Supplemental Nights, Volume 5
Richard F. Burton

Part 1 out of 9

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To The Book Of The Thousand
And One Nights With Notes
Anthropological And

Richard F. Burton

Privately Printed By The Burton Club

To The Curators of the Bodleian Library, Oxford
Especially Revd. B. Price and Professor Max Muller.


I take the liberty of placing your names at the Head of this
Volume which owes its rarest and raciest passages to your kindly
refusing the temporary transfer of the Wortley Montague MS. from
your pleasant library to the care of Dr. Rost, Chief Librarian,
India Office. As a sop to "bigotry and virtue," as a concession
to the "Scribes and Pharisees," I had undertaken, in case the
loan were granted, not to translate tales and passages which
might expose you, the Curators, to unfriendly comment. But,
possibly anticipating what injury would thereby accrue to the
Volume and what sorrow to my subscribers, you were good enough
not to sanction the transfer--indeed you refused it to me twice--
and for this step my clientele will be (or ought to be) truly
thankful to you.

I am, Gentlemen,
Yours obediently,
Richard F. Burton.

Bodleian Library, August 5th, 1888

Contents of the Fifteenth Volume.

1. The History of the King's Son of Sind and the Lady Fatimah
2. History of the Lovers of Syria
3. History of Al-Hajjaj Bin Yusuf and the Young Sayyid
4. Night Adventure of Harun Al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab
a. Story of the Darwaysh and the Barber's Boy and the
Greedy Sultan
b. Tale of the Simpleton Husband
Note Concerning the "Tirrea Bede," Night 655
5. The Loves of Al-Hayfa and Yusuf
6. The Three Princes of China
7. The Righteous Wazir Wrongfully Gaoled
8. The Cairene Youth, the Barber and the Captain
9. The Goodwife of Cairo and Her Four Gallants
a. The Tailor and the Lady and the Captain
b. The Syrian and the Three Women of Cairo
c. The Lady With Two Coyntes
d. The Whorish Wife Who Vaunted Her Virtue
10. Coelebs the Droll and His Wife and Her Four Lovers
11. The Gatekeeper of Cairo and the Cunning She-Thief
12. Tale of Mohsin and Musa
13. Mohammed the Shalabi and His Mistress and His Wife
14. The Fellah and His Wicked Wife
15. The Woman Who Humoured Her Lover At Her Husband's Expense
16. The Kazi Schooled By His Wife
17. The Merchant's Daughter and the Prince of Al-Irak
18. Story of the Youth Who Would Flutter His Father's Wives
19. Story of the Two Lack-Tacts of Cairo and Damascus
20. Tale of Himself Told By the King
Appendix A: - Catalogue of Wortley Montague Manuscript
Appendix B: - Notes on the Stories Contained in Volumes XIV.
and XV by W. F. Kirby


This volume contains the last of my versions from the Wortley
Montague Codex, and this is the place to offer a short account of
that much bewritten MS.

In the "Annals of the Bodleian Library," etc., by the Reverend
William Dunn Macray, M.A. (London, Oxford and Cambridge, 1868:
8vo. p. 206), we find the following official notice:--

"A.D. 1803."

"An Arabic MS. in seven volumes, written in 1764-5, and
containing what is rarely met with, a complete collection of the
Thousand and one Tales (N.B. an error for "Nights") of the
Arabian Nights Entertainments, was bought from Captain Jonathan
Scott for Ł50. Mr. Scott published, in 1811, an edition of the
Tales in six volumes (N.B. He reprinted the wretched English
version of Prof. Galland's admirable French, and his "revisions"
and "occasional corrections" are purely imaginative), in which
this MS. is described (N.B. after the mos majorum). He obtained
it from Dr. (Joseph) White, the Professor of Hebrew and Arabic at
Oxford, who had bought it at the sale of the library of Edward
Wortley Montague, by whom it had been brought from the East.
(N.B. Dr. White at one time intended to translate it literally,
and thereby eclipse the Anglo French version.) It is noticed in
Ouseley's Oriental Collections (Cadell and Davies), vol. ii. p.

The Jonathan Scott above alluded to appears under various titles
as Mr. Scott, Captain Scott and Doctor Scott. He was an officer
in the Bengal Army about the end of the last century, and was
made Persian Secretary by "Warren Hastings, Esq.," to whom he
dedicated his "Tales, Anecdotes and Letters, translated from the
Arabic and Persian" (Cadell and Davies, London, 1800), and he
englished the "Bahár-i-Dánish" (A.D. 1799) and "Firishtah's
History of the Dakkhan (Deccan) and of the reigns of the later
Emperors of Hindostan." He became Dr. Scott because made an LL.D.
at Oxford as meet for a "Professor (of Oriental languages) at the
Royal Military and East India Colloges"; and finally he settled
at Netley, in Shropshire, where he died.

It is not the fault of English Orientalists if the MS. in
question is not thoroughly well known to the world of letters. In
1797 Sir Gore Ouseley's "Oriental Collections" (vol. ii. pp.
25-33) describes it, evidently with the aid of Scott, who is the
authority for stating that the tales generally appear like pearls
strung at random on the same thread; adding, "if they are truly
Oriental It is a matter of little importance to us Europeans
whether they are strung on this night or that night."[FN#1] This
first and somewhat imperfect catalogue of the contents was
followed in 1811 by a second, which concludes the six volume
edition of "The

Carefully revised and occasionally corrected
from the Arabic.
to which is added
Now first translated
from the Arabic Originals.
Illustrative of the

The sixth volume, whose second title is "Tales | selected from
the Manuscript copy | of the | 1001 Nights | brought to Europe by
Edward Wortley Montague, Esq.," ends with a general Appendix, of
which ten pages are devoted to a description of the Codex and a
Catalogue of its contents. Scott's sixth volume, like the rest of
his version, is now becoming rare, and it is regretable that when
Messieurs Nimmo and Bain reprinted, in 1882, the bulk of the work
(4 vols. 8vo) they stopped short at volume five.

Lastly we find a third list dating from 1837 in the "Catalogi |
Codicum Manuscriptorum Orientalium | Bibliothecć Bodleianć | Pars
Secunda | Arabicos | complectens. | Confecit | Alexander Nicoll,
J.C.D. | Nuper Linguć Heb. Professor Regius, necnon Ćdis Christi
Canonicus. | Editionem absolvit | et Catalogum urianum[FN#2]
aliquatenus emendavit | G. B. Pusey S.T.B. | Viri desideratissimi
Successor. | Oxonii, | E Topographio Academico | MDCCCXXXV." This
is introduced under the head, "Codicil Arabici Mahommedani
Narrationes Fictć sive Historićs Romanenses | in Quarto (pp .

I am not aware that any attempt has been made to trace the
history of the Wortley Montague MS.; but its internal evidence
supplies a modicum of information.

By way of colophon to the seventh and last volume we have, "On
this wise end to us the Stories of the Kings and histories of
various folk as foregoing in the Thousand Nights and a Night,
perfected and completed, on the eighteenth day of Safar the
auspicious, which is of the months of (the year A.H.) one
thousand one hundred and seventy eight" (=A.D. 1764-65)

"Copied by the humblest and neediest of the poor, Omar-al-Safatí,
to whose sins may Allah be Ruthful!

"An thou find in us fault deign default supply,
And hallow the Faultless and Glorify."

The term "Suftah" is now and has been applied for the last
century to the sons of Turkish fathers by Arab mothers, and many
of these Mulattos live by the pen. On the fly leaf of vol. i. is
written in a fine and flowing Persian (?) hand, strongly
contrasting with the text of the tome, which is unusually
careless and bad, "This book | The Thousand Nights and a Night of
the Acts and deeds (Sírat) of the Kings | and what befel them
from sundry | women that were whorish | and witty | and various |
Tales | therein." Below it also is a Persian couplet written in
vulgar Iranian characters of the half-Shikastah type:

Chih goyam, o chih poyam? * Na mí-dánam hích o púch.
(What shall I say or whither fly? * This stuff and this nonsense
know not I.)

Moreover, at the beginning of vol. i. is a list of fifteen tales
written in Europeo-Arabic characters, after schoolboy fashion,
and probably by Scott. In vol. ii. there is no initial list, but
by way of Foreword we read, "This is volume the second of the
Thousand Nights and a Night from the xciiid. Night, full and
complete." And the Colophon declares, "And this is what hath been
finished for us of the fourth (probably a clerical error for
"second") tome of the Thousand Nights and a Night to the
clxxviith. Night, written on the twentieth day of the month
Sha'bán A.H., one thousand one hundred and seventy-seven" (=A.D.
1764). This date shows that the MS. was finished during the year
after incept.

The text from which our MS. was copied must have been valuable,
and we have reason to regret that so many passages both of poetry
and prose are almost hopelessly corrupt. Its tone and tenor are
distinctly Nilotic; and, as Mr. E. Wortley Montague lived for
some time in Egypt, he may have bought it at the Capital of the
Nile-land. The story of the Syrian (v. 468) and that of the Two
Lack facts (vi. 262), notably exalt Misr and Cairo at the expense
of Shám and Damascus; and there are many other instances of
preferring Kemi the Black Soil to the so called "Holy Land." The
general tone, as well as the special incidents of the book,
argues that the stories may have been ancient, but they certainly
have been modernised. Coffee is commonly used (passim) although
tobacco is still unknown; a youth learns archery and gunnery
(Zarb al-Risás, vol. vii. 440); casting of cannon occurs (vol. v.
186), and in one place (vol. vi. 134) we read of "Taban-jatayn,"
a pair of pistols; the word, which is still popular, being a
corruption of the Persian "Tabáncheh" = a slap or blow, even as
the French call a derringer coup de poing. The characteristic of
this Recueil is its want of finish. The stories are told after
perfunctory fashion as though the writer had not taken the
trouble to work out the details. There are no names or titles to
the tales, so that every translator must give his own; and the
endings are equally unsatisfactory, they usually content
themselves, after "native" fashion, with "Intihá" = finis, and
the connection with the thread of the work must be supplied by
the story-teller or the translator. Headlines were not in use for
the MSS. of that day, and the catchwords are often irregular, a
new word taking the place of the initial in the following page.

The handwriting, save and except in the first volume, has the
merit of regularity, and appears the same throughout the
succeeding six, except in the rare places (e.g. vi. 92-93), where
the lazy copyist did not care to change a worn-out pen, and
continued to write with a double nib. On the other hand, it is
the character of a village-schoolmaster whose literary culture is
at its lowest. Hardly a sheet appears without some blunder which
only in rare places is erased or corrected, and a few lacunć are
supplied by several hands, Oriental and European, the latter
presumably Scott's. Not unfrequently the terminal word of a line
is divided, a sign of great incuria or ignorance, as "Sháhr |
baz" (i. 4), "Shahr | zád" (v. 309, vi. 106), and "Fawa |
jadtu-h" = so I found him (V. 104). Koranic quotations almost
always lack vowel points, and are introduced without the usual
ceremony. Poetry also, that crux of a skilful scribe, is
carelessly treated, and often enough two sets of verse are thrown
into one, the first rhyming in ur, and the second in ír (e.g.
vol. v. 256). The rhyme-words also are repeated within unlawful
limits (passim and vol. v. 308, 11. 6 and II). Verse is thrust
into the body of the page (vii. 112) without signs of citation in
red ink or other (iii. 406); and rarely we find it, as it should
be, in distichs divided by the normal conventional marks,
asterisks and similar separations. Sometimes it appears in a
column of hemistichs after the fashion of Europe (iv. III; iv..
232, etc.): here (v. 226) a quotation is huddled into a single
line; there (v. 242) four lines, written as monostichs, are
followed by two distichs in as many lines.

