A portion of Richard Burton's Translation of

The Arabian Nights

....Abrizah the King was greatly occupied with love of her and burnt with desire of her night and day; and every night, he would go in to her and converse with her and pay his court to her, but she gave him no answer, only saying, "O King of the age! I have no desire for men at this present." When he saw her withdraw from him, his passion waxed hotter and his longing and pining increased until, when weary of this, he summoned his Wazir Dandan and, opening his very heart to him, told him of his love for Princess Abrizah, daughter of Hardub, and informed him how she refused to yield to his wishes and how desire for her was doing him to die, for that he could get no grace of her. The Wazir, hearing these words, said to the King, "As soon as it is dark night, take thou a piece of Bhang the measure of a miskal, about an ounce, and go in to her and drink somewhat of wine with her. When the hour of ending the carousal shall draw near, fill her a last cup and dropping therein the Bhang, give it to her to drink, and she will not reach her sleeping-chamber ere the drug take effect on her. Then do thou go in to her and take thy will of her; and such is my advice." "Thy rede is aright," quoth the King, and seeking his treasury, he took thence a piece of concentrated Bhang, if an elephant smelt it he would sleep from year to year. This he put in his bosom-pocket and waited till some little of the night went by, when he betook himself to the palace of Princess Abrizah, who seeing him stood up to receive him; but he bade her sit down. So she sat down, and he sat by her, and he began to talk with her of wine and wassail, whereupon she furnished the carousing-table and placed it before him. Then she set on the drinking vessels and lighted the candles and ordered to bring dried fruits and sweetmeats and all that pertaineth to drinking. So they fell to tippling and the King ceased not to pledge her till drunkenness crept into her head; and seeing this he took out the bit of Bhang from his pocket and, holding it between his fingers, filled a cup with his own hand and drank it off. Then filling a second he said, "To thy companionship!"; and dropped the drug into her cup, she knowing naught of it. She took it and drank it off; the she rose and went to her sleeping-chamber. He waited for less than an hour till he was assured that the dose had taken effect on her and had robbed her of her senses, when he went in to her and found her thrown on her back: and she had doffed her petticoat trousers and the air raised the skirt of her shift and discovered what was between her thighs. When the King saw the statew of things and found a lighted candle at her head and another at her feet, shining upon what her thighs enshrined he took leave of his five senses for lust and Satan seduced him and he could not master himself, but put off his trousers and fell upon her and abated her maidenhead. Then he rose off her and went to one of her women, by name Marjánah, and said, "Go in to thy lady and speak with her." So she went in to her mistress and found her lying on her back insensible, with the blood running down to the calves of her legs, whereupon she took a kerchief and wiped away the blood and lay by her that night. As soon as Almighty Allah brought the dawn, the handmaid Marjanah washed her mistress's hands and feet and brought rose-water and bathed her face and mouth with it, whereupon she sneezed and yawned and cast up from her inside that bit of Bhang like a bolus.* Then she revived and washed her hands and mouth and said the Marjanah, "Tell me what hath befallen me." So she told her what had passed and how she had found her, lying on her back, with the blood running down, wherefore she knew that King Omar bin al-Nu'uman had lain with her and had undone her and taken his will of her. At this she grieved with exceeding grief and retired into privacy, saying to her damsels, "Deny me to whoso would come in to me and say to him that I am ill, till I see what Allah will do with me."....


* Here the "Bhang" (almost a generic term applied to hellebore, etc.) may be hyoscyamus or henbane. Yet there are varieties of Cannabis, such as the Dakha of South Africa, capable of most violent effect. I found the use of the drug well known to the negroes of the Southern United States and of the Brazil, although few of their owners had ever heard of it.



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