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 36 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 36 of 40)
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joiced thereat with exceeding joy. So they arose without stay or
delay and cut with their axes wood for the raft and twisted ropes
to bind the logs and at this they worked a whole month. Every day
about evening they gathered somewhat of fuel and bore it to the
Princess's kitchen, and employed the rest of the twenty-four hours

working at the raft. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of

day and ceased saying her permitted say.

1 In the Bresl. Edit. (iv. 245) we find " Kalak," a raft, like those used upon the
Euphrates, and better than the " Fulk," or ship, of the Mac. Edit.

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad? a al-Jamal. 343

ttfofo fofjen it foas tfj S>efaen l^untocfc anfc SbtxtB=sebEntf>

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sayf
al-Muluk and his Mamelukes, having cut the wood and twisted the
ropes for their raft, made an end of it and launched it upon the
sea ; then, after breaking their bonds with the axe, and loading
the craft with fruits plucked from the island-trees, they embarked
at close of day ; nor did any wot of their intent. They put out to
sea in their raft and paddled on four months, knowing not whither
the craft carried them, till their provaunt failed them and they were
suffering the severest extreme of hunger and thirst, when behold,
the sea waxed troubled and foamed and rose in high waves, and
there came forth upon them a frightful crocodile, 1 which put out
its claw and catching up one of the Mamelukes swallowed him.
At the sight of this horror Sayf al-Muluk wept bitterly and he and
the two men 2 that remained to him pushed off from the place
where they had seen the crocodile, sore affrighted. After this they
continued drifting on till one day they espied a mountain terrible
tali and spiring high in air, whereat they rejoiced, when presently
an island appeared. They made towards it with all their might
congratulating one another on the prospect of making land ; but
hardly had they sighted the island on which was the mountain,
when the sea changed face and boiled and rose in big waves and a
second crocodile raised its head and putting out its claw caught up
the two remaining Mamelukes and swallowed them. So Sayf al-
Muluk abode alone, and making his way to the island, toiled till
he reached the mountain-top, where he looked about and found a
copse, and walking among the trees fell to eating of the fruits.
Presently, he saw among the branches more than twenty great
apes, each bigger than a he-mule, whereat he was seized with ex-
ceeding fear. The apes came down and surrounded him; 3 then

1 Arab. Timsah from Coptic (Old Egypt) Emsuh or Msuh. The animal cannot live
in salt-water, a fact which proves that the Crocodile Lakes on the Suez Canal were in
old days fed by Nile-water ; and this was necessarily a Canal.

2 So in the Bresl. Edit. (iv. 245). In the Mac. text " one man," which better suits
the second crocodile, for the animal can hardly be expected to take two at a time.

3 He had ample reason to be frightened. The large Cynocephalus is exceedingly
dangerous. When travelling on the Gold Coast with my late friend Colonel De Ruvignes,
we suddenly came in the grey of the morning upon a herd of these beasts. We dis-
mounted, hobbled our nags and sat down, sword and revolver in hand. Luckily it was

344 Alf Laylah iva Laylah.

they forewent him, signing to him to follow them, and walked on,
and he too, till he came to a castle, tall of base and strong of
build whose ordinance was one brick of gold and one of silver.
The apes entered and he after them, and he saw in the castle all
manner of rarities, jewels and precious metals such as tongue
faileth to describe. Here also he found a young man, passing tall
of stature with no hair on his cheeks, and Sayf al-Muluk was
cheered by the sight for there was no human being but he in the
castle. The stranger marvelled exceedingly at sight of the Prince
and asked him, " What is thy name and of what land art thou and
how earnest thou hither ? Tell me thy tale and hide from me
naught thereof." Answered the Prince, " By Allah, I came not
hither of my own consent nor is this place of my intent ; yet
I cannot but go from place to place till I win my wish." Quoth
the youth, " And what is thy object ? " ; and quoth the other, " I
am of the land of Egypt and my name is Sayf al-Muluk son of
King Asim bin Safwan "; and told him all that had passed with
him, from first to last. Whereupon the youth arose and stood in
his service, saying, " O King of the Age, I was erst in Egypt and
heard that thou hadst gone to the land of China ; but where is
this land and where lies China-land ? ' Verily, this 'is a wondrous
thing and marvellous matter ! " Answered the Prince, " Sooth
thou speakest but, when I left China-land, I set out, intending for
the land of Hind and a stormy wind arose and the sea boiled and
broke all my ships "; brief, he told him all that had befallen him
till he came thither ; whereupon quoth the other, " O King's son,
thou hast had enough of strangerhood and its sufferings ; Alham-
dolillah, praised be Allah who hath brought thee hither ! So
now do thou abide with me, that I may enjoy thy company till
I die, when thou shalt become King over this island, to which no
bound is known, and these apes thou seest are indeed skilled in
all manner of crafts ; and whatso thou seekest here shalt thou
find." Replied Sayf al-Muluk, " O my brother, I may not tarry
in any place till my wish be won, albeit I compass the whole world
in pursuit thereof and make quest of every one so peradventure

