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 19 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 19 of 40)
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** Thou hast defrauded me, O Master," and rejoined the Jew, " I
have not cheated thee of aught. However, O Moslem, hie thee
home and bid thy mistress slaughter a meat-offering and cook it
and do thou bring it hither forthright." " 'Tis well, O my
Master," said the Prince. Now the Jew had two boy children in
whom he delighted and the youth going to his house knocked at
the door which was opened to him by the Jewess and she asked,
" What needest thou ? " Quoth the Prince to the Jew's wife, " O
my mistress, my master hath sent me to thee saying : Do thou



The Three Princes of China. 217

slaughter the two lambs that are with thee and fifty chickens and
an hundred pair * of pigeons, for all the masters are with him in
the Synagogue and 'tis his desire to circumcise the boys." 2 The
Jew's wife replied to him, " And who shall slaughter me all this ? "
when he rejoined, " I will." So she brought out to him the lambs
and the chickens and the pigeons and he cut the throats of all.
The Jewess hereupon arose and cried upon her neighbours to aid
her in the cooking until the meats were well done and all were
dished up. Then the youth hending the ten porcelain plates in
hand went with them to a house in the Ghetto 3 and rapped at the
door and said, " My Master hath sent all these to you." Mean-
while the Jew was in the Synagogue unknowing of such doings ;
and as the Prince was setting down the last of the plates which
he carried with him, behold ! the Jew came to that house because
he had noticed his servant's absence, so he repaired thither to see
concerning the business of the meat offering wherewith he had
charged him. He found his home in a state of pother and
up-take and down-set and he asked the folk, " What is the
matter ? " They* related the whole to him and said, " Thou
sentest to demand such-and-such," and when he heard this case he

beat his face with his brogue 4 And Shahrazad was surprised

by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted

1 [The text has here " Wasayah," probably a clerical error for "waMiah" (spelt
" Mayah"), and a hundred pair of pigeons. ST.]

2 Showing utter ignorance of the Jewish rite which must always be performed by the
Mohel, an official of the Synagogue duly appointed by the Sheliach = legatus ; and
within eight days after birth. The rite consists of three operations. Milah the cut ;
Priah = tearing the foreskin and Mezzizah = applying styptics to the wound. The
latter process has become a matter of controversy and the Israelite community of Paris,
headed by the Chief Rabbi, M. Zadoc Kahin, has lately assembled to discuss the
question. For the difference between Jewish and Moslem circumcision see vol. v. 209.

3 The Jewish quarter (Harah), which the Israelites themselves call " Hazer," = a
court-yard, an inclosure. In Mayer's valuable " Conversations-lexicon " the Italian
word is derived from the Talmudic " Ghet " = divorce, separation (as parting the
Hebrews from the rest of the population) and the Rev. S. R. Melli, Chief Rabbi of
Trieste, has kindly informed me that the word is Chaldaic.

4 [Ar. " Sarmujah," from Persian " Sar-muzah," a kind of hose or gaiter worn over
a boot.". ST.]



2 1 8 Supplemental Nights.

say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, " How sweet is thy story,

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

^fje &ebm f^un&rtfi and 2Ttodftf) KTfafjt,

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, when the
Jew came to his home and looked around, he found it in the
condition which the youth had contrived, so he beat his face with
his brogue and cried, " O the ruin of my house ! " Suddenly
the Prince entered and his employer asked him, " Wherefore
doest thou on such wise, O Moslem ? " Answered the youth,
" Verily thou hast defrauded me," and rejoined the other, " No ;

1 have not cheated thee on any wise." Then said the Jew in his
mind : " Needs must I set a snare for this youth and slay him ; "
so he went in to his wife and said, " Spread for us our beds upon
the terrace-roof; and we will take thereto the young Moslem,
our servant, and cause him lie upon the edge, and when he is
drowned in slumber we will push him between us and roll him
along the floor till he fall down from the terrace and break
to bits his neck." Now by fiat of Fate the youth was standing
and overhearing l their words. As soon as it was night-time
the woman arose and spread the beds upon the roof according
as her husband had charged her do ; but about mid-afternoon

1 [Arab. "Yastanft," aor. to the preter. " istanat," which has been explained,
p. 34. ST.]



