App. i. Index to the Tales and Proper Names; ii. Alphabetical Table of the Notes (Anthropological, &c.); iii. Notes on the Stories contained in vol. vi. of Supplementary Nights, by W. F. Kirby; iv. Additional Notes on the Bibliography of the Thousand and One Nights, by W. F. Kirby; v. The Biography of the Book and the Reviewers Reviewed, Opinions of the Press.
This volume contains the originals of Chavis and Cazotte's Tales, omitting the four doubtful ones (cf. Nights, x. App., pp. 418, 419).
Collections of Selected Tales (P. 439).
"We have also 'Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp,' 'Sindbad the Sailor, or the Old Man of the Sea' and 'Ali Baba, or the Forty Thieves,' revised by M. E. Braddon, author of 'Lady Audley's Secret,' etc. Illustrated by Gustav Dore and other artists. London: J. & R. Maxwell.
"Miss Braddon has contented herself with 'Englishing' the vulgar version, whose Gallicisms are so offensive to the national ear." (Sir R. F. Burton, in litt.)
Imitations and Miscellaneous Works Having More or less Connection with the Nights (Pp. 448-453). B. English (Pp. 452-453).
13. History of Rhedi, the Hermit of Mount Ararat, an Oriental Tale. By—Mackenzie, 16mo., Dublin, 1781.
I have not seen this little book.
14. Miscellanies, consisting of classical extracts, and Oriental Epilogues. By William Beloe, F.S.A. Translator of Herodotus, &c. London, 1795.
Includes some genuine Oriental tales, such as a version of that of Basim the Smith.
15. The Orientalist, or Letters of a Rabbi, with Notes by James Noble, Oriental Master in the Scottish Nasal and Military Academy. Edinburgh, 1831.
Noticed by Mr. W. A. Clouston, Suppl. Nights, iii., p. 377.
16. The Adventures of the Caliph Haroun Al-raschid. Recounted by the Author of "Mary Powell" [Miss Manning]. 8vo., London, 1855; Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co.
17. The 1001 Days, a Companion to the Arabian Nights, with introduction by Miss J.] Pardoe. 8vo., London 1857, woodcuts.
A miscellaneous collection partly derived from "Les Mille et un Jours" (cf. Nights x., pp. 499, 500). I have also seen a similar miscellaneous collection in French under the latter title. The tales in the English work are as follows:
I. Hassan Abdallah, or the Enchanted Keys Story of Hassan. Hassan Abdallah the Basket Maker. Hassan Abdallah the Dervise Abounader
II. Soliman Bey and the Story Tellers The First Story Teller. The Second Story Teller. The Third Story Teller.
III. Prince Khalaf and the Princess of China Story of Prince Al-Abbas. Story of Liri-in.
IV. The Wise Dey.
V. The Tunisian Sage.
VI. The Nose for Gold.
VII. The Treasures of Basra.
History of Aboulcassem.
VIII. The Old Camel.
IX. The Story of Medjeddin (Grimm's "Haschem," cf. Nights, x., p. 422).
X. King Bedreddin Lolo and his Vizier. Story of the Old Slippers. Story of Atalmulk, surnamed the Sorrowful Vizier, and the Princess Zelica. Story of Malek and the Princess Schirine
18. The Modern Arabian Nights. By Arthur A'Beckett and Linley Sambourne. London: Bradbury, Agnew & Co., 1877, sm. 4to., with comic coloured frontispieces and woodcuts.
Four clever satires (social and political) as follows:
1. Alley Baber and Son, a Mock Exchange Story. 2. Ned Redding and the Beautiful Persian. 3. The Ride of Captain Alf Rashit to Ke-Vere-Street. 4. Mr. O'Laddin and the Wonderful Lamp.
19. Tales of the Caliph. By Al Arawiyah, 8vo., London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1887.
Belongs to Class 5 (Imitations). Consists of fictitious adventures supposed to have happened to Harun Al-Rashid, chiefly during his nocturnal rambles.
Separate Editions of Single or Composite Tales (Pp. 439 441).
P. 440.—No. 184 was published under the title of "Woman's Wit" in the "Literary Souvenir" for 1831, pp.217-237.derived from Langles' version (Mr. L.C. Smithers in litt.).
Translation of Cognate Oriental Romances Illustrative of the Nights (Pp. 441-443).
P. 441, No. 1. Les Mille et un Jours.
Mr. L. C. Smithers (in litt.) notes English editions published in 1781 and 1809, the latter under the title of "The Persian and Turkish Tales."
P. 443, No. 5. Recueil de Contes Populaires de la Kabylie du Djurdjura recueillis et traduits par J. Riviere. 12mo. Paris: Leroux. 1882.
This collection is intended to illustrate the habits and ideas of the people. The tales are very short, and probably very much abridged, but many of them illustrate the Nights. I may note the following tales as specially interesting from their connection with the Nights, or with important tales in other collections, Oriental or otherwise.
Thadhillala. A brief abstract of No. 151.
Les deux Freres. A variant of Herodotus' Story of Rhampsinitus.
L'homme de bien et le mechant. A variant of No. 262; or Schiller's Fridolin.
Le Corbeau et l'Enfant. Here a child is stolen and a crow left in its place.
H'ab Sliman. Here an ugly girl with foul gifts is substituted for her opposite.
Le roi et son fils. Here we find the counterpart of Schaibar (from No. 197), who, however, is a cannibal and devours everybody.
Les Enfants et la Chauve-sourie. Resembles No. 198.
Le Joueur de Flute. Resembles Grimm's story of the Jew in the Bramble-Bush.
Jesus-Christ et la femme infidels (=261 b.; cf. Nights, x., p. 420).
Le Roitelet. This is the fable of the Ox and the Frog.
L'idiot et le coucou (=No. 206a).
Moh'amed teen Soltan. This is one of the class of stories known to folk-lorists as the Punchkin series. The life of a Ghul is hidden in an egg, the egg in a pigeon, the pigeon in a camel, and the camel in the sea.
Les deux Freres. A Cinderella story. The slayer of a hydra is discovered by trying on a shoe.
Les trots Freres. Here a Ghul is killed by a single blow from a magic dagger, which must not be repeated. (Cf. Nights, vii., p. 361.) In this story, too, the protection of a Ghulah is secured by tasting her milk, a point which we find in Spitta Bey's "Comes Arabes Modernes," but not in the Nights.
9. Turkish Evening Entertainments. "The Wonders of Remarkable Incidents and the Rarities of Anecdotes," by Ahmed ibn Hemdem the Kethhoda called "Sobailee." Translated from the Turkish by John F. Brown. 8vo., New York, 1850.
Contains a great number of tales and anecdotes, divided into 37 chapters, many of which bear such headings as "Illustrative of intelligence and piety," "On justice and fostering care," "Anecdotes about the Abbaside Caliphs," &c.
"A translation of the Turkish story-book, 'Aja'ib al-ma'asir wa ghara 'ib ennawadir,' written for Muad the Fourth Ottoman Sultan who reigned between 1623-40. A volume of interesting anecdotes from the Arabic and Persian" (Mr. L. C. Smithers, in litt.).
10. Contes Arabes Modernes, recueillis et traduits par Guillaume Spitta-Bey. 8vo., Leyden and Paris, 1883.
This book contains 12 orally collected tales of such great importance from a folk-lore point of view that I have given full abstracts of all. They are designed to illustrate the spoken Egyptian dialect, and are printed in Roman character, with translation and glossary. The hero of nearly all the tales is called "Mohammed l'Avise," which Mr. Sydney Hartland renders "Prudent," and Mr. W. A. Clouston "Discreet." The original gives "Essatir Mehammed." (Al-Shatir Mohammed, i.e., M. the Clever.) The frequent occurrence of the number 39 (forty less one) may also be noted. Ghuls often play the part which we should expect Jinn to fill. The bear, which occurs in two stories, is not an Egyptian animal. Having called attention to these general features we may leave the tales to speak for themselves.
I. Histoire de Mohammed l'Avise.
Contains the essential features of Cazotte's story of the Maugraby (cf. Nights, x., p 418) with interesting additions. The "Mogrebin" confers three sons on a king and queen and claims Mohammed, the eldest and the cleverest. He gives him a book to read during his absence of 30 days, but on the 29th day he finds a girl hanging by her hair in the garden and she teaches him to read it, but not to tell the magician. The latter cuts off his arm threatening to cut off his head if he cannot read the book within another 30 days. As soon as he is gone, Mohammed reads on his arm again with the book, and escapes with the girl when they separate and return to their respective homes. Mohammed then changes himself into a sheep for his mother to sell, but warns her not to sell the cord round his neck. Next day he changes himself into a camel, forbidding his mother to sell the bridle but she is persuaded to do so, and he falls into the hands of the magician. But he contrives to escape in the form of a crow and the magician pursues him for two days and nights in the form of a hawk, when he descends into the garden of the king whose daughter he had rescued from the magician, and changes himself into a pomegranate on a tree. The magician asks for and receives the pomegranate, when it bursts, and the seed containing the life of Mohammed rolls under the king's throne. The magician changes himself into a cock, and picks up the seeds, but while he is searching for the last, it changes into a dagger, and cuts him in two. The princess acknowledges Mohammed as her deliverer and they are married.
