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 2 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 2 of 40)
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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 Prince
went forward to the Palace gate and purposed to enter, but they
forbade him nor availed he to go in ; so he returned to his tents
and there spent the night till dawn. Then he again turned to the
King's Serai and attempted to make entry, but they stayed him
and he was unable to succeed, nor could he attain to the presence
of the Sovran. So he devised with one who was standing at the
door a device to enter the presence, but again he failed in his
object and whenever he craved admission they rejected him
and drave him away saying, " O youth, tell us what may be thy
need ? " Said he, " I have a requirement of the Sultan and my
purport is a business I may transact with him and speech
containeth both private and public matters ; nor is it possible
that I mention my want to any save to the Sovran." So a
Chamberlain of the chamberlains went in to the presence and
reported the affair to the King, who permitted them admit the
stranger, and when he stood before the throne he kissed ground



8 Supplemental Nights.

and deprecated evil for the ruler and prayed for his glory and
permanency, and the Monarch, who marvelled at the terseness of
his tongue and the sweetness of his speech, said to him, " O youth,
what may be thy requirement ? " Quoth the Prince, " Allah
prolong the reign of our lord the Sultan ! I came to thee seeking
connexion with thee through thy daughter the lady concealed
and the pearl unrevealed." Quoth the Sultan, " By Allah, verily
this youth would doom himself hopelessly to die and, Oh the
pity of it for the loquence of his language ; " presently adding,
" O youth, say me, art thou satisfied with the conditions where-
with I would oblige thee ? " and the Prince replied, " O my lord,
Omnipotence is to Allah ; and, if the Almighty empower me to
fulfil thy pact, I shall fulfil it." The King continued, " I have
three tasks to impose upon thee," and the Prince rejoined, " I am
satisfied with all articles thou shalt appoint." Hereupon the
Sovran summoned the writers and witnesses, and they indited the
youth's covenant and gave testimony that he was content there-
with ; and when the Prince had signified his satisfaction and
obligation, the King sent for an ardabb of sesame and an ardabb
of clover-seed and an ardabb of lentils and let mingle all three
kinds one with other till they became a single heap. Then said
the King to the Prince, " Do thou separate each sort by itself
during the course of the coming night, and if dawn shall arise and
every seed is not set apart, I will cut off thy head." Replied the
other, " Hearing and obeying." Then the King bade place all
the mixed heap in a stead apart, and commanded the suitor retire
into solitude ; accordingly, he passed alone into that site and
looked upon that case and condition, and he sat beside the heap
deep in thought, so he set his hand upon his cheek and fell to
weeping, and was certified of death. Anon he arose and going
forwards attempted of himself to separate the various sorts of
grain, but he failed ; and had two hundred thousand thousands of
men been gathered together for the work they had on nowise



History of tJte King's Son of Sind and the Lady Fatimak. 9

availed to it. Hereupon he set his right hand upon his cheek l
and he fell to weeping and suffered the first third of the dark hours
to pass, when he said to himself, " There remaineth naught of thy
life save the remnant of this night ! " But the while he was conjec-
turing and taking thought, behold, an army of the locusts to
whom he had thrown the flour upon his road came speeding over
him like a cloud dispread and said to him with the tongue of the
case, 2 " Fear not neither grieve, for we have flocked hither to
solace thee and ward from thee the woe wherein thou art : so take
thou no further heed." Then they proceeded to separate each
kind of grain and set it by itself, and hardly an hour had passed
before the whole sample was distributed grain by grain into its
proper place while he sat gazing thereon. After this the locusts
arose and went their ways, and when morning dawned the Sultan
came forth and took seat in the Hall of Commandment and said
to those who were present, " Arise ye and bring hither the youth
that we may cut off his head." They did his bidding but, when
entering in to the Prince, they found all the different grains piled
separately, sesame by itself and clover-seed alone and lentils
distributed apart, whereat they marvelled and cried, " This thing
is indeed a mighty great matter from this youth, nor could it
befal any save himself of those who came before him or of those
who shall follow after him." Presently they brought him to the
Sultan and said, " O King of the Age, all the grains are sorted ; "
whereat the Sovran wondered and exclaimed, " Bring the whole
before me." And when they brought it he looked upon it with
amazement and rejoiced thereat, but soon recovered himself and
cried, " O youth, there remain to thee two tasks for two nights ;
and if thou fulfil them, thou shalt win to thy wish, and if thou fail
therein, I will smite thy neck." Said the Prince, " O King of the



