("The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night")

translated by

Richard Burton


Dedication And Opening Story



A MAN brought his wife a fish one Friday and, bidding her cook it
against the end of the congregational prayers, went out to his
craft and business.  Meanwhile in came her friend who bade her
to a wedding at his house ; so she agreed and laying the fish in a
jar of water, went off with him and was absent a whole week till
the Friday following ; 1 whilst her husband sought her from house
to house and enquired after her ; but none could give him any
tidings of her.  Now on the next Friday she came home and he
fell foul of her; but she brought out to him the fish alive from the
jar and assembled the folk against him and told them her tale.

----And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say
her permitted say.

Now when it was the Three Hundreth and Ninety-fourth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the woman
brought out the fish alive from the water-jar and assembled the
folk against her husband, and told them her tale.  He also told
his; but they credited him not and said, " It cannot be that the
fish should have remained alive all this while."  So they proved
him mad and imprisoned him and mocked at him, whereupon he
shed tears in floods and recited these two couplets:--

Old hag, of high degree in filthy lile, * Whose face her monstrous lewdness
When menstruous she bawds ; when clean she whores ; * And all her time
      bawd or adulteress is.

And a tale is related of the

   1 Moslem women have this advantage over their Western sisterhood : they can always
leave the house of father or husband and, without asking permission, pay a week or ten
days' visit to their friends. But they are not expected to meet their lovers.



THERE was once, among the Children of Israel, a man of the
worthiest, who was strenuous in the service of his Lord and
abstained from things worldly and drave them away from his
heart.  He had a wife who was a helpmate meet for him and
who was at all times obedient to him. They earned their living
by making trays and fans, whereat they wrought all through the
light hours; and, at nightfall, the man went out into the streets
and highways seeking a buyer for what they had made. They
were wont to fast continually by day and one morning they
arose, fasting, and worked at their craft till the light failed them,
when the man went forth, according to custom, to find purchasers
for his wares, and fared on till he came to the door of the house
of a certain man of wealth, one of the sons of this world, high
in rank and dignity.  Now the tray-maker was fair of face and
comely of form, and the wife of the master of the house saw him
and fell in love with him and her heart inclined to him with ex-
ceeding inclination; so, her husband being absent, she called her
handmaid and said to her, " Contrive to bring yonder man to us."
Accordingly the maid went out to him and called him and
stopped him as though she would buy what he held in hand.
----And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying
her permitted say.

Now when it was the Four Hundreth and Sixty-ninth Night

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the maid-
servant went out to the man and asked him, " Come in; my lady
hath a mind to buy some of thy wares, after she hath tried them
and looked at them."  The man thought she spoke truly and,
seeing no harm in this, entered and sat down as she bade him;
and she shut the door upon him. Whereupon her mistress came
out of her room and, taking him by the gaberdine,2 drew him
within and said, " How long shall I seek union of thee ?  Verily
my patience is at an end on thine account. See now, the place is
perfumed and provision prepared and the householder is absent
this night, and I give to thee my person without reserve, I whose
favours kings and captains and men of fortune have sought this
long while, but I have regarded none of them." And she went
on talking to him, whilst he raised not his eyes from the
ground,  for shame before Allah Almighty and fear of the pains
and penalties of His punishment; even as saith the poet:--

'Twixt me and riding many a noble dame, * Was naught but shame which kept
      me chaste and pure:
My shame was cure to her; but haply were * Shame to depart, she ne'er had
      known a cure.

