Supplemental Nights, Volume 6
by Richard F. Burton
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that which drank water during its life-time and ate meat after its death?" He answered saying, "This be the Rod[FN#198] of Moses the Prophet (upon whom be The Peace!) which, when a living branch[FN#199] struck water from its living root and died only when severed from the parent tree. Now Almighty Allah cast it upon the land of Egypt by the hand of Moses, what time this Prophet drowned Pharaoh and his host[FN#200] and therewith clove the Red Sea, after which that Rod became a dragon and swallowed up the wands of all the Magicians of Misraim." Asked she, "Give me tidings of a thing which is not of mankind nor of the Jann-kind, neither of the beasts nor of the birds?" He answered saying, "This whereof thou speakest is that mentioned by Solomon, to with the Louse,[FN#201], and secondly the Ant." She enquired, "Tell me to what end Almighty Allah created the creation and for what aim of wisdom did He quicken this creation and for what object did He cause death to be followed by resurrection and resurrection by the rendering men's accounts?" He answered saying, "God created all creatures that they might witness His handicraft, and he did them die that they might behold his absolute dominion and He requickened them to the end that they learn His All-Might, and He decreed their rendering account that they might consider His wisdom and His justice." She questioned him saying, "Tell me concerning three, of whom my first was not born of father and mother and yet died; and my second was begotten of sire and born of woman yet died not, and my third was born of father and mother yet died not by human death?" He answered saying, "The first were Adam and Eve,[FN#202] the second was Elias[FN#203] the Prophet and the third was Lot's wife who died not the death of the general, for that she was turned into a pillar of salt." Quoth she, "Relate to me concerning one who in this world had two names?" and he answered saying, "This be Jacob, sire of the Twelve Tribes, to whom Allah vouchsafed the title of Israel, which is Man with El or God."[FN#204] She said, "Inform me concerning the Nakus, or the Gong,[FN#205] who was the inventor thereof and at what time was it first struck in this world?" He answered saying, "The Gong was invented by Noah, who first smote upon it in the Ark." And after this she stinted not to question him nor he to ree her riddles until evening fell, when quoth the King's daughter to the Linguist-dame, "Say thou to the young man that he may now depart, and let him come to me betimes next morning when, if I conquer him, I will give him drink of the cup his fellows drained; and, should he vanquish me, I will become his wife." Then the Tarjumanah delivered her message word for word, and the Youth went forth from the Princess with fire aflame in his heart and spent the longest of nights hardly believing that the morn would morrow. But when day broke and the dawn came with its sheen and shone upon all mankind, he arose from his sleep and fared with the first light to the palace where the King's daughter bade the Linguist-dame introduce him, and when he came in ordered him to be seated. As soon as he had taken seat she gave her commands to the Tarjumanah, who said, "My lady directeth thee to inform her what may be the tree bearing a dozen boughs, each clothed with thirty leaves and these of two colours, one half white and the other moiety black?" He answered saying, "Now that tree is the year, and its twelve branches are the dozen months, while the thirty leaves upon each of these are the thirty white days and the thirty black nights." Hereat quoth she, "Tell me, what tree was it bore many a bough and manifold leaves which presently became flesh and blood?" He answered saying, "This was the Rod of Moses the Prophet (upon whom be The Peace!) which was at first a tree but which after cutting became a serpent with flesh and blood." Continued she, "Inform me what became of Moses' Rod and Noah's Ark, and where now be they?" He answered saying, "They are at this tide sunken in the Lake of Tabariyyah,[FN#206] and both, at the end of time, will be brought out by a man hight Al-Nasiri.[FN#207] She pursued, "Acquaint me with spun yarn, whence did it originate and who was it first practised spinning the same?" He answered, saying, "Almighty Allah from the beginning of mankind ordered the Archangel Gabriel to visit Eve and say to her, 'Spin for thyself and for Adam waistcloths wherewith ye may veil your persons.'"[FN#208] She enquired, "Tell me concerning the Asafir,[FN#209] and why they were so called, and who first named them with such name?" He answered saying, "There was in the days of the Moses the Prophet (upon whom be The Peace!) a fowl called Fir, and in the time of Solomon the King (upon whom be The Peace!) all the birds paid him obedience, even as did all the beasts, and albeit each and every created thing was subject to the Prophet, withal this Fir would not show submission: so the Wise King sent a body of birds to bring him into the presence, but he refused to present himself. Presently they returned to the Prophet who asked them, "Where be Fir?" and they answered, "O our lord, 'Asa Fir,'[FN#210] whence that name hath clung to the fowls." She resumed, "Inform me of the two Stationaries and the two Moveables and the two Conjoineds and the two Disjoineds by jealousy and the twain which be eternal Foes." He answered saying, "Now the two Stationaries be Heaven and Earth and the two Moveables are the Sun and the Moon; the two Conjoineds are Night and Day and the two Disjoineds by jealousy are the Soul and the Body and the two Hostiles are Death and Life."[FN#211] On this wise the Linguist-dame ceased not to question him and he to reply solving all her problems until eve closed in. Then she bade him go forth that night and on the next day come again to her. Accordingly, the young Prince returned to his Khan and no sooner had he made sure that the morn had morrowed than he resolved to see if that day would bring him aught better than had come to him before. So arising betimes he made for the palace of the King's daughter and was received and introduced by the Tarjumanah who seated him as was her wont and presently she began, saying, "My lady biddeth thee inform her of a thing which an a man do that same 'tis unlawful; and if a man do not that same 'tis also unlawful." He answered, saying, "I will: this be the prayer[FN#212] of a drunken man which is in either case illegal." Quoth she, "Tell me how far is the interval between Heaven and Earth?" and he answered saying, "That bridged over by the prayer of Moses the Prophet[FN#213] (upon him be The Peace!) whom Allah Almighty saved and preserved." She said, "And how far is it betwixt East and West?" whereto he answered saying, "The space of a day and the course of the Sun wending from Orient unto Occident." Then she asked, "Let me know what was the habit[FN#214] of Adam in Paradise?" and he answered saying, "Adam's habit in Eden was his flowing hair."[FN#215] She continued, "Tell me of Abraham the Friend (upon whom be The Peace!) how was it that Allah chose him out and called him 'Friend?'"[FN#216] He answered saying, "Verily the Lord determined to tempt and to test him albeit he kenned right clearly that the Prophet was free of will yet fully capable of enduring the trial; natheless, He resolved to do on this wise that he might stablish before men the truth of His servant's trust in the Almighty and the fairness of his faith and the purity of his purpose. So the Lord bade him offer to Him his son Is'hak[FN#217] as a Corban or Sacrifice; and of the truth of his trust he took his child and would have slain him as a victim. But when he drew his knife with the purpose of slaughtering the youth he was thus addressed by the Most Highest Creator, 'Now indeed well I wot that thou gatherest[FN#218] me and keepest my covenant: so take thou yonder rain and slay it as a victim in the stead of Is'hak.' And after this he entitled him 'Friend.'" She pursued, "Inform me touching the sons of Israel how many were they at the time of the going forth from Egypt?" He answered, saying, "When they marched out of Misraim-land they numbered six hundred thousand fighting[FN#219] men besides women and children." She continued, "Do thou point out to me, some place on earth which is higher than the Heavens;" and he answered saying, "This is Jerusalem[FN#220] the Exalted and she standeth far above the Firmament." Then the Youth turning to the Linguist-dame, said, "O my lady, long and longsome hath been the exposition of that which is between us, and were thy lady to ask me for all time questions such as these and the like of them, I by the All-might of Allah shall return a full and sufficient answer to one and all. But, in lieu of so doing, I desire of thy mistress the Princess to ask of her one question and only one: and, if she satisfy me of the significance I claim therefor, let her give me to drain the cup of my foregoers whom she overcame and slew; and if she fail in the attempt she shall own herself conquered and become my wife—and The Peace!"[FN#221] Now this was said in the presence of a mighty host there present, the great of them as well as the small thereof; so the Tarjumanah answered willy-nilly, "Say, O Youth, whatso is the will of thee and speak out that which is in the mind of thee." He rejoined, "Tell thy lady that she deign enlighten me concerning a man who was in this condition. He was born and brought up in the highest of prosperity but Time turned upon him and Poverty mishandled him;[FN#222] so he mounted his father and clothed him with his mother[FN#223] and he fared forth to seek comfort and happiness at the hand of Allah Almighty. Anon Death met him on the way and Doom bore him upon his head and his courser saved him from destruction whenas he drank water which came neither from the sky nor from the ground. Now see thou who may be that man and do thou give me answer concerning him."[FN#224] But when the Princess heard this question, she was confused with exceeding confusion touching the reply to be replied in presence of a posse of the people, and she was posed and puzzled and perplext to escape the difficulty and naught availed her save addressing the Tarjumanah and saying, "Do thou bid this Youth wend his ways and remove himself until the morrow." The Linguist-dame did as she was bidden, adding, "And on the morrow (Inshallah!) there shall be naught save weal;" and the Prince went forth leaving the folk aghast at the question he had urged upon the King's daughter. But as soon as he left her the young lady commanded the Tarjumanah to let slaughter somewhat of the most toothsome poultry and to prepare them for food as her mistress might direct her; together with dainty meats and delicate sweetmeats and the finest fruits fresh and dried and all manner of other eatables and drinkables, and lastly to take a skin-bottle filled with good old wine. Then she changed her usual garb and donned the most sumptuous dress of all her gear; and, taking her Duenna and favourite handmaiden with a few of her women for comitive, she repaired to the quarters of the Youth, the King's son; and the time of her visit was the night-tide. Presently, reaching the Khan she said to her guardian, "Go thou in to him alone whilst I hide me somewhere behind the door and do thou sit between his hands;" after which she taught the old woman all she desired her do of dissimulation and artifice. The slave obeyed her mistress and going in accosted the young man with the salam; and, seating herself before him, said, "Ho thou the Youth! Verily there is here a lovely damsel, delightsome and perfect of qualities, whose peer is not in her age, and well nigh able is she to make the sun fare backwards[FN#225] and to illumine the universe in lieu thereof. Now when thou wast wont to visit us in the apartment of the Princess, this maiden looked upon thee and found thee a fair youth; so her heart loved thee with excessive love and desired thee with exceeding desire and to such degree that she insisted upon accompanying me and she hath now taken station at thy door longing to enter. So do thou grant her permission that she come in and appear in thy presence and then retire to some privacy where she may stand in thy service, a slave to thy will."[FN#226] The Prince replied, "Whoso seeketh us let enter with weal and welfare, and well come and welcome and fair welcome to each and every of such guests." Hereat the Princess went in as did all those who were with her, and presently after taking seat they brought out and set before the Youth their whole store of edibles and potables and the party fell to eating and drinking and converse, exchanging happy sayings blended with wit and disport and laughter, while the Princess made it her especial task to toy with her host deeming that he knew her not to be the King's daughter. He also stinted not to take his pleasure with her; and on this wise they feasted and caroused and enjoyed themselves and were cheered and the converse between them was delightful. The Duenna, however, kept plying the Prince with wine, mere and pure, until she had made him drunken and his carousal had so mastered him that he required her person of her; however she refused herself and questioned him of the enigma wherewith he had overcome her mistress; whilst he, for stress of drunkenness, was incapacitated by stammering to explain her aught thereof. Hereupon the Princess, having doffed her upper dress, propped herself sideways upon a divan cushion and stretched herself at full length and the Youth for the warmth of his delight in her and his desire to her anon recovering his speech explained to her the reply of his riddle. The King's daughter then joyed with mighty great joy as though she had won the world universal;[FN#227] and, springing to her feet incontinently, of her extreme gladness she would not delay to finish her disport with her wooer; but ere the morning morrowed she departed and entered her palace. Now in so doing she clean forgot her outer robes and the wine-service and what remained of meat and drink. The Youth had been overcome with sleep and after slumbering he awoke at dawn when he looked round and saw none of the company about him; withal he recognised the princely garments which were of the most sumptuous and costly, robes of brocade and sendal and suchlike, together with jewels and adornments: and scattered about lay sundry articles of the wine-service and fragments of the food they had brought with them. And from these signs of things forgotten he learnt that the King's daughter had visited him in person and he was certified that she had beguiled him with her wiles until she had wrung from him the reply of his question. So as soon as it was morning-tide he arose and went, as was his wont, to the Princess's palace where he was met by the Tarjumanah who said to him, "O Youth, is it thy pleasure that my lady expound to thee her explanation of the enigma yesterday proposed by thee?" "I will tell the very truth," answered he; "and relate to thee what befel me since I saw you last, and 'twas this. When I left you there came to me a lovely bird, delightsome and perfect of charms, and I indeed entertained her with uttermost honour and worship; we ate and we drank together, but at night she shook her feathers and flew away from me. And if she deny this I will produce her plumage before her father and all present." Now when the Sovran, the sire of the Princess, heard these words concerning his daughter, to wit, that the youth had conquered her in her contention and that she had fared to his quarters to the end that she might wring from him an explanation of the riddle which she was unable to ree or reply thereto, he would do naught else save to summon the Cohen[FN#228] and the Lords of his land and the Grandees of his realm and the Notables of his kith and kin. And when the Priest and all made act of presence, he told them the whole tale first and last; namely, the conditions to the Youth conditioned, that if overcome by his daughter and unable to answer her questions he should be let drain the cup of destruction like his fellows, and if he overcame her he should claim her to wife. Furthermore he declared that the Youth had answered, with full and sufficient answer, all he had been asked without doubt or hesitation; while at last he had proposed to her an enigma which she had been powerless to solve; and in this matter he had vanquished her twice (he having answered her and she having failed to answer him). "For which reason," concluded the King, "'tis only right that he marry her; even as was the condition between them twain; and it becometh our first duty to adjudge their contention and decide their case according to covenant and he being doubtless the conqueror to bid write his writ of marriage with her. But what say ye?" They replied, "This is the rightest of redes; moreover the Youth, a fair and a pleasant, becometh her well and she likewise besitteth him; and their lot is a wondrous." So they bade write the marriage writ and the Cohen, arising forthright, pronounced the union auspicious and began blessing and praying for the pair and all present. In due time the Prince went in to her and consummated the marriage according to the custom stablished by Allah and His Holy Law; and thereafter he related to his bride all that had betided him, from beginning to end, especially how he had sold his parents to one of the Kings. Now when she heard these words, she had ruth upon his case and soothed his spirit saying to him, "Be of good cheer and keep thine eyes clear and cool of tear." Then, after a little while the Princess bestowed upon her bridegroom a mint of money that he might fare forth and free his father and his mother. Accordingly the Prince, accepting her largesse, sought the King to whom he had pledged his parents (and they were still with him in all weal and welfare) and going in to him made his salam and kissed ground and told him the whole tale of the past and the conditions of death or marriage he had made with the King's daughter and of his wedding her after overcoming her in contention. So the monarch honoured him with honour galore than which naught could be more; and, when the Prince paid him over the moneys, he asked, "What be these dirhams?" "The price of my parents thou paidest to me," answered the other. But the King exclaimed, "I gave thee not to the value of thy father and mother moneys of such amount as this sum. I only largessed thee with a mare and a suit of clothes which was not defraying a debt but presenting thee with a present and thereby honouring thee with due honour. Then Alhamdolillah-laud be to the Lord, who preserved thee and enabled thee to win thy wish, and now arise and take thy parents and return in safety to thy bride." The Prince hereupon thanked him and praised Allah for the royal guerdon and favours and the fair treatment wherewith he had been entreated; after which he craved leave to receive his parents in charge and wend his ways. And when permission was granted to him, he wished all good wishes to the King and taking his father and his mother in weal and welfare he went his ways with them, in joy and gladness and gratitude for all blessings and benefits by Allah upon him bestowed, till he had returned to his bride. Here he found that his father-in-law had deceased during his absence, so he took seat in lieu of him upon the throne of the kingdom; and he and his consort, during all the days of their life in this world, ceased not eating and drinking in health and well-being and eating and drinking in joy and happiness and bidding and forbidding until they quitted this mundane scene to the safeguard of the Lord God. And here endeth and is perfected the history of the Youth, the King's son, and the sale of his parents and his falling into the springes of the Princess who insisted upon proposing problems to all her wooers with the condition that if they did not reply she would do them drain the cup of destruction and on this wise had slain a many of men; and, in fine, how she was worsted by and she fell to the lot of this youth whom Allah gifted with understanding to ree all her riddles and who had confounded her with his question whereto she availed not to reply; when his father-in-law died, succeeded to the kingdom which he ruled so well.[FN#229]

