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THE BOOK OF THE
THOUSAND NIGHTS AND A NIGHT
A Plain and Literal Translation
of the Arabian Nights Entertainments

Translated and Annotated by
Richard F. Burton

VOLUME EIGHT
Privately Printed By The Burton Club



A Message to
Frederick Hankey,
formerly of No. 2, Rue Laffitte, Paris.

My Dear Fred,

If there be such a thing as "continuation," you will see
these lines in the far Spirit-land and you will find that your
old friend has not forgotten you and Annie.


Richard F. Burton.


Contents of the Eighth Volume


King Mohammed Bin Sabaik and the Merchant Hasan (continued)
a. Story of Prince Sayf Al-Muluk and the Princess Badi'a
Al-Jamal (continued)
155. Hassan of Bassorah
156. Khalifah The Fisherman Of Baghdad
The same from the Breslau Edition
157. Masrur and Zayn Al-Mawasif
158. Ali Nur Al-Din and Miriam the Girdle-Girl


The Book Of The
THOUSAND NIGHTS AND A NIGHT


When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventy-seventh Night,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
old Queen heard the handmaid's words she was wroth with sore
wrath because of her and cried, "How shall there be accord
between man and Jinn?" But Safy al-Muluk replied, "Indeed, I will
conform to thy will and be thy page and die in thy love and will
keep with thee covenant and regard non but thee: so right soon
shalt thou see my truth and lack of falsehood and the excellence
of my manly dealing with thee, Inshallah!" The old woman pondered
for a full hour with brow earthwards bent; after which she raised
her head and said to him, "O thou beautiful youth, wilt thou
indeed keep compact and covenant?" He replied, "Yes, by Him who
raised the heavens and dispread the earth upon the waters, I will
indeed keep faith and troth!" Thereupon quoth she, "I will win
for thee thy wish, Inshallah! but for the present go thou into
the garden and take thy pleasure therein and eat of its fruits,
that have neither like in the world nor equal, whilst I send for
my son Shahyal and confabulate with him of the matter. Nothing
but good shall come of it, so Allah please, for he will not
gainsay me nor disobey my commandment and I will marry thee with
his daughter Badi'a al-Jamal. So be of good heart for she shall
assuredly be thy wife, O Sayf al-Muluk." The Prince thanked her
for those words and kissing her hands and feet, went forth from
her into the garden; whilst she turned to Marjanah and said to
her, "Go seek my son Shahyal wherever he is and bring him to me."
So Maranah went out in quest of King Shahyal and found him and
set him before his mother. On such wise fared it with them; but
as regards Sayf al-Muluk, whilst he walked in the garden, lo and
behold! five Jinn of the people of the Blue King espied him and
said to one another, "Whence cometh yonder wight and who brought
him hither? Haply 'tis he who slew the son and heir of our lord
and master the Blue King;" presently adding, 'But we will go
about with him and question him and find out all from him." So
they walked gently and softly up to him, as he sat in a corner of
the garden, and sitting down by him, said to him, "O beauteous
youth, thou didst right well in slaying the son of the Blue King
and delivering from him Daulat Khatun; for he was a treacherous
hound and had tricked her, and had not Allah appointed thee to
her, she had never won free; no, never! But how diddest thou slay
him?" Sayf al-Muluk looked at them and deeming them of the
gardenfolk, answered, "I slew him by means of this ring which is
on my finger." Therewith they were assured that it was he who had
slain him; so they seized him, two of them holding his hands,
whilst other two held his feet and the fifth his mouth, lest he
should cry out and King Shahyal's people should hear him and
rescue him from their hands. Then they lifted him up and flying
away with him ceased not their flight till they came to their
King and set him down before him, saying, "O King of the Age, we
bring thee the murderer of thy son." "Where is he?" asked the
King and they answered, "This is he." So the Blue King said to
Sayf al-Muluk, "How slewest thou my son, the core of my heart and
the light of my sight, without aught of right, for all he had
done thee no ill deed?" Quoth the Prince, "Yea, verily! I slew
him because of his violence and frowardness, in that he used to
seize Kings' daughters and sever them from their families and
carry them to the Ruined Well and the High-builded Castle of
Japhet son of Noah and entreat them lewdly by debauching them. I
slew him by means of this ring on my finger, and Allah hurried
his soul to the fire and the abiding-place dire." Therewithal the
King was assured that this was indeed he who slew his son; so
presently he called his Wazirs and said to them, "This is the
