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 9 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 9 of 40)
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2 The "nosebag"; vol. ii. 52, etc. The Badawi'yah (Badawi woman) generally
prefers a red colour, in opposition to the white and black of civilisation ; and she of the
Arabian Desert generally disdains to use anything of the kind.



9 2 Supplemental Nights.

Commander of the Faithful, I was perplexed as to my affair.

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 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

Ww &t* l^un&ntt an* jportp-fiftft Jitgtt,

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!' 1 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 quoth
Manjab to the Caliph : O Prince of True Believers, when I
beheld the eyes of the Badawi woman under her Burka' which
were like those of a gazelle they tempted my passions herto and
I forgot my oath and its penalty and the Kazi and witnesses.
Then she approached me and said, " Allah give thee long life, O
Chief of the Arabs ; " and said I, " To thee too, O most seemly of
semblance!' Cried she, " O comely of countenance, say me,
hast thou a necklace fine enough for the like of me ; " whereto I
rejoined, "Yes." Then I arose and brought out one to her, but
she seeing it said, " Hast thou naught better than this ? " So I
displayed to her, O Commander of the Faithful, all the necklaces
I had by me in the shop but, none of them pleasing her, I said,
" In all the stores there is naught finer than these." Then. O
Prince of True Believers, she brought out to me from off her neck
a carcanet and said, " I want one such ; " and, as I looked upon it,
I knew that there was nothing like it in my store, and that all I
had by me of collars and jewels and other goods were not worth



Night Adventure of Harun al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab. 93

a single grain of that carcanet. So I said to her, " O Winsome of
Eyes, this is a thing whereto none of this time can avail save it be
with the Commander of the Faithful or with his Wazir Ja'afar bin
Yahya the Barmaid." Quoth she, " Wilt thou buy it of me ? "
and quoth I, " I have no power to its price," when she exclaimed,
" I require no payment for this necklace, and I want from thee
nothing save a kiss upon thy cheek." Then said I, " O Lady of
loveliness, bussing without treading I trow is like a bowyer
sans a bow," and she replied, "Whoso kisseth surely treadeth."
Then, O Prince of True Believers, she sprang from off her
dromedary and seated herself beside me within my store, so I
arose with her and went into the inner room, she following me
(albeit I expected not this from her), and when we were safely
inside she clasped me to her bosom and encountered me with her
breasts never withal withdrawing her veil from her face. Hereat
I lost all power over my senses and when I felt her strain me to
her bosom I also strained her to mine, and fulfilled of her my
desire after the fairest fashion. And when this was done she
sprang to her feet even as springeth the lion from his lair, and
flying to the door of the shop swiftlier than a bird and leaving the
necklace with me, she mounted her dromedary and went her
ways. I imagined, O Prince of True Believers, that she would never
return to me at all ; so my heart rejoiced in the necklace which
she had left and I was of that fancy and opinion anent the matter
and manner of her going, when suddenly my pages brought me
the she-mule, and said to me, " O our lord, rise up and fare to
the house, for that our lady hath required thee at this very hour
and she hath caused dinner to be served and sore we fear lest
it wax cold." Therefore, O Commander of the Faithful, I found
it impossible to bathe * by reason of the pages which were

1 This ablution of the whole body he was bound to perform after having had carnal
knowledge of a woman, and before washing he was in a state of ceremonial impurity.
For " Ghusl," or complete ablution, see vol. v. So.



