjects * and will not take horse against thee except after warning. 
Wherefore, an thou also fear Allah, hasten to send me this year's 
tribute ; else will I not turn from my design to ride forth against 
thee with a thousand thousand 2 and an hundred thousand fighting- 
men, all furious giants on elephants, and I will range them round 
about my Wazir and bid him besiege thee three years, in lieu of 
the three days' delay thou appointedst to thy messenger, and I 
will make myself master of thy dominion, except that I will slay 

1 i.e. I am governed by the fear of Allah in my dealings to thee and thy subjects. 

* Arabic has no single word for million although the Maroccans have adopted 
" Milyun " from the Spaniards (seep. loo of the Rudimentos del Arabe vulgar que se 
habla en el imperio de Marruccos por El P. Fr. Jose de Lerchundi, Madrid 1872): 
This lack of the higher numerals, the reverse of the Hindu languages, makes Arabic 
" arithmology " very primitive and almost as cumbrous as the Chinese. 

124 A If Laylah wa Lay la ft. 

none save thyself alone and take captive therefrom none but 
thy Harim." Then the boy drew his own portrait in the margin 
of the letter and wrote thereunder the words: " This answer was 
written by the least of the boys of the school." After this he 
sealed it and handed it to the King, who gave it to the courier, and 
the man, after taking it and kissing the King's hands went forth 
from him thanking Allah and the Sovran for his royal clemency 
to him and marvelling at the boy's intelligence. He arrived 
at the court of the King, his master, on the third day after 
the expiration of the term appointed to him, and found 
that he had called a meeting of his council, by reason of the 
failure of the courier to return at the time appointed. So he 
went in to the King and prostrating himself before him, gave 
him the letter. The King took it and questioned him of the 
cause of his tarrying and how it was with King Wird Khan. 
So he told him all he had seen with his own eyes and heard 
with his own ears ; whereat the King's wit was confounded and 
he said, " Out on thee ! What tale is this thou tellest me of the 
like of this King?" Answered the courier, "O mighty monarch, 
here am I in thy presence, 1 but open the letter and read ,it, and 
the truth of my speech will be manifest to thee." So the King 
opened the letter and read it and seeing the semblance of the boy 
who had written it, made sure of the loss of his kingdom and was 
perplexed anent the end of his affair. Then, turning to his Wazirs 
and Grandees, he acquainted them with what had occurred and 
read to them the letter, whereat they were affrighted with the 
sorest affright and sought to sooth the King's terror with words 
that were only from the tongue, whilst their hearts were torn 
piecemeal with palpitations of alarm. But Badi'a (the Chief 
Wazir) presently said, " Know, O King, that there is no profit 
in that which my brother Wazirs have proffered, and it is my 
rede that thou write this King a writ and excuse thyself to him 
therein, saying : I love thee and loved thy father before thee and 
sent thee not this letter by the courier except only to prove thee 
and try thy constancy and see what was in thee of valiancy and 
thy proficiency in matters of practick and theorick and skill in 
enigmas and that wherewith thou art endowed of all perfections. 
So we pray Almighty Allah to bless thee in thy kingdom and 
strengthen the defences of thy capital and add to thy dominion, 

1 /.(P. I am thy slave to slay or to pardon. 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 125 

since thou art mindful of thyself and managest to accomplish 
every need of thy subjects. And send it to him by another 
courier/' Exclaimed the King, "By Allah of All-might 1 'tis 
a marvel of marvels that this man should be a mighty King and 
ready for war, after his slaughter of all the wise men of his 
kingdom and his counsellors and the captains of his host and 
that his realm should be populous and prosper after this and 
there should issue therefrom this prodigious power! But the 
xnarvelousest of all is that the little ones of its schools should 
return the like of this answer for its King. Verily, of the vile- 
ness of my greed I have kindled this fire upon myself and lieges, 
and I know not how I shall quench it, save by taking the advice 
of this my Wazir." Accordingly he gat ready a Costly present, 
with eunuchs and slaves manifold, and wrote the following 
reply: "In the name of Allah the Compassionating, the Com- 
passionate ! To proceed : O Glorious King Wird Khan, son of 
my dear brother, Jali'ad, may the Lord have mercy on thee and 
continue thee ! Thine answer to our letter hath reached us and 
we have read it and apprehended its contents and see therein that 
which gladdeneth us and this is the utmost of that which we 
sought of Allah for thee ; so we beseech Him to exalt thy dignity 
and stablish the pillars of thy state and give thee the victory over 
thy foes and those who purpose thee frowardness. Know, O King, 
that thy father was my brother and that there were between us 
in his lifetime pacts and covenants, and never saw he from me 
aught save weal, nor ever saw I from him other than good ; and 
when he deceased and thou tookest seat upon the throne of his 
kingship, there betided us the utmost joy and gladness ; but, when 
the news reached us of that which thou didst with thy Wazirs and 
the Notables of thy State, we feared lest the report of thee should 
come to the ears of some King other than ourselves and he should 
presume against thee, for that we deemed thee negligent of thine 
affairs and of the maintenance of thy defences and neglectful of 
the interests of thy kingdom ; so we let write unto thee what 
should arouse thy spirit. But, when we saw that thou return- 
edest us the like of this reply, our heart was set at ease for thee, 
may Allah, give thee enjoyment 1 of thy kingdom and stablish 
thee in thy dignity ! And so peace be with thee." Then he 

1 Arab. " Matta'aka 'llah "= Allah permit thee to enjoy, from the root mata% 
whence cometh the Maroccan Mata'i = my, mine, which answers to Bita'i in Egypt. 

126 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

despatched the letter and the presents to Wird Khan with an 

escort of an hundred horse, And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo tojm tt foas tje Nine f^un&retJ an& tlfoentg.eigfttf) 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
monarch of Outer Hind, after making ready his presents, des- 
patched them to King Wird Khan, with an escort of an hundred 
horse, who fared on till they came to his court and saluting him, 
presented letter and gifts. The King read the writ and lodged 
the leader of the escort in a befitting place, entreating him with 
honour and accepting the presents he presented. So the news of 
this was bruited abroad among the folk and the King rejoiced 
therein with joy exceeding. Then he sent for the boy, the son 
of Shimas, and the Captain of the hundred horse ; and, entreating 
the young Wazir with honour, gave him the letter to read ; whilst 
he himself blamed the King's conduct to the Captain who kissed 
his hands and made his excuses to him, offering up prayers for the 
continuance of his life and the permanence of his prosperity. 
The King thanked him for this and bestowed upon him honours 
and largesse and gave to all his men what befitted them and made 
ready presents to send by them and bade the boy Wazir indite 
an answer to their King's letter. So the boy wrote a reply, 
wherein, after an address 1 beautiful exceedingly, he touched 
briefly on the question of reconciliation and praised the good 
breeding of the envoy and of his mounted men, and showed it, 
when duly finished, to the King who said to him, "Read it, O 
thou dear boy, that we may know what is written 2 therein." 
So the boy read the letter in the presence of the hundred horse, 

1 Arab. "Khitab" =r the exordium of a letter preceding its business-matter and in 
which the writer displays all bis art. It ends with " Amma ba'd," lit. but after, 
equivalent to our " To proceed." This " Khitdb " is mostly skipped over by modern 
statesmen who will say, *' Now after the nonsense let us come to the sense"; but their 
secretaries carefully weigh every word of it, and strongly resent all shortcomings. 

2 Strongly suggesting that the King had forgotten how to read and write. So not a 
few of the Amirs of Sind were analphabetic and seemed rather proud of it : "a Baloch 
cannot write, but he always carries a signet-ring." I heard of an old English lady of 
the past generation in Northern Africa who openly declared " A Warri&gton shall never 
learn to read or write." 

JKing Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 127 

and the King and all present marvelled at its ordinance of style 
and sense. Then the King sealed the letter and delivering it to 
the Captain of the hundred horse, dismissed him with some of 
his own troops, to escort him as far as the frontier of his country. 
The Captain returned, confounded in mind at that which he had 
seen of the boy's knowledge and thanking Allah for the speedy 
accomplishment of his errand and the acceptance of peace, to 
the King of Outer Hind. Then going in to the presence, he 
delivered the presents and handed to him the letter, telling him 
-what he had seen and heard, whereat the King rejoiced with joy 
exceeding and rendered lauds to his Lord the Most High and 
honoured the Captain commending his care and zeal and ad- 
vancing him in rank. And from that hour he woned in peace 
and tranquillity and all happiness. As for King Wird Khan, he 
returned to the paths of righteousness, abandoning his evil ways 
and repenting to Allah with sincere penitence ; and he gave up 
womanising altogether and applied himself wholly to the ordering 
of the affairs of his realm and the governance of his people in the 
fear of Allah. Furthermore, he made the son of Shimas Wazir 
in his father's stead, and the chief after himself in his realm and 
keeper of his secrets and bade decorate his capital for seven days 
and likewise the other cities of his kingdom. At this the subjects 
rejoiced and fear and alarm ceased from them and they were glad 
in the prospect of justice and equity and instant in prayer for 
the King and for the Minister who from him and them had done 
away this trouble. Then said the King to the Wazir, " What is 
thy rede for the assuring of the state and the prospering of the 
people and the return of the realm to its aforetime state as regards 
Captains and Councillors ? " Answered the boy, " O King of 
high estate, in my judgment it behoveth before all, that thou begin 
by rending out from thy heart the root of wickedness and leave 
thy debauchery and tyranny and addiction to women ; for, an thou 
return to the root of transgression, the second backsliding will be 
worse than the first." The King asked, " And what is the root 
of sinfulness that it behoveth me to root out from my heart ? "J 
and was answered by the Wazir, little of years but great of wit, 
" O King the root of wickedness is subjection to the desire of 
women and inclining to them and following their counsel and 
contrivance ; for the love of them changeth the soundest wit and 
forrupteth the most upright nature, and manifest proofs bear 
witness to my saying, wherein an thou meditate them and follow 

128 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

their actions and consequences with eyes intent, thou wilt find a 
loyal counsellor against thy own soul and wilt stand in no need 
whatever of my rede. Look, then, thou occupy not thy heart with 
the thought of womankind and do away the trace of them from 
thy mind, for that Allah the Most High hath forbidden excessive 
use of them by the mouth of His prophet Moses, so that quoth a 
certain wise King to his son : O my son, when thou succeedest 
to the kingdom after me, frequent not women overmuch, lest thy 
heart be led astray and thy judgment be corrupted ; for that 
overmuch commerce with them leadeth to love of them, and love 
of them to corruption of judgment. And the proof of this is what 
befel our Lord Solomon, son of David, (peace be upon the twain 
of them !) whom Allah specially endowed with knowledge and 
wisdom and supreme dominion, nor vouchsafed He to any one 
of the Kings his predecessors the like of that which He gave 
him ; and women were the cause of his father's offending. The 
examples of this are many, O King, and I do but make mention 
of Solomon to thee for that thou knowest that to none was given 
such dominion as that with which he was invested, so that all the 
Kings of the earth obeyed him. Know then, O King, that the 
love of women is the root of all evil and none of them hath any 
judgment : wherefore it behoveth a man use them according to 
his need and not incline to them with utter inclination for that 
will cast him into corruption and perdition. An thou hearken to 
my words, all thine affairs will prosper ; but, an thou neglect 
them thou wilt repent, whenas repentance will not profit thee." 
Answered the King, " Verily, I have left my whilome inclination to 

women. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fojen it foas tfje Nine f^un&rrtr antr tSfoentg^nintfi tNTigftt, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O mighty monarch, that 
King Wird Khan said to his Wazir, " Indeed, I have left my 
whilome inclination to women and have altogether renounced my 
infatuation for them ; but how shall I do to punish them in retali- 
ation of their misdeeds ? For the slaying of thy sire Shifnas was 
of their malice and not of my own will, and I know not what 
ailed my reason that I consented with their proposal to slay him." 
Then he cried, " Ah me ! " and groaned and lamented, saying, 
** Well-away and alas for the loss of my Wazir and his just judg- 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 12$ 

ment and admirable administration and for the loss of his like 
of the Wazirs and Heads of the State and of the goodliness of 
their apt counsels and sagacious ! " " O King/' quoth the boy- 
minister, " Know that the fault is not with women alone, for that 
they are like unto a pleasing stock in trade, whereto the lusts of 
the lookers-on incline. To whosoever lusteth and buyeth, they 
sell it, but whoso buyeth not, none forceth him to buy ; so that 
the fault is of him who buyeth, especially if he know the harm* 
fulness of that merchandise. Now, I warn thee, as did my sire 
before me, but thou acceptedest not to his counsel/' Answered 
the King, " O Wazir, indeed I have fixed this fault upon myself, 
even as thou hast said, and I have no excuse except divine fore- 
ordainment." Rejoined the Wazir, " O King, know that Almighty 
Allah hath created us and endowed us with capability and appointed 
to us freewill and choice ; so, if we will, we do, and if we will, 
we do not. The Lord commanded us not to do harm, lest sin 
attach to us ; wherefore it befitteth us to take compt of whatso ia 
right to do, for that the Almighty biddeth us naught but good in 
all cases and forbiddeth us only from evil ; but what we do, we do 
of our own design, be it fair or faulty." Quoth the King, " Thou 
sayest sooth, and indeed my fault arose from my surrendering 
myself to my lusts, albeit often and often my better self warned 
tne from this and thy sire Shimas also warned me often and often ; 
but my lusts overcame my wits. Hast thou then with thee aught 
that may withhold me from again committing this error and 
whereby my reason may be victorious over the desires of my 
soul ? " Quoth the Wazir, " Yes : I can tell thee what will restrain 
thee from relapsing into this fault, and it is that thou doff the 
garment of ignorance and don that of understanding, and disobey 
thy passions and obey thy Lord and revert to the policy of the 
just King thy sire, and fulfil thy duties to Allah the Most High 
and to thy people and apply thyself to the defence of thy faith 
and the promotion of thy subjects' welfare and rule thyself aright 
and forbear the slaughter of thy people ; and look to the end of 
things and sever thyself from tyranny and oppression and arrogance 
and lewdness, and practise justice, equity and humility and bow- 
before the bidding of the Almighty and apply thyself to gentle 
dealing with those of His creatures over whom He set thee and be 
assiduous as it besitteth thee in fulfilling their prayers unto thee 
An thou be constant herein may thy days be serene and may Allah 
of His mercy pardon thee and make thee loved and feared of all 
VOL. ix. 

I JO A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

who look on thee ; so shall thy foes be brought to naught, for the 
Omnipotent shall rout their hosts and thou shalt have acceptance 
with Him and of His creatures be dreaded and to them endeared." 
Quoth the King, " Indeed thou hast quickened my vitals and 
illumined my heart with thy sweet speech and hast opened the 
eyes of my clear-seeing after blindness ; and I am resolved to do 
whatso thou hast set forth to me, with the help of the Almighty, 
leaving my former case of lust and sinfulness and bringing forth 
my soul from durance vile to deliverance and from fear to safety. 
So it behoveth thee to be joyful hereat and contented, for that I 
am become to thee as a son, maugre my more of age, and thou to 
me as a dear father, despite thy tenderness of years, and it hath 
become incumbent on me to do mine utmost endeavour in all thou 
commandest me. Wherefore I thank the bounty of Allah and 
thy bounty because He hath vouchsafed me, by thee, fair fortune 
and goodly guidance and just judgment to ward off my cark 
and care ; and the security of my lieges hath been brought about 
by thy hand, through the excellence of thy knowledge and the 
goodliness of thy contrivance. And thou, from this hour, shalt be 
the counsellor of my kingdom and equal to myself in all but 
sitting upon the throne ; and whatso thou dost shall be law to me 
and none shall disobey thy word, young in years though thou be, 
for that thou art old in wit and knowledge. So I thank Allah who 
deigned grant thee to me, that thou mayst guide me into the way 
of salvation and out of the crooked paths of perdition." Quoth 
the Wazir, " O auspicious King, know that no merit is due to me 
for giving thee loyal counsel ; for that to succour thee by deed and 
word is one of the things which is incumbent on me, seeing that I 
am but a plant of thy bounty ; and not I alone, but one before me 
was overwhelmed with thy beneficence ; so that we are both alike 
partakers in thy honours and favours, and how shall we not 
acknowledge this ? Moreover thou, O King, art our shepherd and 
ruler and he who wardeth off from us our foes, and to whom are 
committed our protection and our guardian, constant in endeavour 
for our safety. Indeed, though we lavished our lives in thy service, 
yet should we not fulfil that which is incumbent on us of gratitude 
to thee ; but we supplicate Allah Almighty, who hath set thee over 
us and made thee our ruler, and beseech Him vouchsafe thee long 
life and success in all thine enterprises and not to make trial of 
thee with afflictions in thy time, but bring thee to thy desire and 
make thee to be reverenced till the day of thy death and lengthen 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 131 

thine arms in generosity, so thou mayst have command over every 
wise man and subdue every wicked man and all the wise and brave 
be found with thee in thy realm and all the ignorant and cowardly 
be plucked out from thy reign ; and we pray Him to withhold 
from thy people scarcity and calamity and sow among them the 
seed of love and friendship and cause them to enjoy of this world 
its prosperity and of the next felicity, of His grace and bounty 
and hidden mercies. Amen ! l For He is over all things Omni- 
potent and there is naught difficult unto Him, to Him all things 
tend." When the King heard the Wazir's prayer, he was mightily 
rejoiced and inclined to him with his whole heart, saying, " Know, 
O Wazir, thou art to me in lieu of brother and son and father, and 
naught but death shall divide me from thee. All that my hand 
possesseth thou shalt have the disposal of and, if I have no child 
to succeed me, thou shalt sit on my throne in my stead ; for thou 
art the worthiest of all the folk of my realm, and I will invest thee 
with my Kingship in the presence of the Grandees of my state 
and appoint thee my heir apparent to inherit the kingdom after 

me, Inshallah ! " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo fo&en it foas tje Nine l^untiteb anfc i)irttEt& 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King 
Wird Khan said to the son of Shimas the whilome Wazir, 
" Presently I will name thee my successor and make thee my heir 
apparent : and I will call the Grandees of mine Empire to witness 
thereto." Then he summoned his Secretary and bade him write 
to all the Lords of his land, convoking them at his Court, and 
caused proclamation to be made in his city to all the townsfolk 
great and small, bidding every one of the Emirs and Governors 
and Chamberlains and other officers and dignitaries to his presence 
as well as the Olema and Literati learned in the law. He held to 
boot a grand Divan and made a banquet, never was its like seen 
anywhere and thereto he bade all the folk, high and low. So they 
assembled and abode in merry making, eating and drinking a 

1 Arab. " Amin," of which the Heb. form is Amen from the root Amn = stability, 
constancy. In both tongues it is a particle of affirmation or consent = it is true 1 So 
be it ! The Hebrew has also " Amanah " = verily, truly. 

*3 2 A If Laylah wa Laylah< 

month's space; after which the King clothed the whole of his 
household and the poor of his Kingdom and bestowed on the men 
of knowledge abundant largesse. Then he chose out a number of 
the Olema and wise men who were known to the son of Shimas, 
and caused them go in to him, bidding him choose out of them 
six that he might make them Wazirs under commandment of the 
boy. Accordingly he selected six of the oldest of them in years 
and the best in wits and fullest of lore and the quickest of memory 
and judgment, and presented them to the King, who clad them in 
Wazirial habit saying, " Ye are become my Ministers, under the 
commandment of this my Grand Wazir, the son of Shimas. 
Whatsoever he saith to you or biddeth you to do, ye shall never 
and in no wise depart from it, albeit he is the youngest of you 
in years ; for he is the eldest of you in intellect and intelligence/' 
Then he seated them upon chairs, adorned with gold after the 
usage of Wazirs, and appointed to them stipends and allowances, 
bidding them choose out such of the notables of the kingdom and 
officers of the troops present at the banquet as were aptest for the 
service of the state, that he might make them Captains of tens 
and Captains of hundreds and Captains of thousands and appoint 
to them dignities and stipends and assign them provision, after 
the manner of Grandees. This they did with entire diligence and 
he bade them also handsel all who were present with large gifts 
and dismiss them each to his country with honour and renown ; 
he also charged his governors to rule the people with justice and 
enjoined them to be tender to the poor as well as to the rich and 
bade succour them from the treasury, according to their several 
degrees. So the Wazirs wished him permanence of glory and 
continuance of life, and he commanded to decorate the city three 
days, in gratitude to Allah Almighty for mercies vouchsafed to 
him. Such was the case with the King and his Wazir, Ibn Shimas, 
in the ordinance of his kingdom through his Emirs and Governors; 
but as regards the favourite women, wives, concubines and others 
who, by their malice and perfidy, had brought about the slaughter 
of the Wazirs and had well nigh ruined the realm, as soon as the 
Court was dissolved and all the people had departed, each to his 
own place, after their affairs had been set in order, the King sum- 
moned his boy-Minister, the son of Shimas, and the other six 
Wazirs and taking them apart privily, said to them, " Know, O 
Wazirs, that I have been a wanderer from the right way, drowned 
in ignorance, opposed to admonition, a breaker of facts and 

King Wird Khan with his Women and Wazirs. 133 

promises and a gainsayer of good counsellors ; and the cause of 
all this was my being fooled by these women and the wiles where- 
by they beset me and the glozing lure of their speech, whereby 
they seduced me to sin and my acceptance of this, for that I 
deemed the words of them true and loyal counsel, by reason of 
their sweetness and softness ; but lo, and behold ! they were 
deadly poison. And now I am certified that they sought but to 
ruin and destroy me, wherefore they deserve punishment and 
retribution from me, for justice sake, that I may make them a 
warning to whoso will be warned. And what say your just judg- 
ments anent doing them to die ? " Answered the boy Wazir, " O 
mighty King, I have already told thee that women are not alone 
to blame, but that the fault is shared between them and the men 
who hearken to them. However, they deserve punishment and 
requital for two reasons : firstly for the fulfilment of thy word, 
because thou art the supreme King ; and secondly, by reason of 
their presumption against thee and their seducing thee and their 
meddling with that which concerneth them not and whereof it 
befitteth them not even to speak. Wherefore they have right well 
deserved death; yet let that which hath befallen them suffice them, 
and do thou henceforth reduce them to servants' estate. But it is 
thine to command in this and in other than this." Then one of 
the Wazirs seconded the counsel of Ibn Shimas ; but another of 
them prostrated himself before the King and said to him, " Allah 
prolong the King's life ! An thou be indeed resolved to do with 
them that which shall cause their death, do with them as I shall 
say to thee." Asked Wird Khan, " And what is that ? "; and the 
Wazir answered, " Twere best that thou bid some of thy female 
slaves carry the women who played thee false to the apartment, 
wherein befel the slaughter of thy Wazirs and wise men and 
imprison them there ; and bid that they be provided with a little 
meat and drink, enough to keep life in their bodies. Let them 
never be suffered to go forth of that place, and whenever one of 
them dies, let her abide among them, as she is, till they die all, 
even to the last of them. This is the least of their desert, because 
they were the cause of this great avail ; ay, and the origin of all 
the troubles and calamities that have befallen in our time ; so shall 
there be verified in them the saying of the Sayer : Whoso diggeth 
his brother a pit shall surely himself fall into it, albeit of long 
safety he have benefit." The King accepted the Wazir's counsel 
and sending for four stalwart female slaves, committed the 

134 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

offending women to them, bidding them bear them into the place 
of slaughter and imprison them there and allow them every day a 
little coarse food and a little troubled water. They did with them 
as he bade ; wherefore the women mourned with sore mourning, 
repenting them of that which they had done and lamenting with 
grievous lamentation. Thus Allah gave them their reward of 
abjection in this world and prepared for them torment in the world 
to come ; nor did they cease to abide in that murky and noisome 
place, whilst every day one or other of them died, till they all 
perished, even to the last of them ; f and the report of this event 
was bruited abroad in all lands and countries. This is the end of 
the story of the King and his Wazirs and subjects, and praise be 
to Allah who causeth peoples to pass away, and quickeneth the 
bones that rot in decay ; Him who alone is worthy to be glorified 
and magnified alway and hallowed for ever and aye ! And amongst 
the tales they tell is one of 


THERE dwelt once, in Alexandria city, two men, of whom one was 
a dyer, by name Abu Kir, and the other a barber Abu Sir ; 2 and 
they were neighbours in the market-street, where their shops stood 
side by side. The dyer was a swindler and a liar, an exceeding 
wicked wight, as if indeed his head-temples were hewn out of a 
boulder rock or fashioned of the threshold of a Jewish synagogue, 
nor was he ashamed of any shameful work he wrought amongst 
the folk. It was his wont, when any brought him cloth for 
staining, first to require of him payment under pretence of buying 
dyestufTs therewith. So the customer would give him the wage in 
advance and wend his ways, and the dyer would spend all he 

1 To us this seems a case of "hard lines" for the unhappy women ; but Easterns then 
believed and still believe in the divinity which doth hedge in a King, in his reigning by 
the " grace of God," and in his being the Viceregent of Allah upon earth ; briefly in the 
old faith of loyalty which great and successful republics are fast making obsolete in the 
West and nowhere faster than in England. 

2 Abu Sir is a manifest corruption of the old Egyptian Pousiri, the Busiris of our 
classics, and it gives a name to sundry villages in modern Egypt where it is usually pro- 
nounced " Busfr." Abu Kir lit. = the Father of Pitch, is also corrupted to Abou Kir 
(Bay) ; and the townlet now marks the site of jolly old Canopus, the Chosen Land of 
Egyptian debauchery. 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 135 

received on meat and drink ; after which he would sell the cloth 
itself as soon as ever its owner turned his back and waste its worth 
in eating and drinking and what not else, for he ate not but of the 
daintiest and most delicate viands nor drank but of the best of. 
that which doth away the wit of man. And when the owner of 
the cloth came to him, he would say to him, " Return to me 
to-morrow before sunrise and thou shalt find thy stuff dyed." So 
the customer would go away, saying to himself, " One day is near 
another day,' 1 and return next day at the appointed time, when the 
dyer would say to him, " Come to-morrow ; yesterday I was not at 
\vork, for I had with me guests and was occupied with doing what 
their wants required till they went : but to-morrow before sunrise 
come and take thy cloth dyed." So he would fare forth and 
return on the third day, when Abu Kir would say to him, " Indeed 
yesterday I was excusable, for my wife was brought to bed in the 
night and all day I was busy with manifold matters ; but to- 
morrow, without fail, come and take thy cloth dyed." When the 
man came again at the appointed time, he would put him off with 
some other pretence, it mattered little what, and would swear to 

him ; Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

her permitted say. 

Nofo fofjen it foas tjje Nine ^un&refc anfc 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that every time 
the owner of an article came to the dyer he would put him off with 
any pretext 1 and would swear to him ; nor would he cease to 
promise and swear to him, as often as he came, till the customer 
lost patience and said, " How often wilt thou say to me, 
* To-morrow ? ' Give me my stuff : I will not have it dyed." 
Whereupon the dyer would make answer, " By Allah, O my 
brother, I am abashed at thee ; but I must tell the truth and may 
Allah harm all who harm folk in their goods ! " The other would 
exclaim, " Tell me what hath happened ;" and Abu Kir would 

1 It is interesting to note the superior gusto with which the Eastern, as well as the 
Western tale-teller describes his scoundrels and villains whilst his good men and women 
are mostly colourless and unpicturesque. So Satan is the true hero of Paradise-Lost 
and by his side God and man are very ordinary ; and Mephistopheles is much better 
society than Faust and Margaret. 

A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

reply, "As for thy stuff I dyed that same on matchless wise and 
hung it on the drying rope but 'twas stolen and I know not who 
stole it." If the owner of the stuff were of the kindly he would 
say, " Allah will compensate me ;" and if he were of the ill-condi- 
tioned, he would haunt him with exposure and insult, but would 
get nothing of him, though he complained of him to the judge. 
He ceased not doing thus till his report was noised abroad among 
the folk and each used to warn other against Abu Kir who became 
a byword amongst them. So they all held aloof from him and 
none would be entrapped by him save those who were ignorant of 
his character ; but, for all this, he failed not daily to suffer insult 
and exposure from Allah's creatures. By reason of this his trade 
became slack and he used to go to the shop of his neighbour the 
barber Abu Sir and sit there, facing the dyery and with his eyes 
on the door. Whenever he espied any one who knew him not 
standing at the dyery-door, with a piece of stuff in his hand, he 
would leave the barber's booth and go up to him saying, " What 
seekest thou, O thou ? "; and the man would reply, " Take and 
dye me this thing." So the dyer would ask, " What colour wilt 
thou have it ? " For, with all his knavish tricks bis hand was in 
all manner of dyes ; but he was never true to any one ; wherefore 
poverty had gotten the better of him. Then he would take the 
stuff and say, " Give me my wage in advance and come to-morrow 
and take the stuff." So the stranger would advance him the 
money and wend his way ; whereupon Abu Kir would carry the 
cloth to the market-street and sell it and with its price buy meat 
and vegetables and tobacco 1 and fruit and what not else he needed; 
but, whenever he saw any one who had given him stuff to dye 
standing at the door of his shop, he would not come forth to him 
or even show himself to him. On this wise he abode years and 
years, till it fortuned one day that he received cloth to dye from a 
man of wrath and sold it and spent the proceeds. The owner 
came to him every day, but found him not in his shop ; for, when- 
ever he espied any one who had claim against him, he would flee 
from him into the shop of the barber Abu Sir. At last, that angry 

1 Arab. " Dukhan," lit. = smoke, here tobacco for the Chibouk, "Timbak" or 
** Tumbak " being the stronger (Persian and other) variety which must be washed before 
smoking in the Shishah or water-pipe. Tobacco is mentioned here only and is evidently 
inserted by some scribe : the " wee"d " was not introduced into the East before the end 
of the sixteenth century (about a hundred years after coffee), when it radically changed 
the manners of society. 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 137 

man finding that he was not to be seen and growing weary of such 
work, repaired to the Kazi and bringing one of his Serjeants to the 
shop, nailed up the door, in presence of a number of Moslems, and 
sealed it, for that he saw therein naught save some broken pans of 
earthenware to stand him instead of his stuff; after which the 
serjeant took the key, saying to the neighbours, " Tell him to bring 
back this man's cloth then come to me 1 and take his shop key;" 
and went his way, he and the man. Then said Abu Sir to Abu 
Kir, "What ill business is this? 2 Whoever bringeth thee aught 
thou losest it for him. What hath become of this angry man's 
stuff?" Answered the dyer, "O my neighbour, 'twas stolen from 
me." " Prodigious ! " exclaimed the barber. " Whenever any one 
giveth thee aught, a thief stealeth it from thee ! Art thou then 
the meeting-place of every rogue upon town ? But I doubt me 
thou liest: so tell me the truth." Replied Abu Kir, "O my 
neighbour, none hath stolen aught from me." Asked Abu Sir, 
" What then dost thou with the people's property ? " ; and the 
dyer answered, " Whenever any one giveth me aught to dye, I sell 
it and spend the price." Quoth Abu Sir, " Is this permitted thee 
of Allah ? " and quoth Abu Kir, " I do this only out of poverty, 
because business is slack with me and I .am poor and have 
nothing." 3 And he went on to complain to him of the dulness 
of his trade and his lack of means. Abu Sir in like manner 
lamented the little profit of his own calling, saying, "I am a 
master of my craft and have not my equal in this city ; but no one 
cometh to me to be polled, because I am a pauper ; and I loathe 
this art and mystery, O my brother." Abu Kir replied, "And I 
also loathe my own -craft, by reason of its slackness ; but, O my 
brother, what call is there for our abiding in this town ? Let us 
depart from it, I and thou, and solace ourselves in the lands of 
mankind, carrying in our hands our crafts which are in demand all 
the world over; so shall we breathe the air and rest from this 
grievous trouble." And he ceased not to commend travel to 

1 Which meant that the serjeant, after the manner of such officials, would make him 
pay dearly before giving up the key. Hence a very seVere punishment in the East is to 
"call in a policeman " who carefully fleeces all those who do r>ot bribe him to leave 
them in freedom. 

9 Arab. " Ma Dahiyatak?" lit. "What is thy misfortune?" The phrase is slighting 
if not insulting. 

3 Amongst Moslems the plea of robbing to keep life and body together would be 
accepted by a good man like Abu Sir, who still consorted with a self-confessed thief. 

138 A/f Laylah wa Laylah. 

Abu Sir, till the barber became wishful to set out ; so they agreed 

upon their route, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased to say her permitted say. 

foben ft foa* tjje Dime ^uniKrelr anto 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu 
Kir ceased not his praises of wayfaring to Abu Sir till the barber 
became wishful to depart ; so they agreed upon their route, at 
which decision Abu Kir rejoiced and improvised these lines : 

Leave thy home for abroad an wouldst rise on high, o And travel whence 

benefits five- fold rise ; 
The soothing of sorrow and winning of bread, ft Knowledge, manners and 

commerce with good men and wise. 
An they say that in travel are travail and care, o And disunion of friends and 

much hardship that tries ; 
Yet to generous youth death is better than life o In the house of contempt 

betwixt haters and spies. 

When they agreed to travel together Abu Kir said to Abu Sir, " O 
my neighbour, we are become brethren and there is no difference 
between us, so it behoveth us to recite the Fatihah ! that he of us 
who gets work shall of his gain feed him who is out of work, and 
whatever is left, we will lay in a chest ; and when we return to 
Alexandria, we will divide it farrly and equally." " So be it," 
replied Abu Sir, and they repeated the Opening Chapter of the 
Koran on this understanding. Then Abu Sir locked up his shop 
and gave the key to its owner, whilst Abu Kir left his door locked 
and sealed and let the key lie with the Kazi's serjeant ; after which 
they took their baggage and embarked on the morrow in a galleon 2 
upon the salt sea. They set sail the same day and fortune attended 
them, for, of Abu Sir's great good luck, there was not a barber in 
the ship albeit it carried an hundred and twenty men, besides 
captain and crew. So, when they loosed the sails, the barber said 
to the dyer, " O my brother, this is the sea and we shall need meat 
and drink ; we have but little provaunt with us, and haply the 

1 To make their agreement religiously binding. See-vol. iv. 36. 

2 Arab. " Ghaliyun " many of our names for craft seem connected with Arabic : I have 
already noted "Carrack" harrak : to which add Uskuf in Marocco pronounced 
*Skuff= skiff; Katfrah = a cutter ; Barijah = a barge ; etc.- etc. 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 139 

voyage will be long upon us ; wherefore methinks I will shoulder 
my budget and pass among the passengers, and may be some one 
will say to me : Come hither, O barber, and shave me, and I will 
shave him for a scone or a silver bit or a draught of water : so 
shall we profit by this, I and thou too." " There's no harm in 
that," replied the dyer and laid down his head and slept, whilst 
the barber took his gear and water-tasse l and throwing over his 
shoulder a rag, to serve as napkin (because he was poor), passed 
among the passengers. Quoth one of them, " Ho, master, come 
and shave me." So he shaved him, and the man gave him a half- 
dirham; 2 whereupon quoth Abu Sir, "O my brother, I have no 
use for this bit ; hadst thou given me a scone 'twere more blessed 
to me in this sea, for I have a shipmate and we are short of pro- 
vision." So he gave him a loaf and a slice of cheese and filled him 
the tasse with sweet water. The barber carried all this to Abu 
Kir and said, " Eat the bread and cheese and drink the water.'* 
Accordingly he ate and drank, whilst Abu Sir again took up his 
shaving gear and, tasse in hand and rag on shoulder, went round 
about the deck among the passengers. One man he shaved for 
two scones and another for a bittock of cheese, and he was in 
demand, because there was no other barber on board. Also he 
bargained with every one who said to him, " Ho, master, shave 
me ! " for two loaves and a half dirham, and they gave him what- 
ever he sought, so that, by sundown, he had collected thirty loaves 
and thirty silvers with store of cheese and olives and botargoes.* 
And besides these he got from the passengers whatever he 
asked for and was soon in possession of things galore. Amongst 
the rest he shaved the Captain, 4 to whom he complained of his 
lack of victual for the voyage, and the skipper said to him, " Thou 
art welcome to bring thy comrade every night and sup with me 
and have no care for that so long as ye sail with us." Then he 

1 The patient is usually lathered in a big basin of tinned brass, a " Mambrino's helmet " 
with a break in the rim to fit the throat ; but the poorer classes carry only a small cup 
with water instead of soap and water ignoring the Italian proverb, " Barba ben saponata 
mezza fatta" = well lathered is half shaved. A napkin fringed at either end is usually 
thrown over the Figaro's shoulder and used to wipe the razor. 

2 Arab. "Nusf." See vol. ii. 37. 

3 Arab. *'Batarikh" the roe (sperm or spawn) of the salted Fasikh (fish) and the Burl 
(niugil cephalus} a salt-water fish caught in the Nile and considered fair eating. Some 
write Butargha from the old Egyptian town Burat, now a ruin between Tinnis and 
Damietta (Sonnini). 

* AVab. Kaptdn," see vol. iv. 85, 

140 A if Laylah tva Laylah. 

returned to the dyer, whom he found asleep ; so he roused him ; 
and when Abu Kir awoke, he saw at his head an abundance of 
bread and cheese and olives and botargoes and said, "Whence 
gottest thou all this ? " " From the bounty of Allah Almighty," 
replied Abu Sir. Then Abu Kir would have fallen to, but the 
barber said to him, " Eat not of this, O my brother ; but leave it 
to serve us another time ; for know that I shaved the Captain and 
complained to him of our lack of victual : whereupon quoth he : 
Welcome to thee ! Bring thy comrade and sup both of ye with me 
every night. And this night we sup with him for the first time.", 
But Abu Kir replied, " My head goeth round with sea-sickness 
and I cannot rise from my stead ; so let me sup off these things 
and fare thou alone to the Captain." Abu Sir replied, " There is 
no harm in that ; " and sat looking at the other as he ate, and 
saw him hew off gobbets, as the quarryman heweth stone from 
the hill-quarries and gulp them down with the gulp of an elephant 
which hath not eaten.for days, bolting another mouthful ere he 
had swallowed the previous one and glaring the while at that 
which was before him with the glowering of a Ghul and blowing 
as blowing as bloweth the hungry bull over his beans and 
bruised straw. Presently up came a sailor and said to the 
barber, " O craftsmaster, the Captain biddeth thee come to supper 
and bring thy comrade." Quoth the barber to the dyer, " Wilt 
thou come with us ? " ; but quoth he, " I cannot walk." So the 
barber went by himself and found the Captain sitting before a tray 
whereon were a score or more of dishes and all the company were 
awaiting him and his mate. When the Captain saw him he 
asked, " Where is thy friend ? " ; and Abu Sir answered, " O my 
lord, he is sea-sick.' 1 Said the skipper, " That will do him no 
harm ; his sickness will soon pass off; but do thou carry him his 
supper and come back, for we tarry for thee." Then he set apart 
a porringer of Kababs and putting therein some of each dish, till 
there was enough for ten, gave it to Abu Sir, saying, " Take this 
to thy chum." He took it and carried it to the dyer, whom he 
found grinding away with his dog-teeth 1 at the food which was 
before him, as he were a camel, and heaping mouthful on mouth- 
ful in his hurry. Quoth Abu Sir, " Did I not say to thee : 

1 Arab. " Anyab," plur. of Nab applied to the grinder teeth but mostly to the 
canines or eye teeth, tusks of animals etc. (See vol. vii. p. 339) opp. to Saniyah, dne of 
the four central incisors, a camel in the sixth year and horse, cow* sheep and goat in 
fourth year*! 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 141 

Eat not of this ? Indeed the Captain is a kindly man. See what 
he hath sent thee, for that I told him thou wast sea-sick." " Give 
it here," cried the dyer. So the barber gave him the platter, and 
he snatcked it from him and fell upon his food, ravening for it 
and resembling a grinning dog or a raging lion or a Rukh pouncing 
on a pigeon or one well-nigh dead for hunger who seeing meat 
falls ravenously to eat. Then Abu Sir left him and going back to 
the Captain, supped and enjoyed himself and drank coffee 1 with 
him ; after which he returned .to Abu Kir and found that he had 

eaten all that was in the porringer and thrown it aside, empty. 

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

jSofo fojnx ft foas tije 4Htne ^unfctelr anfc ^Fj)irt2=tfmti 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Abu Sir returned to Abu Kir he saw that he had eaten all that 
was in the porringer and had thrown it aside empty. So he took 
it up and gave it to one of the Captain's servants, then went back 
to Abu Kir and slept till the morning. On the morrow he 
continued to shave, and all he got by way of meat and drink he 
gave to his shipmate, who ate and drank and sat still, rising not 
save to do what none could do for him, and every night the barber 
brought him a full porringer from the Captain's table. They 
fared thus twenty days until the galleon cast anchor in the 
harbour of a city ; whereupon they took leave of the skipper and 
landing, entered the town and hired them a closet in a Khan. Abu 
Sir furnished it and buying a cooking pot and a platter and 
spoons 2 and what else they needed, fetched meat and cobked it ; 
but Abu Kir fell asleep the moment he entered the Caravanserai 
and awoke not till Abu Sir aroused him and set the tray of food 3 

1 The coffee (see also vol. viii. 274) like the tobacco is probably due to the scribe ; 
but the tale appears to be comparatively modern. In The Nights men eat, drink and 
wash their hands but do not smoke and sip coffee like the moderns. See my Terminal 
Essay 2. 

2 Arab. Mi'lakah " (Bresl. Edit, x, 456). The fork is modern even in the East and 
the Moors borrow their term for it from fourchette. But the spoon, which may have 
begun with a cockle-shell, dates from the remotest antiquity. 

3 Arab. "Sufrah" pjoperly the cloth or leather upon which food is placed. See 
vol. i. 178. 

I4 2 Alf Lay la h wa Lay I ah. 

before him. When he awoke, he ate and saying to Abu Sir, 
" Blame me not, for I am giddy," fell asleep again. Thus he did 
forty days, whilst, every day, the barber took his gear and making 
the round of the city, wrought for that which fell to his lot, 1 and 
returning, found the dyer asleep and aroused him. The moment 
he awoke he fell ravenously upon the food, eating as one who 
cannot have his fill nor be satisfied ; after which he went asleep 
again. On this wise he passed other forty days and whenever the 
barber said to him, " Sit up and be comfortable 2 and go forth 
and take an airing in the city, for 'tis a gay place and' a pleasant 
and hath not its equal among the cities," he would reply, " Blame 
me not, for I am giddy." Abu Sir cared not to hurt his feelings 
nor give him hard words ; but, on the forty-first day, he himself 
fell sick and could not go abroad ; so he engaged the porter of 
the Khan to serve them both, and he did the needful for them 
and brought them meat and drink whilst Abu Kir would do 
nothing but eat and sleep. The man ceased not to wait upon 
them on this wise for four days, at the end of which time the 
barber's malady redoubled on him, till he lost his senses for stress 
of sickness; and Abu Kir, feeling the sharp pangs of hunger, arose 
and sought in his comrade's clothes, where he found a thousand 
silver bits. He took them and, shutting the door of the closet 
upon Abu Sir, fared forth without telling any ; and the doorkeeper 
was then at market and thus saw him not go out. Presently Abu 
Kir betook himself to the bazar and clad himself in costly clothes, at 
a price of five hundred half-dirhams ; then he proceeded to walk 
about the streets and divert himself by viewing the city which he 
found to be one whose like was not among cities ; but he noted 
that all its citizens were clad in clothes of white and blue, without 
other colour. Presently he came to a dyer's and seeing naught 
but blue in his shop, pulled out to him a kerchief and said, "O 
master, take this and dye it and win thy wage." Quoth the dyer, 
" The cost of dyeing this will be twenty dirhams ; " and quoth Abu 
Kir, " In our country we dye it for two." " Then go and dye it in 
your own country ! As for me, my. price is twenty dirhams and I 
will not bate a little thereof." " What colour wilt thou dye it ? " 
" I will dye it blue." " But I want it dyed red." " I know not 
how to dye red." " Then dye it green." " I know not how to dye 

1 i.e. gaining much one. day and little another. 

2 Lit. " Rest thyself" i.e. by changing posture. 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 143 

green." " Yellow." " Nor yet yellow." Thereupon .Abu Kir 
went on to name the different tints to him, one after other, 
till the dyer said, "We are here in this city forty master- 
dyers, not one more nor one less ; and when one of us dieth, 
we teach his son the craft. If he leave no son, we abide lacking 
one, and if he leave two sons, we teach one of them the craft, and 
if he die, we teach his brother. This our craft is strictly ordered, 
and we know how to dye but blue and no other tint whatsoever." 
Then said Abu Kir, " Know that I too am a dyer and wot how to 
dye all colours ; and I would have thee take me into thy service 
on hire, and I will teach thee everything of my art, so thou mayst 
glory therein over all the company of dyers." But the dyer 
answered, " We never admit a stranger into our craft." Asked 
Abu Kir, " And what if I open a dyery for myself ? "; whereto the 
other answered, " We will not suffer thee to do that on any wise ;" 
whereupon he left him and going to a second dyer, made him the 
like proposal ; but he returned him the same answer as the first ; 
and he ceased not to go from one to other, till he had made the 
round of the whole forty masters ; but they would not accept him 
either to master or apprentice. Then he repaired to the Shaykh 
of the Dyers and told him what had passed, and he said, " We 
admit no strangers into our craft." Hereupon Abu Kir became 
exceeding wroth and going up to the King of that city, made com- 
plaint to him, saying, " O King of the age, I am a stranger and a 
dyer by trade" ; and he told him whatso had passed between him- 
self and the dyers of the town, adding, " I can dye various kinds 
of red, such as rose-colour and jujubel-colour and varous kinds of 
green, such as grass-green and pistachio-green and olive and 
parrot's wing, and various kinds of black, such as coal-black and 
Kohl-black, and various shades of yellow, such as orange and 
lemon-colour," and went on to name to him the rest of the colours. 
Then said he, " O King of the age, all the dyers in thy city can not 
turn out of hand any one of these tincts, for they know not how to 
dye aught but blue ; yet will they not admit me amongst them, 
either to master or apprentice." Answered the King, " Thou sayst 
sooth for that matter, but I will open to thee a dyery and give thee 
capital and have thou no care anent them ; for whoso ofifereth to 
do thee let or hindrance, I will hang him over his shop-door." 
Then he sent for builders and said to them, " Go round about the 

^ Arab. " 'Vnnft>i " = between dark yellow and led* 

144 .Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

city with this master-dyer^ and whatsoever place pleaseth him, be 
it shop or Khan or what not, turn out its occupier and build him a 
dyery after his wish. Whatsoever he biddeth you, that do ye and 
oppose him not in aught." And he clad him in a handsome suit 
and gave him two white slaves to serve him, and a horse with 
housings of brocade and a thousand dinars, saying, " Expend this 
upon thyself against the building be completed." Accordingly 
Abu Kir donned the dress and mounting the horse, became as he 
were an Emir. Moreover the King assigned him a house and 
bade furnish it ; so they furnished it for him. -- And Shahrazad 
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

fofan it foas t&e Nine l^untrtelr an& Bt&irtp.fotmJ 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
King assigned a house to Abu Kir and bade furnish it and he took 
up his abode therein. On the morrow he mounted and rode 
through the city, whilst the architects went before him ; and he 
looked about him till he saw a place which pleased him and said, 
" This stead is seemly ;" whereupon they turned out the owner 
and carried him to the King, who gave him as the price of his 
holding, what contented him and more. Then the builders fell to 
work, whilst Abu Kir said to them, " Build thus and thus and do 
this and that," till they built him a dyery that had not its like ; 
whereupon he presented himself before the King and informed 
him that they had done building the dyery and that there needed 
but the price of the dye-stuffs and gear to set it going. Quoth the 
King, "Take these four thousand dinars to thy capital and let me 
see the first fruits of thy dyery." So he took the money and went 
to the market where, finding dye-stuffs 1 plentiful and well-nigh 
worthless, he bought all he needed of materials for dyeing ; and 
the King sent him five hundred pieces of stuff, which he set 
himself to dye of all colours and then he spread them before the 
door of his dyery. When the folk passed by the shop, they saw 

1 Arab. " Nllah " lit. = indigo, but here applied to all the materials for dyeing. The 
word is the Sansk. "t^JS and the growth probably came from India although duiing the 
Crusaders' occupation of Jerusalem it was cultivated in the valley of the lower Jordan. 
I need hardly say that it has nothing to do with the word " Nile" whose origin is still 
sub judice. And yet I lately met a sciolist who pompously announced to me this philo- 
logical absurdity as a discovery of his owo. 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 145 

a wonder-sight whose like they had never in their lives seen ; so 
they crowded about the entrance, enjoying the spectacle and ques- 
tioning the dyer and saying, " O master, what are the names of 
these colours ? " Quoth he, " This is red and that yellow and the 
other green " and so on, naming the rest of the colours. And they 
fell to bringing him longcloth and saying to him, " Dye it for us 
like this and that and take what hire thou seekest." When he 
had made an end of dyeing the King's stuffs, he took them and 
went up with them to the Divan ; and when the King saw them 
he rejoiced in them and bestowed abundant bounty on the dyer. 
Furthermore, all the troops brought him stuffs, saying, " Dye for 
us thus and thus ;" and he dyed for them to their liking, and they 
threw him gold and silver. After this his fame spread abroad and 
his shop was called the Sultan's Dyery. Good came in to him at 
every door and none of the other dyers could say a word to him, 
but they used to come to him kissing his hands and excusing 
themselves to him for past affronts they had offered him and 
saying, " Take us to thine apprentices." But he would none of 
them for he had become the owner of black slaves and handmaids 
and had amassed store of wealth. On this wise fared it with Abu 
Kir ; but as regards Abu Sir, after the closet door had been locked 
on him and his money had been stolen, he abode prostrate and 
unconscious for three successive days, at the end of which the 
Concierge of the Khan, chancing to look at the door, observed 
that it was locked and' bethought himself that he had not seen and^ 
heard aught of the two companions for some time. So he said in 
his mind, " Haply they have made off, without paying rent, 1 or 
perhaps they are dead, or what is to do with them ?" And he 
waited till sunset, when he went up to the door and heard tha 
barber groaning within. He saw the key in the lock ; so he 
opened the door and entering, found Abu Sir lying, groaning, and 
said to him, " No harm to thee : where is thy friend ? " Replied 
Abu Sir, " By Allah, I came to my senses only this day and called 
out ; but none answered my call. Allah upon thee, O my brother, 
look for the purse under my head and take from it five half? 
dirhams and buy me somewhat nourishing, for I am sore 

1 Still a popular form of " bilking " in the Wakdlahs or Caravanserais of Cairo : but 
as a rule the Bawwab (porter or doorkeeper) keeps a sharp eye on those he suspects. The 
evil is increased when women are admitted into these places ; so periodical orders for 
^their exclusion are given to the police. 


A If Lay/ah wa Laylah. 

anhungered." The porter put out his hand and taking the purse, 
found it empty and said to the barber, " The purse is empty ; there 
is nothing in it." Whereupon Abu Sir knew that Abu Kir had 
taken that which was therein and had fled and he asked the 
porter, " Hast thou not seen my friend ? " Answered the door- 
keeper, " I have not seen him these three days ; and indeed 
methought you had departed, thou and he." The barber cried, 
" Not so ; but he coveted my money and took it and fled seeing 
me sick." Then he fell a-weeping and a-wailing but the door- 
keeper said to him, " No harm shall befal thee, and Allah will 
requite him his deed." So he went away and cooked him some 
broth, whereof he ladled out a plateful and brought it to 
him ; nor did he cease to tend him and maintain him with 
his own monies for two months' space, when the barber 
sweated 1 and the Almighty made him whole of his sickness. 
Then he stood up and said to the porter, " An ever the Most 
High Lord enable me, I will surely requite thee thy kindness to 
me; but none requiteth save the Lord of His bounty!" 
Answered the porter, " Praised be He for thy recovery ! I dealt 
not thus with thee but of desire for the face of Allah the Bounti- 
ful." Then the barber went forth of the Khan and threaded the 
market-streets of the town, till Destiny brought him to the bazar 
wherein was Abu Kir's dyery, and he saw the vari-coloured stuffs 
dispread before the shop and a jostle of folk crowding to look 
upon them. So he questioned one of the townsmen and asked 
him, " What place is this and how cometh it that I see the folk 
crowding together ? " ; whereto the man answered, saying, " This 
is the Sultan's Dyery, which he set up for a foreigner Abu Kir 
hight ; and whenever he dyeth new stuff, we all flock to him and 
divert ourselves by gazing upon his handiwork, for we have no 
dyers in our land who know how to stain with these colours ; and 
indeed there befel him with the dyers who are in the city that 
which befel." 2 And he went on to tell him all that had passed 
between Abu Kir and the master-dyers and how he had com- 
plained of them to the Sultan who took him by the hand and 

1 Natives of Egypt always hold this diaphoresis a sign that the disease has abated and 
they regard it rightly in the case of bilious remittents to which they are subject, especially 
after the hardships and sufferings of a sea-voyage with its alternations of fasting and 

2 Not simply, "such and such events happened to him" (Lane); but, " a curious 
chance befel him." 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 147 

built him that dyery and gave him this and that : brief, he re- 
counted to him all that had occurred. At this the barber rejoiced 
and said in himself, " Praised be Allah who hath prospered 
him, so that he is become a master of his craft ! And the man is 
excusable, for of a surety he hath been diverted from thee by his 
work and hath forgotten thee ; but thou actedst kindly by him 
and entreatedst him generously, what time he was out of work ; 
so, when he seeth thee, he will rejoice in thee and entreat thee 
generously, even as thou entreatedst him." According he made 
for the door of the dyery and saw Abu Kir seated on a high 
mattress spread upon a bench beside the doorway, clad in royal 
apparel and attended by four blackamoor slaves and four white 
Mamelukes all robed in the richest of raiment. Moreover, he saw 
the workmen, ten negro slaves, standing at work ; for, when Abu 
Kir bought them, he taught them the craft of dyeing, and he 
himself sat amongst his cushions, as he were a Grand Wazir or a 
mighty Monarch putting his hand to naught, but only saying to 
the men, " Do this and do that." So the barber went up to him 
and stood before him, deeming he would rejoice in him when he 
saw him and salute him and entreat him with honour and make 
much of him ; but, when eye fell upon eye, the dyer said to him, 
" O scoundrel, how many a time have I bidden thee stand not at 
the door of the workshop ? Hast thou a mind to disgrace me 
with the folk, thief ! that thou art ? Seize him." So the black- 
amoors ran at him and laid hold of him ; and the dyer rose up 
from his seat and said, " Throw him." Accordingly they threw 
him down and Abu Kir took a stick and dealt him an hundred 
strokes on the back ; after which they turned him over and he beat 
him other hundred blows on his belly. Then he said to him, " O 
scoundrel, O villain, if ever again I see thee standing at the door 
of this dyery, I will forthwith send thee to the King, and he will 
commit thee to the Chief of Police, that he may strike thy neck. 
Begone, may Allah not bless thee ! " So Abu Sir departed from 
him, broken-hearted by reason of the beating and shame that had 
betided him ; whilst the bystanders asked Abu Kir, " What hath 
this man done ? " He answered, " The fellow is a thief, who 

stealeth the stuffs of folk." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 

of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Arab. " Harami," lit. = one who lives on unlawful gains ; popularly a thief. 

14$ A If Laflah wa Laylah: 

JJofo fofjen it toas tje Nine ^unirafc anfc 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Abu 
Kir beat Abu Sir and thrust him forth he said to those present, 
" He is a thief who stealeth the stuffs of folk ; he hath robbed me 
of cloth, how many a time ! and I still said in myself : Allah 
forgive him ! He is a poor man ; and I cared not to deal roughly 
with him ; so I used to give my customers the worth of their 
goods and forbid him gently ; but he would not be forbidden : 
and if he come again, I will send him to the King, who will 
put him to death and rid the people of his mischief." And 
the bystanders fell to abusing the barber after his back was turned. 
Such was the behaviour of Abu Kir ; but as regards Abu Sir, he 
returned to the Khan, where he sat pondering that which the dyer 
had done by him and he remained seated till the burning of the 
beating subsided, when he went out and walked about the markets 
of the city. Presently, he bethought him to go to the Hammam- 
bath ; so he said to one of the townsfolk, " O my brother, which is 
the way to the Baths ? " Quoth the man, " And what manner of 
thing may the Baths be ? " and quoth Abu Sir, " Tis a place 
where people wash themselves and do away their dirt and defile- 
ments, and it is of the best of the good things of the world." 
Replied the townsman, " Get thee to the sea," but the barber 
rejoined, " I want the Hammam-baths." Cried the other, "We 
know not what manner of thing is the Hammam, for we all resort 
to the sea ; even the King, when he would wash, betaketh himself 
to the sea." When Abu Sir was assured that there was no bath 
in the city and that the folk knew not the Baths nor the fashion 
thereof, he betook himself to the King's Divan and kissing ground 
between his hands called down blessings on him and said, " I am 
a stranger and a Bath-man by trade, and I entered thy city and 
thought to go to the Hamrnam ; but found not one therein. How 
cometh a city of this comely quality to lack a Hammam, seeing 
that the bath is of the highest of the delights of this world ? " Quoth 
the King, " What manner of thing is the Hammam ? " So Abu Sir 
proceeded to set forth to him the quality of the bath, saying, " Thy 
capital will not be a perfect city till there be a Hammam therein." 
" Welcome to thee ! " said the King and clad him in a dress 
that had not its like and gave him a horse and two blackamoor 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 149 

slaves, presently adding four handmaids and as many white 
Mamelukes : he also appointed him a furnished house and 
honoured him yet more abundantly than he had honoured the 
dyer. After this he sent builders with him saying to them, 
" Build him a Hammam in what place soever shall please him." 
So he took them and went with them through the midst of the 
city, till he saw a stead that suited him. He pointed it out to 
the builders and they set to work, whilst he directed them, and 
they wrought till they builded him a Hammam that had not its like. 
Then he bade them paint it, and they painted it rarely, so that it 
was a delight to the beholders ; after which Abu Sir went up to 
the King and told him that they had made an end of building and 
decorating the Hammam, adding, " There lacketh naught save 
the furniture." The King gave him ten thousand dinars where- 
with he furnished the Bath and ranged the napkins on the ropes ; 
and all who passed by the door stared at it and their mind was 
confounded at its decorations. So the people crowded to this 
spectacle, whose like they had never in their lives seen, and solaced 
themselves by staring at it and saying, " What is this thing ? " 
To which Abu Sir replied, " This is a Hammam ; " and they 
marvelled thereat. Then he heated water and set the bath a- 
working, 1 and he made a jetting fountain in the great basin, which 
ravished the wit of all who saw it of the people of the city.. 
Furthermore, he sought of the King ten Mamelukes not yet come 
to manhood, and he gave him ten boys like moons ; whereuport 
Abu Sir proceeded to shampoo them, saying, " Do in this wise, 
with the bathers." Then he burnt perfumes and sent out a crier 
to cry aloud in the city, saying, " O creatures of Allah, get ye to 
the Baths which be called the Sultan's Hammam ! " So the lieges 
came thither and Abu Sir bade the slave-boys wash their bodies. 
The folk went down into the tank and coming forth, seated them- 
selves on the raised pavement, whilst the boys shampooed them, 
even as Abu Sir had taught them ; and they continued to enter 
the Hammam and do their need therein gratis and go out, without 
paying, for the space of three days. On the fourth day the barber 
invited the King, who took horse with his Grandees and rode to 
the Baths, where he put off his clothes and entered ; then Abu 
Sir came in to him and rubbed his body with the bag-gloves, 
peeling from his skin dirt-rolls like lamp-wicks and showing them 

1 *.f. he turned OB the water, hot and coW. 

A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

to the King, who rejoiced therein, and clapping his hand upon 
his limbs heard them ring again for very smoothness and cleanli- 
ness } ; after which thorough washing Abu Sir mingled rose-water 
with the water of the tank and the King went down therein. 
When he came forth, his body was refreshed and he felt a light- 
ness and liveliness such as he had never known in his life. Then 
the barber made him sit on the da'fs and the boys proceeded to 
shampoo him, whilst the censers fumed with the finest lign-aloes. 2 
Then said the King, "O master is this the Hammam ?"; and Abu 
Sir said, " Yes." Quoth the King, " As my head liveth, my city 
is not become a city indeed but by this Bath," presently adding, 
" But what pay takest thou for each person ?" Quoth Abu Sir, 
" That which thou biddest will I take ; " whereupon the King cried, 
" Take a thousand gold pieces for every one who washeth in thy 
Hammam." Abu Sir, however, said, " Pardon, O King of the 
age ! All men are not alike, but there are amongst them rich 
and poor, and if I take of each a thousand dinars, the Hammam 
will stand empty, for the poor man cannot pay this price." Asked 
the King, " How then wilt thou do for the price ! "; and the barber 
answered, " I will leave it to their generosity. 3 Each who can 
afford aught shall pay that which his soul grudgeth not to give, 
and we will take from every man after the measure of his means. 
On this wise will the folk come to us and he who is wealthy shall 
give according to his station and he who is wealth-less shall give 
what he can afford. Under such condition the Hammam will still 
be at work and prosper exceedingly ; but a thousand dinars is a 
Monarch's gift, and not every man can avail to this." The Lords 

1 Men are often seen doing this in the Hammam. The idea is that the skin when 
free from sebaceous exudation sounds louder under the clapping. Easterns judge much 
by the state of the perspiration, especially in horse-training, which consists of hand- 
gallops for many successive miles. The sweat must not taste over salt and when held 
between thumb and forefinger and the two are drawn apart must not adhere in filaments. 

