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

Part 7 out of 7

heard this, I drew back from her, saying, "O my lady, it is no
fault of mine if I have been over-bold with thee; it was thou
didst encourage me to aspire to thy love, by giving me access to
thee." "No harm shall befall thee," answered she; "and needs must
thou attain thy desire in the way that is pleasing to God. I am
my own mistress and the Cadi shall act as my guardian, in
consenting to the marriage-contract; for it is my will that I be
thy wife and thou my husband." Then she sent for the Cadi and the
witnesses and busied herself with the necessary preparations.
When they came, she said to them, "Mohammed Ali ben Ali the
jeweller seeks me in marriage and hath given me the necklace to
my dowry; and I accept and consent." So they drew up the contract
of marriage between us; after which the servants brought the
wine-service and the cups passed round, after the goodliest
ordinance: and when the wine mounted to our heads, she ordered a
damsel, a lute-player, to sing. So she took the lute and sang
thereto the following verses:

He comes and shows me, all in one, fawn, moon and sapling slight:
Foul fall the heart for thought of him that watches not the
A fair one, Allah had a mind t' extinguish from his cheek One
ravishment, and straight, instead, another sprang to light.
Whenas my censors speak of him, I cavil at their word, Feigning
as if I did mislike the mention of the wight;
Yea, and I hearken, when they speak of other than of him, Though
for the thought of him, nathelesse, I am consumed outright.
Prophet of beauty, all in him 's a very miracle Of grace, and
greatest of them all his face's splendid sight.
The sable mole upon his cheek hath taken up its stead, Against
the troubles of this life to ward his forehead bright.
The censors, of their ignorance, bid me forget; but I From true-
believer cannot turn an infidel forthright.

We were ravished by the sweet music she made and the beauty of
the verses she sang and the other damsels went on to sing, one
after another, till ten had done so; when the lady Dunya took the
lute and playing a lively measure, sang these verses:

By the softness of thy graceful-gaited shape I swear, For
estrangement from thy presence the pangs of hell I bear.
Have pity on a heart that burns i' the hell-fire of thy love, O
full moon in the darkness of the night that shinest fair!
Vouchsafe to me thy favours, and by the wine-cup's light To
blazon forth thy beauties, henceforth, I'll never spare.
A rose hath ta'en me captive, whose colours varied are, Whose
charms outvie the myrtle and make its thorns despair.

When she had finished, I took the lute and playing a quaint
prelude, sang the following verses:

Glory to Him who gave thee all beauty in earth and skies So I'm
become of thy bondsmen for ever and thy prize.
Thou that art gifted with glances that make mankind thy slaves,
Pray we may come off scathless from the sorcery of thine
Two opposites, fire, incarnate in shining splendour of flame, And
water, thy cheek uniteth, conjoined in wondrous wise.
How dulcet and yet how bitter thou art to my heart, alack! To
which thou at once and ever art Hell and Paradise!

When she heard this, she rejoiced with an exceeding joy; then,
dismissing her women, she brought me to a most goodly place,
where they had spread us a bed of various colours. She did off
her clothes and I had a lover's privacy of her and found her an
unpierced pearl and a filly no man had ridden. So I rejoiced in
her and repeated the following verses:

Stay with us, Night, I prithee! I want no morning white; The face
of my beloved sufficeth me for light.
I gave my love, for chin-band, my palm spread open wide And eke
for ringdove's collar, my arms about him dight.
This is indeed th' attainment of fortune's topmost height! We
clip and clip and care not to stir from our delight.

Never in my life knew I a more delightful night than this, and I
abode with her a whole month, forsaking shop and home and family,
till one day she said to me, "O light of my eyes, O my lord
Mohammed, I have a mind to go to the bath to-day; so sit thou on
this couch and budge not from thy place, till I return to thee."
"I hear and obey," answered I, and she made me swear to this;
after which she took her women and went off to the bath. But, by
Allah, O my brothers, she had not reached the end of the street,
when the door opened and in came an old woman, who said to me, "O
my lord Mohammed, the lady Zubeideh bids thee to her, for she
hath heard of thine elegance and accomplishments and skill in
singing." "By Allah," answered I, "I will not rise from my place,
till the lady Dunya come back." "O my lord," rejoined the old
woman, "do not anger the lady Zubeideh with thee and make an
enemy of her. Come, speak with her and return to thy place." So I
rose and followed her into the presence of the princess, who said
to me, "O light of the eye, art thou the lady Dunya's beloved?"
"At thy service," answered I. Quoth she, "He spoke sooth who
reported thee possessed of grace and beauty and good breeding and
all good qualities; indeed, thou surpassest report; but now sing
to me, that I may hear thee." "I hear and obey," answered I. So
she brought me a lute, and I sang the following verses:

