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 37 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 37 of 40)
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" It behoveth us to ask aid of Allah Almighty who hath afflicted
us ; belike He will direct us and help us to escape from this our
strait." So saying, he arose and pulling up 1 half a score of the
doors of the palace, which were of sandal-wood and lign-aloes with
nails of gold and silver, bound them together with ropes of silk
and floss 2 -silk and fine linen and wrought of them a raft, which he
and the Princess aided each other to hale down to the sea-shore.
They launched it upon the water till it floated and, making it fast
to the beach, returned to the palace, whence they removed all the
chargers of gold and saucers of silver and jewels and precious
stones and metals and what else was light of load and weighty of
worth and freighted the raft therewith. Then they embarked after
fashioning two pieces of wood into the likeness of paddles and
casting off the rope-moorings, let the raft drift out to sea with
them, committing themselves to Allah the Most High, who con-
tenteth those that put their trust in Him and disappointeth not them
who rely upon Him. They ceased not faring on thus four months
until their victual was exhausted and their sufferings waxed severe
and their souls were straitened ; so they prayed Allah to vouchsafe
them deliverance from that danger. But all this time when they
lay down to sleep, Sayf al-Muluk set Daulat Khatun behind him
and laid a naked brand at his back, so that, when he turned in
sleep the sword was between them. 3 At last it chanced one night,

1 i.e. raising from the lower hinge-pins. See vol. ii 214.

1 Arab. Abrfsam or Ibrisam (from Persian Abrisham or Ibrisham) = raw silk or
floss, i.e. untwisted silk.

3 This knightly practice, evidently borrowed from the East, appears in many romances
of chivalry e.g. When Sir Tristran is found by King Mark asleep beside Ysonde (Isentt)
with drawn sword between them, the former cried :

Cif they weren in sinne

Nought so they no lay.
And we are told :

Sir Amys and the lady bright

To bed gan they go ;
And when they weren in bed laid,
Sir Amys his sword out-brayed
And held it between them two.

This occurs in the old French romance of Amys and Amyloun which is taken into the

Sayf al-Muluk and Badi'a al-Jamal. 353

when Sayf al-Muluk was asleep and Daulat Khatun awake, that
behold, the raft drifted landwards and entered a port wherein were
ships. The Princess saw the ships and heard a man, he being the
chief and head of the captains, talking with the sailors ; whereby
she knew that this was the port of some city and that they were
come to an inhabited country. So she joyed with exceeding joy
and waking the Prince said to him, "Ask the captain the name of
the city and harbour." Thereupon Sayf al-Muluk arose and said
to the captain, " O my brother, how is this harbour hight and
what be the names of yonder city and its King ? " Replied the
Captain, " O false face I 1 O frosty beard ! an thou knew not the
name of this port and city, how earnest thou hither ? " Quoth
Sayf al-Muluk, " I am a stranger and had taken passage in a
merchant ship which was wrecked and sank with all on board ; but
I saved myself on a plank and made my way hither ; wherefore I
asked thee the name of the place, and in asking is no offence."
Then said the captain, " This is the city of 'Amariyah and this
harbour is called Kamin al-Bahrayn." 2 When the Princess heard
this she rejoiced with exceeding joy and said, " Praised be Allah ! "
He asked, " What is to do ? "; and she answered, " O Sayf al-
Muluk, rejoice in succour near hand ; for the King of this city is

my uncle, my father's brother. And Shahrazad perceived the

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

to&en it tons i&e Sbtben f^uirtrcfc an& &ebentg-first

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that
Daulat Khatun said to Sayf al-Muluk, " Rejoice in safety near
hand ; for the King of this city is my uncle, my father's brother

tale of the Ravens in the Seven Wise Masters where Ludovic personates his friend
Alexander in marrying the King of Egypt's daughter and sleeps every night with a bare
blade between him and the bride. See also Aladdin and his lamp. An Englishman
remarked, " The drawn sword would be little hindrance to a man and maid coming
together." The drawn sword represented only the Prince's honour.

1 Arab. " Ya Saki' al-Wajh," which Lane translates by "lying" or "liar."
1 Kamin (in Bresl. Edit. " bayn " = between) Al-Bahrayn = Ambuscade or lurking-
place of the two seas. The name of the city in Lane is " 'Emareeych " imaginary but
derived from Emarch ('imarah) = being populous. Trebutien (ii. 161) takes from Bresl.
Edit. " Amar " and translates the port-name, " le lieu de refuge des deux mers."

