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 32 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 32 of 40)
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however, went forward to them and fell to pinioning them, one
after other, until he had bound them all, after which he counted
them and found them to number about forty head while the slain
were three score and five. These he threw into the sea, 2 but the
captives he placed in prison after chaining them with iron chains
and they padlocked the doors upon them ; and the Moslems
worked the ship's sails while the man who had newly islamised
directed them upon their course until they moored at a holm hard
by the mainland. Here they landed and found the place abounding
in blooms and trees and streams, and the Prince left the ship to
reconnoitre the continent when suddenly a dust cloud drew nigh
and a sand-pillar soared awhile in air high ; then it uncovered
some fifty horsemen, and they were pursuing in the hottest of
haste, 3 a stallion which was saddled and bridled and which they
intended to secure. Now for ten days they had galloped after
him but none availed to catch him. When the King's son looked
upon that case he uttered a loud cry and the courser, hearing the
sound of his master's voice, made for him and fell to rubbing his
cheeks upon his back and shoulders 4 until they came up with him
as he was standing beside his lord. Hereat all the riders dis-



1 In text "A'atii Al-Wirah." ["Wirah" is gerund of the Turkish " wirmek " or
" wermek," to give, to give up, and the phrase in the text corresponds to the Turkish
" wirah wirmek " (el^i) /j) = to capitulate. ST.]

2 The " buccaneers," quite as humane, made their useless prisoners " walk a plank."
The slave-ships, when chased and hard-driven, simply tossed the poor devil niggers
overboard ; and the latter must often have died, damning the tender mercies of the
philanthrope which had doomed them to untimely deaths instead of a comfortable
middle passage from Blackland to Whiteland.

3 [In the text " Karishin" = chasing, being in hot pursuit of; see Dozy, Suppl. s. v.
" karash." ST.]

* See in Mr. Doughty's valuable "Arabia Deserta" (i. 309) how the Badawi's mare
puts down her soft nose to be kissed by the sitters about the coffee-hearth.



406 Supplemental Nights.

mounted with intent to seize him, but the Prince opposed them
saying, " This is my horse and he was lost from me in such a place
upon the margin of the main." Replied they, " Tis well, but this
is our booty nor will we ever leave him to thee, for that during the
last ten days we have galloped after him until we are melted, and
our horses are melted as well as ourselves. Moreover, our King
awaiteth us and if we return without the steed our heads will be
cut off." Quoth the Prince, " Nor ye nor that Sovran of yours can
have any command over him, albeit you may have pursued him at
speed for ten days or fifteen days or twenty days ; nor shall you
make him a quarry or for yourselves or for the King of you. By
Allah, one Sultan was unable to take even a hair from him and,
by the Almighty ! were you to pursue him for a full-told year not
one of you could come up with him or make him your own."
Hereupon talk increased between them and one drew weapon
upon other and there befel between them contest and enmity and
rage of bad blood and each clapt hand to sword and drew it from
sheath. When the King's son saw this from them, he sprang upon
the steed's back swiftlier than the blinding leven ; and, having
settled himself firmly in selle, he put forth his hand and seized a
sword which hung by the saddle bow. As soon as the folk saw
that he had mounted the horse, they charged upon him with their
scymitars and would have cut him down, but he made his steed
curvet and withdrew from them saying, " An you design battle I
am. not fain of fight, and do ye all go about your business and
covet not the horse lest your greed deceive you and you ask more
than enough and thereby fall into harm. This much we know
and if you require aught else let the strongest and doughtiest of
you do his best." Then they charged upon him a second time
and a third time and he warded them off and cried, " Allah draw
the line between me and you, 1 O folk, and do ye gang your gait

1 In text, " Hadda 'llaho bayni wa baynakum."



The Merchants Daughter and the Prince of Al-Irak. 407

for you be fifty riders and I be alone and singlehanded and how
shall one contend in fight with half an hundred ? " Cried they,
" Naught shall save thee from us except thou dismount from the

steed and suffer us to take him and return home with him ; "

