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Of the Breslau and Calcutta (1814-18) editions of

The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night

not occurring in the other printed texts of the work,

Now first done into English

By John Payne

In Three Volumes:



Delhi Edition

Contents of The Third Volume.

Breslau Text.

16. Noureddin Ali of Damascus and the Damsel Sitt El Milah
17. El Abbas and the King's Daughter of Baghdad
18. The Two Kings and the Vizier's Daughters
19. The Favourite and Her Lover
20. The Merchant of Cairo and the Favourite of the Khalif El
Mamoun El Hakim Bi Amrillah

Calcutta (1814-18) Text.

21. Story of Sindbad the Sailor and Hindbad the Porter
a. The Sixth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor
b. The Seventh Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor
Table of Contents of the Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac Editions
Table of Contents of the Breslau Edition
Table of Contents of the Calcutta Edition
Alphabetical Table of the First Lines of the Verse in the "Tales
from the Arabic"
Index to the Names of the "Tales from the Arabic"

Breslau Text.


There was once, of old days and in bygone ages and times, a
merchant of the merchants of Damascus, by name Aboulhusn, who had
money and riches and slaves and slave-girls and lands and houses
and baths; but he was not blessed with a child and indeed his
years waxed great; wherefore he addressed himself to supplicate
God the Most High in private and in public and in his inclining
and his prostration and at the season of the call to prayer,
beseeching Him to vouchsafe him, before his admittance [to His
mercy], a son who should inherit his wealth and possessions; and
God answered his prayer. So his wife conceived and the days of
her pregnancy were accomplished and her months and her nights and
the pangs of her travail came upon her and she gave birth to a
male child, as he were a piece of the moon. He had not his match
for beauty and he put to shame the sun and the resplendent moon;
for he had a shining face and black eyes of Babylonian
witchery[FN#2] and aquiline nose and ruby lips; brief, he was
perfect of attributes, the loveliest of the folk of his time,
without doubt or gainsaying.

His father rejoiced in him with the utmost joy and his heart was
solaced and he was glad; and he made banquets to the folk and
clad the poor and the widows. He named the boy Sidi[FN#3]
Noureddin Ali and reared him in fondness and delight among the
slaves and servants. When he came to seven years of age, his
father put him to school, where he learned the sublime Koran and
the arts of writing and reckoning: and when he reached his tenth
year, he learned horsemanship and archery and to occupy himself
with arts and sciences of all kinds, part and parts.[FN#4] He
grew up pleasant and subtle and goodly and lovesome, ravishing
all who beheld him, and inclined to companying with brethren and
comrades and mixing with merchants and travellers. From these
latter he heard tell of that which they had seen of the marvels
of the cities in their travels and heard them say, "He who
leaveth not his native land diverteth not himself [with the sight
of the marvels of the world,] and especially of the city of

So he was concerned with an exceeding concern for his lack of
travel and discovered this to his father, who said to him, "O my
son, why do I see thee chagrined?" And he answered, "I would fain
travel." Quoth Aboulhusn, "O my son, none travelleth save those
whose occasion is urgent and those who are compelled thereunto
[by need]. As for thee, O my son, thou enjoyest ample fortune; so
do thou content thyself with that which God hath given thee and
be bounteous [unto others], even as He hath been bounteous unto
thee; and afflict not thyself with the toil and hardship of
travel, for indeed it is said that travel is a piece of
torment."[FN#5] But the youth said, "Needs must I travel to
Baghdad, the abode of peace."

When his father saw the strength of his determination to travel,
he fell in with his wishes and equipped him with five thousand
dinars in cash and the like in merchandise and sent with him two
serving-men. So the youth set out, trusting in the blessing of
God the Most High, and his father went out with him, to take
leave of him, and returned [to Damascus]. As for Noureddin Ali,
he gave not over travelling days and nights till he entered the
city of Baghdad and laying up his loads in the caravanserai, made
for the bath, where he did away that which was upon him of the
dirt of the road and putting off his travelling clothes, donned a
costly suit of Yemen stuff, worth an hundred dinars. Then he put
in his sleeve[FN#6] a thousand mithcals[FN#7] of gold and sallied
forth a-walking and swaying gracefully as he went. His gait
confounded all those who beheld him, as he shamed the branches
with his shape and belittled the rose with the redness of his
cheeks and his black eyes of Babylonian witchcraft; indeed, thou
wouldst deem that whoso looked on him would surely be preserved
from calamity; [for he was] even as saith of him one of his
describers in the following verses:

Thy haters say and those who malice to thee bear A true word,
profiting its hearers everywhere;
"The glory's not in those whom raiment rich makes fair, But those
who still adorn the raiment that they wear."