II. Histoire de l'Ours de Cuisine.
This begins as a swan-maiden story.[FN#439] A king steals the feather-dress of a bathing maiden, who will only marry him on condition that she shall tear out the eyes of his forty women (39 white slaves and a princess). The king answers, "C'est bien, il n'y a pas d'inconvenient." The forty blind women are shut up in a room under the kitchen, where they give birth to children whom they cut up and divide; but the princess saves her shares and thus preserves her son, whom she calls "Mohammed l'Avise," and teaches to read. He steals food from the kitchen, calling himself "Ours de Cuisine," the queen hears of him, pretends to be ill, and demands that he shall be sent to fetch the heart of the Bull of the Black Valley. He finds a Ghuleh sitting with her breasts thrown back on her shoulders so he tastes her milk unperceived, and she at once adopts him as her son. She gives him a ball and a dagger, warning him that if he strikes the bull more than once, he will sink into the earth with him. The ball rolls before him, and when it stops, the bull rises from the ground. Mohammed kills him, refusing to repeat the blow, returns the ball and dagger to the Ghuleh, and returns home. A few days afterwards, the queen sends Mohammed to fetch the heart of the Bull of the Red Valley, and when he informs the Ghuleh, she says "Does she wish to kill her second brother too?" "Are these her brothers ?" asked Mohammed. She answered, "Yes, indeed, they are the sons of the Sultan of the Jann." He kills the Bull as before. A fortnight afterwards, the queen hides a loaf of dry bread under her mattress. When its cracking gives rise to the idea that she is very ill, and she complains of great pain in the sides. She demands a pomegranate from the White Valley, where the pomegranates grow to the weight of half a cantar.[FN#440] The Ghuleh tells him she cannot help him, but he must wait for her son Adberrahym. When he arrives he remarks, "Hum! mother, there's a smell of man about you, bring him here to me to eat for breakfast." But his mother introduces Mohammed to him as his foster brother, and he becomes friendly at once, but says that the pomegranate is the queen's sister. He tells Mohammed to get an ardebb of small round loaves in a basket, along with a piece of meat, and a piece of liver. The Ghul then gives him a rod, saying, "Throw it down, and walk after it. It will knock at the garden gate, which will open, and when you enter you will find great dogs, but throw the bread right and left, without looking back. Beyond a second gate you will find Ghuls; throw bread to them right and left, and after passing them, look up, and you will find a tree in a fountain surrounded with roses and jasmine. You will see a pomegranate upon it. Gather it, and it will thunder, but fear nothing, and go on your way directly, and do not look behind you after passing the gate." The queen waits another fortnight, and then demands the flying castle from Mount Kaf, intending that her father, who dwelt there, should burn him. The Ghuleh directed Mohammed to dye himself black, and to provide himself with some mastic (ladin) and lupines. With these, he makes friends with a black slave, who takes him into the castle, and shows him a bottle containing the life of the queen, another containing the eyes of the forty women; a magic sword which spares nothing, and the ring which moves the castle. Mohammed then sees a beetle,[FN#441] which the slave begs him not to kill, as it is his life. He watches it till it enters a hole, and as soon as the slave is asleep, he kills it, and the slave dies. Then he lays hands on the talismans, rushes into the room where the inhabitants of the castle are condoling with the king and queen on the loss of their three children, and draws the sword, saying "Strike right and left, and spare neither great nor small." Having slain all in the castle, Mohammed removes it to his father's palace, when his father orders the cannons to be fired. Then Mohammed tells his father his history, compels the queen to restore the eyes of the forty women, when they become prettier than before, and then gives her the flask containing her life. But she drops it in her fright, and her life ends, and the king places Mohammed on the throne.
III.—Histoire de la Dame des Arabes Jasmin.
A king sends his wazir to obtain a talisman of good luck, which is written for him by Jasmine, the daughter of an Arab Sheikh. The king marries her, although she demands to be weighed against gold, but drives her away for kissing a fisherman in return for a bottle which he has drawn out of the river for her. She goes two days' journey to a town, where she takes up her abode with a merchant, and then discovers that whenever she turns the stopper of the bottle, food, drink, and finally ten white dancing girls emerge from it. The girls dance, each throws her ten purses of money, and then they retire into the bottle. She builds herself a grand palace, where her husband seeks her, and seeing the new palace, orders that no lights shall be lit in the town that night. She lights up her palace, which convinces the king that he has a dangerous rival. Then the wazir and the king visit her; the king asks for the bottle, and she demands more than a kiss, then reveals herself, puts the king to shame, and they are reconciled.
IV.—Histoire du Pecheur et de son Fils.
A king falls in love with the wife of a fisherman, and the wazir advises the former to require the fisherman on pain of death to furnish a large hall with a carpet in a single piece. The fisherman's wife sends him to the well of Shoubrah where he exclaims, "O such-and-such-a-one, thy sister so-and-so salutes thee, and asks thee to send her the spindle which she forgot when she was with thee yesterday, for we want to furnish a room with it." The fisherman drives a nail into the floor at one end of the room, fixes the thread on the spindle to it, and draws out a wonderful carpet. Then the wazir demands a little boy eight days old, who shall tell a story of which the beginning shall be a lie and the end a lie. The fisherman is sent to the well with the message, "O such-and-such-a-one, thy sister so-and-so greets thee, and requests thee to give her the child which she brought into the world yesterday." But the child only cries until three gnats are applied to him, one on each side and one on the back. Then the boy speaks, saying, "Peace be on thee, O king!" and afterwards tells his lying story: "When I was in the flower of my youth, I walked out of the town one day into the fields when it was very hot, I met a melon-seller, I bought a melon for a mahboub, took it, cut out a piece, and looked inside, when I saw a town with a grand hall, when I raised my feet and stepped into the melon. Then I walked about to look at the people of the town inside the melon. I walked on till I came out of the town into the country. There I saw a date-tree bearing dates a yard long. I wished for some, and climbed the date-tree to gather a date and eat it. There I found peasants sowing and reaping on the date-tree, and the threshing wheels were turning to thresh the wheat. I walked on a little, and met a man who was beating eggs to make a poultry yard. I looked on, and saw the chickens hatch; the cocks went to one side and the hens to the other. I stayed near them till they grew up, when I married them to each other, and went on. Presently I met a donkey carrying sesame-cakes, so I cut off a piece and ate it. When I had eaten it, I looked up, and found myself outside the melon, and the melon became whole as it was at first." Then the child rebukes and threatens the king and the wazir and the fisherman's wife sends her husband to take the child back to the well.
The fisherman had a son named Mohammed l'Avise (Al-Shatir), who was as handsome as his mother; but the king had a son whose complexion was like that of a Fellah. The boys went to school together, and the prince used to say, "Good day, fisherman's son," and Mohammed used to reply, "Good day, O son of the king, looking like a shoe-string." The prince complained to his father, who ordered the schoolmaster to kill Mohammed and he bastinadoed him severely. The boy went to his father, and turned fisherman. On the first day he caught a mullet (Fr. rouget), and was about to fry it, when it cried out that it was one of the princesses of the river, and he threw it back. Then the wazir advised the king to send Mohammed to fetch the daughter of the king of the Green Country, seven years journey distant. By the advice of the fish, Mohammed asked the king for a golden galley; and on reaching the Green Country, invited the inhabitants to inspect his galley. At last the princess came down, and he carried her off. When she found she was entrapped she threw her ring into the sea, which the fish caught. When the king proposed to the princess, she first demanded her ring, which Mohammed immediately presented to the king. Then she said it was the custom of her country on the occasion of a marriage to dig a trench from the palace to the river, which was filled with wood, and set on fire. The bridegroom was required to walk through the trench to the river. The wazir proposed that Mohammed should walk through the trench first; and by the fish's advice, he stopped his ears, cried out, "In the name of God, the Compassioning, the Merciful," threw himself into the trench, and returned from the river handsomer than before. So the wazir said to the king, "Send for your son to go with us, that he may become as handsome as Mohammed." So the three threw themselves into the fire, and were burned to ashes, and Mohammed married the princess.
V.—Histoire de Dalal.
