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 36 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 36 of 41)
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hear is to obey," answered he and took counsel with Shaykh Nasr,
who said to him, " Go thou home, I commend her to thy care."
Then said she, " O Shaykh Nasr, bid him render me my feather-
suit." So the Shaykh bade Janshah give it to her, and he went
straightways into the pavilion and brought it out for her. There-
upon she donned it and said to him, " Mount my back and shut
thine eyes and stop thine ears, so thou mayst not hear the roar of
the revolving sphere ; and keep fast hold of my feathers, lest thou
fall off." He did as she bade him and, as she stretched her wings
to fly, Shaykh Nasr said, " Wait a while till I describe to thee the
land Kabul, lest you twain miss your way." So she delayed till
he had said his say and had bidden them farewell, commending
the Prince to her care. She took leave of her sisters and bade
them return to her folk and tell them what had befallen her with
Janshah ; then, rising into the air without stay or delay she flew

The Story of Jan shah. 353

off, like the wafts of the wind or the lamping leven. Her sisters
also took flight and returning home delivered her message to their
people. And she stayed not her course from the forenoon till the
hour of mid-afternoon prayer (Janshah being still on her back),
when she espied afar off a Wady abounding in trees and streams
ann she said to Janshah, " I am thinking to alight in this valley,
that we may solace ourselves amongst its trees and herbage and
here rest for the night." Quoth he, " Do what seemeth meet to
thee !" So she swooped down from the lift and alighted in the
Wady, when Janshah dismounted and kissing her between the
eyes, 1 sat with her awhile on the bank of a river there ; then they
rose and wandered about the valley, taking their pleasure therein
and eating of the fruits of the trees, until nightfall, when they
lay down under a tree and slept till the morning dawned. As
soon as it was day, the Princess arose and, bidding Janshah mount,
flew on with him till noon, when she perceived by the appear-
ance of the buildings which Shaykh Nasr had described to her,
that they were nearing the city Kabul. So she swooped down from
the welkin and alighted in a wide plain, a blooming champaign,
wherein were gazelles straying and springs playing and rivers
flowing and ripe fruits growing. So Janshah dismounted and
kissed her between the eyes ; and she asked him, " O my beloved
and coolth of mine eyes, knowest thou how many days' journey
we have come since yesterday ?" ; and he answered, " No," when
she said, "We have come thirty months' journey." Quoth he,
" Praised be Allah for safety !" Then they sat down side by side
and ate and drank and toyed and laughed. And whilst they were
thus pleasantly engaged, behold, there came up to them two of the
King's Mamelukes of those who had been of the Prince's com-
pany ; one of them was he whom he had left with the horses, when
he embarked in the fishing-boat and the other had been of his
escort in the chase. As soon as they saw Janshah, both knew him
and saluted him ; then said they, " With thy leave, we will go to
thy sire and bear him the glad tidings of thy coming." Replied
the Prince, " Go ye to my father and acquaint him with my case, and
fetch us tents, for we will tarry here seven days to rest ourselves
till he make ready his retinue to meet us, that we may enter in

stateliest state." And Shahrazad perceived he dawn of da>

and ceased to say her permitted say.

1 He does not kiss her mouth because he intends to marry her.
VOL. V. 2

354 Alf Laylah wa Lay lab.

fofcm ft tons Ifie ^tbe f^uirtirrtj antr 5ourtcmtf)

