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 33 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 33 of 40)
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loud outcry for stress of what had betided him, and fell a-swoon
by cause that love of the damsel had mastered his heart and his
vitals hung to her. After a while he recovered and asked the
Khwajah, " Say me, be these words of thine soothfast or false ? "
" Soothfast indeed," answered the father, " but, O my child, be of
good cheer and eyes clear, for that thy wish is won - 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 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



Etgf)t l^untrrcli antr Sfoelftf)



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 quoth the Khwajah to
to the King's son after he had revived, " O my child, be of good
cheer and. eyes clear for that thy want is won and for thee the way
hath been short done and if thy heart be firm-fixed upon thy
beloved the heart of her is still firmer than thine and I am a
messenger from her who seek thee that I may unite you twain
Inshallah an Allah please." Asked the Prince, "And who

1 t.e, his daughter, of whom he afterwards speaks in the plur.



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of A I- Irak. 417

mayest thou be to her, O my lord ? " and answered the other
" I am her father and she is my daughter and hers is a marvel-tale,
I swear by the Alt-might of Him who made the Heavens and the
Earth." Then he fell to recounting anent the Voice which came
to him on the night of her being conceived in her mother's womb
and all that had since befallen her, keeping concealed * only the
matter of the babe which she had borne in the tent. But when
the Prince knew that the wayfarer was her sire who was travelling
to seek him, he rejoiced in the glad tidings of forgathering with the
damsel and on the morning of the second day all marched off
together and made for the Merchant's city. And they stinted not
wayfaring and forcing their marches until they drew near it, and as
soon as they entered it, the Merchant, before going to his home :
led the Prince with him and sought the Kazi by whose aid the
marriage-tie, after due settlement of the dowry, might be tied
between him and the damsel. This done, he conducted him to a
place of concealment and presently went in to his daughter and her
mother who saluted him and asked him the news. Hereupon he
gave them to know that he had brought the King's son and had
made ready to knot the knot of wedlock between him and her.
As soon as the damsel heard these tidings she fainted for excess of
her happiness, and when she revived her mother arose and prepared
her person and adorned her and made her don her most sumptuous
of dresses. And when night fell they led the bridegroom in
procession to her and the couple embraced and each threw arms
round the neck of other for exceeding desire and their embraces
lasted till dawn-tide. 2 After that the times waxed clear to them
and the days were serene until one chance night of the nights when



1 These concealments are inevitable in ancient tale and modern novel, and it need
hardly be said that upon the nice conduct of them depends all the interest of the work.
How careful the second-rate author is to spoil his plot by giving a needless
" pregustation " of his purpose, I need hardly say.

2 The mysteries of the marriage-night are touched with a light hand because the
bride had already lost her virginity.

VOL. v. r> r>



4 1 8 Supplemen tal Nights.

the Prince was sitting beside his bride and conversing with her
concerning various matters when suddenly she fell to weeping and
wailing. He was consterned thereat and cried, " What causeth
thee cry, O dearling of my heart and light of mine eyes ? " and
she, " How shall I not cry when they have parted me from my
boy, the life-blood of my liver ! " " And thou, hast thou a babe ? "
asked he and she answered, " Yes indeed, my child and thy child,
whom I conceived by thee while we abode in the cavern. But
when my father ' took me therefrom and was leading me home
we encountered about midway a burning heat, so we halted and
pitched two tents for myself and my sire ; then, as I sat within
mine the labour-pangs came upon me and I bare a babe as the
moon. But my parent feared to carry it with us lest our honour be
smirched by tittle-tattle, so we left the little one in the tent with
two hundred gold pieces under its head, that whoso might come
upon it and take it and tend it might therewith be repaid." In
fine, she told her spouse the whole tale concerning her infant
and declared that she had no longer patience to be parted from
it. Her bridegroom consoled her and promised her with the
fairest promises that he would certainly set out and travel and
make search for the lost one amongst the lands, even though his
absence might endure through a whole year in the wilderness.
And lastly he said to her, " We will ask news and seek tidings of
him from all the wayfarers who wend by that same valley, and
certify ourselves of the information, nor will we return to thee save
with assured knowledge ; for this child is the fruit of my loins and
I will never neglect him ; no, never. Needs must I set forth and
fare to those parts and search for my son." Such was their case ;
but as regards the babe which had been abandoned (as we have
noticed), he lay alone for the first day and yet another when a
caravan appeared passing along that same road ; and, as soon as they

s In text "Abuyah," a Fellah vulgarism for Abi which latter form occurs a few
lines lower down.



