Tales From The Arabic, Footnotes
1. Breslau Text, vol. xii. pp. 50-116, Nights dcccclviii-dcccclxv.
2. Babylon, according to the Muslims, is the head-quarters of sorcery and it is there that the
two fallen angels, Harout and Marout, who are appointed to tempt mankind by teaching them the
art of magic, are supposed to be confined.
3. i.e. "my lord," a title generally prefixed to the names of saints. It is probable, therefore,
that the boy was named after some saint or other, whose title, as well as name, was somewhat
ignorantly appropriated to him.
4. i.e. one and all?
5. i.e. a foretaste of hell.
6. Lit. he loaded his sleeve with.
7. A mithcal is the same as a dinar, i.e. about ten shillings.
9. He was a noted debauchee, as well as the greatest poet of his day See my "Book of the
Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. IV. p. 205, and Vol. IX. p. 332.
10. See ante, Vol. II. p. 240. note.
11. Princess of the Fair.
12. i.e. Ye are welcome to.
13. i.e. the place in which those accused or convicted of crimes of violence were confined.
14. i.e. a youth slender and flexile as a bough.
15. i.e. sway gracefully. A swimming gait is the ideal of elegance to the Arab.
16. An Arab of Medina, proverbial for faithlessness.
17. Joseph is the Mohammedan prototype of beauty.
18. For the loss of Joseph. Jacob, in like manner, is the Muslim type of inconsolable grief.
19. Uncle of the Prophet.
20. First cousin of the Prophet.
21. i.e. cut off her head.
22. When asked, on the Day of Judgment, why he had slain her.
23. i.e. that some one of the many risings in Khorassan (which was in a chronic state of
rebellion during Er Reshid's reign) had been put down.
24. Lit. fry. The custom is to sear the stump by plunging it into boiling oil.
25. Lit. of those having houses.
26. i.e. from God in the world to come.
27. I look to get God's favour in consequence of thy fervent prayers for me.
28. Provided for ablution.
29. i.e. if you want a thing done, do it yourself.
30. i.e. put on the ordinary walking dress of the Eastern lady, which completely hides the
31. This is apparently said in jest; but the Muslim Puritan (such as the strict Wehhabi) is often
exceedingly punctilious in refusing to eat or use anything that is not sanctified by mention in the
Koran or the Traditions of the Prophet, in the same spirit as the old Calvinist Scotchwoman of
popular tradition, who refused to eat muffins, because they "warna mentioned in the Bible."
32. i.e. a leader (lit. foreman, antistes) of the people at prayer.
33. Koran ii. 168.
34. i.e. I have eaten largely and the food lies heavy on my stomach.
35. Wine is considered by the Arabs a sovereign digestive. See my "Book of the Thousand
Nights and One Night," Vol. IV. p. 357.
36. "The similitude of Paradise, the which is promised unto those who fear [God]. Therein are
rivers of water incorruptible and rivers of milk, the taste whereof changeth not, and rivers of wine,
a delight to the drinkers, and rivers of clarified honey."--Koran xlvii. 16, 17.
37. The ox is the Arab type of stupidity, as with us the ass.
38. Syn. wood (oud).
39. i.e. my pallor and emaciation testify to the affliction of my heart and the latter bears
witness that the external symptoms correctly indicate the internal malady.
40. Lit. he is [first] the deposit of God, then thy deposit.
41. Or "by."
42. See supra, Vol. I. p. 35, note.
43. i.e. made him Chief of the Police of Baghdad, in place of the former Prefect, whom he had
put to death with the rest of Noureddin's oppressors.
44. For affright.
45. i.e. religious ceremonies so called. See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night,"
Vol. IX. p. 113, note.
46. Breslau Text, vol. xii. pp. 116-237, Nights dcccclxvi-dcccclxxix.
47. i.e. A member of the tribe of Sheiban. No such King of Baghdad (which was not founded
till the eighth century) as Ins ben Cais is, I believe, known to history.
48. The cities and provinces of Bassora and Cufa are generally known as "The Two Iraks";
but the name is here in all probability used in its wider meaning of Irak Arabi (Chaldaea) and Irak
Farsi (Persian Irak).
49. i.e. all those languages the knowledge whereof is necessary to an interpreter or dragoman
(properly terjeman). Or quaere is the word terjemaniyeh (dragomanish) here a mistranscription
for turkumaniyeh (Turcoman).
