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 7) online

. (page 35 of 40)
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 7) → online text (page 35 of 40)
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the malady of my son ? "; and quoth the leach, " O King of the
Age, thy son is in love and he loveth one to whose enjoyment he
hath no way of access." At this the King was wroth and asked,
" How know ye that my son is in love and how came love to
him? "; they answered, " Enquire of his Wazir and brother Sa'id,
for he knoweth his case." The King rose and repaired to his

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad? a al-JamaL 333

private closet and summoning Sa'id said to him, "Tell me the
truth of thy brother's malady." But Sa'id replied, " I know it
not." So King Asim said to the Sworder, " Take Sa'id and bind
his eyes and strike his neck." Whereupon Sa'id feared for him-
self and cried, " O King of the Age, grant me immunity." Replied
the King, "Speak and thou shalt have it." "They son is in love."
" With whom is he in love ? " " With a King's daughter of the
Jann." " And where could he have espied a daughter of the Jinns ? "
" Her portrait was wroughten on the tunic that was in the bundle
given thee by Solomon, prophet of Allah ! ' When the King
heard this, he rose, and going in to Sayf al-Muluk, said to him,
" O my son, what hath afflicted thee ? What is this portrait
whereof thou art enamoured ? And why didst thou not tell me."
He replied, " O my sire, I was ashamed to name this to thee and
could not bring myself to discover aught thereof to any one at all ;
but now thou knowest my case, look how thou mayest do to cure
me." Rejoined his father, "What is to be done ? Were this one
of the daughters of men we might devise a device for coming at
her ; but she is a King's daughter of the Jinns and who can woo
and win her, save it be Solomon David-son, and hardly he ? l
However, O my son, do thou arise forthright and hearten thy heart
and take horse and ride out a-hunting or to weapon-play in the
Maydan. Divert thyself with eating and drinking and put away
cark and care from thy heart, and I will bring thee an hundred
maids of the daughters of Kings ; for thou hast no need to the
daughters of the Jann, over whom we lack controul and of kind
other than ours." But he said, " I cannot renounce her nor will I
seek other than her." Asked King Asim, " How then shall we
do, O my son ? "; and Sayf al-Muluk answered, " Bring us all the
merchants and travellers and wanderers in the city, that we may
question them thereof. Peradventure, Allah will lead us to the
city of Babel and the garden of Iram." So King Asim bade
summon all the merchants in the city and strangers and sea-
captains and, as each came, enquired of him anent the city of
Babel and its peninsula 2 and the garden of Iram ; but none of
them knew these places nor could any give him tidings thereof.
However, when the stance broke up, one of them said, " O King

1 Lit. " For he is the man who can avail thereto," with the meaning given in the
Arab. Jazuat, insula or peninsula, vol. i. 2.


334 JMf Laylah wa Laylah.

of the Age, an thou be minded to ken this thing, up and hie thee
to the land of China ; for it hath a vast city ' and a safe wherein
are store of rarities and things of price and folk of all kinds ; and
thou shalt not come to the knowledge of this city and garden but
from its folk ; it may be one of them will direct thee to that thou
seekest." Wherepon quoth Sayf al-Muluk, " O my sire, equip me
a ship, that I may fare to the China-land ; and do thou rule the
reign in my stead." Replied the old King, " O my son, abide
thou on the throne of thy kingship and govern thy commons, and
I myself will make the voyage to China and ask for thee of the
city of Babel and the garden of Iram." But Sayf al-Muluk
rejoined, " O my sire, in very sooth this affair concerneth me and
none can search after it like myself: so, come what will, an thou
give me leave to make the voyage, I will depart and wander
awhile. If I find trace or tidings of her, my wish will be won, and
if not, belike the voyage will broaden my breast and recruit my
courage ; and haply by foreign travel my case will be made easy

to me, and if I live, I shall return to thee safe and sound."

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

fo&Bn it to fyz &tben f^unttretf anfc Sb&rtg-fouttf) jtfig&t,

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Sayf
al-Muluk said to his sire King Asim, " Equip me a ship that I may
fare therein to the China-land and search for the object of my
desire. If I live I shall return to thee safe and sound." The old
King looked at his son and saw nothing for it but to do what he
desired ; so he gave him the leave he wanted and fitted him forty
ships, manned with twenty thousand armed Mamelukes, besides
servants, and presented him with great plenty of money and
necessaries and warlike gear, as much as he required. When the
ships were laden with water and victual, weapons and troops, Sayf
al-Muluk's father and mother farewelled him and King Asim said,
" Depart, O my son, and travel in weal and health and safety. I
commend thee to Him with Whom deposits are not lost." 2 So the
Prince bade adieu to his parents and embarked, with his brother

1 Probably Canton with which the Arabs were familiar.

2 i.e. "Who disappointeth not those who put their trust in Him."

