Page:The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night - Volume 4.djvu/28

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s name, that I may calculate her horoscope and learn the hour in which it will befit her to drink medicine." She replied, "O my brother the Persian,[1] her name is Naomi."— And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased saying her permitted say.

When it was the Two Hundred and Forty-second Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when the Persian heard the name of Naomi, he fell to calculating and writing on his hand and presently said, "O my lady, I cannot prescribe a medicine for her till I know what country woman she is, because of the difference of climate: so tell me in what land she was brought up and what is her age." The old woman replied "She is fourteen years old and she was brought up in Cufa of Irak." He asked, "And how long hath she sojourned in this country?" "But a few months," answered she. Now when Ni'amah heard the old woman's words and recognised the name of his slave- girl, his heart fluttered and he was like to faint. Then said the Persian, "Such and such medicines will suit her case;" and the old woman rejoined, "Then make them up and give me what thou hast mentioned, with the blessing of Almighty Allah." So saying, she threw upon the shop board ten gold pieces, and he looked at Ni'amah and bade him prepare the necessary drugs; whereupon she also looked at the youth and exclaimed, "Allah have thee in his keeping, O my son! Verily, she favoureth thee in age and mien." Then said she to the physician, "O my brother the Persian, is this thy slave or thy son?" "He is my son," answered he. So Ni'amah put up the medicine and, placing it in a little box, took a piece of paper and wrote thereon these two couplets,[2]

  1. Lane makes this phrase "O brother of the Persians!" synonymous with "O Persian!" I think it means more, a Persian being generally considered "too clever by half."
  2. The verses deal in untranslatable word-plays upon women's names, Naomi (the blessing) Su'adá or Su'ád (the happy, which Mr. Redhouse, in Ka'ab's Mantle-poem, happily renders Beatrice); and Juml (a sum or total) the two latter, moreover, being here fictitious.