The Three Princes of China. 219

the Prince bought him half a pound of filberts and placed them
with all care and circumspection in his breast-pocket. Presently
the Jew said to him, "O Moslem, we design to sleep in the
open air, for the weather is 'now summery ;" and said he, " 'Tis
well, O my Master." . Hereupon the Jew and the Jewess and the
children and the Prince their servant went up to the roof and
the first who lay him down was 'the house-master, placing his

i - :

wife and children beside him.?' Then said he to the youth, " DC
thou sleep here upon the side," l when the Prince brought the
filberts out of his breast-pocket and cracked them with his teeth,
and as often as they repeated to him, " Arise, O Moslem, and take
thy place on the couch," he answered them, "Whenas I shall
have eaten these filberts." He ceased not watching them till
all had lain down and were fast asleep, when he took his place
on the bed between the mother and the two boys. Presently the
Jew awoke, and thinking that the youth was sleeping on the
edge, he pushed his wife, and his wife pushed the servant, and
the servant pushed the children towards the terrace-marge, and
both the little ones fell over and their brain-pans 2 were broken
and they died. The Jew hearing the noise of the fall fancied
that none had tumbled save his servant the young Moslem ;
so he rose in joy and awoke his wife saying, " Indeed the youth
hath rolled off the terrace-roof and hath been killed." Hereat

.

the woman sat up, and not finding her boys beside her, whilst
the Prince still lay there she wailed and shrieked and buffeted her
cheeks, and cried to her husband, " Verily none hath fallen save
the children." Hereat he jumped up and attempted to cast the



1 The bed would be made of a carpet or thin mattress strewn upon the stucco flooring
of the terrace-roof. But the ignorant scribe overlooks the fact that by Mosaic law every
Jewish house must have a parapet for the " Sakf " (flat roof), a precaution neglected by
Al-Islam.

2 Good old^classical English. In the "Breeches Bible" (A.D. 1586) we read, "But
a certaine woman cast a piece of millstone upon Abimelech's head and broke his brain-,
panne (Judges ix. 33).



22O Supplemental Nights.

youth from the roof; but he, swiftlier than the lightning, sprang
to his feet and shouted at the Jew and filled him with fear, after
which he stabbed him with a knife which was handy, and the
other fell down killed and drowned in the blood he had spilled.
Now the Jew's wife was a model of beauty and of loveliness and
stature and perfect grace, and when the King's son turned upon
her and designed to slay her, she fell at his feet, and kissing them,
placed herself under his protection. Hereupon the youth left her
alive, saying to himself, " This be a woman and indeed she must not
be mishandled ;" 1 and the Jewess asked him, " O my lord, what is
the cause of thy doing on this wise ? At first thou earnest to me
and toldest me the untruth, such-and-such falsehoods, and secondly,
thou wroughtest for the slaughter of my husband and children.
Answered he, " In truth thy man slew my two brothers wrongously
and causelessly ! " Now when the Jewess heard of this deed
she enquired of him, " And art thou their very brother ? " and he
replied, " In good sooth they were my brethren ; " after which
he related to her the reason of their faring from their father to
seek the Water of Life for their mother's use. Hereat she cried,
" By Allah, O my lord, the wrong was with my mate and not
with thee ; but the Decreed chevisance doth need, nor is there
flight from it indeed ; so do thou abide content. However, as
regards the Water in question, it is here ready beside me, and
if thou wilt carry me along with thee to thy country I will give
thee that same, which otherwise I will withhold from thee ; and
haply my wending with thee may bring thee to fair end."



1 [The words " 'Irz," protection, in the preceding sentence, " Hurmah " and
"Shatarah " explain each other mutually. The formula " fi 'irzak " (vulg. "arzak,")
I place myself under thy protection, implies an appeal to one's honour (" 'Irz").
Therefore the youth says : " Inna hazih Hurmah lam 'alay-ha Shatarah," i.e. " Truly this
one is a woman (in the emphatic sense of a sacred or forbidden object ; "this woman"
would be " hazih al-Hurmah "), "I must not act vilely or rashly towards her," both
vileness and rashness belonging to the many significations of " Shatarah," which is most
usually "cleverness." ST.]