The heart of the lover is weary with loving and striving in vain,
And even as a spoil is his body in the hands of sickness and
Who should there be, 'mongst the riders on camels with haltered
head, Save a lover whose dear-beloved the camel-litters
A moon, in your tents that rises, to Allah I commend, One my
heart loves and tenders, shut in from the sight of her
Anon she is kind, anon angry: how goodly her coquetry is! For all
that is done of a loved one must needs to her lover be fain.

When I had finished, she said to me, "God assain thy body and
sweeten thy voice! Verily, thou art perfect in beauty and good
breeding and singing. But now rise and return to thy place, ere
the lady Dunya come back, lest she find thee not and he wroth
with thee." So I kissed the earth before her and the old woman
forewent me to the door whence I came. I entered and going up to
the couch, found that my wife had come back and was lying asleep
there. So I sat down at her feet and rubbed them; whereupon she
opened her eyes and seeing me, drew up her feet and gave me a
kick that threw me off the couch, saying, "O traitor, thou hast
been false to thine oath and hast perjured thyself. Thou sworest
to me that thou wouldst not stir from thy place; yet didst thou
break thy promise and go to the lady Zubeideh. By Allah, but that
I fear scandal, I would pull down the palace over her head!" Then
said she to her black slave, "Harkye, Sewab, arise and strike off
this lying traitor's head, for we have no further need of him."
So the slave came up to me and tearing a strip from his skirt,
bound my eyes with it and would have cut off my head; but all her
women, great and small, came up to her and said to her, "O our
lady, this is not the first who hath erred: indeed, he knew not
thy humour and hath done nothing deserving of death." "By Allah,"
replied she, "I must needs set my mark on him." And she bade beat
me; so they beat me on my sides, and the marks ye saw are the
scars of that beating. Then she bade them put me out, and they
carried me to a distance from the house and cast me down. I rose
and dragged myself little by little to my own house, where I sent
for a surgeon, who dressed my wounds and comforted me. As soon as
I was recovered and my pains and sickness had left me, I went to
the bath and thence betaking myself to my shop, sold all that was
therein. With the proceeds, I bought four hundred white slaves,
such as no king ever got together, and caused two hundred of them
ride out with me every day. Then I made me yonder barge, on which
I spent five thousand dinars, and styled myself Khalif and
appointed each of my servants to the charge and clad him in the
habit of some one of the Khalif's officers. Moreover, I let cry
abroad, "Whoso goeth a-pleasuring on the Tigris [by night], I
will strike off his head without mercy;" and on this wise have I
done this whole year past, during which time I have heard no news
of the lady neither happened upon any trace of her.' And he wept
copiously and repeated the following verses:

By Allah, I will never all my life long forget her, my dear; And
those only will I tender, who shall bring her to me to draw
Now glory to her Maker and Creator be given evermore! As the full
moon in the heavens, in her aspect and her gait she doth
She, indeed, hath made me weariful and wakeful, full of sorrow,
sick for love; Yea, my heart is all confounded at her
beauty, dazed for trouble and for fear.

When Er Reshid heard the young man's story and knew the passion
and transport and love-longing that afflicted him, he was moved
to compassion and wonder and said, 'Glory be to God who hath
appointed to every thing a cause!' Than they craved the young
man's leave to depart; which being granted, they took leave of
him, the Khalif purposing to do him justice and entreat him with
the utmost munificence, and returned to the palace of the
Khalifate, where they changed their clothes for others befitting
their station and sat down, whilst Mesrour stood before them.
After awhile, the Khalif said to Jaafer, 'O Vizier, bring me the
young man with whom we were last night.' 'I hear and obey,'
answered Jaafer, and going to the youth, saluted him, saying,
'The Commander of the Faithful calls for thee.' So he returned
with him to the palace, in great concern by reason of the
summons, and going in to the Khalif, kissed the earth before him.
Then said he, 'Peace be on thee, O Commander of the Faithful
and Protector of the people of the Faith!' And offered up a
prayer for the endurance of his glory and prosperity, for the
accomplishment of his desires and the continuance of his bounty
and the cessation of evil and punishment, ordering his speech as
best he might and ending by repeating the following verses:

