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 5) online

. (page 18 of 41)
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 5) → online text (page 18 of 41)
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treasure from Al-Yaman, Inshallah !" 2 Then he took of him leave
of absence for three days, when all this should be with him, and
vanished. As soon as it was morning AH went round about the
saloon, seeking a place wherein to store the gold, and saw on the edge
of the dais a marble slab with a turning-pin ; so he turned the pin
and the slab sank and showed a door which he opened and enter-
ing, found a great closet, full of bags of coarse stuff carefully sewn.
So he began taking out the bags and fell to filling them with gold
and storing them in the closet, till he had transported thither all
the hoarded gold, whereupon he shut the door and turning the
pin, the slab returned to its place. Then he went down and seated
himself on the bench behind the door ; and presently there came
a knock ; so he opened and found the merchant's slave who, seeing

him comfortably sitting, returned in haste to his master And

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

Ttfoto fofjen it teas tfje jpout f^untfttD anti tEfocnt^mntf) Nt'Qfjt,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
house-owner's black slave returned and knocked at the door, AH
the Cairene, son of the merchant Hasan, opened it to him and the
negro, seeing him comfortably sitting, returned in haste to his
master with the good tidings, saying, " O my Lord, the merchant,
who is lodged in the house inhabited by the Jinn, 3 is alive and
well and sitteth on the bench behind the door." Then the mer-
chant rose joyfully and went to the house, taking breakfast with
him ; and, when he saw AH, he embraced him and kissed him
between the eyes, asking, " How hath Allah dealt with thee ? " ;
and AH answered, " Right well, I slept upstairs in the marble
saloon." Quoth the merchant, " Did aught come to thee or didst
thou see any thing ? " and quoth AH " No, I recited some little of
the Sublime Koran and slept till morning, when I arose and, after

1 Arab. " Takht-rawan," from Persian meaning " moveable throne."

2 The use of the expression proved the speaker to be a Moslem Jinni.

1 The "haunted" house proper, known to the vulgar and to spiritualists becomes, I
have said, amongst Moslems a placs tenanted by Jinns.

176 Alf Laylah wet Laylak.

making the minor ablution and praying, seated myself on the
bench behind the door." " Praised be Allah for safety ! " ex-
claimed the merchant, then left him and presently sent him black
slaves and white Mamelukes and handmaidens with household
gear. They swept the house from top to bottom and furnished it
with magnificent furniture ; after which three white slaves and
three blacks and four slave-girls remained with him, to serve him,
while the rest returned to their master's house. Now when the
merchants heard of him, they sent him presents of all manner
things of price, even to food and drink and clothes, and took him
with them to the market, asking, " When will thy baggage arrive ? "
And he answered, " After three days it will surely come." When
the term had elapsed, the servant of the first hoard, the golden
rain, came to him and said, " Go forth and meet the treasure I
have brought thee from Al-Yaman together with thy Harim ; for
I bring part of the wealth in the semblance of costly merchandise ;
but the eunuchs and Mamelukes and the mules and horses and
camels are all of the Jann." Now the Jinni, when he betook
himself to Cairo, found Ali's wife and children in sore misery,
naked and hungry ; so he carried them out of the city in a travel-
ling-litter and clad them in sumptuous raiment of the stuffs which
were in the treasure of Al-Yaman. So when Ali heard this, he
arose and repairing to the merchants, said to them, " Rise and go
forth with us from the city, to meet the caravan bringing my
merchandise, and honour us with the presence of your Harims, to
meet my Harim." " Hearkening and obedience," answered they
and, sending for their Harims, went forth all together and took
seat in one of the city-gardens ; and as they sat talking, behold, a
dust-cloud arose out of the heart of the desert, and they flocked
forth to see what it was. Presently it lifted and discovered mules
and muleteers, tent-pitchers and linkmen, who came on, singing
and dancing, till they reached the garden, when the chief of the
muleteers walked up to Ali and kissing his hand, said to him, " O
my master, we have been long on the way, for we purposed enter-
ing yesterday ; but we were in fear of the bandits, so abode in our
station four days, till Almighty Allah rid us of them." There-
upon the merchants mounted their mules and rode forward with
the caravan, the Harims waiting behind, till Ali's wife and
children mounted with them; and they all entered in splendid
train. The merchants marvelled at the number of mules laden
with chests, whilst the women of the merchants wondered at the