The man strove to free himself from her, but could not; so he
said to her, "I want one thing of thee."  She asked, " What is
that ?": and he answered, " I wish for pure water and that I may
carry it to the highest place of thy house and do somewhat there-
with and cleanse myself of an impurity, which I may not disclose
to thee."  Quoth she, " The house is large and hath closets and
corners and privies at command."  But he replied, " I want
nothing but to be at a height."  So she said to her slave-girl,
" Carry him up to the belvedere on the house-terrace."  Ac-
cordingly the maid took him up to the very top and, giving
him a vessel of water, went down and left him. Then he made
the ablution and prayed a two-bow prayer; after which he looked
at the ground, thinking to throw himself down, but seeing it afar
off, feared to be dashed to pieces by the fall.  Then he bethought
him of his disobedience to Allah, and the consequences of his sin;
so it became a light matter to him to offer up his life and shed his
blood; and he said, "O my God and my Lord, Thou seest that
which is fallen on me; neither is my case hidden from Thee.
Thou indeed over all things art Omnipotent and the tongue of
my case reciteth and saith:--

I show my heart and thoughts to Thee, and Thou * Alone my secret's secrecy
      canst know.
If I address Thee fain I cry aloud; * Or, if I'm mute, my signs for speech I
O Thou to whom no second be conjoined ! * A wretched lover seeks Thee in
      his woe.
I have a hope my thoughts as true confirm ; * And heart that fainteth as right
      well canst know.
To lavish life is hardest thing that be, * Yet easy an Thou bid me life
      forego ;
But, an it be Thy will to save from stowre, * Thou, O my Hope, to work this
      work hast power !

Then the man cast himself down from the belvedere; but Allah
sent an angel who bore him up on his wings and brought him
down to the ground, whole and without hurt or harm. Now when
he found himself safe on the ground, he thanked and praised
Allah (to whom belong Majesty and Might !) for His merciful
protection of his person and his chastity ...

   2  ... a large-sleeved robe of coarse stuff worn by the poor.


                    AND THE SEVEN WAZIRS.

