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 23 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 23 of 40)
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the Literary society of Moscow celebrated his centenary with all honour ; and Prof.
Nicholas Storojenko delivered a speech which has found an echo

further west
That his sires' " Islands of the Blest."

He rightly remarked that Byron's deadly sin in the eyes of the Georgian-English people
was his Cosmopolitanism : he was the poetical representative of the Sturm und Drang
period of the xixth century. He reflected, in his life and works, the wrath of noble
minds at the collapse of the cause of freedom and the reactionary tendency of the century.
Evert in the distant regions of Monte Video Byron's hundredth birthday was not
forgotten, and Don Luis Desteffanio's lecture was welcomed by literary society.



The Syrian and the Three Women of Cairo. 275

as he looked at any one of them and considered her in her mould
of beauty and loveliness he was perplext and his wits were wildered.
They ceased not to be after such fashion until the noon o' night,

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

^Ti)t bcbcn pJun&reU an& Jfortg-sebEntf) Ntgijt,

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

]ove 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
Syrian and the three ladies ceased not to persevere in the drinking
of wine until the noon o' night, at which time" he would not
distinguish between masculine and feminine from the excess of
his wine-bibbing, so he said to one of the three, " Allah, upon
thee, O my lady, what may be the name of thee ? " She replied,
" I am hight ' Hast-thou-seen-aught-like-me ? ' Whereat he ex-
claimed, " No, Wallahi ! " Then he up-propped himself on his
elbow and rising from the ground said to the second, "Thou, O
my lady, and life-blood of my heart, what is thy name ? '
She answered, " I am hight, ' Never-sawest-thou-my-like,' ' ' and
he replied, "Inshallah what Allah willeth O my lady Never-
sawest-thou-my-like." Then said he to the third, " And thou, O
dearling of my heart, what may be the name of thee ? " And
said she, " I am hight ' Look-at-me-and-thou-shalt-know-me. '



1

276 Supplemental Nights.

When he heard these words he cried out with a loud outcry and
fell to the ground saying, " No, by Allah, O my lady, Look-at-me-
and-thou-shalt-know-me." 1 But when the three women regarded
him his reason was upset and they forced upon him more wine-
bibbing whilst he cried to them, " Fill for me, ho my lady Never-
sawest-thou-my-like, and thou too, my lady Hast-thou-seen-aught-
like-me, and eke thou, O my lady Look-at-me-and-thou-shalt-
know-me." And they drove him to drink still more until he fell
to the ground without a vein swelling 2 for he had become drunken
and dead drunk. When they saw him in this condition they doffed
his turband and crowned him with a cap, and fringes projecting
from the peak, 3 which they had brought with them ; then they
arose and finding in his room a box full of raiment and ready
money, they rifled all that was therein. Presently they donned
their dresses and, waiting until the door of the Wakalah was
opened after the call to the morning-prayer, they went their ways
and the Veiler vouchsafed them protection 1 and they left the
Syrian man in his room strown as a tried toper and unknowing
what the women had done with him of their wile and guile. Now
when it was the undurn-hour he awoke from his crapula and
opening his eyes, cried, " Ho my lady Never-sawest-thou-my-like !
and ho my lady Hast-thou-seen-aught-like-me ! and ho my lady
Look-at-me-and-thou-shalt-know me ! " But none returned to
him any reply. Then he pulled himself together and glanced
carefully around but his sight fell not upon anyone beside him, so
he arose and went to the box wherein he found never a single thing.



1 He cried out thinking of the mystical meaning of such name. So yvuOi creauroV,
would mean in Sufi language Learn from thyself what is thy Lord ; corresponding
after a manner with the Christian " looking up through Nature to Nature's God."

2 The phrase prob. means so drunk that his circulation had apparently stopped.

3 This is the article usually worn by the professional buffoon. The cap of the
" Sutarl " or jester of the Arnaut (Albanian) regiments who is one of their profes-
sional braves is usually a felt cone garnished with foxes' brushes.

4 In Arab. " Sabbal alayhim (for Alayhinna, the usual masc. pro fern.) Al-SattaV =
lit. the Veiler let down a curtain upon them.



