📙 The Perfumed Garden

  Poetry & Prose    Books / People

الروض العاطر في نزهة الخاطر

The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight is a 15th c. Arabic sex manual and work of erotic literature by Nefzawi and was faithfully translated and then published in English edition by Sir Richard Burton. The book gives advice on sexual technique, warnings about sexual health, and recipes to remedy sexual maladies. A copy of the book is here:

Editable PDF: The Perfumed Garden

The Perfumed Garden

of the Shaykh Nefwazi

Translated by Sir Richard Burton

— 1886 —


Introduction etc.
01: Concerning Praiseworthy Men
02: Concerning Praiseworthy Women
03: Men Who Are To Be Held in Contempt
04: Women Who Are To Be Held in Contempt
05: Relating to the Act of Generation
06: Concerning the Act of Coition
07: Matters Which Are Injurious During Generation
08: Names Given to the Sexual Parts of Man
09: Names Given to the Sexual Organs of Women
10: Concerning the Organs of Generation of animals
11: On the Deceits and Treacheries of Women
12: Observations Useful to Know for Men and Women
13: Causes of Enjoyment in the Act of Generation
14: Description of the Uterus of Sterile Women
15: Causes of Impotence in Men
16: Undoing Impotence
17: Increasing the Dimensions of Small Members
18: Hygiene
19: Pregnancy
20: Conclusion

In 1999, Jim Colville published a version of Perfumed Garden translated directly from the Arabic original into the English and claimed this to be the first. On the Burton translation — which is partly based on and Arabic to French translation — Colville says, “the text is dressed up in a florid prose alien to the style of the original and many of the notes are sheer speculation. The result is a consistently exaggerated and bizarre misrepresentation of the original.” He says that on the section on “Sexual Technique” Burton’s translation is around25 pages long, lists 39 sex positions as well as 6 types of sexual movement, and gives creative names to many of these whereas his translation is 2½ pages long, and lists just 12 ‘unnamed’ sex positions… poetic licence gone absent without leave?

— § —

Introduction etc.

General Remarks about Coition

PRAISE BE GIVEN TO God, who has placed man’s greatest pleasure in the natural parts of woman, and has destined the natural parts of man to afford the greatest enjoyment to woman.

He has not endowed the parts of woman with any pleasurable or satisfactory feeling until the same have been penetrated by the instrument of the male; and likewise the sexual organs of man know neither rest nor quietness until they have entered those of the female.

Hence the mutual operation. There takes place between the two actors wrestling, intertwinings, a kind of animated conflict. Owing to the contact of the lower parts of the two bellies, the enjoyment soon comes to pass. The man is at work as with a pestle, while the woman seconds him by lascivious movements; finally comes the ejaculation.

The kiss on the mouth, on the two cheeks, upon the neck, as well as the sucking up of flesh lips, are gifts of God, destined to provoke erection at the favourable moment. God also is it who has embellished the chest of the woman with breasts, has furnished her with a double chin, and has given brilliant colours to her cheeks.

He has also gifted her with eyes that inspire love, and with eyelashes like polished blades.

He has furnished her with a rounded belly and a beautiful navel, and with a majestic crupper; and all these wonders are borne up by the thighs. It is between these latter that God has placed the arena of the combat; when the same is provided with ample flesh, it resembles the head of a lion. It is called the vulva. Oh! how many men’s deaths lie at her door? Amongst them how many heroes!

God has furnished this object with a mouth, a tongue, two lips; it is like the impression of the hoof of the gazelle in the sands of the desert.

The whole is supported by two marvellous columns, testifying to the might and the wisdom of God; they are not too long nor too short; and they are graced with knees, calves, ankles, and heels, upon which rest precious rings.

Then the Almighty has plunged woman into a sea of splendours, of voluptuousness, and of delights, and covered her with precious vestments, with brilliant girdles and provoking smiles.

So let us praise and exalt him who has created woman and her beauties, with her appetizing flesh; who has given her hails, a beautiful figure, a bosom with breasts which are swelling, and amorous ways, which awaken desires.

The Master of the Universe has bestowed upon them the empire of seduction; all men, weak or strong, are subjected to a weakness for the love of woman. Through woman we have society or dispersion, sojourn or emigration.

The state of humility in which are the hearts of those who love and are separated from the object of their love, makes their hearts burn with love’s fire; they are oppressed with a feeling of servitude, contempt and misery; they suffer under the vicissitudes of their passion: and all this as a consequence of their burning desire for contact.

I, the servant of God, am thankful to him that no one can help falling in love with beautiful women, and that no one can escape the desire to possess them, neither by change, nor flight, nor separation.

I testify that there is only one God, and that he has no associate. I shall adhere to this precious testimony to the day of the last judgment.

I likewise testify as to our lord and master, Mohammed, the servant and ambassador of God, the greatest of the prophets (the benediction and pity of God be with him and with his family and disciples!). I keep prayers and benedictions for the day of retribution, that terrible moment.

The Origin of This Work
I have written this magnificent work after a small book called The Torch of the World, which treats of the mysteries of generation.

This latter work came to the knowledge of the Vizir of our master, Abd-el-Aziz, the ruler of Tunis.

This illustrious Vizir was his poet, his companion, his friend and private secretary. He was good in council, true, sagacious and wise, the best learned man of his time, and well acquainted with all things. He called himself Mohammed ben Ouana ez Zounaoui, and traced his origin from Zounaoua. He had been brought up at Algiers, and in that town our master Abd-el-Aziz el Hafsi had made his acquaintance.

On the day when Algiers was taken, that ruler took flight with him to Tunis (which land may God preserve in his power till the day of resurrection), and named him his Grand Vizir.

When the above-mentioned book came into his hands, he sent for me, and invited me pressingly to come and see him. I went forthwith to his house, and he received me most honourably.

Three days after, he came to me and, showing me my book, said, ‘This is your work.’ Seeing me blush, he added, ‘You need not be ashamed; everything you have said in it is true; no one need be shocked at your words. Moreover, you are not the first who has treated of this matter; and I swear by God that it is necessary to know this book. It is only the shameless bore and the enemy of all science who will not read it, or will make fun of it. But there are sundry things which you will have to treat about yet.’ I asked him what these things were, and he answered, ‘I wish that you would add to the work a supplement, treating of the remedies of which you have said nothing, and adding all the facts appertaining thereto, omitting nothing. You will describe in the same the motives of the act of generation, as well as the matters that prevent it. You will mention the means for undoing spells (aiguillettes), and the way to increase the size of the virile member, when too small, and to make it resplendent. You will further cite those means which remove the unpleasant smells from the armpits and the natural parts of women, and those which will contract those parts. You will further speak of pregnancy, so as to make your book perfect and wanting in nothing. And, finally, you will have done your work, if your book satisfy all wishes.’

T replied to the Vizir: ‘Oh, my master, all you have said here is not difficult to do, if it is the pleasure of God on high.’

I forthwith went to work with the composition of this book, imploring the assistance of God (may he pour his blessing on his prophet, and may happiness and pity be with him).

I have called this work, The Perfumed Garden for the Souls Recreation (Er Roud el Âater p’nezaha el Khater).

And we pray to God, who directs everything for the best (and there is no other God than He, and there is nothing good that does not come from Him), to lend us His help, and lead us in good ways; for there is no power nor joy but in the high and mighty God.

I have divided this book into chapters, in order to make it easier reading for the taleb (student) who wishes to learn, and to facilitate his search for what he wants. Each chapter relates to a particular subject, be it physical, or anecdotal, or treating of the wiles and deceits of women.

Notes of the Translator Respecting the Sheikh Nefzaoui

The name of the Sheikh has become known to posterity as the author of this work, which is the only one attributed to him.

In spite of the subject-matter of the book, and the manifold errors found in it and caused by the negligence and ignorance of the copyists, it is manifest that this treatise comes from the pen of a man of great erudition, who had a better knowledge in general of literature and medicine than is commonly found with Arabs.

According to the historical notice contained in the first leaves of the manuscript, and notwithstanding the apparent error respecting the name oft he Bey who was reigning in Tunis, it may be presumed that this work was written in the beginning of the sixteenth century, about the year 925 of the Hegira.

As regards the birthplace of the author, it may be taken for granted, considering that the Arabs habitually joined the name of their birth-place to their own, that he was born at Nefzaoua, a town situated in the district of that name on the shore of the lake Sebkha Melrir, in the south of the kingdom of Tunis.

The Sheikh himself records that he lived in Tunis, and it is most probable the book was written in that city. According to tradition, a particular motive induced him to undertake a work entirely at variance with his simple tastes and retired habits.

His knowledge of law and literature, as well as of medicine, having been reported to the Bey of Tunis, this ruler wished to invest him with the office of Cadi, although he was unwilling to occupy himself with public functions.

As he, however, desired not to give the Bey cause for offence, whereby he might have incurred danger, he merely requested a short delay, in order to be able to finish a work which he had in hand.

