The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night/El Mutelemmis and His Wife Umeimeh
EL MUTELEMMIS AND HIS WIFE UMEIMEH.
It is related that El Mutelemmis once fled from En Numan ben Mundhir and was absent so long that the folk deemed him dead. Now he had a handsome wife, Umeimeh by name, and her family pressed her to marry again; but she refused, for that she loved her husband El Mutelemmis very dearly. However, they were instant with her, because of the multitude of her suitors, and importuned her till she at last reluctantly consented and they married her to a man of her own tribe.
On the night of the wedding, El Mutelemmis came back and hearing in the camp a noise of pipes and tabrets and seeing signs of festival, asked some of the children what was toward, to which they replied, ‘They have married Umeimeh, widow of El Mutelemmis, to such an one, and he goes in to her this night.’ When he heard this, he made shift to enter the house with the women and saw there the bride seated on her throne. By and by, the bridegroom came up to her, whereupon she sighed heavily and weeping, recited the following verses:
Ah would, (but many are the shifts of good and evil fate), I knew in what far land thou art, O Mutelemmis mine!
Now El Mutelemmis was a renowned poet: so he answered her with the following verse:
Right near at hand, Umeimeh! Know, whene’er the caravan Halted, I never ceased for thee with longing heart to pine.
When the bridegroom heard this, he guessed how the case stood and went forth from among them in haste, repeating the following verse:
I was in luck, but now I’m fall’n into the contrary. A hospitable house and room your reknit loves enshrine!
So El Mutelemmis took his wife again and abode with her in all delight and solace of life, till death parted them. And glory be to Him at whose command the earth and the heavens shall arise!
- A pre-Mohammedan poet.
- King of Hireh in Chaldæa, a fantastic and bloodthirsty tyrant, whom he had lampooned.