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 16) online

. (page 11 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 16) → online text (page 11 of 40)
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the freaks of the gender feminine, and what things they do with
their mates." Accordingly when night came on, the Caliph sent
for and summoned Manjab to the presence, and when he came
there he kissed ground and said, " An it be thy will, O Commander
of the Faithful, that I relate thee aught concerning the wiles of
wives, let it be in a private place lest haply one of the slave girls
hear me and any of them report my tale to the Queen." Quoth
Rashid, " This is the right rede which may not be blamed indeed ! "
So he went with him to a private place concealed from the folk,
and took seat, he and the youth, and none beside, when Manjab
related to him the following



somewhat tail-less, after this fashion. "At the same instant, the Sultan and his courtiers
found themselves assaulted by invisible agents, who, tearing off their robes, whipped them
with scourges till the blood flowed in streams from their lacerated backs. At length the
punishment ceased, but the mortification of the Sultan did not end here, for all the gold
which the Dirveshe had transmuted returned to its original metals. Thus, by his unjust
credulity, was a weak Prince punished for his ungrateful folly. The barber and his son
also were not to be found, so that the sultan could gain no intelligence of the Dirveshe,
and he and his courtiers became the laughing-stock of the populace for years after their
merited chastisement." Is nothing to be left for the reader's imagination ?



Ii6 Supplemental Nights.



TALE OF THE SIMPLETON HUSBAND.^

IT is related that there was a Badawi man who had a wife and he
dwelt under a tent of hair 2 in the desert where, as is the fashion
of Arabs, he used to shift from site to site for the purpose of
pasturing his camels. Now the woman was of exceeding beauty
and comeliness and perfection, and she had a friend (also a Badawi
man) who at all times would come to her and have his wicked will
of her, after which he would wend his ways. But one day of the
days her lover visited her and said, " Wallahi, 'tis not possible but
that what time we sleep together, I and thou, we make merry with
thy husband looking on." - And Shahrazad was surprised by the
dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say.
Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, " How sweet is thy story, O
sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable ! " Quoth she,
"And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on
the coming night an the King suffer me to survive ? " Now
when it was the next night and that was



DUNYAZAD said to her, " Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied: - With
love and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and
of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the man which



1 See under the same name the story in my Suppl. vol. i. 239 : where the genealogy
and biography of the story is given. I have translated the W. M. version because it adds
a few items of interest. A marginal note of Scott's (in the W. M. MS. v. 196) says that
the " Tale ia similar to Lesson iv. in the Tirrea Bede." See note at the end of this
History.

2 For the Badawf tent, see vol. vii. 109.



Tale of the Simpleton Husband. 1 17

was the friend of the Badawi's wife said to her, " Wallahi, 'tis not
possible but that when we make merry, I and thou, thy husband
shall look upon us." Quoth she, "Why should we suffer at such
time of our enjoyment either my husband or any wight to be
present?" and quoth he, "This must needs be, and unless thou
consent I will take to me a mistress other than thyself." Then
said she, " How shall we enjoy ourselves with my husband looking
on ? This is a matter which may not be managed." Hereupon
the woman sat down and took thought of her affair and how she
should do for an hour or so, and presently she arose and dug her
amiddlemost the tent a hole ' which would contain a man, wherein
she concealed her lover. Now, hard by the tent was a tall syca-
more tree, 2 and as the noodle her husband was returning from the
wild the woman said to him, " Ho thou, Such-an-one ! climb up
this tree and bring me therefrom a somewhat of figs that we may
eat them." Said he, " 'Tis well ; " and arising he swarmed up the
tree-trunk, when she signed to her lover who came out and mounted
and fell to riding upon her. But her mate considered her and
cried aloud, " What is this, O whore : doth a man cavalcade thee
before me and the while I am looking at thee ? ' : Then he came
down from the tree in haste, but he saw no one, for as soon as the
lover had finished his business the good-wife thrust him into the
hole amiddlemost the tent and covered him with a mat. When
the husband went inside to the booth and met his wife he found
no stranger with her so said she to him, " O man, thou hast sinned
against me, saying : Verily, some one is riding thee ; and thou
hast slandered me by falsely charging me with folly." Quoth he,
" By Allah I saw thee with my own eyes ; " but quoth she, " Do
thou sit here the while I have a look." Hereupon she arose and



