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

Part 8 out of 9

palefrenier laid, ord et infame of Queen Margaret of Navarre
(Heptameron No. xx.). We have all known women who sacrificed
everything despite themselves, as it were, for the most worthless
of men. The world stares and scoffs and blames and understands
nothing. There is for every woman one man and one only in whose
slavery she is "ready to sweep the floor." Fate is mostly opposed
to her meeting him but, when she does, adieu husband and
children, honour and religion, life and "soul." Moreover Nature
(human) commands the union of contrasts, such as fair and foul,
dark and light, tall and short; otherwise mankind would be like
the canines, a race of extremes, dwarf as toy-terriers, giants
like mastiffs, bald as Chinese "remedy dogs," or hairy as
Newfoundlands. The famous Wilkes said only a half truth when he
backed himself, with an hour s start, against the handsomest man
in England; his uncommon and remarkable ugliness (he was, as the
Italians say, un bel brutto) was the highest recommendation in
the eyes of very beautiful women.

[FN#125] Every Moslem burial-ground has a place of the kind where
honourable women may sit and weep unseen by the multitude. These
visits are enjoined by the Apostle:--Frequent the cemetery,
'twill make you think of futurity! Also:--Whoever visiteth the
graves of his parents (or one of them) every Friday, he shall be
written a pious son, even though he might have been in the world,
before that, a disobedient. (Pilgrimage, ii., 71.) The buildings
resemble our European "mortuary chapels." Said, Pasha of Egypt,
was kind enough to erect one on the island off Suez, for the "use
of English ladies who would like shelter whilst weeping and
wailing for their dead." But I never heard that any of the ladles
went there.

[FN#126] Arab. "Ajal"=the period of life, the appointed time of
death: the word is of constant recurrence and is also applied to
sudden death. See Lane's Dictionary, s.v.

[FN#127] "The dying Badawi to his tribe" (and lover) appears to
me highly pathetic. The wild people love to be buried upon hill
slopes whence they can look down upon the camp; and they still
call out the names of kinsmen and friends as they pass by the
grave-yards. A similar piece occurs in Wetzstein (p. 27,
"Reisebericht ueber Hauran," etc.):--

O bear with you my bones where the camel bears his load
And bury me before you, if buried I must be;
And let me not be burled 'neath the burden of the vine
But high upon the hill whence your sight I ever see!
As you pass along my grave cry aloud and name your names
The crying of your names shall revive the bones of me:
I have fasted through my life with my friends, and in my
death, I will feast when we meet, on that day of joy and

[FN#128] The Akasirah (plur. of Kasra=Chosroes) is here a title
of the four great dynasties of Persian Kings. 1. The Peshdadian
or Assyrian race, proto-historics for whom dates fail, 2. The
Kayanian (Medes and Persians) who ended with the Alexandrian
invasion in B. C. 331. 3. The Ashkanian (Parthenians or
Arsacides) who ruled till A. D. 202; and 4. The Sassanides which
have already been mentioned. But strictly speaking "Kisri" and
"Kasra" are titles applied only to the latter dynasty and
especially to the great King Anushirwan. They must not be
confounded with "Khusrau" (P. N. Cyrus, Ahasuerus? Chosroes?),
and yet the three seem to have combined in "Caesar," Kaysar and
Czar. For details especially connected with Zoroaster see vol. I,
p. 380 of the Dabistan or School of Manners, translated by David
Shea and Anthony Troyer, Paris, 1843. The book is most valuable,
but the proper names are so carelessly and incorrectly printed
that the student is led into perpetual error.

[FN#129] The words are the very lowest and coarsest; but the
scene is true to Arab life.

[FN#130] Arab."Hayhat:" the word, written in a variety of ways is
onomatopoetic, like our "heigh-ho!" it sometimes means "far from
me (or you) be it!" but in popular usage it is simply "Alas."

[FN#131] Lane (i., 134) finds a date for the book in this
passage. The Soldan of Egypt, Mohammed ibn Kala'un, in the early
eighth century (Hijrah = our fourteenth), issued a sumptuary law
compelling Christians and Jews to wear indigo-blue and
saffron-yellow turbans, the white being reserved for Moslems. But
the custom was much older and Mandeville (chaps. ix.) describes
it in A. D. 1322 when it had become the rule. And it still
endures; although abolished in the cities it is the rule for
Christians, at least in the country parts of Egypt and Syria. I
may here remark that such detached passages as these are
absolutely useless for chronology: they may be simply the
additions of editors or mere copyists.

[FN#132] The ancient "Mustapha" = the Chosen (prophet, i. e.
Mohammed), also titled Al-Mujtaba, the Accepted (Pilgrimage, ii.,
309). "Murtaza"=the Elect, i.e. the Caliph Ali is the older
"Mortada" or "Mortadi" of Ockley and his day, meaning "one
pleasing to (or acceptable to) Allah." Still older writers
corrupted it to "Mortis Ali" and readers supposed this to be the
Caliph's name.

[FN#133] The gleam (zodiacal light) preceding the true dawn; the
Persians call the former Subh-i-kazib (false or lying dawn)
opposed to Subh-i-sadik (true dawn) and suppose that it is caused
by the sun shining through a hole in the world- encircling Mount

[FN#134] So the Heb. "Arun" = naked, means wearing the lower robe
only; = our "in his shirt."

[FN#135] Here we have the vulgar Egyptian colloquialism "Aysh"
(--Ayyu shayyin) for the classical "Ma" = what.

[FN#136] "In the name of Allah!" here said before taking action.

[FN#137] Arab. "Mamluk" (plur. Mamalik) lit. a chattel; and in
The Nights a white slave trained to arms. The "Mameluke Beys" of
Egypt were locally called the "Ghuzz," I use the convenient word
in its old popular sense;

'Tis sung, there's a valiant Mameluke
In foreign lands ycleped (Sir Luke)-

And hence, probably, Moliere's "Mamamouchi"; and the modern
French use "Mamalue." See Savary's Letters, No. xl.

[FN#138] The name of this celebrated succesor of Nineveh, where
some suppose The Nights were written, is orig. (middle-
gates) because it stood on the way where four great highways
meet. The Arab. form "Mausil" (the vulgar "Mosul") is also
significant, alluding to the "junction" of Assyria and Babylonis.
Hence our "muslin."

[FN#139] This is Mr. Thackeray's "nose-bag." I translate by
"walking-shoes" the Arab "Khuff" which are a manner of loose boot
covering the ankle; they are not usually embroidered, the
ornament being reserved for the inner shoe.

[FN#140] i.e. Syria (says Abulfeda) the "land on the left" (of
one facing the east) as opposed to Al-Yaman the "land on the
right." Osmani would mean Turkish, Ottoman. When Bernard the Wise
(Bohn, p.24) speaks of "Bagada and Axiam" (Mabillon's text) or
"Axinarri" (still worse), he means Baghdad and Ash-Sham (Syria,
Damascus), the latter word puzzling his Editor. Richardson
(Dissert, lxxii.) seems to support a hideous attempt to derive
Sham from Shamat, a mole or wart, because the country is studded
with hillocks! Al-Sham is often applied to Damascus-city whose
proper name Dimishk belongs to books: this term is generally
derived from Damashik b. Kali b. Malik b. Sham (Shem). Lee (Ibn
Batutah, 29) denies that ha-Dimishki means "Eliezer of Damascus."

[FN#141] From Oman = Eastern Arabia.

[FN#142] Arab. "Tamar Hanna" lit. date of Henna, but applied to
the flower of the eastern privet (Lawsonia inermis) which has the
sweet scent of freshly mown hay. The use of Henna as a dye is
known even in Enland. The "myrtle" alluded to may either have
been for a perfume (as it is held an anti-intoxicant) or for
eating, the bitter aromatic berries of the "As" being supposed to
flavour wine and especially Raki (raw brandy).

[FN#143] Lane. (i. 211) pleasantly remarks, "A list of these
sweets is given in my original, but I have thought it better to
omit the names" (!) Dozy does not shirk his duty, but he is not
much more satisfactory in explaining words interesting to
students because they are unfound in dictionaries and forgotten
by the people. "Akras (cakes) Laymuniyah (of limes) wa
Maymuniyah" appears in the Bresl. Edit. as "Ma'amuniyah" which
may mean "Ma'amun's cakes" or "delectable cakes." "Amshat" =
(combs) perhaps refers to a fine kind of Kunafah (vermicelli)
known in Egypt and Syria as "Ghazl al-banat" = girl's spinning.

[FN#144] The new moon carefully looked for by all Moslems because
it begins the Ramazan-fast.

[FN#145] Solomon's signet ring has before been noticed.

[FN#146] The "high-bosomed" damsel, with breasts firm as a cube,
is a favourite with Arab tale tellers. Fanno baruffa is the
Italian term for hard breasts pointing outwards.

[FN#147] A large hollow navel is looked upon not only as a
beauty, but in children it is held a promise of good growth.

[FN#148] Arab. "Ka'ah," a high hall opening upon the central
court: we shall find the word used for a mansion, barrack, men's
quarters, etc.

[FN#149] Babel = Gate of God (El), or Gate of Ilu (P. N. of God),
which the Jews ironically interpreted "Confusion." The tradition
of Babylonia being the very centre of witchcraft and enchantment
by means of its Seven Deadly Spirits, has survived in Al-Islam;
the two fallen angels (whose names will occur) being confined in
a well; Nimrod attempting to reach Heaven from the Tower in a
magical car drawn by monstrous birds and so forth. See p. 114,
Francois Fenormant's "Chaldean Magic," London, Bagsters.

[FN#150] Arab. "Kamat Alfiyyah" = like the letter Alif, a
straight perpendicular stroke. In the Egyptian hieroglyphs, the
origin of every alphabet (not syllabarium) known to man, one form
was a flag or leaf of water-plant standing upright. Hence
probably the Arabic Alif-shape; while other nations preferred
other modifications of the letter (ox's head, etc), which in
Egyptian number some thirty-six varieties, simple and compound.

[FN#151] I have not attempted to order this marvellous confusion of
metaphors so characteristic of The Nights and the exigencies of Al-
Saj'a = rhymed prose.

[FN#152] Here and elsewhere I omit the "kala (dice Turpino)" of the
original: Torrens preserves "Thus goes the tale" (which it only
interrupts). This is simply letter-wise and sense-foolish.

[FN#153] Of this worthy more at a future time.

[FN#154] i.e., sealed with the Kazi or legal authority's seal of

[FN#155] "Nothing for nothing" is a fixed idea with the Eastern
woman: not so much for greed as for a sexual point d' honneur when
dealing with the adversary--man.

[FN#156] She drinks first, the custom of the universal East, to
show that the wine she had bought was unpoisoned. Easterns, who
utterly ignore the "social glass" of Western civilisation drink
honestly to get drunk; and, when far gone are addicted to horse-
play (in Pers. "Badmasti" = le vin mauvais) which leads to quarrels
and bloodshed. Hence it is held highly irreverent to assert of
patriarchs, prophets and saints that they "drank wine;" and Moslems
agree with our "Teatotallers" in denying that, except in the case
of Noah, inebriatives are anywhere mentioned in Holy Writ.

[FN#157] Arab. "Hur al-Ayn," lit. (maids) with eyes of lively white
and black, applied to the virgins of Paradise who will wive with
the happy Faithful. I retain our vulgar "Houri," warning the reader
that it is a masc. for a fem. ("Huriyah") in Arab, although
accepted in Persian, a genderless speach.

[FN#158] Arab. "Zambur," whose head is amputated in female
circumcision. See Night cccclxxiv.