Tlie Syrian and tlie Three Women of Cairo. 277

This restored him to his right senses and he recovered from his
drink and cried, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save
in Allah, the Glorious, the Great: this be a judgment they have
wrought for me." Then he went forth still wearing the tall fringed
cap and knowing nothing of himself and, when he had issued from
his caravanserai, he cried to everyone he met in the streets, " I
am seeking Hast-thou-seen-aught-like-me ? " and the men would
reply, " No, I never sighted the like of thee ; " and to a second he
would say, " I am looking for one Never-sawest-thou-aught-like-
me ;" and the other would answer, " Indeed, I never beheld thy
fellow; " then he would ask a third '' Hast thou seen one Look-at-
me-and-thou-shalt-know-me ? " and the questioned would answer,
" Indeed, I have looked at thee but I know thee not at all." And
he ceased not wandering about, bonnet on head, and everyone
who met him by the way returned him the like replies until he
came upon a party of folk who were in front of a barber's booth. 1
There he cried upon them also, " Ah ! Hast-thou-seen-aught-like-
me ! and Ah ! Never-sawcst-thou-my-like ! and Ah ! Look upon-
me-and-thou-shalt-know-me ! " Hereat, understanding that he was
touched in brain and this was a judgment that had been wrought
upon him, they seized him and forced him into the barber's shop
and bringing a mirror set it in his hands. When he looked therein
he found a fool's cap upon his head, so forthwith he tore it off and
took thought and said to those present, " Who of you can guide
me to those three women ? " They said to him, " O Syrian,
march off with thyself to thy own land for that the folk of Egypt
can play with the egg and the stone." 2 So he arose without stay
and delay ; then, taking what provaunt was sufficient for the way
and what little of fine raiment had been left to him, he quitted
Cairo intending for his own country. Now the Emir hearing this
tale of the Shahbandar wondered thereof with extreme vvonder-



1 The barber being a surgeon and ever ready to bleed a madman.
2 i.e. Can play off equally well the soft-brained and the hard-headed.



278 Supplemental Nights.

ment and said to the Gentleman, " An thou have finished do thou
fare forth and go about thy business." Accordingly he went from
him still garbed in gaberdine and bonnet on head when the house-
master asked his wife, " Who of them here remaineth with thee ? "

!

And she answered, " Have patience and I will bring thee the
third." So she arose and opening another closet summoned the
Flesher and taking him by the hand, whilst he was ashamed and
abashed, led him till he stood before her spouse and the poor
fellow availed not to raise his eyes from the ground. Presently
the husband considered him and knew him and was certified that
he was Such-and-such the Chief Butcher and head of the craft, so
he said to him, " Ho thou the clever one, do thou dance for us a
wee and after that tell us a tale." Accordingly he stood up and
clapped hands and fell to dancing and prancing till such time as
he dropped down for fatigue ; after which he said, " O my lord, I
have by me a tale anent the craft and cunning of women." Asked
the other, ' And what may it be ? " and the Butcher began to relate
the tale of



THE LADY WITH TWO COYNTES.



2$l



THE LADY WITH TWO COYNTES.

IT is told of a woman which was a fornicatress and adulteress and
a companion of catastrophes and calamities that she was married
to a Kaim-makam ' who had none of the will of mankind to
womankind, at all, at all. Now the wife was possessed of beauty
and loveliness and she misliked him for that he had no desire to
carnal copulation, and there was in the house a Syce-man who was
dying for his love of her. But her husband would never quit his
quarters, and albeit her longing was that the horse-keeper might
possess her person and that she and he might lie together, this
was impossible to her. She abode perplext for some sleight
wherewith she might serve her mate, and presently she devised a
device and said to him, " O my lord, verily my mother is dead
and 'tis my wish to hie me and be present at her burial and
receive visits of condolence for her ; and, if she have left aught
by way of heritage, to take it and then fare back to thee." " Thou
mayest go," said he, and said she," I dread to fare abroad alone and
unattended ; nor am I able to walk, my parent's house being afar.
Do thou cry out to the Syce that he fetch me hither an ass and
accompany me to the house of my mother, wherein I shall lie some
three nights after the fashion of folk." Hereupon he called to the
horse-keeper and when he came before him, ordered the man to
bring an ass 2 and mount his mistress and hie with her ; and the
fellow, hearing these words, was hugely delighted. So he did as



1 i.e. a deputy (governor, etc.) ; in old days the governor of Constantinople ; in these
times a lieutenant-colonel, etc.

