Supplemental Nights, Volume 3
by Richard F. Burton
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The variations between this and Galland's story are very considerable, it must be allowed, and though the fundamental outline is the same in both, they should be regarded as distinct versions of the same tale, and both are represented by Asiatic and European stories. Here the fairy Arab Zandyk plays the part of the Speaking-Bird, which, however, has its equivalent in the preceding tale (No. x.) of Spitta Bey's collection:

A man dies, leaving three sons and one daughter. The sons build a palace for their sister and mother. The girl falls in love with some one who is not considered as an eligible parti by the brothers. By the advice of an old woman, the girl asks her brothers to get her the singing nightingale, in hope that the bird would throw sand on them and thus send them down to the seventh earth. The eldest before setting out on this quest leaves his chaplet with his younger brother, saying that if it shrank it would be a token that he was dead. Journeying through the desert some one tells him that many persons have been lost in their quest of the singing nightingale: he must hide himself till he sees the bird go into its cage and fall asleep, then shut the cage and carry it off. But he does not wait long enough, and tries to shut the cage while the bird's feet are still outside, so the bird takes up sand with its feet and throws it on him, and he descends to the seventh earth. The second brother, finding the chaplet shrunk, goes off in his turn, leaving his ring with the youngest brother—if it contract on the finger it will betoken his death. He meets with the same fate as his elder brother, and now the youngest, finding the ring contract, sets out, leaving with his mother a rose, which will fade if he dies. He waits till the singing nightingale is asleep, and then shuts him in the cage. The bird in alarm implores to be set at liberty, but the youth demands first the restoration of his brothers, and the bird tells him to scatter on the ground some sand from beneath the cage, which he does, when only a crowd of negroes and Turks (? Tatars) appear, and confess their failure to capture the singing nightingale. Then the bird bids him scatter white sand, which being done, 500 whites and the two lost brothers appear and the three return home with the bird, which sings so charmingly in the palace that all the people come to listen to it outside.—The rest of this story tells of the amours of the girl and a black, who, at her instigation, kills her eldest brother, but he is resuscitated by the Water of Life.

Through the Moors, perhaps, the story found its way among the wandering tribes (the Kabail) of Northern Africa, who have curiously distorted its chief features, though not beyond recognition, as will be seen from the following abstract of their version, from M. Riviere's collection of "Comes Populaires de la Kabylie du Djurdjura" (Paris, 1882):


A man has two wives, one of whom is childless, the other bears in succession seven sons and a daughter. The childless wife cuts off the little finger of each and takes them one by one into the forest, where they are brought up. An old woman comes one day and tells the daughter that if her brothers love her they will give her a bat. The girl cries to her brothers for a bat, and one of them consults an aged man, who sends him to the sea shore. He puts down his gun under a tree, and a bat from above cries out, "What wild beast is this ?" The youth replies, "You just go to sleep, old fellow." The bat comes down, touches the gun and it becomes a piece of wood; touches the youth and he becomes microscopic. This in turn happens to all the brothers, after which the girl goes to the sea-shore, and when she is under the tree the bat calls out, "What wild beast is this?" But she does not answer she waits till the bat is asleep, then climbs the tree, and catching the "bird" (sic), asks it where her brothers are, and on her promising to clothe the bat in silver and gold, the creature touches the guns and the brothers, and they are restored to their proper forms. The bat then conducts them to their father's house, where he asks lodgings and is refused by the childless wife. The husband takes them in however and kills a sheep for their entertainment. The childless wife poisons the meat, and the bat warns the children, bidding them try a cock, a dog, and a cat with it, which is done, and the animals die. The brothers now decline the food and ask that their sister be allowed to prepare somewhat for them to eat. Then the bat touches the eyes of the children, who immediately recognise their parents, and great is the rejoicing. The childless wife is torn in pieces by being dragged at the tail of a wild horse, and the bat, having been dressed in silver and gold, is sent back to his tree.

Sir Richard has given (p. 313, note) some particulars of the version in Hahn's collection of modern Greek tales, which generally corresponds with Galland's story. There is a different version in M. Legrand's "Recueil de Contes Populaires Grecs" (Paris, 1881), which combines incidents in the modern Arabic story of Arab Zandyk with some of those in Galland and some which it has exclusively:


Three daughters of an old woman disobey the order of the King, not to use a light at night because of the scarcity of oil, and work on as usual. The King in going round the town to see if his order is obeyed comes to their house, and overhears the eldest girl express a wish that she were married to the royal baker, so that she should have plenty of bread. The second wishes the King's cook for her husband, to have royal meals galore. The youngest wishes to have the King himself, saying she would bear him as children, "Sun," "Moon," and "Star." Next day the King sends for them and marries each as she had wished. When the youngest brings forth the three children, in successive years, her mother-in-law, on the advice of a "wise woman," (? the midwife) substitutes a dog, a cat and a serpent, and causes the infants to be put in a box and sent down the river, and the queen is disgraced.

An old monk, in the habit of going down to the river and taking one fish daily, one day gets two fishes, and asks God the reason. In reply he is told that he will henceforth have two mouths to feed. Presently, he finds the box with the infant "Sun" in it and takes him home. Next year he gets one day three fishes, and finds the infant "Moon", and the third year he has four fishes one day and finds the baby-girl, "Star." When the children have grown up the monk sends them to town in order that they should learn the ways of the world. The eldest hearing a Jew offering a box for sale, saying, "Whoever buys this box will be sorry for it, and he who does not buy it will be equally sorry," purchases it and on taking it home finds his sister weeping for the golden apple which the "wise woman" (who had found them out) told her she must get. He opens the Jew's box and finds a green and winged horse in it. The horse tells him how to get the golden apple from the forty guardian dragons. They go and get it. After this the old woman comes again and tells the sister that she must get the golden bough, on which all the birds in the world sing, and this also is procured by the help of the green and winged horse. A third time the old trot comes and says to the girl, "You must get Tzitzinaena to explain the language of birds." The eldest brother starts off on the horse, and arriving at the dwelling of Tzitzinaena he calls her name, whereupon he, with the horse, is turned to stone up to the knees; and calling again on her they become marble to the waist. Then the youth burns a hair he had got from the monk, who instantly appears, calls out "Tzitzinaena," and she comes forth, and with the water of immortality the youth and horse are disenchanted. After the youth has returned home with Tzitzinaena, the King sees the three children and thinks them like those his wife had promised to bear him. He invites them to dinner, at which Tzitzinaena warns them of poisoned meats, some of which they give to a dog they had brought with them, and the animal dies on the spot. They ask the King to dine at their house and he goes. Tzitzinaena by clapping her hands thrice procures a royal feast for him; then, having induced the King to send for his wife, she tells the whole story of the mother-in-law's evil doings, and shows the King that "Sun," "Moon" and "Star" are his own children. The King's mother and the old woman are torn to pieces.

In Albania, as might be expected, our story is orally current in a form which resembles both the Greek version, as above, and the tale of Arab Zandyk, more especially the latter; and it may have been derived from the Turks, though I am not aware that the story has been found in Turkish. This is an abstract of the second of M. Dozon's "Comes Albanais" (Paris, 1881), a most entertaining collection:


There was a King who had three daughters. When he died, his successor proclaimed by the crier an order prohibiting the use of lights during the night of his accession. Having made this announcement, the King disguised himself and went forth alone. After walking about from place to place he came to the abode of the daughters of the late King, and going up close to it he overheard their conversation. This is what the eldest was saying, "If the King took me for his wife, I would make him a carpet upon which the whole of his army could be seated and there would still be room to spare." Then said the second, "If the King would take me for his wife, I would make him a tent under which the whole army could be sheltered, and room would still remain." Lastly, the youngest said, "If the King should espouse me, I would bring him a son and a daughter with a star on their foreheads and a moon on their shoulders."

The King, who had not lost a word of this conversation, sent for the sisters on the morrow and married all three.[FN#432] The eldest, as she had declared, made a carpet on which the whole army was seated, and yet there was room to spare. The second, in her turn, made a tent under which all the army found shelter. As to the youngest, after a time, she grew great, and her confinement approached. The day she was delivered the King was absent, and on his return he inquired what she had given birth to. The two elder sisters replied, "A little cat and a little mouse." On hearing this the King ordered the mother to be placed upon the staircase, and commanded every one who entered to spit upon her.

Now she had given birth to a boy and a girl, but her two sisters, after having shut them up in a box, sent them away by a servant to be exposed on the bank of the river, and a violent wind afterwards arising, the box was drifted to the other side. There was a mill on that side, where dwelt an old man and his wife. The old man having found the box brought it home. They opened it, and discovered the boy and girl, with a star on their foreheads and a moon on their shoulders. Astonished thereat, they took them out and brought the children up as well as they could.

Time passed away; the old woman died, and soon after came the turn of the old man. Before dying he called the youth to him and said, "Know, my son, that in such a place is a cave where there is a bridle which belongs to me. That bridle is thine, but avoid opening the cave before forty days have elapsed, if you wish the bridle to do whatever you command." The forty days having expired, the young man went to the cave, and on opening it found the bridle. He took it in his hand and said to it, "I want two horses," and in a moment two horses appeared. The brother and sister mounted them, and in the twinkling of an eye they arrived in their father's country. There the young man opened a cafe, and his sister remained secluded at home.

