Supplemental Nights to the Book of the Thousand and One Nights Volume 4 by Richard F. BurtonWith Notes Anthropological And Explanatory

To The Book Of The Thousand And One Nights With Notes Anthropological And Explanatory VOLUME FIVE To The Curators of the Bodleian Library, Oxford Especially Revd. B. Price and Professor Max Muller. Gentlemen, I take the liberty of placing your names at the Head of this Volume which owes its rarest and raciest passages to
This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
  • 1886-1898
Buy it on Amazon FREE Audible 30 days

To The Book Of The Thousand And One Nights With Notes
Anthropological And


To The Curators of the Bodleian Library, Oxford Especially Revd. B. Price and Professor Max Muller.


I take the liberty of placing your names at the Head of this Volume which owes its rarest and raciest passages to your kindly refusing the temporary transfer of the Wortley Montague MS. from your pleasant library to the care of Dr. Rost, Chief Librarian, India Office. As a sop to “bigotry and virtue,” as a concession to the “Scribes and Pharisees,” I had undertaken, in case the loan were granted, not to translate tales and passages which might expose you, the Curators, to unfriendly comment. But, possibly anticipating what injury would thereby accrue to the Volume and what sorrow to my subscribers, you were good enough not to sanction the transfer–indeed you refused it to me twice– and for this step my clientele will be (or ought to be) truly thankful to you.

I am, Gentlemen,
Yours obediently,
Richard F. Burton.

Bodleian Library, August 5th, 1888

Contents of the Fifteenth Volume.

1. The History of the King’s Son of Sind and the Lady Fatimah 2. History of the Lovers of Syria
3. History of Al-Hajjaj Bin Yusuf and the Young Sayyid 4. Night Adventure of Harun Al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab a. Story of the Darwaysh and the Barber’s Boy and the Greedy Sultan
b. Tale of the Simpleton Husband Note Concerning the “Tirrea Bede,” Night 655 5. The Loves of Al-Hayfa and Yusuf
6. The Three Princes of China
7. The Righteous Wazir Wrongfully Gaoled 8. The Cairene Youth, the Barber and the Captain 9. The Goodwife of Cairo and Her Four Gallants a. The Tailor and the Lady and the Captain b. The Syrian and the Three Women of Cairo c. The Lady With Two Coyntes
d. The Whorish Wife Who Vaunted Her Virtue 10. Coelebs the Droll and His Wife and Her Four Lovers 11. The Gatekeeper of Cairo and the Cunning She-Thief 12. Tale of Mohsin and Musa
13. Mohammed the Shalabi and His Mistress and His Wife 14. The Fellah and His Wicked Wife
15. The Woman Who Humoured Her Lover At Her Husband’s Expense 16. The Kazi Schooled By His Wife
17. The Merchant’s Daughter and the Prince of Al-Irak 18. Story of the Youth Who Would Flutter His Father’s Wives 19. Story of the Two Lack-Tacts of Cairo and Damascus 20. Tale of Himself Told By the King
Appendix A: – Catalogue of Wortley Montague Manuscript Contents
Appendix B: – Notes on the Stories Contained in Volumes XIV. and XV by W. F. Kirby


This volume contains the last of my versions from the Wortley Montague Codex, and this is the place to offer a short account of that much bewritten MS.

In the “Annals of the Bodleian Library,” etc., by the Reverend William Dunn Macray, M.A. (London, Oxford and Cambridge, 1868: 8vo. p. 206), we find the following official notice:–

“A.D. 1803.”

“An Arabic MS. in seven volumes, written in 1764-5, and containing what is rarely met with, a complete collection of the Thousand and one Tales (N.B. an error for “Nights”) of the Arabian Nights Entertainments, was bought from Captain Jonathan Scott for œ50. Mr. Scott published, in 1811, an edition of the Tales in six volumes (N.B. He reprinted the wretched English version of Prof. Galland’s admirable French, and his “revisions” and “occasional corrections” are purely imaginative), in which this MS. is described (N.B. after the mos majorum). He obtained it from Dr. (Joseph) White, the Professor of Hebrew and Arabic at Oxford, who had bought it at the sale of the library of Edward Wortley Montague, by whom it had been brought from the East. (N.B. Dr. White at one time intended to translate it literally, and thereby eclipse the Anglo French version.) It is noticed in Ouseley’s Oriental Collections (Cadell and Davies), vol. ii. p. 25.”

The Jonathan Scott above alluded to appears under various titles as Mr. Scott, Captain Scott and Doctor Scott. He was an officer in the Bengal Army about the end of the last century, and was made Persian Secretary by “Warren Hastings, Esq.,” to whom he dedicated his “Tales, Anecdotes and Letters, translated from the Arabic and Persian” (Cadell and Davies, London, 1800), and he englished the “Bahar-i-Danish” (A.D. 1799) and “Firishtah’s History of the Dakkhan (Deccan) and of the reigns of the later Emperors of Hindostan.” He became Dr. Scott because made an LL.D. at Oxford as meet for a “Professor (of Oriental languages) at the Royal Military and East India Colloges”; and finally he settled at Netley, in Shropshire, where he died.

It is not the fault of English Orientalists if the MS. in question is not thoroughly well known to the world of letters. In 1797 Sir Gore Ouseley’s “Oriental Collections” (vol. ii. pp. 25-33) describes it, evidently with the aid of Scott, who is the authority for stating that the tales generally appear like pearls strung at random on the same thread; adding, “if they are truly Oriental It is a matter of little importance to us Europeans whether they are strung on this night or that night.”[FN#1] This first and somewhat imperfect catalogue of the contents was followed in 1811 by a second, which concludes the six volume edition of “The

Carefully revised and occasionally corrected from the Arabic.
to which is added
A SELECTION OF NEW TALES, Now first translated
from the Arabic Originals. also,
AN INTRODUCTION AND NOTES, Illustrative of the

The sixth volume, whose second title is “Tales | selected from the Manuscript copy | of the | 1001 Nights | brought to Europe by Edward Wortley Montague, Esq.,” ends with a general Appendix, of which ten pages are devoted to a description of the Codex and a Catalogue of its contents. Scott’s sixth volume, like the rest of his version, is now becoming rare, and it is regretable that when Messieurs Nimmo and Bain reprinted, in 1882, the bulk of the work (4 vols. 8vo) they stopped short at volume five.

Lastly we find a third list dating from 1837 in the “Catalogi | Codicum Manuscriptorum Orientalium | Bibliothecae Bodleianae | Pars Secunda | Arabicos | complectens. | Confecit | Alexander Nicoll, J.C.D. | Nuper Linguae Heb. Professor Regius, necnon AEdis Christi Canonicus. | Editionem absolvit | et Catalogum urianum[FN#2] aliquatenus emendavit | G. B. Pusey S.T.B. | Viri desideratissimi Successor. | Oxonii, | E Topographio Academico | MDCCCXXXV.” This is introduced under the head, “Codicil Arabici Mahommedani Narrationes Fictae sive Historiaes Romanenses | in Quarto (pp . 145-150).

I am not aware that any attempt has been made to trace the history of the Wortley Montague MS.; but its internal evidence supplies a modicum of information.

By way of colophon to the seventh and last volume we have, “On this wise end to us the Stories of the Kings and histories of various folk as foregoing in the Thousand Nights and a Night, perfected and completed, on the eighteenth day of Safar the auspicious, which is of the months of (the year A.H.) one thousand one hundred and seventy eight” (=A.D. 1764-65)

“Copied by the humblest and neediest of the poor, Omar-al-Safati, to whose sins may Allah be Ruthful!

“An thou find in us fault deign default supply, And hallow the Faultless and Glorify.”

The term “Suftah” is now and has been applied for the last century to the sons of Turkish fathers by Arab mothers, and many of these Mulattos live by the pen. On the fly leaf of vol. i. is written in a fine and flowing Persian (?) hand, strongly contrasting with the text of the tome, which is unusually careless and bad, “This book | The Thousand Nights and a Night of the Acts and deeds (Sirat) of the Kings | and what befel them from sundry | women that were whorish | and witty | and various | Tales | therein.” Below it also is a Persian couplet written in vulgar Iranian characters of the half-Shikastah type:Ä

Chih goyam, o chih poyam? * Na mi-danam hich o puch. (What shall I say or whither fly? * This stuff and this nonsense know not I.)

Moreover, at the beginning of vol. i. is a list of fifteen tales written in Europeo-Arabic characters, after schoolboy fashion, and probably by Scott. In vol. ii. there is no initial list, but by way of Foreword we read, “This is volume the second of the Thousand Nights and a Night from the xciiid. Night, full and complete.” And the Colophon declares, “And this is what hath been finished for us of the fourth (probably a clerical error for “second”) tome of the Thousand Nights and a Night to the clxxviith. Night, written on the twentieth day of the month Sha’ban A.H., one thousand one hundred and seventy-seven” (=A.D. 1764). This date shows that the MS. was finished during the year after incept.

The text from which our MS. was copied must have been valuable, and we have reason to regret that so many passages both of poetry and prose are almost hopelessly corrupt. Its tone and tenor are distinctly Nilotic; and, as Mr. E. Wortley Montague lived for some time in Egypt, he may have bought it at the Capital of the Nile-land. The story of the Syrian (v. 468) and that of the Two Lack facts (vi. 262), notably exalt Misr and Cairo at the expense of Sham and Damascus; and there are many other instances of preferring Kemi the Black Soil to the so called “Holy Land.” The general tone, as well as the special incidents of the book, argues that the stories may have been ancient, but they certainly have been modernised. Coffee is commonly used (passim) although tobacco is still unknown; a youth learns archery and gunnery (Zarb al-Risas, vol. vii. 440); casting of cannon occurs (vol. v. 186), and in one place (vol. vi. 134) we read of “Taban-jatayn,” a pair of pistols; the word, which is still popular, being a corruption of the Persian “Tabancheh” = a slap or blow, even as the French call a derringer coup de poing. The characteristic of this Recueil is its want of finish. The stories are told after perfunctory fashion as though the writer had not taken the trouble to work out the details. There are no names or titles to the tales, so that every translator must give his own; and the endings are equally unsatisfactory, they usually content themselves, after “native” fashion, with “Intiha” = finis, and the connection with the thread of the work must be supplied by the story-teller or the translator. Headlines were not in use for the MSS. of that day, and the catchwords are often irregular, a new word taking the place of the initial in the following page.

The handwriting, save and except in the first volume, has the merit of regularity, and appears the same throughout the succeeding six, except in the rare places (e.g. vi. 92-93), where the lazy copyist did not care to change a worn-out pen, and continued to write with a double nib. On the other hand, it is the character of a village-schoolmaster whose literary culture is at its lowest. Hardly a sheet appears without some blunder which only in rare places is erased or corrected, and a few lacunae are supplied by several hands, Oriental and European, the latter presumably Scott’s. Not unfrequently the terminal word of a line is divided, a sign of great incuria or ignorance, as “Shahr | baz” (i. 4), “Shahr | zad” (v. 309, vi. 106), and “Fawa | jadtu-h” = so I found him (V. 104). Koranic quotations almost always lack vowel points, and are introduced without the usual ceremony. Poetry also, that crux of a skilful scribe, is carelessly treated, and often enough two sets of verse are thrown into one, the first rhyming in ur, and the second in ir (e.g. vol. v. 256). The rhyme-words also are repeated within unlawful limits (passim and vol. v. 308, 11. 6 and II). Verse is thrust into the body of the page (vii. 112) without signs of citation in red ink or other (iii. 406); and rarely we find it, as it should be, in distichs divided by the normal conventional marks, asterisks and similar separations. Sometimes it appears in a column of hemistichs after the fashion of Europe (iv. III; iv.. 232, etc.): here (v. 226) a quotation is huddled into a single line; there (v. 242) four lines, written as monostichs, are followed by two distichs in as many lines.

