The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Volume 8: by John Payne


1. i.e. the face of the garden's fair mistress.

2. i.e. I am no common woman.

One of the seven divisions or gardens of the Mohammedan Paradise.

Or confidential waiting-woman.

Or qure mantilla à l'Espagnole.

Or zealot (ghazi)

Es shah mat, the king is dead, origin of our word "checkmate."

Apparently some place celebrated for its fine bread, as Gonesse in seventeenth-century France.

Sic in all three texts. The Breslau Edition adds here, "And Zein el Mewasif followed him." The meaning of the passage is doubtful.

i.e. moon-faced cupbearers.

i.e. adornment of qualities.

i.e. enter into a formal agreement for partnership.

i.e. the twelve days aforesaid.

i.e. See note, Vol. VII. p. 267. {see Vol. 7, FN#53}

The Arabs believe that each man's destiny is written in the sutures of his skull, could we but read it.

i.e. her moon-faced beloved ones.

i.e. breeze.

i.e. fair-faced women.

i.e. fair-faced women.

A name given to the Prophet's daughter Fatimeh, in commemoration of her supposed exemption from the periodical infirmity peculiar to women. It is also the Arabic name of Venus.

Strictly descendants of the Prophet's grandson Hassan; but the title is commonly (though erroneously) applied to any descendant of Mohammed.

The Calcutta and Boulac Editions add here, 'And contrive to bury him therein alive.' I have followed the less extravagant reading of the Breslau text.

i.e. Mesrour.

24. Allah akber! the well-known war-cry of the Muslim against the infidel.

The name of the gate-keeper of Paradise.

 A play upon the double meaning to spot and to handsel, of the Arabic word neket. In its second sense, it is almost exclusively used to signify the giving of money to dancing and singing women on festive occasions and in this acceptation is practically equivalent to the English phrase "to mark (or cross) the palm with silver."

Syn. bud or petals (kumm).

Mohammed is fabled, in a tradition of doubtful authenticity, not found in the Misheat el Mesabih, to have said that every pomegranate contains a seed from Paradise.

i.e. the Koran.

"And the pomegranates alike and unlike, consider its fruit, when it fruiteth, and the ripening thereof: verily, therein ye have signs for a people that believe."--Koran vi. 99.

Lit. black (aswea), but the Arabs constantly use this word in the sense of green and vice versa.

Syn. pale.

i.e. Every one who eats an almond-apricot (see notes Vol. VI. p. 67 {see Vol. 6, FN#19}) cracks the stone, to get at the sweet kernel.

i.e. Greeks of the Lower Empire (Roum), much sought after for slaves by the Arab conquerors of Syrian etc., on account of their beauty.

Sufreh. See note, Vol. IV. p. 150. {See Vol. 4, FN#72}

Double-entendre. See notes, Vol. III. p. 179 {see vol. 3, FN#53} and Vol. VI. p. 242 {see vol. 6, FN#78}.

Syn. yellow.

Quaere from Sultaniyeh, a town near Baghdad.

Eaten by the Arabs with honey.

"La ville (El Aghouat) dort au-dessous de moi, avec ses terrasses vides, ou le soleil éclaire une multitude de claies pleines de petits abricots roses, exposès la pour sécher."--Eugène Fromentin, Un Étè dans le Sahara, Paris, 1857, p. 194.

Khulenjan. Sic ail editions; but Khelenj, a dark sweet-scented wood, to which a blood-orange might fairly be likened, is probably intended as the object of comparison.

Ful, sic Breslai edition. Syn. Arabian jessamine. The Boulac and Macnaghten Editions read filfil, pepper, which is a manifest error.

 A town near Mecca, renowned for the manufacture of scented goats' leather.

Lit. there is no harm in them.

Syn. petals (akmam).

 A metaphor taken from the Eastern practice of showing approbation of the performance of a female singer or dancer by sticking small pieces of money on her face and cheeks, whilst still wet with perspiration. The same practice obtains at weddings, where one method of giving presents is to stick money on the bride's cheeks, freely plastered with cosmetics.