As the cafe was the best in the country, the King came to hear of it, and when he entered it he saw the youth, who had a star on his forehead. He thought him so beautiful [and lingered so long] that he returned late to the palace, when he was asked why he had tarried so late. He replied, that a young lad had opened a cafe, and was so beautiful that he had never seen his equal; and, what was most extraordinary, there was a star on his brow. The sisters no sooner heard these words of the King than they understood that he referred to their younger sister's son. Full of rage and spite, they quickly devised a plan of causing his death. What did they do? They sent to his sister an old woman, who said to her, "Thy brother, O my daughter, can hardly love thee, for he is all day at the cafe and has a good time of it, while he leaves thee here alone. If he truly loves thee, tell him to bring thee a flower from the Belle of the Earth, so that thou too mayest have something to divert thyself with." On returning home that evening the young man found his sister quite afflicted, and asked the cause of her grief. "Why should I not grieve?" said she "You leave me alone, secluded here, while you go about as your fancy directs. If you love me, go to the Belle of the Earth and bring a flower, so that I too may be amused." "Console yourself," replied he, and at once gave orders to the bridle. An enormous horse appeared, which he mounted and set off.

As he journeyed, a lamia presented herself before him, and said, "I have a great desire to eat thee, but thou also excitest pity, and so I leave thee thy life." The young man then inquired of her how he could find the Belle of the Earth. "I know nothing about it, my son," replied the lamia; "but go ask my second sister." So he rode off and came to her, and she drew near, intending to devour him, but seeing him so beautiful, she asked where he was going. He told his story and said, "Do you know the way to the Belle of the Earth'" But she in her turn sent him to her elder sister, who on seeing him rushed out to eat him, but like the others, was touched by his comeliness and spared him; and when he inquired after the Belle of the Earth, "Take this handkerchief," said she, "and when thou arrivest at her abode, use it to open the door. Inside thou wilt see a lion and a lamb; throw brains to the lion and grass to the lamb." So he went forward and did all the lamia advised. He tried the door and it opened; threw brains to the lion and grass to the lamb, and they allowed him to pass. He went in and pulled a flower, and he had no sooner done so than he found himself at his own door.

Great was his sister's joy as she began playing with the flower. But on the morrow the two sisters sent the old woman to her again. "Has he brought thee the flower?" she asked. "Yes, he has." Thou art content," said the old hag; "but if thou hadst the handkerchief of the Belle of the Earth, it would be quite another thing." When her brother came home he found her in tears, and in reply to his inquiries, "What pleasure," said she—"what pleasure can this flower give me? So long as I have not the handkerchief of the Belle of the Earth I shall not be happy." Then he, desirous that his sister should have no cause for grief, mounted his horse, and in the same manner as he had obtained the flower, possessed himself of the handkerchief and brought it home to his sister.

On the morrow, when the young man had gone to his cafe, the old witch again visited his sister, who informed her that her brother had brought her the handkerchief. "How happy," said the sorceress—"how happy thou art in having a brother who brings thee whatever thou desirest! But if thou cost wish to spend thy life like a pasha's wife, thou must also obtain the owner of that handkerchief."

To please his sister, the young man once more sets out, and coming to the eldest of the lamiae and telling her his errand, "O my son," said she, "thou canst go there, but as to carrying away the mistress of the handkerchief, that is not so easy. However, try in some way to obtain possession of her ring, for therein lies all her power." So he continues his journey, and after passing the lion and the lamb he comes to the chamber of the Belle of the Earth. He finds her asleep, and approaching her noiselessly draws the ring from her finger, upon which she awakes and discovering that she had not her ring, there was no alternative but to submit to his will. They set out together and in the twinkling of an eye arrived at the young man's house. On perceiving them the sister was overcome with joy.

It happened next day that the King again went to the cafe, and on his return home ordered supper to be prepared, saying that he had invited the young man and all his friends. The sisters instructed the cooks to put poison in the food, which they did accordingly. At nightfall the young man arrived, accompanied by the Belle of the Earth, whom he had married, and his sister. But none of them, notwithstanding the entreaties of the King, would touch any food, for the Belle of the Earth had revealed to them that the meats were poisoned: they merely ate a few mouthfuls out of the King's mess.

Supper over, the King invited each one to tell a story, and when it came to the young man's turn, he recounted the whole story of his adventures. Then the King recognised in him the son of his fairest wife, whom, deceived by the lies of her sisters, he had exposed on the staircase. So he instantly ordered the two sisters to be seized and cut to pieces, and he took back his wife. As for the young man, he became his heir. He grew old and prospered.

The points of difference between, and the relative merits of, Galland's story and Straparola's


and whence both were probably obtained, will be considered later on, as several other versions or variants remain to be noticed or cited, before attempting a comparative analysis, not the least interesting of which is a


In "Melusine," for 1878, colt 206 ff., M. Luzel gives a Breton version, under the title of "Les Trois Filles du Boulanger; ou, L'Eau qui dense, la Pomme qui chante, et l'Oiseau de Verite," which does not appear to have been derived from Galland's story, although it corresponds with it closely in the first part. A prince overhears the conversation of three daughters of an old baker, who is a widower. The eldest says that she loves the king's gardener, the second, that she loves the king's valet, and the youngest says the prince is her love, to whom she would bear two boys, each with a star of gold on his brow, and a girl, with a star of silver. The father chides them for talking nonsense and sends them to bed. The following day the prince sends for the girls to come to the palace one after the other, and having questioned them, tells the youngest that he desires to see her father. When she delivers the royal message the old baker begins to shake in his shoes, and exclaims, "I told you that your frivolous remarks would come to the ears of the prince, and now he sends for me to have me punished, without a doubt." "No, no, dear father; go to the palace and fear nothing." He goes, and, to be brief, the three marriages duly take place. The sisters married to the royal gardener and valet soon become jealous of the young queen, and when they find she is about to become a mother they consult a fairy, who advises them to gain over the midwife and get her to substitute a little dog and throw the child into the river, which is done accordingly, when the first son with the gold star is born. For the second son, a dog is also substituted, and the king, as on the former occasion, says, "God's will be done: take care of the poor creature." But when the little girl with the silver star is smuggled away and the king is shown a third puppy as the queen's offspring, he is enraged. "They'll call me the father of dogs!" he exclaims, "and not without cause." He orders the queen to be shut up in a tower and fed on bread and water. The children are picked up by a gardener, who has a garden close to the river, and brought up by his wife as their own. In course of time the worthy couple die, and the king causes the children to be brought to the palace (how he came to know of them the story-teller does not inform us), and as they were very pretty and had been well brought up, he was greatly pleased with them. Every Sunday they went to grand mass in the church, each having a ribbon on the brow to conceal the stars. All the folk were astonished at their beauty.

