. . .
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS.
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THE HISTORY OF
A NEW EDITION, REVISED, WITH NOTES,
REV. GEO. FYLER TOWNSEND, M.A.
AND SIXTEEN PAGE PLATES PRINTED IN COLOURS.
AND SIXTEEN PAGE PLATES PRINTED IN COLOURS.
FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.
AND NEW YORK.
THESE famous Tales were first made known to English readers in
1704 A.D., by M. Galland, Professor of Arabic in the Royal College
of Paris, and a resident for some time at Constantinople. They at
once became exceedingly popular,' and have since maintained a fore-
most position in the Juvenile Literature of this country. These
stories, on their first introduction into England, laboured under the
disadvantage of having passed through the process of a double
translation-first from Arabic into French, and then from French
into English. Dr. Jonathan Scott, Oriental Professor at the then
existing East India College, and a friend of Dr. White, the learned
Professor of Arabic in the University of Oxford, published in
1811 A.D. a new edition, carefully revised, and occasionally corrected
from the Arabic.' Of this version Mr. Hay Macnaughten, who
himself commenced a translation from the Arabic MS., speaks 'as
the best rendering of these tales.' The Rev. Edward Forster
published, a fews years later, an edition closely correspondent with
1 An amusing story is told of M. Galland. He is said to have been frequently
roused at night by persons calling loudly for him. On his opening the window
to see what was the matter, they cried out,' O vous, qui savez de si jolies contest,
et qui les racontez si bien, racontez nous en nn.'-Preface to Joseph Von Ham,
mere's 'New Arabian Nights.'
the first English text from M. Galland's French translation. This
has had a very wide circulation in this country. The only other
edition which requires to be mentioned is that published in 1839,
by Mr. Edward Lane, the author of the well-known book, Modern
Egyptians.' This edition deserves the highest praise. In the
language of the London and Westminster Review (No. lxiii., p. 113),
' It is a most valuable, painstaking, and delightful work. Its great
merit consists in its being an exact translation from the Arabic;
but its terseness, sententiousness, and scrupulous exactness in
adhering to the abrupt construction of Arab discourse, its severe
retention of Arab words, names, and terminations (the very quali-
ties which form its value in the eye of the scholar), place it above
the comprehension and grasp of children.'
The text of the present edition is mostly founded on the version
of Dr. Jonathan Scott, which recommends itself for general adop-
tion as being at once more accurate than that of M. Galland; less
diffuse and verbose than that of Forster; less elevated, difficult,
and abstruse than that of Lane.
The exact origin of these Tales is unknown. Advocates of equal
ability have claimed for them a Persian, Indian, or a purely Arabian
source. Two things are now generally allowed: that they are to
be traced in substance to an older work of a very early origin,
and that they are founded upon Mussulmans' customs, and describe
Moslem manners, sentiments, religion, and superstitions.
These ancient Stories may be divided into two classes. The
first contains wonderful and impossible adventures and extravagant
absurdities, in which the invention leaps from fancy to fancy, and
has no other aim than to entertain the imagination by the most
grotesque, impossible, and strange occurrences.' These delight in
the wonders of magic, in the intervention of Fairies, Genies, and
Peries, and in the stories of popular Mahommedan belief. The
second consists of genuine Arabian tales and anecdotes, in which
adventures of the times of the Caliphs, and particularly of Haroun
Alraschid, are related. 'These lay claim,' says a German critic,'
' to be general histories; and the anecdotes are, for the most part,
really historical-at least, as far as the outlines. In these the
marvellous has no share.' These Tales are placed according to this
arrangement. The latter series is the most valuable. In these we
make acquaintance with the more important characters in the
courts of the caliphs, whether at Damascus, Bagdad, or Cairo, and
they invite us, as it were, to their divans, parties, harems, and
The more peculiar purposes designed in this present edition are
twofold. First, so to purify the text that the most innocent
minded maiden may read them aloud to her brothers and sisters
without scruple or compunction; and, second, to add such short
notes as may point out to the youthful scholar that what he reads
is not merely romance, fable, and invention; but that there is to
be found in the larger proportion of the stories an under-current
of illustration of Eastern manners, customs, and observances; and
that, amidst all his sources of amusement, he may gather lessons
of permanent information and instruction. It is hoped by the
Editor, and by the Publishers, that a large accession of public
favour may accrue to these ancient Tales thus purified and
illustrated. The Editor can find no fitter eulogy for these Stories
than the words in which Dr. Johnson sums up his criticism of
Shakespeare's 'Tempest': 'Whatever might have been the intention
SPreface by Joseph Von Hammer to New Arabian Nights.'
of their author, these Tales are made instrumental to the produc-
tion of many characters, diversified with boundless invention, and
preserved with profound skill in nature, extensive knowledge of
opinions, and accurate observation of life. Here are exhibited
princes, courtiers, and sailors, all speaking in their real characters.
There are the agency of airy spirits and of earthly goblins, the
operations of magic, the tumults of a storm, the adventures of a
desert island, the native effusion of untaught affection, the punish-
ment of guilt, and the final happiness of those for whom our
passions and reason are equally interested.'
The Fable of the Ass, the Ox, and the Labourer 6
The Story of the Merchant and the Genie 10
The History of the First Old Man and the Hind 14
The History of the Second Old Man and the Two Black Dogs 16
The History of the Fisherman 18
The History of the Greek King and Doziban the Physician 22
The History of the Husband and ihe Parrot 24
The History of the Vizier who was punished 26
The Further Adventures of the Fisherman 30
The History of the Young King of the Black Isles 34
The Three Calenders, Sons of Kings, and Fire Ladies of Bagdad 39
The History of the First Calender 50
The History of the Second Calender 51
The History of the Envious Man and of Him who was Envied 55
The History of the Third Calender 66
The Story of Zobeide 78
The History of Amina 86
The Story of Prince Beder and the Princess Jehaun-ara 92
The Story of the Three Sisters 118
The Story of the Enchanted Horse 140
The Story of Prince A hmed, and the Fairy Perie Bano- 153
The Story of Aladdn ; or, The Wonderful Lamp 177
The Adventures of the Caliph around Alraschid 214
The Story of Baba Abdalla 216
The Story of Sidi Nouman 223
History of Cogia Hassan A lhabbal 225
History of the Lady who was .Murdered by her Husband 237
The Story of Noureddin Ali and his Son 241
The History of Ali Baba, and of the Forty Robbers killed by One Slave 264
The History of Codadad and his Brothers 284
The History of the Princess of Deryabar 288
The History of Camaralzaman, Prince of the Isle of the Children of
Khaledan, and of Badoura, Princess of China 293
The History of Prince Amgiad and of Prince Assad 327
The History of Prince Zeyn A lasnam and the Sultan of the Genii 343
The Story of Sindbad the Sailor 353
The First Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor 355
The Second Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor 360
The Third Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor 364
The Fourth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor 370
The Fifth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor- 374
The Sixth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor 377
The Seventh and Last Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor 382
The Story of Ali Cogia, a Merchant of Bagdad 386
The History of Aboulhassan Ali Ebn Becar and of Schemselnihar, the
Favorite of the Caliph Haroun Alraschid 394
The History of Noureddin and the Beautiful Persian 424
The Story of Abou Hassan; or, The Sleeper Awakened 447
The History of Ganem, Son of A boa Ayoub, and known by the Surname of
Love's Slave 471
The Story of the Little Hunchback 497
The Story told by the Christian Merchant 502
The Story told by the Sultan of Casgar's Purveyor 510
The Story told by the Jewish Doctor 517
The Story told by the Tailor 521
The Story of the Barber 531
The Story of the Barber's Eldest Brother 532
The Story of the Barber's Second Brother 537
The Story of the Barber's Third Brother 542
The Story of the Barber's Fourth Brother 545
The Story of the Barber's Fifth Brother 547
The Story of the Barber's Sixth Brother 551
Index to the otes 558
LIST OF COLOURED PLATES.
The Merchant and the Genie 10
The History of the Fisherman 18
The Envious Mawn -. 55
The Enchanted horse 140
Sidi Nouman 223
Noureddin All and his Son 241
Prince Amgiad and Prince Assad 327
Sindbad the Sailor 354
Ali Cogia- 387
The Christian Merchant 502
The Barber's Second Brother 537
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Schehera-zade relating the stories to the Sultan Frontispiece
SHumble thyself before me, or I will kill thee' 19
The Fisherman took the Leaden Cover and put it on the Vase' 21
STurn over, then, afew more Leaves,' said the Head 28
The Three Calenders 43
' The Sultan caused to be brought to him a Chess-board' 61
The Omrah's Daughter 81
Yhahil's Sorrow 93
The Queen of the City of Enchantments 107
The King of Persia at Samandal's Feet 116
'Carried by the Stream towards the Palace' 120
'The Prince put his Horse to the Gallop' 126
' Bird, I have you, and you shall not escape me' 129
'The Horse carried his Rider into the Air' 143
' The Prince and Princess rose in the Air' 152
Schaibar, Brother of the Fairy, Perie Banou 174
' Aladdin's Mother, at Sight of the Genie, fainted' 184
Aladdin on his way to the Palace 196
Aladdin saluting the Princess of China 199
' He drank to the very last Drop, when he fell backwards lifeless' 208
The Magician's Younger Brother 210
' The Dervise applied the Ointment, and Abdalla became Blind' 219
Baba A bdalla soliciting Alms 221
' A Slave climbed the Tree for the Nest' 234
The Sultan going to hunt near the Pyramids 243
Ali Baba's First Sight of the Forty Thieves 265
Ali Baba in the Robbers' Cave 266
The Robber and Baba Mustapha 272
Morgiana dancing before Ali Baa 281
' Codadad lay in his Tent, little removed from Death' 292
Prince Codadad at the Head of his Cavalry 297
xiv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Eliz-oo'-deen and the Parsee's Daughter 30'
Princess Badoura inquiring after Prince Camaralzaman 309
' Camaralzaman observed that Two Birdsfought desperately' -319
' Zeyn immediately began to break up the Ground' 345
Sindbad on the Raft 357
Sindbad fastens himself to the Roc's Le 361
A Horrible Black Man as Tall as a Lofty Palm-tree 365
The Serpent swallows Sindbad's Comrade 368
Sindbad buried A live 373
Ali Cogia hiding his thousand Pieces of Gold 386
The Caliph going to visit Schemselnihar 403
The Tomb of Schemselnihar 423
The A meer-ool-omrah declaring his Love to Zahira 429
A boun Hassan awaking in the Caliph's Apartment 453
Abou Hassan Caliph a Second Time 464
Ganem in the Palm-tree 473
The Captive Princess 475
The Hunchback choked by the Fish-bone 499
The Young Man falling out of the Trunk 529
The Barber before the Sultan 533
Tartar Chan consulting Sheikh .ahonmed 539
SCHEHER(A-ZADIE RELATrNO T~lE STOHiEi TO TIlE SULTAN.
ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
ONG ago it was written in the chronicles of
the Sassanian monarchs that there
once lived an illustrious prince, be-
loved by his own subjects for his
wisdom and prudence, and feared by
his enemies for his courage, and
for the hardy and well-
disciplined army of which
he was the leader. This
prince had two sons, the
elder called Schah-riar, and
the younger Schah-zenan,
both equally good and de-
serving of praise.
The old king died at the
end of a long and glorious
reign, and Schah-riar, his
eldest son, ascended the
of throne and reigned in his
Stead. A friendly contest
quickly arose between the two brothers as to which could best promote
the happiness of the other. The younger, Schah-zenan, did all he could
to show his loyalty and affection, while the new sultan loaded his
brother with all possible honours, and in order that he might in some
degree share his own power and wealth, bestowed on him the kingdom
of Great Tartary. Schah-zenan went immediately and took possession
of the empire allotted him, and fixed his residence at Samarcand, the
2 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
After a separation of ten years Schah-riar ardently desired to see his
brother, and sent his first vizier,' with a splendid embassy, to invite
him to revisit his court. Schah-zenan, being informed of the approach
of the vizier, went out to meet him, with all his ministers, most
magnificently dressed for the occasion, and urgently inquired after the
health of the sultan, his brother. Having replied to these affectionate
inquiries, the vizier unfolded the more especial purpose of his coming.
8chah-zenan, who was much affected at the kindness and recollection
of his brother, then addressed the vizier in these words: Sage vizier,
the sultan my brother does me too much honour. It is impossible
that his wish to see me can exceed my anxious desire of again behold-
ing him. You have come at an opportune moment. My kingdom is
tranquil, and in ten days' time I will be ready to depart with you.
In the meanwhile pitch your tents on this spot. I will take care and
order every refreshment and accommodation for you and your whole
At the end of ten days everything was ready. Schah-zenan took a
tender leave of the queen, his consort, and, accompanied by such officers
as he had appointed to attend him, left Samarcand in the evening, to
be near the tents of his brother's ambassador, with the intention of
proceeding on his journey early on the following morning. Wishing,
however, once more to see his queen, whom he tenderly loved, and
whom he believed to return his love with an equal affection, he re-
turned privately to the palace, and went directly to her apartment,
when, to his extreme grief, he found that she loved another man, and
he a slave, better than himself. The unfortunate monarch, yielding to
the first outburst of his indignation, drew his scimitar, and with one
rapid stroke changed their sleep into dkath. After that he threw
their dead bodies into the foss or great ditch that surrounded the
Having thus satisfied his revenge, he went from the city as privately
as he entered it, and returned to his pavilion. On his arrival, he did
not mention to anyone what had happened, but ordered the tents to be
struck, and began his journey. It was scarcely daylight when they
commenced their march to the sound of drums and other instruments.
The whole train was filled with joy, except the king, who could think
of nothing but his queen's misconduct, and he became a prey to the
deepest grief and melancholy during the whole journey.
When he approached the capital of Persia, he perceived the Sultan
Schah-riar and all his court coming out to greet him. What joyful
sensations arose in their breasts at this fraternal meeting I They
alighted and embraced each other; and after a thousand expressions of
regard, they remounted and entered the city amidst the acclamations
of the multitude. The sultan conducted the king his brother to a palace
which had been prepared for him. It communicated by a garden with
I Vazir, Vezir-literally, a porter, i.e., the minister who bears the principal
burden of the State.-D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale.'
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS. 3
his own; and was even more magnificent, as it was the spot where all
the fetes and splendid entertainments of the court were given.
Schah-riar immediately left the King of Tartary, in order that he
might have time to bathe and change his dress; on his return from the
bath he went immediately to him again. They seated themselves on a
sofa, and conversed with each other at their ease, after so long an
absence, and seemed even more united by affection than blood. They
ate together at supper, and after their repast they again conversed,
till Schah-riar, perceiving the night far advanced, left his brother to
The unfortunate Schah-zenan retired to his couch; but if the pre-
sence of the sultan had for a while suspended his grief, it now returned
with redoubled force. Every circumstance of the queen's misconduct
arose to his mind and kept him awake, and impressed such a look of
sorrow on his countenance that the sultan could not fail to remark it.
Conscious that he had done all in his power to testify the sincerity of
his continued love and affection, he sought diligently to amuse his
brother; but the most splendid entertainments and the gayest fetes only
served to increase his melancholy.
Schah-riar having one morning given orders for a grand hunting
party, at the distance of two days' journey from the city, Schah-
zenan requested permission to remain in his palace, excusing himself
on account of a slight indisposition. The sultan, wishing to please
him, gave him his choice, and went with all his court to partake of the
The King of Tartary was no sooner alone than he shut himself up in
his apartment, and gave way to a sorrowful recollection on the calamity
which had befallen him. As, however, he sat thus grieving at the open
window looking out upon the beautiful garden of the palace, he suddenly
saw the sultana, the beloved wife of his brother, meet in the garden
and hold secret conversation with another man beside her husband.
Upon witnessing this interview, Schah-zenan determined within him-
self that he would no longer give way to such inconsolable grief for a
misfortune which came to other husbands as well as to himself. He
ordered supper to be brought, and ate with a better appetite than he
had before done since his departure from Samarcand, and even enjoyed
the fine concert performed while he sat at table.
Schah-riar, on his return from hunting at the close of the second day,
was delighted at the change which he soon found had taken place in his
brother, and urgently pressed him to explain both the cause of his
former deep depression, and of its sudden change to his present joy.
The King of Tartary, being thus pressed, and feeling it his duty to
obey his suzerain lord, related to his brother the whole narrative of
his wife's misconduct, and of the severe punishment with which he had
visited it on the offenders. Schah-riar expressed his full approval of his
conduct. I own,' he said, had I been in your place, I should, perhaps,
have been less easily satisfied. I should not have been contented with
4 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
taking away the life of one' woman, but should have sacrificed a thou-
sand to my resentment. Your fate, surely, is most singular, nor can
have happened to anyone besides. Since, however, it has pleased God
to afford you consolation, and as I am sure it is equally well founded as
the cause of your grief, inform me, I beg, of that also, and make me
acquainted with the whole.'
The reluctance of Schah-zenan to relate what he had seen yielded
at last to the urgent commands and entreaties of his brother, and
he revealed to him the secret of his disgrace in the faithlessness of
his own queen. On hearing these dreadful and unexpected tidings,
the rage and grief of Schah-riar knew no bounds. He far exceeded
his brother in his invectives and indignation. He immediately sen-
tenced to death his unhappy sultana and the unworthy accomplice
of her guilt; and, not content with this, in all the power of an Eastern
despot, he bound himself by a solemn vow that, to prevent the pos-
sibility of such misconduct in future, he would marry a new wife every
night, and command her to be strangled in the morning. Having
imposed this cruel law upon himself, he swore to observe it imme-
diately on the departure of the king his brother, who soon after had
a solemn audience of leave, and returned to his own kingdom, laden
with the most magnificent presents.
When Schah-zenan was gone, the sultan began to put into execution
his unhappy oath. He married every night the daughter of some one
of his subjects, who, the next morning, was ordered out to execution,
and thus every day was a maiden married, and every day a wife
sacrificed. However repugnant these commands were to the bene-
volent grand vizier, he was obliged to submit at the peril of the loss
of his own head. The report of this unexampled inhumanity spread
a panic of universal consternation through the city. In one place a
wretched father was in tears for the loss of his daughter; in another,
the air resounded with the groans of tender mothers, who dreaded lest
the same fate should attend their offspring. In this manner, instead of
the praises and blessings with which, till now, they had loaded their
monarch, all his subjects poured out imprecations on his head.
The grand vizier, who, as has been mentioned, was the unwilling
agent of this horrid injustice, had two daughters; the elder was called
Schehera-zade, and the youngest Dinar-zade. Schehera-zade was
possessed of a degree of courage beyond her sex. She had read much,
and was possessed of so great a memory that she never forgot anything
once learned; her beauty was only equalled by her virtuous disposition.
The vizier was passionately fond of so deserving a daughter.
As they were conversing together one day, she made a request to her
father, to his very great astonishment, that she might have the honour
of becoming the Sultan's bride. The grand vizier endeavoured to
dissuade his daughter from her intention by pointing out the fearful
penalty of an immediate death attached to the favour which she sought.
Schehera-zade, however, persisted in her request, intimating to her
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS. 5
father that she had in her mind a plan which she thought might be
successful in making a change in the intention of the sultan, and in
putting a stop to the dreadful cruelty exercised towards the inhabitants
of the city. Yes, my father,' replied this heroic woman, I am aware
of the danger I run, but it does not deter me from my purpose. If I
die, my death will be glorious; and if I succeed, I shall render my
country an important service.' The vizier was most reluctant to allow
his beloved child to enter on so dangerous an enterprise, and en-
deavoured to dissuade her from her purpose by the relation of the
THE FABLE OF THE ASS, THE OX, AND
A VERY rich merchant had several farmhouses in the country, where he
bred every kind of cattle. This merchant understood the language of
beasts. He obtained this privilege on the condition of not imparting
what he heard to anyone, under the penalty of death.
He had put by chance1 an ox and an ass into the same stall; and
being seated near them, he heard the ox say to the ass: How happy
do I think your lot. A servant looks after you with great care, washes
you, feeds you with fine sifted barley, and gives you fresh and clean
water; your greatest task is to carry the merchant our master. My
condition is as unfortunate as yours is pleasant. They yoke me to a
plough the whole day, while the labourer urges me on with his goad.
The weight and force of the plough, too, chafes all the skin from my
neck. When I have worked from morning till night, they give me un-
wholesome and uninviting food. Have I not, then, reason to envy your
When he had finished, the ass replied in these words : Believe me,
they would not treat you thus, if you possessed as much courage as
strength. When they come to tie you to the manger, what resistance,
pray, do you ever make? Do you ever push them with your horns?
1 The ass and the ox in the East were subject to very different treatment; the
one was strong to labour, and was little cared for; the other was reserved for
princes and judges to ride on, and was tended with the utmost attention. Even
in these days the Pasha of Egypt sent a white ass as a present to the Prince of
Wales. He was named Vicar,' and received a prize at the Donkey Show held
in the Agricultural Hall, Islington, in the autumn of 1864.
THE FABLE OF THA ASS, THE OX, AND THE LABOURER. 7
Do you ever show your anger by stamping on the ground with your
feet? Why don't you terrify them with your bellowing? Nature has
given you the means of making yourself respected, and yet you neglect
to use them. They bring you bad beans and chaff; well, do not eat
them; smell at them only, and leave them. Thus, if you follow my
plans, you will soon perceive a change, which you will thank me for.'
The ox took the advice of the ass very kindly, and declared himself
much obliged to him.
Early the next morning the labourer came for the ox, and yoked him
to the plough, and set him to work as usual. The latter, who had not
forgotten the advice he had received, was very unruly the whole day;
and at night, when the labourer attempted to fasten him to the stall,
he ran bellowing back, and put down his horns to strike him; in short-
he did exactly as the ass had advised him. On the next morning when
the man came, he found the manger still full of beans and chaff, and
the ox lying on the ground with his legs stretched out, and making a
strange groaning. The labourer thought him very ill, and that it would
be useless to take him to work; he, therefore, immediately went and
informed the merchant.
The latter perceived that the bad advice of the ass had been followed;
and he told the labourer to go and take the ass instead of the ox, and
not fail to give him plenty of exercise. The man obeyed; and the ass
was obliged to drag the plough the whole day, which tired him the
more, because he was unaccustomed to it; besides which, he was so
beaten that he could scarcely support himself when he came back, and
he fell down in his stall half dead.
Here the grand vizier said to Schehera-zade: You are, my child, just
like this ass, and would expose yourself to destruction.' Sir,' replied
Schehera-zade, the example which you have brought does not alter my
resolution, and I shall not cease importuning you till I have obtained
from you the favour of presenting me to the sultan as his consort.'
The vizier, finding her persist in her request, said, Well then, since
you will remain thus obstinate, I shall be obliged to treat you as the
rich merchant I mentioned did his wife.'
Being told in what a miserable state the ass was, he was curious to
know what passed between him and the ox. After supper, therefore,
he went out by moonlight, accompanied by his wife, and sat down near
them; on his arrival, he heard the ass say to the ox, Tell me, brother,
what you mean to do when the labourer brings you food to-morrow ?'
Mean to do ?' replied the ox, why, what you taught me, to be sure.