2 Which, as has been said, is the cab of Modern Egypt, like the gondola and the,
^caique. The heroine of the tale is a Nilotic version of " Aurora Floyd."



282 Supplemental Nights,

he was bidden, but instead of going to the house they twain, he
and she, repaired to a garden carrying with them a flask of wine
and disappeared for the whole day and made merry and took their
pleasure l until set of sun. Then the man brought up the ass
and mounting her thereon went to his own home, where the twain
passed the entire night sleeping in mutual embrace on each other's
bosoms, and took their joyance and enjoyment until it was
morning tide. Hereupon he arose and did with her as before,
leading her to the garden, and the two, Syce and dame, ceased
not to be after this fashion for three days solacing themselves and
making merry and tasting of love-Hesse. On the fourth day
he said to her, " Do thou return with us to the house of the
Kaim-makam," and said she, " No ; not till we shall have spent
together three days more enjoying ourselves, I and thou, and
making merry till such time as I have had my full will of thee
and thou thy full will of me ; and leave we yon preposterous pimp
to lie stretched out, as do the dogs, 2 enfolding his head between his
two legs." So the twain ceased not amusing themselves and taking
their joyance and enjoyment until they had ended the six days,
and on the seventh they wended their way home. They found the
Kaim-makam sitting beside a slave which was an old negress ;
and quoth he, " You have disappeared for a long while ! " and
quoth she, " Yes," until we had ended with the visits of condolence
for that my mother was known to foyson of the folk. But, O my
lord, my parent (Allah have ruth upon her!) hath left and
bequeathed to me a somewhat exceeding nice." " What may
that be ? " asked he, and answered she, " I will not tell thee aught
thereof at this time, nor indeed until we remain, I and thou, in

privacy of night, when I .will describe it unto thee." And

Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and



1 In text " Rafaka" and infra (p. n) " Zafaka."

z [In text " Misla "1-Kalam," which I venture to suggest is another clerical blunder
for : " misla '1-Kilab " = as the dogs do. ST.]



The Lady with Two Coyntes. 283

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

Elje cbcn l^unDretJ antj jpiftp-first Ji$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
woman said to her husband, " My mother hath left and be-
queathed to me somewhat, but I will not tell thee thereof till the
coming night when we twain shall be alone." " 'Tis well," said he ;
after which he continued to address himself, " Would Heaven I
knew what hath been left by the mother of our Hari'm ! " l Now
when darkness came on and he and she had taken seats together,
he asked her, " What may be the legacy thy mother left ? " and she
answered, " O my lord, my mother hath bequeathed to me her
Coynte being loath that it be given to other save myself and there-
fore I have brought it along with me." Quoth he of his stupidity
(for he was like unto a cosset), 2 " Ho thou, solace me with the sight
of thy mother's Coynte." Hereupon she arose ; and, doffing all she
had on her of dress until she was mother-naked, said to him, " O my

1 i.e. My wife. In addition to notes in vols. i. 165, and iv. 9, 126, I would observe
that "Harim" (women) is the broken plur. of " Hurmah ;" from Haram, the honour
of the house, forbidden to all save her spouse. But it is also an infinitive (whose
plur. is Harimat = the women of a family ; and in places it is still used for the women's
apartment, the gynaeceum. The latter by way of distinction I have mostly denoted by
the good old English corruption " Harem."

2 In text "Misla M-kharuf " (for Kharuf ) a common phrase for an "innocent," a
half idiot ; so our poets sing of " silly (harmless, Germ. Selig) sheep."



