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 30 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 30 of 40)
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my trust in Allah, for the Forewritten hath no flight therefrom."
Anon he loosed the stallion's chains after harnessing and girthing
him straitly ; then, throwing his right leg over his back * mounted
thereupon with a spring and settled himself in selle and came forth.
And all who looked at that steed were unable to stand upon
the road until the Prince had ridden forwards and had overtaken
the rest of his suite without the town, whence they sought the
hunting-grounds. But when they were amiddlemost the waste
lands and beyond sight of the city, the courser glanced right and
left and tossed his crest and neighed and snorted and ran away ;
then shaking his head and buck-jumping under the son of
the Sultan bolted 2 with him until he became like a bird
whereof is seen no trace nor will trick avail to track. 3 When his
folk beheld him they were impotent to govern their horses until
their lord had vanisht from their view, nor had anyone the muscle
or the manhood to keep up pursuit. So waxing perplext and
wildered in their wits they sought counsel one of other saying,
" Let each and every of us ride by a separate road until such a
day when haply we shall meet him." Hereupon the whole party
dispersed and all took their own directions seeking the Prince ; and
they stinted not search, anon putting out to speed and anon retra-
cing their steps 4 and then returning by the same road. This



' In text " Itowwaha," which is repeated in p. 146, 1.2. [" Ittawwah " seems to
be the modern Egyptian 5th form of " Tauh." In classical Arabic it would be
" tatawwah," but in the dialect of to-day the prefix becomes "it," whose final dental
here assimilates with the initial palatal of the root ; p. 146 the word is correctly spelt
with two Tashdids. The meaning is : he threw himself (with his right foot foremost)
upon the horse's back. Instances of this formation, which has now become all but
general in Egyptian, are not unfrequent in old Arabic, witness chapters Ixxiii. and Ixxiv.
of the Koran, which begin with "ayyuha '1-Muddassiru " and " ayyuha 'l-Muzzam-
milu " respectively. ST.]

In text " Ramaha bi-h."

3 The vowel points in the MS. show this to be a quotation.

4 In text " Yarju," I presume an error for "yarja'u." [I believe "yarju " is an error
for " yajru," and the various paces to which they put their horses are meant : sometimes
they galloped (ramahu), sometimes they trotted (Pedro de Alcala gives "trotar" for
"jari yajri"), sometimes they ambled (yasirii). ST.]



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of A I- Irak. 383

endured for five days when not a soul came upon their liege lord,
bo they waxed distraught nor could they find right guidance to
aught they should do. However when the trysting-day came, all
gathered together and said, " Fare we to the Sultan and acquaint
we him with this and let him devise a device for the matter of his
son ; because this youth is his father's prop and stay, nor owneth
he any other than this one." Hereupon they set out citywards
and ceased not riding until they drew near the capital where they
found a marquee pitched without the walls, and having considered
it they knew it to be the King's own. So they drew near it and
there found the Chamberlains and Nabobs and officers of high com-
mandment standing round about it, and when they asked saying,
" What is the cause for setting up yonder tent in such place ? " they
were answered, " Verily, whenas his son fared from him designing
to hunt and bird, on the next day his heart was straitened for the
Youth and he wist not what had befallen him. On the first night
when the Prince fared forth from him and disappeared, all went
well, but on the second his breast was straitened and in his vitals
he sensed a change and 'twas at the hour when the stallion began
buck-jumping with his child and running away. Anon he lost all
patience and was unable to endure session within his Palace so he
commanded pitch his pavilion without the walls and here we have
been sitting for a space of six days, awaiting the escort to return."
As the party drew near the marquee the bruit of them went abroad

until it came to the King's ears. 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 sur-
vive ? " Now when it was the next night and that was



Supplemental Nights.



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 King
feeling his breast a-straitened bade pitch his pavilion without the
walls and tarried therein for a space of six days and on the seventh
appeared his son's suite which had been left behind when the horse
ran away with the Prince, nor did any know what direction the
beast had taken. As soon as the bruit went abroad and came to
the ears of the bereaved father, he cried out with a single outcry
and fell to the ground aswoon, and the fainting fit lasted for two
days. But v/hen he came to himself and asked after his son, the
suite reported all that had befallen the youth from the stallion and
at that moment the King recalled to mind the Voice which had
spoken saying, " All things befal by Fate and Fortune ;" and had
declared, " Resignation to the trials sent by Allah is first and best
till such time as Destiny shall win to her end." " If" (he mused)
" my lot be forgathering with him anywheres then needs must it
be ; and, if otherwise, we will be patient under the All-might of
Allah Most Highest." Such was the case with these ; but as
concerns the young Prince, 1 when the stallion started off with him
and bolted and became like a bird flying between the firmament
and terra firma, he suffered nor fatigue nor emotion , nay, he sat
contented upon the beast's back, for that had he hent in hand a
cup full of coffee naught thereof would have been spilt. And the
stallion ceased not galloping at speed with him through the live-



1 In text " Sailh the Sayer of this say so wondrous and this delectable matter seld
seen and marvellous," which I omit as usual.



