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 25 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 25 of 40)
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and he was returning to the guard-house 2 before break o' day that
he might perform the Wuzu-ablution, and at the call to dawn-
prayers hq might rise and repeat them, it so fortuned that when he
was about to stand up to his orisons, according to the custom of
him, suddenly a purse fell before him upon the ground. As soon
as he had done with his devotions he arose and gazed around to
see who had thrown him that bag of money, but he could find
nobody ; so he took it up and opened it, when an hundred dinars
met his sight. Hereat he wondered ; but on the following day
when he had washed and was praying, behold, a second purse was
cast at his feet; so he waited until he had finished his orisons and
then stood up and looked around to see who had thrown it.
Thereupon, as he failed to find any, he took it up and opened it
and again beheld an hundred dinars, a matter which filled him
with wonder. This continued till the third day at morning-tide,
when he had washed as was his wont and stood up to his prayers,
and lo and behold ! another purse was dropped at his feet. Here-



1 This tale is a variant of " The First Constable's History : " Suppl. Nights, vol. ii.

6-15-

2 In text " Al-Bawwabah" = a place where door-keepers meet, a police-station; in
modern tongue "Karakol," for " Karaghol-khanah "= guard-house.



3 1 o Supplemental Nights.

with he cut short his devotions, and turning him round saw beside
him a girl whose years had reached fifteen ; so he seized her and
said, " Who art thou, and what is the reason of thy throwing at
my feet every day a purse of an hundred gold pieces, and this is
the third time ; argal the sum amounteth to three hundred. What
may be this case ? " Said she, " O my lord, my name is Fatimah,
and my wish and will is a matter which thou canst bring to an end
for me by means of thy tongue ! " Quoth he, " What is't thou
wantest of me ? " and quoth she, " Tis my intent that on the
morrow 1 sham drunkenness with wine and cast myself before the
mansion of the Kazi of the Army. 1 Thou shalt find me there
strown upon the ground and dressed in all the best of my clothes
and finest ornaments. So when thou shalt come to that quarter
and espy me lying there in drink do thou bid the Linkman move
the links to and fro ; then come forward, O Mukaddam, 2 and
investigate the case and examine me, and say the Wall : This
girl is in liquor. The Chief of Police shall reply to thee: Take
her and carry her to the watch-house and keep her there till day-
break." 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

&& &cten f^untaD anU ^ixty-firgt Jiig&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

1 In text " Kazi al-'Askar"= the great legal authority of a country : vol. vi. 131-
8 Anglo- Indite " Mucuddum " = overseer, etc., vol. iv. 42.



The Gate-Keeper of Cairo and the Cunning She- Thief. 3 1 1

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 girl to the Mukaddam, " And when thou shalt have found me
drunken with wine, the Wali shall bid thee : Take her to the
watch-house and there keep her till daybreak. Hereto do thou
object : No ! this were not suitable : I will cry upon someone
of the quarter and will awake the Kazi of the Army, for that she
belongeth to his ward. Then assemble all thy folk and say to
them : Verily this girl is in liquor and not mistress of herself at
such time ; needs must she be of a great family and daughter to
grandees ; therefore 'twere not proper that we take her with us to
the watch-house ; nor let any hold her in his charge save the Kazi
of the Army till morning and until such time as she shall have
recovered her senses and can fare to her own folk." Hereupon
quoth the Mukaddam to her, " Easy enough ! " and quoth she,
" An thou act on this wise and my success be from thy hand, I
will give thee five hundred dinars besides the three hundred."
" This matter is not far to us," l said he ; so she left him and went
away. Now when it was the season after night-prayers, the Chief
of Police came forth his quarters and, repairing to the watch-
house and taking the Mukaddam and his men, would have
threaded the highways of Cairo as was his wont, but the head
Gate-Keeper forewent him and took the direction of the quarter
wherein dwelt the Kazi of the Army ; the Wali unknowing the
while what was in the man's thought. They ceased not faring
until they entered that part of the town wherein stood the Judge's
house, and when they approached it, lo and behold ! the Mukaddam
found a something strown upon the ground. So said he to the
Linkman who carried the light, " O my son, do thou shake the
torch," and when he moved the link to and fro it illumined the

* i.e. is not beyond our reach.