As regards the metrical part Dr. Steingass writes to me, “The verses in Al-Hayfa and Yusuf, where not mere doggerel, are spoiled by the spelling. I was rarely able to make out even the metre and I think you have accomplished a feat by translating them as you have done.”

The language of the MS. is generally that of the Fellah and notably so in sundry of the tales, such as, “The Goodwife of Cairo and her four Gallants” (v. 444). Of this a few verbal and phrasal instances will suffice. Adini = here am I (v. 198); Ahna (passim, for nahnu) nakhaf = we fear; ‘Alayki (for ‘alayki) = on thee; and generally the long vowel (-k ) for the short (-ki) in the pronoun of the second person feminine; Antah (for ante) = thou (vi. 96) and Antu (for antum) = you (iii. 351); Araha and even aruha, ruhat and ruha (for raha) = he went (Vii. 74 and iv. 75) and Aruhu (for ruhu) = go ye (iv. 179); Bakarah * * * allazi (for allati) = a cow (he) who, etc.; (see in this vol., p. 253) and generally a fine and utter contempt for genders, e.g. Hum (for hunna) masc. for fem. (iii. 91; iii. 146; and v. 233); Ta ‘ali (for ta’al) fem. for masc. (vi. 96 et passim); Bihim (for bi-him) = with them (v. 367); Bi-kam (for bi-kum) = with you (iii. 142) are fair specimens of long broad vowels supplanting the short, a peculiarity known in classical Arab., e.g. Miftah (for Miftah) = a key. Here, however, it is exaggerated, e.g. Ba’id (for ba’id) = far (iv. 167); Kam (for kam) = how many? Kum (for kum) = you (v. 118); Kul-ha (for kul-ha) = tell it (iv 58); Min (for man) = who? (iii. 89); Mirwad (for Mirwad)= a branding iron; Natanashshad (for natanashshad) = we seek tidings (v. 211); Rajal (pron. Ragil, for Rajul) = a man (iv. 118 and passim); Sahal (for sahal) = easy, facile (iv. 7I); Sir (for sir) = go, be off! (v. 199); Shil (for shil) =carry away (i. 111); and Zahab (for zahab) = gold (v. 186). This broad Doric or Caledonian articulation is not musical to unaccustomed organs. As in popular parlance the Dal supplants the Zal; e.g. Dahaba (for zahaba) = he went (v. 277 and passim); also T takes the place of Th, as Tult for thulth = one third (iii. 348) and Tamrat (for thamrat) = fruit (v. 260), thus generally ignoring the sibilant Th after the fashion of the modern Egyptians who say Tumm (for thumma) = again; “Kattir (for kaththir) Khayrak” = God increase thy weal, and Lattama (for laththama) = he veiled. Also a general ignoring of the dual, e.g. Haza ‘usfurayn (for ‘Usfurani) = these be birds (vi. 121); Nazalu al-Wazirayn (do) = the two Wazirs went down (vii. 123); and lastly Al-Wuzara al-itnayn (for Al-Wazirani) = the two Wazirs (vii. 121). Again a fine contempt for numbers, as Nanzur ana (for Anzur) = I (we) see (v. 198) and Inni (for inna) naruhu = indeed I (we) go (iii. 190). Also an equally conscientious disregard for cases, as Min mal abu-ha (for abi-ha) = out of the moneys of her sire (iv. 190); and this is apparently the rule of the writer.

Of Egyptianisms and vulgarisms we have Ant, ma ghibtshayy = thou, hast thou not been absent at all? with the shayy (a thing) subjoined to the verb in this and similar other phrases; Baksish for Bakhshish (iv. 356); Al-Jawaz (for al-ziwaj) = marriage (i. 14); Faki or Faki (for fakih) = a divine (vi. 207 and passim); Finjal (for finjan) = a coffee-cup (v. 424, also a Najdi or Central Arabian corruption); Kuwayyis = nice, pretty (iv. 179); Layali (for lialla) = lest that (v. 285); Luhumat (for lukum) = meats, a mere barbarism (v. 247); Matah (for Mata) =when? (v. 464); Ma’ayah (for ma’i) =with me (vi. 13 et passim); Shuwayy (or shuwayyah) Mayah, a double diminutive (for Muwayy or Muwayh) = a small little water, intensely Nilotic (iv. 44); Mbarih or Embarah (for Al-barihah) = yesterday (v. 449); Takkat (for Dakkat) = she rapped (iv. 190); ézbasha and Uzbasha (for Yuzbashi) = a centurion, a captain (v.430 et passim); Zaidjah for Zaijah (vi. 329); Zaraghit (for Zagharit) = lullilooing (iv. 12); Zinah (for Zina) = adultery, and lastly Zuda (for Zada) = increased (iv. 87). Here the reader will cry jam satis; while the student will compare the list with that given in my Terminal Essay (vol. x. 149).

The two Appendices require no explanation. No. I. is a Catalogue of the Tales in the Wortley Montague MS., and No. II. contains Notes upon the Storiology of the Supplemental Volumes IV. and V. by the practiced pen of Mr. W. P. Kirby. The sheets during my absence from England have been passed through the press and sundry additions and corrections have been made by Dr. Steingass.

In conclusion I would state that my hope was to see this Volume (No. xv.) terminate my long task; but circumstance is stronger than my will and I must ask leave to bring out one more–The New Arabian Nights.


ATHENAEUM CLUB, September 1st, 1888.

