1. This is one of the feats of Al-Símiyá = white magic; fascinating the eyes. In Europe it has lately taken the name of “Electro-biology.” [back]
3. A formula for averting “Al-Ayn,” the evil eye. It is always unlucky to meet a one-eyed man, especially the first thing in the morning and when setting out on any errand. The idea is that the fascinated one will suffer from some action of the physical eye. Monoculars also are held to be rogues: so the Sanskrit saying “Few one-eyed men be honest men.” [back]
[FN#659] Al-Nashshár from Nashr = sawing: so the fiddler in Italian is called the “village-saw” (Sega del villaggio). He is the Alnaschar of the Englished Galland and Richardson. The tale is very old. It appears as the Brahman and the Pot of Rice in the Panchatantra; and Professor Benfey believes (as usual with him) that this, with many others, derives from a Buddhist source. But I would distinctly derive it from æsop’s market-woman who kicked over her eggs, whence the Lat. prov. Ante victoriam canere triumphum = to sell the skin before you have caught the bear. In the “Kalilah and Dimnah” and its numerous offspring it is the “Ascetic with his Jar of oil and honey;” in Rabelais (i., 33) Echephron’s shoemaker spills his milk, and so La Perette in La Fontaine. See M. Max Muller’s “Chips,” (vol. iii., appendix) The curious reader will compare my version with that which appears at the end of Richardson’s Arabic Grammar (Edit. Of 1811): he had a better, or rather a fuller MS. (p. 199) than any yet printed.
[FN#660] Arab. “Atr” = any perfume, especially oil of roses; whence our word “Otter,’ through the Turkish corruption.
[FN#661] The texts give “dirhams” (100,000 = 5,000 dinars) for “dinars,” a clerical error as the sequel shows.
[FN#662] “Young slaves,” says Richardson, losing “colour.”
[FN#663] Nothing more calculated to give affront than such a refusal. Richardson (p. 204) who, however, doubts his own version (p. 208), here translates, “and I will not give liberty to my soul (spouse) but in her apartments.” The Arabic, or rather Cairene, is, “wa lá akhalli rúhi” I will not let myself go, i.e., be my everyday self, etc.
[FN#664] “Whilst she is in astonishment and terror.” (Richardson.)
[FN#665] “Chamber of robes,” Richardson, whose text has “Nám” for “Manám.”
[FN#666] “Till I compleat her distress,” Richardson, whose text is corrupt.
[FN#667] “Sleep by her side,” R. the word “Name” bearing both senses.
[FN#668] “Will take my hand,” R. “takabbal” being also ambiguous.
[FN#669] Arab. “Mu’arras” one who brings about “’Ars,” marriages, etc. So the Germ. = “Kupplerinn” a Coupleress. It is one of the many synonyms for a pimp, and a word in general use (Pilgrimage i., 276).The most insulting term, like Dayyús, insinuates that the man panders for his own wife.
[FN#670] Of hands and face, etc. See Night cccclxiv.
[FN#671] Arab. “Sadakah” (sincerity), voluntary or superogatory alms, opposed to “Zakát” (purification), legal alms which are indispensable. “Prayer carries us half way to Allah, fasting brings us to the door of His palace and alms deeds (Sadakah) cause us to enter.” For “Zakát” no especial rate is fixed, but it should not be less than one-fortieth of property or two and a half per cent. Thus Al-lslam is, as far as I know, the only faith which makes a poor-rate (Zakát) obligatory and which has invented a property-tax, as opposed the unjust and unfair income-tax upon which England prides herself.
[FN#672] A Greek girl.
[FN#673] This was making himself very easy; and the idea is the gold in the pouch caused him to be so bold. Lane’s explanation (in loco) is all wrong. The pride engendered by sudden possession of money is a lieu commun amongst Eastern story tellers; even in the beast-fables the mouse which has stolen a few gold pieces becomes confident and stout-hearted.
