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 7 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 7 of 40)
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She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
the Moslem host mounted and rode to the plain of cut and thrust,
the first to open the door of war was King Gharib who, drawing
his sword Al-Mahik, drove his charger between the two ranks and
cried out, saying, " Whoso knoweth me hath enough of my mischief
and whoso unknoweth me, to him I will make myself known. I
am Gharib, King of Al-Irak and Al-Yaman, brother of Ajib."
When Ra'ad Shah, son of the King of Hind, heard this, he shouted
to his captains, " Bring me Ajib." So they brought him and
Ra'ad Shah said to him, "Thou wottest that this quarrel is thy
quarrel and thou art the cause of all this slaughter. Now yonder
standeth thy brother Gharib amiddle-most the fightfield and stead
where sword and spear we shall wield ; go thou to him and bring
him to me a prisoner, that I may set him on a camel arsy-versy,
and make a show of him and carry him to the land of Hind."
Answered Ajib, " O King, send out to him other than I, for I am
in ill-health this morning." But Ra'ad Shah snarked and snorted
and cried, " By the virtue of the sparkling Fire and the light and
the shade and the heat, unless thou fare forth to thy brother and
bring him to me in haste, I will cut ofif thy head and make an end
of thee." So Ajib took heart and urging his horse up to his
brother in mid-field, said to him, " O dog of the Arabs and vilest
of all who hammer down tent-pegs, wilt thou contend with Kings ?
Take what to thee cometh and receive the glad tidings of thy

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 59

death." When Gharib heard this, he said to him, " Who art thou
among the Kings ?" And Ajib answered, saying, " I am thy
brother, and this day is the last of thy worldly days." Now when
Gharib was assured that he was indeed his brother Ajib, he cried
out and said, " Ho, to avenge my father and mother ! " Then
giving his sword to Kaylajan, 1 he drave at Ajib and smote him
with his mace a smashing blow and a swashing, that went nigh to
beat in his ribs, and seizing him by the mail-gorget tore him
from the saddle and cast him to the ground ; whereupon the two
Marids pounced upon him and binding him fast, dragged him off
dejected and abject ; whilst Gharib rejoiced in the capture of his
enemy and repeated these couplets of the poet :

I have won my wish and my need have scored o Unto Thee be the praise and

the thanks, O our Lord !
I grew up dejected and abject ; poor, ' o But Allah vouchsafed me all

boons implored :
I have conquered countries and mastered men o But for Thee were I naught,

O thou Lord adored I

When Ra'ad Shah saw how evilly Ajib fared with his brother, he
called for his charger and donning his harness and habergeon,
mounted and dashed out a-field. As soon as he drew near King
Gharib, he cried out at him, saying, " O basest of Arabs and bearer
of scrubs, 2 who art thou, that thou shouldest capture Kings and
braves ? Down from thy horse and put elbows behind back and
kiss my feet and set my warriors free and go with me in bond
of chains to my reign that I may pardon thee and make thee a
Shaykh in our own land, so mayst thou eat there a bittock of
bread." When Gharib heard these words he laughed till he fell
backwards and answered, saying, O mad hound and mangy
wolf, soon shalt thou see against whom the shifts of Fortune will
turn ! " Then he cried out to Sahim, saying, " Bring me the
prisoners ;" so he brought them, and Gharib smote off their heads ;
whereupon Ra'ad Shah drave at him, with the driving of a lordly

* There is some chivalry in his unwillingness to use the magical blade. As a rule the
Knights of Romance utterly ignore fair play and take every dirty advantage in the magic
line that comes to hand.

2 Arab. " Hammal al-Hatabi " = one who carries to market the fuel-sticks which he
picks up in the waste. In the Koran (chapt. cxi.) it is applied to Umm Jamfl, wife of
Mohammed's hostile cousin, Abd al-Uzza, there termed Abu Lahab (Father of smokeless
Flame) with the implied meaning that she will bear fuel to feed Hell-fire.

