4-b- Night Adventure of Harun Al-Rashid and the Youth Manjab - Tale of the Simpleton Husband

[FN#167] It is related that there was a Badawi man who had a wife and he dwelt under a tent of hair[FN#168] in the desert where, as is the fashion of Arabs, he used to shift from site to site for the purpose of pasturing his camels. Now the woman was of exceeding beauty and comeliness and perfection, and she had a friend (also a Badawi man) who at all times would come to her and have his wicked will of her, after which he would wend his ways. But one day of the days her lover visited her and said, "Wallahi, "tis not possible but that what time we sleep together, I and thou, we make merry with thy husband looking on."--And Shahrazad was surprised by the dawn of day and fell silent and ceased to say her permitted say. Then quoth her sister Dunyazad, "How sweet is thy story, O sister mine, and how enjoyable and delectable!" Quoth she, "And where is this compared with that I would relate to you on the coming night an the King suffer me to survive?" Now when it was the next night and that was


The Six Hundred and Fifty-sixth Night,


Dunyazad said to her, "Allah upon thee, O my sister, an thou be other than sleepy, finish for us thy tale that we may cut short the watching of this our latter night!" She replied, "With love and good will!" It hath reached me, O auspicious King, the director, the right-guiding, lord of the rede which is benefiting and of deeds fair-seeming and worthy celebrating, that the man which was the friend of the Badawi"s wife said to her, "Walláhi, "tis not possible but that when we make merry, I and thou, thy husband shall look upon us." Quoth she, "Why should we suffer at such time of our enjoyment either my husband or any wight to be present?" and quoth he, "This must needs be, and unless thou consent I will take to me a mistress other than thyself." Then said she, "How shall we enjoy ourselves with my husband looking on? This is a matter which may not be managed." Hereupon the woman sat down and took thought of her affair and how she should do for an hour or so, and presently she arose and dug her amiddlemost the tent a hole[FN#169] which would contain a man, wherein she concealed her lover. Now, hard by the tent was a tall sycamore tree,[FN#170] and as the noodle her husband was returning from the wild the woman said to him, "Ho thou, Such-an-one! climb up this tree and bring me therefrom a somewhat of figs that we may eat them." Said he, ""Tis well;" and arising he swarmed up the tree-trunk, when she signed to her lover who came out and mounted and fell to riding upon her. But her mate considered her and cried aloud, "What is this, O whore: doth a man cavalcade thee before me and the while I am looking at thee?" Then he came down from the tree in haste, but he saw no one, for as soon as the lover had finished his business the good-wife thrust him into the hole amiddlemost the tent and covered him with a mat. When the husband went inside to the booth and met his wife he found no stranger with her so said she to him, "O man, thou hast sinned against me, saying, "Verily, some one is riding thee"; and thou hast slandered me by falsely charging me with folly." Quoth he, "By Allah I saw thee with my own eyes;" but quoth she, "Do thou sit here the while I have a look." Hereupon she arose and swarmed up the trunk and sat upon one of the branches, and as she peered at her spouse she shrieked aloud crying, "O man, do thou have some regard for thine honour. Why do on this wise and lie down and allow a man to ride thee, and at this moment he worketh his will on thee." Said her husband, "Beside me there is neither man nor boy." And said she, "Here I am[FN#171] looking at thee from the top of this tree." Quoth he, "O woman, this place must be haunted,[FN#172] so let us remove hence;" and quoth she, "Why change our place? rather let us remain therein." Hereupon the Caliph said to Manjab, "By Allah, verily, this woman was an adulteress;" and the youth replied, "Amongst womankind indeed are many more whorish than this. But of that anon; and now do thou hear from me and learn of me this marvellous tale anent NIGHT 655. The tierra Five women come from atown to draw water at a well; and, finding there a young Brahmin, become histeachers and undertake to instruct him in the "Tirrea" or fifth "Veda"--therebeing only four of these Hindu Scriptures. Each lesson consists of an adventure showing how to cornute a husband, and the fourth runs as follows. I leave them in Scott"s language:-- The fourth lady through dread of the arrow of whose cunning the warrior of the fifth heaven[FN#173] trembled in the sky, like the reed, having bestowed her attention on the pilgrim bramin (Brahman), despatched him to an orchard; and having gone home, said to her husband, "I have heard that in the orchard of a certain husbandman there is a date tree, the fruit of which is of remarkably fine flavour; but what is yet stranger, whoever ascends it, sees many wonderful objects. If to-day, going to visit this orchard, we gather dates from this tree, and also see the wonders of it, it will not be unproductive of amusement." In short, she so worked upon her husband with flattering speeches and caresses, that nolens volens he went to the orchard, and at the instigation of his wife, ascended the tree. At this instant she beckoned to the bramin, who was previously seated, expectantly, in a corner of the garden. The husband, from the top of the tree, beholding what was not fit to be seen, exclaimed in extreme rage, "Ah! thou shameless Russian-born[FN#174] wretch, what abominable action is this?" The wife making not the least answer, the flames of anger seized the mind of the man, and he began to descend from the tree; when the bramin with activity and speed having hurried over the fourth section of the Tirrea Bede,[FN#175] went his way. VERSE. The road to repose is that of activity and quickness. The wife during her husband"s descent from the tree having arranged her plan, said, "Surely, man, frenzy must have deprived thy brain of the fumes of sense, that having foolishly set up such a cry, and not reflecting upon thine own disgrace (for here, excepting thyself, what male is present?), thou wouldst fix upon me the charge of infidelity?" The husband, when he saw no person near, was astonished, and said to himself, "Certainly, this vision must have been miraculous." The completely artful wife, from the hesitation of her husband, guessed the cause, and impudently began to abuse him. Then instantly tying her vest round her waist she ascended the tree. When she had reached the topmost branch, she suddenly cried out, "O thou shameless man, what abominable action is this! If thy evil star hath led thee from the path of virtue, surely thou mightest have in secret ventured upon it. Doubtless to pull down the curtain of modesty from thy eyes, and with such impudence to commit such a wicked deed, is the very extreme of debauchery." The husband replied, "Woman, do not ridiculously cry out, but be silent; for such is the property of this tree, that whoever ascends it, sees man or woman below in such situations." The cunning wife now came down, and said to her husband, "What a charming garden and amusing spot is this! where one can gather fruit, and at the same time behold the wonders of the world." The husband replied, "Destruction seize the wonders which falsely accuse man of abomination!" In short the devilish wife, notwithstanding the impudence of such an action, escaped safely to her house, and the next day, according to custom, attending at the well, introduced the bramin to the ladies, and informed them of her worthy contrivance