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 8 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 8 of 40)
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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 enjoy-
able and delectable ; " Quoth she, " And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the



1 [In the MS. "bi-Wujuh al Fanijat al-Milah." The translator conjectures " al-
fatihat," which he refers to " Wujuh." I read it " al-Ghanijat," in apposition with al-
Milah, andrender : the faces of the coquettish, the fair. See index under "Ghunj." ST.]

2 In text " Ballat," the name still given to the limestone slabs cut in the Torah
quarries South of Cairo. The word is classical, we find in Ibn Khaldun (vol. i.
p. 21, Fr. Trans.) a chief surnomme el-Bait (k pave], a cause de sa ferm&te et de sa force
de caracttrc.



Night Adventure of Harun al-Rashid and the Youth Man jab. 8r

King suffer me to survive ? " Now when it was the next night,
and that was



gbt'x f^unOteU antr .Jforttetf)

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
Manjab continued his tale to Al-Rashid in these words. So I
descended into the vault, O Commander of the Faithful, and
I found there three boxes each containing five bags and every bag
held five thousand gold pieces. I carried forth the whole of them
and set them in an apartment of the apartments and returned the
flag of the floor to its place. Then I pondered what my brethren
and companions had done with me, after which, O Prince of True
Believers, I bought handsome clothes and made my person as it
was before ; and as soon as those men who were with me of yore and
upon v/hom I had spent my substance in gifts and presents beheld
me on such wise they flocked around me again. I accepted of them
for a device which I purposed carrying out and took patience with
them for a whole month whilst they came to visit me every day.
But when it was the thirty-first day I summoned the Kazi and
his assessors whom I concealed in a private place and ba'de write
a bond and an acceptance for everything they might hear from rny
familiars and friends. After this I spread a feast and assembled
all my associates ; and when we had eaten and drunken and made
merry, I drew them on to talk and to each and every whom I had
gifted with a present I said, " Allah upon thee, O Such-an-one,
did I not donate to thee so-and-so without taking any return from

thee ? " And they replied " Yes, thou gavest it to me for naught."
VOL. v. F



82 Supplemental Nights.

I continued, O Prince of True Believers, to address each and all
after this fashion whilst the Kazi and witnesses wrote down against
them everything they heard from them and documented every word
until not one of my friends remained without confession. Then,

Commander of the Faithful, I rose to my feet without delay and
ere anyone could leave the assembly I brought out the Kazi and
his assessors and showed them the writ in the name of everyone,
specifying whatso he had received from the youth Manjab. After
this manner I redeemed all they had taken from me and my hand
was again in possession thereof, and I waxed sound of frame and
my good case returned to me as it had been. Now one day of
the days 1 took thought in my mind, O Prince of True Believers,
that I could open the shop of my sire and I would sit in it as my
parent was wont to do, selling and buying in sumptuous Hindi
cloths and jewelry and precious metals. Accordingly I repaired
to the place, which I found fast locked and the spider had pitched
her web-tent about it ; so I hired a man to wipe it and sweep it
clean of all that was therein. And when the Bazar folk and the
merchants and the masters of shops saw me they rejoiced in me
and came to congratulate me saying, " Praise be to Allah who
opened not the store save for the owner thereof in succession to
his sire." Then I took of merchandise a mighty matter and my
shop became one whose like was not to be looked upon through-
out the market-street, and amongst the goods I laid in were
carnelians of Al-Yaman ; after which I seated me upon my shop-
board that very day and sold and bought and took and gave, and

1 ceased not to be after such wise for nine days. Now when
it was the tenth day I entered the Hammam and came out after
donning a dress which was worth one thousand gold pieces, and my
beauty was increased and my colour waxed sheeny-bright and my
youth looked as though it had been redoubled, and I was not such
but that the women were like to throw themselves upon me. How-
ever, when I returned from the Baths and sat in my store for an hour