1 A manner of metonymy, meaning that he rested his cheek upon his right hand.

2 For the sig. of this phrase = words suggested by (he circumstances, see vol. i. 121.



io Supplemental Nights.

Age, the All-might is to Allah, the One, the Omnipotent ! " Now
when night drew nigh the King opened to him a cistern and
said, " Drink up all that is herein and leave not of it a drop, nor
spill aught thereof upon the ground, and if thou drain the whole
of it, thou shalt indeed attain to thine aim, but if thou fail
to swallow it, I will smite thy neck." The Prince answered,
"There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great ! ' : Then he took his seat at the cistern-
mouth and fell to thinking and saying in his mind, " Wherefore,
O certain person, shouldst thou venture thy life and incur the
cruel consequence of this King on account of thy frowardness
to thy father's wife ? and by Allah, this is naught save Jinn-struck
madness on thy part ! " So he placed his left hand upon his
cheek, and in his right was a stick wherewith he tapped and drew
lines in absent fashion upon the ground, 1 and he wept and wailed
until the third of the first part of the dark hours had passed,
when he said in himself, " There remaineth naught of thine age,
ho, Such-an-one, save the remainder of this night." And he
ceased not to be drowned in thought when suddenly a host of
savage beasts and wild birds came up to him and said with the
tongue of the case, " Fear not neither grieve, O youth, for none is
faithless to the food save the son of adultery and thou wast the
first to work our weal, so we will veil and protect thee, and let
there be no sorrowing with thee on account of this matter."
Hereupon they gathered together in a body, birds and beasts,
and they were like unto a lowering cloud, no term to them was
shown and no end was known as they followed in close file one

upon other 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



1 Mr. Charles M. Doughty ("Arabia Deserta," i. 223), speaks of the Badawin who
"sit beating the time away, and for pastime limning with their driving-sticks (the
Bakiir) in the idle land."'



History of the King's Son of Sind and the Lady Fatimah. 1 1

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



Jfour f^tmtftefc anfc

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 wild beasts
and the feral birds met one another beside that cistern and each
took his turn thereat and drank without drinking his full l until
naught of water remained in the reservoir and they fell to licking
the sides with their tongues so that anyone seeing it would say
that for the last ten years not a drop of liquid had been stored
therein. And after this they all went their ways. Now as soon
as it was morning-tide the King arose and hied forth the Harem
and taking his seat in the Hall of Commandment said to sundry
of his pages and Chamberlains, " Go bring us tidings of the
cistern." Accordingly they went thither and inspected it but
found no trace of water therein ; so they returned straightway
to the ruler and reported the matter. Hereupon the Sultan was
amazed and his wits were bewildered and he was certified that
none had power to win his daughter for wife save that youth. So
he cried, " Bring him hither," and they fared to fetch him and
presented him in the presence where he salam'd to the Sovran and

1 In text " Lam yaniib al-Wahidu min-hum nisf haffan." [I cannot explain this
sentence satisfactory to myself, but by inserting " ilia " after "min-hum." Further I
would read " nassaf " = libavit, delibavit, degustavit (Dozy, Suppl. s. v.) and "Hifan,"
pi. of " Hafnah" = handful, mouthful, small quantity, translating accordingly: "and
none took his turn without sipping a few laps." ST.]