'Take care,' interrupted the ass, what you are about, lest you destroy
yourself; for in coming home yesterday evening, I heard our master
say these sad words: Since the ox can neither eat nor support him-
self, I wish him to be killed to-morrow; do not, therefore, fail to send
for the butcher." This is what I heard; and the interest I take in
your safety, and the friendship I have for you, induces me to mention
it. When they bring you beans and chaff, get up, and begin eating
8 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
directly. Our master, by this, will supp6se that you have recovered,
and will, without doubt, revoke the sentence for your death; in my
opinion, if you act otherwise, it is all over with you.'
This speech produced the intended effect: the ox was much troubled,
and lowed with fear. The merchant, who had listened to everything
with great attention, burst into a fit of laughter that quite surprised his
wife. Tell me,' said she, what you laugh at, that I may join in it.
I wish to know the cause.' That satisfaction,' replied the husband, I
cannot afford you: I can only tell you that I laughed at what the ass
said to the ox; the rest is a secret, which I must not reveal.' And
why not?' asked his wife. Because, if I tell you, it will cost me my
life.' You trifle with me,' added she; this can never be true; and if
you do not immediately inform me what you laughed at, I swear by
Allah that we will live together no longer.'
In saying this, she went back to the house in a pet, shut herself up,
and cried the whole night. Her husband, finding that she continued in
the same state all the next day, said, How foolish it is to afflict your-
self in this way I Do I not seriously tell you that, if I were to yield to
your foolish importunities, it would cost me my life?' Whatever
happens rests with Allah,' said she; but I shall not alter my mind.'
' I see very plainly,' answered the merchant, it is not possible to make
you submit to reason, and that your obstinacy will kill you.' He then
sent for the parents and other relations of his wife; when they were all
assembled, he explained to them his motives for calling them together,
and requested them to use all their influence with his wife, and en-
deavour to convince her of the folly of her conduct. She rejected them
all, and said she had rather die than give up this point to her husband.
When her children saw that nothing could alter her resolution, they
began to lament most bitterly-the merchant himself knew not what
to do. A little while afterwards he was sitting by chance at the door
of his house, considering whether he should not even sacrifice himself
in order to save his wife, whom he so tenderly loved, when he saw his
favourite dog run up to the cock in the farmyard, and tell him all the
circumstances of the painful situation in which he was placed. Upon
which the cock said, How foolish must our master be I He has but
one wife, and cannot gain his point, while I have fifty, and do just as I
please. Let him take a good-sized stick, and not scruple to use it, and
she will soon know better, and not worry him to reveal what he ought
to keep secret.' The merchant at once did as he suggested, on which
his wife quickly repented of her ill-timed curiosity, and all her family
came in heartily glad at finding her more rational and submissive to her
You deserve, my daughter,' added the grand vizier, to be treated
like the merchant's wife.'
Do not, sir,' answered Schehera-zade, 'think ill of me if I still
persist in my sentiments. The history of this woman does not shake
my resolution. I could recount, on the other hand, many good
THE FABLE OF THE ASS, THE OX, AND THE LABOURER. 9
reasons which ought to peritude you not to oppose my design. Pardon
me, too, if I add, that your opposition will be useless; for if your
paternal tenderness should refuse the request I make, I will present
myself to the sultan.'
At length the vizier, overcome by his daughter's firmness, yielded to
her entreaties; and although he was very sorry at not being able to
conquer her resolution, he immediately went to Schah-riar, and an-
nounced to him that Schehera-zade herself would be his bride on the
The sultan was much astonished at the sacrifice of the grand vizier.
'Is it possible,' said he, 'that you can give up your own child?' 'Sire,'
replied the vizier, she has herself made the offer. The dreadful fate
that hangs over her does not alarm her; and she resigns her life for the
honour of being the consort of your majesty, though it be but for one
night.' 'Vizier,' said the sultan, 'do not deceive yourself with any
hopes; for be assured that, in delivering Schehera-zade into your
charge to-morrow, it will be with an order for her death; and if you
disobey, your own head will be the forfeit.' Although,' answered the
vizier, I am her father, I will answer for the fidelity of this arm in ful-
filling your commands.'
When the grand vizier returned to Schehera-zade, she thanked her
father; and observing him to be much afflicted, consoled him by saying
that she hoped he would be so far from repenting her marriage with the
sultan, that it would become a subject of joy to him for the remainder
of his life.
Before Schehera-zade went to the palace, she called her sister, Dinar-
zade, aside, and said, As soon as I shall have presented myself before
the sultan, I shall entreat him to suffer you to sleep in the bridal
chamber, that I may enjoy for the last time your company. If I obtain
this favour, as I expect, remember to awaken me to-morrow morning
an hour before daybreak, and say, If you are not asleep, my sister, I
beg of you, till the morning appears, to recount to me one of those
delightful stories you know.' I will immediately begin to tell one; and
I flatter myself that by these means I shall free the kingdom from the
consternation in which it is.' Dinar-zade promised to do with pleasure
what she required.
Within a short time Schehera-zade was conducted by her father to
the palace, and was admitted to the presence of the sultan. They were
no sooner alone than the sultan ordered her to take off her veil. He
was charmed with her beauty; but perceiving her tears, he demanded
the cause of them. Sire,' answered Schehera-zade, I have a sister
whom I tenderly love-I earnestly wish that she might be permitted to
pass the night in this apartment, that we may again see each other, and
once more take a tender farewell. Will you allow me the consolation of
giving her this last proof of my affection?' Schah-riar having agreed
to it, they sent for Dinar-zade, who came directly. The sultan passed
the night with Schehera-zade on an elevated couch, as was the custom
io THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
among the Eastern monarchs, and Dinar-zade slept at the foot of it on
a mattress, prepared for the purpose.
Dinar-zade, having awoke about an hour before day, did what her
sister had ordered her. 'My dear sister,' she said, if you are not
asleep, I entreat you, as it will soon be light, to relate to me one of
those delightful tales you know. It will, alas I be the last time I shall
receive that pleasure.'
Instead of returning any answer to her sister, Schehera-zade addressed
these words to the sultan: Will your majesty permit me to indulge
my sister in her request ?' 'Freely,' replied he. Schehera-zade then
desired her sister to attend, and, addressing herself to the sultan, began
THE STORY OF THE MERCHANT AND THE
THERE was formerly, sire, a merchant, who was possessed of great
wealth, in land, merchandise, and ready money. Having one day
an affair of great importance to settle at a considerable distance from
home, he mounted his horse, and with only a sort of cloak-bag behind
THE MERCHANT AND THE GENIE
THE STORY OF THE MERCHANT AND THE GENIE. ii
him, in which he had put a few biscuits and dates, he began his journey.
He arrived without any accident at the place of his destination; and
having finished his business, set out on his return.
On the fourth day of his journey he felt himself so incommoded by
the heat of the sun that he turned out of his road in order to rest under
some trees, by which there was a fountain. He alighted, and, tying
his horse to a branch of the tree, sat down on its bank to eat some
biscuits and dates from his little store. When he had satisfied his
hunger, he amused himself with throwing about the stones of the fruit
with considerable velocity. When he had finished his frugal repast, he
washed his hands, his face, and his feet, and repeated a prayer, like a
He was still on his knees, when he saw a genie,2 white with age, and
of an enormous stature, advancing towards him, with a scimitar in his
hand. As soon as he was close to him, he said in a most terrible tone,
'Get up, that I may kill thee with this scimitar, as thou hast caused
the death of my son.' He accompanied these words with a dreadful
yell. The merchant, alarmed by the horrible figure of this giant, as
well as the words he heard, replied in trembling accents, How can I
have slain him ? I do not know him, nor have I ever seen him.'
' Didst thou not,' replied the giant, on thine arrival here, sit down,
and take some dates from thy wallet; and after eating them, didst thou
not throw the stones about on all sides ?' This is all true,' replied the
merchant; I do not deny it.' Well, then,' said the other, I tell thee
thou hast killed my son; for while thou wast throwing about the stones
my son passed by; one of them struck him in the eye, and caused his
death,8 and thus hast thou killed my son.' 'Ah, sire, forgive me 1'
cried the merchant. I have neither forgiveness nor mercy,' added the
giant; and is it not just that he who has inflicted death should suffer
it ?' I grant this; yet surely I have not done so. And even if I have,
I have done so innocently, and therefore I entreat you to pardon me,
1 Mussulman signifies resigned, or conformed to the Divine will.' The Arabic
word is Moslemuna, in the singular, Moslem; which the Mahommedans take as
a title peculiar to themselves. The Europeans generally write and pronounce it
Mussulman.-Sale's 'Koran,' c. ii., p. 16. 4to., 1734.
2 These tales are furnished throughout with a certain imaginary machinery.
They have, as their foundation, the perpetual intervention of certain fantastic
beings, in most cases superior to man, but yet subordinate to the authority of
certain favoured individuals. These beings may, for our purpose, be generally
divided into genies, whose interference is generally for evil; peris, whose pre-
sence indicates favourable issues to those whom they befriend; and ghouls, monsters
which have a less direct control over man's affairs, but represent any monster
repugnant or loathsome to mankind.
S' Now this, at first sight, seems a singular, if not a ridiculous thing ; but even
this has its foundation in an Eastern custom. It is in this manner that prisoners
are sometimes put to death : a man sits down at a little distance from the object
he intends to destroy, and then attacks him by repeatedly shooting at him with
the stone of the date, thrown from his two forefingers, and in this way puts an
end to his life.'-Preface to Forster's edition of Arabian Nights.'
12 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
and suffer me to live.' No, no !' cried the genie, still persisting in his
resolution; I must destroy thee, as thou hast done my son!' At
these words he took the merchant in his arms, and having thrown him
with his face on the ground, he lifted up his sabre in order to strike off
Schehera-zade, at this instant, perceiving it was day, and knowing
that the sultan rose early to his prayers,' and then to hold a council,
broke off. What a wonderful story,' said Dinar-zade, have you
chosen!' 'The conclusion,' answered Schehera-zade, 'is still more
surprising, as you would confess, if the sultan would suffer me to live
another day, and in the morning permit me to continue the relation.'
Schah-riar, who had listened with much pleasure to the relation, deter-
mined to wait till to-morrow, intending to order her execution after she
had finished her story. He arose, and, having prayed, went to the
The grand vizier, in the meantime, was in a state of cruel suspense.
Unable to sleep, he passed the night in lamenting the approaching fate
of his daughter, whose executioner he was compelled to be. Dreading,
therefore, in this melancholy situation, to meet the sultan, how great
was his surprise in seeing him enter the council-chamber without giving
him the horrible order he expected.
The sultan spent the day, as usual, in regulating the affairs of his
kingdom, and, on the approach of night, retired with Schehera-zade to
On the next morning, the sultan did not wait for Schehera-zade to ask
permission to continue her story, but said, Finish the tale of the genie
and the merchant: I am curious to hear the end of it.' Schehera-zade
immediately went on as follows :
When the merchant, sire, perceived that the genie was about to
execute his purpose, he cried aloud, One word more, I entreat you;
have the goodness to grant me a little delay; give me only one year to
go and take leave of my dear wife and children, and I promise to return
to this spot, and submit myself entirely to your pleasure.' Take Allah
1 'The Mahommedans divide their religion into two parts-Imana, faith;
and Din, practice. The first is the confession, There is no god but the true
God, and Mahommed is His prophet." Under this are comprehended six distinct
tenets: 1. Belief in God; 2. In His anger; 3. In His Scriptures; 4. In His
prophets; 5. In the resurrection and day of judgment; 6. God's absolute decree
and predetermination of all events, good or evil. The points of practice are :
1. Prayer and purification; 2. Alms; 3. Fasting; 4. Pilgrimage to Mecca.'-
Sale's 'Preliminary Discourse,' p. 171.
2 In the original work, Schehera-zade continually breaks off to ask the sultan
to spare her life for another day, that she may finish the story on which she is
engaged, and he as regularly grants her request. These interruptions are
omitted as interfering with the continued interest of the numerous stories told
by the patriotic Schehera-zade.
THE STORY OF THE MERCHANT AND THE GENIE. 13
to witness of the promise thou hast made me,' said the other. 'Again
I swear,' replied he, and you may rely on my oath.' On this the genie
left him near the fountain, and immediately disappeared.
The merchant, on his reaching home, related faithfully all that had
happened to him. On hearing the sad news, his wife uttered the most
lamentable groans, tearing her hair, and beating her breast; and his
children made the house resound with their grief; while the father,
overcome by affection, mingled his tears with theirs. The year quickly
passed away. The good merchant, having settled his affairs, paid his
just debts, given alms to the poor, and made provision to the best of his
ability for his wife and family, tore himself away amidst the most
frantic expressions of grief, and, mindful of his oath, arrived at the
destined spot on the very day he had promised. While he was waiting
for the arrival of the genie, there suddenly appeared an old man leading
a hind, who, after a respectful salutation, inquired what brought him to
that desert place. The merchant satisfied the old man's curiosity, and
related his adventure, on which he expressed a wish to witness his
interview with the genie. He had scarcely finished his speech when
another old man, accompanied by two black dogs, came in sight, and,
having heard the tale of the merchant, determined also to remain to see
Soon they perceived, towards the plain, a thick vapour or smoke,
like a column of dust raised by the wind. This vapour approached
them, and then suddenly disappearing, they saw the genie, who, with-
out noticing them, went towards the merchant with his scimitar in his
hand, and taking him by the arm, Get up,' said he, that I may kill
thee, as thou hast slain my son.' Both the merchant and the two old
men, struck with terror, began to weep and fill the air with their
lamentations. When the old man who conducted the hind saw the
genie lay hold of the merchant, and about to murder him without
mercy, he threw himself at the monster's feet, and, kissing them, said,
'Lord Genie, I humbly entreat you to suspend your rage, and hear my
history, and that of the hind, which you see; and if you find it more
wonderful and surprising than the adventure of this merchant, whose
life you wish to take, may I not hope that you will at least grant me one
half part of the blood of this unfortunate man ?' After meditating some
time, the genie answered, Well, then, I agree to it.'
THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST OLD MAN
AND THE HIND.
THE hind, whom you, Lord Genie, see here, is my wife. I married her
when she was twelve years old, and we lived together thirty years,
without having any children. At the end of that time I adopted into
my family a son, whom a slave had born. This act of mine excited
against the mother and her child the hatred and jealousy of my wife.
She availed herself, during my absence on a journey, of her knowledge
of magic, to change the slave and my adopted son into a cow and a calf,
and sent them to my farm to be fed and taken care of by the steward.
Immediately on my return I inquired after my child and his mother.
' Your slave is dead,' said she, and it is now more than two months
since I have beheld your son; nor do I know what is become of him.'
I was sensibly affected at the death of the slave; but, as my son had
only disappeared, I flattered myself that he would soon be found. Eight
months, however, passed, and he did not return; nor could I learn any
tidings of him. In order to celebrate the festival of the great Bairam,'
which was approaching, I ordered my bailiff to bring me the fattest cow
I possessed for a sacrifice. He obeyed my commands. Having bound
the cow, I was about to make the sacrifice, when at the very instant
she lowed most sorrowfully, and the tears even fell from her eyes. This
seemed to me so extraordinary, that I could not but feel compassion for
her, and was unable to give the fatal blow. I therefore ordered her to
be taken away, and another brought.
My wife, who was present, seemed very angry at my compassion, and
opposed my order.
I then said to my steward, Make the sacrifice yourself: the
lamentations and tears of the animal have overcome me.'
The steward was less compassionate, and sacrificed her. On taking
off the skin we found hardly anything but bones, though she appeared
1 Bairam; a Turkish word, and signifies a feast-day or holiday. It commences
on the close of the Ramadan-or the month's fast of the Mahommedans. At this
feast they kill a calf, goat, or sheep ; and, after giving a part to the poor, eat the
rest with their friends. It commences with the new moon, and is supposed to be
instituted in memory of the sacrifice of his son by Abraham. The observance
of the lesser Bairam is confined to Mecca.
THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST OLD MlAN AND THE HIND. 15
very fat. Take her away,' said I to the steward, truly chagrined,' and
if you have another very fat calf, bring it in her place.'. He returned with
a remarkably fine calf, who, as soon as he perceived me, made so great
an effort to come to me, that he broke his cord. He lay down at my
feet, with his head on the ground, as if he endeavoured to excite my com-
passion, and to entreat me not to have the cruelty to take away his life.
Wife,' answered I, I will not sacrifice this calf, I wish to favour
him; do not you, therefore, oppose it.' She, however, did not agree to
my proposal, and continued to demand his sacrifice so obstinately that
I was compelled to yield. I bound the calf, and took the fatal knife to
bury it in his throat, when he turned his eyes, filled with tears, so
persuasively upon me that I had no power to execute my intention.
The knife fell from my hand, and I told my wife I was determined to
have another calf. She tried every means to induce me to alter my
mind; I continued firm, however, in my resolution, in spite of all she
could say; promising, for the sake of appeasing her, to sacrifice this
calf at the feast of Bairam on the following year.
The next morning my steward desired to speak with me, in private.
He informed me that his daughter, who had some knowledge of magic,
wished to speak with me. On being admitted to my presence, she in-
formed me that, during my absence, my wife had turned the slave and
my son into a cow and calf; that I had already sacrificed the cow, but
that she could restore my son to life, if I would give him to her for her
husband, and allow her to visit my wife with the punishment her
cruelty had deserved. To these proposals I gave my consent.
The damsel then took a vessel full of water, and pronouncing over it
some words I did not understand, she threw the water over the calf,
and he instantly regained his own form.
My son I my son I exclaimed, and embraced him with transport;
'this damsel has destroyed the horrible charm with which you were
surrounded. I am sure your gratitude will induce you to marry her, as
I have already promised for you.' He joyfully consented; but before
they were united the damsel changed my wife into this hind, which you
Since this my son has become a widower, and is now travelling.
Many years have passed since I have heard anything of him; I have,
therefore, now set out with a view to gain some information; and as I
did not like to trust my wife to the care of anyone during my search, I
thought proper to carry her along with me. This is the history of
myself and this hind; can anything be more wonderful ? I agree with
you,' said the genie, and, in consequence, I grant to you a half of the
blood of this merchant.'
As soon as the first old man had finished, the second, who led the
two black dogs, made the same request to the genie for a half of the
merchant's blood, on the condition that his tale exceeded in interest the
one that had been just related. On the genie signifying his assent, the
old man began:
THE HISTORY OF THE SECOND OLD MAN
AND THE TWO BLACK DOGS.
GREAT prince of the genies, you must know that these two black dogs,
which you see here, and myself are three brothers. Our father, when
he died, left us one thousand sequins each. With this sum we all em-
barked in business as merchants. My two brothers determined to
travel, that they might trade in foreign parts. They were both un-
fortunate, and returned at the end of two years in a state of abject
poverty, having lost their all. I had in the meanwhile prospered, and
I gladly received them, and gave them one thousand sequins each, and
again set them up as merchants. My brothers frequently proposed to
me that I should make a voyage with them for the purpose of traffic.
Knowing their former want of success, I refused to join them, until at
the end of five years I at length yielded to their repeated solicitations.
On consulting on the merchandise to be bought for the voyage, I dis-
covered that nothing remained of the thousand sequins I had given to
each. I did not reproach them; on the contrary, as my capital was
increased to six thousand sequins, I gave them each one thousand
sequins, and kept a like sum myself, and concealed the other three
thousand in a corner of my house, in order that if our voyage proved
unsuccessful, we might be able to console ourselves and begin our
former profession. We purchased our goods, embarked in a vessel,
which we ourselves freighted, and set sail with a favourable wind.
After sailing about a month, we arrived, without any accident, at a
port, where we landed, and had a most advantageous sale for our
merchandise. I, in particular, sold mine so well, that I gained ten for
About the time that we were ready to embark on our return, I acci-
dentally met on the seashore a female, of great beauty, but very poorly
dressed. She accosted me by kissing my hand, and entreated me most
earnestly to permit her to be my wife. I started many difficulties to
such a plan; but at length she said so much to persuade me that I
ought not to regard her poverty, and that I should be well satisfied with
her conduct, I was quite overcome. I directly procured proper dresses
for her, and, after marrying her in due form, she embarked with me, and
we set sail
THE SECOND OLD MAN AND THE TWO BLACK DOGS. 17
During our voyage, I found my wife possessed of so many good quali-
ties that I loved her every day more and more. In the meantime my
two brothers, who had not traded so advantageously as myself, and who
were jealous of my prosperity, began to feel exceedingly envious. They
even went so far as to conspire against my life; for one night, while my
wife and I were asleep, they threw us into the sea. I had hardly, how-
ever, fallen into the water, before my wife took me up and transported
me into an island. As soon as it was day she thus addressed me: You
must know that I am a fairy, and being upon the shore when you were
about to sail, I wished to try the goodness of your heart, and for this
purpose I presented myself before you in the disguise you saw. You
acted most generously, and I am therefore delighted in finding an occa-
sion of showing my gratitude, and I trust, my husband, that in saving
your life I have not ill rewarded the good you have done me, but I am
enraged against your brothers, nor shall I be satisfied till I have taken
I listened with astonishment to the discourse of the fairy, and thanked
her, as well as I was able, for the great obligation she had conferred on
me. But, madam,' said I to her, I must entreat you to pardon my
brothers.' I related to her what I had done for each of them, but my
account only increased her anger. I must instantly fly after these
ungrateful wretches,' cried she, and bring them to a just punishment;
I will sink their vessel, and precipitate them to the bottom of the sea.'
'No, beautiful lady,' replied I; 'for heaven's sake, moderate your
indignation, and do not execute so dreadful an intention; remember
they are still my brothers, and that we are bound to return good for
No sooner had I pronounced these words, than I was transported in
an instant from the island, where we were, to the top of my own house.
I descended, opened the doors, and dug up the three thousand sequins
which I had hidden. I afterwards repaired to my shop, opened it, and
received the congratulations of the merchants in the neighbourhood on
my arrival. When I returned home, I perceived these two black dogs,
which came towards me with a submissive air. I could not imagine
what this meant, but the fairy, who soon appeared, satisfied my curio-
sity. My dear husband,' said she, be not surprised at seeing these
two dogs in your house; they are your brothers.' My blood ran cold
on hearing this, and I inquired by what power they had been transformed
into that state. It is I,' replied the fairy,' who have done it, and I
have sunk their ship; for the loss of the merchandise it contained, I
shall recompense you. As to your brothers, I have condemned them
to remain under this form for ten years, as a punishment for their
perfidy.' Then informing me where I might hear of her, she dis-
The ten years are now completed, and I am travelling in search of
her. This, 0 lord genie, is my history; does it not appear to you of a
most extraordinary nature ?' 'Xesr' replied the genie, I confess it is
t8 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
most wonderful, and therefore I grant you the other half of this mer-
chant's blood,' and having said this, the genie disappeared, to the great
joy of the merchant and of the two old men.
The merchant did not omit to bestow many thanks upon his libera-
tors, who, bidding him adieu, proceeded on their travels. He remounted
his horse, and returned home to his wife and children, and spent the
remainder of his days with them in tranquillity.
