She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that Daulat Khatun related to Badi’a al-Jamal the first part of Sayf al-Muluk’s history; how his love for her was caused by the tunic whereon her presentment was wrought; how he went forth, passion-distraught, in quest of her; how he forsook his people and his kingdom for her sake and how he had suffered all these terrors and hardships on her account. When Badi’a al-Jamal hear this, she blushed rosy red and was confounded at Daulat Khatun and said, “Verily this may never, never be; for man accordeth not with the Jann.” Then Daulat Khatun went on to praise Sayf al-Muluk and extol his comeliness and courage and cavalarice, and ceased not repeating her memories of his prowess and his excellent qualities till she ended with saying, “For the sake of Almighty Allah and of me, O sister mine, come and speak with him, though but one word!” But Badi’a al-Jamal cried, “By Allah, O sister mine, this that thou sayest I will not hear, neither will I assent to thee therein;” and it was as if she heard naught of what the other said and as if no love of Sayf al-Muluk and his beauty and bearing and bravery had gotten hold upon her heart. Then Daulat Khatun humbled herself and said, “O Badi’a al-Jamal, by the milk we have sucked, I and thou, and by that which is graven on the seal-ring of Solomon (on whom be peace!) hearken to these my words for I pledged myself in the High-builded Castle of Japhet, to show him thy face. So Allah upon thee, show it to him once, for the love of me, and look thyself on him!” And she ceased not to weep and implore her and kiss her hands and feet, till she consented and said, “For thy sake I will show him my face once and he shall have a single glance.” With that Daulat Khatun’s heart was gladdened and she kissed her hands and feet. Then she went forth and fared to the great pavilion in the garden and bade her slave-women spread it with carpets and set up a couch of gold and place the wine-vessels in order; after which she went into Sayf al-Muluk and to his Wazir Sa’id, whom she found seated in their lodging, and gave the Prince the glad tidings of the winning of his wish, saying, “Go to the pavilion in the garden, thou and thy brother, and hide yourselves there from the eyes of men so none in the palace may espy you, till I come to you with Badi’a al-Jamal.” So they rose and repaired to the appointed pavilion, where they found the couch of gold set and furnished with cushions, and meat and wine ready served. So they sat awhile, whilst Sayf al-Muluk bethought him of his beloved and his breast was straitened and love and longing assailed him: wherefore he rose and walked forth from the vestibule of the pavilion. Sa’id would have followed him, but he said to him, “O my brother, follow me not, but sit in thy stead till I return to thee.” So Sa’id abode seated, whilst Sayf al-Muluk went down into the garden, drunken with the wine of desire and distracted for excess of love-longing and passion-fire: yearning agitated him and transport overcame him and he recited these couplets,
“O passing Fair449 I have none else but thee;
slave in thy love’s slavery!
Thou art my search, my joy and my desire!
None save thyself shall love this heart of me:
Would Heaven I knew thou knewest of my wails
Night-long and eyelids oped by memory.
Bid sleep to soourn on these eyen-lids
Haply in vision I thy sight shall see.
Show favour then to one thus love-distraught:
Save him from ruin by thy cruelty!
Allah increase thy beauty and thy weal;
And be thy ransom every enemy!
So shall on Doomsday lovers range beneath
Thy flag, and beauties ‘neath thy banner be.”
Then he wept and recited these also,
“That rarest beauty ever bides my foe
Who holds my heart and
lurks in secresy:
Speaking, I speak of nothing save her charms
And when I’m
dumb in heart-core woneth she.”
Then he wept sore and recited the following,
“And in my liver higher flames the fire;
You are my wish and
longsome still I yearn:
To you (none other!) bend I and I hope
(Lovers long-suffering are!) your grace to earn;
And that you pity me whose frame by Love
Is waste and weak his heart with sore concern:
Relent, be gen’rous, tender-hearted, kind:
From you I’ll
ne’er remove, from you ne’er turn!”
Then he wept and recited these also,
“Came to me care when came the love of thee,
fled me like thy cruelty:
Tells me the messenger that thou are wroth:
Allah forfend what evils told me he!”
Presently Sa’id waxed weary of awaiting him and going forth in quest of him, found him walking in the garden, distraught and reciting these two couplets,
So he joined him and the twain walked about the garden together solacing themselves and ate of its fruits. Such was their case;452 but as regards the two Princesses, they came to the pavilion and entering therein after the eunuchs had richly furnished it, according to command, sat down on the couch of gold, beside which was a window that gave upon the garden. The castratos then set before them all manner rich meats and they ate, Daulat Khatun feeding her foster-sister by mouthfuls,453 till she was satisfied; when she called for divers kinds of sweetmeats, and when the neutrals brought them, they ate what they would of them and washed their hands. After this Daulat Khatun made ready wine and its service, setting on the ewers and bowls and she proceeded to crown the cups and give Badi’a al-amal to drink, filling for herself after and drinking in turn. The Badi’a al-Jamal looked from the window into the garden and gazed upon the fruits and branches that were therein, till her glance fell on Sayf al-Muluk, and she saw him wandering about the parterres, followed by Sa’id, and she heard him recite verses, raining the while railing tears. And that glance of eyes cost her a thousand signs,—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
449 i.e. Badi’a al-Jamal.
451 Koran xxxv. “The Creator” (Fátir) or the Angels, so called from the first verse.
452 In the Bresl. Edit. (p. 263) Sayf al-Muluk drops asleep under a tree to the lulling sound of a Sákiyah or water-wheel, and is seen by Badi’a al-Jamal, who falls in love with im and drops tears upon his cheeks, etc. The scene, containing much recitation, is long and well told.
453 Arab. “Lukmah” = a bouchée of bread, meat, fruit or pastry, and especially applied to the rice balled with the hand and delicately inserted into a friend’s mouth.
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Badi’a al-Jamal caught sight of Sayf al-Muluk as he wandered about the garden, that glance of eyes cost her a thousand sighs, and she turned to Daulat Khatun and said to her (and indeed the wine sported with her senses), “O my sister, who is that young man I see in the garden, distraught, love-abying, disappointed, sighing?” Quoth the other, “Dost thou give me leave to bring him hither, that we may look on him?”; and quoth the other, “An thou can avail to bring him, bring him.” So Daulat Khatun called to him, saying “O King’s son, come up to us and bring us thy beauty and thy loveliness!” Sayf al-Muluk recognised her voice and came up to into the pavilion; but no sooner had he set eyes on Badi’a al-Jamal, than he fell down in a swoon; whereupon Daulat Khatun sprinkled on him a little rose-water and he revived. Then he rose and kissed ground before Badi’a al-Jamal who was amazed at his beauty and loveliness; and Daulat Khatun said to her, “Know, O Princess, that this is Sayf al-Muluk, whose hand saved me by the ordinance of Allah Almighty and he it is who hath borne all manner burthens on thine account: wherefore I would have thee look upon him with favour.” Hearing this Badi’a al-Jamal laughed and said, “And who keepeth faith, that this youth should do so? For there is no true love in men.” Cried Sayf al-Muluk, “O Princess, never shall lack of faith be in me, and all men are not created alike.” And he wept before her and recited these verses,
“O thou, Badi’a ‘l-Jamál, show thou some clemency
To one those lovely eyes opprest with witchery!
By rights of beauteous hues and tints thy cheeks combine
Of snowy white and glowing red anemone,
Punish not with disdain one who is sorely sick
By long, long parting waste hath waxed this frame of me:
This is my wish, my will, the end of my desire,
And Union is my hope an haply this may be!”
Then he wept with violent weeping; and love and longing got the mastery over him and he greeted her with these couplets,
“Peace be to you from lover’s wasted love,
All noble hearts
to noble favour show:
Peace be to you! Ne’er fail your form my dreams;
nor chamber the fair sight forego!
