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

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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



Jibe f^un&rcto antr 3Ffoelft& NtQ&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 Al-Hajjaj said,
" Now do thou inform me who is the most excellent of the Arabs
and the noblest and of blood the purest ? " " The Khoraysh."
(d) " And wherefore so ? " " For that the Prophets from them pro-
ceeded." (i) " And what tribe is the knightliest of the Arabs and



taken from the townsfolk and assigned by Allah to His Apostle, belongeth to Allah
and to the Apostle and to his kindred and to the orphan and to the poor and to the
wayfarer, that naught thereof may circulate among such only of you as be rich. What
the Apostle hath given you, take. What he hath refused you, refuse. And fear ye Allah,
for Allah is sure in punishing."



46 Supplemental Nights.

the bravest and the firmest in fight ? " " The Banu Hashim." J
(d) " And wherefore so ? " " For that my grandsire the Imam Ah'
ibn Abi Talib is of them." (<) " And who is the most generous of
the Arabs and most steadfast in the guest-rite ? " " The Banu
Ta yy-" (<') "And wherefore so?" "For that Hatim of Tayy 2
was one thereof." (<f) " And who is the vilest of the Arabs and
the meanest and the most miserly, in whom weal is smallest and
ill is greatest ? " " The Banu Thaki'f." 3 (<) " And wherefore
so?" "Because thou, O Hajjaj, art of them." Thereupon the
Lieutenant of Kufah raged with exceeding rage and ordered the
slaughter of the youth ; but the Grandees of the State rose up and
prayed him for mercy, when he accepted their intercession and
pardoned the offender. After which he said to him, " O young
man, concerning the kid 4 that is in the firmament, tell me be it
male or female ? " for he was minded on this wise to cut short his
words. The young Sayyid replied, " O Hajjaj, draw me aside its
tail, so I may inform thee thereanent." 5 Q) "O young man, say

1 The House of Hashim, great grandfather to the Prophet.

2 Ibn Khallikan (vol. i. 354) warns us that " Al-Tai" means belonging to the Tai
which is a famous tribe. This relative adjective is of irregular formation ; analogy would
require it to be Tai} ; but the formation of relative adjectives admits some variations ;
thus from dahr (time) is derived duhri (temporal}, and from sahl (a plain], suhlt (plain,
level). The author might also have told us that there is always a reason for such
irregularities; thus " Dahri" (from Dahr) would mean a Mundanist, one who believes
in this world and not in a next or another.

3 The "Banu Thakif" was a noble tribe sprung from lyad (Ibn Khallikan i.-358-
363) ; but the ignorant and fanatic scribe uses every means, fair and foul, to defame Al-
Hajjaj. It was a great race and a well known, living about Taif in the Highlands East
of Meccah, where they exist to the present day. Mr. Doughty (loc. cit. ii. 174) men-
tions a kindred of the Juhaynah Badawin called El-Thegif (Thakif) of whom the
Mredinites say "Allah ya'alan Thegif Kuddam takuf (God damn the Thegif ere thou
stand still). They are called " Yahiid" (Jews), probably meaning pre-Islamitic Arabs,
and are despised accordingly.

4 In Arab. " Jady" = the Zodiacal sign Capricorn.

5 We find a similar facetia in Mullah Jami (Garden viii.). When a sheep leapt out of
the stream, her tail happened to be raised, and a woolcarder said laughing: " I have
seen thy parts genital." She turned her head and replied, " O miserable, for many a
year I have seen thee mother-naked yet never laughed I." This alludes to the practice
of such artisans who on account of the heat in their workshops and the fibre adhering
to their clothes work in naturatibus. See p. 178, the Beharistan (Abode of Spring)
Printed by the Kamashastra Society for Private Subscribers only. Benares, 1887.



History of Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf and the Young Sayyid. 47