Ali the Cairene and the Haunted House in Baghdad. 177

richness of the apparel of his wife and the fine raiment of her
children ; and kept saying each to other, " Verily, the King of
Baghdad hath no such gear ; no, nor any other of the kings or
lords or merchants ! " So they ceased not to fare forwards in
high great state, the men with Ali of Cairo and the Harims with
his Harim, till they came to the mansion, And Shahrazad per-
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

fo&m ft tons tjje Jour f^untartj antj Sfrirttetf)

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that they ceased
not to fare forwards in high state, the men with Ali's men and the
women with his wife, till they came to the mansion, where they
alighted and brought the mules and their burdens into the midst
of the courtyard. Then they unloaded them and warehoused the
goods whilst the merchants' wives went up with Ali's family to
the saloon, which they found as it were a luxuriant garden, spread
with magnificent furniture. They sat in mirth and good cheer tilt
noon, when they brought them up the midday meal, all manner
meats and sweetmeats of the very best ; and they ate and drank
costly sherbets and perfumed themselves thereafter with rose-
water and scented woods. Then they took leave and went home,
men and women ; and, when the merchants returned to their
places, they sent presents to the husband according to their
conditions ; and their wives likewise sent presents to the wife, so
that there came to them great store of handmaids and negroes
and Mamelukes ; and all kinds of goods, such as grain, sugar and
so forth, in abundance beyond account. As for the Baghdad
merchant, the landlord of the house, he abode with Ali and
quitted him not, but said to him, " Let the black slaves and ser-
vants take the mules and the common cattle into one of my other
houses, to rest." Quoth Ali, " They set out again to-night for
such a place." Then he gave them leave to go forth and camp
outside the city, that they might start on their journey at night-
come ; whereupon, hardly believing that they were dismissed, they
took leave of him and departing to the outliers of the city, flew
off through the air to their several abodes. So Ali and his house-
owner sat together till a third of the night was past, when their
colloquy ended and the merchant returned to his own house and
Ali went up to his wife and children and after saluting them, said,

178 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

" What hath befallen you in my absence all this time ? " So she
told him what they had suffered of hunger and nakedness and
travail, and he said, " Praised be Allah for safety ! How did ye
come ? " Answered she, " O my lord, I was asleep with my
children yesternight, when suddenly and unexpectedly one raised
us from the ground and flew with us through the firmament with-
out doing us any hurt, nor did he leave flying with us, till he set
us down in a place as it were an Arab camping-ground, where
we saw laden mules and a travelling litter borne upon two great
mules, and around it servants, all boys and men. So I asked them :
Who are ye and what are these loads and where are we ? ; and
they answered : We are the servants of the merchant Ali of
Cairo, son of the merchant-jeweller, who hath sent us to fetch
you to him at Baghdad, Quoth I, Tell me, is it far or near, hence
to Baghdad ? They replied, Near : there lieth between us and the
city but the darkness of the night. Then they mounted us in the
litter and, when the morrow dawned, we found ourselves with thee,
without having suffered any hurt whatever." Quoth he, " Who
gave you these dresses ; " and quoth she, " The chief of the
caravan opened one of the boxes on the mules and taking out
thereof these clothes, clad me and thy children each in a suit ;
after which he locked the case and gave me the key, saying, Take
care of it, till thou give it to thy husband. And here it is safe by
me." So saying, she gave him the key, and he said, " Dost thou
know the chest ? " Said she, " Yes, I know it." So he took her
down to the magazine and showed her the boxes, when she cried,
"This is the one whence the dresses were taken ;" upon which he
put the key in the lock and opened the chest, wherein he found
much raiment and the keys of all the other cases. So he took
them and fell to opening them, one after another, and feasting his
eyes upon the gems and precious ores they contained, whose like
was not found with any of the kings ; after which he locked them
again, took the keys, and returned to the saloon, saying to his
wife, " This is of the bounty of Almighty Allah ! Then bringing
her to the secret slab he turned the pin. and opened the door of
the closet, into which he entered with her and showed her the gold
he had laid up therein. Quoth she, " Whence came all this to
thee ? " " It came to me by the grace of my Lord," answered he :

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying

foer permitted say.

