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 20 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 20 of 40)
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and at last they agreed, their King being clean lost, to set up a
Sultan as his successor. However the Wazirs said, " Tarry ye until
Allah shall open unto us a door whereby we shall be rightly
directed to him." Now the King had required from the people of
the pit rushes of various colours, red and green, and when they
fetched them he fell to weaving a mat like those of the striped
sort, whereon he figured by marks and signs the name of the quarter
wherein he was gaoled 2 and discovered to his men the way thereto
and the site itself ; after which he said to the thieves, " Verily this
mat misfitteth every save those in the Royal Palace and its price
is seven thousand faddahs. Do you take it and hie with it to the
Sultan who shall buy it of you and pay you the price." They
obeyed his bidding and wending to the palace of the Grand Wazir
found him sitting with the Lords of the land and with the Nobles
of the realm talking over the matter of the King when behold,
those who brought the mat entered into his presence. Quoth the
Minister, "What be that which is with you ? " and quoth they, " A
mat ! " whereupon he bade them unroll it and they did so before
him ; arid he, being sagacious, experienced in all affairs, looked



1 In Arab. " Diwin : " vols. vii. 340 ; ix. icS.

2 Scott has (vol. vi. 373), " The desired articles were furnished, and the Sultan setting
to work, in a few days finished a mat, in which he ingeniously contrived to plait in
flower)' characters, known only to himself and his vizier, the account of his situation."



228 Supplemental Nights.

thereat and fell to examining the bundle and turning it about, and
considering it until suddenly he espied the signs thereupon figured.
He at once understood what they meant and he was rightly
directed to the place where the King was confined ; so he arose
without delay and after ordering them to seize those who had
brought the mat took with him a party and went forth, he and
they, after mastering the marks which were upon the weft. He
ceased not wending (and the people of the pit with him under
arrest) until such time as he arrived at the place. Here they went
in and opened the souterrain and brought out the King who was
still in Darwaysh garb. Presently the Wazir sent for the Linkman
and when he appeared they seized all who were in that place and
struck off their heads ; but as for the women they put them into
large sacks l of camel's hair and drowned them in the river : further-
more, they spoiled all that was on that site and the Sultan gave
orders to raze the house until it became level with the ground.
When all this had been done they questioned the Sultan concerning
the cause of that event and he informed them of what had befallen
him from incept to conclusion and lastly he cried, " Wallahi ! the
cause of my escape from this danger was naught save the handi-
craft which I learnt ; to wit, the making of mats, and the Almighty
requite with welfare him who taught me because he was the means
of my release ; and, but for my learning this trade, ye had never
known the way to discover me, seeing that Allah maketh for every
effect a cause." And having on such wise ended this tale Ibn
Ahyam 2 fell to relating to the King the history of

1 In Arab. "Ghirarah" (plur. "Gharair") = a sack. In Ibn Khali, (iv. pp. 90,
104) it is a large sack for grain and the especial name of a tax on corn.

2 In the text " Mohammed ibn Ibrahim," another confusion with the last tale. This
story is followed in the MS. by (i) "The History of the First Brave," (2) "The
History of the Second Brave," and "The Tale of the Noodle and his Asses," which I
have omitted because too feeble for insertiont



THE RIGHTEOUS WAZIR WRONGFULLY

GAOLED.



231



THE RIGHTEOUS WAZIR WRONGFULLY GAOLED. 1

IT is related that there was a King among the manifold Kings
of Al-Hind, and he had a Wazir which was a right good
counsellor to the realm and pitiful to the lieges and the Fakirs
and merciful to the miserable and just in all his dealings.
Despite this the Grandees of the kingdom hated him and envied
him, and at all times and seasons when he went forth the presence
or returned to his house, one of the Emirs would come forward
and say to the King, " O our lord, verily the Wazir doth of doings

thus and thus," 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

^fje Sbeben f^un&rt& anti ^tontp=nintf) STigfjt,

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 Lords of the land, whenever the Wazir was absent

1 Scott (vi. 375) " Story cf the Good Vizier unjustly imprisoned." Gauttier (vi. 394)
Histoire du bon Vizier injustetnent emprisonnl.



