The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Volume 7: by John Payne


1. i.e. a lance of the manufacture of Rudeineh, a renowned female spear-maker of Khett Hejer in Arabia.

2. i.e. do away from her the traces of travel, etc., by means of baths and cosmetics.

3. Smiling full moon.

4. Koran ii.286.

5. It is a breach of good manners to name to or before an Arab the women of his family in so many words. When it is desired to enquire after their health, the proper form of question is not, "How is thy wife, thy daughter, etc.?" but "How is thy house?" (Keif hal ahluk) or some similar periphrasis.

6. A carat is a twenty-fourth part of anything.

7. Sawic, green grain toasted and sweetened.

8. Jauhereh means "a jewel."

9. Sheba.

10. i.e. that indicated by Solomon.

His wife's name.

i.e. the notables of the provinces.

The text adds here, "of the son of Aad the Greater;" but this is evidently a mistake. See post.

See note, Vol. I. p. 120. {see Vol. 1, FN#35}

See note, Vol. I. p. 120. {see Vol. 1, FN#35}

The Boulac and Calcutta Editions add here, "For he was a Marid." But this is a manifest error, as the fabulous creature here introduced is evidently identical with the Old Man of the Sea (see Vol. V. The Fifth Voyage of Sindbad the Sailor).

Koran xxii. 44. This absurd addition is probably due to some copyist, who thought to show his knowledge of the Koran, but did not understand the meaning of the verse from which the quotation is taken and which runs thus, "How many a city we have destroyed, whilst yet it transgressed, and it was smitten down upon its foundations, and how many an abandoned well and a high-builded palace!"

This appears by the sequel (according to the Breslau Edition) to have been certain perfumes, by burning which she could summon the Queen of the Jinn.

i.e. simpleton.

The Boulac and Calcutta Editions add here, "and with him a company of others of his fashion." The Breslau Edition omits these words and it would seem, by what follows, that the ghoul was the only one of his kind on the island.

i.e. The way out of it.

Bediya el Jemal.

Qure Mohammed.

Koran xxxv., better known as the Chapter of the Angels.


26. In the Calcutta (Macnaghten) Edition the merchant is described as having two sons, one a brazier and the other a goldsmith but, as the brazier does not again make his appearance in the story, I have followed the Breslau text, which mentions one son only, the goldsmith Hassan.

The white turban is the distinctive sign of the true-believer and was adopted by the Persian to conceal his true character, he being (as appears from the sequel) a Magian or fire-worshipper.

See ante, Vol. III. p. 334. {see Volume 3: the tale of "The City of Irem"}

The appearance of which ends the fast. Being anxiously looked for, it may naturally be supposed to wear a brighter aspect than usual in the eyes of the devout Muslim, exhausted with long fasting. Hence the comparison.

See note, Vol. III. p. 156. {see Volume 3 here.} A large navel, deep and round like a cup, is considered by the Arabs a beauty in women.

Syn. patience (sebr).

i.e. the five-and-twenty thousand Amazons aforesaid who. by the way, are stated in the Boulac edition (which omits the word "army") to have been also daughters of the king. I have adopted the less extravagant statement of the Calcutta and Breslau texts.

 This is a mistake on the part of Hassan's adopted sister. The damsel he saw and fell in love with was (as appears by the sequel, see post, here) not the eldest, but the youngest daughter of the Supreme King.

Qure the servants.

 In the mythology of the Muslims, the Jinn are always subordinated to mankind, in the matter of abstract worthiness, although practically so much more powerful. See antè, here. According to the Koran, when God made Adam, he commanded the angels to prostate themselves to him, in token of worship, and they all did so, except Iblis, whose disobedience was punished by expulsion from heaven. "And when we said to the angels, 'Prostrate yourselves to Adam,' they prostrated themselves, save only Iblis, who refused and magnified himself and became of the Disbelievers."--Koran ii. 32. Hence mankind are held to be worthier in God's sight even than the angels and (a fortiori) than the Jinn.

It would seem she had been seated on her heels, in the proper attitude of a slave before her mistress.

i.e. the seven princesses.

i.e. none may contend against the power of the Khalifate.

A roundabout way, much in favour with Arab poets of stating a girl's age, fourteen, and at the same time introducing the never-failing comparison to the full moon. See antè, Vol. IV. p. 327. {see Vol. 4, here.}

i.e. his wife and children.

i.e. ailing-eyed.

A common name for an ugly old woman. It will be remembered that the same name and nickname are attributed to the old woman in the story of King Omar ben Ennuman and his sons Sherkan and Zoulmekas (see Vol. II.), a typical beldam of Arab legend.

Perfect, redundant and ample, the names of three common Arabic metres.

Fountains of Paradise.

