Aladdin. Sir Richard Annotations

‡81 i.e., the Saturday (see vol. ii. 305) established as a God's rest by the so-called “Mosaic” commandment No. iv. How it gradually passed out of observance, after so many centuries of most stringent application, I cannot discover: certainly the text in Cor. ii. 16-17 is insufficient to abolish or supersede an order given with such singular majesty and impressiveness by God and so strictly obeyed by man. The popular idea is that the Jewish Sabbath was done away with in Christ, and that sundry of the 1604 councils, e.g., Laodicea, anathematized those who kept it holy after such fashion. With the day the aim and object changed; and the early Fathers made it the “Feast of the Resurrection” which could not be kept too joyously. The “Sabbatismus” of our Sabbatarians, who return to the Israelitic practice and yet honour the wrong day, is heretical and vastly illogical; and the Sunday is better kept in France, Italy and other “Catholic” countries than in England and Scotland.

‡91 The idea is borrowed from the lume eterno of the Rosicrucians. It is still prevalent throughout Syria where the little sepulchral lamps buried by the Hebrews, Greeks and Romans are so called. Many tales are told of their being found burning after the lapse of centuries; but the traveller will never see the marvel.

‡92 The first notice of the signet-ring and its adventures is by Herodotus in the Legend of the Samian Polycrates; and here it may be observed that the accident is probably founded on fact; every fisherman knows that fish will seize and swallow spoon-bait and other objects that glitter. The text is the Talmudic version of Solomon's seal-ring. The king of the demons after becoming a “Bottle-imp,” prayed to be set free upon condition of teaching a priceless secret, and after cajoling the Wise One flung his signet into the sea and cast the owner into a land four hundred miles distant. Here David's son begged his bread till he was made head cook to the King of Ammon at Mash Kernín. After a while, he eloped with Na'úzah, the daughter of his master, and presently when broiling a fish found therein his missing property. In the Moslem version, Solomon had taken prisoner Amínah, the daughter of a pagan prince, and had homed her in his Harem, where she taught him idolatry. One day before going to the Hammam he entrusted to her his signet- ring presented to him by the four angelic Guardians of sky, air, water and earth when the mighty Jinni Al-Sakhr (see vol. i. 41; v. 36), who was hovering about unseen, snatching away the ring, assumed the king's shape, whereby Solomon's form became so changed that his courtiers drove him from his own doors. Thereupon Al-Sakhr, taking seat upon the throne, began to work all manner of iniquity, till one of the Wazirs, suspecting the transformation, read aloud from a scroll of the law: this caused the demon to fly shrieking and to drop the signet into the sea. Presently Solomon, who had taken service with a fisherman, and received for wages two fishes a day, found his ring and made Al-Sakhr a “Bottle-imp.” The legend of St. Kentigern or Mungo of Glasgow, who recovered the Queen's ring from the stomach of a salmon, is a palpable imitation of the Biblical incident which paid tribute to Cæsar.

‡93 The Magician evidently had mistaken the powers of the Ring. This is against all probability and possibility, but on such abnormal traits are tales and novels founded.

‡94 These are the Gardens of the Hesperides and of King Isope (Tale of Beryn, Supplem. Canterbury Tales, Chaucer Soc. p. 84):—

      In mydward of this gardyn stant a feiré tre
      Of alle manner levis that under sky be
      I-forgit and i- fourmyd, eche in his degre
      Of sylver, and of golde fyne, that lusty been to see.

So in the Kathá (S. S.) there are trees with trunks of gold, branches of pearls, and buds and flowers of clear white pearls.

