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 3 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 3 of 40)
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Miscreants who His name deny ! " And the Kafirs were con-
founded and smote one another with sabres keen whilst the True
Believers and pious fell upon them like flames of fiery sheen and
naught was seen but heads flying and blood jetting and faint-hearts
hieing. By the time they could see one another's faces, two-thirds
of the Infidels had perished and Allah hastened their souls to the
fire and abiding-place dire. The rest fled and to the deserts sped
whilst the Moslems pursued them to slay and take captives till
middle-day, when they returned in triumph with seven thousand
prisoners ; and but six-and-twenty thousand of the Infidels
escaped and the most of them wounded. Then the Moslems
collected the horses and arms, the loads and tents of the enemy
and despatched them to Cufa with an escort of a thousand horse ;

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying

her permitted say.

Jiofo fofjen (t foas tf)e &tx ^un&rrtr an& Jpottg^gftft

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Jamrkan in
his battle with Jawamard slew him and slew his men ; and, after
taking many prisoners and much money and many horses and
loads, sent them with an escort of a thousand riders, to Cufa city.
Then he and the army of Al-Islam dismounted and expounded The
saving Faith to the prisoners, who made profession with heart and
tongue ; whereupon they released them from bonds and embraced
them and rejoiced in them. Then Jamrkan made his troops, who

2O A If Laylah wa Laylah.

had swelled to a mighty many, rest a day and a night and marched
with the dawn, intending to attack Jaland bin Karkar in the city
of Oman ; whilst the thousand horse fared back to Cufa with the
loot. When they reached the city, they went in to King Gharib
and told him what had passed, whereat he rejoiced and gave them
joy and, turning to the Ghul of the Mountain, said, "Take horse
with twenty thousand and follow Jamrkan." So Sa'adan and his
sons mounted and set out, amid twenty thousand horse for Oman.
Meanwhile, the fugitives of the defeated Kafirs reached Oman and
went in to Jaland, weeping and crying, " Woe ! " and " Ruin ! "
whereat he was confounded and said to them, " What calamity
hath befallen you ? " So they told him what had happened and
he said, "Woe to you! How many men were they?" They
replied, " O King, there were twenty standards, under each a
thousand men." When Jaland heard these words he said, " May
the sun pour no blessing on you ! Fie upon you ! What, shall
twenty thousand overcome you, and you seventy thousand horse
and Jawamard able to withstand three thousand in field of fight?"
Then, in the excess of his rage and mortification, he bared his
blade and cried out to those who were present, saying, " Fall on
them ! " So the courtiers drew their swords upon the fugitives
and annihilated them to the last man and cast them to the dogs.
Then Jaland cried aloud to his son, saying, " Take an hundred
thousand horse and go to Al-Irak and lay it waste altogether."
Now this son's name was Kurajan and there was no doughtier
knight in all the force ; for he could charge single-handed three
thousand riders. So he and his host made haste to equip them-
selves and marched in battle-array, rank following rank, with the
Prince at their head, glorying in himself and improvising these
couplets :

I'm Al-Kurajan, and my name is known * To beat all who in wold or in

city wone !
How many a soldier my sword at will * Struck down like a cow on the

ground bestrewn?
How many a soldier I've forced to fly * And have rolled their heads as a

ball is thrown?
Now I'll drive and harry the land Irak 1 * And like rain I'll shower the

blood of fone ;
And lay hands on Gharib and his men, whose doom To the wise a warning

shall soon be shown!