As regards the metrical part Dr. Steingass writes to me, "The
verses in Al-Hayfá and Yúsuf, where not mere doggerel, are
spoiled by the spelling. I was rarely able to make out even the
metre and I think you have accomplished a feat by translating
them as you have done."

The language of the MS. is generally that of the Fellah and
notably so in sundry of the tales, such as, "The Goodwife of
Cairo and her four Gallants" (v. 444). Of this a few verbal and
phrasal instances will suffice. Adíní = here am I (v. 198); Ahná
(passim, for nahnu) nakháf = we fear; 'Alaykí (for 'alayki) = on
thee; and generally the long vowel (-k ) for the short (-kí) in
the pronoun of the second person feminine; Antah (for ante) =
thou (vi. 96) and Antú (for antum) = you (iii. 351); Aráha and
even arúha, rúhat and rúha (for ráha) = he went (Vii. 74 and iv.
75) and Arúhú (for rúhú) = go ye (iv. 179); Bakarah * * * allazi
(for allatí) = a cow (he) who, etc.; (see in this vol., p. 253)
and generally a fine and utter contempt for genders, e.g. Hum
(for hunna) masc. for fem. (iii. 91; iii. 146; and v. 233); Tá
'áli (for ta'ál) fem. for masc. (vi. 96 et passim); Bíhím (for
bi-him) = with them (v. 367); Bi-kám (for bi-kum) = with you
(iii. 142) are fair specimens of long broad vowels supplanting
the short, a peculiarity known in classical Arab., e.g. Miftáh
(for Miftah) = a key. Here, however, it is exaggerated, e.g.
Bá'íd (for ba'íd) = far (iv. 167); Kám (for kam) = how many? Kúm
(for kum) = you (v. 118); Kúl-há (for kul-ha) = tell it (iv 58);
Mín (for man) = who? (iii. 89); Mirwád (for Mirwad)= a branding
iron; Natanáshshad (for natanashshad) = we seek tidings (v. 211);
Rájal (pron. Rágil, for Rajul) = a man (iv. 118 and passim);
Sáhal (for sahal) = easy, facile (iv. 7I); Sír (for sir) = go, be
off! (v. 199); Shíl (for shil) =carry away (i. 111); and Záhab
(for zahab) = gold (v. 186). This broad Doric or Caledonian
articulation is not musical to unaccustomed organs. As in popular
parlance the Dál supplants the Zál; e.g. Dahaba (for zahaba) = he
went (v. 277 and passim); also T takes the place of Th, as Tult
for thulth = one third (iii. 348) and Tamrat (for thamrat) =
fruit (v. 260), thus generally ignoring the sibilant Th after the
fashion of the modern Egyptians who say Tumm (for thumma) =
again; "Kattir (for kaththir) Khayrak" = God increase thy weal,
and Lattama (for laththama) = he veiled. Also a general ignoring
of the dual, e.g. Házá 'usfurayn (for 'Usfuráni) = these be birds
(vi. 121); Nazalú al-Wazirayn (do) = the two Wazirs went down
(vii. 123); and lastly Al-Wuzará al-itnayn (for Al-Wazíráni) =
the two Wazirs (vii. 121). Again a fine contempt for numbers, as
Nanzur ana (for Anzur) = I (we) see (v. 198) and Inní (for inná)
narúhu = indeed I (we) go (iii. 190). Also an equally
conscientious disregard for cases, as Min mál abú-há (for abí-há)
= out of the moneys of her sire (iv. 190); and this is apparently
the rule of the writer.

Of Egyptianisms and vulgarisms we have Ant, má ghibtshayy = thou,
hast thou not been absent at all? with the shayy (a thing)
subjoined to the verb in this and similar other phrases; Baksísh
for Bakhshish (iv. 356); Al-Jawáz (for al-zíwáj) = marriage (i.
14); Fakí or Fakí (for fakih) = a divine (vi. 207 and passim);
Finjál (for finján) = a coffee-cup (v. 424, also a Najdí or
Central Arabian corruption); Kuwayyis = nice, pretty (iv. 179);
Láyálí (for liallá) = lest that (v. 285); Luhúmát (for lukúm) =
meats, a mere barbarism (v. 247); Matah (for Matá) =when? (v.
464); Ma'áyah (for ma'í) =with me (vi. 13 et passim); Shuwayy (or
shuwayyah) Mayah, a double diminutive (for Muwayy or Muwayh) = a
small little water, intensely Nilotic (iv. 44); Mbarih or Embárah
(for Al-bárihah) = yesterday (v. 449); Takkat (for Dakkat) = she
rapped (iv. 190); Úzbáshá and Uzbáshá (for Yúzbáshí) = a
centurion, a captain (v.430 et passim); Záídjah for Záijah (vi.
329); Zarághít (for Zaghárít) = lullilooing (iv. 12); Zínah (for
Ziná) = adultery, and lastly Zúda (for Záda) = increased (iv.
87). Here the reader will cry jam satis; while the student will
compare the list with that given in my Terminal Essay (vol. x.

The two Appendices require no explanation. No. I. is a Catalogue
of the Tales in the Wortley Montague MS., and No. II. contains
Notes upon the Storiology of the Supplemental Volumes IV. and V.
by the practiced pen of Mr. W. P. Kirby. The sheets during my
absence from England have been passed through the press and
sundry additions and corrections have been made by Dr. Steingass.

In conclusion I would state that my hope was to see this Volume
(No. xv.) terminate my long task; but circumstance is stronger
than my will and I must ask leave to bring out one more--The New
Arabian Nights.


ATHENĆUM CLUB, September 1st, 1888.

Supplemental Nights

To The Book Of The

Thousand Nights And A Night


It is related that whilome there was a King of the many Kings of
Sind who had a son by other than his wife. Now the youth,
whenever he entered the palace, would revile[FN#4] and abuse and
curse and use harsh words to his step-mother, his father's Queen,
who was beautiful exceedingly; and presently her charms were
changed and her face waxed wan and for the excess of what she
heard from him she hated life and fell to longing for death.
Withal she could not say a word concerning the Prince to his
parent. One day of the days, behold an aged woman (which had been
her nurse) came in to her and saw her in excessive sorrow and
perplext as to her affair for that she knew not what she could do
with her stepson. So the ancient dame said to her, "O my lady, no
harm shall befal thee; yet is thy case changed into other case
and thy colour hath turned to yellow." Hereupon the Queen told
her all that had befallen her from her step-son of harsh language
and revilement and abuse, and the other rejoined, "O my lady, let
not thy breast be straitened, and when the youth shall come to
thee and revile thee and abuse thee, do thou say him, ‘Pull thy
wits somewhat together till such time as thou shalt have brought
back the Lady Fatimah, daughter of 'Amir ibn al-Nu'umán.'" The
old woman taught her these words by heart, and anon went forth
from her, when the Prince entered by the door and spoke harsh
words and abused and reviled her; so his father's wife said to
him, "Lower thy tone and pull thy wits somewhat together, for
thou be a small matter until thou shalt bring back the daughter
of the Sultan, hight Fatimah, the child of 'Amir ibn al-Nu'uman."
Now when he heard these words he cried, "By Allah, 'tis not
possible but that I go and return with the said Lady Fatimah;"
after which he repaired to his sire and said, "'Tis my desire to
travel; so do thou prepare for me provision of all manner
wherewith I may wend my way to a far land, nor will I return
until I win to my wish." Hereupon his father fell to transporting
whatso he required of victuals, various and manifold, until all
was provided, and he got ready for him whatso befitted of bales
and camels and pages and slaves and eunuchs and negro chattels.
Presently they loaded up and the youth, having farewelled his
father and his friends and his familiars, set forth seeking the
country of Fatimah bint Amir, and he travelled for the first day
and the second day until he found himself in the middle of the
wilds and the Wadys, and the mountains and the stony wastes. This
lasted for two months till such time as he reached a region
wherein were Ghúls and ferals, and to one and all who met him and
opposed him he would give something of provaunt and gentle them
and persuade them to guide him upon his way. After a time he met
a Shaykh well stricken in years; so he salamed to him and the
other, after returning his greeting, asked him saying, "What was
it brought thee to this land and region wherein are naught but
wild beasts and Ghuls?" whereto he answered, "O Shaykh, I came
hither for the sake of the Lady Fatimah, daughter of 'Amir ibn
al-Nu'uman." Hereat exclaimed the greybeard, "Deceive not
thyself, for assuredly thou shalt be lost together with what are
with thee of men and moneys, and the maiden in question hath been
the cause of destruction to many Kings and Sultans. Her father
hath three tasks which he proposeth to every suitor, nor owneth
any the power to accomplish a single one, and he conditioneth
that if any fail to fulfil them and avail not so to do, he shall
be slain. But I, O my son, will inform thee of the three which be
these: First the King will bring together an ardabb of sesame
grain and an ardabb of clover-seed and an ardabb of lentils; and
he will mingle them one with other, and he will say:--Whoso
seeketh my daughter to wife, let him set apart each sort, and
whoso hath no power thereto I will smite his neck. And as all
have failed in the attempt their heads were struck off next
morning and were hung up over the Palace gateway. Now the second
task is this: the King hath a cistern[FN#5] full of water, and he
conditioneth that the suitor shall drink it up to the last drop,
under pain of losing his life; and the third is as follows: he
owneth a house without doors and windows, and it hath[FN#6] three
hundred entrances and a thousand skylights and two thousand
closets: so he covenanteth with the suitor that he make for that
place whatever befitteth of doors and lattices and cabinets, and
the whole in a single night. Now here is sufficient to engross
thine intellect, O my son, but take thou no heed and I will do
thy task for thee." Quoth the other, "O my uncle, puissance and
omnipotence are to Allah!" and quoth the Shaykh, "Go, O my son,
and may the Almighty forward the works of thee." So the Prince
farewelled him and travelled for the space of two days, when
suddenly the ferals and the Ghuls opposed his passage and he gave
them somewhat of provaunt which they ate, and after they pointed
out to him the right path. Then he entered upon a Wady wherein
flights of locusts barred the passage, so he scattered for them
somewhat of fine flour which they picked up till they had eaten
their sufficiency. Presently he found his way into another valley
of iron-bound rocks, and in it there were of the Jánn what could
not be numbered or described, and they cut and crossed his way
athwart that iron tract. So he came forward and salam'd to them
and gave them somewhat of bread and meat and water, and they ate
and drank till they were filled, after which they guided him on
his journey and set him in the right direction. Then he fared
forwards till he came to the middle of the mountain, where he was
opposed by none, or mankind or Jinn-kind, and he ceased not
marching until he drew near the city of the Sultan whose daughter
he sought to wife. Here he set up a tent and sat therein seeking
repose for a term of three days; then he arose and walked
forwards until he entered the city, where he fell to looking
about him leftwards and rightwards till he had reached the
palace[FN#7] of the King. He found there over the gateway some
hundred heads which were hanging up, and he cried to himself,
"Veil me, O thou Veiler! All these skulls were suspended for the
sake of the Lady Fatimah, but the bye-word saith, ‘Whoso dieth
not by the sword dieth of his life-term,' and manifold are the
causes whereas death be singlefold." Thereupon he went forwards
to the palace gate--And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of
day, and fell silent and ceased saying her permitted say. Then
quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O
sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And
where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the
coming night an the Sovran suffer me to survive?" Now when it was
the next night and that was

