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 8 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 8 of 40)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

stand at the head of this Persian carle ! " Then they awoke him
and he opened his eyes ; and, finding an arch of steel over his
head, shut them again, crying, " What be this foul dream ? " But
Kaylajan pricked him with his sword-point and he sat up and
said, " Where am I ? " Quoth Sahim, " Thou art in the presence
of King Gharib, son-in-law of the King of the Persians, What is
thy name and whither goest thou ? " When Rustam heard Gharib's
name, he bethought himself and said in his mind, " Am I asleep
or awake ? " Whereupon Sahim dealt him a buffet, saying, " Why

68 A If Laylafy wa Laylak.

dost thou not answer ? " And he raised his head and asked, "Who
brought me from my tent out of the midst of my men ? " Gharib
answered, " These two Marids brought thee." So he looked at
Kaylajan and Kurajan and skited in his bag-trousers. Then the
Marids fell upon him, baring their tusks and brandishing their
blades, and said to him, " Wilt thou not rise and kiss ground before
King Gharib ? " And he trembled at them and was assured that
he was not aleep ; so he stood up and kissed the ground between
the hands of Gharib, saying, " The blessing of the Fire be on thee,
and long life be thy life, O King ! " Gharib cried, " O dog of the
Persians, fire is not worshipful, for that it is harmful and profiteth
not save in cooking food." Asked Rustam, "Who then is wor-
shipful?"; and Gharib answered, "Alone worshipworth is God,
who formed thee and fashioned thee and created the heavens and
the earth." Quoth the Ajami, "What shall I say that I may
become of the party of this Lord and enter thy Faith ? " ; and
quoth Gharib, " Say : There is no god but the God, and Abraham
is the Friend of God." So Rustam pronounced the profession of
the Faith and was enrolled among the people of felicity. Then
said he to Gharib, " Know, O my lord, that thy father-in-law, King
Sabiir, seeketh to slay thee ; and indeed he hath sent me with an
hundred thousand men, charging me to spare none of you." Gharib
rejoined, " Is this my reward for having delivered his daughter
from death and dishonour ? Allah will requite him his ill intent.
But what is thy name ? " The Persian answered, " My name is
Rustam, general of Sabur;" and Gharib, " Thou shalt have the
like rank in my army," adding, " But tell me, O Rustam, how is it
with the Princess Fakhr Taj ? " " May thy head live, O King of
the age ! " " What was the cause of her death ? " Rustam re-
plied, " O my lord, no sooner hadst thou left us than one of the
Princess's women went in to King Sabur and said to him : O my
master, didst thou give Gharib leave to lie with the Princess my
mistress? whereto he answered: No, by the virtue of the fire!
and drawing his sword, went in to his daughter and said to her :
O foul baggage, why didst thou suffer yonder Badawi to sleep
with thee, without dower or even wedding? She replied : O my
papa, 'twas thou gavest him leave to sleep with me. Then he
asked: Did the fellow have thee ? but she was silent and hung
down her head. Hereupon he cried out to the midwives and
slave-girls, saying : Pinion me this harlot's elbows behind her
and look at her privy parts. So they did as he bade them and

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 69

after inspecting her slit said to him : O King, she hath lost her
maidenhead. Whereupon he ran at her and would have slain her,
but her mother rose up and threw herself between them crying :
O King, slay her not, lest thou be for ever dishonoured ; but shut
her in a cell till she die. So he cast her into prison till nightfall,
when he called two of his courtiers and said to them : Carry her
afar off and throw her into the river Jayhun and tell none. They
did his commandment, and indeed her memory is forgotten and

her time is past." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day

and ceased to say her permitted say.

Xofo fofren tt foas rtje Sbt'x 2&untrre& anb SbtxtB-n'g&ti)

