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 3 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 3 of 40)
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1 W. M. MS. iv. 189: Scott (vi. 246-258) "Story of the Lovers of Syria; or, the
Heroine : " Gauttier (iv. 348-354) Histoire des Amans de Syrie.



22 Supplemental Nights,

seen until the second night fell when they mounted and rode for
two successive days, at the end of which they entered a town
seated on the shore of the sea. Here they found a ship equipped
for voyage, so they repaired to the Ra'is and hired for themselves
a sitting place ; after which the cousin went forth to sell the ass
and the she-mule, and disappeared for a short time. Meanwhile
the ship had sailed with the daughter of his uncle and had left
the youth upon the strand and ceased not sailing day after day for
the space of ten days, and lastly made the port she purposed and
there cast anchor. 1 Thus it befel them ; but as regards.the youth,
when he had sold the beasts he returned to the ship and found
her not, and when he asked tidings thereof they told him that she
had put to sea ; and hearing this he was mazed as to his mind and
sore amated as to his affair, nor wot he whither he should wend.
So he turned him inland sore dismayed. Now when the vessel
anchored in that port quoth the damsel to the captain, " O Ra'is, 2
hie thee ashore and bring for us a portion of flesh and fresh bread,"
and quoth he, " Hearkening and obedience," whereupon he betook
himself to the town. But as soon as he was far from the vesse^
she arose and donning male's dress said to the sailors, " Do ye
weigh anchor and set sail," and she shouted at them with the
shouting of seamen. Accordingly they did as she bade them and
the wind being fair and the weather favourable, ere an hour had
sped they passed beyond sight of land. 3 Presently the captain



1 Scott (vi. 246) comments upon the text : " The master of the ship having weighed
anchor, hoisted sail and departed : the lady in vain entreating him to wait the return of her
beloved, or send her on shore, for he was captivated with her beauty. Finding herself
thus ensnared, as she was a woman of strong mind . . . she assumed a satisfied
air ; and as the only way to preserve her honour, received the addresses of the
treacherous master with pretended complacency, and consented to receive him as a
husband at the first port at which the ship might touch."

2 The captain, the skipper, not the owner : see vols. i. 127 ; vi. 12 ; the fern,
(which we shall presently find) is " Ra'isah."

3 Scott (p. 247) has: "At length the vessel anchored near a city, to which the cap-
tain went to make preparations for his marriage ; but the lady, while he was on shore,
addressed the ship's crew, setting forth with such force his treacherous conduct to her-



History of the Lovers of Syria. 23

returned bringing bread and meat but he found ne'er a ship, so
he asked tidings of her and they answered, " Verily she is gone."
Hereupon he was perplext and he fell to striking hand upon hand
and crying out, " O my good and the good of folk ! " and he
repented whenas repentance availed him naught. Accordingly, he
returned to the town unknowing whither he should wend and he
walked about like one blind and deaf for the loss of his craft. But as
regards the vessel, she ceased not sailing with those within till she
cast anchor near a city wherein was a King ; and no sooner was
she made fast than the damsel arose and donning her most
sumptuous dress and decorations fell to scattering money amongst
the crew and saying to them, " Hearten your hearts and be not
afraid on any wise ! ' In due time the news of a fresh arrival
reached the Ruler, and he ordered his men to bring him tidings
concerning that vessel, and when they went for her and boarded
her they found that her captain was a damsel of virginal semblance
exceeding in beauty and loveliness. So they returned and reported
this to the King who despatched messengers bidding her lodge
with him for they had heightened their praises of her and the
excess of her comeliness, and he said in his mind, " By Allah, an
she prove as they describe her, needs must I marry her." But the
damsel sent back saying, " I am ,a clean maid, nor may I land
alone but do thou send to me forty girls, virgins like myself when

I will disembark together with them." 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

self, and offering such rewards if they Would convey her lo her lover at the port they had
left, that the honest sailors were moved in her favour, agreed to obey her as their
mistress, and hoisting sail, left the master to shift for himself."



