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Supplemental Nights, Volume 2 by Richard F. Burton

Part 5 out of 8

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subordinate tales. One of those is described in the second
volume of Newbold's work on Malacca, the frame of which is
similar to the Persian original and its Arabian derivative,
excepting that the name of the king is Zádbokhtin and that of the
minister's daughter (who is nameless in the Persian) is Mahrwat.
Two others are described in Van den Berg's account of Malay,
Arabic, Javanese and other MSS. published at Batavia, 1877: p.
21, No. 132 is entitled "The History of Ghulám, son of
Zádbukhtán, King of Adán, in Persia," and the frame also
corresponds with our version, with the important difference that
the robber-chief who had brought up Ghulám, "learning that he had
become a person of consequence, came to his residence to visit
him, but finding him imprisoned, he was much concerned, and asked
the king's pardon on his behalf, telling him at the same time how
he had formerly found Ghulám in the jungle; from which the king
knew that Ghulám was his son." The second version noticed by Van
den Berg (p. 32, No. 179), though similar in title to the Persian
original, "History of Prince Bakhtyár," differs very materially
in the leading story, the outline of which is as follows: This
prince, when his father was put to flight by a younger brother,
who wished to dethrone him, was born in a jungle, and abandoned
by his parents. A merchant named Idrís took charge of him and
brought him up. Later on he became one of the officers of state
with his own father, who had in the meanwhile found another
kingdom, and decided with fairness, the cases brought before him.
He was, however, put in prison on account of a supposed attempt
on the king's life, and would have been put to death had he not
stayed the execution by telling various beautiful stories. Even
the king came repeatedly to listen to him. At one of these
visits Bakhtyár's foster-father Idrís was present, and related to
his adopted son how he had found him in the jungle. The king, on
hearing this, perceived that it was his son who had been brought
up by Idrís, recognised Bakhtyár as such, as made over to him the
kingdom."--I have little doubt that this romance is of Indian


This agrees pretty closely with the Turkí version of the same
story (rendered into French by M. Jaubert), though in the latter
the names of the characters are the same as in the Persian, King
Dádín and the Wazírs Kámgár and Kárdár. In the Persian story,
the damsel is tied hands and feet and placed upon a camel, which
is then turned into a dreary wilderness. "Here she suffered from
the intense heat and from thirst; but she resigned herself to the
will of Providence, conscious of her own innocence. Just then
the camel lay down, and on the spot a fountain of delicious water
suddenly sprang forth; the cords which bound her hands and feet
dropped off; she refreshed herself by a draught of the water, and
fervently returned thanks to Heaven for this blessing and her
wonderful preservation." This two-fold miracle does not appear
in the Turkí and Arabian versions. It is not the cameleer of the
King of Persia, but of King Dádín, who meets with the pious
damsel in the wilderness. He takes her to his own house and one
day relates his adventure to King Dádín, who expresses a wish to
see such a prodigy of sanctity. The conclusion of the Persian
story is quite dramatic: The cameleer, having consented, returned
at once to his house, accompanied by the king, who waited at the
door of the apartment where the daughter of Kámgár was engaged in
prayer. When she had concluded he approached, and with
astonishment recognised her. Having tenderly embraced her, he
wept, and entreated her forgiveness. This she readily granted,
but begged that he would conceal himself in the apartment while
she should converse with Kárdár, whom she sent for. When he
arrived, and beheld her with a thousand expressions of fondness,
he inquired how she had escaped, and told her that on the day the
king had banished her into the wilderness, he had sent people to
seek her and bring her to him. "How much better would it have
been," he added, "had you followed my advice, and agreed to my
proposal of poisoning the king, who, I said, would one day
destroy you as he had done your father! But you rejected my
advice, and declared yourself ready to submit to whatever
Providence should decree. Hereafter you will pay more attention
to my words. But now let us not think of what is past. I am
your slave, and you are dearer to me than my own eyes." So
saying, he attempted to clasp the daughter of Kámgár in his arms,
when the king, who was concealed behind the hangings, rushed
furiously on him and put him to death. After this he conducted
the damsel to his palace, and constantly lamented his
precipitancy in having killed her father.--This tale seems to
have been taken from the Persian "Tútí Náma," or Parrot-book,
composed by Nahkshabí about the year 1306;[FN#486] it occurs in
the 51st Night of the India Office MS. 2573, under the title of
"Story of the Daughter of the Vazír Khássa, and how she found
safety through the blessing of her piety:" the name of the king
is Bahram, and the Wazírs are called Khássa and Khalássa.


The catastrophe of this story forms the subject of the Lady's
37th tale in the text of the Turkish "Forty Vezírs," translated
by Mr. E. J. W. Gibb. This is how it goes:

In the palace of the world there was a king, and that king had
three vezírs, but there was rivalry between them. Two of them
day and night incited the king against the third, saying, "He is
a traitor." But the king believed them not. At length they
promised two pages much gold, and instructed them thus: "When the
king has lain down, ere he yet fall asleep, do ye feign to think
him asleep, and while talking with each other, say at a fitting
time, 'I have heard from such a one that yon vezír says this and
that concerning the king, and that he hates him; many people say
that vezír is an enemy to our king.'" So they did this, and when
the king heard this, he said in his heart, "What those vezírs
said is then true; when the very pages have heard it somewhat it
must indeed have some foundation. Till now, I believed not those
vezírs, but it is then true." And the king executed that vezír.
The other vezírs were glad and gave the pages the gold they had
promised. So they took it and went to a private place, and while
they were dividing it one of them said, "I spake first; I want
more." The other said, "If I had not said he was an enemy to our
king, the king would not have killed him; I shall take more."
And while they were quarrelling with one another the king passed
by there, and he listened attentively to their words, and when he
learned of the matter, he said, "Dost thou see, they have by a
trick made us kill that hapless vezír." And he was repentant.


The Persian original has been very considerably amplified by the
Arabian translator. In the "Bakhtyár Náma" there is not a word
about the two brothers and their fair cousin, the attempted
murder of the infant, and the adventures of the fugitive young
prince. This story has also been taken from the "Tútí Náma" of
Nakhshabú, Night the 50th of the Indian Office MS. 2573, where,
under the title of "Story of the Daughter of the Kaysar of Roum,
and her trouble by reason of her son," it is told somewhat as

In former times there was a great king, whose army was numerous
and whose treasury was full to overflowing; but, having no enemy
to contend with, he neglected to pay his soldiers, in consequence
of which they were in a state of destitution and discontent. At
length one day the soldiers went to the prime minister and made
their condition known to him. The vazír promised that he would
speedily devise a plan by which they should have employment and
money. Next morning he presented himself before the king, and
said that it was widely reported the Kaysar of Rou, had a
daughter unsurpassed for beauty--one who was fit only for such a
great monarch as his Majesty; and suggested that it would be
advantageous if an alliance were formed between two such great
potentates. The notion pleased the king well, and he forthwith
despatched to Roum an ambassador with rich gifts, and requested
the Kaysar to grant him his daughter in marriage. But the Kaysar
waxed wroth at this, and refused to give his daughter to the
king. When the ambassador returned thus unsuccessful, the king,
enraged at being made of no account, resolved to make war upon
the Kaysar; so, opening the doors of his treasury, he distributed
much money among his troops, and then, "with a woe-bringing host,
and a blood-drinking army, he trampled Roum and the folk of Roum
in the dust." And when the Kaysar was become powerless, he sent
his daughter to the king, who married her according to the law of

Now that princess had a son by a former husband, and the Kaysar
had said to her before she departed, "Beware that thou mention
not thy son, for my love for his society is great, and I cannot
part with him."[FN#487] But the princess was sick at heart for
the absence of her son, and she was ever pondering how she should
speak to the king about him, and in what manner she might
contrive to bring him to her. It happened one day the king gave
her a string of pearls and a casket of jewels. She said, "With
my father is a slave who is well skilled in the science of
jewels." The king replied, "If I should ask that slave of thy
father, would he give him to me?" "Nay," said she, "for he holds
him in the place of a son. But if the king desire him, I will
send a merchant to Roum, and I myself will give him a token, and
with pleasant wiles and fair speeches will bring him hither."
Then the king sent for a clever merchant who knew Arabic
eloquently and the language of Roum, and gave him goods for
trading and sent him to Roum with the object of procuring the
slave. But the daughter of the Kaysar said privily to the
merchant, "That slave is my son; I have, for a good reason, said
to the king that he is a slave; so thou must bring him as a
slave, and let it be thy duty to take care of him." In due
course the merchant brought the youth to the king's service; and
when the king saw his fair face, and discovered in him many
pleasing and varied accomplishments, he treated him with
distinction and favour, and conferred on the merchant a robe of
honour and gifts. His mother saw him from afar, and was pleased
with receiving a secret salutation from him.

One day the eking had gone to the chase, and the palace remained
void of rivals; so the mother called in her son, kissed his fair
face, and told him the tale of her great sorrow. A chamberlain
became aware of the secret and another suspicion fell upon him,
and he said to himself, "The harem of the king is the sanctuary
of security and the palace of protection. If I speak not of
this, I shall be guilty of treachery and shall have wrought
unfaithfulness." When the king returned from the chase, the
chamberlain related to him what he had seen, and the eking was
angry and said, "This woman hath deceived me with words and
deeds, and has brought hither her desire by craft and cunning.
This conjecture must be true, else why did she play such a trick?
And why did she hatch such a plot? And why did she send the
merchant?" Then the king, enraged, went into the harem, and the
queen saw from his countenance that the occurrence of the night
before had become known to him, and she said, "Be it not that I
see the king angry?" He said, "How should I not be angry? Thou,
by craft and trickery, and intrigue, and plotting, hast brought
thy desire from Roum--what wantonness is this that thou hast
done?" And then he thought to slay her, but he forbore, because
of his great love for her. But he ordered the chamberlain to
carry the youth to some obscure place, and straightway sever his
head from his body. When the poor mother saw this, she well-nigh
fell on her face, and her soul was near leaving her body. But
she knew that sorry would not avail, and so she restrained

And when the chamberlain took the youth into his own house, he
said to him, "O youth, knowest thou not that the harem of the
king is the sanctuary of security? What great treachery is this
that thou hast perpetrated?" The youth replied, "That queen is
my mother, and I am her true son. Because of her natural
delicacy, she said not to the king that she had a son by another
husband. And when yearning came over her, she contrived to bring
me here from Roum; and while the king was engaged in the chase,
maternal love stirred in her, and she called me to her and
embraced me." On hearing this, the chamberlain said to himself,
"What is passing in his mother's breast? What have I not done I
can yet do, and it were better that I preserve this youth some
days, for such a rose may not be wounded through idle words, and
such a bough may not be broken by a breath. For some day the
truth of this matter will be disclosed, and it will become known
to the king when repentance may be of no avail." So he went
before the king and said, "That which was commanded have I
fulfilled." On hearing this the king's wrath was to some extent
removed but his trust in the Kaysar's daughter was departed;
while she, poor creature, was grieved and dazed at the loss of
her son.

