Part 7 out of 8
she replied, "O my son, this letter is from my son, who hath been
absent for a term of ten years. He set out with a stock of
merchandise and tarried long in foreign parts, till we lost hope
of him and supposed him to be dead. Now after all that delay
cometh this letter from him, and he hath a sister who weepeth for
him night and day; so I said to her, 'He is well and all right.'
But she will not believe me and declares, 'There is no help but
thou bring me one who will read this letter in my presence, that
my heart may be at rest and my mind at ease.' Thou knowest, O my
son, that all who love are wont to think evil: so be good enough
to go with me and read to her this letter, standing behind the
curtain, whilst I call his sister to listen within the door, so
shalt thou dispel our heed and fulfil our need. Verily quoth the
Apostle of Allah (whom Allah bless and preserve!), 'Whoso easeth
the troubled of one of the troubles of this troublous world,
Allah will ease him of an hundred troubles'; and according to
another tradition, 'Whoso easeth his brother of one of the
troubles of this troublous world, Allah shall relieve him of
seventy and two troubles on the Day of Resurrection.' And I have
betaken myself to thee; so disappoint me not." Replied I, "To
hear is to obey: do thou go before me!" So she walked on
devancing me and I followed her a little way, till she came to
the gate of a large and handsome mansion whose door was plated
with copper.[FN#525] I stood behind the door, whilst the old
woman cried out in Persian, and ere I knew it a damsel ran up
with light and nimble step. She had tucked up her trousers to
her knees, so that I saw a pair of calves that confounded thinker
and lighter, and the maid herself was as saith the poet
"O thou who barest leg calf, better to suggest * For passion
madded amourist better things above!
Towards its lover cloth the bowl go round and run; * Cup[FN#526]
and cup bearer only drive us daft with love."[FN#527]
Now these legs were like two pillars of alabaster adorned with
anklets of gold, wherein were set stones of price. And the
damsel had tucked up the end of her gown under her arm pit and
had rolled up her sleeves to the elbow, so that I could see her
white wrists whereon were two pairs of bracelets with clasps of
great pearls; and round her neck was a collar of costly gems.
Her ears were adorned with pendants of pearls and on her head she
wore a kerchief[FN#528] of brocade, brand new and broidered with
jewels of price. And she had thrust the skirt of her shift into
her trousers string being busy with some household business. So
when I saw her in this undress, I was confounded at her beauty,
for she was like a shining sun. Then she said, with soft, choice
speech, never heard I sweeter, "O my mother! is this he who
cometh to read the letter?" "It is," replied the old woman; and
she put out her hand to me with the letter. Now between her and
the door was a distance of about half a rod[FN#529]; so I
stretched forth my hand to take the letter from her and thrust
head and shoulders within the door, thinking to draw near her and
read the letter when, before I knew what her design was, the old
woman butted her head against my back and pushed me forwards with
the letter in my hand, so that ere I could take thought I found
myself in the middle of the hall far beyond the vestibule. Then
she entered, faster than a flash of blinding leven, and had
naught to do but to shut the door. And Shahrazed perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-third Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the youth
Aziz pursued to Taj al Muluk: "When the old woman pushed me
forwards I found myself, ere I could think, inside the vestibule;
and the old woman entered faster than a flash of blinding levee
and had naught to do but to shut the door. When the girl saw me
in the vestibule, she came up to me and strained me to her bosom,
and threw me to the floor; then she sat astraddle upon my breast
and kneaded my belly with her fingers, till I well nigh lost my
senses. Thereupon she took me by the hand and led me, unable to
resist for the violence of her pressure, through seven
vestibules, whilst the old woman forewent us with the lighted
candle, till we came to a great saloon with four estrades whereon
a horseman might play Polo.[FN#530] Here she released me, saying,
"Open thine eyes." So I opened them still giddy for the excess of
her embracing and pressing, and saw that the whole saloon was
built of the finest marbles and alabasters, and all its furniture
was of silk and brocade even to the cushions and mattresses.
Therein also were two benches of yellow brass and a couch of red
gold, set with pearls and precious stones, befitting none save
Kings like thyself. And off the saloon were smaller sitting
rooms; and the whole place was redolent of wealth. Then she
asked, "O Aziz, which is liefer to thee life or death?" "Life,"
answered I; and she said, "If life be liefer to thee, marry me."
Quoth I, "Indeed I should hate to marry the like of thee." Quoth
she, "If thou marry me thou wilt at least be safe from the
daughter of Dalílah the Wily One."[FN#531] I asked, "And who be
that daughter of the Wily One?" Whereupon she laughed and
replied, " 'Tis she who hath companied with thee this day for a
year and four months (may the Almighty destroy and afflict her
with one worse than herself!) By Allah, there liveth not a more
perfidious than she. How many men hath she not slain before thee
and what deeds hath she not done. Nor can I understand how thou
hast been all the time in her company, yet she hath not killed
thee nor done thee a mischief." When I heard her words, I
marvelled with exceeding marvel and said, "O my lady, who made
thee to know her?" Said she, "I know her as the age knoweth its
calamities; but now I would fain have thee tell me all that hath
passed between you two, that I may ken the cause of thy
deliverance from her." So I told her all that had happened
between us, including the story of my cousin Azizah. She
expressed her pity when she heard of the death, and her eyes ran
over with tears and she claps hand on hand and cried out, Her
youth was lost on Allah's way,[FN#532] and may the Lord bless
thee for her good works! By Allah, O Aziz, she who died for thee
was the cause of thy preservation from the daughter of Dalia the
Wily; and, but for her, thou hadst been lost. And now she is
dead I fear for thee from the Crafty One's perfidy and mischief;
but my throat is choking and I cannot speak." Quoth I Ay, by
Allah: all this happened even as thou sayest." And she shook her
head and cried, "There liveth not this day the like of Azizah. I
continued, "And on her death bed she bade me repeat to my lover
these two saws, 'Faith is fair! Unfaith is foul'" When she heard
me say this, she exclaimed, "O Aziz, by Allah those same words
saved thee from dying by her hand; and now my heart is at ease
for thee from her, for she will never kill thee and the daughter
of thy uncle preserved thee during her lifetime and after her
death. By Allah, I have desired thee day after day but could not
get at thee till this time when I tricked thee and outwitted
thee; for thou art a raw youth[FN#533] and knowest not the wiles
of young women nor the deadly guile of old women." Rejoined I,
No, by Allah!" Then said she to me, "Be of good cheer and eyes
clear; the dead hath found Allah's grace, and the live shall be
in good case. Thou art a handsome youth and I do not desire thee
but according to the ordinance of Allah and His Apostle (on whom
be salutation and salvation!). Whatever thou requirest of money
and stuff, thou shalt have forthright without stint, and I will
not impose any toil on thee, no, never!, for there is with me
always bread baked hot and water in pot. All I need of thee is
that thou do with me even as the cock doth." I asked "And what
doth the cock?" Upon this she laughed and clapped her hands and
fell over on her back for excess of merriment then she sat up and
smiled and said, "O light of my eyes, really dost thou not know
what cock's duty is?" "No, by Allah!" replied I, and she, "The
cock's duty is to eat and drink and tread.' I was abashed at her
words and asked, "Is that the cock's duty? Yes, answered she;
"and all I ask of thee now is to gird thy loins and strengthen
thy will and futter thy best." Then she clapped her hands and
cried out, saying, "O my mother, bring forward those who are with
thee." And behold, in came the old woman accompanied by four
lawful witnesses, and carrying a veil of silk. Then she lighted
four candles, whilst the witnesses saluted me and sat down; and
the girl veiled herself with the veil and deputed one of them to
execute the contract on her behalf. So they wrote out the
marriage bond and she testified to have received the whole sum
settled upon her, both the half in advance and the half in
arrears; and that she was indebted to me in the sum of ten
thousand dirhams.--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.
When it was the One Hundred and Twenty-fourth Night,
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the young
merchant continued to Taj al-Muluk: When they wrote out the
marriage contract, she testified to having received the whole sum
settled upon her, the half in advance and the half in arrears and
that she was indebted to me in the sum of ten thousand dirhams.
She paid the witnesses their wage and they withdrew whence they
came. Thereupon she arose and cast off her clothes and stood in
a chemise of fine silk edged with gold lace, after which she took
off her trousers and seized my hand and led me up to the couch,
saying, "There is no sin in a lawful put in." She lay down on the
couch outspread upon her back; and, drawing me on to her breast,
heaved a sigh and followed it up with a wriggle by way of being
coy. Then she pulled up the shift above her breasts, and when I
saw her in this pose, I could not withhold myself from thrusting
it into her, after I had sucked her lips, whilst she whimpered
and shammed shame and wept when no tears came, and then said she,
"O my beloved, do it, and do thy best!" Indeed the case reminded
me of his saying, who said,
"When I drew up her shift from the roof of her coynte, * I found
it as strait* as my mind and my money:
So I drove it half-way, and she sighed a loud sigh * Quoth I,
'Why this sigh?': 'For the rest of it, honey!'"
And she repeated, "O my beloved, let the finish be made for I am
thine handmaid. My life on thee, up with it! give it me, all of
it! that I may take it in my hand and thrust it into my very
vitals!" And she ceased not to excite me with sobs and sighs and
amorous cries in the intervals of kissing and clasping until amid
our murmurs of pleasure we attained the supreme delight and the
term we had in sight. We slept together till the morning, when I
would have gone out; but lo! she came up to me, laughing, and
said, "So! So! thinkest thou that going into the Hammam is the
same as going out?[FN#534] Dost thou deem me to be the like of
the daughter of Dalilah the Wily One? Beware of such a thought,
for thou art my husband by contract and according to law. If
thou be drunken return to thy right mind, and know that the house
wherein thou art openeth but one day in every year. Go down and
look at the great door." So I arose and went down and found the
door locked and nailed up and returned and told her of the
locking and nailing. "O Aziz," said she, "We have in this house
flour, grain, fruits and pomegranates; sugar, meat, sheep,
poultry and so forth enough for many years; and the door will not
be opened till after the lapse of a whole twelvemonth and well I
weet thou shalt not find thyself without this house till then."
Quoth I "There is no Majesty, and there is no Might save in
Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" "And how can this harm thee,"
rejoined she; "seeing thou knowest cock's duty, whereof I told
thee?" Then she laughed and I laughed too, and I conformed to
what she said and abode with her, doing cock's duty and eating
and drinking and futtering for a year of full twelve months,
during which time she conceived by me, and I was blessed with a
babe by her. On the New Year's day I heard the door opened and
behold, men came in with cakes and flour and sugar. Upon this, I
would have gone out but my wife said, "Wait till supper tide and
go out even as thou camest in." So I waited till the hour of
night prayer and was about to go forth in fear and trembling,
when she stopped me, saying, "By Allah, I will not let thee go
until thou swear to come back this night before the closing of
the door." I agreed to this, and she swore me a solemn oath on
Blade and Book,[FN#535] and the oath of divorce to boot, that I
would return to her. Then I left her and going straight to the
garden, found the door open as usual; where at I was angry and
said to myself, "I have been absent this whole year and come here
unawares and find the place open as of wont! I wonder is the
damsel still here as before? I needs must enter and see before I
go to my mother, more by reason that it is now nightfall." So I
entered the flower garden,--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of
day and ceased to say her permitted say.
End of Vol. 2.
