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 6) online

. (page 23 of 32)
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 6) → online text (page 23 of 32)
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they, before the judges, and it hath profited us naught : nay, we
have wasted all our father left us and are disgraced among the folk
by reason of our testimony one against other. Shall I then con-
tend with them anew on thine account and shall we appeal to the
judges ? This may not be ! Rather do thou take up thine abode
with me, and the scone I eat I will share with thee. Do thou pray
for me and Allah will give me the means of thine alimony. Leave
them to receive of the Almighty the recompense of their deed,
and console thyself with the saying of the poet who said :

If a fool oppress thee bear patiently ; And from Time expect thy revenge to

see :
Shun tyranny ; for if mount oppressed o A mount, 'twould be shattered by


And he soothed and comforted her till she consented and took up
her dwelling with him. Then he gat him a net and went a-fishing
every day in the river or the banks about Bulak and old Cairo or
some other place in which there was water ; and one day he would
earn ten coppers, 2 another twenty and another thirty, which he

1 Lit. " from tyrant to tyrant," i.e. from official to official, Al-Zalamah, the " tyranny "
of popular parlance.

8 The coin is omitted in the text but it is evidently the " Nusf "or half-dirham. Lane
(ill. 235), noting that the dinar is worth 170 "nusfs"in this tale, thinks that it was
written (or copied ?) after the Osmanh Conquest of Egypt. Unfortunately he cannot
tell the precise period whea the value of the small change fell so low.

Judar and fits Brethren. ?!$

spent upon his mother and himself, and they ate well and drank
well. But, as for his brothers, they plied no craft and neither sold
nor bought ; misery and ruin and overwhelming calamity entered
their houses and they wasted that which they had taken from their
mother and became of the wretched naked beggars. So at times
they would come to their mother, humbling themselves before
her exceedingly and complaining to her of hunger ; and she (a
mother's heart being pitiful) would give them some mouldy, sour-
smelling bread or, if there were any meat cooked the day before,
she would say to them, " Eat it quick and go ere your brother
come ; for 'twould be grievous to him and he would harden his
heart against me, and ye would disgrace me with him." So they
would eat in haste and go. One day among days they came in to
their mother, and she set cooked meat and bread before them. As
they were eating, behold, in came their brother Judar, at whose
sight the parent was put to shame and confusion, fearing lest he
should be wroth with her ; and she bowed her face earthwards
abashed before her son. But he smiled in their faces, saying,
" Welcome, O my brothers ! A blessed day ! ' How comes it
that ye visit me this blessed day ? " Then he embraced them both
and entreated them lovingly, saying to them, " I thought not that
ye would have left me desolate by your absence nor that ye would
have forborne to come and visit me and your mother." Said they,
" By Allah, O our brother, we longed sore for thee and naught
withheld us but abashment because of what befel between us and
thee ; but indeed we have repented much. 'Twas Satan's doing,
the curse of Allah the Most High be upon him ! And now we

have no blessing but thyself and our mother." And Shahrazad

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

Koto tofjen it foas tfje >ix l^un&rrti anti Itgf)tb

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Judar
entered his place and saw his brothers, he welcomed them both,
saying, " And I have no blessing but you twain." And his mother
exclaimed, " Allah whiten thy face, and increase thy prosperity, for
thou art the most generous of us all, O my son ! " Then he said
41 Welcome to you both i Abide with me ; for the Lord is bounti-

1 Arab. " Yaum mubarak ! " still a popular exclamation.

2i6 Alf Laylah wa Layldh.