1 In text "Birkah"= a fountain-basin, lake, pond, reservoir. The Bresl. Edit, has
" Sardab"= a souterrain.

2 Arab. " Jummayz" : see vol. iii. 302. In the Bresl. Edit, it is a " tall tree," and
in the European versions always a " pear-tree," which is not found in Badawi-land



1 1 8 Supplemental Nights

swarmed up the trunk and sat upon one of the branches, and as
she peered at her spouse she shrieked aloud crying, " O man, do
thou have some regard for thine honour. Why do on this wise
and lie down and allow a man to ride thee, and at this moment he
worketh his will on thee." Said her husband, " Beside me there
is neither man nor boy." And said she, " Here I am * looking
at thee from the top of this tree." Quoth he, " O woman, this
place must be haunted, 2 so let us remove hence ; " and quoth she,
" Why change our place ? rather let us remain therein." Here-
upon the Caliph said to Manjab, " By Allah, verily, this woman
was an adulteress ; " and the youth replied, " Amongst womankind
indeed are many more whorish than this. But of that anon ; and
now do thou hear from me and learn of me this marvellous
tale anent

THE LOVES OF AL-HAYFA AND YUSUF.



1 "Adi" in Egyptian (not Arabic) is = that man, the (man) here; "Adini" (in the
text) is = Here am I, me void. Spitta Bey (loc. cit. iv. 20, etc.)

a Arab. " Ma'murah." In the Bresl. edit. " the place is full of Jinns and of Marids."
I have said that this supernatural agency, ever at hand and ever credible to Easterns*
makes this the most satisfactory version of the world-wide tale.



NOTE CONCERNING THE " TIRREA BEDE," NIGHT 655.

Scott refers to a tale in the " Bahar-Danush " (Bahdr-i-Danish) ; or, " Garden of
Knowledge," translated by himself, story viii. lesson 4 ; chapter xii. vol. iii. pp. 64-68.
Cadell & Co., Strand, London, 1799. Five women come from a town to draw water at
a well ; and, finding there a young Brahmin, become his teachers and undertake to
instruct him in the "Tirrea" or fifth "Veda" there being only four of these Hindu
Scriptures. Each lesson consists of an adventure showing how to cornute a husband, and
the fourth runs as follows. I leave them in Scott's language :

The fourth lady through dread of the arrow of whose cunning the warrior of the fifth
heaven 1 trembled in the sky, like the reed, having bestowed her attention on the pilgrim
bramin (Brahman), despatched him to an orchard ; and having gone home, said to her
husband, "I have heard that in the orchard of a certain husbandman there is a date
tree, the fruit of which is of remarkably fine flavour ; but what is yet stranger, whoever
ascends it, sees many wonderful objects. If to-day, going to visit this orchard, we gather
dates from this tree, and also see the wonders ot it, it will not be unproductive of
amusement." In short, she so worked upon her husband with flattering speeches and
caresses, that nolens volens he went to the orchard, and at the instigation of his wife,
ascended the tree. At this instant she beckoned to the bramin, who was previously
seated, expectantly, in a corner of the garden.

The husband, from the top of the tree, beholding what was not fit to be seen, exclaimed
in extreme rage, "Ah ! thou shameless Russian-born 2 wretch, what abominable action is
this?" The wife making not the least answer, the flames of anger seized the mind of
the man, and he began to descend from the tree; when the bramin with activity, and
speed having hurried over the fourth section of the Tirrea Bede, 3 went his way.

VERSE.

The road to repose is that of activity and quickness.

The wife during her husband's descent from the tree having arranged her plan, said,
" Surely, man, frenzy must have deprived thy brain of the fumes of sense, that having
foolishly set up such a cry, and not reflecting upon thy own disgrace (for here, excepting
thyself, what male is present ?), (.hou wouldst fix upon me the charge of infidelity ?"
The husband, when he saw no person near, was astonished, and said to himself,
"Certainly, this vision must have been miraculous."

The completely artful wife, from the hesitation of her husband, guessed the ca,use, and
impudently began to abuse him. Then instantly tying her vest round her waist she
ascended the tree. When she had reached the topmost branch, she suddenly cried out,
" O thou shameless man, what abominable action is this ! If thy evil star hath led thee
from the path of virtue, surely thou mightest have in secret ventured upon it. Doubtless
to pull down the curtain of modesty from thy eyes, and with such impudence to commit
such a wicked deed is the very extreme of debauchery."