Volume 2 Footnotes
[FN#1] Supplementarily to note 2, p. 2, [FN#2 Vol 1]and note 2,
p. 14, [FN#21 Vol 1] vol. i., I may add that "Shahrázád," in the
Shams al-Loghat, is the P.N. of a King. L. Langlès (Les Voyages
de Sindibâd Le Marin et La Ruse des Femmes, first appended to
Savary's Grammar and reprinted 12 mot pp. 161 + 113, Imprimerie
Royale, Paris, M.D.CCC.XIV) explains it by Le cyprès, la beauté
de la ville; and he is followed by (A. de Biberstein) Kazimirski
(Ends el-Djelis Paris, Barrois, 1847). Ouseley (Orient. Collect.)
makes Shahrzád=town-born; and others an Arabisation of Chehr-ázád
(free of face, ingenuous of countenance) the petit nom of Queen
Humay, for whom see the Terminal Essay. The name of the sister,
whom the Fihrist converts into a Kahramánah, or nurse, vulgarly
written Dínár-zád, would= child of gold pieces, freed by gold
pieces, or one who has no need of gold pieces: Dínzád=child of
faith and Daynázád, proposed by Langlès, "free from debt (!)" I
have adopted Macnaghten's Dunyazad. "Shahryar," which Scott
hideously writes "Shier ear," is translated by the Shams, King of
the world, absolute monarch and the court of Anushir wan while
the Burhán-i-Káti'a renders it a King of Kings, and P.N. of a
town. Shahr-báz is also the P.N. of a town in Samarcand.
[FN#2] Arab. "Malik," here used as in our story-books: "Pompey
was a wise and powerful King" says the Gesta Romanorum. This King
is, as will appear, a Regent or Governor under Harun al-Rashid.
In the next tale he is Viceroy of Damascus, where he is also
[FN#3] The Bull Edit. gives the lines as follows:---
The lance was his pen, and the hearts of his foes *
His paper, and dipped he in blood for ink;
Hence our sires entitled the spear Khattíyah, *
Meaning that withal man shall write, I think.
The pun is in "Khattíyah" which may mean a writer (feminine) and
also a spear, from Khatt Hajar, a tract in the province
Al-Bahrayn (Persian Gulf), and Oman, where the best Indian
bamboos were landed and fashioned into lances. Imr al-Keys
(Mu'allakah v. 4.) sings of "our dark spears firmly wrought of
Khattiyan cane;" Al-Busírí of "the brown lances of Khatt;" also
see Lebid v. 50 and Hamásah pp. 26, 231, Antar notes the "Spears
of Khatt" and "Rudaynian lances." Rudaynah is said to have been
the wife of one Samhár, the Ferrara of lances; others make her
the wife of Al-Ka'azab and hold Sambár to be a town in Abyssinia
where the best weapons were manufactured The pen is the Calamus
or Kalam (reed cut for pen) of which the finest and hardest are
brought from Java: they require the least ribbing. The rhetorical
figure in the text is called Husn al-Ta'alíl, our aetiology; and
is as admirable to the Arabs as it appears silly to us.
[FN#4] "He loves folk" is high praise, meaning something more
than benevolence and beneficence.. Like charity it covers a host
[FN#5] The sentence is euphuistic.
[FN#6] Arab. "Rubb"=syrup a word Europeanised by the "Rob
[FN#7] The Septentriones or four oxen and their wain.
[FN#8] The list fatally reminds us of "astronomy and the use of
the globes" . . . "Shakespeare and the musical glasses."
[FN#9] The octave occurs in Night xv. I quote Torrens (p. 360) by
way of variety.
[FN#10] A courteous formula of closing with the offer.
[FN#11] To express our "change of climate" Easterns say, "change
of water and air," water coming first.
[FN#12] "The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by
night" (Psalm cxxi. 6). Easterns still believe in the blighting
effect of the moon's rays, which the Northerners of Europe, who
view it under different conditions, are pleased to deny. I have
seen a hale and hearty Arab, after sitting an hour in the
moonlight, look like a man fresh from a sick bed; and I knew an
Englishman in India whose face was temporarily paralysed by
sleeping with it exposed to the moon.
[FN#13] The negroids and negroes of Zanzibar.
[FN#14] i.e. Why not make thy heart as soft as thy sides! The
converse of this was reported at Paris during the Empire, when a
man had by mistake pinched a very high personage: "Ah, Madame! if
your heart be as hard as (what he had pinched) I am a lost man."
[FN#15] "Na'íman" is said to one after bathing or head-shaving:
the proper reply, for in the East every sign of ceremony has its
countersign, is "Allah benefit thee!" (Pilgrimage i. 11, iii.
285; Lane M. E. chaps. viii.; Caussin de Perceval's Arabic
Grammar, etc., etc.) I have given a specimen (Pilgrimage i., 122)
not only of sign and countersign, but also of the rhyming
repartee which rakes love. Hanien ! (pleasant to thee! said when
a man drinks). Allah pleasure thee (Allah yuhanník which Arnauts
and other ruffians perverted to Allah yaník, Allah copulate with
thee); thou drinkest for ten! I am the cock and thou art the hen!
(i.e. a passive catamite) Nay, I am the thick one (the penis
which gives pleasure) and thou art the thin! And so forth with
most unpleasant pleasantries.
[FN#16] In the old version she is called "The Fair Persian,"
probably from the owner: her name means "The Cheerer of the
[FN#17] Pronounce "Nooraddeen." I give the name written in
[FN#18] Amongst Moslems, I have said, it is held highly
disgraceful when the sound of women's cries can be heard by
[FN#19] In a case like this, the father would be justified by
Rasm (or usage) not by Koranic law, in playing Brutus with his
son. The same would be the case in a detected intrigue with a
paternal concubine and, in very strict houses, with a slave-girl.
[FN#20] Orientals fear the "Zug" or draught as much as Germans;
and with even a better reason. Draughts are most dangerous in hot
[FN#21] The Unity of the Godhead and the Apostleship of Mohammed.
[FN#22] This would be done only in the case of the very poor.
[FN#23] Prayers over the dead are not universal in Al-Islam; but
when they are recited they lack the "sijdah" or prostration.
[FN#24] Or, "Of the first and the last," i.e. Mohammed, who
claimed (and claimed justly) to be the "Seal" or head and end of
all Prophets and Prophecy. For note that whether the Arab be held
inspired or a mere imposter, no man making the same pretension
has moved the world since him. Mr. J. Smith the Mormon (to
mention one in a myriad) made a bold attempt and failed.
[FN#25] i.e. flatterers.
[FN#26] In one matter Moslems contrast strongly with Christians,
by most scrupulously following the example of their law-giver:
hence they are the model Conservatives. But (European)
Christendom is here, as in other things, curiously contradictory:
for instance, it still keeps a "Feast of the Circumcision," and
practically holds circumcision in horror. Eastern Christians,
however, have not wholly abolished it, and the Abyssinians, who
find it a useful hygenic precaution, still practise it. For
ulcers, syphilis and other venereals which are readily cured in
Egypt become dangerous in the Highlands of Ethiopia.
[FN#27] Arab. "Sabab," the orig. and material sense of the word;
hence "a cause," etc.
[FN#28] Thus he broke his promise to his father, and it is
insinuated that retribution came upon him.
[FN#29] "O Pilgrim" (Ya Hájj) is a polite address even to those
who have not pilgrimaged. The feminine "Hájjah" (in Egypt
pronounced "Hággeh") is similarly used.
[FN#30] Arab. "usúl"=roots, i.e. I have not forgotten my
[FN#31] Moslems from Central and Western North Africa.
(Pilgrimage i. 261; iii. 7, etc); the "Jabarti" is the Moslem
[FN#32] This is a favourite bit of chaff and is to be lengthened
out almost indefinitely e.g. every brown thing is not civet nor
every shining thing a diamond; every black thing is not charcoal
nor every white chalk; every red thing is not a ruby nor every
yellow a topaz; every long-necked thing is not a camel, etc.,
[FN#33] He gives him the name of his grandfather; a familiar
[FN#34] Arab. "Ma'janah," a place for making unbaked bricks
(Tob=Span. Adobe) with chaff and bruised or charred straw. The
use of this article in rainless lands dates from ages immemorial,
and formed the outer walls of the Egyptian temple.
[FN#35] Arab. "Barsh," a bit of round matting used by the poor as
a seat. The Wazir thus showed that he had been degraded to the
condition of a mat-maker.
[FN#36] The growth (a Poa of two species) which named Wady Halfá
(vulg. "Halfah"), of which the home public has of late heard
perhaps a trifle too much. Burckhardt (Prov. 226) renders it "dry
[FN#37] This "Háshimi" vein, as they call it, was an abnormal
development between the eyes of the house of Abbas, inherited
from the great- grandfather of the Prophet; and the latter had it
remarkably large, swelling in answer and battle-rage. The text,
however, may read "The sweat of wrath," etc.
[FN#38] Torrens and Payne prefer "Ilm"=knowledge. Lane has more
correctly "Alam"=a sign, a flag.
[FN#39] The lines were in Night xi.: I have quoted Torrens (p.
379) for a change.
[FN#40] Still customary in Tigris-Euphrates land, where sea-craft
has not changed since the days of Xisisthrus-Noah, and long
[FN#41] To cool the contents.
[FN#42] Hence the Khedivial Palace near Cairo "Kasr al-Nuzhah;"
literally, "of Delights;" one of those flimsy new-Cairo buildings
which contrast so marvellously with the architecture of ancient
and even of mediæval Egypt, and which are covering the land with
modern ruins. Compare Mohammed Ali's mosque in the citadel with
the older Sultan Hasan. A popular tale is told that, when the
conquering Turk, Yáwúz Sultan Selim, first visited Cairo, they
led him to Mosque Al-Ghúrí. "This is a splendid Ká'ah (saloon)!"
quoth he. When he entered Sultan Hasan, he exclaimed, "This is a
citadel!"; but after inspecting the Mosque Al-Mu'ayyad he cried,
"'Tis a veritable place of prayer, a fit stead for the Faithful
to adore the Eternal!"
[FN#43] Arab. gardeners are very touchy on this point. A friend
of mine was on a similar occasion addressed, in true Egyptian
lingo, by an old Adam-son, "Ya ibn al-Kalb! beta'mil ay?" (O dog-
son, what art thou up to?).
[FN#44] "The green palm-stick is of the trees of Paradise;" say
the Arabs in Solomonic style but not Solomonic words: so our
"Spare the rod," etc.
[FN#45] Wayfarers, travellers who have a claim on the kindness of
those at home: hence Abd al-Rahman al-Burai sings in his famous
He hath claim on the dwellers in the places of their birth, *
Whoso wandereth the world, for he lacketh him a home.
It is given in my "First Footsteps in East Africa" (pp. 53-55).
[FN#46] The good old man treated the youth like a tired child.
[FN#47] In Moslem writings the dove and turtle-dove are mostly
feminine, whereas the female bird is always mute and only the
male sings to summon or to amuse his mate.
[FN#48] An unsavoury comparison of the classical Narcissus with
the yellow white of a nigger's eyes.
[FN#49] A tree whose coals burn with fierce heat: Al-Hariri (Vth
Seance). This Artemisia is like the tamarisk but a smaller growth
and is held to be a characteristic of the Arabian Desert. A
Badawi always hails with pleasure the first sight of the Ghazá,
after he has sojourned for a time away from his wilds. Mr.
