Supplemental Nights, Volume 3
Richard F. Burton

Part 8 out of 11

Those scholars who declared a number of the tales in Galland's "Mille et une
Nuits" to be of his own invention, because they were not found in any of the
Arabic MS. texts of The Nights preserved in European libraries, were
unconsciously paying that learned and worthy man a very high compliment, since
the tales in question are among the best in his work and have ever been, and
probably will continue to be, among the most popular favourites. But that fact
that Galland seized the first opportunity of intimating that two of those
tales were not translated or inserted by himself ought to have been alone
amply sufficient presumptive evidence of his good faith with regard to the

A friendly reviewer of my "Popular Tales and Fictions" etc. states that modern
collectors of European Mõrchen, though "working from 100 to 150 years after
the appearance of the 'Thousand and One Nights,' in European literature, have
not found the special versions therein contained distributed widely and
profusely throughout Europe," and that my chapter on Aladdin is proof
sufficient that they have not done so. The reviewer goes on to say that I cite
"numerous variants, but, save one from Rome, variants of the theme, not of the
version; some again, such as the Mecklenburg and Danish forms, are more
primitive in tone; and all lack those effective and picturesque details which
are the charm of the Arabian story, and which a borrower only interested in
the story as a story might just be expected to retain.''[FN#385]

But it is not contended that the folk-tales of Europe owe much, if indeed
anything at all, to the "Arabian Nights," which is not only as it now exists a
comparatively modern work--Baron de Sacy has adduced good reasons for placing
the date of its composition in the middle of the 9th century of the Hijra, or
about 1446 A.D. but was first made known in Europe so late as the first
quarter of the last century. Several of the tales, and incidents of the tales,
in the "Thousand and One Nights" were current in Europe in the 12th century--
imported by the Moors of Spain, and by European travellers, pilgrims, and
minstrels from the East. Thus the Arabian tale of the Ebony (or Enchanted)
Horse is virtually identical with the Hispano-French romance of Cleomades and
Claremonde; that of Prince Kamar al Zaman is fairly represented by the romance
of Peter of Provence and the Fair Maguelone. The episode of Astolphy and
Joconde in Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso" is identical with the opening story of
The Nights which constitutes the frame of the collection.[FN#386] The Magnetic
Rock (or rock of adamant) which figures in the adventures of Sindbßd occurs in
the popular German story of "Herzog Ernst von Baiern," which is extant in a
Latin poem that cannot be later than the 13th century and is probably a
hundred years earlier.[FN#387] The Valley of Diamonds in the History of
Sindbßd is described by Marco Polo who travelled in the East in the 13th
century; moreover, it had been known in Europe from the 4th century, when the
story connected with it was related by Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis, who lays
the scene in Scythia, while Marco Polo and the author of Sindbßd's Voyages
both place it in India, where the fiction probably had its origin

When we find a popular (i.e. oral) European tale reproduce the most minute
details of a story found in The Nights, we should conclude that it has been
derived therefrom and within quite recent times, and such I am now disposed to
think is the case of the Roman version of Aladdin given by Miss Busk under the
title of "How Cajusse was Married," notwithstandtng the circumstance that the
old woman from whom it was obtained was almost wholly illiterate. A child who
could read might have told the story out of Galland to his or her nurse,
through whom it would afterwards assume local colour, with some modifications
of the details. But stories having all the essential features of the tale of
Aladdin were known throughout Europe long before Galland's work was published,
and in forms strikingly resembling other Asiatic versions, from one of which
the Arabian tale must have been adapted. The incidents of the Magician and
Aladdin at the Cave, and the conveying of the Princess and the vazİr's son
three nights in succession to Aladdin's house (which occurs, in modified
forms, in other tales in The Nights), I consider as the work of the Arabian
author. Stripped of these particulars, the elements of the tale are identical
in all versions, Eastern and Western: a talisman, by means of which its
possessor can command unlimited wealth, &c.; its loss and the consequent
disappearance of the magnificent palace erected by supernatural agents who are
subservient to the owner of the talisman, and finally its recovery together
with the restoration of the palace to its original situation. The Arabian tale
is singular in the circumstance of the talisman (the Lamp) being recovered by
human means--by the devices of the hero himself, in fact, since in all the
European and the other Asiatic forms of the story it is recovered by, as it
was first obtained from, grateful animals. To my mind, this latter is the
pristine form of the tale, and points to a Buddhist origin--mercy to all hying
creatures being one of the leading doctrines of pure Buddhism.

The space at my disposal does not admit of the reproduction in extenso of the
numerous versions or variants of Aladdin: a brief outline of their features
will however serve my purpose. In the tale of Mar·f the Cobbler, which
concludes the B·lßk and Calcutta printed texts of The Nights, we have an
interesting version of Aladdin. The hero runs away from his shrewish wife and
under false presences is married to a king's daughter. He confesses his
imposture to the princess, who loves him dearly, and she urges him to flee
from her father's vengeance and not to return until his death should leave the
throne vacant, and having furnished him with money, he secretly quits the city
at daybreak. After riding some distance, he begins to feel hungry, and seeing
a peasant ploughing a field he goes up to him and asks for some food. The
peasant sets off to his house for eatables and meanwhile Mar·f begins to
plough a furrow, when presently the ploughshare strikes against something
hard, which he finds to be an iron ring. He tugs at the ring and raises a
slab, which discovers a number of steps, down which he goes and comes into a
cavern filled with gold and precious stones, and in a box made of a single
diamond he finds a talismanic ring, on placing which on his finger a monstrous
figure appears and expresses his readiness and ability to obey all his
commands. In brief, by means of this genie, the hero obtains immense wealth in
gold and jewels, and also rich merchandise, which enable him to return to the
city in the capacity of a merchant, which he had professed himself when he
married the princess. The vazİr, who had from the first believed him to be an
arrant impostor, lays a plot with the King to worm out of him the secret of
his wealth, and succeeds so well at a private supper, when Mar·f is elevated
with wine, that he obtains possession of the ring, summons the genie, and
causes him to carry both the King and Mar·f into a far distant desert. He then
compels the other ministers and the people to acknowledge him as king, and
resolves to marry the princess. She temporises with him; invites him to sup
with her; plies him with wine, induces him to throw the ring into a corner of
the room, pretending to be afraid of the demon who is held captive in it; and
when he has become insensible (in plain English, dead drunk), she seizes the
ring, summons the genie, and commands him to secure the vazİr and bring back
her father and husband, which he does "in less than no time." The vazİr is of
course put to death, and the princess takes charge of the ring for the future,
alleging that neither the King nor her husband is to be trusted with the
custody of such a treasure.

Another Arabian version is found--as Sir Richard Burton points out, note 1, p.
119--in "The Fisherman's Son," one of the tales translated by Jonathan Scott
from the Wortley Montague MS. text of The Nights, where the hero finds a magic
ring inside a cock: like Aladdin, he marries the King's daughter and has a
grand palace built for him by the genii. The ring is afterwards disposed of to
a Jew, in the same manner as was the Lamp to the Magician, and the palace with
the princess is conveyed to a distant desert island. The fisherman's son takes
to flight. He purchases of a man who offered them for sale a dog, a cat, and a
rat, which turn out to be well-disposed magicians, and they recover the ring
from the Jew's mouth while he is asleep. The ring is dropped into the sea
accidentally while the animals are crossing it to rejoin their master, but is
brought to the hero by a fish which he had returned to the sea out of pity in
his fisherman days. The genie conveys the palace back again, and so on.--In a
Mongolian version ("Siddhİ K·r") a young merchant parts with all his wares to
save a mouse, an ape, and a bear from being tortured to death by boys. One of
those creatures procures for him a wishing-stone, by means of which he has a
grand palace built and obtains much treasure. He foolishly exchanges his
talisman with the chief of a caravan for all their gold and merchandise, and
it is afterwards restored to him by the grateful and ingenious animals.--In a
Tamil version--referred to by Sir Richard, p. 30, note 2--which occurs in the
"Madanakßmarßjankadai," a poor wandering young prince buys a cat and a
serpent; at his mother's suggestion, he sets the serpent at liberty and
receives from his father a wishing ring. He gets a city built in the jungle--
or rather where the jungle was--and marries a beautiful princess. An old hag
is employed by another king to procure him the princess for his wife. She
wheedles herself into the confidence of the unsuspecting young lady, and
learning from her the properties of the ring, induces her to borrow it of her
husband for a few minutes, in order that she (the old trot) might apply it to
her head to cure a severe headache. No sooner has she got possession of the
ring than she disappears, and having delivered it to the other King, he
"thought" of the princess, and in the twinkling of an eye she is carried
through the air and set down before him. The ring is recovered by means of the
cat which the hero had fostered, and so on.

Sir Richard has referred to a number of Italian versions (p. 30, note 2),
which will be found epitomised in a most valuable and interesting paper, by my
late friend Mr. H. C. Coote, on the sources of some of M. Galland's Tales, in
the First Part of the Folk-Lore Record for 1880, and, in conclusion, I may
briefly glance at a few other European variants. Among those which not only
bear a close analogy one to another but also to the Asiatic versions cited
above are the following: No. 15 of M. Leger's French collection of Slav Tales
is a Bohemian version, in which the hero, Jenik, saves a dog, a cat, and a
serpent from being killed. From the serpent's father he gets an enchanted
watch (evidently a modern substitute for a talismanic stone, or ring), which
procures him a splendid palace and the King's daughter for his bride. But the
young lady, unlike the Princess Badr al-Badur with Aladdin, does not love
Jenik, and having learned from him the secret of his great wealth, she steals
the talisman and causes a palace to be built in the middle of the sea, where
she goes to live, after making Jenik's palace disappear. Jenik's faithful dog
and cat recover the talisman, which, as in the Arabian story of the
Fisherman's Son, is dropped in the sea while they are swimming back and
restored by a fish.--In No. 9 of M. and so "Comes Albanais" the hero saves a
serpent's life and gets in return a wishing-stone and so on. The talisman is
stolen by a rascally Jew on the night of the wedding, and the palace with the
princess is transported to the distant sea-shore. The hero buys a cat and
feeds it well. He and his cat arrive at the spot where the palace now stands,
and the cat compels the chief of a colony of mice to steal the talisman from
the Jew while he is asleep.--A popular Greek version in Hahn's collection
combines incidents found in Aladdin and in the versions in which grateful
animals play prominent parts: The hero rescues a snake which some boys are
about to kill and gets in reward from the snake's father a seal-ring, which he
has only to lick and a black man will present himself, ready to obey his
orders. As in Aladdin, the first use he makes of the talisman is to have his
mother's cupboard filled with dainty food. Then he bids his mother "go to the
King, and tell him he must give me his daughter in marriage." After many
objections, she goes to deliver her message to the King, who replies that if
her son build a castle larger than his, he shall have the princess to wife.
The castle is built that same night, and when the mother goes next morning to
require the King's performance of his promise, he makes a further stipulation
that her son should first pave the way between the two castles with gold. This
is done at once, and the King gives the hero his daughter. Here the
resemblance to the Aladdin story ceases and what follows (as well as what
precedes) is analogous to the other Asiatic forms. The princess has a black
servant of whom she is enamoured. She steals the ring and elopes with her
sable paramour to an island in the sea, where she has a castle erected by the
power of the ring. The black man sleeps with the ring under his tongue, but
the hero's dog takes the cat on his back and swims to the island; and the cat
contrives to get the ring and deliver it to her master, who straightway causes
the castle to be removed from the island, then kills the black man, and
afterwards lives happily with the princess.--In a Danish version (Prof.
Grundtvig's "Danske Folkeõventyr") a peasant gets from an aged man a
wishing-box, and henceforward lives in grand style. After his death the
steward and servants cheat his son and heir, so that in ten years he is ruined
and turned out of house and home. All the property he takes with him is an old
sheepskin jacket, in which he finds the wishing-box, which had been, unknown
to him, the cause of his father's prosperity. When the "slave" of the box
appears, the hero merely asks for a fiddle that when played upon makes
everybody who hears it to dance.[FN#388] He hires himself to the King, whose
daughter gives him, in jest, a written promise to marry him, in exchange for
the fiddle. The King, when the hero claims the princess, insists on her
keeping her promise, and they are married. Then follows the loss of the
wishing-box, as in the Greek version, only in place of a black man it is a
handsome cavalier who is the lady's paramour. The recovery of the box is
accomplished by very different means, and may be passed over, as belonging to
another cycle of tales.[FN#389]