Sayf al-Muluk and Bad? a al-Jamal. 335

Sa'id, and they weighed anchor and sailed till they came to the
City of China. When the Chinamen heard of the coming of forty
ships, full of armed men and stores, weapons and hoards, they
made sure that these were enemies come to battle with them and
seige them ; so they bolted the gates of the town and made ready
the mangonels. 1 But Sayf al-Muluk, hearing of this, sent two of
his Chief Mamelukes to the King of China, bidding them say to
him, " This is Sayf al-Muluk, son of King Asim of Egypt, who is
come to thy city as a guest, to divert himself by viewing thy
country awhile, and not for conquest or contention ; wherefore,
an thou wilt receive him, he will come ashore to thee ; and if not
he will return and will not disquiet thee nor the people of thy
capital." They presented themselves at the city gates and said,
" We are messengers from King Sayf al-Muluk." Whereupon the
townsfolk opened the gates and carried them to their King, whose
name was Faghfur 2 Shah and between whom and King Asim
there had erst been acquaintance. So, when he heard that the
new-comer Frince was the son of King Asim, he bestowed robes
of honour on the messengers and, bidding open the gates, made
ready guest-gifts and went forth in person with the chief officers
of his realm, to meet Sayf al-Muluk, and the two Kings embraced.
Then Faghfur said to his guest, "Well come and welcome and fair
cheer to him who cometh to us ! I am thy slave and the slave of
thy sire : my city is between thy hands to command and whatso
thou seekest shall be brought before thee." Then he presented
him with the guest-gifts and victual for the folk at their stations ;
and they took horse, with the Wazir Sa'id and the chiefs of their
officers and the rest of their troops, and rode from the sea-shore
to the city, which they entered with cymbals clashing and drums

1 Arab. " Al-Manjanikat " plur. of manjanik, from Gr. Mayyavov. Lat- Manganum
(Engl. Mangonel from the dim. Mangonella). Ducange Glossarium, s.v. The Greek
is applied originally to defensive weapons, then to the artillery of the day, Ballista,
catapults, etc. The kindred Arab, form " Manjanm" is applied chiefly to the Noria or
Persian water-wheel.

2 Faghfur is the common Moslem title for the Emperors of China ; in t he Kamus the
first syllable is Zammated (Fugh) ; in Al-Mas'udi (chapt. xiv.) we find Baghfur and in
Al-Idrisi Baghbugh, or Baghbun. In Al-Asma'i Bagh = god or idol (Pehlewi and
Persian) ; hence according to some Baghdad (?) and Baghistan a pagoda (?). Sprenger
(Al-Mas'udi, p. 327) remarks that Baghfur is a literal translation of Tien-tse and quotes
Visdelou, "pour mieux faire comprendre de quel ciel ils veulent parler, ils poussent la
genealogie (of the Emperor) plus loin. Ils lui donnent le ciel pour pere, la terre pour
mere, le soleil pour frere aine et la lune pour sceur ainee."

336 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

beating in token of rejoicing. There they abode in the enjoyment
of fair entertainment for forty days, at the end of which quoth the
King of China to Sayf al-Muluk, " O son of my brother, how is
thy case 1 ? Doth my country please thee ? " ; and quoth Sayf al-
Muluk, " May Allah Almighty long honour it with thee, O King ! "
Said Faghfur, " Naught hath brought thee hither save some need
which hath occurred to thee ; and whatso thou desirest of my
country I will accomplish it to thee." Replied Sayf al-Muluk,
(< O King, my case is a wondrous," and told him how he had fallen
in love with the portrait of Badi'a al-Jamal, and wept bitter tears.
When the King of China heard his story, he wept for pity and
solicitude for him and cried, " And what wouldst thou have now., O
Sayf al-Muluk ? " ; and he rejoined, " I would have thee bring me
all the wanderers and travellers, the seafarers and sea-captains,
that I may question them of the original of this portrait ; perhaps
one of them may give me tidings of her." So Faghfur Shah sent
out his Nabobs and Chamberlains and body-guards to fetch all
the wanderers and travellers in the land, and they brought them
before the two Kings, and they were a numerous company. Then
Sayf al-Muluk questioned them of the City of Babel and the
Garden of Iram, but none of them returned him a reply, where-
upon he was bewildered and wist not what to do ; but one of the
sea-captains said to him, " O auspicious King, an thou wouldst
know of this city and that garden up and hie thee to the Islands
of the Indian realm." 2 Thereupon Sayf al-Muluk bade bring the
ships ; which being done, they freighted them with vivers and
water and all that they needed, and the Prince and his Wazir
re-embarked, with all their men, after they had farewelled King
Faghfur Shah. They sailed the seas four months with a fair wind,
in safety and satisfaction till it chanced that one day of the days
there came out upon them a wind and the billows buffeted them
from all quarters. The rain and hail 3 descended on them and
during twenty days the sea was troubled for the violence of the
wind ; wherefor the ships drave one against other and brake
up, as did the carracks 4 and all on board were drowned, except