This having been granted, he set himself to compose the treatise which was then Occupying his mind, and which, becoming known, drew so much attention upon the author, that it became henceforth impossible to confide to him functions of the nature of those of a Cadi.

But this version, which is not supported by any authenticated proof, and which represents the Sheikh Nefzaoui as a man of light morals, does not seem to be admissible. One need only glance at the book to be convinced that its author was animated by the most praiseworthy intentions, and that, far from being in fault, he deserves gratitude for the services he has rendered to humanity. Contrary to the habits of the Arabs, there exists no commentary on this book; the reason may, perhaps, be found in the nature of the subject of which it treats, and which may have frightened, unnecessarily, the serious and the studious. I say unnecessarily, because this book, more than any other, ought to have commentaries; grave questions are treated in it, and open out a large field for work and meditation.

What can be more important, in fact, than the study of the principles upon which rest the happiness of man and woman, by reason of their mutual relations; relations which are themselves dependent upon character, health, temperament and the constitution, all of which it is the duty of philosophers to study.

In doubtful and difficult cases, and where the ideas of the author did not seem to be clearly set out, I have not hesitated to look for enlightenment to the savants of sundry confessions, and by their kind assistance many difficulties, which I believed insurmountable, were conquered. lam glad to render them here my thanks.

Amongst the authors who have treated of similar subjects, there is not one that can be entirely compared with the Sheikh; for his book reminds you, at the same time, of Aretin, of the book Conjugal Love, and of Rabelais. But what makes this treatise unique as a book of its kind, is the seriousness with which the most lascivious and obscene matters are presented. It is evident that the author is convinced of the importance of his subject, and that the desire to be of use to his fellowmen is the sole motive of his efforts.

With the view to giving more weight to his recommendations, he does not hesitate to multiply his religious citations, and in many cases invokes even the authority of the Koran, the most sacred book of the Mussulmans.

It may be assumed that this book, without being exactly a compilation, is not entirely due to the genius of the Sheikh Nefzaoui, and that several parts may have been borrowed from Arabian and Indian writers. For instance, all the record of Mo’ailama and of Chedja is taken from the work of Mohammed ben Djerir el Taberi; the description of the different positions for coition, as well as the movements applicable to them, are borrowed from Indian works; finally, the book “Birds and Flowers” by Azeddine el Mocadecci seems to have been consulted with respect to the interpretation of dreams. But an author certainly is to be commended for having surrounded himself with the lights of former savants, and it would be ingratitude not to acknowledge the benefit which his books have conferred upon people who were still in their infancy in the art of love.

It is only to be regretted that this work, so complete in many respects, is defective in so fir as it makes no mention of a custom too common with the Arabs not to deserve particular attention. I speak of the taste so universal with the old Greeks and Romans, namely, the preference they give to a boy before a woman, or even to treat the latter as a boy.

There might have been given on this subject sound advice as well with regard to the pleasures mutually enjoyed by the women called tribades. The same reticence has been observed by the author with regard to bestiality. Nevertheless he does speak, in one story (i.e. ‘The History of Zohra’, in the concluding chapter of the work), of the mutual caresses of women; and he relates an anecdote concerning a woman who provoked the caresses of an ass [which has been eliminated from the present edition], thus revealing that he knew of such matters.

Lastly, the Sheikh does not mention the pleasures which the mouth or the hand of a pretty woman can give, nor the cunnilinges.

What may have been the motive for these omissions? The author’s silence cannot be attributed to ignorance, for in the course of his work he has given proofs of an erudition too extended and various to permit a suspicion of his knowledge.

Should we look for the cause of this gap to the contempt which the Mussulman in reality feels for woman, and owing to which he may think that it would be degrading to his dignity as a man to descend to caresses otherwise regulated than by the laws of nature? Or did the author, perhaps, avoid the mention of similar matters out of fear that he might be suspected of sharing tastes which many people look upon as depraved?

However this may be, the book contains much useful information and a large number of curious cases, and I have undertaken the translation because, as the Sheikh Nefzaoui says in his preamble: ‘I swear before God, certainly! the knowledge of this book is necessary. It will be only the shamefully ignorant, the enemy of all science, who does not read it, or who turns it into ridicule.’

— § —


Concerning Praiseworthy Men

LEARN, O Vizir (God’s blessing be upon you), that there are different sorts of men and women; that amongst these are those who are worthy of praise and those who deserve reproach.

When a meritorious man finds himself near to women, his member grows, gets strong, vigorous and hard; he is not quick to discharge, and after the trembling caused by the emission of the sperm, he is soon stiff again.

Such a man is liked and appreciated by women; this is because the woman loves the man only for the sake of coition. His member should, therefore, be of ample dimensions and length. Such a man ought to be broad in the chest, and heavy in the crupper; he should know how to regulate his emission, and be ready as to erection; his member should reach to the end of the canal of the female, and completely fill the same in all its parts. Such an one will be well beloved by women, for, as the poet says:

I have seen women trying to find in young men
The durable qualities which grace the man of full power,
The beauty, the enjoyment, the reserve, the strength,
The full-formed member providing a lengthened coition,
A heavy crupper, a slowly coming emission,
A lightsome chest, as it were floating upon them;
The spermal ejaculation slow to arrive, so as
To furnish forth a long drawn-out enjoyment.
His member soon to be prone again for erection,
To ply the plane again and again and again on their vulvas,
Such is the man whose cult gives pleasure to women,
And who will ever stand high in their esteem.

Qualities Which Women Are Looking For in Men
The tale goes, that on a certain day, Abd-el-Melik ben Merouane, went to see Leilla, his mistress, and put various questions to her. Amongst other things, he asked her what were the qualities which women looked for in men.

Leilla answered him: ‘Oh, my master, they must have cheeks like ours.’ ‘And what besides?’ said Ben Merouane. She continued: ‘And hairs like ours; finally they should be like to you, O prince of believers, for, surely, if a man is not strong and rich he will obtain nothing from women.’

Various Lengths of the Virile Member
The virile member, to please women, must have at most a length of the breadth of twelve fingers, or three handbreadths, and at least six fingers, or a hand and a half breadth.

There are men with members of twelve fingers, or three hand-breadths; others of ten fingers, or two and a half hands. And others measure eight fingers, or two hands. A man whose member is of less dimensions cannot please women.

The Use of Perfumes in Coition. The History of Mo’ilama
The use of perfumes, by man as well as by woman, excites to the act of copulation. The woman, inhaling the perfumes employed by the man, becomes intoxicated; and the use of scents has often proved a strong help to man, and assisted him in getting possession of a woman.

On this subject it is told of Mo’ilama, the impostor, the son of Kaiss–whom God may curse!), that he pretended to have the gift of prophecy, and imitated the Prophet of God (blessings and salutations to him). For which reasons he and a great number of Arabs have incurred the ire of the Almighty.

Mo’ilama, the son of Kaiss, the impostor, misconstrued likewise the Koran by his lies and impostures; and on the subject of a chapter of the Koran, which the angel Gabriel (hail be to him) had brought to the Prophet (the mercy of God and hail to him), people of bad faith had gone to see Mo&cced;ilama, who had told them, ‘To me also has the angel Gabriel brought a similar chapter.’

He derided the chapter headed ‘The Elephant,’ saying, ‘In this chapter of the Elephant I see the elephant. What is the elephant? What does it mean? What is this quadruped? It has a tail and a long trunk. Surely it is a creation of our God, the magnificent.’

The chapter of the Koran named ‘the kouter’ was also an object of controversy. He said, ‘We have given you precious stones for yourself, and preference to any other man, but take care not to be proud of them.’

Mo&cced;ilama thus perverted sundry chapters in the Koran by his lies and his impostures.

He had been at his work when he heard the Prophet (the salutation and mercy of God be with him) spoken of. He heard that after he had placed his venerable hands upon a bald head, the hair had forthwith sprung up again; that when he spat into a pit, the water came in abundantly, and that the dirty water turned at once clean and good for drinking; that when he spat into an eye that was blind or obscure, the sight was at once restored to it, and when he placed his hands upon the head of a child, saying, ‘Live for a century,’ the child lived to be a hundred years old.

When the disciples of Mo&cced;ilama saw these things or heard speak of them, they came to him and said, ‘Have you no knowledge of Mohammed and his doings?’ He replied, ‘I shall do better than that.’

Now, Mo&cced;ilama was an enemy of God, and when he put his luckless hand on the head of someone who had not much hair, the man was at once quite bald; when he spat into a well with a scanty supply of water, sweet as it was, it was turned dirty by the will of God; if he spat into a suffering eye, that eye lost its sight at once, and when he laid his hand upon the head of an infant, saying, ‘Live a hundred years,’ the infant died within an hour.

Observe. my brethren, what happens to those whose eyes remain closed to the light, and who are deprived of the assistance of the Almighty!

And thus acted that woman of the Beni-Temim, called Chedjâ el Temimia, who pretended to be a prophetess. She had heard of Mo&cced;ilama, and he likewise of her.