2 Lit. "Aloes for making Nadd ; " see vol. i. 310. " Eagle-wood " (the Malay 
Aigla and Agallochum the Sansk. Agura) gave rise to many corruptions as lignum aloes, 
the Portuguese Pao d' Aguila etc. ''Calamba " or " Calambak" was the finest kind. 
See Colonel Yule in the " Voyage of Linschoten" (vol. i. 120 and 150). Edited for the 
Hackluyt Soc. (1885) by my learned and most amiable friend, the late Arthur Cooke 

* The Hammam is one of those unpleasant things which are left " Ala judi-k " =to 
thy generosity ; and the higher the bather's rank the more he or she is expected to pay. 
See Pilgrimage i. 103. In 1853 I paid at Cairo 3 piastres and twenty paras, something 
more than sixpence, but now five shillings would be asked. 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 151 

of the Realm confirmed Abu Sir's words, saying, " This is the 
truth, O King of the age ! Thinkest thou that all folk are like 
unto thee, O glorious King 1 ? " The King replied, "Ye say sooth ; 
but this man is a stranger and poor and 'tis incumbent on us to 
deal generously with him, for that he hath made in our city this 
Hammam whose like we have never in our lives seen and without 
which our city were not adorned nor hath gotten importance ; 
wherefore, an we favour him with increase of fee 'twill not be 
much." But the Grandees said, " An thou wilt guerdon him be 
generous with thine own monies, and let the King's bounty be 
extended to the poor by means of the low price of the Hammam, 
so the lieges may bless thee ; but, as for the thousand dinars, we 
are the Lords of thy Land, yet do our souls grudge to pay it ; and 
how then should the poor be pleased to afford it ? " Quoth the 
King, " O my Grandees, for this time let each of you give him an 
hundred dinars and a Mameluke, a slave girl and a blackamoor ; " 
and quoth they, " 'Tis well ; we will give it ; but after to-day 
whoso entereth shall give him only what he can afford, without 
grudging." " No harm in that," said the King ; and they gave 
him the thousand gold pieces and three chattels. Now the 
number of the Nobles who were washed with the King that day 

was four hundred souls ; And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 

of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Koto fofjen it foas tfje Jfine J^untiteiJ anb ^Jtrt^sfxtft Nt'gftt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
number of the Nobles who were washed with the King that day were 
four hundred souls ; so that the total of that which they gave him 
was forty thousand dinars, besides four hundred Mamelukes and 
a like number of negroes and slave-girls. 2 Moreover the King 
gave him ten thousand dinars, besides ten white slaves and ten 
hand-maiderrs and a like number of blackamoors ; whereupon 
coming forward Abu Sir kissed the ground before him and said, 
" O auspicious Sovereign, lord of justice, what place will contain 

1 This is something like the mythical duchess in England who could not believe that 
the poor were starving when sponge-cakes were so cheap. 

2 This magnificent " Bakhshish " must bring water into the mouths of all the bath-men 
in the coffee-house assembly. 

152 ( Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

aae all these women and slaves ? " Quoth the King, " O weak o* 
wit, I bade not my nobles deal thus with thee but that we might 
gather together unto thee wealth galore ; for may be thou wilt 
bethink thee of thy country and family and repine for them and 
be minded to return to thy mother-land ; so shalt thou take from 
our country muchel of money to maintain thyself withal, what 
while thou livest in thine own country." And quoth Abu Sir, 
4< O King of the age, (Allah advance thee !) these white slaves and 
women and negroes befit only Kings and hadst thou ordered me 
ready money, it were more profitable to me than this army ; for 
they must eat and drink and dress, and whatever betideth me of 
wealth, it will not suffice for their support." The King laughed 
and said, "By Allah thou speakest sooth! They are indeed a 
mighty host, and thou hast not the wherewithal to maintain them ;. 
but wilt thou sell them to me for an hundred dinars a head ? " 
Said Abu Sir, " I sell them to thee at that price." So the King 
sent to his treasurer for the coin and he brought it and gave Abu 
Sir the whole of the price without abatement ! and in full tale ; 
after which the King restored the slaves to their owners, saying, 
** Let each of you who knoweth his slaves take them ; for they are 
a gift from me to you." So they obeyed his bidding and took 
each what belonged to him ; whilst Abu Sir said to the King, 
" Allah ease thee, O King of the age, even as thou hast eased me 
of these Ghuls, whose bellies none may fill save Allah 2 ! " The 
King laughed, and said he spake sooth ; then, taking the Grandees 
of his Realm from the Hammam returned to his palace; but the 
barber passed the night in counting out his gold and laying it up 
in bags and sealing them ; and he had with him twenty black 
slaves and a like number of Mamelukes and four slave girls to 
serve him. Now when morning morrowed, he opened the 
Hammam and sent out a crier to cry, saying, " Whoso entereth the 
Baths and washeth shall give that which he can afford and which 
his generosity requireth him to give." Then he seated himself 
by the pay-chest 3 and customers flocked in upon him, each putting 

1 i.e. the treasurer did not, as is the custom of such gentry, demand and receive a large 
*' Bakhshish" on the occasion. 

2 A fair specimen of clever Fellah chaff. 

3 In the first room of the Hammam, called the Maslakh r stripping-place, the keeper 
sits by a large chest in which he deposits the purses and valuables of his customers and 
also makes it the caisse for the pay. Something of the kind is now done in the absurdly 
called "Turkish Baths" of London. 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 153 


down that which was easy to him, nor had eventide evened ere the 
chest was full of the good gifts of AHah the Most High. Presently 
the Queen desired to go to the Hammam, and when this came to 
Abu Sir's knowledge, he divided the day on her account into two 
parts, appointing that between dawn and noon to men and that 
between midday and sundown to women. 1 As soon as the Queen 
came, he stationed a handmaid behind the pay-chest ; for he had 
taught four slave-girls the service of the Hammam, so that they 
were become expert bathwomen and tire-women. When the Queen 
entered, this pleased her and her breast waxed broad and she laid 
down a thousand dinars. Thus hfs report was noised abroad in 
the city, and all who entered the bath he entreated with honour, 
were they rich or poor ; good came in upon him at every door and 
he made acquaintance with the royal guards and got him friends 
and intimates. The King himself used to come to him one day in 
every week, leaving with him a thousand dinars and the other days 
were for rich and poor alike ; and he was wont to deal courteously 
with the folk and use them with the utmost respect. It chanced 
that the King's sea-captain came in to him one day in the bath ; 
so Abu Sir did off his dress and going in with him, proceeded to 
shampoo him and entreated him with exceeding courtesy. When 
he came forth, he made him sherbet and coffee ; and when he 
would have given him somewhat, he swore that he would not 
accept from him aught. So the captain was under obligation to 
him, by reason of his exceeding kindness and courtesy and was 
perplexed how to requite the bath-man his generous dealing. 
Thus fared it. with Abu Sir : but as regards Abu Kir, hearing all 
the people recounting wonders of the Baths and saying, " Verily, 
this Hammam is the Paradise of this world ! Inshallah, O such an 
one, thou shalt go with us to-morrow to this delightful bath," he 
said to himself, " Needs must I fare like the rest of the world, and 
see this bath that hath taken folk's wits." So he donned his 
richest dress and mounting a she-mule and bidding the attendance 
of four white slaves and four blacks, walking before and behind 
him, he rode to the Hammam. When he alighted at the door, he 

1 This is the rule in Egypt and Syria and a clout hung over the door shows that 
women are bathing. I have heard, but only heard, that in times and places when 
eunuchs went in with the women youths managed by long practice to retract the testicles 
so as to pass for castrates. It is hard to say what perseverance may pot effect in thi 
line ; witness Orsini and his abnormal development of hearing, by exercising musclet 
which are usually left idle. r~ 

1 54 Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

smelt the scent of burning aloes- wood and found people going in 
and out and the benches full of great and small. So he entered the 
vestibule and saw Abu Sir, who rose to him and rejoiced in him : 
but the dyer said to him, " Is this the way of well-born men ? I 
have opened me a dyery and am become master-dyer of the city 
and acquainted with the King and have risen to prosperity and 
authority : yet earnest thou not to me nor askest of me nor saidst, 
Where's my comrade ? For my part I sought thee in vain and 
sent my slaves and servants to make search for thee in all the 
Khans and other places ; but they knew not whither thou hadst 
gone, nor could any one give me tidings of thee." Said Abu Sir, 
" Did I not come to thee and didst thou not make me out a thief 
and bastinado me and dishonour me before the world ? " At this 
Abu Kir made a show of concern and asked, " What manner of talk 
is this ? Was it thou whom I beat ? " : and Abu Sir answered, 
" Yes, 'twas I.'* Whereupon Abu Kir swore to him a thousand 
oaths that he knew him not and said, " There was a fellow like 
thee, who used to come every day and steal the people's stuff, and 
I took thee for him." 1 And he went on to pretend penitence, 
beating hand upon hand and saying, " There is no Majesty and 
there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ? Indeed 
we have sinned against thee ; but would that thou hadst discovered 
thyself to me and said, I am such an one ! Indeed the fault is 
with thee, for that thou madest not thyself known unto me, more 
especially seeing that I was distracted for much business." 
Replied Abu Sir, " Allah pardon thee, 1 O my comrade! This 
was foreordained in the Secret Purpose, and reparation is with 
Allah. Enter and put off thy clothes and bathe at thine ease." 
Said the dyer, " I conjure thee, by Allah, O my brother, forgive 
me!"; and said Abu Sir, "Allah acquit thee of blame and forgive 
thee! Indeed this thing was decreed to me from all eternity." 
Then asked Abu Kir, " Whence gottest thou this high degree ? " ; 
and answered Abu Sir, " He who prospered thee prospered me ; 
for I went up to the King and described to him the fashion of 
the Hammam and he bade me build one." And the dyer said, 

" Even as thou art beknown of the King, so also am I ; " And 

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

1 This reference to Allah shows that Abu Sir did not believe his dyer-friend. 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 155 

it foa* t&e Nine ||un&re& an* f)tttg=sebwi{) Ntgfit, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Abu Kir and Abu Sir were exchanging reproof and excuse, the 
dyer said to him, " Even as thou art beknown of the King, so also 
am I ; and, Inshallah, God willing---! will make him love and 
favour thee more than ever, for my sake , he knoweth not that 
thou art my comrade, but I will acquaint him of this and commend 
thee to him." But Abu Sir said, "There needeth no commenda- 
tion ; for He who moveth man's heart to love still liveth ; and 
indeed the King and all his court affect me and have given me 
this and that." And he told him the whole tale and said to him, 
" Put off thy clothes behind the chest and enter the Hammam,.and 
I will go in with thee and rub thee down with the glove." So he 
doffed his dress and Abu Sk, entering the bath with him, soaped 
him and gloved him and then dressed him and busied himself with 
his service till he came forth, when he brought him dinner and 
sherbets, whilst all the folk marvelled at the honour he did him. 
Then Abu Kir would have given him somewhat; but he swore 
that he would not accept aught from him and said to him, " Shame 
upon such doings ! Thou art my comrade, and there is no differ- 
ence between us." Then Abu Kir observed, " By Allah, O my 
comrade, this is a mighty fine Hammam of thine, but there lacketh 
somewhat in its ordinance." Asked Abu Sir, "And what is 
that ? " and Abu Kir answered, " It is the depilatory, 1 to wit, the 
paste compounded of yellow arsenic and quicklime which removeth 
the hair with comfort. Do thou prepare it and next time the King 
cometh, present it to him, teaching him how he shall cause the 
hair to fall off by such means, and he will love thee with exceeding 
love and honour thee." Quoth Abu Sir, " Thou speakest sooth, 
and Inshallah, I will at once make it." Then Abu Kir left him 
and mounted his mule and going to the King said to him, " I have 
a warning to give thee, O King of the age ! " " And what is thy 
warning ? " asked the King ; and Abu Kir answered, " I hear that 
thou hast built a Hammam." Quoth the King, " Yes : there came 
to me a stranger and I builded the Baths for him, even as I builded 

1 Arab. "Dawa" (lit. remedy, medicine) the vulgar term: see vol. ir. 256: also 
called Rasmah, Nurah and many other names. 

1 56 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

the dyery for thee ; and indeed 'tis a mighty fine Hammam and 
an ornament to my city ; " and he went on to describe to him the 
virtues of the bath. Quoth the dyer, " Hast thou entered there- 
in ? " i and quoth the King, " Yes." Thereupon cried Abu Kir, 
" Alhamdolillah praised be God, who saved thee from the mis- 
chief of yonder villain and foe of the Faith, I mean the bath- 
keeper ! " The King enquired, " And what of him ? " ; and Abu 
Kir replied, " Know, O King of the age that, an thou enter the 
Hammam again, after this day, thou wilt surely perish." " How 
so ? " said the King ; and the dyer said, This bath-keeper is thy 
foe and the foe of the Faith, and he induced thee not to stablish 
this Bath but because he designed therein to poison thee. He 
hath made for thee somewhat and he will present it to thee when 
thou enterest the Hammam, saying : This is a drug which, if one 
apply to his parts below the waist, will remove the hair with 
comfort. Now it is no drug, but a drastic dreg and a deadly 
poison ; for the Sultan of the Christians hath promised this obscene 
fellow to release to him his wife and children, an he will kill thee ; 
for they are prisoners in the hands of that Sultan. I myself was 
captive with him in their land, but I opened a dyery and dyed for 
them various colours, so that they conciliated the King's heart to 
me and he bade me ask a boon of him. I sought of him freedom 
and he set me at liberty, whereupon I made my way to this city 
and seeing yonder man in the Hammam, said to him, " How didst 
thou effect thine escape and win free with thy wife and children ? " 
Quoth he, " We ceased not to be in captivity, I and my wife and 
children, till one day the King of the Nazarenes held a court 
whereat I was present, amongst a number of others ; and as I 
stood amongst the folk, I heard them open out on the Kings and 
name them, one after other, till they came to the name of the 
King of this city, whereupon the King of the Christians cried 
out Alas ! and said, None vexeth me 1 in the world, but the King 
of such a city ! 2 Whosoever will contrive me his slaughter I will 
give him all he shall ask." So I went up to him and said, " An 
I compass for thee his slaughter, wilt thou set me free, me and my 

1 Arab. " Ma Kahara-nl " = or none hath overcome me. 

* Bresl. Edit. "The King of Isbaniya/' For the "Ishban" (Spaniards) an ancient 
people descended from Japhet son of Noah and who now are no more, see Al-Mas'udi 
(Fr.. Transl. i. 361). The " Herodotus of the Arabs " recognises only the " Jalalikah " 
or Gallicians, thus bearing witness to the antiquity and importance of the Gallego 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 157 

wife and my children?" The King replied "Yes; and I will 
give thee to boot whatso thou shalt desire." So we agreed upon 
this and he sent me in a galleon to this city, where I presented 
myself to the King and he built me this Hammam. Now, there* 
fore, I have nought to do but to slay him and return to the King 
of the Nazarenes, that I may redeem my children and my wife 
and ask a boon of him." Quoth I : And how wilt thou go about 
to kill him ? ; and quoth he :- By the simplest of all devices ; 
for I have compounded him somewhat wherein is poison ; so, when 
he cometh to the bath, I shall say to him : Take this paste and 
anoint therewith thy parts below the waist for it will cause the 
hair 1 to drop off." So he will take it and apply it to himself and 
the poison will work in him a day and a night, till it reacheth his 
heart and destroyeth him ; and meanwhile I shall have made 
off and none will know that it was I slew him." "When I 
heard this," added Abu Kir, " I feared for thee, my benefactor, 
wherefore I have told thee of what is doing." As soon as the 
King heard the dyer's story, he was wroth with exceeding wrath 
and said to him, " Keep this secret." Then he resolved to visit 
the Hammam, that he might dispel doubt by supplying certainty ; 
and when he entered, Abu Sir doffed his dress and betaking 
himself as of wont to the service of the King, proceeded to 
glove him ; after which he said to him, " O King of the age, I 
have made a drug which assisteth in plucking out the lower 
hair." Cried the King, " Bring it to me " : so the barber brought 
it to him and the King, finding it nauseous of smell, was assured 
that it was poison ; wherefore he was incensed and called out 
to his guards, saying, " Seize him ! " Accordingly they seized 
him and the King donned his dress and returned to his palace, 
boiling with fury, whilst none knew the cause of his indignation ; 
for, of the excess of his wrath he had acquainted no one there- 
with and none dared ask him. Then he repaired to the audience- 
chamber and causing Abu Sir to be brought before him, with his 
elbows pinioned, sent for his Sea-captain and said to him, " Take 
this villain and set him in a sack with two quintals of 
lime unslacked and tie its mouth over his head. Then lay 

l Arab. "Sha'r," properly, hair of body, pile, especially the pecten-. See 
Burckhardt (Prov. No. 202), " grieving for lack of a cow she made a whip of her bush,*' 
said of those who console themselves by building Castles in Spain. _ The " part* bclo^ 
[the waist "i* the decent Turkish term for the privities. 

158 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

him in a cock-boat and row out with him in front of my palace, 
where thou wilt see me sitting at the lattice. Do thou say to 
me : Shall I cast him in ? and if I answer, " Cast him ! " throw 
the sack into the sea, so the quick-lime may be slaked on him 
to the intent that he shall die drowned and burnt." 1 " Hearkening 
and obeying ; " quoth the Captain and taking Abu Sir from the 
presence carried him to an island facing the King's palace, where 
he said to him, " Ho thou, I once visited thy Hammam and thou 
entreatedst me with honour and accomplishedst all my needs and I 
had great pleasure of thee : moreover, thou swarest that thou wouldst 
take no pay of me, and I love thee with a great love. So tell me 
how the case standeth between thee and the King and what 
abominable deed thou hast done with him that he is wroth with thee 
and hath commanded me that thou shouldst die this foul death." 
Answered Abu Sir, " I have done nothing, nor weet I of any crime 

I have committed against him which meriteth this ! " And 

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

fojcn ft foas tfa Nine f^un&refc an& lml8=etg!)tl) Nfg&t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Sea-captain asked Abu Sir the cause of the King's wrath with 
him, he replied, " By Allah, O my brother I have committed no 
crime against him which meriteth this ! " Rejoined the Captain, 
" Verily, thou wast high in rank with the King, such as none ever 
won before thee, and all who are prosperous are envied. Haply 
some one was jealous of thy good fortune and threw out certain 
hints concerning thee to the King, by reason whereof ne is become 
enraged against thee with rage so violent : but be of good cheer ; 
no harm shall befal thee; for, even as thou entreatedst me 
generously, without acquaintanceship between me and thee, so now 
I will deliver thee. But, an if I release -thee, thou must abide with 
me on this island till some galleon sail from our city to thy native 
land, when I will send thee thither therein," Abu Sir kissed his 
hand and thanked him for that ; after which the Captain fetched 
the quicklime and set it in a sack, together with a great stone, the 

The drowning is a martyr's death, the burning is a foretaste of Hell-fire*; 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber. 159 

size of a man, saying, " I put my trust in Allah ! " l Then he gave 
the barber a net, saying, " Cast this net into the sea, so haply 
thou mayst take somewhat of fish. For I am bound to supply the 
King's kitchen with fish every day ; but to-day I have been dis- 
tracted from fishing by this calamity which hath befallen thee, and 
I fear lest the cook's boys come to me in quest of fish and find 
none. So, an thou take aught, they will find it and thou wilt veil 
my face, 2 whilst I go and play off" my practice in front of the 
palace and feign to cast thee into the sea." Answered Abu Sir, 
" I will fish the while ; go thou and God help thee ! " So the 
Captain set the sack in the boat and paddled till he came under 
the palace, where he saw the King seated at the lattice and said 
to him, " O King of the age, shall I cast him in ? " " Cast him ! " 
cried the King, and signed to him with his hand, when lo and 
behold ! ; something flashed like leven and fell into the sea. Now 
that which had fallen into the water was the King's seal-ring ; 
and the same was enchanted in such way that, when the King 
was wroth with any one and was minded to slay him, he had but 
to sign to him with his right hand, whereon was the signet-ring, 
and therefrom issued a flash of lightning, which smote the object, 
and thereupon his head fell from between his shoulders ; and the 
troops obeyed him not, nor did he overcome the men of might 
save by means of the ring. So, when it dropped from his finger, 
he concealed the matter and kept silence, for that he dared not 
say, " My ring is fallen into the sea," for fear of the troops, lest 
they rise against him and slay him. On this wise it befel the 
King ; but as regards Abu Sir, after the Captain had left him on 
the island he took the net and casting it into the sea presently 
drew it up full of fish ; nor did he cease to throw it and pull it up 
full, till there was a great mound of fish before him. So he said 
in himself, " By Allah, this long while I have not eaten fish ! "; 
and chose himself a large fat fish, saying, "When the Captain 
cometh back, I will bid him fry it for me, so I may dine on it." 
Then he cut its throat with a knife he had with him ; but the 
knife stuck in its gills and there he saw the King's signet-ring ; 

1 Meaning that if the trick bad been discovered the Captain would have taken the 
barber*s place. We have seen (vol. i. 63) the Prime Minister superintending the royal 
kitchen and here the Admiral fishes for the King's table. It is even more naive thaa 
the Court of Alcinous. 

8 Bresl. Edit. xi. 32 : i.e. save me from disgrace. 

160 A If Lay I ah wa Laylak. 

for the fish had swallowed it and Destiny had driven it to that 
island, where it had fallen into the net. He took the ring and 
drew it on his little finger, 1 not knowing its peculiar properties. 
Presently, up came two of the cook's boys in quest of fish and 
seeing Abu Sir, said to him, " O man, whither is the Captain 
gone ? " " I know not," said he and signed to them with his 
right hand ; when, behold, the heads of both underlings dropped 
off from between their shoulders. At this Abu Sir was amazed 
and said, " Would I wot who slew them ! " And their case was 
grievous to him and he was still pondering it, when the Captain 
suddenly returned and seeing the mound of fishes and two men 
lying dead and the seal-ring on Abu Sir's finger, said to him, "O 
my brother, move not thy hand whereon is the signet-ring ; else 
thou wilt kill me." Abu Sir wondered at this speech and kept 
his hand motionless ; whereupon the Captain came up to him and 
said, " Who slew these two men ? " " By Allah, O my brother I 
wot not ! " " Thou sayst sooth ; but tell me whence hadst thou 
that ring? " "I found it in this fish's gills." "True," said the 
Captain, "for I saw it fall flashing from the King's palace and 
disappear in the sea, what time he signed towards thee, 2 saying, 
Cast him in. So I cast the sack into the watef, and it was then 
that the ring slipped from his finger and fell into the sea, where 
this fish swallowed it, and Allah drave it to thee, so that thou 
madest it thy prey, for this ring was thy lot ; but kennest thou 
its property ? " Said Abu Sir, " I knew not that it had any 
properties peculiar to it ; " and the Captain said, " Learn, then, 
that the King's troops obey him not save for fear of this signet- 
ring, because it is spelled, and when he was wroth with any one 
and had a mind to kill him, he would sign at him therewith and 
his head would drop from between his shoulders ; for there issued 
a flash of lightning from the ring and its ray smote the object 

1 Arab. " Khinsir" or " Khinsar," the little finger or the middle finger. In Arabic 
each has its own name or names which is also that of the corresponding toe e.g. Ibham 
(thumb) ; Sabbabah, Musabbah or Da"aah (fore-finger) ; Wasta (medius) ; Binsir 
(annularis, ring-finger) and Khinsar (minimus). There are also names for the several 
spaces between the fingers. See the English Arabic Dictionary (London, Kegan Paul 
and Co., 1881) by the Revd. Dr. Badger, a work of immense labour and research but 
which I fear has been to the learned author a labour of love not of profit. 

2 Meaning of course that the King signed towards the sack in which he supposed the 
victim to be, but the ring fell off before it could take effect. The Eastern story-teller 
often balances his multiplicity of words and needless details by a conciseness and an 
elliptical style which make his meaning a matter of divination. 

/ Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber l6r 

of his wrath, who died forthright." At this, Abu Sir rejoiced 
with exceeding joy and said to the Captain, " Carry me back to 
the city ; " and he said, " That will I, now that I no longer fear 
for thee from the King ; for, wert thou to sign at him with thy 
hand, purposing to kill him, his head would fall down between 
thy hands ; and if thou be minded to slay him and all his host, 
thou mayst slaughter them without let or hindrance." So saying, 
he embarked him in the boat and bore him back to the city ; 
- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 
saying her permitted say. 

Koto fo&en ft foas t&e Nine ffitmtetr antf 3E${rtB-nfnt!) 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
Captain embarked with Abu Sir he bore him back to the city, so 
Abu Sir landed and going up to the palace, entered the council- 
chamber, where he found the King seated facing his officers, in 
sore cark and care by reason of the seal-ring and daring not tell 
any of his folk anent its loss. When he saw Abu Sir, he said to 
him, " Did we not cast thee into the sea ? How hast thou con- 
trived to come forth of it ? " Abu Sir replied, " O King of the 
age, whenas thou badest throw me into the sea, thy Captain 
carried me to an island and asked me of the cause of thy wrath 
against me, saying: What hast thou done with the King, that 
he should decree thy death ? I answered, By Allah, I know not 
that I have wrought him any wrong ! Quoth he : Thou wast 
high in rank with the King, and haply some one envied thee and 
threw out certain hints concerning thee to him, so that he is 
become incensed against thee. But when I visited thee in thy 
Hammam, thou entreatedst me honourably, and I will requite 
thee thy hospitality to me by setting thee free and sending thee 
back to thine own land. Then he set a great stone in the sack 
in my stead and cast it into the sea ; but, when thou signedst to 
him to throw me in, thy seal-ring dropped from thy finger into 
the main, and a fish swallowed it. Now I was on the island 
a-fishing, and this fish came up in the net with others ; where- 
upon I took it, intending to broil it ; but, when I opened its belly, 
I found the signet-ring therein; so I took it and put it on my 
finger. Presently, up came two of the servants of the kitchen, 
questing fish, and I signed to them with my hand, knowing not 

A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

the property of the seal-ring, and their heads fell off. Then the 
Captain came back, and seeing the ring on my finger, acquainted 
me with its spell ; and behold, I have brought it back to thee, 
for that thou dealtest kindly by me aad entreatedst me with the 
utmost honour, nor is that which thou hast done me of kindness 
lost upon me. Here is thy ring ; take it ! But an I have done 
with thee aught deserving of death, tell me my crime and slay 
me and thou shalt be absolved of sin in shedding 'my blood." So 
saying, he pulled the ring from his finger and gave it to the King 
who, seeing Abu Sir's noble conduct, took the ring and put it on 
and felt life return to him afresh. Then he rose to his feet and 
embracing the barber, said to him, " O man, thou art indeed of 
the flower of the well-born ! Blame me not, but forgive me the 
wrong I have done thee. Had any but thou gotten hold of this 
ring, he had never restored it to me." Answered Abu Sir, " O 
King of the age, an thou wouldst have me forgive thee, tell me 
what was my fault which drew down thine anger upon me, so 
that thou commandedst to do me die." Rejoined the King, " By 
Allah, 'tis clear to me that thou art free and guiltless in all things 
of offence since thou hast done this good deed ; only the dyer 
denounced thee to me in such and such words ; " and he told him 
all that Abu Kir had said. Abu Sir replied, " By Allah, O King 
of the age, I know no King of the Nazarenes nor during my days 
have ever journeyed to a Christian country, nor did it ever come 
into my mind to kill thee. But this dyer was my comrade and 
neighbour in the city of Alexandria where life was straitened 
upon us ; therefore we departed thence, to seek our fortunes, by 
reason of the narrowness of our means at home, after we had 
recited the Opening Chapter of the Koran together, pledging 
ourselves that he who got w6rk should feed him who lacked work ; 
and there befel me with him such and such things." Then he 
went on to relate to the King all that had betided him with Abu 
Kir the dyer ; how he had robbed him of his dirhams and had left 
him alone and sick in the Khan-closet and how the door-keeper had 
fed him of his own monies till Allah recovered him of his sickness, 
when he went forth and walked about the city with his budget, as 
was his wont, till he espied a dyery, about which the folk were 
crowding ; so he looked at the door and seeing Abu Kir seated on 
a bench there, went in to salute him, whereupon he accused him 
of being a thief and beat him a grievous beating ; brief, he told 
him his whole tale, from first to last, and added, " O King of the 

Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber: 1 6$ 

age, 'twas he who counselled me to make the depilatory and 
present it to thee, saying : The Hammam is perfect in all 
things but that it lacketh this; and know, O King of the age, 
that this drug is harmless and we use it in our land where 'tis one 
of the requisites of the bath ; but I had forgotten it : so, when the 
dyer visited the Hammam I entreated him with honour and ha, 
reminded me of it, and enjoined me to make it forthwith* .But 
do thou send after the porter of such a Khan and the workmen 
of the dyery and question them all of that which I have told 
thee." .Accordingly the King sent for them and questioned them 
one and all and they acquainted him with the truth of the matter. 
Then he summoned the dyer, saying, " Bring him barefooted, 
bareheaded and with elbows pinioned ! " Now he was sitting in 
his house, rejoicing in Abu Sir's death ; but ere he could be ware, 
the King's guards rushed in upon him and cuffed him on the nape, 
after which they bound him and bore him into the presence, where 
he saw Abu Sir seated by the King's side and the door-keeper of 
the Khan and workmen of the dyery standing before him, Quoth 
the door-keeper to him, " Is not this thy comrade whom thou 
robbedst of his silvers and leftest^id'flijne sick in the closet doing 
such and such by him ? " And tn&ft&o;rkrh~en said to him, " Is not 
*his he whom thou badest us sefze^and beat ? " Therewith Abu 
Kir's baseness was made manifest to the King and he was certified 
that he merited torture yet sorer than the torments of Munkar and 
Nakfr. 1 So he said .to his guards, "Take him and parade him 

about the city and the markets;" And Shahrazad perceived 

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

Nofo foften Ct foag tfje Nine ^untrrrt* anti JfortfetS 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the King heard the words spoken by the door-keeper of the. 
Caravanserai and the workmen of the dyery, he was certified of 
the vileness of Abu Kir ; so he upraided him with flout and fleer 
and said to his guards, " Take him and parade him about the city 
and the market-streets ; then set him in a sack and cast him into 
the sea." Whereupon quoth Abu Sir, " O King of the age, accept 

1 See vol. v. iu. 

164 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

my intercession for him, for I pardon him all he hath done with 
me." But quoth the King, " An thou pardon him all his offences 
against thee, I cannot pardon him his offences against me." And 
he cried out, saying, " Take him.'* So they took him and paraded 
him about the city, after which they set him in a sack with quick- 
lime and cast him into the sea, and he died, drowned and burnt. 
Then said the King to the barber, " O Abu Sir, ask of me what 
thou wilt and it shall be given thee." And he answered, saying, 
' I ask of thee to send me back to my own country, for I care no 
longer to tarry here." Then the King gifted him great store of 
gifts, over and above that which he had whilome bestowed on 
him ; and amongst the rest a galleon freighted with goods ; and 
the crew of this galleon were Mamelukes ; so he gave him these 
also, after offering to make him his Wazir whereto the barber 
consented not. Presently he farewelled the King and set sail in 
his own ship manned by his own crew ; nor did he cast anchor 
till he reached Alexandria and made fast to the shore there. 
Then they landed and one of his Mamelukes, seeing a sack on the 
beach, said to Abu Sir, " O my lord, there is a great heavy sack 
on the sea-shore, with the mouth tied up and I know not what 
therein." So Abu Sir came up and opening the sack, found 
therein the remains of Abu Kir, which the sea had borne thither. 
He took it forth and burying it near Alexandria, built over the 
grave a place of visitation and endowed it with mortmain writing 
over the door these couplets : 

Man is known among men as his deeds attest ; # Which make noble origin 

manifest : 
Backbite not, lest other men bite thy back ; * Who saith aught, the same 

shall to him be addrest : 
Shun immodest words and indecent speech * When thou speakest in 

earnest or e'en in jest. 1 
We bear with the dog which behaves itself * But the lion is chained lest 

he prove a pest : 
And the desert carcases swim the main * While union-pearls on the 

sand-bank rest 2 : 
No sparrow would hustle the sparrow-hawk, * Were it not by folly and 

weakness prest : 

1 This couplet was quoted to me by my friend the Rev. Dr. Badger when he heard 
that I was translating " The Nights ": needless to say that it is utterly inappropriate. 
3 For a similar figure see vol. i. 25. 

Abdullah the Fisherman ana Abdullah the Merman. 165 

A-sky is written on page of air, * " Who doth kindly of kind- 

ness shall have the best ! " 

'Ware of gathering sugar from bitter gourd :' * Twill prove to hs origin 
like in taste. 

After this Abu Sir abode awhile, till Allah took him to Himself, 
and they buried him hard by the tomb of his comrade Abu Kir ; 
wherefore that place was called Abu Kir and Abu Sir \ but it is 
now known as Abu Kir only. This, then, is that which hath 
reached us of their history, and glory be to Him who endureth 
for ever and aye and by whose will interchange the night and the 
day. And of the stories they tell is one anent 


THERE was once a Fisherman named Abdullah, who had a large 
family, to wit, nine children and their mother, so was he poor, 
very poor, owning naught save his net. Every day he used to go 
to the sea a-fishing, and if he caught little, he sold it and spent 
the price on his children, after the measure of that which Allah 
vouchsafed him of provision ; but, if he caught much, he would 
cook a good mes of meat and buy fruit and spend without stint 
till nothing was left him, saying to himself. " The daily bread of 
to-morrow will come to-morrow." Presently, his wife gave birth to 
another child, making a total of ten, and it chanced that day that 
he had nothing at all ; so she said to him, " O my master, see arid 
get me somewhat wherewithal I may sustain myself." Quoth he, 
" I am going (under favour of Almighty Allah) this day seawards 
to fish on the luck of this new-born child, that we may see its fair 
fortune ;" and quoth she, " Put thy trust in Allah ! " So he took 
his net and went down to the sea-shore, where he cast it on the 
luck of the little one, saying, " O my God, make his living of e^se 

1 Arab. "Hanzal": see vol. v. 19. 

9 The tale begins upon the model of " Judar and his Brethren," vi. 213. Its hero's 
full name is Alxlu'llahi Slave of Allah, which vulgar Egyptians pronounce Abdallah 
and purer speakers, Badawin and others, Abdullah : either form is therefore admissible. 
It is more common among Moslems but not unknown to Christians especially Syrians- 
who borrow it from the Syriac Alloh. Mohammed is said to have said, "The names 
most approved by Allah are Abdu'llah, Abd al-Rahman (Slave of the Compassionate) 
and such like" (Pilgrimage. i. 20). 

1 66 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

not of unease, and abundant, not scant ! " Then he waited awhile 
and drew in the net, which came up full of rubbish and sand and 
pebbles and weeds, and he saw therein no sign of fish neither 
muchel nor little. He cast it again and waited, then drew it in, 
but found no catch in it, and threw it a third and a fourth and a 
fifth time still not a single fish came up. So he removed to 
another place beseeching his daily bread of Allah Almighty and 
thus he kept working till the end of the day, but caught not so 
much as a minnow j 1 whereat he fell a-marvelling in himself and 
said self-communing, " Hath Allah then created this new born- 
child without lot of provision ? This may never, never be. He 
who slitteth the corners of the lips hath pledged Himself for its 
provision, because Almighty Allah is the Bountiful, the Provider ! " 2 
So saying, he shouldered his net and turned him homewards, 
broken-spirited and heavy at heart about his family, for that he 
had left them without food, more by token that his wife was in the 
straw. And as he continued trudging along and saying in himself, 
" How shall I do and what shall I say to the children to-night ? " 
he came to a baker's oven and saw a crowd about it ; for the 
season was one of dearth and in those days food was scant with 
the folk ; so people were proffering the baker money, but he paid 
no heed to any of them, by reason of the dense crowd. The 
fisherman stood looking and snuffing the smell of the hot bread 
(and indeed his soul longed for it, by reason of his hunger), till the 
baker caught sight of him and cried out to him, " Come hither, 
O fisherman ! " So he went up to him, and the baker said, " Dost 
thou want bread ? " But he was silent. Quoth the baker, " Speak 
out and be not ashamed, for Allah is bountiful. An thou have no 
silver, I will give thee bread and have patience with thee till weal 
betide thee." And quoth the fisherman, "By Allah, O master, I 
have indeed no money ! But give me bread enough for my family, 
and I will leave thee this net in pawn till the morrow." Rejoined 
the baker, " Nay, my poor fellow, this net is thy shop and the door 
of thy daily subsistence ; so an thou pawn it, wherewithal wilt 

1 Arab. "Sirah" here probably used of the Nile-sprat (Clupea Spratfus Linn.) or 
Sardine of which Forsk says, " Sardinn in Al-Yatnan is applied to a Red Sea fish of the 
same name." Hasselquist the Swede notes that Egyptians stuff the Sardine with 
marjoram and eat it fried even when half putrid. 

2 i.e. by declaring in the Koran (Ixvii. 14 ; Ixxiv. 39 ; Ixxviii. 69 ; Ixxxviii. 17), that 
each creature hath its appointed term and lot ; especially " Thinketh man that he shall 
be left uncared for ? " (xl. 36). 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 167 

thou fish ? Tell me how much will suffice thee-? "; and replied the 
fisherman, " Ten half-dirhams' worth." 1 So he gave him ten Nusfs' 
worth of bread and ten in silver saying, " Take these ten Nusfs 
and cook thyself a mess of meat therewith ; so wilt thou owe me 
twenty, for which bring me fish to-morrow ; but, an thou catch 
nothing again, come and take thy bread and thy ten Nusfs, and I 

will have patience with thee till better luck betide thee, And 

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

Koto fofien ft toas t&e Nine J^unlrretr antr 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
baker said to the fisherman, " Take whatso thou needest and I will 
have patience with thee till better luck betide thee, after the which 
thou shalt bring me fish for all thou owest me." Said the fisher- 
man, Almighty Allah reward thee, and requite thee for me with 
all good ! " Then he took the bread and the coins and went 
away, glad at heart, and buying what he could returned to his wife 
whom he found sitting up, soothing the children, who were weeping 
for hunger, and saying to them, " At once your father will be here 
with what ye may eat." So he set the bread before them and they 
ate, whilst he told his wife what had befallen him, and she saidj 
" Allah is bountiful." 2 On the morrow, he shouldered his net and 
went forth of his house, saying, " I beseech thee, O Lord, to 
vouchsafe me this day that which shall whiten my face with the 
baker ! " 8 When he came to the sea-shore, he proceeded to cast 
his net and pull it in ; but there came up no fish therein ; and he 
ceased not to toil thus till ended day but he caught nothing. 
Then he set out homewards, in great concern, and the way to his 
house lay past the baker's oven ; so he said in himself, " How shall 
I go home ? But I will hasten my pace that the baker may not 
see me." When he reached the shop, he saw a crowd about it and 

* Arab. "Nusf," see vol. ii. 37. 

8 Arab. "Allah Karfm" (which Turks pronounce Kyerfm) a consecrated formula 
used especially when a man would show himself resigned to " small mercies." The 
fisherman's wife was evidently pious as she was poor ; and the description of the pauper 
household is simple and effective. 

3 This is repeated in the Mac. Edit. pp. 496-97 ; an instance amongst many of mo*t 
careless editing. 

168 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

walked the faster, being ashamed to face his creditor ; but the 
baker raised his eyes to him and cried out to him, saying, " Ho, 
fisherman ! Come and take thy bread and spending-money. 
Meseems thou forgettest." Quoth Abdullah, " By Allah, I had 
not forgotten ; but I was ashamed to face thee, because I have 
caught no fish this day ;" and quoth the baker, " Be not ashamed. 
Said I not to thee, At thy leisure, 1 till better luck betide thee ? " 
Then he gave him the bread and the ten Nusfs and he returned 
and told his wife, who said, " Allah is bountiful. Better luck shall 
yet betide thee and thou shalt give the baker his due, Inshallah.' 1 . 
He ceased not doing on this wise forty days, betaking himself 
daily to the sea, from the rising of the sun to the going down 
thereof, and returning home without fish ; and still he took bread 
and spending-money of the baker, who never once named the fish 
to him nor neglected him nor kept him waiting like the folk, 2 but 
gave him the bread and the ten half-dirhams without delay. 
Whenever the fisherman said to him, " O my brother, reckon with 
me," he would say, " Be off: 3 ' this is no time for reckoning. Wait 
till better luck betide thee, and then I will reckon with thee." 
And the fisherman would bless him and go away thanking him. 
On the one-and-fortieth day, he said to his wife, " I have a mind 
to tear up the net and be quit of this life." She asked, " Why- 
wilt thou do this ? "; and he answered, u Meseems there is an end 
of my getting my daily bread from the waters. How long shall 
this last ? By Allah, I burn with shame before the baker and I 
will go no more to the sea, so I may not pass by his oven, for I 
have none other way home ; and every time I pass he calleth me 
and giveth me the bread and the ten silvers. How much longer 
shall I run in debt to him ? " The wife replied, " Alhamdolillah 
lauded be the Lord, the Most High, who hath inclined his heart to 
thee, so that he giveth thee our daily bread ! What dislikest thou 
in this ? "; and the husband rejoined, " I owe him now a mighty 
great sum of dirhams, and there is no doubt but that he will 
demand his due." " Hath he vexed thee with words ?" " No, on 

1 Arab. " Ala mahlak " (vulg.), a popular phrase, often corresponding with our =t 
Take it coolly. 

2 For * He did not keep him waiting, as he did the rest of the folk." Lane prefers 
" nor neglected him as men generally would have done." But we are told supra that 
the baker " paid no heed to the folk by reason of the dense crowd." 

3 Arab. " Ruh ! " the most abrupt form, whose sound is coarse and offensive as the 
Turkish yell, " Gyel ! " = come here I 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 169 

the contrary, he still refuseth to reckon with me, saying : Wait 
till better luck betide thee." " If he press thee, say to him : Wait 
till there come the good luck for which we hope, thou and I." 
" And when will the good luck come that we hope for ? " " Allah 
is bountiful." " Sooth thou speakest ! " So saying he shouldered 
his net and went down to the sea-side, praying, " O Lord provide 
thou me, though but with one fish, that I may give it to the 
baker ! " And he cast his net into the sea and pulling it in, found 
it heavy ; so he tugged at it till he was tired with sore travail. 
But when he got it ashore, he found in it a dead donkey swollen 
and stinking ; whereat his senses sickened and he freed it from the 
net, saying, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in 
Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! Indeed, I can no more ! I say to 
that wife of mine : There is no more provision for me in the 
waters; let me leave this craft. And she still answereth me: 
Allah is bountiful : good will presently betide thee. Is this dead 
ass the good whereof she speaketh ? " And he grieved with the 
sorest grief. Then he turned to another place, so he might remove 
from the stench of the dead donkey, and cast his net there and 
waited a full hour : then he drew it in and found it heavy. There- 
upon quoth he, " Good ; we are hauling up all the dead donkeys in 
the sea and ridding it of its rubbish. 1 " However he gave not over 
tugging at the net, till blood came from the palms of his hands, 
and when he got it ashore, he saw a man 2 in it and took him for 
one of the Ifrits of the lord Solomon, whom he was wont to im- 
prison in cucurbits of brass and cast him into the main, believing 
that the vessel had burst for length of years and that the I frit had 
come forth and fallen into the net ; wherefore he fled from him, 
crying out and saying, " Mercy, mercy, O Ifrit of Solomon ! " But 
the Adamite called out to him from within the net and said. 

1 Bresl Edit. xi. $0-51, 

2 Arab. "Adami" = an Adamite, one descended from the mythical and typical Adam 
for whom see Philo Judaeus. We are told in one place a few lines further on that the 
merman is of humankind ; and in another that he is a kind of fish (Night dccccxlv). 
This belief in mermen, possibly originating with the caricatures of the human face in the 
intelligent seal and stupid manatee, is universal. Al-Kazwini declares that a waterman 
with a tail was dried and exhibited, and that in Syria one of them was married to a woman 
and had by her a son " who understood the languages of both his parents." The fable was 
refined to perfect beauty by the Greeks : the mer-folk of the Arabs, Hindus and Northeners 
(Scandinavians, etc.) are mere grotesques with green hair, etc. Art in its highest 
expression never left the shores of the Mediterranean, and. there is no sign that it ever 

170 A If Laylak wa Laylak. 

" Come hither, O fisherman, and flee not from me ; for I am human 
like thyself. Release me, so thou mayst get a recompense for me 
of Allah/' Whenas he heard these words, ,the fisherman took 
heart and coming up to him, said to him, " Art thou not an Ifrit of 
the Jinn ? " ; and replied the other, " No : I am a mortal and a 
believer in Allah and His Apostle." Asked the fisherman, " Who 
threw thee into the sea ? " ; and the other answered, " I am of the 
children of the sea, and was going about therein, when thou castest 
the net over me. We are people who obey Allah's commandments 
and show loving-kindness unto the creatures of the Almighty, and 
but that I fear and dread to be of the disobedient, I had torn thy 
net ; but I accept that which the Lord hath decreed unto me ; 
wherefore by setting me free thou becomest my owner and I thy 
captive. Wilt thou then set me free for the love 1 of Almighty 
Allah and make a covenant with me and become my comrade ? 
I will come to thee every day in this place, and do thou come to 
me and bring me a gift of the fruits of the land. For with yOu 
are grapes and figs and water-melons and peaches and pome- 
granates and so forth, and all thou bringest me will be acceptable 
unto me. Moreover, with us are coral and pearls and chrysolites 
and emeralds and rubies and other gems, and J will fill thee the 
basket, wherein thou bringest me the fruit, with precious stones of 
the jewels of the sea. 2 What sayst thou to this, O my brother ? " 
Quoth the fisherman, " Be the Opening Chapter of the Koran 
between thee and me upon this ! " So they recited together the 
Fcitihah, and the fisherman loosed the Merman from the net and 
asked him, "What is thy name?" He replied, " My name is 
Abdullah of the sea ; and if thou come hither and see me not, call 
out and say, " Where art thou, O Abdullah, O Merman ? ; and I 

\vill be with thee. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased to say her permitted say. 

1 Here Lane translates "Wajh" lit. "the desire of seeing the face of God," and 
explains in a note that a "Muslim holds this to be the greatest happiness that can be 
enjoyed in Paradise." But I have noted that the tenet of seeing the countenance <rf 
the Creator, except by the eyes of spirit, is a much disputed point amongst Moslems. 

3 Artful enough is this contrast between the squalid condition of the starving fisherman 
and the gorgeous belongings of the Merman. 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 171 

fofjm it foas tip Nine l^unbrefc anfc Jportp-monli 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah 
of the sea thus enjoined the other, " An thou come hither and see 
me not, call out and say, Where art thou, O Abdullah. O Mer- 
man ? and I will be with thee forthwith. But thou, what is thy 
name ? " Quoth the fisherman, " My name also is Abdullah ; " and 
quoth the other, " Thou art Abdullah of the land and I am Ab- 
dullah of the Sea ; but tarry here till I go and fetch thee a present." 
And the fisherman repented him of having released him and said 
to himself, " How know I that he will come back to me ? Indeed, 
he beguiled me, so that I loosed him, and now he will laugh at 
me. 1 Had I kept him, I might have made a show of him for the 
diversion of the city-folk and taken silver from all men and gone 
with him to the houses of the great." And he repented him of 
having set him free and said, " Thou hast let thy prey from thy 
hand away." But, as he was thus bemoaning his folly in releasing 
the prisoner, behold, Abdullah the merman returned to him, with 
both hands full of pearls and coral and smaragds and rubies and 
other gems, and said to him, " Take these, O my brother, and 
excuse me ; had I a fish-basket 2 I would have filled it for thee." 
Abdullah the fisherman rejoiced and took the jewels from the Mer- 
man who said to him, " Every day come hither, before sunrise," and 
farewelling him, went down into the sea ; whilst the other returned 
to the city, rejoicing, and stayed not walking till he came to the 
baker's oven and said to him, " O my brother, good luck is come 
to us at last ; so do thou reckon with me." Answered the baker, 
" There needeth no reckoning. An thou have aught, give it me : 
and if thou have naught, take thy bread and spending-money and 
begone, against weal betide thee." Rejoined the fisherman, " O 
my friend, indeed weal hath betided me of Allah's bounty, and I 
owe thee much money ; but take this." So saying, he took for 
him a handful of the pearls and coral and rubies and other jewels 
he had with him (the handful being about half of the whole),and gave 
them to the baker, saying, " Give me some ready money to spend 

1 Lit. " Verily he laughed at me so that I set him free." This is a fair specimen of 
obscure conciseness. 

2 Arab. "Mishannah," which Lane and Payne translate basket: I have always heard 
it used of an old gunny-bag or bag of plaited palm-leaves. 

I7 2 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

this day, till I sell these jewels. 1 * So the baker gave him all the 
money he had in hand and all the bread in his basket ~and rejoiced 
in the jewels, saying, ^ I am thy slave and thy servant." Then 
he set all the bread on his head and following the fisherman home, 
gave it to his wife and children, after which he repaired to the 
market and brought meat and greens and all manner fruit. More- 
over, he left his oven and abode with Abdullah all that day, busy- 
ing himself in his service and fulfilling all his affairs. Said the 
fisherman, " O my brother, thou weariest thyself;" and the baker 
replied, " This is my duty, for I am become thy servant and thou 
hast overwhelmed me with thy boons." Rejoined the fisherman, 
"'Tis thou who wast my benefactor in the days of dearth and 
distress." And the baker passed that night with him enjoying 
good cheer and became a faithful friend to him. Then the fisher- 
man told his wife what had befallen him with the Merman, whereat 
she rejoiced and said, " Keep thy secret, lest the government come 
down upon thee ; " but he said, " Though I keep my secret from 
all men, yet will I not hide it from the baker." On the morrow, 
he rose betimes and, shouldering a basket which he had filled in 
the evening with all manner fruits, repaired before sunrise to the 
sea-shore, and setting down the crate on the water-edge called out, 
" Where art thou, O Abdullah, O Merman ? " He answered, 
" Here am I, at thy service ; " and came forth to him. The 
fisherman gave him the fruit and he took it and plunging into the 
sea with it, was absent a full hour, after which time he came up, 
with the fish-basket full of all kinds of gems and jewels. The 
fisherman set it on his head and went away ; and, when he came 
to the oven, the baker said to him, <( O my lord, I have baked 
thee forty bunns 1 and have sent them to thy house ; 'and now I 
will bake some firsts and as soon as all is done, I will bring it to 
thy house and go and fetch thee greens and meat." Abdullah 
handed to him three handsful of jewels out of the fish-basket and 
going home, set it down there. Then he took a gem of price of 

1 Arab. " Kaff Shurayk " applied to a single bun. The Shurayk is a biwin, an oblong 
cake about the size of a man's hand (hence the term " Kaff " = palm) with two long 
cuts and sundry oblique crosscuts, made of leavened dough, glazed with egg and Sam n 
(clarified butter) and flavoured with spices (cinnamon, curcuma, artemisia and 
prunes tnahalab, and with aromatic seeds, (Rihat al-'ajin) of which Lane (iir. 641) 
specifies aniseed, nigella, absinthium, (Artemisia arborescens) and Kafurah (A. cam- 
phorata Monspeliensis) etc. The Shurayk is given to the poor when visiting the tomha, 
and on certain fetes. 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 173 

each sort and going to the jewel-bazar, stopped at the Syndic's 
shop and said to him, " Buy these precious stones of me." " Show 
them to me/' said the Shaykh. So he showed them to him and 
the jeweller said, " Hast thou aught beside these ? " ; and 
Abdullah replied, " I have a basket-full at home." The Syndic 
asked, " And where is thine house ? " and the fisherman answered, 
" In such a quarter " ; whereupon the Shaykh took the jewels 
from him and said to his followers, " Lay hold of him, for he is 
the thief who stole the jewellery of the Queen, the wife of our 
Sultan.' 1 And he bade beat him. So they bastinadoed him and 
pinioned him ; after which the Syndic and all the people of the 
jewel-market arose and set out for the palace, saying, " We have 
caught the thief." Quoth one, " None robbed such an one but 
this villain," and quoth another, u 'Twas none but he stole all that 
was in such an one's house ; " and some said this and others said 
that. All this while he was silent and spake not a word nor 
returned a reply, till they brought him before the King, to whom 
said the Syndic, " O King of the age, when the Queen's neck- 
lace was stolen, thou sentest to acquaint us of the theft, requiring 
of us the discovery of the culprit ; wherefore I strove beyond the 
rest of the folk and have taken the thief for thee. Here he 
standeth before thee, and these be the jewels we have recovered 
from him." Thereupon the King said to the chief eunuch, " Carry 
these jewels for the Queen to see, and say to her, Are these thy 
property thou hast lost ? " So the eunuch took the jewels and 
went in with them to the Queen, who seeing their lustre marvelled 
at them and sent to the King to say, " I have found my necklace 
in my own place and these jewels are not my property ; nay, 
they are finer than those of my necklace. So oppress not the 

man ; " And Shahrazad. perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

saying her permitted say 

Nofo fofjm it foas tjje Ntn* J^unttetr anfc JFortB^frU NfgSt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
King's wife sent to the King to say," " These are not my 
property ; nay, these gems are finer than those of my necklace. 
So oppress not this man ; but, if he will sell them, buy them for 
thy daughter Umm al-Su'vid, 1 that we may set them in a neck- 

" Mother of Prosperities." 

174 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

lace for her." When the eunuch returned and told the King 
what the Queen said, he damned the Syndic of the jewellers, 
him and his company, with the damnation of Ad and Thamud, 1 
and they said to him> " O King of the age, we knew this man for 
a poor fisherman and deemed such things too much for him, 2 so 
we supposed that he had stolen them." Cried the King, " O ye 
filthy villains, begrudge ye a True Believer good fortune ? Why 
did ye not make due enquiry of him ? Haply Allah Almighty 
hath vouchsafed him these things from a source whereupon he 
reckoned not. Why did ye make him out a thief and disgrace 
him amongst the folk ? Begone, and may Allah never bless you ! " 
So they went out affrighted and the King said to Abdullah, " O 
man (Allah bless thee in all He hath bestowed on thee !), no harm 
shall befal thee ; but tell me truly, whence gottest thou these 
jewels ; for I am a King yet have I not the like of them." The 
fisherman replied, " O King of the age, I have a fish-basket full 
of them at home and the case is thus and thus." Then he told 
him of his friendship with the Merman, adding, " We have made 
a covenant together that I shall bring him every day a basket 
full of fruit and that he shall fill me the basket with these jewels." 
Quoth the King, O man this is thy lucky lot ; but wealth needeth 
rank,3 I will defend thee for the present against men's domineer- 
ing ; but haply I shall be deposed or die and another rule in my 
stead, and he shall slay thee because of his love of the goods of 
this world and his covetousness. So I am minded to marry thee 
to my daughter and make thee my Wazir and bequeath thee the 
kingdom after me, so none may hanker for thy riches when I am 
gone. Then said he, " Hie with this man to the Hammam." So 
they bore him to the Baths and bathed his body and robed him 
in royal raiment, after which they brought him back to the King, 
and he made him his Wazir and sent to his house couriers and 
the soldiers of his guard and all the wives of the notables, 
who clad his wife and children in Kingly costume and mounting 
the woman in a horse-litter, with the little child in her lap, walked 
before her to the palace, escorted by the troops and couriers and 
officers. They also brought her elder children in to the King 

1 Tribes of pre-historic Arabs who were sent to Hell for bad behaviour to Prophets 
Salih and Hud. See v 1. iii. 294. 
3 Too much for hi to come by lawfully.*' 
8 To protect it. The Arab, is " Jdh " == high station, dignity. 

Abdullah the FisJierman and Abdullah the Merman. 175 

who made much of them, taking them in his lap and seating them 
by his side ; for-they were nine children male and the King had 
no son and heir nor had he been blessed with any child save this 
one daughter, Umm al-Su'ud hight. Meanwhile the Queen 
entreated Abdullah's wife with honour and bestowed favours on 
her and made her Waziress to her. Then the King bade draw up 
the marriage contract between his daughter and Abdullah of the 
Land 1 who assigned to her, as her dower, all the gems and 
precious stones in his possession, and they opened the gates of 
festival. The King commanded by proclamation to decorate the 
city, in honour of his daughter's wedding. Then Abdullah went 
in unto the Princess and abated her maidenhead. Next morning 
the King looked out of the lattice and saw Abdullah carrying on 
his head a fish-crate full of fruit. So he called to him, " What 
hast thou there, O my son-in-law, and whither wendest thou ? " 
The fisherman replied, " To my friend Abdullah the Merman ; " 
and the King said, " O my son-in-law, this is no time to go to thy 
comrade." Quoth Abdullah. <{ Indeed, I fear to break tryst with 
him, lest he reckon me a liar and say : The things of the world 
have diverted thee from me ; " and quoth the King, " Thou 
speakest sooth : go to thy friend and God help thee ! So he 
walked through the city on his way to his companion ; and, as 
he went, he heard the folk who knew him say, " There goeth the 
King's son-in-law to exchange fruit for gems ; " whilst those who 

1 The European reader, especially feminine, will think this a hard fate for the pious 
first wife but the idea would not occur to the Moslem mind. After bearing ten children 
a woman becomes " Umm al-banati w' al-banin " = a mother of daughters and sons, 
and should hold herself unfit for love-disport. The seven ages of womankind are thus 
described by the Arabs and I translate the lines after a well-known (Irish) model : 

From ten years to twenty 

Of beauty there's plenty. 

From twenty to thirty 

Fat, fair and alert t'ye; 

From thirty to forty 

Lads and lasses she bore t'ye. 

From forty to fifty 
v . An old 'un and shifty. 

From fifty to sixty 
' A sorrow that sticks t'ye. 

From sixty to seventy 

A curse of God sent t'ye. 

For these ana other sentiments upon the subject of women and marriage see Pilgrimage 
ii. 285-87. 

176 A If Lay! ah wa Laylah. 

knew him not said, " Ho, fellow, how much a pound ? Come, sell 
to me." And he answered, saying, " Wait till I come back to 
thee," for that he would not hurt the feelings of any man. Then 
he fared on till he came to the sea-shore and foregathered with his 
friend Abdullah the Merman, to whom he delivered the fruit, 
receiving gems in return. He ceased not doing thus till one day, 
as he passed by the baker's oven, he found it closed ; and so he 
did ten days, during which time the oven remained shut and he 
saw nothing of the baker. So he said to himself, " This is a 
strange thing ! Would I wot whither the baker went ! " Then 
he enquired of his neighbour, saying, " O my brother, where is 
thy neighbour the baker and what hath Allah done with him ? " ; 
and the other responded, " O my lord, he is sick and cometh not 
forth of his house." " Where is his house ? " asked Abdullah ; 
and the other answered, " In such a quarter." So he fared thither 
and enquired of him ; but, when he knocked at the door, the baker 
looked out of window and seeing his friend the fisherman, full 
basket on head, came down and opened the door to him. Abdullah 
entered and throwing himself on the baker embraced him and wept, 
saying, " How dost thou, O my friend ? Every day, I pass by 
thine oven and see it unopened ; so I asked thy neighbour, who 
told me that thou wast sick ; therefore I enquired for thy house, 
that I might see thee." Answered the baker, " Allah requite thee 
for me with all good ! Nothing aileth me ; but it reached me that 
the King had taken thee, for that certain of the folk had lied 
against thee and accused thee of being a robber wherefore I 
feared and shut shop and hid myself." "True," said Abdullah 
and told him all that had befallen him with the King and the 
Shaykh of the jewellers' bazar, adding " Moreover, the King hath 
given me his daughter to wife and made me his Wazir ; " and, 
after a pause, " So do thou take what is in this fish-basket to thy 
share and fear naught." Then he left him, after having done 
away from him his affright, and returned with the empty crate to 
the King, who said to him, " O my son-in-law, 'twould seem thou 
hast not foregathered with thy friend the Merman to-day." Replied 
Abdullah, " I went to him but that which he gave me I gave to 
my gossip the baker, to whom I owe kindness." " Who may be 
this baker ?" asked the King ; and the fisherman answered, " He 
is a benevolent man, who did with me thus and thus in the days 
of my poverty and never neglected me a single day nor hurt my 
feelings." Quoth the King, " What is his name ? " ; and quoth the 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 177 

fisherman " His name is Abdullah the Baker ; and my name is 
Abdullah of the Land and that of my friend the merman Abdullah 
of the Sea." Rejoined the King, " And my name also is Abdullah ; 
and the servants of Allah 1 are all brethren. So send and fetch thy 
friend the baker, that I may make him my Wazir of the left." 2 
So he sent for the baker who speedily came to the presence, and 
the King invested him with the Wazirial uniform and made him 
Wazir of the left, making Abdullah of the Land his Wazir of the 

right And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say* 

Noto fo!)en it foas tje ttfme $juntJte* ana jpottg^fouttS Wjj&t, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
King made his son-in-law, Abdullah of the Land, Wazir of the 
right and Abdullah the baker Wazir of the left In such condition 
the fisherman abode a whole year, every day carrying for the Mer- 
man the crate full of fruit and receiving it back, full of jewels ; and 
when fruit failed from the gardens, he carried him raisins and 
almonds and filberts and walnuts and figs and so forth ; and all 
that he brought for him the Merman accepted and returned him 
the fish-basket full of jewels according to his custom. Now it 
chanced one day that he carried him the crate, full of dry 8 
fruits as was his wont, and his friend took them from him. Then 
they sat down to converse, Abdullah the fisherman on the beach 
and Abdullah the Merman in the water near the shore, and dis- 
coursed ; and the talk went round between them, till it fell upon 
the subject of sepulchres ; whereat quoth the Merman, " O my 
brother, they say that the Prophet (whom Allah assain and save !) 
is buried with you on the land. Knowest thou his tomb ? " 
Abdullah replied, " Yes ; it lieth in a city called Yathrib. 4 " Asked 

1 Abdullah, as has been said, means "servant or rather slave of Allah." 

2 Again the " Come to my arms, my slight acquaintance,'* of the Anti-Jacobin. 

3 Arab. <* Nukl," e.g. the quatre mendiants as opposed to "Fakihah" = fresh fruif. 
The Persians, a people who delight in gross practical jokes, get the confectioner to coat 
with sugar the droppings of sheep and goats and hand them to the bulk of the party. 
This pleasant confection is called " Nukl-i-peshkil " dung-drage"es. 

4 The older name of Madinat al-Nabi, the city of the Prophet ; vulg. called Al- 
Medinah per excelkntiam. See vol. iv. 114. In the Mac. and Bui. tfexts we have 
Tayyibah" = the goodly, one of the many titles of that Holy City : see Pilgrimage 
ii. 119. 


Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

the Merman, " And do the people of the land visit it ?" " Yes/' 
answered the fisherman, and the other said, " I give you joy, O 
people of the land, of visiting 1 that noble Prophet and com- 
passionate, which whoso visiteth meriteth his intercession ! Hast 
thou made such visitation, O my brother ? " Replied the fisher- 
man, " No : for I was poor and had not the necessary sum 2 to 
spend by the way, nor have I been in easy case but since I knew 
thee and thou bestowedst on me this good fortune. But such 
visitation behoveth me after I have pilgrimed to the Holy House 
of Allah 3 and naught withholdeth me therefrom but my love to 
thee, because I cannot leave thee for one day." Rejoined the 
Merman, " And dost thou set the love of me before the visitation 
of the tomb of Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save ! ), who 
shall intercede for thee on the Day of Review before Allah and 
shall save thee from the Fire and through whose inter- 
cession thou shalt enter Paradise? And dost thou, for the 
love of the world, neglect to visit the tomb of thy Prophet 4 
Mohammed, whom God bless and preserve ? " Replied Abdullah, 
" No, by Allah, I set the visitation of the Prophet's tomb above 
all else, and I crave thy leave to pray before it this year." 
The Merman rejoined, " I grant thee leave, on condition that 
when thou shalt stand by his sepulchre thou salute him for me 
with the Salam. Furthermore I have a trust to give thee ; so come 

1 Not " visiting the tomb of * etc. but visiting the Prophet himself, who is said to 
have declared that "Ziydrah" (visitation) of his tomb was in religion the equivalent of a 
personal call upon himself. 

2 Arab. "Nafakah"; for its conditions see Pilgrimage iii. 224. I have again and 
again insisted upon the Anglo-Indian Government enforcing the regulations of the Faith 
upon pauper Hindi pilgrims who go to the Moslem Holy Land as beggars and die of 
hunger in the streets. To an " Empire of Opinion " this is an unmitigated evil 
(Pilgrimage iii. 256) ; and now, after some thirty-four years, there are signs that the 
suggestions of common sense are to be adopted. England has heard of the extraordinary 
recklessness and inconsequence of the British-Indian " fellow subject." 

3 Thfe Ka'abah of Meccah. 

4 When Moslems apply "Nabi!" to Mohammed it is in the peculiar sense of "prophet" 
(irpoffriqrrjs) = one who speaks before the people, not one who predicts, as such 
foresight was abjured by the Apostle. Dr. A. Neubauer (The Athenaeum No. 3031) finds 
the root of Nabi ! " in the Assyrian Nabu and Heb. Noob (occurring in Exod. vii. i. 
' Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet." i.e. orator, speaker before the people), and 
holds it to be a Canaanite term which supplanted " Roeh" (the Seer) e.g. I Samuel ix. 
9. The learned Hebraist traces the cult of Nebo, a secondary deity in Assyria to 
Palestine and Phoenicia, Palmyra, Edessa (in the Nebok of Abgar) and Hierapolis ia 
Syria or Mabug (Nabog ?) 

Abdidlah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 179 

thou with me into the sea, that I may carry thee to my city and 
entertain thee in my house and give thee a deposit ; which when 
thou takest thy station by the Prophet's tomb, do thou lay thereon, 
saying : O apostle of Allah, Abdullah the Merman saluteth thee 
and sendeth thee this present, imploring thine intercession to save 
him from the Fire." Said the fisherman, " O my brother, 
thou wast created in the water and water is thy abiding- 
place and doth thee no hurt, but, if thou shouldst come forth 
to the land, would any harm betide thee ? " The Merman 
replied, " Yes ; my body would dry up and the breezes of the 
land would blow upon me and I should die." Rejoined the 
fisherman, f< And I, in like manner, was created on the land and 
the land is my abiding-place ; but, an I went down into the sea, 
the water would enter my belly and choke me and I should die." 
Retorted the other, " Have no fear for that, for I will bring thee an 
ointment, wherewith when thou hast anointed thy body, the water 
will do thee no hurt, though thou shouldst pass the lave of thy life 
going about in the great deep : and thou shalt lie down and rise 
up in the sea and naught shall harm thee.'* Quoth the fisherman, 
41 An the case be thus, well and good ; but bring me the ointment, so 
that I may make trial of it ; " and quoth the Merman, " So be it ; " 
then, taking the fish-basket disappeared in the depths. He was 
absent awhile, and presently returned with an unguent as it were 
the fat of beef, yellow as gold and sweet of savour. Asked the 
fisherman, "What is this, O my brother?"; and answered the 
Merman, "Tis the liver-fat of a kind of fish called the Dandan, 1 
which is the biggest of all fishes and the fiercest of our foes. His 
bulk is greater than that of any beast of the land, and were he to 
meet a camel or an elephant, he would swallow it at a single 
mouthful." Abdullah enquired, " O my brother, what doth this 
baleful beast ? " ; and the Merman replied, " He eateth of the 
beasts of the sea. Hast thou not heard the saying: Like the 
fishes of the sea : forcible eateth feeble ? 2 " " True ; but have you 
many of these Dandans in the sea ? " " Yes, there be many of 
them with us. None can tell their tale save Almighty Allah." 

1 I cannot find "DancUin" even in Lib. Quintus de Aquaticis Animalibus of the learned 
Sam. Bochart's " Hierozoicon" (London, 1663) and must conjecture that as " Dandan ' ' 
in Persian means a tooth (vol. ii. 83) the writer applied it to a sun -fish or some such 
well-fanged monster of the deep. 

* A favourite proverb with the Fellah, when he alludes to the Pasha and to himself. 

,i8o A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

"Verily, I fear lest, if I go down with thee into the deep a creature 
of this kind fall in with me and devour me." " Have no fear : 
when he seeth thee, he will know thee for a son of Adam and will 
fear thee and flee. He dreadeth none in the sea as he dreadeth a 
son of Adam ; for that an he eateth a man he dieth forthright, 
because human fat is a deadly poison to this kind of creature ; nor 
do we collect its liver-speck save by means of a man, when he 
falleth into the sea and is drowned ; for that his semblance be- 
cometh changed and ofttimes his flesh is torn; so the Dandan 
eateth him, deeming him the same of the denizens of the deep, 
and dieth. Then we light upon our enemy dead and take the 
speck of his liver and grease ourselves so that we can over-wander 
the main in safety. Also, wherever there is a son of Adam, though 
there be in that place an hundred or two hundred or a thousand 

or more of these beasts, all die forthright an they but hear him 

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

fofjen it foas tf) Nine f^un&refc anfc JFortp-ftftfj Nt'gfit, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah 
of the Sea said to Abdullah of the Land, " And if a thousand or 
more of this kind hear an Adamite cry a single cry, forthright all 
die nor hath one of them power to remove from his place ; so, 
whenever a son of Adam falleth into the sea, we take him and 
anoint him with this fat and go round about the depths with 
him, and whenever we see a Dandan or two or three or more, we 
bid him cry out and they all die forthright for his once crying." 
Quoth the fisherman, " I put my trust in Allah ; " and, doffing his 
clothes, buried them in a hole which he dug in the beach ; after 
which he rubbed his body from head to heels with that ointment. 
Then he descended into the water and diving, opened his eyes and 
the brine did him no hurt. So he walked right and left, and if he 
would, he rose to the sea-face, and if he would, he sank to the 
base. And he beheld the water as it were a tent over his head ; 
yet it wrought him no hurt. Then said the Merman to him, 
" What seest thou, O my brother ? " ; and said he, " O my brother, 
I see naught save weal J ; and indeed thou spakest truth in that 

1 An euphemistic answer, unbernfen as the Germans say. 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 181 

which thou saidst to me ; for the water doth me no hurt." Quoth 
the Merman, " Follow me." So he followed him and they ceased 
not faring on from place to place, whilst Abdullah discovered be- 
fore him and on his right and left mountains of water and solaced 
himself by gazing thereon and on the various sorts of fish, some great 
and some small, which disported themselves in the main. Some 
of them favoured buffaloes 1 others oxen and others dogs and yet 
others human beings ; but all to which they drew near fled, whenas 
they saw the fisherman, who said to the Merman, " O my brother, 
how is it that I see all the fish, to which we draw near, flee 'from 
us afar ? " Said the other, " Because they fear thee, for all things 
that Allah hath made fear the son of Adam. 2 " The fisherman 
ceased not to divert himself with the marvels of the deep, till they 
came to a high mountain and fared on beside it. Suddenly, he 
heard a mighty loud cry and turning, saw some black thing, the 
bigness of a camel or bigger, coming down upon him from the 
liquid mountain and crying out. So he asked his friend, " What 
is this, O my brother ? " ; and the Merman answered, " This is the 
Dandan. He cometh in search of me, seeking to devour me ; so 
cry out at him, O my brother, ere he reach us ; else he will snatch 
me up and devour me." Accordingly Abdullah cried out at the, 
beast and behold, it fell down dead ; which when he saw, he said,. 
" Glorified be the perfection of God and His praise ! I smote it 
not with sword nor knife ; how cometh it that, for all the vastness of 
the creature's bulk, it could not bear my cry, but died ? " Replied 
the Merman, " Marvel not, for, by Allah, O my brother, were there 
a thousand or two thousand of these creatures, yet could they not 
endure the cry of a son of Adam." Then they walked on, till 

1 It is a temptation to derive this word from bceuf cl Feau, but I fear that the theory 
Will not hold water. The " buffaloes '' of Alexandria laughed it to scorn. 

2 Here the writer's zoological knowledge is at fault. Animals, which never or very 
rarely see man, have no fear of him whatever. This is well-known to those who visit 
the Gull-fairs at Ascension Island, Santos and many other isolated rocks ; the hen birds 
will peck at the intruder's ankles but they do not rise from off their eggs. For details 
concerning the "Gull-fair" of the Summer Islands consult p. 4 "The History of the 
Bermudas," edited by Sir J. H. Lefroy for the Hakluyt Society, 1882. I have seen 
birds on Fernando Po peak quietly await a second shot ; and herds of antelopes, the most 
timid of animals, in the plains of Somali-land only stared but were not startled by the 
report of the gun. But Arabs are not the only moralists who write zoological nonsense ; 
witness the notable verse, 

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

1 82 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

they made a city, whose inhabitants the fisherman saw to be all 
women, there being no male among them ; so he said to his com- 
panion, "O my brother, what city is this and what are these 
women ? " " This is the city of women ; for its inhabitants are of 
the women of the sea." " Are there any males among them ? " 
"No!" "Then how do they conceive and bear young, without 
males r ? " " The King of the sea banisheth them hither and they 
conceive not neither bear children. All the women of the sea, with 
whom he is wroth, he sendeth to this city, and they cannot 
leave it; for, should one of them come forth therefrom, any of 
the beasts of the sea that saw her would eat her. But in 
other cities of the main there are both males and females." 
Thereupon asked the fisherman, "Are there then other cities 
than this in the sea ? " ; and the Merman answered, " There are 
many." Quoth the fisherman, " And is there a Sultan over you 
in the sea ? " " Yes," quoth the Merman. Then said Abdullah 
" O my brother, I have indeed seen many marvels in the main !" 
But the Merman said, " And what hast thou seen of its marvels 2 ? 
Hast thou not heard the saying : The marvels of the sea are 
more manifold than the marvels of the land ? " " True," rejoined 
the fisherman and fell to gazing upon those women, whom he saw 
with faces like moons and hair like women's hair, but their hands 
and feet were in their middle and they had tails like fishes' tails. 
Now when the Merman had shown him the people of the city, he 
carried him forth therefrom and forewalked him to another city, 
which he found full of folk, both males and females, formed like 
the women aforesaid and having tails ; but there was neither 
selling nor buying amongst them, as with the people of the land, 
nor were they clothed, but went all naked and with their shame 
uncovered. Said Abdullah "O my brother, I see males and 
females alike with their shame exposed 3 ," and the other said, 
" This is because the folk of the sea have no clothes." Asked 

1 Lane finds these details " silly and tiresome or otherwise objectionable," and omits 

2 Meaning, " Thou hast as yet seen little or nothing." In most Eastern tongues a 
question often expresses an emphatic assertion. See vol. i. 37. 

3 Easterns wear as a rule little clothing but it suffices for the essential purposes of 
decency and travellers will live amongst them for years without once seeing an acci- 
dental "exposure of the person." In some cases, as with the Nubian thong-apron, 
this demand of modesty requires not a little practice of the muscles ; and we all know 
the difference in a Scotch kilt worn by a Highlander and a cockney sportsman. 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 183 

the fisherman, " And how do they when they marry ? " The 
Merman answered, " They do not marry ; but every one who 
taketh a liking to a female doth his will of her." Quoth Ab- 
dullah, " This is unlawful ! Why doth he not ask her in marriage 
and dower her and make her a wedding festival and marry her, 
in accordance with that which is pleasing to Allah and His 
Apostle ? "; and quoth the other, " We are not all of one religion : 
some of us are Moslems, believers in The Unity, others Nazarenes 
and what not else ; and each marrieth in accordance with the 
ordinances of his creed ; but those of us who marry are mostly 
Moslems." The fisherman continued, "Ye are naked and have 
neither buying nor selling among you : of what then is your 
wives' dowry ? Do ye give them jewels and precious stones ? " 
The Merman rejoined, " Gems with us are only stones without 
worth : but upon the Moslem who is minded to marry they 
impose a dowry of a certain number of fishes of various kinds 
that he must catch, a thousand or two thousand, more or less, 
according to the agreement between himself and the bride's father. 
As soon as he bringeth the amount required, the families of the 
bride and bridegroom assemble and eat the marriage-banquet ; 
after which they bring him in to his bride, and he catcheth fish 
and feedeth her ; or, if he be unable, she catcheth fish and feedeth 
him/' Enquired the fisherman, "And how if a woman commit 
adultery ? "; and the other replied, " If a woman be convicted of 
this case, they banish her to the City of Women ; and if she be 
with child by her gallant, they leave her till she be delivered ; 
then, if she give birth to a girl, they banish her with her, calling 
her adulteress, daughter of adulteress, and she abideth a maid 
till she die ; but, if the woman give birth to a male child, they 
carry it to the Sultan of the Sea, who putteth it to death." 
Abdullah marvelled at this and the Merman carried him to 
another city and thence to another and yet another, till he had 
diverted him with the sight of eighty cities, and he saw the 
people of each city unlike those of every other. Then said he 
to the Merman, " O my brother, are there yet other cities in the 
main ? "; whereto said the other, " And what hast thou seen of 
the cities of the sea and its wondrous spectacles ? By the virtue 
of the noble Prophet, the benign, the compassionate, were I to 
show thee every day a thousand cities for a thousand years, and 
in each city a thousand marvels, I should not have shown thee 
one carat of the four-and-twenty carats of the cities of the sea 

1 84 A If Laylah wa Laylah* 

and its miracles ! I have but shown thee our own province and 
country, nothing more." The fisherman thus resumed, " O my 
brother, since this is the case, what I have seen sufficeth me, for I 
am a-weary of eating fish, and these fourscore days I have been 
in thy company, thou hast fed me, morning and night, upon 
nothing but raw fish, neither broiled nor boiled." "And what is 
broiled and boiled ?" " We broil fish with fire and boil it in water 
and dress it in various ways and make many dishes of it." " And 
how should we come by fire in the sea ? We know not broiled nor 
boiled nor aught else of the kind." " We also fry it in olive-oil 
and oil of sesame 1 ." " How should we come by olive-oil and oil 
of sesame in the sea ? Verily we know nothing of that thou 
namest." " True, but O my brother, thou hast shown me many 
cities ; yet hast thou not shown me thine own city." " As for 
mine own city, we passed it a long way, for it is near the land 
whence we came, and I left it and came with thee hither, thinking 
only to divert thee with the sight of the greater cities of the sea." 
" That which I have seen of them sufficeth me ; and now I would 
have thee show me thine own city." " So be it," answered Abdullah 
of the Sea ; and, returning on his traces, carried him back thither 
and said to him, " This is my city." Abdullah of the Land looked 
and saw a city small by comparison with those he had seen ; then 
he entered with his comrade of the deep and they fared on till 
they came to a cave. Quoth the Merman, " This is my house and 
all the houses in the city are like this, caverns great and small in 
the mountains ; as are also those of every other city of the sea. 
For whoso is minded to make him a house must repair to the 
King and say to him, * I wish to make me a house in such a 
place.' Whereupon the King sends with him a band of the fish 
called ' Peckers,' 3 which have beaks that crumble the hardest rock, 
appointing for their wage a certain quantum of fish. They betake 
themselves to the mountain chosen by the intended owner and 
therein pierce the house, whilst the owner catcheth fish for them 
and feedeth them, till the cave is finished, when they wend their 

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

2 Arab. "Nakkarun," probably congeners of the redoubtable " Dandan." 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman, 185 

ways and the house-owner taketh up his abode therein. On such 
wise do all the people of the sea ; they traffic not one with other 
nor serve each other save by means of fish ; and their food is fish 
and they themselves are a kmd of fish 1 ." Then he said to him, 
"Enter!" So Abdullah entered and the Merman cried out, saying, 
" Ho, daughter mine ! " when behold, there came to him a damsel 
with a face like the rondure of the moon and hair long, hips 
heavy, eyes black-edged and waist slender; but she was naked 
and had a tail. When she saw Abdullah of the Land she said to 
her sire, "O my father, what is this No 2 -tail thou hast brought 
with thee ? " He replied, " O my daughter this is my friend of the 
land, from whom I used to bring thee the fruits of the ground. 
Come hither and salute him with the salam." So she came forward 
and saluted the fisherman with loquent tongue and eloquent 
speech ; and her father said to her, " Bring meat for our guest, by 
whose visit a blessing hath betided us 3 : " whereupon she brought 
him two great fishes, each the bigness of a lamb, and the Merman 
said to him, " Eat." So he ate for stress of hunger, despite him- 
self ; because he was tired of eating fish and they had naught else 
save fish. Before long, in came the Merman's wife, who was 
beautiful of form and favour and with her two children, each 
having in his hand a young fish, which he craunched as a man 
would craunch a cucumber. When she saw the fisherman with 
her husband, she said, " What is this No-Tail ? " And she and 
her sons and their sister came up to him and fell to examining 
the back parts of Abdullah of the Land, and saying, "Yea, by 
Allah, he is tailless ! "; and they laughed at him. So he said to 
the Merman, " O my brother, hast thou brought me hither to 
make me a butt and a laughing-stock for thy children and thy 

consort ? " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

Nofo tofim ft foas tfte Nme l^untorefc an& Jport^stxtf) Nt'gfit, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Abdullah of the Land said to Abdullah of the Sea. "O my 

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

2 Arab. " Az'ar," usually = having thin hair. The general term for tailless is 
" abtar." See Koran cviii. 3, when it means childless. 

* A common formula of politeness. 

/86 A If Lay! ah wa Laylah. 

brother, hast thou brought me hither to make me a butt and a 
laughing-stock for thy children and thy consort ? " Cried the 
Merman, " Pardon, O my brother ! Those who have no tails are 
rare among us, and whenever one such is found, the Sultan taketh 
him, to make fun of him, and he abideth a marvel amongst us, 
and all who see him laugh at him. But, O my brother, excuse 
these young children and this woman, for they lack wits." Then 
he cried out to his family, saying, " Silence ! "; so they were afraid 
and held their peace ; whilst he went on to soothe Abdullah's 
mind. Presently, as they were talking, behold, in came some ten 
Mermen, tall and strong and stout, and said to him, " O Abdullah, 
it hath reached the King that thou hast with thee a No-tail of the 
No-tails of the earth." Answered the Merman, " Yes ; and this 
is he ; but he is not of us nor of the children of the sea. He Is 
my friend of the land and hath come to me as a guest and I 
purpose to carry him back to the land." Quoth they, "We 
cannot depart but with him ; so, an thou have aught to say, arise 
and come with him before the King ; and whatso thou wouldst 
say to us, say thou that same to the King." Then quoth the 
Merman to the fisherman, " O my brother, my excuse is manifest, 
and we may not disobey the King: but go thou with me to 
him and I will do my best to deliver thee from him, Inshallah ! 
Fear not, for he deemeth thee of the children of the sea ; 
but, when he seeth thee, he will know thee to be of the children 
of the land, and he will surely entreat thee honourably and 
restore thee to the land." And Abdullah of the Land replied, 
" Tis thine to decide, I will trust in Allah and wend with 
thee." So he took him and carried him to the King, who, when 
he saw him, laughed at him and said, " Welcome to the No- 
tail ! " And all who were about the King began to laugh at him 
and say, " Yea, by Allah, he is tailless ! " Then Abdullah of the 
Sea came forward and acquainted the King with the fisherman's 
case, saying, " This man is of the children of the land and he is my 
comrade and cannot live amongst us, for that he loveth not the 
eating of fish, except it be fried or boiled ; wherefore I desire that 
thou give me leave to restore him to the land." Whereto the 
King replied, " Since the case is so, and he cannot live among us, 
I give thee leave to restore him to his place, after due entertain- 
ment," presently adding, " Bring him the guest-meal." So they 
brought him fish of various kinds and colours and he ate, in 
obedience to the royal behest ; after which the King said to him, 

Abdullah the Fisherman and Abdullah the Merman. 187 

" Ask a boon of me." Quoth he, " I ask of thee that thou give 
me jewels ;" and the King said, "Carry him to the jewel-house 
and let him choose that whereof he hath need." So his friend 
carried him to the jewel-house and he picked out whatso he 
would, after which the Merman brought him back to his own city 
and pulling out a purse, said to him, " Take this deposit and lay 
it on the tomb of the Prophet, whom Allah save and assain ! " 
And he took it, knowing not what was therein. Then the 
Merman went forth with him, to bring him back to land, and by 
the way he heard singing and merrymaking and saw a table 
spread with fish and folk eating and singing and holding mighty 
high festival. So Abdullah of the Land said to his friend, " What 
aileth these people to rejoice thus ? Is there a wedding among 
them?" Replied Abdullah of the Sea, "Nay; one of them is 
dead." Asked the fisherman, " Then do ye, when one dieth 
amongst you, rejoice for him and sing and feast ? "; and the 
Merman answered, " Yes : and ye of the land, what do ye ? " 
Quoth Abdullah of the Land, " When one dieth amongst us, we 
weep and keen for him and the women beat their faces and rend 
the bosoms of their raiment, in token of mourning for the dead." 
But Abdullah the Merman stared at him with wide eyes and said 
to him, " Give me the deposit ! " So he gave it to him. Then he 
set him ashore and said to him, " I have broken off our com- 
panionship and our amity ; wherefore from this day forward thou 
shalt no more see me, nor I see thee." Cried the fisherman, 
"Why sayst thou this?"; and the other said, "Are ye not, O 
folk of the land, a deposit of Allah?" "Yes." "Why then," 
asked the Merman, " is it grievous to you that Allah should take 
back His deposit and wherefore weep ye over it ? How can I 
entrust thee with a deposit for the Prophet (whom Allah save and 
assain !), seeing that, when a child is born to you, ye rejoice in it, 
albeit the Almighty setteth the soul therein as a deposit ; and yet, 
when he taketh it again, it is grievous to you and ye weep and 
mourn ? Since it is hard for thee to give up the deposit of Allah, 
how shall it be easy to thee to give up the deposit of the 
Prophet ? * Wherefore we need not your companionship." Saying 

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

1 88 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

thus he left him and disappeared in the sea. Thereupon Abdullah 
of the Land donned his dress and taking the jewels, went up to 
the King, who met him lovingly and rejoiced at his return saying, 
" How dost thou, O my son-in-law, and what is the cause of thine 
absence from me this while ? " So he told him his tale and 
acquainted him with that which he had seen of marvels in the 
sea, whereat the King wondered. Then he told him what 
Abdullah the Merman had said 1 ; and the King replied, " Indeed 
'twas thou wast at fault to tell him this." Nevertheless, he 
continued for some time to go down to the shore and call Upon 
Abdullah of the Sea, but he answered him not nor came to him ; 
so, at last, he gave up all hope of him and abode, he and the 
King his father-in-law and the families of them both in the 
happiest of case and the practice of righteous ways, till there 
came to them the Destroyer of Delights and the Severer of 
societies and they died all. Wherefore glory be to the Living, 
who dieth not, whose is the empire of the Seen and the Unseen, 
who over all things is Omnipotent and is gracious to His servants 
and knoweth their every intent! And amongst the tales they 
tell is one anent 


THE Caliph Harun Al-Rashid was one night wakeful exceedingly ; 
so he called Masrur and said to him as soon as he came, " Fetch 
me Ja'afar in haste." Accordingly, he went out and returned 
with the Wazir, to whom said the Caliph, " O Ja'afar wakefulness 
hath mastered me this night and forbiddeth sleep from me, nor 
wot I what shall drive it away from me." Replied Ja'afar, O 
Commander of the Faithful, the wise say : Looking on a mirror, 
entering the Hammam-bath and hearkening unto song banish 
care and chagrin." He rejoined, " O Ja'afar I have done all this, 
but it hath brought me naught of relief, and I swear by my pious 
forbears unless thou contrive that which shall abate from me 
this insomny,! will smite thy neck." Quoth Ja'afar, " O Com- 

1 i.e. about rejoicing over the newborns and mourning over the dead. 

Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 189 

mander of the Faithful, wilt thou do that which I shall counsel 
thee ? " whereupon quoth the Caliph, " And what is that thou 
counselleth ? " He replied, " It is that thou take boat with us 
and drop down Tigris River with the tide to a place called Kara 
al-Sirat, so haply we may hear what we never heard or see what 
we never saw, for 'tis said : The solace of care is in one of three 
things ; that a man see what he never before saw or hear what 
he never yet heard or tread an earth he erst hath never trodden. 
It may be this shall be the means of remedying thy restlessness, 
O Commander of the Faithful, Inshallah ! There, on either sides 
of the river, are windows and balconies one facing other, and it 
may be we shall hear or see from one of these somewhat where- 
with our hearts may be heartened." Ja'afar's counsel pleased 
the Caliph, so he rose from his place and taking with him the 
Wazir and his brother Al-Fazl and Isaac l the boon-companion 

and Abu Nowas and Abu Dalaf 2 and Masrur the Sworder 

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

Xofo fo&en it foas tfje Nine l^un&refc anfc JFortjusebent!) 

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

To him when the wine cup is near I declare, o While in coppice loud shrilleth 

and trilleth Haza>, 
* How long this repining from joys and delight ? o Wake up for this life is a 

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

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

granado-tree bare. 

1 .*. Ishak of Mosul, for whom see vol. iv. 119. The Bresl. Edit, has Faztt for, 

1 Abu Dalaf al-Ijili, a well-known soldier equally famed for liberality and culture. 

A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

Thou wouldst deem that the place where he tare his fair cheek 1 o Were ashes, 
while cheeks hues incendiary wear. 

Quoth the blamer, " Forget him ! But where's my excuse o When his side- 
face is growing the downiest hair 2 ? " 

When the Caliph heard this, he said, " O Ja'afar, how goodly is 
that voice ! " ; and the Wazir replied, " O our lord, never smote 
my hearing aught sweeter or goodlier than this singing! But, 
good my lord, hearing from behind a wall is only half hearing ; 
how would it be an we heard it from behind a curtain ? " Quoth 
the Caliph, " Come, O Ja'afar, let us play the parasites with the 
master of this house ; and haply we shall look upon the song- 
stress, face to face ; " and quoth Ja'afar, " I hear and I obey." So 
they landed and sought admittance ; when behold, there came out 
to them a young man, fair of favour, sweet of speech and fluent 
of tongue, who said to them, " Well come and welcome, O lords 
that honour me with your presence ! Enter in all comfort and 
convenience ! " So they went in (and he with them) to a saloon 
with four faces, whose ceiling was decorated with gold and its 
walls adorned with ultramarine. 3 At its upper end was a dai's, 
whereon stood a goodly row of seats 4 and thereon sat an hundred 
damsels like moons. The house-master cried out to them and 
they came down from their seats. Then he turned to Ja'afar and 
said to him " O my lord, I know not the honourable of you from 
the more honourable : Bismillah ! deign he that is highest in rank 
among you favour me by taking the head of the room, and let his 
brethren sit each in his several stead." So they sat down, each ac- 
cording to his degree, whilst Masrur abode standing before them in 
their service ; and the host asked them, " O my guests, with your 
leave, shall I set somewhat of food before you ? " and they 
answered, "Yes." Hearing this he bade his handmaids bring 
food, whereupon four damsels with girded waists placed in front 
of them a table, whereon were rare meats of that which flieth 

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

2 i.e. When he is in the very prime of life and able to administer JUrs coups de cant/. 

For ladies e'en of most uneasy virtue 
Prefer a spouse whose age is short of thirty. 

Don Juan I. 62. 

8 Arab " Lazuward : see vol. iii. 33. 

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

Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 191 

and walketh earth and swimmeth seas, sand-grouse and quails 
and chickens and pigeons ; and written on the raised edge of the 
tray were verses such as sorted with the entertainment. So they 
ate till they had enough and washed their hands, after which said 
the young man, " O my lords, if you have any want, let us know 
it, that we may have the honour of satisfying it." They replied, 
" Tis well : we came not to thy dwelling save for the sake of a 
voice we heard from behind the wall of thy house, and we would 
fain hear it again and know her to whom it belongeth. So, an 
thou deem right to vouchsafe us this favour, it will be of the 
generosity of thy nature, and after we will return whence we 
came." Quoth the host, " Ye are welcome ; " and, turning to a 
black slave-girl, said to her, "Fetch me thy mistress such an 
one." So she went away and returning with a chair of chinaware, 
cushioned with brocade, set it down : then withdrew again and 
presently returned with a damsel, as she were the moon on the 
night of its full, who sat down on the chair. Then the black girl 
gave her a bag of satin wherefrom she brought out a lute, inlaid 

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

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

Nofo fofjot ft toa* tfe Nine 2^un&re& an& JFortg=tf$tf) ftft 

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

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

it speak : 
And ne'er smiteth her right an injurious touch o But her left repairs of her 

right the wreak. 1 

Then she strained the lute to her bosom, binding over it as mother 
bendeth over babe, and swept the strings which complained as 

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

IQ2 A If Laylak wa Laylak, 

child to mother complaineth ; after which she played upon it and 
began improvising these couplets : 

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

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

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

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

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

of the watery waste a gilded glaive. 

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

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

Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 193 

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

194 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

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

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

her permitted say. 

Nofo fojen ft foas dj* Nine f^unbreb anfc Jportp-ntntJ Nfc$t, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
young merchant cried, "By Allah this long while I have gone 
about in search of something like this ! So I went up to the 
Shaykh, O Commander of the Faithful, and saluting him said to 
him, " O my lord, I need somewhat of thee ! " He replied, " What 
is thy need ? " and I rejoined, " 'Tis my desire to be thy guest to- 
night." He said, " With all my heart ; but, O my son, with me are 
many damsels, some whose night is ten dinars, some forty and 
others more. Choose which thou wilt have." Quoth I, "I 
choose her whose night is ten dinars." And I weighed out to him 
three hundred dinars, the price of a month ; whereupon he com- 
mitted me to a page, who carried me to a Hammam within the 
house and served me with goodly service. When I came out of 
the Bath he brought me to a chamber and knocked at the door, 
whereupon out came a handmaid, to whom said he, " Take thy 
guest I " She met me with welcome and cordiality, laughing and 
rejoicing, and brought me into a mighty fine room decorated with 
gold. I considered her and saw her like the moon on the night of 
its fulness having in attendance on her two damsels as they were 

Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 195 

constellations. She made me sit and seating herself by my side, 
signed to her slave-girls who set before us a tray covered with 
dishes of various kinds of meats, pullets and quails and sand- 
grouse a"nd pigeons. So we ate our sufficiency, and never in my 
life ate I aught more delicious than this food. When we had eaten 
she bade remove the tray and set on the service of wine and 
flowers, sweetmeats and fruits ; and I abode with her a month in 
such case. At the end of that time, I repaired to the Bath ; then, 
going to the old man, I said to him, " O my lord, I want her whose 
night is twenty dinars." " Weigh down the gold," said he. So I 
fetched money and weighed out to him six hundred dinars for a 
month's hire, whereupon he called a page and said to him, " Take 
thy lord here." Accordingly he carried me to the Hammam and 
thence to the door of a chamber, whereat he knocked and there 
came out a handmaid, to whom quoth he, " Take thy guest ! " She 
received me with the goodliest reception and I found in attendance 
on her four slave-girls, whom she commanded to bring food. So 
they fetched a tray spread with all manner meats, and I ate. 
When I had made an end of eating and the tray had been 
removed, she took the lute and sang thereto these couplets : 

waitings of musk from the Babel-land ! o Bear a message from me 

which my longings have planned : 
My troth is pledged to that place of yours, o And to friends there 'biding 

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

cometh to no man's hand. 

1 abode with her a month, after which I returned to the Shaykh 
and said to him, " I want the forty dinar one." " Weigh out the 
money/' said he. So I weighed out to him twelve hundred dinars, 
the mensual hire, and abode with her one month as it were one day, 
for what I saw of the comeliness of her semblance and the goodli- 
ness of her converse. After this I went to the Shaykh one evening 
and heard a great noise and loud voices ; so I asked him, " What 
is to do ? " ; and he answered, saying, " This is the night of our 
remarkablest nights, when all souls embark on the river and divert 
themselves by gazing one upon other. Hast thou a mind to go up 
to the roof and solace thyself by looking at the folk ? " " Yes," 
answered I, and went up to the terrace-roof, 1 whence I could see a 

1 Arab. "Al-Sath" whence the Span. Azotea. The lines that follow are from the 
Bresl. Edit. v. no. 

Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

gathering of people with flambeaux and cressets, and great mirth 
and merriment. Then I went up to the end of the roof and beheld 
there, behind a goodly curtain, a little chamber in whose midst 
stood a couch of juniper 1 -wood plated with shimmering gold and 
covered with a handsome carpet. On this sat a lovely young lady/ 
confounding all beholders with her beauty and comeliness and 
symmetry and perfect grace, and by her side a youth, whose hand 
was on her neck ; and he was kissing her and she kissing himJ 
When I saw them, O Prince of True Believers, I could not contain; 
myself nor knew where I was, so dazed and dazzled was I by her 
beauty : but, when I came down, I questioned the damsel with 
whom I was and described the young lady to her. " What wilt 
thou with her?" asked she ; and I, "-She hath taken my wit." "O 
Abu al-Hasan, hast thou a mind to her?" " Ay, by Allah ! for 
she hath captivated my heart and soul." " This is the daughter of 
Tahir ibn al-Alaa ; she is our mistress and we are all her hand- 
maids ; but knowest thou, O Abu al-Hasan, what be the price of 
her night and her day ? " " No ! " " Five hundred dinars, for she 
is a regret to the heart of Kings ! " 2 " By Allah, I will spend all I 
have on this damsel ! " So saying I lay, heartsore for desire, 
^through the livelong night till the morning, when I repaired to the 
Hammam and presently donned a suit of the richest royal raiment 
and betaking myself to Ibn al-Alaa, said to him, " O my lord, I 
"Want her whose night is five hundred dinars." Quoth he, " Weigh 
down the money." So I weighed out to him fifteen thousand 
dinars for a month's hire and he took them and said to the page, 
/'Carry him to thy mistress such an one]" Accordingly he took 
me and carried me to an apartment, than which my eyes never saw 
a goodlier on the earth's face and there I found the young lady 
seated. When I saw her, O Commander of the Faithful, my reason 
was confounded with her beauty, for she was like the full moon on 

its fourteenth night, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of 

day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

1 This " 'Ar'ar " is probably the Callitris quadrivalvis whose resin (" Sandarac ") is 
imported as varnish from African Mogador to England. Also called the Thuja, it is of 
cypress shape, slow growing and finely ve.ined in the lower part of the base. Most 
travellers are agreed that it is the Citrus-tree of Roman Mauritania, concerning which 
Pliny (xiii. 29) gives curious details, a single table costing from a million sesterces (900) 
to 1,400,000. For other details see p. 95. " Morocco and the Moors," by my late 
friend Dr. Leared (London : Sampson Low, 1876). 

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

Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 197 

Nofo fojen it foas tfje Nine f^untaefc an* Jpiflfetfi 

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

She cried while played in her side Desire, o And Night o'er hung 

her with blackest blee : 
" O Night shall thy murk bring me ne'er a chum o To tumble and futter this 

coynte of me ? " 
And she smote that part with her palm and sighed o Sore sighs and a weeping 

continued she : - 
" As the toothstick beautifies teeth e'en so o Must prickle to coynte 

as a toothstick be. 

Moslems, is never a stand to your tools, o To assist a woman's 

necessity ? J> 
Thereat rose upstanding beneath its clothes o My yard, as crying, " At 

thee ! at thee ! " 
And I loosed her trouser-string, startling her : o " Who art thou ? * and I 

said, "A reply to thy plea ! " 
And began to stroke her with wrist-thick yard, o Hurting hinder cheeks 

by its potency : 
And she cried as I rose after courses three o " Suit thy gree the 

stroke ! " and I "suit thy gree ! " 

And how excellent is the saying of another! 1 

A fair one, to idolaters if she her face should show, They'd leave their idols 
and her face for only Lord would know. 

If in the Eastward she appeared unto a monk, for sure, He'd cease from turn- 
ing to the West and to the East bend low ; 

And if into the briny sea one day she chanced to spit, Assuredly the salt sea's 
floods straight fresh and sweet would grow. 

And that of another : 

1 looked at her one look and that dazed me o Such rarest gifts of mind 

and form to see, 

When doubt inspired her that I loved her, and o Upon her cheeks the doubt 
showed showily. 

1 These lines are in vol. viii. 279. I quote Mr, Payne. 

198 Alf Laylak wa Laylak. 

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

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

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

in life lacking steadfastness of stay. 

Then she strave to solace me with soft sweet speech, but I was 
drowned in the deeps of passion, fearing even in union the pangs 
of disunion, for excess of longing and ecstasy of passion ; and I 
bethought me of the lowe of absence and estrangement and 
repeated these two couplets : 

I thought of estrangement in her embrace o And my eyes rained tears 

red as 'Andam-wood. 
So I wiped the drops on that long white neck ; o For camphor * is wont to 

stay flow of blood. 

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

Drink not pure wine except from hand of slender youth Like wine for 

daintiness and like him eke the wine : 
For wine no joyance brings to him who drains the cup o Save bring the 

cup-boy cheek as fair and fain and fine. 

So, I abode with her, O Commander of the Faithful, month after 
month in similar guise, till all my money was spent ; wherefore I 
began to bethink me of separation as I sat with her one day and 

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

Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 199 

my tears railed down, upon my cheeks like rills, and I became not 
knowing night from light. Quoth she, " Why dost thou weep ? " ; 
and quoth I, "O light of mine eyes, I weep because of our 
parting." She asked, " And what shall part me and thee, O my 
lord ? " ; and I answered, " By Allah, O my lady, from the day I 
came to thee, thy father hath taken of me, for every night, five 
hundred dinars, and now I have nothing left. Right soothfast is 
the saw: Penury maketh strangerhood at home and money 
maketh a home in strangerhood ; and indeed the poet speaks 
truth when he saith : 

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

She replied, " Know that it is my father's custom, whenever a 
merchant abideth with him and hath spent all his capital, to 
entertain him three days ; then doth he put him out and he may 
return to us nevermore. But keep thou thy secret and conceal 
thy case and I will so contrive that thou shalt abide with me till 
such time as Allah will ; * for, indeed, there is in my heart a great 
love for thee. Thou must know that all my father's money is 
under my hand and he wotteth not its full tale ; so, every morning, 
I will give thee a purse of five hundred dinars which do thou offer 
to my sire, saying: Henceforth, I will pay thee only day by 
day. He will hand the sum to me, and I will give it to thee 
again, and we will abide thus till such time as may please Allah." ! 
Thereupon I thanked her and kissed her hand ; and on this wise, 
O Prince of True Believers, I abode with her a whole year, till it 
chanced on a certain day that she beat one of her handmaids 
grievously and the slave-girl said, "By Allah, I will assuredly 
torture thy heart, even as thou hast tortured me ! " So she went 
to the girl's father and exposed to him all that had passed, first 
and last, which when Tahir ibn Alaa heard he arose forthright and 
coming in to me, as I sat with his daughter, said, " Ho, such an 
one ! " ; and I said, " At thy service." Quoth he, " Tis our wont, 
when a merchant grow poor with us, to give him hospitality three 
days ; but thou hast had a year with us, eating and drinking and 
doing what thou wouldst." Then he turned to his pages and cried 
to them, " Pull off his clothes/' They did as he bade them and 

Arab. " Ila ma shdV llah" i.e. as long as you like. 

2OO A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

gave me ten dirhams and an old suit worth five silvers; after 
which he said to me, " Go forth ; I will not beat thee nor abuse 
thee ; but wend thy ways and if thou tarry in this town, thy blood 
be upon thine own head." So I went forth, O Commander of the 
Faithful, in my own despite, knowing not whither to hie, for had 
fallen on my heart all the trouble in the world and I was occupied 
with sad thought and doubt Then I bethought me of the wealth 
which I had brought from Oman and said in myself, " I came 
hither with a thousand thousand dinars, part price of thirty ships, 
and have made away with it all in the house of yonder ill-omened 
man, and now I go forth from him, bare and broken-hearted ! But 
there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the 
Glorious, the Great!" Then I abode three days in Baghdad, 
without tasting meat or drink, and on the fourth day seeing a ship 
bound for Bassorah, I took passage in her of the owner^ and when 
we reached our port, I landed and went into the bazar, being sore 
anhungered. Presently, a man saw me, a grocer, whom I had 
known aforetime, and coming up to me, embraced me, for he had 
been my friend and my father's friend before me. Then he ques- 
tioned me of my case, seeing me clad in those tattered clothes ; 
so I told him all that had befallen me, and he said, " By Allah, 
this is not the act of a sensible man ! But after this that hath 
befallen thee what dost thou purpose to do ? " Quoth I, " I know 
not what I shall do," and quoth he, " Wilt thou abide with me 
and write my outgo and income and thou shalt have two dirhams 
a day, over and above thy food and drink ? " I agreed to this and 
abode with him, O Prince of True Believers, selling and buying, 
till I had gotten an hundred dinars ; when I hired me an upper 
chamber by the river-side, so haply a ship should come, up with 
merchandise, that I might buy goods with the dinars and go back 
with them to Baghdad. Now it fortuned that one day, there came 
ships with merchandise, and all the merchants resorted to them to 
buy, and I went with them on board, when behold, there came 
two men out of the hold and setting themselves chairs on the 
deck, sat down thereon. The merchants addressed themselves to 
the twain with intent to buy, and the man said to one of the crew, 
' Bring the carpet." Accordingly he brought the carpet and 
spread it, and another came with a pair of saddle-bags, whence 
he took a budget and emptied it on the carpet ; and our sights 
were dazzled with that which issued therefrom of pearls and corals 
and jacinths and carnelians and other jewels of all sorts and 

Harun Al-Rashid and Abu Hasan. 201 

colours. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

JJofo fofjcn it foas tfje JJine ^untrtcir antr jpiftg*first 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young 
merchant, after recounting to the Caliph the matter of the bag and 
its containing jewels of all sorts, continued : Presently, O Com- 
mander of the Faithful, said one of the men on the chairs," O company 
of merchants, we will sell but this to-day, by way of spending- 
money, for that we are weary." So the merchants fell to bidding 
one against other for the jewels and bid till the price reached four 
hundred dinars. Then said to me the owner of the bag (for he 
was an old acquaintance of mine, and when he saw me, he came 
down to me and saluted me), " Why dost thou not speak and bid 
like the rest of the merchants ? " I said, " O my lord, by Allah, 
the shifts of fortune have run against me and I have lost my 
wealth and have only an hundred dinars left in the world." 
Quoth he, "O Omdni, after this vast wealth, can only an 
hundred dinars remain to thee ? " And I was abashed before 
him and my eyes filled with tears ; whereupon he looked 
at me and indeed my case was grievous to him. So he said 
to the merchants, " Bear witness against me that I have sold 
all that is in this bag of various gems and precious stones to 
this man for an hundred gold pieces, albeit I know them to be 
worth so many thousand dinars, and this is a present from 
me to him." Then he gave me the saddle-bag and the carpet, 
with all the jewels that were thereon, for which I thanked him, and 
each and every of the merchants present praised him. Presently 
I carried all this to the jewel-market -and sat there to sell and buy. 
Now among the precious stones was a round amulet of the handi- 
work of the masters, 1 weighing half a pound : it was red of the 
brightest, a carnelian on both whose sides were graven characts 
and characters, like the tracks of ants ; but I knew not its worth. 
I sold and bought a whole year, at the end of which I took the 
amulet 2 and said, "This hath been with me some while, and I 

1 i.e. of gramarye. 

2 Arab. "Ta'wiz" = the Arab Tilasm, our Talisman, a charm, an amulet; and in 
India mostly a magic square. The subject is complicated and occupies in Herklots som* 
sixty pages, 232-284. 

202 A If Lay t ah wa Laylah. 

know not what it is nor what may be its value." So I gave it to 
the broker who took it and went round with it and returned, saying, 
" None of the merchants will give me more than ten dirhams for 
it." Quoth I, " I will not sell it at that price ; " and he threw it in 
my face and went away. Another day I again offered it for sale 
and its price reached fifteen dirhams ; whereupon I took it from 
the broker in anger and threw it back into the tray. But a few 
days after, as I sat in my shop, there came up to me a man, who 
bore the traces of travel, and saluting me, said, " By thy leave, I 
will turn over what thou hast of wares." Said I, " 'Tis well/' and 
indeed, O Commander of the Faithful, I was still wroth by reason 
of the lack of demand for the talisman. So the man fell to turning 
over my wares, but took nought thereof save the amulet, which 
when he saw, he kissed his hand and cried, " Praised be Allah ! " 
Then said he to me, " O my lord, wilt thou sell this ? " ; and I 
replied, " Yes," being still angry. Quoth he, " What is its price ? " 
And I asked, " How much wilt thou give ? " He answered, 
"Twenty dinars": so I thought he was making mock of me and 
exclaimed, " Wend thy ways." But he resumed, " I will give thee 
fifty dinars for it." I made him no answer, and he continued, " A 
thousand dinars." But I was silent, declining to reply, whilst he 
laughed at my silence and said, " Why dost thou not return me an 
answer ? " '* Hie thee home," repeated I and was like to quarrel 
with him. But he bid thousand after thousand, and I still made 
him no reply, till he said, " Wilt thou sell it for twenty thousand 
dinars ? " I still thought he was mocking me ; but the people 
gathered about me and all of them said, " Sell to him, and if he 
buy not, we will all up and at him and drub him and thrust him 
forth the city." So quoth I to him, " Wilt thou buy or dost thou 
jest ? " ; and quoth he, " Wilt thou sell or dost thou joke ? " I said, 
" I will sell if thou wilt buy ; " then he said, " I will buy it for 
thirty thousand dinars ; take them and make the bargain ; " so I 
cried to the bystanders, " Bear witness against him," adding to 
him, " But on condition that thou acquaint me with the virtues and 
profit of this amulet for which thou payest all this money." He 
answered, " Close the bargain, and I will tell thee this ; " I rejoined, 
" I sell it to thee ; " and he retorted, " Allah be witness of that 
which thou sayst and testimony ! " Then he brought out the 
gold and giving it to me took the amulet, and set it in his bosom ; 
after which he turned to me and asked, e Art thou content ? " 
Answered I, " Yes," and he said to the people, " Bear witness 

Harun Al-Raskid and Abu Hasan. 203 

against him that he hath closed the bargain and touched the price, 
thirty thousand dinars." Then he turned to me and said, " Harkye, 
my poor fellow, hadst thou held back from selling, by Allah I 
would have bidden thee up to an hundred thousand dinars, nay, 
even to a thousand thousand ! " When I heard these words, O 
Commander of the Faithful, the blood fled my face, and from that 
day there overcame it this pallor thou seest. Then said I to 

" Tell me the reason of this and what is the use of this amulet. 11 ; 
And he answered, saying, " Know that the King of Hind hath 1 
a daughter, never was seen a thing fairer than she, and she 13 
possessed with a falling sickness. 1 So the King summoned the 
Scribes and men of science and Divines, but none of them could 
relieve her of this. Now I was present in the assembly ; so I said 
to him, " O King, I know a man called Sa'adu'llah the Babylonian, 
than whom there is not on the face of the earth one more masterly 
in these matters, and if thou see fit to send me to him, do so." 
Said he, " Go to him ; " and quoth I, " Bring me a piece of 
carnelian." Accordingly he gave me a great piece of carnelian 
and an hundred thousand dinars and a present, which I took, and 
with which I betook myself to the land of Babel. Then I sought 
out the Shaykh and when he was shown to me I delivered to him 
the money and the present, which he accepted and sending for a 
lapidary, bade him fashion the carnelian into this amulet. Then 
he abode seven months in observation of the stars, till he chose 
out an auspicious time for engraving it, when he graved upon it 
these talismanic characters which thou seest,. and I took it and 
returned with it to the King. -- -And Shahrazad perceived the 
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

fofjen ft foas tfje Nine l^untofc an& jptftg-seconK 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
young man said to the Commander of the Faithful : So after the 
Shaykh had spoken, I took this talisman and returned with it to 
the King. Now the Princess was bound with four chains, and 

1 The Bui. and Mac. Edits, give the Princess's malady, in error, as Daa al-Suda* 
(megrims), instead of Daa al-Sar* (epilepsy), as in the Bresl. Edit. The latter would 
mean that she is possessed by a demon, again the old Scriptural fancy (see vol. v. 28). 
The subject is highly fitted for romance but not for a " serious " book which ought to 
know better* 

2O4 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

every night a slave-girl lay^with her and was found in the morning' 
with her throat cut. The King took the amulet and laid it upon 
his daughter who was straightway made whole. At this he 
rejoiced with exceeding joy and invested me with a vest of honour 
and gave alms of much money ; and he caused set the amulet in 
the Princess's necklace. It chanced, one day, that she embarked 
with her women in a ship and went for a sail on the sea. Presently* 
one of her maids put out her hand to her, to sport with her, and 
the necklace brake asunder and fell into the waves. From that 
hour the possessor * of the Princess returned to her, wherefore 
great grief betided the King and he gave me much money, saying, 
" Go thou to Shaykh Sa'adu'llah and let him make her another 
amulet, in lieu of that which is lost." I journeyed to Babel, 
but found the old man dead ; whereupon I returned and told the 
King, who sent me and ten others to go round about in all 
countries, so haply we might find a remedy for her : and now Allah 
hath caused me happen on it with thee." Saying these words, he 
took from me the amulet, O Commander of the Faithful, and went 
his ways. Such, then, is the cause of the wanness of my com- 
plexion. As for me, I repaired to Baghdad, carrying all my wealth 
with me, and took up my abode in the lodgings where I lived 
whilome. On the morrow, as soon as it was light, I donned my 
dress and betook myself to the house of Tahir Ibn al-Alaa, that 
haply I might see her whom I loved, for the love of her had never 
ceased to increase upon my heart. But when I came to his home,. 
I saw the balcony broken down and the lattice builded up ; so I 
stood awhile, pondering my case and the shifts of Time, till there 
came up a serving-man, and I questioned him, saying, " What hath 
God done with Tahir ibn al-Alaa ? " He answered, " O my brother, 
he hath repented to Almighty Allah. 2 " Quoth I, " What was the 
cause of his repentance ? " ; and quoth he, " O my brother, in such 
a year there came to him a merchant, by name Abu al- Hasan the 
Omani, who abode with his daughter awhile, till his wealth was all 
spent, when the old man turned him out, broken-hearted. Now 
the girl loved him with exceeding love, and when she was parted 
from him, she sickened of a sore sickness and came nigh upon 
death. As soon as her father knew how it was with her, he sent 
after and sought for Abu al- Hasan through the lands, pledging 

1 Arab Al-'Ariz = the demon who possessed her. 
* U. He hath. renounced his infamous traffic. 

Harun Al-Raskid and Abu Hasan. 205 

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

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

Then she sat upright and said, " By Allah, O my lord, I had not 
deemed to see thy face ever more, save it were in a dream ! " So 
she embraced me and wept, and said, " O Abu al-Hasan, now will 

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

206 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

I eat and drink." The old man her sire rejoiced to hear these 
words and they brought her meat and drink and we ate and drank, 
O Commander of the Faithful. After this, I abode with them 
awhile, till she was restored to her former beauty, when her father 
sent for the Kazi and the witnesses and bade write out the 
marriage-contract between her and me and made a mighty great 
bride-feast ; and she is my wife to this day and this is my son by 
her." So saying he went away and returned with a boy of rare 
beauty and symmetry of form and favour to whom said he, '* Kiss 
the ground before the Commander of the Faithful.'* He kissed 
ground before the Caliph, who marvelled at his beauty and glorified 
his Creator ; after which Al-Rashid departed, he and his company, 
saying, "OJa afar, verily, this is none other than a marvellous thing, 
never saw I nor heard I aught more wondrous." When he was 
seated in the palace of the Caliphate, he cried, " O Masrur ! " who 
replied, " Here am I, O my lord ! " Then said he, " Bring the 
year's tribute of Bassorah and Baghdad and Khorasan, and set it 
in this recess. 1 " Accordingly he laid the three tributes together 
and they were a vast sum of money, whose tale none might tell 
save Allah. Then the Caliph bade draw a curtain before the 
recess and said to Ja'afar, " Fetch me Abu al-Hasan," Replied 
Ja'afar, "I hear and obey," and going forth, returned presently 
with the Omani, who kissed ground before the Caliph, fearing lest 
he had sent for him because of some fault that he had committed 
when he was with him in his house. Then said Al-Rashid, 
" Harkye, O Omani ! " and he replied, " Adsum, O Prince of True 
Believers ! May Allah ever bestow his favours upon thee ! " 
Quoth the Caliph, "Draw back yonder curtain." Thereupon 
Abu al-Hasan drew back the curtain from the recess and 
was confounded and perplexed at the mass of money he saw 
there. Said Al-Rashid, " O Abu al-Hasan, whether is the more, 
this money or that thou didst lose by the amulet 2 ?"; and he 
answered, " This is many times the greater, O Commander of the 
Faithful!" Quoth the Caliph, "Bear witness, all ye who are 
present, that I give this money to this young man." So Abu 

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

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

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 207 

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


AL-KHASlB, 2 Wazir of Egypt, had a son named Ibrahfm, than 
whom there was none goodlier, and of his fear for him, he suffered 
him not to go forth, save to the Friday prayers. One day, as the 
youth was returning from the mosque, he came upon an old man, 
with whom were many books ; so he lighted down from his horse 
and seating himself beside him, began to turn over the tomes and 
examine them. In one of them he espied the semblance of a 
woman which all but spoke, never was seen on the earth's face one 
more beautiful ; and as this captivated his reason and confounded 
his wit, he said to the old man, " O Shaykh, sell me this picture." 

1 The tale is not in the Bresl. Edit. 

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

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

visit ? 
For generosity is not his neighbour ; nor hath it sojourned near him ; but generosity 

goeth wherever he goeth : 
He is a man who purchaseth praise with his wealth, and who knowelh that the 

periods of Fortune revolve, 

208 A If Laytah wa Laylak. 

The bookseller kissed ground between his hands and said, " O my 
lord, 'tis thine without price. 1 ' Ibrahim gave him an hundred 
dinars and taking the book in which was the picture, fell to gazing 
upon it and weeping night and day, abstaining from meat and 
drink and sleep. Then said he in his mind, " An I ask the book- 
seller of the painter of this picture, .haply he will tell me ; and if 
the original be living, I will seek access to her ; but, if it be only 
a picture, I will leave doting upon it and plague myself no moro 

for a thing which hath no real existence." And Shahrazad per*. 

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

jiofo fojen ft foas tfte Nine f^utrtrretr antt jFifts-t&f A 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
youth Ibrahim said in his mind, " An I ask the bookseller of the 
painter of this picture, haply he will tell me ; and, if it be only a 
picture, I will leave doting upon it and plague myself no more for 
a thing which hath no real existence/' So on the next Friday 
he betook himself to the bookseller, who sprang up to receive him, 
and said to him, " Oh uncle, tell me who painted this picture." 
He replied, " O my lord, a man of the people of Baghdad painted 
it, by name Abu al-Kasim al-Sandalani who dwelleth in a quarter 
called Al-Karkh ; but I know not of whom it is the portraiture." 
So Ibrahim left him without acquainting any of his household with 
his case, and returned to the palace, after praying the Friday 
prayers. Then he took a bag and rilling it with gold and gems 
to the value of thirty thousand dinars, waited till the morning, 
when he went out, without telling any, and presently overtook a 
caravan. Here he saw a Badawi and asked him, " O uncle, what 
distance is between me and Baghdad ? "; and the other answered, 
" O my son, where art thou, and where is Baghdad 2 ? Verily, 
between thee and it is two months' journey. " Quoth Ibrahim, 
" O nuncle, an thou wilt guide me to Baghdad, I will give thee an 
hundred dinars and this mare under me that is worth other 
thousand gold pieces ; " and quoth the Badawi, " Allah be witness 
of what we say ! Thou shalt not lodge this night but with me." 

1 The old stoiy " A1& judi-k'* = upon thy generosity, which means at least ten time* 
the price. 

* i.e. The distance is enormous. 

Ibrahim and Jamilah* 209 

So Ibrahim agreed to this and passed the night with him. At 
break of dawn, the Badawi took him and fared on with him in 
haste by a near road, in his greed for the mare and the promised 
good ; nor did they leave wayfaring till they came to the walls of 
Baghdad, when said the wildling, " Praised be Allah for safety 1 
O my lord, this is Baghdad." Whereat Ibrahim rejoiced with 
exceeding joy and alighting from the mare, gave her to the Desert- 
man, together with the hundred dinars. Then he took the bag 
and entering the city walked on, enquiring for the quarter Al- 
Karkh and the station of the merchants, till Destiny drave him to 
a by-way, wherein were ten houses, five fronting five, and at the 
farther end was a two-leaved door with a silver ring. By the gate 
stood two benches of marble, spread with the finest carpets, and 
on one of them sat a man of handsome aspect and reverend, clad 
in sumptuous clothing and attended by five Mamelukes like moons. 
When the youth Ibrahim saw the street, he knew it by the de- 
scription the bookseller had given him ; so he salamed to the man, 
who returned his salutation and bidding him welcome, made him 
sit down and asked him of his case. Quoth Ibrahim, " I am a 
stranger man and desire of thy favour that thou look me out a 
house in this street where I may take up my abode." With this 
the other cried out, saying, " Ho, Ghazdlah 1 ! "; and there came 
forth to him a slave-girl, who said, " At thy service, my lord ! " 
Said her master, "Take some servants and fare ye all and every 
to such a house and clean it and furnish it with whatso is needful 
for this handsome youth." So she went forth and did his bidding ; 
whilst the old man took the youth and showed him the house ; and 
he said, " O my lord, how much may be the rent of this house ? " 
The other answered, " O bright of face, I will take no rent of thee 
whilst thou abidest therein." Ibrahim thanked him for this and 
the old man called another slave-girl, whereupon there came forth 
to him a damsel like the sun, to whom said he, " Bring chess." 
So she brought it and one of the servants set the cloth ; * where- 
upon said the Shaykh to Ibrahim, " Wilt thou play with me ? "; and 
he answered, "Yes/' So they played several games and Ibrahim 
beat him, when his adversary exclaimed, " Well done, O youth ! 

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

1 See vol. ii. 104. Herklots (PI. vii. fig. 2) illustrates the cloth used in playing the 
Indian game, Pachfsi. The " board " is rather European than Oriental, but it has of 
late years spread far and wide, especially the backgammon board. 


2 1 A If L aylah wa L ay I ah . 

Thou art indeed perfect in qualities. By Allah, there is not 
one in Baghdad can beat me, and yet thou hast beaten me ! H 
Now when they had made ready the house and furnished it with 
all that was needful, the old man delivered, the keys to Ibrahim 
and said to him, " O my lord, wilt thou not enter my place and 
eat of my bread ? " He assented and walking in with him, found 
it a handsome house and a goodly, decorated with gold and full 
of all manner pictures and furniture galore and other things, such 
as tongue faileth to set out. The old man welcomed him and 
called for food, whereupon they brought a table of the make of 
Sana'a of Al-Yaman and spread it with all manner rare viands, 
than which there was naught costlier nor more delicious. So 
Ibrahim ate his sufficiency, after which he washed his hands and 
proceeded to inspect the house and furniture. Presently, he turned 
to look for the leather bag, but found it not and said in himself, 
" There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the 
Glorious, the Great ! I have eaten a morsel worth a dirham or 
two and have lost a bag wherein is thirty thousand dinars' worth : 
but I seek aid of Allah ! " And he was silent and could not speak 

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say 

her permitted say. 

Jioto tofjm ft toaa tfjt jSme f^untati anfc ^tftg^fourtj jSifl&t, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the youth Ibrahim saw that his bag was lost, he was silent and 
could not speak for the greatness of his trouble. Presently his 
host brought the chess and said to him, " Wilt thou play with 
me ? "; and he said, " Yes." So they played and the old man beat 
him. Ibrahim cried, " Well done ! " and left playing and rose : 
upon which his host asked him, " What aileth thee, O youth ? " 
whereto he answered, " I want the bag/' Thereupon the Shaykh 
rose and brought it out to him, saying, " Here it is, O my lord. 
Wilt thou now return to playing with ,me ? " " Yes," replied 
Ibrahim. Accordingly they played and the young man beat him. 
Quoth the Shaykh/" When thy thought was occupied with the 
bag, I beat thee : but, now I have brought it back to thee, thou 
beatest me. But, tell me, O my son, what countryman art thou : " 
Quoth Ibrahim, "I am from Egypt," and quoth the oldster, "And 
what is the cause of thy coming to Baghdad ? "; whereupon 
Ibrahim brought out the portrait and said to him, " Know, O uncle, 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 2 1 1 

that I am the son of Al-Khasib, Wazir of Egypt, and I saw 
with a bookseller this picture, which bewildered my wit. I asked 
him who painted it and he said, " He who wrought it is a man, 
Abu al-Kasim al-Sandalani hight, who dwelleth in a street called 
the Street of Saffron in the Karkh quarter of Baghdad." So I 
took with me somewhat of money and came hither alone, none 
knowing of my case ; and I desire of the fulness of thy favour that 
thou direct me to Abu al-Kasim, so I may ask him of the cause 
of his painting this picture and whose portrait it is. And whatso- 
ever he desireth of me, I will give him that same." Said his host, 
" By Allah, O my son, I am Abu al-Kasim al-Sandalani, and this 
is a prodigious thing how Fate hath thus driven thee to me ! " 
Now when Ibrahim heard these words, he rose to him and 
embraced him and kissed his head and hands, saying, "Allah 
upon thee, tell me whose portrait it is ! " The other replied, " I 
hear and I obey," and rising, opened a closet and brought out a 
number of books, wherein he had painted the same picture, Then 
said he, " Know, O my son, that the original of this portrait is my 
cousin, the daughter of my father's brother, whose name is Abu 
al-Lays. 1 She dwelleth in Bassorah of which city her father is 
governor, and her name is Jamilah the beautiful. There is not 
on the face of the earth a fairer than she ; but she is averse from 
men and cannot hear the word ' man ' pronounced in her presence. 
Now I once repaired to my uncle, to the intent that he should 
marry me to her, and was lavish of wealth to him ; but he would 
not consent thereto : and when his daughter knew of this she was 
indignant and sent to me to say, amongst other things : An thou 
have wit, tarry not in this town ; else wilt thou perish and thy sin 
shall be on thine own neck. 2 For she is a virago of viragoes. 
Accordingly I left Bassorah, brokenhearted, and limned this like- 
ness of her in books and scattered them abroad in various lands, 
so haply they might fall into the hands of a comely youth like 
thyself and he contrive access to her and peradventure she might 
fall in love with him, purposing to take a promise of him that, 
when he should have possession of her, he would show her to me, 
though I look but for a moment from afar off." When Ibrahim 
son of Al-Khasib heard these words, he bowed his head awhile in 
thought and Al-Sandalani said to him, " O my son, I have not 

1 *>." Father of the Lion." 