‡95 The text causes some confusion by applying “Sullam” to staircase and ladder, hence probably the latter is not mentioned by Galland and Co., who speak only of an escalier de cinquante marches. “Sullam” (plur. “Salálim”) in modern Egyptian is popularly used for a flight of steps: see Spitta-Bey's “Contes Arabes Modernes,” p. 70. The H. V. places under the slab a hollow space measuring four paces (kadam = 2.5 feet), and at one corner a wicket with a ladder. This leads to a vault of three rooms, one with the jars of gold; the second not to be swept by the skirts, and the third opening upon the garden of gems. “There thou shalt see a path, whereby do thou fare straight forwards to a lofty palace with a flight of fifty steps leading to a flat terrace: and here shalt thou find a niche wherein a lamp burneth.”

‡96 In the H.V. he had thrust the lamp into the bosom of his dress, which, together with his sleeves, he had filled full of fruit, and had wound his girdle tightly around him lest any fall out.

‡97 Africa (Arab. Afrikíyah) here is used in its old and classical sense for the limited tract about Carthage (Tunis) net, Africa Propria. But the scribe imagines it to be the P. N. of a city: so m Júdar (vol. vi. 222) we find Fás and Miknás (Fez and Mequinez) converted into one settlement. The Maghribi, Mauritanian or Maroccan is famed for sorcery throughout the Moslem world: see vol. vi. 220. The Moslem “Kingdom of Afrikiyah” was composed of four provinces, Tunis, Tripoli, Constantina, and Bugia: and a considerable part of it was held by the Berber tribe of Sanhája or Sinhága, also called the Zenag whence our modern “Senegal.” Another noted tribe which held Bajaiyah (Bugia) in Afrikiyah proper was the “Zawáwah,” the European “Zouaves,” (Ibn Khall. iv. 84).

‡98 Galland omits the name, which is outlandish enough.

‡99 Meaning that he had incurred no blood-guiltiness, as he had not killed the lad and only left him to die.

‡103 Galland and the H.V. make the mother deliver a little hygienic lecture about not feeding too fast after famine: exactly what an Eastern parent would not dream of doing.

‡104 The lad now turns the tables upon his mother and becomes her master, having “a crow to pick” with her.

‡105 Arab. “Munáfik” for whose true sense, “an infidel who pretendeth to believe in Al-Islam,” see vol. vi. p. 207. Here the epithet comes last being the climax of abuse, because the lowest of the seven hells (vol. viii. 111) was created for “hypocrites,” i.e., those who feign to be Moslems when they are Miscreants.

‡108 In the H. V. the mother takes the “fruits” and places them upon the ground, “but when darkness set in, a light shone from them like the rays of a lamp or the sheen of the sun.”

‡109 For these fabled Giant rulers of Syria, Og King of Bashan, etc., see vols. vii. 84; ix. 109, 323. D'Herbelot (s. v. Giabbar= Giant) connects “Jabábirah” with the Heb. Ghibbor Ghibborim and the Pers. Dív, Diván: of these were ‘Ád and Shaddád, Kings of Syria: the Falast'in (Philistines) ‘Auj, Amálik and Banú Shayth or Seth's descendants, the sons of God (Benu-Elohim) of the Book of Genesis (vi. 2) who inhabited Mount Hermon and lived in purity and chastity.

‡110 The H. V. explains that the Jinni had appeared to the mother in hideous aspect, with noise and clamour, because she had scoured the Lamp roughly; but was more gentle with Alaeddin because he had rubbed it lightly. This is from Galland.

‡111 Arab. Musawwadatayn = lit. two black things, rough copies, etc.

‡112 Arab. Banú Adam, as opposed to Banú Elohim (Sons of the Gods), B. al-Jánn etc The Banú al-Asfar = sons of the yellow, are Esau's posterity in Edom, also a term applied by Arab historians to the Greeks and Romans whom Jewish fable derived from Idumæa: in my vol. ii. 220, they are the people of the yellow or tawny faces. For the legend see Ibn Khall. iii. 8, where the translator suggests that the by-name may be = the “sees of the Emperor” Flavius, confounded with “flavus,” a title left by Vespasian to his successors The Banú al Khashkhash = sons of the (black) poppy are the Ethiopians.