"They will ask thee of wine and casting of lots; say, 'In them both are great sin and advantages to mankind; but the sin of them both is greater than the advantage thereof.'"--Koran ii. 216.

i.e. a fair-faced cup-bearer.

It is the custom of the Arabs to call their cattle to water by whistling.

Lit. Babylonian eyes. According to Arab tradition, Babylon (Babel) is the metropolis of sorcery, the two offending angels, Harout and Marout (who teach men witchcraft), being suspended in a well there. See ante, note, Vol. III. p. 104 {see vol. 3, FN#19}.

 The Syrian and Mesopotamian Christian, in turning towards Jerusalem, would naturally face the West, instead of the East, as with his European brethren.

Beit shar, lit. a house of hair, the distinctive name of the Bedouin tent, which is made of camels' hair. Syn. a line of verse.

The bodies of Eastern women of the higher classes by dint of continual maceration, Esther-fashion, in aromatic oils and essences, would naturally become impregnated with the sweet scent of the cosmetics used.

Syn. any yellow flower, particularly orange-blossoms (anwar).

Name of a fountain of Paradise.

i.e. Thou mayst have his company in the life to come, provided I enjoy it in this life.

Quaere an allusion to the 113th Chapter (known as the Chapter of the Daybreak) of the Koran, "I take refuge with the Lord of the Daybreak from the evil of that which He hath created, etc."

Melec means level ground ; but quaere some peace or tract on the banks of the Nile meant.

Syn. the opening of the lips showing the teeth (theghr).

Syn. the opening of the lips showing the teeth (theghr).

i.e. Iskenderiyeh, the city of Iskander or Alexander the Great.

i.e. her breasts.

Presumably of silver.

Alluding to the curse denounced by Mohammed against his recalcitrant uncle, Abou Leheb. "May Abou Leheb's hands perish. and his wife [be] a bearer of faggots!"--Koran cxi. 184.

Likening her eyes to the angels who (according to the Muslim legend) are appointed to watch for the Jinn that listen by stealth to what is said in heaven and drive them off with shooting stars.

Alluding to the Muslim custom of closing the apertures of the body with cotton wool, before burial.

 The Muslims believe that to each man will be given, on the Day of Judgment, a book containing a record of all the actions of his life. The book of the righteous will be white, and they will receive it in their right hands; but the wicked man's book will lye black and he will receive it in his left hand.

A play on the double meaning ("whiteness" and "lustre") of the word beyads.

i.e. his face.

By reason of its leanness.

i.e. in the dejected humble manner of a slave. "To drag the skirts" is an Arab phrase practically equivalent to our "to hang the head."

i.e. the greeting of "Peace be on thee!" due from one Muslim to another.

i.e. scented leather of Et Taif. See suprà, note, p. 72 {see vol. 8, FN#43}.

Syn. waymark.

i.e. the best kind of camels.

The Rif is the north-west coast of Morocco, formerly celebrated as the habitat of the famous Rif pirates. According to D'Herbelot, Lower Egypt also bears the name of Er Rif.

For the complete ablution obligatory after copulation.

i.e. to the salutation obligatory between Muslims. "And on thee be peace and the mercy of God and His blessings!"

Marseilles probably meant.

As has been before observed, these and the like epithet are used by the Arabs in a complimentary sense, to denote a man who is a terror and calamity to his enemies by reason of his prowess and skill in war and counsel.

Meryem el Husn. This would appear to have been the girl's full name, though elsewhere in the story she is called "Meryem" only. The usual form of the name (see Vol. III. p. 309 here) is Husn Meryem, i.e. the beauty of Mary. It would seem to have been manufactured by the Arab story-tellers after the pattern of their own names (e.g. Noureddin, light of the faith, Tajeddin, crown of the faith etc.): for the use of their imaginary Christian female characters.

Bitariheh (plural of bitric, Gr. <Greek> Lat. patricius; there is no p in the Arabic alphabet and in borrowing from foreign languages a word containing that letter, the Arabs substitute either b or f for it) is the Arab name for the priests of the Christians and was evidently adopted from their experience of the Templars and other semi-ecclesiastical military orders, as the same word signifies "Knights."

