Page 72. “Your Majesty can easily put to death a living man, but you cannot restore a dead man to life.”—Here again (see note on page 184) we have what seems to be an instance of borrowing from Sa'dī, who, in his Gulistān, viii, maxim 54, thus finely expresses this sentiment (Professor Eastwick's trans­lation):

'Tis very easy one alive to slay;
Not so to give back life thou tak'st away:
Reason demands that archers patience show,
For shafts once shot return not to the bow.*

Were it possible, we might suppose that our English poet Cowley had simply paraphrased these couplets of Sa'dī in the following verses:

Easy it was the living to have slain,
But bring them, if thou canst, to life again:
The arrow's shot—mark how it cuts the air,
Try now to bring it back, or stay it there:
That way impatience sent it; but thou'lt find
No track of it, alas! is left behind.

Page 74. “Women, for their own purposes, often devise falsehoods, and are very expert in artifice and fraud.”—It was a saying of Muhammad that “women are deficient in judgment and religion,” which induces their co-religionists of the other sex to believe that they are more inclined than men to practise whatever is unlawful. When woman was created, the Devil, we are told, was delighted, and said: “Thou art half of my host, and thou art the depositary of my secret, and thou art my arrow, with which I shoot, and miss not.”* The Turkish Tales of the Forty Viziers (another romance of the Sindibād cycle— see INTRODUCTION) chiefly refer to the craft and malice of women. In the present story, however, female artifice is not employed for wicked ends.

Page 74. “The King of 'Irāk.”—There are two 'Irāks; one is a division of Arabia to the south of the Tigris and the Euphrates. Towards the north-east it is watered by the branches of the Euphrates, and is consequently fertile and well inhabited, having many cities and towns, of which Basra is the principal; to the south-west it is a barren desert. By Orientals it is called 'Irāk 'Arabi, to distinguish it from the other 'Irāk, ('Irāk 'Ajami) a province of Persia, bounded on the north by Ghilān and Mazinderān, on the east by Khurāsān, on the south by Farsistān, and on the west by 'Irāk 'Arabi. This province contains part of ancient Media and Parthia. It is nearly a hundred and fifty leagues in length, and one hundred and twenty in breadth; partly mountainous and sterile, having vast sandy plains; but the greater part fruitful and populous. Isfahān is the capital.* It is of Persian 'Irāk that the poet Nizāmī thus speaks:

'Irāk, the delightful, be thy darling,
For great is the fame of its redundancy;
And every rose which enraptureth the soul
Distilleth its balmy drops upon 'Irāk!

Page 74. Abyssinia, or Habashat (that is, “a mixture,” or “confusion”), forms an extensive country of Eastern Africa, the boundaries of which are not well defined. The natives call their country Manghesta Ityopia, or Kingdom of Ethiopia.

Page 75. “When they disclosed the object of their mission, he became angry”—at the presumption of an unbeliever (who attributed partners to God) asking in marriage the daughter of one of the faithful. The conversion of Abyssinia to Christianity was prior to the fourth and continued even as late as the twelfth century. The Coptic patriarch of Cairo is still the nominal head of the Church, but the episcopal office is confined to the Abūnā, the resident head, and author, of the Abyssinian priesthood.—Gibbon.

Page 76. “Caused so much money to be distributed among the soldiers that they were satisfied.”—So says Sa'dī, Gulistān i, 14 (Eastwick's translation):

Soldiers, from whom the State withholds its gold,
Will from the scimitar their hands withhold:
What valour in war's ranks will he display,
Whose hand is empty on the reckoning day?

Page 77. “The King of 'Irāk had some years previously given his daughter in marriage to another man, by whom she had a son.”—This concealment of a former marriage is incom­prehensible. Lescallier's French rendering, made from other Persian texts, gives a different account of this affair: “She had had previously a lover, with whom, unknown to her father, she had intimate relations, and had given birth to a beautiful boy, whose education she secretly confided to some trusty servants.” Afterwards the Princess of 'Irāk contrived to intro­duce him to her father. who was so charmed with his beauty, grace of manner, and varied accomplishments, that he at once took him into his service. Habicht's Breslau edition of the Arabian version agrees with Lescallier on this point. In the version of this story in the Tūtī Nāma (Tales of a Parrot) of Nakshabī,* the lady is the daughter of the Emperor of Rūm (see Note, p. 158), and, as in our text, had a son by a former marriage, about whose existence her father charges her not to say a word to her second husband.

Page 78. “The name of the boy was Farrukh-zād”—that is, “fortunately-born”; from farrukh, happy, fortunate, and zād, born.

Page 81. “An old woman beheld the Queen, as she sat alone, weeping.”—In Eastern fiction old women—and especi­ally hypocritical devotees—are useful go-betweens for lovers, and excellent, prudent procuresses. In the present case, how­ever, the old woman plays an unusual rôle: employing her sage experience and skill in reconciling husband and wife.