[FN#159] Ocymum basilicum noticed in Introduction, the bassilico of
Boccaccio iv. 5. The Book of Kalilah and Dimnah represents it as
"sprouting with something also whose smell is foul and disgusting
and the sower at once sets to gather it and burn it with fire."
(The Fables of Bidpai translated from the later Syriac version by
I. G. N. Keith-Falconer, etc., etc., etc., Cambridge University
Press, 1885). Here, however, Habk is a pennyroyal (mentha
puligium), and probably alludes to the pecten.

[FN#160] i. e. common property for all to beat.

[FN#161] "A digit of the moon" is the Hindu equivalent.

[FN#162] Better known to us as Caravanserai, the "Travellers'
Bungalow" of India: in the Khan, however, shelter is to be had, but
neither bed nor board.

[FN#163] Arab. "Zubb." I would again note that this and its
synonyms are the equivalents of the Arabic, which is of the lowest.
The tale-teller's evident object is to accentuate the contrast with
the tragical stories to follow.

[FN#164] "ln the name of Allah," is here a civil form of

[FN#165] Lane (i. 124) is scandalised and naturally enough by this
scene, which is the only blot in an admirable tale admirably told.
Yet even here the grossness is but little more pronounced than what
we find in our old drama (e. g., Shakespeare's King Henry V.)
written for the stage, whereas tales like The Nights are not read
or recited before both sexes. Lastly "nothing follows all this
palming work:" in Europe the orgie would end very differently.
These "nuns of Theleme" are physically pure: their debauchery is of
the mind, not the body. Galland makes them five, including the two

[FN#166] So Sir Francis Walsingham's "They which do that they
should not, should hear that they would not."

[FN#167] The old "Calendar," pleasantly associated with that form
of almanac. The Mac. Edit. has Karandaliyah," a vile corruption,
like Ibn Batutah's "Karandar" and Torrens' "Kurundul:" so in
English we have the accepted vulgarism of "Kernel" for Colonel. The
Bull Edit. uses for synonym "Su'uluk"=an asker, a beggar. Of these
mendicant monks, for such they are, much like the Sarabaites of
mediaeval Europe, I have treated and of their institutions and its
founder, Shaykh Sharif Bu Ali Kalandar (ob. A. H. 724 =1323-24), at
some length in my "History of Sindh," chaps. viii. See also the
Dabistan (i. 136) where the good Kalandar exclaims:--

If the thorn break in my body, how trifling the pain!
But how sorely I feel for the poor broken thorn!

D'Herbelot is right when he says that the Kalandar is not generally
approved by Moslems: he labours to win free from every form and
observance and he approaches the Malamati who conceals all his
deeds and boasts of his evil doings--our "Devil's hypocrite."

[FN#168] The "Kalandar" disfigures himself in this manner to show

[FN#169] Arab. "Gharib:" the porter is offended because the word
implies "poor devil;" esp. one out of his own country.

[FN#170] A religious mendicant generally.

[FN#171] Very scandalous to Moslem "respectability" Mohammed said
the house was accursed when the voices of women could be heard out
of doors. Moreover the neighbours have a right to interfere and
abate the scandal.

[FN#172] I need hardly say that these are both historical
personages; they will often be mentioned, and Ja'afar will be
noticed in the Terminal Essay.

[FN#173] Arab. "Same 'an wa ta'atan"; a popular phrase of assent
generally translated "to hear is to obey;" but this formula may be
and must be greatly varied. In places it means "Hearing (the word
of Allah) and obeying" (His prophet, viceregent, etc.)

[FN#174] Arab. "Sawab"=reward in Heaven. This word for which we
have no equivalent has been naturalized in all tongues (e. g.
Hindostani) spoken by Moslems.

[FN#175] Wine-drinking, at all times forbidden to Moslems, vitiates
the Pilgrimage rite: the Pilgrim is vowed to a strict observance of
the ceremonial law and many men date their "reformation" from the
"Hajj." Pilgrimage, iii., 126.

[FN#176] Here some change has been necessary; as the original text
confuses the three "ladies."

[FN#177] In Arab. the plural masc. is used by way of modesty when
a girl addresses her lover and for the same reason she speaks of
herself as a man.

[FN#178] Arab. "Al-Na'im", in ful "Jannat-al-Na'im" = the Garden of
Delights, i.e. the fifth Heaven made of white silver. The generic
name of Heaven (the place of reward) is "Jannat," lit. a garden;
"Firdaus" being evidently derived from the Persian through the
Greek {Greek Letters}, and meaning a chase, a hunting park. Writers
on this subject should bear in mind Mandeville's modesty, "Of
Paradise I cannot speak properly, for I was not there."

[FN#179] Arab. "Mikra'ah," the dried mid-rib of a date-frond used
for many purposes, especially the bastinado.

[FN#180] According to Lane (i., 229) these and the immediately
following verses are from an ode by Ibn Sahl al-Ishbili. They are
in the Bull Edit. not the Mac. Edit.

[FN#181] The original is full of conceits and plays on words which
are not easily rendered in English.

[FN#182] Arab. "Tarjuman," same root as Chald. Targum ( = a
translation), the old "Truchman," and through the Ital. "tergomano"
our "Dragoman," here a messenger.

[FN#183] Lit. the "person of the eyes," our "babe of the eyes," a
favourite poetical conceit in all tongues; much used by the
Elizabethans, but now neglected as a silly kind of conceit. See
Night ccix.

[FN#184] Arab. "Sar" (Thar) the revenge-right recognised by law and
custom (Pilgrimage, iii., 69).

[FN#185] That is "We all swim in the same boat."

[FN#186] Ja'afar ever acts, on such occasions, the part of a wise
and sensible man compelled to join in a foolish frolic. He
contrasts strongly with the Caliph, a headstrong despot who will
not be gainsaid, whatever be the whim of the moment. But Easterns
would look upon this as a proof of his "kingliness."

[FN#187] Arab. "Wa'l- Salam" (pronounced Was-Salam); meaning "and
here ends the matter." In our slang we say "All right, and the
child's name is Antony."

[FN#188] This is a favourite jingle, the play being upon "ibrat" (a
needle-graver) and " 'ibrat" (an example, a warning).

[FN#189] That is "make his bow," as the English peasant pulls his
forelock. Lane (i., 249) suggests, as an afterthought, that it
means:--"Recover thy senses; in allusion to a person's drawing his
hand over his head after sleep or a fit." But it occurs elsewhere
in the sense of "cut thy stick."

[FN#190] This would be a separate building like our family tomb and
probably domed, resembling that mentioned in "The King of the Black
Islands." Europeans usually call it "a little Wali;" or, as they
write it, "Wely," the contained for the container; the "Santon" for
the "Santon's tomb." I have noticed this curious confusion (which
begins with Robinson, i. 322) in "Unexplored Syria," i. 161.

[FN#191] Arab. "Wiswas," = diabolical temptation or suggestion. The
"Wiswasi" is a man with scruples (scrupulus, a pebble in the shoe),
e.g. one who fears that his ablutions were deficient, etc.

[FN#192] Arab. "Katf" = pinioning by tying the arms behind the back
and shoulders (Kitf) a dire disgrace to free-born men.

[FN#193] Arab. "Nafs."=Hebr. Nephesh (Nafash) =soul, life as
opposed to "Ruach"= spirit and breath. In these places it is
equivalent to "I said to myself." Another form of the root is
"Nafas," breath, with an idea of inspiration: so 'Sahib Nafas"
(=master of breath) is a minor saint who heals by expiration, a
matter familiar to mesmerists (Pilgrimage, i., 86).

[FN#194] Arab. "Kaus al-Banduk;" the "pellet bow" of modern India;
with two strings joined by a bit of cloth which supports a ball of
dry clay or stone. It is chiefly used for birding.

[FN#195] In the East blinding was a common practice, especially in
the case of junior princes not required as heirs. A deep
perpendicular incision was made down each corner of the eyes; the
lids were lifted and the balls removed by cutting the optic nerve
and the muscles. The later Caliphs blinded their victims by passing
a red-hot sword blade close to the orbit or a needle over the
eye-ball. About the same time in Europe the operation was performed
with a heated metal basin--the well known bacinare (used by
Ariosto), as happened to Pier delle Vigne (Petrus de Vinea), the
"godfather of modern Italian."

[FN#196] Arab. "Khinzir" (by Europeans pronounced "Hanzir"), prop.
a wild-boar, but popularly used like our "you pig!"

[FN#197] Striking with the shoe, the pipe-stick and similar
articles is highly insulting, because they are not made, like whips
and scourges, for such purpose. Here the East and the West differ
diametrically. "Wounds which are given by instruments which are in
one's hands by chance do not disgrace a man," says Cervantes (D. Q.
i., chaps. 15), and goes on to prove that if a Zapatero (cobbler)
cudgel another with his form or last, the latter must not consider
himself cudgelled. The reverse in the East where a blow of a pipe
stick cost Mahommed Ali Pasha's son his life: Ishmail Pasha was
burned to death by Malik Nimr, chief of Shendy (Pilgrimage, i.,
203). Moreover, the actual wound is less considered in Moslem law
than the instrument which caused it: so sticks and stones are
venial weapons, whilst sword and dagger, gun and pistol are
felonious. See ibid. (i., 336) for a note upon the weapons with
which nations are policed.

[FN#198] Incest is now abominable everywhere except amongst the
overcrowded poor of great and civilised cities. Yet such unions
were common and lawful amongst ancient and highly cultivated
peoples, as the Egyptians (Isis and Osiris), Assyrians and ancient
Persians. Physiologically they are injurious only when the parents
have constitutional defects: if both are sound, the issue, as
amongst the so-called "lower animals " is viable and healthy.

[FN#199] Dwellers in the Northern Temperates can hardly imagine
what a dust-storm is in sun parched tropical lands. In Sind we were
often obliged to use candles at mid-day, while above the dust was
a sun that would roast an egg.

[FN#200] Arab. " 'Urban," now always used of the wild people, whom
the French have taught us to call les Bedouins; "Badw" being a
waste or desert, and Badawi (fem. Badawiyah, plur. Badawi and
Bidwan), a man of the waste. Europeans have also learnt to miscall
the Egyptians "Arabs": the difference is as great as between an
Englishman and a Spaniard. Arabs proper divide their race into
sundry successive families. "The Arab al-Araba" (or al- Aribah, or
al-Urubiyat) are the autochthones, prehistoric, proto-historic and
extinct tribes; for instance, a few of the Adites who being at
Meccah escaped the destruction of their wicked nation, but mingled
with other classes. The "Arab al-Muta'arribah," (Arabised Arabs)
are the first advenae represented by such noble strains as the
Koraysh (Koreish), some still surviving. The "Arab al-Musta'aribah"
(insititious, naturalized or instituted Arabs, men who claim to be
Arabs) are Arabs like the Sinaites, the Egyptians and the Maroccans
descended by intermarriage with other races. Hence our
"Mosarabians" and the "Marrabais" of Rabelais (not, "a word
compounded of Maurus and Arabs"). Some genealogists, however, make
the Muta'arribah descendants of Kahtan (possibly the Joktan of
Genesis x., a comparatively modern document, B.C. 700?); and the
Musta'aribah those descended from Adnan the origin of Arab
genealogy. And, lastly, are the "Arab al-Musta'ajimah," barbarised
Arabs, like the present population of Meccah and Al-Medinah.
Besides these there are other tribes whose origin is still unknown,
such as the Mahrah tribes of Hazramaut, the "Akhdam" (=serviles) of
Oman (Maskat); and the "Ebna" of Al-Yaman: Ibn Ishak supposes the
latter to be descended from the Persian soldiers of Anushirwan who
expelled the Abyssinian invader from Southern Arabia.
(Pilgrimage, m., 31, etc.)

