Page 22. “Rooted out of the soil of his empire;” the text adds, “as an example to evil-doers.”

Page 22. “On the eve of my departure from this world,” &c. The text reads: “But the law of God hath commanded that an innocent person should exculpate and exert himself in his own defence. God, the Most Holy and the Most High (hakk subhānāhu wa ta'āla), knows that I am innocent of these sus­picions” [or allegations].

Page 23. Bakhtyār saluted the Pādishāh, and spoke out with fluency and eloquence.

Page 23. Basra.—Situated on the Shattu-'l-'Arab (the river of the Arabs—the united stream of the Tigris and the Euphrates), Basra is the principal port in the Persian Gulf, and is so named from the white stones (basra) near and around it. Renowned for its school of grammar, the Arabic dual al-basratān (the Two Basras) denotes the rival seats of learning, Basra and Kūfa.— See D'Herbelot, art. Coufeh.—Built by the command of the pious Khalif 'Omar, A.H. 15 (A.D. 636), it was called “the land of purity,” never having been polluted by any idolatrous worship. Irrigated by the river Ayla, which falls into the Tigris close to it, its gardens are so fruitful that it is reckoned one of the four earthly paradises of Asia—the other three being the valleys of of Shīrāz, Damascus, and Samarkand.

Page 23. “And the Merchant thought”—the text has “that a voyage by sea and land might jeopardise life and property, but by laying out what remained,” &c.—The antipathy of the Persians to a sea-voyage is well known, and very distinctly pro­fessed by the poet Hāfiz. “He had heard of the munificent encouragement which Sultan Mahmūd Shāh Bahamī, an accom­plished prince then reigning in the Dek'han, afforded to poets and learned men, and became desirous of visiting his court. Hearing of this wish, and desirous himself of forming an ac­quaintance with Hāfiz, Sultān Mahmūd sent him, through the hands of his vizier, Mīr Fazlu'llāh Anjū, an invitation and a handsome sum of money to defray the expenses of his journey. Thereupon he set out and advanced on his expedition as far as Lār. There he encountered a friend who had been plundered by robbers, on whom he bestowed a part of his money, and not having left himself sufficient to prosecute his journey, was com­pelled to accept the assistance of two merchants whom he fortunately met with there, and who kindly took him with them to Hurmuz. There he found a ship ready to sail to the Dek'han, and took his passage in her. But a storm having arisen, he was so terrified by it, that he abandoned his intention, and sending a letter of excuse to the vizier, with an ode to the King, returned himself to Shīrāz. He says:

“The splendour of a Sultan's diadem, within which, like a casket enclosed,
are fears for one's life,
May be heart-attracting as a cap, but is not worth the loss of the head it

The sufferings of the sea may appear easy to bear in the prospect of its
But I have erred, for its waves are not worth one hundred munns of gold.”*

Page 24. “Most of the houses were washed away.”—Prob­ably owing to the non-adhesive qualities of the mortar generally employed in the construction of Persian houses: a mixture, half of mud, one fourth of lime, and the rest ashes of burnt straw and rubbish.

Page 25. “Trees and running streams.”—The dryness of the Persian climate and the deficiency of rivers have exercised in ancient (Polybius, lib. 10, 25) as in modern times the ingenuity of the natives in the discovery of springs.—In the Story of Abū Temām (page 98) a city is also described as “adorned with gardens and running streams.” It was a saying of Muhammad that “three things fortify the sight: looking at verdure, at run­ning water, and at a handsome face.”

Page 25. Dihkān is a compound word, from dih, a village, and khān, lord, or chief.

Page 25. “Erected a summer-house”—the text adds, “and on it a lofty watch-tower.”

Page 25. “The stranger was entertained with politeness and hospitality.”—The Kur'ān (iv, 40) enjoins the believer to “serve God … and show kindness unto … your neighbour who is a stranger … and the traveller” (ibnu-'s sabīl: son of the road). The practice of hospitality among the pre-Islamite Arabs is too well known to require more than passing mention, and reference to Professor Lee's note on Job xxi, 16.

Page 25. “A suit of his clothes”; his own jubba and dastār. The jubba is a vest with cotton quilted between the outside and the lining; the dastār is the sash, or fine muslin cloth, wrapped round the turban.

