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 35 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 35 of 40)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


applied himself to safe-guarding his wife and gave her a charge
warning her with threats against his son and saying, " Whenas I
wed ever a woman, yonder youth by his cunning manageth to have

1 Vol. iii. 247-261. This violation of the Harem is very common in Egypt.
8 Arab. " Faddwi," here again = a blackguard, see vol. iv. 281.



442 Supplemental Nights.

his wicked will of her." Quoth she, " O Man, what be these words
thou speakest ? This thy son is a dog, nor hath he power to do
with me aught, and I am a lady amongst women." Quoth he,
" Indeed I but charge thee to have a care of thyself. 1 Haply I
may hie me forth to wayfare and he will lay some deep plot for
thee and work with thee as he wrought with others." She
replied, " O Man, hold thyself secure therefrom for an he bespeak
me with a single word I will slipper him with my papoosh ; " 2 and
he rejoined, " May safety be thine ! " He cohabited with her for
a month till one day of the days when he was compelled to travel ;
so he went in to his wife and cautioned her and was earnest with
her saying, " Have a guard of thyself from my son the debauchee
for 'tis a froward fellow, a thief, a miserable, lest he come over thee
with some wile and have his will of thee." Said she, "What
words are these ? Thy son is a dog nor hath he any power over
me in aught whereof thou talkest, and if he bespeak me with one
injurious word, I will slipper him soundly with my foot-gear." 3
He rejoined, " If thou happen to need aught 4 never even mention
it to him ; " and she, " Hearkening and obedience." So he fare-
welled her and fared forth wholly intent upon his wayfare. Now
when he was far enough from the town the youth came to the
grass-widow but would not address a single word to her, albeit
fire was lighted in his heart by reason of her being so beautiful.
Accordingly he contrived a wile. It happened to be summer-tide
so he went 5 to the house and repaired to the terrace-roof, and there
he raised his clothes from his sitting-place and exposed his back-



1 The Irishman says, Sieep with both feet in one stocking.

2 Arab, or rather Egypt. "Babuj," from "Babug," from the Pers. " Pay- push " = foot-
clothing, vulg. " Papush." To beat with shoe, slipper, or pipe-stick is most insulting ; the
idea, I believe, being that these articles are not made, like the rod and the whip, for corporal
chastisement, and are therefore used by way of slight. We find the phrase "he slippered
the merchant" in old diaries, e.g. Sir William Ridges, 1683, Hakluyts, m dccc Ixxvii.

3 Arab. " Sarmujah " = sandals, slippers, shoes, esp. those worn by slaves.

4 Suggesting carnal need.

6 The young man being grown up did not live in his father's house.



Story of the Youth who would Putter his Father's Wives. 443

side stark naked to the cooling breeze ; then he leant forwards
propped on either elbow and, spreading his hands upon the ground,
perked up * his bottom. His stepmother looked at him and mar-
velling much said in her mind, " Would Heaven I knew of this
froward youth what may be his object ! " 2 However he never
looked at her nor ever turned towards her but he abode quiet in the
posture he had chosen. She stared hard at him and at last could
no longer refrain from asking him, " Wherefore dost thou on this
wise ? " He answered, " And why not ? I am doing that shall
benefit me in the future, but what that is I will never tell thee ; no
never." She repeated her question again and again, and at last he
replied, "I do thus when 'tis summer-tide and a something of
caloric entereth my belly through my backside and when 'tis winter
the same cometh forth and warmeth my body ; and in the cool
season I do the same and the frigoric cometh forth in the dog-days
and keepeth me in heats like these, fresh and comfortable. 3 " She
asked, " An I do what thou doest, shall it be the same to me."
and he answered, " Aye." Herewith she came forward beside him
and raised her raiment from her behind till the half of her below

the waist was stark naked ; And Shahrazad perceived 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

1 Arab. " Tartara." The lexicons give only the sigs. "chattering" and so forth.
Prob. it is an emphatic reduplication of "Tarra"= sprouting, pushing for ward.

2 The youth plays upon the bride's curiosity, a favourite topic in Arab, and all Eastern
folk-lore.

3 There is a confusion in the text easily rectified by the sequel. The facetia suggests
the tale of the Schildburgers, who on a fine summer's day carried the darkness out of the
house in their caps and emptied it into the sunshine which they bore to the dark room.



