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 2 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 2 of 40)
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had been ambushed in the camp and when he saw Gharib mount
and ride forth, leaving none to guard his enemy Ajib, he could
hardly credit his eyes. So he waited awhile and presently crept
to the tent and taking Ajib, who was senseless for the pain of the
bastinado, on his back, made off with him into the open country
and fared on at the top of his speed from early night to the next
day, till he came to a spring of water, under an apple tree. There
he set down Ajib from his back and washed his face, whereupon
he opened his eyes and seeing Sayyar, said to him, " O Sayyar,
carry me to Cufa that I may recover there and levy horsemen and
soldiers wherewith to overthrow my foe: and know, O Sayyar,
that I am anhungered." So Sayyar sprang up and going out to
the desert caught an ostrich-poult and brought it to his lord.
Then he gathered fuel and deftly using the fire-sticks kindled a
fire, by which he roasted the bird which he had hallal'd ! and fed
Ajib with its flesh and gave him to drink of the water of the spring,
till his strength returned to him, after which he went to one of the
Badawi tribal encampments, and stealing thence a steed mounted
Ajib upon it and journeyed on with him for many days till they

1 The Anglo-Indian term for the Moslem rite of killing animals for food. (Pilgrimage

IO A If Laylah wa Layiah.

drew near the city of Cufa. The Viceroy of the capital came out
to meet and salute the King, whom he found weak with the beat-
ing his brother had inflicted upon him ; and Ajib entered the city
and called his physicians. When they answered his summons, he
bade them heal him in less than ten days' time : they said, " We
hear and we obey," and they tended him till he became whole of
the sickness that was upon him and of the punishment. Then he
commanded his Wazirs to write letters to all his Nabobs and vassals,
and he indited one-and-twenty writs and despatched them to the
governors, who assembled their troops and set out for Cufa by

forced marches. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day

and ceased saying her permitted say.

Jtofo fo&m iVfoas t&e 5>fx f^utrttrefc nn& ^ortg'first lEtgljt,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Ajib
sent orders to assemble the troops, who marched forthright to
Cufa. Meanwhile, Gharib, being troubled for Ajib's escape,
despatched in quest of him a thousand braves, who dispersed on
all sides and sought him a day and a night, but found no trace
of him ; so they returned and told Gharib, who called for his
brother Sahim, but found him not ; whereat he was sore concerned,
fearing for him from the shifts of Fortune. And lo ! Sahim entered
and kissed ground before Gharib, who rose, when he saw him, and
asked, " Where hast thou been, O Sahim ? " He answered, " O
King, I have been to Cufa and there I find that the dog Ajib hath
made his way to his capital and is healed of his hurts : eke, he
hath written letters to his vassals and sent them to his Nabobs
who have brought him troops." When Gharib heard this, he gave
the command to march ; so they struck tents and fared for Cufa.
When they came in sight of the city, they found it compassed
about with a host like the surging main, having neither beginning
nor end. So Gharib with his troops encamped in face of the
Kafirs and set up his standards, and darkness fell down upon the
two hosts, whereupon they lighted camp-fires and kept watch till
daybreak. Then King Gharib rose and making the Wuzu-ablution.
prayed a two-bow prayer according to the rite of our father
Abraham the Friend (on whom be the Peace !) ; after which he
commanded the battle-drums to sound the point of war. Accord-
ingly, the kettle-drums beat to combat and the standards fluttered