It is perhaps hardly worth while to make a critical analysis of the tale of
Aladdin, since with all its gross inconsistencies it has such a hold of the
popular fancy that one would not wish it to be otherwise than it is. But it
must have occurred to many readers that the author has blundered in
representing the Magician as closing the Cave upon Aladdin because he refused
to give up the Lamp before he had been helped out. As the lad was not aware of
the properties of the Lamp, he could have had no object in retaining it for
himself, while the Magician in any case was perfectly able to take it by force
from him. And if he wished to do away with Aladdin, yet incur no
"blood-guiltiness" (see ante, p. 52 and note), he might surely have contrived
to send him down into the Cave again and then close it upon him. As to the
Magician giving his ring to Aladdin, I can't agree with Sir Richard in
thinking (p. 48, note 1) that he had mistaken its powers; this seems to me
quite impossible. The ring was evidently a charm against personal injury as
well as a talisman to summon an all-powerful and obedient genie. It was only
as a charm that the Magician placed it on Aladdin's finger, and, as the
Hindustani Version explains, he had in his rage and vexation forgot about the
ring when he closed the entrance to the Cave. It appears to me also
incongruous that the Lamp, which Aladdin found burning, should afterwards only
require to be rubbed in order to cause the genie to appear. One should have
supposed that the lighting of it would have been more natural or appropriate;
and it is possible that such was in the original form of the Aladdin version
before it was reduced to writing, since we find something of the kind in a
Mecklenburg version given in Grimm under the title of "Des blaue Licht." A
soldier who had long served his King is at last discharged without any pay. In
the course of his wanderings he comes to the hut of an old woman, who proves
to be a witch, and makes him work for her in return for his board and lodging.
One day she takes him to the edge of a dry well, and bids him go down and get
her the Blue Light which he would find at the bottom. He consents, and she
lets him down by a rope. When he has secured the Light he signals to the old
witch to draw him up, and when she has pulled him within her reach, she bids
him give her the Light, he refuses to do so until he is quite out of the well,
upon which she lets him fall to the bottom again. After ruminating his
condition for some time he bethinks him of his pipe, which is in his pocket--
he may as well have a smoke if he is to perish. So he lights his pipe at the
Blue Light, when instantly there appears before him a black dwarf, with a hump
on his back and a feather in his cap, who demands to know what he wants, for
he must obey the possessor of the Blue Light. The soldier first requires to be
taken out of the well, and next the destruction of the old witch, after which
he helps himself to the treasures in the hag's cottage, and goes off to the
nearest town, where he puts up at the best inn and gets himself fine clothes.
Then he determines to requite the King, who had sent him away penniless, so he
summons the Dwarf[FN#390] and orders him to bring the King's daughter to his
room that night, which the Dwarf does, and very early in the morning he
carries her back to her own chamber in the palace. The princess tells her
father that she has had a strange dream of being borne through the air during
the night to an old soldier's house. The King says that if it was not a dream,
she should make a hole in her pocket and put peas into it, and by their
dropping out the place where she was taken to could be easily traced. But the
Dwarf when he transports her the second night discovers the trick, and strews
peas through all the other streets, and the only result was the pigeons had a
rare feast. Then the King bids the princess hide one of her shoes in the
soldier's room, if she is carried there again. A search is made for the shoe
in every house the next day, and when it is found in the soldier's room he
runs off, but is soon caught and thrown into prison. In his haste to escape he
forgot to take the Blue Light with him. He finds only a ducat in his pocket,
and with this he bribes an old comrade whom he sees passing to go and fetch
him a parcel he had left at the inn, and so he gets the Blue Light once more.
He summons the Dwarf, who tells him to be of good cheer, for all will yet be
well, only he must take the Blue Light with him when his trial comes on. He is
found guilty and sentenced to be hung upon the gallows-tree. On his way to
execution he asks as a last favour to be allowed to smoke, which being
granted, he lights his pipe and the Dwarf appears. "Send," says the soldier--
"send all these people to the right about; as for the King, cut him into three
pieces." The Dwarf lays about him with a will, and soon makes the crowd
scuttle off. The King begs hard for his life, and agrees to let the soldier
have the princess for his wife and the kingdom afterwards.

Thus, it will be seen, popular tales containing all the essential elements of
the story of Aladdin are spread over Europe, though hardly any of the versions
was probably derived from it; and the conclusion at which I have arrived is
that those elements, or incidents have been time out of mind the common
property of European and Asiatic peoples, and that the tale of Aladdin may be
considered as an almost unique version. The Mecklenburg legend is the only
variant which has the incident of the Magician requiring the Lamp before
helping the hero out of the Cave and that of the transporting of the princess
from her palace to the hero's house during the night, but these are not, I
think, sufficient evidence that it was adapted from Galland.

The royal command that all shops are to be closed and everybody must keep
within doors while the Princess Badr al-Bad·r proceeds to the bath and
Aladdin's playing the part of Peeping Tom of Coventry occur in many Eastern
stories and find a curious analogue in the Adventures of Kurrogl·, the
celebrated robber-poet, as translated by Dr. Alexander Chodzko m his "Popular
Poetry of Persia," printed for the Oriental Translation Fund, and copies of
that work being somewhat scarce, I daresay the story will be new to most of my

Listen now to the tale about the Princess Nighara, daughter of the Turkish
sultan Murßd. In the neighbourhood of Constantinople lived a man who was known
there under the name of Belli Ahmad. One day the Princess Nighara went out for
a walk through the bazßrs of Constantinople. At the same time Kurrogl·'s fame
spread all over Turkey; everybody was telling stories about him, and all were
struck with wonder. The Princess Nighara's fond heart particularly was filled
with an ardent wish of seeing this extraordinary hero, and she often thought
in her mind, "O my God, when will you allow me to behold Kurrogl·?" It
happened that while Belli Ahmad was taking a walk in the bazßrs of Istamb·l,
he looked and beheld on the platform of the building daroghs beating drums,
whilst all the inmates of the bazßr, the workmen as well as the merchants,
were flying in a great hurry after having left their shops ajar. "Why are they
thus running;" inquired Belli Ahmad of a Turk. "Doss thou know nothing? Then
listen: Our king, Sultan Murad, is gone on a pilgrimage to Mecca. His son
Burji Sultan reigns until his father's return. He has a sister whose name is
the Princess Nighara. Every Friday she goes to pray in the great mosque. The
Sultan's will is that during the passage of the princess through the bazßrs,
no man should remain there, but that all the shops be left open. This is the
reason of this panic and flight. As soon as the princess has passed, the
merchants and workmen will return to their shops again."

Belli Ahmad said in his heart, "Thy name is Belli Ahmad, and shalt thou not
see this beautiful Princess Nighara? If not, thou art unworthy of the name of
Belli[FN#391] Ahmad " He then looked to the right and left and entered
stealthily into a greengrocer's shop enclosed within a few boards. The train
of the princess now appeared. First passed with their whips farashes and
yassßls, who led the procession and were followed by eunuchs with canes of
office (chogan) in their hands. At last appeared the Princess Nighara,
surrounded by a score of waiting-women. She walked with a downcast countenance
in front of them, and bending her head towards the ground said to herself, "O
thou earth on which my foot is treading, I beseech thee, receive my
prayer!"[FN#392] Belli Ahmad saw and heard her through the chinks of the
boards behind which he sat concealed When Nighara saw the shop with vegetables
she wondered why it should be the only shop enclosed with boards whilst all
the other shops were standing open. She then said to her waiting-women, "What
is the reason of this? Whilst goldsmiths who possess a capital of a hundred
thousand tomans have left their shops open, how is it that this petty merchant
of vegetables, whose poor shop used always to be open, has shut it up to-day?
There must be something extraordinary in all this. Break down the enclosure,
my girls, and throw the boards aside."

Belli Ahmad heard, and his soul was on the point of making its exit. He threw
himself with his face downwards as if he was prostrated by a severe illness.
When her orders had been executed Nighara entered the shop. Perceiving a
fellow stretched out his whole length and embracing the floor with both hands,
she kicked him with her foot,[FN#393] exclaiming, "Who art thou that wallowest
in the dirt?" Belli Ahmad sprang to his feet and bowing to the Princess said,
"Lady, I am a stranger here. God preserve you from being in a strange land
anywhere! I saw that the merchants of the bazar were beaten and driven away,
and I was frightened. But what was I to do? If I should hide myself in some
rich shop I might be taken for a thief. I have therefore chosen this miserable
hovel, where nothing can be found except greens, onions, and mouldy biscuits.
And even if there were in it a few copper pieces, the owner at his departure
must have taken them away. Pardon me, Princess; my soul was at stake and I hid

Nighara inquired, "Stranger, what countryman art thou?" "I am a native of
Erzer·m." "Hast thou seen in those parts the Castle of Chamley-bill?"[FN#394]
"Yes, lady, I have seen it." "In that valley lives a man named Kurrogl·: didst
thou see him?" "O my Princess, I am one of his servants, I am a slave
purchased with his gold." "Canst thou delver him a letter from me?" "And
wherefore not, fairest? Thou hast only to write and entrust it to me." The
Princess Nighara immediately wrote a letter to Kurrogl· with her own hand. And
what did she write? Here it is: "O thou who art called Kurrogl·, the glory of
thy name has thrown a spell over the countries of Turkey. I have heard that
thou hast carried away Ayvaz from the town of Orfah. My name is Princess
Nighara, Sultan Murad's daughter. I tell thee, that thou mayest learn if thou
dost not know it, that for a long time I have felt an ardent desire of seeing
thee. If thou art distinguished by courage, come to Istambul and carry me

And the bold Kurrogl·, when he read the lady's billet, assumed the dress of a
Haji, gained access to the seraglio gardens on the presence that he was
entrusted with a private message to the Princess Nighara from her father the
Sultan, whom he had met on the road to Mecca, and carried the amorous young
lady to his fortress of Chamley-bill.--The story, together with the scene
between the princess and Kurrogl· in the gardens and the palace, is, no doubt,
a true picture of the "ways" of Turkish ladies of high degree in former times,
and confirms much that Sir Richard has stated regarding Eastern women in his
notes to The Nights and his Terminal Essay.


figures in a story which in the first part bears some analogy to the
celebrated Arabian tale, and which occurs in an interesting little work, now
apparently forgotten, entitled "The Orientalist, or, Letters of a Rabbi (see
Vol. 16, App. 4). With Notes by James Noble, Oriental Master in the Scottish
Naval and Military Academy," Edinburgh, 1831. The substance of the story is as
follows (p. 118 ff.):

An aged Dervish falls ill in the house of a poor widow, who tends him with
great care, with which he is so touched that he offers to take charge of her
only son Abdallah. The good woman gladly consents, and the Dervish sets out
accompanied by his young ward, having intimated to his mother that they must
perform a journey which would last about two years. One day they arrived at a
solitary place, and the Dervish said to Abdallah, "My son, we are now at the
end of our journey. I shall employ my prayers to obtain from Allah that the
earth shall open and make an entrance wide enough to permit thee to descend
into a place where thou shalt find one of the greatest treasures that the
earth contains. Hast thou courage to descend into the subterranean vault?"
Abdallah swore he might depend upon his obedience and zeal. Then the Dervish
lighted a small fire, into which he cast a perfume; he read and prayed for
some moments, after which the earth opened, and he said to the young man,
"Thou mayest now enter. Remember that it is in thy power to do me a great
service, and that this is perhaps the only opportunity thou shalt ever have of
testifying to me that thou art not ungrateful. Do not let thyself be dazzled
by all the riches that thou shalt find there: think only of seizing upon an
iron candlestick with twelve branches, which thou shalt find close to the
door. That is absolutely necessary to me; come up immediately and bring it to

Abdallah descended, and, neglecting the advice of the Dervish, filled his vest
and sleeves with the gold and jewels which he found heaped up in the vault,
whereupon the opening by which he had entered closed of itself. He had,
however, sufficient presence of mind to seize the iron candlestick, and
endeavoured to find some other means of escape from the vault. At length he
discovers a narrow passage, which he follows until he reaches the surface of
the earth, and looking about for the Dervish saw him not, but to his surprise
found that he was close to his mother's house. On showing his wealth to his
mother it all suddenly vanished. But the candlestick remained. He lighted one
of the branches, upon which a dervish appeared, and after turning round for an
hour, he threw down an asper (about 3 farthings) and vanished. Next night he
put a light in each of the branches, when twelve dervishes appeared, and after
continuing their gyrations an hour, each threw down an asper and vanished.

Thus Abdallah and his mother contrived to live for a time, till at length he
resolved to carry the candlestick to the Dervish, hoping to obtain from him
the treasure which he had seen in the vault. He remembered his name and city,
and on reaching his dwelling he found the Dervish living in a magnificent
palace with fifty porters at the gate. Quoth the Dervish, when Abdallah
appeared before him, "Thou art an ungrateful wretch! Hadst thou known the
value of the candlestick, thou wouldst never have brought it to me. I will
show thee its true use." Then the Dervish placed a light in each branch,
whereupon twelve dervishes appeared and began to whirl, but on his giving each
a blow with a cane in an instant they were changed into twelve heaps of
sequins, diamonds and other precious stones.

Ungrateful as Abdallah had shown himself, yet the Dervish gave him two camels
laden with gold and a slave, telling him he must depart the next morning.
During the night Abdallah stole the candlestick and placed it at the bottom of
one of his sacks. In the morning he took his leave of the generous Dervish and
set off. When about half a day's journey from his own city he sold the slave,
that there should be no witness to his former poverty and bought another in
his stead. Arriving home, he carefully placed his loads of treasure in a
private chamber, and then put a light in each branch of the candlestick, and
when the twelve dervishes appeared, as usual, he dealt each a blow with a
cane. But he had not observed that the Dervish employed his left hand, and he
had naturally used his right in consequence of which the twelve dervishes each
drew from under their robes a heavy club and beat him till he was nearly dead,
and then vanished, as did also the treasure, the camels, the slave, and the
wonder-working candlestick.

It is to be regretted that the author has not stated the sources whence he
drew his stories, but that they are without exception of Eastern extraction
does not admit of any doubt: some are taken from the "Panchatantra,"
"Hitopadesa," or "Anvßr-i-Suhaylİ," and others are found in other Asiatic
story-books. I have however not met with the foregoing elsewhere than in
Noble's little volume. The beginning of the story is near akin to that of
Aladdin: for the wicked magician who pretends to take the tailor's son under
his care we have a dervish who in good faith takes charge of the son of a poor
widow who had nursed him through a severe illness. The cave scene is very
similar in both, only the magician performs diabolical incantations, while the
dervish practices "white magic" and prays to Allah for assistance. The
twelve-branched candlestick takes the place of the Wonderful Lamp. Like
Aladdin, young Abdallah is shut in the cavern, though not because he refused
to give up the candlestick until he was safe above ground again, but because
his cupidity induced him to pocket some of the treasures which filled the

There is a strong Indian--even Buddhistic--flavour in the story of Abdallah
and the Dervish, and the apparition of the twelve whirling fakirs, who when
struck with a cane held in the left hand fall into so many heaps of gold coin,
has its analogue in the "Hitopadesa" and also in the Persian Tales of a Parrot
("T·tİ Nßma"). The 10th Fable of Book iii. of the "Hitopadesa' goes thus: In
the city of Ayodhya (Oude) there was a soldier named Churamani, who, being
anxious for money, for a long time with pain of body worshipped the deity the
jewel of whose diadem is the lunar crescent.[FN#395] Being at length purified
from his sins, in his sleep he had a vision in which, through the favour of
the deity, he was directed by the lord of the Yakshas[FN#396] to do as
follows: 'Early in the morning, having been shaved, thou must stand, club in
hand, concealed behind the door of thy house; and the beggar whom thou seest
come into the court thou wilt put to death without mercy by blows of thy
staff. Instantly the beggar will become a pot full of gold, by which thou wilt
be comfortable the rest of thy life." These instructions being followed, it
came to pass accordingly. But the barber who had been brought to shave him,
having witnessed it all, said to himself, "O, is this the mode of gaining
treasure? Why, then, may not I also do the same?" From that day forward the
barber in like manner, with club in hand, day after day awaited the coming of
the beggar. One day a beggar being so caught was attacked by him and killed
with the stick, for which offence the barber himself was beaten by the King's
officers and died.