[FN#201] Arab. "Amir al-Muuminin." The title was assumed by the
Caliph Omar to obviate the inconvenience of calling himself
"Khalifah" (successor) of the Khalifah of the Apostle of Allah
(i.e. Abu Bakr); which after a few generations would become
impossible. It means "Emir (chief or prince) of the Muumins," men
who hold to the (true Moslem) Faith, the "Iman" (theory,
fundamental articles) as opposed to the "Din," ordinance or
practice of the religion. It once became a Wazirial time conferred
by Sultan Malikshah (King King- king) on his Nizam al-Murk.
(Richardson's Dissert. [viii.)

[FN#202] This may also mean "according to the seven editions of the
Koran " the old revisions and so forth (Sale, Sect. iii. and
D'Herbelot "Alcoran.") The schools of the "Mukri," who teach the
right pronunciation wherein a mistake might be sinful, are seven,
Harnzah, Ibn Katir, Ya'akub, Ibn Amir, Kisai, Asim and Hafs, the
latter being the favourite with the Hanafis and the only one now
generally known in Al-Islam.

[FN#203] Arab. "Sadd"=wall, dyke, etc. the "bund" or "band" of
Anglo-India. Hence the "Sadd" on the Nile, the banks of grass and
floating islands which "wall" the stream. There are few sights more
appalling than a sandstorm in the desert, the "Zauba'ah" as the
Arabs call it. Devils, or pillars of sand, vertical and inclined,
measuring a thousand feet high, rush over the plain lashing the
sand at their base like a sea surging under a furious whirlwind;
shearing the grass clean away from the roots, tearing up trees,
which are whirled like leaves and sticks in air and sweeping away
tents and houses as if they were bits of paper. At last the columns
join at the top and form, perhaps three thousand feet above the
earth, a gigantic cloud of yellow sand which obliterates not only
the horizon but even the mid-day sun. These sand-spouts are the
terror of travellers. In Sind and the Punjab we have the dust-
storm which for darkness, I have said, beats the blackest London

[FN#204] Arab. Sar = the vendetta, before mentioned, as dreaded in
Arabia as in Corsica.

[FN#205] Arab. "Ghutah," usually a place where irrigation is
abundant. It especially applies (in books) to the Damascus-plain
because "it abounds with water and fruit trees." The Ghutah is one
of the four earthly paradises, the others being Basrah (Bassorah),
Shiraz and Samarcand. Its peculiarity is the likeness to a seaport
the Desert which rolls up almost to its doors being the sea and its
ships being the camels. The first Arab to whom we owe this
admirable term for the "Companion of Job" is "Tarafah" one of the
poets of the Suspended Poems: he likens (v. v. 3, 4) the camels
which bore away his beloved to ships sailing from Aduli. But "ships
of the desert" is doubtless a term of the highest antiquity.

[FN#206] The exigencies of the "Saj'a," or rhymed prose, disjoint
this and many similar pas. sages.

[FN#207] The "Ebony" Islands; Scott's "Isle of Ebene," i., 217.

[FN#208] "Jarjaris" in the Bul. Edit.

[FN#209] Arab. "Takbis." Many Easterns can hardly sleep without
this kneading of the muscles, this "rubbing" whose hygienic
properties England is now learning.

[FN#210] The converse of the breast being broadened, the drooping,
"draggle-tail" gait compared with the head held high and the
chest inflated.

[FN#211] This penalty is mentioned in the Koran (chaps. v.) as fit
for those who fight against Allah and his Apostle, but commentators
are not agreed if the sinners are first to be put to death or to
hang on the cross till they die. Pharaoh (chaps. xx.) threatens to
crucify his magicians on palm-trees, and is held to be the first

[FN#212] Arab. "'Ajami"=foreigner, esp. a Persian: the latter in
The Nights is mostly a villain. I must here remark that the
contemptible condition of Persians in Al-Hijaz (which I noted in
1852, Pilgrimage, i., 327) has completely changed. They are no
longer, "The slippers of All and hounds of Omar:" they have learned
the force of union and now, instead of being bullied, they bully.

[FN#213] The Calc. Edit. turns into Tailors (Khayyatin) and
does not see the misprint.

[FN#214] i.e. Axe and sandals.

[FN#215] Lit. "Strike his neck."

[FN#216] A phrase which will frequently recur; meaning the
situation suggested such words a these.

[FN#217] The smiter with the evil eye is called "A'in" and the
person smitten "Ma'im" or "Ma'un."

[FN#218] Arab. "Sakiyah," the well-known Persian wheel with pots
and buckets attached to the tire. It is of many kinds, the boxed,
etc., etc., and it is possibly alluded to in the "pitcher broken at
the fountain" (Eccleslastes xii. 6) an accident often occurring to
the modern "Noria." Travellers mostly abuse its "dismal creaking"
and "mournful monotony": I have defended the music of the
water-wheel in Pilgrimage ii. 198.

[FN#219] Arab. "Zikr" lit. remembering, mentioning (i. c. the names
of Allah), here refers to the meetings of religious for devotional
exercises; the "Zikkirs," as they are called, mostly standing or
sitting in a circle while they ejaculate the Holy Name. These
"rogations" are much affected by Darwayshes, or begging friars,
whom Europe politely divides Unto "dancing" and "howling"; and, on
one occasion, greatly to the scandal of certain Englaenderinns to
whom I was showing the Ezbekiyah I joined the ring of "howlers."
Lane (Mod. Egypt, see index) is profuse upon the subject of "Zikrs"
and Zikkits. It must not be supposed that they are uneducated men:
the better class, however, prefers more privacy.

[FN#220] As they thought he had been there for prayer or penance.

[FN#221] Arab. "Ziyarat," a visit to a pious person or place.

[FN#222] This is a paternal salute in the East where they are
particular about the part kissed. A witty and not unusually gross
Persian book, called the "Al-Namah" because all questions begin
with "Al" (the Arab article) contains one "Al-Wajib al-busidan?"
(what best deserves bussing?) and the answer is "Kus-i-nau-pashm,"
(a bobadilla with a young bush).

[FN#223] A weight of 71-72 English grains in gold; here equivalent
to the diner.

[FN#224] Compare the tale of The Three Crows in Gammer Grethel,
Evening ix.

[FN#225] The comparison is peculiarly apposite; the earth seen from
above appears hollow with a raised rim.

[FN#226] A hundred years old.

[FN#227] "Bahr" in Arab. means sea, river, piece of water; hence
the adjective is needed.

[FN#228] The Captain or Master of the ship (not the owner). In
Al-Yaman the word also means a "barber," in virtue of the root,
Rass, a head.

[FN#229] The text has "in the character Ruka'i,"," or Rika'i,, the

[FN#230] A curved character supposed to be like the basil-leaf
(rayhan). Richardson calls it "Rohani."

[FN#231] I need hardly say that Easterns use a reed, a Calamus
(Kalam applied only to the cut reed) for our quills and steel

[FN#232] Famous for being inscribed on the Kiswah (cover) of
Mohammed's tomb; a large and more formal hand still used for
engrossing and for mural inscriptions. Only seventy two varieties
of it are known (Pilgrimage, ii., 82).

[FN#233] The copying and transcribing hand which is either Arabi or
Ajami. A great discovery has been lately made which upsets all our
old ideas of Cufic, etc. Mr. Loeytved of Bayrut has found, amongst
the Hauranic inscriptions, one in pure Naskhi, dating A. D. 568, or
fifty years before the Hijrah; and it is accepted as authentic by
my learned friend M. Ch. Clermont-Ganneau (p. 193, Pal. Explor.
Fund. July 1884). In D'Herbelot and Sale's day the Koran was
supposed to have been written in rude characters, like those
subsequently called "Cufic," invented shortly before Mohammed's
birth by Muramir ibn Murrah of Anbar in Irak, introduced into
Meccah by Bashar the Kindian, and perfected by Ibn Muklah
(Al-Wazir, ob. A. H. 328=940). We must now change all that. See
Catalogue of Oriental Caligraphs, etc., by G. P, Badger, London,
Whiteley, 1885.

[FN#234] Capital and uncial letters; the hand in which the Ka'abah
veil is inscribed (Pilgrimage iii. 299, 300).

[FN#235] A "Court hand" says Mr. Payne (i. 112): I know nothing of
it. Other hands are: the Ta'alik; hanging or oblique, used for
finer MSS. and having, according to Richardson, "the same analogy
to the Naskhi as our Italic has to the Roman." The Nasta' lik (not
Naskh-Ta'alik) much used in India, is, as the name suggests, a
mixture of the Naskhi (writing of transactions) and the Ta'alik.
The Shikastah (broken hand) everywhere represents our running hand
and becomes a hard task to the reader. The Kirma is another cursive
character, mostly confined to the receipts and disbursements of the
Turkish treasury. The Divani, or Court (of Justice) is the official
hand, bold and round. a business character, the lines often rising
with a sweep or curve towards the (left) end. The Jali or polished
has a variety, the Jali-Ta'alik: the Sulsi (known in many books) is
adopted for titles of volumes, royal edicts, diplomas and so forth;
"answering much the same purpose as capitals with us, or the
flourished letters in illuminated manuscripts" (Richardson) The
Tughrai is that of the Tughra, the Prince's cypher or flourishing
signature in ceremonial writings, and containing some such sentence
as: Let this be executed. There are others e. g. Yakuti and
Sirenkil known only by name. Finally the Maghribi (Moorish) hand
differs in form and diacritical points from the characters used
further east almost as much as German running hand does from
English. It is curious that Richardson omits the Jali (intricate
and convoluted) and the divisions of the Sulusi, Sulsi or Sulus
(Thuluth) character, the Sulus al-Khafif, etc.

[FN#236] Arab. "Baghlah"; the male (Bagful) is used only for loads.
This is everywhere the rule: nothing is more unmanageable than a
restive "Macho", and he knows that he can always get you off his
back when so minded. From "Baghlah" is derived the name of the
native craft Anglo-Indice a "Buggalow."

[FN#237] In Heb. ""Ben-Adam" is any man opp. to "Beni ish"
(Psalm iv. 3) =filii viri, not homines.

[FN#238] This posture is terribly trying to European legs; and few
white men (unless brought up to it) can squat for any time on their
heels. The ``tailor-fashion," with crossed legs, is held to be free
and easy.

[FN#239] Arab. "Kata"=Pterocles Alchata, the well-known sand-grouse
of the desert. It is very poor white flesh.

[FN#240] Arab. "Khubz" which I do not translate "cake" or
``bread,'' as thee would suggest the idea of our loaf. The staff of
life in the East is a thin flat circle of dough baked in the oven
or on the griddle, and corresponding with the Scotch "scone," the
Spanish tortilla and the Australian "flap-jack."

[FN#241] Arab. "Harisah," a favourite dish of wheat (or rice)
boiled and reduced to a paste with shredded meat, spices and
condiments. The "bangles" is a pretty girl eating with him.

[FN#242] These lines are repeated with a difference in Night
cccxxx. They affect Rims cars, out of the way, heavy rhymes: e. g.
here Sakarij (plur. of Sakruj, platters, porringers); Tayahij
(plur. of Tayhuj, the smaller caccabis-partridge); Tabahij (Persian
Tabahjah, an me et or a stew of meat, onions, eggs, etc.) Ma'arij
("in stepped piles" like the pyramids Lane ii 495, renders "on the
stairs"); Makarij (plur. of Makraj, a small pot); Damalij (plur. of
dumluj, a bracelet, a bangle); Dayabij (brocades) and Tafarij
(openings, enjoyments). In Night cccxxx. we find also Sikabij
(plur. of Sikbaj, marinated meat elsewhere explained); Fararij
(plur. of farruj, a chicken, vulg. farkh) and Dakakij (plur. of Gr.
dakujah,, a small Jar). In the first line we have also (though not
a rhyme) Gharanik Gr. , a crane, preserved in Romaic. The
weeping and wailing are caused by the remembrance that all these
delicacies have been demolished like a Badawi camp.

