The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 1
Richard F. Burton

Part 7 out of 9

Shaykh and am thus called to distinguish me from my six brothers.
I am a man of immense learning whilst, as for the gravity of my
understanding, the wiliness of my wits and the spareness of my
speech, there is no end of them; and my calling is that of a
barber. I went out early on yesterday morning and saw these men
making for a skiff; and, fancying they were bound for a marriage
feast, I joined them and mixed with them. After a while up came
the watch and guardians of the peace, who put chains round their
necks and round mine with the rest; but, in the excess of my
courtesy, I held my peace and spake not a word; nor was this
other but generosity on my part. They brought us into thy
presence, and thou gavest an order to smite the necks of the ten;
yet did I not make myself known to thee and remained silent
before the Sworder, purely of my great generosity and courtesy
which led me to share with them in their death. But all my life
long have I dealt thus nobly with mankind, and they requite me
the foulest and evillest requital!" When the Caliph heard my
words and knew that I was a man of exceeding generosity and of
very few words, one in whom is no forwardness (as this youth
would have it whom I rescued from mortal risk and who hath so
scurvily repaid me), he laughed with excessive laughter till he
fell upon his back. Then said he to me, "O Silent Man, do thy six
brothers favour thee in wisdom and knowledge and spareness of
speech?" I replied, "Never were they like me! Thou puttest
reproach upon me, O Commander of the Faithful, and it becomes
thee not to even my brothers with me; for, of the abundance of
their speech and their deficiency of courtesy and gravity, each
one of them hath gotten some maim or other. One is a monocular,
another palsied, a third stone blind, a fourth cropped of ears
and nose and a fifth shorn of both lips, while the sixth is a
hunchback and a cripple. And conceive not, O Commander of the
Faithful, that I am prodigal of speech; but I must perforce
explain to thee that I am a man of greater worth and fewer words
than any of them. From each one of my brothers hangs a tale of
how he came by his bodily defect and these I will relate to
thee." So the Caliph gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his First Brother.

Know then, O Commander of the Faithful, that my first brother, Al
Bakbuk, the Prattler, is a Hunchback who took to tailoring in
Baghdad, and he used to sew in a shop hired from a man of much
wealth, who dwelt over the shop,[FN#635] and there was also a
flour-mill in the basement. One day as my brother, the Hunchback,
was sitting in his shop a tailoring, he chanced to raise his head
and saw a lady like the rising full moon at a balconied window of
his landlord's house, engaged in looking out at the passers
by.[FN#636] When my brother beheld her, his heart was taken with
love of her and he passed his whole day gazing at her and
neglected his tailoring till eventide. Next morning he opened his
shop and sat him down to sew; but, as often as he stitched a
stitch, he looked to the window and saw her as before; and his
passion and infatuation for her increased. On the third day as he
was sitting in his usual place gazing on her, she caught sight of
him and, perceiving that he had been captivated with love of her,
laughed in his face[FN#637] and he smiled back at her. Then she
disappeared and presently sent her slave girl to him with a
bundle containing a piece of red cowered silk. The handmaid
accosted him and said, "My lady salameth to thee and desireth
thee, of thy skill and good will, to fashion for her a shift of
this piece and to sew it handsomely with thy best sewing. He
replied, "Hearkening and obedience"; and shaped for her a chemise
and finished sewing it the same day. When the morning morrowed
the girl came back and said to him, "My lady salameth to thee and
asks how thou hast passed yesternight; for she hath not tasted
sleep by reason of her heart being taken up with thee. Then she
laid before him a piece of yellow satin and said, My lady biddeth
thee cut her two pair of petticoat trousers out of this piece and
sew them this very day." "Hearkening and obedience!' replied he,
"greet her for me with many greetings and say to her, Thy slave
is obedient to thine order; so command him as thou wilt." Then he
applied himself to cutting out and worked hard at sewing the
trousers; and after an hour the lady appeared at the lattice and
saluted him by signs, now casting down her eyes, then smiling in
his face, and he began to assure himself that he would soon make
a conquest. She did not let him stir till he had finished the two
pair of trousers, when she with drew and sent the handmaid to
whom he delivered them; and she took them and went her ways. When
it was night, he threw himself on his carpet bed, and lay tossing
about from side to side till morning, when he rose and sat down
in his place. Presently the damsel came to him and said, "My
master calleth for thee." Hearing these words he feared with
exceeding fear; but the slave girl, seeing his affright, said to
him, "No evil is meant to thee: naught but good awaiteth thee. My
lady would have thee make acquaintance with my lord." So my
brother the tailor, rejoicing with great joy, went with her; and
when he came into the presence of his landlord, the lady's
husband, he kissed the ground before him, and the master of the
house returned his greeting and gave him a great piece of linen
saying, "Shape me shirts out of this stuff and sew them well;"
and my brother answered, "To hear is to obey." Thereupon he fell
to work at once, snipping, shaping and sewing till he had
finished twenty shirts by supper time, without stopping to taste
food. The house master asked him, "How much the wage for this?";
and he answered, "Twenty dirhams." So the gentleman cried out to
the slave girl, "Bring me twenty dirhams," and my brother spake
not a word; but the lady signed, "Take nothing from him;'
whereupon my brother said, "By Allah I will take naught from thy
hand. And he carried off his tailor's gear and returned to his
shop, although he was destitute even to a red cent.[FN#638] Then
he applied himself to do their work; eating, in his zeal and
diligence, but a bit of bread and drinking only a little water
for three days. At the end of this time came the handmaid and
said to him, "What hast thou done?" Quoth he, "They are
finished," and carried the shirts to the lady's husband, who
would have paid him his hire: but he said, "I will take nothing,"
for fear of her and, returning to his shop, passed the night
without sleep because of his hunger. Now the dame had informed
her husband how the case stood (my brother knowing naught of
this); and the two had agreed to make him tailor for nothing, the
better to mock and laugh at him. Next morning he went to his
shop, and, as he sat there, the handmaid came to him and said,
"Speak with my master." So he accompanied her to the husband who
said to him, "I wish thee to cut out for me five long sleeved
robes."[FN#639] So he cut them out[FN#640] and took the stuff and
went away. Then he sewed them and carried them to the gentleman,
who praised his sewing and offered him a purse of silver. He put
out his hand to take it, but the lady signed to him from behind
her husband not to do so, and he replied, "O my lord, there is no
hurry, we have time enough for this." Then he went forth from the
house meaner and meeker than a donkey, for verily five things
were gathered together in him viz.: love, beggary, hunger,
nakedness and hard labour. Nevertheless he heartened himself with
the hope of gaining the lady's favours. When he had made an end
of all their jobs, they played him another trick and married him
to their slave girl; but, on the night when he thought to go in
to her, they said to him, "Lie this night in the mill; and to
morrow all will go well." My brother concluded that there was
some good cause for this and nighted alone in the mill. Now the
husband had set on the miller to make the tailor turn the mill:
so when night was half spent the man came in to him and began to
say, "This bull of ours hath be come useless and standeth still
instead of going round: he will not turn the mill this night, and
yet we have great store of corn to be ground. However, I'll yoke
him perforce and make him finish grinding it before morning, as
the folk are impatient for their flour." So he filled the hoppers
with grain and, going up to my brother with a rope in his hand,
tied it round his neck and said to him, "Gee up! Round with the
mill! thou, O bull, wouldst do nothing but grub and stale and
dung!" Then he took a whip and laid it on the shoulders and
calves of my brother, who began to howl and bellow; but none came
to help him; and he was forced to grind the wheat till hard upon
dawn, when the house master came in and, seeing my brother still
tethered to the yoke and the man flogging him, went away. At day
break the miller returned home and left him still yoked and half
dead; and soon after in came the slave girl who unbound him, and
said to him, "I and my lady are right sorry for what hath
happened and we have borne thy grief with thee." But he had no
tongue wherewith to answer her from excess of beating and mill
turning. Then he retired to his lodging and behold, the clerk who
had drawn up the marriage deed came to him[FN#641] and saluted
him, saying, "Allah give thee long life! May thy espousal be
blessed! This face telleth of pleasant doings and dalliance and
kissing and clipping from dusk to dawn." "Allah grant the liar no
peace, O thou thousandfold cuckold!", my brother replied, "by
Allah, I did nothing but turn the mill in the place of the bull
all night till morning!" "Tell me thy tale," quoth he; and my
brother recounted what had befallen him and he said, "Thy star
agrees not with her star; but an thou wilt I can alter the
contract for thee," adding, "'Ware lest another cheat be not in
store for thee." And my brother answered him, "See if thou have
not another contrivance." Then the clerk left him and he sat in
his shop, looking for some one to bring him a job whereby he
might earn his day's bread. Presently the handmaid came to him
and said, "Speak with my lady." "Begone, O my good girl," replied
he, "there shall be no more dealings between me and thy lady."
The handmaid returned to her mistress and told her what my
brother had said and presently she put her head out of the
window, weeping and saying, "Why, O my beloved, are there to be
no more dealings 'twixt me and thee?" But he made her no answer.
Then she wept and conjured him, swearing that all which had
befallen him in the mill was not sanctioned by her and that she
was innocent of the whole matter. When he looked upon her beauty
and loveliness and heard the sweetness of her speech, the sorrow
which had possessed him passed from his heart; he accepted her
excuse and he rejoiced in her sight. So he saluted her and talked
with her and sat tailoring awhile, after which the handmaid came
to him and said, "My mistress greeteth thee and informeth thee
that her husband purposeth to lie abroad this night in the house
of some intimate friends of his; so, when he is gone, do thou
come to us and spend the night with my lady in delightsomest
joyance till the morning." Now her husband had asked her, "How
shall we manage to turn him away from thee?"; and she answered,
"Leave me to play him another trick and make him a laughing stock
for all the town." But my brother knew naught of the malice of
women. As soon as it was dusk, the slave girl came to him and
carried him to the house, and when the lady saw him she said to
him, "By Allah, O my lord, I have been longing exceedingly for
thee." "By Allah," cried he, "kiss me quick before thou give me
aught else."[FN#642] Hardly had he spoken, when the lady's
husband came in from the next room[FN#643] and seized him,
saying, "By Allah, I will not let thee go, till I deliver thee to
the chief of the town watch." My brother humbled himself to him;
but he would not listen to him and carried him before the Prefect
who gave him an hundred lashes with a whip and, mounting him on a
camel, promenaded him round about the city, whilst the guards
proclaimed aloud, "This is his reward who violateth the Harims of
honourable men!" Moreover, he fell off the camel and broke his
leg and so became lame. Then the Prefect banished him from the
city; and he went forth unknowing whither he should wend; but I
heard of him and fearing for him went out after him and brought
him back secretly to the city and restored him to health and took
him into my house where he still liveth. The Caliph laughed at my
story and said, "Thou hast done well, O Samit, O Silent Man, O
spare of speech!"; and he bade me take a present and go away. But
I said, "I will accept naught of thee except I tell thee what
befell all my other brothers; and do not think me a man of many
words." So the Caliph gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his Second Brother.