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Jan-
shah said to the two Mamelukes, " Go ye to my sire and acquaint
him with my case and fetch us tents, for we will abide here seven
days to rest ourselves, till he make ready his retinue to meet us,
that we may enter in the stateliest state." So the officers hastened
back to King Teghmus and said to him, " Good news, O King of
the age ! " Asked he, " What good tidings bring ye : is my son
Janshah come back ?"; and they answered, " Yes, thy son Janshah
hath returned from his strangerhood and is now near at hand in
the Kiranf mead." Now when the King heard this, he joyed with
great joy and fell down in a swoon for excess of gladness ; then,
coming to himself, he bade his Wazir give each of the Mamelukes
a splendid suit of honour and a sum of m\?^ey. The minister
replied, " I hear and obey," and forthright dd his bidding and
said to them, " Take this in turn for the good tidings ye bring,
whether ye lie or say sooth." They replied, " Indeed we lie not,
for but now we sat with him and saluted him and kissed his hands
and he bade us fetch him tents, for that he would sojourn in the
meadow seven days, till such time as the WazJ>s and Emirs and
Grandees should come out to meet him." Quoth the King, " How
is it with my son ? " and quoth they, " He hath with him a Houri,
as he had brought her out of Paradise." At this, King Teghmus
bade beat the kettledrums and sound the trumpets for gladness,
and despatched messengers to announce the good news to Jan-
shah's mother and to the wives of the Emirs and Wazirs and
Lords of the realm : so the criers spread themselves about the
city and acquainted the people with the coming of Prince Janshah.
Then the King made ready, and, setting out for the Kirani meadow
with his horsemen and footmen, came upon Janshah who was
sitting at rest with the lady Shamsah beside him and, behold, all
suddenly drew in sight. The Prince rose to his feet and walked
forward to meet them ; and the troops knew him and dismounted,
to salute him and kiss his hands : after which he set out preceded
by the men in single file till he came to his sire, who, at sight of
his son threw himself from his horse's back and clasped him to his
bosom and wept flooding tears of joy. Then they took horse again
with the retinue riding to the right and left and fared forward till
they came to the river-banks ; when the troops alighted and pitched

1'ke Story of Janshak. 355

their tents and pavilions and standards to the blare of trump and
the piping of fife and the dub-a-dub of drum and tom-tom.
Moreover the King bade the tent-pitchers set up a pavilion of red
silk for the Princess Shamsah, who put off her scanty raiment of
feathers for fine robes and, entering the pavilion, there took seat
And as she sat in her beauty, behold, the King and his son Jan-
shah came in to her, and when she saw Teghmus, she rose and
kissed ground before him. The King sat down and seating Jan-
shah on his right hand and Princess Shamsah on his left, bade her
welcome and said to his son, " Tell me all that hath befallen thee
in this thy long strangerhood." So Janshah related to him the
whole of his adventures from first to last, whereat he marvelled with
exceeding marvel and turning to the Princess, said," Laud to Allah
for that He hath caused thee to reunite me with my son ! 'Verily

this is of His exceeding bounty ! ' " l And Shahrazad perceived

the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

Jioto to&en it teas tfjc jfibc pjuirtireto anto jfiftccnif) Jifgtt,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King
Teghmus said to the lady Shamsah, " Laud to Allah for that He
hath caused thee to reunite me with my son ! ' Verily this is of
His exceeding bounty/ And now I would have thee ask of me
what thou wilt, that I may do it in thine honour." Quoth she, " I
ask of thee that thou build me a palace in the midst of a flower-
garden, with water running under it." And the King answered,
" I hear and obey." And behold, up came Janshah's mother,
attended by all the wives of the Wazirs and Emirs and nobles and
city notables. When her son had sight of her, he rose and leaving;
the tent, went forth to meet her and they embraced a long while,
whilst the Queen wept for excess of joy and with tears trickling
from her eyes repeated the following verses :-

Joy so o'ercometh me, for stress of joy In that which gladdeneth me

I fain shed tears :
Tears are become your nature, O my eyes, c Who weep for joyance as for

griefs and fears.

And they complained to each other of all their hearts had suffered
from the long separation. Then the King departed to his pavilioa

' It should be " manifest " excellence (Koran xxvii. it),

Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

and Janshah carried his mother to his own tent, where they sat
talking till there came up some of the lady Shamsah's attendants
who said, " The Princess is now walking hither in order to salute
thee." When the Queen heard this, she rose and going to meet
Shamsah, saluted her and seated her awhile by her side. Presently
the Queen and her retinue of noble women, the spouses of the
Emirs and Grandees, returned with Princess Shamsah to the tent
occupied by her daughter-in-law and sat there. Meanwhile, King
Teghmus gave great largesse to his levies and lieges and rejoiced
in his son with exceeding joy, and they tarried there ten days,
feasting and merry-making and living a most joyous life. At the
end of this time, the King commanded a march and they all
returned to the capital, so he took horse surrounded by all the
troops with the Wazirs and Chamberlains to his right and left:
nor ceased they faring till they entered the city, which was deco-
rated after the goodliest fashion ; for the folk had adorned the
houses with precious stuffs and jewellery and spread costly bro-
cades under the hoofs of the horses. The drums beat for glad
tidings and the Grandees of the kingdom rejoiced and brought
rich gifts and the lookers on were filled with amazement. Fur-
thermore, they fed the mendicants and Fakirs and held high
festival for the space of ten days, and the lady Shamsah joyed
with exceeding joy whenas she saw this. Then King Teghmus
summoned architects and builders and men of art and bade them
build a palace in that garden. So they straightway proceeded to
do his bidding ; and, when Janshah knew of his sire's command,
he caused the artificers to fetch a block of white marble and carve
it and hollow it in the semblance of a chest ; which being done,
he took the feather-vest of Princess Shamsah wherewith she had
flown with him through the air: then, sealing the cover with
melted lead, he ordered them to bury the box in the foundations
and build over it the arches whereon the palace was to rest. They
did as he bade them, nor was it long before the palace was finished:
then they furnished it and it was a magnificent edifice, standing
in the midst of the garden, with streams flowing under its walls. 1
Upon this the King caused Janshah's wedding to be celebrated
with the greatest splendour and they brought the bride to the