The Three Princes of China. 221

Quoth the Prince in his mind, " Take her with thee and per -
adventure she shall guide thee to somewhat of good : " and there-
upon promised to bear her away. So she arose and .led him into
a closet where she showed him all the hoards of the Jew, ready
moneys and jewellery and furniture and raiment ; and everything
that was with her of riches and resources she committed to the
young Prince, amongst these being the Water of Life. So they
bore away the whole of that treasure and he also carried off the
Jewess, who was beautiful exceedingly, none being her peer in
that day. Then they crossed the wilds and the wastes, intending

for the land of Al-Sm, and they persevered for a while of time.

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 compared with that I would relate to you on the coming
night an the Sovran suffer me to survive ? " Now when it was
the next night and that was

f)e ebn f^urrtKefc anti Jpourteenti) Kig&t,

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 young
Prince ceased not wayfaring until the twain drew near to the
capital of China 1 where, by the fiat of Fate and the sealed decree
of Destiny, on entering the walls he found that his father had
fared to the mercy of Allah Almighty, and that the city, being
Kingless, had become like unto a flock of sheep lacking shepherd.

1 In the text " Sind," still confounding this tale with the preceding.



222 Supplemental Nights.

Moreover he was certified that the Lords of his father's land and
the Grandees of the realm and all the lieges were in the uttermost
confusion. He went up to the palace and forgathered with his
mother, and seeing that she had not been healed of her sickness, he
brought her out the Water of Life and gave her to drink some
little thereof whereby health returned to her and she rose from her
couch and took seat and salam'd to him and asked concerning his
brethren. However he concealed his secret thereanent fearing
lest it induce in her weakly state a fresh attack and discovered to
her naught but said, " Verily, we parted at such a place in order
to seek the Water of Life." Then she looked upon his companion
the Jewess (and she cast in the mould of loveliness) and she
questioned him concerning the woman and he recounted te> her
the whole affair, first and last, still concealing for the reason
aforesaid, the fate of his brothers. Now on the second day the
bruit went abroad throughout the city that the King's son had
returned ; so the Wazirs and Emirs and the Lords of the land and
all who had their share in governance forgathered with him and
they set him as King and Sultan in the stead of his sire. He took
seat on the throne of his Kingship and bade and forebade and
raised and deposed and so tarried for a while of time, until one day
of the days when he determined to enjoy the hunt and chase and
divert himself in pleasurable case. 1 So he and his host rode
forth the city when his glance fell upon a Badawi girl who was
standing with the Shaykh her father considering his retinue ; and
the age of the maiden might have mastered thirteen years. But
as soon as the King looked upon the girl love of her upon his
heart alighted, and he was thereby engrossed, for she was perfect
in beauty and comeliness. Hereupon he returned to his palace
and sending for her father asked her of him in marriage ; the
Shaykh, however, answered saying, "O our lord the Sultan, I will

3 In text " Intihaba '1 furas," lit. = the snatctiing of opportunities, a jingle with
"Kanas."



The Three Princes of China. 223

not give up my daughter save to one who hath a handicraft of his
own, 1 for verily trade is a defence against poverty and folk say :
Handicraft an it enrich not still it veileth." 2 Hereupon the King
took thought in himself and said to the Shaykh, " O Man, I am
Sovran and Sultan and with me is abundant good ;" but the other
replied, " O King of the Age, in King-craft there is no trust."
However, of his exceeding love to the girl the Sultan presently
summoned the Shaykh of the Mat-makers and learnt from him
the craft of plaiting and he wove these articles of various colours
both plain and striped. 3 After this he sent for the father of the
damsel and recounted to him what he had done and the Shaykh
said to him " O King of the Age, my daughter is in poor case and
you are King and haply from some matter may befal a serious
matter ; moreover the lieges may say : Our King hath wived
with a Badawi girl." " O Shaykh," replied the King, " all men
are the sons of Adam and Eve." Hereupon the Badawi granted
to him his daughter and got ready her requisites in the shortest
possible time and when the marriage-tie was tied the King went in
unto her and found her like unto a pearl. 4 So he rejoiced in her and



1 [Compare with this episode the viith of Spitta Bey's Tales : Histoire du Prince qui
apprit un metier. ST.]