Of you I’m jealous: none may name your name:
Lovers to lovers aye should bend thee low:
So cut not off your grace from him who loves
While sickness wastes and sorrows overthrow.
I watch the flowery stars which frighten me;
While cark and care mine every night foreslow.
Nor Patience bides with me nor plan appears:
What shall I say when questioned of my foe?
God’s peace be with you in the hour of need,
Peace sent by
lover patient bearing woe!”
Then for the excess of his desire and ecstasy he repeated these coupletes also,
“If I to aught save you, O lords of me, incline;
Ne’er may I
win of you my wish, my sole design!
Who doth comprise all loveliness save only you?
Who makes the Doomsday dawn e’en now before these eyne?
Far be it Love find any rest, for I am one
Who lost for love of you this heart, these vitals mine.”
When he had made an end of his verses, he wept with sore weeping and she said to him, “O Prince, I fear to grant myself wholly to thee lest I find in thee nor fondness nor affection; for oftentimes man’s fidelity is small and his perfidy is great and thou knowest how the lord Solomon, son of David (on whom be the Peace!), took Bilkis to his love but, whenas he saw another fairer than she, turned from her thereto.” Sayf al-Muluk replied, “O my eye and O my soul, Allah hath not made all men alike, and I, Inshallah, will keep my troth and die beneath thy feet. Soon shalt thou see what I will do in accordance with my words, and for whatso I say Allah is my warrant.” Quoth Badi’a al-Jamal, “Sit and be of good heart and swear to me by the right of thy Faith and let us covenant together that each will not be false to other; and whichever of us breaketh faith may Almighty Allah punish!” At these words he sat down and set his hand in her hand and they sware each to other that neither of them would ever prefer to the other any one, either of man or of the Jann. Then they embraced for a whole hour and wept for excess of their joy, whilst passion overcame Sayf al-Muluk and he recited these couplets,
“I weep for longing love’s own ardency
To her who claims the
heart and soul of me.
And sore’s my sorrow parted long from you,
And short’s my
arm to reach the prize I see;
And mourning grief for what my patience marred
eye unveiled my secresy;
And waxed strait that whilome was so wide
Patience nor force remains nor power to dree.
Would Heaven I knew if God will ever deign to join
Our lives, and from our cark and care and grief set free!”
After this mutual troth-plighting, Sayf al-Muluk arose and walked in the garden and Badi’a al-Jamal arose also and went forth also afoot followed by a slave-girl bearing somewhat of food and a flask454 of wine. The Princess sat down and the damsel set the meat and wine before her: nor remained they long ere they were joined by Sayf al-Muluk, who was received with greeting and the two embraced and sat them down.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
454 Arab. “Saláhiyah,” also written Saráhiyah: it means an ewer-shaped glass-bottle.
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that having provided food and wine, Badi’a al-Jamal met Sayf al-Muluk with greetings, and the twain having embraced and kissed sat them down awhile to eat and drink. Then said she to him, “O King’s son, thou must now go to the garden of Iram, where dwelleth my grandmother, and seek her consent to our marriage. My slave-girl Marjánah will convey thee thither and as thou farest therein thou wilt see a great pavilion of red satin, lined with green silk. Enter the pavilion heartening thyself and thou wilt see inside it an ancient dame sitting on a couch of red gold set with pearls and jewels. Salute her with respect and courtesy: then look at the foot of the couch, where thou wilt descry a pair of sandals455 of cloth interwoven with bars of gold, embroidered with jewels. Take them and kiss them and lay them on thy head456; then put them under thy right armpit and stand before the old woman, in silence and with thy head bowed down. If she ask thee, ‘Who art thou and how camest thou hither and who led thee to this land? And why hast thou taken up the sandals?’ make her no answer, but abide silent till Marjanah enter, when she will speak with her and seek to win her aproof for thee and cause her look on thee with consent; so haply Allah Almight may incline her heart to thee and she may grant thee thy wish.” Then she called the handmaid Marjanah hight and said to her, “As thou lovest me, do my errand this day and be not neglectful therein! An thou acccomplish it, thou shalt be a free woman for the sake of Allah Almighty, and I will deal honourably by thee with gifts and there shall be none dearer to me than thou, nor will I discover my secrets to any save thee. So, by my love for thee, fulfil this my need and be not slothful therein.” Replied Marjanah, “O my lady and light of mine eyes, tell me what is it thou requirest of me, that I may accomplish it with both mine eyes.” Badi’a rejoined, “Take this mortal on thy shoulders and bear him to the bloom-garden of Iram and the pavilion of my grandmother, my father’s mother, and be careful of his safety. When thou hast brought him into her presence and seest him take the slippers and do them homage, and hearest her ask him, saying, ‘Whence art thou and by what road art come and who led thee to this land, and why hast thou taken up the sandals and what is thy need that I give heed to it?’ do thou come forward in haste and salute her with the salam and say to her, ‘O my lady, I am she who brought him hither and he is the King’s son of Egypt.457 ’Tis he who went to the High-builded Castle and slew the son of the Blue King and delivered the Princess Daulat Khatun from the Castle of Japhet son of Noah and brought her back safe to her father: and I have brought him to thee, that he may give thee the glad tidings of her safety: so deign thou be gracious to him.’ Then do thou say to her, ‘Allah upon thee! is not this young man handsome, O my lady?’ She will reply, ‘Yes’; and do thou rejoin, ‘O my lady, indeed he is complete in honour and manhood and valour and he is lord and King of Egypt and compriseth all praiseworthy qualities.’ An she ask thee, ‘What is his need?’ do thou make answer, ‘My lady saluteth thee and saith to thee, how long shall she sit at home, a maid and unmarried? Indeed, the time is longsome upon her for she is as a magazine wherein wheat is heaped up.458 What then is thine intent in leaving her without a mate and why dost thou not marry her in thy lifetide and that of her mother, like other girls?’ If she say, ‘How shall we do to marry her? An she have any one in mind, let her tell us of him, and we will do her will as far as may be!” do thou make answer, ‘O my lady, thy daughter saith to thee, ‘Ye were minded aforetime to marry me to Solomon (on whom be peace!) and portrayed him my portrait on a tunic. But he had no lot in me; so he sent the tunic to the King of Egypt and he gave it to his son, who saw my portrait figured thereon and fell in love with me; wherefore he left his father and mother’s realm and turning away from the world and whatso is therein, went forth at a venture, a wanderer, love-distraught, and hath borne the utmost hardships and honours for my sake of me.’ Now thou seest his beauty and loveliness, and thy daughter’s heart is enamoured of him; so if ye have a mind to marry her, marry her to this young man and forbid her not from him for he is young and passing comely and King of Egypt, nor wilt thou find a goodlier than he; and if ye will not give her to him, she will slay herself and marry none neither man nor Jinn.’” “And,” continued Badi’a al-Jamal, “Look thou, O Marjanah, ma mie,459 how thou mayst do with my grandmother, to win her consent, and beguile her with soft words, so haply she may do my desire.” Quoth the damsel, “O my lady, upon my head and eyes will I serve thee and do what shall content thee.” Then she took Sayf al-Muluk on her shoulders and said to him, “O King’s son, shut thine eyes.” He did so and she flew up with him into the welkin; and after awhile she said to him, “O King’s son, open thine eyes.” He opened them and found himself in a garden, which was none other than the garden of Iram; and she showed him the pavilion and said, “O Sayf al-Muluk, enter therein!” Thereupon he pronounced the name of Allah Almighty and entering cast a look upon the garden, when he saw the old Queen sitting on the couch, attended by her waiting women. So he drew near her with courtesy and reverence and taking the sandals bussed them and did as Badi’a al-Jamal had enjoined him. Quoth the ancient dame, “Who art thou and what is thy country; whence comest thou and who brought thee hither and what may be thy wish? Wherefore dost thou take the sandals and kiss them and when didst thou ask of me a favour which I did not grant?” With this in came Marjanah460 and saluting her reverently and worshipfully, repeated to her what Badi’a al-Jamal had told her; which when the old Queen heard, she cried out at her and was wroth with her and said, “How shall there be accord between man and Jinn?”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
455 Arab. “Sarmújah,” of which Von Hammer remarks that the dictionaries ignore it; Dozy gives the forms Sarmúj, Sarmúz, and Sarmúzah and explains them by “espčce de guętre, de sandale ou de mule, qu’on chausse par-dessus la botte.”
