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Richard Francis Burton.

The book of the thousand nights and a night; a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, with introd., explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the nights (Volume 9) online

. (page 28 of 38)
Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonThe book of the thousand nights and a night; a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, with introd., explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the nights (Volume 9) → online text (page 28 of 38)
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prayer, so none may abide in the town at all great or small except
they be in the mosques or in the houses and the doors be locked
upon them, and that every shop of the town be left open. Then
will I ride with my slave-women through the heart of the city and
none shall look on me from window or lattice ; and every one
whom I find abroad I will kill." * So he went in to the King
and begged of him this boon, which he granted him and caused
proclamation to be made amongst the Bassorites - And Shah-
razad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted
say.



Nofo foTjen (t foas tfoe Nine f^unUrrtJ atrt ixtp=rig)tl)



She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
the Jeweller begged his boon, the King bade proclamation be
made amongst the Bassorites to the effect aforesaid, but the people
objected that they feared for their goods from the cats and dogs ;
wherefore he commanded to shut the animals up till the folk
should come forth from the Friday prayers. So the jeweller's
wife fell to sallying forth every Friday, two hours before the time
of congregational prayer, and riding in state through the city with
her women ; during which time none dareth pass through the
market-place nor look out of casement or lattice. This, then, is
what thou wouldest know and I have told thee who she is ; but,
O my son, was it thy desire only to have news of her or hast thou
a mind to meet her ? " Answered he, " O my mother, 'tis my
wish to foregather with her." Quoth she, " Tell me what valu-
ables thou hast with thee " ; and quoth he, " O my mother, I have
with me precious stones of four sorts, the first worth five hundred
dinars each, the second seven hundred, the third eight hundred



1 This is an Arab Lady Godiva of the wrong sort.



262 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

and the fourth a thousand ducats." She asked, " Art thou willing
to spend four of these ? " ; and he answered, " I am ready to spend
all of them." She rejoined, " Then, arise, O my son, and go
straight to thy lodging and take a bezel-gem of those worth five
hundred sequins, with which do thou repair to the jewel market
and ask for the shop of Master Obayd, the Shaykh of the Jewel-
lers. Go thither and thou wilt find him seated in his shop, clad
in rich clothes, with workmen under his hand. Salute him and
sit down on the front shelf of his shop ; l then pull out the jewel
and give it to him, saying, " O master, take this stone and fashion
it into a seal-ring for me with gold. Make it not large, a Miskal *
in weight and no more ; but let the fashion of it be thy fairest."
Then give him twenty dinars and to each of his prentices a dinar.
Sit with him awhile and talk with him and if a beggar approach
thee, show thy generosity by giving him a dinar, to the intent
that he may affect thee, and after this, leave him and return to thy
place. Pass the night there, and next morning, take an hundred
dinars and bring them and give them to thy father the barber,
for he is poor." Quoth Kamar al-Zaman, " Be it so," and returning
to his caravanserai, took a jewel worth five hundred gold pieces
and went with it to the jewel-bazar. There he enquired for the
shop of Master Obayd, Shaykh of the Jewellers, and they directed
him thereto. So he went thither and saw the Shaykh, a man of
austere aspect and robed in sumptuous raiment with four journey-
men under his hand. He addressed him with " Peace be upon
you ! " and the jeweller returned his greeting and welcoming him,
made him sit down. Then he brought out the jewel and said,
" O master, I wish thee to make me this jewel into a seal-ring
with gold. Let it be the weight of a Miskal and no more, but
fashion it excellently." Then he pulled out twenty dinars and
gave them to him, saying, " This is the fee for chasing and the
price of the ring shall remain." 3 And he gave each of the
apprentices a gold piece, wherefore they loved him, and so did
Master Obayd. Then he sat talking with the jeweller and when-
ever a beggar came up to him, he gave him a gold piece and they
all marvelled at his generosity. Now Master Obayd had tools



1 This is explained in my Pilgrimage i. 99 et seq.

2 About three pennyweights. It varies, however, everywhere and in Morocco the
" Mezkal" as they call it is an imaginary value, no such coin existing.

* i.e. over and above the value of the gold, etc.



