She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the old woman said to the merchant, “Go this night to that expert who is frequented by the townsfolk and hide thine identity: haply shalt thou hear from him some plea which shall deliver thee from thine adversaries.” So he went to the place she mentioned and hid himself albeit he took seat near the blind man. Before long, up came the Shaykh’s company who were wont to choose him for their judge: they saluted the oldster and one another and sat down round him, whereupon the merchant recognised his four adversaries. The Chief set somewhat of food before them and they ate; then each began to tell what had befallen him during his day, and amongst the rest came forward he of the chanders-wood and told the Shaykh how he had bought of one man sandal below its price, and had agreed to pay for it a Sá‘a or measure of whatever the seller should desire.249 Quoth the old man, “Thine opponent hath the better of thee.” Asked the other, “How can that be?”; and the Shaykh answered, “What if he say, I will take the measure full of gold or silver, wilt thou give it to him?” “Yes,” replied the other, “I will give it to him and still be the gainer.” And the Shaykh answered, “And if he say, I will take the measure full of fleas,250 half male and half female, what wilt thou do?” So the sharper knew that he was worsted. Then came forward the one-eyed man and said, “O Shaykh, I met to-day a blue-eyed man, a stranger to the town; so I picked a quarrel with him and caught hold of him, saying, ‘’Twas thou robbedst me of my eye’; nor did I let him go, till some became surety for him that he should return to me to-morrow and satisfy me for my eye.” Quoth the oldster, “If he will he may have the better of thee and thou the worse.” “How so?” asked the sharper; and the Chief said, “he may say to thee, ‘Pluck out thine eye, and I will pluck out one of mine; then we will weigh them both, and if thine eye be of the same weight as mine, thou sayest sooth in what thou avouchest.’ So wilt thou owe him the legal price of his eye and be stone blind, whilst he will still see with his other eye.” So the sharper knew that the merchant might baffle him with such plea. Then came the cobbler; and said, “O Shaykh, a man brought me his sandal-shoe to-day, saying, ‘Mend this;’ and I asked him, ‘What wage wilt thou give me?’; when he answered, ‘Thou shalt have of me what will content thee.’ Now nothing will content me but all the wealth he hath.” Quoth the oldster, “And he will, he may take his sandal from thee and give thee nothing.” “How so?” quoth the cobbler, and quoth the Shaykh, “He has but to say to thee, ‘The Sultan’s enemies are put to the rout; his foes are waxed weak and his children and helpers are multiplied. Art thou content or no?’ If thou say, ‘I am content,’251 he will take his sandal and go away; and if thou say, ‘I am not content,’ he will take his sandal and beat thee therewith over the face and neck.” So the cobbler owned himself worsted. Then came forward the gamester and said, “O Shaykh, I played at forfeits with a man to-day and beat him and quoth I to hime, ‘If thou drink the sea I will give thee all my wealth; and if not I will take all that is thine.’” Replied the Chief, “An he will he may worst thee.” “How so?” asked the sharper, and the Shaykh answered, “He hath but to say, ‘Hold for me the mouth of the sea in thine hand and give it me and I will drink it.’ But thou wilt not be able to do this; so he will baffle thee with this plea.” When the merchant heard this, he knew how it behoved him to deal with his adversaries. Then the sharpers left the Shaykh and the merchant returned to his lodging. Now when morning morrowed, the gamester came to him and summoned him to drink the sea; so he said to him, “Hold for me its mouth and I will drink it up.” Whereupon he confessed himself beaten and redeemed his foreit by paying an hundred gold pieces. Then came the cobbler and sought of him what should content him. Quoth the merchant, “Our lord the Sultan hath overcome his foes and hath destroyed his enemies and his children are multiplied. Art thou content or no?” “I am content,” replied the cobbler and, giving up the shoe252 without wage, went away. Next came the one-eyed man and demanded the legal price of his eye. Said the merchant, “Pluck out thine eye, and I will pluck out mine: then we will weigh them, and if they are equal in weight, I will acknowledge thy truth, and pay thee the price of thine eye; but, if they differ, thou liest and I will sue thee for the price of mine eye.” Quoth the one-eyed man, “Grant me time;” but the merchant answered, saying, “I am a stranger and grant time to none, nor will I part from thee till thou pay.” So the sharper ransomed his eye by paying him an hundred ducats and went away. Last of all came the buyer of the chanders-wood and said, “Take the price of thy ware.” Asked the merchant, “What wilt thou give me?”; and the other answered, “We agreed for a Sá‘a-measure of whatever thou shouldst desire; so, if thou wilt, take it full of gold and silver.” “Not I,” rejoined the merchant, “Not I! nothing shall serve me but I must have it full of fleas, half male and half female.” Said the sharper, “I can do nothing of the kind;” and, confessing himself beaten, returned him his sandal-wood and redeemed himself from him with an hundred sequins, to be off his bargain. Then the merchant sold the chanders-wood at his own price and, quitting the city of sharpers, returned to his own land, —-And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
249 This was not the condition; but I have left the text as it is characteristic of the writer’s inconsequence.
250 The idea would readily occur in Egypt where the pulex is still a plague although the Sultan is said to hold his court at Tiberias. “Male and female” says the rouge, otherwise it would be easy to fill a bushel with fleas. The insect was unknown to older India according to some and was introduced by strangers. This immigration is quite possible. In 1863 the jigger (P. penetrans) was not found in Western Africa; when I returned there in 1882 it had passed over from the Brazil and had become naturalised on the equatorial African seaboard. the Arabs call shrimps and prawns “sea-fleas” (bargúth al-bahr) showing an inland race. (See Pilgrimage i. 322.)
251 Submission to the Sultan and the tidings of his well-being should content every Eastern subject. But, as Oriental history shows, the form of government is a Despotism tempered by assassination. And under no rule is man socially freer and his condition contrasts strangely with the grinding social tyranny which characterises every mode of democracy or constitutionalism, i.e. political equality.
252 Here the text has “Markúb” = a shoe; elsewhere “Na’al” = a sandal, especially with wooden sole. In classical Arabia, however, “Na’al” may be a shoe, a horse-shoe (iron-plate, not rim like ours). The Bresl. Edit. has “Watá,” any foot-gear.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the merchant had sold his chanders-wood and had taken the money he quitted that city and returned to his own land. Then the Prince continued, “But this is not more wondrous than the tale of the three-year-old child.” “What may that be?” asked the King, and the Prince answered, “I have heard tell this tale of
Know, O King that a certain profligate man, who was addicted to the sex, once heard of a beautiful and lovely woman who dwelt in a city other than his own. So he journeyed thither, taking with him a present, and wrote her a note, setting forth all that he suffered of love-longing and desire for her and how his passion for her had driven him to forsake his native land and come to her; and he ended by praying for an assignation. She gave him leave to visit her and, as he entered her abode, she stood up and received him with all honour and worship, kissing his hands and entertaining him with the best entertainment of meat and drink. Now she had a little son, but three years old, whom she left and busied herself in cooking rice.253 Presently the man said to her, “Come, let us go and lie together;” but she replied, “My son is sitting looking at us.” Quoth the man, “He is a little child, understanding not neither knowing how to speak.” Quoth the woman, “Thou wouldst not say thus, and thou knew his intelligence.” When the boy saw that the rice was done, he wept with bitter weeping and his mother said to him, “What gars thee weep, O my son?” “Ladle me out some rice,” answered he, “and put clarified butter in it.” So she ladled him out somewhat of rice and put butter therein; and the child ate a little, then began to weep again. Quoth she, “What ails thee now, O my son?”; and quoth he, “O mother mine, I want some sugar with my rice.” At this said the man, who was an-angered, “Thou art none other than a curst child.” “Curst thyself, by Allah,” answered the boy, “seeing thou weariest thyself and journeyest from city to city, in quest of adultery. As for me, I wept because I had somewhat in my eye, and my tears brought it out; and now I have eaten rice with butter and sugar and am content; so which is the curst of us twain?” The man was confounded at this rebuke from a little child and forthright grace entered him and he was reclaimed. Wherefor he laid not a finger on the woman, but went out from her and returned to his own country, where he lived a contrite life till he died. “As for the story of the five-year-old child” (continued the Prince), “I have heard tell, O King, the following anent
253 Water-melons (batáyikh) says the Mac. Edit. a misprint for Aruz or rice. Water-melons are served up raw cut into square mouthfuls, to be eaten with rice and meat. They serve excellently well to keep the palate clean and cool.