[FN#243] This is the vinum coctum, the boiled wine, still a
favourite in Southern Italy and Greece.

[FN#244] Eastern topers delight in drinking at dawn: upon this
subject I shall have more to say in other Nights.

[FN#245] Arab. "Adab," a crux to translators, meaning anything
between good education and good manners. In mod. Turk. "Edibiyyet"
(Adabiyat) = belles lettres and "Edebi' or "Edib" = a litterateur.

[FN#246] The Caliph Al-Maamun, who was a bad player, used to say,
"I have the administration of the world and am equal to it, whereas
I am straitened in the ordering of a space of two spans by two
spans." The "board" was then "a square field of well-dressed

[FN#247] The Rabbis (after Matth. xix. 12) count three kinds of
Eunuchs; (1) Seris chammah=of the sun, i.e. natural, (2) Seris
Adam=manufactured per homines; and (3) Seris Chammayim--of God
(i.e.. religious abstainer). Seris (castrated) or Abd (slave) is
the general Hebrew name.

[FN#248] The "Lady of Beauty."

[FN#249] "Kaf" has been noticed as the mountain which surrounds
earth as a ring does the finger:: it is popularly used like our Alp
and Alpine. The "circumambient Ocean" (Bahr al-muhit) is the
Homeric Ocean-stream.

[FN#250] The pomegranate is probably chosen here because each fruit
is supposed to contain one seed from Eden-garden. Hence a host of
superstitions (Pilgrimage iii., 104) possibly connected with the
Chaldaic-Babylonian god Rimmon or Ramanu. Hence Persephone or
Ishtar tasted the "rich pomegranate's seed." Lenormant, loc. cit.
pp. 166, 182.

[FN#251] i.e. for the love of God--a favourite Moslem phrase.

[FN#252] Arab. "Bab," also meaning a chapter (of magic, of war,
etc.), corresponding with the Persian "Dar" as in Sad-dar, the
Hundred Doors. Here, however, it is figurative "I tried a new
mode." This scene is in the Mabinogion.

[FN#253] I use this Irish term = crying for the dead, as English
wants the word for the praefica, or myrialogist. The practice is not
encouraged in Al-Islam; and Caliph Abu Bakr said, ; "Verily a
corpse is sprinkled with boiling water by reason of the
lamentations of the living, i.e. punished for not having taken
measures to prevent their profitless lamentations. But the practice
is from Negroland whence it reached Egypt, and the people have
there developed a curious system in the "weeping-song" I have noted
this in "The Lake Regions of Central Africa." In Zoroastrianism
(Dabistan, chaps. xcvii.) tears shed for the dead form a river in
hell, black and frigid.

[FN#254] These lines are hardly translatable. Arab. "Sabr" means
"patience" as well as "aloes," hereby lending itself to a host of
puns and double entendres more or less vile. The aloe, according to
Burckhardt, is planted in graveyards as a lesson of patience: it is
also slung, like the dried crocodile, over house doors to prevent
evil spirits entering: "thus hung without earth and water," says
Lane (M.E., chaps. xi.), "it will live for several years and even
blossom. Hence (?) it is called Sabr, which signifies patience. But
Sibr as well as Sabr (a root) means "long sufferance." I hold the
practice to be one of the many Inner African superstitions. The
wild Gallas to the present day plant aloes on graves, and suppose
that when the plant sprouts the deceased has been admitted to the
gardens of Wak, the Creator. (Pilgrimage iii. 350.)

[FN#255] Every city in the East has its specific title: this was
given to Baghdad either on account of its superior police or simply
because it was the Capital of the Caliphate. The Tigris was also
called the "River of Peace (or Security)."

[FN#256] This is very characteristic: the passengers finding
themselves in difficulties at once take command. See in my
Pilgrimage (I. chaps. xi.) how we beat and otherwise maltreated the
Captain of the "Golden Wire."

[FN#257] The fable is probably based on the currents which, as in
Eastern Africa, will carry a ship fifty miles a day out of her
course. We first find it in Ptolemy (vii. 2) whose Maniolai
Islands, of India extra Gangem, cause iron nails to fly out of
ships, the effect of the Lapis Herculeus (Loadstone). Rabelais (v.
c. 37) alludes to it and to the vulgar idea of magnetism being
counteracted by Skordon (Scordon or garlic). Hence too the Adamant
(Loadstone) Mountains of Mandeville (chaps. xxvii.) and the
"Magnetic Rock" in Mr Puttock's clever "Peter Wilkins." I presume
that the myth also arose from seeing craft built, as on the East
African Coast, without iron nails. We shall meet with the legend
again. The word Jabal ("Jebel" in Egypt) often occurs in these
pages. The Arabs apply it to any rising ground or heap of rocks; so
it is not always = our mountain. It has found its way to Europe
e. g. Gibraltar and Monte Gibello (or Mongibel in poetry) "Mt. Ethne
that men clepen Mounte Gybelle." Other special senses of Jabal
will occur.

[FN#258] As we learn from the Nubian Geographer the Arabs in early
ages explored the Fortunate Islands (Jazirat al-Khalidat=Eternal
Isles), or Canaries, on one of which were reported a horse and
horseman in bronze with his spear pointing west. Ibn al-Ward) notes
two images of hard stone, each an hundred cubits high, and upon the
top of each a figure of copper pointing with its hand backwards, as
though it would say:--Return for there is nothing behind me!" But
this legend attaches to older doings. The 23rd Tobba (who succeeded
Bilkis), Malik bin Sharhabil, (or Sharabil or Sharahil) surnamed
Nashir al-Ni'am=scatterer of blessings, lost an army in attempting
the Western sands and set up a statue of copper upon whose breast
was inscribed in antique characters:--

There is no access behind me,
Nothing beyond,
(Saith) The Son of Sharabil.

[FN#259] i.e. I exclaimed "Bismillah!"

[FN#260] The lesser ablution of hands, face and feet; a kind of
"washing the points." More in Night ccccxl.

[FN#261] Arab. "Ruka'tayn"; the number of these bows which are
followed by the prostrations distinguishes the five daily

[FN#262] The "Beth Kol" of the Hebrews; also called by the Moslems
"Hatif"; for which ask the Spiritualists. It is the Hindu "voice
divine" or "voice from heaven."

[FN#263] These formulae are technically called Tasmiyah, Tahlil
(before noted) and Takbir: i.e. "testifying" is Tashhid.

[FN#264] Arab. "Samn," (Pers. "Raughan" Hind. "Ghi") the "single
sauce" of the East; fresh butter set upon the fire, skimmed and
kept (for a century if required) in leather bottles and demijohns.
Then it becomes a hard black mass, considered a panacea for wounds
and diseases. It is very "filling": you say jocosely to an Eastern
threatened with a sudden inroad of guests, "Go, swamp thy rice with
Raughan." I once tried training, like a Hindu Pahlawan or athlete,
on Gur (raw sugar), milk and Ghi; and the result was being blinded
by bile before the week ended.

[FN#265] These handsome youths are always described in the terms we
should apply to women.

[FN#266] The Bull Edit. (i. 43) reads otherwise:--I found a garden
and a second and a third and so on till they numbered thirty and
nine; and, in each garden, I saw what praise will not express, of
trees and rills and fruits and treasures. At the end of the last I
sighted a door and said to myself, "What may be in this place?;
needs must I open it and look in!" I did so accordingly and saw a
courser ready saddled and bridled and picketed; so I loosed and
mounted him, and he flew with me like a bird till he set me down on
a terrace-roof; and, having landed me, he struck me a whisk with
his tail and put out mine eye and fled from me. Thereupon I
descended from the roof and found ten youths all blind of one eye
who, when they saw me exclaimed, "No welcome to thee, and no good
cheer!" I asked them, "Do ye admit me to your home and society?"
and they answered, "No, by Allah' thou shalt not live amongst us."
So I went forth with weeping eyes and grieving heart, but Allah had
written my safety on the Guarded Tablet so I reached Baghdad in
safety, etc. This is a fair specimen of how the work has been
curtailed in that issue.

[FN#267] Arabs date pregnancy from the stopping of the menses, upon
which the foetus is supposed to feed. Kalilah wa Dimnah says, "The
child's navel adheres to that of his mother and thereby he sucks"
(i. 263).

[FN#268] This is contrary to the commands of Al-Islam, Mohammed
expressly said "The Astrologers are liars, by the Lord of the
Ka'abah!"; and his saying is known to almost all Moslems, lettered
or unlettered. Yet, the further we go East (Indiawards) the more we
find these practices held in honour. Turning westwards we have:

Iuridicis, Erebo, Fisco, fas vivere rapto:
Militibus, Medicis, Tortori occidere ludo est;
Mentiri Astronomis, Pictoribus atque Poetis.

[FN#269] He does not perform the Wuzu or lesser ablution because he
neglects his dawn prayers.

[FN#270] For this game see Lane (M. E. Chapt. xvii.) It is usually
played on a checked cloth not on a board like our draughts; and
Easterns are fond of eating, drinking and smoking between and even
during the games. Torrens (p. 142) translates "I made up some
dessert," confounding "Mankalah" with "Nukl" (dried fruit,

[FN#271] Quoted from Mohammed whose saying has been given.

[FN#272] We should say "the night of the thirty-ninth."

[FN#273] The bath first taken after sickness.

[FN#274] Arab. "Dikak" used by way of soap or rather to soften the
skin: the meal is usually of lupins, "Adas"="Revalenta Arabica,"
which costs a penny in Egypt and half-a-crown in England.

[FN#275] Arab. "Sukkar-nabat." During my day (1842-49) we had no
other sugar in the Bombay Presidency.

[FN#276] This is one of the myriad Arab instances that the decrees
of "Anagke," Fate, Destiny, Weird, are inevitable. The situation is
highly dramatic; and indeed The Nights, as will appear in the
Terminal Essay, have already suggested a national drama.

[FN#277] Having lately been moved by Ajib.

[FN#278] Mr. Payne (i. 131) omits these lines which appear out of
place; but this mode of inappropriate quotation is a characteristic
of Eastern tales.

[FN#279] Anglice "him."

[FN#280] This march of the tribe is a lieu commun of Arab verse
e.g. the poet Labid's noble elegy on the "Deserted Camp." We shall
find scores of instances in The Nights.

[FN#281] I have heard of such sands in the Desert east of Damascus
which can be crossed only on boards or camel furniture; and the
same is reported of the infamous Region "Al-Ahklaf" ("Unexplored

[FN#282] Hence the Arab. saying "The bark of a dog and not the
gleam of a fire;" the tired traveller knows from the former that
the camp is near, whereas the latter shows from great distances.

[FN#283] Dark blue is the colour of mourning in Egypt as it was of
the Roman Republic. The Persians hold that this tint was introduced
by Kay Kawus (B. C. 600) when mourning for his son Siyawush. It was
continued till the death of Husayn on the 10th of Muharram (the
first month, then representing the vernal equinox) when it was
changed for black. As a rule Moslems do not adopt this symbol of
sorrow (called "Hidad") looking upon the practice as somewhat
idolatrous and foreign to Arab manners. In Egypt and especially on
the Upper Nile women dye their hands with indigo and stair. their
faces black or blacker.

