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 27 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 27 of 40)
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must I have his wench disgraced and proclaimed by bell 3 about
the thoroughfares of Cairo and him dishonoured in the presence
of the Sultan and degraded from his degree." Now when it was
morning-tide a rumour flew about town that the Judge's daughter
had been seized by the Wali and the watch together with the
young Shalabi in a certain place and presently the report reached
her father who cried, " There is no Majesty and there is no Might
save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! O Saving God, save me !
Oh vile disgrace and foul dishonour before Sultan and subjects
who shall say the Kazi's daughter hath been seduced and abused.

1 Here the public gaol is in the Head Policeman's house. So in modern times it is
part of the Wali or Governor's palace and is included in the Maroccan " Kasbah " or
fortalice.

* In text "Naakhaz bi-lissati-him ; " " Luss " is after a fashion A^OTIJS ; bu t the
Greek word included piracy which was honourable, whenas the Arab, term is mostly
applied to larcenists and similar blackguards. [I would read the word in the text
" Balsata-hum," until I have received their " ransom." ST.]

3 In the text " Tajds" which I have rendered by a circumlocution. [For the exact
meaning of " Tajris see Dozy, Suppl.StV. "jarras," where an interesting passage from
Mas'iidi is quoted. ST.]

VOL. V. Y



338 Supplemental Nights.

However may the Veiler enveil me ! " On his part the Wall went
up to the Palace and sought the Sovran to acquaint him therewith ;
but, finding that he had business, he sat him down to await its
ending when he purposed informing him concerning the daughter
of his enemy the Chief Kazi. On such wise it befel him ; but as
regards the wife of the youth who was lover to the girl, as soon as
the rumour reached her that the Shalabi had been arrested by the
Wali and the watch, she arose to her feet without stay and delay
and doffing whatso of woman's dress was upon her - 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



ebcn p^untireO anti ebentg - fourt!)



DUNYAZAD said to her, " Allah upon thec, 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 as soon as the
Shalabi's wife was informed touching her husband how the Wali
had seized him in company with the Kazi's daughter, she arose
forthright and doffing whatso of woman's dress was upon her and
donning man's disguise provided herself with somewhat of pro-
vaunt 1 and went forth intending for the gaol in the Wali's house.

1 In Moslem lands prisoners are still expected to feed themselves, as was the case in
England a century ago and is still to be seen not only in Al-Islam, Egypt and Syria, but
even in Madeira and at Goa.



Mohammed the Shalabi and his Mistress and his Wife, 339

She asked for the road as she went and a man of the people
directed her to the office until she reached the place carrying her
victuals ; then she enquired for the gaoler. So they made him
meet her and quoth she, " Open to me the prison wherein they have
gaoled the Shalabi and the maiden," and she promised him by signs
a gold piece ; hereupon he admitted her and she passed into the
room where lay her spouse and the girl and set meat before him.
But he knew her not and cried, " Indeed I will nor eat nor drink,
and do thou fare from me and leave me in this my plight." Quoth
she, " Nay, thou must eat and gladness shall befal thee." Accord-
ingly he carne forward and ate a small matter and she after sitting
with him for an hour or so, arose and doffed her man's dress. Then
she stripped the Kazi's daughter of all the clothes she was wearing
and garbed her in the masculine garb wherewith she had entered
to the twain. The young lady did as she was bidden and showed
likest to the Shalabi's wife who lastly served her with what
remained of the meat and said to her, " Up with thee and hie thee
home." So the Kazi's daughter fared forth under the disguise of
a dainty youth such an one as he who anon had entered the gaol ;
and as soon as she had wended her way the wife took seat beside
her husband. When he saw her habited in the habit of the Kazi's
daughter he recognised her and knew her for his spouse ; so he
asked of her, " What hath brought thee hither ? " and she answered,
" I have come with this contrivance for the purpose of saving thee
and of saving the honour of the girl thou lovest." But as soon as
the Kazi's daughter had departed in her disguise the gaoler was
deaf to entreaty and closed the prison doors upon the pair and
the Shalabi and his spouse sat down together and his heart was
satisfied and his secret was safe-directed, 1 and fell from him all
the sorrow which had settled upon his heart. Such was the case



1 In text " Huda Sirru-hu," i.e. his secret sin was guided (by Allah) to the safety of
concealment. [A simpler explanation of this passage would perhaps be: " wa had
Sirru-hu," = and his mind was at rest. ST.]



