Page:Arabiannightsent07burtiala.djvu/18

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2
Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

he repaired to the pavilion of Ajib who, when informed of his coming, said, "Admit him!" and when he stood in the presence asked him, "Whence comest thou?" Answered Sahim, "From the King of the Arabs and the Persians, son-in-law of Chosroë, King of the world, who sendeth thee a writ; so do thou return him a reply." Quoth Ajib, "Give me the letter;" accordingly Sahim gave it to him and he tore it open and found therein, "In the name of Allah the Compassionating, the Compassionate! Peace on Abraham the Friend await! But afterwards. As soon as this letter shall come to thy hand, do thou confess the Unity of the Bountiful King, Causer of causes and Mover of the clouds;[1] and leave worshipping idols. An thou do this thing, thou art my brother and ruler over us and I will pardon thee the deaths of my father and mother, nor will I reproach thee with what thou hast done. But an thou obey not my bidding, behold, I will hasten to thee and cut off thy head and lay waste thy dominions. Verily, I give thee good counsel, and the Peace be on those who pace the path of salvation and obey the Most High King!" When Ajib read these words and knew the threat they contained, his eyes sank into the crown of his head and he gnashed his teeth and flew into a furious rage. Then he tore the letter in pieces and threw it away, which vexed Sahim and he cried out upon Ajib, saying, "Allah wither thy hand for the deed thou hast done!" With this Ajib cried out to his men, saying, "Seize yonder hound and hew him in pieces with your hangers."[2] So they ran at Sahim; but he

  1. Such is the bathos caused by the Saja'-assonance: in the music of the Arabic it contrasts strangely with the baldness of translation. The same is the case with the Koran, beautiful in the original and miserably dull in European languages, it is like the glorious style of the "Anglican Version" by the side of its bastard brothers in Hindostani or Marathi; one of these marvels of stupidity translating the "Lamb of God" by "God's little goat."
  2. This incident is taken from the Life of Mohammed who, in the "Year of Missions" (A. H. 7) sent letters to foreign potentates bidding them embrace Al-Islam, and, his seal being in three lines, Mohammed | Apostle | of Allah, Khusrau Parwíz (= the Charming) was offended because his name was placed below Mohammed's. So he tore the letter in pieces adding, says Firdausi, these words:--

    Hath the Arab's daring performed such feat,
    Fed on camel's milk and the lizard's meat,
    That he cast on Kayánian crown his eye?
    Fie, O whirling world! on thy faith and fie!

    Hearing of this insult Mohammed exclaimed, "Allah shall tear his kingdom!" a prophecy which was of course fulfilled, or we should not have heard of it. These lines are horribly mutilated in the Dabistan iii. 99.