354 A tf Laylah wa Laylah.

and his name is 'Ali al-Muluk," ' adding, " Say thou then to the
captain : Is the Sultan of the city, Ali al-Muluk, well ?" He asked
but the captain was wroth with him and cried, " Thou sayest : I
am a stranger and never in my life came hither. Who then told
thee the name of the lord of the city ? " When Daulat Khatun
heard this, she rejoiced and knew him for Mu'in al-Din, 2 one of her
father's captains. Now he had fared forth in search of her, after
she was lost and finding her not, he never ceased cruising till he
came to her uncle's city. Then she bade Sayf al-Muluk say to
him, "O Captain Mu'in al-Din, come and speak with thy
mistress ! " So he called out to him as she bade, whereat he was
wroth with exceeding wrath and answered, " O dog, O thief, O
spy, who art thou and how knowest thou me ? " Then he said to
one of the sailors, " Give me an ash 3 -stave, that I may go to
yonder plaguing Arab and break his head." So he took the
stick and made for Sayf al-Muluk, but, when he came to the raft,
he saw a something, wondrous, beauteous, which confounded his
wits and considering it straitly he made sure that it was Daulat
Khatun sitting there, as she were a slice of the moon ; whereat he
said to the Prince, "Who is that with thee?" Replied he, "A
damsel by name Daulat Khatun."' When the captain heard the
Princess's name and knew that she was his mistress and the
daughter of his King, he fell down in a fainting-fit, and when he
came to himself, he left the raft and whatso was thereon and
riding up to the palace, craved an audience of the King ; where-
upon the chamberlain went in to the presence and said, " Captain
Mu'in al-Din is come to bring thee good news ; so bid he be
brought in." The King bade admit him ; accordingly he entered
and kissing ground 4 said to him, " O King, thou owest me a gift
for glad tidings ; for thy brother's daughter Daulat Khatun hath
reached our city safe and sound, and is now on a raft in the
harbour, in company with a young man like the moon on the
night of its full." When the King heard this, he rejoiced and
conferred a costly robe of honour on the captain. Then he

1 i.e. "High of (among) the Kings." Lane proposes to read 'Ali al-Mulk =high in

2 Pronounce Mu'inuddeen = Aider of the Faith. The Bresl. Edit. (iv. 266) also
reads " Mu'm al-Riyasah "== Mu'in of the Captaincies.

3 Arab. Shum = a tough wood used for the staves with which donkeys are driven Sir
Gardner Wilkinson informed Lane that it is the ash.

* In Persian we find the fuller metaphorical form, " kissing the ground of obedience."

Sayf al-Muluk and Badia al-Jamal. 355

straightway bade decorate the city in honour of the safe return of
his brother's daughter, and sending for her and Sayf al-Muluk,
saluted the twain and gave them joy of their safety ; after which
he despatched a messenger to his brother, to let him know that
his daughter was found and was with him. As soon as the news
reached Taj al-Muluk he gat him ready and assembling his troops
set out for his brother's capital, where he found his daughter and
they rejoiced with exceeding joy. He sojourned with his brother
a week, after which he took his daughter and Sayf al-Muluk and
returned to Sarandib, where the Princess foregathered with her
mother and they rejoiced at her safe return ; and held high festival
and that day was a great day, never was seen its like. As for
Sayf al-Muluk, the King entreated him with honour and said to
him, " O Sayf al-Muluk, thou hast done me and my daughter all
this good for which I cannot requite thee nor can any requite
thee, save the Lord of the three Worlds ; but I wish thee to sit
upon the throne in my stead and rule the land of Hind, for I offer
thee of my throne and kingdom and treasures and servants, all
this in free gift to thee." Whereupon Sayf al-Muluk rose and
kissing the ground before the King, thanked him and answered,
" O King of the Age, I accept all thou givest me and return it to
thee in freest gift : for I, O King of the Age, covet not sovranty
nor sultanate nor desire aught but that Allah the Most High
bring me to my desire." Rejoined the King, " O Sayf al-Muluk
these my treasures are at thy disposal : take of them what thou
wilt, without consulting me, and Allah requite thee for me with all
weal ! " Quoth the Prince, " Allah advance the King ! There is
no delight for me in money or in dominion till I win my wish :
but now I have a mind to solace myself in the city and view its
thoroughfares and market-streets." So the King bade bring him
a mare of the thoroughbreds, saddled and bridled ; and Sayf
al-Muluk mounted her and rode through the streets and markets
of the city. As he looked about him right and left; lo ! his eyes
fell on a young man, who was carrying a tunic and crying it for
sale at fifteen dinars : so he considered him and saw him to be
like his brother Sa'id ; and indeed it was his very self, but he was
wan of blee and changed for long strangerhood and the travails of
travel, so that he knew him not. However, he said to his
attendants, " Take yonder youth and carry him to the palace
where I lodge, and keep him with you till my return from the
ride when I will question him." But they understood him