34O Supplemental Nights.

with these two ; but as regards the Chief of Police, when he went
up to the Sultan and saw that he was busied he took patience
until the work was ended, after which he came forward and kissed
ground before him and salam'd to him and blessed him. The
King returned his salute and then said, "What is to do? "and
said he, " O King of the Age, I found during the past night the
Lady Sitt al-Husn, daughter to the Kazi al-'Askar, companying
with her lover a certain Mohammed Shalabi son of the Emir
Such-and-such ; so I seized the couple and confined them by me
and now I myself come to report the case in thy presence." When
the Sultan heard these words, he was wroth with exceeding wrath
and his eyes flashed red and his outer jugulars 1 swelled and he
foamed at the mouth and roaring cried, " How can it be that the
daughter of the Kazi al-Islam companieth with a lover and
alloweth herself to be debauched ? By Allah, needs must I slay
her and slay her father and slay the youth her lover." Thus befel
it with the Sultan and the Wali ; but as regards the matter of the
girl Sitt al-Husn, when she went forth the prison in the dress of a
Shalabi, a dainty youth, she ce sed not wending till she reached
her paternal home. Here she repaired to a place which was
private and having doffed her man's dress garbed her in maidenly
garments, then retiring secretly to her own room lay her down
and her heart was heartened and trouble and turmoil and travail
of mind fell from her. Now at that time her mother was lament-

1 Arab. " Audaj " (plur. of " Wadaj ") a word which applies indiscriminately to the
carotid arteries and jugular veins. The latter, especially the external pair, carry blood
from the face and are subject abnormally to the will : the late lamented Mr. Charley Peace,
who murdered and "burgled" once too often, could darken his complexion and even
change it by arresting jugular circulation. The much-read Mr. F. Marion Crawford
(Saracinesca, chapt. xii.) makes his hero pass a foil through his adversary's throat, " with-
out touching the jugular artery (which does not exist) or the spine." But what about
larynx and pharynx? It is to be regretted that realistic writers do not cultivate a little
more personal experience. No Englishman says " in guard" for " on guard." " Colpo
del Tancredi " is not = " Tancred's lunge " but " the thrust of the (master) Tancredi : "
it is quite permissible and to say that it loses half its dangers against a left-handed man
is to state what cannot be the fact as long as the heart is more easily reached from the
left than from the right flank.



Mohammed the Shalabi and his Mistress and his Wife. 34 1

ing like a funeral mourner and buffeting her face and her breast
and kept crying out, "Oh the shame of us ! Oh the dishonour of
us ! When they shall have informed the Sultan of this, he
shall surely slay her sire." And the Kazi waxed distraught
and full of thought and he also said in his mind, " How shall I
remain Kazi al-Islam when the folk of Cairo say : Verily the
daughter of our Lord High Chancellor hath been debauched ? "
With these words he kept visiting his wife's apartment and sitting
with her for awhile, then faring forth and coming in from place to
place 1 and he wandered about like one bewildered of wits. When
behold, a handmaid of the handmaidens entered the room wherein
lay the Kazi's daughter and finding her strown upon her bed
looked upon her and recognised her. So she left her and running
in hen haste, hied her to the mistress and cried, O my lady, indeed
Sitt al-Husn of whom you are talking is lying down in such a
room of the Harem." Thereupon the mother arose and went
and came upon her daughter, so she rejoiced in her and returning
to the Kazi in his apartment acquainted him therewith. He also
repaired to his daughter's bower and finding her therein quoth he,
" Where hast thou been ? " Quoth she, " O rny father, my head
began to ache after sunset-time, so I lay me down in this place."
Hereupon without stay or delay the Kazi took horse, he and his

Officials, and repaired to the Sultan 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 delect-
able ! " 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 Lit. "Then faring forth and sitting in his own place." I have modified the too
succinct text which simply means that he was anxious and agitated.