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Gharib
asked news of Fakhr Taj, Rustam informed him that she had been
drowned in the river by her sire's command. And when Gharib
heard this, the world waxed wan before his eyes and he cried, " By
the virtue of Abraham the Friend, I will assuredly go to yonder
dog and overwhelm him and lay waste his realm ! " Then he sent
letters to Jamrkan and to the governors of Mosul and Mayyafarikfn ;
and, turning to Rustam, said to him, " How many men hadst thou
in thine army?" He replied, "An hundred thousand Persian
horse;" and Gharib rejoined, "Take ten thousand horse and go
to thy people and occupy them with war ; I will follow on thy
trail." So Rustam mounted and taking ten thousand Arab horse
made for his tribe, saying in himself, " I will do a deed shall
whiten my face with King Gharib." So he fared on seven days,
till there remained but half a day's journey between him and the
Persian camp ; when, dividing his host into four divisions he said
to his men, " Surround the Persians on all sides and fall upon them
with the sword." They rode on from eventide till midnight, when
they had compassed the camp of the Ajamis, who were asleep in
security, and fell upon them, shouting, " God is Most Great ! "
Whereupon the Persians started up from sleep and their feet
slipped and the sabre went round amongst them ; for the All-
knowing King was wroth with them, and Rustam wrought amongst
them as fire in dry fuel ; till, by the end of the night, the whole of
the Persian host was slain or wounded or fled, and the Moslems
made prize of their tents and baggage, horses, camels and treasure-
chests. Then they alighted and rested in the tents of the Ajamis

TO A If Laylah wa Laylak.

till King Gharib came up and, seeing what Rustam had done and
how he had gained by stratagem a great and complete victory, he
invested him with a robe of honour and said to him, " O Rustam,
it was thou didst put the Persians to the rout ; wherefore all the
spoil is thine." So he kissed Gharib's hand and thanked him, and
they rested till the end of the day, when they set out for King
Sabur's capital. Meanwhile, the fugitives of the defeated force
reached Isbanir and went in to Sabur, crying out and saying,
" Alas ! " and " Well-away ! " and " Woe worth the day ! " Quoth
he, " What hath befallen you and who with his mischief hath
smitten you ? " So they told him all that had passed and said,
" Naught befel us except that thy general Rustam, fell upon us in
the darkness of the night because he had turned Moslem ; nor did
Gharib come near us." When the King heard this, he cast his
crown to the ground and said, " There is no worth left us ! " Then
he turned to his son Ward Shah 1 and said to him, "O my son,
there is none for this affair save thou." Answered Ward Shah,
" By thy life, O my father, I will assuredly bring Gharib and his
chiefs of the people in chains and slay all who are with him."
Then he numbered his army and found it two hundred and twenty
thousand men. So they slept, intending to set forth on the
morrow ; but, next morning, as they were about to march, behold,
a cloud of dust arose and spread till it walled the world and
baffled the sight of the farthest-seeing wight. Now Sabur had
mounted to farewell his son, and when he saw this mighty great
dust, he let call a runner and said to him, " Go find me out the
cause of this dust-cloud." The scout went and returned, saying,
" O my lord, Gharib and his braves are upon you ; " whereupon
they unloaded their bat-beasts and drew out in line of battle.
When Gharib came up and saw the Persians ranged in row, he
cried out to his men, saying, " Charge with the blessing of Allah ! "
So they waved the flags, and the Arabs and the Ajamis drave one
at other and folk were heaped upon folk. Blood ran like water
and all souls saw death face to face ; the brave advanced and
pressed forward to assail and the coward hung back and turned tail
and they ceased not from fight and fray till ended day, when the
kettle-drums beat the retreat and the two hosts drew apart. Then
Sabur commanded to pitch his camp hard over the city-gate, and

"* i.e. " Rose King," like the Sikh name " Gulab Singh " = Rosewater Lion, sound*
ing in translation almost too absurd to be true.

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 71

Gharib set up his pavilions in front of theirs ; and every one went

to his tent. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and

ceased saying her permitted say.

Nofo fofjm ft teas tfje Sbt'x ^untirrtf an& &ixtg-n(nti)

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
two hosts drew apart, every one went to his tent until the morning.
As soon as it was day, the two hosts mounted their strong steeds
and levelled their lances and wore their harness of war ; then they
raised their slogan-cries and drew out in battle-array, whilst came
forth all the lordly knights and the lions of fights. Now the first
to open the gate of battle was Rustam, who urged his charger into
mid-field and cried out, " God is most Great ! I am Rustam
champion-in-chief of the Arabs and Ajams. Who is for tilting,
who is for fighting ? Let no sluggard come out to me this day or
weakling ! " Then there rushed forth to him a champion of the
Persians ; the two charged each other and there befel between
them a sore fight, till Rustam sprang upon his adversary and
smote him with a mace he had with him, seventy pounds in
weight, and beat his head down upon his breast, and he fell to the
earth, dead and in his blood drowned. This was no light matter
to Sabur and he commanded his men to charge ; so they drave at
the Moslems, invoking the aid of the light-giving Sun, whilst the
True Believers called for help upon the Magnanimous King. But
the Ajams, the Miscreants, outnumbered the Arabs, the Moslems,
and made them drain the cup of death ; which when Gharib saw
he drew his sword Al-Mahik and crying out his war-cry, fell upon
the Persians, with Kaylajan and Kurajan at either stirrup ; nor
did he leave playing upon them with blade till he hewed his way
to the standard-bearer and smote him on the head with the flat of
his sword, whereupon he fell down in a fainting-fit and the two
Marids bore him off to their camp. When the Persians saw the
standard fall, they turned and fled and for the city-gates made ;
but the Moslems followed them with the blade and they crowded
together to enter the city, so that they could not shut the gates
and there died of them much people. Then Rustam and Sa'adan,
Jamrkan and Sahim, Al-Damigh, Kaylajan and Kurajan and all
the braves Mohammedan and the champions of Faith Unitarian
fell upon the misbelieving Persians in the gates, and the blood of