NOTE TO P. 82. {footnote [FN#219]]

The Musa (Moses) of the Moslems is borrowed from Jewish sources, the Pentateuch and especially the Talmud, with a trifle of Gnosticism which, hinted at in the Koran (chapt. xviii.), is developed by later writers, making him the "external" man, while Khizr, the Green prophet, is the internal. But they utterly ignore Manetho whose account of the Jewish legislator (Josephus against Apion, i. cc. 26, 27) shows the other or Egyptian part. Moses, by name Osarsiph=Osiris-Sapi, Osiris of the underworld, which some translate rich (Osii) in food (Siph, Seph, or Zef) was nicknamed Mosheh from the Heb. Mashah=to draw out, because drawn from the water[FN#230] (or rather from the Koptic Mo=water ushe=saved). He became a priest an An or On (Heliopolis), after studying the learning of the Egyptians. Presently he was chosen chief by the "lepers and other unclean persons" who had been permitted by King Amenophis to occupy the city Avaris lately left desolate by the "Shepherd Kings." Osarsiph ordained the polity and laws of his followers, forbidding them to worship the Egyptian gods and enjoining them to slay and sacrifice the sacred animals. They were joined by the "unclean of the Egyptians" and by their kinsmen of the Shepherds, and treated the inhabitants with a barbarity more execrable than that of the latter, setting fire to cities and villages, casting the Egyptian priests and prophets out of their country, and compelling Amenophis to fall back upon Ethiopia. After some years of disorder Sethos (also called Ramesses from his father Rampses) son of Amenophis came down with the King from Ethiopia leading great united forces, and, "encountering the Shepherds and the unclean people, they defeated them and slew multitudes of them, and pursued the remainder to the borders of Syria." Josephus relates this account of Manetho, which is apparently truthful, with great indignation. For the prevalence of leprosy we have the authority of the Hebrews themselves, and Pliny (xxvi. 2), speaking of Rubor AEgyptus, evidently white leprosy ending in the black, assures us that it was "natural to the AEgyptians," adding a very improbable detail, namely that the kings cured it by balneae (baths) of human blood.[FN#231]

Schiller (in "Die Sendung Moses") argues that the mission of the Jewish lawgiver, as adopted son (the real son?) of Pharoah's daughter, became "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," by receiving the priestly education of the royal princes, and that he had advanced from grade to grade in the religious mysteries, even to the highest, in which the great truth of the One Supreme, the omniscient, omnipotent God was imparted, as the sublime acme of all human knowledge, thus attributing to Moses before his flight into Midian, an almost modern conception of an essentially anthropomorphous Deity.

Further, that his conscious mission when he returned to Egypt was not merely the deliverance of his people from the Egyptian yoke, but the revelation to them of this great conception, and so the elevation of that host of slaves to the position of a nation, to whose every member the highest mystery of religion should be known and whose institutions should be based upon it. It is remarkable that Schiller should have accepted the fables of Manetho as history, that he should not have suspected the fact that the Egyptian priest wrote from motives of personal spite and jealousy, and with the object of poisoning the mind of Ptolemy against the learned Jews with whom he stood on terms of personal friendship. Thus he not only accepts the story that the Hebrews were expelled from Egypt because of the almost universal spread of leprosy among them, but explains at length why that loathsome and horrible disease should have so prevailed. Still Schiller's essay, written with his own charming eloquence, is a magnificent eulogy of the founder of the Hebrew nation.