Know, O Commander of the Faithful, that my second brother's name
was Al-Haddar, that is the Babbler, and he was the paralytic. Now
it happened to him one day, as he was going about his business,
that an old woman accosted him and said, "Stop a little, my good
man, that I may tell thee of somewhat which, if it be to thy
liking, thou shalt do for me and I will pray Allah to give thee
good of it!" My brother stopped and she went on, "I will put thee
in the way of a certain thing, so thou not be prodigal of
speech." "On with thy talk," quoth he; and she, "What sayest thou
to handsome quarters and a fair garden with flowing waters,
flowers blooming, and fruit growing, and old wine going and a
pretty young face whose owner thou mayest embrace from dark till
dawn? If thou do whatso I bid thee thou shalt see something
greatly to thy advantage." "And is all this in the world?" asked
my brother; and she answered, "Yes, and it shall be thine, so
thou be reasonable and leave idle curiosity and many words, and
do my bidding." "I will indeed, O my lady," said he, "how is it
thou hast preferred me in this matter before all men and what is
it that so much pleaseth thee in me?" Quoth she, "Did I not bid
thee be spare of speech? Hold thy peace and follow me. Know, that
the young lady, to whom I shall carry thee, loveth to have her
own way and hateth being thwarted and all who gainsay; so, if
thou humour her, thou shalt come to thy desire of her." And my
brother said, "I will not cross her in anything." Then she went
on and my brother followed her, an hungering after what she
described to him till they entered a fine large house, handsome
and choicely furnished, full of eunuchs and servants and showing
signs of prosperity from top to bottom. And she was carrying him
to the upper story when the people of the house said to him,
"What dost thou here?" But the old woman answered them, "Hold
your peace and trouble him not: he is a workman and we have
occasion for him." Then she brought him into a fine great
pavilion, with a garden in its midst, never eyes saw a fairer;
and made him sit upon a handsome couch. He had not sat long, be
fore he heard a loud noise and in came a troop of slave girls
surrounding a lady like the moon on the night of its fullest.
When he saw her, he rose up and made an obeisance to her,
whereupon she welcomed him and bade him be seated. So he sat down
and she said to him, "Allah advance thee to honour! Is all well
with thee?" "O my lady," he answered, "all with me is right
well." Then she bade bring in food, and they set before her
delicate viands; so she sat down to eat, making a show of
affection to my brother and jesting with him, though all the
while she could not refrain from laughing; but as often as he
looked at her, she signed towards her handmaidens as though she
were laughing at them. My brother (the ass!) understood nothing;
but, in the excess of his ridiculous passion, he fancied that the
lady was in love with him and that she would soon grant him his
desire. When they had done eating, they set on the wine and there
came in ten maidens like moons, with lutes ready strung in their
hands, and fell to singing with full voices, sweet and sad,
whereupon delight gat hold upon him and he took the cup from the
lady's hands and drank it standing. Then she drank a cup of wine
and my brother (still standing) said to her "Health," and bowed
to her. She handed him another cup and he drank it off, when she
slapped him hard on the nape of his neck.[FN#644] Upon this my
brother would have gone out of the house in anger; but the old
woman followed him and winked to him to return. So he came back
and the lady bade him sit and he sat down without a word. Then
she again slapped him on the nape of his neck; and the second
slapping did not suffice her, she must needs make all her
handmaidens also slap and cuff him, while he kept saying to the
old woman, "I never saw aught nicer than this." She on her side
ceased not exclaiming, "Enough, enough, I conjure thee, O my
mistress!"; but the women slapped him till he well nigh swooned
away. Presently my brother rose and went out to obey a call of
nature, but the old woman overtook him, and said, "Be patient a
little and thou shalt win to thy wish." "How much longer have I
to wait," my brother replied, "this slapping hath made me feel
faint." "As soon as she is warm with wine," answered she, "thou
shalt have thy desire." So he returned to his place and sat down,
where upon all the handmaidens stood up and the lady bade them
perfume him with pastiles and besprinkle his face with rose-
water. Then said she to him, "Allah advance thee to honour! Thou
hast entered my house and hast borne with my conditions, for
whoso thwarteth me I turn him away, and whoso is patient hath his
desire." "O mistress mine," said he, "I am thy slave and in the
hollow of thine hand!" "Know, then," continued she, "that Allah
hath made me passionately fond of frolic; and whoso falleth in
with my humour cometh by whatso he wisheth." Then she ordered her
maidens to sing with loud voices till the whole company was
delighted; after which she said to one of them, "Take thy lord,
and do what is needful for him and bring him back to me
forthright." So the damsel took my brother (and he not knowing
what she would do with him); but the old woman overtook him and
said, "Be patient; there remaineth but little to do." At this his
face brightened and he stood up before the lady while the old
woman kept saying, "Be patient; thou wilt now at once win to thy
wish!"; till he said, "Tell me what she would have the maiden do
with me?" "Nothing but good," replied she, "as I am thy
sacrifice! She wisheth only to dye thy eyebrows and pluck out thy
mustachios." Quoth he, "As for the dyeing of my eye brows, that
will come off with washing,[FN#645] but for the plucking out of
my mustachios, that indeed is a somewhat painful process." "Be
cautious how thou cross her," cried the old woman; "for she hath
set her heart on thee." So my brother patiently suffered her to
dye his eyebrows and pluck out his mustachios, after which the
maiden returned to her mistress and told her. Quoth she
"Remaineth now only one other thing to be done; thou must shave
his beard and make him a smooth o' face."[FN#646] So the maiden
went back and told him what her mistress had bidden her do; and
my brother (the blockhead!) said to her, "How shall I do what
will disgrace me before the folk?" But the old woman said, "She
would do on this wise only that thou mayst be as a beardless
youth and that no hair be left on thy face to scratch and prick
her delicate cheeks; for indeed she is passionately in love with
thee. So be patient and thou shalt attain thine object." My
brother was patient and did her bidding and let shave off his
beard and, when he was brought back to the lady, lo! he appeared
dyed red as to his eyebrows, plucked of both mustachios, shorn of
his beard, rouged on both cheeks. At first she was affrighted at
him; then she made mockery of him and, laughing till she fell
upon her back, said, "O my lord, thou hast indeed won my heart by
thy good nature!" Then she conjured him, by her life, to stand up
and dance, and he arose, and capered about, and there was not a
cushion in the house but she threw it at his head, and in like
manner did all her women who also kept pelting him with oranges
and lemons and citrons till he fell down senseless from the
cuffing on the nape of the neck, the pillowing and the fruit
pelting. "Now thou hast attained thy wish," said the old woman
when he came round; "there are no more blows in store for thee
and there remaineth but one little thing to do. It is her wont,
when she is in her cups, to let no one have her until she put off
her dress and trousers and remain stark naked.[FN#647] Then she
will bid thee doff thy clothes and run; and she will run before
thee as if she were flying from thee; and do thou follow her from
place to place till thy prickle stands at fullest point, when she
will yield to thee;"[FN#648] adding, "Strip off thy clothes at
once." So he rose, well nigh lost in ecstasy and, doffing his
raiment, showed himself mother naked.--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Thirty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the
old woman said to the Barber's second brother, "Doff thy
clothes," he rose, well nigh lost in ecstasy; and, stripping off
his raiment, showed himself mother naked. Whereupon the lady
stripped also and said to my brother, "If thou want anything run
after me till thou catch me." Then she set out at a run and he
ran after her while she rushed into room after room and rushed
out of room after room, my brother scampering after her in a rage
of desire like a veritable madman, with yard standing terribly
tall. After much of this kind she dashed into a darkened place,
and he dashed after her; but suddenly he trod upon a yielding
spot, which gave way under his weight; and, before he was aware
where he was, he found himself in the midst of a crowded market,
part of the bazaar of the leather sellers who were crying the
prices of skins and hides and buying and selling. When they saw
him in his plight, naked, with standing yard, shorn of beard and
mustachios, with eyebrows dyed red, and cheeks ruddied with
rouge, they shouted and clapped their hands at him, and set to
flogging him with skins upon his bare body till a swoon came over
him. Then they threw him on the back of an ass and carried him to
the Chief of Police. Quoth the Chief, "What is this?" Quoth they,
"This fellow fell suddenly upon us out of the Wazir's
house[FN#649] in this state." So the Prefect gave him an hundred
lashes and then banished him from Baghdad. However I went out
after him and brought him back secretly into the city and made
him a daily allowance for his living: although, were it not for
my generous humour, I could not have put up with the like of him.
Then the Caliph gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his Third Brother.

My third brother's name was Al-Fakik, the Gabbler, who was blind.
One day Fate and Fortune drove him to a fine large house, and he
knocked at the door, desiring speech of its owner that he might
beg somewhat of him. Quoth the master of the house, "Who is at
the door?" But my brother spake not a word and presently he heard
him repeat with a loud voice, "Who is this?" Still he made no
answer and immediately heard the master walk to the door and open
it and say, "What dost thou want?" My brother answered "Something
for Allah Almighty's sake."[FN#650] "Art thou blind?" asked the
man, and my brother answered "Yes." Quoth the other, "Stretch me
out thy hand." So my brother put out his hand thinking that he
would give him something; but he took it and, drawing him into
the house, carried him up from stair to stair till they reached
the terrace on the house top, my brother thinking the while that
he would surely give him something of food or money. Then he
asked my brother, "What dost thou want, O blind man?" and he
answered, "Something for the Almighty's sake." "Allah open for
thee some other door!" "O thou! why not say so when I was below
stairs?" "O cadger, why not answer me when I first called to
thee?" "And what meanest thou to do for me now?" "There is
nothing in the house to give thee." "Then take me down the
stair." "The path is before thee." So my brother rose and made
his way downstairs, till he came within twenty steps of the door,
when his foot slipped and he rolled to the bottom and broke his
head. Then he went out, unknowing whither to turn, and presently
fell in with two other blind men, companions of his, who said to
him, "What didst thou gain to day?" He told them what had
befallen him and added, "O my brothers, I wish to take some of
the money in my hands and provide myself with it." Now the master
of the house had followed him and was listening to what they
said; but neither my brother nor his comrades knew of this. So my
brother went to his lodging and sat down to await his companions,
and the house owner entered after him without being perceived.
When the other blind men arrived, my brother said to them, "Bolt
the door and search the house lest any stranger have followed
us." The man, hearing this, caught hold of a cord that hung from
the ceiling and clung to it, whilst they went round about the
house and searched but found no one. So they came back, and,
sitting beside my brother, brought out their money which they
counted and lo! it was twelve thousand dirhams. Each took what he
wanted and they buried the rest in a corner of the room. Then
they set on food and sat down, to eat. Presently my brother,
hearing a strange pair of jaws munching by his side,[FN#651] said
to his friends, "There is a stranger amongst us;" and, putting
forth his hand, caught hold of that of the house master.
Thereupon all fell on him and beat him;[FN#652] and when tired of
belabouring him they shouted, "O ye Moslems! a thief is come in
to us, seeking to take our money!" A crowd gathered around them,
whereupon the intruder hung on to them; and complained with them
as they complained, and, shutting his eyes like them, so that
none might doubt his blindness, cried out, "O Moslems, I take
refuge with Allah and the Governor, for I have a matter to make
known to him!" Suddenly up came the watch and, laying hands on
the whole lot (my brother being amongst them), drove them[FN#653]
to the Governor's who set them before him and asked, "What news
with you?" Quoth the intruder, "Look and find out for thyself,
not a word shall be wrung from us save by torture, so begin by
beating me and after me beat this man our leader."[FN#654] And he
pointed to my brother. So they threw the man at full length and
gave him four hundred sticks on his backside. The beating pained
him, whereupon he opened one eye and, as they redoubled their
blows, he opened the other eye. When the Governor saw this be
said to him, "What have we here, O accursed?"; whereto he
replied, "Give me the seal-ring of pardon! We four have shammed
blind, and we impose upon people that we may enter houses and
look upon the unveiled faces of the women and contrive for their
corruption. In this way we have gotten great gain and our store
amounts to twelve thousand dirhams. Said I to my company, 'Give
me my share, three thousand;' but they rose and beat me and took
away my money, and I seek refuge with Allah and with thee; better
thou have my share than they. So, if thou wouldst know the truth
of my words, beat one and every of the others more than thou hast
beaten me, and he will surely open his eyes." The Governor gave
orders for the question to begin with my brother, and they bound
him to the whipping post,[FN#655] and the Governor said, "O scum
of the earth, do ye abuse the gracious gifts of Allah and make as
if ye were blind!" "Allah! Allah!" cried my brother, "by Allah,
there is none among us who can see." Then they beat him till he
swooned away and the Governor cried, "Leave him till he come to
and then beat him again." After this he caused each of the
companions to receive more than three hundred sticks, whilst the
sham Abraham kept saying to them "Open your eyes or you will be
beaten afresh." At last the man said to the Governor, "Dispatch
some one with me to bring thee the money; for these fellows will
not open their eyes, lest they incur disgrace before the folk."
So the Governor sent to fetch the money and gave the man his
pretended share, three thousand dirhams; and, keeping the rest
for himself, banished the three blind men from the city. But I, O
Commander of the Faithful, went out and overtaking my brother
questioned him of his case; whereupon he told me of what I have
told thee; so I brought him secretly into the city, and appointed
him (in the strictest privacy) an allowance for meat and drink!
The Caliph laughed at my story and said, "Give him a gift and let
him go;" but I said, "By Allah! I will take naught till I have
made known to the Commander of the Faithful what came to pass
with the rest of my brothers; for truly I am a man of few words
and spare of speech." Then the Caliph gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his Fourth Brother.

