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 34 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 34 of 41)
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charge of the horses. They asked him what was come of his
master and the other six, and he told them what had passed ;
whereupon they took him with them and returned to the King and
acquainted him with what they had learnt. When Teghmus heard
their report, he wept with sore weeping and cast the crown from his

The Story of Jans hah. 333

head, biting his hands for vexation. Then he rose forthright and
wrote letters and despatched them to all the islands of the sea.
Moreover he got together an hundred ships and filling them with,
troops, sent them to sail about in quest of Janshah, while he him-
self withdrew with his troops to his capital, where he abode in)
sore concern, As for Janshah's mother, when she heard of his loss
she buffeted her face and began the mourning ceremonies for her
son making sure that he was dead. Meanwhile, Janshah and his
men ceased not driving before the wind and those in search of
them cruised about for ten days till, finding no trace they returned
and reported failure to the King. But a stiff gale caught the
Prince's craft which went spooning till they made a second island,
where they landed and walked about. Presently they came upon
a spring of running water in the midst of the island and saw from
afar a man sitting hard by it. So they went up to him and
saluted him, and he returned their salam, speaking in a voice like
the whistle 1 of birds. Whilst Janshah stood marvelling at the
man's speech he looked right and left and suddenly split himself
in twain, and each half went a different way. 2 Then there came
down from the hills a multitude of men of all kinds, beyond count
and reckoning; and they no sooner reached the spring, than each
one divided into two halves and rushed on Janshah and his
Mamelukes to eat them. When the voyagers saw this, they turned
and fled seawards ; but the cannibals pursued them and caught
and ate three of the slaves, leaving only three slaves who with
Janshah reached the boat in safety ; then launching her made for
the water and sailed nights and days without knowing whither
their ship went. They killed the gazelle and lived on her flesh,
till the winds drove them to a third island which was full of trees
and waters and flower-gardens and orchards laden with all fashion
of fruits : and streams strayed under the tree-shade : brief, the
place was a Garden of Eden. The island pleased the Prince and
he said to his companions, " Which of you will land and explore."
Then said one of the slaves, " That will I do "; but he replied,

1 Arab. "Sifr": whistling is held by the Badawi to be the speech of devils; and
the excellent explorer Burckhardt got a bad name by the ugly habit.

8 The Arabs call " Shikk " (split man) and the Persians " Nfmchahrah " (half-face) a
kind of demon like a man divided longitudinally : this gruesome creature runs with
amazing speed and is very cruel and dangerous. For the celebrated soothsayers Shikk
end Satih see Chenery's Al-Hariri, p. 371.

334 -A If Laylah wa Laylah.

" This thing may not be ; you must all land and explore the

place while I abide in the boat." So he set them ashore, And

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

KTofo fofjcn it foas tlje jptbe f^un&rrtr an& ^econfc Nt'ei)t,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Prince
set them ashore, and they searched the island, East and West, but
found no one ; then they fared on inland to the heart thereof, till
they came to a Castle compassed about with ramparts of white
marble, within which was a palace of the clearest crystal and, set in
its centre a garden containing all manner fruits beyond descrip-
tion, both fresh and dry, and flowers of grateful odour and trees
and birds singing upon the boughs. Amiddlemost the garden was
a vast basin of water, and beside it a great open hall with a raised
dai's whereon stood a number of stools surrounding a throne of
red gold, studded with all kinds of jewels and especially rubies.
Seeing the beauty of the Castle and of the Garden they entered
and explored in all directions, but found no one there, so after
rummaging the Castle they returned to Janshah and told him what
they had seen. When he heard their report, he cried, " Needs
must I solace myself with a sight of it ;" so he landed and
accompanied them to the palace, which he entered marvelling at
the goodliness of the place. They then visited every part of the
gardens and ate of the fruits and continued walking till it waxed
dark, when they returned to the estrade and sat down, Janshah on
the throne in the centre and the three others on the stools ranged
to the right and left. Then the Prince, there seated, called to mind
his separation from his father's throne-city 1 and country and friends
and kinsfolk ; and fell a-weeping and lamenting over their loss,
whilst his men wept around him. And as they were thus sorrow-
ing behold, they heard a mighty clamour, that came from seaward,
and looking in the direction of the clamour saw a multitude of
apes, as they were swarming locusts. Now the castle and the
island belonged to these apes, who, finding the strangers' boat
moored to the strand, had scuttled it and after repaired to the