60 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

champion and the onslaught of a fierce slaughterer and they falsed
and fainted and fought till nightfall, when the kettle-drums beat
the retreat. - And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

Nofo fo&nt ft foa* t&t &ix ^un&reft anfc &fxtB - tf)tr& Nt$t t

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
the kettle-drums beat the retreat, the two Kings parted and
returned, each to his own place where his people gave him joy of
his safety. And the Moslems said to Gharib, " Tis not thy want,
O King, to prolong a fight ;" and he replied, " O folk, I have done
battle with many royalties * and champions ; but never saw I a
harder hitter than this one. Had I chosen to draw Al-Mahik upon
him, I had mashed his bones and made an end of his days : but I
delayed with him, thinking to take him prisoner and give him part
enjoyment in Al-Islam." Thus far concerning Gharib ; but as
regards Ra'ad Shah, he returned to his marquee and sat upon his
throne, when his Chiefs came in to him and asked him of his
adversary, and he answered, " By the truth of the sparkling Fire,
never in my life saw I the like of yonder brave ! But to-morrow I
will take him prisoner and lead him away dejected and abject."
Then they slept till daybreak, when the battle-drums beat to fight
and the swords in baldric were dight ; and war-cries were cried
amain and all mounted their horses of generous strain and drew
out into the field, filling every wide place and hill and plain. The
first to open the door of war was the rider outrageous and the lion
rageous, King Gharib, who drave his steed between the two hosts
and wheeled and careered over the field, crying, " Who is for fray,
who is for fight ? Let no sluggard come out to me this day nor
dullard ! " Before he had made an end of speaking, out rushed

1 Arab. " Akyl," lit. whose word (Kaul) is obeyed, a title of the Himyarite Kings,
of whom Al-Bergendi relates that one of them left an inscription at Samarcand, which
many centuries ago no man could read. This evidently alludes to the dynasty which
preceded the " Tobba " and to No. xxiv. Shamar Yar'ash (Shamar the Palsied). Some
make him son of Malik surnamed Nashir al-Ni'am (Scatterer of Blessings) others of
Afrikiis (No. xviii.), who, according to Al-Jannabi, Ahmad bin Yusuf and Ibn Ibdun
(Pocock, Spec. Hist. Arab.) founded the Berber (Barbar) race, the remnants of the
Causanites expelled by the " robber, Joshua son of Nun," and became the eponymus of
" Africa." This word which, under the Romans, denoted a small province on the
Northern Sea-board, is, I would suggest, A'far-Kahi (Afar-land), the Afar being now the
Dankali race, the country of Osiris whom my learned friend, the late Mariette Pasha,
derived from the Egyptian " Punt " identified by him with the Somali country. This
would make " Africa," as it ought to be, an Eyptian (Coptic) term.

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 61

Ra'ad Shah, riding on an elephant, as he were a vast tower, in a
seat girthed with silken bands ; and between the elephant's ears
sat the driver, bearing in hand a hook, wherewith he goaded the
beast and directed him right and left. When the elephant drew
near Gharib's horse, and the steed saw a creature it had never
before set eyes on, it took fright j 1 wherefore Gharib dismounted
and gave the horse to Kaylajan. Then he drew Al-Mahik and
advanced to meet Ra'ad Shah a-foot, walking on till he faced the
elephant. Now it was Ra'ad Shah's wont, when he found himself
overmatched by any brave, to mount an elephant, taking with him
an implement called the lasso, 2 which was in the shape of a net,
wide at base and narrow at top with a running cord of silk passed
through rings along its edges. With this he would attack horse-
men and casting the meshes over them, draw the running noose
and drag the rider off his horse and make him prisoner ; and thus
had he conquered many cavaliers. So, as Gharib came up to him,
he raised his hand and, despreading the net over him, pulled him
on to the back of the elephant and cried out to the beast to return
to the Indian camp. But Kaylajan and Kurajan had not left
Gharib and, when they beheld what had befallen their lord, they
laid hold of the elephant, whilst Gharib strove with the net, till
he rent k in sunder. Upon this the two Marids seized Ra'ad
Shah and bound him with a cord of palm-fibre. Then the two
armies drove each at other and met with a shock like two seas
crashing or two mountains together dashing, whilst the dust rose
to the confines of the sky and blinded was every eye. The battle
waxed fierce and fell, the blood ran in rills, nor did they cease to
wage war with lunge of lance and sway of sword in lustiest way,
till the day darkened and the night starkened, .when the drums
beat the retreat and the two hosts drew asunder. 3 Now the

1 Herodotus (i. 80) notes this concerning the camel. Elephants are not allowed to
walk the streets in Anglo-Indian cities, where they have caused many accidents.

2 Arab. Wahk or Wahak, suggesting the Roman retiarius. But the lasso pure and
simple, the favourite weapon of shepherd and herdsmen was well-known to the old
Egyptians and in ancient India. It forms one of the T-letters in the hieroglyphs.