So he went walking in the thoroughfares of the city and viewing
its ordinance and its markets and thoroughfares and gazing on its
folk. Presently, Abou Nuwas met him. (Now he was of those of whom
it is said, "They love the fair,"[FN#8] and indeed there is said
what is said concerning him.[FN#9] When he saw Noureddin Ali, he
stared at him in amazement and exclaimed, "Say, I take refuge
with the Lord of the Daybreak!"[FN#10] Then he accosted the young
Damascene and saluting him, said to him, "Why do I see my lord
alone and forlorn? Meseemeth thou art a stranger and knowest not
this country; so, with my lord's permission, I will put myself at
his service and acquaint him with the streets, for that I know
this city." Quoth Noureddin, "This will be of thy favour, O
uncle." Whereat Abou Nuwas rejoiced and fared on with him,
showing him the markets and thoroughfares, till they came to the
house of a slave-dealer, where he stopped and said to the youth,
"From what city art thou?" "From Damascus," answered Noureddin;
and Abou Nuwas said, "By Allah, thou art from a blessed city,
even as saith of it the poet in the following verses:

Damascus is all gardens decked for the pleasance of the eyes; For
the seeker there are black-eyed girls and boys of Paradise."

Noureddin thanked him and they entered the slave-merchant's
house. When the people of the house saw Abou Nuwas, they rose to
do him worship, for that which they knew of his station with the
Commander of the Faithful. Moreover, the slave-dealer himself
came up to them with two chairs, and they seated themselves
thereon. Then the slave-merchant went into the house and
returning with the slave-girl, as she were a willow-wand or a
bamboo-cane, clad in a vest of damask silk and tired with a black
and white turban, the ends whereof fell down over her face,
seated her on a chair of ebony; after which quoth he to those who
were present, "I will discover to you a face as it were a full
moon breaking forth from under a cloud." And they said, "Do so."
So he unveiled the damsel's face and behold, she was like the
shining sun, with comely shape and day-bright face and slender
[waist and heavy] hips; brief, she was endowed with elegance, the
description whereof existeth not, [and was] even as saith of her
the poet:

A fair one, to idolaters if she herself should show, They'd leave
their idols and her face for only Lord would know;
And if into the briny sea one day she chanced to spit, Assuredly
the salt sea's floods straight fresh and sweet would grow.

The dealer stood at her head and one of the merchants said, "I
bid a thousand dinars for her." Quoth another, "I bid eleven
hundred dinars;" [and a third, "I bid twelve hundred"]. Then said
a fourth merchant, "Be she mine for fourteen hundred dinars." And
the biddings stood still at that sum. Quoth her owner, "I will
not sell her save with her consent. If she desire to be sold, I
will sell her to whom she willeth." And the slave-dealer said to
him, "What is her name?" "Her name is Sitt el Milah,"[FN#11]
answered the other; whereupon the dealer said to her, "By thy
leave, I will sell thee to yonder merchant for this price of
fourteen hundred dinars." Quoth she, "Come hither to me." So he
came up to her and when he drew near, she gave him a kick with
her foot and cast him to the ground, saying, "I will not have
that old man." The slave-dealer arose, shaking the dust from his
clothes and head, and said, "Who biddeth more? Who is desirous
[of buying?]" Quoth one of the merchants, "I," and the dealer
said to her, "O Sitt el Milah, shall I sell thee to this
merchant?" "Come hither to me," answered she; but he said "Nay;
speak and I will hearken to thee from my place, for I will not
trust myself to thee," And she said, "I will not have him."