Now in the palace-harem there was an old woman, who said to the
queen, "How is it that I find thee sorrowful?" And the queen
told the whole story, concealing nothing. This old woman was a
heroine in the field of craft, and she answered, "Keep thy mind
at ease; I will devise a stratagem by which the heart of the king
will be pleased with thee, and every grief he has will vanish
from his heart." The queen said that, if she did so, she should
be amply rewarded. One day the old woman, seeing the king alone,
said to him, "Why is thy former aspect altered? And why are
there traces of care and anxiety visible on thy countenance?"
The king then told her all. Then said the old woman, "I have an
amulet of the charms of Sulayman, in the Syriac language, and in
the writing of the jinn (genii). When the queen is asleep, do
thou place it on her breast, and whatever it may be, she will
tell the truth of it. But take care, fall not asleep, but listen
well to what she says." The king wondered at this and said,
"Give me that amulet, that the truth of this matter may be
learned." So the old woman gave him the amulet, and then went to
the queen and explained what she had done, and said, "Do thou
feign to be asleep, and relate the whole of thy story

When a watch of the night was past, the king laid the amulet upon
his wife's breast, and she thus began: "By a former husband I had
a son, and when my father gave me to this king, I was ashamed to
say I had a tall son. When my yearning passed all bounds, I
brought him here by an artifice. One day that the king was gone
to the chase I called him into the house, when, after the way of
mothers, I took him in my arms and kissed him. This reached the
king's ears; he unwittingly gave it another construction, and cut
off the head of that innocent boy, and withdrew from me his own
heart. Alike is my son lost to me and the king angry." When the
king heard these words he kissed her and exclaimed, "O my life,
what an error is this thou hast committed? Thou hast brought
calumny upon thyself, and hast given such a son to the winds, and
hast made me ashamed!" Straightway he called the chamberlain,
and said, "That boy whom thou hast killed is the son of my
beloved and the darling of my beauty! Where is his grave, that we
may make there a guest-house?" The chamberlain said, "That youth
is yet alive. When the king commanded his death, I was about to
kill him, but he said, 'That queen is my mother. Through modesty
before the king, she revealed not the secret that she has a tall
son. Kill me not; it may be that some day the truth will become
known, and repentance profiteth not, and regret is useless." The
king commanded them to bring the youth; so they brought him
forthwith. And when the mother saw the face of her son, she
thanked God and praised the Most High, and became one of the
Muslims, and from the sect of unbelievers came into the faith of
Islam. And the king favoured the chamberlain in the highest
degree, and they passed the rest of their lives in comfort and

FIRUZ AND HIS WIFE.--Vol. XI. p. 125.

This tale, as Sir R. F. Burton remarks, is a rechauffé of that of
the King and the Wazir's Wife in the "Malice of Women," or the
Seven Wazírs (vol. vi. 129); and at p. 308 we have yet another
variant.[FN#488] it occurs in all the Eastern texts of the Book
of Sindibád, and it is commonly termed by students of that cycle
of stories "The Lion's Track," from the parabolical manner in
which the husband justifies his conduct before the king. I have
cited some versions in the Appendix to my edition of the Book of
Sindibád (p. 256 ff.), and to these may be added the following
Venetian variant, from Crane's "Italian Popular Tales," as an
example of how a story becomes garbled in passing orally from one
generation unto another generation.

A king, averse from marriage, commanded his steward to remain
single. The latter, however, one day saw a beautiful girl named
Vigna and married her secretly. Although he kept her closely
confined in her chamber, the king became suspicious, and sent the
steward on an embassy. After his departure the king entered the
apartment occupied by him, and saw his wife asleep. He did not
disturb her, but in leaving the room accidentally dropped one of
his gloves on the bed. When the husband returned he found the
glove, but kept a discreet silence, ceasing, however, all
demonstration of affection, believing his wife had been
unfaithful. The king, desirous to see again the beautiful woman,
made a feast and ordered the steward to bring his wife. He
denied that he had one, but brought her at last, and while every
one else was talking gaily at the feast she was silent. The king
observed it and asked the cause of her silence, and she answered
with a pun on her own name, "Vineyard I was, and Vineyard I am.
I was loved and no longer am. I know not for what reason the
Vineyard has lost its season." Her husband, who heard this,
replied, "Vineyard thou wast, and Vineyard thou art: the Vineyard
lost its season, for the lion's claw." The king, who understood
what he meant, answered, "I entered the Vineyard; I touched the
leaves; but I swear by my crown that I have not tasted the
fruit." Then the steward understood that his wife was innocent,
and the two made peace, and always after lived happy and

So far as I am aware, this tale of "The Lion's Track" is not
popularly known in any European country besides Italy; and it is
not found in any of the Western versions of the Book of Sindibád,
generally known under the title of the "History of the Seven Wise
Masters," how, then, did it reach Venice, and become among the
people "familiar in their mouths as household words?" I answer,
that the intimate commercial relations which long existed between
the Venetian Republic and Egypt and Syria are amply sufficient to
account for the currency of this and scores of other Eastern
tales in Italy. This is not one of those fictions introduced
into the south of Europe through the Ottomans, since Boccaccio
has made use of the first part of it in his "Decameron," Day I.
nov. 5; and it is curious to observe that the garbled Venetian
popular version has preserved the chief characteristic of the
Eastern story--the allegorical reference to the king as a lion
and his assuring the husband that the lion had done no injury to
his "Vineyard."


While the frame-story of this interesting group is similar to
that of the Ten Wazírs (vol. i. p. 37), insomuch as in both a
king's favourite is sentenced to death in consequence of the
false accusations of his enemies, and obtains a respite from day
to day by relating stories to the king, there is yet a very
important difference: Like those of the renowned Shahrazad, the
stories which Al-Rahwan tells have no particular, at least no
uniform, "purpose," his sole object being to prolong his life by
telling the king an entertaining story, promising, when he has
ended his recital, to relate one still "stranger" the next night,
if the king will spare his life another day. On the other hand,
Bakhtyár, while actuated by the same motive, appeals to the
king's reason, by relating stories distinctly designed to exhibit
the evils of hasty judgements and precipitate conduct--in fact,
to illustrate the maxim,

Each order given by a reigning king,
Should after long reflection be expressed;
For it may be that endless woe will spring
From a command he paused not to digest.

And in this respect they are consistent with the circumstances of
the case, like the tales of the Book of Sindibád, from which the
frame of the Ten Wazírs was imitated, and in which the Wazírs
relate stories showing the depravity and profligacy of women and
that no reliance should be placed on their unsupported
assertions, and to these the lady opposes equally cogent stories
setting forth the wickedness and perfidy of men. Closely
resembling the frame-story of the Ten Wazírs, however, is that of
a Tamil romance entitled, "Alakeswara Kathá," a copy of which,
written on palm leaves, was in the celebrated Mackenzie
collection, of which Dr. H. H. Wilson published a descriptive
catalogue; it is "a story of the Rájá of Alakespura and his four
ministers, who, being falsely accused of violating the sanctity
of the inner apartments, vindicate their innocence and disarm the
king's wrath by relating a number of stories." Judging by the
specimen given by Wilson, the well-known tale of the Lost Camel,
it seems probable that the ministers' stories, like those of
Bakhtyár, are suited to their own case and illustrate the truth
of the adage that "appearances are often deceptive." Whether in
the Siamese collection "Nonthuk Pakkaranam" (referred to in vol.
i. p. 127) the stories related by the Princess Kankras to the
King of Pataliput (Palibothra), to save her father's life, are
similarly designed, does not appear from Benfey's notice of the
work in his paper in "Orient and Occident," iii. 171 ff. He says
that the title of the book, "Nonthuk Pakkaranam," is taken from
the name of a wise ox, Nonthuk, that plays the principal part in
the longest of the tales, which are all apparently translated
from the Sanskrit, in which language the title would be Nandaka
Prakaranam, the History of Nandaka.

Most of the tales related by the wazir Al-Rahwan are not only in
themselves entertaining, but are of very considerable importance
from the story-comparer's point of view, since in this group
occur Eastern forms of tales which were known in Italy in the
14th century, and some had spread over Europe even earlier. The
reader will have seen from Sir R. F. Burton's notes that not a
few of the stories have their parallels or analogues in countries
far apart, and it is interesting to find four of them which
properly belong to the Eastern texts of the Book of Sindibad,
with the frame-story of which that of this group has so close an


"Quoth she, I have a bangle; sell it and buy seed pearls with the
price; then round them
and fashion them into great pearls."

For want of a more suitable place, I shall here reproduce an
account of the "Method of making false pearls" (nothing else
being meant in the above passage), cited, from Post. Com. Dict.
In vol. xxvi. Of Rees' Cyclopaedia," London, 1819:

"Take of thrice distilled vinegar two pounds, Venice turpentine
one pound, mix them together into a mass and put them into a
cucurbit, fit a head and receiver to it, and after you have luted
the joints set it when dry on a sand furnace, to distil the
vinegar from it; do not give it too much heat, lest the stuff
swell up. After this put the vinegar into another glass cucurbit
in which there is a quantity of seed pearls wrapped in a piece of
thin silk, but so as not to touch the vinegar; put a cover or
head upon the cucurbit, lute it well and put it in bal. Marić,
where you may let it remain a fortnight. The heat of the balneum
will raise the fumes of the vinegar, and they will soften the
pearls in the silk and bring them to the consistence of a paste,
which being done, take them out and mould them to what bigness,
form, and shape you please. Your mould must be of fine silver,
the inside gilt; you must also refrain from touching the paste
with your fingers, but use silver-gilt utensils, with which fill
your moulds. When they are moulded, bore them through with a
hog's bristle or gold wire, and then tread them again on gold
wire, and put them into a glass, close it up, and set them in the
sun to dry. After they are thoroughly dry, put them in a glass
matrass into a stream of running water and leave them there
twenty days; by that time they will contract the natural hardness
and solidity of pearls. Then take them out of th matrass and
hang them in mercurial water, where they will moisten, swell, and
assume their Oriental beauty; after which shift them into a
matrass hermitically closed to prevent any water coming to them,
and let it down into a well, to continue there about eight days.
Then draw the matrass up, and in opening it you will find pearls
exactly resembling Oriental ones." (Here follows a recipe for
making the mercurial water used in the process, with which I need
not occupy more space.)

A similar formula, "To make of small pearls a necklace of large
ones," is given in the "Lady's Magazine" for 1831, vol. iv., p.
119, which is said to be extracted from a scarce old book. Thus,
whatever mystery may surround the art is Asiatic countreis there
is evidently none about it in Europe. The process appears to be
somewhat tedious and complicated, but is doubtless profitable.

In Philostratus' Life of Appolonius there is a curious passage
about pearl-making which has been generally considered as a mere
"traveller's tale": Apollonious relates that the inhabitants of
the shores of the Red Sea, after having calmed the water by means
of oil, dived after the shell-fish, enticed them with some bait
to open their shells, and having pricked the animals with a
sharp-pointed instrument, received the liquor that flowed from
them in small holes made in an iron vessel, in which is hardened
into real pearls.--It is stated by several reputable writers that
the Chinese do likewise at the present day. And Sir R. F. Burton
informs me that when he was on the coast of Midian he found the
Arabs were in the habit of "growing" pearls by inserting a grain
of sand into the shells.


The diverting adventures related in the first part of this tale
should be of peculiar interest to the student of Shakspeare as
well as to those engaged in tracing the genealogy of popular
fiction. Jonathan Scott has given--for reasons of his own--a
meagre abstract of a similar tale which occurs in the "Bahár-i-
Dánish" (vol. iii. App., p. 291), as follows:


A young man, being upon business in a certain city, goes on a
hunting excursion, and, fatigued with the chase, stops at a
country house to ask refreshment. The lady of the mansion
receives him kindly, and admits him as her lover. In the midst
of their dalliance the husband comes home, and the young man had
no recourse to escape discovery but to jump into a basin which
was in the court of the house, and stand with head in a hollow
gourd that happened to be in the water. The husband, surprised
to see the gourd stationary in the water, which was itself
agitated by the wind, throws a stone at it, when the lover slips
from beneath it and holds his breath till almost suffocated.
Fortunately, the husband presently retires with his wife into an
inner room of the house, and thus the young man was enabled to
make good his escape.