Dalal was a little girl, the daughter of a king, who found a louse on her head, and put it into a jar of oil, where it remained till Dalal was twenty years old, when it burst the jar, and emerged in the form of a horned buffalo. The king ordered the hide to be hung at the gate of the palace, and proclaimed that anyone who could discover what the skin was should marry his daughter, but whoever tried and failed should lose his head. Thirty-nine suitors thus perished, when a Ghul passed by in the form of a man, who knew the secret. He took Dalal home with him and brought her a man's head, but as she would not eat it, he brought her a sheep. He then visited her under the forms of her mother and her two aunts, and told her that her husband was a Ghul; but she refused to believe it until the third visit. Then he was angry; but she begged him to let her go to the bath before she was eaten. He consented, took her to a bath, and sat at the door; but she rubbed herself with mud, changed clothes with an old lupine-seller, and escaped for a time. She reached a palace which she would not enter until she was invited by the Prince himself, who then proposed to marry her, but on the wedding day, her husband, having tracked her out, contrived that another Ghul in the form of a man should present him to the king in the form of a sheep, pretending that he had been reared in a harem, and would bleat so loud that nobody could sleep, unless he was tethered in the women's apartments. At night the Ghul carried off Dalal from beside the prince to the adjoining room, but she begged to be allowed to retire for a few moments, when she called upon Saint Zaynab for help, who sent one of her sisters (?) a Jinniyah. She clove the wall, and asked Dalal to promise to give her her first child. She then gave her a piece of wood to throw into the mouth of the Ghul when he opened his mouth to eat her.[FN#442] He fell on the ground senseless, and Dalal woke up the prince who slew him. But when Dalal brought forth a daughter whom she gave to the Jinniyah, her mother-in law declared that Dalal herself was a Ghuleh, and she was banished to the kitchen, where she peeled onions for ten years. At the end of this time the Jinniyah again clove the wall, and brought back the young princess, who was introduced to her father, who took Dalal again into favour. Meantime the sultan of the Jinn sent for the Jinniyah, for his son was ill, and could only be cured by a cup of water from the Sea of Emeralds, and this could only be obtained by a daughter of mankind. So the Jinniyah borrowed Dalal's daughter again, and took her to the sultan, who gave her a cup, and mounted her on a Jinni, warning her not to wet her fingers. But a wave touched the hand of the princess, which turned as green as clover. Every morning the Sea of Emerald is weighed by an officer to discover whether any has been stolen; and as soon as he discovered the deficiency, he took a platter of glass rings and bracelets, and went from palace to palace calling out, "Glass bracelets and rings, O young ladies." When he came to Dalal's palace, the young princess was looking out of the window, and insisted on going herself to try them on. She hesitated to show her right hand; and the spy knew that she was guilty, so he seized her hand, and sunk into the ground with her. He delivered her over to the servants of the King of the Sea of Emerald, who would have beaten her, but the Jinn surrounded her, and prevented them. Then the King of the Sea of Emerald ordered her to be taken, bound into the bath, saying that he would follow in the form of a serpent, and devour her. But she recognised him by his green eyes, when he became a man, ordered her to be restored to her father, and afterwards married her. He gave forty camel loads of emeralds and jacinths as her dowry, and always visited her by night in the form of a winged serpent, entering and leaving by the window.
VI.—Histoire de la fille vertueuse.
A merchant and his wife set out to the Hejaz with their son, leaving their daughter to keep house, and commending her to the protection of the Kazi. The Kazi fell in love with the girl, but as she would not admit him, he employed an old woman to entice her to the bath, but the girl threw soap in his eyes, pushed him down and broke his head, and escaped to her own house, carrying off his clothes. When the Kazi was well enough to get about again he found that she had had the door of her house walled up until the return of her friends, so he wrote a slanderous letter to her father, who sent her brother to kill her, and bring him a bottle of her blood. But her brother, although he thought the walling up of the door was a mere presence, could not find it in his heart to kill her, but abandoned her in the desert, and filled the bottle with gazelle blood. When the young girl awoke, she wandered to a spring, and climbed into a tree where a prince who was passing saw her, carried her home, and married her. She had two sons and a daughter, but one of their playmates refused to play with them because they had no maternal uncle. The king then ordered the wazir to escort the princess and her three children to her father's village for a month; but on the road, the wazir made love to her, and she allowed him to kill children in succession to save her honour. At last, he became so pressing that she pretended to consent, but asked to quit the tent for a moment, with a cord attached to her hand to prevent her escape. But she untied the cord, fastened it to a tree, and fled. As they could not find the princess, the wazir advised the soldiers to tell the king that a Ghuleh had devoured the children, and fled into the desert. The princess changed clothes with a shepherd boy, went to a town, and took a situation in a cafe. When the wazir returned to the king, and delivered his report, the king proposed that they should disguise themselves and set out in search of the princess and her children; and the wazir could not refuse. Meantime, the brother of the princess had admitted to her father that he had not slain her, and they also set out in search of her, taking the Kazi with them. They all met at the cafe, where she recognised them, and offered to tell them a story. She related her own, and was restored to her friends. They seized the Kazi and the wazir, and sent for the old woman, when they burned them all three, and scattered their ashes in the air.
VII.—Histoire du prince qui apprit un metier.
A prince named Mohammed l'Avise went to seek a wife, and fell in love with the daughter of a leek-grower. She would not accept him unless he learned a trade, so he learned the trade of a silk weaver, who taught him in five minutes, and he worked a handkerchief with the palace of his father embroidered upon it. Two years afterwards, the prince and the wazir took a walk, when they found a Maghrabi seated at the gate of the town, who invited them to take coffee. But he was a prisoner (or rather a murderer) who imprisoned them behind seven doors; and after three days he cooked the wazir, and was going to cook the prince, but he persuaded him to take his handkerchief to market where it was recognised, and the prince released from his peril. Two years later the king died, and the prince succeeded to the throne. The latter had a son and daughter, but he died when the boy was six and the girl eight, warning the boy not to marry until the girl was married, lest his wife should ill-use her. After two years the sister said, "Brother, if I show you the treasures of your father and mother, what will you do?" He answered, "I will buy a slipper for you and a slipper for me, and we will play with them among the stones." "No," said she, "you are still too little," and waited a year before she asked him again. This time he answered, "I will buy a tambourine for you, and a flute for myself and we will play in the street." She waited two more years, and this time he answered, "We will use them to repair the water-wheels and my father's palaces, and we will sow and reap." "Now you are big," said she, and gave him the treasures, which he used to erect buildings in his father's country. Soon afterwards, an old woman persuaded the youth to marry her daughter; but she herself went into the mountains, collected eggs of the bird Oumbar, which make virgins pregnant if they eat them, and gave them to the sister. The old woman reported the result to the king, who visited his sister to satisfy himself of the truth of the matter, and then left her, but sent her food by a slave. When the sister's time came, four angels descended from heaven, and took her daughter, bringing the child to her mother to be nursed. The mother died of grief, and the angels washed and shrouded her and wept over her; and when the king heard it, he opened the door, and the angels flew away to heaven with the child. The king ordered a tomb to be built in the palace for his sister, and was so much grieved at her death that he went on pilgrimage. When he had been gone some time, and the time of his return approached, the old woman opened the sister's tomb, intending to throw her body to the dogs to devour, and to put the carcase of a sheep in its place. The angels put the child in the tomb, and she reproached and threatened the old woman; who, however, seized upon her and dyed her black, pretending that she was a little black slave whom she had bought. When the king returned, he pitied her, and called her to sit by him, but she asked for a candle and candlestick to hold in her hand before all the company. Then she told her mother's story, saying to the candle at every word, "Gutter for kings; this is my uncle, the chief of kings." Then the candle threw mahboubs on her uncle's knees. When the story was ended the king ordered proclamation to be made, "Let whosoever loves the Prophet and the Elect, bring wood and fire." The people obeyed, and the old woman and her daughter were burned.
VIII.—Histoire du Prince Amoureux.