Still may thy threshold as a place of adoration[FN#149] Be sought
and on men's brows its dust bespeak prostration,
That so in every land be made this proclamation, "Thou, thou art
Abraham and this his very station."[FN#150]

The Khalif smiled in his face and returned his salute, looking on
him with the eye of favour. Then he bade him draw near and sit
down before him and said to him, 'O Mohammed Ali, I wish thee to
tell me what befell thee last night, for it was rare and passing
strange.' 'Pardon, O Commander of the Faithful!' replied the
youth. 'Give me the handkerchief of immunity, that my trouble may
be appeased and my heart set at rest.' Quoth the Khalif, 'Thou
art safe from fear and trouble.' So the young man told him his
story from first to last, whereby the Khalif knew him to be a
lover and severed from his beloved and said to him, 'Wilt thou
that I restore her to thee?' 'This were of the bounty of the
Commander of the Faithful,' answered the youth and repeated the
following verses:

Kiss thou his finger-tips, for no mere fingers they, But keys to
all the goods by God to men assigned;
And praise his deeds no less, for no mere deeds are they, But
jewels to adorn the necks of humankind.

Thereupon the Khalif turned to Jaafer and said to him, 'Bring me
thy sister the lady Dunya.' 'I hear and obey,' answered he and
fetched her forthright. When she stood before the Khalif, he said
to her, 'Dost thou know who this is?' 'O Commander of the
Faithful,' answered she, 'how should women have knowledge of
men?' The Khalif smiled and said, 'O Dunya, this is thy beloved,
Mohammed ben Ali the jeweller. We are acquainted with his case,
for we have heard the whole story, from beginning to end, and
apprehended its inward and its outward; and it is no more hidden,
for all it was kept secret.' 'O Commander of the Faithful,'
rejoined she, 'this was written in the book of destiny. I crave
the forgiveness of the Most High God for that which I have done
and beseech thee to pardon me of thy favour.' At this the Khalif
laughed and summoning the Cadi and the witnesses, renewed the
marriage-contract between Dunya and her husband, whereby there
betided them the utmost of felicity and those who envied them
were mortified. Moreover, he made Mohammed Ali one of his boon-
companions, and they abode in joy and cheer and gladness, till
there came to them the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of