The next day he relates his adventure before a large company at a
coffee-house. The husband happens to be one of the audience,
and, meditating revenge, pretends to admire the gallantry of the
young man and invites him to his home. The lover accompanies
him, and on seeing his residence is overwhelmed with confusion;
but, recovering himself, resolves to abide all hazards, in hopes
of escaping by some lucky stratagem. His host introduces him to
his wife, and begs him to relate his merry adventure before her,
having resolved, when he should finish, to put them both to
death. The young man complies, but with an artful presence of
mind exclaims at the conclusion, "Glad was I when I awoke from so
alarming a dream." The husband upon this, after some questions,
is satisfied that he had only told his dream, and, having
entertained him nobly, dismisses him kindly.

This story is told in an elaborate form by Ser Giovanni
Fiorentino, in "Il Pecorone" (The Big Sheep, or, as Dunlop has
it, The Dunce), which was begun in 1378 but not published till
1554 (at Milan). It is the second novel of the First Day and has
been thus translated by Roscoe:


There were once two very intimate friends, both of the family of
Saveli, in Rome; the name of one of whom was Bucciolo; that of
the other Pietro Paolo, both of good birth and easy
circumstances. Expressing a mutual wish to study for a while
together at Bologna they took leave of their relatives and set
out. One of them attached himself to the study of the civil law,
the other to that of the canon law, and thus they continued to
apply themselves for some length of time. But the subject of
Decretals takes a much narrower range than is embraced by the
common law, so Bucciolo, who pursued the former, made greater
progress than did Pietro Paolo, and, having taken a licentiate's
degree, he began to think of returning to Rome. "You see, my
dear fellow student," he observed to his friend Paolo, "I am now
a licentiate, and it is time for me to think of moving
homewards." "Nay, not so," replied his companion; "I have to
entreat you will not think of leaving me here this winter. Stay
for me till spring, and we can return together. In the meantime
you may pursue some other study, so that you need not lose any
time;" and to this Bucciolo at length consented, promising to
await his relative's own good time.

Having thus resolved, he had immediate recourse to his former
tutor, informing him of his determination to bear his friend
company a little longer, and entreating to be employed in some
pleasant study to beguile the period during which he had to
remain. The professor begged him to suggest something he should
like, as he should be very happy to assist him in its attainment.
"My worthy tutor," replied Bucciolo, "I think I should like to
learn the way in which one falls in love, and the best manner to
begin." "O very good!" cried the tutor, laughing. "You could
not have hit upon anything better, for you must know that, if
such be your object, I am a complete adept in the art. To lose
no time, in the first place go next Sunday to the church of the
Frati Minori (Friars Minor of St. Francis), where all the ladies
will be clustered together, and pay proper attention during
service in order to discover if any one of them in particular
happens to please you. When you have done this, keep your eye
upon her after service, to see the way she takes to her
residence, and then come back to me. And let this be the first
lesson--the first part--of that in which it is my intention to
instruct you." Bucciolo went accordingly, and taking his station
the next Sunday in the church, as he had been directed, his eyes,
wandering in every direction, were fixed upon all the pretty
women in the place, and upon one in particular, who pleased him
above all the rest. She was by far the most beautiful and
attractive lady he could discover, and on leaving church he took
care to obey his master and follow her until he had made himself
acquainted with her residence. Nor was it long before the young
lady began to perceive that the student was smitten with her;
upon which Bucciolo returned to his master and informed him of
what he had done. "I have," said he, "learned as much as you
ordered me, and have found somebody I like very well." "So far,
good," cried the professor, not a little amused at the sort of
science to which his pupil had thus seriously devoted himself--
"so far, good! And now observe what I have next to say to you:
Take care to walk two or three times a day very respectfully
before her house, casting your eyes about you in such a way that
no one may catch you staring in her face; look in a modest and
becoming manner, so that she cannot fail to notice and be struck
with it. And then return to me; and this, sir, will be the
second lesson in this gay science."

So the scholar went and promenaded with great discretion before
the lady's door, who observed that he appeared to be passing to
and fro out of respect to one of the inhabitants. This attracted
her attention, for which Bucciolo very discreetly expressed his
gratitude by looks and bows, which being as often returned, the
scholar began to be aware that the lady liked him. He
immediately went and told the professor all that had passed, who
replied, "Come, you have done very well. I am hitherto quite
satisfied. It is now time for you to find some way of speaking
to her, which you may easily do by means of those gipsies who
haunt the streets of Bologna, crying ladies' veils, purses and
other articles for sale. Send word by her that you are the
lady's most faithful, devoted servant, and that there is no one
in the world you so much wish to please. In short, let her urge
your suit, and take care to bring the answer to me as soon as you
have received it. I will then tell you how you are to proceed."

Departing in all haste, he soon found a little old pedlar woman,
quite perfect in the trade, to whom he said he should take it as
a particular favour if she would do one thing, for which he would
reward her handsomely. Upon this she declared her readiness to
serve him in anything he pleased. "For you know," she added, "it
is my business to get money in every way I can." Bucciolo gave
her two florins, saying, ‘I wish you to go for me to-day as far
as the Via Maccarella, where resides a young lady of the name of
Giovanna, for whom I have the very highest regard. Pray tell her
so, and recommend me to her most affectionately, so as to obtain
for me her good graces by every means in your power. I entreat
you to have my interest at heart, and to say such pretty things
as she cannot refuse to hear." "O leave that to me, sir," said
the little old woman, "I will not fail to say a good word for you
at the proper time." "Delay not," said Bucciolo, "but go now,
and I will wait for you here;" and she set off at once, taking
her basket of trinkets under her arm. On approaching the place,
she saw the lady before the door, enjoying the air and curtseying
to her very low, "Do I happen to have anything here you would
fancy?" she said, displaying her wares. "Pray, take something,
madam--whatever pleases you best." Veils, stays, purses, and
mirrors were now spread in the most tempting way before the
lady's eyes. Out of all these things her attention seemed to be
most attracted by a beautiful purse, which, she observed, if she
could afford, she should like to purchase. "Nay, madam,"
exclaimed the crone, "do not think anything about the price--take
anything yo please, since they are all paid for already, I assure
you." Surprised at hearing this, and perceiving the very
respectful manner of the speaker, the lady rejoined, "Do you know
what you are saying? What do you mean by that?" The old woman,
pretending now to be much affected, said, "Well, madam, if it
must be so, I shall tell you. It is very true that a young
gentleman of the name of Bucciolo sent me hither; one who loves
you better than all the world besides. There is nothing he would
not do to please you, and indeed he appears to very wretched
because he cannot speak to you, and he is so very good, that it
is quite a pity. I think it will be the death of him, and then
he is such a fine--such an elegant--young man, the more is the
pity!" on hearing this, the lady, blushing deeply, turned
sharply round upon the little old woman, exclaiming, "O you
wicked creature! were it not for the sake of my own reputation, I
would give you such a lesson that you should remember it to the
latest day of your life! A pretty story to come before decent
people with! Are you not ashamed of yourself to let such words
come out of your mouth?" then seizing an iron bar that lay
across the doorway, "Ill betide you, little wretch!" she cried,
as she brandished it. "If you ever come this way again, depend
on it, you will never go back alive!" the trembling old trot,
quickly bundling up her wares, scampered off, in dread of feeling
that cruel weapon on her shoulders, nor did she think of stopping
till she had reached the place where Bucciolo stood waiting her
return. Eagerly inquiring the news and how she succeeded, "O
very badly--very badly," answered the crone. "I was never in
such a fright in all my life. Why, she will neither see nor
listen to you, and if I had not run away, I should have felt the
weight of a great iron bar upon my shoulders. For my own part, I
shall go there no more; and I advise you, signor, to look to
yourself how you proceed in such affairs in future."

Poor Bucciolo became quite disconsolate, and returned in all
haste to acquaint the professor with this unlucky result. But
the professor, not a whit cast down, consoled him, saying, "Do
not despair; a tree is not levelled at a single stroke, you know.
I think you must have a repetition of your lesson to-night. So
go and walk before her door as usual; notice how she eyes you,
and whether she appears angry or not, and then come back again to
me." Bucciolo accordingly proceeded without delay to the lady's
house. The moment she perceived him she called her maid and said
to her, "Quick, quick--hasten after the young man--that is he,
and tell him from me that he must come and speak with me this
evening without fail--without fail." The girl soon came up with
Bucciolo and thus addressed him: "My lady, signor, my lady,
Giovanna, would be glad of your company this evening, she would
be very glad to speak with you." Greatly surprised at this,
Bucciolo replied, "Tell your lady I shall be most happy to wait
upon her," so saying, he set off once more to the professor, and
reported the progress of the affair. But this time the master
looked a little more serious; for, from some trivial
circumstances put together, he began to entertain suspicions that
the lady was (as it really turned out) no other than his own
wife. So he rather anxiously inquired of Bucciolo whether he
intended to accept the invitation. "To be sure I do," replied
his pupil. "Then," said the professor, "promise that you will
come here before you set off." "Certainly I will," answered
Bucciolo readily, and took his leave.

Now Bucciolo was far from suspecting that the lady bore so near a
relationship to his respected tutor, although the latter began to
be rather uneasy as to the result, feeling some twinges of
jealousy which were by no means pleasant. For he passed most of
his winter evenings at the college where he gave lectures, and
not unfrequently remained there for the night. "I should be
sorry," said he to himself, "if this young gentleman were
learning these things at my expense, and I must therefore know
the real state of the case." In the evening his pupil called
according to promise, saying, "Worthy master, I am now ready to
go." "Well, go," replied the professor; "but be wise, Signor
Bucciolo--be wise and think more than once what you are about."
"Trust me for that," said the scholar, a little piqued: "I shall
go well provided, and not walk into the mouth of danger unarmed."
And away he went, furnished with a good cuirass, a rapier, and a
stiletto in his belt. He was no sooner on his way than the
professor slipped out quietly after him, dogging his steps
closely, until, trembling with rage, he saw him stop at his own
house-door, which, on a smart tap being given, was quickly opened
by the lady herself and the pupil admitted. When the professor
saw that it was indeed his own wife, he was quite overwhelmed and
thought, "Alas, I fear this young fellow has learned more than he
confesses at my expense;" and vowing to be revenged, he ran back
to the college, where arming himself with sword and dagger, he
then hastened to his house in a terrible passion. Arriving at his
own door, he knocked loudly, and the lady, sitting before the
fire with Bucciolo, instantly knew it was her husband, so taking
hold of Bucciolo, she concealed him hurriedly under a heap of
damp clothes lying on a table near the window for ironing, which
done, she ran to the door and inquired who was there. "Open
quickly," exclaimed the professor. "You vile woman, you shall
soon know who is here!" On opening the door, she beheld him with
a drawn sword, and cried in well-affected alarm, "O my dearest
life, what means this?" "You know very well what it means," said
he. "The villain is now in the house." "Good Heaven! what is
that you say?" exclaimed the lady. "Are you gone out of your
wits? Come and search the house, and if you find anybody, I will
give you leave to kill me on the spot. What! do you think I
should now begin to misconduct myself as I never before did – as
none of my family ever did before? Beware lest the Evil One
should be tempting you, and, suddenly depriving you of your
senses, draw you to perdition!" But the professor, calling for
candles, began to search the house from the cellar upwards--among
the tubs and casks--in every place but the right place--running
his sword through the beds and under the beds, and into every
inch of the bedding--leaving no corner or crevice of the whole
house untouched. The lady accompanied him with a candle in her
hand, frequently interrupting him with, "Say your beads--say your
beads, good signor; it is certain that the Evil One is dealing
with you, for were I half so bad as you esteem me, I would kill
myself with my own hands. But I entreat you not to give way to
this evil suggestion: oppose the adversary while you can."
Hearing these virtuous observations of his wife, and not being
able to discover any one after the strictest search, the
professor began to think that he must, after all, be possessed,
and presently extinguished the lights and returned to the
college. The lady, on shutting the door after him, called out to
Bucciolo to come from his hiding place, and then, stirring the
fire, began to prepare a fine capon for supper, with some
delicious wines and fruits. And thus they regaled themselves,
highly entertained with each other, nor was it their least
satisfaction that the professor had just left them, apparently
convinced that they had learned nothing at his expense.

