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 4 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 4 of 40)
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the Moslems saw the presence of their King Gharib, they joyed
with exceeding joy ; and, kissing the earth between his hands,
saluted him and gat around him whilst he welcomed them and
rejoiced in their safety. Then they escorted him to their camp
and pitched pavilions for him and set up standards ; and Gharib
sat down on his couch of estate, with his Grandees about him ;
and they related to him all that had befallen, especially to
Sa'adan. Meanwhile the Kafirs sought for Ajib and finding him
not among them nor in their tents, told Jaland of his flight,
whereat his Doomsday rose and he bit his fingers, saying, " By
the Sun's light-giving round, he is a perfidious hound and hath
fled with his rascal rout to desert-ground. But naught save force
of hard fighting will serve us to repel these foes ; so fortify your
resolves and hearten your hearts and beware of the Moslems."
And Gharib also said to the True Believers, " Strengthen your
courage and fortify your hearts and seek aid of your Lord, be-
seeching him to vouchsafe you the victory over your enemies."
They replied, "O King, soon thou shalt see what we will do in
battle-plain where men cut and thrust amain." So the two hosts
slept till the day arose with its sheen and shone and the rising
sun rained light upon hill and down, when Gharib prayed the
two-bow prayer, after the rite of Abraham the Friend (on whom
be the Peace !) and wrote a letter, which he despatched by his
brother Sahim to the King of the Kafirs. When Sahim reached
the enemies' camp, the guards asked him what he wanted, and
he answered them, "I want your ruler." 1 Quoth they, "Wait
till we consult him anent thee ; " and he waited, whilst they went
in to their Sovran and told him of the coming of a messenger,
and he cried, " Hither with him to me ! " So they brought Sahim
before Jaland, who said to him, "Who hath sent thee.?" Quoth
he, " King Gharib sends me, whom Allah hath made ruler over
Arab and Ajam ; receive his letter and return its reply." Jaland
took the writ and opening it, read as follows : " In the name of

1 Arab ** Hlldin ": lit. one who orders; often confounded by the unscientific with
Hakim, a doctor, a philosopher. The latter re-appears in the Heb. Khakham applied
in modern days to the Jewish scribe who takes the place of the Rabbi.

jo A If Lay I ah wa Laylah.

Allah, the Compassionating, the Compassionate * the One, the
All-knowing, the supremely Great c- the Immemorial, the Lord
of Noah and Salih and Hud and Abraham and of all things He
made! * The Peace be on him who followeth in the way of
righteousness and who feareth the issues of frowardness # who
obeyeth the Almighty King and followeth the Faith saving and
preferreth the next world to any present thing ! * But afterwards :

Jaland, none is worthy of worship save Allah alone, the
Victorious, the One, Creator of night and day and the sphere
revolving alway * Who sendeth the holy Prophets and garreth
the streams to flow and the trees to grow, who vaulted the heavens
and spread out the earth like a carpet below # Who feedeth the
birds in their nests and the wild beasts in the deserts # for He is
Allah the All-powerful, the Forgiving, the Long-suffering, the
Protector, whom eye comprehendeth on no wise and who maketh
night on day arise * He who sent down the Apostles and their
Holy Writ. Know, O Jaland, that there is no faith but the Faith
of Abraham the Friend ; so cleave to the Creed of Salvation and
be saved from the biting glaive and the Fire which followeth the
grave # But, an thou refuse Al-Islam look for ruin to haste and
thy reign to be waste and thy traces untraced # And, lastly, send
me the dog Ajib hight that I may take from him my father's and
mother's blood-wit." When Jaland had read this letter, he said
to Sahirn, " Tell thy lord that Ajib hath fled, he and his folk, and

1 know not whither he is gone ; but, as for Jaland, he will not
forswear his faith, and to-morrow, there shall be battle between us
and the Sun shall give us the victory." So Sahim returned to
his brother with this reply, and when the morning morrowed, the
Moslems donned their arms and armour and bestrode their stout
steeds, calling aloud on the name of the All-conquering King,
Creator of bodies and souls, and magnifying Him with " Allaho
Akbar." Then the kettle-drums of battle beat until earth trembled,
and sought the field all the lordly warriors and doughty champions;
The first to open the gate of battle was Jamrkan, who drave his
charger into mid-plain and played with sword and javelin, till the
understanding was amazed ; after which he cried out, saying,
" Ho I who is for tilting ? Ho ! who is for fighting ? Let no
sluggard come out to me to-day nor weakling ! I am the slayer
of Kurajan bin Jaland; who will come forth to avenge him?"
When Jaland heard the name of his son, he cried out to his men,
" O whore-sons, bring me yonder horseman who slew my son, that