This woman was powerful, for the Beni-Temim form a numerous tribe. She said, ‘Prophecy cannot belong to two persons. Either he is a prophet, and then I and my disciples will follow his laws, or I am a prophetess, and then he and his disciples will follow my laws.’

This happened after the death of the Prophet (the salutation and mercy of God be with him).

Chedjâ then wrote to Mo&cced;ailama a letter, in which she told him, ‘It is not proper that two persons should at one and the same time profess prophecy; it is for one only to be a prophet. We will meet, we and our disciples, and examine each other. We shall discuss about that which has come to us from God (the Koran), and we will follow the laws of him who shall be acknowledged as the true prophet.’

She then closed her letter and gave it to a messenger, saying to him: ‘Betake yourself, with this missive, to Yamama, and give it to Mo&cced;ailama ben Kaiss. As for myself, I follow you, with the army.’

Next day the prophetess mounted horse, with her goum, and followed the spoor of her envoy. When the latter arrived at Mo&cced;ailama’s place, he greeted him and gave him the letter.

Mo&cced;ilama opened and read it, and understood its contents. He was dismayed, and began to advise with the people of his goum, one after another, but he did not see anything in their advice or in their views that could rid him of his embarrassment.

While he was in this perplexity, one of the superior men of his goum came forward and said to him: ‘Oh, Mo&cced;ilama, calm your soul and cool your eye. I will give you the advice of a father to his son.’

Mo&cced;ilama said to him: ‘Speak, and may thy words be true.’

And the other one said: ‘Tomorrow morning erect outside the city a tent of coloured brocades, provided with silk furniture of all sorts. Fill the tent afterwards with a variety of different perfumes, amber, musk, and all sorts of scents, as rose, orange flowers, jonquils, jessamine, hyacinth, carnation and other plants. This done, have them placed there several gold censers filled with green aloes, ambergris, net and so on. Then fix the hangings so that nothing of these perfumes can escape out of the tent. Then, when you find the vapour strong enough to impregnate water, sit down on your throne, and send for the prophetess to come and see you in the tent, where she will be alone with you. When you are thus together there, and she inhales the perfumes, she will delight in the same, all her bones will be released in a soft repose, and finally she will be swooning. When you see her thus far gone, ask her to grant you her favours; she will not hesitate to accord them. Having once possessed her, you will be freed of the embarrassment caused to you by her and her goum.’

Mo&cced;ilama exclaimed: ‘You have spoken well. As God lives, your advice is good and well thought out.’ And he had everything arranged accordingly.

When he saw that the perfumed vapour was dense enough to impregnate the water in the tent he sat down upon his throne and sent for the prophetess. On her arrival he gave orders to admit her into the tent; she entered and remained alone with him. He engaged her in conversation.

While Mo&cced;ilama spoke to her she lost all her presence of mind, and became embarrassed and confused.

When he saw her in that state he knew that she desired cohabitation, and he said: ‘Come, rise and let me have possession of you; this place has been prepared for that purpose. If you like you may lie on your back, or you can place yourself on an fours, or kneel as in prayer, with your brow touching the ground, and your crupper in the air, forming a tripod. Whichever position you prefer, speak, and you shall be satisfied.’

The prophetess answered, ‘I want it done in all ways. Let the revelation of God descend upon me, O Prophet of the Almighty.’

He at once precipitated himself upon her, and enjoyed her as he liked. She then said to him, ‘When I am gone from here, ask my goum to give me to you in marriage.’

When she had left the tent and met her disciples, they said to her, ‘What is the result of the conference, O prophetess of God?’ and she replied, ‘Mo&cced;ilama has shown me what has been revealed to him, and I found it to be the truth, so obey him.’

Then Mo&cced;ilama asked her in marriage from the goum, which was accorded to him. When the goum asked about the marriage-dowry of his future wife, he told them, ‘I dispense you from saying the prayer aceur (which is said at three or four o’clock). Ever from that time the Beni-Temim do not pray at that hour; and when they are asked the reason, they answer, ‘It is on account of our prophetess; she only knows the way to the truth.’ And, in fact, they recognized no other prophet.

On this subject a poet has said:

For us a female prophet has arisen;
Her laws we follow; for the rest of mankind
The prophets that appeared were always men.

The death of Mo&cced;ilama was foretold by the prophecy of Abou Beker (to whom God be good). He was, in fact, killed by Zeid ben Khettab. Other people say it was done by Ouhcha, one of his disciples. God only knows whether it was Ouhcha. He himself says on this point, ‘I have killed in my ignorance the best of men, Haman ben Abd el Mosaleb, and then I killed the worst of men, Mo&cced;ailama. I hope that God will pardon one of these actions in consideration of the other.’

The meaning of these words, ‘I have killed the best of men’, is that Ouhcha, before having yet known the prophet, had killed Haman (to whom God be good), and having afterwards embraced Islamism, he killed Mo&cced;ilama.

As regards Chedjâ el Temimia, she repented by God’s grace, and took to the Islamitic faith; she married one of the Prophet’s followers (God be good to her husband).

Thus finishes the story.

The man who deserves favours is, in the eyes of women, the one who is anxious to please them. He must be of good presence, excel in beauty those around him, be of good shape and well-formed proportions; true and sincere in his speech with women; he must likewise be generous and brave, not vainglorious, and pleasant in conversation. A slave to his promise, he must always keep his word, ever speak the truth, and do what he has said.

The man who boasts of his relations with women, of their acquaintance and good will to him, is a dastard. He will be spoken of in the next chapter.

There is a story that once there lived a King named Mamoum, who had a court fool of the name of Bahloul, who amused the princes and Vizirs.

One day this buffoon appeared before the King, who was amusing himself. The King bade him to sit down, and then asked him, turning away, ‘Way hast thou come, O son of a bad woman?’

Bahloul answered, ‘I have come to see what has come to our Lord, whom may God make victorious.’

‘And what has come to thee?’ replied the King, ‘and how art thou getting on with thy new and with thy old wife?’ For Bahloul, not content with one wife, had married a second one.

‘I am not happy,’ he answered, ‘neither with the old one, nor with the new one: and moreover poverty overpowers me.’

The King said, ‘Can you recite any verses on this subject?’

The buffoon having answered in the affirmative, Mamoum commanded him to recite those he knew, and Bahloul began as follows:

Poverty holds me in chains; misery torments me:
I am being scourged with all misfortunes;
Ill luck has cast me in trouble and peril,
And has drawn upon me the contempt of man.
God does not favour a poverty like mine;
That is opprobrious in every one’s eyes.
Misfortune and misery for a long time
Have held me tightly; and no doubt of it
My dwelling house will soon not know me more.
Mamoum said to him, ‘Where are you going to?’

He replied, ‘To God and his Prophet, O prince of the believers.’

‘That is well!’ said the King; ‘those who take refuge in God and his Prophet and then in us, will be made welcome. But can you now tell me some more verses about your two wives, and about what comes to pass with them?’

Certainly,’ said Bahloul.

‘Then let us hear what you have to say!’

Bahloul then began thus with poetical words:

By reason of my ignorance I have married two wives –
And why do you complain, O husband of two wives?
I said to myself, I shall be like a lamb between them;
I shall take my pleasure upon the bosoms of my two sheep,
And I have become like a ram between two female jackals,
Days follow upon days, and nights upon nights,
And their yoke bears me down during both days and nights.
If I am kind to one, the other gets vexed.
And so I cannot escape from these two furies.
If you want to live well and with a free heart,
And with your hands unclenched, then do not marry.
If you must wed, then marry one wife only:
One alone is enough to satisfy two armies

When Mamoum heard these words he began to laugh, till he nearly tumbled over. Then, as a proof of his kindness, he gave to Bahloul his golden robe, a most beautiful vestment.

Bahloul went in high spirits towards the dwelling of the Grand Vizir. Just then Hamdonna looked from the height of her palace in that direction, and saw him. She said to her negress, ‘By the God of the temple of Mecca! There is Bahloul dressed in a fine gold-worked robe! How can I manage to get possession of the same?’

The negress said, ‘Oh, my mistress, you would not know how to get hold of that robe.’

Hamdonna answered, ‘I have thought of a trick whereby to achieve my ends, and I shall get the robe from him.’ ‘Bahloul is a sly man,’ replied the negress. ‘People think generally that they can make fun of him; but for God, it is he who really makes fun of them. Give up the idea, mistress mine, and take care that you do not fall into the snare which you intend setting for him.’

But Hamdonna said again, ‘It must be done!’ She then sent her negress to Bahloul, to tell him that he should come to her.

He said, ‘By the blessing of God, to him who calls you, you shall make answer,’ and went to Hamdonna.

Hamdonna welcomed him and said: ‘Oh, Bahloul, I believe you come to hear me sing.’ He replied: ‘Most certainly, oh, my mistress! You have a marvellous gift for singing.’

‘I also think that after having listened to my songs, you will be pleased to take some refreshments.’

‘Yes,’ said he.

Then she began to sing admirably, so as to make people who listened die with love.