THE HISTORY OF THE FISHERMAN.
THERE was formerly an aged fisherman, so poor that he could barely
obtain food for himself, his wife, and his three children. He went out
early every morning to his employment; and he had imposed a rule
upon himself never to cast his nets above four times a day.
On one occasion he set out before the morn had disappeared. When
he reached the sea-shore, he undressed himself, and cast his nets. In
drawing them to land three times in succession, he felt sure, from their
resistance and weight, that he had secured an excellent draught of fish.
Instead of which, he only found on the first haul the carcass of an ass;
on the second a large pannier filled with sand and mud; and on the
third a large quantity of heavy stones, shells, and filth. It is impossible
to describe his disappointment and despair. The day now began to
break,' and having, like a good Mussulman, finished his prayers, he
threw his nets for the fourth time. Again he supposed he had caught
a great quantity of fish, as he drew them with as much difficulty as
before. He nevertheless found none; but discovered a heavy vase of
yellow copper, shut up and fastened with lead, on which there was the
impression of a seal. I will sell this to a founder,' said he, with joy,
' and with the money I shall get for it I will purchase a measure of
He examined the vase on all sides; he shook it, but could hear
nothing; and this, together with the impression of the seal on the lead,
made him think it was filled with something valuable. In order to find
this out, he took his knife, and got it open. He directly turned the top
downwards, and was much surprised to find nothing come out. He
then set it down before him, and while he was attentively observing it,
there issued from it so thick a smoke that he was obliged to step back
a few paces. This smoke, by degrees, rose almost to the clouds, and
spread itself over both the water and the shore, appearing like a thick
1 The Koran commands prayers to be repeated five times a day ; namely, in
the morning before sunrise ; when noon is past, and the sun begins to decline
from the meridian ; in the afternoon, before sunset ; in the evening, after sun-
set and before the day be quite closed; and after dark, before the first watch of
the night.-D'Herbelot, Bibliothique Orientale.'
THE HISTORY OF THE _FISHERMAN. 19
fog. The fisherman, as may easily be imagined, was a good deal sur-
prised at this sight. When the smoke had all come out from the vase,
it again collected itself, and became a solid body, and then took the
shape of a genie of a gigantic size. The genie, looking at the fisher-
man, exclaimed, Humble thyself before me, or I will kill thee !' 'And
for what reason, pray, will you kill me?' answered the fisherman;
'have you already forgotten that I have set you at liberty ?' 'I re-
member it very well,' returned he; but that shall not prevent my
HUMBLE TIYSELF BEFORE ME, OR I WILL KILL THEE.
stroying thee; and I will only grant thee one favour.' 'And pray
lat is that ?' said the fisherman. It is,' replied the genie, to permit
ee to choose the manner of thy death. I can treat thee no other-
se,' said the genie: and to convince thee of it, hear my history:
SI am one of those spirits who rebelled against the sovereignty of
d.' Solomon, the son of David, the prophet of God, commanded
The Mahommedans have a tradition that the genies tempted Solomon to
nsgress without success, and they made use of a trick to injure his character
hiding books of magic under his throne, and causing them to be found
re. But he continued faithful, and God cleared his character, declaring,
the mouth of their prophet, that Solomon was no idolater.-Sale's
oran,' p. 13.
2o THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
me to acknowledge his authority, and submit to his laws. I haughtily
refused. In order therefore to punish me, he enclosed me in this copper
vase; and, to prevent me forcing my way out, he put upon the leaden
cover the impression of his seal, on which the great name of God is
engraven. This done, he gave the vase to one of those genies who
obeyed him, and ordered him to cast me into the sea.
'During the first century of my captivity, I swore that if anyone
delivered me before the first hundred years were passed I would make
him rich. During the second century, I swore that if any released
me I would discover to him all the treasures of the earth. During
the third, I promised to make my deliverer a most powerful monarch,
and to grant him every day any three requests he chose. These
centuries passed away without any deliverance. Enraged at last to be
so long a prisoner, I swore that I would, without mercy, kill whoever
should in future release me; and that the only favour I would grant
him should be, to choose what manner of death he pleased. Since,
therefore, thou hast come here to-day, and hast delivered me, fix upon
whatever kind of death thou wilt.'
The fisherman was in great distress at finding him thus resolved on
his death, not so much on his own account as for his three children,
whose means of subsistence would be greatly reduced by his death.
Alas I' he cried, have pity on me; remember what I have done for
Let us lose no time,' cried the genie; 'your arguments avail not.
Make haste; tell me how you wish to die I'
Necessity is the mother of invention; and the fisherman thought of
a stratagem. Since, then,' said he, I cannot escape death, I submit
to the will of God; but before I choose the sort of death, I conjure
you, by the great name of God, which is graven upon the seal of the
prophet Solomon,1 the son of David, answer me truly to a question I
am going to put to you.' The genie trembled at this adjuration, and
said to the fisherman, Ask what thou wilt, and make haste.'
Dare you, then, to swear by the great name of God that you really
were in that vase ? This vase cannot contain one of your feet; how,
then, can it hold your whole body ?' I swear to thee, notwithstand,
ing,' replied he, that I was there just as thou seest me I Wilt thou
not believe me after the solemn oath I have taken ?' 'No, truly,' added
the fisherman; I shall not believe you unless I were to see it.'
Immediately the form of the genie began to change into smoke, and
extended itself, as before, over both the shore and the sea; and then,
collecting itself, began to enter the vase, and continued to do so in a
slow and equal manner, till nothing remained without. The fisherman
immediately took the leaden cover and put it on the vase. Genie!'
1 The most famous talisman of the East was the Mohur Solimani, the seal or
ring of Solomon Jared, fifth monarch of the world after Adam. The possessor
had the entire command, not only of the elements, but also of the demons and
every created being.-Beckford's 'Vathek,' notes to p. 232.
THE HIS ORY OF THE FISHERMAN. 2T
he cried, 'it is now your turn to ask pardon. I shall throw you again
into the sea, and I will build, opposite the very spot where you are
cast, a house upon the shore, in which I will live, to warn all fishermen
that shall come and throw their nets not to fish up so evil a genie as
thou art, who makest an oath to kill the man who shall set thee at
THE FISHERMAN TOOK THE LEADEN COVER AND PUT IT ON THE VASE.
The genie tried every argument to move the fisherman s pity, but in
vain. You are too treacherous for me to trust you,' returned the
fisherman; I should deserve to lose my life if I put myself in your
power a second time. You would, most likely, treat me as the Greek
king treated Douban the physician. Listen, and I will tell you the
THE HISTORY OF THE GREEK KING AND
DOUBAN THE PHYSICIAN.
THERE once lived a king who was sorely afflicted with a leprosy, and
his physicians had unsuccessfully tried every remedy they were ac-
quainted with, when a very ingenious physician, called Douban, arrived
at the court: he was well acquainted with the good and bad properties
of all kinds of plants and drugs.
As soon as he was informed of the king's illness, he dressed himself
in his robe of ceremony, and obtained permission to be presented to
to the king. Sire,' said he, 'I know that all your physicians have been
unable to remove your leprosy; but, if you will, I will cure you with-
out either internal doses or outward applications.'
Douban returned to his house, and made a sort of racket or bat,'
with a hollow in the handle, to admit the drug he meant to use. That
being done, the following day he presented himself before the king,
and, prostrating himself at his feet, kissed the ground.
Douban then arose, and told the king that he must ride on horseback
to the place where he was accustomed to play at rackets. The king
did as he was desired; and, when he had reached the racket-ground,
took the bat, and spurred his horse after the ball till he struck it. It
was sent back again to him by the officers who were playing with him,
and he struck it again. And thus the game continued for a considerable
time, till he found his hand as well as his whole body in a perspiration,
which made the remedy in the bat operate as the physician had said.
The king then left the game, returned to the palace, bathed,2 and
observed very punctually all the directions that had been given him.
1 They have also the equestrian game of Chougham, which Dr. Scott appre-
hends is what was in England called Mall, and that the street called now Pall
Mall was the place of performing it. The antagonists, so many on each side,
carry long wands, the ends of which are similar to maces used at billiards, with
which they strike balls to a goal ; in this exercise, dexterity of horsemanship,
strength, and agility are fully displayed.-Scott's 'Introduction to Arabian
Nights,' p. 19.
2 The reader will find this bath referred to more frequently than any other
custom in these tales. It was partly enjoined by the Koran, and partly by the
personal sense of enjoyment it imparted to the person. Dr. Russell gives this
THE GREEK KING AND DOUBAN THE PHYSICIAN. 23
He soon found the good effects of the prescription; for on the next
morning he perceived with equal surprise and joy that his leprosy
-was cured, and that his body was as clear as if he had never been
attacked by that malady. As soon as he was dressed he went into the
audience-room, where he mounted his throne and received the con-
gratulations of all his courtiers.
Douban entered, and prostrated himself at the foot of the throne.
The king made him sit by his side, and afterwards placed him at his
own table to dine only with him; and yet further, towards evening,
when the courtiers were about to depart, he put on him a rich robe, and
gave him two thousand sequins. The following days he did nothing
but caress him, and confer on him fresh proofs of his gratitude.
The king had a grand vizier, who was avaricious, envious, and
capable of every species of crime. He observed with pain the presents
which had been bestowed upon the physician, whose ruin he was de-
termined to accomplish. He went to the king and said, 'Sire, in
bestowing all this kindness upon Douban, how do you know but that
account of the Turkish bath. Hummaum, or hummum, implies the bagnio
altogether. Baranee is the outer room of the bath, having round it a stone
platform close to the walls for undressing or repose, and is raised four feet from
the floor, in the centre of which is a marble basin, and fountain for rinsing the
bathing-linen. The heat in this room is sixty-four degrees. Wustaunee is the
middle chamber of the bagnio, having a mustabee or platform to sit or recline
.upon, also several round or oblong basins of stone about a foot and a half in
diameter, into each of which pipes open by cocks, one conveying hot, the other
'cold water. These are called jemun. Here are also bowls for pouring the
water upon the bathers. Heat, ninety degrees. Jowanee is the sudatory
or inner chamber, covered by a cupola, which lights it, and the heat is a
hundred degrees. As the person perspires freely, warm water is poured
over him, and he is rubbed by the attendant, who has upon his hand a camblet
muffle, across which are run threads or bobbins to make it somewhat rough,
and more effectually to cleanse the skin, on which also are frequently
rubbed perfumed soaps and essences. In the bagnio they wear a wrapper of
silk or cotton called foteh, and use the dowa-hummaum, a composition of quick-
lime and orpiment for clearing the hairs from the body. The refreshment from
fatigue of exercise, labour, or lassitude, which the above mode of bathing gives
beyond our custom of soaking up to the chin in warm water cannot be fully
conceived, nor can I compare the exhilarating sensation it affords with any
other than those which are felt by a person on first enjoying the fresh air of a
fine spring day after having been long confined to his chamber by severe illness.'
1 The leprosy was a fearful disease. It was, indeed, nothing short of a living
death, a poisoning of the springs, a corrupting of all the humours of life, a dis-
solution little by little of the whole body, so that one limb after another actually
ecayed and fell away. All those who have examined into the matter the closest
re nearly of one consent that the sickness was incommunicable by ordinary
contact from one person to another. Among the Jews it was chosen out as a
disease typical of sin, and dealt with by especial ordinances appointed for the
urpose.-Ti ench's 'Notes on the Miracles.'
24 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
he may be a traitor, who has introduced himself to the court in order
to assassinate you.'
No, no, vizier,' interrupted the king; I am sure this man, whom
you consider as a traitor, is one of the best of men; there is no one
whom I regard so much. You know how he cured me of my leprosy;
and if he had sought my life, why did he thus save it. His virtue
excites your envy, but I shall not suffer myself to be prejudiced against
him unjustly. I will tell you what a vizier said to King Sinbad, his
master, to prevent his giving orders for the death of his son.
THE HISTORY OF THE HUSBAND AND THE
THERE lived once a good man, who had a beautiful wife, whom he
loved so much that he could scarcely bear to have her out of his sight.
One day, when obliged to leave her, he purchased a parrot, which
possessed the rare gift of telling everything that was done in its
presence. The husband took it home in a cage, and begged his wife to
keep it in her chamber, and take great care of it during his absence;
after this he set out on his journey.
On his return, he did not fail to interrogate the parrot on what had
passed while he was away; and the bird very expertly related a few
circumstances which occasioned the husband to reprimand his wife.
She supposed that some of her slaves had exposed her, but they all
assured her they were faithful, and agreed in charging the parrot with
the crime. Desirous of being convinced of the truth of this matter, the
wife devised a method of quieting the suspicions of her husband, and at
the same time of revenging herself on the parrot, if he were the culprit.
The next time the husband was absent, she ordered one of her slaves,
during the night, to turn a handmill under the bird's cage, and another
to throw water over it like rain, and a third to wave a looking-glass
before the parrot by the light of a candle. The slaves were employed
the greatest part of the night in doing as their mistress had ordered
The following day, when the husband returned, he again applied to
the parrot to say what had taken place. The bird replied, My dear
master, the lightning, the thunder, and the rain have so disturbed me
the whole night, that I cannot tell you how much I have suffered.'
The husband, who knew there had been no storm that night, became
convinced that the parrot did not always relate facts; and that having
told an untruth in this particular, he had also deceived him with respect
to his wife: being, therefore, extremely enraged with it, he took the
bird out of the cage, and, dashing it on the floor, killed it. He, how-
THE HISTORY OF THE HUSBAND AND THE PARROT. 25
ever,. afterwards learnt from his neighbours that the poor parrot had
told no falsehood in reference to his wife's conduct, which made him
repent of having destroyed it. You, vizier, through envy of Douban,
who has done you no evil, wish me to order his death, but I will take
good care lest, like the husband who killed his parrot, I should after-
Sire,' replied the vizier, the loss of the parrot was of little import-
ance, nor do I think his master could long have regretted it. But on
what account should the dread of oppressing the innocent prevent you
from destroying this physician? It is not envy that makes me hostile
to him, it is my zeal which induces me to give my advice on so im-
portant an occasion. If my information is false, I deserve the same
punishment that a certain vizier underwent formerly, of whom I will
tell, if you will have the goodness to hear me.'
26 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
THE HISTORY OF THE VIZIER WHO WAS
ANY years ago there was
a king, whose son was
passionately fond of hunt-
ing. 1 His father in-
dulged him in this di-
version, but gave orders
Sto his grand vizier always
to accompany him.
One hunting day the hunts-
men roused a stag, and the
prince, thinking that the vizier
was following him, pursued the
game so eagerly, and galloped so
4 far, that he at last found himself
quite alone. He immediately
stopped, and riding about on all
sides, without getting into the right
track, he met a beautiful lady, who
was weeping most bitterly, because,
as she told him, she had fallen from
her horse, which had run away. The
young prince was sorry for her mis-
fortune, and requested her to get up
behind him, which she willingly did.
As they passed by an old ruined
building, the lady made some excuse
to alight; the prince therefore assisted
her to get down. He also alighted,
and walked towards the building,
holding his horse by the bridle.
LA Imagine then what was his astonish-
ment, when he heard these words
S from within the walls: Be glad, my
children, I have brought you a young
man for your repast.' And other voices which answered, Where is he,
for we are very hungry.'
It is reported that the hunting equipage of the Sultan Mahmood was so
THE HISTORY OF THE VIZIER WHO WAS PUNISHED. 27
The young prince trembled with fear, and instantly mounted horse
and rode off as fast as possible. He fortunately discovered the right
road and arrived safely at home, and related to his father the great
danger he had encountered through the neglect of the grand vizier;
upon which the king, being incensed against that minister, ordered him
to be immediately strangled.
Having finished this story, the vizier again directed the attention of
his master to the physician Douban. He has cured you,' he said; but,
alas I who can assure you of that? who can tell whether his remedy in
the end will not produce the most pernicious effects ?'
The king was not able to discover the wicked design of his vizier, nor
had he firmness enough to persist in his first opinion. This conversa-
tion staggered him. Vizier,' said he, thou art in the right. He may
be come on purpose to take my life, which he can easily do by his
drugs. Indeed, I ought to prevent his designs.' Having said this, he
called one of his attendants, and ordered him to go for the physician,
who, knowing nothing of the king's change of mind towards him, came
to the palace in haste.
Knowest thou,' said the king, when he saw him, why I sent for
thee ?' No, sire,' answered Douban, and I wait till you are pleased
to inform me.' I sent for thee,' replied the king, to free myself from
thy snares, and to take thy life.'
It is impossible to express the surprise of the physician when he
heard the words of the king. 'Sire,' said he, 'why would your
majesty take my life? What crime have I committed?' 'I am in-
formed,' replied the king, that you came to my court only to attempt
my life; but to prevent that, I will first deprive you of yours. Strike,'
added he to an officer who was by, and deliver me from a treacherous
stranger, who has introduced himself here only to assassinate me.'
When the physician heard this cruel order, he readily judged that
the honours and presents he had received had procured him enemies,
and that the weak prince was imposed upon. Is it thus,' he cried,
'that you reward me for curing you? Ah, sire, prolong my life, lest,
if you kill me, you also should be treated after the same manner.'
'No, no,' said the king; 'I must of necessity cut you off, otherwise
you may slay with as much art as you cured me.'
The physician being on his knees, his eyes bandaged, and ready to
magnificent that he kept 400 greyhounds and bloodhounds, each of which wore
a collar set with jewels, and a covering edged with gold and pearls.-' Universal
History,' vol. iii.
Frederick II., Emperor of Germany, on his return from the Crusades, is re-
lated to have brought with him a predilection for Eastern customs, and
a large menagerie of wild beasts. 'Frederick,' says his last biographer,
'wishes to show his friends some sport in the Apulian plains. He has hawks
of all breeds, each of which has its name. But what most surprises strangers is
his way of bringing down deer. The cheetahs, or hunting-leopards of the East,
are mounted on horseback, behind their keeper.'-Kington's 'Frederick II.,'
vol. i., p. 472.
28 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
receive the fatal blow, once more addressed the king: Since your
majesty, sire, will not revoke the order for my death, I entreat you at
least to give me leave to return home to arrange my funeral, to take a
last farewell of my family, bestow some charity, and leave my books
to those who will know how to make a gooa use of them. One of them
I would particularly present to your majesty. It is a very precious
book, and worthy being kept in your treasury with the greatest care.'
' What book can there be,' replied the king, so valuable as you men-
tion ?' Sire,' answered the physician, 'it contains many singular and
curious properties, and one of them is, that if you will take the trouble
to open the book at the sixth leaf, and read the third line on the left-
hand page, my head, after being cut off, will answer every question you
wish to ask.' The king was so desirous of seeing such a wonderful
'TURN OVER, THEN, A FEW MORE LEAVES,' SAID THE HEAD.
thing, that he put off his death till the next day, and sent him home
under a strong guard.
The physician then arranged all his affairs; and as the report got
abroad that an unheard-of prodigy was to happen after his execution,
the viziers, emirs, officers of the guard-in short, all the court-flocked
the next day to the hall of audience.
The physician Douban was brought in, and advancing to the foot of
the throne with a book in his hand, he called for a basin, and laid upon
it the cover of the volume, and then, presenting the book to the king:
' Take this,' said he, 'and after my head is cut off order that it be put
upon that cover. As soon as it is there the blood will cease to flow;
then open the book, and my head will answer your questions. But,
sire,' added Douban, 'permit me once more to implore your mercy.
THE HISTORY OF THE VIZIER WHO WAS PUNISHED. 29
Consider, I beg of you, that I am innocent.' Thy prayers,' answered
the king, are useless; and were it only to hear thy head speak after
thy death, it would be my will that thou shouldst die.' In saying this,
he took the book from the hands of the physician, and ordered the
officer to do his duty.
The head was cut off at one stroke, and it had hardly been placed on
the cover an instant before the blood stopped. Then, to the astonish-
ment of the king and all the spectators, it opened its eyes, and said:
' Sire, will you now open the book?' The king did so, and finding that
the first leaf stuck to the second, he put his finger to his mouth, and
wetted it, in order to turn it over more easily. He went on doing so
till he came to the sixth leaf; and observing nothing written upon the
appointed page, Physician,' said he to the head, there is no writing.'
' Turn over, then, a few more leaves,' replied the head. The king con-
tinued turning them over, still putting his finger frequently to his mouth.
The prince then felt himself suddenly agitated in a most extraordinary
manner; his sight failed him, and he fell at the foot of the throne in
the greatest convulsions.
When the physician Douban, or rather his head, saw the king fall
back, Tyrant,' he said, the book is poisoned. Thy death is certain.
Now you see how princes are treated who abuse their power and slay
the innocent. Their injustice and their cruelty are punished sooner
or later.' Scarcely had the head spoken these words, when the king
fell down dead; and the head itself lost what life it had.
As soon as the fisherman had finished the history of the Greek king
and the physician Douban, he applied it to the genie. If,' said he,
'the king had permitted Douban to live, he would have prolonged his
own life. Such is the case with thyself, 0 genie I Could I have pre-
vailed on thee to grant me my life, I should now take pity on thee; but
now I am obliged in my turn to be hardhearted to thee.'
One word more, fisherman,' cried the genie; I will teach you how
to become as rich as possible.'
The hope of being no longer in want at once disarmed the fisherman.
'I could listen to thee,' he said, were there any credit to be given to
thy word. Swear to me by the great name of God that you will faith-
fully perform what you promise, and I will open the vase. I do not
believe that you will dare break such an oath.' The genie did so; and
the fisherman immediately took off the covering. The smoke instantly
ascended, and the genie resuming his usual form, kicked the vase into
the sea. Be of good heart, fisherman,' cried he; I have thrown the
vase into the sea only to see whether you would be alarmed; but to
show you that I intend to keep my word, take your nets and follow
me.' They passed by the city, and went over the top of a mountain,
from whence they descended into a vast plain, which led them to a
lake, situated between four small hills.
When they were arrived on the borders of the lake, the genie said to
the fisherman, Throw your nets, and catch fish.' The fisherman saw
30 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
a great quantity in the lake; and was greatly surprised at finding them
four different colours-white, red, blue, and yellow. He threwhis nets
and caught four, one of each colour. As he had never seen any similar
to them, he could hardly cease admiring them; and judging that he
could dispose of them for a considerable sum, he expressed great joy.
' Carry these fish to the palace,' said the genie, and present them to
the sultan, and he will give you more money than you ever handled in
all your life. You may come every day and fish in this lake, but beware
of casting your nets more than once each day; if you act otherwise
you will repent: therefore, take care. This is my advice, and if you
follow it exactly you will do well.' Having said this, he struck his
foot upon the ground, which opened, and having swallowed him up,
THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE
THE fisherman resolved to observe the advice of the genie in every
point, and never to throw his nets a second time. He went back to the
town, and presented his fish at the sultan's palace.
The sultan was much surprised when he saw the four fish brought
him by the fisherman. He took them one by one, and observed them
most attentively; and after admiring them a long time, he said to his
first vizier: Take these fish, and carry them to the cook; I think they
must be equally good as they are beautiful; and give the fisherman four
hundred pieces of gold. The fisherman, who was never before in
possession of so large a sum of money at once, could not conceal his
joy, and thought it all a dream, until he applied the gold in relieving
the wants of his family.