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of Al-Irak. 38$

long day until night came on when, seeing a lake, he halted by the
side of it. The Prince thereupon dismounted and withdrawing
the bridle offered him water which he drank ; then he foddered
him with forage which he ate, for our Lord had subjected to him
that steed till it became between his hands like one familiar from
the first and, as the youth had somewhat of provaunt in his
budget he drew tbrth of it and took food. But the Prince knew
not whither the horse was minded to bear him and the Fiat of
Fate drove him to the matter foredoomed to him from Eternity.
So after that time as often as he mounted and let loose the bridle
thongs, 1 the horse paced unguided on those wilds and wastes
and hills and dales and stony leas, and whenever they drew near
a city or a town the son of the Sultan dismounted from his steed ;
and, leaving him where he was, went into the streets in order to
bring provaunt and forage, after which he could return to his beast
and feed him in the same place. And he ceased not wayfaring
until he drew near a city where he designed to dismount as was
his wont and lay in somewhat of vivers and fodder, so he alighted
and leaving his horse outside the houses he went in to satisfy his
need. Now by the decree of the Decreer the King of that Capital
had left it on an excursion to hunt and bird, and he chanced return
at that moment and as he drew near the walls behold, he found
the steed standing alone and harnessed with trappings fit for the
Kings. The Sultan was astounded when he looked upon this
and being on horseback himself he designed to draw near and
catch the animal, and when he came close he put forth his hand.
But the steed was scared with the scaring of a camel, and the King
bade his followers form ring around him and seize him ; so they
gat about him and designed to catch him and lead him away, when
suddenly the steed screamed a scream which resounded throughout
the city and when the horses heard the cry of that stallion they



1 In text " Sar'a M-Lijam."
VOL. V, 30



386 Supplemental Nights.

turned with their riders in headlong flight and dispersed one from
other. And amongst them was the Sultan, who, when his courser,
ran away with him, strove hard to pull him up and control him,
but he lost all power and whilst the rest of the horses were
trembling under their riders he swooned and fell to the ground.
Presently the followers came to his aid and found him in fainting
condition, so they propped him up and sprinkled somewhat of
water upon him, when he recovered and asked them, " Where is
the horse ?" Answered they, " He is still standing in the same
place ;" and quoth he, " Wallahi, needs must this affair have a
cause, and do ye lie awaiting him and see whither he will wend,
for this beast God wots must be of the Jinns." On this wise it
befel them ; but as regards the horse's owner, the son of the
Sultan, when he entered the city seeking to buy somewhat of
victual and fodder, he heard the scream of the steed and recognised
it, but of the city-folk all who had hearkened to that outcry felt
their hearts fluttering with extreme affright; so each one rose and
padlocked his shop and hardly believed that he could reach his
house in safety and this continued until the capital (even within its
bazars) became empty like a waste, a ruin. Hereupon quoth the
youth, " By Allah, needs must some matter of the matters have
befallen the horse," and so saying he went forth the city and
walked on till he neared the site where he had left the steed when,
behold, he came suddenly upon a party of people in the middle-
most whereof appeared one sitting and trembling in all his limbs,
and he saw the attendants standing about him and each one
holding in hand a horse. So he drew near him and asked him
what was to do and they acquainted him with the affair of the
stallion and his scream and the cause of the man being seated ;
and this was none other than the Sultan who had been seized with
affright and had fainted at the outcry of the Father of a Pigeon.
Hereupon he fell to conversing with them and they knew not that
he was the owner of the steed until such time as he asked them,



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of A I- Irak. 387

" And doth not any of you avail to draw near him ?" Answered
they, " O Youth, indeed there is none who can approach him.'*
Quoth he, " This is a matter which is easy to us and therein is no
hindrance;" and so saying he left them and turned towards the
courser who no sooner saw him than he shook his head at him ;
and he approached the beast and fell to stroking his coat and
kissing him upon the brow. After this he strewed somewhat of
fodder before him and offered him water and the stallion ate and
drank until he was satisfied. All this and the suite of the Sultan
was looking on at the Prince and presently informed their lord,
saying, " O King of the Age, a Youth hath come to us and asked
as for information touching this steed and when we told him what
had happened he approached him and gentled him and bussed
him on the brow ; and after that he strewed before him somewhat
of forage which he ate and gave him water to drink and still he
standeth hard by him." When the Sultan heard these words he
marvelled and cried, " By Allah, indeed this is a wondrous matter,
but do ye fare to him and bring him to me, him and his horse ;
and, if he make aught delay with you, seize and pinion him and
drag him before me debased and degraded and in other than plight

pleasurable!" 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

f)e &ebm f^unfcrefc antr Ntnet^fifil) Jit'gfn,

DuNYAZ&D 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!' 3 She replied: With