The clue to this logogriph lies in the numerical value of the letters forming the key-word, i.e. 4 x 5 = 20 = <Arabic> and 6 x 10 = 60 = <Arabic>, <Arabic> (cunnus).

i.e. repeat the chapter of the Koran commencing with these words, "Have we not expanded unto thee thy breast and eased thee of thy burden which galled thy back?..... Verily, with difficulty is ease!"--Koran xciv. I, etc.

The old woman seems to have made the same mistake as Hassan's adopted sister (see supra, p. 154) {see Vol. 7, FN#33 and text} in supposing his wife to have been the eldest daughter of the Supreme King, when in fact, she was the youngest daughter, as appears by the sequel.

Vizier of Solomon.

i.e. the secret name of God, which if fabled by the Muslims to have been engraven on the seal-ring of Solomon and to confer on him who knows it dominion over all the powers of the earth and the air.

Apparently that wherein he lead alighted to rest on his journey with the Magian (see supra, p. 133) {see Vol. 7, in text}, although the passage referred to makes no mention of the pool and palace.

Apparently in allusion to the trick played her by Hassan in taking her feather-dress and so contriving to get her to wife.

52. Esteemed a beauty by the Arabs.

 All semi-civilized nations, and particularly those of the East, attach great importance to omens of this kind, and few superstitions are more widely prevalent than the belief that the first object seen in the morning governs the fortunes of the day for good or evil. The Arabs consider it especially unlucky to meet a one-eyed person or cripple on such occasions.

i.e. that which I am about to tell thee.

A characteristic trait of ignorance in the story-teller, arising out of the sublime indifference and contempt with which the ordinary Muslim regards the religion, manners and customs of the "Barbarians," as (in common with the Chinese) he styles all peoples not of his own race.

The first Khalif, so called.

Thinking that by "two words" Khelifeh meant that he should pronounce the double profession (commonly known as "The Two Words") of the Mohammedan Faith, i.e. "I testify that there is no god but God!" and "I testify that Mohammed is the Apostle of God!" and so become a Muslim.

i.e. "O vilest of sinners!" meaning the thief. Pilgrimage wipes away all sins and the ignorant Muslim regards the completion of the rite and the consequent possession of a clean bill of moral health as an excuse for beginning again without delay. Hence the saying.

i.e. from one of the vessels of brass wherein Solomon was fabled to have confined those of the Jinn who refused to obey him. See supra, Vol. I. The Fisherman and the Genie; also Vol. V. The City of Brass.

i.e. daughter of.

She was the daughter of Jaafer, son of El Mensour, second Khalif of the Abbaside dynasty. I do not know why she is called daughter of El Casim.

Apparently for the purpose of splitting and cleaning the fish and scraping off their scales.

i.e. better make thee a present of the fish than have my crown cracked with the mace.

The punishment decreed by Muslim law against him who steals more than the value of a quarter dinar.

 An ironic nickname, bestowed by Khelifeh on the eunuch, in allusion to his black colour, much after the same fashion as in America and the West Indies, where it is common to call a particularly black Negro "Snowball."

It is not on record, as might be supposed from the speech of Khelifeh, that Jaafer was stout or (to borrow a Rabelaisian word) ventripotent; on the contrary, he appears to have been a man of unusual elegance and distinction, and it would seem, therefore, that the fisherman who is represented as a blundering fool, without perception or knowledge to temper his ignorant assurance, bestowed on him the nickname of "Paunch o'bran" at random, after the manner of his class in every age and country.

Uncle of the Prophet.

First cousin of the Prophet.

Names of her slave-girls.


i.e. in Cout el Culoub.

i.e. Mohammed.

Koran xxxix. 54.

Name of one of the seven stages of the Muslim heaven.

75. For scraping and cleaning the fish.

76. Which led him to suppose that the net was full of fish.

77. Thinking that by requiring of him "a single word," he meant him to say, "I testify that there is no god, etc," and so become a Muslim.

78. i.e. in the folds of his turban, a common substitute for a purse with the lower classes in the East.

79. i.e. a naked dervish.

80. Khelif seems to have been a well-known figure in Baghdad, being probably rendered conspicuous by his eccentricities.

81. See supra, note, p. 289. {see Vol. 7, FN#65}

82. A quarter of Bagdhad.

83. The chamber is described as a hasil, i.e. a small storehouse or cell in a khan for the storage of goods.

84. i.e. son of the falcon. The common meaning of ucab is "eagle." The name should probably be read Abou-l-ucab, he (lit. father) of the falcon, i.e. he who carries or owns a falcon.

85. The meaning of this proverb will appear more clearly by comparison with the cognate saying, "Clothe the reed and it will become a bride." Cf. also the common English proverb, "Fine feathers make fine birds."

86. A rich kind of brocade.

87. A play is here intended upon the words kiram, nobles, and kurum, vines, which are derived from the same root.

88.  i.e. as a bride is displayed on her wedding night.

89. Syn. berries (hubub).

90.  El Arous, one of the innumerable tropical names given to wine by the Arabs. Cf. Grangeret de la Grange, Anthologie Arabe, p.190.