94 Supplemental Nights.

standing with the mule at the door of my shop; so I mounted
and rode home. I entered my house according to my usual habit
when my wife met me and said to me "O my dearling, my
heart hath been occupied with thee this day, for thou has tarried
away from me so long a time and contrary to thy custom is
delaying on such a day as this." Said I, " This morning the
Bazar was crowded exceedingly and all the merchants were
sitting in their shops, nor was it possible for me to rise from my
store whilst the market was so warm." Quoth she, "O my
dearling and coolth of mine eyes, I was at this moment sitting
and reading in the Sublime Volume when there befel me a doubt
concerning a word in the chapter ' Ya Sin ' and I desire that
thou certify it to me that I may learn it by heart from thee."
Quoth I, " O lady of loveliness, I am unable to touch The Book
much less may I read the Koran ; " and quoth she, " What is the
cause of that ? " Replied I, " I was sleeping at the side of my shop
when I had a polluting dream ; " and she rejoined, " An this thy
speech be sooth-fast thy bag-trowsers must be fouled, so draw
them off that I may see to their washing." I retorted, " Indeed
my trowsers are not bewrayed because I doffed them before lying
down to sleep." Now when she heard these my words, O Com-
mander of the Faithful, she said to a slave of my slaves whose
name was Rayhan, " O man, go and open the shop and bring the
kerchief that is therein." 2 Then said I, " O lady of lovelings, I
presented it in alms-gift to an old woman who was naked of head
and her condition pained me and her poverty, so I largessed it to
her." Rejoined she, " Say me, was the old woman she who was
mounted on the dromedary, the owner of the valuable necklace
which she sold to thee for a kiss when thou saidst to her :

1 "The Heart of the Koran," chap, xxxvi. see vol. iv. 50.

' The Mandil apparently had been left in the shop by the black slave-girl. Women
usually carry such articles with them when "on the loose," and in default of water and
washing they are used to wipe away the results of car. cop.



Night Adventure of Harun al-Rashid ana the Youth Manjab. 95

O Winsome of Eyes, bussing without treading I trow, is as a
bowyer sans bow." Now when her words were ended, O Com-
mander of the Faithful, she turned to her women and cried to
them, " Bring hither this moment Sa'idi'yah, the kitchen-wench,"
and when she came between her hands behold, she was a slave-
girl, a negress, and she was the same in species and substance
who came to me under the form of a Badawi woman with a face-
veil of brocade covering her features. Hereupon my wife drew
the Burka' from before the woman's face and caused her doff
her dress, and when she was stripped she was black as a bit
of charcoal. Now as soon as I saw this, O Viceregent of Allah,
my wits were bewildered and I considered my affair and I knew
not what to do, thinking of the conditions whereto I had con-
sented 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

D* Si* f^unttwD anU jportg-stxti) Jitg&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

iove 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 : And I thought of the conditions whereto I had
consented and the penalty which had been written for me by the
Kazi in the presence of his assessors, so I wandered from my right
mind when she looked at me and said, " Is this our compact,



9" Supplemental Nights.

O Manjab hight, thou dogs' trysting-site ? " and when I heard her
speech, O Commander of the Faithful, I hanged my head ground-
wards and could not return a reply, nor even attempt to address
her could I. Said she, " Woe to thee, did I not say to thee :
O Manjab hight, thou who with curs dost unite and no fore-
gatherer with friendly wight ? Woe to thee, and he lied not who
said that in men-kind there be no trust. But how, O Manjab,
didst thou prefer this slave-girl before me and make her my equal
in dress and semblance ? However, O ye women, do ye send and
bring the Kazi and the assessors at this moment and instant."
So they fetched them without stay or delay, and they produced
the obligation which had been written, with the penalty duly
attested by testimony. Then she said to the witnesses, " Read
all that for him," and they did so and asked me, " What hast
thou to say about this obligation and the punishment for breaking
it ? " Answered I, " The document is right and fair, nor have I
aught to utter thereanent." Hereupon, O Prince of True Believers,
she summoned the Governor and his officials, and I confessed
before them and bore witness against myself, when they reviled
me and abused me, and I told them the tale full and complete.
But they would not excuse me and they all cried, " Verily, thou
deservest splitting or quartering ; x thou who wouldst abandon this
beauty and perfection and brilliancy and stature and symmetry
and wouldst throw thyself upon a slave-girl black as charcoal ;
thou who wouldst leave this semblance which is like the splendours
of moonlight and wouldst follow yon fulsome figure which
resembleth the murks of night." Hereupon, O Prince of True