[FN#674] Arab. “al-Málihah” also means the beautiful (fem.) from Milh=salt, splendour, etc., the Mac edit. has “Mumallihah” = a salt-vessel.
[FN#675] i.e., to see if he felt the smart.
[FN#676] Arab. “Sardábeh” (Persian)=an underground room used for coolness in the hot season. It is unknown in Cairo but every house in Baghdad, in fact throughout the Mesopotamian cities, has one. It is on the principle of the underground cellar without which wine will not keep: Lane (i., 406) calls it a “vault”.
[FN#677] In the orig. “O old woman!” which is insulting.
[FN#678] So the Italians say “a quail to skin.”
[FN#679] “Amen” is the word used for quarter on the battle-field; and there are Joe Millers about our soldiers in India mistaking it for “a man” or (Scottice) “a mon.”
[FN#680] Illustrating the Persian saying “Allah himself cannot help a fool.”
[FN#681] Any article taken from the person and given to a criminal is a promise of pardon, of course on the implied condition of plenary confession and of becoming “King’s evidence.”
[FN#682] A naïve proposal to share the plunder.
[FN#683] In popular literature “Schacabac.”, And from this tale comes our saying “A Barmecide’s Feast,” i.e., an illusion.
[FN#684] The Castrato at the door is still (I have said) the fashion of Cairo and he acts “Suisse” with a witness.
[FN#685] As usual in the East, the mansion was a hollow square surrounding what in Spain is called Patio: the outer entrance was far from the inner, showing the extent of the grounds.
[FN#686] “Nahnu málihín” = we are on terms of salt, said and say the Arabs. But the traveller must not trust in these days to the once sacred tie; there are tribes which will give bread with one hand and stab with the other. The Eastern use of salt is a curious contrast with that of Westerns, who made it an invidious and inhospitable distinction, e.g., to sit above the salt-cellar and below the salt. Amongst the ancients, however, “he took bread and salt” means he swore, the food being eaten when an oath was taken. Hence the “Bride cake” of salt, water and flour.
[FN#687] Arab. “Harísah,” the meat-pudding before explained.
[FN#688] Arab. “Sikbáj,” before explained; it is held to be a lordly dish, invented by Khusraw Parwiz. “Fatted duck” says the Bresl. Edit. ii., 308, with more reason.
[FN#689] I was reproved in Southern Abyssinia for eating without this champing, “Thou feedest like a beggar who muncheth silently in his corner;” and presently found that it was a sign of good breeding to eat as noisily as possible.
[FN#690] Barley in Arabia is, like our oats, food for horses: it fattens at the same time that it cools them. Had this been known to our cavalry when we first occupied Egypt in 1883-4 our losses in horse-flesh would have been far less; but official ignorance persisted in feeding the cattle upon heating oats and the riders upon beef, which is indigestible, instead of mutton, which is wholesome.
[FN#691] i.e. “I conjure thee by God.”
[FN#692] i.e. “This is the very thing for thee.”
[FN#693] i.e., at random.
[FN#694] This is the way of slaughtering the camel, whose throat is never cut on account of the thickness of the muscles. “Égorger un chameau” is a mistake often made in French books.
[FN#695] i.e. I will break bounds.
[FN#696] The Arabs have a saying corresponding with the dictum of the Salernitan school:—
Noscitur a labiis quantum sit virginis antrum: Noscitur a naso quanta sit haste viro; (A maiden’s mouth shows what’s the make of her chose; And man’s mentule one knows by the length of his nose.)
Whereto I would add:—
And the eyebrows disclose how the lower wig grows.
The observations are purely empirical but, as far as my experience extends, correct.
[FN#697] Arab. “Kahkahah,” a very low proceeding.
[FN#698] Or “for every death there is a cause;” but the older Arabs had a saying corresponding with “Deus non fecit mortem.”
[FN#699] The King’s barber is usually a man of rank for the best of reasons, that he holds his Sovereign’s life between his fingers. One of these noble Figaros in India married an English lady who was, they say, unpleasantly surprised to find out what were her husband’s official duties.