Goethe ("Israel in der Wuste"), on the other hand, with curious ingenuity, turns every thing to the prejudice of the "headstrong man" Moses, save that he does grant him a vivid sentiment of justice. He makes him both by nature and education a grand, strong man, but brutal (roh) withal. His killing the Egyptian is a secret murder; "his dauntless fist gains him the favour of a Midianitish priest-prince . . . . under the pretence of a general festival, gold and silver dishes are swindled (by the Jews under Moses's instigation) from their neighbours, and at the moment when the Egyptians believe the Israelites to be occupied in harmless feastings, a reversed Sicilian vesper is executed; the stranger murders the native, the guest the host; and, with a horrible cunning, only the first-born are destroyed to the end that, in a land where the first-born enjoyed such superior rights, the selfishness of the younger sons might come into play, and instant punishment be avoided by hasty flight. The artifice succeeds, the assassins are thrust out instead of being chastised." (Quoted from pp. 99-100 "The Hebrews and the Red Sea," by Alexander W. Thayer; Andover, Warren F. Draper, 1883.) With respect to the census of the Exodus, my friend Mr. Thayer, who has long and conscientiously studied the subject, kindly supplied me with the following notes and permitted their publication.

Trieste, October 11, 1887.

My Dear Sir Richard,

The points in the views presented by me in our conversation upon the Hebrews and their Exodus, of which you requested a written exposition, are, condensed, these:

Assuming that the Hebrew records, as we have them, are in the main true, i.e. historic, a careful search must reveal some one topic concerning which all the passages relating to it agree at least substantially. Such a topic is the genealogies, precisely that which Philippsohn the great Jewish Rabbi, Dr. Robinson, of the Palestine researches, and all the Jewish and Christian commentators—I know no exception—with one accord, reject! Look at these two columns, A. being the passages containing the genealogies, B. the passages on which the rejection of them is based:

A. 1. Genesis xxiv. 32 to xxv. 25 (Births of Jacob's sons). 2. xxxv. 23-26 (Recapitulation of the above). 3. xlvi. 8-27 (List of Jacob and his sons, when they came into Egypt). 4. Ex. vi. 14-27 (Lineage of Aaron and Moses). 5. Numb. xxxvi. 1-2 (Lineage of Zelophehad). 6. Josh. vii. 17-18 (Lineage of Achan). 7. Ruth iv. 18-22 (ditto of David). 8. 1 Chron. ii. 9-15 (ditto). 9. Mat. i. 2-6 (ditto). 10. Luke iii. 32-37 (ditto). 11. Ezra vii. 1-5 (ditto of Ezra).

The lists of Princes, heads of tribes, the spies, the commission to divide conquered Palestine, contain names that can be traced back, and all coincide with the above.

B. 1. Gen. xv. 13. 2. Ex. xii. 40, 41. 3. Acts vii. 6.

These three give the 400 and the 430 years of the supposed bondage of the Bene Jacob, but are offset by Gen. xv. 16 (four generations) and Gal. iii. 17 (Paul's understanding of the 430 years).

4. The story of Joseph, beginning Gen. xxxvii. 2, gives us the dates in his life; viz., 17 when sold, 30 when he becomes Prime Minister, 40 when his father joins him.

5. 1 Chron. vi. 1-15 (Lineage of Ezra's brother Jehozadak, abounding in repetitions and worthless).

1. As between the two, the column A. is in my opinion more trustworthy than B.

2. By all the genealogies of the Davidian line we have Judah No. 1, Solomon No. 12. By Ezra's genealogy of his own family we have Levi No. 1, and Azariah (Solomon's High Priest) No. 12. They agree perfectly.

3. If there were 400 years of Hebrew (Bene Jacob) slavery between the death of Joseph and the Exodus, there were 400 - 80 = 320, between Joseph's death and the birth of Moses. If this was so there is no truth in the accounts of Moses and Aaron being the great-grandchildren of Levi (Levi, Kohath, Amram, Aaron and Moses). In fact, if Dr. Robinson be correct in saying that at least six generations are wanting in the genealogies of David (to fill the 400 years) the same must be lacking in all the early genealogies. Reductio ad absurdum!

4. Jacob, a young man, we will say of 40, is sent to Laban for a wife. He remains in Padan Aram twenty years (Gen. xxxi. 38), where all his sons except Benjamin were born, that is, before he was 60. At 130 he joined Joseph in Egypt (Gen. xlvii. 9). Joseph, therefore, born in Padan Aram was now, instead of 40, over 70 years old! That this is so, is certain. In Judah's exquisite pleadings (Gen. xliv. 18-34) he speaks of Benjamin as "the child of Jacob's old age," "a little one," and seven times he calls him "the lad." Benjamin is some years younger than Joseph, but when the migration into Egypt takes place-a few weeks after Judah's speech-Benjamin comes as father of ten sons (Gen. xlvi. 21), but here Bene Benjamin is used in its broad sense of "descendants," for in 1 Chron. vii. 6-12 we find that the "Bene" were sons, grandsons and great-grandsons. To hold that Joseph at 40 had a younger brother who was a great-grandfather, is, of course, utterly absurd.

5. According to Gen. xv. 18, the Exodus was to take place in the fourth generation born in Egypt, as I understand it.

Born in Egypt:—

Levi (father of) Kohath Judah (father of) Pharez Hezron

1. Amram 1. Ram 2. Aaron 2. Amminadab 3. Eleazar 3. Nahshon 4. Phinees 4. Salma

A conspicuous character in Numbers (xiii. 6, 30; xiv. 24, etc.) is Caleb. In the first chapter of Judges Caleb still appears, and Othniel, the son of his younger brother Kenaz, is the first of the so-called Judges (Jud. iii. 9). This also disposes of the 400 years and confirms the view that the Exodus took place in the fourth generation born in Egypt. Other similar proofs may be omitted—these are amply sufficient.

6. What, then, was the origin of the notion of the 400 years of Hebrew slavery?

If the Egyptian inscriptions and papyri prove anything, it is this: that from the subjugation of Palestine by one of the Thormes down to the great invasion of the hordes from Asia Minor in the reign of Ramses III., that country had never ceased to be a Pharaonic province; that during these four or five centuries every attempt to throw off the yoke had been crushed and its Semitic peoples deported to Egypt as slaves; that multitudes of them joined in the Exodus under Moses, and became incorporated with the Hebrews under the constitution and code adopted at Horeb (=Sinai? or Jebel Araif?). These people became "Seed of Abraham," "Children of Israel," by adoption, to which I have no doubt Paul refers in the "adoption" of Romans viii. 15-23; ix. 4; Gal. iv. 5; Eph. i. 5. In the lapse of ages this distinction between Bene Israel and Bene Jacob was forgotten, and therefore the very uncritical Masorites in their edition of the Old Testament "confounded the confusion" in this matter. With the disappearance of the 400 years and of the supposed two or three centuries covered by the book of Judges, the genealogies stand as facts. The mistake in the case of the Judges is in supposing them to have been consecutive, when, in fact, as the subjugations by neighbouring peoples were local and extended only over one or two tribes, half a dozen of them may have been contemporaneous.

7. Aaron and Moses were by their father Amram, great-grandchildren of Levi- -by their mother his grandchildren (Ex. vi. 20). Joseph lived to see his own great-grandchildren. Moses must have been born before Joseph's death.

8. There is one point determined in which the Hebrew and the Egyptian chronologies coincide. It is the invasion of Judea by Shishak of Egypt in the fifth year of Rehoboam, son of Solomon (1 Kings xiv. 25). Supposing the Egyptian chronology from the time of Minephtah II. to be in the main correct, as given by Brugsch and others, the thirteen generations, Judah—Rehoboam, allowing three to a century, take us back to just that Minephtah. In his reign, according to Brugsch, Pharaoh sent breadstuffs to the Chittim in "the time of famine." The Hebrew records and traditions connect Joseph's prime ministry with a famine. By the genealogies it could have been only this in the time of Minephtah.

9. The Bene Jacob were but temporary sojourners in Goshen and always intended to return to Canaan. They were independent and had the right to do so. See what Joseph says in Gen. i. 24-25. But before this design was executed came the great irruption of the depopulated all Palestine, in the time of Ramses III. Here was the opportunity for the Bene Jacob to enlarge their plans and to devise the conquest and possession of Palestine. According to Josephus, supported by Stephen (Acts vii. 22), Moses was a man "mighty in works"-a man of military fame. The only reasonable way of understanding the beginning of the Exodus story, is to suppose that, in the weakened condition of Ramses III., the Hebrew princes began to intrigue with the enslaved Semites-the Ruthenu of the Egyptian inscriptions—and this being discovered by the Pharaoh, Moses was compelled to fly. Meantime the intrigues were continued and when the time for action came, under one of Ramses' weak successors, Moses was recalled and took command.

10. This prepares us for the second query, which you proposed, that is as to the numbers who joined in the Exodus.

The Masoretic text, from which the English version of the Hebrew records is made, gives the result of the census at Sinai (=Horeb) as being 603,550 men, "twenty years old and upwards, that were able to go forth to war in Israel"-the tribe of Levi not included. On this basis it has been generally stated, that the number of the Bene Israel at the Exodus was three millions. Of late I find that two millions is the accepted number. The absurdity of even this aggregate is manifest. How could such a vast multitude be subsisted? How kept in order? How compelled to observe sanitary regulations? Moreover, in the then enfeebled state of Egypt, why should 603,550 armed men not have marched out without ceremony? Why ask permission to go to celebrate a sacrifice to their God?

But there is another series of objections to these two millions, which I have never seen stated or even hinted, to which I pray your attention.

The area of Palestine differs little from that of the three American States, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the most densely peopled of the Union, containing by the last census a population of somewhat less than two and a half millions.

By the second Hebrew census (Numb. xxvi.) taken just before the death of Moses, the army was 601,730; from which the inference has always been drawn, that at least 2,000,000, in the aggregate, Levites 23,000 males still excepted, entered and possessed the conquered territories.

Take now one of the late maps of Palestine and mark upon it the boundaries of the tribes as given in the book of Joshua. This second census gives the number of each tribal army to be inserted in each tribal territory. Reuben, 43,750; Judah, 76,500; Benjamin, 45,600, etc., etc. By Josh. xii. the land was then divided between some 40 petty kings and peoples, 31 of whom are named as having been subjected. If, now, Joshua's army numbered over 600,000, why was not the conquest made complete? Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut are divided into 27 counties. Suppose, now, that these counties were each a separate and independent little kingdom dependent upon itself for defence, what resistance could be made to an army of 600,000 men, all of them grown up during forty years of life in a camp, and in the full vigour of manhood? And yet Joshua was unable to complete his conquest! Again, the first subjugation of a part of the newly-conquered territory as noted in the book of Judges, was Judah and Simeon by a king of Edom.[FN#232] If Judah could put an army into the field of 76,500, and Simeon 22,500, their subjugation by a king of Edom is incredible, and the story absurd. Next comes King Eglon of Moab and subjugates the tribes of Reuben and Gad, east of the Dead Sea and the Jordan. And yet Reuben has an army of over 43,000, and Gad 45,000. And so on.