One day, when the king was out hunting, an old woman came into the kitchen of the palace, where the sister happened to be, and exclaimed, "O how cold I am," and she trembled and her teeth chattered. "Come near the fire, my good mother," said the little girl. "Blessings on you, my child! How beautiful you are! If you had but the Water that dances, the Apple that sings, and the Bird of Truth, you'd not have your equal on the earth." "Yes, but how to obtain these wonders?" "You have two brothers who can procure them for you," and so saying, the old woman went away. When she told her brothers what the old woman had said, the eldest before setting out in quest of the three treasures leaves a poignard which as long as it can be drawn out of its sheath would betoken his welfare. One day it can't be drawn out, so the second brother goes off, leaving with his sister a rosary, as in Galland. When she finds the beads won't run on the string, she goes herself, on horseback, as a cavalier. She comes to a large plain, and in a hollow tree sees a little old man with a beard of great length, which she trims for him. The old man tells her that 60 leagues distant is an inn by the roadside; she may enter it, and having refreshed herself with food and drink leave her horse there, and promise to pay on her return After quitting the inn she will see a very high mountain, to climb which will require hands and feet, and she'll have to encounter a furious storm of hail and snow, it will be bitterly cold: take care and not lose courage, but mount on. She'll see on either side a number of stone pillars—persons like herself who have been thus transformed because they lost heart. On the summit is a plain, bordered with flowers, blooming as in May. She will see a gold seat under an apple-tree and should sit down and make it appear as if asleep; presently the bird will descend from branch to branch and enter the cage; quickly close it on the bird, for it is the Bird of Truth. Cut a branch of the tree, with an apple on it, for it is the Apple that sings. Lastly, there is also the fountain of water which dances: fill a flask from the fountain and in descending the hill sprinkle a few drops of the water on the stone pillars and the enchanted young princes and knights will come to life again. Such were the instructions of the little old man, for which the princess thanked him and went on her way. Arriving at the summit of the mountain, she discovered the cage and sitting down under the tree feigned to be asleep, when presently the merle entered and she at once rose up and closed it. The merle, seeing that he was a prisoner, said, "You have captured me, daughter of the King of France. Many others have tried to seize me, but none has been able till now, and you must have been counselled by some one." The princess then cut a branch of the tree with an apple on it, filled her flask with water from the fountain that danced, and as she went down the hill sprinkled a few drops on the stone pillars, which were instantly turned into princes, dukes, barons, and knights, and last of all her two brothers came to life, but they did not know her. All pressed about the princess, some saying, "Give me the Water which dances," others, "Give me the Apple which sings," and others, "Give me the Bird of Truth." But she departed quickly, carrying with her the three treasures, and passing the inn where she had left her horse she paid her bill and returned home, where she arrived long before her brothers. When at length they came home she embraced them, saying, "Ah, my poor brothers! How much anxiety you have caused me! How long your journey has lasted! But God be praised that you are back here again." "Alas, my poor sister, we have indeed remained a long time away, and after all have not succeeded in our quest. But we may consider ourselves fortunate in having been able to return." "How!" said the princess, "do you not bring me the Water which dances, the Apple which sings, and the Bird of Truth?" "Alas! my poor sister, a young knight who was a stranger to us carried them all away—curse the rascal." The old king who had no children (or rather, who believed he had none) loved the two brothers and the sister very much and was highly delighted to see them back again. He caused a grand feast to be prepared, to which he invited princes, dukes, marquises, barons, and generals. Towards the end of the banquet the young girl placed on the table the Water, the Apple, and the Bird, and bade each do its duty, whereupon the Water began to dance, and the Apple began to sing, and the Bird began to hop about the table, and all present, in ecstasy, mouth and eyes wide open, looked and listened to these wonders. Never before had they seen such a sight. "To whom belong these marvels?" said the king when at length he was able to speak. "To me, sire," replied the young girl. "Is that so?" said the King. "And from whom did you get them?" "I myself procured them with much trouble," answered she. Then the two brothers knew that it was their sister who had delivered them. As to the king, he nearly lost his head in his joy and admiration. "My crown and my kingdom for your wonders, and you yourself, my young girl, shall be my queen," he exclaimed. "Patience for a little, sire," said she, "until you have heard my bird speak— the Bird of Truth, for he has important things to reveal to you. My little bird, now speak the truth." "I consent," replied the bird; "but let no one go out of this room," and all the doors were closed. The old sorceress of a midwife and one of the king's sisters- in-law were present, and became very uneasy at hearing these words. "Come now, my bird," then said the girl, "speak the truth," and this is what the bird said: "Twenty years ago, sire, your wife was shut up in a tower, abandoned by everybody, and you have long believed her to be dead. She has been accused unjustly." The old midwife and the king's sister-in-law now felt indisposed and wished to leave the room. "Let no one depart hence," said the king. "Continue to speak the truth, my little bird." "You have had two sons and a daughter, sire," the bird went on to say—"all three born of your lady, and here they are! Remove their bandages and you will see that each of them has a star on the forehead." They removed the bandages and saw a gold star on the brow of each of the boys and a silver star on the girl's brow. "The authors of all the evil," continued the bird, "are your two sisters-in-law and this midwife—this sorceress of the devil. They have made you believe that your wife only gave birth to little dogs, and your poor children were exposed on the Seine as soon as they were born. When the midwife—that sorceress of hell—learned that the children had been saved and afterwards brought to the palace, she sought again to destroy them. Penetrating one day into the palace, disguised as a beggar, and affecting to be perishing from cold and hunger, she incited in the mind of the princess the desire to possess the Dancing-Water, the Singing Apple, and the Bird of Truth- -myself. Her two brothers went, one after the other, in quest of these things, and the sorceress took very good care that they should never return. Nor would they have returned, if their sister had not succeeded in delivering them after great toil and trouble." As the bird ended his story, the king became unconscious, and when he revived he went himself to fetch the queen from the tower. He soon returned with her to the festive chamber, holding her by the hand. She was beautiful and gracious as ever, and having ate and drank a little, she died on the spot. The king, distraught with grief and anger, ordered a furnace to be heated, and threw into it his sister-in-law and the midwife—"ce tison de l'enfer!" As to the princess and her two brothers, I think they made good marriages all three, and as to the bird, they do not say if it continues still to speak the truth;—"mats je presume que oui, puisque ce n'etait pas un homme!"

It would indeed be surprising did we not find our story popularly known throughout Germany in various forms. Under the title of "The Three Little Birds" a version is given in Grimm's K. u. H. M. (No. 96, vol. i. of Mrs. Hunt's English translation), which reproduces the chief particulars of Galland's tale with at least one characteristic German addition;


A king, who dwelt on the Keuterberg, was out hunting one day, when he was seen by three young girls who were watching their cows on the mountain, and the eldest, pointing to him, calls out to the two others, "If I do not get that one, I'll have none;" the second, from another part of the hill, pointing to the one who was on the king's right hand, cries "If I don't get that one, I'll have none;" and the youngest, pointing to the one who was on the king's left hand, shouts, "And if I don't get him, I'll have none." When the king has returned home he sends for the three girls, and after questioning them as to what they had said to each other about himself and his two ministers, he takes the eldest girl for his own wife and marries the two others to the ministers. The king was very fond of his wife, for she was fair and beautiful of face, and when he had to go abroad for a season he left her in charge of the two sisters who were the wives of his ministers, as she was about to become a mother. Now the two sisters had no children, and when the queen gave birth to a boy who "brought a red star into the world with him," they threw him into the river, whereupon a little bird flew up into the air, singing:

"To thy death art thou sped, Until God's word be said. In the white lily bloom, Brave boy, is thy tomb."

When the king came home they told him his queen had been delivered of a dog, and he said, "What God does is well done." The same thing happens the two following years: when the queen had another little boy, the sisters substituted a dog and the king said "What God does is well done;" but when she was delivered of a beautiful little girl, and they told the king she had this time borne a cat, he grew angry and ordered the poor queen to be thrown into prison. On each occasion a fisherman who dwelt near the river drew the child from the water soon after it was thrown in, and having no children, his wife lovingly reared them. When they had grown up, the eldest once went with some other boys to fish, and they would not have him with them, saying to him, "Go away, foundling." The boy, much grieved, goes to the fisherman and asks whether he is a foundling, and the old man tells him the whole story, upon which the youth, spite of the fisherman's entreaties, at once sets off to seek his father. After walking for many days he came to a great river, by the side of which was an old woman fishing. He accosted her very respectfully, and she took him on her back and carried him across the water. When a year had gone by, the second boy set out in search of his brother, and the same happened to him as to the elder one. Then the girl went to look for her two brothers, and coming to the water she said to the old woman, "Good day, mother. May God help you with your fishing." (The brothers had said to her that she would seek long enough before she caught any fish, and she replied, "And thou wilt seek long enough before thou findest thy father"—hence their failure in their quest.)

When the old woman heard that, she became quite friendly, and carried her over the water, gave her a wand, and said to her, "Go, my daughter, ever onwards by this road and when you come to a great black dog, you must pass it silently and boldly, without either laughing or looking at it. Then you will come to a great high castle, on the threshold of which you must let the wand fall, and go straight through the castle and out again on the other side. There you will see an old fountain out of which a large tree has grown whereon hangs a bird in a cage, which you must take down. Take likewise a glass of water out of the fountain, and with these two things go back by the same way. Pick up the wand again from the threshold and take it with you, and when you again pass by the dog strike him in the face with it, but be sure that you hit him, and then just come back here to me." The maiden found everything exactly as the old woman had said, and on her way hack she found her two brothers who had sought each other over half the world. They went together where the black dog was lying on the road; she struck it in the face and it turned into a handsome prince, who went with them to the river. There the old woman was still standing. She rejoiced much to see them again, and carried them all over the water, and then she too went away, for now she was freed. The others, however, went to the old fisherman, and all were glad that they had found each other again, and they hung the bird in its cage on the wall. But the second son could not settle at home, and took his cross-bow and went a-hunting. When he was tired he took his flute and played on it. The king happened to be also hunting, and hearing the music went up to the youth and said, "Who has given thee leave to hunt here?" "O. no one." "To whom dost thou belong, then?" "I am the fisherman's son." "But he has no children." "If thou wilt not believe it, come with me." The king did so, and questioned the fisherman, who told the whole story, and the little bird on the wall began to sing:

"The mother sits alone There in the prison small; O King of the royal blood, These are thy children all.

The sisters twain, so false, They wrought the children woe, There in the waters deep, Where the fishers come and go."

Then the king took the fisherman, the three little children, and the bird back with him to the castle, and ordered his wife to be taken out of prison and brought before him. She had become very ill and weak, but her daughter gave her some of the water of the fountain to drink and she became strong and healthy. But the two false sisters were burnt, and the maiden was married to the Prince.