The Four Hundred and Ninety-fifth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Prince
went forward to the Palace gate and purposed to enter, but they
forbade him nor availed he to go in; so he returned to his tents
and there spent the night till dawn. Then he again turned to the
King's Serai and attempted to make entry, but they stayed him and
he was unable to succeed, nor could he attain to the presence of
the Sovran. So he devised with one who was standing at the door a
device to enter the presence, but again he failed in his object
and whenever he craved admission they rejected him and drave him
away saying, "O youth, tell us what may be thy need?" Said he, "I
have a requirement of the Sultan and my purport is a business I
may transact with him and speech containeth both private and
public matters; nor is it possible that I mention my want to any
save to the Sovran." So a Chamberlain of the chamberlains went in
to the presence and reported the affair to the King, who
permitted them admit the stranger, and when he stood before the
throne he kissed ground and deprecated evil for the ruler and
prayed for his glory and permanency, and the Monarch, who
marvelled at the terseness of his tongue and the sweetness of his
speech, said to him, "O youth, what may be thy requirement?"
Quoth the Prince, "Allah prolong the reign of our lord the
Sultan! I came to thee seeking connexion with thee through thy
daughter the lady concealed and the pearl unrevealed." Quoth the
Sultan, "By Allah, verily this youth would doom himself
hopelessly to die and, Oh the pity of it for the loquence of his
language;" presently adding, "O youth, say me, art thou satisfied
with the conditions wherewith I would oblige thee?" and the
Prince replied, "O my lord, Omnipotence is to Allah; and, if the
Almighty empower me to fulfil thy pact, I shall fulfil it." The
King continued, "I have three tasks to impose upon thee," and the
Prince rejoined, "I am satisfied with all articles thou shalt
appoint." Hereupon the Sovran summoned the writers and witnesses,
and they indited the youth's covenant and gave testimony that he
was content therewith; and when the Prince had signified his
satisfaction and obligation, the King sent for an ardabb of
sesame and an ardabb of clover-seed and an ardabb of lentils and
let mingle all three kinds one with other till they became a
single heap. Then said the King to the Prince, "Do thou separate
each sort by itself during the course of the coming night, and if
dawn shall arise and every seed is not set apart, I will cut off
thy head." Replied the other, "Hearing and obeying." Then the
King bade place all the mixed heap in a stead apart, and
commanded the suitor retire into solitude; accordingly, he passed
alone into that site and looked upon that case and condition, and
he sat beside the heap deep in thought, so he set his hand upon
his cheek and fell to weeping, and was certified of death. Anon
he arose and going forwards attempted of himself to separate the
various sorts of grain, but he failed; and had two hundred
thousand thousands of men been gathered together for the work
they had on nowise availed to it. Hereupon he set his right hand
upon his cheek[FN#8] and he fell to weeping and suffered the
first third of the dark hours to pass, when he said to himself,
"There remaineth naught of thy life save the remnant of this
night!" But the while he was conjecturing and taking thought,
behold, an army of the locusts to whom he had thrown the flour
upon his road came speeding over him like a cloud dispread and
said to him with the tongue of the case,[FN#9] "Fear not neither
grieve, for we have flocked hither to solace thee and ward from
thee the woe wherein thou art: so take thou no further heed."
Then they proceeded to separate each kind of grain and set it by
itself, and hardly an hour had passed before the whole sample was
distributed grain by grain into its proper place while he sat
gazing thereon. After this the locusts arose and went their ways,
and when morning dawned the Sultan came forth and took seat in
the Hall of Commandment and said to those who were present,
"Arise ye and bring hither the youth that we may cut off his
head." They did his bidding but, when entering in to the Prince,
they found all the different grains piled separately, sesame by
itself and clover-seed alone and lentils distributed apart,
whereat they marvelled and cried, "This thing is indeed a mighty
great matter from this youth, nor could it befal any save himself
of those who came before him or of those who shall follow after
him." Presently they brought him to the Sultan and said, "O King
of the Age, all the grains are sorted;" whereat the Sovran
wondered and exclaimed, "Bring the whole before me." And when
they brought it he looked upon it with amazement and rejoiced
thereat, but soon recovered himself and cried, "O youth, there
remain to thee two tasks for two nights; and if thou fulfil them,
thou shalt win to thy wish, and if thou fail therein, I will
smite thy neck." Said the Prince, "O King of the Age, the
All-might is to Allah, the One, the Omnipotent!" Now when night
drew nigh the King opened to him a cistern and said, "Drink up
all that is herein and leave not of it a drop, nor spill aught
thereof upon the ground, and if thou drain the whole of it, thou
shalt indeed attain to thine aim, but if thou fail to swallow it,
I will smite thy neck." The Prince answered, "There is no Majesty
and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!"
Then he took his seat at the cistern-mouth and fell to thinking
and saying in his mind, "Wherefore, O certain person, shouldst
thou venture thy life and incur the cruel consequence of this
King on account of thy frowardness to thy father's wife? and by
Allah, this is naught save Jinn-struck madness on thy part!" So
he placed his left hand upon his cheek, and in his right was a
stick wherewith he tapped and drew lines in absent fashion upon
the ground,[FN#10] and he wept and wailed until the third of the
first part of the dark hours had passed, when he said in himself,
"There remaineth naught of thine age, ho, Such-an-one, save the
remainder of this night." And he ceased not to be drowned in
thought when suddenly a host of savage beasts and wild birds came
up to him and said with the tongue of the case, "Fear not neither
grieve, O youth, for none is faithless to the food save the son
of adultery and thou wast the first to work our weal, so we will
veil and protect thee, and let there be no sorrowing with thee on
account of this matter." Hereupon they gathered together in a
body, birds and beasts, and they were like unto a lowering cloud,
no term to them was shown and no end was known as they followed
in close file one upon other--And Shahrazad was surprised by the
dawn of day, and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say.
Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister
mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is
this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night
an the King suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night
and that was

The Four Hundred and Ninety-seventh Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the wild
beasts and the feral birds met one another beside that cistern
and each took his turn thereat and drank without drinking his
full[FN#11] until naught of water remained in the reservoir and
they fell to licking the sides with their tongues so that anyone
seeing it would say that for the last ten years not a drop of
liquid had been stored therein. And after this they all went
their ways. Now as soon as it was morning-tide the King arose and
hied forth the Harem and taking his seat in the Hall of
Commandment said to sundry of his pages and Chamberlains, "Go
bring us tidings of the cistern." Accordingly they went thither
and inspected it but found no trace of water therein; so they
returned straightway to the ruler and reported the matter.
Hereupon the Sultan was amazed and his wits were bewildered and
he was certified that none had power to win his daughter for wife
save that youth. So he cried, "Bring him hither," and they fared
to fetch him and presented him in the presence where he salam'd
to the Sovran and deprecated[FN#12] for him and prayed for him.
The Sultan greeted him in return and said, "O Youth, there now
remaineth with me but a single task which if thou accomplish
shall save thee and win for thee my daughter; however if thou
fail therein I will smite thy neck." "Power is to Allah!"
exclaimed the Prince whereat the Sultan marvelled and said in his
mind, "Glory be to God: the words and works of this youth be
wonderful. Whatever I bid him do he beginneth with naming the
name of the Lord whereas those who forewent him never suffered me
hear aught of the sort. However, the fortunate are Fortune's
favourites and Misfortune never befalleth them." Now when it was
night-tide the Sultan said, "O youth, in very deed this mansion
which standeth beside the palace is brand-new and therein are
store of wood and timbers of every kind, but it lacketh portals
and lattices and the finishing of the cabinets; so I desire that
thou make for it doors and windows and closets. I have provided
thee with everything thou dost require of carpenter's gear and
turner's lathes; and either thou shalt work all this during the
coming night, or, if thou be wanting in aught and morning shall
morrow without all the needful being finished, I will cut 0ff thy
head. This is the fine of thy three labours which an thou avail
to accomplish thou shalt attain thine aim and if thou fail
thereof I will smite thy neck. Such be then my last word."
Accordingly the Prince arose and faring from before him entered
the unfinished mansion which he found to be a palace greater and
grander than that wherein the King abode. He cried, "O Veiler,
withdraw not Thy veiling!" and he sat therein by himself (and he
drowned in thought) and said, "By Allah, if at this hour I could
find somewhat to swallow I would die thereby and rest from this
toil and trouble have been my lot;[FN#13] and the morning shall
not morrow ere I shall find repose nor shall any one of the town
folk solace himself and say, ‘The Sultan is about to cut off the
head of this youth.' Withal the bye-word hath it, ‘Joyance which
cometh from Allah is nearer than is the eyebrow to the eye,' and
if Almighty (be He extolled and exalted!) have determined aught
to my destiny, there is no flight therefrom. Moreover one of the
Sages hath said, ‘He released me from pillar to post and the
Almighty bringeth happiness nearhand.' From this time until dawn
of day many a matter may proceed from the Lord wherein haply
shall be salvation for me or destruction." Then he fell to
pondering his affair and thinking over his frowardness to the
wife of his father, after which he said, "The slave meditateth
and the Lord determineth, nor doth the meditation of the slave
accord with the determination of the Lord." And while thus
drowned in care he heard the sound of the Darabukkah-drum[FN#14]
and the turmoil of work and the shiftings of voices whilst the
house was full of forms dimly seen and a voice cried out to him,
"O youth, be hearty of heart and sprightly of spirits; verily we
will requite thee the kindness thou wroughtest to us in providing
us with thy provision; and we will come to thine aidance this
very night, for they who are visiting and assisting thee are of
the Jánn from the Valley of Iron." Then they began taking up the
timbers and working them and some turned the wood with lathes,
and other planed the material with planes, whilst others again
fell to painting and dyeing the doors and windows, these green
and those red and those yellow; and presently they set them in
their several steads; nor did that night go by ere the labour was
perfected and there was no royal palace like unto it, either in
ordinance or in emplacement. Now as morning morrowed the Sultan
went forth to his divan, and when he looked abroad he saw a
somewhat of magnificence in the mansion which was not to be found
in his palace, so he said in his surprise, "By Allah, the works
of this youth be wondrous and had the joiners and carpenters
loitered over three years upon this work they never would have
fulfilled such task: moreover we ken not by what manner of means
this young man hath been able to accomplish the labour."
Thereupon he sent for the Prince to the presence and robed him
with a sumptuous robe of honour and assigned to him a mighty
matter of money, saying, "Verily thou deservest, O youth, and
thou art the only one who meriteth that thou become to my
daughter baron and she become to thee femme." Presently Sultan
Amir ibn al-Nu'uman bade tie the marriage tie and led to her in
procession the bridegroom who found her a treasure wherefrom the
talisman had been loosed;[FN#15] and the bride rejoiced with even
more joyance than he did by cause of her sire, with his three
tasks, having made her believe that she would never be wedded and
bedded but die a maid, and she had long been in sadness for such
reason. Then the married couple abode with the King their father
for the space of a month, and all this time the camp of the young
Prince remained pitched without the town, and every day he would
send to his pages and eunuchs whatso they needed of meat and
drink. But when that term ended he craved from the Sultan leave
of travel to his own land and his father-in-law answered, "O
youth, do whatso thou ever wishest anent returning to thy native
realm;" and forthwith fell to fitting out his daughter till all
her preparations were completed and she was found ready for
wayfare together with her body-women and eunuchs. The Prince
having farewelled his father-in-law caused his loads to be loaded
and set out seeking his native country and kingdom; and he
travelled by day and by night, and he pushed his way through
Wadys and over mountains for a while of time until he drew near
his own land, and between him and his father's city remained only
some two or three marches. Here suddenly men met him upon the
road and as he asked them the tidings they replied that his sire
was besieged within his capital of Sind by a neighbour King who
had attacked him and determined to dethrone him and make himself
Sovereign and Sultan in his stead. Now when he heard this account
he pushed forward with forced marches till he reached his
father's city which he found as had been reported; and the old
King with all his forces was girded around within his own walls
nor could he sally out to offer battle for that the foe was more
forceful than himself. Hereupon the Prince pitched his camp and
prepared himself for fight and fray; and a many of his men rode
with him whilst another many remained on guard at the tents.--And
Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and
ceased saying her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad,
"How sweet and tasteful is thy tale, O sister mine, and how
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the Sovran
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that