2 ie. enables a man to conceal the pressure of impecuniosity.
8 In text "Al-Sadah wa al-Khatayat."

4 Subaudi, " that hath, not been pierced." " The first night," which is often so por-
tentous a matter in England and upon the Continent (not of North America) is rarely
treated as important by Orientals. A long theoretical familiarity with the worship of
Venus

Leaves not much mystery for the nuptial night.

Such lore has been carefully cultivated by the " young person " with the able assistance of
the ancient dames of the household, of her juvenile companions and co-evals and especially
of the slave-girls. Moreover not a few Moslems, even Egyptians, the most lecherous
and salacious of men, in all ranks of life from prince to peasant take a pride in respecting
the maiden for a few nights after the wedding-feast extending, perhaps to a whole week
and sometimes more. A brutal haste is looked upon as "low " ; and, as sensible men,
they provoke by fondling and toying Nature to speak ere proceeding to the final and
critical act. In England it is very different. I have heard of brides over thirty years
c who had not the slightest suspicion concerning what complaisance was expected of
them : out of mauvaise honte* the besetting sin of the respectable classes, neither mother
nor father would venture to enlighten the elderly innocents. For a delicate girl to find



224 Supplemental Nights.

felt his heart at rest and after tarrying with her a full-told year,
one chance day of the days he determined to go forth in disguise
and to wander about town and solace himself with its spectacles
alone and unattended. So he went into the vestiary where the
garments were kept and doffing his dress donned a garb which con-
verted him into a Darwaysh. After this he fared forth in early
morning to stroll around the streets and enjoy the sights of the
highways and markets, yet he knew not what was hidden from him
in the World of the Future. Now when it was noon-tide he entered
a street which set off from the Bazar and yet was no thoroughfare, 1



a man introducing himself into her bedroom and her bed, the shock must be severe and
the contact of hirsute breast and hairy limbs with a satiny skin is a strangeness which
must often breed loathing and disgust. Too frequently also, instead of showing the
utmost regard for virginal modesty and innocence (alias ignorance), the bridegroom will
not put a check upon his passions and precipitates matters with the rage of the bull,
mentis in venerem. Even after he hears "the cry" which, as the Arabs say, "must
be cried," he has no mercy : the newly made woman lies quivering with mental agitation
and physical pain, which not a few describe as resembling the tearing out of a back-
tooth, and yet he insists upon repeating the operation, never supposing in his stupidity,
that time must pass before the patient can have any sensation of pleasure and before the
glories and delights of the sensual orgasm hathe her soul in bliss. Hence complaints,
dissatisfaction, disgust, mainly caused by the man's fault, and hence not unfrequently a
permanent distaste for the act of carnal congress. All women are by no means equally
capable of such enjoyment, and not a few have become mothers of many children
without ever being or becoming thoroughly reconciled to it. Especially in the case of
highly nervous temperaments and these seem to be increasing in the United States and
notably in New England the fear of nine months' pains and penalties makes the sex
averse to the " deed of kind." The first child is perhaps welcomed, the second is an
unpleasant prospect and there is a firm resolve not to conceive a third. But such conjugal
chastity is incompatible, except in the case of " married saints," with a ban menage.
The husband, scandalised and offended by the rejection and refusal of the wife, will
seek a substitute more complaisant ; and the spouse also may " by the decree of Destiny "
happen to meet the right man, the man for whom and for whom only every woman will
sweep the floor. And then adieu to prudence and virtue, honour and fair fame. For, I
repeat, it is the universal custom of civilized and Christian Europeans to plant their
womankind upon a pedestal exposed as butts to every possible temptation : and, if they
fall, as must often be expected, to assail them with obloquy and contempt for succumb-
ing to trials imposed upon them by the stronger and less sensitive sex. Far more
sensible and practical, by the side of these high idealists, shows the Moslem who guards
his jewel with jealous care and who, if his "honour," despite every precaution, insist
upon disgracing him, draws, the sabre and cuts her down with the general approbation
and applause of society.