Now as for my fourth brother, O Commander of the Faithful, Al-Kuz
al-aswani, or the long necked Gugglet hight, from his brimming
over with words, the same who was blind of one eye, he became a
butcher in Baghdad and he sold flesh and fattened rams; and great
men and rich bought their meat of him, so that he amassed much
wealth and got him cattle and houses. He fared thus a long while,
till one day, as he was sitting in his shop, there came up an old
man and long o' the beard, who laid down some silver and said,
"Give me meat for this." He gave him his money s worth of flesh
and the oldster went his ways. My brother examined the Shaykh's
silver, and, seeing that the dirhams were white and bright, he
set them in a place apart. The greybeard continued to return to
the shop regularly for five months, and my brother ceased not to
lay up all the coin he received from him in its own box. At last
he thought to take out the money to buy sheep; so he opened the
box and found in it nothing, save bits of white paper cut round
to look like coin;[FN#656] so he buffeted his face and cried
aloud till the folk gathered about him, whereupon he told them
his tale which made them marvel exceedingly. Then he rose as was
his wont, and slaughtering a ram hung it up inside his shop;
after which he cut off some of the flesh, and hanging it outside
kept saying to himself, "O Allah, would the ill omened old fellow
but come!" And an hour had not passed before the Shaykh came with
his silver in hand; where upon my brother rose and caught hold of
him calling out, "Come aid me, O Moslems, and learn my story with
this villain!" When the old man heard this, he quietly said to
him, "Which will be the better for thee, to let go of me or to be
disgraced by me amidst the folk?" "In what wilt thou disgrace
me?" "In that thou sellest man's flesh for mutton!" "Thou liest,
thou accursed!" "Nay, he is the accursed who hath a man hanging
up by way of meat in his shop. If the matter be as thou sayest, I
give thee lawful leave to take my money and my life." Then the
old man cried out aloud, "Ho, ye people! if you would prove the
truth of my words, enter this man's shop." The folk rushed in and
found that the ram was become a dead man[FN#657] hung up for
sale. So they set upon my brother crying out, "O Infidel! O
villain!"; and his best friends fell to cuffing and kicking him
and kept saying, "Dost thou make us eat flesh of the sons of
Adam?" Furthermore, the old man struck him on the eye and put it
out. Then they carried the carcass, with the throat cut, before
the Chief of the city watch, to whom the old man said, "O Emir,
this fellow butchers men and sells their flesh for mutton and we
have brought him to thee; so arise and execute the judgments of
Allah (to whom be honour and glory!)." My brother would have
defended himself, but the Chief refused to hear him and sentenced
him to receive five hundred sticks and to forfeit the whole of
his property. And, indeed, had it not been for that same property
which he expended in bribes, they would have surely slain him.
Then the Chief banished him from Baghdad; and my brother fared
forth at a venture, till he came to a great town, where he
thought it best to set up as a cobbler; so he opened a shop and
sat there doing what he could for his livelihood. One day, as he
went forth on his business, he heard the distant tramp of horses
and, asking the cause, was told that the King was going out to
hunt and course; so my brother stopped to look at the fine suite.
It so fortuned that the King's eye met my brother's; whereupon
the King hung down his head and said, "I seek refuge with Allah
from the evil of this day!";[FN#658] and turned the reins of his
steed and returned home with all his retinue. Then he gave orders
to his guards, who seized my brother and beat him with a beating
so painful that he was well nigh dead; and my brother knew not
what could be the cause of his maltreatment, after which he
returned to his place in sorriest plight. Soon afterwards he went
to one of the King's household and related what had happened to
him; and the man laughed till he fell upon his back and cried, "O
brother mine, know that the King cannot bear to look at a
monocular, especially if he be blind of the right eye, in which
case he doth not let him go without killing him." When my brother
heard this, he resolved to fly from that city; so he went forth
from it to another wherein none knew him and there he abode a
long while. One day, being full of sorrowful thought for what had
befallen him, he sallied out to solace himself; and, as he was
walking along, he heard the distant tramp of horses behind him
and said, "The judgement of Allah is upon me!" and looked about
for a hiding place but found none. At last he saw a closed door
which he pushed hard: it yielded. and he entered a long gallery
in which he took refuge, but hardly had he done so, when two men
set upon him crying out, "Allah be thanked for having delivered
thee into our hands, O enemy of God! These three nights thou hast
robbed us of our rest and sleep, and verily thou hast made us
taste of the death cup." My brother asked, "O folk, what ails
you?"; and they answered, "Thou givest us the change and goest
about to disgrace us and plannest some plot to cut the throat of
the house master! Is it not enough that thou hast brought him to
beggary, thou and thy fellows? But now give us up the knife
wherewith thou threatenest us every night." Then they searched
him and found in his waist belt the knife used for his shoe
leather; and he said, "O people, have the fear of Allah before
your eyes and maltreat me not, for know that my story is a right
strange!" "And what is thy story?" said they: so he told them
what had befallen him, hoping they would let him go; however they
paid no heed to what he said and, instead of showing some regard,
beat him grievously and tore off his clothes: then, finding on
his sides the scars of beating with rods, they said, "O accursed!
these marks are the manifest signs of thy guilt!" They carried
him before the Governor, whilst he said to himself, "I am now
punished for my sins and none can deliver me save Allah
Almighty!" The Governor addressing my brother asked him, "O
villain, what led thee to enter their house with intention to
murther?"; and my brother answered, "I conjure thee by Allah, O
Emir, hear my words and be not hasty in condemning me!" But the
Governor cried, "Shall we listen to the words of a robber who
hath beggared these people, and who beareth on his back the scar
of his stripes?" adding, "They surely had not done this to thee,
save for some great crime." So he sentenced him to receive an
hundred cuts with the scourge, after which they set him on a
camel and paraded him about the city, proclaiming, "This is the
requital and only too little to requite him who breaketh into
people's houses." Then they thrust him out of the city, and my
brother wandered at random, till I heard what had befallen him;
and, going in search of him, questioned him of his case; so he
acquainted me with his story and all his mischances, and I
carried him secretly to the city where I made him an allowance
for his meat and drink. Then the Caliph gave ear to

The Barber's Tale of his Fifth Brother.

My fifth brother, Al-Nashshar,[FN#659] the Babbler, the same who
was cropped of both ears, O Commander of the Faithful, was an
asker wont to beg of folk by night and live on their alms by day.
Now when our father, who was an old man well stricken in years
sickened and died, he left us seven hundred dirhams whereof each
son took his hundred; but, as my fifth brother received his
portion, he was perplexed and knew not what to do with it. While
in this uncertainty he bethought him to lay it out on glass ware
of all sorts and turn an honest penny on its price. So he bought
an hundred dirhams worth of verroterie and, putting it into a big
tray, sat down to sell it on a bench at the foot of a wall
against which he leant back. As he sat with the tray before him
he fell to musing and said to himself, "Know, O my good Self,
that the head of my wealth, my principal invested in this glass
ware, is an hundred dirhams. I will assuredly sell it for two
hundred with which I will forthright buy other glass and make by
it four hundred; nor will I cease to sell and buy on this wise,
till I have gotten four thousand and soon find myself the master
of much money. With these coins I will buy merchandise and jewels
and ottars[FN#660] and gain great profit on them; till, Allah
willing, I will make my capital an hundred thousand dirhams. Then
I will purchase a fine house with white slaves and eunuchs and
horses; and I will eat and drink and disport myself; nor will I
leave a singing man or a singing woman in the city, but I will
summon them to my palace and make them perform before me." All
this he counted over in his mind, while the tray of glass ware,:
worth an hundred dirhams, stood on the bench before him, and,
after looking at it, he continued, "And when, Inshallah! my
capital shall have become one hundred thousand[FN#661] dinars, I
will send out marriage brokeresses to require for me in wedlock
the daughters of Kings and Wazirs; and I will demand to wife the
eldest daughter of the Prime Minister; for it hath reached me
that she is perfect in beauty and prime in loveliness and rare in
accomplishments. I will give a marriage settlement of one
thousand dinars; and, if her father consent, well: but if not I
will take her by force from under his very nose. When she is
safely homed in my house, I will buy ten little eunuchs[FN#662]
and for myself a robe of the robes of Kings and Sultans; and get
me a saddle of gold and a bridle set thick with gems of price.
Then I will mount with the Mamelukes preceding me and surrounding
me, and I will make the round of the city whilst the folk salute
me and bless me; after which I will repair to the Wazir (he that
is father of the girl) with armed white slaves before and behind
me and on my right and on my left. When he sees me, the Wazir
stands up, and seating me in his own place sits down much below
me; for that I am to be his son in law. Now I have with me two
eunuchs carrying purses, each containing a thousand dinars; and
of these I deliver to him the thousand, his daughter's marriage
settlement, and make him a free gift of the other thousand, that
he may have reason to know my generosity and liberality and my
greatness of spirit and the littleness of the world in my eyes.
And for ten words he addresses to me I answer him two. Then back
I go to my house, and if one come to me on the bride's part, I
make him a present of money and throw on him a dress of honour;
but if he bring me a gift, I give it back to him and refuse to
accept it,[FN#663] that they may learn what a proud spirit is
mine which never condescends to derogate. Thus I establish my
rank and status. When this is done I appoint her wedding night
and adorn my house showily! gloriously! And as the time for
parading the bride is come, I don my finest attire and sit down
on a mattress of gold brocade, propping up my elbow with a
pillow, and turning neither to the right nor to the left; but
looking only straight in front for the haughtiness of my mind and
the gravity of my understanding. And there before me stands my
wife in her raiment and ornaments, lovely as the full moon; and
I, in my loftiness and dread lordliness,[FN#664] will not glance
at her till those present say to me, 'O our lord and our master,
thy wife, thy handmaid, standeth before thee; vouchsafe her one
look, for standing wearieth her.' Then they kiss the ground
before me many times; whereupon I raise my eyes and cast at her
one single glance and turn my face earthwards again. Then they
bear her off to the bride chamber,[FN#665] and I arise and change
my clothes for a far finer suit; and, when they bring in the
bride a second time, I deign not to throw her a look till they
have begged me many times; after which I glance at her out of the
corner of one eye, and then bend down my head. I continue acting
after this fashion till the parading and displaying are
completed[FN#666]"--And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and
ceased saying her per misted say.