12 Supplemental Nights.

deprecated 1 for him and prayed for him. The Sultan greeted him
in return and said, " O Youth, there now remaineth with me but a
single task which if thou accomplish shall save thee and win for
thee my daughter ; however if thou fail therein I will smite thy
neck." "Power is to Allah!" exclaimed the Prince whereat the
Sultan marvelled and said in his mind, " Glory be to God :
the words and works of this youth be wonderful. Whatever I bid
him do he beginneth with naming the name of the Lord whereas
those who forewent him never suffered me hear aught of the sort.
However, the fortunate are Fortune's favourites and Misfortune
never befalleth them." Now when it was night-tide the Sultan
said, " O youth, in very deed this mansion which standeth beside
the palace is brand-new and therein are store of wood and timbers
of every kind, but it lacketh portals and lattices and the finishing
of the cabinets ; so I desire that thou make for it doors and
windows and closets. I have provided thee with everything thou
dost require of carpenter's gear and turner's lathes ; and either
thou shalt work all this during the coming night ; or, if thou be
wanting in aught and morning shall morrow without all the need-
ful being finished, I will cut off thy head. This is the fine of thy
three labours which an thou avail to accomplish thou shalt attain
thine aim and if thou fail thereof I will smite thy neck. Such be
then my last word." Accordingly the Prince arose and faring
from before him entered the unfinished mansion which he found to
be a palace greater and grander than that wherein the King abode.
He cried, " O Veiler, withdraw not Thy veiling!" and he sat
therein by himself (and he drowned in thought) and said, " By
Allah, if at this hour I could find somewhat to swallow I would die
thereby and rest from this toil and trouble have been my lot ; 2 and



1 "Tarajjama " : vol. iv. 242. I shall always translate it by " he deprecated "scil.
evil to the person addressed.

2 [The text, as I read it, has : " In wahadtu (read wajadtu) fi hazih al-Sa'a"h shayyan
naakul-hu wa namut bi-hi nartah min haza al-Taab wa'l mashakkah la-akultu-hu " =



History of the King's Son of Sind and the Lady Fatimah. 1 3

the morning shall not morrow ere I shall find repose nor shall any
one of the town folk solace himself and say : The Sultan is about
to cut off the head of this youth. Withal the bye-word hath
it : Joyance which cometh from Allah is nearer than is the
eyebrow to the eye, and if Almighty (be He extolled and exalted !)
have determined aught to my destiny, there is no flight therefrom.
Moreover one of the Sages hath said : He released me from
pillar to post and the Almighty bringeth happiness nearhand.
From this time until dawn of day many a matter may proceed from
the Lord wherein haply shall be salvation for me or destruction."
Then he fell to pondering his affair and thinking over his froward-
ness to the wife of his father, after which he said, " The slave
meditateth and the Lord determineth, nor doth the meditation of
the slave accord with the determination of the Lord." And
while thus drowned in care he heard the sound of the Darabukkah-
drum 1 and the turmoil of work and the shiftings of voices whilst
the house was full of forms dimly seen and a voice cried out
to him, " O youth, be hearty of heart and sprightly of spirits :
verily we will requite thee the kindness thou wroughtest to us in
providing us with thy provision ; and we will come to thine aidance
this very night, for they who are visiting and assisting thee are of
the Jann from the Valley of Iron." Then they began taking up
the timbers and working them and some turned the wood with
lathes, and other planed the material with planes, whilst others
again fell to painting and dyeing the doors and windows, these
green and those red and those yellow ; and presently they set them
in their several steads, nor did that night go by ere the labour was
perfected and there was no royal palace like unto it, either in
ordinance or in emplacement. Now as morning morrowed the
Sultan went forth to his divan, and when he looked abroad he saw a



if I could find at this hour a something (i.g. j n the way of poison) which I might eat
and die thereby and rest from this toil and trouble, I would certainly eat it, etc. ST.] .
1 See vol. i. 311 for this " tom-tom " as Anglo-Indians call it.