The Four Hundred and Ninety-ninth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Prince
busked him for fight and fray seeking to assault the army of the
King who had besieged his sire, and the two hosts fought together
a strenuous fight and a stubborn. On this wise fared it with
them; but as regards the bride, she took patience till such time
as her bridegroom had ridden forth, when she donned her weapons
of war and veiled herself with a face-veil and sallying forth in
Mameluke's habit presently came up with her mate the Prince whom
she found straitened by the multitude of his foes. Now this
Princess was mistress of all manner weapons, so she drew her
sword from its sheath and she laid on load rightwards and
leftwards until the wits of all beholders were wildered and her
bridegroom inclined to her and said, "Verily this Mameluke he is
not one of our party." But she continued battling till the sun
rose high in the firmament-vault when she determined to attack
the ensigns and colours which were flying after right royal of
fashion, and in the midst thereof was the hostile Sultan. So she
smote the ancient who bore the banner and cast him to the ground
and then she made for the King and charged down upon him and
struck him with the side of the sword a blow so sore that of his
affright he fell from his steed. But when his host saw him
unhorsed and prostrate upon the plain they sought safety in
flight and escape, deeming him to be dead; whereupon she alighted
and pinioned his elbows behind his back and tied his forearms to
his side, and lashed him on to his charger and bound him in bonds
like a captive vile. Then she committed him to her bridegroom who
still knew her not and she departed the field seeking her camp
until she arrived there and entered her pavilion where she
changed her attire and arrayed herself in women's raiment. After
this she sat down expecting the Prince who, when she had
committed to him the captured King, carried him into the city
where he found the gates thrown open. Hereupon his sire sallied
forth and greeted him albeit he recognised him not but was
saying, "Needs must I find the Knight who came to our
assistance." "O my papa," quoth the Prince, "dost thou not know
me?" and quoth the other, "O young man, I know thee not;" whereat
the other rejoined, "I am thy son Such-an-one." But hardly had
the old King heard these words when behold, he fell upon him and
threw his arms round his neck and was like to lose his sense and
his senses for stress of joyance. After a time he recovered and
looking upon the captive King asked him, "What was it drave thee
to come hither and seek to seize from me my realm?" and the other
answered him with humility and craved his pardon and promised not
again to offend, so he released him and bade him gang his gait.
After this the young Prince went forth and caused his Harim and
his pages and whoso were with him enter the city and when they
were seated in the women's apartment the husband and wife fell to
talking of their journey and what they had borne therein of toil
and travail. At last the Princess said to him, "O my lord, what
became of the King who besieged thy sire in his capital and who
sought to bereave him of his realm?" and said he, "I myself took
him captive and committed him to my father who admitted his
excuses and suffered him depart." Quoth she, "And was it thou who
capturedst him?" and quoth he, "Yea verily, none made him
prisoner save myself." Hereupon said she, "Thee it besitteth not
to become after thy sire Sovran and Sultan!" and said he, "Why
and wherefore?" "For that a lie defameth and dishonoureth the
speaker," cried she, "and thou hast proved thee a liar." "What
made it manifest to thee that I lied?" asked the Prince, and the
Princess answered, "Thou claimest to have captured the King when
it was other than thyself took him prisoner and committed him to
thy hands." He enquired, "And who was he?" and she replied, "I
know not, withal I had him in sight." Hereupon the bridegroom
repeated his query till at last she confessed it was she had done
that deed of derring-do; and the Prince rejoiced much in
her.[FN#16] Then the twain made an entry in triumph and the city
was adorned and the general joy was increased. Now his taking to
wife the Lady Fatimah daughter of the Sultan Amir bin Al-Nu'uman
so reconciled him to his stepmother, the spouse of his father the
Sovran of Sind, that both forgot their differences and they lived
ever afterwards in harmony and happiness.


It is stated that of olden times and by-gone there dwelt in the
land of Syria two men which were brothers and whereof one was
wealthy and the other was needy. Now the rich man had a love-some
daughter and a lovely, whilst the poor man had a son who gave his
heart to his cousin as soon as his age had reached his tenth
year. But at that time his father the pauper died and he was left
an orphan without aught of the goods of this world; the damsel
his cousin, however, loved him with exceeding love and ever and
anon would send him somewhat of dirhams and this continued until
both of them attained their fourteenth years. Then the youth was
minded to marry the daughter of his uncle, so he sent a party of
friends to her home by way of urging his claim that the father
might wed her to him, but the man them and they returned
disappointed. However, when it was the second day a body of warm
men and wealthy came to ask for the maid in marriage, and they
conditioned the needful conditions and stood agreed upon the
nuptials. Presently the tidings reached the damsel who took
patience till the noon o' night, when she arose and sought the
son of her uncle, bringing with her the sum of two thousand
dinars which she had taken of her father's good and she knocked
softly on at the door. Hereupon the youth started from sleep and
went forth and found his cousin who was leading a she-mule and an
ass, so the twain bestrode either beast and travelled through the
remnant of the night until the morning morrowed. Then they
alighted to drink and to hide themselves in fear of being seen
until the second night fell when they mounted and rode for two
successive days, at the end of which they entered a town seated
on the shore of the sea. Here they found a ship equipped for
voyage, so they repaired to the Ra'is and hired for themselves a
sitting place; after which the cousin went forth to sell the ass
and the she-mule, and disappeared for a short time. Meanwhile the
ship had sailed with the daughter of his uncle and had left the
youth upon the strand and ceased not sailing day after day for
the space of ten days, and lastly made the port she purposed and
there cast anchor.[FN#18] Thus it befel them; but as regards the
youth, when he had sold the beasts he returned to the ship and
found her not, and when he asked tidings thereof they told him
that she had put to sea; and hearing this he was mazed as to his
mind and sore amated as to his affair, nor wot he whither he
should wend. So he turned him inland sore dismayed. Now when the
vessel anchored in that port quoth the damsel to the captain, "O
Ra'is,[FN#19] hie thee ashore and bring for us a portion of flesh
and fresh bread," and quoth he, "Hearkening and obedience,"
whereupon he betook himself to the town. But as soon as he was
far from the vessel she arose and donning male's dress said to
the sailors, "Do ye weigh anchor and set sail," and she shouted
at them with the shouting of seamen. Accordingly they did as she
bade them and the wind being fair and the weather favourable, ere
an hour had sped they passed beyond sight of land.[FN#20]
Presently the captain returned bringing bread and meat but he
found ne'er a ship, so he asked tidings of her and they answered,
"Verily she is gone." Hereupon he was perplext and he fell to
striking hand upon hand and crying out, "O my good and the good
of folk!" and he repented whenas repentance availed him naught.
Accordingly, he returned to the town unknowing whither he should
wend and walked about like one blind and deaf for the loss of his
craft. But as regards the vessel, she ceased not sailing with
those within till she cast anchor near a city wherein was a King;
and no sooner was she made fast than the damsel fell to
scattering money amongst the crew and saying to them, "Hearten
your hearts and be no afraid on any wise!" In due time the news
of a fresh arrival reached the Ruler, and he ordered his men to
bring him tidings concerning that vessel, and when they went for
her and boarded her they found that her captain was a damsel of
virginal semblance exceeding in beauty and loveliness. So they
returned and reported this to the King who despatched messengers
bidding her lodge with him for they had heightened their praises
of her and the excess of her comeliness, and he said in his mind,
"By Allah, an she prove as they describe her, needs must I marry
her." But the damsel sent back saying, "I am a clean maid, not
may I land alone but do thou send to me forty girls, virgins like
myself, when I will disembark together with them."--And Sharazad
was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to
say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet
is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!"
Quoth she, "And where is this compared with that I would relate
to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?" Now
when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Third Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the damsel
demanded of the king forty clean maids and said, "We will land, I
and they together," whereto he replied, "The right is with her."
Hereupon he ordered all those about him, the Lords of his land
and the Commons, that each and every who had in the house a
virginal daughter, should bring her to him until the full tale of
forty (the daughter of the Wazir being amongst them) was told and
he sent them on board the ship where the damsel was about sitting
down for supper. But as soon as the maidens came she met them in
her finest attire, none of the number being more beauteous than
herself, and she salam'd to them and invited them into the
cuddy[FN#21] where she bade food be served to them and they ate
and were cheered and solaced, after which they sat down to
converse till it was the middle of the night. Now when sleep
prevailed over the girls they retired to their several berths,
and when they were drowned in slumber, the damsel arose softly
and arousing the crew bade them leave their moorings and shake
out their canvas; not did daylight dawn to them ere they had
covered a far distance. As soon as the maidens awoke they saw
themselves on board a ship amid the billows of the main, and as
they asked the Captainess she answered, "Fear not for yourselves
or for the voyage you are making;"[FN#22] and she gentled them
and solaced them until whatso was in their hearts was allayed.
However, touching the affair of the King, when morrowed the morn
he sent to the ship with an order for the damsel to land with the
forty virgins, but they found not the craft and they returned and
reported the same to their lord, who cried, "By Allah, this be
the discreetest of deed which none other save she could have
done." So he arose without stay or delay and taking with him the
Wazir (both being in disguise), he went down to the shore and
looked around but he could not find what had become of them. And
as regards the vessel carrying the virgins, she ceased not
sailing until she made port beside a ruined city wherein none was
inhabitant, and here the crew cast anchor and furled their sails
when behold, a gang of forty pirate[FN#23] men, ever ready to cut
the highway and their friends to betray, boarded them, crying in
high glee, "Let us slay all in her and carry off whatso we find."
When they appeared before the damsel they would have effected
their intent; but she welcomed them and said, "Do ye return
ashore: we be forty maids and ye forty men and to each of you
shall befal one and I will belong to your Shaykh, for that I am
the Captainess." Now when they heard this they rejoiced with
excessive joy and they said, "Walláhi, our night shall be a
blessed one by virtue of your coming to us;" whereto she asked,
"Have you with you aught of sheep?" They answered, "We have," and
quoth she, "Do ye slay of them somewhat for supper and fetch the
meat that we may cook it for you." So a troop of pirates went off
and brought back ten lambs which they slaughtered and flayed and
brittled. Then the damsel and those with her tucked up their
sleeves ad hung up their chauldrons[FN#24] and cooked the meat
after the delicatest fashion, and when it was thoroughly done and
prepared, they spread the trays and the pirates came forward one
and all, and ate and washed their hands and they were in high
spirits each and every, saying, "This night I will take to me a
girl." Lastly she brought to them coffee which they drank, but
hardly had it settled in their maws when the Forty Thieves fell
to the ground, for she had mixed up with it flying Bhang[FN#25]
and those who had drunk thereof became like unto dead men.
Hereupon the damsel arose without loss of time and taking in her
hand a sharp-grided sword fell to cutting off their heads and
casting them into the sea until she came to the Shaykh of the
Pirates and in his case she was satisfied with shaving his beard
and tearing out his eye-teeth and bidding the crew to cast him
ashore. They did as she commanded, after which she conveyed the
property of all the caitiffs and having distributed the booty
amongst the sailors, bade them weigh anchor and shake out their
canvas. On this wide they left that ruined city until they had
made the middle of the main and they fared for a number of days
athwart the billowy deep nor could they hit upon their course
amongst the courses of the sea until Destiny cast them beside a
city. They made fast to the anchorage-ground, and the damsel
arose and donning Mameluke's dress and arraying the Forty Virgins
in the same attire all walked together and paced about the shore
and they were like garden blooms. When they entered the streets
they found all the folk a-sorrowing, so they asked one of them
and he answered, "The Sultan who over-reigneth this city is dead
and the reign lacketh rule." Now in that stead and under the hand
of the Wazir, was a Bird which they let loose at certain times,
and whenever he skimmed round and perched upon the head of any
man to him they would give the Sultanate.[FN#26] By the decree of
the Decreer they cast the fowl high in air at the very hour when
the damsel was landing and he hovered above her and settled upon
her head (she being in slave's attire), and the city folk and the
lords of the land cried out, "Strange! passing strange!" So they
flushed the bird from the place where he had alighted and on the
next day they freed hum again at a time when the damsel had left
the ship, and once more he came and settled upon her head. They
drove him away, crying, "Oh rare! oh rare!" but as often as they
started him off her head he returned to it and alighted there
again. "Marvellous!" cried the Wazir, "but Allah Almighty hath
done this[FN#27] and none shall object to what He doeth nor shall
any reject what He decreeth." Accordingly, they gave her the
Sultanate together with the signet-ring of governance and the
turband of commandment and they seated her upon the throne of the
reign. Hereupon she fell to ordering the Forty Virgins who were
still habited as Mamelukes and they served the Sultan for a while
of time till one day of the days when the Wazir came to the
presence and said, "O King of the Age, I have a daughter, a model
of beauty and loveliness, and I am desirous of wedding her with
the Sovran because one such as thou should not remain in single
blessedness."--And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and
fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her
sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that