ful and good aboundeth with me." So he made peace with them,
and they supped and nighted with him ; and next morning, after
they had broken their fast, Judar shouldered his net and went out,
trusting in The Opener ! whilst the two others also went forth arid
were absent till midday, when they returned and their mother set
the noon-meal before them. At nightfall Judar came home, bear-
ing meat and greens, and they abode on this wise a month's space,
Judar catching fish and selling it and spending their price on his
mother and his brothers, and these eating and frolicking till, one
day, it chanced he went down to the river-bank and throwing his
net, brought it up empty. He cast it a second time, but again it
came up empty and he said in himself, " No fish in this place ! "
So he removed to another and threw the net there, but without
avail. And he ceased not to remove from place to place till night-
fall, but caught not a single sprat 2 and said to himself, " Wonderful !
Hath the fish fled the river or what ? " Then he shouldered the
net and made for home, chagrined, concerned, feeling for his mother
and brothers and knowing not how he should feed them that
night. Presently, he came to a baker's oven and saw the folk
crowding for bread, with silver in their hands, whilst the baker
took no note of them. So he stood there sighing, and the baker
said to him," Welcome to thee, O Judar! Dost thou want bread ?"
But he was silent and the baker continued, " An thou have no
dirhams, take thy sufficiency and thou shalt get credit." So Judar
said, " Give me ten coppers' worth of bread and take this net in
pledge." Rejoined the baker, " Nay, my poor fellow, the net is
thy gate of earning thy livelihood, and if I take it from thee, I
shall close up against thee the door of thy subsistence. Take thee
ten Nusfs' worth of bread and take these other ten, and to-morrow
bring me fish for the twenty." " On my head and eyes be it ! "
quoth Judar and took the bread and money saying, " To-morrow
the Lord will dispel the trouble of my case and will provide me
the means of acquittance." Then he bought meat and vegetables
and carried them home to his mother, who cooked them and they
supped and went to bed. Next morning he arose at daybreak
and took the net, and his mother said to him, " Sit down and

1 i.e. of the dour of daily bread.

2 Arab. "Slrah," a small fish differently described (De Sacy, " Relation de I'Egypte
par Abd-allatif," pp. 278288: Laae, Nights iiu 234). It is not found in Sonnini's

Judar and his Brethren. 217

break thy fast." But he said, " Do thou and my brothers break-
fast," and went down to the river about Bulak where he ceased
not to cast once, twice, thrice ; and to shift about all day, without
aught falling to him, till the hour of mid-afternoon prayer, when
he shouldered his net and went away sore dejected. His way led
him perforce by the booth of the baker who, when he saw him,
counted out to him the loaves and the money, saying, " Come,
take it and go ; an it be not to-day, 'twill be to-morrow." Judar
would have excused himself, but the baker said to him, " Go !
There needeth no excuse ; an thou had netted aught, it would be
with thee ; so seeing thee empty-handed, I knew thou hadst
gotten naught ; and if to-morrow thou have no better luck, come
and take bread and be not abashed, for I will give thee credit."
So Judar took the bread and money and went home. On the
third day also he sallied forth and fished from tank to tank until
the time of afternoon-prayer, but caught nothing ; so he went to
the baker and took the bread and silver as usual. On this wise
he did seven days running, till he became disheartened and said
in himself, " To-day I go to the Lake Karun." 1 So he went thither
and was about to cast his net, when there came up to him unawares
a Maghrabi, a Moor, clad in splendid attire and riding a she-mule
with a pair of gold-embroidered saddle-bags on her back and all
her trappings also orfrayed. The Moor alighted and said to him,
" Peace be upon thee, O Judar, O son of Omar ! " " And on thee
likewise be peace, O my lord the pilgrim ! " replied the fisherman.
Quoth the Maghrabi, " O Judar, I have need of thee and, given
thou obey me, thou shalt get great good and shalt be my com-
panion and manage my affairs for me." Quoth Judar, "O my
lord, tell me what is in thy mind and I will obey thee, without
demur." Said the Moor, " Repeat the Fatihah, the Opening
Chapter of the Koran." 2 So he recited it with him and the Moor
bringing out a silken cord, said to Judar, "Pinion my elbows
behind me with this cord, as fast as fast can be, and cast me into
the lake ; then wait a little while ; and, if thou see me put forth
my hands above the water, raising them high ere my body show,

1 A tank or lakelet in the southern parts of Cairo, long ago filled up ; Von Hammer
believes it inherited the name of the old Charon's Lake of Memphis, over which corpses
were ferried.

2 Thus making the agreement a kind of religious covenant ; as Catholics would recite

a Pater or an Ave Maria.

21 8 A If Laylah wa Laytah.

cast thy net over me and drag me out in haste ; but if thou see
me come up feet foremost, then know that I am dead ; in which
case do thou leave me and take the mule and saddle-bags and
carry them to the merchants' bazar, where thou wilt find a Jew
by name Shamdyah. Give him the mule and he will give thee an
hundred dinars, which do thou take and go thy ways and keep the
matter secret with all secrecy." So Judar tied his arms tightly
behind his back and he kept saying, " Tie tighter." Then said he,
" Push me till I fall into the lake : " so he pushed him in and he
sank. Judar stood waiting some time till, behold, the Moor's feet
appeared above the water, whereupon he knew that he was dead.
So he left him and drove the mule to the bazar, where seated on a
stool at the door of his storehouse he saw the Jew who spying the
mule, cried, " In very sooth the man hath perished," adding, " and
naught undid him but covetise." Then he took the mule from
Judar and gave him an hundred dinars, charging him to keep the
matter secret. So Judar went and bought what bread he needed,
saying to the baker, " Take this gold piece ! "; and the man
summed up what was due to him and said, " I still owe thee two
days' bread " - And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her permitted say.