THERE was, in days of yore and in ages and times long gone
before, a puissant King among the Kings of China, the crown of
crowned heads, who ruled over many men of war and vassals with
wisdom and justice, might and majesty; equitable to his Ryots,
liberal to his lieges and dearly beloved by the hearts of his sub-
jects.  He was wealthy as he was powerful, but he had grown
old without being blessed with a son, and this caused him sore
affliction.   He could only brood over the cutting off of his seed
and the oblivion that would bury his name and the passing of
his realm into the stranger's hands.   So he secluded himself
in his palace, never going in and out or rising and taking rest
till the lieges lost all tidings of him and were sore perplexed
and began to talk about their King. Some said, " He's dead";
others said, " No, he's not "; but all resolved to find a ruler who
could reign over them and carry out the customs of government.
At last, utterly despairing of male issue, he sought the intercession
of the Prophet (whom Allah bless and keep!) with the Most
High and implored Him, by the glory of His Prophets and
Saints and Martyrs and others of the Faithful who were accept-
able to Heaven that he would grant him a son, to be the coolth
of his eyes and heir to the kingdom after him. Then he rose
forthright and, withdrawing to his sitting-saloon, sent for his wife
who was the daughter of his uncle. Now this Queen was of sur-
passing beauty and loveliness, the fairest of all his wives and the
dearest to him as she was the nearest: and to boot a woman
of excellent wit and passing judgement. She found the King
dejected and sorrowful, tearful-eyed and heavy-hearted;  so she
kissed ground between his hands and said, " O King, may my life
ransom thy life! may Time never prove thy foe, nor the shifts of
Fortune prevail over thee; may Allah grant thee every joy and
ward off from thee all annoy ! How is it I see thee brooding over
thy case and tormented by the displeasures of memory ?"  He
replied, " Thou wottest well that I am a man now shotten in years,
who hath never been blessed with a son, a sight to cool his eyes;
so I know that my kingdom shall pass away to the stranger in
blood and my name and memory will be blotted out amongst
men. 'Tis this causeth me to grieve with excessive grief." "Allah
do away with thy sorrows," quoth she: "long ere this day a
thought struck me; and yearning for issue arose in my heart
even as in thine. One night I dreamed a dream and a voice
said to me:--The King thy husband pineth for progeny: if a
daughter be vouchsafed to him, she will be the ruin of his
realm;  if a son,  the youth will undergo much trouble and
annoy but he will pass through it without loss of life.  Such a
son can be conceived by thee and thee only and the time of
thy conception is when the moon conjoineth with Gemini! I
woke from my dream, but after what I heard that voice declare
I refrained from breeding and would not consent to bear chil-
dren." "There is no help for it but that I have a son, Inshallah,
--God willing!" cried the King. Thereupon she soothed and
consoled him till he forgot his sorrows and went forth amongst
the lieges and sat, as of wont, upon his throne of estate. All
rejoiced to see him once more and especially the Lords of his
realm.  Now when the conjunction of the moon and Gemini took
place, the King knew his wife carnally and, by order of Allah
Almighty she became pregnant.  Presently she announced the
glad tidings to her husband and led her usual life until her nine
months of pregnancy were completed and she bare a male child
whose face was as the rondure of the moon on its fourteenth
night. The lieges of the realm congratulated one another there-
anent and the King commanded an assembly of his Olema and
philosophers, astrologers and horoscopists, whom he thus ad-
dressed, "I desire you to forecast the fortune of my son and
to determine his ascendant and whatever is shown by his
nativity."  They replied '' 'Tis well, in Allah's name, let us do
so !" and cast his nativity with all diligence.  After ascertaining
his ascendant, they pronounced judgement in these words, "We
see his lot favourable and his life viable and durable; save that
a danger awaiteth his youth." The father was sorely concerned
at this saying, when they added "But, O King, he shall escape
from it nor shall aught of injury accrue to him !" Hereupon the
King cast aside all cark and care and robed the wizards and
dismissed them with splendid honoraria; and he resigned himself
to the will of Heaven and acknowledged that the decrees of
Destiny may not be countervailed.  He committed his boy to
wet nurses and dry nurses, handmaids and eunuchs, leaving
him to grow and fill out in the Harim till he reached the
age of seven.  Then he addressed letters to his Viceroys and
Governors in every clime and by their means gathered together
Olema and philosophers and doctors of law and religion, from
all countries, to a number of three hundred and three score.   He
held an especial assembly for them and, when all were in presence,
he bade them draw near him and be at their ease while he sent for
the food-trays and all ate their sufficiency.  And when the banquet
ended and the wizards had taken seats in their several degrees
the King asked them, '' Wot ye wherefore I have gathered ye to-
gether ?"; whereto all answered," We wot not, O King !" He con-
tinued, "It is my wish that you select from amongst you fifty men,
and from these fifty ten, and from these ten one, that he may teach
my son omnem rem scibilem; for whenas I see the youth perfect
in all science, I will share my dignity with the Prince and make
him partner with me in my possessions." " Know, O King," they
replied, "that among us none is more learned or more excellent
than Al-Sindibad, hight the Sage, who woneth in thy capital
under thy protection. If such be thy design, summon him and
bid him do thy will."  The King acted upon their advice and the
Sage, standing in the presence, expressed his loyal sentiments with
his salutation, whereupon his Sovereign bade him draw nigh and
thus raised his rank, saying, "I would have thee to know, O Sage,
that I summoned this assembly of the learned and bade them
choose me out a man to teach my son all knowledge; when they
selected thee without dissenting thought or voice.  If, then, thou
feel capable of what they claimed for thee, come thou to the task
and understand that a man's son and heir is the very fruit of his
vitals and core of his heart and liver.  My desire of thee is thine
instruction of him; and to happy issue Allah guideth!"  The
King then sent for his son and committed him to Al-Sindibad
conditioning the Sage to finish his education in three years. He
did accordingly but, at the end of that time, the young Prince
had learned nothing his mind being wholly occupied with play
and disport; and when summoned and examined by his sire,
behold, his knowledge was as nil. Thereupon the King turned
his attention to the learned once more and bade them elect a tutor
for his youth; so they asked, "And what hath his governor, Al-
Sindibad. been doing?" and when the King answered, " He hath
taught my son naught;" the Olema and philosophers and high
officers  summoned  the instructor and  said to him, "O Sage,
what prevented thee from teaching the King's son during this
length of  days!" "O wise men," he replied, "the Prince's
mind is wholly occupied with disport and play; yet, an the
King will make with me three conditions and keep to them,