‡113 Arab, Há! há! so Háka (fem. Haki) = Here for thee!

‡114 So in Medieval Europe Papal bulls and Kings' letters were placed for respect on the head. See Duffield's “Don Quixote,” Part i. xxxi.

‡115 Galland makes the Juif only rusé et adroit.

‡116 Arab. “Ghashím” = a “Johnny Raw” from the root “Ghashm” = iniquity: Builders apply the word to an unhewn stone; addressed to a person it is considered slighting, if not insulting. See vol. ii. 330.

‡117 The carat (Kírát) being most often, but not always, one twenty-fourth of the diner. See vols. iii. 239; vii. 289.

‡119 Here and below silver is specified, whenas the platters in Night dxxxv. were of gold This is one of the many changes' contradictions and confusions which are inherent in Arab stones. See Spitta-Bey's “Contes Arabes,” Preface.

‡120 i.e., the Slave of the Lamp.

‡121 This may be true, but my experience has taught me to prefer dealing with a Jew than with a Christian. The former will “jew” me perhaps, but his commercial cleverness will induce him to allow me some gain in order that I may not be quite disheartened: the latter will strip me of my skin and will grumble because he cannot gain more.

‡124 We may suppose some years may have passed in this process and that Alaeddin from a lad of fifteen had reached the age of manhood. The H. V. declares that for many a twelve month the mother and son lived by cotton spinning and the sale of the plate

‡126 In the H. V. Alaeddin “bethought him of a room adjacent to the Baths where he might sit and see the Princess through the door-chinks, when she raised her veil before the handmaids and eunuchs.”

‡127 This is the common conceit of the brow being white as day and the hair black as night.

‡128 Such a statement may read absurdly to the West but it is true in the East. “Selim” had seen no woman's face unveiled, save that of his sable mother Rosebud in Morier's Tale of Yeldoz, the wicked woman (“The Mirza,” vol. iii. 135). The H. V. adds that Alaeddin's mother was old and verily had little beauty even in her youth. So at the sight of the Princess he learnt that Allah had created women exquisite in loveliness and heart-ensnaring; and at first glance the shaft of love pierced his heart and he fell to the ground afaint He loved her with a thousand lives and, when his mother questioned him, “his lips formed no friendship with his speech.”

‡129 “There is not a present (Teshurah) to bring to the Man of God” (1 Sam. ix. 7), and Menachem explains Teshurah as a gift offered with the object of being admitted to the presence. See also the offering of oil to the King in Isaiah lvii. 9. Even in Maundriell's Day Travels (p. 26) it was counted uncivil to visit a dignitary without an offering in hand.

‡131 In Eastern states the mere suspicion of having such an article would expose the suspected at least to torture. Their practical system of treating “treasure trove,” as I saw when serving with my regiment in Gujarát (Guzerat), is at once to imprison and “molest” the finder, in order to make sure that he has not hidden any part of his find.

‡133 In the H. V. the King retired into his private apartment; and, dismissing all save the Grand Wazir, “took cognisance of special matters” before withdrawing to the Harem.

‡134 The levée, Divan or Darbár being also a lit de justice and a Court of Cassation: See vol. i. 29.

‡136 This would be still the popular address, nor is it considered rude or slighting. In John (ii. 4) “Atto,” the Heb. Eshah, is similarly used, not complimentarily, but in popular speech.

‡137 This sounds ridiculous enough in English, but not in German, e.g. Deine Königliche Hoheit is the formula de rigueur when an Austrian officer, who always addresses brother-soldiers in the familiar second person, is speaking to a camarade who is also a royalty.

‡139 i.e., betrothed to her—j'agrée la proposition, says Galland.

‡140 Here meaning Eunuch-officers and officials. In the cdlxxvith Night of this volume the word is incorrectly written Ághát in the singular.