50. i.e. gilded?
51. i.e. sperma hominis.
52. Syn. good breeding.
53. i.e. those women of equal age and rank with herself.
54. i.e. vaunting himself of offering richer presents.
55. Apparently Zebid, the ancient capital of the province of Tehameh in Yemen, a town on the
Red Sea, about sixty miles north of Mocha. The copyist of the Tunis MS. appears to have written
the name with the addition of the characteristic desinence (oun) of the nominative case, which is
dropped except in the Koran and in poetry.
56. Name of the province in which Mecca is situated.
57. Syn. assembly.
58. i.e. day and night, to wit, for ever.
59. Syn. the loftiness of his purpose.
60. Lit "I charm thee by invoking the aid of God for thee against evil" or "I seek refuge with
God for thee."
61. Or "determinate."
62. Koran xxxiii. 38.
63. Or "accomplishments."
64. i.e. to make a pleasure-excursion.
65. Lit. beset his back.
66. Lit. in its earth.
67. The king's own tribe.
68. i.e. the Arab of the desert or Bedouin (el Aarabi), the nomad.
69. i.e. the martial instinct.
70. Lit. "And he who is oppressed shall become oppressor."
71. i.e. be not ashamed to flee rather than perish in thy youth, if his prowess (attributed to
diabolical aid or possession) prove too much for thee.
72. A periphrastic way of saying, "I look to God for help."
73. i.e. from the world.
74. In laughter.
75. i.e. as he were a flying genie, swooping down upon a mortal from the air, hawk-fashion.
76. Syn. "Thou settest out to me a mighty matter."
77. i.e. the castle.
78. i.e. was eloquent and courtly to the utmost.
79. i.e. died.
80. The Arabs use the right hand only in eating.
81. Name of a quarter of Baghdad.
82. i.e. he summoneth thee to his presence by way of kindness and not because he is wroth
83. i.e. in allowing thee hitherto to remain at a distance from as and not inviting thee to attach
thyself to our person.
84. An Arab idiom, meaning "he showed agitation."
85. Apparently two well-known lovers.
86. Apparently two well-known lovers.
87. i.e. the wandering Arabs.
88. i.e. slain.
89. "O ye who believe, seek aid of patience and prayer; verily, God is with the
patient."--Koran ii. 148.
90. Lit. "ignorant one" (jahil).
91. i.e. Peninsula. Jezireh (sing, of jezair, islands) is constantly used by the Arabs in this sense;
hence much apparent confusion in topographical passages.
92. i.e. Mecca and Medina.
93. i.e. whether on a matter of sport, such as the chase, or a grave matter, such as war, etc.
94. i.e. the children of his fighting-men whom thou slewest.
95. Arab fashion of shaking hands. See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night,"
Vol. IX p. 171, note.
96. Lit. a cleft meadow (merj selia). This is probably a mistranscription for merj sselia, a
97. i.e. one of the small rooms opening upon the hall of audience at saloon of estate.
98. So she might hear and see what passed, herself unseen.
99. Or knowledge of court etiquette.
100. i.e. richer.
101. Lit. seen.
102. Lit. what she did.
103. i.e. tabooed or unlawful in a religious sense (heram).
104. i.e. those of El Aziz, who had apparently entered the city or passed through it on their way
to the camp of El Abbas.
105. Lit. none of the sons of the road.
106. i.e. the stars.
107. i.e. in falsetto?
108. by thine absence.
109. Common abbreviation for "May I be thy ransom!"
110. i.e. for love of and longing for.
111. i.e. leather from Et Taif, a town of the Hejaz, renowned for the manufacture of scented
112. Or "suspended in."
113. i.e. violateth my privacy.
114. i.e. the plaintive song of a nightingale or turtle-dove.
115. This curious comparison appears to be founded upon the extreme tenuity of the particles
of fine dust, so minutely divided as to seem almost fluid.
116. i.e. he carried it into the convent, hidden under his cloak.
117. i.e. all the delights of Paradise, as promised to the believer by the Koran.
118. "Him" in the text and so on throughout the piece; but Mariyeh is evidently the person
alluded to, according to the common practice of Muslim poets of a certain class, who consider it
indecent openly to mention a woman as an object of love.
119. i.e. from the witchery of her beauty. See Vol. II. p. 240, note.