Even in Iceland, as already stated, the same tale has long cheered the hardy peasant's fire-side circle, while the "wind without did roar and rustle." That it should have reached that out-of-the-way country through Galland's version is surely inconceivable, notwithstanding the general resemblance which it bears to the "Histoire des Soeurs jalouses de leur Cadette." It is found in Powell and Magnusson's "Legends of Iceland," second series, and as that excellent work is not often met with (and why so, I cannot understand), moreover, as the story is told with much naivete, I give it here in full:


Not very far from a town where dwelt the king lived once upon a time a farmer. He was well to do and had three daughters; the eldest was twenty years of age, the two others younger, but both marriageable. Once, when they were walking outside their father's farm, they saw the king coming riding on horseback with two followers, his secretary and his bootmaker. The king was unmarried, as were also those two men. When they saw him, the eldest of the sisters said, "I do not wish anything higher than to be the wife of the king's shoemaker." Said the second, "And I of the king's secretary." Then the youngest said? "I wish that I were the wife of the king himself." Now the king heard that they were talking together, and said to his followers, "I will go to the girls yonder and know what it is they were talking about. It seemed to me that I heard one of them say, 'The king himself."' His followers said that what the girls had been chattering about could hardly be of much importance. The king did not heed this, however, but declared that they would all go to the girls and have a talk with them. This they did. The king then asked what they had been talking about a moment ago, when he and his men passed them. The sisters were unwilling to tell the truth, but being pressed hard by the king, did so at last. Now as the damsels pleased the king, and he saw that they were both handsome and fair-spoken particularly the youngest of them, he said that all should be as they had wished it. The sisters were amazed at this, but the king's will must be done.

So the three sisters were married, each to the husband she had chosen. But when the youngest sister had become queen, the others began to cast on her looks of envy and hatred, and would have her, at any cost, dragged down from her lofty position. And they laid a plot for the accomplishment of this their will. When the queen was going to be confined for the first time, her sisters got leave to act as her midwives. But as soon as the child was born they hid it away, and ordered it to be thrown into a slough into which all the filth was cast. But the man to whom they had entrusted this task could not bring himself to do it, so put the child on the bank of the slough, thinking that some one might find it and save its life. And so it fell out; for an old man chanced to pass the slough soon afterwards and finding a crying child on the bank, thought it a strange find, took it up and brought it to his home, cherishing it as he could. The queen's sisters took a whelp and showed it to the king as his queen's offspring. The king was grieved at this tale, but, being as fond of the queen as of his own life, he restrained his anger and punished her not.

At the second and third confinement of the queen her sisters played the same trick: they exposed the queen's children in order to have them drowned in the slough. The man however, always left them on the bank, and it so happened that the same old earl always passed by and took up the children, and carried them home, and brought them up as best he could. The queen's sisters said that the second time the queen was confined she had given birth to a kitten, and the third time, to a log of wood. At this the king waxed furiously wroth, and ordered the queen to be thrown into the house where he kept a lion as he did not wish this monster to fill his kingdom with deformities. And the sisters thought that they had managed their boat well and were proud of their success. The lion, however, did not devour the queen, but even gave her part of his food and was friendly towards her and thus the queen lived with the lion, a wretched enough life without anybody's knowing anything about it.

Now the story turns to the old man who fostered the king's children. The eldest of these, a boy, he called Vilhjamr, the second, also a boy, Sigurdr; the third child was a girl and her name was unknown. All that came to him, or with whom he met, the old man would ask if they knew nothing of the children he had found on the bank of the slough. But no one seemed to have the faintest notion about their birth or descent. As the children grew up they were hopeful and fine-looking. The earl had now waxed very old, and, expecting his end, he gave the children this rede, always to ask every one to whom they spoke for news of their family and birth, in order that they might perchance be able at last to trace out the truth. He himself told them all he knew about the matter. After this the old man died, and the children followed closely his advice. Once there came to them an old man, of whom they asked the same questions as of all others. He said he could not give them any hints on the matter himself, but that he could point out one to them who was able to do so. He told them that a short way from their farm was a large stone, whereupon was always sitting a bird which could both understand and speak the tongue of men. It would be best for them, he went on, to find this bird; but there was a difficulty in the matter to be got over first, for many had gone there but none had ever returned. He said that many king's children had gone to this bird in order to know their future fate, but they had all come short in the very thing needed. He told them that whosoever wanted to mount the stone must be so steady as never to look back, whatever he might hear or see, or whatever wonders seemed to take place around the rock. All who did not succeed in this were changed into stones, together with everything they had with them. This steadiness no one had had yet, but whosoever had it could easily mount the rock, and having once done so would be able to quicken all the others who have been turned to stone there. For the top of the rock was flat, and there was a trap-door on it, wherein the bird was sitting. Underneath the trap-door was water, the nature of which was that it would turn all the stones back to life again. The old man ended by saying, "Now he who succeeds in getting to the top is allowed by the bird to take the water and sprinkle the stone-changed folk, and call them to life again, just as they were before." This the king's children thought no hard task. The brothers, however, were the most outspoken about the easiness of the thing. They thanked the old man much for his story and took leave of him.

Not long after this, Vilhjamr, the eldest brother, went to the rock. But before he left he said to his brother, that if three drops of blood should fall on his knife at table while he was away, Sigurdr should at once come to the rock, for then it would be sure that he fared like the others. So Vilhjamr went away, following the old man's directions, and nothing further is told of him for a while. But after three days, or about the time when his brother should have reached the stone, three drops of blood fell upon Sigurdr's knife, once, while at table. He was startled at this and told his sister that he must needs leave her, in order to help his brother. He made the same agreement with his sister as Vilhjamr had before made with him. Then he went away, and, to make the story short, all came to the same issue with him as with his brother, and the blood-drops fell on his sister's knife, at the time when Sigurdr should have reached the stone.

Then the damsel went herself, to see what luck she might have. She succeeded in finding the rock, and when she came there she was greatly struck with the number of stones that surrounded it, in every shape and position. Some had the form of chests, others of various animals, while some again were in other forms. She paid no heed to all this, but going straight forward to the great rock began climbing it. Then she heard, all of a sudden, behind her a loud murmur of human voices, all talking, one louder than another, and amongst the number she heard those of her brothers. But she paid no heed to this, and took good care never to look back, in spite of all she heard going on behind her. Then she got at last to the top of the rock, and the bird greatly praised her steadiness and constancy and promised both to tell her anything she chose to ask him and to assist her in every way he could. First, she would have the surrounding stones recalled to their natural shapes and life. This the bird granted her, pointing to one of the stones and saying, "Methinks you would free that one from his spell, if you knew who he was." So the king's daughter sprinkled water over all the stones and they returned to life again, and thanked her for their release with many fair words. Next she asked the bird who were the parents of herself and her brothers, and to whom they might trace their descent. The bird said that they were the children of the king of that country, and told her how the queen's sisters had acted by them at their birth, and last of all told her how her mother was in the lion's den, and how she was nearer dead than alive from sorrow and want of good food and comfort.

The stone which the bird had pointed out to the princess was a king's son, as noble as he was handsome. He cast affectionate looks to his life-giver and it was plain that each loved the other. It was he who had brought the greater part of the chest-shaped stones thither, the which were coffers full of gold and jewels. When the bird had told to every one that which each wanted to know, all the company of the disenchanted scattered, the three children and the wealthy prince going together. When they came home the first thing they did was to break into the lion's den. They found their mother lying in a swoon, for she had lost her senses on hearing the house broken into. They took her away, and she soon afterwards recovered. Then they dressed her in fitting attire, and taking her to the palace asked audience of the king. This granted, Vilhjamr, Sigurdr, and their sister declared to the king that they were his children and that they had brought with them their mother from the lion's den. The king was amazed at this story and at all that had happened. The sisters of the queen were sent for and questioned, and, having got into scrapes by differing in accounts, confessed at last their misdeed and told the truth. They were thrown before the same lion that the queen had been given to, and it tore them to pieces immediately and ate them up, hair and all.

Now the queen took her former rank, and a banquet was held in joy at this happy turn of affairs, and for many days the palace resounded with the glee of the feast. And at the end of it the foreign prince wooed the king's daughter and gained easily her hand, and thus the banquet was begun afresh and became the young people's marriage-feast. Such glee has never been witnessed in any other kingdom. After the feast the strange prince returned to his home with his bride and became king after his father. Vilhjamr also married and took the kingdom after his father. Sigurdr married a king's daughter abroad, and became king after the death of his father-in-law; and all of them lived in luck and prosperity. And now is the story ended.

From bleak Iceland to sunny India is certainly a "far cry," but we had already got half-way thither in citing the Egypto-Arabian versions, and then turned westwards and northwards. We must now, however, go all the way to Bengal for our next form of the story, which is much simpler in construction than any of the foregoing versions, and may be considered as a transition stage of the tale in its migration to Europe. This is an abridgment of the story—not of Envious Sisters but of jealous co-wives—from the Rev. Lal Bahari Day's "Folk-Tales of Bengal,''[FN#434] a work of no small value to students of the genealogy of popular fictions:


A certain King had six wives, none of whom had children, in spite of doctors and all sorts of doctors' stuff. He was advised by his ministers to take a seventh wife. There was in the city a poor woman who earned her livelihood by gathering cow-dung from the fields kneading it into cakes, which, after drying in the sun, she sold for fuel. She had a very beautiful daughter, who had contracted friendship with three girls much above her rank namely, the daughter of the King's minister, the daughter of a rich merchant, and the daughter of the King's chaplain. It happened one day that all four were bathing together in a tank near the palace, and the King overheard them conversing as follows: Said the minister's daughter, "The man who marries me won't need to buy me any clothes, for the cloth I once put on never gets soiled, never gets old, and never tears." The merchant's daughter said, "And my husband will also be a happy man, for the fuel which I use in cooking never turns to ashes, but serves from day to day, and from year to year." Quoth the chaplain's daughter, "My husband too will be a happy man, for when once I cook rice it never gets finished; no matter how much we may eat, the original quantity always remains in the pot."[FN#434] Then said the poor woman's daughter, "And the man who marries me will also be happy, for I shall give birth to twin children, a son and a daughter; the girl will be divinely beautiful, and the boy will have a moon on his forehead and stars on the palms of his hands."