1 Al-Irak like AI-Yaman may lose the article in verse.

The History of Gharib and his Brother A jib. Zl

The host fared on twelve days' journey and, while they were still
marching, behold, a great dust cloud arose before them and walled
the horizon, and the whole region. So Kurajan sent out scouts,
saying, " Go forth and bring me tidings of what meaneth this
dust." They went till they passed under the enemy's standards
and presently returning said, " O King, verily this is the dust of
the Moslems." Whereat he was glad and said, " Did ye count
them ? " And they answered, " We counted the colours and they
numbered twenty." Quoth he, " By my faith, I will not send one
man-at-arms against them, but will go forth to them alone by
myself and strew their heads under the horses' hooves ! " Now
this was the army of Jamrkan who, espying the host of the Kafirs
and seeing them as a surging sea, called a halt ; so his troops
pitched the tents and set up the standards, calling upon the name
of the All-wise One, the Creator of light and gloom, Lord of all
creatures, Who seeth while Him none see, the High to infinity,
extolled and exalted be He! There is no God but He! The
Miscreants also halted and pitched their tents, and Kurajan said
to them " Keep on your arms, and in armour sleep, for during the
last watch of the night we will mount and trample yonder handful
under feet ! " Now one of Jamrkan's spies was standing nigh and
heard what Kurajan had contrived ; so he returned to the host and
told his chief who said to them, " Arm yourselves and as soon as
it is night, bring me all the mules and camels and hang all the
bells and clinkets and rattles ye have about their necks." Now
they had with them more than twenty thousand camels and mules.
So they waited till the Infidels fell asleep, when Jamrkan com-
manded them to mount, and they arose to ride and on the Lord of
the Worlds they relied. Then said Jamrkan, " Drive the camels
and mules to the Miscreants' camp and push them with your spears
for goads ! " They did as he bade and the beasts rushed upon the
enemy's tents, whilst the bells and clinkets and rattles jangled 1
and the Moslems followed at their heels, shouting, " God is Most
Great ! " till all the hills and mountains resounded with the name
of the Highmost Deity, to whom belong glory and majesty !
The cattle hearing this terrible din, took fright and rushed upon

1 Arab. " Ka'ka'at "t hence Jabal Ka'ka'an, the higher levels in Meccah, of old
inhabited by the Jurhamitcs and so called from their clashing and jangling arms ; whilst
the Amalekites dwelt in the lower grounds called Jiyad from their generous steeds
(Pilgrimage iii. 191).

22 Alf Laylah iva Laylah.

the tents and trampled the folk, as they lay asleep. - And
Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say

fo&m it foas tfjc bw l^utrtirrtJ antf JpcrrtB-stxt!)

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Jamrkan fell upon them with his men and steeds and camels, and
the camp lay sleeping, the idolaters started up in confusion and,
snatching up their arms, fell upon one another with smiting, till
the most part was slaughtered. And when the day broke, they
looked and found no Moslem slain, but saw them all on horse-
back, armed and armoured ; wherefore they knew that this was
a sleight which had been played upon them, and Kurajan cried out
to the remnant of his folk, " O sons of whores, what we had a
mind to do with them, that have they done with us and their craft
hath gotten the better of our cunning." And they were about to
charge when, lo and behold ! a cloud of dust rose high and walled
the horizon-sky, when the wind smote it, so that it spired aloft
and spread pavilion-wise in the lift and there it hung ; and pre-
sently appeared beneath it the glint of helmet and gleam of hauberk
and splendid warriors, baldrick'd with their tempered swords and
holding in rest their supple spears. When the Kafirs saw this,
they held back from the battle and each army sent out, to know
the meaning of this dust, scouts, who returned with the news that
it was an army of Moslems. Now this was the host of the Moun-
tain-Ghul whom Gharib had despatched to Jamrkan's aid, and
Sa'adan himself rode in their van. So the two hosts of the True
Believers joined company and rushing upon the Paynimry like a
flame of fire, plied them with keen sword and Rudaynian spear
and quivering lance, what while day was darkened and eyes
for the much dust starkened. The valiant stood fast and the
faint-hearted coward fled and to the wilds and the wolds swift
sped, whilst the blood over earth was like torrents shed ; nor did
they cease from fight till the day took flight and in gloom came
the night. Then the Moslems drew apart from the Miscreants and
returned to their tents, where they ate and slept, till the darkness
fled away and gave place to smiling day ; when they prayed the
dawn-prayer and mounted to battle. Now Kurajan had said 1 to
his men as they drew off from fight (for indeed two-thirds of their
number had perished by sword and spear), " O folk, to-morrow,

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajih. 23

I will champion it in the stead of war where cut and thrust jar,
and where braves push and wheel I will take the field." So, as
soon as light was seen and morn appeared with its shine and sheen,
took horse the hosts twain and shouted their slogans amain and
bared the brand and hent lance in hand and in ranks took stand.
The first to open the door of war was Kurajan, who cried out,
saying, " Let no coward come out to me this day nor craven ! **
Whereupon Jamrkan and Sa'adan stood by the colqurs, but there
ran at him a captain of the Banu Amir and the two drave each at
other awhile, like two rams butting. Presently Kurajan seized the
Moslem by the jerkin under his hauberk and, dragging him from.
his saddle, dashed him to the ground where he left him ; upon
which the Kafirs laid hands on him and bound him and bore him
off to their tents ; whilst Kurajan wheeled about and careered and
offered battle, till another captain came out, whom also he took
prisoner ; nor did he leave to do thus till he had made prize of
seven captains before mid-day. Then Jamrkan cried out with so
mighty a cry, that the whole field made reply and heard it the
armies twain, and ran at Kurajan with a heart in rageful pain,
improvising these couplets :