Page 25. “Account of his property” &c.—signet, chattels, and ledger—“and said, ‘you must manifest your zeal in the seasons of sowing and of harvest, and become the mushrif of my property.’” A mushrif is an officer of the treasury, who authen­ticates accounts and writings. The dihkān gave him his signet, in order that he might transact his business with full authority. “Seals, or signets,” says Dr. H. H. Wilson, “were from the earliest periods commonly used in the East. Ahasuerus takes his signet off his hand and gives it, first to Haman, and again to Mordecai; and Herodotus notices that each of the Babylonians wore a seal-ring. The Greeks and Romans had their rings curiously engraved with devices, and that cast by Polycrates into the sea was the work of an engraver whose name the historian has thought not unworthy of commemoration. The use of the seal amongst the Orientals at the present day is not, as with us, to secure an envelope, but to verify letters and documents in place of a written signature. Amongst the natives of Hindūstān, both Muhammadan and Hindū, the seal is engraved with the name of the wearer, and the surface being smeared superficially only with ink, the application of the seal to the paper leaves the letters which are cut in the stone white on a black ground. Such also was the manner in which the seals of the Greeks and Romans were applied.” Lane, in his Modern Egyptians, says: “On the little finger of the right hand is worn a seal-ring (Khātim), which is generally of silver, with a cornelian, or other stone, upon which is engraved the wearer's name; the name is accompanied by the words ‘his servant’—signifying the servant, or worshipper, of God—and often by other words expressive of the person's trust in God, &c. (see St. John's Gospel iii, 33, and Exodus xxxix, 30). The Prophet disapproved of gold; therefore few Muslims wear gold rings; but the women have various ornaments (rings, bracelets &c.) of that precious metal. The impression of the seal-ring is considered as more valid than the sign-manual. Therefore giving the ring to another person is the utmost mark of confidence.—See Genesis xli, 42.”

Page 27. “Bit the finger of amazement.”—Biting the hand or finger is a common mode in the East of manifesting surprise, grief, or anger. Thus in the Kur'ān, xxv, 29: “On that day the unjust person shall bite his hands for anguish;” and iii, 119: “When they assemble together privately they bite their fingers'-ends out of wrath against you.” In the Gulistān of Sa'dī, i, 4: “The King seized the hand of amazement with his teeth;” again, v, 19: “Thine enemy bites the back of his hand through vexation;” and again, vii, 19: “The fingers of astonishment were between their teeth.” In one of the beautiful poems of Bahāu-'d-Dīn Zuhayr, of Egypt (A.D. 1186-1258), elegantly translated by Professor E. H. Palmer:

When she passed me without speaking, I declare,
I could almost bite my hand off with despair.

And in the Turkish poem of Khusrev and Shīrīn, by Shaykī, ob. A.D. 1426 (Mr. Gibb's Ottoman Poems, p. 6):

No power was left him, neither sport nor pleasure,
He bit his finger, wildered beyond measure.

Page 27. “Driven forth from the village”; the text adds: “and they deprived him of whatever they had given.”

Page 27. “For the sake of God:” a common phrase among Muslims. A rather humorous example of its use occurs in the Gulistān (chap. iv, tale 14): A harsh-voiced man was read­ing the Kur'ān in a loud tone. A pious man passed by him, and said: “What is thy monthly stipend?”—“Nothing,” he replied. —“Why then,” he inquired, “dost thou give thyself all this trouble?”—“I read for the sake of God,” he replied.—“For God sake, then, don't read,” said he.

Page 27. “A pearl of such exquisite beauty,” &c.—In the East it is popularly believed that the pearl is formed in the oyster from a rain-drop: Sa'dī, in the fourth book of his Bustān, has some beautiful verses on this notion, in which he inculcates the practice of humility. Pearls are called marvārīd, “production of light,” and, usually when they are unpierced, lū'lū', “luminous,” “brilliant.” They are divided into twelve classes, each having a distinctive name, according to their “water” or lustre; the first class being called shahvār, “the regal,” the clearest, purest, and most lustrous. Pearls are also divided into twelve classes, according to shape. They are further divided, in respect of size, into fifteen classes, according to the number of holes in the differ­ent sieves through which they are passed, from the smallest, of which twelve hundred weigh a miskal, up to the largest, of which forty weigh a miskal. The best pearl-fisheries are at Ceylon, and in the Persian Gulf, at Bahrayn, Kīsh, and Sharak; but the Arabian pearls are less prized than the Indian. Their colour and quality are said to depend on the bottom of the sea where they are produced: in black slime they are dark; in shallow waters, yellowish.—Tavernier mentions a remarkable pearl found at Katifa, in Arabia, the fishery probably alluded to by Pliny (Nat. Hist. b. ix, c. 54), which he purchased for £10,000 of our money! It is said to be now in the possession of the Shah of Persia.