The Merchants Daughter and the Prince of A I- Irak. 419

sighted the pavilion yet they saw none within, they drew near to
it and behold, they found a babe lying prostrate with his ringers
in his mouth and sucking thereat J and he was even as a slice of
the moon. So they approached him and took him up and found
under his head the purse, whereupon they carried him, not forget-
ting the gold, and showed him to the Shaykh of the Cafilah 2 who

1 In text " Wa-Sawabi 'hu (Asabi 'a-hu ?) fi hanaki-h : " this is explained in MS.
p. 216: "Bi-yarza'u fi Asabi hi." [Dozy, Suppl. i. 815, gives " Sawabi' " as an
irregular pi. of " Asba' " quoting from Bresl. ed. iii. 381, 9. I would rather say it is a
regularly formed broken plural of a singular "Sabi'"=the pointing one, i.e. index,
now commonly called " Sabbabah" the reviler, where the same idea of pointing at with
contempt seems to prevail, and " Shahid " = the witnessing, because it is raised in giving
testimony. In the plural it would be naturally generalised to "finger," and in point of
fact, the sing. " Sabi' " is used nowadays in this sense in Egypt along with the other
popular form "SubaV

* I write " Cafilah " and nof " Cafila " with the unjustifiable suppression of the final
" h " which is always made sensible in the pure pronunciation of the Badawi. The
malpractice has found favour chiefly through the advocacy of Dr. Redhouse, an eminent
Turkish scholar whose judgments must be received with great caution ; and I would
quote on this subject the admirable remarks of my late lamented friend Dr. G. P. Badger
in "TheAcademy" of July 2, 1887. " Another noticeable default in the same category is
that, like Sale, Mr. Wherry frequently omits the terminal ' h ' in his transliteration
of Arabic. Thus he writes Sura, Amina, Fatima, Madina, Tahama; yet, inconsistently
enough, he gives the * h ' in Allah, Khadijah, Kaabah, Makkah, and many other words.
This point deserves special notice, owing to Dr. Redhouse's letter, published in The
Academy of November 22 last, in which he denounces as (' a very common European
error ') the addition of the ' h ' or * final aspirate,' in the English transliteration of
many Arabic words. Hence, as I read the eminent Orientalist's criticism, when that
aspirate is not sounded in pronunciation he omits it, writing "Fatima," not Fatimah,
lest, as I presume, the unwary reader may aspirate the ' h.' But in our Bibles we find
such names as Sarah, Hannah, Judah, Beulah, Moriah, Jehovah, in the enunciation of
which no one thinks of sounding the last letter as an aspirate. I quite agree with Dr.
Redhouse that in the construct case the final h. assumes the sound of t, as in Fatimatu,
bint-Muhammed ; yet that does not strike me as a valid reason for eliding the final h,
which among other uses, is indicative of the feminine gender, as in Fatimah, Khadijah,
Aminah, etc. ; also of the nomina vicis, of many abstract nouns, nouns of multitude
and of quality, as well as of adjectives of inlensiveness, all which important indications
would be lost by dropping the final h. And further unless the vowel a, left after the
elision of that letter, be furnished with some etymological mark of distinction, there would
be great risk of its being confounded with the d, formative of the singular of many verbal
nouns, such as bind, safd t jaid ; with the masculine plurals ending in the same letters,
such as hukamd, dghniyd, kufard ; and with the femfnine plurals of many adjectives,
such as kiibra,. siighra, hiisna, etc. Dr. Redhouse says that ' many eminent Arabists
avoid such errors ' a remark which rather surprises me, since Pocock, Lane and
Palmer, and Fresnel and Perron among French Orientalists, as also Burton, all retain
the final aspirate k, the latter taking special care to distinguish, by some adequate,
diacritical sign, those substantive and adjective forms with which words ending in the
final aspirate h might otherwise be confounded."