Kamar Al-Zaman and the. Jewellers Wife. 263

at home, like those he had in the shop, and whenever he was
minded to do any unusual piece of work, it was his custom to
carry it home and do it there, that his journeymen might not learn
the secrets of his wonderful workmanship. 1 His wife used to sit
before him, and when she was sitting thus and he looking upon
her, 2 he would fashion all manner of marvellously wroughten
trinkets, such as were fit for none but kings. So he went home
and sat down to mould the ring with admirable workmanship.
When his wife saw him thus engaged, she asked him, "What wilt
thou do with this bezel-gem ? " ; and he answered, " I mean to
make it into a ring with gold, for 'tis worth five hundred dinars."
She enquired, " For whom ? " ; and he answered, " For a young
merchant, who is fair of face, with eyes that wound with desire,
and cheeks that strike fire and mouth like the seal of Sulayman
and cheeks like the bloom of Nu'mdn and lips red as coralline and
neck like the antelope's long and fine. His complexion is white
dashed with red and he is well-bred, pleasant and generous and
doth thus and thus." And he went on to describe to her now his
beauty and loveliness and then his perfection and bounty and
ceased not to vaunt his charms and the generosity of his dis-
position, till he had made her in love with him ; for there is no
sillier cuckold than he who vaunteth to his wife another man's
handsome looks and unusual liberality in money matters. So,
when desire rose high in her, she said to him, " Is aught of my
charms found in him ? " Said he, " He hath all thy beauties ;
and he is thy counterpart in qualities. Meseemeth his age is even
as thine and but that I fear to hurt thy feelings, I would say that
he is a thousand times handsomer than thou art." She was silent,
yet the fire of fondness was kindled in her heart. And the jeweller
ceased not to talk with her and to set out Kamar al-Zaman's
charms before her till he had made an end of moulding the ring ;
when he gave it to her and she put it on her finger, which it
fitted exactly. Quoth she, " O my lord, my heart loveth this
ring and I long for it to be mine and will not take it from my



1 This was the custom of contemporary Europe and more than one master cutler has
put to death an apprentice playing Peeping Tom to detect the secret of sword-making.

2 Among Moslems husbands are divided into three species; (l) of " Bahr" who is
married for love; (2) of " Dahr," for defence against the world, and (3) of "Mahr"
for marriage-settlements (money). Master Obayd was an unhappy compound of the
two latter ; but he did not cease to be a man of honour.



264 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

finger." Quoth he, " Have patience ! The owner of it is generous,
and I will seek to buy it of him, and if he will sell it, I will bring
it to thee. Or if he have another such stone, I will buy it and
fashion it for thee into a ring like this." And Shahrazad per-
ceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.



fofjtn ft tons tfjc Nine ^unBrtB anfc ^(.xtg-ntntf)



She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
jeweller said to his wife, " Have patience ! The owner of it is
generous and I will seek to buy it of him; and, if he will sell it,
I will bring it to thee; or, if he have another such stone I will
buy it and fashion it for thee into a ring like this." On this wise
it fared with the jeweller and his wife ; but as regards Kamar
al-Zaman, he passed the night in his lodging and on the morrow
he took an hundred dinars and carried them to the old woman,
the barber's wife, saying to her, " Accept these gold pieces," and
she replied, " Give them to thy father." So he gave them to the
barber and she asked, " Hast thou done as I bade thee ? " He
answered, " Yes," and she said, " Go now to the Shaykh, the
jeweller, and if he give thee the ring, put it on the tip of thy
finger and pull it off in haste and say to him, O master, thou hast
made a mistake ; the ring is too tight. He will say, O merchant,
shall I break it and mould it again larger? And do thou say, It
booteth not to break it and fashion it anew. Take it and give it
to one of thy slave-women." Then pull out another stone worth
seven hundred dinars and say to him, Take this stone and set it
for me, for 'tis handsomer than the other. Give him thirty dinars
and to each of the prentices two, saying, These gold pieces are
for the chasing and the price of the ring shall remain. Then
return to thy lodging for the night and on the morrow bring me two
hundred ducats, and I will complete thee the rest of the device."
So the youth went to the jeweller, who welcomed him and made
him sit down in his shop ; and he asked him, " Hast thou done
my need ? " " Yes," answered Obayd and brought out to him the
seal-ring ; whereupon he set it on his finger-tip and pulling it off
in haste, cried, " Thou hast made a mistake, O master ; " and
threw it to him, saying, " 'Tis too strait for my finger." Asked
the jeweller, " O merchant, shall J make it larger?" But he
answered, " Not so ; take it as a gift and give it to one of thy.



Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 265

slave-girls. Its worth is trifling, some five hundred dinars ; so it
booteth not to fashion it over again," Then he brought out to
him another stone worth seven hundred sequins and said to him,
" Set this for me : 'tis a finer gem." Moreover he gave him thirty
dinars and to each of his workmen two. Quoth Obayd, " O my
lord we will take the price of the ring when we have made it." 1
But Kamar al-Zaman said, " This is for the chasing, and the price
of the ring remains over." So saying, he went away home, leaving
the jeweller and his men amazed at the excess of his generosity.
Presently the jeweller returned to his wife and said, <: O HaHmah, 2
never did I set eyes on a more generous than this young man, and
as for thee, thy luck is good, for he hath given me the ring without
price, saying, " Give it to one of thy slave-women." And he told
her what had passed, adding, "Methinks this youth is none of the
sons of the merchants, but that he is of the sons of the Kings
and Sultans." Now the more he praised him, the more she waxed
in love-longing, passion and distraction for him. So she took the
ring and put it on her finger, whilst the jeweller made another
one, a little larger than the first. When he had finished moulding
it, she put it on her finger, under the first, and said, " Look, O my
lord, how well the two rings show on my finger ! I wish they were
both mine." Said he, " Patience ! It may be I shall buy thee this
second one." Then he lay that night and on the morrow he took
the ring and went to his shop. As for Kamar al-Zaman, as soon
as it was day, he repaired to the barber's wife and gave her two
hundred dinars. Quoth she, " Go to the jeweller and when he
giveth thee the ring, put it on thy finger and pull it off again in
haste, saying : Thou hast made a mistake, O master ! This
ring is too large. A master like thee, when the like of me
cometh to him with a piece of work, it behoveth him to take
right measure ; and if thou hadst measured my finger, thou hadst
not erred. Then pull out another stone worth a thousand dinars
and say to him : Take this and set it, and give this ring to one
of thy slave-women. Give him forty ducats and to each of his
journeyman three, saying, This is for the chasing, and for the cost



1 The Mac. Edit, here is a mass of blunders and misprints.

2 The Mac. Edit, everywhere calls her " Sabiyah " = the young lady and does not
mention her name Halimah =: the Mild, the Gentle till the cmlxxivth Night. I follow
Mr. Payne's example by introducing it earlier into the story, as it avoids vagueness and
repetition of the indefinite.



266 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

of the ring, that shall remain. And see what he will say. Then
bring three hundred dinars and give them to thy father the barber,
that he may mend his fortune withal, for he is a poor man."
Answered Kamar al-Zaman, " I hear and obey," and betook him-
self to the jeweller, who welcomed him and making him sit down,
gave him the ring. He took it and put it on his finger ; then
pulled it off in haste and said, " It behoveth a master like thee,
when the like of me bringeth him a piece of work, to take his
measure. Hadst thou measured my finger, thou hadst not erred ;
but take it and give it to one of thy slave-women.'* Then he
brought out to him a stone worth a thousand sequins and said to
him, " Take this and set it in a signet-ring for me after the measure
of my finger." Quoth Obayd, " Thou hast spoken sooth and art
in the right ; " and took his measure, whereupon he pulled out
forty gold pieces and gave them to him, saying, " Take these for
the chasing and the price of the ring shall remain." Cried the
jeweller, " O my lord, how much hire have we taken of thee !
Verily, thy bounty to us is great ! " "No harm," replied Kamar
al-Zaman and sat talking with him awhile and giving a dinar to
every beggar who passed by the shop. Then he left him and went
away, whilst the jeweller returned home and said to his wife,
" How generous is this young merchant ! Never did I set eyes on
a more open-handed or a comelier than he, no, nor a sweeter of
speech." And he went on to recount to her his charms and
generosity and was loud in his praise. Cried she, " O thou lack-
tact, 1 since thou notest these qualities in him, and indeed he hath
given thee two seal-rings of price, it behoveth thee to invite him
and make him an entertainment and entreat him lovingly. When
he seest that thou affectest him and cometh to our place, we shall
surely get great good of him ; and if thou grudge him the banquet
do thou bid him and I will entertain him of my monies." Quoth
he, " Dost thou know me to be niggardly, that thou sayest this
Say ? "; and quoth she, " Thou art no niggard, but thou lackest
tact. Invite him this very night and come not without him. An
he refuse, conjure him by the divorce oath and be persistent with
him." " On my head and eyes," answered he and moulded the
ring till he had finished it, after which he passed the night and