As soon as the cook had cleaned the fish which the vizier had brought,
she put them upon the fire in a frying-pan, with some oil; and when
she thought them sufficiently done on one side, she turned them. She
had hardly done so when, wonderful to relate, the wall of the kitchen
opened, and a young lady of wonderful beauty appeared. She was
dressed in a satin robe, embroidered with flowers, and adorned with
ear-rings and a necklace of large pearls, and gold bracelets set with
rubies, and held a rod in her hand. She moved towards the frying-
pan, to the great amazement of the cook, who remained motionless at
the sight, and, striking one of the fish with her rod, she said: Fish,
fish, art thou doing thy duty?' The fish answered not a word; she
again repeated it, when the four fish all raised themselves up, and said
very distinctly: Yes, yes, if you reckon, we reckon; if you pay your
debts, we pay ours; if you fly, we conquer, and are content.' As soon
THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE FISHERMAN. 31
as they had spoken these words, the damsel overturned the frying-pan;
and went back through the open wall, which immediately closed up,
and was in the same state as before.
The cook, having recovered from her fright, went to take up the fish,
which had fallen upon the hot ashes, but found them blacker than coal,
and not fit to send to the sultan. At this she began to cry with all her
might. Alas!' said she, what will become of me? I am sure, when
I tell the sultan what I have seen, he will not believe me, but will be
enraged with me 1'
While she was in this distress the grand vizier entered, and asked if
the fish were ready. The cook then related all that had taken place, at
which he was much astonished; but without speaking a word of it to
the sultan, he invented an excuse which satisfied him. He then sent
directly to the fisherman for four more fish, who promised to bring them
the next morning.
The fisherman set out before it was day, and went to the lake. He
threw his nets, and drawing them out, found four more fish, like those
he had taken the day before, each of a different colour. He returned
directly, and brought them to the grand vizier by the time he had pro-
mised. The minister took them, and carried them to the kitchen, where
he shut himself up with only the cook, who prepared to dress them
before him. She put them on the fire as she had done the others the
day before, when the grand vizier witnessed an exact repetition of all
that had been told him by the cook.
This is very surprising,' he cried, and too extraordinary to be kept
secret from the sultan's ears. I will myself go and inform him of this
The sultan, being much astonished, sent for the fisherman, and said
to him, Canst thou not bring me four more such fish?' 'If your
majesty,' answered the fisherman, will grant me till to-morrow, I will
do so.' He obtained the time he wished, and went again, for the third
time, to the lake, and caught four fish of different colours at the first
throw of his nets, and took them directly to the sultan, who expressed
the greatest pleasure at seeing them, and ordered four hundred more
'pieces of money to be given to the fisherman.
As soon as the sultan had got the fish, he had them taken into his
own cabinet, with all that was necessary for frying them. Here he
shut himself up with the grand vizier, who began to cook them, and put
them on the fire in the pan. As soon as they were done on one side,
he turned them on the other. The wall of the cabinet immediately
opened; but, instead of the beautiful lady, there appeared a black,
dressed in the habit of a slave of a very large and gigantic stature, and
holding a large green staff in his hand. He advanced to the frying-pan,
and touching one of the fish with his rod, he cried out in a terrible voice,
' Fish, fish, art thou doing thy duty ?' At these words, the fish lifted up
their heads, and answered,' Yes, yes, we are; if you reckon, we reckon;
if you pay your debts, we pay ours; if you fly, we conquer, and are
32 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
content.' The fish had scarcely said this, when the black overturned
the vessel into the middle of the cabinet, and reduced the fish to a coal;
and having done this, he retired fiercely, and entering again into the
aperture, it closed, and the wall appeared just as it did before.
The sultan being convinced that these fish signified something very
extraordinary, and having learnt from the fisherman that he caught
them in the lake situated in the midst of the four small hills, not more
than three hours' journey from the palace, commanded all his court to
take horse and to set out for the place, with the fisherman as a guide.
The sultan halted on the side of the lake; and, after observing the
fish with great admiration, demanded of his courtiers if it were possible
that they had never seen this lake, which was within so short a distance
of the city. They all said they had never so much as heard of it.
Since you all agree, then,' said he, that you have never heard of it,
and since I am not less astonished than you are at this novelty, I am
resolved not to return to my palace till I have found how this lake
came here, and why all the fish in it are of four colours. Having thus
spoken, he ordered his court to encamp; his own pavilion and the tents
of his household were pitched on the borders of the lake.
When night came, the sultan retired to his pavilion, and talked with
his grand vizier. My mind,' said he, is much disturbed; this lake,
suddenly placed here; this black, who appeared to us in my cabinet.;
these fish, too, whom we heard speak-all this so much excites my
curiosity, that I cannot conquer my impatience to be satisfied. I shall
go quite alone from my camp, and order you to keep my departure a
profound secret. Remain in my pavilion, and when my emirs and
courtiers present themselves at the entrance to-morrow morning, send
them away, and say I have a slight indisposition, and wish to be alone;
and day by day make the same report till I return.'
The grand vizier endeavoured, by many arguments, to divert the
sultan from his design. All his eloquence, however, was in vain; the
sultan was resolved. He put on a suit fit for walking, and took his
scimitar; and as soon as he found that everything in the camp was
quiet, went out alone.
He bent his course towards one of the small hills, which he ascended
without much difficulty. He then came down into a plain, in which,
when the sun rose, he perceived a magnificent palace, built with
polished black marble, and covered with fine steel, as bright as crystal.
Delighted with having so soon met with something worthy his curiosity,
he stopped before the front, and then advanced towards the folding-
doors, one of which was open. He waited some time, but finding no
one, he was exceedingly surprised. If there be no one in it,' said he
to himself, I have nothing to fear; and if it be inhabited, I have where-
with to defend myself.'
At last he entered, and when he was in the porch, he called out as
loud as he could; still there was no answer. This silence increased
his astonishment. He passed on to a spacious court, and could not
THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF THE FISHERMAN. 33
discover a living creature. He then entered and passed through some
large halls, the carpets of which were of silk, the alcoves and sofas of
stuffs of Mecca, and the door-curtains of the richest shawls of India,
embroidered with gold and silver. He went on, and came to a superb
saloon, in the middle of which was a large fountain, with a lion of
massive gold at each corner. Water issued from the mouths of the
four lions, and, as it fell, appeared to break into a thousand diamonds
The castle was surrounded by a garden full of all kinds of flowers and
shrubberies, and furnished with a multitude of birds, which filled the
air with the sweetest notes-nets being thrown entirely over the trees
Ito prevent their escape.
The sultan walked a long time from room to room, where everything
was grand and magnificent. Being tired with walking, he sat down in
a veranda, which looked into the garden, when suddenly a plaintive
voice, accompanied by the most heartrending cries, struck his ear.
He listened attentively, and heard these melancholy words: '
Fortune, thou hast not suffered me long to enjoy a happy lot I Cease
to persecute me, and by a speedy death put an end to my sufferings.'
The sultan immediately rose up, and went towards the spot whence
the voice issued, and, drawing the door-curtain aside, saw a young man
very richly dressed seated upon a sort of throne, raised a little from the
ground. Deep sorrow was impressed on his countenance. The sultan
approached, and saluted him. The young man bent his head very low,
'but did not rise. 'My lord, I should rise to receive you, but am
hindered by sad necessity; you will not therefore, I trust, take it ill.'
I feel myself highly honoured, sir,' replied the sultan, by the good
opinion you express of me. Whatever may be your motive for not
rising, I willingly receive your apologies. I come to offer you my help.
But inform me of the meaning of the lake near this castle, where the
fish are of four different colours; how, also, this castle came here, and
why you are thus alone.'
Instead of answering these questions, the young man began to weep
bitterly. And lifting up his robe, the sultan perceived he was a man
only to his waist, and that from thence to his feet he was changed into
'What you show me,' said he to him, fills me with horror. I am
impatient to learn your history, with which I am persuaded that the
lake and the fish have some connection. Pray, therefore, relate it; for
the unhappy often experience relief in communicating their sorrows.'
I will not refuse your request,' replied the young man, and narrated the
THE HISTORY OF THE YOUNG KING OF
THE BLACK ISLES.
THIs is the kingdom of the Black Isles, of which my father, named
Mahmoud, was king. It'takes its name from the four small mountains
which you have seen. Those mountains were formerly isles. The
capital where the king my father resided was situated on the spot now
occupied by the lake you have seen. On the death of my father, I
succeeded him on the throne, and married a lady, my cousin. We
lived happily together for five years, when I began to perceive that the
queen no longer loved me.
One day, after dinner, while she was at the bath, I lay down to sleep
upon a sofa. Two of her ladies, who were then in my chamber, came
and sat down, one at my head, and the other at my feet, with fans1 in
their hands to moderate the heat, and to prevent the flies from dis-
turbing me. They thought I was asleep, and spoke in whispers; but
as I only closed my eyes, I heard all their conversation.
One of them said to the other, Is not the queen wrong, not to love
so amiable a prince?' 'Certainly,' replied the other; and I cannot
conceive why she goes out every night and leaves him. Does he not
perceive it ?' How should he?' resumed the first; she mixes in his
drink every night the juice of a certain herb,'which makes him sleep
all night so soundly that she has time to go wherever she likes; and
when at break of day she returns to him, she awakes him by the smell
of some scent she puts under his nostrils.' I pretended to awake
without having heard the conversation.
The queen returned from the bath; we supped together, and, before
we went to bed, she presented me the cup of water which it was usual
for me to take ; but, instead of drinking it, I approached a window that
was open, and threw it out without her perceiving me. I then returned
the cup into her own bands, that she might believe I had drank the
contents. We soon retired to rest, and shortly after, supposing that I
was asleep, she got up, and said aloud, Sleep, and mayest thou never
wake more.' She dressed herself quickly, and left the chamber.
1 These fans consisted of the tail-feathers of peacocks or ostriches, such, prb
ably, as are still in use in the East.
HI STORY OF THE YOUNG K GI\G OF THE BLACK ISL, 35
As soon as the queen was gone, I dressed in haste, took my scimitar,
and followed her so quickly that I soon heard the sound of her feet
before me, and then walked softly after her, for fear of being heard.
She passed through several gates, of which the locks fell off upon her
pronouncing some magical words, and the last she opened was that of
the garden, which she entered. I stopped at this gate ; then, looking
after her as far as the darkness of the night permitted, I saw her enter
a little wood, whose walks were guarded by a thick hedge. I went
thither by another way, and, concealing myself behind the hedge of one
of the paths, I perceived that she was walking with a man, with whom
she offered to fly to another land. Enraged at this, I drew my scimitar,
and struck him in the neck, and he fell. I retired in haste and secrecy
to the palace. Although I had inflicted a mortal wound, yet the queen,
by her enchantments, contrived to preserve in him that trance-like
existence which can neither be called death nor life. On her return to
her chamber, when the day dawned, she was absorbed in grief, and
requested my permission to build a tomb for herself, within the bounds
of the palace, where she would continue, she told me, to the end of her
days. I consented, and she built a stately edifice, crowned by a cupola,'
which may be seen from hence, and called it the Palace of Tears.
When it was finished, she caused her lover to be conveyed thither from
the place to which he had been carried the night I wounded him: she
had hitherto prevented his dying by potions which she had administered
to him, and she continued to convey them to him herself every day
after he came to the Palace of Tears. After some time, I went myself
to the tomb which the queen had built, and, hearing her address the
inanimate body in words of passionate affection, I lost all patience, and
drew my scimitar and raised my arm to punish her. Moderate thy
rage,' said she to me, with a disdainful smile, and at the same instant
pronounced some magic words, and added, By my enchantments I
command thee to become half marble and half man.' Immediately, my
lord, I became what you see me: a dead man among the living, and a
living man among the dead.
As soon as this cruel sorceress, for she is unworthy of the title of
queen, had thus transformed me, and by her magic had conveyed me to
this apartment, she destroyed my capital; she annihilated the palaces,
public places, and markets, and reduced the site of the whole to the
lake and desert plain you have seen. The fishes of four colours2 in the
lake are the four kinds of inhabitants of different religions which the
city contained. The white are the Mussulmans; the red, the Persians,
who worship fire; the blue, the Christians; and the yellow, the Jews.
The four islands that gave a name to this kingdom became four hills.
SUsual in Turkish cemeteries.
2 The colour of the turban was by law made the distinguishing mark of the
different religionists. Blue was worn by the Christians; yellow by the Jews ;
white by the Mussulmans; and red by the Magicians.-Lane's edition of
' Arabian W;ghts.'
36 THE A RABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINAMENTS.
The enchantress, to add to my affliction, related to me these effects of
her rage. But this is not all; her revenge not being satisfied with the
destruction of my dominions, and the injury to my person, she comes
every day, and gives me on my naked back a hundred lashes with a
whip, until I am covered with blood. When she has finished this part
of my punishment, she throws over me a coarse stuff of goat's hair, and
over that this robe of brocade, not to honour, but to mock me.
When he came to this part of his narrative, the young king could not
restrain his tears, and the sultan was himself greatly affected. 'No
one, prince,' said he, 'could have experienced a more extraordinary fate
than yourself. One thing only is wanting to complete your history, and
that is, for you to be revenged; nor will I leave anything untried to
accomplish it.' The sultan, having informed the prince who he was,
and the reason of his entering the castle, consulted with him on the
best means of obtaining a just revenge; and a plan occurred to the
sultan, which he directly communicated, but the execution of which
they deferred till the following day. In the meantime, as the night was
far advanced, the sultan took some repose. The young prince, as
usual, passed his time in continual watchfulness, for he was unable to
sleep since his enchantment; the hopes, however slight, which he
cherished of being soon relieved from his sufferings constantly occupied
Next morning the sultan arose with the dawn, and prepared to
execute his design. Hiding his upper garment, which might encumber
him, he proceeded to the Palace of Tears. He found it lighted up with
an infinite number of flambeaux of white wax, and perfumed by a
delicious scent issuing from several censers of fine gold. As soon as he
saw the couch on which the inanimate form of the lover was laid, he
drew his scimitar, destroyed the little remains of life left, and dragging
his body into the outer court, threw it into the well. After this, he
went and lay down in the bed, placed his scimitar under the covering,
and waited to complete his design.
The queen arrived shortly after in the chamber of her husband, the
king of the Black Islands. On her approach, the unfortunate prince
filled the palace with his lamentations, and conjured her in the most
affecting tones to take pity on him. She, however, ceased not to beat
him till she had completed the hundred stripes. As soon as she had
finished, she threw the coarse garment made of goat-skin over him, and
then the robe of brocade. She next went to the Palace of Tears, and,
on entering, began to renew her lamentations. Alas I' cried she,
addressing herself to the sultan, whom she took for her lover, wilt
thou always, light of my life, preserve this silence ? Utter at least one
word, I conjure thee.'
The sultan then, lowering his voice as if in great weakness, spoke a
few words. The sorceress gave a violent scream through excess of joy.
SMy dear lord,' she exclaimed. is what I hear true ? Is it really you
HISTORY OF THE YOUNG KING OF THE BLACK ISLES. 37
who speak ?' Wretched woman,' replied the sultan, art thou worthy
of an answer?' What !' cried the queen, 'dost thou reproach me?'
' The cries, the tears, the groans of thy husband,' answered the sup-
posed lover, 'whom you every day beat with so much cruelty, con-
tinually prevent my rest; I should have been cured long since, and
recovered the use of my tongue, if you had disenchanted him. This,
and this only, is the cause of my silence.' Well, then,' said she, I
am ready to execute your commands; would you have me restore
him?' Yes,' replied the sultan; 'make haste to set him at liberty,
that I be no longer disturbed by his lamentations.'
The queen immediately went out from the Palace of Tears, and,
taking a vessel of water, proceeded to the apartment where the young
king was. If the Creator of all things,' said she, throwing the water
over him,' hath formed thee as thou now art, do not change; but
if thou art in that state by virtue of my enchantment, reassume thy
natural form, and become the same as before.' She had hardly con-
cluded, when the prince, recovering his first shape, rose up with all
possible joy, and returned thanks to God. Go,' said the enchantress,
addressing him, hasten from this castle, and never return on pain of
death.' The young king, yielding to necessity, without replying a word,
retired to a remote place, where he patiently awaited the return of the
sultan. Meanwhile, the enchantress returned to the Palace of Tears,
and supposing that she still spoke to her lover, said, Dear love, I have
done what you required.' The sultan, still disguising his voice,
answered in a low tone, What you have yet done is not sufficient
for my cure. You have destroyed only a part of the evil, but you must
strike at the root.' 'What do you mean by the root, dear heart?'
answered she. Understand you not that I allude to the town, and
its inhabitants, and the four islands, destroyed by thy enchantments?
The fish every night at midnight raise their heads out of the lake, and
cry for vengeance against thee and me. This is the true cause of
the delay of my cure. Go speedily, restore things to their former
state, and at thy return I will give thee my hand, and thou shalt help
me to arise.
The enchantress, inspired with hope from these words, cried out in a
transport of joy, My heart, my soul, you shall soon be restored to your
health.' Accordingly she went that instant, and when she came to the
border of the lake, she took a little water in her hand, and scattered it
about. She had no sooner done so, and pronounced certain words, than
the city instantly appeared. The fish became men, women, and children
-Mahommedans, Christians, Persians, and Jews-freemen or slaves;
in short, each took his natural form. The houses and shops became
filled with inhabitants, who found everything in the same state as it
was previous to the change. The officers and attendants of the sultan,
who were encamped where the great place or square happened to be,
were astonished at finding themselves on a sudden in the midst of a
large, well-built, and inhabited city.
38 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINAIENTS.
But to return to the enchantress: as soon as she had completed this
change, she hastened back to the Palace of Tears. My dear lord,' she
cried on entering, I have done all you have required of me; arise, and
give me your hand.' Come near, then,' said the sultan. She did so.
He then rose up, and seizing her by the arm, with a blow of his scimitar
cut her in two, so that one half fell one way, and the other another.
This done, he left the Palace of Tears, and returning to the young king
of the Black Isles, Prince,' said he, 'rejoice; you have now nothing
to fear; your cruel enemy is dead. You may henceforward dwell
peaceably in your capital, unless you will accompany me to mine,
which is near: you shall there be welcome, and have as much honour
and respect shown you as if you were in your own kingdom.' Potent
monarch, to whom I owe so much,' replied the king, you think, then,
that you are near your capital.' Yes,' said the sultan, I know it is
not above four or five hours' journey.' It is a whole year's journey,
said the prince. I do, indeed, believe that you came hither from your
capital in the time you mention, because mine was enchanted; but
since the enchantment is taken off, things are changed. This, however,
shall not prevent my following you to the ends of the earth. You are
my liberator; and to show you my gratitude as long as I live, I shall
freely accompany you, and resign my kingdom without regret.'
The sultan, extremely surprised to understand that he was so far
from his dominions, replied, It is no matter; the long journey to my
own country is sufficiently recompensed by acquiring you for a son ; for
since you will accompany me, as I have no child, I will make you my
heir and successor.
At the end of three weeks, the sultan and the young prince began
their journey, with a hundred camels laden with inestimable riches
from the treasury of the young king, followed by fifty men-at-arms on
horseback, perfectly well mounted and dressed. They had a pleasant
journey, and when the sultan, who had sent couriers to give notice of
his coming, and to explain the reason of his delay, drew near to his
capital, the principal officers, whom he had left there, came to receive
him, and to assure him that his long absence had not occasioned any
change in his empire. The inhabitants, also, crowded to meet him, and
welcome him with acclamations and every demonstration of joy, which
lasted for several days.
The day after his arrival, the sultan assembled his courtiers, and
declared to them his intention of adopting the king of the four Black
Isles, who had left a large kingdom to accompany and live with him;
and at last he bestowed presents on all, according to their rank and
The sultan did not forget the fisherman, and made him and his family
happy and comfortable for the rest of their days.
THE THREE CALENDERS, SONS OF KINGS,
AND OF FIVE LADIES OF BAGDAD.
S' LY in the reign of Caliph
SHaroun al Raschid, there
Sxwas at Bagdad a porter,
lwho was a fellow of infi-
''. ite wit and humour. One
Snorning as he was at the
II ~ place where he usually
waited for employment,
'i'l '- /'i with a great basket before
0"',himl, a handsome lady,
covered with a great
Smuslin veil, accosted him,
:i- and said with a pleasant
air, 'Hark you, porter,
porter took his basket
Immediately, set it on his
head, and followed the
lady, exclaiming, Oh,
happy day, oh, day of
good luck !'
In a short time the lady stopped before a gate and knocked; a
Christian, with a venerable long white beard, opened it, and she put
money into his hand without speaking; but the Christian, who knew
what she wanted, went in, and shortly after brought out a large jar of
excellent wine. Take this jar,' said the lady to the porter, and put
it in the basket.' This being done, she desired him to follow her, and
1 Baskets, panniers madla of leaves of palm, used in conveying fruits and bread
while heavier articles are carried in bags of leather or skin.
40 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINAIENTS.
walked on; the porter still exclaiming, Oh, day of happiness Oh,
day of agreeable surprise and joy!'
The lady stopped at a fruit shop, where she bought some apples,
apricots, peaches, lemons, citrons, oranges, myrtles, sweet basil, lilies,
jessamine, and some other plants. She told the porter to put all those
things into his basket and follow her. Passing by a butcher's shop, she
ordered five-and-twenty pounds of his finest meat to be weighed, which
was also put into the porter's basket.
At another shop she bought capers, small cucumbers, parsley, and
other herbs; at another, some pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds,
kernels of the pine, and other similar fruits; at a third, she purchased
all sorts of almond patties. The porter, in putting all these things into
his basket, said, My good lady, you should have told me that you
intended buying so many things, and I would have provided a camel to
carry them, for if you buy ever so little more, I shall not be able to bear
it. The lady laughed at the fellow's pleasant humour, and ordered him
still to follow her.
She then went to a druggist's, where she furnished herself with all
manner of sweet-scented waters, cloves, musk, pepper, ginger, and a
great piece of ambergris, and several other Indian spices; this quite
filled the porter's basket, and she ordered him to follow her. They
walked till they came to a magnificent house, whose front was adorned
with fine columns, and had a gate of ivory. There they stopped, and
the lady knocked softly. Another lady soon came to open the gate, and
all three, after passing through a handsome vestibule, crossed a spacious
court, surrounded by an open gallery, which communicated with many
magnificent apartments all on the same floor. At the end of this court
there was a dais richly furnished, with a couch in the middle, supported
by four columns of ebony, enriched with diamonds and pearls of an
extraordinary size, and covered with red satin, relieved by a bordering
of Indian gold. In the middle of the court there was a large basin lined
with white marble, and full of the finest transparent water, which rushed
from the mouth of a lion of gilt bronze.