1 4 Supplemental Nights,

somewhat of magnificence in the mansion which was not to be
found in his palace, so he said in his surprise, " By Allah, the
works of this youth be wondrous and had the joiners and car-
penters loitered over three years upon this work they never would
have fulfilled such task : moreover we ken not by what manner of
means this young man hath been able to accomplish the labour."
Thereupon he sent for the Prince to the presence and robed him
with a sumptuous robe of honour and assigned to him a mighty
matter of money, saying, "Verily thou deservest, O youth, and
thou art the only one who meriteth that thou become to my
daughter baron and she become to thee femme. Presently Sultan
Amir ibn al-Nu'uman bade tie the marriage-tie and led to her in
procession the bridegroom who found her a treasure wherefrom
the talisman had been loosed ; * and the bride rejoiced with even
more joyance than he did by cause of her sire, with his three tasks,
having made her believe that she would never be wedded and
bedded but die a maid, and she had long been in sadness for such
reason. Then the married couple abode with the King their father
for the space of a month, and all this time the camp of the young
Prince remained pitched without the town, and every day he
would send to his pages and eunuchs whatso they needed of meat
and drink. But when that term ended he craved from the Sultan
leave of travel to his own land and his father-in-law answered,
" O youth, do whatso thou ever wishest anent returning to thy
native realm ; " and forthwith fell to fitting out his daughter till
all her preparations were completed and she was found ready for
wayfare together with her body-women and eunuchs. The Prince
having farewelled his father-in-law caused his loads to be loaded
and set out seeking his native country and kingdom ; and he
travelled by day and by night, and he pushed his way through



1 i.e. Whereinto the happy man was able to go, which he could not whilst the spell
was upon the hoard.



History of the King's Son of Sind and the Lady Fatimah. 1 5

Wadys and over mountains for a while of time until he drew near
his own land, and between him and his father's city remained only
some two or three marches. Here suddenly men met him upon
the road and as he asked them the tidings they replied that his sire
was besieged within his capital of Sind by a neighbour King who
had attacked him and determined to dethrone him and make
himself Sovereign and Sultan in his stead. Now when he heard
this account he pushed forward with forced marches till he reached
his father's city which he found as had been reported ; and the old
King with all his forces was girded around within his own walls
nor could he sally out to offer battle for that the foe was more
forceful than himself. Hereupon the Prince pitched his camp and
prepared himself for fight and fray ; and a many of his men rode
with him whilst another many remained on guard at the tents.

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 Jpour ^untoteU an* Jtinetg-ntntft jEigln,

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 Prince
busked him for fight and fray seeking to assault the army of the
King who had besieged his sire, and the two hosts fought together
a strenuous fight and a stubborn. On this wise fared it with them ;



1 6 Supplemental Nights,

but as regards the bride, she took patience till such time as her
bridegroom had ridden forth, when she donned her weapons of war
and veiled herself with a face-veil and sallying forth in Mameluke's
habit presently came up with her mate the Prince whom she found
straitened by the multitude of his foes. Now this Princess was
mistress of all manner weapons, so she drew her sword from its
sheath and she laid on load rightwards and leftwards until the wits
of all beholders were wildered and her bridegroom inclined to her
and said, "Verily this Mameluke he is not one of our party." But
she continued battling till the sun rose high in the firmament-vault
when she determined to attacK the ensigns and colours which were
flying after right royal of fashion, and in the midst thereof was the
hostile Sultan. So she smote the ancient who bore the banner
and cast him to the ground and then she made for the King and
charged down upon him and struck him with the side of the sword
a blow so sore that of his affright he fell from his steed. But when
his host saw him unhorsed and prostrate upon the plain they
sought safety in flight and escape, deeming him to be dead ; where-
upon she alighted and pinioned his elbows behind his back and
tied his forearms to his side, and lashed him on tQ his charger and
bound him in bonds like a captive vile. Then she committed him
to her bridegroom who still knew her not and she departed the
field seeking her camp until she arrived there and entered her
pavilion where she changed her attire and arrayed herself in
women's raiment. After this she sat down expecting the Prince
who, when she had committed to him the captured King, carried
him into the city where he found the gates thrown open. Here-
upon his sire sallied forth and greeted him albeit he recognized
him not but was saying, " Needs must I find the Knight who came
to our assistance." " O my papa," quoth the Prince, " dost thou
not know me ? " and quoth the other, " O young man, I know thee
not;" whereat the other rejoined,"! am thy son Such-an-one."
But hardly had the old King heard these words when behold, he