Proceeding to the college the next morning, Bucciolo, without the
least suspicion of the truth, informed his master that he had
something for his ear which he was sure would make him laugh.
"How so?" demanded the professor. "Why," said his pupil, "you
must know that last night, just as I had entered the lady's
house, who should come in but her husband, and in such a rage!
He searched the whole house from top to bottom, without being
able to find me. I lay under a heap of newly-washed clothes,
which were not half dry. In short, the lady placed her part so
well that the poor gentleman forthwith took his leave, and we
afterwards ate a fine capon for supper and drank such wines--and
with such zest! It was really one of the pleasantest evenings I
ever spent in my life. But I think I'll go and take a nap, for I
promised to return this evening about the same hour." "Then be
sure before you go," said the professor, trembling with
suppressed rage, "be sure to come and tell me when you set out."
"O certainly," responded Bucciolo, and away he went. Such was
now the unhappy tutor's condition as to render him incapable of
delivering a single lecture during the whole day, and such was
his extreme vexation and eagerness for evening, that he spent his
time in arming himself with sword and dagger and cuirass,
meditating only upon deeds of blood. At the appointed time came
Bucciolo, with the utmost innocence, saying, "My dear master, I
am going now." "Yes, go," replied the professor, "and come back
to-morrow morning, if you can, and tell me how you have fared."
"I intend doing so," said Bucciolo, and departed at a brisk pace
for the house of the lady.

Armed cap-ŕ-pie, the professor ran out after him, keeping pretty
close to his heels, with the intention of catching him just as he
entered. But the lady, being on the watch, opened the door
suddenly for the pupil and shut it in her husband's face. The
professor began to knock and to call out with a furious noise.
Extinguishing the light in a moment, the lady placed Bucciolo
behind the door, and throwing her arms round her husband's neck
as he entered, motioned to her lover while thus she held his
enemy to make his escape, and he, upon the husband's rushing
forward, slipped out from behind the door unperceived. She then
began to scream as loud as she could, "Help! Help! The professor
has gone mad! Will nobody help me?" for he was in an ungovernable
rage, and she clung faster to him than before. The neighbors
running to her assistance and seeing the peaceable professor
armed with deadly weapons, and his wife crying out, "Help, for
the love of Heaven!--too much study hath driven him mad!"{ they
readily believed such to be the fact. "Come, good signor," they
said, "what is all this about? Try to compose yourself--nay, do
not struggle so hard, but let us help you to your couch." "How
can I rest, think you," he replied, "while this wicked woman
harbours paramours in my house? I saw him come in with my own
eyes." "Wretch that I am!" cried his wife. "inquire of all my
friends and neighbors whether any one of them ever saw anything
the least unbecoming in my conduct." The whole party entreated
the professor to lay such thoughts aside, for there was not a
better lady breathing, or one who set a higher value upon her
reputation. "But how can that be," said he, "when I saw him
enter the house, and he is in it now?" in the meanwhile the
lady's two brothers arrived, when she began to weep bitterly,
exclaiming, "O my dear brothers, my poor husband has gone mad,
quite mad--and he even says there is a man in the house. I
believe he would kill me if he could; but you know me too well to
listen for a moment to such a story," and she continued to weep.

The brothers then accosted the professor in no gentle terms: "We
are surprised, signor--we are shocked to find that you dare
bestow such epithets on our sister. What can have led you, after
living so amicably together, to bring these charges against her
now?" "I can only tell you," answered the professor, "that there
is a man in the house. I saw him enter." "Then come, and let us
find him. Show him to us," retorted the incensed brothers, "for
we will sift this matter to the bottom. Show us the man, and we
will then punish her in such a way as will satisfy you." One of
the brothers, taking his sister aside, said, "First tell me, have
you really got any one hidden in the house? Tell the truth."
"Heavens!" cried his sister, "I tell you, I would rather suffer
death. Should I be the first to bring a scandal on our house? I
wonder you are not ashamed to mention such a thing." Rejoiced to
hear this, the brothers, directed by the professor, at once
commenced a search. Half frantic, he led them at once to the
great bundle of linen, which he pierced through and through with
his sword, firmly believing that he was killing Bucciolo, all the
while taunting him at every blow. "There! I told you," cried his
wife, "that he was mad. To think of destroying your own property
thus! It is plain he did not help to get them up," she
continued, whimpering--"all my best clothes!"

Having now sought everywhere in vain, one of the brothers
observed, "He is indeed mad," to which the other agreed, while he
again attacked the professor in the bitterest terms: "You have
carried matters too far, signor; your conduct to our sister is
shameful, and nothing but insanity can excuse it." Vexed enough
before, the professor upon this flew into a violent passion, and
brandished his naked sword in such a way that the others were
obliged to use their sticks, which they did so very effectively
that, after breaking them over his head, they chained him down
like a maniac upon the floor, declaring he had lost his wits by
excessive study, and taking possession of his house, they
remained with their sister all night. next morning they sent for
a physician, who ordered a couch to be placed as near as possible
to the fire, that no one should be allowed to speak or reply to
the patient, and that he should be strictly dieted until he
recovered his wits; and this regimen was diligently

A report immediately spread through Bologna that the good
professor had become insane, which caused very general regret,
his friends observing to each other, "It is indeed a bad
business; but I suspected yesterday how it was--he could scarcely
get a word out as he was delivering his lecture, did you not
perceive?" "Yes," said another, "I saw him change colour, poor
fellow." And by everybody, everywhere, it was decided that the
professor was mad. In this situation numbers of his scholars
went to see him, and among the rest Bucciolo, knowing nothing of
what had happened, agreed to accompany them to the college,
desirous of acquainting his master with last night's adventure.
What was his surprise to learn that he had actually taken leave
of his senses, and being directed on leaving the college to the
professor's house, he was almost panic-struck on approaching the
place, beginning to comprehend the whole affair. Yet, in order
that no one might be led to suspect the truth, he walked into the
house along with the rest, and on reaching a certain apartment
which he knew, he beheld his poor tutor almost beaten to a mummy,
and chained down upon his bed, close to the fire. His pupils
were standing round condoling with him and lamenting his piteous
case. At length it came to Bucciolo's turn to say something to
him, which he did as follows: "My dear master, I am truly
concerned for you as if you were my own father, and if there is
anything in which I can be of service to you, command me as your
own son." To this the poor professor only replied, "No,
Bucciolo, depart in peace, my pupil; depart, for you have learned
much, very much, at my expense." Here his wife interrupted him:
"You see how he wanders--heed not what he says--pay no attention
to him, signor." Bucciolo, however, prepared to depart, and
taking a hasty leave of the professor, he proceeded to the
lodging of his friend Pietro Paolo, and said to him, "Fare you
well. god bless you, my friend. I must away; and I have lately
learned so much at other people's expense that I am going home."
So saying, he hurried away, and in due course arrived in safety
in Rome.

The affliction of the professor of Giovanni's sprightly tale will
probably be considered by most readers as well-merited
punishment; the young gallant proved an apt scholar in the art of
love, and here was the inciter to evil repaid with the same coin!

Straparola also tells the story, but in a different form, in his
"Pleasant Nights" (Piacevoli Notti), First Day, second novella;
and his version is taken into a small collection entitled
"Tarlton's Newes out of Purgatorie," first published in or before
1590--a catchpenny tract in which, of course, Dick Tarlton had
never a hand, any more than he had in the collection of jests
which goes under his name.


In Pisa, a famous city of Italye, there lived a gentleman of good
lineage and landes, feared as well for his wealth, as honoured
for his vertue, but indeed well thought on for both; yet the
better for his riches. This gentleman had one onelye daughter,
called Margaret, who for her beauty was liked of all, and desired
of many. But neither might their sutes nor her owne prevaile
about her father's resolution, who was determyned not to marrye
her, but to such a man as should be able in abundance to maintain
the excellency of her beauty. Divers young gentlemen proffered
large feoffments, but in vaine, a maide shee must bee still: till
at last an olde doctor in the towne, that professed phisicke,
became a sutor to her, who was a welcome man to her father, in
that he was one of the wealthiest men in all Pisa; a tall
stripling he was and a proper youth, his age about foure score,
his heade as white as milke, wherein for offence sake there was
left never a tooth. But it is no matter, what he wanted in
person he had in the purse, which the poore gentlewoman little
regarded, wishing rather to tie herself to one that might fit her
content, though they lived meanly, then to him with all the
wealth in Italye. But shee was yong, and forcst to follow her
father's direction, who, upon large covenants, was content his
daughter should marry with the doctor, and whether she likte him
or no, the match was made up, and in short time she was married.
The poore wench was bound to the stake, and had not onely an olde
impotent man, but one that was so jealous, as none might enter
into his house without suspition, nor shee doo any thing without
blame; the least glance, the smallest countenance, any smile was
a manifest instance to him that she thought of others better than
himselfe. Thus he himselfe lived in a hell, and tormented his
wife in as ill perplexitie.

At last it chaunced that a young gentleman of the citie, coming
by her house, and seeing her looke out at her window, noting her
rare and excellent proportion, fell in love with her, and that so
extreamelye, as his passions had no meanes till her favour might
mittigate his heart sicke discontent. The yong man that was
ignorant in amorous matters, and had never beene used to courte
anye gentlewoman, thought to reveale his passions to some one
freend that might given him counsaile for the winning of her
love, and thinking experience was the surest maister, on a daye
seeing the olde doctor walkinge in the churche that was
Margaret's husband, little knowing who he was, he thought this
the fittest man to whom he might discover his passions, for that
hee was olde and knew much, and was a phisition that with his
drugges might helpe him forward in his purposes, so that seeing
the olde man walke solitary, he joinde unto him, and after a
curteous salute, tolde him that he was to impart a matter of
great import to him, wherein, if hee would not onely be secrete,
but indevour to pleasure him, his pains should bee every way to
the full considered. You must imagine, gentleman, quoth Mutio,
for so was the doctor's name, that men of our profession are no
blabs, but hold their secrets in their hearts bottome, and
therefore reveale what you please, it shall not onely be
concealed, but cured, if either my art or counsaile may doo it.
Upon this, Lyonell, so was the young gentleman called, told and
discourst unto him from point to point, how he was falne in love
with a gentlewoman that was married to one of his profession,
discovered her dwelling and the house, for that he was
unacquainted with the woman, and a man little experienced in love
matters, he required his favour to further him with his advice.
Mutio at this motion was stung to the hart, knowing it was his
wife hee was fallen in love withall, yet to conceale the matter,
and to experience his wive's chastity, and that if she plaide
false, he might be revenged on them both, he dissembled the
matter, and answered that he knewe the woman very well, and
commended her highly: but said she had a churle to her husband,
and therefore he thought shee would bee the more tractable: Trye
her, man, quoth hee, fainte harte never wonne faire lady, and if
shee will not be brought to the bent of your bowe, I will provide
such a potion as shall dispatch all to your owne content: and to
give you further instructions for oportunitie, knowe that her
husband is foorth every after-noone from three till sixe. Thus
farre I have advised you, because I pitty your passions, as my
selfe being once a lover, but now I charge thee reveale it to
none whomsoever, least it doo disparage my credit to meddle in
amorous matters.