me on what pasture best grow the horns of the camel ? " " From
leaves of stone." (<j) " O lack wit ! do stones bear leaves." " O
swollen of lips and little of wits and wisdom, say me do camels
have horns ? " (i) " Haply thou art a lover fond, O youth ? "
" Yes ! in love drowned." (j) " And whom lovest thou ? " " I
love my Lord, of whom I hope that he will turn my annoy into
joy, and who can save me this day from thee, O Hajjaj." Q) " And
dost thou know the Lord ?'' "Yes, I do." (<;) u And whereby hast
thou known Him ? " " By the Book of Him which descended upon
His Prophet- Apostle." (<j) "And knowest thou the Koran by
heart ? " " Doth the Koran fly from me that I should learn
it by rote?" (<) "Hast thou confirmed knowledge thereof?"
" Verily Allah sent down a book confirmed." * (<) " Hast thou
perused and mastered that which is therein ? ' ; " I have." Q)
" Then, O young man, if thou have read and learned what it con-
taineth, tell me which verset is the sublimest (i) and which verset
is the most imperious (2) and which verset is hopefullest (3) and
which verset is fearfullest (4) and which verset is believed by the
Jew and the Nazarene (5) and in which verset Allah speaketh
purely of Himself (6) and in which verset be the Angels mentioned
(7) and which verset alludeth to the Prophets (8) and in which verset
be mentioned the People of Paradise (9) and which verset speaketh
of the Folk of the Fire (10) and which verset containeth tenfold
signs (n) and which verset (12) speaketh of Ibli's (whom Allah
accurse !)." Then quoth the youth, " Listen to my answering, O
Hajjaj, with the aid of the Beneficent King. Now the sublimest



1 This passage is not Koranic, and, according to Prof. Houdas, the word "Muhka-
man" is never found in the Holy Volume. [The passage is not a literal quotation, but
it evidently alludes to Koran iii. 5 : " Huwa'llazi anzala 'alayka '1-kitaba minhu ayatun
muhkamatun " = He it is who sent down to thee the book, some of whose signs (or
versets) are confirmed. The singular " muhkamatun " is applied (xlvii.) to " Suratun,"
a chapter, and in both places the meaning of " confirmed " is " not abrogated by later
revelations." Hence in the sequel of my first quotation these portions are called " the
mother (i.e. ground-work) of the book," and the learned Sayyid is not far from the mark
after all. ST.]



48 Supplemental Nights.

verset in the Book of Allah Almighty is the Throne verse ; l and
the most imperious is the word of Almighty Allah, ' Verily Allah
ordereth justice and well-doing and bestowal of gifts upon kith
and kin ' ; 2 and the justest is the word of the Almighty, ' Whoso
shall have wrought a mithkal (nay an atom) of good works shall
see it again, and whoso shall have wrought a mithkal (nay an atom)
of ill shall again see it ' ; 3 and the fullest of fear is that spoken by
the Almighty, ' Doth not every man of them desire that he enter
into the Paradise hight Al-Na'im ? ' 4 and the fullest of hope is the
word of the Almighty, ' Say Me, O My worshippers who have
sinned against your own souls, do not despair of Allah's ruth ' ; 5
and the verset which containeth ten signs is the word of the Lord
which saith 6 ' Verily in the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth
and in the shifts of Night and Day and in the ships which pass
through the sea with what is useful to mankind ; and in the rain



1 Surah ii. (The Cow) v. 56, the verse beginning, "Allah ! there be no God but He;
. . . His Throne overreacheth the Heavens and the Earth," etc.

2 Surah Ixxiii. (The Bee) v. 92; ending with, "And he forbiddeth frowardness and
wrong-doing and oppression ; and He warneth you that haply may ye be warned."

8 Surah (Meccah) xcix. vv. 7 and 8: in text ""MithkalaZarratin," which Mr. Rodwell
(p. 28) englishes " an atom's weight of good," and adds in a foot-note, " Lit. a single
ant." Prof. Houdas would render it, Quiconque aura fait la valeur (fun mitskal de
millet en fait de bien ; but I hardly think that "Zarrah" can mean " Durrah"= millet.
[" Mithkal" in this context is explained by the commentators by " Wazn"= weight,
this being the original meaning of the word which is a nomen instrumenti of the form
" Mifdl," denoting " that by which the gravity of bodies is ascertained." Later on
it became the well-known technical term for a particular weight. " Zarrah," according
to some glossarists, is the noun of unity of " Zarr," the young ones of the ant, an antlet,
which is said to weigh the twelfth part of a " Kitmir"= pedicle of the date-fiuit, or the
hundredth part of a grain of barley, or to have no weight at all. Hence " Mukhkh
al-Zarr," the brains of the antlet, means a thing that does not exist or is impossible to be
found. According to others "Zarrah" is a particle of al-Haba, i.e. of the motes that
are seen dancing in the sunlight, called " Sonnenstaubchen " in German, and " atomo
solare" in Italian. Koran xxi. 48 and xxxi. 15 we find the expression "Mithkala
Habbatin min Khardalin " = of the weight of a mustard-seed, used in a similar sense
with the present quotation. ST.]