The History of Gharib and his Brother A jib. 31

I may eat his flesh and drink his blood." So an hundred fighting
men charged at Jamrkan, but he slew the most part of them and
put their chief to flight ; which feat when Jaland saw, he cried out
to his folk, "At him all at once and assault him with one assault."
Accordingly they waved the awe-striking banners and host was
heaped on host ; Gharib rushed on with his men and Jamrkan did
the same and the two sides met like two seas together clashing.
The Yamdni sword and spear wrought havoc and breasts and
bellies were rent, whilst both armies saw the Angel of Death face
to face and the dust of the battle rose to the skirts of the sky.
Ears went deaf and tongues went dumb and doom from every side
came on whilst valiant stood fast and faint-heart fled : and they
ceased not from fight and fray till ended the day, when the drums
beat the retreat and the two hosts drew apart and returned, each

to its tents. And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and

ceased saying her permitted say.

jlofo to&m ft foas tf)t &tx ^un&retJ antr JFortp - mntf)

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when King
Gharib ended the battle and the two hosts drew apart and each had
returned to his own tents, he sat down on the throne of his realm,
and the place of his reign, whilst his chief officers ranged them-
selves about him, and he said, " I am sore concerned for the flight
of the cur Ajib and I know not whither he has gone. Except I
overtake him and take my wreak of him, I shall die of despite."
Whereupon Sahim came forward and kissing the earth before him,
said, " O King, I will go to the army of the Kafirs and find out
what is come of the perfidious dog Ajib." Quoth Gharib, " Go,
and learn the truth anent the hog." So Sahim disguised himself
in the habit of the Infidels and became as he were of them ; then,
making for the enemy's camp, he found them all asleep, drunken
with war and battle, and none were on wake save only the guards.
He passed on and presently came to the King's pavilion where he
found King Jaland asleep unattended ; so he crept up and made
him smell and sniff up levigated Bhang and he became as one
dead. Then Sahim went out and took a male mule, and wrapping
the King in the coverlet of his bed, laid him on its back ; after
which he threw a mat over him and led the beast to the Moslem
camp. Now when he came to Gharib's pavilion and would have

32 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

entered, the guards knew him not and prevented him, saying,
" Who art thou ?" He laughed and uncovered his face, and they
knew him and admitted him. When Gharib saw him he said,
"What bearest thou there, O Sahim ?" ; and he replied, "O King,
this is Jaland bin Karkar." Then he uncovered him, and Gharib
knew him and said, " Arouse him, O Sahim," So he made him
smell vinegar 1 and frankincense; and he cast the Bhang from his
nostrils and, opening his eyes, found himself among the Moslems ;
whereupon quoth he, " What is this foul dream ? " and closing his
eyelids again, would have slept ; but Sahim dealt him a kick,
saying, " Open thine eyes, O accursed ! " So he opened them and
asked, " Where am I ? " ; and Sahim answered, " Thou art in the
presence of King Gharib bin Kundamir, King of Irak." When
Jaland heard this, he said, " O King, I am under thy protection !
Know that I am not at fault, but that who led us forth to fight theo
was thy brother, and the same cast enmity between us and then
fled." Quoth Gharib, " Knowest thou whither he is gone ? " ; and
quoth Jaland, " No, by the light-giving sun, I know not whither."
Then Gharib bade lay him in bonds and set guards over him, whilst
each captain returned to his own tent, and Jamrkan while wending
said to his men, " O sons of my uncle, I purpose this night to do a
deed wherewith I may whiten my face with King Gharib." Quoth
they, " Do as thou wilt, we hearken to thy commandment and obey
it." Quoth he, " Arm yourselves and, muffling your steps while I
go with you, let us fare softly and disperse about the Infidels' camp,
so that the very ants shall not be ware of you ; and, when you hear
me cry Allaho Akbar, do ye the like and cry out, saying, God is
Most Great ! and hold back and make for the city gate ; and we
seek aid from the Most High." So the folk armed themselves
cap-a-pie and waited till the noon of night, when they dispersed
about the enemy's camp and tarried awhile when, lo and behold !
Jamrkan smote shield with sword and shouted, " Allaho Akbar ! "
Thereupon they all cried out the like, till rang again valley and
mountain, hills, sands and ruins. The Miscreants awoke in dismay
and fell one upon other, and the sword went round amongst them ;