Then he looked at her and seeing her eyes fixed on the young
Damascene, for that in very deed he had ravished her with his
beauty and grace, went up to the latter and said to him, "O my
lord, art thou a looker-on or a buyer? Tell me." Quoth Noureddin,
"I am both looker-on and buyer. Wilt thou sell me yonder
slave-girl for sixteen hundred dinars?" And he pulled out the
purse of gold. So the dealer returned, dancing and clapping his
hands and saying, "So be it, so be it, or not [at all]!" Then he
came to the damsel and said to her, "O Sitt el Milah, shall I
sell thee to yonder young Damascene for sixteen hundred dinars?"
But she answered, "No," of shamefastness before her master and
the bystanders; whereupon the people of the bazaar and the
slave-merchant departed, and Abou Nuwas and Ali Noureddin arose
and went each his own way, whilst the damsel returned to her
master's house, full of love for the young Damascene.

When the night darkened on her, she called him to mind and her
heart clave to him and sleep visited her not; and on this wise
she abode days and nights, till she sickened and abstained from
food. So her lord went in to her and said to her, "O Sitt el
Milah, how findest thou thyself?" "O my lord," answered she, "I
am dead without recourse and I beseech thee to bring me my
shroud, so I may look on it before my death." Therewithal he went
out from her, sore concerned for her, and betook himself to a
friend of his, a draper, who had been present on the day when the
damsel was cried [for sale]. Quoth his friend to him, "Why do I
see thee troubled?" And he answered, "Sitt el Milah is at the
point of death and these three days she hath neither eaten nor
drunken. I questioned her to-day of her case and she said, 'O my
lord, buy me a shroud, so I may look on it before my death.'"
Quoth the draper, "Methinks nought ails her but that she is
enamoured of the young Damascene and I counsel thee to mention
his name to her and avouch to her that he hath foregathered with
thee on her account and is desirous of coming to thy house, so he
may hear somewhat of her singing. If she say, 'I reck not of him,
for there is that to do with me which distracteth me from the
Damascene and from other than he,' know that she saith sooth
concerning her sickness; but, if she say to thee other than this,
acquaint me therewith.'"

So the man returned to his lodging and going in to his
slave-girl, said to her, "O Sitt el Milah, I went out on thine
occasion and there met me the young man of Damascus, and he
saluted me and saluteth thee. Indeed, he seeketh to win thy
favour and would fain be a guest in our dwelling, so thou mayst
let him hear somewhat of thy singing." When she heard speak of
the young Damascene, she gave a sob, that her soul was like to
depart her body, and answered, saying, "He knoweth my plight and
is ware that these three days past I have eaten not nor drunken,
and I beseech thee, O my lord, by the Great God, to accomplish
the stranger his due and bring him to my lodging and make excuse
to him for me."

When her master heard this, his reason fled for joy and he went
to his friend the draper and said to him, "Thou wast right in the
matter of the damsel, for that she is enamoured of the young
Damascene; so how shall I do?" Quoth the other, "Go to the bazaar
and when thou seest him, salute him and say to him, 'Indeed, thy
departure the other day, without accomplishing thine occasion,
was grievous to me; so, if thou be still minded to buy the girl,
I will abate thee an hundred dinars of that which thou badest for
her, by way of hospitable entreatment of thee and making myself
agreeable to thee; for that thou art a stranger in our land.' If
he say to thee, 'I have no desire for her' and hold off from
thee, know that he will not buy; in which case, let me know, so I
may contrive thee another device; and if he say to thee other
than this, conceal not from me aught.

So the girl's owner betook himself to the bazaar, where he found
the youth seated at the upper end of the merchants' place of
session, selling and buying and taking and giving, as he were the
moon on the night of its full, and saluted him. The young man
returned his salutation and he said to him, "O my lord, be not
thou vexed at the girl's speech the other day, for her price
shall be less than that [which thou badest], to the intent that I
may propitiate thy favour. If thou desire her for nought, I will
send her to thee, or if thou wouldst have me abate thee of her
price, I will well, for I desire nought but what shall content
thee; for that thou art a stranger in our land and it behoveth us
to entreat thee hospitably and have consideration for thee." "By
Allah," answered the youth, "I will not take her from thee but at
an advance on that which I bade thee for her aforetime; so wilt
thou now sell her to me for seventeen hundred dinars?" And the
other answered," O my lord, I sell her to thee, may God bless
thee in her."