The Five Hundred and Fifth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that quoth the
Wazir to the Sultan, "I have a daughter, a model of beauty and
loveliness and I am desirous of wedding her with the Sultan,
because one such as thou should not remain in single
blessedness." "Do whatso thou wishest," quoth the King, "and
Allah prosper thy doing." Hereupon the Wazir fell to preparing
the marriage-portion[FN#28] of his daughter, and of forwarding
her affair with the Sultan, until her wedding appointments[FN#29]
and other matters were completed. After this he caused the
marriage-tie be tied, and he brought her to the supposed Sultan
where she lay for the first night, but the damsel having
performed the Wuzú-ablution did naught but pray through the hours
of darkness. When dawned the day, the Wazir's wife which was the
mother of the maiden cam to look upon her daughter and asked her
of her case, and the bride answered, "All the livelong night hath
he passed in orisons, nor came he near me even once." Quoth the
mother, "O my daughter, this be the first night, and assuredly he
was ashamed, for he is young in years, and he knoweth not what to
do; haply also his heart hangeth not upon thee; and he is but a
raw lad.[FN#30] However, on the coming night ye shall both enjoy
your desire." But as soon as it was the evening of the next day
the Sultan went in to his Harim and made the minor ablution, and
abode in prayer through the night until the morrow morrowed, when
again the mother came to see how matters stood, and she asked her
daughter, who answered, "All the dark hours he hath passed in
devotion, and he never approached me." Now on the third night it
happened after like fashion, so the mother said, "O my daughter,
whenever thou shalt see thy husband sitting by thy side, do thou
throw thyself upon his bosom." The bride did as she was bidden,
and casting herself upon his breast cried, "O King of the Age,
haply I please thee not at all;" whereat said the other, "O light
of mine eyes, thou art a joy to me for ever; but I am about to
confide to thee somewhat and say me canst thou keep a secret?"
Quoth she, "Who is there like me for hiding things in my heart?"
and quoth the other, "I am a clean maid, and my like is thy like,
but the reason for my being in man's habit is that the son of my
uncle, who is my betrothed, hath been lost from me and I have
been lost from him, but when Allah shall decree the reunion of
our lots he shall marry thee first and he shall not pay the
bridegroom's visit save unto thee, and after that to myself." The
Wazir's daughter accepted the excuse, and then arising went forth
and brought a pigeon whose weazand she split and whose blood she
daubed upon the snow-white sheet.[FN#31] And when it was morning
and her mother again visited her, the bride showed her this proof
of her pucelage, and she rejoiced thereat and her father rejoiced
also. After this the Sultan ruled for a while of time, but she
was ever deep in though concerning what device could be devised
in order to obtain tidings of her father and her cousin and what
had wrought with them the changes of times and tides. So she bade
edify a magnificent Hammám and by its side a coffee-house,[FN#32]
both nearhand to the palace, and forthwith she summoned
architects and masons and plasterers and painters, and when all
came between her hands she said to them, "Do ye take a long look
at my semblance and mark well my features for I desire that you
make me a carven image[FN#33] which shall resemble me in all
points, and that you fashion it according to my form and figure,
and you adorn it aright and render it to represent my very self
in all proportions, and then bring it to me." They obeyed her
order and brought her a statue which was herself to a nail, so
she looked upon it and was pleased therewith. Then she ordered
them set the image over the Hammam-door, so they placed it there,
and after she issued a firman and caused it to be cried through
the city that whoso should enter that Bath to bathe and drink
coffee, should do so free and gratis and for naught. When this
was done, the tongues of the folks were loosened with benison,
and they fell to praying for the Sultan and the endurance of his
glory, and the permanence of his governance till such time as the
bruit was spread abroad by the caravans and travellers, and the
folk of all regions has heard of the Hammam and the coffee-house.
Meanwhile the Sultan had summoned two eunuchs and ordered them
and repeatedly enjoined them that whoso might approach the statue
and consider it straitly him they should seize and bring before
the presence. Accordingly, the slaves fared forth and took their
seats before the Baths. After a while of time the father of the
damsel who had become Sultan wandered forth to seek her,[FN#34]
and arrived at that city, where he heard that whoso entered the
Hammam to bathe and afterwards drank coffee did this without
cost; so he said in his min, "Let me go thither to enter, when
behold, he looked at the statue over the gateway, and he stood
still and considered it with the tears flowing adown his cheeks,
and he cried, "Indeed this figure be like her!" But when the
eunuchs saw him they seized him and carried him away until they
had led him to the Sultan his daughter, who, seeing him,
recognized him forthright, and bade set apart for him an
apartment and appointed to him rations for the time being. The
next that appeared was the son of her uncle, who also had
wandered as far as that city seeking his cousin, and he also
having heard the folk speaking anent a free entrance to the
Baths, said in himself, "Do thou get thee like others to that
Hammam and solace thyself." But when he arrived there he also
cast a look at that image and stood before it and wept for an
hour or so as he devoured it with his eyes when the eunuchry
beholding him seized and carried him off to the Sultan, who knew
him at first sight. So she bade prepare a place for him and
appointed to him rations for the time being. Then also came the
Ra'is of the ship, who had reached that city seeking his lost
vessel, and when the fame of the free Hammam came to his ears, he
said in his mind, "Go thou to the Baths and solace thyself." And
when he arrived there and looked upon the statue and fixed his
glance upon it he cried out, "Walláhi! 'tis her very self."
Hereupon the eunuchry seized him and carried him to the Sultan
who seeing him recognised him and placed him in a place apart for
a while of time. Anon the King and the Wazir, who were
responsible for the Forty Virgins came to that city--And Sharazad
was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to
say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet
is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!"
Quoth she, "And where is this compared with that I would relate
to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?" Now
when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Seventh Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the King
accompanied by the Wazir came to that city seeking the lost Forty
Virgins and when the twain had settled there and were stablisht
at ease their souls longed for the Baths and they said each to
other, "Hie we to the Hammam that we may wash away the dirt which
be the result of travel." So they repaired to the place and as
they entered the gateway they looked up and fixed their eyes upon
the statue; and, as they continued to gaze thereupon, the eunuchs
who sighted them seized them and carried them off to the
Sultan.[FN#35] When they stood between their hands and they
beheld the Forty Mamelukes who were also before her, the Wazir's
glance happened to fall upon his daughter who was on similar wise
in slave's habit, and he looked at her with the tears flowing
adown his cheeks and he said in his mind, "Walláhi! Verily this
Mameluke is like my child as like can be." Hereupon the Sultan
considered the twain[FN#36] and asked them of their case[FN#37]
and they answered, "We be Such-and-such and we are wandering
about to seek our daughter and her nine-and-thirty maidens."
Hereupon she assigned them also lodgings and rations for the
present. Lastly appeared the Pirate which had been Shaykh and the
comrade of the Forty Thieves also seeking that city, and albeit
he was aweary and perplext yet he ceased not to wander that he
might come upon the damsel who had slain his associates and who
had shaved his beard and had torn out his eye-teeth. He also when
he heard of the Hammam without charge and the free coffee-house
said in himself, "Hie thee to that place!" and as he was entering
the gateway he beheld the image and stood still and fell to
speaking fulsome speech and crying aloud and saying, "By Allah,
this statue is likest to her in stature and size and, by the
Almighty, if I can only lay my hand upon her and seize her I will
slaughter her even as one cutteth a mutton's throat. Ah! Ah! an I
could but catch hold of her." As he spake these words the
eunuchry heard him; so they seized him and dragged him along and
carried him before the Sultan who no sooner saw him than she
ordered him to jail. And they imprisoned him for he had not come
to that city save for the shortening of his days and the
lavishing of his life-blood and he knew not what was predestined
to him and in very sooth he deserved all that befel him. Hereupon
the damsel bade bring before her, her father and her cousin and
the Ra'is and the King and the Wazir and the Pirate (while she
still bore herself as one who administered the Sultanate), and
when it became night time all began to converse one with other
and presently quoth she to them, "O folk, let each and every who
hath a tale solace us with telling it." Hereat quoth one and all
of them, "We wist not a recital nor can we recount one;" and she
rejoined, "I will relate unto you an adventure." They cried, "O
King of the Age, pardon us! for how shalt thou rehearse us an
history and we sit listening thereto?"[FN#38] and she replied,
"Forasmuch as you have no say to say, I will speak in your stead
that we may shorten this our night." Then she continued, "There
was a merchant man and a wealthy with a brother which was needy,
and the richard had a daughter while the pauper had a son. But
when the poor man died he left only a boy who sought to marry the
girl his cousin: his paternal uncle, however, refused him maugre
that she loved him and she was beloved of him. Presently there
came a party of substantial merchants who demanded her in wedlock
and obtained her and agreed upon the conditions; when her sire
was minded to marry her to their man. This was hard upon the
damsel and sore grievous to her so she said, 'By Allah, I will
mate with none save my uncle's son.' Then she came to him at
midnight leading a she-mule and an ass and bringing somewhat of
her father's moneys and she knocked at the youth's door and he
came out to her and both went forth, he and she, in the outer
darkness of that murky night and the Veiler veiled her way." Now
when the father and the cousin heard this adventure they threw
themselves on her neck,[FN#39] and rejoiced in her until the turn
came for her recounting the tale of the merchant-captain and he
also approved her and was solaced by her words. Then, as she
related the history concerning the King and the Wazir, they said,
"By Allah, this indeed is a sweet story and full of light and
leading and our lord the Sultan deserveth for this recital whatso
he may require." But when she came to the Pirate he cried,
"Walláhi, O our lord the Sultan, this adventure is a grievous,
and Allah upon thee, tell us some other tale;" whereat all the
hearers rejoined, "By Allah, in very sooth the recital is a
pleasing." She continued to acquaint them with the adventure of
the Bird which invested her with the monarchy and she ended with
relating the matter of the Hammam, at all whereof the audience
wondered and said, "By Allah, this is a delectable matter and a
dainty;" but the Pirate cried aloud, "Such story pleaseth me not
in any way for 'tis heavy upon my heart!"--And Sharazad was
surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say
her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is
thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!"
Quoth she, "And where is this compared with that I would relate
to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?" Now
when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Ninth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the Pirate
cried out, "This tale is heavy upon my heart!" Presently the
damsel resumed her speech and said, "Walláhi! if my mother and my
father say sooth this be my sire and that be my cousin and here
standeth the King and there the Wazir and yonder are the Ra'is
and the Pirate, the comrade of the Forty Thieves whose only will
and wish was to dishonour us maidens all." Then she resumed,
addressing the King and his Minister, "These forty Mamelukes whom
you see standing between your hands are the virgin girls
belonging to you." After which she presented the twain with
sumptuous gifts and they took their maidens and with them went
their ways. Next she restored to the Ra'is his ship and freighted
it with her good and he set forth in it on his return voyage. But
as regards the Pirate she commanded her attendants to kindle for
him a furious fire and they lit it till it roared and the sparks
flew high in air, after which they pinioned him and cast him into
the flames, where his flesh was melted before his bones.[FN#40]
But as concerned her cousin she caused the marriage tie to be
tied between him and the Wazir's daughter and he paid her his
first visit on that same night and then she ordered her father to
knit the wedding knot with the youth on the next night and when
this was done forthwith he went in unto her. After this she
committed to him the Sultanate and he became a Sovran and Sultan
in her stead, and she bade fetch her mother to that city where
her cousin governed and where her father-in-law the Wazir was
chief Councillor of the realm. On this wise it endured for the
length of their lives, and fair to them were the term and the
tide and the age of the time, and they led of lives the
joyfullest and a livelihood of the perfectest until they were
consumed by the world and died out generation of the