A woman prayed to God to give her a daughter, even if she should die of the smell of flax. When the girl was ten years old, the king's son passed through the street, saw her at the window, and fell in love with her. An old woman discovered that he loved Sittoukan, the daughter of a merchant, and promised to obtain her. She contrived to set her to spin flax, when a splinter ran under her nail, and she fainted. The old woman persuaded her father and mother to build a palace in the midst of the river, and to lay her there on a bed. Thither she took the prince, who turned the body about, saw the splinter, drew it out, and the girl awoke. He remained with her forty days, when he went down to the door, where he found the wazir waiting, and they entered the garden. There they found roses and jasmines, and the prince said, "The jasmines are as white as Sittoukan, and the roses are like her cheeks; if you did not approve, I would still remain with her, were it only for three days." He went up again for three days, and when he next visited the wazir, they saw a carob-tree, and the prince said, "Remember, wazir, the carob-tree is like the eyebrows of Sittoukan, and if you would not let me, I would still remain with her, were it only for three days." Three days later, they saw a fountain, when the prince observed that it was like the form of Sittoukan, and he returned. But this time, she was curious to know why he always went and returned, and he found her watching behind the door, so he spat on her saying, "If you did not love men, you would not hide behind doors"; and he left her. She wandered into the garden in her grief, where she found the ring of empire, which she rubbed, and the ring said, "At your orders, what do you ask for ?" She asked for increased beauty, and a palace beside that of the prince. The prince fell in love with her, and sent his mother to propose for her hand. The mother took two pieces of royal brocade as a present, which the young lady ordered a slave in her hearing to cut up for dusters. Then the mother brought her an emerald collar worth four thousand diners, when she ordered it to be threshed, and thrown to the pigeons. The old lady acknowledged herself beaten, and asked Sittoukan if she wished to marry or not. The latter demanded that the prince should be wrapped in seven shrouds, and carried to the palace which she indicated, as if he were dead. Then she went and took off the shrouds one after another, and when she came to the seventh, she spat on him, saying, "If you did not love women, you would not be wrapped in seven shrouds." Then he said, "Is it you?" and he bit his finger till he bit it off, and they remained together.
IX.—Histoire du musician ambulant et de son fils.
This travelling musician was so poor that when his wife was confined, he went out to beg for their immediate necessities, and found a hen lying on the ground with an egg under her. He met a Jew to whom he sold the egg for twenty mahboubs. The hen laid an egg every day, which the Jew bought for twenty mahboubs, and the musician became rich and opened a merchant's shop. When his son was grown, he built a school for him at his own expense, where poor children were taught to read. Then the musician set out on pilgrimage, charging his wife not to let the Jew trick her out of the hen. A fortnight afterwards, the Jew called, and persuaded the woman to sell him the hen for a casket of silver. He ordered her to cook it, but told her that if anybody else ate a piece, he would rip him up. The musician's son came in, while the fowl was cooking, and as his mother would not give him any, he seized the gizzard, and ate it, when one of the slaves warned him to fly before the arrival of the Jew. The Jew pursued the boy, and would have killed him, but the latter took him up with one hand, and dashed him to pieces on the ground. The musician's son continued his journey, and arrived at a town where thirty-nine heads of suitors who had failed to conquer the princess in wrestling, were suspended at the gate of the palace. On the first day the youth wrestled with the princess for two hours without either being able to overcome the other; but during the night the king ordered the doctors to drug the successful suitor, and to steal the talisman. Next morning when the youth awoke, he perceived his weakness, and fled. Presently he met three men quarrelling over a flying carpet, a food-producing cup, and a money mill. He threw a stone for them to run after and transported himself to Mount Kaf, where he made trial of the other talismans. Then he returned to the palace, called to the princess to come down to wrestle with him, and as soon as she stepped on the carpet, carried her away to Mount Kaf, when she promised to restore the gizzard, and to marry him. She deserted him, and he found two date-trees, one bearing red and the other yellow dates. On eating a yellow date, a horn grew from his head[FN#443] and twisted round the two date-trees. A red date removed it. He filled his pockets, and travelled night and day for two months.[FN#444] He cried dates out of season, and the princess bought sixteen yellow ones, and ate them all; and eight [sixteen ?] horns grew from her head, four to each wall. They could not be sawn off, and the king offered his daughter to whoever could remove them. When the musician's son married the princess, and became wazir, he said to his bride, "Where is my carpet, &c." She replied, "Is it you?" "Yes," said he, "Is my trick or yours the best?" She admitted that she was beaten, and they lived together in harmony.
X.—Histoire du rossignol chanteur.
Three brothers built a palace for their mother and sister after their father's death. The sister loved someone of whom the brothers disapproved. An old woman advised the sister to send her brothers for the singing nightingale. The two eldest would not wait till the bird was asleep, but while they were trying to shut his cage, he dusted sand over them with his claws, and sunk them to the seventh earth. The beads and the ring gave warning of their deaths at home; but the third, who left a rose with his mother, to fade if he died captured the bird, and received sand from under the cage. When he scattered it on the ground, more than a thousand men rose up, some negroes and some Turks. The brothers were not among them, so the youngest was told to scatter white sand, when 500 more people emerged, including the brothers. Afterwards the eldest brother was sitting in his ship when a Maghrebi told him to clean his turban; which his mother interpreted to mean that his sister had misconducted herself, and he should kill her. He refused, and fled with her to the desert. Hearing voices, he entered a cave where thirty nine robbers were dividing rations; and he contrived to appropriate a share, and then to return it when missed; but as he was detected, he gave himself out as a fellow-robber, engaged himself to them, and watching his opportunity, slew them. Afterwards he brought his sister two young lions. She found a wounded negro in the cave, whom she nursed, and after having had two children by him, plotted against her brother. She pretended to be ill, and sent him to find the grapes of Paradise. He met a Ghuleh who gave him a ball which directed him to Paradise, and he returned safely. Then his sister sent him for the Water of Life when the two young lions followed him, and he could not drive them back. After travelling for a year the brother reached the Sea of the Water of Life, and while resting under a tree heard two pigeons telling each other that the king's daughter was ill, and every doctor who failed to restore her was put to death, and she could only be cured by the Water of Life. "Mohammed l'Avise" filled two bottles and a jar with the water, cured the princess with the water in the jar, married her, and after forty days, gave her one bottle, and set out to visit his family. At the sister's instigation, the negro slew Mohammed, cut him to pieces, and put the remains into a sack, which they loaded on the ass. Then the lions drove the ass to the wife of Mohammed, who restored his life with the water which he had left with her. Mohammed then shut up the lions, dressed himself as a negro, and went to visit his sister, taking with him some rings and mastic (ladin). His sister recognised his eyes, and while she and the negro were disputing, Mohammed slew the negro and the three [sic] children, and buried his sister alive. He then returned to his wife, announced that his relations were dead, and asked for a hundred camels; and it took them a week to convey away the treasures of the robbers.
XI .—Histoire d' Arab-Zandyq.
This story is translated by Mr. W. A. Clouston, Suppl. Nights, iii., p. 411, and need not be repeated here.
XII.—Histoire du prince et de son cheval.
A prince and foal were born at the same time, and some time afterwards the mother and the mare died. The king married again, and the new queen had an intrigue with a Jew. They plotted to poison the prince, but his horse wept and warned him. Then the queen pretended to be ill, and asked for the heart of the horse, but the prince fled to another kingdom, and bought clothes from a poor man, packing his own on his horse. Then he parted from the horse, who gave him a hair and a flint, telling him to light the hair when ever he needed him. The prince then went to a town, and engaged himself as under gardener to the king. He was set to drive the ox which turned the water-wheel, but one day he called his horse, put on his own clothes, and galloped about the garden, where the youngest princess saw "Mohammed l'Avise" from the window, and fell in love with him. He then returned to the water-wheel, and when the head-gardener returned and found the garden in disorder, he wanted to beat him; but the princess interfered and ordered the prince to receive a fowl and a cake of bread every day. The princess then persuaded her mother and sisters that it was time to be married, so the king ordered everybody to pass under the window of the seven princesses, each of whom threw down a handkerchief on the man of her choice. But the youngest would look at no one till at last they fetched the gardener's boy, when the king was angry, and confined them in a room. The king fell ill with vexation, and the doctors ordered him to drink bear's milk in the hide of a virgin bear. The king's six sons-in-law were ordered to seek it, and Mohammed too set forth mounted on a lame mare, while the people jeered him. Presently he summoned his own horse, and ordered him to pitch a camp of which the beginning and the end could not be seen, and which should contain nothing but bears. When the six sons-in-law passed, they dismounted, and asked the attendants for what they required, but they referred them to their king. The latter offered them what they asked, but branded a ring and a circle on the back of each of the sons-in-law. However, he gave them only the milk and hide of old she-bears, while he himself took the milk of a virgin[FN#445] bear that had just cubbed for the first time, slaughtered it, put the milk into the skin, and then remounted his lame mare, saying to the horse, "God reward you." He returned to town, and gave the milk to his wife who took it to her mother. Then the six sons-in-law brought the milk to the doctors, but when they looked at it, they said, "This is the milk of an old she-bear and is good for nothing." Then they gave the king the other milk, and cured him, but he was much annoyed to hear who had brought it. Soon afterwards a war broke out, and the king pitched his camp outside the town in face of the enemy. Mohammed set out again on his lame mare, the people shouting after him, "Go back, sir, for the soldiers have been defeated." Then he summoned his horse, put on his own clothes, and said to the horse, "Let your hair shoot forth fire." Then he came before the king, saying, "I declare for you and your six sons-in-law." He rushed into battle, smiting with his sword, while his horse shot forth fire. They slew a third of the enemy, and then disappeared, while the king lamented. "Ah, if my six sons-in-law had only done this!" After his exertions Mohammed was tired, and went home to sleep. Next day the same thing happened, but the king put his own ring on his finger. On the third day he slew the remaining third of his enemies, but his arm was wounded, and the king bound it up with his own handkerchief before he departed.