So the young man went to his lodging and fetching a purse,
returned to the girl's owner and counted out to him the price
aforesaid, whilst the draper was between them. Then said he,
"Bring her forth;" but the other answered, "She cannot come forth
at this present; but be thou my guest the rest of this day and
night, and on the morrow thou shall take thy slave-girl and go in
the protection of God." The youth fell in with him of this and he
carried him to his house, where, after a little, he let bring
meat and wine, and they [ate and] drank. Then said Noureddin to
the girl's owner, "I beseech thee bring me the damsel, for that I
bought her not but for the like of this time." So he arose and
[going in to the girl], said to her, "O Sitt el Milan, the young
man hath paid down thy price and we have bidden him hither; so he
hath come to our dwelling and we have entertained him, and he
would fain have thee be present with him."

Therewithal the damsel rose briskly and putting off her clothes,
washed and donned sumptuous apparel and perfumed herself and went
out to him, as she were a willow-wand or a bamboo-cane, followed
by a black slave girl, bearing the lute. When she came to the
young man, she saluted him and sat down by his side. Then she
took the lute from the slave-girl and tuning it, smote thereon in
four-and-twenty modes, after which she returned to the first mode
and sang the following verses:

Unto me the world's whole gladness is thy nearness and thy sight;
All incumbent thy possession and thy love a law of right.
In my tears I have a witness; when I call thee to my mind, Down
my cheeks they run like torrents, and I cannot stay their
None, by Allah, 'mongst all creatures, none I love save thee
alone! Yea, for I am grown thy bondman, by the troth betwixt
us plight.
Peace upon thee! Ah, how bitter were the severance from thee! Be
not this thy troth-plight's ending nor the last of our

Therewithal the young man was moved to delight and exclaimed, "By
Allah, thou sayest well, O Sitt el Milan! Let me hear more." Then
he handselled her with fifty dinars and they drank and the cups
went round among them; and her seller said to her, "O Sitt el
Milah, this is the season of leave-taking; so let us hear
somewhat on the subject." Accordingly she struck the lute and
avouching that which was in her heart, sang the following verses:

I am filled full of longing pain and memory and dole, That from
the wasted body's wounds distract the anguished soul.
Think not, my lords, that I forget: the case is still the same.
When such a fever fills the heart, what leach can make it
And if a creature in his tears could swim, as in a sea, I to do
this of all that breathe were surely first and sole.
O skinker of the wine of woe, turn from a love-sick maid, Who
drinks her tears still, night and morn, thy bitter-flavoured
I had not left you, had I known that severance would prove My
death; but what is past is past, Fate stoops to no control.

As they were thus in the enjoyment of all that in most delicious
of easance and delight, and indeed the wine was sweet to them and
the talk pleasant, behold, there came a knocking at the door. So
the master of the house went out, that he might see what was to
do, and found ten men of the Khalif's eunuchs at the door. When
he saw this, he was amazed and said to them, "What is to do?"
Quoth they, "The Commander of the Faithful saluteth thee and
requireth of thee the slave-girl whom thou hast for sale and
whose name is Sitt el Milah." By Allah," answered the other, "I
have sold her." And they said, "Swear by the head of the
Commander of the Faithful that she is not in thy dwelling." He
made oath that he had sold her and that she was no longer at his
disposal; but they paid no *need to his word and forcing their
way into the house, found the damsel and the young Damascene in
the sitting-chamber. So they laid hands upon her, and the youth
said, "This is my slave-girl, whom I have bought with my money."
But they hearkened not to his speech and taking her, carried her
off to the Commander of the Faithful.

Therewithal Noureddin's life was troubled; so he arose and donned
his clothes, and his host said, "Whither away this night, O my
lord?" Quoth Noureddin, "I mean to go to my lodging, and
to-morrow I will betake myself to the palace of the Commander of
the Faithful and demand my slave-girl." "Sleep till the morning,"
said the other, "and go not forth at the like of this hour." But
he answered, "Needs must I go;" and the host said to him, "[Go]
in the safeguard of God." So Noureddin went forth, and
drunkenness had got the mastery of him, wherefore he threw
himself down on [a bench before one of] the shops. Now the watch
were at that hour making their round and they smelt the sweet
scent [of essences] and wine that exhaled from him; so they made
for it and found the youth lying on the bench, without sense or
motion. They poured water upon him, and he awoke, whereupon they
carried him to the house of the Chief of the Police and he
questioned him of his affair. "O my lord," answered Noureddin, "I
am a stranger in this town and have been with one of my friends.
So I came forth from his house and drunkenness overcame me."