After Bahloul had heard her sing, refreshments were served; he ate, and he drank Then she said to him: ‘I do not know why, but I fancy you would gladly take off your robe, to make me a present of it.’ And Bahloul answered: ‘Oh, my mistress! I have sworn to give it to her to whom I have done as a man does to a woman.’

‘Do you know what that is, Bahloul?’ said she.

‘Do I know it?’ replied he. ‘I, who am instructing God’s creatures in that science? It is I who make them copulate in love, who initiate them in the delights a female can give, show them how one must caress a woman, and what will excite and satisfy her. Oh, my mistress, who should know the art of coition if it is not I?’

Hamdonna was the daughter of Mamoum, and the wife of the Grand Vizir. She was endowed with the most perfect beauty; of a superb figure and harmonious form. No one in her time surpassed her in grace and perfection. Heroes on seeing her became humble and submissive, and looked down to the ground for fear of temptation, so many charms and perfections had God lavished on her. Those who looked steadily at her were troubled in their mind, and oh! how many heroes imperilled themselves for her sake. For this very reason Bahloul had always avoided meeting her for fear of succumbing to the temptation; and, apprehensive for his peace of mind, had never, until then, been in her presence.

Bahloul began to converse with her. Now he looked at her and anon bent his eyes to the ground, fearful of not being able to command his passion. Hamdonna burnt with desire to have the robe, and he would not give it up without king paid for it.

‘What price do you demand,’ she asked. To which he replied, ‘Coition, O apple of my eye.’

‘You know what that is, O Bahloul?’ said she.

‘By God,’ he cried; ‘no man knows women better than I; they are the occupation of my life. No one has studied all their concerns more than I. I know what they are fond of; for learn, oh, lady mine, that men choose different occupations according to their genius and their bent. The one takes, the other gives; this one sells, the other buys. My only thought is of love and of the possession of beautiful women. I heal those that are lovesick, and carry a solace to their thirsting vaginas.’

Hamdonna was surprised at his words and the sweetness of his language. ‘Could you recite me some verses on this subject?’ she asked.

‘Certainly,’ he answered.

‘Very well, O Bahloul, let me hear what you have to say.’ Bahloul recited as follows:

Men are divided according to their affairs and doings;
Some are always in spirits and joyful, others in tears.
There are those whose life is restless and full of misery,
While, on the contrary, others are steeped in good fortune,
Always in luck’s happy way, and favoured in all things.
I alone am indifferent to all such matters.
What care I for Turkomans, Persians, and Arabs?
My whole ambition is in love and coition with women,
No doubt nor mistake about that!
If my member is without vulva, my state becomes frightful,
My heart then burns with a fire which cannot be quenched.
Look at my member erect! There it is–admire its beauty!
It calms the heat of love and quenches the hottest fires
By its movement in and out between your thighs.
Oh, my hope and my apple, oh, noble and generous lady,
If one time will not suffice to appease thy fire,
I shall do it again, so as to give satisfaction;
No one may reproach thee, for all the world does the same.
But if you choose to deny me, then send me away!
Chase me away from thy presence without any fear or remorse!
Yet bethink thee, and speak and augment not my trouble,
But, in the name of God, forgive me and do not reproach me.
While I am here let thy words be kind and forgiving.
Let them not fall upon me like sword-blades, keen and cuffing!
Let me come to you and do not repel me.
Let me come to you like one that brings drink to the thirsty;
Hasten and let my hungry eyes look at thy bosom.
Do not withhold from me love’s joys, and do not be bashful,
Give yourself up to me–I shall never cause you trouble,
Even were you to fill me with sickness from head to foot.
I shall always remain as I am, and you as you are,
Knowing that I am the servant, and you are the mistress ever.
Then shall our love be veiled? It shall be hidden for all time,
For I keep it a secret and I shall be mute and muzzled.
It is by God’s will that everything happens,
And he has filled me with love; but today my luck is ill.

While Hamdonna was listening she nearly swooned, and set herself to examine the member of Bahloul, which stood erect like a column between his thighs. Now she said to herself: ‘I shall give myself up to him,’ and now, ‘No I will not.’ During this uncertainty she felt a yearning for pleasure deep within her parts privy; and Eblis made flow from her natural parts a moisture, the forerunner of pleasure. She then no longer combated her desire to cohabit with him, and reassured herself by the thought: ‘If this Bahloul, after having had his pleasure with me, should divulge it no one will believe his words.’

— § —


Concerning Women Who Deserve To Be Praised

Know, O Vizir (and the mercy of God be with you!), that there are women of all sorts; that there are such as are worthy of praise, and such is deserve nothing but contempt.

In order that a woman may be relished by men, she must have a perfect waist, and must be plump and lusty. Her hair will be black her forehead wide, she will have eyebrows of Ethiopian blackness, large black eyes, with the whites in them very limpid. With cheek of perfect oval, she will have an elegant nose and a graceful mouth; lips and tongue vermilion; her breath will be of pleasant odour, her throat long, her neck strong, her bust and her belly large; her breasts must be full and firm, her belly in good proportion, and her navel well-developed and marked; the lower part of the belly is to be large, the vulva projecting and fleshy, from the point where the hairs grow, to the buttocks; the conduit must be narrow and not moist, soft to the touch, and emitting a strong heat and no bad smell; she must have the thighs and buttocks hard, the hips large and full, a waist of fine shape, hands and feet of striking elegance, plump arms, and well-developed shoulders.

If one looks at a woman with those qualities in front, one is fascinated; if from behind, one dies with pleasure. Looked at sitting, she is a rounded dome; lying, a soft-bed; standing, the staff of a standard. When she is walking, her natural parts appear as set off under her clothing. She speaks and laughs rarely, and never without a reason. She never leaves the house, even to see neighbours of her acquaintance. She has no women friends, gives her confidence to nobody, and her husband is her sole reliance. She takes nothing from anyone, excepting from her husband and her parents. If she sees relatives, she does not meddle with their affairs. She is not treacherous, and has no faults to hide, nor bad reasons to proffer. She does not try to entice people. If her husband shows his intention of performing the conjugal rite, she is agreeable to his desires and occasionally even provokes them. She assists him always in his affairs, and is sparing in complaints and tears; she does not laugh or rejoice when she sees her husband moody or sorrowful, but shares his troubles, and wheedles him into good humour, till he is quite content again. She does not surrender herself to anybody but her husband, even if abstinence would kill her. She hides her secret parts, and does not allow them to be seen; she is always elegantly attired, of the utmost personal propriety, and takes care not to let her husband see what might be repugnant to him. She perfumes herself with scents, uses antimony for her toilets, and cleans her teeth with souak.

Such a woman is cherished by all men.

The Story of the Negro Dorérame
The story goes, and God knows its truth, that there was once a powerful King who had a large kingdom, armies and allies. His name was Ali ben Direme.

One night, not being able to sleep at all, he called his Vizir, the Chief of the Police, and the Commander of his Guards. They presented themselves before him without delay, and he ordered them to arm themselves with their swords. They did so at once, and asked him, ‘What news is there?’

He told them: ‘Sleep will not come to me; I wish to walk through the town tonight, and I must have you ready at my hand during my round.’

‘To hear is to obey,’ they replied.

The King then left, saying: ‘In the name of God! and may the blessing of the Prophet be with us, and benediction and mercy be with him.’

His suite followed, and accompanied him everywhere from street to street.

So they went on, until they heard a noise in one of the streets, and saw a man in the most violent passion stretched on the ground, face downwards, beating his breast with a stone and crying, ‘All there is no longer any justice here below! Is there nobody who will tell the King what is going on in his states?’ And he repeated incessantly: ‘There is no longer any justice! she has disappeared and the whole world is in mourning.’

The King said to his attendants, ‘Bring this man to me quietly, and be careful not to frighten him.’ They went to him, took him by the hand, and said to him, ‘Rise and have no fear–no harm will come to you.’

To which the man made answer, ‘You tell me that I shall not come to harm, and have nothing to be afraid of, and still you do not bid me welcome! And you know that the welcome of a believer is a warrant of security and forgiveness. Then, if the believer does not welcome the believer there is certainly ground for fear.’ He then got up, and went with them towards the King.

The King stood still, hiding his face with his haik, as also did his attendants. The latter had their swords in their hands, and leant upon them.

When the man had come close to the King, he said, ‘Greetings be with you, O man!’ The King answered, ‘I return your greetings, O man!’ Then the man, ‘Why say you “O man?”‘ The King, ‘And why did you say “O man?”‘ ‘It is because I do not know your name.’ ‘And likewise I do not know yours!’

The King then asked him, ‘What mean these words I have heard: “Ah! there is no more justice here below! Nobody tells the King what is going on in his states!” Tell me what has happened to you.’ ‘I shall tell it only to that man who can avenge me and free me from oppression and shame, if it so please Almighty God!’

The King said to him, ‘May God place me at your disposal for your revenge and deliverance from oppression and shame!’