Supplemental Nights

To The Book Of The

Thousand Nights And A Night


It is related that whilome there was a King of the many Kings of Sind who had a son by other than his wife. Now the youth, whenever he entered the palace, would revile[FN#4] and abuse and curse and use harsh words to his step-mother, his father’s Queen, who was beautiful exceedingly; and presently her charms were changed and her face waxed wan and for the excess of what she heard from him she hated life and fell to longing for death. Withal she could not say a word concerning the Prince to his parent. One day of the days, behold an aged woman (which had been her nurse) came in to her and saw her in excessive sorrow and perplext as to her affair for that she knew not what she could do with her stepson. So the ancient dame said to her, “O my lady, no harm shall befal thee; yet is thy case changed into other case and thy colour hath turned to yellow.” Hereupon the Queen told her all that had befallen her from her step-son of harsh language and revilement and abuse, and the other rejoined, “O my lady, let not thy breast be straitened, and when the youth shall come to thee and revile thee and abuse thee, do thou say him, ‘Pull thy wits somewhat together till such time as thou shalt have brought back the Lady Fatimah, daughter of ‘Amir ibn al-Nu’um n.'” The old woman taught her these words by heart, and anon went forth from her, when the Prince entered by the door and spoke harsh words and abused and reviled her; so his father’s wife said to him, “Lower thy tone and pull thy wits somewhat together, for thou be a small matter until thou shalt bring back the daughter of the Sultan, hight Fatimah, the child of ‘Amir ibn al-Nu’uman.” Now when he heard these words he cried, “By Allah, ’tis not possible but that I go and return with the said Lady Fatimah;” after which he repaired to his sire and said, “‘Tis my desire to travel; so do thou prepare for me provision of all manner wherewith I may wend my way to a far land, nor will I return until I win to my wish.” Hereupon his father fell to transporting whatso he required of victuals, various and manifold, until all was provided, and he got ready for him whatso befitted of bales and camels and pages and slaves and eunuchs and negro chattels. Presently they loaded up and the youth, having farewelled his father and his friends and his familiars, set forth seeking the country of Fatimah bint Amir, and he travelled for the first day and the second day until he found himself in the middle of the wilds and the Wadys, and the mountains and the stony wastes. This lasted for two months till such time as he reached a region wherein were Gh£ls and ferals, and to one and all who met him and opposed him he would give something of provaunt and gentle them and persuade them to guide him upon his way. After a time he met a Shaykh well stricken in years; so he salamed to him and the other, after returning his greeting, asked him saying, “What was it brought thee to this land and region wherein are naught but wild beasts and Ghuls?” whereto he answered, “O Shaykh, I came hither for the sake of the Lady Fatimah, daughter of ‘Amir ibn al-Nu’uman.” Hereat exclaimed the greybeard, “Deceive not thyself, for assuredly thou shalt be lost together with what are with thee of men and moneys, and the maiden in question hath been the cause of destruction to many Kings and Sultans. Her father hath three tasks which he proposeth to every suitor, nor owneth any the power to accomplish a single one, and he conditioneth that if any fail to fulfil them and avail not so to do, he shall be slain. But I, O my son, will inform thee of the three which be these: First the King will bring together an ardabb of sesame grain and an ardabb of clover-seed and an ardabb of lentils; and he will mingle them one with other, and he will say:–Whoso seeketh my daughter to wife, let him set apart each sort, and whoso hath no power thereto I will smite his neck. And as all have failed in the attempt their heads were struck off next morning and were hung up over the Palace gateway. Now the second task is this: the King hath a cistern[FN#5] full of water, and he conditioneth that the suitor shall drink it up to the last drop, under pain of losing his life; and the third is as follows: he owneth a house without doors and windows, and it hath[FN#6] three hundred entrances and a thousand skylights and two thousand closets: so he covenanteth with the suitor that he make for that place whatever befitteth of doors and lattices and cabinets, and the whole in a single night. Now here is sufficient to engross thine intellect, O my son, but take thou no heed and I will do thy task for thee.” Quoth the other, “O my uncle, puissance and omnipotence are to Allah!” and quoth the Shaykh, “Go, O my son, and may the Almighty forward the works of thee.” So the Prince farewelled him and travelled for the space of two days, when suddenly the ferals and the Ghuls opposed his passage and he gave them somewhat of provaunt which they ate, and after they pointed out to him the right path. Then he entered upon a Wady wherein flights of locusts barred the passage, so he scattered for them somewhat of fine flour which they picked up till they had eaten their sufficiency. Presently he found his way into another valley of iron-bound rocks, and in it there were of the J nn what could not be numbered or described, and they cut and crossed his way athwart that iron tract. So he came forward and salam’d to them and gave them somewhat of bread and meat and water, and they ate and drank till they were filled, after which they guided him on his journey and set him in the right direction. Then he fared forwards till he came to the middle of the mountain, where he was opposed by none, or mankind or Jinn-kind, and he ceased not marching until he drew near the city of the Sultan whose daughter he sought to wife. Here he set up a tent and sat therein seeking repose for a term of three days; then he arose and walked forwards until he entered the city, where he fell to looking about him leftwards and rightwards till he had reached the palace[FN#7] of the King. He found there over the gateway some hundred heads which were hanging up, and he cried to himself, “Veil me, O thou Veiler! All these skulls were suspended for the sake of the Lady Fatimah, but the bye-word saith, ‘Whoso dieth not by the sword dieth of his life-term,’ and manifold are the causes whereas death be singlefold.” Thereupon he went forwards to the palace gate–And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day, and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Four Hundred and Ninety-fifth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Prince went forward to the Palace gate and purposed to enter, but they forbade him nor availed he to go in; so he returned to his tents and there spent the night till dawn. Then he again turned to the King’s Serai and attempted to make entry, but they stayed him and he was unable to succeed, nor could he attain to the presence of the Sovran. So he devised with one who was standing at the door a device to enter the presence, but again he failed in his object and whenever he craved admission they rejected him and drave him away saying, “O youth, tell us what may be thy need?” Said he, “I have a requirement of the Sultan and my purport is a business I may transact with him and speech containeth both private and public matters; nor is it possible that I mention my want to any save to the Sovran.” So a Chamberlain of the chamberlains went in to the presence and reported the affair to the King, who permitted them admit the stranger, and when he stood before the throne he kissed ground and deprecated evil for the ruler and prayed for his glory and permanency, and the Monarch, who marvelled at the terseness of his tongue and the sweetness of his speech, said to him, “O youth, what may be thy requirement?” Quoth the Prince, “Allah prolong the reign of our lord the Sultan! I came to thee seeking connexion with thee through thy daughter the lady concealed and the pearl unrevealed.” Quoth the Sultan, “By Allah, verily this youth would doom himself hopelessly to die and, Oh the pity of it for the loquence of his language;” presently adding, “O youth, say me, art thou satisfied with the conditions wherewith I would oblige thee?” and the Prince replied, “O my lord, Omnipotence is to Allah; and, if the Almighty empower me to fulfil thy pact, I shall fulfil it.” The King continued, “I have three tasks to impose upon thee,” and the Prince rejoined, “I am satisfied with all articles thou shalt appoint.” Hereupon the Sovran summoned the writers and witnesses, and they indited the youth’s covenant and gave testimony that he was content therewith; and when the Prince had signified his satisfaction and obligation, the King sent for an ardabb of sesame and an ardabb of clover-seed and an ardabb of lentils and let mingle all three kinds one with other till they became a single heap. Then said the King to the Prince, “Do thou separate each sort by itself during the course of the coming night, and if dawn shall arise and every seed is not set apart, I will cut off thy head.” Replied the other, “Hearing and obeying.” Then the King bade place all the mixed heap in a stead apart, and commanded the suitor retire into solitude; accordingly, he passed alone into that site and looked upon that case and condition, and he sat beside the heap deep in thought, so he set his hand upon his cheek and fell to weeping, and was certified of death. Anon he arose and going forwards attempted of himself to separate the various sorts of grain, but he failed; and had two hundred thousand thousands of men been gathered together for the work they had on nowise availed to it. Hereupon he set his right hand upon his cheek[FN#8] and he fell to weeping and suffered the first third of the dark hours to pass, when he said to himself, “There remaineth naught of thy life save the remnant of this night!” But the while he was conjecturing and taking thought, behold, an army of the locusts to whom he had thrown the flour upon his road came speeding over him like a cloud dispread and said to him with the tongue of the case,[FN#9] “Fear not neither grieve, for we have flocked hither to solace thee and ward from thee the woe wherein thou art: so take thou no further heed.” Then they proceeded to separate each kind of grain and set it by itself, and hardly an hour had passed before the whole sample was distributed grain by grain into its proper place while he sat gazing thereon. After this the locusts arose and went their ways, and when morning dawned the Sultan came forth and took seat in the Hall of Commandment and said to those who were present, “Arise ye and bring hither the youth that we may cut off his head.” They did his bidding but, when entering in to the Prince, they found all the different grains piled separately, sesame by itself and clover-seed alone and lentils distributed apart, whereat they marvelled and cried, “This thing is indeed a mighty great matter from this youth, nor could it befal any save himself of those who came before him or of those who shall follow after him.” Presently they brought him to the Sultan and said, “O King of the Age, all the grains are sorted;” whereat the Sovran wondered and exclaimed, “Bring the whole before me.” And when they brought it he looked upon it with amazement and rejoiced thereat, but soon recovered himself and cried, “O youth, there remain to thee two tasks for two nights; and if thou fulfil them, thou shalt win to thy wish, and if thou fail therein, I will smite thy neck.” Said the Prince, “O King of the Age, the All-might is to Allah, the One, the Omnipotent!” Now when night drew nigh the King opened to him a cistern and said, “Drink up all that is herein and leave not of it a drop, nor spill aught thereof upon the ground, and if thou drain the whole of it, thou shalt indeed attain to thine aim, but if thou fail to swallow it, I will smite thy neck.” The Prince answered, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” Then he took his seat at the cistern-mouth and fell to thinking and saying in his mind, “Wherefore, O certain person, shouldst thou venture thy life and incur the cruel consequence of this King on account of thy frowardness to thy father’s wife? and by Allah, this is naught save Jinn-struck madness on thy part!” So he placed his left hand upon his cheek, and in his right was a stick wherewith he tapped and drew lines in absent fashion upon the ground,[FN#10] and he wept and wailed until the third of the first part of the dark hours had passed, when he said in himself, “There remaineth naught of thine age, ho, Such-an-one, save the remainder of this night.” And he ceased not to be drowned in