‡141 In the H. V. Alaeddin on hearing this became as if a thunderbolt had stricken him, and losing consciousness, swooned away.

‡142 These calls for food at critical times, and oft-recurring allusions to eating are not yet wholly obsolete amongst the civilised of the xixth century. The ingenious M. Jules Verne often enlivens a tedious scene by Dejeunons! And French travellers, like English, are not unready to talk of food and drink, knowing that the subject is never displeasing to their readers.

‡143 The H. V. gives a sketch of the wedding. “And when the ceremonies ended at the palace with pomp and parade and pageant, and the night was far spent, the eunuchs led the Wazir's son into the bridal chamber. He was the first to seek his couch; then the Queen his mother-in-law, came into him leading the bride, and followed by her suite. She did with her virgin daughter as parents are wont to do, removed her wedding-raiment, and donning a night-dress, placed her in her bridegroom's arms. Then, wishing her all joy, she with her ladies went away and shut the door. At that instant came the Jinni,” etc.

‡144 The happy idea of the wedding night in the water-closet is repeated from the tale of Nur-al-Dín Ali Hasan (vol. i. 221), and the mishap of the Hunchback bridegroom.

‡145 For the old knightly practice of sleeping with a drawn sword separating man and maid see vol. vii. 353 and Mr. Clouston's “Popular Tales and Fictions,” vol. i. 316. In Poland the intermediary who married by procuration slept alongside the bride in all his armour. The H. V. explains, “He (Alaeddin) also lay a naked sword between him and the Princess so she might perceive that he was ready to die by that blade should he attempt to do aught of villainy by the bride.”

‡146 Galland says: Ils ne s'aperçurent que de l'ébranlement du lit et que de leur transport d'un lieu á l'autre: c'était bien assez pour leur donner une frayeur qu'il est aisé d'imaginer.

‡148 Professional singing and dancing girls: Properly the word is the fem. Of ‘Álim = a learned man; but it has been anglicised by Byron's

      “The long chibouque's dissolving cloud supply
      Where dance the Almahs to wild minstrelsy.”—(The Corsair, ii. 2.)

They go about the streets with unveiled faces and are seldom admitted into respectable Harems, although on festal occasions they perform in the court or in front of the house, but even this is objected to by the Mrs. Grundy of Egypt. Lane (M.E. chap. xviii.) derives with Saint Jerome the word from the Heb. or Phoenician Almah = a virgin, a girl, a singing- girl; and thus explains “Alámoth” in Psalms xlvi. and I Chron. xv. 20. Parkhurst (s.v. ‘Alamah = an undeflowered virgin) renders Job xxxix. 30, “the way of a man with a maid” (bi-álmah). The way of a man in his virgin state, shunning youthful lust and keeping himself “pure and unspotted.”

‡149 The text reads “Rafa'” (he raised) “al-Bashkhánah” which in Suppl. Nights (ii. 119) is a hanging, a curtain. Apparently it is a corruption of the Pers. “Paskhkhánah,” a mosquito-curtain.

‡150 The father suspected that she had not gone to bed a clean maid.

‡151 Arab. Aysh = Ayyu Shayyin and Laysh = li ayyi Shayyin. This vulgarism, or rather popular corruption, is of olden date and was used by such a purist as Al-Mutanabbi in such a phrase as “Aysh Khabara-k?” = how art thou? See Ibn Khallikan, iii. 79.

‡154 Arab. Dahab ramli = gold dust washed out of the sand, placer-gold. I must excuse myself for using this Americanism, properly a diluvium or deposit of sand, and improperly (Bartlett) a find of drift gold. The word, like many mining terms in the Far West, is borrowed from the Spaniards; it is not therefore one of the many American vulgarisms which threaten hopelessly to defile the pure well of English speech.

‡161 Arab. “Hammam-hu” = went through all the operations of the Hammam, scraping, kneading, soaping, wiping and so forth.