When It was the Thirty-third Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the
Barber's fifth brother proceeded: - "Then I bend down my head and
continue acting after this fashion till her parading and
displaying are completed. Thereupon I order one of my eunuchs to
bring me a bag of five hundred dinars which I give as largesse to
the tire women present and bid them one and all lead me to the
bride chamber. When they leave me alone with her I neither look
at her nor speak to her, but lie[FN#667] by her side with my face
to the wall showing my contempt, that each and every may again
remark how high and haughty I am. Presently her mother comes in
to me, and kissing[FN#668] my head and hand, says to me, 'O my
lord, look upon thine handmaid who longs for thy favour; so heal
her broken spirit!' I give her no answer; and when she sees this
she rises and busses my feet many times and says, 'O my lord, in
very sooth my daughter is a beautiful maid, who hath never known
man; and if thou show her this backwardness and aversion, her
heart will break; so do thou incline to her and speak to her and
soothe her mind and spirit.' Then she rises and fetches a cup of
wine; and says to her daughter, 'Take it and hand it to thy
lord.' But as e approaches me I leave her standing between my
hands and sit, propping my elbow on a round cushion purfled with
gold thread, leaning lazily back, and without looking at her in
the majesty of my spirit, so that she may deem me indeed a Sultan
and a mighty man. Then she says to me, 'O my lord, Allah upon
thee, do not refuse to take the cup from the hand of thine hand
maid, for verily I am thy bondswoman.' But I do not speak to her
and she presses me, saying, 'There is no help but that thou drink
it;' and she puts it to my lips. Then I shake my fist in her face
and kick her with my foot thus." So he let out with his toe an
knocked over the tray of glass ware which fell to the ground and,
falling from the bench, all that was on it was broken to bits. 'O
foulest of pimps,[FN#669] this comes from the pride of my
spirit'" cried my brother; and then, O Commander of the Faithful,
he buffeted his face and rent his garments and kept on weeping
and beating himself. The folk who were flocking to their Friday
prayers saw him; and some of them looked at him and pitied him,
whilst others paid no heed to him, and in this way my bother lost
both capital and profit. He remained weeping a long while, and at
last up came a beautiful lady, the scent of musk exhaling from
her, who was going to Friday prayers riding a mule with a gold
saddle and followed by several eunuchs. When she saw the broken
glass and my brother weeping, her kind heart was moved to pity
for him, and she asked what ailed him and was told that he had a
tray full of glass ware by the sale of which he hoped to gain his
living, but it was broken, and (said they), "there befell him
what thou seest." Thereupon she called up one of her eunuchs and
said to him, Give what thou hast with thee to this poor fellow!".
And he gave my brother a purse in which he found five hundred
dinars; and when it touched his hand he was well nigh dying for
excess of joy and he offered up blessings for her. Then he
returned to his abode a substantial man; and, as he sat
considering, some one rapped at the door. So he rose and opened
and saw an old woman whom he had never seen. "O my son," said
she, "know that prayer tide is near and I have not yet made my
Wuzu-ablution;[FN#670] so kindly allow me the use of thy lodging
for the purpose." My brother answered, "To hear is to comply;"
and going in bade her follow him. So she entered and he brought
her an ewer wherewith to wash, and sat down like to fly with joy
because of the dinars which he had tied up in his belt for a
purse. When the old woman had made an end of her ablution, she
came up to where he sat, and prayed a two bow prayer; after which
she blessed my brother with a godly benediction, and he while
thanking her put his hand to the dinars and gave her two, saying
to himself "These are my voluntaries."[FN#671] When she saw the
gold she cried, "Praise be to Allah! why dost thou look on one
who loveth thee as if she were a beggar? Take back thy money: I
have no need of it; or, if thou want it not, return it to her who
gave it thee when thy glass ware was broken. Moreover, if thou
wish to be united with her, I can manage the matter, for she is
my mistress." "O my mother," asked my brother, "by what manner of
means can I get at her?"; and she answered, "O my son! she hath
an inclination for thee, but she is the wife of a wealthy man; so
take the whole of thy money with thee and follow me, that I may
guide thee to thy desire: and when thou art in her company spare
neither persuasion nor fair words, but bring them all to bear
upon her; so shalt thou enjoy her beauty and wealth to thy
heart's content." My brother took all his gold and rose and
followed the old woman, hardly believing in his luck. She ceased
not faring on, and my brother following her, till they came to a
tall gate at which she knocked and a Roumi slave-girl[FN#672]
came out and opened to them. Then the old woman led my brother
into a great sitting room spread with wondrous fine carpets and
hung with curtains, where he sat down with his gold before him,
and his turband on his knee.[FN#673] He had scarcely taken seat
before there came to him a young lady (never eye saw fairer) clad
in garments of the most sumptuous; whereupon my brother rose to
his feet, and she smiled in his face and welcomed him, signing to
him to be seated. Then she bade shut the door and, when it was
shut, she turned to my brother, and taking his hand conducted him
to a private chamber furnished with various kinds of brocades and
gold cloths. Here he sat down and she sat by his side and toyed
with him awhile; after which she rose and saying, "Stir not from
thy seat till I come back to thee;" disappeared. Meanwhile as he
was on this wise, lo! there came in to him a black slave big of
body and bulk and holding a drawn sword in hand, who said to him,
"Woe to thee! Who brought thee hither and what dost thou want
here?" My brother could not return him a reply, being tongue tied
for terror; so the blackamoor seized him and stripped him of his
clothes and bashed him with the flat of his sword blade till he
fell to the ground, swooning from excess of belabouring. The ill
omened nigger fancied that there was an end of him and my brother
heard him cry, "Where is the salt wench?"[FN#674] Where upon in
came a handmaid holding in hand a large tray of salt, and the
slave kept rubbing it into my brother's wounds;[FN#675] but he
did not stir fearing lest the slave might find out that he was
not dead and kill him outright. Then the salt girl went away, and
the slave cried Where is the souterrain[FN#676] guardianess?"
Hereupon in came the old woman and dragged my brother by his feet
to a souterrain and threw him down upon a heap of dead bodies. In
this place he lay two full days, but Allah made the salt the
means of preserving his life by staunching the blood and staying
its flow Presently, feeling himself able to move, Al-Nashshar
rose and opened the trap door in fear and trembling and crept out
into the open; and Allah protected him, so that he went on in the
darkness and hid himself in the vestibule till dawn, when he saw
the accursed beldam sally forth in quest of other quarry. He
followed in her wake without her knowing it, and made for his own
lodging where he dressed his wounds and medicined himself till he
was whole. Meanwhile he used to watch the old woman, tracking her
at all times and seasons, and saw her accost one man after
another and carry them to the house. However he uttered not a
word; but, as soon as he waxed hale and hearty, he took a piece
of stuff and made it into a bag which he filled with broken glass
and bound about his middle. He also disguised himself as a
Persian that none might know him, and hid a sword under his
clothes of foreign cut. Then he went out and presently, falling
in with the old woman, said to her, speaking Arabic with a
Persian accent, "Venerable lady,[FN#677] I am a stranger arrived
but this day here where I know no one. Hast thou a pair of scales
wherein I may weigh eleven hundred dinars? I will give thee
somewhat of them for thy pains." "I have a son, a money changer,
who keepeth all kinds of scales," she answered, "so come with me
to him before he goeth out and he will weigh thy gold." My
brother answered "Lead the way!" She led him to the house and the
young lady herself came out and opened it, whereupon the old
woman smiled in her face and said, "I bring thee fat meat
today."[FN#678] Then the damsel took my brother by the hand, and
led him to the same chamber as before; where she sat with him
awhile then rose and went forth saying, "Stir not from thy seat
till I come back to thee." Presently in came the accursed slave
with the drawn sword and cried to my brother, "Up and be damned
to thee." So he rose, and as the slave walked on before him he
drew the sword from under his clothes and smote him with it,
making head fly from body. Then he dragged the corpse by the feet
to the souterrain and called out, "Where is the salt wench?" Up
came the girl carrying the tray of salt and, seeing my brother
sword in hand, turned to fly; but he followed her and struck off
her head. Then he called out, "Where is the souterrain
guardianess? , and in came the old woman to whom he said, "Dost
know me again, ill omened hag?" "No my lord," she replied, and he
said, "I am the owner of the five hundred gold pieces, whose
house thou enteredst to make the ablution and to pray, and whom
thou didst snare hither and betray." "Fear Allah and spare me,"
cried she; but he regarded her not and struck her with the sword
till he had cut her in four. Then he went to look for the young
lady; and when she saw him her reason fled and she cried out
piteously "Aman![FN#679] Mercy!" So he spared her and asked,
"What made thee consort with this blackamoor?", and she answered,
"I was slave to a certain merchant, and the old woman used to
visit me till I took a liking to her. One day she said to me, 'We
have a marriage festival at our house the like of which was never
seen and I wish thee to enjoy the sight.' 'To hear is to obey,'
answered I, and rising arrayed myself in my finest raiment and
ornaments, and took with me a purse containing an hundred gold
pieces. Then she brought me hither and hardly had I entered the
house when the black seized on me, and I have remained in this
case three whole years through the perfidy of the accursed
beldam." Then my brother asked her, "Is there anything of his in
the house?"; whereto she answered, "Great store of wealth, and if
thou art able to carry it away, do so and Allah give thee good of
it" My brother went with her and she opened to him sundry chests
wherein were money bags, at which he was astounded; then she said
to him, "Go now and leave me here, and fetch men to remove the
money.", He went out and hired ten men, but when he returned he
found the door wide open, the damsel gone and nothing left but
some small matter of coin and the household stuffs.[FN#680] By
this he knew that the girl had overreached him; so he opened the
store rooms and seized what was in them, together with the rest
of the money, leaving nothing in the house. He passed the night
rejoicing, but when morning dawned he found at the door some
twenty troopers who laid hands on him saying, "The Governor wants
thee!" My brother implored them hard to let him return to his
house; and even offered them a large sum of money; but they
refused and, binding him fast with cords, carried him off. On the
way they met a friend of my brother who clung to his skirt and
implored his protection, begging him to stand by him and help to
deliver him out of their hands. The man stopped, and asked them
what was the matter, and they answered, "The Governor hath
ordered us to bring this fellow before him and, look ye, we are
doing so." My brother's friend urged them to release him, and
offered them five hundred dinars to let him go, saying, "When ye
return to the Governor tell him that you were unable to find
him." But they would not listen to his words and took my brother,
dragging him along on his face, and set him before the Governor
who asked him, "Whence gottest thou these stuffs and monies?";
and he answered, "I pray for mercy!" So the Governor gave him the
kerchief of mercy;[FN#681] and he told him all that had befallen
him from first to last with the old woman and the flight of the
damsel; ending with, "Whatso I have taken, take of it what thou
wilt, so thou leave me sufficient to support life."[FN#682] But
the Governor took the whole of the stuffs and all the money for
himself; and, fearing lest the affair come to the Sultan's ears,
he summoned my brother and said, "Depart from this city, else I
will hang thee." "Hearing and obedience" quoth my brother and set
out for another town. On the way thieves fell foul of him and
stripped and beat him and docked his ears; but I heard tidings of
his misfortunes and went out after him taking him clothes; and
brought him secretly into the city where I assigned to him an
allowance for meat and drink. And presently the Caliph gave ear

The Barber's Tale of his Sixth Brother.