4 2 O Supplemental Nights.

cried, " Wallahi, our way is a blessed for that we have discovered
this child ; and, inasmuch as I have no offspring, I will take him
and tend him and adopt him to son." Now this caravan was from
the land of Al-Yaman and they had halted on that spot for a
night's rest, so when it was morning they loaded and left it and
fared forwards and they ceased not wayfaring until they reached
their homes safe and sound. After returning all the Cafilah folk
dispersed, each to his own stead, but the Shaykh, who was em-
ployed by government under the King of Al-Yaman, repaired to
his own house accompanied by the child which he had carefully
tended and salam'd to his wife. As soon as she saw the babe she
marvelled at his fashion and, sending for a wet-nurse, committed
him for suckling to her and set apart for her a place ; and the
woman fell to tending him and cleaning him, and the house
prospered for the master and dame had charge of it 1 during the days
of suckling. And when the boy was weaned they fed him fairly 2
and took sedulous charge of him, so he became accustomed to
bespeak the man with, " O my papa," and the woman with, "O
my mamma," believing the twain to be truly his parents. This
endured for some seven years when they brought him a Divine
to teach him at home, fearing lest he should fare forth the house ;
nor would they at any time send him to school. So the tutor 3
took him in hand and taught him polite letters and he became a
reader and a writer and well versed in all knowledge before he
reached his tenth year. Then his adopted father appointed for
him a horse that he might learn cavalarice and the shooting of

1 In the text, ""Wasaba'1-dar waZaujatu-hu mutawassiym bi-h. [I cannot explain
to myself the plural " Mutawassin " unless by supposing that the preceding " Sab al-Dar "
is another blunder of the scribe for " Sahibu '1-Dar " when the meaning would be : " and
the master of the house and his wife took charge of her (the nurse) during the days
of suckling." ST.]

2 In text " Saru yardshii-hu wayatawassu."

8 [In the text "Fiki" the popular form of the present day for "Fildh," properly
" learned in the law " (LL.D. as we would say), but now the usual term for " school-
master." ST.!



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of Al- Irak. 421

shafts and firing of bullets at the butt, 1 and then brought for him a
complete rider that he might teach him all his art and when he
came to the age of fourteen he became a doughty knight and a
prow. Now one chance day of the days the youth purposed
going to the wild that he might hunt, - 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



(Sigfjt ^unbtttr anb jFourtcentf)



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 youth proposed going
forth to the wild that he might hunt, but his guardians feared for
him so that he availed not to fare forth. Grievous to him was it
that he could not obtain his liberty to set out a-chasing, and there
befel him much concern 2 and a burning thirst ; so he lay him
down sore sick and troubled. Hereupon his father and mother
went in to him and, finding that he had taken to his pillow, they
mourned over him, and fearing lest he be afflicted by some disease
they asked him, " What is to do with thee and what calamity hath
befallen thee ? " Answered he, " There is no help but that I go

1 Both of which are practised by Easterns from horseback, the animal going at fullest
speed. With the English saddle and its narrow stirrup- irons we can hardly prove our-
selves even moderately good shots after Parthian fashion.