24 Supplemental Nights.



Jptbe f^un&rrt antr

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 damsel
demanded of the King forty clean maids and said, " We will land,
I and they together," whereto he replied, " The right is with her."
Hereupon he ordered all those about him, the Lords of his land
and the Commons, that each and every who had in the house a
virginal daughter, should bring her to him until the full tale of
forty (the daughter of the Wazir being amongst them) was told
and he sent them on board the ship where the damsel was about
sitting d.own to supper. But as soon as the maidens came she met
them in her finest attire, none of the number being more beauteous
than herself, and she salam'd to them and invited them into the
cuddy 1 where she bade food be served to them and they ate and
were cheered and solaced, after which they sat down to converse
till it was the middle of the night. Now when sleep prevailed
over the girls they retired to their several berths, and when they
were drowned in slumber, the damsel arose softly and arousing
the crew bade them leave their moorings and shake out their
canvas ; nor did daylight dawn to them ere they had covered a fax-
distance. As soon as the maidens awoke they saw themselves on
board a ship amid the billows of the main, and as they asked the
Captainess she answered, "Fear not for yourselves or for the
voyage you are making ;" 2 and she gentled them and solaced them

1 In text "Kamrah," = the chief cabin, from the Gr. K cyiapa = vault; Pers.
Karaar ; Lat "Camera" or Camara" ; Germ. " Kammer." It is still the popular
term in Egypt for the "cuddy," which is derived from Pers. "Kadah" = a room.

Scott makes the doughty damsel (p. 249!, "relate to them her own adventures and
assure them that when she should have rejoined her lover, they should, if they chose



History of the Lovers of Syria. 25

until whatso was in their hearts was allayed. However, touching
the affair of the King, when morrowed the morn he sent to the ship
with an order for the damsel to land with the forty virgins, but
they found not the craft and they returned and reported the same
to their lord, who cried, " By Allah, this be the discreetest of deeds
which none other save she could have done." So he arose without
stay or delay and taking with him the Wazir (both being in dis-
guise), he went down to the shore and looked around but he could
not find what had become of them. And as regards the vessel carry-
ing the virgins she ceased not sailing until she made port beside a
ruined city wherein was none inhabitant, and here the crew cast
anchor and furled their sails when behold, a gang of forty pirate 1
men, ever ready to cut the highway and their friends to betray,
boarded them, crying in high glee, " Let us slay all in her and
carry off whatso we find." When they appeared before the damsel
they would have effected their intent ; but she welcomed them and
said, " Do ye return ashore : we be forty maids and ye forty men
and to each of you shall befal one and I will belong to your
Shaykh, for that I am the Captainess." Now when they heard
this they rejoiced with excessive joy and they said, " Walldhi, cur
night shall be a blessed one by virtue of your coming to us ;"
whereto she asked, " Have you with you aught of sheep ?" They
answered, "We have," and quoth she, "Do ye slay of them
somewhat for supper and fetch the meat that we may cook it for
you." So a troop of pirates went off and brought back ten Iambs
which they slaughtered and flayed and brittled. Then the damsel
and those with her tucked up their sleeves and hung up their
chauldrons 2 and cooked the meat after delicatest fashion, and when



it, be honourably restored to their homes ; but in the mean time she hoped they would
contentedly share her fortunes."

1 In text " Fidiwi," see "Fida'i " and " Fidawfyah," vol. iv. 281.

2 [In the text " Al-Kazanat," pi. of "Kazan, which occurs in Spitta Bey's tales
under the form "Kazan" on account of the accent. It is the Turkish **Kazghan,"