Palgrave (i. 38) describes the "Ghadá" as an Euphorbia with a
woody stem often 5-6 feet high and slender, flexible green twigs
(?), "forming a feathery tuft, not ungraceful to the eye, while
it affords some shelter to the traveller, and food to his
[FN#50] Arab. "Sal'am"=S(alla) A(llah) a(layhi) was S(allam);
A(llah) b(less) h(im) a(nd) k(eep)=Allah keep him and assain!
[FN#51] The ass is held to be ill-omened. I have noticed the
braying elsewhere. According to Mandeville the Devil did not
enter the Ark with the Ass, but he left it when Noah said
"Benedicite." In his day (A.D. 1322) and in that of Benjamin of
Tudela, people had seen and touched the ship on Ararat, the Judi
(Gordiæi) mountains; and this dates from Berosus (S.C. 250) who,
of course, refers to the Ark of Xisisthrus. See Josephus Ant. i.
3, 6; and Rodwell (Koran, pp. 65, 530).
[FN#52] As would happen at a "Zikr," rogation or litany. Those
who wish to see how much can be made of the subject will read
"Pearls of the Faith, or Islam's Rosary, being the ninety-nine
beautiful names of Allah" (Asmá-el-Husna) etc. by Edwin Arnold:
London, Trübner, 1883.
[FN#53] i.e. the Sáki, cup-boy or cup-bearer. "Moon-faced," as I
have shown elsewhere, is no compliment in English, but it is in
Persian and Arabic.
[FN#54] He means we are "Záhirí," plain honest Moslems, not
"Bátiní," gnostics (ergo reprobates) and so forth, who disregard
all appearances and external ordinances. This suggests his
opinion of Shaykh Ibrahim and possibly refers to Ja'afar's
[FN#55] This worthy will be noticed in a subsequent page.
[FN#56] Arab. "Lisám," the end of the "Kufiyah," or head-kerchief
passed over the face under the eyes and made fast on the other
side. This mouth-veil serves as a mask (eyes not being
recognisable) and defends from heat, cold and thirst. I also
believe that hooding the eyes with this article, Badawi-fashion,
produces a sensation of coolness, at any rate a marked difference
of apparent temperature; somewhat like a pair of dark spectacles
or looking at the sea from a sandy shore. (Pilgrimage i., 210 and
346.) The woman's "Lisám" (chin-veil) or Yashmak is noticed in
[FN#57] Most characteristic is this familiarity between the
greatest man then in the world and his pauper subject. The
fisherman alludes to a practise of Al-Islman, instituted by
Caliph Omar, that all rulers should work at some handicraft in
order to spare the public treasure. Hence Sultan Mu'ayyad of
Cairo was a calligrapher who sold his handwriting, and his
example was followed by the Turkish Sultans Mahmúd, Abd al-Majíd
and Abd al-Azíz. German royalties prefer carpentering and Louis
[FN#58] There would be nothing singular in this request. The
democracy of despotism levels all men outside the pale of
politics and religion.
[FN#59] "Wa'lláhi tayyib!" an exclamation characteristic of the
[FN#60] The pretended fisherman's name Karím=the Generous.
[FN#61] Such an act of generosity would appear to Europeans well-
nigh insanity, but it is quite in Arab manners. Witness the oft-
quoted tale of Hatim and his horse. As a rule the Arab is the
reverse of generous, contrasting badly, in this point, with his
cousin the Jew: hence his ideal of generosity is of the very
highest. "The generous (i.e. liberal) is Allah's friend, aye,
though he be a sinner; and the miser is Allah's foe, aye, though
he be a saint!" Indian Moslems call a skin-flint Makhi-chús =
fly-sucker. (Pilgrimage i. 242.)
[FN#62] Arab. "Ammá ba'ad" or (Wa ba'ad), an initiatory formula
attributed to Koss ibn Sa'idat al-Iyadi, bishop of Najrán (the
town in Al-Yaman which D'Herbelot calls Negiran) and a famous
preacher in Mohammed's day, hence "more eloquent than Koss"
(Maydání, Arab. Prov., 189). He was the first who addressed
letters with the incept, "from A. to B."; and the first who
preached from a pulpit and who leant on a sword or a staff when
discoursing. Many Moslems date Ammá ba'ad from the Prophet David,
relying upon a passage of the Koran (xxxviii. 19).
[FN#63] Arab. "Nusf"=half (a dirham): vulgarly pronounced "nuss,"
and synonymous with the Egypt. "Faddah" (=silver), the Greek
"Asper," and the Turkish "paráh." It is the smallest Egyptian
coin, made of very base metal and, there being forty to the
piastre, it is worth nearly a quarter of a farthing.
[FN#64] The too literal Torrens and Lane make the Caliph give the
gardener-lad the clothes in which he was then clad, forgetting,
like the author or copier, that he wore the fisherman's lousy
[FN#65] In sign of confusion, disappointment and so forth: not
"biting his nails," which is European and utterly un-Asiatic.
[FN#66] See lines like these in Night xiii. (i. 136); the
sentiment is trite.
[FN#67] The Arab will still stand under his ruler's palace and
shout aloud to attract his attention. Sayyid Sa'íd known as the
"Imán of Muskat" used to encourage the patriarchal practice.
Mohammed repeatedly protested against such unceremonious conduct
(Koran xciv. 11, etc.). The "three times of privacy" (Koran cv.
57) are before the dawn prayer, during the Siesta (noon) and
after the even-prayer.
[FN#68] The Judges of the four orthodox schools.
[FN#69] That none might see it or find it ever after.
[FN#70] Arab. "Khatt Sharíf"=a royal autographical letter: the
term is still preserved in Turkey, but Europeans will write
[FN#71] Meaning "Little tom-cat;" a dim. of "Kitt" vulg. Kutt or
[FN#72] Arab. "Matmúrah"—-the Algerine "Matamor"—-a "silo," made
familiar to England by the invention of "Ensilage."
[FN#73] The older "Mustapha"=Mohammed. This Intercession-doctrine
is fiercely disputed. (Pilgrimage ii. 77.) The Apostle of Al-
Islam seems to have been unable to make up his mind upon the
subject: and modern opinion amongst Moslems is apparently
borrowed from the Christians.
[FN#74] Lane (i. 486) curiously says, "The place of the
stagnation of blood:" yet he had translated the word aright in
the Introduction (i. 41). I have noticed that the Nat'a is made
like the "Sufrah," of well-tanned leather, with rings in the
periphery, so that a thong passed through turns it into a bag.
The Sufrah used for provisions is usually yellow, with a black
border and small pouches for knives or spoons. (Pilgrimage i.
[FN#75] This improbable detail shows the Caliph's greatness.
[FN#76] "Cousin" is here a term of familiarity, our "coz."
[FN#77] i.e. without allowing them a moment's delay to change
[FN#78] i.e. according to my nature, birth, blood, de race.
[FN#79] Our "Job." The English translators of the Bible, who
borrowed Luther's system of transliteration (of A.D. 1522),
transferred into English the German "j" which has the sound of
"i" or "y"; intending us to pronounce Yacob (or Yakob), Yericho,
Yimnites, Yob (or Hiob) and Yudah. Tyndall, who copied Luther
(A.D. 1525-26), preserved the true sound by writing lacob, Ben
Iamin and Iudas. But his successors unfortunately returned to the
German; the initial I, having from the xiii century been
ornamentally lengthened and bent leftwards, became a consonant.
The public adopted the vernacular sound of "j" (da) and hence our
language and our literature are disgraced by such barbarisms as
"Jehovah" and "Jesus"; Dgehovah and Dgeesus for Yehovah and
Yesus. Future generations of school-teachers may remedy the evil;
meanwhile we are doomed for the rest of our days to hear
Gee-rusalem! Gee-rusalem! etc.
Nor is there one word to be said in favour of the corruption
except that, like the Protestant mispronunciation of Latin and
the Erasmian ill-articulation of Greek, it has become English,
and has lent its little aid in dividing the Britons from the rest
of the civilised world.
[FN#80] The moon, I repeat, is masculine in the so-called
[FN#81] i.e. camel loads, about lbs. 300; and for long journeys
[FN#82] Arab. "Janázah," so called only when carrying a corpse;
else Na'ash, Sarír or Tábút: Irán being the large hearse on which
chiefs are borne. It is made of plank or stick work; but there
are several varieties. (Lane, M. E. chaps. xxviii.)
[FN#83] It is meritorious to accompany the funeral cortège of a
Moslem even for a few paces.
[FN#84] Otherwise he could not have joined in the prayers.
[FN#85] Arab. "Halwá" made of sugar, cream, almonds, etc. That of
Maskat is famous throughout the East.
[FN#86] i.e. "Camphor" to a negro, as we say "Snowball," by the
[FN#87] "Little Good Luck," a dim. form of "bakht"=luck, a
Persian word naturalized in Egypt.
[FN#88] There are, as I have shown, not a few cannibal tribes in
Central Africa and these at times find their way into the slave
[FN#89] i.e. After we bar the door.
[FN#90] Arab. "Jáwísh" from Turk. Cháwúsh, Chiaoosh, a sergeant,
poursuivant, royal messenger. I would suggest that this is the
word "Shálish" or "Jálish" in Al-Siynti's History of the Caliphs
(p. 501) translated by Carlyle "milites," by Schultens
"Sagittarius" and by Jarett "picked troops."
[FN#91] This familiarity with blackamoor slave-boys is common in
Egypt and often ends as in the story: Egyptian blood is
sufficiently mixed with negro to breed inclination for
miscegenation. But here the girl was wickedly neglected by her
mother at such an age as ten.
[FN#92] Arab. "Farj"; hence a facetious designation of the other
sex is "Zawi'l-furuj" (grammatically Zawátu'l- furúj)=habentes
rimam, slit ones.
[FN#93] This ancient and venerable practice of inspecting the
marriage-sheet is still religiously preserved in most parts of
the East, and in old-fashioned Moslem families. It is publicly
exposed in the Harem to prove that the "domestic calamity" (the
daughter) went to her husband a clean maid. Also the general idea
is that no blood will impose upon the exerts, or jury of matrons,
except that of a pigeon-poult which exactly resembles hymeneal
blood-- when not subjected to the microscope. This belief is
universal in Southern Europe and I have heard of it in England.
Further details will be given in Night ccxi.
[FN#94] "Agha" Turk.=sir, gentleman, is, I have said, politely
addressed to a eunuch.
[FN#95] As Bukhayt tells us he lost only his testes, consequently
his erectio et distensio penis was as that of a boy before
puberty and it would last as long as his heart and circulation
kept sound. Hence the eunuch who preserves his penis is much
prized in the Zenanah where some women prefer him to the entire
man, on account of his long performance of the deed of kind. Of
this more in a future page.
[FN#96] It is or rather was the custom in Egypt and Syria to
range long rows of fine China bowls along the shelves running
round the rooms at the height of six or seven feet, and they
formed a magnificent cornice. I bought many of them at Damascus
till the people, learning their value, asked prohibitive prices.
[FN#97] The tale is interesting as well as amusing, excellently
describing the extravagance still practiced in middle-class
Moslem families on the death of the pater familias. I must again
note that Arab women are much more unwilling to expose the back
of the head covered by the "Tarhah" (head-veil) than the face,
which is hidden by the "Burke" or nose bag.
[FN#98] The usual hysterical laughter of this nervous race.