The same story is differently told, at greater length and with considerable
humour, in Nakhshabİ's Parrot-Book, but the outline of it only can be given
here: A rich merchant named Abd-el-Malik resolved to give all his substance to
the poor and needy before he departed this life. At midnight an apparition
stood before him in the habit of a fakİr and thus addressed him: "I am the
apparition of thy good fortune and the genius of thy future happiness.[FN#397]
When thou, with such unbounded generosity, didst bequeath all thy wealth to
the poor, I determined not to pass by thy door unnoticed, but to enrich thee
with an inexhaustible treasure, suitable to the greatness of thy capacious
soul. To accomplish which I will every morning in this shape appear to thee;
thou shalt strike me a few blows on the head, and I shall instantly fall at
thy feet, transformed into an image of gold. From this take as much as thou
shalt have occasion for; and every member that shall be separated from the
image shall instantly be replaced by another of the same precious
metal."[FN#398] In the morning a covetous neighbour named Hajm visited the
merchant, and soon after the apparition presented itself. Abd-el-Malik at once
arose and after striking it several blows on the head with a stick, it fell
down and was changed into an image of gold. He took what sufficed for the
day's needs and gave the larger portion to his visitor. When Hajm the covetous
returned to his own house he pondered what he had seen, and concluding it
would be as easy for him to convert fakİrs into gold, invited to a feast at
his house all the fakİrs of the province. When they had feasted to their
hearts' content, Hajm seized a heavy club and began to unmercifully belabour
his guests till he broke their heads and "the crimson torrent stained the
carpet of hospitality." The cries of the fakİrs soon brought the police to
their assistance, and a great crowd of people gathered outside the house. Hajm
was immediately haled before the magistrate, and attempted to justify his
conduct by giving an account of what he had seen done in the house of
Abd-el-Malik. The merchant was sent for and declared Hajm to be mad, no better
proof of which could be desired than his treatment of the fakİrs. So Hajm the
covetous was sent forthwith to the hospital for lunatics.

Khudadad and His Brothers--p. 145.

Readers of The Nights must have observed that a large number of the tales
begin with an account of a certain powerful king, whose dominions were almost
boundless, whose treasury overflowed, and whose reign was a blessing to his
people; but he had one all-absorbing care--he had no son. Thus in the tale of
Khudadad we read that in the city of Harrßn there dwelt a sultan "of
illustrious lineage, a protector of the people, a lover of his lieges, a
friend of mankind, and renowned for being gifted with every good quality.
Allah Almighty had bestowed upon him all that his heart could desire, save the
boon of a child, for though he had lovely wives within his harem-door and
concubines galore [far too many, no doubt!], he had not been blessed with a
son," and so forth. This is the "regulation" opening of by far the greater
number of Asiatic stories, even as it was de rigueur for the old pagan Arab
poets to begin their kasİdas with a lamentation for the departure of a fair
one, whether real or imaginary. The Sultan of our story is constantly
petitioning Heaven for the boon of a son (who among Easterns is considered as
the "light of the house"), and at length there appears to him in his slumbers
a comely man who bids him go on the morrow to his chief gardener and get from
him a pomegranate, of which he should eat as many seeds as he pleases, after
which his prayers for offspring should be granted. This remedy for barrenness
is very common in Indian fictions (to which I believe Khudadad belongs), only
it is usually the king's wives who eat the seeds or fruit.[FN#399] A few
parallels to the opening of our tale from Indian sources may prove somewhat
interesting, both to students of popular fictions and to those individuals who
are vaguely styled "general readers."

A Kashmiri tale, entitled "The Four Princes," translated by the Rev. J. Hinton
Knowles, in the "Indian Antiquary," 1886,[FN#400] thus begins: In days long
since gone by there lived a king most clever, most holy, and most wise, who
was a pattern king. His mind was always occupied with plans for the
improvement of his country and people; his darbßr was open to all; his ear was
ever ready to listen to the petition of the humblest subject, he afforded
every facility for trade; he established hospitals for the sick, inns (sarß'e)
for travellers, and large schools for those who wished to learn. These and
many other such things he did. Nothing was left undone that ought to be done,
and nothing was done that ought not to have been done. Under such a wise,
just, and beneficent ruler the people of course lived very happily. Few poor
or unenlightened or wicked persons were to be found in the country. But the
great and good king had not a son. This was an intense sorrow to him--the one
dark cloud that now and again overshadowed his otherwise happy and glorious
life. Every day he prayed earnestly to Siva to grant him an heir to sit upon
the throne after him. One day Siva appeared to him in the garb of a
yogi,[FN#401] and bade him ask a boon and it should be granted. "Take these
four fruits," said Siva, "and give them to your wife to eat on such a day
before sunrise. Then shall your wife give birth to four sons who will be
exceedingly clever and good." The king follows these instructions and in due
course his wife is delivered of four sons at one birth and thereupon dies. The
rest of the story is a variant of the Tamil romance "AlakÚsa KathÓ,''[FN#402]
and of "Strike, but hear!" in Rev. Lal Behari Day's "Folk-Tales of Bengal."

This is how the Tamil story of The Four Good Sisters begins ("Folk-Lore in
Southern India," Part iii., by Pandit S. M. NatÚsa Sßstri[FN#403]): In the
town of Ta±jai there reigned a king named Hariji, who was a very good and
charitable sovereign. In his reign the tiger and the bull drank out of the
same pool, the serpent and the peacock amused themselves under the same tree;
and thus even birds and beasts of a quarrelsome and inimical disposition lived
together like sheep of the same flock. While the brute creation of the great
God was thus living in friendship and happiness, need it be said that this
king's subjects led a life of peace and prosperity unknown in any other
country under the canopy of heaven? But for all the peace which his subjects
enjoyed, Hariji himself had no joy: his face was always drooping, his lips
never moved in laughter, and he was as sad as sad could be because he had no
son.--After trying in vain the distribution of charitable gifts which his
ministers and the priests recommended, the king resolves to retire into the
wilderness and there endeavour to propitiate MahÚsvara [i.e. Siva], hoping
thus to have his desire fulfilled. He appoints his ministers to order the
realm during his absence, and doffing his royal robes clothes himself in the
bark of trees and takes up his abode in the desert. After practising the most
severe austerities for the space of three years, Siva, mounted on his bull,
with his spouse Pßrvatİ by his side, appears before the hermit, who is
overjoyed at the sight of the deity. Siva bids him ask any boon and it should
be granted. The royal ascetic desires to have a son. Then says Siva: "For thy
long penance we grant thy request. Choose then--a son who shall always be with
thee till death, but shall be the greatest fool in the whole world, or four
daughters who shall live with thee for a short time, then leave thee and
return before thy death, but who shall be the incarnation of learning. To thee
is left to choose which thou wilt have," and so saying, the deity gives him a
mango fruit for his wife to eat, and then disappears. The king elects to have
the four learned daughters, whose history is very entertaining.

Another tale in the Pandit's collection (No. 4) informs us that once upon a
time in a town named Va±jaimßnagar there ruled a king named Sivßchar. He was a
most just king and ruled so well that no stone thrown up fell down, no crow
pecked at the new-drawn milk, the lion and the bull drank water from the same
pond, and peace and prosperity reigned throughout the kingdom. Notwithstanding
all these blessings, care always sat on his face. His days and nights he spent
in praying that God might bless him with a son. Wherever he saw pİpal trees he
ordered Brahmans to circumambulate them.[FN#404] Whatever medicines the
doctors recommended he was ever ready to swallow, however bitter they might
be. At last fortune favoured Sivßchßr; for what religious man fails to obtain
his desire? The king in his sixtieth year had a son, and his joy knew no

In like fashion does the Persian "Sindibßd Nßma" begin: There reigned in India
a sage and mighty monarch, the bricks of whose palace were not of stone or
marble but of gold; the fuel of whose kitchen was fresh wood of aloes; who had
brought under the signet of his authority the kingdoms of R·m and Abyssinia;
and to whom were alike tributary the Ethiop Maharßj and the Roman Kaysar. He
was distinguished above all monarchs for his virtue clemency, and justice. But
although he was the refuge of the Khalİfate, he was not blessed with an heir:
life and the world appeared profitless to him, because he had no fruit of the
heart in the garden of his soul. One night, while reclining on his couch, sad
and thoughtful, consumed with grief like a morning taper, he heaved a deep
sigh upon which one of his favourite wives (he had a hundred in his harem),
advancing towards him and kissing the ground, inquired the cause of his
distress. He discloses it. His wife consoles him, encourages him to hope, and
assures him that if he prayed, his prayers would be answered, but that at all
events it was his duty to be resigned to the will of God. "Prayer is the only
key that will open the door of difficulty." The king fasted for a whole week
and was assiduous in his devotions. One night he prayed with peculiar
earnestness and self-abasement till morning. The companion of his couch was
one of his wives, fairer than the sun and the envy of a pert. He clasped her
in his embrace, exclaiming, "There is no strength, no power, save in God!" and
he felt assured in his heart that his prayer was granted. In due time a son
was born to him, and, eager to show his gratitude, he bestowed munificent
gifts and lavished his treasures on all his subjects.

The seventh of Lal Behari Day's "Folk-Tales of Bengal" opens as follows: Once
on a time there reigned a king who had seven queens. He was very sad, for the
seven queens were all barren. A holy mendicant, however, one day told the king
that in a certain forest there grew a tree, on a branch of which hung seven
mangoes; if the king himself plucked those mangoes and gave one to each of the
queens they would all become mothers. So the king went to the forest, plucked
the seven mangoes that grew upon one branch, and gave a mango to each of the
queens to eat. In a short time the king's heart was filled with joy as he
heard that the seven queens were pregnant.--In Miss Stokes' "Indian Fairy
Tales,' p. 91, Rßjß Barbßl receives from an ascetic 160 lichİ fruits, one of
which he is to give to each of his 160 wives, who would have each a son.--
Similar instances occur in Steel and Temple's "Wide Awake Stories," from the
Panjßb and Kashmİr, pp. 47 and 290, and in NatÚsa Sßstrİ's "Dravidian Nights'
Entertainments" (a translation of the Tamil romance entitled
"Madanakßmarßjankadai"), pp. 55, 56.--Among biblical instances of women having
offspring after being long barren are: Sarah, the wife of Abraham (Gen. ch.
xv. 2 4, xxi. 1, 2); Rachel, the wife of Jacob (Gen. ch. xxx., 1, 22, 23); and
Elisabeth, the wife of Zacharias, the high-priest, who were the parents of
John the Baptist (Luke, ch. i.). Whether children be a "blessing,"
notwithstanding all that has been said and sung about the exquisite joys of
paternity and maternity, is perhaps doubtful, generally speaking: one thing is
certain, that many an honest fellow has had too much cause to "wonder why the
devil he got an heir!"[FN#405]

Although no version or variant of the story of Khudadad and his Brothers has
yet been found besides the one in the Turkish collection "Al-Farßj ba'd
al-Shiddah," yet the elements of which it is composed occur in many European
and Asiatic tales. As we have in Galland a story of sisters who envied their
cadette, so, by way of justice to the "fair sex," we have likewise this tale
of envious brothers, which is a favourite theme of popular fictions, only in
the story of Khudadad, the brothers were not at first aware of the hero's
kinship to them, though they had been informed of it when they most
ungratefully cut and slashed him with their swords as he lay asleep by the
side of his beauteous bride the Princess of Daryabßr.

Sometimes it is not a brother, or brothers, but a treacherous friend or a
secret, cowardly rival, who attempts the life of the hero and claims the
credit and reward for his bold achievement. Many examples must occur to
readers familiar with Icelandic, Norwegian, and German folk-tales which need
not here be cited. In the old French romance of the Chevalier Berinus and his
gallant son Aigres de l'Aimant, the King of Loquiferne is in love with the
Princess Melia, daughter of a king named Absalon, who would give her only to
the prince who should bring with him two knights prepared to combat with and
slay two fierce lions, or would attempt this feat himself. None of the barons
of the King of Loquiferne offering themselves for the adventure, Aigres
undertakes it very readily, and is accompanied by a knight named Aşars, who
has charge of a casket of jewels destined for the princess as a wedding-gift.
Young Aigres encounters and kills the lions singlehanded, and the lily-livered
and faithless Aşars envies him the glory of his exploit. On their way back to
Loquiferne with the Princess Melia, as they pass near a deep well Aşars
purposely allows the casket of jewels to fall into it and pretends to be
distracted at the misfortune. But the gallant Aigres securing one end of his
horse's reins to the top of the well descends by this improvised rope, and
when he dives into the water to recover the casket the rascal Aşars cuts the
reins and compels the princess and her maid to follow him. His triumph is
brief, however, for Melia and her maid are taken from him, without his
striking a blow in their defence, by a king who is in love with the princess.
Aşars proceeds to the court of the King of Loquiferne and tells him how the
lady had been snatched out of his hands by a king who attacked him with a
great army while Aigres had fled like a craven. Meanwhile Aigres contrives to
get out of the well, and finds his steed and armour close by: he is fortunate
in rescuing the princess and her maid from the king who had taken them from
Aşars, and arriving at the court of Loquiferne denounces Aşars as a coward and
traitor, and the princess Melia confirms his assertions; so the carpet-knight
is for ever disgraced.