342 Supplemental Nights.



anU J5eoems=sfxtf)

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 goodwill ! 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 of
the Army repaired to the Sultan, he and the whole of his officials,
and he ceased not wending until he entered the presence, where
he salam'd and said, " O King of the Age, is it lawful and allowed
of Allah Almighty that thy Wali charge us with calumnious charge
and false ? " As the Chief of Police was standing hard by, the
Sultan asked him, " How can the Wali have mispoken thee and
thy daughter when she is still imprisoned by him and in his
house ? " whereto the Chief of Police added, " Tis true! his daughter
is surely with us in durance vile, she along with her lover, for
indeed I found the pair in such a place." Said the Kazi, " O
King of the Age, I will abide here beside thee and do thou let
the Wali go down and bring before thee that which is with him in
gaol, and the case shall be made manifest, because hearing with
the ear is not like eyeing with the eye." The Sultan replied,
" This rede is right," whereupon the Chief of Police returned to
his house and ordered the gaoler to open the gaol and bring
thereout the maiden Sitt al-Husn and her lover the youth
Mohammed Shalabi. The man did his bidding and leading
forth of prison the couple committed them to the Chief of Police
who took them and fared with them to the Sovran, rejoicing the
while with all joy. The citizens of Cairo heard of all this, so they
flocked in crowds to solace them with the spectacle ; and when
the Wali reached the presence, the maiden and the young man
being with him, he set them before the Sultan. Presently the



Mahommed the Shalabi and his Mistress and his Wife. 343

King asked the youth saying, "Who mayest thou be, O young
man, and who is thy father ? " and answered he, " I am son of
such an Emir ; when the King who believed that she was the
daughter of the Chief Kazi continued, " And this maiden that is
with thee, who may she be and whose daughter ? " The youth
replied, " This is my wife, O King of the Age," and the King
rejoined, " How can she be thy wife ? " So the youth retorted,
" Indeed she is ; and Such-an-one and So-and-so and Such-another
together with a host of thy favoured courtiers wot right well that
she is my spouse and that she is the daughter of So-and-so."
Hereupon they accosted her and bespoke her and she bespake
them, so they recognized her and were certified that she was
lawful wife to the Shalabi. Then asked the King, " How is it
that the Wall arrested thee and her ? " and the youth answered,
" O King of the Age, I went out with this my wife intending to
enjoy ourselves and, finding a place that was cheerful and pleasant
we tarried there until midnight when the Wali broke in upon us
and seized us, scandalously declaring that I was companying with
the Kazi's daughter. Then he carried us off and gaoled us in his
house and now (Alhamdolillah !) here we are between thy hands.
So do thou whatso thou will and command according to Holy
Law and whoever shall deserve chastisement deal it to him, for
thou art the lord of our necks and the master of our good." Now
when the youth spake these words the King bade put to death the
Chief of Police and harry his house and enslave his women and
he commanded the Crier before the execution to cry about the
thoroughfares of Cairo in front of the Wali that he was being led
to die and declare, "This is the award of him who dishonoureth
the noble and chargeth the folk with lying charges and false ! "
After that they slew the Chief of Police and thus carried out the

King's commandment. 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



344 Supplemental Nights.

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



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 after the
Wali had been put to death the Sultan bestowed his good upon
Mohammed Shalabi and having gifted him with munificent gifts
sent him home with his spouse in all honour. And when the
youth returned to his quarters he fell to kissing his wife's hands
and feet, for that he had been saved at her hands by the stratagem
she had wrought for him and she had preserved the honour of the
Kazi's daughter and had enabled her father to prevail over his
enemy the Wali. 1 " And now I will relate to thee " (quoth
Shahrazad) " another tale touching the wiles of women ; " and
thereupon she fell to recounting the story of



1 After this in the text we have only, " End of the Adventure of the Kazi's Daughter.
It is related among the many wiles of women that there was a Fellah-man," etc. I have
supplied the missing link.