With an army of 60,000 only, and an aggregate of half a million of people led out of Egypt, all the history becomes instantly rational and trustworthy.

There remains one more bubble to be exploded.

Look at these figures, in which a quadruple increase—at least 25 per centum too great—is granted.[FN#233]

1st Generation, the Patriarchs, in number. . . . . . . . . . . 12 2nd Generation, Kohath, Pharez, etc. . . . . . . . . . . . ..48 3rd Generation, Amram, Hezron, etc.. . . . . . . . . . . . .192 4th Generation, Aaron and Moses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .768 Aggregate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1,020 Minus 25 per cent. for deaths, children, etc.. . . . . . . . .255 Actual number of Bene Jacob. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .765

But Jacob and his sons brought with them herdsmen, shepherds, servants, etc. Bunsen puts the number of all, masters and men, at less than 2,000.

Let the proportion in this case be one able-bodied man in four persons, and the increase triple.

1st Generation, the Patriarchs, in number. . . . . . . . . . .500 2nd Generation, Kohath, Pharez, etc. . . . . . . . . . . .1,500 3rd Generation, Amram, Hezron, etc.. . . . . . . . . . . .4,500 4th Generation, Aaron and Moses. . . . . . . . . . . . . 13,500 20,000 Minus 25 per centum as above . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5,000 15,000 Add the real Bene Jacob. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .765

Aggregate. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15,765

Were these people, while Joseph is still alive, the subjects of slavery as described in Ex. i.? Did they build Pithom and Ramses, store-cities?

The number is sufficient to lead in the great enterprise and to control the mixed multitude which was at Sinai, adopted as "Bene Israel," "Seed of Abraham," and divided among and incorporated with the tribes; but not sufficient to warrant the supposition that with so small a force the Hebrew leaders could for a moment have entertained the project of conquering Palestine.

A word more on the statement in Ex. i. 11: "And they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Ramses." All Egyptologists agree that these cities were built by Ramses II., or certainly not later than his reign. If the Hebrew genealogies are authentic, this was long before the coming of Jacob and his sons into Egypt.

(Signed) A.W. Thayer


Here we begin with the aidance of Allah Almighty, the Tale of the Warlock and the Young Cook of Baghdad.[FN#234]