Another example not very generally known is found in the Urd· romance, "Gul-İ
Bakßwalİ:" When the hero, Taj al-Mal·k, the youngest son of King Zayn
al-Mal·k, is born, the astrologers cast his horoscope and predict that the
king will lose his sight as soon as he looks upon him. In order to prevent
such a calamity, the king causes the child and his mother to be placed in a
house far distant from the city, where Zayn al-Mal·k grows up into a handsome,
courageous youth. By chance he meets his father, the king, while the latter is
hunting, and the king no sooner casts his eyes on the youth than he becomes
blind. The royal physicians tell him that only the Rose of Bakßwalİ can
restore his sight, and the four other sons of the king set out together to
procure this wonderful flower. They fall victims to the wiles of a courtesan,
who wins all their money at play and ultimately imprisons them in her house.
In the meantime Taj al-Mal·k has started on the same errand; he outwits the
courtesan, obtains the liberation of his brothers, and then journeys to
Jinnistßn, where, by the help of a friendly demon, he plucks the Rose in the
garden of the beauteous fairy Bakßwalİ, and retraces his way homeward. Meeting
with his four brothers on the road, he acquaints them of his success, and on
their doubting the virtue of the flower, it is applied to the eyes of a blind
man, and his sight is instantly restored. Upon this the brothers take the
flower from Taj al-Mal·k by force and hasten with it to their father. But the
hero's friends the demons build for him a splendid palace, and the fame of his
wealth soon reaches the court of his father, who, with the four brothers and
the ministers of state, visits him, and after a great feast Taj al-Mal·k makes
himself known to the king and relates the whole story of how he procured the
flower that had restored his sight. The king falls upon his son's neck and
weeps tears of joy, saying, "You have restored the light of my eyes by the
Rose of Bakßwalİ, and by the sight of you the door of cheerfulness has been
opened in my sorrowful heart. It is incumbent on me to make known this
enlivening news to your mother, who has looked out for you with anxiety and I
must cause her, who has been afflicted with grief at your absence, to drink
the sherbet of the glad tidings of your safety." Then the king went to Taj
al-Mal·k's mother, made many apologies for his ill treatment of her, exalted
her higher than she was previously, and gave her the joyful news of her son's
arrival. The remainder of the romance recounts the marvellous adventures of
the hero in fairyland, whither he proceeds to rejoin Bakßwalİ, and where he
undergoes many strange transformations; but ultimately all is "merry as
marriage beds."--Nothing is said about the punishment or pardon of the
treacherous brothers, but doubtless in the original form of the story the hero
acted as generously towards them as did Khudadad when his father would have
put the forty brothers to death. It seems somewhat strange that after
Khudadad's brothers had killed him (as they believed) they did not take the
Princess Daryabßr away with them, which generally happens in stories of this

The Story of the Blind Man, Baba Abdullah--p. 178.

An incident in the Muhammedan version of the legend of the Seven Sleepers may
have furnished a hint for this well-told tale. When the evil-minded Dekianus
views the Hid Treasure, which he had covenanted with the aged man who read the
Tablet for him and conducted him to the spot should be equitably divided
betwixt them--when he had beheld with wonder and astonishment the incalculable
riches contained in the seven chambers, he says within himself, "And must I
share this with the old man?" Then he ponders and thinks, "Nay, but I will
give him a goodly portion ;" but finally he resolves to give him nothing--nay
more, to take away his life so that there should be none on earth besides
himself acquainted with the source of his wealth. In vain does the old man bid
him take all the treasure and swear that he will ever preserve the secret:
Dekianus smote him with his sword so that he died.

There is a tale in the Persian story-book "Shamsah wa Kahkahah" (also entitled
"Mahb·b al-Kal·b") which bears some analogy to the story of the Blind Man,
Baba Abdullah. A skilful geomancer is desired by a tradesman to cast his
horoscope. He does so, and informs the tradesman that he is to find a
treasure. The man is incredulous, but after the operation is repeated with the
same result at length becomes convinced of the accuracy of the geomancer's
calculations, locks his door, and forthwith they both begin to dig the floor.
They come upon a large stone which on removal is found to have covered a well.
The geomancer lowers the tradesman down it in a basket, which the latter fills
with gold and silver and precious stones, and it is drawn up by the geomancer.
When this has been repeated several times and the geomancer views the immense
quantity of glittering treasure heaped up beside him, covetous thoughts enter
his mind, and he determines to leave the tradesman to his fate at the bottom
of the well, take all the wealth for himself, and live in comfort and luxury
the rest of his days. Accordingly he does not again let the basket down, and
the poor tradesman, suspecting his iniquitous design, calls out piteously to
his perfidious friend, imploring him not to leave him there to perish, and
swearing that the treasure should be equally shared as between brothers. But
the covetous geomancer is deaf to his appeal, and begins to consider how the
treasure might be conveyed to his own house without attracting the notice of
any of the folk of the quarter, and in the midst of his cogitatious he falls
asleep. Now it happened that the poor tradesman had an enemy who had long
waited for an opportunity to do him a personal injury, and that very night he
came to the house, and by means of a rope with a hook which he fastened to the
wall he climbed on to the roof and descended into the place where the
geomancer was sleeping. The man, mistaking him for the tradesman, seized the
geomancer and with a sharp awl pierced his eyes, blinding him for ever. But,
having thus effected his revenge as he thought, in groping his way out of the
house he stumbled into the well and broke his foot. The tradesman, taking him
for the geomancer, come for more gold, upbraided him for his insatiable
avarice, and the man, in his turn, supposing him to have been thrown into the
well by the tradesman, replied, "Be satisfied; I have punished him who cast
you into this place," but as he began to howl from the pain of his broken
foot, the tradesman knew that he was not the geomancer. Next morning the
tradesman's son arrives from a long trading journey, with much gold and
merchandise and many slaves. On entering his father's house he is astounded to
perceive the open well and by the side of it a vast heap of treasure and a man
holding both hands to his eyes and wailing bitterly, lamenting the
covetousness which had caused him the loss of his eyesight. The young man
sends a slave down into the well and the first person drawn up is the
tradesman, who is both surprised and overjoyed to behold his son once more,
and tells him the whole story. His enemy is then taken out and is dismayed to
find that he has blinded the wrong man. Both the geomancer and the tradesman's
enemy are pardoned, but the latter dies soon after, while the geomancer
retires to a cave in the mountains, where every morning and evening two small
loaves are thrown in to him by an unknown hand, and during the rest of his
life he never ceased to repeat this distich:

If you possess one barley grain of justice,
You will never have half a grain of sorrow.

But much more closely resembling the story of Baba Adbullah is a tale in the
Persian romance which recounts the imaginary adventures of Hatim Ta'İ. A blind
man is confined in a cage which is suspended from a branch of a tree, and
constantly exclaims, "Do evil to none; if you do, evil will overtake you."
Hatim having promised to mend his condition and relieve him, he relates his
history as follows:

"I am by occupation a merchant, and my name is Hamİr. When I became of age my
father had finished the building of this city, and he called the same after my
name. Shortly after, my father departed on a sea-voyage, and left me in charge
of the city. I was a free hearted and social young man, and so in a short time
expended all the property left under my care by my father. Thus I became
surrounded with poverty and want, and as I knew that my father had hidden
treasures somewhere in the house, I resolved to discover them if possible. I
searched everywhere, but found nothing, and, to complete my woe, I received
the news of my father's death, the ship in which he sailed being wrecked.

"One day as I was sauntering, mournful and dejected, through the bazßr, I
espied a learned man who cried out, 'If any one has lost his money by theft or
otherwise, my knowledge of the occult sciences enables me to recover the same,
but on condition that I receive one fourth of the amount.' When I heard this
seasonable proclamation, I immediately approached the man of science, and
stated to him my sad condition and how I had been reduced from affluence to
poverty. The sage undertook to restore my wealth, and above all to discover
the treasures concealed in my father's house. I conducted him to the house and
showed him every apartment, which he carefully examined one after another. At
length by his art he discovered the stores we were in search of; and when I
saw the gold and silver and other valuables, which exceeded calculation, the
demon of fraud entered my heart, and I refused to fulfil my promise of giving
a fourth of the property to the man of wisdom. I offered him only a few small
pieces of silver; instead of accepting which, he stood for a few moments in
silent meditation, and with a look of scorn said, 'Do I thus receive the
fourth part of your treasure which you agreed to give me? Base man, of what
perjury are you guilty?' On hearing this I became enraged, and having struck
him several blows on the face, I expelled him from my house. In a few days
however he returned. and so far ingratiated himself into my confidence that we
became intimate friends; and night and day he displayed before my sight the
various hidden treasures contained within the bowels of the earth. One day I
asked him to instruct me in this wonderful science, to which he answered that
no instruction was requisite. 'Here,' said he, 'is a composition of surma and
whoever applies the same to his eyes, to him will all the wealth of this world
become visible.'[FN#406] 'Most learned sir,' I replied, 'if you will anoint
mine eyes with this substance I promise to share with you the half of all such
treasures as I may discover.' 'I agree,' said my friend; 'meanwhile let us
retire to the desert, where we shall be free from interruption.'

"We immediately set out, and when we arrived there I was surprised at seeing
this cage and asked my companion whose it was. I received for answer, that it
belonged to no one. In short, we both sat down at the foot of this tree, and
the sage, having produced the surma from his pocket, began to apply it to my
eyes. But, alas! no sooner had he applied this composition than I became
totally deprived of sight. In a voice of sorrow I asked him why he had thus
treated me, and he replied, 'Such is the reward of treachery; and if you wish
to recover your sight, you must for some time undergo penance in this cage.
You must utter no complaint and you shall exclaim from time to time, 'Do no
evil to any one; if you do, evil will befall you.' I entreated the sage to
relieve me, saying, 'You are a mere mortal like myself, and dare you thus
torment a fellow-creature? How will you account for your deeds to the Supreme
Judge?' He answered, 'This is the reward of your treachery.' Seeing him
inexorable, I begged of him to inform me when and how my sight was to be
restored, and he told me, that a noble youth should one day visit me, and to
him I was to make known my condition, and farther state, that in the desert of
Himyar there is a certain herb called the Flower of Light, which the youth was
to procure and apply to my eyes, by means of which my sight should be

When the man in the cage had ended his story, the magnanimous Hatim bade him
be of good cheer, for he would at once endeavour to relieve him. By the aid of
the fairies, who carry him through the air for the space of seven days, he
arrives in the desert where the Flowers of Light shine brilliant as lamps on a
festival night, diffusing the sweetest perfume far and wide; and recking
naught for the serpents, scorpions, and beasts of prey which infested the
place (for he had a talisman that protected him), he advances and plucks three
of the largest and most brilliant flowers. Returning in the same manner as he
had gone thither, he reaches the spot where the blind man Hamir is imprisoned;
taking down the cage, he releases the wretched man, compresses the stalk of
the flower so that the juice drops upon his sightless eyeballs, and when this
has been repeated three times Hamir opens his eyes, and seeing Hatim falls
prostrate at his feet with a profusion of thanks.

Although there are some differences in the details of the story of Baba
Abdullah and that of Hamir, as above, yet the general similarity between them
is sufficient to warrant the conclusion that if one was not adapted from the
other, both must have been derived from the same source; and here we have, I
think, clear evidence of the genuineness of another of the tales which Galland
was believed to have invented himself.

History of Sidi Nu'man--p. 187.

It is curious to find this current as a folk-tale at Palena, in the Abruzzi,
without any material variation except in the conclusion. My friend, Mr. E.
Sidney Hartland, has favoured me with the following abstract of the Italian
version, as given in vol. iii. of the "Archivio per lo studio delle Tradizioni
Popolari" (Palermo, 1882), p. 222:

There was once a husband and wife. The wife says that she cannot eat anything,
and only picks a few grains of rice with a large pin. Her husband asks why she
eats nothing, and she answers that she does not want to eat. Meantime she goes
out secretly every night, and the husband begins to have suspicions of her.
One night he follows her softly and finds she goes to the burial ground, where
she meets with certain female companions. They open a grave and feed on the
flesh of the dead. The next morning the husband cooks rice again, and the wife
picks up a few grains of it with a pin as before. The husband exclaims, "What!
you enjoy the flesh of dead men, and over rice you are so finical as to eat it
with a pin!" The wife is so enraged at learning that her husband knows of her
doings that she goes to the water-bucket, fills a small bottle from it, and
having muttered certain words over the water flings it upon him and he
instantly becomes transformed into a dog. A provision merchant sees him
running about, and takes and sets him on his counter. When the people come to
buy provisions the dog examines the money to see if it be good, and the false
coin he throws on the ground. One day a man comes to buy bacon and offers
false coin. The provision merchant refuses to take it; they dispute over the
matter, and it is referred to the dog, who throws the money on the ground. The
man is astonished, and returning home tells his wife, who at once says that
the dog is not a dog, and desires her husband to bring her the animal that she
may see it. The man returns to the provision merchant and begs him to lend him
the dog for a little while, and takes it home. The wife, who is a companion of
the wife of him who has been changed into a dog, and understands witchcraft,
fills a bottle with water, pronounces certain words over it, and throws the
water upon the dog, who immediately becomes a man again, and she advises him
to do to his wife as she had done to him, and imparts the secret to him. As
soon as he returns home he fills the bottle with water from the bucket, says
the words he had learned, and throws the water over his wife, who becomes a
mare. He drives her out of the house and beats her as flax is beaten. To every
one who asks why he is thrashing the mare he tells his story, and the people
say, "Serve her right!" This goes on for some time. At last, when the husband
sees that his wife has voided enough foam from the mouth, with another dash of
water he changes her back to her proper form, and henceforward she eats
whatever is set before her, obeys her husband in all things, and never goes
out by night again. So they live long, happy and contented.

This version from the Abruzzi so closely resembles the story of Sidi Nu'mßn
that we should perhaps be justified in concluding it to have been directly
derived from Galland's Nights, in the absence of any Venetian version, which
might well have been imported independently from the East, but however this
may be, the story in Galland bears unquestionable internal evidence that it is
a genuine Arabian narrative, having nothing peculiarly European in its

A somewhat similar story is quite familiar to me, but I cannot at present call
to mind whether it occurs in a Persian collection or in The Nights, in which
the woman going out when she thinks her husband asleep, the latter follows her
to a hut at some distance which she enters, and peeping into the hut, he sees
a hideous black give her a severe beating for not coming sooner, while she
pleads that she could not venture to quit the house until her husband was
sound asleep. The two carouse together, and by-and-by the black going outside
for a purpose, the husband strikes off his head with his sword and then
conceals himself close by. The woman, after waiting some time, goes out to see
what is detaining her paramour, and finding his headless body, she moans over
it in great sorrow, and then taking the corpse on her back carries it away and
throws it into the river. Her husband hastens home before her, and so she
suspects nothing. Some days after, when she refuses to do some light work
because of her physical weakness, her husband can no longer control himself,
and tells her that she had strength enough to carry on her back the body of
her black paramour, and so on.[FN#407]

The ghoul-wife of Arabian tales, who eats little or nothing at home, has her
in the rßkshasİ of Indian fictions, who secretly devours antelopes, etc. There
are many parallels in The Nights and other Asiatic story-books to the incident
of Sidi Nu'man being changed back into his proper form, the most noteworthy
being perhaps the case of the Second Calender in the shape of a monkey, or
ape, whom the princess, an adept in white magic, at once recognizes as a man
and veils her face, as does the young woman in the case of Sidi Nu'man: but
while the Calender is restored to his own form, the princess, alas! perishes
in her encounter with the genie who had transformed him.--In most of the
Arabian tales of magical transformations of men and women into beasts the
victims are ultimately restored to their natural forms, but in the Indian
romance of the princess Somasekhara and Chitrasekhara, a wicked king named
Ugrabßhu is permanently changed by some water taken from a magic fountain into
a monkey and sold to a beggar, who compels him to perform tricks in public for
his benefit. Heywood, in his "History of Women" (Book viii.), cites some
curious European stories of men being transformed into donkeys by eating a
certain kind of cheese,

History of Khwajah Hasan Al-habbal--p. 198.

