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 32 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 32 of 41)
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The Adventures of Bulnkiya. 313

with sore weeping and repented of that which he had done, call-
ing to mind my words, whenas I said to them, " Far is it from
man's power to possess himself of the ring." Then he descended
from the mountain and returned in exceeding confusion to the
sea-shore and passed the night there, marvelling at the mountains
and seas and islands around him. When morning dawned, he
anointed his feet with the herb-juice and descending to the water,
set out and fared on over the surface of the seas days and nights,
astonied at the terrors of the main and the marvels and wonders of
the deep, till he came to an island as it were the Garden of Eden.
So he landed and, finding himself in a great and pleasant island,
paced about it and saw with admiration that its dust was saffron
and its gravel carnelian and precious minerals ; its hedges were of
jessamine, its vegetation was of the goodliest of trees and of the
brightest of odoriferous shrubs ; its brushwood was of Comorin and
Sumatran aloes-wood and its reeds were sugar-canes. Round about
it were roses and narcissus and amaranths and gilly-flowers and
chamomiles and white lilies and violets, and other flowers of all
kinds and colours. Of a truth the island was the goodliest place,
abounding in space, rich in grace, a compendium of beauty mate-
rial and spiritual. The birds warbled on the boughs with tones
far sweeter than chaunt of Koran and their notes would console a
lover whom longings unman. And therein the gazelle frisked free
and fain and wild cattle roamed about the plain. Its trees were of
tallest height ; its streams flowed bright ; its springs welled with
waters sweet and light ; and all therein was a delight to sight and
sprite. Bulukiya marvelled at the charms of the island but knew
that he had strayed from the way he had first taken in company
with Affan. He wandered about the place and solaced him with
various spectacles until nightfall, when he climbed into a tree to
sleep ; but as he sat there, musing over the beauty of the site,
behold, the sea became troubled and there rose up to the surface a
great beast, which cried out with a cry so terrible that every living
thing upon the isle trembled. As Bulukiya gazed upon him from
the tree and marvelled at the bigness of his bulk, he was presently
followed unexpectedly by a multitude of other sea-beasts in kind
manifold, each holding in his fore-paw a jewel which shone like a
lamp, so that the whole island became as light as day for the lustre
of the gems. After awhile, there appeared, from the heart of the
island, wild beasts of the land, none knoweth their number save
Allah the Most High ; amongst which Bulukiya noted lions and

314 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

panthers and lynxes and other ferals ; and these land-beascs
flocked down to the shore ; and, foregathering with the sea-beasts,
conversed with them till daybreak, when they separated and. each
went his own way. Thereupon Bulukiya, terrified by what he had
seen, came down from the tree and, making the sea-shore, anointed
his feet with the magical juice, and set out once more upon the
surface of the water. He fared on days and nights over the
Second Sea, till he came to a great mountain skirting which ran a
Wady without end, the stones whereof were magnetic iron and its
beasts lions and hares and panthers. He landed on the mountain-
foot and wandered from place to place till nightfall, when he sat
down sheltered by one of the base-hills on the sea-side, to eat of
the dried fish thrown up by the sea. Presently, he turned from
his meal and behold, a huge panther was creeping up to rend
and ravin him ; so he anointed his feet in haste with the juice
and, descending to the surface of the water, fled walking over the
Third Sea, in the darkness ; for the night was black and the wind
blew stark. Nor did he stay his course till he reached another
island, whereon he landed and found there trees bearing fruits both
fresh and dry. 1 So he took of these fruits and ate and praised
Allah Almighty; after which he walked for solace about the island

till eventide. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and

ceased saying her permitted say.

to&m it foas tfce Jfour funtire& antr Janets - first jiiigljt,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Bulukiya
(continued the Queen) walked for solace about the island till even-
tide, when he lay down to sleep. As soon as day brake, he began
to explore the place and ceased not for ten days, after which he
again made the shore and anointed his feet and, setting out over
the Fourth Sea, walked upon it many nights and days, till he came
to a third island of fine white sand without sign of trees or grass.
He walked about it awhile but, finding its only inhabitants sakers
which nested in the sand, he again anointed his feet and trudged
over the Fifth Sea, walking night and day till he came to a little
island, whose soil and hills were like crystal. Therein were the

1 This may mean that the fruits were fresh and dried like dates or tamarinds (a notable
wonder), or soft and hard of skin like grapes and pomegranates.