26 Supplemental Nights.



it was thoroughly done and prepared, they spread the trays and

the pirates came forward one and all, and ate and washed their

hands and they were in high spirits each and every, saying, " This

night I will take to me a girl." Lastly she brought to them coffee

which they drank, but hardly had it settled in their maws when

the Forty Thieves fell to the ground, for she had mixed up with

\t flying Bhang 1 and those who had drunk thereof became like

unto dead men. Hereupon the damsel arose without loss of time

and taking in her hand a sharp-grided sword fell to cutting off

their heads and casting them into the sea until she came to the

Shaykh of the Pirates and in his case she was satisfied with

shaving his beard and tearing out his eye-teeth and bidding the

crew cast him ashore. They did as she commanded, after which

she conveyed the property of all the caitiffs and having distributed

the booty amongst the sailors, bade them weigh anchor and shake

out their canvas. On this wise they left that ruined city until they

had made the middle of the main and they fared for a number of

days athwart the billowy deep nor could they hit upon their course

amongst the courses of the sea until Destiny cast them beside a

city. They made fast to the anchorage-ground, and the damsel

arose and donning Mameluke's dress and arraying the Forty

Virgins in the same attire all walked together and paced about the

shore and they were like garden blooms. When they entered the

streets they found all the folk a-sorrowing", so they asked one of

them and he answered, " The Sultan who over-reigneth this city is

dead and the reign lacketh rule." Now in that stead and under

the hand of the Wazir, was a Bird which they let loose at certain

times, and whenever he skimmed round and perched upon the head

of any man to him they would give the Sultanate. 2 By the decree

vulgarly pronounced " Kazan," and takes in Persian generally the form " Kazkan." In
Night 652 it will be met again in the sense of crucibles. ST.]

1 In text "Banj al-tayyar," i.e. volatile : as we should say, that which flies fastest to
the brain.

z This marvellous bird, the " Ter-il-bas " (Tayr Taus?), is a particular kind of peacock



History of the Lovers of Syria. 27

of the Decreer they cast the fowl high in air at the very hour
when the damsel was landing and he hovered above her and
settled upon her head (she being in slave's attire), and the city
folk and the lords of the land cried out, "Strange! passing
strange! " So they flushed the bird from the place where he had
alighted and on the next day they freed him again at a time when
the damsel had left the ship, and once more he came and settled
upon her head. They drove him away, crying, "Oh rare! oh
rare ! " but as often as they started him from off her head he
returned to it and alighted there again. " Marvellous ! " cried the
Wazir, " but Allah Almighty hath done this 1 and none shall object
to what Hedoeth nor shall any reject what He decreeth." Accord-
ingly, they gave her the Sultanate together with the signet-ring of
governance and the turband of commandment and they seated her
upon the throne of the reign. Hereupon she fell to ordering the
Forty Virgins who were still habited as Mamelukes and they served
the Sultan for a while of time, till one day of the days when the
Wazir came to the presence and said, " O King of the Age, I have
a daughter, a model of beauty and loveliness and I am desirous
of wedding her with the Sovran because one such as thou should
not remain in single blessedness." And Shahrazad was sur-
prised 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 delect-
able ! " 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 .;,



which is introduced with a monstrous amount of nonsense about " Dagon and his son
Bil-il-Sanan '" and made to determine elections by alighting upon the head of one of
the candidates in Chavis and Cazotte, " History of Yamalladdin ( Jamal al-Din), Prince
of Great Katay " (Khata = Cathay = China). See Heron, iv. 159.
1 Lit. " hath given it to him."



28 Supplemental Nights.



Jpfoe f^un&refc anto jptft^

DUNYAZAD said to her, " Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be other than sleepy finish for us thy tale that we may cut short

the watching of this our latter night ! " She replied : With

love and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that quoth the
Wazir to the Sultan, " I have a daughter, a model of beauty and
loveliness, and I am desirous of wedding her with the Sultan,
because one such as thou should not remain in single blessedness."
" Do whatso thou wishest," quoth the King, " and Allah prosper
thy doing." Hereupon the Wazir fell to preparing the marriage-
portion l of his daughter, and of forwarding her affair with the
Sultan, until her wedding appointments 2 and other matters were
completed. After this he caused the marriage-tie be tied, and
he brought her to the supposed Sultan where she lay for the first
night, but the damsel having performed the Wuzu ablution did
naught but pray through the hours of darkness. When dawned
the day the Wazir's wife which was the mother of the maiden
came to look upon her daughter and asked her of her case, and
the bride answered, " All the livelong night hath he passed in
orisons, nor came he near me even once." Quoth the mother,
" O my daughter, this be the first night, and assuredly he was