It is related (and Allah is All knowing!) of a certain man which was a Warlock, that Destiny crave him from town to town until at last he entered Baghdad city and dismounted at a Khan of the Khans where he spent the night of arrival. Then, rising betimes next morning, he walked about the highways and wandered around the lanes and he stinted not passing from market street to market street, solacing himself with a sight of many places, till he reached the Long Bazar, whence he could descry the whole site of the city. Now he narrowly considered the land, and, lo and behold! it was a capital sans peer amongst the cities, where-through coursed the Dajlah River blended with the River Furat[FN#235] and over the united stream were thrown seven bridges of boats; all these were bound one to other for the folk to pass over on their several pursuits, especially for the pleasure seekers who fared forth to the palm orchards and the vergiers abounding in fruits while the birds were hymning Allah, the Sole, the All-conquering. Now one day as this Warlock was amusing himself amongst the markets he passed by the shop of a Cook before whom were set for sale dressed meats of all kinds and colours;[FN#236] and, looking at the youth, he saw that he was rising fourteen and beautiful as the moon on the fourteenth night; and he was elegant and habited in a habit as it had just come from the tailor's hand for its purity and excellent fit, and one had said that he (the artisan) had laboured hard thereat, for the sheen of it shimmered like unto silver.[FN#237] Then the Warlock considering the face of this Cook saw his colour wan as the hue of metal leaves[FN#238] and he was lean of limb;[FN#239] so he took station facing him and said to him, "The Peace be upon thee, O my brother," and said the other in reply, "And upon thee be The Peace and the Truth of Allah and His blessings: so well come to thee and welcome and fair welcome. Honour me, O my lord, by suffering me to serve thee with the noonday meal." Hereat the Wizard entered the shop and the Kitchener took up two or three platters white as the whitest silver; and, turning over into each one a different kind of meat set them between the hands of the stranger who said to him, "Seat thee, O my son." And when his bidding was obeyed he added, "I see thee ailing and thy complexion is yellow exceedingly: what be this hath affected thee and what is thy disorder and what limb of thy limbs paineth thee and is it long since thou art in such case?" Now when the Cook heard this say he drew a sigh of regret from the depths of his heart and the soles of his feet and quoth he weeping, "Allah upon thee, O my lord, remind me not of that hath betided me!" But quoth the other, "Tell me what may be thy disease and whereof cost thou complain; nor conceal from me thy pain; for that I am a physician and by aidance of Allah an experienced; and I have a medicine for thy malady." Hereat the youth fell to moaning and groaning and presently replied, "In very sooth, O my lord, I have nor pain nor complaint, save that I am a lover." The Warlock asked, "Art thou indeed a lover?" whereto the Cook make answer, "And not only a lover but a lover parted from his beloved." "On whom hangeth thy heart, say me?" continued the Mediciner and the youth replied, "Leave me for the nonce till such time as I am quit of my business, and return to me about mid-afternoon, that I may inform thee of mine affair and acquaint thee with the case I am in." The Warlock rejoined, "Arise now to thy work lest it be miswrought by loitering;" and so saying he ate whatso of meats had been served up to him and fared forth to thread the Bazars of Baghdad and solace himself by seeing the city. But when it was the hour of Al 'Asr—the mid afternoon prayer—he went back to the Cook and found that by this time he had wrought all his work, and as soon as the youth sighted him he rejoiced in him and his spirits were cheered and he said in his mind, "Haply joy shall come to me from the healing hand of this Mediciner;" so he shut his shop and taking with him his customer tried him to his own home. Now this young Kitchener was of amplest means which he had inherited from either parent; so as soon as they entered his quarters he served up food and the two ate and drank and were gladdened and comforted. After this quoth the guest to his host, "Now relate to me the manner of thy story and what is the cause of thy disorder?" "O my lord," quoth the youth, "I must inform thee that the Caliph Al-Mu'tazid bi'llah,[FN#240] the Commander of the Faithful, hath a daughter fair of favour, and gracious of gesture; beautiful delightsome and dainty of waist and flank, a maiden in whom all the signs and signals of loveliness are present, and the tout ensemble is independent of description: seer never saw her like and relator never related of aught that eveneth her in stature and seemlihead and graceful bearing of head. Now albeit a store of suitors galore, the grandees and the Kings, asked her from the Caliph, her sire refused to part with her, nor gave her neither would he give her to any one thereof. And every Friday when fare the folk to the Mosques that they pray the prayers of meeting-day, all the merchants and men who buy and sell and the very artisans and what not, leave their shops and warehouses[FN#241] and taverns[FN#242] unbolted and wide open and flock to congregational devotions. And at such time this rare maiden cometh down from her palace and solaceth herself with beholding the Bazars and anon she entereth the Hammam and batheth therein and straightway goeth forth and fareth homewards. But one Friday said I to myself, 'I will not go to the Mosque, for I would fain look upon her with a single look;' and when prayer- time came and the folk flocked to the fane for divine service, I hid myself within my shop Presently that august damsel appeared with a comitive of forty handmaidens all as full moons newly risen and each fairer than her fellows, while she amiddlemost rained light upon them as she were the irradiating sun; and the bondswomen would have kept her from sight by thronging around her and they carried her skirts by means of bent rods[FN#243] golden and silvern. I looked at her but one look when straightway my heart fell in love to her burning as a live coal and from mine eyes tears railed and until now I am still in that same yearning, and what yearning!" And so saying the youth cried out with an outcry whereby his soul was like to leave his body. "Is this case still thy case?" asked the Warlock, and the youth answered, "Yes, O my lord;" when the other enquired, "An I bring thee and her together what wilt thou give me?" and the young Cook replied, "My money and my life which shall be between thy hands!" Hereupon quoth the Mediciner, "Up with thee and bring me a phial of metal and seven needles and a piece of fresh Lign-aloes;[FN#244] also a bit of cooked meat,[FN#245] and somewhat of sealing-clay and the shoulder-blade of a sheep together with felt and sendal of seven kinds." The youth fared forth and did his bidding, when the Sage took the shoulder-blades and wrote upon them Koranic versets and adjurations which would please the Lord of the Heavens and, wrapping them in felt, swathed them with silken stuff of sevenfold sorts. Then, taking the phial he thrust the seven needles into the green Lign-aloes and set it in the cooked meat which he made fast with the sealing clay. Lastly he conjured over these objects with a Conjuration[FN#246] which was, "I have knocked, I have knocked at the hall doors of Earth to summon the Jann, and the Jann have knocked for the Jann against the Shaytan." Hereat appeared to me the son of Al bin Imran[FN#247] with a snake and baldrick'd with a basilisk and cried, "Who be this trader and son of a slave-girl who hath knocked at the ground for us this evening?" "Then do thou, O youth, reply, 'I am a lover and of age youthful and my love is to a young lady; and unto your gramarye I have had recourse, O folk of manliness and generosity and masterful deeds: so work ye with me and confirm mine affair and aid me in this matter. See ye not how Such an one, daughter of Such an one, oppression and wrong to me hath done, nor is she with me in affection as she was anon?' They shall answer thee, 'Let it be, as is said, in the tail;'[FN#248] then do thou set the objects upon a fire exceeding fierce and recite then over them, 'This be the business; and were Such-an- one, daughter of Such-an-one, within the well of Kashan[FN#249] or in the city Ispahan or in the towns of men who with cloaks buttoned tight and ever ready good fame to blight,[FN#250] let her come forth and seek union with the beloved.' Whereto she will reply 'Thou art the lord and I am the bondswoman.' " Now the youth abode marvelling at such marvel-forms and the Warlock having repeated to him these words three times, turned to him and said "Arise to thy feet and perfume and fumigate thy person and don thy choicest dress and dispread thy bed, for at this very hour thou shalt see thy mistress by thy side." And so saying the Sage cast out of hand the shoulder-blades and set the phial upon the fire. Thereupon the youth arose without stay or delay and bringing a bundle of raiment the rarest, he spread it and habited himself, doing whatso the Wizard had bidden him; withal could he not believe that his mistress would appear. However ere a scanty space of time had elapsed, lo and behold! the young lady bearing her bedding[FN#251] and still sleeping passed through the house door and she was bright and beautiful as the easting sun. But when the youth the Cook sighted her, he was perplex" and his wits took flight with his sense and he cried aloud saying, "This be naught save a wondrous matter!" "And the same," quoth the Sage, "is that requiredst thou." Quoth the Cook, "And thou, O my lord art of the Hallows of Allah," and kissed his hand and thanked him for his kindly deed. "Up with thee and take thy pleasure," cried the Warlock; so the lover crept under the coverlet into the bed and he threw his arms round the fair one and kissed her between the eyes; after which he bussed her on the mouth. She sensed a sensation in herself and straightway awaking opened her eyes and beheld a youth embracing her, so she asked him, "Ho thou, who art thou?" Answered he, "One by thine eyes a captive ta'en and of thy love the slain and of none save thyself the fain." Hereat she looked at him with a look which her heart for love longing struck and again asked him, "O my beloved; say me then, who art thou, a being of mankind or of Jann-kind?" whereto he answered, "I am human and of the most honourable." She resumed, "Then who was it brought me hither to thee?" and he responded, "The Angels and the Spirits, the Jinns and the Jann." "Then I swear thee, O my dearling," quoth she, "that thou bid them bear me hither to thine arms every night," and quoth he, "Hearkening and obeying, O my lady, and for me also this be the bourne of all wishes." Then, each having kissed other, they slept in mutual embrace until dawn. But when the morning morrowed and showed its sheen and shone, behold, the Warlock appeared and, calling the youth who came to him with a smiling face, said to him, "How was it with thy soul this night?"[FN#252] and both lovers cried, "We were in the Garden of Paradise together with the Hur and Ghilman:[FN#253] Allah requite thee for us with all weal." Then they passed into the Hammam and when they had bathed, the youth said, "O my lord, what shall we do with the young lady and how shall she hie to her household and what shall be the case of me without her?" "Feel no grief," said the other, "and quit all care of anything: e'en as she came so shall she go; nor shall any of Almighty Allah's creatures know aught of her." Hereat the Sage dismissed her by the means which conveyed her, nor did she cease to bear her bedding with her every night and to visit the youth with all joyance and delight. Now after a few weeks had gone by, this young lady happening to be upon the terrace roof of her palace in company with her mother, turned her back to the sun, and when the heat struck her between the shoulders her belly swelled; so her parent asked her, "O my daughter, what hast thou that thou justest out after this wise?" "I wot naught thereof," answered she; so the mother put forth her hand to the belly of her child and found her pregnant; whereupon she screamed and buffeted her face and asked, "Whence did this befal thee?" The women- attendants all heard her cries and running up to her enquired, "What hath caused thee, O our lady, such case as this?" whereto she replied, "I would bespeak the Caliph." So the women sought him and said, "O our lord, thou art wanted by our lady;" and he did their bidding and went to his wife, but at first sight he noted the condition of his daughter and asked her, "What is to do with thee and what hath brought on thee such calamity?" Hereupon the Princess told him how it was with her and he exclaimed as he heard it, "O my daughter, I am the Caliph and Commander of the Faithful, and thou hast been sought to wife of me by the Kings of the earth one and all, but thou didst not accept them as connections and now thou doest such deed as this! I swear the most binding oaths and I vow by the tombs of my sires and my grandsires, an thou say me sooth thou shalt be saved; but unless thou tell me truth concerning whatso befel thee and from whom came this affair and the quality of the man's intention thee- wards, I will slaughter thee and under earth I will sepulchre thee." Now when the Princess heard from her father's mouth these words and had pondered this swear he had sworn she replied, "O my sire, albeit lying may save yet is truth-telling the more saving side. Verily, O my father, 'tis some time before this day that my bed beareth me up every night and carrieth me to a house of the houses wherein dwelleth a youth, a model of beauty and loveliness, who causeth every seer to languish; and he beddeth with me and sleepeth by my side until dawn, when my couch uplifteth me and returneth with me to the Palace: nor wot I the manner of my going and the mode of my coming is alike unknown to me." The Caliph hearing these her words marvelled at this her tale with exceeding marvel and fell into the uttermost of wonderment, but bethinking him of his Wazir, a man of penetrative wit, sagacious, astute, argute exceedingly, he summoned him to the presence and acquainted him as soon as he came with this affair and what had befallen his daughter; to wit, how she was borne away in her bed without knowing whither or aught else. Quoth the Minister after taking thought for a full told hour, "O Caliph of the Time and the Age, I have a device by whose virtue I do opine we shall arrive at the stead whither wendeth the Princess;" and quoth the Caliph "What may be this device of thine?" "Bid bring me a bag;" rejoined the Wazir, "which I will let fill with millet;"[FN#254] so they brought him one and he after stuffing the same with grain set it upon the girl's bed and close to her where lay her head, leaving the mouth open to the intent that when during the coming night her couch might be carried away, the millet in going and returning might be shed upon the path. "Allah bless thee, Ho thou the Wazir!" cried the Caliph: "this device of thine is passing good and fair fall it for a sleight than which naught can be slyer and good luck to it for a proof than which naught can be better proven." Now as soon as it was even-tide, the couch was carried off as had happened every night and the grain was strown broad cast upon the path, like a stream, from the gateway of the Palace to the door of the young Cook's lodging, wherein the Princess righted as was her wont until dawn of day. And when morn appeared the Sage came and carried off with him the youth to the Hammam where he found privacy and said to him, "O my son, an thou ask me aught touching thy mistress's kith and kin, I bid thee know that they have indeed discovered her condition and against thee they have devised a device." Exclaimed the youth, "Verily we are Allah's and unto Him are we returning! What may be thy rede in this affair? An they slay me I shall be a martyr on Allah's path;[FN#255] but do thou wend thy ways and save thyself and may the Almighty requite thee with all of welfare; thee, through whom mine every wish I have won, and the whole of my designs I have fulfilled; after which let them do with me as they desire." The Warlock replied, "O my son, grieve not neither fear, for naught shall befal thee of harm, and I purpose to show thee marvels and miracles wroughten upon them." When the youth heard these words his spirits were cheered, and joying with joy exceeding he replied, "Almighty Allah reward thee for me with fullest welfare!" Then the twain went forth the Hammam and tried them home. But as soon as morning morrowed, the Wazir repaired to the Caliph; and, both going to the Princess together, found her in her bower and the bag upon her bed clean empty of millet, at sight of which the Minister exclaimed, "Now indeed we have caught our debtor. Up with us and to horse, O Caliph of the Age, and sum and substance of the Time and the Tide, and follow we the millet and track its trail." The Com mender of the Faithful forthright gave orders to mount, and the twain, escorted by their host, rode forth on the traces of the grain till they drew near the house, when the youth heard the jingle and jangle[FN#256] of horses' tramp and the wrangle and cangle of men's outcries. Upon this said the Cook to the Warlock, "Here they draw near to seize me, O my lord, what is there now for me to do?" and said the other, "Rise and fill me an ewer with water then mount therewith to the terrace-roof and pour the contents round and about the house, after which come down to me." The youth did his bidding, and meanwhile the Caliph and the Wazir and the soldiery had approached the house when, lo and behold! the site had become an island amiddlemost a main dashing with clashing billows.