The Adventures of Bulukiya. 315

veins wherefrom gold is worked ; and therein also were marvellous
trees whose like he had never seen in his wanderings, for their
blossoms were in hue as gold. He landed and walked about for
diversion till it was nightfall, when the flowers began to shine
through the gloom like stars. Seeing this sight, he marvelled
and said, "Assuredly, the flowers of this island are of those which
wither under the sun and fall to the earth, where the winds smite
them and they gather under the rocks and become the Elixir, 1 which
the folk collect and thereof make gold." He slept there all that
night and at sunrise he again anointed his feet and, descending to
the shore, fared on over the Sixth Sea nights and days, till he came
to a fifth island. Here he landed and found, after walking an hour
or so, two mountains covered with a multitude of trees, whose
fruits were as men's heads hanging by the hair, and others whose
fruits were green birds hanging by the feet ; also a third kind,
whose fruits were like aloes, if a drop of the juice fell on a man it
burnt like fire ; and others, whose fruits wept and laughed, besides
many other marvels which he saw there. Then he returned to the
sea-shore and, finding there a tall tree, sat down beneath it till
supper-time when he climbed up into the branches to sleep. As
he sat considering the wonderful works of Allah behold, the waters
became troubled, and there rose therefrom the daughters of the sea,
each mermaid holding in her hand a jewel which shone like the
morning. They came ashore and, foregathering under the trees,
sat down and danced and sported and made merry whilst Bulukiya
amused himself with watching and wondering at their gambols,
which were prolonged till the morning, when they returned to the
sea and disappeared. Then he came down and, anointing his feet,
set out on the surface of the Seventh Sea, over which he journeyed
two whole months, without getting sight of highland or island or
broadland or lowland or shoreland, till he came to the end thereof.
And so doing he suffered exceeding hunger, so that he was forced
to snatch up fishes from the surface of the sea and deyour them
raw, for stress of famine. In such case he pushed on till in early
forenoon he came to the sixth island, with trees a-growing and rills
a-flowing, where he landed and walked about, looking right and left,
till he came to an apple-tree and put forth his hand to pluck of
the fruit, when lo ! one cried out to him from the tree, saying," An

1 Arab. " Al-Iksir " meaning lit. an essence ; also the phiV^ph^r's stooe.

$16 A If Lay t ah wa Laylak.

thou draw near to this tree and cut of it aught, I will cut thee in
twain." So he looked and saw a giant forty cubits high, being the
cubit of the people of that day; whereat he feared with sore fear and
refrained from that tree. Then said he to the giant, " Why dost
thou forbid me to eat of this tree ? " Replied the other, " Because
thou art a son of Adam and thy father Adam forgot the covenant
of Allah and sinned against Him and ate of the tree." Quoth
Bulukiya, " What thing art thou and to whom belongeth this island,
with its trees, and how art thou named?"" Quoth the tall one,
" My name is Sharahiya and trees and island belong to King
Sakhr; 1 I am one of his guards and in charge of his dominion,"
presently adding, " But who art thou and whence comest thou
hither?" Bulukiya told him his story from beginning to end
and Sharahiya said, " Be of good cheer," and brought him to eat.
So he ate his fill and, taking leave of the giant, set out again and
ceased not faring on over the mountains and sandy deserts for ten
days ; at the end of which time he saw, in the distance, a dust-
cloud hanging like a canopy in air ; and, making towards it, he
heard a mighty clamour, cries and blows and sounds of mellay.
Presently he reached a great Wady, two months' journey long ;
and, looking whence the shouts came, he saw a multitude of horse-
men engaged in fierce fight and the blood running from them till
it railed like a river. Their voices were thunderous and they were
armed with lance and sword and iron mace and bow and arrow,
and all fought with the utmost fury. At this sight he felt sore
affright - And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased
to say her permitted say.

Nofo to^cn tt foas tfje jpour f^unUrefc an& Nmetg^ron& Nigljt,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen con-
tinued : When Bulukiya saw the host in fight, he felt sore affright
and was perplexed about his case ; but whilst he hesitated, behold,
they caught sight of him and held their hands one from other and
left fighting. Then a troop of them came up to him, wonder-
ing at his make, and one of the horsemen said to him, " What art
thou and whence earnest thou hither and whither art wending ;
and who showed thee the way that thou hast come to our