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

'QtfW <tgf)t ^untircfc anB Sebtntf) J^tg&t,

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

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

love and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the

director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and

of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that, the fifty

horsemen said to the King's son, " There is no help but that we

take from thee the horse," and said he, " I have given you good

advice, and well I wot and am certified that were you two hundred

riders ye could never prevail over me whilst I am mounted on my

courser's back and indeed I have no fear of fight ; but let any of

you who hath claim to knightlihood come forwards and take him

and mount him." So saying he alighted forthright and left his

horse and went to some distance from him, when one of the

fifty riders pushed forwards and designed to seize the steed by

the reins and bestride him, when suddenly the stallion raged like

fire at him and attacked him and smote him with his forehand and

drove the entrails out of his belly and the man at once fell to the

ground slain. As his party saw this they bared their brands and

assaulted the horse designing to cut him in pieces when behold, a



408 Supplemental Nights.

dust-cloud high in lift upflew and walled the view ; and all extended
their glances in that direction for an hour of time until it opened
and showed some two hundred knights headed by a King mighty
of degree and majesty and over his head were flags a-flying. The
fifty horsemen, seeing him advance with his troops, drew off and
stood still to look and see whom he might be, and when the
horse sighted these banners he sniffed with nostrils opened wide to
the air, and made for them at full speed, as if gladdened by the
sight, and approached them and returned to them a second time
in like guise and at the third time he drew up hard beside them and
nearing the King fell to rubbing his cheeks upon the stirrups whilst
the ruler put forth his hand and gentled the steed by smoothing
his head and forehead. As soon as the fifty riders saw this, they
marvelled thereat, but the King's son who had kept his ground
was astounded and said to himself, " The horse fled me and when
this host drew nigh he sought me again." 1 Presently the Prince
fixed his glance upon the latest comers and behold, the King was
his father, so he sprang to him and when the sire saw him he
knew his son and footed it and the twain embraced and fell faint-
ing to the ground for awhile. When they recovered the suite of
the Sultan came forward and salam'd to the Prince who presently
asked his sire, " What may be the cause of thy coming to this
plain ? " and the ruler informed him by way of answer that after
his child's departure slumber to him brought no rest nor was
there in food aught of zest and with him longing overflowed for
the sake of his son, so that after a while of time he and the
grandees of his realm had marched forth, and he ended by saying,
" O my son, our leaving home was for the sake of thee, but do thou
tell me what befel thee after mounting the Father of a Pigeon, and
what was the cause of thy coming to this spot." Accordingly the
Prince told all that had betided him, first and last, of his durance

The last clause is omitted in the text which is evidently defective: MS vol. vi.
p. 180, line 7.



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of Al- Irak. 409

vile amongst the Jews and how he had devised the killing of the
Captain and the capture of the craft ; and how the steed, after being
lost in the waste, 1 had returned to him in this place ; also of the
fifty riders who encountered him on landing and would fain have
seized him but failed and of the death of the horseman who was
slain by the horse. Hereat they pitched the pavilions upon that
spot and set up a throne for the King who after taking seat thereon
placed his son by his side and bade summon the fifty riders who

were brought into the presence 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

f)e dEigfjt f^untoli ant) ^Bigbti) J^igfjt,

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
Sultan took seat upon the throne and set his son by his side he
summoned the fifty riders, who were brought into the presence
and placed between his hands. Then he questioned them of their
case and their country and the cause of their coming to that stead
and they notified to him their native land and their Sovran and
the reason of their wandering ; to wit, their headlong pursuit of
the stallion which had lasted for a term of ten days. Now when

1 In text "Tauhan al-Husan."



4IO Supplemental Nights.

the Sultan understood their words and knew and was certified
concerning their King and their courttry, he robed them with
honourable robes * and said to them, " Wallahi ! had I known that
the stallion would have submitted to you and would have obeyed
you I should have delivered him up to you, but I feared for any
that durst approach him, barring his master. Now, however, do ye
depart and salam to your Sovran and say him : By Allah, if the
stallion thou sawest wandering the waste befitted the use of thee
I had sent him in free gift." With this fair message the men
farewelled him and fared from him and they ceased not faring until
they returned to their liege lord and reported to him all that had
betided them ; that is, how the owner of the stallion had appeared
and proved to be a King who (they added) " hath sent his salam
to thee saying it was his desire to despatch the horse but none
availed to manage him save himself and his son." And when the
Ruler heard these^ words, he returned thanks to the Sovran for the
grace of his goodness, and returned forthright to his own land.
Meanwhile the Sultan who was owner of the stallion presented the
captured ship to those who had captured her, and taking his son
turned towards his capital, and they marched without stay or
delay until they reached it. Hereupon the Chamberlains and the
Nabobs and the high Officers and the townsfolk came forth to



1 In Abyssinia the " Khil'at " = robe of honour (see vol. i. 195) is an extensive
affair composed of a dress of lion's pelt with silver -gilt buttons, a pair of silken
breeches, a cap and waist-shawl of the same material, a sword, a shield and
two spears ; a horse with furniture of silk and silver and a mule similarly equipped.
These gifts accompany the insignia of the " Order of Solomon," which are various
medals bearing an imperial crown, said to represent the Hierosolymitan Temple of the
Wise King, and the reverses show the Amharic legend " Yohanne Negus zei Etiopia"
John, Emperor of Etiopia. The orders are distinguished as (i) the Grand Cross, a star
of 100 grammes in massive gold, hammer-wrought, and studded with gems, given only
to royalties ; (2) the Knighthood, similar, but of 50 grammes, and without jewels,
intended for distinguished foreigners ; (3) the Officer's Star, silver-gilt, of 50 grammes ;
and (4) the Companion's, of pure silver, and the same weight. All are worn round the
neck save the last, which hangs upon the chest. This practice of gilding the medals
prevails also in Europe, for instance in Austria, where those made of gun-metal are
often gilt by the recipients contrary to all official etiquette.