456 In token of profound submission.
457 Arab. “Misr” in Ibn Khaldún is a land whose people are settled and civilised hence “Namsur” = we settle; and “Amsár” = settled provinces. Al–Misrayn was the title of Basrah and Kufah the two military cantonments founded by Caliph Omar on the frontier of conquering Arabia and conquered Persia. Hence “Tamsír” = founding such posts, which were planted in Mesopotamia, Syria and Egypt. In these camps were stationed the veterans who had fought under Mohammed; but the spoils of the East soon changed them to splendid cities where luxury and learning fluorished side by side. Sprenger (Al–Mas’údi pp. 19, 177) compares them ecclesiastically with the primitive Christian Churches such as Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch. But the Moslems were animated with an ardent love of liberty and Kufah under Al–Hajjaj the masterful, lost 100,000 of her turbulent sons without the thirst for independence being quenched. This can hardly be said of the Early Christians who, with the exception of a few staunch-hearted martyrs, appear in history as pauvres diables and poules mouillées, ever oppressed by their own most ignorant and harmful fancy that the world was about to end.
458 i.e. Waiting to be sold and wasting away in single cursedness.
459 Arab. “Yá dádati”: dádat is an old servant-woman or slave, often applied to a nurse, like its congener the Pers. Dádá, the latter often pronounced Daddeh, as Daddeh Bazm-árá in the Kuisum-nameh (Atkinson’s “Customs of the Women of Persia,” London, 8vo, 1832).
460 Marjánah has been already explained. D’Herbelot derives from it the Romance name Morgante la Déconvenue, here confounding Morgana with Urganda; and Keltic scholars make Morgain = Mor Gwynn-the white maid (p. 10, Keightley’s Fairy Mythology, London, Whittaker, 1833).
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the old Queen heard the handmaid’s words she was wroth with sore wrath because of her and cried, “How shall there be accord between man and Jinn?” But Safy al-Muluk replied, “Indeed, I will conform to thy will and be thy page and die in thy love and will keep with thee covenant and regard non but thee: so right soon shalt thou see my truth and lack of falsehood and the excellence of my manly dealing with thee, Inshallah!” The old woman pondered for a full hour with brow earthwards bent; after which she raised her head and said to him, “O thou beautiful youth, wilt thou indeed keep compact and covenant?” He replied, “Yes, by Him who raised the heavens and dispread the earth upon the waters, I will indeed keep faith and troth!” Thereupon quoth she, “I will win for thee thy wish, Inshallah! but for the present go thou into the garden and take thy pleasure therein and eat of its fruits, that have neither like in the world nor equal, whilst I send for my son Shahyal and confabulate with him of the matter. Nothing but good shall come of it, so Allah please, for he will not gainsay me nor disobey my commandment and I will marry thee with his daughter Badi’a al-Jamal. So be of good heart for she shall assuredly be thy wife, O Sayf al-Muluk.” The Prince thanked her for those words and kissing her hands and feet, went forth from her into the garden; whilst she turned to Marjanah and said to her, “Go seek my son Shahyal wherever he is and bring him to me.” So Maranah went out in quest of King Shahyal and found him and set him before his mother. On such wise fared it with them; but as regards Sayf al-Muluk, whilst he walked in the garden, lo and behold! five Jinn of the people of the Blue King espied him and said to one another, “Whence cometh yonder wight and who brought him hither? Haply ’tis he who slew the son and heir of our lord and master the Blue King;” presently adding, ‘But we will go about with him and question him and find out all from him.” So they walked gently and softly up to him, as he sat in a corner of the garden, and sitting down by him, said to him, “O beauteous youth, thou didst right well in slaying the son of the Blue King and delivering from him Daulat Khatun; for he was a treacherous hound and had tricked her, and had not Allah appointed thee to her, she had never won free; no, never! But how diddest thou slay him?” Sayf al-Muluk looked at them and deeming them of the gardenfolk, answered, “I slew him by means of this ring which is on my finger.” Therewith they were assured that it was he who had slain him; so they seized him, two of them holding his hands, whilst other two held his feet and the fifth his mouth, lest he should cry out and King Shahyal’s people should hear him and rescue him from their hands. Then they lifted him up and flying away with him ceased not their flight till they came to their King and set him down before him, saying, “O King of the Age, we bring thee the murderer of thy son.” “Where is he?” asked the King and they answered, “This is he.” So the Blue King said to Sayf al-Muluk, “How slewest thou my son, the core of my heart and the light of my sight, without aught of right, for all he had done thee no ill deed?” Quoth the Prince, “Yea, verily! I slew him because of his violence and frowardness, in that he used to seize Kings’ daughters and sever them from their families and carry them to the Ruined Well and the High-builded Castle of Japhet son of Noah and entreat them lewdly by debauching them. I slew him by means of this ring on my finger, and Allah hurried his soul to the fire and the abiding-place dire.” Therewithal the King was assured that this was indeed he who slew his son; so presently he called his Wazirs and said to them, “This is the murtherer of my son sans shadow of doubt: so how do you counsel me to deal with him? Shall I slay him with the foulest slaughter or torture him with the terriblest torments or how?” Quoth the Chief Minister, “Cut off his limbs, one a day.” Another, “Beat him with a grievous beating every day till he die.” A third, “Cut him across the middle.” A fourth, “Chop off all his fingers and burn him with fire.” A fifth, “Crucify him;” and so on, each speaking according to his rede. Now there was with the Blue King an old Emir, versed in the vicissitudes and experienced in the exchanges of the times, and he said, “O King of the Age, verily I would say to thee somewhat, and thine is the rede whether thou wilt hearken or not to my say.” Now he was the King’s privy Councillor and the Chief Officer of his empire, and the Sovran was wont to give ear to his word and conduct himself by his counsel and gainsay him not in aught. So he rose and kissing ground before his liege lord, said to him, “O King of the Age, if I advise thee in this matter, wilt thou follow my advice and grant me indemnity?” Quoth the King, “Set forth thine opinion, and thou shalt have immunity.” Then quoth he, “O King of the Age, an thou slay this one nor accept my advice nor hearken to my word, in very sooth I say that his death were now inexpedient, for that he his thy prisoner and in thy power, and under thy protection; so whenas thou wilt, thou mayst lay hand on him and do with him what thou desirest. Have patience, then, O King of the Age, for he hath entered the garden of Iram and is become the betrothed of Badi’a al-Jamal, daughter of King Shahyal, and one of them. Thy people seized him there and brought him hither and he did not hide his case from them or from thee. So an thou slay him, assuredly King Shahyal will seek blood-revenge and lead his host against thee for his daughter’s sake, and thou canst not cope with him nor make head against his power.” So the King hearkened to his counsel and commanded to imprison the captive. Thus fared it with Sayf al-Muluk; but as regards the old Queen, grandmother of Badi’a al-Jamal, when her son Shahyal came to her she despatched Marjanah in search of Sayf al-Muluk; but she found him not and returning to her mistress, said, “I found him not in the garden.” So the ancient dame sent for the gardeners and questioned them of the Prince. Quoth they, “We saw him sitting under a tree when behold, five of the Blue King’s folk alighted by him and spoke with him, after which they took him up and having gagged him flew away with him.” When the old Queen heard the damsel’s words it was no light matter to her and she was wroth with exceeding wrath: so she rose to her feet and said to her son, King Shahyal, “Thou art a King and shall the Blue King’s people come to our garden and carry off our guests unhindered, and thou alive?” And she proceeded to provoke him, saying, “It behoveth not that any transgress against us during thy lifetime.”1 Answered he, “O mother of me, this man slew the Blue King’s son, who was a Jinni and Allah threw him into his hand. He is a Jinni and I am a Jinni: how then shall I go to him and make war on him for the sake of a mortal?” But she rejoined, “Go to him and demand our guest of him, and if he be still alive and the Blue King deliver him to thee, take him and return; but an he have slain him, take the King and all his children and Harim and household depending on him; then bring them to me alive that I may cut their throats with my own hand and lay in ruins his reign. Except thou go to him and do my bidding, I will not acquit thee of my milk and my rearing of thee shall be counted unlawful.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