I will teach him in seven months what he would not learn
(nor indeed could any other lesson him) within seven years."  " I
hearken to thee," quoth the King, " and I submit myself to thy
conditions;" and quoth Al-Sindibad, "Hear from me, Sire. and
bear in mind these three sayings, whereof the first is:--Do not to
others what thou wouldest not they do unto thee; and second:--
Do naught hastily without consulting the experienced; and
thirdly:--Where thou hast power show pity.  In teaching this
lad I require no more of thee but to accept these three dictes and
adhere thereto."  Cried the King, " Bear ye witness against me,
O all ye here assembled, that I stand firm by these conditions ! ";
and caused a proces verbal to be drawn up with his personal
security and the testimony of his courtiers.  Thereupon the Sage,
taking the Prince's hand, led him to his place, and the King sent
them all requisites of provaunt and kitchen-batteries, carpets and
other furniture.  Moreover the tutor bade build a house whose
walls he lined with the whitest stucco painted over with ceruse,
and, lastly, he delineated thereon all the objects concerning which
he proposed to lecture his pupil. When the place was duly fur-
nished, he took the lad's hand and installed him in the apartment
which was amply furnished with belly-timber; and, after stab-
lishing him therein, went forth and fastened the door with seven
padlocks.  Nor did he visit the Prince save every third day when
he lessoned him on the knowledge to be extracted from the
wall-pictures and renewed his provision of meat and drink, after
which he left him again to solitude.  So whenever the youth was
straitened in breast by the tedium and ennui of loneliness, he
applied himself diligently to his object-lessons and mastered all
the deductions therefrom.  His governor seeing this turned his
mind into other channel and taught him the inner meanings of the
external objects; and in a little time the pupil mastered every
requisite. Then the Sage took him from the house and taught him
cavalarice and Jerid play and archery.  When the pupil had
thoroughly mastered these arts, the tutor sent to the King inform-
ing him that the Prince was perfect and complete in all things
required to figure favourably amongst his peers.  Herat the King
rejoiced ; and, summoning his  Wazirs and Lords of estate to be
present at the examination, commanded the Sage to send his son
into the presence.  Thereupon Al-Sindibad consulted his pupil's
horoscope and round it barred by an inauspicious conjunction
which would last seven days; so, in sore affright for the youth's
life, he said, " Look into thy nativity-scheme."  The Prince did so
and, recognising the potent, reared for himself and presently asked
the Sage, saying, " What dost thou bid me do ? "  " I bid thee,"
he answered,  " remain silent and speak not a word during this
se'nnight ; even though thy sire slay thee with scourging.  An thou
pass safely through this period, thou shalt win to high rank and
succeed to thy sire's reign ; but an things go otherwise then the
behest is with Allah from the beginning to the end thereof."
Quoth the pupil, " Thou art in fault, O preceptor, and thou hast
shown undue haste in sending that message to the King before
looking into my horoscope.  Hadst thou delayed till the week had
passed all had been well."  Quoth the tutor, " O my son, what was
to be was; and the sole defaulter therein was my delight in thy
scholarship.  But now be firm in thy resolve;  rely upon Allah
Almighty and determine not to utter a single word."  Thereupon
the Prince fared for the presence and was met by the Wazirs who
led him to his father.  The King accosted him and addressed him
but he answered not; and sought speech of him but he spake not.
Whereupon the courtiers were astounded and the monarch, sore
concerned for his son, summoned Al-Sindibad.  But the tutor so
hid himself that none could hit upon his trace nor gain tidings of
him; and folk said, " He was ashamed to appear before the King s
majesty and the courtiers." Under these conditions the Sovereign
heard some of those present saying, " Send the lad to the Serraglio
where he will talk with the women and soon set aside this bashful-
ness;" and, approving their counsel, gave orders accordingly.  So
the Prince was led into the palace, which was compassed about by
a running stream whose banks were planted with all manner of
fruit-trees and sweet-smelling flowers.  Moreover, in this palace
were forty chambers and in every chamber ten slave-girls, each
skilled in some instrument of music, so that whenever one of them
played, the palace danced to her melodious strains.  Here the
Prince passed one night; but, on the following morning, the King's
favourite concubine happened to cast eyes upon his beauty and
loveliness, his symmetrical stature, his brilliancy and his perfect
grace, and love gat hold of her heart and she was ravished with
his charms.  So she went up to him and threw herself upon him,
but he made her no response; whereupon, being dazed by his
beauty, she cried out to him and required him of himself and
importuned him; then she again threw herself upon him and
clasped him to her bosom kissing him and saying, "O King's son,
grant me thy favours and I will set thee in thy father's stead; I
will give him to drink of poison, so he may die and thou shalt
enjoy his realm and wealth." When the Prince heard these words,
he was sore enraged against her and said to her by signs, "O
accursed one, so it please Almighty Allah, I will assuredly requite
thee this thy deed, whenas I can speak ; for I will go forth to my
Father and will tell him, and he shall kill thee."  So signing, he
arose in rage, and went out from her chamber; whereat she feared
for herself.  Thereupon she buffeted her lace and rent her raiment
and tare her hair and bared her head, then went in to the King
and cast herself at his feet, weeping and wailing. When he saw
her in this plight, he was sore concerned and asked her, " What
aileth thee, O damsel.? How is it with thy lord, my son? Is he not
well ?";   and she answered, "O King, this thy son, whom thy
courtiers avouch to be dumb, required me of myself and I repelled
him, whereupon he did with me as thou seest and would have slain
me; so I fled from him, nor will I ever return to him, nor to the
palace again, no, never again !"  When the King heard this, he
was wroth with exceeding wrath and, calling his seven Wazirs,
bade them put the Prince to death. However, they said one to
other, " If we do the King's commandment, he will surely repent
of having ordered his son's death, for he is passing dear to him
and this child came not to him save alter despair; and he will
round upon us and blame us, saying:--Why did ye not contrive to
dissuade me from slaying him ? "  So they took counsel together,
to turn him from his purpose, and the chief Wazir said, " I will
warrant you from the King's mischief this day."  Then he went
in to the presence and prostrating himself craved leave to speak.
The King gave him permission, and he said, " O King, though
thou hadst a thousand sons, yet were it no light matter to thee
to put one of them to death, on the report of a woman, be she
true or be she false; and belike this is a lie and a trick of her
against thy son ; for indeed, O King, I have heard tell great plenty
of stories of the malice, the craft and perfidy of women." Quoth
the King, "Tell me somewhat of that which hath come to thy
knowledge thereof."  And the Wazir answered, saying :--Yes;
there hath reached me, O King, a tale entituled