Four merchants once owned in common a thousand gold pieces; so they laid them mingled together in one purse and set out to buy merchandise therewith. They happened as they wended their way on a beautiful garden; so they left the purse with a woman who had care of the garden, saying to here, “Mind thee, thou shalt not give it back save when all four of us in person demand it of thee.” She agreed to this and they entered and strolled awhile about the garden-walks and ate and drank and made merry, after which one of them said to the others, “I have with me scented fuller’s-earth; come, let us wash our heads therewith in this running water.” Quoth another, “We lack a comb;” and a third, “Let us ask the keeper; belike she hath a comb.” Thereupon one of them arose and accosting the care-taker, said to her, “Give me the purse.” Said she, “Not until ye be all present or thy fellows bid me give it thee.” Then he called to his companions (who could see him but not hear him) saying, “She will not give it me;” and they said to her, “Give it him,” thinking he meant the comb. So she gave him the purse and he took it and made off as fast as he could. When the three others were wary of waiting, they went to the keeper and asked her, “Why wilt thou not give him the comb?” Answered she, “He demanded naught of me save the purse, and I gave not that same but with your consent, and he went his way with it.” When they heard her words they buffeted their faces and, laying hands upon her, said, “We authorized thee only to give him the comb;” and she rejoined, “He named not a comb to me.” Then they seized her and haled her before the Kazi, to whom they related their claim and he condemned her to make good the the purse and bound over sundry of her debtors to answer for her. —-And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Kazi condemned the care-taker to make good the purse and bound over sundry of her debtors to answer for her. So she went forth, confounded and knowing not her way out of difficulty. Presently she met a five-year-old boy who, seeing her troubled, said to her, “What ails thee, O my mother?” But she gave him no answer, contemning him because of his tender age, and he repeated his question a second time and a third time till, at last, she told him all that had passed,254 not forgetting the condition that she was to keep the purse until all four had demanded it of her. Said the boy, “Give me a dirham to buy sweetmeats withal and I will tell the how thou mayst acquit thyself.” So she gave him a silver and said to him, “What hast thou to say?” Quoth he, “Return to the Kazi, and say to him, It was agreed between myself and them that I should not give them the purse, except all four of them were present. Let them all four come and I will give them the purse, as was agreed.” So she went back to the Kazi and said to him as the boy had counselled; and he asked the merchants, “Was it thus agreed between you and this woman?”; and they answered, “Yes.” Quoth the Kazi, “Then bring me your comrade and take the purse.” So they went in quest of their fellow, whilst the keeper came off scot-free and went her way without let or hindrance. And Allah is Omniscient!255 When the King and his Wazir and those present in the assembly heard the Prince’s words they said to his father, “O our lord the King, in very sooth thy son is the most accomplished man of his time;” and they called down blessings upon the King and the Prince. Then the King strained his son to his bosom and kissed him between the eyes and questioned him of what had passed between the favourite and himself; and the Prince sware to him, by Almighty Allah and by His Holy Prophet that it was she who had required him of love which he refused, adding, “Moreover, she promised me that she would give thee poison to drink and kill the, so should the kingship be mine; whereupon I waxed wroth and signed to her, ‘O accursed one, whenas I can speak I will requite thee!’ So she feared me and did what she did.” The King believed his words and sending for the favourite said to those present, “How shall we put this damsel to death?” Some counselled him to cut out her tongue and other some to burn it with fire; but, when she came before the King, she said to him, “My case with thee is like unto naught save the tale of the fox and the folk.” “How so?” asked he; and she said, “I have heard, O King, tell a
254 The text recounts the whole story over again — more than European patience can bear.
255 The usual formula when telling an improbable tale. But here it is hardly called for: the same story is told (on weak authority) of the Alewife, the Three Graziers and Attorney–General Nay (temp. James II. 1577–1634) when five years old (Journ. Asiat. Soc. N.S. xxx. 280). The same feat had been credited to Thomas Egerton, Lord Chancellor in A.D. 1540–1617 (Chalmers, Biographical Dictionary xxiii. 267–68). But the story had already found its way into the popular jest-books such as “Tales and Quick Answers, very Mery and Pleasant to Rede” (1530); “Jacke of Dover’s Quest of Inquirie for the Foole of all Fooles” (1604) under the title “The Foole of Westchester”, and in “Witty and Entertaining Exploits of George Buchanan, commonly called the King’s Fool.” The banker-bard Rogers (in Italy) was told a similar story concerning a widow of the Lambertini house (xivth centry). Thomas Wright (Introducition to the Seven Sages) says he had met the tale in Latin( xiiith-xivth centuries) and a variant in the “Nouveaux Contes à rire (Amsterdam 1737), under the title “Jugement Subtil du Duc d’Ossone contre Deux Marchands.” Its origin is evidently the old Sindibád-namah translated from Syriac into Greek (“Syntipas,” xith century); into Hebrew (Mishlé Sandabar, xiith century) and from the Arabian version into old Castilian, “Libro de los Engannos et los Asayamientos de las Mugeres” (A.D. 1255), whereof a translation is appended to Professor Comparetti’s Socitey. The Persion metrical form (an elaboration of one much older) dates from 1375; and gave rise to a host of imitations such as the Turkish Tales of the Forty Wazirs and the Canarese “Kathá Manjari,” where four persons contend about a purse. See also Gladwin’s “Persian Moonshee,” No. vi. of “Pleasing Stories;” and Mr. Clouston’s paper, “The Lost Purse,” in the Glasgow Evening Times. All are the Eastern form of Gavarni’s “Enfants Terribles,” showing the portentous precocity for which some children (infant phenomena, calculating boys, etc. etc.) have been famous.
A fox once made his way into a city by the wall and, entering a currier’s store-house, played havoc with all therein and spoiled the skins for the owner. One day, the currier set a trap for him and taking him, beat him with the hides, till he fell down senseless, whereupon the man deeming him to be dead, cast him out into the road by the city-gate. Presently, an old woman who was walking by, seeing the fox said, “This is a fox whose eye, hung about a child’s neck, is salutary against weeping.” So she pluckt out his right eye and went away. Then passed a boy, who said, “What does this tail on this fox?”; and cut off his brush. After a while, up came a man and saying, “This is a fox whose gall cleareth away film and dimness from the eyes, if they be anointed therewith like kohl,” took out his knife to slit up the fox’s paunch. But Reynard said in himself, “We bore with the plucking out of the eye and the cutting off of the tail; but, as for the slitting of the paunch, there is no putting up with that!” So saying, he sprang up and made off through the gate of the city, hardly believing in his escape. Quoth the King, “I excuse her, and in my son’s hands be her doom. If he will, let him torture her, and if he will, let him kill her.” Quoth the Prince, “Pardon is better than vengeance and mercy is of the quality of the noble;” and the King repeated, “’Tis for thee to decide, O my son.” So the Prince set her free, saying, “Depart from our neighbourhood and Alla pardon what is past!” Therewith the King rose from his throne of estate and seating his son thereon, crowned him with his crown and bade the Grandees of his realm swear fealty and commanded them do homage to him. And he said, “O folk, indeed, I am stricken in years and desire to withdraw apart and devote myself only to the service of my Lord; and I call you to witness that I divest myself of the kingly dignity, even as I have divested myself of my crown and set it on my son’s head.” So the troops and officers swore fealty to the Prince, and his father gave himself up to the worship of his Lord nor stinted from this, whilst his son abode in his kingship, doing justice and righteousness; and his power was magnified and his sultanate strengthened and he abode in all delight and solace of life, till there came to him the Certainty.