All the Cairem and the Haunted House in Baghdad. 179

fo&m ft tons tf) Jffout l^unbrcti anb Wrt^first Niflfjt,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Ali's
wife had looked upon the gold she said to him, <( Whence came all
this to thee?" "It came to me by the grace of my Lord,"
answered he : " When I left thee in my trouble, I shipped at
Bulak for Damietta and met a friend there who forwarded me
to Damascus ": in brief he told her all that had befallen him, from
first to last. Said she, " O my lord, all this cometh by boon of thy
father's blessing and orisons when he prayed for thee, before his
death, saying : I beseech Allah to cast thee into no straits except
He grant thee ready relief! So praised be Allah Almighty for
that He hath brought thee deliverance and hath requited thee
with more than went from thee ! But Allah upon thee, O my
lord, return not to thy practice of associating with doubtful folk ;
but look thou fear Allah (whose name be exalted !) both in private
and in public." And as she went on to admonish him, he said,
*' I accept thine admonition and beg the Almighty to remove the
froward from amongst us and stablish us in His obedience and
in the observance of the law and practice of His Prophet, on
whom be blessings and peace ! " After that Ali and his wife and
children were in all solace of life and gladness ; and he opened
him a shop in the merchants' bazar and, stocking it with a some-
what of jewels and bullion, sat therein with his children and white
servants. Presently he became the most considerable of the
merchants of Baghdad, and his report reached the King of that
city, 1 who sent a messenger to command his attendance, saying,
" Answer the summons of the King who requireth thee." He
replied, " I hear and obey," and straightway prepared his present
and he took four trays of red gold and, filling them with jewels
and precious metals, such as no King possessed, went up to the
palace and presenting himself before the presence, kissed the
ground between his hands and wished him endurance of goods and
glory in the finest language he could command. Said the King,
" O merchant, thou cheerest our city with thy presence ! " and Ali
rejoined, " O King of the age, thy slave hath brought thee a

1 Needless to say there never was a Sultan or a King of Baghdad nor a Duke of
Athens. This story would seem not to have been written by the author of "the Emir
bin Tahir," etc. Night ccccxxiv.

l8o A If Laylah wa Laylah.

gift and hopeth for acceptance thereof from thy favour." Then
he laid the four trays before the King, who uncovered them and
seeing that they contained gems, whose fellows he possessed not
and whose worth equalled treasuries of money, said, " Thy present
is accepted, O merchant, and Inshallah ! we will requite thee with
its like." And Ali kissed his hands and went away ; whereupon
the King called his grandees and said to them, " How many of
the Kings have sought my daughter in marriage ? " " Many,"
answered they ; and he asked, " Hath any of them given me the
like of this gift?"; whereto they replied, "Not one, for that none
of them hath its like;'-' and he said, "I have consulted Allah
Almighty by lot as to marrying my daughter to this merchant.
What say ye ? " " Be it as thou reckest," answered they. Then
he bade the eunuch carry the four trays into his serraglio and
going in to his wife, laid them before her. She uncovered them
and seeing therein that whose like she possessed not ; no, nor a
fraction thereof, said to him, " From which of the Kings hadst
thou these ? : perchance of one of the royalties that seek thy
daughter in marriage ? " Said he, " Not so, I had them of an
Egyptian merchant, who is lately come to this our city. Now
when I heard of his coming I sent to command him to us, thinking
to make his acquaintance, so haply we might find with him some-
what of jewels and buy them of him for our daughter's trousseau.
He obeyed our summons and brought us these four trays, as a
present, and I saw him to be a handsome youth of dignified
aspect and intelligent as elegant, almost such as should be the
sons of Kings. Wherefore my heart inclined to him at sight, and
my heart rejoiced in him and I thought good to marry my daugh-
ter to him. So I showed the gift to my grandees, who agreed
with me that none of the Kings hath the like of these and I told

them my project. But what sayst thou ? " And Shahrazad

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

it foas tfje jpout pjuntrrefc anfc ^ittg - SConU J^t'gljt,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
King of Baghdad, after showing the presents to his wife and
highly praising Ali, the merchant-jeweller, and informing her of
the proposed marriage, asked, " But what sayst thou ? " She re-
plied, " O King of the age, the ordering this affair is in Allah's