My sixth brother, O Commander of the Faithful, Shakashik,[FN#683]
or Many clamours, the shorn of both lips, was once rich and
became poor, so one day he went out to beg somewhat to keep life
in him. As he was on the road he suddenly caught sight of a large
and handsome mansion, with a detached building wide and lofty at
the entrance, where sat sundry eunuchs bidding and
forbidding.[FN#684] My brother enquired of one of those idling
there and he replied "The palace belongs to a scion of the
Barmaki house;" so he stepped up to the door keepers and asked an
alms of them "Enter," said they, "by the great gate and thou
shalt get what thou seekest from the Wazir our master."
Accordingly he went in and, passing through the outer entrance,
walked on a while and presently came to a mansion of the utmost
beauty and elegance, paved with marble, hung with curtains and
having in the midst of it a flower garden whose like he had never
seen.[FN#685] My brother stood awhile as one bewildered not
knowing whither to turn his steps; then, seeing the farther end
of the sitting chamber tenanted, he walked up to it and there
found a man of handsome presence and comely beard. When this
personage saw my brother he stood up to him and welcomed him and
asked him of his case; whereto he replied that he was in want and
needed charity. Hearing these words the grandee showed great
concern and, putting his hand to his fine robe, rent it
exclaiming, "What! am I in a City, and thou here an hungered? I
have not patience to bear such disgrace!" Then he promised him
all manner of good cheer and said, "There is no help but that
thou stay with me and eat of my salt."[FN#686] "O my lord,"
answered my brother, "I can wait no longer; for I am indeed dying
of hunger." So he cried, "Ho boy! bring basin and ewer;" and,
turning to my brother, said, "O my guest come forward and wash
thy hands." My brother rose to do so but he saw neither ewer nor
basin; yet his host kept washing his hands with invisible soap in
imperceptible water and cried, "Bring the table!" But my brother
again saw nothing. Then said the host, "Honour me by eating of
this meat and be not ashamed." And he kept moving his hand to and
fro as if he ate and saying to my brother, "I wonder to see thee
eating thus sparely: do not stint thyself for I am sure thou art
famished." So my brother began to make as though he were eating
whilst his host kept saying to him, "Fall to, and note especially
the excellence of this bread and its whiteness!" But still my
brother saw nothing. Then said he to himself, "This man is fond
of poking fun at people;" and replied, "O my lord, in all my days
I never knew aught more winsome than its whiteness or sweeter
than its savour." The Barmecide said, "This bread was baked by a
hand maid of mine whom I bought for five hundred dinars." Then he
called out, "Ho boy, bring in the meat pudding[FN#687] for our
first dish, and let there be plenty of fat in it;" and, turning
to my brother said, "O my guest, Allah upon thee, hast ever seen
anything better than this meat pudding? Now by my life, eat and
be not abashed." Presently he cried out again, "Ho boy, serve up
the marinated stew[FN#688] with the fatted sand grouse in it;"
and he said to my brother, "Up and eat, O my guest, for truly
thou art hungry and needest food." So my brother began wagging
his jaws and made as if champing and chewing,[FN#689] whilst the
host continued calling for one dish after another and yet
produced nothing save orders to eat. Presently he cried out, "Ho
boy, bring us the chickens stuffed with pistachio nuts;" and said
to my brother, "By thy life, O my guest, I have fattened these
chickens upon pistachios; eat, for thou hast never eaten their
like." "O my lord," replied my brother, "they are indeed first
rate." Then the host began motioning with his hand as though he
were giving my brother a mouthful; and ceased not to enumerate
and expatiate upon the various dishes to the hungry man whose
hunger waxt still more violent, so that his soul lusted after a
bit of bread, even a barley scone.[FN#690] Quoth the Barmecide,
"Didst thou ever taste anything more delicious than the seasoning
of these dishes?"; and quoth my brother, "Never, O my lord!" "Eat
heartily and be not ashamed," said the host, and the guest, "I
have eaten my fill of meat;" So the entertainer cried, "Take away
and bring in the sweets;" and turning to my brother said, "Eat of
this almond conserve for it is prime and of these honey fritters;
take this one, by my life, the syrup runs out of it." "May I
never be bereaved of thee, O my lord," replied the hungry one and
began to ask him about the abundance of musk in the fritters.
"Such is my custom," he answered: "they put me a dinar weight of
musk in every honey fritter and half that quantity of ambergris."
All this time my brother kept wagging head and jaws till the
master cried, "Enough of this. Bring us the dessert!" Then said
he to him,' "Eat of these almonds and walnuts and raisins; and of
this and that (naming divers kinds of dried fruits), and be not
abashed." But my brother replied, "O my lord, indeed I am full: I
can eat no more." "O my guest," repeated the host, "if thou have
a mind to these good things eat: Allah! Allah![FN#691] do not
remain hungry;" but my brother rejoined, "O my lord, he who hath
eaten of all these dishes how can he be hungry?" Then he
considered and said to himself, "I will do that shall make him
repent of these pranks." Presently the entertainer called out
"Bring me the wine;" and, moving his hands in the air, as though
they had set it before them, he gave my brother a cup and said,
"Take this cup and, if it please thee, let me know." "O my lord,"
he replied, "it is notable good as to nose but I am wont to drink
wine some twenty years old." "Knock then at this door,"[FN#692]
quoth the host "for thou canst not drink of aught better." "By
thy kindness," said my brother, motioning with his hand as though
he were drinking. "Health and joy to thee," exclaimed the house
master and feigned to fill a cup and drink it off; then he handed
another to my brother who quaffed it and made as if he were
drunken. Presently he took the host unawares; and, raising his
arm till the white of his armpit appeared, dealt him such a cuff
on the nape of his neck that the palace echoed to it. Then he
came down upon him with a second cuff and the entertainer cried
aloud "What is this, O thou scum of the earth?" "O my lord,"
replied my brother, "thou hast shown much kindness to thy slave,
and admitted him into thine abode and given him to eat of thy
victual; then thou madest him drink of thine old wine till he
became drunken and boisterous; but thou art too noble not to bear
with his ignorance and pardon his offence." When the Barmaki
heard my brother's words he laughed his loudest and said, "Long
have I been wont to make mock of men and play the madcap among my
intimates, but never yet have I come across a single one who had
the patience and the wit to enter into all my humours save
thyself: so I forgive thee, and thou shalt be my boon companion
in very sooth and never leave me." Then he ordered the servants
to lay the table in earnest and they set on all the dishes of
which he had spoken in sport; and he and my brother ate till they
were satisfied; after which they removed to the drinking chamber,
where they found damsels like moons who sang all manner songs and
played on all manner instruments. There they remained drinking
till their wine got the better of them and the host treated my
brother like a familiar friend, so that he became as it were his
brother, and bestowed on him a robe of honour and loved him with
exceeding love. Next morning the two fell again to feasting and
carousing, and ceased not to lead this life for a term of twenty
years; at the end of which the Barmecide died and the Sultan took
possession of all his wealth and squeezed my brother of his
savings, till he was left a pauper without a penny to handle. So
he quitted the city and fled forth following his face;[FN#693]
but, when he was half way between two towns, the wild Arabs fell
on him and bound him and carried him to their camp, where his
captor proceeded to torture him, saying, "Buy thy life of me with
thy money, else I will slay thee!" My brother began to weep and
replied, "By Allah, I have nothing, neither gold nor silver; but
I am thy prisoner; so do with me what thou wilt." Then the Badawi
drew a knife, broad bladed and so sharp grinded that if plunged
into a camel's throat it would sever it clean across from one
jugular to the other,[FN#694] and cut off my brother's lips and
waxed more instant in requiring money. Now this Badawi had a fair
wife who in her husband's absence used to make advances to my
brother and offer him her favours, but he held off from her. One
day she began to tempt him as usual and he played with her and
made her sit on his lap, when behold, in came the Badawi who,
seeing this, cried out, "Woe to thee, O accursed villain,
wouldest thou debauch my wife for me?" Then he took out a knife
and cut off my brother's yard, after which he bound him on the
back of a camel and, carrying him to a mountain, left him there.
He was at last found by some who recognised him and gave him meat
and drink and acquainted me with his condition; whereupon I went
forth to him and brought him back to Baghdad where I made him an
allowance sufficient to live on. This, then, O Commander of the
Faithful, is the history of my six brothers, and I feared to go
away without relating it all to thee and leave thee in the error
of judging me to be like them. And now thou knowest that I have
six brothers upon my hands and, being more upright than they, I
support the whole family. When the Caliph heard my story and all
I told him concerning my brothers, he laughed and said, "Thou
sayest sooth, O Silent Man! thou art indeed spare of speech nor
is there aught of forwardness in thee; but now go forth out of
this city and settle in some other." And he banished me under
edict. I left Baghdad and travelled in foreign parts till I heard
of his death and the accession of another to the Caliphate. Then
I returned to Baghdad where I found all my brothers dead and
chanced upon this young man, to whom I rendered the kindliest
service, for without me he had surely been killed. Indeed he
slanders me and accuses me of a fault which is not in my nature;
and what he reports concerning impudence and meddling and
forwardness is idle and false; for verily on his account I left
Baghdad and travelled about full many a country till I came to
this city and met him here in your company. And was not this, O
worthy assemblage, of the generosity of my nature?

The End of the Tailor's Tale.

Then quoth the Tailor to the King of China: When we heard the
Barber's tale and saw the excess of his loquacity and the way in
which he had wronged this young man, we laid hands on him and
shut him up, after which we sat down in peace, and ate and drank
and enjoyed the good things of the marriage feast till the time
of the call to mid afternoon prayer, when I left the party and
returned home. My wife received me with sour looks and said,
"Thou goest a pleasuring among thy friends and thou leavest me to
sit sorrowing here alone. So now, unless thou take me abroad and
let me have some amusement for the rest of the day, I will cut
the rope[FN#695] and it will be the cause of my separation from
thee." So I took her out and we amused ourselves till supper
time, when we returned home and fell in with this Hunchback who
was brimful of drink and trolling out these rhymes:

"Clear's the wine, the cup's fine; * Like to like they combine:
It is wine and not cup! * 'Tis a cup and not wine!"

So I invited him to sup with us and went out to buy fried fish;
after which we sat down to eat; and presently my wife took a
piece of bread and a fid of fish and stuffed them into his mouth
and he choked; and, though I slapped him long and hard between
the shoulders, he died. Then I carried him off and contrived to
throw him into the house of this leach, the Jew; and the leach
contrived to throw him into the house of the Reeve; and the Reeve
contrived to throw him on the way of the Nazarene broker. This,
then, is my adventure which befell me but yesterday. Is not it
more wondrous than the story of the Hunchback? When the King of
China heard the Tailor's tale he shook his head for pleasure;
and, showing great surprise, said, "This that passed between the
young man and the busy-body of a Barber is indeed more pleasant
and wonderful than the story of my lying knave of a Hunchback."
Then he bade one of his Chamberlains go with the Tailor and bring
the Barber out of jail, saying, "I wish to hear the talk of this
Silent Man and it shall be the cause of your deliverance one and
all: then we will bury the Hunchback, for that he is dead since
yesterday, and set up a tomb over him."--And Shahrazad perceived
the dawn of day and ceased to say her per misted say.

When it was the Thirty-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the King of
China bade, "Bring me the Barber who shall be the cause of your
deliverance; then we will bury this Hunchback, for that he is
dead since yesterday and set up a tomb over him." So the
Chamberlain and the Tailor went to the jail and, releasing the
Barber, presently returned with him to the King. The Sultan of
China looked at him and considered him carefully and lo and
behold! he was an ancient man, past his ninetieth year; swart of
face, white of beard, and hoar of eyebrows; lop eared and
proboscis-nosed,[FN#696] with a vacant, silly and conceited
expression of countenance. The King laughed at this figure o' fun
and said to him, "O Silent Man, I desire thee to tell me somewhat
of thy history." Quoth the Barber, "O King of the age, allow me
first to ask thee what is the tale of this Nazarene and this Jew
and this Moslem and this Hunchback (the corpse) I see among you?
And prithee what may be the object of this assemblage?" Quoth the
King of China, "And why dost thou ask?" "I ask," he replied, "in
order that the King's majesty may know that I am no forward
fellow or busy body or impertinent meddler; and that I am
innocent of their calumnious charges of overmuch talk; for I am
he whose name is the Silent Man, and indeed peculiarly happy is
my sobriquet, as saith the poet:

When a nickname or little name men design, * Know that nature
with name shall full oft combine."

Then said the King, "Explain to the Barber the case of this
Hunchback and what befell him at supper time; also repeat to him
the stories told by the Nazarene, the Jew, the Reeve, and the
Tailor; and of no avail to me is a twice told tale." They did his
bidding, and the Barber shook his head and said, "By Allah, this
is a marvel of marvels! Now uncover me the corpse of yonder
Hunchback. They undid the winding sheet and he sat down and,
taking the Hunchback's head in his lap, looked at his face and
laughed and guffaw'd[FN#697] till he fell upon his back and said,
"There is wonder in every death,[FN#698] but the death of this
Hunchback is worthy to be written and recorded in letters of
liquid gold!" The bystanders were astounded at his words and the
King marvelled and said to him, "What ails thee, O Silent Man?
Explain to us thy words !" "O King of the age," said the Barber,
"I swear by thy beneficence that there is still life in this
Gobbo Golightly!" Thereupon he pulled out of his waist belt a
barber's budget, whence he took a pot of ointment and anointed
therewith the neck of the Hunchback and its arteries. Then he
took a pair of iron tweezers and, inserting them into the
Hunchback's throat, drew out the fid of fish with its bone; and,
when it came to sight, behold, it was soaked in blood. Thereupon
the Hunchback sneezed a hearty sneeze and jumped up as if nothing
had happened and passing his hand over his face said, "I testify
that there is no god, but the God, and I testify that Mohammed is
the Apostle of God." At this sight all present wondered; the King
of China laughed till he fainted and in like manner did the
others. Then said the Sultan, "By Allah, of a truth this is the
most marvellous thing I ever saw! O Moslems, O soldiers all, did
you ever in the lives of you see a man die and be quickened
again? Verily had not Allah vouchsafed to him this Barber, he had
been a dead man!" Quoth they, "By Allah, 'tis a marvel of
marvels." Then the King of China bade record this tale, so they
recorded it and placed it in the royal muniment-rooms; after
which he bestowed costly robes of honour upon the Jew, the
Nazarene and the Reeve, and bade them depart in all esteem. Then
he gave the Tailor a sumptuous dress and appointed him his own
tailor, with suitable pay and allowances; and made peace between
him and the Hunchback, to whom also he presented a splendid and
expensive suit with a suitable stipend. He did as generously with
the Barber, giving him a gift and a dress of honour; moreover he
settled on him a handsome solde and created him Barber
surgeon[FN#699] of state and made him one of his cup companions.
So they ceased not to live the most pleasurable life and the most
delectable, till there came to them the Destroyer of all delights
and the Sunderer of all societies, the Depopulator of palaces and
the Garnerer for graves. Yet, O most auspicious King! (continued
Shahrazad) this tale is by no means more wonderful than that of
the two Wazirs and Anis al-Jalis. Quoth her sister Dunyazad, "And
what may that be?", whereupon she began to relate the following
tale of

End of Vol. 1.

Arabian Nights, Volume 1

[FN#1] Allaho A'alam, a deprecatory formula, used because the
writer is going to indulge in a series of what may possibly be

[FN#2] The "Sons of Sasan" are the famous Sassanides whose
dynasty ended with the Arabian Conquest (A.D.641). "Island"
Jazirah) in Arabic also means "Peninsula," and causes much
confusion in geographical matters.

