Page:A plain and literal translation of the Arabian nights entertainments, now entitled The book of the thousand nights and a night, volume 1.djvu/38

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Alf Laylah wa Laylah.

wonders. Therein if is related (but Allah is All-knowing of His hidden things and All-ruling and All-honoured and All-giving and All-gracious and All-merciful![1]) that, in tide-of yore and in time long gone before, there was a King of the Kings of the Banu Sasan in the Islands of India and China, a Lord of armies and guards and servants and dependents.[2] He left only two sons, one in the prime of manhood and the other yet a youth, while both were Knights and Braves, albeit the. elder was a doughtier horseman than the younger. So he succeeded to the empire; when he ruled the land and lorded it over his lieges with justice so exemplary that he was beloved by all the peoples of his capital and of his kingdom. His nam.e was King Shahryar,[3] and he made his younger brother, Shah Zaman hight, King of Samarcand in Barbarian-land. These two ceased not to abide in their several realms and the law was ever carried out in their dominions; and each ruled his own kingdom, with equity and fair-dealing to his subjects, in extreme solace and enjoyment; and this condition continually endured for a score of years. But at the end of the twentieth twelvemonth the elder King yearned for a sight of his younger brother and felt that he must look upon him once more So he took counsel with his Wazir[4] about visiting him, but the

  1. Allaho A'alam, a deprecatory formula, used because the writer is going to indulge in a series of what may possibly be untruths.
  2. The "Sons of Sasan" are the famous Sassanides whose dynasty ended with the Arabian Conquest (A.D. 641). "Island" (Jazirah) in Arabic also means " Peninsula,'* and causes much confusion in geographical matters.
  3. Shahryar not Shahriyar (Persian) = " City-friend." The Eulak edition corrupts it to Shahrbaz (City-hawk), and the Breslau to Shahrban or "Defender of the City," like Marz-ban = Warden of the Marshes. Shah (Persian) rr " King of the Age:" Galland prefers Shah Zenan, or "King of women," and the Bui. edit, changes it to Shah Rumman, "Pomegranate King." Al-Ajarh denotes all regions not Arab (Gentiles opposed toJews,.Mlechchhas to Hindus, Tajiks to Turks, etc., elc.), and especially Persia; Ajami (a man of Ajam) being an equivalent of the Gr. Bapapos. See Vol. ii., p. I.
  4. Galland writes " Vizier," a wretched frenchification of a mincing Turkish mispronunciation; Torrens, "Wuzeer" (Anglo-Indian and Gilchristian); Lane, "Wezeer" (Egyptian or rather Cairene); Payne, "Vizier," according to his system j Burckhardt (Proverbs), "Vizir;" and Mr. Keith- Falconer, "Vizir." The root is popularly supposed to be "wizr" (burden) and the meaning "Minister;" Wazir al-Wuzara being "Premier." In the Koran (chapt. xx., 30) Moses says, "Give me a Wazir of my family, Karun (Aaron) my brother. "Sale, followed by the excellent version of the Rev. J. M. Rod well, translates a "Counsellor," and explains by "One who has the chief adminis tration of affairs under a prince." But both learned Koranists learnt their Orientalism in London, and, like such students generally, fail only upon the easiest points, familiar to all old dwellers ia the East.