Page 28. “He put three of the pearls into his mouth and the other three among his clothes.”—It is customary for travellers and others in the East to conceal their money and valuables about their clothes and in the folds of their turbans. Many Oriental stories illustrate this practice. For example, in the tale of the Poor Ropemaker (Arabian Nights—vol. vi, of Jonathan Scott's edition), he receives a sum of money from a benevolent stranger, and having laid out a moiety of it in material for his trade, he places the remainder within the folds of his turban-cloth, but unluckily a bird snatches it off his head and flies away with it. And in the Talmud there is a story of a poor Hebrew, named Joseph, who paid great respect to the Sabbath. This man had a wealthy neighbour, who was a firm believer in judicial astrology, and having been told by a sagacious professor of the science that all his riches should one day become the property of the Sabbath-observing Joseph, he straightway sold his estate and invested the proceeds in a large diamond, which he secretly sewed within his turban, and departed in a vessel for some distant country —thus preventing, as he fondly imagined, the verification of the astrologer's prediction. But his precautions were of no avail, for while standing on the deck of the vessel, a sudden gust of wind carried his turban, with all his wealth, into the sea. What be­came of the ruined man after this misfortune we are not informed. But we are told that, some time after this accident, the pious Joseph went to the market and bought a fish to furnish his table on the Sabbath eve. On opening the fish, the diamond which his old neighbour had lost with his turban was found in its stomach—and thus was the good man's strict observance of the Sabbath rewarded, and the astrologer's prediction fulfilled to the letter.

Page 28. The unlucky Merchant's adventure with the covet­ous and dishonest jeweller finds a curious parallel in an incident in the “Story of the Jackal, the Barber, and the Brāhman,” one of the charming fairy tales in Miss Frere's Old Deccan Days. The poor Brāhman, however, though robbed of the precious stones he offers to the jeweller for sale, escapes home all safe, unlike the Merchant of our story. Possibly the incident in both tales had a common origin;—yet the “roguery of villanous man” (to employ honest Jack Falstaff's phrase) is pretty much alike in all ages and countries!

Page 29. “They distributed some money among those who were confined.”—Alms are recommended in many passages of the Kur'ān: “Pay your legal alms,” ii, 43; “alms are to be distributed to the poor and the needy … for the redemption of captives, insolvent debtors, and, for religion's sake, unto the traveller,” ix, 53, 60. Alms are of two kinds: (1) obligatory (or zakāt), ii, 172; and (2) voluntary (or sadakāt), as in the present instance. In scripture we find a trace of the same doc­trine: see Daniel iv, 27. The Khalif 'Omar Ibn ‘Abdu-’l-'Azīz used to say: “Prayer carries us half-way to God; Fasting brings us to the door of the palace; and Alms procure us admission.” And assuredly no Eastern moralist has more frequently or more impressively and beautifully inculcated the duty of alms-giving and of liberality than Sa'dī. He tells us in the Gulistān, ii, 49, that on the monument of Bahrām Gūr, a famous Persian King, was written: “The liberal hand is better than the strong arm;” and adds: “Distribute in alms the tithe of thy wealth; for the more the husbandman loppeth off the exuberance of the vine, the more it will yield of grapes.” And in his Bustān, or Fruit-Garden, b. ii, he says: “Bestow thy gold and thy wealth while they are thine; for when thou art gone they will be no longer in thy power… Distribute thy treasure readily to-day, for to-morrow the key may no longer be in thy hand… Exert thyself to cast a covering over the poor, that God's own veil may be a covering for thee.”*

Page 30. “When he had related the story of the Merchant and of the pearls which they had given him”—the text adds, “and the other five divers had confirmed what he said.”