A saying of Mohammed.

i.e. the fair face of the beloved.

i.e. after the rising up of the dead.

i.e. the Virgin.

Nacous, a rude kind of wooden gong used by Eastern Christians to summon the congregation to divine service, the use of bells being forbidden in Muslim countries.

i.e. a graceful, slender youth.

A play upon words, the phrase Dsereb en nawakisi, "the smiting of the gongs," by cutting the last word in two, becoming Dsereb en nawa: kisi, "the giving of the signal for departure: decide thou."

Likening the spy to the angel guardians of heaven, whose missiles, launched at the Jinn who seek to pry into the secret counsels of heaven, the Muslims suppose the shooting-stars to be.

i.e. hadst thou maintained this deception longer.

 Apparently some famous brigand of the time.

In the hope of catching Noureddin.

i.e. the wandering Arabs. The Mohammedan religion was so styled by its opponents.

i.e. in that portion thereof whose meaning is unequivocally apparent and which is unabrogated by any other portion.

i.e. born of one father and mother.

i.e. the fore-runner.

i.e. the overtaker.

Apparently the affection of the eye in horses, known as "the web and pin."

What virgin glass may be I cannot undertake to say: a remote sense of the word (zejaj) translated "glass" is "clove-berries," and this, though rarely used, would seem the more probable reading, were it not that Noureddin's avowed object (sufficiently attested, indeed, by the nature of the other ingredients of the mixture) was to destroy the horse's eyes, a purpose which pounded glass would certainly seem well calculated to effect.

The gist of this favourite comparison lies in the hunted gazelle's graceful habit of turning its slender neck to look at its pursuers.

i.e. my tears.

lit. Out on a prayer who imprecated our parting!

It need hardly be noted that the feminine must here (as in the rest of the piece) be understood for the masculine pronoun. The Arabs consider it indelicate directly to speak of women in the language of passion led therefore very commonly (though by no means invariably) adopt the (to Western notions of delicacy) far more objectionable expedient of nominally addressing their amorous effusions to one of their own sex, whilst a female is well understood to be the object of love. To avoid mystification and confusion, I have, without remark, in most instances where this curious substitution of sex occurs in the verse-part of the present work, rendered the passage according to the understood sense, except in cases where (as in the text) it seems impossible to do so without altering the general construction.

i.e. the horses.

We must suppose the princess to have taken the keys from the drugged vizier or otherwise procured them, as it is stated above that the people of the city trusted to the gate being locked.

i.e. Head of Killaut. According to the Muhit el Muhit (as quoted by Dozy) Killaut is "the name of a son of the sons of the Jinn and the Satans."

i.e. attacked her after a new fashion.

i.e. Weevils' dung.

i.e. the false or perverted faith. The Muslims look upon Christianity as a corrupt and obsolete form of Mohammedianism.

i.e. Fæces pueronum.

By claiming godhead for him. As has been before observed, the Muslims accuse the Christians of having garbled the teachings of Jesus, for the purpose of suppressing all mention of Mohammed.

Koran ix. 33.

Koran xxvi. 88, 89.

Koran iv. 140.

116. i.e Saladin. See note, Vol. IV. p. 116 {see vol. 4, FN#55}.

Or Tiberias, 23rd June, 1187, the famous battle which led to the downfall of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and in which the King, Gui de Lusignan and his brother Geoffrey, with Renaud de Chatillon and the Grand Masters of the Templars and Hospitallers, were utterly routed and taken prisoners by Saladin.

It was taken from them by Saladin 28th July, 1187. The story-teller states farther on that three years intervened between his visit to Acre and the battle of Hittin, thus fixing the date of the former at (circa) June, 1184.

Celebrated Soufi devotees and ascetics of the second and third centuries of the Hegira. For Bishr Barefoot see Vol. II. p. 127 {see vol. 2, FN#78}. Es Seketi means "the old-clothes-man."

i.e. captured.

Es Sahil, i.e. the seaboard (ant. Phoenicia) of Palestine, a name sometimes given by the Arabs to the whole province.