feeding time for the vicious brutes, which scowled at us but did not attack us. During
my four years' service on the West African Coast I heard enough to satisfy me that these
powerful beasts often kill men and rape women ; but I could not convince myself that
they ever kept the women as concubines.

1 As we should say in English it is a far cry to Loch Awe : the Hindu by-word is,
" Dihli (Delhi) is a long way off." See vol. i. 37.

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad fa al-Jamal. 345

Allah may bring me to my desire or my course lead me to the
place wherein is the appointed term of my days, and I shall die
my death." Then the youth turned with a sign to one of the
apes, and he went out and was absent awhile, after which he
returned with other apes girt with silken zones. 1 They brought
the trays and set on near 2 an hundred chargers of gold and saucers
of silver, containing all manner of meats. Then they stood, after
the manner of servants between the hands of Kings, till the youth
signalled to the Chamberlains, who sat down, and he whose wont
it was to serve stood, whilst the two Princes ate their sufficiency.
Then the apes cleared the table and brought basins and ewers of
gold, and they washed their hands in rose water ; after which they
set on fine sugar and nigh forty flagons, in each a different kind
of wine, and they drank and took their pleasure and made merry
and had a fine time. And all the apes danced and gambolled
before them, what while the eaters sat at meat ; which when Sayf
al-Muluk saw, he marvelled at them and forgot that which had

befallen him of sufferings. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn

of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

fo&en it foas t&e &*bcn f^unUrefc anU Sfct

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Sayf al-Muluk saw the gestures and gambols of the apes, he
marvelled thereat and forgot that which had betided him of
strangerhood and its sufferings. At nightfall they lighted waxen
candles in candlesticks of gold studded with gems and set on
dishes of confections and fruits of sugar-candy. So they ate ;
and when the hour of rest was come, the apes spread them bedding
and they slept. And when morning morrowed, the young man
arose, as was his wont, before sunrise and waking Sayf al-Muluk
said to him, " Put thy head forth of this lattice and see what
standeth beneath it." So he put out his head and saw the wide
waste and all the' wold filled with apes, whose number none knew
save Allah Almighty. Quoth he, " Here be great plenty of apes,
for they cover the whole country: but why are they assembled

1 Arab. Futah, a napkin, a waistcloth, the Indian Zones alluded to by the old Greek
Arab. " Yaji (it comes) miat khwanj ah "quite Fellah talk.

346 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

at this hour ? " Quoth the youth, " This is their custom. Every
Sabbath, 1 all the apes in the island come hither, some from two
and three days' distance, and stand here till I awake from sleep
and put forth my head from this lattice, when they kiss ground
before me and go about their business." So saying, he put his
head out of the window ; and when the apes saw him, they kissed
the earth before him and went their way. Sayf al-Muluk abode
with the young man a whole month when he farewelled him and
departed, escorted by a party of nigh a hundred apes, which the
young man bade escort him. They journeyed with him seven
days, till they came to the limits of their islands, 2 when they took
leave of him and returned to their places, while Sayf al-Muluk
fared on alone over mount and hill, desert and plain, four months'
journey, one day anhungered and the next satiated, now eating
of the herbs of the earth and then of the fruits of the trees, till
he repented him of the harm he had done himself by leaving the
young man ; and he was about to retrace his steps to him, when
he saw a something black afar off and said to himself, " Is this a
city or trees ? But I will not turn back till I see what it is."
So he made towards it and when he drew near, he saw that it was
a palace tall of base. Now he who built it was Japhet son of Noah
(on whom be peace !) and it is of this palace that God the Most
High speaketh in His precious Book, whenas He saith, " And an
abandoned well and a high-builded palace." 3 Sayf al-Muluk sat

1 As Tre'butien shows (ii. 155) these apes were a remnant of some ancient tribe
possibly those of Ad who had gone to Meccah to pray for rain and thus escaped the
general destruction. See vol. i. 65. Perhaps they were the Jews of Aylah who in
David's day were transformed into monkeys for fishing on the Sabbath (Saturday)
Koran ii. 61.