Page 30. “He was then led away to execution; and the King caused to be proclaimed throughout the city,” &c. So, too, in the Thousand and One Nights, the Barber relates how his Fourth Brother was punished with a hundred lashes, “after which they mounted him upon a camel, and proclaimed before him: ‘This is the recompense of him who breaketh into men's houses.’” Morier, in his Second Fourney, gives a graphic description of the punishment of Muhammad Zamān Khān, governor of Astrābād, who, in 1814, “entered into a league with the Turkmāns, disavowed the King's authority, and even made pretensions to the royal power and prerogative.” The King offered a reward for his capture; and the people of Astrābād surrounded the traitor's palace, forced their way into the room where he was seated, seized and bound him, and carried him before the King. “When he had reached the camp, the King ordered the chief of his camel-artillery to put a mock-crown upon the rebel's head, armlets on his arms, a sword by his side; to mount him upon an ass, with his face towards the tail and the tail in his hand; then to parade him throughout the camp, and to proclaim: ‘This is he who wished to be King!’ After this was over, and the people had mocked and insulted him, he was brought before the king, who called for the looties and ordered them to turn him into ridicule by making him dance and perform antics against his will. He then ordered that whoever chose might spit in his face. After this he received the bastinado on the soles of his feet, which was administered by the chiefs of his own tribe; and some time after he had his eyes put out.—The strong coincidence,” adds Morier, “between these details and the most awfully affecting part of our own scripture history is a striking illustration of the permanence of Eastern manners.”

Page 30. “Appointed him keeper of the treasury.”—The sudden elevation of persons from a humble and even distressed condition to places of great dignity and wealth has ever been a characteristic of the absolute monarchs of Eastern countries, as well as the degradation and ruin, frequently from mere caprice, and seldom with any justification, of men of the highest rank. The most remarkable instance of the many which Oriental history presents is the execrable conduct of the Khalif Hārūnu-'r-Rāshīd, so undeservedly celebrated in the Thousand and One Nights, in murdering his principal Vizier Ja'far and utterly ruining the other members of the noble house of Barmak (the Barmecides of our common translation of the Arabian Nights), all of whom were as famed for their unbounded liberality as for their brilliant abilities. An interesting account of the Barmakis and their ruin is given in Dr Jonathan Scott's Tales, Anecdotes, &c., from the Arabic and Persian.

Page 32. “Put out the Merchant's eyes.”—A too common and barbarous punishment in the East. In Turkey a needle was used for this purpose in the case of state prisoners. The Arabian poet-hero 'Antar is said to have blinded his im­placable and treacherous enemy Wezār by passing a red-hot sword-blade close before his eyes. Years afterwards the blinded chief executed poetical justice by slaying 'Antar with a poisoned arrow, which he shot at him on the bank of the Euphrates.

In Cazotte's version this story is entitled “The Obstinate Man,” perhaps more appropriately than our “Ill-fated Mer­chant,” since his own wrong-headedness was the main cause of his misfortunes. His place of abode is Bagdād, not Basra. The divers give him ten pearls. The jeweller, having been lately robbed of some pearls, believes Kaskas (such is the man's name) to be the thief, and accordingly he accuses him; and when the latter is proved to be innocent, the jeweller is punished with two hundred blows of the bastinado. The catastrophe is very differently related: One day he observed in the apartment which had been assigned to him, a door walled-up and concealed by a slight covering of mastic, which was now so much wasted by the effects of time that it crumbled into dust on the slightest touch. Without any exertion of strength, he opened this door and entered unthinkingly into a rich apartment entirely unknown to him, but which he found to be in the interior of the palace. Hardly had he advanced two or three steps when he was perceived by the chief of the eunuchs, who instantly reported what he had seen to the King. The monarch came immediately to the spot. The fragments of the mastic remained upon the ground to show that the door had been forced open, and the stupid amazement of Kaskas completed the appearance of his guilt. “Wretch!” said the King, “dost thou thus repay my favours? My justice saved thee, when I believed thee innocent; now thou art guilty, and I condemn thee to lose thy sight.” The imprudent Kaskas durst not even attempt to justify himself, but was immediately delivered into the hands of the executioner, of whom the only favour he asked was, that he would give him his eyes when he had torn them from their sockets.* He went groping through the streets of the capital with them in his hands, crying: “Behold, all ye good people who hear me, what the unfortunate Kaskas has gained by striving against the decrees of Destiny, and despising the advice of his friends!”