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of Al-Irak. 411

meet and greet their Ruler and rejoiced in his safety and that of
his son, and they adorned the city for three days and all were in
high mirth and merriment until what time the Sultan had settled
down at home. Such was his case ; but as regards the Khwajah
and his daughter, when they had let load their loads they quitted
the cavern and set forth, making for their country and patrial
stead, and they ceased not forcing their marches for a term of ten
days. But on the eleventh they encountered fiery heat beginning
from mid-forenoon ; and, as the place was grassy ground and over-
grown with greenery, they alighted from their beasts and bade pitch
two pavilions, one for the daughter and the other for her father and
his folk, that it might shade them and shelter them from the exces-
sive sultriness. Now when it was mid-afternoon behold, the damsel
was seized with the birth-pains and the pangs of child-bearing, but
Allah Almighty made delivery right easy to her and presently she
became the mother of a man-child Glory be to God who
fashioned him and perfected what He had fashioned in the
creation of that babe ! L So his mother cut his navel-string and,
rolling it up in one of her shifts, kept careful guard over it. 2 And
presently her father entered to look upon her, and finding that she

1 Meaning only that the babe was perfectly beautiful.

2 In order that the cord might not be subject to the evil eye or fall into the hand of a
foe who would use it magically to injure the babe. The navel-string has few supersti-
tions in England. The lower classes mostly place over the wound a bit of cloth wherein
a hole has been burned, supposing that the carbon will heal the cut, and make it fast to
the babe by a " binder " or swathe round the body, as a preventative to " pot-belly."
But throughout the East there are more observances. In India, on the birth of the babe,
the midwife demands something shining, as a rupee or piece of silver, and having
touched the navel-string therewith she divides it and appropriates the glittering substance,
under the pretence that the absence of the illuminating power of some such sparkling
object would prevent her seeing to operate. The knife with which the umbilical cord
has been cut is not used for common purposes but js left beside the puerpera until
the "Chilla" (fortieth day), when "Kajjal" (lamp-black), used by way of Kohl, is
collected on it and applied to the child's eyelids. Whenever the babe is bathed or
taken out of the house the knife must be carried along with it ; and when they are
brought in again the instrument is deposited in its former place near the mother.
Lastly, on the fl Chilla "-day they must slaughter with the same blade a cock or a sheep
(Herklots, chapt. i. sec. 3). Equally quaint is the treatment of the navel-string in
Egypt ; but Lane (M.E.) is too modest to give details.



4 1 2 Supplemental Nights.

had been delivered was grieved with exceeding grief and the
world was straitened before his face, and unknowing what to do
he said to himself, " Had we reached our homes and that babe
appeared with the damsel, our honour had been smirched and men
had blamed us saying : The Khwajah's daughter hath brought
forth in sin. So we cannot confront the world, and if we bear
with us this infant they will ask where is its father?" He
remained perplext and distraught, seeing no way of action, and
now he would say, " Let us slay the child," and anon, " Let us
hide it ; " and the while he was in that place his nature bespake
him with such promptings. But when morning came he had
determined upon abandoning the new-born and not carrying it
further, so quoth he to his daughter, " Hearken unto whatso I shall
say thee." Quoth she, " 'Tis well ! " and he continued, " If we
travel with this infant the tidings of us will spread through the
city and men will say, The Khwajah's daughter hath been
debauched and hath borne a babe in bastardy ; and our right way
(according to me) is that we leave it in this tent under charge of the
Lord and whoso shall come up to the little one shall take it with
the tent ; moreover I will place under its head two hundred dinars
and any whose lot it is shall carry off the whole." When the
damsel heard these words she found the matter grievous, but she
could return no reply. " What sayest thou ? " asked he, and she
answered, " Whatso is right that do thou." Hereupon he took a
purse ' of two hundred gold pieces which he set under the child's
head and left it in the tent. Then he loaded his loads and fared
forth, he and his daughter and his pages, and they ceased not
pushing their marches until they reached their own land and native
country and entered their home, where they were met by sundry
of their familiars coming forth to greet them. They settled down
in their quarters when the damsel forgathered with her mother

1 In text "Sarsarah," a clerical error for " Akhaza (?) surratan." See MS. vol. vi.
p. 197, line 9 [I read "sarra Surrah (Surratan)" = he tied up a purse. ST.]



