The Book Of The Thousand Nights And One Night, Volume II

Part 7 out of 7

Shewahi, yclept Dhat ed Dewahi, for that she is the prime cause
of all these troubles. Who will deliver her into our hands, that
we may avenge ourselves upon her and wipe out our dishonour?" And
King Rumzan said, "Needs must we bring her hither." So he wrote a
letter to his grandmother, the aforesaid old woman, giving her to
know that he had subdued the kingdoms of Damascus and Mosul and
Irak and had broken up the host of the Muslims and captured their
princes and adding, "I desire thee of all urgency to come to me
without delay, bringing with thee the princess Sufiyeh, daughter
of King Afridoun, and whom thou wilt of the Nazarene chiefs, but
no troops; for the country is quiet and under our hand." And he
despatched the letter to her, which when she read, she rejoiced
greatly and forthwith equipping herself and Sufiyeh, set out with
their attendants and journeyed, without stopping, till they drew
near Baghdad. Then she sent a messenger to acquaint the King of
her arrival, whereupon quoth Rumzan, "We should do well to don
the habit of the Franks and go out to meet the old woman, to the
intent that we may be assured against her craft and perfidy." So
they clad themselves in Frankish apparel, and when Kuzia Fekan
saw them, she exclaimed, "By the Lord of Worship, did I not know
you, I should take you to be indeed Franks!" Then they sallied
forth, with a thousand horse, to meet the old woman, and King
Rumzan rode on before them. As soon as his eyes met hers, he
dismounted and walked towards her, and she, recognizing him,
dismounted also and embraced him; but he pressed her ribs with
his hands, till he well-nigh broke them. Quoth she, "What is
this, O my son?" But before she had done speaking, up came
Kanmakan and Dendan, and the horsemen with them cried out at the
women and slaves and took them all prisoners. Then the two Kings
returned to Baghdad, with their captives, and Rumzan bade
decorate the city three days long, at the end of which time they
brought out the old woman, with a tall red bonnet of palm-leaves
on her head, diademed with asses' dung, and preceded by a herald,
proclaiming aloud, "This is the reward of those who presume to
lay hands on kings and kings' sons!" Then they crucified her on
one of the gates of Baghdad; and her companions, seeing what
befell her, all embraced the faith of Islam. As for Kanmakan and
his uncle Rumzan and his aunt Nuzhet ez Zeman, they marvelled at
the wonderful events that had betided them and bade the scribes
set them down orderly in books, that those who came after might
read. Then they all abode in the enjoyment of all the delights
and comforts of life, till there overtook them the Destroyer of
Delights and the Sunderer of Companies; and this is all that hath
come down to us of the dealings of fortune with King Omar ben
Ennuman and his sons Sherkan and Zoulmekan and his son's son
Kanmakan and his daughter Nuzhet ez Zeman and her daughter Kuzia


Notes to Volume 2.

[FN#1] A.H. 65-86.

[FN#2] i.e. none could approach him in the heat of fight.

[FN#3] Sophia.

[FN#4] Apparently Palestine (in this case).

[FN#5] i.e. man of might and munificence.

[FN#6] About 35,000.

[FN#7] Dhai ed Dewahi.

[FN#8] i.e. sperma hominis.

[FN#9] Apparently the names of noted wrestlers.

[FN#10] A phrase of frequent occurrence in the Koran, meaning
"your female slaves" or "the women ye have captured in war."

[FN#11] Quoth he (Solomon), "O chiefs, which of you will bring me
her throne?" (i.e. that of Belkis, queen of Sheba) ......."I,"
said an Afrit of the Jinn, "will bring it thee, ere thou canst
rise from thy stead, for I am able thereto and faithful!"--Koran
xxvii. 38, 39.

[FN#12] One of the fountains of Paradise.

[FN#13] Kutheiyir ibn Ali Juma, a well-known poet of the seventh
and eighth centuries at Medina. He was celebrated for his love of
Azzeh, in whose honour most of his poems were written. The writer
(or copyist) of this tale has committed an anachronism in
introducing these verses, as Kutheiyir was a contemporary of the
Khalif Abdulmelik ben Merwan before whose time Sherkan and his
father (both imaginary characters) are stated( see supra, p. 1
{Vol. 2, FN#1}) to have lived; but the whole narrative is full of
the grossest anachronisms, too numerous, indeed, to notice.

