The Thousand and One Nights, Vol. I. by Lane-Poole, Poole, Harvey, and Lane













The present edition is an exact reproduction of that edited by my father, with my great-uncle’s final corrections, and published by Mr. John Murray in 1859. Several reprints of that edition have testified to the continued popularity of the work, and the necessity for the present issue shows that an acquaintance of nearly half a century has not yet wearied the public of the standard translation of the Thousand and One Nights. The secret of Mr. Lane’s success is to be found partly in the instinctive sympathy for the spirit of the East, which enabled him faithfully to reproduce the characteristic tone of the original, and partly in the rich store of illustrations of oriental life and thought contained in his Notes. In the various cheap versions, based upon Galland’s French paraphrase, the Eastern tone and local colour is wholly wanting; and the peculiarities of life and manners, which contrast so markedly with those of the West, are left unnoted and unexplained. Such versions may serve in an inadequate degree to make the Arabian Nights known to those who care only for the bare stories; but educated readers, who are capable of something more than the mere enjoyment of the romance, and desire to understand the character and habits of the actors and the spectators, find in Mr. Lane’s translation, and in his only, a complete satisfaction of their want. It is not merely a scholar’s edition, though no oriental student can afford to be without it; but beyond this narrow circle it has ever appealed to the wide audience that cares to know the famous books of the world in their most perfect and faithful reflections.


The actual moment is an opportune one for the reappearance of the work. Egypt just now holds a foremost place in the eyes of the world, and it is of Egypt that the Thousand and One Nights have most to tell. Indian or Persian as many of the tales are in their origin, their setting is almost purely Egyptian; and though the place may be nominally Baghdad or India, or even furthest China, it is in mediæval Cairo, in the days of the Memlooks, that the scene of the Arabian Nights is really laid. The people described are not Hindoos or Chinese, but Arabs and Egyptians as they lived and moved in the fifteenth century, when some of the beautiful mosques and tombs, that still make Cairo the delight of artists, were being built, and the devastating hand of the Ottoman Turk had not yet been laid on the land of the Pharaohs. For a minute picture of Arabian society as it was in the Middle Ages, the Thousand and One Nights have no rival, and it is Mr. Lane’s appreciation of this picture, and the wealth of illustration lavished upon it in his Notes, that render his edition the most complete commentary we possess on Muslim life and manners, religion and literature, and make it an indispensable supplement to his famous Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians. The poetry of Eastern life is rapidly fading away under the effacing touch of European civilisation; the characteristic society in which an Haroon-Er-Rasheed, an Aboo-Nuwas, a Kafoor, a Saladin, or a Kaït-Bey, revelled and jested and conquered, is fast becoming matter of history rather than of experience, a field for the antiquary instead of the traveller; and it is well that we can reconstruct it in the pages of the Thousand and One Nights, whose compiler saw it when it was still almost in its Golden Prime, and in the Modern Egyptians, whose author knew it when it still preserved the romantic character which has charmed and fascinated readers of every age and condition.

Stanley Lane-Poole.

The Day of Tell-el-Kebeer, 1882.


Head-piece to Preface.–The Vase is formed of the Arabic words signifying ‘In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful’ (always placed at the head of a Muslim work), written doubly, and contrarily
A new edition of this work having been required, Mr. Lane was requested to undertake the correction of the press. But severe literary labours allowing him no leisure for this object, he named me, as his pupil in the study of Arabic, familiar with his writings, and for many years resident with him in Cairo, to fill, in some measure, his place. I have undertaken this duty with great diffidence, from a sense of my own deficiencies and his extensive knowledge; but I have felt that I could at least insure the correctness of the text, and a scrupulous adherence to his wishes. The present edition is printed, without any variations of my own (except those which are marked as such, and have been submitted to Mr. Lane), from a copy of the first and complete edition,viii with corrections and additions made by Mr. Lane, from time to time, since its first publication. These, however, from the accuracy with which the translation was made, and the fulness of the Notes, are not very numerous. The same reasons have also caused my own notes to be few: I believe that my Uncle’s notes are complete in themselves; and that I have sometimes erred, even in the rare exceptions I have made, on the side of unnecessary addition.

An edition of any book not superintended by the author is sometimes regarded with distrust. I would therefore assure the reader that in this instance he may depend even on the punctuation; the whole having been laboriously collated with Mr. Lane’s annotated copy, notwithstanding the great delay which this process has occasioned in the printing of the work.

I have called this a complete edition, to distinguish it from two others which have been published without Mr. Lane’s notes or his method of writing oriental words, and with other variations from the standard edition. The public appreciation of these notes, and of the advantage of correctly-written foreign words, is, I conceive, proved by the call for the present edition. On the subject of the mode of writing oriental words in European characters, I need say little, for the controversy has well nigh died out. The present generation does not regard antiquated blunders as “the familiar names of childhood,” but rather strives to attain accuracy in all things; and those few who still cling to “Mahomet” or “Mahomed” should consistently exhume the forgotten “Mahound” of the Crusades.

The translator’s views respecting the origin and literary history of “The Thousand and One Nights” will be found fully expressed in the Review at the end of the third volume. In his original preface, he stated, “The remarks which I here submit to the reader, being written when only one-third of the work to which they principally relate is printed, must unavoidably be more defective than they would be if reserved until a later period. During the progress of the publication I may be enabled to form clearer and more complete views of the several subjects which might with propriety beix fully discussed at the head of my translation, and I think it better, therefore, to append at the close of the work many observations which I originally intended to prefix to the first volume.” He has therefore wished me to remodel the preface, transferring all portions relating to the subjects in question to the Review, retaining whatever may more properly stand at the commencement of the work, and adding any matter of my own.

The object with which the translation was made is best expressed in the words of Mr. Lane’s preface.

“My undertaking to translate anew the Tales of ‘The Thousand and One Nights’ implies an unfavourable opinion of the version which has so long amused us; but I must express my objections with respect to the latter in plain terms, and this I shall do by means of a few words on the version of Galland, from which it is derived; for to him alone its chief faults are to be attributed. I am somewhat reluctant to make this remark, because several persons, and among them some of high and deserved reputation as Arabic scholars, have pronounced an opinion that his version is an improvement upon the original. That ‘The Thousand and One Nights’ may be greatly improved, I most readily admit; but as confidently do I assert that Galland has excessively perverted the work. His acquaintance with Arab manners and customs was insufficient to preserve him always from errors of the grossest description, and by the style of his version he has given to the whole a false character, thus sacrificing, in a great measure, what is most valuable in the original work,—I mean its minute accuracy with respect to those peculiarities which distinguish the Arabs from every other nation, not only of the West, but also of the East. Deceived by the vague nature of Galland’s version, travellers in Persia, Turkey, and India, have often fancied that the Arabian Tales describe the particular manners of the natives of those countries; but no one who has read them in the original language, having an intimate acquaintance with the Arabs, can be of this opinion: it is in Arabian countries, and especially in Egypt, that we see the people, the dresses, and the buildings, which it describesx in almost every case, even when the scene is laid in Persia, in India, or in China.

“Convinced of the truth of this assertion, I consider myself possessed of the chief qualifications for the proper accomplishment of my present undertaking, from my having lived several years in Cairo, associating almost exclusively with Arabs, speaking their language, conforming to their general habits with the most scrupulous exactitude, and received into their society on terms of perfect equality. Since the downfall of the Arab Empire of Baghdád, Cairo has been the chief of Arabian cities: its Memlook Sulṭáns, introduced into Egypt in their youth, naturally adopted, to a great degree, the manners of its native inhabitants, which the ‘Osmánlee Turks in later days have but little altered. Cairo is the city in which Arabian manners now exist in the most refined state; and such I believe to have been the case when the present work was composed.”

Mr. Lane’s first two visits to Egypt were made when, for the last time, Arab manners and customs as they existed in the age of the Arabian Nights could be studied; and his translation was written very shortly after his second return to England. Though some of the tales maybe Indian or Persian in origin, in their present state they exhibit a picture of the manners, modes of thought, and language, of the court and times of the Memlook Sulṭáns of Egypt, which nearly resembled in these points those of the Khaleefehs of Baghdád, or the great Arab Empire. De Sacy and Von Hammer, the two celebrated orientalists who differed widely in opinion as to the origin of the book, agreed that the tales in which the Khaleefeh Hároon Er-Rasheed is introduced (the best, with few exceptions, in the collection) are Egyptian in character. But since the “Modern Egyptians” were described by Mr. Lane, all things in the East have changed, and every day witnesses the decay of some old custom, to be followed by a bastard European imitation. During Mohammad ‘Alee’s rule, all traces of the state and circumstance of the Memlook court gradually passed away. European dress has displaced oriental costume, cloth of gold, and dresses ofxi honour; European architecture elbows the quaint beauty of the old Arab capital; and the cavalcade of fifty horsemen around a grandee is succeeded by an English carriage that profanes the quiet streets of the city, and frightens away both ‘Efreets and their memory. Mr. Lane saw the last of Cairo in its integrity; and he has not overstated his qualifications, as author of the “Modern Egyptians,” for the task of translating the Arabian Nights.

Of the copy from which this translation was made, and the method observed in its execution, I may again quote the preface to the first edition. Mr. Lane says,—

“I have taken as my general standard of the original text the Cairo edition lately printed; it being greatly superior to the other printed editions, and probably to every manuscript copy.1 It appears to agree almost exactly with the celebrated MS. of Von Hammer, than which no copy more copious, I believe, exists; and contains all the tales in the old version except those which, as Von Hammer says, Galland appears to have taken from other works, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, in the Royal Library of Paris. The manuscript from which it was printed was carefully collated and corrected by a very learned man, the sheykh ‘Abd-Er-Raḥmán Eṣ-Ṣaftee Esh-Sharḳáwee, who also superintended the progress of the work through the press. But in addition to the value conferred upon it by the corrections of this sheykh, the copy from which the whole of my translation is made, except in a few xiiinstances, possesses an advantage which, I believe, renders it incomparably superior to any other now existing: it has been again revised and corrected, and illustrated with numerous manuscript notes, by a person whom I think I may safely pronounce the first philologist of the first Arab college of the present day, the sheykh Moḥammad ‘Eiyád Eṭ-Ṭanṭáwee, or, more properly, Eṭ-Ṭanditáee. His notes are chiefly philological, and explanatory of words which do not belong to the classical language; and many of them are of very great assistance to me; though most of them I find unnecessary, from the knowledge of the modern Arabic which I have acquired during my intercourse with the people who speak it. His corrections of the text are numerous; and as they would interest very few persons, I have mentioned but few of them in the notes to my translation, notwithstanding a strong temptation that I felt to do otherwise in order that Arabic scholars might be assisted to judge of the fidelity of my version by comparing it with the text of the Cairo edition.2 To the pieces of poetry which are interspersed throughout the work he has paid especial attention; not only correcting the errors which he found in them, but also always adding the vowel-points, and generally, commentaries or explanations. Thus I have shewn that I am very greatly indebted to him for his learned labours. I should, however, add, that I have ventured to differ from him in interpreting a few words; having found more appropriate meanings assigned to them by Arabs in parts not visited by him, or such meanings given in printed dictionaries with which he is unacquainted; and I have also corrected a few errors which have escaped his notice.3 Without the valuable xiiiaid which he has afforded me, I would not have attempted the translation; nor with it would I have done so were it not for the advantage that I derive from my having lived among Arabs. No translator can always be certain that, from twenty or more significations which are borne by one Arabic word, he has selected that which his author intended to convey; but, circumstanced as I am, I have the satisfaction of feeling confident that I have never given, to a word or phrase in this work, a meaning which is inconsistent with its presenting faithful pictures of Arab life and manners.

“I have thought it right to omit such tales, anecdotes, &c., as are comparatively uninteresting or on any account objectionable. In other words, I insert nothing that I deem greatly inferior in interest to the tales in the old version. Certain passages which, in the original work, are of an objectionable nature, I have slightly varied; but in doing this, I have been particularly careful to render them so as to be perfectly agreeable with Arab manners and customs. It was originally my intention to omit almost the whole of the poetry, thinking that the loss of measure and rhyme, and the impossibility of preserving the examples of paronomasia and some other figures with which they abound, would render translations of them generally intolerable to the reader: but afterwards I reflected that the character of the work would be thus greatly altered; and its value, as illustrating Arab manners and feelings, much diminished. I therefore determined to preserve a considerable number of select pieces, chosen either for their relative merits or because required by the context. The number of those comprised in the first volume of my translation is nearly half of the number contained in the corresponding portion of the original work; but in several cases I have omitted one or more verses of a piece as unsuitable, or for some other reason; and in a few instances I have given only the first verse or the first couplet. These pieces of poetry are not in general to be regarded as the compositions of the author or authors of the work: theyxiv appear to be mostly borrowed from others, and many of them are taken from the works of celebrated poets.—To avoid the tedious interruptions which occur in the original at the close of each Night, I have divided the translation into chapters, each of which consists of one tale, or of two or more tales connected one with another, and have merely mentioned the Night with which each chapter commences, and that with which it terminates.

“The original work being designed solely for the entertainment of Arabs, I add copious notes to the translation, to render it more intelligible and agreeable to the English reader. These are entirely my own, except in those cases when I have stated otherwise;4 and my general object in them has been to give such illustrations as may satisfy the general reader, without obliging him to consult other works. In many of them I endeavour to shew, by extracts from esteemed Arabic histories and scientific and other writings, chiefly drawn from MSS. in my possession, as well as by assertions and anecdotes that I have heard, and conduct that I have witnessed, during my intercourse with Arabs, that the most extravagant relations in this work are not in general regarded, even by the educated classes of that people, as of an incredible nature. This is a point which I deem of much importance to set the work in its proper light before my countrymen. I have resided in a land where genii are still firmly believed to obey the summons of the magician or the owner of a talisman, and to act in occurrences of every day; and I have listened to stories of their deeds related as facts by persons of the highest respectability, and by some who would not condescend to read the tales of ‘The Thousand and One Nights,’ merely because they are fictions, and not written in the usual polished style of literary compositions.”

I have already mentioned that the literary history of “The Thousand and One Nights” is discussed in Mr. Lane’s Review xvappended to this translation. In the course of my Arabic studies, and more especially since I have been occupied in editing the present work, I have endeavoured to form an unbiassed judgment on this difficult question; and all my researches have confirmed me in agreeing with the opinions there expressed. Von Hammer was inclined to lay too much stress on the supposed Persian or Indian origin of these Tales; while De Sacy, on the other hand, rejected the belief in any connection between the old work and the more modern; contending that the latter was an independent production. The discovery, however, of a passage in an Arabic author, by Von Hammer, since the publication of De Sacy’s Essay and Mr. Lane’s Preface, has placed the matter beyond a doubt; and scholars are now agreed, notwithstanding De Sacy’s pleasant sarcasm, and the weight of his great name, that “The Thousand Nights” formed in some measure the prototype of “The Thousand and One Nights.” On the other hand, De Sacy’s keen appreciation of the modern (and chiefly Egyptian, or Arab,) character of the book, in its present form, must be fully recognised, and was indeed thus acknowledged by Von Hammer himself. The manners, dresses, and modes of thought, portrayed by it are Arab throughout, even in the stories which are probably retained from the Persian or Indian original, of which that of the Magic Horse is the best example in this translation. Besides those relating to the court and adventures of Hároon Er-Rasheed, which, as I have before remarked, are curiously Egyptian, many others appear to have been remodelled, if not actually composed, in Egypt. It is not less true that these tales are generally the best in the collection, if those of the Slave Káfoor, of ‘Azeez and ‘Azeezeh, and of Es-Sindibád, be excepted; for these certainly are inferior to none. The more colloquial and familiar stories point to the same origin; such as that of ‘Alá-ed-Deen Abu-sh-Shámát (which is pervaded by Egyptian characteristics in phraseology and in other respects), that of Aboo-Ṣeer and Aboo-Ḳeer, and that of Maạroof. The stories founded mainly on Persian or Indian originals appear to bexvi those in which supernatural beings play the most conspicuous parts; and, as Mr. Lane remarks, these are generally deficient in verses, although the converse does not hold good of the former class. The anecdotes are mostly historical: many of them are, in the Notes, identified with similar ones in other Arabic works; and almost all are of Arab origin.

The evidences of a late date scattered through the book may be additions of copyists and reciters; but considered with reference to its general character, they have a certain weight that cannot be overlooked: this is carefully stated in the Review.

Mr. Lane’s arguments in favour of the collective “Thousand and One Nights” being an individual work, and not one of many similar collections, seem to me to be conclusive: not the least important of these is the fact that no similar collection is known to exist, nor is mentioned by any Arab author, with the sole exception of the old “Thousand Nights,” which I believe he has demonstrated to be the prototype, in a remote degree, of the “Thousand and One.” To cite the words of the Preface on the question of the original of the work as it is known to us—”I have shewn it to be my opinion that all the complete copies of ‘The Thousand and One Nights’ now known are in the main derived, though not immediately, from one original; and I hold the same opinion with respect to every fragment containing the commencement of the work;” “not regarding the work as wholly original, nor as the first of its kind; for many of the tales which it contains are doubtless of different and early origins; and I think that its general plan is probably borrowed from a much older production, bearing the same title of ‘The Thousand and One Nights,’ [or ‘The Thousand Nights,’] a translation of a Persian work having a corresponding title, namely ‘Hezár Afsáneh.’… One thing is certain—that ‘The Thousand and One Nights,’ [or ‘The Thousand Nights,’] translated from the Persian was much older than the work now known by that title, and also extremely different from the latter.”

When these facts are considered in reference to each other, thexvii date assigned, in the Review, to the composition of the work cannot reasonably be regarded as far from the truth. It is in Egypt, and especially in the Memlook court, that we must look to find the people, the manners, and the habits of thought, of “The Arabian Nights;” while the style of the language in which they are written is that which we might expect from an Egyptian of those times, who, unskilled in the classical Arabic, yet endeavouring to imitate it, was doubtless more generally intelligible then than he is now to the modern Egyptians. This assumption of the old language, I may remark, is, and always has been, characteristic of all learned Arabs, be they Egyptians or natives of other Arabian countries (for such Egypt truly is); but no other instance exists of a work of fiction in which the attempt fails so singularly in affecting the classical, or retaining the modern tongue; while all other Arabic tales are certainly composed in either the one or the other. The modern Egyptian romances are mostly written in the colloquial dialect of every-day life; but those which are of older date are not modernized, as some have supposed, against all reason, “The Thousand and One Nights” to be: such an alteration would be without a parallel in Arabic literature, as Mr. Lane proves in the Review in a way to relieve me of the necessity of further alluding here to this particular question. “The Thousand and One Nights” exhibit a style which would be unfamiliar to the audience of the reciter of romances, without attaining to the classical diction: and the conclusion is forced on us that the work exhibits the language of a by-gone generation, which (taking into consideration the other indications of its age and country), is, it can scarcely be disputed, that of the later period of the Memlook rulers of Egypt, before the Turkish conquest of that country. In the words of Mr. Lane’s Preface:—”Most of the tales which it contains are doubtless of an older origin, and many of them founded upon very old traditions and legends; but all these traditions or legends were evidently remodelled so as to become pictures of the state of manners which existed among the Arabs, and especially among those of Egypt, at the period here mentioned;xviii and I think that the composer of the work, or each of the composers, if one commenced and another completed it, was an Egyptian.”

But a more popular subject than its obscure origin is the literary merit of this work. The rare fascination of these old Arab stories, their supernatural romance, excessive love, quaint philosophy, and grotesque humour, have, since the days of Galland, secured to them more readers than any other profane work. The translation of Galland, with all its lameness, puerility, and indecency, gained for them a hold which has never been relaxed; and it only required the appearance of a scholarlike and readable translation, freed from these defects, to make them generally accepted in English families. The fashion of travelling in the East has not a little added to the desire for a standard and annotated edition of a work unique, even in those lands of genii and adventure, in its remarkable portrayal of Eastern character, life, and, when closely translated, idiom. The humour of the book, now broad, now subtle, (who does not delight in Káfoor and his “half lie?”) renders the comic stories generally superior to the romantic; but the pathos perhaps excels every other beauty. The story of Shems-en-Nahár is remarkable for this characteristic; and that of ‘Azeez and ‘Azeezeh (first published in this translation), surpasses in delicate tenderness any Arab tale with which we are acquainted.

Of the critical value of Mr. Lane’s translation I ought scarcely to speak. Yet I may observe that students of Arabic make it a text-book in reading the original; while the English reader not uncommonly forgets that it is a translation, and detects not the literal accuracy of its rendering of an unfamiliar, or unknown, language.

I have adverted to the system adopted in transcribing foreign words, and I now conclude these preliminary remarks (intended only to render the learned Review easier of perusal to the general reader, and to smooth his first steps in a strange land), by quoting, with some slight improvements by Mr. Lane, the explanation of that system given in the preface to the first edition.xix

“In writing Arabic and other Oriental words in the present work, I have employed a system congenial with our language, and of the most simple kind; and to this system I adhere in every case, for the sake of uniformity as well as truth.5 Some persons have objected to my writing in this manner a few familiar words which are found in our dictionaries; but they will excuse me for remarking that general usage is not altogether accordant with their opinion. Almost every author, I believe, now writes ‘Koran,’ or ‘Kurán,’ and ‘Pasha,’ or ‘Pacha,’ for our dictionary-words ‘Alcoran’ and ‘Bashaw;’ and most of our best authors on Arabian History, of late, have written ‘Khalif’ for ‘Caliph.’ In a work relating to a people who pronounce the Arabic w as v, I should write ‘Vezeer’ for the Arabic word ‘Wezeer;’ but to do so when the subject is Arabian, I consider inexpedient: and in this opinion I am upheld by a great majority of literary and other friends whom I have consulted on the subject, in the proportion of five to one. I may add that Dr. Johnson has written in his Dictionary, ‘Vizier [properly Wazir];’ and if we express the Arabic vowels by their Italian equivalents, it is properly ‘Wazír’ or ‘Wezír.’—The system which I here employ requires but little explanation; the general reader may be directed to pronounce

a as in our word ‘beggar:’6 é as in ‘there:’
á as in ‘father:’7 ee as in ‘bee:’
e as in ‘bed:’ ei as our word ‘eye:’
xxey as in ‘they:’ oo as in ‘boot:’
i as in ‘bid:’ ow as in ‘down:’
o as in ‘obey’ (short): and
ó as in ‘bone:’ u as in ‘bull.’
The letter y is to be pronounced as in ‘you’ and ‘lawyer:’ never as in ‘by.’

An apostrophe, when immediately preceding or following a vowel, I employ to denote the place of a letter which has no equivalent in our alphabet; it has a guttural sound like that which is heard in the bleating of sheep: ạ (with a dot beneath) represents the same sound at the end of a syllable, when it is more forcibly pronounced.

Each of the consonants distinguished by a dot beneath has a peculiarly hard sound.

Having avoided as much as possible making use of accents, I must request the reader to bear in mind that a single vowel, when not marked with an accent, is always short; and that a double vowel or diphthong at the end of a word, when not so marked, is not accented (‘Welee,’ for instance, being pronounced ‘Wĕ’lee’): also, that the acute accent does not always denote the principal or only emphasis (‘Hároon’ being pronounced ‘Hároón’); that a vowel with a grave accent (only occurring at the end of a word), is not emphasized, though it is long; and that dh, gh, kh, sh, and th, when not divided by a hyphen, represent, each, a single Arabic letter.”8

I have only to add one more extract from Mr. Lane’s Preface.

“Many of the engravings which are so numerously interspersed in this work will considerably assist to explain both the Text and xxithe Notes; and to insure their accuracy, to the utmost of my ability, I have supplied the artist with modern dresses, and with other requisite materials. Thus he has been enabled to make his designs agree more nearly with the costumes &c. of the times which the tales generally illustrate than they would if he trusted alone to the imperfect descriptions which I have found in Arabic works.9 Except in a few cases, when I had given him such directions as I deemed necessary, his original designs have been submitted to me; and in suggesting any corrections, I have, as much as possible, avoided fettering his imagination, which needs no eulogy from me. He has acquired a general notion of Arabian architecture from the great work of Murphy on the Arabian remains in Spain, and from the splendid and accurate work on the Alhambra by Messrs. Goury and Jones; and through the kindness of my friend Mr. Hay, of Linplum, he has been allowed to make a similar use of a very accurate and very beautiful collection of drawings of a great number of the finest specimens of Arabian architecture in and around Cairo, executed by M. Pascal Coste, and now the property of Mr. Hay.10 He has also consulted a number of Oriental drawings, and various other sources. My acknowledgments to other persons I have expressed in several of the Notes.

“The portion which is comprised in the first volume of this translation, terminates with part of the hundred and thirty-seventh Night: it is therefore necessary to remark,—first, that there is less to omit in the early part of the original work than in the later:—secondly, that the Nights in the early part are xxiigenerally much longer than in the subsequent portion; the first hundred Nights (without the Introduction) comprising 213 pages in the Cairo edition of the original work; the second hundred, 149 pages; the third, 107; the fourth, 106; the fifth, 94:11—thirdly, that a similar observation applies to the Notes which are inserted in my translation; those appended to the early tales being necessarily much more copious than the others.”

1Two other printed editions were also used by Mr. Lane—that of the first two hundred Nights, printed at Calcutta, and in consequence of the loss, by shipwreck, of nearly the whole impression of the first volume, never completed; and that of Breslau. The former differs much, in matter and manner, from any other known copy; the latter, which was edited to the close of the seven hundred and third night by Professor Habicht, and completed by Professor Fleischer, is far inferior to all the others. One other edition has appeared in the Arabic, that of Calcutta, or “the Calcutta edition of the complete work.” It was brought from Cairo, and is apparently (though not immediately) from the same original as the Booláḳ edition. I have continually referred to it for various readings, without finding any one of importance. And here I must animadvert on the practice of German orientalists of wasting their own time and their readers’ patience in collecting such various readings of a work like “The Thousand and One Nights” as must necessarily be the result of the carelessness or the ignorance of copyists and reciters. The habit is unfortunately adopted by some Englishmen, who seem to imagine that all that is German is therefore learned.—Ed.

2″I must here state, that peculiar qualifications are required to enable a person to judge of the fidelity of my translation. The original work contains many words not comprised in any printed dictionary, and a great number of words used in senses which no such dictionary gives: in cases of both these kinds, I am guided either by the explanations of the sheykh Moḥammad ‘Eiyád, or by my having been long in the habit of noting down new words during conversation with Arabs, and in the perusal of works in which they are explained.”

3″As I hope that the copy which he has rendered so valuable may be of great utility to many students of the Arabic language when I have ceased to profit by it, I may mention here, that the few corrections, and some explanations, which I have inserted upon the margins of pages will be easily distinguished from those of the sheykh Moḥammad ‘Eiyád by the difference of our handwritings.”

4″When I mention ‘my sheykh’ in the notes, the sheykh Moḥammad ‘Eiyád is the person to whom I allude. In several instances, when he has given brief explanations of words, phrases, customs, &c., with which I was previously acquainted, I have not thought it necessary to name him as my authority in notes which I have inserted, though I have sometimes done so.”

5″English writers generally express the Arabic vowels and diphthongs by their nearest Italian equivalents. This mode is very well suited for those who know, and for those who do not care for, the correct pronunciation of the words so transcribed; but for others I think it objectionable. Our language is altogether much more suitable to the purpose of expressing the sounds of Arabic than the Italian. Besides, I believe it is the custom of every other European nation, in transcribing Oriental words, to employ a system congenial with its own language. In a former work, I made use of a double h to express a very strong Arabic aspirate (as others had done before me), and the word ‘Hhágg’ or ‘Hhájj’ was pointed out by a critic as one remarkably uncouth: Von Hammer, in a review of that work, writes the same word (and very properly as a German writer) ‘Hadschdsch.'”

6″Strictly speaking, it has a sound between that of a in ‘bad’ and that of u in ‘bud;’ sometimes approximating more to the former; and sometimes to the latter.”

7″Its sound, however, often approximates to that of a in ‘ball.'”

8″Dh is pronounced as th in ‘that:’ gh represents a guttural sound like that produced in gargling: kh represents a guttural sound like that which is produced in expelling saliva from the throat, and approaching nearer to the sound of ḥ (a very strong aspirate) than to that of k: sh is pronounced as in ‘shall:’ and th, as in ‘thin.'”

9″Es-Suyooṭee, in his ‘Ḥosn el-Moḥáḍarah,’ after quoting a description of certain dresses, says, ‘As to their dresses of honour, and those of the Wezeers and others of similar rank, I have struck out the description of them from the words of Ibn-Faḍl-Allah; for they are composed of silk and gold, which is forbidden by the law, and I have obliged myself not to mention in this book any thing of which I should be questioned in the world to come, if it be the will of God.’—I have never seen any Arabic work with drawings of costumes; but Persian drawings are often useful in explaining Arab dresses.”

10These drawings, with some few exceptions, have now been published, from copies in the possession of M. Coste.

11″The substance of the first five chapters in my translation, ending with part of the thirty-second Night, occupies a hundred and sixty-eight Nights in the edition of Breslau.”


Tail-piece to Preface
Head-piece to Table of Contents



Story of the Merchant and the Jinnee

Story of the First Sheykh and the Gazelle

Story of the Second Sheykh and the two Black Hounds

Story of the Third Sheykh and the Mule


Story of the Fisherman

Story of King Yoonán and the Sage Doobán

Story of the Husband and the Parrot

Story of the Envious Wezeer and the Prince and the Ghooleh

Continuation of the Story of King Yoonán and the Sage Doobán

Continuation of the Story of the Fisherman

Story of the Young King of the Black Islands


Story of the Porter and the Ladies of Baghdád, and of the Three Royal Mendicants, &c.

Story of the First Royal Mendicant

Story of the Second Royal Mendicant

Story of the Envier and the Envied

Continuation of the Story of the Second Royal Mendicant

Story of the Third Royal Mendicant

Continuation of the Story of the Ladies of Baghdád, &c.

Story of the First of the Three Ladies of Baghdád

Story of the Second of the Three Ladies of Baghdád

Conclusion of the Story of the Ladies of Baghdád, &c.


Story of the Three Apples, &c.

Story of Noor-ed-Deen and his Son, and of Shems-ed-Deen and his Daughter

Story of the Humpback

Story told by the Christian Broker

Story told by the Sulṭán’s Steward

Story told by the Jewish Physician

Story told by the Tailor

The Barber’s Story of Himself

The Barber’s Story of his First Brother

The Barber’s Story of his Second Brother

The Barber’s Story of his Third Brother

The Barber’s Story of his Fourth Brother

The Barber’s Story of his Fifth Brother

The Barber’s Story of his Sixth Brother

Conclusion of the Story told by the Tailor

Conclusion of the Story of the Humpback


Story of Noor-ed-Deen and Enees-el-Jelees


xxvStory of Ghánim the Son of Eiyoob, the Distracted Slave of Love

Story of the Slave Káfoor

Continuation of the Story of Ghánim


Story of Táj-el-Mulook and the Lady Dunyà

Story of ‘Azeez and ‘Azeezeh

Continuation of the Story of Táj-el-Mulook and the Lady Dunyà


Tail-piece to Table of Contents

Head-piece to List of Illustrations

Engraver’s Names Page
Ornamental Title.—At the foot is the Title in Arabic

Head-piece to Preface.—The Vase is formed of the Arabic words signifying “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful” (always placed at the head of a Muslim work), written doubly, and contrarily

Mary Clint vii
Tail-piece to Preface

Landells xxii
Head-piece to Table of Contents

Landells xxiii
Tail-piece to Table of Contents

Williamson xxv
Head-piece to List of Illustrations

Landells xxvi
Shahriyár going out to hunt, and Ornamental Border

Jackson 1
The Wezeer presenting the letter to Sháh-Zemán

O. Smith 3
Sháh-Zemán, after having killed his Wife

O. Smith 4
Meeting of Shahriyár and Sháh-Zemán

O. Smith 5
Shahriyár’s return from the Chase

Gray 6
Garden of Shahriyár’s Palace

Thompson 7
‘Efreet and Lady

T. Williams 8
xxviiThe Wezeer and his two Daughters

O. Smith 11
The Ass at Plough

Landells 12
The Dog and the Cock

Landells 13
Shahriyár unveiling Shahrazád

Thompson 14
Head-piece to Notes to Introduction.—The Arabic inscription is the subject of the first paragraph of the first Note

Landells 15
Tail-piece to Notes to Introduction.—Morning

Landells 37
Head-piece to Chapter I.—Shahrazád narrating her Stories

Miss Williams 38
Merchant and Jinnee

S. Williams 39
Meeting of the Merchant and the Sheykh with the Gazelle

O. Smith 41
Return of the Jinnee

O. Smith 42
Transformation of the Concubine into a Cow

Thompson 43
The Herdsman introducing his Daughter to the Sheykh

Benneworth 45
The Second Sheykh receiving his poor Brother

Gray 47
The Second Sheykh finding the Maiden on the Sea-shore

Gray 48
The Second Sheykh saved from drowning

Linton 49
The Second Sheykh and the two Black Hounds

Gray 50
Tail-piece to Chapter I.—The Jinnee listening to the Tales of the Sheykhs

F. W. Branston 51
Head-piece to Notes to Chapter I.—The Merchant eating in the Garden

Landells 52
Tail-piece to Notes to Chapter I.

Mason Jackson 68
Head-piece to Chapter II.—The Fisherman.—Motto, “Small things stir up great”

Jackson 69
The ‘Efreet liberated from the Bottle

Orrin Smith 71
The Fisherman enclosing the ‘Efreet in the Bottle

Green 74
King Yoonán playing at Goff

Landells 76
Doobán in his Dress of Honour

Thompson 78
The Intelligent Parrot

Gray 79
The Prince Meeting the Ghooleh

Landells 82
Doobán and the Executioner

Gray 84
The Death of King Yoonán

Thompson 86
The Fish of Four Colours

Gray 88
The Fisherman shewing the Fish to the Sulṭán

Thompson 89
The Cook-maid dressing the Fish

Kirchner 90
The Black Palace

Landells 92
The Sulṭán discovering the Young King of the Black Islands

Orrin Smith 94
The Young King on his Bed, attended by Two Maids

T. Williams 95
The Black Slave wounded by the Young King

Gray 97
The Ḳubbeh, or Tomb

Miss Williams 100
The Sulṭán killing the Enchantress

S. Williams 101
Tail-piece to Chapter II.—The Journey home

Landells 103
Head-piece to Notes to Chapter II.—The Fisherman and the dead Ass

Landells 104
Head-piece to Chapter III.—The Porter, &c.—The Motto is the Inscription upon the Door, in Koofee Characters

Mason Jackson 120
The Porter pleading with the Three Ladies

Smith 123
The Porter and Ladies carousing

T. Williams 124
The Three Royal Mendicants

Vasey 126
The Concert of the Mendicants

Smith 127
The Ladies preparing to whip the Bitches

Gray 129
The Portress fainting

T. Williams 130
xxviiiThe Porter seized

Gray 132
First Prince (afterwards a Mendicant) leading the Lady to the Tomb

Smith 135
Second Prince (afterwards a Mendicant) meeting the Robbers

Green 140
Second Prince as a Wood-cutter

T. Williams 142
Second Prince discovering the Trap-door

Landells 143
Second Prince ascending the Steps

Landells 145
Second Prince carried off by the ‘Efreet

Thompson 146
Second Prince begging his life of the ‘Efreet

Thompson 148
The Envied Sheykh and the Jinn in the Well

T. Williams 150
Second Prince transformed into an Ape

S. Williams 152
The Ape recognised by the Princess

Gray 155
The Combat with the Lion (Head-piece)

S. Williams, Jun. 156

Wright & Folkard 156

Wright & Folkard 157
Disenchantment of the Ape

Smith 158
The Mountain of Loadstone

Whimper 162
The Prince thrown ashore

M. Jackson 163
Death of the Youth in the Cave

Green 166

M. Jackson 171
First Lady recognising her Sisters

Green 174
The Prince in the Oratory

Smith 177
First Lady after killing the Serpent

Landells 180
Bázár, or Market-Street

M. Jackson 184
Old Woman interceding for the Second Lady

Thompson 186

Green 189
Head-piece to Notes to Chapter III.—The Porter

J. Jackson 190
Persian Harps

Landells 205
Tail-piece to Notes to Chapter III.

T. Williams 221
Head-piece to Chapter IV.—Fisherman drawing his Nets

Thompson 222
The Young Man presenting the Apples to his Wife

F. Branston 226
The Wezeer finding the Apple

Green 229
The Pyramids

J. Jackson 232
The Mule of Noor-ed-Deen

Landells 233
Noor-ed-Deen after the Bath

M. Jackson 235
The Old Wezeer instructing his Grandchild

Thompson 238
Noor-ed-Deen and his Son

Linton 241
Bedr-ed-Deen at his Father’s Tomb

J. Jackson 243
The ‘Efreet, attended by the Jinneeyeh, carrying off Bedr-ed-Deen

Thompson 245

Wright & Folkard 248

Wright & Folkard 249
Bedr-ed-Deen and his Bride

Wright & Folkard 249
Gate of Damascus

M. Jackson 251
The Wezeer Shems-ed-Deen recovering from a Swoon

Slader 255
The School

Gray 257

Smith 260
The Widow of Noor-ed-Deen kissing the feet of his Brother

T. Williams 263
Bedr-ed-Deen waiting upon his Son and the Eunuch

Green 265
Bedr-ed-Deen bound

Smith 267
Bedr-ed-Deen’s perplexity

J. Jackson 270
Head-piece to Notes to Chapter IV.—The Old Fisherman

Miss Williams 273
Tail-piece to Notes to Chapter IV.

Wright & Folkard 290
xxixHead-piece to Chapter V.—The Humpback, &c.

T. Williams 291
The Humpback Dead

Wright & Folkard 296
Báb en-Naṣr (from a Sketch by Mr. E.W. Lane), &c.

J. Jackson 297
Money-Changer and Scrivener, &c.

Wright & Folkard 300

Thompson 303
Interior of Báb Zuweyleh (from a Sketch by M. Coste)

Landells 306
Head-piece to the Story told by the Sulṭán’s Steward

Landells 310
Arrival of the Lady on the Mule

M. Jackson 313
Mosque on the Bank of the Tigris

J. Jackson 315
Displaying of the Bride

Thompson 317
Portrait of the Jew

Slader 319
Head-piece to the Story told by the Jewish Physician

Smith 320

Smith 322
The Arrest

Gray 325
The Lady confessing her Crime

Gray 327
Head-piece to the Story told by the Tailor

Smith 328
Young Man sitting on a Maṣṭabah

Smith 330
The Barber and the Young Man

Landells 332
The Barber and Servants with Dishes

Landells 336
The Barber rending his Clothes

J. Jackson 339
Portrait of the Barber

Vasey 341
Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of Himself

J. Jackson 342
Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his First Brother.—The Motto, “How different is to-night from yesterday!”

Landells 344
Tail-piece to the same

Williamson 347
Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his Second Brother

T. Williams 348
Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his Third Brother

S. Williams 351
Tail-piece to the same

Jennings 354
Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his Fourth Brother

Jackson 355
Tail-piece to the same

Gray 358
Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his Fifth Brother.—The Motto, “The emulous desire of increase employeth you until ye visit the graves.” (Ḳur-án, ch. cii. vv. 1 and 2.)

Jackson 359
The Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth Brother

Thompson 360

S. Williams 361

T. Williams 362

Gray 363
The Result

Lee 363
The Second Misfortune of the Barber’s Fifth Brother

Thompson 366
Tail-piece to the Barber’s Story of his Fifth Brother

Williamson 368
Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his Sixth Brother

Landells 369
The Barber’s Sixth Brother taken by Bedawees

Green 373
Tail-piece to the Story of the Humpback

Slader 376
Head-piece to Notes to Chapter V.

Landells 377
Tail-piece to Notes to Chapter V.

Vasey 389
Head-piece to Chapter VI.

Smith 390
Noor-ed-Deen embracing the Slave

Thompson 394
The Funeral of the Wezeer El-Faḍl

Wright & Folkard 397
The Wezeer El-Mo’een in the Slave-Market

J. Jackson 402
El-Mo’een in his Abasement

Miss H. Clarke 404
The Lane leading to “The Garden of Delight”

Green 408
Bower in “The Garden of Delight”

T. Williams 410
xxxEnees-el-Jelees offering the Wine

Wright & Folkard 412
The Khaleefeh and the Wezeer in the Tree

S. Williams 415
Kereem, the Fisherman

Jennings 418
Enees-el-Jelees playing on the Lute

S. Williams 421
Enees-el-Jelees and the Khaleefeh and Jaạfar

Slader 427
Tail-piece to Chapter VI.

Bastin 429
Head-piece to Notes to Chapter VI.

Landells 430
Tail-piece to Notes to Chapter VI.

Branston 435
Head-piece to Chapter VII.

Landells 436
Ghánim in the Palm-tree

Smith 439
The Merchant meeting his Family

Jackson 443
Ḳoot-el-Ḳuloob awaking

Gray 446
Pretended Tomb of Ḳoot-el-Ḳuloob

Williamson 451
Ghánim sick in a Mosque

M. Jackson 455
Ghánim’s Mother and Sister as Beggars

Wright & Folkard 459
Tail-piece to Chapter VII.

Landells 462
Head-piece to Notes to Chapter VII.—Damascus

Landells 463
Tail-piece to Notes to Chapter VII.—The Decision

M. Jackson 468
Head-piece to Chapter VIII.—Suleymán Sháh and his Wezeer

J. Jackson 469
Zahr Sháh on his Throne

Vasey 473
The Troops of Suleymán Sháh meeting his Bride

Wright & Folkard 475
Táj-el-Mulook hunting

Green 477
Descent of the Handkerchief

S. Williams 482
‘Azeez and ‘Azeezeh

Slader 485
The Maḳ’ad

O. Smith 490
‘Azeez returned with the Knife and Dirhem

Landells 495
‘Azeezeh weeping over the Design of the Gazelles

Slader 497
‘Azeezeh dead

Landells 499
‘Azeez and his Mistress at the Grave of ‘Azeezeh

Williamson 502
The future Wife of ‘Azeez

Jennings 505
The Punishment of ‘Azeez

Gray 508
The Lady Dunyà

Thompson 512
Halt on the Journey

Whimper 514
Táj-el-Mulook receiving the Old Woman

Vasey 519
The Lady Dunyà writing

Harriet Clarke 523
The Lady Dunyà untwisting the Old Woman’s Hair

T. Williams 526
The Old Woman beaten by Female Slaves

S. Williams 528
Illustrations of the Stratagem in the Lady Dunyá’s Garden

Landells 532
Táj-el-Mulook and the Lady Dunyà

Landells 535
Scene on the Arrival of the Troops of Suleymán Sháh

Whimper 538
The Horses sent to Suleymán Sháh

Gray 541
Tail-piece to Chapter VIII.

Wright & Folkard 543
Head-piece to Notes to Chapter VIII.

Landells 544
Tail-piece to Notes to Chapter VIII.

Green 555

Shahriyár going out to hunt, and Ornamental Border
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.1

Praise be to God, the Beneficent King, the Creator of the universe, who hath raised the heavens without pillars, and spread out the earth as a bed;2 and blessing and peace be on the lord of apostles, our lord and our master Moḥammad, and his Family; blessing and peace, enduring and constant, unto the day of judgment.
To proceed:—The lives of former generations are a lesson to posterity; that a man may review the remarkable events2 which have happened to others, and be admonished; and may consider the history of people of preceding ages, and of all that hath befallen them, and be restrained. Extolled be the perfection of Him who hath thus ordained the history of former generations to be a lesson to those which follow. Such are the Tales of a Thousand and One Nights, with their romantic stories and their fables.

It is related (but God alone is all-knowing,3 as well as all-wise, and almighty, and all-bountiful,) that there was, in ancient times, a King4 of the countries of India and China, possessing numerous troops, and guards, and servants, and domestic dependents: and he had two sons; one of whom was a man of mature age; and the other, a youth. Both of these princes were brave horsemen; but especially the elder, who inherited the kingdom of his father; and governed his subjects with such justice that the inhabitants of his country and whole empire loved him. He was called King Shahriyár:5 his younger brother was named Sháh-Zemán,6 and was King of Samarḳand.7 The administration of their governments was conducted with rectitude, each of them ruling over his subjects with justice during a period of twenty years with the utmost enjoyment and happiness. After this period, the elder King felt a strong desire to see his brother, and ordered his Wezeer8 to repair to him and bring him.

The Wezeer presenting the letter to Sháh-Zemán
Having taken the advice of the Wezeer on this subject,9 he immediately gave orders to prepare handsome presents, such as horses adorned with gold and costly jewels, and memlooks, and beautiful virgins, and expensive stuffs.10 He then wrote a letter to his brother, expressive of his great desire to see him;11 and having sealed it, and given it to the Wezeer, together with the presents above mentioned, he ordered the minister to strain his nerves, and tuck up his skirts, and use all expedition in returning. The Wezeer answered, without delay, I hear and obey; and forthwith prepared for the journey: he packed his baggage, removed the burdens, and made ready all his provisions within three days; and on the fourth day, he took leave of the King Shahriyár, and went forth towards the deserts and wastes. He proceeded night and day; and each of the kings under the authority of King Shahriyár by whose residence he passed came forth to meet him,12 with costly presents, and gifts of gold and silver, and entertained him three days;13 after which, on the fourth day, he accompanied him one day’s journey, and took leave of him. Thus he continued on his way until he drew near to the city of Samarḳand, when he sent forward a messenger to inform King Sháh-Zemán of3 his approach. The messenger entered the city, inquired the way to the palace, and, introducing himself to the King, kissed the ground before him,14 and acquainted him with the approach of his brother’s Wezeer; upon which Sháh-Zemán ordered the chief officers of his court, and the great men of his kingdom, to go forth a day’s journey to meet him; and they did so; and when they met him, they welcomed him, and walked by his stirrups until they returned to the city. The Wezeer then presented himself before the King Sháh-Zemán, greeted him with a prayer for the divine assistance in his favour, kissed the ground before him, and informed him of his brother’s desire to see him; after which he handed to him the letter. The King took it, read it, and understood its contents;15 and answered by expressing his readiness to obey the commands of his brother. But, said he (addressing the Wezeer), I will not go until I have entertained thee three days. Accordingly, he lodged him in a palace befitting his rank, accommodated his troops in tents, and appointed them all things requisite in the way of food and drink: and so they remained three days. On the fourth day, he equipped himself for4 the journey, made ready his baggage, and collected together costly presents suitable to his brother’s dignity.

These preparations being completed, he sent forth his tents and camels and mules and servants and guards, appointed his Wezeer to be governor of the country during his absence, and set out towards his brother’s dominions. At midnight,16 however, he remembered that he had left in his palace an article which he should have brought with him; and having returned to the palace to fetch it, he there beheld his wife sleeping in his bed, and attended by a male negro slave, who had fallen asleep by her side. On beholding this scene, the world became black before his eyes; and he said within himself, If this is the case when I have not departed from the city, what will be the conduct of this vile woman while I am sojourning with my brother? He then drew his sword, and slew them both in the bed: after which he immediately returned, gave orders for departure, and journeyed to his brother’s capital.

Sháh-Zemán, after having killed his Wife
Shahriyár, rejoicing at the tidings of his approach, went forth to meet him, saluted him, and welcomed him with the utmost delight. He then ordered that the city should be decorated on the occasion,17 and sat down to entertain his brother with cheerful conversation: but the mind of King Sháh-Zemán was distracted by reflections upon the conduct of his wife; excessive grief took possession of him; and his countenance became sallow; and his frame, emaciated. His brother observed his altered condition, and, imagining that it was occasioned by his absence from his dominions, abstained from troubling him or5 asking respecting the cause, until after the lapse of some days, when at length he said to him, O my brother, I perceive that thy body is emaciated, and thy countenance is become sallow. He answered, O brother, I have an internal sore:—and he informed him not of the conduct of his wife which he had witnessed. Shahriyár then said, I wish that thou wouldest go out with me on a hunting excursion; perhaps thy mind might so be diverted:—but he declined; and Shahriyár went alone to the chase.18

Meeting of Shahriyár and Sháh-Zemán
Now there were some windows in the King’s palace commanding a view of his garden; and while his brother was looking out from one of these, a door of the palace was opened, and there came forth from it twenty females and twenty male black slaves; and the King’s wife, who was distinguished by extraordinary beauty and elegance,19 accompanied them to a fountain, where they all disrobed themselves, and sat down together. The King’s wife then called out, O Mes’ood!20 and immediately a black slave came to her, and embraced her; she doing the like. So also did the other slaves and the women; and all of them continued revelling together until the close of the day. When Sháh-Zemán beheld this spectacle, he said within himself, By Allah! my affliction is lighter than this! His vexation and grief were alleviated, and he no longer abstained from sufficient food and drink.

When his brother returned from his excursion, and they had6 saluted each other, and King Shahriyár observed his brother Sháh-Zemán, that his colour had returned, that his face had recovered the flush of health, and that he ate with appetite, after his late abstinence, he was surprised, and said, O my brother, when I saw thee last, thy countenance was sallow, and now thy colour hath returned to thee: acquaint me with thy state.—As to the change of my natural complexion, answered Sháh-Zemán, I will inform thee of its cause; but excuse my explaining to thee the return of my colour.—First, said Shahriyár, relate to me the cause of the change of thy proper complexion, and of thy weakness: let me hear it.—Know then, O my brother, he answered, that when thou sentest thy Wezeer to me to invite me to thy presence, I prepared myself for the journey, and when I had gone forth from the city, I remembered that I had left behind me the jewel that I have given thee; I therefore returned to my palace for it, and there I found my wife sleeping in my bed, and attended by a black male slave; and I killed them both, and came to thee: but my mind was occupied by reflections upon this affair, and this was the cause of the change of my complexion, and of my weakness: now, as to the return of my colour, excuse my informing thee of its cause.—But when his brother heard these words, he said, I conjure thee by Allah that thou acquaint me with the cause of the return of thy colour:—so he repeated to him all that he had seen. I would see this, said Shahriyár, with my own eye.—Then, said Sháh-Zemán, give out that thou art going again to the chase, and conceal thyself here with me, and thou shalt witness this conduct, and obtain ocular proof of it.

Shahriyár’s return from the Chase
Shahriyár, upon this, immediately announced that it was his intention to make another excursion. The troops went out of the city7 with the tents, and the King followed them; and after he had reposed awhile in the camp, he said to his servants, Let no one come in to me:—and he disguised himself, and returned to his brother in the palace, and sat in one of the windows overlooking the garden; and when he had been there a short time, the women and their mistress entered the garden with the black slaves, and did as his brother had described, continuing so until the hour of the afternoon-prayer.

Garden of Shahriyár’s Palace
‘Efreet and Lady
When King Shahriyár beheld this occurrence, reason fled from his head, and he said to his brother Sháh-Zemán, Arise, and let us travel whither we please, and renounce the regal state, until we see whether such a calamity as this have befallen any other person like unto us; and if not, our death will be preferable to our life. His brother agreed to his proposal, and they went out from a private door of the palace, and journeyed continually, days and nights, until they arrived at a tree in the midst of a meadow, by a spring of water, on the shore of the sea. They drank of this spring, and sat down to rest; and when the day had a little advanced, the sea became troubled8 before them, and there arose from it a black pillar, ascending towards the sky, and approaching the meadow. Struck with fear at the sight, they climbed up into the tree, which was lofty; and thence they gazed to see what this might be: and behold, it was a Jinnee,21 of gigantic stature, broad-fronted and bulky, bearing on his head a chest.22 He landed, and came to the tree into which the two Kings had climbed, and, having seated himself beneath it, opened the chest, and took out of it another box, which he also opened; and there came forth from it a young woman, fair and beautiful, like the shining sun. When the Jinnee cast his eyes upon her, he said, O lady of noble race, whom I carried off on thy wedding-night, I have a desire to sleep a little:—and he placed his head upon her knee, and slept. The damsel then9 raised her head towards the tree, and saw there the two Kings; upon which she removed the head of the Jinnee from her knee, and, having placed it on the ground, stood under the tree, and made signs to the two Kings, as though she would say, Come down, and fear not this ‘Efreet.23 They answered her, We conjure thee by Allah that thou excuse us in this matter. But she said, I conjure you by the same that ye come down; and if ye do not, I will rouse this ‘Efreet, and he shall put you to a cruel death. So, being afraid, they came down to her; and, after they had remained with her as long as she required, she took from her pocket a purse, and drew out from this a string, upon which were ninety-eight seal-rings;24 and she said to them, Know ye what are these? They answered, We know not.—The owners of these rings, said she, have, all of them, been admitted to converse with me, like as ye have, unknown to this foolish ‘Efreet; therefore, give me your two rings,25 ye brothers. So they gave her their two rings from their fingers; and she then said to them, This ‘Efreet carried me off on my wedding-night, and put me in the box, and placed the box in the chest, and affixed to the chest seven locks, and deposited me, thus imprisoned, in the bottom of the roaring sea, beneath the dashing waves; not knowing that, when one of our sex desires to accomplish any object, nothing can prevent her. In accordance with this, says one of the poets:—

Never trust in women; nor rely upon their vows;
For their pleasure and displeasure depend upon their passions.
They offer a false affection; for perfidy lurks within their clothing.
By the tale of Yoosuf26 be admonished, and guard against their stratagems.
Dost thou not consider that Iblees ejected Adam by means of woman?
And another poet says:—

Abstain from censure; for it will strengthen the censured, and increase desire into violent passion.
If I suffer such passion, my case is but the same as that of many a man before me:
For greatly indeed to be wondered at is he who hath kept himself safe from women’s artifice.27
When the two Kings heard these words from her lips, they were struck with the utmost astonishment, and said, one to the other, If this is an ‘Efreet, and a greater calamity hath happened unto him than that which hath befallen us, this is a circumstance that should console us:—and immediately they departed, and returned to the city.

As soon as they had entered the palace, Shahriyár caused his wife to be beheaded, and in like manner the women and black slaves;10 and thenceforth he made it his regular custom, every time that he took a virgin to his bed, to kill her at the expiration of the night. Thus he continued to do during a period of three years; and the people raised an outcry against him, and fled with their daughters, and there remained not a virgin in the city of a sufficient age for marriage.28 Such was the case when the King ordered the Wezeer to bring him a virgin according to his custom; and the Wezeer went forth and searched, and found none; and he went back to his house enraged and vexed, fearing what the King might do to him.

Now the Wezeer had two daughters; the elder of whom was named Shahrazád; and the younger, Dunyázád. The former had read various books of histories, and the lives of preceding kings, and stories of past generations: it is asserted that she had collected together a thousand books of histories, relating to preceding generations and kings, and works of the poets: and she said to her father on this occasion, Why do I see thee thus changed, and oppressed with solicitude and sorrows? It has been said by one of the poets:—

Tell him who is oppressed with anxiety, that anxiety will not last:
As happiness passeth away, so passeth away anxiety.
When the Wezeer heard these words from his daughter, he related to her all that had happened to him with regard to the King: upon which she said, By Allah, O my father, give me in marriage to this King: either I shall die, and be a ransom for one of the daughters of the Muslims, or I shall live, and be the cause of their deliverance from him.29—I conjure thee by Allah, exclaimed he, that thou expose not thyself to such peril:—but she said, It must be so. Then, said he, I fear for thee that the same will befall thee that happened in the case of the ass and the bull and the husbandman.—And what, she asked, was that, O my father.

The Wezeer and his two Daughters
Know, O my daughter, said the Wezeer, that there was a certain merchant, who possessed wealth and cattle, and had a wife and children; and God, whose name be exalted, had also endowed him with the knowledge of the languages of beasts and birds.30 The abode of this merchant was in the country; and he had, in his house, an ass and a bull.31 When the bull came to the place where the ass was tied, he found it swept and sprinkled;32 in his manger were sifted barley and sifted cut straw,33 and the ass was lying at his ease; his master being accustomed only to ride him occasionally, when business required, and soon to return: and it happened, one11 day, that the merchant overheard the bull saying to the ass, May thy food benefit thee!34 I am oppressed with fatigue, while thou art enjoying repose: thou eatest sifted barley, and men serve thee; and it is only occasionally that thy master rides thee, and returns; while I am continually employed in ploughing, and turning the mill.35—The ass answered,36 When thou goest out to the field, and they place the yoke upon thy neck, lie down, and do not rise again, even if they beat thee; or, if thou rise, lie down a second time; and when they take thee back, and place the beans before thee, eat them not, as though thou wert sick: abstain from eating and drinking a day, or two days, or three; and so shalt thou find rest from trouble and labour.—Accordingly, when the driver came to the bull with his fodder, he ate scarcely any of it; and on the morrow, when the driver came again to take him to plough, he found him apparently quite infirm: so the merchant said, Take the ass, and make him draw the plough in his stead all the day. The man did so; and when the ass returned at the close of the day, the bull thanked him for the12 favour he had conferred upon him by relieving him of his trouble on that day; but the ass returned him no answer, for he repented most grievously. On the next day, the ploughman came again, and took the ass, and ploughed with him till evening; and the ass returned with his neck flayed by the yoke, and reduced to an extreme state of weakness; and the bull looked upon him, and thanked and praised him. The ass exclaimed, I was living at ease, and nought but my meddling hath injured me! Then said he to the bull, Know that I am one who would give thee good advice: I heard our master say, If the bull rise not from his place, take him to the butcher, that he may kill him, and make a naṭạ37 of his skin:—I am therefore in fear for thee, and so I have given thee advice; and peace be on thee!—When the bull heard these words of the ass, he thanked him, and said, To-morrow I will go with alacrity:—so he ate the whole of his fodder, and even licked the manger.—Their master, meanwhile, was listening to their conversation.

The Ass at Plough
On the following morning, the merchant and his wife went to the bull’s crib, and sat down there; and the driver came, and took out the bull; and when the bull saw his master, he shook his tail, and showed his alacrity by sounds and actions, bounding about in such a manner that the merchant laughed until he fell backwards. His wife, in surprise, asked him, At what dost thou laugh? He answered, At a thing that I have heard and seen; but I cannot reveal it; for if I did, I should die. She said, Thou must inform me of the cause of thy laughter, even if thou die.—I cannot reveal it, said he: the fear of death prevents me.—Thou laughedst only at me, she said; and she ceased not to urge and importune him until he was quite overcome and distracted. So he called together his children, and sent for the Ḳáḍee38 and witnesses, that he might make his will, and reveal the secret to her, and die: for he loved her excessively, since she was the daughter of his paternal uncle, and the mother of his children, and he had lived with her to the age of a hundred and twenty years.39 Having assembled her family and his neighbours, he related to them his story, and told them that as soon as he revealed his secret he must die; upon which every one present said to her, We conjure thee by Allah that thou give up this affair, and let not thy husband,13 and the father of thy children, die. But she said, I will not desist until he tell me, though he die for it. So they ceased to solicit her; and the merchant left them, and went to the stable to perform the ablution, and then to return, and tell them the secret, and die.40

The Dog and the Cock
Now he had a cock, with fifty hens under him, and he had also a dog; and he heard the dog call to the cock, and reproach him, saying, Art thou happy when our master is going to die? The cock asked, How so?—and the dog related to him the story; upon which the cock exclaimed, By Allah! our master has little sense: I have fifty wives; and I please this, and provoke that; while he has but one wife, and cannot manage this affair with her: why does he not take some twigs of the mulberry-tree, and enter her chamber, and beat her until she dies or repents? She would never, after that, ask him a question respecting anything.—And when the merchant heard the words of the cock, as he addressed the dog, he recovered his reason, and made up his mind to beat her.—Now, said the Wezeer to his daughter Shahrazád, perhaps I may do to thee as the merchant did to his wife. She asked, And what did he? He answered, He entered her chamber, after he had cut off some twigs of the mulberry-tree, and hidden them there; and then said to her, Come into the chamber, that I may tell thee the secret while no one sees me, and then die:—and when she had entered, he locked the chamber-door upon her, and beat her until she became almost senseless and cried out, I repent:—and she kissed his hands and his feet, and repented, and went out with him; and all the company, and her own family, rejoiced; and they lived together in the happiest manner until death.

When the Wezeer’s daughter heard the words of her father, she said to him, It must be as I have requested. So he arrayed her, and went to the King Shahriyár. Now she had given directions to her young sister, saying to her, When I have gone to the King, I will send to request thee to come; and when thou comest to me, and seest a convenient time, do thou say to me, O my sister, relate to me some strange story to beguile our waking hour:41—and I will relate to thee a story that shall, if it be the will of God, be the means of procuring deliverance.

Her father, the Wezeer, then took her to the King, who, when14 he saw him, was rejoiced, and said, Hast thou brought me what I desired? He answered, Yes. When the King, therefore, introduced himself to her, she wept; and he said to her, What aileth thee? She answered, O King, I have a young sister, and I wish to take leave of her. So the King sent to her; and she came to her sister, and embraced her, and sat near the foot of the bed; and after she had waited for a proper opportunity, she said, By Allah! O my sister, relate to us a story to beguile the waking hour of our night. Most willingly, answered Shahrazád, if this virtuous King permit me. And the King, hearing these words, and being restless, was pleased with the idea of listening to the story; and thus, on the first night of the thousand and one, Shahrazád commenced her recitations.

Shahriyár unveiling Shahrazád

Head-piece to Notes to Introduction.–The Arabic inscription is the subject of the first paragraph of the first Note
Note 1.—On the Initial Phrase, and on the Mohammadan Religion and Laws. It is a universal custom of the Muslims to write this phrase at the commencement of every book, whatever may be the subject, and to pronounce it on commencing every lawful act of any importance. This they do in imitation of the Ḳur-án (every chapter of which, excepting one, is thus prefaced), and in accordance with a precept of their Prophet. The words which I translate “Compassionate” and “Merciful” are both derived from the same root, and have nearly the same meaning: the one being of a form which is generally used to express an accidental or occasional passion or sensation; the other, to denote a constant quality: but the most learned of the ‘Ulamà (or professors of religion and law, &c.) interpret the former as signifying “Merciful in great things;” and the latter, “Merciful in small things.” Sale has erred in rendering them, conjunctly, “Most merciful.”

In the books of the Muslims, the first words, after the above phrase, almost always consist (as in the work before us) of some form of praise and thanksgiving to God for his power and goodness, followed by an invocation of blessing on the Prophet; and in general, when the author is not very concise in these expressions, he conveys in them some allusion to the subject of his book. For instance, if he write on marriage, he will commence his work with some such form as this (after the phrase first mentioned)—”Praise be to God, who hath created the human race, and made them males and females,” &c.

The exordium of the present work, showing the duty imposed upon a Muslim by his religion, even on the occasion of his commencing the composition or compilation of a series of fictions, suggests to me the necessity of inserting a brief prefatory notice of the fundamental points of his faith, and the principal laws of the ritual and moral, the civil, and the criminal code; leaving more full explanations of particular points to be given when occasions shall require such illustrations.

The confession of the Muslim’s faith is briefly made in these words:—”There is no deity but God: Moḥammad is God’s Apostle:”—which imply a belief and observance of everything that Moḥammad taught to be the word or will of God. In the opinion of those who are commonly called orthodox, and termed “Sunnees” (the only class whom we have to consider; for they are Sunnee tenets and Arab manners which are described in this work in almost every case, wherever the scene is laid), the Mohammadan code is founded upon the Ḳur-án, the Traditions of the Prophet, the concordance of his principal early disciples, and the decisions which have been framed from analogy or comparison. This class consists of four sects, Ḥanafees, Sháfe’ees, Málikees, and Ḥambelees; so called after the names of their respective founders. The other sects,16 who are called “Shiya’ees” (an appellation particularly given to the Persian sect, but also used to designate generally all who are not Sunnees), are regarded by their opponents in general nearly in the same light as those who do not profess El-Islám (or the Mohammadan faith); that is, as destined to eternal or severe punishment.

The Mohammadan faith embraces the following points:

1. Belief in God, who is without beginning or end, the sole Creator and Lord of the universe, having absolute power, and knowledge, and glory, and perfection.

2. Belief in his Angels, who are impeccable beings, created of light; and Genii (Jinn), who are peccable, created of smokeless fire. The Devils, whose chief is Iblees, or Satan, are evil Genii.

3. Belief in his Scriptures, which are his uncreated word, revealed to his prophets. Of these there now exist, but held to be greatly corrupted, the Pentateuch of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Gospels of Jesus Christ; and, in an uncorrupted and incorruptible state, the Ḳur-án, which is held to have abrogated, and to surpass in excellence, all preceding revelations.

4. Belief in his Prophets and Apostles;12 the most distinguished of whom are Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Moḥammad. Jesus is held to be more excellent than any of those who preceded him; to have been born of a virgin, and to be the Messiah, and the word of God, and a Spirit proceeding from Him, but not partaking of his essence, and not to be called the Son of God. Moḥammad is held to be more excellent than all; the last and greatest of prophets and apostles; the most excellent of the creatures of God.

5. Belief in the general resurrection and judgment, and in future rewards and punishments, chiefly of a corporeal nature: that the punishments will be eternal to all but wicked Mohammadans; and that none but Mohammadans will enter into a state of happiness.

6. Belief in God’s predestination of all events, both good and evil.

The principal Ritual and Moral Laws are on the following subjects, of which the first four are the most important.

1. Prayer (eṣ-ṣaláh, commonly pronounced eṣ-ṣalah), including preparatory purifications. There are partial or total washings to be performed on particular occasions which need not be mentioned. The ablution which is more especially preparatory to prayer (and which is called wuḍoó) consists in washing the hands, mouth, nostrils, face, arms (as high as the elbow, the right first), each three times; and then the upper part of the head, the beard, ears, neck, and feet, each once. This is done with running water, or from a very large tank, or from a lake, or the sea.—Prayers are required to be performed five times in the course of every day; between daybreak and sunrise, between noon and the ‘aṣr (which latter period is about mid-time between noon and nightfall), between the ‘aṣr and sunset, between sunset and the ‘eshè (or the period when the darkness of night commences), and at, or after, the ‘eshè. The commencement of each of these periods is announced by a chant (called adán), repeated by a crier (muëddin) from the mád’neh, or menaret, of each mosque; and it is more meritorious to commence the prayer then than at a later time. On each of these occasions, the Muslim has to perform certain prayers held to be ordained by God, and others ordained by the Prophet; each kind consisting of two, three, or four “rek’ahs;” which term signifies the repetition of a set form of words, chiefly from the Ḳur-án, and ejaculations of “God is most Great!” &c., accompanied by particular postures; part of the words being repeated in an erect posture; part, sitting; and part, in other postures: an inclination of the head and body, followed by two prostrations, distinguishing each rek’ah. These prayers may in some cases be abridged, and in others entirely omitted. Other prayers must be performed on particular occasions. 1. On Friday, the Mohammadan Sabbath. These are congregational prayers, and are similar to those of other 17days, with additional prayers and exhortations by a minister, who is called Imám, or Khaṭeeb. 2. On two grand annual festivals. 3. On the nights of Ramaḍán, the month of abstinence. 4. On the occasion of an eclipse of the sun or moon. 5. For rain. 6. Previously to the commencement of battle. 7. In pilgrimage. 8. At funerals.

2. Alms-giving. An alms, called “zekáh,” commonly pronounced “zekah,” is required by law to be given annually, to the poor, of camels, oxen (bulls and cows), and buffaloes, sheep and goats, horses and mules and asses, and gold and silver (whether in money or in vessels, ornaments, &c.), provided the property be of a certain amount, as five camels, thirty oxen, forty sheep, five horses, two hundred dirhems, or twenty deenárs. The proportion is generally one-fortieth, which is to be paid in kind, or in money, or other equivalent.

3. Fasting (eṣ-ṣiyám). The Muslim must abstain from eating and drinking, and from every indulgence of the senses, every day during the month of Ramaḍán, from the first appearance of daybreak until sunset, unless physically incapacitated.—On the first day of the following month, a festival, called the Minor Festival, is observed with public prayer, and with general rejoicing, which continues three days.

4. Pilgrimage (el-ḥajj). It is incumbent on the Muslim, if able, to perform, at least once in his life, the pilgrimage to Mekkeh and Mount ‘Arafát. The principal ceremonies of the pilgrimage are completed on the 9th of the month of Zu-l-Ḥejjeh: on the following day, which is the first of the Great Festival, on the return from ‘Arafát to Mekkeh, the pilgrims who are able to do so perform a sacrifice, and every other Muslim who can is required to do the same: part of the meat of the victim he should eat, and the rest he should give to the poor. This festival is observed otherwise in a similar manner to the minor one, above mentioned; and lasts three or four days.

The less important ritual and moral laws may here be briefly mentioned in a single paragraph.—One of these is circumcision, which is not absolutely obligatory.—The distinctions of clean and unclean meats are nearly the same in the Mohammedan as in the Mosaic code. Camels’ flesh is an exception; being lawful to the Muslim. Swine’s flesh, and blood, are especially condemned; and a particular mode of slaughtering animals for food is enjoined, accompanied by the repetition of the name of God.—Wine and all inebriating liquors are strictly forbidden.—So also are gaming and usury.—Music is condemned; but most Muslims take great delight in hearing it.—Images and pictures representing living creatures are contrary to law.—Charity, probity in all transactions, veracity (excepting in a few cases), and modesty, are virtues indispensable.—Cleanliness in person, and decent attire, are particularly required. Clothes of silk, and ornaments of gold or silver, are forbidden to men, but allowed to women: this precept, however, is often disregarded.—Utensils of gold and silver are also condemned: yet they are used by many Muslims.—The manners of Muslims in society are subject to particular laws or rules, with respect to salutations, &c.

Of the Civil Laws, the following notices will at present suffice.—A man may have four wives at the same time, and, according to common opinion, as many concubine slaves as he pleases.—He may divorce a wife twice, and each time take her back again; but if he divorce her a third time, or by a triple sentence, he cannot make her his wife again unless by her own consent, and by a new contract, and after another man has consummated a marriage with her, and divorced her.—The children by a wife and those by a concubine slave inherit equally, if the latter be acknowledged by the father. Sons inherit equally: so also do daughters; but the share of a daughter is half that of a son. One-eighth is the share of the wife or wives of the deceased if he have left issue, and one-fourth if he have left no issue. A husband inherits one-fourth of his wife’s property if she have left issue, and one-half if she have left no issue. The debts and legacies of the deceased must be first paid. A man may leave one-third of his property in any way he pleases.—When a concubine slave has borne a child to her master, she becomes entitled to freedom on his death.—There are particular laws relating to commerce. Usury and monopoly are especially condemned.

18Of the Criminal Laws, a few only need here be mentioned. Murder is punishable by death, or by a fine to be paid to the family of the deceased, if they prefer it.—Theft, if the property stolen amount to a quarter of a deenár, is to be punished by cutting off the right hand, except under certain circumstances.—Adultery, if attested by four eye-witnesses, is punishable by death (stoning): fornication, by a hundred stripes, and banishment for a year.—Drunkenness is punished with eighty stripes.—Apostasy, persevered in, by death.

Note 2—On the Arabian System of Cosmography. The words translated “as a bed” would be literally rendered “and the bed;” but the signification is that which I have expressed. (See the Ḳur-án, ch. lxxviii. v. 6; and, with respect to what is before said of the heavens, idem, ch. xiii. v. 2.13) These, and the preceding words, commencing with “the Beneficent King,” I have introduced (in the place of “the Lord of all creatures”) from the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, as affording me an opportunity to explain here the Arabian system of Cosmography, with which the reader of this work cannot be too early acquainted.

When we call to mind how far the Arabs surpassed their great master, Aristotle, in natural and experimental philosophy, and remember that their brilliant discoveries constituted an important link between those of the illustrious Greek and of our equally illustrious countryman, Roger Bacon, their popular system of cosmography becomes an interesting subject for our consideration.

According to the common opinion of the Arabs (an opinion sanctioned by the Ḳur-án, and by assertions of their Prophet, which almost all Muslims take in their literal sense), there are Seven Heavens, one above another, and Seven Earths, one beneath another; the earth which we inhabit being the highest of the latter, and next below the lowest heaven. The upper surface of each heaven, and that of each earth, are believed to be nearly plane, and are generally supposed to be circular; and are said to be five hundred years’ journey in width. This is also said to be the measure of the depth or thickness of each heaven and each earth, and of the distance between each heaven or earth and that next above or below it. Thus is explained a passage of the Ḳur-án, (ch. lxv. last verse), in which it is said, that God hath created seven heavens and as many earths, or stories of the earth, in accordance with traditions from the Prophet.14—This notion of the seven heavens appears to have been taken from the “seven spheres;” the first of which is that of the Moon; the second, of Mercury; the third, of Venus; the fourth, of the Sun; the fifth, of Mars; the sixth, of Jupiter; and the seventh, of Saturn; each of which orbs was supposed to revolve round the earth in its proper sphere. So also the idea of the seven earths seems to have been taken from the division of the earth into seven climates; a division which has been adopted by several Arab geographers.—But to return to the opinions of the religious and the vulgar.

Traditions differ respecting the fabric of the seven heavens. In the most credible account, according to a celebrated historian, the first is described as formed of emerald; the second, of white silver; the third, of large white pearls; the fourth, of ruby; the fifth, of red gold; the sixth, of yellow jacinth; and the seventh, of shining light.15

19Some assert Paradise to be in the seventh heaven; and, indeed, I have found this to be the general opinion of my Muslim friends: but the author above quoted proceeds to describe, next above the seventh heaven, seven seas of light; then, an undefined number of veils, or separations, of different substances, seven of each kind; and then, Paradise, which consists of seven stages, one above another; the first (Dár el-Jelál, or the Mansion of Glory), of white pearls; the second (Dár es-Selám, or the Mansion of Peace), of ruby; the third (Jennet el-Ma-wà, or the Garden of Rest), of green chrysolite; the fourth (Jennet el-Khuld, or the Garden of Eternity), of green16 coral; the fifth (Jennet en-Na’eem, or the Garden of Delight), of white silver; the sixth (Jennet el-Firdós, or the Garden of Paradise), of red gold; and the seventh (Jennet ‘Adn, or the Garden of Perpetual Abode, or—of Eden), of large pearls; this overlooking all the former, and canopied by the Throne, or rather Empyrean, of the Compassionate (‘Arsh Er-Raḥmán), i. e. of God.—These several regions of Paradise are described in some traditions as forming so many degrees, or stages, ascended by steps.

Though the opinion before mentioned respecting the form of the earth which we inhabit is that generally maintained by the Arabs, there have been, and still are, many philosophical men among this people who have argued that it is a globe, because, as El-Ḳazweenee says, an eclipse of the moon has been observed to happen at different hours of the night in eastern and western countries. Thus we find Ptolemy’s measurement of the earth quoted and explained by Ibn-El-Wardee:—The circumference of the earth is 24,000 miles, or 8,000 leagues; the league being three miles; the mile, 3,000 royal cubits; the cubit, three spans; the span, twelve digits; the digit, five barley-corns placed side by side; and the width of the barley-corn, six mule’s-hairs. El-Maḳreezee also, among the more intelligent Arabs, describes17 the globular form of the earth, and its arctic and antarctic regions, with their day of six months, and night of six months, and their frozen waters, &c.

For ourselves, however, it is necessary that we retain in our minds the opinions first stated, with regard to the form and dimensions of our earth; agreeing with those Muslims who allow not philosophy to trench upon revelation or sacred traditions. It is written, say they, that God hath “spread out the earth,”18 “as a bed,”19 and “as a carpet;”20 and what is round or globular cannot be said to be spread out, nor compared to a bed, or a carpet. It is therefore decided to be an almost plane expanse. The continents and islands of the earth are believed by the Arabs (as they were by the Greeks in the age of Homer and Hesiod) to be surrounded by “the Circumambient Ocean,” “el-Baḥr el-Moḥeeṭ;” and this ocean is described as bounded by a chain of mountains called Káf, which encircle the whole as a ring, and confine and strengthen the entire fabric. With respect to the extent of the earth, our faith must at least admit the assertion of the Prophet, that its width (as well as its depth or thickness) is equal to five hundred years’ journey: allotting the space of two hundred to the sea, two hundred to uninhabited desert, eighty to the country of Yájooj and Májooj (or Gog and Magog), and the rest to the remaining creatures:21 nay, vast as these limits are, we must rather extend than contract them, unless we suppose some of the heroes of this work to travel by circuitous routes. Another tradition will suit us better, wherein it is said, that the inhabited portion of the earth is, with respect to the rest, as a tent in the midst of a desert.22 But even according to the former assertion, it will be remarked, that the countries now commonly known to the Arabs (from the western extremity of Africa to the eastern limits of India, and from the southern confines of Abyssinia to those of Russia,) occupy a comparatively insignificant portion of this 20expanse. They are situated in the middle; Mekkeh, according to some,—or Jerusalem, according to others,—being exactly in the centre. Adjacent to the tract occupied by these countries are other lands and seas, partially known to the Arabs. On the north-west, with respect to the central point, lies the country of the Christians, or Franks, comprising the principal European nations; on the north, the country of Yájooj and Májooj, before mentioned, occupying, in the maps of the Arabs, large tracts of Asia and Europe; on the north-east, central Asia; on the east, Eṣ-Ṣeen (or China); on the south-east, the sea, or seas, of El-Hind (or India), and Ez-Zinj (or Southern Ethiopia), the waves of which (or of the former of which) mingle with those of the sea of Eṣ-Ṣeen, beyond; on the south, the country of the Zinj; on the south-west, the country of the Soodán, or Blacks: on the west is a portion of the Circumambient Ocean, which surrounds all the countries and seas already mentioned, as well as immense unknown regions adjoining the former, and innumerable islands interspersed in the latter. These terræ incognitæ are the scenes of some of the greatest wonders described in the present work; and are mostly peopled with Jinn, or Genii. On the Moḥeeṭ, or Circumambient Ocean, is the ‘Arsh Iblees, or Throne of Iblees: in a map accompanying my copy of the work of Ibn-El-Wardee, a large yellow tract is marked with this name, adjoining Southern Africa. The western portion of the Moḥeeṭ is often called “the Sea of Darkness” (Baḥr eẓ-Ẓulumát, or,—eẓ-Ẓulmeh). Under this name (and the synonymous appellation of el-Baḥr el-Muẓlim) the Atlantic Ocean is described by the author just mentioned; though, in the introduction to his work, he says that the Sea of Darkness surrounds the Moḥeeṭ. The former may be considered either as the western or the more remote portion of the latter. In the dark regions (Eẓ-Ẓulumát, from which, perhaps, the above-mentioned portion of the Moḥeeṭ takes its name),23 in the south-west quarter of the earth, according to the same author, is the Fountain of Life, of which El-Khiḍr drank, and by virtue of which he still lives, and will live till the day of judgment. This mysterious person, whom the vulgar and some others regard as a prophet, and identify with Ilyás (Elias, or Elijah), and whom some confound with St. George, was, according to the more approved opinion of the learned, a just man, or saint, the Wezeer and counsellor of the first Zu-l-Ḳarneyn, who was a universal conqueror, but an equally doubtful personage, contemporary with the patriarch Ibráheem, or Abraham. El-Khiḍr is said to appear frequently to Muslims in perplexity, and to be generally clad in green garments; whence, according to some, his name. The Prophet Ilyás (or Elias) is also related to have drunk of the Fountain of Life. During the day-time, it is said, El-Khiḍr wanders upon the seas, and directs voyagers who go astray; while Ilyás perambulates the mountains or deserts, and directs persons who chance to be led astray by the Ghools:24 but at night, they meet together, and guard the rampart of Yájooj and Májooj,25 to prevent these people from making irruptions upon their neighbours. Both, however, are generally believed by the modern Muslims to assist pious persons in distress in various circumstances, whether travelling by land or by water.—The mountains of Ḳáf, which bound the Circumambient Ocean, and form a circular barrier round the whole of our earth, are described by interpreters of the Ḳur-án as composed of green chrysolite, like the green tint of the sky.26 It is the colour of these mountains, said the Prophet, that imparts a greenish hue to the sky.27 It is said, in a tradition, that beyond these mountains are other countries; one of gold, seventy of silver, and seven of musk, all inhabited by angels, and each country ten thousand years’ journey in length, and the same in breadth.28 Some say that 21beyond it are creatures unknown to any but God:29 but the general opinion is, that the mountains of Ḳáf terminate our earth, and that no one knows what is beyond them. They are the chief abode of the Jinn, or Genii.—Such is a concise account of the earth which we inhabit, according to the notions of the Arabs.

We must now describe what is beneath our earth.—It has already been said, that this is the first, or highest, of seven earths, which are all of equal width and thickness, and at equal distances apart. Each of these earths has occupants. The occupants of the first are men, genii, brutes, &c.: the second is occupied by the suffocating wind that destroyed the infidel tribe of ‘Ád: the third, by the stones of Jahennem (or Hell), mentioned in the Ḳur-án, in these words, “the fuel of which is men and stones:”30 the fourth, by the sulphur of Jahennem: the fifth, by its serpents: the sixth, by its scorpions, in colour and size like black mules, and with tails like spears: the seventh, by Iblees and his troops.31 Whether these several earths are believed to be connected with each other by any means, and if so, how, we are not expressly informed; but, that they are supposed to be so is evident. With respect to our earth in particular, as some think, it is said that it is supported by a rock, with which the mountains of Ḳáf communicate by means of veins or roots; and that, when God desires to effect an earthquake at a certain place, He commands the mountain [or rock] to agitate the vein that is connected with that place.32—But there is another account, describing our earth as upheld by certain successive supports of inconceivable magnitude, which are under the seventh earth; leaving us to infer that the seven earths are in some manner connected together. This account, as inserted in the work of one of the writers above quoted, is as follows:—The earth [under which appellation are here understood the seven earths] was, it is said, originally unstable; “therefore God created an angel of immense size and of the utmost strength, and ordered him to go beneath it, [i.e. beneath the lowest earth,] and place it on his shoulders; and his hands extended beyond the east and west, and grasped the extremities of the earth [or, as related in Ibn-El-Wardee, the seven earths], and held it [or them]. But there was no support for his feet: so God created a rock of ruby, in which were seven thousand perforations; and from each of these perforations issued a sea, the size of which none knoweth but God, whose name be exalted: then He ordered this rock to stand under the feet of the angel. But there was no support for the rock: wherefore God created a huge bull, with four thousand eyes, and the same number of ears, noses, mouths, tongues, and feet; between every two of which was a distance of five hundred years’ journey: and God, whose name be exalted, ordered this bull to go beneath the rock: and he bore it on his back and his horns. The name of this bull is Kuyootà.33 But there was no support for the bull: therefore God, whose name be exalted, created an enormous fish, that no one could look upon, on account of its vast size, and the flashing of its eyes and their greatness; for it is said that if all the seas were placed in one of its nostrils, they would appear like a grain of mustard-seed in the midst of a desert: and God, whose name be exalted, commanded the fish to be a support to the feet of the bull.34 The name of this fish in Bahamoot. He placed, as its support, water; and under the water, darkness: and the knowledge of mankind 22fails as to what is under the darkness.”35—Another opinion is, that the [seventh] earth is upon water; the water, upon the rock; the rock, on the back of the bull; the bull, on a bed of sand; the sand, on the fish; the fish, upon a still, suffocating wind; the wind, on a veil of darkness; the darkness, on a mist; and what is beneath the mist is unknown.36

It is generally believed, that, under the lowest earth, and beneath seas of darkness of which the number is unknown, is Hell, which consists of seven stages, one beneath another. The first of these, according to the general opinion, is destined for the reception of wicked Mohammadans; the second, for the Christians; the third, for the Jews; the fourth, for the Sabians; the fifth, for the Magians; the sixth, for the Idolaters; the seventh, by general consent, for the Hypocrites. “Jahennem” is the general name for Hell, and the particular name for its first stage. The situation of Hell has been a subject of dispute; some place it in the seventh earth; and some have doubted whether it be above or below the earth which we inhabit.

At the consummation of all things, God, we are told, will take the whole earth in his [left] hand, and the heavens will be rolled together in his right hand;37 and the earth will be changed into another earth; and the heavens [into other heavens];38 and Hell will be brought nigh [to the tribunal of God].39

Note 3. The phrase “God is all-knowing,” or “surpassing in knowledge,” or, as some say, simply “knowing,” is generally used by an Arab writer when he relates anything for the truth of which he cannot vouch; and Muslims often use it in conversation, in similar cases, unless when they are uttering intentional falsehoods, which most of them are in the frequent habit of doing. It is worthy of remark, that, though falsehood is permitted by their religion in some cases, their doctors of religion and law generally condemn all works of fiction (even though designed to convey useful instruction), excepting mere fables, or apologues of a high class.

Note 4. In my usual standard-copy of the original work, as also in that from which the old translation was made, and in the edition of Breslau, this prince is called a king of the dynasty of Sásán; but as he is not so designated in the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, I have here omitted, in my translation, what would render the whole work full of anachronisms.

Note 5. Shahriyár is a Persian word, signifying “Friend of the City.” The name of the elder King is thus written in the Calcutta edition above mentioned: in the edition of Cairo (which I generally follow) it is written Shahrabáz, by errors in diacritical marks; and in that of Breslau, Shahrabán.

Note 6. This name, Sháh-Zemán, is a compound of Persian and Arabic, and signifies “King of the Age.” By the omission of a diacritical point, in the Cairo edition, it is written Sháh-Remán.

Note 7. In the Calcutta edition before mentioned, the elder brother is called King of Samarḳand; and the younger, King of China.

Note 8.—On the title and office of Wezeer. Wezeer is an Arabic word, and is pronounced by the Arabs as I have written it; but the Turks and Persians pronounce the first letter V. There are three opinions respecting the etymology of this word. Some derive it from “wizr” (a burden); because the Wezeer bears the burdens of the King: others, from “wezer” (a refuge); because the King has recourse to the counsels of his Wezeer, and his knowledge and prudence: others, again, from “azr” (back, or 23strength); because the King is strengthened by his Wezeer as the human frame is by the back.40

The proper and chief duties of a Wezeer are explained by the above, and by a saying of the Prophet:—”Whosoever is in authority over Muslims, if God would prosper him, He giveth him a virtuous Wezeer, who, when he forgetteth his duty, remindeth him, and when he remembereth, assisteth him: but if He would do otherwise, He giveth him an evil Wezeer, who, when he forgetteth, doth not remind him, and when he remembereth, doth not assist him.”41

The post of Wezeer was the highest that was held by an officer of the pen; and the person who occupied it was properly the next to the Sulṭán: but the Turkish Sulṭáns of Egypt made the office of Náïb (or Viceroy) to have the pre-eminence. Under them, the post of Wezeer was sometimes occupied by an officer of the sword, and sometimes by an officer of the pen; and, in both cases, the Wezeer was also called “the Ṣáḥeb.” The Sulṭán Barḳooḳ so degraded this office, by intrusting its most important functions to other ministers, that the Wezeer became, in reality, the King’s purveyor, and little else; receiving the indirect taxes, and employing them in the purchase of provisions for the royal kitchen.42 It is even said, that he was usually chosen, by the Turkish Sulṭáns of Egypt, from among the Copts (or Christian Egyptians); because the administration of the taxes had, from time immemorial, been committed to persons of that race.43 This, it would seem, was the case about the time of the Sulṭán Barḳooḳ. But in the present work, we are to understand the office of Wezeer as being what it was in earlier times,—that of Prime Minister; though we are not hence to infer that the editions of the Tales of a Thousand and One Nights known to us were written at a period anterior to that of the Memlook Sulṭáns of Egypt and Syria; for, in the time of these monarchs, the degradation of the office was commonly known to be a recent innovation, and it may have been of no very long continuance.

Note 9. The paragraph to which this note relates is from the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred Nights.

Note 10.—On Presents. The custom of giving presents on the occasion of paying a visit, or previously, which is of such high antiquity as to be mentioned in the book of Genesis,44 has continued to prevail in the East to this day. Presents of provisions of some kind, wax candles, &c., are sent to a person about to celebrate any festivity, by those who are to be his guests: but after paying a mere visit of ceremony, and on some other occasions, only money is commonly given to the servants of the person visited. In either case, the latter is expected to return the compliment on a similar occasion by presents of equal value. To reject a present generally gives great offence; being regarded as an insult to him who has offered it. When a person arrives from a foreign country, he generally brings some articles of the produce or merchandise of that country as presents to his friends. Thus, pilgrims returning from the holy places bring water of Zemzem, dust from the Prophet’s tomb, &c., for this purpose.—Horses, and male and female slaves, are seldom given but by kings or great men. Of the condition of slaves in Mohammadan countries, an account will be given hereafter.

Note 11.—On the Letters of Muslims. The letters of Muslims are distinguished by several peculiarities dictated by the rules of politeness. The paper is thick, white, and highly polished: sometimes it is ornamented with flowers of gold; and the edges are always cut straight with scissors. The upper half is generally left blank: and the writing never occupies any portion of the second side. A notion of the usual style of letters will be conveyed by several examples in this work. The name of the person to 24whom the letter is addressed, when the writer is an inferior or an equal, and even in some other cases, commonly occurs in the first sentence, preceded by several titles of honour; and is often written a little above the line to which it apertains; the space beneath it in that line being left blank: sometimes it is written in letters of gold, or red ink. A king, writing to a subject, or a great man to a dependent, usually places his name and seal at the head of his letter. The seal is the impression of a signet (generally a ring, worn on the little finger of the right hand), upon which is engraved the name of the person, commonly accompanied by the words “His [i.e. God’s] servant,” or some other words expressive of trust in God, &c. Its impression is considered more valid than the sign-manual, and is indispensable to give authenticity to the letter. It is made by dabbing some ink upon the surface of the signet, and pressing this upon the paper: the place which is to be stamped being first moistened, by touching the tongue with a finger of the right hand, and then gently rubbing the part with that finger. A person writing to a superior, or to an equal, or even an inferior to whom he wishes to shew respect, signs his name at the bottom of his letter, next the left side or corner, and places the seal immediately to the right of this: but if he particularly desire to testify his humility, he places it beneath his name, or even partly over the lower edge of the paper, which consequently does not receive the whole of the impression. The letter is generally folded twice, in the direction of the writing, and enclosed in a cover of paper, upon which is written the address, in some such form as this:—”It shall arrive, if it be the will of God, whose name be exalted, at such a place, and be delivered into the hand of our honoured friend, &c., such a one, whom God preserve.” Sometimes it is placed in a small bag, or purse, of silk embroidered with gold.

Note 12. The custom of sending forth a deputation to meet and welcome an approaching ambassador, or other great man, is still observed in Eastern countries; and the rank of the persons thus employed conveys to him some intimation of the manner in which he is to be received at the court: he therefore looks forward to this ceremony with a degree of anxiety. A humorous illustration of its importance in the eye of an Oriental ambassador, is given in “The Adventures of Hajji Baba in England.”

Note 13.—On Hospitality. The hospitable custom here mentioned is observed by Muslims in compliance with a precept of their Prophet. “Whoever,” said he, “believes in God and the day of resurrection must respect his guest; and the time of being kind to him is one day and one night; and the period of entertaining him is three days; and after that, if he does it longer, he benefits him more; but it is not right for a guest to stay in the house of the host so long as to incommode him.” He even allowed the “right of a guest” to be taken by force from such as would not offer it.45 The following observations, respecting the treatment of guests by the Bedawees, present an interesting commentary upon the former precept, and upon our text:—”Strangers who have not any friend or acquaintance in the camp, alight at the first tent that presents itself: whether the owner be at home or not, the wife or daughter immediately spreads a carpet, and prepares breakfast or dinner. If the stranger’s business requires a protracted stay, as, for instance, if he wishes to cross the Desert under the protection of the tribe, the host, after a lapse of three days and four hours from the time of his arrival, asks whether he means to honour him any longer with his company. If the stranger declares his intention of prolonging his visit, it is expected that he should assist his host in domestic matters, fetching water, milking the camel, feeding the horse, &c. Should he even decline this, he may remain; but will be censured by all the Arabs of the camp: he may, however, go to some other tent of the nezel [or encampment], and declare himself there a guest. Thus, every third or fourth day he 25may change hosts, until his business is finished, or he has reached his place of destination.”46

Note 14.—On different modes of Obeisance. Various different modes of obeisance are practised by the Muslims. Among these, the following are the more common or more remarkable: they differ in the degree of respect that they indicate, nearly in the order in which I shall mention them; the last being the most respectful:—1. Placing the right hand upon the breast.—2. Touching the lips and the forehead or turban (or the forehead or turban only) with the right hand.—3. Doing the same, but slightly inclining the head during that action.—4. The same as the preceding, but inclining the body also.—5. As above, but previously touching the ground with the right hand.—6. Kissing the hand of the person to whom the obeisance is paid.—7. Kissing his sleeve.—8. Kissing the skirt of his clothing.—9. Kissing his feet.—10. Kissing the carpet or ground before him.—The first five modes are often accompanied by the salutation of “Peace be on you!” to which the reply is, “On you be peace, and the mercy of God, and his blessings!” The sixth mode is observed by servants or pupils to masters, by the wife to the husband, and by children to their father, and sometimes to the mother. It is also an act of homage paid to the aged by the young; or to learned or religious men by the less instructed or less devout. The last mode is seldom observed but to kings; and in Arabian countries it is now very uncommon.

Note 15. It might seem unnecessary to say, that a King understood what he read, were it not explained that the style of Arabic epistolary compositions, like that of the literature in general, differs considerably from that of common conversation.

Note 16. The party travelled chiefly by night, on account of the heat of the day.

Note 17.—On the occasional Decorations of Eastern Cities. On various occasions of rejoicing in the palace of the king or governor, the inhabitants of an Eastern city are commanded to decorate their houses, and the tradesmen, in particular, to adorn their shops, by suspending shawls, brocades, rich dresses, women’s ornaments, and all kinds of costly articles of merchandise; lamps and flags are attached to cords drawn across the streets, which are often canopied over; and when sufficient notice has been given, the shops, and the doors, &c., of private houses, are painted with gay colours.—Towards the close of the year 1834, the people of Cairo were ordered to decorate their houses and shops previously to the arrival of Ibráheem Báshà, after his victorious campaigns in Syria and Asia Minor. They ornamented the lower parts of their houses with whitewash and red ochre, generally in broad, alternate, horizontal stripes; that is, one course of stone white, and the next red; but the only kind of oil-paint that they could procure in large quantities was blue, the colour of mourning; so that they were obliged to use this as the ground upon which to paint flowers and other ornamental devices on their shops; but they regarded this as portending a pestilence; and the awful plague of the following spring confirmed them in their superstitious notions.

Note 18. As the notes to this introductory portion are especially numerous, and the chase is here but cursorily alluded to, I shall reserve an account of the mode of hunting to be given on a future occasion.

Note 19.—On the opinions of the Arabs respecting Female Beauty. The reader should have some idea of the qualifications or charms which the Arabs in general consider requisite to the perfection of female beauty; for erroneous fancies on this subject would much detract from the interest of the present work. He must not imagine that excessive fatness is one of these characteristics; though it is said to be esteemed a chief essential to beauty throughout the greater part of Northern Africa: on the contrary, the maiden whose loveliness inspires the most impassioned expressions in Arabic poetry and prose is celebrated for her slender figure: she is like the cane among plants, and 26is elegant as a twig of the oriental willow.47 Her face is like the full moon, presenting the strongest contrast to the colour of her hair, which (to preserve the nature of the simile just employed,) is of the deepest hue of night, and descends to the middle of her back. A rosy blush overspreads the centre of each cheek; and a mole is considered an additional charm. The Arabs, indeed, are particularly extravagant in their admiration of this natural beauty-spot; which, according to its place, is compared to a globule of ambergris upon a dish of alabaster or upon the surface of a ruby.48 The eyes of the Arab beauty are intensely black, large, and long; of the form of an almond: they are full of brilliancy; but this is softened by a lid slightly depressed, and by long silken lashes, giving a tender and languid expression, which is full of enchantment, and scarcely to be improved by the adventitious aid of the black border of koḥl; for this the lovely maiden adds rather for the sake of fashion than necessity; having, what the Arabs term, natural koḥl. The eyebrows are thin and arched; the forehead is wide, and fair as ivory; the nose, straight; the mouth, small; the lips are of a brilliant red; and the teeth, “like pearls set in coral.” The forms of the bosom are compared to two pomegranates; the waist is slender; the hips are wide and large; the feet and hands, small; the fingers, tapering, and their extremities dyed with the deep orange-red tint imparted by the leaves of the ḥennà.49 The person in whom these charms are combined exhibits a lively image of “the rosy-fingered Aurora:” her lover knows neither night nor sleep in her presence, and the constellations of heaven are no longer seen by him when she approaches. The most bewitching age is between fourteen and seventeen years; for then the forms of womanhood are generally developed in their greatest beauty; but many a maiden in her twelfth year possesses charms sufficient to fascinate every youth or man who beholds her.

The reader may perhaps desire a more minute analysis of Arabian beauty. The following is the most complete that I can offer him.—”Four things in a woman should be black; the hair of the head, the eyebrows, the eyelashes, and the dark part of the eyes: four white; the complexion of the skin, the white of the eyes, the teeth, and the legs: four red; the tongue, the lips, the middle of the cheeks, and the gums: four round; the head, the neck, the fore-arms, and the ankles: four long; the back, the fingers, the arms, and the legs:50 four wide; the forehead, the eyes, the bosom, and the hips: four fine; the eyebrows, the nose, the lips, and the fingers: four thick; the lower part of the back, the thighs, the calves of the legs, and the knees: four small; the ears, the breasts, the hands, and the feet.”51

Note 20. Mes’ood is a common proper name of men, and signifies “happy,” or “made happy.”

Note 21.—On the Jinn, or Genii. The frequent mention of Genii in this work, and the erroneous accounts that have been given of these fabulous beings by various European writers, have induced me to examine the statements respecting them in several Arabic works; and I shall here offer the result of my investigation, with a previous account of the Angels.

The Muslims, in general, believe in three different species of created intelligent beings; namely, Angels, who are created of light; Genii, who are created of fire; and Men, created of earth. The first species are called “Meláikeh” (sing. “Melek”); the second, “Jinn” or “Ginn” (sing. “Jinnee” or “Ginnee”); the third, “Ins” (sing. 27″Insee”). Some hold that the Devils (Sheyṭáns) are of a species distinct from Angels and Jinn; but the more prevailing opinion, and that which rests on the highest authority, is, that they are rebellious Jinn.

“It is believed,” says El-Ḳazweenee, “that the Angels are of a simple substance, endowed with life, and speech, and reason; and that the difference between them and the Jinn and Sheyṭáns is a difference of species. Know,” he adds, “that the Angels are sanctified from carnal desire and the disturbance of anger: they disobey not God in what He hath commanded them, but do what they are commanded. Their food is the celebrating of his glory; their drink, the proclaiming of his holiness; their conversation, the commemoration of God, whose name be exalted; their pleasure, his worship: they are created in different forms, and with different powers.” Some are described as having the forms of brutes. Four of them are Archangels; Jebraeel or Jibreel (or Gabriel), the angel of revelations; Meekaeel or Meekál (or Michael), the patron of the Israelites; ‘Azraeel, the angel of death; and Isráfeel, the angel of the trumpet, which he is to sound twice, or as some say thrice, at the end of the world: one blast will kill all living creatures (himself included): another, forty years after, (he being raised again for this purpose, with Jebraeel and Meekaeel), will raise the dead. These Archangels are also called Apostolic Angels. They are inferior in dignity to human prophets and apostles, though superior to the rest of the human race: the angelic nature is held to be inferior to the human nature, because all the Angels were commanded to prostrate themselves before Adam. Every believer is attended by two guardian and recording angels; one of whom writes his good actions; the other, his evil actions: or, according to some, the number of these angels is five, or sixty, or a hundred and sixty. There are also two Angels called Munkar (vulg. Nákir) and Nekeer, who examine all the dead, and torture the wicked, in their graves.

The species of Jinn is said to have been created some thousands of years before Adam. According to a tradition from the Prophet, this species consists of five orders or classes; namely, Jánn (who are the least powerful of all), Jinn, Sheyṭáns (or Devils), ‘Efreets, and Márids. The last, it is added, are the most powerful; and the Jánn are transformed Jinn; like as certain apes and swine were transformed men.52—It must, however, be remarked here, that the terms Jinn and Jánn are generally used indiscriminately, as names of the whole species (including the other orders above mentioned), whether good or bad; and that the former term is the more common. Also, that “Sheyṭán” is commonly used to signify any evil Jinnee. An ‘Efreet is a powerful evil Jinnee:53 a Márid, an evil Jinnee of the most powerful class. The Jinn (but generally speaking, evil ones) are called by the Persians “Deevs,” the most powerful evil Jinn, “Narahs” (which signifies “males,” though they are said to be males and females); the good Jinn, “Perees;” though this term is commonly applied to females.