2 I can see no reason why Lane purposely changes this to " the extremity of their

3 Koran xxii. 44, Mr. Payne remarks : This absurd addition is probably due to
some copyist, who thought to show his knowledge of the Koran, but did not understand
the meaning of the verse from which the quotation is taken and which runs thus,
" How many cities have We destroyed, whilst yet they transgressed, and they are laid
low on their own foundations and wells abandoned and high-builded palaces ! " Mr.
Lane observes that the words are either misunderstood or purposely misapplied by the
author of the tale." Purposeful perversions of Holy Writ are very popular amongst
Moslems and form part of their rhetoric ; but such is not the case here. According to
Von Hammer (Trebutien ii. 154), " Eastern geographers place the Bir al-Mu'utallal
(Ruined Well) and the Kasr al-Mashid (High-builded Castle) in the province of
Hadramaut, and we wait for a new Niebuhr to inform us what are the monuments or
the ruins so called." His text translates puits arides et palais de platrc (not likely !).

Say/ al-Muluk and Bad? a al-Jamal. 347

down at the gate and said in his mind, " Would I knew what is
within yonder palace and what King dwelleth there and who shall
acquaint me whether its folk are men or Jinn ? Who will tell me
the truth of the case ? " He sat considering awhile, but, seeing
none go in or come out, he rose and committing himself to Allah
Almighty entered the palace and walked on, till he had counted
seven vestibules ; yet saw no one. Presently looking to his right
he beheld three doors, while before him was a fourth, over which
hung a curtain. So he went up to this and raising the curtain,
found himself in a great hall T spread with silken carpets. At the
upper end rose a throne of gold whereon sat a damsel, whose face
was like the moon, arrayed in royal raiment and beautified as she
were a bride on the night of her displaying ; and at the foot of
the throne was a table of forty trays spread with golden and
silvern dishes full of dainty viands. The Prince went up and
saluted her, and she returned his salam, saying, " Art thou of
mankind or of the Jinn ? " Replied he, " I am a man of the best
of mankind ; 2 for I am a King, son of a King." She rejoined,
" What seekest thou ? Up with thee and eat of yonder food, and
after tell me thy past from first to last and how thou earnest
hither." So he sat down at the table and removing the cover
from a tray of meats (he being hungry) and ate till he was full ;
then washed his right hand and going up to the throne, sat down
by the damsel who asked him, " Who art thou and what is thy
name and whence comest thou and who brought thee hither ? "
He answered, " Indeed my story is a long but do thou first tell
me who and what and whence thou art and why thou dwellest
in this place alone.' She rejoined, " My name is Daulat Khatun *
and I am the daughter of the King of Hind. My father dwelleth
in the Capital-city of Sarandfb and hath a great and goodly garden,
there is no goodlier, in all the land of Hind or its dependencies ;

Lane remarks that Mashid mostly means " plastered," but here = Mushayyad, lofty,
explained in the Jalalayn Commentary as = rafi'a, high-raised. The two places are
also mentioned by Al-Mas'iidi ; and they occur in Al-Kazwfni (see Night dccclviii.) :
both of these authors making the Koran directly allude to them.

1 Arab, (from Pers.) Aywan which here corresponds with the Egyptian " liwan " a
tall saloon with estrades.

2 This nai've style of "renowning it " is customary in the East, contrasting with the
servile address of the subject " thy slave " etc.

3 Daulat (not Dawlah) the Anglo-Indian Dowlat; prop, meaning the shifts of aflairs,
hence, fortune, empire, kingdom. Khatun = " lady," I have noted, follows the name
after Turkish fashion.

348 Alf Laylah wa Laylak,

and in this garden is a great tank. One day, I went out into the
garden with my slave-women and I stripped me naked and they
likewise and, entering the tank, fell to sporting and solacing our-
selves therein. Presently, before I could be ware, a something as
it were a cloud swooped down on me and snatching me up from
amongst my handmaids, soared aloft with me betwixt heaven and
earth, saying, " Fear not, O Daulat Khatun, but be of good
heart." Then he flew on with me a little while, after which he set
me down in this palace and straightway without stay or delay
became a handsome young man daintily apparelled, who said to
me: Now dost thou know me? Replied I : No, O my lord;
and he said, : I am the Blue King, Sovran of the Jann ; my father
dwelleth in the Castle Al-Kulzum 1 hight, and hath under his
hand six hundred thousand Jinn, flyers and divers. It chanced
that while passing on my way I saw thee and fell in love with thee
for thy lovely form : so I swooped down on thee and snatched thee
up from among the slave-girls and brought thee to this the High-
builded Castle, which is my dwelling-place. None may fare
hither be he man or be he Jinni, and from Hind hither is a
journey of an hundred and twenty years : wherefore do thou hold
that thou wilt never again behold the land of thy father and thy
mother ; so abide with me here, in contentment of heart and
peace, and I will bring to thy hands whatso thou seekest." Then