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

212 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

seen in Baghdad a fairer than thou, and meseems that, when she 
seeth thee, she will love thee. Art thou willing, therefore, in case 
thou be united with her and get possession of her, to show her to 
me, if I look but for a moment from afar ? " Ibrahim replied, 
" Yes ; " and the painter rejoined, " This being so, tarry with me 
till thou set out." But the youth retorted, " I cannot tarry 
longer ; for my heart with love of her is all afire." " Have 
patience three days," said the Shaykh, " till I fit thee out a ship, 
wherein thou mayst fare to Bassorah." Accordingly he waited 
whilst the old man equipped him a craft and stored therein all 
that he needed of meat and drink and so forth. When the three 
days were past, he said to Ibrahim, " Make thee ready for the 
voyage ; for I have prepared thee a packet-boat furnished with all 
thou requirest. The craft is my property and the seamen are of 
my servants. In the vessel is what will suffice thee till thy return, 
and I have charged the crew to serve thee till thou come back in 
safety." Thereupon Ibrahim farewelled his host and embarking, 
sailed down the river till he came to Bassorah, where he pulled 
out an hundred dinars for the sailors , but they said, " We have 
gotten our hire of our lord." However he replied, " Take this by 
way of largesse ; and I will not acquaint him therewith." So they 
took it and blessed him. Then the youth landed and entering 
the town asked, " Where do the merchants lodge ? " and was 
answered, " In a Khan called the Khan of Hamaddn." 1 So he 
walked to the market wherein stood the Khan, and all eyes were 
fixed upon him and men's sight was attracted to him by reason 
of his exceeding beauty and loveliness. He entered the caravan- 
serai, with one of the sailors in his company ; and, asking for the 
porter, was directed to an aged man of reverend aspect. He 
saluted him and the doorkeeper returned his greeting; after 
which Ibrahim said to him, " O uncle, hast thou a nice chamber ? " 
He replied, " Yes," and taking him and the sailor, opened to them 
a handsome room decorated with gold, and said, " O youth, this 
chamber befitteth thee." Ibrahim pulled out two dinars and gave 
them to him, saying, "Take these to key-money." 2 And the 

1 Called after the famous town in Persian Mesopotamia which however is spelt with 
the lesser aspirate. See p. 144. The Geographical works of Sadik-i-Ispahani, London; 
Oriental Transl. Fund, 1882. Hamdan (with the greater aspirate) and Hamdun mean 
only the member masculine, which may be a delicate piece of chaff for the gallery. 

2 Arab. " Hulwan al-miftah," for which see vol. vii. 212. Mr. Payne compares it with 
the French denier a Dieu, given to the concierge on like occasions. 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 213 

porter took them and blessed him. Then the youth Ibrahim sent 
the sailor back to the ship and entered the room, where the door- 
keeper abode with him and served him, saying, " O my lord, thy 
coming hath brought us joy ! " Ibrahim gave him a dinar, and 
said, " Buy us herewith bread and meat and sweetmeats and 
wine." Accordingly the doorkeeper went to the market ; and, 
buying ten dirhams' worth of victual, brought it back to Ibrahim 
and gave him the other ten dirhams. But he cried to him, " Spend 
them on thyself; " whereat the porter rejoiced with passing joy. 
Then he ate a scone with a little kitchen 1 and gave the rest to the 
concierge, adding, " Carry this to the people of thy household." 
The porter carried it to his family and said to them, " Methinketh 
there is not on the face of the earth a more generous than the 
young man who has come to lodge with us this day, nor yet a 
pleasanter than he. An he abide with us, we shall grow rich." 
Then he returned to Ibrahim and found him weeping ; so he sat 
down and began to rub 2 his feet and kiss them, saying, " O my 
lord, wherefore weepest thou ? May Allah not make thee weep ! " 
Said Ibrahim, " O uncle, I have a mind to drink with thee this 
night ; " and the porter replied, " Hearing and obeying ! " So 
he gave him five dinars and said, " Buy us fresh fruit and wine ; M 
and presently added other five, saying, " With these buy also for 
us dessert 3 and flowers and five fat fowls and bring me a lute.' v 
The doorkeeper went out and, buying what he had ordered, saicl 
to his wife, " Strain this wine and cook us this food and look thoit 
dress it daintily, for this young man overwhelmeth us with his- 
bounties." She did as he bade her, to the utmost of desire ; and 
he took the victuals and carried them to Ibrahim son of the 
Sultan. -- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 
saying her permitted say. 

fofccn ft foas tfje Hine f^untefc an* Jptftg-fiftJ) 

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

1 Arab. 'Udm, a relish, the Scotch " kitchen, ' Lat. Opsonium, Ital. Coropanatico and 
our " by-meat." See vol. iv. 128. 

3 Arab. " Kabasa " = he shampoo'd. See vol. ii . 17. 
3 Arab. " Nukl." See supra p. 177. 

214 Alf Laylak wa Laylah. 

my friend ! an I rendered my life, my sprite, o My wealth and whatever 

the world can unite ; 

Nay, th* Eternal Garden and Paradise 1 o For an hour of Union my 

heart would buy't ! 

Then he sobbed a great sob and fell down a-swoon. The 
porter sighed, and when he came to himself, he said to 
him, " O my lord, what is it 'gars thee weep and who is she 
to whom thou alludest in these verses ? * Indeed, she cannot 
be but as dust to thy feet." But Ibrahim arose and 
for all reply brought out a parcel of the richest raiment 
that women wear and said to him, "Take this to thy Harim." 
So he carried it to his wife and she returned with him 
to the young man's lodging and behold, she found him 
weeping, quoth the doorkeeper to him, " Verily, thou breakest 
our hearts ! Tell us what fair one thou desirest, and she shall 
be naught save thy handmaid." Quoth he, " O uncle, know, that 

1 am the son of Al-Khasib, Wazir of Egypt, and I am enamoured 
of Jamilah, daughter of Abu al-Lays the Governor." Exclaimed 
the porter's wife, " Allah ! Allah ! O my brother, leave this talk, 
lest any hear of us and we perish. Verily there is not on earth's 
face a more masterful than she, nor may any name to her the 
word * man,' for she is averse from men. Wherefore, O my son, 
turn from her to other than her." Now when Ibrahim heard this, 
he wept with sore weeping and the doorkeeper safd to him, " I 
have nothing save my life ; but that I will risk for thy love and 
find thee a means of winning thy will." Then the twain went out 
from him, and on the morrow he betook himself to the Hammam 
and donned a suit of royal raiment, after which he returned to his 
lodging, when behold, the porter and his wife came in to him and 
said, " Know, O my lord, that there is a humpbacked tailor here 
who seweth for the lady Jamilah. Go thou to him and acquaint 
him with thy case ; haply he will show thee the way of attaining 
thine aim." So the youth Ibrahim arose and betaking himself 
to the shop of the humpbacked tailor, went in to him and found 
with him ten Mamelukes as they were moons. He saluted them 
with the salam, and they returned his greeting and bade him 
welcome and made him sit down; and indeed they rejoiced in 
him and were amazed at his charms and loveliness, especially the 

1 Arab. Jannat al-Khuld and Firdaus, two of the Heavens repeatedly noticed. 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 2 1 5 

hunchback who was confounded at his beauty of form and favour. 
Presently he said to the Gobbo, " I desire that thou sew me up my 
pocket ; " and the tailor took a needleful of silk and sewed up his 
pocket which he had torn purposely; whereupon Ibrahim gave 
him five dinars and returned to his lodging. Quoth the tailor, 
" What thing have I done for this youth, that he should give me 
five gold pieces ? " And he passed the night, pondering his beauty 
and generosity. And when morning morrowed Ibrahim repaired 
to the shop and saluted the tailor, who returned his salam and 
welcomed him and made much of him. Then he sat down and 
said to the hunchback, " O uncle, sew up my pocket, for I have 
rent it again." Replied the tailor, " On my head and eyes, O my 
son," and sewed it up ; whereupon Ibrahim gave him ten ducats 
and he took them, amazed at his beauty and generosity. Then 
said he, " By Allah, O youth, for this conduct of thine needs must 
be a cause, this is no matter of sewing up a pocket. But tell me 
the truth of thy case. An thou be in love with one of these 
boys, 1 by Allah, there is not among them a comlier than thou, 
for they are each and every as the dust at thy feet ; and behold, 
they are all thy slaves and at thy command. Or if it be other 
than this, tell me." Replied Ibrahim, " O uncle, this is no place 
for talk, for my case is wondrous and my affair marvellous." 
Rejoined the tailor, " An it be so, come with me to a place apart." 
So saying, he rose up in haste and took the youth by the hand 
and carrying him into a chamber behind the shop, said, " Now 
tell me thy tale, O youth ! " Accordingly Ibrahim related his 
story first and last to the tailor, who was amazed at his speech 
and cried, " O youth, fear Allah for thyself: 2 indeed she of whom 
thou speakest is a virago and averse from men. Wherefore, O my 
brother, do thou guard thy tongue, else thou wilt destroy thyself." 
When Ibrahim heard the hunchback's words, he wept with sore 
weeping and clinging to the tailor's skirts said, " Help me, O my 
uncle, or I am a dead man ; for I have left my kingdom and the 
kingdom of my father and grandfather and am become a stranger 
in the lands and lonely; nor can I endure without her." When 
the tailor saw how it was with him, he pitied him and said, " O my 
son, I have but my life and that I will venture for thy love, for 
thou makest my heart ache. But by to-morrow I will contrive 

1 The naivete is purely Horatian, that is South European versus North European. 
8 '.*. "Have some regard for thy life." 

216 A If Laylah wa Laylak* 

thee somewhat whereby thy heart shall be solaced." Ibrahim! 
blessed him and returning to the khan, told the doorkeeper what 
the hunchback had said, and he answered, " Indeed, he hath dealt 
kindly with thee." Next morning, the youth donned his richest 
dress and taking a purse of gold, repaired to the Gobbo and 
saluted him. Then he sat down and said, "O uncle, keep thy 
word with me." Quoth the hunchback, " Arise forthright and take 
thee three fat fowls and three ounces ! of sugar-candy and two 
small jugs which do thou fill with wine ; also a cup. Lay all 
these in a budget 2 and to-morrow, after the morning-prayers, take 
boat with them, saying to the boatman : I would have thee row 
me down the river below Bassorah. An he say to thee, " I cannot 
go farther than a parasang " do thou answer : As thou wilt ; but, 
when he shall have come so far, lure him on with money to carry 
thee farther ; and the first flower-garden thou wilt descry after this 
will be that of the lady Jamilah. Go up to the gate as soon as 
thou espiest it and there thou wilt see two high steps, carpeted 
with brocade, and seated thereon a Quasimodo like me. Do thou 
complain to him of thy case and crave his favour : belike he will 
have compassion on thy condition and bring thee to the sight of 
her, though but for a moment from afar. This is all I can do for 
thee ; and unless he be moved to pity for thee, we be dead men, I 
and thou. This then is my rede and the matter rests with the 
Almighty/' Quoth Ibrahim, " I seek aid of Allah; whatso He 
willeth becometh ; and there is no Majesty and there is no Might 
save in Allah ! " Then he left the hunchback tailor and returned 
to his lodging where, taking the things his adviser had named, he 
laid them in a bag. On the morrow, as soon as it was day, he 
went down to Tigris bank, where he found a boatman asleep ; 
so he awoke him and giving him ten sequins, bade him row him 
down the river below Bassorah. Quoth the man, " O my lord, it 
must be on condition that I go no farther than a parasang ; for if 
I pass that distance by a span, I am a lost man, and thou too."' 
And quoth Ibrahim, " Be it as thou wilt." Thereupon he took 

1 Arab. "Awak" plur. of tlkiyyah a word known throughout the Moslem East. 
As an ounce it weighs differently in every country and in Barbary (Mauritania) which 
we call Morocco, it is a nominal coin containing twelve Fliis (fuliis) now about = a 
penny. It is a direct descendant from the " Uk "or " Wuk " (ounce) of the hieroglyphs 
(See Sharpe's Egypt or any other Manual) and first appeared in Europe as the 
Creek ovy/a'a. 

2 Arab. " Karah" usually a large bag. 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 217 

him and dropped down the river with him till he drew near the 
flower-garden, when he said to him, " O my son, I can go no 
farther; for, if I pass this limit, we are both dead men." Hereat 
Ibrahim pulled out other ten dinars and gave them to him, saying, 
" Take this spending-money and better thy case therewithal." The 
boatman was ashamed to refuse him and fared on with him crying, 

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

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

Koto fofjcn it foas t&e Nine ^untorefc antr dFift 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the youth Ibrahim gave the boatman other ten dinars, the man 
took them, saying, " I commit the affair to Allah the Almighty ! " 
and fared on with him down stream. When they came to the 
flower-garden, the youth sprang out of the boat, in his joy, a spring 
of a spear's cast from the land, and cast himself down, whilst the 
boatman turned and fled. Then Ibrahim fared forward and found 
all as it had been described by the Gobbo : he also saw the garden- 
gate open, and in the porch a couch of ivory, whereon sat a hump- 
backed man of pleasant presence, clad in gold-laced clothes and 
hending in hand a silvern mace plated with gold. So he hastened 
up to him and seizing his hand kissed it ; whereupon asked the 
hunchback, " Who art thou and whence comest thou and who 
brought thee hither, O my son ? " And indeed, when the man saw 
Ibrahim Khasib-son, he was amazed at his beauty. He answered, 
"O uncle, I am an ignorant lad and a stranger;" and he wept. 
The hunchback had pity on him and taking him up on the couch, 
wiped away his tears and said to him, " No harm shall come to 
thee. An thou be in debt, may Allah settle thy debt : and if thou 
be in fear, may Allah appease thy fear ! " Replied Ibrahim, " O 
uncle, I am neither in fear nor am I in debt, but have money in 
plenty, thanks to Allah." Rejoined the other, " Then, O my son, 
what is thy need that thou venturest thyself and thy loveliness to 
a place wherein is destruction ?" So he told him his story and 
disclosed to him his case, whereupon the man bowed his head 
earthwards awhile, then said to him, " Was he who directed thee 
to me the humpbacked tailor ? " " Yes," answered Ibrahim, and 
the keeper said, " This is my brother, and he is a blessed man 1 " 
presently adding, " But, O my son, had not affection for thee sunk 

218 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

into my heart, and had I not taken compassion on thee, verily 
thou wert lost, thou and my brother and the doorkeeper of the 
Khan and his wife. For know that this flower-garden hath not 
its like on the face of the earth and that it is called the Garden 
of the Wild Heifer, 1 nor hath any entered it in all my life long, 
save the Sultan and myself and its mistress Jamilah ; and I have 
dwelt here twenty years and never yet saw any else attain to this 
stead. Every forty days the Lady Jamilah cometh hither in a 
bark and landeth in the midst of her women, under a canopy of 
satin, whose skirts ten damsels hold up with hooks of gold, whilst 
she entereth, and I see nothing of her. Natheless, I have but my 
life and I will risk it for the sake of thee." Herewith Ibrahim 
kissed his hand and the keeper said to him, " Sit by me, till I 
devise somewhat for thee." Then he took him by the hand and 
carried him into the flower-garden which, when he saw, he deemed 
it Eden, for therein were trees intertwining and palms high tower- 
ing and waters welling and birds with various voices carolling. 
Presently, the keeper brought him to a domed pavilion and said to 
him, " This is where the Lady Jamilah sitteth." So he examined 
it and found it of the rarest of pleasances, full of all manner 
paintings in gold and lapis lazuli. It had four doors, whereto man 
mounted by five steps, and in its centre was a cistern of water, to 
which led down steps of gold all set with precious stones. 
Amiddlewards the basin was a fountain of gold, with figures, large 
and small, and water jetting in gerbes from their mouths ; and 
when, by reason of the issuing forth of the water, they attuned 
themselves to various tones, it seemed to the hearer as though he 
were in Eden. Round the pavilion ran a channel of water, turning 
a Persian wheel 2 whose buckets 8 were silvern covered with bro- 
cade. To the left of the pavilion 4 was a lattice of silver, giving 
upon a green park, wherein were all manner wild cattle and 
gazelles and hares, and on the right hand was another lattice, 

1 Arab. " Luliiah," which may mean the Union-pearl ; but here used in the sense of 
" wild cow," the bubalus antelope, alluding to \hzfarouche nature of Miss Jamilah. We 
are also told infra that the park was full of " Wuhush " wild cattle. 

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

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

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

Ibrahim and Jamilak. 219 

overlooking a meadow full of birds of all sorts, warbling in various 
voices and bewildering the hearers' wits. Seeing all this the youth 
was delighted and sat down in the doorway by the gardener, who 
said to him, " How seemeth to thee my garden ? " Quoth Ibrahim, 
" 'Tis the Paradise of the world ! " Whereat the gardener laughed. 
Then he rose and was absent awhile and presently returned with 
a tray, full of fowls and quails and other dainties including sweet- 
meats of sugar, which he set before Ibrahim, saying, " Eat thy 
sufficiency." So he ate his fill, whereat the keeper rejoiced and 
cried, " By Allah, this is the fashion of Kings and sons of Kings 1 1" 
Then said he, " O Ibrahim, what hast thou in yonder bag ? " Ac- 
cordingly he opened it before him and the keeper said, " Carry it 
with thee ; 'twill serve thee when the Lady Jamilah cometh ; for 
when once she is come, I shall not be able to bring thee food." 
Then he rose and taking the youth by the hand, brought him to 
a place fronting the pavilion, where he made him an arbour 2 among 
the trees and said to him, " Get thee up here, and when she 
cometh thou wilt see her and she will not see thee. This is the 
best I can do for thee and on Allah be our dependence ! Whenas 
she singeth, drink thou to her singing, and whenas she departeth 
thou shalt return in safety whence thou earnest, Inshallah ! ' 
Ibrahim thanked him and would have kissed his hand, but he 
forbade him. Then the youth laid the bag in the arbour and 
the keeper said to him, " O Ibrahim, walk about and take thy 
pleasure in the garth and eat of its fruits, for thy mistress's coming 
is appointed to be to-morrow." So he solaced himself in the 
garden and ate of its fruits ; after which he nighted with the 
keeper. And when morning morrowed and showed its sheen and 
shone, he prayed the dawn-prayer and presently the keeper came 
to him with a pale face, and said to him, " Rise, O my son, and go 
up into the arbour : for the slave-girls are come to order the place, 

and she cometh after them ;" And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Xofo fofjm ft foa tfje Nine f^unUtea an& Jptftg.sebentft Nigf)t, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the 
keeper came to Ibrahim Khasib-son in the Garden he said to him, 

1 Easterns greatly respect a belle fourchette, especially when the eater is a lover. 

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

22O A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

" Rise, O my son, and go up into the arbour ; for the slave-girls are 
come to order the place and she cometh after them. So beware 
lest thou spit or sneeze or blow thy nose '; else we are dead men, 
I and thou/' Hereupon Ibrahim rose and went up into his nest, 
whilst the keeper fared forth, saying, t( Allah grant thee safety, O 
my son ! " Presently behold, up came four slave-girls, whose 
like none ever saw, and entering the pavilion, doffed their outer 
dresses and washed it. Then they sprinkled it with rose-water 
and incensed it with ambergris and aloes-wood and spread it with 
brocade. After these came fifty other damsels, with instruments 
of music, and amongst them Jamilah, within a canopy of red bro- 
cade, whose skirts the handmaidens bore up with hooks of gold, till 
she had entered the pavilion, so that Ibrahim saw naught of her nor 
of her raiment. So he said to himself, " By Allah, all my travail is 
lost ! But needs must I wait to see how the case will be." Then the 
damsels brought meat and drink and they ate and drank and washed 
their hands, after which they set her a royal chair and she sat down ; 
and all played on instruments of music and with ravishing voices 
incomparably sang. Presently, out ran an old woman, a duenna, 
and clapped hands and danced, whilst the girls pulled her about,, 
till the curtain was lifted and forth came Jamilah laughing. Ibra- 
him gazed at her and saw that she was clad in costly robes and 
ornaments, and on her head was a crown set with pearls and gems. 
About her long fair neck she wore a necklace of unions and her 
waist was clasped with a girdle of chrysolite bugles, with tassels 
of rubies and pearls. The damsels kissed ground before her, and, 

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

Ibrahim and Jamilak. 

" When I considered her n (quoth Ibrahim), " I took leave of 
tny senses and wit and I was dazed and my thought was con- 
founded for amazement at the sight of loveliness whose like is not 
on the face of the earth. So I fell into a swoon and coming to 
myself, weeping-eyed, recited these two couplets : 

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

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

Then said the old Kahramanah ! to the girls, " Let ten of you arise 
and dance and sing." And Ibrahim when looking at them said 
in himself, " I wish the lady Jamilah would dance." When the 
handmaidens had made an end of their pavane, they gathered 
round the Princess and said to her, " O my lady, we long for thee 
to dance amongst us, so the measure of our joy may be fulfilled, 
for never saw we a more delicious day than this/' Quoth Ibrahim 
to himself, " Doubtless the gates of Heaven are open 2 and Allah 
hath granted my prayer." Then the damsels bussed her feet and 
said to her, " By Allah, we never saw thee broadened of breast as 
to-day!*' Nor did they cease exciting her, till she doffed her 
outer dress and stood in a shift of cloth of gold, 3 broidered with 
various jewels, showing breasts which stood out like pomegranates 
and unveiling a face as it were the moon on the night of fulness. 
Then she began to dance, and Ibrahim beheld motions he had 
never in his life seen their like, for she showed such wondrous skill 
and marvellous invention, that she made men forget the dancing 
of bubbles in wine-cups and called to mind the inclining of the, 
turbands from head 4 -tops : even as saith of her the poet 5 : 

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

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

is beneath his feet. 

1 A duenna, nursery governess, etc. See vol. i. 231. 

2 For this belief see the tale called "The Night of Power/' vol. vi. 180. 

3 The Anglo.Indian "Kincob" (Kimkh'ab) ; brocade, silk flowered with gold or 

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

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

i _. 540. 

222 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

And as quoth another * : 

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

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

heart were beneath her feet. 

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

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

" So praised be Allah who hath shown thy face ! But, by the Al- 
mighty, had it been other than thou, I had crucified the keeper of 
the garden and the porter of the Khan and the tailor and him who 
had recourse to them ! " And presently she added, " But how 

1 The lines are half of four couplets in vol. iv. 192 ; so I quote Lane. 

2 i.e. none hath pleased me. I have quoted the popular saying, " The son of the 
quarter filleth not the eye." i.e. women prefer stranger faces. 

Ibrahim and Jamil ah. 223 

shall I contrive for somewhat thou mayst eat, without the know- 
ledge of my women ? " Quoth I, With me is somewhat we may 
eat and drink ;" and I opened the bag before her. She took a 
fowl and began to morsel me and I to morsel her ; which when I 
saw, it seemed to me that this was a dream. Then I brought out 
wine and we drank, what while the damsels sang on ; nor did they 
leave to do thus from morn to noon, when she rose and said, " Go 
now and get thee a boat and await me in such a place, till I come 
to thee : for J have no patience left to brook severance." I replied, 
" O my lady, I have with me a ship of my own, whose crew are in 
my hire, and they await me." Rejoined she, "This is as we would 
have it/' and returning to her women, And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

fo&en it foas t&e Nine ^urrtwti anfc 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
when the Lady Jamilah returned to her women, she said to them, 
" Come, let us go back to our palace." They replied, " Why should 
we return now, seeing that we use to abide here three days ? " 
Quoth she, " I feel an exceeding oppression in myself, as though I 
were sick, and I fear lest this increase upon me." 1 So they 
answered, " We hear and obey," and donning their walking-dresses 
went down to the river-bank and embarked in a boat ; whereupon 
behold, the keeper of the garden came up to Ibrahim and said to 
him, knowing not what had happened, " O Ibrahim, thou hast not 
had the luck to enjoy the sight of her, and I fear lest she have 
seen thee, for 'tis her wont to tarry here three days." Replied 
Ibrahim, " She saw me not nor I her ; for she came not forth of 
the pavilion." 2 Rejoined the keeper, " True, O my son, for, had 
she seen thee, we were both dead men : but abide with me till she 
come again next week, and thou shalt see her and take thy fill of 
looking at her." Replied the Prince, " O my lord, I have with 

1 Here after the favourite Oriental fashion, she tells the truth but so enigmatically that 
ft is more deceptive than an untruth ; a good Eastern quibble infinitely more dangerous 
than an honest downright lie. The consciousness that the falsehood is part fact applies 
a salve to conscience and supplies a force lacking in the mere fib. When an Egyptian 
Bes to you look straight in his eyes and he will most often betray himself either by 

or by a look of injured innocence. 

2 Another true lie. 

224 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

me money and fear for it : I also left men behind me and I dread 
lest they take advantage of my absence." 1 He retorted, " O my 
son 'tis grievous to me to part with thee ;" and he embraced and 
farewelled him. Then Ibrahim returned to the Khan where he 
lodged, and foregathering with the doorkeeper, took of him all his 
property and the porter said, " Good news, Inshallah ! " 2 But 
Ibrahim said, " I have found no way to my want, and now I am 
minded to return to my people." Whereupon the porter wept ; 
then taking up his baggage, he carried them to the ship and abade 
him adieu. Ibrahim repaired to the place which Jamilah had 
appointed him and awaited her there till it grew dark, when, 
behold, she came up, disguised as a bully-boy with rounded beard 
and waist bound with a girdle. In one hand she held a bow and 
arrows and in the other a bared blade, and she asked him, " Art 
thou Ibrahim, son of Al-Khasib, lord of Egypt ? " " He I am," 
answered the Prince ; and she said, " What ne'er-do-well art thou, 
who comest to debauch the daughters of Kings ? Come : speak 
with the Sultan." 3 Therewith (quoth Ibrahim) I fell down in a 
swoon and the sailors died 4 in their skins for fear ; but, when she 
saw what had betided me, she pulled off her beard and throwing 
down her sword, ungirdled her waist whereupon I knew her for 
the Lady Jamilah and said to her, " By Allah, thou hast rent my 
heart in sunder ! " 5 adding to the boatmen, " Hasten the vessel's 
speed." So they shook out the sail and putting off, fared on with 
all diligence ; nor was it many days ere we made Baghdad, where 
suddenly we saw a ship lying by the river-bank. When her sailors 
saw us, they cried out to our crew, saying, " Ho, such an one and 
such an one, we give you joy of your safety ! " Then they drave 
their ship against our craft and I looked and in the other boat 
beheld Abu al-Kasim al-Sandalani who when he saw us exclaimed, 
" This is what I sought : go ye in God's keeping ; as for me, I 
have a need to be satisfied ! " Then he turned to me and said, 

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

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

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

4 Lane translates " Almost died," Payne " well-nigh died ;'' but the text says " died." 
I would suggest to translators 

Be bould, be bould and every where be bould ! 

6 He is the usual poltroon contrasted with the manly and masterful girl, a conjunction 
of the lioness and the lamb sometimes seen in real life. 

Ibrahim and Jamilah. 225 

41 Praised be Allah for safety ! Hast thou accomplished thine 
errand ?" I replied, " Yes !" Now Abu al-Kasim had a flambeau 
before him ; so he brought it near our boat, 1 and when Jamilah 
saw him, she was troubled and her colour changed : but, when he 
saw her, he said, " Fare ye in Allah's safety. I am bound to 
Bassorah, on business for the Sultan ; but the gift is for him who 
is present/' 2 Then he brought out a box of sweetmeats, wherein 
was Bhang and threw it into our boat : whereupon quoth I to 
Jamilah, " O coolth of mine eyes, eat of this." But she wept and 
said, " O Ibrahim, wottest thou who that is ? " and said I, " Yes, 
'tis such an one." Replied she, " He is my first cousin, son of my 
father's brother 3 who sought me aforetime in marriage of my sire ; 
but I would not accept of him. And now he is gone to Bassorah 
and most like he will tell my father of us." I rejoined, " O my 
lady he will not reach Bassorah, till we are at Mosul." But we 
knew not what lurked for us in the Secret Purpose. Then (con- 
tinued Ibrahim) I ate of the sweetmeat, but hardly had it reached 
my stomach when I smote the ground with my head ; and lay 
there till near dawn, when I sneezed and the Bhang issued from 
my nostrils. With this, I opened my eyes and found myself naked 
and cast out among ruins ; so I buffeted my face and said in 
myself, " Doubtless this is a trick Al-Sandalani hath played me." 
But I knew not whither I should wend, for I had upon me naught 
save my bag-trousers. 4 However, I rose and walked on a little, 
till I suddenly espied the Chief of Police coming towards me, with 
a posse of men with swords and targes ; 5 whereat I took fright and 
seeing a ruined Hammam hid myself there. Presently, my foot 
stumbled upon something ; so I put my hand to it, and it became 
befouled with blood. I wiped my hand upon my bag-trousers, 
unknowing what had befouled it, and put it out a second time, 

1 That he might see Jamilah as Ibrahim had promised. 

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

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

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

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


226 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

when it fell upon a corpse whose head came up in my hand. I 
threw it down, saying, " There is no Majesty and there is no 
Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! "; and I took refuge 
in one of the corner-cabinets of the Hammam. Presently the 
Wali stopped at the bath-door and said, " Enter this place and 
search." So ten of them entered with cressets, and I of my fear 
retired behind a wall and looking upon the corpse, saw it to be that 
of a young lady ' with a face like the full moon ; and her head lay 
on one side and her body clad in costly raiment on the other. 
When I saw this, my heart fluttered with affright. Then the Chief 
of Police entered and said, " Search the corners of the bath." So 
they entered the place wherein I was, and one of them seeing me, 
came up hending in hand a knife half a cubit long. When he 
drew near me, he cried, " Glory be to God, the Creator of this fair 
face ! O youth, whence art thou ? " Then he took me by the 
Jiand and said, " O youth, why slewest thou this woman ? " Said 
I, " By Allah, I slew her not, nor wot I who slew her, and I 
entered not this place but in fear of you ! " And I told him my 
case, adding, " Allah upon thee, do me no wrong, for I am in 
concern for myself \ " Then he took me and carried me to the 
Wali who, seeing the marks of blood on my hand said, "This 
needeth no proof : strike off his head ! " And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fojm it foa* tfte Nine f^unfcrtfr antr JFiftg=nmti) Ntgftt, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ibrahim 
continued : Then they carried me before the Wali and he, seeing 
the bloodstains on my hand, cried, " This needeth no proof: strike 
off his head ! " Now hearing these words, I wept with sore 
weeping the tears streaming from my eyes and recited these two 
couplets 2 : 

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

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


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

2 The sense of them is found in vol. ii. 41. 

Ibrahim and Jamilak. 227 

Then I sobbed a single sob and fell a-swoon ; and the headsman's 
heart was moved to ruth for me and he exclaimed, " By Allah, this 
is no murtherer's face ! " But the Chief said, " Smite his neck." 
So they seated me on the rug of blood and bound my eyes ; after 
which the sworder drew his sword and asking leave of the Wall, 
was about to strike off my head, whilst I cried out, "Alas, my 
strangerhood ! " when lo and behold ! I heard a noise of horse 
coming up and a voice calling aloud, "Leave him! Stay thy 
hand, O Sworder ! " Now there was for this a wondrous reason 
and a marvellous cause ; and 'twas thus. Al-Khasib, Wazir of 
Egypt, had sent his Head Chamberlain to the Caliph Harun al- 
Rashid with presents and a letter, saying, "My son hath been 
missing this year past, and I hear that he is in Baghdad ; where- 
fore I crave of the bounty of the Viceregent of Allah that he 
make search for tidings of him and do his endeavour to find him 
and send him back to me with the Chamberlain." When the 
Caliph read the missive, he commanded the Chief of Police to 
search out the truth of the matter, and he ceased not to enquire after 
Ibrahim, till it was told him that he was at Bassorah, whereupon 
he informed the Caliph, who wrote a letter to the viceroy and 
giving it to the Chamberlain of Egypt, bade him repair to Bassorah 
and take with him a company of the Wazir's followers. So, of his 
eagerness to find the son of his lord, the Chamberlain set out 
forthright and happened by the way upon Ibrahim, as he stood 
on the rug of blood When the Wali saw the Chamberlain, he 
recognised him and alighted to him and as he asked, "What 
young man is that and what is his case ? " The Chief told him 
how the matter was and the Chamberlain said (and indeed he 
knew him not for the son of the Sultan 1 ) " Verily this young man 
hath not the face of one who murthereth." And he bade loose his 
bonds ; so they loosed him and the Chamberlain said, " Bring him 
to me ! " and they brought him, but the officer knew him not his 
beauty being all gone for the horrors he had endured. Then the 
Chamberlain said to him, " O youth, tell me thy case and how 
cometh this slain woman with thee." Ibrahim looked at him and 
knowing him, said to him, " Woe to thee ! Dost thou not know 

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

228 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

me ? Am I not Ibrahim, son of thy lord ? Haply thou art come 
in quest of me." With this the Chamberlain considered him 
straitly and knowing him right well, threw himself at his feet ; 
which when the Wali saw, his colour changed ; and the Chamber- 
lain cried to him, " Fie upon thee, O tyrant ! Was it thine intent 
to slay the son of my master Al-Khasib, Wazir of Egypt ? " The 
Chief of Police kissed his skirt, saying " O my lord, 1 how should 
I know him ? We found him in this plight and saw the girl lying 
slain by his side." Rejoined the Chamberlain, " Out on thee ! 
Thou art not fit for the office. This is a lad of fifteen and he hath 
not slain a sparrow ; so how should he be a murtherer ? Why 
didst thou not have patience with him and question him of his 
case ? " Then the Chamberlain and the Wali cried to the men, 
" Make search for the young lady's murtherer." So they re-entered 
the bath and finding him, brought him to the Chief of Police, who 
carried him to the Caliph and acquainted him with that which had 
occurred. Al-Rashid bade slay the slayer and sending for Ibrahim, 
smiled in his face and said to him, " Tell me thy tale and that 
which hath betided thee." So he recounted to him his story from 
first to last, and it was grievous to the Caliph, who called Masrur 
his Sworder, and said to him, " Go straightway and fall upon the 
house of Abu al-Kasim al-Sandalani and bring me him and the 
young lady." The eunuch went forth at once and breaking into 
the house, found Jamilah bound with her own hair and nigh upon 
death ; so he loosed her and taking the painter, carried them both 
to the Caliph, who marvelled at Jamilah's beauty. Then he turned 
to Al-Sandalani and said, "Take him and cut off his hands, where- 
with he beat this young lady; then crucify him and deliver his 
monies and possessions to Ibrahim." They did his bidding, and 
as they were thus, behold, in came Abu al-Lays governor of 
Bassorah, the Lady Jamilah's father, seeking aid of the Caliph 
against Ibrahim bin al-Khasib Wazir of Egypt and complaining 
to him that the youth had taken his daughter. Quoth Al-Rashid, 
" He hath been the means of delivering her from torture and 
slaughter." Then he sent for Ibrahim, and when he came, he said 

1 Arab. " Yd Maulaya!" the term is still used throughout Moslem lands; but in 
Barbary where it is pronounced " Moolaee " Europeans have converted it to " Muley " 
as if it had some connection with the mule. Even in Robinson Crusoe we find 
"muly" or " Moly Ismael " (chapt. ii.) ; and we hear the high-sounding name 
Maula-Mdrfs, the patron saint of the Sunset Land, debased to "Muley Dris." 

Ibrahim and Jamilak. 229 

to Abu al-Lays, " Wilt thou not accept of this young man, son of 
the Soldan of Egypt, as husband to thy daughter ? " Replied Abu 
al-Lays, "I hear and I obey Allah and thee, O Commander of the 
Faithful;" whereupon the Caliph summoned the Kazi and the 
witnesses and married the young lady to Ibrahim. Furthermore, 
he gave him all Al-Sandalani's wealth and equipped him for his 
return to his own country, where he abode with Jamilah in the 
utmost of bliss and the most perfect of happiness, till there came 
to them the Destroyer of delights and the Sunderer of societies ; 
and glory be to the Living who dieth not ! They also relate, O 
auspicious King, a tale anent 


THE Caliph Al-Mu' tazid Bi 'llah* was a high-spirited Prince and 
a noble-minded lord ; he had in Baghdad six hundred Wazirs 
and of the affairs of the folk naught was hidden from him. He 
went forth one day, he and Ibn Hamdun, 3 to divert himself with 
observing his lieges and hearing the latest news of the people ; 
and, being overtaken with the heats of noonday, they turned 
aside from the main thoroughfare into a little by-street, at the 
upper end whereof they saw a handsome and high-builded 
mansion, discoursing of its owner with the tongue of praise. 
They sat down at the gate to take rest, and presently out came 
two eunuchs as they were moons on their fourteenth night. Quoth 
one of them to his fellow, " Would Heaven some guest would seek 
admission this day ! My master will not eat but with guests and 

1 Lane omits this tate because-" it is very similar, but inferior in interest, to the 
Story told by the Sultan's Steward." See vol. i. 278. 

2 Sixteenth Abbaside A.H. 279-289 (=A.D. 891-902). "He was comely, intrepid, 
of grave exterior, majestic in presence, of considerable intellectual power and the 
fiercest of the Caliphs of the House of Abbas. He once had the courage to attack a 
lion " (Al-Siyuti). I may add that he was a good soldier and an excellent administrator, 
who was called Saffah the Second because he refounded the House of Abbas. He was 
exceedingly fanatic and died of sensuality, having first kicked his doctor to death, 
and he spent his last moments in versifying. 

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

230 A If Laylah wa L&ytah. 

we are come to this hour and I have not yet seen a soul." The 
Caliph marvelled at their speech and said, " This is a proof of the 
house-master's liberality: there is no help but that we go in to 
him and note his generosity, and this shall be a means of favour 
betiding him from us." So he said to the eunuch, " Ask leave of 
thy lord for the admission of a company 1 of strangers. For in 
those days it was the Caliph's wont, whenas he was minded to 
observe his subjects, to disguise himself in merchant's garb. The 
eunuch went in and told his master, who rejoiced and rising, 
came out to them in person. He was fair of favour and fine of 
form and he appeared clad in a tunic of Nfshapur 2 silk and a gold 
laced mantle ; and he dripped with scented waters and wore on 
his hand a signet ring of rubies. When he saw them, he said to 
them, " Well come and welcome to the lords who favour us with 
the utmost of favour by their coming ! " So they entered the 
house and found it such as would make a man forget family and 

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

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

Nofo fofien it foas tjje Nine l^untrtetr an& 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Caliph entered the mansion, he and the man with him, they 
saw it to be such as would make one forget family and fatherland, 
for it was like a piece of Paradise. Within it was a flower-garden, 
full of all kinds of trees, confounding sight and its dwelling-places 
were furnished with costly furniture. They sat down and the 
Caliph fell to gazing at the house and the household gear. 
(Quoth Ibn Hamdun), I looked at the Caliph and saw his 
countenance change, and being wont to know from his face 

1 Probably the Caliph had attendants, but the text afterwards speaks of them as two. 
Mac. Edit. iv. p. 558, line 2 ; and a few lines below, ' the Caliph and the man with 

2 Arab. " Naysabur," the famous town in Khorasan where Omar-i- Khayyam (whom 
our people will call Omar Khayym) was buried and where his tomb is still a place 
of pious visitation. A sketch of it has lately appeared in the illustrated papers. For 
an affecting tale concerning the astronomer-poet's tomb, borrowed from the Nigaristan 
see the Preface by the late Mr. Fitzgerald whose admirable excerpts from the Rubaiyat 
(101 out of 820 quatrains) have made the poem popular among all the English-speaking 

Abu A I- Has an of K/torasan. 231 

whether he was amused or anangered, said to myself, " I wonder 
what hath vexed him." Then they brought a golden basin and 
we washed our hands, after which they spread a silken cloth and 
set thereon a table of rattan. When the covers were taken off 
the dishes, we saw therein meats rare as the blooms of Prime in 
the season of their utmost scarcity, twofold and single, and the 
host said, " Bismillah, O my lords! By Allah, hunger pricketh 
me ; so favour me by eating of this food, as is the fashion of the! 
noble." Thereupon he began tearing fowls apart and laying them 
before us, laughing the while and repeating verses and telling 
stories and talking gaily with pleasant sayings such as sorted with 
the entertainment. We ate and drank, then removed to another 
room, which confounded beholders with its beauty and which 
reeked with exquisite perfumes. Here they brought us a tray 
of fruits freshly-gathered and sweetmeats the finest flavoured, 
whereat our joys, increased and our cares ceased. But withal the 
Caliph (continued Ibn Hamdun) ceased not to wear a frowning 
face and smiled not at that which gladdened all souls, albeit it 
was his wont to love mirth and merriment and the putting away 
of cares, and I knew that he was no envious wight and oppressor. 
So I said to myself, " Would Heaven I knew what is the cause 
of his moroseness and why we cannot dissipate his ill-humour ! " 
Presently they brought the tray of wine which friends doth conjoin 
and clarified draughts in flagons of gold and crystal and silver, 
and th'e host smote with a rattan-wand on the door of an inner 
chamber, whereupon behold, it opened and out came three damsels, 
high-bosomed virginity with faces like the sun at the fourth hour 
of the day, one a lutist, another a harpist and the third a dancer- 
artiste. Then he set before us dried fruits and confections and 
drew between us and the damsels a curtain of brocade, with tassels 
of silk and rings of gold. The Caliph paid no heed to all this, 
but said to the host, who knew not who was in his company, " Art 
thou noble ? " * Said he, " No, my lord ; I am but a man of the 
sons of the merchants and am known among the folk as Abti 
al-Hasan Ali, son of Ahmad of Khorasan." Quoth the Caliph, 
"Dost thou know me, O man?"; and quoth he, " By Allah, O 
my lord, I have no knowledge of either of your honours ? " Then 
said I to him, " O man, this is the Commander of the Faithful, 

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

232 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Al-Mu'tazid Bi'llah grandson of Al-Mutawakkil ala'llah." 1 Where-- 
upon he rose and kissed the ground before the Caliph, trembling 
for fear of him, and said, " O Prince of True Believers, I conjure 
thee, by the virtue of thy pious forbears, an thou have seen in me 
any shortcomings or lack of good manners in thy presence, do 
thou forgive me ! " Replied the Caliph, " As for that which thou 
hast done with us of honouring and hospitality nothing could have 
exceeded it ; and as for that wherewith I have to reproach thee 
here, an thou tell me the truth respecting it and it commend itself 
to my sense, thou shalt be saved from me ; but, an thou tell me 
not the truth, I will take thee with manifest proof and punish thee 
with such punishment as never yet punished any. 1 ' Quoth the 
man, " Allah forbid that I tell thee a lie ! .. But what is it that ! 
thou reproachest to me, O Commander of the Faithful ? " Quoth 
the Caliph, " Since I entered thy mansion and looked upon its 
grandeur, I have noted the furniture and vessels therein, nay, 
even to thy clothes, and behold, on all of them is the name of 
my grandfather Al-Mutawakkil ala'llah." 2 Answered Abu al- 
Hasan, "Yes, O Commander of the Faithful (the Almighty 
protect thee), truth is thine inner garb and sincerity is thine 
outer garment and none may speak otherwise than truly im 
thy presence." The Caliph bade him be seated and said, " Tell 
us." So he began, " Know, O Commander of the Faithful, 
that my father belonged ,to the markets of the money-changers! 
and druggists and linendrapers and had in each bazar a shop and 
an agent and all kinds of goods. Moreover, behind the money- 1 
changer's shop he had an apartment, where he might be private, 
appointing the shop for buying and selling. His wealth was: 

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

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

iirol. iii. 8 1 

Abu A I- Hasan of Khorasan. 233 

beyond count and to his riches there was none amount ; but he 
had no child other than myself, and he loved me and was tenderly 
fain of me. When his last hour was at hand, he called me to him 
and commended my mother to my care and charged me to fear 
Almighty Allah. Then he died, may Allah have mercy upon him 
and continue the Prince of True Believers on life ! And I gave 
myself up to pleasure and eating and drinking and took to myself 
comrades and intimates. My mother used to forbid me from this 
and to blame me for it, but I would not hear a word from her, 
till my money was all gone, when I sold my lands and houses and 
naught was left me save the mansion wherein I now dwell, and it 
was a goodly stead, O Commander of the Faithful. So I said to 
my mother, " I wish to sell the house ;" but she said, " O my son, 
an thou sell it, thou wilt be dishonoured and wilt have no place 
wherein to take shelter." Quoth I, " 'Tis worth five thousand 
dinars, and with one thousand of its price I will buy me another, 
nouse and trade with the rest." Quoth she, " Wilt thou sell it to, 
me at that price ? "; and I replied, " Yes." Whereupon she went' 
to a coffer and opening it, took out a porcelain vessel, wherein 
were five thousand dinars. When I saw this meseemed the house 
was all of gold and she said to me, " O my son, think not that this is 
of thy father's good. By Allah, O my son, it was of my own father's 
money and I have treasured it up against a time of need ; for, in 
thy father's day I was a wealthy woman and had no need of it." 
I took the money from her, O Prince of True Believers, and fell 
again to feasting and carousing and merrymaking with my friends, 
unheeding my mother's words and admonitions, till the five 
thousand dinars came to an end, when I said to her, " I wish to 
sell the house." Said she, " O my son, I forbade thee from selling 
it before, of my knowledge that thou hadst need of it ; so how 
wilt thou sell it a second time ? " Quoth I, " Be not longsome of 
speech with me, for I must and will sell it ;" and quoth she, 
' Then sell it to me for fifteen thousand dinars, on condition that 
I take charge of .thine affairs." So I sold her the house at that 
price and gave up my affairs into her charge, whereupon she 
sought out the agents of my father and gave each of them a 
thousand dinars, keeping the rest in her own hands and ordering 
the outgo and the income. Moreover she gave me money to 
trade withal and said to me, " Sit thou in thy father's shop." So 
I did her bidding, O Commander of the Faithful, and took up my 
abode ia the chamber behind the shop in the market of the money* 

234 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

changers, and my friends came and bought of me and I sold to 
them ; whereby I made good cheape and my wealth increased. 
When my mother saw me in this fair way, she discovered to me 
that which she had treasured up of jewels and precious stones, 
pearls, and gold, and I bought back my houses and lands that I 
had squandered and my wealth became great as before. I abode 
thus for some time, and the factors of my father came to me and 
I gave them stock-in-trade, and I built me a second chamber 
behind the shop. One day, as I sat there, according to my 
custom, O Prince of True Believers, there came up to me a damsel, 
never saw eyes a fairer than she of favour, and said, " Is this the 
private shop of Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Ahmad al-Khorasani ? '* 
Answered I, " Yes," and she asked, " Where is he ? " " He am I," 
said I, and indeed my wit was dazed at the excess of her loveliness. 
She sat down and said to me, " Bid thy page weigh me out three 
hundred dinars." Accordingly I bade him give her that sum and 
he weighed it out to her and she took it and went away, leaving 
me stupefied. Quoth my man to me, " Dost thou know her ? "; 
and quoth I, " No, by Allah ! " He asked, " Then why didst thou 
bid me give her the money?"; and I answered, "By Allah, I 
knew not what I said, of my amazement at her beauty and love- 
liness ! " Then he rose and followed her, without my knowledge, 
but presently returned, weeping and with the mark of a blow on 
his face. I enquired of him what ailed him, and he replied, " I 
followed the damsel, to see whither she went ; but, when she was 
aware of me, she turned and dealt me this blow and all but knocked 
out my eye. After this, a month passed, without her coming, O 
Commander of the Faithful, and I abode bewildered for love of 
her ; but, at the end of this time, she suddenly appeared again 
and saluted me, whereat I was like to fly for joy. She asked me 
'how I did and said to me, " Haply thou saidst to thyself, What 
^manner of trickstress is this, who hath taken my money and made 
off ? " Answered I, " By Allah, O my lady, my money and my 
life are all thy very own ! " With this she unveiled herself and sat 
down to rest, with the trinkets and ornaments playing over her 
face and bosom. Presently, she said to me, " Weigh me out three 
hundred dinars." " Hearkening and obedience," answered I and 
weighed out to her the money. She took it and went away and 1 
said to my servant, " Follow her." So he followed her, but 
returned dumbstruck, and some time passed without my seeing 
her. But, as I was sitting one day, behold, she came up to me 

Abu A I- Hasan of Khorasan. 235 

and after talking awhile, said to me, " Weigh me out five hundred 
dinars, for 1 have need of them." I would have said to her, " Why 
should I give thee my money ? "; but my love immense hindered 
me from utterance; for, O Prince of True Believers, whenever I 
saw her, I trembled in every joint and my colour paled and I 
forgot what I would have said and became even as saith the 

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

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

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying 

her permitted say. 

Nofo fojtfn it foa* tije Nine f^untrrefc anfc bixt8*first 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abu 
Hasan the Khorasani thus pursued his tale : So I said to the 
jeweller, " Give her the necklace and set down the price to me." 
Then she took it and went away ; but I followed her, till she came 
to the Tigris and boarded a boat there, whereupon I signed with 
my hand to the ground, as who should say, " I kiss it before thee." 
She went off laughing, and I stood watching her, till I saw her 
land and enter a palace, which when I considered, I knew it for 
the palace of the Caliph Al-Mutawakkil. So I turned back, O 
Commander of the Faithful, with all the cares in the world fallen 
on my heart, for she had of me three thousand dinars, and I said 
to myself, " She hath taken my wealth and ravished my wit, and 
peradventure I shall lose my life for her love/' Then I returned 
home and told my mother all that had befallen me, and she said, 
" O my son, beware how thou have to do with her after this, or 
thou art lost" When I went to my shop, my factor in the drug- 

236 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

market, who was a very old man, came to me and said, "O my 
lord, how is it that I see thee changed in case and showing marks 
of chagrin ? Tell me what aileth thee." So I told him all that 
had befallen me with her and he said, " O my son, this is indeed 
one of the handmaidens of the palace of the Commander of the 
Faithful and haply she is the Caliph's favourite concubine : so do 
thou reckon the money as spent for the sake of Almighty Allah 1 
and occupy thyself no more with her. An she come again, beware 
lest she have to do with thee and tell me of this, that I may 
devise thee some device lest perdition betide thee/' Then he 
fared forth and left me with a flame of fire in my heart. At the 
end of the month behold, she came again and I rejoiced in her 
with exceeding joy. Quoth she, " What ailed thee to follow me?";' 
and quoth I, " Excess of passion that is in my heart urged me to 
this," and I wept before" her. She wept for ruth of me and said, 
" By Allah, there is not in thy heart aught of love-longing but in 
my heart is more- ! Yet how shall I do ? By Allah, I have no 
resource save to see thee thus once a month." Then she gave me 
a bill saying, " Carry this to such an one of such a trade who is 
my agent and take of him what is named therein." But I replied, 
" I have no need of money ; be my wealth and my life thy 
sacrifice ! " Quoth she, " I will right soon contrive thee a means of 
access to me, whatever trouble it cost me." Then she farewelled me 
and fared forth, whilst I repaired to the old druggist and told him 
what had passed. He went with -me to the palace of Al-Muta- 
wakkil which I knew for that which the damsel had entered ; but 
the Shaykh was at a loss for a device. Presently he espied a 
tailor sitting with his prentices at work in his shop, opposite the 
lattice giving upon the river bank and said to me, " Yonder, is one 
by whom thou shalt win thy wish ; but first tear thy pocket and 
go to him and bid him sew it up. When he hath done this, give 
him ten dinars." " I hear and obey," answered I and taking with 
me two pieces 2 of Greek brocade, went to the tailor and bade him 
make of them four suits, two with long-sleeved coats and two 
without. When he had finished cutting them out and sewing 
them, I gave him to his hire much more than of wont, and he put 

1 f.*. as if it were given away in charity. 

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

Abu Al- Hasan of Khorasan. 237 

out his hand to me with the clothes ; but I said, " Take them for 
thyself and for those who are with thee." And I fell to sitting 
with him and sitting long : I also bespoke of him other clothes 
and said to him, " Hang them out in front of thy shop, so the folk 
may see them and buy them." He did as I bade him, and whoso 
came forth of the Caliph's palace and aught of the clothes pleased 
him, I made him a present thereof, even to the doorkeeper. One 
day of the days the tailor said to me, " O my son, I would have 
thee tell me the truth of thy case; for thou hast bespoken of me 
an hundred costly suits, each worth a mint of money, and hast 
given the most of them to the folk. This is no merchant's 
fashion, for a merchant calleth an account for every dirham, and 
what can be the sum of thy capital that thou givest these gifts 
and what thy gain every year ? Tell me the truth of thy case, 
that I may assist thee to thy desire ; " presently adding, " I 
conjure thee by Allah, tell me, art thou not in love?" "Yes," 
replied I ; and he said, " With whom ? " Quoth I, " With one of 
the handmaids of the Caliph's palace ; " and quoth he, " Allah put 
them to shame ! How long shall they seduce the folk ? Knowest 
thou her name ? " Said I, " No ; " and said he, " Describe her to 
me." So I described her to him and he cried, " Out on it ! This 
is the lutanist of the Caliph Al-Mutawakkil and his pet concubine. 
But she hath a Mameluke 1 and do thou make friends with him ; it 
may be he shall become the means of thy having access to her." 
Now as we were talking, behold, out walked the servant in 
question from the palace, as he were a moon on the fourteenth 
night ; and, seeing that I had before me the clothes which the 
tailor had made me, and they were of brocade of all colours, he 
began to look at them and examine them. Then he came up to 
me and I rose and saluted him. He asked, " Who art thou ? " 
and I answered, "I am a man of the merchants." Quoth he, 
"Wilt thou sell these clothes?"; and quoth I, "Yes." So he 
chose out five of them and said to me, " How much these five ?" ; 
Said I, " They are a present to thee from me in earnest of friend- 
ship between me and thee." At this he rejoiced and I went 
home and fetching a suit embroidered with jewels and jacinths, 
worth three thousand dinars, returned therewith and gave it to 
him. He accepted it and carrying me into a room within the 
palace, said to me, "What is thy name among the merchants?" 

I He is afterwards called in two places " Khadim"=: eunuch- 

238 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Said I, "I am a man of them. 1 " He continued, "Verily I mis- 
doubt me of thine affair." I asked, " Why so ? " and he answered, 
" Because thou hast bestowed on me a costly gift and won my 
heart therewith, and I make certain that thou art Abu al-Hasan of 
Khorasan the Shroff." With this I fell aweeping, O Prince of 
True Believers ; and he said to me, " Why dost thou weep ? By 
Allah, she for whom thou weepest is yet more longingly in love 
with thee than thou with her ! And indeed her case with thee is 
notorious among all the palace women. But what wouldst thou 
have ? " Quoth I, " I would have thee succour me in my 
calamity." So he appointed me for the morrow and I returned 
home. As soon as I rose next morning, I betook myself to him 
and waited in his chamber till he came in and said to me, " Know 
that yesternight when, after having made an end of her service by 
the Caliph, she returned to her apartment, I related to her all 
that had passed between me and thee and she is minded to fore- 
gather with thee. So stay with me till the end of the day." 
Accordingly I stayed with him till dark, when the Mameluke 
brought me a shirt of gold-inwoven stuff and a suit of the Caliph's 
apparel and clothing me therein, incensed me 2 and I became like 
the Commander of the Faithful. Then he brought me to a 
gallery with rows of rooms on either side and said to me, " These 
are the lodgings of the Chief of the slave-girls ; and when thou 
passest along the gallery, do thou lay at each door a bean, for 'tis 
the custom of the Caliph to do this every night -- And Shah- 
razad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted 

fofien it foa* tjc Nine $^untefc anfc b{xtg=secon& Nfofit, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Mameluke said to Abu Hasan, "When thou passest along the 
gallery set down at each door a bean for 'tis the custom of the 
Caliph so to do, till thou come to the second passage on thy right 
hand, when thou wilt see a door with a marble threshold 3 Touch 

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

2 Arab. " Bakhkharani" i.e. fumigated me with burning aloes-wood, Calumba or 
similar material. 

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

Abu Al-Hasan of Khorasan. 239 

it with thy hand or, an thou wilt, count the doors which are so 
many, and enter the one whose marks are thus and thus. There 
thy mistress will see thee and take thee in with her. As for thy 
coming forth, verily Allah will make it easy to me, though I carry 
thee out in a chest." Then he left me and returned, whilst I went 
on, counting the doors and laying at each a bean. When I had 
reached the middle of the gallery, I heard a great clatter and saw 
the light of flambeaux coming towards me. As the light drew 
near me, I looked at it and behold, the Caliph himself, came sur- 
rounded by the slave-girls carrying waxen lights, and I heard one 
of the women 1 say to another, " O my sister, have we two Caliphs? 
Verily, the Caliph whose perfumes- and essences I smelt, hath 
already passed by my room and he hath laid the bean at my door, 
as his wont ; and now I see the light of his flambeaux, and here 
he cometh with them." Replied the other, '" Indeed this is a 
wondrous thing, for disguise himself in the Caliph's habit none 
would dare." Then the light drew near me, whilst I trembled in 
every limb ; and up came an eunuch, crying out to the concubines 
and saying, " Hither ! " Whereupon they turned aside to one of 
the chambers and entered. Then they came out again and walked 
on till they came to the chamber of my mistress and I heard the 
Caliph say, " Whose chamber is this ? " They answered, " This is 
the chamber of Shajarat al-Durr." And he said, " Call her." So 
they called her and she came out and kissed the feet of the Caliph, 
who said to her, " Wilt thou drink to-night ? " Quoth she, " But 
for thy presence and the looking on thine auspicious countenance, 
I would not drink, for I incline not to wine this night." Then 
quoth the Commander of the Faithful to the eunuch, " Bid the 
treasurer give her such necklace ; " and he commanded to enter 
her chamber. So the waxen lights entered before him and he 
followed them into the apartment. At the same moment, behold, 
there came up a damsel, the lustre of whose face outshone that of 
the flambeau in her hand, and drawing near she said, " Who is 
this ? " Then she laid hold of me and carrying me into one of the 
chambers, said to me, " Who art thou ? " I kissed the ground 
before her saying, " I implore thee by Allah, O my lady, spare my 
blood and have ruth on me and commend thyself unto Allah by- 
saving my life ! "; and I wept for fear of death. Quoth she, 

1 i.e. Ope of the concubines by whose door he had passed. 

240 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

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

1 Epistasis without the prostasis, "An she ordered thee so to do:" the situation 
Justifies the rhetorical figure. 

Abu A I- Hasan of Khorasan* 241 

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

earth for his treading and dust to his sandals ! " And Shahrazad 

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

J^ofo foljen it foas tje Nine f^untolr an* gbfxtg-tfnrti 13tg!)t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that quoth the 
damsel to her sister, " I have covenanted with him that I will not 
be united to him unlawfully ; but, as he hath risked himself and 
incurred these perils, I will be earth for his treading and dust to 
his sandals ! " Replied her sister, " In this intent may Allah deliver 
him ! "; and my mistress rejoined, " Soon shalt thou see how I will 
do, so I may lawfully foregather with him and there is no help but 
that I lavish my heart's blood to devise this." Now as we were 
in talk, behold, we heard a great noise and turning, saw the Caliph 
making for her chamber, so engrossed was he by the thought of her ; 
whereupon she took me, O Prince of True Believers and hid me 
in a souterrain 1 and shut down the trap-door upon me. Then she 

1 Arab. "Sardab" see vol. i, 34* 

242 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

went out to meet the Caliph, who entered and sat down, whilst 
she stood between his hands to serve him, and commanded to 
bring wine. Now the Caliph loved a damsel by name Banjah, 
who was the mother of Al-Mu'tazz bi 'llah ' ; but they had fallen 
out and parted ; and in the pride of her beauty and loveliness she 
would not make peace with him, nor would Al-Mutawakkil, for 
the dignity of the Caliphate and the kingship, make peace with 
her neither humble himself to her, albeit his heart was aflame 
with passion for her, but sought to solace his mind from her with 
her mates among the slave-girls and with going in to them in their 
chambers. Now he loved Shajarat al-Durr's singing : so he bade 
her sing, when she took the lute and tuning the strings sang these 
verses : 

The world-tricks I admire betwixt me and her ; o How, us parted, the 

World would to me incline : 
I shunned thee till said they, " He knows not Love ; " o I sought thee till said 

they, " No patience is mine ! " 
Then, O Love of her, add to my longing each night o And, O Solace, thy 

comforts for Doomsday assign ! 
Soft as silk is her touch and her low sweet voice o Twixt o'er much and 

o'er little aye draweth the line : 
And eyne whereof Allah said " Be ye ! " and they o Became to man's wit 

like the working of wine. 

When the Caliph heard these verses, he was pleasured with 
exceeding pleasure, and I also, O Commander of the Faithful, 
was pleasured in my hiding-place, and but for the bounty of 
Almighty Allah, I had cried out and we had been disgraced. 
Then she sang also these couplets: 

I embrace him, yet after him yearns my soul o For his love, but can aught 

than embrace be nigher ? 
I kiss his lips to assuage my lowe ; o But each kiss gars it glow 

with more flaming fire ; 
'Tis as though my vitals aye thirst unquencht o Till L see two souls mixt in 

one entire. 