1 [Arab. "'Ala ghayri tarik," which I would translate "out of the way," like the
Persian "bi- Rah." ST.]






The Three Princes of China. 22$

and this he followed up until he reached the head and end, where
stood a cook 1 making Kababs. So he said to himself, " Enter yon
shop and dine therein." He did so and was met by sundry shop-
men who seeing him in Darwaysh's garb welcomed him and
greeted him and led him within, when he said to them, " I want a
dinner." " Upon the head and the eyes be it," they replied and
conducting him into a room within the shop showed him another
till he came to the place intended when they said to him, " Enter
herein, O my lord." So he pushed open the door and finding in
the closet a matting and a prayer-rug 2 spread thereupon he said to
himself, " By Allah, this is indeed a secret spot, well concealed
from the eyes of folk." Then he went up to the prayer-rug and
would have sat down upon it after pulling off his papooshes, but
hardly had he settled himself in his seat when he fell through the
floor for a depth of ten fathoms. And while falling he cried out,
" Save me, O God the Saviour ; " for now he knew that the people
of that place only pretended to make Kababs and they had digged
a pit within their premises. Also he was certified that each and
every who came in asking for dinner were led to that place where
they found the prayer-rug bespread and supposed that it was set
therein for the use of the diners. But when the Sultan fell from
his seat into the souterrain, he was followed by the thieves who
designed to murther him and to carry off his clothes, even as they

had done to many others. 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

<

1 In text " Kababji " (for Kabibji) seller of Kaba"bs, mutton or kid grilled in small
squares and skewered: see vol. vi. 225.

2 In text "Sujjadahj" vol. vi. 193.

VOL. V. P



226 Supplemental Nights.

Ww &eben ^imfcrett anto &ixteentl)

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 when the King
fell into the pit (and he disguised in Darwaysh-garb) the thieves
sought to slay him and carry off his clothes, when quoth he to
them, " Wherefore kill me when my garments are not worth a
thousand groats J and I own not a single one ? However, I have
at hand a handicraft whereat I am ready to work sitting in this
pit and do you take and sell my produce for a thousand faddahs ;
and every day I will labour for you, finishing one and requiring
naught save my meat and drink and perpetual privacy in your
quarters." " At what craft art thou crafty ? " asked they, and he
answered, " At mat-weaving : so do ye bring me a piastre z worth
of rushes 3 and the same of yarn." Accordingly they fared forth
and fetched him his need and presently he made a mat and said to
them, "Take ye this and sell it not for less than a thousand
faddahs." They hied out and carried the work to the Bazar where,
as soon as the folk caught sight thereof, they crowded about the
seller, each man offering more until the price had risen to a thousand
and two hundred silvern nusfs. Hereupon said the thieves to
themselves, " By Allah, this Darwaysh can profit us with much
profit and enrich us without other trade ; " so every morning for
ten days they brought him rushes and yarn and he wove for them
a mat which they vended for a like sum, On this wise it happened



1 In text " Faddah " all through.

2 In text "Kirsh" (= piastre) a word before explained. See Lane (M.E.>
Appendix B.

3 In Arab. " Samir ; " from the Pers. " Sumar " = a reed, a rush.



The Three Princes of China. 227

to him ; but as regards the Wazirs and Emirs and lords of the
land, they went up to the Council-chamber 1 for the first day and
the second and the third until the week was ended and they
awaited the coming of their King, but he came not, neither found
they any tidings nor hit they upon any manifest traces and none
knew whither he had wended. So they were sore exercised and
confusion befel with much tittle-tattle of folk ; each one said his
own say nor were they guided by any to what they should do.
Furthermore, as often as they asked of the Harem they were
answered, " We have no tidings of him ; " so they were perplext



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 19 of 40)