‡162 For this aphrodisiac see vol. vi. 60. The subject of aphrodisiacs in the East would fill a small library: almost every medical treatise ends in a long disquisition upon fortifiers, provocatives' etc. We may briefly divide them into three great classes. The first is the medicinal, which may be either external or internal. The second is the mechanical, such as scarification' flagellation, and the application of insects as practiced by certain savage races. There is a venerable Joe Miller of an old Brahmin whose young wife always insisted, each time before he possessed her, upon his being stung by a bee in certain parts. The third is magical superstitious and so forth

‡163 This may sound exaggerated to English ears, but a petty Indian Prince, such as the Gáikwár, or Rajah of Baroda, would be preceded in state processions by several led horses all whose housings and saddles were gold studded with diamonds. The sight made one's mouth water.

‡165 Arab. “Al-Kandíl al-'ajíb:” here its magical virtues are specified and remove many apparent improbabilities from the tale.

‡166 This was the highest of honours. At Abyssinian Harar even the Grandees were compelled to dismount at the door of the royal “compound.” See my “First Footsteps in East Africa,” p. 296.

‡167 “The right hand” seems to me a European touch in Galland's translation, leur chef mit Aladdin a sa droite. Amongst Moslems the great man sits in the sinistral corner of the Divan as seen from the door, so the place of honour is to his left.

‡169 Arab. Marmar Sumáki=porphyry of which ancient Egypt supplied the finest specimens. I found a vein of it in the Anti-Libanus. Strange to say, the quarries which produced the far-famed giallo antico, verd' antico (serpentine limestone) and rosso antico (mostly a porphyry) worked by the old Nilotes, are now unknown to us.

‡170 i.e. velvets with gold embroidery: see vol. viii. 201.

‡171 The Arabic says, “There was a kiosque with four-and-twenty alcoves (Líwán, for which see vols. iv. 71, vi. 347) all builded of emerald, etc., and one remained with the kiosque (kushk) unfinished.” I adopt Galland's reading salon á vingt-quatre croisées which are mentioned in the Arab. text towards the end of the tale, and thus avoid the confusion between kiosque and window. In the H. V. there is a domed belvedere (bárah-dari-i- gumbaz-dár), four-sided, with six doors on each front (i. e. twenty-four), and all studded with diamonds, etc.

‡172 In Persia this is called “Pá-andáz,” and must be prepared for the Shah when he deigns to visit a subject. It is always of costly stuffs, and becomes the perquisite of the royal attendants.

‡173 Here the European hand again appears to me: the Sultan as a good Moslem should have made the Wuzú-ablution and prayed the dawn-prayers before doing anything worldly.

‡174 Arab. Fí ghuzúni zálika,” a peculiar phrase, Ghazn=a crease, a wrinkle.

‡175 In the H. V. the King “marvelled to see Alaeddin's mother without her veil and magnificently adorned with costly jewels and said in his mind, ‘Methought she was a grey-haired crone, but I find her still in the prime of life and comely to look upon, somewhat after the fashion of Badr al-Budúr.’” This also was one of the miracles of the Lamp.

‡176 For this word see vols. i. 46, vii. 326. A Joe Miller is told in Western India of an old General Officer boasting his knowledge of Hindostani. “How do you say, Tell a plain story, General?” asked one of the hearers, and the answer was, “Maydán kí bát bolo!” = “speak a word about the plain” (or level space).

‡177 The prehistoric Arabs: see supra p. 98.

‡178 Popularly, Jeríd, the palm-frond used as javelin: see vol. vi. 263.

‡179 In order to keep off the evil eye, one of the functions of iron and steel: see vol. ii. 316.

‡180 The H. V. adds, “Little did the Princess know that the singers were fairies whom the Slave of the Lamp had brought together.”

‡181 Alexander the Great: see v. 252, x. 57. The H. V. adds, “Then only one man and one woman danced together, one with other, till midnight, when Alaeddin and the Princess stood up, for it was the wont of China in those days that bride and bridegroom perform together in presence of the wedding company.”