Ali the Cairene and the Haunted House in Baghdad. 181

hand, and thine, and vvhatso Allah willeth shall come to pass."
Rejoined the King, " If it be His will, I will marry her to none
other than this young man." He slept on this resolve and on
the morrow, he went out to his Divan and summoned Ali and
the rest of the merchants of Baghdad, and when all came bade
them be seated. Then said he, " Bring me the Kazi of the Divan "
and they brought him ; whereupon the King said to him, " O
Kazi, write the contract of marriage between my daughter and
the merchant Ali the Cairene." But Ali said, " Thy pardon, O
our lord the Sultan ! It befitteth not that a trader such as I, be
the King's son-in-law." Quoth the King, " It is my will to bestow
this favour upon thee, as well as the Wazirate ; " and he invested
him forthwith in the Wazir's office and ministerial robes. Then
Ali sat down in the chair of the Wazirate and said, " O King of
the age, thou hast bestowed on me this ; and indeed I am
honoured by thy bounties ; but hear one word I have to say to
thee ! " He replied," Say on, and fear not." Quoth Ali," Since it
is thine august resolution to marry thy daughter, thou wouldst do
better to marry her to my son." Quoth the King," Hast thou then
a son ?"; and Ali replied,- " Yes." " Send for him forthwith," said
the King. Thereupon answered Ali, " Hearkening and obedience!",
and despatched a servant to fetch his son, who came and kissing
the ground before the King, stood in an attitude of respect. The
King looked at him and seeing him to be yet comelier than his
daughter and goodlier than she in stature and proportion and
brightness and perfection, said to him, "What is thy name, O my
son ? " " My name is Hasan, O our lord the Sultan," replied the
young man, who was then fourteen years old. Then the Sultan
said to the Kazi, " Write the contract of marriage between my
daughter Husn al-Wujud and Hasan, son of the merchant Ali
the Cairene." So he wrote the marriage-contract between them,
and the affair was ended in the goodliest fashion ; after which all in
the Divan went their ways and the merchants followed the Wazir
Ali, escorting him to his house, where they gave him joy of his
advancement and departed. Then he went in to his wife, who
seeing him clad in the Wazir's habit, exclaimed, " What is this ? ";
when he told her all that had passed from first to last and she
joyed therein with exceeding joy. So sped the night and on the
morrow, he went up to the Divan, where the King received him
with especial favour and seating him close by his side, said, " O
Wazir, we purpose to begin the wedding festivities and bring thy son

2 82 A If Laylak iva Laylah.

in to our daughter." Replied Ali, " O our lord the Sultan, whatsa
thou deemest good is good." So the Sultan gave orders to cele-
brate the festivities, and they decorated the city and held high
festival for thirty days, in all joy and gladness ; at the end of which
time, Hasan, son of the Wazir Ali, went in to the Princess and
enjc-yed her beauty and loveliness. When the Queen saw her
daughter's husband, she conceived a warm affection for him, and
in like manner she rejoiced greatly in his mother. Then the King-
bade build for his son-in-law Hasan Ali-son a palace beside his
own ; so they built him with all speed a splendid palace in which
he took up his abode ; and his mother used to tarry with him some
days and then go down to her own house. After awhile the Queen
said to her husband, " O King of the age, Hasan's lady-mother
cannot take up her abode with her son and leave the Wazir ;
neither can she tarry with the Wazir and leave her son." " Thou
sayest sooth," replied the King, and bade edify a third palace
beside that of Hasan, which being done in a few days he caused
remove thither the goods of the Wazir, and the Minister and his
wife took up their abode there. Now the three palaces com-
municated with one another, so that when the King had a mind to
speak with the Wazir by night, he would go to him or send to
fetch him ; and so with Hasan and his father and mother. On
this wise they dwelt in all solace and in the greatest happiness

And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying

her permitted say.

Nofo toben a foas tije Jpout ^unfcrrt anJj

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the King
and the Wazir and his son ceased not to dwell in all solace and
in the greatest happiness awhile, till the King fell ill and his sick-
ness grew on him. So he summoned the lords of his realm and
said to them, " There is come upon me a sore malady, peradven-
ture a mortal ; and I have therefore summoned you to consult you
respecting a certain matter, on which I would have you counsel me
as you deem well." They asked, " What is the matter of which
thou wouldst take counsel with us, O King ? "; and he answered,
" I am old and sickly and I fear for the realm after me from its
enemies ; so I would have you all agree upon some one, that I
may proclaim him King in my lifetime and so ye may be at ease.'*

