Page:The Perfumed Garden - Burton - 1886.djvu/30

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The Perfumed Garden

She then closed her letter and gave it to a messenger, saying to him: "Betake yourself, with this missive, to Yamama, and give it to Mocailama ben Kaiss. As for myself, I follow you, with the army."

Next day the prophetess mounted horse with her goum[1] and followed the spoor of her envoy. When the latter arrived at Mocailama's place, he greeted him and gave him the letter.

Mocailama opened and read it, and understood its contents. He was dismayed, and began to advise with the people of his goum, one after another, but he did not see anything in their advice or in their views that could rid him of his embarrassment.

While he was in this perplexity, one of the superior men of his goum came forward and said to him. "Oh, Mocailama, calm your soul and cool your eye.[2] I will give you the advice of a father to his son."

Mocailama said to him: "Speak, and may thy words be true."

And the other one said: "To-morrow morning erect outside the city a tent of coloured brocades, provided with silk furniture of all sorts.[3] Fill the tent afterwards

  1. Goum.—Meeting of cavaliers, who form an escort, sometimes representing the war-forces of great Arab chiefs. Perhaps in the sense used by the author the word may be rendered as disciples.
  2. One hears frequently, "May God refresh his eyes," which means: "May God by contentment refresh his eyes, which is hot with tears."
  3. It will, perhaps, not be useless to observe here that among the nomadical Arabs the custom obtains that the man who wants to cohabit with his wife erects a tent over her. Hence a man who is going to be married is called "bani," building; and of a man who has just been married it is said, "Bena ala Ahlihi," which means: "He has built over his wife."