[FN#284] The older Roc, of which more in the Tale of Sindbad.
Meanwhile the reader curious about the Persian Simurgh (thirty
bird) will consult the Dabistan, i., 55,191 and iii., 237, and
Richardson's Diss. p. xlviii. For the Anka (Enka or Unka--long
necked bird) see Dab. iii., 249 and for the Huma (bird of Paradise)
Richardson lxix. We still lack details concerning the Ben or Bennu
(nycticorax) of Egypt which with the Article pi gave rise to the
Greek "phoenix."

[FN#285] Probably the Haledj of Forskal (p. xcvi. Flor. AEgypt.
Arab.), "lignum tenax, durum, obscuri generic." The Bres. Edit. has
"akul"=teak wood, vulg. "Saj."

[FN#286] The knocker ring is an invention well known to the

[FN#287] Arab. "Sadr"; the place of honour; hence the "Sudder
Adawlut" (Supreme Court) in the Anglo-Indian jargon.

[FN#288] Arab. "Ahlan wa sahlan wa marhaba," the words still
popularly addressed to a guest.

[FN#289] This may mean "liquid black eyes"; but also, as I have
noticed, that the lashes were long and thick enough to make the
eyelids appear as if Kohl-powder had been applied to the inner

[FN#290] A slight parting between the two front incisors, the upper
only, is considered a beauty by Arabs; why it as hard to say except
for the racial love of variety. "Sugar" (Thug) in the text means,
primarily, the opening of the mouth, the gape: hence the front

[FN#291] i.e. makes me taste the bitterness of death, "bursting the
gall-bladder" (Mararah) being our "breaking the heart."

[FN#292] Almost needless to say that forbidden doors and rooms form
a lieu-commun in Fairie: they are found in the Hindu Katha Sarit
Sagara and became familiar to our childhood by "Bluebeard."

[FN#293] Lit. "apply Kohl to my eyes," even as Jezebel "painted her
face," in Heb. put her eyes in painting (2 Kings ix. 30).

[FN#294] Arab. "Al-Barkuk," whence our older "Apricock."
Classically it is "Burkuk" and Pers. for Arab. "Mishrnish," and it
also denotes a small plum or damson. In Syria the side next the
sun" shows a glowing red flush.

[FN#295] Arab. "Hazar" (in Persian, a thousand) = a kind of
mocking bird.

[FN#296] Some Edits. make the doors number a hundred, but the
Princesses were forty and these coincidences, which seem to have
significance and have none save for Arab symmetromania, are
common in Arab stories.

[FN#297] Arab. "Majur": hence possibly our "mazer," which is
popularly derived from Masarn, a maple.

[FN#298] A compound scent of ambergris, musk and aloes.

[FN#299] The ends of the bridle-reins forming the whip.

[FN#300] The flying horse is Pegasus which is a Greek travesty of
an Egyptian myth developed India.

[FN#301] The Bres. Edit. wrongly says "the seventh."

[FN#302] Arab. "Sharmutah" (plur. Sharamit) from the root Sharmat,
to shred, a favourite Egyptian word also applied in vulgar speech
to a strumpet, a punk, a piece. It is also the popular term for
strips of jerked or boucaned meat hung up m the sun to dry, and
classically called "Kadid."

[FN#303] Arab. "Izar," the man's waistcloth opposed to the Rida or
shoulder-cloth, is also the sheet of white calico worn by the
poorer Egyptian women out of doors and covering head and hands. See
Lane (M. E., chaps. i.). The rich prefer a "Habarah" of black silk,
and the poor, when they have nothing else, use a bed-sheet.

[FN#304] i.e. "My clears."

[FN#305] Arab. "La tawakhizna:" lit. "do not chastise (or blame)
us;" the pop. expression for, "excuse (or pardon) us."

[FN#306] Arab. "Maskhut," mostly applied to change of shape as man
enchanted to monkey, and in vulgar parlance applied to a statue (of
stone, etc.). The list of metamorphoses in Al-Islam is longer than
that known to Ovid. Those who have seen Petra, the Greek town of
the Hauran and the Roman ruins in Northern Africa will readily
detect the bests upon which these stories are built. I shall return
to this subject in The City of Iram (Night cclxxvi.) and The City
of Brass (dlxvii.).

[FN#307] A picturesque phrase enough to express a deserted site, a
spectacle familiar to the Nomades and always abounding in pathos to
the citizens.

[FN#308] The olden "Harem" (or gynaeceum, Pers. Zenanah, Serraglio):
Harim is also used by synecdoche for the inmates; especially the

[FN#309] The pearl is supposed in the East to lose 1% per ann. of
its splendour and value.

[FN#310] Arab. "Fass," properly the bezel of a ring; also a gem cut
en cabochon and generally the contenant for the contenu.

[FN#311] Arab. "Mihrab" = the arch-headed niche in the Mosque-wall
facing Meccah-wards. Here, with his back to the people and fronting
the Ka'abah or Square House of Meccah (hence called the "Kiblah" =
direction of prayer), stations himself the Imam, artistes or
fugleman, lit. "one who stands before others;" and his bows and
prostrations give the time to the congregation. I have derived the
Mihrab from the niche in which the Egyptian God was shrined: the
Jews ignored it, but the Christians preserved it for their statues
and altars. Maundrell suggests that the empty niche denotes an
invisible God. As the niche (symbol of Venus) and the minaret
(symbol of Priapus) date only from the days of the tenth Caliph,
Al-Walid (A.H. 86-96=105-115), the Hindus charge the Moslems with
having borrowed the two from their favourite idols--The Linga-Yoni
or Cunnus phallus (Pilgrimage ii. 140), and plainly call the Mihrab
a Bhaga= Cunnus (Dabistan ii. 152). The Guebres further term Meccah
"Mah-gah," locus Lunae, and Al-Medinah, "Mahdinah," = Moon of
religion. See Dabistan i., 49, etc.

[FN#312] Arab "Kursi," a stool of palm-fronds, etc., X-shaped (see
Lane's illustration, Nights i., 197), before which the reader sits.
Good Moslems will not hold the Holy Volume below the waist nor open
it except when ceremonially pure. Englishmen in the East should
remember this, for to neglect the "Adab al-Kuran" (respect due to
Holy Writ) gives great scandal.

[FN#313] Mr. Payne (i. 148) quotes the German Zuckerpueppchen.

[FN#314] The Persian poets have a thousand conceits in praise of
the "mole," (Khal or Shamah) for which Hafiz offered "Samarkand and
Bokhara" (they not being his, as his friends remarked). Another
"topic" is the flight of arrows shot by eyelashes.

[FN#315] Arab. "Suha" a star in the Great Bear introduced only to
balance "wushat" = spies, enviers, enemies, whose "evil eye" it
will ward off.

[FN#316] In Arab tales beauty is always "soft-sided," and a smooth
skin is valued in proportion to its rarity.

[FN#317] The myrtle is the young hair upon the side face

[FN#318] In other copies of these verses the fourth couplet swears
"by the scorpions of his brow" i.e. the accroche-caeurs, the
beau-catchers, bell-ropes or aggravators," as the B.P. calls them.
In couplet eight the poet alludes to his love's "Unsur," or element
his nature made up of the four classicals, and in the last couplet
he makes the nail paring refer to the moon not the sun.

[FN#319] This is regular formula when speaking of Guebres.

[FN#320] Arab. "Faraiz"; the orders expressly given in the Koran
which the reader will remember, is Uncreate and Eternal. In India
"Farz" is applied to injunctions thrice repeated; and "Wajib" to
those given twice over. Elsewhere scanty difference is made between

[FN#321] Arab. "Kufr" = rejecting the True Religion, i.e. Al-Islam,
such rejection being "Tughyan" or rebellion against the Lord. The
"terrible sound" is taken from the legend of the prophet Salih and
the proto-historic tribe of Thamud which for its impiety was struck
dead by an earthquake and a noise from heaven. The latter,
according to some commentators, was the voice of the Archangel
Gabriel crying "Die all of you" (Koran, chapts. vii., xviii.,
etc.). We shall hear more of it in the "City of many-columned
Iram." According to some, Salih, a mysterious Badawi prophet, is
buried in the Wady al-Shaykh of the so-called Sinaitic Peninsula.

[FN#322] Yet they kept the semblance of man, showing that the idea
arose from the basaltic statues found in Hauranic ruins. Mohammed
in his various marches to Syria must have seen remnants of Greek
and Roman settlements; and as has been noticed "Sesostris"

[FN#323] Arab. "Shuhada"; highly respected by Moslems as by other
religionists; although their principal if not only merit seems as
a rule to have been intense obstinacy and devotion to one idea for
which they were ready to sacrifice even life. The Martyrs-category
is extensive including those killed by falling walls; victims to
the plague, pleurisy and pregnancy, travellers drowned or otherwise
lost when journeying honestly, and chaste lovers who die of "broken
hearts" i.e. impaired digestion. Their souls are at once stowed
away in the crops of green birds where they remain till
Resurrection Day, "eating of the fruits and drinking of the streams
of Paradise," a place however, whose topography is wholly
uncertain. Thus the young Prince was rewarded with a manner of
anti-Purgatory, a preparatory heaven.

[FN#324] Arab. "Su'uban:" the Badawin give the name to a variety of
serpents all held to be venomous; but m tales the word, like
"Tannin," expresses our "dragon" or "cockatrice."

[FN#325] She was ashamed to see the lady doing servile duty by
rubbing her feet. This massage, which B. de la Brocquiere describes
in 1452 as "kneading and pinching," has already been noticed. The
French term is apparently derived from the Arab. "Mas-h."

[FN#326] Alluding to the Most High Name, the hundredth name of God,
the Heb. Shem hamphorash, unknown save to a favoured few who by
using it perform all manner of miracles.

[FN#327] i e. the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.

[FN#328] i.e. Settled by the Koran.

[FN#329] The uglier the old woman the better procuress she is
supposed to make. See the Santa Verdiana in Boccaccio v., 10. In
Arab. "Ajuz" (old woman) is highly insulting and if addressed to an
Egyptian, whatever be her age she will turn fiercely and resent it.
The polite term is Shaybah (Pilgrimage hi., 200).

[FN#330] The four ages of woman, considered after Demosthenes in
her three-fold character, prostitute for pleasure, concubine for
service and wife for breeding.

[FN#331] Arab. "Jila" (the Hindostani Julwa) = the displaying of
the bride before the bridegroom for the first time, in different
dresses, to the number of seven which are often borrowed for the
occasion. The happy man must pay a fee called "the tax of
face-unveiling" before he can see her features. Amongst Syrian
Christians he sometimes tries to lift the veil by a sharp movement
of the sword which is parried by the women present, and the blade
remains entangled in the cloth. At last he succeeds, the bride
sinks to the ground covering her face with her hands and the robes
of her friends: presently she is raised up, her veil is readjusted
and her face is left bare.

[FN#332] Arab. "Isha"= the first watch of the night, twilight,
supper-time, supper. Moslems have borrowed the four watches of the
Romans from 6 (a.m. or p.m.) to 6, and ignore the three original
watches of the Jews, even, midnight and cockcrow (Sam. ii. 19,
Judges vii. 19, and Exodus xiv. 24).

[FN#333] A popular Arab hyperbole.

[FN#334] Arab. "Shakaik al-Nu'uman," lit. the fissures of Nu'uman,
the beautiful anemone, which a tyrannical King of Hirah, Nu'uman
Al-Munzir, a contemporary of Mohammed, attempted to monopolize.

[FN#335] Arab. "Andam"=here the gum called dragon's blood; in other
places the dye-wood known as brazil.

[FN#336] I need hardly say that in the East, where bells are
unused, clapping the hands summons the servants. In India men cry
"Quy hye" (Koi hai?) and in Brazil whistle "Pst!" after the fashion
of Spain and Portugal.

[FN#337] The moles are here compared with pearls; a simile by no
means common or appropriate.