1 As has been seen, acids have ever been and are still administered as counter-
inebriants, while hot spices and sweets greatly increase the effect of Bhang, opium,
henbane, datura, &c. The Persians have a most unpleasant form of treating men when
dead-drunk with wine or spirits. They hang them up by the heels, as we used to do
with the drowned, and stuff their mouths with human ordure which is sure to produce

The History of Gharib and his Brother A jib. 33

the Moslems drew back and made for the city gates, where they
slew the warders and entering, made themselves masters of the
town, with all that was therein of treasure and women. Thus it
befel with Jamrkan ; but as regards King Gharib, hearing the
noise and clamour of " God is Most Great," he mounted with his
troops to the last man and sent on in advance Sahim who, when
he came near the field of fight, saw that Jamrkan had fallen upon
the Kafirs with the Banu Amir by night and made them drink the
cup of death. So he returned and told all to his brother, who
called down blessings on Jamrkan. And the Infidels ceased not
to smite one another with the biting sword and expending their
strength till the day rose and lighted up the land, when Gharib cried
out to his men, " Charge, O ye noble, and do a deed to please the
All-knowing King ! " So the True Believers fell upon the idolaters
and plied upon every false hypocritical breast the keen sword and
the quivering spear. They sought to take refuge in the city ; but
Jamrkan came forth upon them with his kinsmen, who hemmed
them in between two mountain-ranges, and slew an innumerable
host of them, and the rest fled into the wastes and wolds. -
And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her
permitted say.

Jlofo fofjm tt foas tije &ix f^untofc au& Jfillitfy J2tgf)t,

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
the Moslem host charged upon the Miscreants they hewed them
in pieces with the biting scymitar and the rest fled to the wastes
and wolds ; nor did the Moslems cease pursuing them with the
sword, till they had scattered them abroad in the plains and stony
places. Then they returned to Oman city, and King Gharib
entered the palace of the King and, sitting down on the throne of
his kingship, with his Grandees and Officers ranged right and left,
sent for Jaland. They brought him in haste and Gharib ex-
pounded to him Al-Islam ; but he rejected it ; wherefore Gharib
bade crucify him on the gate of the city, and they shot at him with
shafts till he was like unto a porcupine. Then Gharib honourably
robed Jamrkan and said to him, " Thou shalt be lord of this city
and ruler thereof with power to loose and to bind therein, for it
was thou didst open it with thy sword and thy folk." And
Jamrkan kissed the King's feet, thanked him and wished him
abiding victory and glory and every blessing. Moreover Gharib
VOL. vii. C

34 A If Laylah wa Laylah.

opened Jaland's treasuries and saw what was therein of coin,
whereof he gave largesse to his captains and standard-bearers and
fighting-men, yea, even to the girls and children ; and thus he
lavished his gifts ten days long. After this, one night he dreamt
a terrible dream and awoke, troubled and trembling. So he
aroused his brother Sahim and said to him, " I saw in my vision
that we were in a wide valley, when there pounced down on us
two ravening birds of prey, never in my life saw I greater than
they ; their legs were like lances, and as they swooped we were in
sore fear of them." Replied Sahim, " O King, this be some great
enemy ; so stand on thy guard against him." Gharib slept not
the rest of the night and, when the day broke, he called for his
courser and mounted. Quoth Sahim, " Whither goest thou, my
brother ? " and quoth Gharib, " I awoke heavy at heart ; so I mean
to ride abroad ten days and broaden my breast." Said Sahim,
" Take with thee a thousand braves ;" but Gharib replied, " I will
not go forth but with thee and only thee." So the two brothers
mounted and, seeking the dales and leasows, fared on from Wady
to Wady and from meadow to meadow, till they came to a valley
abounding in streams and sweet-smelling flowers and trees laden
with all manner eatable fruits, two of each kind. Birds warbled
on the branches their various strains ; the mocking-bird trilled out
her sweet notes fain and the turtle filled with her voice the plain.
There sang the nightingale, whose chant arouses the sleeper, and
the merle with his note like the voice of man and the cushat
and the ring-dove, whilst the parrot with its eloquent tongue
answered the twain. The valley pleased them and they ate of its
fruits and drank of its waters, after which they sat under the
shadow of its trees till drowsiness overcame them and they slept,
glory be to Him who sleepeth not ! As they lay asleep, lo ! two
fierce Marids swooped down on them and, taking each one on his
shoulders, towered with them high in air, till they were above
the clouds. So Gharib and Sahim awoke and found themselves
betwixt heaven and earth ; whereupon they looked at those who
bore them and saw that they were two Marids, the head of the one
being as that of a dog and the head of the other as that of an ape 1
with hair like horses' tails and claws like lions' claws, and both
were big as great palm-trees. When they espied this case, they
exclaimed, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in