* Surah Ixx. 38, Mr. Rodwell (p. 60) translates, " Is it that every man of them would
fain enter the Garden of Delights?"

6 Surah xxxix. 54 : they sinned by becoming apostates from Al-Islam. The verset
ends, " Verily all sins doth Allah forgive : aye, Gracious, and Merciful is He."

6 Surah ii. 159; the quotation in the MS. is cut short-



History of Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf and tlte Young Sayyid. 49

which Allah sendeth down from Heaven, thereby giving to the
earth life after death, and by scattering thereover all the moving
creatures, and in the change of the winds, and in the clouds which
are made to do service between the Heavens and the Earth are
signs for those who understand ' ; and the verset wherein believe
both Jews and Nazarenes is the word of Almighty Allah, 1 * The
Jews say the Nazarenes are on naught, and the Christians say the
Jews are on naught, and both speak the sooth for they are on
naught.* And the verset wherein Allah Almighty speaketh purely
of Himself is that word of Almighty Allah, 2 'And I created not
Jinn-kind and mankind save to the end that they adore Me ' ; and
the verset which was spoken of the Angels is the word of Almighty
Allah which saith, 3 ' Laud to Thee ! we have no knowledge save
what Thou hast given us to know, and verily Thou art the Know-
ing, the Wise.' And the verset which speaketh of the Prophets is
the word of Almighty Allah that saith 4 'And We have already
sent Apostles before thee : of some We have told thee, and of
others we have told thee naught : yet no Apostle had the power to
come with a sign unless by the leave of Allah. But when Allah's
behest cometh, everything shall be decided with truth ^ and then
perish they who entreated it as a vain thing ' ; and the verset which
speaketh of the Folk of the Fire is the word of Almighty Allah
which saith 5 ' O our Lord ! Bring us forth from her (the Fire),
and, if we return (to our sins), we shall indeed be of the evil-
doers ' ; and the verset that speaketh of the People of Paradise is
the word of Almighty Allah, 6 'And they shall say: Laud to the

1 Surah ii. 107; the end of the verse is, "Yet both are readers of the Book. So
with like words say they (the pagan Arabs) who have no knowledge."

2 Surah li. (The Scattering), v. 56.
8 Surah ii. v. 30.

4 Surah xl. (The Believer), v. 78. In the text it is fragmentary. I do not see why
Mr. Rod well founds upon this verset a charge against the Prophet of ignorance con-
cerning Jewish history : Mohammed seems to have followed the Talmud and tradition
rather than the Holy Writ of the Hebrews.

5 Surah (The Believers) Ixiv. 108.

6 Surah xxxv. (The Creator or The Angels), v. 31 : the sentence concludes in v. 32,

VOL. V. D



5 Supplemental Nights.

Lord who abated to us grief, and verily our lord is Gracious,
Grateful ' ; and the verset which speaketh of Iblis (whom Allah
Almighty accurse !), is the word of Almighty Allah, ' He said :
(I swear) therefore by Thy Glory, that all of them will I surely
lead astray.' Hereupon Al-Hajjaj exclaimed, " Laud to the Lord
and thanksgiving Who giveth wisdom unto whoso He please !
Never indeed saw I a youth like this youth upon whom the
Almighty hath bestowed wits and wisdom and knowledge for all
the tenderness of his age. But say me, " Who art thou, O young
man " ? Quoth the youth, " I am of the folk of these things, 2 O
Hajjaj." Resumed the Lieutenant, (^) " Inform me concerning
the son of Adam what injureth him and what profiteth him ? "
And the youth replied, " I will, O Hajjaj ; do thou and these
present who are longing for permanency (and none is permanent
save Allah Almighty !) be early the fast to break, nor be over late
supper to make ; and wear light body-clothes in summer and gar
heavy the headgear in winter, and guard the brain with what it
conserveth and the belly with what it preserveth and begin every
meal with salt for it driveth away seventy and two kinds of malady :
and whoso breaketh his fast each day with seven raisins red of hue

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



" Who of His bounty hath placed us in a Mansion that shall abide for ever, therein no
evil shall reach us, and therein no weariness shall touch us."

1 Surah (" Sad") lix. 54; Iblis, like Satan in the Book of Job, is engaged in dialogue
with the Almighty. I may here note that Scott (p. 265) has partially translated these
Koranic quotations, but he has given only one reference.

z In text "An& min ahli zalika," of which the vulgar equivalent would be "Kizi"
(for Kazalika, " Kaza ")= so (it is) !