'JHE FELLAH AND HIS WICKED WIFE,



347



THE FELLAH AND HIS WICKED WIFE. 1

THERE was of olden time in the land of Egypt a Fellah, or tiller
of the ground, who had a fair woman to wife and she had another
man to friend. The husband used to sow every year some fifty
faddan 2 of seeding-wheat wherein there was not one barley-grain,
and grind it in the mill and pass this meal to his spouse who
would sift it and bolt it. Then would she take the softest and best
of the flour to make thereof either scones or cakes 3 or something
more toothsome which she would give to her friend and feed him
therewith, whereas the refuse of the flour 4 she would make into
loaves for her husband so this bread would be ruddy-brown of
hue. 5 Now every day about dawn-time the Fellah was wont fare
to his field either to ear or to delve and tarry there working till
noon at which time the wife would send him the bread of bran
and refuse flour, whilst to those beside him who wrought as he did,



1 On the margin of the W. M. MS. (vi. 92) J. Scott has written : " This story bears a
faint resemblance to one in the Bahardanush." He alludes to the tale I have already
quoted. I would draw attention to " The Fellah and his wicked Wife," as it is a
characteristic Fellah-story showing what takes place too often in the villages of Modern
Egypt which the superficial traveller looks upon as the homes of peace and quiet. The
text is somewhat difficult for technicalities and two of the pages are written with a badly
nibbed reed-pen which draws the lines double.

2 The " Faddan '' (here miswritten " Faddad ") = a plough, a yoke of oxen, a "caru-
cate " which two oxen can work in a single season. It is also the common land-measure
of Egypt and Syria reduced from acre i'i to less than one acre. It is divided into
twenty-four Kirats (carats) and consists or consisted of 333 Kasabah (rods), each of these
being 22-24 Kabzahs (fists with the thumb erect about = 6J inches). In old Algiers
the Fadddn was called "Zuijah" ( = a pair, i.e. of oxen) according to Ibn Khaldun
i. 404.

3 In text "Masbiibah."

4 Arab. " Dashish," which the Diets, make = wheat-broth to be sipped. [" Dasbfsh "
is a popular corruption of the classical " Jashish " = coarsely ground wheat (sometimes
beans), also called " Sawik," and " Dashishah " is the broth made of it. ST.]

4 In text " Ahmar " = red, ruddy-brown, dark brown.



34 8 Supplemental Nights.

would be brought from their homes white bread and clean. So
they said, " Ho certain person ! thy wheat is from fine sowing-
seed, nor is there in it a barley-corn, how then be your bread like
unto barley?" Quoth he, " I know not." He remained in such
case for a while of time whilst his wife fed her playmate with all
the good food and served to her husband the vilest of diet, until
one chance day of the days the Fellah took his plough and went
off at early dawn to work and wrought till midday when his wife
sent him his dinner of dirty bread. Hereupon he and his neigh-
bours, who were earing in the same field, took seat and each one
set before him white bread and seeing the Fellah's scones brown as
barley-meal they marvelled thereat. They had with them a scald-
head boy who was sitting with them at the noon-meal, so they said
to the peasant, " Take thee to servant this youngster and he shall
manifest thee the case wherein thou art from the doings of thy

dame." He obeyed their bidding 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

|)e Sbcben f^utt&rcfc anfc cbentp=dcif)tf) JltQfJt.

