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Alaeddin and the Enchanted Lamp   By: (1842-1916)

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Zein Ul Asnam and the King of the Jinn: Two Stories Done into English from the Recently Discovered Arabic Text

By John Payne

London 1901

To Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, K.C.M.G., H.B.M. CONSUL, TRIESTE.

My Dear Burton,

I give myself the pleasure of placing your name in the forefront of another and final volume of my translation of the Thousand and One Nights, which, if it have brought me no other good, has at least been the means of procuring me your friendship.

Believe me,

Yours always,

John Payne.

Twelve years this day, a day of winter, dreary With drifting snows, when all the world seemed dead To Spring and hope, it is since, worn and weary Of doubt within and strife without, I fled

From the mean workday miseries of existence, From spites that slander and from hates that lie, Into the dreamland of the Orient distance Under the splendours of the Syrian sky,

And in the enchanted realms of Eastern story, Far from the lovelessness of modern times,

Garnered the rainbow remnants of old glory That linger yet in those ancestral climes;

And now, the tong task done, the journey over, From that far home of immemorial calms, Where, as a mirage, on the sky marge hover The desert and its oases of palms,

Lingering, I turn me back, with eyes reverted To this stepmother world of daily life, As one by some long pleasant dream deserted, That wakes anew to dull unlovely strife:

Yet, if non' other weal the quest have wrought me. The long beloved labour now at end, This gift of gifts the untravelled East hath brought me, The knowledge of a new and valued friend.

5th Feb. 1889.



The readers of my translation of the Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night will remember that, in the terminal essay (1884) on the history and character of the collection, I expressed my conviction that the eleven (so called) "interpolated" tales, [1] though, in my judgment, genuine Oriental stories, had (with the exception of the Sleeper Awakened and Aladdin) no connection with the original work, but had been procured by Galland from various (as yet) unidentified sources, for the purpose of supplying the deficiencies of the imperfect MS. of the Nights from which he made his version. [2] My opinion as to these talcs has now been completely confirmed by the recent discovery (by M. Zotenberg, Keeper of Oriental MSS. in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris) of two Arabic MSS. of the Nights, both containing three of the missing stories, i.e. (1) Zeyn Alasnam, (3) The Sleeper Awakened and (4) Aladdin, and by the publication (also by M. Zotenberg) of certain extracts from Galland's diary, giving particulars of the circumstances under which the "interpolated" tales were incorporated with his translation of the Arabian Nights. The Arabic text of the Story of Aladdin, as given by the completer and more authentic of the newly discovered MSS., has recently been made by M. Zotenberg the subject of a special publication, [3] in the preface to which (an exhaustive bibliographical essay upon the various Texts of the Thousand and One Nights, considered in relation to Galland's translation) he gives, in addition to the extracts in question from Galland's Diary, a detailed description of the two MSS. aforesaid, the more interesting particulars of which I now proceed to abstract for the benefit of my readers.


The first MS. commences precisely where the third volume of Galland's MS. ends, to wit, (see my Terminal essay, p. 265, note1) with the 281st Night, in the middle of the story of Camaralzaman [4] and contains, (inter alia) besides the continuation of this latter (which ends with Night CCCXXIX), the stories of the Sleeper Awakened (Nights CCCXXX CCCC), Ganem (Nights CCCCXXVIII CCCCLXX1V), Zeyn Alasnam (Nights CCCCLXXV CCCCXCI), