Page images

74-85 of the present work) is identical with the story told by the Parrot on the 50th Night in the Tūti Năma of Nakshabi (India Office MS. 2573), where it bears the title of "Story of the Daughter of the Kaisar of Rūm, and her trouble by reason of her Son ;" and the "Story of the King of Abyssinia" (pp. 62-72) corresponds with the 51st Night, "Story of the Daughter of the Vizier Khassa, and how she found safety through the blessing of her own purity" (for King Dadin, and his Viziers Kāmkār and Kārdār of our story, Nakshabi has King Bahrām, and the Viziers Khāssa and Khalāssa). Here the question naturally suggests itself: did Nakshabi take these two stories from the Bakhtyar Nama, or did the author of the latter borrow them from Nakshabi? It is at least a rather curious coincidence that in the Persian romance of the "Four Dervishes" (Chehar Darvish), ascribed to Amir Khusrū (about A.D. 1300), a work which is best known by its Hindustanī version, Bāgh o Bahar, or Garden and Spring, occur the names of three of the persons who figure in the Bakhtyar romance: the King, as in our work, is called Āzādbakht, his son Bakhtyar, and Bihzād is the name of a third.

Lescallier, in the Preface to his translation, makes a very extraordinary statement: he says that although

Tamul, on the same plan, entitled Hamsa Vinsati, Twenty Tales of a Hamsa, or Goose, told with the same object as that of the Parrot-to keep an amorous lady at home until her husband returns.

nothing is known regarding the authorship and date of the romance, yet the work appears to be very ancient; and remarks that there is nothing found in the book to announce the institution of Muhammadanism -the invocation of the Deity and salutation of the Prophet, at the opening of the work, he thought likely to be an interpolation of the copyists. Now the fact is, that even in his own translation allusions to the rites of Islām, if they are not of frequent occurrence, are yet sufficiently numerous to prove beyond question that the Bakhtyar Nama, as it exists at present in Persian, has been written, or modified, by a Muslim. To cite a few instances: At page 17 of Lescallier's volume, we find the King, when he had abandoned his child in the desert, represented as comparing his condition to that of Jacob the Hebrew patriarch when he believed that his son Joseph was dead. M. Lescallier could never suppose that the romance was written either by a Jew or a Christian; therefore this passage clearly came from a Muslim pen. At page 27 mention is made of the "hour of mid-day prayer," one of the five times of obligatory prayer prescribed to Muslims. At page 94 (p. 52 of the present volume) the two sons of Abū Saber are represented as having said to the merchant who purchased them of the robbers: "We are free-born and Mussulmans." At page 140 (p. 70 of this work) the cameleer and the lady reach the city "at the hour of evening prayer." Nevertheless M. Lescallier could not find anything in


the work "qui annonce l'établissement du Mahométisme!"

Since the Arabian version of the Romance of the Ten Viziers given in the French Continuation of the Thousand and One Nights, translated, as already stated, by Dom Chavis and edited by M. Cazotte, is not mentioned by M. Lescallier, we must conclude, either that he did not know of it, or that he deemed it beneath his notice. Dom Chavis and M. Cazotte have, in truth, received rather hard treatment at the hands of their critics. Dr Jonathan Scott, amongst others, must gird at Cazotte, though without the shadow of reason. In his edition of the Arabian Nights, published in 1811,* Appendix to vol. vi, referring to the English translation of the "Continuation" (see foot-note, page xxxvii), he says that "the twelve first stories in the third volume had undoubtedly an Oriental foundation: they exist, among many others, in a Persian manuscript, lately in my possession, entitled Jami'u-'l-Hikāyāt, or a Collection of Narratives. Sir William Ouseley has published a

* Arabian Nights' Entertainments. To which is added a Selection of New Tales, now first translated from the Arabic originals; also an Introduction and Notes, by Jonathan Scott, LL.D. London, 1811. 6 vols.-This edition, says Lowndes, 66 was carefully revised and corrected from the Arabic," but it is not easy to discover any of the Editor's emendations: the sixth volume consists of Scott's additional Tales, one or two of which had been better left in the "original Arabic,"

liberal* translation of them, with the Persian text, by reading which the liberties M. Cazotte has taken in the tale of 'Bohetzād and his Ten Viziers' may be fairly seen, and a reasonable conjecture formed of his amplification of all others. Sir William Ouseley's hero is named Bakht-yār, i.e., Befriended by Destiny, as in my manuscript, in that of M. Cazotte it is probably Bakht-zād, i.e., Born under a Fortunate Planet.” In this last sentence Scott has strangely blundered: the hero of the Persian Tale is certainly called Bakhtyār, but in Cazotte's version it is the King who is called Bohetzād (or Bakht-zād), and the hero, Aladdin. From these strictures of his it is very obvious that he was not aware of the existence of an Arabian version of this romance. According to Lowndes' Bibliographer's Manual, "a valuable edition of the Arabian Nights was published, in 1798, by Richard Gough, considerably enlarged, from the Paris edition, with notes of illustration, and a preface, in which the supplementary tales published by Dom Chavis are proved to be a palpable forgery." Gough's name has not come down to us in connection with the Arabian Nights-except through Lowndes, where it is but a


* Evidently a misprint for "literal," since Scott accuses Cazotte of taking liberties" with his originals, and contrasts his work with Ouseley's more accurate translation. It is curious to find, for once, at least, a misprint proving to be no error; for Ouseley's translation is in fact very "liberal," and Scott assuredly could never have compared it with the text.

name. And Habicht's Arabian text has very conclusively disproved all Gough's absurd "proofs;" and, what is more, a comparison of the Romance as given by M. Cazotte with Habicht's text will not only show that in both are the Tales of the same number and placed in the same order, but the incidents are almost invariably identical. The following is a comparative table of the order of the Tales in the "History of the Ten Viziers," as they are found in Habicht's Arabian text, Cazotte, Caussin de Perceval, the German translation, and the Persian version-of the last the order and number of the tales are alike in Ouseley, Lescallier, and the lithographed text:




C. de






I Introductory Story (King Āzadbakht)

2 History of the Merchant pursued by Ill


3 History of the Jewel Merchant

History of Abu Saber

5 History of Prince Bihzād

History of King Dādbin and his Two


7 History of Bakhtzamān

8 History of King Bihkard

9 History of Ilan Shah and Abū Temām
10 History of King Ibrahim and his Son
11 History of Sulayman Shah, his Sons, his
Niece, and their Children

As the Eleventh Day, is the Story of the Freed

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

It will be observed from this table that in Habicht's


« PreviousContinue »