The King didn't care to have any of the three young ladies, but resolved at once to marry the fourth girl, who would present him with such extraordinary twin children, notwithstanding her humble birth, and their nuptials were celebrated in due form, much to the chagrin of his six wives. Some time after the King had occasion to go for six months to another part of his dominions, and when about to set out he told his new wife that he expected her to be confined before the period of his absence was expired, and that he would like to be present with her at the time, lest her enemies (her co-wives) might do her some injury. So giving her a golden bell he bade her hang it in her room, and when the pains of labour came on to ring it, and he would be with her in a moment, no matter where he might be at the time; but she must only ring it when her labour pains began. The six other wives had overheard all this, and the day after the King had departed went to the new wife's room and affected to admire the golden bell, and asked her where she got it and what was its use. The unsuspecting creature told them its purpose, upon which they all exclaimed that it was impossible the King could hear it ring at the distance of hundreds of miles, and besides, how could the King travel such a distance in the twinkling of an eye? They urged her to ring the bell and convince herself that what the King had said to her was all nonsense. So she rang the bell, and the King instantly appeared, and seeing her going about as usual, he asked her why she had summoned him before her time. Without saying anything about the six other wives, she replied that she had rung the bell merely out of curiosity to know if what he had said was true. The King was angry, and, telling her distinctly she was not to ring the bell until the labour pains came upon her, went away again. Some weeks after the six wives once more induced her to ring the bell, and when the King appeared and found she was not about to be confined and that she had been merely making another trial of the bell (for, as on the former occasion, she did not say that her co-wives had instigated her), he was greatly enraged, and told her that even should she ring when in the throes of childbirth he should not come to her, and then went away. At last the day of her confinement arrived, and when she rang the bell the King did not come.[FN#435] The six jealous wives seeing this went to her and said that it was not customary for the ladies of the palace to be confined in the royal apartments, and that she must go to a hut near the stables. They then sent for the midwife of the palace, and heavily bribed her to make away with the infant the moment it was born. The seventh wife gave birth, as she had promised, to a son who had a moon on his forehead and stars on the palms of his hands, and also to an uncommonly beautiful girl. The midwife had come provided with a couple of newly-littered pups, which she set before the mother, saying, "You have given birth to these," and took away the twin-children in an earthen vessel, while the mother was insensible. The King, though he was angry with his seventh wife, yet recollecting that she was to give birth to an heir to his throne, changed his mind, and came to see her the next morning. The pups were produced before the King as the offspring of his new wife, and great was his anger and vexation. He gave orders that she should be expelled from the palace, clothed in leather, and employed in the market-place to drive away crows and keep off dogs, all of which was done accordingly.

The midwife placed the vessel containing the twins along with the unburnt clay vessels which a potter had set in order and then gone to sleep, intending to get up during the night and light his furnace; in this way she thought the little innocents would be reduced to ashes. It happened, however, that the potter and his wife overslept themselves that night, and it was near daybreak when the woman awoke and roused her husband. She then hastened to the furnace, and to her surprise found all the pots thoroughly baked, although no fire had been applied to them. Wondering at such good luck, she summoned her husband, who was equally astonished and pleased, and attributed it all to some benevolent deity. In turning over the pots he came upon the one in which the twins were placed, and the wife looking on them as a gift from heaven (for she had no children) carried them into the house and gave out to the neighbours that they had been borne by herself. The children grew in stature and in strength and when they played in the fields were the admiration of every one that saw them. They were about twelve years of age when the potter died, and his wife threw herself on the pyre and was burnt with her husband's body. The boy with the moon on his forehead (which he always kept concealed with a turban, lest it should attract notice) and his beautiful sister now broke up the potter's establishment, sold his wheel and pots and pans, and went to the bazar in the King's city, which they had no sooner entered than it was lit up brilliantly. The shopkeepers thought them divine beings and built a house for them in the bazar. And when they used to ramble about they were always followed at a distance by the woman clothed in leather who was appointed by the King to drive away the crows, and by some strange impulse, she also used to hang about their house.

The youth presently bought a horse and went hunting in the neighbouring jungles. It happened one day, while following the chase, that the King met him, and, struck with his beauty, felt an unaccountable yearning for him.[FN#436] As a deer went past the youth shot an arrow and in so doing his turban fell off, on which a bright light, like that of the moon, was seen shining on his forehead. When the King perceived this, it brought to his mind the son with the moon on his forehead and stars on the palms of his hands who was to have been born of his seventh queen, and would have spoken with the youth, but he immediately galloped off. When the King reached home his six wives observing his sadness asked him its cause, and he told them of the youth he had seen in the forest with a moon on his forehead. They began to wonder if the twins were not still alive, and sending for the midwife closely questioned her as to the fate of the children. She stoutly declared that she had herself seen them burnt to ashes, but she would find out who the youth was whom the King had met while hunting. She soon ascertained that two strangers were living in a house in the bazar which the shopkeepers had built for them, and when she entered the house the girl was alone, her brother having gone into the jungle to hunt. Pretending to be her aunt, the old woman said to her, "My dear child, you are so beautiful, you require only the kataki[FN#437] flower to properly set off your charms. You should tell your brother to plant a row of that flower in your courtyard." "I never saw that flower," said the girl "Of course not; how could you? It does not grow in this country, but on the other side of the ocean. Your brother may try and get it for you, if you ask him." This suggestion the old trot made in the hope that the lad would lose his life in venturing to obtain the flower. When he returned and his sister told him of the visit of their aunt and asked him to get her the kataki flower, on which she had set her heart, he at once consented, albeit he thought the woman had imposed upon his sister by calling herself their aunt.

Next morning he rode off on his fleet horse, and arriving on the borders of an immense forest he saw a number of rakshasi[FN#438] roaming about, he went aside and shot with his arrows some deer and rhinoceroses and then approaching the rakshasis called out, "O auntie dear, your nephew is here." A huge rakshasi strode towards him and said, "O. you are the youth with the moon on your forehead and stars on the palms of your hands. We were all expecting you, but as you have called me aunt, I will not eat you. What is it you want? Have you brought anything for me to eat?" The youth gave her the game he had killed, and she began devouring it. After swallowing all the carcases she said, "Well, what do you want?" He answered, "I want some kataki flowers for my sister." She told him it would be very difficult for him to get them, as they were guarded by seven hundred rakshasas, but if he was determined to attempt it, he had better first go to his uncle on the north side of the Jungle. He goes, and greets the rakshasa, calling him uncle, and having regaled him with deer and rhinoceroses as he had done his "aunt," the rakshasa tells him that in order to obtain the flower he must go through an impenetrable forest of kachiri,[FN#439] and say to it "O mother kachiri, make way for me, else I perish," upon which a passage will be opened for him. Next he will come to the ocean, which he must petition in the same terms, and it would make a way for him. After crossing the ocean he'll come to the gardens where the kataki blooms. The forest opens a passage for the youth, and the ocean stands up like two walls on either side of him, so that he passes over dryshod.[FN#440] He enters the gardens and finds himself in a grand palace which appeared unoccupied. In one of the apartments he sees a young damsel of more than earthly beauty asleep on a golden bed, and going near discovers a stick of gold lying near her head and a stick of silver near her feet. Taking them in his hand, by accident the gold stick fell upon the feet of the sleeping beauty, when she instantly awoke, and told him she knew that he was the youth with the moon on his forehead and stars on the palms of his hands; that the seven hundred rakshasas who guarded the kataki flowers were then out hunting, but would return by sundown, and should they find him they'd eat him. A rakshasi had brought her from her father's palace, and is so fond of her that she will not allow her to return home. By means of the gold and silver sticks the rakshasi kills her when she goes off in the morning, and by means of them also she is revived when she comes back in the evening. He had better flee and save his life. But the youth told her he would not go away without the kataki flower, moreover, that he would take her also with him. They spent the day in walking about the gardens, and when it was drawing near the time for the return of the rakshasas, the youth concealed himself under a great heap of the kataki flower which was in one of the rooms, having first "killed" the damsel by touching her head with the golden stick. The return of the seven hundred rakshasas was like the noise of a mighty tempest. One of them entered the damsel's room and revived her, saying at the same time, "I smell a human being!"[FN#441] The damsel replied, "How can a human being come to this place?" and the rakshasa was satisfied. During the night the damsel worms out of the rakshasi who was her mistress the secret that the lives of the seven hundred rakshasas depended on the lives of a male and female bee, which were in a wooden box at the bottom of a tank, and that the only person who could seize and kill those bees was a youth with a moon on his forehead and stars on the palms of his hands—but there could be no such youth, and so their lives were safe.[FN#442] When the rakshasas had all gone out as usual next morning, the damsel, having been revived by the youth, told him how the demons could be killed, and, to be brief, he was not slow to put her directions into practice. After the death of the seven hundred rakshasas, the youth took some of the kataki flowers and left the palace accompanied by the beautiful damsel, whose name was Pushpavati. They passed through the ocean and forest of kachiri in safety, and arriving at the house in the bazar the youth with the moon on his forehead presented the kataki flower to his sister. Going out to hunt the next day, he met the king, and his turban again falling off as he shot an arrow, the King saw the moon on his forehead and desired his friendship. The youth invited the King to his house, and he went thither at midday. Pushpavati then told the King (for she knew the whole story from first to last) how his seventh wife had been induced by his six other wives to ring the bell twice needlessly; how she gave birth to a boy and a girl, and pups were substituted for them, how the twins were miraculously saved and brought up in the house of a potter, and so forth. When she had concluded the King was highly enraged, and next day caused his six wicked wives to be buried alive. The seventh queen was brought from the market-place and reinstated in the palace, and the youth with a moon on his forehead and stars on the palms of his hands lived happily with his beautiful twin-sister.