[FN#99] Here the slave refuses to be set free and starve. For a
master so to do without ample reasons is held disgraceful. I well
remember the weeping and wailing throughout Sind when an order
from Sir Charles Napier set free the negroes whom British
philanthropy thus doomed to endure if not to die of hunger.
[FN#100] Manumission, which is founded upon Roman law, is an
extensive subject discussed in the Hidáyah and other canonical
works. The slave here lays down the law incorrectly but his claim
shows his truly "nigger" impudence.
[FN#101] This is quite true to nature. The most remarkable thing
in the wild central African is his enormous development of
"destructiveness." At Zanzibar I never saw a slave break a glass
or plate without a grin or a chuckle of satisfaction.
[FN#102] Arab. "Khassá-ni"; Khusyatáni (vulg.) being the
testicles, also called "bayzatán" the two eggs) a double entendre
which has given rise to many tales. For instance in the witty
Persian book "Dozd o Kazi" (The Thief and the Judge) a footpad
strips the man of learning and offers to return his clothes if he
can ask him a puzzle in law or religion. The Kazi (in folk-lore
mostly a fool) fails, and his wife bids him ask the man to supper
for a trial of wits on the same condition. She begins with
compliments and ends by producing five eggs which she would have
him distribute equally amongst the three; and, when he is
perplexed, she gives one to each of the men taking three for
herself. Whereupon the "Dozd" wends his way, having lost his
booty as his extreme stupidity deserved. In the text the eunuch,
Kafur, is made a "Sandal" or smooth-shaven, so that he was of no
use to women.
[FN#103] Arab. "Khara," the lowest possible word: Yá Khara! is
the commonest of insults, used also by modest women. I have heard
one say it to her son.
[FN#104] Arab. "Kámah," a measure of length, a fathom, also
called "Bá'a." Both are omitted in that sadly superficial book,
Lane's Modern Egyptians, App. B.
[FN#105] Names of her slave-girls which mean (in order),
Garden-bloom, Dawn (or Beautiful), Tree o' Pearl (P. N. of
Saladin's wife), Light of (right) Direction, Star o' the Morn
Lewdness (= Shahwah, I suppose this is a chaff), Delight,
Sweetmeat and Miss Pretty.
[FN#106] This mode of disposing of a rival was very common in
Harems. But it had its difficulties and on the whole the river
was (and is) preferred.
[FN#107] An Eastern dislikes nothing more than drinking in a dim
dingy place: the brightest lights seem to add to his
[FN#108] He did not sleep with her because he suspected some
palace-mystery which suggested prudence, she also had her
[FN#109] This as called in Egypt "Allah." (Lane M. E. chaps. i.)
[FN#110] It would be a broad ribbon-like band upon which the
letters could be worked.
[FN#111] In the Arab. "he cried." These "Yes, Yes!" and "No! No!"
trifles are very common amongst the Arabs.
[FN#112] Arab. "Maragha" lit. rubbed his face on them like a
fawning dog. Ghanim is another "softy" lover, a favourite
character in Arab tales; and by way of contrast, the girl is
[FN#113] Because the Abbaside Caliphs descend from Al-Abbas,
paternal uncle of Mohammed, text means more explicitly, "O
descendant of the Prophet's uncle!"
[FN#114] The most terrible part of a belle passion in the East is
that the beloved will not allow her lover leave of absence for an
[FN#115] It is hard to preserve these wretched puns. In the
original we have "O spray (or branch) of capparis-shrub (aráki)
which has been thinned of leaf and fruit (tujna, i.e., whose
fruit, the hymen, has been plucked before and not by me) I see
thee (aráka) against me sinning (tajní).
[FN#116] Apparently the writer forgets that the Abbaside banners
and dress were black, originally a badge of mourning for the Imám
Ibrahim bin Mohammed put to death by the Ommiade Caliph
Al-Marwan. The modern Egyptian mourning, like the old Persian, is
indigo-blue of the darkest; but, as before noted, the custom is
by no means universal.
[FN#117] Koran, chaps. iv. In the East as elsewhere the Devil
[FN#118] A servant returning from a journey shows his master due
honour by appearing before him in travelling suit and uncleaned.
[FN#119] The first name means "Rattan", the second "Willow wand,"
from the "Bán" or "Khiláf" the Egyptian willow (Salix Ægyptiaca
Linn.) vulgarly called "Safsáf." Forskal holds the "Bán" to be a
[FN#120] Arab. "Ta'ám," which has many meanings: in mod. parlance
it would signify millet holcus seed.
[FN#121] i.e. "I well know how to deal with him."
[FN#122] The Pen (title of the Koranic chaps. Ixviii.) and the
Preserved Tablet (before explained).
[FN#123] These plunderings were sanctioned by custom. But a few
years ago, when the Turkish soldiers mutinied about arrears of
pay (often delayed for years) the governing Pasha would set fire
to the town and allow the men to loot what they pleased during a
stated time. Rochet (soi-disant D'Hericourt) amusingly describes
this manoeuvre of the Turkish Governor of Al-Hodaydah in the last
generation. (Pilgrimage iii. 381.)
[FN#124] Another cenotaph whose use was to enable women to
indulge in their pet pastime of weeping and wailing in company.
[FN#125] The lodging of pauper travellers, as the chapel in
Iceland is of the wealthy. I have often taken benefit of the
mosque, but as a rule it is unpleasant, the matting being not
only torn but over-populous. Juvenal seems to allude to the
Jewish Synagogue similarly used: "in quâ te quæro proseuchâ"?
(iii. 296) and in Acts iii. we find the lame, blind and impotent
in the Temple-porch.
[FN#126] This foul sort of vermin is supposed to be bred by
perspiration. It is an epoch in the civilised traveller's life
when he catches his first louse.
[FN#127] The Moslem peasant is a kind hearted man and will make
many sacrifices for a sick stranger even of another creed. It is
a manner of "pundonor" with the village.
[FN#128] Such treatment of innocent women was only too common
under the Caliphate and in contemporary Europe.
[FN#129] This may also mean, "And Heaven will reward thee," but
camel-men do not usually accept any drafts upon futurity.
[FN#130] He felt that he was being treated like a corpse.
[FN#131] This hatred of the Hospital extends throughout Southern
Europe, even in places where it is not justified.
[FN#132] The importance of the pillow (wisádah or makhaddah) to
the sick man is often recognised in The Nights. "He took to his
pillow" is = took to his bed.
[FN#133] i.e in order that the reverend men, who do not render
such suit and service gratis, might pray for him.
[FN#134] The reader will notice in The Nights the frequent
mention of these physical prognostications, with which mesmerists
[FN#135] The Pers. name of the planet Saturn in the Seventh
Heaven. Arab. "Zuhal"; the Kiun or Chiun of Amos vi. 26.
[FN#136] i.e. "Pardon me if I injured thee"-- a popular phrase.
[FN#137] A "seduction," a charmer. The double-entendre has before
[FN#138] This knightly tale, the longest in the Nights (xliv.--
cxlv.), about one-eighth of the whole, does not appear in the
Bres. Edit. Lane, who finds it "objectionable," reduces it to two
of its episodes, Azíz-cum-Azízah and Táj al-Mulúk. On the other
hand it has been converted into a volume (8vo, pp. 240)
"Scharkan, Conte Arabe," etc. Traduit par M. Asselan Riche, etc.
Paris: Dondey-Dupré. 1829. It has its longueurs and at times is
longsome enough; but it is interesting as a comparison between
the chivalry of Al-Islam and European knight-errantry. Although
all the characters are fictitious the period is evidently in the
early crusading days. Cæsarea, the second capital of Palestine,
taken during the Caliphate of Omar (A.H. 19) and afterwards
recovered, was fortified in A.H. 353 = 963 as a base against the
Arabs by the Emperor Phocas, the Arab. "Nakfúr" i.e. Nicephorus.
In A.H. 498=1104, crusading craft did much injury by plundering
merchantmen between Egypt and Syria, to which allusion is found
in the romance. But the story teller has not quite made up his
mind about which Cæsarea he is talking, and M. Riche tells us
that Césarée is a "ville de la Mauritanie, en Afrique" (p. 20).
[FN#139] The fifth Ommiade Caliph reign. A.H. 65-86 = 685-704.
[FN#140] This does not merely mean that no one was safe from his
wrath: or, could approach him in the heat of fight: it is a
reminiscence of the masterful "King Kulayb," who established
game-laws in his dominions and would allow no man to approach his
camp-fire. Moreover the Jinn lights a fire to decoy travellers,
but if his victim be bold enough to brave him, he invites him to
take advantage of the heat.
[FN#142] The Jaxartes and the Bactrus (names very loosely
[FN#143] In full "Sharrun kána" i.e. an evil (Sharr) has come to
being (kána) that is, "bane to the foe" a pagan and knightly
name. The hero of the Romance "Al-Dalhamah" is described as a
bitter gourd (colocynth), a viper, a calamity.
[FN#144] This is a Moslem law (Koran chaps. iv. bodily borrowed
from the Talmud) which does not allow a man to marry one wife
unless he can carnally satisfy her. Moreover he must distribute his
honours equally and each wife has a right to her night unless she
herself give it up. This was the case even with the spouses of the
Prophet; and his biography notices several occasions when his wives
waived their rights in favour of one another M. Riche kindly
provides the King with la piquante francaise (p. 15).
[FN#145] So the celebrated mosque in Stambul, famed for being the
largest church in the world is known to the Greeks as "Agia (pron.
Aya) Sophia" and to Moslems as "Aye Sofíyeh" (Holy Wisdom) i.e. the
Logos or Second Person of the Trinity (not a Saintess). The sending
a Christian girl as a present to a Moslem would, in these days, be
considered highly scandalous. But it was done by the Mukaukis or
Coptic Governor of Egypt (under Heraclius) who of course hated the
Greeks. This worthy gave two damsels to Mohammed; one called Sírín
and the other Máriyah (Maria) whom the Prophet reserved for his
especial use and whose abode is still shown at Al-Medinah. The Rev.
Doctor Badger (loc. cit. p. 972) gives the translation of an
epistle by Mohammed to this Mukaukis, written in the Cufic
character ( ? ?) and sealed "Mohammed, The Apostle of Allah." My
friend seems to believe that it is an original, but upon this
subject opinions will differ. It is, however, exceedingly
interesting, beginning with "Bismillah," etc., and ending (before
the signature) with a quotation from the Koran (iii. 57); and it
may be assumed as a formula addressee to foreign potentates by a
Prophet who had become virtually "King of Arabia."
[FN#146] This prayer before "doing the deed of kind" is, I have
said, Moslem as well Christian.
[FN#147] Exodus i. 16, quoted by Lane (M. E., chaps. xxvii.).
Torrens in his Notes cites Drayton's "Moon-calf':--
Bring forth the birth-stool--no, let it alone;
She is so far beyond all compass grown,
Some other new device us needs must stead,
Or else she never can be brought to bed.
It is the "groaning-chair" of Poor Robin's Almanac (1676) and we
find it alluded to in Boccaccio, the classical sedile which
according to scoffers has formed the papal chair (a curule seat)
ever since the days of Pope Joan, when it has been held advisable
for one of the Cardinals to ascertain that His Holiness possesses
all the instruments of virility. This "Kursí al-wiládah" is of
peculiar form on which the patient is seated. A most interesting
essay might be written upon the various positions preferred during
delivery, e.g. the wild Irish still stand on all fours, like the
so-called "lower animals." Amongst the Moslems of Waday, etc., a
cord is hung from the top of the hut, and the woman in labour holds
on to it standing with her legs apart, till the midwife receives
[FN#148] Some Orientalists call "lullilooing" the trilling cry,
which is made by raising the voice to its highest pitch and
breaking it by a rapid succession of touches on the palate with the
tongue-tip, others "Ziraleet" and Zagaleet, and one traveller tells
us that it began at the marriage-festival of Isaac and Rebecca (!).