232 Supplemental Nights.

traduced him and maligned him in the presence of the Sultan,

saying, " The Minister doth such and such doings," and this

continued for a while of time. Now one day of the days, as the

Sultan was sitting in his palace behold, a running messenger

came to him bearing letters from sundry of the provinces which

were in his reign imploring help against their foemen's violence.

" What may be done in this case ? " asked the Sultan, and his

Nobles answered saying, " Send to them the Wazir," but they

spake not this speech save in their resolve to ruin him and

their determination to destroy him. Hereupon the King sent

for him and summoned him and commanded him to journey

to the places in question ; but those of whom the complaints

had been made threw dangers and difficulties in his way. Said

the Wazir, " Hearing and obeying ; " and after preparing himself

for wayfare he set forth on his way. Now the Lords had

despatched letters to the province whither he intended, apprising

the folk of his coming, and saying to them, " Empower him not

with anything, and if you avail to work him aught of wrong,

so do." When the Wazir marched upon those places he was

met by the people with welcomes and deputations to receive him

and offer him presents and rarities and sumptuous gifts, and all

who were therein honoured him with highmost honour. Presently

he sent for their adversaries, and having brought them before him

made peace between the two parties, and their gladness increased

and their sadness ceased, and he tarried with them for a month

full-told ; after which he set out on his homeward march. The

Lords, however, had reported all this to the King and they were

right sore and sorrowful, for that their desire had been the

destruction of the Minister. And one day of the days as the

Wazir was sitting at home, behold, a party of Chamberlains

appeared before him and summoned him to the presence, saying,

" Arise, the King requireth thee." He rose without stay or

delay, and taking horse made for the presence, and ceased not



The Righteous Wazir Wrongfully Gaoled. 233

riding until he had reached the palace and had gone into the King,
who forthright bade throw him into gaol. (Now it happened
that the prison had seven doors.) 1 Cried the Wazir, " There is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the
Great ; and verily we be Allah's and unto Him are we returning !
Would I wot why and wherefore the King hath confined me and
for what cause ; but Omnipotence is Allah's." As soon as the
Minister was quartered in his new quarters the Sovran sent
to interdict his eating any food of flesh-kind, allowing only
bread and cheese and olives and oil, and so left him in durance
vile. Hereupon all the folk applied them to addressing the King
with petitions and to interceding for the captive ; but this was not
possible ; nay, the Sultan's wrath waxed hotter nor did it soon cool,
for the Wazir abode in gaol during the longsome length of seven
years. As last one day of the days that Sultan went forth dis-
guised in Darwaysh-garb and toured about town unattended, and
ceased not walking until he reached and passed before the palace
of the Wazir, where he found a gathering of much folk, some
sweeping and others sprinkling water, and others spreading, 2
whilst the Harem and household were in high glee and gladness.
He stood there amongst the spectators and presently asked what
was doing, and they informed him, saying, " The Wazir returneth
from abroad this night and folk have been informed by messenger
that the Sultan hath deigned restore him to favour and expressed
himself satisfied, so presently we shall see him once more at home."
" Praise be to Allah ! " quoth the King in his mind ; " by the



1 This detail has no significance, though perhaps its object may be to affect the circum-
stantial, a favourite manoeuvre with the Rawi. [It may mean that the prisoner had
to pass through seven gates before reaching it, to indicate its formidable strength and
the hopelessness of all escape, except perhaps by a seven-warded, or as the Arabs would
say, a seven-pinned key of gold. In the modern tale mentioned on p. 223 the kid-
napped Prince and his Wazir are made to pass " through one door after the other until
seven doors were passed," to emphasise the utter seclusion of their hiding place. ST.]

2 i.e. the mats and mattresses, rugs and carpets, pillows and cushions which compose
the chairs, tables and beds of a well-to-do Eastern lodging.