thought when suddenly a host of savage beasts and wild birds came up to him and said with the tongue of the case, “Fear not neither grieve, O youth, for none is faithless to the food save the son of adultery and thou wast the first to work our weal, so we will veil and protect thee, and let there be no sorrowing with thee on account of this matter.” Hereupon they gathered together in a body, birds and beasts, and they were like unto a lowering cloud, no term to them was shown and no end was known as they followed in close file one upon other–And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day, and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Four Hundred and Ninety-seventh Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the wild beasts and the feral birds met one another beside that cistern and each took his turn thereat and drank without drinking his full[FN#11] until naught of water remained in the reservoir and they fell to licking the sides with their tongues so that anyone seeing it would say that for the last ten years not a drop of liquid had been stored therein. And after this they all went their ways. Now as soon as it was morning-tide the King arose and hied forth the Harem and taking his seat in the Hall of Commandment said to sundry of his pages and Chamberlains, “Go bring us tidings of the cistern.” Accordingly they went thither and inspected it but found no trace of water therein; so they returned straightway to the ruler and reported the matter. Hereupon the Sultan was amazed and his wits were bewildered and he was certified that none had power to win his daughter for wife save that youth. So he cried, “Bring him hither,” and they fared to fetch him and presented him in the presence where he salam’d to the Sovran and deprecated[FN#12] for him and prayed for him. The Sultan greeted him in return and said, “O Youth, there now remaineth with me but a single task which if thou accomplish shall save thee and win for thee my daughter; however if thou fail therein I will smite thy neck.” “Power is to Allah!” exclaimed the Prince whereat the Sultan marvelled and said in his mind, “Glory be to God: the words and works of this youth be wonderful. Whatever I bid him do he beginneth with naming the name of the Lord whereas those who forewent him never suffered me hear aught of the sort. However, the fortunate are Fortune’s favourites and Misfortune never befalleth them.” Now when it was night-tide the Sultan said, “O youth, in very deed this mansion which standeth beside the palace is brand-new and therein are store of wood and timbers of every kind, but it lacketh portals and lattices and the finishing of the cabinets; so I desire that thou make for it doors and windows and closets. I have provided thee with everything thou dost require of carpenter’s gear and turner’s lathes; and either thou shalt work all this during the coming night, or, if thou be wanting in aught and morning shall morrow without all the needful being finished, I will cut 0ff thy head. This is the fine of thy three labours which an thou avail to accomplish thou shalt attain thine aim and if thou fail thereof I will smite thy neck. Such be then my last word.” Accordingly the Prince arose and faring from before him entered the unfinished mansion which he found to be a palace greater and grander than that wherein the King abode. He cried, “O Veiler, withdraw not Thy veiling!” and he sat therein by himself (and he drowned in thought) and said, “By Allah, if at this hour I could find somewhat to swallow I would die thereby and rest from this toil and trouble have been my lot;[FN#13] and the morning shall not morrow ere I shall find repose nor shall any one of the town folk solace himself and say, ‘The Sultan is about to cut off the head of this youth.’ Withal the bye-word hath it, ‘Joyance which cometh from Allah is nearer than is the eyebrow to the eye,’ and if Almighty (be He extolled and exalted!) have determined aught to my destiny, there is no flight therefrom. Moreover one of the Sages hath said, ‘He released me from pillar to post and the Almighty bringeth happiness nearhand.’ From this time until dawn of day many a matter may proceed from the Lord wherein haply shall be salvation for me or destruction.” Then he fell to pondering his affair and thinking over his frowardness to the wife of his father, after which he said, “The slave meditateth and the Lord determineth, nor doth the meditation of the slave accord with the determination of the Lord.” And while thus drowned in care he heard the sound of the Darabukkah-drum[FN#14] and the turmoil of work and the shiftings of voices whilst the house was full of forms dimly seen and a voice cried out to him, “O youth, be hearty of heart and sprightly of spirits; verily we will requite thee the kindness thou wroughtest to us in providing us with thy provision; and we will come to thine aidance this very night, for they who are visiting and assisting thee are of the J nn from the Valley of Iron.” Then they began taking up the timbers and working them and some turned the wood with lathes, and other planed the material with planes, whilst others again fell to painting and dyeing the doors and windows, these green and those red and those yellow; and presently they set them in their several steads; nor did that night go by ere the labour was perfected and there was no royal palace like unto it, either in ordinance or in emplacement. Now as morning morrowed the Sultan went forth to his divan, and when he looked abroad he saw a somewhat of magnificence in the mansion which was not to be found in his palace, so he said in his surprise, “By Allah, the works of this youth be wondrous and had the joiners and carpenters loitered over three years upon this work they never would have fulfilled such task: moreover we ken not by what manner of means this young man hath been able to accomplish the labour.” Thereupon he sent for the Prince to the presence and robed him with a sumptuous robe of honour and assigned to him a mighty matter of money, saying, “Verily thou deservest, O youth, and thou art the only one who meriteth that thou become to my daughter baron and she become to thee femme.” Presently Sultan Amir ibn al-Nu’uman bade tie the marriage tie and led to her in procession the bridegroom who found her a treasure wherefrom the talisman had been loosed;[FN#15] and the bride rejoiced with even more joyance than he did by cause of her sire, with his three tasks, having made her believe that she would never be wedded and bedded but die a maid, and she had long been in sadness for such reason. Then the married couple abode with the King their father for the space of a month, and all this time the camp of the young Prince remained pitched without the town, and every day he would send to his pages and eunuchs whatso they needed of meat and drink. But when that term ended he craved from the Sultan leave of travel to his own land and his father-in-law answered, “O youth, do whatso thou ever wishest anent returning to thy native realm;” and forthwith fell to fitting out his daughter till all her preparations were completed and she was found ready for wayfare together with her body-women and eunuchs. The Prince having farewelled his father-in-law caused his loads to be loaded and set out seeking his native country and kingdom; and he travelled by day and by night, and he pushed his way through Wadys and over mountains for a while of time until he drew near his own land, and between him and his father’s city remained only some two or three marches. Here suddenly men met him upon the road and as he asked them the tidings they replied that his sire was besieged within his capital of Sind by a neighbour King who had attacked him and determined to dethrone him and make himself Sovereign and Sultan in his stead. Now when he heard this account he pushed forward with forced marches till he reached his father’s city which he found as had been reported; and the old King with all his forces was girded around within his own walls nor could he sally out to offer battle for that the foe was more forceful than himself. Hereupon the Prince pitched his camp and prepared himself for fight and fray; and a many of his men rode with him whilst another many remained on guard at the tents.–And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Four Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Prince busked him for fight and fray seeking to assault the army of the King who had besieged his sire, and the two hosts fought together a strenuous fight and a stubborn. On this wise fared it with them; but as regards the bride, she took patience till such time as her bridegroom had ridden forth, when she donned her weapons of war and veiled herself with a face-veil and sallying forth in Mameluke’s habit presently came up with her mate the Prince whom she found straitened by the multitude of his foes. Now this Princess was mistress of all manner weapons, so she drew her sword from its sheath and she laid on load rightwards and leftwards until the wits of all beholders were wildered and her bridegroom inclined to her and said, “Verily this Mameluke he is not one of our party.” But she continued battling till the sun rose high in the firmament-vault when she determined to attack the ensigns and colours which were flying after right royal of fashion, and in the midst thereof was the hostile Sultan. So she smote the ancient who bore the banner and cast him to the ground and then she made for the King and charged down upon him and struck him with the side of the sword a blow so sore that of his affright he fell from his steed. But when his host saw him unhorsed and prostrate upon the plain they sought safety in flight and escape, deeming him to be dead; whereupon she alighted and pinioned his elbows behind his back and tied his forearms to his side, and lashed him on to his charger and bound him in bonds like a captive vile. Then she committed him to her bridegroom who still knew her not and she departed the field seeking her camp until she arrived there and entered her pavilion where she changed her attire and arrayed herself in women’s raiment. After this she sat down expecting the Prince who, when she had committed to him the captured King, carried him into the city where he found the gates thrown open. Hereupon his sire sallied forth and greeted him albeit he recognised him not but was saying, “Needs must I find the Knight who came to our assistance.” “O my papa,” quoth the Prince, “dost thou not know me?” and quoth the other, “O young man, I know thee not;” whereat the other rejoined, “I am thy son Such-an-one.” But hardly had the old King heard these words when behold, he fell upon him and threw his arms round his neck and was like to lose his sense and his senses for stress of joyance. After a time he recovered and looking upon the captive King asked him, “What was it drave thee to come hither and seek to seize from me my realm?” and the other answered him with humility and craved his pardon and promised not again to offend, so he released him and bade him gang his gait. After this the young Prince went forth and caused his Harim and his pages and whoso were with him enter the city and when they were seated in the women’s apartment the husband and wife fell to talking of their journey and what they had borne therein of toil and travail. At last the Princess said to him, “O my lord, what became of the King who besieged thy sire in his capital and who sought to bereave him of his realm?” and said he, “I myself took him captive and committed him to my father who admitted his excuses and suffered him depart.” Quoth she, “And was it thou who capturedst him?” and quoth he, “Yea verily, none made him prisoner save myself.” Hereupon said she, “Thee it besitteth not to become after thy sire Sovran and Sultan!” and said he, “Why and wherefore?” “For that a lie defameth and dishonoureth the speaker,” cried she, “and thou hast proved thee a liar.” “What made it manifest to thee that I lied?” asked the Prince, and the Princess answered, “Thou claimest to have captured the King when it was other than thyself took him prisoner and committed him to thy hands.” He enquired, “And who was he?” and she replied, “I know not, withal I had him in sight.” Hereupon the bridegroom repeated his query till at last she confessed it was she had done that deed of derring-do; and the Prince rejoiced much in her.[FN#16] Then the twain made an entry in triumph and the city was adorned and the general joy was increased. Now his taking to wife the Lady Fatimah daughter of the Sultan Amir bin Al-Nu’uman so reconciled him to his stepmother, the spouse of his father the Sovran of Sind, that both forgot their differences and they lived ever afterwards in harmony and happiness.