Jamrkan am I ! and a man of might, o Whom the warriors fear with a sore

affright :
I waste the forts and I leave the walls o To wail and weep for the wights I

smite :
Then, O Kurajan, tread the rightful road o And quit the paths of thy

foul unright :
Own the One True God, who dispread the skies o And made founts to flow

and the hills pegged tight :
An the slave embrace the True Faith, he'll 'scape o Hell-pains and in Heaven

be deckt and dight !

When Kurajan heard these words, he snarked and snorted and
foully abused the sun and the moon and drave at Jamrkan, versi-
fying with these couplets :

I'm Kurajan, of this age the knight ; o And my shade to the lions

of Shara' 1 is blight :
I storm the forts and snare kings of beasts o And warriors fear me in

field of fight ;
Then, Harkye Jamrkan, if thou doubt my word, o Come forth to the combat

and try my might !

1 Al-Shara', a mountain in Arabia.

24 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

When Jamrkan heard these verses, he charged him with a stout
heart and they smote each at other with swords till the two hosts
lamented for them, and they lunged with lance and great was the
clamour between them : nor did they leave fighting till the time
of mid-afternoon prayer was passed and the day began to wane.
Then Jamrkan drave at Kurajan and smiting him on the breast
with his mace, 1 cast him to the ground, as he were the trunk of a
palm-tree ; and the Moslems pinioned him and dragged him ofif
with ropes like a camel. Now when the Miscreants saw their
Prince captive, a hot fever-fit of ignorance seized on them and
they bore down upon the True Believers thinking to rescue him ;
but the Moslem champions met them and left most of them
prostrate on the earth, whilst the rest turned and sought safety
in flight, seeking surer site, while the clanking sabres their back-
sides smite. The Moslems ceased not pursuing them till they had
scattered them over mount and wold, when they returned from
them to the spoil ; whereof was great store of horses and tents
and so forth : good look to it for a spoil ! Then Jamrkan went
in to Kurajan and expounded to him Al-Islam, threatening him
with death unless he embraced the Faith. But he refused ; so
they cut off his head and stuck it on a spear, after which they
fared on towards Oman 2 city. But as regards the Kafirs, the
survivors returned to Jaland and made known to him the slaying
of his son and the slaughter of his host, hearing which he cast
his crown to the ground and buffeting his face, till the blood ran
from his nostrils, fell fainting to the floor. They sprinkled rose-
water on his head, till he came to himself and cried to his
Wazir, " Write letters to all my Governors and Nabobs, and bid
them leave not a smiter with the sword nor a lunger with the
lance nor a bender of the bow, but bring them all to me in one
body." So he wrote letters and despatched them by runners to

1 See, 249. "This (mace) is a dangerous weapon when struck on the
shoulders or unguarded arm : I am convinced that a blow with it on a head armoured
with a salade (cassis caelata, a light iron helmet) would stun a man " (says La

2 Oman, which the natives pronounce " Aman," is the region best known by its
capital, Maskat. These are the Omana Moscha and Omanum Emporium of Ptolemy
and the Periplus. Ibn Batutah writes Amman, but the best dictionaries give " Oman."
(N.B. Mr. Badger, p. I, wrongly derives Sachalitis from "Sawahily": it is evidently
"Sahili.") The people bear by no means the best character: Ibn Batutah (four-
teenth century) says, " their wives are most base ; yet, without denying this, their
husbands express nothing like jealousy on the subject." (Lee, p. 62.)