1 In Arab. " Shakk." The criminal was hung up by the heels, and the execu-
tioner, armed; with a huge chopper, began to hew him down from the fork till he
reached the neck, when, by a dexterous turn of the blade, he left the head attached to
one half of the body. This punishment was long used in Persia and abolished, they say ?
by Fath Ali Shah, on the occasion when an offender so treated abused the royal mother
and women relatives until the knife had reached his vitals. " Kata' al-'Arba'," or
cutting off the four members, equivalent to our "quartering," was also a popular
penalty.



Night Adventure of Harun al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab. 97

Believers, she said to the Governor, " Hearken unto what I tell
thee. I bear witness against myself that I have excused him the
cutting off his hand and tongue and the plucking out his eyes ;
but do ye redeem my rights of him by one condition." "And
what may that be ? " asked they ; and she answered, " A thousand
stripes upon his right side, and as many upon his left ribs." Here-
upon, O Commander of the Faithful, they seized me and smote
me upon my right flank until I was estranged from the world, 1
and after they took a handful of salt, which they rubbed upon
the wounds. 2 Then they applied a thousand stripes to my left
ribs, and threw over me a ragged robe wherewith to veil my
shame. But my flanks had been torn open by such a bastinado,
nor did I recover for a space of three days, when I found myself
lying cast-out upon a dunghill. Seeing this my condition, I
pulled myself together, and arising walked to the mansion wherein
I was wont to wone ; but I found the door locked with three
padlocks and it was empty and void, nor was voice or sound to be
heard therein at all, and 'twas, as said one of the poets in this
couplet :

" The chambers were like a beehive well stocked ; when the bees quitted
them they became empty." 3

So I lingered there an hour of time, when a woman suddenly came
out from one of the neighbouring houses and asked me, " What
dost thou want, O asker ; and what seekest thou ? " I answered,
" We are in quest of the owners of this mansion ; " and said she,
" Here they were in crowds and then they abandoned it, and may
Allah have mercy upon him who spake these two couplets :



1 In text " Ghibtu 'an al-Dunya," a popular phrase, meaning simply I fainted.

2 This was done to staunch the blood : see the salt- wench in vol. i. 341.

s This couplet has repeatedly occurred : in the preceding volume, Night cdv. (Suppl.
iv. 222) ; and in The Nights (proper), vol. vi. 246. Here I have quoted Lane (A. N. iii.
220), who has not offered a word of comment or of explanation concerning a somewhat
difficult couplet.

VOL. V. G



98 Supplemental Nights,

"They fared and with faring fled rest from me o And my parted heart no

repose can see :
Have ruth on a wight with a heart weighed by woes o Seest not how their door

is without a key ? "

Then indeed I repented, O Commander of the Faithful, over that
I had done and regretted what had befallen me and what had
proceeded from me of ill-deeds, and quoth I to the woman who
had addressed me, " Allah upon thee, O my mistress, say me,

hast thou of their traces any tidings ? " 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



an&



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,
speaking to the woman, said, " O my lady; say me, dost thou
know of their traces any tidings, and hast thou come upon any
manifest news ? " Said she, " This thing was to befal thee of old,
O thou poor fellow, even as quoth the poet in the following
couplets :

" My tears flow fast, my heart knows no rest And melts my soul and cares

aye molest :
Would Heaven mine eyeballs their form beheld o And flies my life, and ah !

who shall arrest ?



Night Adventure of Harun al-Raskid and the Youth Manjab. 99

"Tis wondrous the while shows my form to sight, o Fire burns my vitals with

flamey crest !