In two other Hindu versions known to me—but the story is doubtless as widely spread over India as we have seen it to be over Europe—only the leading idea of Galland's tale reappears, though one of them suggests the romance of "Helyas, the Knight of the Swan," namely, the story called "Truth's Triumph," in Miss Frere's "Old Deccan Days," p. 55 ff. Here a raja and his minister walking together come to a large garden, where is a bringal- tree bearing 100 fruits but having no leaves, and the minister says to the raja that whosoever should marry the gardener's daughter should have by her 100 boys and one girl. The raja espoused the maiden, much to the vexation of the 12 wives he had already, and then follows a repetition of the golden bell affair! as in the Bengali version. Drapadi Bai, the gardener's daughter and the new rani, gives birth "right off" to 100 sons and a daughter, all of whom are thrown by the nurse on a dust-heap in which are a great number of rat-holes, the jealous co-wives fully expecting that the voracious rodents would quickly eat them up. The nurse tells the young rani that her children had turned into stones; such is also the story the 12 co-wives tell the raja on his return, and he orders the poor Drapadi Bai to be imprisoned for life. But the rats, so far from devouring the children, nourished them with the utmost care. It comes to the knowledge of the 12 co-wives that the children are still alive, they are discovered and turned into crows—all save the little girl, who luckily escapes the fate of her 100 brothers, gets married to a great raja, and has a son named Ramchandra, who effected the restoration to human form of his crow-uncles by means of magic water which he obtained from a rakshasi.

The other story referred to is No. xx of Miss Stokes' "Indian Fairy Tales," which Mr. Coote could not have read, else he would not have been at the trouble to maintain it was impossible that Galland derived his tale from it: "so long," says he, "as that story remained in the country of its birth— India—it was absolutely inaccessible to him, for great traveller as he was, he never visited that far-off portion of the East." The fact is, this Hindu story only resembles Galland's, and that remotely, in the opening portion Seven daughters of a poor man played daily under the shady trees in the king's garden with the gardener's daughter, and she used to say to them, "When I am married I shall have a son—such a beautiful boy as he will be has never been seen. He will have a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin," and they all laughed at her. The king, having overheard what she so often repeated, married her, though he had already four wives. Then follows the golden bell affair again, with a kettledrum substituted. When the young queen is about to be confined her co-wives tell her it is the custom to bind the eyes of women in her condition, to which she submits, and after she has borne the wonderful boy she promised to do, they tell her she has been delivered of a stone. The king degraded her to the condition of a kitchen servant and never spoke to her. The nurse takes the baby in a box and buries it in the jungle. But the king's dog had followed her, and when she went off he took the box out of the earth and swallowed the baby. Six months after the dog brings him up, caresses him and swallows him again. He does likewise at the end of the year, and the dog's keeper, having seen all told the four wives. They say to the king the dog had torn their clothes, and he replies, he'll have the brute shot to-morrow. The dog overhears this and runs off to the king's cow; he induces her to save the child by swallowing him, and the cow consents. Next day the dog is shot, and so on: the cow is to be killed and induces the king's horse to swallow the child, and so on.—There may have been originally some mystical signification attached to this part of the tale, but it has certainly no connection with our story.[FN#443]

I had nearly omitted an Arabian version of the outcast infants which seems to have hitherto escaped notice by story-comparers. Moreover, it occurs in a text of The Nights, to wit, the Wortley-Montague MS., Nights 472-483, in the story of Abou Neut and Abou Neeuteen = Abu Niyyet and Abu Niyyeteyn, according to Dr. Redhouse; one of those translated by Jonathan Scott in vol. vi. of his edition of the "Arabian Nights," where, at p. 227, the hero marries the King's youngest daughter and the King in dying leaves him heir to his throne, a bequest which is disputed by the husbands of the two elder daughters. The young queen is brought to bed of a son, and her sisters bribe the midwife to declare that she has given birth to a dog and throw the infant at the gate of one of the royal palaces. The same occurs when a second son is born. But at the third lying-in of the princess her husband takes care to be present, and the beautiful daughter she brings forth is saved from the clutches of her vindictive sisters. The two little princes are taken up by a gardener and reared as his own children. In course of time, it happened that the King (Abu Neeut) and his daughter visited the garden and saw the two little boys playing together and the young princess felt an instinctive affection for them, and the King, finding them engaged in martial play, making clay-horses, bows and arrows, &c., had the curiosity to inquire into their history. The dates when they were found agreed with those of the queen's delivery; the midwife also confessed; and the King left the guilty parties to be punished by the pangs of their own consciences, being convinced that envy is the worst of torments. The two young princes were formally acknowledged and grew up to follow their father's example.

We must go back to India once more if we would trace our tale to what is perhaps its primitive form, and that is probably of Buddhist invention; though it is quite possible this may be one of the numerous fiction which have been time out of mind the common heritage of nearly all peoples, and some of which the early Buddhists adapted to their own purposes. Be this as it may, in the following tale, from Dr. Mitra's "Sanskrit Buddhist Literature of Nepal" (Calcutta: 1882), pp. 65, 66, we seem to have somewhat like the germ of the Envious Sisters:


King Brahmadatta picked up in Kampilla a destitute girl named Padmavati, who scattered lotuses at every step she moved, and made her his favourite queen. She was very simple-minded. Other queens used to play tricks upon her, and at the time of her first delivery cheated her most shamefully. The wicked ladies said to her on that occasion, "Dear Padma, you are a rustic girl; you do not know how to give birth to a royal child. Let us help you." She yielded. They covered her eyes, threw into the river the twin boys she had brought forth, and smeared her face with blood. They deceived her by telling her that it was only a lump of flesh that she had given birth to, and it had been thrown into the river. At the same time they informed her husband that Padma had eaten up her two new-born sons. The King enraged at her inhuman conduct, ordered her to instant execution. But there was a shrewd man in the court who privately saved her life. A divinity appeared to the King in a dream, and revealed the whole truth to him. The King made a strict investigation in the harem, and found that Padmavati had been perfectly innocent. He became disconsolate, and gave vent to loud lamentations. Soon after some fishermen appeared at court and presented the King with two infants, who betrayed their royal lineage by the resemblance which their features bore to those of the King. They were reported to have been found in a vessel floating on the river. The courtier who saved Padma's life now wished to produce her before the King, but she refused to return and proceeded to her father's hermitage. After the death of her father she travelled through various places in the habit of a devotee; and in the course of her peregrinations she stopped at Banares, from whence Brahmadatta conducted her to his capital with great honour.

I am of opinion that this Buddhist tale is the original form of the "Envious Sisters"— that it ended with the restoration of the children and the vindication of the innocence of their mother. The second part of our story has no necessary connection with the first, the elements of which it is composed being found in scores—nay, hundreds—of popular fictions in every country: the quest of wonderful or magical objects; one brother setting out, and by neglecting to follow the advice tendered him by some person he meets on his way, he comes to grief; a second brother follows, with the same result; and it is reserved for the youngest, and the least esteemed, to successfully accomplish the adventure. In the second part of the "Envious Sisters," the girl, the youngest of the three children, plays the part of the usual hero of folk-tales of this class. There is, generally, a seemingly wretched old man—a hideous, misshapen dwarf—or an ugly, decrepit old woman—who is treated with rudeness by the two elder adventurers, so they do not speed in their enterprise; but the youngest addresses the person in respectful terms—shares his only loaf with him—and is rewarded by counsel which enables him to bring his adventure to a successful end. In the "Envious Sisters," which I cannot but think Galland has garbled from his original, the eldest clips the beard of the hermit, and presumably the second does the same, since we are told he found the hermit in the like condition (albeit, his beard had been trimmed but a few days before). Each of them receives the same instructions. In a true folk-tale the two elder brothers would treat the old man with contempt and suffer accordingly, while the youngest would cut his nails and his beard, and make him more comfortable in his person. We do not require to go to Asiatic folk-lore for tales in which the elements of the second part of the "Envious Sisters" are to be found. In the German story of the Fox's Brush there is a quest of a golden bird. The first brother sets off in high hope, on the road he sees a fox, who calls out to him not to shoot at it, and says that farther along the road are two inns, one of which is bright and cheerful looking, and he should not go into it, but rather into the other, even though it does not look very inviting. He shoots at the fox and misses it, then continues his journey, and puts up at the fine inn, where amidst riot and revel he forgets all about the business on which he had set out. The same happens to the second brother. But the youngest says to the fox that he will not shoot it and the fox takes him on its tail to the small inn, where he passes a quiet night, and in the morning is conveyed by the fox to the castle, wherein is the golden bird in a wooden cage, and so on. Analogous stories to this are plentiful throughout Europe and Asia; there is one, I think, in the Wortley Montague MS. of The Nights.