But what principally attracted the attention of the porter was a
third most beautiful lady, and who was seated on the couch before
mentioned. This lady was called Zobeide, she who opened the door
was called Safie, and the name of the one who had been for the pro-
visions was Amina. Then said Zobeide, accosting the other two,
' Sisters, do not you see that this honest man is ready to sink under
his burden, why do not you ease him of it? Then Amina and Safie
took the basket, the one before and the other behind; Zobeide also
assisted, and all three together set it on the ground, then emptied it;
and when they had done, the beautiful Amina took out money, and paid
the porter liberally.
The porter was well satisfied, but when he ought to have departed,
he was chained to the spot by the pleasure of beholding three such
beauties, who appeared to him equally charming; for Amina, having
THE THREE CALENDERS. 41
now laid aside her veil, proved to be as handsome as either of the
others. What surprised him most was, that he saw no man about the
house, yet most of the provisions he had brought in, as the dry fruits,
and the several sorts of cakes and confections, were adapted chiefly for
those who could drink and make merry.
Madam,' said he, addressing Zobeide, I am sensible that I act
rudely in staying longer than I ought, but I hope you will have the
goodness to pardon me, when I tell you that I am astonished not to see
a man with three ladies of such extraordinary beauty; and you know
that a company of women without men is as melancholy as a company
of men without women.' To this he added some pleasantries in proof
of what he advanced, and did not forget the Bagdad proverb, That
the table is not completely furnished, except there be four in com-
pany;' so concluded that, since they were but three, they wanted
The ladies fell a laughing at the porter's reasoning; after which
Zobeide gravely addressed him, Friend, you presume rather too much;
and though you do not deserve it, I have no objection to inform you
that we are three sisters, who transact our affairs with so much secrecy
that no one knows anything of them. A good author says, Keep thy
own secret, and do not reveal it to anyone. He that makes his secret
known is no longer its master. If thy own breast cannot keep thy
counsel, how canst thou expect the breast of another to be more
Permit me, I entreat thee, to say that I also have read in another a
maxim, which I have always happily practised : Conceal thy secret,"
he says, only from such as are known to be indiscreet, and who will
abuse thy confidence; but make no difficulty in discovering it to prudent
men, because they know how to keep it." The secret, then, with me is
as safe as if locked up in a cabinet, the key of which is lost, and the
The porter, notwithstanding his rhetoric, must, in all probability,
have retired in confusion, if Amina had not taken his part, and said to
Zobeide and Safie, My dear sisters, I conjure you to let him remain;
he will afford us some diversion. Were I to repeat to you all the
amusing things he addressed to me by the way, you would not feel sur-
prised at my taking his part.'
At these words of Amina, the porter fell on his knees, kissed the
ground at her feet, and, raising himself up, said, Most beautiful lady,
you began my good fortune to-day, and now you complete it by this
generous conduct; I cannot adequately express my acknowledgments !
As to the rest, ladies,' said he, addressing himself to all the three
sisters, since you do me so great an honour, I shall always look upon
myself as one of your most humble slaves.' When he had spoken
these words he would have returned the money he had received, but
Zobeide ordered him to keep it. What we have once given,' said she,
' we never take back. We are willing, too, to allow you to stay on one
42 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
condition, that you keep secret, and do not ask the reason for anything
you may see us do. To show you,' said Zobeide, with a serious counte-
nance,' that what we demand of you is not a new thing among us,
read what is written over our gate on the inside.'
The porter read these words, written in large characters of gold: 'He
who speaks of things that do not concern him, shall hear things that will
not please him.' Ladies,' said he, I swear to you that you shall
never hear me utter a word respecting what does not relate to me, or
wherein you may have any concern.
These preliminaries being settled, Amina brought in supper; and,
after she had lighted up the room with tapers made of aloe-wood and
ambergris, which yield a most agreeable perfume, as well as a delicate
light,she sat down with her sisters and the porter. They began again to eat
and drink, to sing, and repeat verses. The ladies diverted themselves
in intoxicating the porter, under the pretext of making him drink their
health, and the repast was enlivened by reciprocal sallies of wit. When
they were all as merry as possible, they suddenly heard a knocking at the
gate. Safie, whose office it was, went to the porch, and, quickly returning,
told them thus : 'There are three calenders' at the door, all blind of the
right eye, and with their heads, beards, and eyebrows shaved. They
say that they are only just arrived at Bagdad, where they have never
been before, and, as it is dark, and they know not where to lodge, they
knocked at our door by chance, and pray us to show compassion and to
take them in. They care not where we put them, provided they obtain
shelter. They are young and handsome; but I cannot, without laugh-
ing, think of their amusing and exact likeness to each other. My dear
sisters, pray permit them to come in; they will afford us diversion
enough, and put us to little charge, because they desire shelter only for
this night, and resolve to leave us as soon as day appears.'
Go then,' said Zobeide, and bring them in; but make them read
what is written over the gate.' Safie ran out with joy, and in a little
time after returned with the three calenders.
At their entrance they made a profound obeisance to the ladies, who
rose up to receive them, and told them courteously that they were
welcome, that they were glad of the opportunity to oblige them, and to
contribute towards relieving the fatigues of their journey, and at last
invited them to sit down with them.
The magnificence of the place, and the civility they received, inspired
the calenders with high respect for the ladies; but, before they sat
down, having by chance cast their eyes upon the porter, whom they
saw clad almost like those devotees with whom they have continual
disputes respecting several points of discipline, because they never shave
Calenders, a sort of privileged beggar or faquir among the Mahommedans,
who wore a dress of sheepskin, with a Icathern girdle about their loins, and
collected alms. Dervish, a poor man, who is not bound by any vow oi poverty
to abstain from meat, and may relinquish his profession at will.
THE THREE CALENDERS
THE THREE CALENDERS. 45
their beards nor eyebrows,' one of them said,' I believe we have got
here one of our revolted Arabian brethren.'
The porter, having his head warm with wine, took offence at these
words, and, with a fierce look, without stirring from his place, answered,
' Sit you down, and do not meddle with what does not concern you!
Have you not read the inscription over the gate ? Do not pretend to
make people live after your fashion, but follow ours.'
Honest man,' said the calender, do not put yourself in a passion;
we should be sorry to give you the least occasion. On the contrary, we
are ready to receive your commands.' Upon which, to put an end to
the dispute, the ladies interposed, and pacified them. When the calen-
ders were seated, the ladies served them with meat; and Safie, being
highly pleased with them, did not let them want for wine.
When the calenders had finished their repast, they signified to the
ladies that they wished to entertain them with a concert of music, if
they had any instruments in the house, and would cause them to be
brought. They willingly accepted the proposal, and Safie went to fetch
them. Each man took the instrument he liked, and all three together
began to play a tune. The ladies, who knew the words of a merry
song that suited the air, joined the concert with their voices; but the
words of the song made them now and then stop, and fall into exces-
sive laughter. While their amusement was at its height, there was a
knock of unwonted loudness at their gate.
Now, it was the custom of the sultan Haroun-al-Raschid to go some-
times during the night through the city, in disguise, in order to discover
whether everything was quiet. On this evening he set out from his
palace, accompanied by Giafar, his grand vizier, and Mesrour, chief of
the household, all three disguised as merchants; and he it was who,
in passing through the street, and attracted by the noise of the music
and of the peals of loud laughter, had desired his grand vizier to knock
at the gate, and to demand shelter and admittance as for three strangers,
who knew not where to seek shelter for the night. Safie, who had
opened the door, came back and obtained permission of her sisters to
admit the newly-arrived strangers.
The caliph and his attendants, upon their entrance, most courteously
made obeisance to the ladies and to the calenders. The ladies returned
their salutations, supposing them to be merchants. Zobeide, as the
chief, addressed them with a grave and serious countenance, and said,
'You are welcome; but, while you are here, you must have eyes, but no
'This may probably be an allusion to the two great divisions prevailing
among the Mahommedaus, viz., the Soonnis and the Shiites. The former up-
held the legitimacy of the three first successions of Mahommd ; the latter
maintained the right of his cousin and son-in-law, Ali, and his descendants,
called Fatemites or Ismaelites. They both received the Koran, but the one
added to it the Sonna, or certain oral traditions attributed to Mahommed, whica
the other rejected.
46 711E ARA PIA NIGHTS' EATERTA IMENATS.
tongues. You must not ask tl e reason of anything you may see, nor
speak of anything that does rot concern you, lest you hear and see
what will by no means please you.'
Madam,' replied the vizier, you shall be obeyed. It is enough for
us to attend to our own business, without meddling with what does not
concern us.' After this each seated himself, and the conversation
became general, and they drank to the health of the new guests.
While the vizier Giafar entertained them, the caliph ceased not from
admiring the beauty, elegance and lively disposition of the ladies; while
the appearance of the three calenders, all blind of the right eye, sur-
prised him very much. He anxiously wished to learn the cause of this
singularity; but the conditions they had imposed upon him and his
companions prevented any inquiry. Besides all this, when he reflected
upon the richness of the services and furniture, with the regularity
and arrangement everywhere apparent, he could hardly persuade him-
self it was not the effect of enchantment.
The guests continued their conversation, when, after an interval,
Zobeide rose up, and taking Amina by the hand, said to her, Come,
sister, the company shall not prevent us from doing as we have always
been accustomed.' Amina, who perfectly understood what her sister
meant, got up, and took away the dishes, tables, bottles, glasses, and
also the instruments on which the calenders had played. Nor did Safie
remain idle; she snuffed the candles, and added more aloe-wood and
ambergris. Having done this, she requested the three calenders to sit
on a sofa on one side, and the caliph and his company on the other.
'Get up,' said she then to the porter, looking at him, and be ready to
assist in whatever we want you.' A little while after Amina came in
with a sort of seat, which she placed in the middle of the room. She
then went to the door of a closet, and, having opened it, she made a
sign to the porter to approach. Come and assist me i' she cried. He
did so, and went in with her, and returned a moment after, followed by
two black dogs, each of them secured by a collar and chain. They
appeared as if they had been severely while ped with rods, and he
brought them into the middle of the apartment.
Zobeide, rising from her seat between the calenders and the caliph,
moved very gravely towards the porter. Come,' said she, heaving a
deep sigh, 'let us perform our duty.' She then tucked up her sleeves
above her elbows, and, receiving a rod from Safie, Porter,' said she,
'deliver one of the dogs to my sister Amina, and bring the other to me.'
The porter did as he was commanded. Upon this the dog that he
held in his hand began to howl, and, turning towards Zobeide, held
her head up in a sul pliating posture; but Zobeide, having no regard
to the sad countenance of the animal, which would have moved pity,
nor to its cries that resounded through the house, whipped her with
the rod till she was out of breath; and having spent her strength,
threw down the rod, and, taking the chain from the porter, lifted up
the dog by her paws, and looking upon her with a sad and pitful coun-
THE THREE CALENDERS. 47
tenance they both wept; after which Zobeide, with her handkerchief,
wiped the tears from the dog's eye, kissed her, returned the chain to
the porter, desired him to carry her to the place whence he took her,
and to bring the other. Then taking the whip she served this in the
same manner; she then wept with it, dried its tears, kissed it, and
returned it to the porter.
The three calenders, with the caliph and his companions, were ex-
tremely surprised at this exhibition, and could not comprehend why
Zobeide, after having so furiously beaten those two dogs, that by the
Mussulman religion are reckoned unclean' animals, should weep with
them, wipe off their tears, and kiss them. They muttered among
themselves; and the caliph, who, being more impatient than the rest,
longed exceedingly to be informed of the cause of so strange a pro-
ceeding, could not forbear making signs to the vizier to ask the
question. The vizier turned his head another way; but being pressed
by repeated signs, he answered by others that it was not yet time for
the caliph to satisfy his curiosity.
Zobeide sat still some time in the middle of the room, where she had
whipped the two dogs, to recover herself of her fatigue; and Safie
called to her, Dear sister, will you not be pleased to return to your
place, that I may also act my part?' Yes, sister,' replied Zobeide;
and then went and sat down upon the sofa, having the caliph, Giafar,
and Mesrour on her right hand, and the three calenders, with the
porter, on her left.
The whole company remained silent for some time. At last Safie,
sitting on a chair in the middle of the room, spoke to her sister Amina:
'Dear sister, I conjure you to rise; you know what I would say.'
Amina rose, and went into another closet near to that where the dogs
were, and brought out a case covered with yellow satin, richly em-
broidered with gold and green silk. She went towards Safie and
opened the case, from whence she took a lute and presented it to her;
and after some time spent in tuning it Safie begin to play, and, accom-
panying the instrument with her voice, sang a song about the torments
that absence creates to lovers. Having sung with much passion and
action, she said to Amina: Pray take it, sister, for my voice fails me;
oblige the company with a tune and a song in my stead.' Very willingly,'
replied Amina, who, taking the lute from her sister Safie, sat down in
her place. Having sung most delightfully, the caliph expressed his
admiration. While he was doing so Amina fainted away; and on
opening her robe to give her air, they discovered that her breast had
been covered with fearful scars.
1 The dog is in great disrepute among the Mahommedans. Mahommed is
reported to have said, 'No angel enters where a dog is.' Cats, on the
contrary, are great favourites, and sometimes accompany their masters
when they go to their mosque. The Mahommedans are under certain re-
strictions in food ; they are forbidden to eat the hare, the wolf, the cat, and
all animals forbidden by the law of Moses. The shrimp is forbidden among
48 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTER TA IN /ENTS.
Whilst Zobeide and Safie ran to assist their sister, the caliph inquired
of the calender: Cannot you inform me about these two black dogs, and
this lady, who appears to have been so ill-treated ?' Sir,' said the
calender, we never were in this house before now, and entered it only
a few minutes sooner than you did.' This increased the astonishment
of the caliph. Perhaps,' said he, the man who is with you can give
you some information?' The calender made signs to the porter to
draw near, and asked him if he knew why the black dogs had been
beaten, and why the bosom of Amina was so scarred. 'Sir,' replied
the porter, if you know nothing of the matter, I know as little as you
do. I never was in the house until now; and if you are surprised to
see me here, I am as much so to find myself in your company.
The caliph, more and more perplexed at all he heard, determined
that he would have the information he required for the explaining these
mysterious proceedings. But the question was, who should first make
the inquiry ? The caliph endeavoured to persuade the calenders to
speak first, but they excused themselves. At last they all agreed that
the porter should be the man. While they were consulting how to put
the question, Zobeide herself, as Amina had recovered from her fainting,
approached them, and inquired: What are you talking of ?-what is
your contest about ?'
The porter then addressed her as follows: These gentlemen, madam,
entreat you to explain why you wept with those dogs, after having
treated them so ill, and how it has happened that the lady who fainted
has her bosom covered with scars ?'
At these words Zobeide put on a stern look, and turning towards the
caliph and the rest of the company: Is it true, gentlemen,' said she,
' that you desired him to ask me these questions ?' All of them except
the vizier Giafar, who spoke not a word, answered Yes.' On which
she exclaimed in a tone of resentment: Before we granted you the
favour of receiving you into our house, and to prevent all occasion of
inquiry from you, we imposed the condition that you should not speak
of anything that did not concern you, lest you might hear that which
would not please you; and yet, after having received our entertainment,
you make no scruple to break your promise. Our easy compliance with
your wishes may have occasioned this, but that shall not excuse your
rudeness. As she spoke these words she gave three stamps with her
foot, and, clapping1 her hands as often together, cried, Come quickly !'
Upon this a door flew open, and seven black slaves2 rushed in; each
one seized a man, threw him on the ground, and dragged him into the
middle of the room, brandishing a scimitar over his head.
We may easily conceive the alarm of the caliph. He repented, but
too late, that he had not taken the advice of his vizier, who, with
Mesrour, the calenders, and porter, were, from his ill-timed curiosity,
This is the ordinary mode in the East of calling the attendants in waiting.
2 In this manner the apartments of ladies were constantly guarded.-
Beckford's Vathek,' notes to p. 204.
THE THREE CALENDERS. 49
on the point of forfeiting their lives. Before they gave the fatal stroke
one of the slaves said to Zobeide and her sisters: Would it not be
right to interrogate them first?' On which Zobeide, with a grave voice,
said: Answer me, and say who you are, otherwise you shall not live
one moment longer. I cannot believe you to be honest men, or persons
of authority or distinction in your own country; for, if you were, you
would have been more modest and more respectful to us.'
The caliph, naturally warm, was infinitely more indignant than the
rest to find his life depending upon the command of a woman: but he
began to conceive some hopes when he found she wished to know who
they all were; for he imagined that she would by no means take away
his life, when she should be informed of his rank. He whispered to
his vizier, who was near him, instantly to declare who he was. But
this wise vizier, being more prudent, resolved to save his master's
honour, and not let the world know the affront he had brought upon
himself by his own imprudence, and therefore answered, We have
what we deserve.' But if he had intended to speak as the caliph com-
manded him, Zobeide would not have allowed him time: for having
turned to the calenders, and seeing them all blind with one eye, she
asked if they were brothers. One of them answered, No, madam, no
otherwise than as we are calenders; that is to say, as we observe the
same rules.' 'Were you born blind of the right eye?' continued
she. No, madam,' answered he; 'I lost my eye in such a surprising
adventure that it would be instructive to everyone to hear it.' Zobeide
put the same question to the others in their turn, when the last she
addressed replied: Pray, madam, show some pity on us, for we are
all the sons of kings. Although we have never seen each other before
this evening, we have had sufficient time to become acquainted with
this circumstance; and I can assure you that the kings who have given
us birth have made some noise in the world !'
During this speech Zobeide became less angry, and said to the slaves.
'Give them their liberty a while, but remain where you are. Those
who tell us their history, and the occasion of their coming, do them no
hurt, let them go where they please; but do not spare those who refuse
to give us that satisfaction.'
The three calenders, the caliph, the grand vizier Giafar, the captain
of his guards, and the porter were all in the middle of the hall, seated
upon a carpet in the presence of the three ladies, who reclined upon a
sofa, and the slaves stood ready to do whatever their mistresses should
The porter spoke first, and briefly related the adventures of the
morning with Amine, and the kind favours to him of herself and her
fair sisters in the evening, which he declared to be the whole of his
When the porter had concluded, Zobeide said, Save thyself and be-
gone, nor ever let us see thee again.' I beg of you, madam,' replied
he, 'to let ine remain a little longer. It would be unfair that I should
50 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAIN IENTS.
not hear their histories, after they have had the pleasure of hearing
mine.' In saying this he took his place at the end of the sofa, truly
delighted at finding himself free from the danger which so much
alarmed him. One of the calenders, addressing himself to Zobeide,
THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST CALENDER.
MADAM, I am the son of a sultan. My father had a brother, who
reigned over a neighboring kingdom. His son, my cousin, and I were
nearly of the same age. I went regularly every year to see my uncle,
at whose court I amused myself for a month or two, and then returned
home. On one occasion I arrived at my father's capital, where,
contrary to custom, I found a numerous guard at the gate of the palace.
They surrounded me as I entered. The commanding officer said,
' Prince, the army has proclaimed the grand vizier sultan, instead of
your father, who is dead, and I take you prisoner in-the name of the
This rebel vizier had long entertained a mortal hatred against me.
When I was a boy I loved to shoot with a cross-bow; and being one
day upon the terrace of the palace, a bird happening to come by, I shot
but missed him, and the ball by misfortune hit the vizier, who was
taking the air upon the terrace of his own house, and put out one of his
eyes. He never forgave me, and, as opportunity offered, made me
sensible of his resentment. But now that he had me in his power, he
came to me like a madman, and thrusting his finger into my right eye,
pulled it out, and thus I became blind of one eye.
His cruelty did not stop here ; he commanded the executioner to cut
off my head, and leave me to be devoured by birds of prey. The
executioner conveyed me to the place of execution to complete this
barbarous sentence; but by my prayers and tears I moved the man's
compassion : Go,' said he to me, get you speedily out of the kingdom,
and never return, or you will destroy yourself and me.' I thanked him,
and as soon as I was left alone, comforted myself for the loss of my
eye by considering that I had very narrowly escaped a much greater
Being thus surrounded with sorrows, and p-rsecuted by fortune, I
had recourse to a stratagem, which was the only means left me to save
my life : I caused my beard and eye-brows to be shaved, and putting
on a calender's habit, I passed, unknown by any, out of the city. I
avoided the towns till I arrived in the empire of the commander of the
faithful, the renowned caliph Haroun Alraschid, when I ceased to fear.
I resolved to come to Bagdad and throw myself at the feet of th's great
monarch. I shall move him to compassion, said I to myself, by the
THE HISTORY OF THE FIRST CALENDER.
relation of my uncommon misfortunes, and without doubt he will take
pity on a persecuted prince, and not suffer me to implore his assistance
In short, after a journey of several months, I arrived yesterday at the
gate of this city, into which I entered at dusk : and as I entered, another
calender came up ; he saluted me, and I him. You appear,' said I,
' to be a stranger, as I am.' You are not mistaken,' replied he. He
had no sooner returned this answer, than a third calender overtook us.
He saluted us, and told us he was a stranger newly come to Bagdad;
so that as brethren we joined together, resolving not to separate from
It was now late, and we knew not where to seek a lodging in the city,
where we had never been before. But good fortune having brought us
to your gate, we made bold to knock, when you received us with so
much kindness that we are incapable of rendering suitable thanks.
This, madam, said he, is, in obedience to your commands, the account
I was to give how I lost my right eye, wherefore my beard and eye-
brows are shaved, and how I came to be with you at this time.
'It is enough,' said Zobeide; 'you may retire to what place you
think fit.' The calender '.. -...1 the ladies' permission to stay till he
had heard the relations of his two comrades, whom I cannot,' said he,
'leave with honour;' and that he might also hear those of the three
others persons in company.
The history of the first calender appeared very surprising to the whole
company, and particularly to the caliph. The presence of the slaves,
armed with their scimitars, did not prevent him from saying in a whisper
to the vizier, As long as I can remember, I never heard anything to
compare with this history of the calender, though I have been all my
life in the habit of hearing similar narratives.' ITo had no sooner
finished than the second calendoer began, and addressing himself to
Zobeide, spoke as follows:
THE HISTORY OF THE SECOND CALENDER.
MADAM, said he, to obey your commands, and to show you by what
strange accident I became blind of the right eye, I must give you the
account of my life. I was yet a youth, when the sultan, my father (for
you must know I am a prince by birth), perceived that I was endowed
with good natural ability, and spared nothing proper for improving it.
No sooner was I able to read and write than I learned the Koran from
beginning to end by heart, all the traditions collected from the mouth
of our prophet, and the works of poets. I applied myself to geography,
chronology, and to speak the Arabian language in its purity; not for-
getting in the meantime all such exercises as were proper for a prince
52 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' EVTERTAINAI/EK76.
to understand. But one thing which I was fond of, and succeeded in,
was penmanship; wherein I surpassed all the celebrated scribes of our
The fame of my learning reached the Emperor of Hindostan, who sent
an embassy with rich presents to my father, and invited me to his cburt.
I returned with the ambassador.
We had been about a month on our journey, when we saw in the
distance an immense cloud of dust, and soon after we discovered fifty
fierce horsemen, sons of the desert, well armed.
Not being able to repel force by force, we told them we were the
ambassadors of the sultan of India ; but the sons of the desert insolently
answered, Why do you wish us to respect the sultan, your master?