Indeed for parting I've wept, and yet o No friend I find to mine aid addrest :
Ho thou the Moon in a moment gone o From sight, wilt thou rise to a glance

so blest ?
An thou be 'stranged of estrangement who * Of men shall save me ? Would

God I wist !
Fate hath won the race in departing me o And who with Fate can avail

contest ? "

Then, O Commander of the Faithful, my longings grew and I
poured fast tears in torrents and I was like to choke with my
sobs, so I arose to walk about the city highways and I clung
from wall to wall for what befel me of despight and affright
at the disappearance of them, 1 and as I wandered about I repeated
these verses :

" To man I'm humbled when my friends lost I o And missed the way of right

where hardships lie :
Sorrow and sickness long have been my lot o To bear, when need was

strong to justify :
Say me, shall any with their presence cheer o Pity my soul ? Then bless

my friend who's nigh !

I kiss your footprints for the love of you, o I greet your envoy e'en albeit
. ihe lie."

After this, O Prince of True Believers, I remained immersed in

"V

cark and care and anxious thought, and as ever I wandered

. *

about behold, a man met me and said, " 'Tis now three days
since they marched away and none wotteth where they have
alighted." 2 So I returned once more to the mansion-door and
I sat beside it to take my rest when my glance was raised and
fell upon the lintel and I saw attached to it a folded paper which
I hent in hand and found written therein these lines :

" Scant shall avail with judgement just the tear o When at love-humbled heart
man dareth jeer :

1 The plur. masc. for the sing. fern. : see vol. vii. 140.

2 He speaks after the recognised conventional fashion, as if reporting the camp-shift
of a Badawi tribe.



loo Supplemental Nights.

I was thy dearling, fain with thee to dwell c But them transgressedst nor return

canst speer :
And if by every means thou find me not, From thee I fled and other hold

I dear :
I come in dreams to see if sore thy heart ; e Let it take patience in its woe

sincere :
Thou dost beweep our union fled, but I o Wist that such weeping brings no

profit clear :
Ho, stander at my door, once honoured guest, o Haply my tidings thou some

day shall hear."

Thereupon, O Commander of the Faithful, I returned to my
mother and sister and told them the tale of what had betided
me, first and last, and the twain wept over me and my parent
said, " I thought not, O my son, that such case as this would
come down upon thee; withal every calamity save Death is no
calamity at all ; so be thou of long-suffering, O my child, for the
compensation of patience is upon Allah ; and indeed this that
hath happened to thee hath happened unto many the likes of
thee, and know thou that Fate is effectual and Sort is sealed.
Hast thou not heard the words of the poet who spoke these
couplets r 1

The world aye whirleth with its sweet and sour o And Time aye trippeth with

its joy and stowre :
Say him to whom life-change is wilful strange o Right wilful is the world

and risks aye low'r :
See'st now how Ocean overwhelms his marge o And stores the pearl-drop in

his deepest bow'r :
On Earth how many are of leafy trees, o But none we harvest save what fruit

and flow'r :
See'st not the storm-winds blowing fierce and wild o Deign level nothing save

the trees that tow'r ?
In Heaven are stars and planets numberless o But none save Sun and Moon

eclipse endure.
Thou judgest well the days when Time runs fair * Nor fearest trouble from

Fate's evil hour :
Thou wast deceived what time the Nights were fain, s But in the bliss o'

nights 'ware days of bane."

1 See vol. i. 25 for the parallel of these lines.



Night Adventure of Harun al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab. 101

Now when I heard these words of my mother, O Prince of True
Believers, and what she addressed to me of wise sayings and

poetry, I took patience and rendered account to Allah ; 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

&i)e &ix f^untarti anti jportp-nmtf) ^tgftt,

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 said,,
" O Commander of the Faithful, I had patience and rendered my
account to Allah Almighty. Then my mother fell to nursing me,
with medicines and unguents and what not else of remedies where-
from cometh health until I was healed, yet there remained to me
the scars even as thou sawest. But I inscribed not those lines
upon my house which thou didst espy, O Commander of the
Faithful, save that the news thereof might reach thee, and that
naught be concealed from thee of my tidings and my past fate,
and present condition. And this is the whole that hath befallen
me." * Now when the Caliph Harun al-Rashid heard these words
he smote hand upon hand and cried, " There is no Majesty and
there is no Might save in Allah the Glorious, the Great." Then

