Richard Francis Burton.

A plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, now entituled The book of the thousand nights and a night : with introduction, explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men, and a terminal essay upon the history of The nights (Volume 7) online

. (page 18 of 40)
Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonA plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, now entituled The book of the thousand nights and a night : with introduction, explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men, and a terminal essay upon the history of The nights (Volume 7) → online text (page 18 of 40)
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be indeed a trickstress, do thou befool Ahmad al-Danaf and his
company." Answered Dalilah, " I fear none save Hasan Shuman ; "
and Zaynab said, " By the life of my browlock, I will assuredly
get thee the clothes of all the one-and-forty." Then she dressed
and veiled herself and going to a certain druggist, who had a
saloon with two doors, salamed to him and gave him an ashraf/
and said to him, " Take this gold piece as a douceur for thy saloon
and let it to me till the end of the day." So he gave her the
keys and she fetched carpets and so forth on the stolen ass and
furnishing the place, set on each raised pavement a tray of meat
and wine. Then she went out and stood at the door, with her
face unveiled and behold, up came Ali Kitf al-Jamal and his
men. She kissed his hand ; and he fell in love with her, seeing
her to be a handsome girl, and said to her, " What dost thou
want ? " Quoth she, " Art thou Captain Ahmad al-Danaf ? ";
and quoth he, " No, but I am of his company and my name is
Ali Camel-shoulder." Asked she, " Whither fare you ? "; and he
answered, " We go about in quest of a sharkish old woman, who
hath stolen folk's good, and we mean to lay hands on her. But
who art thou and what is thy business ? " She replied, " My
father was a taverner at Mosul and he died and left me much
money. So I came hither, for fear of the Dignities, and asked

1 Arab. " Ka'ah," their mess-room, barracks.
' '.. Camel shoulder-blade.

1 68 Alf Laylah wa Laylak.

the people who would protect me, to which they replied : None
but Ahmad al-Danaf." Said the men, " From this day forth,
thou art under his protection " ; and she replied, " Hearten me
by eating a bit and drinking a sup of water." * They consented
and entering, ate and drank till they were drunken, when she
drugged them with Bhang and stripped them of their clothes and
arms ; and on like wise she did with the three other companions.
Presently, Calamity Ahmad went out to look for Dalilah, but
found her not, neither set eyes on any of his followers, and went
on till he came to the door where Zaynab was standing. She
kissed his hand and he looked on her and fell in love with her.
Quoth she, "Art thou Captain Ahmad al-Danaf?"; and quoth he,
" Yes : who art thou ? " She replied, " I am a stranger from
Mosul. My father was a vintner at that place and he died and
left me much money wherewith I came to this city, for fear of the
powers that be, and opened this tavern. The Master of Police
hath imposed a tax on me, but it is my desire to put myself under
thy protection and pay thee what the police would take of me, for
thou hast the better right to it." Quoth he, " Do not pay him
aught : thou shalt have my protection and welcome." Then quoth
she, *' Please to heal my heart and eat of my victual." So he
entered and ate and drank wine, till he could not sit upright, when
she drugged him and took his clothes and arms. Then she loaded
her purchase on the Badawi's horse and the donkey-boy's ass and
made off with it, after she had aroused Ali Kitf al-Jamal. Camel-
shoulder awoke and found himself naked and saw Ahmad and his
men drugged and stripped : so he revived them with the counter-
drug and they awoke and found themselves naked. Quoth Calamity
Ahmad, " O lads, what is this ? We were going to catch her, and
lo ! this strumpet hath caught us ! How Hasan Shuman will re-
joice over us ! But we will wait till it is dark and then go away."
Meanwhile Pestilence Hasan said to the hall-keeper, " Where are
the men ? "; and as he asked, up they came naked ; and he recited
these two couplets* :

1 So in the Brazil you are invited to drink a copa tfagua and find a splendid banquet.
There is a smack of Chinese ceremony in this practice which lingers throughout southern
Europe ; but the less advanced society is, the more it is fettered by ceremony and

3 The Bresl. edit. (ix. 239) prefers these lines :

Some of us be hawks and some sparrow-hawks, * And vultures some which at carrion pike ;
And maidens deem all alike we be But, save in our turbands, we're not alike.