1 Arab. " Kayf halak " = how de doo ? the salutation of a Fellah.

2 i.e. subject to the Maharajah of Hind.

3 This is not a mistake : I have seen heavy hail in Africa, N. Lat. 4 ; within sight of
the Equator.

4 Arab. " Harrakat," here used in the sense of smaller craft, and presently for a
cock -boat.

Sayf at-Muluk and Badta al-Jamal. 337

Sayf al-Muluk and some of his servants, who saved themselves
in a little cock-boat. Then the wind fell by the decree of Allah
Almighty and the sun shone out; whereupon Sayf al-Muluk
opened his eyes and seeing no sign of the ships nor aught but
sky and sea, said to the Mamelukes who were with him, " Where
are the carracks and cock-boats and where is my brother Sa'id ? "
They replied, " O King of the Age, there remain nor ships nor
boats nor those who were therein ; for they are all drowned and
become food for fishes." Now when he heard this, he cried aloud
and repeated the saying which whoso saith shall not be con-
founded, and it is, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " Then he fell to buffeting
his face and would have cast himself into the sea, but his Mamelukes
withheld him, saying, " O King, what will this profit thee ? Thou
hast brought all this on thyself; for, hadst thou hearkened to thy
father's words, naught thereof had betided thee. But this was
written from all eternity by the will of the Creator of Souls. -
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her
permitted say.

Nofo fofcn it foas tfje &eben l^unUrefc anfc &txtp=fift!)

She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Sayf al-Muluk would have cast himself into the main, his Mame-
lukes withheld him saying, "What will this profit thee? Thou
hast done this deed by thyself, yet was it written from all eternity
by the will of the Creator of Souls, that the creature might
accomplish that which Allah hath decreed unto him. And in-
deed, at the time of thy birth, the astrologers assured thy sire
that all manner troubles should befal thee. So there is naught
for it but patience till Allah deliver us from this our strait."
Replied the Prince, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! Neither is there refuge
nor fleeing from that which He decreeth ! " And he sighed and
recited these couplets :

By the Compassionate, I 'm dazed about my case, for lo ! Troubles and griefs

beset me sore ; I know not whence they grow.
1 will be patient, so the folk, that I against a thing Bitt'rer than very aloes'

self, 1 endured have, may know.

1 See vol. i. 138 : here by way of variety I quote Mr. Payne.

Alf Lay I ah wa Laylah.

Less bitter than my patience is the taste of aloes-juice ; I Ve borne with

patience what 's more hot than coals with fire aglow.
In this my trouble what resource have I, save to commit My case to Him who

orders all that is, for weal or woe ?

Then he became drowned in the depth of thoughts and his tears ran
down upon his cheeks like torrent-rain ; and he slept a while of the
day, after which he awoke and sought of food somewhat. So they
set meat before him and he ate his sufficiency, till they removed
the food from before him, whilst the boat drove on with them
they knew not whither it was wandering. It drifted with them
at the will of the winds and the waves, night and day a great
while, till their victual was spent and they saw themselves shent
and were reduced to extreme hunger and thirst and exhaustion,
when behold, suddenly they sighted an island from afar and the
breezes wafted them on, till they came thither. Then, making
the cock-boat fast to the coast and leaving one therein to guard
it, they fared on into the island, where they found abundance of
fruits of all colours and ate of them till they were satisfied. Pre-
sently, they saw a person sitting among those trees and he was
long-faced, of strange favour and white of beard and body. He
called to one of the Mamelukes by his name, saying, " Eat not of
these fruits, for they are unripe ; but come hither to me, that I
may give thee to eat of the best and the ripest." The slave
looked at him and thought that he was one of the shipwrecked,
who had made his way to that island ; so he joyed with exceeding
joy at sight of him and went close up to him, knowing not what
was decreed to him in the Secret Purpose nor what was writ upon
his brow. But, when he drew near, the stranger in human shape
leapt upon him, for he was a Marid, 1 and riding upon his shoulder-
blades and twisting one of his legs about his neck, let the other
hang down upon his back, saying, " Walk on, fellow ; for there is
no escape for thee from me and thou art become mine ass."
Thereupon the Mameluke fell a-weeping and cried out to his
comrades, " Alas, my lord ! Flee ye forth of this wood and save
yourselves, for one of the dwellers therein hath mounted on my
shoulders, and the rest seek you, desiring to ride you like me."
When they heard these words, all fled down to the boat and