312 Supplemental Nights.

whole quarter. Then the Gate-Keeper came forward ; and, looking
at what was lying there, found it to be a damsel in liquor dressed
out with sumptuous dress and adorned with all her ornaments : so
he said to the Wali, " O my Chief, 1 this girl is drunken with wine
and hath fallen on the ground ;" and said the Chief of Police,
" Take her up and carry her to the watch-house until morning."
Hereupon quoth the Mukaddam, " No ! this were not fitting ; nor
is it possible for the like of this girl. She is in the ward of the
Kazi al-'Askar, to whose household haply she belongeth or to
some great man in the quarter, and we fear lest befal her of evil
matters some matter and we shall come to be transgressors."
Hereupon, after applying some remedy to the damsel, they made
her sit up and presently they called aloud upon the people of the
quarter and awoke the Judge and when all the folk came out
in a body the Wali said to them, " Look ye upon this girl ; per-
adventure you may know whose daughter she is." They came
forward and examined her and found her garbed in sumptuous
garments and trickt out with the whole of her ornaments, where-
upon the Chief of Police and the Mukaddam of the Watchmen
said to them, " Indeed 'tis not possible for us to remove yon
maiden from this place ; so do you take her to your homes until
morning-tide when she shall recover and be able to care for herself
and then fare to her own folk. Hereat they made agreement that
none should lodge her in his house save the Kazi of the Army ;
so a party of the servants raised her and led her to his mansion
and set her in a chamber hard by the open saloon ; after which
each and every of them fared forth to sleep in his own place. On
this wise it befel the Wali and the Mukaddam and the Kazi and
the folk of the ward ; but as regards the affair of the damsel whom
they found stretched on the ground as one drunken, she on
entering the Kazi's abode pulled herself together and recovered

1 In text " Ya Sultan-am" with the Persian or Turkish suffixed possessional
pronoun.



The Gate-Keeper of Cairo and the Cunning She- Thief. 3 1 3

herself, for that she had wrought all this wily work for the special
purpose of being led into the house there to carry out her wish
and will. Presently the Judge lay down and was drowned in
slumber and knew not what Allah had destined to him from the
plans and projects of the girl who, rising up at midnight, opened
the door of her chamber leading into the saloon where the Kazi
al-'Askar kept all his hoards and coin l and dresses and belongings.
Now she had appointed her people to meet her at that house, so
they came and carried off the whole of what was in the saloon
nor did they leave aught therein, at all, at all, save only the
matting. And when dawned the morn, the Kazi of the Army
arose and repaired to the saloon, as was his wont, for the purpose of
dressing but he found therein nothing except the matting. So he
buffeted his face with his palms and wailed aloud whereat a party
of his servants came to him and asked, " What is the matter with
thee, O our lord the Kazi ? " then, on going into the saloon they
remarked that it had been gutted of everything. So they went
from him and threw open the door of the chamber wherein they

had placed the damsel but they found her nowhere. And

Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and
ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dun-
yazad, " 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 eben ^unbrrt anto ixt*> - il){rtj Nigbt,

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

1 In text "mal," for which see vol. vi. 267. Amongst the Badawin it is also applied
lo hidden treasure.



Supplemental Nights.