The king gathered together the horses and the spoil, and returned to town, much vexed that his sons-in-law had done nothing. Then the youngest princess asked her mother to send for her father to look at the ring and the handkerchief, when he fell down and kissed the feet of Mohammed, who rose up giddy from sleep, but when he was asked his history, he answered, "I am a prince like yourself, and your six sons-in-law are mamelouks of my father. I beat them, and they took to flight, and through fear of my father, I set out in search of them. I came here and found that they were your sons-in-law, but I imposed silence on them. But as regards your daughter, she saw me in the garden, and recognised my real rank; here is your daughter, O king; she is still a virgin." Then the wedding was celebrated with great pomp, and Mohammed remained with his father-in-law for some time, until he desired to return to his own country. On his arrival he found that his father had died, so he ascended the throne, and ordered his mother-in-law and the Jew to be burned.
Carlo de Landberg, Basim le Forgeron et Haron Er-Rachid, 8vo., Leyden, 1888.
Text and translation of a modern Arabic story of an unfortunate smith and hashish-eater whom Harun encounters on one of his usual nocturnal rambles. Harun plays a succession of practical jokes on him, driving him out of his employment every day, and supping with him every night. At last he bastinadoes him, and throws him into prison, where a jinniyah takes pity on him, and confers unlimited power on him, which he enjoys for a week, and then dies, to the great grief of Harun.
Additional Note to Suppl. Vol. V. (Pp. 318-320).
Compare Boccaccio's story of the Devil in Hell (Day iii. No. 11).
The Biography of the Book and Its Reviewers Reviewed.
[" It has occurred to me that perhaps it would be a good plan to put a set of notes . . . to the 'Origin,' which now has none, exclusively devoted to the errors of my reviewers. It has occurred to me that where a reviewer has erred a common reader might err. Secondly, it will show the reader that we must not trust implicitly to reviewers."—DARWIN'S LIFE. ii. 349.]
TO RICHARD FRANCIS BURTON.
The Thousand Nights and a Night.
Athwart the welkin slant the snows and pile On sill and balcony, their feathery feet Trip o'er the landscape, and pursuing sleet Earth's brow beglooming, robs the skies of smile: Lies in her mourning-shroud our Northern Isle And bitter winds in battle o'er her meet. Her world is death-like, when behold! we greet Light-gleams from morning-land in welcome while.
A light of golden mine and orient pearl— Vistas of fairy-land, where Beauty reigns And Valiance revels; cloudless moon, fierce sun, The wold, the palm-tree; cities; hosts; a whirl Of life in tents and palaces and fanes: The light that streams from THOUSAND NIGHTS AND ONE.
Isabel Burton, Tangier, Marocco: Feb. 19, 1886.
The Biography of the Book and Its Reviewers Reviewed.
I here propose to produce what may be called the "biography" of a book whereof, methinks, the writer has some reason to be proud, a work which, after occupying him for the third of a century, well nigh half the life of average man and the normal endurance of a generation, can show for result these sixteen volumes. A labour of such parts and magnitude deserves, in my humble opinion, some notice of the main features distinguishing its career, especially of its presentation to Court (Public Opinion) and its reception by the high officials of the Palace, the critics, reviewers and criticasters.
And there is yet another consideration. To ignore the charges and criminations brought forward by certain literary Sir Oracles would be wilfully suffering judgment to go by default. However unpopular and despised may be, as a rule, the criticism of critique, and however veridical the famous apothegm "A controversy in the Press with the Press is the controversy of a fly with a spider," I hold it the author's bounder duty, in presence of the Great Public, to put forth his reply, if he have any satisfactory and interesting rejoinder, and by such ordeal to purge himself and prove his innocence unless he would incur wittingly impeachment for contumacy and contempt of court.
It is not only an instinct of human nature expressed by nemo me impure lacessit which impels to answering in presence of the passers by the enemy at the gate; it is also a debt which his honour and a respectful regard for the good opinion of his fellows compel the author to repay. The man who is feeble enough silently to suffer detraction and calumny at the hands of some sciolist or Halb-bildung sheltering his miserable individuality under the shadow (may it never be less!) of " King We," simply sins against himself as the Arabs say and offends good manners by holding out a premium to wanton aggression and injurious doing. The reading world has a right to hear the alteram partem before it shall deliver that judgment and shall pronounce that sentence wherefrom lies no appeal. To ignore and not to visit with represailles unworthy and calumnious censure, may become that ideal and transcendental man who forgives (for a personal and egoistical reason) those who trespass against him. But the sublime doctrine which commands us to love our enemies and affect those who despitefully entreat us is in perilous proximity to the ridiculous; at any rate it is a vain and futile rule of life which the general never thinks of obeying. It contrasts poorly with the common sense of the pagan—Fiat Justitia, ruat coelum; and the heathenish and old- Adamical sentiment of the clansman anent Roderick Dhu—
"Who rights his wrong where it was given If it were in the court of Heaven,"
L. of the Lake, v. 6.
—commends itself far more to what divines are pleased to call "fallen human nature" that is the natural man.
And here before crossing the threshold, I would seize the opportunity of expressing my cordial gratitude and hearty thanks to the Press in general, which has received my Eastern studies and contributions to Oriental knowledge in the friendliest and most sympathetic spirit, appreciating my labours far beyond the modicum of the offerer's expectation and lending potent and generous aid to place them before the English world in the fairest and most favourable point of view. To number a small proportion of "black sheep" is no shame for a flock amounting to myriads: such exceptional varieties must be bred for the use and delectation of those who prefer to right wrong and darkness to light. It is with these only that my remarks and retorts will deal and consequently I have assigned to them the post of honour. The various extracts from notices, favourable appreciative and complimentary, appear as the "Opinions of the Press" at the end of this volume, and again I take the opportunity of professing myself truly thankful for the good word of the Fourth Estate, and for its wisely detecting the soul of good in things evil.
The romantic and exceptional circumstances under which my large labour was projected and determined have been sufficiently described in the Foreword (vol. i. pp. vii- x). I may here add that during a longsome obligatory halt of some two months at East African Zayla' and throughout a difficult and dangerous march across the murderous Somali country upon Harar-Gay, then the Tinbukhtu of Eastern Africa, The Nights rendered me the best of service. The wildlings listened with the rapt attention of little lads and lasses to the marvellous recitals of the charming Queen and the monotonous interpellations of her lay-image sister and looked forward to the evening lecture as the crown and guerdon of the toilsome day. And assuredly never was there a more suitable setting, a more admirable mise-en-scene for The Nights than the landscape of Somali-land, a prospect so adapted to their subject-matter that it lent credibility even to details the least credible. Barren and grisly for the most part, without any of the charms gladdening and beautifying the normal prospects of earth, grassy hill and wooded dale, park-like plain and placid lake, and the snaking of silvery stream, it displays ever and anon beauties made all its own by borrowing from the heavens, in an atmosphere of passing transparency, reflections of magical splendours and of weird shadows proper to tropical skies. No rose-hue pinker than the virginal blush and dewy flush of dawn in contrast with the shivering reek of flaming noon-tide, when all brightness of colour seems burnt out of the world by the white heat of sun-glow. No brilliancy more gorgeous or more ravishing than the play of light and shade, the rainbow shiftings and the fiery pinks and purples and embers and carmines of the sunset scenery—the gorgeous death-bed of the Day. No tint more tender, more restful, than the uniform grey, pale and pearly, invading by slowest progress that ocean of crimson that girds the orb of the Sun-King, diminishing it to a lakelet of fire and finally quenching it in iridescent haze. No gloom more ghostly than the murky hangings drooping like curtains from the violet heavens during those traveller's trials the unmoored nights, when the world seems peopled by weird phantoms and phantasms of man and monster moving and at rest. No verdure more exquisite than earth's glazing of greenery, the blend of ethereal azure and yellow; no gold more sheeny than the foregrounds of sand shimmering in the slant of the sun; no blue more profound and transparent than the middle distances; no neutral tints more subtle, pure, delicate and sight-soothing than the French grey which robes the clear-cut horizon; no variety of landscape more pronounced than the alternations of glowing sunlight and snowy moonlight and twinkling starlight, all streaming through diaphanous air. No contrast more admirable than the alternation of iron upland whereupon hardly a blade of grass may grow and the Wady with its double avenue of leek-green tamarisks, hedging now a furious rain-torrent then a ribbon of purest sand, or the purple-gray shadow rising majestic in the Orient to face the mysterious Zodiacal Light, a white pyramid whose base is Amenti—region of resting Osiris—and whose apex pierces the zenith. And not rarely this "after-glow" is followed by a blush of "celestial rosy-red" mantling the whole circle of the horizon where the hue is deepest and paling into the upper azure where the stars shine their brightest. How often in Somali land I repeated to myself
—Contente-vous, mes yeux, Jamais vous ne verrez chose plus belle;
and the picture still haunts me.