72 Alf Laylah iva Laylah.

the Kafirs ran in the streets like a torrent till they threw down
their arms and harness and called out for quarter ; whereupon the
Moslems stayed their swords from the slaughter and drove them to
their tents, as one driveth a flock of sheep. Meanwhile Gharib
returned to his pavilion, where he doffed his gear and washed him-
self of the blood of the Infidels ; after which he donned his royal
robes and sat down on his chair of estate. Then he called for the
King of the Persians and said to him, "O dog of the Ajams, what
moved thee to deal thus with thy daughter ? How seest thou me
unworthy to be her baron ? " And Sabur answered, saying, " O
King, punish me not because of that deed which I did ; for I
repent me and confronted thee not in fight but in my fear of thee." 1
When Gharib heard these words he bade throw him flat and beat
him. So they bastinadoed him, till he could no longer groan, and
cast him among the prisoners. Then Gharib expounded Al-Islam
to the Persians and one hundred and twenty thousand of them
embraced The Faith, and the rest he put to the sword. Moreover
all the citizens professed Al-Islam and Gharib mounted and
entered in great state the city Isbanir Al-Madain. Then he went
into the King's palace and sitting down on Sabur's throne, gave
robes and largesse and distributed the booty and treasure among
the Arabs and Persians, wherefore they loved him and wished him
victory and honour and endurance of days. But Fakhr Taj's
mother remembered her daughter and raised the voice of mourning
for her, and the palace was filled with wails and cries. Gharib
heard this and entering the Harim, asked the women what ailed
them, whereupon the Princess's mother came forward and said, "O
my lord, thy presence put me in mind of my daughter and how
she would have joyed in thy coming, had she been alive and well."
Gharib wept for her and sitting down on his throne, called for
Sabur, and they brought him stumbling in his shackles. Quoth
Gharib to him, " O dog of the Persians, what didst thou do with
thy daughter ? " " I gave her to such an one and such an one,"
quoth the King, "saying: Drown her in the river Jayhun." So
Gharib sent for the two men and asked them, " Is what he saith
true ? " Answered they, " Yes ; but, O King, we did not drown
her, nay we took pity on her and left her on the banks of the
Jayhun, saying : Save thyself and return not to the city, lest the

1 " Repentance acquits the penitent " is a favourite and noble saying popular in Al-
Islam. It is first found in Seneca ; and is probably as old as the dawn of literature.

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 73

King slay thee and slay us with thee. This is all we know of her."

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say

her permitted say.

fofjm ft foas tfje Jbfx f^unfcrrti an& Sbebcntfert)

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
two men ended the tale of Fakhr Taj with these words, " And we
left her upon the bank of the river Jayhun ! " Now, when Gharib
heard this he bade bring the astrologers and said to them, " Strike
me a board of geomancy and find out what is come of Fakhr Taj,
and whether she is still in the bonds of life or dead." They did
so and said, " O King of the age, it is manifest to us that the
Princess is alive and hath borne a male child j but she is with a
tribe of the Jinn, and will be parted from thee twenty years ;
count, therefore, how many years thou hast been absent in travel."
So he reckoned up the years of his absence and found them eight
years and said, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might save
in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " 1 Then he sent for all Sabur's
Governors of towns and strongholds and they came and did him
homage. Now one day after this, as he sat in his palace, behold,
a cloud of dust appeared in the distance and spread till it walled
the whole land and darkened the horizon. So he summoned the
two Marids and bade them reconnoitre, and they went forth
under the dust cloud and snatching up a horseman of the ad-
vancing host, returned and set him down before Gharib, saying,
" Ask this fellow, for he is of the army." Quoth Gharib, " Whose
power is this ?" and the man answered, " O King, 'tis the army of
Khirad Shah, 2 King of Shiras, who is come forth to fight thee."
Now the cause of Khirad Shah's coming was this. When Gharib
defeated Sabur's army, as hath been related, and took him
prisoner, the King's son fled, with a handful of his father's force
and ceased not flying till he reached the city of Shiras, where he
went into King Khirad Shah and kissed ground before him,
whilst the tears ran down his cheeks. When the King saw him in
this case, he said to him, " Lift thy head, O youth, and tell me