1 Name of the Jinni whom Solomon imprisoned in Lake Tiberias (See vol. L, 41).

The Adventures of Bulukiya. 317

country?" Quoth he, ' I am of the sons of Adam and am come
out, distracted for the love of Mohammed (whom Allah bless and
preserve!); but I have wandered from my way." Quoth the
horseman, " Never saw we a son of Adam till now, nor did any
ever come to this land." And all marvelled at him and at his
speech. " But what are ye, O creatures?" asked Bulukiya; and
the rider replied, " We are of the Jann." So he said, " O Knight,
what is the cause of the fighting amongst you and where is your
abiding-place and what is the name of this valley and this land ? '
He replied, "Our abiding-place is the White Country ; and, every
year, Allah Almighty commandeth us to come hither and wage war
upon the unbelieving Jann." Asked Bulukiya, "And where is the
White Country? " and the horseman answered, " It is behind the
mountain Kaf, and distant seventy-five years journey from this
place which is termed the Land of Shaddad son of 'Ad : we
are here for Holy War ; and we have no other business, when we
are not doing battle, than to glorify God and hallow him. More-
over, we have a ruler, King Sakhr hight, and needs must thou go
with us to him, that he may look upon thee for his especial de-
light." Then they fared on (and he with them) till they came to
their abiding place ; where he saw a multitude of magnificent
tents of green silk, none knoweth their number save Allah the
Most High, and in their midst a pavilion of red satin, some thou-
sand cubits in compass, with cords of blue silk and pegs of gold
and silver. Bulukiya marvelled at the sight and accompanied them
as they fared on and behold, this was the royal pavilion. So they
carried him into the presence of King Sakhr, whom he found
seated upon a splendid throne of red gold, set with pearls and
studded with gems; the Kings and Princes of the Jann being on
his right hand, and on his left his Councillors and Emirs and
Officers of state, and a multitude of others. The King seeing him
bade introduce him, which they did ; and Bulukiya went up to
him and saluted him after kissing the ground before him. The
King returned his salute and said, " Draw near me, O mortal ! "
and Bulukiya went close up to him. Hereupon the King, com-
manding a chair to be set for him by his royal side, bade him sit
down and asked him " Who art thou ? " ; and Bulukiya answered,
" I am a man, and one of the Children of Israel." " Tell me thy
story," cried King Sakhr, " and acquaint me with all that hath
befallen thee and how thou earnest to this my land." So Bulu-
kiya related to him all that had occurred in his wanderings from

318 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

beginning to end And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day

and ceased saying her permitted say.

tofjen it tons tfje jpout p^untitrtf ant NiitttlM&irfc

She said, it hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen
continued: When Bulukiya related to Sakhr what befel him in
his wanderings, he marvelled thereat. Then he bade the servants
bring food and they spread the tables and set on one thousand and
five hundred platters of red gold and silver and copper, some con-
taining twenty and some fifty boiled camels, and others some fifty
head of sheep ; at which Bulukiya marvelled with exceeding
marvel. Then they ate and he ate with them, till he was satisfied
and returned thanks to Allah Almighty ; after which they cleared
the tables and set on fruits, and they ate thereof, glorifying the
name of God and invoking blessings on His prophet Mohammed
(whom Allah bless and preserve !) When Bulukiya heard them
make mention of Mohammed, he wondered and said to King
Sakhr, " I am minded to ask thee some questions." Rejoined the
King, " Ask what thou wilt," and Bulukiya said, " O King, what
are ye and what is your origin and how came ye to know of
Mohammed (whom Allah assain and save !) that ye draw near
to him and love him ? " King Sakhr answered, " O Bulukiya, of
very sooth Allah created the fire in seven stages, one above the
other, and each distant a thousand years' journey from its neigh-
bour. The first stage he named Jahannam ! and appointed the
same for the punishment of the transgressors of the True-believers,
who die unrepentant ; the second he named Laza and appointed
for Unbelievers : the name of the third is Jahi'm and is appointed
for Gog and Magog. 2 The fourth is called Sa'i'r and is appointed

1 Vulgarly pronounced "Jahannum." The second hell is usually assigned to Chris-
tians. As there are seven Heavens (the planetary orbits) so, to satisfy Moslem love of
symmetry, there must be as many earths and hells under the earth. The Egyptians
invented these grim abodes, and the marvellous Persian fancy worked them into poem.