[FN#338] A parody on the testification of Allah's Unity.

[FN#339] Arab. "Simat" (prop. "Sumat"); the "dinner-table,"
composed of a round wooden stool supporting a large metal tray, the
two being called "Sufrah" (or "Simat"): thus "Sufrah hazirah!"
means dinner is on the table. After the meal they are at once

[FN#340] In the text "Dastur," the Persian word before noticed;
"Izn" would be the proper Arabic equivalent.

[FN#341] In the Moslem East a young woman, single or married, is
not allowed to appear alone in the streets; and the police have a
right to arrest delinquents. As a preventive of intrigues the
precaution is excellent. During the Crimean war hundreds of
officers, English, French and Italian, became familiar with
Constantinople; and not a few flattered themselves on their success
with Turkish women. I do not believe that a single bona fide case
occurred: the "conquests" were all Greeks, Wallachians, Armenians
or Jewesses.

[FN#342] Arab. "Azim": translators do not seem to know that this
word in The Nights often bears its Egyptian and slang sense,
somewhat equivalent to our "deuced" or "mighty" or "awfully

[FN#343] This is a very serious thing amongst Moslems and
scrupulous men often make great sacrifices to avoid taking an

[FN#344] We should say "into the noose."

[FN#345] The man had fallen in love with her and determined to mark
her so that she might be his.

[FN#346] Arab. "Dajlah," in which we find the Heb. Hid-dekel.

[FN#347] Such an execution would be contrary to Moslem law: but
people would look leniently upon the peccadillo of beheading or
sacking a faithless wife. Moreover the youth was of the blood royal
and A quoi bon etre prince? as was said by a boy of viceroyal
family in Egypt to his tutor who reproached him for unnecessarily
shooting down a poor old man.

[FN#348] Arab. "Shirk," partnership, evening or associating gods
with God; polytheism: especially levelled at the Hindu triadism,
Guebre dualism and Christian Trinitarianism.

[FN#349] Arab. "Shatm"--abuse, generally couched in foulest
language with especial reference to the privy parts of female

[FN#350] When a woman is bastinadoed in the East they leave her
some portion of dress and pour over her sundry buckets of water for
a delicate consideration. When the hands are beaten they are passed
through holes in the curtain separating the sufferer from mankind,
and made fast to a "falakah" or pole.

[FN#351] Arab. "Khalifah," Caliph. The word is also used for the
successor of a Santon or holy man.

[FN#352] Arab. "Sar," here the Koranic word for carrying out the
venerable and undying lex talionis the original basis of all
criminal jurisprudence. Its main fault is that justice repeats the

[FN#353] Both these sons of Harun became Caliphs, as we shall see
in The Nights.

[FN#354] "Dog" and "hog" are still highly popular terms of abuse.
The Rabbis will not defile their lips with "pig;" but say "Dabhar
akhir"="another thing."

[FN#355] The "hero eponymus" of the Abbaside dynasty, Abbas having
been the brother of Abdullah the father of Mohammed. He is a famous
personage in AI-Islam (D'Herbelot).

[FN#356] Europe translates the word "Barmecides. It is Persian from
bar (up) and makidan (to suck). The vulgar legend is that Ja'afar,
the first of the name, appeared before the Caliph Abd al-Malik with
a ring poisoned for his own need; and that the Caliph, warned of it
by the clapping of two stones which he wore ad hoc, charged the
visitor with intention to murder him. He excused himself and in his
speech occurred the Persian word "Barmakam," which may mean "I
shall sup it up," or "I am a Barmak," that is, a high priest among
the Guebres. See D'Herbelot s.v.

[FN#357] Arab."Zulm," the deadliest of monarch's sins. One of the
sayings of Mohammed, popularly quoted, is, "Kingdom endureth with
Kufr or infidelity (i. e. without accepting AI-Islam) but endureth
not with Zulm or injustice." Hence the good Moslem will not
complain of the rule of Kafirs or Unbelievers, like the English, so
long as they rule him righteously and according to his own law.]

[FN#358] All this aggravates his crime: had she been a widow she
would not have had upon him "the claims of maidenhead," the premio
della verginita of Boccaccio, x. 10.

[FN#359] It is supposed that slaves cannot help telling these fatal
lies. Arab story-books are full of ancient and modern instances and
some have become "Joe Millers." Moreover it is held unworthy of a
free-born man to take over-notice of these servile villanies; hence
the scoundrel in the story escapes unpunished. I have already
noticed the predilection of debauched women for these "skunks of
the human race;" and the young man in the text evidently suspected
that his wife had passed herself this "little caprice." The excuse
which the Caliph would find for him is the pundonor shown in
killing one he loved so fondly.

[FN#360] The Arab equivalent of our pitcher and well.

[FN#361] i.e. Where the dress sits loosely about the bust.

[FN#362] He had trusted in Allah and his trust was justified.

[FN#363] Arab. "Khila'ah" prop. What a man strips from his
person: gen. An honorary gift. It is something more than the
"robe of honour" of our chivalrous romances, as it includes a
horse, a sword (often gold-hilted), a black turban (amongst the
Abbasides) embroidered with gold, a violet-mantle, a waist-shawl
and a gold neck-chain and shoe-buckles.

[FN#364] Arab. "Iza," i.e. the visits of condolence and so forth
which are long and terribly wearisome in the Moslem East.

[FN#365] Arab. "Mahr," the money settled by the man before
marriage on the woman and without which the contract is not
valid. Usually half of it is paid down on the marriage-day and
the other half when the husband dies or divorces his wife. But if
she take a divorce she forfeits her right to it, and obscene
fellows, especially Persians, often compel her to demand divorce
by unnatural and preposterous use of her person.

[FN#366] Bismillah here means "Thou art welcome to it."

[FN#367] Arab. "Bassak," half Pers. (bas = enough) and--ak =
thou; for thee. "Bas" sounds like our "buss" (to kiss) and there
are sundry good old Anglo-Indian jokes of feminine mistakes on
the subject.

[FN#368] This saving clause makes the threat worse. The scene
between the two brothers is written with characteristic Arab
humour; and it is true to nature. In England we have heard of a
man who separated from his wife because he wished to dine at six
and she preferred half-past six.

[FN#369] Arab. "Misr." (vulg. Masr). The word, which comes of a
very ancient house, was applied to the present capital about the
time of its conquest by the Osmanli Turks A.H. 923 = 1517.

[FN#370] The Arab. "Jizah," = skirt, edge; the modern village is
the site of an ancient Egyptian city, as the "Ghizah inscription"
proves (Brugsch, History of Egypt, ii. 415)

[FN#371] Arab. "Watan" literally meaning "birth-place" but also
used for "patria, native country"; thus "Hubb al-Watan" =
patriotism. The Turks pronounce it "Vatan," which the French have
turned it into Va-t'en!

[FN#372] Arab. "Zarzariyah" = the colour of a stare or starling

[FN#373] Now a Railway Station on the Alexandria-Cairo line.

[FN#374] Even as late as 1852, when I first saw Cairo, the city
was girt by waste lands and the climate was excellent. Now
cultivation comes up to the house walls; while the Mahmudiyah
Canal, the planting the streets with avenues and over-watering
have seriously injured it; those who want the air of former Cairo
must go to Thebes. Gout, rheumatism and hydrophobia (before
unknown) have become common of late years.

[FN#375] This is the popular pronunciation: Yakut calls it

[FN#376] An outlying village on the "Long Desert," between Cairo
and Palestine.

[FN#377] Arab. "Al-Kuds" = holiness. There are few cities which
in our day have less claim to this title than Jerusalem; and,
curious to say, the "Holy Land" shows Jews, Christians and
Moslems all in their worst form. The only religion (if it can be
called one) which produces men in Syria is the Druse. "Heiligen-
landes Jueden" are proverbial and nothing can be meaner than the
Christians while the Moslems are famed for treachery.

[FN#378] Arab. "Shamm al-hawa." In vulgar parlance to "smell the
air" is to take a walk, especially out of town. There is a
peculiar Egyptian festival called "Shamm al-Nasim" (smelling the
Zephyr) which begins on Easter-Monday (O.S.), thus corresponding
with the Persian Nau-roz, vernal equinox and introducing the
fifty days of "Khammasin" or "Mirisi" (hot desert winds). On
awakening, the people smell and bathe their temples with vinegar
in which an onion has been soaked and break their fast with a
"fisikh" or dried "buri" = mullet from Lake Menzalah: the late
Hekekiyan Bey had the fish-heads counted in one public garden and
found 70,000. The rest of the day is spent out of doors
"Gypsying," and families greatly enjoy themselves on these
occasions. For a longer description, see a paper by my excellent
friend Yacoub Artin Pasha, in the Bulletin de l'Institut
Egyptien, 2nd series, No. 4, Cairo, 1884. I have noticed the
Mirisi (south-wester) and other winds in the Land of Midian, i.,

[FN#379] So in the days of the "Mameluke Beys" in Egypt a man of
rank would not cross the street on foot.

[FN#380] Arab. Basrah. The city is now in decay and not to
flourish again till the advent of the Euphrates Valley R.R., is a
modern place, founded in A.H. 15, by the Caliph Omar upon the
Aylah, a feeder of the Tigris. Here, according to Al-Hariri, the
"whales and the lizards meet," and, as the tide affects the

Its stream shows prodigy, ebbing and flowing.

In its far-famed market-place, Al-Marbad, poems used to be
recited; and the city was famous for its mosques and Saint-
shrines, fair women and school of Grammar which rivalled that of
Kufah. But already in Al-Hariri's day (nat. A.H. 446 = A.D. 1030)
Baghdad had drawn off much of its population.

[FN#381] This fumigation (Bukhur) is still used. A little incense
or perfumed wood is burnt upon an open censor (Mibkharah) of
earthenware or metal, and passed round, each guest holding it for
a few moments under his beard. In the Somali County, the very
home of incense, both sexes fumigate the whole person after
carnal intercourse. Lane (Mod. Egypt, chapt. viii) gives an
illustration of the Mibkharah).

[FN#382] The reader of The Nights will remark that the merchant
is often a merchant-prince, consorting and mating with the
highest dignitaries. Even amongst the Romans, a race of soldiers,
statesmen and lawyers, "mercatura" on a large scale was "not to
be vituperated." In Boccacio (x.19) they are netti e delicati
uomini. England is perhaps the only country which has made her
fortune by trade, and much of it illicit trade, like that in
slaves which built Liverpool and Bristol, and which yet disdains
or affects to disdain the trader. But the unworthy prejudice is
disappearing with the last generation, and men who formerly would
have half starved as curates and ensigns, barristers and carabins
are now only too glad to become merchants.

[FN#383] These lines in the Calc. And Bul. Edits. Have already
occurred (Night vii.) but such carelessness is characteristic
despite the proverb, "In repetition is no fruition." I quote
Torrens (p. 60) by way of variety. As regards the anemone (here
called a tulip) being named "Shakik" = fissure, I would
conjecture that it derives from the flower often forming long
lines of red like stripes of blood in the landscape. Travellers
in Syria always observe this.

[FN#384] Such an address to a royalty (Eastern) even in the
present day, would be a passport to future favours.

[FN#385] In England the man marries and the woman is married:
there is no such distinction in Arabia.

[FN#386] "Sultan" (and its corruption "Soldan") etymologically
means lord, victorious, ruler, ruling over. In Arabia it is a not
uncommon proper name; and as a title it is taken by a host of
petty kinglets. The Abbaside Caliphs (as Al-Wasik who has been
noticed) formally created these Sultans as their regents. Al-Ta'i
bi'llah (regn. A.H. 363 = 974), invested the famous Sabuktagin
with the office; and as Alexander-Sikander was wont to do,
fashioned for him two flags, one of silver, after the fashion of
nobles, and the other of gold, as Viceroy-designate. Sabuktagin's
son, the famous Mahmud of the Ghaznavite dynasty in A.H. 393 =
1002, was the first to adopt "Sultan" as an independent title
some two hundred years after the death of Harun al-Rashid. In old
writers we have the Soldan of Egypt, the Soudan of Persia, and
the Sowdan of Babylon; three modifications of one word.