388 Supplemental Nights.

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 sent
to his suite bidding them bring the owner of that stallion adding,
" If he make aught delay with you drag him before me debased
and degraded, and in other than pleasurable plight." Accordingly,
they went to him and accosting him said, " O Youth, thou owest
hearing and obeying to His Highness the King ; and, if thou come
not to him with good gree we will bear thee maugre thyself." But
the Prince, hearing these their words, set his left foot in stirrup and
throwing his right leg over the saddle mounted till he was firm of
seat upon his stallion's back and had power over his monture.
Then he asked saying, " Who amongst you shall come near me
or carry me to yonder Sultan of yours ? " Whenas they saw this
from him they kept away from his arm-reach, but inasmuch as
they could not return to their King and report saying, " We availed
not to bring him," they exclaimed, " Allah upon thee, O Youth,
that thou draw nigh with us to the Sovran and bespeak him from
the back of thy steed : so shall we be clear and bear nor rebuke
nor reproach." Hearing this much the Prince understood what
was in their thoughts and that their design was to win free of the
King and the avoidance of blame ; accordingly he said to them ;
" Fare ye before me and I will follow you." * But when they
returned with the youth behind them to within a short distance of
the King where either of the twain could hear the other's words,
the Prince asked, " O King of the Age, what dost thou require of
me and what is it thou wantest ? " " Do thou dismount," answered
the Sultan, "and draw near me when I will tell thee and question
thee of a certain matter : " but quoth the youth, " I will not alight



1 The invariable practice of an agent de police in England and France, according to the
detective tales of MM. Gaboriau and Du Boisgobey. In Africa the guide often attempts
to follow instead of leading the party, and this proceeding should always awake
suspicion.



The Merchants Daughter, and the Prince of Al~lrak. 389

from the back of my steed and let whoso hath a claim upon me
demand satisfaction, 1 for here be the Maydan the field of fight."
So saying he wheeled his steed and would have made for the open
country, when the Sultan cried aloud to his followers, " Seize him
and bring him hither." So they took horse all of them, a mattef
of one hundred and fifty riders, and followed him at full speed
(he still riding) and overtook him and formed a ring around him,
and he seeing this shortened the bridle-reins and gored flanks with
stirrup-irons when the beast sprang from under him like the wafting'
of the wind. Then he cried out to them, " Another day, O ye
dogs ; " and no sooner had they heard his outcry than they turned
from him flying and to safety hieing. When the Sultan beheld
his followers, some hundred and fifty riders, returning to the
presence in headlong flight and taking station before him, he
enquired the cause of their running, and they replied that none
could approach that horseman, adding, " Verily he cried a warcry
which caused each and every of us to turn and flee, for that we
deemed him one of the Jann." " Woe to you ! " exclaimed the
King : " an hundred and fifty riders and not avail to prevail over
a single horseman ! " presently adding, " By Allah, his say was
sooth who said :

And how many an one in the tribe they count When to one a thousand shall
ne'er amount ?

Verily this youth could not be confronted by a thousand, no?
indeed could a whole tribe oppose him, and by Allah, I have been
deficient in knightly devoir for not doing him honour ; however, it
was not to be save on such wise." But the youth ceased not faring
through days and nights for the whole of four months, unknowing
the while when he should reach a place wherein to take repose*
And as soon as this long wayfare ended, suddenly a mountain
towering high to the heights of heaven arose before him ; so he

v In text nnother prothesis without apodosis: see vol. vi. 203, etc.



39 Supplemental Nights.

Set his face thit'her, ana alter a mrther term of three days l (and
he ever wayfaring) he reached it and beheld upon its flanks fair
leasows with grasses and rills and trees and fruits besprent, and
birds hymning Allah the One, the Omnipotent. Anon he alighted
therein for that his heart had somewhat to say anent that mountain,
and he also marvelled thereat by cause that during his wayfare he
had never seen aught like it at all, nor anything resembling that
nerbage and those streams. And after dismounting he unbridled
his steed and suffered him browse and pasture upon the greenery'
and drink of the water, while he on like wise fell to eating of the
fruits which hung from the trees and taking his ease and repose.
But the more he shifted from place to place the fairer he found it
than the first, so he was delighted with the site, and as he looked
upon it he improvised these couplets :

-" O who fearest the world do thou feel right safe; o Trust all to Him did

mankind create :
Fate aye, O my lord, shall come to pass o While safe thou art from

th' undoomed by Fate."