In a tradition from the Prophet, it is said, “The Jánn were created of a smokeless fire.”54 The word which signifies “a smokeless fire” has been misunderstood by some as meaning “the flame of fire:” El-Jóharee (in the Ṣeḥáḥ) renders it rightly; and says that of this fire was the Sheyṭán (Iblees) created. “El-Jánn” is sometimes used as a name for Iblees; as in the following verse of the Ḳur-án:—”And the Jánn [the father of the Jinn; i. e. Iblees] we had created before [i. e. before the creation of Adam] of the fire of the samoom [i. e. of fire without smoke].”55 “Jánn” also signifies “a serpent;” as in other passages of the Ḳur-án;56 and is used in the same book as synonymous with “Jinn.”57 In the last sense it is generally believed to be used in the tradition quoted in the commencement of this paragraph. There are several 28apparently contradictory traditions from the Prophet which are reconciled by what has been above stated: in one, it is said, that Iblees was the father of all the Jánn and Sheyṭáns;58 Jánn being here synonymous with Jinn: in another, that Jánn was the father of all the Jinn;59 here, Jánn being used as a name of Iblees.

“It is held,” says El-Ḳazweenee, “that the Jinn are aerial animals, with transparent bodies, which can assume various forms. People differ in opinion respecting these beings: some consider the Jinn and Sheyṭáns as unruly men; but these persons are of the Moạtezileh [a sect of Muslim freethinkers]: and some hold, that God, whose name be exalted, created the Angels of the light of fire, and the Jinn of its flame [but this is at variance with the general opinion], and the Sheytáns of its smoke [which is also at variance with the common opinion]; and that [all] these kinds of beings are [usually] invisible60 to men, but that they assume what forms they please, and when their form becomes condensed they are visible.”—This last remark illustrates several descriptions of Jinnees in this work; where the form of the monster is at first undefined, or like an enormous pillar, and then gradually assumes a human shape and less gigantic size. The particular forms of brutes, reptiles, &c., in which the Jinn most frequently appear will be mentioned hereafter.

It is said that God created the Jánn [or Jinn] two thousand years before Adam [or, according to some writers, much earlier]; and that there are believers and infidels and every sect among them, as among men.61—Some say that a prophet, named Yoosuf, was sent to the Jinn: others, that they had only preachers, or admonishers: others, again, that seventy apostles were sent, before Moḥammad, to Jinn and men conjointly.62 It is commonly believed that the preadamite Jinn were governed by forty (or, according to some, seventy-two) kings, to each of whom the Arab writers give the name of Suleymán (or Solomon); and that they derive their appellation from the last of these, who was called Jánn Ibn-Jánn, and who, some say, built the Pyramids of Egypt. The following account of the preadamite Jinn is given by El-Ḳazweenee.—”It is related in histories, that a race of Jinn, in ancient times, before the creation of Adam, inhabited the earth, and covered it, the land and the sea, and the plains and the mountains; and the favours of God were multiplied upon them, and they had government, and prophecy, and religion, and law; but they transgressed and offended, and opposed their prophets, and made wickedness to abound in the earth; whereupon God, whose name be exalted, sent against them an army of Angels, who took possession of the earth, and drove away the Jinn to the regions of the islands, and made many of them prisoners; and of those who were made prisoners was ‘Azázeel [afterwards called Iblees, from his despair]; and a slaughter was made among them. At that time, ‘Azázeel was young: he grew up among the Angels [and probably for that reason was called one of them], and became learned in their knowledge, and assumed the government of them; and his days were prolonged until he became their chief; and thus it continued for a long time, until the affair between him and Adam happened, as God, whose name be exalted, hath said, ‘When we said unto the Angels, Worship63 ye Adam, and [all] worshipped except Iblees, [who] was [one] of the Jinn.'”64

“Iblees,” we are told by another authority, “was sent as a governor upon the earth, and judged among the Jinn a thousand years, after which he ascended into heaven, and remained employed in worship until the creation of Adam.”65 The name of Iblees was originally, according to some, ‘Azázeel (as before mentioned); and according to others, El-Ḥárith: his patronymic is Aboo-Murrah, or Abu-l-Ghimr.66—It is disputed whether 29he was of the Angels or of the Jinn. There are three opinions on this point.—1. That he was of the Angels, from a tradition from Ibn-‘Abbás.—2. That he was of the Sheyṭáns (or evil Jinn); as it is said in the Ḳur-án, “except Iblees, [who] was [one] of the Jinn:” this was the opinion of El-Ḥasan El-Baṣree, and is that commonly held.—3. That he was neither of the Angels nor of the Jinn; but created alone, of fire.—Ibn-‘Abbás founds his opinion on the same text from which El-Ḥasan El-Baṣree derives his: “When we said unto the Angels, Worship ye Adam, and [all] worshipped except Iblees, [who] was [one] of the Jinn” (before quoted): which he explains by saying, that the most noble and honourable among the Angels are called “the Jinn,” because they are veiled from the eyes of the other Angels on account of their superiority; and that Iblees was one of these Jinn. He adds, that he had the government of the lowest heaven and of the earth, and was called the Ṭáoos (literally, Peacock) of the Angels; and that there was not a spot in the lowest heaven but he had prostrated himself upon it: but when the Jinn rebelled upon the earth, God sent a troop of Angels who drove them to the islands and mountains; and Iblees being elated with pride, and refusing to prostrate himself before Adam, God transformed him into a Sheyṭán.—But this reasoning is opposed by other verses, in which Iblees is represented as saying, “Thou hast created me of fire, and hast created him [Adam] of earth.”67 It is therefore argued, “If he were created originally of fire, how was he created of light? for the Angels were [all] created of light.”68—The former verse may be explained by the tradition, that Iblees, having been taken captive, was exalted among the Angels; or perhaps there is an ellipsis after the word “Angels;” for it might be inferred that the command given to the Angels was also (and à fortiori) to be obeyed by the Jinn.

According to a tradition, Iblees and all the Sheyṭáns are distinguished from the other Jinn by a longer existence. “The Sheyṭáns,” it is added, “are the children of Iblees, and die not but with him: whereas the [other] Jinn die before him;”69 though they may live many centuries. But this is not altogether accordant with the popular belief: Iblees and many other evil Jinn are to survive mankind; but they are to die before the general resurrection; as also even the Angels; the last of whom will be the Angel of Death, ‘Azraeel: yet not all the evil Jinn are to live thus long: many of them are killed by shooting stars, hurled at them from heaven; wherefore, the Arabs, when they see a shooting star (shiháb), often exclaim, “May God transfix the enemy of the faith!”—Many also are killed by other Jinn; and some, even by men. The fire of which the Jinnee is created circulates in his veins, in place of blood: therefore, when he receives a mortal wound, this fire, issuing from his veins, generally consumes him to ashes.—The Jinn, it has been already shown, are peccable. They also eat and drink, and propagate their species, sometimes in conjunction with human beings; in which latter case, the offspring partakes of the nature of both parents. In all these respects they differ from the Angels. Among the evil Jinn are distinguished the five sons of their chief, Iblees; namely, Teer, who brings about calamities, losses, and injuries; El-Aạwar, who encourages debauchery; Sóṭ, who suggests lies; Dásim, who causes hatred between man and wife; and Zelemboor, who presides over places of traffic.70

The most common forms and habitations or places of resort of the Jinn must now be described.

The following traditions from the Prophet are the most to the purpose that I have seen.—The Jinn are of various shapes; having the forms of serpents, scorpions, lions, wolves, jackals, &c.71—The Jinn are of three kinds; one on the land; one in the sea; and one in the air.72 The Jinn consist of forty troops; each troop consisting of six hundred thousand.73—The Jinn are of three kinds; one have wings, and fly; another 30are snakes, and dogs; and the third move about from place to place like men.74—Domestic snakes are asserted to be Jinn on the same authority.75

The Prophet ordered his followers to kill serpents and scorpions if they intruded at prayers; but on other occasions, he seems to have required first to admonish them to depart, and then, if they remained, to kill them. The Doctors, however, differ in opinion whether all kinds of snakes or serpents should be admonished first; or whether any should; for the Prophet, say they, took a covenant of the Jinn [probably after the above-mentioned command], that they should not enter the houses of the faithful: therefore, it is argued, if they enter, they break their covenant, and it becomes lawful to kill them without previous admonishment. Yet it is related that ‘Áisheh, the Prophet’s wife, having killed a serpent in her chamber, was alarmed by a dream, and, fearing that it might have been a Muslim Jinnee, as it did not enter her chamber when she was undressed, gave in alms, as an expiation, twelve thousand dirhems (about £300), the price of the blood of a Muslim.76

The Jinn are said to appear to mankind most commonly in the shapes of serpents, dogs, cats, or human beings. In the last case, they are sometimes of the stature of men, and sometimes of a size enormously gigantic. If good, they are generally resplendently handsome: if evil, horribly hideous. They become invisible at pleasure (by a rapid extension or rarefaction of the particles which compose them), or suddenly disappear in the earth or air, or through a solid wall. Many Muslims in the present day profess to have seen and held intercourse with them.

The Zóba’ah, which is a whirlwind that raises the sand or dust in the form of a pillar of prodigious height, often seen sweeping across the deserts and fields, is believed to be caused by the flight of an evil Jinnee. To defend themselves from a Jinnee thus “riding in the whirlwind,” the Arabs often exclaim, “Iron! Iron!” (Ḥadeed! Ḥadeed!), or, “Iron! thou unlucky!” (Ḥadeed! yá mashoom!), as the Jinn are supposed to have a great dread of that metal: or they exclaim, “God is most great!” (Alláhu akbar!).77 A similar superstition prevails with respect to the water-spout at sea, as the reader may have discovered from the first instance of the description of a Jinnee in the present work, which occasions this note to be here inserted.

It is believed that the chief abode of the Jinn is in the Mountains of Ḳáf, which are supposed (as mentioned on a former occasion) to encompass the whole of our earth. But they are also believed to pervade the solid body of our earth, and the firmament; and to choose, as their principal places of resort, or of occasional abode, baths, wells, the latrina, ovens, ruined houses, market-places, the junctures of roads, the sea, and rivers. The Arabs, therefore, when they pour water, &c., on the ground, or enter a bath, or let down a bucket into a well, or visit the latrina, and on various other occasions, say, “Permission!” or “Permission, ye blessed!” (Destoor! or, Destoor yá mubárakeen!”).78—The evil spirits (or evil Jinn), it is said, had liberty to enter any of the seven heavens till the birth of Jesus, when they were excluded from three of them; on the birth of Moḥammad, they were forbidden the other four.79 They continue, however, to ascend to the confines of the lowest heaven, and there listening to the conversation of the Angels respecting things decreed by God, obtain knowledge of futurity, which they sometimes impart to men, who, by means of talismans, or certain invocations, make them to serve the purposes of magical performances. To this particular subject it will be necessary to revert.—What the Prophet said of Iblees, in the following tradition, applies also to the evil Jinn over whom he presides:—His chief abode [among men] is the bath; his chief places of resort are the markets, and the junctures of roads; his food is whatever is killed without the name of God being pronounced over it; his drink, whatever is intoxicating; his muëddin, the mizmár (a 31musical pipe; i. e. any musical instrument); his ḳurán, poetry; his written character, the marks made in geomancy;80 his speech, falsehood; his snares are women.81

That particular Jinnees presided over particular places, was an opinion of the early Arabs. It is said in the Ḳur-án, “And there were certain men who sought refuge with certain of the Jinn.”82 In the Commentary of the Jeláleyn, I find the following remark on these words:—”When they halted, on their journey, in a place of fear, each man said, ‘I seek refuge with the lord of this place, from the mischief of his foolish ones!'” In illustration of this, I may insert the following tradition, translated from El-Ḳazweenee:—”It is related by a certain narrator of traditions, that he descended into a valley, with his sheep, and a wolf carried off a ewe from among them; and he arose, and raised his voice, and cried, ‘O inhabitant of the valley!’ whereupon he heard a voice saying, ‘O wolf, restore to him his sheep!’ and the wolf came with the ewe, and left her, and departed.”—The same opinion is held by the modern Arabs, though probably they do not use such an invocation.—A similar superstition, a relic of ancient Egyptian credulity, still prevails among the people of Cairo. It is believed that each quarter of this city has its peculiar guardian-genius, or Agathodæmon, which has the form of a serpent.83

It has already been mentioned that some of the Jinn are Muslims; and others, infidels. The good Jinn acquit themselves of the imperative duties of religion; namely, prayers, alms-giving, fasting during the month of Ramaḍán, and pilgrimage to Mekkeh and Mount ‘Arafát: but in the performance of these duties they are generally invisible to human beings. Some examples of the mode in which good Jinn pay the alms required of them by the law, I have given in a former work.84

Of the services and injuries done by Jinn to men, some account must be given.

It has been stated, that, by means of talismans, or certain invocations, men are said to obtain the services of Jinn; and the manner in which the latter are enabled to assist magicians, by imparting to them the knowledge of future events, has been explained. No man ever obtained such absolute power over the Jinn as Suleymán, Ibn-Dáood (Solomon, the Son of David). This he did by virtue of a most wonderful talisman, which is said to have come down to him from heaven. It was a seal-ring, upon which was engraved “the most great name” of God; and was partly composed of brass, and partly of iron. With the brass he stamped his written commands to the good Jinn; with the iron (for a reason before mentioned), those to the evil Jinn, or Devils. Over both orders he had unlimited power; as well as over the birds and the winds,85 and, as is generally said, the wild beasts. His Wezeer, Aṣaf the son of Barkhiyà, is also said to have been acquainted with “the most great name,” by uttering which, the greatest miracles may be performed; even that of raising the dead. By virtue of this name, engraved on his ring, Suleymán compelled the Jinn to assist in building the Temple of Jerusalem, and in various other works. Many of the evil Jinn he converted to the true faith; and many others of this class, who remained obstinate in infidelity, he confined in prisons. He is said to have been monarch of the whole earth. Hence, perhaps, the name of Suleymán is given to the universal monarchs of the preadamite Jinn; unless the story of his own universal dominion originated from confounding him with those kings of the Jinn.

The injuries related to have been inflicted upon human beings by evil Jinn are of various kinds. Jinnees are said to have often carried off beautiful women, whom they have forcibly kept as their wives or concubines. I have mentioned in a former work, that malicious or disturbed Jinnees are asserted often to station themselves on the roofs, 32or at the windows, of houses, and to throw down bricks and stones on persons passing by.86 When they take possession of an uninhabited house, they seldom fail to persecute terribly any person who goes to reside in it. They are also very apt to pilfer provisions, &c. Many learned and devout persons, to secure their property from such depredations, repeat the words “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful!” on locking the doors of their houses, rooms, or closets, and on covering the bread-basket, or anything containing food.87 During the month of Ramaḍán, the evil Jinn are believed to be confined in prison; and therefore, on the last night of that month, with the same view, women sometimes repeat the words above mentioned, and sprinkle salt upon the floors of the apartments of their houses.88

To complete this sketch of Arabian mythology, an account must be added of several creatures generally believed to be of inferior orders of the Jinn.

One of these is the Ghool, which is commonly regarded as a kind of Sheytán, or evil Jinnee, that eats men; and is also described by some as a Jinnee or an enchanter who assumes various forms. The Ghools are said to appear in the forms of various animals, and of human beings, and in many monstrous shapes; to haunt burial-grounds and other sequestered spots; to feed upon dead human bodies; and to kill and devour any human creature who has the misfortune to fall in their way: whence the term “Ghool” is applied to any cannibal. An opinion quoted by a celebrated author, respecting the Ghool, is, that it is a demoniacal animal, which passes a solitary existence in the deserts, resembling both man and brute; that it appears to a person travelling alone in the night and in solitary places, and, being supposed by him to be itself a traveller, lures him out of his way.89 Another opinion stated by him is this: that, when the Sheytáns attempt to hear words by stealth [from the confines of the lowest heaven], they are struck by shooting stars; and some are burnt; some, falling into a sea, or rather a large river (baḥr), become converted into crocodiles; and some, falling upon the land, become Ghools. The same author adds the following tradition:—”The Ghool is any Jinnee that is opposed to travels, assuming various forms and appearances;”90 and affirms that several of the Companions of the Prophet saw Ghools in their travels; and that ‘Omar, among them, saw a Ghool while on a journey to Syria, before El-Islám, and struck it with his sword.—It appears that “Ghool” is, properly speaking, a name only given to a female demon of the kind above described: the male is called “Ḳuṭrub.”91 It is said that these beings, and the Ghaddár, or Gharrár, and other similar creatures which will presently be mentioned, are the offspring of Iblees and of a wife whom God created for him of the fire of the Samoom (which here signifies, as in an instance before mentioned, “a smokeless fire”); and that they sprang from an egg.92 The female Ghool, it is added, appears to men in the deserts, in various forms, converses with them, and sometimes prostitutes herself to them.93

The Seạláh, or Saạláh, is another demoniacal creature, described by some [or rather, by most authors] as of the Jinn. It is said that it is mostly found in forests, and that when it captures a man, it makes him dance, and plays with him as the cat plays with the mouse. A man of Iṣfahán asserted that many beings of this kind abounded in his country; that sometimes the wolf would hunt one of them by night, and devour it, and that, when it had seized it, the Seạláh would cry out, “Come to my help, for the wolf devoureth me!” or it would cry, “Who will liberate me? I have a hundred deenárs, and he shall receive them!” but the people knowing that it was the cry of the Seạláh, no one would liberate it; and so the wolf would eat it.94—An island in the sea of Eṣ-Ṣeen (or China) is called “the Island of the Seạláh,” by Arab geographers, from its being said to be inhabited by the demons so named: they are described as 33creatures of hideous forms, supposed to be Sheyṭáns, the offspring of human beings and Jinn, who eat men.”95

The Ghaddár, or Gharrár (for its name is written differently in two different MSS. in my possession), is another creature of a similar nature, described as being found in the borders of El-Yemen, and sometimes in Tihámeh, and in the upper parts of Egypt. It is said that it entices a man to it, and either tortures him in a manner not to be described, or merely terrifies him, and leaves him.96

The Delhán is also a demoniacal being, inhabiting the islands of the seas, having the form of a man, and riding on an ostrich. It eats the flesh of men whom the sea casts on the shore from wrecks. Some say that a Delhán once attacked a ship in the sea, and desired to take the crew; but they contended with it; whereupon it uttered a cry which caused them to fall upon their faces, and it took them.97—In my MS. of Ibn-El-Wardee, I find the name written “Dahlán.” He mentions an island called by this name, in the Sea of ‘Omán; and describes its inhabitants as cannibal Sheyṭáns, like men in form, and riding on birds resembling ostriches.

The Shiḳḳ is another demoniacal creature, having the form of half a human being (like a man divided longitudinally); and it is believed that the Nesnás is the offspring of a Shiḳḳ and of a human being. The Shiḳḳ appears to travellers; and it was a demon of this kind who killed, and was killed by, ‘Alḳamah, the son of Ṣafwán, the son of Umeiyeh; of whom it is well known that he was killed by a Jinnee. So says El-Ḳazweenee.

The Nesnás (above mentioned) is described as resembling half a human being; having half a head, half a body, one arm, and one leg, with which it hops with much agility; as being found in the woods of El-Yemen, and being endowed with speech: “but God,” it is added, “is all-knowing.”98 It is said that it is found in Ḥaḍramót as well as El-Yemen; and that one was brought alive to El-Mutawekkil: it resembled a man in form, excepting that it had but half a face, which was in its breast, and a tail like that of a sheep. The people of Ḥaḍramót, it is added, eat it; and its flesh is sweet. It is only generated in their country. A man who went there asserted that he saw a captured Nesnás, which cried out for mercy, conjuring him by God and by himself.99 A race of people whose head is in the breast is described as inhabiting an island called Jábeh (supposed to be Java), in the Sea of El-Hind, or India.100 A kind of Nesnás is also described as inhabiting the Island of Ráïj, in the Sea of Eṣ-Ṣeen, or China, and having wings like those of the bat.101

The Hátif is a being that is heard, but not seen; and is often mentioned by Arab writers. It is generally the communicator of some intelligence in the way of advice, or direction, or warning.

Here terminating this long note, I must beg the reader to remark, that the superstitious fancies which it describes are prevalent among all classes of the Arabs, and the Muslims in general, learned as well as vulgar. I have comprised in it much matter not necessary to illustrate the introductory portion of this work, in order to avoid frequent recurrence to the same subject. Another apology for its length may also be offered:—its importance as confuting Schlegel’s opinion, that the frequent mention of Genii is more consistent with Indian than with Arab notions.

Note 22. This chest is described in some copies as formed of glass.

Note 23. The term “‘Efreet” has been explained above, in Note 21.

Note 24. Most of the copies of the original, it appears, make the number of rings ninety-eight; therefore, I have substituted this, as less extraordinary, for five hundred and seventy, which is the number mentioned in the Cairo edition.


Note 25. Almost every Muslim who can afford it has a seal-ring, for a reason shewn in a former note (No. 11).102

Note 26. For the story of Yoosuf and Zeleekha (or Joseph and the wife of Potiphar), see the Ḳur-án, ch. xii.

Note 27.—On the wickedness of Women. The wickedness of women is a subject upon which the stronger sex among the Arabs, with an affected feeling of superior virtue, often dwell in common conversation. That women are deficient in judgment or good sense is held as a fact not to be disputed even by themselves, as it rests on an assertion of the Prophet; but that they possess a superior degree of cunning is pronounced equally certain and notorious. Their general depravity is pronounced to be much greater than that of men. “I stood,” said the Prophet, “at the gate of Paradise; and lo, most of its inmates were the poor: and I stood at the gate of Hell; and lo, most of its inmates were women.”103 In allusion to women, the Khaleefeh ‘Omar said, “Consult them, and do the contrary of what they advise.” But this is not to be done merely for the sake of opposing them; nor when other advice can be had. “It is desirable for a man,” says a learned Imám, “before he enters upon any important undertaking, to consult ten intelligent persons among his particular friends; or, if he have not more than five such friends, let him consult each of them twice; or, if he have not more than one friend, he should consult him ten times, at ten different visits: if he have not one to consult, let him return to his wife, and consult her; and whatever she advises him to do, let him do the contrary: so shall he proceed rightly in his affair, and attain his object.”104 A truly virtuous wife is, of course, excepted in this rule: such a person is as much respected by Muslims as she is (at least, according to their own account) rarely met with by them. When woman was created, the Devil, we are told, was delighted, and said, “Thou art half of my host, and thou art the depository of my secret, and thou art my arrow, with which I shoot, and miss not.”105 What are termed by us affairs of gallantry were very common among the Pagan Arabs, and are scarcely less so among their Muslim posterity. They are, however, unfrequent among most tribes of Bedawees, and among the descendants of those tribes not long settled as cultivators. I remember being roused from the quiet that I generally enjoyed in an ancient tomb in which I resided at Thebes, by the cries of a young woman in the neighbourhood, whom an Arab was severely beating for an impudent proposal that she had made to him.

Note 28.—On the cruelty ascribed to Shahriyár. I wish that I could accuse the author of inventing, in this case, an incident of an incredible nature, and entirely unparalleled; but, alas, acts of equal cruelty are recorded of Arab princes: traits of benevolence, and crimes of the blackest hue, are related in their histories, sometimes 35in the same page. I have not read of any case exactly resembling that to which this note relates; but the following anecdote will shew, that if conduct still more atrocious had been described in the latter, it might have been founded on fact. “In the year of the Flight 423, the Khaleefeh of Egypt, Eẓ-Ẓáhir, the son of El-Ḥákim, collected together all the female slaves that were in the palace, and said to them, ‘Assemble together, and I will make a day of pleasure for you, such as hath not before been seen in Egypt.’ He ordered, also, that every person who had a female slave should bring her, and that none of them should come but with her ornaments of jewels and gold. They did so; and there was not a single one that did not come. He then placed them in a chamber, and, calling some masons, made them build up the door of the chamber upon them, and so they all died. This happened on Friday (the Mohammadan Sabbath,) the 6th of Showwál. The number of them was two thousand six hundred and sixty female slaves. After they had remained six months, he heaped lighted combustibles upon them, and burned them, together with their clothes and ornaments. May God [says the narrator] shew no mercy to him!”106

Note 29. I here deviate a little from my original, in which Shahrazád is made to say, “Either I shall live, or I shall be a ransom for the daughters of the Muslims, and the cause of their deliverance from him.” Upon this, the sheykh Moḥammed ‘Eiyád has remarked in a marginal note, “It would seem that she had contrived some stratagem to prevent his marrying again if he determined to kill her: otherwise, the mere killing her would not be a means of rescuing the other maidens.”

Note 30.—On the Language of Birds, &c. It is commonly believed by the Muslims (learned and unlearned), that all kinds of birds, and many (if not all) beasts, have a language by which they communicate their thoughts to each other; and we are told in the Ḳur-án,107 that Suleymán (or Solomon) was taught the language of birds.108 I thought that I could boast of an accomplishment very rare in Christian countries, in having learned, in Egypt, somewhat of this language; for instance, that the common cry of the pigeon is “Alláh! Alláh!” (“God! God!”); that of the ringdove, “Keerem! Towwáb!” (“Bountiful! Propitious!”—an ejaculation addressed to God); that of the common dove, “Waḥḥidoo rabbakumu-llezee khalaḳakum, yeghfir-lakum zembakum!” (“Assert the unity of your Lord who created you, so will He forgive you your sin!”) but I afterwards found that several specimens of this language were given by Ez-Zamakhsheree, and had been published in Europe: see “Alcoranus Marraccii,” p. 511. The cock cries, “Uzkuru-lláha, yá gháfiloon!” (“Commemorate God, O ye negligent!”): the ḳaṭà (a kind of grouse),109 “Men seket selim!” (“He who is silent is safe!”). The latter, however, would do better if it did itself attend to the maxim it utters; for its cry, which, to the uninstructed in the language of birds, sounds merely, “ḳaṭà! ḳaṭà!” as its own name, tells where it is to be found by the sportsman, and thus causes its own destruction. Hence the proverb—”More veracious than the ḳaṭà.”

Note 31. In the houses of persons of the middle classes in Arabian countries, there is generally an apartment on the ground-floor fitted up as a stable for a horse, mule, or ass, or for two or more such animals; and the cattle of the farmer, if not very numerous, are usually lodged during the night in similar quarters, or in an open court enclosed within, or immediately adjacent to, his house.

Note 32. It is a common custom in the East to sprinkle the ground, during the summer, in order to cool the air.

Note 33. Cut straw is the usual fodder of asses and other beasts of burden in Egypt and other countries of the East.


Note 34. The phrase with which the bull commences his address to the ass, is one dictated by an indispensable rule of Muslim politeness, which requires that these or some similar words should be uttered by a person whenever he sees another with food before him, and does not partake of it. If this were not done, it would be feared that the food had been poisoned, or rendered of no avail, by an envious eye.

Note 35. The peasants in the East use a hand-mill for grinding their corn. The larger mills used for this and other purposes are turned by cattle.

Note 36. In the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, the ass is made to quote verses to the bull. Hast thou not, he asks him, heard the poet say:—

I occupy myself every day and night in anxious service of him in whose prosperity I have no enjoyment;
Like the bleacher who blackens his face in the sun, while he watches the whitening of the clothes of others.
Note 37. I read “naṭ’an,” as in the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, instead of “kiṭa’an” in the Cairo edition. The naṭạ is a large round piece of leather, which, spread upon the ground, serves as a table for dinner, &c. It is particularly convenient, and therefore much used, in travelling. Around the edge is a running string, which, being drawn, converts it into a bag to hold what is left of the food.

Note 38.—On the office of Ḳáḍee. The Ḳáḍee is a judge, or minister of justice, who passes sentence in all cases of law, religious, moral, civil, and criminal. This he generally does, in the present day, in accordance with the decision of a Muftee, or doctor of the law. In small towns and villages, he is often employed to draw up written contracts of various kinds.

Note 39. The famous Saạdee attained the age here mentioned; but instances of equal longevity, among the Orientals, are rare.110

Note 40. To perform the ablution preparatory to prayer in the expectation of almost immediate death, is a supererogatory act which, I believe, is seldom observed.

Note 41. Both religion and climate make the Muslim an early riser. It is his duty to perform the first of the five daily prayers at, or soon after, daybreak; and he generally awakes before this period. While Shahriyár, therefore, was waiting for the dawn of day to acquit himself of this duty, in accordance with the common custom of Mohammadan kings, Shahrazád amused him by the recitation of her tales. That he should be described as thus strict with regard to religious exercises, when about to give orders for the murder of his innocent wife, needs not excite our surprise: such conduct is consistent with the character of many Muslims. In the year 1834, when I was residing in Cairo, a General in the service of Moḥammad ‘Alee hired a large party of men to perform a recital of the Ḳur-án, in his house in that city, and then went up into his ḥareem, and strangled his wife, in consequence of a report which accused her of incontinence. The religious ceremony was designed as preparatory to this act, though the punishment of the woman was contrary to the law, since her husband neither produced four witnesses of the imputed crime, nor allowed her to clear herself of the charge by her own oath. Another case of diligence in the performance of a religious duty, accompanied by the contemplation of murder, but murder on a larger scale, occurred in the same city shortly after. Suleymán Ághà, the Siláḥdár, being occupied in directing the building of a public fountain, as a work of charity to place to the account of a deceased brother, desired to extend the original plan of the structure; and to do this, it 37was necessary that he should purchase two houses adjoining the plot in which the foundations had been laid: but the owners of these houses refused to sell them, and he therefore employed a number of workmen to undermine them by night, and cause them to fall upon their inhabitants. His scheme, however, but partially succeeded, and no lives were sacrificed. This man was notorious for cruelty, but he was a person of pleasing and venerable countenance, and engaging manners: whenever I chanced to meet him, I received from him a most gracious salutation. He died before I quitted Egypt.

Tail-piece to Notes to Introduction.–Morning
12An Apostle is distinguished from a mere Prophet by his having a book revealed to him.

13In quoting the Ḳur-án, I distinguish the verses in accordance with the numbers in Fluegel’s excellent edition of the original text: 4to Lipsiæ 1834. These numbers agree (excepting in a few cases, where a disagreement was found absolutely necessary) with those in Hinckelmann’s edition, which is that most commonly quoted by the learned. I am sorry to see that Marracci’s numbers have been adopted in a late edition of Sale’s translation, and that the distinction between the words of the text and the explanatory interpolations has there been neglected. Its utility to Arabic scholars, and its general fidelity, have been thus greatly lessened; and it appears to me very desirable that it should be superseded as soon as possible by another edition.

14Moḥammad’s answers to ‘Abd-Allah Ibn-Selám, quoted by Ibn-El-Wardee (MS. in my possession); and Mek-ḥool, quoted by the same author, and Mishkát el-Maṣábeeh, vol. ii. pp. 652 and 653.

15Ibn-Esh-Sheḥneh (MS. in my possession).

16In another MS. of the same author in my possession, “yellow.”

17In his “Khiṭaṭ” (MS. in my possession).

18Ḳur-án, ch. xiii. v. 3, and several other places.

19Idem, ch. ii. v. 20, and ch. lxxviii. v. 6.

20Idem, ch. lxxi. v. 18.

21Mek-ḥool, quoted by Ibn-El-Wardee.

22Wahb Ibn-Munebbih, quoted by El-Maḳreezee, is his “Khiṭaṭ.”

23Ibn-El-Wardee, however, says that its name is derived from its terrors and difficulties.

24These are monsters who will be described in a subsequent note.

25History of El-Khiḍr in the “Mir-át ez-Zemán” (MS. in my possession), a great history, whose author died in the year of the Flight 656.

26El-Ḳazweenee (MS. in my possession).

27Moḥammad’s answers to ‘Abd-Allah Ibn-Selám, quoted by Ibn-El-Wardee.



30Ḳur-án, ch. ii. v. 22, and ch. lxvi. v. 6.

31Mir-át ez-Zemán.

32Tradition from the Prophet, recorded by Ibn-‘Abbás, and quoted by Ibn-El-Wardee; and by El-Is-ḥáḳee, in describing an earthquake that happened in his life-time.—On the subject of earthquakes, see also the next foot-note.

33In Ibn-Esh-Sheḥneh, “Kuyoothán:” the orthography of this word is doubtful, as the vowel-points are not written. As the tradition is related in Ibn-El-Wardee, this bull takes a breath twice in the course of every day (or twenty-four hours); when he exhales, the sea flows; and when he inhales, it ebbs. But it must not be imagined that none of the Arabs have any notion of the true theory of the tides: the more learned among them explain this phenomenon by the influence of the moon.—Many of the Arabs attribute earthquakes to the shaking of this bull.

34In Ibn-El-Wardee, a quantity of sand is introduced between the bull and the fish.

35Ed-Demeeree, on the authority of Walib Ibn-Munebbih, quoted by El-Is-ḥáḳce, loco laudato.


37Ḳur-án, ch. xxxix. v. 67.

38Idem, ch. xiv. v. 49.

39Idem, ch. lxxxix. v. 24.

40Khaleel Eẓ-Ẓáhiree, in De Sacy’s Chrestomathie Arabe, 2nde ed. tome ii. pp. 10 and 11 of Ar. text.


42El-Maḳreezee, quoted by De Sacy, ubi supra, pp. 58-62.

43Ibn-Khaldoon, in the same, pp. 168 and 169.

44Ch. xxxii. v. 13.

45Mishḳát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 329.

46Burckhardt’s “Notes on the Bedouins and Wahábys,” 8vo ed. vol. i. pp. 178 and 179.

47This tree is called, in Arabic, “bán” and “khiláf” or “khaláf.”

48The Anacreon of Persia affected to prize the mole upon the cheek of his beloved above the cities of Samarḳand and Bukhára.

49Lawsonia inermis.

50In another analysis of the same kind, it is said that four should be short; the hands, the feet, the tongue, and the teeth; but this is metaphorically speaking; the meaning is, that these members should be kept within their proper bounds. (Kitáb el-‘Onwán fee Mekáid en-Niswán. MS. in my possession.)

51An unnamed author quoted by El-Is-ḥáḳee, in his account of the ‘Abbásee Khaleefeh El-Mutawekkil.

52Mir-át ez-Zemán. See also, Ḳur-án, ch. v. v. 65.

53The term “‘Efreet” is sometimes improperly applied to a good Jinnee [and also, in Egypt, to the ghost of a dead person. See “Modern Egyptians,” vol. 1. ch. x. Ed.].

54Mir-át ez-Zemán.

55Ch. xv. v. 27; and Commentary of the Jeláleyn. Also, Ḳur-án, ch. lv. v. 14.

56Ch. xxvii. v. 10 and ch. xxviii. v. 31; and Commentary of the Jeláleyn.

57Ch. lv. vv. 39 and 74; and same Commentary.

58’Ekrimeh, from Ibn-‘Abbás, in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

59Mujáhid, from the same, ibid.

60Hence the appellations of “Jinn” and “Jánn.”

61Tradition from the Prophet, in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

62Mir-át ez-Zemán.

63The worship here spoken of is prostration, as an act of obeisance to a superior being.

64Ḳur-án, ch. xviii. v. 48.

65Eṭ-Ṭabaree, quoted in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

66Mir-át ez-Zemán.

67Ch. vii. v. 11; and chap. xxxviii. v. 77.

68Mir-át ez-Zemán.

69El-Ḥasan El-Baṣree, in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.—My interpolation of the word “other” is required by his opinion before stated.

70Mujáhid, quoted by El-Ḳazweenee.

71The same, from Ibn-‘Abbás, in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.

72El-Ḥasan El-Baṣree, ibid.

73’Ekrimeh, from Ibn-‘Abbás, ibid.

74Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 314.

75Ibid. vol. ii. pp. 311 and 312.

76Mir-át ez-Zemán.

77″Modern Egyptians,” vol. i. ch. x.


79Sale, in a note on chap. xv. of the Ḳur-án.

80So I translate the word “khaṭṭ;” but in a work by Es-Suyootee, (a MS. in my possession, entitled “Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaähhil,” section 7,) I find, in its place, the word “weshm,” or “tattooing;” and there are some other slight variations and omissions in this tradition as there quoted.


82Ch. lxxii. v 6.

83″Modern Egyptians,” vol. i. ch. x.

84Idem, vol. ii. ch. xi.

85Ḳur-án, ch. xxvii. v. 17; and ch. xxxviii. v. 35.

86″Modern Egyptians,” vol. i. ch. x.




90El-Jáḥeẓ (‘Amr Ibn-Baḥr).

91Ṣeḥáḥ and Ḳámoos.

92Tradition for the Whab Ibn-Munebbih, quoted in the account of the early Arabs in the Mir-át ez-Zemán.




96El-Ḳazweenee, and Mir-át ez-Zemán.


98El-Ḳazweenee, in the khátimeh of his work.

99Mir-át ez-Zemán.



102In a great collection of Indian tales, the “Kathá Sarit Ságara,” is a story which may have been the original of that to which this note refers. “Two young Brahmans travelling are benighted in a forest, and take up their lodging in a tree near a lake. Early in the night a number of people come from the water, and having made preparation for an entertainment, retire; a Yaksha, a genie, then comes out of the lake with his two wives, and spends the night there: when he and one of his wives are asleep, the other, seeing the youths, invites them to approach her, and to encourage them, shews them a hundred rings received from former gallants, notwithstanding her husband’s precautions, who keeps her locked up in a chest at the bottom of the lake. The Hindu story-teller is more moral than the Arab. The youths reject her advances; she wakes the genie, who is going to put them to death, but the rings are produced in evidence against the unfaithful wife, and she is turned away with the loss of her nose. The story is repeated in the next section with some variation; the lady has ninety and nine rings, and is about to complete the hundredth, when her husband, who is here a Naga, a snake-god, wakes, and consumes the guilty pair with fire from his mouth.”—British and Foreign Review, No. xxi. page 266.

103Kitáb el-‘Onwán fee Mekáid en-Niswán: a work on the strategems of women (MS. in my possession).

104El-Imám El-Jara’ee, in his book entitled “Shir’at el-Islám,” ibid.

105Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaähhil, section 2.

106Es-Suyooṭee, History of Egypt, account of the strange events that have happened in Egypt during the time of El-Islám.

107Ch. xxvii. v. 16.

108Manṭiḳ eṭ-ṭeyr.

109Of the family Pteroclidæ. (Pr. Bon.) Ed.

110Ibn-‘Arab-Sháh, however, has given an account of a man called the sheykh El-‘Oryán, an inhabitant of Samarḳand, and a devotee, who was said to have attained the age of 350 [lunar] years [or nearly 340 solar years], and yet preserved an erect stature, a comely appearance, and such strength that it seemed as if he had not attained to mature years. The old men of the place asserted that they remembered him to have had the same appearance when they were children, and that their fathers and grandfathers had said the same.—History of Teemoor, p. 470, Calcutta edition.


Head-piece to Chapter I.–Shahrazád narrating her Stories
It has been related to me, O happy King, said Shahrazád, that there was a certain merchant who had great wealth, and traded extensively with surrounding countries; and one day he mounted his horse, and journeyed to a neighbouring country to collect what was due to him, and, the heat oppressing him, he sat under a tree, in a garden,1 and put his hand into his saddle-bag,2 and ate a morsel of bread and a date which were among his provisions. Having eaten the date, he threw aside the stone,3 and immediately there appeared before him an ‘Efreet, of enormous height, who, holding a drawn sword in his hand, approached him, and said, Rise, that I may kill thee, as thou hast killed my son. The merchant asked him, How have I killed thy son? He answered, When thou atest the date, and threwest aside the stone, it struck my son upon the chest,4 and, as fate had decreed against him, he instantly died.5

Merchant and Jinnee
39The merchant, on hearing these words,6 exclaimed, Verily to God we belong, and verily to Him we must return! There is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great! If I killed him, I did it not intentionally, but without knowing it; and I trust in thee that thou wilt pardon me.—The Jinnee answered, Thy death is indispensable, as thou hast killed my son:—and so saying, he dragged him, and threw him on the ground, and raised his arm to strike him with the sword. The merchant, upon this, wept bitterly, and said to the Jinnee, I commit my affair unto God, for no one can avoid40 what He hath decreed:—and he continued his lamentation, repeating the following verses:—

Time consists of two days; this, bright; and that, gloomy: and life, of two moieties; this, safe; and that, fearful.
Say to him who hath taunted us on account of misfortunes, Doth fortune oppose any but the eminent?
Dost thou not observe that corpses float upon the sea, while the precious pearls remain in its furthest depths?
When the hands of time play with us, misfortune is imparted to us by its protracted kiss.
In the heaven are stars that cannot be numbered; but none is eclipsed save the sun and the moon.
How many green and dry trees are on the earth; but none is assailed with stones save that which beareth fruit!
Thou thoughtest well of the days when they went well with thee, and fearedst not the evil that destiny was bringing.
—When he had finished reciting these verses, the Jinnee said to him, Spare thy words, for thy death is unavoidable.

Then said the merchant, Know, O ‘Efreet, that I have debts to pay, and I have much property, and children, and a wife, and I have pledges also in my possession: let me, therefore, go back to my house, and give to every one his due, and then I will return to thee: I bind myself by a vow and covenant that I will return to thee, and thou shalt do what thou wilt; and God is witness of what I say.—Upon this, the Jinnee accepted his covenant, and liberated him; granting him a respite until the expiration of the year.

The merchant, therefore, returned to his town, accomplished all that was upon his mind to do, paid every one what he owed him, and informed his wife and children of the event which had befallen him; upon hearing which, they and all his family and women wept. He appointed a guardian over his children, and remained with his family until the end of the year; when he took his grave-clothes under his arm,7 bade farewell to his household and neighbours, and all his relations, and went forth, in spite of himself; his family raising cries of lamentation, and shrieking.8

He proceeded until he arrived at the garden before mentioned; and it was the first day of the new year; and as he sat, weeping for the calamity which he expected soon to befall him, a sheykh,9 advanced in years, approached him, leading a gazelle with a chain attached to its neck. This sheykh saluted the merchant, wishing him a long life, and said to him, What is the reason of thy sitting alone in this place, seeing that it is a resort of the Jinn? The merchant therefore41 informed him of what had befallen him with the ‘Efreet, and of the cause of his sitting there; at which the sheykh, the owner of the gazelle, was astonished, and said, By Allah, O my brother, thy faithfulness is great, and thy story is wonderful! if it were engraved upon the intellect, it would be a lesson to him who would be admonished!—And he sat down by his side, and said, By Allah, O my brother, I will not quit this place until I see what will happen unto thee with this ‘Efreet. So he sat down, and conversed with him. And the merchant became almost senseless; fear entered him, and terror, and violent grief, and excessive anxiety. And as the owner of the gazelle sat by his side, lo, a second sheykh approached them, with two black hounds, and inquired of them, after saluting them, the reason of their sitting in that place, seeing that it was a resort of the Jánn:10 and they told him the story from beginning to end. And he had hardly sat down when there approached them a third sheykh, with a dapple mule; and he asked them the same question, which was answered in the same manner.

Meeting of the Merchant and the Sheykh with the Gazelle
Immediately after, the dust was agitated, and became an enormous revolving pillar, approaching them from the midst of the desert; and this dust subsided, and behold, the Jinnee, with a drawn sword in his hand; his eyes casting forth sparks of fire. He came to them, and dragged from them the merchant, and said to him, Rise, that I may kill thee, as thou killedst my son, the vital spirit of my heart. And the merchant wailed and wept; and the three sheykhs also manifested their sorrow by weeping and crying aloud and wailing: but the first sheykh, who was the owner of the gazelle, recovering his self-possession, kissed the hand of the ‘Efreet, and said to him, O thou Jinnee, and crown of the kings of the Jánn, if I relate to thee the story of myself and this gazelle, and thou find it to be wonderful, and more so than the adventure of this merchant, wilt thou give up to me a third42 of thy claim to his blood? He answered, Yes, O sheykh; if thou relate to me the story, and I find it to be as thou hast said, I will give up to thee a third of my claim to his blood.

Return of the Jinnee
Then said the sheykh, Know, O ‘Efreet, that this gazelle is the daughter of my paternal uncle,11 and she is of my flesh and my blood. I took her as my wife when she was young,12 and lived with her about thirty years; but I was not blessed with a child by her; so I took to me a concubine slave,13 and by her I was blessed with a male child, like the rising full moon, with beautiful eyes, and delicately-shaped eyebrows, and perfectly-formed limbs; and he grew up by little and little until he attained the age of fifteen years. At this period, I unexpectedly had occasion to journey to a certain city, and went thither with a great stock of merchandise.

Now my cousin,14 this gazelle, had studied enchantment and divination from her early years; and during my absence, she transformed the youth above mentioned into a calf; and his mother, into43 a cow;15 and committed them to the care of the herdsman: and when I returned, after a long time, from my journey, I asked after my son and his mother, and she said, Thy slave is dead, and thy son hath fled, and I know not whither he is gone. After hearing this, I remained for the space of a year with mourning heart and weeping eye, until the Festival of the Sacrifice;16 when I sent to the herdsman, and ordered him to choose for me a fat cow; and he brought me one, and it was my concubine, whom this gazelle had enchanted. I tucked up my skirts and sleeves, and took the knife17 in my hand, and prepared myself to slaughter her; upon which she moaned and cried so violently that I left her, and ordered the herdsman to kill and skin her: and he did so, but found in her neither fat nor flesh, nor anything but skin and bone; and I repented of slaughtering her, when repentance was of no avail. I therefore gave her to the herdsman, and said to him, Bring me a fat calf: and he brought me my son, who was transformed into a calf. And when the calf saw me, he broke his rope, and came to me, and fawned upon me, and wailed and cried, so that I was moved with pity for him; and I said to the herdsman, Bring me a cow, and let this—

Transformation of the Concubine into a Cow
Here Shahrazád perceived the light of morning, and discontinued the recitation with which she had been allowed thus far to proceed. Her sister said to her, How excellent is thy story! and how pretty! and how pleasant! and how sweet!—but she answered, What is this in comparison with that which I will relate to thee in the next night, if I live, and the King spare me! And the King said, By Allah, I will not kill her until I hear the remainder of her story. Thus they pleasantly passed the night until the morning, when the King went forth to his hall of judgment, and the Wezeer went thither with the grave-clothes under his arm: and the King44 gave judgment, and invested and displaced, until the close of the day, without informing the Wezeer of that which had happened; and the minister was greatly astonished. The court was then dissolved; and the King returned to the privacy of his palace.

[On the second and each succeeding night, Shahrazád continued so to interest King Shahriyár by her stories as to induce him to defer putting her to death, in expectation that her fund of amusing tales would soon be exhausted; and as this is expressed in the original work in nearly the same words at the close of every night, such repetitions will in the present translation be omitted.18]

When the sheykh, continued Shahrazád, observed the tears of the calf, his heart sympathized with him, and he said to the herdsman, Let this calf remain with the cattle.—Meanwhile, the Jinnee wondered at this strange story; and the owner of the gazelle thus proceeded.

O lord of the kings of the Jánn, while this happened, my cousin, this gazelle, looked on, and said, Slaughter this calf; for he is fat: but I could not do it; so I ordered the herdsman to take him back; and he took him and went away. And as I was sitting, on the following day, he came to me, and said, O my master, I have to tell thee something that thou wilt be rejoiced to hear; and a reward is due to me for bringing good news.19 I answered, Well:—and he said, O merchant, I have a daughter who learned enchantment in her youth from an old woman in our family; and yesterday, when thou gavest me the calf, I took him to her, and she looked at him, and covered her face, and wept, and then laughed, and said, O my father, hath my condition become so degraded in thy opinion that thou bringest before me strange men?20—Where, said I, are any strange men? and wherefore didst thou weep and laugh? She answered, This calf that is with thee is the son of our master, the merchant, and the wife of our master hath enchanted both him and his mother; and this was the reason of my laughter; but as to the reason of my weeping, it was on account of his mother, because his father had slaughtered her.—And I was excessively astonished at this; and scarcely was I certain that the light of morning had appeared when I hastened to inform thee.

The Herdsman introducing his Daughter to the Sheykh
When I heard, O Jinnee, the words of the herdsman, I went forth with him, intoxicated without wine, from the excessive joy and happiness that I received, and arrived at his house, where his daughter welcomed me, and kissed my hand; and the calf came to me, and fawned upon me. And I said to the herdsman’s daughter, Is that true which thou hast said respecting this calf? She answered, Yes, O my45 master; he is verily thy son, and the vital spirit of thy heart.—O maiden, said I, if thou wilt restore him, all the cattle and other property of mine that thy father hath under his care shall be thine. Upon this, she smiled, and said, O my master, I have no desire for the property unless on two conditions: the first is, that thou shalt marry me to him; and the second, that I shall enchant her who enchanted him, and so restrain her; otherwise, I shall not be secure from her artifice. On hearing, O Jinnee, these her words, I said, And thou shalt have all the property that is under the care of thy father besides; and as to my cousin, even her blood shall be lawful to thee. So, when she heard this, she took a cup, and filled it with water, and repeated a spell over it, and sprinkled with it the calf, saying to him, If God created thee a calf, remain in this form, and be not changed; but if thou be enchanted, return to thy original form, by permission of God, whose name be exalted!—upon which he shook, and became a man; and I threw myself upon him, and said, I conjure thee by Allah that thou relate to me all that my cousin did to thee and to thy mother.46 So he related to me all that had happened to them both; and I said to him, O my son, God hath given thee one to liberate thee, and to avenge thee:—and I married to him, O Jinnee, the herdsman’s daughter; after which, she transformed my cousin into this gazelle. And as I happened to pass this way, I saw this merchant, and asked him what had happened to him; and when he had informed me, I sat down to see the result.—This is my story. The Jinnee said, This is a wonderful tale; and I give up to thee a third of my claim to his blood.

The second sheykh, the owner of the two hounds, then advanced, and said to the Jinnee, If I relate to thee the story of myself and these hounds, and thou find it to be in like manner wonderful, wilt thou remit to me, also, a third of thy claim to the blood of this merchant? The Jinnee answered, Yes.

Then said the sheykh, Know, O lord of the kings of the Jánn, that these two hounds are my brothers. My father died, and left to us three thousand pieces of gold;21 and I opened a shop22 to sell and buy. But one of my brothers made a journey, with a stock of merchandise, and was absent from us for the space of a year with the caravans; after which, he returned destitute. I said to him, Did I not advise thee to abstain from travelling? But he wept, and said, O my brother, God, to whom be ascribed all might and glory, decreed this event; and there is no longer any profit in these words: I have nothing left. So I took him up into the shop, and then went with him to the bath, and clad him in a costly suit of my own clothing; after which, we sat down together to eat; and I said to him, O my brother, I will calculate the gain of my shop during the year, and divide it, exclusive of the principal, between me and thee. Accordingly, I made the calculation, and found my gain to amount to two thousand pieces of gold; and I praised God, to whom be ascribed all might and glory, and rejoiced exceedingly, and divided the gain in two equal parts between myself and him.—My other brother then set forth on a journey; and after a year, returned in the like condition; and I did unto him as I had done to the former.

The Second Sheykh receiving his poor Brother
After this, when we had lived together for some time, my brothers again wished to travel, and were desirous that I should accompany47 them; but I would not. What, said I, have ye gained in your travels, that I should expect to gain? They importuned me; but I would not comply with their request; and we remained selling and buying in our shops a whole year. Still, however, they persevered in proposing that we should travel, and I still refused, until after the lapse of six entire years, when at last I consented, and said to them, O my brothers, let us calculate what property we possess. We did so, and found it to be six thousand pieces of gold: and I then said to them, We will bury half of it in the earth, that it may be of service to us if any misfortune befall us, in which case each of us shall take a thousand pieces, with which to traffic.23 Excellent is thy advice, said they. So I took the money and divided it into two equal portions, and buried three thousand pieces of gold; and of the other half, I gave to each of them a thousand pieces. We then prepared merchandise, and hired a ship, and embarked our goods, and proceeded on our voyage for the space of a whole month, at the expiration of which we arrived at a city, where we sold our merchandise; and for every piece of gold we gained ten.


The Second Sheykh finding the Maiden on the Sea-shore
And when we were about to set sail again, we found, on the shore of the sea, a maiden clad in tattered garments, who kissed my hand, and said to me, O my master, art thou possessed of charity and kindness? If so, I will requite thee for them. I answered, Yes, I have those qualities, though thou requite me not. Then said she, O my master, accept me as thy wife, and take me to thy country; for I give myself to thee:24 act kindly towards me; for I am one who requires to be treated with kindness and charity, and who will requite thee for so doing; and let not my present condition at all deceive thee. When I heard these words, my heart was moved with tenderness towards her, in order to the accomplishment of a purpose of God, to whom be ascribed all might and glory; and I took her, and clothed her, and furnished for her a place in the ship in a handsome manner, and regarded her with kind and respectful attention.

We then set sail; and I became most cordially attached to my wife, so that, on her account, I neglected the society of my brothers, who, in consequence, became jealous of me, and likewise envied me my wealth, and the abundance of my merchandise; casting the eyes of covetousness upon the whole of the property. They therefore consulted together to kill me, and take my wealth; saying, Let us kill our brother, and all the property shall be ours:—and the devil made these actions to seem fair in their eyes; so they came to me while I was sleeping by the side of my wife, and took both of us up, and threw us into the sea. But as soon as my wife awoke, she shook herself, and became transformed into a Jinneeyeh.25 She immediately bore me away, and placed me upon an island, and, for a while, disappeared. In the morning, however, she returned, and said to me, I am thy wife, who carried thee, and rescued thee from death, by permission of God, whose name be exalted. Know that I am a Jinneeyeh: I saw thee, and my heart loved thee for the sake of God; for I am a believer in God and his Apostle, God bless and save him!26 I came to thee in the condition in which thou sawest me, and thou didst marry me; and see, I have rescued thee from drowning. But I am incensed against thy brothers, and I must kill them.—When I49 heard her tale, I was astonished, and thanked her for what she had done;—But, said I, as to the destruction of my brothers, it is not what I desire. I then related to her all that had happened between myself and them from first to last; and when she had heard it, she said, I will, this next night, fly to them, and sink their ship, and destroy them. But I said, I conjure thee by Allah that thou do it not; for the author of the proverb saith, O thou benefactor of him who hath done evil, the action that he hath done is sufficient for him:27—besides, they are at all events my brothers. She still, however, said, They must be killed;—and I continued to propitiate her towards them: and at last she lifted me up, and soared through the air, and placed me on the roof of my house.28

The Second Sheykh saved from drowning
Having opened the doors, I dug up what I had hidden in the earth; and after I had saluted my neighbours, and bought merchandise, I opened my shop. And in the following night, when I entered my house, I found these two dogs tied up in it; and as soon as they saw me, they came to me, and wept, and clung to me; but I knew not what had happened until immediately my wife appeared before50 me, and said, These are thy brothers. And who, said I, hath done this unto them? She answered, I sent to my sister and she did it; and they shall not be restored until after the lapse of ten years. And I was now on my way to her, that she might restore them, as they have been in this state ten years, when I saw this man, and, being informed of what had befallen him, I determined not to quit the place until I should have seen what would happen between thee and him.—This is my story.—Verily, said the Jinnee, it is a wonderful tale; and I give up to thee a third of the claim that I had to his blood on account of his offence.

The Second Sheykh and the two Black Hounds
Upon this, the third sheykh, the owner of the mule, said to the Jinnee,29 As to me, break not my heart if I relate to thee nothing more than this:—

The mule that thou seest was my wife: she became enamoured of a black slave; and when I discovered her with him, she took a mug of water, and, having uttered a spell over it, sprinkled me, and transformed me into a dog. In this state, I ran to the shop of a butcher, whose daughter saw me, and, being skilled in enchantment, restored me to my original form, and instructed me to enchant my wife in the manner thou beholdest.—And now I hope that thou wilt remit to me also a third of the merchant’s offence. Divinely was he gifted who said,

Sow good, even on an unworthy soil; for it will not be lost wherever it is sown.
When the sheykh had thus finished his story, the Jinnee shook51 with delight, and remitted the remaining third of his claim to the merchant’s blood. The merchant then approached the sheykhs, and thanked them, and they congratulated him on his safety; and each went his way.

But this, said Shahrazád, is not more wonderful than the story of the fisherman. The King asked her, And what is the story of the fisherman? And she related it as follows:—

Tail-piece to Chapter I.–The Jinnee listening to the Tales of the Sheykhs

Head-piece to Notes to Chapter I.–The Merchant eating in the Garden
Note 1. The words “in a garden” are omitted in my original; but they are required by the sequel. I may here remark, that, in future, when I find trifling insertions of this kind to be requisite in my translation, I shall not deem it necessary to mention them in a note.

Note 2. An Eastern traveller often makes a long journey with no other encumbrance than a well-filled pair of saddle-bags: in one bag he puts his provisions; and in the other, such articles of clothing as he may require in addition to those in which he sets out, including a spare shirt, and perhaps no other clean linen: for he is as indifferent with regard to this comfort as he is careful respecting his personal cleanliness.

Note 3. Perhaps no reader of this work will require to be told that the date has not a shell. I only make this remark on account of an error in the old translation.—As dates are very nutritious, and are preserved by being merely dried in the sun, they are an excellent article of provision for travellers.

Note 4. The merchant was culpably careless: before throwing aside the date-stone with sufficient force to kill a Jinnee who happened to be near him (though at the time invisible), he should have asked permission by the exclamation “Destoor!” as explained in a note appended to the Introduction.

Note 5.—On Fate and Destiny. The belief in fate and destiny (“el-ḳaḍà wa-l-ḳadar”) exercises a most powerful influence upon the actions and character of the Muslims; and it is therefore highly important that the reader of the present work should be acquainted with the notions which these people entertain respecting such matters of faith. I use two words (perhaps the best that our language affords) to express corresponding Arabic terms, which some persons regard as synonymous, but others distinguish by different shades of meaning. On what I consider the best authority, the word which I render “fate” respects the decrees of God in a general sense; while that which I translate “destiny” relates to the particular applications of those decrees. In such senses these terms are here to be understood when separately employed.

Many Muslims hold that fate is, in some respects, absolute and unchangeable; in others, admitting of alteration; and almost all of them act, in many of the affairs of life, as if this were their belief. In the former case, it is called “el-ḳaḍà el-Moḥkam:” in the latter, “el-ḳaḍà el-Mubram” (which term, without the explanation here given,53 might be regarded as exactly synonymous with the former). Hence, the Prophet, it is said, prayed to be preserved from the latter, as knowing that it might be changed; and in allusion to this changeable fate, God, we are told, says, “God will cancel what He pleaseth, and confirm;”111 while, on the contrary, the fate which is termed “Moḥkam” is appointed “destiny” decreed by God.112

Many doctors have argued, that destiny respects only the final state of a certain portion of men (believers and unbelievers); and that, in general, man is endowed with free will, which he should exercise according to the laws of God and his own conscience and judgment, praying to God for a blessing on his endeavours, or imploring the intercession of the Prophet, or of any of the saints, in his favour, and propitiating them by offering alms or sacrifices in their names; relying upon God for the result, which he may then, and then only, attribute to fate or destiny. They hold, therefore, that it is criminal to attempt resistance to the will when its dictates are conformable with the laws of God and our natural consciences and prudence, and so passively to await the fulfilment of God’s decrees.—The doctrine of the Ḳur-án and the Traditions respecting the decrees of God, or fate and destiny, appears, however, to be, that they are altogether absolute and unchangeable,—written, in the beginning of the creation, on the “Preserved Tablet,” in heaven; that God hath predestined every event and action, evil as well as good; at the same time commanding and approving good, and forbidding and hating evil; and that the “cancelling” mentioned in the preceding paragraph relates (as the context seems to shew) to the abrogation of former scriptures, or revelations; not of fate. But still it must be held that He hath not predestined the will; though He sometimes inclines it to good, and the Devil sometimes inclines it to evil. It is asked, then, If we have the power to will, but not the power to perform otherwise than as God hath predetermined, how can we be regarded as responsible beings? The answer to this is, that our actions are judged good or evil according to our intentions, if we have faith: good actions or intentions, it should be added, only increase, and do not cause, our happiness, if we are believers; and evil actions or intentions only increase our misery if we are unbelievers or irreligious: for the Muslim holds that he is to be admitted into heaven only by the mercy of God, on account of his faith; and to be rewarded in proportion to his good works.

The Prophet’s assertions on the subject of God’s decrees are considered of the highest importance as explanatory of the Ḳur-án.—”Whatever is in the universe,” said he, “is by the order of God.”—”God hath pre-ordained five things on his servants; the duration of life, their actions, their dwelling-places, their travels, and their portions.”—”There is not one among you whose sitting-place is not written by God, whether in the fire or in paradise.”113—Some of the Companions of the Prophet, on hearing the last-quoted saying, asked him, “O Prophet, since God hath appointed our places, may we confide in this, and abandon our religious and moral duties?” He answered, “No: because the happy will do good works, and those who are of the miserable will do bad works.”—The following of his sayings further illustrate this subject.—”When God hath ordered a creature to die in any particular place, He causeth his wants to direct him to that place.”—A Companion asked, “O Prophet of God, inform me respecting charms, and the medicines which I swallow, and shields which I make use of for protection, whether they prevent any of the orders of God.” Moḥammad answered, “These also are by the order of God.”114 “There is a medicine for every pain: then, when the medicine reaches the pain, it is cured by the order of God.”115—When a Muslim, therefore, feels an inclination to make use of medicine for the cure of a disease, he should do so, in the hope of its being predestined that he shall be so cured.

On the predestination of diseases, I find the following curious quotation and remark 54in a manuscript work, by Es-Suyooṭee, in my possession.—”El-Ḥaleemee says, ‘Communicable or contagious diseases are six: small-pox, measles, itch or scab, foul breath or putridity, melancholy, and pestilential maladies; and diseases engendered are also six: leprosy, hectic, epilepsy, gout, elephantiasis, and phthisis.’ But this does not contradict the saying of the Prophet, ‘There is no transition of diseases by contagion or infection, nor any omen that brings evil:’ for the transition here meant is one occasioned by the disease itself; whereas the effect is of God, who causes pestilence to spread when there is intercourse with the diseased.”116—A Bedawee asked the Prophet, “What is the condition of camels which stay in the deserts? verily, you might say, they are deer, in health and in cleanness of skin; then they mix with mangy camels, and they become mangy also.” Moḥammad said, “What made the first camel mangy?”117

Notwithstanding, however, the arguments which have been here adduced, and many others that might be added, declaring or implying the unchangeable nature of all God’s decrees, I have found it to be the opinion of my own Muslim friends, that God may be induced, by supplication, to change certain of his decrees; at least, those regarding degrees of happiness or misery in this world and the next; and that such is the general opinion, appears from a form of prayer which is repeated in the mosques on the eve of the middle (or fifteenth day) of the month of Shaạbán; when it is believed that such portions of God’s decrees as constitute the destinies of all living creatures for the ensuing year, are confirmed and fixed. In this prayer it is said, “O God, if Thou hast recorded me in thine abode, upon ‘the Original of the Book’ [the Preserved Tablet], miserable, or unfortunate, or scanted in my sustenance, cancel, O God, of thy goodness, my misery, and misfortune, and scanty allowance of sustenance, and confirm me, in thine abode, upon the Original of the Book, as happy, and provided for, and directed to good,” &c.118

The Arabs in general constantly have recourse both to charms and medicines, not only for the cure, but also for the prevention of diseases. They have, indeed, a strange passion for medicine, which shows that they do not consider fate as altogether unconditional. Nothing can exceed the earnestness with which they often press a European traveller for a dose; and the more violent the remedy, the better are they pleased. The following case will serve as an example:—Three donkey-drivers, conveying the luggage of two British travellers from Booláḳ to Cairo, opened a bottle which they observed in a basket, and finding it to contain, as they had suspected, brandy, emptied it down their throats: but he who had the last, on turning up the bottle, got the tail of a scorpion into his mouth; and, looking through the bottle, to his great horror, saw that it contained a number of these reptiles, with tarantulas, vipers, and beetles. Thinking that they had poisoned themselves, but not liking to rely upon fate, they persuaded a man to come to me for medicine. He introduced the subject by saying, “O Efendee, do an act of kindness: there are three men poisoned; in your mercy give them medicine, and save their lives:” and then he related the whole affair, without concealing the theft. I replied, that they did not deserve medicine; but he urged that, by giving it, I should obtain an immense reward. “Yes,” said I; “‘he who saveth a soul alive shall be as if he had saved the lives of all mankind.'”119 I said this to try the feeling of the applicant, who, expressing admiration of my knowledge, urged me to be quick, lest the men should die; thus showing himself to be no unconditional fatalist. I gave him three strong doses of tartar emetic; and he soon came back to thank me, saying that the medicine was most admirable, for the men had hardly swallowed it, when they almost vomited their hearts and livers, and everything else in their bodies.

From a distrust in faith, some Muslims even shut themselves up during the prevalence of plague; but this practice is generally condemned. A Syrian friend of mine, who did 55so, nearly had his door broken open by his neighbours. Another of my friends, one of the most distinguished of the ‘Ulamà, confessed to me his conviction of the lawfulness of quarantine, and argued well in favour of it; but said that he dared not openly avow such an opinion. “The Apostle of God,” said he, “God bless and save him! hath commanded that we should not enter a city where there is pestilence, nor go out from it. Why did he say, ‘Enter it not?’—because, by so doing, we should expose ourselves to the disease. Why did he say, ‘Go not out from it?’—because, by so doing, we should carry the disease to others. The Prophet was tenderly considerate of our welfare: but the present Muslims in general are like bulls [brute beasts]; and they hold the meaning of this command to be, Go not into a city where there is pestilence, because this would be rashness; and go not out from it, because this would be distrusting God’s power to save you from it.”

Many of the vulgar and ignorant among modern Muslims, believe that the unchangeable destinies of every man are written upon his head, in what are termed the sutures of the skull.

Note 6. The paragraph thus commencing, and the verses comprised in it, are translated from the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights.

Note 7. It is a common custom for a Muslim, on a military expedition, or during a long journey, especially in the desert, to carry his grave-linen with him; for he is extremely careful that he may be buried according to the law.120 It seems to be implied in our tale, that the merchant hoped that the Jinnee, or some passing traveller, would wash, shroud, and bury him.

Note 8. It is thus that the Arab women generally do on the occasion of a funeral.

Note 9.—On the title of Sheykh. “Sheykh” is an appellation which literally signifies “an elder,” or “an aged person,” and in this sense it is here used; but it is also commonly employed as synonymous with our appellation of “Mister;” and particularly applied to a learned man, or a reputed saint. In every case, it is a title of respect, and never given to any but a Muslim.

Note 10. “Jánn” is here used as synonymous with “Jinn.”

Note 11. A cousin (the daughter of a paternal uncle) is often chosen as a wife, on account of the tie of blood, which is likely to attach her more strongly to her husband; or on account of an affection conceived in early years. The various customs relating to marriage, I shall describe on a future occasion.

Note 12. A bride is called young, by the Arabs, when she is about twelve years of age. In the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, the wife in this tale is said to have been of this age when she was first married.

Note 13.—On Slaves. A slave, among Muslims, is either a person taken captive in war, or carried off by force, and being at the time of capture an infidel; or the offspring of a female slave by another slave, or by any man who is not her owner, or by her owner, if he does not acknowledge himself to be the father: but the offspring of a male slave by a free woman is free. A person who embraces the Mohammadan faith after having been made a slave, does not by this act become free, unless he flees from a foreign infidel master to a Muslim country, and there becomes a Mohammadan. A person cannot have as a slave one whom he acknowledges to be within the prohibited degrees of marriage.121—The slaves of the Arabs are mostly from Abyssinia and the Negro countries: a few, mostly in the houses of wealthy individuals, are from Georgia and Circassia.

Slaves have no civil liberty; but are entirely under the authority of their owners, 56whatever may be the religion, sex, or age, of the latter; and can possess no property, unless by the owner’s permission. The owner is entire master, while he pleases, of the person and goods of his slave; and of the offspring of his female slave, which, if begotten by him or presumed to be so, he may recognise as his own legitimate child, or not: the child, if recognised by him, enjoys the same privileges as the offspring of a free wife; and if not recognised by him, is his slave. The master may even kill his own slave with impunity for any offence; and he incurs but a slight punishment (as imprisonment for a period at the discretion of the judge) if he kills him wantonly. He may give away or sell his slaves, excepting in some cases which will be mentioned; and may marry them to whom he will, but not separate them when married. A slave, however, according to most of the doctors, cannot have more than two wives at the same time. Unemancipated slaves, at the death of their master, become the property of his heirs; and when an emancipated slave dies, leaving no male descendants or collateral relations, the former master is the heir; or, if he be dead, his heirs inherit the slave’s property. As a slave enjoys less advantages than a free person, the law, in some cases, ordains that his punishment for an offence shall be half of that to which the free is liable to the same offence, or even less than half: if it be a fine, or pecuniary compensation, it must be paid by the owner, to the amount, if necessary, of the value of the slave, or the slave must be given in compensation.

The owner, but not the part-owner, may cohabit with any of his female slaves who is a Mohammadan, a Christian, or a Jewess, if he has not married her to another man; but not with two or more who are sisters, or who are related to each other in any of the degrees which would prevent their both being his wives at the same time if they were free: after having so lived with one, he must entirely relinquish such intercourse with her before he can do the same with another who is so related to her. He cannot have this intercourse with a pagan slave. A Christian or Jew may have slaves, but not enjoy the privilege above mentioned with one who is a Mohammadan. The master must wait a certain period (generally from a month to three months) after the acquisition of a female slave, before he can have such intercourse with her. If he find any fault in her within three days, he is usually allowed to return her.

When a man, from being the husband, becomes the master, of a slave, the marriage is dissolved, and he cannot continue to live with her but as her master, enjoying, however, all a master’s privileges; unless he emancipates her; in which case he may again take her as his wife with her consent. In like manner, when a woman, from being the wife, becomes the possessor, of a slave, the marriage is dissolved, and cannot be renewed unless she emancipates him, and he consents to the re-union.

Complete and immediate emancipation is sometimes granted to a slave gratuitously, or for a future pecuniary compensation. It is conferred by means of a written document, or by a verbal declaration (expressed in the words, “Thou art free,” or some similar phrase) in the presence of two witnesses, or by returning the certificate of sale obtained from the former owner. Future emancipation is sometimes covenanted to be granted on the fulfilment of certain conditions; and more frequently, to be conferred on the occasion of the owner’s death. In the latter case, the owner cannot sell the slave to whom he has made this promise: and, as he cannot alienate by will more than one-third of the whole property that he leaves, the law ordains that, if the value of the said slave exceeds that portion, the slave must obtain and pay the additional sum. When a female slave has borne a child to her master, and he acknowledges the child to be his own, he cannot sell this slave, and she becomes free on his death.

Abyssinian and white female slaves are kept by many men of the middle and higher classes, and often instead of wives, as requiring less expense, and being more subservient; but they are generally indulged with the same luxuries as free ladies; their vanity is gratified by costly dresses and ornaments, and they rank high above free servants; as do also the male slaves. Those called Abyssinians appear to be a mixed race between negroes and whites; and are from the territories of the Gallas. They are57 mostly kidnapped and sold by their own countrymen. The negro female slaves, as few of them have considerable personal attractions (which is not the case with the Abyssinians, many of whom are very beautiful), are usually employed only in cooking, and other menial offices. The female slaves of the higher classes are often instructed in plain needlework and embroidery, and sometimes in music and dancing. Formerly, many of them possessed sufficient literary accomplishments to quote largely from esteemed poems, or even to compose extemporary verses, which they would often accompany with the lute. The condition of many concubine slaves is happy; and that of many, quite the contrary. These, and all other slaves of either sex, are generally treated with kindness; but at first they are usually importuned, and not unfrequently used with much harshness, to induce them to embrace the Mohammadan faith; which almost all of them do. Their services are commonly light: the usual office of the male white slave, who is called “memlook,” is that of a page, or a military guard. Eunuchs are employed as guardians of the women; but only in the houses of men of high rank, or of great wealth: on account of the important and confidential office which they fill, they are generally treated in public with especial consideration. I used to remark, in Cairo, that few persons saluted me with a more dignified and consequential air than these pitiable but self-conceited beings. Most of them are Abyssinians or Negroes. Indeed, the slaves in general take too much advantage of the countenance of their masters, especially when they belong to men in power. The master is bound to afford his slaves proper food and clothing, or to let them work for their own support, or to sell, give away, or liberate them. It is, however, considered disgraceful for him to sell a slave who has been long in his possession; and it seldom happens that a master emancipates a female slave, without marrying her to some man able to support her, or otherwise providing for her.

The Prophet strongly enjoined the duty of kindness to slaves. “Feed your memlooks,” said he, “with food of that which ye eat, and clothe them with such clothing as ye wear; and command them not to do that which they are unable.”122—These precepts are generally attended to, either entirely or in a great degree. Some other sayings of the Prophet on this subject well deserve to be mentioned; as the following:—”He who beats his slave without fault, or slaps him on the face, his atonement for this is freeing him.”—”A man who behaves ill to his slave will not enter into paradise.”—”Whoever is the cause of separation between mother and child, by selling or giving, God will separate him from his friends on the day of resurrection.”—”When a slave wishes well to his master, and worships God well, for him are double rewards.”123—It is related of ‘Othmán, “that he twisted the ear of a memlook belonging to him, on account of disobedience, and afterwards, repenting of it, ordered him to twist his ear in like manner: but he would not. ‘Othmán urged him, and the memlook advanced, and began to wring it by little and little. He said to him, ‘Wring it hard; for I cannot endure the punishment of the day of judgment [on account of this act].’ The memlook answered, ‘O my master, the day that thou fearest, I also fear.'”—”It is related also of Zeyn-el-‘Ábideen, that he had a memlook who seized a sheep, and broke its leg; and he said to him, ‘Why didst thou this?’ He answered, ‘To provoke thee to anger.’ ‘And I,’ said he, ‘will provoke to anger him who taught thee; and he is Iblees: go, and be free, for the sake of God.'”124—Many similar anecdotes might be added; but the general assertions of travellers in the East are more satisfactory evidence in favour of the humane conduct of most Muslims to their slaves.

It sometimes happens, though rarely, that free girls are sold as slaves.125 A remarkable instance is related in the “Mir-át ez-Zemán.”126—Fáṭimeh, surnamed Ghareeb, a slave of the Khaleefeh El-Moạtaṣim, the son of Hároon, was a poetess, accomplished in singing and calligraphy, and extremely beautiful. Her mother was an orphan; and


Jaạfar, the famous Wezeer of Hároon Er-Rasheed, took her as his wife; but his father, Yaḥyà, reproached him for marrying a woman whose father and mother were unknown, and he therefore removed her from his own residence to a neighbouring house, where he frequently visited her; and she bore him a daughter, the above-mentioned Ghareeb, and died. Jaạfar committed her infant to the care of a Christian woman, to nurse; and, on the overthrow of his family, this woman sold her young charge as a slave. El-Emeen, the successor of Er-Rasheed, bought her of a man named Sumbul, but never paid her price; and when he was killed, she returned to her former master; but on the arrival of El-Ma-moon at Baghdád, she was described to him, and he compelled Sumbul to sell her to him. This Sumbul loved her so passionately, that he died of grief at her loss. On the death of El-Ma-moon, his successor, El-Moạtaṣim, bought her for a hundred thousand dirhems, and emancipated her. The historian adds, that she composed several well-known airs and verses.

Note 14. An Arab who is married to his cousin generally calls her by this appellation rather than that of wife, as the tie of blood is, to him, in every respect, stronger than that of matrimony.

Note 15.—On Magic. The Arabs and other Mohammadans enjoy a remarkable advantage over us in the composition of works of fiction: in the invention of incidents which we should regard as absurd in the extreme, they cannot be accused by their countrymen of exceeding the bounds of probability. A case similar to that here described was related to me as a fact, in Cairo. A person in that city, I was told, was suddenly surprised by the disappearance of his brother, and by finding, in his place, an ass: but this animal increased his astonishment, and that of every person who beheld him, by manifesting a sagacity singularly opposed to the proverbial dulness of the generality of his species. Yet, strange as it may seem, it was not imagined that this brute was the lost man in a transformed state, till, one day, an old woman, seeing him, quickly covered her face, and declared the fact. She discovered this by her knowledge of magic; and, by her skill in this art, she agreed to restore the enchanted person to his proper shape. Having collected a number of herbs, she boiled them in a large vessel; and when the decoction had cooled, she took the vessel, and, muttering a certain spell, threw its contents over the animal, endeavouring to do so in such a manner that every part of it should be wetted. Every part of it was wetted, excepting one hind-foot; and, accordingly, it was restored to the original human form, with the exception of one foot, which remained like that of an ass.

An implicit belief in magic is entertained by almost all Muslims; and he, among them, who denies its truth, they regard as a freethinker, or an infidel. Some are of opinion that it ceased on the mission of Moḥammad; but these are comparatively few. Many of the most learned Muslims, to the present age, have deeply studied it; and a much greater number of persons of inferior education (particularly school-masters) have, more or less, devoted their time and talents to the pursuit of this knowledge. Recourse is had to it for the discovery of hidden treasures, for alchymical purposes, for the acquisition of the knowledge of futurity, to procure offspring, to obtain the affection of a beloved object, to effect cures, to guard against the influence of the evil eye, to afflict or kill an enemy or a rival, and to attain various other objects of desire.

There are two descriptions of magic; one is spiritual, and regarded by all but freethinkers as true; the other, natural, and denounced by the more religious and enlightened as deceptive.

I. Spiritual magic, which is termed “er-Rooḥánee” (vulgo “Rowḥánee”), chiefly depends upon the virtues of certain names of God, and passages from the Ḳur-án, and the agency of Angels and Jinn, or Genii. It is of two kinds: High and Low (“‘Ilwee” and “Suflee”), or Divine and Satanic (“Raḥmánee,” i. e. relating to “the Compassionate” [who is God], and “Sheyṭánee”).59

1. Divine magic is regarded as a sublime science, and is studied only by good men, and practised only for good purposes. Perfection in this branch of magic consists in the knowledge of “the most great name” of God (“el-Ism el Aạẓam”); but this knowledge is imparted to none but the peculiar favourites of Heaven. By virtue of this name, which was engraved on his seal-ring, Suleymán (or Solomon) subjected to his dominion the Jinn and the birds and the winds, as mentioned in a former note. By pronouncing it, his minister Áṣaf, also, transported, in an instant, to the presence of his sovereign, in Jerusalem, the throne of the Queen of Sheba.127 But this was a small miracle to effect by such means; for, by uttering this name, a man may even raise the dead. Other names of the Deity, commonly known, are believed to have particular efficacies when uttered or written; as also are the names of the Prophet; and Angels and good Jinn are said to be rendered subservient to the purposes of divine magic by means of certain invocations. Of such names and invocations, together with words unintelligible to the uninitiated in this science, passages from the Ḳur-án, mysterious combinations of numbers, and peculiar diagrams and figures, are chiefly composed written charms employed for good purposes. Enchantment, when used for benevolent purposes, is regarded by the vulgar as a branch of lawful or divine magic; but not so by the learned; and the same remark applies to the science of divination.

2. Satanic magic, as its name implies, is a science depending on the agency of the Devil and the inferior evil Jinn, whose services are obtained by means similar to those which propitiate, or render subservient, the good Jinn. It is condemned by the Prophet and all good Muslims, and only practised for bad purposes.—Enchantment, which is termed “es-Seḥr,” is almost universally acknowledged to be a branch of satanic magic; but some few persons assert (agreeably with several tales in this work), that it may be, and by some has been, studied with good intentions, and practised by the aid of good Jinn; consequently, that there is such a science as good enchantment, which is to be regarded as a branch of divine or lawful magic. The metamorphoses are said to be generally effected by means of spells, or invocations to Jinn, accompanied by the sprinkling of water or dust, &c., on the object to be transformed. Persons are said to be enchanted in various ways: some, paralyzed, or even deprived of life; others, affected with irresistible passion for certain objects; others, again, rendered demoniacs; and some, transformed into brutes, birds, &c. The evil eye is believed to enchant in a very powerful and distressing manner. This was acknowledged even by the Prophet.128 Diseases and death are often attributed to its influence. Amulets, which are mostly written charms, of the kind above described, are worn by many Muslims with the view of counteracting, or preserving from, enchantment; and for the same purpose, many ridiculous ceremonies are practised.—Divination, which is termed “el-Kiháneh,” is pronounced, on the highest authority, to be a branch of satanic magic; though not believed to be so by all Muslims. According to an assertion of the Prophet, what a fortune-teller says may sometimes be true; because one of the Jinn steals away the truth, and carries it to the magician’s ear: for the Angels come down to the region next the earth (the lowest heaven), and mention the works that have been pre-ordained in heaven; and the Devils (or evil Jinn) listen to what the Angels say, and hear the orders predestined in heaven, and carry them to the fortune-tellers. It is on such occasions that shooting-stars are hurled at the Devils.129 It is said that “the diviner obtains the services of the Sheyṭán by magic arts, and by names [invoked], and by the burning of perfumes, and he informs him of secret things: for the Devils, before the mission of the Apostle of God,” it is added, “used to ascend to heaven, and hear words by stealth.”130 That the evil Jinn are believed still to ascend sufficiently near to the lowest heaven to hear the conversation of the Angels, and so to assist magicians, appears from the former quotation, and is asserted by all Muslims. The discovery of hidden treasures, before 60alluded to, is one of the objects for which divination is most studied.—The mode of divination called “Ḍarb el-Mendel” is by some supposed to be effected by the aid of evil Jinn; but the more enlightened of the Muslims regard it as a branch of natural magic. Some curious performances of this kind, by means of a fluid mirror of ink, have been described in my “Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians,” and in No. 117 of the “Quarterly Review.”131

There are certain modes of divination which cannot properly be classed under the head of spiritual magic, but require a place between the account of this science and that of natural magic.—The most important of these branches of Kiháneh is Astrology, which is called “‘Ilm en-Nujoom.” This is studied by many Muslims in the present day; and its professors are often employed by the Arabs to determine a fortunate period for laying the foundation of a building, commencing a journey, &c.; but more frequently by the Persians and Turks. The Prophet pronounced astrology to be a branch of magic.132—Another branch of Kiháneh is Geomancy, called “Ḍarb er-Raml;” a mode of divination from certain marks made on sand (whence its appellation), or on paper; and said to be chiefly founded on astrology.—The science called “ez-Zijr,” or “el-‘Eyáfeh,” is a third branch of Kiháneh; being divination or auguration chiefly from the motions and positions, or postures, of birds, or of gazelles and other beasts of the chase. Thus, what was termed a “Sáneḥ,” that is, such an animal standing or passing with its right side towards the spectator, was esteemed among the Arabs as of good omen; and a “Báreḥ,” or an animal of this kind with its left side towards the spectator, was held as inauspicious.133—”El-Ḳiyáfeh,” under which term are included Chiromancy and its kindred sciences, is a fourth branch of Kiháneh.—”Et·Tefá-ul,” or the taking an omen, particularly a good one, from a name or words accidentally heard or seen, or chosen from a book, belongs to the same science. The taking a “fál,” or omen, from the Ḳur-án is generally held to be lawful.—Various trifling events are considered as ominous. For instance, a Sulṭán quitting his palace with his troops, a standard happened to strike a “thureiyà” (a cluster of lamps, so called from resembling the Pleiades), and broke them: he drew from this an evil omen, and would have relinquished the expedition; but one of his chief officers said to him, “O our lord, thy standards have reached the Pleiades;”—and, being relieved by this remark, he proceeded, and returned victorious.134—The interpretation of dreams, “Taạbeer el-Menámát,” must also be classed among the branches of this science. According to the Prophet, it is the only branch of divination worthy of dependance. “Good dreams,” said he, “are one of the parts of prophecy,” and “nothing else of prophecy remains.” “Good dreams are from God; and false dreams, from the Devil.” “When any one of you has a bad dream, spit three times over your left shoulder, and seek protection with God from the Devil thrice; and turn from the side on which the dream was, to the other.”135 This rule is observed by many Muslims. Dreams are generally so fully relied upon by them as to be sometimes the means of deciding contested points in history and science. The sight, in a dream, of anything green or white, or of water, is considered auspicious; anything black or red, or fire, inauspicious.—The distinction of fortunate and unfortunate days should also here be mentioned. Thursday and Friday, especially the latter, are considered fortunate; Monday and Wednesday, doubtful; Sunday, Tuesday, and Saturday, especially the last, unfortunate. It is said that there are seven evil days in every [lunar] month; namely, the third, on which Ḳábeel (or Cain) killed Hábeel (Abel); the fifth, on which God cast down Adam from paradise, and afflicted the people of Yoonus (Jonas), and on which Yoosuf (or Joseph) was cast into the well; the thirteenth, on which God took away the wealth of Eiyoob (or Job), and afflicted him, 61and took away the kingdom from Suleymán (or Solomon), and on which the Jews killed the prophets; the sixteenth, on which God exterminated and buried the people of Looṭ (or Lot), and transformed three hundred Christians into swine, and Jews into apes, and on which the Jews sawed asunder Zekereeyà (or Zachariah); the twenty-first, on which Pharaoh was born, and on which he was drowned, and on which his nation was afflicted with the plagues; the twenty-fourth, on which Numrood136 (or Nimrod) killed seventy women, and cast El-Khaleel (or Abraham) into the fire, and on which was slaughtered the camel of Ṣáleḥ; and the twenty-fifth, on which the suffocating wind was sent upon the people of Hood.137

II. Natural magic, which is called “es-Seemiyà,” is regarded by most persons of the more enlightened classes of Muslims as altogether a deceptive art, no more worthy of respect than legerdemain; but it seems to be nearly allied to enchantment; for it is said to effect, in appearance, the most wonderful transformations, and to cause the most extraordinary visions; affecting the senses and imagination in a manner similar to opium. This and other drugs are supposed, by some persons, to be the chief means by which such illusions are caused; and perfumes, which are generally burnt in these performances, may operate in a similar manner. As such things are employed in performances of the kind called “Ḍarb el-Mendel,” before mentioned, these feats are regarded by many as effected by natural magic, notwithstanding what has been said above respecting the services of evil Jinn being procured by means of perfumes.—Alchymy (“el-Keemiyà”) is a branch of natural magic. It is studied by many Muslims of the present day, and by some of considerable talents and attainments.

The most celebrated of the magicians who have gained notoriety in Egypt during the course of the last hundred years, was the sheykh Aḥmad Ṣádoomeh, who flourished somewhat more than sixty years ago—I write in 1837. Several persons of Cairo, men of intelligence and of good education, have related to me various most marvellous stories of his performances, on the authority of eye-witnesses whom they considered veracious; but a more credible account of this magician I have found in the work of an excellent historian of Modern Egypt. This author mentions the sheykh Ṣádoomeh as an aged man, of venerable appearance, who derived his origin from the town of Semennood, in the Delta, and who acquired a very great and extensive celebrity for his attainments in spiritual and natural magic, and for holding converse, face to face, with Jinn, and causing them to appear to other persons, even to the blind, as men acquainted with him informed the historian. His contemporaries, says this writer, entertained various opinions respecting him; but, among them, a famous grammarian and general scholar, the sheykh Ḥasan El-Kafráwee, regarded him as a first-rate saint, who performed evident miracles; this learned man pronouncing as such the effects of “his legerdemain and natural magic.” His fame he describes as having increased until he was induced to try an unlucky experiment. A Memlook chief, Yoosuf Bey, saw some magic characters written on the body of one of his female slaves, and, exasperated by jealousy, commanded her, with a threat of instant death, to tell him who had done this. She confessed that a woman had taken her to the sheykh Ṣádoomeh, and that he had written this charm to attract to her the Bey’s love. Upon hearing this, he instantly sent some attendants to seize the magician, and to put him to death, and throw him into the Nile; which was done.138 But the manner in which the seizure was made, as related to me by one of my friends, deserves to be mentioned. Several persons, one after another, endeavoured to lay hold upon him; but every arm that was stretched forth for this purpose was instantly paralyzed, through a spell muttered by the magician; until a man behind him thrust a gag into his mouth, and so stopped his enchantments.

Of the stories related to me of Ṣádoomeh’s miracles, the following will serve as a 62specimen:—In order to give one of his friends a treat, he took him to the distance of about half an hour’s walk into the desert on the north of Cairo; here they both sat down, upon the pebbly and sandy plain, and, the magician having uttered a spell, they suddenly found themselves in the midst of a garden, like one of the gardens of paradise, abounding with flowers and fruit-trees of every kind, springing up from a soil clothed with verdure brilliant as the emerald, and irrigated by numerous streamlets of the clearest water. A repast of the most delicious viands and fruits and wines was spread before them by invisible hands; and they both ate to satiety, taking copious draughts of the various wines. At length, the magician’s guest sank into a deep sleep; and when he awoke, he found himself again in the pebbly and sandy plain, with Ṣádoomeh still by his side.—The reader will probably attribute this vision to a dose of opium or some similar drug; and such I suppose to have been the means employed; for I cannot doubt the integrity of the narrator, though he would not admit such an explanation; regarding the whole as an affair of magic, effected by the operation of Jinn, like similar relations in the present work.

It may be remarked that most of the enchantments described in this work are said to be performed by women; and reputed witches appear to have been much more numerous in all countries than wizards. This fact the Muslims readily explain by a saying of their Prophet:—That women are deficient in sense and religion:—whence they argue that they are more inclined than men to practise what is unlawful.

Note 16.—On the Two Grand Festivals. The Muslims observe two grand ‘Eeds, or Festivals, in every year. The first of these immediately follows Ramaḍán, the month of abstinence, and lasts three days: it is called the Minor Festival. The other, which is called the Great Festival, commences on the tenth of Zu-l-Ḥejjeh, the day when the pilgrims, halting on their return from Mount ‘Arafát to Mekkeh, in the Valley of Minè (vulgarly called Munà), perform their sacrifice: the observance of this festival also continues three days, or four.

Early in the first morning, on each of these festivals, the Muslim is required to perform a lustration of his whole person, as on the mornings of Friday; and on the first morning of the Minor Festival, he should break his fast with a few dates or some other light food; but on the Great Festival, he abstains from food until he has acquitted himself of the religious duties now to be mentioned. Soon after sunrise, on the first day of each festival, the men, dressed in new or in their best clothes, repair to the mosque, or to a particular place appointed for the performance of the prayers of the ‘Eed. On going thither, they should repeat, frequently, “God is most great!”—this, on the Minor Festival, they should do inaudibly: on the other, aloud. The congregation, having assembled, repeat the prayers of two rek’ahs; after which, the Khaṭeeb recites a khuṭbeh; i. e. an exhortation and a prayer. On each of these festivals, in the mosque, or place of prayer, and in the street, and at each other’s houses, friends congratulate and embrace one another; generally paying visits for this purpose; and the great receive visits from their dependants. The young, on these occasions, kiss the right hand of the aged; and servants or dependants do the same to their masters or superiors, unless the latter be of high rank, in which case they kiss the end of the hanging sleeve, or the skirt of the outer garment. Most of the shops are closed, excepting those at which eatables and sweet drinks are sold; but the streets are filled with people in their holiday clothes.

On the Minor Festival, which, as it terminates an arduous fast, is celebrated with more rejoicing than the other,139 servants and other dependants receive presents of new articles of clothing from their masters or patrons; and the servant receives presents of small sums of money from his master’s friends, whom, if they do not visit his master, he goes to congratulate; as well as from any former master, to whom he often takes a 63plateful of kaḥks. These are sweet cakes, or biscuits, of an annular form, composed of flour and butter, with a little ‘ajameeyeh (which is a thick paste consisting of butter, honey, a little flour, and some spices) inside. They are also often sent as presents on this occasion by other people. Another custom required of the faithful on this festival is the giving of alms.

On the Great Festival, after the prayers of the congregation, every one who can afford it performs, with his own hand, or by that of a deputy, a sacrifice of a ram, he-goat, cow or buffalo, or she-camel; part of the meat of which he eats, and part he gives to the poor, or to his friends or dependants. The ram or goat should be at least one year old; the cow or buffalo, two years; and the camel, five years; and the victim should not have any considerable mutilation or infirmity. A cow or buffalo, or a camel, is a sufficient sacrifice for seven persons. The clothes which were put on new at the former festival are generally worn on this occasion; and the presents which are given to servants and others are usually somewhat less.

On each of the two festivals it is also customary, especially with the women, to visit the tombs of relations. The party generally take with them a palm-branch, and place it, broken in several pieces, or merely its leaves, upon the tomb or monument; or some, instead of this, place sweet basil or other flowers. They also usually provide themselves with sweet cakes, bread, dates, or some other kind of food, to distribute to the poor. But their first duty, on arriving at the tomb, is to recite the Fáteḥah (the opening Chapter of the Ḳur-án), or to employ a person to recite previously a longer chapter; generally the thirty-sixth (or Soorat Yá-Seen); or even the whole of the book: or sometimes the visiters recite the Fáteḥah, and, after having hired a person to perform a longer recitation, go away before he commences. The women often stay all the days of the festival in the cemeteries, either in tents, or in houses of their own, erected there for their reception on these and other occasions. The tent of each party surrounds the tomb which is the object of their visit. In the outskirts of the cemeteries, swings and whirligigs are erected; and story-tellers, dancers, and jugglers, amuse the populace.

Note 17.—On the Mode of Slaughtering of Animals for Food. In the old translation, the sheykh is described as preparing to slaughter the cow with a mallet. This is a mistake of a serious nature; as the flesh of the victim, if so killed, would be legally unclean. The Muslims are required to slaughter animals for food in a particular manner. Sheep, goats, cows or bulls, and buffaloes, must be killed by cutting the throat, at the part next the head, or any other part; dividing the windpipe, gullet, and carotid arteries. The camel is to be slaughtered by stabbing the throat at the part next the breast. Poultry, also, must be killed by cutting the throat; and so must every tame animal of which the flesh is lawful food. The slaughterer, in every case, must be a Muslim, a Christian, or a Jew; of either sex. On commencing the operation, he must say, “In the name of God! God is most great!”—or at least, “In the name of God!”—but not add, “the Compassionate, the Merciful”—for an obvious reason. Birds or beasts of the chase may be killed by an arrow, a dog, a hawk, &c.; but the name of God must be uttered at the time of discharging the arrow, or slipping the dog, &c. When the beast or bird is not killed at once by the arrow, &c., it must be slaughtered as soon as possible, in the same manner as sheep and poultry: the law, as well as humanity, requires this.

Note 18.—On the Influence of Eloquence and Tales upon the Arabs. The main incident upon which this work is founded, the triumph of the fascination of the tongue over a cruel and unjust determination which nothing else could annul, might be regarded, by persons unacquainted with the character and literature of the Arabs, as a contrivance too improbable in its nature; but such is not the case. Perhaps there are no other people in the world who are such enthusiastic admirers of literature, and so excited by romantic tales, as those above named. Eloquence, with them, is lawful magic: it exercises over their minds an irresistible influence. “I swear by God,” said their64 Prophet, “verily abuse of infidels in verse is worse to them than arrows.”140 This, of course, alludes to Arab unbelievers.

In the purest, or Heroic Age of Arabic literature, which was anterior to the triumph of the Mohammadan religion, the conquest which the love of eloquence could achieve over the sanguinary and vindictive feelings of the Arabs was most remarkably exemplified in the annual twenty days’ fair of ‘Okáẓ, or ‘Okáḍh. Respecting this fair, I shall here insert a few particulars borrowed from an author who is at present devoting talents of the very highest order to the study and illustration of the history and literature of the early Arabs, and to whose conversation and writings I must acknowledge myself indebted for most valuable information, which will often be of great utility to me in this undertaking, as well as in every branch of my Arabic studies.

The fair of ‘Okáẓ “was not only a great mart opened annually to all the tribes of Arabia; but it was also a literary congress, or rather a general concourse of virtues, of glory and of poetry, whither the hero-poets resorted to celebrate their exploits in rhyming verse, and peacefully to contend for every kind of honour. This fair was held in the district of Mekkeh, between Eṭ-Ṭáïf and Nakhleh, and was opened at the new moon of Zu-l-Ḳaạdeh; that is to say, at the commencement of a period of three sacred months, during which all war was suspended, and homicide interdicted…. How is it possible to conceive that men whose wounds were always bleeding, who had always acts of vengeance to execute, vengeances to dread, could at a certain epoch impose silence upon their animosities, so as tranquilly to sit by a mortal enemy? How could the brave who required the blood of a father, a brother, or a son, according to the phraseology of the desert and of the Bible,141 who long, perhaps, had pursued in vain the murderer,—meet him, accost him peacefully at ‘Okáẓ, and only assault with cadences and rhymes him whose presence alone seemed to accuse him of impotence or cowardice,—him whom he was bound to slay, under pain of infamy, after the expiration of the truce? In fine, how could he hear a panegyric celebrating a glory acquired at his own expense, and sustain the fire of a thousand looks, and yet appear unmoved? Had the Arabs no longer any blood in their veins during the continuance of the fair?—These questions, so embarrassing, … were determined [to a great degree], during the age of Arab paganism, in a manner the most simple and most refined.—At the fair of ‘Okáẓ, the heroes were masked [or veiled].—In the recitations and improvisations, the voice of the orator was aided by that of a rhapsodist or crier, who was stationed near him, and repeated his words. There is a similar office in the public prayers: it is that of the muballigh (transmitter), who is employed to repeat in a loud voice what is said in a lower tone by the Imám. These two facts have been revealed to me by the same manuscript which I am translating, and upon which I am commenting. The use of the mask [or veil] might, however, be either adopted or dispensed with, ad libitum; as is proved by the narratives of a great number of quarrels begun and ended at ‘Okáẓ…. It was in this congress of the Arab poets (and almost every warriour was a poet at the age which I am considering) that the dialects of Arabia became fused into a magic language, the language of the Ḥejáz, which Moḥammad made use of to subvert the world; for the triumph of Moḥammad is nothing else than the triumph of speech.”142—The Ḳur-án is regarded by the Arabs as an everlasting miracle, surpassing all others, appealing to the understanding of every generation by its inimitable eloquence. A stronger proof of the power of language over their minds could hardly be adduced; unless it be their being capable of receiving as a credible fact the tradition that both genii and men were attracted by the eloquent reading of David, when he recited the Psalms; that the wild beasts and the birds were alike fascinated; and that sometimes there were borne out from his assembly as many as four hundred corpses of men who died from the excessive delight with which he thus inspired them.143 It may be added 65that the recitation, or chanting, of the Ḳur-án is a favourite means of amusing the guests at modern private festivities.

In what may be termed the Middle Age of Arabic literature, commencing from the triumph of the Mohammadan religion, and extending to the foundation of the Empire of Baghdád, the power of eloquence over the educated classes of the Arabs probably increased in proportion as it became less familiar to them: for, early in this age, they began to simplify their spoken language in consequence of their intercourse with strangers, who could not generally acquire the difficult, old dialect of their conquerors: this, therefore, then began to be confined to literary compositions. That such a change took place at this period appears from several anecdotes interspersed in Arabic works. The Khaleefeh El-Weleed (who reigned near the close of the first century of the Flight), the son of ‘Abd-El-Melik, spoke so corrupt a dialect that he often could not make himself understood by the Arabs of the desert. A ridiculous instance of the mistakes occasioned by his use of the simplified language which is now current is related by Abu-l-Fidà. The same author adds, that the father and predecessor of this prince was a man of eloquence, and that he was grieved by the corrupt speech of his son, which he considered as a defect that incapacitated him to be a future ruler of the Arabs, as they were still great admirers of purity of speech, though so large a proportion of them spoke a corrupt dialect; wherefore, he sent him to a house to be instructed by a grammarian; but after the youth had remained there a long time, he returned to his father more ignorant than before. Vulgarisms, however, would sometimes escape from the mouth of ‘Abd-El-Melik himself; yet, so sensible was he to eloquence, that, when a learned man, with whom he was conversing, elegantly informed him of an error of this kind, he ordered his mouth to be filled with jewels. “These,” said his courteous admonisher, “are things to be treasured up; not to be expended:”—and for this delicate hint, he was further rewarded with thirty thousand pieces of silver, and several costly articles of apparel.144—It may be aptly added, that this Khaleefeh was, in the beginning of his reign, an unjust monarch; and as he thus bore some slight resemblance to our Shahriyár, so was he reclaimed to a sense of his duty by means somewhat similar. Being, one night, unable to sleep, he called for a person to tell him a story for his amusement. “O Prince of the Faithful,” said the man thus bidden, “there was an owl in El-Móṣil, and an owl in El-Baṣrah; and the owl of El-Móṣil demanded in marriage, for her son, the daughter of the owl of El-Baṣrah: but the owl of El-Baṣrah said, ‘I will not, unless thou give me, as her dowry, a hundred desolate farms.’ ‘That I cannot do,’ said the owl of El-Móṣil, ‘at present; but if our sovereign (may God, whose name be exalted, preserve him!) live one year, I will give thee what thou desirest.'”—This simple fable sufficed to rouse the prince from his apathy, and he thenceforward applied himself to fulfil the duties of his station.145

In the most flourishing age of Arabic poetry and general literature and science, commencing from the foundation of the Empire of Baghdád, and extending to the conquest of Egypt by the ‘Osmánlee Turks, the influence of eloquent and entertaining language upon the character of the Arab sovereigns was particularly exemplified. A few illustrative anecdotes may here be inserted.