256 From the Bresl. Edit. xii. 381. The Sa’lab or Abu Hosayn (Father of the Fortlet) is the fox, in Marocco Akkáb: Talib Yusuf and Wa’wi are the jackal. Arabas have not preserved “Jakal” from the Heb. Shu’al and Persian Shaghal and Persian Shaghál (not Shagul) as the Rev. Mr. Tristram misinforms his readers. (Nat. Hist. p. 85)
There was once a man and a merchant named Omar and he had for issue three sons, the eldest called Sálim, the youngest Júdar and the cadet Salím. He reared them all till they came to man’s estate, but the youngest he loved more than his brothers, who seeing this, waxed jealous of Judar and hated him. Now when their father, who was a man shotten in years, saw that his two eldest sons hated their brother, he feared lest after his death trouble should befall him from them. So he assembled a company of his kinsfolk, together with divers men of learning and property distributors of the Kazi’s court, and bidding bring all his monies and cloth, said to them, “O folk, divide ye this money and stuff into four portions according to the law.” They did so, and he gave one part to each of his sons and kept the fourth himself, saying, “This was my good and I have divided it among them in my lifetime; and this that I have kept shall be for my wife, their mother, wherewithal to provide for her subsistence whenas she shall be a widow.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
257 The name is old and classical Arabic: in Antar the young Amazon Jaydá was called Judar in public (Story of Jaydá and Khálid). It is also, as will be seen, the name of a quarter in Cairo, and men are often called after such places, e.g. Al–Jubní from the Súk al Jubn in Damascus. The story is exceedingly Egyptian and the style abounds in Cairene vulgarisms, especially in the Bresl. Edit. ix. 311.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the merchant had divided his money and stuff into four portions he said, “This share shall be for my wife, their mother, wherewithal to provide for her subsistence whenas she shall be a widow.” A little while after this he died, and neither of the two elder brothers was content with his share,258 but sought more of Judar, saying, “Our father’s wealth is in thy hands.” So he appealed to the judges; and the Moslems who had been present at the partition came and bore witness of that which they knew, wherefore the judge forbade them from one another; but Judar and his brothers wasted much money in bribes to him. After this, the twain left him awhile; presently, however, they began again to plot against him and he appealed a second time to the magistrate, who once more decided in his favour; but all three lost much money which went to the judges. Nevertheless Sálim and Salím forbore not to seek his hurt and to carry the case from court to court,259 he and they losing till they had given all their good for food to the oppressors and they became poor, all three. Then the two elder brothers went to their mother and flouted her and beat her, and seizing her money crave her away. So she betook herself to her son Judar and told him how his brothers had dealt with her and fell to cursing the twain. Said he, “O my mother, do not curse them, for Allah will requite each of them according to his deed. But, O mother mine, see, I am become poor, and so are my brethren, for strife occasioneth loss ruin rife, and we have striven amain, and fought, I and they, before the judges, and it hath profited us naught: nay, we have wasted all our father left us and are disgraced among the folk by reason of our testimony one against other. Shall I then con tend with them anew on thine account and shall we appeal to the judges? This may not be! Rather do thou take up thine abode with me, and the scone I eat I will share with thee. Do thou pray for me and Allah will give me the means of thine alimony. Leave them to receive of the Almighty the recompense of their deed, and console thyself with the saying of the poet who said,
‘If a fool oppress thee bear patiently;
And from Time expect
thy revenge to see:
Shun tyranny; for if mount oppressed
A mount, ‘twould be
shattered by tyranny.’ ”
And he soothed and comforted her till she consented and took up her dwelling with him. Then he get him a net and went a fishing every day in the river or the banks about Bulák and old Cairo or some other place in which there was water; and one day he would earn ten coppers,260 another twenty and another thirty, which he spent upon his mother and himself, and they ate well and drank well. But, as for his brothers, they plied no craft and neither sold nor bought; misery and ruin and overwhelming calamity entered their houses and they wasted that which they had taken from their mother and became of the wretched naked beggars. So at times they would come to their mother, humbling themselves before her exceedingly and complaining to her of hunger; and she (a mother’s heart being pitiful) would give them some mouldy, sour smelling bread or, if there were any meat cooked the day before, she would say to them, “Eat it quick and go ere your brother come; for ‘twould be grievous to him and he would harden his heart against me, and ye would disgrace me with him.” So they would eat in haste and go. One day among days they came in to their mother, and she set cooked meat and bread before them. As they were eating, behold, in came their brother Judar, at whose sight the parent was put to shame and confusion, fearing lest he should be wroth with her; and she bowed her face earthwards abashed before her son. But he smiled in their faces, saying, “Welcome, O my brothers! A blessed day!261 How comes it that ye visit me this blessed day?” Then he embraced them both and entreated them lovingly, saying to them, “I thought not that ye would have left me desolate by your absence nor that ye would have forborne to come and visit me and your mother.” Said they, “By Allah, O our brother, we longed sore for thee and naught withheld us but abashment because of what befell between us and thee; but indeed we have repented much. ’Twas Satan’s doing, the curse of Allah the Most High be upon him! And now we have no blessing but thyself and our mother.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
258 Had the merchant left his property to be divided after his death and not made a will he widow would have had only one-eighth instead of a fourth.
259 Lit. “from tyrant to tyrant,” i.e. from official to official, Al–Zalamah, the “tyranny” of popular parlance.
260 The coin is omitted in the text but it is evidently the “Nusf” or half-dirham. Lane (iii.235), noting that the dinar is worth 170 “nusfs” in this tale, thinks that it was written (or copied?) after the Osmanh Conquest of Egypt. Unfortunately he cannot tell the precise period when the value of the small change fell so low.
261 Arab “Yaum mubárak!” still a popular exclamation.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Judar entered his place and saw his brothers, he welcomed them both, saying, “And I have no blessing but you twain.” And his mother exclaimed, “Allah whiten thy face, and increase thy prosperity, for thou art the most generous of us all, O my son!” Then he said “Welcome to you both! Abide with me; for the Lord is bountiful and good aboundeth with me.” So he made peace with them, and they supped and righted with him; and next morning, after they had broken their fast, Judar shouldered his net and went out, trusting in The Opener262 whilst the two others also went forth and were absent till midday, when they returned and their mother set the noon meal before them. At nightfall Judar came home, bearing meat and greens, and they abode on this wise a month’s space, Judar catching fish and selling it and spending their price on his mother and his brothers, and these eating and frolicking till, one day, it chanced he went down to the river bank and throwing his net, brought it up empty. He cast it a second time, but again it came up empty and he said in himself, “No fish in this place!” So he removed to another and threw the net there, but without avail. And he ceased not to remove from place to place till night fall, but caught not a single sprat263 and said to himself, “Wonderful! Hath the fish fled the river or what?” Then he shouldered the net and made for home, chagrined, concerned, feeling for his mother and brothers and knowing not how he should feed them that night. Presently, he came to a baker’s oven and saw the folk crowding for bread, with silver in their hands, whilst the baker took no note of them. So he stood there sighing, and the baker said to him, “Welcome to thee, O Judar! Dost thou want bread?” But he was silent and the baker continued, “An thou have no dirhams, take thy sufficiency and thou shalt get credit.” So Judar said, “Give me ten coppers’ worth of bread and take this net in pledge.” Rejoined the baker, “Nay, my poor fellow, the net is thy gate of earning thy livelihood, and if I take it from thee, I shall close up against thee the door of thy subsistence. Take thee ten Nusfs’ worth of bread and take these other ten, and to morrow bring me fish for the twenty.” “On my head and eyes be it!” quoth Judar and took the bread and money saying, “To morrow the Lord will dispel the trouble of my case and will provide me the means of acquittance.” Then he bought meat and vegetables and carried them home to his mother, who cooked them and they supped and went to bed. Next morning he arose at daybreak and took the net, and his mother said to him, “Sit down and break thy fast.” But he said, “Do thou and my brothers break fast,” and went down to the river about Bulak where he ceased not to cast once, twice, thrice; and to shift about all day, without aught falling to him, till the hour of mid afternoon prayer, when he shouldered his net and went away sore dejected. His way led him perforce by the booth of the baker who, when he saw him counted out to him the loaves and the money, saying, “Come, take it and go; an it be not today, ’twill be tomorrow.” Judar would have excused himself, but the baker said to him, “Go! There needeth no excuse; an thou had netted aught, it would be with thee; so seeing thee empty handed, I knew thou hadst gotten naught; and if tomorrow thou have no better luck, come and take bread and be not abashed, for I will give thee credit.” So Judar took the bread and money and went home. On the third day also he sallied forth and fished from tank to tank until the time of afternoon prayer, but caught nothing; so he went to the baker and took the bread and silver as usual. On this wise he did seven days running, till he became disheartened and said in himself, “To day I go to the Lake Kárún.”264 So he went thither and was about to cast his net, when there came up to him unawares a Maghrabí, a Moor, clad in splendid attire and riding a she mule with a pair of gold embroidered saddle bags on her back and all her trappings also orfrayed. The Moor alighted and said to him, “Peace be upon thee, O Judar, O son of Omar!” “And on thee likewise be peace, O my lord the pilgrim!” replied the fisherman. Quoth the Maghrabi, “O Judar, I have need of thee and, given thou obey me, thou shalt get great good and shalt be my companion and manage my affairs for me.” Quoth Judar, “O my lord, tell me what is in thy mind and I will obey thee, without demur.” Said the Moor, “Repeat the Fatihah, the Opening Chapter of the Koran.”265 So he recited it with him and the Moor bringing out a silken cord, said to Judar, “Pinion my elbows behind me with this cord, as fast as fast can be, and cast me into the lake; then wait a little while; and, if thou see me put forth my hands above the water, raising them high ere my body show, cast thy net over me and drag me out in haste; but if thou see me come up feet foremost, then know that I am dead; in which case do thou leave me and take the mule and saddle bags and carry them to the merchants’ bazaar, where thou wilt find a Jew by name Shamáyah. Give him the mule and he will give thee an hundred dinars, which do thou take and go thy ways and keep the matter secret with all secrecy.” So Judar tied his arms tightly behind his back and he kept saying, “Tie tighter.” Then said he “Push me till I fall into the lake:” so he pushed him in and he sank. Judar stood waiting some time till, behold, the Moor’s feet appeared above the water, whereupon he knew that he was dead. So he left him and drove the mule to the bazaar, where seated on a stool at the door of his storehouse he saw the Jew who spying the mule, cried, “In very sooth the man hath perished,” adding, “and naught undid him but covetise.” Then he took the mule from Judar and gave him an hundred dinars, charging him to keep the matter secret. So Judar went and bought what bread he needed, saying to the baker, “Take this gold piece!”; and the man summed up what was due to him and said, “I still owe thee two days’ bread”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
262 i.e. of the door of daily bread.