How this entertaining story found its way into North Germany--and nowhere else
in Europe, so far as I am aware--it is not easy to say, but its twin-brother
seems to be orally current there, in all essential details, excepting the
marvellous conclusion. For the poor ropemaker, however, a struggling weaver
and for the two gentlemen, Sa'd and Sa'dİ, three rich students are
substituted. There does not appear (according to the version given by Thorpe
in his "Yule Tide Stories," which he entitles, not inaptly, The Three Gifts)
to be any difference of opinion among the students regarding the influence of
Destiny, or Fate, upon men's fortunes: they simply give the poor weaver a
hundred dollars "to assist him in his housekeeping." The weaver hides the
money in a heap of rags, unknown to his wife, who sells them to a
rag-collector for a trifling sum. A year afterwards the students are again
passing the house of the weaver and find him poorer than ever. He tells them
of his mishap and they give him another hundred dollars warning him to be more
careful with the money this time. The weaver conceals the dollars in the
ash-tub, again without the cognisance of his wife, who disposes of the ashes
for a few pieces of soap. At the end of the second year the students once more
visit the wretched weaver, and on being informed of his loss, they throw a bit
of lead at his feet, saying it's of no use to give such a fool money, and go
away in a great huff. The weaver picks up the lead and places it on the window
sill. By-and-by a neighbour, who is a fisherman, comes in and asks for a bit
of lead or some other heavy thing, for his net, and on receiving the lead
thrown down by the students promises to give him in return the first large
fish he catches. The weaver does get a fine fish, which he immediately cuts
open, and finds in its stomach a "large stone," which he lays on the
window-sill, where, as it becomes dark, the stone gives forth a brighter and
brighter light, "just like a candle," and then he places it so that it
illuminates the whole apartment. "That's a cheap lamp," quoth he to his wife:
"wouldst not like to dispose of it as thou didst the two hundred dollars?" The
next evening a merchant happening to ride past the weaver's house perceives
the brilliant stone, and alighting from his horse, enters and looks at it,
then offers ten dollars for it, but the weaver says the stone is not for sale.
"What! not even for twenty dollars?" "Not even for that." The merchant keeps
on increasing his offers till he reaches a thousand dollars, which was about
half its real value, for the stone was a diamond, and which the weaver
accepts, and thus he becomes the richest man in all the village. His wife,
however, took credit to herself for his prosperity, often saying to him, "How
well it was that I threw away the money twice, for thou hast me to thank for
thy good luck!"--and here the German story ends. For the turban of the
ropemaker and the kite that carried it off, with its precious lining, we have
the heap of rags and the rag-collector; but the ashes exchanged for soap
agrees with the Arabian story almost exactly.

The incident of the kite carrying off the poor ropemaker's turban in which he
had deposited the most part of the gold pieces that he received from the
gentleman who believed that "money makes money"--an unquestionable fact, in
spite of our story--is of very frequent occurrence in both Western and Eastern
fictions. My readers will recollect its exact parallel in the abstract of the
romance of Sir Isumbras, cited in Appendix to the preceding volumes: how the
Knight, with his little son, after the soudan's ship has sailed away with his
wife, is bewildered in a forest, where they fall asleep, and in the morning at
sunrise when he awakes, an eagle pounces down and carries off his scarlet
mantle, in which he had tied up his scanty store of provisions together with
the gold he had received from the soudan; and how many years after he found it
in a bird's nest (Supp. Nights, vol. ii. p. 260 and p. 263).--And, not to
multiply examples, a similar incident occurs in the "Kathß Sarit Sßgara," Book
ix. ch. 54, where a merchant named Samudras·ra is shipwrecked and contrives to
reach the land, where he perceives the corpse of a man, round the loins of
which is a cloth with a knot in it. On unfastening the cloth he finds in it a
necklace studded with jewels. The merchant proceeds towards a city called
Kalasapuri, carrying the necklace in his hand. Overpowered by the heat, he
sits down in a shady place and falls asleep. The necklace is recognised by
some passing policemen as that of the king's daughter, and the merchant is at
once taken before the king and accused of having stolen it. While the merchant
is being examined, a kite swoops down and carries off the necklace. Presently
a voice from heaven declares that the merchant is innocent, explains how the
necklace came into his possession, and orders the king to dismiss him with
honour. This celestial testimony in favour of the accused satisfies the king,
who gives the merchant much wealth and sends him on his way. The rest of the
story is as follows: "And after he had crossed the sea, he travelled with a
caravan, and one day, at evening time, he reached a wood. The caravan encamped
in the wood for the night, and while Samudras·ra was awake a powerful host of
bandits attacked it. While the bandits were massacring the members of the
caravan, Samudras·ra left his wares and fled, and climbed up a banyan-tree
without being discovered. The host of bandits departed, after they had carried
off all the wealth, and the merchant spent that night there, perplexed with
fear and distracted with grief. In the morning he cast his eves towards the
top of the tree, and saw, as fate would have it, what looked like the light of
a lamp, trembling among the leaves. And in his astonishment he climbed up the
tree and saw a kite's nest, in which there was a heap of glittering priceless
jewelled ornaments. He took them all out of it, and found among the ornaments
that necklace which he had found in Svarnadvİpa and the kite had carried off.
He obtained from that nest unlimited wealth, and descending from the tree, he
went off delighted, and reached in course of time his own city of Harshap·ra.
There the merchant Samudras·ra remained, enjoying himself to his heart's
content, with his family, free from the desire of any other wealth."

There is nothing improbable--at all events, nothing impossible--in the History
of Khwajah Hasan al-Habbßl. That he should lose the two sums of money in the
manner described is quite natural, and the incidents carry with them the
moral: "Always take your wife into your confidence" (but the Khwajah was a
Muslim), notwithstanding the great good luck which afterwards befell, and
which, after all, was by mere chance. There is nothing improbable in the
finding of the turban with the money intact in the bird's nest, but that this
should occur while the Khwajah's benefactors were his guests is--well, very
extraordinary indeed! As to the pot of bran--why, some little license must be
allowed a story-teller, that is all that need be said! The story from
beginning to end is a most charming one, and will continue to afford pleasure
to old and young--to "generations yet unborn."

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves--p.219

I confess to entertaining a peculiar affection for this tale. It was the first
of the tales of the "Arabian Nights Entertainments" which I read in the days
of my "marvelling boyhood" eheu! fugaces, &c, etc. I may therefore be somewhat
prejudiced in its favour, just as I still consider Scott's "Waverley" as the
best of his long series of fascinating fictions, that being the first of them
which I read--as it was the first he wrote. But "All Baba and the Forty
Thieves"--the "open, sesame!" "shut, sesame!"--the sackfuls of gold and silver
and the bales of rich merchandise in the robbers' cave--the avaricious brother
forgetting the magical formula which would open the door and permit him to
escape with his booty--his four quarters hung up in terrorem--and above all,
the clever, devoted slave girl Morgiana, who in every way outwitted the crafty
robber-chief,--these incidents remain stamped in my memory ineffaceably: like
the initials of lovers' names cut into the bark of a growing tree, which, so
far from disappearing, become larger by the lapse of time. To me this
delightful tale will ever be, as Hafiz sings of something, "freshly fresh and
newly new." I care not much though it never be found in an Arabic or any other
Oriental dress--but that it is of Asiatic invention is self-evident; there is,
in my poor opinion nothing to excel it, if indeed to equal it, for intense
interest and graphic narrative power in all The Nights proper.

Sir Richard Burton has remarked, in note 1, p. 219, that Mr. Coote could only
find in the south of Europe, or in the Levant, analogues of two of the
incidents of this tale, yet one of those may be accepted as proof of its
Eastern extraction, namely, the Cyprian story of "Three Eyes," where the ogre
attempts to rescue his wife with a party of blacks concealed in bales: "The
King's jester went downstairs, in order to open the bales and takes something
out of them. Directly he approached one of the sacks, the black man answered
from the inside,'Is it time, master?' In the same manner he tried all the
sacks, and then went upstairs and told them that the sacks were full of black
men. Directly the King's bride heard this, she made the jester and the company
go downstairs. They take the executioner with them, and go to the first sack.
The black man says from the inside, 'Is it time ?' 'Yes,' say they to him, and
directly he came out they cut his head off. In the same manner they go to the
other sacks and kill the other black men.''[FN#408]

The first part of the tale of Ali Baba--ending with the death of his greedy
brother--is current in North Germany, to this effect:

A poor woodcutter, about to fell a beech at the back of the scattered ruins of
the castle of Dummburg, seeing a monk approach slowly through the forest, hid
himself behind a tree. The monk passed by and went among the rocks. The
woodcutter stole cautiously after him and saw that he stopped at a small door
which had never been discovered by the villagers. The monk knocks gently and
cries, "Little door, open!" and the door springs open. He also cries, "Little
door, shut!" and the door is closed. The woodcutter carefully observes the
place, and next Sunday goes secretly and obtains access to the vault by the
same means as that employed by the monk. He finds in it "large open vessels
and sacks full of old dollars and fine guilders, together with heavy gold
pieces, caskets filled with jewels and pearls, costly shrines and images of
saints, which lay about or stood on tables of silver in corners of the vault."
He takes but a small quantity of the coin, and as he is quitting the vault a
voice cries, "Come again!" First giving to the church, for behoof of the poor,
a tenth of what he had taken, he goes to the town and buys clothes for his
wife and children, giving out to his neighbours that he had found an old
dollar and a few guilders under the roots of a tree that he had felled. Next
Sunday he again visits the vault, this time supplying himself somewhat more
liberally from the hoard, but still with moderation and discretion, and "Come
again!" cries a voice as he is leaving. He now gives to the church two tenths,
and resolves to bury the rest of the money he had taken in his cellar. But he
can't resist a desire to first measure the gold, for he could not count it. So
he borrows for this purpose a corn-measure of a neighbour--a very rich but
penurious man, who starved himself, hoarded up corn, cheated the labourer of
his hire, robbed the widow and the orphan, and lent money on pledges. Now the
measure had some cracks in the bottom, through which the miser shook some
grains of corn into his own heap when selling it to the poor labourer, and
into these cracks two or three small coins lodged, which the miser was not
slow to discover. He goes to the woodcutter and asks him what it was he had
been measuring. "Pine-cones and beans. But the miser holds up the coins he had
found in the cracks of the measure, and threatens to inform upon him and have
him put to the question if he will not disclose to him the secret of his
money. So the woodcutter is constrained to tell him the whole story and much
against his will, but not before he had made the miser promise that he would
give one-tenth to the church, he conducts him to the vault. The miser enters,
with a number of sacks, the woodcutter waiting outside to receive them when
filled with treasure. But while the miser is gloating over the enormous wealth
before him--even "wealth beyond the dreams of avarice"--a great black dog
comes and lays himself down on the sacks. Terrified at the flaming eyes of the
dog, the miser crept towards the door but in his fear forgot the proper words,
and instead of saying, "Little door, open!" he cried!, "Little door, shut!"
The woodcutter, having waited a long time, approached the door, and knocking
gently and crying "Little door, open!" the door sprang open and he entered.
There lay the bleeding body of his wicked neighbour, stretched on his sacks,
but the vessels of gold and silver, and diamonds and pearls, sank deeper and
deeper into the earth before his eyes, till all had completely

The resemblance which this North German tale bears to the first part of "All
Baba" is striking, and is certainly not merely fortuitous; the fundamental
outline of the latter is readily recognisable in the legend of The Dummburg,
notwithstanding differences in the details. In both the hero is a poor
woodcutter, or faggot-maker; for the band of robbers a monk is substituted in
the German legend, and for the "open, sesame" and "shut, sesame," we have
"little door, shut," and "little door, open." In both the borrowing of a
corn-measure is the cause of the secret being revealed--in the one case, to
Kasim, the greedy brother of Ali Baba and in the other, to a miserly old
hunks; the fate of the latter and the disappearance of all the treasure are
essentially German touches. The subsequent incidents of the tale of Ali Baba,
in which the main interest of the narrative is concentrated;--Ali Baba's
carrying off the four quarters of his brother's body and having them sewed
together, the artifices by which the slave-girl checkmates the robber-chief
and his followers in their attempts to discover the man who had learned the
secret of the treasure-cave--her marking all the doors in the street and her
pouring boiling oil on the robbers concealed in the oil-skins in the
courtyard;--these incidents seem to have been adapted, or imitated, from some
version of the world-wide story of the Robbery of the Royal Treasury, as told
by Herodotus, of Rhampsinitus, King of Egypt, in which the hero performs a
series of similar exploits to recover the headless body of his brother and at
the same time escape detection. Moreover, the conclusion of the tale of Ali
Baba, where we are told he lived in comfort and happiness on the wealth
concealed in the robbers' cave, and "in after days he showed the hoard to his
sons and his sons' sons, and taught them how the door could be caused to open
and shut"--this is near akin to the beginning of Herodotus' legend of the
treasury: the architect who built it left a stone loose, yet so nicely
adjusted that it could not be discovered by any one not in the secret, by
removing which he gained access to the royal stores of gold, and having taken
what he wanted replaced the stone as before; on his deathbed he revealed the
secret to his two sons as a legacy for their future maintenance. The discovery
of Ali Baba's being possessed of much money from some coins adhering to the
bottom of the corn-measure is an incident of very frequent occurrence in
popular fictions; for instance, in the Icelandic story of the Magic Queen that
ground out gold or whatever its possessor desired (Powell and Magnusson's
collection, second series); in the Indian tale of the Six Brothers (Vernieux's
collection) and its Irish analogue "Little Fairly;" in the modern Greek
popular tale of the Man with Three Grapes (Le Grand's French collection), and
a host of other tales, both Western and Eastern. The fate of Ali Baba's rich
and avaricious brother, envious of his good luck, finds also many
parallels--mutatis mutandis--as in the story of the Magic Queen, already
referred to, and the Mongolian tale of the poor man and the Dakinis, the 14th
relation of Siddhİ K·r. Morgiana's counter-device of marking all the doors in
the street, so that her master's house should not be recognised, often occurs,
in different forms: in my work on Popular Tales and Fictions, vol. ii. pp.
164, 165, a number of examples are cited. The pretended merchant's objecting
to eat meat cooked with salt, which fortunately aroused Morgiana's suspicions
of his real characterûfor robber and murderer as he was, he would not be
"false to his salt''[FN#410]--recalls an anecdote related by D'Herbelot, which
may find a place here, in conclusion: The famous robber Yac·b bin Layth,
afterwards the founder of a dynasty of Persian monarchs called Soffarides, in
one of his expeditions broke into the royal palace and having collected a
large quantity of plunder, was on the point of carrying it off when his foot
struck against something which made him stumble. Supposing it not to be an
article of value, he put it to his mouth, the better to distinguish it. From
the taste he found it was a lump of salt, the symbol and pledge of
hospitality, on which he was so touched that he retired immediately without
carrying away any part of his booty. The next morning the greatest
astonishment was caused throughout the palace on the discovery of the
valuables packed up and ready for removal. Yacub was arrested and brought
before the prince, to whom he gave a faithful account of the whole affair, and
by this means so ingratiated himself with his sovereign that he employed him
as a man of courage and ability in many arduous enterprises, in which he was
so successful as to be raised to the command of the royal troops, whose
confidence in and affection for their general induced them on the prince's
death to prefer his interest to that of the heir to the throne, from whence he
afterwards spread his extensive conquests.