* Compare with this and other Arab battle-pieces the Pandit's description in the
Katha Sarit Sagara, e.g. "Then a confused battle arose with dint of arrow, javelin,
lance, mace and axe, costing the lives of countless soldiers (N.B. Millions are
nothing to him) ; rivers of blood flowed with the bodies of elephants and horses for
alligators, with the pearls from the heads of elephants for sands and with the heads of
keroes for stones. That feast of battle delighted the flesh-loving demons who, drunk
wkh blood instead of wine, were dancing with the palpitating trunks," etc., etc.
Fasc. xii. 526.

62 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

Moslems were evilly entreated that day by reason of the riders
on elephants and giraffes, 1 and many of them were killed and
most of the rest were wounded. This was grievous to Gharib,
who commanded the hurt to be medicined and turning to his
Chief Officers, asked them what they counselled. Answered they,
*'O King, 'tis only the elephants and giraffes that irk us; were
we but quit of them, we should overcome the enemy." Quoth
Kaylajan and Kurajan, " We twain will unsheath our swords and
fall on them and slay the most part of them." But there came
forward a man of Oman, who had been privy counsellor to J aland,
and said, " O King, I will be surety for the host, an thou wilt but
hearken to me and follow my counsel." Gharib turned to his
Captains and said to them, " Whatsoever this wise man shall say

to you that do." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day

and ceased to say her permitted say.

Nofo fofjm ft foas tfc &fx f^unfcrelr antJ gbtxtn-fourtfj Nfgbt,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Gharib said to his Captains, " Whatsoever this wise man shall say
to you, that do "; they replied, " Hearing and obeying ! " So the
Omani chose out ten captains and asked them, " How many
braves have ye under your hands ? "; and they answered, " Ten
thousand fighting-men." Then he carried them into the armoury
and armed five thousand of them with harquebuses and other five
thousand with cross-bows and taught them to shoot with these
new weapons. 2 Now as soon as it was day, the Indians came out
to the field, armed cap-a-pie, with the elephants, giraffes and
champions in their van ; whereupon Gharib and his men mounted
and both hosts drew out and the big drums beat to battle. Then

1 The giraffe is here mal-place" : it is, Lrepeat, one of the most timid of the antelope
tribe. Nothing can be more graceful than this huge game as it stands under a tree
extending its long and slender neck to the foliage above it ; but when in flight all the
limbs seem loose and the head is carried almost on a level with the back.

8 The fire-arms may have been inserted by the copier ; the cross-bow (Arcubalista) is
of unknown antiquity. I have remarked in my book of the Sword (p. 19) that the bow
is the first crucial evidence of the distinction between the human weapon and the bestial
arm, and like the hymen or membrane of virginity proves a difference of degree if not
of kind between man and the so-called lower animals. I note from Yule's Marco Polo
(ii., 143) " that the cross-bow was re-introduced into European warfare during the
twelfth century"; but the arbalesta was well known to the bon rot Charlemagne
(Regnier Sat. X).

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 63

the man of Oman cried out to the archers and harquebusiers to
shoot, and they plied the elephants and giraffes with shafts and
leaden bullets, which entered the beasts' flanks, whereat they
roared out and turning upon their own ranks, trod them down
with their hoofs. Presently the Moslems charged the Misbelievers
and outflanked them right and left, whilst the elephants and
giraffes trampled them and drove them into the hills and wolds,
whither the Moslems followed hard upon them with the keen-
edged sword and but few of the giraffes and elephants escaped.
Then King Gharib and his folk returned, rejoicing in their victory;
and on the morrow they divided the loot and rested five days ;
after which King Gharib sat down on the throne of his kingship
and sending for his brother Ajib, said to him, " O dog, why hast
thou assembled the Kings against us ? But He who hath power
over all things hath given us the victory over thee. So embrace
the Saving Faith and thou shalt be saved, and I will forbear to
avenge my father and mother on thee therefor, and I will make
thee King again as thou wast, placing myself under thy hand."
But Ajib said, "I will not leave my faith." So Gharib bade lay
him in irons and appointed an hundred stalwart slaves to guard
him ; after which he turned to Ra'ad Shah and said to him, " How
sayst thou of the faith of Al-Islam ? " Replied he, " O my lord,
I will enter thy faith ; for, were it not a true Faith and a goodly,
thou hadst not conquered us. Put forth thy hand and I will testify
that there is no god but the God and that Abraham the Friend is
the Apostle of God." At this Gharib rejoiced and said to him," Is
thy heart indeed stablished in the sweetness of this Belief?" And
he answered, saying, "Yes, O my lord!" Then quoth Gharib,
" O, Ra'ad Shah, wilt thou go to thy country and thy kingdom ? ";
and quoth he, " O, my lord, my father will put me to death, for
that I have left his faith." Gharib rejoined, " I will go with thee
and make thee king of the country and constrain the folk to obey
thee, by the help of Allah the Bountiful, the Beneficent." And
Ra'ad Shah kissed his hands and feet. Then Gharib rewarded
the counsellor who had caused the rout of the foe and gave him,
great wealth ; after which he turned to Kaylajan and Kurajan,
and said to them, " Harkye, Chiefs of the Jinn, 'tis my will that
ye carry me, together with Ra'ad Shah and Jamrkan and Sa'adan
to the land of Hind." " We hear and we obey," answered they.
So Kurajan took up Jamrkan and Sa'adan, whilst Kalajan took
Gharib and Ra'ad Shah and made for the land of Hind. And


Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her per-
mitted say.

foljm ft foas tfje &t'x p^un&reU anlr &fxtj3=eftf)

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
two Marids had taken up Gharib and Jamrkan, Sa'adan the Ghul
and Ra'ad Shah, they flew on with them from sundown till the
last of the night, when they set them down on the terrace of King
Tarkanan's palace at Cashmere. Now news was brought to
Tarkanan by the remnants of his host of what had befallen his
son, whereat he. slept not neither took delight in aught, and he was
troubled with sore trouble. As he sat in his Harim, pondering
his case, behold, Gharib and his company descended the stairways
of the palace and came in to him ; and when he saw his son and
those who were with him, he was confused and fear took him of
the Marids. Then Ra'ad Shah turned to him and said, " How
long wilt thou persist in thy frowardness, O traitor and worshipper
of the Fire ? Woe to thee ! Leave worshipping the Fire and
serve the Magnanimous Sire, Creator of day and night, whom
attaineth no sight." When Tarkanan heard his son's speech, he
cast at him an iron club he had by him ; but it missed him and
fell upon a buttress of the palace and smote out three stones.
Then cried the King, " O dog, thou hast destroyed mine army and
hast forsaken thy faith and comest now to make me do likewise ! "
With this Gharib went up to him and dealt him a cuff on the
neck which knocked him down ; whereupon the Marids bound
him fast and all the Harim-women fled. Then Gharib sat down
on the throne of kingship and said to Ra'ad Shah, " Do thou
justice upon thy father." So Ra'ad Shah turned to him and
said, " O perverse old man, become one of the saved and thou
shalt be saved from the fire and the wrath of the All-powerful.'*
But Tarkanan cried, " I will not die save in my own faith."
Whereupon Gharib drew Al-Mahik and smote him therewith,
and he fell to the earth in two pieces, and Allah hurried his soul
to the fire and abiding-place dire. 1 Then Gharib bade hang his
body over the palace gate and they hung one-half on the right

1 In AMslam this was unjustifiable homicide, excused only because the Kafir had
tried to slay his own son. He should have been summoned to become a tributary and
then, on express refusal, be might legally have been put to death.

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 65

hand and the other on the left and waited till day, when Gnarib
caused Ra'ad Shah don the royal habit and sit down on his
father's throne, with himself on his dexter hand and Jamrkan and
Sa'adan and the Marids standing right and left ; and he said to
Kaylajan and Kurajan, " Whoso entereth of the Princes and
Officers, seize him and bind him, and let not a single Captain
escape you." And they answered, " Hearkening and obedience ! "
Presently, the Officers made for the palace, to do their service to
the King, and the first to appear was the Chief Captain who,
seeing King Tarkanan's dead body cut in half and hanging on
either side of the gate, was seized with terror and amazement.
Then Kaylajan laid hold of him by the collar and threw him and
pinioned him ; after which he dragged him into the palace and
before sunrise they had bound three hundred and fifty Captains
and set them before Gharib, who said to them, " O folk, have you
seen your King hanging at the palace-gate ? " Asked they, who
hath done this deed ?"; and he answered, " I did it, by the help
of Allah Almighty ; and whoso opposeth me, I will do with him
likewise." Then quoth they, " What is thy will with us ? " ; and
quoth he, " I am Gharib, King of Al-Irak, he who slew your
warriors ; and now Ra'ad Shah hath embraced the Faith of
Salvation and is become a mighty King and ruler over you. So
do ye become True Believers and all shall be well with you ; but,
if ye refuse, you shall repent it." So they pronounced the pro-
fession of the Faith and were enrolled among the people of felicity.
Then said Gharib, " Are your hearts indeed stablished in the
sweetness of the Belief ? "; and they replied, " Yes "; whereupon
he bade release them and clad them in robes of honour, saying,
" Go to your people and expound Al-Islam to them. Whoso
accepteth the Faith, spare him ; but if he refuse slay him."
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