[FN#3] Shahryar not Shahriyar (Persian) = "City-friend." The
Bulak edition corrupts it to Shahrbaz (City-hawk), and the
Breslau to Shahrban or "Defender of the City," like
Marz-ban=Warden of the Marshes. Shah Zaman (Persian)="King of the
Age:" Galland prefers Shah Zenan, or "King of women," and the
Bull edit. changes it to Shah Rumman, "Pomegranate King." Al-Ajam
denotes all regions not Arab (Gentiles opposed to Jews,
Mlechchhas to Hindus, Tajiks to Turks, etc., etc.), and
especially Persia; Ajami (a man of Ajam) being an equivalent of
the Gr. {Greek Letters}. See Vol.. ii., p. 1.

[FN#4] Galland writes "Vizier," a wretched frenchification of a
mincing Turkish mispronunciation; Torrens, "Wuzeer" (Anglo-
Indian and Gilchristian); Lane, "Wezeer"; (Egyptian or rather
Cairene); Payne, "Vizier," according to his system; Burckhardt
(Proverbs), "Vizir;" and Mr. Keith-Falconer, "Vizir." The root is
popularly supposed to be "wizr" (burden) and the meaning
"Minister;" Wazir al-Wuzara being "Premier." In the Koran (chaps.
xx., 30) Moses says, "Give me a Wazir of my family, Harun (Aaron)
my brother." Sale, followed by the excellent version of the Rev.
J. M. Rodwell, translates a "Counsellor," and explains by "One
who has the chief administration of affairs under a prince." But
both learned Koranists learnt their Orientalism in London, and,
like such students generally, fail only upon the easiest points,
familiar to all old dwellers in the East.

[FN#5] This three-days term (rest-day, drest-day and departure
day) seems to be an instinct-made rule in hospitality. Among
Moslems it is a Sunnat or practice of the Prophet.)

[FN#6] i.e., I am sick at heart.

[FN#7] Debauched women prefer negroes on account of the size of
their parts. I measured one man in Somali-land who, when
quiescent, numbered nearly six inches. This is a characteristic
of the negro race and of African animals; e.g. the horse; whereas
the pure Arab, man and beast, is below the average of Europe; one
of the best proofs by the by, that the Egyptian is not an
Asiatic, but a negro partially white-washed. Moreover, these
imposing parts do not increase proportionally during erection;
consequently, the "deed of kind" takes a much longer time and
adds greatly to the woman's enjoyment. In my time no honest Hindi
Moslem would take his women-folk to Zanzibar on account of the
huge attractions and enormous temptations there and thereby
offered to them. Upon the subject of Imsak = retention of semen
and "prolongation of pleasure," I shall find it necessary to say

[FN#8] The very same words were lately spoken in England proving
the eternal truth of The Nights which the ignorant call
"downright lies."

[FN#9] The Arab's Tue la!

[FN#10] Arab. "Sayd wa kanas": the former usually applied to
fishing; hence Sayda (Sidon) = fish-town. But noble Arabs (except
the Caliph Al-Amin) do not fish; so here it means simply "sport,"
chasing, coursing, birding (oiseler), and so forth.

[FN#11] In the Mac. Edit. the negro is called "Mas'ud"; here he
utters a kind of war-cry and plays upon the name, "Sa'ad, Sa'id,
Sa'ud," and "Mas'ud", all being derived from one root, "Sa'ad" =
auspiciousness, prosperity.

[FN#12] The Arab. singular (whence the French "genie"), fem.
Jinniyah; the Div and Rakshah of old Guebre-land and the
"Rakshasa," or "Yaksha," of Hinduism. It would be interesting to
trace the evident connection, by no means "accidental," of "Jinn"
with the "Genius" who came to the Romans through the Asiatic
Etruscans, and whose name I cannot derive from "gignomai" or
"genitus." He was unknown to the Greeks, who had the Daimon
{Greek Letters}, a family which separated, like the Jinn and the
Genius, into two categories, the good (Agatho-daemons) and the bad
(Kako-daemons). We know nothing concerning the status of the Jinn
amongst the pre-Moslemitic or pagan Arabs: the Moslems made him a
supernatural anthropoid being, created of subtile fire (Koran
chapts. xv. 27; lv. 14), not of earth like man, propagating his
kind, ruled by mighty kings, the last being Jan bin Jan,
missionarised by Prophets and subject to death and Judgment. From
the same root are "Junun" = madness (i.e., possession or
obsession by the Jinn) and "Majnun"=a madman. According to R.
Jeremiah bin Eliazar in Psalm xii. 5, Adam was excommunicated for
one hundred and thirty years, during which he begat children in
his own image (Gen. v. 3) and these were Mazikeen or Shedeem-
Jinns. Further details anent the Jinn will presently occur.

[FN#13] Arab. "Amsar" (cities): in Bull Edit. "Amtar" (rains), as
in Mac. Edit. So Mr. Payne (I., 5) translates: And when she
flashes forth the lightning of her glance, She maketh eyes to
rain, like showers, with many a tear. I would render it, "She
makes whole cities shed tears," and prefer it for a reason which
will generally influence merits superior exaggeration and

[FN#14] Not "A-frit," pronounced Aye-frit, as our poets have it.
This variety of the Jinn, who, as will be shown, are divided into
two races like mankind, is generally, but not always, a malignant
being, hostile and injurious to mankind (Koran xxvii. 39).

[FN#15] i.e., "I conjure thee by Allah;" the formula is
technically called "Inshad."

[FN#16] This introducing the name of Allah into an indecent tale
is essentially Egyptian and Cairene. But see Boccaccio ii. 6, and
vii. 9.

[FN#17] So in the Mac. Edit.; in others "ninety." I prefer the
greater number as exaggeration is a part of the humour. In the
Hindu "Katha Sarit Sagara" (Sea of the Streams of Story), the
rings are one hundred and the catastrophe is more moral, the good
youth Yashodhara rejects the wicked one's advances; she awakes
the water-sprite, who is about to slay him, but the rings are
brought as testimony and the improper young person's nose is duly
cut off. (Chap. Ixiii.; p. 80, of the excellent translation by
Prof. C. H. Tawney: for the Bibliotheca Indica: Calcutta, 1881.)
The Katha, etc., by Somadeva (century xi), is a poetical version
of the prose compendium, the "Vrihat Katha" (Great Story) by
Gunadhya (cent. vi).

[FN#18] The Joseph of the Koran, very different from him of
Genesis. We shall meet him often enough in The Nights.

[FN#19] "Iblis," vulgarly written "Eblis," from a root meaning
The Despairer, with a suspicious likeness to Diabolos; possibly
from "Bales," a profligate. Some translate it The Calumniator, as
Satan is the Hater. Iblis (who appears in the Arab. version of
the N. Testament) succeeded another revolting angel Al-Haris; and
his story of pride refusing to worship Adam, is told four times
in the Koran from the Talmud (Sanhedrim 29). He caused Adam and
Eve to lose Paradise (ii. 34); he still betrays mankind (xxv.
31), and at the end of time he, with the other devils, will be
"gathered together on their knees round Hell" (xix. 69). He has
evidently had the worst of the game, and we wonder, with Origen,
Tillotson, Burns and many others, that he does not throw up the

[FN#20] A similar tale is still told at Akka (St. John d'Acre)
concerning the terrible "butcher"--Jazzar (Djezzar) Pasha. One
can hardly pity women who are fools enough to run such risks.
According to Frizzi, Niccolo, Marquis of Este, after beheading
Parisina, ordered all the faithless wives of Ferrara to be
treated in like manner.

[FN#21] "Shahrazad" (Persian) = City-freer, in the older version
Scheherazade (probably both from Shirzad=lion-born).
"Dunyazad"=World-freer. The Bres. Edit. corrupts former to
Shahrzad or Shahrazad, and the Mac. and Calc. to Shahrzad or
Shehrzad. I have ventured to restore the name as it should be.
Galland for the second prefers Dinarzade (?) and Richardson
Dinazade (Dinazad = Religion-freer): here I have followed Lane
and Payne; though in "First Footsteps" I was misled by Galland.
See Vol. ii. p. 1.

[FN#22] Probably she proposed to "Judith" the King. These learned
and clever young ladies are very dangerous in the East.

[FN#23] In Egypt, etc., the bull takes the place of the Western
ox. The Arab. word is "Taur" (Thaur, Saur); in old Persian "Tore"
and Lat. "Taurus," a venerable remnant of the days before the
"Semitic" and "Aryan" families of speech had split into two
distinct growths. "Taur" ends in the Saxon "Steor" and the
English "Steer "

[FN#24] Arab. "Abu Yakzan" = the Wakener, because the ass brays
at dawn.

[FN#25] Arab. "Tibn"; straw crushed under the sledge: the hay of
Egypt, Arabia, Syria, etc. The old country custom is to pull up
the corn by handfuls from the roots, leaving the land perfectly
bare: hence the "plucking up" of Hebrew Holy Writ. The object is
to preserve every atom of "Tibn."

[FN#26] Arab. "Ya Aftah": Al-Aftah is an epithet of the bull,
also of the chameleon.

[FN#27] Arab. "Balid," a favourite Egyptianism often pleasantly
confounded with "Wali" (a Santon), hence the latter comes to mean
"an innocent," a "ninny."

[FN#28] From the Calc. Edit., Vol. 1., p. 29.

[FN#29] Arab. "Abu Yakzan" is hardly equivalent with "Pere

[FN#30] In Arab. the wa (x) is the sign of parenthesis.

[FN#31] In the nearer East the light little plough is carried
afield by the bull or ass.

[FN#32] Ocymum basilicum, the "royal herb," so much prized all
over the East, especially in India, where, under the name of
"Tulsi," it is a shrub sacred to the merry god Krishna. I found
the verses in a MS. copy of The Nights.

[FN#33] Arab. "Sadaf," the Kauri, or cowrie, brought from the
Maldive and Lakdive Archipelago. The Kamus describes this "Wada'"
or Concha Veneris as "a white shell (whence to "shell out") which
is taken out of the sea, the fissure of which is white like that
of the date-stone. It is hung about the neck to avert the evil
eye." The pearl in Arab. is "Murwarid," hence evidently
"Margarita" and Margaris (woman's name).

[FN#34] Arab. "Kat'a" (bit of leather): some read "Nat'a;" a
leather used by way of table-cloth, and forming a bag for
victuals; but it is never made of bull's hide.

[FN#35] The older "Cadi," a judge in religious matters. The
Shuhud, or Assessors, are officers of the Mahkamah or Kazi's

[FN#36] Of which more in a future page. He thus purified himself
ceremonially before death.

[FN#37] This is Christian rather than Moslem: a favourite Maltese
curse is "Yahrak Kiddisak man rabba-k!" = burn the Saint who
brought thee up!

[FN#38] A popular Egyptian phrase: the dog and the cock speak
like Fellahs.

[FN#39] i. e. between the last sleep and dawn when they would
rise to wash and pray.

[FN#40] Travellers tell of a peculiar knack of jerking the
date-stone, which makes it strike with great force: I never saw
this "Inwa" practised, but it reminds me of the water splashing
with one hand in the German baths.

[FN#41] i.e., sorely against his will.

[FN#42] Arab. "Shaykh"=an old man (primarily), an elder, a chief
(of the tribe, guild, etc.), and honourably addressed to any man.
Comp. among the neo Latins "Sieur," "Signora," "Senor," "Senhor,"
etc. from Lat. "Senior," which gave our "Sire" and "Sir." Like
many in Arabic the word has a host of different meanings and most
of them will occur in the course of The Nights. Ibrahim (Abraham)
was the first Shaykh or man who became grey. Seeing his hairs
whiten he cried, "O Allah what is this?" and the answer came that
it was a sign of dignified gravity. Hereupon he exclaimed, "O
Lord increase this to me!" and so it happened till his locks
waxed snowy white at the age of one hundred and fifty. He was the
first who parted his hair, trimmed his mustachios, cleaned his
teeth with the Miswak (tooth-stick), pared his nails, shaved his
pecten, snuffed up water, used ablution after stool and wore a
shirt (Tabari).

[FN#43] The word is mostly plural = Jinnis: it is also singular =
a demon; and Jan bin Jan has been noticed.

[FN#44] With us moderns "liver" suggests nothing but malady: in
Arabic and Persian as in the classic literature of Europe it is
the seat of passion, the heart being that of affection. Of this
more presently.