‘What I shall now tell you,’ said the man, ‘is marvellous and surprising. I loved a woman, who loved me also, and we were united in love. These relations lasted a long while, until an old woman enticed my mistress and took her away to a house of misfortune, shame and debauchery. Then sleep fled from my couch; I have lost all my happiness, and I have fallen into the abyss of misfortune.’

The King then said to him, ‘Which is that house of ill omen, and with whom is the woman?’

The man replied, ‘She is with a negro of the name of Dorérame, who has at his house women beautiful as the moon, the likes of whom the King has not in his palace. He has a mistress who has a profound love for him, is entirely devoted to him, and who sends him all he wants in the way of silver, beverages and clothing.’

Then the man stopped speaking. The King was much surprised at what he had heard, but the Vizir, who had not missed a word of this conversation, had certainly made out, from what the man had said, that the negro was no other than his own.

The King requested the man to show him the house.

‘If I show it you, what will you do?’ asked the man.

‘You will see what I shall do,’ said the King. ‘You will not be able to do anything,’ replied the man, ‘for it is a place which must be respected and feared. If you want to enter it by force you will risk death, for its master is redoubtable by means of his strength and courage.’

‘Show me the place,’ said the King, ‘and have no fear.’ The man answered, ‘So be it as God will!’

He then rose, and walked before them. They followed him to a wide street, where he stopped in front of a house with lofty doors, the walls being on all sides high and inaccessible.

They examined the walls, looking for a place where they might be scaled, but with no result. To their surprise they found the house to be as close as a breastplate.

The King, turning to the man, asked him, ‘What is your name?’

‘Omar ben Isad,’ he replied.

The King said to him, ‘Omar, are you determined?’

‘Yes, my brother,’ answered he, ‘if it so pleases God on high!’ And turning to the King he added, ‘May God assist you tonight!’

Then the King, addressing his attendants, said, ‘Are you determined? Is there one amongst you who could scale these walls?’

‘Impossible!’ they all replied.

Then said the King, ‘I myself will scale this wall, so please God on high! but by means of an expedient for which I require your assistance, and if you lend me the same I shall scale the wall, if it pleases God on high.’

They said, ‘What is there to be done?’

‘Tell me,’ said the King, ‘who is the strongest amongst you.’ They replied, ‘The Chief of the Police, who is your Chaouch.’

The King said, ‘And who next?’

‘The Commander of the Guards.’

‘And after him, who?’ asked the King.

‘The Grand Vizir.’

Omar listened with astonishment. He knew now that it was the King, and his joy was great.

The King said, ‘Who is there yet?’

Omar replied, ‘I, O my master.’

The King said to him, ‘O Omar, you have found out who we are; but do not betray our disguise, and you will be absolved from blame.’

‘To hear is to obey,’ said Omar.

The King then said to the Chaouch, ‘Rest your hands against the wall so that your back projects.’

The Chaouch did so.

Then said the King to the Commander of the Guards, ‘Mount upon the back of the Chaouch.’ He did so, and stood with his feet on the other man’s shoulders. Then the King ordered the Vizir to mount, and he got on the shoulders of the Commander of the Guards, and put his hands against the wall.

Then said the King, ‘O Omar, mount upon the highest place!’ And Omar, surprised by this expedient, cried, ‘May God lend you his help, O our master, and assist you in your just enterprise!’ He then got on to the shoulders of the Chaouch, and from there upon the back of the Commander of the Guards, and then upon that of the Vizir, and, standing upon the shoulders of the latter, he took the same position as the others. There was now only the King left.

Then the King said, ‘In the name of God! and his blessing be with the prophet, upon whom be the mercy and salutation of God!’ and, placing his hand upon the back of the Chaouch, he said, ‘Have a moment’s patience; if I succeed you will be compensated!’ He then did the same with the others, until he got upon Omar’s back, to whom he also said, ‘O Omar, have a moment’s patience with me, and I shall name you my private secretary. And, of all things, do not move!’ Then, placing his feet upon Omar’s shoulders, the King could with his hands grasp the terrace; and crying, ‘In the name of God! may he pour his blessings upon the Prophet, on whom be the mercy and salutation of God!’ he made a spring, and stood upon the terrace.

Then he said to his attendants, ‘Descend now from each other’s shoulders!’

And they got down one after another, and they could not help admiring the ingenious idea of the King, as well as the strength of the Chaouch who carried four men at once.

The King then began to look for a place for descending, but found no passage. He unrolled his turban, fixed one end with a single knot at the place where he was, and let himself down into the courtyard, which he explored until he found the portal in the middle of the house fastened with an enormous lock. The solidity of this lock, and the obstacle it created, gave him a disagreeable surprise. He said to himself, ‘I am now in difficulty, but all comes from God; it was he who gave me the strength and the idea that brought me here; he will also provide the means for me to return to my companions.’

He then set himself to examine the place where he found himself, and counted the chambers one after another. He found seventeen chambers or rooms, furnished in different styles, with tapestries and velvet hangings of various colours, from the first to the last.

Examining all round, he saw a place raised by seven stairsteps, from which issued a great noise from voices. He went up to it, saying, ‘O God! favour my project, and let me come safe and sound out of here.

He mounted the first step, saying, ‘In the name of God the compassionate and merciful!’ Then he began to look at the steps, which were of variously coloured marble–black, red, white, yellow, green and other shades.

Mounting the second step, he said, ‘He whom God helps is invincible!’

On the third step he said, ‘With the aid of God the victory is near.’

And on the fourth, ‘I have asked victory of God, who is the most puissant auxiliary.’

Finally he mounted the fifth, sixth, and seventh steps, invoking the prophet (with whom be the mercy and salvation of God).

He then arrived at the curtain hanging at the entrance; it was of red brocade. From there he examined the room, which was bathed in light, filled with many chandeliers, and candles burning in golden sconces. In the middle of this saloon played a jet of musk-water. A tablecloth extended from end to end, covered with sundry meats and fruits.

The saloon was provided with gilt furniture, the splendour of which dazzled the eye. In fact, everywhere, there were ornaments of all kinds.

On looking closer the King ascertained that round the tablecloth there were twelve maidens and seven women, all like moons; he was astonished at their beauty and grace. There were likewise with them seven negroes and this sight filled him with surprise. His attention was above all attracted by a woman like the full moon, of perfect beauty, with black eyes, oval cheeks, and a lithe and graceful waist; she humbled the hearts of those who became enamoured of her.

Stupefied by her beauty, the King was as one stunned. He then said to himself ‘How is there any getting out of this place? O my spirit, do not give way to love!’

And continuing his inspection of the room, he perceived in the hands of those who were present, glasses filled with wine. They were drinking and eating, and it was easy to see they were overcome with drink.

While the King was pondering how to escape his embarrassment, he heard one of the women saying to one of her companions, calling her by name, ‘Oh, so and so, rise and light a torch, so that we two can go to bed, for sleep is overpowering us. Come, light the torch, and let us retire to the other chamber.’

They rose and lifted up the curtain to leave the room. The King hid himself to let them pass; then, perceiving that they had left their chamber to do a thing necessary and obligatory in human kind, he took advantage of their absence, entered their apartment, and hid himself in a cupboard.

Whilst he was thus in hiding the women returned and shut the doors. Their reason was obscured by the fumes of wine; they pulled off all their clothes and began to caress each other mutually.

The King said to himself, ‘Omar has told me true about this house of misfortune as an abyss of debauchery.’

When the women had fallen asleep the King rose, extinguished the light, undressed, and lay down between the two. He had taken care during their conversation to impress their names on his memory. So he was able to say to one of them, ‘You, so and so, where have you put the door-keys?’ speaking very low.

The woman answered, ‘Go to sleep, you whore, the keys are in their usual place.’

The King said to himself, ‘There is no might and strength but in God the Almighty and Benevolent!’ and was much troubled.

And again he asked the woman about the keys, saying, ‘Daylight is coming. I must open the doors. There is the sun. I am going to open the house.’

And she answered, ‘The keys are in the usual place. Why do you thus bother me? Sleep, I say, till it is day.’

And again the King said to himself, ‘There is no might and strength but in God the Almighty and Benevolent, and surely if it were not for the fear of God I should run my sword through her.’ Then he began again, ‘Oh, you, so and so!’

She said, ‘What do you want?’

‘I am uneasy,’ said the King, ‘about the keys; tell me where they are.’

And she answered, ‘You hussy! Does your vulva itch for coition? Cannot you do without for a single night? Look! the Vizir’s wife has withstood all the entreaties of the negro, and repelled him since six months! Go the keys are in the negro’s pocket. Do not say to him, “Give me the keys;” but say, “Give me your member.” You know his name is Dorérame.’

The King was now silent, for he knew what to do. He waited a short time till the woman was asleep; then he dressed himself in her clothes, and concealed his sword under them; his face he hid under a veil of red silk. Thus dressed he looked like other women. Then he opened the door, stole softly out, and placed himself behind the curtains of the saloon entrance. He saw only some people sitting there; the remainder were asleep.

The King made the following silent prayer, ‘O my soul, let me follow the right way, and let all those people among whom I find myself be stunned with drunkenness, so that they cannot know the King from his subjects, and God give me strength.’