The Rogueries of Dalilah and her Daughter Zaynab. 169

Men in their purposes are much alike, o But in their issues difference

comes to light :
Of men some wise are, others simple souls ; o As of the stars some dull, some

pearly bright.

Then he looked at them and asked, " Who hath played you this
trick and made you naked ? "; and they answered, " We went in
quest of an old woman, and a pretty girl stripped us.'* Quoth
Hasan, " She hath done right well." They asked, " Dost thou
know her ? "; and he answered, " Yes, I know her and the old trot
too." Quoth they, " What shall we say to the Caliph ? "; and
quoth he, " O Danaf, do thou shake thy collar before him, and he
will say : Who is answerable for her ; and if he ask why thou
hast not caught her ; say thou : We know her not ; but charge
Hasan Shuman with her. And if he give her into my charge, I
will lay hands on her." So they slept that night and on the
morrow they went up to the Caliph's Divan and kissed ground
before him. Quoth he, " Where is the old woman, O Captain
Ahmad ? " But he shook his collar. The Caliph asked him why
he did so, and he answered, " I know her not ; but do thou charge
Hasan Shuman to lay hands on her, for he knoweth her and her
daughter also." Then Hasan interceded for her with the Caliph,
saying, " Indeed, she hath not played off these tricks, because she
coveted the folk's stuff, but to show her cleverness and that of her
daughter, to the intent that thou shouldst continue her husband's
stipend to her and that of her father to her daughter. So an thou
wilt spare her life I will fetch her to thee." Cried the Caliph,
" By the life of my ancestors, if she restore the people's goods, I
will pardon her on thine intercession ! " And said the Pestilence,
" Give me a pledge, O Prince of True Believers ! " Whereupon
Al-Rashid gave him the kerchief of pardon. So Hasan repaired
to Dalilah's house and called to her. Her daughter Zaynab
answered him and he asked her, " Where is thy mother ? " " Up-
stairs," she answered ; and he said, " Bid her take the people's
goods and come with me to the presence of the Caliph ; for I
have brought her the kerchief of pardon, and if she will not come
with a good grace, let her blame only herself." So Dalilah came
down and tying the kerchief about her neck gave him the people's
goods on the donkey-boy's ass and the Badawi's horse. Quoth
he, " There remain the clothes of my Chief and his men "; and
quoth she, " By the Most Great Name, 'twas not I who stripped
them ! " Rejoined Hasan, " Thou sayst sooth, it was thy daughter

170 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

Zaynab's doing, and this was a good turn she did thee." Then he
carried her to the Divan and laying the people's goods and stuff
before the Caliph, set the old trot in his presence. As soon as he
saw her, he bade throw her down on the carpet of blood, whereat
she cried, " I cast myself on thy protection, O Shuman ! " So he
rose and kissing the Caliph's hands, said, " Pardon, O Commander
of the Faithful ! Indeed, thou gavest me the kerchief of pardon."
Said the Prince of True Believers, " I pardon her for thy sake :
come hither, O old woman ; what is thy name ? " " My name is
Wily Dalilah," answered she, and the Caliph said, "Thou art
indeed crafty and full of guile." Whence she was dubbed Dalilah
the Wily One. Then quoth he, " Why hast thou played all these
tricks on the folk and wearied our hearts ? " and quoth she, " I did
it not of lust for their goods, but because I had heard of the
tricks which Ahmad al-Danaf and Hasan Shuman played in
Baghdad and said to myself: I too will do the like. And now
I have returned the folk their goods." But the ass-driver rose
and said, " I invoke Allah's law 1 between me and her ; for it
sufficed her not to take my ass, but she must needs egg on the
Moorish barber to tear out my eye-teeth and fire me on both

temples." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and

ceased to say her permitted say.