murtherer of my son sans shadow of doubt: so how do you counsel
me to deal with him? Shall I slay him with the foulest slaughter
or torture him with the terriblest torments or how?" Quoth the
Chief Minister, "Cut off his limbs, one a day." Another, "Beat
him with a grievous beating every day till he die." A third, "Cut
him across the middle." A fourth, "Chop off all his fingers and
burn him with fire." A fifth, "Crucify him;" and so on, each
speaking according to his rede. Now there was with the Blue King
an old Emir, versed in the vicissitudes and experienced in the
exchanges of the times, and he said, "O King of the Age, verily I
would say to thee somewhat, and thine is the rede whether thou
wilt hearken or not to my say." Now he was the King's privy
Councillor and the Chief Officer of his empire, and the Sovran
was wont to give ear to his word and conduct himself by his
counsel and gainsay him not in aught. So he rose and kissing
ground before his liege lord, said to him, "O King of the Age, if
I advise thee in this matter, wilt thou follow my advice and
grant me indemnity?" Quoth the King, "Set forth thine opinion,
and thou shalt have immunity." Then quoth he, "O King of the Age,
an thou slay this one nor accept my advice nor hearken to my
word, in very sooth I say that his death were now inexpedient,
for that he his thy prisoner and in thy power, and under thy
protection; so whenas thou wilt, thou mayst lay hand on him and
do with him what thou desirest. Have patience, then, O King of
the Age, for he hath entered the garden of Iram and is become the
betrothed of Badi'a al-Jamal, daughter of King Shahyal, and one
of them. Thy people seized him there and brought him hither and
he did not hide his case from them or from thee. So an thou slay
him, assuredly King Shahyal will seek blood-revenge and lead his
host against thee for his daughter's sake, and thou canst not
cope with him nor make head against his power." So the King
hearkened to his counsel and commanded to imprison the captive.
Thus fared it with Sayf al-Muluk; but as regards the old Queen,
grandmother of Badi'a al-Jamal, when her son Shahyal came to her
she despatched Marjanah in search of Sayf al-Muluk; but she found
him not and returning to her mistress, said, "I found him not in
the garden." So the ancient dame sent for the gardeners and
questioned them of the Prince. Quoth they, "We saw him sitting
under a tree when behold, five of the Blue King's folk alighted
by him and spoke with him, after which they took him up and
having gagged him flew away with him." When the old Queen heard
the damsel's words it was no light matter to her and she was
wroth with exceeding wrath: so she rose to her feet and said to
her son, King Shahyal, "Thou art a King and shall the Blue King's
people come to our garden and carry off our guests unhindered,
and thou alive?" And she proceeded to provoke him, saying, "It
behoveth not that any transgress against us during thy
lifetime."[FN#1] Answered he, "O mother of me, this man slew the
Blue King's son, who was a Jinni and Allah threw him into his
hand. He is a Jinni and I am a Jinni: how then shall I go to him
and make war on him for the sake of a mortal?" But she rejoined,
"Go to him and demand our guest of him, and if he be still alive
and the Blue King deliver him to thee, take him and return; but
an he have slain him, take the King and all his children and
Harim and household depending on him; then bring them to me alive
that I may cut their throats with my own hand and lay in ruins
his reign. Except thou go to him and do my bidding, I will not
acquit thee of my milk and my rearing of thee shall be counted
unlawful." - And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to
say her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventy-eighth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
grandmother of Badi'a al-Jamal said to Shahyal, "Fare thee to the
Blue King and look after Sayf al-Muluk: if he be still in life
come with him hither; but an he have slain him take that King and
all his children and Harim and the whole of his dependents an
proteges and bring them here alive that I may cut their throats
with my own hand and ruin his realm. Except thou go to him and do
my bidding, I will not acquit thee of my milk and my rearing of
thee shall be accounted unlawful." Thereupon Shahyal rose and
assembling his troops, set out, in deference to his mother,
desiring to content her and her friends, and in accordance with
whatso had been fore-ordained from eternity without beginning;
nor did they leave journeying till they came to the land of the
Blue King, who met them with his army and gave them battle. The
Blue King's host was put to the rout and the conquerors having
taken him and all his sons, great and small, and Grandees and