* * * * * * * * * *

Since the foregoing was in type I discovered that I had overlooked another
German version, in Grimm, which preserves some features of the Arabian tale
omitted in the legend of The Dummburg:

There were two brothers, one rich, the other poor. The poor brother, one day
wheeling a barrow through the forest, had just come to a naked looking
mountain, when he saw twelve great wild men approaching, and he hid himself in
a tree, believing them to be robbers. "Semsi mountain, Semsi mountain, open!"
they cried, and the mountain opened, and they went in. Presently they came
out, carrying heavy sacks. "Semsi mountain, Semsi mountain, shut thyself!"
they cried; and the mountain closed and they went away. The poor man went up
then and cried. "Semsi mountain Semsi mountain, open!" the mountain opens, he
goes in, finds a cavern full of gold, silver, and jewels, fills his pockets
with gold only, and coming out cries, "Semsi mountain, Semsi mountain, shut
thyself!" He returns home and lives happily till his gold is exhausted. Then
"he went to his brother to borrow a measure that held a bushel, and brought
himself some more." This he does again, and this time the rich brother smears
the inside of the bushel with pitch and when he gets it back finds a gold coin
sticking to it, so he taxes his poor brother with having treasure and learns
the secret. Off he drives, resolved to bring back, not gold, but jewels. He
gets in by saying, "Semsi mountain, Semsi mountain, open!" He loads himself
with precious stones, but has forgotten the word, and cries only, "Simeli
mountain, Simeli mountain, open!" The robbers return and charge him with
having twice stolen from them. He vainly protests, "It was not I " and they
cut his head off.

Here the twelve wild men represent the forty robbers, and, as in Ali Baba, it
is the hero's brother who falls a victim to his own cupidity. In the Arabian
tale the hero climbs up into a tree when he sees the robbers approach, in The
Dummburg he hides himself behind a tree to watch the proceedings of the monk;
and in Grimm's version he hides in a tree. On this last-cited story W. Grimm
has the following note: "It is remarkable that this story, which is told in
the province of Munster, is told also in the Hartz, about The Dummburg, and
closely resembles the Eastern story of 'The Forty Thieves,' where even the
rock Sesam, which falls open at the words Semsi and Semeli, recalls the name
of the mountain in the German saga. This name for a mountain is, according to
a document in Pistorius (3, 642), very ancient in Germany. A mountain in
Grabfeld is called Similes and in a Swiss song a Simeliberg is again
mentioned. This makes us think of the Swiss word 'Sine!,' for 'sinbel,' round.
In Meier, No. 53, we find 'Open, Simson.' In Prohle's 'Marcher fur die
Jugend,' No. 30, where the story is amplified, it is Simsimseliger Mountain.
There is also a Polish story which is very like it." Dr. Grimm is mistaken in
saying that in the Arabian tale the "rock Sesam" falls open at the words Semsi
and Semeli: even in his own version, as the brother finds to his cost, the
word Simeli does not open the rock. In Ali Baba the word is "Simsim" (Fr.
Sesame), a species of grain, which the brother having forgot, he cries out
"Barley." The "Open, Simson" in Meier's version and the "Semsi" in Grimm's
story are evidently corruptions of "Simsim," or "Samsam," and seem to show
that the story did not become current in Germany through Galland's work.

Dr. N. B. Dennys, in his "Folk-Lore of China, and its Affinities with that of
the Aryan and Semitic Races," p. 134, cites a legend of the cave Kwang-sio-foo
in Kiang-si, which reflects part of the tale of Ali Baba: There was in the
neighbourhood a poor herdsman named Chang, his sole surviving relative being a
grandmother with whom he lived. One day, happening to pass near the cave, he
overheard some one using the following words: "Shih mun kai, Kwai Ku hsen
shÛng lai," Stone door, open; Mr. Kwai Ku is coming. Upon this the door of the
cave opened and the speaker entered. Having remained there for some time he
came out, and saying, "Stone door, close; Mr. Kwai Ku is going," the door
again opened and the visitor departed. Chang's curiosity was naturally
excited, and having several times heard the formula repeated, he waited one
day until the genie (for such he was) had taken his departure and essayed to
obtain an entrance. To his great delight the door yielded, and having gone
inside he found himself in a romantic grotto of immense extent. Nothing
however in the shape of treasure met his eye, so having fully explored the
place he returned to the door, which shut at his bidding, and went home. Upon
telling his grandmother of his adventure she expressed a strong wish to see
the wonderful cavern; and thither they accordingly went together the next day.
Wandering about in admiration of the scenery, they became separated, and Chang
at length, supposing that his grandmother had left, passed out of the door and
ordered it to shut. Reaching home, he found to his dismay that she had not yet
arrived. She must of course have been locked up in the cave, so back he sped
and before long was using the magic sentence to obtain access. But alas! the
talisman had failed, and poor Chang fell into an agony of apprehension as he
reflected that his grandmother would either be starved to death or killed by
the enraged genie. While in this perplexity the genie appeared and asked him
what was amiss. Chang frankly told him the truth and implored him to open the
door. This the genie refused to do, but told him that his grandmother's
disappearance was a matter of fate. The cave demanded a victim. Had it been a
male, every succeeding generation of his family would have seen one of its
members arrive at princely rank. In the case of a woman her descendants would
in a similar way possess power over demons. Somewhat comforted to know that he
was not exactly responsible for his grandmother's death, Chang returned home
and in process of time married. His first son duly became Chang tien shih
(Chang, the Master of Heaven), who about A.D. 25 was the first holder of an
office which has existed uninterruptedly to the present day.

Ali Khwajah and the Merchant of Baghdad--p. 246.

Precocious Children.--See note at end of the Tale, p. 256.--In the
(apocryphal) Arabic Gospel of the Saviour's Infancy is the following passage:

"Now in the month of Adar, Jesus, after the manner of a King, assembled the
boys together. They spread their clothes on the ground and he sat down upon
them. Then they put on his head a crown made of flowers, and like
chamber-servants stood in his presence, on the right and on the left, as if he
was a king. And whoever passed by that way was forcibly dragged by the boys,
saying, 'Come hither and adore the king; then go away.'"

A striking parallel to this is found in the beginning of the Mongolian Tales
of Ardshi Bordshi--i.e., the celebrated Indian monarch, Rßjß Bhoja, as given
in Miss Busk's "Sagas from the Far East," p. 252.

"Long ages ago there lived a mighty king called Ardshi Bordshi.[FN#411] In the
neighbourhood of his residence was a hill where the boys who were tending the
calves were wont to pass the time by running up and down. But they had also
another custom, and it was that whichever of them won the race was king for
the day--an ordinary game enough, only that when it was played in this place
the Boy-King thus constituted was at once endowed with such extraordinary
importance and majesty that everyone was constrained to treat him as a real
king. He had not only ministers and dignitaries among his playfellows, who
prostrated themselves before him, and fulfilled all his behests, but whoever
passed that way could not choose but pay him homage also."[FN#412]

This is followed by an analogous story to that of Ah Khwajah and the Merchant
of Baghdad, under the title of "The False Friend," in which a merchant on a
trading journey entrusts a friend with a valuable jewel to give to his wife on
his return home, and the friend retaining it for his own use suborns two men
to bear witness that they saw him deliver it to the merchant's wife, so the
King dismisses the suit. But the Boy-King undertakes to try the case de novo;
causes the two witnesses to be confined in separate places, each with a piece
of clay which he is required to make into the form of the jewel, and the
models are found to be different one from the other, and both from the shape
of the jewel as described by the false friend. A similar story occurs in
several Indian collections, with a Kßzİ instead of the Boy-King.

A curious instance of precocity is related in the Third Book of the "Masnavi"
(see ante p. 365), of which Mr. E. H. Whinfield gives an outline in his
admirable and most useful abridgment of that work: The boys wished to obtain a
holiday, and the sharpest of them suggested that when the master came into
school each boy should condole with him on his alleged sickly appearance.
Accordingly, when he entered, one said, "O master, how pale you are looking!
and another said, You are looking very ill to-day, and so on. The master at
first answered that there was nothing the matter with him, but as one boy
after another continued assuring him that he looked very ill, he was at length
deluded into imagining that he must really be ill. So he returned to his
house, making the boys follow him there, and told his wife that he was not
well, bidding her mark how pale he was. His wife assured him he was not
looking pale, and offered to convince him by bringing a mirror, but he refused
to look at it, and took to his bed. He then ordered the boys to begin their
lessons; but they assured him that the noise made his head ache, and he
believed them, and dismissed them to their homes, to the annoyance of their

Another example of juvenile cleverness is found in a Persian collection of
anecdotes entitled "Latß'yif At-Taw'ßyif," by 'Alİ ibn Husain Al-Va'iz
Al-Kßshifİ: One day N·rshİrvßn saw in a dream that he was drinking with a frog
out of the same cup. When he awoke he told this dream to his vazİr, but he
knew not the interpretation of it. The king grew angry and said, "How long
have I maintained thee, that if any difficulty should arise thou mightest
unloose the knot of it, and if any matter weighed on my heart thou shouldst
lighten it? Now I give thee three days, that thou mayest find out the meaning
of this dream, and remove the trouble of my mind; and if, within that space,
thou art not successful, I will kill thee." The vazİr went from the presence
of N·rshİrvßn confounded and much in trouble. He gathered together all the
sages and interpreters of dreams, and told the matter to them, but they were
unable to explain it; and the vazİr resigned his soul to death. But this story
was told in the city, and on the third day he heard that there was a mountain,
ten farsangs distant from the city, in which was a cave, and in this cave a
sage who had chosen the path of seclusion, and lived apart from mankind, and
had turned his face to the wall. The vazİr set out for this place of
retirement, saying to himself, "Perhaps he will be able to lay a plaster on my
wound, and relieve it from the throbbings of care." So he mounted his horse,
and went to find the sage. At the moment he arrived at the hill a company of
boys were playing together. One of them cried out with a loud voice, "The
vazİr is running everywhere in search of an interpreter, and all avails him
nothing; now the interpretation of the dream is with me, and the truth of it
is clear to me." When these words reached the ears of the vazİr he drew in the
reins, and calling the boy to him asked him, "What is thy name? He replied,
"Buzurjmibr." The vazİr said "All the sages and interpreters have failed in
loosing the knot of this difficulty--how dost thou, so young in years, pretend
to be able to do it? He replied, "All the world is not given to every one."
The vazİr said, "If thou speakest truth, explain." Said the boy "Take me to
the monarch, that I may there unloose the knot of this difficulty." The vazİr
said, "If thou shouldst fail, what then will come of it?" The boy replied, "I
will give up my own blood to the king, that they may slay me instead of thee."
The vazİr took the boy with him, returned, and told the whole matter to the
king and produced the boy in his presence. The king was very angry, and said,
"All the wise men and dream interpreters of the court were unable to satisfy
me, and thou bringest me a child, and expectest that he shall loose the knot
of the difficulty." The vazİr bowed his head. And Buzurjmihr said, "Look not
upon his youth, but see whether he is able to expound the mystery or not." The
king then said, "Speak." He replied, "I cannot speak in this multitude." So
those who were present retired, and the monarch and the youth were left alone.
Then said the youth, "A stranger has found entrance into thy seraglio, and is
dishonouring thee, along with a girl who is one of thy concubines." The king
was much moved at this interpretation, and looked from one of the wise men to
another, and at length said to the boy, "This is a serious matter thou hast
asserted; how shall this matter be proceeded in, and in what way fully known?"
The boy replied, "Command that every beautiful woman in thy seraglio pass
before thee unveiled, that the truth of this matter may be made apparent." The
king ordered them to pass before him as the boy had said, and considered the
face of each one attentively. Among them came a young girl extremely
beautiful, whom the king much regarded. When she came opposite to him, a
shuddering as of palsy, fell upon her, and she shook from head to foot, so
that she was hardly able to stand. The king called her to him, and threatening
her greatly, bade her speak the truth. She confessed that she loved a handsome
slave and had privately introduced him into the seraglio. The king ordered
them both to be impaled, and turning to the rewarding of Buzurjmihr, he made
him the object of his special bounty.