263 Arab. “Sírah,” a small fish differently described (De Sacy, “Relation de l’Egypte par Abd allatif,” pp. 278–288: Lane, Nights iii. 234. It is not found in Sonnini’s list.
264 A tank or lakelet in the southern parts of Cairo, long ago filled up; Von Hammer believes it inherited the name of the old Charon’s Lake of Memphis, over which corpses were ferried.
265 Thus making the agreement a kind of religious covenant, as Catholics would recite a Pater or an Ave Maria.
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Judar, when the baker after summing up what was due to him said, “I still owe thee two days’ bread,” replied, “Good,” and went on to the butcher, to whom he gave a gold piece and took meat, saying, “Keep the rest of the dinar on account.” Then he bought vegetables and going home, found his brothers importuning their mother for victual, whilst she cried, “Have patience till your brother come home, for I have naught.” So he went in to them and said, “Take and eat;” and they fell on the food like cannibals. Then he gave his mother the rest of his gold saying, “If my brothers come to thee, give them wherewithal to buy food and eat in my absence.” He slept well that night and next morning he took his net and going down to Lake Karun stood there and was about to cast his net, when behold, there came up to him a second Maghribi, riding on a she mule more handsomely accoutred than he of the day before and having with him a pair of saddle bags of which each pocket contained a casket. “Peace be with thee, O Judar!” said the Moor: “And with thee be peace, O my lord, the pilgrim!” replied Judar. Asked the Moor, “Did there come to thee yesterday a Moor riding on a mule like this of mine?” Hereat Judar was alarmed and answered, “I saw none,” fearing lest the other say, “Whither went he?” and if he replied, “He was drowned in the lake,” that haply he should charge him with having drowned him; wherefore he could not but deny. Rejoined the Moor, “Hark ye, O unhappy!266 this was my brother, who is gone before me.” Judar persisted, “I know naught of him.” Then the Moor enquired, “Didst thou not bind his arms behind him and throw him into the lake, and did he not say to thee, ‘If my hands appear above the water first, cast thy net over me and drag me out in haste; but, if my feet show first, know that I am dead and carry the mule to the Jew Shamayah, who shall give thee an hundred dinars?’” Quoth Judar, “Since thou knowest all this why and wherefore dost thou question me?”; and quoth the Moor, “I would have thee do with me as thou didst with my brother.” Then he gave him a silken cord, saying, “Bind my hands behind me and throw me in, and if I fare as did my brother, take the mule to the Jew and he will give thee other hundred dinars.” Said Judar, “Come on;” so he came and he bound him and pushed him into the lake, where he sank. Then Judar sat watching and after awhile, his feet appeared above the water and the fisher said, “He is dead and damned! Inshallah, may Maghribis come to me every day, and I will pinion them and push them in and they shall die; and I will content me with an hundred dinars for each dead man.” Then he took the mule to the Jew, who seeing him asked, “The other is dead?” Answered Judar, “May thy head live!”; and the Jew said, “This is the reward of the covetous!” Then he took the mule and gave Judar an hundred dinars, with which he returned to his mother. “O my son,” said she, “whence hast thou this?” So he told her, and she said, “Go not again to Lake Karun, indeed I fear for thee from the Moors.” Said he, “O my mother, I do but cast them in by their own wish, and what am I to do? This craft bringeth me an hundred dinars a day and I return speedily; wherefore, by Allah, I will not leave going to Lake Karun, till the race of the Magháribah267 is cut off and not one of them is left.” So, on the morrow which was the third day, he went down to the lake and stood there, till there came up a third Moor, riding on a mule with saddle bags and still more richly accoutred than the first two, who said to him, “Peace be with thee, O Judar, O son of Omar!” And the fisherman saying in himself, “How comes it that they all know me?” returned his salute. Asked the Maghribi, “Have any Moors passed by here?” “Two,” answered Judar. “Whither went they?” enquired the Moor, and Judar replied, “I pinioned their hands behind them and cast them into the lake, where they were drowned, and the same fate is in store for thee.” The Moor laughed and rejoined, saying, “O unhappy! Every life hath its term appointed.” Then he alighted and gave the fisherman the silken cord, saying, “Do with me, O Judar, as thou didst with them.” Said Judar, “Put thy hands behind thy back, that I may pinion thee, for I am in haste, and time flies.” So he put his hands behind him and Judar tied him up and cast him in. Then he waited awhile; presently the Moor thrust both hands forth of the water and called out to him, saying, “Ho, good fellow, cast out thy net!” So Judar threw the net over him and drew him ashore, and lo! in each hand he held a fish as red as coral. Quoth the Moor, “Bring me the two caskets that are in the saddle bags.” So Judar brought them and opened them to him, and he laid in each casket a fish and shut them up. Then he pressed Judar to his bosom and kissed him on the right cheek and the left, saying, “Allah save thee from all stress! By the Almighty, hadst thou not cast the net over me and pulled me out, I should have kept hold of these two fishes till I sank and was drowned, for I could not get ashore of myself.” Quoth Judar, “O my lord the pilgrim, Allah upon thee, tell me the true history of the two drowned men and the truth anent these two fishes and the Jew.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
266 Arab. “Yá miskím”=O poor devil; mesquin, meschino, words evidently derived from the East.
267 Plur. of Maghribí a Western man, a Moor. I have already derived the word through the Lat. “Maurus” from Maghribiyún. Europeans being unable to pronounce the Ghayn (or gh like the modern Cairenes) would turn it into “Ma’ariyún.” They are mostly of the Maliki school (for which see Sale) and are famous as magicians and treasure-finders. Amongst the suite of the late Amir Abd al-Kadir, who lived many years and died in Damascus, I found several men profoundly versed in Eastern spiritualism and occultism.
