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 30 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 30 of 40)
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Rejoined his mother, " Do as thou wilt, but beware of giving
her father rough words, whenas thou speakest with him ; for thou
knowest his stupidity and violence and I fear lest he do thee a
mischief, for he knoweth not respect for any." And Salih
answered, " Hearkening and obedience." Then he sprang up
and taking two bags full of gems such as rubies and bugles of
emerald, noble ores and all manner jewels gave them to his
servants to carry and set out with his nephew for the palace of
Al-Samandal. When they came thither, he sought audience of
the King and being admitted to his presence, kissed ground
before him and saluted him with the goodliest Salam. The
King rose to him and honouring him with the utmost honour,
bade him be seated. So he sat down and presently the King
said to him, " A blessed coming : indeed thou has desolated us, O
Salih! But what bringeth thee to us? Tell me thine errand
that we may fulfil it to thee." Whereupon Salih arose and,
kissing the ground a second time, said, " O King of the age, my
errand is to Allah and the magnanimous liege lord and the valiant
lion, the report of whose good qualities the caravans far and near
have dispread and whose renown for benefits and beneficence and

Julnar the Sea-born and her Son. 28$

clemency and graciousness and liberality to all climes and
countries hath sped." Thereupon he opened the two bags and,
displaying their contents before Al-Samandal, said to him, " O
King of the Age, haply wilt thou accept my gift and by showing

favour to me heal my heart." And Shahrazad perceived the

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

ttfofo foljm it tons tfjc Sseben l^utrtirrti anfc jportg=sebent!) ttftgfjt,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Salih offered his gift to the King, saying, " My aim and end is
that the Sovran show favour to me and heal my heart by ac-
cepting my present," King Al-Samandal asked, " With what object
dost thou gift me with this gift ? Tell me thy tale and acquaint
me with thy requirement. An its accomplishment be in my power
I will straightway accomplish it to thee and spare thee toil and
trouble ; and if I be unable thereunto, Allah compelleth not any
soul aught beyond its power " l So Salih rose and kissing ground
three times, said, " O King of the Age, that which I desire thou
art indeed able to do ; it is in thy power and thou art master
thereof; and I impose not on the King a difficulty, nor am I Jinn-
demented, that I should crave of the King a thing whereto he
availeth not ; for one of the sages saith : An thou wouldst be
complied with ask that which can be readily supplied. Wherefore,
that of which I am come in quest, the King (whom Allah preserve !)
is able to grant." The King replied, " Ask what thou wouldst
have, and state thy case and seek thy need." Then said Salih, 2
" O King of the Age, know that I come as a suitor, seeking the
unique pearl and the hoarded jewel, the Princess Jauharah,
daughter of our lord the King ; wherefore, O King dis-
appoint thou not thy suitor." Now when the King heard
this, he laughed till he fell backwards, in mockery of him
and said, " O Salih, I had thought thee a man of worth and a
youth of sense, seeking naught save what was reasonable and
speaking not save advisedly. What then hath befallen thy
reason and urged thee to this monstrous matter and mighty hazard,

1 The last verse (286) of chapt. ii. The Cow : " compelleth " in the sense of
" burdeneth."
3 Salih's speeches are euphuistic.

286 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

that thou seekest in marriage daughters of Kings, lords of cities
and climates ? Say me, art thou of a rank to aspire to this great
eminence and hath thy wit failed thee to this extreme pass that
thou affrontest me with this demand ? " Replied Salih, " Allah
amend the King ! I seek her not for myself (albeit, an I did, I
am her match and more than her match, for thou knowest that
my father was King of the Kings of the sea, for all thou art this
day our King), but I seek her for King Badr Basim, lord of the
lands of the Persians and son of King Shahriman, whose puissance
thou knowest. An thou object that thou art a mighty great King,
King Badr is a greater ; and if thou object thy daughter's beauty,
King Badr is more beautiful than she and fairer of form and
more excellent of rank and lineage ; and he is the champion of the
people of his day. Wherefore, if thou grant my request, O King
of the Age thou wilt have set the thing in its stead ; but, if thou
deal arrogantly with us, thou wilt not use us justly nor travel with
us the ' road which is straight V Moreover, O King, thou knowest
that the Princess Jauharah, the daughter of our lord the King, must
needs be wedded and bedded, for the sage saith, a girl's lot is either
grace of marriage or the grave.* Wherefore, an thou mean to
marry her, my sister's son is worthier of her than any other man."
Now when King Al-Samandal heard Salih's words, he was wroth
with exceeding wrath ; his reason well nigh fled and his soul
was like to depart his body for rage, and he cried, " O dog,
shall the like of thee dare to bespeak me thus and name my
daughter in the assemblies, 3 saying that the son of thy sister
Julnar is a match for her ? Who art thou and who is this sister
of thine and who is her son and who was his father, 4 that thou
durst say to me such say and address me with such address ?
What are ye all, in comparison with my daughter, but dogs ? "
And he cried out to his pages, saying, " Take yonder gallows-
bird's head ?" So they drew their swords and made for Salih,
but he fled and for the palace-gate sped ; and reaching the
entrance, he found of his cousins and kinsfolk and servants, more
than a thousand horse armed cap-a-pie in iron and close knitted