This story has been imported into the "History of the Seven Wise Masters of
Rome," the European form of the Book of Sindibßd, where the prince discovers
to his father the paramour of his step-mother, the empress, in the person of a
young man disguised as one of her maid-servants, and its presence in the work
is quite inconsistent with the lady's violent lust after the young prince.
There is a similar tale in the Hebrew version, "MishlÚ Sandabar," but the
disguised youth is not detected. Vatsyayana, in his "Kßma Sutra" (or Aphorisms
of Love), speaks of it as a common practice in India thus to smuggle men into
the women's apartments in female attire. In the Introduction to the "Kathß
Sarit Sßgara," Vararuchi relates how King Yogananda saw his queen leaning out
of a window and asking questions of a Bßhman guest that was looking up. That
trivial circumstance threw the king into a passion, and he gave orders that
the Brßhman should be put to death) for jealousy interferes with discernment.
Then as that Brßhman was being led off to the place of execution in order that
he should be put to death, a fish in the market laughed aloud, though it was
dead. The king hearing it immediately prohibited for the present the execution
of the Brßhman, and asked Vararuchi the reason why the fish laughed. He
desired time to think over the matter and learned from the conversation of a
rßkshasİ with her children that the fish said to himself, "All the king's
wives are dissolute, for in every part of his harem there are men dressed up
as women, and nevertheless while those escape, an innocent Brahmßn is to be
put to death;" and this tickled the fish so that he laughed. Mr. Tawney says
that Dr. Liebrecht, in "Orient und Occident," vol. i. p. 341, compares this
story with one in the old French romance of Merlin. There Merlin laughs
because the wife of Julius C sar had twelve young men disguised as
ladies-in-waiting. Benfey, in a note on Liebrecht's article, compares with the
story of Merlin one by the Countess d'Aulnois, No. 36 of Basile's
"Pentamerone," Straparola, iv. 1, and a story in the "Suka Saptati." In this
some cooked fish laugh so that the whole town hears them; the reason being the
same as in the above story and in that of Merlin. In a Kashmİrİ version, which
has several other incidents and bears a close resemblance to No. 4 of M.
Legrand's "Recueil de Contes Populaires Grecs," to the story of "The Clever
Girl" in Professor T. F. Crane's "Italian Popular Tales," and to a fable in
the Talmud, the king requires his vazİr to inform him within six months why
the fish laughed in presence of the queen. The vazİr sends his son abroad
until the king's anger had somewhat cooled--for himself he expects nothing but
death. The vazİr's son learns from the clever daughter of a farmer that the
laughing of the fish indicates that there is a man in the palace unknown to
the king. He hastens home and tells his father the secret, who at once
communicates it to the king. All the female attendants in the palace are
called together and ordered to jump across the mouth of a pit which he has
caused to be dug: the man would betray his sex in the trial. Only one person
succeeded and he was found to be a man.[FN#413] Thus was the queen satisfied,
and the faithful old vazİr saved, and his son, of course, married the farmer's
clever daughter.

Prince Ahmad and the Peri Banu--p. 256.

How, in the name of all that is wonderful--how has it happened that this
ever-delightful tale is not found in any text of The Nights? And how could it
be supposed for a moment that Galland was capable of conceiving such a tale--
redolent, as it is, of the East and of Fairyland? Not that Fairyland where
"True Thomas," otherwise ycleped Thomas the Rymer, otherwise Thomas of
Erceldoune, passed several years in the bewitching society of the Fairy Queen,
years which appeared to him as only so many moments: but Eastern Fairyland,
with all its enchanting scenes; where priceless gems are as plentiful as
"autumnal leaves which strong the brooks in Vallombrosa;" where, in the royal
banqueting hall, illuminated with hundreds of wax candles, in candelabra of
the finest amber and the purest crystal are bands of charming damsels, fairest
of form and feature, who play on sweet- toned instruments which discourse
heart-ravishing strains of melody;--meanwhile the beauteous Perİ Bßn· is
seated on a throne adorned with diamonds and rubies and emeralds, and pearls
and other gems, and by her side is the thrice-happy Prince Ahmad, who feels
himself amply indemnified for the loss of his fair cousin Princess
N·r-en-Nihßr. Auspicious was that day when he shot the arrow which the
enamoured Perİ Bßn· caused to be wafted through the air much farther than arm
of flesh could ever send the feathered messenger! And when the Prince feels a
natural longing to visit his father in the land of mortals from time to time,
behold the splendid cavalcade issue from the portals of the fairy palace--the
gallant jinn-born cavaliers, mounted on superb steeds with gorgeous housings,
who accompany him to his father's capital. But alas! the brightest sky is
sooner or later overcast--human felicity is--etc., etc. The old king's mind is
poisoned against his noble son by the whisperings of a malignant and envious
minister--a snake in the grass--a fly in the ointment of Prince Ahmad's
beatitude! And to think of the old witch gaining access to the fairy palace--
it was nothing less than an atrocity! And the tasks which she induces the king
to set Prince Ahmad to perform--but they are all accomplished for him by his
fairy bride. The only thing to regret--the fatal blemish in the tale--is the
slaughter of the old king. Shabbar did right well to dash into the smallest
pieces the wicked vazİr and the foul witch and all who aided and abetted them,
but "to kill a king!" and a well-meaning if soft-headed king, who was, like
many better men, led astray by evil counsellors!

Having thus blown off the steam--I mean to say, having thus ventilated the
enthusiasm engendered by again reading the tale of Prince Ahmad and the Perİ
Bßn·, I am now in a fitter frame of mind for the business of examining some
versions and variants of it, for though the tale has not yet been found in
Arabic, it is known from the banks of Ganga to the snow-clad hills and vales
of Iceland--that strange land whose heart is full of the fiercest fires. This
tale, like that of Zayn al-Asnßm, comprises two distinct stories, which have
no necessary connection, to wit, (1) the adventures of the Three Princes, each
in quest of the rarest treasure, wherewith to win the beautiful Princess
N·r-en-Nihßr; and (2) the subsequent history of the third Prince and the Perİ
Bßn·. The oldest known form of the story concludes with the recovery of the
lady--not from death's door, but from a giant who had carried her off, and the
rival claims of the heroes to the hand of the lady are left undecided:
certainly a most unsatisfactory ending, though it must be confessed the case
was, as the priest found that of Paddy and the stolen pullet, somewhat
"abstruse." In the "Vetßlapanchavinsati," or Twenty-five Tales of a Vampyre
(concerning which collection see Appendix to the preceding volumes, p. 230),
the fifth recital is to this purpose:

There was a Brßhman in Ajjayini (Oojein) whose name was Harisvamin; he had a
son named Devasvamin and a daughter far famed for her wondrous beauty and
rightly called Somaprabha (Moonlight). When the maiden had attained
marriageable age, she declared to her parents that she was only to be married
to a man who possessed heroism, or knowledge, or magic power. It happened soon
after this that Harisvamin was sent by the king on state business to the
Dekkan, and while there a young Brßhman, who had heard the report of
Somaprabha's beauty, came to him as a suitor for the hand of his daughter.
Harisvamin informed him of the qualifications which her husband must possess,
and the Brßhman answered that he was endowed with magic power, and having
shown this to the father's satisfaction, he promised to give him his daughter
on the seventh day from that time. In like manner, at home, the son and the
wife of Harisvamin had, unknown to each other, promised Somaprabha to a young
man who was skilled in the use of missile weapons and was very brave, and to a
youth who possessed knowledge of the past, the present, and the future; and
the marriage was also fixed to take place on the seventh day. When Harisvamin
returned home he at once told his wife and son of the contract he has entered
into with the young Brßhman, and they in their turn acquainted him of their
separate engagements, and all were much perplexed what course to adopt in the

On the seventh day the three suitors arrived, but Somaprabha was found to have
disappeared in some inexplicable manner. The father then appealed to the man
of knowledge, saying, "Tell me where my daughter is gone?" He replied, "She
has been carried off by a rßkshasa to his habitation in the Vindhya forest."
Then quoth the man of magic power "Be of good cheer, for I will take you in a
moment where the possessor of knowledge says she is." And forthwith he
prepared a magic chariot that could fly through the air, provided all sorts of
weapons, and made Harisvamin, the man of knowledge, and the brave man enter it
along with himself, and in a moment carried them to the dwelling of the
rßkshasa. Then followed a wonderful fight between the brave man and the
rßkshasa, and in a short time the hero cut off his head, after which they took
Somaprabha into the chariot and quickly returned to Harisvamin's house. And
now arose a great dispute between the three suitors. Said the man of
knowledge, "If I had not known where the maiden was how could she have been
discovered?" The man of magic argued, "If I had not made this chariot that can
fly through the air, how could you all have come and returned in a moment?"
Then the brave man said, "If I had not slain the rßkshasa, how could the
maiden have been rescued?" While they were thus wrangling Harisvamin remained
silent, perplexed in mind. The Vampyre, having told this story to the King,
demanded to know to whom the maiden should have been given. The King replied,
"She ought to have been given to the brave man; for he won her by the might of
his arm and at the risk of his life, slaying that rßkshasa in combat. But the
man of knowledge and the man of magic power were appointed by the Creator to
serve as his instruments." The perplexed Harisvamin would have been glad, no
doubt, could he have had such a logical solution of the question as this of
the sagacious King Trivikramasena--such was his six-syllabled name.

The Hindİ version ("Baytßl Pachİsi") corresponds with the Sanskrit, but in the
Tamil version the father, after hearing from each of the three suitors an
account of his accomplishments, promises to give his daughter to "one of
them." Meanwhile a giant comes and carries off the damsel. There is no
difference in the rest of the story.

In the Persian Parrot-Book ("T·tİ Nßma" ) where the tale is also found
[FN#414]--it is the 34th recital of the loquacious bird in the India Office
MS. No. 2573, the 6th in B. Gerrans' partial translation, 1792, and the 22nd
in Kßderi's abridgment--the first suitor says that his art is to discover
anything lost and to predict future events; the second can make a horse of
wood which would fly through the air; and the third was an unerring archer.

In the Persian "Sindibßd Nßma," a princess, while amusing herself in a garden
with her maidens, is carried away by a demon to his cave in the mountains. The
king proclaims that he will give his daughter in marriage to whoever should
bring her back. Four brothers offer themselves for the undertaking: one is a
guide who has travelled over the world; the second is a daring robber, who
would take the prey even from the lion's mouth; the third is a brave warrior;
and the fourth is a skilful physician. The guide leads the three others to the
demons' cave, the robber steals the damsel while the demon is absent; the
physician, finding her at death's door, restored her to perfect health; while
the warrior puts to flight a host of demons who sallied out of the cave.

The Sanskrit story has undergone a curious transformation among the Kalmuks.
In the 9th Relation of Siddhİ K·r (a Mongolian version of the Vampyre Tales)
six youths are companions: an astrologer, a smith, a doctor, a mechanic, a
painter, and a rich man's son. At the mouth of a great river each plants a
tree of life and separates, taking different roads, having agreed to meet
again at the same spot, when if the tree of any of them is found to be
withered it will be a token that he is dead. The rich man's son marries a
beautiful girl, who is taken from him by the Khan, and the youth is at the
same time put to death by the Khan's soldiers and buried under a great rock.
When the four other young men meet at the time and place appointed they find
the tree of the rich youth withered. Thereupon the astrologer by his art
discovers where the youth is buried; the smith breaks the rock asunder; the
physician restores the youth to life, and he tells them how the Khan had
robbed him of his wife and killed him. The mechanic then constructs a flying
chariot in the form of Garuda--the bird of Vishnu; the counterpart of the
Arabian rukh--which the painter decorates, and when it is finished the rich
youth enters it and is swiftly borne through the air to the roof of the Khan's
dwelling, where he alights. The Khan, supposing the machine to be a real
Garuda, sends the rich youth's own wife to the roof with some food for it.
Could anything have been more fortunate? The youth takes her into the wooden
Garuda and they quickly arrive at the place where his companions waited for
his return. When they beheld the marvellous beauty of the lady the five
skilful men instantly fell in love with her, and began to quarrel among
themselves, each claiming the lady as his by right, and drawing their knives
they fought and slew one another. So the rich youth was left in undisputed
possession of his beautiful bride.

Coming back to Europe we find the primitive form of the story partly preserved
in a Greek popular version given in Hahn's collection: Three young men are in
love with the same girl, and agree to go away and meet again at a given time,
when he who shall have learned the best craft shall marry the girl. They meet
after three years' absence. One has become a famous astronomer; the second is
so skilful a physician that he can raise the dead, and the third can run
faster than the wind. The astronomer looks at the girl's star and knows from
its trembling that she is on the point of death. The physician prepares a
medicine which the third runs off with at the top of his speed, and pours it
down the girl's throat just in time to save her life--though, for the matter
of that, she might as well have died, since the second suitor was able to
resuscitate the dead!