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Judar asked the Maghribi, saying, “Prithee tell me first of the drowned men,” the Maghribi answered, “Know, O Judar, that these drowned men were my two brothers, by name Abd al-Salám and Abd al— Ahad. My own name is Abd al-Samad, and the Jew also is our brother; his name is Abd al-Rahim and he is no Jew but a true believer of the Maliki school. Our father, whose name was Abd al-Wadúd,268 taught us magic and the art of solving mysteries and bringing hoards to light, and we applied ourselves thereto, till we compelled the Ifrits and Marids of the Jinn to do us service. By and by, our sire died and left us much wealth, and we divided amongst us his treasures and talismans, till we came to the books, when we fell out over a volume called ‘The Fables of the Ancients,’ whose like is not in the world, nor can its price be paid of any, nor is its value to be evened with gold and jewels; for in it are particulars of all the hidden hoards of the earth and the solution of every secret. Our father was wont to make use of this book, of which we had some small matter by heart, and each of us desired to possess it, that he might acquaint himself with what was therein. Now when we fell out there was in our company an old man by name Cohen Al–Abtan,269 who had reared our sire and taught him divination and gramarye, and he said to us, ‘Bring me the book.’ So we gave it him and he continued, ‘Ye are my son’s sons, and it may not be that I should wrong any of you. So whoso is minded to have the volume, let him address himself to achieve the treasure of Al–Shamardal270 and bring me the celestial planisphere and the Kohl phial and the seal ring and the sword. For the ring hath a Marid that serveth it called Al–Ra’ad al-Kásif;271 and whoso hath possession thereof, neither King nor Sultan may prevail against him; and if he will, he may therewith make himself master of the earth, in all the length and breadth thereof. As for the brand, if its bearer draw it and brandish it against an army, the army will be put to the rout; and if he say the while, ‘Slay yonder host,’ there will come forth of that sword lightning and fire, that will kill the whole many. As for the planisphere, its possessor hath only to turn its face toward any country, east or west, with whose sight he hath a mind to solace himself, and therein he will see that country and its people, as they were between his hands and he sitting in his place; and if he be wroth with a city and have a mind to burn it, he hath but to face the planisphere towards the sun’s disc, saying, ‘Let such a city be burnt,’ and that city will be consumed with fire. As for the Kohl phial, whoso pencilleth his eyes therefrom, he shall espy all the treasures of the earth. And I make this condition with you which is that whoso faileth to hit upon the hoards shall forfeit his right; and that none save he who shall achieve the treasure and bring me the four precious things which be therein shall have any claim to take this book.’ So we all agreed to this condition, and he continued, ‘O my sons, know that the treasure of Al–Shamardal is under the commandment of the sons of the Red King, and your father told me that he had himself essayed to open the treasure, but could not; for the sons of the Red King fled from him into the land of Egypt and took refuge in a lake there, called Lake Karun, whither he pursued them, but could not prevail over them, by reason of their stealing into that lake, which was guarded by a spell.’ “—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Cohen al-Abtan had told the youths this much, he continued his tale as follows, “So your father returned empty handed and unable to win to his wish; and after failing he complained to me of his ill-success, whereupon I drew him an astrological figure and found that the treasure could be achieved only by means of a young fisherman of Cairo, hight Judar bin Omar, the place of foregathering with whom was at Lake Karun, for that he should be the means of capturing the sons of the Red King and that the charm would not be dissolved, save if he should bind the hands of the treasure seeker behind him and cast him into the lake, there to do battle with the sons of the Red King. And he whose lot it was to succeed would lay hands upon them; but, if it were not destined to him he should perish and his feet appear above water. As for him who was successful, his hands would show first, whereupon it behoved that Judar should cast the net over him and draw him ashore.” Now quoth my brothers Abd al-Salam and Abd al-Ahad, “We will wend and make trial, although we perish;” and quoth I, “And I also will go;” but my brother Abd al— Rahim (he whom thou sawest in the habit of a Jew) said, “I have no mind to this.” Thereupon we agreed with him that he should repair to Cairo in the disguise of a Jewish merchant, so that, if one of us perished in the lake, he might take his mule and saddle bags and give the bearer an hundred dinars. The first that came to thee the sons of the Red King slew, and so did they with my second brother; but against me they could not prevail and I laid hands on them.” Cried Judar, “And where is thy catch?” Asked the Moor, “Didst thou not see me shut them in the caskets?” “Those were fishes,” said Judar. “Nay,” answered the Maghribi, “they are Ifrits in the guise of fish. But, O Judar,” continued he, “thou must know that the treasure can be opened only by thy means: so say, wilt thou do my bidding and go with me to the city Fez and Mequinez272 where we will open the treasure?; and after I will give thee what thou wilt and thou shalt ever be my brother in the bond of Allah and return to thy family with a joyful heart.” Said Judar, “O my lord the pilgrim, I have on my neck a mother and two brothers,”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
272 Arab. “Fás and Miknás” which the writer evidently regards as one city. “Fás” means a hatchet, from the tradition of one having been found, says Ibn Sa’íd, when digging the base under the founder Idrís bin Idrís (A.D. 808). His sword was placed on the pinnacle of the minaret built by the Imám Abu Ahmad bin Abi Bakr enclosed in a golden étui studded with pearls and precious stones. From the local pronunciation “Fes” is derived the red cap of the nearer Moslem East (see Ibn Batutah p. 230).
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Judar said to the Maghribi, “I have on my neck a mother and two brothers, whose provider I am; and if I go with thee, who shall give them bread to eat?” Replied the Moor, “This is an idle excuse! if it be but a matter of expenditure, I will give thee a thousand ducats for thy mother, wherewith she may provide her self till thou come back: and indeed thou shalt return before the end of four months.” So when Judar heard mention of the thousand diners, he said, “Here with them, O Pilgrim, and I am thy man;” and the Moor, pulling out the money, gave it to him, whereupon he carried it to his mother and told her what had passed between them, saying, “Take these thousand diners and expend of them upon thyself and my brothers, whilst I journey to Marocco with the Moor, for I shall be absent four months, and great good will betide me; so bless me, O my mother!” Answered she, “O my son, thou desolatest me and I fear for thee.” “O my mother,” rejoined he, “no harm can befall him who is in Allah’s keeping, and the Maghribi is a man of worth;” and he went on to praise his condition to her. Quoth she, “Allah incline his heart to thee! Go with him, O my son; peradventure, he will give thee somewhat.” So he took leave of his mother and rejoined the Moor Abd al-Samad, who asked him, “Hast thou consulted thy mother?” “Yes,” answered Judar; “and she blessed me.” “Then mount behind me,” said the Maghribi. So Judar mounted the mule’s crupper and they rode on from noon till the time of mid afternoon prayer, when the fisherman was an hungered; but seeing no victual with the Moor, said to him, “O my lord the pilgrim, belike thou hast forgotten to bring us aught to eat by the way?” Asked the Moor, “Art thou hungry?” and Judar answered, “Yes.” So Abd al-Samad alighted and made Judar alight and take down the saddle bage273; then he said to him, “What wilt thou have, O my brother?” “Anything.” “Allah upon thee, tell me what thou hast a mind to.” “Bread and cheese.” “O my poor fellow! bread and cheese besit thee not; wish for some thing good.” “Just now everything is good to me.” “Dost thou like nice browned chicken?” “Yes!” “Dost thou like rice and honey?” “Yes!” And the Moor went on to ask him if he liked this dish and that dish till he had named four and twenty kinds of meats; and Judar thought to himself, “He must be daft! Where are all these dainties to come from, seeing he hath neither cook nor kitchen? But I’ll say to him, ‘’Tis enough!’” So he cried, “That will do: thou makest me long for all these meats, and I see nothing.” Quoth the Moor, “Thou art welcome, O Judar!” and, putting his hand into the saddle bags, pulled out a golden dish containing two hot browned chickens. Then he thrust his hand a second time and drew out a golden dish, full of kabobs274; nor did he stint taking out dishes from saddle bags, till he had brought forth the whole of the four and twenty kinds he had named, whilst Judar looked on. Then said the Moor, “Fall to poor fellow!”, and Judar said to him, “O my lord, thou carriest in yonder saddle bags kitchen and kitcheners!” The Moor laughed and replied, “These are magical saddle bags and have a servant, who would bring us a thousand dishes an hour, if we called for them.” Quoth Judar, “By Allah, a meat thing in saddle bags’” Then they ate their fill and threw away what was left; after which the Moor replaced the empty dishes in the saddle bags and putting in his hand, drew out an ewer. They drank and making the Wuzu ablution, prayed the mid afternoon prayer; after which Abd al-Samad replaced the ewer and the two caskets in the saddle bags and throwing them over the mule’s back, mounted and cried “Up with thee and let us be off,” presently adding, “O Judar, knowest thou how far we have come since we left Cairo?” “Not I, by Allah,” replied he, and Abd al-Samad, “We have come a whole month’s journey.” Asked Judar, “And how is that?”; and the Moor answered, “Know, O Judar, that this mule under us is a Marid of the Jinn who every day performeth a year’s journey; but, for thy sake, she hath gone an easier pace.” Then they set out again and fared on westwards till nightfall, when they halted and the Maghribi brought out supper from the saddle bags, and in like manner, in the morning, he took forth wherewithal to break their fast. So they rode on four days, journeying till midnight and then alighting and sleeping until morning, when they fared on again; and all that Judar had a mind to, he sought of the Moor, who brought it out of the saddle bags. On the fifth day, they arrived at Fez and Mequinez and entered the city, where all who met the Maghribi saluted him and kissed his hands; and he continued riding through the streets, till he came to a certain door, at which he knocked, whereupon it opened and out came a girl like the moon, to whom said he, “O my daughter, O Rahmah,275 open us the upper chamber.” “On my head and eyes, O my papa!” replied she and went in, swaying her hips to and fro with a graceful and swimming gait like a thirsting gazelle, movements that ravished Judar’s reason, and he said, “This is none other than a King’s daughter.” So she opened the upper chamber, and the Moor, taking the saddle bags from the mule’s back, said, “Go, and God bless thee!” when lo! the earth clove asunder and swallowing the mule, closed up again as before. And Judar said, “O Protector! praised be Allah, who hath kept us in safety on her back!” Quoth the Maghribi, “Marvel not, O Judar. I told thee that the mule was an Ifrit; but come with us into the upper chamber.” So they went up into it, and Judar was amazed at the profusion of rich furniture and pendants of gold and silver and jewels and other rare and precious things which he saw there. As soon as they were seated, the Moor bade Rahmah bring him a certain bundle276 and opening it, drew out a dress worth a thousand diners, which he gave to Judar, saying, “Don this dress, O Judar, and welcome to thee!” So Judar put it on and became a fair en sample of the Kings of the West. Then the Maghribi laid the saddle bags before him, and, putting in his hand, pulled out dish after dish, till they had before them a tray of forty kinds of meat, when he said to Judar, “Come near, O my master! eat and excuse us”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say,