In Straparoia's version of the "Envious Sisters," when the children's hair is combed pearls and precious stones fall out of it, whereby their foster-parents become rich; this is only hinted at in Galland's story: the boy's hair "should be golden on one side and silvern on the other; when weeping he should drop pearls in place of tears, and when laughing his rosy lips should be fresh as the blossom new-blown," not another word is afterwards said of this, while in the modern Arabic version the children are finally identified by their mother through such peculiarities. The silver chains with which the children are born in the romance of "Helyas, the Knight of the Swan," correspond with the "gold star" etc. on the forehead in other stories. It only remains to observe that the Bird of our tale who in the end relates the history of the children to their father, is represented in the modern Arabic version by the fairy Arab Zandyk in the modern Greek by Tzitzinaena, and in the Albanian by the Belle of the Earth.


The Tale of Zayn Al-asnam,

The Dream of Riches. In Croker's Irish Fairy Legends there is a droll version, of this story, entitled "Dreaming Tim Jarvis." Honest Tim, we are told, "took to sleeping, and the sleep set him dreaming, and he dreamed all night, and night after night, about crock full of gold. . . . At last he dreamt that he found a mighty great crock of gold and silver, and where, do you think ? Every step of the way upon London Bridge itself! Twice Tim dreamt it, and three times Tim dreamt the same thing; and at last he made up his mind to transport himself, and go over to London, in Pat Mahoney's coaster and so he did!" Tim walks on London Bridge day after day until he sees a man with great black whiskers and a black cloak that reached down to the ground, who accosts him, and he tells the strange man about his dream. "Ho! Ho!" says the strange man, "is that all, Tim? I had a dream myself and I dreamed that I found a crock of gold in the Fort field, on Jerry Driscoll's ground at Balledehob, and, by the same token, the pit where it lay was close to a large furze bush, all full of yellow blossom." Tim hastens back to his old place, sells his cabin and garden, and buys the piece of waste ground so minutely described by the man with black whiskers, finds the pit, jumps into it, and is among the fairies, who give him leave to stuff his pockets with gold; but when he returns to upper earth he discovers that he has got only a handful of small stones mixed with yellow furze blossoms.

In a note appended to this tale, Croker cites the following from Grimm's "Deutsche Sagan," vol. i. p. 290: A man once dreamed that if he went to Regensburg and walked on the bridge he should become rich. He went accordingly; and when he had spent near a fortnight walking backwards and forwards on the bridge, a rich merchant came up to him wondering what he was doing here every day, and asked him what he was looking for. He answered that he had dreamed if he would go to the bridge of Regensburg he should become rich. "Ha!" said the merchant, "what do you say about dreams?—Dreams are but froth (Trume sind Schaume). I too have dreamed that there is buried under yonder large tree (pointing to it) a great kettle full of money; but I gave no heed to this, for dreams are froth." The man went immediately and dug under the tree, and there he got a treasure, which made a rich man of him, and so his dream was accomplished.—The same story is told of a baker's boy at Lubeck, who dreamed that he should find a treasure on the bridge; there he met a beggar, who said he had dreamed there was one under a lime-tree in the churchyard of Mollen, but he would not take the trouble of going there. The baker's boy went, and got the treasure.—It is curious to observe that all the European versions of the story have reference to a bridge, and it must have been brought westward in this form.

The Quest of the Image.—It has only now occurred to my mind that there is a very similar story in the romance of the Four Dervishes ("Kissa-i-Chehar- Darwesh"), a Persian work written in the 13th century, and rendered into Urdu about 80 years ago, under the title of "Bagh o Bahar" (Garden of Spring), of which an English translation was made by L. F. Smith, which was afterwards improved by Duncan Forbes. There the images are of monkeys—circumstance which seems to point to an Indian origin of the story—but the hero falls in love with the spotless girl, and the jinn-king takes possession of her, though he is ultimately compelled to give her up.—The fact of this story of the quest of the lacking image being found in the Persian language is another proof that the tales in The Nights were largely derived from Persian story-books.

Aladdin; Or, the Wonderful Lamp.

There is a distorted reflection of the story in M. Rene Basset's recently published "Contes Populaires Berberes," No. xxix., which is to this effect: A taleb proclaims, "Who will sell himself for 100 mitqals?" One offers, the Kadi ratifies the sale; the (now) slave gives the money to his mother, and follows the taleb. Away they go. The taleb repeats certain words, upon which the earth opens, and he sends down the slave for "the candlestick, the reed, and the box." The slave hides the box in his pocket and says he did not find it. They go off, and after a time the slave discovers that his master has disappeared. He returns home, hires a house, opens the box, and finds a cloth of silk with seven folds; he undoes one of them, whereupon genii swarm about the room, and a girl appears who dances till break of day. This occurs every night. The king happens to be out on a nocturnal adventure, and hearing a noise, enters the house and is amused till morning. He sends for the box to be brought to the palace, gives the owner his daughter in marriage, and continues to divert himself with the box till his death, when his son-in-law succeeds him on the throne.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

My obliging friend, Mr. W. F. Kirby, who contributed to the 10th volume of Sir Richard's Nights proper the very able Bibliographical Essay, has drawn my attention to an analogue of this tale in Geldart's Folk-Lore of Modern Greece: There were two brothers, one of whom was wealthy and had four children, who were in feeble health, the other was poor and had seven children, who were in robust health. The poor brother's wife, begging relief was allowed to come twice a week to the house of the rich brother to bake bread. Her children were starving, but the rich people gave the mother nothing for several days, and all she could do was to wash the dough off her hands for the children, who thrived, and the rich man, discovering the cause, made his wife compel the poor woman to wash her hands before she left the house. The father found his children crying for food, and pretended to go to the wood for herbs, but really purposing to kill himself by falling from a crag. But seeing a great castle, he determined first to ascertain what it was, so he went near, and having climbed a tree, saw forty-nine dragons come out. When they were gone he entered, and found a treasure, filled his bag and hurried away. On his return home he found his wife weeping bitterly, but when he showed her the treasure, she said the first thing was to buy oil to light a lamp to our Lady. Next day they bought a house, and moved into it, but agreed only to buy what they needed for each day's use and nothing they could do without. For two months they went often to church and helped the poor, till, one day, the wife of the rich man, who had met with losses lately, called for them and was hospitably received. She heard the story of the treasure, and the poor man offered to show his brother the place. The rich brother miscounted the dragons as they left the castle, and the one left to watch killed and quartered him. Two days afterwards his brother went to look for him, brought home the severed body, and got a tailor to sew the quarters together. Next day the dragons called on the tailor to make them coats and shoes (sic), and heard of his sewing together the body. He showed them the house, and forty-eight dragons got into chests, which the forty-ninth deposited with the poor man. The children, playing about he chests, heard the dragons say, "Would that it were night, that we might eat them all!" So the father took forty-eight spits and made them red hot, and thrust them into the chests, and then said that a trick had been played upon him, and sent his servant to throw them one by one into the sea. As often as the servant returned he pretended to him that he did not throw the chest far enough and it had come back and thus he disposed of the whole number. In the morning when the last dragon came, the poor man told him one chest was found open: he was seized with fear, pushed in and spitted like the others and the poor man became the possessor of the dragons' castle.

There can be no doubt, I think, that this story owes nothing to Galland, but that it is a popular Greek version of the original Asiatic tale, of which Galland's "Ali Baba" is probably a fair reflection. The device of pretending to the servant that the dragon he had thrown into the sea was returned has its exact analogue in the humorous fabliau of "Les Trois Bossus," where a rustic is made to believe that each of the hunchbacks had come back again, with the addition that, on returning from the river the third time, he seizes the lady's hunchbacked husband and effectually disposes of him.

The Tale of Prince Ahmad.

Though my paper on this tale is of considerable length, it would perhaps have been deemed intolerably long had I cited all the versions of the first part— the quest of the most wonderful thing—which are current in Europe, for it is found everywhere, though with few variations of importance. There are two, however, of which I may furnish the outlines in this place.