444 Supplemental Nights.



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 grass-
widow came forward beside her stepson and raised her raiment
from her behind until the half of her below the waist was stark
naked ; and she did even as her husband's son had done, and
perked up her buttocks, leaning heavily upon her knees and
elbows. Now when she acted on this wise the youth addressed
her saying, " Thou canst not do it aright." " How so ? "
" Because the wind passing in through the postern passeth out
through thy portal, thy solution of continuity." " Then how shall
I do ? " " Stopper thy slit wherethrough the air passeth." " How
shall I stopper it ?" " An thou stopper it not thy toil will be in
vain." " Dost thou know how to stopper it ? >: " Indeed I do ! "
" Then rise up and stopper it." Hearing these words he arose,
because indeed he greeded for her, and came up behind her as she
rested upon her elbows and knees and hending in hand his prickle
nailed it into her coynte and did manly devoir. And after having
his will of her he said, "Thou hast now done thy best for me
and thy belly is filled full of the warm breeze." On this wise he
continued every day, enjoying the wife of his father for some time
during his wayfare, till the traveller returned home, and on his
entering the house the bride rose and greeted him and said,
"Thou hast been absent overlong!" 1 The man sat with her



1 A kindly phrase popularly addressed to the returning traveller whether long absent
or not.



Story of the Youth who would Putter his Father's Wives. 445

awhile and presently asked of her case for that he was fearful of
his son ; so she answered, " I am hale and hearty ! " " Did my
son ask thee of aught ?" " Nay, he asked me not, nor did he
ever address me : withal, O Man, he hath admirable and excellent
expedients and indeed he is deeply versed in natural philosophy."
" What expedients and what natural philosophy ? " " He tucketh
up his dress and exposeth his backside to the breeze which now
passeth into his belly and benefiteth him throughout the cold
season, and in winter he doeth exactly what he did in summer with
effect as beneficial. And I also have done as he did." Now when
the husband heard these her words he knew that the youth had
practised upon her and had enjoyed his desire of her ; so he asked
her, " And what was it thou diddest ? " She answered, " I did
even as he did. However the breeze would not at first enter into
my belly for whatever passed through the back postern passed out
of the front portal, and the youth said to me: Stopper up thy
solution of continuity. I asked him^ Dost thou know how to
stopper it ? and he answered, Indeed I do ! Then he arose and
blocked it with his prickle ; and every day I continued to do like-
wise and he to stopper up the peccant part with the wherewithal
he hath." All this was said to the husband who listened with his
head bowed groundwards ; but presently he raised it and cried,
" There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the
Glorious, the Great ; " and suddenly as they were speaking on

that subject the youth came in to 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



446 Supplemental Nights.

3D&C (St'gftt f^unlireti nn& ^tirt

DUNYAZAD said to her, " Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be not sleeping, 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 came in to his father and found his stepmother relating to
him all they had done whilst he was away and the man said to
him, " Wherefore, O youth, hast thou acted on such wise ? " Said
the son, "What harm have I done ? I only dammed the waterway
that the warm air might abide in her belly and comfort her in the
cold season." So the father knew that his son had played this
trick in order to have his will of her. Hereat he flew into a fury 1
and forthright divorced her, giving her the contingent dowry ; and
she went her ways. Then the man said in his mind, " I shall never
get the better of this boy until I marry two wives and ever keep
them each with other, so that he may not cozen the twain." Now
after a couple of weeks he espoused a fair woman fairer than his
former and during the next month he wived with a second and
cohabited with the two brides. Then quoth the youth in his
mind, " My papa hath wedded two perfect beauties and here am I
abiding in single blessedness. By Allah, there is no help but that
I play a prank upon both of them ! ' : Then he fell to seeking a
contrivance but he could not hit upon aught for that whenever
he entered the house he found his two step-mothers sitting
together and thus he could not avail to address either. But his
father never fared forth from home or returned to it without
warning his wives and saying, " Have a care of yourselves against
that son of mine. He is a whoremonger and he hath made my

1 In the text " Hamakah."



Story of the Youth who would Putter his Fathers Wives. 447

life distraught, for whenever I take to myself a wife he serveth
some sleight upon her ; then he laugheth at her and so manageth
that I must divorce her." At such times the two wives would cry,
" Wallahi, an he come near us and ask us of amorous mercy we
will slap him with our slippers." Still the man would insist,
saying, " Be ye on your guard against him," and they would reply,
" We are ever on our guard." Now one day the women said to
him, "O man, our wheat is finished," and said he, "Be ye
watchful while I fare to the Bazar in our market-town which lieth
hard by and fetch you the corn." So he left them and made for

the town, And Shahrazad perceived 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



anfc



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
father had gone forth and was making for the market-town, his
son happened to meet him, and the two wives went up to the
terrace wishing to see if their husband be gone or not. Now by
the decree of the Decreer the man had in some carelessness
forgotten his papooshes, so he turned to the youth who was
following him and said, " O my son, go back and bring me my