It is stated that of olden times and by-gone there dwelt in the land of Syria two men which were brothers and whereof one was wealthy and the other was needy. Now the rich man had a love-some daughter and a lovely, whilst the poor man had a son who gave his heart to his cousin as soon as his age had reached his tenth year. But at that time his father the pauper died and he was left an orphan without aught of the goods of this world; the damsel his cousin, however, loved him with exceeding love and ever and anon would send him somewhat of dirhams and this continued until both of them attained their fourteenth years. Then the youth was minded to marry the daughter of his uncle, so he sent a party of friends to her home by way of urging his claim that the father might wed her to him, but the man them and they returned disappointed. However, when it was the second day a body of warm men and wealthy came to ask for the maid in marriage, and they conditioned the needful conditions and stood agreed upon the nuptials. Presently the tidings reached the damsel who took patience till the noon o’ night, when she arose and sought the son of her uncle, bringing with her the sum of two thousand dinars which she had taken of her father’s good and she knocked softly on at the door. Hereupon the youth started from sleep and went forth and found his cousin who was leading a she-mule and an ass, so the twain bestrode either beast and travelled through the remnant of the night until the morning morrowed. Then they alighted to drink and to hide themselves in fear of being seen until the second night fell when they mounted and rode for two successive days, at the end of which they entered a town seated on the shore of the sea. Here they found a ship equipped for voyage, so they repaired to the Ra’is and hired for themselves a sitting place; after which the cousin went forth to sell the ass and the she-mule, and disappeared for a short time. Meanwhile the ship had sailed with the daughter of his uncle and had left the youth upon the strand and ceased not sailing day after day for the space of ten days, and lastly made the port she purposed and there cast anchor.[FN#18] Thus it befel them; but as regards the youth, when he had sold the beasts he returned to the ship and found her not, and when he asked tidings thereof they told him that she had put to sea; and hearing this he was mazed as to his mind and sore amated as to his affair, nor wot he whither he should wend. So he turned him inland sore dismayed. Now when the vessel anchored in that port quoth the damsel to the captain, “O Ra’is,[FN#19] hie thee ashore and bring for us a portion of flesh and fresh bread,” and quoth he, “Hearkening and obedience,” whereupon he betook himself to the town. But as soon as he was far from the vessel she arose and donning male’s dress said to the sailors, “Do ye weigh anchor and set sail,” and she shouted at them with the shouting of seamen. Accordingly they did as she bade them and the wind being fair and the weather favourable, ere an hour had sped they passed beyond sight of land.[FN#20] Presently the captain returned bringing bread and meat but he found ne’er a ship, so he asked tidings of her and they answered, “Verily she is gone.” Hereupon he was perplext and he fell to striking hand upon hand and crying out, “O my good and the good of folk!” and he repented whenas repentance availed him naught. Accordingly, he returned to the town unknowing whither he should wend and walked about like one blind and deaf for the loss of his craft. But as regards the vessel, she ceased not sailing with those within till she cast anchor near a city wherein was a King; and no sooner was she made fast than the damsel fell to scattering money amongst the crew and saying to them, “Hearten your hearts and be no afraid on any wise!” In due time the news of a fresh arrival reached the Ruler, and he ordered his men to bring him tidings concerning that vessel, and when they went for her and boarded her they found that her captain was a damsel of virginal semblance exceeding in beauty and loveliness. So they returned and reported this to the King who despatched messengers bidding her lodge with him for they had heightened their praises of her and the excess of her comeliness, and he said in his mind, “By Allah, an she prove as they describe her, needs must I marry her.” But the damsel sent back saying, “I am a clean maid, not may I land alone but do thou send to me forty girls, virgins like myself, when I will disembark together with them.”–And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Third Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the damsel demanded of the king forty clean maids and said, “We will land, I and they together,” whereto he replied, “The right is with her.” Hereupon he ordered all those about him, the Lords of his land and the Commons, that each and every who had in the house a virginal daughter, should bring her to him until the full tale of forty (the daughter of the Wazir being amongst them) was told and he sent them on board the ship where the damsel was about sitting down for supper. But as soon as the maidens came she met them in her finest attire, none of the number being more beauteous than herself, and she salam’d to them and invited them into the cuddy[FN#21] where she bade food be served to them and they ate and were cheered and solaced, after which they sat down to converse till it was the middle of the night. Now when sleep prevailed over the girls they retired to their several berths, and when they were drowned in slumber, the damsel arose softly and arousing the crew bade them leave their moorings and shake out their canvas; not did daylight dawn to them ere they had covered a far distance. As soon as the maidens awoke they saw themselves on board a ship amid the billows of the main, and as they asked the Captainess she answered, “Fear not for yourselves or for the voyage you are making;”[FN#22] and she gentled them and solaced them until whatso was in their hearts was allayed. However, touching the affair of the King, when morrowed the morn he sent to the ship with an order for the damsel to land with the forty virgins, but they found not the craft and they returned and reported the same to their lord, who cried, “By Allah, this be the discreetest of deed which none other save she could have done.” So he arose without stay or delay and taking with him the Wazir (both being in disguise), he went down to the shore and looked around but he could not find what had become of them. And as regards the vessel carrying the virgins, she ceased not sailing until she made port beside a ruined city wherein none was inhabitant, and here the crew cast anchor and furled their sails when behold, a gang of forty pirate[FN#23] men, ever ready to cut the highway and their friends to betray, boarded them, crying in high glee, “Let us slay all in her and carry off whatso we find.” When they appeared before the damsel they would have effected their intent; but she welcomed them and said, “Do ye return ashore: we be forty maids and ye forty men and to each of you shall befal one and I will belong to your Shaykh, for that I am the Captainess.” Now when they heard this they rejoiced with excessive joy and they said, “Wallahi, our night shall be a blessed one by virtue of your coming to us;” whereto she asked, “Have you with you aught of sheep?” They answered, “We have,” and quoth she, “Do ye slay of them somewhat for supper and fetch the meat that we may cook it for you.” So a troop of pirates went off and brought back ten lambs which they slaughtered and flayed and brittled. Then the damsel and those with her tucked up their sleeves ad hung up their chauldrons[FN#24] and cooked the meat after the delicatest fashion, and when it was thoroughly done and prepared, they spread the trays and the pirates came forward one and all, and ate and washed their hands and they were in high spirits each and every, saying, “This night I will take to me a girl.” Lastly she brought to them coffee which they drank, but hardly had it settled in their maws when the Forty Thieves fell to the ground, for she had mixed up with it flying Bhang[FN#25] and those who had drunk thereof became like unto dead men. Hereupon the damsel arose without loss of time and taking in her hand a sharp-grided sword fell to cutting off their heads and casting them into the sea until she came to the Shaykh of the Pirates and in his case she was satisfied with shaving his beard and tearing out his eye-teeth and bidding the crew to cast him ashore. They did as she commanded, after which she conveyed the property of all the caitiffs and having distributed the booty amongst the sailors, bade them weigh anchor and shake out their canvas. On this wide they left that ruined city until they had made the middle of the main and they fared for a number of days athwart the billowy deep nor could they hit upon their course amongst the courses of the sea until Destiny cast them beside a city. They made fast to the anchorage-ground, and the damsel arose and donning Mameluke’s dress and arraying the Forty Virgins in the same attire all walked together and paced about the shore and they were like garden blooms. When they entered the streets they found all the folk a-sorrowing, so they asked one of them and he answered, “The Sultan who over-reigneth this city is dead and the reign lacketh rule.” Now in that stead and under the hand of the Wazir, was a Bird which they let loose at certain times, and whenever he skimmed round and perched upon the head of any man to him they would give the Sultanate.[FN#26] By the decree of the Decreer they cast the fowl high in air at the very hour when the damsel was landing and he hovered above her and settled upon her head (she being in slave’s attire), and the city folk and the lords of the land cried out, “Strange! passing strange!” So they flushed the bird from the place where he had alighted and on the next day they freed hum again at a time when the damsel had left the ship, and once more he came and settled upon her head. They drove him away, crying, “Oh rare! oh rare!” but as often as they started him off her head he returned to it and alighted there again. “Marvellous!” cried the Wazir, “but Allah Almighty hath done this[FN#27] and none shall object to what He doeth nor shall any reject what He decreeth.” Accordingly, they gave her the Sultanate together with the signet-ring of governance and the turband of commandment and they seated her upon the throne of the reign. Hereupon she fell to ordering the Forty Virgins who were still habited as Mamelukes and they served the Sultan for a while of time till one day of the days when the Wazir came to the presence and said, “O King of the Age, I have a daughter, a model of beauty and loveliness, and I am desirous of wedding her with the Sovran because one such as thou should not remain in single blessedness.”–And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Fifth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that quoth the Wazir to the Sultan, “I have a daughter, a model of beauty and loveliness and I am desirous of wedding her with the Sultan, because one such as thou should not remain in single blessedness.” “Do whatso thou wishest,” quoth the King, “and Allah prosper thy doing.” Hereupon the Wazir fell to preparing the marriage-portion[FN#28] of his daughter, and of forwarding her affair with the Sultan, until her wedding appointments[FN#29] and other matters were completed. After this he caused the marriage-tie be tied, and he brought her to the supposed Sultan where she lay for the first night, but the damsel having performed the Wuzu-ablution did naught but pray through the hours of darkness. When dawned the day, the Wazir’s wife which was the mother of the maiden cam to look upon her daughter and asked her of her case, and the bride answered, “All the livelong night hath he passed in orisons, nor came he near me even once.” Quoth the mother, “O my daughter, this be the first night, and assuredly he was ashamed, for he is young in years, and he knoweth not what to do; haply also his heart hangeth not upon thee; and he is but a raw lad.[FN#30] However, on the coming night ye shall both enjoy your desire.” But as soon as it was the evening of the next day the Sultan went in to his Harim and made the minor ablution, and abode in prayer through the night until the morrow morrowed, when again the mother came to see how matters stood, and she asked her daughter, who answered, “All the dark hours he hath passed in devotion, and he never approached me.” Now on the third night it happened after like fashion, so the mother said, “O my daughter, whenever thou shalt see thy husband sitting by thy side, do thou throw thyself upon his bosom.” The bride did as she was bidden, and casting herself upon his breast cried, “O King of the Age, haply I please thee not at all;” whereat said the other, “O light of mine eyes, thou art a joy to me for ever; but I am about to confide to thee somewhat and say me canst thou keep a secret?” Quoth she, “Who is there like me for hiding things in my heart?” and quoth the other, “I am a clean maid, and my like is thy like, but the reason for my being in man’s habit is that the son of my uncle, who is my betrothed, hath been lost from me and I have been lost from him, but when Allah shall decree the reunion of our lots he shall marry thee first and he shall not pay the bridegroom’s visit save unto thee, and after that to myself.” The Wazir’s daughter accepted the excuse, and then arising went forth and brought a pigeon whose weazand she split and whose blood she daubed upon the snow-white sheet.[FN#31] And when it was morning and her mother again visited her, the bride showed her this proof of her pucelage, and she rejoiced thereat and her father rejoiced also. After this the Sultan ruled for a while of time, but she was ever deep in though concerning what device could be devised in order to obtain tidings of her father and her cousin and what had wrought with them the changes of times and tides. So she bade edify a magnificent Hammam and by its side a coffee-house,[FN#32] both nearhand to the palace, and forthwith she summoned architects and masons and plasterers and painters, and when all came between her hands she said to them, “Do ye take a long look at my semblance and mark well my features for I desire that you make me a carven image[FN#33] which shall resemble me in all points, and that you fashion it according to my form and figure, and you adorn it aright and render it to represent my very self in all proportions, and then bring it to me.” They obeyed her order and brought her a statue which was herself to a nail, so she looked upon it and was pleased therewith. Then she ordered them set the image over the Hammam-door, so they placed it there, and after she issued a firman and caused it to be cried through the city that whoso should enter that Bath to bathe and drink coffee, should do so free and gratis and for naught. When this was done, the tongues of the folks were loosened with benison, and they fell to praying for the Sultan and the endurance of his glory, and the permanence of his governance till such time as the bruit was spread abroad by the caravans and travellers, and the folk of all regions has heard of the Hammam and the coffee-house. Meanwhile the Sultan had summoned two eunuchs and ordered them and repeatedly enjoined them that whoso might approach the statue and consider it straitly him they should seize and bring before the presence. Accordingly, the slaves fared forth and took their seats before the Baths. After a while of time the father of the damsel who had become Sultan wandered forth to seek her,[FN#34] and arrived at that city, where he heard that whoso entered the Hammam to bathe and afterwards drank coffee did this without cost; so he said in his min, “Let me go thither to enter, when behold, he looked at the statue over the gateway, and he stood still and considered it with the tears flowing adown his cheeks, and he cried, “Indeed this figure be like her!” But when the eunuchs saw him they seized him and carried him away until they had led him to the Sultan his daughter, who, seeing him, recognized him forthright, and bade set apart for him an apartment and appointed to him rations for the time being. The next that appeared was the son of her uncle, who also had wandered as far as that city seeking his cousin, and he also having heard the folk speaking anent a free entrance to the Baths, said in himself, “Do thou get thee like others to that Hammam and solace thyself.” But when he arrived there he also cast a look at that image and stood before it and wept for an hour or so as he devoured it with his eyes when the eunuchry beholding him seized and carried him off to the Sultan, who knew him at first sight. So she bade prepare a place for him and appointed to him rations for the time being. Then also came the Ra’is of the ship, who had reached that city seeking his lost vessel, and when the fame of the free Hammam came to his ears, he said in his mind, “Go thou to the Baths and solace thyself.” And when he arrived there and looked upon the statue and fixed his glance upon it he cried out, “Wallahi! ’tis her very self.” Hereupon the eunuchry seized him and carried him to the Sultan who seeing him recognised him and placed him in a place apart for a while of time. Anon the King and the Wazir, who were responsible for the Forty Virgins came to that city–And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Seventh Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the King accompanied by the Wazir came to that city seeking the lost Forty Virgins and when the twain had settled there and were stablisht at ease their souls longed for the Baths and they said each to other, “Hie we to the Hammam that we may wash away the dirt which be the result of travel.” So they repaired to the place and as they entered the gateway they looked up and fixed their eyes upon the statue; and, as they continued to gaze thereupon, the eunuchs who sighted them seized them and carried them off to the Sultan.[FN#35] When they stood between their hands and they beheld the Forty Mamelukes who were also before her, the Wazir’s glance happened to fall upon his daughter who was on similar wise in slave’s habit, and he looked at her with the tears flowing adown his cheeks and he said in his mind, “Wallahi! Verily this Mameluke is like my child as like can be.” Hereupon the Sultan considered the twain[FN#36] and asked them of their case[FN#37] and they answered, “We be Such-and-such and we are wandering about to seek our daughter and her nine-and-thirty maidens.” Hereupon she assigned them also lodgings and rations for the present. Lastly appeared the Pirate which had been Shaykh and the comrade of the Forty Thieves also seeking that city, and albeit he was aweary and perplext yet he ceased not to wander that he might come upon the damsel who had slain his associates and who had shaved his beard and had torn out his eye-teeth. He also when he heard of the Hammam without charge and the free coffee-house said in himself, “Hie thee to that place!” and as he was entering the gateway he beheld the image and stood still and fell to speaking fulsome speech and crying aloud and saying, “By Allah, this statue is likest to her in stature and size and, by the Almighty, if I can only lay my hand upon her and seize her I will slaughter her even as one cutteth a mutton’s throat. Ah! Ah! an I could but catch hold of her.” As he spake these words the eunuchry heard him; so they seized him and dragged him along and carried him before the Sultan who no sooner saw him than she ordered him to jail. And they imprisoned him for he had not come to that city save for the shortening of his days and the lavishing of his life-blood and he knew not what was predestined to him and in very sooth he deserved all that befel him. Hereupon the damsel bade bring before her, her father and her cousin and the Ra’is and the King and the Wazir and the Pirate (while she still bore herself as one who administered the Sultanate), and when it became night time all began to converse one with other and presently quoth she to them, “O folk, let each and every who hath a tale solace us with telling it.” Hereat quoth one and all of them, “We wist not a recital nor can we recount one;” and she rejoined, “I will relate unto you an adventure.” They cried, “O King of the Age, pardon us! for how shalt thou rehearse us an history and we sit listening thereto?”[FN#38] and she replied, “Forasmuch as you have no say to say, I will speak in your stead that we may shorten this our night.” Then she continued, “There was a merchant man and a wealthy with a brother which was needy, and the richard had a daughter while the pauper had a son. But when the poor man died he left only a boy who sought to marry the girl his cousin: his paternal uncle, however, refused him maugre that she loved him and she was beloved of him. Presently there came a party of substantial merchants who demanded her in wedlock and obtained her and agreed upon the conditions; when her sire was minded to marry her to their man. This was hard upon the damsel and sore grievous to her so she said, ‘By Allah, I will mate with none save my uncle’s son.’ Then she came to him at midnight leading a she-mule and an ass and bringing somewhat of her father’s moneys and she knocked at the youth’s door and he came out to her and both went forth, he and she, in the outer darkness of that murky night and the Veiler veiled her way.” Now when the father and the cousin heard this adventure they threw themselves on her neck,[FN#39] and rejoiced in her until the turn came for her recounting the tale of the merchant-captain and he also approved her and was solaced by her words. Then, as she related the history concerning the King and the Wazir, they said, “By Allah, this indeed is a sweet story and full of light and leading and our lord the Sultan deserveth for this recital whatso he may require.” But when she came to the Pirate he cried, “Wallahi, O our lord the Sultan, this adventure is a grievous, and Allah upon thee, tell us some other tale;” whereat all the hearers rejoined, “By Allah, in very sooth the recital is a pleasing.” She continued to acquaint them with the adventure of the Bird which invested her with the monarchy and she ended with relating the matter of the Hammam, at all whereof the audience wondered and said, “By Allah, this is a delectable matter and a dainty;” but the Pirate cried aloud, “Such story pleaseth me not in any way for ’tis heavy upon my heart!”–And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Ninth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Pirate cried out, “This tale is heavy upon my heart!” Presently the damsel resumed her speech and said, “Wallahi! if my mother and my father say sooth this be my sire and that be my cousin and here standeth the King and there the Wazir and yonder are the Ra’is and the Pirate, the comrade of the Forty Thieves whose only will and wish was to dishonour us maidens all.” Then she resumed, addressing the King and his Minister, “These forty Mamelukes whom you see standing between your hands are the virgin girls belonging to you.” After which she presented the twain with sumptuous gifts and they took their maidens and with them went their ways. Next she restored to the Ra’is his ship and freighted it with her good and he set forth in it on his return voyage. But as regards the Pirate she commanded her attendants to kindle for him a furious fire and they lit it till it roared and the sparks flew high in air, after which they pinioned him and cast him into the flames, where his flesh was melted before his bones.[FN#40] But as concerned her cousin she caused the marriage tie to be tied between him and the Wazir’s daughter and he paid her his first visit on that same night and then she ordered her father to knit the wedding knot with the youth on the next night and when this was done forthwith he went in unto her. After this she committed to him the Sultanate and he became a Sovran and Sultan in her stead, and she bade fetch her mother to that city where her cousin governed and where her father-in-law the Wazir was chief Councillor of the realm. On this wise it endured for the length of their lives, and fair to them were the term and the tide and the age of the time, and they led of lives the joyfullest and a livelihood of the perfectest until they were consumed by the world and died out generation of the generation.[FN#41]