The Sultan's son ceased not straying from stead to stead for a
term of ten days, during which he wandered round about the
Mountain and solaced himself by gazing upon the trees and
waters, 2 and he was gladdened by the warbling of the birds till at
length the Doom of Destiny and the Fiat of Fate cast him over
against the door of the cave which contained the Khwajah's

daughter with her handmaids and her negro slaves. He looked

pi
at the entrance and marvelled and was perplexed at And

1 In text, " Fa ghiba thalathat ayyamin " = and he (or it the mountain ?) disappeared
or three days. ["Ghaba" departed, may have here the meaning of " passed away "
ind three days had gone, and he ever travelling, before (ila an) he reached it. Sx].

2 A feeling well-known to the traveller : I have often been laughed at for gazing
fondly upon the scanty brown -green growth about Suez after a few months' sojourn in
the wolds of Western Arabia. It is admirably expressed in that book of books Eothea
(chapt. xvii.): "The next day I entered upon Egypt, and floated along (for the delight
was as the delight of bathing) through green wavy fields of rice, and pastures fresh and
plentiful, and dive 1 into the cold verdure of grasses and gardens, and quenched my hot
eyes in shade, as though in deep, rushing waters."



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of At- Irak. 391

Shah-azad \vas surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and
ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dun-
yazad, " 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



Jbeben ^unlitrti aub



DUNYAZAD said to her, " Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied: - With
love and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King,
the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that when the
King's son took place before the Cavern-door he marvelled at its
strength intended to protect those within, but he knew not if it
had any inmate or an it were void of inhabitants, seeing that the
mountain was far distant and divided from towns and cities nor
could any avail to reach it. So he said in his mind, " Sit thee
down here over against the entrance amid these grasses and trees
and fruits, for an thou quit this site thou shalt find none like it in
charms and eke it shall console thee for parting from thy people.
Moreover, haply shall someone of this place pass by me and from
him I may ask tidings concerning this region and peradventure
Almighty Allah shall guide me back to my own country and I
shall forgather with my father and my folk and my friends.
Indeed possibly there may be someone within this place who
when he issueth forth shall become my familiar." So he ceased
not sitting at the door of the cave for a term of twenty days
eating of the fruits of the trees and drinking of the water of the
rain pools as likewise did his steed ; but when it was the twenty



39 2 Supplemental Nights.

and first day, behold, the door of the antre was thrown open and
there came forth it two black slave-girls and a negro chattel,
followed five white hand-maidens, all seeking diversion and
disport among those meadows which lay on the mountain-flank
and beyond. But as they paced along their eyes fell on the son of
the Sultan who was still sitting there with his steed before him
and they found him cast in the mould of beauty and loveliness,
for he had now rested in that place from his way fare and the
perfection of charms was manifest upon him. When the slave-
girls looked at him they were overwhelmed by the marvels of
his comeliness and shapeliness and they returned in haste and
hurry to their mistress and said to her, " O our lady, verily at
the cavern-door is a Youth, never saw we a fairer than he or a
seemlier of semblance, and in very deed he resembleth thee in
grace and elegance of face and form, and before him standeth a
steed even as a bride." Now when the Merchant's daughter heard
these words from her handmaidens, she arose and in haste and
hurry made for the cave-door and her heart was filled with
gladness and she ceased not walking till she reached it. Then
she looked upon the Prince and came forward and embraced him 1
and gave him the salam and she continued to gaze upon and
consider his beauty and comeliness, until love to him settled in her
heart and likewise the Prince's love to her increased. Hereupon
she hent him by the hand and led him into the cavern where he
fell to looking rightwards and leftwards about the sides thereof
and v/ondering at what he saw therein of pleasaunces and trees
and streams and birds, until at last they reached the pavilion.
But before entering thither the Prince had led his horse and loosed
him in the leasows which lay in the cavern ; and, when at last the



1 The writer does not mean to charge the girl with immodesty (after the style " Come
to my arms, my slight acquaintance ! ") but to show how powerfully Fate and Fortune
wrought upon lier. Hence also she so readily allowed the King's son to possess her
person.



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of Al-Irak. 393

twain ended at the palace and went within, the attendants brought
meat for him ; so he ate his sufficiency and they washed his hands
and then the couple fell to conversing together whilst all were
delighted with the son of the King. And they continued in such
case until night drew nigh when each of the handmaidens went to
her chamber and lay her down and on like wise did the black
slaves until there remained none save the Prince and the
Merchant's daughter. Then began she to excite him and incite
him and disport with him until his heart inclined towards her by
reason of her toyings and her allurements, so he drew near to her
and clasped her to his breast and at last he threw her upon her
back and did away her maidenhead. Now by hest of Allah
Almighty's All- might she conceived of him that very night and
they ceased not to be in sport and laughter until the Creator
brought on the dawn which showed its sheen and shone and the
sun arose over lowland and lawn. Then did the twain, she and
he, sit communing together, when the girl began to improvise
these couplets :

" Loving maid in obedience doth come o Trailing skirt with her pride all



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 30 of 40)