He then entered the saloon saying: ‘In the name of God!’ and he tottered towards the bed of the negro as if drunk. The negroes and the women took him to be the woman whose attire he had taken.

Dorérame had a great desire to have his pleasure with that woman, and when he saw her sit down by the bed he thought that she had broken her sleep to come to him, perhaps for love games. So he said, ‘Oh, you, so and so, undress and get into my bed, I shall soon be back’

The King said to himself, ‘There is no might and strength but in the High God, the Benevolent!’ Then he searched for the keys in the clothes and pockets of the negro, but found nothing. He said, ‘God’s will be done!’ Then raising his eyes, he saw a high window; he reached up with his arm, and found gold-embroidered garments there; he slipped his hands into the pockets, and, oh, surprise! he found the keys. He examined then’ and counted seven, corresponding to the number of the doors of the house, and in his joy, he exclaimed, ‘God, be praised and glorified!’ Then he said, ‘I can only get out of here by a ruse.’ Then feigning sickness, and appearing as if he wanted to vomit violently, he held his hand before his mouth, and hurried to the centre of the courtyard. The negro said to him, ‘God bless you! oh, so and so! any other woman would have been sick into the bed!’

‘The King then went to the inner door of the house, and opened it; he closed it behind him, and so from one door to the other, till he came to the seventh, which opened upon the street. Here he found his companions agaIn, who had been in great anxiety, and who asked him what he had seen?

Then said the King: ‘This is not the time to answer. Let us go into this house with the blessing of God and with his help.’

They resolved to be upon their guard, there being in the house seven negroes twelve maidens, and seven women, beautiful as moons.

The Vizir asked the King, ‘What garments are these?’ And the King answered, ‘Be silent; without them I should never have got the keys.’

He then went to the chamber where were the two women, with whom he had been lying, took off the clothes in which he was dressed, and resumed his own, taking good care of his sword. Repairing to the saloon, where the negroes and the women were, he and his companions ranged themselves behind the door curtain.

After having looked into the saloon, they said, ‘Amongst all these women there is none more beautiful than the one seated on the elevated cushion!’ The King said, ‘I reserve her for myself, if she does not belong to someone else.’

While they were examining the interior of the saloon, Dorérame descended from the bed, and after him one of those beautiful women. Then another negro got on the bed with another woman, and soon till the seventh. They rode them in this way, one after the other, excepting the beautiful woman mentioned above, and the maidens. Each of these women appeared to mount upon the bed with marked reluctance, and descended, after the coition was finished, with her head bent down.

The negroes, however, were lusting after, and pressing one after the other, the beautiful woman. But she spurned them all, saying, ‘I shall never consent to it, and as to these virgins, I take them also under my protection.’

Dorérame then rose and went up to her, holding in his hands his member in full erection, stiff as a pillar. He hit her with it on the face and head, saying, ‘Six times this night I have pressed you to cede to my desires, and you always refuse; but now I must have you, even this night.’

When the woman saw the stubbornness of the negro and the state of drunkenness he was in, she tried to soften him by promises. ‘Sit down here by me,’ she said, ‘and tonight thy desires shall be contented.’

The negro sat down near her with his member still erect as a column. The King could scarcely master his surprise.

Then the woman began to sing the following verses, intoning them from the bottom of her heart:

I prefer a young man for coition, and him only;
He is full of courage–he is my sole ambition,
His member is strong to deflower the virgin,
And richly proportioned in all its dimensions;
It has a head like to a brazier.
Enormous, and none like it in creation;
Strong it is and hard, with the head rounded off.
It is always ready for action and does not die down;
It never sleeps, owing to the violence of its love.
It sighs to enter my vulva, and sheds tears on my belly;
It asks not for help, not being in want of any;
It has no need of an ally, and stands alone the greatest fatigues,
And nobody can be sure of what will result from its efforts.
Full of vigour and life, it bores into my vagina,
And it works about there in action constant and splendid.
First from the front to the back, and then from the right to the left;
Now it is crammed hard in by vigorous pressure,
Now it rubs its head on the orifice of my vagina.
And he strokes my back, my stomach, my sides,
Kisses my cheeks, and anon begins to suck at my lips.
He embraces me close, and makes me roll on the bed,
And between his arms I am like a corpse without life.
Every part of my body receives in turn his love-bites,
And he covers me with kisses of fire;
When he sees me in heat he quickly comes to me,
Then he opens my thighs and kisses my belly,
And puts his tool in my hand to make it knock at my door.
Soon he is in the cave, and I feel pleasure approaching.
He shakes me and trills me, and hotly we both are working,
And he says, ‘Receive my seed!’ and I answer, ‘Oh give it beloved one!
It shall be welcome to me, you light of my eyes!
Oh, you man of all men, who fillest me with pleasure.
Oh, you soul of my soul, go on with fresh vigour,
For you must not yet withdraw it from me; leave it there,
And this day will then be free of all sorrow.
He had sworn to God to have me for seventy nights,
And what he wished for he did, in the way of kisses and embraces, during all those nights.

When she had finished, the King, in great surprise, said, ‘How lascivious has God made this woman.’ And turning to his companions, ‘There is no doubt that this woman has no husband, and has not been debauched, for, certainly that negro is in love with her, and she has nevertheless repulsed him.’

Omar ben Isad took the word, ‘This is true, O King! Her husband has been now away for nearly a year, and many men have endeavoured to debauch her, but she has resisted.’

The King asked, ‘Who is her husband?’ And his companions answered, ‘She is the wife of the son of your father’s Vizir.’

The King replied, ‘You speak true; I have indeed heard it said that the son of my father’s Vizir had a wife without fault, endowed with beauty and perfection and of exquisite shape; not adulterous and innocent of debauchery.’

‘This is the same woman,’ said they.

The King said, ‘No matter how, but I must have her,’ and turning to Omar, he added, ‘Where, amongst these women, is your mistress?’ Omar answered, ‘I do not see her, O King!’ upon which the King said, ‘Have patience, I will show her to you.’ Omar was quite surprised to find that the King knew so much. ‘And this then is the negro Dorérame?’ asked the King. ‘Yes, and he is a slave of mine,’ answered the Vizir. ‘Be silent, this is not the time to speak,’ said the King.

While this of course was going on, the negro Dorérame, still desirous of obtaining the favours of that lady, said to her, ‘I am tired of your lies, O Beder el Bedour’ (full moon of the full moons), for so she called herself.

The King said, ‘He who called her so called her by her true name, for she is the fall moon of the full moons, afore God!’

However, the negro wanted to draw the woman away with him, and hit her in the face.

The King, mad with jealousy, and with his heart full of ire, said to the Vizir, ‘Look what your negro is doing! By God! he shall die the death of a villain, and I shall make an example of him, and a warning to those who would imitate him!’

At that moment the King heard the lady say to the negro, ‘You are betraying your master the Vizir with his wife, and now you betray her, in spite of your intimacy with her and the favours she grants to you. And surely she loves you passionately, and you are pursuing another woman!’

The King said to the Vizir, ‘Listen, and do not speak a word.’ The lady then rose and returned to the place where she had been before, and began to recite:

Oh, men! listen to what I say on the subject of woman,
Her thirst for coition is written between her eyes.
Do not put trust in her vows, even were she the Sultan’s daughter.
Woman’s malice is boundless; not even the king of kings
Would suffice to subdue it, whate’er be his might.
Men, take heed and shun the love of woman!
Do not say, ‘Such a one is my well beloved’;
Do not say, ‘She is my life’s companion.’
If I deceive you, then say my words are untruths.
As long as she is with you in bed, you have her love,
But a woman’s love is not enduring, believe me.
Lying upon her breast, you are her love-treasure;
Whilst the coition goes on, you have her love, poor fool!
But, anon, she looks upon you as a fiend;
And this is a fact undoubted and certain.
The wife receives the slave in the bed of the master,
And the serving-men allay upon her their lust
Certain it is, such conduct is not to be praised and honoured.
But the virtue of women is frail and changeful,
And the man thus deceived is looked upon with contempt.
Therefore a man with a heart should not put trust in a woman.

At these words the Vizir began to cry, but the King bade him to be quiet. Then the negro recited the following verses in response to those of the lady:

We negroes have had our fill of women,
We fear not their tricks, however subtle they be.
Men confide in us with regard to what they cherish.
This is no lie, remember, but is the truth, as you know.
Oh, you women all! for sure you have no patience when the virile member you are wanting,
For in the same resides your life and death;
It is the end and all of your wishes, secret or open.
If your choler and ire are aroused against your husbands,
They appease you simply by introducing their members.
Your religion resides in your vulva, and the manly member is your soul.
Such you will always find is the nature of woman.
With that, the negro threw himself upon the woman, who pushed him back.

At this moment, the King felt his heart oppressed; he drew his sword, as did his companions, and they entered the room. The negroes and women saw nothing but brandished swords.