Tlte History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 85

the Governors, who levied their power and joined the King with
a prevailing host, whose number was one hundred and eighty-
thousand men. Then they made ready tents and camels and
noble steeds and were about to march when, behold, up came
Jamrkan and Sa'adan the Ghul, with seventy thousand horse, as
they were lions fierce-faced, all steel-encased. When Jaland saw
the Moslems trooping on he rejoiced and said, " By the virtue
of the Sun, and her resplendent light, I will not leave alive one
of my foes ; no, not one to carry the news, and I will lay waste
the land of Al-Irak, that I may take my wreak for my son, the
havoc-making champion bold ; nor shall my fire be quenched or
cooled ! " Then he turned to Ajib and said to him, "O dog of
Al-Irak, 'twas thou broughtest this calamity on us ! But by the
virtue of that which I worship, except I avenge me of mine enemy
I will do thee die after foulest fashion ! " When Ajib heard these
words he was troubled with sore trouble and blamed himself; but
he waited till nightfall, when the Moslems had pitched their tents
for rest. Now he had been degraded and expelled the royal
camp together with those who were left to him of his suite : so
he said to them, " O my kinsmen, know that Jaland and I are
dismayed with exceeding dismay at the coming of the Moslems,
and I know that he will not avail to protect me from my brother
nor from any other ; so it is my counsel that we make our escape,
whilst all eyes sleep, and flee to King Ya'arub bin Kahtan, 1 for
that he hath more of men and is stronger of reign." They, hearing
his advice exclaimed " Right is thy rede," whereupon he bade them
kindle fires at their tent-doors and march under cover of the night.
They did his bidding and set out, so by daybreak they had already
fared far away. As soon as it was morning Jaland mounted with
two hundred and sixty thousand fighting-men, clad cap-a-pie in
hauberks and cuirasses and strait-knit mail-coats, the kettle-drums
beat a point of war and all drew out for cut and thrust and fight
and fray. Then Jamrkan and Sa'adan rode out with forty-
thousand stalwart fighting-men, under each standard a thousand
cavaliers, doughty champions, foremost in champaign. The two
hosts drew out in battles and bared their blades and levelled
their limber lances, for the drinking of the cup of death. The

1 The name I have said of a quasi historical personage, son of Joktan, the first Arabist
and the founder of the Tobbd ("successor") dynasty in Al-Yaman ; while Jurham, his
brother, established that of Al-Hijaz. The name is probably chosen because well*

26 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

first to open the gate of strife was Sa'adan, as he were a mountain
of syenite or a Marid of the Jinn. Then dashed out to him a
champion of the Infidels, and the Ghul slew him and casting him
to the earth, cried out to his sons and slaves, saying, " Light the
fire and roast me this dead one." They did as he bade and
brought him the roast and he ate it and crunched the bones, whilst
the Kafirs stood looking on from afar ; and they cried out, " Oh
for aid from the light-giving Sun ! " and were affrighted at the
thought of being slain by Sa'adan. Then Jaland shouted to his
men, saying, " Slay me yonder loathsome beast ! " Whereupon
another captain of his host drove at the Ghul ~ but he slew him,
and he ceased not to slay horseman after horseman, till he had
made an end of thirty men. With this the blamed Kafirs held
back and feared to face him, crying, " Who shall cope with Jinns
and Ghuls ?" But Jaland raised his voice saying, " Let an hundred
horse charge him and bring him to me, bound or slain." So an
hundred horse set upon Sa'adan with swords and spears, and he met
them with a heart firmer than flint, proclaiming the unity of the
Requiting King, whom no one thing diverteth from other thing.
Then he cried aloud, " Allaho Akbar ! " and, smiting them with
his sword, made their heads fly and in one onset he slew of them
four-and-seventy whereupon the rest took to flight. So Jaland
shouted aloud to ten of his captains, each commanding a thousand
men, and said to them, " Shoot his horse with arrows till
it fall under him, and then lay hands on him." Therewith ten
thousand horse drove at Sa'adan who met them with a stout
heart ; and Jamrkan, seeing this, bore down upon the Miscreants
with his Moslems, crying out, " God is Most Great ! " Before
they could reach the Ghul, the enemy had slain his steed and
taken him prisoner ; but they ceased not to charge the Infidels,
till the day grew dark for dust and eyes were blinded, and the
sharp sword clanged while firm stood the valiant cavalier and
destruction overtook the faint-heart in his fear ; till the Moslems
were amongst the Paynims like a white patch on a black bull.

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying

her permitted say.