Night Adventure of Harun al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab. 83

or so behold, I heard a shout that came from the depths of the Bazar
and heard one saying, " Have patience," ! when suddenly I looked
up and saw a stare-coloured mule whereon was a saddle of gold
dubbed with pearls and gems, and upon it an old woman was
riding accompanied by three pages. She ceased not going till she
stood at my shop-door where she drew rein and her servants
halted with her. Then she salam'd to me and said, " How long
is't since thou hast opened this store ? " and said I, " This day is
the full tenth." Quoth she, "Allah have ruth upon the owner of
this shop, for he was indeed a merchant." Quoth I, " He was my
parent," and replied she, " Thou art Manjab named and as uniter
of thy friends enfamed." Said I, " Yes ! " whereat she smiled and
questioned me, " And how is thy sister, and what is the condition
of thy mother, and what is the state of thy neighbours ? " " They
are all well," said I, when said she, " O my son, O Manjab, thou
hast grown up and reached man's estate." Rejoined I, " Whoso
liveth groweth up ; " and she continued, " Say me hast thou a
necklace of gems which is pleasing to the sight ? " I responded,
" With me in the shop are many necklaces but I have better at
home and I will bring them for thee betimes to-morrow if it be
the will of Almighty Allah." When she heard these my words she
returned by the way she came and her pages walked by her side ;
and at the end of the day I went to my mother and informed her
of the adventure how it was with the old woman and she said,
" O my son, O Manjab, verily that ancient dame is a confidential
nurse and she conferreth benefits upon the folk amongst whom
was thy sire before thee : therefore do thou be urgent in bringing
about her business nor do thou forgo thine appointment with her."
The old woman disappeared for a day; but on the next she
returned in her wonted state and when she came to my shop she
said, " O Manjab, arise and mount thy mule, in weal and good

1 In text "Usbuiu"=be ye patient, the cry addressed to passengers by the
Grandee's body-guard.



84 Supplemental Nights.

health ! >: So I left my store and mounted my she-mule 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 com-
pared with that I would relate to you in the coming night an the
Sovran suffer me to survive ? " Now when it was the next night,
and that was



Six f^unlJrrti antJ jportp.-SEconti Kt'gfjt,

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
Manjab said to the Prince of True Believers : So I mounted
my she-mule and I went with the old woman until I came to a
mansion built of stone and wide of gates ; so we dismounted, I and
she, and entered the door, I following after her until we came to
the great hall. There I found, O Prince of True Believers, carpets
of fine silk and embroidered hangings and mattresses of gold-cloth
and vases of the same kind all golden and fine brocades and jars
of porcelain and shelves of crystal ; in fine I saw things which I
may not describe to thee, O Commander of the Faithful. And at
the side of the mansion within were four bench-seats of yello\v
brass, plain and without carving and the old woman seated me
upon the highest mattress and she pointed out to me a porch
where stood pourtrayed all manner birds and beasts, and hills
and channels were limned. Now as I cast my eye over these
paintings suddenly a young lady accosted us speaking with a
delicate voice demure and words that the sick and sorry would



Night Adventure of Harun al-Rashid and tlie Youth Manjab. 85

cure and she was behind a hanging and saying, " Whoso hath let
down this curtain let him receive one hundred stripes." Then she
bade withdraw it and they removed it and behold, I felt as though
the lightning were gleaming and glittering and it took away my
sight until my head was near striking the ground, for there stood
before me a young lady of lance-like stature and a face like the
morning bright as though she were a chandelier a-hanging amid
the cressets. She was dressed in sumptuous raiment and was even
as said of her the poet :

" To us she bent whenas Night hung her veil And nigh went she my sense

to turn from right ;
And rang her anklets and her necklace chimed o With dainty music to my

tearful plight.
Showed me that her face a four-fold charm, & Water and fire and pitch and

lamping light."

Then, O Commander of the Faithful, she cried out to the slave
girls, " Woe to you, where is the Nurse," and when she was fetched
between her hands she asked- her, " Hast thou brought the
jeweller ; " and the other answered, " Yea, verily, O lady of love-
liness, and here he is sitting like the full moon when it easteth."
The young lady cried, " O old woman, is this he or is it his ser-
vant ? " ! Whereto she replied, " No, 'tis he himself, O lady of loveli-
ness." Quoth the other, " By the life of my youth, 2 thou deservest
naught for this 3 save whatso thou fanciest not and thou hast



1 The " young person " here begins a tissue of impertinences which are supposed to
show her high degree and her condescension in mating with the jeweller. This is still
" pretty Fanny's way " amongst Moslems.