1 From the Fatihah.

2 A truly Eastern saying, which ignores the " old maids" of the West.

3 i.e. naming her before the lieges as if the speaker were her and his superior. It
would have been more polite not to have gone beyond " the unique pearl and the
hoarded jewel : " the offensive part of the speech was using the girl's name.

4 Meaning emphatically that one and all were nobodies.

Julnar the Sea-born and her Son. 287

mail-coats, handing in hand spears and naked swords glittering
white. And these when they saw Salih come running out of the
palace (they having been sent by his mother to his succour,)
questioned him and he told them what was to do; whereupon
they knew that the King was a fool and violent-tempered to boot.
So they dismounted and baring their blades, went in to the King
Al-Samandal, whom they found seated upon the throne of his
Kingship, unaware of their coming and enraged against Salih
with furious rage ; and they beheld his eunuchs and pages and
officers unprepared. When the King saw them enter, drawn brand
in hand, he cried out to his people, saying " Woe to you ! Take
me the heads of these hounds ! " But ere an hour had sped
Al-Samandal's party were put to the route and relied upon flight,
and Salih and his kinsfolk seized upon the King and pinioned

him. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to

Day her permitted say.

ttfofo fo&en tt foas tfie &bm ?^un&re& an&

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Salih and his kingfolk pinioned the King, Princess Jauharah
awoke and knew that her father was a captive and his guards
slain. So she fled forth the palace to a certain island, and
climbing up into a high tree, hid herself in its summit. Now
when the two parties came to blows, some of King Al-Samandal's
pages fled and Badr Basim meeting them, questioned them of
their case and they told him what had happened. But when he
heard that the King was a prisoner, Badr feared for himself and
fled, saying in his heart, " Verily, all this turmoil is on my account
and none is wanted but I." So he sought safety in flight,
security to sight, knowing not whither he went ; but destiny from
Eternity fore-ordained drave him to the very island where the
Princess had taken refuge, and he came to the very tree whereon
she sat and threw himself down, like a dead man, thinking to
lie and repose himself and knowing not there is no rest for the
pursued, for none knoweth what Fate hideth for him in the future.
As he lay down, he raised his eyes to the tree and they met the
eyes of the Princess. So he looked at her and seeing her to be
like the moon rising in the East, cried, " Glory to Him who
fashioned yonder perfect form, Him who is the Creator of all

288 A If Laylah wa Laylak.

things and who over all things is Almighty ! Glory to the Great
God, the Maker, the Shaper and Fashioner ! By Allah, if
my presentiments be true, this is Jauharah, daughter of King
Al-Samandal ! Methinks that, when she heard of our coming to
blows with her father, she fled to this island and, happening upon
this tree, hid herself on its head ; but, if this be not the Princess
herself, 'tis one yet goodlier than she." Then he bethought him-
self of her case and said in himself, " I will arise and lay hands
on her and question her of her condition ; and. if she be indeed
the she, I will demand her in wedlock of herself and so win my
wish." So he stood up and said to her, " O end of all desire, who
art thou and who brought thee hither ? " She looked at Badr
Basim and seeing him to be as the full moon, 1 when it shineth from
under the black cloud, slender of shape and sweet of smile,
answered, "O fair of fashion, I am Princess Jauharah, daughter
of King Al-Samandal, and I took refuge in this place, because
Salih and his host came to blows with my sire and slew his
troops and took him prisoner, with some of his men ; where-
fore I fled, fearing for my very life," presently adding, " And I
weet not what fortune hath done with my father." When King
Badr Basim heard these words he marvelled wliili exceeding
marvel at this strange chance and thought. " Doubtless I have
won my wish by the capture of her sire." Then he looked at
Jauharah and said to her, " Come down, O my lady ; for I am
slain for love of thee and thine eyes have captivated me. On
my account and thine are all these broils and battles ; for thou
must know that I am King Badr Basim, Lord of the Persians
and Salih is my mother's brother and he it is who came to thy
sire to demand thee of him in marriage. As for me, I have
quited my kingdom for thy sake, and our meeting here is the
rarest coincidence. So come down to me and let us twain fare
for thy father's palace, that I may beseech uncle Salih to release
him and I may make thee my lawful wife. When Jauharah heard his
words, she said in herself, " Twas on this miserable gallows bird's
account, then, that all this hath befallen and that my father
hath fallen prisoner and his chamberlains and suite have been
slain and I have been departed from my palace, a miserable exile
and have fled for refuge to this island. But, an I devise not
against him some device to defend myself from him, he will