1 This explains the Arab idea of the " Old Man of the Sea " in Sindbad the Seaman
(vol. vi. 50). He was not a monkey nor an unknown monster ; but an evil Jinni of
the most powerful class, yet subject to defeat and death.

Saj'f at- Muluk and Bad? a al-Jamal.

pushed off to sea; whilst the islanders followed them into the
water, saying, " Whither wend ye ? Come, tarry with us and we
will mount on your backs and give you meat and drink, and you
shall be our donkeys." Hearing this they hastened the more sea-
wards till they left them in the distance and fared on, trusting in
Allah Almighty ; nor did they leave faring for a month, till
another island rose before them and thereon they landed. Here
they found fruits of various kinds and busied themselves with
eating of them, when behold, they saw from afar, somewhat lying
in the road, a hideous creature as it were a column of silver. So
they went up to it and one of the men gave it a kick, when lo ! it
was a thing of human semblance, long of eyes and cloven of head
and hidden under one of his ears, for he was wont, whenas he lay
down to sleep, to spread one ear under his head and cover his face
with the other ear. 1 He snatched up the Mameluke who had
kicked him and carried him off into the middle of the island, and
behold, it was all full of Ghuls who eat the sons of Adam. The
man cried out to his fellows, " Save yourselves, for this is the
island of the man-eating Ghuls, and they mean to tear me to bits
and devour me." When they heard these words they fled back to
the boat, without gathering any store of the fruits and, putting
out to sea, fared on some days till it so happened that they came
to another island, where they found a high mountain. So they
climbed to the top and there saw a thick copse. Now they were
sore anhungered ; so they took to eating of the fruits ; but, before
they were aware, there came upon them from among the trees
black men of terrible aspect, each fifty cubits high with eye-teeth 2
protruding from their mouths like elephants' tusks ; and, laying
hands on Sayf al-Muluk and his company, carried them to their
King, whom they found seated on a piece of black felt laid on a
rock, and about him a great company of Zanzibar-blacks, standing
in his service. The blackamoors who had captured the Prince
and his Mamelukes set them before the King and said to him,
"We found these birds among the trees"; and the King was
sharp-set ; so he took two of the servants and cut their throats

and ate them ; And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and

ceased to say her permitted say.

1 These Plinian monsters abound in Persian literature. For a specimen see Richardson
Dissert, p. xlviii.

2 Arab. "Anyab," plur. of " Nab " = canine tooth (eye-tooth of man), tusks of
horse and camel etc.

34O A If Laylah wa Laylah.

ttfofo fo&tn it foas t&e &*ben f^untrrrtr an* &>txtB - st'xt& Nigf)t,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
Zanzibar-blacks took Sayf al-Muluk and his Mamelukes and set
them before the King, saying, " O King, we came upon these birds
among the trees." Thereupon the King seized two of the Mame-
lukes and cut their throats and ate them ; which, when Sayf al-
Muluk saw, he feared for himself and wept and repeated these
verses :

Familiar with my heart are woes and with them I o Who shunned them ; for

familiar are great hearts and high.
The woes I suffer are not all of single kind o I have, thank Allah, varied

thousands to aby \

Then he sighed and repeated these also :

The World hath shot me with its sorrows till My heart is covered with

shafts galore ;
And now, when strike me other shafts, must break o Against th' old points the

points that latest pour.