he embraced me and kissed me, And Shahrazad perceived the

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

Nofo fofctn t't foas tjjc Sbeben f^unlrrc& anfc Sbfatg-nfnt& Nigfjt,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
damsel said to Sayf al-Muluk, ''Then the King of the Jann, after
he had acquainted me with his case, embraced me and kissed me,

saying : Abide here and fear nothing ; whereupon he went

away from me for an hour and presently returned with these

1 The old name of Suez-town from the Greek Clysma (the shutting), which named the
Gulf of Suez " Sea of Kulzum." The ruins in the shape of a huge mound, upon which
Si'id Pasha built a Kiosk-palace, lie to the north of the modern town and have been
noticed by me, (Pilgrimage, Midian etc.) The Rev. Prof. Sayce examined the mound
and from the Roman remains found in it determined it to be a fort guarding the old
mouth of the Old Egyptian Sweet-water Canal which then debouched near the town.

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad? a al-Jamal. 349

tables and carpets and furniture. He comes to me every Third 1
and abideth with me three days and on Friday, at the time of
mid-afternoon prayer, he departeth and is absent till the following
Third. When he is here, he eateth and drinketh and kisseth and
huggeth me, but doth naught else with me, and I am a pure
virgin, even as Allah Almighty created me. My father's name
is Tdj al-Muluk, and he wotteth not what is come of me nor
hath he hit upon any trace of me. This is my story : now tell
me thy tale." Answered the Prince, " My story is a long and I
fear lest while I am telling it to thee the Ifrit come." Quoth she
" He went out from me but an hour before thy entering and
will not return till Third : so sit thee down and take thine ease
and hearten thy heart and tell me what hath betided thee, from
beginning to end." And quoth he, " I hear and I obey." So he
fell to telling her all that had befallen him from commencement
to conclusion but, when she heard speak of Badi'a al-Jamal, her
eyes ran over with railing tears and she cried, " O Badi'a al-Jamal,
I had not thought this of thee ! Alack for our luck ! O Badi'a

al-Jamal, dost thou not remember me nor say : My sister

Daulat Khatun whither is she gone ? " And her weeping re-
doubled, lamenting for that Badi'a al-Jamal had forgotten her. 9
Then said Sayf al-Muluk, " O Daulat Khatun, thou art a mortal
and she is a Jinniyah : how then can she be thy sister ? " Replied
the Princess, "She is my sister by fosterage and this is how it
came about. My mother went out to solace herself in the garden,
when labour-pangs seized her and she bare me. Now the mother
of Badi'a al-Jamal chanced to be passing with her guards, when
she also was taken with travail-pains ; so she alighted in a side
of the garden and there brought forth Badi'a al-Jamal. She
despatched one of her women to seek food and childbirth-
gear of my mother, who sent her what she sought and invited her
to visit her. So she came to her with Badi'a al-Jamal and my
mother suckled the child, who with her mother tarried with us in
the garden two months. And before wending her ways the
mother of Badi'a al-Jamal gave my mother somewhat, 3 saying :
When thou hast need of me, I will come to thee a middlemost the

1 i.e. Tuesday. See vol. iii, 249.

2 Because being a Jinniyah the foster-sister could have come to her and saved her from
old maidenhood.

3 Arab. " Hajah " properly a needful thing. This consisted according to the BresL
Edit, of certain perfumes, by burning which she could summon the Queen of the Jinn.