1 Arab. " Adim al-Zauk," = without savour, applied to an insipid mannerless man as
"barid" (cold) is to a fool. " Ahl Zauk " is a man of pleasure, a voluptuary, a

hedonist



Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 267

went forth on the morrow to his shop and sat there. On this
wise it was with him ; but as for Kamar al-Zaman, he took three
hundred dinars and carrying them to the old wife, gave them to
her for the barber, her husband. Said she, " Most like he will
invite thee to his house this day ; and if he do this and thou pass
the night there, tell me in the morning what befalleth thee and
bring with thee four hundred dinars and give them to thy father."
Answered he, " Hearing and obeying ; " and as often as he ran
out of money, he would sell some of his stones. So he repaired to
the jeweller, who rose to him and received him with open arms,
greeted him heartily and clapped up companionship with him.
Then he gave him the ring, and he found it after the measure of
his finger and said to the jeweller, " Allah bless thee, O prince
of artists ? The setting is conformable but the stone is not to my

liking." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and

ceased to say her permitted say.



fofjen tt foas rf) Wne f^un&trtJ an& Sbebentfetf)



She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that
Kamar al-Zaman said to the jeweller, " The setting is conform-
able to my wishes, but the stone is not to my liking. I have a
handsomer than this : so take the seal-ring and give it to one of
thy slave-women." Then he gave him a fourth stone and an
hundred dinars, saying, " Take thy hire and excuse the trouble
we have given thee." Obayd replied, " O merchant, all the
trouble thou hast given us thou hast requited us and hast over-
whelmed us with thy great bounties : and indeed my heart is taken
with love of thee and I cannot brook parting from thee. So, Allah
upon thee, be thou my guest this night and heal my heart" He
rejoined, " So be it ; but needs must I go to my Khan, that I may
give a charge to my domestics and tell them that I shall sleep
abroad to-night, so they may not expect me." " Where dost thou
lodge ? ' asked the jeweller ; and he answered, " In such a
Khan." Quoth Obayd, " I will come for thee there ; " and
quoth the other " 'Tis well." So the jeweller repaired to the
Khan before sundown, fearing lest his wife should be anangered
with him, if he returned home without his guest ; and, carrying
Kamar al-Zaman to his house, seated him in a saloon that had
not its match. Halimah saw him, as he entered, and was



268 Atf Laylah wa Laylah.

ravished with him. They talked till supper was served when they
ate and drank ; after which appeared coffee and sherbets, and the
jeweller ceased not to entertain him with talk till eventide, when
they prayed the obligatory prayers. Then entered a handmaid
with two cups ' of night drink, which when they had drunk,
drowsiness overcame them and they slept. Presently in came the
jeweller's wife and seeing them asleep, looked upon Kamar al-
Zaman's face -and her wit was confounded at his beauty. Said she,
" How can he sleep who loveth the fair ? " and, turning him over
on his back, sat astraddle upon his breast. Then, in the mania
of her passion for him, she rained down kisses on his cheeks, till
she left a mark upon them and they became exceeding red and
his cheek bones shone ; and, she sucked his lips, till the blood
ran out into her mouth ; but with all this, her fire was not quenched
nor her thirst assuaged. She ceased not to kiss and clip him and
twine leg with leg, till the forebrow of Morn grew white and the
dawn broke forth in light ; when she put in his pocket four
cockals 2 . and went away. Then she sent her maid with something
like snuff, which she applied to their nostrils and they sneezed and
awoke, when the slave-girl said, " O my lords, prayer is a duty ;
so- rise ye and pray the dawn-prayer." And she brought them
basin and ewer. 3 Quoth Kaman al-Zamar " O master, 'tis late and
we have overslept ourselves ; " and quoth, the jeweller, " O my
friend verily the air of this room is heavy ; for, whenever I sleep
in it, this happens to me." Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, " True,'*
and proceeded to make the Wuzu ablution ; but, when he put the
water to his face, his cheeks and lips burned him. Cried he,
" Prodigious ! If the air of the room be heavy and we have been
drowned in sleep, what aileth my cheeks and lips 1 that they burn



1 Arab. " Finjan " the egg-shell cups from which the Easterns still drink coffee.

2 Arab. " Awashik" a rare word, which Dozy translates " osselet" (or osselle) and
Mr. Payne, " hucklebones," concerning which he has obliged me with this note.
Chambaud renders osselet by " petit os avec lequel les enfants jouent." Hucklebone is
the hip-bone but in the plural it applies to our cockals or cockles : Latham gives
" hucklebone," (or cockal), one of the small vertebrae of the coccygis, and Littleton
translates "Talus," a hucklebone, a bone to play with like a dye, a play called cockal.
(So also in RideV). Hucklebones and knucklebones are syn. : but the latter is modern
and liable to give a false idea, besides being tautological. It has nothing to do with the
knuckles and derives from the German " Knochel " (dial'etically Knochelein) a bonelet.

8 For ablution after sleep and before prayer. The address of the slave-girl is perfectly
natural : in a Moslem house we should hear it this day nor does it show the least sign.
of " frowardnesi."



Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife. 269

me ? " And he said to the jeweller, " O master, my cheeks and lips
burn me." The other replied, " I guess this cometh of the
mosquito-bites." " Strange ! " said Kamar al-Zaman. " Hath this
thing happened to thee ? ' ; Replied Obayd, " No ! But whenever
I have by me a guest like thee, he complaineth in the morning of
the mosquito-bites, and this happeneth only when he is like thee
beardless. If he be bearded the mosquitoes sting him not, and
naught hindereth them from me but my beard. It seems mosquitoes
love not bearded men." 1 Rejoined Kamar al-Zaman, "True."
Then the maid brought them early breakfast and they broke their
fast and went out. Kamar al-Zaman betook himself to the old
woman, who exclaimed, when she saw him, " I see the marks of
joyance on thy face : tell me what thou hast seen." Said he, " I
have seen nothing. Only I supped with the house-master in a
saloon and prayed the night-prayer, after which we fell asleep and
woke not till morning." She laughed and said, " What be those
marks on thy cheeks and lips ? ' He answered, " 'Twas the
mosquitoes of the saloon that did this with me ;" and she rejoined,
" 'Tis well. But did the same thing betide the house master ? "
He retorted, " Nay ; but he told me that the mosquitoes of that
saloon molest not bearded men, but sting those only who have no
hair on face, and that whenever he hath for guest one who is beard-
less, the stranger awaketh complaining of the mosquito-bites ;
whereas an he have a beard, there befalleth him naught of this."
Said she, " Sooth thou speakest : but say me, sawest thou aught
save this ? " And he answered, " I found four cockals in my
pocket." Quoth she, " Show them to me." So he gave them to
her and she laughed and said, " Thy mistress laid these in thy
pocket." He asked, " How so ? " And she answered, " Tis as if
she said to thee, in the language of signs : 2 An thou wert in love,
thou wouldst not sleep, for a lover sleepeth not : but thou has not
ceased to be a child and fit for nothing but to play with these
cockals. So what drave thee to fall in love with the fair ?" Now
she came to thee by night and finding thee asleep, scored thy
cheeks with her kisses and left thee this sign. But that will not
suffice her of thee and she will certainly send her husband to
invite thee again to-night ; so, when thou goest home with him,
hasten not to fall asleep, and on the morrow bring me five



1 The perfect stupidity of the old wittol is told with the driest Arab humour.

2 This is a rechauffe of the Language of Signs in " Aziz and Azizah " vol. ii. 302.



270 A If Laylah iva Laylah.

hundred dinars and come and acquaint me with what hath
passed, and I will perfect for thee the device." Answered he,
" I hear and obey," and went back to the Khan. Thus it befel
him ; but as regards the jeweller's wife, she said to her husband,
" Is the guest gone ? >J Answered he, " Yes, but, O Halimah, 1 the
mosquitoes plagued him last night and scarified his cheeks and
lips, and indeed I was abashed before him." She rejoined, " This
is the wont of the mosquitoes of our saloon ; for they love none
save the beardless. But do thou invite him again to-night." So
he repaired to the Khan where the youth abode, and bidding him,
carried him to his house, where they ate and drank and prayed
the night-prayer in the saloon, after which the slave-girl entered

and gave each of them a cup of night-drink, And Shahrazad

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



to&m it foas tty Nine f^unXireTj antr &ebentp=first



She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the slave-
girl went in to the twain and gave each of them a cup of night-
drink, and they drank and fell asleep. Presently, in came Halimah
and said, " O good-for-nothing, how canst thou sleep and call thy-
self a lover ? A lover sleepeth not ! " Then she mounted on his
breast and ceased not to come down upon him with kisses and
caresses, biting and sucking his lips and so forth, till the morning,
when she put in his pocket a knife and sent her handmaid to
arouse them. And when the youth awoke, his cheeks were on
fire, for excess of redness, and his lips like coral, for dint of suck-
ing and kissing. Quoth the jeweller, " Did the mosquitoes plague
thee last night ? " ; and quoth the other, " Nay ! " ; for he now
knew the conceit and left complaining, Then he felt the knife in
his pocket and was silent ; but when he had broken his fast and
drunk coffee, he left the jeweller and going to the Khan ; took
five hundred dinars of gold and carried them to the old woman, to



Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonThe book of the thousand nights and a night; a plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights' entertainments, with introd., explanatory notes on the manners and customs of Moslem men and a terminal essay upon the history of the nights (Volume 9) → online text (page 28 of 38)