The Khalif Haroun er Reshid, being more than commonly restless
one night, sent for his Vizier and said to him, 'O Jaafer, I am
sore wakeful and heavy at heart to-night, and I desire of thee
what may cheer my spirit and ease me of my oppression.' 'O
Commander of the Faithful,' answered Jaafer, 'I have a friend, by
name Ali the Persian, who hath store of tales and pleasant
stories, such as lighten the heart and do away care.' 'Fetch him
to me,' said the Khalif. 'I hear and obey,' replied Jaafer and
going out from before him, sent for Ali the Persian and said to
him, 'The Commander of the Faithful calls for thee.' 'I hear and
obey,' answered Ali and followed the Vizier into the presence of
the Khalif, who bade him be seated and said to him, 'O Ali, my
heart is heavy within me this night and I hear that thou hast
great store of tales and anecdotes; so I desire of thee that thou
let me hear what will relieve my oppression and gladden my
melancholy.' 'O Commander of the Faithful,' said he, 'shall I
tell thee what I have seen with my eyes or what I have heard with
my ears?' 'An thou have seen aught [worth telling],' replied the
Khalif, 'let me hear that.' 'Know then, O Commander of the
Faithful,' said Ali, 'that some years ago I left this my native
city of Baghdad on a journey, having with me a boy who carried a
light wallet. Presently, we came to a certain city, where, as I
was buying and selling, a rascally thief of a Kurd fell on me and
seized my wallet, saying, "This is my bag, and all that is in it
is my property." Thereupon, "Ho, Muslims all," cried I, "deliver
me from the hand of the vilest of oppressors!" But they all said,
"Come, both of you, to the Cadi and submit yourselves to his
judgement." I agreed to this and we both presented ourselves
before the Cadi, who said, "What brings you hither and what is
your case?" Quoth I, "We are men at difference, who appeal to
thee and submit ourselves to thy judgement." "Which of you is the
complainant?" asked the Cadi. So the Kurd came forward and said,
"God preserve our lord the Cadi! Verily, this bag is my bag and
all that is in it is my property. It was lost from me and I found
it with this man." "When didst thou lose it?" asked the Cadi.
"But yesterday," replied the Kurd; "and I passed a sleepless
night by reason of its loss." "If it be thy bag," said the Cadi,
"tell me what is in it." Quoth the Kurd, "There were in my bag
two silver styles and eye-powders and a handkerchief, and I had
laid therein two gilt cups and two candlesticks. Moreover it
contained two tents and two platters and two hooks and a cushion
and two leather rugs and two ewers and a brass tray and two
basins and a cooking-pot and two water-jars and a ladle and a
sacking-needle and a she-cat and two bitches[FN#151] and a wooden
trencher and two sacks and two saddles and a gown and two fur
pelisses and a cow and two calves and a she-goat and two sheep
and an ewe and two lambs and two green pavilions and a camel and
two she-camels and a she-buffalo and two bulls and a lioness and
two lions and a she-bear and two foxes and a mattress and two
couches and an upper chamber and two saloons and a portico and
two ante-rooms and a kitchen with two doors and a company of
Kurds who will testify that the bag is mine." Then said the
Cadi to me, "And thou, what sayst thou?" So I came forward, O
Commander of the Faithful (and indeed the Kurd's speech had
bewildered me) and said, "God advance our lord the Cadi! There
was nothing in this my wallet, save a little ruined house and
another without a door and a dog-kennel and a boys' school and
youths playing dice and tents and tent-poles and the cities of
Bassora and Baghdad and the palace of Sheddad ben Aad[FN#152] and
a smith's forge and a fishing net and cudgels and pickets and
girls and boys and a thousand pimps, who will testify that the
bag is my bag." When the Kurd heard my words, he wept and wailed
and said, "O my lord the Cadi, my bag is known and what is in it
is renowned; therein are castles and citadels and cranes and
beasts of prey and men playing chess and draughts. Moreover, in
this my bag is a brood-mare and two colts and a stallion and two
blood-horses and two long lances and a lion and two hares and a
city and two villages and a courtezan and two sharking pimps and
a catamite and two gallows-birds and a blind man and two dogs and
a cripple and two lameters and a priest and two deacons and a
patriarch and two monks and a Cadi and two assessors, who will
testify that the bag is my bag." Quoth the Cadi to me, "And what
sayst thou, O Ali?" So, O Commander of the Faithful, being filled
with rage, I came forward and said, "God keep our lord the Cadi!
I had in this my wallet a coat of mail and a broadsword and
armouries and a thousand fighting rams and a sheep-fold and a
thousand barking dogs and gardens and vines and flowers and sweet
herbs and figs and apples and pictures and statues and flagons
and goblets and fair-faced slave-girls and singing-women and
marriage-feasts and tumult and clamour and great tracts of land
and brothers of success[FN#153] and a company of daybreak-riders,
with swords and spears and bows and arrows, and true friends and
dear ones and intimates and comrades and men imprisoned for
punishment and cup-companions and a drum and flutes and flags and
banners and boys and girls and brides, in all their wedding
bravery, and singing-girls and five Abyssinian women and three
Hindi and four women of Medina and a score of Greek girls and
half a hundred Turkish and threescore and ten Persian girls and
fourscore Kurd and fourscore and ten Georgian women and Tigris
and Euphrates and a fowling net and a flint and steel and Many-
Columned Irem[FN#154] and a thousand rogues and pimps and horse-
courses and stables and mosques and baths and a builder and a
carpenter and a plank and a nail and a black slave, with a pair
of recorders, and a captain and a caravan-leader and towns and
cities and a hundred thousand dinars and Cufa and Ambar[FN#155]
and twenty chests full of stuffs and twenty store-houses for
victual and Gaza and Askalon and from Damietta to Essouan and the
palace of Kisra Anoushirwan[FN#156] and the kingdom of Solomon
and from Wadi Numan[FN#157] to the land of Khorassan and Balkh
and Ispahan and from India to the Soudan. Therein also (may God
prolong the life of our lord the Cadi!) are doublets and cloths
and a thousand sharp razors to shave the Cadi's chin, except he
fear my resentment and adjudge the bag to be mine."