1 The planet Mars.

2 The Asiatics have a very contemptible opinion of the Russians, especially of the
females, whom they believe to be void of common modesty. Our early European
voyagers have expressed the same idea. - ScoTT.

3 i.e. having enjoyed the woman. R.F.B.



1 20 Supplemental Nights.

The husband replied, " Woman, do not ridiculously cry out, but be silent ; for such h the
property of this tree, that whoever ascends it, sees man or woman below in such situations.'*
The cunning wife now came down, and said to her husband, " What a charming garden
and amusing spot is this ! where one can gather fruit, and at the same time behold the
wonders of the world." The husband replied, "Destruction seize the wonders which
falsely accuse man of abomination I " In short the devilish wife, notwithstanding the
impudence of such an action, escaped safely to her house, and the next day* according
to custom, attending at the well, introduced the bramin to the ladies, and informed them
of her worthy contrivance. 1



1 The reader will doubtless recollect the resemblance which the plot of this lesson
bears to Pope's January and May, and to one of Fontaine's Tales. Eenaiut Olla
acknowledges his having borrowed it from the Brahmins, from whom it may have travelled
through some voyage to Europe many centuries past, or probably having been translated
in Arabic or Persian, been brought by some crusader, as were many Asiatic romances,
which have served as the groundwork of many of our old stories and poems. SCOTT.



-=*=^r^




THE LOVES OF AL-HAYFA AND YUSUF.



123



THE LOVES OF AL-HAYFA AND YUSUF. 1

I HAD a familiar in the Northern region who was called 'Abd al-
Jawad and he was one of the greatest of merchants there and
made of money ; also he loved voyage and travel, and at whatever
time I visited him and we forgathered, I and he, we exchanged
citations of poetry. Now one day my heart yearned to visit him,
so I repaired to his place and found him there ; and as we came
together we both sat down in friendly converse, I and he ; and he
said to me : " O my brother, do thou hear what happened and was
accomplished for me in these times. I travelled to the land of
Al-Yaman and therein met a familiar who, when we sat down to
talk, I and he, said : O my brother, verily there befel me and
betided me in the land of Al-Hind a case that was strange and an
adventure that was admirable and it ran as follows. There was
erewhile a King of the kings of India and one of her greatest,
who was abundant in money and troops and guards and he was
called Al-Mihrjan. 2 This same was a lord of high degree and a
majestic and he had lived for a long while of his age without
having issue male or female. Wherefor he was full of cark and
care wanting one who after him would preserve his memory, so he



1 In Scott (vi. 352) "Adventures of Aleefa and Eusuff." This long and somewhat
longsome history is by another pen, which is distinguished from the ordinary text by
constant attempts at fine writing, patches of Saj'a or prose-rhyme and profuse poetry,
mostly doggrel. I recommend it to the student as typically Arabian with its preponder-
ance of verse over prose, its threadbare patches made to look meaner by fa&purpureus
pannus \ its immoderate repetition and its utter disregard of order and sequence. For
the rest it is unedited and it strikes me as a sketch of adventure calculated to charm the
Fellah-audience of a coffee-house, whose delight would be brightened by the normal
accompaniment of a tambourine or a Rababah, the one-stringed viol.

2 This P.N. has occurred in vol. vi. 8, where 1 have warned readers that it must not
be confounded with the title " Mahara'j " = Great Rajah. Scott (vi. 352) writes

I" Mherejaun," and Gauttier (vi. 380) " Myr-djyhan " (Mir Jahan = Lord Life).



1 24 Supplemental Nights.