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 1 1

whilst the fighting men armour donned and their horses
mounted and themselves displayed and to plain fared. Now the
first to open the gate of war was King Al-Damigh, who urged his
charger between the two opposing armies and displayed himself
and played with the swords and the spears, till both hosts were con-
founded and at him marvelled, after which he cried out, saying,
" Who is for jousting ? Let no sluggard come out to me or
weakling ; for I am Al-Damigh, the King, brother of Kundamir
the King." Then there rushed forth a horseman of the Kafirs,
as he were a flame of fire, and drave at Al-Damigh, without word
said ; but the King received him with a lance-thrust in the breast
so dour that the point issued from between his shoulders and
Allah hurried his soul to the fire, the abiding-place dire. Then
came forth a second he slew, and a third he slew likewise, and
they ceased not to come out to him and he to slay them, till he
had made an end of six-and-seventy fighting men. Hereupon
the Miscreants and men of might hung back and would not
encounter him ; but Ajib cried out to his men and said, " Fie on
you, O folk ! if ye all go forth to him, one by one, he will not
leave any of you, sitting or standing. Charge on him all at once
and cleanse of them our earthly wone and strew their heads for
your horses' hoofs like a plain of stone ! " So they waved the
awe-striking flag and host was heaped upon host ; blood rained
tn streams upon earth and railed and the Judge of battle ruled,
in whose ordinance is no unright. The fearless stood firm on feet
in the stead of fight, whilst the faint-heart gave back and took
to flight thinking the day would never come to an end nor the
curtains of gloom would be drawn by the hand of Night ; and
they ceased not to battle with swords and to smite till light
darkened and murk starkened. Then the kettle-drums of the
Infidels beat the retreat, but Gharib, refusing to stay his arms,
drave at the Paynimry, and the Believers in Unity, the Moslems,
followed him. How many heads and hands they shore, how many
necks and sinews they tore, how many knees and spines they
mashed and how many grown men and youths they to death
bashed ! With the first gleam of morning grey the Infidels broke
and fled away, in disorder and disarray ; and the Moslems followed
them till middle-day and took over twenty thousand of them,
whom they brought to their tents in bonds to stay. Then Gharib
sat down before the gate of Cufa and commanded a herald to
proclaim pardon and protection for every wight who should leave

12 A If Laylah wa Laylak.

the worship to idols dight and profess the unity of His All-
might the Creator of mankind and of light and night. So was
made proclamation as he bade in the streets of Cufa and all that
were therein embraced the True Faith, great and small ; then they
issued forth in a body and renewed their Islam before King
Gharib, who rejoiced in them with exceeding joy and his breast
broadened and he threw off all annoy. Presently he enquired of
Mardas and his daughter Mahdiyah, and, being told that he had
taken up his abode behind the Red Mountain, he called Sahim
and said to him, " Find out for me what is become of thy
father." Sahim mounted steed without stay or delay and set
his berry-brown spear in rest and fared on in quest till he reached
the Red Mountain, where he sought for his father, yet found no
trace of him nor of his tribe ; however, he saw in their stead an
elder of the Arabs, a very old man, broken with excess of years,
and asked him of the folk and whither they were gone. Replied
he, "O my son, when Mardas heard of Gharib's descent upon
Cufa he feared with great fear and, taking his daughter and his
folk, set out with his handmaids and negroes into the wild and
wold, and I wot not whither he went." So Sahim, hearing the
Shaykh's words, returned to Gharib and told him thereof, whereat
he was greatly concerned. Then he sat down on his father's throne
and, opening his treasuries, distributed largesse to each and every
of his braves. And he took up his abode in Cufa and sent out
spies to get news of Ajib. He also summoned the Grandees of
the realm, who came and did him homage ; as also did the
citizens and he bestowed on them sumptuous robes of honour

and commended the Ryots to their care. And Shahrazad

perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

Jlofo to&en it foas tfjt &uc f^untoefc an*

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Gharib,
after giving robes of honour to the citizens of Cufa and com-
mending the Ryots to their care, went out on a day of the days
to hunt, with an hundred horse, and fared on till he came to a
Wady, abounding in trees and fruits and rich in rills and birds.
It was a pasturing-place for roes and gazelles, to the spirit a
delight whose scents reposed from the langour of fight. They
encamped in the valley, for the day was clear and bright, and

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 13

there passed the night. On the morrow, Gharib made the Wuzu-
ablution and prayed the two-bow dawn-prayer, offering np praise
and thanks to Almighty Allah ; when, lo and behold ! there arose
a clamour and confusion in the meadows, and he bade Sahim go
see what was to do. So Sahim mounted forthright and rode till
he espied goods being plundered and horses haltered and women
carried off and children crying out. Whereupon he questioned one
of the shepherds, saying, " What be all this ? "; and they replied,
" This is the Harim of Mardas, Chief of the Banu Kahtan, and his
good and that of his clan ; for yesterday Jamrkan slew Mardas and
made prize of his women and children and household stuff and all
the belonging of his tribe. It is his wont to go a-raiding and to
cut off highways and waylay wayfarers and he is a furious tyrant ;
neither Arabs nor Kings can prevail against him and he is the
scourge and curse of the country." Now when Sahim heard
these news of his sire's slaughter and the looting of his Harim and
property, he returned to Gharib and told him the case, wherefore
fire was added to his fire and his spirit chafed to wipe out his shame
and his blood-wit to claim : so he rode with his men after the
robbers till he overtook them and fell upon them, crying out and
saying, "Almighty Allah upon the rebel, the traitor, the infidel ! "
and he slew in a single charge one-and-twenty fighting-men. Then
he halted in mid-field, with no coward's heart, and cried out,
" Where is Jamrkan ? Let him come out to me, that I may make
him quaff the cup of disgrace and rid of him earth's face ! " Hardly
had he made an end of speaking, when forth rushed Jamrkan, as
he were a calamity of calamities or a piece of a mountain, cased in
steel. He was a mighty huge 1 Amalekite ; and he drave at Gharib
without speech or salute, like the fierce tyrant he was. And he
was armed with a mace of China steel, so heavy, so potent, that
had he smitten a hill he had smashed it. Now when he charged,
Gharib met him like a hungry lion, and the brigand aimed a blow
at his head with his mace ; but he evaded it and it smote the earth
and sank therein half a cubit deep. Then Gharib took his battle
flail and smiting Jamrkan on the wrist, crushed his fingers and
the mace dropped from his grasp ; whereupon Gharib bent down
from his seat in selle and snatching it up, swiftlier than the
blinding leven, smote him therewith full on the flat of the ribs,