1 Here an ejaculation of impatience.

1 i.e. "King Intelligence": it has a ludicrous sound suggesting only " Dandanha-i-
Khirad " = wisdom-teeth. The Mac. Edit, persistently keeps " Ward Shah," copyist-

74 A If Laylak wa Laylah,

what maketh thee weep." He replied, " O King, a King of the
Arabs, by name Gharib, hath fallen on us and captured the King
my sire and slain the Persians making them drain the cup of
death." And he told him all that had passed from first to last.
Quoth Khirad Shah, " Is my wife 1 well?" and quoth the Prince,
"Gharib hath taken her." Cried the King " As my head liveth,
I will not leave a Badawi or a Moslem on the face of the earth ! "
So he wrote letters to his Viceroys, who levied their troops and
joined him with an army which when reviewed numbered eighty-
five thousand men. Then he opened his armouries and distributed
arms and armour to the troops, after which he set out with them
and journeyed till he came to Isbanir, and all encamped before
the city-gate. Hereupon Kaylajan and Kurajan came in to
Gharib and kissing his knee, said to him, " O our Lord, heal our
hearts and give us this host to our share." And he said, " Up
and at them ! " So the two Marids flew aloft high in the lift
and lighting down in the pavilion of the King of Shiras, found
him seated on his chair of estate, with the Prince of Persia,
Ward Shah son of Sabur, sitting on his right hand, and about him
his Captains, with whom he was taking counsel for the slaughter
of the Moslems. Kaylajan came forward and caught up the
Prince and Kurajan snatched up the King and the twain flew back
with them to Gharib, who caused beat them till they fainted.
Then the Marids returned to the Shirazian camp and, drawing their
swords, which no mortal man had strength to wield, fell upon the
Misbelievers and Allah hurried their souls to the Fire and abiding-
place dire, whilst they saw no one and nothing save two swords
flashing and reaping men, as a husbandman reaps corn. So they left
their tents and mounting their horses bare-backed, fled ; and the
Marids pursued them two days and slew of them much people ;
after which they returned and kissed Gharib's hand. He thanked
them for the deed they had done and said to them, " The spoil of
the Infidels is yours alone : none shall share with you therein."
So they called down blessings on him and going forth, gathered
the booty together and abode in their own homes. On this wise it

fared with them ; but as regards Gharib and his lieges, And

Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

1 i.e. Fakhr Taj, who had been promised him in marriage. See Night dcxxxiii.
sufra , vol. vi.

The History of Gharib and his Brother A jib. 75

fofjen (t foas tfje &tx ff^unTjte& antr ^ebentg-first !N T ig!)t,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that after
Gharib had put to flight the host of Khirad Shah, he bade
Kaylajan and Kurajan take the spoil to their own possession nor
share it with any ; so they gathered the booty and abode in their
own homes. Meanwhile the remains of the beaten force ceased
not flying till they reached the city of Shiras and there lifted up
the voice of weeping and began the ceremonial lamentations for
those of them that had been slain. Now King Khirad Shah had a
brother Siran the Sorcerer hight, than whom there was no greater
wizard in his day, and he lived apart from his brother in a certain
stronghold, called the Fortalice of Fruits, 1 in a place abounding in
trees and streams and birds and blooms, half a day's journey from
Shiras. So the fugitives betook them thither and went in to Siran
the Sorcerer, weeping and wailing aloud. Quoth he, " O folk,
what garreth you weep ?" and they told him all that had happened,
especially how the two Marids had carried off his brother Khirad
Shah ; whereupon the light of his eyes became night and he said,
" By the virtue of my faith, I will certainly slay Gharib and all his
men and leave not one alive to tell the tale !" Then he pro-
nounced certain magical words and summoned the Red King, who
appeared and Siran said to him, " Fare for Isbanir and fall on
Gharib, as he sitteth upon his throne." Replied he, " Hearkening
and obedience ! " and, gathering his troops, repaired to Isbanir
and assailed Gharib, who seeing him, drew his sword Al-Mahik
and he and Kaylajan and Kurajan fell upon the army of the Red
King and slew of them five hundred and thirty and wounded the
King himself with a grevious wound ; whereupon he and his people
fled and stayed not in their flight, till they reached the Fortalice
of Fruits and went into Siran, crying out and exclaiming, " Woe ! "
and " Ruin ! " And the Red King said to Siran, " O sage, Gharib
hath with him the enchanted sword of Japhet son of Noah, and
whomsoever he smiteth therewith he severeth him in sunder, and
with him also are two Marids from Mount Caucasus, given to him
by King Mura'ash. He it is who slew the blue King and Barkan
Lord of the Carnelian City, and did to death much people of the