One of the negroes rose, and rushed upon the King and his companions, but the Chaouch severed with one blow his head from his body. The King cried, ‘God’s blessing upon you! Your arm is not withered and your mother has not borne a weakling. You have struck down your enemies, and paradise shall be your dwelling and place of rest!’

Another negro got up and aimed a blow at the Chaouch, which broke the sword of the Chaouch in twain. It had been a beautiful weapon, and the Chaouch, on seeing it ruined, broke out into the most violent passion; he seized the negro by the arm, lifted him up, and threw him against the wall, breaking his bones. Then the King cried, ‘God is great. He has not dried up your hand. Oh, what a Chaouch! God grant you his blessing.’

‘The negroes, when they saw this, were cowed and silent, and the King, master now of their lives, said, ‘The man that lifts his hand only, shall lose his head!’ And he commanded that the remaining five negroes should have their hands tied behind their backs.

This having been done, he turned to Beder el Bedour and asked her, ‘Whose wife are you, and who is this negro?’

She then told him on that subject what he had heard already from Omar. And the King thanked her, saying, ‘May God give you his blessing.’ He then asked her, ‘How long can a woman patiently do without coition?’ She seemed amazed, but the King said, ‘Speak, and do not be abashed.’

She then answered, ‘A well-born lady of high origin can remain for six months without; but a lowly woman of no race nor high blood, who does not respect herself when she can lay her hand upon a man, will have him upon her; his stomach and his member will know her vagina.’

Then said the King, pointing to one of the women, ‘Who is this one?’ She answered, ‘This is the wife of the Cadi.’ ‘And this one?’ ‘The wife of the second Vizir.’ ‘And this?’ ‘The wife of the Chief of the Muftis.’ ‘And that one?’ ‘The Treasurer’s.’ ‘And those two women that are in the other room?’ She answered, ‘They have received the hospitality of the house, and one of them was brought here yesterday by an old woman; the negro has so far not got possession of her.’

Then said Omar, ‘This is the one I spoke to you about, O my master.’

‘And the other woman? To whom does she belong?’ said the King.

‘She is the wife of the Amine of the Carpenters,’ answered she.

Then said the King, ‘And these girls, who are they?’

She answered, ‘This one is the daughter of the clerk of the treasury; this other one the daughter of the Mohtesib, the third is the daughter of the Bouab, the next one the daughter of the Athine of the Moueddin; that one the daughter of the colour-keeper.’ At the invitation of the King, she passed them thus all in review.

The King then asked for the reason of so many women being brought together there.

Beder el Bedour replied, ‘O master of ours, the negro knows no other passions than for coition and good wine. He keeps making love night and day, and his member rests only when he himself is asleep.

The King asked further, ‘What does he live upon?’

She said, ‘Upon yolks of eggs fried in fat and swimming in honey, and upon white bread; he drinks nothing but old muscatel wine.’

The King said, ‘Who has brought these women here, who, all of them, belong to officials of the State?’

She replied ‘O master of ours, he has in his service an old woman who has had the run of the houses in the town; she chooses and brings to him any woman of superior beauty and perfection; but she serves him only against good consideration in silver, dresses, etc., precious stones, rubies, and other objects of value.’

‘And whence does the negro get that silver?’ asked the King. The lady remaining silent, he added, ‘Give me some information, please.’

She signified with a sign from the corner of her eye that he had got it all from the wife of the Grand Vizir.

The King understood her, and continued, ‘O Beder el Bedour! I have faith and confidence in you, and your testimony will have in my eyes the value of that of the two Adels. Speak to me without reserve as to what concerns yourself.’

She answered him, ‘I have not been touched, and however long this might have lasted the negro would not have had his desire satisfied.’

‘Is this so?’ asked the King.

She replied ‘It is so!’ She had understood what the King wanted to say, and the King had seized the meaning of her words.

‘Has the negro respected my honour? Inform me about that,’ said the King.

She answered, ‘He has respected your honour as far as your wives are concerned. He has not pushed his criminal deeds that far; but if God had spared his days there is no certainty that he would not have tried to soil what he should have respected.’

The King having asked her then who those negroes were, she answered, ‘They are his companions. Alter he had quite surfeited himself with the women he had caused to be brought to him, he handed them over to them, as you have seen. If it were not for the protection of a woman, where would that man be?’

Then spoke the King, ‘O Beder el Bedour, why did not your husband ask my help against this oppression? Why did you not complain?’

She replied, ‘O King of the time, O beloved Sultan, O master of numerous armies and allies! As regards my husband I was so far unable to inform him of my lot; as to myself I have nothing to say but what you know by the verses I sang just now. I have given advice to men about women from the first verse to the last.’

The King said, ‘O Beder el Bedour! I like you, I have put the question to you in the name of the chosen Prophet (the benediction and mercy of God be with him!). Inform me of everything; you have nothing to fear; I give you the aman complete. Has this negro not enjoyed you? For I presume that none of you were out of reach of his attempts and had her honour safe.’

She replied, ‘O King of our time, in the name of your high rank and your power! Look! He, about whom you ask me, I would not have accepted him as a legitimate husband; how could I have consented to grant him the favour of an illicit love?’

The King said, ‘You appear to be sincere, but the verses I heard you sing have roused doubts in my soul.’

She replied, ‘I had three motives for employing that language. Firstly, I was at that moment in heat, like a young mare; secondly, Eblis had excited my natural parts; and lastly, I wanted to quiet the negro and make him have patience, so that he should grant me some delay and leave me in peace until God would deliver me of him.’

The King said, ‘Do you speak seriously?’ She was silent. Then the King cried, ‘O Beder el Bedour, you alone shall be pardoned!’ She understood that it was she only that the King would spare from the punishment of death. He then cautioned her that she must keep the secret, and said he wanted to leave now.

Then all the women and virgins approached Beder el Bedour and implored her, saying, ‘Intercede for us, for you have power over the King’; and they shed tears over her hands, and in despair threw themselves down.

Beder el Bedour then called the King back, as he was going, and said to him, ‘O our master! you have not granted me any favour yet. ‘How,’ said he, ‘I have sent for a beautiful mule for you; you will mount her and come with us. As for these women, they must all of them die.’

She then said, ‘O our master! I ask you and conjure you to authorise me to make a stipulation which you will accept.’ The King made oath that he would fulfil it. Then she said, ‘I ask as a gift the pardon of all these women and of all these maidens. Their deaths would moreover throw the most terrible consternation over the whole town.’

The King said, ‘There is no might nor power but in God, the merciful!’ He then ordered the negroes to be taken out and beheaded. The only exception he made was with the negro Dorérame, who was enormously stout and had a neck like a bull. They cut off his ears, nose, and lips; likewise his virile member, which they put into his mouth, and then hung him on a gallows.

Then the King ordered the seven doors of the house to be closed, and returned to his palace.

At sunrise he sent a mule to Beder el Bedour, in order to let her be brought to him. He made her dwell with him, and found her to be excelling all those who excel.

‘Then the King caused the wife of Omar ben Isad to be restored to him, and he made him his private secretary. After which he ordered the Vizir to repudiate his wife. He did not forget the Chaouch and the Commander of the Guards, to whom he made large presents, as he had promised, using for that purpose the negro’s hoards. He sent the son of his father’s Vizir to prison. He also caused the old go-between to be brought before him, and asked her, ‘Give me all the particulars about the conduct of the negro, and tell me whether it was well done to bring in that way women to men.’ She answered, ‘This is the trade of nearly all old women.’ He then had her executed, as well as all old women who followed that trade, and thus cut off in his State the tree of panderism at the root, and burnt the trunk.

He besides sent back to their families all the women and girls, and bade them repent in the name of God.

This story presents but a small part of the tricks and stratagems used by women against their husbands.

The moral of the tale is, that a man who falls in love with a woman imperils himself, and exposes himself to the greatest troubles.

She requested him to divest himself of his robe and to come into her room, but Bahloul replied: ‘I shall not undress till I have sated my desire, O apple of my eye.’

Then Hamdonna rose, trembling with excitement for what was to follow; she undid her girdle, and left the room, Bahloul following her and thinking: ‘Am I really awake or is this a dream?’ He walked after her till she had entered her boudoir. Then she threw herself on a couch of silk, which was rounded on the top like a vault, lifted her clothes up over her thighs, trembling all over, and all the beauty which God had given her was in Bahloul’s arms.

Bahloul examined the belly of Hamdonna, round like an elegant cupola’ his eyes dwelt upon a navel which was like a pearl in a golden cup; and descending lower down there was a beautiful piece of nature’s workmanship, and the whiteness and shape of her thighs surprised him.

Then he pressed Hamdonna in a passionate embrace, and soon saw the animation leave her face; she seemed almost unconscious. She had lost her head; and holding Bahloul’s member in her hands, excited and fired him more and more.

Bahloul said to her: ‘Why do I see you so troubled and beside yourself?’ And she answered: ‘Leave me, O son of a debauched woman! By God, I am like a mare in heat, and you continue to excite me still more with your words, and what words! They would set any woman on fire, if she was the purest creature in the world. You will insist in making me succumb by your talk and your verses.’