120. Lit "if thou kohl thyself" i.e. use them as a cosmetic for the eye.
121. i.e. we will assume thy debts and responsibilities.
122. Lit "behind."
123. i.e. a specially auspicious hour, as ascertained by astrological calculations. Eastern peoples
have always laid great stress upon the necessity of commencing all important undertakings at an
(astrologically) favourable time.
124. Or "more valuable." Red camels are considered better than those of other colours by some
of the Arabs.
125. i.e. couriers mounted on dromedaries, which animals are commonly used for this purpose,
being (for long distances) swifter and more enduring than horses.
126. Lit. he sinned against himself.
127. i.e. in falsetto?
128. i.e. of gold or rare wood, set with balass rubies.
129. i.e. whose absence.
130. i.e. in a throat voice?
131. Koranic synonym, victual (rihan). See Vol. II. p. 247, note.
132. Apparently, the apple of the throat.
133. Apparently, the belly.
134. Apparently, the bosom.
135. Cf. Fletcher's well-known song in The Bloody Brother;
"Hide, O hide those hills of snow,
That thy frozen bosom bears,
On Whose Tops the Pinks That Grow
Are of those that April wears."
136. i.e. the breasts themselves.
137. i.e. your languishing beauties are alone present to my mind's eye. A drowsy voluptuous air
of languishment is considered by the Arabs an especial charm.
138. Syn. chamberlain (hajib).
139. Syn. eyebrow (hajib). The usual trifling play of words is of course intended.
140. Lit. feathers.
141. Solomon is fabled by the Muslims to have compelled the wind to bear his throne when
placed upon his famous magic carpet. See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night,"
Vol. V. pp. 235-6.
142. Quære the teeth.
143. i.e. the return of our beloved hath enabled us to remove the barriers that stood between us
144. Singing (as I have before pointed out) is not, in the eyes of the strict Muslim, a reputable
occupation and it is, therefore, generally the first idea of the "repentant" professional songstress or
(as in this case) enfranchised slave-girl, who has been wont to entertain her master with the
display of her musical talents, to free herself from all signs of her former profession and identify
herself as closely as possible with the ordinary "respectable" bourgeoise of the harem, from whom
she has been distinguished hitherto by unveiled face and freedom of ingress and egress; and with
this aim in view she would naturally be inclined to exaggerate the rigour of Muslim custom, as
applied to herself.
145. Breslau Text, vol. xii. pp. 383-4 (Night mi).
146. i.e. that of the king, his seven viziers, his son and his favourite, which in the Breslau
Edition immediately follows the Story of El Abbas and Mariyeh and occupies pp. 237-383 of vol.
xii. (Nights dcccclxxix-m). It will be found translated in my "Book of the Thousand Nights and
One Night," Vol. V. pp. 260-346, under the name of "The Malice of Women."
147. i.e. those who practise it.
148. Or "cause" (sebeb).
149. Or "preservation" (selameh).
150. Or "turpitude, anything that is hateful or vexatious" (keraheh).
151. Or "preservation" (selameh).
152. Or "turpitude, anything that is hateful or vexatious" (keraheh).
153. These preliminary words of Shehrzad have no apparent connection with the story that
immediately follows and which is only her own told in the third person, and it is difficult to
understand why they should be here introduced. The author may have intended to connect them
with the story by means of a further development of the latter and with the characteristic
carelessness of the Eastern story-teller, forgotten or neglected to carry out his intention; or, again,
it is possible that the words in question may have been intended as an introduction to the Story of
the Favourite and her Lover (see post, p. 165), to which they seem more suitable, and have been
misplaced by an error of transcription. In any case, the text is probably (as usual) corrupt.
154. Breslau Text, vol. xii. pp. 384-394.
155. The kingdom of the elder brother is afterwards referred to as situate in China. See post, p.
156. Tubba was the dynastic title of the ancient Himyerite Kings of Yemen, even as Chosroës
and Cæsar of the Kings of Persia and the Emperors of Constantinople respectively.
157. i.e. a king similar in magnificence and dominion to the monarchs of the three dynasties
aforesaid, whose names are in Arab literature synonyms for regal greatness.
158. i.e. his rage was ungovernable, so that none dared approach him in his heat of passion.
159. i.e. maidens cloistered or concealed behind curtains and veiled in the harem.