ONCE upon a time there dwelt in Egypt a confectioner who had a
wife famed for beauty and loveliness; and a parrot which, as
occasion required, did the office of watchman and guard, bell and
spy, and flapped her wings did she but hear a fly buzzing about
the sugar.  This parrot caused abundant trouble to the wife,
always telling her husband what took place in his absence. Now
one evening, before going out to visit certain friends, the con-
fectioner gave the bird strict injunctions to watch all night and
bade his wife make all fast, as he should not return until morning.
Hardly had he left the door than the woman went for her old
lover, who returned with her and they passed the night together
in mirth and merriment, while the parrot observed all.  Betimes
in the morning the lover fared forth and the husband, returning,
was informed by the parrot of what had taken place; whereupon he
hastened to his wife's room and beat her with a painful beating. She
thought in herself, " Who could have informed against me ?" and she
asked a woman that was in her confidence whether it was she.
The woman protested by the worlds visible and invisible that
she had not betrayed her mistress; but informed her that on the
morning of his return home, the husband had stood some time
before the cage listening to the parrot's talk.  When the wife heard
this, she resolved to contrive the destruction of the bird.   Some
days alter, the husband was again invited to the house of a friend
where he was to pass the night; and, before departing, he enjoined
the parrot with the same injunctions as before; wherefore his
heart was free from care, for he had his spy at home.  The wife
and her confidante then planned how they might destroy the
credit of the parrot with the master.  For this purpose they re-
solved to counterfeit a storm; and this they did by placing over
the parrot's head a hand-mill (which the lover worked by pouring
water upon a piece of hide), by waving a fan and by suddenly
uncovering a candle hid under a dish.  Thus did they raise such
a tempest of rain arid lightning, that the parrot was drenched and
half-drowned in a deluge.  Now rolled the thunder, then flashed
the lightning; that from the noise of the hand-mill, this from the
reflection of the candle; when thought the parrot to herself, " In
very sooth the Flood hath come on, such an one as belike Noah
himself never witnessed."  So saying she buried her head under
her wing, a prey to terror. The husband, on his return, hastened
to the parrot to ask what had happened during his absence; and
the bird answered that she found it impossible to describe the
deluge and tempest of the last night; and that years would be
required to explain the uproar of the hurricane and storm. When
the shopkeeper heard the parrot talk of last night's deluge, he
said: "Surely, O bird, thou art gone clean daft! Where was
there, even in a dream, rain or lightning last night ? Thou hast
utterly ruined my house and ancient family.  My wife is the most
virtuous woman of the age and all thine accusations of her are
lies."   So in his wrath he dashed the cage upon the ground, tore
off the parrot's head, and threw it from the window.  Presently
his friend, coming to call upon him, saw the parrot in this condi-
tion with head torn off, and without wings or plumage.   Being
informed of the circumstances he suspected some trick on the part
of the woman, and said to the husband, " When your wife leaves
home to go to the Hammam-bath, compel her confidante to dis-
close the secret."  So as soon as his wife went out, the husband
entered his Harim and insisted on the woman telling him the
truth.   She recounted the whole story and the husband now
bitterly repented having killed the parrot, of whose innocence he
had proof.  This I tell thee, O King (continued the Wazir), that
thou mayst know how great are the craft and malice of women
and that to act in haste leadeth to repent at leisure...