When the Cadi heard what I and the Kurd avouched, he was
confounded and said, "I see ye are none other than two pestilent
atheistical fellows, who make sport of Cadis and magistrates and
stand not in fear of reproach. Never did any tell or hear tell of
aught more extraordinary than that which ye pretend. By Allah,
from China to Shejreh umm Ghailan[FN#158] nor from Fars to the
Soudan, nor from Wadi Numan to Khorassan, ever was heard or
credited the like of what ye avouch! Is this bag a bottomless sea
or the Day of Resurrection, that shall gather together the just
and unjust?" Then he bade open the bag; so I opened it and
behold, there was in it bread and a lemon and cheese and olives.
So I threw it down before the Kurd and went away.'

When the Khalif heard Ali's story, he laughed till he fell
backward and made him a handsome present.

End of Vol. III.

Notes to Volume 3

[FN#1] It need hardly be remarked that Eastern stirrups are made
so to do duty as spurs.

[FN#2] i.e. The Seven Sleepers.

[FN#3] i.e. The birds of prey.

[FN#4] "O thou of the little stronghold." A sobriquet popularly
bestowed on the fox, even as we call him "Reynard."

[FN#5] These verses are full of plays upon words, which it is
impossible to render in a translation.

[FN#6] i.e. blood, like wine in colour.

[FN#7] The face.

[FN#8] The teeth.

[FN#9] The wine-cup.

[FN#10] Alluding to the Eastern practice of dying the hands with
henna in concentric bands.

[FN#11] The lips, likened to the plum of the jujube-tree.

[FN#12] The teeth.

[FN#13] A well-known metaphor for the brilliant whiteness of the
face shining through the black hair.

[FN#14] The lips.

[FN#15] The teeth.

[FN#16] Mejnoun, the well-known lover of Eastern romance.

[FN#17] These verses apparently relate to Aboulhusn, but it is
possible that they may be meant to refer to Shemsennehar, as the
masculine is constantly used for the feminine in Oriental love-

[FN#18] As that of a martyr. See Vol. II. p. 25, note 2. {Vol. 2,

[FN#19] Two fallen angels appointed to tempt men by teaching them
the art of magic.

[FN#20] An idol or idols of the Arabs before Mohammed.

[FN#21] The browlocks, from their shape, are commonly likened by
Eastern poets to scorpions.

[FN#22] Three stars so called in the Great Bear.

[FN#23] or recite.

[FN#24] There are three orders of Jinn: the upper or inhabitants
of the air, the lower or inhabitants of the earth and the divers
or inhabitants of the waters.

[FN#25] Lit. lean and fat.

[FN#26] Syn. eye (nazir).

[FN#27] Syn. eyebrow (hajib).

[FN#28] A play upon words turning upon the literal meaning
("auspicious full moons") of the two names of women Budour and

[FN#29] Ring-mail.

[FN#30] i.e. Orvietan or Venice treacle, the well-known universal
remedy of the middle ages, alluded to by Chaucer in the words,
"And Christ that is unto all ills triacle."

[FN#31] Names of women.

[FN#32] Women's name.

[FN#33] Women's name.

[FN#34] i.e. a woman.

[FN#35] Women's names.

[FN#36] Wine.

[FN#37] i.e. by way of ornament.

[FN#38] The well-known semi-legendary sage and fabulist.

[FN#39] Playing upon his own name, Kemerezzeman, which means,
"Moon of the time or of fortune." Budour means "Full moons."

[FN#40] Siwaka, a toothstick, (acc.) means also "other than

[FN#41] Araka, a capparis-tree, (acc.) means also, "I see thee."
Toothsticks are made of
the wood of this tree.

[FN#42] A treasury of money is a thousand purses or about L5,000.

[FN#43] This expression is of course metaphorical. Cf. Solomon's
Song passim.

[FN#44] i.e. gum tragacanth.

[FN#45] See post p. 317. {see Vol. 3. Maan Ben Zaideh and the
Three Girls, FN#121.}

[FN#46] The mansuetude of the Khalif Muawiyeh, the founder of the
Ommiade dynasty, is a proverb among the Arabs, though hardly to
be reconciled with the accredited records of his life and

[FN#47] Alluding, for the sake of metaphor, to the months of
purification which, according to the Muslim ceremonial law, must
be accomplished by a divorced woman, before she can marry again.