1 Ironicč; we are safe as long as we are defended by such a brave.
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the grandmother of Badi’a al-Jamal said to Shahyal, “Fare thee to the Blue King and look after Sayf al-Muluk: if he be still in life come with him hither; but an he have slain him take that King and all his children and Harim and the whole of his dependents an protégés and bring them here alive that I may cut their throats with my own hand and ruin his realm. Except thou go to him and do my bidding, I will not acquit thee of my milk and my rearing of thee shall be accounted unlawful.” Thereupon Shahyal rose and assembling his troops, set out, in deference to his mother, desiring to content her and her friends, and in accordance with whatso had been fore-ordained from eternity without beginning; nor did they leave journeying till they came to the land of the Blue King, who met them with his army and gave them battle. The Blue King’s host was put to the rout and the conquerors having taken him and all his sons, great and small, and Grandees and officers bound and brought them before King Shahyal, who said to the captive, “O Azrak,2 where is the mortal Sayf al-Muluk who whilome was my guest?” Answered the Blue King, “O Shahyal, thou art a Jinni and I am a Jinni and is’t on account of a mortal who slew my son that thou hast done this deed; yea, the murtherer of my son, the core of my liver and solace of my soul. How couldest thou work such work and spill the blood of so many thousand Jinn?” He replied, “Leave this talk! Knowest thou not that a single mortal is better, in Allah’s sight, than a thousand Jinn?3 If he be alive, bring him to me, and I will set thee free and all whom I have taken of thy sons and people; but an thou have slain him, I will slaughter thee and thy sons.” Quoth the Malik al-Azrak, “O King, is this man of more account with thee than my son?”; and quoth Shahyal, “Verily, thy son was an evildoer who kidnapped Kings’ daughters and shut them up in the Ruined Well and the High-builded Castle of Japhet son of Noah and entreated them lewdly.” Then said the Blue King, “He is with me; but make thy peace between us.” So he delivered the Prince to Shahyal, who made peace between him and the Blue King, and Al–Azrak gave him a bond of absolution for the death of his son. Then Shahyal conferred robes of honour on them and entertained the Blue King and his troops hospitably for three days, after which he took Sayf al-Muluk and carried him back to the old Queen, his own mother, who rejoiced in him with an exceeding joy, and Shahyal marvelled at the beauty of the Prince and his loveliness and his perfection. Then the Prince related to him his story from beginning to end, especially what did befal him with Badi’a al-Jamal and Shahyal said, “O my mother, since ’tis thy pleasure that this should be, I hear and I obey all that to command it pleaseth thee; wherefore do thou take him and bear him to Sarandib and there celebrate his wedding and marry him to her in all state, for he is a goodly youth and hath endured horrors for her sake.” So she and her maidens set out with Sayf al-Muluk for Sarandib and, entering the Garden belonging to the Queen of Hind, foregathered with Daulat Khatun and Badi’a al-Jamal. Then the lovers met, and the old Queen acquainted the two Princesses with all that had passed between Sayf al-Muluk and the Blue King and how the Prince had been nearhand to a captive’s death; but in repetition is no fruition. Then King Taj al-Muluk father of Daulat Khatun assembled the lords of his land and drew up the contract of marriage between Sayf al-Muluk and Badi’a al-Jamal; and he conferred costly robes of honour and gave banquets to the lieges. Then Sayf al-Muluk rose and, kissing ground before the King, said to him, “O King, pardon! I would fain ask of thee somewhat but I fear lest thou refuse it to my disappointment.” Taj al-Muluk replied, “By Allah, though thou soughtest my soul of me, I would not refuse it to thee, after all the kindness thou hast done me!” Quoth Sayf al-Muluk, “I wish thee to marry the Princess Daulat Khatun to my brother Sa’id, and we will both be thy pages.” “I hear and obey,” answered Taj al-Muluk, and assembling his Grandees a second time, let draw up the contract of marriage between his daughter and Sa’id; after which they scattered gold and silver and the King bade decorate the city. So they held high festival and Sayf al-Muluk went in unto Badi’a al-Jamal and Sa’id went in unto Daulat Khatun on the same night. Moreover Sayf al-Muluk abode forty days with Badi’a al-Jamal, at the end of which she said to him, “O King’s son, say me, is there left in thy heart any regret for aught?” And he replied, “Allah forfend! I have accomplished my quest and there abideth no regret in my heart at all: but I would fain meet my father and my mother in the land of Egypt and see if they continue in welfare or not.” So she commanded a company of her slaves to convey them to Egypt, and they carried them to Cairo, where Sayf al-Muluk and Sa’id foregathered with their parents and abode with them a week; after which they took leave of them and returned to Sarandib-city; and from this time forwards, whenever they longed for their folk, they used to go to them and return. Then Sayf al-Muluk and Badi’a al-Jamal abode in all solace of life and its joyance as did Sa’id and Daulat Khatun, till there came to them the Destroyer of delights and Severer of societies; and they all died good Moslems. So glory be to the Living One who dieth not, who createth all creatures and decreeth to them death and who is the First, without beginning, and the Last, without end! This is all that hath come down to us of the story of Sayf al-Muluk and Badi’a al-Jamal. And Allah alone wotteth the truth.4 But not less excellent than this tale is the History of
2 Blue, azure. This is hardly the place for a protest, but I must not neglect the opportunity of cautioning my readers against rendering Bahr al-Azrak (“Blue River”) by “Blue Nile.” No Arab ever knew it by that name or thereby equalled it with the White Nile. The term was a pure invention of Abyssinian Bruce who was well aware of the unfact he was propagating, but his inordinate vanity and self-esteem, contrasting so curiously with many noble qualities, especially courage and self-reliance, tempted him to this and many other a traveller’s tale.
3 This is orthodox Moslem doctrine and it does something for the dignity of human nature which has been so unwisely depreciated and degraded by Christianity. The contrast of Moslem dignity and Christian abasement in the East is patent to every unblind traveller.