It is related (but Allah is All-knowing) that there was in times
of yore a man named 'Abdullah al-Karkhí and he was wont to tell
the following tale:--One day I was present in the assembly of
Al-Hajjáj the son of Yúsuf the Thakafí[FN#43] what time he was
Governor of Kúfah, and the folk around him were seated and for
awe of him prostrated and these were the Emirs and Wazirs and the
Nabobs and the Chamberlains and the Lords of the Land and the
Headmen in command and amongst whom he showed like a rending
lion. And behold, there came to him a man young in years and
ragged of raiment and of case debased and there was none of
blossom upon his cheeks and the World had changed his cuticle and
Need had altered his complexion. Presently he salam'd and
deprecated and was eloquent in his salutation to the Governor who
returned his greeting and looking at him asked, "Who are thou, O
young man, and what hast thou to say and what is thine excuse for
pushing into the assembly of the Kings even as if, O youth, thou
hadst been an invited guest?[FN#44] So say me, who art thou and
whose son art thou?" "I am the son of my mother and my father,"
answered he, and Al-Hajjaj continued, "In what fashion hast thou
come hither?"--"In my clothes." "Whence hast thou come?"--"From
behind me." Whither art thou intending?"--"Before me." "On what
hast thou come?"--"On the ground." "Whence art thou O young
man?"--"I am from the city Misr." "Art thou from Cairo?"[FN#45]-
-"Why asketh thou me, oh Hajjaj?" Whereupon the Lieutenant of
Kufah replied, "Verily her ground is gold and her Nile is rare to
behold and her women are a toy for the conqueror to enjoy, and
her men are nor burghers nor Badawis." Quoth the youth, "I am not
of them," and quoth Al-Hajjaj, "Then whence art thou, O young
man?"--"I am from the city of Syria." "Then art thou from the
stubbornest of places and the feeblest of races."[FN#46]
"Wherefore, O Hajjaj?"--For that it is a mixed breed I ween, nor
Jew nor Nazarene." "I am not of them." "Then whence art thou, O
young man?"--"I am of Khorásán of 'Ajamí-land." "Thou art
therefore from a place the fulsomest and of faith the infirmest.
Wherefore, O Hajjaj?" "Because flocks and herds are their chums
and they are Ajams of the Ajams from whom liberal deed never
comes, and their morals and manners none to praise presumes and
their speech is gross and weighty, and stingy are their rich and
wealthy." "I am not of them." "Then whence art thou, O young
man?" "I am from Mosul." "Then art thou from the foulest and
filthiest of a Catamite race, whose youth is a scapegrace and
whose old age hath the wits of an ass." "I am not of them." "Then
whence art thou, O young man?" "I am from the land of Al-Yaman."
"Then art thou from a clime other than delectable." "And why so,
O Hajjaj?" "For that their noblest make womanly use of
Murd[FN#47] or beardless boys and the meanest of them tan hides
and the lowest amongst them train baboons to dance, and others
are weavers of Burd or woollen plaids."[FN#48] "I am not of
them." "Then whence art thou, O young man?" "I am from Meccah."
"Then art thou from a mine of captious carping and ignorance and
lack of wits and of sleep over-abundant, whereto Allah
commissioned a noble Prophet, and him they belied and they
rejected: so he went forth unto a folk which loved him and
honoured him and made him a conqueror despite the nose of the
Meccan churls." "I am not of them." "Then whence art thou, O
young man? for verily thou hast been abundant of prate and my
heart longeth to cut off thy pate."[FN#49] Hereupon quoth the
youth, "An I knew thou couldst slay me I had not worshipped any
god save thyself," and quoth Al-Hajjaj, "Woe to thee and who
shall stay me from slaying thee?" "To thyself be the woe with
measure enow," cried the youth; "He shall hinder thee from
killing me who administereth between a man and his heart,[FN#50]
and who falseth not his promise." "'Tis He," rejoined Al-Hajjaj,
"who directeth me to thy death;" but the Youth retorted, "Allah
forfend that He appoint thee to my slaughter; nay rather art thou
commissioned by thy Devil, and I take refuge with the Lord form
Satan the stoned." "Whence then art thou, O young man?" "I am
from Yathrib."[FN#51] "And what be Yathrib?" "It is Tayyibah."
"And what be Tayyibah?" "Al-Madinah, the Luminate, the mine of
inspiration and explanation and prohibition and
licitation,[FN#52] and I am the seed of the Banú Ghálib[FN#53]
and the purest scion of the Imam 'Ali bin Abí Talíb (Allah honour
his countenance and accept of him!), and all degree and
descent[FN#54] must fail save my descent and degree which shall
never be cut off until the Day of Doom." Hereupon Al-Hajjaj raged
with exceeding rage and ordered the Youth to execution; whereat
rose up against him the Lords of the realm and the headman of the
reign and sued him by was of intercession and stretched out to
him their necks, saying, "Here are our heads before his head and
our lives before his life. By Allah, ho thou the Emir, there is
naught but that thou accept our impenetration in the matter of
this Youth, for he is on no wise deserving of death." Quoth the
Governor, "Weary not yourselves for needs must I slay him; and
even were an Angel from Heaven cry out 'Kill him not,' I would
never hearken to his cry." Quoth the youth, "Thou shalt be
baffled[FN#55] O Hajjaj! Who art thou that an Angel from Heaven
should cry out to thee 'Kill him not,' for thou art the vilest
and meanest of mankind nor hast thou power to find a path to my
death." Cried Al-Hajjaj, "By Allah, I will not slay thee except
upon a plea I will plead against thee, and convict thee by thy
very words." "What is that, O Hajjaj?" asked the Youth, and
answered Hajjaj, "I will now question thee, and out of thine own
mouth will I convict thee and strike off thy head.[FN#56] Now say
me, O young man: - Whereby doth the slave draw near to Allah
Almighty?" "By five things, prayer (1), and fasting (2), and alms
(3), and pilgrimage (4), and Holy War upon the path of Almighty
Allah (5)." "But I draw near to the Lord with the blood of the
men who declare that Hasan and Husayn were the sons and
successors of the Apostle of Allah.[FN#57] Furthermore, O young
man, how can they be born of the Apostle of Almighty Allah when
he sayeth, 'Never was Mohammed the father of any man amongst you,
but he was the Apostle of Allah and the Seal of the
Prophets.'"[FN#58] "Hear thou, O Hajjaj, my answer with another
Koranic verse,[FN#59] 'What the Apostle hath given you, take: and
what he hath refused you, refuse.' Now Allah Almighty hath
forbidden the taking of life, whose destruction is therefore
unlawful." "Thou has spoken sooth, O young man, but inform me of
what is incumbent on thee every day and every night?" "The five
canonical prayers." "And for every year?" "The fast of the month
of Ramazan." "And for the whole of thy life?" "One pilgrimage to
the Holy House of Allah." "Sooth thou hast said, O young man; now
do inform me"--And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and
fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her
sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that

The Five Hundred and Twelfth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that Al-Hajjaj
said, "Now do thou inform me who is the most excellent of the
Arabs and the noblest and of blood the purest?"--"The Khoraysh."
"And wherefore so?" "For that the Prophets from them proceeded."
"And what tribe is the knightliest of the Arabs and the bravest
and the firmest in fight?"--"The Banu Háshim."[FN#60] "And
wherefore so?" "For that my grandsire the Imám Alí ibn Abí Tálib
is of them." "And who is the most generous of the Arabs and most
steadfast in the guest-rite?"--"The Banu Tayy." "And wherefore
so?" "For that the Hátim of Tayy[FN#61] was one thereof." "And
who is the vilest of the Arabs and the meanest and the most
miserly, in whom weal is smallest and ill is greatest?" "The Banu
Thakíf."[FN#62] "And wherefore so?" "Because thou, O Hajjaj, art
of them." Thereupon the Lieutenant of Kufah raged with exceeding
rage and ordered the slaughter of the youth; but the Grandees of
the State rose up and prayed him for mercy, when he accepted
their intercession and pardoned the offender. After which he said
to him, "O young man, concerning the kid[FN#63] that is in the
firmament, tell me be it male or female?" for he was minded on
this wise to cut short his words. The young Sayyid replied, "O
Hajjaj, draw me aside its tail so I may inform thee
thereanent."[FN#64] "O young man, say me on what pasture best
grow the horns of the camel?" "From leaves of stone." "O
lack-wit! do stones bear leaves?" "O swollen of lips and little
of wits and wisdom, say me do camels have horns?" "Haply thou art
a lover fond, O youth?" "Yes! in love drowned." "And whom lovest
thou?"--"I love my lord, of whom I hope that he will turn my
annoy into joy, and who can save me this day from thee, O
Hajjaj." "And dost thou know the Lord?" "Yes, I do." "And whereby
hast thou known Him?" "By the book of Him which descended upon
His Prophet-Apostle." "And knowest thou the Koran by heart?"
"Doth the Koran fly from me that I should learn it by rote?"
"Hast thou confirmed knowledge thereof?" "Verily Allah sent down
a book confirmed."[FN#65] "Hast thou perused and mastered that
which is therein?" "I have." "Then, O young man, if thou have
read and learned what it containeth, tell me which verset is the
sublimest (1) and which verset is the most imperious (2) and
which verset is hopefullest (3) and which verset is fearfullest
(4) and which verset is believed by the Jew and the Nazarene (5)
and in which verset Allah speaketh purely by himself (6) and
which verset alludeth to the Prophets (8) and in which verset be
mentioned the People of Paradise (9) and which verset speaketh of
the Folk and the Fire (10) and which verset containeth tenfold
signs (11) and which verset (12) speaketh of Iblís (whom Allah
curse!)." Then quoth the youth, "Listen to my answering, O
Hajjaj, with the aid of the Beneficient King. Now the sublimest
verset in the Book of Allah Almighty is the Throne verse;[FN#66]
and the most imperious is the word of Almighty Allah, 'Verily
Allah ordereth justice and well-doing and bestowal of gifts upon
kith and kin';[FN#67] and the justest is the word of the
Almighty, 'Whoso shall have wrought a mithkál (nay an atom) of
good works shall see it again, and whoso shall have wrought a
mithkál (nay an atom) of ill shall again see it';[FN#68] and the
fullest of fear is that spoken by the Almighty, 'Doth not every
man of them desire that he enter into the Paradise hight
Al-Na'im?'[FN#69] and the fullest of hope is the word of the
Almighty, 'Say Me, O My worshippers who have sinned against your
own souls, do not despair of Allah's ruth';[FN#70] and the verset
which containeth ten signs is the word of the Lord which
saith[FN#71] 'Verily in the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth
and in the shifts of Night and Day and in the ships which pass
through the sea with what is useful to mankind; and in the rain
which Allah sendeth down from Heaven, thereby giving to the earth
life after death, and by scattering thereover all the moving
creatures, and in the change of the winds, and in the clouds
which are made to do service between the Heavens and the Earth
are signs for those who understand'; and the verset wherein
believe both Jews and Nazarenes is the word of Alimighty
Allah,[FN#72] 'The Jews say the Nazarenes are on naught, and the
Christians say the Jews are on naught, and both speak the sooth
for they are on naught.' And the verset wherein Allah Almighty
speaketh purely of Himself is that word of Almighty Allah,[FN#73]
'And I created not Jinn-kind and mankind save to the end that
they adore Me'; and the verset which was spoken of the Angels is
the word of Almighty Allah which saith,[FN#74] 'Laud to Thee! we
have no knowledge save what Thou hast given us to know, and
verily Thou art the Knowing, the Wise.' And the verset which
speaketh of the Prophets is the word of Almighty Allah that
saith[FN#75] 'And We have already sent Apostles before thee: of
some We have told thee, and of others We have told thee naught:
yet no Apostle had the power to come with a sign unless by the
leave of Allah. But when Allah's behest cometh, everything shall
be decided with truth; and then perish they who entreated it as a
vain thing'; and the verset which speaketh of the Folk and the
Fire is the word of Almighty Allah which saith[FN#76] 'O out
Lord! Bring us forth from her (the Fire), and, if we return (to
our sins), we shall indeed be of the evildoers'; and the verset
that speaketh of the People of Paradise is the word of Almighty
Allah,[FN#77] 'And they shall say: Laud to the Lord who abated to
us grief, and verily our Lord is Gracious, Grateful'; and the
verset which speaketh of Iblis (whom Allah Almighty accurse!), if
the word of Almighty Allah,[FN#78] 'He said: (I swear) therefore
by thy glory, that all of them will I surely lead astray.'"
Hereupon Al-Hajjaj exclaimed, "Laud to the Lord and thanksgiving
Who giveth wisdom unto whoso He please! Never indeed saw I a
youth like this youth upon whom the Almighty hath bestowed wits
and wisdom and knowledge for all the tenderness of his age. But
say me, who art thou, O young man?" Quoth the youth, "I am of the
folk of these things,[FN#79] O Hajjaj." Resumed the Lieutenant,
"Inform me concerning the son of Adam what injureth him and what
profiteth him?" And the youth replied, "I will, O Hajjaj; do thou
and these present who are longing for permanency (and none is
permanent save Allah Almighty!) be early the fast to break nor be
over late supper to make; and wear light body-clothes in summer
and gar heavy the headgear in winter, and guard the brain with
what it conserveth and the belly with what it preserveth and
begin every meal with salt for it driveth away seventy and two
kinds of malady: and whoso breaketh his fast each day with seven
raisins red of hue"--And Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of
day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then
quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister
mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is
this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night
an the King suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night
and that was