Page 82. “I have a certain talisman,” &c.—The word talism is not in the lithographed text; the sentence is to this effect: “I have that which is precious, and possesses the same magical power as the precious things of Solomon, written in Greek characters and in the Syrian language”—which means, Syrian words disguised under the letters of the Greek alphabet. Among the Arabs and Persians it is a common belief that Solomon, the son of David, by virtue of a seal-ring (Muhr-i-Sulaymāni) sent down from heaven, had unlimited control over the good and evil spirits (jinn), and over birds, the winds, and beasts.*

The origin of Solomon's magical signet-ring, which is so often mentioned in Oriental poetry and romance, according to Muslim legends—borrowed or adapted from the Talmudic writers—is as follows: Eight angels appeared to Solomon in a vision, saying that Allah had sent them to surrender to him the power over them and the eight winds at their command. The most exalted of the angels presented him with a jewel with this inscription: To Allah belong greatness and might. Whenever he raised the stone towards heaven, they would appear and do his bidding. Next four others appeared, differing from each other in form and name. One resembled an immense whale, another an eagle, the third a lion, and the fourth a serpent. These were lords of all creatures living in the earth and in the water. The angel representing the kingdom of birds gave him a jewel on which was inscribed: All created things praise the Lord. An angel then appeared, whose upper part looked like the earth, and the lower like water, having power over both earth and sea, and gave him a jewel with the inscription: Heaven and Earth are servants of Allah. A third angel surrendered to him power over the kingdom of spirits, with a jewel on which was inscribed: There is no God but one, and Muhammad is His Messenger.* Solomon caused the four jewels to be set in a signet-ring, and the first purpose to which he applied its wondrous powers was the subjugation of the demons and jinn— all but the mighty Sakhr, who was concealed in an unknown island of the ocean, and Iblīs (Satan), the monster of all evil spirits, to whom God had promised the most perfect independ­ence till the Day of Judgment.* In Oriental fictions the most solemn and binding oath with Fairies is to swear by the Seal of Solomon. Readers familiar with the Arabian Nights will recollect the Story of the Fisherman and the Genie (jinnī). A confidence in the virtue of Talismans, whether for the protection of persons, treasures, or cities, may be traced up to the earliest ages, when so many Eastern nations were of the Sabean faith, and adored the “host of heaven,” or the celestial bodies; and notwithstanding the change of religion and the prohibition of magic, even Muhammadans can reconcile to their consciences the preparation of certain amulets, after rules transmitted through the Chaldeans and Nabatheans.* The magic of Babylon is frequently alluded to by Muslim writers; the poets speak of the “Babylonian witchery” of a beautiful woman's eyes; and it is believed that the two wicked angels Harūt and Marūt, mentioned in the Kur'ān (see chap. ii, and Sale's note), are still hanging, head downwards, in a well at Babel, and will instruct any one in magic who is bold enough to go and solicit them. Setting idle legends aside, it is highly probable, as Sir William Ouseley remarks, in his Persian Miscellanies, that at Babylon the Persians learnt the arts of magical incantation from the conquered Chaldeans. “Time,” says Dr. Jonathan Scott, “has not eradicated in Asia belief in the magical powers of cabalistical characters engraven on gems, or embroidered on standards, or written upon small rolls of paper, which, enclosed in small boxes of gold and silver, and strung on silken cord, are worn round the arm or wrist, and sometimes as a pendant from the neck.”* The charms to which the greatest efficacy is ascribed are those consisting of passages of the Kur'ān; and Morier tells that such was Muhammad Riza Bey's faith in this species of talisman that he always wore the whole of the Kur'ān about his person; half of it tied on one arm, and half on the other, rolled up in small silver cases.* Next in estimation as potent charms are passages transcribed from the celebrated Burda (or Mantle-Poem) of El-Busīrī, in praise of the Prophet, written in the 13th century; which are framed and suspended on the walls of rooms, or, in cases, on the person. The whole poem is also recited in times of sickness and during the funeral procession.*

Page 83. “Scrawled on it some unmeaning characters.”— The word in the text here rendered by “unmeaning” literally signifies “not known,” and should be translated “mysterious.”

Page 84. “Desired him to point out the spot where his body lay,” &c.—ziyārat, a visit, a pilgrimage. During the period of the great festivals, and also on other occasions, it is customary to visit the tomb of a relation, and place on it the leaves or broken branches of the palm-tree, also sweet-basil and other flowers. On arriving at the tomb the opening chapter of the Kur'ān, and sometimes a longer chapter, the xxxvi, is recited.— See Lane's Modern Egyptians, ii, pp. 209, 241, 253.