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 Kazi's
folk went and threw open the door of the chamber wherein the
damsel had slept ; and, when they found nothing therein, they
were certified it was she who had carried away the good. After
such fashion it happened to these ; but as regards the action of the
Judge, he took horse and wended his way to the Sultan, and he
ceased not wending till he had entered the presence and salam'd
and blessed the Sovran who returned his salute. Then cried he,
" O King of the Age, there hath befallen me that which is so-and-
so, and I have a claim on the Chief of Police and the Mukaddam
of the watch, for that indeed they were the men who bade me
admit the girl into my home, and this guest of mine hath left me
nor muchel nor little." Hereupon the King bade summon the
men with their many, and when they came before him, he bade
strike off the heads of the two head men ; but they said to him,
" O King of the Age, grant us three days' respite and, if aught
discover itself to us and we rid ourselves of the responsibility, we
shall be saved ; but an we avail not thereto, the sword of the
Sultan is long." " Go forth," cried the King ; " I have granted
you a three days' delay ; if you bring the offender 'tis well, and if
not, your heads shall be in lieu thereof and eke so your families
and your properties." Hearing this they sued for dismissal, and
the Wali went forth to search in this way and wander in one
direction and the Mukaddam in another. They roamed about
Cairo for two full-told days, but naught happened to them until
the third about the call to noontide-prayers, when the Mukaddam
entered a narrow street on the side of the city to the west, and
behold, a door opened and a speaker spake saying," O Mukaddam,
who is behind the door ? " So he turned towards the sound and
said, "' 'Tis well," and the other cried, " Come thou and draw near



The Gate-Keeper of Cairo and the Cunning She- Thief. 315

to me." He did so and approached the entrance when suddenly he
saw the damsel who had shammed drunkenness l and whom they
had introduced into the Kazi al-'Askar's house. Now when he
accosted her and recognised her, he seized her and she asked him,
" Wherefore dost thou arrest me and what is thine intent to do
with me ? " " We will carry thee to the Sultan," answered he, " and I
and the Wali shall be set free. During the last three days I have
done nothing but wander about in search of thee who hast wrought
for us such work and after hast fled from us." Quoth the girl, " O
clever one, had I designed the ruin of you I had never made
myself manifest to thee, nor couldst thou have met me or
forgathered with me : however, I will now work at freeing you
from the hands of the Sultan, that both thou and the Wali may
escape and that you twain may take from the Judge of the Army
whatever of good you want and will." Quoth he, " How shall we
do ? " and quoth she, " I have by me a white slave-girl the very
likeness of myself and at this time I have dressed her in my dresses
and decorations and have cut her throat, and by my cleverness and
force of heart I have caused her be carried to a ruin hard by the
Kazi's house and have had her buried therein and have set over
her a slab. So do thou fare hence and taking the Wali seek the
Sultan and say him : " We have wandered about Misr, the whole
thereof, but we have found naught of our want, and now nothing
remaineth to us save the house of the Kazi al-'Askar ; so we desire
to search therein and, if we find that damsel murthered, we will
gather together the folk of the quarter who saw us before that they
may look upon her; and be the Judge also standing by that we
may ask the people : What say ye concerning this maiden ? when
haply they may reply, This is the girl which was drunken with
wine. And as soon as they shall bear witness that it is the same,
you twain shall stay behind to converse with the Judge as ye desire

1 I carefully avoid the obnoxious term "intoxication" which properly means
" poisoning," and should be left to those amiable enthusiasts the " Teetotallers."



3 * 6 Supplemental Nights.

and take from him whatever you wish and will ; and he shall sue
you for grace and for aidance. Then will he go up to the King and
report to him saying : I have found my debtor and I have recovered
from him all my good ; whereupon you shall be set free and eke
I shall be freed. And finally do ye come hither to me and we
will divide all the plunder I have taken from the Kazi's house,'*
Now when the damsel had made the old Watchman understand
these words, he left her, and going to the Wali, informed him of
the whole affair and reported all that the girl had communicated
to him of treachery and plottings, whereupon the Chief of Police
took horse, and accompanied by the Mukaddam, rode to the
Palace, - 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 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 Sovran 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 Wali
rode to the Palace, he and the chief Watchman, seeking the
Sultan, and they ceased not riding until they entered the presence
and saluted the Sovran, praying for the endurance of his glory
and the continuance of his life-tide. He returned their salute and
asked concerning the affair of his Judge and they answered him,
" O King of the Age, verily we have wandered about Misr and