2 In text "Ihtimam wa Ghullah" : I suspect that the former should be written with
the major A, meaning fever.



422 Supplemental Nights.

forth a-hunting in the wilderness." Quoth they, " O our son, we
fear for thee," and quoth he, " Fear not, for that all things be fore-
doomed from Eternity and, if aught be written for me, 'twill come
to pass even although I were beside you ; and the bye-word saith :
Profiteth not Prudence against Predestination." Hereat they
gave him permission, and upon the second day he rode forth to
the chase, but the wold and the wilds swallowed him up, and
when he would have returned he knew not the road, so he said to
himself, " Folk declare that affects are affected and footsteps are
sped to a life that is vile and divided daily bread. 1 If aught be
written to me fain must I fulfil it." And whenever he hunted
down a gazelle, he cut its throat and broiled the meat over a fire
and nourished himself for a while of days and nights ; but he was
lost in those wastes until he drew in sight of a city. This he
entered, but he had no money for food or for foraging his horse,
so he sold it willy nilly and, hiring a room in a Wakalah, lived by
expending its price till the money was spent. Then he cried,
" There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great! The wise man doth even as the fool, but
All-might is to Allah." So he went forth to solace himself in the
highways of the city, looking rightwards and leftwards, until he came
to the gateway of the King's Palace, and when he glanced around
he saw written over it," Dive not into the depths unless thou greed
for thyself and thy wants." l So he said in his mind, " Wljat is
the meaning of these words I see here inscribed ? " Presently he
repaired for aid to a man in a shop and salam'd to him, and when
his salutation was returned enquired of him, " O my lord, what is
the meaning of this writ which is written over the Sultan's gate-
way ? " The other replied, " O my son, whereof dost thou ask?
Verily the Sultan and all the Lords of his land are in sore cark



1 See vol. iv. p. 245.
i4. tempt not Providence unless compelled so to do by necessi ty.



The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of Al-lrak. 423

and care for the affair of his daughter the Princess." The youth
rejoined, "What is the matter with her and what hath befallen
her ? " and the man retorted, " my son, verily the Sultan hath a
daughter so fair that she seemeth cast in the very mould of beauty
and none in her day can excel her, but whoso is betrothed to her
and marrieth her and goeth in unto her the dawn never cometh
without his becoming a heap of poison, and no one wotteth
the business what it may be." Hearing these words the youth
said to himself, " By Allah, the death of me were better than
this the life of me, but I have no dower to offer her." Then he
asked the man, " O my uncle, whoso lacketh money and wisheth
to marry her, how shall he act ?" " O my son," answered the
other, " verily the Sultan demandeth nothing ; nay, he expendeth
of his own wealth upon her." The youth arose from beside the
man at that moment and, going in to the King, found him seated
on fais throne ; so he salam'd to him and prayed for him and
deprecated and kissed ground before him, and when the King
returned his salutation and welcomed him he cried, " O King of
the Age, 'tis my intent and design to be connected with thee
through the lady safe-guarded, thy daughter." " By Allah, O
Youth," said the Sultan, " I consent not for thine own sake that
thou wed her by cause that thou wilt be going wilfully to thy
death ; " and hereupon he related to him all that befel each and
every who had married her and had gone in unto her. Quoth the
youth, " O King of the Age, indeed I rely upon the Lord, and if
I die I shall fare to Allah and His ruth and, if I live, 'tis well,
for that all things are from the Almighty." Quoth the Sultan,
" O Youth, counsel appertaineth to Allah, for thou art her equal
in beauty ; " and the other rejoined, " All things are by Fate and
man's lot." Hereupon the King summoned the Kazi and bade
tie the marriage-tie between the youth and his daughter ; then he
went in to his Harem and apprised thereof her mother that she
might prepare the girl's person for the coming night. But the