Arabs term it classically "Tahlíl" and vulgarly "Zaghrutah" (Plur.
Zaghárit) and Persians "Kil." Finally in Don Quixote we have
"Lelilies," the battle-cry of the Moors (Duffield iii. 289). Dr.
Buchanan likens it to a serpent uttering human sounds, but the good
missionary heard it at the festival of Jagannath. (Pilgrimage iii.
[FN#149] i.e. "Light of the Place" (or kingdom) and "Delight of the
[FN#150] It is utterly absurd to give the old heroic Persian name
Afridun or Furaydun, the destroyer of Zohák or Zahhák to a Greek,
but such anachronisms are characteristic of The Nights and are
evidently introduced on purpose. See Boccaccio, ix. 9.
[FN#151] Arab. "Yunán" lit. Ionia, which applies to all Greece,
insular and continental, especially to ancient Greece.
[FN#152] In 1870 I saw at Sidon a find of some hundreds of gold
"Philippi" and "Alexanders."
[FN#153] M. Riche has (p. 21), "Ces talismans travaillés par le
ciseau du célèbre Califaziri," adding in a note, "Je pense que
c'est un sculpteur Arabe."
[FN#154] This periphrase, containing what seems to us a useless
negative, adds emphasis in Arabic.
[FN#155] This bit of geographical information is not in the Bull
[FN#156] In Pers. = a tooth, the popular word.
[FN#157] This preliminary move, called in Persian Nakl-i Safar, is
generally mentioned. So the Franciscan monks in California, when
setting out for a long journey through the desert, marched three
times round the convent and pitched tents for the night under its
[FN#158] In Arab. "Khazinah" or "Khaznah" lit. a treasure,
representing 1,000 "Kís" or purses (each=£5). The sum in the text
is 7,000 purses X 5=£35,000.
[FN#159] Travellers often prefer such sites because they are
sheltered from the wind, and the ground is soft for pitching tents;
but many have come to grief from sudden torrents following rain.
[FN#160] Arab "Ghábah" not a forest in our sense of the word, but
a place where water sinks and the trees (mostly Mimosas), which
elsewhere are widely scattered, form a comparatively dense growth
and collect in thickets. These are favourite places for wild beasts
[FN#161] At various times in the East Jews and Christians were
ordered to wear characteristic garments, especially the Zunnár or
[FN#162] The description is borrowed from the Coptic Convent, which
invariably has an inner donjon or keep. The oldest monastery in the
world is Mar Antonios (St. Anthony the Hermit) not far from Suez.
(Gold Mines of Midian, p. 85.)
[FN#163] "Dawáhí," plur. of Dáhiyah = a mishap. The title means
"Mistress of Misfortunes" or Queen of Calamities (to the enemy);
and the venerable lady, as will be seen, amply deserved her name,
which is pronounced Zát al-Dawáhí.
[FN#164] Arab. "Kunfuz"=hedgehog or porcupine.
[FN#165] These flowers of speech are mere familiarities, not
insults. In societies where the sexes are separated speech becomes
exceedingly free. "Étourdie que vous êtes," says M. Riche, toning
down the text.
[FN#166] Arab. "Zirt," a low word. The superlative "Zarrát"
(fartermost) or, "Abu Zirt" (Father of farts) is a facetious term
among the bean-eating Fellahs and a deadly insult amongst the
Badawin (Night ccccx.). The latter prefer the word Taggáa
(Pilgrimage iii. 84). We did not disdain the word in
farthingale=pet en air.
[FN#167] Arab. "kicked" him, i.e. with the sharp corner of the
shovel-stirrup. I avoid such expressions as "spurring" and
"pricking over the plain," because apt to give a wrong idea.
[FN#168] Arab. "Allaho Akbar!" the classical Moslem slogan.
[FN#169] Arab horses are never taught to leap, so she was quite
safe on the other side of a brook nine feet broad.
[FN#170] "Batrík" (vulg. Bitrík)=patricius, a title given to
Christian knights who commanded ten thousand men; the Tarkhan (or
Nobb) heading four thousand, and the Kaumas (Arab. Káid) two
hundred. It must not be confounded with Batrak (or
Batrik)=patriarcha. (Lane's Lex.)
[FN#171] Arab. "Kázi al-Kuzát," a kind of Chief Justice or
Chancellor. The office wag established under the rule of Harun al
Rashid, who so entitled Abú Yúsuf Ya'akab al-Ansári: therefore the
allusion is anachronistic. The same Caliph also caused the Olema to
dress as they do still.
[FN#172] The allusion is Koranic: "O men, if ye be in doubt
concerning the resurrection, consider that He first created you of
the dust of the ground (Adam), afterwards of seed" (chaps. xxii.).
But the physiological ideas of the Koran are curious. It supposes
that the Mani or male semen is in the loins and that of women in
the breast bone (chaps Ixxxvi.); that the mingled seed of the two
(chaps. Ixxvi.) fructifies the ovary and that the child is fed
through the navel with menstruous blood, hence the cessation of the
catamenia. Barzoi (Kalilah and Dímnah) says:-- "Man's seed, falling
into the woman's womb, is mixed with her seed and her blood: when
it thickens and curdles the Spirit moves it and it turns about like
liquid cheese; then it solidifies, its arteries are formed, its
limbs constructed and its joints distinguished. If the babe is a
male, his face is placed towards his mother's back; if a female,
towards her belly." (P. 262, Mr. L G.N. Keith- Falconer's
translation.) But there is a curious prolepsis of the
spermatozoa-theory. We read (Koran chaps. vii.), "Thy Lord drew
forth their posterity from the loins of the sons of Adam;" and the
commentators say that Allah stroked Adam's back and extracted from
his loins all his posterity, which shall ever be, in the shape of
small ants; these confessed their dependence on God and were
dismissed to return whence they came." From this fiction it appears
(says Sale) that the doctrine of pre-existence is not unknown to
the Mohammedans, and there is some little conformity between it and
the modern theory of generatio ex animalculis in semine marium. The
poets call this Yaum-i-Alast = the Day of Am-I-not (-your Lord)?
which Sir William Jones most unhappily translated "Art thou not
with thy Lord ?" (Alasta bi Rabbi- kum); fand they produce a grand
vision of unembodied spirits appearing in countless millions before
[FN#173] The usual preliminary of a wrestling bout.
[FN#174] In Eastern wrestling this counts as a fair fail. So Ajax
fell on his back with Ulysses on his breast. (Iliad xxxii., 700,
[FN#175] So biting was allowed amongst the Greeks in the
, the final struggle on the ground.
[FN#176] Supposed to be names of noted wrestlers. "Kayim" (not
El-Kim as Torrens has it) is a term now applied to a juggler or
"professor" of legerdemain who amuses people in the streets with
easy tricks. (Lane, M. E., chaps. xx.)
[FN#177] Lit. "laughed in his face" which has not the unpleasant
meaning it bears in English.
[FN#178] Arab. "Abu riyáh"=a kind of child's toy. It is our
"bull-roarer" well known in Australia and parts of Africa.
[FN#179] The people of the region south of the Caspian which is
called "Sea of Daylam." It has a long history; for which see
D'Herbelot, s.v. "Dilem."
[FN#180] Coptic convents in Egypt still affect these drawbridges
over the keep-moat.
[FN#181] Koran iv., xxii. etc., meaning it is lawful to marry women
taken in war after the necessary purification although their
husbands be still living. This is not permitted with a free woman
who is a True Believer. I have noted that the only concubine
slave-girl mentioned in the Koran are these "captives possessed by
the right hand."
[FN#182] The Amazonian dame is a favourite in folk-lore and is an
ornament to poetry from the Iliad to our modern day. Such heroines,
apparently unknown to the Pagan Arabs, were common in the early
ages of Al-Islam as Ockley and Gibbon prove, and that the race is
not extinct may be seen in my Pilgrimage (iii. 55) where the sister
of Ibn Rumi resolved to take blood revenge for her brother.
[FN#183] And Solomon said, "O nobles, which of you will bring me
her throne ?" A terrible genius (i.e. an If rit of the Jinn named
Dhakwan or the notorious Sakhr) said, " I will bring it unto thee
before thou arise from thy seat (of justice); for I am able to
perform it, and may be trusted" (Koran, xxvii. 38-39). Balkís or
Bilkís (says the Durrat al-Ghawwás) daughter of Hozád bin
Sharhabíl, twenty-second in the list of the rulers of Al- Yaman,
according to some murdered her husband, and became, by Moslem
ignorance, the Biblical " Queen of Sheba." The Abyssinians transfer
her from Arabian Saba to Ethiopia and make her the mother by
Solomon of Menelek, their proto-monarch; thus claiming for their
royalties an antiquity compared with which all reigning houses in
the world are of yesterday. The dates of the Tabábi'ah or Tobbas
prove that the Bilkis of history ruled Al-Yaman in the early
[FN#184] Arab. "Fass," fiss or fuss; the gem set in a ring; also
applied to a hillock rounded en cabochon. In The Nights it is used
to signify "a fine gem."
[FN#185] This prominence of the glutæi muscles is always insisted
upon, because it is supposed to promise well in a bed-fellow. In
Somali land where the people are sub- steatopygous, a rich young
man, who can afford such luxury, will have the girls drawn up in
line and choose her to wife who projects furthest behind
[FN#186] The "bull" is only half mine.
[FN#187] A favourite Arab phrase, the "hot eye" is one full of
[FN#188] i.e., "Coral," coral branch, a favourite name for a
slave-girl, especially a negress. It is the older "Morgiana." I do
not see why Preston in Al-Haríni's "Makamah (Séance) of Singar"
renders it pearls, because Golius gives "small pearls," when it is
evidently "coral." Richardson (Dissert. xlviii.) seems to me
justified in finding the Pari (fairy) Marjan of heroic Persian
history reflected in the Fairy Morgain who earned off King Arthur
after the battle of Camelon.
[FN#189] Arab. "'Ud Jalaki"=Jalak or Jalik being a poetical and
almost obsolete name of Damascus.
[FN#190] The fountain in Paradise whose water shall be drunk with
"pure" wine mixed and sealed with musk (for clay). It is so called
because it comes from the "Sanam" (Sanima, to be high) boss or
highest ridge of the Moslem Heaven (Koran lv. 78 and lxxxiii. 27).
Mr. Rodwell says "it is conveyed to the highest apartments in the
Pavilions of Paradise." (?)
[FN#191] This "hysterical" temperament is not rare even amongst the
[FN#192] An idea evidently derived from the Æolipyla (olla
animatoria) the invention of Hero Alexandrinus, which showed that
the ancient Egyptians could apply the motive force of steam.
[FN#193] Kuthayyir ibn Abi Jumah, a poet and far-famed Ráwí or
Tale-reciter, mentioned by Ibn Khallikan he lived at Al-Medinah and
sang the attractions of one Azzah, hence his soubriquet Sáhib
(lover of) Azzah. As he died in A. H. 105 (=726), his presence here
is a gross anachronism the imaginary Sharrkan flourished before the
Caliphate of Abd al-Malik bin Marwán A. H. 65-86.