The Caliph was delighted and said, " O Shajarat al-Durr, ask a 

1 Thirteenth Abbaside A.H. 252-255 (= 866-869). His mother was a Greek slave 
called Kabihah (Al-Ma&'udi and Al-Siyuti) ; for which "Banjah" is probably a clerical 
error. He was exceedingly beautiful and was the first to ride out with ornaments of 
gold. But he was impotent in the hands of the Turks who caused the mob to depose 
him and kill him his death being related in various ways. 

Abu A I- Hasan of Khorasan. 243 

boon of me." She replied, " O Commander of the Faithful, I ask 
of thee my freedom, for the sake of the reward thou wilt obtain 
therein. 1 " Quoth he, " Thou art free for the love of Allah ; " 
whereupon she kissed ground before him. He resumed, " Take 
the lute and sing me somewhat on the subject of my slave-girl, 
of whom I am enamoured with warmest love : the folk seek my 
pleasure and I seek hers." So she took the lute and sang these 
two couplets: 

My charmer who spellest my piety 2 o On all accounts I'll have thee, 

have thee, 
Or by humble suit which besitteth Love o Or by force more fitting my sov- 


The Caliph admired these verses and said, " Now, take up thy lute 
and sing me a song setting out my case with three damsels, whp 
hold the reins of my heart and make rest depart ; and they are 
thyself and that wilful one and another I will not name, who hath 
not her like. 3 So she took the lute and playing a lively measure, 
sang these couplets : 

Three lovely girls hold my bridle-rein 9 And in highest stead 

my heart overreign. 

I have none to obey amid all mankind o But obeying them I 

but win disdain : 

This is done through the Kingship of Love, whereby o The best of my king- 
ship they made their gain. 

The Caliph marvelled with exceeding marvel at the aptness of 
these verses to his case and his delight inclined him to reconcilia- 
tion with the recalcitrant damsel. So he went forth and made for 
her chamber whither a slave-girl preceded him and announced to 
her the coming of the Caliph. She advanced to meet him and 
kissed the ground before him ; then she kissed his feet and he 
was reconciled to her and she was reconciled to him. Such was 
the case with the Caliph; but as regards Shajarat al-Durr, she 
came to me rejoicing and said, " I am become a free woman by 
thy blessed coming ! Surely Allah will help me in that which I 
shall contrive, so I may foregather with thee in lawful way." And 

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

* Arab. " Nusk " abstinence from women, a part of the Zahid's asceticism. 

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

244 A If Lay I ah wa Laylak. 

I said, " Alhamdolillah ! " Now as we were talking, behold her 
Mameluke-eunuch entered and we related to him that which had 
passed, when he said, " Praised be Allah who hath made the affair 
to end well, and we implore the Almighty to crown His favours 
with thy safe faring forth the palace ! " Presently appeared my 
mistress's sister, whose name was Fatir, and Shajarat al-Durr said 
to her, " O my sister, how shall we do to bring him out of the 
palace in safety ; for indeed Allah hath vouchsafed me manu- 
mission and, by the blessing of his coming, I am become a free 
woman." Quoth Fatir, " I see nothing for it but to dress him in 
woman's gear." So she brought me a suit of women's clothes 
and clad me therein ; and I went out forthwith, O Commander of 
the Faithful ; but, when I came to the midst of the palace, behold, 
I found the Caliph seated there, with the eunuchs in attendance 
upon him. When he saw me, he misdoubted of me with exceeding 
doubt, and said to his suite, " Hasten and bring me yonder hand- 
maiden who is faring forth." So they brought me back to him 
and raised the veil from my face, which when he saw, he knew 
me and questioned me of my case. I told him the whole truth, 
hiding naught, and when he heard my story, he pondered my case 
awhile, without stay or delay, and going into Shajarat al-Durr 's 
chamber, said to her, " How couldst thou prefer before me one of 
the sons of the merchants ? " She kissed ground between his 
hands and told him her tale from first to last, in accordance with 
the truth; and he hearing it had compassion upon her and his 
heart relented to her and he excused her by reason of love and 
its circumstances. Then he went away and her eunuch came in 
to her and said, " Be of good cheer ; for, when thy lover was set 
before the Caliph, he questioned him and he told him that which 
thou toldest him, word by word." Presently the Caliph returned 
and calling me before him, said to me, "What made thee dare to 
violate the palace of the Caliphate ? " I replied, " O Commander 
of the Faithful, 'twas my ignorance and passion and my con- 
fidence in thy clemency and generosity that drave me to this." 
And I wept and kissed the ground before him. Then said he, 
" 1 pardon you both," and bade me be seated. So I sat down and 
he sent for the Kazi Ahmad ibn Abi Duwad J and married me to 

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

and Al-Mutawakkil. 

Abu Al-Hasan of Khorasan. 245 

her. Then he commanded to make over all that was hers to me 
and they displayed her to me * in her lodging. After three days, 
I went forth and transported all her goods and gear to my own 
house ; so every thing thou hast seen, O Commander of the 
Faithful, in my house and whereof thou misdoubtest, is of her 
marriage-equipage. After this, she said to me one day, " Know 
that Al-Mutawakkil is a generous man and I fear lest he remember 
us with ill mind, or that some one of the envious remind him of 
us ; wherefore I purpose to do somewhat that may ensure us 
against this." Quoth I, " And what is that ?;" and quoth she, " I 
mean to ask his leave to go the pilgrimage and repent 2 of singing." 
1 1. replied, " Right is this rede thou redest ;" but, as we were talking, 
[behold, in came a messenger from the Caliph to seek her, for that 
iAl-Mutawakkil loved her singing. So she went with the officer 
and did her service to the Caliph, who said to her, " Sever not 
thyself from us ;" 3 and she answered, " I hear and I obey." Now it 
chanced one day, after this, she went to him, he having sent for 
her, as was his wont ; but, before I knew, she came back, with her 
raiment rent and her eyes full of tears. At this I was alarmed, 
misdoubting me that he had commanded to seize upon us, and 
said, " Verily we are Allah's and unto Him shall we return ! Is 
Al-Mutawakkil wroth with us ? " She replied, " Where is 
' Al-Mutawakkil? Indeed Al-Mutawakkil's rule is ended and his 
trace is blotted out!" Cried I, "Tell me what has happened ;" 
and she, " He was seated behind the curtain, drinking, with- 
Al-Fath bin Khdkdn 4 and Sadakah bin Sadakah, when his son: 
Al-Muntasir fell upon him, with a company of the Turks, 5 and slew 
him ; and merriment was turned to misery and joy to weeping and! 
wailing for annoy. So I fled, I and the slave-girl, and Allah saved 
us." When I heard this, O Commander of the Faithful, I arose 
forthright and went down stream to Bassorah, where the news 

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

2 i.e. renounce the craft which though not sinful (haram) is makruh or religiously 
unpraiseworthy ; Mohammed having objected to music and indeed to the arts in 

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

4 See Ibn Khallikan ii. 455. 

5 The Turkish body-guard. See vol. iii. 8l. 

246 A If Lay [ah wa Laylah. 

reached me of the falling out of war between Al-Muntasir and 
Al-Musta'm bi' llah j 1 wherefore I was affrighted and transported 
my wife and all my wealth to Bassorah. This, then, is my tale, O 
Prince of True Believers, nor have I added to or taken from it a 
single syllable. So all that thou seest in my house, bearing the 
name of thy grandfather Al-Mutawakkil, is of his bounty to us, 
and the fount of our fortune is from thy noble sources f for indeed 
ye are people of munificence and a mine of beneficence." The 
Caliph marvelled at his story and rejoiced therein with joy 
exceeding : and Abu al-Hasan brought forth to him the lady and 
the children she had borne him, and they kissed ground before the 
Caliph, who wondered at their beauty. Then he called for inkcase 
and paper and wrote Abu al-Hasan a patent of exemption from 
taxes on his lands and houses for twenty years. Moreover, he 
rejoiced in him and made him his cup-companion, till the world 
parted them and they took up their abode in the tombs, after 
having dwelt under palace-domes ; and glory be to Allah, the 
King Merciful of doom. And they also tell a tale concerning 



THERE was once, in time of old, a merchant hight Abd al-Rahman, 
whom Allah had blessed with a son and daughter, and for their 

1 Twelfth Abbaside (A.H. 248252=862866) the son of a slave-concubine Mukharik. 
He was virtuous and accomplished, comely, fair-skinned, pock-marked and famed for 
defective pronunciation ; and he first set the fashion of shortening men's capes and 
widening the sleeves. After many troubks with the Turks, who were now the Praetorian 
guard of Baghdad, he was murdered at the instigation of Al-Mu' tazz, who succeeded 
him, by his Chamberlain Sa'id bin Sah'h. 

2 Arab. " Usul," his forbears, his ancestors. 

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

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 247 

much beauty and loveliness, he named the girl Kaubab al-Sabdh 
and the boy Kamar al-Zaman. 1 When he saw what Allah had 
vouchsafed the twain of beauty and loveliness, brilliancy and 
symmetry, he feared for them the evil eyes 2 of the espiers and the 
jibing tongues of the jealous and the craft of the crafty and the 
wiles of the wicked and shut them up from the folk in a mansion 
for the space of fourteen years, during which time none saw them 

arose with the " Fathers " of the Christian Church who simply exaggerated the misogyny 
of St. Paul. St. Ambrose commenting on Corinthians i. ii., boldly says : 4t Feminas ad 
imaginem Dei factas non esse." St. Thomas Aquinas and his school adopted the 
Aristotelian view, " Mulier est erratum naturae, et mas occasionatus, et per accidens 
generatur ; atque ideo est monstrum." For other instances see Bayle s. v. Gediacus 
(Revd. Simon of Brandebourg) who in 1695 published a " Defensio Sexusmuliebris," a 
refutation of an anti-Socinian satire or squib, " Disputatio perjucunda, Mulieres homines 
non esse," Parisiis, 1693. But when Islam arose in the seventh century, the Christian 
learned cleverly affixed the stigma of their own misogyny upon the Moslems ad captandas 
fceminas and in Southern Europe the calumny still bears fruit. Mohammed (Koran, 
chapt, xxiv.) commands for the first time, in the sixth year of his mission, the veiling and, 
by inference, the seclusion of women, which was apparently unknown to the Badawin 
and, if practised in the cities was probably of the laxest. Nor can one but confess that 
such modified separation of the sexes, which it would be impossible to introduce into 
European manners, has great and notable advantages. It promotes the freest inter- 
course between man and man, and thus civilises what we call the "lower orders" : in 
no Moslem land, from Morocco to China, do we find the brutals without manners or 
morals which are bred by European and especially by English civilisation. For the same 
reason it enables women to enjoy fullest intimacy and friendship with one another, and 
we know that the best of both sexes are those who prefer the society of their own as 
opposed to " quite the lady's man " and tf quite the gentleman's woman.*' It also adds 
an important item to social decorum by abolishing e.g. such indecenctes as the " ball- 
room flirtation " a word which must be borrowed from us, not translated by foreigners. 
And especially it gives to religious meetings, a tone which the presence of women 
modifies and not for the better. Perhaps, the best form is that semi-seclusion of the sex, 
which prevailed in the heroic ages of Greece, Rome, and India (before the Moslem 
invasion), and which is perpetuated in Christian Armenia and in modern Hellas. It is 
a something between the conventual strictness of Al-Islam and the liberty, or rather 
licence, of the ' Anglo-Saxon " and the ' Anglo-American." And when England shall 
have cast off that peculiar insularity which makes her differ from all civilised peoples, she 
will probably abolish three gross abuses, time-honoured scandals, which bear very 
heavily on women and children. The first is the Briton's right to will property away 
from his wife and offspring. The second is the action for " breach of promise," salving 
the broken heart with pounds, shillings, and pence : it should be treated simply as an 
exaggerated breach of contract. The third is the procedure popularly called "Crim. 
Con.," and this is the most scandalous of all: the offence is against the rights of 
property, like robbery or burglary, and it ought to be treated criminally with fine, 
imprisonment and in cases with corporal punishment after the sensible procedure of 
Moslem law 

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

3 The Malocchio or gettatura, so often noticed. 

248 A If Lay I ah wa Lay I ah. 

save their parents and a slave-girl who served them. Now their 
father could recite the Koran, even as Allah sent it down, as also 
'did his wife, wherefore the mother taught her daughter to read 
and recite it and the father his son till both had gotten it by 
heart. Moreover, the twain learned from their parents writing 
and reckoning and all manner of knowledge and polite letters and 
needed no master. When Kamar al-Zaman came to years of 
manhood, the wife said to her husband, " How long wilt thou keep 
thy son Kamar al-Zaman sequestered from the eyes of the folk ? 
Is he a girl or a boy ? " He answered, " A boy/' Rejoined she, 
" An he be a boy, why dost thou not carry him to the bazar and 
seat him in thy shop, that he may know the folk and they know 
him, to the intent that it may become notorious among men that 
he is thy son, and do thou teach him to sell and to buy. Perad- 
venture somewhat may befal thee ; so shall the folk know him for 
thy son and he shall lay his hand on thy leavings. But, an thou 
die, as the case now is, and he say to the folk : I am the son of 
the merchant Abd al-Rahman, Verily they will not believe him, 
but will cry, We have never seen thee and we knew not that he 
had a son, wherefore the government will seize thy goods and thy 
son will be despoiled. In like manner the girl ; I mean to make 
her known among the folk, so may be some one of her own condition 
may ask her in marriage and we will wed her to him and rejoice 
in her." Quoth he, " I did thus of my fear for them from the eyes of 

the folk And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased 

to say her permitted say. 

Nofo fofjcn ft foas tfie ttfine l^untolr antr Sctxt^fourtl) 

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

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

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

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

enough of thee. 

. . - . .,. -. /; . -. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 249 

Said his wife, " Put thy trust in Allah; for no harm betideth him 
whom He protecteth, and carry him with thee this very day to the 
shop." Then she clad the boy in the costliest clothes and he be- 
came a seduction to all who on him cast sight and an affliction to 
the heart of each lover wight. His father took him and carried 
him to the market, whilst all who saw him were ravished with him 
and accosted him, kissing his hand and saluting him with the 
salam. Quoth one, " Indeed the sun hath risen in such a place 
and blazeth in the bazar," and another, " The rising-place of the 
full moon is in such a quarter ;" and a third, " The new moon of 
the Festival 1 hath appeared to the creatures of Allah." And 
they went on to allude to the boy in talk and call down blessings 
upon him. But his father scolded the folk for following his son 
to gaze upon him, because he was abashed at their talk, but he 
could not hinder one of them from talking ; so he fell to abusing 
the boy's mother and cursing her because she had been the cause 
of his bringing him out. And as he gazed about he still saw the 
folk crowding upon him behind and before. Then he walked on 
till he reached his shop and opening it, sat down and seated his 
son before him : after which he again looked out and found the 
thoroughfare blocked with people for all the passers-by, going and 
coming, stopped before the shop to stare at that beautiful face and 
could not leave him ; and all the men and women crowded in 
knots about him, applying to themselves the words of him who 
said : 

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

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

from Love ? 

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

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

allusion is common. Comp. vol. i. 84. 

250 A If Lay la k wa Laylah. 

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

I saw; 
And said, " What is thy name?" Replied lie "Lulu" o " What (asked I) 

" Lily ? and he answered " La\ la ! " ' 

Then the Dervish fell to walking, now drawing near and now 
moving away, 2 and wiping his gray hairs with his right hand, whilst 
the heart of the crowd was cloven asunder for awe of him. When 
he looked upon the boy, his eyes were dazzled and his wit con* 
founded, and exemplified in him was the saying of the poet :~- 

While that fair-faced boy abode in the place, o Moon of breakfast-fe^e he lit by 

his face, 3 
Lo ! there came a Shaykh with leisurely pace o A reverend trusting to Allah's 


And ascetic signals his gait displayed. 
He had studied Love both by day and night o And had special knowledge of 

Wrong and Right ; 
Both for lad and lass had repined his sprite, o And his form like toothpick was 

lean and slight, 

And old bones with faded skin were o'erlaid. 

In such arts our Shaykh was an Ajamf 4 o With a catamite ever in com- 
In the love of woman, a Platonist he* o But in either versed to the full 


And Zaynab to him was the same as Zayd. $ 
Distraught by the Fair he adored the Fair o O'er Spring-camp wailed, bewept 

ruins bare. 7 

1 This line contains one of the Yes, Yes and No, No trifles alluded to in vol. ii. 60. 
Captain Lockett (M. A. 103) renders it " I saw a fawn upon a hillock whose beauty 
eclipsed the full moon. I said, What is thy name ? she answered Deer. What my Dear 
said 1, but she replied, no t no ! " To preserve the sound I have sacrificed sense : Lulu is 
a pearl Li ? li ? (= for me, for me ?) and La ! La ! = no ! no ! See vol. i. 217. I should 
have explained a line which has puzzled some readers, 

" A sun (face) on wand (neck) in knoll of sand (hips) she showed " etc. 

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

8 Bright in the eyes of the famishing who is allowed to break his fast. 

4 Mr. Payne reads " Maghrabi" = a Mauritanian, Marocean, the Moors (not the 
Moorish Jews or Arabs) being a race of Sodomites from highest to lowest. But the Mac. 
and Bui. Edit, have " Ajami." 

6 For "Ishk uzri "= platonic love see vol. i. 232 ; ii. 104. 

* Zaynab (Zenobia) and Zayd are generic names for women and men. 

7 i.e. He wrote "Kasfdahs (= odes, elegies) after the fashion of the "Suspended 
Poems " which mostly open with the lover gazing upon the traces of the camp where his 
beloved had dwelt. The exaggerated conventionalism of such exordium shows that these 
early poems had been preceded by a host of earlier pieces which had been adopted as 
canons of poetry. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 251 

Dry branch thou hadst deemed him for stress o' care, o Which the morning 
breeze swayeth here and there, 

For only the stone is all hardness made ! 
In the lore of Love he was wondrous wise o And wide awake with all-seeing 


Its rough and its smooth he had tried and tries o And hugged buck and doe in 
the self-same guise 

And with greybeard and beardless alike he play'd. 1 

Then he came up to the boy and gave him a root 2 of sweet basil, 
whereupon his father put forth his hand to his pouch and brought 
out for him some small matter of silver, saying, " Take thy portion, 
O Dervish, and wend thy ways." He took the dirhams, but sat 
down on the masonry-bench alongside the shop and opposite the 
boy and fell to gazing upon him and heaving sigh upon sigh, 
whilst his tears flowed like springs founting. The folk began to 
look at him and remark upon him, some saying, " All Dervishes 
are lewd fellows," and other some, "Verily, this Dervish's heart. is 
set on fire for love of this lad." Now when Abd al-Rahman saw 
this case, he arose and said to the boy, " Come, O my son, let us 
lock up the shop and hie us home, for it booteth not to sell and 
buy this day ; and may Almighty Allah requite thy mother that 
which she hath done with us, for she was the cause of all this ! " 
Then said he, " O Dervish, rise, that I may shut my shop." So the 
Dervish rose and the merchant shut his shop and taking his son, 
walked away. The Dervish and the folk followed them, till they 
reached their place, when the boy went in and his father, turning 
to the Dervish, said to him, " What wouldst thou, O Dervish, and 
why do I see thee weep ? " He replied, " O my lord, I would fain 
be thy guest this night, for the guest is the guest of Almighty 
Allah." Quoth the merchant, " Welcome to the guest of God : 

enter, O Dervish ! " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day 

and ceased saying her permitted say. 

1 The verses are very mal-a-propos, like many occurring in The Nights, for the 
maligned Shaykh is proof against all the seductions of the pretty boy and falls in 
love with a woman after the fashion of Don Quixote. Mr. Payne complains of the 
obscurity of the original owing to . abuse of the figure enallage; but I find them explicit 
enough, referring to some debauched elder after the type of Abu Nowas. 

2 Arab. " 'Irk " = a root which must here mean a sprig, a twig. The basil grows to a 
comparatively large size in the East. 

252 Alf Laylak wa Laylak. 

Woto fojm it foas t&e Nine f^untafc antr gbfttg.fiftf) 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the merchant, the father of Kamar al-Zaman, heard the saying of the 
Dervish, " I am Allah's guest," he replied, " Welcome to the guest 
of God : enter, O Dervish ! " But he said to himself, " An the 
beggar be enamoured of the boy and sue him for sin, needs must 
I slay him this very night and bury him secretly. But, an there 
be no lewdness in him, the guest shall eat his portion." Then he 
brought him into a saloon, where he left him with Kamar al-Zaman,, 
after he had said privily to the lad, " O my son, sit thou beside the 
Dervish when I am gone out and sport with him and provoke him 
to love-liesse and if he seek of thee lewdness, I who will be watching 
you from the window overlooking the saloon will come down to 
him and kill him." So, as soon as Kamar al-Zaman was alone in 
the room with the Dervish, he sat down by his side and the old 
man began to look upon him and sigh and weep. Whenever the 
lad bespake him, he answered him kindly, trembling the while and 
would turn to him groaning and crying, and thus he did till supper 
was brought in, when he fell to eating, with his eyes on the boy 
but refrained not from shedding tears. When a fourth part of the 
night was past and talk was ended and sleep-tide came, Abd 
al-Rahman said to the lad, " O my son, apply thyself to the service 
of thine uncle the Dervish and gainsay him not : " and would have 
gone out ; but the Dervish cried to him, " O my lord, carry thy 
son with thee or sleep with us." Answered the merchant, " Nay, 
my son shall lie with thee : haply thy soul may desire somewhat, 
and he will look to thy want and wait upon thee/* Then he went 
out leaving them both together, and sat down in an adjoining 
room which had a window giving upon the saloon. Such was the 
case with the merchant ; but as to the lad, as soon as his sire had 
left them, he came up to the Dervish and began to provoke him 
and offer himself to him, whereupon he waxed wroth and said, 
" What talk is this, O my son ? I take refuge with Allah from 
Satan the Stoned ! O my Lord> indeed this is a denial of Thee 
which pleaseth Thee not ! Avaunt from me, O my son ! >T So 
saying, the Dervish arose and sat down at a distance ; but the boy 
followed him and threw himself upon him, saying, " Why, O 
Dervish, wilt thou deny thyself the joys of my possession, and I 
with a heart that loveth thee?" Hereupon the Dervish's anger 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. ,253 

redoubled and he said, "An thou refrain not from me, I will 
summon thy sire and tell him of thy doings." Quoth the lad, 
" My father knoweth my turn for this and it may not be that he 
will hinder me : so heal thou my heart. Why dost thou hold off 
from me? Do I not please thee?" Answered the Dervish, "By 
Allah, O my son, I will not do this, though I be hewn in pieces 
with sharp-edged swords!"; and he repeated the saying of the 
poet : 

Indeed my heart loves all the lovely boys o As girls ; nor am I slow to 

such delight, 
But, though I sight them every night and morn, o I'm neither of Lot's folk 1 

nor wencher-wighL 

Then he shed tears and said, " Arise, open the door, that I may 
wend my way, for I will lie no longer in this lodging." Therewith 
he rose to his feet ; but the boy caught hold of him, saying, " Look 
at the fairness of my face and the cramoisy of my cheeks and the 
softness of my sides and the lusciousness of my lips." Moreover 
he discovered to him calves that would shame wine and cup- 
carrier 2 and gazed on him with fixed glance that would baffle 
enchanter and enchantments ; for he was passing of loveliness 
and full of blandishment, even as saith of him one of the poets 
who sang: 

I can't forget him, since he rose and showed with fair design o Those calves of 

legs whose pearly shine make light in nightly gloom : 
Wonder not an my flesh uprise as though 'twere Judgment-day o When every 

shank shall bared be and that is Day of Dpom. 3 

Then the boy displayed to him his bosom, saying, "Look at my 
breasts which be goodlier than the breasts of maidens and my 
lip-dews are sweeter than sugar-candy. So quit scruple and 
asceticism and cast off devoutness and abstinence and take thy 

1 Arab. " Lait" = one connected with the tribe of Lot, see vol. v. 161. 

2 For the play upon " Saki " (oblique case of sale, leg-calf) and Saki a cupbearer see 
vol. ii. 327. 

3 " On a certain day the leg shall be bared and men shall be called upon to bow in 
adoration, but they shall not be able" (Koran, Ixviii. 42). " Baring the leg" implies 
a grievous calamity, probably borrowed from the notion of tucking up the skirts and 
stripping for flight. On the dangerous San Francisco River one of the rapids is called 
" Tira-calcoens " = take off your trousers (Highlands of the Brazil, ii. 35). -But here 

L the allusion is simply ludicrous and to a Moslem blasphemous. 

254 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.* 

fill of my possession and enjoy my loveliness. Fear naught, for 
thou art safe from hurt, and leave this hebetude for 'tis a bad 
habit." And he went on to discover to him his hidden beauties, 
striving to turn the reins of his reason with his bendings in grace- 
ful guise, whilst the Dervish turned away his face and said, " I 
seek refuge with Allah ! Have some shame, O my son ! ! This 
is a forbidden thing I deem and I will not do it, no, not even in 
dream." The boy pressed upon him, but the Dervish got free from 
him and turning towards Meccah addressed himself to his devo- 
tions. Now when the boy saw him praying, he left him till he 
had prayed a two-bow prayer and saluted, 2 when he would have 
accosted him again ; but the Dervish again repeated the intent $ 
and prayed a second two-bow prayer, and thus he did a third and 
a fourth and a fifth time. Quoth the lad, " What prayers are 
these ? Art thou minded to take flight upon the clouds ? Thou 
lettest slip our delight, Whilst thou passest the whole night in the 
prayer-niche." So saying, he threw himself upon the Dervish and 
kissed him between the eyes ; but the Shaykh said, O my son, put 
Satan away from thine estate and take upon thee obedience of 
the Compassionate." Quoth the other, " An thou do not with me 
that which I desire, I will call my sire and say to him, The 
Dervish is minded to do lewdness with me. Whereupon he will 
come in to thee and beat thee till thy bones be broken upon thy 
flesh." All this while Abd al-Rahman was watching with his 
eyes and hearkening with his ears, and he was certified that there 
was no frowardness in the Dervish and he said to himself, " Were he 
a lewd fellow, he had not stood out against all this importunity." 
The boy continued, to beguile the Dervish and every time he 
expressed purpose of prayer, he interrupted him, till at last he 
waxed wroth with passing wrath and was rough with him and 
beat him. Kamar al-Zaman wept and his father came in and 
having wiped away his tears and comforted him said to the 

1 Arab. " Istahi," a word of every day use in reproof. So the Hindost. " Kuchh 
sharm nahfn?" hast thou no shame? Shame is a passion with Orientals and very little 
known to the West. 

2 i.e. Angels and men saying, "The Peace (of God) be on us and on all righteous 
servants of Allah ! " This ends every prayer. 

3 Arab. " Al-Niyah," the ceremonial purpose or intent to pray, without which prayer 
is null and void. See vol. v. 163. The words would be " I purpose to pray a two-bow 
prayer in this hour of deadly danger to my soul." Concerning such prayer see 
vol. i. 142. 

Kamar Al-Kaman and the Jeweller's Wife, 255 

Dervish, " O my brother, since thou art in such case, why didst 
thou weep and sigh when thou sawest my son ? Say me, is there 
a reason for this ? " He replied, " There is ;" and Abd al-Rahman 
pursued, " When I saw thee weep at his sight, I deemed evil of 
thee and bade the boy do with thee thus, that I might try thee. 
purposing in myself, if I saw thee sue him for sin, to come in upon 
thee and kill thee. But, when I saw what thou dids I knew 
thee for one of those who are virtuous to the end. Now Allah 
upon thee, tell me the cause of thy weeping ! " The Dervish 
sighed and said, " O my lord, chafe not a closed J wound." But 
the merchant said, " There is no help but thou tell me ;" and the 
other began : Know thou, that I am a Dervish who wander in 
the lands. and the countries, and take warning by the display 2 of 
the Creator of Night and Day. It chanced that one Friday I 

entered the city of Bassorah in the undurn. And Shahrazad 

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

Nofo fofccn ft foas tfie Nine ^unireB an& Sbtxt^sixtj) Nt'gfn, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the 
Dervish said to the merchant : Know, then, that I a wandering 
mendicant chanced one Friday to enter the city of Bassorah in the 
undurn and saw the shops open and full of all manner of wares and 
meat and drink ; but the place was deserted and therein was 
neither man nor woman nor girl nor boy : nor in the markets and 
the main streets was there dog or cat nor sounded sound nor 
friend was found. I marvelled at this and said to myself, " I 
wonder whither the people of the city be gone with their cats and 
dogs and what hath Allah done with them ? " Now I was 
anhungred so I took hot bread from a baker's oven and going into 
the shop of an oilman, spread the bread with clarified butter and 
honey and ate. Then I entered the shop of a sherbet-seller and 
drank what I would ; after which, seeing a coffee-shop open, I 
went in and found the pots on the fire, full of coffee ; 3 but there 
was no one there. So I drank my fill and said, ' Verily, this is a 

1 Arab. " Sakin " = quiescent, Let a sleeping hound lie. 
* Arab. " Asar" lit. traces i.e. the works, the mighty signs and marvels. 
8 The mention of coffee now frequently occurs in this tale and in that which follows ; 
the familiar use of it showing a comparatively late date, and not suggesting the copyist's 

25* A If Laylak wa Laylak. 

wondrous thing ! It seemeth as though Death had stricken the 
people of this city and they had all died this very hour, or as if they 
had taken fright at something which befel them and fled, without 
having time to shut their shops." Now whilst pondering this 
matter, lo ! I heard a sound of a band of drums beating ; whereat 
I was afraid and hid myself for a while : then, looking out through 
a crevice, I saw damsels, like moons, come walking through the 
market, two by two, with uncovered heads and faces displayed. 
They were in forty pairs, thus numbering fourscore and in their 
midst a young lady, riding on a horse that could hardly move his 
legs for that which was upon it of silvern trappings and golden and 
jewelled housings. Her face was wholly unveiled, and she was 
adorned with the costliest ornaments and clad in the richest of 
raiment and about her neck she wore a collar of gems and on her 
bosom were necklaces of gold ; her wrists were clasped with 
bracelets which sparkled like stars, and her ankles With bangles of 
gold set with precious stones. The slave-girls walked before her 
and behind and on her right and left and in front of her was a 
damsel bearing in baldric a great sword, with grip of emerald and 
tassels of jewel-encrusted gold. When that young lady came to 
where I lay hid, she pulled up her horse and said, " O damsels, I 
hear a noise of somewhat within yonder shop : so do ye search it, 
lest haply there be one hidden there, with intent to enjoy a look 
at us, whilst we have our faces unveiled." So they searched the 
shop opposite the coffee-house * wherein I lay hid, whilst I abode 
in terror ; and presently I saw them come forth with a man and 
they said to her, " O our lady, we found a man there and here he 
is before thee." Quoth she to the damsel with the sword, " Smite 
his neck." So she went up to him and struck off his head ; then, 
leaving the dead man lying on the ground, they passed on. When 
I saw this, I was affrighted ; but my heart was taken with love of 
the young lady. After an hour or so, the people reappeared and 
every one who had a shop entered it ; whilst the folk began to 
come and go about the bazars a'nd gathered around the slain man, 
staring at him as a curiosity. Then I crept forth from my hiding 
place by stealth, and none took note of me, but love of that lady 
had gotten possession of my heart> and I began to enquire of her 
privily. None, however, gave me news of Her ; so I left Bassorah, 

1 Arab. "Al-Kahwah," the place being called from its produce. See Pilgrimage 

Kamar Al-Zantan and the Jeweller's Wife. 257 

ivith vitals yearning for her love ; and when I came upon this thy 
son, I saw him to be the likest of all creatures to the young Jady ; 
wherefore he reminded me of her and his sight revived the fire of 
passion in me and kindled anew in my heart the flames of love- 
longing and distraction. And such is the cause of my shedding 
tears ! " Then he wept with sore weeping till he could no more 
and said, " O my lord, I conjure thee by Allah, open the door to me, 
so I may gang my gate ! " Accordingly Abd al-Rahman opened 
the door and he went forth. Thus fared it with him ; but as 
regards Kamar al-Zaman, when he heard the Dervish's story, his 
heart was taken with love of the lady and passion gat the mastery 
of him and raged in him longing and distraction ; so, on the 
morrow, he said to his sire, " All the sons of the merchants wander 
about the world to attain their desire, nor is there one of them but 
his father provideth for him a stock-in-trade wherewithal he may 
travel and traffic for gain. Why, then, O my father, dost thou 
not outfit me with merchandise, so I may fare with it and find 
my luck ? " He replied, " O my son, such merchants lack money ; 
so they send their sons to foreign parts for the sake of profit and 
pecuniary gain and provision of the goods of the world. But I 
have monies in plenty nor do I covet more : why then should I 
exile thee ? Indeed, I cannot brook to be parted from thee an 
hour, more especially as thou art unique in beauty and loveliness 
and perfect grace and I fear for thee." But Kamar al-Zajnan 
said, " O my father, nothing will serve but thou must furnish me 
with merchandise wherewithal to travel ; else will I fly from thee 
at unawares though without money or merchandise. So, an thou 
wish to solace my heart, make ready for me a stock-in-trade, that 
I may travel and amuse myself by viewing the countries of men." 
Abd al-Rahman, seeing his son enamoured of travel, acquainted 
his wife with this, saying, "Verily thy son would have me provide 
him with goods, so he may fare therewith to far regions, albeit 
Travel is Travail. 1 " Quoth she, " What is there to displease thee 
in this ? Such is the wont of the sons of the merchants and they 
all vie one with other in glorifying globe-trotting and gain." 
Quoth he, " Most of the merchants are poor and seek growth of 
good ; but I have wealth galore." She replied, " More of a good 

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


258 A If Lay la k wa Lay I ah. 

thing hurteth not ; and, if thou comply not with his wish, I will 
furnish him with goods of my own monies." Quoth Abd al-Rah< 
man, "I fear strangerhood for him, inasmuch as travel is the 
worst of trouble ; " but she said, " There is no harm in stranger- 
hood for him when it leadeth to gaining good ; and, if we consent 
not, our son will go away and we shall seek him and not find him 
and be dishonoured among the folk." The merchant accepted his 
wife's counsel and provided his son with merchandise to the value 
of ninety thousand gold pieces, whilst his mother gave him a 
purse containing forty bezel-stones, jewels of price, the least of 
the value of one of which was five hundred ducats, saying, u O 
my son, be careful of this jewellery for 'twill be of service to 
thee." Thereupon Kamar al-Zaman took the jewels and set out 

for Bassorah, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fo&en ft foas tfie UCinc J^unfcrefc anlr bfxtg=scbentf) Ntg&t, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Kamar 
al-Zaman took the jewels and set out for Bassorah after he had 
laid them in a belt, which he buckled about his waist ; and he 
stayed not till there remained aught but a day's journey between 
that city and himself ; when the Arabs came out upon him and 
stripped him naked and slew his men and servants ; but he lay 
himself down among the slain and wallowed in their blood, so that 
the wildlings took him for dead and left him without even turning 
him over and made off with their booty. When the Arabs had 
gone their ways, Kamar al-Zaman arose, having naught left but 
the jewels in his girdle, and fared on nor ceased faring till he came 
to Bassorah. It chanced that his entry was on a Friday and the 
town was void of folk, even as the Dervish had informed him. 
He found the market-streets deserted and the shops wide open 
and full of goods ; so he ate and drank and looked about him. 
Presently, he heard a band of drums beating and hid himself in 
a shop, .till the slave-girls came up, when he looked at them ; and, 
seeing the young lady riding amongst them, love and longing 
overcame him and desire and distraction overpowered him, so that 
he had no force to stand. After awhile, the people reappeared 
and the bazars filled. Whereupon he went to the market and 
repairing to a jeweller and pulling out one of his forty gems sold 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jewellers Wife. 259 

ft for a thousand dinars, wherewith he returned to his place and 
passed the night there ; and when morning morrowed he changed 
his clothes and going to the Hammam came forth as he were 
the full moon. Then he sold other four stones for four thousand 
dinars and sauntered solacing himself about the main streets of 
Bassorah, clad in the costliest of clothes ; till he came to a 
market, where he saw a barber's shop. So he went in to the 
barber who shaved his head ; and, clapping up an acquaintance 
with him, said to him, " O my father, I am a stranger in these 
parts and yesterday I entered this city and found it void of folk, 
nor was there in it any living soul, man nor Jinni. Then I saw a 
troop of slave-girls and amongst them a young lady riding in 
state : " and he went on to tell him all he had seen. Said the 
barber, " O my son, hast thou told any but me of this ? " ; and he 
said/" No." The other rejoined, " Then, O my son, beware thou 
mention this before any but me ; for all folk cannot keep a secret 
and thou art but a little lad and I fear lest the talk travel from 
man to man, till it reach those whom it concerneth and they slay 
thee. For know, O my son, that this thou hast seen, none ever 
kenned nor knew in other than this city. As for the people of 
Bassorah they are dying of this annoy ; for every Friday forenoon 
they shut up the dogs and cats, to hinder them from going about 
the market-streets, and all the people of the city enter the 
cathedral-mosques, where they lock the doors on them, 1 and not 
one of them can pass about the bazar nor even look out of case- 
ment ; nor knoweth any the cause of this calamity. But, O my 
son, to-night I will question my wife concerning the reason 
thereof, for she is a midwife and entereth the houses of the 
notables and knoweth all the city news. So Inshallah, do thou 
come to me to-morrow and I will tell thee what she shall have 
told me." With this Kamar al-Zaman pulled out a handful of 
gold and said to him, " O my father, take this gold and give it to 
thy wife, for she is become my mother." Then he gave him a 
second handful, saying, "Take this for thyself." Whereupon 
quoth the barber, " O my son, sit thou in thy place, till I go to 

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

260 Alf Ltylak wa Laylak. 

my wife and ask her and bring thee news of the true state of 
the case." So saying, he left him in the shop and going home, 
acquainted his wife with the young man's case, saying, "I would 
have thee tell me the truth of this city-business, so I may report 
it to this young merchant, for he hath set his heart on weeting the 
reason why men and beasts are forbidden the market-streets every 
Friday forenoon ; and methinks he is a lover, for he is open- 
handed and liberal, and if we tell him what he would trow, we 
shall get great good of him." Quoth she, " Go back and say to 
him: Come, speak with thy mother, my wife, who sendeth her 
salam to thee and saith to thee, Thy wish is won." Accordingly 
he returned to the shop, where he found Kamar al-Zaman sitting 
awaiting him and repeated him the very words spoken by his 
spouse, Then he carried him in to her and she welcomed him 
'and bade him sit down-; whereupon he pulled out an hundred 
ducats and gave them to her, saying, " O my mother, tell me who 
this young lady may be." Said she, "Know, O my son, that 
there came a gem to the Sultan of Bassorah from the King of 
Hind, and he was minded to have it pierced. So he summoned 
all the jewellers in a body and said to them, I wish you to drill 
me this jewel, Whoso pierceth it, I will give him whatsoever he 
shall ask ; but if he break it, I will cut off his head. At this 
they were afraid and said, O King of the age, a jewel is soon 
spoilt and there are few who can pierce them without injury, for 
most of them have a flaw. So do not thou impose upon us a 
task to which we are unable ; for our hands cannot avail to drill 
this jewel. However, our Shaykh * is more experienced than we." 
Asked the King, "And who is your Shaykh ? "; and they answered, 
" Master Obayd : he is more versed than we in this art and hath 
wealth galore and of skill great store. Therefore do thou send 
for him to the presence and bid him pierce thee this jewel." 
Accordingly the King sent for Obayd and bade him pierce the 
jewel, imposing on him the condition aforesaid. He took it and 
pierced it to the liking of the King, who said to him, " Ask a boon 
of me, O master!"; and said he, " O King of the age, allow me delay 
till to-morrow." Now the reason of this was that he wished to take 
counsel with his wife, who is the young lady thou sawest riding 
in procession ; for he loveth her with exceeding love, and of the 
greatness of his affection for her, he doth naught without con- 

1 i.f. the syndic of the Guild of Jewellers. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 261 

suiting her ; wherefore he put off asking till the morrow. When 
he went home, he said to her : I have pierced the King a jewel 
and he hath granted me a boon which I deferred asking till 
to-morrow, that I might consult thee. Now what dost thou wish, 
that I may ask it ? " Quoth she, We have riches such as fires 
may not consume ; but, an thou love me, ask of the King to make 
proclamation in the streets of Bassorah that all the townsfolk 
shall every Friday enter the mosques, two hours before the hour of 
prayer, so none may abide in the town at all great or small except 
they be in the mosques or in the houses and the doors be locked 
upon them, and that every shop of the town be left open. Then 
will I ride with my slave-women through the heart of the city and 
none shall look on me from window or lattice ; and every one 
whom I find abroad I will kill." * So he went in to the King 
and begged of him this boon, which he granted him and caused 

proclamation to be made amongst the Bassorites And Shah- 

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

Koto fojen ft foas tfie Nine ^unimfc atrtr Sb&tg-efjjtft Nfe&t, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the Jeweller begged his boon, the King bade proclamation be 
made amongst the Bassorites to the effect aforesaid, but the people 
objected that they feared for their goods from the cats and dogs ; 
wherefore he commanded to shut the animals up till the folk 
should come forth from the Friday prayers. So the jeweller's 
wife fell to sallying forth every Friday, two hours before the time 
of congregational prayer, and riding in state through the city with 
her women ; during which time none da'reth pass through the 
market-place nor look out of casement or lattice. This, then, is 
what thou wouldest know and I have told thee who she is; but, 
O my son, was it thy desire only to have news of her or hast thou 
a mind to meet her ? " Answered he, " O my mother, 'tis my 
wish to foregather with her." Quoth she, " Tell me what valu- 
ables thou hast with thee " ; and quoth he, " O my mother, I have 
with me precious stones of four sorts, the first worth five hundred 
dinars each, the second seven hundred, the third eight hundred 

This is an Arab Lady Godiva of the wrong sort. 

62 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and the fourth a thousand ducats." She asked, " Art thou willing 
to spend four of these ? " ; and he answered, " I am ready to spend 
all of them." She rejoined, " Then, arise, O my son, and go 
straight to thy lodging and take a bezel-gem of those worth five 
hundred sequins, with which do thou repair to the jewel market 
and ask for the shop of Master Obayd, the Shaykh of the Jewel- 
lers. Go thither and thou wilt find him seated in his shop, clad 
in rich clothes, with workmen under his hand. Salute him and 
sit down on the front shelf of his shop ; l then pull out the jewel 
and give it to him, saying, " O master, take this stone and fashion 
it into a seal-ring for me with gold. Make it not large, a Miskal J 
in weight and no more ; but let the fashion of it be thy fairest." 
Then give him twenty dinars and to each of his prentices a dinar. 
Sit with him awhile and talk with him and if a beggar approach 
thee, show thy generosity by giving him a dinar, to the intent 
that he may affect thee, and after this, leave him and return to thy 
place. Pass the night there, and next morning, take an hundred 
dinars and bring them and give them to thy father the barber, 
for he is poor." Quoth Kamar al-Zaman, " Be it so/' and returning 
to his caravanserai, took a jewel worth five hundred gold pieces 
and went with it to the jewel-bazar. There he enquired for the 
shop of Master Obayd, Shaykh of the Jewellers, and they directed 
him thereto. So he went thither and saw the Shaykh, a man of 
austere aspect and robed in sumptuous raiment with four journey- 
men under his hand. He addressed him with " Peace be upon 
you ! " and the jeweller returned his greeting and welcoming him, 
made him sit down. Then he brought out the jewel and said, 
" O master, I wish thee to make me this jewel into a seal-ring 
with gold. Let it be the weight of a Miskal and no more, but 
fashion it excellently." Then he pulled out twenty dinars and 
gave them to him, saying, " This is the fee for chasing and the 
price of the ring shall remain." 3 And he gave each of the 
apprentices a gold piece, wherefore they loved him, and so did 
Master Obayd. Then he sat talking with the jeweller and when- 
ever a beggar came up to him, he gave him a gold piece and they 
all marvelled at his generosity. Now Master Obayd had tools 

1 This is explained in my Pilgrimage i. 99 et seq. 

2 About three pennyweights. It varies, however, everywhere and in Morocco the 
" Mezkal" as they call it is an imaginary value, no such coin existing. 

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

Kamar Al-Zaman and the. Jewellers Wife. 26$ 

at home, like those he had in the shop, and whenever he was 
minded to do any unusual piece of work, it was his custom to 
carry it home and do it there, that his journeymen might not learn 
the secrets of his wonderful workmanship. 1 His wife used to .sit 
before him, and when she was sitting thus and he looking upon 
her, 2 he would fashion all manner of marvellously wroughten 
trinkets, such as were fit for none but kings. So he went home 
and sat down to mould the ring with admirable workmanship. 
When his wife saw him thus engaged, she asked him, " What wilt 
thou do with this bezel-gem ? " ; and he answered, " I mean to 
make it into a ring with gold, for 'tis worth five hundred dinars," 
She enquired, " For whom ? " ; and he answered, " For a young 
merchant, who is fair of face, with eyes that wound with desire, 
and cheeks that strike fire and mouth like the seal of Sulayman 
and cheeks like the bloom of Nu'man and lips red as coralline and 
neck like the antelope's long and fine. His complexion is white 
dashed with red and he is well-bred, pleasant and generous and 
doth thus and thus." And he went on to describe to her now his 
beauty and loveliness and then his perfection and bounty and 
ceased not to vaunt his charms and the generosity of his dis- 
position, till he had made her in love with him ; for there is no 
sillier cuckold than he who vaunteth to his wife another man's 
handsome looks and unusual liberality in money matters. So, 
when desire rose high in her, she said to him, " Is aught of my 
charms found in him ? " Said he, " He hath all thy beauties ; 
and he is thy counterpart in qualities. Meseemeth his age is even 
as thine and but that I fear to hurt thy feelings, I would say that 
he is a thousand times handsomer than thou art." She was silent, 
yet the fire of fondness was kindled in her heart. And the jeweller 
ceased not to talk with her and to set out Kamar al-Zaman's 
charms before her till he had made an end of moulding the ring ; 
when he gave it to her and she put it on her finger, which it 
fitted exactly. Quoth she, " O my lord, my heart loveth this 
ring and I long for it to be mine and will not take it from my 

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

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

264 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

finger. " Quoth he, " Have patience ! The owner of it is generous; 
and I will seek to buy it of him, and if he will sell it, I will bring 
it to thee. Or if he have another such stone, I will buy it and 
fashion it for thee into a ring like this." And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

TXTofco fof)w ft foas tfje Nine ^un&teB anti Sfefxtjunmti) 

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

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 265 

slave-girls. Its worth is trifling, some five hundred dinars ; so it 
booteth not to fashion it over again." Then he brought out to 
him another stone worth seven hundred sequins and said to him, 
" Set this for me : 'tis a finer gem." Moreover he gave him thirty 
dinars and to each of his workmen two. Quoth Obayd, " O my 
lord we will take the price of the ring when we have made it." 1 
But Kamar al-Zaman said, " This is for the chasing, and the price 
of the ring remains over." So saying, he went away home, leaving 
the jeweller and his men amazed at the excess of his generosity. 
Presently the jeweller returned to his wife and said, <: O Halfmah, 2 
never did I set eyes on a more generous than this young man, and 
as for thee, thy luck is good, for he hath given me the ring without 
price, saying, " Give it to one of thy slave-women." And he told 
her what had passed, adding, "Methinks this youth is none of the, 
sons of the merchants, but that he is of the sons of the Kings 
and Sultans.'* Now the more he praised him, the more she waxed 
in love-longing, passion and distraction for him. So she took the 
ring and put it on her finger, whilst the jeweller made another 
one, a little larger than the first. When he had finished moulding 1 
it, she put it on her finger, under the first, and said, " Look, O my 
lord, how well the two rings show on my finger ! I wish they were 
both mine." Said he, " Patience ! It may be I shall buy thee this 
second one." Then he lay that night and on the morrow he took 
the ring and went to his shop. As for Kamar al-Zaman, as soon 
as it was day, he repaired to the barber's wife and gave her two 
hundred dinars. Quoth she, " Go to the jeweller and when he 
giveth thee the ring, put it on thy finger and pull it off again in 
haste, saying : Thou hast made a mistake, O master ! This 
ring is too large. A master like thee, when the like of me 
cometh to him with a piece of work, it behoveth him to take 
right measure ; and if thou hadst measured my finger, thou hadst 
not erred. Then pull out another stone worth a thousand dinars 
and say to him : Take this and set it, and give this ring to one 
of thy slave-women. Give him forty ducats and to each of his 
journeyman three, saying, This is for the chasing, and for the cost, 

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

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

266 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

of the ring, that shall remain. And see what he will say. Then 
bring three hundred dinars and give them to thy father the barber, 
that he may mend his fortune withal, for he is a poor man." 
Answered Kamar al-Zaman, " I hear and obey," and betook him- 
self to the jeweller, who welcomed him and making him sit down, 
gave him the ring. He took it and put it on his finger ; then 
pulled it off in haste and said, " It behoveth a master like thee* 
when the like of me bringeth him a piece of work, to take his 
measure. Hadst thou measured my finger, thou hadst not erred ; 
but take it and give it to one of thy slave-women." Then he 
brought out to him a stone worth a thousand sequins and said to 
him, " Take this and set it in a signet-ring for me after the measure 
of my ringer." Quoth Obayd, " Thou hast spoken sooth and art 
in the right ; " and took his measure, whereupon he pulled out 
forty gold pieces and gave them to him, saying, " Take these for 
the chasing and the price of the ring shall remain." Cried the 
jeweller, " O my lord, how much hire have we taken of thee ! 
Verily, thy bounty to us is great!" "No harm," replied Kamar 
al-Zaman and sat talking with him awhile and giving a dinar to 
every beggar who passed by the shop. Then he left him and went 
away, whilst the jeweller returned home and said to his wife, 
" How generous is this young merchant ! Never did I set eyes on 
a more open-handed or a comelier than he, no, nor a sweeter of 
speech." And he went on to recount to her his charms and 
generosity and was loud in his praise. Cried she, " O thou lack- 
tact, 1 since thou notest these qualities in him, and indeed he hath 
given thee two seal-rings of price, it behoveth thee to invite him 
and make him an entertainment and entreat him lovingly. When 
he seest that thou affectest him and cometh to our place, we shall 
surely get great good of him ; and if thou grudge him the banquet 
do thou bid him and I will entertain him of my monies." Quoth 
lie, " Dost thou know me to be niggardly, that thou sayest this 
Say?"; and quoth she, "Thou art no niggard, but thou lackest 
tact. Invite him this very night and come not without him. An 
he refuse, conjure him by the divorce oath and be persistent with 
him." " On my head and eyes," answered he and moulded the 
ring till he had finished it, after which he passed the night and 

1-! .1 ' ' ' 

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

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 267 

went forth on the morrow to his shop and sat there. On this 
wise it was with him ; but as for Kamar al-Zaman, he took three 
hundred dinars and carrying them to the old wife, gave them to 
her for the barber, her husband. Said she, " Most like he will 
invite thee to his house this day ; and if he do this and thou pass 
the night there, tell me in the morning what befalleth thee and 
bring with thee four hundred dinars and give them to thy father." 
Answered he, " Hearing and obeying ; " and as often as he ran 
out of money, he would sell some of his stones. So he repaired to 
the jeweller, who rose to him and received him with open arms, 
greeted him heartily and clapped up companionship with him. 
Then he gave him the ring, and he found it after the measure of 
his finger and said to the jeweller, " Allah bless thee, O prince 
of artists ? The setting is conformable but the stone is not to my 

liking." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased to say her permitted say. 

fo&nx it foa* fte Nine f^untaefc anfc Stfbentfet!) 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Kamar al-Zaman said to the jeweller, " The setting is conform- 
able to my wishes, but the stone is not to my liking. I have a 
handsomer than this : so take the seal-ring and give it to one of 
thy slave-women." Then he gave him a fourth stone and an 
hundred dinars, saying, <c Take thy hire and excuse the trouble 
we have given thee." Obayd replied, " O merchant, all the 
trouble thou hast given us thou hast requited us and hast over- 
whelmed us with thy great bounties : and indeed my heart is taken 
with love of thee and I cannot brook parting from thee. So, Allah 
upon thee, be thou my guest this night and heal my heart" He 
rejoined, " So be it ; but needs must I go to my Khan, that I may 
give a charge to my domestics and tell them that I shall sleep 
abroad to-night, so they may not expect me." " Where dost thoti 
lodge ? " asked the jeweller ; and he answered, " In such a 
Khan." Quoth Obayd, " I will come for thee there ; " and 
quoth the other " Tis well." So the jeweller repaired to the 
Khan before sundown, fearing lest his wife should be anangered 
with him, if he returned home without his guest ; and, carrying 
Kamar al-Zaman to his house, seated him in a saloon that had 
not its match. Halimah saw him, as he entered, and was 

268 Atf Laylah wa Laylah. 

ravished with him. They talked till supper was served when the/ 
ate and drank ; after which appeared coffee and sherbets, and the 
jeweller ceased not to entertain him with talk till eventide, when 
they prayed the obligatory prayers. Then entered a handmaid 
with two cups * of night drink, which when they had drunk, 
drowsiness overcame them and they slept. Presently in came the 
jeweller's wife and seeing them asleep, looked upon Kamar al- 
Zaman's face "and her wit was confounded at his beauty. Said she, 
" How can he sleep who loveth the fair ? " and, turning him over 
on his back, sat astraddle upon his breast. Then, in the mania 
of her passion for him, she rained down kisses on his cheeks, till 
she left a mark upon them and they became exceeding red and 
his cheek bones shone ; and, she sucked his lips, till the blood 
ran out into her mouth ; but with all this, her fire was not quenched 
nor her thirst assuaged. She ceased not to kiss and clip him and 
twine leg with leg, till the forebrow of Morn grew white and the 
dawn broke forth in light ; when she put in his pocket four 
cockals \ and went away. Then she sent her maid with something 
like snuff, which she applied to their nostrils and they sneezed and 
awoke, when the slave-girl said, " O my lords, prayer is a duty ; 
so- rise ye and pray the dawn-prayer." And she brought them 
basin and ewer. 3 Quoth Kaman al-Zamar " O master, 'tis late and 
we have overslept ourselves ; " and quoth the jeweller, " O my 
friend verily the air of this room is heavy ; for, whenever I sleep 
in it, this happens to me.'^ Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, " True," 
and proceeded to make the Wuzu ablution ; but, when he put the 
water to his face, his cheeks and lips burned him. Cried he, 
11 Prodigious ! If the air of the room be heavy and we have been 
drowned in sleep, what aileth my cheeks and lips' that they burn. 

1 Arab. " Finjan " the egg-shell cups from which the Easterns still drink coffee. 

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

8 For ablution after sleep and before prayer. The address of the slave-girl is perfectly 
aafural : in a Moslem house we should hear it this day nor does it show the least siga 
tof "frowardness.." 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jewellers Wife. 269 

me ? " And he said to the jeweller, " O master, my cheeks and lips 
burn me." The other replied, " I guess this cometh of the 
mosquito-bites." " Strange ! " said Kamar al-Zaman. " Hath this 
thing happened to thee ? " Replied Obayd, " No ! But whenever 
I have by me a guest like thee, he complaineth in the morning of 
the mosquito-bites, and this happeneth only when he is like thee 
beardless. If he be bearded the mosquitoes sting him not, and 
naught hindereth them from me but my beard. It seems mosquitoes 
love not bearded men." 1 Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, "True." 
Then the maid brought them early breakfast and they broke their 
fast and went out. Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to the old 
woman, who exclaimed, when she saw him, " I see the marks of 
joyance on thy face : tell me what thou hast seen." Said he, " I 
have seen nothing. Only I supped with the house-master in a 
saloon and prayed the night-prayer, after which we fell asleep and 
woke not till morning." She laughed and said, " What be those 
marks on thy cheeks and lips ? " He answered, " 'Twas the 
mosquitoes of the saloon that did this with me ;" and she rejoined, 
" 'Tis well. But did the same thing betide the house master ? " 
He retorted, " Nay ; but he told me that the mosquitoes of that 
saloon molest not bearded men, but s'ting those only who have no 
hair on face, and that whenever he hath for guest one who is beard- 
less, the stranger awaketh complaining of the mosquito-bites ; 
whereas an he have a beard, there befalleth him naught of this." 
Said she, " Sooth thou speakest : but say me, sawest thou aught 
save this ? " And he answered, " I found four cockals in my 
pocket." Quoth she, " Show them to me." So he gave them to 
her and she laughed and said, " Thy mistress laid these in thy 
pocket." He asked, " How so ? " And she answered, " Tis as if 
she said to thee, in the language of signs : 2 An thou wert in love, 
thou wouldst not sleep, for a lover sleepeth not : but thou has not 
ceased to be a child and fit for nothing but to play with these 
cockals. So what drave thee to fall in love with the fair ?" Now 
she came to thee by night and finding thee asleep, scored thy 
cheeks with her kisses and left thee this sign. But that will not 
suffice her of thee and she will certainly send her husband to 
invite thee again to-night ; so, when thou goest home with him, 
hasten not to fall asleep, and on the morrow bring me five 

1 The perfect stupidity of the old wittol is told with the driest Arab humour. 

2 This is a rechauffe of the Language of Signs in " Aziz and Azizah " vol. ii. 302. 

270 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

hundred dinars and come and acquaint me with what hath 
passed, and I will perfect for thee the device." Answered he, 
" I hear and obey," and went back to the Khan. Thus it befel 
him ; but as regards the jeweller's wife, she said to her husband, 
" Is the guest gone?" Answered he, " Yes, but, O Halimah, 1 the 
mosquitoes plagued him last night and scarified his cheeks and 
lips, and indeed I was abashed before him." She rejoined, " This 
is the wont of the mosquitoes of our saloon ; for they love none 
save the beardless. But do thou invite him again to-night." So 
he repaired to the Khan where the youth abode, and bidding him, 
carried him to his house, where they ate and drank and prayed 
the night-prayer in the saloon, after which the slave-girl entered 

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

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

Woto tofen it foas tje Ntw f^unfcttti an& Sbtf>entg=fim 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the slave- 
girl went in to the twain and gave each of them a cup of night- 
drink, and they drank and fell asleep. Presently, in came Halimah 
and said, " O good-for-nothing, how canst thou sleep and call thy- 
self a lover ? A lover sleepeth not ! " Then she mounted on his 
breast and ceased not to come down upon him with kisses and 
caresses, biting and sucking his lips and so forth, till the morning, 
when she put in his pocket a knife and sent her handmaid to 
arouse them. And when the youth awoke, his cheeks were on 
fire, for excess of redness, and his lips like coral, for dint of suck- 
ing and kissing. Quoth the jeweller, " Did the mosquitoes plague 
thee last night ? " ; and quoth the other, " Nay ! " ; for he now 
knew the conceit and left complaining, Then he felt the knife in 
his pocket and was silent ; but when he had broken his fast and 
drunk coffee, he left the jeweller and going to the Khan ; took 
five hundred dinars of gold and carried them to the old woman, to 
whom he related what had passed, saying, " I slept despite myself, 
and when I woke at dawn I found nothing but a knife in my pocket." 
Exclaimed the old trot, " May Allah protect thee from her this 
next night ! For she saith to thee by this sign, An thou sleep 
again, I will cut thy throat. Thou wilt once more be bidden to 

1 In the Mac. Edit. " Ya Pulanah " = O certain person. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jewellers Wife. 271 

the jeweller's house to-night, 1 and if thou sleep, she will slay thee." 
Said he, " What is to be done ? " ; and said she, " Tell me what 
thou atest and drankest before sleeping." Quoth he, " We supped as 
was our wont and prayed the night-prayer, after which there came in 
to us a maid, who gave each of us a cup of night-drink, which when 
I had drunk, I fell asleep and awoke not till the morning." Quoth the 
old woman, " The mischief is in the cup : so, when the maid giveth 
it to thee, take it from her, but drink not and wait till the master 
of the house have drunken and fallen asleep ; then say to her, Give 
me a draught of water, and she will go to fetch thee the gugglet. 
Then do thou empty the cup behind the pillow and lie down and 
feign sleep. So when she cometh back with the gugglet, she will 
deem that thou hast fallen asleep, after having drunk off the cup, 
and will leave thee ; and presently the case will appear to thee ; 
but beware of disobeying my bidding." Answered he, " I hear 
and I obey," and returned to the Khan. Meanwhile the jeweller's 
wife said to her husband, " A guest's due honour is three nights' 
entertainment : so do thou invite him a third time " ; Whereupon 
he betook himself to the youth and inviting him, carried him home 
and sat down with him in the saloon. When they had supped 
and prayed the night-prayer, behold, in came the handmaid and 
gave each of them a cup. Her master drank and fell asleep ; but 
Kamar al-Zaman forbore to drink, whereupon quoth the maid, 
" Wilt thou not drink, O my lord ? " Answered he, " I am athirst, 
bring me the gugglet." Accordingly she went to fetch it, and he 
emptied the cup behind the pillow and lay down. When the slave 
girl returned, she saw him lying down and going to her mistress 
said, " He hath drunk off the cup and fallen asleep ; " whereupon 
quoth Halimah to herself, " Verily, his death is better than his 
life." Then, taking a sharp knife, she went in to him, saying, 
" Three times, and thou notedst not the sign, O fool ! 2 So now I 
will rip up thy maw." When he saw her making for him knife in 
hand, he opened his eyes and rose, laughing ; whereupon said she, 
" 'Twas not of thine own wit, that thou earnest at the meaning of 
the sign, but by the help of some wily cheat ; so tell me whence 
thou hadst this knowkdge." " From an old woman," replied he, 
" between whom and me befel such and such ; " and he told her 

1 Arab. " Laylat al-Kabilah," lit = the coming night, our to-night; for which see 
vol. iii. 349. 

2 Arab. " Ya Ahmak ! "which in Marocco means a madman, a maniac, a Santon. 

272 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

all that had passed. Quoth she, " To-morrow go thou forth from 
us and seek her and say, Hast thou any further device in store ? 
And if she answer, I have, do thou rejoin, Then do thy best that 
I may enjoy her publicly. But, if she say, I have no means of 
doing that, and this is the last of my devices, put her away from 
thy thought, and to-morrow night my husband will come to thee 
and invite thee. Do thou come with him and tell me and I will 
consider what remaineth to be done," Answered he, " There is no 
harm in that ! " Then he spent the rest of the night with her in 
embracing and clipping, plying the particle of copulation in concert 1 
and joining the conjunctive with the conjoined, 2 whilst her husband 
was as a cast-out nunnation of construction. 3 And they ceased 
not to be thus till morning, when she said to him, " Tis 
not a night of thee that will content me, nor a day ; no, 
nor yet a month nor a year; but it's my intent to abide 
with thee the rest of my life. Wait, however, till I play 
my husband a trick which would baffle the keenest-witted and 
win for us our wishes. I will cause doubt to enter into him, so 
that he shall divorce me, whereupon I will marry thee and go 
with thee to thine own country ; I will also transport all his monies 
and hoards to thy lodging and will contrive thee the ruin of his 
dwelling-place and the blotting out of his traces. But do thou 
hearken to my speech and obey me in that I shall say to thee and 
gainsay me not." He replied, "I hear and I obey : in me there 
is none opposition." Then said she, " Go to the Khan and, when 

1 The whole passage has a grammatical double entendre whose application is palpable. 
Harf al-Jarr = a particle governing the noun in the genitive or a mode of thrusting and. 