1 Arab " tawflan jiddan" a hideous Cairenism in these days; but formerly used
by Al-mas'udi and other good writers.

14 A If Laylah wa Lay I ah.

and he fell to the earth like a long-stemmed palm-tree. So Sahirn
took him and pinioning him, haled him off with a rope, and
Gharib's horsemen fell on those of Jamrkan and slew fifty of them:
the rest fled ; nor did they cease flying till they reached their
tribal camp and raised their voices in clamour ; whereupon all who
were in the Castle came out to meet them and asked the news.
They told the tribe what had passed ; and, when they heard that
their chief was a prisoner, they set out for the valley vying one
with other in their haste to deliver him. Now when King
Gharib had captured Jamrkan and had seen his braves take flight,
he dismounted and called for Jamrkan, who humbled himself
before him, saying, " I am under thy protection, O champion of
the Age ! " Replied Gharib, " O dog of the Arabs, dost thou cut
the road for the servants of Almighty Allah, and fearest thou
not the Lord of the Worlds ?" "O my master," asked Jamrkan,
" and who is the Lord of the Worlds ? " " O dog," answered
Gharib, "and what calamity dost thou worship?" He said, "O
my lord, I worship a god made of dates * kneaded with butter and
honey, and at times I eat him and make me another." When
Gharib heard this, he laughed till he fell backwards and said, " O
miserable, there is none worship-worth save Almighty Allah, who
created thee and created all things and providethall creatures with
daily bread, from whom nothing is hid and He over all things is
Omnipotent." Quoth Jamrkan, " And where is this great god,
that I may worship him ? " Quoth Gahrib, " O fellow, know that
this god's name is Allah the God and it is He who fashioned
the heavens and the earth and garred the trees to grow and the
waters to flow. He created wild beasts and birds and Paradise
and Hell-fire and veileth Himself from all eyes seeing and of none
being seen. He, and He only, is the Dweller on high. Extolled
be His perfection! There is no god but He!" When Jamrkan
heard these words, the ears of his heart were opened ; his skin
shuddered with horripilation and he said, " O my lord, what shall
I say that I may become of you and that this mighty Lord may
accept of me ? " Replied Gharib, " Say : There is no god but
the God and Abraham the Friend is the Apostle of God ! " So
he pronounced the profession of the Faith and was written of

1 Arab " 'Ajwah," enucleated dates pressed together into a solid mass so as to be
sliced with a knife like cold pudding. The allusion is to the dough-idols of the Hanffab,
tribe, whose eating their gods made the saturnine Caliph Omar laugh.

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 1 5

the people of felicity. Then quoth Gharib, " Say me, hast thou
tasted the sweetness of Al-Islam ? "; and quoth the other, " Yes ;"
whereupon Gharib cried, " Loose his bonds ! " So they unbound
him and he kissed ground before Gharib and his feet. Now whilst
this was going on, behold, they espied a great cloud of dust that