Alt the Cairene and the Haunted House in Baghdad. 183

Whereupon quoth they with one voice, " We all approve of thy
daughter's husband Hasan, son of th^ Wazir All ; for we have
seen his wit and perfect understanding, and he knoweth the place
of all, great and small." Asked the King, " Are ye indeed agreed
upon this ? " and they answered, " Yes." Rejoined he " Peradven-
ture ye all say this to my face, of respect for me ; but behind my
back ye will say otherwise." However, they all replied, " By Allah,
our word is one and the same in public and in private, and we accept
him frankly and with heartiness of heart and breadth of breast."
Quoth he, " Since the case is thus, bring the Kazi of the Holy
Law and all the Chamberlains and Viceroys and Officers of state
before me to-morrow, and we will order the affair after the good-
liest fashion." " We hear and we obey," answered they and with-
drawing, notified all the Olema, 1 the doctors of the law and the
chief personages among the Emirs. So when the morrow dawned,
they came up to the Divan and having craved and obtained per-
mission to enter, they saluted the King, saying, " Here are we all
in thy presence." Whereto he made reply, " O Emirs of Bagh-
dad, whom will ye have to be King over you after me, that I
may inaugurate him during my lifetime, before the presence of
you all ? " Quoth they with one voice, " We are agreed upon thy
daughter's husband Hasan, son of the Wazir Ali." Quoth he,
" If it be so, go all of you and bring him before me." So they all
arose and, repairing to Hasan's palace, said to him, " Rise, come
with us to the King.' " Wherefore ? " asked he, and they answered,
" For a thing that will benefit both us and thee." So he went
in with them to the King and kissed the ground before his
father-in-law who said to him, " Be seated, O my son ! " He sat
down and the King continued, " O Hasan, all the Emirs have

1 Plur. of Alim = one learned in the law, a D.D. Mohammed did his best to abolish
the priest and his craft by making each Moslem paterfamilias a pontifex in his own
household and he severely condemned monkery and celibacy. But human nature was
too much for him : even before his death ascetic associations began to crop up. Presently
the Olema in Al-Islam formed themselves into a kind of clergy ; with the single but
highly important difference that they must (or ought to) live by some honest secular
calling and not by the "cure of souls"; hence Mahomet IV. of Turkey was solemnly
deposed. So far and no farther Mohammed was successful and his success has secured
for him the lively and lasting hatred of the ecclesiastical caste which he so honestly and
wisely attempted to abate. Even to the present day missionaries have a good word for
the Guebre and the Buddhist, the Brahmanist and the Confucian, but none for the Mos-
lem : Dr. Livingstone, for one instance of many, evidently preferred the Fetichist, whom
he could convert, to the Unitarian Faithful whom he could not.

184 A If Laylah wa Laylah<

approved of thee and agreed to make thee King over them after
me ; and it is my purpose to proclaim thee, whilst I yet live, and so
make an end of the business." But Hasan stood up and, kissing
the ground once more before the King, said to him, " O our lord
the King, among the Emirs there be many who are older than I
and greater of worth ; acquit me therefore of this thing." But all
the Emirs cried out saying, " We consent not but that thou be
King over us." Then said Hasan, " My father is older than I, and
I and he are one thing ; and it befits not to advance me over him."
But AH said, " I will consent to nothing save whatso contenteth my
brethren ; and they have all chosen and agreed upon thee ; where-
fore gainsay thou not the King's commandment and that of thy
brethren." And Hasan hung his head abashed before the King and
his father. Then said the King to the Emirs, " Do ye all accept of
him ? " " We do, "answered they and recited thereupon seven
Fatihahs. 1 So the King said, " O Kazi, draw up a legal instrument
testifying of these Emirs that they are agreed to make King over
them my daughter's husband Hasan." The Kazi wrote the act and
made it binding on all men, 2 after they had sworn in a body the
oath of fealty to Hasan." Then the King did likewise and bade
him take his seat on the throne of kingship ; whereupon they all
arose and kissed King Hasan's hands and did homage to him, and
swore lealty to him. And the new King dispensed justice among
the people that day in fashion right royal, and invested the grandees
of the realm in splendid robes of honour. When the Divan broke
up, he went in to and kissed the hands of his father-in-law who
spake thus to him, " O my son, look thou rule the lieges in the

fear of Allah ;" And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and

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 5) → online text (page 18 of 41)