* * * * * *
And now, turning away from these and similar pleasures of memory, and passing over the once told tale (Foreword, vol. i. pp. viii., ix.) of how, when and where work was begun, together with the disappointment caused by the death of my friend and collaborator, Steinhaeuser concerning the copying process which commenced in 1879 and anent the precedence willingly accorded to the "Villon Edition," I proceed directly to what may be termed
The Engineering of the Work.
During the autumn of '82, after my return from the Gold Coast (with less than no share of the noble metal which my companion Cameron and I went forth to find and found a failure), my task began in all possible earnest with ordering the old scraps of translation and collating a vast heterogeneous collection of notes. I was fortunate enough to discover at unlettered Trieste, an excellent copyist able and willing to decypher a crabbed hand and deft at reproducing facetious and drolatic words without thoroughly comprehending their significance. At first my exertions were but fitful and the scene was mostly a sick bed to which I was bound between October '83 and June '84. Marienbad, however, and Styrian Sauerbrunn (bed Rohitsch) set me right and on return to Trieste (Sept. 4, '84), we applied ourselves to the task of advertising, the first two volumes being almost ready for print.
And here we were confronted by a serious question, What number of copies would suffice my public? A distinguished Professor who had published some 160,000 texts with prices ranging from 6d. to 50 guineas, wrote to me in all kindness advising an issue of 150 to 250: an eminent printer-publisher would have ventured upon some 500: others rose to 750 with a warning-note anent "wreckage," great risk and ruinous expenditure, while only one friend—and he not in business—urged an edition of 2,000 to 3,000 with encouraging words as to its probable reception. After long forethought I chose 1,000 as a just middle.
We then drew up a long list, names of friends, acquaintances and strangers likely to patronise the novelty, and caused the following three papers to be lithographed and printed at Trieste.
Captain Burton, having neither agent nor publisher for his forthcoming ARABIAN NIGHTS, requests that all subscribers will kindly send their names and addresses to him personally (Captain Burton, Trieste, Austria), when they will be entered into a book kept for the purpose.
There will be 10 volumes at a guinea a piece, each to be paid for on delivery. Subscribers may count on the first three volumes being printed in March next. Captain Burton pledges himself to furnish copies to all subscribers who address themselves to him; and he also undertakes not to issue, nor to allow the issue of a cheaper Edition. One thousand copies will be printed, the whole Manuscript will be ready before going to press in February, and the ten volumes will be issued within Eighteen Months.
This was presently followed by
The Student of Arabic who reads "THE NIGHTS" with this version, will not only be competent to join in any conversation, to peruse the popular books and newspapers, and to write letters to his friends, he will also find in the notes a repertoire of those Arabian Manners and Customs, Beliefs and Practices, which are not discussed in popular works.
The 10 volumes will be handsomely bound in black and gold.
No subscriptions will be until the work is done, and then at Coutts' Bank, Strand London.
Subscribers who apply directly are preferred.
The author will pay carriage of volumes all over the United Kingdom. A London address is requested.
And, lastly, after some delay, came the subjoined cutting from the Daily Tribune, New York.
"It has already been announced that the first instalment of Captain Burton's new translation of the Arabian Nights may be expected this autumn. I am indebted to a friend of his for some details which have not yet, I think, been made public. There is still room for a translation of the Arabian Nights. All or nearly all the popular editions of which there are hundreds, are but renderings, more or less imperfect, from Professor Galland's French version, which is itself an abridgment from the original, and turns a most valuable ethnographical work into a mere collection of fairy tales. Moreover, these English translations abound in Gallicisms, and their style offers but a painful contrast to the French of the seventeenth century. Some years since a Mr. Torrens undertook a complete translation from the original, but his work did not go beyond a single volume, or fifty tales out of the 1,001. Then came Mr. Lane in 1839, whose success was but moderate In his three large and (in the 1839 edition) beautifully illustrated volumes, he has given not more than half the tales. He used the Cairo Arabic edition, which is itself an abridgment, and took all kinds of liberties with the text, translating verse into prose, and excising everything that was not 'strictly proper.'
"Lastly, there is Mr. John Payne's excellent translation, which has occupied him during seven years and is just brought to a conclusion. Mr. Payne bound himself to print not more than 500 copies, and his nine volumes, not published but printed, nominally for the Villon Society, are unprocurable except at a price which to the general public is prohibitive.
"Captain Burton began his work on this extraordinary monument of Oriental literature in 1852, at Aden, with some help from his friend Dr. Steinhaeuser, of the Bombay Army. He has gone on with it as opportunity offered, and as other literary and official labours and his many journeys in savage lands permitted. The text and the subject offer many difficulties, and it is to these difficulties that he has devoted especial attention. His object is to reproduce the book in a form as entirely Arabian as possible, preserving the strict division of the nights, and keeping (a more questionable matter) to the long unbroken sentences in which the composer indulged, imitating also the rhythmic prose which is a characteristic of the Arabic. The effect in English remains to be seen, but of the value of Captain Burton's method as an experiment in literature there can be no doubt, or of its great interest to everybody who cares for Oriental habits of thought and language. He will not shirk any of the passages which do not suit the taste of the day, but these, Captain Burton thinks, will not commonly be found more objectionable than some which are in Shakespeare and in Shakespeare's contemporaries. At the same time it will be understood that the book is intended for men only and for the study;—not for women or children, nor for the drawing-room table or dentist's waiting-room. It will be printed by subscription and not published.
"Few are the Oriental scholars in England who could do justice to this picture of the mediaeval Arab. Captain Burton is perhaps the only one who joins to the necessary linguistic knowledge that varied practical experience of Eastern life which alone in many cases can supply the true meaning of a troublesome passage or an accurate comment upon it. His aim is to make the book in its English dress not only absolutely literal in text but Oriental in tone and colour. He knows the tales almost by heart, and used to keep the Bedouin tribes in roars of laughter in camp during the long summer nights by reciting them. Sheiks to whom a preternatural solemnity of demeanour is usual were to be seen rolling on the ground in paroxysms of uncontrollable mirth. It was also Burckhardt's custom to read the stories aloud, but the Arabs would snatch the book from his hand because his pronunciation was so bad. Captain Burton is said to have an Arab accent not easily distinguishable from the native. When he contents himself with the English tongue here in England, he is one of the most picturesque talkers to be met with. I can remember a certain dinner-party, now many years ago, where the great traveller kept us all listening till long past day-break; narrating, as he did, the most singular adventures with the most vivid fidelity to facts. That, however, is a digression. I have only to add that Captain Burton has the names of many subscribers and will doubtless be glad to receive others which may, I suppose, be sent to him at Trieste. His present hope is to be ready to go to press next February and to bring out the whole of the volumes in 1885."
(Signed) G. W. S.
Concerning this "American" communication and its author I shall have more to say in a future page.
Some 24,000 to 30,000 circulars were posted at an expense of 126 pounds and they produced about 800 favourable replies which, after my return to England (May '85), rose to 1,500 and to 2,000 as my unprofessional friend, and he only, had anticipated. Meanwhile occurred an incident characteristic of such appeals by the inexperienced to the public. A case containing 1,100 circulars had been sent to my agent for mailing in London, and my secretary had unfortunately gummed their envelopes. Hereupon I should have been subjected by the Post Office to the pains and penalties of the law, perhaps to a fine of 200 pounds. But when the affair was reported, with due explanations, to the late lamented Postmaster-General Henry Fawcett—a man in a million, and an official in ten millions— he had the justice and generosity to look upon the offence as the result of pure ignorance, and I received a caution "not to do it again."
Needless to say that I lost no time about advertising my mistake in the dailies, giving the name of my agent and in offering to refund the money. Some of the sealed and unpaid envelopes had, however, been forwarded prematurely and the consequence was a comical display of wrath in quarters where it was hardly to be expected. By way of stemming the unpleasant tide of abuse I forwarded the following communique; to The Academy.