424 Supplemental Nights.

youth departed from the Sultan's presence perplext of heart and
distraught, unknowing what to do ; and, as he walked about,
suddenly he met a man in years, clean of raiment and with signs
of probity evident ; so he accosted him and said, " O my lord, ask
a blessing for me." Said the Shaykh, " O my son, may our Lord
suffice thee against all would work thee woe and may He ever
forefend thee from thy foe." ! And the youth was gladdened by
the good omen of the Shaykh's words. But when the Sultan had
sought his Harem he said, " By Allah, he who hath wedded the
damsel is a beautiful youth : oh the pity of it that he should die !
Indeed I dissuaded him, saying so-and-so shall befal thee, but
I could not deter him. Now by the rights of Him who raised the
firmament without basement, an our Lord deign preserve this
Youth and he see the morn in safety, I will assuredly gift him and
share with him all my good, for that I have no male issue to
succeed me in the sovranty ; and this one, if Allah Almighty
vouchsafe prolong his days, shall become my heir apparent and
inherit after me. Indeed I deem him to be a son of the Kings
who disguiseth himself, or some Youth of high degree who is
troubled about worldly goods and who sayeth in himself: I will
take this damsel to wife that I may not die of want, for verily
I am ruined. I diverted him from wedding her, but it could not
be, and the more I deterred him with words manifold only the
more grew his desire and he cried : I am content ; thus speaking
after the fashion of one who longeth to perish. However, let him
meet his lot either death-doom or deliverance from evil." Now
when it was eventide the Sultan sent to summon his son-in-law
and, seating him beside the throne, fell to talking with him and
asking after his case ; but he concealed his condition and said,
" Thy servant is such whereof 'tis spoken : I fell from Heaven
and was received by Earth. Ask me not, O King of the Age, or

1 The youth was taking a " Fdl " or omen : see vol. v. 136.



The Merchant** Daughter and the Prince of A I- Irak. 425

of the root or of the branch, for one of the wise and ware hath
said :

To tell my root and my name refrain ; o The root of the youth is what good he

gain : >
A wight without father full oft shall win o And melting shall purify drossy

strain.

And folk are equal but in different degrees. 2 Now when the Sultan
heard these words, he wondered at his eloquence and sweetness of
speech ; withal he marvelled that his son-in-law would not explain to
him from what land or from what folk he came. And the two ceased
not their converse until after the hour of night prayers, when the
Lords of the land had been dismissed ; whereupon the Sultan bade
an eunuch take the youth and introduce him to the Princess. So he
arose from him and went with the slave, the King exclaiming the
while, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might, save in Allah,
the Glorious, the Great : verily yonder young man wendeth wilfully
to his death." Now when the bridegroom reached the apartment

of the Sultan's daughter and entered to 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



' In text " Hasal," for which I would read " Khasal."

a A wiser Sprichivort than those of France and America. It compares advantageously
with the second par. of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776) by the Repre-
sentatives of the U.S., which declares, " these truths to be self-evident : that all men
are created equal," etc. It is regretable that so trenchant a state-paper should begin
with so gross and palpable a fallacy. Men are not born equal, nor do they become equal
before their death-days even in condition, except by artificial levelling ; and in republics
and limited monarchies, where all are politically equal, the greatest social inequalities
ever prevail. Still falser is the shibboleth-crow of the French cock, " Libert^ Egalitt,
Fraternitt" which has borrowed its plumage from the American Bird o' Freedom. And
Douglas Jerrold neatly expressed the truth when he said, " We all row in the same
boat but not with the same sculls."



426 Supplemental Nights.

ant)

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 youth, when
entering to the Sultan's daughter, exclaimed " Bismillah in the
name of Allah I place my trust upon Allah, and I have com-
mitted mine affair unto Allah ! " Then he went forwards and
found his bride seated upon her bedstead, and she was as a Hoard
newly loosed from its Talisman ; while she on her part rose and
met him, and looked upon him and considered him until she was
certified of his being cast in beauty's mould, nor had she ever seen
any like unto him. So she wept till the tears trickled adown her
cheeks and she said to herself, " Oh the pity of it ! Never shall
my joy be fulfilled with this beautiful youth, than whom mine eyes
never fell upon one fairer." Quoth he, " What causeth thee cry,
O my lady ? " and quoth she, " I cry for the loss of my joys with
thee seeing that thou art to perish this very night ; and I sue of
the Almighty and supplicate Him that my life may be thy ransom,
for by Allah 'tis a pity ! " When he heard these words he presently
looked around and suddenly he sighted a magical Sword * hanging by
the belt against the wall : so he arose and hent it and threw it across
his shoulders ; then, returning he took seat upon the couch beside



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 33 of 40)