History of the King's Son of Sind and the Lady Fatimak. 17

fell upon him and threw his arms round his neck and was like to
lose his sense and his senses for stress of joyance. After a time he
recovered and looking upon the captive King asked him, " What
was it drave thee to come hither and seek to seize from me my
realm ? " and the other answered him with humility and craved
his pardon and promised not again to offend, so he released him
and bade him gang his gait. After this the young Prince went
forth and caused his Harim and his pages and whoso were with
him enter the city and when they were seated in the women's
apartment the husband and wife fell to talking of their journey
and what they had borne therein of toil and travail. At last the
Princess said to him, " O my lord, what became of the King who
besieged thy sire in his capital and who sought to bereave him of
his realm ? " and said he, " I myself took him captive and com-
mitted him to my father who admitted his excuses and suffered
him depart." Quoth she, " And was it thou who capturedst him ? "
and quoth he, " Yea verily, none made him prisoner save myself."
Hereupon said she, " Thee it besitteth not to become after thy sire
Sovran and Sultan ! " and said he, " Why and wherefore ? " " For
that a lie defameth and dishonoureth the speaker," cried she v " and
thou hast proved thee a liar." " What made it manifest to thee
that I lied ? " asked the Prince, and the Princess answered, " Thou
claimest to have captured the King when it was other than thyself
took him prisoner and committed him to thy hands," He enquired,
" And who was he ? " and she replied, " I know not, withal I had
him in sight." Hereupon the bridegroom repeated his query till at
last she confessed it was she had done that deed of derring-do ; and
the Prince rejoiced much in her. 1 Then the twain made an entry



1 Here ends this tale, a most lame and impotent conclusion, in the W. M. MS. iv.
189. Scott (p. 244-5) copied by Gauttier (vi. 348) has, " His father received him with
rapture, and the prince having made an apology to the sultana (!) for his former rude
behaviour, she received his excuses, and having no child of her own readily adopted him
as her son ; so that the royal family lived henceforth in the utmost harmony, till the
death of the sultan and sultana, when the prince succeeded to the empire."

VOL. V. *



1 8 Supplemental Nights.

in triumph and the city was adorned and the general joy was
increased. Now his taking to wife the Lady Fatimah daughter of
the Sultan Amir bin Al-Nu'uman so reconciled him to his step-
mother, the spouse of his father the Sovran of Sind, that both
forgot their differences and they lived ever afterwards in harmony
and happiness.



HISTORY OF THE LOVERS OF SYRIA.



HISTORY OF THE LOVERS OF SYRIA. 1

IT is stated that of olden times and by-gone there dwelt in the
land of Syria two men which were brothers and whereof one was
wealthy and the other was needy. Now the rich man had a love-
some daughter and a lovely, whilst the poor man had a son who
gave his heart to his cousin as soon as his age had reached his
tenth year. But at that time his father the pauper died and he
was left an orphan without aught of the goods of this world ; the
damsel his cousin, however, loved him with exceeding love and
ever and anon would send him a somewhat of dirhams and this
continued till both of them attained their fourteenth years. Then
the youth was minded to marry the daughter of his uncle, so he
sent a party of friends to her home by way of urging his claim
that the father might wed her to him, but the man rejected them
and they returned disappointed. However, when it was the second
day a body of warm men and wealthy came to ask for the maid in
marriage, and they conditioned the needful conditions and stood
agreed upon the nuptials. Presently the tidings reached the
damsel who took patience till the noon o' night, when she arose
and sought the son of her uncle, bringing with her a sum of two
thousand dinars which she had taken of her father's good and she
knocked softly at the door. Hereupon the youth started from
sleep and went forth and found his cousin who was leading a she-
mule and an ass, so the twain bestrode either beast and travelled
through the remnant of the night until the morning morrowed.
Then they alighted to drink and to hide themselves in fear of being



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 2 of 40)