[FN#387] i.e. he was a "Hafiz," one who commits to memory the
whole of the Koran. It is a serious task and must be begun early.
I learnt by rote the last "Juzw" (or thirtieth part) and found
that quite enough. This is the vulgar use of "Hafiz": technically
and theologically it means the third order of Traditionists (the
total being five) who know by heart 300,000 traditions of the
Prophet with their ascriptions. A curious "spiritualist" book
calls itself "Hafed, Prince of Persia," proving by the very title
that the Spirits are equally ignorant of Arabic and Persian.

[FN#388] Here again the Cairo Edit. repeats the six couplets
already given in Night xvii. I take them from Torrens (p. 163).

[FN#389] This naive admiration of beauty in either sex
characterised our chivalrous times. Now it is mostly confined to
"professional beauties" or what is conventionally called the
"fair sex"; as if there could be any comparison between the
beauty of man and the beauty of woman, the Apollo Belvidere with
the Venus de Medici.

[FN#390] Arab. "Shash" (in Pers. urine) a light turband generally
of muslin.

[FN#391] This is a lieu commun of Eastern worldly wisdom. Quite
true! Very unadvisable to dive below the surface of one's
acquaintances, but such intimacy is like marriage of which
Johnson said, "Without it there is no pleasure in life."

[FN#392] The lines are attributed to the famous Al-Mutanabbi =
the claimant to "Prophecy," of whom I have given a few details in
my Pilgrimage iii. 60, 62. He led the life of a true poet,
somewhat Chauvinistic withal; and, rather than run away, was
killed in A.H. 354 = 965.

[FN#393] Arab. "Nabiz" = wine of raisins or dates; any fermented
liquor; from a root to "press out" in Syriac, like the word
"Talmiz" (or Tilmiz says the Kashf al-Ghurrah) a pupil, student.
Date-wine (ferment from the fruit, not the Tadi, or juice of the
stem, our "toddy") is called Fazikh. Hence the Masjid al-Fazikh
at Al-Medinah where the Ansar or Auxiliaries of that city were
sitting cup in hand when they heard of the revelation forbidding
inebriants and poured the liquor upon the ground (Pilgrimage ii.

[FN#394] Arab. "Huda" = direction (to the right way), salvation,
a word occurring in the Opening Chapter of the Koran. Hence to a
Kafir who offers the Salam-salutation many Moslems reply "Allah-
yahdik" = Allah direct thee! (i.e. make thee a Moslem), instead
of Allah yusallimak = Allah lead thee to salvation. It is the
root word of the Mahdi and Mohdi.

[FN#395] These lines have already occurred in The First
Kalandar's Story (Night xi.) I quote by way of change and with
permission Mr. Payne's version (i. 93).

[FN#396] Arab. "Farajiyah," a long-sleeved robe worn by the
learned (Lane, M.E., chapt. i.).

[FN#397] Arab. "Sarraf" (vulg. Sayrafi), whence the Anglo-Indian
"Shroff," a familiar corruption.

[FN#398] Arab. "Yahudi" which is less polite than "Banu Israil" =
Children of Israel. So in Christendom "Israelite" when in favour
and "Jew" (with an adjective or a participle) when nothing is
wanted of him.

[FN#399] Also called "Ghilman" = the beautiful youths appointed
to serve the True Believers in Paradise. The Koran says (chapt.
lvi. 9 etc.) "Youths, which shall continue in their bloom for
ever, shall go round about to attend them, with goblets, and
beakers, and a cup of flowing wine," etc. Mohammed was an Arab
(not a Persian, a born pederast) and he was too fond of women to
be charged with love of boys: even Tristam Shandy (vol. vii.
chapt. 7; "No, quoth a third; the gentleman has been committing--
--") knew that the two tastes are incompatibles. But this and
other passages in the Koran have given the Chevaliers de la
Pallie a hint that the use of boys, like that of wine, here
forbidden, will be permitted in Paradise.

[FN#400] Which, by the by, is the age of an oldish old maid in
Egypt. I much doubt puberty being there earlier than in England
where our grandmothers married at fourteen. But Orientals are
aware that the period of especial feminine devilry is between the
first menstruation and twenty when, according to some, every girl
is a "possible murderess." So they wisely marry her and get rid
of what is called the "lump of grief," the "domestic calamity"--a
daughter. Amongst them we never hear of the abominable egotism
and cruelty of the English mother, who disappoints her daughter's
womanly cravings in order to keep her at home for her own
comfort; and an "old maid" in the house, especially a stout,
plump old maid, is considered not "respectable." The ancient
virgin is known by being lean and scraggy; and perhaps this
diagnosis is correct.

[FN#401] This prognostication of destiny by the stars and a host
of follies that end in -mancy is an intricate and extensive
subject. Those who would study it are referred to chapt. xiv. of
the "Qanoon-e-Islam, or the Customs of the Mussulmans of India;
etc., etc., by Jaffur Shurreeff and translated by G. A. Herklots,
M. D. of Madras." This excellent work first appeared in 1832
(Allen and Co., London) and thus it showed the way to Lane's
"Modern Egyptians" (1833-35). The name was unfortunate as
"Kuzzilbash" (which rhymed to guzzle and hash), and kept the book
back till a second edition appeared in 1863 (Madras: J.

[FN#402] Arab. "Barid," lit. cold: metaph. vain, foolish,

[FN#403] Not to "spite thee" but "in spite of thee." The phrase
is still used by high and low.

[FN#404] Arab. "Ahdab," the common hunchback; in classical
language the Gobbo in the text would be termed "Ak'as" from
"Ka'as," one with protruding back and breast; sometimes used for
hollow back and protruding breast.

[FN#405] This is the custom with such gentry, who, when they see
a likely man sitting, are allowed by custom to ride astraddle
upon his knees with most suggestive movements, till he buys them
off. These Ghawazi are mostly Gypsies who pretend to be Moslems;
and they have been confused with the Almahs or Moslem dancing-
girls proper (Awalim, plur. of Alimah, a learned feminine) by a
host of travellers. They call themselves Baramikah or Barmecides
only to affect Persian origin. Under native rule they were
perpetually being banished from and returning to Cairo
(Pilgrimage i., 202). Lane (M.E., chapts. xviii. and xix.)
discusses the subject, and would derive Al'mah, often so
pronounced, from Heb. Almah, girl, virgin, singing-girl, hence he
would translate Al-Alamoth shir (Psalm xlvi.) and Nebalim al-
alamoth (I. Chron., xv.20) by a "song for singing-girls" and
"harps for singing-girls." He quotes also St. Jerome as authority
that Alma in Punic (Phoenician) signified a virgin, not a common
article, I may observe, amongst singing-girls. I shall notice in
a future page Burckhardt's description of the Ghawazi, p.173,
"Arabic Proverbs;" etc., etc. Second Edition. London: Quaritch,

[FN#406] I need hardly describe the tarbush, a corruption of the
Per. "Sar-push" (headcover) also called "Fez" from its old home;
and "tarbrush" by the travelling Briton. In old days it was a
calotte worn under the turban; and it was protected by scalp-
perspiration by an "Arakiyah" (Pers. Arak-chin) a white skull-
cap. Now it is worn without either and as a head-dress nothing
can be worse (Pilgrimage ii. 275).

[FN#407] Arab. "Tar.": the custom still prevails. Lane (M.E.,
chapt. xviii.) describes and figures this hoop-drum.

[FN#408] The couch on which she sits while being displayed. It is
her throne, for she is the Queen of the occasion, with all the
Majesty of Virginity.

[FN#409] This is a solemn "chaff;" such liberties being permitted
at weddings and festive occasions.

[FN#410] The pre-Islamitic dynasty of Al-Yaman in Arabia Felix, a
region formerly famed for wealth and luxury. Hence the mention of
Yamani work. The caravans from Sana'a, the capital, used to carry
patterns of vases to be made in China and bring back the
porcelains at the end of the third year: these are the Arabic
inscriptions which have puzzled so many collectors. The Tobba, or
Successors, were the old Himyarite Kings, a dynastic name like
Pharaoh, Kisra (Persia), Negush (Abyssinia), Khakan or Khan
(Tartary), etc., who claimed to have extended their conquests to
Samarcand and made war on China. Any history of Arabia (as
Crichton I., chapt. iv.) may be consulted for their names and
annals. I have been told by Arabs that "Tobba" (or Tubba) is
still used in the old Himvarland = the Great or the Chief.

[FN#411] Lane and Payne (as well as the Bres. Edit.) both render
the word "to kiss her," but this would be clean contrary to
Moslem usage.

[FN#412] i.e. he was full of rage which he concealed.

[FN#413] The Hindus (as the Katha shows) compare this swimming
gait with an elephant's roll.

[FN#414] Arab. "Fitnah," a word almost as troublesome as "Adab."
Primarily, revolt, seduction, mischief: then a beautiful girl (or
boy), and lastly a certain aphrodisiac perfume extracted from
mimosa-flowers (Pilgrimage i., 118).

[FN#415] Lit. burst the "gall-bladder:" In this and in the
"liver" allusions I dare not be baldly literal.

[FN#416] Arab. "Usfur" the seeds of Carthamus tinctorius =
Safflower (Forskal, Flora, etc. lv.). The seeds are crushed for
oil and the flowers, which must be gathered by virgins or the
colour will fail, are extensively used for dying in Southern
Arabia and Eastern Africa.

[FN#417] On such occasions Miss Modesty shuts her eye and looks
as if about to faint.

[FN#418] After either evacuation the Moslem is bound to wash or
sand the part; first however he should apply three pebbles, or
potsherds or clods of earth. Hence the allusion in the Koran
(chapt. ix), "men who love to be purified." When the Prophet was
questioning the men of Kuba, where he founded a mosque
(Pilgrimage ii., 215), he asked them about their legal ablutions,
especially after evacuation; and they told him that they used
three stones before washing. Moslems and Hindus (who prefer water
mixed with earth) abhor the unclean and unhealthy use of paper
without ablution; and the people of India call European draught-
houses, by way of opprobrium, "Kaghaz-khanah" = paper closets.
Most old Anglo-Indians, however, learn to use water.

[FN#419] "Miao" or "Mau" is the generic name of the cat in the
Egyptian of the hieroglyphs.

[FN#420] Arab. "Ya Mah'um" addressed to an evil spirit.

[FN#421] "Heehaw!" as we should say. The Bresl. Edit. makes the
cat cry "Nauh! Nauh!" and the ass-colt "Manu! Manu!" I leave
these onomatopoeics as they are in Arabic; they are curious,
showing the unity in variety of hearing inarticulate sounds. The
bird which is called "Whip poor Will" in the U.S. is known to the
Brazilians as "Joam corta pao" (John cut wood); so differently do
they hear the same notes.

[FN#422] It is usually a slab of marble with a long slit in front
and a round hole behind. The text speaks of a Kursi (= stool);
but this is now unknown to native houses which have not adopted
European fashions.

[FN#423] This again is chaff as she addresses the Hunchback. The
Bul. Edit. has "O Abu Shihab" (Father of the shooting-star = evil
spirit); the Bresl. Edit. "O son of a heap! O son of a
Something!" (al-afsh, a vulgarism).