1 Arab. Badr, the usual pun.

Julnar the Sea-born and her Son. 289

possess himself of me and take his will of me ; for he is in
love and for aught that he doeth a lover is not blamed." Then
she beguiled him with winning words and soft speeches, whilst
he knew not the perfidy against him she purposed, and asked
him, "O my lord and light of my eyes, say me, art thou indeed 1
King Badr Basim, son of Queen Julnar ? " And he answered,

" Yes, O my lady." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day

and ceased saying her permitted say.

fofjen ft teas tfje &eben |^tm&re& anfc jrortgsnmtD

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Jauharah,
daughter of King Al-Samandal, asked the youth, " Art thou in
very soth King Badr Basim, son of Queen Julnar ? " And he
answered, " Yes, O my lady ! " Then she, " May Allah cut off my
father and gar his kingdom cease from him and heal not his heart
neither avert from him strangerhood, if he could desire a comelier
than thou or aught goodlier than these fair qualities of thine ! By
Allah, he is of little wit and judgment ! " presently adding, " But,
O King of the Age, punish him not for that he hath done ; more
by token that an thou love me a span, verily I love thee a cubit.
Indeed, I have fallen into the net of thy love and am become of
the number of thy slain. The love that was with thee hath trans-
ferred itself to me and there is left thereof with thee but a tithe of
that which is with me." So saying, she came down from the tree
and drawing near him strained him to her bosom and fell to kissing
him ; whereat passion and desire for her redoubled on him and
doubting not but she loved him, he trusted in her, and returned
her kisses and caresses. Presently he said to her, " By Allah, O
Princess, my uncle Salih set forth to me not a fortieth part of thy
charms; no, nor a quarter-carat * of the four-and-twenty." Then
Jauharah pressed him to her bosom and pronounced some unin-
telligible words ; then spat on his face, saying, " Quit this form of
man and take shape of bird, the handsomest of birds, white of
robe, with red bill and legs." Hardly had she spoken, when

1 Arab. Kirat (fcepariov) the bean of the Abrus precatorius, used as a weight i n
Arabia and India and as a bead for decoration in Africa. It is equal to four Kamhahs
or wheat-grains and about 3 grs. avoir. ; and being the twenty-fourth of a miskal, it is
applied to that proportion of everything. Thus the Arabs say of a perfect man, " He is
of four-and-twenty Kirat " i.e. pure gold. See vol. iii. 239.