‡182 The exceptional reserve of this and other descriptions makes M. H. Zotenberg suspect that the tale was written for one of the Mameluke Princesses: I own to its modesty but I doubt that such virtue would have recommended it to the dames in question. The H. V. adds a few details:— “Then, when the bride and bridegroom had glanced and gazed each at other's face, the Princess rejoiced with excessive joy to behold his comeliness, and he exclaimed, in the courtesy of his gladness, ‘O happy me, whom thou deignest, O Queen of the Fair, to honour despite mine unworth, seeing that in thee all charms and graces are perfected.’ ”

‡183 The term has not escaped ridicule amongst Moslems. A common fellow having stood in his way the famous wit Abú al-'Ayná asked “What is that?” “A man of the Sons of Adam” was the reply. “Welcome, welcome,” cried the other, “Allah grant thee length of days. I deemed that all his sons were dead.” See Ibn Khallikan iii. 57.

‡184 This address to an inanimate object (here a window) is highly idiomatic and must be cultivated by the practical Arabist. In the H. V. the unfinished part is the four-and-twentieth door of the fictitious (ja'alí) palace.

‡185 This is true Orientalism, a personification or incarnation which Galland did not think proper to translate.

‡186 Arab. “La'ab al-Andáb;” the latter word is from “Nadb” = brandishing or throwing the javelin.

‡187 The “mothers” are the prime figures, the daughters being the secondary. For the “ ‘Ilm al-Ram!” = (Science of the sand) our geomancy, see vol. iii. 269, and D'Herbelot's sub. v. Raml or Reml.

‡188 This is from Galland, whose certaine boisson chaude evidently means tea. It is preserved in the H.V.

‡189 i.e. his astrolabe, his “Zíj” or table of the stars, his almanack, etc. For a highly fanciful derivation of the “Arstable” see Ibn Khallikan (iii. 580). He makes it signify “balance or lines (Pers. ‘Astur’) of the sun,” which is called “Láb” as in the case of wicked Queen Láb (The Nights, vol. vii. 296). According to him the Astrolabe was suggested to Ptolemy by an armillary sphere which had accidentally been flattened by the hoof of his beast: this is beginning late in the day, the instrument was known to the ancient Assyrians. Chardin (Voyages ii. 149) carefully describes the Persian variety of—

      “The cunning man highs Sidrophil

(as Will. Lilly was called). Amongst other things he wore at his girdle an astrolabe not bigger than the hollow of a man's hand, often two to three inches in diameter and looking at a distance like a medal.” These men practiced both natural astrology = astronomy, as well as judicial astrology which foretells events and of which Kepler said that “she, albeit a fool, was the daughter of a wise mother, to whose support and life the silly maid was indispensable.” Isidore of Seville (A. D. 600-636) was the first to distinguish between the two branches, and they flourished side by side till Newton's day. Hence the many astrological terms in our tongue, e.g. consider, contemplate, disaster, jovial, mercurial, saturnine, etc.

‡190 In the H. V. “New brass lamps for old ones! who will exchange ?” So in the story of the Fisherman's son, a Jew who had been tricked of a cock, offers to give new rings for old rings. See Jonathan Scott's excerpts from the Wortley-Montague MSS. vol. vi. pp. 210 12 This is one of the tales which I have translated for vol. iv.

‡191 The H. V. adds that Alaeddin loved to ride out a-hunting and had left the city for eight days whereof three had passed by.

‡192 Galland makes her say, Hé bien folle, veux-tu me dire pourqoui tu ris? The H. V. renders “Cease, giddy head, why laughest thou?” and the vulgate “Well, giggler,” said the Princess, etc.