[FN#48] A divorce three times pronounced cannot be revoked.

[FN#49] Fabulous peoples mentioned in the Koran.

[FN#50] Said to be so called, because they attract sparrows
(asafir), but it seems to me more probable that the name denotes
the colour of the fruit and is derived from usfur, safflower.

[FN#51] Koran, xxxiii. 38.

[FN#52] Met. anus.

[FN#53] Met. cunnus.

[FN#54] Kibleh, the point of the compass to which one turns in
prayer. Mecca is the Kibleh of the Muslims, even as Jerusalem
that of the Jews and Christians. The meaning of the text is

[FN#55] i.e. of God.--Koran, li. 9.

[FN#56] The word (futouh) translated "openings" may also be
rendered "victories" or "benefits."

[FN#57] Cf. Aristophanes, Lysistrata and Ecclesiazusae passim.

[FN#58] An audacious parody of the Koran, applied ironically,
"And the pious work God shall raise up."--Koran, xxxv. 11.

[FN#59] Lit. The chapter of clearing (oneself from belief in any
but God), or Unity, Koran, cxii. It ends with the words, "There
is none like unto Him."

[FN#60] i.e. but for the soul that animated them.

[FN#61] The word "nights" (more commonly "days," sometimes also
"days and nights," as in the verses immediately following) is
constantly used in the sense of "fortune" or "fate" by the poets
of the East.

[FN#62] Abdallah ibn ez Zubeir revolted (A.D. 680) against Yezid
(second Khalif of the Ommiade dynasty) and was proclaimed Khalif
at Mecca, where he maintained himself till A.D. 692, when he was
killed in the siege of that town by the famous Hejjaj, general of
Abdulmelik, the fifth Ommiade Khalif.

[FN#63] The allusion here appears to be to the burning of part of
Mecca, including the Temple and Kaabeh, during the (unsuccessful)
siege by Hussein, A.D. 683.

[FN#64] Three Muslim sectaries (Kharejites), considering the
Khalif Ali (Mohammed's son-in-law), Muawiyeh (founder of the
Ommiade dynasty) and Amr (or Amrou), the conqueror of Egypt, as
the chief authors of the intestine discords which then (A.D. 661
) ravaged Islam, conspired to assassinate them; but only
succeeded in killing Ali, Muawiyeh escaping with a wound and the
fanatic charged with the murder of Amr slaying Kharijeh, the
chief of the police at Cairo, by mistake, in his stead. The
above verses are part of a famous but very obscure elegy on the
downfall of one of the Muslim dynasties in Spain, composed in the
twelfth century by Ibn Abdoun el Andalousi, one of the most
celebrated of the Spanish Arabic poets.

[FN#65] i.e. fortune. The word dunya (world) is constantly used
in poetry to signify "fortune" or "the fortune of this world."

[FN#66] This line is a characteristic example of the antithetical
conceits so common in Oriental poetry. The meaning is, "My grief
makes all I behold seem black to me, whilst my tears have washed
out all the colour from my eyes."

[FN#67] i.e. the tomb.

[FN#68] The wood of which makes a peculiarly fierce and lasting

[FN#69] Koran iv. 38.

[FN#70] Most happy.

[FN#71] Wretched.

[FN#72] Most happy.

[FN#73] The gift of God. The h in Nimeh becomes t before a vowel.

[FN#74] i.e. happiness.

[FN#75] Num is synonymous with Saad. The purpose of the change
of name was to make the little one's name correspond with that of
Nimeh, which is derived from the same root.

[FN#76] i.e. to any one, as we should say, "to Tom, Dick or

[FN#77] i.e. to any one, as we should say, "to Tom, Dick or

[FN#78] El Hejjaj ben Yousuf eth Thekefi, a famous statesman and
soldier of the seventh and eighth centuries. He was governor of
Chaldaea under the fifth and sixth Ommiade Khalifs and was
renowned for his cruelty; but appears nevertheless to have been a
prudent and capable administrator, who probably used no more
rigour than was necessary to restrain the proverbially turbulent
populations of Bassora and Cufa. Most of the anecdotes of his
brutality and tyranny, some of which will be found in this
collection, are, in all probability, apocryphal.

[FN#79] Wool is the distinctive wear of Oriental devotees.

[FN#80] Koran xxv. 70.