Koto to&en it teas t&e Sbfo ^untartf anU Ntnt&

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Judar,
when the baker after summing up what was due to him said, " I
still owe thee two days' bread," replied, " Good," and went on to
the butcher, to whom he gave a gold piece and took meat, saying,
" Keep the rest of the dinar on account." Then he bought veget-
ables and going home, found his brothers importuning their mother
for victual, whilst she cried, " Have patience till your brother come
home, for I have naught." So he went in to them and said, " Take
and eat ;" and they fell on the food like cannibals. Then he gave
his mother the rest of his gold saying, " If my brothers come to
thee, give them wherewithal to buy food and eat in my absence."
He slept well that night and next morning he took his net and
going down to Lake Karun stood there and was about to cast his
net, when behold, there came up to him a second Maghrib'!, riding
on a she-mule more handsomely accoutred than he of the day
before and having with him a pair of saddle-bags of which each

Judar and his Brethren. 219

pocket contained a casket. " Peace be with thee, O Judar ! " said
the Moor: " And with thee be peace, O my lord, the pilgrim ! "
replied Judar. Asked the Moor, " Did there come to thee yester-
day a Moor riding on a mule like this of mine ? " Hercat Judar
was alarmed and answered, " I saw none," fearing lest the other
say, " Whither went he ? " and if he replied, " He was drowned in
the lake," that haply he should charge him with having drowned
him; wherefore he could not but deny. Rejoined the Moor,
" Harkye, O unhappy !' this was my brother, who is gone before
me." Judar persisted, " I know naught of him." Then the Moor
enquired, " Didst thou not bind his arms behind him and throw
him into the lake, and did he not say to thee : If my hands ap-
pear above the water first, cast thy net over me and drag me out in
haste ; but, if my feet show first, know that I am dead and carry
the mule to the Jew Shamayah, who shall give thee an hundred
dinars." Quoth Judar, " Since thou knowest all this why and
wherefore dost thou question me ? "; and quoth the Moor, " I
would have thee do with me as thou didst with my brother."
Then he gave him a silken cord, saying, " Bind my hands behind
me and throw me in, and if I fare as did my brother, take the
mule to the Jew and he will give thee other hundred dinars."
Said Judar, " Come on ;" so he came and he bound him and
pushed him into the lake, where he sank. Then Judar sat watch-
ing and after awhile, his feet appeared above the water and the
fisher said, " He is dead and damned ! Inshallah, may Maghribis
come to me every day, and I will pinion them and push them in
and they shall die ; and I will content me with an hundred dinars
for each dead man." Then he took the mule to the Jew, who
seeing him asked, " The other is dead ? " Answered Judar, " May
thy head live ! "; and the Jew said, " This is the reward of the
covetous ! " Then he took the mule and gave Judar an hundred
dinars, with which he returned to his mother." " O my son," said
she, " whence hast thou this ? " So he told her, and she said, " Go
not again to Lake Karun, indeed I fear for thee from the Moors."
Said he, " O my mother, I do but cast them in by their own wish,
and what am I to do ? This craft bringeth me an hundred dinars
a day and I return speedily ; wherefore, by Allah, I will not leave