Sic Breslau. Saladin seems to have been encamped without Damascus and the slave-merchant had apparently come out and pitched his tent near the camp, for the purposes of his trade.

Behaeddin ibn Sheddad, a well-known legist of the time, after Cadi of Aleppo. He was then Cadi of the army (Judge-Advocate-General) to Saladin.

Quære read (instead of "to") "abide with" thy husband.

125. A descendant of Hashim, great-grandfather of Mohammed, and therefore a kinsman of the Abbaside Khalifs, who were directly descended from him. The Khalifs of the Ommiade dynasty were somewhat less directly akin to the Prophet, being the descendants of Hashim's brother, Abdusshems.

126. i.e. beloved one.

127. i.e. of those destined to hell.

128. Or governors of provinces.

129. A town of Irak Arabi, between Baghdad and Bassora.

130. i.e. clad as thou art.

131. i.e. his kinsfolk of the Hashimi family or perhaps his clients.

132.  Of a genie, the common Eastern explanation of an epileptic fit.

133. Or farm.

134. Or perhaps "mode" (terikeh).

135. Most of the great Arab musicians had their own peculiar fashion of tuning the lute, for the purpose of extending its register or facilitating the accompaniment of songs composed in uncommon keys and rhythms or possibly of increasing its sonority, and it appears to have been a common test of the skill of a great musician, such as Ishac el Mausili or his father Ibrahim, to require him to accompany a difficult song on a lute purposely untuned. As a (partial) modern instance of the practice referred to in the text, may be cited Paganini's custom of lowering or raising the G string of the violin in playing certain of his own compositions. According to the Kitab el Aghani, Ishac d Mausili is said to have familiarized himself, by incessant practice, with the exact sounds produced by each division of the strings of the four-course lute of his day, under every imaginable circumstance of tuning.

136. i.e. perfume his clothes and person with the fragrant smoke of burning aloes-wood or ambergris, a common practice among the Arabs.

137. i.e. not unto the mean.

138. A canal so called, branching off from the Tigris and leading from Bassora to an adjacent town of the same name. Its banks are a favourite pleasure-resort of the townsfolk, and it is said by the Arabs to be one of the four most delightful places in the world, the three others being situate A Damascus, Shiraz and Samarcand respectively.

139. i.e. the contingent dowry. The dowry agreed for on an Arab marriage consists of two parts, one paid down on consummation and the other agreed to be paid to the wife, contingently upon her being divorced by her husband.

140. i.e. the cost of her maintenance during the four months which must according to Muslim law, elapse before she could marry again.

141. i.e. at the time of commencement of the story.

Sic in all three texts; but the passage should read, "what befell the cat with the mouse," i.e. the reward of tyranny. See post, sequel of the story of the Cat and the Mouse.

143. Syn. good breeding or manners (adeb).

i.e. I hold thee in such esteem as thou deservest.

The Breslau edition reads "Turks" in lieu of "many peoples."

i.e. the parents.

147. Lit. ultimate reward, i.e. in the world to come.

148. i.e. preserves him from the ill-will of his subjects.

149. Generally Africa but occasionally Spain or Portugal, one province of which latter counts still retains this name, i.e. Algarve, corrupted form of El Gherb, the West.

i.e. one of those for whom eternal felicity is prepared.

i.e. of God.

i.e. a devotee.

153.  Sic in all the texts; but this is an evident error, as twelve is the age at which the prince is afterwards (see post, p. 216 here) stated to have completed his education. We should probably here read "seven," that being the age at which most of the royal children in tales of this kind be stated to have commenced the serious work of education.

See ante, note, p. 215. {see vol 8, FN#153}

i.e. manifestations or incarnations.

For the purpose of requital.

157. i.e. that which he was charged to buy with it.

Syn. commandment (el amr).

159. i.e. friends.

i.e. acquaintances.

Or praiseworthy.

i.e. sperma hominis.

Or analysis.