A If Laylah wa Laylah.

garden, and departed to her own land ; but she and her daughter
used to visit us every year and abide with us awhile before return-
ing home. Wherefore an I were with my mother, O Sayf al-
Muluk, and if thou wert with me in my own country and Badi'a
al-Jamal and I were together as of wont, I would devise some
device with her to bring thee to thy desire of her : but I am here
and they know naught of me ; for that an they kenned what is
become of me, they have power to deliver me from this place ;
however, the matter is in Allah's hands (extolled and exalteth be
He !) and what can I do ? " Quoth Sayf al-Muluk, " Rise and let us
flee and go whither the Almighty willeth ; " but, quoth she, " We
cannot do that : for, by Allah, though we fled hence a year's
journey that accursed would overtake us in an hour and slaughter
us." Then said the Prince, "I will hide myself in his way, and
when he passeth by I will smite him with the sword and slay
him." Daulat Khatun replied, "Thou canst not succeed in
slaying him save thou slay his soul." Asked he, " And where is
his soul ? " ; and she answered, " Many a time have I questioned
him thereof but he would not tell me, till one day I pressed him

and he waxed wroth with me and said to me : How often wilt

thou ask me of my soul ? What hast thou to do with my soul ?

I rejoined : O Hcltim, 1 there remaineth none to me but thou,

except Allah ; and my life dependeth on thy life and whilst thou
livest, all is well for me ; so, except I care for thy soul and set it
in the apple of this mine eye, how shall I live in thine absence ?
An I knew where thy soul abideth, I would never cease whilst I live, to
hold it in mine embrace and would keep it as my right eye. Where-
upon said he to me : What time I was born, the astrologers pre-
dicted that I should lose my soul at the hands of the son of a king
of mankind. So I took it and set it in the crop of a sparrow,
and shut up the bird in a box. The box I set in a casket, and
enclosing this in seven other caskets and seven chests, laid the
whole in a alabastrine coffer, 2 which I buried within the marge of
yon earth-circling sea ; for that these parts are far from the world
of men and none of them can win hither. So now see I have told
thee what thou wouldst know, and do thou tell none thereof, for

it is a secret between me and thee." And Shahrazad perceived

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

1 Probably used in its sense of a "black crow." The Bresl. Edit. (iv. 261). has
" Khatim " (seal-ring) which is but one of its almost innumerable misprints.
8 Here it is called " Tabik " and afterwards " Tabut."

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad? a al-JamaL 351

ttfoto tojjcn ft tons t&e beb*n pjuntartr antr &ebentiet!) tffg&t,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Daulat Khatun acquainted Sayf al-Muluk with the whereabouts
of the soul of the Jinni who had carried her off and repeated to him
his speech ending with, "And this is a secret between me and
thee ! " "I rejoined," quoth she : To whom should I tell it,
seeing that none but thou cometh hither with whom I may talk
thereof?" adding, " By Allah, thou hast indeed set thy soul in the
strongest of strongholds to which none may gain access ! How
should a man win to it, unless the impossible be fore-ordained and
Allah decree like as the astrologers predicted ?" Thereupon the
Jinni : Peradventure one may come, having on his finger the seal-
ring of Solomon son of David (on the twain be peace !) and lay
his hand with the ring on the face of the water, saying : By the
virtue of the names engraven upon this ring, let the soul of such
an one come forth ! Whereupon the coffer will rise to the surface
and he will break it open and do the like with the chests and
caskets, till he come to the little box, when he will take out the
sparrow and strangle it, and I shall die/' Then said Sayf al-
Muluk, " I am the King's son of whom he spake, and this is the
ring of Solomon David-son on my finger : so rise, let us go
down to the sea-shore and see if his words be leal or leasing ! "
Thereupon the two walked down to the sea-shore and the Princess
stood on the beach, whilst the Prince waded into the water to his
Waist and laying his hand with the ring on the surface of the sea,
said, " By the virtue of the names and talismans engraven on this
ring, and by the might of Sulayman bin Ddud (on whom be
the Peace !), let the soul of Hatim the Jinni, son of the Blue
King, come forth ! " Whereat the sea boiled in billows and the
coffer of alabaster rose to the surface. Sayf al-Muluk took it
and shattered it against the rock and broke open the chests and
caskets, till he came to the little box and drew thereout the
sparrow. Then the twain returned to the castle and sat down
on the throne ; but hardly had they done this, when lo and behold!
there arose a dust-cloud terrifying and some huge thing 1 came
flying and crying, " Spare me, O King's son, and slay me not ;
but make me thy freedman, and I will bring thee to thy desire ! "
Quoth Daulat Khatun, "The Jinni cometh; slay the sparrow,
lest this accursed enter the palace and take it from thee and

352 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

slaughter me and slaughter thee after me.' So the Prince wrung
the sparrow's neck and it died, whereupon the Jinni fell down at
the palace-door and became a heap of black ashes. Then said
Daulat Khatun, " We are delivered from the hand of yonder
accursed ; what shall we do now ? "; and Sayf al-Muluk replied,

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 36 of 40)