Jlofo fofjen ft foas t&e &tbcn f^untrrrt aito ISt'gfit!)

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
donkey-boy rose and cried out, " I invoke Allah's law between me
and her ; for it sufficed her not to take my ass, but she must needs
egg on the barber to tear out my eye-teeth and fire me on both
temples;" thereupon the Caliph bade give him an hundred
dinars and ordered the dyer the like, saying, " Go ; set up thy
dyery again." So they called down blessings on his head and
went away. The Badawi also took his clothes and horse and de-
parted, saying, "'Tis henceforth unlawful and forbidden me to
enter Baghdad and eat honey-fritters." And the others took their
goods and went away. Then said the Caliph, "Ask a boon of

1 Arab. Shar'a = holy law : here it especially applies to Al-Kisas = lex talionis,
which would order her eye-tooth to be torn oat.

The Rogueries of Dalilah and her Daughter Z ay nab. 171

me, O Dalilah ! "; and she said, " Verily, my father was governor
of the carrier-pigeons to thee and I know how to rear the birds ;
and my husband was town-captain of Baghdad. Now I wish to
have the reversion of my husband and my daughter wisheth to
have that of her father." The Caliph granted both their requests
and she said, " I ask of thee that I may be portress of thy Khan."
Now he had built a Khan of three stories, for the merchants to
lodge in, and had assigned to its service forty slaves and also forty
dogs he had brought from the King of the Sulaymaniyah, 1 when
he deposed him ; and there was in the Khan a cook-slave, who
cooked for the chattels and fed the hounds for which he let make
collars. Said the Caliph, " O Dalilah, I will write thee a patent
of guardianship of the Khan, and if aught be lost therefrom, thou
shalt be answerable for it." " 'Tis well," replied she ; "but do
thou lodge my daughter in the pavilion over the door of the Khan,
for it hath terraced roofs, and carrier-pigeons may not be reared to
advantage save in an open space." The Caliph granted her this also
and she and her daughter removed to the pavilion in question,
where Zaynab hung up the one-and-forty dresses of Calamity
Ahmad and his company. Moreover, they delivered to Dalilah
the forty pigeons which carried the royal messages, and the Caliph
appointed the Wily One mistress over the forty slaves and charged
them to obey her. She made the place of her sitting behind the
door of the Khan, and every day she used to go up to the Caliph's
Divan, lest he should need to send a message by pigeon-post and
stay there till eventide whilst the forty slaves stood on guard at
the Khan ; and when darkness came on they loosed the forty
dogs that they might keep watch over the place by night. Such
were the doings of Dalilah the Wily One in Baghdad and much
like them were

1 i.e., of the Afghans. Sulaymani is the Egypt and Hijazi term for an Afghan and
the proverb says " Sulaymdni harami" the Afghan is a villainous man. See Pilgri-
mage i. 59, which gives them a better character. The Bresl. edit, simply says, "King

Alf Laylah wa Laylah.


Now as regards the works of Mercury 'All ; there lived once at
Cairo, 2 in the days of Salah the Egyptian, who was Chief of the
Cairo Police and had forty men under him, a sharper named AH,
for whom the Master of Police used to set snares and think that
he had fallen therein ; but, when they sought for him, they found
that he had fled like zaybak, or quicksiler, wherefore they dubbed
him AH Zaybak or Mercury AH of Cairo. Now one day, as he
sat with his men in his hall, his heart became heavy within him
and his breast was straitened. The hall-keeper saw him sitting
with frowning face and said to him, " What aileth thee, O my
Chief? If thy breast be straitened take a turn in the streets of
Cairo, for assuredly walking in her markets will do away with
thy irk." So he rose up and went out and threaded the streets
awhile, but only increased in cark and care. Presently, he came
to a wine-shop and said to himself, " I will go in and drink myself
drunken." So he entered and seeing seven rows of people in
the shop, said, " Harkye, taverner ! I will not sit except by
myself." Accordingly, the vintner placed him in a chamber alone
and set strong pure wine before him whereof he drank till he lost
his senses. Then he sallied forth again and walked till he came
to the road called Red, whilst the people left the street clear
before him, out of fear of him. Presently, he turned and saw a
water-carrier trudging along, with his skin and gugglet, crying out
and saying, " O exchange ! There is no drink but what raisin*
make, there is no love-delight but what of the lover we take and
none sitteth in the place of honour save the sensible freke 8 !" So
he said to him, " Here, give me to drink ! " The water-carrier
looked at him and gave him the gugglet which he took and
gazing into it, shook it up and lastly poured it out on the ground.