1 The text inserts here, " Saith the Reciter of this adventure and right joyous history
strange as rare," etc.



IO2 ' Supplemental Nights.

he cried upon the Minister Ja'afar the Barmecide, and said to him,
" O Wazir, unless thou bring me information of this affair and root
out this matter and make manifest to me the condition of this
youth, verily I will smite thy neck." The Minister answered,
" Hearing and obeying : however, do thou, O Commander of the
Faithful, give me three days' delay," and the Caliph rejoined, " I
have granted this to thee. Hereupon Ja'afar went forth like unto
one blind and deaf, unseeing nor hearing aught, and he was per^
plext and distraught as to his affair and continued saying, " Would
Heaven we had not forgathered with this youth, nor ever had seen
the sight of him." And he ceased not faring till he arrived at his
own house, where he changed his dress and fell to threading the
thoroughfares of Baghdad, which in the time of Harun al-Rashid
was a mighty great city, and in every street he entered he sought
intelligence and questioned the folk concerning every affair which
had happened in town from dawn to dark, but he hit upon no
trace nor information manifest touching this matter. On the
second day it was the same, and nothing became known to him
between morning and evening ; but on the third day as he fared
forth he repeated these words :

" With the King be familiar and 'ware his wrath o Nor be wilful when cometh
his order ' Do.' "

And he crossed and recrossed the city until it was noon-tide
without aught of novelty appearing to him, so he returned to
his mansion where he had a confidential nurse whom he apprised
of the tidings and, concealing naught from her said, " Verily the
term allowed to me by the King is until set of sun, at which time
unless I bring him the information required he will cut off my
head." Thereupon the Kahramanah went forth and circled through
the city until it was mid-afternoon, but she brought back no fresh
tidings ; whereat Ja'afar cried, " There is no Majesty and there is
no Might, save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great ! " Now the



Night Adventure of Harun al~ Rashid and the Youth Manjab. 103

Wazir had a sister who lived single in his home with her women

i

and eunuchs, and he said to himself, " I will go to my sister Budur

i

and solace myself by conversing awhile with her and farewell
her: haply Fate is not afar." This sister was yet unwedded
for none dared come forward and propose marriage to her, albeit
in the city of Baghdad not one was her peer in beauty, even
amongst the women of the Caliph. Accordingly he turned towards
her apartment and entered therein, when she met him upon the
threshold of the gate, and as she saw him changed of condition
she cried, " No harm to thee, O my brother, verily thou art altered
in case ; " and he replied, " Indeed I have fallen into evil plight
and into a matter of affright, whereupon naught can deliver me
save the power of Allah of All-might, and unless the affair be made
evident to me by the morning the Caliph will cut off my head."
Then he related to her the affair from beginning to end, and she,
when she heard the words of her brother, waxed wan of colour, and
was altered in case and said, " O brother mine, give me immunity
and a binding bond when I will explain to thee the matter of
this youth." Hereat calmed was his affright, and his heart was
satisfied quite, and he gave her promise of safety and a binding
bond and contract not to harm her ; whereupon said she to him,
" O my brother, womankind was created for mankind, and man-
kind was created for womankind, and albe falsehood is an excuse,
yet soothfastness is more saving and safe-guiding. The whole of this
business is mine and I am she who married him and made with
him that condition which he accepted for himself, being contented
with the covenant and its penalty." Now when Ja'afar heard these
words spoken to him by his sister concerning the case of Manjab,
he outwardly made merry but he inwardly mourned, for that he.
had forbidden her to wed, and she had worked this craft and had
given herself away to wife. Hereupon he arose without stay or
delay and fared forth until he went in to the Caliph Harun al-
Rashid whom he blessed and greeted, and the King, having



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 9 of 40)