1 Arab. " Ya miskin " = O poor devil ; mesquin, tneschino, words evidently derived
from the East.

220 A If Lay I ah wa Laylah.

going to Lake Karun, till the trace of the Magharibah ' 'K, cut off
and not one of them is left." So, on the morrow which was the
third day, he went down to the lake and stood there, till there
came up a third Moor, riding on a mule with saddle-bags and still
more richly accoutred than the first two, who said to him, " Peace
be with thee, O Judar, O son of Omar ! " And the fisherman
saying in himself, " How comes it that they all know me ? "
returned his salute. Asked the Maghribi, " Have any Moors
passed by here ? " " Two," answered Judar. " \Vhither went
they ? " enquired the Moor, and Judar replied, " I pinioned their
hands behind them and cast them into the lake, where they were
drowned, and the same fate is in store for thee." The Moor
laughed and rejoined, saying, " O unhappy ! every life hath its
term appointed." Then he alighted and gave the fisherman the
silken cord, saying, " Do with me, O Judar, as thou didst with
them." Said Judar, " Put thy hands behind thy back, that I m: 7
pinion thee, for I am in haste, and time flies." So he put his
hands behind him and Judar tied him up and cast him in. Then
he waited awhile ; presently the Moor thrust both hands forth of
the water and called out to him, saying, " Ho, good fellow, cast
out thy net ! " So Judar threw the net over him and drew him
ashore, and lo ! in each hand he held a fish as red as coral. Quoth
the Moor, " Bring me the two caskets that are in the saddle-bags."
So Judar brought them and opened them to him, and he laid in
each casket a fish and shut them up. Then he pressed Judar to
his bosom and kissed him on the right cheek and the left, saying,
" Allah save thee from all stress ! By the Almighty, hadst thou
not cast the net over me and pulled me out, I should have kept
hold of these two fishes till I sank and was drowned, for I could
not get ashore of myself." Quoth Judar, " O my lord the pilgrim,
Allah upon thee, tell me the true history of the two drowned men

and the truth anent these two fishes and the Jew." And Shah-

razad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

1 Plur. of Maghribi, a Western man, a Moor. I have already derived the word
through the Lat. " Maurus " from Maghribiyun. Europeans being unable to pronounce
the Ghayn (or gh like the modern Cairenes) would turn it into " Ma'ariyun.' They
are mostly of the Maliki school (for which see Sale) and are famous as magicians and
treasure-finders. Amongst the suite of the late Amir Abd al-Kadir, who lived many
years and died in Damascus, I found several men profoundly versed in Eastern spiritualism
and occultism.

Judar and his Brethren, 221

fofren ft foas tfje &ix |L^unlrtJ an& Sent!) Ntfi&t,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Judar asked the Maghribi, saying, " Prithee tell me first of the
drowned men," the Maghribi answered : Know, O Judar, that
these drowned men were my two brothers, by name Abd al-Salam
and Abd al-Ahad. My own name is Abd al-Samad, and the Jew
also is our brother ; his name is Abd al-Rahim and he is no Jew,
but a true believer of the Maliki school. Our father, whose name
was Abd al-Wadud, 1 taught us magic and the art of solving
mysteries and bringing hoards to light, and we applied ourselves
thereto, till we compelled the Ifrits and Marids of the Jinn to do
us service. By-and-by, our sire died and left us much wealth, and
we divided amongst us his treasures and talismans, till we came to
the books, when we fell out over a volume called " The Fables
of the Ancients," whose like is not in the world, nor can its price
be paid of any, nor is its value to be evened with gold and jewels ;
for in it are particulars of all the hidden hoards of the earth and
the solution of every secret. Our father was wont to make use of
this book, of which we had some small matter by heart, and each
of us desired to possess it, that he might acquaint himself with
what was therein. Now when we fell out there was ki our com-
pany an old man by name Cohen Al-Abtan, 3 who had reared our
sire and taught him divination and gramarye, and he said to us,
" Bring me the book." So we gave it him and he continued : Ye
are my son's sons, and it may not be that I should wrong any of
you. So whoso is minded to have the volume, let him address
himself to achieve the treasure of Al-Shamardal 3 and bring me the
celestial planisphere and the Kohl-phial and the seal-ring and the
sword. For the ring hath a Marid that serveth it called Al-Ra'ad
al-Kasif; 4 and whoso hath possession thereof, neither King nor
Sultan may prevail against him ; and if he will, he may therewith
make himself master of the earth, in all the length and breadth
thereof. As for the brand, if its bearer draw it and brandish it

1 The names are respectively, Slave of the Salvation ; of the One (God) ; of the
Eternal ; of the Compassionate ; and of the Loving.

2 i.e. "the most profound" ; the root is that of " Batini," a gnostic, a reprobate.

3 i.e. the Tall One.

* The loud-pealing or (ear-) breaking Thunder.