History of Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf and the Young Sayyid. 51



toe f^untircti an* jjourtemtf) Jiigfjt,

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
continued to Al-Hajjaj : And whoso breaketh his fast daily
with seven raisins red of hue shall never find in his body aught that
irketh him ; moreover, whoso each morning eateth on the spittle *
three ripe dates all the worms in his belly shall be slain and whoso
exceedeth in diet of boucan'd meat 2 and fish shall find his strength
weakened and his powers of carnal copulation abated ; and beware
lest thou eat beef 3 by cause that 'tis a disease forsure whereas
the soured milk of cows is a remedy secure and clarified butter is
a perfect cure : withal is its hide a succour for use and ure. And
do thou take to thee, O Hajjaj, the greater Salve." 4 Cried the
Lieutenant, ". What may be that ? " and said the youth in reply,
"A bittock of hard bread eaten 5 upon the spittle, for indeed such
food consumeth the phlegm and similar humours which be at



1 i.e. On an empty stomach, to "open the spittle" is = to break the fast. Sir Wm.
Gull in his evidence before a Committee of the House of Commons deposed that after
severe labour he found a bunch of raisins as efficacious a "pick-me-up" as a glass Of
stimulants. The value of dried grapes to the Alpinist is well known.

2 Arab. " Al-Kadid" = jerked (charqui = chairecuite) meat-flesh smoked, or (mostly)
sun-dried.

3 I have noticed (i. 345) one oi the blunders in our last unfortunate occupation of
Egypt where our soldiers died uselessly of dysenteric disease because they were rationed
with heating beef instead of digestible mutton.

4 Arab. " Al-Marham al-akbar."

8 [In the text : Al-Kisrat al-ydbisah 'ala '1-Rik fa-innaha tukhlik jami'a ma" 'ala fum
al-mddah min al-balgham," of which I cannot make anything but : a slice of dry bread
(kisrah = piece of bread) on the spittle (i.e. to break the fast), for it absorbs (lit. uses
up, fourth form of " khalik" = to be worn out) all that there may be of phlegm on the
mouth of the stomach. Can it be that the dish " Khushk-nan" (Pers. = dry-bread) is
meant, of which the village clown in one of Spitta Bey's tales, when he was treated to it



52 Supplemental Nights.

the mouth of the maw. 1 And let not blood in the hot bath for it
enfeebleth man's force, and gaze not upon the metal pots of the
Balnea because such sight breedeth dimness of vision. Also have
no connection with woman in the Hammam for its consequence is
the palsy ; nor do thou lie with her when thou art full or when
thou art empty or when thou art drunken with wine or when thou
art in wrath nor when lying on thy side, for that it occasioneth
swelling of the testicle-veins ; 2 or when thou art under a fruit-
bearing tree. And avoid carnal knowledge of the old woman 3 for
that she taketh from thee and giveth not to thee. Moreover let
thy signet-ring be made of carnelian 4 because it is a guard against
poverty ; also a look at the Holy Volume every morning increaseth
thy daily bread and to gaze at flowing water whetteth the sight
and to look upon the face of children is an act of adoration. And
when thou chancest lose thy way, crave aidance of Allah from
Satan the Stoned." Hereupon quoth Al-Hajjaj, " Allah hath
been copious to thee, O young man for thou hast drowned me in
the depths of thy lore, but now inform me, Where is the seat of thy
dignified behaviour ? " " The two eyes." (<) " And where is the
seat of thy well-doing ? " " My tongue.'' (<;) " And where is the
seat of thy intellect ? " " My brain." (<) " And where is the seat
of thy hearing?" "The sensorium of mine ears." (<;) "And
where is the seat of thy smelling ? " " The sensorium of my nose."



by Harun al-Rashid thought it must be the " Hammam," because he had heard his
grandmother say, that the Hammam (bath) is the most delightful thing in the world ?
ST.]

1 The stomach has two mouths, cesophagic above (which is here alluded to) and
pyloric below.

8 Arab. " 'Irk al-Unsa " = chordae testiculorum, in Engl. simply the cord.

3 The "'Ajuz" is a woman who ceases to have her monthly period : the idea is
engrained in the Eastern mind and I cannot but believe in it seeing the old-young faces
of men who have " married their grandmothers " for money or folly, and what not.

4 Arab. "Al-'Akik," vol. iii. 179: it is a tradition of the Prophet that the best of
bezels for a signet-ring is the carnelian, and such are still the theory and the practice of
the Moslem East.