4 Here ends vol. iii. of the Mac. Edit.
There was once of days of yore and in ages and times long gone before, a merchant, who dwelt in the land of Bassorah and who owned two sons and wealth galore. But in due time Allah, the All-hearing the All-knowing, decreed that he should be admitted to the mercy of the Most High; so he died, and his two sons laid him out and buried him, after which they divided his gardens and estates equally between them and of his portion each one opened a shop.6 Presently the elder son, Hasan hight, a youth of passing beauty and loveliness, symmetry and perfect grace, betook himself to the company of lewd folk, women and low boys, frolicking with them in gardens and feasting them with meat and wine for months together and occupying himself not with his business like as his father had done, for that he exulted in the abundance of his good. After some time he had wasted all his ready money, so he sold all his father’s lands and houses and played the wastrel until there remained in his hand nothing, neither little nor muchel, nor was one of his comrades left who knew him. He abode thus anhungred, he and his widowed mother, three days, and on the fourth day, as he walked along, unknowing whither to wend, there met him a man of his father’s friends, who questioned him of his case. He told him what had befallen him and the other said, “O my son, I have a brother who is a goldsmith; an thou wilt, thou shalt be with him and learn his craft and become skilled therein.” Hasan consented and accompanied him to his brother, to whom he commended him, saying, “In very sooth this is my son; do thou teach him for my sake.” So Hasan abode with the goldsmith and busied himself with the craft; and Allah opened to him the door of gain and in due course he set up shop for himself. One day, as he sat in his booth in the bazar, there came up to him an Ajamí, a foreigner, a Persian, with a great white beard and a white turband7 on his head, having the semblance of a merchant who, after saluting him, looked at his handiwork and examined it knowingly. It pleased him and he shook his head, saying, “By Allah, thou art a cunning goldsmith! What may be thy name?” “Hasan,” replied the other, shortly.8 The Persian continued to look at his wares, whilst Hasan read in an old book9 he hent in hand and the folk were taken up with his beauty and loveliness and symmetry and perfect grace, till the hour of midafternoon prayer, when the shop became clear of people and the Persian accosted the young man, saying, “O my son, thou art a comely youth! What book is that? Thou hast no sire and I have no son, and I know an art, than which there is no goodlier in the world.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
5 This famous tale is a sister prose-poem to the “Arabian Odyssey” Sindbad the Seaman; only the Bassorite’s travels are in Jinn-land and Japan. It has points of resemblance in “fundamental outline” with the Persian Romance of the Fairy Hasan Bánú and King Bahrám-i-Gúr. See also the Kathá (s.s.) and the two sons of the Asúra Máyá; the Tartar “Sidhi Kúr” (Tales of a Vampire or Enchanted Corpse) translated by Mr. W. J. Thoms (the Father of “Folk-lore” in 1846,) in “Lays and Legends of various Nations”; the Persian Bahár-i-Dánish (Prime of Lore). Miss Stokes’ “Indian Fairy Tales”; Miss Frere’s “Old Deccan Days” and Mrs. F. A. Steel’s “Tale of the King and his Seven Sons,” with notes by Lieutenant (now Captain) R. C. Temple (Folk-lore of the Panjab, Indian Antiquary of March, 1882).
6 In the Mac. Edit. (vol. iv. i.) the merchant has two sons who became one a brazier (“dealer in copper-wares” says Lane iii. 385) and the other a goldsmith. The Bresl. Edit. (v. 264) mentions only one son, Hasan, the hero of the story which is entitled, “Tale of Hasan al-Basrí and the Isles of Wák Wák.”
7 Arab. “Shásh Abyaz:” this distinctive sign of the True Believer was adopted by the Persian to conceal his being a fire-worshipper, Magian or “Guebre.” The latter word was introduced from the French by Lord Byron and it is certainly far superior to Moore’s “Gheber.”
8 Persians being always a suspected folk.
9 Arab. “Al-Búdikah” afterwards used (Night dcclxxix) in the sense of crucible or melting-pot, in modern parlance a pipe-bowl; and also written “Bútakah,” an Arab distortion of the Persian “Bútah.”
She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Persian accosted the young man saying, “O my son, thou art a comely youth! Thou hast no sire and I have no son, and I know an art than which there is no goodlier in the world. Many have sought of me instruction therein, but I consented not to instruct any of them in it; yet hath my soul consented that I teach it to thee, for thy love hath gotten hold upon my heart and I will make thee my son and set up between thee and poverty a barrier, so shalt thou be quit of this handicraft and toil no more with hammer and anvil,10 charcoal and fire.” Hasan asked, “O my lord and when wilt thou teach me this?”; and the Persian answered, “To-morrow, Inshallah, I will come to thee betimes and make thee in thy presence fine gold of this copper.” Whereupon Hasan rejoiced and sat talking with the Persian till nightfall, when he took leave of him and going in to his mother, saluted her with the salam and ate with her; but he was dazed, without memory or reason, for that the stranger’s words had gotten hold upon his heart. So she questioned him and he told her what had passed between himself and the Persian, which when she heard, her heart fluttered and she strained him to her bosom, saying, “O my son, beware of hearkening to the talk of the folk, and especially of the Persians, and obey them not in aught; for they are sharpers and tricksters, who profess the art of alchemy11 and swindle people and take their money and devour it in vain.” Replied Hasan, “O my mother, we are paupers and have nothing he may covet, that he should put a cheat on us. Indeed, this Persian is a right worthy Shaykh and the signs of virtue are manifest on him; Allah hath inclined his heart to me and he hath adopted me to son.” She was silent in her chagrin, and he passed the night without sleep, his heart being full of what the Persian had said to him; nor did slumber visit him for the excess of his joy therein. But when morning morrowed, he rose and taking the keys, opened the shop, whereupon behold, the Persian accosted him. Hasan stood up to him and would have kissed his hands; but he forbade him from this and suffered it not, saying, “O Hasan, set on the crucible and apply the bellows.”12 So he did as the stranger bade him and lighted the charcoal. Then said the Persian, “O my son, hast thou any copper?” and he replied, “I have a broken platter.” So he bade him work the shears13 and cut it into bittocks and cast it into the crucible and blow up the fire with the bellows, till the copper became liquid, when he put hand to turband and took therefrom a folded paper and opening it, sprinkled thereout into the pot about half a drachm of somewhat like yellow Kohl or eyepowder.14 Then he bade Hasan blow upon it with the bellows, and he did so, till the contents of the crucible became a lump of gold.15 When the youth saw this, he was stupefied and at his wits’ end for the joy he felt and taking the ingot from the crucible handled it and tried it with the file and found it pure gold of the finest quality: whereupon his reason fled and he was dazed with excess of delight and bent over the Persian’s hand to kiss it. But he forbade him, saying, “Art thou married?” and when the youth replied “No!” he said, “Carry this ingot to the market and sell it and take the price in haste and speak not.” So Hasan went down into the market and gave the bar to the broker, who took it and rubbed it upon the touchstone and found it pure gold. So they opened the biddings at ten thousand dirhams and the merchants bid against one another for it up to fifteen thousand dirhams,16 at which price he sold it and taking the money, went home and told his mother all that had passed, saying, “O my mother, I have learnt this art and mystery.” But she laughed at him, saying, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
10 Arab. “Sindán” or “Sindiyán” (Dozy). “Sandán,” anvil; “Sindán,” big, strong (Steingass).
11 Arab. “Kímíya,” (see vol. i. 305) properly the substance which transmutes metals, the “philosopher’s stone” which, by the by, is not a stone; and comes from , a fluid, a wet drug, as opposed to Iksír (Al-) a dry drug. Those who care to see how it is still studied will consult my History of Sindh (chapt. vii) and my experience which pointed only to the use made of it in base coinage. Hence in mod. tongue Kímiyáwi, an alchemist, means a coiner, a smasher. The reader must not suppose that the transmutation of metals is a dead study: I calculate that there are about one hundred workers in London alone.
12 Arab. “Al-Kír,” a bellows also = Kúr, a furnace. For the full meaning of this sentence, see my “Book of the Sword,” p. 119.
13 Lit. “bade him lean upon it with the shears” (Al-Káz).
14 There are many kinds of Kohls (Hindos. Surmá and Kajjal) used in medicine and magic. See Herklots, p. 227.
15 Arab. “Sabíkah” = bar, lamina, from “Sabk” = melting, smelting: the lump in the crucible would be hammered out into an ingot in order to conceal the operation
16 i.e. Ł375.