1 Arab. "Jihaz," the Egypt. "Gahaz," which is the Scotch "tocher," and must
not be confounded with the " Mahr "= dowry, settled by the husband upon the wife.
Usually it consists of sundry articles of dress and ornament, furniture (matting and bedding
carpets, divans, cushions and kitchen utensils), to which the Badawi add "Girbahs"
(water-skins) querns, and pestles with mortars. These are usually carried by camels from
the bride's house to the bridegroom's : they are the wife's property, and if divorced she
takes them away with her and the husband has no control over the married woman's
capital, interest or gains." For other details see Lane M.E. chapt. vi. and Herklots
chapt. xiv. sec. 7.

2 [Arab. "Shuwar"= trousseau, whence the verb "shawwara binta-hu"= he gave a
marriage outfit to his daughter. See Dozy Suppl.s.v, and Arnold's Chrestom. 157, I. ST.]



History of the Lovers of Syria. 29

ashamed, for he is young in years, and he knoweth not what to
do ; haply also his heart hangeth not upon thee ; and he is but a
raw lad. 1 However, on the coming night ye shall both enjoy your
desire." But as soon as it was the evening of the next day the
Sultan went in to his Harim and made the minor ablution, and
abode in prayer through the night until the morrow morrowed,
when again the mother came to see how matters stood, and
she asked her daughter, who answered, " All the dark hours
he hath passed in devotion, and he never approached me " Now
on the third- night it happened after like fashion, so the mother
said, " O my daughter, whenever thou shalt see thy husband sitting
by thy side, do thou throw thyself upon his bosom." The bride
did as she was bidden, and casting herself upon his breast cried,
" O King of the Age, haply I please thee not at all ; " whereat said
the other, " O light of mine eyes, thou art a joy to me for ever;
but I am about to confide to thee somewhat and say me canst thou
keep a secret ? " Quoth she, " Who is there like me for hiding
things in my heart ? " and quoth the other, "I am a clean maid,
and my like is thy like, but the reason for my being in man's habit
is that the son of my uncle, who is my betrothed, hath been lost
from me and I have been lost from him, but when Allah shall
decree the reunion of our lots he shall marry thee first and he shall
not pay the bridegroom's visit save unto thee, and after that to
myself." The Wazir's daughter accepted the excuse, and then
arising went forth and brought a pigeon whose weazand she split
and whose blood she daubed upon the snow-white sheet. 2 And
when it was morning and her mother again visited her, the bride

1 Arab. " Ghashim," see vol. ii. 330. It is a favouiite word in Egypt extending to
Badawi-land, and especially in Cairo, where it is looked upon as slighting if not insulting.

2 The whole of the scene is a replica of the marriage between Kamar al-Zaman and
that notable blackguard the Lady Budur (vol. iii. 21 1), where also we find the pigeon
slaughtered (p. 289). I have mentioned that the blood of this bird is supposed through-
out the East, where the use of the microscope is unknown, and the corpuscules are never
studied, most to resemble the results of a bursten hymen, and that it is the most used to
deceive the expert eyes of midwives and old matrons. See note to vol. iii. p. 280.



3O Supplemental Nights.

showed her this proof of her pucelage, and she rejoiced thereat and
her father rejoiced also. After this the Sultan ruled for a while of
time, but she was ever in deep thought concerning what device
could be devised in order to obtain tidings of her father and her
cousin and what had wrought with them the changes of times and
tides. So she bade edify a magnificent Hammam and by its side
a coffee house, 1 both nearhand to the palace, and forthwith she
summoned architects and masons and plasterers and painters, and
when all came between her hands she said to them, " Do ye take
a long look at my semblance and mark well my features for I desire
that you make me a carven image 2 which shall resemble me in all
points, and that you fashion it according to my form and figure,
and you adorn it aright and render it to represent my very self in
all proportions, and then bring it to me." They obeyed her order
and brought her a statue which was herself to a nail, so she looked
upon it and was pleased therewith. Then she ordered them set the
image over the Hammam-door, so they placed it there, and after
she issued a firman and caused it to be cried through the city that
whoso should enter that Bath to bathe and drink coffee, should do
so free and gratis and for naught. When this was done the tongues
of the folk were loosed with benison, and they fell to praying for
the Sultan and the endurance of his glory, and the permanence of
his governance till such time as the bruit was spread abroad by the
caravans and travellers, and the folk of all regions had heard of the
Hammam and the coffee-house. Meanwhile the Sultan had sum-
moned two eunuchs and ordered them and repeatedly enjoined them
that whoso might approach the statue and consider it straitly him
should they seize and bring before the presence. Accordingly, the
slaves fared forth and took their seats before the doors of the