[FN#14] Jemil ben Mamer, another celebrated Arabian poet and
lover, a friend and contemporary of Kutheiyir.

[FN#15] A person who dies for love is esteemed a martyr by the

[FN#16] I suspect these verses to have been introduced in error
by some copyist. They appear utterly meaningless in this context.

[FN#17] The bishop.

[FN#18] Apparently referring in jest to her speech to him see
supra, p. 27 {see text, Vol. 2, after FN#17}, "Thou art beaten
in everything."

[FN#19] He likens the glance of her eye to the blade of a Yemen
sword,--a comparison of frequent occurrence in Arabic poetry.

[FN#20] Mehmil. A decorated framework or litter borne by a camel,
sent as an emblem of royalty with the caravan of pilgrims to
Mecca, by way of honour to the occasion and to the sacred object
of the pilgrimage, much as great people send their empty
carriages to attend the funeral of a person for whose memory they
wish to show their respect. The introduction of the Mehmil here
is another of the many anachronisms of the story, as the custom
is said not to here come into use till a much later period.

[FN#21] Mecca.

[FN#22] Medina.

[FN#23] Oriental substitutes for soap.

[FN#24] i.e., death.

[FN#25] Apparently the Bedouin was angry with the merchant for
praising the girl to her face and perhaps also alarmed at finding
that he had kidnapped a young lady of consequence, where he only
thought to have made prize of a pretty wench of humble condition
and friendless.

[FN#26] Delight of the age.

[FN#27] Affliction (or wrath) of the age.

[FN#28] For fuel.

[FN#29] "God will open on me another gate (or means) of making my
living." A common formula, meaning, "It is not enough."

[FN#30] Or state problems.

[FN#31] One of the four great Muslim sects or schools of
theology, taking its name from the Imam es Shafi (see post, p.
131, note). {see Vol. 2 FN#89}

[FN#32] Second of the Abbasside Khalifs, A.H. 136-158.

[FN#33] The second Khalif after Mohammed (A.H. 13-23) and the
most renowned for piety and just government of all the borders of
the office, except perhaps his descendant Omar ben Abdulaziz
(A.H. 99-102).

[FN#34] As a reward (in the next world) for good deeds.

[FN#35] The fourth Khalif.

[FN#36] The word rendered "good breeding" may also be translated
"polite accomplishments" or "mental discipline" and has a great
number of other meanings.

[FN#37] Sixth Khalif and founder of the Ommiade dynasty (A.H. 41

[FN#38] One of the most notable men of the day, chief of the
great tribe of the Benou Temim. He was a contemporary of the
Prophet and was held in much esteem by Muawiyeh.

[FN#39] Surname of Ahnaf.

[FN#40] Governor of Bassora and other places under the first four

[FN#41] Ziad teen Abou Sufyan, illegitimate brother of the Khalif
Muawiyeh, afterwards governor of Bassora Cufa and the Hejaz.

[FN#42] Because it might have been taken to mean, "inhabitants of

[FN#43] i.e. death.

[FN#44] A battle fought near Medina, A.D. 625, in which Mohammed
was defeated by the Meccans under Abou Sufyan.

[FN#45] One of Mohammed's widows and Omar's own daughter.

[FN#46] A well-known man of letters and theologian of the seventh
and eighth centuries.

[FN#47] i.e. to prepare himself by good works, etc., for the
world to come.

[FN#48] A celebrated Cufan theologian of the eighth century.

[FN#49] i.e. for the next world.

[FN#50] The eighth Khalif of the Ommiade dynasty, a rival in
piety and single-mindedness of Omar ben Khettab.

[FN#51] The descendants of Umeyyeh and kinsmen of the reigning

[FN#52] The second, fifth, sixth and seventh Khalifs of the
Ommiade dynasty.

[FN#53] The mother of Omar ben Abdulaziz was a granddaughter of
Omar ben Khettab.

[FN#54] Brother of Omar's successor, Yezid II.

[FN#55] This passage apparently belongs to the previous account
of Omar's death-bed; but I have left it as it stands in the text,
as it would be a hopeless task to endeavour to restore this chaos
of insipid anecdote and devotional commonplace to anything like

[FN#56] Lit. with (or by) neither book (i.e. Koran) nor Sunneh
(i.e. the Traditions of the Prophet).

