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 21 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 21 of 40)
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244 Supplemental Nights.

design to have his head shaved and he had ordered the shaver so
to do. The man said to him, " O, my lord, may this our day be
blessed ["whereupon he brought out from his budget a clean towel,
and going up to the Shalabi dispread it all about his breast.
Then he took his turband and hung it to a peg 1 and placing
a basin before him washed his pate, and was about to poll
it when behold, the boy-slave passed within softly pacing, and!
inclining to him whispered in his ear confidentially between them
twain so that none might overhear them, " My lady So-and-so
sendeth thee many salams and biddeth me let thee know that to-
day the coast is clear, the Captain being invited out to a certain
place. Do thou come to her at once and if thou delay but a little
thou mayst not avail to possess her nor may she possess thee,
and if thou be really reminded to forgather with her come with
all speed." Hearing these words of the boy the lover's wits were
wildered and he could not keep patience ; no, not for a minute ;
and he cried to the Barber, " Dry my head this instant and I will
return to thee, for I am io haste to finish a requirement." With
these words he put his hand into his breast pouch and pulling out
an ashrafi gave it to the Barber, who said in himself, " An he have
given me a gold-piece for wetting his poll, how will it be when I
shall have polled him ? Doubtless he will then gift me with half a
score of dinars ! " Hereupon the youth went forth from the Barber
who followed him saying, " Allah upon thee, O my lord, when
thou shalt have ended thy business, return to me that I may shave
thy scalp and 'twere better that thou come to the shop." " Right
well," said the youth, "we will presently return to thee," and he
continued walking until he drew near the place of his playmate
when suddenly the Barber caught him up a second time And



1 [Ar. " Al-Rashdkah,"'a word is not found in the common lexicons. In Dory and
" Engelmann's Glossary of Spanish and Portuguese words derived from the Arabic,"
it is said to be a fork with three prongs, here probably a hat-stand in the shape of such
a fork.-^Sr.]



The Cairene Youth, the Barber, and the Captain. 245

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

f)e &efoen pjutrtreli anfc ^fnttn-fiftf) JEigfjt,

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 youth
approached the house of his friends, suddenly the Barber caught
him up hard by thereto and placing himself in front said, " Allah
upon thee, O my lord, do not forget me, but be sure of return to
the shop that I may poll thee." Quoth the youth to him in his
folly, " 'Tis well, O Man, I will certainly come back to thee and
will not forget thy shop." So the lover left him and ganged his
gait and presently went up to the home of his friend, whilst the
Barber stayed expecting him and remained standing at the door ;
and of the denseness of the tonsorial wits would not budge from
that place and would await the youth that he might shave him. Such
was the case with them ; but as regards the Yuzbashi, when he went
forth from his house bent upon seeking his friend who had invited
him, he found that a serious matter of business ! would hinder his
giving the entertainment, so the host said to the Captain, " Allah
upon thee, O my lord, pardon me for I have this day a matter



1 In text " Shi'il "copyist's error for " Shdghil," act. part, of " Shughl" = business,
affairs. [Here it stands probably for the fuller " Shughl shaghil," an urgent
business. ST.]



246 Supplemental Nights.

which will prevent rny going forth to the garden and Inshallah
God willing on the morrow we will there meet and enjoy our-
selves, we and thou, free and with hearts at rest ; for a man who
hath work in hand may not take his pleasure and his thought
will remain ever preoccupied." Hereupon quoth the Captain,
" Sooth thou hast said, O Such-and-such, and herein there is naught
to excuse of harm or hindrance, and the day's engagement between
us if it be not to-morrow will come after to-morrow." So he fare-
welled his host and left him and returned homewards. Now that
Yuzbashi was a man of honour and sagacity and pluck and spunk
and by nature a brave. He ceased not wending until he had
reached his home where he found the Barber standing at the
house-door and the fellow came up to him and said, " Allah, upon
thee, O my lord, when thou goest within do thou send me down
a handsome youth who went upstairs into this dwelling." The
Yuzbashi turned upon him with a face fiery as ruddy sparks and
cried to him, " What, O Man, dost thou say that one hath gone up
to my house, O pimp, O pander? 1 What manner of man can
enter therein and I absent ? " Quoth the Barber, " By Allah, O
my lord, one did go up whilst I stood awaiting him the while he
passed out of my sight ; so when thou art abovestairs do thou send
him down to me, saying : Thine own Barber awaiteth thee at the
entrance below." Now when the Yuzbashi heard these words, he
waxed wroth with exceeding wrath and going up into his house
with haste and hurry knocked at the inner door which defended
the Harem. The inmates heard him and knew that it was he,
and the Youth fell to piddling in his bag-trowsers ; but the woman
took him and hid him in the shaft of the cistern 2 and going forth
opened the door to her husband. Cried the Yuzbashi, " Of a truth,