The Gate-Keeper of Cairo and tlie Cunning She-Thief. 317

the entirety thereof, without finding any and now there remaineth
for our search naught save the quarters occupied by the Kazi al-
'Askar. So we design to examine it that if aught be found therein
we may be set free, and if not that thou work upon us thine own
intent." Hereupon the Sultan sent to summon the Judge ; and.
when he made act of presence, commanded him suffer the Waii
and the Mukaddam to search his quarters and he replied,
" Hearing and obeying." The whole forty then fared from the
Palace and reaching the Judge's mansion rummaged it until they
came upon the ruined stead described by the damsel ; so thither
they went and seeing a slab newly laid, pulled it up and found
beneath it a white girl full-dressed and ornamented. 1 The Watch-
man fared forth and summoned all the ward-folk who considered
narrowly the corpse of the murthered damsel, and they all cried
with a single voice, "Indeed this be the girl which was drunken
with wine and which was carried into the Kazi's quarters." And
they bore official testimony to such effect what while the Judge,
who was standing in that stead looking and listening, said to
himself, " How can such case have occurred to us without cause ? "
And when this business was finished, the Wali turned to the Kazi
and said " O Shaykh of Islam, 2 we left this damsel in thy charge
and to thine honour until morning-tide, deeming that haply she
might be the daughter of a grandee house and yet hast thou cut
her throat and hidden her within thy premises." But the Judge
could return to him no reply nor attempt any address, for he
feared lest the King should hear thereof; so he inclined to the
Master of Police and got ready for him an hundred purses and
twenty for the Mukaddam that they might keep silence and not
report such matter of scandal to the Sultan. Accordingly they
accepted that amount of money from him and the Kazi went forth



1 A sign of foul play ; the body not having been shrouded and formally buried.
8 For the title, the office and the date see vol. ix. 289.



3 1 8 Supplemental Nights.

from him and took horse and informed the Sultan that he had
found his debtor and had recovered his due ; but he spoke not
these words save for fear of the Chief of Police and the Head of
the Watchmen lest they inform the King that they had found the
murthered damsel within his demesne. Then the Mukaddam
repaired to the house where the She-thief had bespoken him and
standing at the door knocked thereat when those inside asked,
" Who mayest thou be ? " and he answered, " I am seeking
Fatimah ! " " Who is Fatimah ? " cried they, " we have here nor
Fatimah nor Hali'mah." 1 Thereupon quoth the Mukaddam,
" Indeed this Fornicatress, this Adulteress hath wrought upon us
and hath escaped us ; but, seeing that we also have won free by
virtue of the wile she pointed out to us, we will leave her to time
and doubtless during the length of days we twain shall forgather
again." On this wise endeth the story (quoth Shahrazad) ; but I
will now relate a very different adventure and 'tis the

1 The names are = Martha and Mary.



TALE OF MOHSIN AND MUSA,



32!



TALE OF MOHSIN AND MUSA. 1

IT fortuned once upon a time that two men went forth from the
same place, one foregoing the. other, and they forgathered by the
way. Now each had a bag full of flour and a flask 2 containing some-
what of water ; and when they made acquaintance on the road the
first of them said to his companion, " O my brother, what may be thy
name ? " and said the Second, " I am hight Mohsin, the Beneficent, 3
and thou what art thou called?" Quoth the other, " Musa the
Malignant." 4 So the two fared on in converse and whenever meal-
time came round, each would bring out a portion of meal and knead
it and make of it a scone, 5 and light a fire and bake it thereon :
after which they would satisfy their hunger. But Mohsin knew not
that had been doomed for him by his companion Musa the Mis-
doer, so the twain would fare together and feed together. On
the following day quoth Musa to Mohsin, " O my brother, I have
with me a bag of flour and a flask of water and thou hast the same,
and whenever eating-time cometh round each one bringeth out
somewhat of his vivers. Now this is not right ; 'twere the better



1 MS. vi. 57-77, not translated by Scott, who entitles it (vi. 461) " Mhassun, the
Liberal, and Mouseh, the treacherous Friend." It is a variant of " The Envier and the
Envied : " vol. i. 123.

2 The Arab, "Jarrah" : vol. viii. 177.

3 i.e. One who does good, a benefactor.