1 The phrase is Koranic used to describe Paradise, and Damascus is a familiar speci-
men of a city under which a river, the Baradah, passes, distributed into a multitude of


The Story of Jan shah. 357

,castle in state procession and went their ways. When the lady

Shamsah entered, she smelt the scent of her feather-gear And

Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her per-
mitted say.

fofjcn it foas ilje Jfibe p^untirrti antr &txtfcnt&

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
lady Shamsah entered the new palace, she smelt the scent of her
flying feather-gear and knew where it was and determined to take
it. So she waited till midnight, when Janshah was drowned in
sleep; then she rose and going straight to the place where the
marble-coffer was buried under the arches she hollowed the ground
alongside till she came upon it ; when she removed the lead where-
with it was soldered and, taking out the feather-suit, put it on.
Then she flew high in air and perching on the pinnacle of the
palace, cried out to those who were therein, saying, " I pray you
fetch me Janshah, that I may bid him farewell." So they told
him and he came out and, seeing her on the terrace-roof of the
palace, clad in her feather-raiment, asked her, " Why hast thou
done this deed ? "; and she answered " O my beloved and coolth
of mine eyes and fruit of my heart, by Allah, I love thee passing
dear and I rejoice with exceeding joy in that I have restored thee
to thy friends and country and thou hast seen thy mother and.
father. And now, if thou love me as I love thee, come to me at
Takni, the Castle of Jewels." So saying, she flew away forth-
right to find her family and friends, and Janshah fell down
fainting, being well-nigh dead for despair. They carried the
news to King Teghmus, who mounted at once and riding to the
palace, found his son lying senseless on the ground ; whereat he
wept knowing that the swoon was caused by the loss of his love,
and sprinkled rose-water on his face. 1 When the Prince came
to himself and saw his sire sitting at his head, he wept at the
thought of losing his wife and the King asked what had befallen
him. So he replied, " Know, O my father, that the lady Shamsah
is of the daughters of the Jann and she hath done such and such"

1 It maybe noted that rose-water is sprinkled on the faces of the "nobility and
gentry," common water being good enough for the commonalty. I have had to drink
tea made in compliment with rose-water and did not enjoy it.

A If Lay la /i wa Laylah.

(telling him all that had happened) ; and the King said, "O my
son, be not troubled and thus concerned, for I will assemble all
the merchants and wayfarers in the land and enquire of them
anent that castle If we can find out where it is, we will journey
thither and demand the Princess Shamsah of her people ; and we
hope in Allah the Almighty that He will give her back to thee
and thou shalt consummate thy marriage." Then he went out
and, calling his four Wazirs without stay or delay, bade them
assemble all the merchants and voyagers in the city and question
them of Takni, the Castle of Jewels, adding, " Whoso knoweth it
and can guide us thither, I will surely give him fifty thousand
gold pieces. The Wazirs accordingly went forth at once and-
did as the King bade them, but neither trader nor traveller
could give them news of Takni, the Castle of Jewels ; so they
returned and told the King. Thereupon he bade bring beautiful
slave-girls and concubines and singers and players upon instru-
ments of music, whose like are not found but with the Kings :
and sent them to Janshah, so haply they might divert him from
the love of the lady Shamsah. Moreover, he despatched couriers
and spies to all the lands and islands and climes, to enquire for
Takni, the Castle of Jewels, and they made quest for it two
months long, but none could give them news thereof. So they
returned and told the King, whereupon he wept bitter tears
and going in to his son found Janshah sitting amidst the con-
cubines and singers and players on harp and zither and so forth,
not one of whom could console him for the lady Shamsah. Quoth
Teghmus, "O my son, I can find none who knoweth this Castle
of Jewels; but I will bring thee a fairer than she." When
Janshah heard this, his eyes ran over with tears and he recited
these two couplets :

Patience hath fled, but passion fareth not ; o And all my frame with

pine is fever-hot :
When will the days my lot with Shamsah join? o Lo, all my bones with

passion-lowe go rot !