290 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

King Badr Basim found himself transformed into a bird, the hand-
somest of birds, who shook himself and stood looking at her.
Now Jauharah had with her one of her slave-girls, by name Mar-
sfnah ; ! so she called her and said to her, " By Allah, but that I
fear for the life of my father, who is his uncle's prisoner, I would
kill him ! Allah never requite him with good 1 How unlucky
was his coming to us ; for all this trouble is due to his hard-headed-
ness ! But do thou, O slave-girl, bear him to the Thirsty Island
and leave him there to die of thirst." So Marsinah carried him to
the island in question and would have returned and left him there ;
but she said in herself, " By Allah, the lord of such beauty and
loveliness deserveth not to die of thirst ! " So she went forth
from that island and brought him to another abounding in trees
and fruits and rills and, setting him down there, returned to her
mistress and told her, " I have left him on the Thirsty Island."
Such was the case with Badr Basim ; but as regards King Salih,
he sought for Jauharah after capturing the King and killing his
folk ; but, finding her not, returned to his palace and said to his
mother, " Where is my sister's son, King Badr Basim ? " " By
Allah, O my son," replied she, " I know nothing of him ! For
when it reached him that you and King Al-Samandal had come to
blows and that strife and slaughter had betided between you, he
was affrighted and fled." When Salih heard this, he grieved for
his nephew and said, " O my mother, by Allah, we have dealt negli-
gently by King Badr and I fear lest he perish or lest one of King
Al-Samandal's soldiers or his daughter Jauharah fall in with him.
So should we come to shame with his mother and no good betide
us from her, for that I took him without her leave." Then he
despatched guards and scouts throughout the sea and elsewhere to
seek for Badr ; but they could learn no tidings of him ; so they
returned and told King Salih, wherefore cark and care redoubled
on him and his breast was straitened for King Badr Basim. So
far concerning nephew and uncle, but as for Julnar the Sea-born,
after their departure she abode in expectation of them, but her
son returned not and she heard no report of him. So when many
days of fruitless waiting had gone by, she arose and going down
into the sea, repaired to her mother, who sighting her rose to her
and kissed her and embraced her, as did the Mermaids her cousins.

1 The (she) myrtle : Kazimirski (A. de Biberstein) Dictionnaire Arabe-Francais (Paris
Maisonneuve 1867) gives Marsfn = Rose de Jericho: myrte.

Juluar the Sea-born and her Son. 291

Then she questioned her mother of King -Badr Basim, and she
answered, saying, " O my daughter, of a truth he came hither with
his uncle, who took jacinths and jewels and carrying them to King
Al-Samandal, demanded his daughter in marriage for thy son ;
but he consented not and was violent against thy brother in words.
Now I had sent Salih nigh upon a thousand horse and a battle
befel between him and King Al-Samandal ; but Allah aided thy
brother against him, and he slew his guards and troops and took
himself prisoner. Meanwhile, tidings of this reached thy son, and
it would seem as if he feared for himself; wherefore he fled forth
from us, without our will, and returned not to us, nor have we
heard any news of him." Then Julnar enquired for King Salih,
and his mother said, " He is seated on the throne of his kingship,
in the stead of King Al-Samandal, and hath sent in all directions
to seek thy son and Princess Jauharah." When Julnar heard
the maternal words, she mourned for her son with sad mourning
and was highly incensed against her brother Salih for that he
had taken him and gone down with him into the sea without her
leave ; and she said, " O my mother, I fear for our realm ; as I
came to thee without letting any know ; and I dread tarrying
with thee, lest the state fall into disorder and the kingdom pass
from our hands. Wherefore I deem best to return and govern the
reign till it please Allah to order our son's affair for us. But look
ye forget him not neither neglect his case ; for should he come to
any harm, it would infallibly kill me, since I see not the world
save in him and delight but in his life." She replied, " With love
and gladness, O my daughter. Ask not what we suffer by reason
of his loss and absence." Then she sent to seek for her grandson,
whilst Julnar returned to her kingdom, weeping-eyed and heavy-
hearted, and indeed the gladness of the world was straitened upon

her. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to

say her permitted say.

Nofo tofjen it toas tfje &>ebm f^untJtrtJ anti Jpiftfetb

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Queen
Julnar returned from her mother to her own realm, her breast was
straitened and she was in ill-case. So fared it with her ; but as
regards King Badr Basim, after Princess Jauharah had ensorcelled
him and had sent him with her handmaid to the Thirsty Island,