3 $6 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

to say, "Carry him to the prison/' and said in themselves
" Haply this is some runaway Mameluke of his." So they
took him and bore him to the bridewell, where they laid him
in irons and left him seated in solitude, unremembered by
any. Presently Sayf al-Muluk returned to the palace, but he
forgot his brother Sa'id, and none made mention of him.
So he abode in prison, and when they brought out the
prisoners, to cut ashlar from the quarries they took Sa'id with
them, and he wrought with the rest. He abode a month's
space, in this squalor and sore sorrow, pondering his case and
saying in himself, " What is the cause of my imprisonment ? "j
while Sayf al-Muluk's mind was diverted from him by rejoicing
and other things ; but one day, as he sat, he bethought him of
Sa'id and said to his Mamelukes, " Where is the white slave I
gave into your charge on such a day ? " Quoth they, " Didst thou
not bid us bear him to the bridewell ? "; and quoth he, " Nay I
said not so ; I bade you carry him to my palace after the ride."
Then he sent his Chamberlains and Emirs for Sa'id and they
fetched him in fetters, and loosing him from his irons set him
before the Prince, who asked him, " O young man, what country,
man art thou ? "; and he answered, " I am from Egypt and my
name is Sa'id, son of Paris the Wazir." Now hearing these words
Sayf al-Muluk sprang to his feet and throwing himself off the
throne and upon his friend, hung on his neck, weeping aloud for
very joy and saying, " O my brother, O Sa'id, praise be Allah for
that I see thee alive ! I am thy brother Sayf al-Muluk, son of
King Asim." Then they embraced and shed tears together and
all who were present marvelled at them. After this Sayf al-Muluk
bade his people bear Sa'id to the Hammam-bath : and they did so.
When he came out, they clad him in costly clothing and carried
him back to Sayf al-Muluk who seated him on the throne beside
himself. When King Taj al-Muluk heard of the reunion of Sayf
al-Muluk and his brother Sa'id, he joyed with joy exceeding and
came to them, and the three sat devising of all that had befallen
them in the past from first to last. Then said Sa'id : O my
brother, O Sayf al-Muluk, when the ship sank with all on board
I saved myself on a plank with a company of Mamelukes and it
drifted with us a whole month, when the wind cast us, by the
ordinance of Allah Almighty, upon an island. So we landed and
entering among the trees took to eating of the fruits, for we were
anhungred. Whilst we were busy eating, there fell on us unawares,

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad fa al-Jamal, 357

folk like Jfrits * and springing on our shoulders rode us 2 and said
to us, " Go on with us ; for ye are become our asses." So I said
to him who had mounted me, " What art thou and why mountest
thou me ? " At this he twisted one of his legs about my neck, till
I was all but dead, and beat upon my back the while with the
other leg, till I thought he had broken my backbone. So I fell to
the ground on my face, having no strength left in me for famine
and thirst. From my fall he knew that I was hungry and taking
me by the hand, led me to a tree laden with fruit which was a
pear-tree 3 and said to me, " Eat thy fill of this tree." So I ate
till I had enough and rose to walk against my will ; but, ere I had
fared afar the creature turned and leaping on my shoulders again
drove me on, now walking, now running and now trotting, and he
the while mounted on me, laughing and saying, '' Never in my
life saw I a donkey like unto thee ! " We abode thus for years
till, one day of the days, it chanced that we saw there great plenty
of vines, covered with ripe fruit ; so we gathered a quantity of
grape-bunches and throwing them into a pit, trod them with our
feet, till the pit became a great water-pool. Then we waited
awhile and presently returning thither, found that the sun had
wroughten on the grape-juice and it was become wine. So we
used to drink it till we were drunken and our faces flushed and
we fell to singing and dancing and running about in the merriment
of drunkenness 4 ; whereupon our masters said to us, 'What is it
that reddeneth your faces and maketh you dance and sing ? '*
We replied, " Ask us not, what is your quest in questioning us
hereof ? " But they insisted, saying, " You must tell us so that
we may know the truth of the case," till we told them how we