2 A "swear" peculiarly feminine, and never to be used by men-

3 In text " ' Ala-Akli : " the whole passage is doubtful.

[I would read, and translate the passage as follows : " Ma tastahli 'ala haza ilia shay
la tazann-hu allazi (for "allati," see Suppl. iv. 253) kayyamtini (2nd fern, sing.) min 'ala
akli wa ana zanantu innahu man yujab la-hu al-kiyam ; thumma iltifatat illayya wa
kalat hakaza sirtu ana la-ghazarat al-thiyab al-wasikhat min al-fakr fa-hal ma ghasalta
wajhak ? " = Thou deservest not for this but a thing thou doest not fancy, thou who
madest me rise from before my food, while I thought he was one to whom rising up is
due. Then she turned towards me, saying, " Am I then in this manner (i.e. like thyself)
a bundle of clothes all dirty from poverty, and hast thou therefore (" fa" indicating the



86 Supplemental Nights.

raised me from before my food 1 while yet I fancied that he merited
rising up to him." Then she considered me and cried, " Am I then
in this fashion become 2 a bundle of dirty clothes all of poverty,
and say me now, hast thou not even washed thy face ? " But I, O
Prince of True Believers, was still as I came forth from the Ham-
mam and my countenance was shining like unto lightning. Hereat I
made myself exceeding small and it mortified me to hear how she
had found fault with my face and befouled my dress, scorning me
till I became between her hands smaller than the very smallest.
Then she fixed her sight upon me and she said to me, " Thou art
Manjab hight, thou dogs' trysting-site or gatherer of friends as
saith other wight, but by Allah how far be familiars and friends from
thy sight, O thou Manjab hight ! Now, however, do thou look
upon me, O Jeweller jnan, the while I eat and when my meal shall
end there will be talk." Hereupon, O Commander of the Faithful,
they brought her a crystal platter in a golden basin and therein
were the thighs of fowls ; so she took seat before me and fell to
eating without shyness or difficulty as though in her presence I
were other than a son of Adam. And I stood looking at her
and whenever she raised her wrist to take up a morsel, the dimple 3
became manifest from without, and upon the skin was a tattoo of
green colour and about it jewelled ornaments 4 and armlets of red



effect of a cause) not washed thy face ? " Or to put it in more intelligible English :
" Am I then like thyself a heap of rags that thou shouldst come to me with unwashed
face?" ST.]

1 Of the respect due to food Lane (M. E. chapt. xiii.) fells the following tale : " Two
servants were sitting at the door of their master's house, eating their dinner, when they
observed a Mameluke Bey with several of his officers, riding along the streets towards
them. One of these servants rose, from respect to the Grandee, who regarding him with
indignation, exclaimed, Which is the more worthy of respect, the bread which is before
thee or myself? Without awaiting a reply, he made, it is said, a well-understood signal
with his hand ; and the unintending offender was beheaded on the spot." I may add
that the hero of the story is said to have been the celebrated "Daftardar" whose
facetious cruelties have still a wide fame in the Nile Valley.

2 I would read (for " Sirtu ana" = 1 have become) " Sirt' anta " = thou hast become.

3 In text " Mukh ; " lit. = brain, marrow.

* [In Ar. " Wa zand mujauhar fi-hi Asawir min al-Zahab al-ahmar," which may



Night Adventure of Harun al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab. 87

gold and a pink dye appeared upon the whiteness of her hand : so
glory be to Him who created her and she was naught but a
seduction to whoso espied her and blessed be Allah .the best of
Creators. May the Almighty have ruth upon the poet who said
concerning the beauty of his lover these couplets :

" Rise and pass me the wine, O thou son of Mansiir ; o And for stopping it

hope not my pardon forsure :
Let it come by the hand of a fair white maid o As though she had fared from

the Heav'n of the Hiir :
When we see the figure her wrist adorns o 'Tis a musk grain lying on limestone



pure.''



Then, O Prince of True Believers, she fell to conversing with me
hending in hand a broidered kerchief wherewith whenever she had
eaten a morsel she wiped her lips and when her sleeve fell from
off her wrist she tucked it up even as the poet said of such :

" She hideth her face from the folk, With a wrist whereon Ottars abound ;
And to eye of watcher it seems o Gold shaft on Moon's silvern round."