1 In text " Ya 'Ars, ya. Mu'arras" : vol. i. 338.

2 In Svria most houses have a rain cistern or tank into which the terrace-roof drains
and which looks from above like a well with a cover. The water musi have been
when the lover hid himself in the reservoir.



The Cairsne Youth, the Barber, and the Captain, 247

hath any right or reason to say that here in this house is a man ? " l
and she replied, " Oh, the shame of me ! How ever, O my lord, can
there be here a man ? " 2 So the Yuzbashi went about seeking and
searching but he came not upon any ; then he went down to the
Barber wight and cried, " O Man, I have found none upstairs save
the womenkind ; " but the Barber replied, "By Allah, O my lord,
he went up before my eyes and I am still awaiting him." Then
the Captain hurried away a second time and rummaged about,
high and low, and left no place whereinto he did not pry and spy,
yet he came upon no one. He was perplext at his affair and again
going down to the Barber said to him, " O Man, we have found
none." Still the fellow said to him doggedly " Withal a man did
go within, whilst I who am his familiar here stand expecting him,
and thou sayest forsooth he is not there, albeit he be abovestairs and
after he went in he never came out until this tide." Hereupon the
Captain returned to his Harem a third time and a fourth time unto
the seventh time ; but he found no one ; so he was dazed and amazed
and the going in and faring out were longsome to him. All this
and the youth concealed in the cistern shaft lay listening to their
dialogue and he said, "Allah ruin this rascal Barber!" but he
was sore afraid and he quaked with fright lest the Yuzbashi slay

1 [In the MS. " Min Hakk Ia-hu Asl an 'and-na huna Rajil," a thoroughly popular
phrase. " Min Hakk " and " min Hakkan," where in the adverbial meaning of
Hakkan its grammatical form as an accusative is so far forgotten that it allows itself
to be governed by the preposition " min," is rendered by Bocthor " tout de bon,"
" serieusement." "Asl" = root has here the meaning of foundation in fact. The
literal translation of the passage would therefore be: " Forsooth, is there any truth in it that
a man is here in our house?" " Min Hakk " has occurred page 235, where the text, quoted
in the note, may perhaps be translated : " Of a truth, is this saying soothfast ?" ST.]

2 [The MS. hast " Ya Gharati a-Zay ma huna Rajil;" " Ya Gharati " will recur
presently, p. 256, along with " yd Musfoati " = Oh my calamity ! I take it therefore to
be an exclamation of distress from " Ghdrat " = invasion, with its incidents of devas-
tation, rapine and ruin. It would be the natural outcry of the women left helpless in an
unprotected camp, when invaded by a hostile tribe. In " a-Zay ma" the latter particle
is not the negative, but the pronoun, giving to " a-Zay " = " in what manner," " how ? "
the more emphatical sense of " how ever ? " In the same sense we find it again, infra,
Night 754, "a-Zay ma tafutni = how canst thou quit me ? I would therefore render :
" Woe me, I am undone, how ever should there be a man here ? " or something to that
purpose ST.]