1 For the Shaykh of the Sea(-board) in Sindbad the Seaman see vol. vi. 50.

2 That this riding is a facetious exaggeration of the African practice I find was
guessed by Mr. Keightley.

3 Arab. "Kummasra": the root seems to be " Kamsara " = being slender or

* Lane translates, "by reason of the exhilaration produced by intoxication." But
the Arabic here has no assonance. The passage also alludes to the drunken habits of
those blameless Ethiopians, the races of Central Africa where, after midday a chief is
rarely if ever found sober. We hear much about drink in England but Englishmen are
mere babes compared with these stalwart Negroes. In Unyamwezi I found all the
standing bedsteads of pole-sleepers and bark-slabs disposed at an angle of about 20 degrees
for the purpose of draining off the huge pottle-fulls of Pombe (Osirian beer) drained
by the occupants ; and, comminxit lee turn pot us might be said of the whole male

Alf Laylak wa Laylah.

had pressed grapes and made wine. Quoth they, " Give us to
drink thereof"; but quoth we, " The grapes are spent." So they
brought us to a Wady, whose length we knew not from its breadth
nor its beginning from its end wherein were vines each bunch of
grapes on them weighing twenty pounds 1 by the scale and all
within easy reach, and they said, "Gather of these." So we
gathered a mighty great store of grapes and finding there a big
trench bigger than the great tank in the King's garden we filled
it full of fruit. This we trod with our feet and did with the juice
as before till it became strong wine, which it did after a month ;
whereupon we said to them, " 'Tis come to perfection ; but in
what will ye drink it ? " And they replied, " We had asses like
unto you ; but we ate them and kept their heads : so give us to
drink in their skulls." We went to their caves which we found
full of heads and bones of the Sons of Adam , and we gave
them to drink, when they became drunken and lay down, nigh
two hundred of them. Then we said to one another, " Is 't not
enough that they should ride us, but they must eat us also ?
There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great ! But we will ply them with wine, till they
are overcome by drunkenness, when we will slay them and be at
rest from them." Accordingly, we awoke them and fell to filling
the skulls and gave them to drink, but they said, " This is
bitter." We replied, " Why say ye 'tis bitter ? Whoso saith thus,
except he drink of it ten times, he dieth the same day." When
they heard this, they feared death and cried to us, " Give us to
drink the whole ten times." So we gave them to drink, and
when they had swallowed the rest of the ten draughts they waxed
drunken exceedingly and their strength failed them and they
availed not to mount us. Thereupon we dragged them together
by their hands and laying them one upon another, collected great
plenty of dry vine-stalks and branches and heaped it about and
upon them : then we set fire to the pile and stood afar off, to see

what became of them. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn

of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 This is not exaggerated. When at Hebron I saw the biblical spectacle of two men
carrying a huge bunch slung to a pole, not so much for the weight as to keep the grapes
from injury.

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad? a al-Jamal. 359

Koto fofjen it foas t&e &eben ^un&rrti anfc

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sa'id
continued : When we set fire to the pile wherein were the Ghuls,
I with the Mamelukes stood afar off to see what became of them ;
and, as soon the fire was burnt out, we came back and found
them a heap of ashes, wherefore we praised Allah Almighty who
had delivered us from them. Then we went forth about the
island and sought the sea-shore, where we parted and I and two of
the Mamelukes fared on till we came to a thick copse full of fruit
and there busied ourselves with eating, and behold, presently up
came a man tall of stature long of beard and lengthy of ear,
with eyes like cressets driving before him and feeding a great
flock of sheep s When he saw us he rejoiced and said to us,
" Well come, and fair welcome to you ! Draw near me that I
may slaughter you an ewe of these sheep and roast it and give
you to eat." Quoth we, " Where is thine abode ? " And quoth
he, " Hard by yonder mountain ; go on towards it till ye come
to a cave and enter therein, for you will see many guests like
yourselves ; and do ye sit with them, whilst we make ready for
you the guest-meal." We believed him so fared on, as he bade
us, till we came to the cavern, where we found many guests, Sons
of Adam like ourselves, but they were all blinded a ; and when
we entered, one said, " I'm sick " ; and another, " I'm weak." So
we cried to them, " What is this you say and what is the cause
of your sickness and weakness ? " They asked, " Who are
ye ? " ; and we answered, " We are guests." Then said they,
" What hath made you fall into the hands of yonder accursed ?
But there is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great ? This is a Ghul who devoureth the Sons of
Adam and he hath blinded us and meaneth to eat us." Said

1 The Mac. and Bui. Edits, add, " and with him a host of others after his kind " ;
but these words are omitted by the Bresl. Edit, and apparently from the sequel there
was only one Ghul -giant.