In the "Pentamerone" of Basile,[FN#444], a man sends his five sons into the world to learn something. The eldest becomes a master-thief; the second has learned the trade of shipwright; the third has become a skilful archer; the fourth has found an herb which brings the dead to life, and the youngest has learned the speech of birds. Soon after they have returned home, they set out with their father to liberate a princess who had been stolen by a wild man, and by the exercise of their several arts succeed in their adventure. While they quarrel as to which of them had by his efforts done most to deserve the princess for wife, the king gives her to the father, as the stock of all those branches.

In the 45th of Laura Gonzenbach's "Sicilianische Mrchen," the king's daughter is stolen by a giant and recovered by the seven sons of a poor woman. The eldest can run like the wind, the second can hear, when he puts his ear to the ground, all that goes on in the world; the third can with a blow of his fist break through seven iron doors; the fourth is a thief; the fifth can build an iron tower with a blow of his fist; the sixth is an unfailing shot, the seventh has a guitar which can awaken the dead. Youths thus wonderfully endowed figure in many tales, but generally as the servants of the hero.

By comparing the different European versions it will be found that some are similar to the first part of the tale of Prince Ahmad, insomuch as the brothers become possessed of certain wonderful things which are each instrumental in saving the damsel's life; while others more closely approach the oldest known form of the story, in representing the heroes as being endowed with some extraordinary kind of power, by means of which they rescue the damsel from a giant who had carried her off. It is curious to observe that in the "Sindibad Nama" version the damsel is both carried off by a demon and at death's door, which is not the case of any other Asiatic form of the story.

Arabian Nights, Volume 13 Footnotes

[FN#1] M. Zotenberg empowered me to offer his "Aladdin" to an "Oriental" publishing-house well-known in London, and the result was the "no-public" reply. The mortifying fact is that Oriental studies are now at their nadir in Great Britain, which is beginning to show so small in the Eastern World.

[FN#2] P.N. of a Jinni who rules the insect-kingdom and who is invoked by scribes to protect their labours from the worm.

[FN#3] Both name and number suggest the "Calc. Edit." of 1814. See "Translator's Foreword" vol. i., x)x.-xx. There is another version of the first two hundred Nights, from the "Calc. Edit." into Urdu by one Haydar Ali 1 vol. roy. 8vo lithog. Calc. 1263 (1846).— R.F.B.

[FN#4] "Alf Leilah" in Hindostani 4 vols. in 2, royal 8vo, lithographed, Lakhnau, 1263 (1846).—R. F. B.

[FN#5] This is the "Alif" (!) Leila, Tarjuma-i Alif (!) Laila ba-Zuban-i-Urdu (Do Jild, baharfat-i-Yurop), an Urdu translation of the Arabian Nights, printed entirely in the Roman character, etc., etc.—R.F.B.

[FN#6] i.e., The Thousand Tales.

[FN#7] From the MS, in the Bibliocheque Nationale (Supplement Arab. No. 2523) vol. ii., p. 82, verso to p. 94, verso. The Sisters are called Dinarzad and Shahrazad, a style which I have not adopted.

[FN#8] THe old versions read "Ornament (Adornment?) of the Statues," Zierde der Pildsulen (Weil). I hold the name to be elliptical, Zayn (al-Din = Adornment of The Faith and owner of) al-Asnam = the Images. The omission of Al-Din in proper names is very common; e.g., Fakhr (Al-Din) Al-Iftakhari (Iftikhar-al-Din) and many others given by De Sacy (Chrest.i. 30, and in the Treatise on Coffee by Abdal-Kadir). So Al-Kamal, Al-Imad, Al-Baha are = Kamal al-Din, etc. in Jbn Khallikan, iii 493. Sanam properly = an idol is popularly applied to all artificial figures of man and beast. I may note that we must not call the hero, after Galland's fashion, unhappily adopted by Weil, tout bonnement "Zayn."

[FN#9] Galland persistently writes "Balsorah," a European corruption common in his day, the childhood of Orientalism in Europe. The Hindostani versions have "Bansra," which is worse.

[FN#10] For notes on Geomancy (Zarb Raml) see vol. iii. 269.

[FN#11] THe Hindostani Version enlarges upon this:—"Besides this, kings cannot escape perils and mishaps which serve as warnings and examples to them when dealing their decrees."

[FN#12] In the XIXth century we should say "All the—ologies."

[FN#13] In the Hindostani Version he begins by "breaking the seal which had been set upon the royal treasury."

[FN#14] "Three things" (says Sa'di in the Gulistan) "lack permanency, Wealth without trading, Learning without disputation, Government without justice." (chap. viii. max. 8). The Bakhtiyar-nameh adds that "Government is a tree whose root is legal punishment (Siyasat); its root-end is justice; its bough, mercy; its flower, wisdom; its leaf, liberality; and its fruit, kindness and benevolence. The foliage of every tree whose root waxeth dry (lacketh sap) taketh a yellow tint and beareth no fruit."

[FN#15] For this word, see vol. ix. 108. It is the origin of the Fr. "Douane" and the Italian "Dogana" through the Spanish Aduana (Ad-Diwan) and the Provencal "Doana." Menage derives it from the Gr. {Greek} =a place where goods are received, and others from "Doge" (Dux) for whom a tax on merchandise was levied at Venice. Littre (s.v.) will not decide, but rightly inclines to the Oriental origin.

[FN#16] A Hadis says, "The dream is the inspiration of the True Believer;" but also here, as the sequel shows, the Prince believed the Shaykh to be the Prophet, concerning whom a second Hadis declares, "Whoso seeth me in his sleep seeth me truly, for Satan may not assume my semblance." See vol. iv. 287. The dream as an inspiration shows early in literature, e.g.

—{Greek} (Il. i. 63). and —{Greek} (Il. ii 55).

in which the Dream is {Greek}.

[FN#17] In the Hindostani Version he becomes a Pir = saint, spiritual guide.

[FN#18] A favourite sentiment. In Sir Charles Murray's excellent novel, "Hassan: or, the Child of the Pyramid," it takes the form, "what's past is past and what is written is written and shall come to pass."

[FN#19] In the H. V. the Prince digs a vat or cistern-shaped hole a yard deep. Under the ringed slab he also finds a door whose lock he breaks with his pickaxe and seeing a staircase of white marble lights a candle and reaches a room whose walls are of porcelain and its floor and ceiling are of crystal.

[FN#20] Arab. Khawabi (plur. of Khabiyah) large jars usually of pottery. In the H. V. four shelves of mother o' pearl support ten jars of porphyry rangeed in rows and the Prince supposes (with Galland) that the contents are good old wine.

[FN#21] Arab. "'Atik": the superficial similiarity of the words have produced a new noun in Arabic, e.g. Abu Antika = father of antiquities, a vendor of such articles mostly modern, "brand-new and intensely old."

[FN#22] In the text "Ashkhas" (plural of Shakhs) vulgarly used, throughout India, Persia and other Moslem realms, in the sense of persons or individuals. For its lit. sig. see vols. iii. 26; and viii. 159. The H. V. follows Galland in changing to pedestals the Arab thrones, and makes the silken hanging a "piece of white satin" which covers the unoccupied base.

[FN#23] The blessed or well-omened: in these days it is mostly a servile name, e.g. Sidi Mubarak Bombay. See vol. ix. 58,330.

[FN#24] In the test "Min" for "Man," a Syro-Egyptian form common throughout this MS. [FN#25] "Ay Ni'am," an emphatic and now vulgar expression.

[FN#26] The MS. here has "'Imarah" = a building, probably a clerical error for Magharah," a cave, a souterrain.

[FN#27] Arab, "Zahab-ramli," explained in "Alaeddin." So Al-Mutanabbi sang:—

"I become not of them because homed in their ground: * Sandy earth is the gangue wherein gold is found."

[FN#28] Walimah prop. = a marriage-feast. For the different kinds of entertainments see vols. vi. 74; viii. 231.

[FN#29] Arab. Mukattai al-Yadayn, a servile posture: see vols. iii. 218; ix. 320.

[FN#30] Here the Arabic has the advantage of the English; "Shakhs" meaning either a person or an image. See supra, p. 11.

[FN#31] Arab. "Kawariji = one who uses the paddle, a paddler, a rower.

[FN#32] In the Third Kalandar's Tale (vol. i. 143) Prince 'Ajib is forbidden to call upon the name of Allah, under pain of upsetting the skiff paddled by the man of brass. Here the detail is omitted.

[FN#33] Arab. "Wahsh," which Galland translates "Tiger," and is followed by his Hind. translator.

[FN#34] Arab. "Laffa 'l-isnayn bi-zulumati-h," the latter word = Khurtum, the trunk of an elephant, from Zalm = the dewlap of sheep or goat.

[FN#35] In the text "Yamin," a copyist's error, which can mean nothing else but "Yasimin."

[FN#36] The H. V. rejects this detail for "a single piece of mother-o'-pearl twelve yards long," etc. Galland has une seule ecaille de poisson. In my friend M. Zotenberg's admirable translation of Tabara (i. 52) we read of a bridge at Baghdad made of the ribs of Og bin 'Unk (= Og of the Neck), the fabled King of Bashan.

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