"TUPPENCE AS A TOUCHSTONE."
Trieste, Nov. 2, 85.
"Can you kindly find space for a few lines on a purely personal matter which is causing me abundant trouble? A box of circulars giving details concerning my forthcoming version of the Arabian Nights was sent to London with directions to stamp and post the contents. The envelopes having been inadvertently gummed down, the case was stopped by the Custom-house, and was transmitted to the Post Office where it was found to contain circulars not letters, and of these sundry were forwarded without prepayment. The pleasant result was that one out-spoken gentleman writes upon the circular, which he returns,—When you send your trash again, put postage-stamps on. A second is peremptorily polite, Please forward four stamps to the Adjutant of the —th Regiment. The 'Chaplain of the Forces at ——,' at once ironical and severe, ventures to suggest to Captain Burton that it is advisable, if he thinks his book worth selling, to put the postage on future advertisements. A fourth who, I regret to say, signs himself Lieutenant Colonel, gives me advice about pre-payment written in an orderly's hand upon a torn envelope (gratuitously insulting!); encloses the 2d. stamp and sends the missive under official cover 'On Her Majesty's Service.' The idea of a French or an Austrian Colonel lowering himself so infinitely low! Have these men lost all sense of honour, all respect for themselves (and others) because they can no longer be called to account for their insolence more majorum? I never imagined 'Tuppence' to be so cunning a touchstone for detecting and determining the difference between gold and dross; nor can I deeply regret that circumstance and no default of mine has placed in hand Ithuriel's spear in the shape of the said 'Tuppence'."
I am, Sir, etc.
RICHARD F. BURTON.
The process of filling-up my list presented a fine and varied study of character; and an extensive experience of subscribers, as well as of non-subscribers, presently enabled me to distribute the genus into the following eight species. The friendly subscriber who takes ten copies (more or less) forwarding their value. The gentleman subscriber who pays down his confidingly. The cautious-canny subscriber who ventures 5. 5s., or half the price. The impudent and snobbish subscriber who will address his victim as follows:—
Send me the first volume of your Arabian Nights and if I like it I will perhaps take more.
And Cynophron will probably receive for all reply:—
Send me ten guineas and take one or ten volumes as you please.
Yours obediently, etc.
No. vi. is the fussy and troublesome subscriber who gives more bother than he is worth, and who takes a VICIOUS pride in not paying till pushed to the last point. The professional subscriber fights hard for the most favourable terms, and holds it his vested right to "part" by dribblers. And lastly comes the dishonest subscriber who does not pay at all. I must however, in justice own that species No. viii. is rare: of one thousand the proportion was only about a score.
In mid-June, '85, I returned to London and began at once to prepare for issuing the book. Having found the publisher peculiarly unsatisfactory—with one single and remarkable exception my venerable friend, Mr. Van Voorst, whilome of Paternoster Row—I determined, like Professor Arber, to do without him, although well aware how risky was the proceeding, which would, in the case of a work for general reading, have arrayed against me the majority of the trade and of their "hands," the critics. Then I sought hard, but sought in vain, for the agency of a literary friend or friends, men of name and note, like those who assisted in the Villon version: all feared the responsibility and the expected storm of abuse which, however, failed to burst.
Under these circumstances "The Printing Times," a professional periodical produced by Messieurs Wymans, was pleased (August 25, '85) to be unpleasantly intrusive on the subject of my plan. "We always heard associated with the publication of this important work, the name of Mr.——, which is now conspicuous by its absence, nor is, apparently the name of any other leading publishing house to be identified with its production" (The Printer's Devil is, I presume, responsible for the English!) The writer then warns me in all (un-)friendliness that if the printers forget to add their imprint, they would become liable to a legal penalty; that the work is unsafe for literal translation and, lastly that although printed by private subscription, "It is likely enough to be pronounced an injury to public morals to the danger of the author and his printers." The unhappy article concludes, "We await the issue of the first volume since much will depend upon the spirit(!) in which the translation has been undertaken; certainly the original text is not suitable for general circulation (connu!) unless edited with the utmost care and discretion."
To this production so manifestly inspired by our old friend s. d., I replied in The Aademy (August 7, '85), the gist of the few lines being as follows:—
In answer to many inquiries from friends and others, will you allow me to repeat through your columns, that my translation of the "Arabian Nights" will be strictly limited to 1,000 copies, each sent to picked subscribers, and to renew the promise which I before made, that no cheaper edition shall be printed? Correspondents have complained that I have not stated the price; but I have mentioned over and over again that there are ten volumes, at one guinea each—my object in making it so expensive being to keep it from the general public. I am also troubled with inquiries as to who is my publisher I am my own publisher, inaugurating (Inshallah!) a golden age for authors. Jesting apart the book has no publisher. It is printed by myself for the benefit of Orientalists and Anthropologists, and nothing could be more repugnant to me than the idea of a book of the kind being published or being put into the hands of any publisher.
The first volume dated "Benares: MDCCCLXXXV: Printed by the Kamashastra Society for Private Subscribers only," did not appear till September 12, '85: it had been promised for March and had been delayed by another unavoidable detention at Trieste. But my subscribers had no further cause of complaint; ten tomes in sixteen months ought to satisfy even the most exigent.
No. i. volume was accompanied by a circular earnestly requesting that the book might not be exposed for sale in public places or permitted to fall into the hands of any save curious students of Moslem manners. Yet the birth of the first-born was accompanied (I am fain to confess) with no small trouble and qualms to the parent and to all who assisted at the parturition. Would the "little stranger" robed in black and gold, the colours of the Abbaside Caliphs, with its brick-red night-cap after the fashion of ecclesiastical bandings, be kindly welcomed or would it be regarded as an abortion, a monster? The reader will readily understand how welcome to an author in such perplexity came the following article from the Standard (September 12), usually attributed to the popular and trenchant pen of Mr. Alfred Austin. I must be permitted to quote it entire, because it expresses so fully and so admirably all and everything I could desire a reviewer to write. And the same paper has never ceased to give me the kindest encouragement: its latest notice was courteous and appreciative as its earliest.
The first volume of Captain Burton's long-expected edition of the "Arabian Nights" was issued yesterday to those who are in a position to avail themselves of the wealth of learning contained in this monumental labour of the famous Eastern traveller. The book is printed for subscribers only, and is sold at a price which is not likely to be paid by any save the scholars and students for whose instruction it is intended. But though the Benares "Kamashastra Society" are careful to let the world know that the "Thousand Nights and a Night" is not "published" in the technical sense of the term, the pages which will be read by a thousand purchasers may be fittingly regarded as the property of the world at large. In any case, the day when the experience of a life was embodied into this fresh translation of the "Alf Laylah wa Laylah" marks a distinct stage in the history of Oriental research. The world has had numerous versions of these stories. For at least a century and a half they have delighted old and young, until Shahrazade and Dunyazade, the Fisherman and the Jinn, and the tales told by the Tailor, the Kalendar, the Nazarene broker, and the Hunchback. . . to say nothing of Aladdin, Ali Baba, Sinbad the Sailor, and Camaralzaman and Badoura—seem like the most familiar of friends. Yet many of those who know the ordinary epitome prepared for the nursery and the drawing-room have little idea of the nature of the original. Galland's abridgment was a mere shadow of the Arabic. Even the editions of Lane and Habicht and Torrens and Von Hammer represented but imperfectly the great corpus of Eastern folk-lore which Captain Burton has undertaken to render into English, without regard to the susceptibilities of those who, not having bought the book, are, therefore, in no way concerned in what is the affair of him and his subscribers. The best part of two centuries have passed away since Antoine Galland first turned some of the tales into French, and got stigmatised as a forger for his pains. Never was there such a sensation as when he printed his translations. For weeks he had been pestered by troops of roysterers rousing him out of bed, and refusing to go until the shivering Professor recited one of the Arab stories to the crowd under his window. Nor has the interest in them in any way abated. Thousands of copies pass every year into circulation, and any one who has ever stood in the circle around the professional storyteller of the East must have noticed how often he draws on this deathless collection. The camel-driver listens to them as eagerly as did his predecessors ages ago. The Badawi laughs in spite of himself, though next moment he ejaculates a startling "Astaghfaru'llah" for listening to the light mention of the sex whose name is never heard amongst the Nobility of the Desert. Or if the traveller is a scholar and a gentleman, he will pull out his book for amusement of the company squatted round the camp fire, as did Captain Burton many a time and oft in the course of his Eastern wanderings.