292 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

saying, ' Leave him there to die of thirst," and Marsinah had set
him down in a green islet, he abode days and nights in the sem-
blance of a bird eating of its fruits and drinking of its waters and
knowing not whither to go nor how to fly ; till, one day, there
came a certain fowler to the island to catch somewhat wherewithal
to get his living. He espied King Badr Basim in his form of a
white-robed bird, with red bill and legs, captivating the sight and
bewildering the thought ; and, looking thereat, said in himself,
" Verily, yonder is a beautiful bird : never saw I its like in fairness
or form." So he cast his net over Badr and taking him, carried
him to the town, mentally resolved to sell him for a high price.
On his way one of the townsfolk accosted him and said, " For how
much this fowl, O fowler ? " Quoth the fowler, " What wilt thou
do with him an thou buy him ? " Answered the other, " I will
cut his throat and eat him ; " whereupon said the birder, " Who
could have the heart to kill this bird and eat him ? Verily, I
mean to present him to our King, who will give me more than
thou wouldest give me and will not kill him, but will divert him-
self by gazing upon his beauty and grace, for in all my life, since
I have been a fowler, I never saw his like among land game or
water fowl. The utmost thou wouldst give me for him, however
much thou covet him, would be a dirham, and, by Allah Almighty,
I Will not sell him ! " Then he carried the bird up to the King's
palace and when the King saw it, its beauty and grace pleased him
and the red colour of its beak and legs. So he sent an eunuch to
buy it, who accosted the fowler and said to him, " Wilt thou sell
this bird ? " Answered he, " Nay, 'tis a gift from me to the King " *
So the eunuch carried the bird to the King and told him what the
man had said ; and he took it and gave the fowler ten dinars,
whereupon he kissed ground and fared forth. Then the eunuch
carried the bird to the palace and placing him in a fine cage, hung
him up after setting meat and drink by him. When the King
came down from the Divan, he said to the eunuch, " Where is the
bird ? Bring it to me, that I may look upon it ; for, by Allah, 'tis
beautiful ! " So the eunuch brought the cage and set it between
the hands of the King, who looked and seeing the food untouched,
said, " By Allah, I wis not what it will eat, that I may nourish it ! "

1 Needless to note that the fowler had a right to expect a return present worth double
or treble the price of his gift. Such is the universal practice of the East : in the West
the extortioner says, " I leave it to you, sir ! "

Julnar the Sea-born and her Son. 293

Then he called for food and they laid the tables and the King ate.
Now when the bird saw the flesh and meats and fruits and sweet-
meats, he ate of all that was upon the trays before the King,
whereat the Sovran and all the bystanders marvelled and the King
said to his attendants, eunuchs and Mamelukes, " In all my life I
never saw a bird eat as doth this bird ! " Then he sent an eunuch
to fetch his wife that she might enjoy looking upon the bird, and
he went in to summon her and said, " O my lady, the King desireth
thy presence, that thou mayst divert thyself with the sight of a
bird he hath bought. When we set on the food, it flew down from
its cage and perching on the table, ate of all that was thereon. So
arise, O my lady, and solace thee with the sight for it is goodly of
aspect and is a wonder of the wonders of the age." Hearing
these words she came in haste ; but, when she noted the bird, she
veiled her face and turned to fare away. The King rose up and
looking at her, asked, " Why dost thou veil thy face when there is
none in presence save the women and eunuchs who wait on thee
and thy husband ? " Answered she, " O King, this bird is no bird,
but a man like thyself." He rejoined, " Thou liest, this is too
much of a jest. How should he be other than a bird ? "; and she
" O King, by Allah, I do not jest with thee nor do I tell thee
aught but the truth ; for verily this bird is King Badr Basim, son
of King Shahriman, Lord of the land of the Persians, and his

mother is Julnar the Sea-born." And Shahrazad perceived the

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

fofjen it foas tbe Sbeben |^untJtr an& jpiftg^first Xfjftt,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
the King's wife said to the King, " Verily, this is no bird but a
man like thyself: he is King Badr Basim son of King Shariman
and his mother is Julnar the Sea-born," quoth the King, "And how
came he in this shape ? "; and quoth she, " Princess Jauharah,
daughter of King Al-Samandal, hath enchanted him : " and told
him all that had passed with King Badr Basim from first to last. 1
The King marvelled exceedingly at his wife's words and conjured
her, on his life, to free Badr from his enchantment (for she was the
notablest enchantress of her age), and not leave him in torment,

1 And she does tell him all that the reader well knows.

294 Alf Laylah wa Laylak.

saying, " May Almighty Allah cut off Jauharah's hand, for a foul
witch as she is ! How little is her faith and how great her craft
and perfidy ! " Said the Queen, " Do thou say to him : O Badr
Basim, enter yonder closet ! " So the King bade him enter the
closet and he went in obediently. Then the Queen veiled her face
and taking in her hand a cup of water, 1 entered the closet, where
she pronounced over the water certain incomprehensible words
ending with, " By the virtue of these mighty names and holy verses
and by the majesty of Allah Almighty, Creator of heaven and
earth, the Quickener of the dead and Appointer of the means of
daily bread and the terms determined, quit this thy form wherein
thou art and return to the shape in which the Lord created thee ! "
Hardly had she made an end of her words, when the bird
trembled once and became a man ; and the King saw before him

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 30 of 40)