The famous <Greek> of the New Testament and the Alexandrian theologians. The writer of this and the following passages was evidently well acquainted with the Gospel of St. John and other parts of the New Testament, though probably only in the garbled versions that circulated among the Syrian and Arab Christians of his time.

Or doubtful.

Or capability (istitäah).

Or [the lust of] gain. This is the common meaning of the word kesb, but the scholastic writers of the Arabs use it to express the act by which a man seeks to win advantage or avert ill from himself. The Arab casuist of the present tale evidently intended to formulate the Christian dogma of freewill, although his meaning is much obscured by the imperfection of his expression and (in all probability, also) by his defective apprehension of the knotty point of doctrine involved.

i.e. had deferred his final punishment and definitive confinement in Hell till the Day of Resurrection.

Syn. those who are deserving of His love.

i.e. freewill.

Or perhaps, "on account."

i.e. Truth.

i.e. freewill.

Or who practises these laws.

Koran iv. 81.

i.e. from the world.

Or what is in him.

Or what is not in him.

Syn. (rare) disobey.

180. Arab popular name for the wolf, answering to our Isengrim.

i.e. the dead camel.

182. Lit. the book of judgment or jurisdiction (kitab el kedsäa). Quaere the list of cases to be decided or business to be transacted by the king and his divan in public session.

i.e. court.

184. i.e. by means of geomancy or divination by sand.

A courtesy title, to which the boy was entitled as a vizier's son.

i.e. I am governed by the fear of God in my conduct towards thee and thy subjects.

i.e. I am thy slave; do with me what thou wilt.

i.e. freewill.

189. Or jujube-plum colour (unnabiy).

190. Literally, indigo (nilek); but the word is evidently used here to express dye-stuffs in general, as it stands to reason that, in a town where dyeing was confined to blue, indigo would be much in demand and high In price, whilst the other colours would be valueless.

191. Syn. none overcometh me.

192. Breslau, The King of Isbaniyeh.

193. i.e. save me from disgrace.

194. "Munkir [Munker] and Nakir [Nekir] are the two angels that preside at the 'examination of the tomb.' They visit a man in his grave directly after he has been buried and examine him concerning his faith: if he acknowledge that there is but one God and that Mohammed is His prophet [apostle], they suffer him to rest in peace ; otherwise they beat him with iron maces, till he roars so loud[ly] that he is heard by all from east to west, except by men aud Ginns [Jinn]."--Palmer's Koran, Introduction.

195. Lit. the door of thy provision.

196. It seems doubtful wherher this phrase means, " He did not neglect him, as most folk would have done," or " He did not keep him waiting as he did the rest of the folk.".

197. i.e. his wife.

198. i.e. the first chapter of the Koran. See note, Vol.Vl. p.6 {see vol. 6, FN#3}

199. Two fabulous tribes of idolaters, repeatedly mentioned in the Koran as having been destroyed by thunder from heaven, for refusing tp bearken to the prophets Houd and Salih.

200. i.e. for the purpose of protecting its possessor from the greed and oppression of his fellows.

201. Abdallah means "servant of God."

202. Lit. "dessert " (nucl); but this latter word properly includes dried (as well as dry) fruits and confections. The Arabs divide fruits into wet or fresh (i.e. soft skinned or pulped, such as cherries and peaches) and dry (i.e. hard-skinned or shelled, such as nuts and almonds).

203. The ancient name of the city of 'Medina' which latter name (abridged form of that of Medinet-en-Nebi, the city of the Prophet) was not given to it till after the Hegira. Thus the Breslau edition; but the Boulac and Calcutta texts read, "in a city called Teibeh" Teibeh or Teyyibeh (the excellent) is one of the many names of honour of the Holy City and is rarely used, Yethrib being the common ancient and Medina the common modern name.

204. At Mecca.

205. The dictionaries are silent as to this fish, which appears to be fabulous monster, partaking of the attributes of the shark and the cachalot or sperm-whale.

206. i.e. is not the life or soul, in you a deposit, etc.

207. i.e. how shall I trust thee to deposit on the Prophet's tomb the purse which I committed to thee, and how can I be sure that thou wilt not keep it for thyself?