4 In the text "Musi wa Miizi," the latter word = vexatious, troublesome. [I notice
that in the MS. the name is distinctly and I believe purposely spelt with Hamzah above
the Waw and Kasrah beneath the Sin, reading " Muusf." Jt is, therefore a travesty of
the name Musa, and the exact counterpart of " Muhsin," being the active participle of
"asaa, 4th form of "saa," = he did evil, he injured, and nearly equivalent with the
following " Muuzl. 1 ' The two names may perhaps be rendered : Muhsin, the Beneficent,
and Muusi, the Malignant, the Malefactor. ST.]

5 In text " Fatfr " for " Fatfrah " = a pancake, before described.

VOL. V. X



322 Supplemental Nights.

way that we first eat that is with thee and when 'tis ended we use
my provaunt." " Tis well, O my brother," quoth Mohsin. They
agreed upon this condition and whenever moved by appetite they
ate of Moh&in's viaticum until his bag of flour and his flask of
water were clean emptied. But when the meal-hour came, Musa
arose and made for him a single scone and no more, and baked
it and ate it by himself, while Mohsin sat-by looking on. This
befel time after time for the first day and the second day until
Mohsin waxed anhungered and famine wrung his vitals, so quoth
he to Musa, " O my brother, give me somewhat of thy food that
I may nourish myself therewith, for indeed I am empty exceed-
ingly." But Musa made reply, " By Allah, I will not give it to
thee ; no, not a single mouthful." Rejoined Mohsin, " O my
brother, we two made covenant that we should become brethren,
and first eat of my provaunt and then of thine ; now, however,
thou art not pleased to grant me or bite or sup. This is not
the act of an honest man." He answered, " Be brief! an thou be
hungry I will give thee half of my scone on condition that I
pluck out thine eye." "How so, O my brother?' 1 rejoined
Mohsin, " Wilt thou blind me of one eye for the sake of half
a scone ? better leave me to die with my sight as it is." Said
Musa, " At thy pleasure ! " J But on the third day Mohsin was
like to sink for extreme hunger, and he cried, " There is no
Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the
Great. Do thou, O Musa, give the half-scone and pluck out one
of mine eyes." Musa did as he was bidden, and thrusting forth
his finger gouged 2 out the right eye, whereby Mohsin remained



1 In text " Bi-khatiri-k " = Thy will be done; the whole dialogue is in pure Fellah
speech.

2 Supposed to be American, but, despite Bartlett, really old English from Lanca-
shire, the land which has supplied many of the so-called "American" neologisms. A
gouge is a hollow chisel, a scoop ; and to gouge is to poke out the eye : this is done by
thrusting the fingers into the side-hair thus acting as base and by prising out the ball
with the thumb-nail which is purposely grown long.



Tale of Mohsin and Musa. 323

purblind, withal was he not filled by the half-scone. Now on the
fourth day Mohsin waxed yet more ravenous and famine was
right sore upon him, and he cried, " There is no Majesty ! by
Allah, O Musa, my brother, I am a-famished, so pity me and the
Lord shall pity thee." Replied the other, " I will give thee
nothing until I shall have gouged out thine other eye." Quoth
Mohsin, " Verily we are Allah's and unto him we shall return !
but, by the Almighty, famishing is bitter ; so do thou with me,
O Musa, what the Omniscient hath predestined as to the plucking
out of my two eyes." Accordingly the man gave him the half
scone and plucked out his other eye; and on such wise made
him stone blind. Hereupon Musa left his companion darkly
tramping * about the roads. Now in the neighbourhood of that
place was a well full of water ; 2 so when Mohsin drew near
knowing nothing thereof, Musa came up and pushed him there-
into ; and while falling into the pit Mohsin said to himself, " O
Lord, thou hast doomed me to blinding and at last Thou hast

condemned me to drowning." And Shahrazad was surprised by

the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted
say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, " How sweet is thy story,
O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable ! " Quoth she,
" And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on
the coming night an the King suffer me to survive " ? Now when
it was the next night and that was



1 [In the text : " Fa tarak-hu Muusi am'a dair yaltash fi M-Tarik." Latash has the
meaning of beating, tapping ; I therefore think the passage means : "hereupon Muusi



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 25 of 40)