When the King heard his weeping and wailing, he said, "Verily
these birds have sweet voices and their song pleaseth me : put
them in cages." So they set them each in his own cage and
hung them up at the King's head that he might listen to their
warbling. On this wise Sayf al-Muluk and his Mamelukes abode
and the blackamoors gave them to eat and drink : and now they
wept and now laughed, now spake and now were hushed, whilst
the King of the blacks delighted in the sound of their voices.
And so they continued for a long time. Now this King had a
daughter married in another island who, hearing that her father
had birds with sweet voices, sent a messenger to him seeking of
him some of them. So he sent her, by her Cossid, 1 Sayf al-Muluk
and three of his men in four cages ; and, when she saw them,

1 Arab. "Kasid," the Anglo-Indian Cossid. The post is called Barid from the Persian
"buri'dah" (cut) because the mules used for the purpose were dock-tailed. Barid
applies equally to the post-mule, the rider and the distance from one station (Sikkah) to
another which varied from two to six parasangs. The letter-carrier was termed
Al-Faranik from the Pers. Parwanah, a servant. In the Diwan al-Barfd (Post-office)
every letter was entered in a Madraj or list called in Arabic Al-Askidar from the
Persian " Az Kih dari" =z from whom hast thou it ?

Sayf al-Muluk and Badia al-Jamal. 341

they pleased her and she bade hang them up in a place over her
head. The Prince fell to marvelling at that which had befallen
him and calling to mind his former high and honourable estate
and weeping for himself; and the three servants wept for them-
selves ; and the King's daughter deemed that they sang. Now it
was her wont, whenever any one from the land of Egypt or else-
where fell into her hands and he pleased her, to advance him to
great favour with her ; and by the decree of Allah Almighty it
befel that, when she saw Sayf al-Muluk she was charmed by his
beauty and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace, and she
commanded to entreat him and his companions with honour and
to loose them from their cages. Now one day she took the Prince
apart and would have him enjoy her ; but he refused, saying, " O
my lady, I am a banisht wight and with passion for a beloved one
in piteous plight, nor with other will I consent to love-delight."
Then she coaxed him and importuned him, but he held aloof from
her, and she could not approach him nor get her desire of him by
any ways and means. At last, when she was weary of courting
him in vain, she waxed wroth with him and his Mamelukes, and
commanded that they should serve her and fetch her wood and
water. In such condition they abode four years till Sayf al-Muluk
became weary of his life and sent to intercede with the Princess,
so haply she might release them and let them wend their ways
and be at rest from that their hard labour. So she sent for him
and said to him, " If thou wilt do my desire, I will free thee from
this thy durance vile and thou shalt go to thy country, safe and
sound." And she wept and ceased not to humble herself to him
and wheedle him, but he would not hearken to her words ; where-
upon she turned from him, in anger, and he and his companions
abode on the island in the same plight. The islanders knew them
for "The Princess's birds" and durst not work them any wrong;
and her heart was at ease concerning them, being assured that
they could not escape from the island. So they used to absent
themselves from her two and three days at a time and go round
about the desert parts in all directions, gathering firewood, which
they brought to the Princess's kitchen ; and thus they abode five l
years. Now one day it so chanced that the Prince and his men
were sitting on the sea-shore, devising of what had befallen, and
Sayf al-Muluk, seeing himself and his men in such case, bethought


Ten years" in the Bresl. Edit. iv. 244.

342 A If Lay! ah iva Laylah.

him of his mother and father and his brother Sa'id and, calling
to mind what high degree he had been in, fell a-weeping and
lamenting passing sore, whilst his slaves wept likewise. Then said
they to him, " O King of the Age, how long shall we weep ?
Weeping availeth not ; for this thing was written on our brows by
the ordinance of Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty.
Indeed, the Pen runneth with that He decreeth and nought will
serve us but patience : haply Allah (extolled and exalted be He !)
who hath saddened us shall gladden us ! ' Quoth he, " O my
brothers, how shall we win free from this accursed woman ? I see
no way of escape for us, save Allah of his grace deliver us from
her ; but methinks we may flee and be at rest from this hard
labour." And quoth they, " O King of the Age, whither shall we
flee ? For the whole island is full of Ghuls which devour the Sons
of Adam, and whithersoever we go, they will find us there and
either eat us or capture and carry us back to that accursed, the
King's daughter, who will be wroth with us." Sayf al-Muluk
rejoined, " I will contrive you somewhat, whereby peradventure
Allah Almighty shall deliver us and help us to escape from this
island." They asked, " And how wilt thou do ? " ; and he answered,
" Let us cut some of these long pieces of wood, and twist ropes of
their bark and bind them one with another, and make of them a
raft 1 which we will launch and load with these fruits: then we will

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 7) → online text (page 35 of 40)