248 Supplemental Nights.

him and also slay his wife. Now after the eighth time the Captain
came down to the Barber and said to him, " An thou saw him
enter, up along with me and seek for him." The man did
accordingly, but when the two had examined every site, they came
upon no one ; so the Barber was stupefied and said to himself
" Whoso went \ip before me and I looking upon him, whither can
he have wended ?" Then he fell to pondering and presently said,
" By Allah, verily this is a wondrous matter that we have not
discovered him ; " but the Yuzbashi cried fiercely, " By the life of
my head and by Him who created all creatures and numbered the"
numberings thereof, an I find not this fellow needs must I do thee
die." The Barber of his exceeding terror fell to rummaging all
the places but it fortuned that he did not look into the shaft of the
cistern ; however at last he said, " There remaineth for us only the
cistern-shaft ; " - 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 ? J: Now
when it was the next night and that was



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-se'eming and worthy celebrating, that the Barber
wight, after he and the Captain had finished their search without
finding anyone, said, "There remaineth to us only the cistern-
shaft ; " so he went and peered therein, but he could 'not use his



The Cairene Youth, the Barber, and the Captain. 249

sight overwell. Hereat the Yuzbashi came up behind him and
cuffed him with a mighty cuff upon the neck and laid him
prostrate and insensible at the mouth of the shaft. Now when
the woman heard the Barber saying, " Let us explore the door
which openeth upon the cistern-shaft," she feared from the Yuz-
bashi, so coming up to him she said, " O my lord, how is it that
thou art a Captain and that thy worth and thy length and thy
breadth are on such wise ; withal thou obeyest the word of a fellow
Jinn-mad l and sayest that there is a man in thine own house.
This is indeed a reproach to thee." So the Yuzbashi of his
stupidity believed her, and approaching the Barber on the edge of
the cistern-shaft cuffed him with a cuff whose excess of violence
dazed him and he fell upon the floor retaining naught of his
senses. When the woman saw this she cried to her husband,
" Pinion his elbows at this moment and suffer me take my due
of him by a sound drubbing, and then let him go." " This is
the right rede," quoth he and after all was done she cried to her
husband, " Come with us above that we enjoy our pleasure, and
Alhamdolillah that thou didst not go to the place of invitation for
I should have been desolate by thine absence this day." So they
ascended and sat together, each beside other, and they sported and
were gladdened and rejoiced ; and after that the Captain lay down
and was presently drowned in slumber. Seeing this the wife arose
and repaired to the cistern-shaft wherefrom she released her
beloved and finding all his clothes in a filthy state from the excess
of what had befallen him of affright penetrating into his heart by
reason of the Yuzbashi, she doffed his dress and bringing a bundle
of clean clothing garbed him therein ; after which his fear was
calmed and his heart comforted and he was set on the right way.
Then she led him to a private stead, wherein they twain, he and
she, took their joyance and had their pleasure and made merry for

' In Persian he would be called " Pari-stricken," smitten by the Fairies.



250 Supplemental Nights

the space of three hours, till such time as each had had fullest will
of other. After this he went forth from her and the Veiler veiled
him. On such wise were the wife's doings ; but as regards what
befel the Barber-man, he ceased not to remain strown on the
ground and dazed by the stress of the blow and he abode there
pinioned for a while. About mid-afternoon the Yuzbashi's wife
went to her husband and awaking him from sleep made for him
coffee which he drank and felt cheered ; and he knew nothing
anent that his spouse had done with her beloved during the while
he slumbered like unto a he-goat. So she said to him, u Rise up and
go we to the man and do thou drub him with the soundest drub-
bing and turn him out." Quoth he, "Yes indeed, by Allah verily
he deserveth this, the pimp ! the pander ! the procurer !" Accord-
ingly he went to him and finding him lying upon the ground
raised him and said to him, " Up with thee and let us seek the
man whereof thou spakest." Hereupon the Barber arose and
went down into the cistern-shaft where he found none and there-
with the Captain laid the fellow upon his back ; and, baring his arms
to his elbows, seized a Nabbut 1 and beat him till he made water in
his bag-trousers ; after which he let him go. So the Barber arose
and he in doleful dumps, and went off from the house and ceased
not wending until he reached his shop about sunset, hardly
believing in his own safety. But (resumed Shahrazad) as regards
the history of the woman who was a fornicatress and an adultress,
I have to relate to thee the following story of



1 A quarter-staff (vols. i, 234 : viii. 186.) opp. to the " Dabbiis" or club-stick of the
Badawin, the CaffreV " Knob-kerry, " which is also called by the Arabs. " Kana, "
pron. "Gana."