Xofo fo&en ft foas tfje Jkfx f^untirrti an* %b\xt&mtf) jtftjjfjt,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King
Gharib said to the troops of Ra'ad Shah, " Go to your people and
offer Al-Islam to them. Whoso accepteth the Faith spare him ;
but if he refuse, slay, him." So they went out and, assembling
the men under their command, explained what had taken place
and expounded Al-Islam to them, and they all professed, except

66 A If Laylak wa Laylah.

a few, whom they put to death ; after which they returned and
told Gharib, who blessed Allah and glorified Him, saying, " Praised
be the Almighty who hath made this thing easy to us without
strife! " Then he abode in Cashmere of India forty days, till he
had ordered the affairs of the country and cast down the shrines
and temples of the Fire and built in their stead mosques and
cathedrals, whilst Ra'ad Shah made ready for him rarities and
treasures beyond count and despatched them to Al-Irak in ships.
Then Gharib mounted on Kaylajan's back and Jamrkan and
Sa'adan on that of Kurajan, after they had taken leave of Ra'ad
Shah ; and journeyed through the night till break of day, when
they reached Oman city where their troops met them and saluted
them and rejoiced in them. Then they set out for Cufa where
Gharib called for his brother Ajib and commanded to hang him.
So Sahim brought hooks of iron and driving them into the tendons
of Ajib's heels, hung him over the gate ; and Gharib bade them
shoot him ; so they riddled him with arrows, till he was like unto
a porcupine. Then Gharib entered his palace and sitting down
on the throne of his kingship, passed the day in ordering the
affairs of the state. At nightfall he went in to his Harim, where
Star o' Morn came to meet him and embraced him and gave him
joy, she and her women, of his safety. He spent that day and
lay that night with her and on the morrow, after he had made the
Ghusl-ablution and prayed the dawn-prayer, he sat down on his
throne and commanded preparation to be made for his marriage
with Mahdiyah. Accordingly they slaughtered three thousand
head of sheep and two thousand oxen and a thousand he-goats
and five hundred camels and the like number of horses, beside
four thousand fowls and great store of geese ; never was such
wedding in Al-Islam to that day. Then he went in to Mahdiyah
and took her maidenhead and abode with her ten days; after
which he committed the kingdom to his uncle Al-Damigh, charging
him to rule the lieges justly, and journeyed with his women and
warriors, till he came to the ships laden with the treasures and
rarities which Ra'ad Shah had sent him, and divided the monies
among his men who from poor became rich. Then they fared on
till they reached the city of Babel, where he bestowed on Sahim
Al-Layl a robe of honour and appointed him Sultan of the city.

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying

her permitted say.

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 6?

to&en it teas t&e gbfx ^unfcrcfc an& Sfciiti?=s*bem& tft'g&t,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Gharib,
after robing his brother Sahim and appointing him Sultan, abode
with him ten days, after which he set out again and journeyed nor
stinted travel till he reached the castle of Sa'adan the Ghul, where
they rested five days. Then quoth Gharib to Kaylajan and
Kurajan, "Pass over to Isbanir al-Madain, to the palace of the
Chosroe, and find what is come of Fakhr Taj and bring me one
of the King's kinsmen, who shall acquaint me with what hath
passed." Quoth they, " We hear and we obey," and set out forth-
right for Isbanir. As they flew between heaven and earth, hehold,
they caught sight of a mighty army, as it were the surging sea,
and Kaylajan said to Kurajan, " Let us descend and determine
what be this host." So they alighted and walking among the
troops, found them Persians and questioned the soldiers whose
men they were and whither they were bound ; whereto they made
answer, " We are en route for Al-Irak, to slay Gharib and all who
company him." When the Marids heard these words, they repaired
to the pavilion of the Persian general, whose name was Rustam,
and waited till the soldiers slept, when they took up Rustam, bed
and all, and made for the castle where Gharib lay. They arrived
there by midnight and going to the door of the King's pavilion,
cried, " Permission ! " which when he heard, he sat up and said,
" Come in." So they entered and set down the couch with
Rustam asleep thereon. Gharib asked, " Who be this ? " and they
answered, " This be a Persian Prince, whom we met coming with
a great host, thinking to slay thee and thine, and we have brought
him to thee, that he may tell thee what thou hast a mind to
know." " Fetch me an hundred braves ! " cried Gharib, and they
fetched them ; whereupon he bade them, " Draw your swords and

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 7 of 40)