History of Al-Hajjaj bin Yusufandthe Young Sayyid. 53

Q) " And where is the seat of thy taste ? " " My palate." (^) " And
where is the seat of thy gladness ? " " My heart." (<) " And
where is the seat of thy sorrow ? " " My soul." Q) " And where
is the seat of thy wrath ? " " My liver." (<) " And where is the
seat of thy laughing ?"" My spleen." 1 (<j) "And where is the
seat of thy bodily strength ?" "My two shoulders." (i) "And
where is that of thy weakness ? " " My two calves." Hereupon
Al-Hajjaj exclaimed, " Laud to the Lord and thanksgiving; for
indeed, O young man, I see that thou knowest everything. So
tell me somewhat concerning husbandry ? " " The best of corn is
the thickest of cob and the grossest of grain and the fullest sized
of shock." 2 Q) " And what sayest thou concerning palm-trees ? "
" The most excellent is that which the greatest of gathering doth
own and whose height is low-grown and within whose meat is the
smallest stone." (<) " And what dost thou say anent the vine ? "
" The most noble is that which is stout of stem and big of
bunch." (<j) " And what sayest thou concerning the Heavens ? "
" This is the furthest extent of man's sight and the dwelling-place
of the Sun and Moon and all the Stars that give light, raised on
high without columns pight and overshadowing the numbers that
stand beneath its height." (<) "And what dost thou say con-
cerning the Earth ? " " It is wide dispread in length and breadth."
(<) And what dost thou say anent the rain ? " " The most
excellent is that which filleth the pits and pools and which
overflowed! into the wadys and the rivers." Hereupon quoth



1 Arab. " Tuhal ; " in text " Tayhdl." Mr. Doughty (Arabia Deserta, i. 547)
writes the word "Tahal" and translates it " ague-cake," i.e. the throbbing enlarged
spleen, left after fevers, especially those of Al-Hijaz and Khaybar/ [The form "Tayhal"
with a plural " Tawahil " for the usual " Tihal " = spleen is quoted by Dozy from the
valuable Vocabulary published by Schiaparelli, 1871, after an old MS. of the end of the
xiii. century. It has the same relation to the verb "tayhal" = he suffered from the
spleen, which "Tihal" bears to the verb "tuhil," used passively in the same sense.
The name of the disease is ' Tuhal. "ST.]

2 In text " Kasalah " = a shock of corn, assemblage of sheaves. It may be a clerical
error for " Kasabah " = stalk, haulm, straw,



54 Supplemental Nights.

Al-Hajjaj, " O young man inform me what women be the best " -
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



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 Al-Hajjaj said
" O young man, inform me what women be the best and the
most enjoyable." 1 " One in winning ways excelling and in
comeliness exceeding and in speech killing : one whose brow
glanceth marvellous bright to whoso filleth his eyes with her sight
and to whom she bequeatheth sorrow and blight ; one whose
breasts are small whilst her hips are large and her cheeks are rosy
red and her eyes are deeply black and her lips are full-formed ;
one who if she look upon the heavens even the rocks will be robed
in green, and if she look upon the earth her lips 2 unpierced pearls
shall rain ; one the dews of whose mouth are the sweetest of
waters ; one who in beauty hath no peer nor is there any loveli-



1 Of course the conversation drifts into matters sexual and inter-sexual : in a similar
story, "Tawaddud," the learned slave-girl, "hangs down her head for shame and con-
fusion" (vol. v. 225); but the young Sayyid speaks out bravely as becomes a male
masculant.

2 [In the text : "Allatf lau nazarat ila 'I-samd la-a'shab (fourth form of 'ashab
with the affirmative "la")al-Safa (pi. of Safdt), wa lau nazarat ila '1-arz la amtar



History of Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf and tlie Young Sayytd. $5

ness can with hers compare : the coolth of the eyes to great and
small ; in fine, one whose praises certain of the poets have sung
in these harmonious couplets :'

"A fair one to idolaters if she herself should show, They'd leave their idols

and her face for only Lord v/ould know.
If in the Eastward she appeared unto a monk, for once He'd cease from

turning to the West and to the East bend low ;
And into the briny sea one day she chanced to spit, Assuredly the salt sea's

floods straight fresh and sweet would grow."

Hereupon quoth Al-Hajjaj, "Thou hast said well and hast spoken
fair, O young man ; and now what canst thou declare concerning
a maiden of ten years told ? " Quoth the youth, " She is a joy to
behold." (<) " And a damsel of twenty years old ? " " A coolth to
eyes manifold." (<) " And a woman thirty of age ? " " One who 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 5 of 40)