[FN#57] Chief of the tribe of Temim and one of the most elegant
orators of the eighth century.

[FN#58] Surnamed Eth Thekefi, Governor of Yemen and Irak: also a
well known orator, but a most cruel and fantastic tyrant.

[FN#59] Tenth Khalif of the Ommiade dynasty (A.D. 723-742).

[FN#60] i.e. slave-girl.

[FN#61] i.e. It was decreed, so it was.

[FN#62] Nuzhet ez Zeman.

[FN#63] Nuzhet ez Zeman.

[FN#64] Zoulmekan.

[FN#65] Nuzhet ez Zeman.

[FN#66] Sedic.

[FN#67] Sidc.

[FN#68] Mohammed Ibn Shihab ez Zuhri, a celebrated Traditionist
and jurisconsult of Medina in the seventh and eighth centuries.

[FN#69] Alexander.

[FN#70] The celebrated fabulist, said to have been a black slave
of the time of David, but supposed by some to be identical with

[FN#71] Koran iii. 185.

[FN#72] One of the Companions of the Prophet.

[FN#73] One of the contemporaries of Mohammed and a noted
Traditionist (or repeater of the sayings of the Prophet) at Cufa
in the seventh century.

[FN#74] A noted Traditionist and expounder Of the Koran in the
first century of the Muslim era. He was a black and a native of

[FN#75] Son of the martyr Hussein and grandson of the Khalif Ali.

[FN#76] A very eminent doctor of the law and Traditionist of the
eighth century. He was a native of Cufa and was regarded as one
of the great exemplars of the true believers.

[FN#77] i.e. those who love and obey the precepts of the Koran.

[FN#78] i.e. Barefoot. A native of Merv and a famous ascetic of
the eighth and ninth centuries.

[FN#79] Necessitating a fresh ablution, before the prayer can be

[FN#80] Another noted ascetic of the time.

[FN#81] About a penny.

[FN#82] A well-known legist and devotee of the eighth and ninth
centuries at Baghdad, Sounder of one of the four great orthodox
Muslim schools.

[FN#83] A famous theologian and devotee of the eighth century at

[FN#84] A noted preacher and Traditionist of Khorassan in the
ninth, century.

[FN#85] Koran .xvi. 6.

[FN#86] A Traditionist of Medina. who flourished in the eighth

[FN#87] This paragraph is part extract from and part paraphrase
of the Koran xxviii 22-27.

[FN#88] A well-known pietist of the eighth century.

[FN#89] Abou Hatim el Asemm (the Deaf), a famous Balkhi
theologian of the ninth century.

[FN#90] One of two of the most famous theologians of the second
century of the Hegira and the founders of two of the four great
Mohammedan schools.

[FN#91] One of two of the most famous theologians of the second
century of the Hegira and the founders of two of the four great
Mohammedan schools.

[FN#92] Ismail ibn Yehya el Muzeni, a famous Egyptian doctor of
the law pupil of Es Shafi and Imam of the Shafiyite school in the
ninth century.

[FN#93] Koran lxxvii. 35, 36.

[FN#94] Mohammed.

[FN#95] Islam.

[FN#96] "In Hell shall they (the unbelievers) burn, and ill shall
be (their) stead."--Koran, xiv. 34.

[FN#97] Mohammed pretended that his coming had been foretold in
the Gospels and that the Christians had falsified the passage
(John xvi. 7) promising the advent of the Comforter (
) by substituting the latter word for
, glorious, renowned, praised, i.e. Mohammed.

[FN#98] The second chapter of the Koran, beginning, "This is the
Book, etc."

[FN#99] It appears by what follows that Afridoun, supposing the
victory to be gained, returned to Constantinople immediately
after sending this message and left the command of the army to
King Herdoub.

[FN#100] At Mecca.

[FN#101] i.e. There is no god but God.

[FN#102] Koran, x. 25.

[FN#103] Cassia fistularis, a kind of carob.

[FN#104] "say not of those who are slain in the way (service) of
God that they are dead; nay, they are living." Koran, ii 149.

[FN#105] Apparently Constantinople.