2 Arab. Al-Silah = conjunctive (sentence), also coition ; Al-Mausul =r the conjoined, 
a grammatical term for relative pronoun or particle. 

3 Arab. " Tanwin al-Izafah ma'zul = the nunnation in construction cast out. 
"Tanwfn (nunnation) is pronouncing the vowels of the case-endings of a noun with 
n un for u (nominative) in for i (genitive) and an for a (accusative). This nunnation 
expresses indefiniteness, e.g. tf Malikun" =a king, any king. When the noun is made 
definite by the Ma'rifah or article (al), the Tanwfn must be dropped, e.g. AI-Maliku 
= the King ; Al-Malikun being a grammatical absurdity. In construction or regimen 
(izafah) the nunnation must also disappear, as Maliku '1-Hindi = the King of Hind 
(a King of Hind would be Malikun min Mulviki '1-Hindi = a King from amongst the 
Kings of Hind), 'Thus whilst the wife and the lover were conjoined as much as might 
be, the hocussed and sleeping husband was dismissed (ma'zul = degraded) like a 
nunnation dropped in construction. I may add that the terminal syllables are 
invariably dropped in popular parlance and none but Mr. G. Palgrave (who afterwards 
ignored his own assertion) ever found an Arab tribe actually using them in conversatioa 
although they are always pronounced when reading the Koran and poetry. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife^ 273 

my husband cometh to thee and inviteth thee, say to him : O my 
brother, a son of Adam is apt to be . burdensome, and when his 
visits grow over frequent, both generous and niggard loathe him. 1 
How then shall I go with thee every night and lie I and thee, on 
the saloon? An thou wax not chagrined with me, thy Harim 
will bear me grudge, for that I hinder thee from thine. Therefore 
if thou have a miad to my company, take me a house beside thine 
own and we will abide thus, now I sitting with thee till the time 
of sleep, and now with me thou. Then I will go to my place and 
thou to thy Harim and this will be a better rede than that I hinder 
thee from thy Harim every night. Then will he come to me and 
take counsel with me, and I will advise him to turn out our 
neighbour, for the house wherein he liveth is our house and he 
renteth it of us ; and once thou art in the house, Allah will make 
easy to us the rest of our scheme." And presently she added, " Go 
now and do as I bid thee." Answered he, "I hear and obey;" 
whereupon, she left him and went away, whilst he lay down and 
feigned to be asleep. Presently, the handmaid came and aroused 
them ; and when the jeweller awoke, he said to his guest, " O 
merchant have the mosquitoes worried thee ? " He replied, " No,"* 
and Obayd said, " Belike thou art grown used to them." Then 
they broke their fast and drank coffee, a/ter which they fared forth 
to their affairs, and Kamar al-Zaman 'betook himself to the old 
cfc-ne, and related to her what had passed, -- And Shahrazad 
perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted 

!NToto fojeit ft toas ijje jStne ^un&tcfc anfc bebemn^econ& 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to the old crone, he related to 

1 This was a saying of Mohammed about overfrequency of visits, " Zur ghibban, 
tazid hubban "'rr call rarely that friendship last fairly. So the verse of Al-Mutanabbi, 

" How oft familiarity breeds dislike." 

Preston quotes Jesus ben Sirach, ^ ^TTLTTTC Iva /4 cVoxr^s, /ecu ^T/ paKpav d^urrw 
iva /AT) cTTiXtrja-Ofj* Also Al-Hariri (Ass. xv. of " The Legal w ; De Sacy p. 478 1. 2.) 
" Visit not your friend more than one day in a month, nor stop longer than that with 
liim !"- Also Ass. xvi. 487, 8. " Multiply not visits to thy friend." None so disliked 
as. one visiting too often (Preston p. 352). In the Cent nouvelles (52) Nouvelles (No. ISi.) 
the dying father says to his son : Jamais ne vous hantez tant en 1'ostel de votre voisin 
que 1'on vous y serve de pain bis. In these matters Moslems follow the preaching and 
practice of the Apostle, who was about as hearty and genial as the "Great Washington." 
But the Arab had a fund of dry humour which the Anglo-American lacked altogether. 

274 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

her what had passed, saying, " She spake to me this and that, and 
I answered her thus and thus. Now say me, hast thou any farther 
device for bringing me to enjoy her publicly ? " Quoth she, " O 
my son, here endeth my contrivance, and now I am at the term of 
my devices." Upon this he left her and returned to the Khan 
where, as eventide evened, the jeweller came to him and invited 
him. He said, " I cannot go with thee." Asked the merchant, 
" Why so ? I love thee and cannot brook separation from thee. 
Allah upon thee come with me ! " The other replied, " An it be 
thy wish to continue our comradeship and keep up the friendship 
betwixt thee and me, take me a house by the side of thine own, 
and when thou wilt, thou shalt pass the evening with me and I 
with thee ; but, as soon as the time of sleep cometh, each of us 
shall hie him to his own home and lie there." Quoth Obayd, " I 
have a house adjoining mine, which is my own property : so go 
thou with me to-night and to-morrow I will have the house un- 
tenanted for thee." Accordingly he went with him and they 
supped and prayed the night-prayer, after which the jeweller drank 
the cup of drugged ' liquor and fell asleep : but in Kamar al- 
Zaman's cup there was no trick ; so he drank it and slept not. 
Then came the jeweller's wife and sat chatting with him through 
the dark hours, whilst her husband lay like a corpse. When he 
awoke in the morning as of wont, he sent for his tenant and said 
to him, " O man, quit me the house, for I have need of it." " On 
my head and eyes," answered the other and voided the house to 
him, whereupon Kamar al-Zaman took up his abode therein and 
transported thither all his baggage. The jeweller passed that 
evening with him, then went to his own house. On the next day, 
his wife sent for a cunning builder and bribed him with money 
to make her an underground-way * from her chamber to Kamar 
al-Zaman's house, with a trap-door under the earth. So, before 
the youth was ware, she came in to him with two bags of money 
and he said to her, " Whence comest thou ? " She showed him 
the tunnel and said to him, " Take these two bags of his money." 

1 Arab. <0 Amal":= action, operation. In Hindostani it is used (often with an 
Alif for an Ayn) as intoxication e.g. Amal pan! strong waters and applied to Sharab 
(wine), Bozah (Beer), Tadi (toddy or the fermented juice of the Tad, Borassus flabelli- 
formis), Naryali (juice of the cocoa-nut tree) Saynddi (of the wild date, Elate Sylvestris), 
Afyiin (opium and its preparations as post = poppy seeds) and various forms of Cannabis 
Sativa, as Ganja, Charas, Madad, Sabzi etc. for which see Herklots' Glossary. 

* Arab. ' Sardab," mostly an underground room (vol. i. 340) but here a tunnel. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 275 

Then she sat with him, the twain toying and tumbling together 
till the morning, when she said, " Wait for me, till I go to him and 
wake him, so he may go to his shop, and I return to thee." He 
sat expecting her, whilst she went away and awoke her husband, 
who made the Wuzu-ablution and prayed and went to his shop. 
As soon as he was gone, she took four bags and, carrying them 
through the Souterrain to Kamar al-Zaman, said to him, " Store 
these up ; " then she sat with him awhile, after which she retired 
to her home and he betook himself to the bazar. When he 
returned at sundown, he found in his house ten purses and jewels 
and much besides. Presently the jeweller came to him and carried 
him to his own house, where they passed the evening in the saloon, 
till the handmaid came in according to custom, and brought them 
the drink. Her master drank and fell asleep, whilst naught 
betided Kamar al-Zaman for that his cup was wholesome and 
there was no trick therein. Then came Halimah who sat down 
atoying with him, whilst the slave-girl transported the jeweller's 
goods to Kamar al-Zaman's house by the secret passage. Thus 
they did till morning, when the handmaid awoke her lord and 
gave them to drink coffee, after which they went each his own way. 
On the third day the wife brought out to him a knife of her 
husband's, which he had chased and wrought with his own hand, 
and which he priced at five hundred dinars. But there was no 
knife like it and because of the eagerness with which folk sought 
it of him, he had laid it up in a chest and could not bring himself 
to sell it to any one in creation. Quoth she, " Take this knife and 
set it in thy waist-shawl and go to my husband and sit with him. 
Then pull out the knife and say to him, " O master, look at this 
knife I bought to-day and tell me if I have the worst or the best 
of the bargain. He will know it, but will be ashamed to say to 
thee, This is my knife ; so he will ask thee, Whence didst thou buy 
it and for how much ? ; and do thou make answer : I saw two 
Levantines * disputing and one said to the other, Where hast thou 
been ? Quoth his companion, I have been with my mistress, and 
whenever I foregather with her, she giveth me ten dirhams ; but 
this day she said to me, My hand is empty of silver for thee to-day, 
but take this knife of my husband's. So I took it and intend to 

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

276 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

sell it. The knife pleased me and hearing his tale I said to him, 
Wilt thou sell it to me ? when he replied, Buy. So I got it of 
him for three hundred gold pieces and I wonder whether it was 
cheap or dear. And note what he will say to thee. Then talk 
with him awhile and rise and come back to me in haste. Thou 
wilt find me awaiting thee at the tunnel-mouth, and do thou give 
me the knife/' Replied Kamar al-Zaman, " I hear and I obey," 
and taking the knife set it in his waist-shawl. Then he went to 
the shop of the jeweller, who saluted him with the salam and 
welcomed him and made him sit down. He spied the knife in his 
waist-shawl, at which he wondered and said to himself, " That is 
my knife : who can have conveyed it to this merchant ? " And he 
fell a-musing and saying in his mind, " I wonder an it be my knife 
or a knife like it ! " Presently Kamar al-Zaman pulled it out and 
said to him, " Harkye, master; take this knife and look at it." 
Obayd took it and knew it right well, but was ashamed to say, 

" This is my knife ; " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of 

day and ceased saying her permitted say, 

fojcn ft foas tfje jdt'ne ^utrtiretr anfc bebentg-tiw& Nig&t, 

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

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

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

'twixt man and maid ! 

When Kamar al-Zaman saw his case thus changed, he said to him, 
" Belike thou art busy at this present," and leaving him, returned 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 277 

in hottest haste to his own house, where he found Halimah standing 
at the passage-door awaiting him. Quoth she " Hast thou done 
as I bade thee ? " ; and quoth he, " Yes." She asked, What said 
he to thee ? " ; and he answered, " He told me that the knife was 
cheap at that price, for that it was worth five hundred dinars : but 
I could see that he was troubled ; so I left him and know not what 
befel him after that." Cried she, " Give me the knife and reck 
thou not of him." Then she took the knife and restoring it to its 
place, sat down. Now after Kamar al-Zaman's departure fire 
flamed in the jeweller's heart and suspicion was sore upon him and 
he said to himself, " Needs must I get up and go look for the 
knife and cut down doubt with certainty." So he rose and 
repaired to his house and went in to his wife, snorting like a 
dragon ; r and she said to him, " What mattereth thee, Ofny lord ? " 
He asked, " Where is my knife ? " and she answered, " In the 
chest," and smote hand upon breast, saying, " O my grief! Belike 
thou hast fallen out with some one and art come to fetch the knife 
to smite him withal." Said he, " Give me the knife. Let me see 
it." But said she, " Not till thou swear to me that thou wilt not 
smite any one therewith." So he swore this to her and she opened 
the chest and brought out to him the knife and he fell to turning; 
it over, saying, " Verily, this is a wondrous thing ! " Then quoth 
he to her, " Take it and lay it back in its place ; " and she, " Tell 
me the meaning of all this." He answered, " I saw with our 
friend a knife like this," and told her all that had passed between 
himself and the youth, adding, " But, when I saw it in the chest, 
my suspicion ended in certainty." Said she, " Haply thou mis- 
doubtedst of me and deemedst that I was the Levantine's mistress 
and had given him the knife." He replied, " Yes ; I had my 
doubts of this ; but, when I saw the knife, suspicion was lifted 
from my heart." Rejoined she, " O man, there is now no good in 
thee ! " And he fell to excusing himself to her, till he appeased 
her ; after which he fared forth and returned to his shop. Next 
day, she gave Kamar al-Zaman her husband's watch, which he 
had made with his own hand and whereof none had the like, 
saying, " Go to his shop and sit by his side and say to him : I 
saw again to-day him whom I saw yesterday. He had a watch in 
his hand and said to me, Wilt thou buy this watch ? Quoth I, 
Whence hadst thou it ? ; and quoth he, I was with my mistress 

1 Arab. " Su'ban," vol. i. 172^ 

278 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

and she gave me this watch. So I bought it of him for eight-and- 
fifty gold pieces. Look at it : is it cheap at that price or dear ? 
Note what he shall say to thee ; then return to me in haste and 
give me the watch." So Kamar al-Zaman repaired to the jeweller 
and did with him as she had charged him. When Obayd saw the 
watch, he said, " This is worth seven hundred ducats ; " and 
suspicion entered into him. Then the youth left him and 
returning to the wife, gave her back the watch. Presently, her 
husband suddenly came in snorting, and said to her, " Where is 
my watch ? " Said she, " Here it is ; " and he cried, " Give it to 
me." So she brought it to him and he exclaimed, " There is no 
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the 
Great ! "; and she too exclaimed, " O man, there is something the 
matter with thee. Tell me what it is." He replied, " What shall 
I say ? Verily, I am bewildered by these chances ! " And he 
recited these couplets 1 : 

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

Then said he to his wife, " O woman, I saw with the merchant 
our friend, first my knife, which I knew, for that its fashion was a 
device of my own wit, nor doth its like exist ; and he told me of 
it a story that troubled the heart : so I came back and found it at 
home. Again to-day I see him with the watch, whose fashion 
also is of my own device, nor is there the fellow of it in Bassorah, 

1 The lines have occurred in vol. i. 238 ; where I have noted the punning '* Sabr " 
= patience or aloes. I quote Torrens : the Templar, however, utterly abolishes the 
pun in the last couplet : 

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

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

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 279 

and of this also he told me a story that saddened my heart. 
Wherefore I am bewildered in my wit and know not what is to 
come to me." Quoth she, "The purport of thy speech is that 
thou suspectedst me of being the friend of that merchant and his 
leman, and eke of giving him thy good ; so thou earnest to question 
me and make proof of my perfidy ; and, had I not shown thee the 
knife and the watch, thou hadst been certified of my treason. 
But since, O man, thou deemest me this ill deme, henceforth I 
will never again break with thee bread nor drain with thee drink, 
for I loathe thee with the loathing of prohibition. 1 " So he gentled 
her and excused himself till he had appeased her and returned, 
repenting him of having bespoken her thus, to his shop, where he 

sat And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to 

say her permitted say. 

Nob fofjen it toas tfje Nine lJuntJteU an& Sbebentg-foutti) Nt'gijt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
the jeweller quitted his wife, he repented having bespoken her 
thus and, returning to his shop, he sat there in disquiet sore and 
anxiety galore, between belief and unbelief. About eventide he 
went home alone, not bringing Kamar alrZaman with him :' 
whereupon quoth his wife, " Where is the merchant ? "; and quoth 
he, " In his lodgings." She asked, " Is the friendship between 
thee and him grown cold ? " and he answered, " By Allah, I have 
taken a dislike to him, because of that which hath betided me 
from him." 2 Quoth she, " Go fetch him, to please me." So he 
arose and went in to Kamar al-Zaman in his house ; where he 
saw his own goods strewn about and knew them. At this 
sight, fire was kindled in his heart and he fell asighing. Quoth 
the youth, " How is it that I see thee melancholy ? " Obayd was 
ashamed to say, " Here are my goods in thy house : who brought 
them hither?"; so he replied only, "A vexation hath betided 
me ; but come thou with me to my house, that we may solace 
ourselves there." The other rejoined, " Let me be in my place : 
I will not go with thee." But the jeweller conjured him to come 

1 i.e. as one loathes that which is prohibited, and with a loathing which makes it 
unlawful for me to cohabit with thee. 

8 This is quite natural to the sensitive Eastern. 

J8o ^lf Laylah wa Laylah. 

and took him to his house, where they supped and passed the 1 
evening together, Kamar al-Zaman talking with the jeweller, who 
was drowned in the sea of solicitude and for a hundred words, 
wherewith the guest bespoke him, answered him only one word. 
Presently, the handmaid brought them two cups of drink, as 
usual, and they drank ; whereupon the jeweller fell asleep, but 
the youth abode on wake, because his cup was not drugged. 
Then came Halimah and said to her lover, " How deemest thou 
of yonder cornuted, who is drunken in his heedlessness and 
weeteth not the wiles of women ? There is no help for it but 
that I cozen him into divorcing me. To-morrow, I will disguise 
myself as a slave-girl and walk after thee to his shop, where do 
thou say to him, O master, I went to-day into the Khan of Al- 
Yasirjfyah, where I saw this damsel and bought her for a thousand 
dinars. Look at her for me and tell me whether she was cheap at that 
price or dear. Then uncover to him my face and breasts and show 
all of me to him ; after which do thou carry me back to thy house, 
whence I will go to my chamber by the secret passage, so I may 
see the issue of our affair with him." Then the twain passed the 
night in mirth and merriment, converse and good cheer, dalliance 
and delight till dawn, when she returned to her own place and 
sent the handmaid to arouse her lawful lord and her lover.^ 
Accordingly they arose and prayed the dawn-prayer and brake 
their fast and drank coffee, after which Obayd repaired to his shop 
and Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to his own house. Presently, 
in came Halimah to him by the tunnel, in the guise of a slave-girl, 
and indeed she was by birth a slave-girl. 1 Then he went out and 
she walked behind him, till he came to the jeweller's shop and 
saluting him, sat down and said, " O master, I went into the Khan 
of Al-Yasirjiyah to-day, to look about me, and saw this damsel in 
the broker's hands. She pleased me ; so I bought her for a 
thousand dinars and I would have thee look upon her and see 
if she be cheap at that price or no." So saying, he uncovered her 
face and the jeweller saw her to be his own wife, clad in her 

1 Hence, according to Moslem and Eastern theory generally her lewd and treasonable 
conduct. But in Egypt not a few freeborn women and those too of the noblest, would 
beat her hollow at her o\vn little game. See for instance the booklet attributed to 
Jalal al-Siyuti and entitled Kitab al-Izah (Book of Explanation) fi 'Ilm al-Nikah (in 
the Science of Carnal Copulation). There is a copy of it in the British Museum ; and a 
friend kindly supplied me with a lithograph from Cairo ; warning me that there are 
doubts about the authorship. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 281 

costliest clothes, tricked out in her finest trinkets and kohl'd and 
henna'd, even as she was wont to adorn herself before him in the 
house. He knew with full knowledge her face and dress and 
trinkets, for those he had wrought with his own hand, and he saw 
on her fingers the seal-rings he had newly made for Kamar al- 
Zaman, whereby he was certified with entire assurance that she 
was indeed his very wife. So he asked her, " What is thy name, 
O slave-girl ? " ; and she answered, " Halimah," naming to him her 
own name ; whereat he was amazed and said to the youth, " For 
how much didst thou buy her?" He replied, "For a thousand 
dinars " ; and the jeweller rejoined, " Thou hast gotten her gratis ; 
for her rings and clothes and trinkets are worth more than that." 
Said Kamar al-Zaman, " May Allah rejoice thee with good news ! 
Since she pleaseth thee, I will carry her to my house ; " and Obayd 
said, " Do thy will." So he took her off to his house, whence she 
passed through the secret passage to her own apartment and sat 
there. Meanwhile, fire flamed in the jeweller's heart and he said 
to himself, " I will go see my wife. If she be at home, this slave-girl 
must be her counterpart, and glory be to Him who alone hath no 
counterpart ! But, if she be not at home, 'tis she herself without a 
doubt." Then he set off running, and coming to his house, found 
his wife sitting in the same clothes and ornaments he had seen 
upon her in the shop ; whereupon he beat hand upon hand, saying, 
" There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the 
Glorious, the Great ! " " O man," asked she, " art thou mad or 
what aileth thee'? J Tis not thy wont to do thus, and needs must 
it be that something hath befallen thee." Answered he, " If thou 
wilt have me tell thee be not vexed." Quoth she, " Say on " ; 
so he said, " Our friend the merchant hath bought a slave-girl, 
whose shape is as thy shape and her height as thy height ; more- 
over, her name is even as thy name and her apparel is the like of 
thine apparel. Brief, she resembleth thee in all her attributes, and 
on her fingers are seal-rings like thy seal-rings and her trinkets are 
as thy trinkets. So, when he displayed her to me, methought 
it was thyself and I was perplexed concerning my case. Would 
we had never seen this merchant nor companied with him ; and 
would he had never left his own country and we had not known 
him, for he hath troubled my life which before was serene, causing 
ill-feeling to succeed good faith and making doubt to enter into 
my heart." Said she, " Look in my face, belike I am she who was 
with him and he is my lover and I disguised myself as a slave-girl 

282 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and agreed with him that he should display me to thee, so he 
might lay a snare for thee." He replied, " What words are these ? 
Indeed, I never suspected that thou wouldst do the like of this 
deed." Now this jeweller was unversed in the wiles of women and 
knew not how they deal with men, nor had he heard the saying of 
him who said : 

A heart bore thee off in chase of the fair, o As fled Youth and came Age wi' 

his hoary hair r 
Layla troubles me and love-joys are far ; o And rival and risks brings us cark 

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

ware : 
When grizzleth man's head and his monies fail, o His lot in their love is a 

poor affair. 

Nor that of another :* 

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

not who giveth them his bridle-rein to sway ; 
For they '11 hinder him from winning to perfection in his gifts, Though a 

thousand years he study, seeking after wisdom's way. 

And a third : 

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

Satanesses ! 
Whom they lure by their love he to grief shall come * And lose bliss of world 

and the Faith that blesses. 

Said she, " Here am I sitting in my chamber ; so go thou to him 
forthright and knock at the door and contrive to go in to him 
quickly. An thou see the damsel with him 'tis a slave-girl of his 
who resembleth me (and Glory be to Him who hath no resem- 
blance! 2 ) But, an thou see no slave-girl with him, then am I 
myself she whom thou sawest with him in the shop, and thine iU 
thought of me will be stablished." " True," answered Obayd, and 
went out leaving her, whereupon she passed through the hidden 
passage and seating herself by Kamar al-Zaman, told him what 
had passed, saying, " Open the door quickly and show me to him." 

1 These lines have occurred in vol. iii. 214: I quote Mr. Payne. 

^ 3 This ejaculation, as the waw shows, is parenthetic ; spoken either by Halimah, by 
Shahrazad or by the writer. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 283 

Now, as they were talking, behold, there came a knocking at the 
door. Quoth Kamar al-Zaman, "Who is at the door?"; and 
quoth the jeweller, " I, thy friend ; thou displayedst to me thy 
slave-girl in the bazar, and I rejoiced for thee in her, but my joy 
in her was not completed ; so open the door and let me look at 
her again." Rejoined he, " So be it," and opened the door to him, 
whereupon he saw his wife sitting by him. She rose and kissed 
their hands ; and he looked at her ; then she talked with him 
awhile and he saw her not to be distinguished from his wife in 
aught and said, " Allah createth whatso He will." Then he went 
away more disheartened than before and returned to his own house 
where he saw his wife sitting, for she had foregone him thither by 

the souterrain. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

Jiofo fo&en ft foas tjje nine ^un&refc anfc S>ebemg~t!) 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young 
lady forewent her spouse by the souterrain as he fared through the 
door and sat down in her upper chamber ;* so as soon as he entered 
she asked him, " What hast thou seen ? " and he answered, " I 
found her with her master ; and she resembleth thee/' Then said 
she, " Off to thy shop and let this suffice thee of ignoble suspicion 
and never again deem ill of me." Said he, " So be it : accord me 
pardon for what is past." And she, " Allah grant thee grace ! "; 2 
whereupon he kissed her right and left and went back to his shop. 
Then she again betook herself to Kamar al-Zaman through the 
underground passage, with four bags of money, and said to him, 
" Equip thyself at once for the road and be ready to carry off the 
money without delay, against I devise for thee the device I have in 
mind." So he went out and purchased mules and loaded them and 
made ready a travelling litter, he also bought Mamelukes and 
eunuchs and sending, without let or hindrance, the whole without 
the city, returned to Halimah and said to her, " I have made an 
end of my affairs." Quoth she, " And I on my side am ready ; for 
I have transported to thy house all the rest of his monies and 
treasures and have left him nor little nor much, whereof he may 

1 Arab. " Kasr" here meaning an upper room. 

2 To avoid saying, I pardon thee. 

284 A If Laylak wa Lay! ah. 

avail himself. All this is of my love for thee, O dearling of my 
heart, for I would sacrifice my husband to thee a thousand times. 
But now it behoveth, thou go to him and farewell him, saying : 
I purpose to depart after three days and am come to bid thee 
adieu : so do thou reckon what I owe thee for the hire of the house, 
that I may send it to thee and acquit my conscience. Note his 
reply and return to me and tell me ; for I can no more : I have 
done my best, by cozening him, to anger him with me and oause 
him to put me away, but I find him none the less infatuated with 
me. So nothing will serve us but to depart to thine own country." 
And quoth he, " O rare ! an but swevens prove true ! "* Then he 
went to the jeweller's shop and sitting down by him, said to him, 
" O master, I set out for home in three days' time, and am come to 
farewell thee. So I would have thee reckon what I owe thee for 
the hire of the house, that I may pay it to thee and acquit my 
conscience." Answered Obayd, " What talk is this ? Verily, 'tis 
J who am indebted to thee. By Allah, I will take nothing from 
thee for the rent of the house, for thou hast brought down bless- 
ings upon us! However, thou desolatest me by thy departure, 
and but that it is forbidden to me, I would certainly oppose thee 
and hinder thee from returning to thy country and kinsfolk." 
Then he -took leave of him, whilst they both wept with sore 
weeping and the jeweller went with him, and when they entered 
Kamar al-Zaman's house, there they found Halimah who stood 
before them and served them ; but when Obayd returned home, 
he found her sitting there; nor did he cease to see her thus in 
each house in turn, for the space of three days, when she said to 
Kamar al-Zaman, " Now have I transported to thee all that he 
hath of monies and hoards and carpets and things of price, and 
there remaineth with him naught save the slave-girl, who used to 
come in to you with the night-drink : but I cannot part with her, 
for that she is my kinswoman and she is dear to me as a con- 
fidante. So I will beat her and be wroth with her and when my 
^pouse cometh home, I will say to him : I can no longer put up 
with this slave-girl nor stay in the house with her ; so take her and 
sell her. Accordingly he will sell her and do thoir buy her, that 
we may carry her with us." Answered he, " No harm in that." 
So she beat the girl and when the jeweller came in, he found her 

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

.Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jewellers Wife. 285 

weeping and asked her why she wept. Quoth she, " My mistress 
hath beaten me." He then went in to his' wife and said to her, 
" What hath that accursed girl done, that thou hast beaten her ? " 
She replied, " O man, I have but one word to say to thee, and 'tis 
that I can no longer bear the sight of this girl ; so take her and 
sell her, or else divorce me." Quoth he, "I will sell her that I 
may not cross thee in aught ; " and when he went out to go to the 
shop he took her and passed with her by Kamar al Zaman. No 
sooner had he gone out than his wife slipped through the under- 
ground passage to Kamar al-Zaman, who placed her in the litter, 
before the Shaykh her husband reached him. When the jeweller 
came up and the lover saw the slave-girl with him, he asked him, 
" What girl is this ? " ; and the other answered, " 'Tis my slave- 
girl who used to serve us with the night-drink; she hath disobeyed 
her mistress who is wroth with her and hath bidden me sell her." 
Quoth the youth, " An her mistress have taken an aversion to her, 
there is for her no abiding with her ; but sell her to me, that I 
may smell your scent in her, and I will make her handmaid to my 
slave Halimah." " Good," answered Obayd : " take her." Asked 
Kamar al-Zaman, " What is her price ? " ; but the jeweller said, 
" I will take nothing from thee, for thou hast been bountiful to 
us." So he accepted her from him and said to Halimah, *' Kiss 
thy lord's hand." Accordingly, she came out from the litter and 
kissing Obayd's hand, remounted, whilst he looked hard at her. 
Then said Kamar al-Zaman, " I commend thee to Allah, O Master 
Obayd ! Acquit my conscience of responsibility. 1 " Answered 
the jeweller, " Allah acquit thee ! and carry thee safe to thy 
family ! " Then he bade him farewell and went to his shop 
weeping, and indeed it was grievous to him to part from Kamar 
al-Zaman, for that he had been his friend and friendship hath its 
debtorship ; yet he rejoiced in the dispelling of the doubts which 
had befallen him anent his wife, since the young man was now 
gone and his suspicions had not been stablished. Such was his 
case ; but as regards Kamar al-Zaman, the young lady said to 
him, " An thou wish for safety, travel with me by other than the 

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

ceased to say her permitted say. 

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

286 A If Lay la h wa Laylah. 

Nofo fo&en it foas tfte Nine fountain an& &>etentB -sixty 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Halimah said to Kamar al-Zaman, "An thou wish for safety, 
travel with me by other than the wonted way," he replied, 
"Hearing and obeying;" and, taking a road other than that 
used by folk, fared on without ceasing from region to region till 
he reached the confines of Egypt-land * and sent his sire a letter 
by a runner. Now his father the merchant Abd al-Rahman was 
sitting in the market among the merchants, with a heart on fire 
for separation from his son, because no news of the youth had 
reached him since the day of his departure ; and while he was in 
such case the runner came up and cried, " O my lords, which of 
you is called the merchant Abd al-Rahman ? " They said, " What 
would st thou of him ? " ; and he said, " I have a letter for him 
from his son Kamar al-Zaman, whom I left at Al-Arfsh. 2 " At 
this Abd al-Rahman rejoiced and his breast was broadened and 
the merchants rejoiced for him and gave him joy of his son's 
safety. Then he opened the letter and read as follows : " From 
Kamar al-Zaman to the merchant Abd al-Rahman. And after 
Peace be upon thee and upon all the merchants ! An ye ask 
concerning us, to Allah be the praise and the thanks. Indeed 
we have sold and bought and gained and are come back in health, 
wealth and weal." Whereupon Abd al-Rahman opened the door* 

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

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

3 Arab. -"Bab.** which may also = "Chapter" or category. See vol. L, 136 and 
elsewhere (index). In Egypt "Bab" sometimes means a sepulchral cave -hewn ia 
a rock (plur. Bibdn) from the Coptic " Bib." 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 287 

of rejoicing and made banquets and gave feasts and entertain- 
ments galore, sending for instruments of music and addressing 
himself to festivities after rarest fashion. When Kamar al-Zaman 
came to Al-Salihiyah, 1 his father and all the merchants went forth 
to meet him, and Abd al-Rahman embraced him and strained him 
to his bosom and sobbed till he swooned away. When he came 
to himself he said, " Oh, 'tis a boon day O my son, whereon the 
Omnipotent Protector hath reunited us with thee ! " And he 
repeated the words of the bard : 

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

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

the moon o' full moons. 

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

The Moon o' the Time, 2 shows unveiled light ; o And, his journey done, at 

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

his collar's 3 white. 

Then the merchants came up to him and saluting him, saw with 
him many loads and servants and a travelling litter enclosed in a 
spacious circle. 4 So they took him and carried him home ; and 
when Halimah came forth from the litter, his father held her a 
seduction to all who beheld her. So they opened her an upper 
chamber, as it were a treasure from which the talismans had been 
loosed ; 5 and when his mother saw her, she was ravished with her 

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

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

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

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

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

288 A If Lay la h wa Laylak, 

and deemed her a Queen of the wives of the Kings. So she 
rejoiced in her and questioned her ; and she answered, " I am wife 
to thy son ; " and the mother rejoined, " Since he is wedded to thee 
we must make thee a splendid marriage-feast, that we may rejoice 
in thee and in my son." On this wise it befel her ; but as regards 
the merchant Abd al-Rahman, when the folk had dispersed and 
each had wended his way, he foregathered with his son and said 
to him, " O my son, what is this slave-girl thou hast brought with 
thee and for how much didst thou buy her l ? " Kamar al-Zaman 
said' " O my father, she is no slave-girl ; but 'tis she who was the 
cause of my going abroad." Asked his sire, (< How so ? "; and 
he answered, " 'Tis she whom the Dervish described to us the 
night he lay with us ; for indeed my hopes clave to her from that 
moment and I sought not to travel save on account of her The 
Arabs came out upon me by the way and stripped me and took 
my money and goods, so that I entered Bassorah alone and there 
befel me there such and such things ; " and he went on to relate to 
his parent all that had befallen him from commencement to 
conclusion. Now when he had made an end of his story, his father 
said to him, " O my son, and after all this didst thou marry her ? " 
" No ; but I have promised her marriage." " Is it thine intent to 
marry her ? " " An thou bid me marry her, I will do so ; otherwise 
I will not marry her." Thereupon quoth his father, " An thou 
marry her, I am quit of thee in this world and in the next, and I 
shall be incensed against thee with sore indignation. How canst 
thou wed her, seeing that she hath dealt thus with her husband ? 
For, even as she did with her spouse for thy sake, so will she do 
the like with thee for another's sake, because she is a traitress and 
in a traitor there is no trusting. Wherefore an thou disobey me, 
I shall be wroth with thee ; but, an thou give ear to. .my word, I 
will seek thee out a girl handsomer than she, who shall be pure 
and pious, and marry thee to her, though I spend all my substance 
upon her ; and I will make thee a wedding without equal and will 
glory in thee and in her ; for 'tis better that folk should say, Such 
an one hath married such an one's daughter, than that they say, He 
hath wedded a slave-girl sans birth or worth." And he went on 
to persuade his son to give up marrying Jier, by citing in support 

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

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 289 

of his say, proofs, stones, examples, verses and moral instances, 
till Kamar al-Zaman exclaimed, " O my father, since the case is 
thus, 'tis not right and proper that I marry her." And when his 
father heard him speak on such wise, he kissed him between the 
eyes, saying, " Thou art my very son, and as I live, O my son, I 
will assuredly marry thee to a girl who hath not her equal!" 
Then the merchant set Obayd's wife and her handmaid in a 
chamber high up in the house and, before locking the door upon 
the twain, he appointed a black slave-girl to carry them their 
meat and drink and he said to Halimah, "Ye shall abide im- 
prisoned in this chamber, thou and thy maid, till I find one who 
will buy you, when I will sell you to him. An ye resist, I will 
slay ye both, for thou art a traitress, and there is no good in 
thee." Answered she, " Do thy will : I deserve all thou canst do 
with me." Then he locked the door upon them and gave his 
Harim a charge respecting them, saying, " Let none go up to them 
nor speak with them, save the black slave-girl who shall give them 
their meat and drink through the casement of the upper chamber." 
So she abode with her maid, weeping and repenting her of that 
which she had done with her spouse. Meanwhile Abd al-Rahman 
sent out the marriage-brokers to look out a maid of birth and 
worth for his son, and the women ceased not to make search, and 
as often as they saw one girl, they heard of a fairer than she, till 
they came to the house of the Shaykh al-Islam 1 and saw his 
daughter. In her they found a virgin whose equal was not in 
Cairo for beauty and loveliness, symmetry and perfect grace, and 
she was a thousand-fold handsomer than the wife of Obayd. So 
they told Abd al-Rahman of her and he and the notables repaired 
to her father and sought her in wedlock of him. Then they wrote 
out the marriage contract and made her a splendid wedding ; after 
which Abd al-Rahman gave bride-feasts and held open house forty 
days. On the first day, he invited the doctors of the law and they 
held a splendid nativity 2 : and on the morrow, he invited ail the 

1 Not the head of the Church, or Chief Pontiff, but the Chief of the Olema and 
Fukaha (Fakihs or D.D.'s.) men learned in the Law (divinity). The order is peculiarly 
Moslem, in fact the succedaneum for the Christian " hierarchy," an institution never 
contemplated by the Founder of Christianity. This title shows the modern date of the 

2 Arab. " Maulid," prop, applied to the Birth-feast of Mohammed which begins on 
the 3rd day of Rabi al-Awwal (third Moslem month) and lasts a week or ten days (ac- 
cording to local custom), usually ending on the rath and celebrated with salutes of 
cannon, circumcision-feasts, marriage banquets, Zikr-litanies, perlections of the Koraa 


290 A If Laylah wa Lay la h. 

merchants, and so on during the rest of the forty days, making a 
banquet every day to one or other class of folk, till he had bidden 
all the Olema and Emirs and Antients 1 and Magistrates, whilst the 
kettle-drums were drummed and the pipes were piped and the 
merchant sat to greet the guests, with his son by his side, that he 
might solace himself by gazing on the folk, as they ate from the 
trays. Each night Abd al-Rahman illuminated the street and the 
quarter with lamps and there came every one of the mimes and 
jugglers and mountebanks and played all manner play ; and indeed 
it was a peerless wedding. On the last day he invited the Fakirs, 
the poor and the needy, far and near, and they flocked in troops 
and ate, whilst the merchant sat, with his son by his side. 2 And 
among the paupers, behold, entered Shaykh Obayd the jeweller 
and he was naked and weary and bare on his face the marks of 
wayfare. When Kamar al-Zaman saw him, he knew him and said 
to his sire, " Look, O my father, at yonder poor man who is but 
now come in by the door." So he looked and saw him clad in 
worn clothes and on him a patched gown 3 worth two dirhams : his 
face was yellow and he was covered with dust and was as he were 
an offcast of the pilgrims. 4 He was groaning as groaneth a sick 
man in need, walking with a tottering gait and swaying now to the 
right and then to the left, and in him was realized his saying who 
said 5 : 

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

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

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

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

kin and countrymen are they ! 

and all manner of solemn festivities including the "powder-play" (Lab al-Banit) in the 
wilder corners of AMslam. It is also applied to the birth-festivals of great Santons (as 
Ahmad ai-Badawi) for which see Lane M. E. chapt. xxiv. In the text it. is used like the 
Span. " Funcion " or the Hind ' Taraasba," any great occasion of merry-making. 

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

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

3 Arab. Jilbab," a long coarse veil or gown which in Barbary becomes a " Jallabiyah, 1 * 
a striped and hooded cloak of woollen stuff. 

4 i.e. a broken down pilgrim left to die on the road. 

* These lines have occurred in vol. i. 272. I quote Mr. Payne* 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 29* 

And the saying of another : 

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

ne'er shall fail : 
Thou seest men abhor him sans a sin, And foes he finds tho' none the 

cause can tell : 
The very dogs, when sighting wealthy man, o Fawn at his feet and wag the 

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

fangs, assail. 

And how well quoth a third : 

If generous youth be blessed with luck and wealth, o Displeasures fly his path 

and perils fleet : 
His enviers pimp for him and par'site-wise o E'en without tryst his 

mistress hastes to meet . 
When loud he farts they say " How well he sings ! " o And when he fizzles 1 cry 

they, * Oh, how sweet ! " 

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

Nofo fo&en ft teas tje Nine 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
his son said to Abd al-Rahman, " Look at yonder pauper ! " he 
asked, " O my son, who is this ?" And Kamar al-Zaman answered, 
" This is Master Obayd the jeweller, husband of the woman who is 
imprisoned with us." Quoth Abd al-Rahman, " Is this he of 
whom thou toldest me ? " ; and quoth his son, " Yes ; and indeed I 
wot him right well." Now the manner of Obayd's coming thither 
was on this wise. When he had farewelled Kamar al-Zaman, he 
went to his shop and thence going home, laid his hand on the door, 
whereupon it opened and he entered and found neither his wife 
nor the slave-girl, but saw the house in sorriest plight, quoting in 
mute speech his saying who said 2 : 

1 Note the difference between " Zirt," the loud crepitus and " Faswah " the susurrus 
which Captain Grose in his quaint " Lexicum Balatronicum," calls a "fice" or a 
*' foyse " (from the Arabic Fas, faswah ?) 

2 These lines have occurred in Night dcxix, vol. vi. 246 : where the pun on Khaliyah 
is explained. I quote Lane. 

292 A If Laylah wa Lay la k. 

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

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

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

Then he locked up his house and, making for his shop, gave it in 
charge of one of his apprentices to whom said he, " My friend 
the young merchant hath invited me to accompany him to Cairo, 
for solacing ourselves with the sight of the city, and sweareth 
that he will not march except he carry us with him, me and my 
wife. So, O my son, I make thee my steward in the shop, and if 
the King ask for me, say thou to him : He is gone with his Harim 
to the Holy House of Allah 1 ." Then he sold some of his effects 
and bought camels and mules and Mamelukes, together with a 
slave-girl 2 , and placing her in a litter, set out from Bassorah after 
ten days, His friends farewelled him and none doubted but that 
he had taken his wife and gone on the Pilgrimage, and the folk 
rejoiced in this, for that Allah had delivered them from being shut 
up in the mosques and houses every Friday. Quoth some of 
them, " Allah grant he may never return to Bassorah, so we 
may no more be boxed up in the mosques and houses 

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

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

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wfie. 293 

every Friday ! " ; for that this usage had caused the people of 
Bassorah exceeding vexation. Quoth another, " Methinks he will 
not return from this journey, by reason of the much-praying of the 
people of Bassorah against him 1 /' And yet another, "An he 
return, 'twill not be but in reversed case V So the folk rejoiced 
with exceeding joy in the jeweller's departure, after they had been 
in mighty great chagrin, and even their cats and dogs were com- 
forted. When Friday came round, however, the crier proclaimed 
as usual that the people should repair to the mosques two hours 
before prayer-time or else hide themselves in their houses, together 
with their cats and dogs ; whereat their breasts were straitened and 
they assembled in general assembly and betaking themselves to 
the King's divan, stood between his hands and said, " O King of 
the age, the jeweller hath taken his Harim and departed on the 
pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah : so the cause of our re- 
strakit hath ceased to be, and why therefore are we now shut up ?" 
Quoth the King, " How came this traitor to depart without telling 
me ? But, when he cometh back from his journey, all will not be 
save well 3 : so go ye to your shops and sell and buy, for this 
vexation is removed from you." Thus far concerning the King 
and the Bassorites ; but as for the jeweller, he fared on ten days' 
journey, and as he drew near Baghdad, there befel him that which 
had befallen Kamar al-Zaman, before his entering Bassorah ; for 
the Arabs 4 came out upon him and stripped him and took all he 
had and he escaped only by feigning himself dead. As soon as 
they were gone, he rose and fared on, naked as he was, till he came 
to a village, where Allah inclined to him the hearts of certain 
kindly folk, who covered his shame with some old clothes ; and he 
asked his way, begging from town to town, till he reached the city 
of Cairo the God-guarded. There, burning with hunger, he went 
about alms-seeking in the market-streets, till one of the townsfolk 
said to him, (l O poor man, off with thee to the house of the 
wedding-festival and eat and drink ; for to-day there is open table 

1 A polite form of alluding to their cursing him. 

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

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

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

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

294 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

for paupers and strangers." Quoth he, " I know not the way 
thither " : and quoth the other, " Follow me and I will show it to 
thee." He followed him, till he brought him to the house of Abd 
al-Rahman and said to him, " This is the house of the wedding ; 
enter and fear not, for there is no doorkeeper at the door of the festi* 
val." Accordingly he entered and Kamar al-Zaman knew him and 
told his sire who said, " O my son, leave him at this present : belike 
he is anhungered : so let him eat his sufficiency and recover him- 
self and after we will send for him." So they waited till Obayd 
had eaten his fill and washed his hands and drunk coffee and 
sherbets of sugar flavoured with musk and ambergris and was 
about to go out, when Abd al-Rahman sent after him a page who 
said to him, " Come, O stranger, and speak with the merchant 
Abd al-Rahman." "Who is he?" asked Obayd; and the man 
answered, " He is the master of the feast." Thereupon the jeweller 
turned back, thinking that he meant to give him a gift, and coming 
up to Abd al-Rahman, saw his friend Kamar al-Zaman and went 
nigh to lose his senses for shame before him. But Kamar al- 
Zaman rose to him and embracing him, saluted him with true 
salam, and they both wept with sore weeping. Then he seated 
him by his side and Abd al-Rahman said to his son, " O destitute 
of good taste, this is no way to receive friends ! Send him first to 
the Hammam and despatch after him a suit of clothes of the 
choicest, worth a thousand dinars 1 ." Accordingly they carried 
him to the bath, where they washed his body and clad him in a 
costly suit, and he became as he were Consul of the Merchants. 
Meanwhile the bystanders questioned Kamar al-Zaman of him, 
saying, who is this and whence knowest thou him ? " Quoth he, 

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

There is no ilah but Allah : He is one : He hath no partner." 
Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah who hath sent him with the true 
g ( Guidance and Religion that he manifest it above all other Creeds." 

| I Area. " Allah is one : Allah is Eternal ; He begetteth not, nor is He begot" 

j Circle. " Bismillah : This Dinar was struck anno 96." 

& \ 

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

& (Area. "1 
1 Circle. " 
g ( Guid; 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 295 

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

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

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

are worldly laws : 
How oft high Fortune falls by least mishap o And all things bear inbred 

of change a cause ! 

Know that I entered Bassorah in yet iller case and worse distress 
than this man, for that he entered Cairo with his shame hidden by 
rags ; but I indeed came into his town with my nakedness un- 
covered, one hand behind and another before ; and none availed 
me but Allah and this dear man. Now the reason of this was that 
the Arabs stripped me and took my camels and mules and loads 
and slaughtered my pages and serving-men ; but I lay down among 
the slain and they thought that I was dead, so they went away 
and left me. Then I arose and walked on, mother-naked, till I 
came to Bassorah where this man met me and clothed me and 
lodged me in his house ; he also furnished me with money, and all 
I have brought back with me I owe to none save to Allah's good- 
ness and his goodness. When I departed, he gave me great store 
of wealth and I returned to the city of my birth with a heart at 
ease. I left him in competence and condition, and haply there 
hath befallen him some bale of the banes of Time, that hath 

296 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

forced him to quit his kinsfolk and country, and there happened 
to him by the way the like of what happened to me. There is 
nothing strange in this ; but now it behoveth me to requite 
him his noble dealing with me and do according to the saying 
of him who saith : 

O who praisest Time with the fairest appraise, o Knowest thou what Time-hath 

made and unmade ? 
What thou dost at least be it kindly done, 1 o For with pay he pays shall man 

be repaid. 

As they were talking and telling the tale, behold, up came Obayd 
as he were Consul 2 of the Merchants ; whereupon they all rose to 
salute him and seated him in the place of honour. Then said 
Kamar al-Zaman to him, " O my friend, verily, thy day 3 is blessed 
and fortunate ! There is no need to relate to me a thing that befel 
me before thee. If the Arabs have stripped thee and robbed thee 
of thy wealth, verily our money is the ransom of our bodies, so let 
not thy soul be troubled ; for I entered thy city naked and thou 
clothedst me and entreatedst me generously, and I owe thee many 

a kindness. But I will requite thee. And Shahrazad perceived 

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

Jiofo fofjen it foa* tje jlme ^un&iefc antr 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Kamar 
al-Zaman said to Master Obayd the jeweller, " Verily I entered 
thy city naked and thou clothedst me and I owe thee many a 
kindness. But I will requite thee and do with thee even as thou 
didst with me ; nay, more : so be of good cheer and eyes clear of 
tear." And he went on to soothe him and hinder him from speech, 
lest he should name his wife and what she had done with him ; 
nor did he cease to ply him with saws and moral instances and 
verses and conceits and stories and legends and console him, till 
the jeweller saw his drift and took the hint and kept silence con- 
cerning the past, diverting himself with the tales and rare 
anecdotes he heard and repeating in himself these lines : 

1 The reader will note the persistency with which the duty of universal benevolence 
is preached. 

8 Arab, from Pers. " Shah-bandar" : see vol. iv. 29. 
$ i.e. of thy coming, a popular compliment. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 297 

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

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

compelled them a beaker of ruin to drain. 

Then Kamar al-Zaman and his father took Obayd and carrying 
him into the saloon of the Harim, shut themselves up with him ; 
and Abd al-Rahman said to him, " We did not hinder thee from 
speaking before the folk, but for fear of dishonour to thee and to 
us: but now we' are private ; so tell me ,all that hath passed between 
thee and thy wife and my son." So he told him all, from beginning 
to end, and when he had made an end of his story, Abd al-Rahman 
asked him, " Was the fault with my son or with thy wife ? " He 
answered, " By Allah, thy son was not to blame, for men must 
needs lust after women, and 'tis the bounden duty of women to 
defend themselves from men. So the sin lieth with my wife, who 
played me false and did with me these deeds 1 ." Then Abd al- 
Rahman arose and taking his son aside, said to him, " O my son, 
we have proved his wife and know her to be a traitress ; and now 
I mean to prove him and see if he be a man of honour and manli- 
ness, or a wittol.? " " How so ? " asked Kamar al-Zaman ; and 
Abd al-Rahman answered, " I mean to urge him to make peace 
with his wife, and if he consent thereto and forgive her, I will 
smite him with a sword and slay him and kill her after, her and 
her maid, for there is no good in the life of a cuckold and a 
quean 8 ; but, if he turn from her with aversion I will marry him to 
thy sister and give him more of wealth than that thou tookest from 
him.'* Then he went back to Obayd and said to him, " O master, 
verily, the commerce of women requireth patience and magnan- 
imity and whoso loveth them hath need of fortitude, for that they 
order themselves viper-wise towards men and evilly entreat them, 
by reason of their superiority over them in beauty and loveliness : 

* This is the doctrine of the universal East ; and it is true concerning wives and 
widows, not girls when innocent or rather ignorant. According to Western ideas Kamar 
al-Zaman was a young scoundrel of the darkest dye whose only excuse were his age, his 
Inexperience and his passions. 

2 Arab. " Dayyus" prop. =ra man who pimps for his own wife and in this sense con- 
r stantly occurring in conversation. 

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

298 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

wherefore they magnify themselves and belittle men. This fs 
notably the case when their husbands show them affection ; for 
then they requite them with hauteur and coquetry and harsh 
dealing of all kinds. But, if a man be wroth whenever he seeth in 
his wife aught that offendeth him, there can be no fellowship 
between them ; nor can any hit it off with them who is not mag- 
nanimous and long-suffering ; and unless a man bear with his wife 
and requite her foul doing with forgiveness, he shall get no good 
of her conversation. Indeed, it hath been said of them : Were 
they in the sky, the necks of men would incline themwards ; and 
he who hath the power and pardoneth, his reward is with Allah. 
Now this woman is thy wife and thy companion and she hath long 
consorted with thee ; wherefore it behoveth that thou entreat her 
with indulgence which in fellowship is of the essentials of success. 
Furthermore, women fail in wit and Faith, 1 and if she have sinned, 
she repenteth and Inshallah she will not again return tp that 
which she whilome did. So 'tis my rede that thou make 
peace with her and I will restore thee more than the good 
she took ; and if it please thee to abide with me, thou art 
welcome, thou and she, and ye shall see naught but what shall joy 
you both ; but, an thou seek to return to thine own land. For that 
which falleth out between a man and his wife is manifold, and 
it behoveth thee to be indulgent and not take the way of the 
violent." Said the jeweller, " O my lord, and where is my wife ? " 
and said Abd al-Rahman, " She is in that upper chamber, go up 
to her and be easy with her, for my sake, and trouble her not ; 
for, when my son brought her hither, he would have married her, 
but I forbade him from her and shut her up in yonder room, and 
locked the door upon her saying in myself : Haply her husband 
will come and I will hand her over to him safe ; for she is fair 
of favour, and when a woman is like unto this one, it may not be 
that her husband will let her go. What I counted on is come 
about and praised be Allah Almighty for thy reunion with thy 
wife ! As for my son, I have sought him another woman in 

1 Arab. " Ndkisdtu 'akjin wa dm " : the words are attributed to the Prophet whom we 
find saying, " Verily in your wives and children ye have an enemy, wherefore beware of 
them " (Koran Ixiv. 14) : compare I Cor. vii. 28, 32. But Maitre Jehan de Meung 
went farther, 

Tontes etez, serez ou futes, 
De faict ou de volonte", putes. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 299 

marriage and have married him to her : these banquets and 
rejoicings are for his wedding, and to-night I bring him to his 
bride. So here is the key of the chamber where thy wife is : take 
it and open the door and go in to her and her handmaid and be 
buxom with her. There shall be brought you meat and drink 
and thou shalt not come down from her till thou have had thy fill 
of her." Cried Obayd, " May Allah requite thee for me with all 
good, O my lord ! " and taking the key, went up, rejoicing. The 
other thought his words had pleased him and that he consented 
thereto ; so he took the sword and following him unseen, stood to 
espy what should happen between him and his wife. This is how 
it fared with the merchant Abd al-Rahman ; but as for the jeweller, 
when he came to the chamber-door, he heard his wife weeping 
with sore weeping for that Kamar al-Zaman had married another 
than her, and the handmaid saying to her, " O my lady, how often 
have I warned thee and said, Thou wilt get no good of this youth : 
so do thou leave his company. But thou heededst not my words 
and spoiledst thy husband of all his goods and gavest them to him. 
After the which thou forsookest thy place, of thine fondness and 
infatuation for him, and earnest with him to this country. And 
now he hath cast thee out from his thought and married another 
and hath made the issue of thy foolish fancy for him to be durance 
vile." Cried Halimah, "Be silent, O accursed! Though he be 
married to another, yet some day needs must I occur to his 
thought. I cannot forget the nights I have spent in his company 
and in any case I console myself with his saying who said : 

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

other mate ? 
Grant Heaven you ne'er shall forget his state # Who for state of you forgot own 

estate ! 

It cannot be but he will bethink him of my affect and converse 
and ask for me, wherefore I will not turn from loving him nor 
change from passion for him, though I perish in prison ; for he is 
my love and my leach 1 and my reliance is on him that he will yet 
return to me and deal fondly with me." When the jeweller heard 
his wife's words, he went in to her and said to her, " O traitress, 

Arab. Habibf wa tabibf, the common jingle. 

A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

thy hope in him is as the hope of Iblis 1 in Heaven. All these 
vices were in thee and I knew not thereof; for, had I been ware of 
one single vice, I had not kept thee with me an hour. But now 
I am certified of this in thee, it behoveth me to do thee die, 
although they put me to death for thee, O traitress!" and he 
clutched her with both hands and repeated these two couplets : 

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

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

your sight. 

Then he pressed hardly upon her windpipe and brake her neck, 
whereupon her handmaid cried out " Alas, my mistress ! " Said 
he, " O harlot, 'tis thou who art to blame for all this, for that thou 
knewest this evil inclination to be in her and toldest me not. 2 " 
Then he seized upon her and strangled her. All this happened 
while Abd al-Rahman stood, brand in hand, behind the door espying 
with his eyes and hearing with his ears. Now when Obayd the 
jeweller had done this, apprehension came upon him and he feared 
the issue of his affair and said to himself, " As soon as the 
merchant learneth that I have killed them in his house, he will 
surely slay me ; yet I beseech Allah that He appoint the taking of 
my life to be while I am in the True Belief ! " And he abode 
bewildered about his case and knew not what to do ; but, as he 
was thus behold, in came Abd al-Rahman from his lurking-place 
without the door and said to him, " No harm shall befal thee, for 
indeed thou deservest safety. See this sword in my hand. 'Twas 
in my mind to slay thee, hadst thou made peace with her and 

1 Iblis and his connection with Diabolos has been noticed in vol. i. 13. The word 
is foreign as well as a P.N. and therefore is imperfectly declined, although some 
authorities deduce it from " ablasa " = he despaired (of Allah's mercy). Others call 
him Al-Haris (the Lion) hence Eve's first-born was named in his honour Abd al-Haris. 
His angelic name was Azdzfl before he sinned by refusing to prostrate himself to Adam, 
as Allah had commanded the heavenly host for a trial of faith, not to worship the first 
man, but to make him a Keblah or direction of prayer addressed to the Almighty* 
Hence he was ejected from Heaven and became the arch-enemy of mankind (Koran xviii. 
48). He was an angel but related to the Jinn : Al-Bayzdwi, however (on Koran ii. 82), 
opines that angelic by nature he became a Jinn by act. Ibn Abbas held that he belonged 
to an order of angels who are called Jinn and begot issue as do the nasnas, the Ghul 
and the Kutrub which, however, are male and female, like the pre-Adamite manwoman 
of Genesis, the "bi-une" of our modern days. For this subject see Terminal Essay. 

* As usual in the East and in the West the husband was the last to hear of his wife's. 
ill conduct. Bat even Othello did not kill Emilia. 

Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 301 

restored her to favour, and I would also have slain her and the 
maid. But since thou hast done this deed, welcome to thee and 
again welcome ! And I will reward thee by marrying thee to my 
daughter, Kamar al-Zaman's sister." Then he carried him down 
and sent for the woman who washed the dead : whereupon it was 
bruited abroad that Kamar al-Zaman had brought with him two 
slave-girls from Bassorah and that both had deceased. So the 
people began to condole with him saying, " May thy head live ! " 
and " May Allah compensate thee ! " And they washed and 
shrouded them and buried them, and none knew the truth of the 
matter. Then Abd al-Rahman sent for the Shykh al-Islam and 
all the notables and said, " O Shaykh, draw up the contract of 
marriage between my daughter Kaukab al-Saldh 1 and Master 
Obayd the jeweller and set down that her dowry hath been paid 
to me in full." So he wrote out the contract and Abd al-Rahman 
gave the company to drink of sherbets, and they made one 
wedding festival for the two brides the daughter of the Shaykh al- 
Islam and Kamar al-Zaman's sister ; and paraded them in one 
litter on one and the same, night ; after which they carried Kamar 
al-Zaman and Obayd in procession together and brought them 
in to their brides. 2 When the jeweller went in to Abd al-Rahman's 
daughter, he found her handsomer than Halimah and a thousand- 
fold lovelier. So he took her maidenhead and on the morrow, he 
went to the Hammam with Kamar al-Zaman. Then he abode 
with them awhile in pleasance and joyance, after which he began 
to yearn for his native land : so he went in to Abd al-Rahman 
and said to him, " O uncle, I long for my own country, for I have 
there estates and effects, which I left in charge of one of my 
prentices ; and I am minded to journey thither that I may sell my 
properties and return to thee. So wilt thou give me leave to go to 
my country for that purpose ? " Answered the merchant, " O my 
son, I give thee leave to do this and there be no fault in thee or 
blame to thee for these words, for ' Love of mother-land is a part 
of Religion ' ; and he who hath not good in his own country hath 
none in other folks' country. But, haply, an thou depart without 

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

2 Here some excision has been judged advisable as the names of the bridegrooms and 
the brides recur with damnable iteration. 