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of Al-Irak. 413

who threw her arms round her neck for exceeding affection to her
and asked rter of her news ; so she informed her concerning the
matter of the cavern and what was therein and how great was its
distance, but she told her naught of what had befallen her nor of
her pregnancy by the Prince nor of the babe she had abandoned.
The mother still supposed that she was a clean maid, yet she
noted the change in her state and complexion. Then the damsel
sought privacy in one of the chambers and wept until her gall-
bladder was like to burst and said to herself, " Would Heaven I
knew whether Allah will re-unite me with the child and its father
the Prince ! " and in this condition she remained for a while of
time. On such wise it befel the Merchant and his daughter ; but
as regards the son of the Sultan, when he had settled down in the
city of his sire he remembered the Khwajah's daughter, and quoth
he to his father, " O my papa, my desire is to hunting and birding
and diversion." Quoth the King, the better that Destiny might
be fulfilled, " 'Tis well, O my son, but take with thee a suite."
" I desire no more than five men in all," said the other, and gat
himself ready for travel and, having farewelled his father, set forth

from the city 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



antf entf) Jltgfjt,

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,



414 Supplemental Nights.

the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds
fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Prince went forth
from his father with a train of five attendants and made for the
wilderness, and he conjoined the journeys of night and day ;
withal he knew not whither he was going, and he chanced travel
over the same wilds and wolds and dales and stony leas. But as
regards the Merchant and his daughter, he went in to her one day of
the days and found her weeping and wailing, so he said to her,
" What causeth thee to shed tears, O my child ? " and said she,
" How shall I not weep ? indeed I must wail over my lot, and over the
promise wherewith Allah promised me." Hereupon he exclaimed,
" O my daughter, be silent and Inshallah God willing I will
equip me for travel and will fare to the son of the King ; and look
to it, for haply Allah Almighty our Lord may direct me to a
somewhat shall conduct me to the Prince's city." So saying he bade
his handmaidens and eunuchs make ready forthright a viaticum
sufficing for a full-told year himself and his following of pages
and eunuchs, and they did his bidding. After a few days they
prepared all he had required and he purposed to set out ; then, he
loaded his loads and, farewelling his wife and daughter, went forth
seeking the city of the King's son. He ceased not travelling for
a space of three months, when he found a meadow wide of sides
on the margin of a sweet-water lake, so he said to his slaves,
" Alight we here in this very place that we may take our rest."
Accordingly, they dismounted and pitched a tent and furnisht
it for him, and he passed that night by the water-side, and all
enjoyed their repose. But as soon as morn 'gan show and shone
with sheeny glow, and the sun arose o'er the lands lying low, the
Khwajah designed to order a march for his slaves when suddenly
espying a dust-cloud towering in rear of them, they waited to see
what it might be, and after some two hours of the day it cleared
off and disclosed beneath it six riders and with them a bat-beast
carrying a load of provisions. These drew near the meadow where



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of A I- Irak. 415

the Khwajah sat looking at them, and fear hereat entered into his
heart, and trembling fell upon his limbs * until he was assured that
they were but six men. So his mind was calmed. But when the
party drew near him he fixed his glance and made certain that the
men were headed by the King's son whom he had met on his first
journey, and he marvelled indeed at the youth making for the
same place, and he strove to guess the cause of his coming with
only five followers and no more. Then he arose and accosted him
and salam'd and sat down in converse with him, being assured the
while that it was the same who had had doings with his daughter,
and that the child which she had borne in the tent and which they
abandoned was the son of this Prince, while the youth knew not
that the Khwajah was father to the damsel with whom he had
tarried in the cavern. So they fell to communing together for a
while until the Prince asked the Trader, " What is the cause of thy
coming hither ? " and answered the other, " I have come seeking
thee and thy country, for I have a want which thou must fulfil
me ; " presently adding, " And thou, whither art thou intending ? "
Quoth the King's son, " I am making for the cavern wherein the
handmaidens showed me much honour, for indeed I gave my word
that 1 would return to them after I had revisited my country and
had met my folk and my friends ; and here I am coming back
to keep what plight and promise were between us." Hereupon
the Merchant arose, and taking the Prince, retired with him to a
place of privacy where none could wot of them twain save Allah
Almighty. " Would Heaven I knew what may be in the thoughts of
this Khwajah ! " said the Prince in his mind ; but when both had
seated themselves at ease, the Merchant addressed the King's son
in these words, " O my son, all things are foredoomed in the World



1 In the text " on account of the dust-cloud " which, we were just told, had cleared
away. [The translator seems to have overlooked the " kdna" before " kad dakhala-hu
al-Ra'b," which gives to the verb the force of a pluperfect : "and fear had entered into
him at the sight of the dust-cloud." ST.]



4 1 6 Supplemental Nights.

of Secrets, and from fated lot is no flight. Now the end and aim
whereto thou designest in the cavern, verily they * left it for their
own land." When the King's son heard these words informing
him that his beloved had quitted her abode, he cried out with a



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 32 of 40)