1 This is a sequel to the Story of Dalilah and both are highly relished by Arabs. The
Bresl. Edit. ix. 245, runs both into one.

3 Arab. Misr, Masr, the Capital, says Savary, applied alternately to Memphis, Postal
and Grand Cairo each of which had a Jizah (pron. Gfzah), skirt, angle outlying

3 For the curious street-cries of old Cairo see Lane (M. E. chapt. xiv.) and my
Pilgrimage (i. 120) : here the rhymes are of Zabib (raisins), ha bib (lover) and labi'b
(man of sense).

The Adventures of Mercury All of Cario. 173

Asked the water-carrier, " Why dost thou not drink ? ""; and he
answered, saying, " Give me to drink." So the man filled the cup
a second time and he took it and shook it and emptied it on the
ground ; and thus he did a third time. Quoth the water-carrier,
" An thou wilt not drink, I will be off." And Ali said, " Give me
to drink." So he filled the cup a fourth time and gave it to him ;
and he drank and gave the man a dinar. The water-carrier looked
at him with disdain and said, belittling him, " Good luck to thee !
Good luck to thee, my lad ! Little folk are one thing and great

folk another ! " And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day

and ceased saying her permitted say.

Note to&en it toas t&c &efcn f^unircrtf antr Nintfj

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
uteter-carrier receiving the dinar, looked at the giver with disdain
and said, " Good luck to thee ! Good luck to thee ! Little folk
are one thing and great folk another." Now when Mercury Ali
heard this, he caught hold of the man's gaberdine and drawing on
him a poignard of price, such an one as that whereof the poet
speaketh in these two couplets :

Watered steel-blade, the world perfection calls, o Drunk with the viper poison

foes appals,
Cuts lively, burns the blood whene'er it falls ; o And picks up gems from

pave of marble halls j 1

cried to him, " O Shaykh, speak reasonably to me ! Thy water-
skin is worth if dear three dirhams, and the gugglets I emptied on
the ground held a pint or so of water." Replied the water-carrier
" Tis well," and Ali rejoined, " I gave thee a golden ducat : why,
then dost thou belittle me ? Say me, hast thou ever seen any
more valiant than I or more generous than I ? " Answered the
water-carrier ; " I have indeed, seen one more valiant than thou
and eke more generous than thou ; for, never, since women bare

1 The Mac. and Bui. Edits, give two silly couplets of moral advice :

Strike with thy stubborn steel, and never fear * Aught save the Godhead of Allmighty

Might ;
And shun ill practices and never show Through life but generous gifa to human


The above is from the Bresl. Edit. ix. 247.