284 Supplemental Nigkts.

lord, I have stuck on my mother's Coynte hard by and in con-
tinuation of mine own cleft and so the twain of them have
remained each adjoining other between my hips." He continued,
" Let me see it ; " so she stood up before him and pointing to her
parts, said, " This which faceth thee is my coynte whereof thou
art owner ;" after which she raised her backside and bowing her
head groundwards showed the nether end of her slit between the
two swelling cheeks of her sit-upon, her seat of honour, crying,
" Look thou ! this be the Coynte of my mother; but, O my lord,
'tis my wish that we wed it unto some good man and pleasant
who is faithful and true and not likely treason to do, for that the
coynte of my mother must abide by me and whoso shall inter-
marry therewith I also must bow down to him whilst he shall
have his will thereof." Quoth the Kaim-makam, " O sensible say !
but we must seek and find for ourselves a man who shall be agree-
able and trustworthy," presently adding, " O woman, we will not
give the Coynte of thy mother in marriage to some stranger lest
he trouble thee and trouble me also ; so let us bestow this boon
upon our own Syce." Replied the wife of her craft and cursed-
ness, " Haply, O my lord, the horsekeeper will befit us not ; " yet
the while she had set her heart upon him. Rejoined the Kaim-
makam her husband, "If so it be that he have shown thee want
of respect we will surely relieve him of his lot." But after so
speaking he said a second time, " Tis better that we give the Coynte
of thy mother to the Syce ; " and she retorted, " Well and good !
but do thou oblige him that he keep strait watch upon him-
self." Hereat the man summoned his servant before him and
said to him, " Hear me, O Syce ; verily the mother of my wife
to her hath bequeathed her Coynte, and 'tis our intent to bestow it
upon thee in lawful wedlock ; yet beware lest thou draw near that
which is our own property." The horsekeeper answered, " No, O
my lord, I never will." Now after they arrived at that agree*
ment concerning the matter in question, whenever the wife waxed



The Lady with two Coyntes. 285

hot with heat of lust she would send for the Syce and take him
and repair with him, he and she, to a place of privacy within the
Harem, whilst her mate remained sitting thoroughly satisfied ,
and they would enjoy themselves to the uttermost, after which the
twain would come forth together. And the Kaim-makam never
ceased saying on such occasions, " Beware, O Syce, lest thou
poach upon that which is my property ; " and 'at such times the
wife would exclaim, " By Allah, O my lord, he is a true man and
a trusty." So they continued for a while l in the enjoyment of
their luxury and this was equally pleasurable to the husband and
wife and the lover. Now when the Emir heard this tale from the
Butcher, he began laughing until he fell upon his back and anon
he said to him, "Wend thy ways about thine own work ;" so the
Flesher went forth from him not knowing what he should do in
his garb of gaberdine and bonnet. Hereupon the woman arose
and going to the fourth closet threw it open and summoned and
led the Trader man by the hand and set him before her husband
who looked hard at him in his droll's dress and recognised him
and was certified of him that he was his neighbour. So he said,
" Ho Such-an-one ! Thou art our neighbour and never did we
suspect that thou wouldst strive to seduce our Harfm ; 2 nay rather
did we expect thee to keep watch and ward over us and fend off
from us all evil. 3 Now by Allah, those whom we have dismissed
wrought us no foul wrong even as thou wroughtest us in this
affair ; for thou at all events art our neighbour. Thou deservest



1 In text this ends the tale.

2 In text " Wa Id huwa 'ashamna' min-ka talkash 'ala Harimi-na." " 'Ashama," lit. =
he greeded for ; and " Lakasha" = he conversed with. [There is no need to change the
" talkas" of the text into " talkash." " Lakasa" is one of the words called " Zidd,"
i.e. with opposite meanings: it can signify to incline passionately towards," or " to
loath with abhorrence." As the noun " Laks " means " itch " the sentence might per-
haps be translated : "that thou hadst an itching after our Harfm." What would lead
me to prefer the reading of the MS. is that the verb is construed with the preposition
" 'ala " = upon, towards, for, while " lakash," to converse, is followed by " ma' " =
with. ST.]

3 Such was the bounden duty of a good neighbour.



286 Supplemental Nights.

in this matter that I slay thee out of hand, but Default comethnot
save from the Defaulter ; therefore I will do thee no harm at all
as did I with thy fellows even save that needs must thou tell us a
tale whereby to rejoice us. " * Quoth he, " Hearing and obeying , "
and herewith fell to relating the story of



1 He does not insist upon his dancing because he looks upon the offence as serious,
but he makes him tell his tale for the sake of the reader.