160. i.e. those whose business it is to compose or compile stories, verses, etc., for the
entertainment of kings and grandees.
161. i.e. that his new and damnable custom. The literal meaning of bidah is "an innovation or
invention, anything new;" but the word is commonly used in the sense of "heresy" or "heterodox
innovation," anything new being naturally heretical in the eyes of the orthodox religionist.
162. i.e. women.
163. Breslau Text, vol. xii. pp. 394-398.
164. i.e. his apathy or indifference to the principles of right and wrong and the consequences of
his wicked behaviour.
165. i.e. in a state of reprobation, having incurred the wrath of God.
166. hath mentioned the office of vizier.
167. Koran xx. 30.
168. i.e. none had been better qualified to dispense with a vizier than he.
169. i.e. the essential qualification.
170. The word jeish (troops) is here apparently used in the sense at officials, ministers of
171. Or "rectification."
172. Koran xxxiii. 35.
173. i.e. I know not which to choose of the superabundant material at my command in the way
of instances of women's craft.
174. Breslau Text, vol xii. pp. 398-402.
175. i.e. incensed with the smoke of burning musk. It is a common practice in the East to
fumigate drinking-vessels with the fragrant smoke of aloes-wood and other perfumes, for the
purpose of giving a pleasant flavour to the water, etc., drunk from them.
176. Huneini foucaniyeh. Foucaniyeh means "upper" (fem.); but the meaning of huneini is
unknown to me.
177. Heriseh. See supra, Vol. II. p. 26, note 4.
178. The Arabs distinguish three kinds of honey, i.e. bees' honey, cane honey (treacle or syrup
of sugar) and drip-honey (date-syrup).
179. i.e. yet arrive in time for the rendezvous.
180. Breslau Text, pp. 402-412.
181. i.e. on an island between two branches of the Nile.
182. It is not plain what Khalif is here meant, though it is evident, from the context, that an
Egyptian prince is referred to, unless the story is told of the Abbaside Khalif El Mamoun, son of
Er Reshid (A.D. 813-33), during his temporary residence in Egypt, which he is said to have
visited. This is, however, unlikely, as his character was the reverse of sanguinary; besides, El
Mamoun was not his name, but his title (Aboulabbas Abdallah El Mamoun Billah). Two Khalifs of
Egypt assumed the title of El Hakim bi Amrillah (He who rules or decrees by or in accordance
with the commandment of God), i.e. the Fatimite Abou Ali El Mensour (A.D. 995-1021), and the
faineant Abbaside Aboulabbas Ahmed (A.D. 1261-1301); but neither of these was named El
Mamoun. It is probable, however, that the first named is the prince referred to in the story, the
latter having neither the power nor the inclination for such wholesale massacres as that described
in the text, which are perfectly in character with the brutal and fantastic nature of the founder of
the Druse religion.
183. i.e. the well-known island of that name (The Garden).
184. i.e. "whatever may betide" or "will I, nill I"?
185. Lit. she was cut off or cut herself off.
186. Lit. "The convent of Clay."
187. i.e. this is the time to approve thyself a man.
188. To keep her afloat.
189. Lit "Thou art the friend who is found (or present) (or the vicissitudes of Time (or
190. i.e. the officer whose duty it is to search out the estates of intestates and lay hands upon
such property as escheats to the Crown for want of heirs.
191. i.e. Sumatran.
192. i.e. Alexander.
193. i.e. the blackness of the hair.
194. The ingenuity of the bride's attendants, on the occasion of a wedding, is strained to the
utmost to vary her attire and the manner in which the hair is dressed on the occasion of her being
displayed to her husband, and one favourite trick consists in fastening her tresses about her chin
and cheeks, so as to produce a sort of imitation of beard and whiskers.
196. i.e. God only knows if it be true or not.
197. Or rather appended to. The Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor form no part of the scheme of
Nights in this edition, but are divided into "Voyages" only and form a sort of appendix, following
the Two hundredth Night. See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. IX. pp.
198. See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. V. pp. 202 and 210.
199. i.e. the porter and the other guests.
200. i.e. a mountainous island.
201. Kherabeh, lit. a hole. Syn. ruin or destruction.
202. i.e. an outlying spur or reef.
203. Syn. perilous place.
204. Lit. their guide was disappointed.
205. i.e. means (hileh) of sustaining life.