officers bound and brought them before King Shahyal, who said to
the captive, "O Azrak,[FN#2] where is the mortal Sayf al-Muluk
who whilome was my guest?" Answered the Blue King, "O Shahyal,
thou art a Jinni and I am a Jinni and is't on account of a mortal
who slew my son that thou hast done this deed; yea, the murtherer
of my son, the core of my liver and solace of my soul. How
couldest thou work such work and spill the blood of so many
thousand Jinn?" He replied, "Leave this talk! Knowest thou not
that a single mortal is better, in Allah's sight, than a thousand
Jinn?[FN#3] If he be alive, bring him to me, and I will set thee
free and all whom I have taken of thy sons and people; but an
thou have slain him, I will slaughter thee and thy sons." Quoth
the Malik al-Azrak, "O King, is this man of more account with
thee than my son?"; and quoth Shahyal, "Verily, thy son was an
evildoer who kidnapped Kings' daughters and shut them up in the
Ruined Well and the High-builded Castle of Japhet son of Noah and
entreated them lewdly." Then said the Blue King, "He is with me;
but make thy peace between us." So he delivered the Prince to
Shahyal, who made peace between him and the Blue King, and
Al-Azrak gave him a bond of absolution for the death of his son.
Then Shahyal conferred robes of honour on them and entertained
the Blue King and his troops hospitably for three days, after
which he took Sayf al-Muluk and carried him back to the old
Queen, his own mother, who rejoiced in him with an exceeding joy,
and Shahyal marvelled at the beauty of the Prince and his
loveliness and his perfection. Then the Prince related to him his
story from beginning to end, especially what did befal him with
Badi'a al-Jamal and Shahyal said, "O my mother, since 'tis thy
pleasure that this should be, I hear and I obey all that to
command it pleaseth thee; wherefore do thou take him and bear him
to Sarandib and there celebrate his wedding and marry him to her
in all state, for he is a goodly youth and hath endured horrors
for her sake." So she and her maidens set out with Sayf al-Muluk
for Sarandib and, entering the Garden belonging to the Queen of
Hind, foregathered with Daulat Khatun and Badi'a al-Jamal. Then
the lovers met, and the old Queen acquainted the two Princesses
with all that had passed between Sayf al-Muluk and the Blue King
and how the Prince had been nearhand to a captive's death; but in
repetition is no fruition. Then King Taj al-Muluk father of
Daulat Khatun assembled the lords of his land and drew up the
contract of marriage between Sayf al-Muluk and Badi'a al-Jamal;
and he conferred costly robes of honour and gave banquets to the
lieges. Then Sayf al-Muluk rose and, kissing ground before the
King, said to him, "O King, pardon! I would fain ask of thee
somewhat but I fear lest thou refuse it to my disappointment."
Taj al-Muluk replied, "By Allah, though thou soughtest my soul of
me, I would not refuse it to thee, after all the kindness thou
hast done me!" Quoth Sayf al-Muluk, "I wish thee to marry the
Princess Daulat Khatun to my brother Sa'id, and we will both be
thy pages." "I hear and obey," answered Taj al-Muluk, and
assembling his Grandees a second time, let draw up the contract
of marriage between his daughter and Sa'id; after which they
scattered gold and silver and the King bade decorate the city. So
they held high festival and Sayf al-Muluk went in unto Badi'a
al-Jamal and Sa'id went in unto Daulat Khatun on the same night.
Moreover Sayf al-Muluk abode forty days with Badi'a al-Jamal, at
the end of which she said to him, "O King's son, say me, is there
left in thy heart any regret for aught?" And he replied, "Allah
forfend! I have accomplished my quest and there abideth no regret
in my heart at all: but I would fain meet my father and my mother
in the land of Egypt and see if they continue in welfare or not."
So she commanded a company of her slaves to convey them to Egypt,
and they carried them to Cairo, where Sayf al-Muluk and Sa'id
foregathered with their parents and abode with them a week; after
which they took leave of them and returned to Sarandib-city; and
from this time forwards, whenever they longed for their folk,
they used to go to them and return. Then Sayf al-Muluk and Badi'a
al-Jamal abode in all solace of life and its joyance as did Sa'id
and Daulat Khatun, till there came to them the Destroyer of
delights and Severer of societies; and they all died good
Moslems. So glory be to the Living One who dieth not, who
createth all creatures and decreeth to them death and who is the
First, without beginning, and the Last, without end! This is all
that hath come down to us of the story of Sayf al-Muluk and
Badi'a al-Jamal. And Allah alone wotteth the truth.[FN#4] But not
less excellent than this tale is the History of