448 Supplemental Nights.

shoes." The women still stood looking, and the youth returned
in mighty haste and hurry till he stood under the terrace, when he
looked up and said, " My father hath just now charged me with a
charge saying : Do thou go sleep with my wives, the twain of
them, and have each of them once." They replied, " What, O
dog, O accursed, thy father bespake thee on this wise ? By Allah,
indeed thou liest, O hog, O ill-omened wight." " Wallahi," he
rejoined, " I lie not ! " So he walked back till he was near his
father when he shouted his loudest so as to be heard by both
parties, " O my papa, O my papa, one of them or the two of
them ? One of them or the two of them ? " The father shouted
in reply, " The two, the two ! Allah disappoint thee : did I say
one of them or the two of them ? " So the youth returned to
his father's wives and cried, " Ye have heard what my papa said.
I asked him within your hearing: One of them or the two of
them ? and ye heard him say : Both, both." Now the man was
speaking of his slippers, to wit, the pair; but the women under-
stood that his saying, " the two of them " referred to his wives.
So one turned to her sister spouse and said, " So it is, 1 our ears
heard it and the youth hath on no wise lied : let him lie with me
once and once with thee even as his father bade him." Both were
satisfied herewith ; but meanwhile the son stole quietly into the
house and found his father's papooshes : then he caught him up
on the road and gave them to him and the man went his ways.
Presently the youth returned to the house and taking one of his
father's wives lay with her and enjoyed her and she also had her
joy of him ; and when he had done all he wanted with her he
fared forth from her to the second wife in her chamber and
stretched himself beside her and toyed with her and futtered her.
She saw in the son a something she had not seen in the sire, so she
joyed in him and he joyed in her. Now when he had won his will

1 Arab. " Adi " which has occurred before.



Story of the Youth who would Putter his Father's Wives. 449

of the twain and had left the house the women forgathered and
began talking and saying, " By Allah, this youth hath given us
both much amorous pleasure, far more than his father ever did ;
but when our husband shall return let us keep our secret even
though he spake the words we heard : haply he may not brook too
much of this thing." So as soon as the man came back with the
wheat he asked the women saying, " What befel you ? " and they
answered, " O Man, art thou not ashamed to say to thy son ; Go
sleep with both thy father's wives? Tis lucky that thou hast
escaped." Quoth he, " Never said I aught of this " ; and quoth
they, " But we heard thee cry ; The two of them." He rejoined,
" Allah disappoint you : I forgot my papooshes and said to him,
Go fetch them. He cried out, One of them or the two of them ?
and I replied, The two of them, meaning my shoes, not you."
" And we," said they, " when he spake to us such words slippered
him and turned him out and now he never cometh near us."
" Right well have ye done," he rejoined, " 'tis a fulsome fellow."
This was their case ; but as regards the youth, he fell to watching
and dogging his father's path, and whenever the man left the
house and went afar from it he would go in to the women who
rejoiced in his coming. Then he would lie with one, and when he
had won his will of her he would go to the sister-wife and tumble
her. This lasted for some time, until the women said each to
other, " What need when he cometh to us for each to receive him
separately in her room ? Let us both be in one chamber and
when he visiteth us let us all three, we two and he, have mutual
joyance and let him pass from one to other." And they agreed to
this condition, unknowing the decree of Allah which was preparing

to punish the twain for their abandoned wantonness. 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
VOL. v. F F



450 Supplemental Nights.

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

i)e CEtgbt ^un&rrtj anfc Wrtp=sixti) J2ig!)t,

DUNYAZAD said to her, " Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou
be not sleeping, finish for us thy tale that \ve 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 two
women agreed to partnership in iniquity with the youth their step-
son. Now on the next day the man went forth and left his house
for some pressing occasion and his son followed him till he saw
him far distant : then the youth repaired to the two wives and
found them both in one chamber. So he asked them, " Why doth
not each of you go to her own apartment ? " and they answered,
" What use is there in that ? Let us all be together and take our
joy, we and thou." So he lay between them and began to toy with
them and tumble them ; and roll over them and mount upon the
bubbies of one and thence change seat to the other's breasts and
while so doing all were plunged in the sea of enjoyment. 1 But
they knew not what lurked for them in the hidden World of the
Future. Presently, lo and behold ! the father returned and entered
the house when none of them expected him or was ware of him ;
and he heard their play even before he went into the chamber.
Here he leant against a side-wall and privily viewed their pro-
ceedings and the lewd state they were in ; and he allowed time to
drag on and espied them at his ease, seeing his son mount the
breasts of one woman and then shift seat to the bubbies of his
other wife. After noting all this he fared quietly forth the house

1 This "little orgie," as moderns would call it, strongly suggests the Egyptian origin
of the tale.



Story of the Youth who would Putter his Father's Wives. 45 1

and sought the Wali complaining of the case; so the Chief of
Police took horse and repaired with him to his home where, when
the two went in, they found the three at the foulest play. The
Wali arrested them one and all and carried them with elbows
pinioned to his office. Here he made the youth over to the
Linkman who struck his neck, and as" for the two women he bade
the executioner delay till nightfall and then take them and strangle
them and hide their corpses underground. And lastly he com-
manded the public Crier go about all the city and cry : " This
be the award of high treason." And men also relate (continued
Shahrazad) the



STORY OF THE TWO LACK-TACTS
OF CAIRO AND DAMASCUS.