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Hasan the goldsmith told his mother what he had done with the Ajami and cried, “I have learnt this art and mystery,” she laughed at him, saying, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!”; and she was silent for vexation. Then of his ignorance, he took a metal mortar and returning to the shop, laid it before the Persian, who was still sitting there and asked him, “O my son, what wilt thou do with this mortar?” Hasan answered, “Let us put it in the fire, and make of it lumps of gold.” The Persian laughed and rejoined, “O my son, art thou Jinn-mad that thou wouldst go down into the market with two ingots of gold in one day? Knowest thou not that the folk would suspect us and our lives would be lost? Now, O my son, an I teach thee this craft, thou must practise it but once in each twelvemonth; for that will suffice thee from year to year.” Cried Hasan, “True, O my lord,” and sitting down in his open shop, set on the crucible and cast more charcoal on the fire. Quoth the Persian, “What wilt thou, O my son?”; and quoth Hasan, “Teach me this craft.” “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great!” exclaimed the Persian, laughing; “Verily, O my son, thou art little of wit and in nowise fitted for this noble craft. Did ever any during all his life learn this art on the beaten way or in the bazars? If we busy ourselves with it here, the folk will say of us, These practise alchemy; and the magistrates will hear of us, and we shall lose our lives.17 Wherefore, O my son, an thou desire to learn this mystery forthright, come thou with me to my house.” So Hasan barred his shop and went with that Ajamí; but by the way he remembered his mother’s words and thinking in himself a thousand thoughts he stood still, with bowed head. The Persian turned and seeing him thus standing laughed and said to him, “Art thou mad? What! I in my heart purpose thee good and thou misdoubtest I will harm thee!” presently adding, “But, if thou fear to go with me to my house, I will go with thee to thine and teach thee there.” Hasan replied, “’Tis well, O uncle,” and the Persian rejoined, “Go thou before me.” So Hasan led the way to his own house, and entering, told his mother of the Persian’s coming, for he had left him standing at the door. She ordered the house for them and when she had made an end of furnishing and adorning it, her son bade her go to one of the neighbours’ lodgings. So she left her home to them and wended her way, whereupon Hasan brought in the Persian, who entered after asking leave. Then he took in hand a dish and going to the market, returned with food, which he set before the Persian, saying, “Eat, O my lord, that between us there may be bread and salt and may Almighty Allah do vengeance upon the traitor to bread and salt!” The Persian replied with a smile, “True, O my son! Who knoweth the virtue and worth of bread and salt?”18 Then he came forward and ate with Hasan, till they were satisfied; after which the Ajami said, “O my son Hasan, bring us somewhat of sweetmeats.” So Hasan went to the market, rejoicing in his words, and returned with ten saucers19 of sweetmeats, of which they both ate and the Persian said, “May Allah abundantly requite thee, O my son! It is the like of thee with whom folk company and to whom they discover their secrets and teach what may profit him!”20 Then said he, “O Hasan bring the gear.” But hardly did Hasan hear these words than he went forth like a colt let out to grass in spring-tide, and hastening to the shop, fetched the apparatus and set it before the Persian, who pulled out a piece of paper and said, “O Hasan, by the bond of bread and salt, wert thou not dearer to me than my son, I would not let thee into the mysteries of this art, for I have none of the Elixir21 left save what is in this paper; but by and by I will compound the simples whereof it is composed and will make it before thee. Know, O my son Hasan, that to every ten pounds of copper thou must set half a drachm of that which is in this paper, and the whole ten will presently become unalloyed virgin gold;” presently adding, “O my son, O Hasan, there are in this paper three ounces,22 Egyptian measure, and when it is spent, I will make thee other and more.” Hasan took the packet and finding therein a yellow powder, finer than the first, said to the Persian, “O my lord, what is the name of this substance and where is it found and how is it made?” But he laughed, longing to get hold of the youth, and replied, “Of what dost thou question? Indeed thou art a froward boy! Do thy work and hold thy peace.” So Hasan arose and fetching a brass platter from the house, shore it in shreds and threw it into the melting-pot; then he scattered on it a little of the powder from the paper and it became a lump of pure gold. When he saw this, he joyed with exceeding joy and was filled with amazement and could think of nothing save the gold; but, whilst he was occupied with taking up the lumps of metal from the melting-pot, the Persian pulled out of his turband in haste a packet of Cretan Bhang, which if an elephant smelt, he would sleep from night to night, and cutting off a little thereof, put it in a piece of the sweetmeat. Then said he, “O Hasan, thou art become my very son and dearer to me than soul and wealth, and I have a daughter whose like never have eyes beheld for beauty and loveliness, symmetry and perfect grace. Now I see that thou befittest none but her and she none but thee; wherefore, if it be Allah’s will, I will marry thee to her.” Replied Hasan, “I am thy servant and whatso good thou dost with me will be a deposit with the Almighty!” and the Persian rejoined, “O my son, have fair patience and fair shall betide thee.” Therewith he gave him the piece of sweetmeat and he took it and kissing his hand, put it in his mouth, knowing not what was hidden for him in the after time for only the Lord of Futurity knoweth the Future. But hardly had he swallowed it, when he fell down, head foregoing heels, and was lost to the world; whereupon the Persian, seeing him in such calamitous case, rejoiced exceedingly and cried, “Thou hast fallen into my snares, O gallows-carrion, O dog of the Arabs! This many a year have I sought thee and now I have found thee, O Hasan!”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
17 Such report has cost many a life: the suspicion was and is still deadly as heresy in a “new Christian” under the Inquisition.
18 Here there is a double entendre: openly it means, “Few men recognise as they should the bond of bread and salt:” the other sense would be (and that accounts for the smile), “What the deuce do I care for the bond?”
19 Arab. “Kabbát” in the Bresl. Edit. “Ka’abán “: Lane (iii. 519) reads “Ka’áb plur. of Ka’ab a cup.”
20 A most palpable sneer. But Hasan is purposely represented as a “softy” till aroused and energized by the magic of Love.
21 Arab. “Al-iksír” (see Night dcclxxix, supra p. 9): the Greek word which has returned from a trip to Arabia and reappeared in Europe as “Elixir.”
22 “Awák” plur. of “Ukíyah,” the well-known “oke,” or “ocque,” a weight varying from 1 to 2 lbs. In Morocco it is pronounced “Wukíyah,” and = the Spanish ounce (p. 279 Rudimentos del Arabe Vulgar, etc., by Fr. José de Lorchundi, Madrid, Rivadencyra, 1872).
She pursued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Hasan the goldsmith ate the bit of sweetmeat given to him by the Ajami and fell fainting to the ground, the Persian rejoiced exceedingly and cried, “This many a year have I sought thee and now I have found thee!” Then he girt himself and pinioned Hasan’s arms and binding his feet to his hands laid him in a chest, which he emptied to that end and locked it upon him. Moreover, he cleared another chest and laying therein all Hasan’s valuables, together with the piece of the first gold-lump and the second ingot which he had made locked it with a padlock. Then he ran to the market and fetching a porter, took up the two chests and made off with them to a place within sight of the city, where he set them down on the sea-shore, hard by a vessel at anchor there. Now this craft had been freighted and fitted out by the Persian and her master was awaiting him; so, when the crew saw him, they came to him and bore the two chests on board. Then the Persian called out to the Rais or Captain, saying, “Up and let us be off, for I have done my desire and won my wish.” So the skipper sang out to the sailors, saying, “Weigh anchor and set sail!” And the ship put out to sea with a fair wind. So far concerning the Persian; but as regards Hasan’s mother, she awaited him till supper-time but heard neither sound nor news of him; so she went to the house and finding it thrown open, entered and saw none therein and missed the two chests and their valuables; wherefore she knew that her son was lost and that doom had overtaken him; and she buffeted her face and rent her raiment crying out and wailing and saying, “Alas, my son, ah! Alas, the fruit of my vitals, ah!” And she recited these couplets,
“My patience fails me and grows anxiety;
And with your absence
growth of grief I see.