206. i.e. death.
207. i.e. Ceylon.
208. Audiyeh (plural of wadi, a valley). The use of the word in this sense points to an African
origin of this version of the story. The Moors of Africa and Spain commonly called a river "a
valley," by a natural figure of metonymy substituting the container for the contained; e.g.
Guadalquiver (Wadi el Kebir, the Great River), Guadiana, etc.
209. i.e. after the usual compliments, the letter proceeded thus.
210. i.e. we are thine allies in peace and war, for offence and defence. Those whom thou lovest
we love, and those whom thou hatest we hate.
211. About seventy-two grains.
212. Or public appearance.
213. Solomon was the dynastic name of the kings of the prae-Adamite Jinn and is here used in a
generic sense, as Chosroes for the ancient Kings of Persia, Caesar for the Emperors of
Constantinople, Tubba for the Himyerite Kings of Yemen, etc., etc.
214. i.e. Maharajah.
215. Or "government."
216. Every Muslim is bound by law to give alms to the extent of two and half per cent. of his
217. In North-east Persia.
218. Alleged to have been found by the Arab conquerors of Spain on the occasion of the sack
of Toledo and presented by them to the Ommiade Khalif El Welid ben Abdulmelik (A.D.
705-716). See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol. III. p. 331.
219. i.e. such as are fit to be sent from king to king.
220. i.e, the price of his victual and other necessaries for the voyage.
221. Lit. riding-beast (French monture, no exact English equivalent), whether camel, mule or
horse does not appear.
222. The Envier and the Envied.
223. After the manner of Orientalists, a far more irritable folk than any poets.
224. By the by, apropos of this soi-disant complete translation of the great Arabian collection
of romantic fiction, it is difficult to understand how an Orientalist of repute, such as Dr. Habicht,
can have put forth publication of this kind, which so swarms with blunders of every description as
to throw the mistakes of all other translators completely into the shade and to render it utterly
useless to the Arabic scholar as a book of reference. We can only conjecture that he must have
left the main portion of the work to be executed, without efficient supervision, by incapable
collaborators or that he undertook and executed the translation in such haste as to preclude the
possibility of any preliminary examination and revision, worthy of the name, of the original MS.;
and this latter supposition appears to be borne out by the fact that the translation was entirely
published before the appearance of any portion of the Arabic Text, as printed from the Tunis
Manuscript. Whilst on the subject of German translations, it may be well to correct an idea, which
appears to prevail among non-Arabic scholars, to the effect that complete translations of the Book
of the Thousand Nights and One Night exist in the language of Hoffmann and Heine, and which is
(as far, at least, as my own knowledge extends) a completely erroneous one. I have, I believe,
examined all the German translations in existence and have found not one of them worthy of
serious consideration; the best, that of Hammer-Purgstall, to which I had looked for help in the
elucidation of doubtful and corrupt passages, being so loose and unfaithful, so disfigured by
ruthless retrenchments and abridgments, no less than by gross errors of all kinds, that I found
myself compelled to lay it aside as useless. It is but fair, however, to the memory of the celebrated
Austrian Orientalist, to state that the only form in which Von Hammer's translation is procurable
is that of the German rendering of Prof. Zinserling (1823-4), executed from the original (French)
manuscript, which latter was unfortunately lost before publication.
225. The Boulac Edition omits this story altogether.
226. Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac 134b. "The Merchant's Wife and the Parrot."
227. This will be found translated in my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night," Vol.
VII. p. 307, as an Appendix to the Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac version of the story, from
which it differs in detail.
228. Called "Bekhit" in Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac Editions.
229. Yehya ben Khalid (Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac).
230. "Shar" (Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac).
231. "Jelyaad" (Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac).
232. Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac, No. 63. See my "Book of the Thousand Nights and One
Night," Vol. IV. p. 211.
233. Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac, "Jaafer the Barmecide."
234. Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac, "The Thief turned Merchant and the other Thief," No. 88.
235. This story will be found translated in my "Book at the Thousand Nights and One Night,'
Vol. V. p. 345.
236. The Third Old Man's Story is wanting.
237. The Story of the Portress is wanting.
238. Calcutta (1839-42), Boulac and Breslan, "The Controller's Story."
239. Calcutta (1839-42) and Boulac, "Sindbad the Sailor and Sindbad the Porter."