[FN#45] Originally in Al-Islam the concubine (Surriyat, etc.) was
a captive taken in war and the Koran says nothing about buying
slave-girls. But if the captives were true believers the Moslem
was ordered to marry not to keep them. In modern days concubinage
has become an extensive subject. Practically the disadvantage is
that the slave-girls, knowing themselves to be the master's
property, consider him bound to sleep with them; which is by no
means the mistress's view. Some wives, however, when old and
childless, insist, after the fashion of Sarah, upon the husband
taking a young concubine and treating her like a daughter--which
is rare. The Nights abound in tales of concubines, but these are
chiefly owned by the Caliphs and high officials who did much as
they pleased. The only redeeming point in the system is that it
obviated the necessity of prostitution which is, perhaps, the
greatest evil known to modern society.

[FN#46] Arab. "Al-Kahanah"=the craft of a "Kahin" (Heb. Cohen) a
diviner, soothsayer, etc.

[FN#47] Arab. "Id al-kabir = The Great Festival; the Turkish
Bayram and Indian Bakar-eed (Kine-fete), the pilgrimage-time,
also termed "Festival of the Kurban" (sacrifice) because victims
are slain, Al-Zuha (of Undurn or forenoon), Al-Azha (of serene
night) and Al-Nahr (of throat-cutting). For full details I must
refer readers to my "Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to
El-Medinah and Meccah" (3 vols. 8vo, London, Longmans, 1855). I
shall have often to refer to it.

[FN#48] Arab. "Kalam al-mubah," i.e., that allowed or permitted
to her by the King, her husband.

[FN#49] Moslem Kings are expected, like the old Gabble Monarchs,
to hold "Darbar" (i.e., give public audience) at least twice a
day, morning and evening. Neglect of this practice caused the
ruin of the Caliphate and of the Persian and Moghul Empires: the
great lords were left uncontrolled and the lieges revolted to
obtain justice. The Guebre Kings had two levee places, the
Rozistan (day station) and the Shabistan (night-station - istan
or stan being a nominal form of istadan, to stand, as
Hindo-stan). Moreover one day in the week the sovereign acted as
"Mufti" or Supreme Judge.

[FN#50] Arab. "Al-Basharah," the gift everywhere claimed in the
East and in Boccaccio's Italy by one who brings good news. Those
who do the reverse expose themselves to a sound strappado.

[FN#51] A euphemistic formula, to avoid mentioning unpleasant
matters. I shall note these for the benefit of students who would
honestly prepare for the public service in Moslem lands.

[FN#52] Arab. "Dinar," from the Latin denarius (a silver coin
worth ten ounces of brass) through the Greek {Greek Letters}: it
is a Koranic word (chaps. iii.) though its Arab equivalent is
"Miskal." It also occurs in the Katha before quoted, clearly
showing the derivation. In the "Book of Kalilah and Dimnah" it is
represented by the Daric or Persian Dinar, {Greek Letters}, from
Dara= a King (whence Darius). The Dinar, sequin or ducat,
contained at different times from 10 and 12 (Abu Hanifah's day)
to 20 and even 25 dirhams or drachmas, and, as a weight,
represented a drachma and a half. Its value greatly varied, but
we may assume it here at nine shillings or ten francs to half a
sovereign. For an elaborate article on the Dinar see Yule's
"Cathay and the Way Thither" (ii., pp. 439-443).

[FN#53] The formula used in refusing alms to an "asker" or in
rejecting an insufficient offer: "Allah will open to thee!" (some
door of gain - not mine)! Another favourite ejaculation is "Allah
Karim" (which Turks pronounce "Kyereem") = Allah is
All-beneficent! meaning Ask Him, not me.

[FN#54] The public bath. London knows the word through "The

[FN#55] Arab. "Dirham" (Plur. dirahim, also used in the sense of
money, "siller"), the drachuma of Plautus (Trin. 2, 4, 23). The
word occurs in the Panchatantra also showing the derivation; and
in the Syriac Kalilah wa Dimnah it is "Zuz." This silver piece
was = 6 obols (9 3/4d.) and as a weight = 66 1/2 grains. The
Dirham of The Nights was worth six "Danik," each of these being a
fraction over a penny. The modern Greek Drachma is=one franc.

[FN#56] In Arabic the speaker always puts himself first, even if
he address the King, without intending incivility.

[FN#57] A she-Ifrit, not necessarily an evil spirit.

[FN#58] Arab. "Kullah" (in Egypt pron. "gulleh"), the wide
mouthed jug, called in the Hijaz "baradlyah," "daurak" being the
narrow. They are used either for water or sherbet and, being made
of porous clay, "sweat," and keep the contents cool; hence all
old Anglo Egyptians drink from them, not from bottles. Sometimes
they are perfumed with smoke of incense, mastich or Kafal (Amyris
Kafal). For their graceful shapes see Lane's "Account of the
Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians" (chaps. v) I quote,
here and elsewhere, from the fifth edition, London, Murray, 1860.

[FN#59] "And what is?" etc. A popular way of expressing great
difference. So in India: - "Where is Rajah Bhoj (the great King)
and where is Ganga the oilman?"

[FN#60] Here, as in other places, I have not preserved the
monorhyme, but have ended like the English sonnet with a couplet;
as a rule the last two lines contain a "Husn makta'" or climax.

[FN#61] Lit. "he began to say (or speak) poetry," such
improvising being still common amongst the Badawin as I shall
afterwards note. And although Mohammed severely censured profane
poets, who "rove as bereft of their senses through every valley"
and were directly inspired by devils (Koran xxvi.), it is not a
little curious to note that he himself spoke in "Rajaz" (which
see) and that the four first Caliphs all "spoke poetry." In early
ages the verse would not be written, if written at all, till
after the maker's death. I translate "inshad" by "versifying" or
"repeating" or "reciting," leaving it doubtful if the composition
be or be not original. In places, however, it is clearly
improvised and then as a rule it is model doggrel.

[FN#62] Arab. "Allahumma"=Ya Allah (O Allah) but with emphasis
the Fath being a substitute for the voc. part. Some connect it
with the Heb. "Alihim," but that fancy is not Arab. In Al-Hariri
and the rhetoricians it sometimes means to be sure; of course;
unless indeed; unless possibly.

[FN#63] Probably in consequence of a vow. These superstitious
practices, which have many a parallel amongst ourselves, are not
confined to the lower orders in the East.

[FN#64] i.e., saying "Bismillah!" the pious ejaculation which
should precede every act. In Boccaccio (viii., 9) it is
"remembering Iddio e' Santi."

[FN#65] Arab. Nahas asfar = brass, opposed to "Nahas" and "Nahas
ahmar," = copper.

[FN#66] This alludes to the legend of Sakhr al-Jinn), a famous
fiend cast by Solomon David son into Lake Tiberias whose storms
make it a suitable place. Hence the "Bottle imp," a world-wide
fiction of folk-lore: we shall find it in the "Book of Sindibad,"
and I need hardly remind the reader of Le Sage's "Diable
Boiteux," borrowed from "El Diablo Cojuelo," the Spanish novel by
Luiz Velez de Guevara.

[FN#67] Marid (lit. "contumacious" from the Heb. root Marad to
rebel, whence "Nimrod" in late Semitic) is one of the tribes of
the Jinn, generally but not always hostile to man. His female is

[FN#68] As Solomon began to reign (according to vulgar
chronometry) in B.C. 1015, the text would place the tale circ.
A.D. 785, = A.H. 169. But we can lay no stress on this date which
may be merely fanciful. Professor Tawney very justly compares
this Moslem Solomon with the Hindu King, Vikramaditya, who ruled
over the seven divisions of the world and who had as many devils
to serve him as he wanted.

[FN#69] Arab. "Ya Ba'id:" a euphemism here adopted to prevent
using grossly abusive language. Others will occur in the course
of these pages.

[FN#70] i. e. about to fly out; "My heart is in my mouth." The
Fisherman speaks with the dry humour of a Fellah.

[FN#71] "Sulayman," when going out to ease himself, entrusted his
seal-ring upon which his kingdom depended to a concubine "Aminah"
(the "Faithful"), when Sakhr, transformed to the King's likeness,
came in and took it. The prophet was reduced to beggary, but
after forty days the demon fled throwing into the sea the ring
which was swallowed by a fish and eventually returned to
Sulayman. This Talmudic fable is hinted at in the Koran (chaps.
xxxviii.), and commentators have extensively embroidered it.
Asaf, son of Barkhiya, was Wazir to Sulayman and is supposed to
be the "one with whom was the knowledge of the Scriptures"
(Koran, chaps. xxxvii.), i.e. who knew the Ineffable Name of
Allah. See the manifest descendant of the Talmudic Koranic
fiction in the "Tale of the Emperor Jovinian" (No. lix.) of the
Gesta Romanorum, the most popular book of mediaeval Europe
composed in England (or Germany) about the end of the thirteenth

[FN#72] Arab. "Kumkam," a gourd-shaped bottle of metal, china or
glass, still used for sprinkling scents. Lane gives an
illustration (chaps. viii., Mod. Egypt.).

[FN#73] Arab. meaning "the Mother of Amir," a nickname for the
hyena, which bites the hand that feeds it.

[FN#74] The intellect of man is stronger than that of the Jinni;
the Ifrit, however, enters the jar because he has been adjured by
the Most Great Name and not from mere stupidity. The seal-ring of
Solomon according to the Rabbis contained a chased stone which
told him everything he wanted to know.

[FN#75] The Mesmerist will notice this shudder which is familiar
to him as preceding the "magnetic" trance.

[FN#76] Arab. "Bahr" which means a sea, a large river, a sheet of
water, etc., lit. water cut or trenched in the earth. Bahri in
Egypt means Northern; so Yamm (Sea, Mediterranean) in Hebrew is

[FN#77] In the Bull Edit. "Ruyan," evidently a clerical error.
The name is fanciful not significant.

[FN#78] The geography is ultra-Shakespearean. "Fars" (whence
"Persia") is the central Province of the grand old Empire now a
mere wreck, "Rum" (which I write Roum, in order to avoid Jamaica)
is the neo-Roman or Byzantine Empire, while "Yunan" is the
classical Arab term for Greece (Ionia) which unlearned Moslems
believe to be now under water.

[FN#79] The Sun greets Mohammed every morning even as it dances
on Easter Day for Christendom. Risum teneatis?

[FN#80] Arab. "Nadim," a term often occurring. It denotes one who
was intimate enough to drink with the Caliph, a very high honour
and a dangerous. The last who sat with "Nudama" was Al-Razi
bi'llah A.H. 329 = 940. See Al-Siyuti's famous "History of the
Caliphs" translated and admirably annotated by Major H. S.
Jarrett, for the Bibliotheca Indica, Calcutta, 1880.

[FN#81]Arab. Maydan (from Persian); Lane generally translates it
"horse course ' and Payne "tilting yard." It is both and
something more; an open space, in or near the city, used for
reviewing troops, races, playing the Jerid (cane-spear) and other
sports and exercises: thus Al-Maydan=Gr. hippodrome. The game
here alluded to is our -'polo," or hockey on horseback, a
favourite with the Persian Kings, as all old illustrations of the
Shahnamah show. Maydan is also a natural plain for which copious
Arabic has many terms, Fayhah or Sath (a plain generally), Khabt
(a low-lying plain), Bat'ha (a low sandy flat), Mahattah (a plain
fit for halting) and so forth. (Pilgrimage iii., 11.)

[FN#82] For details concerning the "Ghusl" see Night xliv.

[FN#83] A popular idiom and highly expressive, contrasting the
upright bearing of the self-satisfied man with the slouch of the
miserable and the skirt-trailing of the woman in grief. I do not
see the necessity of such Latinisms as "dilated" or "expanded."

[FN#84] All these highest signs of favour foreshow, in Eastern
tales and in Eastern life, an approaching downfall of the
heaviest; they are so great that they arouse general jealousy.
Many of us have seen this at native courts.

[FN#85] This phrase is contained in the word "ihdak"
=encompassing, as the conjunctive does the pupil.

[FN#86] I have noted this formula, which is used even in
conversation when about to relate some great unfact.

[FN#87] We are obliged to English the word by "valley," which is
about as correct as the "brook Kedron," applied to the grisliest
of ravines. The Wady (in old Coptic wah, oah, whence "Oasis") is
the bed of a watercourse which flows only after rains. I have
rendered it by "Fiumara" (Pilgrimage i., 5, and ii., 196, etc.),
an Italian or rather a Sicilian word which exactly describes the

[FN#88] I have described this scene which Mr. T. Wolf illustrated
by an excellent lithograph in "Falconry, etc." (London, Van
Voorst, MDCCCLII.)

[FN#89] Arab. "Kaylulah," mid-day sleep; called siesta from the
sixth canonical hour.