THE GOODWIFE OF CAIRO AND HER
FOUR GALLANTS.



THE GOODWIFE OF CAIRO AND HER FOUR

GALLANTS. 1

IT is said that in Misr lived a woman, a model of beauty and
loveliness and stature and perfect grace, who had a difficulty with a
man which was a Kazi and after this fashion it befel. She was the
wife of an Emir 2 and she was wont to visit the Baths once a
month ; and when the appointed term for her going forth had come,
she adorned herself and perfumed herself and beautified herself
and hastened, tripping and stumbling, 3 to the Hammam. Now
her path passed by the Kazi's court-house where she saw many
a man 4 and she stopped to enjoy the spectacle, upon which the
Judge himself glanced at her with a glance of eyes that bequeathed
to him a thousand sighs and he asked her saying, " O woman,
hast thou any want ?" " No indeed," answered she, " I have none."
Then he inclined to her and drawing near her said, " O lady
mine and O light of these eyne, is union possible between us
twain ?" She replied, " 'Tis possible " and he enquired of her

1 Scott's " Story of the Lady of Cairo and her four Gallants" (vol. vi, 380):
Gauttier, Histoire (Tune Dame du Caire et de ses Galons (vi. 400). This tale has travelled
over the Eastern world. See in my vol. vi. 172 "The Lady and her Five Suitors,"
and the "Story of the Merchant's Wife and her Suitors " in Scott's " Tales, Anecdotes,
and Letters" (Cadell, London, 1800), which is in fact a garbled version of the former,
introduced into the repertoire of "The Seven Wazfrs." I translate the W. M. version
of the tale because it is the most primitive known to me ; and I shall point out the
portions where it lacks finish.

a This title does not appear till p. 463 (vol. v.)of the MS., and it re-appears in
vol. vi. 8.

3 i.e. in her haste : the text has " Kharrat." The Persians who rhetorically
exaggerate everything say "rising and sinking like the dust of the road." [I doubt
whether "Kharrat" could have the meaning given to it in the translation. The word in
the MS. has no Tashdid and I think the careless scribe meant it for "Kharajat,"she
went out. ST.]

* {I read "Nas malmumfn = assembled men, a crowd of people." ST.]



254 Supplemental Nights.

when it could be, and she made an appointment with him saying,
41 Do thou come to me after supper-time," - 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 Goodwife
said to the Kazi, " Do thou come to me after supper-time," and
went her ways and entered the Hammam, where she washed her-
self and cleaned herself; then, coming out thence, she determined
to go home. But she was met on her road by a Gentleman 1 who
was Shahbandar of the Trader-guild, and he seeing her set his
affections upon her ; so he accosted her, saying, " Is't possible that
we ever be merry together ? " Hereat she appointed him to come
when supper was done, after which she left him and ganged her
gait. As she neared her home she was met by a Butcher whose
heart inclined to her, so he addressed her saying, " Is union pos-
sible ? " and she appointed him to visit her an hour after supper
had been eaten. Then she went home and mounting the stairs



1 " Rajul Khwaja : " see vol. vi. 46, etc. For " Shahbandar "= king of the port, a
harbour- master, whose post I have compared with our " Consul," see vol. iv. 29. It is
often, however, applied to Government officials who superintend trade and levy duties
at inland marts.



The Goodwife of Cairo and her Four Gallants. 255

took seat in the upper saloon open to the air, where she doffed
her head-veil x and all that was upon her head. Now in the neigh-
bourhood of her house was a Trader and he had mounted to
the terrace-roof for a reason ; so when the woman bared her
hair and taking up a comb began to dry and prepare it for
dressing, his eyes fell upon her whilst so engaged, and his heart
was engrossed with her love. Presently he sent to her an old
woman ; and she returned him a reply and appointed him to visit
her house during the night after supper-tide. On this wise she had
promised herself to four men. 2 Now the Kazi had got ready for
her a Kohl-style and the Gentleman had prepared for her a fine
suit of clothes and the Butcher had led for her a full-sized ram
and the Trader had set apart for her two pieces of silk. As soon
as it was supper-time, behold, the Kazi repaired to her in privacy
bringing his gift and knocked at the door which he found un-
bolted and she cried to him, " Come in." Accordingly he entered
to her and presented to her that which was with him, but hardly
had he settled himself comfortably in his seat when the Gentle-
man arrived and also rapped. Quoth the Kazi to the Goodwife,
" Who may this be ? " and quoth she, "Fear thou nothing, but
arise and doff thy dress ; " so he stripped himself altogether and
she garbed him in a gaberdine and bonnet s and hid him in a closet
and went to open the door. Hereupon appeared the Consul and
she let him in and accepted what he had brought and seated