It is related by El-Aṣma’ee, that Hároon Er-Rasheed, at a grand fête which he was giving, ordered the poet Abu-l-‘Atáhiyeh to depict, in verse, the voluptuous enjoyments of his sovereign. The poet began thus:—

“Live long in safe enjoyment of thy desires, under the shadow of lofty palaces!”
“Well said!” exclaimed Er-Rasheed: “and what next?”

“May thy wishes be abundantly fulfilled, whether at eventide or in the morning!”
“Well!” again said the Khaleefeh: “then what next?”

“But when the rattling breath struggles in the dark cavity of the chest.
Then shalt thou know surely, that thou hast been only in the midst of illusions.”
66—Er-Rasheed wept; and Faḍl, the son of Yaḥyà, said, “The Prince of the Faithful sent for thee to divert him, and thou hast plunged him into grief.” “Suffer him,” said the prince; “for he hath beheld us in blindness, and it displeased him to increase it.”146

The family of the Barmekees (one of the most brilliant ornaments of which was the Wezeer Jaạfar, who has been rendered agreeably familiar to us by the many scenes in which he is introduced in the present work) earned a noble and enduring reputation by their attachment to literature, and the magnificent rewards they conferred on learned men. It was peculiarly hard, therefore, that literature contributed to their melancholy overthrow. Poets were employed by their enemies to compose songs artfully pointed against them, to be sung before the prince to whom they owed their power. Of one of these songs, the following lines formed a part:—

“Would that Hind had fulfilled the promises she made us, and healed the disease under which we suffer!
That she had once, at least, acted for herself! for imbecile, indeed, is he who doth not so.”
“Yea! By Allah! Imbecile!” exclaimed the Khaleefeh, on hearing these verses: his jealousy was roused; and his vengeance soon after fell heavily upon his former favourites.147

One of the Khaleefehs having invited the poets of his day to his palace, a Bedawee, carrying a water-jar to fill at the river, followed them, and entered with them. The Khaleefeh, seeing this poor man with the jar on his shoulder, asked him what brought him thither. He returned for answer these words:—

“Seeing that this company had girded on the saddles
To repair to thy overflowing river, I came with my jar.”
The Khaleefeh, delighted with his answer, gave orders to fill his jar with gold.148

In the present declining age of Arabian learning (which may be said to have commenced about the period of the conquest of Egypt by the ‘Osmánlees), literary recreations still exert a magic influence upon the Arabs. Compositions of a similar nature to the tales of a Thousand and One Nights (though regarded by the learned as idle stories unworthy of being classed with their literature) enable numbers of professional story-tellers to attract crowds of delighted listeners to the coffee-shops of the East; and now that the original of the present work is printed, and to be purchased at a moderate price, it will probably soon, in a great measure, supersede the romances of Aboo-Zeyd, Eẓ-Ẓáhir, and ‘Antar. As a proof of the powerful fascinations with which the tales of a Thousand and One Nights affect the mind of a highly-enlightened Muslim, it may be mentioned that the latest native historian of Modern Egypt, the sheykh ‘Abd-Er-Raḥmán El-Jabartee, so delighted in their perusal that he took the trouble of refining the language of a copy of them which he possessed, expunging or altering whatever was grossly offensive to morality without the somewhat redeeming quality of wit, and adding many facetiæ of his own, and of other literati. What has become of this copy, I have been unable, though acquainted with several of his friends, to discover.

Note 19. It is a common custom among the Muslims to give a present to a person who brings good tidings. The word (bishárah) which I render “a reward for bringing good news,” literally signifies merely “good news;” but it is often used, as in this case, in the former sense.

Note 20. A Mohammadan woman is not allowed to show her face to any men excepting certain near relations and others whom the law prohibits her from marrying. Who these are will be mentioned in a future note, descriptive of the general laws and ceremonies of marriage. Respectable females consider it a great disgrace to be seen unveiled by any men but those above alluded to.


Note 21.—On the Deenár and Dirhem. The standards of gold and silver coin, among the Arabs, were the deenár and the dirhem: therefore, in this work, I call the former “a piece of gold,” and the latter “a piece of silver.” Their values have varied considerably at different periods; but in the present work, we shall sufficiently approximate to the truth, if we understand the average value of the former to be about ten shillings or half a guinea; and that of the latter, about sixpence.

Note 22.—Description of Shops. In Eastern cities, most of the great thoroughfare-streets, and many others, have a row of shops along each side, not communicating with the superstructures; which latter are divided into separate lodgings, inhabited by different families, and seldom by the persons who rent the shops beneath. These streets are called, in Arabic, “Sooḳs;” and are generally termed by us, “Bázárs.” A whole street of this description, or a portion of such a street, commonly contains only or chiefly shops appropriated to a particular trade; and is called the Sooḳ of that trade. In general, the shop is a small recess or cell, about six or seven feet high, and between three and four feet wide, the floor of which is even with the top of a raised seat of stone or brick, called “maṣṭabah,” between two and three feet high, and about the same in breadth; upon which the shopkeeper usually sits.149 The front of the shop is furnished with shutters; which, when closed, at night, are secured by a wooden lock. Several of the engravings in this work will convey a better notion of shops of different kinds than a more detailed description.

Note 23. Distrust in his governors and relations and acquaintance often induces an Arab to hide his money under the paved floor of a room, or in some other place, in his house.

Note 24. These words, “I give myself to thee,” uttered by a woman to a man, even without the presence of witnesses, if they cannot be easily procured, render her his lawful wife, if he replies that he accepts her, and gives her a dowry.

Note 25. I have substituted “Jinneeyeh” (agreeably with the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, and because the context requires it) for “‘Efreeteh,” which signifies a powerful and evil female genie.—The tale to which this note refers may be illustrated by the following anecdote, which was related to me by a Persian with whom I was acquainted in Cairo, named Abu-l-Ḳásim, a native of Geelán, then superintendent of the Báshà’s Printing-office at Booláḳ.

One of this person’s countrymen, whom he asserted to be a man of indubitable veracity, was sitting on the roof of a house which he had hired, overlooking the Ganges, and was passing the closing hour of the day, according to his usual custom, smoking his Persian pipe, and feasting his eyes by gazing at the beautiful forms of Indian maidens bathing in the river, when he beheld among them one so lovely that his heart was overpowered with desire to have her for his wife. At nightfall she came to him, and told him that she had observed his emotion, and would consent to become his wife; but on the condition that he should never admit another female to take or share her place, and that she should only be with him in the night-time. They took the marriage-vow to each other, with none for their witness but God; and great was his happiness, till, one evening, he saw again, among a group of girls in the river, another who excited in him still more powerful emotions. To his surprise, this very form stood before him at the approach of night. He withstood the temptation, mindful of his marriage-vow: she used every allurement; but he was resolute. His fair visiter then told him that she was his wife; that she was a Jinneeyeh; and that she would always thenceforward visit him in the form of any female whom he might chance to prefer.


Note 26. This form of benediction is almost always added when the Prophet is mentioned in a book by any of his followers, and often also in conversation.

Note 27. Perhaps it is needless to explain this proverb by the words of the Bible—”Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans, xii. 19.) For the honour of the Muslims I must say that this maxim is often observed by them, excepting in cases to which the law of retaliation applies.

Note 28. The houses in Arabian countries generally have flat roofs, upon which, in the summer, some of the inhabitants often sleep: the interior, therefore, is as accessible from the roof as from the common entrance.

Note 29. I here steer a middle course between my usual standard copy—which gives the story of the third sheykh more fully than I have done—and the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, which omits it altogether, as does also the copy from which the old translation was made, perhaps on account of its uninteresting nature.

Tail-piece to Notes to Chapter I.
111Ḳur-án, ch. xiii. v. 39.

112″El-Insán el-Kámil,” by ‘Abd-El-Kereem El-Jeelee, quoted by El-Is-ḥáḳee, in his account of Ibráheem Báshà el-Maḳtool.

113Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. i. pp. 26-34.


115Idem, vol. ii. p. 373.

116Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaähhil, section 7.

117Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 381.

118For a translation of the whole of this prayer, see “Modern Egyptians,” vol. ii. ch, xii.

119Ḳur-án, ch. v. v. 35.

120See “Modern Egyptians,” vol. ii. ch. xv.

121These degrees of relationship will be explained when I describe the customs relating to marriage.

122Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaähhil, section 9.

123Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. pp. 140 and 141.

124Nuzhet El-Mutaämmil, &c., loco laudato.

125See “Modern Egyptians,” vol. i. ch. vii.

126Events of the year 227.

127Ḳur-án, ch. xxvii. v. 40; and Commentary of the Jeláleyn.

128See “Mishḳát el-Maṣábeeḥ,” vol. ii. p. 374.

129Idem, vol ii. pp. 384, et seqq.

130Account of the early Arabs, in the “Mir-át ez-Zemán.”

131During his last residence in Egypt, Mr. Lane thought he had discovered a clue to the means employed in these performances, but he afterwards found that there were cases which remained to him inexplicable.—Ed.

132Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, loco laudato.

133Mir-át ez-Zemán, loco laudato.

134El-Is-ḥáḳee, in his account of the reign of El-Moạtaṣim, the son of Hároon.

135Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 388.

136Vulgarly pronounced Nemrood.

137El-Is-ḥáḳee, close of his account of the reign of El-Emeen.

138El-Jabartee’s Modern Egyptian History (MS. in my possession); account of the death of Yoosuf Bey, in the year of the Flight 1191; and account of the death of the sheykh Ḥasan El-Kafráwee, in the year 1202.

139Hence it has been called by many travellers, and even by some learned Orientalists, the Great Feast; but it is never so called by the Arabs.

140Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 424.

141Genesis ix. 5.

142Lettres sur l’Histoire des Arabes avant l’Islamisme, par Fulgence Fresnel. Paris, 1836, pp. 31, et seqq.




146Fakhr-ed-Deen, in De Sacy’s Chrestomathie Arabe, vol. i. p. 3 of the Arabic Text: 2nd edition.

147Ibn-Khaldoon, ubi supra, vol. i. p. 124 of the Arabic text.

148Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt (MS. in my possession), chap. vii.

149The maṣṭabah, with the picturesque Arab architecture of which it forms a part, is fast disappearing from Egypt. In Cairo and Alexandria, Moḥammad ‘Alee ordered that the maṣṭabahs in the thoroughfare-streets should be removed, or reduced to about a foot in width; and interdicted the erection of new meshrebeeyehs (projecting windows of lattice-work), although he allowed the old ones to remain.—Ed.


Head-piece to Chapter II.–The Fisherman.–Motto, ‘Small things stir up great’
There was a certain fisherman, advanced in age, who had a wife and three children; and though he was in indigent circumstances, it was his custom to cast his net, every day, no more than four times. One day he went forth at the hour of noon to the shore of the sea, and put down his basket, and cast his net, and waited until it was motionless in the water, when he drew together its strings, and found it to be heavy: he pulled, but could not draw it up: so he took the end of the cord, and knocked a stake into the shore, and tied the cord to it. He then stripped himself, and dived round the net, and continued to pull until he drew it out: whereupon he rejoiced, and put on his clothes; but when he came to examine the net, he found in it the carcass of an ass. At the sight of this he mourned, and70 exclaimed, There is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great! This is a strange piece of fortune!—And he repeated the following verse:—

O thou who occupiest thyself in the darkness of night, and in peril! Spare thy trouble; for the support of Providence is not obtained by toil!1
He then disencumbered his net of the dead ass, and wrung it out; after which he spread it, and descended into the sea, and—exclaiming, In the name of God!—cast it again, and waited till it had sunk and was still, when he pulled it, and found it more heavy and more difficult to raise than on the former occasion. He therefore concluded that it was full of fish: so he tied it, and stripped, and plunged and dived, and pulled until he raised it, and drew it upon the shore; when he found in it only a large jar, full of sand and mud; on seeing which, he was troubled in his heart, and repeated the following words of the poet:—

O angry fate, forbear! or, if thou wilt not forbear, relent!
Neither favour from fortune do I gain, nor profit from the work of my hands,
I came forth to seek my sustenance, but have found it to be exhausted.
How many of the ignorant are in splendour! and how many of the wise, in obscurity!
So saying, he threw aside the jar, and wrung out and cleansed his net; and, begging the forgiveness of God for his impatience, returned to the sea the third time, and threw the net, and waited till it had sunk and was motionless: he then drew it out, and found in it a quantity of broken jars and pots.

Upon this, he raised his head towards heaven, and said, O God, Thou knowest that I cast not my net more than four times; and I have now cast it three times! Then—exclaiming, In the name of God!—he cast the net again into the sea, and waited till it was still; when he attempted to draw it up, but could not, for it clung to the bottom. And he exclaimed, There is no strength nor power but in God!—and stripped himself again, and dived round the net, and pulled it until he raised it upon the shore; when he opened it, and found in it a bottle2 of brass, filled with something, and having its mouth closed with a stopper of lead, bearing the impression of the seal of our lord Suleymán.3 At the sight of this, the fisherman was rejoiced, and said, This I will sell in the copper-market; for it is worth ten pieces of gold. He then shook it, and found it to be heavy, and said, I must open it, and see what is in it, and store it in my bag; and then I will sell the bottle in the copper-market. So he took out a knife, and picked71 at the lead until he extracted it from the bottle. He then laid the bottle on the ground, and shook it, that its contents might pour out; but there came forth from it nothing but smoke, which ascended towards the sky, and spread over the face of the earth; at which he wondered excessively. And after a little while, the smoke collected together, and was condensed, and then became agitated, and was converted into an ‘Efreet, whose head was in the clouds, while his feet rested upon the ground:4 his head was like a dome: his hands were like winnowing forks;5 and his legs, like masts: his mouth resembled a cavern: his teeth were like stones; his nostrils, like trumpets;6 and his eyes, like lamps; and he had dishevelled and dust-coloured hair.


The ‘Efreet liberated from the Bottle
When the fisherman beheld this ‘Efreet, the muscles of his sides quivered, his teeth were locked together, his spittle dried up, and he saw not his way. The ‘Efreet, as soon as he perceived him, exclaimed, There is no deity but God: Suleymán is the Prophet of God. O Prophet of God, slay me not; for I will never again oppose thee in word, or rebel against thee in deed!—O Márid,7 said the fisherman, dost thou say, Suleymán is the Prophet of God? Suleymán hath been dead a thousand and eight hundred years; and we are now in the end of time. What is thy history, and what is thy tale, and what was the cause of thy entering this bottle? When the Márid heard these words of the fisherman, he said, There is no deity but God! Receive news, O fisherman!—Of what, said the fisherman, dost thou give me news? He answered, Of thy being instantly put to a most cruel death. The fisherman exclaimed, Thou deservest, for this news, O master of the ‘Efreets, the withdrawal of protection from thee, O thou remote!8 Wherefore wouldst thou kill me? and what requires thy killing me, when I have liberated thee from the bottle, and rescued thee from the bottom of the sea, and brought thee up upon the dry land?—The ‘Efreet answered, Choose what kind of death thou wilt die, and in what manner thou shalt be killed.—What is my offence, said the fisherman, that this should be my recompense from thee? The ‘Efreet replied, Hear my story, O fisherman.—Tell it then, said the fisherman, and be short in thy words; for my soul hath sunk down to my feet.

Know then, said he, that I am one of the heretical Jinn: I rebelled against Suleymán the son of Dáood: I and Ṣakhr the Jinnee;9 and he sent to me his Wezeer, Áṣaf the son of Barkhiyà, who came upon me forcibly, and took me to him in bonds, and placed me before him: and when Suleymán saw me, he offered up a prayer for protection against me, and exhorted me to embrace the faith, and to submit to his authority; but I refused; upon which he called for this bottle, and confined me in it, and closed it upon me with the leaden stopper, which he stamped with the Most Great Name: he then gave orders to the Jinn, who carried me away, and threw me into the midst of the sea. There I remained a hundred years; and I said in my heart, Whosoever shall liberate me, I will enrich him for ever:—but the hundred years passed over me, and no one liberated me: and I entered upon another hundred years; and I said, Whosoever shall liberate me, I will open to him the treasures of the earth;—but no one did so: and four hundred years more passed over me, and I said,73 Whosoever shall liberate me, I will perform for him three wants:—but still no one liberated me. I then fell into a violent rage, and said within myself, Whosoever shall liberate me now, I will kill him; and only suffer him to choose in what manner he will die. And lo, now thou hast liberated me, and I have given thee thy choice of the manner in which thou wilt die.

The Fisherman enclosing the ‘Efreet in the Bottle
When the fisherman had heard the story of the ‘Efreet, he exclaimed, O Allah! that I should not have liberated thee but in such a time as this! Then said he to the ‘Efreet, Pardon me, and kill me not, and so may God pardon thee; and destroy me not, lest God give power over thee to one who will destroy thee. The Márid answered, I must positively kill thee; therefore choose by what manner of death thou wilt die. The fisherman then felt assured of his death; but he again implored the ‘Efreet, saying, Pardon me by way of gratitude for my liberating thee.—Why, answered the ‘Efreet, I am not going to kill thee but for that very reason, because thou hast liberated me.—O Sheykh of the ‘Efreets, said the fisherman, do I act kindly towards thee, and dost thou recompense me with baseness? But the proverb lieth not that saith,—

We did good to them, and they returned us the contrary; and such, by my life, is the conduct of the wicked.
Thus he who acteth kindly to the undeserving is recompensed in the same manner as the aider of Umm-‘Ámir.10
The ‘Efreet, when he heard these words, answered by saying, Covet not life, for thy death is unavoidable. Then said the fisherman within himself, This is a Jinnee, and I am a man; and God hath given me sound reason; therefore, I will now plot his destruction with my art and reason, like as he hath plotted with his cunning and perfidy. So he said to the ‘Efreet, Hast thou determined to kill me? He answered, Yes. Then said he, By the Most Great Name engraved upon the seal of Suleymán, I will ask thee one question; and wilt thou answer it to me truly? On hearing the mention of the Most Great Name, the ‘Efreet was agitated, and trembled, and replied, Yes; ask, and be brief. The fisherman then said, How wast thou in this bottle? It will not contain thy hand or thy foot; how then can it contain thy whole body?—Dost thou not believe that I was in it? said the ‘Efreet. The fisherman answered, I will never believe thee until I see thee in it. Upon this, the ‘Efreet shook, and became converted again into smoke, which rose to the sky, and then became condensed, and entered the bottle by little and little, until it was all enclosed; when the fisherman74 hastily snatched the sealed leaden stopper, and, having replaced it in the mouth of the bottle, called out to the ‘Efreet, and said, Choose in what manner of death thou wilt die. I will assuredly throw thee here into the sea, and build me a house on this spot; and whosoever shall come here, I will prevent his fishing in this place, and will say to him, Here is an ‘Efreet, who, to any person that liberates him, will propose various kinds of death, and then give him his choice of one of them. On hearing these words of the fisherman, the ‘Efreet endeavoured to escape; but could not, finding himself restrained by the impression of the seal of Suleymán, and thus imprisoned by the fisherman as the vilest and filthiest and least of ‘Efreets. The fisherman then took the bottle to the brink of the sea. The ‘Efreet exclaimed, Nay! nay!—to which the fisherman answered, Yea, without fail! yea, without fail! The Márid then addressing him with a soft voice and humble manner, said, What dost thou intend to do with me, O fisherman? He answered, I will throw thee into the sea; and if thou hast been there a thousand and eight hundred years, I will make thee to remain there until the hour of judgment. Did I not say to thee, Spare me, and so may God spare thee; and destroy me not, lest God destroy thee? But thou didst reject my petition, and wouldest nothing but75 treachery; therefore God hath caused thee to fall into my hand, and I have betrayed thee.—Open to me, said the ‘Efreet, that I may confer benefits upon thee. The fisherman replied, Thou liest, thou accursed! I and thou are like the Wezeer of King Yoonán11 and the sage Doobán.12—What, said the ‘Efreet, was the case of the Wezeer of King Yoonán and the sage Doobán, and what is their story? The fisherman answered as follows:—

Know, O ‘Efreet, that there was, in former times, in the country of the Persians,13 a monarch who was called King Yoonán, possessing great treasures and numerous forces, valiant, and having troops of every description; but he was afflicted with leprosy, which the physicians and sages had failed to remove; neither their potions, nor powders, nor ointments were of any benefit to him; and none of the physicians was able to cure him. At length there arrived at the city of this king a great sage, stricken in years, who was called the sage Doobán: he was acquainted with ancient Greek, Persian, modern Greek, Arabic, and Syriac books, and with medicine and astrology, both with respect to their scientific principles and the rules of their practical applications for good and evil; as well as the properties of plants, dried and fresh, the injurious and the useful: he was versed in the wisdom of the philosophers, and embraced a knowledge of all the medical and other sciences.

After this sage had arrived in the city, and remained in it a few days, he heard of the case of the King, of the leprosy with which God had afflicted him, and that the physicians and men of science had failed to cure him. In consequence of this information, he passed the next night in deep study; and when the morning came, and diffused its light, and the sun saluted the Ornament of the Good,14 he attired himself in the richest of his apparel, and presented himself before the King. Having kissed the ground before him, and offered up a prayer for the continuance of his power and happiness, and greeted him in the best manner he was able, he informed him who he was, and said, O King, I have heard of the disease which hath attacked thy person, and that many of the physicians are unacquainted with the means of removing it; and I will cure thee without giving thee to drink any potion, or anointing thee with ointment. When King Yoonán heard76 his words, he wondered, and said to him, How wilt thou do this? By Allah, if thou cure me, I will enrich thee and thy children’s children, and I will heap favours upon thee, and whatever thou shalt desire shall be thine, and thou shalt be my companion and my friend.—He then bestowed upon him a robe of honour,15 and other presents, and said to him, Wilt thou cure me of this disease without potion or ointment? He answered, Yes; I will cure thee without any discomfort to thy person. And the King was extremely astonished, and said, O Sage, at what time, and on what day, shall that which thou hast proposed to me be done? Hasten it, O my Son.—He answered, I hear and obey.

He then went out from the presence of the King, and hired a house, in which he deposited his books, and medicines, and drugs. Having done this, he selected certain of his medicines and drugs, and made a goff-stick, with a hollow handle, into which he introduced them; after which he made a ball for it, skilfully adapted; and on the following day, after he had finished these, he went again to the King, and kissed the ground before him, and directed him to repair to the horse-course, and to play with the ball and goff-stick. The King, attended by his Emeers and Chamberlains and Wezeers, went thither, and, as soon as he arrived there, the sage Doobán presented himself before him, and handed to him the goff-stick, saying, Take this goff-stick, and grasp it thus, and ride along the horse-course, and strike the ball with it with all thy force, until the palm of thy hand and thy whole body become moist with perspiration, when the medicine will penetrate into thy hand, and pervade thy whole body; and when thou hast done this, and the medicine remains in thee, return to77 thy palace, and enter the bath,16 and wash thyself, and sleep: then shalt thou find thyself cured: and peace be on thee. So King Yoonán took the goff-stick from the sage, and grasped it in his hand, and mounted his horse; and the ball was thrown before him, and he urged his horse after it until he overtook it, when he struck it with all his force; and when he had continued this exercise as long as was necessary, and bathed and slept, he looked upon his skin, and not a vestige of the leprosy remained: it was clear as white silver. Upon this he rejoiced exceedingly; his heart was dilated, and he was full of happiness.

King Yoonán playing at Goff
On the following morning he entered the council-chamber, and sat upon his throne; and the Chamberlains and great officers of his court came before him. The sage Doobán also presented himself; and when the King saw him, he rose to him in haste, and seated him by his side. Services of food were then spread before them, and the sage ate with the King, and remained as his guest all the day;17 and when the night approached, the King gave him two thousand pieces of gold, besides dresses of honour and other presents, and mounted him on his own horse, and so the sage returned to his house.18 And the King was astonished at his skill; saying, This man hath cured me by an external process, without anointing me with ointment: by Allah, this is consummate science; and it is incumbent on me to bestow favours and honours upon him, and to make him my companion and familiar friend as long as I live. He passed the night happy and joyful on account of his recovery, and when he arose, he went forth again, and sat upon his throne; the officers of his court standing before him, and the Emeers and Wezeers sitting on his right hand and on his left; and he called for the sage Doobán, who came, and kissed the ground before him; and the King rose, and seated him by his side, and ate with him, and greeted him with compliments: he bestowed upon him again a robe of honour and other presents, and, after conversing with him till the approach of night, gave orders that five other robes of honour should be given to him, and a thousand pieces of gold; and the sage departed, and returned to his house.

Doobán in his Dress of Honour
Again, when the next morning came, the King went as usual to his council-chamber, and the Emeers and Wezeers and Chamberlains surrounded him. Now there was, among his Wezeers, one of ill aspect, and of evil star;19 sordid, avaricious, and of an envious and malicious disposition; and when he saw that the King had made the sage Doobán his friend, and bestowed upon him these favours, he78 envied him this distinction, and meditated evil against him; agreeably with the adage which saith, There is no one void of envy;20—and another, which saith, Tyranny lurketh in the soul: power manifesteth it, and weakness concealeth it. So he approached the King, and kissed the ground before him, and said, O King of the age, thou art he whose goodness extendeth to all men, and I have an important piece of advice to give thee: if I were to conceal it from thee, I should be a base-born wretch: therefore, if thou order me to impart it, I will do so. The King, disturbed by these words of the Wezeer, said, What is thy advice? He answered, O glorious King, it hath been said, by the ancients, He who looketh not to results, fortune will not attend him:—now I have seen the King in a way that is not right; since he hath bestowed favours upon his enemy, and upon him who desireth the downfall of his dominion: he hath treated him with kindness, and honoured him with the highest honours, and admitted him to the79 closest intimacy: I therefore fear, for the King, the consequence of this conduct.—At this the King was troubled, and his countenance changed; and he said, Who is he whom thou regardest as mine enemy, and to whom I shew kindness? He replied, O King, if thou hast been asleep, awake! I allude to the sage Doobán.—The King said, He is my intimate companion, and the dearest of men in my estimation; for he restored me by a thing that I merely held in my hand, and cured me of my disease which the physicians were unable to remove, and there is not now to be found one like to him in the whole world, from west to east. Wherefore, then, dost thou utter these words against him? I will, from this day, appoint him a regular salary and maintenance, and give him every month a thousand pieces of gold; and if I gave him a share of my kingdom it were but a small thing to do unto him. I do not think that thou hast said this from any other motive than that of envy. If I did what thou desirest, I should repent after it, as the man repented who killed his parrot.21

The Intelligent Parrot
There was a certain merchant, of an excessively jealous disposition, having a wife endowed with perfect beauty, who had prevented him from leaving his home; but an event happened which obliged him to make a journey; and when he found his doing so to be indispensable, he went to the market in which birds were sold, and bought a parrot, which he placed in his house to act as a spy, that, on his return, she might inform him of what passed during his absence; for80 this parrot was cunning and intelligent, and remembered whatever she heard.22 So, when he had made his journey, and accomplished his business, he returned, and caused the parrot to be brought to him, and asked her respecting the conduct of his wife. She answered, Thy wife has a lover, who visited her every night during thy absence:—and when the man heard this, he fell into a violent rage, and went to his wife, and gave her a severe beating.

The woman imagined that one of the female slaves had informed him of what had passed between her and her paramour during his absence: she therefore called them together, and made them swear; and they all swore that they had not told their master anything of the matter; but confessed that they had heard the parrot relate to him what had passed. Having thus established, on the testimony of the slaves, the fact of the parrot’s having informed her husband of her intrigue, she ordered one of these slaves to grind with a hand-mill under the cage, another to sprinkle water from above, and a third to move a mirror from side to side, during the next night on which her husband was absent; and on the following morning, when the man returned from an entertainment at which he had been present, and inquired again of the parrot what had passed that night during his absence, the bird answered, O my master, I could neither see nor hear anything, on account of the excessive darkness, and thunder, and lightning, and rain. Now this happened during summer: so he said to her, What strange words are these? It is now summer, when nothing of what thou hast described ever happens.—The parrot, however, swore by Allah the Great that what she had said was true; and that it had so happened: upon which the man, not understanding the case, nor knowing the plot, became violently enraged, and took out the bird from the cage, and threw her down upon the ground with such violence that he killed her.

But after some days, one of his female slaves informed him of the truth; yet he would not believe it, until he saw his wife’s paramour going out from his house; when he drew his sword,23 and slew the traitor by a blow on the back of his neck: so also did he to his treacherous wife; and thus both of them went, laden with the sin which they had committed, to the fire; and the merchant discovered that the parrot had informed him truly of what she had seen; and he mourned grievously for her loss.

When the Wezeer heard these words of King Yoonán, he said, O King of great dignity, what hath this crafty sage—this man from81 whom nought but mischief proceedeth—done unto me, that I should be his enemy, and speak evil of him, and plot with thee to destroy him? I have informed thee respecting him in compassion for thee, and in fear of his despoiling thee of thy happiness; and if my words be not true, destroy me, as the Wezeer of Es-Sindibád was destroyed.—The King asked, How was that? And the Wezeer thus answered:—

The King above mentioned had a son who was ardently fond of the chase;24 and he had a Wezeer whom he charged to be always with this son wherever he went. One day the son went forth to hunt, and his father’s Wezeer was with him; and as they rode together, they saw a great wild beast; upon which the Wezeer exclaimed to the Prince, Away after this wild beast! The King’s son pursued it until he was out of the sight of his attendants, and the beast also escaped from before his eyes in the desert; and while the Prince wandered in perplexity, not knowing whither to direct his course, he met in his way a damsel, who was weeping. He said to her, Who art thou?—and she answered, I am a daughter of one of the kings of India; I was in the desert, and slumber overtook me, and I fell from my horse in a state of insensibility, and being thus separated from my attendants, I lost my way. The Prince, on hearing this, pitied her forlorn state, and placed her behind him on his horse; and as they proceeded, they passed by a ruin,25 and the damsel said to him, O my master, I would alight here for a little while. The Prince therefore lifted her from his horse at this ruin; but she delayed so long to return, that he wondered wherefore she had loitered so, and entering after her, without her knowledge, perceived that she was a Ghooleh,26 and heard her say, My children, I have brought you to-day a fat young man:—on which they exclaimed, Bring him in to us, O mother! that we may fill our stomachs with his flesh. When the Prince heard their words, he felt assured of destruction; the muscles of his sides quivered, and fear overcame him, and he retreated. The Ghooleh then came forth, and, seeing that he appeared alarmed and fearful, and that he was trembling, said to him, Wherefore dost thou fear? He answered, I have an enemy of whom I am in fear. The Ghooleh said, Thou assertest thyself to be the son of the King. He replied, Yes.—Then, said she, wherefore dost thou not82 give some money to thine enemy, and so conciliate him? He answered, He will not be appeased with money, nor with anything but life; and therefore do I fear him: I am an injured man. She then said to him, If thou be an injured man, as thou affirmest, beg aid of God against thine oppressor, and He will avert from thee his mischievous design, and that of every other person whom thou fearest. Upon this, therefore, the Prince raised his head towards heaven, and said, O thou who answerest the distressed when he prayeth to Thee, and dispellest evil, assist me, and cause mine enemy to depart from me; for Thou art able to do whatsoever Thou wilt!—and the Ghooleh no sooner heard his prayer, than she departed from him. The Prince then returned to his father, and informed him of the conduct of the Wezeer; upon which the King gave orders that the minister should be put to death.83

The Prince Meeting the Ghooleh
And thou, O King, continued the Wezeer of King Yoonán, if thou trust in this sage, he will kill thee in the foulest manner. If thou continue to bestow favours upon him, and to make him thine intimate companion, he will plot thy destruction. Dost thou not see that he hath cured thee of the disease by external means, by a thing that thou heldest in thy hand? Therefore thou art not secure against his killing thee by a thing that thou shalt hold in the same manner.—King Yoonán answered, Thou hast spoken truth: the case is as thou hast said, O faithful Wezeer: it is probable that this sage came as a spy to accomplish my death; and if he cured me by a thing I held in my hand, he may destroy me by a thing that I may smell: what then, O Wezeer, shall be done respecting him? The Wezeer answered, Send to him immediately, and desire him to come hither; and when he is come, strike off his head, and so shalt thou avert from thee his evil design, and be secure from him. Betray him before he betray thee.—The King said, Thou hast spoken right.

Immediately, therefore, he sent for the sage, who came, full of joy, not knowing what the Compassionate27 had decreed against him, and addressed the King with these words of the poet:—

If I fail any day to render thee due thanks, tell me for whom I have composed my verse and prose.
Thou hast loaded me with favours unsolicited, bestowed without delay on thy part, or excuse.
How then should I abstain from praising thee as thou deservest, and lauding thee both with my heart and voice?
Nay, I will thank thee for thy benefits conferred upon me: they are light upon my tongue, though weighty to my back.
Knowest thou, said the King, wherefore I have summoned thee? The sage answered, None knoweth what is secret but God, whose name be exalted! Then said the King, I have summoned thee that I may take away thy life. The sage, in the utmost astonishment at this announcement, said, O King, wherefore wouldst thou kill me, and what offence hath been committed by me? The King answered, It hath been told me that thou art a spy, and that thou hast come hither to kill me: but I will prevent thee by killing thee first:—and so saying, he called out to the executioner, Strike off the head of this traitor, and relieve me from his wickedness,—Spare me, said the sage, and so may84 God spare thee; and destroy me not, lest God destroy thee.—And he repeated these words several times, like as I did, O ‘Efreet; but thou wouldst not let me go, desiring to destroy me.

Doobán and the Executioner
King Yoonán then said to the sage Doobán, I shall not be secure unless I kill thee; for thou curedst me by a thing that I held in my hand, and I have no security against thy killing me by a thing that I may smell, or by some other means.—O King, said the sage, is this my recompense from thee? Dost thou return evil for good?—The King answered, Thou must be slain without delay. When the sage, therefore, was convinced that the King intended to put him to death, and that his fate was inevitable, he lamented the benefit that he had done to the undeserving. The executioner then advanced, and bandaged his eyes, and, having drawn his sword, said, Give permission. Upon this the sage wept, and said again, Spare me, and so may God spare thee; and destroy me not, lest God destroy thee! Wouldst thou return me the recompense of the crocodile?—What, said the King, is the story of the crocodile? The sage answered, I cannot relate it while in this condition;28 but I conjure thee by Allah to spare me, and so may He spare thee. And he wept bitterly. Then one of the chief officers of the King arose, and said, O King, give up to me the blood of this sage; for we have not seen him commit any offence against thee; nor have we seen him do aught but cure thee of thy disease, which wearied the other physicians and sages. The King answered, Ye know not the reason wherefore I would kill the sage: it is this, that if I suffered him to live, I should myself inevitably perish; for he who cured me of the disease under which I suffered by a thing that I held in my85 hand, may kill me by a thing that I may smell; and I fear that he would do so, and would receive an appointment on account of it; seeing that it is probable he is a spy who hath come hither to kill me; I must therefore kill him, and then shall I feel myself safe.—The sage then said again, Spare me, and so may God spare thee; and destroy me not, lest God destroy thee.

But he now felt certain, O ‘Efreet, that the King would put him to death, and that there was no escape for him; so he said, O King, if my death is indispensable, grant me some respite, that I may return to my house, and acquit myself of my duties, and give directions to my family and neighbours to bury me, and dispose of my medical books; and among my books is one of most especial value, which I offer as a present to thee, that thou mayest treasure it in thy library.—And what, said the King, is this book? He answered, It contains things not to be enumerated; and the smallest of the secret virtues that it possesses is this; that, when thou hast cut off my head, if thou open this book, and count three leaves, and then read three lines on the page to the left, the head will speak to thee, and answer whatever thou shalt ask. At this the King was excessively astonished, and shook with delight, and said to him, O Sage, when I have cut off thy head will it speak? He answered, Yes, O King; and this is a wonderful thing.

The King then sent him in the custody of guards; and the sage descended to his house, and settled all his affairs on that day; and on the following day he went up to the court: and the Emeers and Wezeers, and Chamberlains and Deputies, and all the great officers of the state, went thither also: and the court resembled a flower-garden.29 And when the sage had entered, he presented himself before the King, bearing an old book, and a small pot containing a powder: and he sat down, and said, Bring me a tray. So they brought him one; and he poured out the powder into it, and spread it. He then said, O King, take this book, and do nothing with it until thou hast cut off my head; and when thou hast done so, place it upon this tray, and order some one to press it down upon the powder; and when this is done, the blood will be stanched: then open the book. As soon as the sage had said this, the King gave orders to strike off his head; and it was done. The King then opened the book, and found that its leaves were stuck together; so he put his finger to his mouth, and moistened it with his spittle, and opened the first leaf, and the second, and the third; but the leaves were not opened without difficulty. He86 opened six leaves, and looked at them; but found upon them no writing. So he said, O Sage, there is nothing written in it. The head of the sage answered, Turn over more leaves. The King did so; and in a little while, the poison penetrated into his system; for the book was poisoned; and the King fell back, and cried out, The poison hath penetrated into me!—and upon this, the head of the sage Doobán repeated these verses:—

They made use of their power, and used it tyrannically; and soon it became as though it never had existed.
Had they acted equitably, they had experienced equity; but they oppressed; wherefore fortune oppressed them with calamities and trials.
Then did the case itself announce to them, This is the reward of your conduct, and fortune is blameless.
And when the head of the sage Doobán had uttered these words, the King immediately fell down dead.30

The Death of King Yoonán
Now, O ‘Efreet, continued the fisherman, know that if King Yoonán had spared the sage Doobán, God had spared him; but he refused, and desired his destruction; therefore God destroyed him: and thou, O ‘Efreet, if thou hadst spared me, God had spared thee, and I had spared thee; but thou desiredst my death; therefore will I put thee to death imprisoned in this bottle, and will throw thee here into the sea. The Márid, upon this, cried out, and said, I conjure thee by Allah, O fisherman, that thou do it not: spare me in generosity, and be not angry with me for what I did; but if I have done evil, do thou87 good, according to the proverb,—O thou benefactor of him who hath done evil, the action that he hath done is sufficient for him:—do not therefore as Umámeh did to ‘Átikeh.—And what, said the fisherman, was their case? The ‘Efreet answered, This is not a time for telling stories, when I am in this prison; but when thou liberatest me, I will relate to thee their case.31 The fisherman said, Thou must be thrown into the sea, and there shall be no way of escape for thee from it; for I endeavoured to propitiate thee, and humbled myself before thee, yet thou wouldest nothing but my destruction, though I had committed no offence to deserve it, and had done no evil to thee whatever, but only good, delivering thee from thy confinement; and when thou didst thus unto me, I perceived that thou wast radically corrupt: and I would have thee know, that my motive for throwing thee into this sea, is, that I may acquaint with thy story every one that shall take thee out, and caution him against thee, that he may cast thee in again: thus shalt thou remain in this sea to the end of time, and experience varieties of torment.—The ‘Efreet then said, Liberate me, for this is an opportunity for thee to display humanity; and I vow to thee that I will never do thee harm; but, on the contrary, will do thee a service that shall enrich thee for ever.

Upon this the fisherman accepted his covenant that he would not hurt him, but that he would do him good; and when he had bound him by oaths and vows, and made him swear by the Most Great Name of God, he opened to him; and the smoke ascended until it had all come forth, and then collected together, and became, as before, an ‘Efreet of hideous form. The ‘Efreet then kicked the bottle into the sea. When the fisherman saw him do this, he made sure of destruction, and said, This is no sign of good:—but afterwards he fortified his heart, and said, O ‘Efreet, God, whose name be exalted, hath said, Perform the covenant, for the covenant shall be inquired into:32—and thou has covenanted with me, and sworn that thou wilt not act treacherously towards me; therefore, if thou so act, God will recompense thee; for He is jealous; He respiteth, but suffereth not to escape; and remember that I said to thee as said the sage Doobán to King Yoonán, Spare me, and so may God spare thee.

The ‘Efreet laughed, and, walking on before him, said, O fisherman, follow me. The fisherman did so, not believing in his escape, until they had quitted the neighbourhood of the city, and ascended a mountain, and descended into a wide desert tract, in the midst of which was a lake of water. Here the ‘Efreet stopped, and ordered88 the fisherman to cast his net and take some fish; and the fisherman, looking into the lake, saw in it fish of different colours, white and red and blue and yellow; at which he was astonished; and he cast his net, and drew it in, and found in it four fish, each fish of a different colour from the others, at the sight of which he rejoiced. The ‘Efreet then said to him, Take them to the Sulṭán,33 and present them to him, and he will give thee what will enrich thee; and for the sake of God accept my excuse, for, at present, I know no other way of rewarding thee, having been in the sea a thousand and eight hundred years, and not seen the surface of the earth until now: but take not fish from the lake more than once each day: and now I commend thee to the care of God.—Having thus said, he struck the earth with his feet, and it clove asunder, and swallowed him.

The Fish of Four Colours
The fisherman then went back to the city, wondering at all that had befallen him with the ‘Efreet, and carried the fish to his house; and he took an earthen bowl, and, having filled it with water, put the fish into it; and they struggled in the water: and when he had done this, he placed the bowl upon his head, and repaired to the King’s palace, as the ‘Efreet had commanded him, and, going up unto the King, presented to him the fish; and the King was excessively astonished at them, for he had never seen any like them in the course of his life; and he said, Give these fish to the slave cook-maid. This maid had been sent as a present to him by the King of the Greeks, three days before; and he had not yet tried her skill. The Wezeer, therefore, ordered her to fry the fish, and said to her, O maid, the King saith unto thee, I have not reserved my tear but for the time of my difficulty:—to-day, then, gratify us by a specimen of thy excellent cookery, for a person hath brought these fish as a present to the Sulṭán. After having thus charged her, the Wezeer returned, and the King ordered him to give the fisherman four hundred pieces of89 gold: so the Wezeer gave them to him; and he took them in his lap, and returned to his home and his wife, joyful and happy, and bought what was needful for his family.

The Fisherman shewing the Fish to the Sulṭán
Such were the events that befell the fisherman: now we must relate what happened to the maid.—She took the fish, and cleaned them, and arranged them in the frying-pan, and left them until one side was cooked, when she turned them upon the other side; and lo, the wall of the kitchen clove asunder, and there came forth from it a damsel of tall stature, smooth-cheeked, of perfect form, with eyes adorned with koḥl,34 beautiful in countenance, and with heavy, swelling hips; wearing a koofeeyeh35 interwoven with blue silk; with rings in her ears, and bracelets on her wrists, and rings set with precious jewels on her fingers; and in her hand was a rod of Indian cane: and she dipped the end of the rod in the frying-pan, and said, O fish, are ye remaining faithful to your covenant? At the sight of this, the cook-maid fainted. The damsel then repeated the same words a second and a third time; after which the fish raised their heads from the frying-pan, and answered, Yes, yes. They then repeated the following verse:—

If thou return, we return; and if thou come, we come; and if thou forsake, we verily do the same.
And upon this the damsel overturned the frying-pan, and departed by the way she had entered, and the wall of the kitchen closed up again. The cook-maid then arose, and beheld the four fish burnt like charcoal; and she exclaimed, In his first encounter his staff broke!—and as she sat reproaching herself, she beheld the Wezeer standing at her head; and he said to her, Bring the fish to the Sulṭán:—and she wept, and informed him of what had happened.3690

The Cook-maid dressing the Fish
The Wezeer was astonished at her words, and exclaimed, This is indeed a wonderful event;—and he sent for the fisherman, and when he was brought, he said to him, O fisherman, thou must bring to us four fish like those which thou broughtest before. The fisherman accordingly went forth to the lake, and threw his net, and when he had drawn it in he found in it four fish as before; and he took them to the Wezeer, who went with them to the maid, and said to her, Rise, and fry them in my presence, that I may witness this occurrence. The maid, therefore, prepared the fish, and put them in the frying-pan, and they had remained but a little while, when the wall clove asunder, and the damsel appeared, clad as before, and holding the rod; and she dipped the end of the rod in the frying-pan, and said, O fish, O fish, are ye remaining faithful to your old covenant? Upon which they raised their heads, and answered as before; and the damsel overturned the frying-pan with the rod, and returned by the way she had entered, and the wall closed up again.

The Wezeer then said, This is an event which cannot be concealed91 from the King:—so he went to him, and informed him of what had happened in his presence; and the King said, I must see this with my own eyes. He sent, therefore, to the fisherman, and commanded him to bring four fish like the former; granting him a delay of three days. And the fisherman repaired to the lake, and brought the fish thence to the King, who ordered again that four hundred pieces of gold should be given to him; and then, turning to the Wezeer, said to him, Cook the fish thyself here before me. The Wezeer answered, I hear and obey. He brought the frying-pan, and, after he had cleaned the fish, threw them into it; and as soon as he had turned them, the wall clove asunder, and there came forth from it a negro, in size like a bull, or like one of the tribe of ‘Ád,37 having in his hand a branch of a green tree; and he said, with a clear but terrifying voice, O fish, O fish, are ye remaining faithful to your old covenant? Upon which they raised their heads, and answered as before, Yes, yes:

If thou return, we return; and if thou come, we come; and if thou forsake, we verily do the same.
The black then approached the frying-pan, and overturned it with the branch, and the fish became like charcoal, and he went away as he had come.

When he had thus disappeared from before their eyes, the King said, This is an event respecting which it is impossible to keep silence, and there must, undoubtedly, be some strange circumstance connected with these fish. He then ordered that the fisherman should be brought before him, and when he had come, he said to him, Whence came these fish? The fisherman answered, From a lake between four mountains behind this mountain which is without thy city. The King said to him, How many days’ journey38 distant? He answered, O our lord the Sulṭán, a journey of half-an-hour. And the Sulṭán was astonished, and ordered his troops to go out immediately with him and the fisherman, who began to curse the ‘Efreet. They proceeded until they had ascended the mountain, and descended into a wide desert tract which they had never before seen in their whole lives; and the Sulṭán and all the troops wondered at the sight of this desert, which was between four mountains, and at the fish, which were of four colours, red and white and yellow and blue. The King paused in astonishment, and said to the troops, and to the other attendants who were with him, Hath any one of you before seen this lake in this place? They all answered, No. Then said the King, By Allah, I will not enter my city, nor will I sit upon my throne, until I know the true history of92 this lake, and of its fish. And upon this he ordered his people to encamp around these mountains; and they did so. He then called for the Wezeer, who was a well-informed, sensible, prudent, and learned man; and when he had presented himself before him, he said to him, I desire to do a thing with which I will acquaint thee; and it is this:—I have resolved to depart alone this night, to seek for information respecting this lake and its fish: therefore, sit thou at the door of my pavilion, and say to the Emeers and Wezeers and Chamberlains, The Sulṭán is sick, and hath commanded me not to allow any person to go in unto him:—and acquaint no one with my intention.

The Black Palace
The Wezeer was unable to oppose his design; so the King disguised himself, and slung on his sword, and withdrew himself from the midst of his troops. He journeyed the whole of the night, until the morning, and proceeded until the heat became oppressive to him: he then paused to rest; after which he again proceeded the remainder of the day and the second night until the morning, when there appeared before him, in the distance, something black, at the sight of which he rejoiced, and said, Perhaps I shall there find some person who will inform me of the history of the lake and its fish. And when he approached this black object, he found it to be a palace built of black stones, and overlaid with iron; and one of the leaves of its doors was open, and the other shut. The King was glad, and he stood at the door, and knocked gently, but heard no answer; he knocked a second and a third time, but again heard no answer: then he knocked a fourth time, and with violence; but no one answered. So he said, It is doubtless empty:—and he took courage, and entered from the door into the passage, and cried out, saying, O inhabitants of the palace, I am a stranger and a traveller! have ye any provision? And he repeated these words a second and a third time; but heard no answer.93 And upon this he fortified his heart, and emboldened himself, and proceeded from the passage into the midst of the palace; but he found no one there, and only saw that it was furnished, and that there was, in the centre of it, a fountain with four lions of red gold, which poured forth the water from their mouths, like pearls and jewels: around this were birds; and over the top of the palace was extended a net which prevented their flying out. At the sight of these objects he was astonished, and he was grieved that he saw no person there whom he could ask for information respecting the lake, and the fish, and the mountains, and the palace. He then sat down between the doors,39 reflecting upon these things; and as he thus sat, he heard a voice of lamentation from a sorrowful heart, chanting these verses:—

O fortune, thou pitiest me not, nor releasest me! See my heart is straitened between affliction and peril!
Will not you [O my wife] have compassion on the mighty whom love hath abased, and the wealthy who is reduced to indigence?
We were jealous even of the zephyr which passed over you: but when the divine decree is issued, the eye becometh blind!
What resource hath the archer when, in the hour of conflict, he desireth to discharge the arrow, but findeth his bow-string broken.
And when troubles are multiplied upon the noble-minded, where shall he find refuge from fate and from destiny?40
When the Sulṭán heard this lamentation, he sprang upon his feet, and, seeking the direction whence it proceeded, found a curtain suspended before the door of a chamber; and he raised it, and beheld behind it a young man sitting on a couch raised to the height of a cubit from the floor. He was a handsome youth, well-shaped, and of eloquent speech, with shining forehead, and rosy cheek, marked with a mole resembling ambergris. The King was rejoiced at seeing him, and saluted him; and the young man (who remained sitting, and was clad with a vest of silk, embroidered with gold, but who exhibited traces of grief) returned his salutation, and said to him, O my master, excuse my not rising.—O youth! said the King, inform me respecting the lake, and its fish of various colours, and respecting this palace, and the reason of thy being alone in it, and of thy lamentation. When the young man heard these words, tears trickled down his cheeks, and he wept bitterly.41 And the King was astonished, and said to him, What causeth thee to weep, O youth? He answered, How can I refrain from weeping, when this is my state?—and so saying, he stretched forth his hand, and lifted up the skirts of his clothing; and lo, half of him, from his waist to the soles of his feet, was stone; and from94 his waist to the hair of his head, he was like other men. He then said, Know, O King, that the story of the fish is extraordinary; if it were engraved upon the intellect, it would be a lesson to him who would be admonished:—and he related as follows:—

The Sultán discovering the Young King of the Black Islands
My father was king of the city which was here situate: his name was Maḥmood, and he was lord of the Black Islands, and of the four mountains. After a reign of seventy years, he died, and I succeeded to his throne; whereupon I took as my wife the daughter of my uncle; and she loved me excessively, so that when I absented myself from her, she would neither eat nor drink till she saw me again. She remained under my protection five years. After this, she went one day to the bath; and I had commanded the cook to prepare the supper, and entered this palace, and slept in my usual place.42 I had ordered two maids to fan me;43 and one of them sat at my head, and the other at my feet; but I was restless, because my wife was not with me; and I could not sleep. My eyes were closed, but my spirit95 was awake; and I heard the maid at my head say to her at my feet, O Mes’oodeh,44 verily our lord is unfortunate in his youth, and what a pity is it that it should be passed with our depraved, wicked mistress!—Perdition to unfaithful wives! replied the other: but (added she) such a person as our lord, so endowed by nature, is not suited to this profligate woman, who passes every night absent from his bed.—Verily, rejoined she at my head, our lord is careless in not making any inquiry respecting her.—Wo to thee! said the other: hath our lord any knowledge of her conduct, or doth she leave him to his choice? Nay, on the contrary, she contriveth to defraud him by means of the cup of wine45 which he drinketh every night before he sleepeth, putting benj46 into it; in consequence of which he sleepeth so soundly that he knoweth not what happeneth, nor whither she goeth, nor what she doeth; for, after she hath given him the wine to drink, she dresseth herself, and goeth out from him, and is absent until daybreak, when she returneth to him, and burneth a perfume under his nose, upon which he awaketh from his sleep.

The Young King on his Bed, attended by Two Maids
When I heard this conversation of the maids, the light became darkness before my face, and I was hardly conscious of the approach of night, when my cousin returned from the bath. The table was prepared, and we ate, and sat a while drinking our wine as usual. I then called for the wine which I was accustomed to drink before I lay down to sleep, and she handed to me the cup; but I turned away, and, pretending to drink it as I was wont to do, poured it into my bosom, and immediately lay down: upon which she said, Sleep on; I wish96 that thou wouldst never wake again! By Allah, I abhor thee, and abhor thy person, and my soul is weary of thy company!—She then arose, and attired herself in the most magnificent of her apparel, and, having perfumed herself, and slung on a sword, opened the door of the palace, and went out. I got up immediately, and followed her until she had quitted the palace, and passed through the streets of the city, and arrived at the city-gates, when she pronounced some words that I understood not; whereupon the locks fell off, and the gates opened, and she went out, I still following her, without her knowledge. Thence she proceeded to a space among the mounds,47 and arrived at a strong edifice, in which was a ḳubbeh48 constructed of mud, with a door, which she entered. I then climbed upon the roof of the ḳubbeh, and, looking down upon her through an aperture, saw that she was visiting a black slave, whose large lips, one of which overlapped the other, gathered up the sand from the pebbly floor, while he lay, in a filthy and wet condition, upon a few stalks of sugar-cane.

She kissed the ground before this slave; and he raised his head towards her, and said, Wo to thee! Wherefore hast thou remained away until this hour? The other blacks have been here drinking wine, and each of them has gone away with his mistress; and I refused to drink on thy account.—She answered, O my master, and beloved of my heart, knowest thou not that I am married to my cousin, and that I abhor every man who resembles him, and hate myself while I am in his company? If I did not fear to displease thee, I would reduce the city to ruins, so that the owl and the raven should cry in it, and would transport its stones beyond Mount Ḳáf.49—Thou liest, thou infamous woman, replied the slave; and I swear by the generosity of the blacks (and if I speak not truth, may our valour be as the valour of the whites), that if thou loiter as thou hast now done till this hour, I will no longer give thee my company, nor approach thy person, thou faithless one! Dost thou inconvenience me for the sake of thine own pleasure, thou filthy wretch, and vilest of the whites?—When I heard (continued the King) their words, and witnessed what passed between them, the world became dark before my face, and I knew not where I was.—My cousin still stood weeping, and abasing herself before him, and said, O my beloved, and treasure of my heart, there remaineth to me none but thee for whom I care, and if thou cast me off, alas for me! O my beloved! O light of mine eye!—Thus she continued to weep, and to humble herself before him, until he became pacified towards her; upon which she rejoiced, and arose, and, having dis97robed herself, said to him, O my master, hast thou here anything that thy maid may eat? He answered, Uncover the dough-pan; it contains some cooked rats’ bones:50 eat of them, and pick them; and take this earthen pot: thou wilt find in it some booẓah51 to drink. So she arose, and ate and drank, and washed her hands; after which she lay down by the side of the slave, upon the stalks of sugar-cane, and covered herself with his tattered clothes and rags.

The Black Slave wounded by the Young King
When I saw her do this, I became unconscious of my existence, and, descending from the roof of the ḳubbeh, entered, and took the sword from the side of my cousin, with the intention of killing them both. I struck the slave upon his neck, and thought that he was killed; but the blow, which I gave with the view of severing his head, only cut the gullet and skin and flesh; and when I thought that I had killed him, he uttered a loud snore, upon which my cousin started up, and as soon as I had gone, took the sword, and returned it to its98 scabbard, and came back to the city and to the palace, and lay down again in my bed, in which she remained until the morning.

On the following day, I observed that my cousin had cut off her hair, and put on the apparel of mourning;52 and she said to me, O my cousin, blame me not for what I do; for I have received news that my mother is dead, and that my father hath been slain in a holy war, and that one of my two brothers hath died of a poisonous sting, and the other by the fall of a house: it is natural, therefore, that I should weep and mourn. On hearing these words, I abstained from upbraiding her, and said, Do what seemeth fit to thee; for I will not oppose thee. Accordingly, she continued mourning and weeping and wailing a whole year; after which she said to me, I have a desire to build for myself, in thy palace, a tomb, with a ḳubbeh, that I may repair thither alone to mourn, and I will call it the House of Lamentations.53 I replied, Do what thou seest fit. So she built for herself a house for mourning, with a ḳubbeh in the middle of it, like the tomb of a saint;54 after which she removed thither the slave, and there she lodged him. He was in a state of excessive weakness, and unable to render her any service, though he drank wine; and from the day on which I had wounded him, he had never spoken; yet he remained alive, because the appointed term of his life had not expired. My cousin every day visited him in this tomb early and late, to weep and mourn over him, and took to him wine to drink, and boiled meats; and thus she continued to do, morning and evening, until the expiration of the second year, while I patiently suffered her, till one day, I entered her apartment unawares, and found her weeping, and slapping her face, and repeating these verses:—

I have lost my existence among mankind since your absence; for my heart loveth none but you.
Take my body, then, in mercy, to the place where you are laid; and there bury me by your side:
And if, at my grave, you utter my name, the moaning of my bones shall answer to your call.
As soon as she had finished the recitation of these verses, I said to her, holding my drawn sword in my hand, This is the language of those faithless women who renounce the ties of affinity, and regard not lawful fellowship!—and I was about to strike her with the sword, and had lifted up my arm to do so, when she rose—for she knew that it was I who had wounded the slave—and, standing before me, pronounced some words which I understood not, and said, May God, by means of my enchantment, make thee to be half of stone, and half of99 the substance of man!—whereupon I became as thou seest, unable to move, neither dead nor alive; and when I had been reduced to this state, she enchanted the city and its markets and fields. The inhabitants of our city were of four classes; Muslims, and Christians, and Jews, and Magians; and she transformed them into fish: the white are the Muslims; the red, the Magians; the blue, the Christians; and the yellow, the Jews.55 She transformed, also, the four islands into four mountains, and placed them around the lake; and from that time she has continued every day to torture me, inflicting upon me a hundred lashes with a leathern whip, until the blood flows from my wounds; after which she puts on my upper half a vest of hair-cloth, beneath these garments.—Having said thus, the young man wept, and ejaculating the following verses:—

Give me patience, O Allah, to bear what Thou decreest! I will be patient, if so I may obtain thine approval.
I am straitened, indeed, by the calamity that hath befallen me: but the Family of the favoured Prophet shall intercede for me!56
Upon this, the King, looking towards the young man, said to him, O youth, thou hast increased my anxiety. And where (he added) is this woman?—The young man answered, She is in the tomb where the slave is lying, in the ḳubbeh; and every day, before she visits him, she strips me of my clothing, and inflicts upon me a hundred lashes with the whip, while I weep and cry out, unable to move so as to repulse her. After thus torturing me, she repairs early to the slave, with the wine and boiled meat.—By Allah, O youth, said the King, I will do thee an act of kindness for which I shall be remembered, and a favour which historians shall record in a biography after me.

The Kubbeh, or Tomb
He then sat and conversed with him until the approach of night, upon which he arose, and waited till the first dawn of day, when he took off his clothes, and slung on his sword, and went to the place where the slave lay. After remarking the candles and lamps, and perfumes and ointments, he approached the slave, and with a blow of his sword slew him: he then carried him on his back, and threw him into a well which he found in the palace, and, returning to the ḳubbeh, clad himself with the slave’s clothes, and lay down with the drawn sword by his side. Soon after, the vile enchantress went to her cousin, and, having pulled off his clothes, took the whip, and beat him, while he cried, Ah! it is enough for me to be in this state! Have pity on me then!—Didst thou shew pity to me, she exclaimed, and didst thou100 spare my lover?—She then put on him the hair-cloth vest and his outer garments, and repaired to the slave with a cup of wine, and a bowl of boiled meat. Entering the tomb, she wept and wailed, exclaiming, O my master, answer me! O my master, speak to me!—and poured forth her lamentation in the words of this verse:—

How long shall this aversion and harshness continue? Sufficient is the evil which my passion hath brought upon me!57
Then, weeping as before, she exclaimed again, O my master, answer me, and speak to me! Upon this the King, speaking in a low voice, and adapting his tongue to the pronunciation of the blacks, ejaculated, Ah! Ah! there is no strength nor power but in God! On hearing these words, she screamed with joy, and fell down in a swoon; and when she recovered, she exclaimed, Possibly my master is restored to health! The King, again lowering his voice, as if from weakness, replied, Thou profligate wretch, thou deservest not that I should address thee.—Wherefore? said she. He answered, Because all the day long thou tormentest thy husband, while he calleth out, and imploreth the aid of God, so that thou hast prevented my sleeping from the commencement of darkness until morning: thy husband hath not ceased to humble himself, and to imprecate vengeance upon thee, till he hath distracted me; and had it not been for this, I had recovered my strength: this it is which hath prevented my answering thee.—Then, with thy permission, she replied, I will liberate him from his present sufferings.—Liberate him, said the King, and give us ease.

She replied, I hear and obey;—and immediately arose, and went out from the ḳubbeh to the palace, and, taking a cup, filled it with water, and pronounced certain words over it, upon which it began to boil like a cauldron. She then sprinkled some of it upon her cousin, saying, By virtue of what I have uttered, be changed from thy present state to that in which thou wast at first!—and instantly he shook, and stood upon his feet, rejoicing in his liberation, and exclaimed, I testify101 that there is no deity but God, and that Moḥammad is God’s Apostle; God bless and save him! She then said to him, Depart, and return not hither, or I will kill thee:—and she cried out in his face: so he departed from before her, and she returned to the ḳubbeh, and said, O my master, come forth to me that I may behold thee. He replied, with a weak voice, What hast thou done? Thou hast relieved me from the branch, but hast not relieved me from the root.—O my beloved, she said, and what is the root? He answered, The people of this city, and of the four islands: every night, at the middle hour, the fish raise their heads, and imprecate vengeance upon me and upon thee; and this is the cause that preventeth the return of vigour to my body; therefore, liberate them, and come, and take my hand, and raise me; for vigour hath already in part returned to me.

On hearing these words of the King, whom she imagined to be the slave, she said to him with joy, O my master, on my head and my eye! In the name of Allah!58—and she sprang up, full of happiness, and hastened to the lake, where, taking a little of its water, she pronounced over it some unintelligible words, whereupon the fish became agitated, and raised their heads, and immediately became converted into men as before. Thus was the enchantment removed from the inhabitants of the city, and the city became repeopled, and the market-streets re-erected, and every one returned to his occupation: the mountains also became changed into islands as they were at the102 first. The enchantress then returned immediately to the King, whom she still imagined to be the slave, and said to him, O my beloved, stretch forth thy honoured hand, that I may kiss it.—Approach me, said the King in a low voice. So she drew near to him; and he, having his keen-edged sword ready in his hand, thrust it into her bosom, and the point protruded from her back: he then struck her again, and clove her in twain, and went forth.

The Sultán killing the Enchantress
He found the young man who had been enchanted waiting his return, and congratulated him on his safety; and the young prince kissed his hand, and thanked him. The King then said to him, Wilt thou remain in thy city, or come with me to my capital?—O King of the age, said the young man, dost thou know the distance that is between thee and thy city? The King answered, Two days and a half.—O King, replied the young man, if thou hast been asleep, awake: between thee and thy city is a distance of a year’s journey to him who travelleth with diligence; and thou camest in two days and a half only because the city was enchanted: but, O King, I will never quit thee for the twinkling of an eye. The King rejoiced at his words, and said, Praise be to God, who hath in his beneficence given thee to me: thou art my son; for during my whole life, I have never been blest with a son:—and they embraced each other, and rejoiced exceedingly. They then went together into the palace, where the King who had been enchanted informed the officers of his court that he was about to perform the holy pilgrimage: so they prepared for him everything that he required; and he departed with the Sulṭán; his heart burning with reflections upon his city, because he had been deprived of the sight of it for the space of a year.

He set forth, accompanied by fifty memlooks,59 and provided with presents, and they continued their journey night and day for a whole year, after which they drew near to the city of the Sulṭán, and the Wezeer and the troops, who had lost all hope of his return, came forth to meet him. The troops, approaching him, kissed the ground before him, and congratulated him on his safe return; and he entered the city, and sat upon the throne. He then acquainted the Wezeer with all that had happened to the young King; on hearing which, the Wezeer congratulated the latter, also, on his safety; and when all things were restored to order, the Sulṭán bestowed presents upon a number of his subjects, and said to the Wezeer, Bring to me the fisherman who presented to me the fish. So he sent to this fisherman, who had been the cause of the restoration of the inhabitants of the enchanted city,103 and brought him; and the King invested him with a dress of honour, and inquired of him respecting his circumstances, and whether he had any children. The fisherman informed him that he had a son and two daughters; and the King, on hearing this, took as his wife one of the daughters, and the young prince married the other.60 The King also conferred upon the son the office of treasurer. He then sent the Wezeer to the city of the young prince, the capital of the Black Islands, and invested him with its sovereignty, despatching with him the fifty memlooks who had accompanied him thence, with numerous robes of honour to all the Emeers: and the Wezeer kissed his hands, and set forth on his journey; while the Sulṭán and the young prince remained. And as to the fisherman, he became the wealthiest of the people of his age; and his daughters continued to be the wives of the Kings until they died.

But this (added Shahrazád) is not more wonderful than what happened to the porter.

Tail-piece to Chapter II.–The Journey home

Head-piece to Notes to Chapter II.–The Fisherman and the dead Ass
Note 1. The sentiment expressed in this verse is one which is often heard from the mouth of a Muslim; but generally when, his toil is ended, and its result seen; though not unfrequently as an excuse for indolence.

Note 2. The bottle is here described (by the term “ḳumḳum”) as of a kind commonly used for sprinkling rose-water, &c., having a spherical or wide body, with a long and narrow neck. I remember seeing a gilt brass bottle of this kind, of very beautiful workmanship, for which nearly as much as ten pieces of gold was demanded.

Note 3. The seal of Suleymán, or Solomon, has twice been mentioned in former notes; in No. 21 of the notes appended to the Introduction, and in No. 15 of those to the first chapter.

Note 4. It is necessary to remark, that this and many other descriptions in the present work are not designed to be understood in their literal sense. The reader will often be required to make some allowance for Oriental hyperbole, and to distinguish between expressions characterised by this figure, and such as are purely accordant with Eastern grandeur and magnificence, or with Muslim superstition.

Note 5. The end of the winnowing-fork bears a rude resemblance to a gigantic hand; having several long prongs of wood.

Note 6. Instead of “ibreeḳ” (a ewer), in the Cairo edition, I read “abwáḳ” (trumpets), as in other editions.

Note 7. This appellation has been mentioned in a former note, as signifying an evil Jinnee of the most powerful class.

Note 8. It is a rule observed in decent society, by the Arabs, to avoid, as much as possible, the mention of opprobrious epithets, lest any person present should imagine such epithets to be addressed insidiously to himself. For this reason, when any malediction or offensive language is repeated in a story, it is usual with them to designate the object of such language by this term, which signifies both remote or absent from the person or persons in whose presence the words are repeated, and remote from virtue or good. In the present instance, “remote” is an epithet substituted by Shahrazád for some other of a gross nature, from respect to the king to whom she is relating the story.

Note 9. I read “Ṣakhr el-Jinnee” for “Ṣakhr el-Jinn.”—Ṣakhr was an evil Jinnee, and a terrible enemy of Solomon. His last act of treachery to that monarch, and105 his fate, are thus related by commentators on the Ḳur-án.—Solomon having, through negligence, suffered one of his women to practise idolatry under his roof, God saw fit to punish him. It was the custom of this King, on certain occasions, “to intrust his signet, on which his kingdom depended, with a concubine of his, named El-Emeeneh. One day, therefore, when she had the ring in her custody, a devil [or evil Jinnee], named Ṣakhr, came to her in the shape of Solomon, and received the ring from her; by virtue of which he became possessed of the kingdom, and sat on the throne in the shape which he had borrowed, making what alterations in the law he pleased. Solomon, in the meantime, being changed in his outward appearance, and known to none of his subjects, was obliged to wander about, and beg alms for his subsistence; till at length, after the space of forty days, which was the time the image had been worshipped in his house, the devil flew away, and threw the signet into the sea. The signet was immediately swallowed by a fish, which being taken and given to Solomon, he found the ring in its belly; and having by this means recovered the kingdom, he took Ṣakhr, and, tying a great stone to his neck, threw him into the Lake of Tiberias.”150

Note 10. “Umm-‘Ámir” is an appellation of the hyena. It is scarcely necessary to mention, that the proverb here quoted is said to have originated from the fact of a man’s having been devoured by a hyena whom he had aided against an enemy.

Note 11. In some copies, the personage here mentioned is called “Melik el-Yoonán,” that is, “King of Ancient Greece,” or—”of the Ancient Greeks.” I have followed the Cairo edition, and that of the first two hundred nights, printed at Calcutta, in which “Yoonán” is used as the King’s proper name. See also Note 13.

Note 12. This is the name of the sage in most copies; but in the Cairo edition he is called “Rooyán.”

Note 13. In the Calcutta edition, the king is merely said to have reigned “in the country of the Persians,” as in my translation; but in the Cairo edition, he is said to have been “in the city of the Persians, and the country of Roomán;” which may perhaps mean (though this is hardly allowable) the [eastern] Roman, or later Greek, empire; an unnecessary contradiction. (See Note 22 to Chapter x.) It is obviously more agreeable with the story to regard him as a Persian King.

Note 14. “The Ornament of the Good,” or—”of the Comely,” is an appellation of the Arabian prophet, who is related to have said, “The sun never riseth until it hath saluted me.” “The sun’s saluting the Ornament of the Good,” or “Comely,” is, therefore, a phrase not unfrequently used by Muslims merely to signify its rising.

Note 15.—On the Rewards of Men of Literature and Science. It has long been a common custom of Eastern princes to bestow dresses of honour upon men of literature and science, as well as upon their great officers and other servants. These dresses were of different kinds for persons of different classes or professions. The most usual kind was an ample coat. With dresses of this description were often given gold-embroidered turbans; and sometimes, to Emeers (or great military officers), neck-rings or collars (called ṭóḳs), some of which were set with jewels; as also, bracelets, and swords ornamented with precious stones, &c.; and to Wezeers, instead of the ṭóḳ, a necklace of jewels.151—The following striking record will convey an idea of the magnificence of some of these dresses of honour; or, in other words, of the liberality of a Muslim prince, and, at the same time, of the very precarious nature of his favour. A person, chancing to look at a register kept by one of the officers of Hároon Er-Rasheed, saw in it the following entry:—”Four hundred thousand pieces of gold, the price of a dress of honour for Jaạfar, the son of Yaḥyà, the Wezeer.”—A few days after, he saw beneath this written,—”Ten ḳeeráṭs, the price of naphtha and reeds, for burning the body of 106Jaạfar, the son of Yaḥyà.”152—The ḳeeráṭ of Baghdád was the twentieth part of a deenár, or piece of gold.

Arab princes and other great men have generally been famous for highly respecting, and liberally rewarding, men of literature and science, and especially poets. El-Mamoon and many others are well known to us for their patronage of the learned. Er-Rasheed carried his condescension to them so far as to pour the water on the hands of a blind man, Aboo-Mo’áwiyeh, one of the most learned persons of his time, previously to his eating with him, to shew his respect for science.153 An anecdote of a Khaleefeh ordering the mouth of a learned man to be filled with jewels, I have related in a former note. To cram the mouth with sugar or sweetmeats for a polite or eloquent speech, or piece of poetry, has been more commonly done; but the usual presents to learned men were, and are, dresses of honour and sums of money. Ibn-‘Obeyd El-Bakhteree, an illustrious poet and traditionist, who flourished in the reign of El-Musta’een, is said to have received so many presents, that, after his death, there were found, among the property which he left, a hundred complete suits of dress, two hundred shirts, and five hundred turbans.154 A thousand pieces of gold were often given, and sometimes ten, twenty, or thirty, thousand, and even more, for a few verses; nay, for a single couplet.

The prodigality of Arab princes to men of learning may be exemplified by the following anecdote:—Ḥammád, surnamed Er-Ráwiyeh, or the famous reciter, having attached himself to the Khaleefeh El-Weleed, the son of ‘Abd-el-Melik, and shewn a contrary feeling towards his brother Hishám, on the accession of the latter fled to El-Koofeh. While there, a letter arrived from Hishám, commanding his presence at Damascus: it was addressed to the governor, who, being ordered to treat him with honour, gave him a purse containing a thousand pieces of gold, and despatched him with the Khaleefeh’s messenger. On his arrival at Damascus, he was conducted before Hishám, whom he found in a splendid saloon, seated under a pavilion of red silk, surmounted by a dome of yellow brocade, attended by two female slaves of beauty unsurpassed, each holding a crystal ewer of wine. His admission during the presence of members of the King’s ḥareem, the reader will remark as a very unusual and high honour: the mention of the wine may also surprise him; but this is a subject upon which much may be said, and which will be considered on a future occasion. After Ḥammád had given the salutation, and the Khaleefeh had returned it, the latter told him that he had sent for him to ask respecting a couplet of which he (the Khaleefeh) could only remember that it ended with the word “ibreeḳ,” which signifies “a ewer.” The reciter reflected a while, and the lines occurred to his mind, and he repeated them. Hishám cried out, in delight, that the lines were those he meant; drank a cup of wine, and desired one of the female slaves to hand a cup to Ḥammád. She did so; and the draught, he says, deprived him of one-third of his reason. The Khaleefeh desired him to repeat the lines again, and drank a second cup; and Ḥammád was deprived of another third of his reason in the same manner; and said, “O Prince of the Faithful, two-thirds of my reason have departed from me.” Hishám laughed, and desired him to ask what he would before the remaining third should have gone; and the reciter said, “One of these two female slaves.” The Khaleefeh laughed again, and said, “Nay, but both of them are thine, and all that is upon them, and all that they possess, and, beside them, fifty thousand pieces of gold.”—”I kissed the ground before him,” says Ḥammád, “and drank a third cup, and was unconscious of what happened after: I did not awake till the close of the night, when I found myself in a handsome house, surrounded by lighted candles, and the two female slaves were putting in order my clothes and other things: so I took possession of the property, and departed, the happiest of the creatures of God.”155


A whimsical story is told of a king, who denied to poets those rewards to which usage had almost given them a claim. This king, whose name is not recorded, had the faculty of retaining in his memory an ode after having only once heard it; and he had a memlook who could repeat an ode that he had twice heard, and a female slave who could repeat one that she had heard thrice. Whenever a poet came to compliment him with a panegyrical ode, the King used to promise him that, if he found his verses to be his original composition, he would give him a sum of money equal in weight to what they were written upon. The poet, consenting, would recite his ode; and the King would say, “It is not new; for I have known it some years;” and would repeat it as he had heard it; after which he would add, “And this memlook also retains it in his memory;” and would order the memlook to repeat it; which, having heard it twice, from the poet and the king, he would do. The King would then say to the poet, “I have also a female slave who can repeat it;” and on his ordering her to do so, stationed behind the curtains, she would repeat what she had thus thrice heard: so the poet would go away empty-handed. The famous poet El-Aṣma’ee, having heard of this proceeding, and guessing the trick, determined upon outwitting the King; and accordingly composed an ode made up of very difficult words; but this was not his only preparative measure; another will be presently explained; and a third was, to assume the dress of a Bedawee, that he might not be known, covering his face, the eyes only excepted, with a lithám (a piece of drapery) in accordance with a custom of Arabs of the desert. Thus disguised, he went to the palace, and, having asked permission, entered, and saluted the King, who said to him, “Whence art thou, O brother of the Arabs, and what dost thou desire?” The poet answered, “May God increase the power of the King! I am a poet of such a tribe, and have composed an ode in praise of our lord the Sulṭán.”—”O brother of the Arabs,” said the King, “hast thou heard of our condition?”—”No,” answered the poet; “and what is it, O King of the age?”—”It is,” replied the King, “that if the ode be not thine, we give thee no reward; and if it be thine, we give thee the weight in money of what it is written upon.”—”How,” said El-Aṣma’ee, “should I assume to myself that which belongs to another, and knowing, too, that lying before kings is one of the basest of actions? But I agree to this condition, O our lord the Sulṭán.” So he repeated his ode. The King, perplexed, and unable to remember any of it, made a sign to the memlook—but he had retained nothing; and called to the female slave, but she also was unable to repeat a word. “O brother of the Arabs,” said he, “thou hast spoken truth, and the ode is thine without doubt: I have never heard it before: produce, therefore, what it is written upon, and we will give thee its weight in money, as we have promised.”—”Wilt thou,” said the poet, “send one of the attendants to carry it?”—”To carry what?” asked the King; “is it not upon a paper here in thy possession?”—”No, O our lord the Sulṭán,” replied the poet; “at the time I composed it I could not procure a piece of paper upon which to write it, and could find nothing but a fragment of a marble column left me by my father; so I engraved it upon this; and it lies in the court of the palace.” He had brought it, wrapped up, on the back of a camel. The King, to fulfil his promise, was obliged to exhaust his treasury; and to prevent a repetition of this trick (of which he afterwards discovered El-Aṣma’ee to have been the author), in future rewarded the poets according to the usual custom of kings.156

The following case is also related as an exception to the common custom of great men, with regard to the bestowal of rewards on poets:—”A poet praised a governor in some verses, and the latter ordered an ass’s barda’ah (or stuffed saddle) and girth to be given to him. The poet went away with them on his shoulder; and, being asked what he had got, answered, ‘I have praised our honoured lord in the best of my verses, and he hath bestowed on me some of the most magnificent articles of his apparel.'”157

Note 16.—On the Bath. The ḥammám, or bath, is a favourite resort of both men 108and women of all classes among the Muslims who can afford the trifling expense which it requires; and (it is said) not only of human beings, but also of evil genii; on which account, as well as on that of decency, several precepts respecting it have been dictated by Moḥammad. It is frequented for the purpose of performing certain ablutions required by the religion, or by a regard for cleanliness, and for its salutary effects, and for mere luxury.

The following description of a public bath will convey a sufficient notion of those in private houses, which are on a smaller scale, and generally consist of only two or three chambers. The public bath comprises several apartments, with mosaic or tesselated pavements, composed of white and black marble, and pieces of fine red tile, and sometimes other materials. The inner apartments are covered with domes, having a number of small, round, glazed apertures, for the admission of light. The first apartment is the meslakh, or disrobing room, which has, in the centre, a fountain of cold water, and, next the walls, wide benches or platforms, encased with marble. These are furnished with mattresses and cushions for the higher and middle classes, and with mats for the poorer sort. The inner division of the building, in the more regularly planned baths, occupies nearly a square: the central and chief portion of it is the principal apartment, or ḥarárah, which generally has the form of a cross. In its centre is a fountain of hot water, rising from a base encased with marble, which serves as a seat. One of the angles of the square is occupied by the beyt-owwal, or antechamber of the ḥarárah: in another, is the fire over which is the boiler; and each of the other two angles is generally occupied by two small chambers: in one of these is a tank filled with warm water, which pours down from a spout in the dome: in the other are two taps, side by side; one of hot, and the other of cold water, with a small trough beneath, before which is a seat. The inner apartments are heated by the steam which rises from the fountain and tanks, and by the contiguity of the fire; but the beyt-owwal is not so hot as the ḥarárah, being separated from it by a door. In cold weather, the bather undresses in the former, which has two or three raised seats, like those of the meslakh.

With a pair of wooden clogs to his feet, and having a large napkin round his loins, and generally a second wound round his head like a turban, a third over his chest, and a fourth covering his back, he enters the ḥarárah, the heat of which causes him immediately to perspire profusely. An attendant of the bath removes from him all the napkins excepting the first; and proceeds to crack the joints of his fingers and toes, &c., and several of the vertebræ of the back and neck; kneads his flesh; and rubs the soles of his feet with a coarse earthen rasp, and his limbs and body with a woollen bag which covers his hand as a glove; after which, the bather, if he please, plunges into one of the tanks. He is then thoroughly washed with soap and water, and fibres of the palm-tree, and shaved, if he wish it, in one of the small chambers which contain the taps of hot and cold water; and returns to the beyt-owwal. Here he generally reclines upon a mattress, and takes some light refreshment, while one of the attendants rubs the soles of his feet, and kneads the flesh of his body and limbs, previously to his resuming his dress. It is a common custom, now, to take a pipe and a cup of coffee during this period of rest.

The women are especially fond of the bath, and often have entertainments there; taking with them fruits, sweetmeats, &c., and sometimes hiring female singers to accompany them. An hour or more is occupied by the process of plaiting the hair, and applying the depilatory, &c.; and, generally, an equal time is passed in the enjoyment of rest, or recreation, or refreshment. All necessary decorum is observed on these occasions by most females; but women of the lower orders are often seen in the bath without any covering. Some baths are appropriated solely to men; others, only to women; and others, again, to men during the forenoon, and in the afternoon to women. When the bath is appropriated to women, a napkin, or some other piece of drapery, is suspended over the door, to warn men from entering.

Before the time of Moḥammad, there were no public baths in Arabia; and he was so109 prejudiced against them, for the reasons already alluded to, that he at first forbade both men and women from entering them: afterwards, however, he permitted men to do so, if for the sake of cleanliness, on the condition of their having a cloth round the waist; and women also on account of sickness, child-birth, &c., provided they had not convenient places for bathing in their houses. But, notwithstanding this license, it is held to be a characteristic of a virtuous woman, not to go to a bath even with her husband’s permission: for the Prophet said, “Whatever woman enters a bath, the devil is with her.” As the bath is a resort of the Jinn, prayer should not be performed in it, nor the Ḳur-án recited. The Prophet said, “All the earth is given to me as a place of prayer, and as pure, except the burial-ground and the bath.”158 Hence also, when a person is about to enter a bath, he should offer up an ejaculatory prayer for protection against evil spirits; and should place his left foot first over the threshold.—Infidels have often been obliged to distinguish themselves in the bath, by hanging a signet to the neck, or wearing anklets, &c., lest they should receive those marks of respect which should be paid only to believers.159

Note 17.—On Meals, and the Manner of Eating. The King (with the sage as his guest) is here described as eating in the presence of his court, agreeably with a common custom of Eastern princes and other great men in the present day; the simple manner in which the meal is served and eaten occasioning but a slight interruption.

The Muslim takes a light breakfast after the morning-prayers, and dinner after the noon-prayers; or a single meal instead of these two, before noon. His principal meal is supper, which is taken after the prayers of sunset. A man of rank or wealth, when he has no guest, generally eats alone; his children eat after him, or with his wife or wives. In all his repasts he is moderate with regard to the quantity which he eats, however numerous the dishes.

In the times to which most of the tales in the present work relate, it appears that the dishes were sometimes, I believe generally, placed upon a round embroidered cloth spread on the floor, and sometimes on a tray, which was either laid on the floor or upon a small stand or stool. The last is the mode now always followed in the houses of the higher and middle classes of the Arabs. The table is usually placed upon a round cloth, spread in the middle of the floor, or in a corner, next two of the deewáns, or low seats which generally extend along three sides of the room. It is composed of a large round tray of silver, or of tinned copper, or of brass, supported by a stool, commonly about fifteen or sixteen inches high, made of wood, and generally inlaid with mother-of-pearl and ebony or other wood, or tortoise-shell, &c. When there are numerous guests, two or more such tables are prepared. The dishes are of silver, or of tinned copper, or of china. Several of these are placed upon the tray; and around them are disposed some round, flat cakes of bread, with spoons of box-wood, ebony, or other material, and, usually, two or three limes, cut in halves, to be squeezed over certain of the dishes. When these preparations have been made, each person who is to partake of the repast receives a napkin; and a servant pours water over his hands. A basin and ewer of either of the metals first mentioned are employed for this purpose; the former has a cover with a receptacle for a piece of soap in its centre, and with numerous perforations through which the water runs during the act of washing, so that it is not seen when the basin is brought from one person to another. It is indispensably requisite to wash at least the right hand before eating with the fingers anything but dry food; and the mouth, also, is often rinsed, the water being taken up into it from the right hand. The company sit upon the floor, or upon cushions, or some of them on the deewán, 110either cross-legged, or with the right knee raised:160 they retain the napkins before mentioned; or a long napkin, sufficient to surround the tray, is placed upon their knees; and each person, before he begins to eat, says, “In the name of God,” or “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” The master of the house begins first: if he did not so, some persons would suspect that the food was poisoned. The thumb and two fingers of the right hand serve instead of knives and forks; and it is the usual custom for a person to help himself to a portion of the contents of a dish by drawing it towards the edge, or taking it from the edge, with a morsel of bread, which he eats with it: when he takes too large a portion for a single mouthful, he generally places it on his cake of bread. He takes from any dish that pleases him; and sometimes a host hands a delicate morsel with his fingers to one of his guests. It is not allowable to touch food with the left hand (as it is used for unclean purposes), excepting in a few cases, when both hands are required to divide a joint.

Among the more common dishes are the following:—lamb or mutton cut into small pieces, and stewed with various vegetables, and sometimes with peaches, apricots, or jujubes, and sugar; cucumbers or small gourds, or the fruit of the black or white egg-plant, stuffed with rice and minced meat, &c.; vine-leaves or pieces of lettuce-leaf or cabbage-leaf, enclosing a similar composition; small morsels of lamb or mutton, roasted on skewers, and called “kebáb;” fowls simply roasted or boiled, or boned, and stuffed with raisins, pistachio-nuts, crumbled bread, and parsley; and various kinds of pastry, and other sweets. The repast is frequently commenced with soup; and is generally ended with boiled rice, mixed with a little butter, and seasoned with salt and pepper; or after this, is served a water-melon or other fruit, or a bowl of a sweet drink composed of water with raisins, and sometimes other kinds of fruit, boiled in it, and then sugar, and with a little rose-water added to it when cool. The meat, having generally little fat, is cooked with clarified butter, and is so thoroughly done that it is easily divided with the fingers.

A whole lamb, stuffed in the same manner as the fowls above mentioned, is not a very uncommon dish; but one more extraordinary, of which ‘Abd-El-Laṭeef gives an account161 as one of the most remarkable that he had seen in Egypt, I am tempted to describe. It was an enormous pie, composed in the following manner:—Thirty pounds of fine flour being kneaded with five pounds and a half of oil of sesame, and divided into two equal portions, one of these was spread upon a round tray of copper, about four spans in diameter. Upon this were placed three lambs, stuffed with pounded meat fried with oil of sesame and ground pistachio-nuts, and various hot aromatics, such as pepper, ginger, cinnamon, mastic, coriander-seed, cumin-seed, cardamom, nut [or nutmeg?], &c. These were then sprinkled with rose-water infused with musk; and upon the lambs, and in the remaining spaces, were placed twenty fowls, twenty chickens, and fifty smaller birds; some of which were baked, and stuffed with eggs; some, stuffed with meat; and some, fried with the juice of sour grapes, or that of limes, or some similar acid. To the above were added a number of small pies; some filled with meat, and others with sugar and sweetmeats; and sometimes, the meat of another lamb, cut into small pieces, and some fried cheese. The whole being piled up in the form of a dome, some rose-water infused with musk and aloes-wood was sprinkled upon it; and the other half of the paste first mentioned was spread over, so as to close the whole: it was then baked, wiped with a sponge, and again sprinkled with rose-water infused with musk.—A dish still more extraordinary will be described in a note on public Royal feasts.

With respect to clean and unclean meats, the Muslim is subject to nearly the same laws as the Jew. Swine’s flesh, and blood, are especially forbidden to him; but camel’s flesh is allowed. The latter, however, being of a coarse nature, is never eaten when any 111other meat can be obtained, excepting by persons of the lower classes, and by Arabs of the desert. Of fish, almost every kind is eaten (excepting shell-fish), usually fried in oil: of game, little; partly in consequence of frequent doubt whether it have been lawfully killed. The diet consists, in a great measure, of vegetables, and includes a large variety of pastry. A very common kind of pastry is a pancake, which is made very thin, and folded over several times like a napkin; it is saturated with butter, and generally sweetened with honey or sugar; as is also another common kind, which somewhat resembles vermicelli.

The usual beverage at meals is water, which is drunk from cooling, porous, earthen bottles, or from cups of brass or other metal: but in the houses of the wealthy, sherbet is sometimes served instead of this, in covered glass cups, each of which contains about three quarters of a pint. The sherbet is composed of water made very sweet with sugar, or with a hard conserve of violets or roses or mulberries, &c. After every time that a person drinks, he says, “Praise be to God;” and each person of the company says to him, “May it be productive of enjoyment:” to which he replies, “May God cause thee to have enjoyment.” The Arabs drink little or no water during a meal, but generally take a large draught immediately after. The repast is quickly finished; and each person, as soon as he has done, says, “Praise be to God,” or “Praise be to God, the Lord of all creatures.” He then washes, in the same manner as before, but more thoroughly; well lathering his beard, and rinsing his mouth.

Note 18. This mode of shewing honour to a meritorious individual, or distinguished guest, which is at least as ancient as the time of Ahasuerus,162 is still observed in Muslim countries.

Note 19. The influence of the stars upon the dispositions and fortunes of mankind is firmly believed by the generality of Muslims, and is often a matter of consideration previously to the uniting of two persons in marriage; though the absurdity of such an opinion is declared in their law.

Note 20.—On the Distribution of Virtues and Vices among Mankind. I have heard Arabs confess that their nation possesses nine-tenths of the envy that exists among all mankind collectively; but I have not seen any written authority for this. Ibn-‘Abbás assigns nine-tenths of the intrigue or artifice that exists in the world to the Copts; nine-tenths of the perfidy, to the Jews; nine-tenths of the stupidity, to the Maghrabees; nine-tenths of the hardness, to the Turks; and nine-tenths of the bravery, to the Arabs. According to Kaạb-El-Aḥbár, reason and sedition are most peculiar to Syria; plenty and degradation, to Egypt; and misery and health, to the Desert. In another account, faith and modesty are said to be most peculiar to El-Yemen; fortitude and sedition, to Syria; magnificence, or pride, and hypocrisy, to El-‘Eráḳ; wealth and degradation, to Egypt; and poverty and misery, to the Desert.—Of women, it is said, by Kaạb-El-Aḥbár, that the best in the world (excepting those of the tribe of Ḳureysh mentioned by the Prophet) are those of El-Baṣrah; and the worst in the world, those of Egypt.”163

Note 21. In the Cairo edition, King Yoonán is made to say, “I should repent after it, as King Sindibád repented of killing the falcon;”—and thus is introduced an indifferent story in the place of that of the Husband and the Parrot; the former story describing a king as having, under an erroneous idea, killed a falcon that had prevented his drinking poison. The latter story I insert in preference, according to the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, and the edition of Breslau.

Note 22.—On Miraculously-gifted Birds. An Arab historian would make it to appear, that the intelligence and talent ascribed to this parrot are not nearly so wonderful as those which some birds have been known to display. He mentions a parrot which recited the Soorat Yá-Seen (or 36th chapter of the Ḳur-án); and a raven which recited the Soorat es-Sijdeh (or 32nd chapter), and which, on arriving at the place of prostra112tion (or verse which should be recited with prostration), would perform that action, and say, “My body prostrateth itself to Thee, and my heart confideth in Thee.” But these are not the most remarkable cases of the kind. He affirms that there was a parrot in Cairo which recited the Ḳur-án from beginning to end. The Báshà, he says, desiring to try its talent, caused a man to recite a chapter of the Ḳur-án in its presence, and to pass irregularly from one chapter to another, with the view of leading the bird into error: but, instead of this being the result, the parrot corrected him!164

Note 23. But a few years ago, it was a common custom for an Arab merchant or shopkeeper of the higher class to wear a sword; and this not only during a journey, but also during his ordinary walks or rides. I have seen many persons of this description so armed, and with a pair of pistols stuck in the girdle; though seldom excepting in the former case. A dagger or case-knife is a weapon now more commonly worn by such persons, both at home and abroad.

Note 24.—On Hunting and Hawking. Hunting and hawking, which were common and favourite diversions of the Arabs, and especially of their kings and other great men, have now fallen into comparative disuse among this people. They are, however, still frequently practised by the Persians, and in a manner the same as they are generally described in the present work. Sir John Malcolm was informed that these sports were nowhere found in greater perfection than in the neighbourhood of Aboo-Shahr, where he witnessed and took part in them: I shall, therefore, here avail myself of his observations on this subject.

“The huntsmen,” he says, “proceed to a large plain, or rather desert, near the sea-side: they have hawks and greyhounds; the former carried in the usual manner, on the hand of the huntsman; the latter led in a leash by a horseman, generally the same who carries the hawk. When the antelope is seen, they endeavour to get as near as possible; but the animal, the moment it observes them, goes off at a rate that seems swifter than the wind: the horsemen are instantly at full speed, having slipped the dogs. If it is a single deer, they at the same time fly the hawks; but if a herd, they wait till the dogs have fixed on a particular antelope. The hawks, skimming along near the ground, soon reach the deer, at whose head they pounce in succession, and sometimes with a violence that knocks it over. [They are commonly described as pecking at the poor creature’s eyes until they blind it.] At all events, they confuse the animal so much as to stop its speed in such a degree that the dogs can come up with it; and, in an instant, men, horses, dogs, and hawks, surround the unfortunate deer, against which their united efforts have been combined. The part of the chase that surprised me most, was the extraordinary combination of the hawks and the dogs, which throughout seemed to look to each other for aid. This, I was told, was the result of long and skilful training.—The antelope is supposed to be the fleetest quadruped on earth; and the rapidity of the first burst of the chase I have described is astonishing. The run seldom exceeds three or four miles, and often is not half so much. A fawn is an easy victory; the doe often runs a good chase; and the buck is seldom taken. The Arabs are, indeed, afraid to fly their hawks at the latter, as these fine birds, in pouncing, frequently impale themselves on its sharp horns.—The hawks used in this sport are of a species that I have never seen in any other country. This breed, which is called Cherkh, is not large, but of great beauty and symmetry.

“Another mode of running down the antelope is practised here, and still more in the interior of Persia. Persons of the highest rank lead their own greyhounds in a long silken leash, which passes through the collar, and is ready to slip the moment the huntsman chooses. The well-trained dog goes alongside the horse, and keeps clear of him when at full speed, and in all kinds of country. When a herd of antelopes is seen, a consultation is held, and the most experienced determine the point towards which 113they are to be driven. The field (as an English sportsman would term it) then disperse, and, while some drive the herd in the desired direction, those with the dogs take their post on the same line, at the distance of about a mile from each other; one of the worst dogs is then slipped at the herd, and from the moment he singles out an antelope the whole body are in motion. The object of the horsemen who have greyhounds is to intercept its course, and to slip fresh dogs, in succession, at the fatigued animal. In rare instances, the second dog kills. It is generally the third or fourth; and even these, when the deer is strong, and the ground favourable, often fail. This sport, which is very exhilarating, was the delight of the late King of Persia, Ághà Moḥammad Khán, whose taste is inherited by the present sovereign.

“The novelty of these amusements interested me, and I was pleased, on accompanying a party to a village, about twenty miles from Aboo-Shahr, to see a species of hawking peculiar, I believe, to the sandy plains of Persia, on which the Ḥobárà, a noble species of bustard, is found on almost bare plains, where it has no shelter but a small shrub called ‘geetuck.’ When we went in quest of them, we had a party of about twenty, all well mounted. Two kinds of hawks are necessary for this sport; the first, the Cherkh (the same which is flown at the antelope), attacks them on the ground, but will not follow them on the wing; for this reason, the ‘Bhyree,’ a hawk well known in India, is flown the moment the Ḥobárà rises.—As we rode along in an extended line, the men who carried the Cherkhs every now and then unhooded and held them up, that they might look over the plain. The first Ḥobárà we found afforded us a proof of the astonishing quickness of sight of one of the hawks: he fluttered to be loose, and the man who held him gave him a whoop as he threw him off his hand, and set off at full speed. We all did the same. At first we only saw our hawk skimming over the plain, but soon perceived, at a distance of more than a mile, the beautiful speckled Ḥobárà, with his head erect and wings outspread, running forward to meet his adversary. The Cherkh made several unsuccessful pounces, which were either evaded or repelled by the beak or wings of the Ḥobárà, which at last found an opportunity of rising, when a Bhyree was instantly flown, and the whole party were again at full gallop. We had a flight of more than a mile, when the Ḥobárà alighted, and was killed by another Cherkh, who attacked him on the ground. This bird weighed ten pounds. We killed several others, but were not always successful, having seen our hawks twice completely beaten, during the two days we followed this fine sport.”165

The hunting of the wild ass is another sport of the Persians and Arabs, but one of a more difficult nature. This animal is found in Syria, and in the Nubian deserts, as well as in Arabia and Persia. The more common kinds of game are gazelles, or antelopes, hares, partridges, the species of grouse called “ḳaṭà,” quails, wild geese, ducks, &c. Against all of these, the hawk is generally employed, but assisted in the capture of gazelles and hares by dogs. The usual arms of the sportsmen, in the times to which the present work relates, were the bow and arrow, the cross-bow, the spear, the sword, and the mace. When the game is struck down, but not killed, by any weapon, its throat is immediately cut. If merely stunned, and then left to die, its flesh is unlawful food. Some other laws respecting the killing of game have been mentioned in a former note; but one has been there omitted which is worthy of remark, though it is often disregarded; it is, that hunting is allowable only for the purpose of procuring food, or to obtain the skin of an animal, or for the sake of destroying ferocious and dangerous beasts. Amusement is certainly, in general, the main object of the Muslim huntsman, but he does not, with this view, endeavour to prolong the chase; on the contrary, he strives to take the game as quickly as possible; for this purpose, nets are often employed, and the hunting party, forming what is called the circle of the chase (ḥalḳat eṣ-ṣeyd), surround the spot in which the game is found.


“On the eastern frontiers of Syria,” says Burckhardt, “are several places allotted for the hunting of gazelles: these places are called ‘masiade’ [more properly, ‘maṣyedehs’]. An open space in the plain, of about one mile and a half square, is enclosed on three sides by a wall of loose stones, too high for the gazelles to leap over. In different parts of this wall, gaps are purposely left, and near each gap a deep ditch is made on the outside. The enclosed space is situated near some rivulet or spring to which, in summer, the gazelles resort. When the hunting is to begin, many peasants assemble, and watch till they see a herd of gazelles advancing from a distance towards the enclosure, into which they drive them: the gazelles, frightened by the shouts of these people, and the discharge of fire-arms, endeavour to leap over the wall, but can only effect this at the gaps, where they fall into the ditch outside, and are easily taken, sometimes by hundreds. The chief of the herd always leaps first: the others follow him one by one. The gazelles thus taken are immediately killed, and their flesh is sold to the Arabs and neighbouring Felláḥs.”166

Note 25. In the Cairo edition, the word “jezeereh” (an island) is erroneously put for “kharábeh” (a ruin).

Note 26. “Ghooleh” is the feminine of “Ghool.” The Ghool is a fabulous being, of which some account has been given in No. 21 of the notes to the Introduction.

Note 27. This epithet of the Deity appears to be used in preference to others in this instance, in order to imply that God always decrees what is best for a virtuous man, even when the reverse would seem to us to be the case. He is here described as appointing that the sage should die a violent death; but this death, being unmerited, raised him, according to Mohammadan notions, to the rank of a martyr.

In the edition from which my translation is chiefly made, four poetical quotations are here inserted on the subject of fate, and the inutility of anxious forebodings. The first of these is as follows:—

“O thou who fearest thy fate, be at ease; commit thine affairs unto Him who spread out the earth.
For what is predestined cannot be cancelled; and thou art secure from every thing that is not predestined.”
Note 28.—The Fable of the Crocodile. Perhaps the reader may desire to know what is the story which the sage Doobán declined to relate; I will therefore supply the omission as well as my memory will allow me. I have heard this fable differently told by different persons; and it is sometimes spun out to a considerable length; but the principal points of it are these:—A crocodile, having crawled far from the Nile, over a desert tract, found his strength so exhausted by fatigue and thirst, that he despaired of being able to return to the river. While he was in this unhappy state, an Arab with his camel approached him, proceeding in the desired direction; and he appealed to his compassion, entreating that he would bind him on the back of the camel, and so convey him to the Nile, and promising that he would afterwards, in return for this favour, carry him across to the opposite bank. The Arab answered, that he feared the crocodile would, as soon as he was unbound, turn upon him, and devour him; but the monster swore so solemnly that he would gratefully requite the service he requested, that the man was induced to consent; and, making his camel lie down, bound the crocodile firmly upon his back, and brought him to the bank of the river. No sooner, however, was the horrid creature liberated, than, in spite of his vows, he opened his hideous jaws to destroy his benefactor, who, though he eluded this danger, was unable to rescue his camel. At this moment a fox drew near them. The man, accosting this cunning animal, related his tale; and the crocodile urged in his own excuse, that the man had spitefully bound him on the back of the camel in such a manner that he had almost killed him. The fox replied that he could quickly pursue and capture the man, 115but that he must act fairly, and first see the whole transaction repeated before him. The crocodile, assenting, and submitting to have a noose thrown over his jaws, was again bound on the back of the camel, and taken to the place whence he was brought; and as soon as this was done, the man, by the direction of the fox, holding with one hand the halter of his camel, with the other cut the ropes which secured his burden, and hasted away with his beast, leaving the ungrateful and treacherous monster in the same hopeless state in which he had found him.

Note 29. This comparison is perfectly just. My first visit to Egypt was not too late for me to witness such a scene as that which is here alluded to; but now, throughout the Turkish dominions, the officers of government are obliged, more or less, to assimilate their style of dress to that which commonly prevails in Europe; gaudy colours are out of fashion among them, and silk embroidery is generally preferred to gold: in Egypt, however, the dress worn by this class of persons has not been so much altered as in Turkey, still retaining an Oriental character, though wanting the shawl which was wound round the red cap, and formed the turban; while the dress worn by other classes has undergone no change. [This note still applies to the inhabitants of Egypt, with the exception of the Turks, who have very generally adopted the modern Turkish, or semi-European dress.—Ed.]