1 Compare the description of the elephant-faced Vetala (Katha S.S. Fasc. xi. p. 388).

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 35

Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " Now the cause of this was that
a certain King of the Kings of the Jinn, hight Mura'ash, had a
son called Sa'ik, who loved a damsel of the Jinn, named Najmah ; !
and the twain used to foregather in that Wady under the sem-
blance of two birds. Gharib and Sahim saw them thus and
deeming them birds, shot at them with shafts but wounding only
Sa'ik whose blood flowed. Najmah mourned over him ; then,
fearing lest the like calamity befal herself, snatched up her lover
and flew with him to his father's palace, where she cast him down
at the gate. The warders bore him in and laid him before his sire
who, seeing the pile sticking in his rib exclaimed, " Alas, my son !
Who hath done with thee this thing, that I may lay waste his
abiding-place and hurry on his destruction, though he were the
greatest of the Kings of the Jann ? " Thereupon Sa'ik opened his
eyes and said, " O my father, none slew me save a mortal in the
Valley of Springs." Hardly had he made an end of these words,
when his soul departed; whereupon his father buffeted his face,
till the blood streamed fn. m his mouth, and cried out to two
Marids, saying, " Hie ye to the Valley of Springs and bring me all
who are therein." So they betook themselves to the Wady in
question, where they found Gharib and Sahim asleep, and, snatching

them up, carried them to King Mura'ash. 2 And Shahrazad

perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,

Jtofo fofjen it foas tfje Jbtx f^untrretr anto Jpiftg.-first

She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
two Marids, after snatching up Gharib and Sahim in their sleep,
carried them to Mura'ash, king of the Jann, whom they saw
seated on the throne of his kingship, as he were a huge mountain,
with four heads on his body, 3 the first that of a lion, the second
that of an elephant, the third that of a panther, and the fourth that

1 The lover's name Sa'ik == the Striker (with lightning) ; Najmah, the beloved = the

2 I have modified the last three lines of the Mac. Edit, which contain a repetition
evidently introduced by the carelessness of the copyist.

! The Hindu Charvakas explain the Triad, Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva, by the sexual
organs and upon Vishnu's having four arms they gloss, "At the time of sexual inter-
course, each man and woman has as many." (Dabistan ii. 202). This is the Eastern
view of Rabelais' " beast with two backs."

36 A If Laylah wa Laylak.

of a lynx. The Marids set them down before Mura'ash and said
to him, " O King, these twain be they we found in the Valley of
Springs." Thereupon he looked at them with wrathful eyes and
snarked and snorted and shot sparks from his nostrils, so that
all who stood by feared him. Then said he, " O dogs of mankind,
ye have slain my son and lighted fire in my liver." Quoth Gharib,
" Who is thy son, and who hath seen him ? " Quoth Mura'ash,
" Were ye not in the Valley of Springs and did ye not see my son
there, in the guise of a bird, and did ye not shoot at him with
wooden bolts that he died ?" Replied Gharib, " I know not who
slew him ; and, by the virtue of the Great God, the One, the
Immemorial who knoweth things all, and of Abraham the Friend,
we saw no bird, neither slew we bird or beast ! " Now when
Mura'ash heard Gharib swear by Allah and His greatness and by
Abraham the Friend, he knew him for a Moslem (he himself
being a worshipper of Fire, not of the All-powerful Sire), so he
cried out to his folk, " Bring me my Goddess. 1 " Accordingly they
brought a brazier of gold and, setting it before him, kindled therein
fire and cast on drugs, whereupon there arose therefrom green and
blue and yellow flames and the King and all who were present
prostrated themselves before the brazier, whilst Gharib and Sahim
ceased not to attest the Unity of Allah Almighty, to cry out " God
is Most Great "and to bear witness to His Omnipotence. Pre-
sently, Mura'ash raised his head and, seeing the two Princes
standing in lieu of falling down to worship, said to them, "O dogs,
why do ye not prostrate yourselves ? " Replied Gharib, " Out on
you, O ye accursed ! Prostration befitteth not man save to the
Worshipful King, who bringeth forth all creatures into beingness
from nothingness and maketh water to well from the barren rock-
well, Him who inclineth heart of sire unto new-born scion and who
may not be described as sitting or standing ; the God of Noah and
Salfh and Hud and Abraham the Friend, Who created Heaven
and Hell and trees and fruit as well, 2 for He is Allah, the One, the
All-powerful." When Mura'ash heard this, his eyes sank into his
head 3 and he cried out to his guards, saying, " Pinion me these
two dogs and sacrifice them to my Goddess." So they bound
them and were about to cast them into the fire when, behold.