ONCE upon a time there was a man, who was sword-bearer to one
of the Kings, and he loved a damsel of the common sort.  One
day, he sent his page to her with a message, as of wont between
them, and the lad sat down with her and toyed with her.  She
inclined to him and pressed him to her breast and groped him and
kissed him whereupon he sought carnal connection of her and
she consented; but, as the two were thus, lo! the youth's master
knocked at the door.  So she pushed the page through a trap-
door into an underground chamber there and opened the door to
his lord, who entered hending sword in hand and sat down upon
her bed. Then she came up to him and sported and toyed with
him, kissing him and pressing him to her bosom, and he took her
and lay with her. Presently, her husband knocked at the door
and the gallant asked her, " Who is that !"; whereto she answered,
" My husband." Quoth he, "How shall I do'" Quoth she,
"Draw thy sword and stand in the vestibule and abuse me and
revile me; and when my husband comes in to thee, do thou go
forth and wend thy ways." He did as she bade him; and, when
the husband entered, he saw the King's sword-bearer standing with
naked brand in hand, abusing and threatening his wife; but, when
the lover saw him, he was ashamed and sheathing his scymitar,
went forth the house. Said the man to his wife, " What means
this?"; and she replied, " O man, how blessed is the hour of thy
coming ! Thou hast saved a True Believer from slaughter, and it
happed after this fashion. I was on the house-terrace, spinning,2
when behold, there came up to me a youth, distracted and panting
for fear of death, fleeing from yonder man, who followed upon him
as hard as he could with his drawn sword.  The young man fell
down before me, and kissed my hands and feet, saying, "O Pro-
tector, of thy mercy, save me  from him who would slay me
wrongously ! "  So I hid him in that underground chamber of
ours and presently in came yonder man to me, naked brand in
hand, demanding the youth. But I denied him to him, where-
upon he fell to abusing and threatening me as thou sawest. And
praised be Allah who sent thee to me, for I was distraught and
had none to deliver me ! " " Well hast thou done, O woman ! "
answered the husband. "  Thy reward is with Allah the Almighty,
and may He abundantly requite thy good deed ! "  Then he went
to the trap door and called to the page, saying,  " Come forth and
fear not ; no harm shall befal thee."  So he came out, trembling
for fear, and the husband said,  " Be of good cheer: none shall
hurt thee ; " condoling with him on what had befallen him; whilst
the page called down blessings on his head. Then they both went
forth, nor was that Cornuto nor was the page aware of that which
the woman had contrived.  " This, then, O King," said the Wazir,
" is one of the tricks of women ; so beware lest thou rely upon their
words."  ...