The prefect bade carry him to his lodging; but one of those in
attendance upon him, by name El Muradi, said to him, "What wilt
thou do? This man is clad in rich clothes and on his finger is a
ring of gold, the beazel whereof is a ruby of great price; so we
will carry him away and slay him and take that which is upon him
of raiment [and what not else] and bring it to thee; for that
thou wilt not [often] see profit the like thereof, more by token
that this fellow is a stranger and there is none to enquire
concerning him." Quoth the prefect, "This fellow is a thief and
that which he saith is leasing." And Noureddin said, "God forbid
that I should be a thief!" But the prefect answered, "Thou
liest." So they stripped him of his clothes and taking the ring
from his finger, beat him grievously, what while he cried out for
succour, but none succoured him, and besought protection, but
none protected him. Then said he to them, "O folk, ye are quit
of[FN#12] that which ye have taken from me; but now restore me to
my lodging." But they answered, saying, "Leave this knavery, O
cheat! Thine intent is to sue us for thy clothes on the morrow."
"By Allah, the One, the Eternal," exclaimed he, "I will not sue
any for them!" But they said, "We can nowise do this." And the
prefect bade them carry him to the Tigris and there slay him and
cast him into the river.

So they dragged him away, what while he wept and spoke the words
which whoso saith shall nowise be confounded, to wit, "There is
no power and no virtue save in God the Most High, the Sublime!"
When they came to the Tigris, one of them drew the sword upon him
and El Muradi said to the swordbearer, "Smite off his head." But
one of them, Ahmed by name, said, "O folk, deal gently with this
poor wretch and slay him not unjustly and wickedly, for I stand
in fear of God the Most High, lest He burn me with his fire."
Quoth El Muradi, "A truce to this talk!" And Ahmed said, "If ye
do with him aught, I will acquaint the Commander of the
Faithful." "How, then, shall we do with him?" asked they; and he
answered, "Let us deposit him in prison and I will be answerable
to you for his provision; so shall we be quit of his blood, for
indeed he is wrongfully used." So they took him up and casting
him into the Prison of Blood,[FN#13]went away.

Meanwhile, they carried the damsel into the Commander of the
Faithful and she pleased him; so he assigned her a lodging of the
apartments of choice. She abode in the palace, eating not neither
drinking and ceasing not from weeping night nor day, till, one
night, the Khalif sent for her to his sitting-chamber and said to
her, "O Sitt el Milah, be of good heart and cheerful eye, for I
will make thy rank higher than [any of] the concubines and thou
shall see that which shall rejoice thee." She kissed the earth
and wept; whereupon the Khalif called for her lute and bade her
sing. So she improvised and sang the following verses, in
accordance with that which was in her heart:

Say, by the lightnings of thy teeth and thy soul's pure desire,
Moan'st thou as moan the doves and is thy heart for doubt on
How many a victim of the pangs of love-liking hath died! Tired is
my patience, but of blame my censors never tire.

When she had made an end of her song, she cast the lute from her
hand and wept till she swooned away, whereupon the Khalif bade
carry her to her chamber. Now he was ravished with her and loved
her with an exceeding love; so, after awhile, he again commanded
to bring her to his presence, and when she came, he bade her
sing. Accordingly, she took the lute and spoke forth that which
was in her heart and sang the following verses:

What strength have I solicitude and long desire to bear? Why art
thou purposed to depart and leave me to despair?
Why to estrangement and despite inclin'st thou with the spy? Yet
that a bough[FN#14] from side to side incline[FN#15] small
wonder 'twere.
Thou layst on me a load too great to bear, and thus thou dost But
that my burdens I may bind and so towards thee fare.

Then she cast the lute from her hand and swooned away; so she was

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