The yong gentleman not onely promised all carefull secrecy, but
gave him harty thanks for his good counsell, promising to meete
him there the next day, and tell him what newes. Then hee left
the old man, who was almost mad for feare his wife any way should
play false; he saw by experience brave men came to besiege the
castle, and seeing it was in woman's custodie, and had so weeke a
governor as himselfe, he doubted it would in time be delivered
up: which feare made him almost franticke, yet he drivde of the
time great torment, till he might heare from his rival. Lionello
he hastes him home and sutes him in his braverye, and goes downe
toward the house of Mutio, where he sees her at the windowe whome
he courted with a passionate looke, with such humble salute and
shee might perceive how the gentleman was affectionate.
Margaretta, looking earnestlye upon him, and noting the
perfection of his proportion, accounted him in her eye the flower
of all Pisa, thinkte herselfe fortunate if shee might have him
for her freend, to supply the defaultes that she found in Mutio.
Sundry times that afternoone he past by her window, and he cast
not up more loving lookes, than he received gratious favours,
which did so incourage him that the next daye betweene three and
sixe hee went to her house, and knocking at the doore, desired to
speake with the mistris of the house, who hearing by her maid's
description what he was, commaunded him to come in, where she
intertained him with all courtesie.

The youth that never before had given the attempt to court a
ladye, began his exordium with a blushe; and yet went forward so
well, that hee discourst unto her howe hee loved her, and that if
it might please her to accept of his service, as of a freende
ever vowde in all dutye to bee at her commaunde, the care of her
honour should bee deerer to him than his life, and hee would be
ready to prise her discontent with his bloud at all times. The
gentlewoman was a little coye, but, before they part, they
concluded that the next daye at foure of the clock hee should
come thither and eate a pound of cherries, which was resolved on
with a succado des labras, and so with a loath to depart they
tooke their leaves. Lionello as joyfull a man as might be, hyed
him to the church to meete his olde doctor, where he found him in
his olde walke: What newes, syr, quoth Mutio, how have you sped?
Even as I can wishe, quoth Lionello, for I have been with my
mistrisse, and have found her so tractable, that I hope to make
the olde peasant, her husband, looke broadheaded by a paire of
browantlers. How deepe this strooke into Mutio's hart, let them
imagine that can conjecture what jealousie is; insomuch that the
olde doctor askte when should be the time. marry, quoth
Lionello, at foure of the clocke in the afternoone, and then
Maister Doctor, quoth hee, will I dub the old squire knight of
the forked order.

Thus they past on in that, till it grew late, and then Lyonello
went home to his lodging and Mutio to his house, covering all his
sorrows with a merrye countenance, with full resolution to
revenge them both the next daye with extremitie. He past the
night as patiently as he could, and the next daye, after dinner,
awaye hee went, watching when it should bee foure of the clocke.
At the hour justly came Lyonello and was intertained with all
curtesie; but scarce had they kist, ere the maid cryed out to her
mistresse that her maister was at the doore; for he hasted,
knowing that a horne was but a litle while in grafting.
Margaret, at this alarum, was amazed, and yet for a shift chopt
Lionello into a great driefatte[FN#491] full of feathers,[FN#492]
and sat her downe close to her woorke. By that came Mutio in
blowing, and as though hee came to looke somewhat in haste,
called for the keyes of his chamber, and looked in everye place,
searching so narrowlye in everye corner of the house, that he
left not the very privie unsearcht. Seeing he could not finde
him, hee said nothing, but fayning himselfe not well at ease,
staide at home, so that poor Lionello was faine to staye in the
drifatte till the old churle was in bed with his wife; and then
the maide let him out at a backe doore, who went home with a flea
in his eare to his lodging.

Well, the next day he went againe to meete his doctor, whome he
founde in his wonted walke. What newes? Quoth Mutio, how have
you sped? A poxe of the olde slave, quoth Lyonello; I was no
sooner in and had given my mistresse one kisse, but the jelous
asse was at the doore; the maide spied him, and cryed her
maister; so that the poore gentlewoman, for very shifte, was
faine to put me in a driefatte of feathers that stoode in an olde
chamber, and there I was faine to tarry while[FN#493] he was in
bed and a-sleepe, and then the maide let me out, and I departed.
But it is no matter; 'twas but a chaunce, and I hope to crye
quittance with him ere it be long. As how? Quoth Mutio. Marry,
thus, quoth Lionello: shee sent me woord by her maide this daye
that upon Thursday next the olde churle suppeth with a patient of
his a mile out of Pisa, and then I feare not but to
quitte[FN#494] him for all. It is well, quoth Mutio; fortune bee
your frende. I thanke you, quoth Lionello: and so, after a
little more prattle, they departed.

To bee shorte, Thursdaye came, and about sixe of the clocke,
foorth goes Mutio no further than a freendes house of his, from
whence he might descrye who went into his house; straight hee saw
Lionello enter in, and after goes hee, insomuche that hee was
scarcelye sitten downe, before the mayde cryed out againe, my
maister comes. The goodwife, that before had provided for after-
claps,[FN#495] had found out a privie place between two seelings
of a plauncher,[FN#496] and there she thrust Lionello, and her
husband came sweting. What news, quoth shee, drives you home
againe so soone, husband? Marry, sweete wife, quoth he, a
fearfull dream that I had this night, which came to my
remembrance, and that was this: me thought there was a villaine
that came secretlye into my house, with a naked poinard in his
hand, and hid himselfe, but I could not finde the place; with
that mine nose bled, and I came back; and, by the grace of God, I
will seeke every corner in the house for the quiet of my minde.
Marry, I pray you doo, husband, quoth she. With that he lockt in
all the doors, and began to search every chamber, every hole,
every chest, every tub, the very well; he stabd every feather bed
through, and made havocke like a mad man, which made him thinke
all was in vaine; and hee began to blame his eies that thought
they saw that which they did not. Upon this he rest halfe
lunaticke, and all night he was very wakefull, that towards the
morning he fell into a dead sleepe, and then was Lionello
conveighed away.

In the morning when Mutio wakened, hee thought how by no meanes
hee should be able to take Lionello tardy: yet he laid in his
head a most dangerous plot; and that was this: Wife, quoth he, I
must the next Monday ride to Vycensa, to visit an olde patient of
mine; till my returne, which will be some ten dayes, I will have
thee staye at our little graunge house in the countrey. Marry,
very well content, quoth she. With that he kist her, and was
verye pleasant, as though he had suspected nothing, and away hee
flings to the church, where he meetes Lionello. What, sir, quoth
he, what news? is your mistresse yours in possession? No, a
plague of the olde slave, quoth hee. I think he is either a
witch or els woorkes by magick; for I can no sooner enter into
the doores, but he is at my backe, and so he was againe
yesternight; for I was not warm in my seate before the maide
cryed, my maister comes; and then was the poore soule faine to
conveigh me betweene two seelings of a chamber, in a fit place
for the purpose, wher I laught hartely to myself too see how he
sought every corner, ransakt every tub, and stabd every feather
bed, but in vaine; I was safe enough until the morning, and then,
when he was fast asleepe, I lept out. Fortune frownes on you,
quoth Mutio. I,[FN#497] but I hope, quoth Lionello, this is the
last time, and now shee will begin to smile; for on Monday next
he rides to Vicensa, and his wife lyes at the grange house a
little (out) of the towne, and there in his absence I will
revenge all forepast misfortunes. God sent it be so, quoth
Mutio; and so took his leave.

These two lovers longd for Monday, and at last it came. Early in
the morning Mutio horst himselfe and his wife, his maide and a
man, and no more, and away he rides to his grange house, wher,
after he had brok his fast, he took his leave, and away towards
Vincensa. He rode not far ere, by a false way, he returned into
a thicket, and there, with a company of cuntry peasants, lay in
an ambuscade to take the young gentleman. In the afternoon comes
Lionello galloping, and as soon as he came within sight of the
house, he sent back his horse by his boy, and went easily afoot,
and there, at the very entry, was entertained by Margaret, who
led him up the staires, and convaid him into her bedchamber,
saying he was welcome into so mean a cottage. But, quoth she,
now I hope fortun shall not envy the purity of our loves. Alas!
alas! mistris, cried the maid, heer is my maister, and 100 men
with him, with bils and staves. We are betraid, quoth Lionel,
and I am but a dead man. Feare not, quoth she, but follow me:
and straight she carried him downe into a low parlor, where
stoode an olde rotten chest full of writinges; she put him into
that, and covered him with olde papers and evidences, and went to
the gate to meet her husband.

Why, Signor Mutio, what meanes this hurly burly? quoth she. Vile
and shameless strumpet as thou art, thou shalt know by and by,
quoth he. Where is thy love? All we have watcht him and seen
him enter in. Now, quoth he, shall neither thy tub of feathers
or thy seeling serve, for perish he shall with fire, or els fall
into my handes. Doo thy worst, jealous foole, quoth she, I ask
thee no favour. With that, in a rage, he beset the house round,
and then set fire on it. Oh, in what perplexitie was poore
Lionello in that he was shut in a chest, and the fire about his
eares! and how was Margaret passionat, that knew her lover was in
such danger! Yet she made light of the matter, and, as one in a
rage, called her maid to her and said: Come on, wench, seeing thy
maister, mad with jealousie, hath set the house and al my living
on fire, I will be revenged on him: help me heer to lift this old
chest where all his writings and deeds are; let that burne first,
and as soon as I see that on fire I will walke towards my
freends, for the olde foole will be beggard, and I will refuse
him. Mutio, that knew al his obligations and statutes lay there,
puld her back and had two of his men carry the chest into the
field, and see it were safe, himselfe standing by and seeing his
house burned downe sticke and stone. Then, quieted in his mind,
he went home with his wife and began to flatter her, thinking
assuredly that he had burnt her paramour, causing his chest to be
carried in a cart to his house in Pisa. Margaret, impatient,
went to her mother's and complained to her and her brethren of
the jealousie of her husband, who maintaned her it to be true,
and desired but a daies respite to proove it.

Wel, hee was bidden to supper the next night at her mother's, she
thinking to make her daughter and him freends againe. In the
meane time he to his woonted walk in the church, and there,
prćter expectationem, he found Lionello walking. Wondring at
this, he straight enquires what newes. What newes, Maister
Doctor, quoth he, and he fell in a great laughing; in faith
yesterday, I scapt a scouring, for syrrha, I went to the grange-
house, where I was appointed to come, and I was no sooner gotten
up to the chamber, but the magicall villeine, her husband, beset
the house with bils and staves, and that he might be sure no
seeling nor corner should shrowde me, he set the house on fire,
and so burnt it downe to the ground. Why, quoth Mutio, and how
did you escape? Alas, quoth he, wel fare a woman's wit; she
conveighed me into an old chest full of writings, which she knew
her husband durst not burne, and so I was saved and brought to
Pisa, and yesternight, by her maide, let home to my lodging.
This, quoth he, is the pleasantest jest that ever I heard; and
upon this I have a sute to you: I am this night bidden foorth to
supper, you shall be my guest, onely I will crave so much favour,
as after supper for a pleasant sporte, to make relation what
successe you have had in your loves. For that I will not sticke,
quoth he, and so he conveyed Lionello to his mother-in-law's
house with him, and discovered to his wive's brethren who he was,
and how at supper he would disclose the whole matter; For, quoth
he, he knowes not that I am Margaret's husband. At this all the
brethren bad him welcome, and so did the mother to, and Margaret,
she was kept out of sight. Supper time being come they fell to
their victals, and Lionello was carrowst unto by Mutio, who was
very pleasant, to drawe him into a merry humour, that he might to
the ful discourse the effect and fortunes of his love. Supper
being ended, Mutio requested him to tel to the gentlemen what had
hapned between him and his mistresse. Lionello, with a smiling
countenance, began to describe his mistresse, the house and
street where she dwelt, how he fell in love with her, and how he
used the councell of this doctor, who in all his affaires was his
secretarye. Margaret heard all this with a great feare, and when
he came to the last point, she caused a cup of wine to be given
him by one of her sisters, wherein was a ring that he had given
Margaret. As he had told how he had escapt burning, and was
ready to confirme all for a troth, the gentlewoman drunke to him,
who taking the cup and seeing the ring, having a quick wit and a
reaching head, spide the fetch, and perceived that all this while
this was his lover's husband to whome hee had revealed these
escapes; at this drinking the wine and swallowing the ring into
his mouth he went forward. Gentlemen, quoth he, how like you of
my loves and my fortunes? Wel, quoth the gentlemen; I pray you
is it true? As true, quoth he, as if I would be so simple as to
reveal what I did to Margaret's husband; for, know you,
gentlemen, that I knew this Mutio to be her husband whom I
notified to be my lover; and for that he was generally known
throughout Pisa to be a jealous fool, therefore, with these tales
I brought him into paradice, which are follies of mine owne
braine; for, trust me, by the faith of a gentleman, I never spake
to the woman, was never in her companye, neyther doo I know her
if I see her. At this they all fell in a laughing at Mutio, who
was ashamde that Lionello had so scoft him. But all was well;
they were made friends, but the jest went so to his hart that he
shortly after died, and Lionello enjoyed the ladye.