‡193 Nothing can be more improbable than this detail, but upon such abnormal situations almost all stones, even in our most modern “Society-novels,” depend and the cause is clear—without them there would be no story. And the modern will, perhaps, suggest that “the truth was withheld for a higher purpose, for the working out of certain ends.” In the H. V Alaeddin, when about to go a-hunting, always placed the Lamp high up on the cornice with all care lest any touch it.

‡194 The H. V. adds, “The Magician, when he saw the Lamp, at once knew that it must be the one he sought; for he knew that all things, great and small, appertaining to the palace”

‡195 In truly Oriental countries the Wazir is expected to know everything, and if he fail in this easy duty he may find himself in sore trouble.

‡196 i.e. must he obeyed.

‡197 We see that “China” was in those days the normal Oriental “despotism tempered by assassination.”

‡198 In the H. V. Alaeddin promises, “if I fail to find and fetch the Princess, I will myself cut off my head and cast it before the throne.” Hindus are adepts in suicide and this self-decapitation, which sounds absurd further West, is quite possible to them.

‡199 In Galland Alaeddin unconsciously rubbed the ring against un petit roc, to which he clung in order to prevent falling into the stream. In the H. V. “The bank was high and difficult of descent and the youth would have rolled down headlong had he not struck upon a rock two paces from the bottom and remained hanging over the water. This mishap was of the happiest for during his fall he struck the stone and rubbed his ring against it,” etc.

‡200 In the H. V. he said, “First save me that I fall not into the stream and then tell me where is the pavilion thou builtest for her and who hath removed it.”

‡201 Alluding to the preparatory washing, a mere matter of cleanliness which precedes the formal Wuzú-ablution.

‡202 In the H. V. the Princess ends with, “I had made this resolve that should he approach me with the design to win his wish perforce, I would destroy my life. By day and by night I abode in fear of him; but now at the sight of thee my heart is heartened.”

‡203 The Fellah had a natural fear of being seen in fine gear, which all would have supposed to be stolen goods; and Alaeddin was justified in taking it perforce, because necessitas non habet legem. See a similar exchange of dress in Spitta-Bey's “Contes Arabes Modernes,” p. 91. In Galland the peasant when pressed consents; and in the H. V. Alaeddin persuades him by a gift of money.

‡204 i.e. which would take effect in the shortest time.

‡205 Her modesty was startled by the idea of sitting: at meat with a strange man and allowing him to make love to her.

‡206 In the text Kidí, pop. for Ka-zálika. In the H. V. the Magician replies to the honeyed speech of the Princess, “O my lady, we in Africa have not so gracious customs as the men of China. This day I have learned of thee a new courtesy which I shall ever keep in mind.”

‡207 Galland makes the Princess poison the Maghrabi, which is not gallant. The H. V. follows suit and describes the powder as a mortal poison.

‡208 Contrast this modesty with the usual scene of reunion after severance, as in the case of Kamar al-Zamán and immodest Queen Budúr, vol. iii. pp. 302-304.

‡209 His dignity forbade him to walk even the length of a carpet: see vol. vii. for this habit of the Mameluke Beys. When Harun al-Rashid made his famous pilgrimage afoot from Baghdad to Meccah (and he was the last of the Caliphs who performed this rite), the whole way was spread with a “Pá-andáz” of carpets and costly cloths.

‡210 The proverb suggests our “par nobile fratrum,” a pair resembling each other as two halves of a split bean.

‡211 In the H. V. “If the elder Magician was in the East, the other was in the West; but once a year, by their skill in geomancy, they had tidings of each other.”

‡212 The act was religiously laudable, but to the Eastern, as to the South European mind, fair play is not a jewel; moreover the story-teller may insinuate that vengeance would be taken only by foul and unlawful means—the Black Art, perjury, murder and so forth

‡213 For this game, a prime favourite in Egypt, see vol. vi. 145, De Sacy (Chrestomathie i. 477) and his authorities Hyde, Syntagma Dissert. ii. 374, P. Labat, “Memoires du Chev d'Arvieux,” iii. 321; Thevenot, “Voyage du Levant,” p. 107, and Niebuhr, “Voyages,” i. 139, Plate 25, fig. H.