It is related (but Allah is All-knowing) that there was in times of yore a man named ‘Abdullah al-Karkhi and he was wont to tell the following tale:–One day I was present in the assembly of Al-Hajjaj the son of Yusuf the Thakafi[FN#43] what time he was Governor of Kufah, and the folk around him were seated and for awe of him prostrated and these were the Emirs and Wazirs and the Nabobs and the Chamberlains and the Lords of the Land and the Headmen in command and amongst whom he showed like a rending lion. And behold, there came to him a man young in years and ragged of raiment and of case debased and there was none of blossom upon his cheeks and the World had changed his cuticle and Need had altered his complexion. Presently he salam’d and deprecated and was eloquent in his salutation to the Governor who returned his greeting and looking at him asked, “Who are thou, O young man, and what hast thou to say and what is thine excuse for pushing into the assembly of the Kings even as if, O youth, thou hadst been an invited guest?[FN#44] So say me, who art thou and whose son art thou?” “I am the son of my mother and my father,” answered he, and Al-Hajjaj continued, “In what fashion hast thou come hither?”–“In my clothes.” “Whence hast thou come?”–“From behind me.” Whither art thou intending?”–“Before me.” “On what hast thou come?”–“On the ground.” “Whence art thou O young man?”–“I am from the city Misr.” “Art thou from Cairo?”[FN#45]- -“Why asketh thou me, oh Hajjaj?” Whereupon the Lieutenant of Kufah replied, “Verily her ground is gold and her Nile is rare to behold and her women are a toy for the conqueror to enjoy, and her men are nor burghers nor Badawis.” Quoth the youth, “I am not of them,” and quoth Al-Hajjaj, “Then whence art thou, O young man?”–“I am from the city of Syria.” “Then art thou from the stubbornest of places and the feeblest of races.”[FN#46] “Wherefore, O Hajjaj?”–For that it is a mixed breed I ween, nor Jew nor Nazarene.” “I am not of them.” “Then whence art thou, O young man?”–“I am of Khorasan of ‘Ajami-land.” “Thou art therefore from a place the fulsomest and of faith the infirmest. Wherefore, O Hajjaj?” “Because flocks and herds are their chums and they are Ajams of the Ajams from whom liberal deed never comes, and their morals and manners none to praise presumes and their speech is gross and weighty, and stingy are their rich and wealthy.” “I am not of them.” “Then whence art thou, O young man?” “I am from Mosul.” “Then art thou from the foulest and filthiest of a Catamite race, whose youth is a scapegrace and whose old age hath the wits of an ass.” “I am not of them.” “Then whence art thou, O young man?” “I am from the land of Al-Yaman.” “Then art thou from a clime other than delectable.” “And why so, O Hajjaj?” “For that their noblest make womanly use of Murd[FN#47] or beardless boys and the meanest of them tan hides and the lowest amongst them train baboons to dance, and others are weavers of Burd or woollen plaids.”[FN#48] “I am not of them.” “Then whence art thou, O young man?” “I am from Meccah.” “Then art thou from a mine of captious carping and ignorance and lack of wits and of sleep over-abundant, whereto Allah commissioned a noble Prophet, and him they belied and they rejected: so he went forth unto a folk which loved him and honoured him and made him a conqueror despite the nose of the Meccan churls.” “I am not of them.” “Then whence art thou, O young man? for verily thou hast been abundant of prate and my heart longeth to cut off thy pate.”[FN#49] Hereupon quoth the youth, “An I knew thou couldst slay me I had not worshipped any god save thyself,” and quoth Al-Hajjaj, “Woe to thee and who shall stay me from slaying thee?” “To thyself be the woe with measure enow,” cried the youth; “He shall hinder thee from killing me who administereth between a man and his heart,[FN#50] and who falseth not his promise.” “‘Tis He,” rejoined Al-Hajjaj, “who directeth me to thy death;” but the Youth retorted, “Allah forfend that He appoint thee to my slaughter; nay rather art thou commissioned by thy Devil, and I take refuge with the Lord form Satan the stoned.” “Whence then art thou, O young man?” “I am from Yathrib.”[FN#51] “And what be Yathrib?” “It is Tayyibah.” “And what be Tayyibah?” “Al-Madinah, the Luminate, the mine of inspiration and explanation and prohibition and licitation,[FN#52] and I am the seed of the Banu Ghalib[FN#53] and the purest scion of the Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (Allah honour his countenance and accept of him!), and all degree and descent[FN#54] must fail save my descent and degree which shall never be cut off until the Day of Doom.” Hereupon Al-Hajjaj raged with exceeding rage and ordered the Youth to execution; whereat rose up against him the Lords of the realm and the headman of the reign and sued him by was of intercession and stretched out to him their necks, saying, “Here are our heads before his head and our lives before his life. By Allah, ho thou the Emir, there is naught but that thou accept our impenetration in the matter of this Youth, for he is on no wise deserving of death.” Quoth the Governor, “Weary not yourselves for needs must I slay him; and even were an Angel from Heaven cry out ‘Kill him not,’ I would never hearken to his cry.” Quoth the youth, “Thou shalt be baffled[FN#55] O Hajjaj! Who art thou that an Angel from Heaven should cry out to thee ‘Kill him not,’ for thou art the vilest and meanest of mankind nor hast thou power to find a path to my death.” Cried Al-Hajjaj, “By Allah, I will not slay thee except upon a plea I will plead against thee, and convict thee by thy very words.” “What is that, O Hajjaj?” asked the Youth, and answered Hajjaj, “I will now question thee, and out of thine own mouth will I convict thee and strike off thy head.[FN#56] Now say me, O young man: – Whereby doth the slave draw near to Allah Almighty?” “By five things, prayer (1), and fasting (2), and alms (3), and pilgrimage (4), and Holy War upon the path of Almighty Allah (5).” “But I draw near to the Lord with the blood of the men who declare that Hasan and Husayn were the sons and successors of the Apostle of Allah.[FN#57] Furthermore, O young man, how can they be born of the Apostle of Almighty Allah when he sayeth, ‘Never was Mohammed the father of any man amongst you, but he was the Apostle of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets.'”[FN#58] “Hear thou, O Hajjaj, my answer with another Koranic verse,[FN#59] ‘What the Apostle hath given you, take: and what he hath refused you, refuse.’ Now Allah Almighty hath forbidden the taking of life, whose destruction is therefore unlawful.” “Thou has spoken sooth, O young man, but inform me of what is incumbent on thee every day and every night?” “The five canonical prayers.” “And for every year?” “The fast of the month of Ramazan.” “And for the whole of thy life?” “One pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah.” “Sooth thou hast said, O young man; now do inform me”–And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Twelfth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that Al-Hajjaj said, “Now do thou inform me who is the most excellent of the Arabs and the noblest and of blood the purest?”–“The Khoraysh.” “And wherefore so?” “For that the Prophets from them proceeded.” “And what tribe is the knightliest of the Arabs and the bravest and the firmest in fight?”–“The Banu Hashim.”[FN#60] “And wherefore so?” “For that my grandsire the Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib is of them.” “And who is the most generous of the Arabs and most steadfast in the guest-rite?”–“The Banu Tayy.” “And wherefore so?” “For that the Hatim of Tayy[FN#61] was one thereof.” “And who is the vilest of the Arabs and the meanest and the most miserly, in whom weal is smallest and ill is greatest?” “The Banu Thakif.”[FN#62] “And wherefore so?” “Because thou, O Hajjaj, art of them.” Thereupon the Lieutenant of Kufah raged with exceeding rage and ordered the slaughter of the youth; but the Grandees of the State rose up and prayed him for mercy, when he accepted their intercession and pardoned the offender. After which he said to him, “O young man, concerning the kid[FN#63] that is in the firmament, tell me be it male or female?” for he was minded on this wise to cut short his words. The young Sayyid replied, “O Hajjaj, draw me aside its tail so I may inform thee thereanent.”[FN#64] “O young man, say me on what pasture best grow the horns of the camel?” “From leaves of stone.” “O lack-wit! do stones bear leaves?” “O swollen of lips and little of wits and wisdom, say me do camels have horns?” “Haply thou art a lover fond, O youth?” “Yes! in love drowned.” “And whom lovest thou?”–“I love my lord, of whom I hope that he will turn my annoy into joy, and who can save me this day from thee, O Hajjaj.” “And dost thou know the Lord?” “Yes, I do.” “And whereby hast thou known Him?” “By the book of Him which descended upon His Prophet-Apostle.” “And knowest thou the Koran by heart?” “Doth the Koran fly from me that I should learn it by rote?” “Hast thou confirmed knowledge thereof?” “Verily Allah sent down a book confirmed.”[FN#65] “Hast thou perused and mastered that which is therein?” “I have.” “Then, O young man, if thou have read and learned what it containeth, tell me which verset is the sublimest (1) and which verset is the most imperious (2) and which verset is hopefullest (3) and which verset is fearfullest (4) and which verset is believed by the Jew and the Nazarene (5) and in which verset Allah speaketh purely by himself (6) and which verset alludeth to the Prophets (8) and in which verset be mentioned the People of Paradise (9) and which verset speaketh of the Folk and the Fire (10) and which verset containeth tenfold signs (11) and which verset (12) speaketh of Iblis (whom Allah curse!).” Then quoth the youth, “Listen to my answering, O Hajjaj, with the aid of the Beneficient King. Now the sublimest verset in the Book of Allah Almighty is the Throne verse;[FN#66] and the most imperious is the word of Almighty Allah, ‘Verily Allah ordereth justice and well-doing and bestowal of gifts upon kith and kin’;[FN#67] and the justest is the word of the Almighty, ‘Whoso shall have wrought a mithkal (nay an atom) of good works shall see it again, and whoso shall have wrought a mithkal (nay an atom) of ill shall again see it’;[FN#68] and the fullest of fear is that spoken by the Almighty, ‘Doth not every man of them desire that he enter into the Paradise hight Al-Na’im?'[FN#69] and the fullest of hope is the word of the Almighty, ‘Say Me, O My worshippers who have sinned against your own souls, do not despair of Allah’s ruth’;[FN#70] and the verset which containeth ten signs is the word of the Lord which saith[FN#71] ‘Verily in the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth and in the shifts of Night and Day and in the ships which pass through the sea with what is useful to mankind; and in the rain which Allah sendeth down from Heaven, thereby giving to the earth life after death, and by scattering thereover all the moving creatures, and in the change of the winds, and in the clouds which are made to do service between the Heavens and the Earth are signs for those who understand’; and the verset wherein believe both Jews and Nazarenes is the word of Alimighty Allah,[FN#72] ‘The Jews say the Nazarenes are on naught, and the Christians say the Jews are on naught, and both speak the sooth for they are on naught.’ And the verset wherein Allah Almighty speaketh purely of Himself is that word of Almighty Allah,[FN#73] ‘And I created not Jinn-kind and mankind save to the end that they adore Me’; and the verset which was spoken of the Angels is the word of Almighty Allah which saith,[FN#74] ‘Laud to Thee! we have no knowledge save what Thou hast given us to know, and verily Thou art the Knowing, the Wise.’ And the verset which speaketh of the Prophets is the word of Almighty Allah that saith[FN#75] ‘And We have already sent Apostles before thee: of some We have told thee, and of others We have told thee naught: yet no Apostle had the power to come with a sign unless by the leave of Allah. But when Allah’s behest cometh, everything shall be decided with truth; and then perish they who entreated it as a vain thing’; and the verset which speaketh of the Folk and the Fire is the word of Almighty Allah which saith[FN#76] ‘O out Lord! Bring us forth from her (the Fire), and, if we return (to our sins), we shall indeed be of the evildoers’; and the verset that speaketh of the People of Paradise is the word of Almighty Allah,[FN#77] ‘And they shall say: Laud to the Lord who abated to us grief, and verily our Lord is Gracious, Grateful’; and the verset which speaketh of Iblis (whom Allah Almighty accurse!), if the word of Almighty Allah,[FN#78] ‘He said: (I swear) therefore by thy glory, that all of them will I surely lead astray.'” Hereupon Al-Hajjaj exclaimed, “Laud to the Lord and thanksgiving Who giveth wisdom unto whoso He please! Never indeed saw I a youth like this youth upon whom the Almighty hath bestowed wits and wisdom and knowledge for all the tenderness of his age. But say me, who art thou, O young man?” Quoth the youth, “I am of the folk of these things,[FN#79] O Hajjaj.” Resumed the Lieutenant, “Inform me concerning the son of Adam what injureth him and what profiteth him?” And the youth replied, “I will, O Hajjaj; do thou and these present who are longing for permanency (and none is permanent save Allah Almighty!) be early the fast to break nor be over late supper to make; and wear light body-clothes in summer and gar heavy the headgear in winter, and guard the brain with what it conserveth and the belly with what it preserveth and begin every meal with salt for it driveth away seventy and two kinds of malady: and whoso breaketh his fast each day with seven raisins red of hue”–And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Fourteenth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the youth continued to Al-Hajjaj: – “And whoso breaketh his fast daily with seven raisins red of hue shall never find in his body aught that irketh him; moreover, whoso each morning eateth on the spittle[FN#80] three ripe dates all the worms in his belly shall be slain and whoso exceedeth in diet of boucan’d meat[FN#81] and fish shall find his strength weakened and his powers of carnal copulation abated; and beware lest thou eat beef[FN#82] by cause that ’tis a disease forsure whereas the soured milk of cows is a remedy secure and clarified butter is a perfect cure: withal is its hide a succor for use and ure. And do thou take to thee, O Hajjaj, the greater Salve.”[FN#83] Cried the Lieutenant, “What may be that?” and said the youth in reply, “A bittock of hard bread eaten[FN#84] upon the spittle, for indeed such food consumeth the phlegm and similar humours which be at the mouth of the maw.[FN#85] And let not the blood in the hot bath for it enfeebleth man’s force, and gaze not upon the metal pots of the Balnea because such sight breedeth dimness of vision. Also have no connection with woman in the Hammam for its consequence is the palsy; nor do thou lie with her when thou art full or when thou art empty or when thou drunken with wine or when thou art in wrath nor when lying on thy side, for that it occasioneth swelling of the testicle-veins;[FN#86] or when thou art under a fruit-bearing tree. Avoid carnal knowledge of the old woman[FN#87] for that she taketh from thee and giveth not to thee. Moreover let thy signet ring be made of carnelian[FN#88] because it is a guard against poverty; also a look at the Holy Volume every morning increaseth thy daily bread, and to gaze at flowing water whetteth the sight and to look upon the face of children is an act of adoration. And when thou chancest lose thy way, crave aidance of Allah from Satan the Stoned.” Hereupon quoth Al-Hajjaj, “Allah hath been copious to thee, O young man, for thou hast drowned me in the depths of thy love, but now inform me, Where is the seat of thy dignified behaviour?”–“The two eyes.” “And where is the seat of thy well-doing?”–“My tongue.” “And where is the seat of thy hearing?”–“The sensorium of mine ears.” “And where is the seat of thy smelling?”–“The sensorium of my nose.” “And where is the seat of thy taste?”–“My palate.” “And where is the seat of thy gladness?”–“My heart.” “And where is the seat of thy wrath?”–“My liver.” “And where is the seat of thy laughing?”–“My spleen.”[FN#89] “And where is the seat of thy bodily strenght?”–“My two shoulders.” “And where is that of thy weakness?”–“My two calves.” Hereupon Al-Hajjaj exclaimed, “Laud to the Lord and thanksgiving; for indeed, O young man, I see that thou knowest everything. So tell me somewhat concerning husbandry?”–“The best of corn is the thickest of cob and the grossest of grain and the fullest sized of shock.”[FN#90] “And what sayest thou concerning palm-trees?”– “The most excellent is that which the greatest of gathering doth own and whose height is low grown and within whose meat is the smallest stone.” “And what dost thou say anent the vine?”–“The most noble is that which is stout of stem and big of bunch.” “And what sayest thou concerning the Heavens?”–“This is the furthest extent of man’s sight and the dwelling-place of the Sun and Moon and all the Stars that give light, raised on high without columns pight and overshadowing the numbers beneath its height.” “And what dost thou say concerning the Earth?”–“It is wide dispread in length and breadth.” “And what dost thou say anent the rain?”- -“The most excellent is that which filleth the pits and pools and which overfloweth into the wadys and the rivers.” Hereupon quoth Al-Hajjaj, “O young man inform me what women be the best”–And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Sixteenth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that Al-Hajjaj said, “O young man, inform me what women be the best and the most enjoyable.”[FN#91]–“One in winning ways excelling and in comeliness exceeding and in speech killing: one whose brow glanceth marvellous bright to whoso filleth his eyes with her sight and to whom she bequeatheth sorrow and blight; one whose breasts are small whilst her hips are large and her cheeks are rosy red and her eyes are deeply black and he lips are full-formed; one who if she look upon the heavens even the rocks will be robed in green, and if she look upon the earth her lips[FN#92] unpierced pearls shall rain; one the dews of whose mouth are the sweetest of waters; one who in beauty hath no peer nor is there any loveliness can with hers compare: the coolth of the eyes to great and small; in fine, one whose praises certain of the poets have sung in these harmonious couplets,[FN#93]