Ser Giovanni's story, Roscoe observes, is "curious as having
through the medium of translation suggested the idea of those
amusing scenes in which the renowned Falstaff acquaints Master
Ford, disguised under the name of Brooke, with his progress in
the good graces of Mrs. Ford. The contrivances likewise by which
he eludes the vengeance of the jealous husband are similar to
those recounted in the novel, with the addition of throwing the
unweildy knight into the river. Dunlop says that the same story
has been translated is a collection entitled ‘The Fortunate,
Deceived, and Unfortunate Lovers,' and that Shakspeare may
probably also have seen it in ‘Tarlton's Newes out of
Purgatorie,' where the incidents related in the Lovers of Pisa
are given according to Straparola's story. Moliere made a happy
use of it in his ‘Ecole des Femmes,' where the humour of the
piece turns upon a young gentleman confiding his progress in the
affections of a lady to the ear of her guardian, who believed he
was on the point of espousing her himself." Two other French
plays were based upon the story, one of which was written by La
Fontaine under the title of "La Maitre en Droit." Readers of
"Gil Blas" will also recollect how Don Raphael confides to
Balthazar the progress of his amour with his wife, and expresses
his vexation at the husband's unexpected return.

It is much to be regretted that nothing is known as to the date
and place of the composition of the Breslau edition of The
Nights, which alone contains this and several other tales found
in the collections of the early Italian novelists.


Although we may find, as already stated, the direct source of
this tale in the forty-sixth chapter of Al-Mas'údi's "Meadows of
Gold and Mines of Gems," which was written about A.D. 943, yet
there exists a much older version--if not the original form--in a
Sanskrit collection entitled, "Vetálapanchavinsatí," or Twenty-
five Tales of a Vampyre. This ancient work is incorporated with
the "Kathá Sarit Ságara," or Ocean of the Streams of Story,
composed in Sanskrit verse by Somadeva in the 11th century, after
a similar work, now apparently lost, entitled "Vrihat Kathá," or
Great Story, written by Gunadhya, in the 6th century.[FN#498] In
the opinion of Benfey all the Vampyre Tales are of Buddhist
extraction (some are unquestionably so), and they probably date
from before our era. As a separate work they exist, more or less
modified, in many of the Indian vernaculars; in Hindí, under the
title of "Baital Pachísí"; in Tamil, "Vedala Kadai"; and there
are also versions in Telegu, Mahratta, and Canarese. The
following is from Professor C. H. Tawney's complete translation
of the "Kathá Sarit Ságara" (it is the 8th recital of the


There is a great tract of land assigned to Bráhmans in the
country of Anga, called Vrikshaghata. In it there lived a rich
sacrificing Bráhman named Vishnusvámin. And he had a wife equal
to himself in birth. And by her he had three sons born to him,
who were distinguished for preternatural acuteness. In course of
time they grew up to be young men. One day, when he had begun a
sacrifice, he sent those three brothers to the sea to fetch a
turtle. So off they went, and when they had found a turtle, the
eldest said to his two brothers, "Let one of you take the turtle
for our father's sacrifice; I cannot take it, as it is all
slippery with slime." When the eldest said this, the two younger
ones answered him, "If you hesitate about taking it, why should
not we?" When the eldest heard that, he said, "You two must take
the turtle; if you do not, you will have obstructed your father's
sacrifice, and then you will certainly sink down to hell." When
he told the younger brother's this, they laughed and said to him,
"If you see our duty so clearly, why do you not see that your own
is the same?" Then the eldest said, "What, do you not know how
fastidious I am? I am very fastidious about eating, and I cannot
be expected to touch what is repulsive." The middle brother,
when he heard this speech of his, said to his brother, "Then I am
a more fastidious person than you, for I am a most fastidious
connoisseur of the fair sex." When the middle one said this, the
eldest went on to say, "Then let the younger of you two take the
turtle." Then the youngest brother frowned, and in his turn said
to the two elder, "You fools, I am very fastidious about beds; so
I am the most fastidious of the lot."

So the three brothers fell to quarrelling with one another, and
being completely under the dominion of conceit, they left that
turtle and went off immediately to the court of the king of that
country, whose name was Prasenajit, and who lived in a city named
Vitankapura, in order to have the dispute decided. There they
had themselves announced by the warder, and went in, and gave the
king a circumstantial account of their case. The king said,
"Wait here, and I will put you all in turn to the proof;' so they
agreed and remained there. And at the time that the king took
his meal, he had them conducted to a seat of honour, and given
delicious food fit for a king, possessing all the six flavours.
And while all were feasting around him, the Bráhman who was
fastidious about eating along of the company did not eat, but sat
there with his face puckered up with disgust. The king himself
asked the Bráhman why he did not eat his food, though it was
sweet and fragrant, and he slowly answered him, "I perceive in
this food an evil smell of the reek from corpses, so I cannot
bring myself to eat it, however delicious it may be." When he
said this before the assembled multitude, they all smelled it by
the king's orders, and said, "This food is prepared from white
rice and is good and fragrant." But the Bráhman who was so
fastidious about eating would not touch it, but stopped his nose.
Then the king reflected, and proceeded to inquire into the
matter, and found out from his officers that the food had been
made from rice which had been grown in a field near the burning
ghát of a certain village. Then the king was much astonished,
and, being pleased, he said to him, "In truth you are very
particular as to what you eat; so eat of some other dish."

And after they had finished their dinner, the king dismissed the
Bráhmans to their apartments and sent for the loveliest lady of
his court. And in the evening he sent that fair one, all whose
limbs were of faultless beauty, splendidly adorned, to the second
Bráhman, who was so squeamish about the fair sex. And that
matchless kindler of Cupid's flame, with a face like the full
moon of midnight, went, escorted by the king's servants, to the
chamber of the Bráhman. But when she entered, lighting up the
chamber with her brightness, that gentleman who was so fastidious
about the fair sex felt quite faint, and stopping his nose with
his left hand, said to the king's servants, "Take her away; if
you do not, I am a dead man: a smell comes from her like that of
a goat." When the king's servants heard this, they took the
bewildered fair one to their sovereign, and told him what had
taken place. And the eking immediately had the squeamish
gentleman sent for, and said to him, "How can this lovely woman,
who has perfumed herself with sandal-wood, camphor, black aloes,
and other splendid scents, so that she diffuses exquisite
fragrance through the world, smell like a goat?" But though the
king used this argument to the squeamish gentleman he stuck to
his point; and then the king began to have his doubts on the
subject, and at last, by artfully framed questions, he elicited
from the lady herself that, having been separated in her
childhood from her mother and nurse, she had been brought up on
goat's milk.

Then the king was much astonished, and praised highly the
discernment of the man who was fastidious about the fair sex, and
immediately had given to the third Bráhman, who was fastidious
about beds, in accordance with his taste, a bed composed of seven
mattresses placed upon a bedstead. White smooth sheets and
coverlets were laid upon the bed, and the fastidious man slept
upon it in a splendid room. But, before half a watch of the
night had passed, he rose up from that bed, with his hand pressed
to his side, screaming in an agony of pain. And the king's
officers, who were there, saw a red crooked mark on his side, as
if a hair had been pressed deep into it. And they went and told
the king, and the king said to them, "Look and see if there is
not something under the mattress." So they went and examined the
bottom of the mattresses one by one, and they found a hair in the
middle of the bedstead underneath them all. And they took it and
showed it to the king, and they also brought the man who was
fastidious about beds, and when the king saw the state of his
body, he was astonished. And he spent the whole night in
wondering how a hair could make so deep an impression on his skin
through seven mattresses.[FN#499]

And the next morning the king gave three hundred thousand gold
pieces to those fastidious men, because they were persons of
wonderful discernment and refinement. And they remained in great
comfort in the king's court, forgetting all about the turtle, and
little did they reck of the fact that they had incurred sin by
obstructing their father's sacrifice.[FN#500]

The story of the brothers who were so very "knowing" is common to
most countries, with occasional local modifications. It is not
often we find the knowledge of the "quintessence of things"
concentrated in a single individual, as in the case of the ex-
king of our tale, but we have his exact counterpart--and the
circumstance is significant--in No. 2 of the "Cento Novelle
Antiche," the first Italian collection of short stories, made in
the 13th century, where a prisoner informs the king of Greece
that a certain horse has been suckled by a she-ass, that a jewel
contains a flaw, and that the king himself is a baker. Mr.
Tawney, in a note on the Vetála story, as above, refers also to
the decisions of Hamlet in Saxo Grammaticus, 1839, p. 138, in
Simrock's "Quellen des Shakespeare," I, 81-85; 5, 170; he lays
down that some bread tastes of blood (the corn was grown on a
battlefield); that some liquor tastes of iron (the malt was mixed
with water taken from a well in which some rusty swords had
lain); that some bacon tastes of corpses (the pig had eaten a
corpse); lastly, that the king is a servant and his wife a
serving-maid. But in most versions of the story three brothers
are the gifted heroes.

In "Mélusine"[FN#501] for 5 Nov. 1885, M. René Basset cites an
interesting variant (in which, as is often the case, the "Lost
Camel" plays a part, but are not concerned about it at present)
from Radloff's "Proben der Volksliteratur der turkischen Stamme
des Sud-Siberiens," as follows:


Meat and bread were set before the three brothers, and the prince
went out. The eldest said, "The prince is a slave;" the second,
"This is dog's flesh;" the youngest, "This bread has grown over
the legs of a dead body." The prince heard them. He took a
knife and ran to find his mother. "Tell me the truth," cried he-
-"were you unfaithful to my father during his absence? A man who
is here has called me a slave." "My son," replied she, "If I
don't tell the truth, I shall die; if I tell it, I shall die.
When thy father was absent, I gave myself up to a slave." The
prince left his mother and ran to the house of the shepherd:
"The meat which you have cooked to-day--what is it? Tell the
truth, otherwise I'll cut your head off." "Master, if I tell it,
I shall die; if I don't I shall die. I will be truthful. It was
a lamb whose mother had no milk; on the day of its birth, it was
suckled by a bitch: that is to-day's ewe." The prince left the
shepherd and ran to the house of the husbandman: "Tell the truth,
or else I'll cut off your head. Three young men have come to my
house, I have placed bread before them, and they say that the
grain has grown over the limbs of a dead man." "I will be frank
with you. I ploughed with my plough in a place where were
(buried) the limbs of a man; without knowing it, I sowed some
wheat, which grew up." the prince quitted his slave and returned
to his house, where were seated the strangers. He said to the
first, "Young man, how do you know that I am a slave?" "Because
you went out as soon as the repast was brought in." He asked the
second, "How do you know that the meat which was served was that
of a dog?" "Because it has a disagreeable taste like the flesh of
a dog." Then to the third: "How come you to know that this bread
was grown over the limbs of a dead person?" "What shall I say?
It smells of the limbs of a dead body; that is why I recognised
it. If you do not believe me, ask your slave; he will tell you
that what I say is true."