Note 30. This story of the head speaking after it was cut off is not without a parallel in the writings of Arab historians. The head of Sa’eed, the son of Jubeyr, is said to have uttered the words, “There is no deity but God,” after it had been severed from his body by order of El-Ḥajjáj, who is related to have killed a hundred and twenty thousand persons of note, besides those whom he slew in war.

Note 31. I do not remember to have read or heard the story of Umámeh and ‘Átikeh, who, as their names import, were two females.

Note 32. The words here quoted are part of the 36th verse of the 17th chapter of the Ḳur-án.

Note 33. The title of “Sulṭán” is higher than that of “Melik” (or King): a Sulṭán, properly speaking, being a monarch who has kings or viceroys under his authority.

Note 34.—On Koḥl, and the mode of applying it. Koḥl is a black powder, with which most of the Arab, and many other, women blacken the edges of the eyelids. The most common kind is the smoke-black which is produced by burning a kind of frankincense. An inferior kind is the smoke-black produced by burning the shells of almonds. These are believed to be beneficial to the eyes; but are generally used merely for the sake of ornament. Among other kinds which are particularly employed for their beneficial effect upon the eye are several ores of lead, reduced to a fine powder. Antimony is said to have been, in former times, the most esteemed kind of koḥl. The powder is applied by means of a small probe of wood, ivory, or silver, the end of which is moistened, and then dipped in the powder, and drawn along the edges of the eyelids.167

Note 35. The Koofeeyeh is described in a great Arabic Lexicon (Táj el-‘Aroos) as “a thing worn on the head; so called because of its roundness:” and this is the only description of it that I have been able to find. I was told in Cairo, that “koofeeyeh” is the correct appellation of the head-kerchief commonly called “keffeeyeh:” but this is a mistake. The latter is a square kerchief, which is worn on the head, measuring about a yard in each direction, and of various colours, generally a dull, brownish red, bright green, and yellow, composing broad and narrow stripes, and having a deep fringe of strings and tassels along two opposite edges. The most common kind is entirely of cotton; another, of cotton interwoven with silk; and a third, of silk interwoven with gold. It is now chiefly worn by the Wahhábees and several tribes of Bedawees; but 116the former wear only the first kind, as they hold articles of dress composed wholly or partly of silk or gold to be unlawful. In former times it was in common use among the inhabitants of the towns. It is mostly worn by men, and is doubled diagonally, and placed over the cap in such a manner that the two corners which are folded together hang down the back; and the other two corners, in front. A piece of woollen rope, or a strip of rag, or a turban, is generally wound round it; and the corners, or those only which usually hang down in front, are sometimes turned up, and tucked within the upper edge of the turban. The inhabitants of the towns usually wear the turban over the keffeeyeh. Burckhardt, who calls this head-kerchief “keffie,” mentions, that the Bedawees of Mekkeh and El-Yemen tie over it, instead of the woollen rope which is used by the Northern Bedawees, “a circle made of wax, tar, and butter, strongly kneaded together: this,” he adds, “is pressed down to the middle of the head, and looks like the airy crown of a saint. It is about the thickness of a finger; and they take it off very frequently to press it between their hands, so that its shape may be preserved.”168 The better kinds of keffeeyeh above mentioned are worn by some of the Turks, but not in the Arab manner; being wound tight round the cap.

Note 36.—Anecdote of a Miraculous Fish. This story of the miraculous fish reminds me of one of a similar kind which is related as authentic. A certain just judge of the Israelites, in the time of Solomon, had a wife who, every time that she brought him his food, used to ejaculate a prayer that disgrace might befall every unfaithful wife. One day, this woman having placed before her husband a fried fish, and repeated her usual ejaculation, the fish leaped from the dish, and fell upon the floor. This happened three times; and, in consequence of a suspicion expressed by a devotee, who was consulted respecting the meaning of this strange event, the judge discovered that a supposed maid, whom he had purchased as a slave, was a disguised man.169

Note 37. This comparison is not intended to be understood in its literal sense, for the smallest of the tribe of ‘Ád is said to have been sixty cubits high: the largest, a hundred! The tribe of ‘Ád were a race of ancient Arabs, who, according to the Ḳur-án and Arab historians, were destroyed by a suffocating wind, for their infidelity, after their rejection of the admonitions of the prophet Hood.

Note 38. The Arabs generally calculate distances by time. The average distance of a day’s journey is from twenty to twenty-five miles; the former being the usual rate of caravan-travelling.

Note 39.—On the Privacy of Arab Dwellings. In a palace, or large house, there is generally a wide bench of stone, or a wooden couch, within the outer door, for the accommodation of the door-keeper and other servants. The entrance-passage leads to an open court, and, for the sake of preventing persons at the entrance, or a little within it, from seeing into the court, it usually has two turnings. We may, therefore, understand the motive of the King in seating himself in the place here described to have been a desire that he might not, if discovered, be supposed to be prying impertinently into the interior of the palace. Respect for the privacy of another’s house is a point that is deemed of so much importance that it is insisted upon in the Ḳur-án, in these words:—”O ye who have become believers, enter not any houses, besides your own houses, until ye shall have asked leave, and saluted their inhabitants; this will be better for you: peradventure ye will be admonished. And if ye find not in them any person, enter them not, until leave be granted you; and if it be said unto you, Return, then do ye return; this will be more decent for you; and God knoweth what ye do. But it shall be no crime in you that ye enter uninhabited houses wherein ye may find a convenience.170 When a visiter finds the door open, and no servant below, he usually claps 117his hands as a signal for some person to come to him; striking the palm of his left hand with the fingers of the right: and even when leave has been granted him to enter, it is customary for him, when he has to ascend to an upper apartment, to repeat several times some ejaculation, such as “Permission!” or, “O Protector!” (that is, “O protecting God!”), as he goes up, in order that any female of the family, who may chance to be in the way, may have notice of his approach, and either retire or veil herself. Sometimes the servant who precedes him does this in his stead.

Note 40. These verses are translated from the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, as more apposite than those which are inserted in their place in the edition of Cairo.

Note 41. That the reader may not form wrong conceptions of the characters of many persons portrayed in this work, it is necessary to observe, that weeping is not regarded by the Arabs as an evidence of an effeminate disposition, or inconsistent with even a heroic mind; though the Muslims in general are remarkable for the calmness with which they endure the heaviest afflictions.

Note 42. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to mention, that it is a common custom of the Orientals, as of other natives of warm climates, to take a nap in the afternoon. A tradesman is not unfrequently seen enjoying this luxury in his shop, and seldom, excepting in this case, is it considered allowable to wake a person.

Note 43.—Description of Arab Fans. The kind of fan most commonly used by the Arabs has the form of a small flag. The flap, which is about six or seven inches in width, and somewhat more in length, is composed of split palm-leaves of various colours, or some plain and others coloured, neatly plaited or woven together. The handle is a piece of palm-stick, about twice the length of the flap. This fan is used by men as well as women, and for the double purpose of moderating the heat and repelling the flies, which, in warm weather, are excessively annoying. It is more effective than the ordinary European fan, and requires less exertion. Arabian fans of the kind here described, brought from Mekkeh to Cairo as articles of merchandise, may be purchased in the latter city for a sum less than a penny each; they are mostly made in the H[.]ejáz. Another kind of fan, generally composed of black ostrich-feathers, of large dimensions, and ornamented with a small piece of looking-glass on the lower part of the front, is often used by the Arabs. A kind of fly-whisk made of palm-leaves is also in very general use. A servant or slave is often employed to wave it over the master or mistress during a meal or an afternoon nap.

Note 44. Mes’oodeh is the feminine of Mes’ood, a name before explained, as signifying “happy,” or “made happy.”

Note 45. The word which I have here rendered “wine” (namely, “sharáb”) is applied to any drink, and particularly to a sweet beverage; but, in the present case, the context shews that its signification is that which I have given it. The description of a carousal in the next chapter will present a more fit occasion for my considering at large the custom of drinking wine as existing among the Arabs.

Note 46.—On the Use of Hemp to induce Intoxication. The name of “benj,” or “beng,” is now, and, I believe, generally, given to henbane; but El-Ḳazweenee states that the leaves of the garden hemp (ḳinneb bustánee, or shahdánaj,) are the benj which, when eaten, disorders the reason. This is an important confirmation of De Sacy’s opinion respecting the derivation of the appellation of “Assassins” from Ḥashshásheen (hemp-eaters, or persons who intoxicate themselves with hemp); as the sect which we call “Assassins” are expressly said by the Arabs to have made frequent use of benj.171 118To this subject I shall have occasion to revert. I need only add here, that the custom of using benj, and other narcotics, for purposes similar to that described in this tale, is said to be not very unfrequently practised in the present day; but as many Arab husbands are extremely suspicious of the character of women in general, perhaps there is but little ground for this assertion.

Note 47. Most Eastern cities and towns are partly or wholly surrounded by mounds of rubbish, close to the walls; and upon these mounds are thrown the carcasses of camels, horses, and other beasts, to be devoured by dogs and vultures. Immense mounds of this unsightly description entirely surrounded the city of Cairo; but those which extended along its western side, and, in a great measure, screened it from the view of persons approaching from the Nile, have lately been removed by order of the present Báshà of Egypt. [This note was written in the year 1838, in the time of Moḥammad ‘Alee.—Ed.]

Note 48. “Ḳubbeh” generally signifies either a dome or a cupola, or a building or apartment surmounted by a dome. In the present instance it is to be understood in the latter sense. It is also applied to a closet, and to a tent.

Note 49. “Ḳáf” is generally to be understood, as it is in the present case; to signify the chain of mountains believed, by the Muslims, to encircle our earth, as mentioned in a former note. It is also the name of the chain of Caucasus, and hence it has been supposed that the fable respecting the mountains before mentioned, originated from an early idea that the chain of Caucasus was the limit of the habitable earth; but it is possible that the latter mountains may have derived their name from an imaginary resemblance to the former.

Note 50. Rats, though unlawful food to the Muslim, are occasionally eaten by many of the peasants of the province of Lower Egypt called El-Boḥeyreh, on the west of the western branch of the Nile. The extraordinary abundance of these animals, and mice, throughout Egypt, gave rise to an absurd fable, which is related by Diodorus Siculus172 as a matter worthy of serious consideration:—that these creatures are generated from the alluvial soil deposited by the Nile. The inundation drives many of them from the fields to the houses and deserts, and destroys the rest; but soon after the waters have subsided, vast numbers of them are seen again, taking refuge in the deep clefts of the parched soil.

Note 51.—On the Beverage called Booẓah. Booẓah, or boozeh, is a favourite beverage of the boatmen, and other persons of the lower class, in Egypt; and more especially of the Nubians and negroes; as it was, according to Herodotus173 and other writers, of the ancient Egyptians. It is an intoxicating liquor, a kind of beer, most commonly prepared from barley-bread, crumbled, mixed with water, strained, and left to ferment. It is also prepared from wheat and from millet in the same manner. The account of Herodotus has been confirmed by the discovery of large jars, containing the dregs of the barley-beer in ancient tombs at Thebes.

Note 52.—On the Apparel, &c., of Mourning. The wearing of mourning appears to have been a custom of both sexes among the Arabs in earlier times, for the black clothing which distinguished the ‘Abbásee Khaleefehs and their officers was originally assumed in testimony of grief for the death of the Imám Ibráheem Ibn-Moḥammad. It has, however, ceased to be worn by men, as indicating a want of resignation to the decrees of Providence, and is only assumed by women on the occasion of the death of a husband or near relation, and not for an elderly person. In the former cases they dye their shirts, head-veils, face-veils, and handkerchiefs, of a blue or almost black colour, with indigo; and sometimes, with the same dye, stain their hands and arms as high as the elbows, and smear the walls of their apartments. They generally abstain from 119wearing any article of dress of a bright colour, leave their hair unbraided, and deck themselves with few or no ornaments. They also cease to make use of perfumes, koḥl, and ḥennà; and often turn upside-down the carpets, mats, cushions, and coverings of the deewáns.

Note 53. “Houses of Lamentations,” erected in burial-grounds for the accommodation of ladies on the occasions of their visiting the tombs of their relations, have been mentioned in a former note respecting the two grand annual festivals.

Note 54. The kind of tomb here alluded to is generally a square building crowned by a dome.

Note 55. This passage deserves particular notice, as being one of those which assist us to form some opinion respecting the period when the present work, in the states in which it is known to us, was composed or compiled or remodelled. It is the same in all the copies of the original work that I have seen, and bears strong evidence of having been written subsequently to the commencement of the eighth century of the Flight, or fourteenth of our era, at which period, it appears, the Christians and Jews were first compelled to distinguish themselves by wearing, respectively, blue and yellow turbans, in accordance with an order issued by the Sultán of Egypt, Moḥammad Ibn-Kala-oon.174 Thus the white turban became peculiar to the Muslims.—An eminent German critic has been unfortunate in selecting the incident of the four fish as affording an argument in favour of his opinion that the Tales of a Thousand and One Nights are of Indian origin, on the mere ground that the same word (varna) is used in Sanscrit to signify both “colour” and “caste.”

Note 56. The Muslims often implore the intercession of their prophet, and of various members of his family and other holy persons, though their ordinary prayers are addressed solely to God. The regard which they pay to their reputed saints, both living and deceased, as mediators, is one of the heresies which the Wahhábees most vehemently condemn.

Note 57. This verse, translated from my usual prototype, the Cairo edition, is there followed by another, which I omit as being inapposite.

Note 58. In the first of the notes to the Introduction, I have mentioned that it is a general custom of the Muslims to repeat this phrase, “In the name of God!” on commencing every lawful action that is of any importance; it is, therefore, here employed, as it is in many similar cases, to express a readiness to do what is commanded or requested; and is equivalent to saying, “I this instant begin to execute thy orders.”

Note 59. The condition and offices of memlooks, who are male white slaves, have been mentioned in the thirteenth note to the first chapter.

Note 60. Eastern histories present numerous instances of marriages as unequal as those here related; the reader, therefore, must not regard this part of the story as inconsistent.

150Sale’s Korán, note to chap. xxxviii.

151El-Maḳreezee’s “Khiṭaṭ;” chapter entitled “Khizánet el-Kisawát.”

152Fakhr-ed-Deen, in De Sacy’s Chrestomathie Arabe, vol. i. p. 32 of the Arabic text, 2nd ed.

153Idem, p. 4 of the Arabic text.

154D’Herbelot, art. “Bokhteri.”

155Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chapter the seventh (MS. in my possession).

156Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, chapter the eighth.

157Idem, chapter the seventh.

158A recent traveller has questioned Mr. Lane’s authority, in the “Modern Egyptians,” for the remark that Muslims should not pray in the bath. A reference to any well-known collection of traditions of the Prophet will, however, prove, by many sayings besides that quoted above, that Mr. Lane is in this matter strictly accurate—Ed.

159Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., section the seventh.

160A pious Muslim generally sits at his meals with the right knee raised, after the example of the Prophet, who adopted this custom in order to avoid too comfortable a posture in eating, as tempting to unnecessary gratification.—Ed.

161Pp. 180—182, ed. Oxon. 1800.

162See Esther vi. 8 and 9.

163El-Maḳreezee’s “Khiṭaṭ,” and El-Is-ḥáḳee.

164El-Is-ḥáḳee; reign of the Khaleefeh El-Musta’een, the son of El-Moạtaṣim.

165Sketches of Persia, vol. i. ch. v. [Mr. Lane has written some of the Oriental words in this extract according to his own mode.—Ed.]

166Notes on the Bedouins and Wahábys, vol. i. pp. 220 et seq. 8vo. ed.

167A more full account of this custom is given in my work on the Modern Egyptians, vol. i. ch. l.

168Notes on the Bedouins and Wahábys, vol. i. p. 232, 8vo. ed.

169Kitáb el-‘Onwán fee Mekáïd en-Niswán.

170Ch. xxiv. vv. 27-29.

171See “Modern Egyptians,” vol. ii., close of chap, ix.—Since this was written, I have found that El-Idreesee applies the term “Ḥasheesheeyeh,” which is exactly synonymous with “Ḥashshásheen,” to the “Assassins:” this, therefore, decides the question.

172Lib. i. cap. 10.

173Lib. ii. cap. 77.

174El-Maḳreezee and El-Is-ḥáḳee.


Head-piece to Chapter III.–The Porter, &c.–The Motto is the Inscription upon the Door, in Koofee Characters
There was a man of the city of Baghdád, who was unmarried, and he was a porter; and one day, as he sat in the market, reclining against his crate,1 there accosted him a female wrapped in an izár2 of the manufacture of El-Móṣil,3 composed of gold-embroidered silk, with a border of gold lace at each end, who raised her face-veil, and displayed beneath it a pair of black eyes, with lids bordered by long lashes, exhibiting a tender expression, and features of perfect beauty; and she said, with a sweet voice, Bring thy crate, and follow me.121

The porter had scarcely heard her words when he took up his crate, and he followed her until she stopped at the door of a house, and knocked; whereupon there came down to her a Christian, and she gave him a piece of gold, and received for it a quantity of olives, and two large vessels of wine,4 which she placed in the crate, saying to the porter, Take it up, and follow me. The porter exclaimed, This is, indeed, a fortunate day!—and he took up the crate, and followed her. She next stopped at the shop of a fruiterer, and bought of him Syrian apples, and ‘Othmánee quinces,5 and peaches of ‘Omán, and jasmine of Aleppo, and water-lilies of Damascus, and cucumbers of the Nile, and Egyptian limes, and Sulṭánee citrons, and sweet-scented myrtle, and sprigs of the ḥennà-tree, and chamomile, and anemones, and violets, and pomegranate flowers, and eglantine: all these she put into the porter’s crate, and said to him, Take it up. So he took it up, and followed her until she stopped at the shop of a butcher, to whom she said, Cut off ten pounds of meat;—and he cut it off for her, and she wrapped it in a leaf of a banana-tree, and put it in the crate, and said again, Take it up, O porter:—and he did so, and followed her. She next stopped at the shop of a seller of dry fruits, and took some of every kind of these, and desired the porter to take up his burden. Having obeyed, he followed her until she stopped at the shop of a confectioner, where she bought a dish, and filled it with sweets of every kind that he had,6 which she put into the crate; whereupon the porter ventured to say, If thou hadst informed me beforehand, I had brought with me a mule to carry all these things. The lady smiled at his remark, and next stopped at the shop of a perfumer, of whom she bought ten kinds of scented waters; rose-water, and orange-flower-water, and willow-flower-water,7 &c.; together with some sugar, and a sprinkling-bottle8 of rose-water infused with musk, and some frankincense, and aloes-wood, and ambergris, and musk, and wax candles; and, placing all these in the crate, she said, Take up thy crate, and follow me. He, therefore, took it up, and followed her until she came to a handsome house, before which was a spacious court. It was a lofty structure, with a door of two leaves, composed of ebony, overlaid with plates of red gold.9

The young lady stopped at this door, and knocked gently; whereupon both its leaves were opened, and the porter, looking to see who opened it, found it to be a damsel of tall stature, high-bosomed, fair and beautiful, and of elegant form, with a forehead like the bright new moon, eyes like those of gazelles, eyebrows like the new moon of122 Ramaḍán,10 cheeks resembling anemones, and a mouth like the seal of Suleymán:11 her countenance was like the full moon in its splendour, and the forms of her bosom resembled two pomegranates of equal size. When the porter beheld her, she captivated his reason, the crate nearly fell from his head, and he exclaimed, Never in my life have I seen a more fortunate day than this! The lady-portress, standing within the door, said to the cateress and the porter, Ye are welcome:—and they entered, and proceeded to a spacious saloon,12 decorated with various colours, and beautifully constructed, with carved wood-work, and fountains, and benches of different kinds, and closets with curtains hanging before them; there was also in it, at the upper end,13 a couch of alabaster inlaid with large pearls and jewels, with a musquito-curtain of red satin suspended over it, and within this was a young lady with eyes possessing the enchantment of Bábil,14 and a figure like the letter Alif,15 with a face that put to shame the shining sun: she was like one of the brilliant planets, or rather, one of the most high-born of the maidens of Arabia. This third lady,16 rising from the couch, advanced with a slow and elegant gait to the middle of the saloon, where her sisters were standing, and said to them, Why stand ye still? Lift down the burden from the head of this poor porter:—whereupon the cateress placed herself before him, and the portress behind him, and, the third lady assisting them, they lifted it down from his head. They then took out the contents of the crate, and, having put every thing in its place, gave to the porter two pieces of gold, saying to him, Depart, O porter.

The porter, however, stood looking at the ladies, and admiring their beauty and their agreeable dispositions; for he had never seen any more handsome; and when he observed that they had not a man among them, and gazed upon the wine, and fruits, and sweet-scented flowers, which were there, he was full of astonishment, and hesitated to go out; upon which one of the ladies said to him, Why dost thou not go? dost thou deem thy hire too little? Then turning to one of her sisters, she said to her, Give him another piece of gold.—By Allah, O my mistress, exclaimed the porter, my hire is but two half-dirhems,17 and I thought not what ye have given me too little; but my heart and mind were occupied with reflections upon you and your state, ye being alone, with no man among you, not one to amuse you with his company; for ye know that the menáreh18 standeth not firmly but on four walls: now ye have not a fourth, and the pleasure of women is not complete without men: ye are three only, and have need of a fourth,123 who should be a man, a person of sense, discreet, acute, and a concealer of secrets. We are maidens, they replied; and fear to impart our secret to him who will not keep it; for we have read, in a certain history, this verse:—

Guard thy secret from another: intrust it not: for he who intrusteth a secret hath lost it.
The Porter pleading with the Three Ladies
—By your existence, said the porter, I am a man of sense, and trustworthy: I have read various books, and perused histories: I make known what is fair, and conceal what is foul, and act in accordance with the saying of the poet:—

None keepeth a secret but a faithful person: with the best of mankind it remaineth concealed.
A secret is with me as in a house with a lock, whose key is lost, and whose door is sealed.19
When the ladies heard the verses which he quoted, and the words with which he addressed them, they said to him, Thou knowest that we have expended here a considerable sum of money: hast thou then wherewith to requite us? We will not suffer thee to remain with us124 unless thou contribute a sum of money; for thou desirest to sit with us, and to be our cup-companion, and to gaze upon our beautiful faces.—If friendship is without money, said the mistress of the house, it is not equivalent to the weight of a grain:—and the portress added, If thou hast nothing, depart with nothing:—but the cateress said, O sister, let us suffer him; for, verily, he hath not been deficient in his services for us this day: another had not been so patient with us: whatever, therefore, falls to his share of the expense, I will defray for him.—At this the porter rejoiced, and exclaimed, By Allah, I obtained my first and only pay this day from none but thee:—and the other ladies said to him, Sit down: thou art welcome.

The cateress then arose, and, having tightened her girdle, arranged the bottles, and strained the wine, and prepared the table by the pool of the fountain. She made ready all that they required, brought the wine, and sat down with her sisters; the porter also sitting with them, thinking he was in a dream. And when they had seated themselves, the cateress took a jar of wine, and filled the first cup, and drank it:20 she then filled another, and handed it to one of her sisters; and in like manner she did to her other sister; after which she filled again, and handed the cup to the porter, who, having taken it from her hand, repeated this verse:—

I will drink the wine, and enjoy health; for, verily, this beverage is a remedy for disease.
The Porter and Ladies carousing
The wine continued to circulate among them, and the porter, taking his part in the revels, dancing and singing with them, and enjoying125 the fragrant odours, began to hug and kiss them, while one slapped21 him, and another pulled him, and the third beat him with sweet-scented flowers, till, at length, the wine made sport with their reason; and they threw off all restraint, indulging their merriment with as much freedom as if no man had been present.22

Thus they continued until the approach of night, when they said to the porter, Depart, and shew us the breadth of thy shoulders;23—but he replied, Verily the departure of my soul from my body were more easy to me than my departure from your company; therefore suffer us to join the night to the day, and then each of us shall return to his own, or her own, affairs. The cateress, also, again interceded for him, saying, By my life I conjure you that ye suffer him to pass the night with us, that we may laugh at his drolleries, for he is a witty rogue. So they said to him, Thou shalt pass the night with us on this condition, that thou submit to our authority, and ask not an explanation of anything that thou shalt see. He replied, Good.—Rise then, said they, and read what is inscribed upon the door. Accordingly, he went to the door, and found the following inscription upon it in letters of gold, Speak not of that which doth not concern thee, lest thou hear that which will not please thee:—and he said, Bear witness to my promise that I will not speak of that which doth not concern me.

The Three Royal Mendicants
The cateress then rose, and prepared for them a repast; and, after they had eaten a little, they lighted the candles and burnt some aloes-wood. This done, they sat down again to the table; and, while they were eating and drinking, they heard a knocking at the door; whereupon, without causing any interruption to their meal, one of them went to the door, and, on her return, said, Our pleasure this night is now complete, for I have found, at the door, three foreigners24 with shaven chins, and each of them is blind of the left eye: it is an extraordinary coincidence. They are strangers newly arrived,25 and each of them has a ridiculous appearance: if they come in, therefore, we shall be amused with laughing at them.—The lady ceased not with these words, but continued to persuade her sisters until they consented, and said, Let them enter; but make it a condition with them that they speak not of that which doth not concern them, lest they hear that which will not please them. Upon this she rejoiced, and, having gone again to the door, brought in the three men blind of one eye and with shaven chins, and they had thin and twisted mustaches. Being mendicants, they saluted and drew back; but the ladies rose to them, and126 seated them; and when these three men looked at the porter, they saw that he was intoxicated; and, observing him narrowly, they thought that he was one of their own class, and said, He is a mendicant like ourselves, and will amuse us by his conversation:—but the porter, hearing what they said, arose, and rolled his eyes, and exclaimed to them, Sit quiet, and abstain from impertinent remarks. Have ye not read the inscription upon the door?—The ladies, laughing, said to each other, Between the mendicants and the porter we shall find matter for amusement. They then placed before the former some food, and they ate, and then sat to drink. The portress handed to them the wine, and, as the cup was circulating among them, the porter said to them, Brothers, have ye any tale or strange anecdote wherewith to amuse us? The mendicants, heated by the wine, asked for musical instruments; and the portress brought them a tambourine of the manufacture of El-Móṣil, with a lute of El-‘Eráḳ, and a Persian harp;26 whereupon they127 all arose; and one took the tambourine; another, the lute; and the third, the harp: and they played upon these instruments, the ladies accompanying them with loud songs; and while they were thus diverting themselves, a person knocked at the door. The portress, therefore, went to see who was there; and the cause of the knocking was this.

The Concert of the Mendicants
The Khaleefeh27 Hároon Er-Rasheed had gone forth this night to see and hear what news he could collect, accompanied by Jaạfar28 his Wezeer, and Mesroor29 his executioner. It was his custom to disguise himself in the attire of a merchant; and this night, as he went through the city, he happened to pass, with his attendants, by the house of these ladies, and hearing the sounds of the musical instruments, he said to Jaạfar, I have a desire to enter this house, and to see who is giving this concert.—They are a party who have become intoxicated, replied Jaạfar, and I fear that we may experience some ill usage from them;—but the Khaleefeh said, We must enter, and I would that thou devise some stratagem by which we may obtain admission to the inmates. Jaạfar therefore answered, I hear and obey:—and he advanced, and knocked at the door; and when the portress came and opened the door, he said to her, My mistress, we are merchants from Tabareeyeh,30 and have been in Baghdád ten days; we have brought with us merchandise, and taken lodgings in a Khán;31 and a merchant invited us to an entertainment this night: accordingly, we went to his house, and he placed food before us, and we ate, and sat awhile drinking together, after which he gave us leave to depart;32 and going out128 in the dark, and being strangers, we missed our way to the Khán: we trust, therefore, in your generosity that you will admit us to pass the night in your house; by doing which you will obtain a reward in heaven.—The portress, looking at them, and observing that they were in the garb of merchants, and that they bore an appearance of respectability, returned, and consulted her two companions; and they said to her, Admit them:—so she returned, and opened to them the door. They said to her, Shall we enter with thy permission? She answered, Come in. The Khaleefeh, therefore, entered, with Jaạfar and Mesroor; and when the ladies saw them, they rose to them, and served them, saying, Welcome are our guests; but we have a condition to impose upon you, that ye speak not of that which doth not concern you, lest ye hear that which will not please you. They answered, Good:—and when they had sat down to drink, the Khaleefeh looked at the three mendicants, and was surprised at observing that each of them was blind of the left eye; and he gazed upon the ladies, and was perplexed and amazed at their fairness and beauty. And when the others proceeded to drink and converse, the ladies brought wine to the Khaleefeh; but he said, I am a pilgrim;33—and drew back from them. Whereupon the portress spread before him an embroidered cloth, and placed upon it a China bottle, into which she poured some willow-flower-water, adding to it a lump of ice, and sweetening it with sugar, while the Khaleefeh thanked her, and said within himself, To-morrow I must reward her for this kind action.

The party continued their carousal, and, when the wine took effect upon them, the mistress of the house arose, and waited upon them; and afterwards, taking the hand of the cateress, said, Arise, O my sister, that we may fulfil our debt. She replied, Good. The portress then rose, and, after she had cleared the middle of the saloon, placed the mendicants at the further end, beyond the doors; after which, the ladies called to the porter, saying, How slight is thy friendship! thou art not a stranger, but one of the family. So the porter arose, and girded himself, and said, What would ye?—to which one of the ladies answered, Stand where thou art:—and presently the cateress said to him, Assist me:—and he saw two black bitches, with chains attached to their necks, and drew them to the middle of the saloon; whereupon the mistress of the house arose from her place, and tucked up her sleeve above her wrist, and, taking a whip, said to the porter, Bring to me one of them. Accordingly, he dragged one forward by the chain. The bitch whined, and shook her head at the lady; but the latter fell129 to beating her upon the head, notwithstanding her howling, until her arms were tired, when she threw the whip from her hand, and pressed the bitch to her bosom, and wiped away her tears, and kissed her head; after which she said to the porter, Take her back, and bring the other;—and he brought her, and she did to her as she had done to the first. At the sight of this, the mind of the Khaleefeh was troubled, and his heart was contracted, and he winked to Jaạfar that he should ask her the reason; but he replied by a sign, Speak not.

The Ladies preparing to whip the Bitches
The mistress of the house then looked towards the portress, and said to her, Arise to perform what thou hast to do. She replied, Good:—and the mistress of the house seated herself upon a couch of alabaster, overlaid with gold and silver, and said to the portress and the cateress, Now perform your parts. The portress then seated herself upon a couch by her; and the cateress, having entered a closet, brought out from it a bag of satin with green fringes, and, placing herself before the lady of the house, shook it, and took out from it a lute; and she tuned its strings, and sang to it these verses:—

Restore to my eyelids the sleep which hath been ravished; and inform me of my reason, whither it hath fled.
I discovered, when I took up my abode with love, that slumber had become an enemy to my eyes.
They said, We saw thee to be one of the upright; what, then, hath seduced thee? I answered, Seek the cause from his glance.
Verily I excuse him for the shedding of my blood, admitting that I urged him to the deed by vexation.
He cast his sun-like image upon the mirror of my mind, and its reflection kindled a flame in my vitals.34
When the portress35 had heard this song, she exclaimed, Allah approve thee!—and she rent her clothes, and fell upon the floor in a swoon; and when her bosom was thus uncovered, the Khaleefeh saw upon her the marks of beating, as if from miḳra’ahs36 and whips; at130 which he was greatly surprised. The cateress37 immediately arose, sprinkled water upon her face, and brought her another dress, which she put on. The Khaleefeh then said to Jaạfar, Seest thou not this woman, and the marks of beating upon her? I cannot keep silence respecting this affair, nor be at rest, until I know the truth of the history of this damsel, and that of these two bitches. But Jaạfar replied, O our lord, they have made a covenant with us that we shall not speak excepting of that which concerneth us, lest we hear that which will not please us.—The cateress then took the lute again, and, placing it against her bosom, touched the chords with the ends of her fingers, and thus sang to it:—

The Portress fainting

If of love we complain, what shall we say? Or consuming through desire, how can we escape?
Or if we send a messenger to interpret for us, he cannot convey the lover’s complaint.
Or if we would be patient, short were our existence after the loss of those we love.
Nought remaineth to us but grief and mourning, and tears streaming down our cheeks.
O you who are absent from my sight, but constantly dwelling within my heart!
Have you kept your faith to an impassioned lover, who, while time endureth, will never change?
Or, in absence, have you forgotten that lover who, on your account, is wasting away?
When the day of judgment shall bring us together, I will beg of our Lord a protractive trial.38
On hearing these verses of the cateress, the portress again rent her clothes, and cried out, and fell upon the floor in a swoon; and the cateress, as before, put on her another dress, after she had sprinkled some water upon her face.39

The mendicants, when they witnessed this scene, said, Would that we had never entered this house, but rather had passed the night upon the mounds;40 for our night hath been rendered foul by an event that breaketh the back! The Khaleefeh, looking towards them, then said, Wherefore is it so with you? They answered, Our hearts are troubled by this occurrence.—Are ye not, he asked, of this house?—No, they answered; nor did we imagine that this house belonged to any but the man who is sitting with you:—upon which the porter said, Verily, I have never seen this place before this night; and I would that I had passed the night upon the mounds rather than here. They then observed, one to another, We are seven men, and they are but three women; we will, therefore, ask them of their history; and if they answer us not willingly they shall do it in spite of themselves:—and they all agreed to this, excepting Jaạfar, who said, This is not a right determination; leave them to themselves, for we are their guests, and they made a covenant with us which we should fulfil: there remaineth but little of the night, and each of us shall soon go his way. Then, winking to the Khaleefeh, he said, There remaineth but an hour; and to-morrow we will bring them before thee, and thou shalt ask them their story. But the Khaleefeh refused to do so, and said, I have not patience to wait so long for their history.—Words followed words, and at last they said, Who shall put the question to them?—and one answered, The porter.

The Porter seized
The ladies then said to them, O people, of what are ye talking?—whereupon the porter approached the mistress of the house, and said132 to her, O my mistress, I ask thee, and conjure thee by Allah, to tell us the story of the two bitches, and for what reason thou didst beat them, and then didst weep, and kiss them, and that thou acquaint us with the cause of thy sister’s having been beaten with miḳra’ahs: that is our question, and peace be on you.—Is this true that he saith of you? inquired the lady, of the other men; and they all answered, Yes,—excepting Jaạfar, who was silent. When the lady heard their answer, she said, Verily, O our guests, ye have wronged us excessively; for we made a covenant with you beforehand, that he who should speak of that which concerned him not should hear that which would not please him. Is it not enough that we have admitted you into our house, and fed you with our provisions? But it is not so much your fault as the fault of her who introduced you to us.—She then tucked up her sleeve above her wrist, and struck the floor three times, saying, Come ye quickly!—and immediately the door of a closet opened, and there came forth from it seven black slaves, each having in his hand a drawn sword. The lady said to them, Tie behind them the hands of these men of many words, and bind each of them to another:—and they did so, and said, O virtuous lady, dost thou permit us to strike off133 their heads? She answered, Give them a short respite, until I shall have inquired of them their histories, before ye behead them.—By Allah, O my mistress, exclaimed the porter, kill me not for the offence of others: for they have all transgressed and committed an offence, excepting me. Verily our night had been pleasant if we had been preserved from these mendicants, whose presence is enough to convert a well-peopled city into a heap of ruins!—He then repeated this couplet:—

How good is it to pardon one able to resist! and how much more so, one who is helpless!
For the sake of the friendship that subsisted between us, destroy not one for the crime of another!
On hearing these words of the porter, the lady laughed after her anger. Then approaching the men, she said, Acquaint me with your histories, for there remaineth of your lives no more than an hour. Were ye not persons of honourable and high condition, or governors,41 I would hasten your recompense.—The Khaleefeh said to Jaạfar, Wo to thee, O Jaạfar! make known to her who we are; otherwise she will kill us.—It were what we deserve, replied he.—Jesting, said the Khaleefeh, is not befitting in a time for seriousness: each has its proper occasion.—The lady then approached the mendicants, and said to them, Are ye brothers? They answered, No, indeed; we are only poor foreigners.42 She said then to one of them, Wast thou born blind of one eye?—No, verily, he answered; but a wonderful event happened to me when my eye was destroyed, and the story of it, if engraved on the understanding, would serve as a lesson to him who would be admonished. She asked the second and the third also; and they answered her as the first; adding, Each of us is from a different country, and our history is wonderful and extraordinary. The lady then looked towards them and said, Each of you shall relate his story, and the cause of his coming to our abode, and then stroke his head,43 and go his way.

The first who advanced was the porter, who said, O my mistress, I am a porter; and this cateress loaded me, and brought me hither, and what hath happened to me here in your company ye know. This is my story; and peace be on you.—Stroke thy head, then, said she, and go:—but he replied, By Allah, I will not go until I shall have heard the story of my companions.—The first mendicant then advanced, and related as follows:—


Know, O my mistress, that the cause of my having shaved my beard, and of the loss of my eye was this:—My father was a King, and he had a brother who was also a King, and who resided in another capital. It happened that my mother gave birth to me on the same day on which the son of my uncle was born; and years and days passed away until we attained to manhood. Now, it was my custom, some years, to visit my uncle, and to remain with him several months; and on one of these occasions my cousin paid me great honour; he slaughtered sheep for me, and strained the wine for me, and we sat down to drink; and when the wine had affected us, he said to me, O son of my uncle, I have need of thine assistance in an affair of interest to me, and I beg that thou wilt not oppose me in that which I desire to do. I replied, I am altogether at thy service:—and he made me swear to him by great oaths, and, rising immediately, absented himself for a little while, and then returned, followed by a woman decked with ornaments, and perfumed, and wearing a dress of extraordinary value. He looked towards me, while the woman stood behind him, and said, Take this woman, and go before me to the burial-ground which is in such a place:—and he described it to me, and I knew it. He then added, Enter the burial-ground, and there wait for me.

I could not oppose him, nor refuse to comply with his request, on account of the oaths which I had sworn to him; so I took the woman, and went with her to the burial-ground; and when we had sat there a short time, my cousin came, bearing a basin of water, and a bag containing some plaster, and a small adze. Going to a tomb in the midst of the burial-ground, he took the adze, and disunited the stones, which he placed on one side; he then dug up the earth with the adze, and uncovered a flat stone, of the size of a small door, under which there appeared a vaulted staircase. Having done this he made a sign to the woman, and said to her, Do according to thy choice:—whereupon she descended the stairs. He then looked towards me, and said, O son of my uncle, complete thy kindness when I have descended into this place, by replacing the trap-door and the earth above it as they were before: then, this plaster which is in the bag, and this water which is in the basin, do thou knead together, and plaster the stones of the tomb as they were, so that no man may know it, and say, This hath been lately opened, but its interior is old:—for,135 during the space of a whole year I have been preparing this, and no one knew it but God: this is what I would have thee do. He then said to me, May God never deprive thy friends of thy presence, O son of my uncle!—and, having uttered these words, he descended the stairs.

First Prince (afterwards a Mendicant) leading the Lady to the Tomb
When he had disappeared from before my eyes, I replaced the trap-door, and busied myself with doing as he had ordered me, until the tomb was restored to the state in which it was at first; after which I returned to the palace of my uncle, who was then absent on a hunting excursion. I slept that night, and when the morning came, I reflected upon what had occurred between me and my cousin, and repented of what I had done for him, when repentance was of no avail. I then went out to the burial-ground, and searched for the tomb; but could not discover it. I ceased not in my search until the approach of night; and, not finding the way to it, returned again to the palace; and I neither ate nor drank: my heart was troubled respecting my cousin, since I knew not what had become of him; and I fell into136 excessive grief. I passed the night sorrowful until the morning, and went again to the burial-ground, reflecting upon the action of my cousin, and repenting of my compliance with his request; and I searched among all the tombs; but discovered not that for which I looked. Thus I persevered in my search seven days without success.44

My trouble continued and increased until I was almost mad; and I found no relief but in departing, and returning to my father; but on my arrival at his capital, a party at the city-gate sprang upon me and bound me. I was struck with the utmost astonishment, considering that I was the son of the Sulṭán of the city, and that these were the servants of my father and of myself: excessive fear of them overcame me, and I said within myself, What hath happened to my father? I asked, of those who had bound me, the cause of this conduct; but they returned me no answer, till after a while, when one of them, who had been my servant, said to me, Fortune hath betrayed thy father, the troops have been false to him, and the Wezeer hath killed him; and we were lying in wait to take thee.—They took me, and I was as one dead, by reason of this news which I had heard respecting my father; and I stood before the Wezeer who had killed my father.

Now, there was an old enmity subsisting between me and him; and the cause of it was this:—I was fond of shooting with the cross-bow; and it happened, one day, that as I was standing on the roof of my palace, a bird alighted on the roof of the palace of the Wezeer, who was standing there at the time, and I aimed at the bird; but the bullet missed it, and struck the eye of the Wezeer, and knocked it out, in accordance with the appointment of fate and destiny, as the poet hath said:—

We trod the steps appointed for us: and the man whose steps are appointed must tread them.
He whose death is decreed to take place in one land will not die in any land but that.
When I had thus put out the eye of the Wezeer, he could say nothing, because my father was King of the city. This was the cause of the enmity between him and me: and when I stood before him, with my hands bound behind me, he gave the order to strike off my head. I said to him, Wouldst thou kill me for no offence?—What offence, he exclaimed, could be greater than this?—and he pointed to the place of the eye which was put out. I did that, said I, unintentionally.137 He replied, If thou didst it unintentionally, I will do the same to thee purposely:—and immediately he said, Bring him forward to me:—and, when they had done so, he thrust his finger into my left eye, and pulled it out. Thus I became deprived of one eye, as ye see me. He then bound me firmly, and placed me in a chest, and said to the executioner, Take this fellow, and draw thy sword, and convey him without the city; then put him to death, and let the wild beasts devour him.

Accordingly, he went forth with me from the city, and, having taken me out from the chest, bound hand and foot, was about to bandage my eye, and kill me; whereupon I wept, and exclaimed,—

How many brothers have I taken as armour! and such they were; but to guard my enemies.
I thought they would be as piercing arrows: and such they were; but to enter my heart!
The executioner, who had served my father in the same capacity, and to whom I had shewn kindnesses, said, on hearing these verses, O my master, what can I do, being a slave under command?—but presently he added, Depart with thy life, and return not to this country, lest thou perish, and cause me to perish with thee. The poet saith,—

Flee with thy life if thou fearest oppression, and leave the house to tell its builder’s fate.
Thou wilt find, for the land that thou quittest, another: but no soul wilt thou find to replace thine own.
As soon as he had thus said, I kissed his hands, and believed not in my safety until I had fled from his presence. The loss of my eye appeared light to me when I considered my escape from death; and I journeyed to my uncle’s capital, and, presenting myself before him, informed him of what had befallen my father, and of the manner in which I had lost my eye: upon which he wept bitterly, and said, Thou hast added to my trouble and my grief; for thy cousin hath been lost for some days, and I know not what hath happened to him, nor can any one give me information respecting him. Then he wept again, until he became insensible; and when he recovered, he said, O my son, the loss of thine eye is better than the loss of thy life.

Upon this I could no longer keep silence respecting his son, my cousin; so I informed him of all that happened to him; and on hearing this news he rejoiced exceedingly, and said, Shew me the tomb.—By Allah, O my uncle, I replied, I know not where it is; for138 I went afterwards several times to search for it, and could not recognise its place. We, however, went together to the burial-ground, and, looking to the right and left, I discovered it; and both I and my uncle rejoiced. I then entered the tomb with him, and when we had removed the earth, and lifted up the trap-door, we descended fifty steps, and, arriving at the bottom of the stairs, there issued forth upon us a smoke which blinded our eyes; whereupon my uncle pronounced those words which relieve from fear him who uttereth them,—There is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great!—After this, we proceeded, and found ourselves in a saloon, filled with flour and grain, and various eatables; and we saw there a curtain suspended over a couch, upon which my uncle looked, and found there his son and the woman who had descended with him, lying side by side, and converted into black charcoal, as if they had been thrown into a pit of fire. And when he beheld this spectacle, he spat in his son’s face, and exclaimed, This is what thou deservest, O thou wretch! This is the punishment of the present world, and there remaineth the punishment of the other world, which will be more severe and lasting!—and he struck him with his shoes. Astonished at this action, and grieved for my cousin, seeing him and the damsel thus converted into charcoal, I said, By Allah, O my uncle, moderate the trouble of thy heart, for my mind is perplexed by that which hath happened to thy son, and by thinking how it hath come to pass that he and the damsel are converted into black charcoal. Dost thou not deem it enough for him to be in this state, that thou beatest him with thy shoes?

O son of my brother, he replied, this my son was, from his early years, inflamed with love for his foster-sister,45 and I used to forbid him from entertaining this passion for her, and to say within myself, They are now children, but when they grow older a base act will be committed by them:—and, indeed, I heard that such had been the case, but I believed it not. I, however, reprimanded him severely, and said to him, Beware of so foul an action, which none before thee hath committed, nor will any commit after thee: otherwise we shall suffer disgrace and disparagement among the Kings until we die, and our history will spread abroad with the caravans: have a care for thyself that such an action proceed not from thee; for I should be incensed against thee, and kill thee. I then separated him from her, and her from him: but the vile woman loved him excessively; the Devil got possession of them both; and when my son saw that I had separated him, he secretly made this place beneath the earth, and, having con139veyed hither the provisions which thou seest, took advantage of my inadvertence when I had gone out to hunt, and came hither: but the Truth46 (whose perfection be extolled, and whose name be exalted!) was jealously vigilant over them, and consumed them by fire; and the punishment of the world to come will be more severe and lasting.—He then wept, and I wept with him; and he said to me, Thou art my son in his stead.—I remained a while reflecting upon the world and its vicissitudes, upon the murder of my father by the Wezeer, and his usurping his throne, and the loss of my eye, and the strange events which had happened to my cousin, and I wept again.

We then ascended, and, having replaced the trap-door and the earth above it, and restored the tomb to its former state, returned to our abode; but scarcely had we seated ourselves when we heard the sounds of drums and trumpets, warriours galloped about, and the air was filled with dust raised by the horses’ hoofs. Our minds were perplexed, not knowing what had happened, and the King, asking the news, was answered, The Wezeer of thy brother hath slain him and his soldiers and guards, and come with his army to assault the city unawares; and the inhabitants, being unable to withstand, have submitted to him:—whereupon I said within myself, If I fall into his hand, he will slay me.—Griefs overwhelmed me, and I thought of the calamities which had befallen my father and my mother, and knew not what to do; for if I appeared, the people of the city would know me, and the troops of my father would hasten to kill and destroy me. I knew no way of escape but to shave off my beard:47 so I shaved it, and, having changed my clothes, departed from the city, and came hither, to this abode of peace, in the hope that some person would introduce me to the Prince of the Faithful, the Khaleefeh of the Lord of all creatures, that I might relate to him my story, and all that had befallen me. I arrived in this city this night; and as I stood perplexed, not knowing whither to direct my steps, I saw this mendicant, and saluted him, and said, I am a stranger. He replied, And I, too, am a stranger:—and while we were thus addressing each other, our companion, this third person, came up to us, and saluting us, said, I am a stranger. We replied, And we, also, are strangers. So we walked on together, and darkness overtook us, and destiny directed us unto your abode.—This was the cause of the shaving of my beard, and of the loss of my eye.

The lady then said to him, Stroke my head, and depart:—but he replied, I will not depart until I have heard the stories of the others.140 And they wondered at his tale; and the Khaleefeh said to Jaạfar, Verily I have never known the like of that which hath happened to this mendicant.

The second mendicant then advanced, and, having kissed the ground, said,—

O my mistress, I was not born with only one eye; but my story is wonderful, and, if written, would serve as a lesson to him who would be admonished. I am a King, and son of a King: I read the Ḳurán according to the seven readings,48 and perused various works under the tuition of different learned professors of their subjects: I studied the science of the stars,49 and the writings of the poets, and made myself a proficient in all the sciences; so that I surpassed the people of my age. My hand-writing50 was extolled among all the scribes, my fame spread among all countries, and my history among all Kings; and the King of India, hearing of me, requested my father to allow me to visit him, sending him various gifts and curious presents, such as were suitable to Kings. My father, therefore, prepared for me six ships, and we proceeded by sea for the space of a whole month, after which we came to land; and, having disembarked some horses which we had with us in the ship, we loaded ten camels with presents, and commenced our journey; but soon there appeared a cloud of dust, which rose and spread until it filled the air before us, and, after a while, cleared a little, and discovered to us, in the midst of it, sixty141 horseman like fierce lions whom we perceived to be Arab highwaymen; and when they saw us, that we were a small company with ten loads of presents for the King of India, they galloped towards us, pointing their spears at us. We made signs to them with our fingers, and said, We are ambassadors to the honoured King of India; therefore do us no injury:—but they replied, We are not in his territories, nor under his government. They slew certain of the young men, and the rest fled. I also fled, after I had received a severe wound; the Arabs being employed, without further regard to us, in taking possession of the treasure and presents which we had with us.

Second Prince (afterwards a Mendicant) meeting the Robbers
I proceeded without knowing whither to direct my course, reduced from a mighty to an abject state, and journeyed till I arrived at the summit of a mountain, where I took shelter in a cavern until the next morning. I then resumed my journey, and arrived at a flourishing city: the winter, with its cold, had passed away, and the spring had come, with its flowers; and I rejoiced at my arrival there, being wearied with my journey, anxious and pallid. My condition being thus changed, I knew not whither to bend my steps; and, turning to a tailor sitting in his shop, I saluted him, and he returned my salutation, and welcomed me, and wished me joy, asking me the reason of my having come thither. I acquainted him, therefore, with what had befallen me from first to last, and he was grieved for me, and said, O young man, reveal not thy case, for I fear what the King of this city might do to thee, since he is the greatest of thy father’s enemies, and hath a debt of blood against him. He then placed some food and drink before me, and we ate together, and I conversed with him till night, when he lodged me in a place by his shop, and brought me a bed and coverlet; and, after I had remained with him three days, he said to me, Dost thou not know any trade by which to make gain?51 I answered, I am acquainted with the law, a student of sciences, a writer, and an arithmetician.—Thy occupation, he said, is profitless in our country: there is no one in our city acquainted with science or writing, but only with getting money. Verily, I replied, I know nothing but what I have told thee.—Gird thyself, then, said he, and take an axe and a rope, and cut firewood in the desert, and so obtain thy subsistence until God dispel thy affliction; but acquaint no one with thy history, else they will kill thee. He then bought for me an axe and a rope, and sent me with a party of wood-cutters, giving them a charge respecting me. Accordingly, I went forth with them, and, cut some wood, and brought back a load upon my head, and sold it142 for half a piece of gold, part of which I expended in food, laying by the remainder.

Second Prince as a Wood-cutter
Second Prince discovering the Trap-door
Thus I continued for the space of a year, after which I went one day into the desert, according to my custom, to cut firewood; and, finding there a tract with abundance of wood, I entered it, and came to a tree, around which I dug; and as I was removing the earth from its roots, the axe struck against a ring of brass; and I cleared away the earth from it, and found that it was affixed to a trap-door of wood, which I immediately removed. Beneath it appeared a staircase, which I descended; and at the bottom of this I entered a door, and beheld a palace, strongly constructed, where I found a lady, like a pearl of high price, whose aspect banished from the heart all anxiety and grief and affliction. At the sight of her I prostrated myself in adoration of143 her Creator for the fairness and beauty which He had displayed in her person; and she, looking towards me, said, Art thou a man or a Jinnee? I answered her, I am a man.—And who, she asked, hath brought thee to this place, in which I have lived five and twenty years without ever seeing a human being?—Her words sounded sweetly to me, and I answered her, O my mistress, God hath brought me to thy abode, and I hope will put an end to my anxiety and grief:—and I related to her my story from beginning to end. She was grieved at my case, and wept, and said, I also will acquaint thee with my story. Know that I am the daughter of the King of the further parts of India, the lord of the Ebony Island. My father had married me to the son of my uncle; but on the night of my bridal festivities, an ‘Efreet namad Jarjarees, the son of Rejmoos, the son of Iblees, carried me off, and, soaring with me through the air, alighted in this place, to which he conveyed all things necessary for me, such as ornaments, and garments, and linen, and furniture, and food, and drink; and once in every ten days he cometh to me, and spendeth a night here;52 and he hath appointed with me, that, in case of my wanting any thing by144 night or day, I should touch with my hand these two lines which are inscribed upon the ḳubbeh,53 and as soon as I remove my hand I see him before me. Four days have now passed since he was last with me, and there remain, therefore, six days before he will come again; wilt thou then remain with me five days, and depart one day before his visit?—I answered, Yes; rejoicing at the proposal; and she arose, and taking me by the hand, conducted me through an arched door to a small and elegant bath, where I took off my clothes, while she seated herself upon a mattress. After this, she seated me by her side, and brought me some sherbet of sugar infused with musk,54 and handed it to me to drink: she then placed some food before me, and after we had eaten and conversed together, she said to me, Sleep, and rest thyself; for thou art fatigued.

I slept, O my mistress, and forgot all that had befallen me; and when I awoke, I found her rubbing my feet;55 upon which I called to her, and we sat down again and conversed a while; and she said to me, By Allah, I was straitened in my heart, living here alone, without any person to talk with me, five and twenty years. Praise be to God who hath sent thee to me.—I thanked her for her kind expressions; and love of her took possession of my heart, and my anxiety and grief fled away. We then sat down to drink together; and I remained by her side all the night, delighted with her company, for I had never seen her like in my whole life; and in the morning, when we were both full of joy, I said to her, Shall I take thee up from this subterranean place, and release thee from the Jinnee? But she laughed, and replied, Be content, and hold thy peace; for, of every ten days, one day shall be for the ‘Efreet, and nine for thee. I persisted, however, being overcome with passion: and said, I will this instant demolish this ḳubbeh upon which the inscription is engraved, and let the ‘Efreet come, that I may slay him: for I am predestined to kill ‘Efreets. She entreated me to refrain; but, paying no attention to her words, I kicked the ḳubbeh with violence; upon which she exclaimed, The ‘Efreet hath arrived! Did I not caution thee against this? Verily thou hast brought a calamity upon me; but save thyself, and ascend by the way that thou camest.

In the excess of my fear I forgot my sandals and my axe, and when I had ascended two steps, turning round to look for them, I saw that the ground had opened, and there rose from it an ‘Efreet of hideous aspect, who said, Wherefore is this disturbance with which thou hast alarmed me, and what misfortune hath befallen thee? She145 answered, No misfortune hath happened to me, excepting that my heart was contracted, and I desired to drink some wine to dilate it, and, rising to perform my purpose, I fell against the ḳubbeh.—Thou liest, vile woman, he exclaimed;—and, looking about the palace to the right and left, he saw the sandals and axe; and said to her, These are the property of none but a man. Who hath visited thee?—I have not seen them, she answered, until this instant: probably they caught to thee.—This language, said he, is absurd, and will have no effect upon me, thou shameless woman!—and, so saying, he stripped her of her clothing, and tied her down, with her arms and legs extended, to four stakes, and began to beat her, urging her to confess what had happened.

Second Prince ascending the Steps
For myself, being unable to endure her cries, I ascended the stairs, overpowered by fear, and, arriving at the top, replaced the trap-door as it was at first, and covered it over with earth. I repented bitterly of what I had done, and reflecting upon the lady and her beauty, and how this wretch was torturing her after she had lived with him five and twenty years, and that he tortured her only on my account, and reflecting also upon my father and his kingdom, and how I had been reduced to the condition of a wood-cutter, I repeated this verse:—

When fortune bringeth thee affliction, console thyself by remembering that one day thou must see prosperity, and another day, difficulty.
Second Prince carried off by the ‘Efreet
Returning to my companion, the tailor, I found him awaiting my return as if he were placed in a pan upon burning coals. I past last146 night, said he, with anxious heart on thy account, fearing for thee from some wild beast or other calamity. Praise be to God for thy safe return.—I thanked him for his tender concern for me, and entered my apartment; and as I sat meditating upon that which had befallen me, and blaming myself for having kicked the ḳubbeh, my friend the tailor came in to me, and said, In the shop is a foreigner, who asks for thee, and he has thy axe and sandals; he came with them to the wood-cutters,56 and said to them, I went out at the time of the call of the Muëddin to morning-prayer, and stumbled upon these, and know not to whom they belong: can ye guide me to their owner?—The wood-cutters, therefore, directed him to thee: he is sitting in my shop; so go out to him and thank him, and take thy axe and thy sandals.—On hearing these words, my countenance turned pale, and my whole state became changed; and while I was in this condition, the floor of my chamber clove asunder, and there rose from it the stranger, and lo, he was the ‘Efreet; he had tortured the lady with147 the utmost cruelty; but she would confess nothing: so he took the axe and the sandals, and said to her, If I am Jarjarees, of the descendants of Iblees, I will bring the owner of this axe and these sandals. Accordingly, he came, with the pretence before mentioned, to the wood-cutters, and, having entered my chamber, without granting me any delay, seized me, and soared with me through the air: he then descended, and dived into the earth, and brought me up into the palace where I was before.

Here I beheld the lady stripped of her clothing, and with blood flowing from her sides; and tears trickled from my eyes. The ‘Efreet then took hold of her, and said, Vile woman, this is thy lover:—whereupon she looked at me, and replied, I know him not, nor have I ever seen him until this instant. The ‘Efreet said to her, With all this torture wilt thou not confess? She answered, Never in my life have I seen him before, and it is not lawful in the sight of God that I should speak falsely against him.57—Then, said he, if thou know him not, take this sword and strike off his head. She took the sword, and came to me, and stood over my head: but I made a sign to her with my eyebrow, while tears ran down my cheeks. She replied in a similar manner, Thou art he who hath done all this to me:—I made a sign to her, however, that this was a time for pardon, conveying my meaning in the manner thus described by the poet:—58

Our signal in love is the glance of our eyes; and every intelligent person understandeth the sign.
Our eyebrows carry on an intercourse between us: we are silent; but love speaketh.
And when she understood me, she threw the sword from her hand, O my mistress, and the ‘Efreet handed it to me, saying, Strike off her head, and I will liberate thee, and do thee no harm. I replied, Good:—and, quickly approaching her, raised my hand; but she made a sign as though she would say, I did no injury to thee:—whereupon my eyes poured with tears, and, throwing down the sword, I said, O mighty ‘Efreet, and valiant hero, if a woman, deficient in sense and religion,59 seeth it not lawful to strike off my head, how is it lawful for me to do so to her, and especially when I have never seen her before in my life? I will never do it, though I should drink the cup of death and destruction.—There is affection between you, said the ‘Efreet, and, taking the sword, he struck off one of the hands of the lady; then, the other; after this, her right foot; and then, her left foot: thus with four blows he cut off her four extremities, while I148 looked on, expecting my own death. She then made a sign to me with her eye; and the ‘Efreet, observing her, exclaimed, Now thou hast been guilty of incontinence with thine eye!—and, with a blow of his sword, struck off her head; after which, he turned towards me, and said, O man, it is allowed us by our law, if a wife be guilty of incontinence, to put her to death. This woman I carried off on her wedding-night, when she was twelve years of age, and she was acquainted with no man but me; and I used to pass one night with her in the course of every ten days in the garb of a foreigner; and when I discovered of a certainty that she had been unfaithful to me, I killed her: but as for thee, I am not convinced that thou hast wronged me with respect to her; yet I must not leave thee unpunished: choose, therefore, what injury I shall do to thee.

Second Prince begging his life of the ‘Efreet
Upon this, O my mistress, I rejoiced exceedingly, and, eager to obtain his pardon, I said to him, What shall I choose from thy hands?—Choose, he answered, into what form I shall change thee; either the form of a dog, or that of an ass, or that of an ape. I replied, in my desire of forgiveness, Verily, if thou wilt pardon me, God will pardon thee in recompense for thy shewing mercy to a Muslim who hath done thee no injury:—and I humbled myself in the most abject manner, and said to him, Pardon me as the envied man did the envier.—And how was that? said he. I answered as follows:—60


Know, O my master, that there was a certain man who had a neighbour that envied him; and the more this person envied him, so much the more did God increase the prosperity of the former. Thus it continued a long time; but when the envied man found that his neighbour persisted in troubling him, he removed to a place where there was a deserted well; and there he built for himself an oratory, and occupied himself in the worship of God. Numerous Faḳeers61 assembled around him, and he acquired great esteem, people repairing to him from every quarter, placing firm reliance upon his sanctity; and his fame reached the ears of his envious neighbour, who mounted his horse, and went to visit him; and when the envied man saw him, he saluted him, and payed him the utmost civility. The envier then said to him, I have come hither to inform thee of a matter in which thou wilt find advantage, and for which I shall obtain a recompense in heaven. The envied man replied, May God requite thee for me with every blessing. Then, said the envier, order the Faḳeers to retire to their cells, for the information that I am about to give thee I would have no one overhear. So he ordered them to enter their cells; and the envier said to him, Arise, and let us walk together, and converse; and they walked on until they came to the deserted well before mentioned, when the envier pushed the envied man into this well, without the knowledge of any one, and went his way, imagining that he had killed him.

But this well was inhabited by Jinn, who received him unhurt, and seated him upon a large stone; and when they had done this, one of them said to the others, Do ye know this man? They answered, We know him not.—This, said he, is the envied man who fled from him who envied him, and took up his abode in this quarter, in the neighbouring oratory, and who entertaineth us by his zikr62 and his readings; and when his envier heard of him, he came hither to him, and, devising a stratagem against him, threw him down here. His fame hath this night reached the Sulṭán of this city, who hath purposed to visit him to-morrow, on account of the affliction which hath befallen his daughter.—And what, said they, hath happened to his daughter? He answered, Madness; for Meymoon, the son of Demdem, hath become inflamed with love for her; and her cure is the easiest of things. They asked him, What is it?—and he answered,150 The black cat that is with him in the oratory hath at the end of her tail a white spot, of the size of a piece of silver; and from this white spot should be taken seven hairs, and with these the damsel should be fumigated, and the Márid would depart from over her head, and not return to her; so she would be instantly cured. And now it is our duty to take him out.

The Envied Sheykh and the Jinn in the Well
When the morning came, the Faḳeers saw the Sheykh rising out of the well; and he became magnified in their eyes. And when he entered the oratory, he took from the white spot at the end of the cat’s tail seven hairs, and placed them in a portfolio by him; and at sunrise the King came to him, and when the Sheykh saw him, he said to him, O King, thou hast come to visit me in order that I may cure thy daughter. The King replied. Yes, O virtuous Sheykh.—Then, said the Sheykh, send some person to bring her hither; and I trust in God, whose name be exalted, that she may be instantly cured. And when the King had brought his daughter, the Sheykh beheld her bound, and, seating her, suspended a curtain over her, and took out the hairs, and fumigated her with them; whereupon the Márid cried151 out from over her head, and left her; and the damsel immediately recovered her reason, and, veiling her face, said to her father, What is this, and wherefore didst thou bring me to this place? He answered her, Thou hast nothing to fear;—and rejoiced greatly. He kissed the hand of the envied Sheykh, and said to the great men of his court who were with him, What shall be the recompense of this Sheykh for that which he hath done? They answered, His recompense should be that thou marry him to her.—Ye have spoken truly, said the King:—and he gave her in marriage to him, and thus the Sheykh became a connection of the King; and after some days the King died, and he was made King in his place.

And it happened one day that this envied King was riding with his troops, and he saw his envier approaching; and when this man came before him he seated him upon a horse with high distinction and honour, and, taking him to his palace, gave him a thousand pieces of gold, and a costly dress; after which he sent him back from the city, with attendants to escort him to his house, and reproached him for nothing.—Consider, then, O ‘Efreet, the pardon of the envied to the envier, and his kindness to him, notwithstanding the injuries he had done him.63

The ‘Efreet, when he had heard this story, replied, Lengthen not thy words to me: as to my killing thee, fear it not; and as to my pardoning thee, covet it not; but as to my enchanting thee, there is no escape from it;—and, so saying, he clove the earth asunder, and soared with me through the sky to such a height that I beheld the world beneath me as though it were a bowl of water: then, alighting upon a mountain, he took up a little dust, and, having muttered and pronounced certain words over it, sprinkled me with it, saying, Quit this form, and take the form of an ape!—whereupon I became like an ape of a hundred years of age.

Second Prince transformed into an Ape
When I saw myself changed into this ugly form, I wept for myself, but determined to be patient under the tyranny of fortune, knowing it to be constant to no one. I descended from the summit of the mountain, and, after having journeyed for the space of a month, arrived at the sea-shore; and, when I had stood there a short time, I saw a vessel in the midst of the sea, with a favourable wind approaching152 the land; I therefore hid myself behind a rock on the beach, and when the ship came close up, I sprang into the midst of it. But as soon as the persons on board saw me, one of them cried, Turn out this unlucky brute from the ship:—another said, Let us kill him:—and a third exclaimed, I will kill him with this sword. I, however, caught hold of the end of the sword, and tears flowed from my eyes; at the sight of which the captain took compassion on me, and said to the passengers, O merchants, this ape hath sought my aid, and I give it him; he is under my protection; let no one, therefore, oppose or trouble him. He then treated me with kindness, and whatever he said to me I understood, and all that he required to be done I performed as his servant.153

We continued our voyage for fifty days with a fair wind, and cast anchor under a large city containing a population which no one but God, whose name be exalted, could reckon; and when we had moored our vessel, there came to us some memlooks from the King of the city, who came on board the ship, and complimented the merchants on their safe arrival, saying, Our King greeteth you, rejoicing in your safety, and hath sent to you this roll of paper, desiring that each of you shall write a line upon it; for the King had a Wezeer who was an eminent caligraphist, and he is dead, and the King hath sworn that he will not appoint any person to his office who cannot write equally well.64 Though in the form of an ape, I arose and snatched the paper from their hands; upon which, fearing that I would tear it and throw it into the sea, they cried out against me, and would have killed me; but I made signs to them that I would write, and the captain said to them, Suffer him to write, and if he scribble we will turn him away; but if he write well I will adopt him as my son; for I have never seen a more intelligent ape. So I took the pen, and demanded the ink, and wrote in an epistolary hand this couplet:—

Fame hath recorded the virtues of the noble; but no one hath been able to reckon thine.
May God not deprive mankind of such a father; for thou art the parent of every excellence.
Then, in a more formal, large hand, I wrote the following verses:—

There is no writer that shall not perish; but what his hand hath written endureth ever.
Write, therefore, nothing but what will please thee when thou shalt see it on the day of resurrection.
Two other specimens I wrote, in two different and smaller hands, and returned the paper to the memlooks, who took it back to the King; and when he saw what was written upon it, the hand of no one pleased him excepting mine; and he said to his attendants, Go to the author of this hand-writing, put upon him this dress, and mount him upon a mule, and conduct him, with the band of music before him, to my presence. On hearing this order, they smiled; and the King was angry with them, and said, How is it that I give you an order, and ye laugh at me? They answered, O King, we laugh not at thy words, but because he who wrote this is an ape, and not a son of Adam: he is with the captain of the ship newly arrived.

The King was astonished at their words; he shook with delight, and said, I would purchase this ape. He then sent some messengers154 to the ship, with the mule and the dress of honour, saying to them, Ye must clothe him with this dress, and mount him upon the mule, and bring him hither. So they came to the ship, and, taking me from the captain, clad me with the dress; and the people were astonished, and flocked to amuse themselves with the sight of me. And when they brought me to the King, and I beheld him, I kissed the ground before him three times, and he ordered me to sit down: so I sat down upon my knees;65 and the persons present were surprised at my polite manners, and especially the King, who presently ordered his people to retire. They, therefore, did so; none remaining but the King, and a eunuch, and a young memlook, and myself. The King then commanded that a repast should be brought; and they placed before him a service of viands, such as gratified the appetite and delighted the eye; and the King made a sign to me that I should eat; whereupon I arose, and, having kissed the ground before him seven times, sat down to eat with him; and when the table was removed, I washed my hands, and, taking the ink-case, and pen and paper, I wrote these two verses:—

Great is my appetite for thee, O Kunáfeh!66 I cannot be happy nor endure without thee.
Be thou every day and night my food; and may drops of honey not be wanting to moisten thee.
Having done this, I arose, and seated myself at a distance; and the King, looking at what I had written, read it with astonishment, and exclaimed, Can an ape possess such fluency and such skill in caligraphy? This is, indeed, a wonder of wonders!—Afterwards, a chess-table was brought to the King, and he said to me, Wilt thou play? By a motion of my head I answered, Yes:—and I advanced, and arranged the pieces.67 I played with him twice, and beat him; and the King was perplexed, and said, Were this a man, he would surpass all the people of his age.

He then said to his eunuch, Go to thy mistress, and say to her, Answer the summons of the King:—that she may come and gratify her curiosity by the sight of this wonderful ape. The eunuch, therefore, went, and returned with his mistress, the King’s daughter, who, as soon as she saw me, veiled her face, and said, O my father, how is it that thou art pleased to send for me, and suffer strange men to see me?—O my daughter, answered the King, there is no one here but the young memlook, and the eunuch who brought thee up, and this ape, with myself, thy father: from whom, then, dost thou veil thy155 face?—This ape, said she, is the son of a King, and the name of his father is Eymár:68 he is enchanted, and it was the ‘Efreet Jarjarees, a descendant of Iblees, who transformed him, after having slain his own wife, the daughter of King Aḳnámoos. This, whom thou supposedst to be an ape, is a learned and wise man.—The King was amazed at his daughter’s words, and, looking towards me, said, Is it true that she saith of thee? I answered, by a motion of my head, Yes:—and wept. The King then said to his daughter, By what means didst thou discover that he was enchanted?—O my father, she answered, I had with me, in my younger years, an old woman who was a cunning enchantress, and she taught me the art of enchantment: I have committed its rules to memory, and know it thoroughly, being acquainted with a hundred and seventy modes of performing it, by the least of which I could transport the stones of thy city beyond Mount Ḳáf, and make its site to be an abyss of the sea, and convert its inhabitants into fish in the midst of it.—I conjure thee, then, by the name of Allah, said her father, to restore this young man, that I may make him my Wezeer. Is it possible that thou possessedst this excellence, and I knew it not? Restore him, that I may make him my Wezeer, for he is a polite and intelligent youth.

The Ape recognised by the Princess
She replied, With pleasure:—and, taking a knife upon which were engraved some Hebrew names, marked with it a circle in the midst of the palace. Within this she wrote certain names and talismans, and then she pronounced invocations, and uttered unintelligible words; and soon the palace around us became immersed in gloom to 156The Combat with the Lion (Head-piece)Transformationssuch a degree, that we thought the whole world was overspread; and lo, the ‘Efreet appeared before us in a most hideous shape, with hands like winnowing-forks, and legs like masts, and eyes like burning torches; so that we were terrified at him. The King’s daughter exclaimed, No welcome to thee!—to which the ‘Efreet, assuming the form of a lion, replied, Thou traitress, how is it that thou hast broken thine oath? Did we not swear that we would not oppose one another?—Thou wretch, said she, when didst thou receive an oath?—The ‘Efreet, still in the form of a lion, then exclaimed, Take what awaiteth thee!—and, opening his mouth, rushed upon the lady: but she instantly plucked a hair from her head and muttered with her lips, whereupon the hair became converted into a piercing sword, with which she struck the lion, and he was cleft in twain by the blow; but his head became changed into a scorpion. The lady immediately transformed herself into an enormous serpent, and crept after the execrable wretch in the shape of a scorpion, and a sharp contest ensued between them; after which, the scorpion became an eagle, and the serpent, changing to a vulture, pursued the eagle for a length of time. The latter then transformed himself into a black cat, and the King’s daughter became a wolf, and they fought together long and fiercely, till the cat, seeing himself overcome, changed himself157 Transformationsinto a large red pomegranate, which fell into a pool; but, the wolf pursuing it, it ascended into the air, and then fell upon the pavement of the palace, and broke in pieces, its grains becoming scattered, each apart from the others, and all spread about the whole space of ground enclosed by the palace. The wolf, upon this, transformed itself into a cock, in order to pick up the grains, and not leave one of them; but, according to the decree of fate, one grain remained hidden by the side of the pool of the fountain. The cock began to cry, and flapped its wings, and made a sign to us with its beak; but we understood not what it would say. It then uttered at us such a cry, that we thought the palace had fallen down upon us; and it ran about the whole of the ground, until it saw the grain that had lain hid by the side of the pool, when it pounced upon it, to pick it up; but it fell into the midst of the water, and became transformed into a fish, and sank into the water; upon which the cock became a fish of a larger size, and plunged in after the other. For a while it was absent from our sight; but, at length, we heard a loud cry, and trembled at the sound; after which, the ‘Efreet rose as a flame of fire, casting fire from his mouth, and fire and smoke from his eyes and nostrils: the King’s daughter also became as a vast body of fire; and we would have plunged into the water from fear of our being burnt and destroyed; but suddenly the ‘Efreet cried out from within the fire, and came towards us upon the leewán,69 blowing fire at our faces. The lady, however, overtook him, and blew fire in like manner in his face; and some sparks struck us both from her and from him: her sparks did us no harm; but one from him struck me in my eye, and destroyed it, I being still in the158 form of an ape; and a spark from him reached the face of the King, and burned the lower half, with his beard and mouth, and struck out his lower teeth: another spark also fell upon the breast of the eunuch; who was burnt, and died immediately. We expected destruction, and gave up all hope of preserving our lives; but while we were in this state, a voice exclaimed, God is most great! God is most great! He hath conquered and aided, and abandoned the denier of the faith of Moḥammad, the chief of mankind!70—The person from whom this voice proceeded was the King’s daughter: she had burnt the ‘Efreet; and when we looked towards him, we perceived that he had become a heap of ashes.

Disenchantment of the Ape
The lady then came to us, and said, Bring me a cup of water:—and when it was brought to her, she pronounced over it some words which we understood not, and, sprinkling me with it, said, Be restored,159 by virtue of the name of the Truth, and by virtue of the most great name of God, to thy original form!—whereupon I became a man as I was at first, excepting that my eye was destroyed. After this, she cried out, The fire! the fire! O my father, I shall no longer live, for I am predestined to be killed. Had he been a human being, I had killed him at the first of the encounter. I experienced no difficulty till the scattering of the grains of the pomegranate, when I picked them up excepting the one in which was the life of the Jinnee: had I picked up that, he had instantly died; but I saw it not, as fate and destiny had appointed; and suddenly he came upon me, and a fierce contest ensued between us under the earth, and in the air, and in the water; and every time that he tried against me a new mode, I employed against him one more potent, until he tried against me the mode of fire; and rarely does one escape against whom the mode of fire is employed. Destiny, however, aided me, so that I burned him first; but I exhorted him previously to embrace the faith of El-Islám. Now I die; and may God supply my place to you.—Having thus said, she ceased not to pray for relief from the fire; and lo, a spark ascended to her breast, and thence to her face; and when it reached her face, she wept, and exclaimed, I testify that there is no deity but God, and I testify that Moḥammad is God’s Apostle!—We then looked towards her, and saw that she had become a heap of ashes by the side of the ashes of the ‘Efreet.

We were plunged into grief on her account, and I wished that I had been in her place rather than have seen that sweet-faced creature who had done me this kindness reduced to a heap of ashes: but the decree of God cannot be averted. The King, on beholding his daughter in this state, plucked out what remained of his beard, and slapped his face, and rent his clothes; and I also did the same, while we both wept for her. Then came the chamberlains and other great officers of the court, who, finding the King in a state of insensibility, with two heaps of ashes before him, were astonished, and remained encompassing him until he recovered from his fit, when he informed them of what had befallen his daughter with the ‘Efreet; and great was their affliction. The women shrieked, with the female slaves, and continued their mourning seven days. After this, the King gave orders to build, over the ashes of his daughter, a great tomb with a dome, and illuminated it with candles and lamps: but the ashes of the ‘Efreet they scattered in the wind, exposing them to the curse of God. The King then fell sick, and was near unto death: his illness lasted a month;160 but after this he recovered his health, and, summoning me to his presence, said to me, O young man, we passed our days in the enjoyment of the utmost happiness, secure from the vicissitudes of fortune, until thou camest to us, when troubles overcame us. Would that we had never seen thee, nor thy ugly form, on account of which we have been reduced to this state of privation: for, in the first place, I have lost my daughter, who was worth a hundred men; and, secondly, I have suffered this burning, and lost my teeth: my eunuch also is dead: but it was not in thy power to prevent these afflictions: the decree of God hath been fulfilled on us and on thee; and praise be to God that my daughter restored thee, though she destroyed herself. Now, however, depart, O my son, from my city. It is enough that hath happened on thy account; but as it was decreed against us and thee, depart in peace.

So I departed, O my mistress, from his presence; but before I quitted the city, I entered a public bath, and shaved my beard. I traversed various regions, and passed through great cities, and bent my course to the Abode of Peace,71 Baghdád, in the hope of obtaining an interview with the Prince of the Faithful, that I might relate to him all that had befallen me.

The third mendicant then advanced, and thus related his story:—

O illustrious lady, my story is not like those of my two companions, but more wonderful: the course of fate and destiny brought upon them events against which they could not guard; but as to myself, the shaving of my beard and the loss of my eye were occasioned by my provoking fate and misfortune; and the cause was this:—

I was a King, and the son of a King; and when my father died, I succeeded to his throne, and governed my subjects with justice and beneficence. I took pleasure in sea-voyages; and my capital was on the shore of an extensive sea, interspersed with fortified and garrisoned islands, which I desired, for my amusement, to visit; I therefore embarked with a fleet of ten ships, and took with me provisions sufficient for a whole month. I proceeded twenty days, after which there arose against us a contrary wind; but at daybreak it ceased, and the sea became calm, and we arrived at an island, where we landed, and cooked some provisions and ate; after which we remained there161 two days. We then continued our voyage; and when twenty days more had passed, we found ourselves in strange waters, unknown to the captain, and desired the watch to look out from the mast-head: so he went aloft, and when he had come down he said to the captain, I saw, on my right hand, fish floating upon the surface of the water; and looking towards the midst of the sea, I perceived something looming in the distance, sometimes black, and sometimes white.

When the captain heard this report of the watch, he threw his turban on the deck, and plucked his beard, and said to those who were with him, Receive warning of our destruction, which will befall all of us: not one will escape! So saying, he began to weep; and all of us in like manner bewailed our lot. I desired him to inform us of that which the watch had seen. O my lord, he replied, know that we have wandered from our course since the commencement of the contrary wind that was followed in the morning by a calm, in consequence of which we remained stationary two days: from that period we have deviated from our course for twenty-one days, and we have no wind to carry us back from the fate which awaits us after this day: to-morrow we shall arrive at a mountain of black stone, called loadstone: the current is now bearing us violently towards it, and the ships will fall in pieces, and every nail in them will fly to the mountain, and adhere to it; for God hath given to the loadstone a secret property by virtue of which everything of iron is attracted towards it. On that mountain is such a quantity of iron as no one knoweth but God, whose name be exalted; for from times of old great numbers of ships have been destroyed by the influence of that mountain.72 There is, upon the summit of the mountain, a cupola of brass supported by ten columns, and upon the top of this cupola is a horseman upon a horse of brass, having in his hand a brazen spear, and upon his breast suspended a tablet of lead, upon which are engraved mysterious names and talismans: and as long, O King, as this horseman remains upon the horse, so long will every ship that approaches be destroyed, with every person on board, and all the iron contained in it will cleave to the mountain: no one will be safe until the horseman shall have fallen from the horse.—The captain then wept bitterly; and we felt assured that our destruction was inevitable, and every one of us bade adieu to his friend.

The Mountain of Loadstone
On the following morning we drew near to the mountain; the current carried us towards it with violence, and when the ships were almost close to it, they fell asunder, and all the nails, and every thing162 else that was of iron, flew from them towards the loadstone. It was near the close of day when the ships fell in pieces. Some of us were drowned, and some escaped; but the greater number were drowned, and of those who saved their lives none knew what became of the others, so stupefied were they by the waves and the boisterous wind. As for myself, O my mistress, God, whose name be exalted, spared me on account of the trouble and torment and affliction that He had predestined to befall me. I placed myself upon a plank, and the wind and waves cast it upon the mountain; and when I had landed, I found a practicable way to the summit, resembling steps cut in the rock: so I exclaimed, In the name of God!—and offered up a prayer, and attempted the ascent, holding fast by the notches; and presently God stilled the wind and assisted me in my endeavours, so that I arrived in safety at the summit. Rejoicing greatly in my escape, I immediately entered the cupola, and performed the prayers of two rek’ahs73 in gratitude to God for my preservation; after which I slept beneath the cupola, and heard a voice saying to me, O son of Khaṣeeb,74 when thou awakest from thy sleep, dig beneath thy feet, and thou wilt find a bow of brass, and three arrows of lead, whereon are engraved talismans: then take the bow and arrows and shoot at the horseman that is upon the top of the cupola, and relieve mankind from this great affliction; for when thou hast shot at the horseman he will fall into the sea; the bow will also fall, and do thou bury it in its place; and as soon as thou hast done this, the sea will swell and rise until it163 attains the summit of the mountain; and there will appear upon it a boat bearing a man, different from him whom thou shalt have cast down, and he will come to thee, having an oar in his hand: then do thou embark with him; but utter not the name of God; and he will convey thee in ten days to a safe sea, where, on thy arrival, thou wilt find one who will take thee to thy city. All this shall be done if thou utter not the name of God.

Awaking from my sleep, I sprang up, and did as the voice had directed. I shot at the horseman, and he fell into the sea; and the bow having fallen from my hand, I buried it: the sea then became troubled, and rose to the summit of the mountain, and when I had stood waiting there a little while, I beheld a boat in the midst of the sea, approaching me. I praised God, whose name be exalted, and when the boat came to me, I found in it a man of brass, with a tablet of lead upon his breast, engraven with names and talismans. Without uttering a word, I embarked in the boat, and the man rowed me ten successive days, after which I beheld the islands of security, whereupon, in the excess of my joy, I exclaimed, In the name of God! There is no deity but God! God is most great!—and as soon as I had done this, he cast me out of the boat, and sank in the sea.

The Prince thrown ashore
Being able to swim, I swam until night, when my arms and shoulders were tired, and, in this perilous situation, I repeated the164 profession of the faith, and gave myself up as lost; but the sea rose with the violence of the wind, and a wave like a vast castle threw me upon the land, in order to the accomplishment of the purpose of God. I ascended the shore, and after I had wrung out my clothes, and spread them upon the ground to dry, I slept; and in the morning I put on my clothes again, and, looking about to see which way I should go, I found a tract covered with trees, to which I advanced; and when I had walked round it, I found that I was upon a small island in the midst of the sea; upon which I said within myself, Every time that I escape from one calamity I fall into another that is worse:—but while I was reflecting upon my unfortunate case, and wishing for death, I beheld a vessel bearing a number of men. I arose immediately, and climbed into a tree; and lo, the vessel came to the shore, and there landed from it ten black slaves bearing axes. They proceeded to the middle of the island, and, digging up the earth, uncovered and lifted up a trap-door, after which they returned to the vessel, and brought from it bread and flour and clarified butter and honey and sheep and everything that the wants of an inhabitant would require, continuing to pass backwards and forwards between the vessel and the trap-door, bringing loads from the former, and entering the latter, until they had removed all the stores from the ship. They then came out of the vessel with various clothes of the most beautiful description, and in the midst of them was an old sheykh, enfeebled and wasted by extreme age, leading by the hand a young man cast in the mould of graceful symmetry, and invested with such perfect beauty as deserved to be a subject for proverbs. He was like a fresh and slender twig, enchanting and captivating every heart by his elegant form. The party proceeded to the trap-door, and, entering it, became concealed from my eyes.75

They remained beneath about two hours, or more; after which, the sheykh and the slaves came out; but the youth came not with them; and they replaced the earth, and embarked and set sail. Soon after, I descended from the tree, and went to the excavation. I removed the earth, and, entering the aperture, saw a flight of wooden steps, which I descended; and, at the bottom, I beheld a handsome dwelling-place, furnished with a variety of silken carpets; and there was the youth, sitting upon a high mattress, with sweet-smelling flowers and fruits placed before him. On seeing me, his countenance became pale; but I saluted him, and said, Let thy mind be composed, O my master: thou hast nothing to fear, O delight of my eye; for I am a man, and the son of a King, like thyself: fate hath impelled me to165 thee, that I may cheer thee in thy solitude. The youth, when he heard me thus address him, and was convinced that I was one of his own species, rejoiced exceedingly at my arrival, his colour returned, and, desiring me to approach him, he said, O my brother, my story is wonderful: my father is a jeweller: he had slaves who made voyages by his orders, for the purposes of commerce, and he had dealings with Kings; but he had never been blest with a son; and he dreamt that he was soon to have a son, but one whose life would be short; and he awoke sorrowful.76 Shortly after, in accordance with the decrees of God, my mother conceived me, and when her time was complete, she gave birth to me; and my father was greatly rejoiced: the astrologers, however, came to him, and said, Thy son will live fifteen years: his fate is intimated by the fact that there is, in the sea, a mountain called the Mountain of Loadstone, whereon is a horseman on a horse of brass, on the former of which is a tablet of lead suspended to his neck; and when the horseman shall be thrown down from his horse, thy son will be slain: the person who is to slay him is he who will throw down the horseman, and his name is King ‘Ajeeb,77 the son of King Khaṣeeb. My father was greatly afflicted at this announcement; and when he had reared me until I had nearly attained the age of fifteen years, the astrologers came again, and informed him that the horseman had fallen into the sea, and that it had been thrown down by King ‘Ajeeb, the son of King Khaṣeeb; on hearing which, he prepared for me this dwelling, and here left me to remain until the completion of the term, of which there now remain ten days. All this he did from fear lest King ‘Ajeeb should kill me.

When I heard this, I was filled with wonder, and said within myself, I am King ‘Ajeeb, the son of King Khaṣeeb, and it was I who threw down the horseman; but, by Allah, I will neither kill him nor do him any injury. Then said I to the youth, Far from thee be both destruction and harm, if it be the will of God, whose name be exalted: thou hast nothing to fear: I will remain with thee to serve thee, and will go forth with thee to thy father, and beg of him to send me back to my country, for the which he will obtain a reward. The youth rejoiced at my words, and I sat and conversed with him until night, when I spread his bed for him, and covered him, and slept near to his side. And in the morning I brought him water, and he washed his face, and said to me, May God requite thee for me with every blessing. If I escape from King ‘Ajeeb, I will make my father reward thee with abundant favours.—Never, I replied, may the day arrive that would166 bring thee misfortune. I then placed before him some refreshments, and after we had eaten together, we passed the day conversing with the utmost cheerfulness.

Death of the Youth in the Cave
I continued to serve him for nine days; and on the tenth day the youth rejoiced at finding himself in safety, and said to me, O my brother, I wish that thou wouldst in thy kindness warm for me some water, that I may wash myself and change my clothes; for I have smelt the odour of escape from death, in consequence of thy assistance. —With pleasure, I replied;—and I arose, and warmed the water; after which, he entered a place concealed from my view, and, having washed himself and changed his clothes, laid himself upon the mattress to rest after his bath. He then said to me, Cut up for me, O my brother, a water-melon, and mix its juice with some sugar:—so I arose, and, taking a melon, brought it upon a plate, and said to him, Knowest thou, O my master, where is the knife?—See, here it is, he answered, upon the shelf over my head. I sprang up hastily, and167 took it from its sheath, and as I was drawing back, my foot slipped, as God had decreed, and I fell upon the youth, grasping in my hand the knife, which entered his body, and he died instantly. When I perceived that he was dead, and that I had killed him, I uttered a loud shriek, and beat my face, and rent my clothes, saying, This is, indeed, a calamity! O what a calamity! O my Lord, I implore thy pardon, and declare to Thee my innocence of his death! Would that I had died before him! How long shall I devour trouble after trouble!

With these reflections I ascended the steps, and, having replaced the trap-door, returned to my first station, and looked over the sea, where I saw the vessel that had come before, approaching, and cleaving the waves in its rapid course. Upon this I said within myself, Now will the men come forth from the vessel, and find the youth slain, and they will slay me also:—so I climbed into a tree, and concealed myself among its leaves, and sat there till the vessel arrived and cast anchor, when the slaves landed with the old sheykh, the father of the youth, and went to the place, and removed the earth. They were surprised at finding it moist, and, when they had descended the steps, they discovered the youth lying on his back, exhibiting a face beaming with beauty, though dead, and clad in white and clean clothing, with the knife remaining in his body. They all wept at the sight, and the father fell down in a swoon, which lasted so long that the slaves thought he was dead. At length, however, he recovered, and came out with the slaves, who had wrapped the body of the youth in his clothes. They then took back all that was in the subterranean dwelling to the vessel, and departed.

I remained, O my mistress, by day hiding myself in a tree, and at night walking about the open part of the island. Thus I continued for the space of two months; and I perceived that, on the western side of the island, the water of the sea every day retired, until, after three months, the land that had been beneath it became dry. Rejoicing at this, and feeling confident now in my escape, I traversed this dry tract, and arrived at an expanse of sand; whereupon I emboldened myself, and crossed it. I then saw in the distance an appearance of fire, and, advancing towards it, found it to be a palace, overlaid with plates of copper, which, reflecting the rays of the sun, seemed from a distance to be fire: and when I drew near to it, reflecting upon this sight, there approached me an old sheykh, accompanied by ten young men who were all blind of one eye, at which I168 was extremely surprised. As soon as they saw me, they saluted me, and asked me my story, which I related to them from first to last; and they were filled with wonder. They then conducted me into the palace, where I saw ten benches, upon each of which was a mattress covered with a blue stuff;78 and each of the young men seated himself upon one of these benches, while the sheykh took his place upon a smaller one; after which they said to me, Sit down, O young man, and ask no question respecting our condition, nor respecting our being blind of one eye. Then the sheykh arose, and brought to each of them some food, and the same to me also; and next he brought to each of us some wine: and after we had eaten, we sat drinking together until the time for sleep, when the young men said to the sheykh, Bring to us our accustomed supply:—upon which the sheykh arose, and entered a closet, from which he brought, upon his head, ten covered trays. Placing these upon the floor, he lighted ten candles, and stuck one of them upon each tray; and, having done this, he removed the covers, and there appeared beneath them ashes mixed with pounded charcoal. The young men then tucked up their sleeves above the elbow, and blackened their faces, and slapped their cheeks,79 exclaiming, We were reposing at our ease, and our impertinent curiosity suffered us not to remain so! Thus they did until the morning, when the sheykh brought them some hot water, and they washed their faces, and put on other clothes.

On witnessing this conduct, my reason was confounded, my heart was so troubled that I forgot my own misfortunes, and I asked them the cause of their strange behaviour; upon which they looked towards me, and said, O young man, ask not respecting that which doth not concern thee; but be silent; for in silence is security from error.—I remained with them a whole month, during which, every night they did the same; and at length I said to them, I conjure you by Allah to remove this disquiet from my mind, and to inform me of the cause of your acting in this manner, and of your exclaiming, We were reposing at our ease, and our impertinent curiosity suffered us not to remain so!—if ye inform me not, I will leave you, and go my way; for the proverb saith, When the eye seeth not, the heart doth not grieve.—On hearing these words, they replied, We have not concealed this affair from thee but in our concern for thy welfare, lest thou shouldst become like us, and the same affliction that hath befallen us happen also to thee. I said, however, Ye must positively inform me of this matter.—We give thee good advice, said they, and do thou169 receive it, and ask us not respecting our case; otherwise thou wilt become blind of one eye, like us:—but I still persisted in my request; whereupon they said, O young man, if this befall thee, know that thou wilt be banished from our company. They then all arose, and, taking a ram, slaughtered and skinned it, and said to me, Take this knife with thee, and introduce thyself into the skin of the ram, and we will sew thee up in it, and go away; whereupon a bird called the rukh’80 will come to thee, and, taking thee up by its talons, will fly away with thee, and set thee down upon a mountain: then cut open the skin with this knife, and get out, and the bird will fly away. Thou must arise, as soon as it hath gone, and journey for half a day, and thou wilt see before thee a lofty palace, encased with red gold, set with various precious stones, such as emeralds and rubies, &c.; and if thou enter it thy case will be as ours; for our entrance into that palace was the cause of our being blind of one eye; and if one of us would relate to thee all that hath befallen him, his story would be too long for thee to hear.

They then sewed me up in the skin, and entered their palace; and soon after, there came an enormous white bird, which seized me, and flew away with me, and set me down upon the mountain; whereupon I cut open the skin, and got out; and the bird, as soon as it saw me, flew away. I rose up quickly, and proceeded towards the palace, which I found to be as they had described it to me; and when I had entered it, I beheld, at the upper end of a saloon, forty young damsels, beautiful as so many moons, and magnificently attired, who, as soon as they saw me, exclaimed, Welcome! Welcome! O our master and our lord! We have been for a month expecting thee. Praise be to God who hath blessed us with one who is worthy of us, and one of whom we are worthy!—After having thus greeted me, they seated me upon a mattress, and said, Thou art from this day our master and prince, and we are thy handmaids, and entirely under thy authority. They then brought to me some refreshments, and, when I had eaten and drunk, they sat and conversed with me, full of joy and happiness. So lovely were these ladies, that even a devotee, if he saw them, would gladly consent to be their servant, and to comply with all that they would desire. At the approach of night they all assembled around me, and placed before me a table of fresh and dried fruits, with other delicacies that the tongue cannot describe, and wine; and one began to sing, while another played upon the lute. The wine-cups circulated among us, and joy overcame me to such a degree as to obliterate from170 my mind every earthly care, and make me exclaim, This is indeed a delightful life! I passed a night of such enjoyment as I had never before experienced; and on the morrow I entered the bath; and, after I had washed myself, they brought me a suit of the richest clothing, and we again sat down to a repast.

In this manner I lived with them a whole year; but on the first day of the new year, they seated themselves around me, and began to weep, and bade me farewell, clinging to my skirts.—What calamity hath befallen you? said I. Ye have broken my heart.—They answered, Would that we had never known thee; for we have associated with many men, but have seen none like thee. May God, therefore, not deprive us of thy company.—And they wept afresh. I said to them, I wish that you would acquaint me with the cause of this weeping.—Thou, they replied, art the cause; yet now, if thou wilt attend to what we tell thee, we shall never be parted; but if thou act contrary to it, we are separated from this time; and our hearts whisper to us that thou wilt not regard our warning.—Inform me, said I, and I will attend to your directions:—and they replied, If then thou wouldst inquire respecting our history, know that we are the daughters of Kings: for many years it hath been our custom to assemble here, and every year we absent ourselves during a period of forty days; then returning, we indulge ourselves for a year in feasting and drinking. This is our usual practice; and now we fear that thou wilt disregard our directions when we are absent from thee. We deliver to thee the keys of the palace, which are a hundred in number, belonging to a hundred closets. Open each of these, and amuse thyself, and eat and drink, and refresh thyself, excepting the closet that hath a door of red gold; for if thou open this, the consequence will be a separation between us and thee. We conjure thee, therefore, to observe our direction, and to be patient during this period.—Upon hearing this, I swore to them that I would never open the closet to which they alluded; and they departed, urging me to be faithful to my promise.

I remained alone in the palace, and at the approach of evening I opened the first closet, and, entering it, found a mansion like paradise, with a garden containing green trees loaded with ripe fruits, abounding with singing birds, and watered by copious streams. My heart was soothed by the sight, and I wandered among the trees, scenting the fragrance of the flowers, and listening to the warbling of the birds as they sang the praises of the One, the Almighty.81 After admiring the mingled colours of the apple resembling the hue upon the cheek of a171 beloved mistress and the sallow countenance of the perplexed and timid lover, the sweet-smelling quince diffusing an odour like musk and ambergris, and the plum shining as the ruby, I retired from this place, and, having locked the door, opened that of the next closet, within which I beheld a spacious tract planted with numerous palm-trees, and watered by a river flowing among rose-trees, and jasmine, and marjoram, and eglantine, and narcissus, and gilliflower, the odours of which, diffused in every direction by the wind, inspired me with the utmost delight. I locked again the door of the second closet, and opened that of the third. Within this I found a large saloon, paved with marbles of various colours, and with costly minerals and precious gems, and containing cages constructed of sandal and aloes-wood with singing birds within them, and others upon the branches of trees which were planted there. My heart was charmed, my trouble was dissipated, and I slept there until the morning. I then opened the door of the fourth closet, and within this door I found a great building in which172 were forty closets with open doors; and, entering these, I beheld pearls, and rubies, and chrysolites, and emeralds, and other precious jewels such as the tongue cannot describe. I was astonished at the sight, and said, Such things as these, I imagine, are not found in the treasury of any King. I am now the King of my age, and all these treasures, through the goodness of God, are mine, together with forty damsels under my authority who have no man to share them with me.

Thus I continued to amuse myself, passing from one place to another, until thirty-nine days had elapsed, and I had opened the doors of all the closets excepting that which they had forbidden me to open. My heart was then disturbed by curiosity respecting this hundredth closet, and the Devil, in order to plunge me into misery, induced me to open it. I had not patience to abstain, though there remained of the appointed period only one day: so I approached the closet, and opened the door; and when I had entered, I perceived a fragrant odour, such as I had never before smelt, which intoxicated me so that I fell down insensible, and remained some time in this state: but at length recovering, I fortified my heart, and proceeded. I found the floor overspread with saffron, and the place illuminated by golden lamps and by candles, which diffused the odours of musk and ambergris; and two large perfuming-vessels filled with aloes-wood and ambergris, and a perfume compounded with honey, spread fragrance through the whole place. I saw also a black horse, of the hue of the darkest night, before which was a manger of white crystal filled with cleansed sesame, and another, similar to it, containing rose-water infused with musk: he was saddled and bridled, and his saddle was of red gold. Wondering at the sight of him, I said within myself, This must be an animal of extraordinary qualities;—and, seduced by the Devil, I led him out, and mounted him; but he moved not from his place: I kicked him with my heel; but still he moved not: so I took a miḳra’ah and struck him with it; and as soon as he felt the blow he uttered a sound like thunder, and, expanding a pair of wings, soared with me to an immense height through the air, and then alighted upon the roof of another palace, where he threw me from his back, and, by a violent blow with his tail upon my face, as I sat on the roof, struck out my eye, and left me.82

In this state I descended from the roof, and below I found the one-eyed young men before mentioned, who, as soon as they beheld me, exclaimed, No welcome to thee!—Receive me, said I, into your company:—but they replied, By Allah, thou shalt not remain with173 us:—so I departed from them, with mournful heart and weeping eye, and, God having decreed me a safe journey hither, I arrived at Baghdád, after I had shaved my beard, and become a mendicant.83

The mistress of the house then looked towards the Khaleefeh and Jaạfar and Mesroor, and said to them, Acquaint me with your histories:—upon which Jaạfar advanced towards her, and related to her the same story that he had told to the portress before they entered; and when she had heard it, she liberated them all. They accordingly departed, and when they had gone out into the street, the Khaleefeh inquired of the mendicants whither they were going. They answered that they knew not whither to go: whereupon he desired them to accompany his party; and then said to Jaạfar, Take them home with thee, and bring them before me to-morrow, and we will see the result. Jaạfar, therefore, did as he was commanded, and the Khaleefeh returned to his palace; but he was unable to sleep during the remainder of the night.

On the following morning he sat upon his throne, and when his courtiers had presented themselves before him, and departed, excepting Jaạfar, he said to him, Bring before me the three ladies and the two bitches and the mendicants. So Jaạfar arose, and brought them, and, placing the ladies behind the curtains, said to them, We have forgiven you on account of your previous kindness to us, and because ye knew us not; and now I acquaint you that ye are in the presence of the fifth of the sons of El-‘Abbás, Hároon Er-Rasheed; therefore relate to him nothing but the truth. And when the ladies heard the words which Jaạfar addressed to them on the part of the Khaleefeh, the eldest of them advanced, and thus related her story:—

O Prince of the Faithful, my story is wonderful; for these two bitches84 are my sisters, born to my father, but of another mother; and I am the youngest of the three. After the death of our father, who left us five thousand pieces of gold, these my two sisters married, and when they had resided some time with their husbands, each of the174 latter prepared a stock of merchandise, and received from his wife a thousand pieces of gold, and they all set forth on a journey together, leaving me here; but after they had been absent four years, my sisters’ husbands lost all their property, and abandoned them in a strange land, and they returned to me in the garb of beggars. When I first saw them in this state, I knew them not; and, as soon as I recognised them, I exclaimed, How is it that ye are in this condition?—O our sister, they answered, thy inquiry now is of no use: the Pen hath written what God hath decreed.85—I sent them, therefore, to the bath, and, having clad them in new apparel, said to them, O my sisters, ye are my elders, and I am young; so ye shall be to me in the places of my father and mother. The inheritance which I shared with you God hath blessed; partake then of its increase, for my affairs are prosperous; and I and ye shall fare alike.—I treated them with the utmost kindness, and during a whole year they remained with me, and enriched themselves by the money that I had given them; but after this period they said to me, It will be more agreeable to us to marry again, for we can no longer abstain from doing so.—O my sisters, I replied, ye have seen no happiness in marriage: a good husband in this age is rarely found, and ye have already had experience of the marriage-state. They, however, heeded not my words; but married against my consent: yet I gave them dowries from my own property, and continued to them my protection. They went to their husbands, and the latter, after they had resided with them a short time, defrauded them of all that they possessed, and, setting175 forth on a journey, left them destitute: so again they returned to me, and, in a state of nudity, implored my forgiveness, saying, Be not angry with us; for though thou art younger than we, thou hast more mature sense; and we promise thee that we will never again mention the subject of marriage. I replied, Ye are welcome, O my sisters; for I have no one dearer to me than yourselves:—and I received them, and treated them with every kindness, and we remained happily together for the space of a year.