1 Arab. " Rabbat-i," my she Lord, fire (nar) being feminine.

2 The prose-rhyme is answerable for this galimatias.

A common phrase equivalent to our " started from his head,"

The History of Gharib and his Brother Ajib. 37

one of the crenelles of the palace-parapet fell down upon the
brazier and brake it and put out the fire, which became ashes
flying in air. Then quoth Gharib, "God is Most Great! He
giveth aid and victory and He forsaketh those who deny Him,
Fire worshipping and not the Almighty King !" Presently quoth
Mura'ash, " Thou art a sorcerer and hast bewitched my Goddess,
so that this thing hath befallen her. Gharib replied, " O madman,
an the fire had soul or sense it would have warded off from self all
that hurteth it." When Mura'ash heard these words, he roared
and bellowed and reviled the Fire, saying, " By my faith, I will
not kill you save by the fire !" Then he bade cast them into gaol ;
and, calling an hundred Marids, made them bring much fuel and set
fire thereto. So they brought great plenty of wood and made a
huge blaze, which flamed up mightily till the morning, when
Mura'ash mounted an elephant, bearing on its back a throne of
gold dubbed with jewels, and the tribes of the Jinn gathered about
him in their various kinds. Presently they brought in Gharib and
Sahim who, seeing the flaming of the fire, sought help of the One,
the All-conquering Creator of night and day, Him of All-might,
whom no sight comprehendeth, but who comprehendeth all sights,
for He is the Subtle, the All-knowing. And they ceased not
humbly beseeching Him till, behold, a cloud arose from West to
East and, pouring down showers of rain, like the swollen sea,
quenched the fire. When the King saw this, he was affrighted, he
and his troops, and entered the palace, where he turned to the
Wa2irs and Grandees and said to them, " How say ye of these two
men ? " They replied, " O King, had they not been in the right,
this thing had not befallen the fire ; wherefore we say that they
be true men which speak sooth." Rejoined Mura'ash, "Verily
the Truth hath been displayed to me, ay, and the manifest way,
and I am certified that the worship of the fire is false ; for, were
it goddess, it had warded off from itself the rain which quenched
it and the stone which broke its brasier and beat it into ashes.
Wherefore I believe in Him Who created the fire and the light
and the shade and the heat. And ye, what say ye ? " They
answered, " O King, we also hear and follow and obey." So the
King called for Gharib and embraced him and kissed him between
the eyes and then summoned Sahim ; whereupon the bystanders

all crowded to kiss their hands and heads. And Shahrazad

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

38 A If Laylah wa Laylah*

'Koto tofrm ft foas tfje &ix ^untftft anU jpfftp-seconlJ

She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when
Mura'ash and his men found salvation in the Saving Faith,
Al-Islam, he called for Gharib and Sahim and kissed them between
the eyes and so did all the Grandees who crowded to buss their
hands and heads. Then Mura'ash sat down on the throne of his
kingship and, seating Gharib on his right and Sahim on his left
hand, said to them, " O mortals, what shall we say, that we
may become Moslems?" Replied Gharib, "Say: There is no
god but the God, and Abraham is the Friend of God ! " So the
King and his folk professed Al-Islam with heart and tongue, and
Gharib abode with them awhile, teaching them the ritual of prayer.
But presently he called to mind his people and sighed, whereupon
quoth Mura'ash, "Verily, trouble is gone and joy and gladness are
come." Quoth Gharib, " O King, I have many foes and I fear for
my folk from them." Then he related to him his history with his
brother Ajib from first to last, and the King of the Jinns said, " O
King of men, I will send one who shall bring thee news of thy
people, for I will not let thee go till I have had my fill of thy
face." Then he called two doughty Marids, by name Kaylajan
and Kurajan, and after they had done him homage, he bade them
repair to Al-Yaman and bring him news of Gharib's army. They
replied, " To hear is to obey," and departed. Thus far concerning
the brothers ; but as regards the Moslems, they arose in the morn-
ing and led by their captains rode to King Gharib's palace, to do
their service to him ; but the eunuchs told them that the King had
mounted with his brother and had ridden forth at peep o' day.
So they made for the valleys and mountains and followed the
track of the Princes, till they came to the Valley of Springs, where

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 4 of 40)