Now there was a deadly feud between King Teghmus and a
certain King of Hind, by name Kafi'd, who had great plenty of
troops and warriors and champions ; and under his hand were
a thousand puissant chieftains, each ruling over a thousand tribes
whereof every one could muster four thousand cavaliers. He
reigned over a thousand cities each guarded by a thousand forts

Tlie Story of Janskak. 359

and he had four Wazirs and under him ruled Emirs, Princes and
Sovereigns ; and indeed he was a King of great might and
prowess whose armies filled the whole earth. Now King Teghmus
had made war upon him and ravaged his reign and slain his men
and of his treasures had made gain. But when it came to King
Kafid's knowledge that King Teghmus was occupied with the
love of his son, so that he neglected the affairs of the state and
his troops were grown few and weak by reason of his care and
concern for his son's state, he summoned his Wazirs and Emirs
and said to them, "Ye all know that whilom King Teghmus
invaded our dominions and plundered our possessions and slew
my father and brethren, nor indeed is there one of you, but he
hath harried his lands and carried off his goods and made prize
of his wives and slain some kinsmen of his. Now I have heard
this day that he is absorbed in the love of his son Janshah, and
that his troops are grown few and weak ; and this is the time
to take our blood-revenge on him. So make ready for the march
and don ye your harness of battle ; and let nothing stay or delay
you, and we will go to him and fall upon him and slay him and
his son, and possess ourselves of his reign." - And Shahrazad
perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

foDen (t foas tfje jpt'be pjtmtorrtr anfc ^ebcnteentfj NiQfjt,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that
Kafid, King of Hind, commanded his troops and armies to mount
and make for the dominions of King Teghmus, saying, " Get ye
ready for the march and don ye your harness of war ; and let
nothing stay or delay you ; so we will go to him and fall upon
him and slay him and his son and possess ourselves of his reign."
They all answered with one voice, saying, "We hear and obey,"
and fell at once to equipping themselves and levying troops ;
and they ceased not their preparations for three months and,
when all was in readiness, they beat the drums and sounded the
trumps and flew the flags and banners : then King Kafid set out
at the head of his host and they fared on till they reached the
frontiers of the land of Kabul, the dominions of King Teghmus,
where they began to harry the land and do havoc among the folk,
slaughtering the old and taking the young prisoners. When the
news reached King Teghmus. he was wroth with exceeding wrath

360 A If Laylak wa Laylah.

and assembling his Grandees and officers of state, said to them,
" Know that Kafid hath come to our land and hath entered the
realm we command and is resolved to fight us hand to hand ; and
he leadeth troops and champions and warriors, whose number
none knoweth save Allah Almighty; what deme deem ye?"
Replied they, " O King of the age, let us go out to him and give
him battle and drive him forth of our country ; and thus deem
we." So he bade them prepare for battle and brought forth to
them hauberks and cuirasses and helmets and swords and all
manner of warlike ear, such as lay low warriors and do to death
the champions of mankind. So the troops and braves and
champions flocked together and they set up the standards and
beat the drums and sounded the trumpets and clashed the
cymbals and piped on the pipes ; and King Teghmus marched
out at the head of his army, to meet the hosts of Hind. And
when he drew near the foe, he called a halt, and encamping with
his host in the Zahran Valley, 1 hard by the frontier of Kabul des-
patched to King Kafid by messenger the following letter : " Know
that what thou hast done is of the doings of the villain rabble and
wert thou indeed a King, the son of a King, thou hadst not done
thus, nor hadst thou invaded my kingdom and slain my subjects
and plundered their property and wrought unright upon them.
Knowest thou not that all this is the fashion of a tyrant ?
Verily, had I known that thou durst harry my dominions, I had
come to thee before thy coming and had prevented thee this long
while since. Yet, even now, if thou wilt retire and leave mischief
between us and thee, well and good ; but if thou return not, meet
me in the listed field and measure thyself with me in cut and
thrust." Lastly he sealed his letter and committed to an officer
of his army and sent with him spies to spy him out news. The
messenger fared forth with the missive and, drawing near the
enemy's camp, he descried a multitude of tents of silk and satin, with
pennons of blue sendal, and amongst them a great pavilion of red
satin, surrounded by a host of guards. He ceased not to advance
till he made this tent and found on asking that it was that of
King Kafid whom he saw seated on a chair set with jewels, in the
midst of his Wazirs and Emirs and Grandees. So he brought out
the letter and straightway there came up to him a company of