said in his mind one night of the nights, " Whenas I die cut off
shall be my name, and effaced shall be my fame nor shall anyone
remember me." So saying he raised both hands to Heaven and
humbled himself before Allah (be He extolled and exalted !) to
vouchsafe him a child who should outlive him with the view that
man might not lose the memory of him. Now one night as he
was sleeping a-bed dreaming and drowned in slumber behold, he
heard a Voice (without seeing any form) which said to him, " O
Mihrjan the Sage, and O King of the Age, arouse thee this
moment and go to thy wife and lie with her and know her
carnally, for she shall indeed conceive of thee at this very hour
and bear thee a child which, an it be a boy shall become thine
aider in all thine affairs but will, an it prove a girl, cause thy ruin
and thy destruction and the uprooting of thy traces." When
Al-Mihrjan heard from the Speaker these words and such sayings,
he left his couch without stay or delay in great joy and gladness
and he went to his wife and slept with her and svvived her and as
soon as he arose from off her she said, "O King of the Age,
verily I feel that I have become pregnant ; and (Inshallah if
Almighty Allah please !) this shall prove the case. 1 When Al-
Mihrjan heard the words of his wife he was glad and rejoiced at
good news and he caused that night be documented in the archives
of his kingdom. Then, when it was morning he took seat upon
the throne of his kingship and summoned the Astrologers and the
Scribes of characts and Students of the skies and told them what
had been accomplished to him in his night and what words he had
heard from the Voice ; whereupon the Sages one and all struck
tables of sand and considered the ascendant. But each and every
of them concealed his thought and hid all he had seen nor would
any return a reply or aught of address would supply ; and said
they, " O King of the Age, verily appearances in dreams hit the

1 I need not inform the civilised reader that this "feeling conception" is unknown
excep' in tales.



The Loves of Al-Hayfa and Yusuf. 125

mark at times and at times fly wide ; for when a man is of a
melancholic humour he seeth in his sleep things which be terrible
and horrible and he waxeth startled thereat : haply this vision
thou hast beheld may be of the imbroglios of dreams so do thou
commit the reins to Him who all overreigns and the best Worker
is He of all that wisheth and willeth He. Now when Al-Mihrjan
heard these words of the Sages and the Star-gazers he gifted and
largessed them and he freed the captives in prison mewed and he
clothed the widows and the poor and nude. But his heart remained
in sore doubt concerning what he had heard from the Voice and'he
was thoughtful over that matter and bewildered and he knew not
what to do ; and on such wise sped those days. Now, however,
returneth the tale to the Queen his Consort who, when her months
had gone by, proved truly to be pregnant and her condition showed
itself, so she sent to inform her husband thereof. He was gladdened
and rejoiced in the good news and when the months of gestation
were completed the labour-pains set in and she was delivered of a
girl-child (praise be to Him who had created and had perfected
what He had produced in this creation !). which was winsome of
face and lovesome of form and fair fashioned of limbs, with cheeks
rosaceous and eyne gracious and eyebrows continuous and perfect
in symmetrical proportion. Now after the midwives delivered her
from the womb and cut her navel-string and kohl'd her eyes,, they
sent for King Al-Mihrjan and informed him that his Queen had
borne a maid-babe, but when the Eunuchs gave this message, his
breast was narrowed and he was bewildered in his wits, and rising
without stay or delay he went to his wife. Here they brought to
him the new-born when he uncovered her face and, noting her
piquancy and elegancy and beauty and brilliancy and size and
symmetry, his vitals fluttered and he was seized with yearning
sorrow for her fate ; and he named her Al-Hayfa 1 for her

1 i.e. "The Slim-waisted." Scott (vi. 352) persistently corrupts the name to
" Aleefa," and Gauttier (vi. 380) follows suit with " Alifa."



126 Supplemental Nights.

seemlihead. Then he gifted the midwife And Shahrazad was
surprised by the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted
say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, " How sweet is thy story
O sister mine and how enjoyable and delectable ! " Quoth she,
;< And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on
the coming night an the King suffer me to survive ? " Now when
it was the next night and that was



antf

DUNYAZAD said to her, " Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night ! " She replied : - With love
and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that King
Al-Mihrjan largessed a robe of honour to the midwife and gifted
her with a thousand gold pieces and went forth from beside his
daughter. Then they committed her to wetnurses and drynurses
and governesses who reared her with the fairest rearing, and after she
had reached the age of four they brought to her divines who lessoned
her in the art of writing and of making selections 1 and presently she
approved herself sharp of wits, clever, loquent of tongue, eloquent
of speech, sweet spoken of phrase ; and every day she increased
in beauty and loveliness and stature and perfect grace. And when
she reached the age of fourteen she was well read in science and
she had perused the annals of the past and she had mastered
astrology and geomancy and she wrote with caligraphic pen all
the seven handwritings and she was mistress of metres and modes
of poetry and still she grew in grace of speech. Now as her age
reached her fourteenth year her sire the Sultan chose for her a