By Allah, Patience went what time ye went!
Loss of all Hope how
When lost my loved one how can’ joy I sleep?
Who shall enjoy
such life of low degree?
Thou ‘rt gone and, desolating house and home,
Hast fouled the
fount erst flowed from foulness free:
Thou wast my fame, my grace ‘mid folk, my stay;
Mine aid wast
thou in all adversity!
Perish the day, when from mine eyes they bore
My friend, till sight I thy return to me!”
And she ceased not to weep and wail till the dawn, when the neighbours came in to her and asked her of her son, and she told them what had befallen him with the Persian, assured that she should never, never see him again. Then she went round about the house, weeping, and wending she espied two lines written upon the wall; so she sent for a scholar, who read them to her; and they were these,
“Leyla’s phantom came by night, when drowsiness had overcome me,
towards morning while my companions were sleeping in the
But when we awoke to behold the nightly phantom, I saw the air
vacant and the place of visitation was distant.”23
When Hasan’s mother heard these lines, she shrieked and said, “Yes, O my son! Indeed, the house is desolate and the visitation-place is distant!” Then the neighbours took leave of her and after they had prayed that she might be vouchsafed patience and speedy reunion with her son, went away; but she ceased not to weep all watches of the night and tides of the day and she built amiddlemost the house a tomb whereon she let write Hasan’s name and the date of his loss, and thenceforward she quitted it not, but made a habit of incessantly biding thereby night and day. Such was her case; but touching her son Hasan and the Ajami, this Persian was a Magian, who hated Moslems with exceeding hatred and destroyed all who fell into his power. He was a lewd and filthy villain, a hankerer after alchemy, an astrologer and a hunter of hidden hoards, such an one as he of whom quoth the poet,
“A dog, dog-fathered, by dog-grandsire bred;
No good in dog
from dog race issued:
E’en for a gnat no resting-place gives he
Who is composed of
seed by all men shed.”24
The name of this accursed was Bahrám the Guebre, and he was wont, every year, to take a Moslem and cut his throat for his own purposes. So, when he had carried out his plot against Hasan the goldsmith, they sailed on from dawn till dark, when the ship made fast to the shore for the night, and at sunrise, when they set sail again, Bahram bade his black slaves and white servants bring him the chest wherein were Hasan. They did so, and he opened it and taking out the young man, made him sniff up vinegar and blew a powder into his nostrils. Hasan sneezed and vomited the Bhang; then, opening his eyes, he looked about him right and left and found himself amiddleward the sea on aboard a ship in full sail, and saw the Persian sitting by him; wherefore he knew that the accursed Magian had put a cheat on him and that he had fallen into the very peril against which his mother had warned him. So he spake the saying which shall never shame the sayer, to wit, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! Verity, we are Allah’s and unto Him we are returning! O my God, be Thou gracious to me in Thine appointment and give me patience to endure this Thine affliction, O Lord of the three Worlds!” Then he turned to the Persian and bespoke him softly, saying, “O my father, what fashion is this and where is the covenant of bread and salt and the oath thou swarest to me?”25 But Bahram stared at him and replied, “O dog, knoweth the like of me bond of bread and salt? I have slain of youths like thee a thousand, save one, and thou shalt make up the thousand.” And he cried out at him and Hasan was silent, knowing that the Fate-shaft had shot him.—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
23 These lines have occurred in vol. iv. 267, where references to other places are given. I quote Lane by way of variety. In the text they are supposed to have been written by the Persian, a hint that Hasan would never be seen again.
24 i.e. a superfetation of iniquity.
25 Arab. “Kurbán” = offering, oblation to be brought to the priest’s house or to the altar of the tribal God Yahveh, Jehovah (Levit. ii, 2–3 etc.). Amongst the Maronites Kurban is the host (-wafer) and amongst the Turks ‘Id al-Kurban (sacrifice-feast) is the Greater Bayram, the time of Pilgrimage.
She resumed, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Hasan beheld himself fallen into the hands of the damned Persian he bespoke him softly but gained naught thereby for the Ajami cried out at him in wrath, so he was silent, knowing that the Fate-shaft had shot him. Then the accursed bade loose his pinion-bonds and they gave him a little water to drink, whilst the Magian laughed and said, “By the virtue of the Fire and the Light and the Shade and the Heat, methought not thou wouldst fall into my nets! But the Fire empowered me over thee and helped me to lay hold upon thee, that I might win my wish and return and make thee a sacrifice, to her26 so she may accept of me.” Quoth Hasan, “Thou hast foully betrayed bread and salt”; whereupon the Magus raised his hand and dealt him such a buffet that he fell and, biting the deck with his fore-teeth, swooned away, whilst the tears trickled down his cheeks. Then the Guebre bade his servants light him a fire and Hasan said, “What wilt thou do with it?” Replied the Magian, “This is the Fire, lady of light and sparkles bright! This it is I worship, and if thou wilt worship her even as I, verily I will give thee half my monies and marry thee to my maiden daughter.” Thereupon Hasan cried angrily at him, “Woe to thee! Thou art a miscreant Magian who to Fire dost pray in lieu of the King of Omnipotent sway, Creator of Night and Day; and this is naught but a calamity among creeds!” At this the Magian was wroth and said to him, “Wilt thou not then conform with me, O dog of the Arabs, and enter my faith?” But Hasan consented not to this: so the accursed Guebre arose and prostrating himself to the fire, bade his pages throw him flat on his face. They did so, and he beat him with a hide whip of plaited thongs27 till his flanks were laid open, whilst he cried aloud for aid but none aided him, and besought protection, but none protected him. Then he raised his eyes to the All-powerful King and sought of Him succour in the name of the Chosen Prophet. And indeed patience failed him; his tears ran down his cheeks, like rain, and he repeated these couplets twain,
“In patience, O my God, Thy doom forecast
I’ll bear, an thereby
come Thy grace at last:
They’ve dealt us wrong, transgressed and ordered ill;
Grace shall pardon what is past.”
Then the Magian bade his negro-slaves raise him to a sitting posture and bring him somewhat of meat and drink. So they sat food before him; but he consented not to eat or drink; and Bahram ceased not to torment him day and night during the whole voyage, whilst Hasan took patience and humbled himself in supplication before Almighty Allah to whom belong Honour and Glory; whereby the Guebre’s heart was hardened against him. They ceased not to sail the sea three months, during which time Hasan was continually tortured till Allah Almighty sent forth upon them a foul wind and the sea grew black and rose against the ship, by reason of the fierce gale; whereupon quoth the captain and crew,28 “By Allah, this is all on account of yonder youth, who hath been these three months in torture with this Magian. Indeed, this is not allowed of God the Most High.” Then they rose against the Magian and slew his servants and all who were with him; which when he saw, he made sure of death and feared for himself. So he loosed Hasan from his bonds and pulling off the ragged clothes the youth had on, clad him in others; and made excuses to him and promised to teach him the craft and restore him to his native land, saying, “O my son, return me not evil for that I have done with thee.” Quoth Hasan, “How can I ever rely upon thee again?”; and quoth Bahram, “O my son, but for sin, there were no pardon. Indeed, I did all these doings with thee, but to try thy patience, and thou knowest that the case is altogether in the hands of Allah.” So the crew and captain rejoiced in Hasan’s release, and he called down blessings on them and praised the Almighty and thanked Him. With this the wind was stilled and the sky cleared and with a fair breeze they continued their voyage. Then said Hasan to Bahram, “O Master,29 whither wendest thou?” Replied the Magian, “O, my son, I am bound for the Mountain of Clouds, where is the Elixir which we use in alchemy.” And the Guebre swore to him by the Fire and the Light that he had no longer any cause to fear him. So Hasan’s heart was set at ease and rejoicing at the Persian’s words, he continued to eat and drink and sleep with the Magian, who clad him in his own raiment. They ceased not sailing on other three months, when the ship came to anchor off a long shoreline of many coloured pebbles, white and yellow and sky-blue and black and every other hue, and the Magian sprang up and said, “O Hasan, come, let us go ashore for we have reached the place of our wish and will.” So Hasan rose and landed with Bahram, after the Persian had commended his goods to the captain’s care. They walked on inland, till they were far enough from the ship to be out of sight, when Bahram sat down and taking from his pocket a kettle-drum30 of copper and a silken strap, worked in gold with characts, beat the drum with the strap, until there arose a cloud of dust from the further side of the waste. Hasan marvelled at the Magian’s doings and was afraid of him: he repented of having come ashore with him and his colour changed. But Bahram looked at him and said, “What aileth thee, O my son? By the truth of the Fire and the Light, thou hast naught to fear from me; and, were it not that my wish may never be won save by thy means, I had not brought thee ashore. So rejoice in all good; for yonder cloud of dust is the dust of somewhat we will mount and which will aid us to cut across this wold and make easy to us the hardships thereof.”—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.