Now when she had eaten, O Commander of the Faithful, I gazed
at her face and she cried, " O ye women, behold how Manjab
looketh upon me and I am eating till my nature cry enough ; "
presently adding, " O Manjab, what calamity hath befallen thee
that thou comest not forward and eatest not of this food ? " So I
drew anigh and ate with her, but I was dazed of my wits and sore

amazed at her ways. 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



mean : and a fore-arm (became manifest), ornamented with jewels, on which were brace*
lets of red gold. ST.]



Supplemental Nights.



anti

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 Manjab
continued to the Caliph : Verily I came forward and ate with
her, but I was so dazed of my wits and so sore'amazed at her
beauty and loveliness that as I took up a mouthful to carry it to
my mouth behold, I would carry it to my eyes in consequence of
what befel me from seeing that was in this young lady. And
presently she fell to laughing at me and inclining towards me in
her haughtiness and in beauty's pride, saying at the same time,
" By Allah, indeed this man is a maniac and a Bahlul i 1 where is
thy mouth and how far from thine eye ?" So said I, " By Allah,
O lady of loveliness, I am nor a madman nor a Bahlul, but whilst
looking at thy beauty my wits have fled and I am in condition of
unknowing how I ate." Then she asked me, " Do I please thee,
O Manjab ? " and I answered her " Yes ! Wallahi, O my lady,
indeed thou dost." Quoth she, " What should be the penalty of
him who owning me and my white beauties 2 shall then forsake me
to take other than myself?" and quoth I, " His award should be a
thousand stripes upon his right side and as many upon his left ribs,
together with the cutting off of his tongue and his two hands and
the plucking out of either eye." She cried, " Wilt thou marry me
upon this condition ? " and I replied, " O my lady, dost thou mock
and laugh at me ? " Said she, " No, by Allah, my word is naught
save a true word ; and said I, " I am satisfied and I accept this

1 For this famous type of madman see Suppl. Vol. vi. 155.

2 [Ar. " Ghurrat," which may be bright looks, charms, in general, or according to
Bocthor, fore-locks. The more usual plural of " Ghurrah " is "Ghurar." Sx.J



Night Adventure of Harun al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab. 89

compact ; however do thou make haste and delay not." But
when she looked at me and heard mine intent regarding the
marriage she shook with joy and pride and she inclined towards
me as she sat before me and my senses were like to take flight.
Then she rose up and left me for an hour and came back dressed
in sumptuous garments and fairer than before, and purfumes reeked
from her sides as she walked between four handmaidens like unto
the refulgent moon. But I, when I looke'd upon her in this con-
dition, cried out with a loud outcry and fell fainting to the ground
for what befel me from her beauty and perfection : and she had
no design therein, O Commander of the Faithful, save her favour
for me. When I came to myself she said, " O Manjab, what dost
thou say of my beauty and comeliness?" and I replied, "By
Allah, O lady of loveliness, there is none in this time can be thy
peer." Then quoth she, " An I please thee thou wilt be content
with these conditions ? " whereto quoth I, " Content ! CONTENT ! !
CONTENT ! ! ! " Thereupon she bade summon the Kazi and the
assessors who came without stay or delay and she said to the Judge
" Do thou listen to the condition of this marriage and write from
his word of mouth a bond on oath and under penalty for breaking
it, to the effect that if he betray me and mate with other or by
way of right or of unright, I will smite him a thousand stripes on
his right side and as many on his left ribs and I will cut off his
tongue and his two hands and I will pluck out his either eye."
Said the Kazi to me, " Shall we bear witness against thee with
this condition ?" and when I answered " Yes," he wrote out, O
Commander of the Faithful, his testimony together with the
penalty, while I hardly believed in all this. Presently, she brought
out a tray, whereupon were a thousand miskals of gold and a
thousand dirhams of silver which she scattered among the Kazi
and witnesses ; so they took them and went their ways having
duly tied the marriage-knot and indited the penalty thereto
attached. . Then they served up food and we ate and drank and I



Supplemental Nights.