1 In text " Al-Istikhraj," i.t. making " elegant extracts."



The Loves of A I- Hay fa and Yusuf. 127

palace and settled her therein and placed about her slave-girls,
high-bosomed virgins numbering an hundred, and each and every
famous for beauty and loveliness ; and presently she selected of
them a score who were all maidenhoods, illustrious for comeliness
and seemliness. These she taught in verse and poetry and in the
strangenesses of history and in striking instruments of mirth and
merriment until they surpassed all the folk of their day ; and she
assiduously enjoined upon them the drinking of wine pure and
new and boon-companionship with choice histories and strange
tales and the rare events of the time. Such was the case with
Al-Hayfa ; but as regards her father, King Al-Mihrjan, as one night
he was lying abed pondering" what he had heard from the Voice,
suddenly there addressed him a sound without a form and said,
" O King of the Age," whereat he was fully aroused by sore terror
and his vitals fluttered and his wits were bewildered and he was
perplexed as to his affair. So he took refuge with Allah from
Satan the Stoned and repeated somewhat of the Koran and fenced
himself about with certain of the holy names of Allah the
Munificent ; then he would have returned to his couch but was

" **>*-

unable, even to place cheek on pillow. Presently sounded the
Voice a second time, saying, " O King of the Age, O Mihrjan,
verily shalt thou die by reason of her ; " and forthwith improvised (
the following couplets :

"Ho thou ! Hear, O Mihrjan, what to thee shall be said o Learn the drift of

my words in these lines convey'd :
Thy daughter, Al-Hayfa (the girded round o With good, and with highest of

grade array'd)
Shall bring with right hand to thee ruin-bowl o And reave thee of realm with

the sharp-biting blade." '

Now when Al-Mihrjan had heard what the Voice had spoken of
verse and had produced for him of prose, he was wholly aroused



1 These lines are the merest doggerel of a strolling Rawi, like all the/#!r d'occasio
in this MS.



128 Supplemental Nights.

from his sleep and became like one drunken with wine who knew
not what he did and his vitals fluttered and increased his cark
and care and anxious thought. So he removed from that site into
another stead and was stirred up and went awandering about. Then
he set his head upon the pillow but was unable to close his eyelids
and the Voice drew nearer and cried upon him in frightful accents
and said, " O Mihrjan, dost thou not hearken to my words and
understand my verse ; to wit, that thy daughter Al-Hayfa shall
bequeath to thee shame and thou shalt perish by cause of her ? "
Then the Unseen One recited these couplets J :

" I see thee, O Mihrjan, careless-vain Who from hearing the words of the
wise dost abstain :

I see Al-Hayfa, by potent lord Upraised in her charms and speech sweet of
strain,

Who shall home thee in grave sans a doubt and she o Shall seize thy king-
ship and reave thy reign.''

But when Al-Mihrjan had heard the words of the Voice and what
it had urged upon him of poetry and of prose-addresses, he arose
from his rest in haste and anxiety until Allah caused the morn to
morrow and break in its sheen and it shone, whereupon the King
summoned the Mathematicians and the Interpreters of dreams and
the Commentators on the Koran ; and, when they came between
his hands, he related to them his vision, fully and formally, and
they practised their several arts, making all apparent to them ; but
they concealed the truth and would not reveal it, saying to him,

" Indeed the consequence of thy vision is auspicious." And

Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and
ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad,
" How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and how
enjoyable and delectable ! " Quoth she, " And where is this com-
pared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the

1 Which are still worse : two couplets rhyme in ini, and one in all, which is not
lawful.



The Loves of Al- Hay fa and Yusuf. 129

Sovran suffer me to survive ? " Now when it was the next night,
and that was



anU Sbfotp.fiftj) Jitgfjt,

DUNYAZAD said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short

the watching of this our latter night ! " She replied : With love

and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and
of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Astrologers
said to King Al-Mihrjan, " Verily the consequence of thy vision is
auspicious ; " and on the second night Iblis the Accursed appeared
to him under the bodily form of a handsome man and said, " Ho
thou the King, I am he who terrified thee yesternight in thy
dream, for the reason that thou hast ruined the Monastery of the
Archers ' wherein I lay homed. However an thou wilt edify it



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 16) → online text (page 11 of 40)