‡214 Evidently=“(jeu de) dames” (supposed to have been invented in Paris during the days of the Regency: see Littré); and, although in certain Eastern places now popular, a term of European origin. It is not in Galland. According to Ibn Khallikan (iii. 69) “Nard” = tables, arose with King Ardashír son of Babuk, and was therefore called Nardashír (Nard Ardashír? ). He designed it as an image of the world and its people, so the board had twelve squares to represent the months; the thirty pieces or men represented the days, and the dice were the emblems of Fate and Lot.

‡215 i.e. a weaner, a name of good omen for a girl-child: see vol. vi. 145. The Hindi translator, Totárám Shayyán, calls her Hamídah = the Praiseworthy.

‡216 Arab. Kirámát: see vols. ii. 237; iv. 45. The Necromancer clearly smells a rat holding with Diderot:

      De par le Roi! Defense á Dieu
      De faire miracle en ce lieu;

and the stage properties afterwards found with the holy woman, such as the gallipot of colouring ointment, justify his suspicion.

‡217 “ ‘Ajáib” plur. of “ ‘Ajíb,” a common exclamation amongst the populace. It is used in Persian as well as in Arabic.

‡218 Evidently la force de l'imagination, of which a curious illustration was given in Paris during the debauched days of the Second Empire. Before a highly “fashionable” assembly of men appeared a youth in fleshings who sat down upon a stool, bared his pudenda and closed his eyes when, by “force of fancy,” erection and emission took place. But presently it was suspected and proved that the stool was hollow and admitted from below a hand whose titillating fingers explained the phenomenon.

‡219 a Moslems are curious about sleeping postures and the popular saying is:—Lying upon the right side is proper to Kings; upon the left to Sages, to sleep supine is the position of Allah's Saints and prone upon the belly is peculiar to the Devils.

‡220 This “ ‘Asá,” a staff five to six feet long, is one of the properties of Moslem Saints and reverends who, imitating that furious old Puritan, Caliph Omar, make and are allowed to make a pretty liberal distribution of its caresses.

‡221 i.e. as she was in her own home.

‡222 Arab. “Sulúk” a Sufistical expression, the road to salvation, &c.

‡223 In the H. V. her diet consisted of dry bread and fruits.

‡224 This is the first mention of the windows in the Arabic MS.

‡225 For this “Roc” of the older writers see vols. v. 122; vi. 16-49. I may remind the reader that the O. Egyptian “Rokh,” or “Rukh,” by some written “Rekhit,” whose ideograph is a monstrous bird with one claw raised, also denotes pure wise Spirits, the Magi, &c. I know a man who derives from it our “rook” = beak and parson.

‡226 In the H. V he takes the Lamp from his bosom, where he had ever kept it since his misadventure with the African Magician

‡227 Here the mythical Rukh is mixed up with the mysterious bird Símurgh, for which see vol. x. 117.

‡228 The H. V. adds, “hoping thereby that thou and she and all the household should fall into perdition.”

‡229 Rank mesmerism, which has been practiced in the East from ages immemorial. In Christendom Santa Guglielma worshipped at Brunate, “works many miracles, chiefly healing aches of head.” In the H. V. Alaeddin feigns that he is ill and fares to the Princess with his head tied up.

‡230 Mr. Morier in “The Mirza” (vol. i. 87) says, “Had the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, with all their singular fertility of invention and never-ending variety, appeared as a new book in the present day, translated literally and not adapted to European taste in the manner attempted in M. Galland's translation, I doubt whether they would have been tolerated, certainly not read with the avidity they are, even in the dress with which he has clothed them, however imperfect that dress maybe.” But in Morier's day the literal translation was so despised that an Eastern book was robbed of half its charms, both of style and idea.

blog comments powered by Disqus