2 Arab. "Yajuj and Majuj," first named in Gen. x. 2, which gives the ethnology
of Asia Minor, circ. B.C. 800. " Corner " is the Gimri or Cymmerians, " Magog " the
original Magi, a division of the Medes ; " Javan " the Ionian Greeks ; " Meshesh " the
Moschi ; and " Tiras " the Turusha, or primitive Cymmerians. In subsequent times,
" Magog" was applied to the Scythians, and modern Moslems determine from the Koran
(chapt. xviii. and xxi.) that Yajuj and Majuj are the Russians, whom they call Moska or
Moskoff from the Moskwa River.

The Adventures of Bulukiya* 319

for the host of Iblis. The fifth is called Sakar and is prepared
for those who neglect prayer. The sixth is called Hatamah and
is appointed for Jews and Christians. The seventh is named
Hawiyah and is prepared for hypocrites. Such be the seven
stages." Quoth Bulukiya, " Haply Jahannam hath least of tor-
ture for that it is the uppermost.'" " Yes," quoth King Sakhr, " the
most endurable of them all is Jahannam ; natheless in it are
a thousand mountains of fire, in each mountain seventy thousand
cities of fire, in each city seventy thousand castles of fire, in each
castle seventy thousand houses of fire, in each house seventy thou-
sand couches of fire and in each couch seventy thousand manners
of torment. As for the other hells, O Bulukiya, none knoweth
the number of kinds of torment that be therein save Allah
Most Highest." When Bulukiya heard this, he fell down in a
fainting-fit, and when he came to himself, he wept and said, " O
King what will be my case ? ' : Quoth Sakhr, " Fear not, and
know thou that whoso loveth Mohammed (whom Allah bless and
keep ! ) the fire shall not burn him, for he is made free there-
from for his sake ; and whoso belongeth to his Faith the fire shall
fly him. As for us, the Almighty Maker created us of the fire ;
for the first that he made in Jahannam were two of His host,
whom he called Khali't and Mai ft. Now Khah't was fashioned in
the likeness of a lion, with a tail like a tortoise twenty years'
journey in length and ending in a member masculine ; while Mah't
was like a pied wolf whose tail was furnished with a member femi-
nine. Then Almighty Allah commanded the tails to couple and
copulate and do the deed of kind, and of them were born serpents
and scorpions, whose dwelling is in the fire, that Allah may there-
with torment those whom He casteth therein ; and these increased
and multiplied. Then Allah commanded the tails of Khalit and
Malit to couple and copulate a second time, and the tail of Malit
conceived by the tail of Khalit and bore fourteen children, seven
male and seven female, who grew up and intermarried one with
other. All were obedient to their sire, save one who disobeyed
him and was changed into a worm which is Iblis (the curse of
Allah be upon him !). Now Iblis was one of the Cherubim, for he
had served Allah till he was raised to the heavens and cherished 1
by the especial favour of the Merciful One, who made him chief

1 I attempt to preserve the original pun ; " Mukarrabin " (those near Allah) being the
Cherubim, and the Creator causing Iblis to draw near Him (karraba).

320 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

of the Cherubim." - And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day
and ceased to say her permitted say.

Wofo fofjen (t foas t&e jpour f^un&reti anfc Ninety cfoutti)

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen
continued: Iblis served God and became chief of Cherubim.
When, however, the Lord created Adam (with whom be peace !),
He commanded Iblis to prostrate himself to him, but he drew
bake ; so Allah Almighty expelled him from heaven and cursed
him. 1 This Iblis had issue and of his lineage are the devils ; and as
for the other six males, who were his elders, they are the ancestors
of the true-believing Jann, and we are their descendants. Such, O
Bulukiya is our provenance. 2 Bulukiya marvelled at -the King's
words and said, " O King, I pray thee bid one of thy guards bear
me back to my native land." " Naught of this may we do,"
answered Sakhr, "save by commandment of Allah Almighty;
however, an thou desire to leave us and return home, I will mount
thee on one of my mares and cause her carry thee to the farthest
frontiers of my dominions, where thou wilt meet with the troops
of another King, Barakhiya hight, who will recognize the mare at
sight and take thee off her and send her back to us ; and this is
all we can do for thee, and no more." When Bulukiya heard these
words he wept and said, " Do whatso thou wilt." So King Sakhr
caused bring the mare and., setting Bulukiya on her back, said to
him, " Beware lest thou alight from her or strike her or cry out in
her face ; for if thou do so she will slay thee ; but abide quietly
riding on her back till she stop with thee ; then dismount and
wend thy ways." Quoth Bulukiya, " I hear and I obey ;" he then
mounted and setting out, rode on a long while between the rows
of tents ; and stinted not riding till he came to the royal kitchens
where he saw the great cauldrons, each holding fifty camels, hung
up over the fires which blazed fiercely under them. So he stopped

1 A vulgar version of the Koran (chapt. vii.), which seems to have borrowed from thft
Gospel of Barnabas. Hence Adam becomes a manner of God-man.