First Lady recognising her Sisters
After this I resolved to fit out a vessel for a mercantile voyage:86 accordingly, I stocked a large ship with various goods and necessary provisions, and said to my sisters, Will ye rather stay at home during my voyage, or will ye go with me?—to which they answered, We will accompany thee during the voyage, for we cannot endure to be separated from thee. I therefore took them with me, and we set sail; but first I divided my property into two equal portions; one of which I took with me, and the other I concealed, saying within myself, Perhaps some evil accident may happen to the ship, and our lives may be prolonged; in which case, when we return we shall find that which will be of service to us.—We continued our voyage by day and night, till at length the vessel pursued a wrong course, and the captain knew not whither to steer. The ship had entered a different sea from that which we wished to cross, and for some time we knew it not; but for ten days we had a pleasant wind, and after this, a city loomed before us in the distance. We asked the captain what was the name of this city; and he answered, I know it not; I have never seen it till this day, nor have I ever before in the course of my life navigated this sea: but as we have come hither in safety, ye have nothing to do but to enter this city and land your goods, and, if ye find opportunity, sell or exchange there: if not, we will rest there two days, and take in fresh provisions. So we entered the port of the city, and the captain landed, and after a while returned to us, saying, Arise, and go up into the city, and wonder at that which God hath done unto his creatures, and pray to be preserved from his anger. And when we had entered the city, we found all its inhabitants converted into black stones. We were amazed at the sight, and as we walked through the market-streets, finding the merchandise and the gold and silver remaining in their original state, we rejoiced, and said, This must have been occasioned by same wonderful circumstance. We then separated in the streets, each of us attracted from his companions by the wealth and stuffs in the shops.176

As for myself, I ascended to the citadel, which I found to be a building of admirable construction; and, entering the King’s palace, I found all the vessels of gold and silver remaining in their places, and the King himself seated in the midst of his Chamberlains and Viceroys and Wezeers, and clad in apparel of astonishing richness. Drawing nearer to him, I perceived that he was sitting upon a throne adorned with pearls and jewels, every one of the pearls shining like a star: his dress was embroidered with gold, and around him stood fifty memlooks, attired in silks of various descriptions, and having in their hands drawn swords. Stupefied at this spectacle, I proceeded, and entered the saloon of the Ḥareem, upon the walls of which were hung silken curtains; and here I beheld the Queen, attired in a dress embroidered with fresh pearls, and having upon her head a diadem adorned with various jewels, and necklaces of different kinds on her neck. All her clothing and ornaments remained as they were at first, though she herself was converted into black stone. Here also I found an open door, and, entering it, I saw a flight of seven steps, by which I ascended to an apartment paved with marble, furnished with gold-embroidered carpets, and containing a couch of alabaster, ornamented with pearls and jewels; but my eyes were first attracted by a gleam of light, and when I approached the spot whence it proceeded, I found a brilliant jewel, of the size of an ostrich’s egg, placed upon a small stool, diffusing a light like that of a candle. The coverings of the couch above mentioned were of various kinds of silk, the richness of which would surprise every beholder; and I looked at them with wonder. In this apartment I likewise observed some lighted candles, and reflected that there must then have been some person there to light them. I passed thence to another part of the palace, and continued to explore the different apartments, forgetting myself in the amazement of my mind at all these strange circumstances, and immersed in thoughts respecting what I beheld, until the commencement of night, when I would have departed; but could not find the door: so I returned to the place in which were the lighted candles, and there I laid myself upon the couch, and, covering myself with a quilt, repeated some words of the Ḳur-án, and endeavoured to compose myself to sleep; but I could not. I continued restless: and at midnight I heard a recitation of the Ḳur-án, performed by a melodious and soft voice; upon which I arose, and, looking about, saw a closet with an open door, and I entered it, and found that it was an oratory: lighted lamps were suspended in it, and upon a prayer-carpet spread on the floor sat a177 young man of handsome aspect. Wondering that he had escaped the fate of the other inhabitants of the city, I saluted him; and he raised his eyes, and returned my salutation: and I then said to him, I conjure thee by the truth of that which thou art reading in the Book of God, that thou answer the question which I am about to ask thee:—whereupon he smiled, and replied, Do thou first acquaint me with the cause of thine entrance into this place, and then I will answer thy question: so I told him my story, and inquired of him the history of this city. Wait a little, said he;—and he closed the Ḳur-án, and, having put it in a bag of satin, seated me by his side. As I now beheld him, his countenance appeared like the full moon, and his whole person exhibited such perfect elegance and loveliness, that a single glance at him drew from me a thousand sighs, and kindled a fire in my heart. I repeated my request that he would give me an account of the city; and, replying, I hear and obey, he thus addressed me:—

The Prince in the Oratory
Know that this city belonged to my father and his family and subjects; and he is the King whom thou hast seen converted into178 stone; and the Queen whom thou hast seen is my mother. They were all Magians, worshipping fire in the place of the Almighty King;87 and they swore by the fire and the light, and the shade and the heat, and the revolving orb. My father had no son, till, in his declining years, he was blest with me, whom he reared until I attained to manhood. But, happily for me, there was, in our family, an old woman, far advanced in age, who was a Muslimeh, believing in God and his Apostle in her heart, though she conformed with my family in outward observances; and my father confided in her, on account of the faithfulness and modesty that he had observed in her character, and shewed her great favour, firmly believing that she held the same faith as himself; therefore, when I had passed my infancy, he committed me to her care, saying, Take him, and rear him, and instruct him in the ordinances of our faith, and educate him and serve him in the best manner. The old woman accordingly received me, but took care to instruct me in the faith of El-Islám, teaching me the laws of purification, and the divine ordinances of ablution, together with the forms of prayer; after which she made me commit to memory the whole of the Ḳur-án. She then charged me to keep my faith a secret from my father, lest he should kill me; and I did so; and a few days after, the old woman died. The inhabitants of the city had now increased in their impiety and arrogance, and in their dereliction of the truth; and while they were in this state, they heard a crier proclaim with a voice like thunder, so as to be audible to both the near and the distant, O inhabitants of this city, abstain from the worship of fire, and worship the Almighty King!—The people were struck with consternation, and, flocking to my father, the King of the city, said to him, What is this alarming voice which hath astounded us by its terrible sound?—but he answered them, Let not the voice terrify you, nor let it turn you from your faith:—and their hearts inclined to his words; so they persevered in the worship of fire, and remained obstinate in their impiety during another year, until the return of the period at which they had heard the voice the first time. It was then heard a second time; and again, in the next year, they heard it a third time; but still they persisted in their evil ways, until, drawing down upon themselves the abhorrence and indignation of Heaven, one morning, shortly after daybreak, they were converted into black stones, together with their beasts and all their cattle. Not one of the inhabitants of the city escaped, excepting me; and from the day on which this catastrophe happened, I have continued occupied as thou seest, in prayer, and179 fasting, and reading the Ḳur-án: but I have become weary of this solitary state, having no one to cheer me with his company.

On hearing these words, I said to him, Wilt thou go with me to the city of Baghdád, and visit its learned men and lawyers, and increase thy knowledge? If so, I will be thy handmaid, though I am the mistress of my family, and have authority over a household of men. I have here a ship laden with merchandise, and destiny hath driven us to this city, in order that we might become acquainted with these events: our meeting was predestined.—In this manner I continued to persuade him until he gave his consent. I slept that night at his feet, unconscious of my state through excessive joy; and in the morning we rose, and, entering the treasuries, took away a quantity of the lighter and most valuable of the articles that they contained, and descended from the citadel into the city, where we met the slaves and the captain, who were searching for me. They were rejoiced at seeing me, and, to their questions respecting my absence, I replied by informing them of all that I had seen, and related to them the history of the young man, and the cause of the transmutation of the people of the city, and of all that had befallen them, which filled them with wonder. But when my two sisters saw me with the young man, they envied me on his account, and malevolently plotted against me.

We embarked again, and I experienced the utmost happiness, chiefly owing to the company of the young man; and after we had waited a while till the wind was favourable, we spread our sails, and departed. My sisters sat with me and the young man; and, in their conversation with me, said, O our sister, what dost thou purpose to do with this handsome youth? I answered, I desire to take him as my husband:—and, turning to him, and approaching him, I said, O my master, I wish to make a proposal to thee, and do not thou oppose it. He replied, I hear and obey:—and I then looked towards my sisters, and said to them, This young man is all that I desire, and all the wealth that is here is yours.—Excellent, they replied, is thy determination:—yet still they designed evil against me.—We continued our voyage with a favourable wind, and, quitting the sea of peril, entered the sea of security, across which we proceeded for some days, until we drew near to the city of El-Baṣrah, the buildings of which loomed before us at the approach of evening; but as soon as we had fallen asleep, my sisters took us up in our bed, both myself and the young man, and threw us into the sea. The youth, being unable to swim, was drowned: God recorded him among the company of the180 martyrs;88 while I was registered among those whose life was yet to be preserved; and, accordingly, as soon as I awoke and found myself in the sea, the providence of God supplied me with a piece of timber, upon which I placed myself, and the waves cast me upon the shore of an island.

First Lady after killing the Serpent
During the remainder of the night I walked along this island, and in the morning I saw a neck of land, bearing the marks of a man’s feet, and uniting with the main land. The sun having now risen, I dried my clothes in its rays, and proceeded along the path that I had discovered until I drew near to the shore upon which stands the city, when I beheld a snake approaching me, and followed by a serpent which was endeavouring to destroy it; the tongue of the snake was181 hanging from its mouth in consequence of excessive fatigue, and it excited my compassion; so I took up a stone, and threw it at the head of the serpent, which instantly died: the snake then extended a pair of wings, and soared aloft into the sky, leaving me in wonder at the sight. At the time of this occurrence I had become so fatigued, that I now laid myself down and slept; but I awoke after a little while, and found a damsel seated at my feet, and gently rubbing them with her hands; upon which I immediately sat up, feeling ashamed that she should perform this service for me, and said to her, Who art thou, and what dost thou want?—How soon has thou forgotten me! she exclaimed: I am she to whom thou hast just done a kindness, by killing my enemy: I am the snake whom thou savedst from the serpent; for I am a Jinneeyeh, and the serpent was a Jinnee at enmity with me; and none but thou delivered me from him: therefore, as soon as thou didst this, I flew to the ship from which thy sisters cast thee, and transported all that it contained to thy house: I then sunk it; but as to thy sisters, I transformed them by enchantment into two black bitches; for I knew all that they had done to thee: the young man, however, is drowned.—Having thus said, she took me up, and placed me with the two black bitches on the roof of my house: and I found all the treasures that the ship had contained collected in the midst of my house: nothing was lost. She then said to me, I swear by that which was engraved upon the seal of Suleymán, that, if thou do not inflict three hundred lashes upon each of these bitches every day, I will come and transform thee in the like manner:—so I replied, I hear and obey:—and have continued ever since to inflict upon them these stripes, though pitying them while I do so.

The Khaleefeh heard this story with astonishment, and then said to the second lady, And what occasioned the stripes of which thou bearest the marks? She answered as follows:—

O Prince of the Faithful, my father, at his death, left considerable property; and soon after that event I married to one of the wealthiest men of the age, who, when I had lived with him a year, died, and I182 inherited from him eighty thousand pieces of gold, the portion that fell to me according to the law;89 with part of which I made for myself ten suits of clothing, each of the value of a thousand pieces of gold. And as I was sitting one day, there entered my apartment an old woman, disgustingly ugly, who saluted me, and said, I have an orphan daughter whose marriage I am to celebrate this night, and I would have thee obtain a reward and recompense in heaven by thy being present at her nuptial festivity; for she is broken-hearted, having none to befriend her but God, whose name be exalted. She then wept, and kissed my feet; and, being moved with pity and compassion, I assented, upon which she desired me to prepare myself, telling me that she would come at the hour of nightfall and take me; and so saying, she kissed my hand, and departed.

I arose immediately, and attired myself, and when I had completed my preparations, the old woman returned, saying, O my mistress, the ladies of the city have arrived, and I have informed them of thy coming, and they are waiting with joy to receive thee:—so I put on my outer garments, and, taking my female slaves with me, proceeded until we arrived at a street in which a soft wind was delightfully playing, where we saw a gateway over-arched with a marble vault, admirably constructed, forming the entrance to a palace which rose from the earth to the clouds.90 On our arrival there, the old woman knocked at the door, and, when it was opened, we entered a carpeted passage, illuminated by lamps and candles, and decorated with jewels and precious metals.91 Through this passage we passed into a saloon of unequalled magnificence, furnished with mattresses covered with silk, lighted by hanging lamps and by candles, and having, at its upper end, a couch of alabaster decorated with pearls and jewels, and canopied by curtains of satin, from which there came forth a lady beautiful as the moon, who exclaimed to me, Most welcome art thou, O my sister: thou delightest me by thy company, and refreshest my heart. She then sat down again, and said to me, O my sister, I have a brother who hath seen thee at a festivity: he is a young man, more handsome than myself, and, his heart being violently inflamed with love of thee, he hath bribed this old woman to go to thee, and to employ this artifice in order to obtain for me an interview with thee. He desireth to marry thee according to the ordinance of God and his Apostle, and in that which is lawful there is no disgrace.—When I heard these words, and saw myself thus confined in the house so that I could not escape, I replied, I hear and obey:—and the lady, re183joicing at my consent, clapped her hands, and opened a door, upon which there came out from it a young man so surpassingly handsome, that my heart immediately inclined to him. No sooner had he sat down than the Ḳáḍee and four witnesses entered, and saluted us, and proceeded to perform the ceremony of the marriage-contract92 between me and the young man; which having done, they departed; and when they had retired, the young man looked towards me, and said, May our night be blessed. He then informed me that he desired to impose a covenant upon me, and, bringing a copy of the Ḳur-án, said, Swear that thou wilt not indulge a preference, nor at all incline, to any man but me:—and when I had sworn to this effect, he rejoiced exceedingly, and embraced me; and the love of him took entire possession of my heart.

We lived together in the utmost happiness for the space of a month, after which I begged that he would allow me to go to the bázár, in order to purchase some stuffs for dress, and, having obtained his permission, went thither in company with the old woman, and seated myself at the shop of a young merchant with whom she was acquainted, and whose father, as she informed me, had died and left him great wealth. She desired him to shew me his most costly stuffs; and while he was occupied in doing so, she began to utter various flattering expressions in praise of him; but I said to her, We have no concern with the praises that thou bestowest upon him; we desire only to make our purchase, and to return home. Meanwhile he produced to us what we wanted, and we handed him the money: he refused, however, to take it, saying, It is an offering of hospitality to you for your visit this day:—whereupon I said to the old woman, If he will not take the money, return to him his stuff. But he would not receive it again, and exclaimed, By Allah, I will take nothing from you: all this is a present from me for a single kiss, which I shall value more than the entire contents of my shop.—What will a kiss profit thee? asked the old woman. Then, turning to me, she said, O my daughter, thou hast heard what the youth hath said: no harm will befall thee if he give thee a kiss, and thou shalt take what thou wantest.—Dost thou not know, said I, that I have taken an oath? She answered, Let him kiss thee then without thy speaking, and so it will be of no consequence to thee, and thou shalt take back thy money. Thus she continued to palliate the matter until I put my head (as it were) into the bag, and consented: so I covered my eyes, and held the edge of my veil in such a manner as to prevent the pas184sengers from seeing me, whereupon he put his mouth to my cheek beneath the veil, but instead of merely kissing me, he lacerated my cheek by a violent bite. I fell into a swoon from the pain, and the old woman laid me on her lap till I recovered, when I found the shop closed, and the old woman uttering expressions of grief, and saying, What God hath averted would have been a greater calamity; let us return home, and do thou feign to be ill, and I will come to thee and apply a remedy that shall cure the wound, and thou wilt quickly be restored.

Bázár, or Market-Street
After remaining there some time longer, I rose, and, in a state of great uneasiness and fear, returned to the house, and professed myself ill, upon which my husband came in to me, and said, What hath185 befallen thee, O my mistress, during this excursion? I answered, I am not well.—And what is this wound, said he, that is upon thy cheek, and in the soft part? I answered, When I asked thy permission, and went out to-day to purchase some stuff for dress, a camel loaded with firewood drove against me in the crowd, and tore my veil, and wounded my cheek as thou seest, for the streets of this city are narrow.93—To-morrow, then, he exclaimed, I will go to the governor, and make a complaint to him, and he shall hang every seller of firewood in the city.—By Allah, said I, burden not thyself by an injury to any one; for the truth is, that I was riding upon an ass, which took fright with me, and I fell upon the ground, and a stick lacerated my cheek.—If it be so, then, he replied, I will go to-morrow to Jaạfar El-Barmekee, and relate the matter to him, and he shall kill every ass-driver in this city.—Wilt thou, said I, kill all those men on my account, when this which befell me was decreed by God?—Undoubtedly, he answered; and, so saying, he seized me violently, and then sprang up, and uttered a loud cry, upon which the door opened, and there came forth from it seven black slaves, who dragged me from my bed, and threw me down in the middle of the apartment; whereupon he ordered one of them to hold me by my shoulders and to sit upon my head; and another, to sit upon my knees and to hold my feet. A third then came, with a sword in his hand, and said, O my lord, shall I strike her with the sword, and cleave her in twain, that each of these may take a half and throw it into the Tigris for the fish to devour?94 For such is the punishment of her who is unfaithful to her oath and to the laws of love.—My husband answered, Strike her, O Saạd:95—and the slave, with the drawn sword in his hand, said, Repeat the profession of the faith, and reflect what thou wouldst have to be done, that thou mayest give thy testamentary directions, for this is the end of thy life.—Good slave, I replied, release me for a while that I may do so:—and I raised my head, and, weeping as I spoke, addressed my husband with these verses:—

You render me lovelorn, and remain at ease. You make my wounded eyelid to be restless, and you sleep.
Your abode is between my heart and my eyes; and my heart will not relinquish you, nor my tears conceal my passion.
You made a covenant with me that you would remain faithful; but when you had gained possession of my heart you deceived me.
Will you not pity my love for you and my moaning? Have you yourself been secure from misfortunes?
I conjure you, by Allah, if I die, that you write upon my tombstone, This was a slave of love.
That, perchance, some mourner who hath felt the same flame may pass by the lover’s grave, and pity her.96
But on hearing these verses, and witnessing my weeping, he became more incensed, and replied in the words of this couplet:—

I reject not the beloved of my heart from weariness: her own guilty conduct is the cause of her punishment.
She desired that another should share with me her love; but the faith of my heart inclineth not to partnership.97
Old Woman interceding for the Second Lady
I continued to weep, and to endeavour to excite his compassion, saying within myself, I will humble me before him, and address him with soft words, that he may at least refrain from killing me, though he take all that I possess;—but he cried out to the slave, Cleave her in twain; for she is no longer of any value to us.—So the slave approached me, and I now felt assured of my death, and committed myself to God; but suddenly the old woman came and threw herself at my husband’s feet, and, kissing them, exclaimed, O my son, by the187 care with which I nursed thee, I conjure thee to pardon this damsel, for she hath committed no offence that deserveth such a punishment: thou art young, and I fear the effect of the imprecations that she may utter against thee:—and after she had thus addressed him, she wept, and continued to importune him, until, at length, he said, I pardon her, but must cause her to bear upon her person such marks of her offence as shall last for the remainder of her life. So saying, he commanded the slaves to strip off my vest, and, taking a stick cut from a quince-tree, he beat me upon my back and my sides until I became insensible from the violence of the blows, and despaired of my life. He then ordered the slaves to take me away as soon as it was night, accompanied by the old woman, and to throw me into my house in which I formerly resided. They accordingly executed their lord’s commands, and when they had deposited me in my house, I applied myself to the healing of my wounds; but, after I had cured myself, my sides still bore the appearance of having been beaten with miḳra’ahs. I continued to apply remedies for four months before I was restored, and then repaired to view the house in which this event had happened; but I found it reduced to ruin, and the whole street pulled down; the site of the house I found occupied by mounds of rubbish, and I knew not the cause.

Under these circumstances, I went to reside with this my sister, who is of the same father as myself, and I found with her these two bitches. Having saluted her, I informed her of all that had befallen me; to which she replied, Who is secure from the afflictions of fortune? Praise be to God who terminated the affair with safety to thy life!—She then related to me her own story, and that of her two sisters, and I remained with her, and neither of us ever mentioned the subject of marriage. Afterwards we were joined by this our other sister, the cateress, who every day goes out to purchase for us whatever we happen to want.

The Kaleefeh was astonished at this story, and ordered it to be recorded in a book, as an authentic history, and deposited the book in his library. And he said to the first lady, Knowest thou where the Jinneeyeh98 who enchanted thy sisters is to be found? She answered, O Prince of the Faithful, she gave me a lock of her hair, and said, When thou desirest my presence, burn a few of these hairs, and I will188 be with thee quickly, though I should be beyond Mount Ḳáf.—Bring then the hair, said the Khaleefeh. The lady, therefore, produced it; and the Khaleefeh, taking it, burned a portion of it, and, when the odour had diffused itself, the palace shook, and they heard a sound of thunder, and lo, the Jinneeyeh appeared before them. She was a Muslimeh, and therefore greeted the Khaleefeh by saying, Peace be on thee, O Khaleefeh of God!—to which he replied, On you be peace, and the mercy of God, and his blessings!99—She then said, Know that this lady hath conferred on me a benefit for which I am unable to requite her; for she rescued me from death, by killing my enemy; and I, having seen what her sisters had done to her, determined to take vengeance upon them; therefore I transformed them by enchantment into two bitches; and, indeed, I had wished rather to kill them, fearing lest they should trouble her; but now, if thou desire their restoration, O Prince of the Faithful, I will restore them, as a favour to thee and to her; for I am one of the true believers.—Do so, said the Khaleefeh; and then we will enter upon the consideration of the affair of the lady who hath been beaten, and examine her case, and if her veracity be established, I will take vengeance for her upon him who hath oppressed her. The Jinneeyeh replied, O Prince of the Faithful, I will guide thee to the discovery of him who acted thus to this lady, and oppressed her, and took her property: he is thy nearest relation. She then took a cup of water, and, having pronounced a spell over it, sprinkled the faces of the two bitches, saying, Be restored to your original human forms!—whereupon they became again two young ladies.—Extolled be the perfection of their Creator!100 Having done this, the Jinneeyeh said, O Prince of the Faithful, he who beat the lady is thy son El-Emeen, who had heard of her beauty and loveliness:—and she proceeded to relate what had happened. The Khaleefeh was astonished, and exclaimed, Praise be to God for the restoration of these two bitches which hath been effected through my means!—and immediately he summoned before him his son El-Emeen, and inquired of him the history of the lady; and he related to him the truth. He then sent for Ḳáḍees and witnesses, and the first lady and her two sisters who had been transformed into bitches he married to the three mendicants who had related that they were the sons of Kings; and these he made chamberlains of his court, appointing them all that they required, and allotting them apartments in the palace of Baghdád. The lady who had been beaten he restored to his son El-Emeen, giving her a large property, and ordering that the house should be189 rebuilt in a more handsome style. Lastly, the lady-cateress he took as his own wife; he admitted her at once to his own apartment, and, on the following day, he appointed her a separate lodging for herself, with female slaves to wait upon her: he also allotted to her a regular income; and afterwards built for her a palace.


Head-piece to Notes to Chapter III.–The Porter
Note 1.—On the Uses of Palm-sticks in various Manufactures. The kind of crate here mentioned is made of jereeds, or palm-sticks, which (being very soft, and easily cut and punched, in their fresh state, and very tough, difficult to break, and light, when dry,) are used in a great variety of manufactures. In making crates or baskets, and stools, bed-frames, coops, &c., a number of jereeds, being placed an inch or more apart, are fixed by two, three, or more, thicker ones, placed transversely. Round holes are punched in the latter, through which the former are inserted; and the whole becomes light and strong as soon as it is dry. Chests are made with thick jereeds placed close together, and others, pared thin, passing transversely through them.

Note 2.—Description of the Veils of Arab Women. The modern izár or eezár (for the word is written in two different ways), of Arab women, is a piece of drapery commonly worn by them when they appear in public. It is about two yards or more in width (according to the height of the wearer), and three yards in length: one edge of it being drawn from behind, over the upper part of the head and the forehead, and secured by a band sewed inside, the rest hangs down behind and on each side to the ground, or nearly so, and almost entirely envelops the person; the two ends being held so as nearly to meet in front. Thus it conceals every other part of the dress excepting a small portion of a very loose gown (which is another of the articles of walking or riding apparel), and the face-veil. It is now generally made of white calico, but a similar covering of black silk for the married, and of white silk for the unmarried, is now worn by females of the higher and middle classes, and is called a “ḥabarah.”

It appears that the kind of face-veil mentioned in the same passage (in Arabic, “ḳináạ,”) is a piece of muslin, about a yard or more in length, and somewhat less in width, a portion of which is placed over the head, beneath the izár, the rest hanging down in front, to the waist, or thereabout, and entirely concealing the face. I have often seen Arab women, particularly those of the Wahhábees, wearing veils of this kind composed of printed muslin, completely concealing their features, yet of sufficiently loose fabric to admit of their seeing their way. But the more common kind of Arab face-veil is a long strip of white muslin, or of a kind of black crape, covering the whole of the face excepting the eyes, and reaching nearly to the feet. It is suspended at the top by a narrow band, which passes up the forehead, and which is sewed, as are also the two upper corners of the veil, to a band that is tied round the head. This veil is called “burḳo’.” The black kind is often ornamented with gold coins, false pearls, &c., attached to the upper part. It is not so genteel as the white veil, unless for a lady in mourning.191

Note 3. “El-Móṣil” is the name of the city which Europeans commonly call “Mosul,” “Mosoul,” &c.; a city long famous for its fine stuffs. Hence our word “muslin,” often termed, in Arabic, “Móṣilee,” signifying, “of the manufacture of El-Móṣil.”

Note 4. The wine is mentioned in the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, but not in the edition of Cairo. The lady went to a Christian to purchase her wine because Muslims are not allowed to sell it.

Note 5. The “‘Othmánee quinces” I suppose to be a kind so called after some person named ‘Othmán who introduced it, or was famous for its culture. The term “Sulṭánee,” applied to the citrons afterwards mentioned, signifies “imperial.”

Note 6. A list of these sweets is given in my original, but I have thought it better to omit the names.

Note 7. The “willow-flower-water” is prepared from the sweet-scented flowers of the Oriental willow, called “bán” and “khiláf” or “khaláf;” a twig of which is, among the Arabs, a favourite emblem of a graceful female.

Note 8.—On the Vessels used for Sprinkling and Perfuming. The sprinkling-bottle, here called “mirashsh,” is more commonly called “ḳumḳum,” and has been alluded to in a former note, as having a spherical or wide body, and a long and narrow neck. It is generally about eight inches high, and of plain or gilt silver, or of fine brass, or china, or glass; and has a cover pierced with a small hole. This vessel is used in the houses of the rich to sprinkle a guest or visiter, before he rises to take his leave, with rose-water; after which ceremony, a page or servant presents to him a kind of censer, called “mibkharah,” which is generally of one or other of the metals above mentioned, and about the same height as the ḳumḳum; and he wafts the smoke which rises from it towards his face, beard, &c., with the right hand. The body of the mibkharah, the form of which is nearly globular, surmounts a stem rising from the centre of a small circular tray; the upper half is a cover pierced with apertures for the escape of the smoke; and the lower half, in which some burning charcoal is placed, is lined, or half filled, with gypsum-plaster. Aloes-wood, previously moistened, or some other odoriferous substance, is placed upon the burning coals; and sometimes, in the houses of very wealthy persons, ambergris is used.

Note 9. This description of the outer door of a house in Baghdád is an obvious absurdity; but none of the copies of the original to which I have access authorizes my substituting “gilt” for “plated with gold;” all here agreeing in the use of words which have the latter sense.

Note 10. In their eagerness to obtain the earliest possible sight of the new moon which marks the period of the commencement of the Ramaḍán, lest they should not begin their fast as soon as the law requires, the Muslims often see the crescent one night earlier in this than in any other month. The comparison of an eyebrow to the new moon of Ramaḍán expresses, therefore, its extreme thinness, as well as its arched form. To reduce its natural thickness, and to give it this form, scissors are often used.

Note 11. “The seal of Suleymán” is a name given by the Arabs to a six-pointed star formed by two equilateral triangles intersecting each other, and to the flower which we, also, call “Solomon’s seal.” I fear that the reader will not consider the comparison very apposite, unless the allusion be to a beautiful red berry which, I am informed, is borne by the flower here mentioned.

Note 12.—Description of Apartments in Arab Houses. Most of the descriptions of interior domestic architecture which occur in the present work, I may aptly illustrate by availing myself of observations made in Cairo. In the houses of persons of the higher and middle classes in this city, the different apartments generally resemble each other in several respects, and are similarly furnished. The greater portion of the floor192 is elevated about half a foot, or somewhat more, above the rest. The higher portion is called “leewán” (a corruption of “el-eewán”), and the lower, “durḳá’ah,” from the Persian “dar-gáh.” When there is but one leewán, the durḳá’ah occupies the lower end, extending from the door to the opposite wall. In a handsome house, it is usually paved with white and black marble, and little pieces of red tile, inlaid in tasteful and complicated patterns; and if the room is on the ground-floor, and sometimes in other cases, it has, in the centre, a fountain which plays into a small, shallow pool, lined with coloured marbles, &c., like the surrounding pavement. The shoes, or slippers, are left upon the durḳá’ah previously to stepping upon the leewán. The latter is generally paved with common stone, and covered with a mat in summer, and a carpet over this in winter; and a mattress and cushions are placed against each of its three walls, composing what is called a “deewán,” or divan. The mattress, which is commonly about three feet wide, and three or four inches thick, is placed either on the floor or on a raised frame or a slightly-elevated pavement; and the cushions, which are usually of a length equal to the width of the mattress, and of a height equal to half that measure, lean against the wall. Both mattresses and cushions are stuffed with cotton, and are covered with printed calico, cloth, or some more expensive stuff. The deewán which extends along the upper end of the leewán is called the “ṣadr,” and is the most honourable: and the chief place on this seat is the corner which is to the right of a person facing this end of the room; the other corner is the next in point of honour; and the intermediate places on the same deewán are more honourable than those on the two side-deewáns. To a superior, and often to an equal, the master or mistress yields the chief place. The corners are often furnished with an additional mattress, of a square form, just large enough for one person, placed upon the other mattress, and with two additional (but smaller) cushions to recline against. The walls are, for the most part, plastered and white-washed, and generally have two or more shallow cupboards, the doors of which, as well as those of the apartments, are fancifully constructed with small panels. The windows, which are chiefly composed of curious wooden lattice-work, serving to screen the inhabitants from the view of persons without, as also to admit both light and air, commonly project outwards, and are furnished with mattresses and cushions. In many houses there are, above these, small windows of coloured glass, representing bunches of flowers, &c. The ceiling is of wood, and certain portions of it, which are carved, or otherwise ornamented by fanciful carpentry, are usually painted with bright colours, such as red, green, and blue, and sometimes varied with gilding; but the greater part of the wood-work is generally left unpainted.

The word in the original text which I translate “saloon,” is “ḳá’ah.” This term is applied to a large and lofty apartment, commonly having two leewáns, on opposite sides of the durḳá’ah. One of these is, in most instances, larger than the other, and is held to be the more honourable part. Some ḳá’ahs, containing three leewáns, one of these being opposite the entrance, or four leewáns composing the form of a cross with the durḳá’ah in the centre, communicate with small chambers or closets, or have elevated recesses which are furnished in the same manner as the leewáns. That part of the roof which is over the durḳá’ah rises above the rest, sometimes to nearly twice the height of the latter, and is generally surmounted by a lantern of wooden lattice-work to admit the air.

Note 13. In the Cairo edition, the couch is described as being in the midst of the saloon; but this is inconsistent with what follows.

Note 14.—Of Bábil, and the Angels Hároot and Mároot. Bábil, or Babel, is regarded by the Muslims as the fountain-head of the science of magic, which was, and, as most think, still is, taught there to mankind by two fallen angels, named Hároot and Mároot,175 who are there suspended by the feet in a great pit closed by a mass of rock.

According to the account of them generally received as correct, these two angels, in consequence of their want of compassion for the frailties of mankind, were rendered, by God, susceptible of human passions, and sent down upon the earth to be tempted: they both sinned; and, being permitted to choose whether they would be punished in this life or in the other, chose the former; but they were sent down not merely to experience temptation, being also appointed to tempt others by means of their knowledge of magic; though it appears that they were commanded not to teach this art to any man “until they had said, Verily we are a temptation; therefore, be not an unbeliever.”176-–The celebrated traditionist Mujáhid is related to have visited them, under the guidance of a Jew. Having removed the mass of rock from the mouth of the pit, or well, they entered. Mujáhid had been previously charged by the Jew not to mention the name of God in their presence; but when he beheld them, resembling in size two huge mountains, and suspended upside-down, with irons attached to their necks and knees, he could not refrain from uttering the forbidden name; whereupon the two angels became so violently agitated that they almost broke the irons which confined them, and Mujáhid and his guide fled back in consternation.177

Note 15. The meaning conveyed by this comparison is “tall and slender.”

Note 16. In the MS. from which the old translation was made, it appears that this lady is called Zubeydeh (which was the name of the daughter of Jaạfar the son of El-Manṣoor, and wife of Er-Rasheed); the portress, Ṣáfiyeh; and the cateress, Ámineh; but no names are given to them in any of the copies of the original to which I have access.

Note 17. Literally, “two nuṣfs.” “Nuṣf,” vulgarly pronounced by the Egyptians “nuṣṣ,” and signifying “half,” is the name of a small Egyptian coin made of a mixture of silver and copper, and now equivalent to something less than a quarter of a farthing; but this name was originally given to the half-dirhems which were struck in the reign of the Sulṭán El-Mu-eiyad, in the early part of the ninth century of the Flight, or of the fifteenth of our era. In the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, and in the edition of Breslau, we read here “two dirhems,” instead of “two nuṣfs.” [The coin here mentioned still bears the name “Mu-eiyadee,” or, vulgarly, “Meiyadee.” In the latest coinage, copper has been substituted for the mixed metal. Ed.]

Note 18. The “menáreh” is the tower of a mosque, commonly called by English writers “minaret,” which generally rises from a square base.

Note 19. It is a common custom in the East to seal the doors of store-houses with a lump of clay, lest the lock should be picked.

Note 20. I here deviate a little from the Cairo edition, in which the cateress is described as having drunk three cups of wine successively before she handed any to her sisters. My reason for this will presently be seen.

Note 21. Thus in two editions. In the Cairo edition, “tukellimuhu” is put for “telkumuhu.”

Note 22. On Wine, Fruits, Flowers, and Music, in Illustration of Arab Carousals. I here pass over an extremely objectionable scene, which, it is to be hoped, would convey a very erroneous idea of the manners of Arab ladies; though I have witnessed, at private festivities in Cairo, abominable scenes, of which ladies, screened behind lattices, were spectators. Can the same be said with respect to the previous carousal? This is a question which cannot be answered in a few words.

The prohibition of wine, or, rather, of fermented and intoxicating liquors, being one 194of the most remarkable and important points of the Mohammadan religion, it might be imagined that the frequent stories in this work, describing parties of Muslims as habitually indulging in the use of forbidden beverages, are scandalous misrepresentations of Arab manners and customs. There are, however, many similar anecdotes interspersed in the works of Arab historians, which (though many of them are probably untrue in their application to particular individuals) could not have been offered to the public by such writers if they were not of a nature consistent with the customs of a considerable class of the Arab nation.

In investigating this subject, it is necessary, in the first place, to state, that there is a kind of wine which Muslims are permitted to drink. It is properly called “nebeedh” (a name which is now given to prohibited kinds of wine), and is generally prepared by putting dry grapes, or dry dates, in water, to extract their sweetness, and suffering the liquor to ferment slightly, until it acquires a little sharpness or pungency. The Prophet himself was in the habit of drinking wine of this kind, which was prepared for him in the first part of the night; he drank it on the first and second days following; but if any remained on the morning of the third day, he either gave it to his servants or ordered it to be poured out upon the ground.178 Such beverages have, therefore, been drunk by the strictest of his followers; and Ibn-Khaldoon strongly argues that nebeedh thus prepared from dates was the kind of wine used by the Khaleefehs Hároon Er-Rasheed and El-Ma-moon, and several other eminent men, who have been commonly accused of habitually and publicly indulging in debauches of wine properly so called; that is, of inebriating liquors.179

Nebeedh, prepared from raisins, is commonly sold in Arab towns, under the name of “zebeeb,” which signifies “raisins.” This I have often drunk in Cairo; but never could perceive that it was in the slightest degree fermented. Other beverages, to which the name of “nebeedh” has been applied (though, like zebeeb, no longer called by that name), are also sold in Arab towns. The most common of these is an infusion of licorice, and called by the name of the root, “‘erḳ-soos.” The nebeedh of dates is sold in Cairo with the dates themselves in the liquor; and in like manner is that of figs. Under the same appellation of “nebeedh” have been classed the different kinds of beer now commonly called “boozeh,” which have been mentioned in former pages. Opium, hemp, &c., are now more frequently used by the Muslims to induce intoxication or exhilaration. The young leaves of the hemp are generally used alone, or mixed with tobacco, for smoking; and the capsules, without the seeds, enter into the composition of several intoxicating conserves. Some remarks upon this subject have been inserted in a former note.

By my own experience I am but little qualified to pronounce an opinion respecting the prevalence of drinking wine among the Arabs; for, never drinking it myself, I had little opportunity of observing others do so during my residence among Muslims. I judge, therefore, from the conversations and writings of Arabs, which justify me in asserting that the practice of drinking wine in private, and by select parties, is far from being uncommon among modern Muslims, though certainly more so than it was before the introduction of tobacco into the East, in the beginning of the seventeenth century of our era; for this herb, being in a slight degree exhilarating, and at the same time soothing, and unattended by the injurious effects that result from wine, is a sufficient luxury to many who, without it, would have recourse to intoxicating beverages merely to pass away hours of idleness. The use of coffee, too, which became common in Egypt, Syria, and other countries, besides Arabia, a century earlier than tobacco, doubtless tended to render the habit of drinking wine less general. That it was adopted as a substitute for wine appears even from its name, “ḳahweh,” an old Arabic term for wine; whence the Turkish “ḳahveh,” the Italian “caffe,” and our “coffee.”


There is an Arabic work of some celebrity, and not of small extent, entitled “Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt,”180 apparently written shortly before the Arabs were in possession of the first of the above-mentioned substitutes for wine, nearly the whole of which consists of anecdotes and verses relating to the pleasures resulting from, or attendant upon, the use of wine; a few pages at the end being devoted to the condemnation of this practice, or, in other words, to prove the worthlessness of all that precedes. Of this work I possess a copy, a quarto volume of 464 pages. I have endeavoured to skim its cream; but found it impossible to do so without collecting, at the same time, a considerable quantity of most filthy scum; for it is characterised by wit and humour plentifully interlarded with the grossest and most revolting obscenity; yet it serves to confirm what has been above asserted. The mere existence of such a work (and it is not the only one of the kind), written by a man of learning, and I believe a Ḳáḍee, a judge, or one holding the honourable office of a guardian of religion and morality,181—written, too, evidently with pleasure, notwithstanding his assertion to the contrary,—is a strong argument in favour of the prevalence of the practice which it paints in the most fascinating colours, and then condemns. Its author terminates a chapter (the ninth), in which many well-known persons are mentioned as having been addicted to wine, by saying, that the Khaleefehs, Emeers, and Wezeers, so addicted, are too numerous to name in such a work; and by relating a story of a man who placed his own wife in pledge in the hands of a wine-merchant, after having expended in the purchase of the forbidden liquor all the property that he possessed. He excuses himself (in his preface) for writing this book, by saying that he had been ordered to do so by one whom he could not disobey; thus giving us a pretty strong proof that a great man in his time was not ashamed of avowing his fondness for the prohibited enjoyment. If, then, we admit the respectable authority of Ibn-Khaldoon, and acquit of the vice of drunkenness those illustrious individuals whose characters he vindicates, we must still regard most of the anecdotes relating to the carousals of other persons as being not without foundation.

One of my friends, who enjoys a high reputation, ranking among the most distinguished of the ‘Ulamà of Cairo, is well known to his intimate acquaintances as frequently indulging in the use of forbidden beverages with a few select associates. I disturbed him and his companions by an evening visit on one of these occasions, and was kept waiting within the street-door while the guests quickly removed everything that would give me any indication of the manner in which they had been employed; for the announcement of my (assumed) name, and their knowledge of my abstemious character, completely disconcerted them. I found them, however, in the best humour. They had contrived, it appeared, to fill with wine a china bottle, of the kind used at that season (winter) for water; and when any one of them asked the servant for water, this bottle was brought to him; but when I made the same demand, my host told me that there was a bottle of water on the sill of the window behind that part of the deewán upon which I was seated. The evening passed away very pleasantly, and I should not have known how unwelcome was my intrusion had not one of the guests with whom I was intimately acquainted, in walking part of the way home with me, explained to me the whole occurrence. There was with us a third person, who, thinking that my antipathy to wine was feigned, asked me to stop at his house on my way, and take a cup of “white coffee,” by which he meant brandy.

Another of my Muslim acquaintances in Cairo I frequently met at the house of a mutual friend, where, though he was in most respects very bigoted, he was in the habit of indulging in wine. For some time he refrained from this gratification when I was 196present; but at length my presence became so irksome to him, that he ventured to enter into an argument with me on the subject of the prohibition. The only answer I could give to his question, “Why is wine forbidden?”—was in the words of the Ḳur-án, “Because it is the source of more evil than profit.”182 This suited his purpose, as I intended it should; and he asked, “What evil results from it?” I answered, “Intoxication and quarrels, &c.”—”Then,” said he, “if a man take not enough to intoxicate him there is no harm;”—and finding that I acquiesced by silence, he added, “I am in the habit of taking a little; but never enough to intoxicate. Boy, bring me a glass.”—He was the only Muslim, however, whom I have heard to argue against the absolute interdiction of inebriating liquors.

Histories tell us that some of the early followers of the Prophet indulged in wine, holding the text above referred to as indecisive; and that Moḥammad was at first doubtful upon this subject appears from another text, in which his followers were told not to come to prayer when they were drunk, until they should know what they would say;183 an injunction somewhat similar to one in the Bible;184 but when frequent and severe contentions resulted from their use of wine, the following more decided condemnation of the practice was pronounced:—”O ye who have become believers, verily wine and lots and images and divining-arrows are an abomination of the work of the Devil; therefore, avoid them, that ye may prosper.”185 This law is absolute: its violation in the smallest degree is criminal. The punishment ordained by the law for drinking (or, according to most doctors, for even tasting) wine or spirits, or inducing intoxication by any other means, on ordinary occasions, is the infliction of eighty stripes in the case of a free man, and forty in that of a slave; but if the crime be openly committed in the course of any day of the month of Ramaḍán, when others are fasting, the punishment prescribed is death!

The prohibition of wine hindered many of the Prophet’s contemporaries from embracing his religion. It is said that the famous poet El-Aạshà, who was one of them, delayed to join his cause on this account, until death prevented him. A person passing by his tomb (at Menfooḥáh, in El-Yemámeh), and observing that it was moist, asked the reason, and was answered, that the young men of the place, considering him still as their cup-companion, drank wine over his grave, and poured his cup upon it.186 Yet many of the most respectable of the pagan Arabs, like certain of the Jews and early Christians, abstained totally from wine, from a feeling of its injurious effects upon morals, and, in their climate, upon health; or, more especially, from the fear of being led by it into the commission of foolish and degrading actions. Thus, Ḳeys the son of ‘Áṣim, being one night overcome with wine, attempted to grasp the moon, and swore that he would not quit the spot where he stood until he had laid hold of it: after leaping several times with the view of doing so, he fell flat upon his face; and when he recovered his senses, and was acquainted with the cause of his face being bruised, he made a solemn vow to abstain from wine ever after.187 A similar feeling operated upon many Muslims more than religious principle. The Khaleefeh ‘Abd-El-Melik Ibn-Marwán took pleasure in the company of a slave named Naṣeeb, and one day desired him to drink with him. The slave replied, “O Prince of the Faithful, I am not related to thee, nor have I any authority over thee, and I am of no rank or lineage: I am a black slave, and my wit and politeness have drawn me into thy favour: how then shall I take that which will plunder me of these two qualities; and by what shall I then propitiate thee?” The Khaleefeh admired and excused him.188

It was the custom of many Muslim princes, as might be inferred from the above anecdote, to admit the meanest of their dependants to participate in their unlawful carousals when they could have no better companions; but poets and musicians were 197their more common associates on these occasions; and these two classes, and especially the latter, are in the present day the most addicted to intoxicating liquors. Few modern Arab musicians are so well contented with extraordinary payment and mere sweet sherbet as with a moderate fee and plenty of wine and brandy; and many of them deem even wine but a sorry beverage.

It was usual with the host and guests at wine-parties to wear dresses of bright colours, red, yellow, and green;189 and to perfume their beards and mustaches with civet, or to have rose-water sprinkled upon them; and ambergris or aloes-wood, or some other odoriferous substance, placed upon burning coals in a censer, diffused a delicious fragrance throughout the saloon of the revels.

The wine, it appears, was rather thick; for it was necessary to strain it:190 it was probably sweet, and not strong; for it was drunk in large quantities. Frequently, perhaps, it was nebeedh of dry raisins kept longer than the law allows. It was usually kept in a large earthen vessel, called “denn,” high, and small at the bottom, which was partly imbedded in the earth to keep it upright. The name of this vessel is now given to a cask of wood; but the kind above mentioned was of earth; for it was easily broken.—A famous saint, Abu-l-Ḥoseyn En-Nooree, seeing a vessel on the Tigris containing thirty denns belonging to the Khaleefeh El-Moạtaḍid, and being told that they contained wine, took a boat-pole, and broke them all, excepting one. When brought before the Khaleefeh to answer for this action, and asked by him, “Who made thee Moḥtesib?”191 he boldly answered, “He who made thee Khaleefeh!”—and was pardoned.192—Pitch was used by the Arabs, as it was by the Greeks and Romans, for the purpose of curing their wine; the interior of the denn being coated with it. A smaller kind of earthen jar, or amphora,193 and a bottle of leather,194 or of glass,195 were also used. The wine was transferred for the table to glass jugs, or long-spouted ewers.196 These and the cups were placed upon a round embroidered cloth spread on the floor, or upon a round tray. The latter now is in general use, and is supported on a low stool, described in a former note, as being used at ordinary meals. The guests sat around, reclining against pillars; or they sat upon the deewán, and a page or slave handed the cup, having on his right arm a richly-embroidered napkin: the person after drinking took the end of this to wipe his lips. The cups are often described as holding a fluid pound, or little less than an English pint; and this is to be understood literally, or nearly so: they were commonly of cut glass; but some were of crystal, or silver, or gold.197 With these and the ewers or jugs were placed several saucers, or small dishes,198 of fresh and dried fruits;199 and fans and fly-whisks, of the kinds described on a former occasion, were used by the guests.

The most common and esteemed fruits in the countries inhabited by the Arabs may here be mentioned.

The date200 deserves the first place. The Prophet’s favourite fruits were fresh dates201 and water-melons; and he ate them both together.202 “Honour,” said he, “your paternal aunt, the date-palm; for she was created of the earth of which Adam was formed.”203 It is said that God hath given this tree as a peculiar favour to the 198Muslims; that he hath decreed all the date-palms in the world to them, and they have accordingly conquered every country in which these trees are found; and all are said to have derived their origin from the Hejáz.204 The palm-tree has several well-known properties that render it an emblem of a human being; among which are these; that if the head be cut off, the tree dies; and if a branch be cut off, another does not grow in its place.205 Dates are preserved in a moist state by being merely pressed together in a basket or skin, and thus prepared are called “‘ajweh.” There are many varieties of this fruit. The pith or heart of the palm206 is esteemed for its delicate flavour.

The water-melon,207 from what has been said of it above, ought to be ranked next; and it really merits this distinction. “Whoso eateth,” said the Prophet, “a mouthful of water-melon, God writeth for him a thousand good works, and cancelleth a thousand evil works, and raiseth him a thousand degrees; for it came from Paradise;”—and again, “The water-melon is food and drink, acid and alkali, and a support of life,” &c.208 The varieties of this fruit are very numerous.

The banana209 is a delicious fruit. The Prophet pronounced the banana-tree to be the only thing on earth that resembles a thing in Paradise; because it bears fruit both in winter and summer.210

The pomegranate211 is another celebrated fruit. Every pomegranate, according to the Prophet, contains a fecundating seed from Paradise.212

The other most common and esteemed fruits are the following:—the apple, pear, quince, apricot, peach, fig, sycamore-fig, grape, lote, jujube, plum, walnut, almond, hazel-nut, pistachio-nut, orange, Seville-orange, lime and lemon, citron, mulberry, olive, and sugar-cane.213

Of a selection of these fruits consists the dessert which accompanies the wine; but the table is not complete without a bunch or two of flowers placed in the midst.

Though the Arabs are far from being remarkable for exhibiting taste in the planning of their gardens, they are passionately fond of flowers, and especially of the rose.214—The Khaleefeh El-Mutawekkil monopolized roses for his own enjoyment; saying, “I am the King of Sulṭáns, and the rose is the king of sweet-scented flowers; therefore each of us is most worthy of the other for a companion.” The rose, in his time, was seen nowhere but in his palace: during the season of this flower he wore rose-coloured clothes; and his carpets, &c., were sprinkled with rose-water.215 A similar passion for the rose is said to have distinguished a weaver, in the reign of El-Ma-moon. He was constantly employed at his loom every day of the year, even during the congregational prayers of Friday, excepting in the rose-season, when he abandoned his work, and gave himself up to the enjoyment of wine, early in the morning and late in the evening, loudly proclaiming his revels by singing,—

“The season has become pleasant! The time of the rose has come! Take your morning potations, as long as the rose has blossoms and flowers!”
When he resumed his work, he made it known by singing aloud,—

“If my Lord prolong my life until the rose-season, I will take again my morning potations: but if I die before it, alas! for the loss of the rose and wine!
“I implore the God of the supreme throne, whose glory be extolled, that my heart may continually enjoy the evening potations to the day of resurrection.”

—The Khaleefeh was so amused with the humour of this man, that he granted him an annual pension of ten thousand dirhems to enable him to enjoy himself amply on these occasions.216—Another anecdote may be added to shew the estimation of the rose in the mind of an Arab. It is said that Rowḥ Ibn-Ḥátim, the governor of the province of Northern Africa, was sitting one day, with a female slave, in an apartment of his palace, when a eunuch brought him a jar full of red and white roses, which a man had offered as a present. He ordered the eunuch to fill the jar with silver in return; but his concubine said, “O my lord, thou hast not acted equitably towards the man; for his present to thee is of two colours, red and white.” The Emeer replied, “Thou hast said truly;” and gave orders to fill the jar for him with silver and gold (dirhems and deenárs) intermixed.217—Some persons preserve roses during the whole of the year, in the following manner. They take a number of rose-buds, and fill with them a new earthen jar, and, after closing its mouth with mud, so as to render it impervious to the air, bury it in the earth. Whenever they want a few roses, they take out some of these buds, which they find unaltered, sprinkle a little water upon them, and leave them for a short time in the air, when they open, and appear as if just gathered.218—The rose is even a subject of miracles. It is related by Ibn-Ḳuteybeh, that there grows in India a kind of rose upon the leaves of which is inscribed, “There is no deity but God.”219 But I find a more particular account of this miraculous rose. A person, who professed to have seen it, said, “I went into India, and I saw, at one of its towns, a large rose, sweet-scented, upon which was inscribed, in white characters, ‘There is no deity but God; Moḥammad is God’s apostle: Aboo-Bekr is the very veracious: ‘Omar is the discriminator;’ and I doubted of this, whether it had been done by art; so I took one of the blossoms not yet opened, and in it was the same inscription; and there were many of the same kind there. The people of that place worshipped stones, and knew not God, to whom be ascribed might and glory.”220—Roses are announced for sale in the streets of Cairo by the cry of “The rose was a thorn: from the sweat of the Prophet it blossomed!” in allusion to a miracle recorded of Moḥammad. “When I was taken up into heaven,” said the Prophet, “some of my sweat fell upon the earth, and from it sprang the rose; and whoever would smell my scent, let him smell the rose.” In another tradition it is said, “The white rose was created from my sweat on the night of the Meạráj;221 and the red rose, from the sweat of Jebraeel;222 and the yellow rose, from the sweat of El-Buráḳ.”223—The Persians take especial delight in roses; sometimes spreading them as carpets or beds on which to sit or recline in their revellings.

But there is a flower pronounced more excellent than the rose; that of the Egyptian privet, or Lawsonia inermis.224 Moḥammad said, “The chief of the sweet-scented flowers of this world and of the next is the fághiyeh;” and this was his favourite flower.225 I approve of his taste; for this flower, which grows in clusters somewhat like those of the lilac, has a most delicious fragrance. But, on account of discrepancies in different traditions, a Muslim may, with a clear conscience, prefer either of the two flowers next mentioned.

The Prophet said of the violet,226 “The excellence of the extract of violets, above all other extracts, is as the excellence of me above all the rest of the creation: it is cold in summer and hot in winter:” and, in another tradition, “The excellence of the violet is as the excellence of El-Islám above all other religions.”227 A delicious sherbet is made of a conserve of sugar and violet-flowers.


The myrtle228 is the rival of the violet. “Adam,” said the Prophet, “fell down from Paradise with three things; the myrtle, which is the chief of sweet-scented flowers in this world; an ear of wheat, which is the chief of all kinds of food in this world; and pressed dates, which are the chief of the fruits of this world.”229

The anemone230 was monopolized for his own enjoyment by Noạmán Ibn-El-Mundhir (King of El-Ḥeereh, and contemporary of Moḥammad), as the rose was afterwards by El-Mutawekkil.231

Another flower much admired and celebrated in the East is the gilliflower.232 There are three principal kinds; the most esteemed is the yellow, or golden-coloured, which has a delicious scent both by night and day; the next, the purple, and other dark kinds, which have a scent only in the night; the least esteemed, the white, which has no scent. The yellow gilliflower is an emblem of a neglected lover.233

The narcissus234 is very highly esteemed. Galen says, “He who has two cakes of bread, let him dispose of one of them for some flowers of the narcissus; for bread is the food of the body, and the narcissus is the food of the soul.” Hippocrates, too, gave a similar opinion.235

The following flowers complete the list of those celebrated as most appropriate to add to the delights of wine:—the jasmine, eglantine, Seville-orange-flower, lily, sweet-basil, wild thyme, buphthalmum, chamomile, nenuphar, lotus, pomegranate-flower, poppy, ketmia, crocus or saffron, safflower, flax, the blossoms of different kinds of bean, and those of the almond.236

A sprig of Oriental willow237 adds much to the charms of a bunch of flowers, being the favourite symbol of a graceful female.

But I have not yet mentioned all that contributes to the pleasures of an Eastern carousal. For the juice of the grape is not fully relished without melodious sounds. “Wine is as the body; music, as the soul; and joy is their offspring.”238 All the five senses should be gratified. For this reason, an Arab toper, who had nothing, it appears, but wine to enjoy, exclaimed,—

“Ho! give me wine to drink; and tell me, ‘This is wine.'”
For, on drinking, his sight and smell and taste and touch would all be affected; but it was desirable that his hearing should also be pleased.239

Music was condemned by the Prophet almost as severely as wine. “Singing and hearing songs,” said he, “cause hypocrisy to grow in the heart, like as water promoteth the growth of corn:”240—and musical instruments he declared to be among the most powerful means by which the Devil seduces man. An instrument of music is the Devil’s muëddin, serving to call men to his worship, as stated in a former note. Of the hypocrisy of those attached to music, the following anecdote presents an instance:—A drunken young man with a lute in his hand was brought one night before the Khaleefeh ‘Abd-El-Melik the son of Marwán, who, pointing to the instrument, asked what it was, and what was its use. The youth made no answer; so he asked those around him; but they also remained silent, till one, more bold than the rest, said, “O Prince of the 201Faithful, this is a lute: it is made by taking some wood of the pistachio-tree, and cutting it into thin pieces, and glueing these together, and then attaching over them these chords, which, when a beautiful girl touches them, send forth sounds more pleasant than those of rain falling upon a desert land; and my wife is separated from me by a triple divorce if every one in this council is not acquainted with it, and doth not know it as well as I do, and thou the first of them, O Prince of the Faithful.” The Khaleefeh laughed, and ordered that the young man should be discharged.241

The latter saying of the Prophet, respecting the Devil, suggests to me the insertion of another anecdote, related of himself by Ibráheem El-Móṣilee, the father of Is-ḥáḳ; both of whom were very celebrated musicians. I give a translation of it somewhat abridged.—”I asked Er-Rasheed,” says Ibráheem, “to grant me permission to spend a day at home with my female slaves and brothers; and he gave me two thousand deenárs, and appointed the next Saturday for this purpose. I caused the meats and wine and other necessaries to be prepared, and ordered the chamberlain to close the door, and admit no one: but while I was sitting, with my attendants standing in the form of a curved line before me, there entered, and approached me, a sheykh, reverend and dignified and comely in appearance, wearing short khuffs,242 and two soft gowns, with a ḳalensuweh243 upon his head, and in his hand a silver-headed staff; and sweet odours were diffused from his clothes. I was enraged with the chamberlain for admitting him; but on his saluting me in a very courteous manner, I returned his salutation, and desired him to sit down. He then began to repeat to me stories, tales of war, and poetry; so that my anger was appeased, and it appeared to me that my servants had not presumed to admit him until acquainted with his politeness and courteousness; I therefore said to him, ‘Hast thou any inclination for meat?’ He answered, ‘I have no want of it.’—’And the wine?’ said I. He replied, ‘Yes.’ So I drank a large cupful, and he did the same, and then said to me, ‘O Ibráheem, wilt thou let us hear some specimen of thy art in which thou hast excelled the people of thy profession?’ I was angry at his words; but I made light of the matter, and, having taken the lute and tuned it, I played and sang; whereupon he said, ‘Thou hast performed well, O Ibráheem.’ I became more enraged, and said within myself, ‘He is not content with coming hither without permission, and asking me to sing, but he calls me by my name, and proves himself unworthy of my conversation.’ He then said, ‘Wilt thou let us hear more? If so, we will requite thee.’ And I took the lute, and sang, using my utmost care, on account of his saying, ‘we will requite thee.’ He was moved with delight, and said, ‘Thou hast performed well, O my master Ibráheem:’—adding, ‘Wilt thou permit thy slave to sing?’ I answered, ‘As thou pleasest:’—but thinking lightly of his sense to sing after me. He took the lute, and tuned it; and, by Allah! I imagined that the lute spoke in his hands with an eloquent Arab tongue. He proceeded to sing some verses commencing,—

‘My heart is wounded! Who will give me, for it, a heart without a wound?’
The narrator continues by saying, that he was struck dumb and motionless with ecstasy; and that the strange sheykh, after having played and sung again, and taught him an enchanting air (with which he afterwards enraptured his patron, the Khaleefeh), vanished. Ibráheem, in alarm, seized his sword; and was the more amazed when he found that the porter had not seen the stranger enter or leave the house; but he heard his voice again, outside, telling him that he was Aboo-Murrah (the Devil).244—Two other anecdotes of a similar kind are related in the work from which the above is taken.

Ibráheem El-Móṣilee, his son Is-ḥáḳ, and Mukháriḳ (a pupil of the former), were 202especially celebrated among the Arab musicians, and among the distinguished men of the reign of Hároon Er-Rasheed. Is-ḥáḳ El-Móṣilee relates, of his father Ibráheem, that when Er-Rasheed took him into his service, he gave him a hundred and fifty thousand dirhems, and allotted him a monthly pension of ten thousand dirhems, besides occasional presents [one of which is mentioned as amounting to a hundred thousand dirhems for a single song], and the produce of his (Ibráheem’s) farms: he had food constantly prepared for him; three sheep every day for his kitchen, besides birds; three thousand dirhems were allowed him for fruits, perfumes, &c., every month, and a thousand dirhems for his clothing; “and with all this,” says his son, “he died without leaving more than three thousand deenárs, a sum not equal to his debts, which I paid after his death.”245—Ibráheem was of Persian origin, and of a high family. He was commonly called the Nedeem (or cup-companion), being Er-Rasheed’s favourite companion at the wine-table; and his son, who enjoyed the like distinction with El-Ma-moon, received the same appellation, as well as that of “Son of the Nedeem.” Ibráheem was the most famous musician of his time, at least till his son attained celebrity.246

Is-ḥáḳ El-Móṣilee was especially famous as a musician; but he was also a good poet, accomplished in general literature, and endowed with great wit. He was honoured above all other persons in the pay of El-Ma-moon, and enjoyed a long life; but for many years before his death he was blind.247

Mukháriḳ appears to have rivalled his master Ibráheem. The latter, he relates, took him to perform before Er-Rasheed, who used to have a curtain suspended between him and the musicians. “Others,” he says, “sang, and he was unmoved; but when I sang, he came forth from behind the curtain, and exclaimed, ‘Young man, hither!’ and he seated me upon the sereer [a kind of couch], and gave me thirty thousand dirhems.”248 The following anecdote (which I abridge a little in translation) shews his excellence in the art which he professed, and the effect of melody on an Arab:—”After drinking with the Khaleefeh249 a whole night, I asked his permission,” says he, “to take the air in the Ruṣáfeh,250 which he granted; and while I was walking there, I saw a damsel who appeared as if the rising sun beamed from her face. She had a basket, and I followed her. She stopped at a fruiterer’s, and bought some fruit; and observing that I was following her, she looked back and abused me several times; but still I followed her until she arrived at a great door, after having filled her basket with fruits and flowers and similar things. When she had entered, and the door was closed behind her, I sat down opposite to it, deprived of my reason by her beauty; and knew that there must be in the house a wine-party. The sun went down upon me while I sat there; and at length there came two handsome young men on asses, and they knocked at the door, and when they were admitted I entered with them; the master of the house thinking that I was their companion, and they imagining that I was one of his friends. A repast was brought, and we ate, and washed our hands, and were perfumed. The master of the house then said to the two young men, ‘Have ye any desire that I should call such a one?’ (mentioning a female name). They answered, ‘If thou wilt grant us the favour, well:’—so he called for her, and she came, and lo, she was the maiden whom I had seen before, and who had abused me. A servant-maid preceded her, bearing her lute, which she placed in her lap. Wine was then brought, and she sang while we drank, and shook with delight. ‘Whose air is that?’ they asked. She answered, ‘Seedee251 Mukháriḳ’s.’ She then sang another air, which, also, 203she said was mine; while they drank by pints; she looking aside and doubtfully at me until I lost my patience, and called out to her to do her best: but in attempting to do so, singing a third air, she overstrained her voice, and I said, ‘Thou hast made a mistake:’—upon which she threw the lute from her lap, in anger, so that she nearly broke it; saying, ‘Take it thyself, and let us hear thee.’ I answered, ‘Well;’ and, having taken it and tuned it perfectly, sang the first of the airs which she had sung before me; whereupon all of them sprang upon their feet, and kissed my head. I then sang the second air, and the third; and their reason almost fled, from ecstasy. The master of the house, after asking his guests, and being told by them that they knew me not, came to me, and, kissing my hand, said, ‘By Allah, my master, who art thou?’ I answered, ‘By Allah, I am the singer Mukháriḳ.’—’And for what purpose,’ said he, kissing both my hands, ‘camest thou hither?’ I replied, ‘As a spunger;’—and related what had happened with respect to the maiden: whereupon he looked towards his two companions, and said to them, ‘Tell me, by Allah, do ye not know that I gave for that girl thirty thousand dirhems, and have refused to sell her?’ They answered, ‘It is so.’ Then said he, ‘I take you as witnesses that I have given her to him.’—’And we,’ said the two friends, ‘will pay thee two-thirds of her price.’ So he put me in possession of the girl, and in the evening, when I departed, he presented me also with rich dresses and other gifts, with all of which I went away; and as I passed the places where the maiden had abused me, I said to her, ‘Repeat thy words to me;’ but she could not, for shame. Holding the girl’s hand, I went with her immediately to the Khaleefeh, whom I found in anger at my long absence; but when I related my story to him he was surprised, and laughed, and ordered that the master of the house and his two friends should be brought before him, that he might requite them: to the former he gave forty thousand dirhems; to each of his two friends, thirty thousand; and to me, a hundred thousand; and I kissed his feet, and departed.”252

It is particularly necessary for the Arab musician, that he have a retentive memory, well stocked with choice pieces of poetry, and with facetious or pleasant anecdotes, interspersed with songs; and that he have a ready wit, aided by dramatic talent, to employ these materials with good effect. If, to such qualifications, he adds fair attainments in the difficult rules of grammar, a degree of eloquence, comic humour, and good temper, and is not surpassed by many in his art, he is sure to be a general favourite. Very few Muslims of the higher classes have condescended to study music, because they would have been despised by their inferiors for doing so; or because they themselves have despised or condemned the art. Ibráheem, the son of the Khaleefeh El-Mahdee, and competitor of El-Ma-moon, was a remarkable exception: he is said to have been an excellent musician, and a good singer.

In the houses of the wealthy, the vocal and instrumental performers were usually (as is the case in many houses in the present age) domestic female slaves, well instructed in their art by hired male or female professors. In the work before us, these slaves are commonly described as standing or sitting unveiled in the presence of male guests; but, from several descriptions of musical entertainments that I have met with in Arabic works, it appears that, according to the more approved custom in respectable society, they were concealed on such occasions behind a curtain, which generally closed the front of an elevated recess. In all the houses of wealthy Arabs that I have entered, one or each of the larger saloons has an elevated closet, the front of which is closed by a screen of wooden lattice-work, to serve as an orchestra for the domestic or hired female singers and instrumental performers. Of the hired performers, any further mention is not here required; but of the slaves and free ladies who supplied their place, a few words must be added, as very necessary to illustrate the preceding and many other tales in this work.

To a person acquainted with modern Arabian manners, it must appear inconsistent 204with truth to describe such females as exposing their faces before strange men, unless he can discover in sober histories some evidence of their having been less strict in this respect than the generality of Arab females at the present period. I find, however, a remarkable proof that such was the case in the latter part of the ninth century of the Flight, and the beginning of the tenth: that is, about the end of the fifteenth century of our era. The famous historian Es-Suyooṭee, who flourished at this period, in his preface to a curious work on wedlock, written to correct the corrupt manners of his age, says,—”Seeing that the women of this time deck themselves with the attire of prostitutes, and walk in the sooḳs (or market-streets), like female warriours against the religion, and uncover their faces and hands before men, to incline [men’s] hearts to them by evil suggestions, and play at feasts with young men, thereby meriting the anger of the Compassionate [i.e. God], and go forth to the public baths and assemblies, with various kinds of ornaments and perfumes, and with conceited gait; for the which they shall be congregated in Hell-fire, for opposing the good, and on account of this their affected gait, while to their husbands they are disobedient, behaving to them in the reverse manner, excepting when they fear to abridge their liberty of going abroad by such conduct; for they are like swine and apes in their interior nature, though like daughters of Adam in their exterior appearance; especially the women of this age; not advising their husbands in matters of religion, but the latter erring in permitting them to go out to every assembly; sisters of devils and demons, &c. &c…. I have undertaken the composition of this volume.”253 A more convincing testimony than this, I think, cannot be required.

The lute (el-‘ood) is the only instrument that is generally described as used at the entertainments which we have been considering. Engravings of this and other musical instruments are given in my work on the Modern Egyptians. The Arab viol (called rabáb) was commonly used by inferior performers. (See also Note 26, below.)

The Arab music is generally of a soft and plaintive character, and particularly that of the most refined description, which is distinguished by a remarkable peculiarity, the division of tones into thirds. The singer aims at distinct enunciation of the words, for this is justly admired; and delights in a trilling style. The airs of songs are commonly very short and simple, adapted to a single verse, or even to a single hemistich; but in the instrumental music there is more variety.

Note 23. This is often said to a person whose presence is disagreeable to his companions.

Note 24.—On the Ḳalenderees. In the old translation, these three strangers are called “Calenders;” that is, “Ḳalenderees:” but in the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, and the edition of Breslau, they are designated as “Ḳarendelees,” “miserable or ridiculous beggars;” and in that of Cairo, the term applied to them is “ṣa’áleek,” or, simply, “paupers,” or “mendicants.” Some may suppose the right reading to be “Ḳalenderees;” for it was a custom of this order of Darweeshes to shave their beards: they were forbidden to do so in the year of the Flight 761,254 by the Sulṭán of Egypt (El-Melik en-Náṣir El-Ḥasan); but whether they afterwards reverted to this habit, I do not know. The order of the Ḳalenderees, however, was not founded until about the commencement of the fifth century of the Flight,255 a period long posterior to that to which the tale relates.

Note 25. In the edition of Cairo, they are said to have arrived from Greece.

Note 26.—On the Persian Harp. This instrument is called in Arabic “junk,” from the Persian “chang.” It has almost fallen into disuse, and I have never seen it: I am enabled, however, to give two sketches of its form through the kindness of the [late] Right Honourable Sir Gore Ouseley, who has favoured me with drawings made from 205two of the most satisfactory representations of it in his rich collection of Oriental MSS.; the first, about 350 years old; the second 410. The number of strings, he informs me, vary from 20 to 27.

Persian Harps
Note 27.—On the Title and Office of Khaleefeh. As most of our best authors on Oriental subjects have for some years past deviated from our old general mode of writing this title, substituting (for “Caliph”) “Khalif,” “Khalífah,” &c., I have taken the same liberty. It cannot be correctly written, at the same time congenially with our language and with its orthography in Arabic characters, otherwise than “Khaleefeh” or “Khaleefah;” and of these two modes I adopt the one which agrees with the manner in which the title is most generally pronounced by the Arabs. The meaning of this title is “Successor,” or “Vicar;” and it was originally given to the universal sovereigns of the Muslim Arabs, as signifying “Successor of the Prophet;” but afterwards, in a more exalted sense, as “Vicar of God:” the Khaleefeh being the head of the religion as well as the supreme political governor, or at least arrogating to himself the right to possess such supremacy, throughout the whole Muslim world. [The last of the Khaleefehs died in Egypt shortly after the Turkish conquest of that country, or in the year of the Flight, 950. After the overthrow of the house of El-‘Abbás by Hulágù, certain of its members obtained an asylum at the court of the Memlook Sulṭáns, and continued the line of the Khaleefehs, with spiritual, but no temporal, authority until it ceased in the person of El-Mutawekkil, who delegated his office to the Sulṭán Seleem I.; it is consequently held by the Sulṭán of Turkey. The Emperors of Morocco, being descendants of the Prophet, also claim and receive from their subjects the title of Khaleefeh.256—Ed.]

Note 28. The stories in which this justly-celebrated man is mentioned will, I think, be more agreeable to those readers who are unacquainted with his history, of which, therefore, I shall say nothing.

Note 29. Mesroor was a black eunuch, and a favourite servant of Er-Rasheed. The name signifies “happy.”

Note 30. “Ṭabareeyeh” is the modern name for Tiberias.

Note 31.—Description of Kháns, or Wekálehs. A Khán is a building chiefly designed for the accommodation of merchants, and for the reception of their goods. In Egypt, a building of this kind is generally called a Wekáleh. I have described it, in a former work, as surrounding a square or oblong court, and having, on the ground-floor, vaulted magazines for merchandise, which face the court, and are sometimes used as shops. Above these are generally lodgings, which are entered from a gallery extending along each of the four sides of the court; or, in the place of these lodgings, there are other magazines: and in many kháns or wekálehs which have apartments designed as lodgings, these apartments are used as magazines. In general, the building has only one common entrance; the door of which is closed at night, and kept by a porter.


Note 32. It is customary for a guest or visiter to ask permission of the host, or master of the house, before taking his departure. A common form of speech used on this occasion is, “With your permission, I rise.”

Note 33. Many Muslims perform the pilgrimage with the view of expiating their offences, and, at the Kaạbeh, or at the tomb of the Prophet, make a vow to abstain from any glaring infringement of the law of which they may before have been guilty.

Note 34. I learn, from a marginal note in my copy of the original, by the sheykh Moḥammad Eṭ-Tanṭáwee, that these verses are the composition of Ibn-Sahl El-Ishbee-lee. Three concluding verses of the same ode, and a second poetical quotation immediately following, I have passed over.

Note 35. In the original there are some errors in this part of the story, which the sequel requires me to correct. The cateress is described as having sung three successive songs, accompanying them with her lute. After the first song, the mistress of the house is said to have been affected in the manner described in the translation, and to have exposed to view the marks of beating. The second lady (namely, the portress) is represented as similarly excited by the second song; and the third lady (the cateress herself), by the third song. The last also is said to have exhibited upon her person those marks which, as the sequel shews, were borne by the second.

Note 36. The “miḳra’ah,” vulgarly called “maḳra’ah,” is a portion of the thicker end of a palm-branch stripped of the leaves. It is often used to beat a person in sport; but in this case, two or three splits are usually made in the thicker part of it, to increase the sound of the blows.

Note 37. In the original, “the portress.” See Note 35, above.

Note 38. Perhaps it is needless to explain that the wish here expressed, for a protractive trial on the day of judgment, is occasioned by the longing for reunion, and the fear of separation after that day. The Muslims usually pray for an easy (and, consequently, a short) reckoning.

Note 39. I have omitted the third song of the cateress, and the description of its effects, mentioned in Note 35.

Note 40. See Note 47 to Chapter II.

Note 41. It seems to be implied that the lady discovered her guests, notwithstanding their disguise, to be persons of rank.

Note 42. I read “fuḳaráü aạjám” for “fuḳaráü-l-hojjám:” the former, carelessly written (in Arabic characters), might easily be mistaken for the latter.

Note 43. This phrase is used to signify “Recover thy senses;” alluding to a person’s drawing his hand over his head or face after a sleep or fit.

Note 44. The burial-grounds of Eastern cities are generally so extensive, that, with the varied structures which they contain, they may aptly be called “Cities of the Dead.” It was with difficulty that I recognised the tomb of the lamented Burckhardt, in the great cemetery on the north of Cairo, even after I had carefully noticed its place on a former visit.

Note 45. I have ventured to make a slight alteration here; but it is one which does not in the least affect the consistency of the tale. Marriage with a foster-sister is as expressly forbidden by the Mohammadan law as that with a natural sister.

Note 46. “The Truth” is one of the ninety-nine names or epithets of God.

Note 47. Many an Arab would rather risk the loss of his head than part with his beard; for the latter is regarded by almost all Muslims with a superstitious respect; and to shave it off, at least after it has been suffered to grow for many days, they consider as sinful: this, however, is sometimes done by religious mendicants, as it is also by some of those persons who seek, or enjoy, the reputation of sanctity, and who are, or pretend to be, insane.207

Note 48. By “the seven readings,” we are to understand seven slightly different modes of reading the Ḳur-án, seldom differing essentially as to the sense.

Note 49. Astrology (not astronomy) is here meant. Though a forbidden science, it is studied by many Muslims.

Note 50. A misplaced diacritical point occasions a wrong reading here, in the original, which I have corrected.

Note 51. The Mohammadan law requires that every man be acquainted with some art or occupation by which he may, in case of necessity, at least be able to obtain the means of supporting himself and such of his family as are dependant upon him, and of fulfilling all his religious as well as moral duties. Hence it has been a common custom of Muslim princes, in every age, to learn some useful art; and many of them have distinguished themselves by displaying exquisite skill in the work of their hands, and especially in caligraphy, of which the Orientals in general are great admirers.

Note 52. The ‘Efreet (as we are told in some editions of the original) had taken this lady against the consent of his family, and therefore could not more frequently visit her.

Note 53. The term “ḳubbeh” is often applied to a closet or small chamber adjoining a saloon; and in this sense it appears to be here used.

Note 54.—On Sherbets. The Arabs have various kinds of sherbets, or sweet drinks; the most common of which is merely sugar and water, made very sweet. The most esteemed kind is prepared from a hard conserve of violets, made by pounding violet-flowers, and then boiling them with sugar. Other kinds are prepared from conserves of fruits, &c. The sherbet is served in covered glass cups, containing from two-thirds to three-quarters of an English pint; the same which I have described in a former note as used for wine. These are placed on a round tray, and covered with a round piece of embroidered silk, or cloth of gold; and on the right arm of the person who presents the sherbet, is hung a long napkin with a deep embroidered border of gold and coloured silks at each end, which is ostensibly offered for the purpose of wiping the lips after drinking, though the lips are scarcely touched with it.

Note 55. The Arabs are very fond of having their feet, and especially the soles, slowly rubbed with the hand; and this operation, which is one of the services commonly required of a wife or female slave, is a usual mode of waking a person.

Note 56. Here, and again in the same and a subsequent sentence, for “kheiyáṭeen,” I read “ḥaṭṭábeen.” In the Breslau edition, “khaṭṭábeen” is put for the latter. The right reading is obvious.

Note 57. Falsehood was commended by the Prophet when it tended to reconcile persons at enmity with each other, and when practised in order to please one’s wife, or to obtain any advantage in a war with infidels, though strongly reprobated in other cases.

Note 58. Four verses here inserted in the original appear to me to be a corruption of a couplet which better expresses the same meaning, and which I have therefore translated in the place of the former. As the lines to which I allude are particularly pleasing, I may perhaps be excused if I here introduce the original words, which are as follow:—

“Isháratunà fi-l-ḥobbi remzu ‘oyooninà: wa-kullu lebeebin bi-l-ishárati yefhamu,
Ḥawájibunà teḳḍi-l-ḥawáïjà beynenà: fa-naḥnu sukootun wa-l-hawà yetekellemu.”
Note 59. This is not meant to disparage the individual lady here mentioned, but is a saying of the Prophet applied to the sex in general.

Note 60. In the edition of Cairo, this story is omitted. I translate it from the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights.

Note 61. “Faḳeer” (which signifies “poor,” and is particularly used in the sense of “poor in the sight of God,” or rather, “in need of the mercy of God”) is an appella208tion commonly given to poor persons who especially occupy themselves in religious exercises.

Note 62. The performances called “zikrs” will be briefly described towards the close of the next note.

Note 63.—On Muslin Saints, or Devotees. The tale of the Envied Sheykh, and several other stories in this work, require that the reader should be acquainted with the remarkable opinions which the Arabs entertain with respect to the offices and supernatural powers of their saints. Such matters form an important part of the mysteries of the Darweeshes, and are but imperfectly known to the generality of Muslims.

The distinguished individuals above mentioned are known by the common appellation of “Welees,” or particular favourites of God. The more eminent among them compose a mysterious hierarchical body, whose government respects the whole human race, infidels as well as believers; but whose power is often exercised in such a manner that the subjects influenced by it know not from what person or persons its effects proceed. The general governor or coryphæus of these holy beings is commonly called the “Ḳuṭb,” which literally signifies a “pole,” or an “axis,” and is metaphorically used to signify a “chief,” either in a civil or political, or in a spiritual sense. The Ḳuṭb of the saints is distinguished by other appellations: he is called “Ḳuṭb el-Ghós,” or “—— el-Ghóth” (“the Ḳuṭb of Invocation for Help”), &c.; and simply “El-Ghós.”257 The orders under the rule of this chief are called “‘Omud (or Owtád), Akhyár, Abdál, Nujabà, and Nuḳabà: I name them according to their precedence.258 Perhaps to these should be added an inferior order called “Aṣ-ḥáb ed-Darak,” which is said to mean “Watchmen,” or “Overseers.” The members are not known as such to their inferior, unenlightened fellow-creatures; and are often invisible to them. This is more frequently the case with the Ḳuṭb, who, though generally stationed at Mekkeh, on the roof of the Kaạbeh, is never visible there, nor at any of his other favourite stations or places of resort; yet his voice is often heard at these places. Whenever he and the saints under his authority mingle among ordinary men, they are not distinguished by a dignified appearance, but are always humbly clad. These, and even inferior saints, are said to perform astonishing miracles, such as flying in the air, passing unhurt through fire, swallowing fire, glass, &c., walking upon water, transporting themselves in a moment of time to immense distances, and supplying themselves and others with food in desert places. Their supernatural power they are supposed to obtain by a life of the most exalted piety, and especially by constant self-denial, accompanied with the most implicit reliance upon God; by the services of good genii; and, as many believe, by the knowledge and utterance of “the most great name” of God. A miracle performed by a saint is distinguished by the term “karámeh” from one performed by a prophet, which is called “moạjizeh.”

El-Khiḍr and Ilyás (or Elias), of whom I have before had occasion to speak, are both believed to have been Ḳuṭbs, and the latter is called in the Ḳur-án an apostle; but it is disputed whether the former was a prophet or merely a welee. Both are said to have drunk of the Fountain of Life, and to be in consequence still living; and Ilyás is 209commonly believed to invest the successive Ḳuṭbs. The similarity of the miracles ascribed to the Ḳuṭbs and those performed by Elias or Elijah I have remarked in a former work. Another miracle, reminding us of the mantle of Elijah in the hands of his successor, may here be mentioned.—A saint who was the Ḳuṭb of his time, dying at Toonis (or Tunis), left his clothes in trust to his attendant, Moḥammad El-Ashwam, a native of the neighbouring regency of Tripoli (now called Ṭarábulus), who desired to sell these relics, but was counselled to retain them, and accordingly, though high prices were bidden for them, made them his own by purchase. As soon as they became his property, he was affected, we are told, with a divine ecstasy, and endowed with miraculous powers.259

Innumerable miracles are related to have been performed by Muslim saints, and large volumes are filled with the histories of their wonderful lives. The author of the work from which the above story is taken, mentions, as a fact to be relied on, in an account of one of his ancestors, that, his lamp happening to go out one night while he was reading alone in the riwáḳ of the Jabart (of which he was the sheykh), in the great mosque El-Azhar, the forefinger of his right hand emitted a light which enabled him to continue his reading until his naḳeeb had trimmed and lighted another lamp.260

From many stories of a similar kind that I have read, I select the following as a fair specimen: it is related by a very celebrated saint, Ibráheem El-Khowwáṣ.—”I entered the desert [on pilgrimage to Mekkeh from El-‘Eráḳ], and there joined me a man having a belt round his waist, and I said, ‘Who art thou?’—He answered, ‘A Christian; and I desire thy company.’ We walked together for seven days, eating nothing; after which he said to me, ‘O monk of the Muslims, produce what thou hast in the way of refreshment; for we are hungry:’ so I said, ‘O my God, disgrace me not before this infidel:’ and lo, a tray, upon which were bread and broiled meat and fresh dates and a mug of water. We ate, and continued our journey seven days more; and I then said to him, ‘O monk of the Christians, produce what thou hast in the way of refreshment; for the turn is come to thee:’ whereupon he leaned upon his staff; and prayed; and lo, two trays, containing double that which was on my tray. I was confounded, and refused to eat: he urged me, saying, ‘Eat;’ but I did it not. Then said he, ‘Be glad; for I give thee two pieces of good news: one of them is, that I testify that there is no deity but God, and that Moḥammad is God’s Apostle: the other, that I said, O God, if there be worth in this servant, supply me with two trays:—so this is through thy blessing.’ We ate, and the man put on the dress of pilgrimage, and so entered Mekkeh, where he remained with me a year as a student; after which he died, and I buried him in [the cemetery] El-Maạlà.” “And God,” says the author from whom I take this story, “is all-knowing:” i.e. He alone knoweth whether it be strictly true: but this is often added to the narration of traditions resting upon high authority.261—The saint above mentioned was called “El-Khowwáṣ” (or the maker of palm-leaf baskets, &c.) from the following circumstance, related by himself.—”I used,” said he, “to go out of the town [Er-Rei] and sit by a river on the banks of which was abundance of palm-leaves; and it occurred to my mind to make every day five baskets [ḳuffehs], and to throw them into the river, for my amusement, as if I were obliged to do so. My time was so passed for many days: at length, one day, I thought I would walk after the baskets, and see whither they had gone: so I proceeded a while along the bank of the river, and found an old woman sitting sorrowful. On that day I had made nothing. I said to her, ‘Wherefore do I see thee sorrowful?’ She answered, ‘I am a 210widow: my husband died leaving five daughters, and nothing to maintain them; and it is my custom to repair every day to this river, and there come to me, upon the surface of the water, five baskets, which I sell, and by means of them I procure food; but to-day they have not come, and I know not what to do.’ Upon hearing this, I raised my head towards heaven, and said, ‘O my God, had I known that I had more than five children to maintain, I had laboured more diligently!'” He then took the old woman to his house, and gave her money and flour, and said to her, “Whenever thou wantest anything, come hither and take what may suffice you.”262

An irresistible influence has often been exercised over the minds of princes and other great men by reputed saints. Many a Muslim Monarch has thus been incited (as the Kings of Christendom were by Peter the Hermit) to undertake religious wars, or urged to acts of piety and charity; or restrained from tyranny by threats of Divine vengeance to be called down upon his head by the imprecations of a welee. ‘Alee, the favourite son of the Khaleefeh El-Ma-moon, was induced, for the sake of religion, to flee from the splendour and luxuries of his father’s court, and, after the example of a self-denying devotee, to follow the occupation of a porter, in a state of the most abject poverty, at El-Baṣrah, fasting all the day, remaining without sleep at night in a mosque, and walking barefooted, until, under an accumulation of severe sufferings, he prematurely ended his days, dying on a mat. The honours which he refused to receive in life were paid to him after his death: his rank being discovered by a ring and paper which he left, his corpse was anointed with camphor and musk and aloes, wrapped in fine linen of Egypt, and so conveyed to his distressed father at Baghdád.263

Self-denial I have before mentioned as one of the most important means by which to attain the dignity of a welee. A very famous saint, Esh-Shiblee, is said to have received from his father an inheritance of sixty millions of deenárs (a sum incredible, and probably a mistake for sixty thousand, or for sixty million dirhems), besides landed property, and to have expended it all in charity: also, to have thrown into the Tigris seventy hundred-weight of books, written by his own hand during a period of twenty years.264

Sháh El-Karmánee, another celebrated saint, had a beautiful daughter, whom the Sulṭán of his country sought in marriage. The holy man required three days to consider his sovereign’s proposal, and in the mean time visited several mosques, in one of which he saw a young man humbly occupied in prayer. Having waited till he had finished, he accosted him, saying, “My son, hast thou a wife?” Being answered, “No,” he said, “I have a maiden, a virtuous devotee, who hath learned the whole of the Ḳur-án, and is amply endowed with beauty. Dost thou desire her?”—”Who,” said the young man, “will marry me to such a one as thou hast described, when I possess no more than three dirhems?”—”I will marry thee to her,” answered the saint: “she is my daughter, and I am Sháh the son of Shujáạ El-Karmánee: give me the dirhems that thou hast, that I may buy a dirhem’s worth of bread, and a dirhem’s worth of something savoury, and a dirhem’s worth of perfume.” The marriage-contract was performed; but when the bride came to the young man, she saw a stale cake of bread placed upon the top of his mug; upon which she put on her izár, and went out. Her husband said, “Now I perceive that the daughter of Sháh El-Karmánee is displeased with my poverty.” She answered, “I did not withdraw from fear of poverty, but on account of the weakness of thy faith, seeing how thou layest by a cake of bread for the morrow.”265

One of my friends in Cairo, Abu-l-Ḳásim of Geelán, mentioned in a former note, entertained me with a long relation of the mortifications and other means which he employed to attain the rank of a welee. These were chiefly self-denial and a perfect reliance upon Providence. He left his home in a state of voluntary destitution and 211complete nudity, to travel through Persia and the surrounding countries, and yet more distant regions if necessary, in search of a spiritual guide. For many days he avoided the habitations of men, fasting from daybreak till sunset, and then eating nothing but a little grass or a few leaves or wild fruits, till by degrees he habituated himself to almost total abstinence from every kind of nourishment. His feet, at first blistered, and cut by sharp stones, soon became callous; and in proportion to his reduction of food, his frame, contrary to the common course of nature, became (according to his own account) more stout and lusty. Bronzed by the sun, and with his black hair hanging over his shoulders (for he had abjured the use of the razor), he presented, in his nudity, a wild and frightful appearance; and on his first approaching a town, was surrounded and pelted by a crowd of boys; he therefore retreated, and, after the example of our first parents, made himself a partial covering of leaves; and this he always after did on similar occasions; never remaining long enough in a town for his leafy apron to wither. The abodes of mankind he always passed at a distance, excepting when several days’ fast, while traversing an arid desert, compelled him to obtain a morsel of bread or a cup of water from the hand of some charitable fellow-creature. One thing that he particularly dreaded was, to receive relief from a sinful man, or from a demon in the human form. In passing over a parched and desolate tract, where for three days he had found nothing to eat, not even a blade of grass, nor a spring from which to refresh his tongue, he became overpowered with thirst, and prayed that God would send him a messenger with a pitcher of water. “But,” said he, “let the water be in a green Baghdáhee pitcher, that I may know it be from Thee, and not from the Devil; and when I ask the bearer to give me to drink, let him pour it over my head, that I may not too much gratify my carnal desire.”—”I looked behind me,” he continued, “and saw a man bearing a green Baghdáhee pitcher of water, and said to him, ‘Give me to drink;’ and he came up to me, and poured the contents over my head, and departed! By Allah it was so!”—Rejoicing in this miracle, as a proof of his having attained to a degree of wiláyeh (or saintship), and refreshed by the water, he continued his way over the desert, more firm than ever in his course of self-denial, which, though imperfectly followed, had been the means of his being thus distinguished. But the burning thirst returned shortly after, and he felt himself at the point of sinking under it, when he beheld before him a high hill, with a rivulet running by its base. To the summit of this hill he determined to ascend, by way of mortification, before he would taste the water, and this point, with much difficulty, he reached at the close of the day. Here standing, he saw approaching, below, a troop of horsemen, who paused at the foot of the hill, when their chief, who was foremost, called out to him by name, “O Abu-l-Ḳásim! O Geelánee! Come down and drink!”—but, persuaded by this that he was Iblees with a troop of his sons, the evil Genii, he withstood the temptation, and remained stationary until the deceiver with his attendants had passed on, and were out of sight. The sun had then set; his thirst had somewhat abated; and he only drank a few drops. Continuing his wanderings in the desert, he found, upon a pebbly plain, an old man with a long white beard, who accosted him, asking of what he was in search. “I am seeking,” he answered, “a spiritual guide; and my heart tells me that thou art the guide I seek.” “My son,” said the old man, “thou seest yonder a saint’s tomb: it is a place where prayer is answered: go thither, enter it, and seat thyself: neither eat nor drink nor sleep; but occupy thyself solely, day and night, in repeating silently, ‘Lá iláha illa-lláh’ (There is no deity but God); and let not any living creature see thy lips move in doing so; for among the peculiar virtues of these words is this, that they may be uttered without any motion of the lips. Go, and peace be on thee.”—”Accordingly,” said my friend, “I went thither. It was a small square building, crowned by a cupola; and the door was open. I entered, and seated myself, facing the niche, and the oblong monument over the grave. It was evening, and I commenced my silent professions of the Unity, as directed by my guide; and at dusk I saw a white figure seated beside me, as if assisting in my devotional task. I stretched forth my hand to touch it; but212 found that it was not a material substance; yet there it was: I saw it distinctly. Encouraged by this vision, I continued my task for three nights and days without intermission, neither eating not drinking, yet increasing in strength both of body and of spirit; and on the third day, I saw written upon the whitewashed walls of the tomb, and on the ground, and in the air, wherever I turned my eyes, ‘Lá iláha illa-lláh;’ and whenever a fly entered the tomb, it formed these words in its flight. By Allah it was so! My object was now fully attained: I felt myself endowed with supernatural knowledge: thoughts of my friends and acquaintances troubled me not; but I knew where each of them was, in Persia, India, Arabia, and Turkey, and what each was doing. I experienced an indescribable happiness. This state lasted several years; but at length I was insensibly enticed back to worldly objects: I came to this country; my fame as a caligraphist drew me into the service of the government; and now see what I am, decked with pelisses and shawls, and with this thing [a diamond order] on my breast; too old, I fear, to undergo again the self-denial necessary to restore me to true happiness, though I have almost resolved to make the attempt.”—Soon after this conversation, he was deprived of his office, and died of the plague. He was well known to have passed several years as a wandering devotee; and his sufferings, combined with enthusiasm, perhaps disordered his imagination, and made him believe that he really saw the strange sights which he described to me; for there was an appearance of earnestness and sincerity in his manner, such as I thought could hardly be assumed by a conscious impostor.

Insanity, however, if not of a very violent and dangerous nature, is commonly regarded by Muslims as a quality that entitles the subject of it to be esteemed as a saint; being supposed to be the abstraction of the mind from worldly affairs, and its total devotion to God. This popular superstition is a fertile source of imposture; for, a reputation for sanctity being so easily obtained and supported, there are numbers of persons who lay claim to it from motives of indolence and licentiousness, eager to receive alms merely for performing the tricks of madmen, and greedy of indulging in pleasures forbidden by the law; such indulgences not being considered in their case as transgressions by the common people, but rather as indications of holy frenzy. From my own observation I should say that lunatics or idiots, or impostors, constitute the majority of the persons reputed to be saints among the Muslims of the present day; and most of those who are not more than slightly tinged with insanity are darweeshes.

A reputed saint of this description, in Cairo, in whom persons of some education put great faith, affected to have a particular regard for me. He several times accosted me in an abrupt manner, acquainted me with the state of my family in England, and uttered incoherent predictions respecting me, all of which communications, excepting one which he qualified with an “in sháa-lláh” (or “if it be the will of God”), I must confess, proved to be true; but I must also state that he was acquainted with two of my friends who might have materially assisted him to frame these predictions, though they protested to me that they had not done so. The following extract from a journal which I kept in Cairo during my second visit to Egypt, will convey some idea of this person, who will serve as a picture of many of his fraternity.—To-day (Nov. 6th, 1834), as I was sitting in the shop of the Báshà’s booksellers, a reputed saint, whom I have often seen here, came and seated himself by me, and began, in a series of abrupt sentences, to relate to me various matters respecting me, past, present, and to come. He is called the sheykh ‘Alee El-Leysee. He is a poor man, supported by alms; tall and thin and very dark, about thirty years of age, and wears nothing at present but a blue shirt and a girdle, and a padded red cap. “O Efendee,” he said, “thou hast been very anxious for some days. There is a grain of anxiety remaining in thee yet. Do not fear. There is a letter coming to thee by sea, that will bring thee good news.” He then proceeded to tell me of the state of my family, and that all were well excepting one, whom he particularized by description, and who he stated to be then suffering from an intermittent fever. [This proved to be exactly true.] “This affliction,” he continued, “may be213 removed by prayer; and the excellences of the next night, the night of [i. e. preceding] the first Friday of the month of Regeb, of Regeb, the holy Regeb, are very great. I wanted to ask thee for something to-day; but I feared: I feared greatly. Thou must be invested with the wiláyeh [i. e. be made a welee]: the welees love thee; and the Prophet loves thee. Thou must go to the sheykh Muṣṭafà El-Munádee, and the sheykh El-Baháee.266 Thou must be a welee.” He then took my right hand, in the manner commonly practised in the ceremony which admits a person a darweesh, and repeated the Fáteḥah (commonly pronounced Fát’ḥah);267 after which he added, “I have admitted thee my darweesh.” Having next told me of several circumstances relating to my family—matters of an unusual nature—with singular minuteness and truth, he added, “To-night, if it be the will of God, thou shalt see the Prophet in thy sleep, and El-Khiḍr and the seyyid El-Bedawee. This is Regeb, and I wanted to ask of thee—but I feared—I wanted to ask of thee four piastres, to buy meat and bread and oil and radishes. Regeb! Regeb! I have great offices to do for thee to-night.”—Less than a shilling for all he promised was little enough: I gave it him for the trouble he had taken; and he uttered many abrupt prayers for me.—In the following night, however, I saw in my sleep neither Moḥammad nor El-Khiḍr nor the seyyid El-Bedawee, unless, like Nebuchadnezzar, I was unable, on awaking, to remember my dreams.

Some reputed saints of the more respectable class, to avoid public notice, wear the general dress and manners of their fellow-countrymen, and betray no love of ostentation in their acts of piety and self-denial; or live as hermits in desert places, depending solely upon Providence for their support, and are objects of pious and charitable visits from the inhabitants of near and distant places, and from casual travellers. Others distinguish themselves by the habit of a darweesh, or by other peculiarities, such as a long and loose coat (called dilḳ) composed of patches of cloth of various colours, long strings of beads hung upon the neck, a ragged turban, and a staff with shreds of cloth of different colours attached to the top; or obtain a reputation for miraculous powers by eating glass, fire, serpents, &c. Some of those who are insane, and of those who feign to be so, go about, even in crowded cities, in a state of perfect nudity, and are allowed to commit, with impunity, acts of brutal sensuality which the law, when appealed to, should punish with death. Such practices are forbidden by the religion and law even in the cases of saints; but common and deeply-rooted superstition prevents their punishment. During the occupation of Egypt by the French, the Commander-in-chief, Menou, applied to the Sheykhs (or ‘Ulamà) of the city for their opinion “respecting those persons who were accustomed to go about in the streets in a state of nudity, crying out and screaming, and arrogating to themselves the dignity of wiláyeh, relied upon as saints by the generality of the people, neither performing the prayers of the Muslims nor fasting,” asking whether such conduct was permitted by the religion, or contrary to the law. He was answered, “Conduct of this description is forbidden, and repugnant to our religion and law and to our traditions.” The French General thanked them for this answer, and gave orders to prevent such practices in future, and to seize every one seen thus offending; if insane, to confine him in the Máristán (or hospital and lunatic asylum); and if not insane, to compel him either to relinquish his disgusting habits, or to leave the city.268—Of reputed saints of this kind, thus writes an enlightened poet, El-Bedree El-Ḥejázee:—

“Would that I had not lived to see every fool esteemed among men as a Ḳuṭb!
Their learned men take him as a patron; nay, even as Lord, in place of the Possessor of Heaven’s throne.
Forgetting God, they say, ‘Such a one from all mankind can remove affliction.’
When he dies, they make for him a place of visitation, and strangers and Arabs hurry thither in crowds:
Some of them kiss his tomb, and some kiss the threshold of the door, and the very dust.
Thus do the idolaters act towards their images, hoping so to obtain their favour.”

These lines are quoted by El-Jabartee, in his account of a very celebrated modern saint, the seyyid ‘Alee El-Bekree (events of Rabeeạ eth-Thánee, 1214). A brief history of this person will not be here misplaced, as it will present a good illustration of the general character and actions of those insane individuals who are commonly regarded as saints.

The seyyid ‘Alee El-Bekree was a mejzoob (or insane person) who was considered an eminent welee, and much trusted in: for several years he used to walk naked about the streets of Cairo, with a shaven face, bearing a long nebboot (or staff), and uttering confused language, which the people attentively listened to, and interpreted according to their desires and the exigencies of their states. He was a tall, spare man, and sometimes wore a shirt and a cotton skull-cap; but he was generally barefooted and naked. The respect with which he was treated induced a woman, who was called the sheykhah Ammooneh, to imitate his example further than decency allowed: she followed him whithersoever he went, covered at first with her izár (or large cotton veil thrown over the head and body), and muttering, like him, confused language. Entering private houses with him, she used to ascend to the ḥareems, and gained the faith of the women, who presented her with money and clothes, and spread abroad that the sheykh (‘Alee) had looked upon her, and affected her with religious frenzy, so that she had become a weleeyeh, or female saint. Afterwards, becoming more insane and intoxicated, she uncovered her face, and put on the clothing of a man; and thus attired she still accompanied the sheykh, and the two wandered about, followed by numbers of children and common vagabonds; some of whom also stripped off their clothes in imitation of the sheykh, and followed, dancing; their mad actions being attributed (like those of the woman) to religious frenzy, induced by his look or touch, which converted them into saints. The vulgar and young, who daily followed them, consequently increased in numbers; and some of them, in passing through the market-streets, snatched away goods from the shops, thus exciting great commotion wherever they went. When the sheykh sat down in any place, the crowd stopped, and the people pressed to see him and his mad companions. On these occasions the woman used to mount upon the maṣṭabah of a shop, or ascend a hillock, and utter disgusting language, sometimes in Arabic, and sometimes in Turkish, while many persons among her audience would kiss her hands to derive a blessing. After having persevered for some time in this course, none preventing them, the party entered one day the lane leading from the principal street of the city to the house of the Ḳáḍee, and were seized by a Turkish officer there residing, named Jaạfar Káshif, who, having brought them into his house, gave the sheykh some food, and drove out the spectators, retaining the woman and the mejzoobs, whom he placed in confinement: he then liberated the sheykh ‘Alee, brought out the woman and the mejzoobs and beat them, sent the woman to the Máristán, and there confined her, and set at large the rest, after they had prayed for mercy, and clothed themselves, and recovered from their intoxication. The woman remained a while confined in the Máristán, and, when liberated, lived alone as a sheykhah, believed in by men and women, and honoured as a saint with visits and festivals.