‘A fair one to idolaters if she herself should show, * They’d leave their idols and her face for only Lord would know. If in the Eastward she appeared unto a monk, for once * He’d cease from turning to the West and to the East bend low; And into the briny sea one day she chanced to spit, * Assuredly the salt sea’s floods straight fresh and sweet would grow.'”

Hereupon quoth Al-Hajjaj, “Thou hast said well and hast spoken fair, O young man; and now what canst thou declare concerning a maiden of ten years old?” Quoth the youth, “She is a joy to behold.” “And a damsel of twenty years old?”–“a coolth to eyes manifold.” “And a woman thirty of age?”–“One who the hearts of enjoyers can engage.” “And in her fortieth year?”–“Fat, fresh and fair doth she appear.” “And of the half century?”–“The mother of men and maids in plenty.” “And a crone of three score?”–“Men ask of her never more.” “And when three score and ten?”–“An old trot and remnant of men.” “And one who reacheth four score?”–“Unfit for the world and for the faith forlore.” “And one of ninety?”–“Ask not of whoso in Jahim be.”[FN#94] “And a woman who to an hundredth hath owned?”–“I take refuge with Allah from Satan the Stoned.” Then Al-Hajjaj laughed aloud and said, “O young man, I desire of thee even as thou describest womankind in prose so thou show me their conditions in verse;” and the Sayyid, having answered, “Hearkening and obedience, O Hajjaj,” fell to improvising these couplets,[FN#95]

“When a maid owns to ten her new breasts arise * And like diver’s pearl with fair neck she hies:
The damsel of twenty defies compare * ‘Tis she whose disport we desire and prize:
She of thirty hath healing on cheeks of her; * She’s a pleasure, a plant whose sap never dries:
If on her in the forties thou happily hap * She’s best of her sex, hail to him with her lies!
She of fifty (pray Allah be copious to her!) * With wit, craft and wisdom her children supplies.
The dame of sixty hath lost some force * Whose remnants are easy to ravenous eyes:
At three score ten few shall seek her house * Age-threadbare made till afresh she rise:
The fourscore dame hath a bunchy back * From mischievous eld whom perforce Love flies:
And the crone of ninety hath palsied head * And lies wakeful o’ nights and in watchful guise;
And with ten years added would Heaven she bide * Shrouded in sea with a shark for guide!”

Hereupon Al-Hajjaj laughed aloud and all who were with him in assembly; and presently he resumed, “O youth, tell me concerning the first man who spake in verse[FN#96] and that was our common sire, Adam (The Peace be upon him!), what time Kabil[FN#97] slew Habil his brother when her forefather improvised these lines,

‘Changed I see my country and all thereon; * Earth is now a blackavice, ugly grown:
The hue and flavour of food is fled * And cheer is fainting from fair face flown.
An thou, O Abel, be slain this day * Thy death I bemourn with heart torn and lone.
Weep these eyes and ‘sooth they have right to weep * Their tears are as rills flowing hills adown.
Kabil slew Habil–did his brother dead; * Oh my woe for that lovely face, ochone!'”[FN#98]

Hereat Al-Hajjaj asked, “O young man, what drove our ancestor to poetry?” whereto answered youth–And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Eighteenth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the youth replied, “He was driven to poetry by Iblis (whom Allah accurse!) when he spake in this verse,

‘Thou bewailest the land and all thereon * And scant was the breadth of Eden didst own,
Where thou was girded by every good * O’ life and in rest ever wont to wone:
But ne’er ceased my wiles and my guile until * The wind o’erthrew thee by folly blown.'”[FN#99]

Whereupon quoth Al-Hajjaj, “O young man, inform me concerning the first couplet of verse spoken by the Arab in praise of munificence;” and quoth the youth, “O Hajjaj, the first Arabic distich known to me was spoken by Hatim of Tayy, and ’twas as follows,

‘And the guest I greet ere from me he go * Before wife and weans in my weal and woe.'”