174 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

children, was there on earth's face a brave man who was not
generous." Quoth All, and who is he thou deemest braver and
more generous than I ? " Quoth the other, " Thou must know
that I have had a strange adventure. My father was a Shaykh
of the Water-carriers who give drink in Cairo and, when he died,
he left me five male camels, a he-mule, a shop and a house ; but
the poor man is never satisfied; or, if he be satisfied he dieth.
So I said to myself: I will go up to Al-Hijaz ; and, taking a
string of camels, bought goods on tick, till I had run in debt for
five hundred ducats, all of which I lost in the pilgrimage. Then
I said in my mind : If I return to Cairo the folk will clap me in
jail for their goods. So I fared with the pilgrims-caravan of
Damascus to Aleppo and thence I went on to Baghdad, where I
sought out the Shaykh of the Water-carriers of the city and
finding his house I went in and repeated the opening chapter of
the Koran to him. He questioned me of my case and I told
him all that had betided me, whereupon he assigned me a shop
and gave me a water-skin and gear. So I sallied forth a-morn
trusting in Allah to provide, and went round about the city. I
offered the gugglet to one, that he might drink ; but he cried, " I
have eaten naught whereon to drink ; for a niggard invited me
this day and set two gugglets before me ; so I said to him : O
son of the sordid, hast thou given me aught to eat that thou
offerest me drink after it ? Wherefore wend thy ways, O water-
carrier, till I have eaten somewhat : then come and give me to
drink." Thereupon I accosted another and he said : Allah pro-
vide thee ! And so I went on till noon, without taking hansel,
and I said to myself, Would Heaven I had never come to Bagh-
dad ! Presently, I saw the folk running as fast as they could ;
so I followed them and behold, a long file of men riding two and
two and clad in steel, with double neck-rings and felt bonnets and
burnouses and swords and bucklers. I asked one of the folk
whose suite this was, and he answered, That of Captain Ahmad
al-Danaf. Quoth I, And what is he? and quoth the other, He
is town-captain of Baghdad and her Divan, and to him is com-
mitted the care of the suburbs. He getteth a thousand dinars a
month from the Caliph and Hasan Shuman hath the like. More-
over, each of his men draweth an hundred dinars a month ; and
they are now returning to their barrack from the Divan. And lo !
Calamity Ahmad saw me and cried out, Come give me drink. So
I filled the cup and gave it him, and he shook it and emptied it

The Adventures of Mercury AH of Cairo, 175

out, like unto thee ; and thus he did a second time. Then I filled
the cup a third time and he took a draught as thou diddest ; after
which he asked me, O water-carrier, whence comest thou ? And
I answered, From Cairo, and he, Allah keep Cairo and her citi-
zens ! What may bring thee thither? So I told him my story
and gave him to understand that I was a debtor fleeing from debt
and distress. He cried, Thou art welcome to Baghdad; then he
gave me five dinars and said to his men, For the love of Allah be
generous to him. So each of them gave me a dinar and Ahmad
said to me, O Shaykh, what while thou abidest in Baghdad thou
shalt have of us the like every time thou givest us to drink.
Accordingly, I paid them frequent visits and good ceased not to
come to me from the folk till, one day, reckoning up the profit I
had made of them, I found it a thousand dinars and said to
myself, The best thing thou canst do is to return to Egypt. So I
went to Ahmad's house and kissed his hand, and he said, What
seekest thou ? Quoth I, I have a mind to depart ; and I repeated
these two couplets :

Sojourn of stranger, in whatever land, o Is like the castle based *ipon the

wind :
The breaths of breezes level all he raised, o And so on homeward-way's the

stranger's mind.

I added, The caravan is about to start for Cairo and I wish to
return to my people. So he gave me a she-mule and an hundred
dinars and said to me, I desire to send somewhat by thee, O
Shaykh ! Dost thou know the people of Cairo ? Yes, answered

I ; And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to

say her permitted say.

Nofo fofcen ft foas tfje &ebm ^untfrrtJ ant*

She pursued, It hath reached me, auspicious King, that when
Ahmad al-Danaf had given the water-carrier a she-mule and an
hundred dinars and said to him, " I desire to send a trust by thee.
Dost thou know the people of Cairo ? " I answered (quoth the
water-carrier), Yes ; and he said, Take this letter and carry it to
AH Zaybak of Cairo and say to him, Thy Captain saluteth thee
and he is now with the Caliph. So I took the letter and journeyed
back to Cairo, where I paid my debts and plied my water-carry-