The seyyid ‘Alee, after he had thus been deprived of his companions and imitators, was constrained to lead a different kind of life. He had a cunning brother, who, to turn the folly of this saint to a good account, and fill his own purse (seeing how great faith the people placed in him, as the Egyptians are prone to do in such a case), confined him in his house, and clothed him, asserting that he had his permission to do so, and that he had been invested with the dignity of Ḳuṭb. Thus he contrived to attract crowds of persons, men and women, to visit him. He forbade him to shave his beard, which consequently grew to its full size; and his body became fat and stout from abundance of food and rest; for, while he went about naked, he was, as before mentioned, of a lean figure. During that period he used generally to pass the night wandering, without food, through the streets, in winter and summer. Having now servants to wait upon him, whether sleeping or waking, he passed his time in idleness,215 uttering confused and incoherent words, and sometimes laughing and sometimes scolding; and in the course of his idle loquacity he could not but let fall some words applicable to the affairs of some of his listening visiters, who attributed such expressions to his supernatural knowledge of the thoughts of their hearts, and interpreted them as warnings or prophecies. Men and women, and particularly the wives of the grandees, flocked to him with presents and votive offerings, which enriched the coffers of his brother; and the honours which he received ceased not with his death. His funeral was attended by multitudes from every quarter. His brother buried him in the mosque of Esh-Sharáïbee, in the quarter of the Ezbekeeyeh, made for him a maḳṣoorah (or railed enclosure) and an oblong monument over the grave, and frequently repaired thither with readers of the Ḳur-án, munshids269 to sing odes in his honour, flag-bearers, and other persons, who wailed and screamed, rubbed their faces against the bars of the window before his grave, and caught the air of the place in their hands to thrust it into their bosoms and pockets. Men and women came crowding together to visit his tomb, bringing votive offerings and wax candles, and eatables of various kinds to distribute for his sake to the poor.270—The oblong monument over his grave, resembling a large chest, was covered, when I was in Cairo, with a black stuff ornamented by a line of words from the Ḳur-án, in white characters, surrounding it. A servant who accompanied me during my rides and walks used often to stop as we passed this tomb, and touch the wooden bars of the window above mentioned with his right hand, which he then kissed to obtain a blessing.

In most cases greater honour is paid to a reputed saint after his death than he receives in his life. A small, square, whitewashed building, crowned with a dome, is generally erected as his tomb, surrounding an oblong monument of stone, brick, or wood, which is immediately over the sepulchral vault. At least one such building forms a conspicuous object close by, or within, almost every Arab village; for the different villages, and different quarters of every town and city, have their respective patron saints, whose tombs are frequently visited, and are the scenes of periodical festivals, generally celebrated once in every year. The tombs of many very eminent saints are mosques; and some of these are large and handsome edifices, the monument being under a large and lofty dome, and surrounded by an enclosure of wooden railings, or of elegantly-worked bronze. In these buildings also, and in some others, the monument is covered with silk or cotton stuff ornamented with words from the Ḳur-án, which form a band around it. Many buildings of the more simple kind erected in honour of saints, and some of the larger description, are mere cenotaphs, or cover only some relic of the person to whom they are dedicated. The tombs and cenotaphs or shrines of saints are visited by numerous persons, and on frequent occasions; most commonly on a particular day of the week. The object of the visiter, in general, is to perform some meritorious act, such as taking bread, or other food, or money, for the poor, or distributing water to the thirsty, on account of the saint, to increase his rewards in heaven, and at the same time to draw down a blessing on himself; or to perform a sacrifice of a sheep, goat, calf, or other animal, which he has vowed to offer, if blessed with some specific object of desire, or to obtain general blessings; or to implore the saint’s intercession in some case of need. The flesh of the devoted animal is given to the poor. The visiters also often take with them palm-branches, or sprigs of myrtle, or roses or other flowers, to lay upon the monument, as they do when they visit the tombs of their relations. The visiter walks round the monument, or its enclosure, from left to right, or with his left side towards it (as the pilgrims do round the Kaạbeh), sometimes pausing to touch its four angles or corners with his right hand, which he then kisses; and recites the opening chapter of the Ḳur-án (the Fát’ḥah) standing before one or each of its four sides. Some visiters repeat also the chapter of Yá-Seen (the 36th), or employ a person to recite this, or even the whole of the Ḳur-án, for hire.


The reciter afterwards declares that he transfers the merit of this work to the soul of the deceased saint. Any private petition the visiter offers up on his own account, imploring a favourable answer for the sake of the saint, or through his intercession; holding his hands before his face like an open book, and then drawing them down his face. Many a visiter, on entering the tomb, kisses the threshold, or touches it with his right hand, which he then kisses; and, on passing by it, persons often touch the window, and kiss the hand thus honoured.

The great periodical or annual festivals are observed with additional ceremonies, and by crowds of visiters. These are called Moolids (more properly Mólids); and are held on the anniversary of the birth of the saint, or in commemoration of that event. Persons are then hired to recite the Ḳur-án in and near the tomb, during the day; and others, chiefly darweeshes, employ themselves during the night in performing zikrs, which consist in repeating the name of God, or the profession of his unity, &c., in chorus, accompanying the words by certain motions of the head, hands, or whole body; munshids, at intervals, singing religious odes or love songs during these performances, to the accompaniment of a náy, which is a kind of flute, or the arghool, which is a double reed-pipe. These moolids are scenes of rejoicing and of traffic, which men and boys and girls attend, to eat sweatmeats, and drink coffee and sherbets, or to amuse themselves with swinging, or turning on a whirligig, or witnessing the feats of conjurers, or the performances of dancers; and to which tradesmen repair to sell or barter their goods. The visiters to the great moolids of the seyyid Aḥmad El-Bedawee, at Ṭanṭà, in the Delta of Egypt, which are great fairs as well as religious festivals, are almost as numerous as the pilgrims at Mekkeh. During a moolid, the inhabitants of the houses in the neighbourhood of the tomb hang lamps before their houses, and spend a great part of the night listening to the story-tellers at the coffee-shops, or attending the zikrs.

These latter performances, though so common among the Arabs, are inconsistent with the spirit of the Mohammadan religion, and especially with respect to music, which was not employed in religious ceremonies until after the second century of the Flight. The Imám Aboo-Bekr Eṭ-Ṭoosee, being asked whether it were lawful or not to be present with people who assembled in a certain place, and read a portion of the Ḳur-án; and, after a munshid had recited some poetry, would dance, and become excited, and play upon tambourines and pipes,—answered, that such practices were vain, ignorant, and erroneous; not ordained by the Ḳur-án or the Traditions of the Prophet, but invented by those Israelites who worshipped the Golden Calf; that the Prophet and his companions used to sit so quietly that a bird might alight upon the head of any one of them and not be disturbed; that it was incumbent on the Sultán and his vicegerents to prevent such persons from entering the mosques and other places for these purposes; and that no one who believed in God and the Last Day should be present with them, or assist them in their vain performances: such, he asserted, was the opinion of the Imáms of the Muslims.271 Some eminent doctors, however, have contended for the lawfulness of these practices.272

Of the various orders of darweeshes, to which so many of the reputed saints belong, it is unnecessary here to say more than that they differ chiefly in unimportant regulations and rites, such as particular forms of prayer, and modes of zikr; that some distinguish themselves by peculiar dresses; and that a few pursue a wandering life, and subsist on alms.

Note 64. The reason of this strange proceeding is not stated in the Cairo edition, but it is in the two other editions which I have before me.

Note 65. Arab etiquette requires that a person should sit upon his knees and feet in the presence of one of much higher rank, or of one to whom he would pay especial honour. He should also, in these cases, cover his hands with his sleeves.


Note 66. Kunáfeh is a kind of pastry resembling vermicelli, made of wheat-flour. It is moistened with clarified butter—then baked, and sweetened with honey or sugar.

Note 67. Chess is played somewhat differently in different parts of the East. The pieces are generally of very simple forms, as the Muslim is forbidden by his religion to make an image of anything that has life.

Note 68. In my original, and in the Breslau edition, the ape is said to have been the son of the King of the Ebony Islands; but this is a mistake; for the latter, as before stated, was the father of the lady who was carried off by Jarjarees.

Note 69. The term “leewán” has been explained in No. 12 of the notes to this chapter.

Note 70. This was, and I believe still is, a common battle-cry of the Arabs, and more commonly used on the occasion of a victory.

Note 71. “Dár es-Selám,” “the Abode of Peace,” or “of Safety,” is a name often given to Baghdád, as it is also to one of the seven stories or stages of Paradise.

Note 72.—The Mountain of Loadstone. Several Arab writers describe this mountain of loadstone. El Ḳazweenee, in his account of minerals, says that the mine of loadstone is on the shore of the Indian Ocean, and that if the ships which navigate this sea approach the said mine, and contain anything of iron, it flies from them like a bird, and adheres to the mountain; for which reason, it is the general custom to make use of no iron in the construction of the vessels employed in this navigation.273 I think that I have met with a similar story in some Latin author.

Note 73. For an explanation of this term, see what I have said on the subject of prayer in the first of the notes to the Introduction.

Note 74. “Khaṣeeb” signifies “endowed with plenty.”

Note 75. The remainder of the story of the Third Royal Mendicant is almost wholly omitted in the Cairo edition. I translate it chiefly from the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights.

Note 76.—On Dreams. That Dreams are regarded by the Muslims as being often true warnings or indications of future events I have mentioned in a former note. This belief, sanctioned by the Prophet, will be well illustrated by the following anecdote, which was related to me in Cairo, shortly after the terrible plague of the year 1835, by the sheykh Moḥammad Eṭ-Ṭanṭáwee, who had taken the trouble of investigating the fact, and had ascertained its truth.

A tradesman, living in the quarter of El-Ḥanafee, in Cairo, dreamt, during the plague above mentioned, that eleven persons were carried out from his house to be buried, victims of this disease. He awoke in a state of the greatest distress and alarm, reflecting that eleven was the total number of the inhabitants of his house, including himself, and that it would be vain in him to attempt, by adding one or more members to his household, to elude the decree of God, and give himself a chance of escape: so, calling together his neighbours, he informed them of his dream, and was counselled to submit with resignation to a fate so plainly foreshewn, and to be thankful to God for the timely notice with which he had been mercifully favoured. On the following day, one of his children died; a day or two after, a wife; and the pestilence continued its ravages among his family until he remained in his house alone. It was impossible for him now to entertain the slightest doubt of the entire accomplishment of the warning: immediately, therefore, after the last death that had taken place among his household, he repaired to a friend at a neighbouring shop, and, calling to him several other persons from the adjoining and opposite shops, he reminded them of his dream, acquainted them with its almost complete fulfilment, and expressed his conviction that he, the eleventh, should very soon die. “Perhaps,” said he, “I shall die this next 218night: I beg of you, therefore, for the sake of God, to come to my house early to-morrow morning, and the next morning and the next if necessary, and to see if I be dead, and, when dead, that I be properly buried; for I have no one with me to wash and shroud me. Fail not to do me this service, which will procure you a recompense in heaven. I have bought my grave-linen: you will find it in a corner of the room in which I sleep. If you find the door of the house latched, and I do not answer to your knocking, break it open.”

Soon after sunset he laid himself in his lonely bed, though without any expectation of closing his eyes in sleep; for his mind was absorbed in reflections upon the awful entry into another world, and a review of his past life. As the shades of night gathered around him, he could almost fancy that he beheld, in one faint object or another in his gloomy chamber, the dreadful person of the Angel of Death: and at length he actually perceived a figure gliding in at the door, and approaching his bed. Starting up in horror, he exclaimed, “Who art thou?”—and a stern and solemn voice answered, “Be silent! I am ‘Azraeel, the Angel of Death!”—”Alas!” cried the terrified man; “I testify that there is no deity but God, and I testify that Moḥammad is God’s Apostle! There is no strength nor power but in God, the High! the Great! To God we belong, and to Him we must return!”—He then covered himself over with his quilt, as if for protection, and lay with throbbing heart, expecting every moment to have his soul torn from him by the inexorable messenger. But moments passed away, and minutes, and hours; yet without his experiencing any hope of escape; for he imagined that the Angel was waiting for him to resign himself, or had left him for a while, and was occupied in receiving first the souls of the many hundred human beings who had attained their predestined term in that same night and in the same city, and the souls of the thousands who were doomed to employ him elsewhere. Daybreak arrived before his sufferings terminated; and his neighbours, coming according to their promise, entered his chamber, and found him still in bed; but observing that he was covered up, and motionless as a corpse, they doubted whether he were still alive, and called to him. He answered, with a faint voice, “I am not yet dead; but the Angel of Death came to me in the dusk of the evening, and I expect every moment his return, to take my soul: therefore trouble me not; but see me washed and buried.”—”But why,” said his friends, “was the street-door left unlatched?”—”I latched it,” he answered, “but the Angel of Death may have opened it.”—”And who,” they asked, “is the man in the court?”—He answered, “I know of no man in the court: perhaps the Angel who is waiting for my soul has made himself visible to you, and been mistaken, in the twilight, for a man.”—”He is a thief,” they said, “who has gathered together everything in the house that he could carry away, and has been struck by the plague while doing so, and now lies dead in the court, at the foot of the stairs, grasping in his hand a silver candlestick.”—The master of the house, after hearing this, paused for a moment, and then, throwing off his quilt, exclaimed, “Praise be to God, the Lord of all creatures! That is the eleventh, and I am safe! No doubt it was that rascal who came to me and said that he was the Angel of Death. Praise be to God! Praise be to God!”

This man survived the plague, and took pleasure in relating the above story. The thief had overheard his conversation with his neighbours, and, coming to his house in the dusk, had put his shoulder to the wooden lock, and so raised the door and displaced the latch within.—There is nothing wonderful in the dream, nor in its accomplishment; the plague of 1835 entirely desolated many houses, and was mostly fatal to the young; and all the inhabitants of the house in question were young excepting the master.

Note 77. “‘Ajeeb” signifies “a wonder,” or “anything strange or admirable.”

Note 78. Blue is the colour of mourning, as before mentioned, in No. 52 of the notes to the second chapter.

Note 79. Smearing the face and slapping the cheeks are common practices of Arab219 women, especially of the lower orders, on following to the grave the corpse of a near relation or a husband.

Note 80.—On the Rukh’. This fabulous bird is described by many Arab writers, some of whom assert that it can carry a rhinoceros, while others ascribe to it powers still more extraordinary. I shall have occasion to speak of it again in my notes to this work.

Note 81. This is explained by No. 30 of the notes to the Introduction.

Note 82. I here return to the Cairo edition.

Note 83. Some of the incidents described in this story, as the shipwrecks caused by the image, and the opening of the forbidden closet, &c., appear to be taken from the romance of Seyf Zu-l-Yezen, of which I possess a copy, purchased during my second visit to Egypt. This romance, which has become extremely scarce, is filled with stories of genii and enchantments of the most extravagant kind. Some of the public story-tellers in Cairo used, a few years since, to amuse their audiences by recitations from it. I was not able to discover the period at which it was composed; but it is said to have been written long before the Tales of a Thousand and One Nights. I saw once a portion of a copy of which it appeared, from the hand-writing and the paper, to be three or four centuries old.

Note 84. So in the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights, and in the edition of Breslau.

Note 85. Those decrees which are written with “the Pen” on the “Preserved Tablet” are believed to be unchangeable. “The Pen” is also the title of one of the chapters of the Ḳur-án, the 68th.

Note 86. In all the copies of the original which I have by me, El-Baṣrah is said to have been the place to which the lady designed to voyage; but this is inconsistent with the sequel of the story.

Note 87. In the old version, two strange errors occur in the passage corresponding with this: two words in the original, “nár” and “doon,” having been mistaken for a proper name; and the word “jebbár,” which, applied to God, signifies “almighty,” or rather the “Compeller of his creatures to do whatsoever He willeth,” being taken in the sense of “giant,” which it bears in many other cases.

Note 88.—On Martyrs. The Mohammadan law distinguishes several different descriptions of martyrs. This honourable title is given to the soldier who dies in fighting for the faith, or on his way to do so, or who dies almost immediately after his having been wounded when so engaged; to a person who innocently meets with his death from the hand of another; to a victim of the plague, who does not flee from the disease, or of dysentery; to a person who is drowned; and to one who is killed by the falling of a wall or any building. It is said that the souls of martyrs, after quitting their bodies, reside, until the day of resurrection, in the crops of green birds, which eat of the fruits, and drink of the waters, of Paradise. Such we are to consider as the first and lowest state of felicity to which the young prince in this tale was introduced as the reward of his virtue.

Note 89. The share inherited, according to the law, by the wife, or by the wives conjointly when there are more than one, is one-eighth of what remains of the property of the deceased after the discharge of his debts and legacies, if he have left issue; and one-fourth, if he have left no issue.

Note 90. The Arabs, fond of hyperbole, often thus describe a lofty building.

Note 91.—On the Magnificence of Arab Palaces, &c. After remarking upon the preceding sentence as presenting an instance of Oriental hyperbole, it may be necessary to inform the reader that he needs not regard this in the same light. The magnificence of the palaces of Baghdád in the times of the Khaleefehs almost exceeds belief.220

In the beginning of the year of the Flight 305 (June, A.D. 917), two ambassadors from the Greek Emperor (Constantine IX., Porphyrogenitus) arrived in Baghdád on a mission to the Khaleefeh El-Muḳtedir, bringing an abundance of costly presents; and the scenes which they witnessed are thus described; apparently, however, not without some exaggeration. They were first received by the Wezeer, who, at the audience which he granted to them in his garden-palace, displayed on this occasion a degree of magnificence that had never before been manifested by any of his rank; pages, memlooks, and soldiers, crowded the avenues and courts of his mansion, the apartments of which were hung with tapestry of the value of thirty thousand deenárs; and the Wezeer himself was surrounded by generals and other officers on his right and left and behind his seat, when the two ambassadors approached him, dazzled by the splendour that surrounded them, to beg for an interview with the Khaleefeh. El-Muḳtedir, having appointed a day on which he would receive them, ordered that the courts and passages and avenues of his palace should be filled with armed men, and that all the apartments should be furnished with the utmost magnificence. A hundred and sixty thousand armed soldiers were arranged in ranks in the approach to the palace; next to these were the pages of the closets, and chief eunuchs, clad in silk and with belts set with jewels, in number seven thousand; four thousand white, and three thousand black: there were also seven hundred chamberlains; and beautifully ornamented boats of various kinds were seen floating upon the Tigris, hard by. The two ambassadors passed first by the palace of the chief chamberlain, and, astonished at the splendid ornaments and pages and arms which they there beheld, imagined that this was the palace of the Khaleefeh; but what they had seen here was eclipsed by what they beheld in the latter, where they were amazed by the sight of thirty-eight thousand pieces of tapestry of gold-embroidered silk brocade, and twenty-two thousand magnificent carpets. Here also were two menageries of beasts by nature wild, but tamed by art, and eating from the hands of men: among them were a hundred lions; each lion with its keeper. They then entered the Palace of the Tree, enclosing a pond from which rose the Tree: this had eighteen branches, with leaves of various colours (being artificial), and with birds of gold and silver (or gilt and silvered) of every variety of kind and size, perched upon its branches, so constructed that each of them sang. Thence they passed into the garden, in which were furniture and utensils not to be enumerated: in the passages leading to it were suspended ten thousand gilt coats of mail. Being at length conducted before El-Muḳtedir, they found him seated on a couch of ebony inlaid with gold and silver, to the right of which were hung nine necklaces of jewels, and the like to the left, the jewels of which outshone the light of day. The two ambassadors paused at the distance of about a hundred cubits from the Khaleefeh, with the interpreter. Having left the presence, they were conducted through the palace, and were shewn splendidly-caparisoned elephants, a giraffe, lynxes, and other beasts. They were then clad with robes of honour, and to each of them was brought fifty thousand dirhems, together with dresses and other presents. It is added, that the ambassadors approached the palace through a street called “the Street of the Menárehs,” in which were a thousand menárehs, or menarets. It was at the hour of noon; and as they passed, the muëddins from all these menárehs chanted the call to prayer at the same time, so that the earth almost quaked at the sound, and the ambassadors were struck with fear.274

The Orientals well understand how to give the most striking effect to the jewels which they display on their dress, &c., on occasions of state. Sir John Malcolm, describing his reception by the late King of Persia, says, “His dress baffled all description. The ground of his robes was white; but he was so covered with jewels of an extraordinary size, and their splendour, from his being seated where the rays of the sun played upon them, was so dazzling, that it was impossible to distinguish the minute parts which combined to give such amazing brilliancy to his whole figure.”275


Note 92. As this marriage is described as conducted in an irregular manner, I need say nothing at present of the ceremonies usually practised on such an occasion.

Note 93. Every person who has visited Eastern cities will bear testimony to the plausibility of this excuse. I have several times been thrown down by the wide load of a camel in the streets of Cairo, and seen loads of firewood scraping the houses on both sides of a street at the same time.

Note 94. Women suspected of infidelity to their husbands have not unfrequently been thus punished in Egypt in modern times, in violation of the law.

Note 95. “Saạd” signifies “happiness,” or “prosperity,” and also “happy,” or “prosperous.”

Note 96. Pity is of more important service to the Muslim after death than during life; for the prayers which it inspires increase his happiness in futurity, or diminish his misery.

Note 97. This allusion to religious faith is peculiarly apt in the mouth of a Muslim; for the chief dogma of his creed is the denial of any partnership in the Divine essence. He calls persons of all other religions “mushriks,” or those who attribute partners to God.

Note 98. In the original, she is here called an ‘Efreeteh, which is an improper term.

Note 99. This salutation and its reply are only to be given by and to Muslims.

Note 100. It is implied by this ejaculation that the two ladies were admirable beauties, evidences of the perfection of their Creator.

Tail-piece to Notes to Chapter III.
175See Ḳur-án, ch. ii. v. 96.

176See Ḳur-án, ch. ii. v. 96.

177El-Ḳazweenee, account of the well of Bábil, in “‘Ajáïb el-Makhlooḳát.”

178Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 339.

179De Sacy’s Chrestomathie Arabe, vol. i. pp. 125-131, Arabic text, 2nd ed.

180That is, a race-course for sallies of wit and eloquence on the subject of wine: the word “kumeyt” being used, in preference to more than a hundred others that might have been employed, as signifying “wine,” because it bears also the meaning of “a dark bay horse.”

181His name is not mentioned in my copy; but D’Herbelot states it to have been Shems-ed-Deen Moḥammad Ibn-Bedr-ed-Deen Ḥasan, el-Ḳáḍee; and writes his surname “Naouagi,” or “Naouahi.”

182Ch. ii. v. 216.

183Ch. iv. v. 46.

184Leviticus, ch. x. v. 9.

185Ḳur-án, ch. v. v. 92.

186Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, ch. ix.

187Idem, khátimeh, or conclusion.


189Fakhr-ed-Deen, in De Sacy’s Chrestomathie Arabe, vol. i. p. 23, Arabic text, 2nd ed.

190″While tears of blood trickle from the strainer, the ewer beneath it giggles.” (Eṣ-Ṣadr Ibn-El-Wekeel, quoted in the Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, ch. xiii.)—The strainer is called “ráwooḳ.”

191The Moḥtesib is inspector of the markets, the weights and measures, and provisions, &c.

192Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 295.

193In Arabic, “báṭiyeh.”




197The cup, when full, was generally called “kás:” when empty, “ḳadaḥ” or “jám.” The name of “kás” is now given to a small glass used for brandy and liqueurs, and similar to our liqueur-glass: the glass or cup used for wine is called, when so used, “koobeh:” it is the same as that used for sherbet; but in the latter case it is called “ḳulleh.”





202Es-Suyooṭee, account of the fruits of Egypt, in his history of that country (MS. in my possession)


204Es-Suyooṭee, account of the fruits of Egypt, in his history of that country (MS. in my possession).

205El-Ḳazweenee (MS. in my possession).


207″Biṭṭeekh,” vulg., “baṭṭeekh.”



210Es-Suyooṭee, ubi suprà.


212Es-Suyooṭee, ubi suprà.

213The Arabic names of these fruits are, tuffáḥ (vulg., tiffáḥ), kummetrè, safarjal, mishmish, khókh, teen, jummeyz (vulg., jemmeyz), ‘eneb, nabḳ or sidr, ‘onnáb (vulg., ‘annáb), ijjás or barḳooḳ, józ, lóz, bunduḳ, fustuḳ, burtuḳán, nárinj, leymoon, utrujj or turunj and kebbád, toot, zeytoon, and ḳaṣab es-sukkar.


215Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, ch. xvii.; and Es-Suyooṭee, account of the flowers of Egypt, in his history of that country.

216Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, ch. xvii.




220Es-Suyooṭee, ubi suprà.

221The night of the Ascension.

222Gabriel, who accompanied the Prophet.

223The beast on which he rode from Mekkeh to Jerusalem previously to his ascension. These traditions are from Es-Suyooṭee, ubi suprà.

224This flower is called “fághiyeh,” and, more commonly, “temer el-ḥennè;” or, according to some, the fághiyeh is the flower produced by a slip of temer el-ḥennè planted upside down, and superior to the flower of the latter planted in the natural way.

225Es-Suyooṭee, ubi suprà.



228″Ás,” or “narseen.”


230″Shaḳáïḳ.” The “adhriyoon,” or “ádharyoon,” is said to be a variety of the anemone.

231From the former, or from “noạmán” as signifying “blood,” the anemone was named “shaḳáïḳ en-noạmán.”

232″Menthoor,” or “kheeree.”

233Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, ch. xvii.


235Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, ubi suprà; Es-Suyooṭee, ubi suprà; and El-Ḳazweenee.

236The Arabic names of these flowers are, yásemeen, nisreen, zahr (or zahr nárinj), soosan, reeḥán (or ḥabaḳ), nemám, bahár, uḳ-howán, neelófar, beshneen, jullanár or julnár, khashkhásh, khiṭmee, zaạfarán, ‘oṣfur, kettán, báḳillà and lebláb, and lóz.

237″Bán,” and “khiláf” or “khaláf.” Both these names are applied to the same tree (which, according to Forskal, differs slightly from the salix Ægyptiaca of Linnæus) by the author of the Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, and by the modern Egyptians.

238Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, ch. xiv.

239Idem, ch. xi.

240Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 425.

241Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, ch. xiv.

242Soft boots, worn inside the slippers or shoes.

243This is so vaguely described by the Arab lexicographers that I cannot obtain a definite notion of its form.

244Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, loco laudato.

245Halbet el-Kumeyt, ch. xiv.

246He was born in the year of the Flight 125, and died in 213, or, according to some, 188.—Abulfedæ Annales, vol. ii. pp. 150 and 675.

247He was born in the year of the Flight 150, and died in 235.—Idem, adnot., pp. 691 et seq.; and Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 235.

248Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 231. He died in this year.

249I believe this Khaleefeh was El-Ma-moon.

250A quarter in Baghdád.

251That is, “My master.”—Ed.

252Ḥalbet el-Kumeyt, ch. vii.

253Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaähhil.

254El-Maḳreezee, in De Sacy’s Chrestomathie Arabe, vol. i. p. 265, 2nd ed.


256El-Maḳreezee, in his “Khiṭaṭ,” and his history of the Memlook Sulṭáns, translated by Quatremère; El-Is-ḥáḳee; and D’Ohsson, Tableau Général de l’Empire Othoman.

257D’Ohsson (vol. i. pp. 315 and 316) asserts the Ḳuṭb to be the chief minister of the Ghós; and gives an account somewhat different from that which I offer of the orders under his authority: but perhaps the Turkish Darweeshes differ from the Arab in their tenets on this subject.

258It is said that “the Nuḳabà are three hundred; the Nujabà, seventy; the Abdál, forty; the Akhyár, seven; the ‘Omud, four; the Ghós [as before mentioned,] is one. The Nuḳabà reside in El-Gharb [Northern Africa to the west of Egypt]; the Nujabà, in Egypt; the Abdál, in Syria; the Akhyár travel about the earth; the ‘Omud, in the corners of the earth; the abode of the Ghós is at Mekkeh. In an affair of need, the Nuḳabà implore relief for the people; then, the Nujabà; then, the Abdál; then, the Akhyár; then, the ‘Omud; and if their prayer be not answered, the Ghós implores, and his prayer is answered.” (El-Is-ḥáḳee’s History, preface.)—This statement, I find, rests on the authority of a famous saint of Baghdád, Aboo-Bekr El-Kettánee, who died at Mekkeh, in the year of the Flight 322. (Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year above mentioned.)

259El-Jabartee’s History of Modern Egypt, vol. ii., obituary of the year 1201 (MS. in my possession).—The appellation of “the four Ḳuṭbs” is given in Egypt to the seyyid Aḥmad Rifá’ah, the seyyid ‘Abd-El-Ḳádir El-Geelánee, the seyyid Aḥmad El-Bedawee, and the seyyid Ibráheem Ed-Dasooḳee, the founders of the four orders of darweeshes most celebrated among the Arabs, called Rifá’eeyeh, Ḳádireeyeh, Aḥmedeeyeh, and Baráhimeh.

260El-Jabartee’s History, vol. i., obituary of the year 1188.

261Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 291.

262Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 291.

263Idem, events of the year 218.

264Idem, events of the year 334.

265Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 4.

266These are two very celebrated welees.

267The opening chapter of the Ḳur-án.

268El-Jabartee’s History, vol. iii., events of the month of Shaạbán, 1215 (A.D. 1800-1801).

269Singers of religious odes.

270El-Jabartee’s History, vol. ii., obituary of the year 1207, and events of Rejeb, 1200; and vol. iii., events of Rabeeạ eth-Thánee, 1214.

271El-Is-ḥáḳee, reign of El-Mutawekkil.

272De Sacy’s Chrestomathie Arabe, vol. i. pp. 122, 123, 2nd. ed.

273″‘Ajáïb el-Makhlooḳát.”

274Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year above mentioned.

275Sketches of Persia, vol. ii. p. 129.


Head-piece to Chapter IV.–Fisherman drawing his Nets
One night, after the adventure above described, the Khaleefeh Hároon Er-Rasheed said to Jaạfar, his Wezeer, We will go down to-night into the city, and inquire respecting the affairs of those who are at present in authority, and him against whom any one shall complain we will displace. Jaạfar replied, I hear and obey:—and when the Khaleefeh had gone forth with him and Mesroor, and they had passed through several of the market-streets, they proceeded along a lane, and saw there an old man, with a net and basket upon his head, and a staff in his hand, walking at his leisure, and reciting these verses:223—

They say to me, Thou shinest among mankind, by thy knowledge, like the moonlight night:
But I answer, Abstain from thus addressing me, since there is no knowledge without power:
For if they would pawn me, and my knowledge with me, and all my papers and inkhorn too,
For one day’s food, they would never find the pledge accepted to the day of judgment.
As for the poor, and his condition, and his whole life, how full of trouble!
In the summer he fails to earn his food, and in winter he warms himself over the fire-pot.2
The dogs follow him wherever he goes, and any reviler, and he cannot repel him.
If he states his case, and proves himself wronged, the judge will not admit his plea.
Such, then, being the poor man’s life, his fittest place is in the burial-ground.3
The Khaleefeh, when he heard his recitation, said to Jaạfar, Observe this poor man, and consider these verses; for they indicate his necessity. Then approaching the man, he said to him, O sheykh, what is thine occupation?—O my master, answered the old man, I am a fisherman, and have a family to maintain, and I went forth from my house at noon, and have remained until now, but God hath allotted me nothing wherewith to obtain food for my household; therefore I have hated myself, and wished for death.—Wilt thou, said the Khaleefeh, return with us to the river, and station thyself on the bank of the Tigris, and cast thy net for my luck? If thou wilt do so I will purchase of thee whatever cometh up for a hundred pieces of gold.—The fisherman rejoiced when he heard these words, and said, On my head be your commands: I will return with you.—So he went again to the river, and cast his net, and, having waited till it sank, drew the cords, and dragged back the net, and there came up in it a chest, locked and heavy. When the Khaleefeh saw it, he felt its weight, and found it to be heavy; and he gave a hundred pieces of gold to the fisherman, who went away, while Mesroor, assisted by Jaạfar, took up the chest, and conveyed it, in company with the Khaleefeh, to the palace, where they lighted the candles, and placed the chest before the Khaleefeh. Jaạfar and Mesroor then broke it open, and they found in it a basket of palm-leaves sewed up with red worsted; and they cut the threads, and saw within it a piece of carpet, and, lifting up this, they found beneath it an izár,4 and when they had taken up the izár they discovered under it a damsel like molten silver, killed, and cut in pieces.

When the Khaleefeh beheld this, tears ran down his cheeks, and, looking towards Jaạfar, he exclaimed, O dog of Wezeers, shall people be murdered in my time, and be thrown into the river, and become224 burdens upon my responsibility? By Allah, I must retaliate for this damsel upon him who killed her, and put him to death!—Then said he to Jaạfar, By the truth of my descent from the Khaleefehs of the sons of El-‘Abbás, if thou do not bring to me him who killed this woman, that I may avenge her upon him, I will crucify thee at the gate of my palace, together with forty of thy kinsmen!5 And the Khaleefeh was enraged.—Grant me, said Jaạfar, a delay of three days.—I grant thee the delay, replied the Khaleefeh. Jaạfar then went forth from his presence, and took his route through the city, sorrowful, and saying within himself, How shall I discover him who killed this damsel, that I may take him before the Khaleefeh? And if I take to him any other person, he will become a weight upon my conscience. I know not what to do.—For three days he remained in his house, and on the fourth day the Khaleefeh sent to summon him, and, when he had presented himself before him, said to him, Where is the murderer of the damsel?—O Prince of the Faithful, answered Jaạfar, am I acquainted with things hidden from the senses, that I should know who is her murderer? The Khaleefeh, incensed at this answer, gave orders to crucify him at the gate of his palace, and commanded a crier to proclaim through the streets of Baghdád, Whosoever desireth to amuse himself by seeing the crucifixion of Jaạfar El-Barmekee, the Wezeer of the Khaleefeh, and the crucifixion of his kinsmen, at the gate of the Khaleefeh’s palace, let him come forth and amuse himself.—So the people came forth from every quarter to see the crucifixion of Jaạfar and his kinsmen; and they knew not the cause of this. The Khaleefeh then gave orders to set up the crosses; and they did so, and placed the Wezeer and his kinsmen beneath, to crucify them, and were awaiting the Khaleefeh’s permission, while the people wept for Jaạfar and his relatives.

But while they were thus waiting, a handsome and neatly-dressed young man came forward quickly through the crowd, and, approaching the Wezeer, said to him, Safety to thee from this predicament, O chief of Emeers, and refuge of the poor! It was I who killed the woman whom ye found in the chest: kill me therefore for her, and retaliate her death upon me.—When Jaạfar heard these words, he rejoiced for his own deliverance, and grieved for the young man: but while he was speaking to him, lo, an old sheykh pressed hastily through the crowd to him and the young man, and, having saluted them, said, O Wezeer, believe not the words of this young man, for no one killed the damsel but myself; therefore retaliate her death upon225 me. The young man, however, said, O Wezeer, this is an old man, imbecile through age; he knoweth not what he saith: it was I who killed her; avenge her therefore upon me.—O my son, said the sheykh, thou art young, and wilt find pleasure in the world; and I am old, and satiated with the world: I will be a ransom for thee and for the Wezeer and his kinsmen; and no one killed the damsel but myself: by Allah, therefore, hasten to retaliate upon me.

On witnessing this scene, the Wezeer was astonished; and he took the young man and the sheykh to the Khaleefeh, and said, O Prince of the Faithful, the murderer of the damsel hath come.—Where is he? said the Khaleefeh. This young man, answered Jaạfar, saith, I am the murderer;—and this sheykh accuseth him of falsehood, and saith, Nay, but I am the murderer.—The Khaleefeh, looking towards the sheykh and the young man, said, Which of you killed this damsel? The young man answered, No one killed her but myself:—and the sheykh said also, No one killed her but myself. The Khaleefeh therefore said to Jaạfar, Take them both and crucify them.—If the murderer be one, replied Jaạfar, to kill the other would be unjust. The young man then said, By Him who raised the heavens and spread out the earth, it was I who killed the damsel:—and he gave an account of the manner of his killing her, and described what the Khaleefeh had found. The Khaleefeh therefore was convinced that the young man was he who had killed the damsel; and he was astonished, and said, What was the cause of thy killing this damsel unjustly, and of thy confessing the murder without being beaten,6 and thy saying, Retaliate her death upon me? The young man answered as follows:—

The Young Man presenting the Apples to his Wife
Know, O Prince of the Faithful, that this damsel was my wife, and the daughter of my uncle: this sheykh was her father, and is my uncle. I married her when she was a virgin, and God blessed me with three male children by her; and she loved me and served me, and I saw in her no evil. At the commencement of this month she was attacked by a severe illness, and I brought to her the physicians, who attended her until her health returned to her; and I desired them to send her to the bath; but she said to me, I want something before I enter the bath, for I have a longing for it.—What is it? said I. She answered, I have a longing for an apple, to smell it, and take a bite from it. So I went out immediately into the city, and searched for the apple, and would have bought it had its price been a piece of gold: but I could not find one. I passed the next night full of226 thought, and when the morning came I quitted my house again and went about to all the gardens, one after another; yet I found none in them. There met me, however, an old gardener, of whom I inquired for the apple, and he said to me, O my son, this is a rare thing, and not to be found here, nor anywhere except in the garden of the Prince of the Faithful at El-Baṣrah, and preserved there for the Khaleefeh. I returned therefore to my wife, and my love for her so constrained me that I prepared myself and journeyed fifteen days, by night and day, in going and returning, and brought her three apples which I purchased of the gardener at El-Baṣrah for three pieces of gold; and, going in, I handed them to her; but she was not pleased by them,227 and left them by her side. She was then suffering from a violent fever, and she continued ill during a period of ten days.

After this she recovered her health, and I went out and repaired to my shop, and sat there to sell and buy;7 and while I was thus occupied, at mid-day there passed by me a black slave, having in his hand an apple, with which he was playing: so I said to him, Whence didst thou get this apple, for I would procure one like it?—Upon which he laughed, and answered, I got it from my sweetheart: I had been absent, and came, and found her ill, and she had three apples; and she said to me, My unsuspecting husband journeyed to El-Baṣrah for them, and bought them for three pieces of gold:—and I took this apple from her.—When I heard the words of the slave, O Prince of the Faithful, the world became black before my face, and I shut up my shop, and returned to my house, deprived of my reason by excessive rage. I found not the third apple, and said to her, Where is the apple? She answered, I know not whither it is gone. I was convinced thus that the slave had spoken the truth, and I arose, and took a knife, and throwing myself upon her bosom, plunged the knife into her: I then cut off her head and limbs, and put them in the basket in haste, and covered them with the izár, over which I laid a piece of carpet: then I put the basket in the chest, and, having locked this, conveyed it on my mule, and threw it with my own hands into the Tigris.8

And now, continued the young man, I conjure thee by Allah, O Prince of the Faithful, to hasten my death in retaliation for her murder, as I dread, otherwise, her appeal for vengeance upon me on the day of resurrection:9 for when I had thrown her into the Tigris without the knowledge of any one, I returned to my house, and found my eldest boy crying, though he knew not what I had done to his mother: so I said to him, What maketh thee cry?—and he answered, I took one of the apples that my mother had, and went down with it into the street to play with my brothers, and a tall black slave snatched it from me, and said to me, Whence came this to thee? I answered him, My father made a journey for it, and brought it from El-Baṣrah, for the sake of my mother; for she is sick: he bought three apples for three pieces of gold:—but he took it from me and beat me, and went away with it; and I am afraid that my mother may beat me on account of the apple.—When I heard my son’s story, I discovered that the slave had forged a lie against the daughter of my uncle, and found that she had been killed unjustly; and as I was weeping228 bitterly for what I had done, this sheykh, my uncle and her father, came to me, and I informed him of the event; and he seated himself by me, and wept. We wept until midnight, and continued our mourning for her five days, ceasing not to the present day to bewail her death. By the honour of thine ancestors, therefore, hasten my death, to retaliate her murder upon me.

The Khaleefeh wondered at the young man’s story, and said, By Allah, I will not put to death any but the wicked slave; for the young man is excusable. Then looking towards Jaạfar, he said to him, Bring before me this wicked slave who hath been the cause of the catastrophe; or, if thou bring him not, thou shalt be put to death in his stead. So the Wezeer departed weeping, and saying, Whence shall I bring him? Not every time that the jar is struck doth it escape being broken! I have no stratagem to employ in this affair: but He who delivered me in the first case may deliver me in the second. By Allah, I will not go out from my house for three days; and the Truth, whose perfection be extolled, will do what He willeth!—So he remained in his house three days, and on the fourth day he caused the Ḳáḍee to be brought, and made his testamentary arrangements; and as he was bidding farewell to his children, and weeping, lo, the messenger of the Khaleefeh came and said to him, The Prince of the Faithful is in a most violent rage, and hath sent me to thee; and he hath sworn that this day shall not pass until thou art put to death if thou do not bring to him the slave.

On hearing this, Jaạfar wept, and his children wept with him; and when he had bidden them all farewell except his youngest daughter, he approached her for the same purpose. He loved her more than all his other children; and he pressed her to his bosom, and wept at the thought of his separation from her; but, in doing this, he felt something round in her pocket, and said to her, What is in thy pocket? She answered, O my father, it is an apple; our slave Reyḥan10 brought it, and I have had it four days; he would not give it me until he had received from me two pieces of gold.—At this mention of the slave and the apple, Jaạfar rejoiced, and exclaimed, O ready Dispeller of trouble!11—and immediately he ordered that the slave should be brought before him. He was therefore brought in, and he said to him, Whence came this apple?—O my master, he answered, I went out five days ago, and, entering one of the by-streets of the city, I saw some children playing, and one of them had this apple: and I snatched it from him, and beat him; and he cried, and229 said, That belongs to my mother, and she is sick: she wanted my father to bring her an apple, and he made a journey to El-Baṣrah, and brought back for her three apples which he bought for three pieces of gold; and I took this to play with it:—then he cried again; but, paying no regard to him, I took it away and brought it hither; and my little mistress bought it of me for two pieces of gold.—When he heard this story, Jaạfar was filled with wonder at discovering that this distressing event, and the murder of the damsel, had been occasioned by his slave; and he took the slave and went with him to the Khaleefeh, who ordered that the story should be committed to writing, and published.

The Wezeer finding the Apple
Jaạfar then said to him, Wonder not, O Prince of the Faithful, at his tale, for it is not more extraordinary than the story of the Wezeer230 Noor-ed-Deen, and Shems-ed-Deen, his brother.—What story, said the Khaleefeh, can be more wonderful than this?—O Prince of the Faithful, replied Jaạfar, I will not relate it to thee unless on the condition that thou exempt my slave from the punishment of death. The Khaleefeh said, I give thee his blood:—and Jaạfar, thereupon, commenced the relation of the story as follows:—

Know, O Prince of the Faithful, that there was, in Cairo,12 a Sulṭán,13 just and beneficent, who had a wise and well-informed Wezeer, possessing a knowledge of the affairs of the world, and of the art of government. This minister was an aged man, and he had two sons, like two moons: the name of the elder was Shems-ed-Deen, and that of the younger, Noor-ed-Deen;14 and the latter was more distinguished than the former by handsomeness and comeliness: there was no one in his day more handsome, so that the fame of his charms spread through the neighbouring regions, and some of the inhabitants of those parts travelled to his country merely to obtain a sight of him. And it came to pass that their father died, and the Sulṭán mourned for him, and, turning his regards towards the two sons, took them into his favour, invested them with robes of honour, and said to them, Ye two are instated in your father’s office:—at which they rejoiced, and kissed the ground before him. They observed the ceremonies of mourning15 for their father during a period of a whole month, and entered upon the office of Wezeers, each of them discharging the duties of this station for a week at a time; and whenever the Sulṭán had a desire to go forth on a journey, he took one of them with him.

Now it happened, one night, that the Sulṭán purposed commencing a journey on the following morning; and it was the turn of the elder Wezeer to accompany him; and as the two brothers were conversing together that night, the elder said, O my brother, it is my wish that we should both marry on one night.—Do, O my brother, as thou desirest, answered the younger; and I will comply with that which thou shalt say. So they agreed to do this. The elder then said to his brother, If God so decree that we obtain the betrothal of two maidens, and accomplish our marriage on the same night, and they231 give birth to children on the same day, and God will that thy wife have a son, and my wife have a daughter, we will marry them to each other, for they will be cousins.—And what, O my brother, said Noor-ed-Deen, wilt thou require of my son as the dowry of thy daughter? He answered, I will require of thy son, as the dowry of my daughter, three thousand pieces of gold, and three gardens, and three farms; for if the young man make any other contract than this, it will not be proper. But when Noor-ed-Deen heard this proposal, he exclaimed, What is this dowry that thou imposest upon my son? Dost thou not know that we are two brothers, and that we are both Wezeers, of one dignity? It were incumbent on thee to offer thy daughter to my son as a free gift, without any dowry; for thou knowest that the male is more honourable than the female, and my child is a male, and by him shall our memory be preserved: not by thy daughter.—What sayest thou of her? asked his brother.—That our memory will not be preserved by her among the nobles, answered Noor-ed-Deen. But thou desirest, added he, to act with me according to the opinion of him who saith, If thou desire to drive away a person who would buy, demand of him a high price.—I see thee, replied Shems-ed-Deen, to have committed a fault, in making thy son more honourable than my daughter: thou art doubtless deficient in judgment, and destitute of good disposition, seeing that thou mentionest the partnership in the office of Wezeer, when I admitted thee not to share it with me excepting in my pity for thee, and that thou mightest assist me: but talk as thou wilt: since thou hast said this, by Allah, I will not marry my daughter to thy son, though thou offer me her weight in gold.—On hearing these words of his brother, Noor-ed-Deen was enraged, and said, I will not marry my son to thy daughter.—I will not accept him as a husband for her, replied Shems-ed-Deen; and if I were not purposing a journey, I would do to thee deeds that should serve as warnings to others: however, when I return, God will do what He willeth.—When Noor-ed-Deen heard this, he was full of anger, and became unconscious of existence: but he concealed his feelings; and each of the two brothers passed the night apart from the other; and in the morning the Sulṭán set out on his journey, and, crossing over to the island,16 proceeded towards the Pyramids, accompanied by the Wezeer Shems-ed-Deen.

Noor-ed-Deen passed that night in a state of the utmost rage; and when the morning came he arose, and, having performed the morning-prayers, went to his closet and took out from it a pair of small saddle-bags, which he filled with gold; and as he reflected upon the words of232 his brother, and the contempt which he had shewn him, and the pride that he had manifested towards him, he repeated these verses:—

Travel. Thou wilt find a friend in the place of him thou leavest; and fatigue thyself; for by labour are the sweets of life obtained.
To a man of intelligence and education there is no glory in a constant residence: therefore quit thy native place, and go abroad.
I have observed that the stagnation of water corrupteth it; if it floweth, it becometh sweet; but otherwise, it doth not.
If the full moon never set, the eye of the contemplative would not on every occasion pay regard to it:
The lions, if they left not the forest, would capture no prey; and the arrow, if it quitted not the bow, would not strike the mark:
The grains of gold upon their native bed are regarded as mere dust; and the aloes-wood, where it groweth, is a kind of firewood:
If exported, it becometh an object of high demand; but if not, it attaineth no kind of distinction.
He then ordered one of his young men to saddle for him a dapple mule, tall, and of quick pace; and he did so, placing upon her a saddle adorned with gold, with stirrups of Indian steel, and housings of the velvet of Iṣpahán; and she resembled a bride displayed before her husband. He ordered him also to place upon her a carpet of silk, and a prayer-carpet,17 and to put the saddle-bags beneath the latter; and when this was done, he said to the young man and the slaves, I have a desire to take a ride for my amusement outside the city, towards the province of Ḳalyoob, and shall be absent three nights; and let none of you follow me, for my heart is contracted.

The Pyramids
Having thus said, he mounted his mule in haste, and, taking with him a small supply of food, departed from the city, turning his face towards the open country. The hour of noon overtook him not until233 he entered the city of Bilbeys, where he alighted to repose himself and rest his mule, and ate; after which he took from this place what he required for himself, and some provender for his mule, and, having placed these provisions upon her, went forth again into the plain, and before noon on the second following day, he entered Jerusalem.18 Here he alighted again, and rested himself and his beast, and ate: he then placed his saddle-bags under his head, and spread his carpet, and slept, still overcome by anger. He passed the night in this place; and in the morning he remounted, and he continued to urge on his mule until he arrived at Aleppo,19 where he alighted at a Ḳhán, and remained three days to give rest to himself and his mule, and to enjoy the air of the place: which having done, he determined to prosecute 234his journey, and mounted his mule, and went forth. He knew not whither to direct his course; but travelled on until he arrived at the city of El-Baṣrah; and scarcely was he aware that the night had overtaken him, when he alighted there at a Khán, where he took off the saddle-bags from the mule, and spread the prayer-carpet, committing the mule, with her equipage, to the care of the door-keeper, and ordering him to walk her about a little.

The Mule of Noor-ed-Deen
The door-keeper did so; and it happened that the Wezeer of El-Baṣrah, sitting at a window of his palace, saw the mule, and, observing her costly equipage, thought that she must belong to some Wezeer or King; and as he attentively regarded her he was surprised, and said to one of his pages, Bring before me that door-keeper. So the page went and brought him; and the door-keeper, approaching, kissed the ground before him. The Wezeer, who was an aged person, then said to this man, Who is the owner of this mule, and what is his appearance?—O my lord, answered the door-keeper, her owner is a young man of elegant person, of the sons of the merchants, and of a dignified and grave aspect. On hearing this, the Wezeer arose, and, mounting his horse,20 went to the Khán, and introduced himself to the young man, who, as soon as he saw him approaching, rose to meet him, and embraced him. The Wezeer, after he had alighted from his horse, saluted him and welcomed him, and, seating him by his side, said to him, Whence, O my son, hast thou come; and for what purpose?—O my lord, answered Noor-ed-Deen, I have come from the city of Cairo: my father was Wezeer there; and he hath departed to receive the mercy of God;—and he informed him of all that had happened to him from first to last, adding, I have determined that I will not return until I shall have seen all the cities and countries of the world.—O my son, replied the Wezeer, obey not the suggestions of thy mind, lest thou expose thyself to destruction; for the countries are waste, and I fear on thy account the issues of fortune. So saying, he ordered that the saddle-bags should be placed again on the mule, together with the carpet of silk and the prayer-carpet, and took Noor-ed-Deen with him to his house, where he lodged him in an elegant apartment, and treated him with honour and kindness; and, conceiving a strong affection for him, said to him, O my son, I have become an old man, and I have no male child; God, however, hath blessed me with a daughter who resembleth thee in comeliness, and I have rejected many persons who have been her suitors: but now, love for thee hath entered my heart; wilt thou then take my daughter as thy hand-maid to serve thee, and235 be her husband? If thou consent to this, I will go up to the Sulṭán of El-Baṣrah, and will say to him, This is the son of my brother;—and I will introduce thee to him, that I may make thee Wezeer in my place, and I will remain in my house; for I am now aged.—Noor-ed-Deen, on hearing this proposal of the Wezeer of El-Baṣrah, hung down his head, and then answered, I hear and obey.

Noor-ed-Deen after the Bath
The Wezeer rejoiced at his assent, and ordered his servants to prepare for him a repast, and to decorate the great saloon21 which was furnished for the reception of the chiefs of the Emeers. He then called together his friends, and invited the great officers of the state, and the merchants of El-Baṣrah; and when they had come into his presence, he said to them, I had a brother who was Wezeer in the land of Egypt, and God blessed him with two sons; and me, as ye know, He hath blessed with a daughter: now my brother enjoined me to marry my daughter to one of his sons, and I consented to do so; and when she attained a fit age for marriage, he sent to me one of his sons, who is this young man here present. As soon, therefore, as he had come, I desired to perform the marriage-contract between him and my daughter, and that he should introduce himself to her here in my house.—Excellently hast thou done! they replied. They then drank sherbet of sugar, and the pages sprinkled rose-water upon them, and they departed: after which, the Wezeer ordered his servants to conduct Noor-en-Deen to the bath, and gave him a suit of his best clothes,22 and sent to him the napkins and cups and perfuming-vessels, and everything else that he required. So when he came out from the bath, he put on the suit of clothes, and appeared like the full moon; and he mounted his mule, and, returning to the palace, alighted and presented himself before the Wezeer, and kissed his hand: and the Wezeer welcomed him, saying, Arise, and introduce thyself this night to thy236 wife; and to-morrow I will go up with thee to the Sulṭán, and I pray that God may bless thee with every kind of happiness. Noor-ed-Deen therefore arose, and went to his wife, the daughter of the Wezeer.—Thus did it happen to Noor-ed-Deen.

As to his brother, he continued a while journeying with the Sulṭán, and when he returned, and found not his brother, he inquired of the servants respecting him, and they answered, On the day of thy departure with the Sulṭán, he mounted his mule, caparisoned as for a procession of state, and said, I am going towards the province of Ḳalyoob, and shall be absent a day or two days; for my heart is contracted; therefore let none of you follow me:—and from the day on which he went forth, to the present day, we have heard no tidings of him. Upon this the heart of Shems-ed-Deen was troubled at the separation of his brother, and he grieved excessively for his loss, saying within himself, The cause of this is nothing else than my having spoken harshly to him in my conversation on the night before my departure with the Sulṭán; and probably his mind was disturbed, and he went on a journey: I must therefore send after him. He then went up and related this event to the Sulṭán, who wrote letters and sent them to his vicegerents in all the provinces: but Noor-ed-Deen had traversed distant regions during the absence of his brother with the Sulṭán: therefore the messengers, when they had gone with the letters, returned without having obtained any information respecting him. So Shems-ed-Deen despaired of his brother, and said, I have enraged my brother by what I said to him concerning the marriage of the children. Would that I had not done so! This was not occasioned but by my want of sense and judgment!—And soon after this, he demanded in marriage the daughter of one of the merchants of Cairo, and performed the marriage-contract between himself and her, and introduced himself to her: and it happened that the night when this event took place was the same night on which Noor-ed-Deen introduced himself to his wife, the daughter of the Wezeer of El-Baṣrah: this being in accordance with the will of God, whose name be exalted, that He might execute his decree upon his creatures.

The event was as they both had said: for it came to pass that the two wives conceived by them: the wife of Shems-ed-Deen, the Wezeer, of Egypt, gave birth to a daughter, than whom there was not seen, in that country, one more beautiful; and the wife of Noor-ed-Deen gave birth to a son, one more beautiful than whom was not seen in his time: as the poet hath said:237—

If beauty came to be compared with him, it would hang down its head in shame;
Or if it were said, O beauty, hast thou seen the like?—it would answer, The equal of this I have not.
So they named him Ḥasan;23 and on the seventh day after his birth, they made entertainments and spread repasts such as were fit for the sons of Kings24 after which the Wezeer of El-Baṣrah took with him Noor-ed-Deen, and went up with him to the Sulṭán; and when he came into his presence he kissed the ground before him; and Noor-ed-Deen, being eloquent in tongue, and firm of heart, and comely in person and in actions, recited these words of the poet:—

This is he whose justice extendeth to all men, and who hath overrun and subdued every region.
Be thankful for his benefits; for they are not mere benefits; but they are strings of jewels on the necks of his people;
And kiss his fingers; for they are not mere fingers; but they are the keys of the supplies of Providence.
The Sulṭán treated them both with honour, and, having thanked Noor-ed-Deen for his address, said to his Wezeer, Who is this young man? The Wezeer therefore related to him his story from beginning to end, and added, This is the son of my brother.—How is it, said the Sulṭán, that he is the son of thy brother, and we have not before heard of him? The Wezeer answered, O our lord the Sulṭán, I had a brother who was Wezeer in the land of Egypt, and he died, leaving two sons: the elder succeeded to his father’s office, as Wezeer, and this his younger son came to me; and I swore that I would not marry my daughter to any but him: so, when he came, I married him to her. He is a young man, and I am now aged; my hearing is impaired, and my judgment faileth: it is my wish, therefore, that our lord the Sulṭán would instate him in my office, seeing that he is the son of my brother and the husband of my daughter, and a person worthy of the dignity of Wezeer; for he is endowed with knowledge and judgment.—The Sulṭán, upon this, looked towards him, and, being pleased with him, approved of the advice of the Wezeer that he should promote him to that office; so he bestowed it upon him, and ordered that a magnificent dress of honour should be given to him, and one of the best of the mules upon which he was himself accustomed to ride, allotting him also supplies and salaries; and Noor-ed-Deen kissed the hand of the Sulṭán, and descended with his father-in-law to their house, both in high delight, and saying, Verily the birth of this child is fortunate. On the following day Noor-ed-Deen went again to the King, and kissed the ground, and the Sulṭán ordered him to sit in the place of238 the Wezeer: so he sat, and occupied himself with the affairs of his office, and examined the cases of the people, and their suits, according to the custom of Wezeers: and the Sulṭán, observing him, was surprised at his conduct, and the acuteness of his understanding, and his good judgment. He attentively considered his qualities, and loved him, and advanced him in his favour: and when the court was dissolved, Noor-ed-Deen returned to his house, and related what had passed to his father-in-law, who was rejoiced at hearing it.

The Old Wezeer instructing his Grandchild
The old Wezeer ceased not to superintend the rearing of the child, who was named Ḥasan, for many days, while Noor-ed-Deen was constantly occupied with the affairs of his office, so that he left not the Sulṭán by day nor by night; and the King increased his salaries and supplies until his circumstances became ample: he had ships which made voyages under his orders with merchandise and other things, and he founded numerous estates, and made water-wheels25 and gardens. Thus did he until his son Ḥasan was four years of age, when the old Wezeer, the father of his wife, died; and he conveyed his corpse with great pomp, and decently deposited it in the earth. He then turned his thoughts towards the education of his son; and when the child had gained strength, he brought him a tutor to teach him in his own house, charging him to instruct him and educate him well; and the tutor did so, and taught him various useful sciences, after he had passed some years in learning the Ḳur-án. Ḥasan meanwhile increased in loveliness and beauty, and elegance of person. The tutor continued239 to educate him in his father’s palace; and from the time that he arrived at adolescence he went not out of the Wezeer’s palace, until his father took him one day, and, having clad him in one of the richest of his dresses, mounted him on one of his best mules, and conducted him to the Sulṭán, and introduced him. When the King beheld Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen,26 the son of the Wezeer Noor-ed-Deen, he was astonished at his beauty; and the people, when he passed by them for the first time, going up with his father to the King, were amazed at his surpassing beauty and loveliness, and elegance of person. The Sulṭán, as soon as he saw him, loved him, and bestowed marks of favour upon him, and said to his father, O Wezeer, thou must bring him with thee every day. The Wezeer answered, I hear and obey;—and returned with his son to his abode; and he continued every day to go up with him to the Sulṭán until the youth attained the age of fifteen years.

His father, the Wezeer Noor-ed-Deen, then fell sick, and called him into his presence, and said to him, O my son, know that this world is a perishable abode, and the world to come is an everlasting abode. I wish to give thee some precepts, and do thou understand what I am about to say to thee, and incline thy heart to it.—And he began to counsel him respecting the proper mode of conducting himself in society, and the due management of his affairs; and when he had done so, he reflected upon his brother and his native place and country, and wept at the thought of his separation from those he loved; his tears flowing: and he said, O my son, hear my words. I have a brother27 in Cairo, and I quitted him and departed against his will.—He then took a piece of paper,28 and wrote upon it all that had happened to him from first to last, together with the date of his marriage and introduction to the daughter of the Wezeer, and the date of his arrival at El-Baṣrah and his interview with its Wezeer; and, having added some strict admonition, he said to his son, Keep this charge, for the paper on which it is written containeth an account of thine origin and thy rank and lineage; and if any evil accident befall thee, repair to Cairo, and inquire for thine uncle, and salute him, and inform him that I died in a strange land, ardently desiring that I could see him. Therefore Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen took the paper, and, having folded it, and wrapped it in a piece of waxed cloth,29 sewed it between the lining and the outer cloth of his cap,30 and wept for his father, that he should be parted from him in his youth.

Noor-ed-Deen then said to his son,31 I charge thee that thou be240 not familiar with any one; for in retirement is security. Divinely gifted was the poet who said,—

There is none in thy time whose friendship thou shouldst covet; nor any intimate who, when fortune is treacherous, will be faithful.
Live then apart, and rely upon no man: I have given thee, in these words, good advice, and sufficient.
Accustom thyself to taciturnity: occupy thyself with thine own affairs, and use not many words: for the poet saith,—

Taciturnity is an ornament, and in silence is security: therefore, when thou speakest, be not loquacious:
For if thou repent once of thy silence, thou wilt assuredly repent many times of thy speech.
Beware of drinking wine; for it is the source of every kind of mischief. The poet32 saith on this subject,—

I have abandoned wine and those who drink it; and have become the friend of such as condemn it.
Wine leadeth astray from the path of rectitude, and openeth the doors to evil.
Hate no man, and oppress none; for oppression is base. The poet saith,—

Oppress not if thou hast the power to do so; for oppression will eventually bring thee repentance:
Thine eye will sleep while the oppressed, wakeful, will call for vengeance upon thee; and the eye of God sleepeth not.
Despise thy wealth, but not thyself: yet bestow not wealth save upon him who deserveth it. If thou keep it, it will keep thee; but if thou squander it, it will ruin thee; and then wilt thou need the assistance of the least of mankind. It hath been said by the poet,—

When my wealth faileth, no friend assisteth me; but when it aboundeth, all men are my friends.
How many enemies for the sake of wealth have consorted with me! And my companion, in the time of want, hath abandoned me!
In this manner he continued to admonish his son Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen until his spirit departed. The house became a scene of mourning, and the Sulṭán and all the Emeers grieved for him; and they buried him. They continued their mourning during a period of two months, and the son of Noor-ed-Deen rode not out nor went to the court nor presented himself before the Sulṭán; and the King instated one of the Chamberlains in his place, and appointed a new Wezeer in the place of his father, and ordered this Wezeer to put seals upon all the houses of Noor-ed-Deen, and upon his wealth and all his buildings and other possessions.33 So the new Wezeer went with the Chamber241lains to the house of the Wezeer Noor-ed-Deen, to seal its door and to arrest his son Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, and bring him before the Sulṭán, that he might do to him what his judgment required. But there was among the troops one of the memlooks of the deceased Wezeer Noor-ed-Deen; and he could not endure that the son of his master should be thus treated: he therefore repaired to Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, whom he found with downcast head and mourning heart, on account of the death of his father, and acquainted him with what had passed. Ḥasan asked him, Will the execution of the order be delayed long enough for me to enter my house,34 and take somewhat of my worldly possessions by which to obtain support during my exile? But the memlook answered, Save thyself:—and when Ḥasan heard these words, he covered his head with the skirt of his robe, and, going forth on foot, fled of the city: and he heard the people saying, The Sulṭán hath sent the new Wezeer to the house of the deceased Wezeer, to seal his wealth and other possessions, and to arrest his son Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, and bring him before him that he may put him to death:—and the people were mourning for him on account of his beauty and loveliness. So when he heard what they said, he took a course that he had not intended, and, not knowing whither to go, walked on until destiny urged him to the tomb of his father.

Noor-ed-Deen and his Son
Entering the burial-ground, he bent his way among the tombs until he seated himself at that of his father, where he removed his skirt from over his head. And as he was sitting there, a Jew of El-Baṣrah approached, and said to him, Wherefore, O my master, do I see thee thus changed? He answered, I was just now sleeping, and I beheld my father reproaching me for having failed to visit his tomb:242 wherefore I rose in alarm, fearing that the day would pass without my visiting it, and so the occurrence would distress me. The Jew then said to him, O my master, thy father despatched some vessels with merchandise, and some of them have returned; and it is my wish to purchase of thee the cargo of every vessel that hath arrived for a thousand pieces of gold;—and so saying, he took out a purse filled with gold, and counted out from it a thousand pieces, which he paid to Ḥasan the son of the Wezeer, and said to him, Write me a paper, and seal it. So Ḥasan took a paper, and wrote upon it, The writer of this paper, Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, the son of the Wezeer Noor-ed-Deen, hath sold to the Jew such a one the whole cargo of every one of his father’s vessels that hath returned from her voyage, for a thousand pieces of gold, and hath received the price in advance. And after he had taken a copy35 of it, the Jew went away with the paper; and Ḥasan wept, reflecting upon his former state of dignity and favour. At length the night closed in upon him, and sleep overtook him, and he remained asleep at his father’s tomb until the moon rose when his head rolled from the tomb, and he lay and slept on his back, his face shining in the moonlight.

Bedr-ed-Deen at his Father’s Tomb
Now the burial-ground was inhabited by believing Jinn; and a Jinneeyeh, coming forth, saw the face of Ḥasan as he lay asleep, and when she beheld him, was surprised at his beauty and loveliness, and exclaimed, Extolled be Allah’s perfection! This youth is like none but the virgins of paradise!—She then soared into the air, to perform her accustomed circuits, and saw an ‘Efreet on his flight. She saluted him, and he returned her salutation; and she said to him, Whence comest thou? He answered from Cairo:—and she said to him, Wilt thou go with me to behold the beauty of the youth who is sleeping in the burial-ground? He replied, Yes. So they went together; and when they had descended into the burial-ground, she said to him, Hast thou seen in the course of thy life a person like this?—And the ‘Efreet looked upon him, and exclaimed, Extolled be the perfection of Him unto whom none is to be compared! But, O my sister, he added, if thou desire, I will relate to thee what I have seen.—Tell me, she replied: so he said, I have seen a person resembling this youth in the land of Egypt; and that person is the daughter of the Wezeer. The King had heard of her, and demanded her of her father, the Wezeer Shems-ed-Deen, in marriage; but he answered him, O our lord the Sulṭán, accept my excuse, and pity my grief; for thou knowest that my brother Noor-ed-Deen departed from us, and we know not243 where he is; and that he shared with me the office of Wezeer; and the cause of his departure was this, that I was sitting conversing with him on the subject of marriage, and he was angry with me, and in anger went away:—and he related to the King all that had passed between them; adding, This was the cause of his indignation, and I have been under an oath that I will not marry my daughter to any but the son of my brother from the day that her mother gave birth to her; and that was about fifteen years ago: and lately I heard that my brother had married the daughter of the Wezeer of El-Baṣrah, and obtained a son by her; and I will not marry my daughter to any but him, in honour of my brother. After I had heard this, I recorded the244 date of my marriage, and of my wife’s conception, and of the birth of this daughter: she is intended for the son of her uncle; and of other maidens there are plenty.—But when the Sulṭán heard these words of the Wezeer, he was violently enraged, and said, How is it that such a one as myself demandeth in marriage a daughter from one like thee, and thou withholdest her from him, and excusest thyself by an absurd pretext? By my head, I will not marry her but to one of less consideration than myself, in scorn of thy pride!—And the King had a humpbacked groom, with a hump before and a hump behind; and he ordered him to be brought, and affianced him to the daughter of the Wezeer, commanding that he should introduce himself to her this night, and be conducted in pompous procession. I left him in the midst of the memlooks of the Sulṭán, who were surrounding him with lighted candles in their hands, laughing at him and mocking him, at the door of the bath, while the daughter of the Wezeer was sitting weeping in the midst of the dye-women36 and tire-women.37 She resembles more than any other person this youth. They have prohibited her father from going to her; and I have never seen, O my sister, a more ugly wretch than this humpback: but as to the maiden, she is more beautiful than this youth.

To this story of the ‘Efreet, the Jinneeyeh answered, Thou liest; for this youth is the most beautiful of the people of his age. But the ‘Efreet replied, By Allah, O my sister, the maiden is more beautiful than he: however, none but he is suited to her; for they resemble each other, and probably are brother and sister, or cousins; and how will she be thrown away upon this humpback! She therefore said to him, O my brother, let us place ourselves beneath him and lift him up and take him to the maiden of whom thou speakest, and see which of the two is more beautiful. The ‘Efreet answered, I hear and obey: this proposal is right, and there can be no better determination than this which thou hast chosen; therefore I will carry him. So he lifted him up, and soared into the sky, and the Jinneeyeh flew by his side until he descended with him in the city of Cairo, where he placed him upon a maṣṭabah,38 and roused him from his sleep.39

When, therefore, he awoke, and found that he was not at his father’s tomb in the land of El-Baṣrah, he looked to the right and left, and perceived that he was in a city that was not El-Baṣrah, and would have cried out, but the ‘Efreet winked to him, and, lighting for him a candle, said to him, Know that I have brought thee hither, and I desire to do thee a service for the sake of God: take, therefore, this245 candle, and go with it to yonder bath, and mix with the people there, and proceed with them until thou arrivest at the saloon of the bride; then go before, and enter the saloon, and fear no one; and when thou hast entered, station thyself on the right of the humpbacked bridegroom; and whenever the tire-women and singing-women and dye-women come to thee, put thy hand into thy pocket: thou wilt find it full of gold, and do thou take it by the handful and throw it to them; and imagine not that thou wilt put thy hand in and not find it filled with gold: give therefore to every one who cometh to thee by the handful, and fear nothing; but rely upon Him who created thee; for this will not be through thine own strength or power, but through the strength of God, and his power.

The ‘Efreet, attended by the Jinneeyeh, carrying off Bedr-ed-Deen
On hearing these words of the ‘Efreet, Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen said, What is this event, and what manner of kindness is this? And he went with his candle to the bath, where he found the humpback mounted on his horse; and he joined himself to the party, in the246 same garb in which he had arrived, and with the same comely appearance; being attired with a ṭarboosh40 and turban, and a farajeeyeh41 interwoven with gold. He proceeded with the pompous train, and every time that the singing-women stopped for the people to give them money, he put his hand into his pocket, and found it filled with gold, and took it by the handful and threw it into the tambourine,42 for the singing-women and tire-women, filling the tambourine with pieces of gold: and the singing-women were amazed, and the people wondered at his beauty and loveliness. Thus he continued to do until they arrived at the house of the Wezeer, when the chamberlains drove back the people, and prevented their entrance; but the singing-women and tire-women said, By Allah, we will not enter unless this youth enter with us, for he hath overwhelmed us with his favours, and the bride shall not be displayed unless he be present:—and upon this they entered with him into the saloon of the festivity, and seated him, in spite of the humpbacked bridegroom. All the ladies of the Emeers and Wezeers and Chamberlains were ranged in two rows, each lady holding a large lighted candle, and having her head-veil drawn across the lower part of her face: thus they stood in two rows, to the right and the left, from the foot of the couch of the bride to the upper end of the leewán that adjoined the chamber from which the bride was to come forth. And when the ladies beheld Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen and his beauty and loveliness, his face shining like the crescent of the moon, the hearts of all of them inclined to him, and the female singers said to all the women who were present, Know that this charming youth hath given us nothing but red gold; therefore fail not to serve him properly, and obey him in whatever he shall say. The women crowded round him to gaze at his charms, and their minds were overpowered by astonishment at his beauty, and each of them wished that she might be in his bosom for a year or a month or an hour: they removed the veils from their faces, and their hearts were perplexed, and they said, Joy to the person to whom this youth belongeth, or to the person over whom he is lord! Then they imprecated evil upon the humpbacked groom and him who was the cause of his marriage to that lovely maiden; and every time that they prayed for blessings upon Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, they imprecated misfortunes upon the humpback.

The singing-women then beat the tambourines, and the tire-women approached with the daughter of the Wezeer in the midst of them. They had perfumed her with sweet scents and essences, and clad her, and adorned her hair and neck with various ornaments,247 decking her with garments such as were worn by the ancient monarchs of Persia. Among these was a loose gown embroidered with red gold, presenting the forms of wild beasts and birds, hanging down over her other clothes; and round her neck was a necklace worth thousands, composed of jewels such as neither a King of El-Yemen nor a Cæsar ever collected: she was like the moon shining in its fourteenth night, and when she approached she resembled a Ḥooreeyeh.43 Extolled be the perfection of him who created her so splendid a being! The women encompassed her, and appeared like stars; she, in the midst of them, being as the moon when the clouds have withdrawn from before it. Meanwhile, Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen remained sitting, with the company gazing at him; and as the bride approached with a dignified and graceful gait, the humpbacked groom rose to her, to kiss her; but she turned aside from him, and went and stood before Ḥasan, the son of her uncle. The company laughed at this; and when they beheld her turn towards Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, and saw him put his hand into his pocket and take out handfuls of gold and throw it into the tambourine of the singing-women, they were delighted, and said, We wish that this bride were thine:—and he smiled. All this time the humpbacked groom was alone, looking like an ape; and every time that they lighted his candle it went out again, and he was confounded, and remained sitting in the dark, full of secret indignation, with all the company surrounding him, while the lighted candles presented an appearance of beauty that was most admirable, so that every person of reflection was amazed at their splendour. But as to the bride, she raised her hands towards heaven, and said, O Allah, make this to be my husband, and relieve me from this humpbacked groom!—The tire-women then proceeded to display the bride in different dresses, to the seventh suit, before Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen of El-Baṣrah, the humpbacked groom remaining alone; and when they had finished this ceremony they gave permission to the company to depart: so all who were present at the festivity, both women and children, went out, except Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen and the humpbacked groom; after which the tire-women conducted the bride to an inner chamber, to take off her ornaments and outer robes, and to prepare her for the bridegroom’s visit.

Upon this, the humpbacked groom approached Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, and said to him, O my master, thou hast made us happy by thy company this night, and overwhelmed us with thy favours; but now wherefore dost thou not rise and go to thy house without thy being248 ejected? He answered, In the name of Allah;—and rose, and went out from the door: but the ‘Efreet met him, and said unto him, Stay, O Bedr-ed-Deen; and when the humpback retires into the private closet, enter thou and seat thyself in the bride-chamber; and when the bride cometh, say to her, I am thy husband; and the King had not recourse to this stratagem from any other motive than his fearing for thee the effect of the eye;44 and this whom thou hast seen is one of our grooms:—then approach her, and uncover her face, and fear no evil from any one.

While Bedr-ed-Deen was thus conversing with the ‘Efreet, lo, the groom entered the closet, and seated himself; and immediately the ‘Efreet rose before him, from the trough of water that was in the closet,45 in the form of a mouse, and TransformationsTransformationscried Zeek!—What brought thee here? said the humpback. The mouse then increased in size, and became like a cat; and then increased, and became a dog, and cried, ‘Owh! ‘Owh! At the sight of this the groom was terrified, and exclaimed, Get away, thou unlucky!46 The dog, however, still increased and swelled until it became an ass, and brayed in his face, crying, Háḳ! Háḳ!—upon which the groom, in terror, cried out, Come to my aid, O people of the house! But lo, the ass increased, and became like a buffalo, and, stopping up the place before him, spoke with the speech of a son of Adam, and said, Wo be to thee, O humpback! O filthiest of grooms! Upon this the groom was seized with a colick, and seated himself upon the slabs, and his teeth knocked together. The ‘Efreet then said to him. Hath the earth become narrow to thee, that thou wouldst marry none but my mistress? But the Transformationsgroom was silent.249 Return me an answer, said the ‘Efreet, or I will make thine abode to be in the dust!—By Allah, then answered the groom, I am not in fault; for they compelled me, and I knew not that she had a lover among the buffaloes; but now I repent before Allah and before thee. Then the ‘Efreet said, I swear by Allah that if thou depart now from this place, or utter a Bedr-ed-Deen and his Brideword before the sun hath risen, I will slay thee: and when the sun hath risen go thy way, and never return to this house. And he seized the humpbacked groom, and, placing his head upside down upon the slabs, and his feet upwards, said to him, Remain here, and I will watch thee until sunrise.—Thus did it happen to the humpback.

Now, as to Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen of El-Baṣrah, he left the humpback and the ‘Efreet contending together, and, entering the house, seated himself in the bride-chamber; and lo, the bride approached, accompanied by an old woman, who stopped at the door of the chamber, and said, O Aboo-Shiháb,47 rise, and take thy bride; and I commend thee to the care of Allah. Then the old woman went away, and the bride, whose name was Sitt-el-Ḥosn,48 advanced to the upper end of the chamber. Her heart was broken, and she said within herself, By Allah, I will not suffer him to caress me though my spirit depart from me! But when she had proceeded to the upper end of the chamber, she beheld Bedr-ed-Deen, and said, My beloved, until this hour art thou remaining? I had said within myself, perhaps thou and the humpbacked groom are to share me between you.—What, said he, should give250 the groom access to thee, and wherefore should he be my partner in the possession of thee?—Who, then, she asked, is my husband? Thou or he?—O my mistress, answered Bedr-ed-Deen, we did not this for any other purpose than to make a jest of him, and that we might laugh at him; for when the tire-women and the singing-women and thy family beheld thine admirable beauty, they feared for us the effect of the eye, and thy father hired him for ten pieces of gold, in order that he might divert from us the eye; and now he hath departed. When Sitt-el-Ḥosn heard these words of Bedr-ed-Deen, she smiled, and uttered a gentle laugh, and said, By Allah, thou hast extinguished my fire! Take me then, I conjure thee, and press me to thy bosom.—And they embraced each other.

Not long after this, the ‘Efreet said to the Jinneeyeh, Arise, and place thyself beneath the youth, and let us convey him back, lest the morning overtake us; for the time is near. So she advanced towards him, and, placing herself beneath his skirt, as he lay asleep, took him up, and flew away with him, in the state in which she found him, clad only in his shirt, and pursued her flight with the ‘Efreet by her side. But God gave permission to some angels to cast at the ‘Efreet a shooting-star of fire, and he was burnt. The Jinneeyeh, however, escaped unhurt, and deposited Bedr-ed-Deen in the place over which the shooting-star had burnt the ‘Efreet. She would not pass beyond it, fearing for his safety; and as destiny had appointed, this place was Damascus: so she placed him by one of the gates of this city, and flew away.

Gate of Damascus
When daylight therefore came, and the gates were opened, the people, coming forth, beheld a beautiful youth clad in his shirt, and with a cotton skull-cap without a turban. In consequence of his having been so long wakeful, he was now immersed in sleep; and when the people saw him, some said, Would that he had waited till he had put on his clothes!—another said, Objects of pity are the children of men of condition! Probably this youth hath just come forth from his drinking-place, on account of some business, and intoxication hath overcome him, and he hath wandered from the place to which he would go until he arrived at the gate of the city, and, finding it locked, hath slept here.—They had expressed various opinions respecting him, and were wondering at his case, when Bedr-ed-Deen awoke. Perceiving that he was at the gate of a city, and surrounded by men, he was astonished, and said, Where am I, O good people; and what is the cause of your assembling around me, and what hath befallen me251 among you? They answered, We saw thee at the call to morning-prayer lying at this gate asleep; and we know nothing more of thy case. Where wast thou sleeping this last night?—By Allah, O people, he replied, I was sleeping this last night in Cairo.—On hearing this, one of them said, Dost thou eat ḥasheesh?49 Another said, Thou art mad. How couldst thou be passing the night in Cairo, and be sleeping in the morning at the city of Damascus?—He said to them, By Allah, O good people, I will tell you no falsehood: I was last night in the land of Egypt, and the day before I was at El-Baṣrah. One of them said, This is a wonderful thing! Another said, This youth is mad. And they clapped their hands at him, and, conversing together, said, Alas, for his youth! By Allah, there is no denying his madness!—They then said to him, Return to thy reason. But he replied, I was yesterday a bridegroom in the land of Egypt.—Probably thou hast dreamt, said they, and hast seen this of which thou speakest252 in thy sleep. And Ḥasan was confounded, and said, By Allah, this was not a dream: and where is the humpbacked groom who was sitting with us, and the purse of gold that I had? And where are my clothes and my drawers?—He then rose, and entered the city, and proceeded through its great thoroughfare-streets and market-streets; and the people crowded round him and paraded him: so he entered the shop of a cook. Now this cook was a robber,50 whom God had caused to repent of his unlawful actions, and he had opened a cook’s shop; and all the people of Damascus feared him on account of his boldness; therefore, when they saw that the youth had entered this shop, they left him, being afraid.

When the cook beheld Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, and observed his beauty and comeliness, love for him entered his heart, and he said to him, Whence art thou, O young man? Relate to me thy story; for thou art become dearer to me than my soul.—So he related to him all that had happened, from beginning to end: and the cook said to him, O my master Bedr-ed-Deen, know that this is a wonderful event and an extraordinary story; but, O my son, conceal thy case until God dispel thy trouble, and remain with me in this place; and as I have not a son, I will adopt thee as such. Bedr-ed-Deen replied, Let it be as thou desirest, O uncle. And immediately the cook went out to the mart, and bought for Bedr-ed-Deen costly clothes, and put them on him: he then went to the Ḳáḍee, and made a declaration that he was his adopted son:51 so Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen became known throughout the city of Damascus as the son of the cook; and he sat with him in the shop to receive the money, and in this situation he remained.

Now as to Sitt-el-Ḥosn, when daybreak came and she awoke, she found not Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen remaining with her, and, imagining that he would soon return, she sat a while expecting him; and lo, her father came in to her, troubled at that which had befallen him from the Sulṭán, and at his having married his daughter by force to one of his servants, the humpbacked groom; and he said within himself, I will kill this girl if she have suffered the wretch to caress her. So he advanced to the bride-chamber, and, stopping at the door, said, O Sitt-el-Ḥosn! She answered, Well, O my master!—and came forth to him, walking with a vacillating gait, through joy, and kissed the ground before him; and her countenance beamed with increased splendour in consequence of her union with that gazelle. When her father, therefore, saw her in this state, he exclaimed to her, O thou base creature! art thou delighted with this groom? On hearing these253 words of her father, Sitt-el-Ḥosn smiled, and replied, By Allah, it is enough that thou hast done, and that the people laugh at me, and put me on an equality with this groom, who is not, in my estimation, of the value of a paring of one of my finger-nails; but as to my husband—by Allah, I never in the course of my life passed a night more delightful than that which I have just passed in his company: therefore jest not with me by mentioning that humpback.—When her father heard what she said he was filled with rage; his eyes glared so that little appeared of them but the white, and he said to her, Wo to thee! What are these words that thou sayest? Verily the humpbacked groom hath passed the night with thee!—I conjure thee by Allah, she rejoined, that thou mention him not. May Allah reject him, and reject his father! Continue not then to mock me by mentioning him; for the groom was only hired for ten pieces of gold, and he took his hire and departed; and I came and entered the bride-chamber, and beheld my husband seated, after the singing-women had displayed me before him; and he threw them red gold until he had enriched the poor who were present. I have reclined upon the bosom of my gentle-hearted husband, with the black eyes and the joined eyebrows.—When her father heard this, the light became darkness before his face, and he exclaimed to her, O thou abandoned one! What is this that thou sayest? Where is thy reason?—O my father, she replied, thou hast broken my heart in pieces! Wherefore dost thou pay no attention? This of whom I spake is my husband, and he hath retired to his private closet.

So her father went thither, in a state of astonishment, and, entering the closet, found the humpbacked groom with his head upon the slabs and his feet turned upwards; and the Wezeer was confounded at the sight, and said, Is not this the humpback?—and he spoke to him; but the humpback returned no answer, thinking that it was the ‘Efreet who addressed him. The Wezeer, therefore, cried out at him with a loud voice, and said to him, Speak, or I will cut off thy head with this sword! Upon which the humpback exclaimed, By Allah, O sheykh of the ‘Efreets, from the time that thou placedst me here I have not raised my head: I conjure thee therefore that thou shew favour to me!—The Wezeer, on hearing the humpback thus address him, said to him, What sayest thou? I am the father of the bride, and I am not an ‘Efreet.—Then said the humpback, My life is not in thy hand, nor art thou able to take my soul; so go thy way before he come to thee who hath treated me in this manner. Ye would not marry me254 to any but the mistress of buffaloes and the mistress of ‘Efreets! May Allah, then, confound him who married me to her, and confound him who was the cause of it!—Then did the humpbacked groom address the Wezeer, the father of the bride, again, saying, Allah confound him who was the cause of this!—Rise, said the Wezeer, and depart from this place.—Am I mad, he replied, that I should go with thee without the permission of the ‘Efreet? For he said to me, When the sun shall have risen go thy way.—Hath the sun then risen or not? For I cannot depart from my place until the sun hath risen.—Upon this the Wezeer said to him, Who brought thee to this place? He answered, I came hither yesterday, and a dust rose from the midst of the water, and cried out, and increased in bulk until it became of the size of a buffalo, and said to me words that entered my ear. Leave me, therefore, and go. Allah confound the bride and him who married me to her!—The Wezeer then approached him, and dragged him forth, and he went out running, doubting whether the sun had risen, and went up to the Sulṭán, and informed him of that which had happened to him with the ‘Efreet.

But as to the Wezeer, the father of the bride, he returned with his reason perplexed respecting the case of his daughter, and said to her, O my daughter, reveal to me thy story. She replied, The elegant person before whom I was displayed remained with me; and if thou believe me not, see this is his turban, twisted just as it was, upon the chair,52 and his drawers are under the bed, and in them is something wrapped up: I know not what it is. So, when her father heard this, he entered the bride-chamber, and found the turban of Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, the son of his brother; and taking it up, he turned it over, and said, This is such a turban as is worn by Wezeers, except that it is of the Móṣilee53 kind. He then observed an amulet sewed in his red cloth cap; and he unsewed it; and he took the drawers, and found the purse containing the thousand pieces of gold, and, opening this, he discovered in it a paper, which, when he had read it he saw to be a copy of the Jew’s contract, with the name of Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen the son of Noor-ed-Deen of Cairo; and he found also the thousand pieces of gold. But when he read the paper he cried aloud and fell down in a swoon; and as soon as he recovered, and understood the case, he was astonished, and exclaimed, There is no deity but God, who is able to do whatsoever He willeth! Then said he, O my daughter, knowest thou who hath become thy husband? She answered, No.—He is the son of my brother, said he, and the son of255 thine uncle; and these thousand pieces of gold are thy dowry. Extolled be the perfection of God! Would that I knew how this event hath happened!—Then he opened the amulet that was sewed up, and found in it a paper written by the hand of his brother Noor-ed-Deen of Cairo, the father of Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen: and when he beheld the hand-writing of his brother he repeated this couplet:—

I behold their footsteps, and melt with desire, and pour forth my tears upon the places they have trodden,
Begging of Him who hath afflicted me by their separation, that He will bless me some day by a reunion.
The Wezeer Shems-ed-Deen recovering from a Swoon
So saying, he read the paper, and found in it the date of his marriage to the daughter of the Wezeer of El-Baṣrah, and that of his first introduction to her, and a record of his age at the time of his death, and the date of the birth of his son Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen; and he wondered, and shook with delight; and, comparing what had happened to his brother with the events that had happened to himself, he found that they corresponded exactly: his marriage and the marriage of his brother agreed in date, and their first visits to their respective wives in like manner; as also the birth of Bedr-ed-Deen, the son of his brother, and the birth of his daughter Sitt-el-Ḥosn. He took the two papers, and, going up with them to the Sulṭán, he acquainted him with all that had happened from the first of the case to the last; and the King was astonished, and ordered that the case should be immediately recorded. The Wezeer then remained in expectation of the son of his brother; but he met with no tidings of him: so he said, By Allah, I256 will do a deed that none hath done before me:—and he took an ink-case and a pen, and wrote an inventory of the furniture of the house, describing the money-chest as having been in such a place, and a certain curtain in such another place, and everything in the house in like manner; and he folded up the paper, and ordered that all the furniture should be stored up; and he took the turban with its ṭarboosh, and also the farajeeyeh and the purse, and kept them himself.

After this, in due time, the daughter of the Wezeer gave birth to a son like the moon, resembling his father in beauty and symmetry and splendour and loveliness. They received him from his mother, and blackened the edges of his eyes with koḥl,54 and delivered him to the nurses, and named him ‘Ajeeb.55 His day was as a month; and his month, as a year;56 and when seven years had passed over him, his grandfather committed him to a schoolmaster, whom he charged to educate him with great care. He continued at the school four years, and used to fight with his schoolfellows, and abuse them, saying to them, Who among you is like me? I am the son of the Wezeer of Cairo.—So the boys went together to complain to the monitor of that which they suffered from ‘Ajeeb; and the monitor said to them, I will teach you something to say to him when he cometh, and he shall repent of his coming to the school; and it is this: to-morrow, when he is come, seat yourselves around him, and say to one another, By Allah, none shall play with us at this game excepting him who shall tell us the name of his mother and that of his father; and he who knoweth not the name of his mother and that of his father is illegitimate; therefore he shall not play with us. Accordingly, on the following morning they came to the school, and ‘Ajeeb was there; and the boys surrounded him, and said as the monitor had directed them, and they all agreed to the proposal; and one said, My name is Májid, and my mother is ‘Alawee, and my father is ‘Ezz-ed-Deen:—then another said after the same manner, and another, and so on, until the turn came to ‘Ajeeb; and he said to them, My name is ‘Ajeeb, and my mother is Sitt-el-Ḥosn, and my father is Shems-ed-Deen, the Wezeer of Cairo:—and they said to him, By Allah, the Wezeer is not thy father. ‘Ajeeb replied, the Wezeer is my father indeed:—and upon this the boys laughed at him, and clapped their hands at him, saying, Thou knowest not who is thy father: get away from us, therefore; for none shall play with us excepting him who knoweth the name of his father:—and immediately the boys dispersed from around257 him, and made a jest of him. In consequence of this treatment his heart became contracted, and he was almost choked with crying; and the monitor said to him, Dost thou really consider as thy father him who is thy grandfather, the Wezeer, the father of thy mother Sitt-el-Ḥosn? Thy father thou knowest not, nor do we know him; for the Sulṭán married her to the humpbacked groom, and the Jinn came and prevented him: so, if thou know not thy father, they will regard thee among them as illegitimate. Dost thou not see that the son of the woman who is coveted as a wife knoweth his father? The Wezeer of Cairo is thy grandfather; and as to thy father, we know him not, nor dost thou: return therefore to thy reason.

The School
Upon this, ‘Ajeeb went immediately to his mother, Sitt-el-Ḥosn, and complained to her, and wept; and his weeping prevented his speaking: and when his mother heard his complaint and his crying, her heart was inflamed for him, and she said to him, O my son, what maketh thee weep? Tell me thy story.—So he told her what he had heard from the boys and from the monitor, and said to her, O my mother, who is my father? She answered him, Thy father is the Wezeer of Cairo. But he said, He is not my father: tell me not, therefore, what is false; for the Wezeer is thy father; not mine: who then is my father? If thou do not tell me truly; I will kill myself with this dagger.—And when his mother heard the mention of his father, she wept at the allusion to the son of her uncle, and remembering the amiable qualities of Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen of El-Baṣrah, and258 what had happened to herself and him, she recited an ode commencing thus:—

They excited love in my heart, and departed; and far distant hath their abode become!
Reason forsook me when they withdrew, and sleep and patience abandoned me.
And she wept and cried out, and her son did the same; and lo, the Wezeer entered. His heart burned within him when he beheld their state, and he said to them, What causeth you to weep? She acquainted him therefore with the treatment that her son had experienced from the other boys of the school; and he, also, wept, and called to mind what had happened to his brother and himself and his daughter, and he knew not the mystery of the case. Then suddenly he arose, and, going up to the council-chamber, presented himself before the King, and related to him the story, begging his permission to travel eastwards to the city of El-Baṣrah, that he might make inquiries respecting the son of his brother; and requesting also of the Sulṭán that he would write letters for him to all the countries through which he might pass, that, if he found the son of his brother in any place, he might take him away. And he wept before the Sulṭán, and the heart of the King was moved with compassion for him, and he wrote for him letters to all the regions and countries; upon which the Wezeer rejoiced, and, having offered up a prayer for the Sulṭán, took leave of him.

He descended immediately and prepared for the journey, and, taking with him all that he required, together with his daughter and her son ‘Ajeeb, travelled the first day and the second and the third, and proceeded until he arrived at the city of Damascus, and beheld it with its trees and streams celebrated by the poets. He alighted in the open space called Meydán el-Ḥaṣbà; and, when he had pitched his tents, said to his servants, We will take rest here two days. So the servants entered the city to gratify their various desires; one to sell, another to buy, a third to enter the bath, and a fourth to visit the mosque of the Benee-Umeiyeh, which hath not in the world its equal. ‘Ajeeb also entered the city, accompanied by his eunuch, in order to amuse themselves; and the eunuch walked behind ‘Ajeeb, having in his hand a whip that would strike down a camel. And when the people of Damascus beheld ‘Ajeeb, and his elegance of form and perfect beauty, and observed him to be endowed with admirable loveliness, and with kindness of manner, more bland than the northern259 zephyr, sweeter than limpid water to the thirsty, and more pleasant than health to the diseased, they followed him, running after him in crowds; and some sat waiting in the streets to see him pass. Thus did they until the slave, as destiny had ordained, stopped before the shop of ‘Ajeeb’s father, Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, in which the cook who had acknowledged him as his adopted son in the presence of the Ḳáḍees and witnesses had established him; and this cook had died, and left him all his property, together with his shop.57

When the slave stopped there on this day, the servants also stopped with him: and Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen beheld his son, and was charmed with him, observing his extreme beauty: his soul yearned towards him with natural sympathy, and his heart clung to him. He had just prepared a conserve of pomegranate-grains, sweetened with sugar; and the affection divinely inspired increased in him; so he called out in ecstasy, and said, O my master, O thou who hast captivated my heart and soul, and to whom my affections are drawn by sympathy! wilt thou come in to me and refresh my heart and eat of my food? And when he had said this, his eyes overflowed with involuntary tears, and he reflected upon his past experience and his condition at the present time. When ‘Ajeeb heard the address of his father, his heart was in like manner drawn towards him by sympathy, and he looked towards the eunuch, and said to him, Verily my heart is moved with sympathy for this cook: he seemeth to have parted with a son: come in with us, therefore, that we may refresh his heart and eat his offering of hospitality: perhaps God, through our so doing, may accomplish our union with our father. But the eunuch replied, By Allah, O my master, it is not proper. How should we, who are of the family of the Wezeer, eat in the shop of a cook? I will, however, drive away the people from thee, lest they see thee: otherwise it will be impossible for thee to enter the shop. On hearing the reply of the eunuch, Bedr-ed-Deen was surprised, and, looking towards him, while his tears flowed down his cheeks, said to him, Verily my heart loveth him.—Let us hear no more of these words, said the eunuch:—and he desired the youth not to enter: but the father of ‘Ajeeb cast his eyes upon the eunuch, and said, Great sir, wherefore wilt thou not refresh my heart and come in to me? O thou who resemblest black dust, but whose heart is white! O thou who hast been described in such and such terms of praise!—so that the eunuch laughed, and said, What wouldst thou say? Speak, and be brief.—And Bedr-ed-Deen recited this couplet:260—

Were it not for his accomplishments and admirable faithfulness, he had not been invested with authority in the abode of Kings.
What an excellent guardian for the ḥareem is he! On account of his beauty the angels of heaven wait upon him!
This address pleased the eunuch so much that he took the hand of ‘Ajeeb, and entered the cook’s shop; and Bedr-ed-Deen ladled out a saucerful of conserve of pomegranate-grains prepared with almonds and sugar, and the slave and the youth ate together; Bedr-ed-Deen saying to them, Ye have delighted me by your company: eat, and may it benefit you! ‘Ajeeb then said to his father, Sit down and eat with us; and perhaps God will unite us to him whom we desire. And Bedr-ed-Deen said, O my son, hast thou been afflicted in thy tender years by the separation of those whom thou lovest?—Yes, O uncle, answered ‘Ajeeb: my heart is inflamed by the absence of one of those who are dear to me: the friend who hath withdrawn himself from me is my father, and I and my grandfather have come abroad to search for him through the world; and how do I sigh for my union with him!—And he wept bitterly; and his father, moved by his tears, wept with him, reflecting upon his own desolate state, separated from those he loved, deprived of his father, and far removed from his mother; and the eunuch was moved with compassion for him.


They all ate together until they were satisfied; after which, the youth and the slave arose, and quitted the shop of Bedr-ed-Deen, who felt as if his soul had departed from his body and gone with them. He could not endure their absence for the twinkling of an eye; so he shut up his shop and followed them, though ignorant that the youth was his son, and walked quickly until he came up to them before they had gone out from the great gate; whereupon the eunuch, looking back at him, said, What dost thou want, O cook? Bedr-ed-Deen answered, When ye departed from me, I felt as if my soul had quitted my body, and, having some business in the suburb, I was desirous of accompanying you to transact my business, and, after that, to return. But the eunuch was angry, and said to ‘Ajeeb, Verily this repast was unlucky: respectful treatment hath become incumbent on us; and see, he is following us from place to place. ‘Ajeeb therefore looked round, and, seeing the cook, was enraged, and his face became red; but he said to the eunuch, Suffer him to walk in the public road of the Muslims; but when we shall have turned from it to our tents, if he do the same, and we know that he is following us, we will drive him back. And he hung down his head and went on, with the eunuch behind him. Bedr-ed-Deen, however, followed them to the Meydán el-Ḥaṣbà, and when they had drawn near to the tents they looked back and saw him behind them; and ‘Ajeeb was angry, fearing that the eunuch might inform his grandfather, and lest it should be said that he had entered the cook’s shop, and that the cook had followed him. He looked at him till his eyes met the eye of his father, who had become as a body without a soul; and he fancied that his eye bore an expression of deceit, and that he was perhaps a knave: so his anger increased, and he took up a stone, and threw it at his father, and the stone struck him on the forehead, and wounded him, and he fell down in a swoon, the blood flowing over his face. ‘Ajeeb went on with the eunuch to the tents; and Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, when he recovered his senses, wiped off the blood, and, having cut off a piece of linen from his turban, bound up his head with it, blaming himself, and saying, I wronged the youth when I shut up my shop and followed him, so he thought I was a deceiver. He then returned to his shop, and occupied himself with the sale of his meats; and he yearned with desire for his mother, who was at El-Baṣrah.

The Wezeer, his uncle, remained at Damascus three days, and then departed to Ḥemṣ, and, having entered this town, proceeded thence, inquiring at every place where he halted in his journey until he had262 arrived at Márideen and El-Mósil and Diyár Bekr. He continued his journey until he arrived at the city of El-Baṣrah, and when he had entered it and taken up his quarters, he went and presented himself before the Sulṭán, who received him with respect and honour, and inquired the reason of his coming: so he acquainted him with his story, and informed him that the Wezeer ‘Alee Noor-ed-Deen was his brother. The Sulṭán ejaculated, God have mercy upon him!58—and said, O Ṣáḥeb,59 he was my Wezeer, and I loved him much: he died twelve years60 ago, and left a son; but we have lost him, and have heard no tidings of him: his mother, however, is with us, for she is the daughter of my old Wezeer. On hearing from the King that the mother of his nephew was alive, the Wezeer Shems-ed-Deen rejoiced, and said, I am desirous of having an interview with her. And the King gave him immediate permission to visit her at his brother’s house: so he went thither, and kissed the threshold, and, entering an open court, found a door over-arched with hard stone inlaid with various kinds of marble of every colour; and he walked along by the walls of the house, and as he cast his eyes around upon them he observed the name of his brother Noor-ed-Deen inscribed on them in characters of gold; and he went to the name, and kissed it, and wept. He then advanced to the saloon of his brother’s wife, the mother of Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen of El-Baṣrah. During the absence of her son she had given herself up to weeping and wailing night and day; and after she had long suffered from his separation she made for her son a tomb of marble in the midst of the saloon, where she wept for him night and day, sleeping nowhere but by this tomb. And when Shems-ed-Deen arrived at her apartment he heard her voice apostrophizing the tomb; and while she was thus occupied he entered and saluted her, and informed her that he was her husband’s brother, acquainting her with what had passed, and revealing to her the particulars of the story. He told her that her son Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen had passed a whole night with his daughter, and disappeared in the morning, and that his daughter had borne him a son, whom he had brought with him: and when she heard this news of her son, and that he was perhaps still living, and beheld her husband’s brother, she fell at his feet and kissed them, addressing him with this couplet:—

Divinely is he inspired who acquainteth me with their approach; for he hath brought information most delightful to be heard.
If he would be satisfied with that which is cast off,61 I would give him a heart rent in pieces at the hour of valediction.
The Wezeer then sent to bring ‘Ajeeb; and when he came, his grandmother rose to him, and embraced him, and wept; but Shems-ed-Deen said to her, This is not a time for weeping, but rather a time for preparing thyself to accompany us on our return to the land of Egypt: and perhaps God may unite us with thy son, my nephew. She replied, I hear and obey:—and, arising immediately, collected all her property and treasures, and her female slaves, and forthwith prepared herself: after which the Wezeer, Shems-ed-Deen, went up again to the Sulṭán of El-Baṣrah, and took leave of him; and the King sent with him presents and rarities for the Sulṭán of Egypt.