[FN#81] Of the Koran.

[FN#82] This verse contains a series of jeux-de-mots, founded
upon the collocation of the three proper names, Num, Suada and
Juml, with the third person feminine singular, preterite-present,
fourth conjugation, of their respective verb-roots, i.e. idka
anamet Num, if Num vouchsafe, etc., etc.

[FN#83] Nimeh.

[FN#84] "And he (Jacob) turned from them, saying, 'Woe is me for
Joseph!' And his eyes grew white for grief ... (Quoth Joseph to
his brethren) 'Take this my shirt and throw it over my father's
face and he will recover his sight' ... So, when the messenger
of glad tidings came (to Jacob), he threw it (the shirt) over his
face and he was restored to sight."--Koran xii. 84, 93, 96.

[FN#85] Hemzeh and Abbas were uncles of Mohammed. The Akil here
alluded to is apparently a son of the Khalif Ali, who deserted
his father and joined the usurper Muawiyeh, the founder of the
Ommiade dynasty.

[FN#86] One of the numerous quack aphrodisiacs current in the
middle ages, as with us cock's cullions and other grotesque

[FN#87] To conjure the evil eye.

[FN#88] i.e. him of the moles.

[FN#89] Alluding to the redness of his cheeks, as if they had
been flushed with wine. The passage may be construed, "As he were
a white slave, with cheeks reddened by wine." The Turkish and
other white slaves were celebrated for their beauty.

[FN#90] As a protection against the evil eye. We may perhaps,
however, read, "Ask pardon of God!", i.e. for your unjust

[FN#91] See note, post, p. 299. {see Vol. 3, FN#114}

[FN#92] i.e. of the caravan.

[FN#93] A famous Muslim saint of the twelfth century and founder
of the four great orders of dervishes. He is buried at Baghdad.

[FN#94] Koran xiii. 14.

[FN#95] Another well-known saint.

[FN#96] i.e. He engaged to do somewhat, undertaking upon oath in
case of default to divorce his wife by pronouncing the triple
formula of divorcement, and she therefore became divorced, by
operation of law, on his failure to keep his engagement.

[FN#97] The 36th chapter of the Koran.

[FN#98] or "herself."

[FN#99] or "myself."

[FN#100] This passage is full of double-entendres, the meaning of
most of which is obvious, but others are so obscure and
farfetched as to defy explanation.

[FN#101] The raven is the symbol of separation.

[FN#102] One of the names of God (Breslau. The two other editions
have it, "O David!"). It is the custom of the Arabs, as will
appear in others of these tales, to represent inarticulate music
(such as that of birds and instruments) as celebrating the
praises of God.

[FN#103] lit. a fan.

[FN#104] One of the most celebrated, as well as the most witty
and licentious, of Arab poets. He was one of Haroun er Reshid's
boon-companions and died early in the ninth century.

[FN#105] See note, p. 274.{see Vol. 3, FN#102}

[FN#106] The above appears to be the meaning of this somewhat
obscure passage; but we may perhaps translate it as follows: "May
God preserve (us) from the mischief of he Commander of the
Faithful!" "O Vizier," answered the Khalif, "the mischief is
passing great."

[FN#107] Meaning that the robbery must have been committed by
some inmate of the palace.

[FN#108] Amir. Thus the Breslau edition; the two others give
Amin, i.e. one who is trusted or in a position of trust.

[FN#109] According to Mohammedan tradition, it was Ishmael, not
Isaac, whom Abraham was commanded to sacrifice.

[FN#110] Apparently a sort of blackmail levied upon merchants and
others by the soldiers who protected them against the Bedouins.

[FN#111] A village on the Gulf of Scanderoon.

[FN#112] Or perhaps dinars, the coin not being specified.

[FN#113] Or sectary of Ali. The Shiyaites did not acknowledge the
first three Khalifs Abou Bekr, Omar, and Othman, and were wont to
write their names upon their heels, in token of contempt. The
Sunnites are the orthodox Muslims, who accept the actual order of

[FN#114] An open-fronted reception-room, generally on the first
floor and giving on the interior court of the house.

[FN#115] Instead of "rank of Amir," we should perhaps read

[FN#116] i.e. It is not enough. See Vol. II, p. 74, note. {see
Vol. 2, FN#29}

[FN#117] Confessional?

[FN#118] L500.