[FN#424] As the reader will see, Arab ideas of "fun" and
practical jokes are of the largest, putting the Hibernian to
utter rout, and comparing favourably with those recorded in Don

[FN#425] Arab. "Sarawil" a corruption of the Pers. "Sharwal";
popularly called "libas" which, however, may also mean clothing
in general and especially outer-clothing. I translate "bag-
trousers" and "petticoat-trousers," the latter being the divided
skirt of our future. In the East, where Common Sense, not
Fashion, rules dress, men, who have a protuberance to be
concealed, wear petticoats and women wear trousers. The feminine
article is mostly baggy but sometimes, as in India, collant-
tight. A quasi-sacred part of it is the inkle, tape or string,
often a most magnificent affair, with tassels of pearl and
precious stones; and "laxity in the trouser-string" is equivalent
to the loosest conduct. Upon the subject of "libas," "sarwal" and
its variants the curious reader will consult Dr. Dozy's
"Dictionnaire Detaille des Noms des Vetements chez les Arabes," a
most valuable work.

[FN#426] The turban out of respect is not put upon the ground
(Lane, M. E., chapt. i.).

[FN#427] Arab. "Madfa" showing the modern date or the
modernization of the tale. In Lebid "Madafi" (plur. of Madfa')
means water-courses or leats.

[FN#428] In Arab. the "he" is a "she;" and Habib ("friend") is
the Attic {Greek Letters}, a euphemism for lover. This will occur
throughout The Nights. So the Arabs use a phrase corresponding
with the Stoic {Greek Letters}, i.e. is wont, is fain.

[FN#429] Part of the Azan, or call to prayer.

[FN#430] Arab. "Shihab," these mentors being the flying shafts
shot at evil spirits who approach too near heaven. The idea
doubtless arose from the showers of August and November meteors
(The Perseides and Taurides) which suggest a battle raging in
upper air. Christendom also has its superstition concerning these
and called those of August the "fiery tears of Saint Lawrence,"
whose festival was on August 10.

[FN#431] Arab. "Takiyah" = Pers. Arak-chin; the calotte worn
under the Fez. It is, I have said, now obsolete and the red
woollen cap (mostly made in Europe) is worn over the hair; an
unclean practice.

[FN#432] Often the effect of cold air after a heated room.

[FN#433] i.e. He was not a Eunuch, as the people guessed.

[FN#434] In Arab. "this night" for the reason before given.

[FN#435] Meaning especially the drink prepared of the young
leaves and florets of Cannabis Sativa. The word literally means
"day grass" or "herbage." This intoxicant was much used by
magicians to produce ecstasy and thus to "deify themselves and
receive the homage of the genii and spirits of nature."

[FN#436] Torrens, being an Irishman, translates "and woke in the
morning sleeping at Damascus."

[FN#437] Arab. "Labbayka," the cry technically called "Talbiyah"
and used by those entering Meccah (Pilgrimage iii. 125-232). I
shall also translate it by "Adsum." The full cry is:--

Here am I, O Allah, here am I!
No partner hast Thou, here am I:
Verily the praise and the grace and the kingdom are thine:
No partner hast Thou: here am I!

A single Talbiyah is a "Shart" or positive condition: and its
repetition is a Sunnat or Custom of the Prophet. See Night xci.

[FN#438] The staple abuse of the vulgar is curing parents and
relatives, especially feminine, with specific allusions to their
"shame." And when dames of high degree are angry, Nature, in the
East as in the West, sometimes speaks out clearly enough, despite
Mistress Chapone and all artificial restrictions.

[FN#439] A great beauty in Arabia and the reverse in Denmark,
Germany and Slav-land, where it is a sign of being a were-wolf or
a vampire. In Greece also it denotes a "Brukolak" or vampire.

[FN#440] This is not physiologically true: a bride rarely
conceives the first night, and certainly would not know that she
had conceived. Moreover the number of courses furnished by the
bridegroom would be against conception. It is popularly said that
a young couple often undoes in the morning what it has done
during the night.

[FN#441] Torrens (Notes, xxiv.) quotes "Fleisher" upon the word
"Ghamghama" (Diss. Crit. De Glossis Habichtionis), which he
compares with "Dumbuma" and Humbuma," determining them to be
onomatopoeics, "an incomplete and an obscure murmur of a sentence
as it were lingering between the teeth and lips and therefore
difficult to be understood." Of this family is "Taghum"; not used
in modern days. In my Pilgrimage (i.313) I have noticed another,
"Khyas', Khyas'!" occurring in a Hizb al-Bahr (Spell of the Sea).
Herklots gives a host of them; and their sole characteristics are
harshness and strangeness of sound, uniting consonants which are
not joined in Arabic. The old Egyptians and Chaldeans had many
such words composed at will for theurgic operations.

[FN#442] This may mean either "it is of Mosul fashion" or, it is
of muslin.

[FN#443] To the English reader these lines would appear the
reverse of apposite; but Orientals have their own ways of
application, and all allusions to Badawi partings are effective
and affecting. The civilised poets of Arab cities throw the charm
of the Desert over their verse by images borrowed from its
scenery, the dromedary, the mirage and the well as naturally as
certain of our bards who hated the country, babbled of purling
rills, etc. thoroughly to feel Arabic poetry one must know the
Desert (Pilgrimage iii., 63).

[FN#444] In those days the Arabs and the Portuguese recorded
everything which struck them, as the Chinese and Japanese in our
times. And yet we complain of the amount of our modern writing!

[FN#445] This is mentioned because it is the act preliminary to
naming the babe.

[FN#446] Arab. "Kahramanat" from Kahraman, an old Persian hero
who conversed with the Simurgh-Griffon. Usually the word is
applied to women-at-arms who defend the Harem, like the Urdu-
begani of India, whose services were lately offered to England
(1885), or the "Amazons" of Dahome.

[FN#447] Meaning he grew as fast in one day as other children in
a month.

[FN#448] Arab. Al-Arif; the tutor, the assistant-master.

[FN#449] Arab. "Ibn haram," a common term of abuse; and not a
factual reflection on the parent. I have heard a mother apply the
term to her own son.

[FN#450] Arab. "Khanjar" from the Persian, a syn. with the Arab.
"Jambiyah." It is noted in my Pilgrimage iii., pp. 72,75. To
"silver the dagger" means to become a rich man. From "Khanjar,"
not from its fringed loop or strap, I derive our silly word
"hanger." Dr. Steingass would connect it with Germ. Faenger, e.g.

[FN#451] Again we have "Dastur" for Izn."

[FN#452] Arab. "Iklim"; the seven climates of Ptolemy.

[FN#453] Arab. "Al-Ghadir," lit. a place where water sinks, a
lowland: here the drainage-lakes east of Damascus into which the
Baradah (Abana?) discharges. The higher eastern plain is "Al-
Ghutah" before noticed.

[FN#454] The "Plain of Pebbles" still so termed at Damascus; an
open space west of the city.

[FN#455] Every Guide-book, even the Reverend Porter's "Murray,"
gives a long account of this Christian Church 'verted to a

[FN#456] Arab. "Nabut"; Pilgrimage i. 336.

[FN#457] The Bres. Edit. says, "would have knocked him into Al-
Yaman," (Southern Arabia), something like our slang phrase "into
the middle of next week."

[FN#458] Arab. "Khadim": lit. a servant, politely applied (like
Agha = master) to a castrato. These gentry wax furious if baldly
called "Tawashi" = Eunuch. A mauvais plaisant in Egypt used to
call me The Agha because a friend had placed his wife under my

[FN#459] This sounds absurd enough in English, but Easterns
always put themselves first for respect.

[FN#460] In Arabic the World is feminine.

[FN#461] Arab. "Sahib" = lit. a companion; also a friend and
especially applied to the Companions of Mohammed. Hence the
Sunnis claim for them the honour of "friendship" with the
Apostle; but the Shia'hs reply that the Arab says "Sahaba-hu'l-
himar" (the Ass was his Sahib or companion). In the text it is a
Wazirial title, in modern India it is = gentleman, e.g. "Sahib
log" (the Sahib people) means their white conquerors, who, by the
by, mostly mispronounce the word "Sab."

[FN#462] Arab. "Suwan," prop. Syenite, from Syene (Al-Suwan) but
applied to flint and any hard stone.

[FN#463] It was famous in the middle ages, and even now it is,
perhaps, the most interesting to travellers after that "Sentina
Gentium," the "Bhendi Bazar" of unromantic Bombay.

[FN#464] "The Gate of the Gardens," in the northern wall, a Roman
archway of the usual solid construction shaming not only our
modern shams, but our finest masonry.

[FN#465] Arab. "Al-Asr," which may mean either the hour or the
prayer. It is also the moment at which the Guardian Angels
relieve each other (Sale's Koran, chapt. v.).

[FN#466] Arab. "Ya haza" = O this (one)! a somewhat slighting
address equivalent to "Heus tu! O thou, whoever thou art."
Another form is "Ya hu" = O he! Can this have originated Swift's

[FN#467] Alluding to the {Greek Letters} ("minor miracles which
cause surprise") performed by Saints' tombs, the mildest form of
thaumaturgy. One of them gravely recorded in the Dabistan (ii.
226) is that of the holy Jamen, who opened the Samran or bead-
bracelet from the arm of the beautiful Chistapa with member
erect, "thus evincing his manly strength and his command over

[FN#468] The River of Paradise, a lieu commun of poets (Koran,
chapt. cviii.): the water is whiter than milk or silver, sweeter
than honey, smoother than cream, more odorous than musk; its
banks are of chrysolite and it is drunk out of silver cups set
around it thick as stars. Two pipes conduct it to the Prophet's
Pond which is an exact square, one month's journey in compass.
Kausar is spirituous like wine; Salsabil sweet like clarified
honey; the Fount of Mildness is like milk and the Fount of Mercy
like liquid crystal.

[FN#469] The Moslem does not use the European basin because water
which has touched an impure skin becomes impure. Hence it is
poured out from a ewer ("ibrik" Pers. Abriz) upon the hands and
falls into a basin ("tisht") with an open-worked cover.

[FN#470] Arab. "Wahsh," a word of many meanings; nasty, insipid,
savage, etc. The offside of a horse is called Wahshi opposed to
Insi, the near side. The Amir Taymur ("Lord Iron") whom Europeans
unwittingly call after his Persian enemies' nickname,
"Tamerlane," i.e. Taymur-I-lang, or limping Taymur, is still
known as "Al-Wahsh" (the wild beast) at Damascus, where his
Tartars used to bury men up to their necks and play at bowls with
their heads for ninepins.

[FN#471] For "grandson" as being more affectionate. Easterns have
not yet learned that clever Western saying:--The enemies of our
enemies are our friends.

[FN#472] This was a simple bastinado on the back, not the more
ceremonious affair of beating the feet-soles. But it is
surprising what the Egyptians can bear; some of the rods used in
the time of the Mameluke Beys are nearly as thick as a man's

[FN#473] The woman-like spite of the eunuch intended to hurt the
grandmother's feelings.

[FN#474] The usual Cairene "chaff."

[FN#475] A necessary precaution against poison (Pilgrimage i. 84,
and iii. 43).

[FN#476] The Bresl. Edit. (ii. 108) describes the scene at
greater length.

[FN#477] The Bul. Edit. gives by mistake of diacritical points,
"Zabdaniyah:" Raydaniyah is or rather was a camping ground to the
North of Cairo.

[FN#478] Arab. "La'abat" = a plaything, a puppet, a lay figure.
Lane (i. 326) conjectures that the cross is so called because it
resembles a man with arms extended. But Moslems never heard of
the fanciful ideas of mediaeval Christian divines who saw the
cross everywhere and in everything. The former hold that Pharaoh
invented the painful and ignominious punishment. (Koran, chapt.


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