273 Arab. “Al–Khurj,” whence the Span. Las Alforjas.
274 Arab. “Kebáb,” mutton or lamb cut into small squares and grilled upon skewers: it is the roast meat of the nearer East where, as in the West, men have not learned to cook meat so as to preserve all its flavour. This is found in the “Asa’o” of the Argentine Gaucho who broils the flesh while still quivering and before the fibre has time to set. Hence it is perfectly tender, if the animal be young, and has a “meaty” taste half lost by keeping
275 Equivalent to our puritanical “Mercy.”
276 Arab. “Bukjah,” from the Persian Bukcheh: a favourite way of keeping fine clothes in the East is to lay them folded in a piece of rough long-cloth with pepper and spices to drive away moths.
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Maghribi having served up in the pavilion a tray of forty kinds of meat, said to Judar, “Come near, O my master, and excuse us for that we know not what meats thou desirest; but tell us what thou hast a mind to, and we will set it before thee without delay.” Replied Judar, “By Allah, O my lord the pilgrim, I love all kinds of meat and unlove none; so ask me not of aught, but bring all that cometh to thy thought, for save eating to do I have nought.” After this he tarried twenty days with the Moor, who clad him in new clothes every day, and all this time they ate from the saddle bags; for the Maghribi bought neither meat nor bread nor aught else, nor cooked, but brought everything out of the bags, even to various sorts of fruit. On the twenty first day, he said, “O Judar up with thee; this is the day appointed for opening the hoard of Al–Shamardal.” So he rose and they went afoot277 without the city, where they found two slaves, each holding a she mule. The Moor mounted one beast and Judar the other, and they ceased not riding till noon, when they came to a stream of running water, on whose banks Abd al-Samad alighted saying, “Dismount, O Judar!” Then he signed with his hand to the slaves and said, “To it!” So they took the mules and going each his own way, were absent awhile, after which they returned, one bearing a tent, which he pitched, and the other carpets, which he spread in the tent and laid mattresses, pillows and cushions there around. Then one of them brought the caskets containing the two fishes; and another fetched the saddle bags; whereupon the Maghribi arose and said, “Come, O Judar!” So Judar followed him into the tent and sat down beside him; and he brought out dishes of meat from the saddle bags and they ate the undurn meal. Then the Moor took the two caskets and conjured over them both, whereupon there came from within voices that said’ “Adsumus, at thy service, O diviner of the world! Have mercy upon us!” and called aloud for aid. But he ceased not to repeat conjurations and they to call for help, till the two caskets flew in sunder, the fragments flying about, and there came forth two men, with pinioned hands saying, “Quarter, O diviner of the world! What wilt thou with us?” Quoth he, “My will is to burn you both with fire, except ye make a covenant with me, to open to me the treasure of Al–Shamardal.” Quoth they, “We promise this to thee, and we will open the tree sure to thee, so thou produce to us Judar bin Omar, the fisherman, for the hoard may not be opened but by his means, nor can any enter therein save Judar.” Cried the Maghribi “Him of whom ye speak, I have brought, and he is here, listening to you and looking at you.” Thereupon they covenanted with him to open the treasure to him, and he released them. Then he brought out a hollow wand and tablets of red carnelian which he laid on the rod; and after this he took a chafing dish and setting charcoal thereon, blew one breath into it and it kindled forthwith. Presently he brought incense and said, “O Judar, I am now about to begin the necessary conjurations and fumigations, and when I have once begun, I may not speak, or the charm will be naught; so I will teach thee first what thou must do to win thy wish.” “Teach me,” quoth Judar. “Know,” quoth the Moor, “that when I have recited the spell and thrown on the incense, the water will dry up from the river’s bed and discover to thee, a golden door, the bigness of the city gate, with two rings of metal thereon; whereupon do thou go down to the door and knock a light knock and wait awhile; then knock a second time a knock louder than the first and wait another while; after which give three knocks in rapid succession, and thou wilt hear a voice ask, ‘Who knocketh at the door of the treasure, unknowing how to solve the secrets?’ Do thou answer, ‘I am Judar the fisherman son of Omar’: and the door will open and there will come forth a figure with a brand in hand who will say to thee: ‘If thou be that man, stretch forth thy neck, that I may strike off thy head.’ Then do thou stretch forth thy neck and fear not; for, when he lifts his hand and smites thee with the sword, he will fall down before thee, and in a little thou wilt see him a body sans soul; and the stroke shall not hurt thee nor shall any harm befall thee; but, if thou gainsay him, he will slay thee. When thou hast undone his enchantment by obedience, enter and go on till thou see another door, at which do thou knock, and there will come forth to thee a horseman riding a mare with a lance on his shoulder and say to thee, ‘What bringeth thee hither, where none may enter ne man ne Jinni?’ And he will shake his lance at thee. Bare thy breast to him and he will smite thee and fall down forthright and thou shalt see him a body without a soul; but if thou cross him he will kill thee. Then go on to the third door, whence there will come forth to thee a man with a bow and arrows in his hand and take aim at thee. Bare thy breast to him and he will shoot at thee and fall down before thee, a body without a soul; but if thou oppose him, he will kill thee. Then go on to the fourth door”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her per misted say.
277 This is always specified, for respectable men go out of town on horse-back, never on “foot-back,” as our friends the Boers say. I have seen a Syrian put to sore shame when compelled by politeness to walk with me, and every acquaintance he met addressed him “Anta Zalamah!” What! afoot?