Then cried Al-Hajjaj, “Thou hast said well and hast spoken fair, O young man; and thy due is incumbent upon us for that thou hast drowned us in the deeps of thy wisdom.” Presently the Lieutenant of Kufah turning towards one of his eunuchs said, “Bring me at this very moment a purse containing ten thousand dirhams[FN#100] upon a charger of red gold and a suit of the rarest of my raiment and a blood mare the noblest steed of my steeds with a saddle of gold and a haubergeon;[FN#101] and a lance of full length and a handmaid the handsomest of my slave-girls.” The attendant disappeared for a while, and presently brought all this between the hands of Al-Hajjaj, who said, “O young man, this damsel is the fairest of my chattels, and this be the purse on a charger of gold, and this mare is the purest in blood of my steeds together with her housings, so do thou take whatever thou desirest thereof, either the mare with all upon her or the purse of gold or the concubine,” presently saying to himself, “If the young man prefer the purse, ’twill prove he loveth the world and I will slay him, also if he choose the girl, he lusteth after womankind, and I will do him die: but if he take the mare and her furniture, he will show himself the brave of braves, and he meriteth not destruction at my hands.” Then the youth came forward and took the mare and her appointments. Now the damsel was standing by the young Sayyid, and she winked at him with her eye as one saying, “Do thou choose me and leave all the rest;” whereupon he began to improvise the following couplets,

“The jingling bridle at Bayard’s neck * Is dearer to me than what sign thou deign:
I fear when I fall into strait and fare * Abroad, no comrade in thee to gain:
I fear when lain on my couch and long * My sickness, thou prove thee nor fond nor fain:
I fear me that time groweth scant my good * And my hand be strait thou shalt work me bane:
A helpmate I want shall do what do I * And bear patient the pasture of barren plain.”[FN#102]

Presently the handmaid answered his verse with the following couplets,

“Forfend me, Allah, from all thou say’st * Though my left with my right thou shalt hew in twain.
A husband’s honour my works shall keep * And I’ll wone content with his smallest gain:
Didst know me well and my nature weet * Thou hadst found me mate of the meekest strain.
Nor all of women are like to sight * Nor all of men are of similar grain.
The charge of a mate to the good belongs; * Let this oath by Allah belief obtain.”

Hearing these words Al-Hajjaj exclaimed, “Woe to thee, O damsel, dost thou answer him in his verse? and do thou O young man, take the whole, and may Allah give thee no blessing therein.”[FN#103] Answered by the young Sayyid, “Here with them, O Hajjaj, inasmuch as thou hast given them to me, I will not oppose the order of Allah through thee, but another time there is no union between us twain, me and thee, as there hath been this day.” Now the city of Al-Hajjaj had two gates–the door of Destruction and the door of Salvation; and when the youth asked him, “O Hajjaj, shall I go forth from this or from that?” the Lieutenant of Kufah cried, “Issue by this outlet,” and showed him the Gate of Safety. Then the youth took all the presents and fared forth by the passage which had been shown him, and went his ways and was seen no more. Hereupon the Grandees of the kingdom said to Al-Hajjaj, “O our lord, how hast thou given to him these gifts and he hath on nowise thanked thee, nor wished thee well[FN#104] for they favours, and yet hast thou pointed out to him the Gate of Salvation?” Hereupon he replied, “Verily, the youth asked direction of me, and it becometh the director to be trustworthy and no traitor (Allah’s curse be upon him who betrayeth!), and this youth meriteth naught save mercy by reason of his learning.”[FN#105]


It is told in various relations of the folk (but Allah is All-knowing of His secret purpose and All-powerful and All-beneficent and All-merciful in whatso of bygone years transpired and amid peoples of old took place) that the Caliph Harun al-Rashid being straitened of breast one day summoned his Chief of the Eunuchs and said to him, “O Masrur!” Quoth he, “Adsum, O my lord;” and quoth the other, “This day my breast is straitened and I would have thee bring me somewhat to hearten my heart and consume my care.” Replied Masrur, “O my lord, do thou go forth to thy garden and look upon the trees and the blooms and the rills and listen to the warblings of the fowls.” Harun replied, “O Masrur, thou hast mentioned a matter which palleth on my palate[FN#107] nor may my breast be broadened by aught thou hast commended.” Rejoined the Eunuch, “Then do thou enter thy palace and having gathered thy handmaids before thee, let each and every say her say whilst all are robed in the choicest of raiment and ornaments; so shalt thou look upon them and thy spirits shall be cheered.” The Caliph retorted, “O Masrur, we want other than this;” whereupon quoth the slave, “O Prince of True Believers, send after the Wazirs and thy brotherhood of learned men and let them improvise for thee poetry and set before thee stories whereby shall thy care be solaced.” Quoth he, “O Masrur, naught of this shall profit me.” Hereat cried the Eunuch, “Then, O my lord, I see naught for thee save to take thy sabre and smite the neck of thy slave: haply and peradventure this may comfort thee and do away with thy disgust.”[FN#108] When the King Harun al-Rashid heard these words, he laughed aloud and said to him, “O Masrur, go forth to the gate where haply thou shalt find some one of my cup-companions.” Accordingly he went to the porte in haste and there came upon one of the courtiers which was Ali ibn Mansur Al-Dimishki and brought him in. The Commander of the Faithful seeing him bade him be seated and said, “O Ibn Mansur, I would have thee tell me a tale somewhat rare and strange; so perchance my breast may be broadened and my doleful dumps from me depart.” Said he, “O Prince of True Believers, dost thou desire that I relate to thee of the things which are past and gone or I recount a matter I espied with my own eyes?” Al-Rashid replied, “An thou have sighted somewhat worthy seeing relate it to us for hearing is not like beholding.” He rejoined, “O Emir al-Muuminin, whilst I tell thee this tale needs must thou lend me ear and mind;” and the Caliph[FN#109] retorted, “Out with thy story, for here am I hearkening to thee with ears and eyes wide awake, so that my soul may understand the whole of this say.” Hereupon Ibn Mansur related to him “The Loves of the Lovers of Bassorah.”[FN#110] Now when Al-Rashid heard the tale of Ibn Mansur there fell from him somewhat of his cark and care but he was not wholly comforted. He spent the night in this case and when it was morning he summoned the Wazir Ja’afar ibn Yahya the Barmaki, and cried to him, “O Ja’afar!” He replied, “Here am I! Allah lengthen thy life, and make permanent thy prosperity.” The Caliph resumed, “Verily my breast is straitened and it hath passed through my thought that we fare forth, I and thou (and Eunuch Masrur shall make a third), and we will promenade the main streets of Baghdad and solace ourselves with seeing its several places and peradventure I may espy somewhat to hearten my heart and clear off my care and relieve me of what is with me of straitness of breast.” Ja’afar made answer, “O Commander of the Faithful, know that thou art Caliph and Regent and Cousin to the Apostle of Allah and haply some of the sons of the city may speak words that suit thee not and from that matter may result other matter with discomfort to thy heart and annoyance to thy mind, the offender unknowing the while that thou art walking the streets by night. Then thou wilt command his head to be cut off and what was meant for pleasure may end in displeasure and wrath and wrongdoing.” Al-Rashid replied, “I swear by the rights of my forbears and ancestors even if aught mishap to us from the meanest of folk as is wont to happen or he speak words which should not be spoken, that I will neither regard them nor reply thereto, neither will I punish the aggressor, nor shall aught linger in my heart against the addresser; but need must I pass through the Bazar this very night.” Hereupon quoth Ja’afar to the Caliph, “O Viceregent of Allah upon earth, do thou be steadfast of purpose and rely upon Allah!”[FN#111] Then they arose and arousing Masrur doffed what was upon them of outer dress and bagtrousers and habited themselves each one of them in garments differing from those of the city folks. Presently they sallied forth by the private postern and walked from place to place till they came to one of the highways of the capital and after threading its length they arrived at a narrow street whose like was never seen about all the horizons.[FN#112] This they found swept and sprinkled with the sweet northern breeze playing through it and at the head thereof rose a mansion towering from the dust and hanging from the necks of the clouds. Its whole length was of sixty cubits whereas its breadth was of twenty ells; its gate was of ebony inlaid with ivory and plated with plates of yellow brass while athwart the doorway hung a curtain of sendal and over it was a chandelier of gold fed with oil of ‘Iraki violets which brightened all that quarter with its light. The King Harun al-Rashid and the Wazir and the Eunuch stood marvelling at what they saw of these signs and at what they smelt of the scents breathing from the clarity[FN#113] of this palace as though they were the waftings of the perfumed gardens of Paradise and they cast curious glances at the abode so lofty and of base so goodly and of corners so sturdy, whose like was never builded in those days. Presently they noted that its entrance was poikilate with carvings manifold and arabesques of glittering gold and over it was a line writ in letters of lapis lazuli. So Al-Rashid took seat under the candelabrum with Ja’afar standing on his right and Masrur afoot to his left and he exclaimed, “O Wazir, this mansion is naught save in the utmost perfection of beauty and degree; and verily its lord must have expended upon it wealth galore and of gold a store; and, as its exterior is magnificent exceedingly, so would to Heaven I knew what be its interior.” Then the Caliph cast a glance at the upper lintel of the door whereupon he saw inscribed in letters of golden water which glittered in the rays of the chandelier,


Hereupon quoth Al-Rashid, “O Ja’afar, the house-master never wrote yonder lines save for a reason and I desire to discover what may be his object, so let us forgather with him and ask him the cause of this legend being inscribed in this place.” Quoth Ja’afar, “O Prince of True Believers, yonder lines were never written save in fear of the curtain of concealment being withdrawn.”–And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day, and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, “How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!” Quoth she, “And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?” Now when it was the next night and that was

The Six Hundred and Thirty-fourth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, “Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!” She replied, “With love and good will!” It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that Ja’afar the Barmecide said to the King, “Verily the master of this house never wrote yonder lines save in fear lest the curtain of concealment be withdrawn.” Hearing this the Caliph held his peace for a while and fell to pondering this matter then said he, “O Ja’afar, knock at the door and ask for us a gugglet of water;” and when the Wazir did his bidding one of the slaves called out from within the entrance, “Who is it rappeth at our gate?” Hereupon said Masrur to him, “O son of my uncle, open to us the door and give us a gugglet of water for that our lord thirsteth.” The chattel went in to his master, the young man, Manjab hight, who owned the mansion, and said, “O my lord, verily there be at our door three persons who have rapped for us and who ask for a drink of water.” The master asked, “What manner of men may they be?” and the slave answered, “One of them sitteth under the chandelier and another of them standeth by his side and the third is a black slave between their hands; and all three show signs of staidness and dignity than which naught can be more.” “Go forth to them,” exclaimed the master, “and say to them, ‘My lord inviteth you to become of his guests.'” So the servile went out and delivered the message, whereat they entered and found five lines of inscription in different parts of the hall with a candelabrum overhanging each and every and the whole five contained the sentence we have before mentioned; furthermore all the lights were hung up over the legend that the writing might be made manifest unto whoso would read it. Accordingly Harun al-Rashid entered and found a mansion of kingly degree[FN#114] and of marvellous ordinance in the utmost that could be of beauty and ornament and five black slaves and as many Eunuchs were standing in the saloon to offer their services. Seeing this the Caliph marvelled with extreme marvel at the house and the housemaster who greeted them in friendly guise; after which he to whom the palace belonged sat down upon a divan and bade Al-Rashid sit over against him and signed to Ja’afar and Masrur to take their places in due degree,[FN#115] whilst the negroes and the eunuchs stood expecting their commands for suit and service. Presently was brought to them a huge waxen taper which lighted up