[FN#106] This verse alludes to the garbled version of the miracle
of Aaron's rod given in the Koran, which attributes the act to
Moses and makes the Egyptian sorcerers throw down ropes, to which
by their art they give the appearance of serpents.

[FN#107] i.e., of the Koran.

[FN#108] A certain formula, invoking peace on the Prophet and all
men recurring at the end of the five daily prayers and pronounced

[FN#109] ex voto.

[FN#110] i.e. Mohammed.

[FN#111] "What news bringest thou, O saint?"

[FN#112] i.e. Mohammed.

[FN#113] These epithets are often applied by the Arabs, in a
complimentary sense, to anyone who works great havoc among his
enemies by his prowess and cunning.

[FN#114] See Vol. I. p. 135, note. {Vol. 1, FN#45}

[FN#115] i.e. Deal with thee as if thou wert slave-born and
therefore not used to knightly fashions nor able to endure stress
of battle.

[FN#116] A chapel so called in the Temple at Mecca.

[FN#117] Mohammed.

[FN#118] Protector of the women that ride therein.

[FN#119] The Mohammedans have a legend that God gave David
extraordinary skill in working iron and making chain mail, that
he might earn his living without drawing upon the public
treasury. "And we gave David a grace from us and softened for him
iron (saying), 'Make thou coats of mail and adjust the rings duly
and deal rightly, for I look upon what ye do."' --Koran, xxxiv.

[FN#120] This appears to be an allusion to the colours of the
house of Abbas, which were black.

[FN#121] Kafir means "black" as well as "infidel."

[FN#122] One of the Mohammedan legends represents Moses as
seeking the water of life.

[FN#123] The allusion here is to the face of a beloved one, which
is likened to a moon rising out of her dress.

[FN#124] An ornamental hand, said to be so called from the
resemblance of the pen with which it is written to the leaf of
the sweet basil.

[FN#125] lit. "the love of the Beni Udhra," an Arabian tribe,
famous for the passion and devotion with which love was practiced
among them.

[FN#126] Syn. eye (nazir).

[FN#127] Syn. eyebrow (hajib).

[FN#128] i.e. including the two days that had already elapsed.

[FN#129] i.e. a graceful youth of the province in which Mecca is

[FN#130] A small piece of wood used in a children's out-door game
called tab.

[FN#131] The stone of the beleh or "green" date, not allowed to

[FN#132] Or drachm-weight.

[FN#133] An audacious parody of the consecrated expression used
to describe the ceremonious circumambulation of the Kaabeh at

[FN#134] Subaudiantur autem utriusque sexs pudenda.

[FN#135] Subaudiantur autem utriusque sexs pudenda.

[FN#136] Subaudiatur vas muliebre.

[FN#137] The word sac (leg), when used in the oblique case, as it
would necessarily be here, makes saki, i.e. cup-bearer. A play
upon the double meaning is evidently intended.

[FN#138] In the East, bathers pay on leaving the bath.

[FN#139] As a styptic.

[FN#140] Dunya.

[FN#141] Semen hominis.

[FN#142] i.e. the rolls of dirt that come off under the bathman's

[FN#143] Paradise.

[FN#144] The cold room of the bath.

[FN#145] The hot room.

[FN#146] The door-keeper of hell.

[FN#147] The door-keeper of Paradise.

[FN#148] i.e. Crown of Kings.

[FN#149] An obscure star in the Great Bear.

[FN#150] Zibl means "dung" or "sweepings." Can (Khan) means

[FN#151] i.e., Him who fights for the Faith.

[FN#152] A town on the Euphrates, on the borders of Syria and

[FN#153] i.e. recognized him as king by naming him in the public

[FN#154] i.e. the silky whiskers, which it is common, in poetry,
to call green likening them to newly-sprouted herbage.

[FN#155] i.e. the Day of Judgment.

[FN#156] Ironical.

[FN#157] i.e. Kanmakan.

[FN#158] Meaning, apparently, poisoned.

[FN#159] i.e. with a blow worthy of the members of the family of
Thaalebeb to which (see post, p. 368 {see ...Said he, 'I am Ibad
ben Temin ben Thaalebh, and indeed...}) he belonged.

[FN#160] i.e. his sister.

[FN#161] i.e. benefits.

[FN#162] i.e. new moon.


Back to Full Books