1 Arab. " Takht " (Persian) = a throne or a capital.

The Story of fanshah. 335

palace, where they came upon Janshah and his men seated. Here
the Serpent-queen again broke off her recital saying, " All this, O
Hasib, was told to Bulukiya by the young man sitting between the
two tombs." Quoth Hasib, " And what did Janshah with the
apes?"; so the Queen resumed her tale : He and his men were
sore affrighted at the appearance of the apes, but a company of
them came up to the throne whereon he sat and, kissing the earth
before him, stood awhile in his presence with their paws upon their
breasts in posture of respect. Then another troop brought to the
castle gazelles which they slaughtered and skinned ; and roasting
pieces of the flesh till fit for food they laid them on platters of
gold and silver and spreading the table, made signs to Janshah
and his men to eat. The Prince and his followers came down from
their seats and ate, and the apes ate with them, till they were
satisfied, when the apes took away the meat and set on fruits of
which they partook and praised Allah the most Highest. Then
Janshah asked the apes by signs what they were and to whom the
palace belonged, and they answered him by signals, " Know ye that
this island belonged of yore to our lord Solomon son of David
(on both of whom be peace !), and he used to come hither once

every year for his solace, And Shahrazad perceived the dawn

of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

Xoto fofjcn it toas tfje jptbe |^unlw& anfc

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Janshah asked the apes by signs to whom the palace belonged,
they answered him by signals, " Of a truth this place belonged of
yore to our lord Solomon son of David (on both of whom be
peace !), who used to come hither once every year for his solace,
and then wend his ways." Presently the apes continued, "And
know, O King, that thou art become our Sultan and we are thy
servants ; so eat and drink, and whatso thou ever bid us, that will
we do." So saying, they severally kissed the earth between the
hands of Janshah and all took their departure. The Prince slept
that night on the throne and his men on the stools about him, and
on the morrow, at daybreak, the four Wazirs or Captains of the
apes presented themselves before him, attended by their troops,
who ranged themselves about him, rank af>er rank, until the place
was crowded. Then the Wazirs approached and exhorted him by

336 A If Laylah wa Lay la h.

signs to do justice amongst them and rule them righteously; after
which the apes cried out to one another and went away, all save
a small party which remained in presence to serve him. After
awhile, there came up a company of apes with huge dogs in the
semblance of horses, each wearing about his head a massive
chain ; and signed to Janshah and his three followers to mount
and go with them. So they mounted, marvelling at the greatness
of the dogs, and rode forth, attended by the four Wazrrs and a
host of apes like swarming locusts, some riding on dogs and
others afoot till they came to the sea-shore. Janshah looked for
the boat which brought him and finding it scuttled turned to the
Wazirs and asked how this had happened to it ; whereto they
answered, " Know, O King, that, when thou earnest to our island,
we kenned that thou wouldst be Sultan over us and we feared lest
ye all flee from us, in our absence ; and embark in the boat ; so
we sank it." When Janshah heard this, he turned to his Mame-
lukes and said to them, " We have no means of escaping from
these apes, and we must patiently await the ordinance of the
Almighty." Then they fared on inland and ceased not faring till
they came to the banks of a river, on whose other side rose a high
mountain, whereon Janshah saw a multitude of Ghuls. So he
turned to the apes and asked them, " What are these Ghuls ?" and
they answered, " Know, O King, that these Ghuls are our mortal
foes and we come hither to do battle with them." Janshah
marvelled to see them riding horses, and was startled at the vast-
ness of their bulk and the strangeness of their semblance ; for
some of them had heads like bulls and others like camels. As soon
as the Ghuls espied the army of the apes, they charged down to
the river-bank and standing there, fell to pelting them with stones
as big as maces ; and between them there befel a sore fight.
Presently, Janshah, seeing that the Ghuls were getting the better
of the apes, cried out to his men, saying, " Uncase your bows and
arrows and shoot at them your best shafts and keep them off
from us." They did so and slew of the Ghuls much people, when
there fell upon them sore dismay and they turned to flee ; but the
apes, seeing Janshah's prowess, forded the river and headed by
their Sultan chased the Ghuls, killing many of them in the
pursuit, till they reached the high mountain where they dis-
appeared. And while exploring the said mountain Janshah
found a tablet of alabaster, whereon was written, " O thou who
enterest this land, know that thou wilt become Sultan over these