[FN#194] Jamíl bin Ma'amar, a poet and lover contemporary with
[FN#195] Arab. "Tafazzal," a word of frequent use in
conversation="favour me," etc.
[FN#196] The word has a long history. From the Gr. or
is the Lat. stibium; while the Low Latin "antimonium" and the Span.
Althimod are by metathesis for Al-Ithmid. The dictionaries define
the substance as a stone from which antimony is prepared, but the
Arabs understand a semi-mythical mineral of yellow colour which
enters into the veins of the eyes and gives them Iynx-like vision.
The famous Anz nicknamed Zarká (the blue eyed) of Yamámah
(Province) used it; and, according to some, invented Kohl. When her
(protohistoric) tribe Jadis had destroyed all the rival race of
Tasm, except Ribáh ibn Murrah; the sole survivor fled to the Tobba
of Al-Yaman, who sent a host to avenge him. The king commanded his
Himyarites to cut tree-boughs and use them as screens (again Birnam
wood). Zarká from her Utum, or peel-tower, saw the army three
marches off and cried, "O folk, either trees or Himyar are coming
upon you!" adding, in Rajaz verse:--
I swear by Allah that trees creep onward, or that Himyar beareth
somewhat which he draweth along!
She then saw a man mending his sandal. But Jadis disbelieved;
Cassandra was slain and, when her eyes were cut out the vessels
were found full of Ithmid. Hence Al-Mutanabbi sang:
"Sharper-sighted than Zarká of Jau" (Yamámah).
See C. de Perceval i. 101; Arab. Prov. i. 192; and Chenery p. 381.
(The Assemblies of Al-Hariri; London, Williams and Norgate, 1867).
I have made many enquiries into the true nature of Ithmid and
failed to learn anything: on the Upper Nile the word is=Kohl.
[FN#197] The general colour of chessmen in the East, where the game
is played on a cloth more often than a board.
[FN#198] Arab. "Al-fil," the elephant=the French fol or fou and our
bishop. I have derived "elephant" from Píl (old Persian, Sansk.
Pilu) and Arab. Fil, with the article Al-Fil, whence the Greek
the suffix--as being devoted to barbarous words as Obod-as
(Al Ubayd), Aretas (Al-Háris), etc. Mr. Isaac Taylor (The Alphabet
i. 169), preserves the old absurdity of "eleph-ant or ox-like (!)
beast of Africa." Prof. Sayce finds the word al-ab (two distinct
characters) in line 3, above the figure of an (Indian) elephant, on
the black obelisk of Nimrod Mound, and suggests an Assyrian
[FN#199] Arab. "Shaukat" which may also mean the "pride" or
"mainstay" (of the army).
[FN#200] Lit. "smote him on the tendons of his neck." This is the
famous shoulder-cut (Tawash shuh) which, with the leg-cut (Kalam),
formed, and still forms, the staple of Eastern attack with the
[FN#201] Arab. "Dirás." Easterns do not thresh with flails. The
material is strewed over a round and smoothed floor of dried mud in
the open air and threshed by different connivances. In Egypt the
favourite is a chair-like machine called "Norag," running on iron
plates and drawn by bulls or cows over the corn. Generally,
however, Moslems prefer the old classical , the Tribulum of
Virgil and Varro, a slipper-shaped sled of wood garnished on the
sole with large-headed iron nails, or sharp fragments of flint or
basalt. Thus is made the "Tibn" or straw, the universal hay of the
East, which our machines cannot imitate.
[FN#202] These numbers appear to be grossly exaggerated, but they
were possible in the days of sword and armour: at the battle of
Saffayn the Caliph Ali is said to have cut down five hundred and
twenty-three men in a single night.
[FN#203] Arab. "Bika'á": hence the "Buka'ah" or Cœlesyria.
[FN#204] Richardson in his excellent dictionary (note 103) which
modern priggism finds "unscientific " wonderfully derives this word
from Arab. "Khattáf," a snatcher (i.e. of women), a ravisher. It is
an evident corruption of "captivus" through Italian and French
[FN#205] These periodical and fair-like visitations to convents are
still customary; especially amongst the Christians of Damascus.
[FN#206] Camphor being then unknown.
[FN#207] The "wrecker" is known all over the world; and not only
barbarians hold that ships driven ashore become the property of the
[FN#208] Arab. "Jokh": it is not a dictionary word, but the only
term in popular use for European broadcloth.
[FN#209] The second person plural is used because the writer would
involve the subjects of his correspondent in the matter.
[FN#210] This part of the phrase, which may seem unnecessary to the
European, is perfectly intelligible to all Orientalists. You may
read many an Eastern letter and not understand it. Compare Boccacoo
[FN#211] i.e. he was greatly agitated
[FN#212] In text "Li-ajal a al-Taudi'a," for the purpose of
farewelling, a low Egyptianism; emphatically a "Kalám wáti."
(Pilgrimage thee iii. 330.)
[FN#213] In the Mac. Edit. Sharrkan speaks, a clerical error.
[FN#214] The Farsakh (Germ. Stunde) a measure of time rather than
distance, is an hour's travel or its equivalent, a league, a
meile=three English stat. miles. The word is still used in Persia
its true home, but not elsewhere. It is very old, having been
determined as a lineal measure of distance by Herodotus (ii. 5 and
6 ; v. 53), who computes it at 30 furlongs (=furrow-lengths, 8 to
the stat. mile). Strabo (xi.) makes it range from 40 to 60 stades
(each=606 feet 9 inches), and even now it varies between 1,500 to
6,000 yards. Captain Francklin (Tour to Persia) estimates it =
about four miles. (Pilgrimage ii. 113.)
[FN#215] Arab. "Ashhab." Names of colours are few amongst semi
civilised peoples, but in Arabia there is a distinct word for every
shade of horseflesh.
[FN#216] She had already said to him "Thou art beaten in
[FN#217] Showing that she was still a Christian.
[FN#218] This is not Badawi sentiment: the honoratioren amongst
wild people would scorn such foul play; but amongst the settled
Arabs honour between men and women is unknown and such "hocussing"
would be held quite fair.
[FN#219] The table of wine, in our day, is mostly a japanned tray
with glasses and bottles, saucers of pickles and fruits and,
perhaps, a bunch of flowers and aromatic herbs. During the
Caliphate the "wine-service" was on a larger scale.
[FN#220] Here the "Bhang" (almost a generic term applied to
hellebore, etc.) may be hyoscyamus or henbane. Yet there are
varieties of Cannabis, such as the Dakha of South Africa capable of
most violent effect. I found the use of the drug well known to the
negroes of the Southern United States and of the Brazil, although
few of their owners had ever heard of it.
[FN#221] Amongst Moslems this is a reference to Adam who first
"sinned against himself,' and who therefore is called "
Safíyu'llah," the Pure of Allah. (Pilgrimage iii. 333.)
[FN#222] Meaning, an angry, violent man.
[FN#223] Arab. "Inshád," which may mean reciting the verse of
another or improvising one's own. In Modern Egypt "Munshid" is the
singer or reciter of poetry at Zikrs (Lane M. E. chaps. xxiv.).
Here the verses are quite bad enough to be improvised by the
[FN#224] The negro skin assumes this dust colour in cold, fear,
concupiscence and other mental emotions.
[FN#225] He compares her glance with the blade of a Yamani sword,
a lieu commun of Eastern poetry. The weapons are famous in The
Nights; but the best sword-cutlery came from Persia as the
porcelain from China to Sana'á. Here, however, is especial allusion
as to the sword "Samsam" or "Samsamah." It belonged to the
Himyarite Tobba, Amru bin Ma'ad Kurb, and came into the hands of
Harun al-Rashid. When the Emperor of the Greeks sent a present of
superior sword-blades to him by way of a brave, the Caliph, in the
presence of the Envoys, took "Samsam" in hand and cut the others in
twain as if they were cabbages without the least prejudice to the
edge of "Samsam."
[FN#226] This touch of pathos is truly Arab. So in the "Romance of
Dalhamah" (Lane, M. E. xxiii.) the infant Gundubah sucks the breast
of its dead mother and the King exclaims, "If she had committed
this crime she would not be affording the child her milk after she
[FN#227] Arab. "Sadda'l-Aktár," a term picturesque enough to be
preserved in English. "Sadd," I have said, is a wall or dyke, the
term applied to the great dam of water- plants which obstructs the
navigation of the Upper Nile, the lilies and other growths floating
with the current from the (Victoria) Nyanza Lake. I may note that
we need no longer derive from India the lotus-llily so extensively
used by the Ancient Egyptians and so neglected by the moderns that
it has well nigh disappeared. All the Central African basins abound
in the Nymphæa and thence it found its way down the Nile Valley.
[FN#228] Arab. "Al Marhúmah": equivalent to our "late lamented."
[FN#229] Vulgarly pronounced "Mahmal," and by Egyptians and Turks
"Mehmel." Lane (M. E. xxiv.) has figured this queenly litter and I
have sketched and described it in my Pilgrimage (iii. 12).
[FN#230] For such fits of religious enthusiasm see my Pilgrimage
[FN#231] "Irák" (Mesopotamia) means "a level country beside the
banks of a ever."
[FN#232] "Al Kuds," or "Bays al-Mukaddas," is still the popular
name of Jerusalem, from the Heb. Yerushalaim ha-Kadushah (legend on
shekel of Simon Maccabeus).
[FN#233] "Follow the religion of Abraham" says the Koran (chaps.
iii. 89). Abraham, titled "Khalílu'llah," ranks next in dignity to
Mohammed, preceding Isa, I need hardly say that his tomb is not in
Jerusalem nor is the tomb itself at Hebron ever visited. Here
Moslems (soi disant) are allowed by the jealousies of Europe to
close and conceal a place which belongs to the world, especially to
Jews and Christians. The tombs, if they exist, lie in a vault or
cave under the Mosque.
[FN#234] Abá, or Abáyah, vulg. Abayah, is a cloak of hair, goat's
or camel's; too well known to require description.
[FN#235] Arab. "Al-Wakkád," the man who lights and keeps up the
[FN#236] Arab. "Má al-Khaláf" (or "Khiláf") a sickly perfume but
much prized, made from the flowers of the Salix Ægyptiaca.
[FN#237] Used by way of soap; like glasswort and other plants.
[FN#238] i.e., "Thou art only just recovered."
[FN#239] To "Nakh" is to gurgle "Ikh! Ikh!" till the camel kneels.
Hence the space called "Barr al-Manákhah" in Al-Medinah (Pilgrimage
i. 222, ii. 91). There is a regular camel vocabulary amongst the
Arabs, made up like our "Gee" (go ye!), etc. of significant words
[FN#240] Arab. "Laza," the Second Hell provided for Jews.
[FN#241] The word has been explained (vol. i. 112).[see Volume 1,
note 199] It is trivial, not occurring in the Koran which uses
"Arabs of the Desert ;" "Arabs who dwell in tents," etc. (chaps.
ix. and xxxiii.). "A'arábi" is the classical word and the origin of
"Arab" is disputed. According to Pocock (Notæ Spec. Hist. Arab.):
"Diverse are the opinions concerning the denomination of the Arabs;
but the most certain of all is that which draws it from Arabah,
which is part of the region of Tehama (belonging to Al-Medinah
Pilgrimage ii. 118), which their father Ismail afterwards
inhabited." Tehamah (sierra caliente) is the maritime region of Al
Hijaz, the Moslems Holy Land; and its "Arabah," a very small tract
which named a very large tract, must not be confounded, as some
have done, with the Wady Arabah, the ancient outlet of the Dead
Sea. The derivation of "Arab" from "Ya'arab" a fancied son of
Joktan is mythological. In Heb. Arabia may be called "Eretz Ereb"
(or "Arab")=land of the West; but in Arabic "Gharb" (not Ereb) is
the Occident and the Arab dates long before the Hebrew.