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 Fellah
obeyed their bidding and took with him the scald-head youngster
for house-service and on the second day the lad fell to grinding



The Fellah and his Wicked Wife. 349

at the mil! and carried trie meal to his mistress and sat beside
her and anon she rose and sifted and bolted the flour ; still he stayed
by her stealthily watching ner while she kneaded it and balled it and
breaded it. Aftsr this he carried off the early meal for his master
and faring to the field set it before him and when the Fellah
looked upon it he cried, " O Boy, by Allah this bread is white and
'tis clean unlike the foregone." Quoth he, " O my master, I have
ground it with my own hands and I sat beside my mistress the
while she got it ready, kneading it and baking it, wherefor she
availed not to do aught else with it." Now when the servant-lad
had left the hut her lover came in asking, " Hast thou made bread
for me ? " and she answered, " Indeed the boy with the scald-head
ceased not sitting beside me, nor was I able to bake aught for
thee." But when the lad had gone forth to the field with his
master's dinner he set it before him and returned in hot haste and
hurry to the house, where he found the friend of his mistress con-
versing with her ; so he hid himself behind the door and fell to
overhearing them and to noting whatso they said. Amongst other
things quoth she, " Take this quartern of good wheat and clean
grain and grind it in this mill and I will make thee a platter of
bread from handrubbed flour l which I will send to thee on the
morrow." Asked he, " How shalt thou know the field ? " and she
answered, " Carry with thee a basket of bran and drop the contents
as thou walkest along the highway ; then leave it hard by the
land belonging to thee and I will follow the traces and find thee
a-field ; and so do thou remain at rest." All this and the scald-
head boy was standing behind the door hearkening to their words
until he had understood them all. On the next day the lad took
a basket of bran which he scattered on the way to his master's

1 In text " Kas'at (= a wooden platter bowl) afrukah." [The " Mafrukah," an
improvement upon the Fatfrah, is a favourite dish with the Badawf, of which Dozy
quotes lengthy descriptions from Vansleb and Thevenot. The latter is particularly
graphical, and after enumerating all the ingredients says finally : " ils en foot une grosse
pate dont Us prennent de gros morceaux. ST.



35O Supplemental Nights.

land and then sat with him whilst the wife, after baking the platter
full of scones, carried it upon her head and fared forth intending
for her lover in the field. She marked the traces of the bran
which the scald-head had dropped and she ceased not following
them until she came to her husband's field. Hereupon the lad
arose and taking the platter from her said, " By Allah, O my
master, verily my mistress loveth thee and favoureth thee, for that
she hath brought a bannock made from handrubbed grain ; and
so saying he set it before him. Presently she looked out of the
corner of her eye and saw her lover ploughing at a little distance
from them ; so she said to her husband, " Allah upon thee, O
certain person, call aloud to so-and-so our neighbour that he may
come and eat the noon-meal with thee." The man said, " 'Tis
well ;" and presently added, " O Boy, go forth and shout to such-
an-one." Now the lad had brought with him a parcel of green
dates, so he arose and scattered them at intervals upon the high-
way ; and when he came to his mistress's lover he cried aloud, " Do
thou come dine with my master." But the man refused so to do
wherefore the scald-head returned and said, u He will not ; " and
hereupon the wife bade her husband go himself and fetch him.
The Fellah trudged along the highway and finding thereon the
scattered dates bowed himself downwards to gather them when the
lover said to himself, " This one is picking up stones wherewith to
beat me ; " * and as he saw the man often stoop he fled and left the
place, and the more the other cried to him, " Come hither, O

certain person," the faster sped he in his running. And Shah-

razad 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

1 The Fellah will use in fighting anything in preference to his fists and a stone tied up
in a kerchief or a rag makes no mean weapon for head- breaking.



The Fellah and his Wicked Wife. 351

Sovran suffer me to survive? ' : Now when it was the next night



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 27 of 40)