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Maghribi said to Judar, “Go on to the fourth door and knock and it shall be opened to thee, when there will come forth to thee a lion huge of bulk which will rush upon thee, opening his mouth and showing he hath a mind to devour thee. Have no fear of him, neither flee from him: but when he cometh to thee, give him thy hand and he will bite at it and fall down straightway, nor shall aught of hurt betide thee. Then enter the fifth door, where thou shalt find a black slave, who will say to thee, ‘Who art thou?’ Say, ‘I am Judar!’ and he will answer, ‘If thou be that man, open the sixth door.’ Then do thou go up to the door and say, ‘O Isa, tell Musa to open the door’; whereupon the door will fly open and thou wilt see two dragons, one on the left hand and another on the right, which will open their mouths and fly at thee, both at once. Do thou put forth to them both hands and they will bite each a hand and fall down dead; but an thou resist them, they will slay thee. Then go on to the seventh door and knock, whereupon there will come forth to thee thy mother and say, ‘Welcome, O my son! Come, that I may greet thee!’ But do thou reply, ‘Hold off from me and doff thy dress.’ And she will make answer, ‘O my son, I am thy mother and I have a claim upon thee for suckling thee and for rearing thee: how then wouldst thou strip me naked?’ Then do thou say, ‘Except thou put off thy clothes, I will kill thee!’ and look to thy right where thou wilt see a sword hanging up. Take it and draw it upon her, saying, ‘Strip!’ where upon she will wheedle thee and humble herself to thee; but have thou no ruth on her nor be beguiled, and as often as she putteth off aught, say to her, ‘Off with the rave’; nor do thou cease to threaten her with death, till she doff all that is upon her and fall down, whereupon the enchantment will be dissolved and the charms undone, and thou wilt be safe as to thy life. Then enter the hall of the treasure, where thou wilt see the gold lying in heaps; but pay no heed to aught thereof, but look to a closet at the upper end of the hall, where thou wilt see a curtain drawn. Draw back the curtain and thou wilt descry the enchanter, Al–Shamardal, lying upon a couch of gold, with something at his head round and shining like the moon, which is the celestial planisphere. He is baldrick’d with the sword278; his finger is the ring and about his neck hangs a chain, to which hangs the Kohl phial. Bring me the four talismans, and beware lest thou forget aught of that which I have told thee, or thou wilt repent and there will be fear for thee.” And he repeated his directions a second and a third and a fourth time, till Judar said, “I have them by heart: but who may face all these enchantments that thou namest and endure against these mighty terrors?” Replied the Moor, “O Judar, fear not, for they are semblances without life;” and he went on to hearten him, till he said, “I put my trust in Allah.” Then Abd al-Samad threw perfumes on the chafing dish, and addressed himself to reciting conjurations for a time when, behold, the water disappeared and uncovered the river bed and discovered the door of the treasure, whereupon Judar went down to the door and knocked. Therewith he heard a voice saying, “Who knocketh at the door of the treasure, unknowing how to solve the secrets?” Quoth he, “I am Judar son of Omar;” whereupon the door opened and there came forth a figure with a drawn sword, who said to him, “Stretch forth thy neck.” So he stretched forth his neck and the species smote him and fell down, lifeless. Then he went on to the second door and did the like, nor did he cease to do thus, till he had undone the enchantments of the first six doors and came to the seventh door, whence there issued forth to him his mother, saying, “I salute thee, O my son!” He asked, “What art thou?”, and she answered, “O my son, I am thy mother who bare thee nine months and suckled thee and reared thee.” Quoth he, “Put off thy clothes.” Quoth she, “Thou art my son, how wouldst thou strip me naked?” But he said “Strip, or I will strike off thy head with this sword;” and he stretched out his hand to the brand and drew it upon her saying, “Except thou strip, I will slay thee.” Then the strife became long between them and as often as he redoubled on her his threats, she put off somewhat of her clothes and he said to her, “Doff the rest,” with many menaces; while she removed each article slowly and kept saying, “O my son, thou hast disappointed my fosterage of thee,” till she had nothing left but her petticoat trousers Then said she, “O my son, is thy heart stone? Wilt thou dishonour me by discovering my shame? Indeed, this is unlawful, O my son!” And he answered, “Thou sayest sooth; put not off thy trousers.” At once, as he uttered these words, she cried out, “He hath made default; beat him!” Whereupon there fell upon him blows like rain drops and the servants of the treasure flocked to him and dealt him a funding which he forgot not in all his days; after which they thrust him forth and threw him down without the treasure and the hoard doors closed of themselves, whilst the waters of the river returned to their bed.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
278 This tale, including the Enchanted Sword which slays whole armies, was adopted in Europe as we see in Straparola (iv. 3), and the “Water of Life” which the Grimms found in Hesse, etc., “Gammer Grethel’s German Popular Stories,” Edgar Taylor, Bells, 1878; and now published in fuller form as “Grimm’s Household Tales,” by Mrs. Hunt, with Introduction by A. Lang, 2 vols. 8vo, 1884. It is curious that so biting and carping a critic, who will condescend to notice a misprint in another’s book, should lay himself open to general animadversion by such a rambling farrago of half-digested knowledge as that which composes Mr. Andrew Lang’s Introduction.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the servants of the treasure beat Judar and cast him out and the hoard doors closed of themselves, whilst the river waters returned to their bed, Abd al-Samad the Maghribi took Judar up in haste and repeated conjurations over him, till he came to his senses but still dazed as with drink, when he asked him, “What hast thou done, O wretch?” Answered Judar, “O my brother, I undid all the opposing enchantments, till I came to my mother and there befell between her and myself a long contention. But I made her doff her clothes, O my brother, till but her trousers remained upon her and she said to me, ‘Do not dishonour me; for to discover one’s shame is forbidden.’ So I left her her trousers out of pity, and behold, she cried out and said, ‘He hath made default; beat him!’ Whereupon there came out upon me folk, whence I know not, and funding me with a belabouring which was a Sister of Death, thrust me forth; nor do I know what befell me after this.” Quoth the Moor, “Did I not warn thee not to swerve from my directions? Verily, thou hast injured me and hast injured thyself: for if thou hadst made her take off her petticoat trousers, we had won to our wish; but now thou must abide with me till this day next year.” Then he cried out to the two slaves, who struck the tent forthright and loaded it on the beasts; then they were absent awhile and presently returned with the two mules; and the twain mounted and rode back to the city of Fez, where Judar tarried with the Maghribi, eating well and drinking well and donning a grand dress every day, till the year was ended and the anniversary day dawned. Then the Moor said to him, “Come with me, for this is the appointed day.” And Judar said, “’Tis well.” So the Maghribi carried him without the city, where they found the two slaves with the mules, and rode on till they reached the river. Here the slaves pitched the tent and furnished it; and the Moor brought forth the tray of food and they ate the morning meal; after which Abd al-Samad brought out the wand and the tablets as before and, kindling the fire in the chafing dish, made ready the incense. Then said he, “O Judar, I wish to renew my charge to thee.” “O my lord the pilgrim,” replied he, “if I have forgotten the bastinado, I have forgotten the injunctions.”279 Asked the Moor, “Dost thou indeed remember them?” and he answered, “Yes.” Quoth the Moor, “Keep thy wits, and think not that the woman is thy very mother; nay, she is but an enchantment in her semblance, whose purpose is to find thee defaulting. Thou camest off alive the first time; but, an thou trip this time, they will slay thee.” Quoth Judar, “If I slip this time, I deserve to be burnt of them.” Then Abd al-Samad cast the perfumes into the fire and recited the conjurations, till the river dried up; whereupon Judar descended and knocked. The door opened and he entered and undid the several enchantments, till he came to the seventh door and the semblance of his mother appeared before him, saying, “Welcome,280 O my son!” But he said to her, “How am I thy son, O accursed? Strip!” And she began to wheedle him and put off garment after garment, till only her trousers remained; and he said to her, “Strip, O accursed!” So she put off her trousers and became a body without a soul. Then he entered the hall of the treasures, where he saw gold lying in heaps, but paid no heed to it and passed on to the closet at the upper end, where he saw the enchanter Al–Shamardal lying on a couch of gold, baldrick’d with the sword, with the ring on his finger, the Kohl phial on his breast and the celestial planisphere hanging over his head. So he loosed the sword and taking the ring, the Kohl phial and the planisphere, went forth, when behold, a band of music sounded for him and the servants of the treasure cried out, saying, “Mayest thou be assained with that thou hast gained, O Judar!” Nor did the music leave sounding, till he came forth of the treasure to the Maghribi, who gave up his conjurations and fumigations and rose up and embraced him and saluted him. Then Judar made over to him the four hoarded talismans, and he took them and cried out to the slaves, who carried away the tent and brought