[FN#257] But when the Commander of the Faithful sighted this sea, he was perplexed with mighty great perplexity and enquired of the Wazir, "At what time did such great water appear in this place?" The Minister replied, "I never knew that here was any stream, albe well I wot that the Tigris river floweth amiddlemost the capital; but this is a magical current." So saying he bade the soldiery urge their horses into the water sans fear, and every one crave as he had directed until all who entered lost their lives and a many of men were drowned. Hereupon cried the Prince of True Believers, "O Wazir, we are about to destroy our host and to fare with them!" and cried the other, "How shall we act, O Caliph of the Age? Haply our first, nay our best way, is to ask help of those within the house and grant to them indemnity while they exchange words with us and we see anon what will come of their affair." "Do as beseemeth thee," answered the Prince of True Believers; whereupon the Minister commanded his men to cry aloud upon the household and they sued for help during a length of time. But the Sage, hearing their shouts, said to the youth, "Arise and go up to the terrace and say to the Caliph of the Age, 'Thou art in safety; turn away thy steps hence and presently we will meet thy Highness in health and weal; otherwise[FN#258] thy daughter shall be lost and thine army shall be destroyed, and thou, O Commander of the Faithful, wilt depart and return as one outdriven. Do thou wend thy ways: this be not the mode of meeting us and in such manner there is no management.' " The Cook did as he was bidden, and when the twain heard his words, quoth the Wazir to the Caliph, "Verily these be naught save Magicians, otherwise they must be of the fulsomest of the Jann, for indeed never heard we nor saw we aught of this." Hereupon the Prince of True Believers turned his back upon the place and he sorrowful and strait of breast and disheartened of heart; so he went down to his Palace and sat there for a full-told hour when behold, the Warlock and the Cook appeared before him. But as soon as they stood in the presence the Caliph cried out, "O Linkman, bring me the head of yonder youth from between his shoulders!" Hereupon the Executioner came forward and tearing a strip off the youth's robe-skirt bandaged his eyes; then he walked thrice round about him brandishing his blade over the victim's head and lastly cried, "O Caliph of the Age, shall I make away with this youth?" Answered the Caliph, "Yes, after thou shalt have stricken off his head." Hearing this the Sworder raised his hand and smote, when suddenly his grip was turned backwards upon a familiar of his who stood beside him, and it lighted upon his neck with such force that his head hew off and fell at the Caliph's feet. The King and the Wazir, were perplexed at this affair, and the former cried out, "What be this? Art gone blind, O Bhang eater, that thy stroke hath missed the mark and thou hast not known thy familiar from this youth who kneeleth before thee? Smite him without delay!" Hereupon the Linkman again raised his hand to obey his lord, but the blow fell upon the neck of his varlet and the head flew off and rolled at the feet of the Caliph and his Chief Councillor. At this second mishap the wits of all present were bewildered and the King cried, "What business is this, O Wazir, whereto the other made answer, "O Caliph of the Time and rare gift of the Age and the Tide, what canst thou do, O my lord, with such as these? And whoso availeth to take away o' nights thy daughter upon her bed and dispread a sea around his house, the same also hath power to tear thy kingdom from thy grasp; nay more, to practice upon thy life. Now 'tis my rede that thou rise and kiss the hand of this Sage and sue his protection,[FN#259] lest he work upon us worse than this. Believe me, 'twere better for thee, O my lord, to do as I bid thee and thus 'twill be well for us rather than to rise up as adversaries of this man." Hearing such words from his Minister, the King bade them raise the youth from the strip of blood-rug and remove the bandage from before his eyes, after which he rose to his feet, and, kissing the Warlock's hand, said to him, "In very sooth we knew thee not nor were we ware of the measure of thine excellence. But, O teacher of the Time and sum and substance of revolving Tide, why hast thou wrought to me on this wise in the matter of my daughter and destroyed my servants and soldiers?" "O Viceregent of Allah upon His Earth," replied the Sage, "I am a stranger, and having eaten bread and salt with this youth, I formed friendship and familiarity with him: then, seeing his case which was sad and his state which was marvellous as it had afflicted him with sickness, I took compassion upon him; moreover I designed to show you all what I am and what Almighty Allah hath taught me of occult knowledge. Hitherto there hath been naught save weal, and now I desire of thy favour that thou marry thy daughter to this youth, my familiar, for that she suiteth none other save himself." Quoth the Caliph, "This proceeding I look upon as the fittest and it besitteth us that we obey thy bidding." Presently he robed the youth with a sumptuous robe worth the kingdom of a King, and commanded him to sit beside the presence and seated the Sage upon a chair of ebony-wood. Now whilst they were in converse the Warlock turned round and beheld arear of the Caliph a hanging of sendal whereupon stood figured lions twain: so he signed with his hand to these forms which were mighty huge of limb and awesome to look upon, when each put forth his paw upon his fellow and both roared with roars like unto the bellow of ear-rending thunder. Hereat all present were perplex in the extreme and were in admiration at that matter and especially the Prince of True Believers who cried, "O Wazir what seest thou in this business?" The Wazir replied, "O Caliph of the Age, verily Allah Almighty to thee hath sent this Sage that He[FN#260] might show thee such marvels as these." Then the Warlock signalled with his hand to the lions which shrank till they became as cats which carried on the combat; and both Caliph and Wazir wondered thereat with excessive wonderment. Anon quoth the King to the Minister, "Bid the Sage display to us more of his marvels;" and accordingly the Wazir obeyed his lord's be hest, and the Warlock replied, "To hear is to obey." He then said, "Bring hither to me a chauldron full of water;" and when it was brought he asked the Courtiers, "Which of you would divert himself?" "I," quoth the Wazir; when quoth the Sage, "Do thou rise to thy feet and doff thy robes and gird thee with a zone:" whereto said the other, "Bring me a waistcloth;" and when it was brought he did therewith as he was bidden. Hereat said the Warlock, "Seat thee in the centre of the chauldron;" so he plunged into the water, but when he would have seated him amiddlemost thereof as ordered he saw only that he had entered a sea dashing with surges clashing wherein whoso goeth is lost to view, and whence whoso cometh is born anew; and he fell to swimming from side to side intending to issue forth, while the waves suffered him not to make the shore. And while he was in this case behold, a billow of the billows vomited[FN#261] him up from the sea to the strand and he stood on dry land, when he surveyed his person and suddenly saw that he had become a woman with the breasts of a woman and the solution of continuity like a woman, and long black hair flowing down to his heels even as a woman's. Then said he to himself, "O ill- omened diversion! What have I done with such unlucky disport that I have looked upon this marvel and wonder of wonderments, only to become a woman.[FN#262] Verily we are Allah's, and unto Him shall we return;" adding as he took thought of the matter and of what had befallen him, "There is no Majesty and there is no Might save in Allah, the Glorious, the Great." Presently a Fisherman approached him and sighting a fair girl said, "This be none other than a blessed day which Allah hath opened to us with a beautiful maiden for quarry; and she is doubtless of the Daughters of the Deep, whom Allah Almighty hath sent to us that I may espouse her to my son." Hearing these words said the transformed to himself, "Now after being a Wazir I have become a woman and this be for that as tit for tat,[FN#263] and the wight furthermore desireth to see me married, and as for the Caliph and the kingdom and the countries, who shall now be able to offer them counsel?" But the Fisherman who for his joyance had no stomach to ply his pursuit, as was his custom, forthwith arose and taking with him the Daughter of the Deep led her to his house, and on entering the door cried aloud to his wife, "This day hath been a lucky for my fishing craft: during all these years it never befel me to happen upon a Mermaid save on this best-omened of all the days, adding, "Where is thy son, to whom Allah hath sent this Daughter of the Daughters of the Main; and hath made her his portion and vouchsafed her to his service? for 'tis my design to marry them." Replied the woman, "He hath taken the beasts and hath fared forth to pasture it and plough therewith; but right soon will he return.[FN#264] And whilst they were thus conversing the youth came forward, and the Wazir on sighting him groaned and cried, Well-away for me! this very night I shall become a bride for this blamed lad[FN#265] to sleep withal. And if I say to them, 'What intent have ye? Ye are in meanness and misery[FN#266] while I am Wazir to the Caliph;' they will never believe me for that I have become a woman, and all thereto appertaining now belongeth to me. Alack and alas for that I did with mine own self; indeed what business had I with such diversion?" Hereupon the fisherman called out, "O my son, up with thee and straightway take this Mermaid and marry her and abate her pucelage and be blessed with her and enjoy thy joy with her during all the days of thy life-tide: doubtless, O my child, thou art in all boon fortune, seeing that what good befel thee never betided any before thee nor will become the lot of one after thee." So the youth arose and for his delight hardly believing in his conquest, married her and lay with her and did away her maidenhead and on that very night she conceived by him. After nine months she bare him issue and the couple ceased not to be after this fashion till she had become a mother of seven. But the Wazir, of his stress and excess of the trouble and the travail he endured, said to himself, "How long shall last this toil and torment wherewith I am liver-smitten and that too by mine own consent? So e'en will I arise and hie me to this sea and hurl me thereinto and whatso shall become of me let it be: haply I may find rest from these torments into which I have fallen." And forthright he arose and sought the shore and did as he had devised, when a wave enveloped him and cast him deep into the depths and he was like to choke, when suddenly his head protruded from the chauldron and he was seated as before he had ducked it. Hereupon he saw the Caliph sitting in state with the Sage by his side and all the Lords of the land and the Notables of the commons awaiting the end of his adventure. So he gazed at them and showed a smiling face[FN#267] and laughed aloud when the Prince of True Believers asked him saying, "What hast thou seen, O Wazir?" So he repeated to the Sovran all he had sighted and everything that had come down upon his head, presently adding, "O Caliph of the Age and the sum and sub stance of the Time and the Tide, what be these marvels wrought by this Sage? Verily I have beheld the garths of Paradise[FN#268] with maidens of the Hur and the youths of Heaven, and wonderments galore unlooked upon by mankind at all, at all. But, an thou be pleased, O Commander of the Faithful, to espy these rare spectacles and marvellous conditions with thine own eyes, deign go down into the water; so shalt thou divert thyself with peregrine matters and adventures seld-seen." The Sultan, delighted at this rede, arose and doffed his dress; then, girding his loins with a zone, he entered the chauldron whereat the Sage cried out to him, "O my lord, sit thee down and duck thy head." But when this was done the Caliph found himself in a bottomless sea and wide dispread and never at rest by any manner of means, so he fell to swimming therein, when a huge breaker threw him high ashore and he walked up the beach mother-naked save for his zone. So he said in his mind, "Let me see what hath been wrought with me by the Sage and the Wazir who have thus practiced upon me and have cast me in this place; and haply they have married my daughter to the youth, and they have stolen my kingdom, the Sage becoming Sultan in my stead. And now let me ask myself, 'What had I to do with such damned diversion as this?'" But as he brooded over these thoughts and the like of them behold, a bevy of maidens came forwards to fill their pitchers from a fountain and a pool of sweet water lying beside the sea; and sighting him they exclaimed, "Thou, who art thou? say sooth be thou of man-kind or rather haply of Jinn-kind?" He replied, "I am a mortal and of the noblest-born; withal I am a stranger in the land and I wot not whither I should wend." "Of what country art thou?" asked they, and he answered, "I am from Baghdad." "Up with thee," quoth one of the damsels, "to yonder knoll, then down to the flat on the further side, and thou shalt sight a city whose name is 'Oman,[FN#269] whereinto do thou enter." The Caliph did her bidding, and no sooner had the people seen him stripped than they said one to other, "This man is a merchant who hath been shipwrecked;" so they gave him by way of almsgift a Tobe[FN#270] all tattered and torn wherewith he veiled his shame. And after so doing he fell to wandering about the city for pastime, and while walking about he passed into a Bazar and there sighted a cook, before whom he stood open mouthed (for indeed famine had thinned him), and he bethought him of what to do, and he knew not how to act. However the cook at first sight was certified of his being a foreigner, and haply a shipwrecked mariner so he asked him, "O my brother, why cost thou not come in and sit thee down, for thou art a stranger and without means; so in the way of Allah I would engage thy services and will pay thee daily two dirhams to provide thee with meat and drink." Answered the Caliph, "Hearing and obeying," after which he abode with the cook and served him and stinted not to serve him for a long time, saying in himself the while, "This for that is tit for tat! and after the Caliphate and commandment and happiness and honour, this day art thou left to lick the platters. What had I to do with such diversion as this? Withal 'tis fairer than the spectacle that anyone even my Wazir ever saw and the more excellent, for that I after being the Caliph of the Age, and the choice gift of the Time and Tide have now become the hireling of a cook. Would to Heaven I wot the sin which brought me hereto?"[FN#271] Now as he abode with the cook it befel him that one day he threaded the Jewellers' Bazar; for about that city was a sea-site whereinto the duckers and divers went down and whence they brought up pearls and corals and precious stones; and as he stood in the market-place, quoth he to himself, "Let me here become a broker in this market street and find rest from my groaning in labour and my licking of platters." As soon as morning morrowed he did on such wise, when suddenly a merchant approached him, hending in hand a costly gem whose light burned like a lamp or rather like a ray of sunshine, and 'twas worth the tribute of Egypt and Syria. Hereat the Caliph marvelled with exceeding marvel, and quoth he to the trader, "Say me, wilt thou sell this jewel?" and quoth the other, "Yes." So the Sultan taking it from him went about with it amongst the merchants, who seeing and considering it, wondered greatly at its beauty. Accordingly they bid for it fifty thousand diners, but the royal broker ceased not to bear it about and the buyers to increase their biddings till they offered an hundred thousand gold pieces. Thereupon the Caliph returned with it to the owner and accosted him saying, "Wilt thou sell it for the sum named?" and when the merchant consented, he continued, "I now go to receive its price, wherewith I will come back to thee." Then the broker went up to the buyer and said, "Bring hither its value and set it in my hand;" but the man asked him, "Where be its owner?" and the Caliph answered, "Its owner hath commissioned me to receive its price, after which he will come and recover the same from me." However the bidder retorted, "This be not fitting nor is it according to Holy Law: do thou bring me its owner; then come and let him pouch the price, for 'tis he hath sold it to me and thou art only our agent." Hereupon the Caliph went forth to seek the proprietor and wandered about a long while without finding him; after which he again accosted the purchaser, and said to him, "I am the rightful proprietor: place the price in my hand." The buyer arose to pay his debt, but before so doing he considered the jewel and saw that it was a bit of dark Sandarach;[FN#272] whereat he was sore perplex" and cried out to the Caliph, "O Satan, cost thou palm off false wares, the market-place of the merchants being under the orders of the Sultan?" But when the traders heard these words, they flocked around the pretended broker and having seized him they pinioned his elbows and dragged him before the Sovran of that city who, when they set the prisoner before him, asked, "What be the offence of this man?" "O our honoured lord," answered they, "this wight palmeth off false wares and swindleth the traders in the royal Bazar." So the King commanded them to hang him, whereat they charged his neck with chains and bared his head, and bade the cryer cry, "This be his award and the least of awards who forgeth counterfeits and who tricketh the merchant folk in the market-place of the Sultan." Hereat quoth the Caliph to himself, "I was not content with platter licking, which now appeareth to me a mighty pleasant calling but e'en I must become a broker and die sus. per coll. This be for that tit for tat; how ever, scant blame to the Time which hath charged me with this work." Now when they brought him to the hanging place and threw the loop around his neck and fell to hoisting him up, as he rose from the ground his eyes were opened and he found himself emerging from the chauldron, whilst the Wazir and the Sage and the youth were sitting and considering him. And the Minister catching sight of his lord sprang to his feet and kissed ground before him, and laughed aloud, and the Commander of the Faithful asked him, "Why this laughter?" Answered he, "O thou, the Prince of True Believers and God- guarded Sovran, my laughter and my gladness are for myself, seeing that I have recovered my identity after becoming a woman and being wedded to a ploughman, who eared the ground, and after bearing to him seven babes." Cried the Caliph, "Woe to thee, O dog, O son of a dog, thou west married and rejoicedst in children, whereas I this very moment from the hanging-place have come down." Then he informed the Wazir of all that had befallen him and the Minister did on like guise, whereat all those present laughed consumedly and marvelled at the words of the Warlock, and his proficiency in occult knowledge. Then the Kazi and witnesses were summoned with their writing gear and were bidden draw up the marriage-contract of the young Cook and the Caliph's daughter. After this the Sage sojourned with the Commander of the Faithful in highmost degree and most honourable dignity, and they abode eating and drinking and living the most delectable of lives and the most enjoyable with all manner of joy and jollity, till came to them the Destroyer of delights and the Divider of man's days and they departed life one and all.