[FN#242] "When thine enemy extends his hand to thee, cut it off if
thou can, or kiss it," wisely said Caliph al-Mansur.
[FN#243] The Tartur was a peculiar turban worn by the Northern
Arabs and shown in old prints. In modern Egypt the term is applied
to the tall sugar-loaf caps of felt affected mostly by regular
Dervishes. Burckhardt (Proverbs 194 and 398) makes it the high cap
of felt or fur proper to the irregular cavalry called Dely or
Delaty. In Dar For (Darfour) "Tartur" is a conical cap adorned with
beads and cowries worn by the Manghwah or buffoon who corresponds
with the Egyptian "Khalbús" or "Maskharah" and the Turkish
"Sutari." For an illustration see Plate iv. fig. 10 of Voyage au
Darfour par Mohammed El Tounsy (The Tunisian), Paris, Duprat, 1845.
[FN#244] The term is picturesque and true; we say "gnaw," which is
not so good.
[FN#245] Here, meaning an Elder, a Chief, etc.; the word has been
almost naturalised in English. I have noted that Abraham was the
[FN#246] This mention of weighing suggests the dust of Dean Swift
and the money of the Gold Coast It was done, I have said, because
the gold coin, besides being "sweated" was soft and was soon worn
[FN#247] Fem. of Nájí (a deliverer, a saviour)=Salvadora.
[FN#248] This, I have noted, is according to Koranic command
(chaps. iv. 88). "When you are saluted with a salutation, salute
the person with a better salutation." The longer answer to "Peace
be with (or upon) thee! " is still universally the custom. The
"Salem" is so differently pronounced by every Eastern nation that
the observant traveller will easily make of it a Shibboleth.
[FN#249] The Badawi, who was fool as well as rogue, begins to fear
that he has kidnapped a girl of family.
[FN#250] These examinations being very indecent are usually done in
strictest privacy. The great point is to make sure of virginity.
[FN#251] This is according to strict Moslem law: the purchaser may
not look at the girl's nakedness till she is his, and he ought to
manage matters through an old woman.
[FN#252] Lit. wrath; affliction which chokes; in Hindustani it
means simply anger.
[FN#253] i.e. Heaven forbid I be touched by a strange man.
[FN#254] Used for fuel and other purposes, such as making "doss
[FN#255] Arab "Yaftah'Allah" the offer being insufficient. The
rascal is greedy as a Badaw and moreover he is a liar, which the
Badawi is not.
[FN#256] The third of the four great Moslem schools of Theology,
taking its name from the Imam al-Sháfi'í (Mohammed ibn Idrís) who
died in Egypt A.H. 204, and lies buried near Cairo. (Sale's Prel.
Disc. sect. viii.)
[FN#257] The Moslem form of Cabbala, or transcendental philosophy
of the Hebrews.
[FN#258] Arab. "Bakh" the word used by the Apostle to Ali his
son-in-law. It is the Latin "Euge."
[FN#259] Readers, who read for amusement, will do well to "skip"
the fadaises of this highly educated young woman.
[FN#260] There are three Persian Kings of this name (Artaxerxes)
which means "Flour and milk," or "high lion." The text alludes to
Ardeshir Babegan, so called because he married the daughter of
Babak the shepherd, founder of the Sassanides in A.D. 202. See
D,Herberot, and the Dabistan.
[FN#261] Alluding to the proverb, "Folk follow their King's faith,"
"Cujus regio ejus religio" etc.
[FN#262] Second Abbaside, A.H. 136-158 (=754-775).
[FN#263] The celebrated companion of Mohammed who succeeded Abu
Bakr in the Caliphate (A.H. 13-23=634-644). The Sunnis know him as
Al-Adil the Just, and the Shiahs detest him for his usurpation, his
austerity and harshness. It is said that he laughed once and wept
once. The laugh was caused by recollecting how he ate his
dough-gods (the idols of the Hanifah tribe) in The Ignorance. The
tears were drawn by remembering how he buried alive his baby
daughter who, while the grave was being dug, patted away the dust
from his hair and beard. Omar was doubtless a great man, but he is
one of the most ungenial figures in Moslem history which does not
abound in genialities. To me he suggests a Puritan, a Covenanter of
the sourest and narrowest type; and I cannot wonder that the
Persians abhor him, and abuse him on all occasions.
[FN#264] The austere Caliph Omar whose scourge was more feared than
the sword was the - author of the celebrated saying "Consult them
(feminines) and do clear contrary-wise."
[FN#265] Our "honour amongst thieves."
[FN#266] The sixth successor of Mohammed and founder of the Banu
Umayyah or Ommiades, called the "sons of the little mother" from
their eponymus (A.H. 41-60=661-680). For his Badawi wife Maysun,
and her abuse of her husband, see Pilgrimage iii. 262.
[FN#267] Shaykh of the noble tribe, or rather nation, Banu Tamím
and a notable of the day, surnamed, no one knows why, "Sire of the
[FN#268] This is essential for cleanliness in hot lands: however
much the bath may be used, the body-pile and lower hair, if
submitted to a microscope, will show more or less sordes adherent.
The axilla-hair is plucked because if shaved the growing pile
causes itching and the depilatories are held deleterious. At first
vellication is painful but the skin becomes used to it. The pecten
is shaved either without or after using depilatories, of which more
presently. The body-pile is removed by "Takhfíf"; the Libán Shámi
(Syrian incense), a fir- gum imported from Scio, is melted and
allowed to cool in the form of a pledget. This is passed over the
face and all the down adhering to it is pulled up by the roots
(Burckhardt No. 420). Not a few Anglo-Indians have adopted these
[FN#269] This Caliph was a tall, fair, handsome man of
awe-inspiring aspect. Omar used to look at him and say, "This is
the Cæsar of the Arabs," while his wife called him a "fatted ass."
[FN#270] The saying is attributed to Abraham when "exercised" by
the unkindly temper of Sarah; "woman is made hard and crooked like
a rib;" and the modern addition is, "whoso would straighten her,
[FN#271] i.e. "When ready and in erection."
[FN#272] "And do first (before going in to your wives) some act
which may be profitable unto your souls" or, for you: soul's good.
(Koran, chaps. ii. 223.) Hence Ahnaf makes this prayer.
[FN#273] It was popularly said that "Truth-speaking left Omar
without a friend." Entitled "The Just" he was murdered by Abu
Lúlúah, alias Fírúz, a (Magian ?) slave of Al-Maghírah for denying
[FN#274] Governor of Bassorah under the first four Caliphs. See
D'Herbelot s.v. "Aschári."
[FN#275] Ziyad bin Abi Sufyan, illegitimate brother of the Caliph
Mu'awiyah afterwards governor of Bassorah, Cufa and Al-Hijaz.
[FN#276] The seditions in Kufah were mainly caused by the wilful
nepotism of Caliph Othman bin Asákir which at last brought about
his death. His main quality seems to have been personal beauty:
"never was seen man or woman of fairer face than he and he was the
most comely of men:" he was especially famed for beautiful teeth
which in old age he bound about with gold wire. He is described as
of middling stature, large- limbed, broad shouldered, fleshy of
thigh and long in the fore-arm which was hairy. His face inclined
to yellow and was pock-marked; his beard was full and his curly
hair, which he dyed yellow, fell below his ears. He is called
"writer of the Koran" from his edition of the M.S., and "Lord of
the two Lights" because he married two of the Prophet's daughters,
Rukayyah and Umm Kulthum; and, according to the Shi'ahs who call
him Othman-i-Lang or" limping Othman," he vilely maltreated them.
They justify his death as the act of an Ijmá' al-Muslimín, the
general consensus of Moslems which ratifies "Lynch law." Altogether
Othman is a mean figure in history.
[FN#277] "Nár" (fire) is a word to be used delicately from its
connection with Gehenna. You say, e.g. "bring me a light, a coal
(bassah)" etc.; but if you say "bring me fire! " the enemy will
probably remark "He wanteth fire even before his time!" The slang
expression would be "bring the sweet." (Pilgrimage i. 121.)
[FN#278] Omar is described as a man of fair complexion, and very
ruddy, but he waxed tawny with age, when he also became bald and
grey. He had little hair on the cheeks but a long mustachio with
reddish ends. In stature he overtopped the people and was stout as
he was tall. A popular saying of Mohammed's is, "All (very) long
men are fools save Omar, and all (very) short men are knaves save
Ali." The Persians, who abhor Omar, compare every lengthy,
ungainly, longsome thing with him; they will say, "This road never
ends, like the entrails of Omar." We know little about Ali's
appearance except that he was very short and stout, broad and
full-bellied with a tawny complexion and exceedingly hairy, his
long beard, white as cotton, filling all the space between his
shoulders. He was a "pocket. Hercules," and incredible tales, like
that about the gates of Khaybar, are told of his strength. Lastly,
he was the only Caliph who bequeathed anything to literature: his
"Cantiloquium" is famous and he has left more than one mystical and
prophetic work. See Ockley for his "Sentences" and D'Herbelot s. D.
"Ali" and "Gebr." Ali is a noble figure in Moslem history.
[FN#279] The emancipation from the consequences of his sins; or it
may mean a holy death.
[FN#280] Battle fought near Al-Medinah A.D. 625. The word is
derived from "shad" (one). I have described the site in my
Pilgrimage, (vol. ii. 227).
[FN#281] "Haphsa" in older writers; Omar's daughter and one of
Mohammed's wives, famous for her connection with the manuscripts of
the Koran. From her were (or claimed to be) descended the Hafsites
who reigned in Tunis and extended their power far and wide over the
Maghrib (Mauritania), till dispossessed by the Turks.
[FN#282] i.e. humbly without the usual strut or swim: it
corresponds with the biblical walking or going softly. (I Kings
xxi. 27; Isaiah xxxviii. 15, etc.)
[FN#283] A theologian of the seventh and eighth centuries.
[FN#284] i.e. to prepare himself by good works, especially
alms-giving, for the next world.
[FN#285] A theologian of the eighth century.
[FN#286] Abd al-Aziz was eighth Ommiade (regn. A.H. 99=717) and the
fifth of the orthodox, famed for a piety little known to his house.
His most celebrated saying was, " Be constant in meditation on
death: if thou bein straitened case 'twill enlarge it, and if in
affluence 'twill straiten it upon thee." He died. poisoned, it is
said, in A.H 101,
[FN#287] Abu Bakr originally called Abd al-Ka'abah (slave of the
Ka'abah) took the name of Abdullah and was surnamed Abu Bakr
(father of the virgin) when Mohammed, who before had married only
widows, took to wife his daughter, the famous or infamous Ayishah.