4 The Valley Flowery : Zahrdn is the name of a place near Al-Medinah.

The Story of Jan shah. 361

guards, who took it from him and carried it to the King ; and
Kafid read it and wrote a reply to this purport : " After the usual
invocations, We let King Teghmus know that we mean to take
our blood-revenge on thee and wash out our stain and waste thy
reign and rend the curtain in twain and slay the old men and
enslave the young men. But to-morrow, come thou forth to
combat in the open plain, and to show thee thrust and fight will
I deign." Then he sealed the letter and delivered it to the

messenger, who carried it to King Teghmus And Shahrazad

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

fofjm it tons t&e J^'be ^unfcrctj anb (Sigfmentf)

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that King Kafid
delivered the answering letter to the messenger who carried it to
King Teghmus and delivered it, after kissing the ground between
his hands. Then he reported all that he had seen, saying, " O King
of the age, I espied warriors and horsemen and footmen beyond
count nor can I assist thee to the amount." When Teghmus read
the reply and comprehended its contents, he was with furious rage
enraged and bade his Wazir Ayn Zar take horse and fall upon the
army of Kafid with a thousand cavaliers, in the middle watch of
the night when they would easily ride home and slay all before
them. Ayn Zar replied, " I hear and I obey," and at once went
forth to do his bidding. Now King Kafid had a Wazir, Ghatrafan 1
by name, whom he bade take five thousand horse and attack the
host of King Teghmus in like manner. So Ghatrafan did his bid-
ding and set out on his enterprise marching till midnight. Thus
the two parties met halfway and the Wazir Ghatrafan fell upon
the Wazir Ayn Zar. Then man cried out against man and there
befel sore battle between them till break of day, when Kafid's
men were routed and fled back to their King in confusion. As
Kafid saw this, he was wroth beyond measure and said to the
fugitives, " Woe to you ! What hath befallen you, that ye have
lost your captains ? " and they replied, " O King of the age, as the
Wazir Ghatrafan rode forth to fall upon King Teghmus, there
appeared to us halfway and when night was half over, the Wazir
Ayn Zar, with cavaliers and champions, and we met on the slopes

1 The Proud or Petulant.

362 Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

of Wady Zahran ; but ere we were ware we found ourselves in the
enemy's midst, eye meeting eye ; and we fought a fierce fight with
them from midnight till morning, many on either side being slain,
Then the Wazir and his men fell to shouting and smiting the
elephants on the face till they took fright at their furious blows,
and turning tail to flee, trampled down the horsemen, whilst none
could see other for the clouds of dust. The blood ran like a rain-
torrent and had we not fled, we had all been cut off to the last
man." When King Kafid heard this, he exclaimed, " May the
sun not bless you and may he be wroth with you and sore be his
wrath ! " Meanwhile Ayn Zar, the Wazir, returned to King'
Teghmus and told him what had happened. The King gave him
joy of his safety and rejoiced greatly and bade beat the drums and
sound the trumpets, in honour of the victory ; after which he called
the roll of his troops and behold, two hundred of his stoutest
champions had fallen. Then King Kafid marched his army into
the field and drew them out ordered for battle in fifteen lines of
ten thousand horse each, under the command of three hundred
captains, mounted on elephants and chosen from amongst the
doughtiest of his warriors and his champions. So he set up his
standards and banners and beat the drums and blew the trumpets
whilst the braves sallied forth, offering battle. As for King
Teghmus, he drew out his troops line after line and lo ! there
were ten of ten thousand horse each, and with him were an
hundred champions, riding on his right hand and on his left.
Then fared forward to the fight each renowned knight, and the
hosts clashed together in their might, whilst the earth for all its

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 36 of 41)