We are not his subjects, nor even within his realm.' They attacked
us on all sides. I defended myself as long as I could, but finding that
I was wounded, and that the ambassador and all our attendants were
overthrown, I took advantage of the remaining strength of my horse,
and escaped. My horse was wounded and suddenly fell dead under me.
Alone, wounded, and a stranger, I bound up my own wound and walked
on the rest of the day, and arrived at the foot of a mountain, where I
perceived, as the sun set, a cave; I went in, and stayed there that night,
after I had eaten some fruits that I gathered by the way. I continued
my journey for several successive days without finding any place of
abode; but after a month's time, I came to a large town, well inhabited
-it was surrounded by several streams, so that it seemed to enjoy
My face, hands, and feet were black and sunburnt; and, by my long
journey, my boots were quite worn out, so that I was forced to walk
barefooted; and my clothes were all in rags. I entered the town to
inform myself where I was, and addressed myself to a tailor that was
at work in his shop, who made me sit down by him, and asked me who
I was, whence I came, and what had brought me thither. I did
not conceal anything that had befallen me, nor made I any scruple to
reveal to him my rank. The tailor listened to me with attention; and
brought me something to eat, and offered me an apartment at his house,
which I accepted.
Some days after my arrival, the tailor asked me if I knew anything
by which I could acquire a livelihood. I told him that I was well
versed in the science of laws, both human and Divine, that I was a
grammarian, a poet, and, above all, that I wrote remarkably well.
'None of these things will avail you here. If you will follow my advice,'
he added, you will procure a short jacket, and as you are strong and
in good health, you may go into the neighboring forest, and cut wood
for fuel. You may then go and expose it for sale in the market. By
these means you will be enabled to wait till the cloud which hangs over
you, and obliges you to conceal your birth, shall have blown over. I
will furnish you with a cord and hatchet.'
The next day the tailor brought me a rope, a hatchet, and a short
7THE HISTORY Y OF THE SECOND CALENDER. 53
jacket, and recommended me to some poor people who gained their
bread after the same manner, that they might take me into their
company. They conducted me to the wood, and the first day I brought
in as much upon my head as procured me half a piece of gold of the
money of that country; for though the wood was not far distant from
the town, yet it was very scarce, by reason that few would be at the
trouble of fetching it for themselves. I gained a good sum of money in
a short time, and repaid my tailor what he had lent me.
I continued this way of living for a whole year. One day, having by
chance penetrated farther into the wood than usual, I happened to
light on a pleasant spot, where I began to cut; and in pulling up the
root of a tree I espied an iron ring, fastened to a trap door of the same
metal. I took away the earth that covered it, and having lifted it up,
discovered a flight of stairs, which I descended with my axe in my
When I had reached the bottom, I found myself in a palace which
was as well lighted as if it had been above ground in the open air. I
went forward along a gallery, supported by pillars of jasper, the bass
and capitals being of massy gold : when I saw a lady of a noble and
graceful air, and extremely beautiful, coming towards me. I hastened
to meet her; and as I was making a low obeisance, she asked me, 'Are
you a man or a genie?' 'A man, madam,' said I. 'By what ad-
venture,' said she (fetching a deep sigh), are you come hither ? I have
lived here twenty-five years, and you are the first man I have beheld in
Her great beauty, and the sweetness and civility wherewith she
received me, emboldened me to say, Madam, before I satisfy your
curiosity, give me leave to say that I am infinitely gratified with this
unexpected meeting, which offers me an occasion of consolation in the
midst of my affliction; and perhaps it may give me an opportunity of
making you also more happy than you are.' I then related my story
to her from beginning to end. Alas! prince,' she replied, sighing
'the most enchanting spots cannot afford delight when we are there
against our wills. But hear now my history. I am a princess, the
daughter of a sultan, the king of the Ebony Island, to which the
precious wood found in it has given its name.
'The king, my father, had chosen for my husband a prince who was
my cousin; but on the very night of the bridal festivities, in the midst
of the rejoicings of the court, a genie took me away. I fainted with
alarm, and when I recovered I found myself in this place. I was long
inconsolable; but time and necessity have reconciled me to see the
genie. Twenty-five years I have passed in this place, in which I have
everything necessary for life and splendour.
'Every ten days,' continued the princess, the genie visits me. In
the meantime, if I have any occasion for him, I have only to touch a
talisman, and he appears. It is now four days since he was here, and
I have therefore to wait six days more before he again makes his
54 THE A RAB/A N NIGHTS' ENTERTA IMENTS.
appearance. You, therefore, may remain five with me, if it be agree-
able to you, in order to keep me company; and I will endeavour to
regale and entertain you equal to your merit and dignity.'
The princess then conducted me to a bath, the most commodious,
and the most sumptuous imaginable; and when I came forth, instead
of my own clothes I found another costly robe, which I did not
esteem so much for its richness, as because it made me appear worthy
to be in her company. We sat down on a sofa covered with rich
tapestry, with cushions of the rarest Indian brocade; and some time
after she covered a table with several dishes of delicate meats. We ate,
and passed the remaining part of the day, as also the evening, together
The next day I said to her, Fair princess, you have been too long
buried alive in this subterranean palace; pray rise-follow me, and enjoy
the light of day, of which you have been deprived so many years.
' Prince,' replied she, with a smile, if you out of ten days will grant
me nine, and resign the tenth to the genie, the light of day will be
nothing to me.' Princess,' said I, the fear of the genie makes you
speak thus; for my part, I regard him so little that I will break in
pieces his talisman, with the spell that is written about it. Let him
come; and how brave or powerful he be, I will defy him.' On saying
this I gave the talisman a kick with my foot and broke it in pieces.
The talisman was no sooner broken than the whole palace shook as if
ready to fall to atoms, and the walls opened to afford a passage to the
genie. I had no sooner felt the shock than, at the earnest request of
the princess, I took to flight. Having hastily put on my own robe, I
ascended the stairs leading to the forest, and reached the town in safety.
My landlord, the tailor, was very glad to see me. I had, however, in
my haste, left my hatchet and cord in the princess's chamber. Shortly
after my return, while brooding over this loss, and lamenting the cruel
treatment to which the princess would be exposed, the tailor came in
and said, 'An old man, whom I do not know, brings your hatchet and
cords, and wishes to speak to you, for he will deliver them to none but
At these words I changed colour, and fell a-trembling. While the
tailor was asking me the reason, my chamber-door opened, and the old
man, having no patience to stay, appeared with my hatchet and cords.
'I am a genie,' said he, speaking to me, a grandson of Eblis,1 prince
of genies. Is not this your hatchet, and are not these your cords ?'
After the genie had put these questions to me he gave me no time to
answer. He grasped me by the middle, dragged me out of the chamber,
and, mounting into the air, carried me up to the skies with extra-
ordinary swiftness. He descended again in like manner to the earth,
which on a sudden he caused to open with a stroke of his foot, when I
1 Eblis, or Degial, the evil spirit, who, according to the Koran, betrayed Adam
to transgression, and yet seeks to inflict injury on his race.
THE ENVIOUS MAN
THE HISTORY OF THE SECOND CALENDER. 55
found myself in the enchanted palace, before the fair princess of the
Isle of Ebony. But, alas what a spectacle was there I saw what
pierced me to the heart; this poor princess was weltering in her blood,
and lay upon the ground, more like one dead than alive, with her
cheeks bathed in tears.
The genie having loaded us both with many insults and reproaches,
drew his scimitar and declared that he would give life and liberty to
either of us who would with his scimitar cut off the head of the other.
We both resolutely declined to purchase freedom at such a price, and
asserted our choice to be to die rather in the presence of each other.
' I see,' said the genie, that you both outbrave me, but both of you
shall know by my treatment of you of what I am capable.' At these
words the monster took up the scimitar and cut off one of her hands,
which left her only so much life as to give me a token with the other
that she bade me for ever adieu; and then she died. I fainted at the
sight. When I was come to myself again, I cried, Strike, for I am
ready to die, and await death as the greatest favour you can show me.'
But instead of killing me, he said, Behold how genies revenge them-
selves on those who offend them. Thou art the least to blame, and I
will content myself with transforming thee into a dog, ape, lion, or bird;
take thy choice of any of these, I will leave it to thyself.'
These words gave me some hopes of being able to appease him. '0
genie,' said I, restrain your rage, and since you will not take away my
life, pardon me freely, as a good dervise pardoned one who envied him.'
'And how was that?' said he. I answered as follows:
THE HISTORY OF THE ENVIOUS MAN AND
OF HIM WHO WAS ENVIED.
IN a certain town there were two men, neighbours, who lived next door
to each other. One of them was so excessively envious of the other
that the latter resolved to change his abode, and go and reside at some
distance from him. He therefore sold his house, and went to another
city at no great distance, and bought a convenient house. It had a
good garden and a moderate court, in which there was a deep well, that
was not now used.
The good man having made this purchase, put on the habit of a
dervise, and in a short time he established a numerous society of dervises.1
1 Sir Paul Ricaut gives this account of the dress of the dervise : Their shirts
are of coarse linen, with a white plaid or mantle about their shoulders. Their
caps are like the crown of a hat of the largest size. Their legs are always bare,
and their breasts open, which some of them burn or scar in token of greater
devotion. They wear a leather girdle, with some shining stone upon the
56 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
He soon came to be known by his virtue, through which he acquired
the esteem of many people, as well of the commonalty as of the chief of
the city. In short, he was much honoured and courted by all ranks.
People came from afar to recommend themselves to his prayers; and
all who visited him published what blessings they received through his
The great reputation of this honest man having spread to the town
whence he had come, it touched the envious man so much to the quick
that he left his own house and affairs with a resolution to ruin him.
With this intent he went to the new convent of dervises, of which
his former neighbour was the head, who received him with all imaginable
tokens of friendship. The envious man told him that he was come to
communicate a business of importance, which he could not do but in
private; and that nobody may hear us,' he said, let us take a walk
in your court; and seeing night begins to draw on, command your
dervises to retire to their cells.' The chief of the dervises did as he was
When the envious man saw that he' was alone with this good man,
he began to tell him his errand, walking side by side in the court, till
he saw his opportunity; and getting the good man near the brink of the
well, he gave him a thrust, and pushed him into it.
This old well was inhabited by peris and genies, which happened
luckily for the relief of the head of the convent; for they received and
supported him, and carried him to the bottom, so that he got no hurt.
He perceived that there was something extraordinary in his fall, which
must otherwise have cost him his life; but he neither saw nor felt any-
thing. He soon heard a voice, however, which said, Do you know
what honest man this is, to whom we have done this piece of service ?'
buckle before. They always carry a string of beads, which they call Tesbe, and
oftener run them over than our friars do their rosary, at every bead repeating
the name of God.'-' History of Ottoman Empire,' p. 203.
Their order has few rules, except of performing their fantastic rites every
Tuesday and Friday. They meet in a large hall, where they all stand with their
eyes fixed on the ground, and their arms crossed, while the imaun, or preacher,
reads part of the Koran from a pulpit, and, after a short exposition on what he
has read, they stand around their superior, and, tying their robes, which are very
wide, round their waists, begin to turn round with an amazing swiftness, moving
fast or slow as the music is played. This lasts above an hour, without any of
them showing the least appearance of giddiness, which is not to be wondered
at when it is considered they are used to it from their infancy. There were
amongst them some little dervises, of six or seven years old, who seemed no
more disordered by that exercise than the others. At the end of the
ceremony they shout out, There is no other god but God, and Mahommed is
His prophet ;' after which they kiss the superior's hand and retire. The whole
is performed with the most solemn gravity.'-Lady M.W. Montague's' Letters.'
vol. ii., p. 43.
'The word peri, in the Persian language, signifies that beautiful race of
creatures which constitutes the link between angels and men.
THE ENVIOUS MAN AND THE ENVIED. 57
Another voice answered, No.' To which the first replied, Then I will
tell you. This man out of charity left the town he lived in, and has
established himself in this place, in hopes to cure one of his neighbours
of the envy he had conceived against him; he had acquired such a
general esteem, that the envious man, not able to endure it, came hither
on purpose to ruin him; and he would have accomplished his design
had it not been for the assistance we have given this honest man, whose
reputation is so great that the sultan, who keeps his residence in the
neighboring city, was to pay him a visit to-morrow, to recommend the
princess his daughter to his prayers.'
Another voice asked, What need had the princess of the dervise's
prayers?' To which the first answered, You do not know, it seems,
that she is possessed by a genie. But I well know how this good
dervise may cure her. He has a black cat in his convent, with a white
spot at the end of her tail, about the bigness of a small piece of Arabian
money; let him only pull seven hairs out of the white spot, burn them,
and smoke the princess's head with the fume, she will not only be
immediately cured, but be so safely delivered from the genie that he
will never dare to approach her again.'
The head of the dervises remembered every word of the conversation
between the fairies and the genies, who remained silent the remainder
of the night. The next morning, as soon as daylight appeared, and he
could discern the nature of his situation, the well being broken down in
several places, he saw a hole, by which he crept out with ease.
The other dervises, who had been seeking for him, were rejoiced to
see him; he gave them a brief account of the wickedness of the man to
whom he had given so kind a reception the day before, and retired into
his cell. Shortly after, the black cat, which the fairies and genies had
mentioned the night before, came to fawn upon her master, as she was
accustomed to do; he took her up, and pulled seven hairs from the
white spot that was upon her tail, and laid them aside for his use when
occasion should serve.
Soon after sunrise the sultan, who would leave no means untried that
he thought likely to restore the princess to perfect health, arrived at the
gate of the convent. He commanded his guards to halt, whilst he with
his principal officers went in. The dervises received him with profound
The sultan called their chief aside, and said, Good sheik,i you may
probably be already acquainted with the cause of my visit.' Yes, sir,'
replied he gravely, if I do not mistake, it is the disease of the princess
which procures me this unmerited honour.' That is the real case,'
replied the sultan. You will give me new life if your prayers, as I
hope they may, restore my daughter's health.' 'Sir,' said the good
man, if your majesty will be pleased to let her come hither, I am in
1 Sheiks are the chiefs of the societies of dervises ; cadis, the magistrates of a
town or city.-' Notes on Vathek,' p. 322.
58 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
hopes, through God's assistance and favour, that she will be effectually
The prince, transported with joy, sent immediately for his daughter,
who soon appeared with a numerous train of ladies and attendants,
veiled, so that her face was not seen. The chief of the dervises caused
a carpet to be held over her head, and he had no sooner thrown the
seven hairs upon the burning coals, than the genie uttered a great cry, and,
without being seen, left the princess at liberty; upon which she took
the veil from her face, and rose up to see where she was, saying,
Where am I, and who brought me hither ?' At these words the sultan,
overcome with excess of joy, embraced his daughter, and kissed her
eyes: he also kissed the sheik's hands, and said to his officers, What
reward does he deserve that has thus cured my daughter ?' They all
cried, He deserves her in marriage.' That is what I had in my
thoughts,' said the sultan; and I make him my son-in-law from this
moment.' Some time after the prime vizier died, and the sultan con-
ferred the place on the dervise. The sultan himself also died without
heirs male; upon which the religious orders and the army consulted
together, and the good man was declared and acknowledged sultan by
The honest dervise having ascended the throne of his father-in-law,
as he was one day in the midst of his courtiers on a march, espied the
envious man among the crowd that stood as he passed along; and call-
ing one of the viziers that attended him, whispered in his ear, Go,
bring me that man you see there; but take care you do not frighten
him.' The vizier obeyed, and when the envious man was brought into
his presence, the sultan said, 'Friend, I am extremely glad to see you.'
Upon which he called an officer; 'Go immediately,' said he, 'and cause
to be paid to this man out of my treasury one hundred pieces of gold;
let him have also. twenty loads of the richest merchandise in my store-
houses, and a sufficient guard to conduct him to his house.' After he
had given this charge to the officer, he bade the envious man farewell,
and proceeded on his march.
When I had finished the recital of this story to the genie, I em-
ployed all my eloquence to persuade him to imitate so good an
example, and to grant me pardon; but it was impossible to move his
'All that I can do for thee,' said he, 'is to grant thee thy life; but I
SA favourite story is related of the benevolence of one of the sons of Ali.
In serving at table, a slave had inadvertently dropped a dish of scalding broth
on his master. The heedless wretch fell prostrate, to deprecate his punishment,
and repeated a verse of the Koran : 'Paradise is for those who command
their anger.' I am not angry.' 'And for those who pardon offences.' 'I
pardon your offence.' 'And for those who return good for evil.' 'I give
you your liberty, and four hundred pieces of silver.'--Gibbon's Decline and
THE ENVIOUS MAN AND THE EIVIED. 59
must place thee under enchantment.' So saying, he seized me violently,
and carried me through the arched roof of the subterraneous palace,
which opened to give him passage. He ascended with me into the air
to such a height that the earth appeared like a little white cloud. He
then descended again like lightning, and alighted upon the summit of a
Here he took up a handful of earth, and, muttering some words which
I did not understand, threw it upon me. Quit,' said he, the form of
a man, and take that of an ape.' He instantly disappeared, and left
me alone, transformed into an ape and overwhelmed with sorrow, in a
strange country, not knowing whether I was near or far from my father's
I descended the mountain, and entered a plain level country, which
took me a month to travel over, and then I came to the seaside. It hap-
pened at the time to be perfectly calm, and I espied a vessel about
half a league from the shore. Unwilling to lose so good an opportunity,
I broke off a large branch from a tree, carried it into the sea, and placed
myself astride upon it, with a stick in each hand, to serve me for oars.
I launched out on this frail bark, and rowed towards the ship.
When I had approached sufficiently near to be seen, the seamen and
passengers on the deck regarded me with astonishment. In the mean-
time I got on board, and, laying hold of a rope, jumped upon the deck;
but having lost my speech, I found myself in great perplexity, and,
indeed, the risk I ran was not less than when I was at the mercy of
The merchants, being both superstitious and scrupulous, thought if
they received me on board I should be the occasion of some misfortune
to them during their voyage. On this account they said: Let us
throw him into the sea.' Some one of them would not have failed to
carry this threat into execution, had I not gone to the captain, thrown
myself at his feet, and taken hold of his skirt in a supplicating posture.
This action, together with the tears which he saw gush from my eyes,
moved his compassion. He took me under his protection, and loaded
me with a thousand caresses. On my part, though I had not power to
speak, I showed by my gestures every mark of gratitude in my power.
The wind that succeeded the calm continued to blow in the same
direction for fifty days, and brought us safe to the port of a city, well
peopled, and of great trade, where we cast anchor.
Our vessel was instantly surrounded by multitudes of boats full of
people. Amongst the rest, some officers of the sultan came on board,
and said: Our master rejoices in your safe arrival, and he beseeches
each of you to write a few lines upon this roll. The prime vizier, who,
besides possessing great abilities for the management of public affairs,
could write in the highest perfection, died a few days since, and the
sultan has made a solemn vow not to give the place to anyone who
cannot write equally well. No one in the empire has been judged
worthy to supply the vizier's place.'
60o TIE A4ABIAY NI GHITS' ENTER TA IANMEIENTS.
Those of the merchants who thought they could write well enough
to aspire to this high dignity wrote one after another what they thought
fit. After they had done, I advanced, and took the roll; but all the
people cried out that I would tear it, or throw it into the sea, till they
saw how properly I held the roll, and made a sign that I would write
in my turn. Their apprehensions then changed into wonder. How-
ever, as they had never seen an ape that could write, and could not be
persuaded that I was more ingenious than others of my kind, they
wished to take the roll out of my hand; but the captain took my part
once more. 'Let him alone,' said he; 'allow him to write.' Per-
ceiving that no one opposed my design, I took the pen, and wrote six
sorts of hands used among the Arabians, and each specimen contained
an extemporary distich or quatrain (a stanza of four lines) in praise of
the sultan. When I had done, the officers took the roll, and carried it
to the sultan.
The sultan took little notice of any of the writings except mine,
which pleased him so much that he said to the officers : Take the
finest horse in my stable, with the richest trappings, and a robe of the
most sumptuous brocade to put on the person who wrote the six hands,
and bring him hither.' At this command the officers could not forbear
laughing. The sultan was incensed at their rudeness, and would have
punished them had they not explained. Sir,' said they, we humbly
beg your majesty's pardon. These hands were not written by a man,
but by an ape.' 'What do you say?' exclaimed the sultan. 'Those
admirable characters, are they not written by the hands of a man?'
' No, sir,' replied the officers; 'we assure your majesty it was an ape,
who wrote them in our presence.' The sultan was too much surprised
at this account not to desire a sight of me, and therefore said: Do
what I command you, and bring me speedily that wonderful ape.'
The officers returned to the vessel, and showed the captain their
order, who answered: The sultan's command must be obeyed.'
Whereupon they clothed me with the rich brocade robe, and carried
me ashore, where they set me on horseback, whilst the sultan waited
for me at his palace with a great number of courtiers.
The procession commenced; the harbour, the streets, the public
places, windows, terraces, palaces, and houses, were filled with an
infinite number of people of all ranks, who flocked from every part of
the city to see me; for the rumour was spread in a moment that the
sultan had chosen an ape to be his grand vizier; and after having
served for a spectacle to the people, who could not forbear to express
their surprise by redoubling their shouts and cries, I arrived at the
I found the prince on his throne in the midst of the grandees; I
made my obeisance three times very low, and at last kneeled and
kissed the ground before him, and afterwards took my seat in the
posture of an ape. The whole assembly viewed me with admiration,
and could not comprehend how it was possible that an ape should so
THE ENVIOUS MJAN AND THE ENVIED. 61
well understand how to pay the sultan his due respect; and he himself
was more astonished than any. In short, the usual ceremony of the
audience would have been coin lets could I have added speech to my
The sultan dismissed his courtiers, and none remained by him but
the chief of the attendants of the palace, a little young slave, and my-
self. He went from his chamber of audience into his own apartment,
where he ordered dinner to be brought. As he sat at table, he made
me a sign to approach and eat with them ; to show my obedience, I
kissed the ground, arose, and placed myself at the table, and ate.
Before the table was cleared, I espied a standish, which I made a
sign to have brought me; having got it, I wrote upon a large peach
some verses expressive of my acknowledgment to the sultan, who,
TIE .SULTAN CU.ED TO 1f I'ROU1GIIT TO I 1 A (C'HESS-BOAIRD.
having read them, after I had presented the peach to him, was still
more astonished. When the things were removed, they brought him a
particular liquor, of which he caused them to give me a glass. I drank,
and wrote upon the glass some new verses, which explained the state
of happiness I was now in, after many sufferings. The sultan read
these likewise, and said: A man that was capable of composing such
poetry would rank among the greatest of men.
The sultan caused to be brought to him a chess-.board,1 and asked
me by a sign if I understood that game, and would play with him. I
kissed the ground; and laying my hand upon my head, signified that I
was ready to receive that honour. He won the first game ; but I won
SChess is said to have had its origin in the East. and to have been introduced
into Europe after the Crusades.
62 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
the second and third ; and perceiving he was somewhat displeased at
my success, I made a stanza to pacify him, in which I told him that
two potent armies had been fighting furiously all day, but that they
concluded a peace towards the evening, and passed the remaining part
of the night very amicably together upon the field of battle.