lay with her that night in the pleasantest of nighting and the glad-
somest of living and I only desired that morning would never
appear for the stress of what befel me of joyance and delight ;
and, verily, I never saw and never heard and never knew any
that was the like of her. So I abode with her, O Prince of True
Believers, for seven days which passed away as one watch, 1 and on
the eighth she said to me, " O thou Manjab named and for friend
of friends enfamed, do thou take this purse wherein are a. thousand
dinars and buy with it merchandise of necklaces and gems and fine
clothes wherewith to beautify thy shop and other things that befit
thee ; for 'tis my will that thou become the greatest of men in the
Bazar and that none therein shall boast of more good than thyself.
Moreover 'tis my wish, O Manjab, that thou fare to thy store at early
dawn and return to me about noon-tide, lest my breast be straitened
by thine absence." Replied I, " Hearkening and obedience;" but,
O Commander of the Faithful, it was mine intent and desire never to
fare forth from her, or by night or by day, from the stress of what
befel me of enjoyment with my bride. Now she was wont every
hour to go don a dress other than that which was upon her, and

1 In the text "Darajah" = an instant ; also a degree (of the Zodiac). We still find
this division of time in China and Japan, where they divide the twenty-four hours into
twelve periods, each of which is marked by a quasi-Zodiacal sign : e.g.

Midnight until 2 a m. is represented by the Rat.
2 a.m. ,, 4 > > ^ x *

4 > ,> 6 ,, Tiger.

6 ,, 8 ,, Hare.

8 ,, 10 ,, ,, . Dragon,

lo ,, ), noon ,, M Serpent.

Noon M 2 p.m. ,, ,, Horse.

2 p.m. ,, 4 ,, i) i) Ram.

4 ,, ,, 6 ,, ,i Ape.

6 ,,8 ,, Cock

8 ,, ,, 10 ,, ,, ., Hog.

10 ,, ,, midnight ,, ,, Fox.

See p. 27 Edit. ii. ofC. B. Mitford's Tales of Old Japan, a most important contribution
to Eastern folklore.

[" Darajah " is, however, also used for any short space of time ; according to Lane it
is = 4 minutes (i.e. the 24 hours or 1,440 minutes of the astronomical day divided into
360 degrees of 4 minutes each), and Bocthor gives it as an equivalent for our instant or
moment. ST.]



Night Adventure of Harun al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab. 91

when I saw her in that condition I could not contain my passion,
so I would arise and fulfil my need of her and she would do like-
wise. Also, as soon as morn appeared I would repair to my shop
and open it and take seat therein until midday, at which time my
mule would be brought me to ride homewards when she would
meet me alone at the threshold whereupon opened the door of her
apartment. And I would throw my arms round her neck as soon as
she appeared to me till she and I entered the Harem where I had
no patience from her but was fain to enjoy my desire. After this
she would cry to her women and bid them bring us dinner whereof
I ate with her, and in due time she would arise and command
her slave-girls to clean the Hammam and perfume it with pastiles
of lign-aloes and ambergris adding a sufficiency of rosewater.
Then we would enter it, I and she, and doff our dresses when I
again lost patience until I had my will of her twice or three
times. 1 Anon we would wash and wipe ourselves with apron
napkins of thick silk and drying towels of palm-fibre, after which
she would cry aloud to the women who, coming to us at her call,
would bring sherberts and we would drink, I and she, until mid-
afternoon. Then I would mount my she-mule and return to my
store and as evening fell I would order the slave to padlock the
door and I would return to my house. Now I abode in such case
for ten months, but it fortuned one day of the days that, as I was
sitting upon my shop-board, suddenly I saw a Badawi woman
bestriding a she-dromedary and she was marked with a Burka' 2 of
brocade and her eyes danced under her face-veil as though they
were the wantoning eyes of a gazelle. When I looked upon her, O

1 The young fool vaunts his intersexual powers, apparently unknowing that nothing
can be more fatal to love than fulfilling the desires of a woman who, once accustomed
to this high diet, revolts against any reduction of it. He appears to have been a
folisson by his own tale told to the Caliph and this alone would secure the contempt of
a high-bred and high-spirited girl.



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 8 of 40)