* Probably alluding to the most barbarous Persian practice of plucking or tearing
out the eyes from their sockets. See Sir John Malcolm's description of the capture of
Kirman and Morier (in Zohrab, the hostage) for the wholesale blinding of the
Asterabadian by the Eunuch-King Agha Mohammed Shah. I may note that the
mediaeval Italian practice called bacinare, or scorching with red-hot basins, came from

360 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

we, " And how did he blind you ? " and they replied, " Even as
he will blind yourselves anon." Quoth we, " And how so ? "
And quoth they, "He will bring you bowls of soured milk 1 and
will say to you : Ye are weary with wayfare : take this milk and
drink it. And when ye have drunken thereof, ye will become
blind like us." Said I to myself, " There is no escape for us but
by contrivance." So I dug a hole in the ground and sat over it.
After an hour or so in came the accursed Ghul with bowls of
milk, whereof he gave to each of us, saying, " Ye come from the
desert and are athirst : so take this milk and drink it, whilst I
roast you the flesh." I took the cup and carried it to my mouth but
emptied it into the hole ; then I cried out, " Alas ! my sight is
gone and I am blind ! " and clapping my hand to my eyes, fell
a-weeping and a-wailing, whilst the accursed laughed and said,
" Fear not, thou art now become like mine other guests." But,
as for my two comrades, they drank the milk and became blind.
Thereupon the Ghul arose and stopping up the mouth of the
cavern came to me and felt my ribs, but found me lean and with
no flesh on my bones : so he tried another and finding him fat,
rejoiced. Then he slaughtered three sheep and skinned them and
fetching iron spits, spitted the flesh thereon and set them over the
fire to roast. When the meat was done, he placed it before my
comrades, who ate and he with them ; after which he brought a
leather-bag full of wine and drank thereof and lay down prone
and snored. Said I to myself, " He's drowned in sleep : how-
shall I slay him ?" Then I bethought me of the spits and
thrusting two of them into the fire, waited till they were as red-
hot coals : whereupon I arose and girded myself and taking a
spit in each hand went up to the accursed Ghul and thrust them
into his eyes, pressing upon them with all my might. He sprang to
his feet for sweet life and would have laid hold of me ; but he was
blind. So I fled from him into the inner cavern, whilst he ran after
me ; but I found no place of refuge from him nor whence I might
escape into the open country, for the cave was stopped up with
stones ; wherefore I was bewildered and said to the blind men,
"How shall I do with this accursed ?" Replied one of them, "O Sa'id ,

1 Arab. "Laban" as opposed to "Halfb": in Night dcclxxiv (infra p. 365) the
former is used for sweet milk, and other passages could be cited. I have noted that all
galaktophagi, or milk-drinking races, prefer the artificially soured to the sweet, choosing the
fermentation to take place outside rather than inside their stomachs. Amongst the Somal
I never saw man, woman or child drink a drop of fresh milk j and they offered consider-
able opposition to our heating it for coffee.

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad? a al-JamaL 361

with a run and a spring mount up to yonder niche ! and thou wilt
find there a sharpened scymitar of copper : bring it to me and I will
tell thee what to do." So I clombed to the niche and taking the
blade, returned to the blind man, who said to me, " Smite him
with the sword in his middle, and he will die forthright." So I
rushed after the Ghul, who was weary with running after me and
felt for the blind men that he might kill them and, coming up to
him smote him with the sword a single stroke across his waist
and he fell in twain. Then he screamed and cried out to me, " O
man, an thou desire to slay me, strike me a second stroke."
Accordingly, I was about to smite him another cut ; but he who
had directed me to the niche and the scymitar said, " Smite him
not a second time, for then he will not die, but will live and
destroy us." - And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

fofjen it foas tije Ifceben p^untfrrti anti &ebentg=tf)nfo Nig&t,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sa'id
continued : Now when I struck the Ghul with the sword he
cried out to me, " O man, an thou desire to slay me, strike me a
second stroke ! " I was about so to do when he who had directed
me to the scymitar said, " Smite him not a second time, for
then he will not die but will live and destroy us !" So I held my
hand as he bade me, and the Ghul died. Then said the blind
man to me, " Open the mouth of the cave and let us fare forth ; so
haply Allah may help us and bring us to rest from this place."

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 37 of 40)