455



STORY OF THE TWO LACK-TACTS OF CAIRO
AND DAMASCUS. 1

WHILOME in Cairo-city there was a man famed as a Lack-tact
and another in Damascus was celebrated for the like quality. Each
had heard of his compeer and longed to forgather with him and
sundry folk said to the Syrian, " Verily the Lack-tact of Egypt is
sharper than thou and a cleverer physiognomist and more intelli-
gent, and more penetrating, and much better company ; also he
excelleth thee in debate proving the superiority of his lack of tact."
Whereto the Damascene would reply, " No, by Allah, I am more
tasteful in my lack of tact than yon Cairene ; " but his people
ceased not to bespeak him on this wise until his heart was filled
full of their words ; so one day of the days he cried, " By Allah,
there is no help for it but I fare for Cairo and forgather with her
Lack-tact." Hereupon he journeyed from Damascus and ceased
not wayfaring till he reached Cairo. The time was about set of
sun and the first who met him on the road was a woman ; so he
asked her concerning certain of the highways of the city and she
answered, " What a Lack-tact thou must be to put such a question
at such an hour ! Whoso entereth a strange place in the morning
enquireth about its highways, but whoso entereth at eventide asketh
about its caravanserai 2 wherein he may night." " Sooth thou
sayest," rejoined he, " but my lack of tact hath weakened my wits."
He then sought news of the Khans and they showed him one



1 MS. vol. vi. 262-271. Arab. "'Adim al-Zauk" which the old Latin dictionaries
translate " destitutus experientise " and " expers desiderii," and it is = to our deficient
in taste, manners, etc. The term is explained in vol. ix. 266 (correct my General Index
" ix. 206 "}, Here it evidently denotes what we call "practical joking," a dangerous
form of fun, as much affected by Egyptians as by the Hibernians..

* In text " Wakalah" = an inn: vol. i. 266.



456 Supplemental Nights.

whereto he repaired and passed the night ; and in the morning

And Shahrazad perceived 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
enjoyable and delectable ! " Quoth she, " And where is this com-
pared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an
the Sovran suffer me to survive ? ' Now when it was the next
night and that was



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

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

love and good will ! It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and
of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Lack-tact of
Damascus passed the night in the Wakalah and in the morning he
went forth and wandered about the highways of Cairo questing her
Lack-tact ; and, when they informed him of his rival's whereabouts,
he forgathered with him and was received with an honorable
reception and was welcomed and kindly entreated and comfortably
seated that the twain might talk over the news of the world.
Presently quoth the Lack-tact of Damascus to the Lack-tact of
Cairo, " I would that we two test each other's quality by playing
a prank in turn ; and whoso shall be preferred by the testimony of
the general, he shall lord it over his rival." The Cairene asked,
" Which of us shall begin ? " and the Damascene answered, " I,"
whereto the other rejoined, " Do whatso thou wiliest." So the
Syrian went forth and hired him an ass which he drove out of the
city to a neighbouring clump of Ausaj-bushes l and other thorns
whereof he cut down a donkey-load, and setting the net-full upon

" 'Ausaj," for which. the dictionaries give only a thorny plant, a bramble.



Story of the Two Lack-Tacts of Cairo and Damascus. 457

the beast's back returned to the city He then made for the Bab
al-Nasr, 1 but he could not enter tor the crowding of the folk
frequenting it and the Cairene was gladdened by his doings : so
the man stinted not standing there with his ass and load of thorns
till morn was near, when he lost his temper and urged his beast
close up to the gate. By so doing all the garments of the way-
farers which were caught by the Ausaj-thorns were torn to rags
and tatters, and some of the people beat him and others buffetted
him and others shoved him about saying, " What a superior Lack-
tact thou art ! Allah ruin thy natal realm ! Thou hast torn folk's
dress to rags and tatters with that load of thorns." Still he drave
his donkey onwards albeit the people cried to him, " O man, with-
draw thee, the passengers are all jammed at the gate;" but he
would not retire and those present dealt him more blows and
abuse. Hereat he only cried, " Let me pass through ! " and pushed
on whereby he obtained a severer beating. This lasted till mid-
afternoon, for he could on nowise enter by reason of the crush at
the Bab al-Nasr ; but about sundown the crowd thinned and so he
drove on his ass and passed the gate. Then quoth to him the



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 35 of 40)