1/6 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

ing trade ; but I have not delivered the letter, because I know
not the abode of Mercury Ali." Quoth AH, " O elder, be of
good cheer and keep thine eyes cool and clear : I am that Ali,
the first of the lads of Captain Ahmad : here with the letter ! "
So he gave him the missive and he opened it and read these two
couplets :

" O adornment of beauties to thee write I o On a paper that flies as the

winds go by :
Could I fly, I had flown to their arms in desire, But a bird with cut wingsj

how shall ever he fly ? "

" But after salutation from Captain Ahmad al-Danaf to the
eldest of his sons, Mercury Ali of Cairo. Thou knowest that I
tormented Salah al-Din the Cairene and befooled him till I buried
him alive and reduced his lads to obey me, and amongst them
Ali Kitf al-Jamal ; and I am now become town-captain of
Baghdad in the Divan of the Caliph who hath made me over-
seer of the suburbs. An thou be still mindful of our covenant,
come to me ; haply thou shalt play some trick in Baghdad which
may promote thee to the Caliph's service, so he may appoint thee
stipends and allowances and assign thee a lodging, which is what
thou wouldst see and so peace be on thee." When Ali read this
letter, he kissed it and laying it on his head, gave the water-
carrier ten dinars ; after which he returned to his barracks and
told his comrades and said to them, " I commend you one to
other." Then he changed all his clothes and, donning a travelling
cloak and a tarboosh, took a case, containing a spear of bamboo-
cane, four-and-twenty cubits long, made in several pieces, to fit
into one another. Quoth his lieutenant, " Wilt thou go a journey
when the treasury is empty ? " ; and quoth Ali, " When I reach
Damascus I will send you what shall suffice you." Then he set
out and fared on, till he overtook a caravan about to start,
whereof were the Shah-bandar, or Provost of the Merchants, and
forty other traders. They had all loaded their beasts, except
the Provost, whose loads lay upon the ground, and AH heard his
caravan-leader, who was a Syrian, say to the muleteers, " Bear a
hand, one of you ! " But they reviled him and abused him.
Quoth Ali in himself, " None will suit me so well to travel
withal as this leader." Now Ali was beardless and well-favoured ;
so he went up to and saluted the leader who wekomed him and
said, "What seekest thou ? " Replied Ali, " O my uncle, I see

The Adventures of Mercury AH of Cairo.

thee alone with forty mule-loads of goods ; but why hast thou not
brought hands to help thee ?" Rejoined the other, O my son, I
hired two lads and clothed them and put in each one's pocket
two hundred dinars ; and they helped me till we came to the
Dervishes' Convent, 1 when they ran away." Quoth Ali, " Whither
are you bound ? " and quoth the Syrian, " to Aleppo," when
Ali said, " I will lend thee a hand." Accordingly they loaded
the beasts and the Provost mounted his she-mule and they set out
he rejoicing in Ali ; and presently he loved him and made
much of him and on this wise they fared on till nightfall, when
they dismounted and ate and drank. Then came the time of
sleep and Ali lay down on his side and made as if he slept ;
whereupon the Syrian stretched himself near him and Ali rose
from his stead and sat down at the door of the merchant's
pavilion. Presently, the Syrian turned over and would have
taken Ali in his arms, but found him not and said to himself,
" Haply he hath promised another and he hath taken him ;
but I have the first right and another night I will keep him."
Now Ali continued sitting at the door of the tent till nigh upon
daybreak, when he returned and lay down near the Syrian, who
found him by his side, when he awoke, and said to himself, " If
I ask him where he hath been, he will leave me and go away/'
So he dissembled with him and they went on till they came to
a forest, in which was a cave, where dwelt a rending lion. Now
whenever a caravan passed, they would draw lots among
themselves and him on whom the lot fell they would throw to
the beast. So they drew lots and the lot fell not save upon the

Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonA plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, now entituled The book of the thousand nights and a night : with introduction, explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men, and a terminal essay upon the history of The nights (Volume 7) → online text (page 18 of 40)