HASAN OF BASSORAH.[FN#5]


There was once of days of yore and in ages and times long gone
before, a merchant, who dwelt in the land of Bassorah and who
owned two sons and wealth galore. But in due time Allah, the
All-hearing the All-knowing, decreed that he should be admitted
to the mercy of the Most High; so he died, and his two sons laid
him out and buried him, after which they divided his gardens and
estates equally between them and of his portion each one opened a
shop.[FN#6] Presently the elder son, Hasan hight, a youth of
passing beauty and loveliness, symmetry and perfect grace, betook
himself to the company of lewd folk, women and low boys,
frolicking with them in gardens and feasting them with meat and
wine for months together and occupying himself not with his
business like as his father had done, for that he exulted in the
abundance of his good. After some time he had wasted all his
ready money, so he sold all his father's lands and houses and
played the wastrel until there remained in his hand nothing,
neither little nor muchel, nor was one of his comrades left who
knew him. He abode thus anhungred, he and his widowed mother,
three days, and on the fourth day, as he walked along, unknowing
whither to wend, there met him a man of his father's friends, who
questioned him of his case. He told him what had befallen him and
the other said, "O my son, I have a brother who is a goldsmith;
an thou wilt, thou shalt be with him and learn his craft and
become skilled therein." Hasan consented and accompanied him to
his brother, to whom he commended him, saying, "In very sooth
this is my son; do thou teach him for my sake." So Hasan abode
with the goldsmith and busied himself with the craft; and Allah
opened to him the door of gain and in due course he set up shop
for himself. One day, as he sat in his booth in the bazar, there
came up to him an Ajami, a foreigner, a Persian, with a great
white beard and a white turband[FN#7] on his head, having the
semblance of a merchant who, after saluting him, looked at his
handiwork and examined it knowingly. It pleased him and he shook
his head, saying, "By Allah, thou art a cunning goldsmith! What
may be thy name?" "Hasan," replied the other, shortly.[FN#8] The
Persian continued to look at his wares, whilst Hasan read in an
old book[FN#9] he hent in hand and the folk were taken up with
his beauty and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace, till
the hour of midafternoon prayer, when the shop became clear of
people and the Persian accosted the young man, saying, "O my son,
thou art a comely youth! What book is that? Thou hast no sire
and I have no son, and I know an art, than which there is no
goodlier in the world." - And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Seventy-ninth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Persian
accosted the young man saying, "O my son, thou art a comely
youth! Thou hast no sire and I have no son, and I know an art
than which there is no goodlier in the world. Many have sought
of me instruction therein, but I consented not to instruct any of
them in it; yet hath my soul consented that I teach it to thee,
for thy love hath gotten hold upon my heart and I will make thee
my son and set up between thee and poverty a barrier, so shalt
thou be quit of this handicraft and toil no more with hammer and
anvil,[FN#10] charcoal and fire." Hasan asked, "O my lord and
when wilt thou teach me this?"; and the Persian answered,
"To-morrow, Inshallah, I will come to thee betimes and make thee
in thy presence fine gold of this copper." Whereupon Hasan
rejoiced and sat talking with the Persian till nightfall, when he
took leave of him and going in to his mother, saluted her with
the salam and ate with her; but he was dazed, without memory or
reason, for that the stranger's words had gotten hold upon his
heart. So she questioned him and he told her what had passed
between himself and the Persian, which when she heard, her heart
fluttered and she strained him to her bosom, saying, "O my son,
beware of hearkening to the talk of the folk, and especially of
the Persians, and obey them not in aught; for they are sharpers
and tricksters, who profess the art of alchemy[FN#11] and swindle
people and take their money and devour it in vain." Replied
Hasan, "O my mother, we are paupers and have nothing he may
covet, that he should put a cheat on us. Indeed, this Persian is
a right worthy Shaykh and the signs of virtue are manifest on
him; Allah hath inclined his heart to me and he hath adopted me
to son." She was silent in her chagrin, and he passed the night
without sleep, his heart being full of what the Persian had said
to him; nor did slumber visit him for the excess of his joy
therein. But when morning morrowed, he rose and taking the keys,
opened the shop, whereupon behold, the Persian accosted him.