Here we begin to indite the pleasant History which beset between the Cock and the Fox.[FN#273]

It is said that there abode in such a village a man which was a Shaykh of long standing, one gifted with fair rede and right understanding. Now he had on his farm a plenty of poultry, male and female, and these he was wont to breed and to eat of their eggs and their chickens. But amongst his cocks was a Chanticleer, well advanced of age and wily of wit, who had long fought with Fortune and who had become wise and ware in worldly matters and in the turns and shifts of Time. It fortuned one day that this Cock went forth to wander about the farm-lands pecking and picking up as he went such grains of wheat and barley and holcus[FN#274] and sesame and millet as chanced fall in his way; but, being careless of himself, he had left the village afar off without thinking of what he did, and ere he took counsel with himself he found him amiddlemost the wilderness. So he turned him rightwards and leftwards but espied nor friend nor familiar, whereat he stood perplext as to his affair and his breast was straitened and still he knew not what to do. Now while thus bewildered in his wits touching his next step, behold, his glance fell upon a Fox[FN#275] who was approaching him from afar, whereat he feared and trembled and was agitated with mighty great agitation. At once he turned him about and presently espied a high wall arising from the waste, whereto was no place of ascending for his foe; so he spread his wings and flew up and perched upon the coping where he took his station. Presently the Fox came forward to the foot of the wall, and, finding no means of climbing it and getting at the fowl, he raised his head and said, "The Peace be upon thee, Ho thou the soothfast brother and suitable friend!" But as the Cock would not turn towards him nor return aught of reply to his salutation, the Fox resumed, "What is to do with thee, O dear my brother, that my greeting thou acknowledgest not and to my words inclinest thee not?" Still the Cock requited not his courtesy and declined to reply, whereat the Fox resumed, "Wottest thou not, O my brother, the glad tidings wherewith I came theewards, with what suitable intelligence and counsel veridical and information at once sincere and self- evident? and, didst know what it is hath come to mine ears, verily thou hadst embraced me and kissed me on the mouth." But the Cock feigned absence of mind and ignored him and answered him naught, but stood with rounded eyes and fixed upon the far when the Fox resumed, "O my brother, the King of the Beasts which be the Lion and the King of the Birds which be the Eagle have alighted from a journey upon the meads where grass is a-growing and by the marge where waters are a-flowing and blossoms are a- blowing and browsing gazelles are a-to-ing and a-fro-ing; and the twain have gathered together all manner of ferals, lions and hyenas, leopards and lynxes, wild cattle and antelopes and jackals and even hares, brief, all the wild beasts of the world; and they have also collected every kind of bird, eagle and vulture, crow and raven,[FN#276] wild pigeon and turtledove, poultry and fowls and Katas and quails[FN#277] and other small deer, and these two liege lords have bidden the herald proclaim, throughout the tracts of the upland wold and the wild lowland, safety and security and confraternity and peace with honour and sympathy and familiar friendship and affection and love amongst wild beasts and cattle and birds; also that enmity be done away with and wrongs be forbidden nor might one transgress against other; nay, if any chance to injure his fellow this offence might be for his scourging a reason, and for his death by tearing to pieces a justification. The order hath also come forth that all do feed and browse in one place whichever they please, never venturing to break the peace but dwelling in all amity and affection and intimacy one with other. Moreover they have commissioned me, very me, to overroam the wastes and gladden with good tidings the peoples of the wilds and proclaim that one and all without exception must assemble together, and also that whoso delayeth or refuseth obedience shall not escape punishment[FN#278] nor let each and every fail to make act of presence and to kiss hands. And of thee, O my brother, I especially require that thou descend from thy high stead in safety and security and satisfaction, and that henceforward thy heart be not startled nor thy limbs shake for fear." All this description was described by the Fox to the Cock who paid no heed to him as though he had never heard the news; and he remained silent without return of reply or without so much as turning to regard him; nay, he only kept his head raised and gazed afar. Hereat quoth to him the Fox (for indeed his heart burned with desire to know how he could seize and devour him), "O brother mine, why and wherefore dost thou not acknowledge me by an answer or address to me a word or even turn thy face towards me who am a Commissioner sent by Leo, Sovran of the beasts, and Aquila, Sultan of the birds? Sore I fear lest thou refuse to accompany me and thus come upon thee censure exceeding and odium excessive seeing that all are assembled in the presence and are browsing upon the verdant mead." Then he added (as Chanticleer regarded him not), "O my brother, I bespeak thee and thou unheedest me and my speech and, if thou refuse to fare with me, at least let me know what may be thy reply." Hereupon the Cock inclined towards him and said, "Sooth hast thou spoken, O my brother, and well I wot thou be an Envoy and a Commissioner from our King, and the special Messenger of him: but my condition is changed by that which hath befallen me." "And what calamity, O my brother hath betided thee?" "Dost thou espy what I am at present espying?" "And what is it thou espiest?" "Verily, I see a dust cloud lowering and the Saker-falcons in circles towering;" and quoth the Fox (whose heart throbbed with fear), "Look straitly, O my brother, lest there happen to us a mishap." So Chanticleer gazed as one distraught for a full told hour, after which he turned to the Fox and said, "O my brother, I behold and can distinguish a bird flying and a dust-trail hieing." "Consider them narrowly, O my brother," cried the Fox (whose side-muscles quivered) "lest this be sign of greyhound;" and the other replied, "The Truth is known to Allah alone, yet I seem now to see a something lengthy of leg, lean of flank, loose of ears, fine of forehand and full of quarter, and at this moment it draweth near and is well nigh upon us—O fine!"[FN#279] Now when the Fox heard these words he cried to the Cock, "O my brother, I must farewell thee!" and so saying he arose and committed his legs to the wind and he had recourse to the Father of Safety.[FN#280] Seeing this, the Cock also cried, "Why thus take to flight when thou hast no spoiler thy heart to affright?" Replied the Fox, "I have a fear of the Greyhound, O my brother, for that he is not of my friends or of my familiars;" and the Cock rejoined, "Didst thou not tell me thou camest as Commissioner of the Kings to these wastes proclaiming a peace and safety amongst all the beasts and the birds?" "O my brother Chanticleer," retorted the other, "this feral, Greyhound hight, was not present at the time when pacifcation was proclaimed, nor was his name announced in the Congress of the beasts; and I for my part have no love lost with him, nor between me and him is there aught of security." So saying the Fox turned forthright to fly, routed with the foulest of routing, and the Cock escaped the foe by his sleight and sagacity with perfect safety and security. Now after the Fox had turned tail and fled from him Chanticleer came down from the wall and regained his farm, lauding Allah Almighty who had conveyed him unharmed to his own place. And here he related unto his fellows what had befallen him with the Fox and how he had devised that cunning device and thereby freed himself from a strait wherein, but for it, the foe had torn him limb by limb.