In the same paper (col. 516) M. René Basset cites a somewhat
elaborate variant, from Stier's "Ungarische Sagen und Märchen,"
in which, once more, the knowledge of the "quintessence of
things" is concentrated in a single individual.


A clever Magyar is introduced with his companions in disguise
into the camp of the king of the Tátárs, who is menacing his
country. The prince, suspicious, causes him to be carefully
watched by his mother, a skilful sorceress. They brought in the
evening's repast. "What good wine the prince has!" said she.
"Yes," replied one, "but it contains human blood." The sorceress
took not of the bed from whence these words proceeded, and when
all were asleep she deftly cut a lock of hair from him who had
spoken, crept stealthily out of the room, and brought this mark
to her son. the strangers started up, and when our hero
discovered what had been done to him, he cut a lock from all, to
render his decision impossible. When they came to dinner, the
king knew not from whom the lock had been taken. The following
night the mother of the prince again slipped into the room, and
said, "What good bread has the prince of the Tátárs!" "Very
good," replied one, "it is made with the milk of a woman." When
all were asleep, she cut a little off the moustache of him who
was lying in the bed from which the voice proceeded. This time
the Magyars were still more on the alert, and when they were
apprised of the matter, they all cut a little from their
moustaches, so that next morning the prince found himself again
foiled. The third night the old lady hid herself, and said in a
loud voice, "What a handsome man is the prince of the Tátárs!"
"Yes," said one, "but he is a bastard." When all were asleep,
the old lady made a mark on the visor of the helmet of the one
from whence had come the words, and then acquainted her son of
what she had done. In the morning the prince perceived that all
the helmets were similarly marked.[FN#502] At length he
refrained, and said, "I see that there is among you a master
greater than myself; that is why I desire very earnestly to know
him. He may make himself known; I should like to see and know
this extraordinary man, who is more clever and powerful than
myself." The young man started up from his seat and said, "I
have not wished to be stronger or wiser than yourself. I have
only wished to find out what you had preconcerted for us. I am
the person who has been marked three nights." "It is well, young
man. But prove now your words: How is there human blood in the
wine?" "Call your butler and he will tell you." The butler came
in trembling all over, and confessed that when he corked the wine
he had cut his finger with the knife, and a drop of blood had
fallen into the cask. "But how is there woman's milk in the
bread?" asked the king. "Call the bakeress," he replied, "and
she will tell it you." When they questioned her, she confessed
that she was kneading the bread and at the same time suckling her
baby, and that on pressing it to her breast some milk flowed and
was mixed with the bread. The sorceress, the mother of the king,
when they came to the third revelation of the young man,
confessed in her turn that the king was illegitimate.

Mr. Tawney refers to the Chevalier de Mailly's version of the
Three Princes of Serendip (Ceylon): The three are sitting at
table, and eating a leg of lamb, sent with some splendid wine
from the table of the emperor Bahrám. The eldest maintains that
the wine was made of grapes that grew in a cemetery; the second,
that the lamb was brought up on dog's milk; while the third
asserts that the emperor had put to death the son of the wazír.
And that the latter is bent on vengeance. All these statements
turn out to be well-grounded. Mr. Tawney also refers to parallel
stories in the Breslau edition of The Nights; namely, in Night
458, it is similarly conjectured that the bread was baked by a
sick woman; that the kid was suckled by a bitch, and that the
sultan is illegitimate; and in Night 459, a gem-cutter guesses
that a jewel has an internal flaw, a man skilled in the pedigrees
of horses divines that a horse is the offspring of a female
buffalo, and a man skilled in human pedigrees that the mother of
the favourite queen was a rope-dancer. Similar incidents occur
in "The Sultan of Yemen and his Three Sons," one of the
Additional Tales translated by Scott, from the Wortley-Montague
MS., now in the Bodleian Library, and comprised in vol. vi. of
his edition of "The Arabian Nights Entertainments," published at
London in 1811.

An analogous tale occurs in Mr. E. J. W. Gibb's recently-
published translation of the "History of the Forty Vezirs (the
Lady's Fourth Story, p. 69 ff.), the motif of which is that "all
things return to their origin:"


There was in the palace of the world a king who was very desirous
of seeing Khizr[FN#503] (peace on him!), and he would even say,
"If there be any one who will show me Khizr, I will give him
whatsoever he may wish." Now there was at that time a man poor
of estate, and from the stress of his poverty he said to himself,
"Let me go and speak to the king, that if he provide for me
during three years, either I will be dead, or the king will be
dead, or he will forgive me my fault, or I shall on somewise win
to escape, and in this way shall I make merry for a time." so he
went to the king and spake these words to him.[FN#504] the king
said, "An thou show him not, then I will kill thee," and that
poor man consented. Then the king let give him much wealth and
money, and the poor man took that wealth and money and went to
his house. Three years he spent in merriment and delight, and he
rested at ease till the term was accomplished. At the end of
that time he fled and hid himself in a trackless place and he
began to quake for fear. Of a sudden he saw a personage with
white raiment and shining face, who saluted him. The poor man
returned the salutation, and the radiant being asked, "Why art
thou thus sad?" but he gave no answer. Again the radiant being
asked him and sware to him, saying, "Do indeed tell to me thy
plight, that I may find thee some remedy." So that hapless one
narrated his story from its beginning to its end, and the radiant
being said, "Come, I will go with thee to the king, and I will
answer for thee." So they arose.

Now the king wanted that hapless one, and while they were going
some of the king's officers who were seeking met them, and they
straightway seized the poor man and brought him to the king.
Quoth the king, "Lo, the three years are accomplished; come now,
and show me Khizr." The poor man said, "My king, grace and
bounty are the work of kings--forgive my sin." Quoth the king,
"I made a pact; till I have killed thee, I shall not have
fulfilled it." And he looked to his chief vezír and said, "How
should this be done?" quoth the vezír, "This man should be hewn
in many pieces and then hung up on butchers' hooks, that others
may see and lie not before the king." Said that radiant being,
"True spake the vezír;--all things return to their origin." Then
the king looked to the second vezír and said, "What sayest thou?"
he replied, "This man should be boiled in a cauldron." Said that
radiant being, "True spake the vezír;--all things return to their
origin." The king looked to the third vezir and said, "What
sayest though?" the vezír replied, "This man should be hewn in
small pieces and baked in an oven." Again said that elder, "True
spake the vezír;--all things return to their origin." Then quoth
the king to the fourth vezír, "Let us see what sayest thou?" The
vezír replied, "O king, the wealth thou gavest this poor creature
was for the love of Khizr (peace on him!). he, thinking to find
him, accepted it; now that he has not found him he seeks pardon.
This were befitting, that thou set free this poor creature for
love of Khizr." Said that elder, "True spake the vezír;--all
things return to their origin." Then the king said to the elder,
"O elder, my vezírs have said different things contrary the one
to the other, and thou hast said concerning each of them, ‘True
spake the vezír; - all things return to their origin.' What is
the reason thereof?" that elder replied, "O king, thy first
vezír is a butcher's son; therefore did he draw to his origin.
Thy second vezír is a cook's son, and he likewise proposed a
punishment as became his origin. Thy third vezír is a baker's
son; he likewise proposed a punishment as became his origin.
But thy fourth vezír is of gentle birth; compassion therefore
becomes his origin, so he had compassion on that hapless one, and
sought to do good and counselled liberation. O king, all things
return to their origin."[FN#505] And he gave the king much
counsel, and at last said, "Lo, I am Khizr," and

The discovery of the king's illegitimate birth, which occurs in
so many versions, has its parallels in the story of the Nephew of
Hippocrates in the "Seven Wise Masters," and the Lady's 2nd Story
in Mr. Gibb's translation of the "Forty Vezírs." The
extraordinary sensitiveness of the third young Bráhman, in the
Vetála story, whose side was scratched by a hair that was under
the seventh of the mattresses on which he lay, Rohde (says
Tawney), in his "Greichische Novellistik," p. 62, compares with a
story told by Aelian of the Sybarite Smindyrides, who slept on a
bed of rose-leaves and got up in the morning covered with
blisters. He also quotes from the Chronicle of Tabari a story of
a princess who was made to bleed by a rose-leaf lying in her

The eleventh recital of the Vetála is about a king's three
sensitive wives: As one of the queens was playfully pulling the
hair of the king, a blue lotus leaped from her ear and fell on
her lap; immediately a would was produced on the front of her
thigh by the blow, and the delicate princess exclaimed, "Oh! oh!"
and fainted. At night, the second retired with the king to an
apartment on the roof of the palace exposed to the rays of the
moon, which fell on the body of the queen, who was sleeping by
the king's side, where it was exposed by her garment blowing
aside; immediately she woke up, exclaiming, "Alas! I am burnt,"
and rose up from the bed rubbing her limbs. The king woke up in
a state of alarm, crying out, "What is the meaning of this?"
then he got up and saw that blisters had been produced on the
queen's body. In the meanwhile the king's third wife heard of it
and left her palace to come to him. And when she got into the
open air, she heard distinctly, as the night was still, the sound
of a pestle pounding in a distant house. The moment the gazelle-
eyed one heard it, she said, "Alas! I am killed," and she sat
down on the path, shaking her hands in an agony of pain. Then
the girl turned back, and was conducted by her attendants to her
own chamber, where she fell on her bed and groaned. And when her
weeping attendants examined her, they saw that her hands were
covered with bruises, and looked like lotuses upon which black
beetles had settled.