Jiofo fofjcn it foas tfre &tx f^un&rtfc ana ;fortg - scbenrt) J^'cj&t,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that battle
raged between the Moslems and the Paynims till the True

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 27

Believers were like a white patch on a black bull. Nor did they
stint from the mellay till the darkness fell down, when they drew
apart, after there had been slain of the Infidels men without compt.
Then Jamrkan and his men returned to their tents ; but they
were in great grief for Sa'adan, so that neither meat nor sleep
was sweet to them, and they counted their host and found that
less than a thousand had been slain. But Jamrkan said, " O folk,
to-morrow I will go forth into the battle-plain and place where cut
and thrust obtain, and slay their champions and make prize of
their families after taking them captives and I will ransom Sa'adan
therewith, by the leave of the Requiting King, whom no one
thing diverteth from other thing ! " Wherefore their hearts were
heartened and they joyed as they separated to their tents. Mean-
while J aland entered his pavilion and sitting down on his sofa of
estate, with his folk about him, called for Sa'adan and forthright
on his coming, said to him, " O dog run wood and least of the
Arab brood and carrier of firewood, who was it slew my son
Kurajan, the brave of the age, slayer of heroes and caster down
of warriors ? " Quoth the Ghul, " Jamrkan slew him, captain of
the armies of King Gharib, Prince of cavaliers, and I roasted and
ate him, for I was anhungered." When Jaland heard these words,
his eyes sank into his head for rage and he bade his swordbearer
smite Sa'adan's neck. So he came forward in that intent, where-
upon Sa'adan stretched himself mightily and bursting his bonds,
snatched the sword from the headsman and hewed off his head.
Then he made at Jaland who threw himself down from the throne
and fled ; whilst Sa'adan fell on the bystanders and killed twenty
of the King's chief officers, and all the rest took to flight.
Therewith loud rose the crying in the camp of the Infidels and the
Ghul sallied forth of the pavilion and falling upon the troops
smote them with the sword, right and left, till they opened and
left a lane for him to pass ; nor did he cease to press forward,
cutting at them on either side, till he won free of the Miscreants'
tents and made for the Moslem camp. Now these had heard the
uproar among their enemies and said, " Haply some calamity hath
befallen them." But -whilst they were in perplexity, behold,
Sa'adan stood amongst them and they rejoiced at his coming with
exceeding joy ; more especially Jamrkan, who saluted him with
the salam as did other True Believers and gave him joy of his
escape, Such was the case with the Moslems ; but as regards the
Miscreants, when, after the Ghul's departure, they and their King

28 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

returned to their tents, Jaland said to them, " O folk, by the
virtue of the Sun's light-giving ray and by the darkness of the
Night and the light of the Day and the Stars that stray, I
thought not this day to have escaped death in mellay ; for, had I
fallen into yonder fellow's hands, he had eaten me, as I were a
kernel of wheat or a barley-corn or any other grain." They re-
plied, "O King, never saw we any do the like of this Ghul."
And he said, " O folk, to-morrow do ye all don arms and mount
steed and trample them under your horses' hooves." Meanwhile
the Moslems had ended their rejoicings at Sa'adan's return and
Jamrkan said to them, " To-morrow, I will show you my derring-
do and what behoveth the like of me, for by the virtue of Abraham
the Friend, I will slay them with the foulest of slaughters and
smite them with the bite of the sword, till all who have under-
standing confounded at them shall stand. But I mean to attack
both right and left wings ; so, when ye see me drive at the King
under the standards, do ye charge behind me with a resolute
charge, and Allah's it is to decree what thing shall be ! " Accord-
ingly the two sides lay upon their arms till the day broke through
night and the sun appeared to sight. Then they mounted swiftlier
than the twinkling of the eyelid ; the raven of the wold croaked
and the two hosts, looking each at other with the eye of fascina-
tion, formed in line-array and prepared for fight and fray. The
first to open the chapter of war was Jamrkan who wheeled and
careered and offered fight in field; and Jaland and his men were
about to charge when, behold, a cloud of dust uprolled till it
walled the wold and overlaid the day. Then the four winds
smote it and away it floated torn to rags, and there appeared be-
neath it cavaliers, with helms black and garb white and many a
princely knight and knees that bite and swords that smite and
footmen who lion-like knew no affright. Seeing this both armies
left fighting and sent out scouts to reconnoitre and report who
thus had come in main and might. So they went and within the
dust-cloud disappeared from sight, and returned after awhile with
the news aright that the approaching host was one of Moslems,
under the command of King Gharib. When the True Believers
heard from the scouts of the coming of their King, they rejoiced
and driving out to meet him, dismounted and kissed the earth

between his hands And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day

and ceased to say her permitted say.

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 29

btfjen (t foas rtjc &fx ^untrrrtr an*

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
the Moslems saw the presence of their King Gharib, they joyed
with exceeding joy ; and, kissing the earth between his hands,
saluted him and gat around him whilst he welcomed them and
rejoiced in their safety. Then they escorted him to their camp

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 3 of 40)