The Story oj Janshah. 337

apes and that from them there is no escape for thee, except by
the passes that run east and west through the mountains. If
thou take the eastern pass, thou wilt fare through a country
swarming with Ghuls and wild beasts, Marids and Ifrits, and thou
wilt come, after three months' journeying, to the ocean which
encompasseth the earth ; but, if thou travel by the western pass,
it will bring thee, after four months' journeying, to the head of
the Wady of Emmets. 1 When thou hast followed the road, that
leads through this mountain, ten days," And Shahrazad per-
ceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

fo&en ft foas tfje jpibe f^un&teb antJ Jpourtfj Nig&t.

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Janshah
read this much upon the tablet and found, at the end of the
inscription, " Then thou wilt come to a great river, whose current
is so swift that it blindeth the eyes. Now this river drieth up
every Sabbath, 2 and on the opposite bank lies a city wholly in-
habited by Jews, who the faith of Mohammed refuse ; there is not
a Moslem among the band nor is there other than this city in the
land. Better therefore lord it over the apes, for so long as thou
shalt tarry amongst them they will be victorious over the Ghuls,
And know also that he who wrote this tablet was the lord
Solomon, son of David (on both be peace !)." When Janshah
read these words, he wept sore and repeated them to his men.
Then they mounted again and, surrounded by the army of the
apes who were rejoicing in their victory, returned to the castle.
Here Janshah abode, Sultaning over them, for a year and a half.
And at the end of this time, he one day commanded the ape-army
to mount and go forth a-hunting with him, and they rode out into
the wolds and wilds, and fared on from place to place, till they
approached the Wady of Emmets, which Janshah knew by the
description of it upon the alabaster tablet. Here he bade them
dismount and they all abode there, eating and drinking a space of

1 Arab. Wady al Naml ; a reminiscence of the Koranic Wady (chapt. xxvii.), wliich
some place in Syria and others in Taif.

2 This is the old, old fable of the River Sabbation which Pliny (xxxi. 18) reports as
"drying up every Sabbath-day" (Saturday) : and which Josephus reports as breaking
the Sabbath by flowing only on the Day of Rest.


A If Laylah wa Laylak.

ten days, after which Janshah took his men apart one night and
said, " I purpose we fiee through the Valley of Emmets and make
for the town of the Jews ; it may be Allah will deliver us from
these apes and we will go God's ways." They replied, " We hear
and we obey : " so he waited till some little of the night was spent,
then, donning his armour and girding his sword and dagger and
such like weapons, and his men doing likewise, they set out and
fared on westwards till morning. When the apes awoke and
missed Janshah and his men, they knew that they had fled. So
they mounted and pursued them, some taking the eastern pass
and others that which led to the Wady of Emmets, nor was it
long before the apes came in sight of the fugitives, as they were
about to enter the valley, and hastened after them. When Janshah
and his men saw them, they fled into the Emmet-valley ; but the
apes soon overtook them and would have slain them, when behold,
there rose out of the earth a multitude of ants like swarming
locusts, as big as dogs, and charged home upon the apes. They
devoured many of their foes, and these also slew many of the ants ;
but help came to the emmets : now an ant would go up to an ape
and smite him and cut him in twain, whilst ten apes could hardly
master one ant and bear him away and tear him in sunder. The
sore battle lasted till the evening but the emmets were victorious.
In the gloaming Janshah and his men took to flight and fled along

the sole of the Wady And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of

day and ceased saying her permitted say.