[FN#119] The Mohammedans accuse the Jews, as well as the
Christians, of falsifying their sacred books, so as to suppress
the mention of Mohammed.

[FN#120] A very famous Arab chieftain of the latter part of the
sixth century, especially renowned for the extravagance with
which he practiced the patriarchal virtues of generosity and
hospitality. He died a few years after Mohammed's birth.

[FN#121] Another famous Oriental type of generosity. He was a
celebrated soldier and statesman of the eighth century and stood
in high favour with the Ommiade Khalifs, as also (after the
change of dynasty) with those of the house of Abbas.

[FN#122] Apparently meaning the upper part of the carpet whereon
the Amir's chair was set. It is the place of honour and has a
peculiar sanctity among the Arabs, it being a breach of good
manners to tread upon it (or indeed upon any part of the carpet)
with shodden feet.

[FN#123] Apparently Toledo.

[FN#124] Sixth Khalif of the Ommiade dynasty, A.D. 705-716.

[FN#125] Or perhaps "of that which is due to men of worth."

[FN#126] It is the invariable custom (and indeed the duty) of
every Muslim to salute his co-religionist with the words "Peace
be on thee!" upon first accosting him.

[FN#127] He having then returned to his palace.

[FN#128] i.e. of life.

[FN#129] Lit. to dispute about or defend itself, Koran xvi 112.

[FN#130] The Rages of the Apocrypha; a great city of Persia,
formerly its capital, but now a mere heap of ruins in the
neighbourhood of Teheran.

[FN#131] Ibrahim ben El Mehdi was one of the most celebrated
musicians and wits of his day. "He was a man of great merit and
a perfect scholar, possessed of an open heart and a generous
hand; his like had never before been seen among the sons of the
Khalifs, none of whom spoke with more propriety and elegance or
composed verses with greater ability." (Ibn Khellikan.)

[FN#132] Ibrahim of Mosul, the greatest musician of the time, a
boon-companion and special favourite of Haroun er Reshid and his

[FN#133] Lit. the lord of the blood-revenge, i.e. the person
entitled to exact the blood-wit.

[FN#134] His Vizier.

[FN#135] Joseph to his brethren, Koran xii. 92.

[FN#136] Playing upon the literal meaning, "blood-sucker," of the
word kejjam, cupper or barber-surgeon.

[FN#137] The Arabic word is el Medineh, lit. the city. Perhaps
the narrator meant to compare the citadel to the actual city of

[FN#138] A well-known theologian.

[FN#139] Koran lxxxix. 6, 7.

[FN#140] According to the Breslau edition, it was the prophet
Hond who, being sent of God to exhort Sheddad and his people to
embrace the true faith, promised them Paradise in the next world,
as a reward, describing it as above. Quoth Sheddad, on hearing
this description, "I will build me in this world the like of this
Paradise and I have no need of that thou promisest me."

[FN#141] i.e. the prophet Houd (Heber).

[FN#142] Son of Ibrahim el Mausili and still more famous as a
musician. He was also an excellent poet and a great favourite
with the Khalif Mamoun.

[FN#143] Mamoun's own Vizier, a man of great wealth and

[FN#144] Witout the town.

[FN#145] Medewwerek, lit. "something round." This word generally
means a small round cushion; but, in the present instance, a gong
is evidently referred to.

[FN#146] The Prophet's uncle, from whom the Abbaside Khalifs were

[FN#147] Lit. "fugleman," i.e. "leader of the people at prayer,"
a title bestowed upon the Khalifs, in recognition of their
spiritual headship.

[FN#148] Dies albo lapide notanda.

[FN#149] Lit. Kaabeh.

[FN#150] Referring to the station in the Temple of Mecca, known
as the Mecam or standing-place of Abraham. The wish inferred is
that the Khalif's court may be as favourite a place of reverent
resort as the station in question.

[FN#151] Or (quaere) a pair of forceps.

[FN#152] See ante, p. 335. {see Vol. 3, FN#139}

[FN#153] i.e. thieves.

[FN#154] See ante, p. 337. { Many-Columned Irem, at the ...}

[FN#155] A city on the Euphrates, about 40 miles west of Baghdad.

[FN#156] The famous King of Persia.

[FN#157] In Arabia.

[FN#158] Lit. "a thorn-acacia tree." Quaere, the name of a town
in Egypt?


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