222 Alf Laylah wa Laylak.

against an army, the army will be put to the rout ; and if he say the
while, " Slay yonder host," there will come forth of that sword
lightning and nre, that will kill the whole many. As for the
planisphere, its possessor hath only to turn its face toward any
country, east or west, with whose sight he hath a mind to solace
himself, and therein he will see that country and its people, as they
were between his hands and he sitting in his place ; and if he be
wroth with a city and have a mind to burn it, he hath but to face
the planisphere towards the sun's disc, saying, " Let such a city be
burnt," and that city will be consumed with fire. As for the Kohl-
phial, whoso pencilleth his eyes therefrom, he shall espy all the
treasures of the earth. And I make this condition with you which
is that whoso faileth to hit upon the hoards shall forfeit his right ;
and that none save he who shall achieve the treasure and bring
me the four precious things which be therein shall have any claim
to take this book. So we all agreed to this condition, and he
continued, " O my sons, know that the treasure of Al-Shamardal
is under the commandment of the sons of the Red King, and your
father told me that he had himself essayed to open the treasure,
but could not ; for the sons of the Red King fled from him into
the land of Egypt and took refuge in a lake there, called Lake
Karun, whither he pursued them, but could not prevail over them,
by reason of their stealing into that lake, which was guarded by a

spell." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased

saying her permitted say.

it toas tlje &i* l^untrretr an& Ulebnuf) Nfgfjt,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Cohen Al-Abtan had told the youths this much, he continued his
tale as follows, " So your father returned empty-handed and
unable to win to his wish ; and after failing he complained to me
of his ill-success, whereupon I drew him an astrological figure
and found that the treasure could be achieved only by means of a
young fisherman of Cairo, hight Judar bin Omar, the place of
foregathering with whom was at Lake Karun, for that he should
be the means of capturing the sons of the Red King and that the
charm would not be dissolved, save if he should bind the hands of
the treasure-seeker behind him and cast him into the lake, there to do
battle with the sons of the Red King. And he whose lot it was to

Judar and his Brethren. 223

succeed would la}' hands upon them ; but, if it were not destined
to him he should perish and his feet appear above water. As
for him who was successful, his hands would show first, whereupon
it behoved that Judar should cast the net over him and draw him
ashore." Now quoth my brothers Abd al-Salam and Abd al-
Ahad, " We will wend and make trial, although we perish ; " and
quoth I, " And I also will go ;" but my brother Abd al-Rahim (he
whom thou sawest in the habit of a Jew) said, " I have no mind to
this." Thereupon we agreed with him that he should repair to
Cairo in the disguise of a Jewish merchant, so that, if one of us
perished in the lake, he might take his mule and saddle-bags and
give the bearer an hundred dinars. The first that came to thee
the sons of the Red King slew, and so did they with my second
brother; but against me they could not prevail and I laid hands on
them. Cried Judar, "And where is thy catch?" Asked the
Moor, " Didst thou not see me shut them in the caskets ? " " Those
were fishes," said Judar. " Nay," answered the Maghribi, " they
are Ifrits in the guise of fish. But, O Judar," continued he, " thou
must know that the treasure can be opened only by thy means : so
say, wilt thou do my bidding and go with me to the city Fez and
Mequinez 1 where we will open the treasure?; and after I will give
thee what thou wilt and thou shalt ever be my brother in the bond
of Allah and return to thy family with a joyful heart." Said
Judar, " O my lord the pilgrim, I have on my neck a mother and

two brothers," And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and

ceased to say her permitted say.

>Tofo fo&en tt foas t&e ix J^un&rcfc an& tEfodftlJ

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Judar
said to the Maghribi, " I have on my neck a mother and two
brothers, whose provider I am ; and if I go with thee, who shall
give them bread to eat ? " Replied the Moor, " This is an idle
excuse ! if it be but a matter of expenditure, I will give thee a

1 Arab. " Fas and Miknas " which the writer evidently regards as one city. " Fas"
means a hatchet, from the tradition of one having been found, says Ibn Sa'id, when
digging the base under the founder Idris bin Idri's (A.D. SoS). His sword was placed
on the pinnacle of the minaret built by the Imam Abu Ahmad bin Abi Bakr enclosed in
a golden etui studded with pearls and precious stones. From the local pronunciation
41 Fes" is derived the red cap of the nearer Moslem East (see Ibn Batutah p. 230).

224 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

thousand ducats for thy mother, wherewith she may provide her-
self till thou come back: and indeed thou shalt return before the
end of four months." So when Judar heard mention of the
thousand dinars, he said, " Here with them, O Pilgrim, and I am
thy man ;" and the Moor, pulling out the money, gave it to him,
whereupon he carried it to his mother and told her what had
passed between them, saying, " Take these thousand dinars and
expend of them upon thyself and my brothers, whilst I journey to
Marocco with the Moor, for I shall be absent four months, and
great good will betide me ; so bless me, O my mother !" An-

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 6) → online text (page 23 of 32)