But the German tale of the Four Clever Brothers, divested of the preliminary
incidents which have been brought into it from different folk-tales, more
nearly approaches the form of the original, as we may term the Sanskrit story
for convenience' sake: A poor man sends his four sons into the world, each to
learn some craft by which he might gain his own livelihood. After travelling
together for some time they came to a place where four roads branched off and
there they separated, each going along one of the roads, having agreed to meet
at the same spot that day four years. One learns to be an excellent astronomer
and, on quitting, his master gives him a telescope,[FN#415] saying, "With this
thou canst see whatever takes place either on earth or in heaven, and nothing
can remain concealed from thee." Another becomes a most expert thief. The
third learns to be a sharpshooter and gets from his master a gun which would
never fail him: whatever he aimed at he was sure to hit. And the youngest
becomes a very clever tailor and is presented by his master with a needle,
which could sew anything together, hard or soft. At the end of the four years
they met according to agreement, and returning together to their father's
house, they satisfied the old man with a display of their abilities Soon after
this the king's daughter was carried off by a dragon, and the king proclaimed
that whoever brought her back should have her to wife. This the four clever
brothers thought was a fine chance for them, and they resolved to liberate the
king's daughter. The astronomer looked through his telescope and saw the
princess far away on a rock in the sea and the dragon watching beside her.
Then they went and got a ship from the king, and sailed over the sea till they
came to the rock, where the princess was sitting and the dragon was asleep
with his head in her lap. The hunter feared to shoot lest he should kill the
princess. Then the thief crept up the rock and stole her from under the dragon
so cleverly that the monster did not awake. Full of joy, they hurried off with
her and sailed away. But presently the dragon awoke and missing the princess
flew after them through the air. Just as he was hovering above the ship to
swoop down upon it, the hunter shot him through the heart and he tumbled down
dead, but falling on the vessel his carcase smashed it into pieces. They laid
hold of two planks and drifted about till the tailor with his wonderful needle
sewed the planks together, and then they collected the fragments of the ship
which the tailor also sewed together so skilfully that their ship was again
sea-worthy, and they soon got home in safety. The king was right glad to see
his daughter and told the four brothers they must settle among themselves
which of them should have her to wife. Upon this they began to wrangle with
one another. The astronomer said, "If I had not seen the princess, all your
arts would have been useless, so she is mine." The thief claimed her, because
he had rescued her from the dragon; the hunter, because he had shot the
monster; and the tailor, because he had sewn the ship together and saved them
all from drowning. Then the king decreed: "Each of you has an equal right, and
as all of you cannot have her, none of you shall; but I will give to each as a
reward half a kingdom," with which the four clever brothers were well

The story has assumed a droll form among the Albanians, in which no fewer than
seven remarkably endowed youths play their parts in rescuing a king's daughter
from the Devil, who had stolen her out of the palace. One of the heroes could
hear far off; the second could make the earth open; the third could steal from
any one without his knowing it; the fourth could throw an object to the end of
the world; the fifth could erect an impregnable tower; the sixth could bring
down anything however high it might be in the air and the seventh could catch
whatever fell from any height. So they set off together, and after travelling
along way, the first lays his ear to the ground. "I hear him," he says. Then
the second causes the earth to open, and down they go, and find the Devil
sound asleep, snoring like thunder, with the princess clasped to his breast.
The third youth steals her without waking the fiend. Then the fourth takes off
the Devil's shoes and flings them to the end of the world, and off they all go
with the princess. The Devil wakes and goes after them, but first he must find
his shoes--though what need he could have for shoes it is not easy to say; but
mayhap the Devil of the Albanians is minus horns, hoof and tail! This gives
the fifth hero time to erect his impregnable tower before the fiend returns
from the end of the world. When he comes to the tower he finds all his skill
is naught, so he has recourse to artifice, which indeed has always been his
forte. He begs piteously to be allowed one last look of his beloved princess.
They can't refuse him so slight a favour, and make a tiny hole in the tower
wall, but, tiny as it is, the Devil is able to pull the princess through it
and instantly mounts on high with her. Now is the marksman's opportunity: he
shoots at the fiend and down he comes, "like a hundred of bricks" (as we don't
say in the classics), at the same time letting go the princess, who is
cleverly caught by the seventh hero, and is none the worse for her aerial
journey. The princess chooses the seventh for her husband, as he is the
youngest and best looking, but her father the king rewards his companions
handsomely and all are satisfied.

The charming history of Prince Ahmad and his fairy bride is "conspicuous from
its absence" in all these versions, but it re-appears in the Italian
collection of Nerucci: "Novelle Popolari Montalesi," No. xl., p. 335, with
some variations from Galland's story:

A certain king had three daughters, and a neighbouring king had three sons,
who were much devoted to the chase. They arrived at the city of the first
king, and all fell in love with his daughter[FN#416] and wanted to marry her.
Her father said it was impossible to content them all, but if one of them
would ask her, and if he pleased her, he would not oppose the marriage. They
could not agree which it was to be, and her father proposed that they should
all travel, and the one who at the end of six months brought the most
beautiful and wonderful present should marry her. They set out in different
directions and at the end of six months they meet by appointment at a certain
inn. The eldest brings a magic carpet on which he is wafted whithersoever he
will. (It goes a hundred miles in a day.) The second brings a telescope which
shows whatever is happening a hundred miles away. The youngest brings three
stones of a grape, one of which put into the mouth of a person who is dying
restores him to life. They at once test the telescope by wishing to see the
princess, and they find her dying--at the last gasp indeed. By means of the
carpet they reach the palace m time to save her life with one of the
grape-stones. Each claims the victory. Her father, almost at his wits' end to
decide the question, decrees that they shall shoot with the crossbow, and he
who shoots farthest shall win the princess. The second brother shoots farther
than the first; but the youngest shoots so far that they cannot find where
kits arrow has fallen. He persists in the search and falls down a deep hole,
from the bottom of which he can scarcely see a speck of the sky. There an ogre
(mago) appears to him and also a bevy of young fairy maidens of extreme
beauty. They lead him to a marvellous palace, give him refreshments and
provide him with a room and a bed, where every night one of the fairies bears
him company. He spends his days in pleasure until the king's daughter is
almost forgotten. At last he begins to think he ought to learn what has become
of his brothers, his father, and the lady. The chief fairy however, tries to
dissuade him warning him that evil will befall him if he return to his
brothers. He persists, and she tells him that the princess is given to his
eldest brother, who reigns in his father-in-law's stead the latter having
died, and that his own father is also dead; and she warns him again not to go.
But he goes. His eldest brother says that he thought he was dead "in that
hole." The hero replies that, on the contrary, he fares so well with a bevy of
young and beautiful fairies that he does not even envy him, and would not
change places with him for all the treasures in the world. His brother,
devoured by rage, demands that the hero bring him within eight days a pavilion
of silk which will lodge three hundred soldiers, otherwise he will destroy his
palace of delights. The hero, affrighted, returns to the fairies and relates
his brother's threats. The chief fairy says, "Didn't I tell you so? You
deserve that I should leave you to your fate; but, out of pity for your youth,
I will help you." And he returns to his brother within eight days with the
required pavilion. But his brother is not satisfied: he demands another silk
pavilion for 600 soldiers, else he will lay waste the abode of the fairies.
This pavilion he also receives from the fairies, and it was much finer and
richer than the first. His brother's demands rise when he sees that the hero
does not find any difficulty in satisfying him. He now commands that a column
of iron 12 cubits (braccia) high be erected in the midst of a piazza. The
chief of the fairies also complies with this requirement. The column is ready
in a moment, and as the hero cannot carry it himself, she gives it to the
guardian ogre, who carries it upon his shoulders, and presents himself, along
with the hero, before the eldest brother. As soon as the latter comes to see
the column set in the piazza the ogre knocks him down and reduces him to pulp
(cofaccino, lit., a cake), and the hero marries his brother's widow and
becomes king in his stead.

Almost suspiciously like the story in Galland in many of the details is an
Icelandic version in Powell and Magn·sson's collection, yet I cannot conceive
how the peasantry of that country could have got it out of "Les Mille et une
Nuits." There are two ways by which the story might have reached them
independently of Galland's work: the Arabs and Persians traded extensively in
former times with Scandinavia, through Russia, and this as well as other Norse
tales of undoubtedly Eastern extraction may have been communicated by the same
channel;[FN#417] or the Norsemen may have taken it back with them from the
South of Europe. But however this may be, the Icelandic version is so quaint
in its diction, has such a fresh aroma about it, and such novel particulars,
that I feel justified in giving it here in full:

It is said that once, in the days of old, there was a good and wealthy king
who ruled over a great and powerful realm; but neither his name nor that of
his kingdom is given, nor the latter's whereabouts in the world. He had a
queen, and by her three sons, who were all fine youths and hopeful, and the
king loved them well. The king had taken, too, a king's daughter from a
neighbouring kingdom, to foster her, and she was brought up with his sons. She
was of the same age as they, and the most beautiful and accomplished lady that
had ever been seen in those days, and the king loved her in no way less than
his own sons. When the princess was of age, all the king's sons fell in love
with her, and things even went so far that they all of them engaged her at
once, each in his own name. Their father, being the princess's foster-father,
had the right of bestowing her in marriage, as her own father was dead. But as
he was fond of all his sons equally the answer he gave them was, that he left
it to the lady's own choice to take for a husband whichever of the brothers
she loved the most. On a certain day he had the princess called up to him and
declared his will to her, telling her that she might choose for a husband
whichever she liked best of his sons. The princess answered, "Bound I am in
duty to obey your words. But as to this choice of one of your sons to be my
husband I am in the greatest perplexity; for I must confess they are all
equally dear to me, and I cannot choose one before the other." When the king
heard this answer of the princess he found himself in a new embarrassment, and
thought a long while what he could do that should be equally agreeable to all
parties, and at last hit upon the following decision of the matter: that all
his sons should after a year's travel return each with a precious thing, and
that he who had the finest thing should be the princess's husband. This
decision the king's sons found to be a just one and they agreed to meet after
one year at a certain castle in the country, whence they should go all
together, to the town, in order to lay their gifts before the princess. And
now their departure from the country was arranged as well as could be.

First the tale tells of the eldest, that he went from one land to another, and
from one city to another, in search of a precious thing, but found nowhere
anything that at all suited his ideas. At last the news came to his ears that
there was a princess who had so fine a spy-glass that nothing so marvellous
had ever been seen or heard of before. In it one could see all over the world,
every place, every city, every man, and every living being that moved on the
face of the earth, and what every living thing in the world was doing. Now the
prince thought that surely there could be no more precious thing at all likely
to turn up for him than this telescope; he therefore went to the princess, in
order to buy the spy-glass if possible. But by no means could he prevail upon
the king's daughter to part with her spy-glass, till he had told her his whole
story and why he wanted it, and used all his powers of entreaty. As might be
expected, he paid for it well. Having got it he returned home, glad at his
luck, and hoping to wed the king's daughter.

The story next turns to the second son. He had to struggle with the same
difficulties as his elder brother. He travelled for a long while over the wide
world without finding anything at all suitable, and thus for a time he saw no
chance of his wishes being fulfilled. Once he came into a very well-peopled
city; and went about in search of precious things among the merchants, but
neither did he find nor even see what he wanted. He heard that there lived a
short way from the town a dwarf, the cleverest maker of curious and cunning
things. He therefore resolved to go to the dwarf in order to try whether he
could be persuaded to make him any costly thing. The dwarf said that he had
ceased to make things of that sort now and he must beg to be excused from
making anything of the kind for the prince. But he said that he had a piece of
cloth, made in his younger days, with which however, he was very unwilling to
part. The king's son asked the nature and use of the cloth The dwarf answered,
"On this cloth one can go all over the world, as well through the air as on
the water. Runes are on it, which must be understood by him who uses it." Now
the prince saw that a more precious thing than this could scarcely be found,
and therefore asked the dwarf by all means to let him have the cloth. And
although the dwarf would not at first part with his cloth at all, yet at last,
hearing what would happen if the king's son did not get it, he sold it to him
at a mighty high price. The prince was truly glad to have got the cloth, for
it was not only a cloth of great value, but also the greatest of treasures m
other respects, having gold-seams and jewel-embroidery. After this he returned
home, hoping to get the best of his brothers in the contest for the damsel.

The youngest prince left home last of all the three brethren.[FN#418] First he
travelled from one village to another in his own country, and went about
asking for precious things of every merchant he met on his way, as also on all
sides where there was the slightest hope of his getting what he wanted. But
all his endeavours were in vain, and the greater part of the year was spent in
fruitless search till at last he waxed sad in mind at his lot. At this time he
came into a well-peopled city, whereto people were gathered from all parts of
the world. He went from one merchant to another till at last he came to one
who sold apples.[FN#419] This merchant said he had an apple that was of so
strange a nature that if it was put into the arm-hole of a dying man he would
at once return to life. He declared that it was the property of his family and
had always been used in the family as a medicine. As soon as the king's son
heard this he would by all means have the apple, deeming that he would never
be able to find a thing more acceptable to the king's daughter than this. He
therefore asked the merchant to sell him the apple and told him all the story
of his search, and that his earthly welfare was based upon his being in no way
inferior to his brethren in his choice of precious things for the princess.
The merchant felt pity for the prince when he had told him his story, so much
so that he sold him the apple, and the prince returned home, glad and
comforted at his happy luck.

Now nothing more is related of the three brothers till they met together at
the place before appointed. When they were all together each related the
striking points in his travelling. All being here, the eldest brother thought
that he would be the first to see the princess and find out how she was and
therefore he took forth his spy-glass and turned it towards the city. But what
saw he? The beloved princess lying in her bed, in the very jaws of death! The
king, his father, and all the highest nobles of the court were standing round
the bed in the blackness of sorrow, sad in their minds, and ready to receive
the last sigh of the fair princess. When the prince saw this lamentable sight
he was grieved beyond measure. He told his brothers what he had seen and they
were no less struck with sorrow than himself. They began bewailing loudly,
saying that they would give all they had never to have undertaken this
journey, for then at least they would have been able to perform the last
offices for the fair princess. But in the midst of these bewailings the second
brother bethought him of his cloth, and remembered that he could get to the
town on it in a moment. He told this to his brothers and they were glad at
such good and unexpected news. Now the cloth was unfolded and they all stepped
on to it, and in one of moment it was high in the air and in the next inside
the town. When they were there they made all haste to reach the room of the
princess, where everybody wore an air deep sadness. They were told that the
princess's every breath was her last. Then the youngest brother remembered his
wonderful apple, and thought that it would never be more wanted to show its
healing power than now. He therefore went straight into the bed-room of the
princess and placed the apple under her right arm. And at the same moment it
was as if a new breath of life flushed through the whole body of the princess;
her eyes opened, and after a little while she began to speak to the folk
around her. This and the return of the king's sons caused great joy at the
court of the king.

Now some time went by until the princess was fully recovered. Then a large
meeting was called together, at which the brothers were bidden to show their
treasures. First the eldest made his appearance, and showing his spy-glass
told what a wonderful thing it was, and also how it was due to this glass that
the life of the fair princess had ever been saved, as he had seen through it
how matters stood in the town. He therefore did not doubt for a moment that
his gift was the one which would secure him the fair princess.

Next stepped forward the second brother with the cloth. Having described its
powers, he said, "I am of opinion that my brother's having seen the princess
first would have proved of little avail had I not had the cloth, for thereupon
we came so quickly to the place to save the princess; and I must declare that
to my mind, the cloth is the chief cause of the king's daughter's recovery."

Next stepped forward the youngest prince and said, as he laid the apple before
the people, "Little would the glass and the cloth have availed to save the
princess's live had I not had the apple. What could we brothers have profited
in being only witnesses of the beloved damsel's death? What would this have
done, but awaken our grief and regret? It is due alone to the apple that the
princess is yet alive; wherefore I find myself the most deserving of her."

Then a long discussion arose in the meeting, and the decision at last came
out, that all the three things had worked equally towards the princess's
recovery, as might be seen from the fact that if one had been wanting the
others would have been worthless. It was therefore declared that, as all gifts
had equal claim to the prize, no one could decide to whom the princess should

After this the king planned another contrivance in order to come to some end


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