towered till it walled the wold. And Shahrazad perceived

the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

KTofo fo&en it foas the &tx ^un&r& an &

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Jamrkan
islamised and kissed the ground between the hands of Gharib ; and,
as they were thus, behold, a great cloud of dust towered till it
walled the wold and Gharib said to Sahim, " Go and see for us
what it be." So he went forth, like a bird in full flight, and
presently returned, saying, " O King of the Age, this dust is of the
Banu Amir, the comrades of Jamrkan." Whereupon quoth Gharib
to the new Moslem, " Ride out to thy people and offer to them
Al-Islam : an they profess, they shall be saved ; but, an they refuse,
we will put them to the sword." So Jamrkan mounted and driving
steed towards his tribesmen, cried out to them ; and they knew him
and dismounting, came up to him on foot and said, " We rejoice in
thy safety, O our lord ! " Said he, " O folk, whoso obeyeth me
shall be saved ; but whoso gainsayeth me, I will cut him in twain
with this scymitar." And they made answer, saying, " Command
us what thou wilt, for we will not oppose thy commandment."
Quoth he, " Then say with me : There is no god but the God and
Abraham is the Friend of God ! " They asked, " O our lord, whence
haddest thou these words ? " And he told them what had befallen
him with Gharib, adding, " O folk, know ye not that I am your
chief in battle-plain and where men of cut and thrust are fain ; and
yet a man single-handed me to prisoner hath ta'en and made me
the cup of shame and disgrace to drain ? " When they heard his
speech, they spoke the word of Unity and Jamrkan led them to
Gharib, at whose hands they renewed their profession of Al-Islam
and wished him glory and victory, after they had kissed the earth
before him. Gharib rejoiced in them and said to them, " O folk,
return to your people and expound Al-Islam to them ; " but all
replied, " O our lord, we will never leave thee, whilst we live ; but
we will go and fetch our families and return to thee." And Gharib

1 6 A If Laylah wa Lay la A.

said, " Go, and join me at the city of Cufa." So Jamrkan and his
comrades returned to their tribal camp and offered Al-Islam to
their women and children, who all to a soul embraced the True
Faith, after which they dismantled their abodes and struck their
tents and set out for Cufa driving before them their steeds, camels
and sheep. During this time Gharib returned to Cufa, where the
horsemen met him in state. He entered his palace and sat down
on his sire's throne with his champions ranged on either hand.
Then the spies came forwards, and informed him that his brother
Ajib had made his escape and had taken refuge with Jaland 1 bin
Karkar, lord of the city of Oman and land of Al-Yaman ; where-
upon Gharib cried aloud to his host, " O men, make you ready to
march in three days." Then he expounded Al-Islam to the thirty
thousand men he had captured in the first affair and exhorted
them to profess and take service with him. Twenty thousand
embraced the Faith, but the rest refused and he slew them. Then
came forward Jamrkan and his tribe and kissed the ground before
Gharib, who bestowed on him a splendid robe of honour and
made him captain of his vanguard, saying, " O Jamrkan, mount
"with the Chiefs of thy kith and kin and twenty thousand horse
and fare on before us to the land of Jaland bin Karkar." " Heark-
ening and obedience," answered Jamrkan and, leaving the women
and children of the tribe in Cufa, he set forward. Then Gharib
passed in review the Harim of Mardas and his eye lit upon
Mahdiyah, who was among the women, wherewith he fell down
fainting. They sprinkled rose-water on his face, till he came to
himself, when he embraced Mahdiyah and carried her into a
sitting-chamber, where he sat with her ; and they twain lay
together that night without fornication. Next morning he went
out and sitting down on the throne of his kingship, robed his
uncle Al-Damigh with a robe of honour ; and appointed him his
viceroy over all Al-Irak, commending Mahdiyah to his care, till
he should return from his expedition against Ajib ; and, when
the order was accepted, he set out for the land of Al-Yaman
and the City of Oman with twenty thousand horse and ten
thousand foot. Now, when Ajib and his defeated army drew in
sight of Oman, King Jaland saw the dust of their approach and

1 Mr. Payne writes " Julned." In a fancy name we must not look for grammar ; but
a quiescent 14m (/) followed by nun () is unknown to Arabic while we find sundry cases
of " Ian " (fath'd lam and min), and Jalandah means noxious or injuiious. In Oman also
there was a dynasty called Julandah, for which see Mr. Badger xiii: and/<M.Vw.