234 Supplemental Nights,

Almighty, this occurrence hath no cause, and how went the bruit
abroad that the King hath again accepted him ? And now there
is no help but that 1 forgather with the Wazir and see what there
may be to do and how this occurred." The Sultan increased in
disquietude therefor, so he went and bought a somewhat of bread
and repairing to the gaol (he being still in Fakir's garb) accosted
the gaoler and said to him, "Allah upon thee, O my lord, open to
me the bridewell that I may enter and distribute this provaunt
among the prisoners, for that I have obliged myself to such course
by oath, and the cause is that when suffering from a sickness which
brought me nigh to death's door I vowed a vow and sware a
strong swear that, an Almighty Allah deign heal me, I would buy
somewhat of bread and dole it out to the inmates of the gaol. 1
So here am I come for such purpose." Upon this the man opened
to him the door and he went in and all divided the bread
amongst the captives yet he saw not the Wazir ; so he said to the
gaoler, " Hath any one remained that I may dole to him his
share ? " " O Darwaysh," said the other, " whereof askest thou ? "
and said the Eakir, " O my lord, I have sworn an oath and Allah
upon thee, if there be among the captives any save these I have
seen, do thou tell me thereof." Quoth the man, " There remaineth
none save the Wazir who is in another place, but indeed he is not
in want ;" and quoth the Fakir, " O my lord, my desire is to free
myself from the obligation of mine oath." Accordingly the gaoler
led him in to the Wazir and when the Darwaysh drew nigh the
visitor shrieked and fell fainting to the floor, and the warder seeing
him prostrate left him to himself and went his ways. Hereupon
the Minister came to him and sprinkling somewhat of water upon
his face said to him, " O Darwaysh, there is no harm to thee ! "
So the Fakir arose and said, " O my lord, my heart hath been



1 The pretext was natural. Pious Moslems often make such vows and sometimes
oblige themselves to feed the street dogs with good bread.



Tiie Righteous Wazir Wrongfully Gaoled. 235

upon thee for a while of time ; And Shahrazad was surprised

by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her per-
mitted 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



antJ Wrt - first



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 quoth the
Fakir to the Wazir, " By Allah, O my lord, my heart hath indeed
been with thee for this space of seven years ; and often as I went
to thy mansion, they told me that the Sultan is wroth with the
Wazir ; withal I still awaited for thee until this very day, when I
repaired to thy quarters according to my custom and I found in
thy house much folk, this sweeping and that sprinkling and that
spreading, and all were in joyous case. So I asked of the by-
standers and they informed me that the Sovran hath become satis-
fied with thee and that on the ensuing night thou wilt hie thee home
for that this thy saying is soothfast." r " O Darwaysh," replied the
other, " 'Tis true that I sent to my household and informed them
thereof, for that I have received welcome news from an event befel
me ; so I bade apprise those at home that the Sultan is satisfied
with me ; and to me, O Darwaysh, hath betided a matter wondrous
and an occurrence marvellous; were it written with needle-gravers

1 In text " Min hakk haza '1-Kalam sahfh."



236 Supplemental Nights.

upon the eye-corners it had been a warning to whoso would be
warned." The Fakir asked, " And what may be that ? " and the
other answered : B> Allah. O Darwaysh, the while I was in the
service of His Highness the King, I was a true counsellor to him
and pitiful to the lieges and I never deceived him nor did I betray
him at any time at all ; and often as he sent me to a place wherein

^tW^W-

were mutual strife and trouble and wrong and tyranny, I smoothed
matters and pacified the folk and righted wrongs amongst them by
the power of Almighty Allah. But one day of the days, my mind
was set upon riding out to the waste lands about the town and the
gardens thereof, by way of solacing myself; so I embarked in a
little caique ' upon the river and when we were amid stream I had
a longing for coffee ; 2 so I said to the boatman, " Abide in this

place and throw out the anchor while we drink coffee.'* , Hereat

-

all my suite arose and busied themselves in preparing it until 'twas
ready and I had a finjan 3 worth a treasury 4 of money which they
filled and passed to me. I took it as I was sitting upon the gunwale
of the boat whence it dropped into the stream ; and I was sorely

1 In text " Kafk" and " Kaik-jf," the well-known caique of the Bosphorus, a term
which bears a curious family resemblance to the " Kayak " of the Eskimos.