THE WHORISH WIFE WHO VAUNTED HER

VIRTUE.



28$



THE WHORISH WIFE WHO VAUNTED HER

VIRTUE.

IT is related that once upon a time there was a man which was an
astronomer ] and he had a wife who was singular in beauty and
loveliness. Now she was ever and aye boasting and saying to
him, " O man, there is not amongst womankind my peer in
nobility 2 and chastity ; " and as often as she repeated this saying
to him he would give credit to her words and cry, " Wallahi, no
man hath a wife like unto the lady my wife for high caste and
continence ! " Now he was ever singing her praises in every
assembly ; but one day of the days as he was sitting in a seance of
the great, who all were saying their says anent womankind and
feminine deeds and misdeeds, the man rose up and exclaimed,
" Amongst women there is none like my wife, for that she is pure
of blood and behaviour ; " hereat one of those present said to
him, " Thou liest, O certain person ! " - And Shahrazad was
surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased saying
her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazdd, " 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



anto jpiftp-fourtft
DUNYAZAD said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou

1 " Sdhib al-Hayat :" this may also = a physiognomist, which, however, is probably
not meant here.
* In text " Hararah " = heat, but here derived from " Hurr " = freebern, noble.

VOL. V. T



290 Supplemental Nights,

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 while the man
was singing the praises of his spouse one of those present rose
and said to him, "Wallahi, thou liest, O certain person!"
" Wherein do I lie ? " quoth he, and quoth the other, " I will teach
thee and show thee manifestly whether thy wife be a lady or a
whore. Do thou rise up from amongst us and hie thee home and
go thou in to her and say : O Woman, I am intent upon travelling
to a certain place and being absent for a matter of four days and
after will return ; so do thou arise, O Woman, and bring me some
bread and a mould of cheese by way of viaticum. Then go thou
forth from beside her and disappear for a while ; and presently
returning home hide thee in a private place without uttering a
word." Cried those present, " By Allah, indeed these words may
not be blamed." Accordingly, the man went forth from them
and fared till he entered his house where he said, " O Woman,
bring me something of provision for a journey : my design is to
travel and to be absent for a space of four days or haply six."
Cried the wife, " O my lord, Thou art about to desolate me nor
can I on any wise bear parting from thee ; and if thou needs must
journey do thou take me with thee." Now when the man heard
these the words of his wife he said to himself, " By Allah, there can-
not be the fellow of my spouse amongst the sum of womankind,"
presently adding to her, " I shall be away from four to six days
but do thou keep watch and ward upon thyself and open not my
door to anyone at all." Quoth she, " O Man, how canst thou quit
me ? J and indeed I cannot suffer such separation." Quoth he, " I

* t '

shall not long be separated from thee ; " and so saying he fared

L i

1 In text " Azay ma tafiit-nf ?"



The Whorish Wife who Vaunted tier Virtue. 291

forth from her and disappeared for the space of an hour, after
which he returned home softly walking and hid himself in a place
where none could see him. Now after the space of two hours
behold, a Costermonger J came into the house and she met him
and salam'd to him and said, " What hast thou brought for me ? "
" Two lengths of sugar-cane," said he, and said she, " Set them
down in a corner of the room." Then he asked her, " Whither
is thy husband gone ? " and she answered, " On a journey : may
Allah never bring him back nor write his name among the
saved and our Lord deliver me from him as soon as possible ! '
After this she embraced him and he embraced her and she kissed
him and he kissed her and enjoyed her favours till such time as he
had his will of her ; after which he went his ways. When an hour
had passed a Poulterer 2 came to the house, whereupon she arose
and salam'd to him and said, "What hast thou brought me?"
He answered, " A pair of pigeon-poults ; " so she cried, " Place
them under yon vessel. 3 " Then the man went up to the woman
and he embraced her and she embraced him and he tumbled 4 her
and she tumbled him; after which he had his will of her and
presently he went off about his own business. When two hours or
so had gone by there came to her another man which was a
Gardener ; 5 so she arose and met him with a meeting still fairer



1 In the Arab. " Rajul Khuzari " = a green-meat man. [The leading " Khuzari "



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 23 of 40)