Nofo fo&en t't teas tfje jftte ^un&rcU an& Jfift?) Nigfjt,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that in the
gloaming Janshah and his men took to flight and fled along the
sole of the Wady till the morning. With the break of day, the
apes were up and at them, which when the Prince saw, he shouted
to his men, " Smite with your swords." So they bared their
blades and laid on load right and left, till there ran at them an
ape, with tusks like an elephant, and smote one of the Mame-
lukes and cut him in sunder. Then the apes redoubled upon
Janshah and he fled with his followers into the lower levels of the
valley, where he saw a vast river and by its side a mighty many of
ants. When the emmets espied Janshah they pushed on and
surrounded him, and one of the slaves fell to smiting them with

The Story of Jans hah. 339

his sword and cutting them in twain ; whereupon the whole host
set opon him and slew him. At this pass, behold, up came the
apes from over the mountain and fell in numbers upon Janshah ;
but he tore off his clothes and, plunging into the river, with his
remaining servant, struck out for the middle of the stream. Pre-
sently, he caught sight of a tree on the other bank ; so he swam
up to it and laying hold of one of its branches, hung to it and
swung himself ashore, but as for the last Mameluke the current
carried him away and dashed him to pieces against the mountain.
Thereupon Janshah fell to wringing his clothes and spreading them
in the sun to dry, what while there befel a fierce fight between the
apes and the ants, until the apes gave up the pursuit and returned
to their own land. Meanwhile, Janshah, who abode alone on the
river-bank, could do naught but shed tears till nightfall, when he
took refuge in a cavern and there passed the dark hours, in great
fear and feeling desolate for the loss of his slaves. At daybreak
awaking from his sleep he set out again and fared on nights
and days, eating of the herbs of the earth, till he came to the
mountain which burnt like fire, and thence he made the river
which dried up every Sabbath. Now it was a mighty stream
and on the opposite bank stood a great city, which was the
capital of the Jews mentioned in the tablet Here he abode till
the next Sabbath, when the river dried up and he walked over
to the other side and entered the Jew city, but saw none in the
streets. So he wandered about till he came to the door of a
homestead, which he opened and entering, espied within the people
of the house sitting in silence and speaking not a syllable.
Quoth he, " I am a stranger and anhungered ;" and they signed
to him, as to say, " Eat and drink, but speak not." l So he ate
and drank and slept that night and, when morning dawned, the
master of the house greeted him and bade him welcome and asked
him, " Whence comest thou and whither art thou bound ? " At
these words Janshah wept sore and told him all that had befallen
him and how his father was King of Kabul ; whereat the Jew
marvelled and said, " Never heard we of that city, but we have
heard from the merchants of the caravans that in that direction
lieth a land called Al-Yaman." " How far is that land from this

1 They were keeping the Sabbath. When lodging with my Israelite friends a
Tiberias and Safet, I made a point of never speaking to them (after the morning
salutation) till the Saturday was over.

34 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

place ? " asked Janshah, and the Jew answered, " The Cafilah mer-
chants pretend that it is a two years and three months' march from
their land hither." Quoth Janshah, " And when doth the caravan
come ? ", Quoth the Jew, " Next year 'twill come." - And Shah-
razad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted

toben it foas t&e $ib f^unHtrt an& btxt&

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
Jew was questioned anent the coming of the caravan, he replied,
" Next year 'twill come." At these words the Prince wept sore
and fell a-sorrowing for himself and his Mamelukes ; and lament-
ing his separation from his mother and father and all which had
befallen him in his wanderings. Then said the Jew, " O young
man, do not weep, but sojourn with us till the caravan shall come,
when we will send thee with it to thine own country." So he
tarried with the Jew two whole months and every day he went out
walking in the streets for his solace and diversion. Now it chanced
one day, whilst he paced about the main thoroughfares, as of wont,
and was bending his steps right and left, he heard a crier crying
aloud and saying, " Who will earn a thousand gold pieces and a
slave-girl of surpassing beauty and loveliness by working for me
between morning and noontide ? " But no one answered him and
Janshah said in his mind, " Were not this work dangerous and
difficult, he would not offer a thousand dinars and a fair girl for
half a day's labour." Then he accosted the crier and said, " I will
do the work ;" so the man carried him to a lofty mansion where
they found one who was a Jew and a merchant, seated on an ebony
chair, to whom quoth the crier, standing respectfully before him, "O
merchant, I have cried every day these three months, and none
hath answered, save this young man." Hearing his speech the Jew
welcomed Janshah, led him into a magnificent sitting-room and
signalled to bring food. So the servants spread the table and set
thereon all manner meats, of which the merchant and Janshah ate,
and washed their hands. Then wine was served up and they
drank ; after which the Jew rose and bringing Janshah a purse
of a thousand dinars and a slave-girl of rare beauty, said to him,
" Take maid and money to thy hire." Janshah took them and
seated the girl by his side when the trader resumed, " To-morrow