3O2 A If Laylak wa Laylah. 

thy wife, when thou art once come to thy native place, it may seem 
good to thee to settle there, and thou wilt be perplexed between 
returning to thy wife and sojourning in thine own home ; so it 
were the righter rede that thou carry thy wife with thee ; and 
after, an thou desire to return to us, return and welcome to you 
both ; for we are folk who know not divorce and no woman of u$ 
marrieth twice, nor do we lightly discard a man." ! Quoth 
Obayd, " uncle, I fear me thy daughter will not consent to journey 
with me to my own country." Replied Abd al-Rahman, " O 
my son, we have no women amongst us who gainsay their spouses, 
nor know we a wife who is wroth with her man." The jeweller 
cried, " Allah bless you and your women ! " and going in to his 
wife, said to her, " I am minded to go to my country : what sayst 
thou ? " Quoth she, " Indeed, my sire had the ordering of me, 
whilst I was a maid, and when I married, the ordering all passed 
fnto the hands of my lord and master, nor will I gainsay him." 
Quoth Obayd, " Allah bless thee and thy father, and have mercy 
on the womb that bare thee and the loins that begat thee ! " Then 
he cut his thongs 2 and applied himself to making ready for his 
journey. His father-in-law gave him much good and they took 
leave each of other, after which the jeweller and his wife journeyed 
on without ceasing, till they reached Bassorah where his kinsmen 
and comrades came out to meet him, doubting not but that he 
had been in Al-Hijdz. Some rejoiced at his return, whilst others 
were vexed, and the folk said one to another, " Now will he 
straiten us again every Friday, as before, and we shall be shut up 
in the mosques and houses, even to our cats and our dogs." On 
such wise it fared with him ; but as regards the King of 
Bassorah, when he heard of his return, he was wroth with him ; 
and sending for him, upbraided him and said to him, "Why 
didst thou depart, without letting me know of thy departure ? 
Was I unable to give thee somewhat wherewith thou mightest 
have succoured thyself in thy pilgrimage to the Holy House of 
Allah ? " Replied the jeweller, Pardon, O my lord ! By Allah, 
I went not on the pilgrimage ! but there have befallen me such 
and such things." Then he told him all that had befallen him 

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

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

Kamar Al-Zaman and tJte Jeweller's Wife. 303 

with his wife and with Abd al- Rahman of Cairo and how the 
merchant had given him his daughter to wife, ending with these 
words, " And I have brought her to Bassorah." Said the King, 
" By the Lord, did I not fear Allah the Most High, I would slay 
thee and marry this noble lady after thy death, though I spent 
on her mints of money, because she befitteth none but Kings. 
But Allah hath appointed her of thy portion and may He bless 
thee in her ! So look thou use her well." Then he bestowed 
largesse on the jeweller, who went out from before him and 
abode with his wife five years, after which he was admitted to 
the mercy of the Almighty. Presently the King sought his 
widow in wedlock ; but she refused, saying, " O King, never 
among my kindred was a woman who married again after her 
husband's death ; wherefore I will never take another husband, 
nor will I marry thee, no, though thou kill me." Then he sent 
to her one who said, " Dost thou seek to go to thy native land ? " 
And she answered, "An thou do good, thou shalt be requited 
therewith." So he collected for her all the jeweller's wealth and 
added unto her of his own, after the measure of his degree. 
Lastly he sent with her one of his Wazirs, a man famous for 
goodness and piety, and an escort of five hundred horse, who 
journeyed with her, till they brought her to her father ; and in 
his home she abode, without marrying again, till she died and 
they died all. So, if this woman would not consent to replace 
her dead husband with a Sultan, how shall she be compared 
with one who replaced her husband, whilst he was yet alive, with 
a youth of unknown extraction and condition, and especially 
when this was in lewd carriage and not by way of lawful 
marriage ? So he who deemeth all women alike, 1 there is no remedy 

1 A popular saying also applied to men. It is usually accompanied with showing the 
open hand and a reference to the size of the fingers. I find this story most interesting 
from an anthropological point of view ; suggesting how differently various races regard 
the subject of adultery. In Northern Europe the burden is thrown most unjustly upon 
the man, the woman who tempts him being a secondary consideration ; and in England 
he is absurdly termed " a seducer." In former times he was " paraded "or "called out," 
now he is called up for damages, a truly ignoble and shopkeeper-like mode of treating 
a high offence against private property and public morality. In Anglo-America, where 
English feeling is exaggerated, the lover is revolver'd and the woman is left unpunished. 
On the other hand, amongst Eastern and especially Moslem peoples, the woman is cut 
down and scant reckoning is taken from the man. This more sensible procedure has 
struck firm root amongst the nations of Southern Europe where the husband kills the 
lover only when he still loves his wife and lover-like is furious at her affection being 

34 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

for the disease of his insanity. And glory be to Him to whom 
belongeth the empire of the Seen and the Unseen and 
He is the Living, who dieth not ! And among the tales they 
tell, O auspicious King, is one of 


THE Caliph Harun al-Rashid was one day examining the tributes 
of his various provinces and viceroyalties, when he observed that 
the contributions of all the countries and regions had come into 
the treasury, except that of Bassorah which had not arrived that 
year. So he held a Divan because of this and said, " Hither to me 
with the Wazir Ja'afar ; " and when they brought him into the 
presence he thus bespoke him, " The tributes of all the provinces 
have come into the treasury, save that of Bassorah, no part whereof 
hath arrived/' Ja'afar replied, " O Commander of the Faithful, 
belike there hath befallen the governor of Bassorah something that 
hath diverted him from sending the tribute/' Quoth the Caliph, 
* The time of the coming of the tribute was twenty days ago ; 
what then, can be his excuse for that, in this time, he hath neither 
sent it nor sent to show cause for not doing so ? " And quoth the 
Minister, " O Commander of the Faithful, if it please thee, we will 
send him a messenger." Rejoined the Caliph, " Send him Abu 
Ishak al-Mausili, 2 the boon companion, and Ja'afar, " Hearkening 

Practically throughout the civilised world there are only two ways of treating women. 
Moslems keep them close, defend them from all kinds of temptations and if they go 
wrong kill them. Christians place them upon a pedestal, the observed of all observers, 
expose them to every danger and if they fall, accuse and abuse them instead of them- 
selves. And England is so grandly logical that her law, under certain circumstances, 
holds that Mrs. A. has committed adultery with Mr. B. but Mr. B. has not committed 
adultery with Mrs. A. Can any absurdity be more absurd ? Only "summum jus, 
summa injuria." See my Terminal Essay. I shall have more to say upon this curious 
subject, the treatment of women who can be thoroughly guarded only by two things, 
firstly their hearts and secondly by the " Spanish Padlock." 

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

2 i.e. Ibrahim of Mosul, the musician poet often mentioned in The Nights. I must 
again warn the reader that the name is pronounced Is-hak (like Isaac with a central 
aspirate) not Ishak. This is not unnecessary when we hear Tait-shill for Tail's hill aad 

. Frederick-shall " for Friedrich, shali 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 305 

and obedience to Allah and to thee, O Prince of True Believers ! " 
Then he returned to his house and summoning Abu Ishak, wrote 
him a royal writ and said to him, " Go to Abdullah bin Fazil, 
Viceroy of Bassorah, and see what hath diverted him from sending 
the tribute. If it be ready, do thou receive it from him ih full and 
bring it to me in haste, for the Caliph hath examined the tributes 
of the provinces and findeth that they are all come in, except that 
of Bassorah : but an thou see that it is not ready and he make an 
excuse to thee, bring him back with thee, that he may report his 
excuse to the Caliph with his own tongue." Answered Abu Ishak. 
" I hear and I obey ;*' and taking with him five thousand horse of 
Ja'afar's host set out for Bassorah. Now when Abdullah bin 
Fazil heard of his approach, he went out to meet him with his 
troops, and led him into the city and carried him to his palace, 
whilst the escort encamped without the city walls, where he 
appointed to them all whereof they stood in need. So Abu 
Ishak entered the audience-chamber and sitting down on the 
throne, seated the governor beside himself, whilst the notables sat 
round him, according to their several degrees. After salutation 
with the salam Abdullah bin Fazil said to him, " O my lord, is 
there for thy coming to us any cause ? ;" and said Abu Ishak, " Yes, 
I come to seek the tribute ; for the Caliph enquireth of it and the 
time of its coming is gone by." Rejoined Abdullah bin Fazil, u O 
my lord, would Heaven thou hadst not wearied thyself nor taken 
upon thyself the hardships of the journey ! For the tribute is ready 
in full tale and complete, and I purpose to despatch it to-morrow. 
But, since thou art come, I will entrust it to thee, after I have 
entertained thee three days ; and on the fourth day I will set the 
tribute between thine hands. But it behoveth us now to offer thee 
a present in part requital of thy kindness and the goodness of the 
Commander of the Faithful." There is no harm in that," said 
Abu Ishak. So Abdullah bin Fazil dismissed the Divan and 
carrying him into a saloon that had not its match, bade set a tray 
of food before him and his companions. They ate and drank and 
made merry and enjoyed themselves; after which the tray was 
removed and there came coffee and sherbets. They sat conversing 
till a third part of the night was past, when they spread for Abu 
Ishak bedding on an ivory couch inlaid with gold glittering sheeny. 
So he lay down and the viceroy lay down beside him on another 
couch ; but wakefulness possessed Abu Ishak and he fell to 
meditating on the metres of prosody and poetical composition, for 

306 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

that he was one of the primest of the Caliph's boon-companions 
and he had a mighty fine fore-arm 1 in producing verses and 
pleasant stories ; nor did he leave to lie awake improvising poetry 
till half the night was past. Presently, behold, Abdullah bin 
Fazil arose, and girding his middle, opened a locker, 2 whence he 
brought out a whip ; then, taking a lighted waxen taper, he went 

forth by the door of the saloon. And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Jiofo foiwt it foa* tje Nine f^un&refc an& Scbentp-nintft 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Abdullah bin Fazil went forth by the door of the saloon deeming 
Abu Ishak asleep, the Caliph's cup-companion, seeing this, 
marvelled and said in himself, " Whither wendeth Abdullah bin 
Fazil with that whip ? Perhaps he is minded to punish some body. 
But needs must I follow him and see what he will do this night." 
So he arose and went out after him softly, very softly, that he 
might not be seen and presently saw him open a closet and take 
thence a tray containing four dishes of meat and bread and a 
gugglet of water. Then he went on, carrying the tray and secretly 
followed by Abu Ishak, till he came to another saloon and entered, 
whilst the cup-companion stood behind the door and, looking 
through the chink, saw a spacious saloon, furnished with the 
richest furniture and having in its midst a couch of ivory plated 
with gold glittering sheeny, to which two dogs were made fast 
with chains of gold. Then Abdullah set down the tray in a 
corner and tucking up his sleeves, loosed the first dog, which 
began to struggle in his hands and put its muzzle to the floor, as 
it would kiss the ground before him, whining the while in a weak 
voice. Abdullah tied its paws behind its back and throwing it on 
the ground, drew forth the whip and beat it with a painful beating 
and a pitiless. The dog struggled, but could not get free, and 
Abdullah ceased not to beat it with the same whip till it left 
groaning and lay without consciousness. Then he took it and 
tied it up in its place, and unbinding the second dog, did with 
him as he had done with the first ; after which he pulled out a 

1 i.e. He was a proficient, an adept. 

2 Arab, from Pers. Dulab = a walerwheel, a buttery, a cupboard; 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 307 

kerchief and fell to wiping away their tears and comforting them, 
saying, " Bear me not malice ; for by Allah, this is not of my will, 
nor is it easy to me ! But it may be Allah will grant you relief 
from this strait and issue from your affliction." And he prayed 
for the twain what while Abu Ishak the cup-companion stood 
hearkening with his ears and espying with his eyes, and indeed he 
marvelled at his case. Then Abdullah brought the dogs the tray 
of food and fell to morselling them with his own hand, till they 
had enough, when he wiped their muzzles and lifting up the 
gugglet, gave them to drink ; after which he took up the tray, 
gugglet and candle and made for the door. But Abu Ishak 
forewent him and making his way back to his couch, lay down ; 
so that he saw him not, neither knew that he had walked behind 
him and watched him. Then the governor replaced the tray and 
the gugglet in the closet and returning to the saloon, opened the 
locker and laid the whip in its place ; after which he doffed his 
clothes and lay down. But Abu Ishak passed the rest of that 
night pondering this affair neither did sleep visit him for excess of 
wonderment, and he ceased not to say in himself, " I wonder what 
can be the meaning of this ! " Nor did he leave wondering till 
day break, when they arose and prayed the dawn-prayer. Then 
they set the breakfast x before them and they ate and drank coffee, 
after which they went out to the divan, Now Abu Ishak's 
thought was occupied with this mystery all day long but he 
concealed the matter and questioned not Abdullah thereof. Next 
night, he again followed the governor and saw him do with the 
two dogs as on the previous night, first beating them and then 
making his peace with them and giving them to eat and to drink ; 
and so also he did the third night. On the fourth day he brought 
the tribute to Abu Ishak who took it and departed, without 
opening the matter to him. He fared on, without ceasing, till he 
came to Baghdad, where he delivered the tribute to the Caliph, 
who questioned him of the cause of its delay. Replied he, " O 
Commander of the Faithful, I found that the governor of Bassorah 
had made ready the tribute and was about to despatch it ; and 

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

308 A If Laylah iva Lay la k. 

had I delayed a day, it would have met me on the road. But, O 
Prince of True Believers, I had a wondrous adventure with 
Abdullah bin Fazil ; never in my life saw I its like." " And 
what was it, O Abu- Ishak?" asked the Caliph. So he replied, 
" I saw such and such ; " and, brief, acquainted him with that 
which the governor had done with the two dogs, adding, " After 
such fashion, I saw him do three successive nights, first beating 
the dogs, then making his peace with them and comforting them 
and giving them to eat and drink, I watching him, and he seeing 
me not." Asked the Caliph, " Didst thou question him of the 
cause of this ? "; and the other answered, " No, as thy head liveth, 

Commander of the Faithful." Then said Al-Rashid, " O Abu 
Ishak, I command thee to return to Bassorah and bring me 
Abdullah bin Fazil and the two dogs." Quoth he, "O Com- 
mander of the Faithful, excuse me from this ; for indeed Abdullah 
entertained me with exceedingly hospitable entertainment and I 
became ware of this case with chance undesigned and acquainted 
thee therewith. So how can I go back to him and bring him to 
thee? Verily, if I return to him, I shall find me no face for 
shame of him ; wherefore 'twere meet that thou send him another 
than myself, with a letter under thine own hand, and he shall 
bring him to thee, him and the two dogs." But quoth the Caliph, 
" If I send him other than thyself, peradventure he will deny the 
whole affair and say, I've no dogs. But if I send thee and thou 
cay to him, I saw them with mine own eyes, he will not be able 
to deny that. Wherefore nothing will serve but that thou go and 
fetch him and the two dogs ; otherwise I will surely slay thee." 1 j 
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her| 
(permitted say. 

Nofo fo&en ft foa* tfje j,me ^uirtreb an& lEfgJtietJ tf tfifjt, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
the Caliph Harun al-Rashid said to Abu Ishak, " Nothing will 
5erve but that thou go and fetch him and the two dogs ; otherwise 

1 will surely slay thee." Abu Ishak replied, " Hearing and obey- 

1 This " off-with-his-head " style must not be understood literally. As I have noted, 
lit is intended by the writer to show the Kingship and the majesty of the " Vicar of 

Abdullah bin Fazil artd kis Brothers. 309 

ing, O Commander of the Faithful : Allah is our aidance and 
good is the Agent. He spake sooth who said, " Man's wrong is 
from the tongue ; * and 'tis I who sinned against myself in telling 
thee. But write me a royal rescript 2 and I will go to him and 
bring him back to thee." So the Caliph gave him an autograph 
and he took it and repaired to Bassorah, Seeing him come in 
the governor said, "Allah forfend us from the mischief of thy 
return, O Abu Ishak ! How cometh it I see thee return in haste ? 
Peradventure the tribute is deficient and the Caliph will not 
accept it ? " Answered Abu Ishak, " O Emir Abdullah, my return 
is not on account of the deficiency of the tribute, for 'tis full 
measure and the Caliph accepteth it ; but I hope that thou wilt 
excuse me, for that I have failed in my duty as thy guest and 
indeed this lapse of mine was decreed of Allah Almighty." 
Abdullah enquired, " And what may be the lapse ? " and he re- 
plied, " Know that when I was with thee, I followed thee three 
following nights and saw thee rise at midnight and beat the dogs 
and return ; whereat I marvelled, but was ashamed to question 
thee thereof. When I came back to Baghdad, I told the Caliph 
of thine affair, casually and without design, whereupon he charged 
me to return to thee, and here is a letter under his hand. Had I 
known that the affair would lead to this, I had not told him, but 
Destiny foreordained thus." And he went on to excuse himself 
to him ; whereupon said Abdullah, " Since thou hast told him. 
this, I will bear out thy report with him, lest he deem thee a liar,, 
for thou art my friend, Were it other than thou, I had denied 
the affair and given him the lie. But now I will go with thee 
and carry the two dogs with me, though this be to me ruin-rife 
and the ending of my term of life." Rejoined the other, " Allah 
will veil 3 thee, even as thou hast veiled my face with the Caliph ! " 
Then Abdullah took a present beseeming the Commander of the 
Faithful and mounting the dogs with him, each on a camel, bound 
with chains 4 of gold, journeyed with Abu Ishak to Baghdad, 
where he went in to the Caliph and kissed ground before him. 
He deigned bid him sit ; so he sat down and brought the two 
dogs before Al-Rashid, who said to him "What be these dogs, 

1 Lit. "the calamity of man (insan) is from the tongue" (lisa"n) 
8 For Khatt Sharif, lit. = a noble letter, see vol. ii. 39* 

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

4 Arab. "Janazir" = chains, an Arabised plural of the Pers. Zanjfr with the 
metathesis or transposition of letters peculiar to the yulgar ; " Janazf r " ibr "Zanajfr." 

3* Alf Laylah wa Laylak. 

O Emir Abdullah?" Whereupon they fell to kissing the floor 
between his hands and wagging their tails and weeping, as if 
complaining to him. The Caliph marvelled at this and said to 
the governor, "Tell me the history of these two dogs and the 
reason of thy beating them and after entreating them with 
honour." He replied, " O Vicar of Allah, these be no dogs, but 
two young men, endowed with beauty and seemlinesS) symmetry 
and shapeliness, and they are my brothers and the sons of my 
father and mother." Asked the Caliph, " How is it that they 
were men and are become dogs ? " ; and he answered, " An thou 
give me leave, O Prince of True Believers, I will acquaint thee 
with the truth of the circumstance." Said Al-Rashid, " Tell me 
and 'ware of leasing, for 'tis of the fashion of the hypocrites, and 
look thou tell truth, for that is the Ark * of safety and the mark 
of virtuous men." Rejoined Abdullah, " Know then', O vice-regent 
of Allah, when I tell thee the story of these dogs, they will both 
bear witness against me : an I speak sooth they will certify it and 
if I lie they will give me the lie." Cried the Caliph, " These are of 
the dogs ; they cannot speak nor answer ; so how can they testify 
for thee or against thee ? " But Abdullah said to them, " O my 
brothers, if I speak a lying word, do ye lift your heads and stare 
with your eyes ; but, if I say sooth hang down your heads and 
lower your eyes." Then said he to the Caliph : Know, O Com- 
mander of the Faithful, that we are three brothers by one mother 
and the same father. Our sire's name was Fazil and he was so 
named because his mother bare two sons at one birth, one of 
whom died forthright and the other twin remained alive, where- 
fore his sire named him Fazil the Remainder. His father 
brought him up and reared him well, till he grew to manhood 
when he married him to our mother and died. Our mother con- 
ceived a first time and bare this my first brother, whom our sire 
named Mansur ; then she conceived again and bare this my 
second brother, whom he named Ndsir 2 ; after which she con- 
ceived a third time and bare me, whom he named Abdullah. My 

1 Arab. "Safinah" = (Noah's) Ark, a myth derived from the Baris of Egypt with 
subsequent embellishments from the Babylonian deluge-legends: the latter may have 
been survivals of the days when the waters of the Persian Gulf extended to the mountains 
of Eastern Syria. Hence I would explain the existence of extinct volcanoes within 
sight of Damascus (see Unexplored Syria i. p. 159) visited, I believe, for the first time 
by my late friend Charles F. Tyrwhitt-Drake and myself in May, 1871. 

2 Mansur and Nasir are passive and active participles from the same root, Nasr = 
victory ; the former means triumphant and the latter triumphing. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 311 

father reared us all three till we came to man's estate, when he 
died, leaving us a house and a shop full of coloured stuffs of all 
kinds, Indian and Greek and Khorasani and what not, besides 
sixty thousand dinars. We washed him and buried him to the 
ruth of his Lord, after which we built him a splendid monument 
and let pray for him prayers for the deliverance of his soul from 
the fire and held perfections of the Koran and gave alms on his 
behalf, till the forty days * were past ; when I called together the 
merchants and nobles of the folk and made them a sumptuous 
entertainment. As soon as they had eaten, I said to them, " O 
merchants, verily this world is ephemeral, but the next world is 
eternal, and extolled be the perfection of Him who endureth 
always after His creatures have passed away ! Know ye why I 
have called you together this blessed day ? " And they answered, 
" Extolled be Allah sole Scient of the hidden things. 2 " Quoth 
I, " My father died, leaving much of money, and I fear lest any 
have a claim against him for a debt or a pledge 3 or what not else, 
and I desire to discharge my father's obligations towards the folk. 
So whoso hath any demand on him, let him say :^-He oweth me 
so and so, and I will satisfy it to him, that I may acquit the 
responsibility of my sire. 4 " The merchants replied, " O Abdullah, 
verily the goods of this world stand not in stead of those of the 
world to come, and we are no fraudful folk, but all of us know 
the lawful from the unlawful and fear Almighty Allah and abstain 
from devouring the substance of the orphan. We know that thy 
father (Allah have mercy on him !) still let his money lie with the 
folk, 5 nor did he suffer any man's claim on him to go unquitted, 

1 The normal term of Moslem mourning, which Mohammed greatly reduced dis- 
liking the abuse of it by the Jews who even in the present day are the strictest in its 

2 An euphuistic and euphemistic style of saying, " No, we don't know." 
8 Arab. " Rahan," an article placed with him in pawn. 

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

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

3 12 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and we have ever heard him declare: I am fearful of the people's 
substance. He used always to say in his prayers, O my God, 
Thou art my stay and my hope ! Let me not die while in debt. 
And it was of his wont that, if he owed any one aught, he would 
pay it to him, without being pressed, and if any owed him aught 
he would not dun him, but would say to him, At thy leisure. If 
his debtor were poor, he would release him from his liability and 
acquit him of responsibility ; and if he were not poor and died in 
his debt, he would say, Allah forgive him what he owed me ! And 
we all testify that he owed no man aught." Quoth I, " May Allah 
bless you ! " Then I turned to these my brothers and said, " Our 
father owed no man aught and hath left us much money and stuffs, 
besides the house and the shop. Now we are three and each of us 
is entitled to one third part. So shall we agree to waive division 
and wone copartners in our wealth and eat together and drink 
together, or shall we apportion the stuffs and the money and take 
each his part ? " Said they, " We will divide them and take each 
his share/' (Then Abdullah turned to the two dogs and said to 
them, " Did it happen thus, O my brothers ? "; and they bowed 
their heads and lowered their eyes, as to say, " Yes.") Abdullah 
continued : I called in a departitor from the Kazi's court, O 
Prince of True Believers, and he distributed amongst us the money 
and the stuffs and all our father had left, allotting the house and 
shop to me in exchange for a part of the coin and clothes to which 
I was entitled. We were content with this ; so the house and shop 
fell to my share, whilst my brothers took their portion in money 
and stuffs. I opened the shop and stocking it with my stuffs 
bought others with the money apportioned to me, over and above 
the house and shop, till the place was full, and I sat selling and 
buying. As for my brothers, they purchased stuffs and hiring a 
ship, set out on a voyage to the far abodes of folk. Quoth I, 
" Allah aid them both ! As for me, my livelihood is ready to my 
hand and peace is priceless." I abode thus a whole year, during 
which time Allah opened the door of fortune to me and I gained 
great gains, till I became possessed of the like of that which 
our father had left us. One day, as I sat in my shop, with 
two fur pelisses on me, one of sable and the other of meniver. 1 for 

1 Al-Mas'iidi (chap, xvii.) alludes to furs of Sable (Sarrmr), hermelline (Al-Farwah) 
and Bortas (Turkish) furs of black and red foxes. For Samur see vol. iv. 57. Sinjab 
is Persian for the skin of the grey squirrel (Mus temmus, the lemming), the meniver, 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 313 

ft was the season of winter and the time of the excessive cold, 
behold, there came up to me my two brothers, each clad in a 
ragged shirt and nothing more, and their lips were white with cold, 
and they were shivering. When I saw them in this plight, it was 
grievous to me and I mourned for them - And Shahrazad per- 
ceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Jlofo to&tn it toas tfjc JThu f^un&trti attir lEigfn^fitst tf t'g&t, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah 
bin Fazil continued to the Caliph: When I saw them in this 
plight, it was grievous to me and I mourned for them and my 
reason -fled my head. So I rose and embraced them and wept over 
their condition : then I put on one of them the pelisse of sable 
and on the other the fur coat of meniver and, carrying them to the 
Hammam, sent thither for each of them a suit of apparel such as 
befitted a merohant worth a thousand. 1 When they had washed and 
donned each his suit, I carried them to my house where, seeing 
them well nigh famished, I set a tray of food before them and ate 
with them, caressing them and comforting them. (Then he again 
turned to the two dogs and said to them, " Was this so, O my 
brothers ? "; and they bent their heads and lowered their eyes.) 
So Abdullah continued : When they had eaten, O Vicar of Allah, 
quoth I to them, " What hath befallen you and where are your 
goods ? "; and quoth they, " We fared up the river, 2 till we came to 
a city called Cufa, where we sold for ten dinars the piece of stuff 
that had cost half a ducat and that which cost us a ducat for 
twenty. So we profited greatly and bought Persian stuffs at the rate 
of ten sequins per piece of silk worth forty in Bassorah. Thence 
we removed to a city called Al-Karkh 3 where we sold and bought 

erroneously miniver, (menu varir) as opposed to the ermine = (Mus Armeniiis y or mustda 
ermtnia.) I never visit England without being surprised at the vile furs worn by the rich, 
and the folly of the poor in not adopting the sheepskin with the wool inside and the 
leather well tanned which keeps the peasant warm and comfortable between Croatia and 

1 Arab. " Tajir Alfi " which may mean a thousand dinars (500) or a thousand purses 
(=* / "Alfi "is not an uncommon P. N., meaning that the bearer (Pasha of 
pauper) had been bought for a thousand left indeEnite. 

2 Tigris-Euphrates. 

* Possibly the quarter of Baghdad so called and mentioned in The Nights more than 

3 '4 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

and made gain galore and amassed of wealth great store." And 
they went on to set forth to me the places and the profits. So I 
said to them, " Since ye had such good luck and lot, how cometh 
it that I see you return naked ? " They sighed and answered, " O 
our brother, some one must have evileyed us, and in travel there is 
no trusting. When we had gotten together these monies and 
goods, we freighted a ship therewith and set sail, intending for 
Bassorah. We fared on three days and on the fourth day we saw 
the sea rise and fall and roar and foam and swell and dash, whilst 
the waves clashed together with a crash, striking out sparks like 
fire 1 in the darks. The winds blew contrary for us and our craft 
struck upon the point of a bill-projected rock, where it brake up 
and plunged us into the river, and all we had with us was lost in 
the waters. We abode struggling on the surface a day and a night, 
.till Allah sent us another ship, whose crew picked us up and we 
begged our way from town to town, suffering mighty sore hardships 
and selling our body-clothes piecemeal, to buy us food, till we drew 
near Bassorah ; nor did we make the city till we had drained the 
draught of a thousand miseries. But, had we come safely off with 
that which was by us, we had brought back riches that might be 
evened with those of the King : but this was fore ordained to us 
of Allah." I said, " O my brothers, let not your hearts be grieved, 
for wealth is the ransom of bodies and safety is property. Since 
Allah hath written you of the saved, this is the end of desire, for 
want and wealth are but as it were illusions of dreams and God- 
gifted is he who said : 

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

I continued, " O my brothers we will suppose that our sire died 
to-day and left us all this wealth that is with me, for I am right 
willing to share it with you equally." So I fetched a departitor 
from the Kazi's court and brought out to him all my money, which 
he distributed into three equal parts, and we each took one. Then 
said I to them, " O my brothers, Allah blesseth a man in his daily 
bread, if he be in his own country : so let each of you open him a 
shop and sit therein to get his living ; and he to whom aught is 
ordained in the Secret Purpose, 2 needs must he get it." Accordingly, 

1 For this fiery sea see Sind Revisited i. 19. 

8 Arab. " Al-Ghayb M which may also mean " in the future " (unknown to man). 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 315 

I helped each of them to open a shop and filled it for him with 
goods, saying to them, " Sell and buy and keep your monies and 
spend naught thereof ; for all ye need of meat and drink and so 
forth I will furnish to you." I continued to entreat them generously, 
and they fell to selling and buying by day and returning at even- 
tide to my house where they lay the night ; nor would I suffer 
them to expend aught of their own substance. But, whenever I 
sat talking with them, they would praise travel and proclaim its 
pleasures and vaunt the gains they had made therein ; and they 
ceased not to urge me to accompany them in travelling over 
foreign parts. (Then he said to the dogs, "Was this so, O my 
brothers ? " and they again bowed their heads and lowered their 
eyes in confirmation of his words). He continued : On such 
wise, O Vicar of Allah, they continued to urge me and tempt me 
to travel by vaunting the great gains and profit to be obtained 
thereby till I said to them, " Needs must I fare with you for your 
sake ! " Then I entered into a contract of partnership with them 
and we chartered a ship and packing up all manner of precious 
stuffs and merchandise of every kind, freighted it therewith ; after 
which we embarked in it all we needed and, setting sail from Bas- 
sorah, launched out into the dashing sea, swollen with clashing 
surge whereinto whoso entereth is lone and lorn and whence 
whoso cometh forth is as a babe new-born. We ceased not sailing 
on till we came to a city of the cities, where we sold and bought 
and made great cheape. Thence we went on to another place, 
and we ceased not to pass from land to land and port to port, 
selling and buying and profiting, till we had gotten us great wealth 
and much advantage. Presently, we came to a mountain, 1 where 
the captain cast anchor and said to us, " O passengers, go ye 
ashore ; ye shall be saved from this day, 2 and make search ; it 
may be ye shall find water." So all landed I amongst the crowd, 
and dispersed about the island in search of water. As for me, I 
climbed to the top of the mountain, and whilst I went along, lo 
and behold ! I saw a white snake fleeing and followed by a black 
dragon, foul of favour and frightful of form, hotly pursuing her. 
Presently he overtook her and clipping her, seized her by the head 
and wound his tail about her tail, whereupon she cried out and I 

1 Arab. " Jabal " ; here a mountainous island : see vol. i. 140. 

2 i.e. ye shall be spared this day's miseries. See my Pilgrimage vol. i. 314, and the 
delight with which we glided into Marsk Damghah. 

316 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

knew that he purposed to rape her. So I was moved to ruth for 
her and taking up a lump of granite, 1 five pounds or more in 
weight, hurled it at the dragon. It smote him on the head and 
crushed it, and ere I knew, the white snake changed and became 
a young girl bright with beauty and loveliness and brilliancy and 
perfect grace, as she were the shining full moon, who came up to 
me and kissing my hands, said to me, " Allah veil thee with two- 
fold veils, one from shame in this world and the other from the 
flame in the world to come on the day of the Great Upstanding, 
the day when neither wealth nor children shall avail save to him 
who shall come to Allah with a sound heart 1 " 2 And presently 
she continued, " O mortal, thou hast saved my honour and I am 
indebted to thee for kindness, wherefore it behoveth me to requite 
thee." So saying, she signed with her hand to the earth, which 
opened and she descended thereinto : then it closed up again over 
her and by this I knew that she was of the Jinn. As for the 
dragon, fire was kindled in him and consumed him and he became 
ashes. I marvelled at this and returned to my comrades, whom I 
acquainted with whatso I had seen, and we passed the night in the 
island. On the morrow the Captain weighed anchor and spread 
the sails and coiled the ropes and we sailed till the shore faded 
from our gaze. We fared on twenty days, without seeing or land 
or bird, till our water came to an end and quoth the Rais to us, 
" O folk, our fresh water is spent.'* Quoth we, " Let us make for 
land ; haply we shall find water." But he exclaimed, " By Allah, 
I have lost my way and I know not what course will bring me to 
the seaboard." Thereupon betided us sore chagrin and we wept 
and besought Almighty Allah to guide us into the right course. 
We passed that night in the sorriest case : but God-gifted is he 
who said : 

How many a night have I spent in woes o That would grizzle the suckling-babe 
with fear : 

1 Arab. "Siiwan" = Syenite" (-granite) also used for flint and other hard stones. 
See vol. i. 238. 

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

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 317 

But morrowed not morn ere to me there came o ' Aidance from Allah and victory 
near.' * 

But when the day arose in its sheen and shone, we caught sight of 
a high mountain and rejoiced therein. When we came to its 
skirts, the Captain said to us, " O folk, go ashore and seek for 
water." So we all landed and sought water but found none, 
whereat we were sore afflicted because we were suffering for 
want of it. As . for me, I climbed up to the mountain-top 
and on the other side thereof I saw a spacious circle 2 distant 
from us an hour's journey or more. Presently I called my com- 
panions and as soon as they all rejoined me, said to them " Look 
at yonder basin behind this mountain ; for I see therein a city 
high of base and a strong-cornered place girt with sconce and 
rampartry, pasturage and lea and doubtless it wanteth not water 
and good things. So hie we thither and fetch drink therefrom 
and buy what we need of provisions, meat and fruit, and return " 
But they said, " We fear lest the city-folk be Kafirs ascribing to 
Allah partners and enemies of The Faith and lay hand on us and 
take us captive or else slay us ; so should we cause the loss of our 
own lives, having cast ourselves into destruction and evil emprise. 
Indeed, the proud and presumptuous are never praiseworthy, for 
that they ever fare in danger of calamities, even as saith of such 
an one a certain poet : 

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

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

whilst I wend thither and return to you twain." And Shahrazad 

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

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

2 Arab. " Dairah," a basin surrounded by hills. The words wbich follow may 
" An hour's journey or more in breadth.** 

3 1 8 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

to&en itJnas tfe Nine unUretf an& 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Abdullah said, " Do ye twain await me whilst I wend thither and 
return to you." So I left them and walked on till I came to the 
gate of the place and saw it a city of building wondrous and pro- 
jection marvellous, with boulevards high-towering and towers 
strong-builded and palaces high-soaring. Its portals were of 
Chinese iron, rarely gilded and graven on such wise as confounded 
the wit. I entered the gateway and saw there a stone bench, 
whereon sat a man bearing on his forearm a chain of brass, whereto 
hung fourteen keys ; so I knew him to be the porter of the city 
and that it had fourteen gates, I drew near him and said to 
him, <fc Peace be with thee ! "; but he returned not my salam and 
I saluted him a second and a third time ; but he made me no 
reply. Then I laid my hand on his shoulder and said to him, 
" Ho thou, why dost thou not return my salam ? Art thou asleep 
or deaf or other than a Moslem, that thou refrainest from ex- 
changing the salutation ? " But he answered me not neither 
stirred ; so I considered him and saw that he was stone. Quoth 
I, " Verily an admirable matter ! This is a stone wroughten in 
the semblance of a son of Adam and wanting in naught save 
speech ! " Then I left him and entering the city, beheld a man 
standing in the road : so I went up to him and scrutinised him 
and found him stone. Presently, as I walked adown the broad- 
ways, and saw that this was every where the case, I met an old 
woman bearing on her head a bundle of clothes ready for washing ; 
so I went up to her and examining her, saw that she was stone, 
and the bundle of clothes on her head was stone also. 1 Then I 
fared for the market, where I saw an oilman with his scales set 
up and fronted by various kinds of wares such as cheese and so 
forth, all of stone. Moreover, I saw all manner of tradesmen 
seated in their shops and men and women and children, some 
standing and some sitting ; but they were all stone ; and the stuffs 
were like spiders' webs. I amused myself with looking upon 
them, and as often as I laid hold upon a piece of stuff, it powdered 
in my hands like dust dispread. Presently I saw some chests and 

These petrified folk hare occurred in the "Eldest Lady's Tale" (vol. i. 165), where 
they are of " black stone." 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 

opening one of them, found it full of gold in bags ; so I laid hold 
upon the bags, but they crumbled away in my grasp, whilst the 
gold abode unchanged. I carried off of it what I could carry 
and said to myself, " Were my brothers with me, they might take 
of this gold their fill and possess themselves of these hoards which 
have no owner." Then I entered another shop and found therein' 
more than this, but could bear away no more than I had borne. 
I left this market and went on to another and thence to another 
and another, much enjoying the sight of all manner of creatures 
of various kinds, all several stones, even to the dogs and the cats > 
till I came to the goldsmiths' bazar, where I saw men sitting in 
their shops, with their stock-in-trade about them, some in their 
hands and others in crates of wicker-work. When I saw this, O 
Commander of the Faithful, I threw down the gold and loaded 
myself with goldsmiths' ware, as much as I could carry. Then I. 
went on to the jewel-market and saw there the jewellers seated in 
their shops, each with a tray before him, full of all sorts of precious 
stones, jacinths and diamonds and emeralds and balass rubies and 
so forth : but all the shop-keepers were stones ; whereupon I threw 
away the goldsmiths' ware and carried off as many jewels as I 
could carry, regretting that my brothers were not with me, so they 
might take what they would of those costly gems. Then I left 
the jewel-market and went on till I came to a great door, quaintly 
gilded and decorated after the fairest fashion, within which were 
wooden benches and in the porch sat eunuchs, and body-guards ; 
horsemen, and footmen and officers of police each and every robed 
in the richest of raiment ; but they were all stones. I touched one 
of them and his clothes crumbled away from his body like cob- 
webs. Then I passed through the door and saw a palace without 
equal for its building and the goodliness of the works that were 
therein. Here I found an audience-chamber, full of Grandees and 
Wazirs and Officers and Emirs, seated upon chairs and every one 
of them stone. Moreover, I saw a throne of red gold, crusted with 
pearls and gems, and seated thereon a son of Adam arrayed in 
the most sumptuous raiment and bearing oh his head a Chosroan l 
crown, diademed with the finest stones that shed a light like the 
light of day ; but, when I came up to him, I found him stone. 
Then I went on to the gate of the Harim and entering, found 

myself in the Queen's presence-chamber, wherein I saw a throne 

' _** 

s"~ \ 

1 Arab. " Taj Kisrawi," such as was worn by the Chosroes Kings. See vol. i. 75. 

32O tAlf Laylah wa Laylak. 

of red gold, inlaid with pearls and gems, and the Queen seated 
thereon. On her head she wore a crown diademed with finest 
jewels, and round about her were women like moons, seated upon 
chairs and clad in the most sumptuous clothing of all colours. 
There also the eunuchry, with their hands upon their breasts, 1 
were standing in the attitude of service, and indeed this hall 
confounded the beholder's wits with what was therein of quaint 
gilding and rare painting and curious carving and fine furniture. 
There hung the most brilliant lustres 2 of limpid crystal, and in 
every globe 3 of the crystal was an unique jewel, whose price 
money might not fulfil. So I threw down that which was with 
me, O Prince of True Believers, and fell to taking of these jewels 
what I could carry, bewildered as to what I should bear away 
and what I should leave ; for indeed I saw the place as it were 
a treasure of the treasures of the cities. Presently I espied a 
wicket 4 standing open and within it a staircase : so I entered 
and mounting forty steps, heard a human voice reciting the 
Koran in a low tone. I walked towards that sound till I came 
to the main door hung with a silken curtain, laced with wires of 
gold whereon were strung pearls and coral and rubies and cut 
emeralds which gave forth a light like the light of stars. The 
voice came from behind the curtain : so I raised it and discovered 
a gilded door, whose beauty amazed the mind. I passed through 
the door and found myself in a saloon as it were a hoard upon 
earth's surface 5 and therein a girl as she were the sun shining 
fullest sheen in the zenith of a sky serene. She was robed in the 
costliest of raiment and decked with ornaments the most precious 
that could be and withal she was of passing beauty and love- 

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

2 Arab. " Ta* alfk " = hanging lamps, often in lantern shape with coloured glass and 
profuse ornamentation ; the Maroccan are now familiar to England. 

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

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

5 i.e. A *' Kanz " (enchanted treasury) usually hidden underground but opened by a 
counter-spell aud transferred to earth's face. The reader will note the gorgeousness of 
the picture. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 321 

liness, a model of symmetry and seemliness, of elegance and 
perfect grace, with waist slender and hips heavy and dewy lips 
such as heal the sick and eyelids lovely in their langour, as it were 
she of whom the sayer spake when he said : 

My best salam to what that robe enrobes of symmetry, o And what that 

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

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

would draw her blood l when pluckt that fruit from tree : 
And did she crache in Ocean's face, next Morn would see a change o To 

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

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

1 Oriental writers, Indian and Persian, as well as Arab, lay great stress upon the 
extreme delicacy of the skin of the fair ones celebrated in their works, constantly 
attributing to their heroines bodies so sensitive as to brook with difficulty the contact 
of the finest shift. Several instances of this will be found in the present collection and 
we may fairly assume that the skin of an Eastern beauty, under the influence of constant 
seclusion and the unremitting use of cosmetics and the bath, would in time attain a 
pitch of delicacy and sensitiveness such as would in some measure justify the seemingly 
extravagant statements of their poetical admirers, of which the following anecdote 
(quoted by Ibn Khellikan from the historian Et Teberi) is a fair specimen. Ardeshir 
ibn Babek (Artaxerxes I.), the first Sassanian King of Persia (A.D. 226-242), having 
long unsuccessfully besieged El Hedr, a strong city of Mesopotamia belonging to the 
petty King Es Satiroun, at last obtained possession of it by the treachery of the owner's 
daughter Nezireh and married the latter, this having been the price stipulated by her 
for the betrayal to him of the place. " It happened afterwards that, one night, as she 
was unable to sleep and turned from side to side in the bed, Ardeshir asked her what 
prevented her from sleeping. She replied, I never yet slept on a rougher bed than 
this ; I feel something irk me.' He ordered the bed to be changed, but she was still 
unable to sleep. Next morning, she complained of her side, and on examination, a 
myrtle-leaf was found adhering to a fold of the skin, from which it had drawn blood. 
Astonished at this circumstance, Ardeshir asked her if it was this that had kept her 
awake and she replied in the affirmative. ' How then,' asked he, ' did your father bring 
you up ? ' She answered, ' He spread me a bed of satin and clad me in silk and fed me 
with marrow and cream and the honey of virgin bees and gave me pure wine to drink.' 
Quoth Ardeshir, * The same return which you made your father for his kindness would 
be made much more readily to me ' ; and bade bind her by the hair to the tail of a horse, 
which galloped off with her and killed her." It will be remembered that the true 
princess, in the well-known German popular tale, is discovered by a similar incident to 
that of the myrtle-leaf. I quote this excellent note from Mr. Payne (ix. 148), only 
regretting that annotation did not enter into his plan of producing The Nights. 
Amongst Hindu story-tellers a phenomenal softness of the skin is a lieu commun : see 
Vikram and the Vampire (p. 285, " Of the marvellous delicacy of their Queens ') ; and 
the Tale of the Sybarite might be referred to in the lines given above. 


322 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

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

thou who gladdenest man by speech and rarest quality ; c Grow longing and' 

repine for thee and grow beyond degree ! 

;lnthee two things consume and melt the votaries of Love ; o The dulcet song 
of David joined with Joseph's brilliancy. 

When I heard her voice of melody reciting the sublime Koran, my 
heart quoted from her killing glances, ' Peace, a word from a com- 
passionating Lord ; n but I stammered 2 in my speech and could not 
say the salam-salutation aright, for my mind and sight were 
confounded and I was become as saith the bard : 

Love-longing urged me not except to trip in speech o'er free ; * Nor, save to 
shed my blood I passed the campment's boundary : 

1 ne'er will hear a word from those who love to rail, but I o Will testify 

to love of him with every word of me. 

Then I hardened myself against the horrors of repine and said to 
her, " Peace be with thee, O noble Lady, and treasured jewel ! 
Allah grant endurance "to the foundation of thy fortune fair and 
upraise the pillars of thy glory rare ! " Said she, " And on thee 

1 " (55) Indeed joyous on that day are the people of Paradise in their employ ; (56) In 
shades, on bridal couches reclining they and their wives : (57) Fruits have they therein 
and whatso they desire. (58) * Peace ! ' shall be a word from a compassionating Lord." 
Koran xxxvi. 55-58, the famous Chapt. "Yd Sin;" which most educated Moslems 
learn by heart. See vol. iii. 19. In addition to the proofs there offered that the Moslem 
Paradise is not wholly sensual I may quote, " No soul wotteth what coolth of the eyes 
is reserved (for the good) in recompense of their works " (Koran Ixx. 17). The 
Paradise of eatiqg, drinking, and copulating which Mr. Palgrave (Arabia, i. 368) calls 
' an everlasting brothel between forty celestial concubines" was preached solely to the 
baser sort of humanity which can understand and appreciate only the pleasures of the 
flesh. To talk of spiritual joys before the Badawin would have been a non-sens t even as 
k would be to the roughs of our great cities. 

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

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 323 

from me be peace and salutation and high honour, O Abdullah, O 
son of Fazil ! Well come and welcome and fair welcome to thee, 
O dearling mine and coolth of mine eyne ! " Rejoined I, " O my 
lady, whence wottest thou my name and who art thou and what 
case befel the people of this city, that they are become stones ? I 
would have thee tell me the truth of the matter, for indeed I am 
admiring at this city and its citizens and that I have found none 
alive therein save thyself. So, Allah upon thee, tell me the cause 
of all this, according to the truth ! " Quoth she, " Sit, O Abdullah, 
and Inshallah, I will talk with thee and acquaint thee in full with 
the facts of my case and of this place and its people ; and there is 
no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the 
Great ! " So I sat me down by her side and she said to me, " Know> 
O Abdullah, (may Allah have mercy on thee!) that I am the 
daughter of the King of this city and that it is my sire whom thou 
sawest seated on the high stead in the Divan, and those who are 
round about him were the Lords of his land and the Guards of his 
empery. He was a King of exceeding prowess and had under his 
hand a thousand thousand and sixty thousand troopers. The 
number of the Emirs of his Empire was four-and-twenty thousand, 
all of them Governors and Dignitaries. He was obeyed by a 
thousand cities, besides towns, hamlets and villages ; and sconces 
and citadels, and the Emirs 1 of the wild Arabs under his hand were 
a thousand in number, each commanding twenty thousand horse. 
Moreover, he had monies and treasures and precious stones and 
jewels and things of price, such as eye never saw nor of which ear 

ever heard. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

Koto fo&en ft foa* t&e Wne f^untoefc an& 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Princess, 
daughter to the King of the Stone-city, thus continued : Verily, 
O Abdullah my father had monies and hoards, such as eye never 
saw and of which ear never heard. He used to debel Kings and 
do to death champions and braves in battle and in the field of 
fight, so that the Conquerors feared him and the Chosroes 2 humbled 

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

* " The Jababirah " (giant-rulers of Syria) and the " Akasirah " (Chosroes- Kings of 

3 2 4 Alf Laylah wa Laylahl 

themselves to him. For all this, he was a miscreant in creed 
ascribing to Allah partnership and adoring idols, instead of the 
Lord of worship ; and all his troops were of images fain in lieu of 
the All-knowing Sovereign. One day of the days as he sat on 
the throne of his Kingship, compassed about with the Grandees of 
his realm, suddenly there came in to him a Personage, whose face 
illumined the whole Divan with its light. My father looked at him 
and saw him clad in a garb of green, 1 tall of stature and with 
hands that reached beneath his knees. He was of reverend aspect 
and awesome and the light 2 shone from his face. Said he to my 
sire, " O rebel, O idolater, how long wilt thou take pride in wor- 
shipping idols and abandoning the service of the All-knowing 
King ? Say : I testify that there is no god but the God and that 
Mohammed is His servant and His messenger. And embrace 
Al-Islam, thou and thy tribe ; and put away from you the worship 
of idols, for they neither suffice man's need nor intercede. None 
is worshipful save Allah alone, who raised up the heavens without 
columns and spread out the earths like carpets in mercy to His 
creatures." 3 Quoth my father, " Who art thou, O man who 
rejectest the worship of idols, that thou sayst thus ? Fearest thou 
not that the idols will be wroth with thee ?" He replied, "The 
idols are stones ; their anger cannot prejudice me nor their favour 
profit me. So do thou set in my presence thine idol which thou 
adorest and bid all thy folk bring each his image : and when they 
are all presenr, do ye pray them to be wroth with me and I will 
pray my Lord to be wroth with them, and ye shall descry the 
difference between the anger of the creature and that of the Creator. 
For your idols, ye fashioned them yourselves and the Satans clad 
themselves therewith as with clothing, and they it is who spake to 
you from within the bellies of the images, 4 for your idols are 
made and the maker is my God to whom naught is impossible. 
An the True appear to you, do ye follow it, and if the False appear 
to you do ye leave it." Cried they, " Give us a proof of thy god, 

1 This shows (and we are presently told) that thfi intruder was Al-Khizr, the "Green 
Prophet," for whom see vol. iv. 175. 

2 i.e. of salvation supposed to radiate from all Prophets, esp. from Mohammed. 

3 This formula which has occurred from the beginning (vol. i. i) is essentially Koranic : 
See Chapt. li. 18-19 and passim. 

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

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 325 

that we may see it ; " and quoth he, " Give me proof of your 
gods." So the King bade every one who worshipped his Lord in 
image-form to bring it, and all the armies brought their idols to 
the Divan. Thus fared it with them ; but as for me, I was sitting 
behind a curtain, whence I could look upon my father's Divan, and 
I had an idol of emerald whose bigness was as the bigness of a 
son of Adam. My father demanded it, so I sent it to the Divan 
where they set it down beside that of my sire, which was of 
jacinth, whilst the Wazir's idol was of diamond. 1 As for those of 
the Grandees and Notables, some were of balass-ruby and some 
of carnelian, others of coral or Comorin aloes-wood and yet others 
of ebony or silver or gold ; and each had his own idol, after the 
measure of his competence ; whilst the idols of the common 
soldiers and of the people were some of granite, some of wood, 
some of pottery and some of mud ; and all were of various hues 
yellow and red ; green, black and white. Then said the Personage 
to my sire, " Pray your idol and these idols to be wroth with me.' 1 
So they aligned the idols in a Divan, 2 setting my father's idol 
on a chair of gold at the upper end, with mine by its side, and 
ranking the others each according to the condition of him who 
owned it and worshipped it. Then my father arose and prostrat- 
ing himself to his own idol, said to it, " O my god, thou art the 
Bountiful Lord, nor is there among the idols a greater than 
thyself. Thou knowest that this person cometh to me, attacking 
thy divinity and making mock of thee ; yea, he avoucheth that 
he hath a god stronger than thou and ordereth us leave adoring 
thee and adore his god. So be thou wrath with him, O my god ! "i 
And he went on to supplicate the idol ; but the idol returned him 
no reply neither bespoke him with aught of speech ; whereupon 
quoth he, " O my god, this is not of thy wont, for thou usedst to 
answer me, when I addressed thee. How cometh it that I see 

1 Arab. "AlmaV = Gr. Adamas. In opposition to the learned ex-Professor 
Maskelyne I hold that the cutting of the diamond is of very ancient date, Mr. W. M. 
Flinders Patrie (The Pyramids and Temples of Gizah, London: Field and Tuer, 1884) 
whose studies have thoroughly demolished the freaks and unfacts, the fads and fancies of 
the " Pyramidists," and who may be said to have raised measurement to the rank of a 
fine art, believes that the Euritic statues of old Egypt such as that of Khufu (Cheops) in 
the Bulak Museum were drilled by means of diamonds. Athenaeus tells us (lib. v.) that 
the Indians brought pearls and diamonds to the procession of Ptolemy Philadelphus ; and 
this suggests cutting, as nothing can be less ornamental than the uncut stone. 

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

3-6 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

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

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



Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 327 

I submitted myself to Him and was saved from that which befel 
the rest. Then the Personage drew near me and said " Felicity f 
was fore-ordained of Allah to thee and in this a purpose had He." 
And he went on to instruct me and I took unto him the oath and 
covenant. 2 I was then seven years of age and am now thirty 
years old. Then said I to him, " O my lord, all that is in the 
city and all its citizens are become stones by thine effectual prayer, 
and I am saved, for that I embraced Al-Islam at thy hands. 
Wherefore thou art become my Shaykh ; so do thou tell me thy 
name and succour me with thy security and provide me with 
provision whereon I may subsist." Quoth he, " My name is Abu 
al-'Abbas al-Khizr "; and he planted me a pomegranate-tree, 
which forthright grew up and foliaged, flowered and fruited, and 
bare one pomegranate ; whereupon quoth he, " Eat of that where- 
with Allah the Almighty provideth thee and worship Him with the 
worship which is His due." Then he taught me the tenets of Al- 
Islam and the canons of prayer and the way of worship, together 
with the recital of the Koran, and I have now worshipped Allah 
in this place three-and-twenty years. Each day the tree yieldeth 
me a pomegranate which I eat and it sustaineth me from tide to 
tide ; and every Friday, Al-Khizr (on whom be peace !) cometh 
to me and 'tis he who acquainted me with thy name and gave me 
the glad tidings of thy soon coming hither, saying to me, " When 
he shall come to thee, entreat him with honour and obey his 
bidding and gainsay him not ; but be thou to him wife and he shall 
be to thee man, and wend with him whitherso he will." So, when 
I saw thee, I knew thee and such is the story of this city and of 
its people, and the Peace ! " Then she showed me the pomegranate- 
tree, whereon was one granado, which she took and eating one- 
half thereof herself, gave me the other to eat, and never did I taste 
aught sweeter or more savoury or more satisfying than, that 
pomegranate. After this, I said to her, " Art thou content, even 
as the Shaykh Al-Khizr charged thee, to be my wife and take me 
to mate ; and art thou ready to go with me to my own country 
and abide with me in the city of Bassorah ? " She replied, " Yes, 
Inshallah : an it please Almighty Allah. I hearken to thy word 

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

2 Arab. AU'Ahd wa al-Misak" the troth pledged between the Murld or appren- 
tice-Darwaysh and the Shaykh or Master-Darwaysh binding the former to implicit 
obedience etc. 

328 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

and obey thy hest without gainsaying/' Then I made a binding 
covenant with her and she carried me into her father's treasury, 
whence we took what we could carry and going forth that city, 
walked on till we came to my brothers, whom I found searching 
for me. They asked, " Where hast thou been ? Indeed thou hast 
tarried long from us, and our hearts were troubled for thee." And 
the captain of the ship said to me, " O merchant Abdullah, the 
wind hath been fair for us this great while, and thou hast hindered 
us from setting sail." And I answered, " There is no harm in 
that : ofttimes slow ' is sure and my absence hath wrought us naught 
but advantage , for indeed, there hath betided me therein the 
attainment of our hopes and God-gifted is he who said : 

I weet not, whenas to a land I fare o In quest of good, what I shall there 

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


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

these things great gain." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn 

of day and ceased to say her permitted say. 

Note fofien it teas tje Kme ^un&tefc anfr lEfgJtg-fourtfi ttf t'g&t, 

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Abdullah bin Fazil said to his shipmates and to his two brothers, 
" Had ye gone with me, ye had gotten of these things great gain. 1 ' 
But they said, " By Allah, had we gone, we had not dared to go 
in to the King of the city!" Then I said to my brothers, 
" No harm shall befal you ; for that which I have will suffice us 
all and this is our lot. 2 " So I divided my booty into four parts 
according to our number and gave one to each of my brothers and 
to the Captain, taking the fourth for myself, setting aside some- 
what for the servants and sailors, who rejoiced and blessed me : 

1 Arab. "Taakhfr." lit. postponement and meaning acting with deliberation as; 
opposed to " Ajal" (haste), precipitate action condemned in the Koran Ixv. 38. 

2 i.e. I have been lucky enough to get this and we will share it amongst us. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 329 

and all were content with what I gave them, save my brothers 
who changed countenance and rolled their eyes. I perceived 
that lust of lucre had gotten hold of them both ; so I said to them, 
" O my brothers, methinketh what I have given you doth not 
satisfy you ; but we are brothers and there is no difference between 
us. My good and yours are one and the same thing, and if I die 
none will inherit of me but you." And I went on to soothe them. 
Then I bore the Princess on board the galleon and lodged her in 
the cabin, where I sent her somewhat to eat and we sat talking, I 
and my brothers. Said they, " O our brother, what wilt thou do 
with that damsel of surpassing beauty ? " And I replied, " I mean 
to contract marriage with her, as soon as I reach Bassorah and 
make a splendid wedding and go in to her there." Exclaimed 
one of them, " O my brother, verily, this young lady excelleth in 
beauty and loveliness and the love of her is fallen on my heart ; 
wherefore I desire that thou give her to me and I will espouse 
her." And the other cried, " I too desire this : give her to me, 
that I may espouse her." " O my brothers," answered I, " indeed 
she took of me an oath and a covenant that I would marry her 
myself ; so, if I give her to one of you, I shall be false to my oath 
and to the covenant between me and her, and haply she will be 
broken-hearted, for she came not with me but on condition that I 
marry her. So how can I wed her to other than myself? As for 
your both loving her, I love her more than you twain, for she is 
my treasure-trove, and as for my giving her to one of you, that is 
a thing which may not be. But, if we reach Bassorah in safety, I 
will look you out two girls of the best of the damsels of Bassorah 
and demand them for you in marriage and pay the dower of my 
own monies and make one wedding and we will all three go into 
our brides on the same night. But leave ye this damsel, for she is 
of my portion." They held their peace, and I thought they were 
content with that which I had said. Then we fared onwards for 
Bassorah, and every day I sent her meat and drink ; but she came 
not forth of the cabin, whilst I slept between my brothers on deck. 
We sailed thus forty days, till we sighted Bassorah city and 
rejoiced that we were come near it. Now I trusted in my brothers 
and was at my ease with them, for none knoweth the hidden future 
save Allah the Most High ; so I lay down to sleep that night ; but, 
as I abode drowned in slumber, I suddenly found myself caught 
up by these my brothers, one seizing me by the legs and the other 
by the arms, for they had taken counsel together to drown me in 

33 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

the sea for the sake of the damsel. When I saw myself in their 
hands, I said to them, " O my brothers, why do ye this with me ? " 
And they replied, "Ill-bred that thou art, wilt thou barter our 
affection for a girl ? : we will cast thee into the sea, because of 
this." So saying, they threw me overboard. (Here Abdullah 
turned to the dogs and said to them, " Is this that I have said true 
O my brothers or not ? " ; and they bowed their heads and fell a- 
whining, as if confirming his speech ; whereat the Caliph wondered). 
Then Abdullah resumed ; O Commander of the Faithful, when 
they threw me into the sea, I sank to the bottom ; but the water 
bore me up again to the surface, and before I could think, behold 
a great bird, the bigness of a man, swooped down upon me and 
snatching me up, flew up with me into upper air. I fainted and 
when I opened my eyes, I found myself in a strong-pillared place, 
a high-builded palace, adorned with magnificent paintings and pen- 
dants of gems of all shapes and hues. Therein were damsels 
standing with their hands crossed over their breasts and, behold in 
their midst was a lady seated on a throne of red gold, set with 
pearls and gems, and clad in apparel whereon no mortal might 
open his eyes, for the lustre of the jewels wherewith they were 
decked. About her waist she wore a girdle of jewels no money 
could pay their worth and on her head a three-fold tiara dazing 
thought and wit and dazzling heart and sight. Then the bird 
which had carried me thither shook and became a young lady 
bright as sun raying light. I fixed my eyes on her and behold, it 
was she whom I had seen in snake form on the mountain and had 
rescued from the dragon which had wound his tail around her. 
Then said to her the lady who sat upon the throne, " Why hast 
thou brought hither this mortal ? " ; and she replied, " O my 
mother, this is he who was the means of veiling my honour 1 among 
the maidens of the Jinn." Then quoth she to me, " Knowest thou 
who I am ? " ; and quoth I, " No." Said she, I am she who was 
on such a mountain, where the black dragon strave with me and 
would have forced my honour, but thou slewest him." And I 
said, " I saw but a white snake with the dragon." She rejoined, 
" 'Tis I who was the white snake ; but I am the daughter of the 
Red King, Sovran of the Jann and my name is Sa'idah. 2 She who 

1 i.e. of saving me from being ravished. 

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

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 331 

sitteth there is my mother and her name is Mubarakah, wife of the 
Red King. The black dragon who attacked me and would have 
done away my honour was Wazir to the Black King, Darfil by 
name, and he was foul of favour. It chanced that he saw me and 
fell in love with me ; so he sought me in marriage of my sire, who 
sent to him to say, " Who art thou, O scum of Wazirs, that 
thou shouldst wed with Kings' daughters?" Whereupon he 
was wroth and sware an oath that he would assuredly do away 
my honour, to spite my father. Then he fell to tracking my 
steps and following me whithersoever I went, designing to 
ravish me ; wherefore there befel between him and my parent 
mighty fierce wars and bloody jars, but my sire could not prevail 
against him, for that he was fierce as fraudful and as often a& 
my father pressed hard upon him and seemed like to conquer 
he would escape from him, till my sire was at his wits' end. 
Every day I was forced to take new form and hue ; for, as often as 
I assumed a shape, he would assume its contrary, and to whatso- 
ever land I fled he would snuff my fragrance and follow me 
thither, so that I suffered sore affliction of him. At last I took 
the form of a snake and betook myself to the mountain where 
thou sawest me ; whereupon he changed himself to a dragon and 
pursued me, till I fell into his hands, when he strove with me and 
I struggled with him, till he wearied me and mounted me, meaning 
to have his lustful will of me : but thou earnest and smotest him 
with the stone and slewest him. Then' I returned to my own 
shape and showed myself to thee, saying : I am indebted to thee 
for a service such as is not lost save with the son of adultery. 1 So, 
when I saw thy brothers do with thee this treachery and throw 
thee into the sea, I hastened to thee and saved thee from destruc- 
tion, and now honour is due to thee from my mother and my 
father." Then she said to the Queen, ** O my mother, do thou 
honour him as deserveth he who saved my virtue." So the 
Queen said to me, " Welcome, O mortal ! Indeed thou hast done 
us a kindly deed which meriteth honour." Presently she ordered 
me a treasure-suit, 2 worth a mint of money, and store of gems and 
precious stones, and said, " Take him and carry him in to the 
King." Accordingly, they carried me into the King in his Divan, 

1 i.e. the base-born from whom base deeds may be expected. 

2 Arab. " Badlat Kunuziyah "= such a dress as would be found in enchanted hoard* 
(Kunuz) : eg. Prince Esterhazy's diamond jacket. 