[FN#90] This parrot-story is world-wide in folk-lore and the
belief in metempsychosis, which prevails more or less over all
the East, there lends it probability. The "Book of Sindibad" (see
Night dlxxix. and "The Academy," Sept. 20, 1884, No. 646)
converts it into the "Story of the Confectioner, his Wife and the
Parrot," and it is the base of the Hindostani text- book,
"Tota-Kahani" (Parrot-chat), an abridgement of the Tutinamah
(Parrot-book) of Nakhshabi (circ. A.D. 1300), a congener of the
Sanskrit "Suka Saptati," or Seventy Parrot-stories. The tale is
not in the Bull. or Mac. Edits. but occurs in the Bresl. (i., pp.
90, 91) much mutilated; and better in the Calc. Edit I cannot
here refrain from noticing how vilely the twelve vols. of the
Breslau Edit have been edited; even a table of contents being
absent from the first four volumes.

[FN#91] The young "Turk" is probably a late addition, as it does
not appear in many of the MSS., e. g. the Bresl. Edit. The wife
usually spreads a cloth over the cage; this in the Turkish
translation becomes a piece of leather.

[FN#92] The Hebrew-Syrian month July used to express the height
of summer. As Herodotus tells us (ii. 4) the Egyptians claimed to
be the discoverers of the solar year and the portioners of its
course into twelve parts.

[FN#93] This proceeding is thoroughly characteristic of the
servile class; they conscientiously conceal everything from the
master till he finds a clew; after which they tell him everything
and something more.

[FN#94] Until late years, merchants and shopkeepers in the nearer
East all carried and held it a disgrace to leave the house

[FN#95] The Bresl. Edit. absurdly has Jazirah (an island).

[FN#96] The Ghulah (fem. of Ghul) is the Heb. Lilith or Lilis;
the classical Lamia; the Hindu Yogini and Dakini, the Chaldean
Utug and Gigim (desert-demons) as opposed to the Mas (hill-demon)
and Telal (who steal into towns); the Ogress of our tales and the
Bala yaga (Granny-witch) of Russian folk-lore. Etymologically
"Ghul" is a calamity, a panic fear; and the monster is evidently
the embodied horror of the grave and the graveyard.

[FN#97] Arab. "Shabb" (Lat. juvenis) between puberty and forty or
according to some fifty; when the patient becomes a "Rajul
ikhtiyar" (man of free will) politely termed, and then a Shaykh
or Shaybah (gray-beard, oldster).

[FN#98] Some proverbial name now forgotten. Torrens (p. 48)
translates it "the giglot" (Fortune?) but "cannot discover the

[FN#99] Arab. "Ihtizaz," that natural and instinctive movement
caused by good news suddenly given, etc.

[FN#100] Arab. "Kohl," in India, Surmah, not a "collyrium," but
powdered antimony for the eyelids. That sold in the bazars is not
the real grey ore of antimony but a galena or sulphuret of lead.
Its use arose as follows. When Allah showed Himself to Moses on
Sinai through an opening the size of a needle, the Prophet
fainted and the Mount took fire: thereupon Allah said,
"Henceforth shalt thou and thy seed grind the earth of this
mountain and apply it to your eyes!" The powder is kept in an
etui called Makhalah and applied with a thick blunt needle to the
inside of the eyelid, drawing it along the rim; hence etui and
probe denote the sexual rem in re and in cases of adultery the
question will be asked, "Didst thou see the needle in the
Kohl-pot ?" Women mostly use a preparation of soot or lamp-black
(Hind. Kajala, Kajjal) whose colour is easily distinguished from
that of Kohl. The latter word, with the article (Al-Kohl) is the
origin of our "alcohol;" though even M. Littre fails to show how
"fine powder" became "spirits of wine." I found this powder
(wherewith Jezebel "painted" her eyes) a great preservative from
ophthalmia in desert-travelling: the use in India was universal,
but now European example is gradually abolishing it.

[FN#101] The tale of these two women is now forgotten.

[FN#102] Arab. "Atadakhkhal." When danger threatens it is
customary to seize a man's skirt and cry "Dakhil-ak!" ( = under
thy protection). Among noble tribes the Badawi thus invoked will
defend the stranger with his life. Foreigners have brought
themselves into contempt by thus applying to women or to mere

[FN#103] The formula of quoting from the Koran.

[FN#104] Lit. "Allah not desolate me" (by thine absence). This is
still a popular phrase - La tawahishna = Do not make me desolate,
i.e. by staying away too long, and friends meeting after a term
of days exclaim "Auhashtani!"=thou hast made me desolate, Je suis

[FN#105] Charming simplicity of manners when the Prime Minister
carries the fish (shade of Vattel!)!) to the cookmaid. The "Gesta
Romanorum" is nowhere more naive.

[FN#106] Arab. "Kahilat al-taraf" = lit. eyelids lined with Kohl;
and figuratively "with black lashes and languorous look." This is
a phrase which frequently occurs in The Nights and which, as will
appear, applies to the "lower animals" as well as to men. Moslems
in Central Africa apply Kohl not to the thickness of the eyelid
but upon both outer lids, fixing it with some greasy substance.
The peculiar Egyptian (and Syrian) eye with its thick fringes of
jet-black lashes, looking like lines of black drawn with soot,
easily suggests the simile. In England I have seen the same
appearance amongst miners fresh from the colliery.

[FN#107] Of course applying to her own case.

[FN#108] Prehistoric Arabs who measured from 60 to 100 cubits
high: Koran, chaps. xxvi., etc. They will often be mentioned in
The Nights.

[FN#109] I Arab. "Dastur" (from Persian) = leave, permission. The
word has two meanings (see Burckhardt, Arab. Prov. No. 609) and
is much used, ea. before walking up stairs or entering a room
where strange women might be met. So "Tarik" = Clear the way
(Pilgrimage, iii., 319). The old Persian occupation of Egypt, not
to speak of the Persian speaking Circassians and other rulers has
left many such traces in popular language. One of them is that
horror of travelers - "Bakhshish" pron. bakh-sheesh and shortened
to shish from the Pers. "bakhshish." Our "Christmas box" has been
most unnecessarily derived from the same, despite our reading:--

Gladly the boy, with Christmas box in hand.

And, as will be seen, Persians have bequeathed to the outer world
worse things than bad language, e.g. heresy and sodomy.

[FN#110] He speaks of his wife but euphemistically in the

[FN#111] A popular saying throughout Al-Islam.

[FN#112] Arab. "Fata": lit.=a youth; a generous man, one of noble
mind (as youth-tide should be). It corresponds with the Lat.
"vir," and has much the meaning of the Ital. "Giovane," the Germ.
"Junker" and our "gentleman."

[FN#113] From the Bul.Edit.

[FN#114] The vagueness of his statement is euphemistic.

[FN#115] This readiness of shedding tears contrasts strongly with
the external stoicism of modern civilization; but it is true to
Arab character, and Easterns, like the heroes of Homer and
Italians of Boccacio, are not ashamed of what we look upon as the
result of feminine hysteria - "a good cry."

[FN#116] The formula (constantly used by Moslems) here denotes
displeasure, doubt how to act and so forth. Pronounce, "La haula
wa la kuwwata illa bi 'llahi 'I-Aliyyi 'I-Azim." As a rule
mistakes are marvellous: Mandeville (chaps. xii.) for "La ilaha
illa 'llahu wa Muhammadun Rasulu 'llah" writes "La ellec sila,
Machomete rores alla." The former (la haula, etc.), on account of
the four peculiar Arabic letters, is everywhere pronounced
differently. and the exclamation is called "Haulak" or "Haukal."

[FN#117] An Arab holds that he has a right to marry his first
cousin, the daughter of his father's brother, and if any win her
from him a death and a blood-feud may result. It was the same in
a modified form amongst the Jews and in both races the
consanguineous marriage was not attended by the evil results
(idiotcy, congenital deafness, etc.) observed in mixed races like
the English and the Anglo-American. When a Badawi speaks of "the
daughter of my uncle" he means wife; and the former is the dearer
title, as a wife can be divorced, but blood is thicker than

[FN#118] Arab. "Kahbah;" the coarsest possible term. Hence the
unhappy "Cave" of Don Roderick the Goth, which simply means The

[FN#119] The Arab "Banj" and Hindu "Bhang" (which I use as most
familiar) both derive from the old Coptic "Nibanj" meaning a
preparation of hemp (Cannabis sativa seu Indica); and here it is
easy to recognise the Homeric "Nepenthe." Al- Kazwini explains
the term by "garden hemp (Kinnab bostani or Shahdanaj). On the
other hand not a few apply the word to the henbane (hyoscyamus
niger) so much used in mediaeval Europe. The Kamus evidently means
henbane distinguishing it from Hashish al harafish" = rascals'
grass, i.e. the herb Pantagruelion. The "Alfaz Adwiya" (French
translation) explains "Tabannuj" by "Endormir quelqu'un en lui
faisant avaler de la jusquiame." In modern parlance Tabannuj is =
our anaesthetic administered before an operation, a deadener of
pain like myrrh and a number of other drugs. For this purpose
hemp is always used (at least I never heard of henbane); and
various preparations of the drug are sold at an especial bazar in
Cairo. See the "powder of marvellous virtue" in Boccaccio, iii.,
8; and iv., 10. Of these intoxicants, properly so termed, I shall
have something to say in a future page.

The use of Bhang doubtless dates from the dawn of civilisation,
whose earliest social pleasures would be inebriants. Herodotus
(iv. c. 75) shows the Scythians burning the seeds (leaves and
capsules) in worship and becoming drunken with the fumes, as do
the S. African Bushmen of the present day. This would be the
earliest form of smoking: it is still doubtful whether the pipe
was used or not. Galen also mentions intoxication by hemp.
Amongst Moslems, the Persians adopted the drink as an ecstatic,
and about our thirteenth century Egypt, which began the practice,
introduced a number of preparations to be noticed in the course
of The Nights.

[FN#120] The rubbish heaps which outlie Eastern cities, some
(near Cairo) are over a hundred feet high.

[FN#121] Arab. "Kurrat al-aye;" coolness of eyes as opposed to a
hot eye ("sakhin") one red with tears. The term is true and
picturesque so I translate it literally. All coolness is pleasant
to dwellers in burning lands: thus in Al-Hariri Abu Z yd says of
Bassorah, "I found there whatever could fill the eye with
coolness." And a "cool booty" (or prize) is one which has been
secured without plunging into the flames of war, or imply a
pleasant prize.

[FN#122] Popularly rendered Caucasus (see Night cdxcvi): it
corresponds so far with the Hindu "Udaya" that the sun rises
behind it; and the "false dawn" is caused by a hole or gap. It is
also the Persian Alborz, the Indian Meru (Sumeru), the Greek
Olympus and the Rhiphaean Range (Veliki Camenypoys) or great
starry girdle of the world, etc.

[FN#123] Arab. "Mizr" or "Mizar;" vulg. Buzah; hence the medical
Lat. Buza, the Russian Buza (millet beer), our booze, the O.
Dutch "buyzen" and the German "busen." This is the old
of negro and negroid Africa, the beer of Osiris, of which dried
remains have been found in jars amongst Egyptian tombs. In
Equatorial Africa it known as Pombe; on the Upper Nile "Merissa"
or "Mirisi" and amongst the Kafirs (Caffers) "Tshuala," "Oala" or
"Boyala:" I have also heard of "Buswa"in Central Africa which may
be the origin of "Buzah." In the West it became , (Romaic
), Xythum and cerevisia or cervisia, the humor ex hordeo,
long before the days of King Gambrinus. Central Africans drink it
in immense quantities: in Unyamwezi the standing bedsteads,
covered with bark-slabs, are all made sloping so as to drain off
the liquor. A chief lives wholly on beef and Pombe which is thick
as gruel below. Hops are unknown: the grain, mostly Holcus, is
made to germinate, then pounded, boiled and left to ferment. In
Egypt the drink is affected chiefly by Berbers, Nubians and
slaves from the Upper Nile, but it is a superior article and more
like that of Europe than the "Pombe." I have given an account of
the manufacture in The Lake Regions of Central Africa, vol. ii.,
p. 286. There are other preparations, Umm-bulbul (mother nightie
gale), Dinzayah and Subiyah, for which I must refer to the Shaykh

[FN#124] There is a terrible truth in this satire, which reminds
us of the noble dame who preferred to her handsome husband the


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