"Bikr" is the usual form, but "Bakr," primarily meaning a young
camel, is metaphorically applied to human youth (Lane's Lex. s.
c.). The first Caliph was a cloth-merchant, like many of the Meccan
chiefs. He is described as very fair with bulging brow, deep set
eyes and thin-checked, of slender build and lean loined, stooping
and with the backs of his hands fleshless. He used tinctures of
Henna and Katam for his beard. The Persians who hate him, call him
"Pir-i-Kaftár," the old she-hyaena, and believe that he wanders
about the deserts of Arabia in perpetual rut which the males must
[FN#288] The second, fifth, sixth and seventh Ommiades.
[FN#289] The mother of Omar bin Abd al-Aziz was a granddaughter of
Omar bin al-Khattab.
[FN#290] Brother of this Omar's successor, Yezid II.
[FN#291] So the Turkish proverb "The fish begins to stink at the
[FN#292] Calling to the slaves.
[FN#293] When the "Day of Arafat" (9th of Zú'l-Hijjah) falls upon
a Friday. For this Hajj al- Akbar see my Pilgrimage iii. 226. It is
often confounded by writers (even by the learned M. Caussin de
Perceval) with the common Pilgrimage as opposed to the Umrah, or "
Lesser Pilgrimage" (ibid. iii. 342, etc.). The latter means
etymologically cohabiting with a woman in her father's house as
opposed to 'Ars or leading her to the husband's home: it is applied
to visiting Meccah and going through all the pilgrim-rites but not
at the Pilgrimage-season. Hence its title "Hajj al-Asghar" the
"Lesser Hajj." But "Umrah" is also applied to a certain ceremony
between the hills Safá (a large hard rock) and Marwah (stone full
of flints), which accompanies the Hajj and which I have described
(ibid. iii. 344). At Meccah I also heard of two places called
Al-Umrah, the Greater in the Wady Fátimah and the Lesser half way
nearer the city (ibid. iii. 344).
[FN#294] A fair specimen of the unworthy egoism which all religious
systems virtually inculcate Here a pious father leaves his children
miserable to save his own dirty soul.
[FN#295] Chief of the Banú Tamín, one of the noblest of tribes,
derived from Tamím, the uncle of Kuraysh (Koreish); hence the poets
There cannot be a son nobler than Kuraysh,
Nor an uncle nobler than Tamím.
The high minded Tamín is contrasted with the mean-spirited Kays,
who also gave rise to a tribe; and hence the saying concerning one
absolutely inconsistent, "Art thou now Tamín and then Kays?"
[FN#296] Surnamed Al-Sakafi, Governor of Al-Yaman and Irak.
[FN#297] Tenth Ommiade (regn. A H. 105-125 = 724-743).
[FN#298] Or "clothe thee in worn-out clothes" i.e. "Become a Fakir"
or religious mendicant.
[FN#299] This gratuitous incest in ignorance injures the tale and
is as repugnant to Moslem as to Christian taste.
[FN#300] The child is named either on the day of its birth or on
that day week. The father whispers it in the right ear, often
adding the Azán or prayer-call, and repeating in the left ear the
"Ikámah" or Friday sentence. There are many rules for choosing
names according to the week-day, the ascendant planet, the "Sortes
[FN#301] Amongst Moslems as amongst Christians there are seven
deadly sins: idolatry, murder, falsely charging modest women with
unchastity, robbing orphans, usury, desertion in Holy War and
disobedience to parents. The difference between the two creeds is
noteworthy. And the sage knows only three, intemperance, ignorance
[FN#302] Meaning, "It was decreed by Destiny; so it came to pass,"
appropriate if not neat.
[FN#303] The short, stout, dark, long-haired and two-bunched camel
from "Bukhtar" (Bactria), the "Eastern" (Bakhtar) region on the Amu
or Jayhun (Oxus) River; afterwards called Khorasan. The two-humped
camel is never seen in Arabia except with northern caravans, and to
speak of it would be a sore test of Badawi credulity.
[FN#304] "Kaylúlah" is the "forty-winks" about noon: it is a Sunnat
or Practice of the Prophet who said, "Make the mid-day siesta, for
verily at this hour the devils sleep not." "Aylúlain" is slumbering
after morning prayers (our "beauty-sleep"), causing heaviness andid
leness: "Ghaylúlah" is dozing about 9 a.m. engendering poverty and
wretchedness: "Kaylúlah" (with the guttural Kaf) is sleeping before
evening prayers and "Faylúlah" is slumbering after sunset--both
held to be highly detrimental. (Pilgrimage ii 49.)
[FN#305] The Biblical "Hamath" (Hightown) too well known to require
description. It is still famous for the water-wheels mentioned by
al-Hariri (assembly of the Banu Harám).
[FN#306] When they say, "The levee flashes bright on the hills of
Al-Yaman," the allusion is to the south quarter, where
summer-lightning is seen. Al-Yaman (always with the article) means,
I have said, the right-hand region to one facing the rising sun and
Al-Sham (Syria) the left-hand region.
[FN#307] Again "he" for "she," in delicacy and jealousy of making
public the beauty or conditions of the "veiled sex." Even public
singers would hesitate to use a feminine pronoun. As will be seen
however, the rule is not invariably kept and hardly ever in Badawi
[FN#308] The normal pun on "Nuzhat al-Zaman" = Delight of the Age
[FN#309] The reader will find in my Pilgrimage (i. 305) a sketch of
the Takht-rawan or travelling-litter, in which pilgrimesses are
wont to sleep.
[FN#310] In poetry it holds the place of our Zephyr; end the "Bád-
i-Sabá"=Breeze o' the morn, Is much addressed by Persian poets.
[FN#311] Here appears the nervous, excitable, hysterical Arab
temperament which is almost phrensied by the neighbourhood of a
home from which he had run away.
[FN#312] Zau al-Makan and Nuzhat al-Zaman.
[FN#313] The idea is essentially Eastern, "A lion at home and a
lamb abroad" is the popular saying.
[FN#314] Arab. "Hubb al-Watan" (= love of birthplace, patriotism)
of which the Tradition says "Min al-Imán" (=is part of man's
[FN#315] He is supposed to speak en prince; and he yields to a
prayer when he spurns a command.
[FN#316] In such caravans each party must keep its own place under
pain of getting into trouble with the watchmen and guards.
[FN#317] Mr. Payne (ii. 109) borrows this and the next quotation
from the Bull Edit. i. 386.
[FN#318] For the expiation of inconsiderate oaths see Koran (chaps.
v.). I cannot but think that Al-Islam treats perjury too lightly:
all we can say is-that it improves upon Hinduism which practically
seems to leave the punishment to the gods.
[FN#319] "Kausar," as has been said, represents the classical
nectar, the Amrita of the Hindus.
[FN#320] From Bull Edit. i. 186. The couplet in the Mac. Edit. i.
457 is very wildly applied.
[FN#321] The "insula" of Sancho Panza.
[FN#322] This should have assured him that he stood in no danger.
[FN#323] Here ends the wearisome tale of the brother and sister,
and the romance of chivalry begins once more with the usual Arab
[FN#324] I have derived this word from the Persian "rang"=colour,
[FN#325] Otherwise all would be superseded, like U. S. officials
under a new President.
[FN#326] Arab. "Nímshah" from the Pers. Nímchah, a "half-sword," a
long dagger worn in the belt. Richardson derives it from Namsh,
being freckled (damasked).
[FN#327] The Indian term for a tent large enough to cover a troop
[FN#328] Arab. "Marhúm" a formula before noticed. It is borrowed
from the Jewish, "of blessed memory" (after the name of the
honoured dead, Prov. x. 17.); with the addition of "upon whom be
peace," as opposed to the imprecation, "May the name of the wicked
[FN#329] The speeches of the five damsels should be read only by
[FN#330] i.e. Those who look for "another and a better."
[FN#331] The title of Caliph Abu Bakr because he bore truthful
witness to the Apostle's mission or, others say, he confirmed the
"Mi'ráj" or nocturnal journey to Heaven.
[FN#332] All this is Koranic (chaps. ii., etc.).
[FN#333] This may have applied more than once to "hanging judges"
in the Far West.
[FN#334] A traditionist and jurisconsult of Al-Medinah in the
seventh and eighth centuries.
[FN#335] The Alexander of the Koran and Eastern legends, not to be
confounded with the Alexander of Macedon. He will be noticed in a
[FN#336] Æsop, according to the Arabs: of him or rather of the two
Lukmans, more presently.
[FN#337] Koran ii. 185.
[FN#339] One of the Asháb or Companions of Mohammed.
[FN#340] A noted traditionist at Cufa in the seventh century.
[FN#341] Koran, chaps. lxxiv. I (and verse 8 follows). The
Archangel Gabriel is supposed to address Mohammed and not a few
divines believe this Surah (chapter) to have been first revealed.
Mr. Rodwell makes it No. ii. following the Fatrah or silent
interval which succeeded No. xcvi. "Clots of Blood." See his 2nd
Edit. p. 3 for further details.
[FN#342] i.e. dangerous to soul-health.
[FN#343] In the Mac. Edit. "Abd" for "Sa'id." The latter was a
black and a native of Cufa during the first century (A.H ) and is
still famous as a traditionist.
[FN#344] Arab. "Shirk," giving a partner to Allah, attending
chiefly to Christians and idolaters and in a minor degree to Jews
and Guebres. We usually English it by "polytheism," which is clumsy
and conveys a wrong idea
[FN#345] Grandson of the Caliph Ali. He is one of the Imams
(High-priests) of the Shi'ah school.
[FN#346] An eminent traditionist of the eighth century (A.D.).
[FN#347] The prayers of the Fast-month and Pilgrimage-month are
often said in especial places outside the towns and cities; these
are the Indian Id(Eed-)gáh. They have a screen of wall about a
hundred yards long with a central prayer-niche and the normal three
steps for the preacher; and each extremity is garnished with an
imitation minaret. They are also called Namáz-gah and one is
sketched by Herklots (Plate iii. fig. 2). The object of the trips
thither in Zu'l-Ka'adah and Zu'l-Hijjah is to remind Moslems of the
"Ta'aríf," or going forth from Meccah to Mount Arafat.
[FN#348] Arab. "Al-Háfi," which in Egyptian means sore-footed as
well. He was an ascetic of the eighth and ninth centuries (A.D.).
He relates a tradition of the famous soldier saint Khálid bin Walíd
who lies buried like the poet Ka'ab al-Ahbár near Hums (Emessa)
once the Bœotia, Phrygia, Abdera, Suabia of Syria now Halbun
(pronounced Halbáun) near Damascus. I cannot explain how this
Kuraysh noble (a glorious figure in Moslem history) is claimed by
the Afghans as one of their countrymen and made to speak Pukhtu or
Pushtu, their rough old dialect of Persian. The curious reader will
consult my Pilgrimage iii. 322 for the dialogue between Mohammed
and Khalid. Again there is general belief in Arabia that the
English sent a mission to the Prophet, praying that Khalid might be
despatched to proselytise them: unfortunately Mohammed was dead and
the "Ingríz" ratted. It is popularly held that no armed man can
approach Khalid's grave; but I suppose my revolver did not count.
[FN#349] When he must again wash before continuing prayer.
[FN#350] Bin Adham; another noted ascetic of the eighth century.
Those curious about these unimportant names will consult the great
Biographical Dictionary of Ibn Khallikan, translated by Baron
MacGuckin de Slane (1842-45).
[FN#351] Thus making Bishr the "Imám" (artistes) lit. one who
stands in front. In Koran xvii. 74 it means "leader": in ii. 118
Allah makes Abraham an "Imam to mankind."