The Story of Janshah. 341

'to the work ! "; and so saying he withdrew and Janshah slept with
the damsel that night. As soon as it was morning, the merchant
bade his slaves clothe him in a costly suit of silk whenas he came
out of the Hammam-bath. So they did as he bade them and
brought him back to the house, whereupon the merchant called
for harp and lute and wine and they drank and played and made
merry till the half of the night was past, when the Jew retired to
his Harim and Janshah lay with his slave-girl till the dawn. Then
he went to the bath and on his return, the merchant came to him
and said, " Now I wish thee to do the work for me." " I hear and
obey," replied Janshah. So the merchant bade his slaves bring
two she-mules and set Janshah on one, mounting the other him-
self. Then they rode forth from the city and fared on from morn
till noon, when they made a lofty mountain, to whose height was
no limit, Here the Jew dismounted, ordering Janshah to do the
same; and when he obeyed the merchant gave him a knife and
a cord, saying, " I desire that thou slaughter this mule." So
Janshah tucked up his sleeves and skirts and going up to the
mule, bound her legs with the cord, then threw her and cut her
throat ; after which he skinned her and lopped off her head and
legs and she became a mere heap of flesh. Then said the Jew,
41 Slit open the mule's belly and enter it and I will sew it up on
thee. There must thou abide awhile and whatsoever thou seest
in her belly, acquaint me therewith." So Janshah slit the mule's
belly and crept into it, whereupon the merchant sewed it up on

him and withdrew to a distance, And Shahrazad perceived the

dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

ISToto fofjen it foas tfje ^ifae ^untocfc anfc Sbebent!) Nigfjt,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the mer-
chant sewed up the mule's belly on Janshah and, withdrawing to
a distance, hid himself in the skirts of the mountain. After a
while a huge bird swooped down on the dead mule and snatching
it up, flew up with it to the top of the mountain, where it set down
the quarry and would have eaten it; but Janshah, feeling the bird
begin to feed, slit the mule's belly and came forth When the
bird saw him, it took fright at him and flew right away ; where-
upon he stood up and looking right and left, saw nothing but the
carcasses of dead men, mummied by the sun, and exclaimed,

342 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

1 There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great ! " Then he looked down the precipice and
espied the merchant standing at the mountain-foot, looking for
him. As soon as the Jew caught sight of him, he called out to
him, " Throw me down of the stones which are about thee, that
I may direct thee to a way whereby thou mayst descend." So
Janshah threw him down some two hundred of the stones, which
were all rubies, 1 chrysolites and other gems of price ; after which
he called out to him, saying, " Show me the way down and I will
throw thee as many more." But the Jew gathered up the stones
and, binding them on the back of the mule, went his way without
answering a word and left Janshah alone on the mountain-top.
When the Prince found himself deserted, he began to weep and
implore help of Heaven, and thus he abode three days ; after

1 Arab. " La'al " and " Yakut," the latter also applied to the garnet and to a variety of
inferior stones. The ruby is supposed by Moslems to be a common mineral thoroughly
"cooked "by the sun, and produced only on the summits of mountains inaccessible
even to Alpinists. The idea may have originated from exaggerated legends of the
Badakhshan country (supposed to be the home of the ruby) and its terrors of break-neck
foot-paths, jagged peaks and horrid ravines: hence our " &alass-raby " through the
Spanish corruption " Balaxe." Epiphanius, archbishop of Salamis in Cyprus, who died
A.D. 403, gives, in a little treatise (De duodecim gemmis rationalis summi sacerdotis
Hebrsorum Liber, opera Fogginii, Romse, 1743, p. 30), a precisely similar description
of the mode of finding jacinths in Scythia. " In a wilderness in the interior of Great
Scythia," he writes, " there is a valley begirt with stony mountains as with walls. It is
inaccessible to man, and so excessively deep that the bottom of the valley is in-
visible from the top of the surrounding mountains. So great is the darkness
that it has the effect of a kind of chaos. To this place certain criminals are
condemned, whose task it is to throw down into the valley slaughtered lambs, from

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 34 of 41)