Bahloul answered: ‘Am I then not like your husband?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, but a woman gets heat on account of the man, as a mare on account of the horse, whether the man be the husband or not; with this difference, however, that the mare gets lusty only at certain periods of the year, and only then receives the stallion, while a woman can always be made rampant by words of love. Both these dispositions have met within me, and, as my husband is absent, make haste, for he will soon be back’

Bahloul replied. ‘Oh, my mistress, my loins hurt me and prevent me mounting upon you. You take the man’s position, and then take my robe and let me depart.’

Then he laid himself down in the position the woman takes in receiving a man; and his verge was standing up like a column.

Hamdonna threw herself upon Bahloul, took his member between her hands and began to look at it. She was astonished at its size, strength and firmness, and cried: ‘Here we have the ruin of all women and the cause of many troubles. O Bahloul! I never saw a more beautiful dart than yours!’ Still she continued keeping hold of it, and rubbed its bead against the lips of her vulva till the latter part seemed to say: ‘O member, come into me.’

Then Bahloul inserted his member into the vagina of the Sultan’s daughter, and she, settling down upon his engine, allowed it to penetrate entirely into her furnace till nothing more could be seen of it, not the slightest trace, and she said: ‘How lascivious has God made woman, and how indefatigable after her pleasures.’ She then gave herself up to an up-and-down dance, moving her bottom like a riddle; to the right and left, and forward and backward; never was there such a dance as this.

The Sultan’s daughter continued her ride upon Bahloul’s member till the moment of enjoyment arrived, and the attraction of the vulva seemed to pump the member as though by suction: just as an infant sucks the teat of the mother. The acme of enjoyment came to both simultaneously, and each took the pleasure with avidity.

Then Hamdonna seized the member in order to withdraw it, and slowly, slowly she made it come out, saying: ‘This is the deed of a vigorous man.’ Then she dried it and her own private parts with a silken kerchief and rose.

Bahloul also got up and prepared to depart, but she said, ‘And the robe?’

He answered, ‘Why, O mistress! You have been riding me, and still want a present?’

‘But,’ said she, ‘did you not tell me that you could not mount me on account of the pains in your loins?’

‘It matters but little,’ said Bahloul. ‘The first time it was your turn, the second will be mine, and the price for it will be the robe, and then I will go.’

Hamdonna thought to herself, ‘As he began he may now go on; afterwards he will go away.’

So she laid herself down, but Bahloul said, ‘I shall not lie with you unless you undress entirely.’

Then she undressed until she was quite naked, and Bahloul fell into an ecstasy on seeing the beauty and perfection of her form. He looked at her magnificent thighs and rebounding navel, at her belly vaulted like an arch, her plump breasts standing out like hyacinths. Her neck was like a gazelle’s, the opening of her mouth like a ring, her lips fresh and red like a gory sabre. Her teeth might have been taken for pearls and her cheeks for roses. Her eyes were black and well slit, and her eyebrows of ebony resembled the rounded flourish of the noun traced by the hand of a skilful writer. Her forehead was like the full moon in the night.

Bahloul began to embrace her, to suck her lips and to kiss her bosom; he drew her fresh saliva and bit her thighs. So he went on till she was ready to swoon, and could scarcely stammer, and her eyes became veiled. Then he kissed her vulva, and she moved neither hand nor foot. He looked lovingly upon the secret parts of Hamdonna, beautiful enough to attract all eyes with their purple centre.

Bahloul cried, ‘Oh, the temptation of man!’ and still he bit her and kissed her till her desire was roused to its full pitch. Her sighs came quicker, and grasping his member with her hand she made it disappear in her vagina

Then it was he who moved hard, and she who responded hotly, the overwhelming pleasure simultaneously calming their fervour.

Then Bahloul got off her, dried his pestle and her mortar, and prepared to retire. But Hamdonna said, ‘Where is the robe? You mock me, O Bahloul.’ He answered, ‘O my mistress, I shall only part with it for a consideration. You have had your dues and I mine. The first time was for you, the second time for me; now the third time shall be for the robe.’

This said. he took it off, folded it, and put it in Hamdonna’s hands, who, having risen, lay down again on the couch and said, ‘Do what you like!’

Forthwith Bahloul threw himself upon her, and with one push completely buried his member in her vagina; then he began to work as with a pestle, and she to move her bottom, until both again did flow over at the same time. Then he rose from her side, left his robe, and went.

The negress said to Hamdonna, ‘O my mistress, is it not as I have told you? Bahloul is a bad man, and you could not get the better of him. They consider him as a subject for mockery, but, before God, he is making fun of them. Why would you not believe me?’

Hamdonna turned to her and said, ‘Do not tire me with your remarks. It came to pass what has to come to pass, and on the opening of each vulva is inscribed the name of the man who is to enter it, right or wrong, for love or for hatred. If Bahloul’s name had not been inscribed on my vulva he would never have got into it, had he offered me the universe with all it contains.’

As they were thus talking there came a knock at the door. The negress asked who was there, and in answer the voice of Bahloul said It is I.’ Hamdonna, in doubt as to what the buffoon wanted to do, got frightened. The negress asked Bahloul what he wanted, and received the reply, ‘Bring me a little water.’ She went out of the house with a cup full of water. Bahloul drank, and then let the cup slip out of his hands, and it was broken. The negress shut the door upon Bahloul, who sat himself down on the threshold.

The buffoon being thus close to the door, the Vizir, Hamdonna’s husband, arrived, who said to him, ‘Why do I see you here, O Bahloul?’ And he answered, ‘O my lord, I was passing through the street when I was overcome by a great thirst. A negress came and brought me a cup of water. The cup slipped from my hands and got broken. Then our lady Hamdonna took my robe, which the Sultan our Master had given me, as indemnification.’

Then said the Vizir, ‘Let him have his robe.’ Hamdonna at this moment came out, and her husband asked her whether it was true that she had taken the robe in payment for the cup. Hamdonna then cried, beating her hands together, ‘What have you done, O Bahloul?’ He answered, ‘I have talked to your husband the language of my folly; talk to him, you, the language of thy wisdom.’ And she, enraptured with the cunning he had displayed, gave him back his robe, and he departed. ∎

— [ THE END ] —



The English language
“Elizabethan era” / “Love letters”
French in English / Latin in English
Anthology / Chronology / Terminology
Phrases & idioms (with their etymologies)
Literary criticism: analysing poetry & prose
Glossary of works, writers and literary devices:
📙 Books       📕 Poets       📗 Thinkers       📘 Writers




Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost
Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986) was a French writer, philosopher and political activist. She is known for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism.
The Second Sex
Delta of Venus
Delta of Venus
A Room of one's own
A Room of One’s Own
War and Peace is the 1869 novel by Russian author Leo Tolstoy. It is regarded as a classic of world literature. (The novel chronicles the French invasion of Russia and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society through the stories of five Russian aristocratic families.) Tolstoy said War and Peace is "not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle." Tolstoy regarded Anna Karenina as his first true novel.
War and Peace
The Trial, by Franz Kafka (1914 [1925]) -- A terrifying psychological trip into the life of one Joseph K., an ordinary man who wakes up one day to find himself accused of a crime he did not commit, a crime whose nature is never revealed to him. Once arrested, he is released, but must report to court on a regular basis--an event that proves maddening, as nothing is ever resolved. As he grows more uncertain of his fate, his personal life--including work at a bank and his relations with his landlady and a young woman who lives next door--becomes increasingly unpredictable. As K. tries to gain control, he succeeds only in accelerating his own excruciating downward spiral.
The Trial
Brave New World (1932) is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley. Set in a futuristic World State, whose citizens are environmentally engineered into an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story's protagonist (one Bernard Marx). In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World at number five on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th c.
Brave New World
Beloved is a 1987 novel by the late American writer Toni Morrison. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 and, in a survey of writers and literary critics compiled by The New York Times, it was ranked the best work of American fiction from 1981 to 2006. The work, set after the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865, was inspired by the life of Margaret Garner, an African American who escaped slavery by crossing the Ohio River to Ohio, a free state. Garner was subsequently captured and decided to kill her infant daughter rather than have her taken into slavery.
The Grapes of Wrath

The Prophet is a book of 26 prose poetry fables written in English by the Lebanese-American poet and writer Kahlil Gibran. The Prophet has been translated into over 100 different languages, making it one of the most translated books in history. Moreover, it has never been out of print.The Prophet
“If you love somebody, let them go, if they don’t return, they were never yours.”
The Essential Rumi, by Rumi ~ e.g. ~ 'Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along.'The Essential Rumi
“Lovers do not finally meet somewhere. They are in each other all along.”
Ways of Escape, a journey of sorts -- 'I was dead, deader than dead because, I was still alive.'Ways of Escape:
a journey of sorts

A short excerpt from the book: “I was dead, deader than dead because, I was still alive.”
The Significance of Literature, the podcast series.The Significance of

A podcast series that chronologically charts the key works of poetry and prose.
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