   2  The Bresl. Edit. (xii. 266) says "bathing."




                TO SEE THE NIGHT OF POWER

A CERTAIN man had longed all his life to look upon the Night of
Power,2 and one night it befel that he gazed at the sky and saw
the angels, and Heaven's gates thrown open ; and he beheld all
things prostrating themselves before their Lord, each in its several
stead.  So he said to his wife, " Harkye, such an one, verily Allah
hath shown me the Night of Power, and it hath been proclaimed
to me, from the invisible world, that three prayers will be granted
unto me; so I consult thee for counsel as to what shall I ask."
Quoth she, " O man, the perfection of man and his delight is in his
prickle; therefore do thou pray Allah to greaten thy yard and
magnify it."  So he lifted up his hands to heaven and said, "O
Allah, greaten my yard and magnify it."  Hardly had he spoken
when his tool became as big as a column and he could neither
sit nor stand nor move about nor even stir from his stead; and
when he would have carnally known his wife, she fled before him
from place to place. So he said to her, "O accursed woman,
what is to be done! This is thy list, by reason of thy lust,"
She replied, " No, by Allah, I did not ask for this length and
huge bulk, for which the gate of a street were too strait.  Pray
Heaven to make it less." So he raised his eyes to Heaven and
said, "O Allah, rid me of this thing and deliver me therefrom."
And immediately his prickle disappeared altogether and he
became clean smooth.  When his wife saw this, she said, " I have
no occasion for thee, now thou are become pegless as a eunuch,
shaven and shorn;" and he answered her, saying, "All this comes
of thine ill-omened counsel and thine imbecile judgment. I had
three prayers accepted of Allah, wherewith I might have gotten
me my good, both in this world and in the next, and now two
wishes are gone in pure waste, by thy lewd will, and there
remaineth but one." Quoth she, '' Pray Allah the Most High to
restore thee thy yard as it was."  So he prayed to his Lord and his
prickle was restored to its first estate.  Thus the man lost his three
wishes by the ill counsel and lack of wit in the woman; " And
this, O King" (said the Wazir), "have I told thee, that thou
mightest be certified of the thoughtlessness of women and their
inconsequence and silliness and see what cometh of harkening
to their counsel....

   1  The Mac. Edit. is here very concise; better the Bresl. Edit. (xii. 326).
Here we have the Eastern form of the Three Wishes which dates from
the earliest ages and which amongt us has been degraded to a matter
of "black pudding."  It is the grossest and most brutal satire on the sex,
suggesting that a woman would prefer an additional inch of penis to
anything this world or the next can offer her...

   2   ... On the Night of Power the Koran was sent down from the Preserved
Tablet by  Allah's throne, to the first or lunar Heaven whence Gabriel
brought it for opportunest relevation to the Apostle (Koran xcvii.).  Also
during this night all Divine Decrees for the ensuing year are taken from
the Tablet and are given to the angels for execution whilst, the gates of
Heaven being open, prayer (as in the text) is sure of success...

[Conclusion: After the girl tells a final story that suggests lenience (and remindful of our own society,)
  we find her punishment for falsely accusing the Prince and conspiring to kill the King as such;
  "Quoth the King, ' I excuse her, and in my son's hands be her doom.  If he will, let him torture her,
   and if he will, let him kill her.'  Quoth the Prince, ' Pardon is better than vengeance and mercy is the
   quality of the noble ; ' and the King repeated, ' 'Tis for thee to decide, O my son.'  So the Prince
   set her free, saying, " Depart from our neighborhood and Allah pardon what is past ! ' " ]


The Tale Of The Ensorceled Prince