The Widow of Noor-ed-Deen kissing the feet of his Brother
The Wezeer departed without delay, accompanied by his brother’s wife, and continued his journey until he arrived at the city of Damascus, where he alighted again, and encamped, and said to his attendants, We will remain at Damascus a week, to buy, for the Sulṭán, presents and rarities. ‘Ajeeb then said to the eunuch, Boy,62 I long for a little diversion: arise, therefore, and let us go to the market of Damascus, and see what is going on there, and what hath happened to that cook whose confection we ate and whose head we broke, notwithstanding he had treated us with kindness: we acted ill towards him. The eunuch replied, I hear and obey:—and ‘Ajeeb went forth with him from the tents, the tie of blood inciting him to visit his father and they entered the city, and proceeded to the shop of the cook, whom they found standing there. It was then near the time of264 afternoon-prayers; and it happened that he had again just prepared a confection of pomegranate-grains; and when they drew near to him, the heart of ‘Ajeeb yearned towards him when he saw him, and he perceived the scar occasioned by the stone that he had thrown. He said to him, Peace be on thee! Know that my heart is with thee.—And when Bedr-ed-Deen beheld him, his affections were engrossed by him, and his heart throbbed with emotion towards him, and he hung down his head, desiring to adapt his tongue to speech, and unable to do so: but presently he raised his head, and, looking towards the youth in an humble and abject manner, recited these verses:—

I wished for my beloved; but when I beheld him I was confounded and possessed neither tongue nor eye.
I hung down my head in honour and reverence, and would have hidden what I felt; but it would not be concealed.
I had prepared a volume of expostulation; but when we met I remembered not a word.
He then said to them, Refresh ye my heart, and eat of my food; for, by Allah, as soon as I beheld thee, my heart yearned towards thee, and I had not followed thee unless I had been deprived of my reason.—By Allah, replied ‘Ajeeb, thou dost indeed love us, and we ate a morsel with thee; but after it thou keptest close behind us and wouldst have disgraced us: we will not eat again with thee, therefore, but on the condition of thy swearing that thou wilt not follow us; and otherwise we will not come to thee again henceforth; for we are staying at this city a week, in order that my grandfather may procure presents for the King.—I bind myself, said Bedr-ed-Deen, to do as ye desire. So ‘Ajeeb entered the shop with the eunuch, and Bedr-ed-Deen placed before them a saucer filled with the confection of pomegranate-grains; upon which ‘Ajeeb said to him, Eat with us; and may God dispel our affliction:—and Bedr-ed-Deen was delighted, and he ate with them; but he turned not his eyes from the youth; for his heart and all his faculties were captivated by him. ‘Ajeeb, observing this, said to him, Knowest thou not that I told thee thou wast a rude doter? Enough of this: continue not to gaze at my face.—Bedr-ed-Deen, therefore, apologized to him, and began to put morsels into the mouth of ‘Ajeeb, and then did the same to the eunuch. Afterwards he poured the water upon their hands, and when they had washed he loosed a napkin of silk from his waist and wiped them with it. He next sprinkled rose-water upon them from a bottle that was in his shop, and went out, and returned with two cups of sherbet prepared with rose-water265 infused with musk, and, placing these before them, he said, Complete your kindness. So ‘Ajeeb took a cup and drank; and Bedr-ed-Deen handed the other to the eunuch; and both drank until their stomachs were full, and gratified their appetites to a degree beyond their usual habit.

Bedr-ed-Deen waiting upon his Son and the Eunuch
They then departed, and hastened back to the tents, and ‘Ajeeb went in to his grandmother, the mother of his father Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen; and she kissed him, and said, Where hast thou been? He answered, In the city. And she arose, and brought him a saucer of confection of pomegranate-grains, which happened to be somewhat deficient in sweetness; and she said to the eunuch, Sit down with thy master. The eunuch said within himself, By Allah, we have no appetite. He, however, seated himself, and ‘Ajeeb did the same, though satiated with what he had eaten and drunk, and dipped a morsel of bread in the confection, and ate it; but it seemed to him insipid, on account of his being thus cloyed, and he loathed it, and said, What is this nasty dish?—O my child, said his grandmother, dost thou find fault with my cookery? It was I who prepared it; and, except thy father, Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen, there is none who can cook it as well as myself.—By Allah, O my mistress, replied ‘Ajeeb, This thy dish is not well prepared: we have just now seen in the city a cook who had prepared a confection of pomegranate-grains, but its odour was such as to dilate the heart, and the confection itself, such as to excite appetite in one already satiated: as to thine, in comparison with his, it is good for nothing.

His grandmother, on hearing this, fell into a violent rage, and turning towards the eunuch, said to him, Wo to thee! Hast thou corrupted my child? Thou hast taken him into the shops of the266 cooks!—The eunuch feared, and denied, saying, We did not enter the shop, but only passed by it:—but ‘Ajeeb said, By Allah, we entered and ate, and what we ate was better than this mess of thine. And upon this his grandmother arose, and informed her husband’s brother, and incensed him against the eunuch. The slave was therefore brought before the Wezeer, and he said to him, Wherefore didst thou take my child into the cook’s shop? The eunuch, fearing, said again, We did not enter.—Nay, said ‘Ajeeb, we did enter, and ate of a confection of pomegranate-grains until we were satiated, and the cook gave us to drink sherbet with ice and sugar. The Wezeer’s anger with the eunuch now increased, and he asked him again; but still he denied. Then said the Wezeer, If thine assertion be true, sit down and eat before us. The eunuch therefore advanced, and would have eaten; but he could not; and he threw down the morsel that was in his hand, and said, O my master, I am satiated since yesterday. And by this the Wezeer knew that he had eaten in the shop of the cook: so he ordered the female slaves to throw him down upon the ground, and they did so, and he gave him a severe beating, while the slave cried for mercy, but still saying, I am satiated since yesterday! The Wezeer then interrupted the beating, and said to him, Declare the truth. And at length the eunuch said, Know that we did enter the shop of the cook while he was cooking pomegranate-grains, and he ladled out for us some of the confection, and, by Allah, I never in my life ate any like it, or any more detestable than this which is before us.

The mother of Bedr-ed-Deen, enraged at this, said, Thou shalt go to this cook and bring us a saucerful of his confection and shew it to thy master, that he may say which of the two is the better and the more delicious.—Well, replied the eunuch: and immediately she gave him a saucer, and half a piece of gold; and he went to the shop, and said to the cook, We have laid a wager respecting thy confection at the tent of our master; for there is a mess of pomegranate-grains cooked by the family: give us, therefore, for this half-piece of gold, and apply thyself to prepare it perfectly; for we have received an excruciating beating on account of thy cookery. Laughing at these words, Bedr-ed-Deen replied, By Allah, none excelleth in the preparation of this confection except myself and my mother, and she is now in a distant country. And he ladled out as much as filled the saucer, and perfected it by the addition of some musk and rose-water. The eunuch then hastened back with it to the family; and the mother of Ḥasan took it, and, tasting its delicious flavour, immediately knew267 who had prepared it, and shrieked, and fell down in a swoon. The Wezeer was amazed at the event; and they sprinkled some rose-water upon her, and when she recovered she said, If my son be yet in the world, no one but he cooked this confection: he is my son Ḥasan Bedr-ed-Deen without doubt: for none but he can prepare this, except myself, and it was I who taught him to do it.

Bedr-ed-Deen bound
When the Wezeer heard these words, he rejoiced exceedingly, and exclaimed, Oh, how I long to behold my brother’s son! Will fortune, indeed, unite us with him? But I look not for our union from any but God, whose name be exalted!—And he instantly arose, and called out to his male attendants, saying, Let twenty men of you go to the shop of the cook, and demolish it, and bind his hands behind him with his turban, and drag him hither by force, but without any injury to his person. They replied, Well. The Wezeer then rode immediately to the palace, and, presenting himself before the Viceroy of Damascus, shewed him the contents of the letters which he had brought from the Sulṭán; and the Viceroy, after kissing them, put them to his head, and said, Who is thine offender? He answered, A man who is by trade a cook. And instantly the Viceroy ordered his Chamberlains to repair to his shop; and they went thither; but found it demolished, and everything that had been in it broken; for when the Wezeer went to the palace, his servants did as he had commanded them. They268 were then waiting his return from the palace; and Bedr-ed-Deen was saying within himself, What can they have discovered in the confection, that such an event as this should have befallen me? And when the Wezeer returned from the Viceroy, and had received his permission to take his offender and to depart with him, he entered the encampment, and called for the cook. They brought him, therefore, with his hands bound behind him with his turban; and when he saw his uncle he wept bitterly, and said, O my master, what crime have ye found in me? The Wezeer said to him, Art thou he who cooked the confection of pomegranate-grains? He answered, Yes: and have ye found in it anything that requires one’s head to be struck off? This, replied the Wezeer, is the smallest part of thy recompense.—Wilt thou not, said Bedr-ed-Deen, acquaint me with my crime? The Wezeer answered, Yea, immediately. And forthwith he called out to the young men, saying, Bring the camels!

They then took Bedr-ed-Deen, and put him in a chest, and, having locked him up in it, commenced their journey, and continued on their way till the approach of night, when they halted and ate, and, taking out Bedr-ed-Deen, fed him; after which they put him again into the chest, and in like manner proceeded to another station. Here also they took him out; and the Wezeer said to him, Art thou he who cooked the confection of pomegranate grains? He answered, Yes, O my master. And the Wezeer said, Shackle his feet. And they did so, and restored him to the chest. They then continued their journey to Cairo; and when they arrived at the quarter called Er-Reydáneeyeh,63 the Wezeer commanded to take out Bedr-ed-Deen again from the chest, and to bring a carpenter, to whom he said, Make, for this man, a cross.64—What, said Bedr-ed-Deen, dost thou mean to do with it? The Wezeer answered, I will crucify thee upon it, and nail thee to it, and then parade thee about the city.—Wherefore, demanded Bedr-ed-Deen, wilt thou treat me thus?—The Wezeer replied, For thy faulty preparation of the confection of pomegranate-grains, because thou madest it deficient in pepper.—Because of its deficiency in pepper, exclaimed Bedr-ed-Deen, wilt thou do all this to me? Art thou not satisfied with having thus imprisoned me, and fed me every day with only one meal?—The Wezeer answered, For its deficiency in pepper, thy recompense shall be nothing less than death. And Bedr-ed-Deen was amazed, and bewailed his lot, and remained a while absorbed in reflection. The Wezeer, therefore, said to him, Of what art thou thinking? He answered, Of imbecile minds, such as thine; for if269 thou wert a man of sense thou wouldst not have treated me in this manner on account of the deficiency of pepper.—It is incumbent on us, replied the Wezeer, to punish thee, that thou mayest not do the like again:—to which Bedr-ed-Deen rejoined, The least of the things thou hast done to me were a sufficient punishment. The Wezeer, however, said, Thy death is unavoidable.—All this conversation took place while the carpenter was preparing the cross; and Bedr-ed-Deen was looking on.

Thus they both continued until the approach of night, when Bedr-ed-Deen’s uncle took him and put him again into the chest, saying, To-morrow shall be thy crucifixion. He then waited until he perceived that he was asleep; upon which he remounted, and, with the chest borne before him, entered the city, and repaired to his house: and when he had arrived there he said to his daughter Sitt-el-Ḥosn, Praise be to God who hath restored to thee the son of thine uncle! Arise, and furnish the house as it was on the night of the bridal display.—She therefore ordered her female slaves to do so; and they arose, and lighted the candles; and the Wezeer brought out the paper upon which he had written his inventory of the furniture of the house, and read it, and ordered them to put every thing in its place, so that the beholder would not doubt that this was the very night of the bridal display. He directed them to put Bedr-ed-Deen’s turban in the place where its owner had deposited it, and in like manner the trousers, and the purse which was beneath the mattress, and ordered his daughter to adorn herself as she was on the bridal night, and to enter the bride-chamber; saying to her, When the son of thine uncle comes into thy chamber, say to him, Thou hast loitered since thou withdrewest from me this night:—and request him to return and converse with thee till day.—Having thus arranged everything, the Wezeer took out Bedr-ed-Deen from the chest, removed the shackles from his feet, and stripped him of his outer clothes, leaving him in his shirt.

All this was done while he was asleep, unconscious of what was passing; and when he awoke, and found himself in an illuminated vestibule, he said, within himself, Am I bewildered by dreams, or am I awake? Then rising, he advanced a little way to an inner door, and looked, and lo, he was in the house in which the bride had been displayed, and he beheld the bride-chamber and the couch and his turban and clothes. Confounded at the sight of these things, he took one step forwards and another backwards, thinking, Am I asleep or awake? And he began to wipe his forehead, and exclaimed in his astonishment,270

Bedr-ed-Deen’s perplexity
By Allah, this is the dwelling of the bride who was here displayed before me: and yet I was just now in a chest. And while he was addressing himself, behold Sitt-el-Ḥosn lifted up the corner of the musquito curtain, and said, O my master, wilt thou not come in? for thou hast loitered since thou withdrewest from me this night. When he heard these words he looked at her face, and laughed, and said, Verily, these appearances are bewildering illusions of a dream! Then entering, he sighed; and as he reflected upon what had happened to him, he was perplexed at his situation, and his case seemed involved in obscurity. Looking at his turban and trousers, and the purse containing the thousand pieces of gold, he exclaimed, Allah is all-knowing!—but it seemeth to me that I am bewildered by dreams!—And he was confounded in the excess of his astonishment. Upon this, therefore, Sitt-el-Ḥosn said to him, Wherefore do I behold thee thus astonished and perplexed? Thou wast not so in the commencement of the night.—And he laughed, and asked her, How many years have I been absent from thee?—Allah preserve thee! she exclaimed. The name of Allah encompass thee!65 Thou hast only withdrawn to yonder apartment. What hath passed in thy mind?—On hearing this he smiled, and replied, Thou hast spoken truth; but when I withdrew from thee, sleep overcame me, and I dreamt that I was a cook in Damascus, and that I lived there twelve years;66 and I thought271 that a youth of the sons of the great came to me, accompanied by a eunuch,—and he proceeded to relate what had happened to him in consequence of this youth’s visit: then drawing his hand over his forehead, he felt the scar occasioned by the blow, and exclaimed, By Allah, O my mistress, it seemeth as though it were true; for he struck me with a stone upon my forehead, and cut it open: it seemeth, therefore, as though this had really happened when I was awake: but probably this dream occurred when we were both asleep. I imagined in my dream that I was transported to Damascus, without ṭarboosh or turban or trousers, and that I followed the occupation of a cook.—And again, for a while, he remained utterly confounded. He then said, By Allah, I imagined that I made a confection of pomegranate-grains containing but little pepper. Verily I must have been asleep, and in my sleep have seen all this.—I conjure thee by Allah, said Sitt-el-Ḥosn, tell me what more thou sawest? And he related to her the whole; and added, If I had not awaked, they would have crucified me upon a wooden cross.—On account of what? said she. He answered, On account of the deficiency of pepper in the confection of pomegranate-grains; and I imagined that they demolished my shop, and broke all my vessels, and put me in a chest, and brought the carpenter to make a cross of wood; for they intended to crucify me upon it. Praise be to God, therefore, who caused all this to occur to me in sleep, and caused it not to happen to me when I was awake!—Sitt-el-Ḥosn, laughing at his words, pressed him to her bosom, and he in like manner embraced her. Then reflecting again, he said, By Allah, it seems as if it had happened when I was awake; and I knew not the reason, nor the truth of the case.—And he composed himself to sleep, perplexed with his case, and sometimes saying, I saw it in my sleep,—and other times, I experienced it awake.

Thus he continued until the morning, when his uncle, the Wezeer Shems-ed-Deen, came in to him, and saluted him; and Bedr-ed-Deen, as soon as he beheld him, exclaimed, I conjure thee by Allah, tell me art not thou he who gave orders to bind my hands behind me, and to nail up my shop, on account of the confection of pomegranate-grains, because it was deficient in pepper? The Wezeer answered, Know, O my son, that the truth hath appeared, and what was hidden hath been manifested. Thou art the son of my brother; and I did not this but to know if thou wert he who visited my daughter on that night. I was not convinced of this until I saw that thou knewest the house, and thy turban and trousers and gold, and the two papers; namely,272 the one which thou wrotest, and that which thy father, my brother, wrote: for I had never seen thee before, and therefore knew thee not; and as to thy mother, I have brought her with me from El-Baṣrah.—Having thus said, he threw himself upon him, and wept; and Bedr-ed-Deen, full of astonishment at his uncle’s words, embraced him, and in like manner wept from excess of joy. The Wezeer then said to him, O my son, the cause of all this was what passed between me and thy father. And he related to him the circumstances of their case, and the cause of his father’s departure to El-Baṣrah; after which he sent for ‘Ajeeb; and when the father of the youth saw him, he exclaimed, This is he who threw the stone at me.—This, said the Wezeer, is thy son. And Bedr-ed-Deen cast himself upon him, and recited the following verses:—

Long have I wept on account of our disunion; the tears overflowing from my eyelids;
And I vowed that if Providence should bring us together, I would never again mention our separation.
Joy hath overcome me to such a degree that by its excess it hath made me weep.
O eye, thou hast become so accustomed to tears that thou weepest from happiness as from grief.67
And when he had uttered these words, his mother, beholding him, threw herself upon him, and repeated this couplet:—

Fortune made a vow to torment me incessantly; but thine oath hath proved false, O Fortune; therefore expiate it.68
Happiness hath arrived, and the beloved is come to my relief: repair then to the messenger of festivity, and hasten.
She afterwards related to him everything that had happened to her; and he also acquainted her with all that he had suffered; and they offered up thanks to God for their union. The Wezeer then went up to the Sulṭán, and informed him of these occurrences; and the King was astonished, and ordered that a statement of them should be inserted in the records, to be preserved to future ages. And the Wezeer resided with his brother’s son, and his own daughter and her son, and with the wife of his brother; and all of them passed their lives in the enjoyment of the utmost happiness until they were visited by the terminator of delights, and the separator of companions.69

Such, O Prince of the Faithful, said Jaạfar, were the events that happened to the Wezeer Shems-ed-Deen and his brother Noor-ed-Deen.—By Allah, exclaimed the Khaleefeh Hároon Er-Rasheed, this story is wonderful! And he gave one of his own concubines to the young man who had killed his wife, and appointed him a regular maintenance; and the young man became one of his companions at the table.273

Head-piece to Notes to Chapter IV.–The Old Fisherman
Note 1. From the close of Chapter iii., the order of the tales in this translation (agreeably with the Cairo edition) differs from that which is followed in the old version.

Note 2. This alludes to the poor man’s want of sufficient clothing; for, in the climate of Baghdád, a person who is not very scantily clad is in little need of a fire to warm himself.

Note 3. My sheykh has remarked, in a marginal note, that these verses would be appropriate only from the mouth of a learned man complaining of the unprofitableness of his science with respect to procuring him money; but perhaps, in writing this, he was actuated by a somewhat over-zealous regard for the honour of his own profession; for, when a poor man has acquired a little knowledge, his neighbours are apt to flatter him.

Note 4. The “izár” has been described in the second note to Chapter iii.

Note 5. Literally, “the sons of thine uncle;” but the meaning is, “thy kinsmen.”

Note 6.—On Bastinading. In Arabian, and some other Eastern, countries, it is a common custom, when a person is accused of a crime before a magistrate, and denies his guilt, to bastinade him, in order to induce him to confess; and even witnesses, sometimes, are treated in the same manner. The beating is usually inflicted with a kurbáj (a thong or whip of hippopotamus’ hide hammered into a round form) or with a stick, and generally on the soles of the feet. For this purpose the feet are confined by a chain or rope attached at each end to a staff, which is turned round to tighten it. This is called a “falaḳah.” Two persons (one on each side) strike alternately; and the punishment is often continued until the sufferer becomes insensible, and even longer.

Note 7.—Of Sales by Auction. In many of the sooḳs (market-streets, or bázárs) in Arabian cities, auctions are held on stated days, once or more frequently in every week. They are conducted by brokers (delláls), hired either by private persons or by shopkeepers. These brokers carry the goods up and down the street, announcing the sums bidden, with cries of “ḥaráj,” &c.; and the shopkeepers, as well as others, purchase of them.

Note 8. I have before mentioned, that this horrid mode of punishing a woman suspected of incontinence is not unfrequently practised among the Arabs. Many274 similar cases have been mentioned to me in Egypt as having occurred in that country in the present age; and often the murder is committed by the father or a brother of the woman, as her relations are considered as more disgraced than the husband by her crime. The present tale is probably founded on some particular occurrence of this kind. One is related as having happened in the reign of the Khaleefeh El-Moạtaḍid. In this case, some limbs of the murdered woman, in two leathern bags, were brought up from the bed of the Tigris in the net of a fisherman.276 [Such barbarity, however, is contrary to law, as is stated in two former notes.—Ed.]

Note 9.—Of the Retaliation of Injuries on the Day of Resurrection. The “examination being past, and every one’s works weighed in a just balance, that mutual retaliation will follow according to which every creature will take vengeance one of another, or have satisfaction made to him for the injuries which he hath suffered. And since there will then be no other way of returning like for like, the manner of giving this satisfaction will be, by taking away a proportionable part of the good works of him who offered the injury, and adding it to those of him who suffered it. Which being done, if the angels (by whose ministry this is to be performed) say, ‘Lord, we have given to every one his due, and there remaineth of this person’s good works so much as equalleth the weight of an ant,’ God will of his mercy cause it to be doubled unto him, that he may be admitted into Paradise; but if, on the contrary, his good works be exhausted, and there remain evil works only, and there be any who have not yet received satisfaction from him, God will order that an equal weight of their sins be added unto his, that he may be punished for them in their stead, and he will be sent to Hell laden with both.”277

Note 10. “Reyḥán” is a common proper name of men, now commonly given to slaves; and the name of the sweet basil in particular (also called “reeḥán”) and of sweet-smelling plants in general. It also signifies “any favour of God,” “the supplies necessary for subsistence,” “a son,” &c.

Note 11. This ejaculation is addressed to God.

Note 12. In the original, “Miṣr,” vulg., “Maṣr.” This is the name which the Arabs give to Egypt, and which they have also given to its successive capitals, or seats of government, Memphis, Egyptian Babylon, El-Fusṭáṭ, and El-Ḳáhireh, or Cairo. It is here applied to Cairo, as will be shewn by the following note, and by the sequel of the tale, though this city was not founded until long after the reign of Hároon Er-Rasheed. I may here remark, that I have not found the name of “Miṣr” applied to Cairo in any Arabic work anterior to the conquest of Egypt by the ‘Osmánlee Turks, which happened in the year of the Flight 923 (A.D. 1517). El-Fusṭáṭ retained this appellation in the time of Es-Suyooṭee, who died in the year of the Flight 911, but it ceased to do so before the time of El-Is-ḥáḳee, who brought down his history to the month of Ramaḍán, 1032 (A.D. 1623). It is probable, therefore, that the name of “Misr”[typo Miṣr] was transferred to Cairo on the occasion of the conquest by the Turks. I must not assert, that this observation alone enables us to form a decided judgment as to the period when this work was composed, as it may be objected that copyists have perhaps substituted “Miṣr” for “El-Ḳáhireh;” but I persue the inquiry in the next note.

Note 13.—On several Evidences of the Period when this Work, in the states in which it is known to us, was composed or compiled or remodelled. The tale here presents another anachronism. The title of “Sulṭán,” as a prefix, was first borne by Maḥmood Ibn-Sabuktekeen, in the year of the Flight 393, just two hundred years after the death of Hároon Er-Rasheed; and there was no Sulṭán of Egypt until the year of the Flight 567 of a little later; the first being the famous Ṣaláḥ-ed-Deen, or Saladin.

I have now given several data upon which to found a reasonable opinion as to the 275age when these tales, in the states in which they are known to us, were composed or compiled or remodelled. First, in Note 55 to Chapter ii., I have shewn that a fiction in one of the tales is framed in accordance with the distinction of Muslims, Christians, and Jews, by the colours of their turbans, which mode of distinction originated in the beginning of the eighth century of the Flight. Secondly, in the present note, I have mentioned a fact which affords some reason for inferring that there had been a long series of Sulṭáns in Egypt before the age of the writer or writers. In the third place, I must remark, that all the events described in this work are said to have happened in ages which, with respect to that of the writer or writers, were ancient, being related to an ancient king; from which I think we may infer its age to have been at least two centuries posterior to the period mentioned in the first of these data. Fourthly, in Note 22 to Chapter iii., I have shewn that the state of manners and morals described in many of these tales agrees, in a most important point of view, with the manners and morals of the Arabs at the commencement of the tenth century of the Flight. This I regard as an argument of great weight, and especially satisfactory as agreeing with the inference just before drawn. Fifthly, from what I have stated in the note immediately preceding, I incline to the opinion that few of the copies of this work now known to us, if any, were written until after the conquest of Egypt by the Turks, in the year 1517 of our era. This opinion, it should be remarked, respects especially the early portion of the work, which is the least likely to have been interpolated, as later parts evidently have been. At the last-mentioned period, a native of Cairo (in which city I believe the principal portion of the work to have been written) might, if about forty years of age, retain a sufficient recollection of the later Memlook Sulṭáns and of their ministers to describe his kings and courts without the necessity of consulting the writings of historians; deriving his knowledge of early times not from the perusal of any regular record, but only from traditions or from works like the present.—I should have delayed the insertion of the foregoing remarks, had I not considered it a point of some importance to suggest to the reader, as early as possible, that the manners and customs, and in general even the dresses and dwellings, described in most of the present tales, are those of a very late period. The lax state of morals which appears to have prevailed among the Arabs in the time of the writer or writers probably continued at least until the period when coffee became a common beverage, about the middle of the tenth century of the Flight (or near the middle of the sixteenth century of our era), and perhaps considerably later, until some years after the introduction of tobacco into the East. The researches of Von Hammer have satisfactorily shewn that the Thousand and One Nights, in the states in which it is known to us, is based upon a very old work, in Persian; an Arabic translation of which bore a similar, or perhaps the same, title as that which we are considering; but I believe the last to be, in its best features, a very late production.

Note 14. “Shems-ed-Deen” signifies “the Sun of the Religion;” and “Noor-ed-Deen,” “the Light of the Religion.”

Note 15.—Customs observed after a Death. Though the men, in Arabian countries, make no change in their dress in indication of mourning, they observe other customs after the death of a relation. By the term here used in the original for “mourning” (“‘azá,” the primary signification of which is “consolation” or “condolence”), an allusion is made to receiving the visits of condoling friends. On the night immediately following the burial, several persons are employed to perform recitations of portions of the Ḳur-án, &c. The most remarkable of these ceremonies consists in repeating thrice one thousand times, “There is no deity but God:” one of the performers having a string of a thousand large beads by means of which to count these repetitions. Some persons are also hired to perform a recitation of the whole of the Ḳur-án in the afternoon or evening of the first Thursday after the funeral, and often on other days; and the merit of these and the former religious acts is transferred to the soul of the de276ceased.—These customs I have fully described in my work on the Modern Egyptians, vol. ii. ch. xv.

Note 16. The island here alluded to is that called “Er-Róḍah,” or “The Garden.”

Note 17. The prayer-carpet, which resembles a wide hearth-rug, is seldom used as a covering for the saddle except when the rider is a person of the learned profession. It is probably mentioned here to shew that Noor-ed-Deen was an officer of the pen, which was generally the case with the Wezeers of the Sulṭáns of Egypt.

Note 18. Jerusalem is called in the original, and by the modern Arabs, “El-Ḳuds,” which signifies “Holiness.”

Note 19. The Arabic name of Aleppo is “Ḥalab.”

Note 20. An Arab of rank is seldom seen on foot outside the threshold of his own house, unless it be merely to cross the street.

Note 21. The decoration here alluded to consists in furnishing the apartment with costly carpets, handsome cushions, rich coverings for the deewáns, and coloured lamps, &c.

Note 22. This, to some readers, may appear odd: it should therefore be explained that most articles of Arab clothing are equally suitable to young and old, thin and stout.

Note 23. “Ḥasan” signifies “Beautiful” or “Handsome.”

Note 24.—On Infancy and Education. I may avoid an unnecessary multiplication of notes on the same, or nearly the same, subject, by availing myself of this occasion to insert here the following illustrations of numerous passages, in the preceding and subsequent tales, relating to infancy and education.

In few cases are the Mohammadans so much fettered by the directions of their Prophet and other religious institutors as in the rearing and educating of their children. In matters of the most trivial nature, religious precedents direct their management of the young. One of the first duties is, to wrap the new-born child in clean white linen, or in linen of some other colour; but not yellow. After this, some person [not a female] should pronounce the adán278 in the ear of the infant, because the Prophet did so in the ear of El-Ḥasan when Fátimeh gave birth to him; or he should pronounce the adán in the right ear, and the iḳameh (which is nearly the same) in the left.279

It was formerly a custom of many of the Arabs, and perhaps is still among some, for the father to give a feast to his friends on seven successive days after the birth of a son; but that of a daughter was observed with less rejoicing. The general modern custom is, to give an entertainment only on the seventh day, which is called “Yóm es-Subooạ.” On this occasion, the mother, having left her bed, receives her guests; the child is exhibited to them; and they give presents of gold or silver coins, which are generally used to decorate the infant’s head-dress. The father entertains his friends in the evening.

On this day, or on the fourteenth, twenty-first, twenty-eighth, or thirty-fifth day after the birth, several religious ceremonies are required to be performed; but they are most approved if observed on the seventh day. One of these is the naming. I believe, however, that it is a more common custom to give the name almost immediately after the birth, or about three hours after. Astrologers were often consulted on this occasion; but the following directions are given on higher authority, and are generally 277observed.—”The father should give his son a good name, … not a name of self-praise, as Rasheed [Orthodox], Emeen [Faithful], &c…. The prophet said, ‘The names most approved by God are ‘Abd-Allah [Servant of God] and ‘Abd-Er-Raḥmán [Servant of the Compassionate], and such like.’ He also said, ‘Give my name, but do not distinguish by my surname of relationship:’ but this precept, they say, respects his own life-time, … because he was addressed, ‘O Abu-l-Ḳásim!’ and now it is not disapproved; but some disapprove of uniting the name and surname, so as to call a person Mohammad and Abu-l-Ḳásim. And if a son be called by the name of a prophet it is not allowable to abuse or vilify him, unless the person so named be facing his reproacher, who should say, ‘Thou’ [without mentioning his name]: and a child named Moḥammad or Aḥmad should be [especially] honoured…. The Prophet said, ‘There is no people holding a consultation at which there is present one whose name is Moḥammad or Aḥmad, but God blesseth all that assembly:’ and again he said, ‘Whoever nameth his child by my name, or by that of any of my children or my companions, from affection to me or to them, God (whose name be exalted!) will give him in Paradise what eye hath not seen nor ear heard.’ And a son should not be named King of kings, or Lord of lords; nor should a man take a surname of relationship from the name of the eldest of his children; nor take any such surname before a child is born to him.”280—The custom of naming children after prophets, or after relations or companions of Moḥammad, is very common. No ceremony is observed on account of the naming.

On the same day, however, two practices which I am about to mention are prescribed to be observed; though, as far as my observations and inquiries allow me to judge, they are generally neglected by the modern Muslims. The first of these is a sacrifice. The victim is called ‘aḳeeḳah. It should be a ram or goat; or two such animals should be sacrificed for a son, and one for a daughter. This rite is regarded by Ibn-Ḥambal as absolutely obligatory: he said, “If a father sacrifice not for his son, and he [the son] die, that son will not intercede for him on the day of judgment.” The founders of the three other principal sects regard it in different and less important lights, though Mohammad slew an ‘aḳeeḳah for himself after his prophetic mission. The person should say, on slaying the victim, “O God, verily this aḳee[.]kah is a ransom for my son such a one; its blood for his blood, and its flesh for his flesh, and its bone for his bone, and its skin for his skin, and its hair for his hair. O God, make it a ransom for my son from Hell-fire.” A bone of the victim should not be broken.281 The midwife should receive a leg of it. It should be cooked without previously cutting off any portion of it; and part of it should be given in alms.—After this should be performed the other ceremony above alluded to, which is this. It is a sunneh ordinance, incumbent on the father, to shave, or cause to be shaved, the head of his child, and to give, in alms to the poor, the weight of the hair in gold or silver. This should also be done for a proselyte.282 On the subsequent occasions of shaving the head of a male child (for the head of the male is frequently shaven), a tuft of hair is generally left on the crown, and commonly, for several years, another also over the forehead.

Circumcision is most approved if performed on the same day:283 but the observance of this rite is generally delayed until the child has attained the age of five or six years, and sometimes several years later. I shall therefore delay mentioning the ceremonies with which it is celebrated.

The Muslims rightly regard a child as a trust committed by God to its parents, who, they hold, are responsible for the manner in which they bring it up, and will be examined on this subject on the day of judgment. But they further venture to say, that “the first who will lay hold of a man on the day of judgment will be his wife and 278children, who [if he have been deficient in his duty to them] will present themselves before God, and say, ‘O our Lord, take for us our due from him; for he taught us not that of which we were ignorant, and he fed us with forbidden food, and we knew not:’ and their due will be taken from him.”284 By this is meant, that a certain proportion of the good works which the man may have done, and his children and wife neglected, will be set down to their account; or that a similar proportion of their evil works will be transferred to his account.

The mother is enjoined by the law to give suck to her child two full years, unless she have her husband’s consent to shorten the period, or to employ another nurse. “For suckling the child, a virtuous woman, who eateth only what is lawful, should be chosen; for the unlawful [food] will manifest its evil in the child: as the Prophet … said, ‘Giving suck altereth the tempers.’ But it is recommended by the sunneh that the mother herself suckle the child; for it is said in a tradition, ‘There is nothing better for a child than its mother’s milk.’ ‘If thou wouldst try,’ it is added,’whether a child be of an ingenuous disposition in its infancy, or not, order a woman who is not its mother to suckle it after its mother has done so; and if it drink of the milk of the woman who is not its mother, it is not of an ingenuous disposition.'”285

Children, being regarded by Muslim parents as enviable blessings, are, to them, objects of the most anxious solicitude. To guard them from the supposed influence of the envious or evil eye, they have recourse to various expedients. When they are taken abroad, they are usually clad in the most slovenly manner, and left unwashed, or even purposely smeared with dirt; and as a further precaution, a fantastic cap is often put upon the child’s head, or its head-dress is decorated with one or more coins, a feather, a gay tassel, or a written charm or two sewed up in leather or encased in gold or silver, or some other appendage to attract the eye, that so the infant itself may pass unnoticed. If a person express his admiration of another’s child otherwise than by some pious ejaculation, as, for instance, by praising its Creator (with the exclamation of “Subḥána-lláh!” or, “Má sháa-lláh!” &c.) or invoking a blessing on the Prophet, he fills the mind of the parent with apprehension; and recourse is had to some superstitious ceremony to counteract the dreaded influence of his envious glance. The children of the poor are less exposed to this imaginary danger from their unattractive appearance: they generally have little clothing, or none whatever, and are extremely dirty. It is partly with the view of protecting them from the evil eye, that those of the rich are so long confined to the ḥareem: there they are petted and pampered for several years; at least until they are of age to go to school; but most of them are instructed at home.

The children of the Muslims are taught to shew to their fathers a degree of respect which might be deemed incompatible with the existence of a tender mutual affection; but I believe that this is not the case. The child greets the father in the morning by kissing his hand, and then usually stands before him in a respectful attitude, with the left hand covered by the right, to receive any order or to await his permission to depart; but after the respectful kiss, is often taken on the lap. After the period of infancy, the well-bred son seldom sits in the presence of his father; but during that period he is generally allowed much familiarity. A Syrian merchant, who was one of my near neighbours in Cairo, had a child of exquisite beauty, commonly supposed to be his daughter, whom, though he was a most bigoted Muslim, he daily took with him from his private house to his shop. The child followed him, seated upon an ass, before a black slave; and, until about six years old, was dressed like most young ladies, but without a face-veil. The father then thinking that the appearance of taking about with him a daughter of that age was scandalous, dressed his pet as a boy, and told his friends that the female attire had been employed as a protection against the evil eye; girls being less coveted than boys. This indeed is sometimes done; and it is possible that such might have been the case in this instance; but I was led to believe that it 279was not so. A year after, I left Cairo: while I remained there, I continued to see the child pass my house as before; but always in boy’s clothing.

It is not surprising that the natives of Arabian countries, where a very trifling expense is required to rear the young, should be generally desirous of a numerous offspring. A motive of self-interest conduces forcibly to cherish this feeling in a wife, for she is commonly esteemed by her husband in proportion to her fruitfulness; and a man is seldom willing to divorce a wife, or to sell a slave, who has borne him a child. A similar feeling also induces in both parents a desire to obtain offspring, and renders them at the same time resigned to the loss of such of their children as die in tender age. This feeling arises from their belief of certain services, of greater moment than the richest blessings this world can bestow, which children who die in infancy are to render to their parents. The Prophet is related to have said, “The infant children [of the Muslims] shall assemble at the scene of judgment on the day of the general resurrection, when all creatures shall appear for the reckoning, and it will be said to the angels, ‘Go ye with these into Paradise:’ and they will halt at the gate of Paradise, and it will be said to them, ‘Welcome to the offspring of the Muslims! enter ye Paradise: there is no reckoning to be made with you:’ and they will reply, ‘Yea, and our fathers and our mothers:’ but the guardians of Paradise will say, ‘Verily your fathers and your mothers are not with you because they have committed faults and sins for which they must be reckoned with and inquired of.’ Then they will shriek and cry at the gate of Paradise with a great cry; and God (whose name be exalted!) and who is all-knowing respecting them will say, ‘What is this cry?’ It will be answered, ‘O our Lord, the children of the Muslims say, We will not enter Paradise but with our fathers and our mothers.’ Whereupon God (whose name be exalted!) will say ‘Pass among them all, and take the hands of your parents, and introduce them into Paradise.'” The children who are to have this power are such as are born of believers, and die without having attained to the knowledge of sin; and according to one tradition, one such child will introduce his parents into Paradise. [Such infants only are to enter Paradise; for, of the children who die in infancy, those of believers alone are they who would believe if they grew to years of discretion.] On the same authority it is said, “When a child of the servant [of God] dies, God (whose name be exalted!) saith to the angels, ‘Have ye taken the child of my servant?’ They answer, ‘Yea.’ He saith, ‘Have ye taken the child of his heart?’ They reply, ‘Yea.’ He asketh them, ‘What did my servant say?’ They answer, ‘He praised thee, and said, Verily to God we belong, and verily unto Him we return!’ Then God will say, ‘Build for my servant a house in Paradise, and name it the House of Praise.'” To these traditions, which I find related as proofs of the advantages of marriage, the following anecdote, which is of a similar nature, is added. A certain man, who would not take a wife, awoke one day from his sleep, and demanded to be married, saying, as his reason, “I dreamt that the resurrection had taken place, and that I was among the beings collected at the scene of judgment, but was suffering a thirst that stopped up the passage of my stomach; and lo, there were youths passing through the assembly, having in their hands ewers of silver, and cups of gold, and giving drink to one person after another; so I stretched forth my hand to one of them, and said, ‘Give me to drink; for thirst overpowereth me:’ but they answered, ‘Thou hast no child among us: we give drink only to our fathers.’ I asked them, ‘Who are ye?’ They replied, ‘We are the deceased infant children of the Muslims.'”286 Especial rewards in heaven are promised to mothers. “When a woman conceives by her husband,” said the Prophet, “she is called in heaven a martyr [i.e. she is ranked as a martyr in dignity]; and her labour in child-bed, and her care for her children, protect her from Hell-fire.'”287

“When the child begins to speak, the father should teach him first the kelimeh [or profession of faith], ‘There is no deity but God: [Moḥammad is God’s apostle:]’—he 280should dictate this to him seven times. Then he should instruct him to say, ‘Wherefore, exalted be God, the King, the Truth! There is no deity but He, the Lord of the honourable throne.”288 He should teach him also the Throne-verse,289 and the closing words of the Ḥashr, ‘He is God, beside whom there is no deity, the King, the Holy,'” &c.290

As soon as a son is old enough, his father should teach him the most important rules of decent behaviour: placing some food before him, he should order him to take it with the right hand (the left being employed for unclean purposes), and to say, on commencing, “In the name of God;” to eat what is next to him, and not to hurry, nor spill any of the food upon his person or dress. He should teach him that it is disgusting to eat much. He should particularly condemn to him the love of gold and silver, and caution him against covetousness as he would against serpents and scorpions; and forbid his spitting in an assembly, and committing any similar breach of good manners, talking much, turning his back upon another, standing in an indolent attitude, and speaking ill of any person to another. He should keep him from bad companions, teach him the Ḳur-án and all requisite divine and prophetic ordinances, and instruct him in the arts of swimming and archery, and in some virtuous trade; for trade is a security from poverty. He should also command him to endure patiently the chastisements of his teacher. In one tradition it is said, “When a boy attains the age of six years he should be disciplined; and when he attains to nine years he should be put in a separate bed; and when he attains to ten years he should be beaten for [neglecting] prayer:” in another tradition, “Order your children to pray at seven [years], and beat them for [neglecting] it at ten, and put them in separate beds.”291

Circumcision, which has before been mentioned, is generally performed before the boy is submitted to the instruction of the schoolmaster.292 Previously to the performance of this rite, he is, if belonging to the higher or middle rank of society, usually paraded about the neighbourhood of his parents’ dwelling, gaily attired, chiefly with female habits and ornaments, but with a boy’s turban on his head, mounted on a horse, preceded by musicians, and followed by a group of his female relations and friends. This ceremony is observed by the great with much pomp and with sumptuous feasts. El-Jabartee mentions a fête celebrated on the occasion of the circumcision of a son of the Ḳáḍee of Cairo, in the year of the Flight 1179 (A.D. 1766), when the grandees and chief merchants and ‘ulamà of the city sent him such abundance of presents that the magazines of his mansion were filled with rice and butter and honey and sugar; the great hall, with coffee; and the middle of the court, with firewood: the public were amused for many days by players and performers of various kinds; and when the youth was paraded through the streets he was attended by numerous memlooks with their richly-caparisoned horses and splendid arms and armour and military band, and by a number of other youths who, from compliment to him, were circumcised afterwards with him. This latter custom is usual on such occasions; and so also is the sending of presents, such as those above mentioned, by friends, acquaintances, and tradespeople.’ At a fête of this kind, when the Khaleefeh El-Muḳtedir circumcised five of his sons, the money that was scattered in presents amounted to six hundred thousand pieces of gold, or about £300,000. Many orphans were also circumcised on the same day, and were presented with clothes and pieces of gold.293 The Khaleefeh above mentioned was famous for his magnificence, a proof of which I have given in a former note. At the more approved entertainments which are given in celebration of a circumcision, a recital of the whole of the Ḳur-án, or a zikr, is performed: at some others, male or 281female public dancers perform in the court of the house, or in the street before the door.

Few of the children of the Arabs receive much instruction in literature, and still fewer are taught even the rudiments of any of the higher sciences; but there are numerous schools in their towns, and one at least in almost every moderately large village. The former are mostly attached to mosques and other public buildings, and, together with those buildings, endowed by princes or other men of rank, or wealthy tradesmen. In these, the children are instructed either gratis or for a very trifling weekly payment, which all parents, except those in indigent circumstances, can easily afford. The schoolmaster generally teaches nothing more than to read, and to recite by heart the whole of the Ḳur-án. After committing to memory the first chapter of the sacred volume, the boy learns the rest in the inverse order of their arrangement, as they generally decrease in length. Writing and arithmetic are usually taught by another master; and grammar, rhetoric, versification, logic, the interpretation of the Ḳur-án, and the whole system of religion and law, with all other knowledge deemed useful, which seldom includes the mere elements of mathematics, are attained by studying at a collegiate mosque, and at no expense; for the professors receive no pay either from the students, who are mostly of the poorer classes, or from the funds of the mosque.

The wealthy often employ for their sons a private tutor; and, when he has taught them to read, and to recite the Ḳur-án, engage for them a writing-master, and then send them to the college. But among this class, polite literature is more considered than any other branch of knowledge, after religion. Such an acquaintance with the works of some of their favourite poets as enables a man to quote them occasionally in society, is regarded by the Arabs as essential to a son who is to mix in genteel company; and to this acquirement is often added some skill in the art of versification, which is rendered peculiarly easy by the copiousness of the Arabic language, and by its system of inflection. These characteristics of their noble tongue (which are remarkably exhibited by the custom, common among the Arabs, of preserving the same rhyme throughout a whole poem), while on the one hand they have given an admirable freedom to the compositions of men of true poetic genius, have on the other hand mainly contributed to the degradation of Arabic poetry. To an Arab of some little learning it is almost as easy to speak in verse as in prose; and hence he often intersperses his prose writings, and not unfrequently his conversation, with indifferent verses, of which the chief merit often consists in puns, or in an ingenious use of several words nearly the same in sound, but differing in sense. To a reader unacquainted with the Arabic language it is necessary to explain this custom; otherwise he would imagine that the author of the present work is merely indulging in a dramatic licence inconsistent with a true delineation of manners, when he makes a person suddenly change the style of his speech from prose to verse, and then revert to the former.

One more duty of a father to a son I should here mention: it is, to procure for him a wife as soon as he has arrived at a proper age. This age is decided by some to be twenty years; though many young men marry at an earlier period. It is said, “When a son has attained the age of twenty years, his father, if able, should marry him, and then take his hand, and say, ‘I have disciplined thee, and taught thee, and married thee: I now seek refuge with God from thy mischief in the present world and the next.'” To enforce this duty, the following tradition is urged: “When a son attains to the age of puberty, and his father does not marry him, and yet is able to do so, if the youth commit an improper act in consequence, the sin of it is between the two,”—or, as in another report,—”on the father.”294 The same is held to be the case with respect to a daughter who has attained the age of twelve years.295

The female children of the Arabs are seldom taught even to read. Though they are 282admissible at the daily schools in which the boys are instructed, very few parents allow them the benefit of this privilege; preferring, if they give them any instruction of a literary kind, to employ a sheykhah (or learned woman) to teach them at home. She instructs them in the forms of prayer, and teaches them to repeat by heart a few chapters of the Ḳur-án; very rarely the whole book. Parents are indeed recommended to withhold from their daughters some portions of the Ḳur-án; to “teach them the Soorat en-Noor [or 24th chapter], and keep from them the Soorat-Yoosuf [12th chapter]; on account of the story of Zeleekhà and Yoosuf in the latter, and the prohibitions and threats and mention of punishments contained in the former.”296

Needlework is not so rarely, but yet not generally, taught to Arab girls: the spindle frequently employs those of the poorer classes; and some of them learn to weave. The daughters of persons of the middle and higher ranks are often instructed in the art of embroidery, and in other ornamental work, which are taught in schools and in private houses. Singing, and playing upon the lute, which were formerly not uncommon female accomplishments among the wealthy Arabs, are now almost exclusively confined, like dancing, to professional performers and a few of the slaves in the ḥareems of the great: it is very seldom now that any musical instrument is seen in the hand of an Arab lady, except a kind of drum called darabukkeh, and a ṭár (or tambourine), which are found in many ḥareems, and are beaten with the fingers.297 Some care, however, is bestowed by the ladies in teaching their daughters what they consider an elegant gait and carriage, as well as various alluring and voluptuous arts with which to increase the attachment of their future husbands.

Note 25.—Water-wheels. The water-wheels here mentioned are machines commonly used for the purpose of irrigating fields and gardens. They are generally turned by a pair of cows or bulls. They raise the water from a river or well in a series of earthen pots attached to cords which pass over a vertical wheel, and pour it into a trough, from which it flows in narrow channels through the space of ground to be irrigated. A cogged vertical wheel is attached to the same axis as the former; and this, and consequently the other also, are turned by means of a larger, horizontal, cogged wheel. The ground is divided into hollow squares, or furrows, into each of which in succession the water is admitted.

Note 26. “Bedr-ed-Deen” signifies “the Full Moon of the Religion.”

Note 27. I have here omitted the name of Shems-ed-Deen, and his office; as Ḥasan’s knowledge of them would render the sequel of the story too improbable even to an Arab.

Note 28. In the original, this paper is here said to have been written by Ḥasan in accordance with the dictation of his father; but afterwards it is said to have been written by the latter; and this is more consistent with the rest of the tale.

Note 29. Papers of importance are often wrapped in waxed cloth to preserve them from wet, which would efface the writing, as the Arab ink is chiefly composed of smoke-black and gum and water.

Note 30. In the original, the cap is not here mentioned; but it is afterwards.

Note 31. This paragraph and the verses interspersed in it are translated from the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights.

Note 32. The poet here alluded to is El-Mutanebbee.

Note 33. It is a common custom of Eastern kings and governors to avail themselves of any pretext for seizing upon the property of a deceased officer who has accumulated much wealth.


Note 34. It is implied that he was sitting at the door, or in the court, of his house.

Note 35. His taking a copy is mentioned afterwards in the original; but not in this place.

Note 36. I have designated by the appellation of “dye-women” (from want-of a better) those females who are employed to apply the ḥennà, which imparts a deep orange-red dye, to the nails or tips of the fingers, the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, &c. Some Arab ladies, especially on such an occasion as that here described, are ornamented with this dye in a more fanciful manner. The woman who applies it is called in Arabic “munaḳḳisheh.”

Note 37. The chief office of the tire-woman (in Arabic, “máshiṭáh”) is to comb and plait the hair. She attends the ladies in the bath; and hence is also called “belláneh.”

Note 38. A “maṣṭabah” is a bench of stone or brick, generally between two and three feet in height, and about the same in width, built against the front of a shop, and sometimes along the front of a private house. [See Note 22 to Chapter i.—Ed.]

Note 39.—On Marriage. Previously to the perusal of the first description of a nuptial fête that occurs in this work, the reader may perhaps desire some introductory information, which I shall here endeavour to convey in such a manner as to make the present note serve to illustrate many future allusions in these pages, and not merely the foregoing tale.

Marriage is regarded by the Muslims in general as a positive duty; and to neglect it, without a sufficient excuse, subjects a man to severe reproach. “When a servant [of God],” said the Prophet, “marries, verily he perfects half his religion.”298 He once asked a man, “Art thou married?” The man answered, “No.” “And art thou,” said he, “sound and healthy?” The answer was, “Yes.” “Then,” said Moḥammad, “thou art one of the brothers of the devils; for the most wicked among you are the unmarried; and the most vile among your dead are the unmarried; moreover the married are those who are acquitted of filthy conversation; and by Him in whose hand is my soul, the devil hath not a weapon more effective against the virtuous, both men and women, than the neglect of marriage.”299 Some remarks on this subject, and on the advantages of marriage, have been made in a preceding note on infancy and education.

The number of wives whom a Muslim may have at the same time is four. He may marry free women, or take concubine slaves, or have of both these classes. It is the opinion of most persons, I believe, among the more strictly religious, that a man may not have more than four women, whether they be wives alone, or concubine slaves alone, or of both classes together; but the practice of some of the Companions of the Prophet, who cannot be accused of violating his precepts, affords a strong argument to the contrary. ‘Alee, it is said, “was the most devout of the Companions; but he had four wives and seventeen concubines besides, and married, after Fáṭimeh (may God be well pleased with her!), among all that he married and divorced, more than two hundred women: and sometimes he included four wives in one contract, and sometimes divorced four at one time, taking other four in their stead.”300 This may perhaps be an exaggerated statement: but it is certain that the custom of keeping an unlimited number of concubines was common among wealthy Muslims in the first century of the Mohammadan era, and has so continued. The famous author of the work above quoted urges the example of Solomon to prove that the possession of numerous concubines is not inconsistent with piety and good morals; not considering that God made but one wife for Adam.

It has been mentioned in the first of the notes to this work, that a Muslim may 284divorce his wife twice, and each time take her back. This he may do, even against her wish, during a fixed period, which cannot extend beyond three months, unless she be enceinte, in which latter case she must wait until the birth of her child before she will be at liberty to contract a new marriage. During this period the husband is obliged to maintain her. If he divorce her a third time, or by a triple sentence, he cannot take her again unless with her own consent, and by a new contract, and after another marriage has been consummated between her and another husband, and this husband also has divorced her.

It is not a common custom, especially among the middle ranks, for an Arab to have more than one wife at the same time; but there are few of middle age who have not had several different wives at different periods, tempted to change by the facility of divorce. The case of ‘Alee has been mentioned above. Mugheyreh Ibn-Sheạbeh married eighty women in the course of his life;301 and several more remarkable instances of the love of change are recorded by Arab writers: the most extraordinary case of this kind that I have met with was that of Moḥammad Ibn-Eṭ-Ṭeiyib, the Dyer, of Baghdád, who died in the year of the Flight 423, aged eighty-five years; of whom it is related, on most respectable authority, that he married more than nine hundred women!302—Supposing, therefore, that he married his first wife when he was fifteen years of age, he must have had, on the average, nearly thirteen wives per annum. The women, in general, cannot of course marry so many successive husbands, not only because a woman cannot have more than one husband at a time, but also because she cannot divorce her husband. There have been, however, many instances of Arab women who have married a surprising number of men in rapid succession. Among these may be mentioned Umm-Khárijeh, who gave occasion to a proverb on this subject. This woman, who was of the tribe of Bejeeleh, in El-Yemen, married upwards of forty husbands; and her son Khárijeh knew not who was his father. She used to contract a marriage in the quickest possible manner: a man saying to her, “Khiṭbun” (betrothal), she replied, “Nik-ḥun” (marriage), and thus became his lawful wife. She had a very numerous progeny; several tribes originating from her.303

For the choice of a wife, a man generally relies on his mother, or some other near female relation, or a professional female betrother (who is called “kháṭibeh”); for there are many women who perform this office for hire. The law allows him to see the face of the female whom he proposes to marry, previously to his making the contract; but in the present day this liberty is seldom obtained, except among the lower orders. Unless in this case, a man is not allowed to see unveiled any woman but his own wife or slave, and those women to whom the law prohibits his uniting himself in marriage: nay, according to some, he is not allowed to “see” his own niece unveiled, though he may not marry her. It should be added, that a slave may lawfully see the face of his own mistress; but this privilege is seldom granted in the present day to any slave but a eunuch. An infringement of the law above mentioned is held to be extremely sinful in both parties: “The curse of God,” said the Prophet, “is on the seer and the seen:” yet it is very often disregarded in the case of women of the lower orders.

A man is forbidden, by the Ḳur-án304 and the Sunneh, to marry his mother, or other ascendant; daughter, or other descendant; his sister, or half-sister; the sister of his father or mother or other ascendant; his niece, or any of her descendants; his foster-mother who has suckled him five times in the course of the first two years, or a woman related to him by milk in any of the degrees which would preclude his marriage with her if she were similarly related to him by consanguinity; the mother of his wife, even if he has not consummated his marriage with this wife; the daughter of his wife, if he has consummated his marriage with the latter (but if he has not done so, and this wife 285is divorced from him, or dead, he may marry her daughter); his father’s wife, and his son’s wife; and to have at the same time two wives who are sisters, or aunt and niece: he is forbidden also to marry his unemancipated slave, or another man’s slave if he has already a free wife; and to marry any woman but one of his own faith, or a Christian, or a Jewess. A Mohammadan woman, however, may only marry a man of her own faith. An unlawful intercourse with any woman prevents a man from marrying any of her relations who would be forbidden to him if she were his wife.

The reader has already seen that a cousin (the daughter of a paternal uncle) is often chosen as a wife, on account of the tie of blood, which is likely to attach her more strongly to her husband, or on account of an affection conceived in early years. Parity of rank is generally much regarded; and a man is often unable to obtain as his wife the daughter of one of a different profession or trade, unless an inferior; or a younger daughter when an elder remains unmarried. A girl is often married at the age of twelve years, and sometimes at ten, or even nine: the usual period is between twelve and sixteen years. At the age of thirteen or fourteen she may be a mother. The young men marry a few years later.

The most important requisite in a wife is religion. The Prophet said, “A virtuous wife is better than the world and all that it contains.” “A virtuous wife,” said Luḳmán, “is like a crown on the head of a king; and a wicked wife is like a heavy burden on the back of an old man.” Among the other chief requisites are agreeableness of temper, and beauty of form (undiminished by any defect or irregularity of features or members), moderation in the amount of dowry required, and good birth. It is said, “if thou marry not a virgin, [which is most desirable,] marry a divorced woman, and not a widow; for the divorced woman will respect thy words when thou sayest, ‘If there were any good in thee thou hadst not been divorced;’ whereas the widow will say, ‘May God have mercy on such a one! he hath left me to one unsuited to me.'” But according to another selfish maxim, the woman most to be avoided is she who is divorced from a man by whom she has had a child; for her heart is with him, and she is an enemy to the man who marries her after.305—Modesty is a requisite upon which too much stress cannot be laid; but this, to an English reader, requires some explanation. ‘Alee asked his wife Fáṭimeh, “Who is the best of women?” She answered, “She who sees not men, and whom they see not.”306 Modesty, therefore, in the opinion of the Muslims, is most eminently shown by a woman’s concealing her person, and restraining her eyes, from men. “The best rank of men [in a mosque],” said the Prophet, “is the front; and the best rank of women is the rear:”307 that is, those most distant from the men: but better than even these are the women who pray at home.308—Fruitfulness is also a desirable qualification to be considered in the choice of a wife: “it may be known in maidens,” says the Prophet, “from their relations; because, generally speaking, kindred are similar in disposition, &c.”309 Lastly, contentment is to be enumerated among the requisites. It is said, on the same authority, “Verily the best of women are those that are most content with little.”310 To obtain a contented and submissive wife, many men make their selection from among the classes inferior to them in rank. Others, with a similar view, prefer a concubine slave in the place of a wife.

The consent of a girl not arrived at the age of puberty is not required: her father, or, if he is dead, her nearest adult male relation, or a guardian appointed by will or by the Ḳáḍee, acts as her wekeel, or deputy, to effect the marriage-contract for her. If of age, she appoints her own deputy. A dowry is required to legalize the marriage; and the least dowry allowed by the law is ten dirhems, or drachms of silver; about five shillings of our money. Moḥammad married certain of his wives for a dowry of ten dirhems 286and the household necessaries, which were a handmill to grind the corn, a water-jar, and a pillow of skin or leather stuffed with the fibres of the palm-tree, which are called “leef:” but some he married for a dowry of five hundred dirhems.311 With the increase of wealth and luxury, dowries have increased in amount; but, to our ideas, they are still trifling; a sum equivalent to about twenty pounds sterling being a common dowry among Arabs of the middle classes for a virgin, and half or a third or quarter of that sum for a divorced woman or a widow. Two-thirds of the sum is usually paid before making the contract, and the remaining portion held in reserve to be paid to the woman in case of her divorce or in case of the husband’s death. The father or guardian of a girl under age receives the former portion of her dowry; but it is considered as her property, and he generally expends it, with an additional sum from his own purse, in the purchase of necessary furniture, dress, &c., for her, which the husband can never take from her against her own wish.

The marriage-contract is generally, in the present day, merely verbal; but sometimes a certificate is written, and sealed by the Ḳáḍee. The most approved or propitious period for this act is the month of Showwál: the most unpropitious, Moḥarram. The only persons whose presence is required to perform it are the bridegroom (or his deputy), the bride’s deputy (who is the betrother), two male witnesses, if such can be easily procured, and the Ḳáḍee or a schoolmaster or some other person to recite a khuṭbeh, which consists of a few words in praise of God, a form of blessing on the Prophet, and some passages of the Ḳur-án, respecting marriage. They all recite the Fát’ḥah (or opening chapter of the Ḳur-án), after which the bridegroom pays the money. The latter and the bride’s deputy then seat themselves on the ground, face to face, and grasp each other’s right hand, raising the thumbs, and pressing them against each other. Previously to the khuṭbeh, the person who recites this formula places a handkerchief over the two joined hands; and after the khuṭbeh he dictates to the two contracting parties what they are to say. The betrother generally uses the following or a similar form of words: “I betroth to thee my daughter [or her for whom I act as deputy] such a one [naming the bride], the virgin, [or the adult virgin, &c.,] for a dowry of such an amount.” The bridegroom answers, “I accept from thee her betrothal to myself.” This is all that is absolutely necessary; but the address and reply are usually repeated a second and third time, and are often expressed in fuller forms of words. The contract is concluded with the recital of the Fát’ḥah by all persons present.

This betrothal, or marriage-contract, is often performed several years before the consummation, when the two parties are yet children; or during the infancy of the girl; but generally not more than about eight or ten days before the former event. The household furniture and dress prepared for the bride are sent by her family to the bridegroom’s house, usually conveyed by a train of camels, two or three or more days before she is conducted thither.

The feasts and processions which are now to be mentioned are only observed in the case of a virgin bride; a widow or divorced woman being remarried in a private manner. I describe them chiefly in accordance with the usages of Cairo, which appear to me most agreeable, in general, with the descriptions and allusions in the present work.—The period most commonly approved for the consummation of marriage is the eve of Friday, or that of Monday. Previously to this event, the bridegroom once or twice or more frequently gives a feast to his friends; and for several nights, his house and the houses of his near neighbours are usually illuminated by numerous clusters of lamps, or by lanterns, suspended in front of them; some, to cords drawn across the street. To these or other cords are also suspended small flags, or square pieces of silk, each of two different colours, generally red and green. Some say that the feast or feasts should be given on the occasion of the contract; others, on the consummation; others, again, on both these occasions.312 The usual custom of the people of Cairo is to give a feast on 287the night immediately preceding that of the consummation, and another on the latter night; but some commence their feasts earlier. Respecting marriage-feasts, the Prophet said, “The first day’s feast is an incumbent duty; and the second day’s, a sunneh ordinance; and the third day’s, for ostentation and notoriety:” and he forbade eating at the feast of the ostentatious.313 It is a positive duty to accept an invitation to a marriage-feast or other lawful entertainment; but the guest is not obliged to eat.314 The persons invited, and all intimate friends, generally send presents of provisions of some kind a day or two before. The Prophet taught that marriage-feasts should be frugal: the best that he gave was with one goat.315 He approved of demonstrations of joy at the celebration of a marriage with songs, and, according to one tradition, by the beating of deffs (or tambourines); but in another tradition the latter practice is condemned.316 The preferable mode of entertaining the guests is by the performance of a zikr.

The bride is conducted to the bridegroom’s house in the afternoon immediately preceding the night of consummation. On the day next preceding that on which she is conducted thither, she goes to the public bath, accompanied by a number of her female relations and friends. The procession generally pursues a circuitous route, for the sake of greater display; and on leaving the house, turns to the right. In Cairo, the bride walks under a canopy of silk borne by four men, with one of her near female relations on each side of her. Young unmarried girls walk before her; these are preceded by the married ladies; and the procession is headed and closed by a few musicians with drums and hautboys. The bride wears a kind of pasteboard crown, or cap; and is completely veiled from the view of spectators by a Kashmeer shawl placed over her crown and whole person; but some handsome ornaments of the head are attached externally. The other women are dressed in the best of their walking-attire. In the case, however, of a bride of high rank, or of wealth, and often in the case of one belonging to a family of the middle class, the ladies ride upon high-saddled asses, without music or canopy; and the bride is only distinguished by a Kashmeer shawl instead of the usual black silk covering; one or more eunuchs sometimes riding at the head. In the bath, after the ordinary operations of washing, &c., a feast is made, and the party are often entertained by female singers. Having returned in the same manner to her home, the bride’s friends there partake of a similar entertainment with her. Her hands and feet are then stained with ḥennà, and her eyes ornamented with koḥl; and her friends give her small presents of money, and take their leave. “It is a sunneh ordinance that the bride wash her feet in a clean vessel, and sprinkle the water in the corners of the chamber, that a blessing may result from this. She should also brighten her face, and put on the best of her apparel, and adorn her eyes with koḥl, and stain [her hands and feet] with ḥennà [as above mentioned]; and she should abstain, during the first week, from eating anything that contains mustard, and from vinegar, and sour apples.”317

The bride is conducted to the house of the bridegroom (on the following day) in the same manner as to the bath, or with more pomp. In Cairo, the bridal processions of persons of very high rank are conducted with singular display. The train is usually headed by buffoons and musicians, and a water-carrier loaded with a goat’s-skin filled with sand and water, of very great weight, which is often borne for many hours before, as well as during, the procession, merely to amuse the spectators by this feat of strength. Then follow (interrupted by groups of male or female dancers, jugglers, &c.) numerous decorated open waggons, or cars, each of which contains several members of some particular trade or art engaged in their ordinary occupations, or one such person with attendants: in one, for instance, a ḳahwejee (or ḳahvejee), with his assistants and pots 288and cups and fire, making coffee for the spectators: in a second, makers of sweetmeats: in a third, makers of pancakes (faṭeerehs): in a fourth, silk-lace manufacturers: in a fifth, a silk-weaver, with his loom: in a sixth, tinners of copper vessels, at their work: in a seventh, white-washers, whitening over and over again a wall: in short, almost every manufacture, &c., has its representatives in a different waggon. El-Jabartee describes a procession of this kind in which there were upwards of seventy parties of different trades and arts, each party in a separate waggon, besides buffoons, wrestlers, dancers, and others; followed by various officers, the eunuchs of the bride’s family, ladies of the ḥareem with their attendants, then the bride, in a European carriage, a troop of memlooks clad in armour, and a Turkish band of music. It was a procession of which the like had not before been seen.318

The bride and her party, having arrived at the house, sit down to a repast. The bridegroom does not yet see her. He has already been to the bath, and at nightfall he goes in procession with a number of his friends to a mosque, to perform the night-prayers; he is accompanied by musicians and singers, or by chanters of lyric odes in praise of the Prophet; and by men bearing cressets (poles with cylindrical frames of iron at the top filled with flaming wood); and on his return, most of his other attendants bear lighted wax candles, and bunches of flowers.

Returned to his house, he leaves his friends in a lower apartment, and goes up to the bride, whom he finds seated, with a shawl thrown over her head, so as to conceal her face completely, and attended by one or two females. The latter he induces to retire, by means of a small present. He then gives a present of money to the bride, as “the price of uncovering the face,” and having removed the covering (saying, as he does so, “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful”), he beholds her, generally, for the first time. On the occasion of this first visit, which is called the “dukhool,” or “dukhleh,” he is recommended “to perfume himself, and to sprinkle some sugar and almonds on the head of the bride and on that of each woman with her; this practice being established by existing usage and by traditions: also, when he approaches her, he should perform the prayers of two rek’ahs; and she should do the same if able: then he should take hold of the hair over her forehead, and say, ‘O God, bless me in my wife, and bless my wife in me! O God, bestow upon me [offspring] by her, and bestow upon her [offspring] by me! O God, unite us, as Thou hast united, happily; and separate us, when Thou separatest, happily!'”319

Note 40. The ṭarboosh is a woollen skull-cap, of a deep blood-red colour, having a tassel of dark blue silk attached to the crown. It is now worn by most Arabs of the higher and middle classes, and by many others, except in Arabia, where it is not so common. Round it is wound the muslin or shawl which forms the turban. Within it is worn a cotton cap. The Turks call it “fes,” and “fés.”

Note 41. The farajeeyeh is a loose robe or coat, now generally made of cloth, with full and long sleeves extending a little beyond the extremities of the fingers and without any slit. It is worn chiefly by persons of the learned professions.

Note 42. This is the usual mode in which money is collected for the singing-women in the present day.

Note 43. “Ḥooreeyeh” is the appellation commonly given by the Arabs to a virgin of Paradise, by French and English writers, termed “Houri;” which term, in Arabic, converts a female into a male, but is agreeable with the Persian equivalent of the Arabic “Ḥooreeyeh.”

Note 44.—On the Evil Eye. Some remarks on the “evil eye” have been made in a former note (No. 24 in the present series), with respect to children, and the means of counteracting its supposed influence; but I mention this subject again partly with the 289view of suggesting to the reader the necessity of bearing it in mind, as it explains many usages described, or alluded to, in this work, which would otherwise appear unaccountable. He may remember a well-known line of Virgil—

“Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos,”
which, like many other allusions in works of ancient authors, shews how long and how extensively this superstition has been entertained. How deeply it is rooted in the minds of Arabs, even the most religious and learned, may be inferred from this saying of their Prophet: “The eye has a complete influence; because verily, if there were a thing to overcome fate, it most certainly would be a malignant eye.”320 Hence he permitted charms (which he disallowed in almost every other case) to be employed for the purpose of counteracting its influence.321 The following observation, selected from several of a similar nature in my work on the Modern Egyptians, aptly illustrates the passage to which this note immediately refers. “It is a custom among the higher and middle classes in Cairo, on the occasion of a marriage, to hang chandeliers in the street before the bridegroom’s house; and it often happens that a crowd is collected to see a very large and handsome chandelier suspended: in this case, it is a common practice to divert the attention of the spectators by throwing down and breaking a large jar, or by some other artifice, lest an envious eye should cause the chandelier to fall.”

Note 45. The closet here alluded to, being one in which ablution is performed, always contains a small trough of water, or a ewer.

Note 46. This epithet, “unlucky,” is often applied to an ‘Efreet. I have frequently heard it thus used by Arabs.

Note 47. “Aboo-Shiháb” (literally, Father of a Shooting Star) is a nickname often given to a devil, and is so employed because devils, or evil jinnees, are sometimes destroyed by shooting stars hurled at them by angels; an instance of which occurs in the tale under consideration.

Note 48. “Sitt-el-Ḥosn” signifies “the Lady of Beauty.”

Note 49. “Ḥasheesh” is the intoxicating hemp, which has been mentioned in former notes.

Note 50. Thus in the Breslau edition, and in the Calcutta edition of the first two hundred nights; but in the edition of Cairo, the cook is merely termed a prodigal.

Note 51.—On Adoption. The Mohammadan law allows the adoption of sons, provided that the person to be adopted consents to the act, if of age to judge for himself; also, that he has been deprived of his parents by death or other means; and that there be such a difference of age between the two parties as might subsist between a natural father and his son. The adopted son enjoys the same right of inheritance as the natural son; but the adoptive father is not prevented by this act from marrying any relation of his adopted son.

Note 52. In the houses of Arabs of the more wealthy classes, there is usually a chair upon which the turban is placed at night. It is of a large size, but slight make; the bottom and back being generally of cane-work; and sometimes it has a kind of canopy constructed over it. The turban, when placed upon it, is covered with a kerchief of thick silk stuff, often embroidered or interwoven with gold thread.

Note 53. “Móṣilee” may be understood as meaning either “of the fashion of El-Móṣil,” or “of muslin:” but the former, according to my sheykh, is the signification here intended. I think there is nothing peculiar in the common modern turban of El-Móṣil.

Note 54. This is done under the idea that it strengthens the infant’s eyes.

Note 55. “‘Ajeeb” signifies “Wonderful.”

Note 56. The meaning of this is, that he grew in a day as other children in a month; and in a month, as others in a year.


Note 57. The death of the cook is mentioned in the edition of Breslau; but not in that of Cairo.

Note 58. This ejaculation is generally uttered at the mention of a deceased Muslim.

Note 59. “Ṣáḥeb” is a title given to Wezeers, as mentioned in Note 8 to the Introduction.

Note 60. In the original, fifteen. The age of ‘Ajeeb has been shewn to have been little more than eleven at this period; therefore I have substituted twelve for fifteen. In page 243 I have made a similar correction, substituting fifteen for eighteen.

Note 61. This alludes to a custom common in the East,—that of giving a present of a dress, or some article of clothing, to a person who has brought good news.

Note 62. The term “boy” is not used here to imply that the eunuch was a youth; but in the sense in which it is often employed by us; as synonymous with “servant.”

Note 63. “Er-Reydáneeyeh” is the name of a tract on the north of Cairo, where travellers arriving from Syria generally halted. In the original, by errors in the diacritical points, this name is converted into “Ez-Zebedáneeyeh.”

Note 64. The word which I translate “a cross,” literally signifies “an effigy;” but I suppose this term to be employed merely because a cross bears a rude resemblance to a man with extended arms.

Note 65. “The name of Allah encompass thee!” (or, literally, “—be around thee!”) is an ejaculation often used, especially by women, agreeing exactly with the expression in the first verse of the twentieth Psalm,—”The name of the God of Jacob defend thee!”—the “name” of God here signifying his power. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” (Proverbs xviii. 10.)

Note 66. Here, for a reason given above, I have substituted “twelve” for “ten.”

Note 67. In the original, the last of these verses is here omitted, but my sheykh has supplied it in the margin of my copy, and it occurs afterwards, in the 75th night, in which the preceding verses, with some slight variations, are repeated.

Note 68.—On the Expiation of Oaths. The law clearly allows expiation for an inconsiderate oath, and, according to vulgar opinion, for the violation of a deliberate oath.322 The expiation consists in once feeding or clothing ten poor men, liberating a Muslim slave or captive, or fasting three days. An unintentional oath requires no expiation; but the swearing to a falsehood can only be expiated by deep repentance.

Note 69. Hole observes (page 222), that “the discovery of Bedreddin in the Arabian Nights by the tarts he had made, bears internal evidence of having been copied from Nella Raja’s detection by the same means:” and he refers to Kindersley’s “Specimens of Indian Literature.”

Tail-piece to Notes to Chapter IV.
276Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 289.

277Sale’s Preliminary Discourse, sect. iv.

278The call to prayer, which is chanted from the mád’nehs (or menarets) of the mosques. It is as follows:—”God is most great!” (four times). “I testify that there is no deity but God!” (twice). “I testify that Moḥammad is God’s Apostle!” (twice). “Come to prayer!” (twice). “Come to security!” (twice). “God is most great!” (twice). “There is no deity but God!”

279Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaähhil, sect. 9.

280Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil wa-Murshid el-Mutaäh-hil, sect. 9.

281Compare Exodus xiii. 13; and xii. 46.

282Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 9; and Mishkát el-Masábeeḥ, vol. ii. pp. 315, 316.

283Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., loco laudato.

284Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 9.


286Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 2.

287Idem, sect. 7.

288Ḳur-án, ch. xxiii. v. 117.

289″God! there is no deity but He,” &c., to the words, “He is the High, the Great.”—Idem, ch. ii. v. 256.

290Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 9.

291Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 9.

292A similar custom is mentioned in a note appended to the account of circumcision in vol. i. ch. ii. of my work on the Modern Egyptians.

293Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year 302.

294Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 9; and Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 86.

295Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, ibid.

296Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 6.

297See my work on the Modern Egyptians, vol. ii. ch. v.

298Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 79.

299Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 1.


301Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 1.

302Mir-át ez-Zemán, events of the year above mentioned.

303Idem, Proverbs of the Arabs: and Ḳámoos, voce “kharaja.”

304Ch. iv. vv. 26, 27.

305Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 4.

306Idem, sect. 6.

307Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. i. p. 229.

308Idem, vol. i. p. 223.

309Idem, vol. ii. p. 78.

310Idem, vol. ii. p. 79.

311Nuzhet El-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 4.

312Idem, sect. 8.

313Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 8.

314Ibid.; and Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 105.

315Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ vol. ii. p. 104.

316Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., loco laudato; and Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 89.

317Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., loco laudato.

318Account of the Emeer Moḥammad Ágha El-Bároodee, obituary, year 1205.

319Nuzhet el-Mutaämmil, &c., sect. 8.

320Mishkát el-Maṣábeeḥ, vol. ii. p. 377.


322Ḳur-án, ch. v. v. 9.


Head-piece to Chapter V.–The Humpback, &c.
There was, in ancient times, in the city of El-Baṣrah,1 a tailor who enjoyed an ample income, and was fond of sport and merriment. He was in the habit of going out occasionally with his wife, that they might amuse themselves with strange and diverting scenes; and one day they went forth in the afternoon,2 and, returning home in the evening, met a humpbacked man, whose aspect was such as to excite laughter in the angry, and to dispel anxiety and grief: so they approached him to enjoy the pleasure of gazing at him, and invited him to return with them to their house, and to join with them in a carousal that night.

He assented to their proposal; and after he had gone with them292 to the house, the tailor went out to the market; night having then approached. He bought some dried fish, and bread and limes and sweetmeat, and, returning with them, placed the fish before the humpback and they sat down to eat; and the tailor’s wife took a large piece of fish, and crammed the humpback with it, and, closing his mouth with her hand, said, By Allah, thou shalt not swallow it but by gulping it at once, and I will not give thee time to chew it. He therefore swallowed it; but it contained a large and sharp bone, which stuck across in his throat, his destiny having so determined, and he expired. The tailor exclaimed, There is no strength nor power but in God the High, the Great! Alas, that this poor creature should not have died but in this manner by our hands!—Wherefore this idling? exclaimed the woman.—And what can I do? asked her husband.—Arise she answered, and take him in thy bosom, and cover him with a silk napkin: I will go out first and do thou follow me, this very night and say, This is my son, and this is his mother; and we are going to convey him to the physician, that he may give him some medicine.

No sooner had the tailor heard these words than he arose, and took the humpback in his bosom. His wife, accompanying him, exclaimed, O my child! may Allah preserve thee! Where is the part in which thou feelest pain; and where hath this small-pox attacked thee?—So every one who saw them said, They are conveying a child smitten with the small-pox. Thus they proceeded, inquiring as they went, for the abode of the physician; and the people directed them to the house of a physician who was a Jew; and they knocked at the door, and there came down to them a black slave-girl, who opened the door, and beheld a man carrying (as she imagined) a child, and attended by its mother; and she said, What is your business?—We have a child here answered the tailor’s wife, and we want the physician to see him: take, then, this quarter of a piece of gold, and give it to thy master, and let him come down and see my son; for he is ill. The girl, therefore, went up, and the tailor’s wife, entering the vestibule, said to her husband, Leave the humpback here, and let us take ourselves away. And the tailor, accordingly, set him up against the wall, and went out with his wife.

The slave-girl, meanwhile, went in to the Jew, and said to him, Below, in the house, is a sick person, with a woman and a man: and they have given me a quarter of a piece of gold for thee, that thou mayest prescribe for them what may suit his case. And when the293 Jew saw the quarter of a piece of gold, he rejoiced, and, rising in haste, went down in the dark; and in doing so, his foot struck against the lifeless humpback. O Ezra! he exclaimed—O Heavens and the Ten Commandments! O Aaron, and Joshua son of Nun! It seemeth that I have stumbled against this sick person, and he hath fallen down the stairs and died! And how shall I go forth with one killed from my house? O Ezra’s ass!3—He then raised him, and took him up from the court of the house to his wife, and acquainted her with the accident.—And why sittest thou here idle? said she; for if thou remain thus until daybreak our lives will be lost: let me and thee, then, take him up to the terrace, and throw him into the house of our neighbour the Muslim; for he is the steward of the Sulṭán’s kitchen, and often do the cats come to his house, and eat of the food which they find there;4 as do the mice too: and if he remain there for a night, the dogs will come down to him from the terraces and eat him up entirely.5 So the Jew and his wife went up, carrying the humpback, and let him down by his hands and feet to the pavement; placing him against the wall; which having done, they descended.

Not long had the humpback been thus deposited when the steward returned to his house, and opened the door, and, going up with a lighted candle in his hand, found a son of Adam standing in the corner next the kitchen; upon which he exclaimed, What is this? By Allah, the thief that hath stolen our goods is none other than a son of Adam, who taketh what he findeth of flesh or grease, even though I keep it concealed from the cats and the dogs; and if I killed all the cats and dogs of the quarter it would be of no use; for he cometh down from the terraces!—And so saying, he took up a great mallet, and struck him with it, and then, drawing close to him, gave him a second blow with it upon the chest, when the humpback fell down, and he found that he was dead; whereupon he grieved, and said, There is no strength nor power but in God! And he feared for himself, and exclaimed, Curse upon the grease and the flesh, and upon this night, in which the destiny of this man hath been accomplished by my hand! Then, looking upon him, and perceiving that he was a humpback, he said, Is it not enough that thou art humpbacked, but must thou also be a robber, and steal the flesh and the grease? O Protector, cover me with thy gracious shelter!—And he lifted him upon his shoulders, and descended, and went forth from his house, towards the close of the night, and stopped not until he had conveyed him to the commencement of the market-street, where he placed him294 upon his feet by the side of a shop at the entrance of a lane, and there left him and retired.

Soon after, there came a Christian, the Sulṭán’s broker, who, in a state of intoxication, had come forth to visit the bath; and he advanced, staggering, until he drew near to the humpback, when he turned his eyes, and beheld one standing by him. Now some persons had snatched off his turban early in the night,6 and when he saw the humpback standing there, he concluded that he intended to do the same; so he clenched his fist, and struck him on the neck. Down fell the humpback upon the ground, and the Christian called out to the watchman of the market,7 while, still in the excess of his intoxication, he continued beating the humpback, and attempting to throttle him. As he was thus employed, the watchman came, and, finding the Christian kneeling upon the Muslim8 and beating him, said, Arise, and quit him! He arose, therefore, and the watchman, approaching the humpback, saw that he was dead, and exclaimed, How is it that the Christian dareth to kill the Muslim? Then seizing the Christian, he bound his hands behind him, and took him to the house of the Wálee;9 the Christian saying within himself, O Heavens! O Virgin! how have I killed this man? and how quickly did he die from a blow of the hand!—Intoxication had departed, and reflection had come.

The humpback and the Christian passed the remainder of the night in the house of the Wálee, and the Wálee ordered the executioner to proclaim the Christian’s crime, and he set up a gallows, and stationed him beneath it. The executioner then came, and threw the rope round his neck, and was about to hang him, when the Sulṭán’s steward pushed through the crowd, seeing the Christian standing beneath the gallows, and the people made way for him, and he said to the executioner, Do it not; for it was I who killed him.—Wherefore didst thou kill him? said the Wálee. He answered, I went into my house last night, and saw that he had descended from the terrace and stolen my goods; so I struck him with a mallet upon his chest, and he died, and I carried him out, and conveyed him to the market-street, where I set him up in such a place, at the entrance of such a lane. Is it not enough for me to have killed a Muslim, that a Christian should be killed on my account? Hang, then, none but me.—The Wálee, therefore, when he heard these words, liberated the Christian broker, and said to the executioner, Hang this man, on the ground of his confession. And he took off the rope from the neck of the Christian, and295 put it round the neck of the steward, and, having stationed him beneath the gallows, was about to hang him, when the Jewish physician pushed through the crowd, and called out to the executioner, saying to him, Do it not; for none killed him but I; and the case was this: he came to my house to be cured of a disease, and as I descended to him I struck against him with my foot, and he died: kill not the steward, therefore; but kill me. So the Wálee gave orders to hang the Jewish physician; and the executioner took off the rope from the steward’s neck, and put it round the neck of the Jew. But, lo, the tailor came, and, forcing his way among the people, said to the executioner, Do it not; for none killed him but I; and it happened thus: I was out amusing myself during the day, and as I was returning at the commencement of the night, I met this humpback in a state of intoxication, with a tambourine, and singing merrily; and I stopped to divert myself by looking at him, and took him to my house. I then bought some fish, and we sat down to eat, and my wife took a piece of fish and a morsel of bread, and crammed them into his mouth, and he was choked, and instantly died. Then I and my wife took him to the house of the Jew, and the girl came down and opened the door, and while she went up to her master, I set up the humpback by the stairs, and went away with my wife: so, when the Jew came down and stumbled against him, he thought that he had killed him.—And he said to the Jew, Is this true? He answered, Yes. The tailor, then, looking towards the Wálee, said to him, Liberate the Jew, and hang me. And when the Wálee heard this he was astonished at the case of the humpback, and said, Verily this is an event that should be recorded in books! And he said to the executioner, Liberate the Jew, and hang the tailor on account of his own confession. So the executioner led him forward, saying, Dost thou put forward this and take back that; and shall we not hang one? And he put the rope round the neck of the tailor.

Now the humpback was the Sulṭán’s buffoon, and the Sulṭán could not bear him to be out of his sight; and when the humpback had got drunk, and been absent that night and the next day until noon, the King inquired respecting him of some of his attendants, and they answered him, O our lord, the Wálee hath taken him forth dead, and gave orders to hang the person who killed him, and there came a second and a third person, each saying, None killed him but I:—and describing to the Wálee the cause of his killing him. When the King, therefore, heard this, he called out to the Chamberlain, and said to him,296 Go down to the Wálee, and bring them all hither before me. So the Chamberlain went down, and found that the executioner had almost put to death the tailor, and he called out to him, saying, Do it not:—and informed the Wálee that the case had been reported to the King. And he took him, and the humpback borne with him, and the tailor and the Jew and the Christian and the steward, and went up with them all to the King; and when the Wálee came into the presence of the King, he kissed the ground, and related to him all that had happened. And the King was astonished, and was moved with merriment, at hearing this tale; and he commanded that it should be written in letters of gold. He then said to those who were present, Have ye ever heard anything like the story of this humpback? And upon this the Christian advanced, and said, O King of the age, if thou permit me I will relate to thee an event that hath occurred to me more wonderful and strange and exciting than the story of the humpback.—Tell us then thy story, said the King. And the Christian related as follows:—

The Humpback Dead

Báb en-Nasr (from a Sketch by Mr. E.W. Lane), &c.
Know, O King of the age, that I came to this country with merchandise, and destiny stayed me among your people. I was born in Cairo, and am one of its Copts, and there I was brought up. My father was a broker; and when I had attained to manhood, he died, and I succeeded to his business; and as I was sitting one day, lo, a young man of most handsome aspect, and clad in a dress of the richest description, came to me, riding upon an ass, and, when he saw me, saluted me; whereupon I rose to him, to pay him honour, and he produced a handkerchief containing some sesame, and said, What is the value of an ardebb10 of this? I answered him, A hundred pieces of silver. And he said to me, Take the carriers and the measurers, and repair to the Khán of El-Jáwalee11 in the district of Báb en-Naṣr:12 there wilt thou find me. And he left me and went his way, after having given me the handkerchief with the sample of the sesame. So I went about to the purchasers; and the price of each ardebb amounted to a hundred and twenty pieces of silver; and I took with me four carriers, and went to him. I found him waiting my arrival; and when he saw me he rose and opened a magazine, and we measured its contents, and the whole amounted to fifty ardebbs. The young man then said, Thou shalt have, for every ardebb, ten pieces of silver as brokerage; and do thou receive the price and keep it in thy care: the whole sum will be five thousand; and thy share of it, five hundred: so there will remain for me four thousand and five hundred; and when I shall have finished the sale of the goods contained in my store-rooms, I will298 come to thee and receive it. I replied, It shall be as thou desirest. And I kissed his hand, and left him. Thus there accrued to me, on that day, a thousand pieces of silver, besides my brokerage.13

He was absent from me a month, at the expiration of which he came and said to me, Where is the money? I answered, Here it is, ready. And he said, Keep it until I come to thee to receive it. And I remained expecting him; but he was absent from me another month; after which he came again, and said, Where is the money? Whereupon I arose and saluted him, and said to him, Wilt thou eat something with us? He, however, declined, and said, Keep the money until I shall have gone and returned to receive it from thee. He then departed; and I arose, and prepared for him the money, and sat expecting him; but again he absented himself from me for a month, and then came and said, After this day I will receive it from thee. And he departed, and I made ready the money for him as before, and sat waiting his return. Again, however, he remained a month absent from me, and I said within myself, Verily this young man is endowed with consummate liberality! After the month he came, attired in rich clothing, and resembling the full moon, appearing as if he had just come out of the bath, with red cheek and fair forehead, and a mole like a globule of ambergris. When I beheld him I kissed his hand, and invoked a blessing upon him, and said to him, O my master, wilt thou not take thy money?—Have patience with me, he answered, until I shall have transacted all my affairs, after which I will receive it from thee. And so saying, he departed; and I said within myself, By Allah, when he cometh I will entertain him as a guest, on account of the profit which I have derived from his money; for great wealth hath accrued to me from it.

At the close of the year he returned, clad in a dress richer than the former; and I swore to him that he should alight to be my guest.—On the condition, he replied, that thou expend nothing of my money that is in thy possession. I said, Well:—and, having seated him, prepared what was requisite of meats and drinks and other provisions, and placed them before him, saying, In the name of Allah! And he drew near to the table, and put forth his left hand, and thus ate with me: so I was surprised at him;14 and when we had finished he washed his hand, and I gave him a napkin with which to wipe it. We then sat down to converse, and I said, O my master dispel a trouble from my mind. Wherefore didst thou eat with thy left hand? Probably something paineth thee in thy right hand?—On hearing299 these words, he stretched forth his arm from his sleeve,15 and behold, it was maimed—an arm without a hand! And I wondered at this; but he said to me, Wonder not; nor say in thy heart that I ate with thee with my left hand from a motive of self-conceit; for rather to be wondered at is the cause of the cutting off of my right hand. And what, said I, was the cause of it? He answered, thus:—

Know that I am from Baghdád: my father was one of the chief people of that city; and when I had attained the age of manhood, I heard the wanderers and travellers and merchants conversing respecting the land of Egypt, and their words remained in my heart until my father died, when I took large sums of money, and prepared merchandise consisting of the stuffs of Baghdád and of El-Móṣil, and similar precious goods, and, having packed them up, journeyed from Baghdád; and God decreed me safety until I entered this your city. And so saying, he wept, and repeated these verses:—

The blear-eyed escapeth a pit into which the clear-sighted falleth;
And the ignorant, an expression by which the shrewd sage is ruined.
The believer can scarce earn his food, while the impious infidel is favoured.
What art or act can a man devise? It is what the Almighty appointeth!
I entered Cairo, continued the young man, and deposited the stuffs in the Khán of Mesroor,16 and, having unbound my packages and put them in the magazines, gave to the servant some money to buy for us something to eat, after which I slept a little; and when I arose, I went to Beyn el-Ḳaṣreyn.17 I then returned, and passed the night; and in the morning following, I opened a bale of stuff, and said within myself, I will arise and go through some of the market-streets, and see the state of the mart. So I took some stuff, and made some of my servants carry it, and proceeded until I arrived at the Ḳeysáreeyeh of Jahárkas,18 where the brokers came to me, having heard of my arrival, and took from me the stuff, and cried it about for sale; but the price bidden amounted not to the prime cost. And upon this the Sheykh of the brokers said to me, O my master, I know a plan by which thou mayest profit; and it is this: that thou do as other merchants, and sell thy merchandise upon credit for a certain period, employing a scrivener and a witness and a money-changer, and receive a portion of the profits every Thursday and Monday; so shalt thou make of every piece of silver two; and besides that, thou wilt be able to enjoy the amusements afforded by Egypt and its Nile.—The advice is judicious, I replied: and accordingly I took the brokers with me to the Khán, and they conveyed the stuffs to the Ḳeysáreeyeh, where I sold it to the merchants, writing a bond in their names, which I committed to300 the money-changer, and taking from him a corresponding bond. I then returned to the Khán, and remained there some days; and every day I took for my breakfast a cup of wine, and had mutton and sweetmeats prepared for me, until the month in which I became entitled to the receipt of the profits, when I seated myself every Thursday and Monday at the shops of the merchants, and the money-changer went with the scrivener and brought me the money.

Money-Changer and Scrivener, &c.
Thus did I until one day I went to the bath and returned to the Khán, and, entering my lodging, took for my breakfast a cup of wine, and then slept; and when I awoke I ate a fowl,19 and perfumed myself with essence, and repaired to the shop of a merchant named Bedr-ed-Deen the Gardener,20 who, when he saw me, welcomed me, and conversed with me a while in his shop; and as we were thus engaged, lo, a female came and seated herself by my side. She wore a headkerchief inclined on one side, and the odours of sweet perfumes were diffused from her, and she captivated my reason by her beauty and loveliness as she raised her izár and I beheld her black eyes. She saluted Bedr-ed-Deen, and he returned her salutation, and stood conversing with her; and when I heard her speech, love for her took entire possession of my heart. She then said to Bedr-ed-Deen, Hast thou a piece of stuff woven with pure gold thread? And he produced to her a piece; and she said, May I take it and go, and then send thee the price? But he answered, It is impossible, O my mistress; for this is the owner of the stuff, and I owe him a portion of the profit.—Wo to thee! said she: it is my custom to take of thee each piece of stuff for a considerable sum of money, giving thee a gain beyond thy wish, and then to send thee the price.—Yes, he rejoined; but I am in absolute301 want of the price this day. And upon this she took the piece and threw it back to him upon his breast, saying, Verily your class knows not how to respect any person’s rank! And she arose, and turned away. I felt then as if my soul went with her, and, rising upon my feet, I said to her, O my mistress, kindly bestow a look upon me, and retrace thine honoured steps. And she returned, and smiled and said, For thy sake I return. And she sat opposite me upon the seat of the shop; and I said to Bedr-ed-Deen, What is the price that thou hast agreed to give for this piece. He answered, Eleven hundred pieces of silver. And I said to him, Thy profit shall be a hundred pieces of silver: give me then a paper, and I will write for thee the price upon it. I then took the piece of stuff from him, and wrote him the paper with my own hand, and gave the piece of stuff to the lady, saying to her, Take it and go; and if thou wilt, bring the price to me in the market; or, if thou wilt, it shall be my present to thee. She replied, God recompense thee, and bless thee with my property, and make thee my husband; and may God accept this prayer!—O my mistress, said I, let this piece of stuff be thine, and another like it, and permit me to see thy face. And upon this she raised her veil; and when I beheld her face, the sight drew from me a thousand sighs, and my heart was entangled by her love, so that I no longer remained master of my reason. She then lowered the veil again, and took the piece of stuff, saying, O my master, leave me not desolate. So she departed, while I continued sitting in the market-street until past the hour of afternoon-prayer, with wandering mind, overpowered by love. In the excess of my passion, before I rose I asked the merchant respecting her; and he answered me, She is a rich lady, the daughter of a deceased Emeer, who left her great property.

I then took leave of him, and returned to the Khán, and the supper was placed before me; but, reflecting upon her, I could eat nothing. I laid myself down to rest; but sleep came not to me, and I remained awake until the morning, when I arose and put on a suit of clothing different from that which I had worn the day before; and, having drunk a cup of wine, and eaten a few morsels as my breakfast, repaired again to the shop of the merchant, and saluted him, and sat down with him. The lady soon came, wearing a dress more rich than the former, and attended by a slave-girl; and she seated herself, and saluted me instead of Bedr-ed-Deen, and said, with an eloquent tongue which I had never heard surpassed in softness or sweetness, Send with me some one to receive the twelve hundred pieces of silver, the price302 of the piece of stuff.—Wherefore, said I, this haste? She replied, May we never lose thee! And she handed to me the price; and I sat conversing with her, and made a sign to her, which she understood, intimating my wish to visit her: whereupon she rose in haste, expressing displeasure at my hint. My heart clung to her, and I followed in the direction of her steps through the market-street; and lo, a slave-girl came to me, and said, O my master, answer the summons of my mistress. Wondering at this, I said, No one here knoweth me.—How soon, she rejoined, hast thou forgotten her! My mistress is she who was to-day at the shop of the merchant Bedr-ed-Deen.—So I went with her until we arrived at the money-changer’s;21 and when her mistress, who was there, beheld me, she drew me to her side, and said, O my beloved, thou hast wounded my heart, and love of thee hath taken possession of it; and from the time that I first saw thee, neither sleep nor food nor drink hath been pleasant to me. I replied, And more than that do I feel; and the state in which I am needs no complaint to testify it.—Then shall I visit thee, O my beloved, she asked, or wilt thou come to me? For our marriage must be a secret.22—I am a stranger, I answered, and have no place of reception but the Khán; therefore, if thou wilt kindly permit me to go to thine abode the pleasure will be perfect.—Well, she replied; but to-night is the eve of Friday, and let nothing be done till to-morrow, when, after thou hast joined in the prayers, do thou mount thine ass, and inquire for the Ḥabbáneeyeh;23 and when thou hast arrived there, ask for the house called the Ḳá’ah24 of Barakát the Naḳeeb,25 known by the surname of Aboo-Shámeh; for there do I reside; and delay not; for I shall be anxiously expecting thee.

On hearing this I rejoiced exceedingly, and we parted; and I returned to the Khán in which I lodged. I passed the whole night sleepless, and was scarcely sure that the daybreak had appeared when I rose and changed my clothes, and, having perfumed myself with essences and sweet scents, took with me fifty pieces of gold in a handkerchief, and walked from the Khán of Mesroor to Báb Zuweyleh,26 where I mounted an ass, and said to its owner, Go with me to the Ḥabbáneeyeh. And in less than the twinkling of an eye he set off, and soon he stopped at a by-street called Darb El-Munaḳḳiree, when I said to him, Enter the street, and inquire for the Ḳá’ah of the Naḳeeb. He was absent but a little while, and, returning, said, Alight.—Walk on before me, said I, to the Ḳá’ah. And he went on until he had led me to the house; whereupon I said to him, To-morrow303 come to me hither to convey me back.—In the name of Allah, he replied: and I handed to him a quarter of a piece of gold, and he took it and departed. I then knocked at the door, and there came forth to me two young virgins in whom the forms of womanhood had just developed themselves, resembling two moons, and they said, Enter; for our mistress is expecting thee, and she hath not slept last night from her excessive love for thee. I entered an upper saloon with seven doors: around it were latticed windows looking upon a garden in which were fruits of every kind, and running streams and singing birds: it was plastered with imperial gypsum, in which a man might see his face reflected:27 its roof was ornamented with gilding, and surrounded by inscriptions in letters of gold upon a ground of ultramarine: it comprised a variety of beauties, and shone in the eyes of beholders: the pavement was of coloured marbles, having in the midst of it a fountain, with four snakes of red gold casting forth water from their mouths like pearls and jewels at the corners of the pool;28 and it was furnished with carpets of coloured silk, and mattresses.

Having entered, I seated myself; and scarcely had I done so when the lady approached me. She wore a crown set with pearls and jewels;29 her hands and feet were stained with ḥennà; and her bosom was ornamented with gold. As soon as she beheld me she smiled in my face, and embraced me, saying, Is it true that thou hast come to me, or is this a dream?—I am thy slave, I answered; and she said, Thou art welcome. Verily, from the time when I first saw thee, neither sleep hath been sweet to me, nor hath food been pleasant!—In such case have I been, I replied;—and we sat down to converse; but I hung down my head towards the ground, in bashfulness; and304 not long had I thus remained when a repast was placed before me, consisting of the most exquisite dishes, as fricandoes and hashes and stuffed fowls. I ate with her until we were satisfied; when they brought the basin and ewer, and I washed my hands; after which we perfumed ourselves with rose-water infused with musk, and sat down again to converse: expressing to each other our mutual passion; and her love took such possession of me that all the wealth I possessed seemed worthless in comparison. In this manner we continued to enjoy ourselves until, night approaching, the female slaves brought supper and wine, a complete service; and we drank until midnight. Never in my life had I passed such a night. And when morning came, I arose, and, having thrown to her the handkerchief containing the pieces of gold,30 I took leave of her and went out; but as I did so she wept, and said, O my master, when shall I see again this lovely face? I answered her, I will be with thee at the commencement of the night. And when I went forth, I found the owner of the ass, who had brought me the day before, waiting for me at the door; and I mounted, and returned with him to the Khán of Mesroor, where I alighted, and gave to him half a piece of gold, saying to him, Come hither at sunset. He replied, On the head be thy command.

I entered the Khán, and ate my breakfast, and then went forth to collect the price of my stuffs; after which I returned. I had prepared for my wife a roasted lamb, and purchased some sweetmeat and I now called the porter, described to him the house, and gave him his hire. Having done this, I occupied myself again with my business until sunset, when the owner of the ass came, and I took fifty pieces of gold, and put them into a handkerchief. Entering the house, I found that they had wiped the marble and polished the vessels of copper and brass, and filled the lamps and lighted the candles, and dished the supper and strained the wine; and when my wife saw me, she threw her arms around my neck, and said, Thou hast made me desolate by thine absence! The tables were then placed before us, and we ate until we were satisfied, and the slave-girls took away the first table, and placed before us the wine; and we sat drinking, and eating of the dried fruits, and making merry, until midnight. We then slept until morning, when I arose and handed her the fifty pieces of gold as before, and left her.