2 These wild fables are caricatures of Rabbinical legends which began with " Lilith,"
the Spirit-wife of Adam : Nature and her counterpart, Physis and Antiphysis, supply
a solid basis for folk-lore. Amongst the Hindus we have Brahma (the Creator) and
Viswakarma, the anti-Creator : the former makes a horse and a bull and the latter
caricatures them with an ass and a buffalo, and so forth.

The Adventures of Bulukiya, 321

there and gazed with a marvel ever increasing till King Sakhr
thinking him to be anhungered, bade bring him two roasted
camels ; and they carried them to him and bound them behind
him on the mare's crupper. Then he took leave of them and fared
on, till he came to the end of King Sakhr's dominions, where the
mare stood still and Bulukiya dismounted and began to shake the
dust of the journey from his raiment. And behold, there accosted
him a party of men who, recognising the mare, carried her and
Bulukiya before their King Barakhiya. So he saluted him, and
the King returned his greeting and seated him beside himself in
a splendid pavilion, in the midst of his troops and champions
and vassal Princes of the Jann ranged to right and left ; after
which he called for food and they ate their fill and pronounced
the Alhamdolillah. Then they set on fruits, and when they
had eaten thereof, King Barakhiya, whose estate was like that
of King Sakhr, asked his guest, " When didst thou leave King
Sakhr ? " And Bulukiya answered, " Two days ago." Quoth
Barakhiya, " Dost thou know, how many days' journey thou hast
come in these two days ? " Quoth he, " No," and the King
rejoined, " Thou hast come a journey of threescore and ten

months." And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and

ceased saying her permitted say.

^"oto fofjen it toas tte jfout f^un&teU anfc Nmetg=fiftf) Nic$t,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Queen
continued : Barakhiya said to Bulukiya, " In two days thou hast
come a journey of threescore and ten months ; moreover when thou
mountedst the mare, she was affrighted at thee, knowing thee
for a son of Adam, and would have thrown thee ; so they bound
on her back these two camels by way of weight to steady her."
When Bulukiya heard this, he marvelled and thanked Allah
Almighty for safety. Then said the King, " Tell me thy
adventures and what brought thee to this our land." So he
told him his story from first to last, and the King marvelled at
his words, and kept Bulukiya with him two months. Upon this
Hasib Karim al-Din after he had marvelled at her story, again
besought the Serpent-queen saying, " I pray thee of thy goodness
and graciousness command one of thy subjects conduct me to the
surface of the earth, that I may return to my family;" but she

322 A If Laylah wa Lay la k.

answered, " O Hasib, I know that the first thing thou wilt do,
after seeing the face of the earth will be to greet thy family and
then repair to the Hammam-bath and bathe ; and the moment
thou endest thine ablutions will see the last of me, for it will be
the cause of my death." Quoth Hasib, " I swear that I will never
again enter the Hammam-bath so long as I live, but when
washing is incumbent on me, I will wash at home." Rejoined
the Queen, " I would not trust thee though thou shouldst swear
to me an hundred oaths ; for such abstaining is not possible ; and
I know thee to be a son of Adam for whom no oath is sacred.
Thy father Adam made a covenant with Allah the most High,
who kneaded the clay whereof He fashioned him forty mornings
and made His angels prostrate themselves to him ; yet after all
his promise did he forget and his oath violate, disobeying the
commandment of his Lord." When Hasib heard this, he held
his peace and burst into tears ; nor did he leave weeping for the
space of ten days, at the end of which time he said to the Queen,
" Prithee acquaint me with the rest of Bulukiya's adventures,"
Accordingly, she began again as follows : Know, O Hasib, that
Bulukiya, after abiding two months with King Barakhiya, fare-
welled him and fared on over wastes and deserts nights and days,
till he came to a high mountain which he ascended. On the
summit he beheld seated a great Angel glorifying the names
of God and invoking blessings on Mohammed. Before him lay
a tablet covered with characters, these white and those black, 1
whereon his eyes were fixed, and his two wings were outspread to
the full, one to the western and the other to the eastern horizon.
Bulukiya approached and saluted the Angel, who returned his

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 32 of 41)