26 Nár = fire, being feminine, like the names of the other “elements.”
27 The Egyptian Kurbáj of hippopotamus-hide (Burkh. Nubia, pp. 62,282) or elephant-hide (Turner ii. 365). Hence the Fr. Cravache (as Cravat is from Croat).
28 In Mac. Edit. “Bahriyah”: in Bresl. Edit. “Nawátíyah.” See vol. vi. 242, for , navita, nauta.
29 In Bresl. Edit. (iv. 285) “Yá Khwájah,” for which see vol. vi. 46.
30 Arab. “Tabl” (vulg. baz) = a kettle-drum about half a foot broad held in the left hand and beaten with a stick or leathern thong. Lane refers to his description (M.E. ii. chapt. v.) of the Dervish’s drum of tinned copper with parchment face, and renders Zakhmah or Zukhmah (strap, stirrup-leather) by “plectrum,” which gives a wrong idea. The Bresl. Edit. ignores the strap.
She continued, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the Persian said to Hasan, “In very sooth yonder dust-cloud is the cloud of something we will mount and which will aid us to cut across this wold and will make easy to us the hardships thereof.” Presently the dust lifted off three she-dromedaries, one of which Bahram mounted and Hasan another. Then they loaded their victual on the third and fared on seven days, till they came to a wide champaign and, descending into its midst, they saw a dome vaulted upon four pilasters of red gold; so they alighted and entering thereunder, ate and drank and took their rest. Anon Hasan chanced to glance aside and seeing from afar a something lofty said to the Magian, “What is that, O nuncle?” Bahram replied, “’Tis a palace,” and quoth Hasan, “Wilt thou not go thither, that we may enter and there repose ourselves and solace ourselves with inspecting it?” But the Persian was wroth and said, “Name not to me yonder palace; for therein dwelleth a foe, with whom there befel me somewhat whereof this is no time to tell thee.” Then he beat the kettle-drum and up came the dromedaries, and they mounted and fared on other seven days. On the eighth day, the Magian said, “O Hasan, what seest thou?” Hasan replied, “I see clouds and mists twixt east and west.” Quoth Bahram, “That is neither clouds nor mists, but a vast mountain and a lofty whereon the clouds split,31 and there are no clouds above it, for its exceeding height and surpassing elevation. Yon mount is my goal and thereon is the need we seek. ’Tis for that I brought thee hither, for my wish may not be won save at thy hands. Hasan hearing this gave his life up for lost and said to the Magian, “By the right of that thou worshippest and by the faith wherein thou believest, I conjure thee to tell me what is the object wherefor thou hast brought me!” Bahram replied, “The art of alchemy may not be accomplished save by means of a herb which groweth in the place where the clouds pass and whereon they split. Such a site is yonder mountain upon whose head the herb groweth and I purpose to send thee up thither to fetch it; and when we have it, I will show thee the secret of this craft which thou desirest to learn.” Hasan answered, in his fear, “’Tis well, O my master;” and indeed he despaired of life and wept for his parting from his parent and people and patrial stead, repenting him of having gainsaid his mother and reciting these two couplets,
“Consider but thy Lord, His work shall bring
Comfort to thee,
with quick relief and near:
Despair not when thou sufferest sorest bane:
In bane how many blessed boons appear!”
They ceased not faring on till they came to the foothills of that mountain where they halted; and Hasan saw thereon a palace and asked Bahram, “What be yonder palace?”; whereto he answered, “’Tis the abode of the Jann and Ghuls and Satans.” Then the Magian alighted and making Hasan also dismount from his dromedary kissed his head and said to him, “Bear me no ill will anent that I did with thee, for I will keep guard over thee in thine ascent to the palace; and I conjure thee not to trick and cheat me of aught thou shalt bring therefrom; and I and thou will share equally therein.” And Hasan replied, “To hear is to obey.” Then Bahram opened a bag and taking out a handmill and a sufficiency of wheat, ground the grain and kneaded three round cakes of the flour; after which he lighted a fire and baked the bannocks. Then he took out the copper kettledrum and beat it with the broidered strap, whereupon up came the dromedaries. He chose out one and said, “Hearken, O my son, O Hasan, to what I am about to enjoin on thee;” and Hasan replied, “’Tis well.” Bahram continued, “Lie down on this skin and I will sew thee up therein and lay thee on the ground; whereupon the Rakham birds32 will come to thee and carry thee up to the mountain-top. Take this knife with thee; and, when thou feelest that the birds have done flying and have set thee down, slit open therewith the skin and come forth. The vultures will then take fright at thee and fly away; whereupon do thou look down from the mountain head and speak to me, and I will tell thee what to do.” So he sewed him up in the skin, placing therein three cakes and a leathern bottle full of water, and withdrew to a distance. Presently a vulture pounced upon him and taking him up, flew away with him to the mountain-top and there set him down. As soon as Hasan felt himself on the ground, he slit the skin and coming forth, called out to the Magian, who hearing his speech rejoiced and danced for excess of joy, saying to him, “Look behind thee and tell me what thou seest.” Hasan looked and seeing many rotten bones and much wood, told Bahram, who said to him, “This be what we need and seek. Make six bundles of the wood and throw them down to me, for this is wherewithal we do alchemy.” So he threw him the six bundles and when he had gotten them into his power he said to Hasan, “O gallows bird, I have won my wish of thee; and now, if thou wilt, thou mayst abide on this mountain, or cast thyself down to the earth and perish. So saying, he left him33 and went away, and Hasan exclaimed, “There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great! This hound hath played the traitor with me.” And he sat bemoaning himself and reciting these couplets,
“When God upon a man possessed of reasoning, Hearing and sight
His will in aught to pass would bring,
He stops his ears and blinds his eyes and draws his wit, From
him, as one draws out the hairs to paste that cling;
Till, His decrees fulfilled, He gives him back His wit, That
therewithal he may receive admonishing.
So say thou not of aught that haps, ‘How happened it?’ For Fate
and fortune fixed do order everything.34”
—And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.
31 The “Spartivento” of Italy, mostly a tall headland which divides the clouds. The most remarkable feature of the kind is the Dalmatian Island, Pelagosa.
32 The “Rocs” (Al–Arkhákh) in the Bresl. Edit. (iv. 290). The Rakham = aquiline vulture.
33 Lane here quotes a similar incident in the romance “Sayf Zú al-Yazan,” so called from the hero, whose son, Misr, is sewn up in a camel’s hide by Bahrám, a treacherous Magian, and is carried by the Rukhs to a mountain-top.
34 These lines occurred in Night xxvi. vol. i. 275: I quote Mr. Payne for variety.
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