Thus I continued to do for a long time, until I passed the night and awoke possessing not a piece of silver nor one of gold; and I said within myself, This is the work of the Devil! And I repeated these verses:305—

Poverty causeth the lustre of a man to grow dim, like the yellowness of the setting sun.
When absent, he is not remembered among mankind; and when present, he shareth not their pleasures.
In the market-streets he shunneth notice; and in desert places he poureth forth his tears.
By Allah! a man, among his own relations, when afflicted with poverty, is as a stranger!
Interior of Báb Zuweyleh (from a Sketch by M. Coste)
With these reflections I walked forth into Beyn el-Ḳaṣreyn, and proceeded thence to Báb Zuweyleh, where I found the people crowding together, so that the gate was stopped up by their number; and, as destiny willed, I saw there a trooper, and, unintentionally pressing against him, my hand came in contact with his pocket, and I felt it, and found that it contained a purse; and I caught hold of the purse, and took it from his pocket. But the trooper felt that his pocket was lightened, and, putting his hand into it, found nothing; upon which he looked aside at me, and raised his hand with the mace,31 and struck me upon my head. I fell to the ground, and the people surrounded us, and seized the bridle of the trooper’s horse, saying, On account of the crowd dost thou strike this young man such a blow? But he called out to them and said, This is a robber! On hearing this I feared. The people around me said, This is a comely young man, and hath taken nothing. While some, however, believed this, others disbelieved; and after many words, the people dragged me along, desiring to liberate me: but, as it was predestined, there came at this moment the Wálee and other magistrates entering the gate, and, seeing the people surrounding me and the trooper, the Wálee said, What is the news? The trooper answered, By Allah, O Emeer, this is a robber: I had in my pocket a blue purse containing twenty pieces of gold; and he took it while I was pressed by the crowd.—Was any one with thee? asked the Wálee. The trooper answered, No. And the Wálee called out to the chief of his servants, saying, Seize him and search him. So he seized me; and protection was withdrawn from me; and the Wálee said to him, Strip him of all that is upon him. And when he did so, they found the purse in my clothes: and the Wálee, taking it, counted the money, and found it to be twenty pieces of gold, as the trooper had said; whereupon he was enraged, and called out to his attendants, saying, Bring him forward. They, therefore, brought me before him, and he said to me, O young man, tell the truth. Didst thou steal this purse?—And I hung down my head towards the ground, saying within myself, If I answer that I did not steal it, it will be useless, for he hath produced it from my clothes; and if I say, I stole306 it, I fall into trouble. I then raised my head, and said, Yes, I took it. And when the Wálee heard these words, he wondered, and called witnesses, who presented themselves, and gave their testimony to my confession.—All this took place at Báb Zuweyleh.—The Wálee then ordered the executioner to cut off my hand; and he cut off my right hand;32 but the heart of the trooper was moved with compassion for me, and he interceded for me that I should not be killed:33 so the Wálee left me and departed. The people however continued around me, and gave me to drink a cup of wine; and the trooper gave me the purse, saying, Thou art a comely youth, and it is not fit that thou shouldst be a thief. And I took it from him, and addressed him with these verses:—

By Allah! good sir, I was not a robber; nor was I a thief, O, best of mankind!
But fortune’s vicissitudes overthrew me suddenly, and anxiety and trouble and poverty overpowered me.
I cast it not; but it was the Deity who cast an arrow that threw down the kingly diadem from my head.34
The trooper then left me and departed, after having given me the purse, and I went my way; but first I wrapped my hand in a piece of rag,35 and put it in my bosom. My condition thus altered, and my countenance pallid in consequence of my sufferings, I walked to the Ḳá’ah, and, in a disordered state of mind, threw myself upon the bed. My wife, seeing my complexion thus changed, said to me, What hath pained thee, and wherefore do I see thee thus altered? I answered her, My head acheth, and I am not well. And on hearing this she was vexed, and became ill on my account, and said, Burn not my heart, O my master! Sit up, and raise thy head, and tell me what hath happened to thee this day; for I read a tale in thy face.—Abstain from speaking to me, I replied. And she wept, and said, It seemeth that thou art tired of us; for I see thee to be conducting thyself in a manner contrary to thy usual habit. Then she wept again, and continued addressing me, though I made her no reply, until the approach of night, when she placed some food before me; but I abstained from it, fearing that she should see me eat with my left hand, and said, I have no desire to eat at present. She then said again, Tell me what hath happened to thee this day, and wherefore I see thee anxious and broken-hearted. I answered, I will presently tell thee at my leisure. And she put the wine towards me, saying, Take it; for it will dispel thine anxiety; and thou must drink, and tell me thy story. I replied, therefore, If it must be so, give me to drink with thy hand. And she filled a cup and drank it; and then filled it again and handed it to me, and I took it from her with my left hand, and, while tears ran from my eyes, I repeated these verses:—

When God willeth an event to befall a man who is endowed with reason and hearing and sight,
He deafeneth his ears, and blindeth his heart, and draweth his reason from him as a hair.36
Till, having fulfilled his purpose against him, He restoreth him his reason that he may be admonished.37
Having thus said, I wept again; and when she saw me do so, she uttered a loud cry, and said, What is the reason of thy weeping? Thou hast burned my heart! And wherefore didst thou take the cup with thy left hand?—I answered her, I have a boil upon my right hand.—Then put it forth, said she, that I may open it for thee.—It is not yet, I replied, the proper time for opening it; and continue not to ask me; for I will not put it forth at present. I then drank the contents of the cup, and she continued to hand me the wine until intoxi308cation overcame me, and I fell asleep in the place where I was sitting; upon which she discovered that my right arm was without a hand, and, searching me, saw the purse containing the gold.

Grief, such as none else experienceth, overcame her at the sight; and she suffered incessant torment on my account until the morning, when I awoke, and found that she had prepared for me a dish composed of four boiled fowls, which she placed before me. She then gave me to drink a cup of wine; and I ate and drank, and put down the purse, and was about to depart; but she said, Whither wouldst thou go? I answered, To such a place, to dispel somewhat of the anxiety which oppresseth my heart.—Go not, said she; but rather sit down again. So I sat down, and she said to me, Hath thy love of me become so excessive that thou hast expended all thy wealth upon me, and lost thy hand? I take thee, then, as witness against me, and God also is witness, that I will never desert thee; and thou shalt see the truth of my words.—Immediately, therefore, she sent for witnesses, who came; and she said to them, Write my contract of marriage to this young man, and bear witness that I have received the dowry. And they did as she desired them; after which she said, Bear witness that all my property which is in this chest, and all my memlooks and female slaves, belong to this young man. Accordingly, they declared themselves witnesses of her declaration, and I accepted the property, and they departed after they had received their fees. She then took me by my hand, and, having led me to a closet, opened a large chest, and said to me, See what is contained in this chest. I looked, therefore; and lo, it was full of handkerchiefs; and she said, This is thy property; which I have received from thee: for every time that thou gavest me a handkerchief containing fifty pieces of gold, I wrapped it up, and threw it into this chest: take, then, thy property; for God hath restored it to thee, and thou art now of high estate. Fate hath afflicted thee on my account so that thou hast lost thy right hand, and I am unable to compensate thee: if I should sacrifice my life, it would be but a small thing, and thy generosity would still have surpassed mine.—She then added, Now take possession of thy property. So I received it; and she transferred the contents of her chest to mine, adding her property to mine which I had given her. My heart rejoiced, my anxiety ceased, and I approached and kissed her, and made myself merry by drinking with her; after which she said again, Thou hast sacrificed all thy wealth and thy hand through love of me, and how can I compensate thee? By Allah, if I gave my life for love of thee,309 it were but a small thing, and I should not do justice to thy claims upon me.—She then wrote a deed of gift transferring to me all her apparel, and her ornaments of gold and jewels, and her houses and other possessions; and she passed that night in grief on my account, having heard my relation of the accident that had befallen me.

Thus we remained less than a month, during which time she became more and more infirm and disordered; and she endured no more than fifty days before she was numbered among the people of the other world. So I prepared her funeral, and deposited her body in the earth, and having caused recitations of the Ḳur-án to be performed for her, and given a considerable sum of money in alms for her sake, returned from the tomb. I found that she had possessed abundant wealth, and houses and lands, and among her property were the store-rooms of sesame of which I sold to thee the contents of one; and I was not prevented from settling with thee during this period but by my being busied in selling the remainder, the price of which I have not yet entirely received. Now I desire of thee that thou wilt not oppose me in that which I am about to say to thee; since I have eaten of thy food: I give thee the price of the sesame, which is in thy hands.—This which I have told thee was the cause of my eating with my left hand.

I replied, Thou hast treated me with kindness and generosity:—and he then said, Thou must travel with me to my country; for I have bought merchandise of Cairo and Alexandria. Wilt thou accompany me?—I answered, Yes;—and promised him that I would be ready by the first day of the following month. So I sold all that I possessed, and, having bought merchandise with the produce, travelled with the young man to this thy country, where he sold his merchandise and bought other in its stead, after which he returned to the land of Egypt: but it was my lot to remain here, and to experience that which hath befallen me this night during my absence from my native country.—Now is not this, O King of the age, more wonderful than the story of the humpback?

The King replied, Ye must be hanged, all of you!—And upon this, the Sulṭán’s steward advanced towards the King, and said, If thou permit me, I will relate to thee a story that I happened to hear just before I found this humpback; and if it be more wonderful than the events relating to him, wilt thou grant us our lives?—The King answered, Tell thy story:—and he began thus:310—

Head-piece to the Story told by the Sultán’s Steward
I was last night with a party who celebrated a recitation of the Ḳur-án,38 for which purpose they had assembled the professors of religion and law; and when these reciters had accomplished their task, the servants spread a repast, comprising among other dishes a zirbájeh.39 We approached, therefore, to eat of the zirbájeh; but one of the company drew back, and refused to partake of it: we conjured him; yet he swore that he would not eat of it: and we pressed him again; but he said, Press me not; for I have suffered enough from eating of this dish. And when we had finished, we said to him, By Allah, tell us the reason of thine abstaining from eating of this zirbájeh. He replied, Because I cannot eat of it unless I wash my hands forty times with kali, and forty times with cyperus, and forty times with soap; altogether, a hundred and twenty times. And upon this, the giver of the entertainment ordered his servants, and they brought water and the other things which this man required: so he washed his hands as he had described, and advanced, though with disgust, and, having seated himself, stretched forth his hand as one in fear, and put it into the zirbájeh, and began to eat, while we regarded him with the utmost wonder. His hand trembled, and when he put it forth, we saw that his thumb was cut off, and that he ate with his four fingers: we therefore said to him, We conjure thee, by Allah, to tell us how was thy thumb maimed: was it thus created by God, or hath some accident happened to it?—O my brothers, he answered, not only have I lost this thumb, but also the thumb of the other hand; and each of my311 feet is in like manner deprived of the great toe: but see ye:—and, so saying, he uncovered the stump of the thumb of his other hand, and we found it like the right; and so also his feet, destitute of the great toes. At the sight of this, our wonder increased, and we said to him, We are impatient to hear thy story, and thine account of the cause of the amputation of thy thumbs and great toes, and the reason of thy washing thy hands a hundred and twenty times. So he said,—

Know that my father was a great merchant, the chief of the merchants of the city of Baghdád in the time of the Khaleefeh Hároon Er-Rasheed; but he was ardently addicted to the drinking of wine, and hearing the lute; and when he died, he left nothing. I buried him, and caused recitations of the Ḳur-án to be performed for him, and, after I had mourned for him days and nights, I opened his shop, and found that he had left in it but few goods, and that his debts were many: however, I induced his creditors to wait, and calmed their minds, and betook myself to selling and buying from week to week, and so paying the creditors.40

Thus I continued to do for a considerable period, until I had discharged all the debts and increased my capital; and as I was sitting one day, I beheld a young lady, than whom my eye had never beheld any more beautiful, decked with magnificent ornaments and apparel, riding on a mule, with a slave before her and a slave behind her; and she stopped the mule at the entrance of the market-street, and entered, followed by a eunuch, who said to her, O my mistress, enter, but inform no one who thou art, lest thou open the fire of indignation upon us. The eunuch then further cautioned her; and when she looked at the shops of the merchants, she found none more handsome than mine; so, when she arrived before me, with the eunuch following her, she sat down upon the seat of my shop, and saluted me; and I never heard speech more charming than hers, or words more sweet, She then drew aside the veil from her face, and I directed at her a glance which drew from me a sigh; my heart was captivated by her love, and I continued repeatedly gazing at her face, and recited these two verses:—

Say to the beauty in the dove-coloured veil, Death would indeed be welcome to relieve me from thy torment.
Favour me with a visit, that so I may live. See, I stretch forth my hand to accept thy liberality.
And when she had heard my recitation of them, she answered thus:312—

May I lose my heart if it cease to love you! For verily my heart loveth none but you.
If my eye regard any charms but yours, may the sight of you never rejoice it after absence!
She then said to me, O youth, hast thou any handsome stuffs?—O my mistress, I answered, thy slave is a poor man; but wait until the other merchants open their shops, and then I will bring thee what thou desirest. So I conversed with her, drowned in the sea of her love, and bewildered by my passion for her, until the merchants had opened their shops, when I arose, and procured all that she wanted, and the price of these stuffs was five thousand pieces of silver: and she handed them all to the eunuch, who took them; after which, they both went out from the market-street, and the slaves brought to her the mule, and she mounted, without telling me whence she was, and I was ashamed to mention the subject to her: consequently, I became answerable for the price to the merchants, incurring a debt of five thousand pieces of silver.

I went home, intoxicated with her love, and they placed before me the supper, and I ate a morsel; but reflections upon her beauty and loveliness prevented my eating more. I desired to sleep, but sleep came not to me; and in this condition I remained for a week. The merchants demanded of me their money; but I prevailed upon them to wait another week; and after this week, the lady came again, riding upon a mule, and attended by a eunuch and two other slaves; and, having saluted me, said, O my master, we have been tardy in bringing to thee the price of the stuffs: bring now the money-changer, and receive it.41 So the money-changer came, and the eunuch gave him the money, and I took it, and sat conversing with her until the market was replenished, and the merchants opened their shops, when she said to me, Procure for me such and such things. Accordingly, I procured for her what she desired of the merchants, and she took the goods and departed without saying anything to me respecting the price. When she had gone, therefore, I repented of what I had done; for I had procured for her what she demanded for the price of a thousand pieces of gold; and as soon as she had disappeared from my sight, I said within myself, What kind of love is this? She hath brought me five thousand pieces of silver, and taken goods for a thousand pieces of gold!—I feared that the result would be my bankruptcy, and the loss of the property of others, and said, The merchants know none but me, and this woman is no other than a cheat, who hath imposed upon me313 by her beauty and loveliness: seeing me to be young, she hath laughed at me, and I asked her not where was her residence.

Arrival of the Lady on the Mule
I remained in a state of perplexity, and her absence was prolonged more than a month. Meanwhile the merchants demanded of me their money, and so pressed me that I offered my possessions for sale, and was on the brink of ruin; but as I was sitting absorbed in reflection, suddenly she alighted at the gate of the market-street, and came in to me. As soon as I beheld her, my solicitude ceased, and I forgot the trouble which I had suffered. She approached, and addressed me with her agreeable conversation, and said, Produce the scales, and weigh thy money:—and she gave me the price of the goods which she had taken, with a surplus; after which, she amused herself by talking with me, and I almost died with joy and happiness. She then said to me, Hast thou a wife? I answered, No: for I am not acquainted with any woman:—and wept. So she asked me, What causeth thee to weep? And I answered, A thought that hath come into my mind:—and, taking some pieces of gold, gave them to the eunuch, requesting him to grant me his mediation in the affair; upon which he laughed, and said, She is in love with thee more than thou art with her, and hath no want of the stuffs, but hath done this only from her love of thee: propose to her, therefore, what thou wilt; for she will314 not oppose thee in that which thou wilt say. Now she observed me giving the pieces of gold to the eunuch, and returned, and resumed her seat; and I said to her, Shew favour to thy slave, and pardon me for that which I am about to say. I then acquainted her with the feelings of my heart, and my declaration pleased her, and she consented to my proposal, saying, This eunuch will come with my letter; and do thou what he shall tell thee;—and she arose, and departed.

I went to the merchants, and delivered to them their money, and all profited except myself; for when she left me I mourned for the interruption of our intercourse, and I slept not during the whole of the next night: but a few days after, her eunuch came to me, and I received him with honour, and asked him respecting his mistress. He answered, She is sick:—and I said to him, Disclose to me her history. He replied, The lady Zubeydeh, the wife of Hároon Er-Rasheed, brought up this damsel, and she is one of her slaves: she had desired of her mistress to be allowed the liberty of going out and returning at pleasure, and the latter gave her permission: she continued, therefore, to do so until she became a chief confident; after which, she spoke of thee to her mistress, and begged that she would marry her to thee: but her mistress said, I will not do it until I see this young man, and if he have a desire for thee, I will marry thee to him. We therefore wish to introduce thee immediately into the palace; and if thou enter without any one’s having knowledge of thy presence, thou wilt succeed in accomplishing thy marriage with her; but if thy plot be discovered, thy head will be struck off. What, then, sayest thou?—I answered, Good: I will go with thee, and await the event that shall befall me there.—As soon, then, as this next night shall have closed in, said the eunuch, repair to the mosque which the lady Zubeydeh hath built on the bank of the Tigris, and there say thy prayers, and pass the night.42—Most willingly, I replied.

Accordingly, when the time of nightfall arrived, I went to the mosque, and said my prayers there, and passed the night; and as soon as the morning began to dawn, I saw two eunuchs approaching in a small boat, conveying some empty chests, which they brought into the mosque. One of them then departed, and the other remained; and I looked attentively at him, and lo, it was he who had been our intermediary: and soon after, the damsel, my companion, came up to us. I rose to her when she approached, and embraced her; and she kissed me, and wept: and after we had conversed together for a little while, she took me and placed me in a chest, and locked it upon me.43 The slaves then brought a quantity of stuffs, and filled with them the other315 chests, which they locked, and conveyed, together with the chest in which I was enclosed, to the boat, accompanied by the damsel; and having embarked them, they plied the oars, and proceeded to the palace of the honoured lady Zubeydeh. The intoxication of love now ceased in me, and reflection came in its place: I repented of what I had done, and prayed God to deliver me from my dangerous predicament.

Mosque on the Bank of the Tigris
Meanwhile, they arrived at the gate of the Khaleefeh, where they landed, and took out all the chests, and conveyed them into the palace: but the chief of the door-keepers, who had been asleep when they arrived, was awoke by the sounds of their voices, and cried out to the damsel, saying, The chests must be opened, that I may see what is in them:—and he arose, and placed his hand upon the chest in which I was hidden. My reason abandoned me, my heart almost burst from my body, and my limbs trembled; but the damsel said, These are the chests of the lady Zubeydeh, and if thou open them and turn them over, she will be incensed against thee, and we shall all perish. They contain nothing but clothes dyed of various colours, except this chest upon which thou hast put thy hand, in which there are also some bottles filled with the water of Zemzem,44 and if any of the water run out upon the clothes it will spoil their colours. Now I have advised thee, and it is for thee to decide: so do what thou wilt.—When he heard, therefore, these words, he said to her, Take the chests, and pass on:—and the eunuchs immediately took them up, and, with the damsel, conveyed them into the palace: but in an instant, I heard a person crying out, and saying, The Khaleefeh! The Khaleefeh!

I was bereft of my reason, and seized with a colick from excessive fear; I almost died, and my limbs were affected with a violent shaking. The Khaleefeh cried out to the damsel, saying to her, What are these chests? She answered, O my lord (may God exalt thy dominion!), these chests contain clothes of my mistress Zubeydeh.—Open them,316 said the Khaleefeh, that I may see the clothes.—When I heard this, I felt sure of my destruction. The damsel could not disobey his command; but she replied, O Prince of the Faithful, there is nothing in these chests but clothes of the lady Zubeydeh, and she hath commanded me not to open them to any one. The Khaleefeh, however, said, The chests must be opened, all of them, that I may see their contents:—and immediately he called out to the eunuchs to bring them before him. I therefore felt certain that I was on the point of destruction. They then brought before him chest after chest, and opened each to him, and he examined the contents; and when they brought forward the chest in which I was enclosed, I bade adieu to life, and prepared myself for death; but as the eunuchs were about to open it, the damsel said, O Prince of the Faithful, verily this chest containeth things especially appertaining to women; and it is proper, therefore, that it should be opened before the lady Zubeydeh:—and when the Khaleefeh heard her words, he ordered the eunuchs to convey all the chests into the interior of the palace. The damsel then hastened, and ordered two eunuchs to carry away the chest in which I was hidden, and they took it to an inner chamber, and went their way: whereupon she quickly opened it, and made a sign to me to come out: so I did as she desired, and entered a closet that was before me, and she locked the door upon me, and closed the chest: and when the eunuchs had brought in all the chests, and had gone back, she opened the door of the closet, and said, Thou hast nothing to fear! May God refresh thine eye! Come forth now, and go up with me, that thou mayest have the happiness of kissing the ground before the lady Zubeydeh.

I therefore went with her, and beheld twenty other female slaves, high-bosomed virgins, and among them was the lady Zubeydeh, who was scarcely able to walk from the weight of the robes and ornaments with which she was decked. As she approached, the female slaves dispersed from around her, and I advanced to her, and kissed the ground before her. She made a sign to me to sit down: so I seated myself before her; and she began to ask me questions respecting my condition and lineage; to all of which I gave such answers that she was pleased, and said, By Allah, the care which we have bestowed on the education of this damsel hath not been in vain. She then said to me, Know that this damsel is esteemed by us as though she were really our child, and she is a trust committed to thy care by God. Upon this, therefore, I again kissed the ground before her, well pleased to marry the damsel; after which, she commanded me to remain with them ten days. Accordingly, I continued with them during this317 period; but I knew nothing meanwhile of the damsel; certain of the maids only bringing me my dinner and supper, as my servants. After this, however, the lady Zubeydeh asked permission of her husband, the Prince of the Faithful, to marry her maid, and he granted her request, and ordered that ten thousand pieces of gold should be given to her.

Displaying of the Bride
The lady Zubeydeh, therefore, sent for the Ḳáḑee and witnesses, and they wrote my contract of marriage to the damsel; and the maids then prepared sweetmeats and exquisite dishes, and distributed them in all the apartments. Thus they continued to do for a period of ten more days; and after the twenty days had passed, they conducted the damsel into the bath, preparatively to my being introduced to her as her husband. They then brought to me a repast comprising a basin of zirbájeh sweetened with sugar, perfumed with rose-water infused with musk, and containing different kinds of fricandoed fowls and a variety of other ingredients, such as astonished the mind; and, by Allah, when this repast was brought, I instantly commenced upon the zirbájeh, and ate of it as much as satisfied me, and wiped my hand, but forgot to wash it. I remained sitting until it became dark; when the maids lighted the candles, and the singing-girls approached with the tambourines, and they continued to display the bride, and to give presents of gold, until she had perambulated the whole of the palace; after which, they brought her to me, and disrobed her; and as soon as I was left alone with her, I threw my arms around her neck,318 scarcely believing in our union: but as I did so, she perceived the smell of the zirbájeh from my hand, and immediately uttered a loud cry: whereupon the female slaves ran in to her from every quarter.

I was violently agitated, not knowing what was the matter; and the slaves who had come in said to her, What hath happened to thee, O our sister?—Take away from me, she exclaimed to them, this madman, whom I imagined to be a man of sense!—What indication of my insanity hath appeared to thee? I asked. Thou madman, said she, wherefore hast thou eaten of the zirbájeh, and not washed thy hand? By Allah, I will not accept thee for thy want of sense, and thy disgusting conduct!—And so saying, she took from her side a whip,45 and beat me with it upon my back until I became insensible from the number of the stripes. She then said to the other maids, Take him to the magistrate of the city police, that he may cut off his hand with which he ate the zirbájeh without washing it afterwards. On hearing this, I exclaimed, There is no strength nor power but in God! Wilt thou cut off my hand on account of my eating a zirbájeh and neglecting to wash it?—And the maids who were present entreated her, saying to her, O our sister, be not angry with him for what he hath done this time. But she replied, By Allah, I must cut off something from his extremities! And immediately she departed, and was absent from me ten days: after which, she came again, and said to me, O thou black-faced! Am I not worthy of thee? How didst thou dare to eat the zirbájeh and not wash thy hand?—And she called to the maids, who bound my hands behind me, and she took a sharp razor, and cut off both my thumbs and both my great toes, as ye see, O companions; and I swooned away. She then sprinkled upon my wounds some powder, by means of which the blood was stanched; and I said, I will not eat of a zirbájeh as long as I live unless I wash my hands forty times with kali and forty times with cyperus and forty times with soap:—and she exacted of me an oath that I would not eat of this dish unless I washed my hands as I have described to you. Therefore, when this zirbájeh was brought, my colour changed, and I said within myself, This was the cause of the cutting off of my thumbs and great toes:—so, when ye compelled me, I said, I must fulfil the oath which I have sworn.

I then said to him (continued the Sulṭán’s steward), And what happened to thee after that? He answered, When I had thus sworn to her, she was appeased, and I was admitted into her favour; and we lived happily together for a considerable time: after which she said, The people of the Khaleefeh’s palace know not that thou hast resided319 here with me, and no strange man beside thee hath entered it; nor didst thou enter but through the assistance of the lady Zubeydeh. She then gave me fifty thousand pieces of gold, and said to me, Take these pieces of gold, and go forth and buy for us a spacious house. So I went forth, and purchased a handsome and spacious house, and removed thither all the riches that she possessed, and all that she had treasured up, and her dresses and rarities.—This was the cause of the amputation of my thumbs and great toes.—So we ate (said the Sulṭán’s steward), and departed; and after this, the accident with the humpback happened to me: this is all my story; and peace be on thee.

The King said, This is not more pleasant than the story of the humpback: nay, the story of the humpback is more pleasant than this; and ye must all of you be crucified.—The Jew, however, then came forward, and, having kissed the ground, said, O King of the age, I will relate to thee a story more wonderful than that of the humpback:—and the King said, Relate thy story. So he commenced thus:—


Portrait of the Jew
Head-piece to the Story told by the Jewish Physician
The most wonderful of the events that happened to me in my younger days was this:—I was residing in Damascus, where I learnt and practised my art; and while I was thus occupied, one day there came to me a memlook from the house of the governor of the city: so I went forth with him, and accompanied him to the abode of the governor. I entered, and beheld, at the upper end of a saloon, a couch of alabaster overlaid with plates of gold, upon which was reclining a sick man: he was young; and a person more comely had not been seen in his age. Seating myself at his head, I ejaculated a prayer for his restoration;46 and he made a sign to me with his eye. I then said to him, O my master, stretch forth to me thy hand:—whereupon he put forth to me his left hand; and I was surprised at this, and said within myself, What self-conceit! I felt his pulse, however, and wrote a prescription for him, and continued to visit him for a period of ten days, until he recovered his strength; when he entered the bath, and washed himself, and came forth: and the governor conferred upon me a handsome dress of honour, and appointed me superintendent of the hospital of Damascus.47 But when I went with him into the bath, which they had cleared of all other visitors for us alone, and the servants had brought the clothes, and taken away those which he had pulled off within, I perceived that his right hand had been cruelly amputated; at the sight of which I wondered, and grieved for him; and looking at his skin, I observed321 upon him marks of beating with miḳra’ahs, which caused me to wonder more. The young man then turned towards me, and said, O doctor of the age, wonder not at my case; for I will relate to thee my story when we have gone out from the bath:—and when we had gone forth, and arrived at the house, and had eaten some food, and rested, he said to me, Hast thou a desire to divert thyself in the supper-room? I answered, Yes:—and immediately he ordered the slaves to take up thither the furniture, and to roast a lamb and bring us some fruit. So the slaves did as he commanded them: and when they had brought the fruit, and we had eaten, I said to him, Relate to me thy story:—and he replied, O doctor of the age, listen to the relation of the events which have befallen me.

Know that I am of the children of El-Móṣil. My paternal grandfather died leaving ten male children, one of whom was my father: he was the eldest of them; and they all grew up and married; and my father was blest with me; but none of his nine brothers was blest with children. So I grew up among my uncles, who delighted in me exceedingly; and when I had attained to manhood, I was one day with my father in the chief mosque of El-Móṣil. The day was Friday; and we performed the congregational prayers, and all the people went out, except my father and my uncles, who sat conversing together respecting the wonders of various countries, and the strange sights of different cities, until they mentioned Egypt; when one of my uncles said, The travellers assert, that there is not on the face of the earth a more agreeable country than Egypt with its Nile:48—and my father added, He who hath not seen Cairo hath not seen the world: its soil is gold; its Nile is a wonder; its women are like the black-eyed virgins of Paradise; its houses are palaces; and its air is temperate; its odour surpassing that of aloes-wood, and cheering the heart: and how can Cairo be otherwise when it is the metropolis of the world?49 Did ye see its gardens in the evening (he continued), with the shade obliquely extending over them, ye would behold a wonder, and yield with ecstasy to their attractions.50

When I heard these descriptions of Egypt, my mind became wholly engaged by reflections upon that country; and after they had departed to their homes, I passed the night sleepless from my excessive longing towards it, and neither food nor drink was pleasant to me. A few days after, my uncles prepared to journey thither, and I wept before my father that I might go with them, so that he prepared a stock of merchandise for me, and I departed in their company; but he said to322 them, Suffer him not to enter Egypt, but leave him at Damascus, that he may there sell his merchandise.

I took leave of my father, and we set forth from El-Móṣil, and continued our journey until we arrived at Aleppo, where we remained some days; after which we proceeded thence until we came to Damascus; and we beheld it to be a city with trees and rivers and fruits and birds, as though it were a paradise, containing fruits of every kind. We took lodgings in one of the Kháns, and my uncles remained there until they had sold and bought; and they also sold my merchandise, gaining, for every piece of silver, five, so that I rejoiced at my profit. My uncles then left me, and repaired to Egypt, and I remained, and took up my abode in a handsome Ḳá’ah, such as the tongue cannot describe; the monthly rent of which was two pieces of gold.51

Here I indulged myself with eating and drinking, squandering away the money that was in my possession; and as I was sitting one day at the door of the Ḳá’ah, a damsel approached me, attired in clothing of the richest description, such as I had never seen surpassed in costliness, and I invited her to come in; whereupon, without hesitation, she entered; and I was delighted at her compliance, and closed the door upon us both. She then uncovered her face, and took off her izár, and I found her to be so surprisingly beautiful that love for her took possession of my heart: so I went and brought a repast consisting of the most delicious viands and fruit and everything else that was323 requisite for her entertainment, and we ate and sported together; after which, we drank till we were intoxicated, and fell asleep, and so we remained until the morning, when I handed her ten pieces of gold; but she swore that she would not accept them from me, and said, Expect me again, O my beloved, after three days: at the hour of sunset I will be with thee: and do thou prepare for us, with these pieces of gold, a repast similar to this which we have just enjoyed. She then gave me ten pieces of gold, and took leave of me, and departed, taking my reason with her. And after the three days had expired, she came again, decked with embroidered stuffs and ornaments and other attire more magnificent than those which she wore on the former occasion. I had prepared for her what was required previously to her arrival; so we now ate and drank and fell asleep as before; and in the morning she gave me again ten pieces of gold, promising to return to me after three more days. I therefore made ready what was requisite, and after the three days she came attired in a dress still more magnificent than the first and second, and said to me, O my master, am I beautiful?—Yea, verily, I answered.—Wilt thou give me leave, she rejoined, to bring with me a damsel more beautiful than myself, and younger than I, that she may sport with us, and we may make merry with her? For she hath requested that she may accompany me, and pass the night in frolicking with us.—And so saying, she gave me twenty pieces of gold, desiring me to prepare a more plentiful repast, on account of the lady who was to come with her; after which, she bade me farewell, and departed.

Accordingly, on the fourth day, I procured what was requisite, as usual, and soon after sunset she came, accompanied by a female wrapped in an izár, and they entered, and seated themselves. I was rejoiced, and I lighted the candles, and welcomed them with joy and exultation. They then took off their outer garments, and when the new damsel uncovered her face, I perceived that she was like the full moon: I had never beheld a person more beautiful. I arose immediately, and placed before them the food and drink, and we ate and drank, while I continued caressing the new damsel, and filling the wine-cup for her, and drinking with her: but the first lady was affected with a secret jealousy.—By Allah, she said, verily this girl is beautiful! Is she not more charming than I?—Yea, indeed, I answered.—Soon after this, I fell asleep, and when I awoke in the morning, I found my hand defiled with blood, and, opening my eyes, perceived that the sun had risen; so I attempted to rouse the damsel,324 my new companion, whereupon her head rolled from her body. The other damsel was gone, and I concluded, therefore, that she had done this from her jealousy; and after reflecting a while, I arose, and took off my clothes, and dug a hole in the Ḳá’ah, in which I deposited the murdered damsel, afterwards covering her remains with earth, and replacing the marble pavement as it was before. I then dressed myself again, and, taking the remainder of my money, went forth, and repaired to the owner of the Ḳá’ah, and paid him a year’s rent, saying to him, I am about to journey to my uncles in Egypt.

So I departed to Egypt, where I met with my uncles, and they were rejoiced to see me. I found that they had concluded the sale of their merchandise, and they said to me, What is the cause of thy coming? I answered, I had a longing desire to be with you, and feared that my money would not suffice me.—For a year I remained with them, enjoying the pleasures of Egypt and its Nile; and I dipped my hand into the residue of my money, and expended it prodigally in eating and drinking until near the time of my uncles’ departure, when I fled from them: so they said, Probably, he hath gone before us, and returned to Damascus:—and they departed. I then came forth from my concealment, and remained in Cairo three years, squandering away my money until scarcely any of it remained: but meanwhile I sent every year the rent of the Ḳá’ah at Damascus to its owner: and after the three years my heart became contracted, for nothing remained in my possession but the rent for the year.

I therefore journeyed back to Damascus, and alighted at the Ḳá’ah. The owner was rejoiced to see me, and I entered it, and cleansed it of the blood of the murdered damsel, and, removing a cushion, I found, beneath this, the necklace that she had worn that night. I took it up and examined it, and wept a while. After this I remained in the house two days, and on the third day I entered the bath, and changed my clothes. I now had no money left; and I went one day to the market, where (the Devil suggesting it to me, in order to accomplish the purpose of destiny) I handed the necklace of jewels to a broker; and he rose to me, and seated me by his side: then having waited until the market was replenished, he took it, and announced it for sale secretly, without my knowledge. The price bidden for it amounted to two thousand pieces of gold; but he came to me and said, This necklace is of brass, of the counterfeit manufacture of the Franks, and its price hath amounted to a thousand pieces of silver. I answered him, Yes; we had made it for a woman, merely to laugh at her, and my wife325 has inherited it, and we desire to sell it: go, therefore, and receive the thousand pieces of silver. Now when the broker heard this, he perceived that the affair was suspicious, and went and gave the necklace to the chief of the market, who took it to the Wálee, and said to him, This necklace was stolen from me, and we have found the thief, clad in the dress of the sons of the merchants. And before I knew what had happened, the officers had surrounded me, and they took me to the Wálee, who questioned me respecting the necklace. I told him, therefore, the same story that I had told to the broker; but he laughed, and said, This is not the truth:—and instantly his people stripped me of my outer clothing, and beat me with miḳra’ahs all over my body, until, through the torture that I suffered from the blows, I said, I stole it;—reflecting that it was better I should say I stole it, than confess that its owner was murdered in my abode; for then they would kill me to avenge her: and as soon as I had said so, they cut off my hand, and scalded the stump with boiling oil,52 and I swooned away. They then gave me to drink some wine, by swallowing which I recovered my senses; and I took my amputated hand, and returned to the Ḳá’ah; but its owner said to me, Since this hath happened to thee, leave the Ḳá’ah, and look for another abode; for thou art accused of an unlawful act.—O my master, I replied, give me two or three days’ delay that I may seek for a lodging:—and he assented to this, and departed and left me. So I remained alone, and sat weeping, and saying, How can I return to my family with my hand cut off? He who cut it off knoweth not that I am innocent: perhaps, then, God will bring about some event for my relief.

The Arrest
I sat weeping violently; and when the owner of the Ḳá’ah had326 departed from me, excessive grief overcame me, and I was sick for two days; and on the third day, suddenly the owner of the Ḳá’ah came to me, with some officers of the police, and the chief of the market, and accused me again of stealing the necklace. So I went out to them, and said, What is the news?—whereupon, without granting me a moment’s delay, they bound my arms behind me, and put a chain around my neck, saying to me, The necklace which was in thy possession hath proved to be the property of the governor of Damascus, its Wezeer and its Ruler: it hath been lost from the governor’s house for a period of three years, and with it was his daughter.—When I heard these words from them, my limbs trembled, and I said within myself, They will kill me! My death is inevitable! By Allah, I must relate my story to the governor; and if he please he will kill me, or if he please he will pardon me.—And when we arrived at the governor’s abode, and they had placed me before him, and he beheld me, he said, Is this he who stole the necklace and went out to sell it? Verily ye have cut off his hand wrongfully.—He then ordered that the chief of the market should be imprisoned, and said to him, Give to this person the compensatory fine for his hand,53 or I will hang thee and seize all thy property. And he called out to his attendants, who took him and dragged him away.

I was now left with the governor alone, after they had, by his permission, loosed the chain from my neck, and untied the cords which bound my arms; and the governor, looking towards me, said to me, O my son, tell me thy story, and speak truth. How did this necklace come into thy possession?—So I replied, O my lord, I will tell thee the truth:—and I related to him all that had happened to me with the first damsel, and how she had brought to me the second, and murdered her from jealousy; on hearing which, he shook his head, and covered his face with his handkerchief, and wept. Then looking towards me, he said, Know, O my son, that the elder damsel was my daughter: I kept her closely; and when she had attained a fit age for marriage, I sent her to the son of her uncle in Cairo; but he died, and she returned to me, having learnt habits of profligacy from the inhabitants of that city:54 so she visited thee four times; and on the fourth occasion, she brought to thee her younger sister. They were sisters by the same mother, and much attached to each other; and when the event which thou hast related occurred to the elder, she imparted her secret to her sister, who asked my permission to go out with her; after which the elder returned alone; and when I questioned her re327specting her sister, I found her weeping for her, and she answered, I know no tidings of her:—but she afterwards informed her mother, secretly, of the murder which she had committed; and her mother privately related the affair to me; and she continued to weep for her incessantly, saying, By Allah, I will not cease to weep for her until I die. Thy account, O my son, is true; for I knew the affair before thou toldest it me. See then, O my son, what hath happened: and now I request of thee that thou wilt not oppose me in that which I am about to say; and it is this:—I desire to marry thee to my youngest daughter; for she is not of the same mother as they were:55 she is a virgin, and I will receive from thee no dowry, but will assign to you both an allowance; and thou shalt be to me as an own son.—I replied, Let it be as thou desirest, O my master. How could I expect to attain unto such happiness?—The governor then sent immediately a courier to bring the property which my father had left me (for he had died since my departure from him), and now I am living in the utmost affluence.

I wondered, said the Jew, at his history; and after I had remained with him three days, he gave me a large sum of money; and I left him, to set forth on a journey; and, arriving in this your country, my residence here pleased me, and I experienced this which hath happened to me with the humpback.

The King, when he had heard this story, said, This is not more wonderful than the story of the humpback, and ye must all of you be hanged, and especially the tailor, who is the source of all the mischief. But he afterwards added, O tailor, if thou tell me a story more wonderful than that of the humpback, I will forgive you your offences. So the tailor advanced, and said,—

The Lady confessing her Crime

Head-piece to the Story told by the Tailor
Know, O King of the age, that what hath happened to me is more wonderful than the events which have happened to all the others. Before I met the humpback, I was, early in the morning, at an entertainment given to certain tradesmen of my acquaintance, consisting of tailors and linen-drapers and carpenters and others; and when the sun had risen, the repast was brought for us to eat; and lo, the master of the house came in to us, accompanied by a strange and handsome young man, of the inhabitants of Baghdád. He was attired in clothes of the handsomest description, and was a most comely person, except that he was lame; and as soon as he had entered and saluted us, we rose to him; but when he was about to seat himself, he observed among us a man who was a barber, whereupon he refused to sit down, and desired to depart from us. We and the master of the house, however, prevented him, and urged him to seat himself; and the host conjured him, saying, What is the reason of thy entering, and then immediately departing?—By Allah, O my master, replied he, offer me no opposition; for the cause of my departure is this barber, who is sitting with you. And when the host heard this, he was exceedingly surprised, and said, How is it that the heart of this young man, who is from Baghdád, is troubled by the presence of this barber? We329 then looked towards him, and said, Relate to us the cause of thy displeasure against this barber; and the young man replied, O company, a surprising adventure happened to me with this barber in Baghdád, my city; and he was the cause of my lameness, and of the breaking of my leg; and I have sworn that I will not sit in any place where he is present, nor dwell in any town where he resides: I quitted Baghdád and took up my abode in this city, and I will not pass the next night without departing from it.—Upon this, we said to him, We conjure thee, by Allah, to relate to us thy adventure with him.—And the countenance of the barber turned pale when he heard us make this request. The young man then said,—

Know, O good people, that my father was one of the chief merchants of Baghdád; and God (whose name be exalted!) blessed him with no son but myself; and when I grew up, and had attained to manhood, my father was admitted to the mercy of God, leaving me wealth and servants and other dependants; whereupon I began to attire myself in clothes of the handsomest description, and to feed upon the most delicious meats. Now God (whose perfection be extolled!) made me to be a hater of women; and so I continued, until, one day, I was walking through the streets of Baghdád, when a party of them stopped my way: I therefore fled from them, and, entering a by-street which was not a thoroughfare, I reclined upon a maṣṭabah at its further extremity. Here I had been seated but a short time when, lo, a window opposite the place where I sat was opened, and there looked out from it a damsel like the full moon, such as I had never in my life beheld. She had some flowers, which she was watering, beneath the window; and she looked to the right and left, and then shut the window, and disappeared from before me. Fire had been shot into my heart, and my mind was absorbed by her; my hatred of women was turned into love, and I continued sitting in the same place until sunset, in a state of distraction from the violence of my passion, when, lo, the Ḳáḍee of the city came riding along, with slaves before him and servants behind him, and alighted, and entered the house from which the damsel had looked out: so I knew that he must be her father.

I then returned to my house, sorrowful; and fell upon my bed, full of anxious thoughts; and my female slaves came in to me, and seated themselves around me, not knowing what was the matter with me; and I acquainted them not with my case, nor returned any answers to their questions; and my disorder increased. The neigh330bours, therefore, came to cheer me with their visits; and among those who visited me was an old woman, who, as soon as she saw me, discovered my state; whereupon she seated herself at my head, and, addressing me in a kind manner, said, O my son, tell me what hath happened to thee? So I related to her my story, and she said, O my son, this is the daughter of the Ḳáḍee of Baghdád, and she is kept in close confinement: the place where thou sawest her is her apartment, and her father occupies a large saloon below, leaving her alone; and often do I visit her: thou canst obtain an interview with her only through me: so brace up thy nerves. When I heard, therefore, what she said, I took courage, and fortified my heart; and my family rejoiced that day. I rose up firm in limb, and hoping for complete restoration; and the old woman departed; but she returned with her countenance changed, and said, O my son, ask not what she did when I told her of thy case; for she said, If thou abstain not, O ill-omened old woman, from this discourse, I will treat thee as thou deservest:—but I must go to her a second time.

Young Man sitting on a Mastabah
On hearing this, my disorder increased: after some days, however, the old woman came again, and said, O my son, I desire of thee a reward for good tidings. My soul returned to my body at these words, and I replied, Thou shalt receive from me everything that thou canst wish. She then said, I went yesterday to the damsel, and when she beheld me with broken heart and weeping eye, she said to me, O my aunt, wherefore do I see thee with contracted heart?—and when331 she had thus said, I wept, and answered, O my daughter and mistress, I came to thee yesterday from visiting a youth who loveth thee, and he is at the point of death on thy account:—and, her heart being moved with compassion, she asked, Who is this youth of whom thou speakest? I answered, He is my son, and the child that is dear to my soul: he saw thee at the window some days ago, while thou wast watering thy flowers; and when he beheld thy face, he became distracted with love for thee: I informed him of the conversation that I had with thee the first time; upon which his disorder increased, and he took to his pillow: he is now dying, and there is no doubt of his fate.—And upon this, her countenance became pale, and she said, Is this all on my account?—Yea, by Allah, I answered; and what dost thou order me to do?—Go to him, said she; convey to him my salutation, and tell him that my love is greater than his; and on Friday next, before the congregational prayers, let him come hither: I will give orders to open the door to him, and to bring him up to me, and I will have a short interview with him, and he shall return before my father comes back from the prayers.

When I heard these words of the old woman, the anguish which I had suffered ceased; my heart was set at rest, and I gave her the suit of clothes which I was then wearing, and she departed, saying to me, Cheer up thy heart. I replied, I have no longer any pain. The people of my house, and my friends, communicated, one to another, the good news of my restoration to health, and I remained thus until the Friday, when the old woman came in to me, and asked me respecting my state: so I informed her that I was happy and well. I then dressed and perfumed myself, and sat waiting for the people to go to prayers, that I might repair to the damsel; but the old woman said to me, Thou hast yet more than ample time, and if thou go to the bath and shave, especially for the sake of obliterating the traces of thy disorder, it will be more becoming.—It is a judicious piece of advice, replied I; but I will shave my head first, and then go into the bath.

The Barber and the Young Man
So I sent for a barber to shave my head, saying to the boy, Go to the market, and bring me a barber, one who is a man of sense, little inclined to impertinence, that he may not make my head ache by his chattering. And the boy went, and brought this sheykh, who, on entering, saluted me; and when I had returned his salutation, he said to me, May God dispel thy grief and thine anxiety, and misfortunes and sorrows! I responded, May God accept thy prayer! He then said, Be cheerful, O my master, for health hath returned to thee.332 Dost thou desire to be shaved or to be bled?—for it hath been handed down, on the authority of Ibn-‘Abbás,56 that the Prophet said, Whoso shorteneth his hair on Friday, God will avert from him seventy diseases;—and it hath been handed down also, on the same authority, that the Prophet said, Whoso is cupped on Friday will not be secure from the loss of sight and from frequent disease.—Abstain, said I, from this useless discourse, and come immediately, shave my head, for I am weak. And he arose, and, stretching forth his hand, took out a handkerchief, and opened it; and lo, there was in it an astrolabe, consisting of seven plates;57 and he took it, and went into the middle of the court, where he raised his head towards the sun, and looked for a considerable time; after which he said to me, Know that there have passed, of this our day, which is Friday, and which is the tenth of Ṣafar,58 of the year 26359 of the Flight of the Prophet,—upon whom be the most excellent of blessings and peace!—and the ascendant star of which, according to the required rules of the science of computation, is the planet Mars,—seven degrees60 and six minutes; and it happeneth that Mercury hath come in conjunction with that planet; and this indicateth that the shaving of hair is now a most excellent operation: and it hath indicated to me, also, that thou desirest to confer a benefit upon a person: and fortunate is he!—but after that, there is an an333nouncement that presenteth itself to me respecting a matter which I will not mention to thee.

By Allah, I exclaimed, thou hast wearied me, and dissipated my mind, and augured against me, when I required thee only to shave my head: arise, then, and shave it; and prolong not thy discourse to me. But he replied, By Allah, if thou knewest the truth of the case, thou wouldst demand of me a further explication; and I counsel thee to do this day as I direct thee, according to the calculations deduced from the stars: it is thy duty to praise God, and not to oppose me; for I am one who giveth thee good advice, and who regardeth thee with compassion: I would that I were in thy service for a whole year, that thou mightest do me justice; and I desire not any pay from thee for so doing.—When I heard this, I said to him, Verily thou art killing me this day, and there is no escape for me.—O my master, he replied, I am he whom the people call Eṣ-Ṣámit,61 on account of the paucity of my speech, by which I am distinguished above my brothers; for my eldest brother is named El-Baḳbooḳ;62 and the second, El-Heddár; and the third, Baḳbaḳ; and the fourth is named El-Kooz el-Aṣwánee; and the fifth, El-Feshshár; and the sixth is named Shaḳáliḳ; and the seventh brother is named Eṣ-Ṣámit; and he is myself.

Now when this barber thus overwhelmed me with his talk, I felt as if my gall-bladder had burst, and said to the boy, Give him a quarter of a piece of gold, and let him depart from me for the sake of Allah: for I have no need to shave my head. But the barber on hearing what I said to the boy, exclaimed, What is this that thou hast said, O my lord? By Allah, I will accept from thee no pay unless I serve thee; and serve thee I must; for to do so is incumbent on me, and to perform what thou requirest; and I care not if I receive from thee no money. If thou knowest not my worth, I know thine; and thy father—may Allah have mercy upon him!—treated us with beneficence; for he was a man of generosity. By Allah, thy father sent for me one day, like this blessed day, and when I went to him, he had a number of his friends with him, and he said to me, Take some blood from me. So I took the astrolabe, and observed the altitude for him, and found the ascendant of the hour to be of evil omen, and that the letting of blood would be attended with trouble: I therefore acquainted him with this, and he conformed to my wish, and waited until the arrival of the approved hour, when I took the blood from him. He did not oppose me; but, on the contrary, thanked me; and in like334 manner all the company present thanked me; and thy father gave me a hundred pieces of gold for services similar to the letting of blood.—May God, said I, shew no mercy to my father for knowing such a man as thou!—and the barber laughed, and exclaimed, There is no deity but God! Moḥammad is God’s Apostle! Extolled be the perfection of Him who changeth others, but is not changed! I did not imagine thee to be otherwise than a man of sense; but thou hast talked nonsense in consequence of thine illness. God hath mentioned, in his Excellent Book, those who restrain their anger, and who forgive men:63—but thou art excused in every case. I am unacquainted, however, with the cause of thy haste; and thou knowest that thy father used to do nothing without consulting me; and it hath been said, that the person to whom one applies for advice should be trusted: now thou wilt find no one better acquainted with the affairs of the world than myself, and I am standing on my feet to serve thee. I am not displeased with thee, and how then art thou displeased with me? But I will have patience with thee on account of the favours which I have received from thy father.—By Allah, said I, thou hast wearied me with thy discourse, and overcome me with thy speech! I desire that thou shave my head and depart from me.

I gave vent to my rage; and would have risen, even if he had wetted my head, when he said, I knew that displeasure with me had overcome thee; but I will not be angry with thee, for thy sense is weak, and thou art a youth: a short time ago I used to carry thee on my shoulder,64 and take thee to the school.—Upon this, I said to him, O my brother, I conjure thee by Allah, depart from me that I may perform my business, and go thou thy way. Then I rent my clothes; and when he saw me do this, he took the razor, and sharpened it, and continued to do so until my soul almost parted from my body; then advancing to my head, he shaved a small portion of it; after which he raised his hand, and said, O my lord, haste is from the Devil;—and he repeated this couplet:—

Deliberate, and haste not to accomplish thy desire; and be merciful, so shalt thou meet with one merciful:
For there is no hand but God’s hand is above it;65 nor oppressor that shall not meet with an oppressor.
O my lord (he then continued), I do not imagine that thou knowest my condition in society; for my hand lighteth upon the heads of kings and emeers and wezeers and sages and learned men; and of such a one as myself hath the poet said,335—

The trades altogether are like a necklace, and this barber is the chief pearl of the strings.
He excelleth all that are endowed with skill, and under his hands are the heads of Kings.
—Leave, said I, that which doth not concern thee! Thou hast contracted my heart, and troubled my mind.—I fancy that thou art in haste, he rejoined. I replied, Yes! Yes! Yes!—Proceed slowly, said he; for verily haste is from the Devil, and it giveth occasion to repentance and disappointment; and he upon whom be blessing and peace66 hath said, The best of affairs is that which is commenced with deliberation:—and, by Allah, I am in doubt as to thine affair: I wish, therefore, that thou wouldst make known to me what thou art hasting to do; and may it be good; for I fear it is otherwise.

There now remained, to the appointed time, three hours; and he threw the razor from his hand in anger, and, taking the astrolabe, went again to observe the sun; then after he had waited a long time, he returned, saying, There remain, to the hour of prayer, three hours, neither more nor less. For the sake of Allah, said I, be silent; for thou hast crumbled my liver!—and thereupon, he took the razor, and sharpened it as he had done the first time, and shaved another portion of my head. Then stopping again, he said, I am in anxiety on account of thy hurry: if thou wouldst acquaint me with the cause of it, it would be better for thee; for thou knowest that thy father used to do nothing without consulting me.

I perceived now that I could not avoid his importunity, and said within myself, The time of prayer is almost come, and I desire to go before the people come out from the service: if I delay a little longer, I know not how to gain admission to her. I therefore said to him, Be quick, and cease from this chattering and impertinence; for I desire to repair to an entertainment with my friends. But when he heard the mention of the entertainment, he exclaimed, The day is a blessed day for me! I yesterday conjured a party of my intimate friends to come and feast with me, and forgot to prepare for them anything to eat; and now I have remembered it. Alas for the disgrace that I shall experience from them!—So I said to him, Be in no anxiety on this account, since thou hast been told that I am going to-day to an entertainment; for all the food and drink that is in my house shall be thine if thou use expedition in my affair, and quickly finish shaving my head.—May God recompense thee with every blessing! he replied: describe to me what thou hast for my guests, that I may know it. I have, said I, five dishes of meat, and ten fowls fricandoed, 336and a roasted lamb.—Cause them to be brought before me, he said, that I may see them. So I had them brought to him, and he exclaimed, Divinely art thou gifted! How generous is thy soul! But the incense and perfumes are wanting.—I brought him, therefore, a box containing nedd67 and aloes-wood and ambergris and musk, worth fifty pieces of gold.—The time had now become contracted, like my own heart; so I said to him, Receive this, and shave the whole of my head, by the existence of Moḥammad, God bless and save him! But he replied, By Allah, I will not take it until I see all that it contains.—I therefore ordered the boy, and he opened the box to him; whereupon the barber threw down the astrolabe from his hand, and, seating himself upon the ground, turned over the perfumes and incense and aloes-wood in the box until my soul almost quitted my body.

The Barber and Servants with Dishes
He then advanced, and took the razor, and shaved another small portion of my head; after which he said, By Allah, O my son, I know not whether I should thank thee or thank thy father; for my entertainment to-day is entirely derived from thy bounty and kindness, and I have no one among my visiters deserving of it; for my guests are, Zeytoon the bath-keeper, and Ṣaleeạ the wheat-seller, and ‘Owkal the bean-seller, and ‘Akresheh the grocer, and Ḥomeyd the dustman, and ‘Akárish the milk-seller, and each of these hath a peculiar dance which he performeth, and peculiar verses which he reciteth; and the best of their qualities is, that they are like thy servant, the memlook who is before thee; and I, thy slave, know neither loquacity nor impertinence. As to the bath-keeper, he saith, If I go not to the feast, it cometh to my house!—and as to the dustman, he is witty, and full of frolick: often doth he dance, and say, News, with my wife, is not kept in a chest!—and each of my friends hath jests that another337 hath not: but the description is not like the actual observation. If thou choose, therefore, to come to us, it will be more pleasant both to thee and to us: relinquish, then, thy visit to thy friends of whom thou hast told us that thou desirest to go to them; for the traces of disease are yet upon thee, and probably thou art going to a people of many words, who will talk of that which concerneth them not; or probably there will be among them one impertinent person; and thy soul is already disquieted by disease.—I replied, If it be the will of God, that shall be on some other day:—but he said, It will be more proper that thou first join my party of friends, that thou mayest enjoy their conviviality, and delight thyself with their salt. Act in accordance with the saying of the poet:—

Defer not a pleasure when it can be had; for fortune often destroyeth our plans.
Upon this I laughed from a heart laden with anger, and said to him, Do what I require, that I may go in the care of God, whose name be exalted! and do thou go to thy friends, for they are waiting thine arrival. He replied, I desire nothing but to introduce thee into the society of these people; for verily they are of the sons of that class among which is no impertinent person; and if thou didst but behold them once, thou wouldst leave all thine own companions.—May God, said I, give thee abundant joy with them, and I must bring them together here some day.—If that be thy wish, he rejoined, and thou wilt first attend the entertainment of thy friends this day, wait until I take this present with which thou hast honoured me, and place it before my friends, that they may eat and drink without waiting for me, and then I will return to thee, and go with thee to thy companions; for there is no false delicacy between me and my companions that should prevent my leaving them: so I will return to thee quickly, and repair with thee whithersoever thou goest.—Upon this I exclaimed, There is no strength nor power but in God, the High, the Great! Go thou to thy companions, and delight thy heart with them, and leave me to repair to mine, and to remain with them this day, for they are waiting my arrival.—But he said, I will not leave thee to go alone.—The place to which I am going, said I, none can enter except myself.—I suppose then, he rejoined, that thou hast an appointment to-day with some female: otherwise, thou wouldst take me with thee; for I am more deserving than all other men, and will assist thee to attain what thou desirest. I fear that thou art going to visit some strange woman, and that thy life will be lost; for in this city of Baghdád no338 one can do anything of this kind, especially on such a day as this; seeing that the Wálee of Baghdád is a terrible, sharp sword.—Wo to thee, O wicked old man! I exclaimed, what are these words with which thou addressest me?—And upon this, he kept a long silence.

The time of prayer had now arrived, and the time of the Khuṭbeh68 was near, when he had finished shaving my head: so I said to him, Go with this food and drink to thy friends, and I will wait for thee until thou return, and thou shalt accompany me:—and I continued my endeavours to deceive him, that he might go away; but he said to me, Verily thou art deceiving me, and wilt go alone, and precipitate thyself into a calamity from which there will be no escape for thee: by Allah! by Allah! then, quit not this spot until I return to thee and accompany thee, that I may know what will be the result of thine affair.—I replied, Well: prolong not thine absence from me. And he took the food and drink and other things which I had given him, but intrusted them to a porter to convey them to his abode, and concealed himself in one of the by-streets. I then immediately arose. The muëddins on the menárehs had chanted the Selám of Friday;69 and I put on my clothes, and went forth alone, and, arriving at the by-street, stopped at the door of the house where I had seen the damsel: and lo, the barber was behind me, and I knew it not. I found the door open, and entered; and immediately the master of the house returned from the prayers, and entered the saloon, and closed the door; and I said within myself, How did this devil discover me?

Now it happened, just at this time, for the fulfilment of God’s purpose to rend the veil of protection before me, that a female slave belonging to the master of the house committed some offence, in consequence of which he beat her, and she cried out; whereupon a male slave came in to him to liberate her; but he beat him also, and he likewise cried out; and the barber concluded that he was beating me; so he cried, and rent his clothes, and sprinkled dust upon his head, shrieking, and calling for assistance. He was surrounded by people, and said to them, My master hath been killed in the house of the Ḳáḍee! Then running to my house, crying out all the while, and with a crowd behind him, he gave the news to my family; and I knew not what he had done when they approached, crying, Alas for our master!—the barber all the while being before them, with his clothes rent, and a number of the people of the city with them. They continued shrieking, the barber shrieking at their head, and all of them exclaiming, Alas for our slain!—Thus they advanced to the house in339 which I was confined; and when the Ḳáḍee heard of this occurrence, the event troubled him, and he arose, and opened the door, and seeing a great crowd, he was confounded, and said, O people, what is the news? The servants replied, Thou hast killed our master.—O people, rejoined he, what hath your master done unto me that I should kill him; and wherefore do I see this barber before you?—Thou hast just now beaten him with miḳra’ahs, said the barber; and I heard his cries.—What hath he done that I should kill him? repeated the Ḳáḍee. And whence, he added, came he; and whither would he go?—Be not an old man of malevolence, exclaimed the barber; for I know the story, and the reason of his entering thy house, and the truth of the whole affair: thy daughter is in love with him, and he is in love with her; and thou hast discovered that he had entered thy house, and hast ordered thy young men, and they have beaten him. By Allah, none shall decide between us and thee except the Khaleefeh; or thou shalt bring forth to us our master that his family may take him; and oblige me not to enter and take him forth from you: haste then thyself to produce him.

The Barber rending his Clothes
Upon this, the Ḳáḍee was withheld from speaking, and became utterly abashed before the people: but presently he said to the barber, If thou speak truth, enter thyself, and bring him forth. So the barber advanced, and entered the house; and when I saw him do so, I sought for a way to escape; but I found no place of refuge except a large chest which I observed in the same apartment in which I then340 was: I therefore entered this, and shut down the lid, and held in my breath. Immediately after, the barber ran into the saloon, and, without looking in any other direction than that in which I had concealed myself, came thither: then turning his eyes to the right and left, and seeing nothing but the chest, he raised it upon his head; whereupon my reason forsook me. He quickly descended with it; and I, being now certain that he would not quit me, opened the chest, and threw myself upon the ground. My leg was broken by the fall; and when I came to the door of the house, I found a multitude of people: I had never seen such a crowd as was there collected on that day; so I began to scatter gold among them, to divert them; and while they were busied in picking it up, I hastened through the by-streets of Baghdád, followed by this barber; and wherever I entered, he entered after me, crying, They would have plunged me into affliction on account of my master! Praise be to God who aided me against them, and delivered my master from their hands! Thou continuedst, O my master, to be excited by haste for the accomplishment of thine evil design until thou broughtest upon thyself this event; and if God had not blessed thee with me, thou hadst not escaped from this calamity into which thou hast fallen; and they might have involved thee in a calamity from which thou wouldst never have escaped. Beg, therefore, of God, that I may live for thy sake, to liberate thee in future. By Allah, thou hast almost destroyed me by thine evil design, desiring to go alone: but we will not be angry with thee for thine ignorance, for thou art endowed with little sense, and of a hasty disposition.—Art thou not satisfied, replied I, with that which thou hast done, but wilt thou run after me through the market-streets?—And I desired for death to liberate me from him; but found it not; and in the excess of my rage I ran from him, and, entering a shop in the midst of the market, implored the protection of its owner; and he drove away the barber from me.

I then seated myself in a magazine belonging to him, and said within myself, I cannot now rid myself of this barber; but he will be with me night and day, and I cannot endure the sight of his face. So I immediately summoned witnesses, and wrote a document, dividing my property among my family, and appointing a guardian over them, and I ordered him to sell the house and all the immoveable possessions, charging him with the care of the old and young, and set forth at once on a journey in order to escape from this wretch. I then arrived in your country, where I took up my abode, and have remained a341 considerable time; and when ye invited me, and I came unto you, I saw this vile wretch among you, seated at the upper end of the room. How, then, can my heart be at ease, or my sitting in your company be pleasant to me, with this fellow, who hath brought these events upon me, and been the cause of the breaking of my leg?

The young man still persevered in his refusal to remain with us; and when we had heard his story, we said to the barber, Is this true which the young man hath said of thee?—By Allah, he answered, it was through my intelligence that I acted thus towards him; and had I not done so, he had perished: myself only was the cause of his escape; and it was through the goodness of God, by my means, that he was afflicted by the breaking of his leg instead of being punished by the loss of his life. Were I a person of many words, I had not done him this kindness; and now I will relate to you an event that happened to me, that ye may believe me to be a man of few words, and less of an impertinent than my brothers; and it was this:—

Portrait of the Barber

Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of Himself
I was living in Baghdád, in the reign of the Prince of the Faithful El-Muntaṣir bi-lláh,70 who loved the poor and indigent, and associated with the learned and virtuous; and it happened, one day, that he was incensed against ten persons, in consequence of which, he ordered the chief magistrate of Baghdád to bring them to him in a boat. I saw them, and I said within myself, These persons have assembled for nothing but an entertainment, and, I suppose, will pass their day in this boat eating and drinking; and none shall be their companion but myself:71—so I embarked, and mixed myself among them; and when they had landed on the opposite bank, the guards of the Wálee came with chains, and put them upon their necks, and put a chain upon my neck also.—Now this, O people, is it not a proof of my generosity, and of my paucity of speech? For I determined not to speak.—They took us, therefore, all together, in chains, and placed us before El-Muntaṣir bi-lláh, the Prince of the Faithful; whereupon he gave orders to strike off the heads of the ten; and the executioner struck off the heads of the ten, and I remained. The Khaleefeh then turning his eyes, and beholding me, said to the executioner, Wherefore dost thou not strike off the heads of all the ten? He answered, I have beheaded every one of the ten.—I do not think, rejoined the Khaleefeh, that thou hast beheaded more than nine; and this who is before me is the tenth. But the executioner replied, By thy beneficence, they are ten.—Count them, said the Khaleefeh. And they counted them; and lo, they were ten. The Khaleefeh then looked343 towards me, and said, What hath induced thee to be silent on this occasion; and how hast thou become included among the men of blood?—And when I heard the address of the Prince of the Faithful, I said to him, Know, O Prince of the Faithful, that I am the sheykh Eṣ-Ṣámit (the silent): I possess, of science, a large stock; and as to the gravity of my understanding, and the quickness of my apprehension, and the paucity of my speech, they are unbounded: my trade is that of a barber; and yesterday, early in the morning, I saw these ten men proceeding to the boat; whereupon I mixed myself with them, and embarked with them, thinking that they had met together for an entertainment; but soon it appeared that they were criminals; and the guards came to them, and put chains upon their necks, and upon my neck also they put a chain; and from the excess of my generosity I was silent, and spoke not: my speech was not heard on that occasion, on account of the excess of my generosity; and they proceeded with us until they stationed us before thee, and thou gavest the order to strike off the heads of the ten, and I remained before the executioner, and acquainted you not with my case. Was not this great generosity which compelled me to accompany them to slaughter? But throughout my life I have acted in this excellent manner.

When the Khaleefeh heard my words, and knew that I was of a very generous character, and of few words, and not inclined to impertinence as this young man, whom I delivered from horrors, asserteth, he said, Hast thou brothers? I answered, Yes: six.—And are thy six brothers, said he, like thyself, distinguished by science and knowledge, and paucity of speech? I answered, They lived not so as to be like me: thou hast disparaged me by thy supposition, O Prince of the Faithful, and it is not proper that thou shouldst compare my brothers to me; for through the abundance of their speech, and the smallness of their generous qualities, each of them experienced a defect: the first was lame; the second, deprived of many of his teeth; the third, blind; the fourth, one-eyed; the fifth, cropped of his ears; and the sixth had both his lips cut off:72 and think not, O Prince of the Faithful, that I am a man of many words: nay, I must prove to thee that I am of a more generous character than they; and each of them met with a particular adventure, in consequence of which he experienced a defect: if thou please, I will relate their stories to thee.344

Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his First Brother.–The Motto, ‘How different is to-night from yesterday!’
Know, O Prince of the Faithful, that the first (who was named El-Baḳbooḳ) was the lame one. He practised the art of a tailor in Baghdád, and used to sew in a shop which he hired of a man possessing great wealth, who lived over the shop, and who had, in the lower part of his house, a mill. And as my lame brother was sitting in his shop one day, sewing, he raised his head, and saw a woman like the rising full moon, at a projecting window of the house, looking at the people passing by; and as soon as he beheld her, his heart was entangled by her love. He passed that day gazing at her, and neglecting his occupation, until the evening; and on the following morning he opened his shop, and sat down to sew; but every time that he sewed a stitch, he looked towards the window; and in this state he continued, sewing nothing sufficient to earn a piece of silver.73

On the third day he seated himself again in his place, looking towards the woman; and she saw him, and, perceiving that he had become enslaved by her love, laughed in his face, and he, in like manner, laughed in her face. She then disappeared from before him, and sent to him her slave-girl, with a wrapper containing a piece of red flowered silk; and the girl, coming to him, said to him, My mistress saluteth thee, and desireth thee to cut out for her, with the hand of skill, a shirt of this piece, and to sew it beautifully. So he answered, I hear and obey:—and he cut out for her the shirt, and finished the sewing of it on that day; and on the following day the345 slave-girl came to him again; and said to him, My mistress saluteth thee, and saith to thee, How didst thou pass last night?—for she tasted not sleep, from her passion for thee.—She then placed before him a piece of yellow satin, and said to him, My mistress desireth thee to cut out for her, of this piece, two pairs of trousers, and to make them this day. He replied, I hear and obey. Salute her with abundant salutations, and say to her, Thy slave is submissive to thine order, and command him to do whatsoever thou wilt.—He then busied himself with the cutting out, and used all diligence in sewing the two pairs of trousers; and presently the woman looked out at him from the window, and saluted him by a sign, now casting down her eyes, and now smiling in his face, so that he imagined he should soon obtain possession of her. After this, she disappeared from before him, and the slave-girl came to him; so he delivered to her the two pairs of trousers, and she took them and departed: and when the night came, he threw himself upon his bed, and remained turning himself over in restlessness until the morning.

On the following day, the master of the house came to my brother, bringing some linen, and said to him, Cut out and make this into shirts for me. He replied, I hear and obey:—and ceased not from his work until he had cut out twenty shirts by the time of nightfall, without having tasted food. The man then said to him, How much is thy hire for this?—but my brother answered not; and the damsel made a sign to him that he should receive nothing, though he was absolutely in want of a single copper coin. For three days he continued scarcely eating or drinking anything, in his diligence to accomplish his work, and when he had finished it, he went to deliver the shirts.

Now the young woman had acquainted her husband with the state of my brother’s mind, but my brother knew not this; and she planned with her husband to employ him in sewing without remuneration, and moreover to amuse themselves by laughing at him: so, when he had finished all the work that they gave him, they contrived a plot against him, and married him to their slave-girl; and on the night when he desired to introduce himself to her, they said to him, Pass this night in the mill, and to-morrow thou shalt enjoy happiness. My brother, therefore, thinking that their intention was good, passed the night in the mill alone. Meanwhile, the husband of the young woman went to the miller, and instigated him by signs to make my brother turn the mill. The miller, accordingly, went in to him at midnight, and began to exclaim, Verily this bull is lazy, while there is a great quantity of346 wheat, and the owners of the flour are demanding it: I will therefore yoke him in the mill, that he may finish the grinding of the flour:—and so saying, he yoked my brother, and thus he kept him until near morning, when the owner of the house came, and saw him yoked in the mill, and the miller flogging him with the whip; and he left him, and retired. After this, the slave-girl to whom he had been contracted in marriage came to him early in the morning, and, having unbound him from the mill, said to him, Both I and my mistress have been distressed by this which hath befallen thee, and we have participated in the burden of thy sorrow. But he had no tongue wherewith to answer her, by reason of the severity of the flogging. He then returned to his house; and lo, the sheykh who had performed the marriage-contract came and saluted him, saying, May God prolong thy life! May thy marriage be blessed!—May God not preserve the liar! returned my brother: thou thousandfold villain! By Allah, I went only to turn the mill in the place of the bull until the morning.—Tell me thy story, said the sheykh:—and my brother told him what had happened to him: upon which the sheykh said, Thy star agreeth not with hers: but if thou desire that I should change for thee the mode of the contract, I will change it for another better than it, that thy star may agree with hers.74—See then, replied my brother, if thou hast any other contrivance to employ.

My brother then left him, and repaired again to his shop, hoping that somebody might give him some work, with the profit of which he might obtain his food; and lo, the slave-girl came to him. She had conspired with her mistress to play him this trick, and said to him, Verily, my mistress is longing for thee, and she hath gone up to look at thy face from the window. And my brother had scarcely heard these words when she looked out at him from the window, and, weeping, said, Wherefore hast thou cut short the intercourse between us and thee? But he returned her no answer: so she swore to him that all that had happened to him in the mill was not with her consent; and when my brother beheld her beauty and loveliness, the troubles that had befallen him became effaced from his memory, and he accepted her excuse, and rejoiced at the sight of her. He saluted her, therefore, and conversed with her, and then sat a while at his work; after which the slave-girl came to him, and said, My mistress saluteth thee, and informeth thee that her husband hath determined to pass this next night in the house of one of his intimate friends; wherefore, when he hath gone thither, do thou come to her.—Now the husband347 of the young woman had said to her, How shall we contrive when he cometh to thee that I may take him and drag him before the Wálee? She replied, Let me then play him a trick, and involve him in a disgrace for which he shall be paraded throughout this city as an example to others:—and my brother knew nothing of the craftiness of women. Accordingly, at the approach of evening, the slave-girl came to him, and, taking him by the hand, returned with him to her mistress, who said to him, Verily, O my master, I have been longing for thee.—Hasten then, said he, to give me a kiss, first of all. And his words were not finished, when the young woman’s husband came in from his neighbour’s house, and, seizing my brother, exclaimed to him, By Allah, I will not loose thee but in the presence of the chief magistrate of the police. My brother humbled himself before him; but, without listening to him, he took him to the house of the Wálee, who flogged him with whips, and mounted him upon a camel, and conveyed him through the streets of the city, the people crying out, This is the recompense of him who breaketh into the ḥareems of others!—and he fell from the camel, and his leg broke: so he became lame. The Wálee then banished him from the city; and he went forth, not knowing whither to turn his steps: but I, though enraged, overtook him, and brought him back; and I have taken upon myself to provide him with meat and drink unto the present day.

The Khaleefeh laughed at my story, and exclaimed, Thou hast spoken well:—but I replied, I will not accept this honour until thou hast listened to me while I relate to thee what happened to the rest of my brothers; and think me not a man of many words.—Tell me, said the Khaleefeh, what happened to all thy brothers, and grace my ears with these nice particulars: I beg thee to employ exuberance of diction in thy relation of these pleasant tales.

Tail-piece to the same

Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his Second Brother
So I said, Know, O Prince of the Faithful, that my second brother, whose name was El-Heddár,75 was going one day to transact some business, when an old woman met him, and said to him, O man, stop a little, that I may propose to thee a thing, which, if it please thee, thou shalt do for me. My brother, therefore, stopped; and she said to him, I will guide thee to a thing, and rightly direct thee to it, on the condition that thy words be not many. So he said, Communicate what thou hast to tell me:—and she proceeded thus:—What sayest thou of a handsome house, with running water, and fruit and wine, and a beautiful face to behold, and a smooth cheek to kiss, and an elegant form to embrace; and to enjoy all these pleasures without interruption? Now, if thou wilt act agreeably with the condition that I have imposed upon thee, thou wilt see prosperity.—When my brother had heard her words, he said to her, O my mistress, how is it that thou hast sought me out in preference to all the rest of the creation for this affair; and what is there in me that hath pleased thee? She replied, Did I not say to thee that thou must not be a person of many words? Be silent then, and come with me.

The old woman then went her way, my brother following her, eager to enjoy the pleasures which she had described to him, until they had entered a spacious house, when she went up with him to an upper story, and my brother perceived that he was in a beautiful palace, in349 which he beheld four damsels, than whom none more lovely had ever been seen, singing with voices that would charm a heart as insensible as stone. One of these damsels drank a cup of wine; and my brother said to her, May it be attended with health and vigour!—and advanced to wait upon her; but she prevented his doing so, giving him to drink a cup of wine; and as soon as he had drunk it, she slapped him on his neck. When he found that she treated him thus, he went out from the chamber in anger, and with many words; but the old woman, following him, made a sign to him with her eye that he should return: so he returned, and seated himself, without speaking; and upon this, the damsel slapped him again upon the back of his neck until he became senseless; after which, recovering, he withdrew again. The old woman, however, overtook him, and said to him, Wait a little, and thou shalt attain thy wish.—How many times, said he, shall I wait a little before I attain it? The old woman answered, When she hath become exhilarated with wine thou shalt obtain her favour. He therefore returned to his place, and resumed his seat. All the four damsels then arose, and the old woman directed them to divest my brother of his outer clothes, and to sprinkle some rose-water upon his face; and when they had done so, the most beautiful one among them said to him, May Allah exalt thee to honour! Thou hast entered my abode, and if thou have patience to submit to my requisitions, thou wilt attain thy wish.—O my mistress, he replied, I am thy slave, and under thy authority.—Know then, said she, that I am devotedly fond of frolic, and he who complieth with my demands will obtain my favour. Then she ordered the other damsels to sing; and they sang so that their hearers were in an ecstasy; after which the chief lady said to one of the other damsels, Take thy master, and do what is required, and bring him back to me immediately.

Accordingly, she took him away, ignorant of that which she was about to do; and the old woman came to him, and said, Be patient; for there remaineth but little to do. He then turned towards the damsel, and the old woman said to him, Be patient: thou hast almost succeeded, and there remaineth but one thing, which is, to shave thy beard.—How, said he, shall I do that which will disgrace me among the people? The old woman answered, She desireth this only to make thee like a beardless youth, that there may be nothing on thy face to prick her; for her heart is affected with a violent love for thee. Be patient, therefore, and thou shalt attain thy desire.—So my brother patiently submitted to the damsel’s directions: his beard was shaven,350 and he was shorn also of his eyebrows and mustaches, and his face was painted red, before the damsel took him back to the chief lady, who, when she saw him, was at first frightened at him, and then laughed until she fell backwards, and exclaimed, O my master, thou hast gained me by these proofs of thine amiable manners! She then conjured him by her life to arise and dance; and he did so; and there was not a single cushion in the chamber that she did not throw at him. In like manner also the other damsels threw at him various things, such as oranges, and limes, and citrons, until he fell down senseless from the pelting, while they slapped him incessantly upon the back of his neck, and cast things in his face. But at length the old woman said to him, Now thou hast attained thy wish. Know that there remaineth to thee no more beating, nor doth there remain for thee to do more than one thing, namely, this: it is her custom, when she is under the influence of wine, to suffer no one to come near her until she hath taken off her outer clothes; thou, being prepared in the like manner, must run after her, and she will run before thee as though she were flying from thee; but cease not to follow her from place to place until thou overtake her. He arose, therefore, and did so: the lady ran before, and as he followed her, she passed from chamber to chamber, and he still ran after her. At last he heard her utter a slight sound as she ran before him, and, continuing his pursuit, he suddenly found himself in the midst of the street.

This street was in the market of the leather-sellers, who were then crying skins for sale; and when the people there collected saw him in this condition, almost naked, with shaven beard and eyebrows and mustaches, and with his face painted red, they shouted at him, and raised a loud laugh, and some of them beat him with the skins until he became insensible. They then placed him upon an ass, and conducted him to the Wálee, who exclaimed, What is this?—They answered, This descended upon us from the house of the Wezeer, in this condition. And the Wálee inflicted upon him a hundred lashes, and banished him from the city: but I went out after him, and brought him back privately into the city, and allotted him a maintenance. Had it not been for my generous disposition, I had not borne with such a person.351

Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his Third Brother
As to my third brother (the blind man, Baḳbaḳ), who was also surnamed Ḳuffeh,76 fate and destiny impelled him one day to a large house, and he knocked at the door, hoping that its master would answer him, and that he might beg of him a trifle. The owner called out, Who is at the door?—but my brother answered not; and then heard him call with a loud voice, Who is this? Still, however, he returned him no answer; and he heard the sounds of his footsteps approaching until he came to the door and opened it, when he said to him, What dost thou desire? My brother answered, Something for the sake of God, whose name be exalted!—Art thou blind? said the man; and my brother answered, Yes.—Then give me thy hand rejoined the master of the house;—so my brother stretched forth to him his hand, and the man took him into the house, and led him up from stair-case to stair-case until he had ascended to the highest platform of the roof: my brother thinking that he was going to give him some food or money: and when he had arrived at this highest terrace, of his house, the owner said, What dost thou desire, O blind man!—I desire something, he answered again, for the sake of God, whose name be exalted!—May God, replied the man, open to thee some other way!—What is this! exclaimed my brother: couldst thou not tell me so when I was below?—Thou vilest of the vile! retorted the other: why didst thou not ask of me something for the sake of God when352 thou heardest my voice the first time, when thou wast knocking at the door?—What then, said my brother, dost thou mean to do to me?—The man of the house answered, I have nothing to give thee.—Then take me down the stairs, said my brother. The man replied, The way is before thee. So my brother made his way to the stairs, and continued descending until there remained, between him and the door, twenty steps, when his foot slipped and he fell, and, rolling down, broke his head.77

He went forth, not knowing whither to direct his steps, and presently there met him two blind men, his companions, who said to him, What hath happened to thee this day? My brother, therefore, related to them the event that had just befallen him: and then said to them, O my brothers, I desire to take a portion of the money now in our possession, to expend it upon myself.—Now the owner of the house which he had just before entered had followed him to acquaint himself with his proceedings, and without my brother’s knowledge he walked behind him until the latter entered his abode; when he went in after him, still unknown. My brother then sat waiting for his companions; and when they came in to him, he said to them, Shut the door, and search the room, lest any stranger have followed us. When the intruder, therefore, heard what he said, he arose, and clung to a rope that was attached to the ceiling; and the blind men went feeling about the whole of the chamber, and, finding no one, returned and seated themselves by my brother, and brought forth their money, and counted it; and lo, it was more than ten thousand pieces of silver. Having done this, they laid it in a corner of the room, and each of them took of the surplus of that sum as much as he wanted, and they buried the ten thousand pieces of silver in the earth; after which, they placed before themselves some food, and sat eating; but my brother heard the sound of a stranger by his side, and said to his friends, Is there a stranger among us? Then stretching forth his hand, it grasped the hand of the intruder; whereupon he cried out to his companions, saying, Here is a stranger!—and they fell upon him with blows until they were tired, when they shouted out, O Muslims!78 a thief hath come in upon us, and desireth to take our property!—and immediately a number of persons collected around them.

Upon this, the stranger whom they accused of being a thief shut his eyes, feigned to be blind like themselves, so that no one who saw him doubted him to be so; and shouted, O Muslims! I demand protection of Allah and the Sulṭán! I demand protection of Allah and353 the Wálee! I demand protection of Allah and the Emeer! for I have important information to give to the Emeer!—and before they could collect their thoughts, the officers of the Wálee surrounded them and took them all, including my brother, and conducted them before their master. The Wálee said, What is your story?—and the stranger replied, Hear my words, O Wálee; the truth of our case will not become known to thee but by means of beating;79 and if thou wilt, begin by beating me before my companions. The Wálee therefore said, Throw down this man, and flog him with whips:—and accordingly they threw him down and flogged him; and when the stripes tortured him, he opened one of his eyes; and after they had continued the flogging a little longer, he opened his other eye; upon which the Wálee exclaimed, What meaneth this conduct, O thou villain?—Grant me indemnity, replied the man, and I will acquaint thee:—and the Wálee having granted his request, he said, We four pretend that we are blind, and, intruding among other people, enter their houses, and see their women, and employ stratagems to corrupt them, and to obtain money from them. We have acquired, by these means, vast gain, amounting to ten thousand pieces of silver; and I said to my companions, Give me my due, two thousand and five hundred; and they rose against me and beat me, and took my property. I beg protection, therefore, of Allah and of thee; and thou art more deserving of my share than they. If thou desire to know the truth of that which I have said, flog each of them more than thou hast flogged me, and he will open his eyes.

So the Wálee immediately gave orders to flog them, and the first of them who suffered was my brother. They continued beating him until he almost died; when the Wálee said to them, O ye scoundrels! do ye deny the gracious gift of God, feigning yourselves to be blind? My brother exclaimed, Alláh! Alláh! Alláh! there is none among us who seeth!—They then threw him down again, and ceased not to beat him until he became insensible, when the Wálee said, Leave him until he shall have recovered, and then give him a third flogging:—and in the meantime, he gave orders to flog his companions, to give each of them more than three hundred stripes; while the seeing man said to them, Open your eyes, or they will flog you again after this time. Then addressing himself to the Wálee, he said, Send with me some person to bring thee the property; for these men will not open their eyes, fearing to be disgraced before the spectators. And the Wálee sent with him a man, who brought him the money; and he took it,354 and gave to the informer, out of it, two thousand and five hundred pieces of silver, according to the share which he claimed, in spite of the others (retaining the rest), and banished from the city my brother and the two other men; but I went forth, O Prince of the Faithful, and, having overtaken my brother, asked him respecting his sufferings; and he acquainted me with that which I have related unto thee. I then brought him back secretly into the city, and allotted him a supply of food and drink as long as he lived.

The Khaleefeh laughed at my story, and said, Give him a present, and let him go:—but I replied, I will receive nothing until I have declared to the Prince of the Faithful what happened to the rest of my brothers, and made it manifest to him that I am a man of few words:—whereupon the Khaleefeh said, Crack our ears, then, with thy ridiculous stories, and continue to us thy disclosure of vices and misdeeds. So I proceeded thus:—

Tail-piece to the same

Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his Fourth Brother
My fourth brother, O Prince of the Faithful, was the one-eyed (named El-Kooz el-Aṣwánee): he was a butcher in Baghdád, and both sold meat and reared lambs; and the great and the rich had recourse to him to purchase of him their meat; so that he amassed great wealth, and became possessor of cattle and houses. Thus he continued to prosper for a long time; and as he was in his shop, one day, there accosted him an old man with a long beard, who handed to him some money, saying, Give me some meat for it. So he took the money, and gave him the meat; and when the old man had gone away, my brother looked at the money which he had payed him, and, seeing that it was of a brilliant whiteness, put it aside by itself. This old man continued to repair to him during a period of five months, and my brother always threw his money into a chest by itself; after which period he desired to take it out for the purpose of buying some sheep; but on opening the chest, he found all the contents converted into white paper, clipped round; and he slapped his face, and cried out; whereupon a number of people collected around him, and he related to them his story, at which they were astonished.

He then went again, as usual, into his shop, and, having killed a ram, and hung it up within the shop, he cut off some of the meat, and suspended it outside, saying within himself, Perhaps now this old man will come again, and if so, I will seize him:—and very soon after, the old man approached with his money; upon which my brother arose, and, laying hold upon him, began to cry out, O Muslims, come to my356 aid, and hear what this scoundrel hath done unto me! But when the old man heard his words, he said to him, Which will be more agreeable to thee—that thou abstain from disgracing me, or that I disgrace thee, before the people?—For what wilt thou disgrace me? said my brother. The old man answered, For thy selling human flesh for mutton.—Thou liest, thou accursed! exclaimed my brother.—None is accursed, rejoined the old man, but he who hath a man suspended in his shop. My brother said, If it be as thou hast asserted, my property and blood shall be lawful to thee:—and immediately the old man exclaimed, O ye people here assembled! verily this butcher slaughtereth human beings, and selleth their flesh for mutton; and if ye desire to know the truth of my assertion, enter his shop! So the people rushed upon his shop, and beheld the ram converted into a man, hung up; and they laid hold upon my brother, crying out against him, Thou infidel! Thou scoundrel!—and those who had been his dearest friends turned upon him and beat him; and the old man gave him a blow upon his eye, and knocked it out. The people then carried the carcass, and took with them my brother, to the chief magistrate of the police; and the old man said to him, O Emeer, this man slaughtereth human beings, and selleth their flesh for mutton; and we have therefore brought him to thee: arise, then, and perform the requisition of God, whose might and glory be extolled! Upon this, the magistrate thrust back my brother from him, and, refusing to listen to what he would have said, ordered that five hundred blows of a staff should be inflicted upon him, and took all his property. Had it not been for the great amount of his wealth, he had put him to death.80 He then banished him from the city.

My brother, therefore, went forth in a state of distraction, not knowing what course to pursue; but he journeyed onwards until he arrived at a great city, where he thought fit to settle as a shoemaker: so he opened a shop, and sat there working for his subsistence. And one day he went forth on some business, and, hearing the neighing of horses, he inquired respecting the cause, and was told that the King was going forth to hunt; whereupon he went to amuse himself with the sight of the procession: but the King happening to look on one side, his eye met that of my brother, and immediately he hung down his head, and exclaimed, I seek refuge with God from the evil of this day! He then turned aside the bridle of his horse, and rode back, and all his troops returned with him; after which, he ordered his pages to run after my brother, and to beat him; and they did so,357 giving him so severe a beating that he almost died; and he knew not the cause. He returned to his abode in a miserable plight, and afterwards went and related his misfortune to one of the King’s attendants, who laughed at the recital until he fell backwards, and said to him, O my brother, the King cannot endure the sight of a one-eyed person, and especially when the defect is that of the left eye;81 for in this case, he faileth not to put the person to death.

When my brother heard these words, he determined to fly from that city; and forthwith departed from it, and repaired to another city, where there was no King. Here he remained a long time; and after this, as he was meditating upon his adventure in the former city, he went out one day to amuse himself, and heard again the neighing of horses behind him; upon which he exclaimed, The decree of God hath come to pass! and ran away, seeking for a place in which to conceal himself; but he found none, until, continuing his search, he saw a door set up as a barricade: so he pushed this, and it fell down; and, entering the doorway, he beheld a long passage, into which he advanced. Suddenly, however, two men laid hold upon him, and exclaimed, Praise be to God who hath enabled us to take thee, O thou enemy of God! For these three nights thou hast suffered us to enjoy neither quiet nor sleep, and we have found no repose: nay, thou hast given us a foretaste of death!—O men, said my brother, what hath happened unto you? They answered, Thou keepest a watch upon us, and desirest to disgrace us, and to disgrace the master of the house! Is it not enough for thee that thou hast reduced him to poverty, thou and thy companions? Produce now the knife wherewith thou threatenest us every night.—And so saying, they searched him, and found upon his waist the knife with which he cut the shoe-leather.—O men, he exclaimed, fear God in your treatment of me, and know that my story is wonderful. They said, What then is thy story? So he related it to them, in the hope that they would liberate him: but they believed not what he said; and, instead of shewing him any regard, they beat him, and tore his clothes; whereupon, his body becoming exposed to their view, they discovered upon his sides the marks of beating with miḳra’ahs, and exclaimed, O wretch! these scars bear testimony to thy guilt. They then conducted him before the Wálee, while he said within himself, I am undone for my transgressions, and none can deliver me but God, whose name be exalted! And when he was brought before the Wálee, the magistrate said to him, O thou scoundrel! nothing but a heinous crime hath occasioned thy having been358 beaten with miḳra’ahs:—and he caused a hundred lashes to be inflicted upon him; after which, they mounted him upon a camel, and proclaimed before him, This is the recompense of him who breaketh into men’s houses!—But I had already heard of his misfortunes, and gone forth, and found him; and I accompanied him about the city while they were making this proclamation, until they left him; when I took him, and brought him back secretly into Baghdád, and apportioned him a daily allowance of food and drink.

Tail-piece to the same

Head-piece to the Barber’s Story of his Fifth Brother.–The Motto, ‘The emulous desire of increase employeth you until ye visit the graves.’ (Ḳur-án, ch. cii. vv. 1 and 2.)
My fifth brother (El-Feshshár83) was cropped of his ears, O Prince of the Faithful. He was a pauper, who begged alms by night, and subsisted upon what he thus acquired by day: and our father was a very old man, and he fell sick and died, leaving to us seven hundred pieces of silver, of which each of us took his portion; namely, a hundred pieces. Now my fifth brother, when he had received his share, was perplexed, not knowing what to do with it; but while he was in this state, it occurred to his mind to buy with it all kinds of articles of glass, and to sell them and make profit; so he bought glass with his hundred pieces of silver, and put it in a large tray, and sat upon an elevated place, to sell it, leaning his back against a wall. And as he sat, he meditated, and said within himself, Verily my whole stock consisteth of this glass: I will sell it for two hundred pieces of silver; and with the two hundred I will buy other glass, which I will sell for four hundred; and thus I will continue buying and selling until I have acquired great wealth. Then with this I will purchase all kinds of merchandise and essences and jewels, and so obtain vast gain. After that, I will buy a handsome house, and memlooks, and horses, and gilded saddles; and I will eat and drink; and I will not leave in the city a single female singer but I will have her brought to my house that I may hear her songs.—All this he calculated with the tray of360 glass lying before him.—Then, said he, I will send all the female betrothers to seek in marriage for me the daughters of Kings and Wezeers; and I will demand as my wife the daughter of the chief Wezeer;84 for I have heard that she is endowed with perfect beauty and surprising loveliness: and I will give as her dowry a thousand The Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth BrotherThe Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth Brotherpieces of gold. If her father consent, my wish is attained; and if he consent not, I will take her by force, in spite of him: and when I have come back to my house, I will buy ten young eunuchs, and I will purchase the apparel of Kings and Sulṭáns, and cause to be made for me a saddle of gold set with jewels: after which361 I will ride every day upon a horse, The Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth BrotherThe Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth BrotherThe Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth BrotherThe Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth BrotherThe Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth Brotherwith slaves behind me and before me,85 and go about through the streets and markets to amuse myself, while the people will salute me and pray for me.86 Then I will pay a visit to the Wezeer, who is the father of the maiden, with memlooks behind me and before me, and on my right hand and on my left; and when he seeth me, he will rise to me, in humility, and seat me in his own place; and he himself will sit down below me,87 because I am his son-in-law. I will then order one of the servants to bring a purse containing the pieces of gold which compose the dowry; and he will place it before the Wezeer; and I will add to it another purse, that he may know my manly spirit and excessive generosity, and that the world is contemptible in my eye: and when he addresseth me with ten words, I will answer him with two. And I will return to my house; and when any person cometh to me from the house of the Wezeer, I will clothe him with a rich dress: but if any come with a present, I will return it: I will certainly not accept it.88 Then, on the night of the bridal display, I will attire myself in the most magnificent of my dresses, and sit upon a mattress covered with silk; and when my wife cometh to me, like the full moon, decked with her ornaments and apparel, I will command her to stand before me as stands the timid and the abject; and I will not look at her, on account of the haughtiness of my spirit and the gravity of my wisdom; so that the maids will say, O our master and our lord, may we be thy sacrifice! This thy wife, or rather thy handmaid, awaiteth thy kind regard, and is standing before thee: then graciously bestow on her one glance; for the posture hath become painful to her.89—Upon this, I will362 The Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth BrotherThe Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth BrotherThe Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth Brotherraise my head, and look at her with one glance, and again incline my head downwards; and thus I will do until the ceremony of displaying her is finished; whereupon they will conduct her to the sleeping-chamber; and I will rise from my place, and go to another apartment, and put on my night-dress, and go to the chamber in which she is sitting, where I will seat myself upon the deewán; but I will not look towards her. The tire-women will urge me to approach her; but I will not hear their words, and will order some of the attendants to bring a purse containing five hundred pieces of gold for them, and command them to retire from the chamber.90 And when they have gone, I will seat myself by the side of the bride; but with averted countenance, that she may say, Verily this is a man of a haughty spirit. Then her mother will come to me, and will kiss my hands, and say to me, O my master, look upon thy handmaid with the eye of mercy; for she is submissively standing before thee. But I will return her no answer. And she will kiss my feet, again and again, and will say, O my master, my daughter is young, and hath seen no man but thee; and if she experience from thee repugnance, her heart will break: incline to her, therefore, and speak to her, and calm her mind. And upon this I will look at her through the corner of my eye, and command her to remain standing before me, that she may taste the savour of humiliation, and know that I am the Sulṭán of the age. Then her mother will say to me, O my master, this is thy handmaid: have compassion upon her, and be gracious to her:—and she will order her to fill a cup with wine, and to put it to my mouth. So her daughter will say, O my lord, I conjure thee by Allah that thou reject not the cup from thy slave; for verily I am thy slave.363 But I will make her no reply; and she will The Reverie of the Barber’s Fifth BrotherThe Resulturge me to take it, and will say, It must be drunk:—and will put it to my mouth: and upon this, I will shake my hand in her face, and spurn her with my foot, and do thus.—So saying, he kicked the tray of glass, which, being upon a place elevated above the ground, fell, and all that was in it broke: there escaped nothing: and he cried out and said, All this is the result of my pride! And he slapped his face, and tore his clothes; the passengers gazing at him, while he wept, and exclaimed, Ah! O my grief!


The people were now repairing to perform the Friday-prayers; and some merely cast their eyes at him, while others noticed him not: but while he was in this state, deprived of his whole property, and weeping without intermission, a female approached him, on her way to attend the Friday-prayers: she was of admirable loveliness; the odour of musk was diffused from her; under her was a mule with a stuffed saddle covered with gold-embroidered silk; and with her was a number of servants; and when she saw the broken glass, and my brother’s state and his tears, she was moved with pity for him, and asked respecting his case. She was answered, He had a tray of glass, by the sale of which to obtain his subsistence and it is broken, and he is afflicted as thou seest:—and upon this, she called to one of the servants, saying, Give what thou hast with thee to this poor man. So he gave him a purse, and he took it, and when he had opened it, he found in it five hundred pieces of gold, whereupon he almost died from excessive joy, and offered up prayers for his benefactress.

He returned to his house a rich man, and sat reflecting, and lo, a person knocked at the door: he rose, therefore, and opened it; and beheld an old woman whom he knew not, and she said to him, O my son, know that the time of prayer hath almost expired, and I am not prepared by ablution; wherefore I beg that thou wilt admit me into thy house, that I may perform it. He replied, I hear and obey;—and, retiring within, gave her permission to enter; his mind still wandering from joy on account of the gold; and when she had finished the ablution, she approached the spot where he was sitting, and there performed the prayers of two rek’ahs. She then offered up a supplication for my brother; and he thanked her, and offered her two pieces of gold; but when she saw this, she exclaimed, Extolled be God’s perfection! Verily I wonder at the person who fell in love with thee in thy beggarly condition! Take back thy money from me, and if thou want it not, return it to her who gave it thee when thy glass broke.—O my mother, said he, how can I contrive to obtain access to her? She answered, O my son, she hath an affection for thee; but she is the wife of an affluent man; take then with thee all thy money, and when thou art with her be not deficient in courteousness and agreeable words; so shalt thou obtain of her favours and her wealth whatever thou shalt desire. My brother, therefore, took all the gold, and arose and went with the old woman, hardly believing what she had told him; and she proceeded, and my brother behind her, until they arrived at a great door, at which she knocked; whereupon a Greek damsel365 came and opened the door, and the old woman entered, ordering my brother to do the same. He did so, and found himself in a large house, where he beheld a great furnished chamber, with curtains hung in it; and, seating himself there, he put down the gold before him, and placed his turban on his knees;91 and scarcely had he done so, when there came to him a damsel, the like of whom had never been seen, attired in most magnificent apparel. My brother stood up at her approach; and when she beheld him, she laughed in his face, and rejoiced at his visit: then going to the door, she locked it; after which she returned to my brother, and took his hand, and both of them went together into a private chamber, carpeted with various kinds of silk, where my brother sat down, and she seated herself by his side, and toyed with him for a considerable time. She then rose, saying to him, Move not from this place until I return to thee;—and was absent from him for a short period;—and as my brother was waiting for her, there came in to him a black slave, of gigantic stature, with a drawn sword, the brightness of which dazzled the sight; and he exclaimed to my brother. Wo to thee! Who brought thee to this place? Thou vilest of men! Thou misbegotten wretch, and nursling of impurity!—My brother was unable to make any reply; his tongue was instantly tied; and the slave laid hold upon him, and stripped him, and struck him more than eighty blows with the flat of his sword, until he fell sprawling upon the floor; when he retired from him, concluding that he was dead, and uttered a great cry, so that the earth trembled, and the place resounded at his voice, saying, Where is El-Meleeḥah?92—upon which a girl came to him, holding a handsome tray containing salt; and with this she forthwith stuffed the flesh-wounds with which my brother’s skin was gashed until they gaped open; but he moved not, fearing the slave would discover that he was alive, and kill him. The girl then went away, and the slave uttered another cry, like the first, whereupon the old woman came to my brother, and, dragging him by the feet to a deep and dark vault, threw him into it upon a heap of slain.93 In this place he remained for two whole days; and God (whose perfection be extolled!) made the salt to be the means of preserving his life, by stanching the flow of blood from his veins; so, when he found that he had strength sufficient to move, he arose, and, opening a shutter in the wall, emerged from the place of the slain; and God (to whom be ascribed all might and glory!) granted him his protection. He therefore proceeded in the darkness, and concealed himself in the passage until the morning, when366 the old woman went forth to seek another victim, and my brother, going out after her, without her knowledge, returned to his house.

The Second Misfortune of the Barber’s Fifth Brother
He now occupied himself with the treatment of his wounds until he was restored; and continued to watch for the old woman, and constantly saw her taking men, one after another, and conducting them to the same house. But he uttered not a word on the subject; and when his health returned, and his strength was completely renewed, he took a piece of rag, and made of it a purse, which he filled with pieces of glass: he then tied it to his waist, and disguised himself so that no one would know him, in the dress of a foreigner; and, taking a sword, placed it within his clothes; and as soon as he saw the old woman, he said to her, in the dialect of a foreigner, Old woman, hast thou a pair of scales fit for weighing nine hundred pieces of gold? The old woman answered, I have a young son, a money-changer, and he hath all kinds of scales; therefore accompany me to him before he go forth from his abode, that he may weigh for thee thy gold. So my brother said, Walk on before me:—and she went, and my brother followed her until she arrived at the door, and knocked; upon which the girl came out, and laughed in his face; and the old woman said to her, I have brought you to-day some fat meat. The girl then took my367 brother’s hand, and conducted him into the house (the same which he had entered before), and after she had sat with him a short time, she rose, saying to him, Quit not this place until I return to thee:—and she retired; and my brother had remained not long after when the slave came to him with the drawn sword, and said to him, Rise, thou unlucky! So my brother rose, and, as the slave walked before him, he put his hand to the sword which was concealed beneath his clothes, and struck the slave with it, and cut off his head; after which he dragged him by his feet to the vault, and called out, Where is El-Meleeḥah? The slave-girl, therefore, came, having in her hand the tray containing the salt; but when she saw my brother with the sword in his hand, she turned back and fled: my brother, however, overtook her, and struck off her head. He then c