1 Scott (p. 254) makes his heroine "erect a most magnificent caravanserai, furnished
with baths hot and cold, and every convenience for the weary traveller." Compare this
device with the public and royal banquet (p. 212) contrived by the slave-girl sultanesB,
the charming Zumurrud or Smaragdine in the tale of Ali Shar, vol. iv. 187.

2 In text " Shakhs," see vol. iii. 26 ; viii. 159.



History of the Lovers of Syria. 3 1

baths. After a while of time the father of the damsel who
had become Sultan wandered forth to seek her, 1 and arrived at
that city, where he heard that whoso entered the Hammam
to bathe and afterwards drank coffee did this without cost;
so he said in his mind, " Let me go thither and enjoy myself."
Then he repaired to the building and designed to enter, when
behold, he looked at the statue over the gateway, and he stood
still and considered it with the tears flowing adown his cheeks, and
he cried, " Indeed this figure be like her ! ' But when the eunuchs
saw him they seized him and carried him away until they had led
him to the Sultan his daughter, who, seeing him, recognised him
forthright, and bade set apart for him an apartment and appointed
to him rations for the time being. The next that appeared was
the son of her uncle, who also had wandered as far as that city
seeking his cousin, and he also having heard the folk speaking
anent a free entrance to the Baths, said in himself, " Do thou get
thee like others to that Hammam and solace thyself." But when
he arrived there he also cast a look at that image and stood before
it and wept for an hour or so as he devoured it with his eyes, when
the eunuchry beholding him seized and carried him off to the Sultan,
who knew him at first sight. So she bade prepare a place for him
and appointed to him rations for the time being. Then also came
the Ra'is of the ship, who had reached that city seeking his lost
vessel, and when the fame of the free Hammam came to his ears,
he said in his mind, " Go thou to the Baths and solace thyself."
And when he arrived there and looked upon the statue and fixed
his glance upon it he cried out, " Wallahi ! 'tis her very self."
Hereupon the eunuchry seized him and carried him to the Sultan
who seeing him recognized him and placed him in a place apart
for a while of time. Anon the King and the Wazir, who were



1 This assemblage of the dramatis personse at the end of the scene, highly artistic and
equally improbable, reminds us of the ending of King Omar bin al-Nu'uman (vol. iii. 1 12).



32 Supplemental Nights.

responsible for the Forty Virgins came to that city. And Shah-

razad 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 delec-
table ! " 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



anti ^ebcntfr

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 King accom-
panied by the Wazir came to that city seeking the lost Forty
Virgins and when the twain had settled there and were stablisht
at ease their souls longed for the Baths and they said each to
other, " Hie we to the Hammam that we may wash away the dirt
which be the result of travel." So they repaired to the place and
as they entered the gateway they looked up and fixed their eyes
upon the statue ; and, as they continued to gaze thereupon, the
eunuchs who sighted them seized them and carried them off to
the Sultan. 1 When they stood between her hands and they
beheld the Forty Mamelukes who were also before her, the Wazir's
glance happened to fall upon his daughter who was on similar wise
in slave's habit, and he looked at her with the tears flowing adown
his cheeks and he said in his mind. " Wallahi ! Verily this Mame-
luke is like my child as like can be." Hereupon the Sultan con-

1 The King and the Minister could not have recognised the portrait as neither had



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 3 of 40)