2 Here coffee is mentioned without tobacco, whereas in more modern days the two
are intimately connected. And the reason is purely hygienic. Smoking increases the
pulsations without strengthening them and depresses the heart-action with a calming and
soothing effect. Coffee, like alcohol, affects the circulation in the reverse way by exciting
it through the nervous system; and not a few authorities advise habitual smokers to end
the day and prepare for rest with a glass of spirits and water. It is fo be desired that
the ignorants who write about " that filthy tobacco " would take the trouble to observe its
effects on a large scale, and not base the strongest and extremes! opinions, as is the wont
of the Anglo-Saxon Halb-bildung, upon the narrowest and shakiest of vases. In Egypt,
India and other parts of the Eastern world they will find nicotiana used by men, women
and children, of all ranks and ages ; and the study of these millions would greatly
modify the results of observing a few hundreds at home. But, as in the case of opium-
eating, populus vult decipi, the philanthrope does not want to know the truth, indeed he
shrinks from it and loathes it. All he cares for is his own especial " fad."

3 Arab. "Fihjal" systematically repeated for "Finjan" pronounced in Egypt
"Fingan: see vol. viii. 200. [The plural " Fanajfl," pronounced Fanagil, occurs in
Spitta Bey's Contes Arabes Modernes, p. 92, and in his Grammar, p. 26, the same
author states that the forms " Fingan " and "Fingdl " are used promiscuously. ST.]

* For the "Khaznah" (Khazinah) or 10,000 kis each = $, see vols. ii. 84;
iii. 278.



The Righteous Wazir Wrongfully Gaokd. 237

sorrowful therefor, because that cup was a souvenir. Seeing this,
all in the boat arose and sent for a diver who asked, saying, "In
what place hath the finjan fallen that I may seek it ? and do ye
inform me of its whereabouts." So we sought for a pebble in the
caique but we found none, and as I wore upon my finger a signet-
ring which was worth two treasuries of money I drew it off and
cast it into the water crying, " The cup fell from me in this place."
But when the ducker saw me throw my ring he said to me,
" Wherefore, O my lord, hast thou parted with thy seal ? " and
said I to him, "The deed is done." Then he went down and
plunged into the deep for a while and behold he came up grasping
the cup, in the middle of which we saw the signet-ring. Now
when this mighty great matter befel me, I said to myself, " Ho
certain person, there remaineth upon this good luck no better
luck ; and haply there will befal thee somewhat contrary to this." '
However those with me rejoiced at the finding of my two losses,
nor did any fear therefrom my change of state and downfall, but
they wondered and said, " By Allah, this is a rare matter ! " Then
we went forward in the caique until we had reached the place
intended, where we tarried the whole of that day and presently
returned home. But hardly was I settled and had I taken seat in
my home-quarters when behold, a party of Chamberlains of the
King's suite came in to me and said, " The Sultan requireth thee ! "
Accordingly, I arose and mounted horse and rode on till I had
come to the palace and entered the presence ; and I designed to
offer suit and service to the King as was my wont, when suddenly
he cried, " Carry him away." So they bore me off and confined

1 A euphuism meaning some disaster. The text contains a favourite incident in
folk-lore ; the first instance, I believe, being that of Polycrates of Samos according to
Herodotus (lib. iii. 41-42). The theory is supported after a fashion by experience
amongst all versed in that melancholy wisdom the "knowledge of the world." As Syr
Cauline the knight philosophically says : -

Everye white will have its blacke,
And everye sweete its sowre : etc.