So many circumstances appearing to the sultan beyond what had
ever either been seen or known of apes, he determined not to be the
only witness of these prodigies himself, but having a daughter, called
the Lady of Beauty, sent for her, that she should share his pleasure.
The princess, who had her face unveiled, no sooner came into the
room than she put on her veil, and said to the sultan: Sir, I am sur-
prised that you have sent for me to appear before men. That seeming
ape is a young prince, son of a powerful sultan, and has been meta-
morphosed into an ape by enchantment. When I was just out of the
nursery, an old lady who waited on me was a most expert magician,
and taught me seventy rules of magic. By this science I know all
enchanted persons at first sight: I know who they are, and by whom
they have been enchanted; therefore do not be surprised if I should
forthwith restore this prince, in spite of the enchantments, to his own
form.' Do so, then,' interrupted the sultan, for you cannot give me
greater pleasure, as I wish to have him for my grand vizier, and bestow
you upon him for a wife.' I am ready, sire,' answered the princess, to
obey you in all things you please to command.'
The princess, the Lady of Beauty, went into her apartment, and
brought thence a knife, which had some Hebrew words engraven on the
blade; she made the sultan, the little slave, and myself, descend into a
private court of the palace, and there left us under a gallery that went
round it. She placed herself in the middle of the court, where she
made a great circle, and within it she wrote several words in ancient
When she had finished and prepared the circle, she placed herself in
the centre of it, where she began incantations, and repeated verses of
the Koran. The air grew insensibly dark, as if it had been night; we
found ourselves struck with consternation, and our fear increased when
we saw the genie appear suddenly in the shape of a lion1 of a gigantic
This same power of changing the form has found a place in ancient and
modern story. The Proteus of heathen mythology ever found means of safety
and protection by his sudden assumption of some new form and shape.
Quo teneam vultus mntantem Protea nodo ?'
One of Walter Scott's happiest delineations is the Goblin Page,' described in
'The Lay of the Last Minstrel,' who in every new freak of mischief escaped
alike retribution and discovery by his power of changing and transmutation:
'For, at a word, be it understood,
He was always for ill, and never for good:
THE ENVIOUS MAN AND THE ENVIED. 63
'Thou shalt pay dearly,' said the lion, for the trouble thou hast
given me in coming here.' In saying this, he opened his horrible jaws,
and advanced forward to devour her; but she, being on her guard,
jumped back, and had just time to pluck out a hair; and pronouncing
two or three words, she changed it into a sharp scythe, with which she
immediately cut the lion in two pieces, through the middle.
The two parts of the lion directly disappeared, and the head changed
into a large scorpion. The princess then took the form of a serpent,
and fought the scorpion, which, finding itself defeated, changed into an
eagle, and flew away. But the serpent then became another eagle,
black, and very large, and went in pursuit of it. We now lost sight of
them for some time.
Shortly after they had disappeared, the earth opened before us, and a
black and white cat appeared, the hairs of which stood quite on end,
and which made a most horrible mewing. A black wolf directly
followed after her, and gave her no time to rest. The cat, being thus
hard pressed, changed into a worm, and hid itself in a pomegranate
which lay by accident on the ground; but the pomegranate swelled
immediately, and became as big as a gourd, which, lifting itself up to
the roof of the gallery, rolled there for some time backward and for-
ward; it then fell down again into the court, and broke into several
The wolf had in the meanwhile transformed itself into a cock, and
now fell to picking up the seeds of the pomegranate one after another;
but, finding no more, he came towards us with his wings spread, making
a great noise, as if he would ask us whether there were any more
seed. There was one lying on the brink of the canal, which the cock
perceiving as he went back, ran speedily thither; but just as he was
going to pick it up, the seed rolled into a fountain and turned into
a little fish.
The cock, flying towards the fountain, turned into a pike, and pursued
the small fish; they continued both under water above two hours, and
we knew not what was become of them ; but suddenly we heard terrible
Seem'd to the boy some comrade gay,
Led him forth to the woods to play;
On the drawbridge the warders stout
Saw a terrier and lurcher passing out.'
Milton attributes the same power to Comus:
'Soon as the potion works, their human countenance,
The express resemblance of the gods, is changed
Into some brutish form of wolf or bear,
Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat-
All other parts remaining as they were;
And they, so perfect is their misery,
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
But boast themselves more comely than before,
And all their friends and native home forget.'
64 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTER TAINMIENTS.
cries, which made us tremble, and a little while after we saw the genie
and princess all in flames. They threw flashes of fire out of their
mouths at each other, till they came to close combat; then the two fires
increased, with a thick, burning smoke, which mounted so high that we
had reason to apprehend it would set the palace on fire. But we very
soon had a more pressing occasion of fear, for the genie, having got
loose from the princess, came to the gallery where we stood, and blew
flames of fire upon us. We must all have perished had not the prin-
cess, running to our assistance, forced him to retire and defend himself
against her; yet, notwithstanding all her exertions, she could not hinder
the sultan's beard from being burned, and his face scorched, and a spark
from entering my right eye and making it blind. The sultan and I
expected nothing but death, when we heard a cry of Victory victory!'
and instantly the princess appeared in her natural shape; but the genie
was reduced to a heap of ashes.
The princess approached us, and hastily called for a cupful of water,
which the young slave, who had received no hurt, brought her. She
took it, and, after pronouncing some words over it, threw it upon me,
saying, If thou art become an ape by enchantment, change thy shape,
and take that of a man, which thou hadst before.' These words were
hardly uttered, when I again became a man, in every respect as I was
before my transformation, excepting the loss of my eye.
I was preparing to return the princess my thanks, but she prevented
me by addressing herself to her father: Sir, I have gained the victory
over the genie; but it is a victory that costs me dear. I have but a few
minutes to live; the fire has pierced me during the terrible combat, and
I find it is gradually consuming me. This would not have happened
had I perceived the last of the pomegranate seeds, and swallowed it, as
I did the others when I was changed into a cock; the genie had fled
thither as to his last intrenchment, and upon that the success of the
combat depended. This oversight obliged me to have recourse to fire,
and to fight with those mighty arms as I did, between heaven and
earth, in your presence; for, in spite of all, I made the genie know that
I understood more than he; I have conquered and reduced him to ashes,
but I cannot escape death, which is approaching.'
Suddenly the princess exclaimed, 'I burn, I burn I' She found that
the fire had at last seized upon her vital parts, which made her still cry,
'I burn!' until death had put an end to her intolerable pains. The
effect of that fire was so extraordinary, that in a few moments she was
wholly reduced to ashes, as the genie had been.
I cannot tell you, madam, how much I was grieved at so dismal a
spectacle; I had rather all my life have continued an ape or a dog, than
to have seen my benefactress thus miserably perish. The sultan cried
piteously, and beat himself on his head and breast, until, being quite
overcome with grief, he fainted away. In the meantime, the attendants
and officers came running at the sultan's lamentations, and with much
difficulty brought him to himself.
THE ENVIOUS MAN AND THE ENVIED. 65
When the knowledge of the death of the princess had spread through
the palace and the city, all the people greatly bewailed. Public
mourning was observed for seven days, and many ceremonies were
performed. The ashes of the genie were thrown into the air; but those
of the princess were collected into a precious urn, to be preserved; and
the urn was deposited in a superb mausoleum,' constructed for that
purpose on the spot where the princess had been consumed.
The grief of the sultan for the loss of his daughter confined him to his
chamber for a whole month. Before he had fully recovered his
strength, he sent for me, and said, You are the cause of all these
misfortunes; depart hence, therefore, in peace, without further delay,
and take care never to appear again in my dominions on penalty of thy
I was obliged to quit the palace, again cast down to a low estate, and
an outcast from the world. Before I left the city, I went into a bagnio,
where I caused my beard and eyebrows to be shaved, and put on a
calender's robe. I passed through many countries without making
myself known; at last I resolved to visit Bagdad, in hopes of meeting
with the Commander of the Faithful, to move his compassion by relating
to him my unfortunate adventures. I arrived this evening, and the first
man I met was this calender, our brother, who spoke before me. You
know the remaining part, madam, and the cause of my having the
honour to be here.
When the second calendar had concluded his story, Zobeide, to
whom he had addressed his speech, said, 'It is well; you are at
liberty;' but instead of departing, he also petitioned the lady to show
him the same favour vouchsafed to the first calender, and went and sat
down by him.
Then the third calender, knowing it was his turn to speak, addressed
himself like the others to Zobeide, and began his history as follows:
SThe erection of these tombs over the supposed effigy or the real remains of
the deceased, is often mentioned in these tales. The same type of tomb, with
its dome or cupola, prevails throughout. A structure of a similar fashion is
celebrated in history as the Taj Mahal at Agra, erected by the Shah Jehar in
memory of his queen, Mumtaz Mahal. It stands on a marble terrace over the
Jamna, and is surrounded by extensive gardens. The building itself on the
outside is of white marble, with a high cupola and four minarets. In the centre
of the inside is a lofty hall of a circular form under a dome, in the middle of
which is the tomb, enclosed within an open screen of elaborate tracery formed
of marble and mosaics. The materials are lapis lazuli, jasper, bloodstone, a sort
of golden stone (not well understood), agates, cornelian, jade, and various
other stones. A single flower in the screen contains a hundred stones ; 'and
yet,' says Bishop Heber, 'though everything is finished like an ornament for
a drawing-room chimney-piece, the general effect is rather solemn and im-
pressive than gaudy.'-Elphinstone's 'India,' p. 528; and 'Asiatic Researches,'
vol. v., p. 434.
THE HISTORY OF THE THIRD CALENDER.
MY story, 0 honourable lady, differs from those you have already
heard. The two princes who have spoken before me have each lost an
eye by events beyond their own control; but I lost mine through my
My name is Agib; I am the son of a sultan. After his death I took
possession of his dominions, and continued in the city where he had
resided. My kingdom is composed of several fine provinces upon the
mainland, besides a number of valuable islands. My first object was
to visit the provinces ; I afterwards caused my whole fleet to be fitted
out, and went to my islands to gain the hearts of my subjects by my
presence, and to confirm them in their loyalty. These voyages gave
me some taste for navigation, in which I took so much pleasure, that
I resolved to make some discoveries beyond my own territories;
to which end I caused ten ships to be fitted out, embarked, and set
Our voyage was very pleasant for forty days successively; but on the
forty-first night the wind became contrary, and so boisterous that we
were nearly lost. I gave orders to steer back to my own coast; but I
perceived at the same time that my pilot knew not where we were.
Upon the tenth day a seaman, being sent to look out for land from the
masthead, gave notice that he could see nothing but sky and sea, but
that right ahead he perceived a great blackness.
The pilot changed colour at this account, and, throwing his turban on
the deck with one hand, and beating his breast with the other, cried,
Oh, sir, we are all lost I Not one of us can escape; and with all my
skill it is not in my power to effect our deliverance !' I asked him what
reason he had thus to despair. He exclaimed, The tempest has
brought us so far out of our course, that to-morrow about noon we shall
be near the black mountain, or mine of adamant, which at this very
minute draws all your fleet towards it, by virtue of the iron in your ships;
and when we approach within a certain distance, the attraction of the
adamant will have such force that all the nails will be drawn out of the
sides and bottoms of the ships, and fasten to the mountain, so that
your vessels will fall to pieces and sink This mountain,' continued
the pilot, 'is inaccessible. On the summit there is a dome of fine brass,
THE HISTORY OF THE THIRD CALENDER.
supported by pillars of the same metal, and on the top of that dome
stands a horse, likewise of brass, with a rider on his back, who has a
plate of lead fixed to his breast, upon which some talismanic characters
are engraven. Sir, the tradition is, that this statue is the chief cause
why so many ships and men have been lost and sunk in this place, and
that it ever will continue to be fatal to all those who have the misfor-
tune to approach, until it shall be thrown down.'
The pilot, having finished his discourse, began to weep afresh, and all
the rest of the ship's company did the same, and they took farewell of
The next morning we distinctly perceived the black mountain. About
noon we were so near that we found what the pilot had foretold to be
true; for all the nails and iron in the ships flew towards the mountain,
where they fixed, by the violence of the attraction, with a horrible
noise; the ships split asunder, and their cargoes sunk into the sea. All
my people were drowned; but God had mercy on me, and permitted
me to save myself by means of a plank, which the wind drove ashore
just at the foot of the mountain. I did not receive the least hurt; and
my good-fortune brought me to a landing-place, where there were steps
that led up to the summit of the mountain.
At last I reached the top without accident. I went into the dome,
and, kneeling on the ground, gave God thanks for His mercies.
I passed the night under the dome. In my sleep an old, grave man
appeared to me, and said, Hearken, Agib As soon as thou art awake
dig up the ground under thy feet; thou wilt find a bow of brass, and
three arrows of lead. Shoot the three arrows at the statue, and the
rider and his horse will fall into the sea. This being done, the sea will
swell and rise to the foot of the dome. When it has come so high, thou
wilt perceive a boat with one man holding an oar in each hand; this
man is also of metal, but different from that thou hast thrown down.
Step on board, but without mentioning the name of God, and lot him
conduct thee. He will, in ten days' time, bring thee into another sea,
where thou shalt find an opportunity to return to thy country, provided,
as I have told thee, thou dost not mention the name of God during the
When I awoke I felt much comforted by the vision, and did not fail
to observe everything that the old man had commanded me. I took
the bow and arrows out of the ground, shot at the horseman, and with
the third arrow I overthrew him and the horse. In the meantime, the
sea swelled and rose up by degrees. When it came as high as the foot
of the dome upon the top of the mountain, I saw, afar off, a boat row-
ing towards me, and I returned God thanks.
When the boat made land I stepped aboard, and took great heed not
to pronounce the name of God, neither spoke I one word. I sat down,
and the man of metal began to row off from the mountain. He rowed
without ceasing till the ninth day, when I saw some islands, which
gave me hopes that I should escape all the danger that I feared. The
68 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
excess of my joy made me forget what I was forbidden: God is great;
God be praised I' said I.
I had no sooner spoken than the boat and man sunk, casting me
upon the sea. I swam until night, when, as my strength began to fail,
a wave vast as a mountain threw me on the land. The first thing I did
was to strip, and to dry my clothes.
On the next morning I went forward to discover what sort of country
I was in. I had not walked far before I found I was upon a desert, though
a very pleasant island, abounding with trees and wild shrubs bearing
fruit. I recommended myself to God, and prayed Him to dispose of me
according to His will. Immediately after I saw a vessel coming from
the mainland, before the wind, directly towards the island. I got up
into a very thick tree, from whence, though unseen, I might safely view
them. The vessel came into a little creek, where ten slaves landed,
carrying a spade and other instruments for digging up the ground. They
went towards the middle of the island, where they dug for a consider-
able time, after which they lifted up a trap-door. They returned again
to the vessel, and unloaded several sorts of provisions and furniture,
which they carried to the place where they had been digging; they then
descended into a subterraneous dwelling.
I saw them once more go to the ship, and return soon after with an old
man, who led in his hand a handsome lad of about fifteen years of age.
They all descended when the trap-door had been opened. After they
had again come up, they let down the trap-door, covered it over with
earth, and returned to the creek where the ship lay; but I saw not the
young man in their company. This made me believe that he had stayed
behind in the subterraneous cavern.
The old man and the slaves went on board, and steered their course
towards the mainland. When I perceived they had proceeded to such
a distance that I could not be seen by them, I came down from the
tree, and went directly to the place where I had seen the ground broken.
I removed the earth by degrees, till I came to a stone two or three feet
square. I lifted it up, and found that it covered the head of a flight of
stairs, also of stone. I descended, and at the bottom found myself in
a large room, brilliantly lighted, and furnished with a carpet, a couch
covered with tapestry, and cushions of rich stuff, upon which the young
man sat. The young man, when he perceived me, was considerably
alarmed; but I made a low obeisance, and said to him, Sir, do not
fear. I am a king, and I will do you no harm. On the contrary, it is
probable that your good destiny may have brought me hither to deliver
you out of this tomb, where it seems you have been buried alive. But
what surprises me (for you must know that I have seen all that hath
passed since your coming into this island) is, that you suffered yourself
to be entombed in this place without any resistance.'
The young man, much assured at these words, with a smiling counten-
ance requested me to seat myself by him. As soon as I was seated, he
said, Prince, my story will surprise you. My father is a jeweller. He
THE HISTORY OF THE THIRD CALENDER. 69
has many slaves, and also agents at the several courts, which he
furnishes with precious stones. He had been long married without
having issue, when he dreamt that he should have a son, though his
life would be but short. Some time after, I was born, which occasioned
great joy in the family. My father, who had observed the very moment
of my birth, consulted astrologers about my nativity, and was answered,
" Your son shall live happily till the age of fifteen, when his life will be
exposed to a danger which he will hardly be able to escape; but if his
good destiny preserve him beyond that time, he will live to a great age
It will be," said they, "when the statue of brass, that stands upon the
summit of the mountain of adamant, shall be thrown into the sea by
Prince Agib, and, as the stars prognosticate, your son will be killed fifty
days afterwards by that prince."
'My father took all imaginable care of my education until this year,
which is the fifteenth of my age. He had notice given him yesterday
that the statue of brass had been thrown into the sea about ten days
ago. This news alarmed him much; and, in consequence of the pre-
diction of the astrologers, he took the precaution to form this subterra-
nean habitation to hide me in during the fifty days after the throwing
down of the statue; and, therefore, as it is ten days since this happened,
he came hastily hither to conceal me, and promised at the end of forty
days to return and fetch me away. For my own part, I am sanguine
in my hopes, and cannot believe that Prince Agib will seek for me in a
place underground, in the midst of a desert island.'
He had scarcely done speaking when I told him, with great joy:
'Dear sir, trust in the goodness of God, and fear nothing. I will not
leave you till the forty days have expired of which the foolish astro-
logers have made you apprehensive; and in the meanwhile I will do
you all the service in my power; after which, with leave of your father
and yourself, I shall have the benefit of getting to the mainland in your
vessel; and when I am returned into my kingdom I will remember the
obligations I owe you, and endeavour to demonstrate my gratitude by
This discourse encouraged the jeweller's son, and inspired him with
confidence. I took care not to inform him I was the very Agib whom
he dreaded, lest I should alarm his fears. I found the young man of
ready wit, and partook with him of his provisions, of which he had
enough to have lasted beyond the forty days, though he had had more
guests than myself. In short, madam, we spent thirty-nine days in
the pleasantest manner possible in this subterranean abode.
The fortieth day appeared; and in the morning, when the young
man awoke, he said to me, with a transport of joy that he could not
restrain: 'Prince, this is the fortieth day and I am not dead, thanks to
God and your good company. My father will not fail to make you,
very shortly, every acknowledgment of his gratitude for your attentions,
and will furnish you with every necessary for your return to your king-
dom. But,' continued he, while we are waiting his arrival, dear
70 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
prince, pray do me the favour to fetch me a melon and some sugar,
that I may eat some to refresh me.'
Out of several melons that remained I took the best, and laid it on a
plate; and as I could not find a knife to cut it with, I asked the young
man if he knew where there was one. There is one,' said he, 'upon
this cornice over my head.' I accordingly saw it there, and made so
much haste to reach it that, while I had it in my hand, my foot being
entangled in the carpet, I fell most unhappily upon the young man,
and the knife pierced his heart.
At this spectacle I cried out with agony. I beat my head, my face,
and breast; I tore my clothes; I threw myself on the ground with un-
speakable sorrow and grief. I would have embraced death without
any reluctance had it presented itself to me. But what we wish,
whether it be good or evil, will not always happen according to our
desire.' Nevertheless, considering that all my tears and sorrows would
not restore the young man to life, and the forty days being expired I
might be surprised by his father, I quitted the subterranean dwelling,
laid down the great stone upon the entrance, and covered it with earth.
I again ascended into the tree which had previously sheltered me,
when I saw the expected vessel approaching the shore.
The old man with his slaves landed immediately, and advanced
towards the subterranean dwelling with a countenance that showed
some hope; but when they saw the earth had been newly removed
they changed colour, particularly the old man. They lifted up the
stone, and descended the stairs. They called the young man by his
name, but no answer was returned. Their fears redoubled. They
searched about, and at last found him stretched on his couch, with the
knife through his heart, for I had not had the courage to draw it out.
On seeing this they uttered such lamentable cries that my tears flowed
afresh. The unfortunate father continued a long while insensible, and
made them more than once despair of his life; but at last he came to
himself. The slaves then brought up his son's body, dressed in his best
apparel, and when' they had made a grave they buried it. The old
man, supported by two slaves and his face covered with tears, threw
the first earth upon the body, after which the slaves filled up the grave.
This being done, all the furniture was brought up and, with the re-
maining provisions, put on board the vessel. The old man, overcome
with sorrow, was carried upon a litter to the ship, which stood out to
sea, and in a short time was out of sight.
After the old man and his slaves were gone I was left alone upon the
1 Sugar has been traced to the Arabic succar, which is the Persian shachar.
The sugar-cane is a jointed reed, crowned with leaves or blades ; it contains a
soft, pithy substance, full of sweet juice. The people of Egypt eat a great
quantity of the green sugar-canes, and make a coarse loaf-sugar, and also sugar-
candy, and some very fine sugar, sent to Constantinople to the Grand Signor,
which is very dear, being made only for that purpose.-Dr. Richard Pocock.
'Travels,' vol. i., p. 204.
THE HISTORY OF THE THIRD CALENDER. 71
island. I lay that night in the subterranean dwelling, which they had
shut up, and when the day came I walked round the island.
I led this wearisome life for a whole month. At the expiration of
this time I perceived that the sea sunk so low that there remained be-
tween me and the continent but a small stream, which I crossed, and
the water did not reach above the middle of my leg. At last I got
upon more firm ground; and when I had proceeded some distance
from the sea I saw a good way before me something that resembled a
great fire, which afforded me some comfort; for I said to myself, I shall
here find some persons, it not being possible that this fire should kindle
of itself. As I drew nearer, however, I found my error, and discovered
that what I had taken for a fire was a castle of red copper, which the
beams of the sun made to appear at a distance like flames. As I won-
dered at this magnificent building, I saw ten handsome young men
coming along; but what surprised me was that they were all blind of
the right eye. They were accompanied by an old man, very tall, and
of a venerable aspect.
As I was conjecturing by what adventure these men could come
together, they approached and seemed glad to see me. After we had
made our salutations, they inquired what had brought me thither. I
told them my story, which filled them with great astonishment.
After I had concluded my account, the young men prayed me to ac-
company them into the palace, and brought me into a spacious hall,
where there were ten small blue sofas set round, separate from one
another. In the middle of this circle stood an eleventh sofa, not so
high as the rest but of the same colour, upon which the old man before
mentioned sat down, and the young men occupied the other ten. But
as each sofa could only contain one man, one of the young men said to
me: Sit down, friend, upon that carpet in the middle of the room,
and do not inquire into anything that concerns us, nor the reason why
we are all blind of the right eye.'