The Five Hundred and Fourteenth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the youth
continued to Al-Hajjaj: - "And whoso breaketh his fast daily with
seven raisins red of hue shall never find in his body aught that
irketh him; moreover, whoso each morning eateth on the
spittle[FN#80] three ripe dates all the worms in his belly shall
be slain and whoso exceedeth in diet of boucan'd meat[FN#81] and
fish shall find his strength weakened and his powers of carnal
copulation abated; and beware lest thou eat beef[FN#82] by cause
that 'tis a disease forsure whereas the soured milk of cows is a
remedy secure and clarified butter is a perfect cure: withal is
its hide a succor for use and ure. And do thou take to thee, O
Hajjaj, the greater Salve."[FN#83] Cried the Lieutenant, "What
may be that?" and said the youth in reply, "A bittock of hard
bread eaten[FN#84] upon the spittle, for indeed such food
consumeth the phlegm and similar humours which be at the mouth of
the maw.[FN#85] And let not the blood in the hot bath for it
enfeebleth man's force, and gaze not upon the metal pots of the
Balnea because such sight breedeth dimness of vision. Also have
no connection with woman in the Hammam for its consequence is the
palsy; nor do thou lie with her when thou art full or when thou
art empty or when thou drunken with wine or when thou art in
wrath nor when lying on thy side, for that it occasioneth
swelling of the testicle-veins;[FN#86] or when thou art under a
fruit-bearing tree. Avoid carnal knowledge of the old
woman[FN#87] for that she taketh from thee and giveth not to
thee. Moreover let thy signet ring be made of carnelian[FN#88]
because it is a guard against poverty; also a look at the Holy
Volume every morning increaseth thy daily bread, and to gaze at
flowing water whetteth the sight and to look upon the face of
children is an act of adoration. And when thou chancest lose thy
way, crave aidance of Allah from Satan the Stoned." Hereupon
quoth Al-Hajjaj, "Allah hath been copious to thee, O young man,
for thou hast drowned me in the depths of thy love, but now
inform me, Where is the seat of thy dignified behaviour?"--"The
two eyes." "And where is the seat of thy well-doing?"--"My
tongue." "And where is the seat of thy hearing?"--"The sensorium
of mine ears." "And where is the seat of thy smelling?"--"The
sensorium of my nose." "And where is the seat of thy taste?"--"My
palate." "And where is the seat of thy gladness?"--"My heart."
"And where is the seat of thy wrath?"--"My liver." "And where is
the seat of thy laughing?"--"My spleen."[FN#89] "And where is the
seat of thy bodily strenght?"--"My two shoulders." "And where is
that of thy weakness?"--"My two calves." Hereupon Al-Hajjaj
exclaimed, "Laud to the Lord and thanksgiving; for indeed, O
young man, I see that thou knowest everything. So tell me
somewhat concerning husbandry?"--"The best of corn is the
thickest of cob and the grossest of grain and the fullest sized
of shock."[FN#90] "And what sayest thou concerning palm-trees?"--
"The most excellent is that which the greatest of gathering doth
own and whose height is low grown and within whose meat is the
smallest stone." "And what dost thou say anent the vine?"--"The
most noble is that which is stout of stem and big of bunch." "And
what sayest thou concerning the Heavens?"--"This is the furthest
extent of man's sight and the dwelling-place of the Sun and Moon
and all the Stars that give light, raised on high without columns
pight and overshadowing the numbers beneath its height." "And
what dost thou say concerning the Earth?"--"It is wide dispread
in length and breadth." "And what dost thou say anent the rain?"-
-"The most excellent is that which filleth the pits and pools and
which overfloweth into the wadys and the rivers." Hereupon quoth
Al-Hajjaj, "O young man inform me what women be the best"--And
Sharazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and
ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad,
"How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and
delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared with that I
would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to
survive?" Now when it was the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Sixteenth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that Al-Hajjaj
said, "O young man, inform me what women be the best and the most
enjoyable."[FN#91]--"One in winning ways excelling and in
comeliness exceeding and in speech killing: one whose brow
glanceth marvellous bright to whoso filleth his eyes with her
sight and to whom she bequeatheth sorrow and blight; one whose
breasts are small whilst her hips are large and her cheeks are
rosy red and her eyes are deeply black and he lips are
full-formed; one who if she look upon the heavens even the rocks
will be robed in green, and if she look upon the earth her
lips[FN#92] unpierced pearls shall rain; one the dews of whose
mouth are the sweetest of waters; one who in beauty hath no peer
nor is there any loveliness can with hers compare: the coolth of
the eyes to great and small; in fine, one whose praises certain
of the poets have sung in these harmonious couplets,[FN#93]

'A fair one to idolaters if she herself should show, * They'd
leave their idols and her face for only Lord would know.
If in the Eastward she appeared unto a monk, for once * He'd
cease from turning to the West and to the East bend low;
And into the briny sea one day she chanced to spit, * Assuredly
the salt sea's floods straight fresh and sweet would grow.'"

Hereupon quoth Al-Hajjaj, "Thou hast said well and hast spoken
fair, O young man; and now what canst thou declare concerning a
maiden of ten years old?" Quoth the youth, "She is a joy to
behold." "And a damsel of twenty years old?"--"a coolth to eyes
manifold." "And a woman thirty of age?"--"One who the hearts of
enjoyers can engage." "And in her fortieth year?"--"Fat, fresh
and fair doth she appear." "And of the half century?"--"The
mother of men and maids in plenty." "And a crone of three
score?"--"Men ask of her never more." "And when three score and
ten?"--"An old trot and remnant of men." "And one who reacheth
four score?"--"Unfit for the world and for the faith forlore."
"And one of ninety?"--"Ask not of whoso in Jahím be."[FN#94] "And
a woman who to an hundredth hath owned?"--"I take refuge with
Allah from Satan the Stoned." Then Al-Hajjaj laughed aloud and
said, "O young man, I desire of thee even as thou describest
womankind in prose so thou show me their conditions in verse;"
and the Sayyid, having answered, "Hearkening and obedience, O
Hajjaj," fell to improvising these couplets,[FN#95]

"When a maid owns to ten her new breasts arise * And like diver's
pearl with fair neck she hies:
The damsel of twenty defies compare * 'Tis she whose disport we
desire and prize:
She of thirty hath healing on cheeks of her; * She's a pleasure,
a plant whose sap never dries:
If on her in the forties thou happily hap * She's best of her
sex, hail to him with her lies!
She of fifty (pray Allah be copious to her!) * With wit, craft
and wisdom her children supplies.
The dame of sixty hath lost some force * Whose remnants are easy
to ravenous eyes:
At three score ten few shall seek her house * Age-threadbare made
till afresh she rise:
The fourscore dame hath a bunchy back * From mischievous eld whom
perforce Love flies:
And the crone of ninety hath palsied head * And lies wakeful o'
nights and in watchful guise;
And with ten years added would Heaven she bide * Shrouded in sea
with a shark for guide!"

Hereupon Al-Hajjaj laughed aloud and all who were with him in
assembly; and presently he resumed, "O youth, tell me concerning
the first man who spake in verse[FN#96] and that was our common
sire, Adam (The Peace be upon him!), what time Kábil[FN#97] slew
Hábil his brother when her forefather improvised these lines,

'Changed I see my country and all thereon; * Earth is now a
blackavice, ugly grown:
The hue and flavour of food is fled * And cheer is fainting from
fair face flown.
An thou, O Abel, be slain this day * Thy death I bemourn with
heart torn and lone.
Weep these eyes and 'sooth they have right to weep * Their tears
are as rills flowing hills adown.
Kábil slew Hábil--did his brother dead; * Oh my woe for that
lovely face, ochone!'"[FN#98]

Hereat Al-Hajjaj asked, "O young man, what drove our ancestor to
poetry?" whereto answered youth--And Sharazad was surprised by
the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted
say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O
sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And
where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the
coming night an the King suffer me to survive?" Now when it was
the next night and that was

The Five Hundred and Eighteenth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the youth
replied, "He was driven to poetry by Iblis (whom Allah accurse!)
when he spake in this verse,

'Thou bewailest the land and all thereon * And scant was the
breadth of Eden didst own,
Where thou was girded by every good * O' life and in rest ever
wont to wone:
But ne'er ceased my wiles and my guile until * The wind o'erthrew
thee by folly blown.'"[FN#99]

Whereupon quoth Al-Hajjaj, "O young man, inform me concerning the
first couplet of verse spoken by the Arab in praise of
munificence;" and quoth the youth, "O Hajjaj, the first Arabic
distich known to me was spoken by Hátim of Tayy, and 'twas as

'And the guest I greet ere from me he go * Before wife and weans
in my weal and woe.'"