1 Arab. " Khimar," a veil or rather a covering for the back of the head. This was
the especial whorishness with which Shahrazad taxes the Goodwife: she had been too
prodigal of her charms, for the occiput and the "back hair" should not be displayed
even to the moon.

2 These four become five in the more finished tale the King, the Wazir, the Kazi, the
V/ali or Chief of Police and the Carpenter. Moreover each one is dressed in different
costume, gowns yellow, blue, red and patched with headgear equally absurd.

3 In text " Turtur "^the Badawi's bonnet: vol. ii. 143. Mr. Doughty (i. 160)
found at Al-Khuraybah the figure of an ancient Arab wearing a close tunic to the knee
and bearing on poll a coif. At Al-'Ula-he was shown an ancient image of a man's head
cut in sandstone : upon the crown was a low pointed bonnet. " Long caps " are also
r.oticed in i. 562 ; and we are told that they were %l worn in outlandish guise in Arabia."



256 Supplemental Nights.

him beside her. But hardly had he settled down when, behold,
there came a knock at the door and he cried, " Who may that be ? "
Said she, " Fear nothing but up and doff thy dress ; " so he arose
and stripped himself and she disguised him in a gaberdine and
bonnet and hid him in another closet all alone. Then she
hastened to the door and suddenly the Flesher-man appeared and
she let him in and led him within and having accepted his present
seated him ; but hardly was he at his ease when the door was again
knocked, whereat he was overcome and affrighted : however, she
said to him, " Fear nothing, but arise and doff thy dress in order
that I may hide thee." So he threw off his clothes and she in-
vested him in a gaberdine and a bonnet and thrust him into a
third cabinet. After this she went and opened the door when
there came to her the Trader who was her neighbour, so she let
him in and took what was with him, and seated him ; and he was
proceeding to sit down in comfort when behold, some one knocked
at the door and he said, " Who may that be ? " Hereupon she
cried, " Oh my honour ! Oh my calamity ! This is my husband
who but yesterday * killed off four men ; however do thou rise up
and doff thy dress." He did as she bade him, upon which she
garbed him in a gaberdine and a bonnet and laid him in a fourth
closet. So these four one and all found themselves in as many
cabinets 2 sorely sorrowful and fearful; but she went forth and
suddenly her mate the Emir came in and took seat upon a chair
that was in the house. Hereat all four sensed that she had opened
to her husband and had admitted him ; and they said in their
minds, " Yesterday he killed four men and now he will kill me."

1 In text "Embarah" (pron. 'Mbirah) ; pop. for Al-barihah = the last part of the
preceding day or night, yesterday. The vulgar Egyptian uses it as if it were a corrup-
tion of the Pers. " in bar "r= this time. The Arab Badawin pronounce it El-beyrih
(with their exaggerated " Imalah ") and use it not only for "yesterday," but also for
the past afternoon.

2 This device is far inferior in comic effect to the carpenter's press or cabinet of five
compartments, and it lacks the ludicrous catastrophe in which all the lovers make water
upon one another's heads.



The Goodwife of Cairo and her Four Gallants. 257

And each and every considered his own affair and determined in
his mind what should happen to him from the husband. Such
was the case with these four ; but as regards the house-master,
when he took seat upon the chair, he fell to chatting with his wife
and asking her saying, " What hast thou seen this day during thy
walk to the Hammam?" Said she, "O my lord, I have witnessed
four adventures and on every one hangeth a wondrous tale ! 5: Now
when the four heard the Goodwife speaking these words each of
them said to himself, " Indeed I am a dead man and 'tis the
intention of this woman to peach upon me." Presently her



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 21 of 40)