1 The name does not appear till further on, after vague Eastern fashion which, hers
and elsewhere I have not had the heart to adopt. The same may be found in Ariosto,/aj'w.

76 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

Jinn." When the Enchanter heard this, he said to the Red King
" Go," and he went his ways ; whereupon he resumed his conjura-
tions, and calling up a Marid, by name Zu'azi'a gave him a drachm
of levigated Bhang and said to him, "Go thou at Isbanir, and
enter King Gharib's palace and assume the form of a sparrow.
Wait till he fall and there be none with him ; then put the
Bhang up his nostrils and bring him to me." " To hear is to
obey," replied the Marid and flew to Isbanir, where, changing
himself into a sparrow, he perched on the window of the palace
and waited till all Gharib's attendants retired to their rooms
and the King himself slept. Then he flew down and going up to
Gharib, blew the powdered Bhang into his nostrils, till he lost
his senses, whereupon he wrapped him in the bed-coverlet and
flew off with him, like the storm-wind, to the Fortalice of Fruits ;
where he arrived at midnight and laid his prize before Siran The
Sorcerer thanked him and would have put Gharib to death, as he
lay senseless under Bhang ; but a man of his people withheld him
saying, " O Sage, an thou slay him, his friend King Mura'ash
will fall on us with all his Ifrits and lay waste our realm."
" How then shall we do with him ? " asked Siran, and the other
answered, " Cast him into the Jayhun while he is still in Bhang
and he shall be drowned and none will know who threw him in.**
And Siran bade the Marid take Gharib and cast him into Jayhun

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

say her permitted say.

foljen ft foas tfjc Jfcfo f^unfcrrtr anfc Jbbnttg=seconlr Nfg&t,

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
Marid took Gharib and carried him to the Jayhun purposing to
cast him therein, but it was grievous to him to drown him, where-
fore he made a raft of wood and binding it with cords, pushed it
out (and Gharib thereon) into the current, which carried it away.
Thus fared it with Gharib ; but as regards his people, when they
awoke in the morning and went in to do their service to their
King, they found him not and seeing his rosary on the throne,
awaited him awhile, but he came not. So they sought out the
head Chamberlain and said to him, " Go into the Harim and look
for the King : for it is not his habit to tarry till this time."
Accordingly, the Chamberlain entered the Serraglio and enquired

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 77

for the King, but the women said, " Since yesterday we have not
seen him." Thereupon he returned and told the Officers, who
were confounded and said, " Let us see if he have gone to take his
pleasure in the gardens." Then they went out and questioned the
gardeners if they had seen the King, and they answered, " No ; "
whereat they were sore concerned and searched all the garths till
the end of the day, when they returned in tears. Moreover, the
two Marids sought for him all round the city, but came back
after three days, without having happened on any tidings of him.
So the people donned black and made their complaint to the
Lord of all worshipping men who doth as he is fain. Mean-
while, the current bore the raft along for five days till it brought
it to the salt sea, where the waves disported with Gharib and his
stomach, being troubled, threw up the Bhang. Then he opened
his eyes and finding himself in the midst of the main, a plaything
of the billows, said, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! Would to Heaven I wot
who hath done this deed by me ! " Presently as he lay, perplexed
concerning his case, lo ! he caught sight of a ship sailing by and
signalled with his sleeve to the sailors, who came to him and took
him up, saying, " Who art thou and whence comest thou ? " He
replied, " Do ye feed me and give me to drink, till I recover my-
self, and after I will tell you who I am." So they brought him
water and victual, and he ate and drank and Allah restored to 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 8 of 40)