Hasan stood up to him and would have kissed his hands; but he
forbade him from this and suffered it not, saying, "O Hasan, set
on the crucible and apply the bellows."[FN#12] So he did as the
stranger bade him and lighted the charcoal. Then said the
Persian, "O my son, hast thou any copper?" and he replied, "I
have a broken platter." So he bade him work the shears[FN#13] and
cut it into bittocks and cast it into the crucible and blow up
the fire with the bellows, till the copper became liquid, when he
put hand to turband and took therefrom a folded paper and opening
it, sprinkled thereout into the pot about half a drachm of
somewhat like yellow Kohl or eyepowder.[FN#14] Then he bade
Hasan blow upon it with the bellows, and he did so, till the
contents of the crucible became a lump of gold.[FN#15] When the
youth saw this, he was stupefied and at his wits' end for the joy
he felt and taking the ingot from the crucible handled it and
tried it with the file and found it pure gold of the finest
quality: whereupon his reason fled and he was dazed with excess
of delight and bent over the Persian's hand to kiss it. But he
forbade him, saying, "Art thou married?" and when the youth
replied "No!" he said, "Carry this ingot to the market and sell
it and take the price in haste and speak not." So Hasan went
down into the market and gave the bar to the broker, who took it
and rubbed it upon the touchstone and found it pure gold. So
they opened the biddings at ten thousand dirhams and the
merchants bid against one another for it up to fifteen thousand
dirhams,[FN#16] at which price he sold it and taking the money,
went home and told his mother all that had passed, saying, "O my
mother, I have learnt this art and mystery." But she laughed at
him, saying, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in
Allah, the Glorious, the Great!" - And Shahrazad perceived the
dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Seven Hundred and Eightieth Night,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Hasan the goldsmith told his mother what he had done with the
Ajami and cried, "I have learnt this art and mystery," she
laughed at him, saying, "There is no Majesty and there is no
Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!"; and she was
silent for vexation. Then of his ignorance, he took a metal
mortar and returning to the shop, laid it before the Persian, who
was still sitting there and asked him, "O my son, what wilt thou
do with this mortar?" Hasan answered, "Let us put it in the
fire, and make of it lumps of gold." The Persian laughed and
rejoined, "O my son, art thou Jinn-mad that thou wouldst go down
into the market with two ingots of gold in one day? Knowest thou
not that the folk would suspect us and our lives would be lost?
Now, O my son, an I teach thee this craft, thou must practise it
but once in each twelvemonth; for that will suffice thee from
year to year." Cried Hasan, "True, O my lord," and sitting down
in his open shop, set on the crucible and cast more charcoal on
the fire. Quoth the Persian, "What wilt thou, O my son?"; and
quoth Hasan, "Teach me this craft." "There is no Majesty and
there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!"
exclaimed the Persian, laughing; "Verily, O my son, thou art
little of wit and in nowise fitted for this noble craft. Did
ever any during all his life learn this art on the beaten way or
in the bazars? If we busy ourselves with it here, the folk will
say of us, These practise alchemy; and the magistrates will hear
of us, and we shall lose our lives.[FN#17] Wherefore, O my son,
an thou desire to learn this mystery forthright, come thou with
me to my house." So Hasan barred his shop and went with that
Ajami; but by the way he remembered his mother's words and
thinking in himself a thousand thoughts he stood still, with
bowed head. The Persian turned and seeing him thus standing
laughed and said to him, "Art thou mad? What! I in my heart
purpose thee good and thou misdoubtest I will harm thee!"
presently adding, "But, if thou fear to go with me to my house, I
will go with thee to thine and teach thee there." Hasan replied,
"'Tis well, O uncle," and the Persian rejoined, "Go thou before
me." So Hasan led the way to his own house, and entering, told
his mother of the Persian's coming, for he had left him standing
at the door. She ordered the house for them and when she had
made an end of furnishing and adorning it, her son bade her go to
one of the neighbours' lodgings. So she left her home to them
and wended her way, whereupon Hasan brought in the Persian, who
entered after asking leave. Then he took in hand a dish and


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Online LibraryAnonymousThe Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night — Volume 08 → online text (page 1 of 2)