Then cried Al-Hajjaj, "Thou hast said well and hast spoken fair,
O young man; and thy due is incumbent upon us for that thou hast
drowned us in the deeps of thy wisdom." Presently the Lieutenant
of Kufah turning towards one of his eunuchs said, "Bring me at
this very moment a purse containing ten thousand dirhams[FN#100]
upon a charger of red gold and a suit of the rarest of my raiment
and a blood mare the noblest steed of my steeds with a saddle of
gold and a haubergeon;[FN#101] and a lance of full length and a
handmaid the handsomest of my slave-girls." The attendant
disappeared for a while, and presently brought all this between
the hands of Al-Hajjaj, who said, "O young man, this damsel is
the fairest of my chattels, and this be the purse on a charger of
gold, and this mare is the purest in blood of my steeds together
with her housings, so do thou take whatever thou desirest
thereof, either the mare with all upon her or the purse of gold
or the concubine," presently saying to himself, "If the young man
prefer the purse, 'twill prove he loveth the world and I will
slay him, also if he choose the girl, he lusteth after womankind,
and I will do him die: but if he take the mare and her furniture,
he will show himself the brave of braves, and he meriteth not
destruction at my hands." Then the youth came forward and took
the mare and her appointments. Now the damsel was standing by the
young Sayyid, and she winked at him with her eye as one saying,
"Do thou choose me and leave all the rest;" whereupon he began to
improvise the following couplets,

"The jingling bridle at Bayard's neck * Is dearer to me than what
sign thou deign:
I fear when I fall into strait and fare * Abroad, no comrade in
thee to gain:
I fear when lain on my couch and long * My sickness, thou prove
thee nor fond nor fain:
I fear me that time groweth scant my good * And my hand be strait
thou shalt work me bane:
A helpmate I want shall do what do I * And bear patient the
pasture of barren plain."[FN#102]

Presently the handmaid answered his verse with the following

"Forfend me, Allah, from all thou say'st * Though my left with my
right thou shalt hew in twain.
A husband's honour my works shall keep * And I'll wone content
with his smallest gain:
Didst know me well and my nature weet * Thou hadst found me mate
of the meekest strain.
Nor all of women are like to sight * Nor all of men are of
similar grain.
The charge of a mate to the good belongs; * Let this oath by
Allah belief obtain."

Hearing these words Al-Hajjaj exclaimed, "Woe to thee, O damsel,
dost thou answer him in his verse? and do thou O young man, take
the whole, and may Allah give thee no blessing therein."[FN#103]
Answered by the young Sayyid, "Here with them, O Hajjaj, inasmuch
as thou hast given them to me, I will not oppose the order of
Allah through thee, but another time there is no union between us
twain, me and thee, as there hath been this day." Now the city of
Al-Hajjaj had two gates--the door of Destruction and the door of
Salvation; and when the youth asked him, "O Hajjaj, shall I go
forth from this or from that?" the Lieutenant of Kufah cried,
"Issue by this outlet," and showed him the Gate of Safety. Then
the youth took all the presents and fared forth by the passage
which had been shown him, and went his ways and was seen no more.
Hereupon the Grandees of the kingdom said to Al-Hajjaj, "O our
lord, how hast thou given to him these gifts and he hath on
nowise thanked thee, nor wished thee well[FN#104] for they
favours, and yet hast thou pointed out to him the Gate of
Salvation?" Hereupon he replied, "Verily, the youth asked
direction of me, and it becometh the director to be trustworthy
and no traitor (Allah's curse be upon him who betrayeth!), and
this youth meriteth naught save mercy by reason of his


It is told in various relations of the folk (but Allah is
All-knowing of His secret purpose and All-powerful and
All-beneficent and All-merciful in whatso of bygone years
transpired and amid peoples of old took place) that the Caliph
Hárún al-Rashíd being straitened of breast one day summoned his
Chief of the Eunuchs and said to him, "O Masrur!" Quoth he,
"Adsum, O my lord;" and quoth the other, "This day my breast is
straitened and I would have thee bring me somewhat to hearten my
heart and consume my care." Replied Masrur, "O my lord, do thou
go forth to thy garden and look upon the trees and the blooms and
the rills and listen to the warblings of the fowls." Harun
replied, "O Masrur, thou hast mentioned a matter which palleth on
my palate[FN#107] nor may my breast be broadened by aught thou
hast commended." Rejoined the Eunuch, "Then do thou enter thy
palace and having gathered thy handmaids before thee, let each
and every say her say whilst all are robed in the choicest of
raiment and ornaments; so shalt thou look upon them and thy
spirits shall be cheered." The Caliph retorted, "O Masrur, we
want other than this;" whereupon quoth the slave, "O Prince of
True Believers, send after the Wazirs and thy brotherhood of
learned men and let them improvise for thee poetry and set before
thee stories whereby shall thy care be solaced." Quoth he, "O
Masrur, naught of this shall profit me." Hereat cried the Eunuch,
"Then, O my lord, I see naught for thee save to take thy sabre
and smite the neck of thy slave: haply and peradventure this may
comfort thee and do away with thy disgust."[FN#108] When the King
Harun al-Rashid heard these words, he laughed aloud and said to
him, "O Masrur, go forth to the gate where haply thou shalt find
some one of my cup-companions." Accordingly he went to the porte
in haste and there came upon one of the courtiers which was Ali
ibn Mansúr Al-Dimishkí and brought him in. The Commander of the
Faithful seeing him bade him be seated and said, "O Ibn Mansur, I
would have thee tell me a tale somewhat rare and strange; so
perchance my breast may be broadened and my doleful dumps from me
depart." Said he, "O Prince of True Believers, dost thou desire
that I relate to thee of the things which are past and gone or I
recount a matter I espied with my own eyes?" Al-Rashid replied,
"An thou have sighted somewhat worthy seeing relate it to us for
hearing is not like beholding." He rejoined, "O Emir al-Muuminín,
whilst I tell thee this tale needs must thou lend me ear and
mind;" and the Caliph[FN#109] retorted, "Out with thy story, for
here am I hearkening to thee with ears and eyes wide awake, so
that my soul may understand the whole of this say." Hereupon Ibn
Mansur related to him "The Loves of the Lovers of
Bassorah."[FN#110] Now when Al-Rashid heard the tale of Ibn
Mansur there fell from him somewhat of his cark and care but he
was not wholly comforted. He spent the night in this case and
when it was morning he summoned the Wazir Ja'afar ibn Yahyá the
Barmaki, and cried to him, "O Ja'afar!" He replied, "Here am I!
Allah lengthen thy life, and make permanent thy prosperity." The
Caliph resumed, "Verily my breast is straitened and it hath
passed through my thought that we fare forth, I and thou (and
Eunuch Masrur shall make a third), and we will promenade the main
streets of Baghdad and solace ourselves with seeing its several
places and peradventure I may espy somewhat to hearten my heart
and clear off my care and relieve me of what is with me of
straitness of breast." Ja'afar made answer, "O Commander of the
Faithful, know that thou art Caliph and Regent and Cousin to the
Apostle of Allah and haply some of the sons of the city may speak
words that suit thee not and from that matter may result other
matter with discomfort to thy heart and annoyance to thy mind,
the offender unknowing the while that thou art walking the
streets by night. Then thou wilt command his head to be cut off
and what was meant for pleasure may end in displeasure and wrath
and wrongdoing." Al-Rashid replied, "I swear by the rights of my
forbears and ancestors even if aught mishap to us from the
meanest of folk as is wont to happen or he speak words which
should not be spoken, that I will neither regard them nor reply
thereto, neither will I punish the aggressor, nor shall aught
linger in my heart against the addresser; but need must I pass
through the Bazar this very night." Hereupon quoth Ja'afar to the
Caliph, "O Viceregent of Allah upon earth, do thou be steadfast
of purpose and rely upon Allah!"[FN#111] Then they arose and
arousing Masrur doffed what was upon them of outer dress and
bagtrousers and habited themselves each one of them in garments
differing from those of the city folks. Presently they sallied
forth by the private postern and walked from place to place till
they came to one of the highways of the capital and after
threading its length they arrived at a narrow street whose like
was never seen about all the horizons.[FN#112] This they found
swept and sprinkled with the sweet northern breeze playing
through it and at the head thereof rose a mansion towering from
the dust and hanging from the necks of the clouds. Its whole
length was of sixty cubits whereas its breadth was of twenty
ells; its gate was of ebony inlaid with ivory and plated with
plates of yellow brass while athwart the doorway hung a curtain
of sendal and over it was a chandelier of gold fed with oil of
'Irákí violets which brightened all that quarter with its light.
The King Harun al-Rashid and the Wazir and the Eunuch stood
marvelling at what they saw of these signs and at what they smelt
of the scents breathing from the clarity[FN#113] of this palace
as though they were the waftings of the perfumed gardens of
Paradise and they cast curious glances at the abode so lofty and
of base so goodly and of corners so sturdy, whose like was never
builded in those days. Presently they noted that its entrance was
poikilate with carvings manifold and arabesques of glittering
gold and over it was a line writ in letters of lapis lazuli. So
Al-Rashid took seat under the candelabrum with Ja'afar standing
on his right and Masrur afoot to his left and he exclaimed, "O
Wazir, this mansion is naught save in the utmost perfection of
beauty and degree; and verily its lord must have expended upon it
wealth galore and of gold a store; and, as its exterior is
magnificent exceedingly, so would to Heaven I knew what be its
interior." Then the Caliph cast a glance at the upper lintel of
the door whereupon he saw inscribed in letters of golden water
which glittered in the rays of the chandelier,


Hereupon quoth Al-Rashid, "O Ja'afar, the house-master never
wrote yonder lines save for a reason and I desire to discover
what may be his object, so let us forgather with him and ask him
the cause of this legend being inscribed in this place." Quoth
Ja'afar, "O Prince of True Believers, yonder lines were never
written save in fear of the curtain of concealment being
withdrawn."--And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day, and
fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her
sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how
enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared
with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King
suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that

The Six Hundred and Thirty-fourth Night,

Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be
other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short
the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love
and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the
director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting
and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that Ja'afar
the Barmecide said to the King, "Verily the master of this house
never wrote yonder lines save in fear lest the curtain of
concealment be withdrawn." Hearing this the Caliph held his peace
for a while and fell to pondering this matter then said he, "O
Ja'afar, knock at the door and ask for us a gugglet of water;"
and when the Wazir did his bidding one of the slaves called out
from within the entrance, "Who is it rappeth at our gate?"
Hereupon said Masrur to him, "O son of my uncle, open to us the
door and give us a gugglet of water for that our lord thirsteth."
The chattel went in to his master, the young man, Manjáb hight,
who owned the mansion, and said, "O my lord, verily there be at
our door three persons who have rapped for us and who ask for a
drink of water." The master asked, "What manner of men may they
be?" and the slave answered, "One of them sitteth under the
chandelier and another of them standeth by his side and the third
is a black slave between their hands; and all three show signs of
staidness and dignity than which naught can be more." "Go forth
to them," exclaimed the master, "and say to them, 'My lord
inviteth you to become of his guests.'" So the servile went out
and delivered the message, whereat they entered and found five
lines of inscription in different parts of the hall with a
candelabrum overhanging each and every and the whole five
contained the sentence we have before mentioned; furthermore all
the lights were hung up over the legend that the writing might be
made manifest unto whoso would read it. Accordingly Harun
al-Rashid entered and found a mansion of kingly degree[FN#114]
and of marvellous ordinance in the utmost that could be of beauty
and ornament and five black slaves and as many Eunuchs were
standing in the saloon to offer their services. Seeing this the
Caliph marvelled with extreme marvel at the house and the
housemaster who greeted them in friendly guise; after which he to
whom the palace belonged sat down upon a divan and bade Al-Rashid
sit over against him and signed to Ja'afar and Masrur to take
their places in due degree,[FN#115] whilst the negroes and the
eunuchs stood expecting their commands for suit and service.
Presently was brought to them a huge waxen taper which lighted up


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