The old man, having sat a short time, arose and went out; but he
returned in a minute or two, brought in supper, distributed to each
man separately his portion, and likewise brought me mine, which I
ate apart, as the rest did; and when supper was almost ended he pre-
sented to each of us a cup of wine.
One of the young men, observing that it was late, said to the old
man: You do not bring us that with which we may acquit ourselves
of our duty.' At these words the old man arose and went into a closet,
and brought out thence upon his head ten basins, one after another, all
covered with black stuff; he placed one before every gentleman,
together with a light.
They uncovered their basins, which contained ashes and powdered
charcoal; they mixed all together, and rubbed and bedaubed their
faces with it; and, having thus blackened themselves, they wept and
lamented, beating their heads and breasts, and crying continually,
'This is the fruit of our idleness and curiosity.'
72 THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
They continued this strange employment during the whole of the
night. I wished a thousand times to break the silence which had been
imposed upon me, and to ask the reason of their strange proceedings.
The next day, soon after we had arisen, we went out to walk, and then
I said to them : I cannot forbear asking why you bedaubed your faces
with black-how it has happened that each of you has but one eye. I
conjure you to satisfy my curiosity.'
One of the young men answered on behalf of the rest: Once more
we advise you to restrain your curiosity; it will cost you the loss of
your right eye.' 'No matter,' I replied; be assured that if such a
misfortune befall me I will not impute it to you, but to myself.'
He further represented to me that when I had lost an eye I must
not hope to remain with them, if I were so disposed, because their
number was complete, and no addition could be made to it. I begged
them, let it cost what it would, to grant my request.
The ten youngg men, perceiving that I was so fixed in my resolution,
took a sheep, killed it, and, after they had taken off the skin, presented
me with a knife, telling me it would be useful to me on an occasion
which they would soon explain. We must sew you in this skin,' said
they, and then leave you; upon which a bird of a monstrous size,
called a roe, will appear in the air, and taking you for a sheep, will
pounce upon you, and soar with you to the sky. But let not that
alarm you; he will descend with you again, and lay you on the top of
a mountain. When you find yourself on the ground, cut the skin with
your knife and throw it off. As soon as the roc sees you, he will fly
away for fear and leave you at liberty. Do not stay, but walk on till
you come to a spacious palace covered with plates of gold, large
emeralds, and other precious stones. Go up to the gate, which always
stands open, and walk in. We have each of us been in that castle, but
will tell you nothing of what we saw or what befell us there; you will
learn by your own experience. All that we can inform you is that it
has cost each of us our right eye; and the penance which you have
been witness to is what we are obliged to observe in consequence of
having been there; but we cannot explain ourselves further.'
When the young man had thus spoken, I wrapt myself in the sheep's
skin, held fast the knife which was given me; and after the young men
had been at the trouble to sew the skin about me, they retired into the
hall, and left me alone. The roc they spoke of soon arrived; he
pounced upon me, took me in his talons like a sheep, and carried me
up to the summit of the mountain.
When I found myself on the ground, I cut the skin with the knife,
and throwing it off, the roc at the sight of me flew away. This roc is
a white bird, of a monstrous size ; his strength is such that he can lift
up elephants from the plains, and carry them to the tops of mountains,
where he feeds upon them.
Being impatient to reach the palace, I lost no time, but made so much
haste that I got thither in half a day's journey; and I must say that
THE HISTORY OF THE THIRD CALENDER. 73
I found it surpassed the description they had given me of its magnifi-
The gate being open, I entered a square court, so large that there
were round it ninety-nine gates of wood of sanders and aloes, and one
of gold, without reckoning those of several superb staircases, that led
to apartments above, besides many more which I could not see.
I saw a door standing open just before me, through which I entered
into a large hall. Here I found forty young women, of such perfect
beauty as imagination could not surpass; they were all most
sumptuously apparelled. As soon as they saw me they arose, and
without waiting my salutations, said to me, with tones of joy, Welcome !
welcome I We have long expected you. You are at present our lord,
master, and judge, and we are your slaves, ready to obey your
After these words were spoken, these ladies vied with each other in
their eager solicitude to do me all possible service. One brought hot
water to wash my feet; a second poured sweet-scented water on my
hands; others brought me all kinds of necessaries, and change of
apparel; others again brought in a magnificent collation; and the rest
came with glasses in their hands, to fill me delicious wines, all in good
order, and in the most charming manner possible. Some of the ladies
brought in musical instruments, and sang most delightful songs; while
others danced before me, two and two, with admirable grace. In short,
honoured madam, I must tell you that I passed a whole year of most
pleasurable life with these forty ladies. At the end of that time, I was
greatly surprised to see these ladies with great sorrow impressed upon
their countenances, and to hear them all say, 'Adieu, dear prince
adieu I for we must leave you.' After they had spoken these words
they began to weep bitterly. My dear ladies,' said I, 'have the kind.
ness not to keep me any longer in suspense; tell me the cause of your
sorrow.' Well,' said one of them, to satisfy you, we must acquaint
you that we are all princesses, daughters of kings. We live here to-
gether in the manner you have seen; but at the end of every year we
are obliged to be absent forty days, for reasons we are not permitted to
reveal; and afterwards we return again to this palace. Before we
depart we will leave you the keys of everything, especially those of the
hundred doors, where you will find enough to satisfy your curiosity,
and to relieve your solitude during our absence. But we entreat you
to forbear opening the golden door; for if you do, we shall never see
you again; and the apprehension of this augments our grief.' We
separated with much tenderness; and after I had embraced them all,
they departed, and I remained alone in the castle.
I determined not to forget the important advice they had given me,
not to open the golden door; but as I was permitted to satisfy my
curiosity in everything else, I took the first of the keys of the other
doors, which were hung in regular order.
I opened the first door, and entered an orchard, which I believe the
74 THE ARABIA N NIGHT'S' ENTER TA INMIENTS.
universe could not equal. I could not imagine anything to surpass it.
The symmetry, the neatness, the admirable order of the trees, the
abundance and diversity of unknown fruits, their freshness and beauty,
delighted me. Nor must I neglect to inform you that this delightful
garden was watered in a most singular manner; small channels, cut
out with great art and regularity, and of different lengths, carried water
in considerable quantities to the roots of such trees as required much
moisture. Others conveyed it in smaller quantities to those whose
fruits were already formed; some carried still less to those whose fruits
were swelling; and others carried only so much as was just requisite
to water those which had their fruits come to perfection, and only
wanted to be ripened. They far exceeded in size the ordinary fruits in
our gardens. I shut the door, and opened the next.
Instead of an orchard, I found here a flower-garden, which was no
less extraordinary in its kind. The roses, jessamines, violets, daffodils,
hyacinths, anemonies, tulips, pinks, lilies, and an infinite number of
flowers, which do not grow in other places but at certain times, were
there flourishing all at once; and nothing could be more delicious than
the fragrant smell which they emitted.
I opened the third door, and found a large aviary, paved with marble
of several fine and uncommon colours. The trellis-work was made of
sandal-wood and wood of aloes. It contained a vast number of nightin-
gales, goldfinches, canary-birds, larks, and other rare singing birds,
and the vessels that held their seed were of the most sparkling jasper
or agate. The sun went down, and I retired, charmed with the chirping
notes of the multitude of birds, who then began to perch upon such
places as suited them for repose during the night. I went to my
chamber, resolving on the following days to open all the rest of the
doors, excepting that of gold.
The next day I opened the fourth door. I entered a large court,
surrounded by forty gates, all open, and through each of them was an
entrance into a treasury. The first was stored with heaps of pearls;
and, what is almost incredible, the number of those stones which are
most precious, and as large as pigeon's eggs, exceeded the number of
those of the ordinary size. In the second treasury,1 there were
diamonds, carbuncles, and rubies ; in the third, emeralds ; in the fourth,
ingots of gold; in the fifth, money; in the sixth, ingots of silver; and
in the two following, money. The rest contained amethysts, chrysolites,
These tales were written shortly after the conquest of Persia, the riches of
which country may be reflected in these narratives. The naked robbers of
the desert were suddenly enriched beyond the measure of their hope and
knowledge. Each chamber revealed a new treasure secreted with art, or
ostentatiously displayed ; the gold and silver, the various wardrobes and pre-
cious furniture, surpassed (says Abulfeda) the estimate of fancy or numbers :
and another historian defines the untold and almost infinite mass by the fabulous
computation of thousands of thousands of pieces of gold.'--Gibbon's Decline
THE HISTORY OF THE THIRD CALENDER. 75
topazes, opals, turquoises, agate, jasper, cornelian, and coral, of which
there was a storehouse filled, not only with branches, but whole trees.
Thus I went through, day by day, these various wonders. Thirty-
nine days afforded me but just as much time as was necessary to open
ninety-nine doors, and to admire all that presented itself to my view,
so that there was only the hundredth door left, which I was forbidden
The fortieth day after the departure of those charming princesses
arrived, and bad I but retained so much self-command as I ought to
have had, I should have been this day the happiest of all mankind,
whereas now I am the most unfortunate. But through my weakness,
which I shall ever repent, and the temptations of an evil spirit, I opened
that fatal door I But before I had moved my foot to enter, a smell
pleasant enough, but too powerful for my senses, made me faint away.
However, I soon recovered; but instead of taking warning from this
incident to close the door and restrain my curiosity, I entered and found
myself in a spacious vaulted apartment, illuminated by several large
tapers placed in candlesticks of solid gold.
Among the many objects that attracted my attention was a black
horse, of the most perfect symmetry and beauty. I approached in
order the better to observe him, and found he had on a saddle and
bridle of massive gold, curiously wrought. One part of his manger was
filled with clean barley, and the other with rose water. I laid hold of
his bridle, and led him out to view him by daylight. I mounted, and
endeavoured to make him move; but finding he did not stir, I struck
him with a switch I had taken up in his magnificent stable. He had
no sooner felt the whip, than he began to neigh in a most horrible
manner, and extending wings, which I had not before perceived, flew
up with me into the air. My thoughts were fully occupied in keeping
my seat; and, considering the fear that had seized me, I sat well. At
length he directed his course towards the earth, and, lighting upon the
terrace of a palace, without giving me time to dismount, shook me
out of the saddle with such force as to throw me behind him, and
with the end of his tail he struck out my eye.
Thus it was I became blind of one eye. I then recollected the pre-
dictions of the ten young gentlemen. The horse again took wing, and
soon disappeared. I got up, much vexed at the misfortune I had
brought upon myself. I walked upon the terrace, covering my eye
with one of my hands, for it pained me exceedingly, and then de-
scended, and entered into a hall. I soon discovered by the ten sofas
in a circle and the eleventh in the middle, lower than the rest, that I
was in the castle whence I had been carried by the roc.
The ten young men seemed not at all surprised to see me, nor at the
loss of my eye; but said, We are sorry that we cannot congratulate
you on your return, as we could wish; but we are not the cause of your
misfortune.' I should do you wrong,' I replied, to lay it to your
charge; I have only myself to accuse.' 'If,' said they, it be a subject
76 TiHE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
of consolation to the afflicted to know that others share their sufferings,
you have in us this alleviation of your misfortune. All that has hap-
pened to you we have also endured; we each of us tasted the same
pleasures during a year; and we had still continued to enjoy them, had
we not opened the golden door when the princesses were absent. You
have been no wiser than we, and have incurred the same punishment.
We would gladly receive you into our company, to join with us in the
penance to which we are bound, and the duration of which we know
not. But we have already stated to you the reasons that render this
impossible; depart, therefore, and proceed to the court of Bagdad,1
where you will meet with the person who is to decide your destiny.'
After they had explained to me the road I was to travel, I departed.
On the road I caused my beard and eyebrows to be shaven, and
assumed a calender's habit. I have had a long journey, but at last I
arrived this evening, and met these my brother-calenders at the gate,
being strangers as well as myself. We were mutually surprised at one
another, to see that we were all blind of the same eye; but we had not
leisure to converse long on the subject of our misfortunes. We have
only had time enough to bring us hither, to implore those favours which
you have been generously pleased to grant us.
The third calender having finished this relation of his adventures,
Zobeide addressed him and his fellow-calenders thus: Go wherever
you think proper; you are at liberty.' But one of them answered,
Madam, we beg you to pardon our curiosity, and permit us to hear
the stories of your other guests who have not yet spoken.' Then the
lady turned to the caliph, the vizier Giafar, and Mesrour, and said to
them, It is now your turn to relate your adventures, therefore speak.'
The grand vizier, who had all along been the spokesman, answered
Zobeide: Madam, in order to obey you, we need only repeat what we
have already said to the fair lady who opened for us the door. We are
merchants come to Bagdad to sell our merchandise, which lies in the
khan 2 where we lodge. We dined to-day with several other persons of
our condition, at a merchant's house of this city; who, after he had
treated us with choice dainties and excellent wines, sent for men and
women dancers and musicians. The great noise we made brought in
1 Bagdad was founded in the 145th year of the Hejira or flight of Mahommed
to Medina, 767. It was destroyed by Hulakoo, grandson of Gengis Khan, in
the 656th of the Hejira, A.D. 1277, when the dynasty of the Abbassides was
'2 Khan, or caravansery, a large building of a quadrangular form, being one
story in height. The ground floor serves for warehouses and stables, while the
upper is used for lodgings. They always contain a fountain, and have cook-
shops and other conveniences attached to them in town. The erection of them
is considered meritorious both among Hindoos and Mussulmans. They are
erected on the sides of public highways, and are then only a seu of bare room
and outhouses.'-' Popular Cyclopuedia,' vol. ii., p. 108.
THE HISTORY OF THE THIRD CALENDER. 77
the watch, who arrested some of the company, and we had the good
fortune to escape; but it being already late, and the door of our khan
shut up, we knew not whither to retire. We chanced, as we passed
along this street, to hear music at your house, which made us determine
to knock at your gate. This is all the account that we can give you, in
obedience to your commands.'
Well, then,' said Zobeide, you shall all be equally obliged to me: I
pardon you all, provided you immediately depart.'
Zobeide having given this command, the caliph, the vizier, Mesrour,
the three calenders, and the porter, departed; for the presence of the
seven slaves with their weapons awed them into silence. As soon as
they had quitted the house, and the gate was closed after them, the
caliph said to the calenders, without making himself known, 'You,
gentlemen, who are newly come to town, which way do you design to
go, since it is not yet day?' It is this,' they replied, that perplexes
us.' Follow us,' resumed the caliph, and we will convey you out of
danger.' He then whispered to the vizier, Take them along with you,
and to-morrow morning bring them to me.
The vizier Giafar took the three calenders along with him; the
porter went to his quarters, and the caliph and Mesrour returned to
On the following morning, as the day dawned, the sultan Haroun al
Raschid arose, and went to his council-chamber, and sat upon his throne.
The grand vizier entered soon after, and made his obeisance. Vizier,'
said the caliph, 'go, bring those ladies and the calenders at the same
time; make haste, and remember that I impatiently expect your
The vizier, who knew his master's quick and fiery temper, hastened
to obey, and conducted them to the palace with so much expedition that
the caliph was much pleased.
When the ladies were arrived, the caliph turned towards them, and
said, I was last night in your house, disguised in a merchant's habit;
but I am at present Haroun al Raschid, the fifth caliph of the glorious
house of Abbas, and hold the place of our great prophet. I have only
sent for you to know who you are, and to ask for what reason one of
you, after severely whipping the two black dogs, wept with them. And
I am no less curious to know why another of you has her bosom so full
Upon hearing these words, Zobeide thus related her story:
THE STORY OF ZOBEIDE.
COMMANDER OF THE FAITHFUL, my story is truly wonderful. The two
black dogs and myself are sisters by the same father and mother. The
two ladies who are now here are also my sisters, but by another mother.
After our father's death, the property that he left was equally divided
among us. My two half-sisters left me, that they might live with their
mother. My two sisters and myself resided with our own mother. At
her death she left us three thousand sequins each. Shortly after my
sisters had received their portions they married; but their husbands,
having spent all their fortunes, found some pretext for divorcing them,
and put them away. I received them into my house, and gave them 1
a share of all my goods. At the end of a twelvemonth my sisters again
resolved to marry, and did so. After some months were passed they
returned again in the same sad condition; and as they accused them-
selves a thousand times, I again forgave them, and admitted them to
live with me as before, and we dwelt together for the space of a year.
After this I determined to engage in a commercial speculation. For
this purpose I went with my two sisters to Bussorah,2 where I bought
a ship ready fitted for sea, and laded her with such merchandise 3 as I
I The giving of alms is commanded in the Koran. Hasan, the son of Ali,
grandson of Mahommed, is related to have thrice in his life divided his sub-
stance equally between himself and the poor.'-Sale's 'Preliminary Disser-
tation,' p. 110.
2 'At the distance of fourscore miles from the Persian Gulf, the Euphrates
and Tigris unite in a broad and direct current. In the midway, between the
junction and the mouth of these famous streams, the new settlement of Bussorah
was planted on the western bank: the first colony was composed of eight
hundred Moslems ; but the influence of the situation soon reared a flourishing
and populous capital. The air, though excessively hot, is pure and healthy; the
meadows are filled with paln-trees and cattle; and one of the adjacent valleys
has been celebrated among the four paradises or gardens of Asia. Under the
first caliphs, the jurisdiction of this Arab colony extended over the southern
provinces of Persia ; the city has been sanctified by the tombs of the companions
and martyrs, and the vessels of Europe still frequent the port of Bussorah, as a
convenient station and passage of the Indian trade.'-Gibbon's 'Decline and
Fall,' 41, C.
3 Bussorah was built by the caliph Omar. The city has four kinds of inhabi-
tants-Jews, Persians, Mahommedans, and Christians. It is looked upon by the
-.--. I-.l~-~; ~
THE STORY OF ZOBEIDE. 79
had carried with me from Bagdad. We set sail with a fair wind, and
soon cleared the Persian Gulf; when we had reached the open sea,
we steered our course to the Indies; and the twentieth day saw land.
It was a very high mountain, at the bottom of which we perceived a
great town; having a fresh gale, we soon reached the harbour, and cast
I had not patience to wait till my sisters were dressed to go along
with me, but went ashore alone in the boat. Making directly to the
gate of the town, I saw there a great number of men upon guard, some
sitting, and others standing with weapons in their hands ; and they had
all such dreadful countenances that I was greatly alarmed; but per-
ceiving they remained stationary, and did not so much as move their
eyes, I took courage, and went nearer, when I found they were all
turned into stones. I entered the town and passed through several
streets, where at different intervals stood men in various attitudes, but
all motionless and petrified. In the quarter inhabited by the merchants
I found most of the shops open; I likewise found the people petrified.
Having reached a vast square, in the heart of the city, I perceived a
large folding gate, covered with plates of gold, which stood open; a
curtain of silk stuff seemed to be drawn before it; a lamp hung over
the entrance. After I had surveyed the building, I made no doubt but
it was the palace of the prince who reigned over that country; and
being much astonished that I had not met with one living creature, I
approached in hopes to find some. I lifted up the curtain, and was
surprised at beholding no one but the guards in the vestibule, all
I came to a large court. I went from thence into a room richly
furnished, where I perceived a lady turned into a statue of stone. The
crown of gold on her head, and a necklace of pearls about her neck,
each of them as large as a nut, proclaimed her to be the queen. I
quitted the chamber where the petrified queen was, and passed through
several other apartments richly furnished, and at last came into a large
room, where there was a throne of massy gold, raised several steps
Arabs as one of the most delightful spots in Asia. The commerce of Bussorah
consisted in the interchange of rice, sugar, spices from Ceylon, coarse white and
blue cottons from Coromandel, cardamom, pepper, sandalwood from Malabar,
gold and silver stuffs, brocades, turbans, shawls, indigo from Surat, pearls from
Bahara, coffee from Mocha, iron, lead, woollen cloths, etc.
S' There is a city in Upper Egypt (Ishmonie) called the petrified city, on
account of a great number of statues of men, women, and children, and other
animals, which are said to be seen there at this day : all which, as it is believed
by the inhabitants, were once animated beings, but were miraculously changed
into stone in all the various positions of falling, standing, eating, sitting, which
they acted at the instant of their supposed transubstantiation. We did not fail
to inquire after these things, and desired to have a sight of them ; but they told
us they were in a certain part, pointing westward, but were too sacred to be seen
by any except believers.'-Perry's View of the Levant.'
8o THE ARABIAN NIGHTS' ENTERTAINMENTS.
above the floor, and enriched with large inchased emeralds, and upon
the throne there was a bed of rich stuff embroidered with pearls.
What surprised me most was a sparkling light which came from above
the bed. Being curious to know whence it proceeded, I ascended the
steps, and, lifting up my head, saw a diamond as large as the egg of an
ostrich, lying upon a low stool; it was so pure that I could not find
the least blemish in it, and it sparkled with so much brilliancy that
when I saw it by daylight I could not endure its lustre.
At the head of the bed there stood on each side a lighted flambeau,
but for what use I could not comprehend; however, it made me imagine
that there must be some one living in the place, for I could not believe
that the torches continued thus burning of themselves.
The doors being all open, I surveyed some other apartments, that
were as beautiful as those I had already seen. In short, the wonders
that everywhere appeared so wholly engrossed my attention that I for-
got my ship and my sisters, and thought of nothing but gratifying my
curiosity. In the meantime night came on, and I tried to return by the
way I had entered, but I could not find it; I lost myself among the
apartments; and perceiving I was come back again to the large room,
where the throne, the couch, the large diamond, and the torches stood,
I resolved to take my night's lodging there, and to depart the next
morning early, to get aboard my ship. I laid myself down upon a
costly couch, not without some dread to be alone in a desolate place;
and this fear hindered my sleep.
About midnight I heard a man reading the Koran,i in the same tone
as it is read in our mosques. I immediately arose, and taking a torch
in my hand passed from one chamber to another, on that side from
whence the voice proceeded, until looking through a window I found it
to be an oratory. It had, as we have in our mosques, a niche,2 to direct
1 Koran (derived from the word Karaa, to read) signifies 'the Reading-that
which ought to be read.' It is the collection of revelations supposed to be given
from heaven to Mahommed during a period of twenty-three years. Some
were given at Mecca, and some at Medina. Each was regarded by some as a
mystery full of divine meaning. It is divided into thirty parts; and, as each
mosque has thirty readers, it is read through once a day. These readers chant
it in long lines with a rhythmical ending, and, in the absence of definite vowels,
they alone know the right pronunciation of the Koran.-Sale's 'Preliminary
Dissertation,' p. 56.
2 This is the kaaba or kebla, a sacred stone in the centre of the temple at
Mecca, over which is a lofty building, from which the name is by some said to
be derived-Caaba, high. Mr. Ferguson, in his lately published account of The
Holy Sepulchre,' thus describes it : The precept of the Koran is, that all men,
when they pray, shall turn towards the kaaba, or holy house at Mecca; and,
consequently, throughout the Moslem world, indicators have been put up to en-
able the Faithful to fulfil this condition. In India they face west ; in Barbary,
east ; in Syria, south. It is true that when rich men, or kings, built mosques,
they frequently covered the face of this wall with arcades, to shelter the
worshipper from the sun or rain. They enclosed it in a court that his
meditations might not be disturbed by the noises of the outside world. They