the mules. So they mounted and returned to Fez-city, where the Moor fetched the saddle bags and brought forth dish after dish of meat, till the tray was full, and said, “O my brother, O Judar, eat!” So he ate till he was satisfied, when the Moor emptied what remained of the meats and other dishes and returned the empty platters to the saddle bags. Then quoth he, “O Judar, thou hast left home and native land on our account and thou hast accomplished our dearest desire; wherefore thou hast a right to require a reward of us. Ask, therefore, what thou wilt, it is Almighty Allah who giveth unto thee by our means.281 Ask thy will and be not ashamed, for thou art deserving.” “O my lord,” quoth Judar, “I ask first of Allah the Most High and then of thee, that thou give me yonder saddle bags.” So the Maghribi called for them and gave them to him, saying, “Take them, for they are thy due; and, if thou hadst asked of me aught else instead, I had given it to thee. Eat from them, thou and thy family; but, my poor fellow, these will not profit thee, save by way of provaunt, and thou hast wearied thyself with us and we promised to send thee home rejoicing. So we will join to these other saddle bags, full of gold and gems, and forward thee back to thy native land, where thou shalt become a gentleman and a merchant and clothe thyself and thy family; nor shalt thou want ready money for thine expenditure. And know that the manner of using our gift is on this wise. Put thy hand therein and say, ‘O servant of these saddle bags, I conjure thee by the virtue of the Mighty Names which have power over thee, bring me such a dish!’ And he will bring thee whatsoever thou askest, though thou shouldst call for a thousand different dishes a day.” So saying, he filled him a second pair of saddle bags half with gold and half with gems and precious stones; and, sending for a slave and a mule, said to him, “Mount this mule, and the slave shall go before thee and show thee the way, till thou come to the door of thy house, where do thou take the two pair of saddle bags and give him the mule, that he may bring it back. But admit none into thy secret; and so we commend thee to Allah!” “May the Almighty increase thy good!” replied Judar and, laying the two pairs of saddle bags on the mule’s back, mounted and set forth. The slave went on before him and the mule followed him all that day and night, and on the morrow he entered Cairo by the Gate of Victory,282 where he saw his mother seated, saying, “Alms, for the love of Allah!” At this sight he well nigh lost his wits and alighting, threw himself upon her: and when she saw him she wept. Then he mounted her on the mule and walked by her stirrup,283 till they came to the house, where he set her down and, taking the saddle bags, left the she mule to the slave, who led her away and returned with her to his master, for that both slave and mule were devils. As for Judar, it was grievous to him that his mother should beg; so, when they were in the house, he asked her, “O my mother, are my brothers well?”; and she answered, “They are both well.” Quoth he, “Why dost thou beg by the wayside?” Quoth she, “Because I am hungry, O my son,” and he, ‘Before I went away, I gave thee an hundred diners one day, the like the next and a thousand on the day of my departure.” “O my son, they cheated me and took the money from me, saying, ‘We will buy goods with it.’ Then they drove me away, and I fell to begging by the wayside, for stress of hunger.” “O my mother, no harm shall befall thee, now I am come; so have no concern, for these saddle bags are full of gold and gems, and good aboundeth with me.” “Verily, thou art blessed, O my son! Allah accept of thee and increase thee of His bounties! Go, O my son, fetch us some victual, for I slept not last night for excess of hunger, having gone to bed supperless. “Welcome to thee, O my mother! Call for what thou wilt to eat, and I will set it before thee this moment; for I have no occasion to buy from the market, nor need I any to cook. “O my son, I see naught with thee.” “I have with me in these saddle bags all manner of meats.” “O my son, whatever is ready will serve to stay hunger.” “True, when there is no choice, men are content with the smallest thing; but where there is plenty, they like to eat what is good: and I have abundance; so call for what thou hast a mind to.” “O my son, give me some hot bread and a slice of cheese.” “O my mother, this befitteth not thy condition.” “Then give me to eat of that which besitteth my case, for thou knowest it.” “O my mother,” rejoined he, “what suit thine estate are browned meat and roast chicken and peppered rice and it becometh thy rank to eat of sausages and stuffed cucumbers and stuffed lamb and stuffed ribs of mutton and vermicelli with broken almonds and nuts and honey and sugar and fritters and almond cakes.” But she thought he was laughing at her and making mock of her; so she said to him, “Yauh! Yauh!284 what is come to thee? Dost thou dream or art thou daft?” Asked he, “Why deemest thou that I am mad?” and she answered, “Because thou namest to me all manner rich dishes. Who can avail unto their price, and who knoweth how to dress them?” Quoth he, “By my life! thou shalt eat of all that I have named to thee, and that at once;” and quoth she, “I see nothing;” and he, “Bring me the saddle bags.” So she fetched them and feeling them, found them empty. However, she laid them before him and he thrust in his hand and pulled out dish after dish, till he had set before her all he had named. Whereupon asked she, “O my son, the saddle bags are small and moreover they were empty; yet hast thou taken thereout all these dishes. Where then were they all?”; and he answered, “O my mother, know that these saddle bags, which the Moor gave me, are enchanted and they have a servant whom, if one desire aught, he hath but to adjure by the Names which command him, saying, ‘O servant of these saddle bags, bring me such a dish!’ and he will bring it.” Quoth his mother, “And may I put out my hand and ask of him?” Quoth he, “Do so.” So she stretched out her hand and said, “O servant of the saddle bags, by the virtue of the Names which command thee, bring me stuffed ribs.” Then she thrust in her hand and found a dish containing delicate stuffed ribs of lamb. So she took it out, and called for bread and what else she had a mind to: after which Judar said to her, “O my mother, when thou hast made an end of eating, empty what is left of the food into dishes other than these, and restore the empty platters to the saddle bags carefully.” So she arose and laid them up in a safe place. “And look, O mother mine, that thou keep this secret,” added he; “and whenever thou hast a mind to aught, take it forth of the saddle bags and give alms and feed my brothers, whether I be present or absent.” Then he fell to eating with her and behold, while they were thus occupied, in came his two brothers, whom a son of the quarter285 had apprised of his return, saying, “Your brother is come back, riding on a she mule, with a slave before him, and wearing a dress that hath not its like.” So they said to each other, “Would to Heaven we had not evilly entreated our mother! There is no hope but that she will surely tell him how we did by her, and then, oh our disgrace with him!” But one of the twain said, “Our mother is soft hearted, and if she tell him, our brother is yet tenderer over us than she; and, given we excuse ourselves to him, he will accept our excuse.” So they went in to him and he rose to them and saluting them with the friendliest salutation, bade them sit down and eat. So they ate till they were satisfied, for they were weak with hunger; after which Judar said to them, “O my brothers, take what is left and distribute it to the poor and needy.” “O brother,” replied they, “let us keep it to sup withal.” But he answered, “When supper time cometh, ye shall have more than this.” So they took the rest of the victual and going out, gave it to every poor man who passed by them, saying, “Take and eat,” till nothing was left. Then they brought back the dishes and Judar said to his mother, “Put them in the saddle bags.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
279 These retorts of Judar are exactly what a sharp Egyptian Fellah would say on such occasions.
280 Arab. “Salámát,” plur. of Salam, a favourite Egyptian welcome.
281 This sentence expresses a Moslem idea which greatly puzzles strangers. Arabic has no equivalent of our “Thank you” (Kassara ’llah Khayr-ak being a mere blessing Allah increase thy weal!), nor can Al-lslam express gratitude save by a periphrase. The Moslem acknowledges a favour by blessing the donor and by wishing him increase of prosperity. “May thy shadow never be less! “ means, Mayest thou always extend to me thy shelter and protection. I have noticed this before but it merits repetition. Strangers, and especially Englishmen, are very positive and very much mistaken upon a point, which all who have to do with Egyptians and Arabs ought thoroughly to understand. Old dwellers in the East know that the theory of ingratitude in no way interferes with the sense of gratitude innate in man (and beast) and that the “lively sense of favours to come,” is as quick in Orient land as in Europe.
282 Outside this noble gate, the Bab al-Nay, there is a great cemetery wherein, by the by, lies Burckhardt, my predecessor as a Hájj to Meccah and Al–Medinah. Hence many beggars are always found squatting in its neighbourhood.
283 Friends sometimes walk alongside the rider holding the stirrup in sign of affection and respect, especially to the returning pilgrim.
284 Equivalent to our Alas! It is woman’s word never used by men; and foreigners must be most careful of this distinction under pain of incurring something worse than ridicule. I remember an officer in the Bombay Army who, having learned Hindostani from women, always spoke of himself in the feminine and hugely scandalised the Sepoys.
285 i.e. a neighbour. The “quarters” of a town in the East are often on the worst of terms. See Pilgrimage.
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