Here we begin to invite the History of what befel the Fowl-let from the Fowler.[FN#281]

They relate (but Allah is All-knowing) that there abode in Baghdad-city a huntsman-wight in venerie trained aright. Now one day he went forth to the chase taking with him nets and springes and other gear he needed and fared to a garden-site with trees bedight and branches interlaced tight wherein all the fowls did unite; and arriving at a tangled copse he planted his trap in the ground and he looked around for a hiding-place and took seat therein concealed. Suddenly a Birdie approaching the trap-side began scraping the earth and, wandering round about it, fell to saying in himself, "What may this be? Would Heaven I wot, for it seemeth naught save a marvellous creation of Allah!" Presently he considered the decoy which was half buried in the ground and salam'd to it from afar to the far and the Trap returned his salutation, adding thereto, "And the ruth of Allah and His blessings;" and presently pursued, "Welcome and fair welcome to the brother dear and the friend sincere and the companionable fere and the kindly compeer, why stand from me so far when I desire thou become my neighbour near and I become of thine intimates the faithful and of thy comrades the truthful? So draw thee nigh to me and be of thy safety trustful and prove thee not of me fearful." Quoth the Fowl-let, "I beseech thee by Allah, say me who art thou so I may not of thee feel affright and what be thy bye-name and thy name and to which of the tribes dost trace thy tree?" And quoth the Trap, "My name is Hold-fast[FN#282] and my patronymic is Bindfast and my tribe is hight the Sons of Fallfast." Replied the Birdie, "Sooth thou sayest; for such name is truly thy name and such bye-name is without question thy bye-name nor is there any doubt of thy tribe being the noblest of the tribes." The Trap answered him saying, "Alhamdolillah—laud to the Lord—that me thou hast recognised and that I be of thy truest friends thou hast acknowledged, for where shalt thou find a familiar like unto me, a lover soothful and truthful and my fellow in mind? And indeed I a devotee of religious bent and from vain gossip and acquaintances and even kith and kin abstinent; nor have I any retreat save upon the heads of hills and in the bellies of dales which be long and deep; and from mundane tidings I am the true Holdfast and in worldly joys the real Bindfast." The Fowl replied, "Sooth hast spoken, O my lord; and all hail to thee; how pious and religious and of morals and manners gracious art thou? Would to Heaven I were a single hair upon thy body." Rejoined the Trap, "Thou in this world art my brother and in the next world my father;" and the other retorted, "O my brother, fain would I question thee concerning matters concealed within thy thoughts;" whereto the Trap, "Enquire of whatso thou requires", that I make manifest to thee what in heart thou desirest; for I will truly declare to thee mine every aim and disclose to thee soothly all my case and my thoughts concealed, nor shall remain unrevealed of mine intent aught." So the Birdie began, "O my brother, why and wherefore see I thee on this wise abiding in the dust and dwelling afar from relations and companeers and thou hast parted from thy family and peers and hast departed from the fondness of thy dears?" "Hast thou not learned, O my brother," answered the Trap, "that retirement is permanent heal and farness from folk doth blessings deal and separation from the world is bodily weal; and on this matter hath one of the poets said, and said right well,

'Fly folk, in public ne'er appearing, * And men shall name thee man God-fearing;[FN#283] Nor say I've brother, mate and friend: * Try men with mind still persevering: Yea, few are they as thou couldst wish: * Scorpions they prove when most endearing.'[FN#284]

And one of the Sages hath said, 'Solitude and not ill associate.' Also quoth they to Al-Bahlul,[FN#285] 'Why this tarrying of thine amid the homes of the dead and why this sojourning in a barren stead and wherefore this farness from kinsmen and mate and lack of neighbourly love for brother and intimate?' But quoth he, 'Woe to you! my folk did I dwell amongst them would some day unlove me and the while I abide far from them will never reprove me; not indeed would they remember my affection nor would they desire my predilection; and so satisfied with my solitude am I that an I saw my family I should start away as in fear of them, and were my parent quickened anew and longed for my society verily I would take flight from them.' " Replied the Fowl-let, "In good sooth, O my brother, truth thou hast pronounced in all by thee announced and the best of rede did from thee proceed; but tell me, prithee, anent that cord about thy middle wound and despite thine expending efforts that abound why thou art neither a-standing nor a-sitting on ground?" To him replied the Trap, "O my brother, learn that I spend every night of every month in prayer, during which exercise whenever sleep would seize me I tighten this cord about my waist and drive slumber from my eyes and become therefrom the more wide-awake for my orisons. Know thou also that Allah (be He glorified and magnified!) affectioneth his servants when devout are they, and stand in worship alway, ever dight to pray and praise Him by night and by day; and who turn on their sides loving the Lord to obey in desire and dismay and doling their good away. And quoth Allah (be He glorified and magnified!), 'And for scanty while of the night they take not gentle rest and at rising morn His pardon they obtest and their Lord granteth unto them their request.' [FN#286] And wottest thou not, O my brother, what said the poet?

'These busy are with worldly gear * Those of their moneys proud appear: But some be rich by God's approof — * Praise Him o' nights with love sincere: Their Guardian's eye regards them aye * Praying, confessing sins to clear: They wot nor worship aught but Him * And hail His name with love and fear.' "

Therewith quoth the Fowl-let, "Sooth hast thou said, O my brother, in each word by thee sped and right eloquently was announced all by thee pronounced; however (I am thy protected!), do thou tell me why I see thee one half buried in earth and the other half above ground?" And quoth the Trap, "For the reason that I thereby resemble the dead and in life I am shunning the pernicious lusts of the flesh; and Almighty Allah (be He glorified and magnified!) said in His August Volume, 'From earth have We created you and unto her We will return you and from her will We draw you forth a second time.' "[FN#287] Replied the Birdie, "The truth thou hast told in whatso thou dost unfold, but why do I see thee so bent of back?" and rejoined the Trap, "Learn, O my brother, that the cause for this bowing of my back is my frequent standing in prayer by day and my upstanding by night in the service of the King, the Clement, the One, the Prepotent, the Glorious, the Omnipotent; and verily upon this matter right well the poet hath spoken,

'None save the pious Youth gains boon of Paradise * (To whom the Lord doth pardon crime and sin and vice), Whose back by constant prayer through murk o' night is bent * And longs to merit Heaven in sore and painful guise. Hail to the slave who ever would his lord obey * And who by death is saved when he obedient dies.' "

The Fowl-let continued, "O my brother, of truth the token is that whereof thou hast spoken and I have understood thee and am certified of thy sooth. But yet, I see upon thee a robe[FN#288] of hair!" and the Trap rejoined, "O my brother, knowest thou not of hair and wool that they be the wear of the pious and the religious, whereof one of the poets hath spoken in these words,

'Folk who in fear of long accompt[FN#289] for naught of worldly care * Hail to them! haply garb of wool they'll change for silken wear: In life for provaunt shall suffice them salt and barley bread * Who seek th' Almighty Lord and bow the head in sedulous pray'r.' "

The Birdie resumed, "In very deed thy speech the sooth doth teach; but say me what be this staff[FN#290] thou hendest in hand?" Replied the Trap, "O my brother, know that I have become an olden man well shotten in years and my strength is minished, wherefor I have taken me a staff that I may prop me thereon and that it aid my endeavour when a-fasting." The Fowl-let pursued, "Thy speech is true, O my brother, and thou speakest as due, yet would I ask thee of a matter nor refuse me information thereanent: tell me why and wherefore this plenty of grain scattered all about thee?" The Trap answered, "Indeed the merchants and men of wealth bring to me this victual that I may bestow it in charity upon the Fakir and the famisht;" and the Birdie rejoined, "O my brother, I also am an hungered; so dost thou enjoin me to eat thereof?" "Thou art my companion," cried the Trap, "so upon me such injunction is a bounden duty," presently adding, "Be so kind, O my brother, and haste thee hither and eat." Hereat the Fowl-let flew down from off his tree and approaching little by little (with a heart beating for fear of the Trap) picked up a few grains which lay beside it until he came to the corn set in the loop of the springe. Hereupon he pecked at it with one peck nor had he gained aught of good therefrom ere the Trap came down heavily upon him and entangled his neck and held him fast. Hereupon he was seized with a fit of sore affright and he cried out, "Zik! zik!" and "Mik! mik![FN#291] Verily I have fallen into wreak and am betrayed by friendly freke and oh, the excess of my trouble and tweak, Zik, Zik! O Thou who keenest my case, do Thou enable me escape to seek, and save me from these straits unique and be Thou ruthful to me the meek!" Thereupon quoth to him the Trap, "Thou criest out Zik! Zik! and hast fallen into straits unique and hast strayed from the way didst seek, O Miscreant and Zindik,[FN#292] and naught shall avail thee at this present or brother or friend veridigue or familiar freke. Now understand and thy pleasure seek! I have deceived thee with a deceit and thou lentest ear and lustedst." Replied the Bird, "I am one whom desire hath cast down and ignorance hath seduced and inordinate greed, one for whose neck the collar of destruction is fitted and I have fallen along with those who lowest fall!" Hereupon the Fowler came up with his knife to slaughter the Fowl-let and began saying, "How many a birdie have we taken in all ease for desire of its meat that we may dress their heads with rice or in Harisah [FN#293] or fried in pan and eat thereof pleasurably myself or feed therewith great men and grandees. Also 'tis on us incumbent to feed privily upon half the bodies and the other half shall be for our guests whilst I will take the wings to set before my family and kinsmen as the most excellent of gifts."[FN#294] Hearing these words the Bird fell to speaking and saying,

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