To this piteous tale of the three very sensitive queens Tawney
appends the following note: Rohde, in his "Greichische
Novellistik," p. 62, compares with this a story told by Timćus,
of a Sybarite who saw a husbandman hoeing a field, and contracted
rupture from it. Another Sybarite, to whom he told the tale of
his sad mishap, got ear-ache from hearing it. Oesterley, in his
German translation of the Baitál Pachísí, points out that Grimm,
in his "Kindermärchen," iii. p. 238, quotes a similar incident
from the travels of the Three sons of Giaffar: out of four
princesses, one faints because a rose-twig is thrown into her
face among some roses; a second shuts her eyes in order not to
see the statue of a man; a third says, "Go away; the hairs in
your fur cloak run into me;" and the fourth covers her face,
fearing that some of the fish in a tank may belong to the male
sex. He also quotes a striking parallel from the "Elites des
contes du Sieur d'Onville:" Four ladies dispute as to which of
them is the most delicate. One has been lame for three months
owing to a rose-leaf having fallen on her foot; another has had
three ribs broken by a sheet in her bed having been crumpled; a
third has held her head on one side for six weeks owing to one
half of her head having three more hairs on it than the other; a
fourth has broken a blood-vessel by a slight movement, and the
rupture cannot be healed without breaking the whole limb.[Poor


In the Persian tales of "The Thousand and One Days," a young
prince entered his father's treasury one day, and saw there a
little cedar chest "set with pearls, diamonds, emeralds, and
topazes;" on opening it (for the key was in the lock) he beheld
the picture of an exceedingly beautiful woman, with whom he
immediately fell in love. Ascertaining the name of the lady from
an inscription on the back of the portrait, he set off with a
companion to discover her, and having been told by an old man at
Baghdad that her father at one reigned in Ceylon, he continued
his journey thither, encountering many unheard-of adventures by
the way. Ultimately he is informed that the lady with whose
portrait he had become enamoured was one of the favourites of
King Solomon. One should suppose that his would have effectually
cured the love-sick prince; but no: he "could never banish her
sweet image from his heart."[FN#508]

Two instances of falling in love with the picture of a pretty
woman occur in the "Kathá Sarít Ságara." In Book ix., chap. 51,
a painter shows King Prithvirúpa the "counterfeit presentment" of
the beauteous Princess Rapalatá, and "as the king gazed on it his
eye was drowned in that sea of beauty her person, so that he
could not draw it out again. For the king, whose longing was
excessive, could not be satisfied with devouring her form, which
poured forth a stream of the nectar of beauty, as the partridge
cannot be satisfied with devouring the moonlight." In Book xii.,
chap. 100, a female ascetic shows a wandering prince the portrait
of the Princess Mandáravatí, "and Sundarasena when he beheld that
maiden, who, though she was present there only in a picture,
seemed to be of romantic beauty and like a flowing forth of joy,
immediately felt as if he had been pierced with the arrows of the
god of the flowery bow [i.e. Káma]." In chapter 35 of Scott's
translation of the "Bahár-i-Dánish," Prince Ferokh-Faul opens a
volume, "which he had scarcely done when the fatal portrait of
the fair princess who, the astrologers had foretold, was to
occasion him so many perils, presented itself to his view. He
instantly fainted, when the slave, alarmed, conveyed intelligence
of his condition to the sultan, and related the unhappy cause of
the disorder." In Gomberville's romances of Polexandre, the
African prince, Abd-el-Malik, falls in love with the portrait of
Alcidiana, and similar incidents occur in the romance of
Agesilaus of Colchos and in the Story of the Seven Wazírs (vol.
vi.); but why multiply instances? Nothing is more common in
Asiatic fictions.


In addition to the versions of this amusing story referred to on
p. 157--all of which will be found in the second volume of my
work on "Popular Tales and Fictions," pp. 212-228--there is yet
another in a Persian story-book, of unknown date, entitled,
"Shamsa ú Kuhkuha," written by Mirza Berkhorder Turkman, of which
an account, together with specimens, is given in a recently-
published little book (Quaritch), "Persian Portraits, a sketch of
Persian History, Literature, and Politics," by Mr. F. F.
Arbuthnot, author of "Early Ideas: a Group of Hindoo Stories."

This version occurs in a tale of three artful wives--or, to
employ the story-teller's own graphic terms, "three whales of the
sea of fraud and deceit: three dragons of the nature of thunder
and the quickness of lightning; three defamers of honour and
reputation; namely, three men-deceiving, lascivious women, each
of whom had from the chicanery of her cunning issued the diploma
of turmoil to a hundred cities and countries, and in the arts of
fraud they accounted Satan as an admiring spectator in the
theatre of their stratagems.[FN#509] One of them was sitting in
the court of justice of the kazi's embrace; the second was the
precious gem of the bazaar-master's diadem of compliance; and the
third was the beazle and ornament of the signet-ring of the life
and soul of the superintendent of police. They were constantly
entrapping the fawns of the prairie of deceit within the grasp of
cunning, and plundered the wares of the caravans of tranquillity
of hearts of strangers and acquaintances, by means of the edge of
the scimitar of fraud. One day this trefoil of roguery met at
the public bath, and, according to their homogeneous nature they
intermingled as intimately as the comb with the hair; they tucked
up their garment of amity to the waist of union, entered the tank
of agreement, seated themselves in the hot-house of love, and
poured from the dish of folly, by means of the key of hypocrisy,
the water of profusion upon the head of intercourse; they rubbed
with the brush of familiarity and the soap of affection the
stains of jealousies from each other's limbs. After a while,
when they had brought the pot of concord to boil by the fire of
mutual laudation, they warmed the bath of association with the
breeze of kindness, and came out. In the dressing-room all three
of them happened simultaneously to find a ring, the gem of which
surpassed the imagination of the jeweler of destiny, and the like
of which he had never beheld in the storehouse of possibility.
In short, these worthy ladies contended with each other for
possession of the ring, until at length the mother of the bathman
came forward and proposed that they should entrust the ring to
her in the meanwhile, and it should be the prize of the one who
most cleverly deceived and befooled her husband, to which they
all agreed, and then departed for their respective

Mr. Arbuthnot's limits pertained only of abstracts of the tricks
played upon their husbands by the three ladies--which the story-
teller gives at great length--and that of the kazi's wife is as

The kazi's wife knows that a certain carpenter, who lived close
to her, was very much in love with her. She sends her maid to
him with a message to say that the flame of his love had taken
effect upon her heart, and that he must make an underground
passage between his house and her dwelling, so that they might
communicate with each other freely by means of the mine. The
carpenter digs the passage, and the lady pays him a visit, and
says to him, "To-morrow I shall come here, and you must bring the
kazi to marry me to you." The next day the kazi goes to his
office; the lady goes to the carpenter's house, and send him to
bring her husband, the kazi, to marry them. The carpenter
fetches him, and, as the kazi hopes for a good present, he comes
willingly enough, but is much surprised at the extreme likeness
between the bride and his own wife. The more he looks at her,
the more he is in doubt; and at last, offering an excuse to fetch
something, he rushes off to his own house, but is forestalled by
his souse, who had gone thither by the passage, and on his
arrival is lying on her bed. The kazi makes some excuses for his
sudden entry into her room, and, after some words, goes back to
the carpenter's house; but his wife had preceded him, and is
sitting in her place. Again he begins the ceremony, but is
attracted by a black mole on the corner of the bride's lip, which
he could have sworn was the same as that possessed by his wife.
Making more excuses, and in spite of the remonstrances of the
carpenter, he hurries back to his house once more; but his wife
had again got there before him, and he finds her reading a book,
and much astonished at his second visit. She suggests that he is
mad, and he admits that his conduct is curious, and returns to
the carpenter's house to complete the ceremony. This is again
frequently interrupted, but finally he marries his own wife to
the carpenter, and, having behaved in such an extraordinary
manner throughout, is sent off to a lunatic asylum.

For the tricks of the two other ladies, and for many other
equally diverting tales, I refer the reader to Mr. Arbuthnot's
pleasing and instructive little book, which is indeed an
admirable epitome of the history and literature of Persia, and
one which was greatly wanted in these days, when most men, "like
the dogs in Egypt for fear of the crocodiles, must drink of the
waters of information as they run, in dread of the old enemy

I have discussed the question of the genealogy of this tale
elsewhere, but, after a somewhat more minute comparative analysis
of the several versions, am disposed to modify the opinion which
I then entertained. I think we must consider as the direct or
indirect source of the versions and variants the "Miles
Gloriosus" of Plautus, the plot of which, it is stated in the
prologue to the second act, was taken from a Greek play. It is,
however, not very clear whether Berni adapted his story from
Plautus or the "Seven Wise Masters"; probably from the former,
since in both the lady is represented, to the captain and the
cuckold, as a twin sister, while in the S. W. M. the crafty
knight pretends that she is his leman, come from Hungary with
tidings that he may now with safety return home. On the other
hand, in the S. W. M., as in Plautus, the lovers make their
escape by sea, an incident which Berni has altered to a journey
by land--no doubt, in order to introduce further adventures for
the development of his main plot. But then we find a point of
resemblance between Berni and the S. W. M., in the incident of
the cuckold accompanying the lovers part of their way--in the
latter to the sea-shore; while in Plautus the deceived captain
remains at home to prosecute an amour and get a thrashing for his
reward (in Plautus, instead of a wife, it is the captain's slave-
girl). It is curious that amidst all the masquerade of the
Arabian story the cuckold's wife also personates her
supposititious twin-sister, as in Plautus and Berni. In Plautus
the houses of the lover and the captain adjoin, as is also the
case in the modern Italian and Sicilian versions; while in Berni,
the S. W. M., the Arabian, and the Persian story cited in this
note they are at some distance. With these resemblances and
variations it is not easy to say which version was derived from
another. Evidently the Arabian story has been deliberately
modified by the compiler, and he has, I think, considerably
improved upon the original: the ludicrous perplexity of the poor
fuller when he awakes, to find himself apparently transformed
into a Turkish trooper, recalls the nursery rhyme of the little
woman "who went to market her eggs for to sell," and falling
asleep on the king's highway a pedlar cut off her petticoats up
to the knees, and when she awoke and saw her condition she
exclaimed, "Lawk-a-mercy me, this is none of I!" and so on. And
not less diverting is the pelting the blockhead receives from his
brother fullers--altogether, a capital story.


The "curious" reader will find European and Asiatic versions of
this amusing story in "Originals and Analogues of some of
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales." Published for the Chaucer Society,
pp. 177-188 and (in a paper contrived by me: "The Enchanted
Tree") p. 341-364.


Under the title of "The Robbers and the Treasure-Trove" I have
brought together many European and Asiatic versions of this wide-
spread tale in "Chaucer Analogues," pp. 415-436.


A similar but much shorter story is found in Gladwin's "Persian
Moonshee," and storybooks in several of the Indian vernaculars
which have been rendered into English:

A miser said to a friend, "I have now a thousand rupees, which I
will bury out of the city, and I will not tell the secret to any
one besides yourself." They went out of the city together, and
buried the money under a tree. Some days after the miser went
alone to the tree and found no signs of his money. He said to
himself, "Excepting that friend, no other has taken it away, but
if I question him he will never confess." He therefore went to
his (the friend's) house and said, "A great deal of money is come
into my hands, which I want to put in the same place; if you will
come to-morrow, we will go together." The friend, by coveting
this large sum, replaced the former money, and the miser next day
went there alone and found it. He was delighted with his own
contrivance, and never again placed any confidence in friends.

One should suppose a miser the last person to confide the secret
of his wealth to any one; but the Italian versions bear a closer
resemblance to the Arabian story. From No. 74 of the "Cento
Novelle Antiche" Sacchetti, who was born in 1335 and is ranked by
Crescimbini as next to Boccaccio, adapted his 198th novella,
which is a most pleasing version of the Asiatic story:


A blind man of Orvieto, of the name of Cola, hit upon a device to
recover a hundred florins he had been cheated of, which showed he
was possessed of all the eyes of Argus, though he had unluckily
lost his own. And this he did without wasting a farthing either
upon law or arbitration, by sheer dexterity, for he had formerly
been a barber, and accustomed to shave very close, having then
all his eyes about him, which had been now closed for about
thirty years. Alms seemed then the only resource to which he
could betake himself, and such was the surprising progress he in
a short time made in his new trade that he counted a hundred
florins in his purse, which he secretly carried about him until
he could find a safer place. His gains far surpassed anything he
had realised with his razor and scissors; indeed, they increased
so fast that he no longer knew where to bestow them, until one
morning happening to remain the last, as he believed, in the
church, he thought of depositing his purse of a hundred florins
under a loose tile in the floor behind the door, knowing the
situation of the place perfectly well. After listening some time
without hearing a foot stirring, he very cautiously laid it in
the spot; but unluckily there remained a certain Juccio
Pezzichernolo, offering his adoration before an image of San
Giovanni Boccadoro, who happened to see Cola busily engaged
behind the door. He continued his adorations until he saw the
blind man depart, when, not in the least suspecting the truth, he
approached and searched the place. He soon found the identical

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