33 2 Alf Lay I ah wa Laylah. 

where I found him seated on his throne, with his Marids and 
guards before him ; and when I saw him my sight was blent for 
that which was upon him of jewels ; but when he saw me, he rose 
to his feet and all his officers rose also, to do him worship. Then 
he saluted me and welcomed me and entreated me with the 
utmost honour, and gave me of that which was with him of good 
things ; after which he said to some of his followers, " Take him 
and carry him back to my daughter, that she may restore him to 
the place whence she brought him." So they carried me. back to 
the Lady Sa'idah, who took me up and flew away with me and 
my treasures. On this wise fared it with me and the Princess ; 
but as regards the Captain of the galleon, he was aroused by the 
splash of my fall, when my brothers cast me into the sea, and 
said, " What is that which hath fallen overboard ? " Whereupon 
my brothers fell to weeping and beating of breasts and replied, 
" Alas, for our brother's loss ! He thought to do his need over 
the ship's side 1 and fell into the water ! " Then they laid their 
hands on my good, but there befel dispute between them because 
of the damsel, each saying, " None shall have her but I." And 
they abode jangling and wrangling each with other and re- 
membered not their brother nor his drowning and their mourning 
for him ceased. As they were thus, behold Sa'idah alighted with 

me in the midst of the galleon And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fojen ft teas ijt Nine pjuntatr an* lEig&tgzfifti) Nigjjt, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Abdullah bin Fazil continued, "As they were thus, behold, 
Sa'idah alighted with me in the midst of the galleon and when 
my brothers saw me, they embraced me and rejoiced in me, 
saying, " O our brother, how hast thou fared in that which befel 
thee ? Indeed our hearts have been occupied with thee." Quoth 
Sa'idah, " Had ye any heart-yearnings for him or had ye loved 
him, ye had not cast him into the sea ; but choose ye now what 
death ye will die." Then she seized on them and would have slain 

1 The lieu tfaisance in Eastern crafts is usually a wooden cage or framework fastened 
outside the gunwale, very cleanly but in foul weather very uncomfortable and even 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 333 

them ; but they cried out, saying, " In thy safeguard, O our 
brother ! " Thereupon I interceded and said to her, " I claim of 
thine honour not to kill my brothers." Quoth she, " There is no 
help but that I slay them, for they are traitors." But I ceased not 
to speak her fair and conciliate her till she said, " To content thee, 
I will not kill them, but I will enchant them." So saying, she 
brought out a cup and filling it with sea-water, pronounced over it 
words that might not be understood ; then saying, " Quit this 
human shape for the shape of a dog ; " she sprinkled them with 
the water, and immediately they were transmewed into dogs, as 
thou seest them, O Vicar of Allah." Whereupon he turned to the 
dogs and said to them," Have I spoken the truth, O my brothers?" 
And they bowed their heads, as they would say, " Thou hast 
spoken sooth." At this he continued, " Then she said to those 
who were in the galleon : Know ye that Abdullah bin Fazil here 
present is become my brother and I shall visit him once or twice 
every day : so, whoso of you crosseth him or gainsayeth his 
bidding or doth him hurt with hand or tongue, I will do with him 
even as I have done with these two traitors and bespell him to a 
dog, and he shall end his days in that form, nor shall he find 
deliverance." And they all said to her, " O our lady, we are his 
slaves and his servants every one of us and will not disobey him 
in aught." Moreover, she said to me, " When thou comest to 
Bassorah, examine all thy property and if there lack aught thereof, 
tell me and I will bring it to thee, in whose hands and in what 
place soever it may be, and will change him who took it into a 
dog. When thou hast magazined thy goods, clap a collar 1 of 
wood on the neck of each of these two traitors and tie them to the 
leg of a couch and shut them up by themselves. Moreover, every 
night, at midnight, do thou go down to them and beat each of 
them a bout till he swoon away ; and if thou suffer a single night 
to pass without beating them, I will come to thee and drub thee a 
sound drubbing, after which I will drub them." And I answered, 
"To hear is to obey." Then said she, "Tie them up with ropes 

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

334 A If Laylah wa Laylak. 


till thou come to Bassorah." So I tied a rope about each dog's 
neck and lashed them to the mast, and she went her way. On 
the morrow we entered Bassorah and the merchants came out to 
meet me and saluted me, and no one of them enquired of my 
brothers. But they looked at the dogs and said to me, " Ho, 
such and such, 1 what wilt thou do with these two dogs thou hast 
brought with thee ? " Quoth I, " I reared them on this voyage 
and have brought them home with me." And they laughed at 
them, knowing not that they were my brothers. When I reached 
my house, I put the twain in a closet and busied myself all that 
night with the unpacking and disposition of the bales of stuffs and 
jewels. Moreover, the merchants were with me being minded to 
offer me the salam ; wherefore I was occupied with them and 
forgot to beat the dogs or chain them up. Then without doing 
them aught of hurt, I lay down to sleep, but suddenly and un- 
expectedly there came to me the Red King's daughter Sa'idah 
and said to me, " Did I not bid thee clap chains on their necks and 
give each of them a bout of beating ? " So saying, she seized me 
and pulling out a whip, flogged me till I fainted away, after which 
she went to the place where my brothers were and with the same 
scourge beat them both till they came nigh upon death. Then 
said she to me, " Beat each of them a like bout every night, and 
if thou let a night pass without doing this, I will beat thee ; " and 
I replied, " O my lady, to-morrow I will put chains on their necks, 
and next night I will beat them nor will I leave them one night 
unbeaten." And she charged me strictly to beat them and dis- 
appeared. When the morning morrowed it being no light matter 
for me to put fetters of iron on their necks, I went to a goldsmith 
and bade him make them collars and chains of gold. He did this 
and I put the collars on their necks and chained them up, as she 
bade me ; and next night I beat them both in mine own despite. 
This befel in the Caliphate of Al-Mahdi, 2 third of the sons of 
Al-Abbas, and I commended myself to him by sending him 

1 Arab. " Ya" fulan/' O certain person ! See vol. iii. 191. 

2 Father of Harun al-Rashid A.H. 158-169 (= 775-785) third Abbaside who both in 
the Mac. and the Bui. Edits, is called " the fifth of the sons of Al-Abbas." He was a 
good poet and a man of letters, also a fierce persecutor of the "Zindiks" (Al-Siyuti 
278), a term especially applied to those who read the Zend books and adhered to 
Zoroastrianism, although afterwards applied to any heretic or atheist. He made many 
changes at Meccah and was the first who had a train of camels laden with snow for his 
refreshment along a measured road of 700 miles (Gibbon, chapt. Hi.). He died of an 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers* 335 

presents, so he invested me with the government and made me 
viceroy of Bassorah. On this wise I abode some time and after a 
while I said to myself, " Haply her wrath is grown cool ; " and 
left them a night unbeaten, whereupon she came to me and beat 
me a bout whose burning I shall never forget long as I live. So, 
from that time to this, I have never left them a single night 
unbeaten during the reign of Al-Mahdi ; and when he deceased 
and thou earnest to the succession, thou sentest to me, confirming 
me in the government of Bassorah. These twelve years past have 
I beaten them every night, in mine own despite, and after I have 
beaten them, I excuse myself to them and comfort them and give 
them to eat and drink ; and they have remained shut up, nor did 
any of the creatures of Allah know of them, till thou sentest to me 
Abu Ishak the boon-companion, on account of the tribute, and he 
discovered my secret and returning to thee, acquainted thee 
therewith. Then thou sentest him back to fetch me and them ; 
so I answered with ' Hearkening and obedience/ and brought 
them before thee, whereupon thou questionedst me and I told 
thee the truth of the case ; and this is my history." The Caliph 
marvelled at the case of the two dogs and said to Abdullah, 
" Hast thou at this present forgiven thy two brothers the wrong 
they did thee, yea or nay ? " He replied, " O my lord, may Allah 
forgive them and acquit them of responsibility in this world and 
the next ! Indeed, 'tis I who stand in need of their forgiveness, 
for that these twelve years past I have beaten them a grievous 
bout every night ! " Rejoined the Caliph, " O Abdullah, Inshallah, 
t will endeavour for their release and that they may become men 
again, as they were before, and I will make peace between thee 
and them ; so shall you live the rest of your lives as brothers 
loving one another ; and like as thou hast forgiven them, so shall 
they forgive thee. But now take them and go down with them to 
thy lodging and this night beat them not, and to-morrow there 
shall be naught save weal." Quoth Abdullah, "O my lord, as 
thy head liveth, if J leave them one night unbeaten, Sa'idah will 
come to me and beat me, and I have no body to brook beating." 

accident when hunting : others say he was poisoned after leaving his throne to bis son* 
Musa al-Hadi and Harun al-Rashid. The name means " Heaven-directed " and must 
not be confounded with the title of the twelfth Shi'ah Imdm Mohammed Abu al-Kasim 
born at Sarramanrai A.H. 255 whom Sale (sect, iv.) calls "Mahdi or Director" and 
whose expected return has caused and will cause so much trouble in Al- Islam. 

A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

| Quoth the Caliph, "Fear not, for I will give thee a writing under 
my hand. 1 An she come to thee, do thou give her the paper and 
if, when she has read it, she spare thee, the favour will be hers ; 
but, if she obey not my bidding, commit thy business to Allah and 
let her beat thee a bout and suppose that thou hast forgotten to 
beat them for one night and that she beateth thee because of that : 
and if it fall out thus and she thwart me, as sure as I am Com- 
mander of the Faithful, I will be even with her." Then he wrote 
her a letter on a piece of paper, two fingers broad, and sealing it 
with his signet-ring, gave it to Abdullah, saying, " O Abdullah, if 
Sa'idah come, say to her: The Caliph, King of mankind, hath 
commanded me to leave beating them and hath written me this 
letter for thee ; and he saluteth thee with the salam. Then give 
her the warrant and fear no harm." After which he exacted of 
him an oath and a solemn pledge that he would not beat them. 
So Abdullah took the dogs and carried them to his lodging, 
saying to himself, " I wonder what the Caliph will do with the 
daughter of the Sovran of the Jinn, if she cross him and trounce 
me to-night ! But I will bear with a bout of beating for once and 
leave my brothers at rest this night, though for their sake I suffer 
torture." Then he bethought himself awhile, and his reason said 
to him, " Did not the Caliph rely on some great support, he had 
never forbidden me from beating them." So he entered his 
lodging and doffed the collars from the dogs' necks, saying, " I 
put my trust in Allah," and fell to comforting them and saying, 
" No harm shall befal you ; for the Caliph, fifth 2 of the sons of 
Al-Abbas, hath pledged himself for your deliverance and I have 
forgiven you. An it please Allah the Most High, the time is 
come and ye shall be delivered this blessed night; so rejoice ye in 
the prospect of peace and gladness." When they heard these 

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

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

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

* In the texts, ' Sixth." 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers.- 337 

fofien it foas tfie Nine 3gun&re& anfc 1Eigf)tB=sixtJ Nfgbt, 

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that 
Abdullah bin Fazil said to his brothers, "Rejoice ye in the 
prospect of comfort and gladness." And when they heard his 
words they fell to whining with the whining of dogs, and rubbed 
their jowls against his feet, as if blessing him and humbling them- 
selves before him. He mourned over them and took to stroking 
their backs till supper time ; and when they set on the trays he 
bade the dogs sit. So they sat down and ate with him from the 
tray, whilst his officers stood gaping and marvelling at his eating 
with dogs and all said, " Is he mad or are his wits gone wrong ? 
How can the Viceroy of Bassorah city, he who is greater than a 
Wazir, eat with dogs ? Knoweth he not that the dog is unclean 1 ? " 
And they stared at the dogs, as they ate with him as servants eat 
with their lords, 2 knowing not that they were his brothers ; nor did 
they cease staring at them, till they had made an end of eating, 
when Abdullah washed his hands and the dogs also put out their 
paws and washed ; whereupon all who were present began to laugh 
at them and to marvel, saying, one to other, " Never in our lives 
saw we dogs eat and wash their paws after eating ! " Then the 
dogs sat down on the divans beside Abdullah, nor dared any ask 
him of this ; and thus the case lasted till midnight, when he dis- 
missed the attendants and lay down to sleep and the dogs with 
him, each on a couch ; whereupon the servants said one to other, 
41 Verily, he hath lain down to sleep and the two dogs are lying 
with him." Quoth another, " Since he hath eaten with the dogs 
from the same tray, there is no harm in their sleeping with him ; 
and this is naught save the fashion of madmen." Moreover, they 
ate not anything of the food which remained in the tray, saying, 
" 'Tis unclean." Such was their case ; but as for Abdullah, ere he 
could think, the earth clave asunder and out rose Sa'idah, who said 
to him, " O Abdullah, why hast thou not beaten them this night 
and why hast thou undone the collars from their necks ? Hast thou 

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

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


338 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

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

1 i.t. as the Vice-regent of Allah and Vicar of the Prophet. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 339 

him the Caliph's letter, which he kissed and laid on his head. 
Then he read it and understanding its contents said, " O my 
daughter, verily, the ordinance of the monarch of mankind 
obligeth us and his commandments are effectual over us, nor 
can we disobey him : so go thou and release the two men forth- 
with and say to them : Ye are freed by the intercession of the 
monarch of mankind. For, should he be wroth with us, he would 
destroy us to the last of us ; so do not thou impose on us that 
which we are unable." Quoth she, " O my father, if the monarch 
of mankind were wroth with us, what could he do with us ? "; and 
quoth her sire, " He hath power over us for several reasons. In 
the first place, he is a man and hath thus pre-eminence over us 1 ; 
secondly he is the Vicar of Allah ; and thirdly, he is constant in 
praying the dawn-prayer of two bows 2 ; therefore were all the 
tribes of the Jinn assembled together against him from the Seven 
Worlds they could do him no hurt But he, should he be wroth 
with us Would pray the dawn-prayer of two bows and cry out 
upon us one cry, when we should all present ourselves before him 
obediently and be before him as sheep before the butcher. If he 
would, he could command us to quit our abiding-places for a 
desert country wherein we might not endure to sojourn ; and if he 
desired to destroy us, he would bid us destroy ourselves, where- 
upon we should destroy one another. Wherefore we may not dis- 
obey his bidding for, if we did this, he would consume us with 
fire nor could we flee from before him to any asylum. Thus is it 
with every True Believer who is persistent in praying the dawn- 
prayer of two bows ; his commandment is effectual over us : so 
be not thou the means of our destruction, because of two mortals, 
but go forthright and release them, ere the anger of the Com- 
mander of the Faithful fall upon us." So she returned to Ab- 
dullah and acquainted him with her father's words, saying, " Kiss 
for us the hands of the Prince of True Believers and seek his 
approval for us." Then she brought out the tasse and filling it 
with water, conjured over it and uttered words which might not 
be understood ; after which she sprinkled the dogs with the water 
saying, " Quit the form of dogs and return to the shape of 
men ! Whereupon they became men as before and the spell of the 
enchantment was loosed from them. Quoth they, " I testify that 

1 For the superiority of mankind to the Jinn see vol. viii. 5 ; 44. 

2 According to Al-Siyuti, Harun Al-Rashid prayed every day a hundred bows. 

340 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

there is no god but the God and I testify that Mohammed is the 
Apostle of God ! " Then they fell on their brother's feet and 
hands, kissing them and beseeching his forgiveness : but he said, 
"Do ye forgive me;" and they both repented with sincere re- 
pentance, saying, " Verily, the damned Devil lured us and covetise 
deluded us : but our Lord hath requited us after our deserts, and 
forgiveness is of the signs of the noble." And they went on to 
supplicate their brother and weep and profess repentance for that 
which had befallen him from them 1 . Then quoth he to them, 
" What did ye with my wife whom I brought from the City of 
Stone?" Quoth they, "When Satan tempted us and we cast 
thee into the sea, there arose strife between us, each saying, I 
will have her to wife. Now when she heard these words and 
beheld our contention, she knew that we had thrown thee into the 
sea ; so she came up from the cabin and said to Us : Contend not 
because of me, for I will not belong to either of you. My husband 
is gone into the sea and I will. follow him. So saying, she cast 
herself overboard and died." Exclaimed Abdullah, " In very sooth 
she died a martyr 2 ! But there is no Majesty and there is no 
Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " Then he wept for 
her with sore weeping and said to his brothers, " It was not well 
of you to do this deed and bereave me of my wife. They 
answered, " Indeed, we have sinned, but our Lord hath requited 
us our misdeed and this was a thing which Allah decreed unto us, 
ere He created us." And he accepted their excuse ; but Sa'idah 
said to him, " Have they done all these things to thee and wilt 
thou forgive them ? " He replied, " O my sister, whoso hath power 3 
and spareth, for Allah's reward he prepareth." Then said she, 
"Be on thy guard against them, for they are traitors ;" and fare- 
welled him and fared forth. And Shahrazad perceived the 

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say. 

,Nofo to&en it foas rtje Nine l^un&reb antr lEt'gjjtg-sebent!) Nigfit, 

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Abdullah, 
when Sa'idah warned him and blessed him and went her ways, 

1 As the sad end of his betrothed was still to be accounted for. 

2 For the martyrdom of the drowned see vol. i, 171, to quote no other places. 

8 i.e. if he have the power to revenge himself. The sentiment is Christian rather 
'than Moslem. 

' Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 341 

passecT the rest of the night with his brothers and on the morrow, 
he sent them to the Hammam and clad each of them, on his 
coming forth, in a suit worth a hoard of money. Then he called 
for the tray of food and they set it before him and he ate, he and 
his brothers. When his attendants saw the twain and knew them 
for his brothers they saluted them and said to him, " O our lord, 
Allah give thee joy of thy reunion with thy dear brothers! 
Where have they been this while ? " He replied, " It was they 
whom ye saw in the guise of dogs ; praise be to Allah who hath 
delivered them from prison and grievous torment ! " Then he 
carried them to the Divan of the Caliph and kissing ground before 
Al-Rashid wished him continuance of honour and fortune and 
surcease of evil and enmity." Quoth the Caliph, " Welcome, O 
Emir Abdullah ! Tell me what hath befallen thee." And quoth 
he, " O Commander of the Faithful (whose power Allah increase !) 
when I carried my brothers home to my lodging, my heart was at 
rest concerning them, because thou hadst pledged thyself to their 
release and I said in myself, " Kings fail not to attain aught for 
which they strain, inasmuch as the divine favour aideth them." So 
I took off the collars from their necks, putting my trust in Allah, 
and ate with them from the same tray, which when my suite saw, 
they made light of my wit and said each to other, " He is surely 
mad ! How can the governor of Bassorah who is greater than the 
Wazir, eat with dogs ? " Then they threw away what was in the 
tray, saying, " We will not eat the dogs' orts." And they went ore 
befool my reason, whilst I heard their words, but returned thenV 
no reply because of their unknowing that the dogs were my. 
brothers. When the hour of sleep came, I sent them away and 
addressed myself to sleep ; but, ere I was ware, the earth clave in 
sunder and out came Sa'idah, the Red King's daughter, enraged 
against me, with eyes like fire." And he went on to relate to the 
Caliph all what had passed between him and her and her father 
and how she had transmewed his brothers from canine to human 
form, adding, " And here they are before thee, O Commander of 
the Faithful ! " The Caliph looked at them and seeing two young 
men like moons, said, " Allah requite thee for me with good, O 
Abdullah, for that thou hast acquainted me with an advantage 1 I 

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

342 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

knew not ! Henceforth, Inshallah, I will never leave to pray 
these two-bow orisons, before the breaking of the dawn, what while 
I live." Then he reproved Abdullah's brothers for their past 
transgressions against him and they excused themselves before 
the Caliph, who said, " Join hands 1 and forgive one another and 
Allah pardon what is past ! " Upon which he turned to Abdullah 
and said to him, " O Abdullah, make thy brothers thine assistants 
and be careful of them." Then he charged them to be obedient 
to their brother and bade them return to Bassorah after he had 
bestowed on them abundant largesse. So they went down from 
the Caliph's Divan whilst he rejoiced in this advantage he had 
obtained by the action aforesaid, to wit, persistence in praying two 
inclinations before dawn, and exclaimed, He spake truth who 
said, " The misfortune of one tribe fortuneth another tribe." 2 
On this wise befel it to them from the Caliph ; but as regards 
Abdullah, he left Baghdad carrying with him his brothers in all 
honour and dignity and increase of quality, and fared on till they 
drew near Bassorah, when the notables and chief men of the place 
came out to meet them and after decorating the city brought 
them thereinto with a procession which had not its match and all 
the folk shouted out blessings on Abdullah as he scattered 
amongst them silver and gold. None, however, took heed to his 
brothers ; wherefore jealousy and envy entered their hearts, for all 
he entreated them tenderly as one tenders an ophthalmic eye ; but 
the more he cherished them, the more they redoubled in hatred 
and envy of him : and indeed it is said on the subject : 

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

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

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

Then he gave each a concubine that had not her like, and eunuchs 
and servants and slaves white and black, of each kind forty. He 
also gave each of them fifty steeds all thoroughbreds and they got 
them guards and followers ; and he assigned to them revenues and 
appointed them solde and stipends and made them his assistants, 

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

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

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 343 

saying to them, " O my brothers, I and you are equal and there 

is no distinction between me and you twain, And Shah- 

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

fo&en ft foas t&e Nine f^un&refc anU ISt'g&tB-eigfjtf) Ntgftt, 

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

Oppression ambusheth in sprite of man o Whom naught withholdeth 

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

sight : 
The tongue of Wisdom woneth in the heart ; o And in his mouth the tongue 

of foolish wight. 
Who at occasion's call lacks power to rise o Is slain by feeblest who would 

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

cast a light, 
Wights of ill strain with ancestry as vile o Have lips which never spake 

one word aright : 
And who committeth case to hands of fool o In folly proveth self as fond 

and light ; 
And who his secret tells to folk at large o Shall rouse his foes to work 

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

regards him not. 

344 Alf Laylah wa Laylah. 

And he went on to admonish his brothers and bid them to equity 
and forbid them from tyranny, doubting not but they would love 
him the better for his boon of good counsel 1 and he relied upon 
them and honoured them with the utmost honour ; but notwith- 
standing all his generosity to them, they only waxed in envy 
and hatred of him, till, one day, the two being together alone, 
quoth Nasir to Mansur, " O my brother, how long shall we be 
mere subjects of our brother Abdullah, and he in this estate of 
lordship and worship ? After being a merchant, he is become an 
Emir, and from being little, he is grown great : but we, we grow 
not great nor is there aught of respect or degree left us ; for, be- 
hold, he laugheth at us and maketh us his assistants ! What is the 
meaning of this ? Is it not that we are his servants and under his 
subjection ? But, long as he abideth in good case, our rank will 
never be raised nor shall we be aught of repute ; wherefore we 
shall not fulfil our wish, except we slay him and win to his wealth, 
nor will it be possible to get his gear save after his death. So, 
when we have slain him, we shall become lords and will take all 
that is in his treasuries of gems and things of price and divide 
them between us. Then will we send the Caliph a present and 
demand of him the government of Cufah, and thou shalt be 
governor of Cufah and I of Bassorah. Thus each of us shall have 
formal estate and condition, but we shall never effect this, except 
we put him out of the world ! " Answered Mansur, " Thou sayest 
sooth, but how shall we do to kill him ? Quoth Nasir, " We will make 
an entertainment in the house of one of us and invite him thereto 
and serve him with the uttermost service. Then will we sit through 
the night with him in talk and tell him tales and jests and rare 
stories till his heart melteth with sitting up when we will spread 
him a bed, that he may lie down to sleep. When he is asleep, 
we will kneel upon him and throttle him and throw him into the 
river ; and on the morrow, we will say : His sister the Jinniyah 
came to him, as he sat chatting with us, and said to him : O 
thou scum of mankind, who art thou that thou shouldst complain 
of me to the Commander of the Faithful ? Deemest thou that we 
dread him ? As he is a King, so we too are Kings, and if he mend 
not his manners in our regard we will do him die by the foulest of 
deaths. But meantime I will slay thee, that we may see what the 
hand of the Prince of True Believers availeth to do. So saying, 

1 A proof of his extreme simplicity and bonhomie. 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 345 

she caught him up and clave the earth and disappeared with him 
which when we saw, we swooned away. Then we revived and we 
reck not what is become of him. And saying this we will send to 
the Caliph and tell him the case and he will invest us with the 
government in his room. After awhile, we will send him a sump- 
tuous present and seek of him the government of Cufah, and one 
ofus shall abide in Bassorah and the other in Cufah. So shall 
the land be pleasant to us and we will be down upon the True 
Believers and win our wishes." And quoth Mansur, " Thou coun- 
sellest well, O my brother," and they agreed upon the murther. 
So Nasir made an entertainment and said to Abdullah, " O my 
brother, verily I am thy brother, and I would have thee hearten 
my heart thou and my brother Mansur and eat of my banquet in 
my house, so I may boast of thee and that it may be said, The 
Emir Abdullah hath eaten of his brother Nasir's guest meal ; 
when my heart will be solaced by this best of boons." Abdullah 
replied, " So be it, O my brother ; there is no distinction between 
me and thee and thy house is my house ; but since thou invitest 
me, none refuseth hospitality save the churl." Then he turned to 
Mansur and said to him, " Wilt thou go with me to thy brother 
Nasir's house and we will eat of his feast and heal his heart ? " 
Replied Mansur, " As thy head liveth, O my brother, I will not 
go with thee, unless thou swear to me that, after thou comest 
forth of brother* Nasir's house, thou wilt enter my house and eat 
of my banquet ! Is Nasir thy brother and am not I thy brother ? 
So, even as thou heartenest his heart, do thou hearten mine." 
Answered Abdullah, " There is no harm in that : with love and 
gladly gree ! When I come out from Nasir's house, I will enter 
thine, for thou art my brother even as he." So he kissed his 
hand and going forth of the Divan, made ready his feast. On the 
morrow, Abdullah took horse and repaired, with his brother 
Mansur and a company of his officers, to Nasir's house, where 
they sat down, he and Mansur and his many. Then Nasir set 
the trays before them and welcomed them'; so they ate and drank 
and sat in mirth and merriment ; after which the trays and the 
platters were removed and they washed their hands. They passed 
the day in feasting and wine-drinking and diversion and delight 
till night-fall, when they supped and prayed the sundown prayers, 
and the night orisons ; after which they sat conversing and ca- 
rousing, and Nasir and Mansur fell to telling stories whilst Ab- 
dullah hearkened. Now they three were alone in the pavilion, 

346 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

the rest of the company being in another place, and they ceased 
not to tell quips and tales and rare adventures and anecdotes, till 
Abdullah's heart was dissolved within him for watching and sleep 

overcame him. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and 

ceased saying her permitted say. 

Nofo fofjen it foas tje jit'ne f^uirtrrefc an& lEtc$tg~mnt!) Nt'gftt, 

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when 
Abdullah was a-wearied with watching and wanted to sleep, they 
also lay beside him on another couch and waited till he was 
drowned in slumber and when they were certified thereof they 
arose and knelt upon him : whereupon he awoke and seeing them 
kneeling on his breast, said to them, " What is this, O my 
brothers ? " Cried they, " We are no brothers of thine, nor do 
we know thee unmannerly that thou art ! Thy death is become 
better than thy life." Then they gripped him by the throat and 
throttled him, till he lost his senses and abode without motion ; so 
that they deemed him dead. Now the pavilion wherein they were 
overlooked the river ; so they cast him into the water ; but, when 
he fell, Allah sent to his aid a dolphin 1 who was accustomed to 
come under that pavilion because the kitchen had a window that 
gave upon the stream ; and, as often as they slaughtered any 
beast there, it was their wont to throw the refuse into the river 
and the dolphin came and picked it up from the surface of the 
water ; wherefore he ever resorted to the place. That day they 
had cast out much offal by reason of the banquet ; so the dolphin 
ate more than of wont and gained strength. Hearing the splash 
of Abdullah's fall, he hastened to the spot, where he saw a son of 
Adam and Allah guided him so that he took the man on his back 
and crossing the current made with him for the other bank, where 
he cast his burthen ashore. Now the place where the dolphin 
cast up Abdullah was a well- beaten highway, and presently up 
came a caravan and finding him lying on the river bank, said, 
J< Here is a drowned man, whom the river hath cast up ; " and the 
travellers gathered around to gaze at the corpse. The Shaykh of 
the caravan was a man of worth, skilled in all sciences and versed 

1 Arab. < ' Darfil " =: the Gr. SeA^t's later Se\<iV> suggesting that the writer had read 
of Arion in Herodotus i. 23, 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 347 

in the mystery of medicine and, withal, sound of judgment : so ; 
he said to them, " O folk, what is the news ? " They answered, 
" Here is a drowned man ; " whereupon he went up to Abdullah 
and examining him, said to them, O folk, there is life yet in this" 
young man, who is a person of condition and of the sons of 
the great, bred in honour and fortune, and Inshallah there is 
still hope of him." Then he took him and clothing him in dry 
clothes warmed him before the fire ; after which he nursed him 
and tended him three days' march till he revived ; but he was 
passing feeble by reason of the shock, and the chief of the caravan 
proceeded to medicine him with such simples as he knew, what 
while they ceased not faring on till they had travelled thirty days' 
journey from Bassorah and came to a city in the land of the 
Persians, by name 'Auj. 1 Here they alighted at a Khan and 
spread Abdullah a bed, where he lay groaning all night and 
troubling the folk with his groans. And when morning morrowed 
the concierge of the Khan came to the chief of the caravan and 
said to him, " What is this sick man thou hast with thee ? Verily, 
he disturbeth us," Quoth the chief, " I found him by the way, on 
the river-bank and well nrgh drowned ; and I have tended him, 
but to no effect, for he recovereth not." Said the porter, " Show 
him to the Shaykhah 2 R^jihah." "Who is this Religious?" 
asked the chief of the caravan, and the door-keeper answered, 
" There is with us a holy woman, a clean maid and a comely, 
called Rajihah, to whom they present whoso hath any ailment j 
and he passeth a single night in her house and awaketh on the 
morrow, whole and ailing nothing/* Quoth the chief, " Direct me 
to her ; " and quoth the porter, " Take up thy sick man." So he 
took up Abdullah and the doorkeeper forewent him, till he came 
to a hermitage, where he saw folk entering with many an ex voto 
offering and other folk coming forth, rejoicing. The porter went 
in, till he came to the curtain, 3 and said, " Permission, O Shaykhah 

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

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

3 The curtain would screen her from the sight of men-invalids and probably hung 
across the single room of the " Zawiyah " or hermit's cell. The curtain is noticed in the 
tales of two other reverend women ; vols, iv. 15$ and v. 257. 

34-8 A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Rajihah ! Take this sick man." Said she, " Bring him within 
the curtain ; " and the porter said to Abdullah, " Enter." So he 
entered and looking upon the holy woman, saw her to be his wife 
whom he had brought from the City of Stone. And when he 
knew her she also knew him and saluted him and he returned her 
salam. Then said he, " Who brought thee hither ? "; and she 
answered, " When I saw that thy brothers had cast thee away and 
were contending concerning me, I threw myself into the sea ; but 
my Shaykh Al-Khizr Abu al-'Abbds took me up and brought me 
to this hermitage, where he gave me leave to heal the sick and 
bade cry in the city : Whoso hath any ailment, let him repair to 
the Shaykhah Rajihah ; and he also said to me : Tarry in this 
hermitage till the time betide, and thy husband shall come to thee 
here. So all the sick used to flock to me and I rubbed them and 
shampoo'd them and they awoke on the morrow whole and 
sound ; whereby the report of me became noised abroad among 
the folk, and they brought me votive gifts, so that I have with me 
abundant wealth. And now I live here in high honour and 
(worship, and all the people of these parts seek my prayers." 
Then she rubbed him and by the ordinance of Allah the Most 
High, he became whole. Now Al-Khizr used to come to her 
every Friday night, and it chanced that the day of Abdullah's 
coming was a Thursday. 1 Accordingly, when the night darkened 
he and she sat, after a supper of the richest meats, awaiting the 
coming of Al-Khizr, who made his appearance anon and carrying 
them forth of the hermitage, set them down in Abdullah's palace 
at Bassorah, where he left them and went his -way. As soon as it 
was day, Abdullah examined the palace and knew it for his own ; 
then, hearing the folk clamouring without, he looked forth of the 
lattice and saw his brothers crucified, each on his own cross. 
Now the reason of this was as ensueth. When they had thrown 
him into the Tigris, the twain arose on the morrow, weeping and 
saying, " Our brother ! the Jinniyah hath carried off our brother ! " 
Then they made ready a present and sent it to the Caliph, 
acquainting him with these, tidings and suing from him the 
government of Bassorah. He sent for them and questioned them 
and they told him the false tale we have recounted, whereupon he 

1 Abdullah met his wife on Thursday, the night of which would amongst Moslems be 
Friday night, . 

Abdullah bin Fazil and his Brothers. 349 

was exceeding wroth. 1 So that night he prayed a two-bow 
prayer before daybreak, as of his wont, and called upon the tribes' 
of the Jinn, who came before him subject-wise, and he questioned 
them of Abdullah : when they sware to him that none of them had 
done him aught of hurt and said, " We know not what is become 
of him." Then came Sa'idah, daughter of the Red King, and 
acquainted the Caliph with the truth of Abdullah's case, and he 
dismissed the Jinn. On the morrow, he subjected Nasir and 
Mansur to the bastinado till they confessed, one against other : 
whereupon the Caliph was enraged with them and cried, " Carry 
them to Bassorah and crucify them there before Abdullah's 
palace." Such was their case ; but as regards Abdullah, when he 
saw his brothers crucified, he commanded to bury them, then took 
horse and repairing to Baghdad, acquainted the Caliph with that 
which his brothers had done with him, from first to last and told 
him how he had recovered his wife ; whereat Al-Rashid marvelled 
and summoning the Kazi and the witnesses, bade draw up the 
marriage-contract between Abdullah and the damsel whom he had 
brought from the City of Stone. So he went in to her and woned 
with her at Bassorah till there came to them the Destroyer of 
Delights and the Severer of societies ; and extolled be the perfec- 
tion of the Living, who dieth not ! Moreover, O auspicious King, 
I have heard a tale anent 

*.*. with Sa'idah. 




ABA AL-KHAYR =r my good sir, etc. 54 
Abu al-Lays (Pr. N.)= Father of 

the Lion . . . .211 
Abu Dalafal-Ijili(a soldier famed for 

liberality and culture) . . 189 
Abu Kfr:= Father of the Pitch (Abou 

Kir) 134 

Abu Sir (corruption of Pousiri = 

Busiris 134 

Abn Sirhdn = wolf . . . . 104 
Acquittance of all possible claims ajfter 

business transactions . . 285 

Ad and Thairmd (pre-historic tribes) 174 
Adab = scholarship . . .41 
Adamf an Adamite (opposed to 

Jinn) 169 

Adlm al-Zauk = lack-tact . . 206 

Admiral (fishing for the King's table) 159 

Adultery (son of = base born) . . 331 

Af a = o0i? (a snake) 37 
Ahd (A1-) wa al-Misak = oath and 

covenant .... 327 
Ahmad bin Abi Duwad (High Chan- 
cellor to the Abbasides . . 244 
" Aidance from Allah and victory are 

near" 317 

Akasirah = Chosroes-Kings . . 323 

Akl al-Hishmah = eating decorously 337 

,Akka =. Acre ... . 19 
Ala judi-k =: to thy generosity . 150 ; 208 

Ala mahlak= at thy leisure . . 168 
All will not be save well = it will be 

the worse for him . . . 293 
Allah (will make no way for the Infi- 
dels over the True Believers) . 16 

Allah (I seek refuge with) . . 35 

(he was jealous for Almighty) . 104 

(I fear Him in respect of = I 

am governed by Him in my 
dealings with) . . .123 

(pardon thee, showing that the 

speaker does not believe in ano- 
ther's tale) 154 

(the Provider) . . . .166 

(for the love of) . . .170 

(Karim = God is bountiful) . 167 

(grant thee grace = pardon 

thee) .... .283 

(yasturak = will veil thee) . 309 

(sole Scient of the hidden things 

be extolled) . . . .311 
(raised the heavens without 

columns) 324 

Almas =. Gr. Adamas . . 325 

Aloes (well appreciated in Eastern 

medicine) ..... 100 

(the finest used for making 

Nadd) 150 

'Amal ~ action, operation (applied 
to drugs etc.) .... 2)54 

Amm (Amen) = So it be ! . . TJl 

Am ma laka au 'alayka = either to 
thee (the gain) or upon thee (the 
loss) il 

Amr (Al ) = command, matter, 

affair 67 

Analphabetic Amirs . . .126 

Angels (taking precedence in the 

older of created beings) . 81 

Animals (have no fear of man) . . 181 


A If Laylah wa Lay I ah. 

Ants (a destructive power in tropic 

climates) ..... 46 

Anydb (pi. of Ndb) = grinder teeth . 140 

A' rabrn dwellers in the Desert . 293 
'Arish (AI-) frontier town between 

Egypt and Palestine . . 286 
'Arfshah = arbour, etc. . . . 219 
Arithmology (cumbrous in Arabic 
for the lack of the higher nume- 
rals) 123 

Asarn: traces 255 

A- Sharif anta = art thou a noble ? , 231 

'Atsah rr sneezing . . . * 220 

Auj = Persian town Kiich (?) . , 347 

Awak = pi. of Ukiyyah q.v. . . 216 

'Awashik = hucklebones, cockles 268 

Az'ar shaving thin hair; tail-less . 18$ 
Azim (in the slang sense of " mighty 

fine") 40 

Aziz (A1-) al-Mizr = Magnifico of 

Misraim . . . .119 

BAB=gate, etc. (sometimes for a 

sepulchral cave) .... 286 

Badlah Kunuziyah = treasure-suit . 331 
Baghdad of Nullity (opposed to the 

Ubiquity of the World) . . 13 
Baha al-Dfn ibn Shadddd (Judge 

Advocate General under Saladin) 23 

Bahimah = black cattle . . 71 

Bakhkharani = he incensed me . 238 
Bakhshish (to make a bath-man's 

mouth water) . . 'IS 1 

Bartaut = Berthold .... 8 

Basmalah= saying, Bismillah . . I 

Batarikh = roe, spawn . . 139 
Bath (setting it a-working= turning 

on the water) . . . . 149 

Belle fourchette (greatly respected) . 219 

Bilking (popular form of) . . 145 
Bishr Barefoot (Sufi ascetic) . .21 

Breslau edition quoted 33 ; 42 ; 59 ; 63 ; 

156; 159; 169; 185; 187. 
Brethren (for kinsfolk) ... 26 
. (of trust and brethren of 
society = friends and acquaint- 
ances) .... r 75 
Bunn = kind of cake , 72 
Buffalo = bceuf a 1'eau (?) . ? 181 
Bulak ed. quoted . . . , 185 
Burning (a foretaste of Hell-fire) , 158 


Mu'tazid (At-) . 229 

Mutawakkil (A1-) , 232 

Mu'tasim (A1-) .... #. 

Carelessness of the story-teller . . 4 

Carpet (let him come to the King's 

:rz before the King as referee) I IO 
Carpet-room == Thrcne-room . . 17,1 
Citadel (contains the Palace) . , 102 
"Cloth" (not "board" for playing 

chess) 209 

Clothing and decency . . ,182 
Clout (hung over the door of a bath 

shows that women are bathing) . 153 
Coffee (mention of probably due to 

the scribe) 141 

(its mention shows a compara- 
tively late date) .... 255 
"Come to my arms, my slight 

acquaintance" . . . .177 
Conciseness (verging on obscurity) . 171 
Confusion (universal in the unde- 
veloped mind of man). . . 78 
Contrast (artful, between squalor and 

gorgeousness) . . . .170 
Cousin (has a prior right to marry a 

cousin) ..... 225 
Cowardice of the Fellah (how to be 

cured) 5 

Craft (many names for, connected 

with Arabic) . . . .138 
Creation from nothing , . 77 
Crescent of the breakfast-fSte . . 2$o 
Cruelty (the mystery of explained 
only by a Law without a Law- 
giver) 37 

Curtain (screens a reverend woman 

from the sight of men-invalids) . 347 

DAIRAH = circle, inclosure . . 287 

(for a basin surrounded by 

hills) 317 

Dandan (monstrous fish) . .179 
Darfil == dolphin '. 346 
Dawa = medicine (for a depilatory) 155 
Dawa"t = wooden ink-case with reed- 
pens 122 

Day (when wealth availeth not) . 1 6 
(ye shall be saved from its 

misery) 215 

Dayyus =: pimp, wittol . . 297 



Debts (of dead parents sacred to the 

children) 311 

Delicacy of the female skin . .321 
Democracy of despotism ... 94 
Devil (allowed to go about the world 

and seduce mankind) ... 82 
Diamond (its cutting of very ancient 

date) 325 

Diaphoresis (a sign of the abatement 

of a disease) .... 146 
Din al-a'raj = the perverted faith . n 
Dinar = denarius (description of one) 294 
Diwan (fanciful origin of the word) . 108 
Don Juan quoted . . . .190 
Drowning (a martyr's death) . .158 
Dukhdn =: smoke (meaning tobacco 

for the Chibouk) . . .156 
Duldb = waterwheel ; buttery j cup- 
board 306 

Durbar of idols . . . 325 
Duwdmah == whirlpool ... 93 

EGYPT (derivation of the name) . 286 
Elliptical style of the Eastern story- 
teller 160 

Emirs (of the wild Arabs = Phylarchs) 322 
Emma (hides her lover under her 

cloak) 8 

Epistasis without prostasis . . 240 
Euphemistic speech . . 1805224 

Euphuistio speech .... 43 

Euthanasia and anaesthetics . . 90 
"Eye of the needle" (for wicket - 

door) . . . . . , 320 
Eyes (no male has ever filled mine = 

none has pleased me) . . . 222 

FAK! R (the, and his jar of butter ; 

congeners of the tale) ... 40 
Farz (mentioned after Sunnah be- 
cause jingling with Arz) . . 15 
Faswan Salh al-Sibydn (Pr. N.) == 

Fizzler, Dung of Children . . 1 1 
Faswah susurrus . . . .291 
Fatalism and predestination . . 45 
Fate and Freewill . . .80 

Fath (A1-) bin Khakan (boon com. 

panion) ..... 245 
Fatihah (pronounced to make an 

agreement binding) * .138 
Fellah = peasant, husbandman 40 

Fellah chaff . . % . .152 
Fingers (names of) , . . . 160 
Finjan = egg-shell cup for coffee . 268 
Firdaus = Paradise . . .214 
Fire = Hell (home of suicides) . 25 
' ' Forcible eateth feeble" . .179 
Fore-arm (for proficiency) . . 306 
Freedom (granted to a slave for the 

sake of reward from Allah) . . 243 
Fumigations (to exorcise demons, 

etc.) 29 

Furdt = Euphrates (derivation of the 

name) 17 

Futur = breakfast .... 307 
Fuzayl bin 'lyjiz (Sufi ascetic) . . 21 

GATE (of war opened) ... 9 
Gates (of Heaven are open) . .221 

(shut during Friday devotion) . 259 

Ghalyun = galleon . . . .138 
Ghazalah = gazelle (a slave-girl's 

name) 209 

Ghayb (A1-) = secret purpose j future 314 
Ghaza-wood ..... 27 
Ghull = iron collar . . . . 333 
Ghuls (whose bellies none may fill 

but Allah) 152 

Ghurbah (A1-) Kurbah = " Travel is 

Travail" 257 

Gift (is foi him who. is present) . 225 
Godiva (an Arabic of the wrong sort) 261 
Good news, Inshallah = is all right 

with thee ? . . . . 224 
Gourd (Ar. Hanzal) . . .165 
Grammatical double entendre . . 272 
Green garb (distinguishing mark of 

Al-Khizr) 324 

Guadalajara = Wady al-Khar (of 

dung) .10 





WA TABfsf == my love and 
leach ...... 

Half mah = the mild, the gentle (fern.) 
Halummu = draw near (plur.) 
Hamadan (town in Persian Irk) 
Hamld (fern. Hamidah) = praise 

worthy, satisfactory .. 

Hanzal = gourd . . . 

Hardmi r= one who lives on unlawful 

gains. * * , 


A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

Harf al-Jarr == particle governing the 
oblique case, mode of thrusting, 

tumbling 272 

Hark, you shall see . 14 

Harun al-Rashid (as a poet) . . 17 

! (said to have prayed 

every day a hundred bows) . . 339 

Hashimi = descendant of Hashim . 24 
Hattfn (battle of) . . . .19 

Hawi = Serpent-charmer . . 56 

Hazar Afsaneh (tales from the). . 32 
Hind (A1-) al-Aksa" = Outer Hind 

or India Il6 

Honey (simile for the delights -of the 

World) 64 

House (the Holy of Allah = Ka'abah) 178 

Hulwan al-miftah = denier a Dieu . 212 
Huwayna (A1-) = now drawing near 

and now moving away . . 250 

iBLfs = diabolus .... 
Ibn Hamdun (transmitter of poetry 

and history) .... 
Ibn 'Irs = weasel . 
Ibrahim of Mosul .... 
Irk = root, also sprig, twig . 
Ishk 'uzri (in the sense of platonic 


Istahi 1= have some shame 

Istita'ah rr ableness 

( = freewill) . , 








JABABIRAH (pi. of Jabbar = giants . 109 

( = conquerors) . . 323 

Jabal = mountain (for mountainous 

island) 315 

Jah = high station, dignity . . 1 74 
Jahabiz (pi. of Jahbaz) = acute, in- 
telligent) 62 

Jalalikah = Gallicians . . .156 

Jandzir (for Zanajir) = chains . . 309 
Jannat al-Khuld = the Eternal Gar- 


Jawdsls (pi. of Jasiis) r= spies (for 

secret police) . . . .13 
Jilbab = gown . . . .290 
Junayd al- Baghdad! (Sufi ascetic) 


KABASA = he shampoo'd . 213 
Kddus (pi. Kawadis) = pot of a 
water- wheel . . ; . ,21 

Kaff Shurayk = a single ' ' Bunn ' ' q.v. 1 72 
Kahramanah = duenna etc. . .221 
Kahwah (A1-) = coffee-house . . 256 
Kallim al-Sultan (formula of sum- 
moning) 224 

Kamar al-Zamdn =r Moon of the 

Age 247 

Kanz = enchanted treasure .320 
Kaptdn = Captain . . , .139 
Karah =. budget, large bag . * 216 
Karkh (A1-), quarter of Baghdad . 313 
Kasab (A1-) = acquisitiveness . 80 
Kasidahs (their conventionalism) . 250 
Kasr = upper room . . . 283 
Kaukab al-Salah = Star of the 

morning 301 

Kaun = being, existence . . 63 
Khadim :=: eunuch .... 237 

Khadiv (not Kedive), Prince . .119 
Khafz al-Jinah = lowering trie wing 

(demeaning oneself gently) . . 33 
Khaliyah (pun on) . . . .291 

Khara al-Sus = Weevil's dung . 10 
Khatt Sharif = noble letter . . 309 
Khayr wa'Afiyah = well and in good 
ease ...... 94 

Khinsir = little (or middle) finger . 160 
Khitab = exordium . . .126 
Khizanah (A1-) = treasury . . 22 
Kidrah == pot, kettle, lamp-globe . 320 
Killing (of an unfaithful wife com- 
mended by public opinion) . . 297 
Kimkhab =. brocade . . .221 
Kitab al-Kaza = book of law-cases . 1 10 
Koran quoted (ix. 33) . . . 15 

(xxvi. 88, 89 ; iv. 140) . 16 

(Ivii. 88) . . . -33 

Ixxxi. 40) . . . -59 

(xii. 28) . . . .119 

(xh 36 ; Ixvii. 14 ; Ixxiv. 39 ; 

Ixxviii. 69; Ixxxviii. 17) . . 166 

(cviii. 3) . . , 185 

(xxiv.) . . . -316 

(ex. I) . 317 

(xxxvi. 55-58) ; '. . 322 

(li. 18-19} . ". '1 . 324 

Kundur = frankincense . J| 
Kurdus = body of horse . . .in 
Kutr Misr .= tract of Egypt , . 286 

LA'ALLA = haply, belike ; forsure; 

certainly . . . 49 



1.4 baas = no harm is (yet) done . 102 
La* rajma ghaybin n:- without stone- 
throwing of secrecy ... I 
L tankati'f = sever not thyself from 

s 245 

Lait = one acting like the tribe of 

Lot, sodomite .... 253 
Lajlaj = rolling in the mouth, stam- 
mering ..... 322 
Lane quoted, 32 j 33 ; 146 ; 168 ; 170 ; 
171 ; 182 ; 221 ; 222 ; 224 ; 226 ; 229 ; 
^246; 291; 304; 307 
Lavandiyah (A1-) =. Levantines . 275 
Laylat al-Kabilah = to-night . .271 
Lazuward = Ultramarine . . 190 
Legs (shall be bared on a certain day) 253 
Lie (only degrading if told for fear of 

telling the truth) ... 87 

(simulating truth) . . . 223 

Lieu d'aisance (in Eastern crafts) . 332 
Light (of salvation shining from the 

face of Prophets) . . . 324 

Lijam shadid = sharp bit . , 70 

Loathing of prohibition . . . 279 
Lot (this is ours = I have been 

lucky and will share with you) . 328 

Luluah = Union-pearl ; wild cow . 218 
Luss = thief, robber . . .106 
Lymph (alluding to the "Neptunist " 

doctrine) 77 

MA DAHIYATAK = What is thy mis- 
fortune? . . . . . 137 
Mahdi (A1-), Caliph . . .334 
Ma kaharanf = none vexeth (or has 

overcome) me .... 156 
Maghrib (al-Aksa) = the land of the 

setting sun .... 50 

Mahall al-Zauk = seat of taste, sen- 

sorium 83 

Mahr =. dowry (mode of its payment) 32 
Maintenance (of a divorced woman 

during 'Iddah) .... 32 
Male children (as much praised as 

riches) ..... 316 
Malik (A1-) al-Nasir (Sultan Saladin) 19 
Malocchio or Gettatura (evil eye) . 247 
Man (created after God's likeness) . 79 
(I am one of them = never 

mind my name) .... 238 

(of the people of Allah = a 

Religious) . . . .. 51 

Man (his wrong is from the tongue) 309 

Mankind (superior to the Jinn) . . 339 

Mansiir (Pr. N.) = triumphant . 310 

Ma'rifah = article .... 272 

Martyrdom of the drowned . . 340 
Massacre (the grand moyen of Eastern 

state-craft) i ro 

Matarik (pi. of Mitrak) =. targes . 225 
Matta'aka 'llah = Allah permit thee 

to enjoy -. 125 

Maulid =, nativity .... 289 
Mausul (A1-) =: the conjoined (for 

relative pronoun or particle) . 272 

Meniver z= menu vair (Mus lemmus) 312 
Menstruous discharge (made use of! 

as a poison) .... 101 
Mer-folk (refined with the Greeks, 

grotesques with other nations) . 169 

Messiah (made a liar by miscreants) . 15 
Mi'lakah = spoon . . . .141 

Miracles (growing apace in the East). 336 

Mishannah n: old gunny-bag . . 171 

Miskal = about three penny weights 262 
Mohammed (sent with the guidance 

and True Faith) . . 1$ 
Money (let lying with the folk = not 

dunned for) . . .311 
Moon (taking in hand the star girl 

handing round the cups) . . 192 
Moslem (on a journey, tries to bear 

with him a new suit of clothes for 

the festivals and Friday service). 51 
(bound to discharge the debts 

of his dead parents) . . .311 
(doctripe ignores the dictum 

"ex nihilo nihil") ... 63 
Moslems (deal kindly with religious 

mendicants) . . . 51 

(not ashamed of sensual 

appetite) 84 

- (bound to abate scandals 
amongst neighbours) ... 98 

(husbands among them divided 

into three classes) . . . 263 
Mourning (normal term of forty days) 311 
Mubarak = blessed (a favourite slave- 
name) 58 

Mubarakah =r the blessed (fern.) . 330 

Muharabah = doing battle . . 92 

Mundzarah =: dispute . . . 243 

Munazirah = like (fem.) ib. 

Munkar and Nakir . ., ^ 163 


A If Laylah wa Laylah. 

Musafahah =r joining hands . . 342 

Music (forbidden by Mohammed) . 31 

Musta'fn bi 'llah (Caliph) . . 246 

Mu'tasim (Al-)bi' llah (Caliph) . 232 

Mu'tawakkil (A1-) 'ala 'llah (Caliph) ib 

Mu'tazid (A1-) bi Mlah (Caliph). . 229 

Mu'tazz (A1-) bi 'llah (Caliph) . .242 

Muunah provender . . 104 

NAB! = prophet . * . .178 
Nafakah = sum necessary for the ex- 
penses of pilgrimage . . .178 
Naivete (of the Horatian kind) . 215 
Najis = ceremonially impure . 337 
Nakisa"tu 'aklin wa din = failing in 

wit and faith . 298 
Nakkar = Pecker (a fabulous fish) . 184 
Names (approved by Allah) . .165 
Napoleonic pose (attitude assumed by 

a slave) . . . . 320 

Nasik ;= a devotee .... 40 
Nasir (Pr. N.) = triumphing . .310 
Naysabur (town in Khorasan) . . 230 
Nemo repente fuit turpissimus (not 

believed in by Easterns) . 91 

Nilah = indigo, dye-stuff . . 144 
Hew moon of the Festival = Crescent 

of the breakfast . . 249 J 250 

Nimr = leopard .... 63 
Nfyah (A1-) = ceremonial intention 

of prayer 254 

Nukl = quatre mendiants, dessert 177; 213 
Nusf = half-dirham . . 139 ; 167 
Nusk = piety, abstinence from women 243 

"OFF-WITH-HIS-HEAD" style (not 

to be taken literally) . . .308 
Omar-i-Khayyam (astronomer-poet) 230 
Othello (even he does not kill Emilia) 300 

PARADISE (of the Moslem not wholly 

sensual) ..... 322 
Parent (ticklish on the Pundonor) . 288 
Pay-chest (of a Hamma'm-bath) . 152 
Payne quoted, 22 ; 28 ; 79 ; 84 ; 86 ; 89 ; 

171; 212; 224, 226; 227; 250; 251 ; 

265 ; 268 ; 282 ; 290 

Pearls (resting on the sand-bank) . 164 
People of His affection = those who 

deserve His love. . * . 82 

Persians (delighting in practical 

jokes) ..... 177 
Petrified folk ..... 318 
Pilgrimage quoted 

- (i. 9) 50 

- (i. 235) .... 51 

- (iii. 66) . . . .81 

- (i. 20) ..... 165 

- (ii. 285-287) ... 175 

- (iii. 224, 256) . , .178 

- (i. 99) ..... 262 

- (ii. 4 8) .... 307 

Pilgrims (offcast of the =? a broken 

down pilgrim left to die on the 

road) ...... 

Poisons in the East .... 

Policeman (called in, a severe punish- 

ment in the East) . . . 
Poltroon (contrasted with a female 

tiger lamb) ..... 
Potter (simile of the) ... 
Power (whoso has it and spareth for 

Allah's reward he prepareth) . 
Praying against (polite form of curs- 

ing) ...... 

Presence (I am in thy = thy slave to 

slay or pardon) . . . . 
Price (without abatement =: without 

abstra'cting a large bakhshish) . 
- (shall remain) .... 
Priest hidden within an image (may 

date from the days of Memnon) . 
Prince (of a people is their servant) . 
Prison (in the King's Palace) . . 







Pun . . , . . 278; 287 

QUESTION (expressing emphatic as- 
sertion) . . . . 182 

RAHAN =r pledge . . . .311 
Rank (thine is with me such as them 
couldst wish = I esteem thee as 
thou deservest) . . 41 
(conferred by a Sovereign's ad- 
dressing a person with a title) . 119 
Ras al-Killaut = head of Killaut (a 

son of the sons of the Jinn) . 8 
Ridding the sea of its rubbish . 169 
River (the, = Tigris-Euphrates) v, 313 



Robbing (to keep life *nd body to- 

gether an acceptable plea) . .13? 

Rtih = spirit, breath of life . . 67 

. . . .168 

1 1 1 


SA'ADAH = worldly prosperity and 
future happiness .... 

Sabaka =. he outraced . . . 

Sabiyah =. young lady . . . 

Sabr = patience ; aloes (pun on) 

Safinah (Noah's) Ark . . '. 

Sahil (A1-) = the coast (Phoenicia) . 

Sahm mush'ab = forked (not barbed) 
arrow . . * . . 

Sa'idah = the auspicious (fem) . 

Saki and Sakf ..... 253 
Sakin = quiescent (applied to a 

closing wound) . . -255 

Sakiyah = water-wheel . . .218 
Sa'lab = fox . . . .48; 103 
Salihiyah = the Holy (name of a 

town) ..... 287 
Sallah = basket of wickerwork . 56 
Salutation (from a rider to a man on 

foot and from the latter to one 

sitting) ..... I 
Saluting after prayer . V ; 254 
Samn = clarified butter ... 39 
Sanajik = banners, ensigns, &c. . 290 
Sand (knowing from the=geomancy) 117 
Sarawfl = bag-trousers (plural or 

singular). , 225 

Sardab = souterrain . . .241 
- (tunnel) . . . .274 
Sari al-Sakatf (Sufi ascetic) . . 21 
Sawahili = shore-men . . -22 
Sayih = wanderer (not " pilgrim ") . 51 
Scoundrels (described with superior 

glee) . ..... 135 

Sea (striking out sparks) . . . 314 
Seclusion (royal, and its conse- 

quences) . . . . 9i 
Secrets of workmanship (withheld 

from Apprentices) . . . 263 
Seeing sweetness of speech = finding 

it out in converse ... 14 
Sha'r = hair of the body, pile . 157 

Shaving (process of) . . . 139 
Shaykh (after the type of Abu Nowas) 25 1 

- (for syndic of a Guild) . . 260 

- (al- Islam r= chief of the 
Oleraa) ^ . . .289 

Shaykhah Rajihah = the excellent 

Religious ..... 347 

Shiraj = sesame oi) ... 184 

Shop (front-shelf of, a seat for visitors) 262 
Shuja' al-Din (Pr. N.) = the Brave 

of the Faith) . . . .18 

Shukkah = piece of cloth . , 236 
Sidillah seats, furniture . .190 

Signs (language of ) . . . . 269 

Silah = conjunctive sentence ; coition 272 

Sin (permitted that man might repent) 83 

(thy shall be on thine own neck) 211 

Singing (not haram = sinful, but 

makruh = objectionable) . . 245 

Sirah = minnow, sprat . . . 166 
Skin (free from exudation sounds 

louder under the clapping of the 

hand) 150 

(extreme delicacy of the female) 321 

Slave-girl (free, not forward in her 

address) 268 

(lewd and treacherous by birth) 280 

(to be sent as a spy into the 

Hartms) ..... 292 

Sneezing (etiquette of) . . . 220 

Sons (brought as servants unto Kings) 43 

" Soul " (for lover) .... 25 
Spider-web frailest of houses 

(Koranic) $9 

Spiritualism (the religion of the nine- 
teenth century) .... 86 
Spoon (Ar. Mi'lakah) . . .141 
Steward (pendent to the parable of 

the unjust) ..... 66 
Style (intended to be worthy of a 

statesman) 42 

Su'ban = dragon t . 277 
Submission (Ar. Khafz al-Jinah = 

lowering the wings) ... 74 
Sufrah ==: cloth or leather upon which 

food is placed . . . .141 

Sunan (used for Rasm = usage, customs) 74 

Suri'tu I was possessed of a Jinn . 27 
Suwan = Syenite . * . .316 
Suways (Suez) = little weevil, or 

" little Sus" .... 10 

Swevens (an they but prove true) . 284 

TAAKH! R = acting with deliberation 328 

Ta'alik = hanging lamps . . 320 
Tail (wagging of, a sign of anger with 

felidae) _ 72 


A If Laylah wa Laylak. 

Taj Kisrawf r= Chosroan crown , 319 
Tajir Alfl = a merchant worth a 

thousand (left indefinite) . .313 
Takhmish = tearing the face in grief 190 
Taksfm = distribution, analysis . 77 
Tanwi'n al-IzaYah = the nunnation 

in construction .... 272 

Tarikah = musical mode, modula- 
tion ...... 27 

Taubah (Bi al-) = by means or on 

account of penitence ... 83 
Thongs (of the waterskins cut, prepa- 
ratory to departure) . . . 302 
Three hundred and three score rooms 
= one for each day of the Mos- 
lem year ..... 61 

Three things (not to be praised before 

death) 39 

Threshold (marble one in sign of 

honour) ..... 238 
Tibn = bruised straw . . . 1 06 
Timbak (Tumbak) = stronger variety 

of Tobacco) . . . .136 
Time (distribution of ) . . 71 

Title (used by a Sovereign in ad- 
dressing a person confers the 

rank) 119 

Tobacco (its mention inserted by 

some scribe) .... 136 
Too much for him (to come by law- 
fully) 174 

Torrens quoted . ... 278 

Toutes putes 298 

Trafalgar =r Taraf al-Gharb (edge of 

the West) 50 

Translators (should be "bould") . 224 
Treasure (resembling one from which 

the talismans have been loosed) . 287 
Trebutien quoted ... 33, 63 

Tribe (the misfortune of one fortuneth 

another) ..... 342 
Truth (told so as to be more deceptive 

than a lie) 223 

Tuning (peculiar fashion of Arab 

musicians with regard to it) . . 27 
Turbands (inclining from the head- 
tops) 221 

Turkey (Future of ) . . . 94 

Turks (forming the body-guard of the 

Abbasides ..... 245 
Tuwuffiya = he was received (into 

the grace of God) , . . 54 

UBULLAH (canal leading from Bas- 

sorah to Ubullah-town) . , 31 
Udm=" kitchen". . . .213 
Uka"b al-Kdsir = the breaker eagle . 69 
tJkiyyah (pi. Awdk) = ounce . .216 
Umm al-banat wa'1-banfn = mother 

of daughters and sons . . . 1 75 
Umm al-Su'ud (Pr. N.) = Mother of 

Prosperities .... 173 
'Umma"! (pi. of 'Amil = governor) . 26 

"Unbernfen" 180 

'Unndbi = between dark yellow and 

red (jujube-colour) . . . 143 
' Urb = Arabs of pure race . . 293 
Usul = forbears, ancestors . . 246 

VEILING her honour = saving her 

from being ravished . . . 330 

" Vigilance Committees " (for abating 

scandals) 98 

Visit (confers a blessing in polite 

parlance) 185 

Visits (should not be over-frequent) . 273 

WA = and (introducing a parenthetic 

speech) . . . . . 282 

Walhan (A1-), noPr.N. . . . 6 

Wall 'ahd =: heir presumptive . 87 

Wartah =r precipice, quagmire, etc. . 81 
Wdsit = middle .(town of Irak 

'Arabi) 26 

Weal (I see naught but) . . .180 
Weeping (over dead friends) . .187 
Wicket (small doorway at the side of 

a gate) 320 

Wife (contrast between vicious servile 

and virtuous of noble birth) . 302 

Wird (Pers.) = pupil, disciple . 61 
Wittol (pictured with driest Arab 

humour) ..... 269 

Women (to be respected by the King) 73 

("great is their malice ") . 119 

(a case of hard lines for 

them) 134 

(their marrying a second 

time reckoned disgraceful) . . 246 

(the sin lieth with them) . 297 

(fail in wit and faith) . 298 

(practically only two ways 

of treating them) . . . 303 
(delicacy of their skin) . 321 


Womankind (seven ages of) . .175 

Word (the creative "Kun") , . 78 

YA ABATI = O dear father mine ! . 88 

ahmak =. O fool ! . . .271 

bunayyf r= O dear my son ! . 79 

fulan zr O certain person ! . 324 

fulanah = O certain person! (fem.) 270 

j6hil =: O ignorant ! . . 52 

maulaya rr O my lord f . . 228 
Yastaghibiinf = they take advantage 

of my absence . 224 

Yathrib (old name of AI-Medinah) . 177 

Yes, Yes and No, No 'jrifles . . 250 

ZAFFfj = they conducted her (in the 

sense of " they displayed her ") . 245 
Zaura (A1-) r= the bow (name of 

Baghdad) . . . . . IJ 
Zaynab and Zayd (generic names for 

women and men) . . 250 
Zi'ah = village, hamlet, farm , 27 

Zirt = crepitus ventris . . . 291 
Ziyarah = visiting the Prophet 

('s tomb) 178 

Zukhruf = glitter, tinsel ... 86 
Zur ghibban tazid hubban = call 

rarely that friendship last fairly . 273 

om II 

Trinity Collet 

Irculation and Reference Sendees 

DEC 1 1997 
DCf 2 2