"ihe History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. \1

sent to find out its meaning scouts who returned and said, " Verily
this is the dust of one hight Ajib, lord of Al-Irak." And Jaland
wondered at his coming to his country and, when assured of the
tidings, he said to his officers, " Fare ye forth and meet him."
So they went out and met him and pitched tents for him at the
city-gate; and Ajib entered in to Jaland, weeping-eyed and heavy-
hearted. Now J aland 's wife was the daughter of Ajib's paternal
uncle and he had children by her ; so, when he saw his kinsman
in this plight, he asked for the truth of what ailed him and Ajib
told him all that had befallen him, first and last, from his brother
and said, " O King, Gharib biddeth the folk worship the Lord of
the Heavens and forbiddeth them from the service of simulacres
and other of the gods." When Jaland heard these words he
raged and revolted and said, " By the virtue of the Sun, Lord
of Life and Light, I will not leave one of thy brother's folk in
existence! But where didst thou quit them and how many men
are they?" Answered Ajib, "I left them in Cufa and they
be fifty thousand horse." Whereupon Jaland called his Wazir
Jawamard, 1 saying, " Take thee seventy thousand horse and fare
to Cufa and bring me the Moslems alive, that I may torture them
with all manner of tortures." So Jawamard departed with his
host and fared through the first day and the second till the
seventh day, when he came to a Wady abounding in trees and
rills and fruits. Here he called a halt And Shahrazad per-
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

fo&en it foas t&* %ix ^untrcft an*

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Jaland sent Jawamard with his army to Cufa, they came upon a
Wady abounding in trees and rills where a halt was called and
they rested till the middle of the night, when the Wazir gave the
signal for departure and mounting, rode on before them till hard
upon dawn, at which time he descended into a well-wooded valley,
whose flowers were fragrant and whose birds warbled on boughs,
as they swayed gracefully to and fro, and Satan blew into his sides
and puffed him up with pride and he improvised these couplets
and cried :

1 Doubtless for Jawdn-mard un giovane, a brave. See vol. iv., p. 208.

1 8 Alf Laylak wa Laylah.

\ plunge with my braves in the seething sea ; o Seize the foe in my strength

and my valiancy ;
And the doughtiest knights wot me well to be o Friend to friend and fierce

foe to mine enemy.
I will load Gharib with the captive's chains o Right soon, and return in

all joy and glee ;
For I've donned my mail and my weapons wield And on all sides charge at

the chivalry. 1

Hardly had Jawamard made an end of his verses when there came
out upon him from among the trees a horseman of terrible mien
covered and clad in steely sheen, who cried out to him, saying,
" Stand, O riff-raff of the Arabs ! Doff thy dress and ground thine
arms-gear and dismount thy destrier and be off with thy life ! "
When Jawamard heard this, the light in his eyes became darkest
night and he drew his sabre and drove at Jamrkan, for he it was,
saying, " O thief of the Arabs, wilt thou cut the road for me, who
am captain of the host of Jaland bin Karkar and am come to
bring Gharib and his men in bond ? " When Jamrkan heard these
words, he said, " How cooling is this to my heart and liver ! " And
he made at Jawamard versifying in these couplets :

I'm the noted knight in the field of fight, o Whose sabre and spear every foe

affright !
Jamrkan am I, to my foes a fear, o With a lance-lunge known unto

every knight :
Gharib is my lord, nay my pontiff, my prince, o Where the two hosts dash

very lion of might :
An Imam of the Faith, pious, striking awe o On the plain where his foes

like the fawn take flight ;
Whose voice bids folk to the faith of the Friend, o False, doubling idols and

gods despite !

Now Jamrkan had fared on with his tribesmen ten days' journey
from Cufa-city and called a halt on the eleventh day till midnight,
when he ordered a march and rode on devancing them till he
descended into the valley aforesaid and heard Jawamard reciting
his verses. So he drave at him as the driving of a ravening lion,
and smiting him with his sword, clove him in twain and waited till
his captains came up, when he told them what had passed and
said to them, " Take each of you five thousand men and disperse

1 Mr. Payne transposes the distichs, making the last first. I have followed the Arabic
order finding it in the Mac. and Bui. Edits, (ii. 129).

The History of Gtiarib and his Brother Ajib. 19

round about the Wady, whilst I and the Banu Amir fall upon the
enemy's van, shouting, Allaho Akbar God is Most Great ! When
ye hear my slogan, do ye charge them, crying like me upon the
Lord, and smite them with the sword." " We hear and we obey,"
answered they and turning back to their braves did his bidding
and spread themselves about the sides of the valley in the twilight
forerunning the dawn. Presently, lo and behold ! up came the
army of Al-Yaman, like a flock of sheep, filling plain and steep,
and Jamrkan and the Banu Amir fell upon them, shouting,
" Allaho Akbar ! " till all heard it, Moslems and Miscreants.
Whereupon the True Believers ambushed in the valley answered
from every side and the hills and mountains responsive cried and
all things replied, green and dried, saying, " God is Most Great !
Aidance and Victory to us from on High I Shame to 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 2 of 40)