To Captain Burton the preparation of these volumes must have been a labour of love. He began them in conjunction with his friend Steinhaeuser, soon after his return from the Mecca pilgrimage, more than thirty years ago, and he has been doing something to them ever since. In the swampy jungles of West Africa a tale or two has been turned into English, or a poem has been versified during the tedium of official life in the dank climate of Brazil. From Sind to Trieste the manuscript has formed part and parcel of his baggage and though, in the interval, the learned author has added many a volume to the shelf-full which he has written, the "Thousand Nights and a Night" have never been forgotten. And now when he nears the end of his labours it seems as if we had never before known what the beauteous Shahrazad told the King who believed not in the constancy of women. Captain Burton seems the one sober man among drunkards. We have all the old company though they appear in dresses so entirely new that one scans the lines again and again before the likeness is quite recognised. However, Tajal-Mulook will no doubt be as knightly as ever when his turn comes, for the Barber is garrulous, after the old fashion, and the three Shaykhs relate their experiences with the Jinns, the gazelles, and mules as vividly as they have done any time these thousand years or more. King Yoonan and the Sage Dooban are here, and so are King Sindibad and his falcon, the young Prince of the Black Islands, the envious Weezer and the Ghoolah, and the stories of the Porter and the Ladies of Baghdad lose nothing of their charm in the new, and, we may add, extremely unsophisticated version. For Captain Burton's work is not virginibus puerisque, and, while disclaiming for his version anything like intentional indecorum, he warns the readers that they will be guilty of a breach of good faith should they permit a work prepared only for students to fall into the hands of boys and girls. From the first to almost the penultimate edition of these stories the drawing-room alone has been consulted. Even Mr. Payne, though his otherwise faithful version was printed for the Villon Society, had the fear of Mrs. Grundy before his eyes. Moreover, no previous editor—not even Lane himself—had a tithe of Captain Burton's acquaintance with the manners and customs of the Moslem East. Hence not unfrequently, they made ludicrous blunders and in no instance did they supply anything like the explanatory notes which have added so greatly to the value of this issue of "Alf Laylah wa Laylah." Some of these are startling in their realism, and often the traveller who believed that he knew something of the East, winces at the plainness with which the Wazir's daughter tells her tales to Shahryar, King of the Banu Sasan. The language is, however, more frequently coarse than loose, and smacks more of the childish plainness with which high and low talk in the family circles from Tangier to Malayia, than of prurience or suggestiveness. The Oriental cannot understand that it is improper to refer in straightforward terms to anything which Allah has created or of which the Koran treats. But in his conversation, as in his folk-lore, there is no subtle corruption or covert licentiousness—none of the vicious suggestion and false sentiment that pervade so many of the productions of the modern romantic school.
It is, indeed, questionable whether there is much in these inimitable romances half so objectionable as many of the chapters in Rabelais and Boccaccio. Nor do the most archaic of the passages which Captain Burton declines to "veil in the decent obscurity of a learned language" leave much room for the admirers of Shakespeare, or Greene, or Nash, or Wycherley, or Swift, or Sterne to cry shame. Their coarseness was a reflection of the times. The indelicacy was not offensive to those who heard it. On the other hand, apart from the language, the general tone of "The Nights" is exceptionally high and pure. The devotional fervour, as Captain Burton justly claims, often rises to the boiling-point of fanaticism and the pathos is sweet and deep, genuine and tender, simple and true. Its life—strong, splendid, and multitudinous—is everywhere flavoured with that unaffected pessimism and constitutional melancholy which strike deepest root under the brightest skies. The Kazi administers poetical justice with exemplary impartiality, and so healthy is the morale that at times we descry through the voluptuous and libertine picture "vistas of a transcendental morality—the morality of Socrates in Plato." In no other work of the same nature is Eastern life so vividly portrayed. We see the Arab Knight, his prowess and his passion for adventure, his love and his revenge, the craft of his wives, and the hypocrisy of his priests, as plainly as if we had lived among them. Gilded palaces, charming women, lovely gardens, caves full of jewels, and exquisite repasts, captivate the senses and give variety to the panorama which is passing before our eyes. Yet we repeat that, though there is much in the excellent version now begun which is very plain speaking, there is nothing intentionally demoralising. Evidently, however the translator is prepared to hear this charge brought against his labour of love. Indeed, there is a tinge of melancholy pervading the preface in which the Editor refers to his "unsuccessful professional life," and to the knowledge of which his country has cared so little to avail itself. * * * * * Even in the recent Egyptian troubles—which are referred to somewhat bitterly— his wisdom was not utilised, though, after the death of Major Morice, there was not an English official in the camps before Suakin capable of speaking Arabic. On this scandal, and on the ignorance of Oriental customs which was everywhere displayed, Captain Burton is deservedly severe. The issue of the ten volumes now in the press, accompanied by notes so full of learning as those with which they are illuminated, will surely give the nation an opportunity for wiping away the reproach of that neglect which Captain Burton seems to feel more keenly than he cares to express.
This was a sop to the friend and a sore blow dealt to the enemy. Moreover it was speedily followed up by another as swashing and trenchant in the Morning Advertiser (September 15, '85), of which long extracts are presently quoted. The journal was ever friendly to me during the long reign of Mr. James Grant, and became especially so when the editorial chair was so worthily filled by my old familiar of Oxford days, the late Alfred Bate Richards, a man who made the "Organ of the Licensed Victuallers" a power in the state and was warmly thanked for his good services by that model conservative, Lord Beaconsfield.
A phrase in the Standard, the "most archaic of the passages," acted upon
The "Pall Mall Gazette"
like a red rag upon a rageous bull. I should rather say that it excited the so-called "Sexual I Journal" by suggesting another opportunity for its unclean sensationalism: perhaps also the staff hoped to provide company and a fellow-sufferer for their editor, who was then in durance vile, his of fences being "inciting to an indecent assault" and an act of criminal immorality. I should not have felt called upon to remind my readers of a scandal half forgotten in England, while still held in lively remembrance by the jealous European world, had not the persistent fabrications, calumnies, and slanders of the Pall Mall, which continue to this day, compelled me to move in self-defence, and to explain the mean under lying motives.
Some three years and a half ago (June 3, '85), the paper startled the world of London by a prodigy of false, foul, and fulsome details in the shape of articles entitled "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon." The object of the editor, Mr. William T. Stead, a quondam teacher in the London schools and a respectable Methodist strengthened by non- Conformist support, in starting this ignoble surprise on the public was much debated. His partisans asserted that he had been honestly deceived by some designing knave as if such child-like credulity were any excuse for a veteran journalist! His foes opined that under the cloak of a virtue, which Cato never knew, he sought to quicken his subscription list ever dwindling under the effects of his exaggerated Russophilism and Anglophobia.
But whatever may have been the motive, the effect was deplorable. The articles, at once collected into a pamphlet (price two pence), as the "Report of the Pall Mall Gazette's Secret Commission," and headed by a laudatory quotation from one of the late Lord Shaftesbury's indiscreetly philanthropic speeches, were spread broadcast about every street and lane in London. The brochure of sixteen pages divided into three chapters delighted the malignant with such sensational section-headings as—How Girls are Bought and Ruined—Why the Cries of the Victims are not Heard—Procuresses in the West End—How Annie was Procured—You Want a Maid, do You?—The Ruin of Children—A London Minotaur(?)—The Ruin of the Young Life—The Demon Child and—A Close Time for Girls, the latter being intended to support the recommendation of the Lords' Committee and the promise of a Home Secretary that the age of consent be raised from thirteen to sixteen. And all this catchpenny stuff (price 2d.) ended characteristically with "Philanthropic and Religious Associations can be supplied with copies of this reprint on special terms." Such artless benevolence and disinterested beneficence must, of course, be made to pay.
Read by every class and age in the capital, the counties and the colonies, this false and filthy scandal could not but infect the very children with the contagion of vice. The little gutter-girls and street-lasses of East London looked at men passing-by as if assured that their pucelages were or would become vendible at 3 to 5. But, the first startling over men began to treat the writer as he deserved. The abomination was "boycotted" by the Press, expelled from clubs, and driven in disgrace from the "family breakfast table," an unpleasant predicament for a newspaper which lives, not by its news, but by its advertise meets. The editor had the impudence to bemoan a "conspiracy of silence," which can only mean that he wanted his foul sheets to be bought and discussed when the public thought fit to bury them in oblivion. And yet he must have known that his "Modern Babylon" is not worse in such matters than half-a-dozen minor Babylons scattered over Europe, Asia, and America; and that it is far from being, except by the law of proportion the "greatest market of human flesh in the world." But by carefully and curiously misrepresenting the sporadic as the systematic, and by declaring that the "practice of procuration has been reduced to a science" (instead of being, we will suppose, one of the fine arts), it is easy to make out a case of the grossest calumny and most barefaced scandal against any great capital.