238 Supplemental Nights.

me in this place, after which the Sultan sent and interdicted me from
eating a tittle of flesh food, and here I am after the space of seven
years, O Darwaysh, still in the same condition. Now on the morning
of this day my stomach craved for meat, so I said to the gaoler, " O
Such-and-such, 'tis now seven years since I tasted flesh, so take
this ashrafi and bring us an ounce of meat." He accepted the
money saying, " 'Tis well," and went forth from me and brought

me my need. 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



&ebtn ^un&Kfc anfc TOrtn.-tfwtr



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 Wazir continued to the Fakir, "Then, O Darwaysh, we
divided the meat (I and the gaoler) with our ringers, and we
washed it and set it upon the hearth, building a fire beneath
it until it was cooked, when we took it off, and after waiting
awhile dished it up and were about to eat it. But it hap-
pened to be noon-tide, and the hour of incumbent orisons, so we
said, "Let us pray our prayers ; " and we arose and made the
Wuzu ablution, and went through the mid-day devotions. After
this we set the plate before us ; and I, removing its cover, put forth



The Righteous Wazir Wrongfully Gaoled. 239

my hand to take up a bit of meat, but as I took it, behold, a mouse
passed over that same morsel with its tail and paws. 1 I cried,
" There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah the
Glorious, the Great ! I have divided this meat with my own hand
and have cooked it myself, so how could this matter have occurred?
However, Allah the Omniscient haply knoweth that the stumbling
stone hath been removed from my path," and this I said, for when
I saw that mouse do on such wise I felt that glad news and good
tidings were coming from the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth.
So I sent to my home and informed them that the Sultan was
satisfied with me, for things when at their worst mend, and in
joyance end ; and I opine, O Darwaysh, that all my troubles have
now ceased. Said to him the Fakir," Alhamdolillah Glory be to
God O my lord, who hath sent thee forerunners of welfare.''
Then he arose from beside the Wazir, and went forth and ceased
not wending until he came to his palace where he doffed his dis-
guise and donned the garments of the Kings, and taking seat upon
the throne of his Kingship summoned the Wazir from his gaol in
all joy, and set him between his hands and gifted him with sump-
tuous gifts. And all displeasure in the Sultan's heart being
removed from the Wazir he committed to him once more the
management of all his affairs. 2 But when Ibn Ahyam (continued
Shahrazad) had ended his history of the Righteous Wazir he
presently began to tell the tale of



1 Thus making the food impure and unfit for a religious Moslem to eat. Scott (vi. 378)
has " when a huge rat running from his hole leaped into the dish which was placed upon
,'ihe floor." He is probably thinking of the East Indian " bandycoot."

2 In text this tale concludes, " It is ended and this (next) is the History of the Barber."



THE CAIRENE YOUTH, THE BARBER
AND THE CAPTAIN.



THE CAIRENE YOUTH, THE BARBER, AND THE

CAPTAIN.

IT is related that in Misr there was a Youth, a Shalabf, 1 sans peer
for semblance and excellence, and he had to friend a lovely woman
whose husband was a Yuzbashi' 2 or captain. Now whenever that
young man or his playmate would fain conjoin, each with other,
union proved almost impossible and yet his heart was always hanging
to her love and she was in similar state and even more enamoured,
for that he was passing fair of form and feature. One day of the
days the Captain returned home and said to his wife, " I am invited
to such a place this afternoon, therefore an thou require aught
ask it of me ere I go." Cried they, 3 " We want nothing save thy
safety ; " yet were they delighted therewith, and the youth's friend
said, " Alhamdolillah Glory to God this day we will send to a
certain person and bring him hither and we will make merry he
and I." As soon as the husband fared forth his home in order to
visit the gardens according to his invitation, the wife said to a
small boy which was an eunuch beside her, " Ho boy, hie thee to
Such-an-one (the Shalabi) and seek him till thou forgather with
him and say to him: My lady salameth to thee and saith, Come
to her house at this moment." So the little slave went from his
mistress and ceased not wending to seek the Shalabi (her friend) till
he found him in a barber's booth where at that time it was his

1 A dandy, a macaroni, from the Turk. Chelebi, see vol. I. 22. Here the word is
thoroughly Arabised. In old Turk, it means, a Prince of the blood ; in mod. times a
gentleman, Greek or European.

? In the text " Uzbasha ( liL^l ) or " Uzba"sha, a vile Egyptianism for Yuzbashi
= head of a hundred (men) centurion, captain.

3 SciL the household, the Harem, etc. As usual, the masc. is used for the tern.



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 20 of 40)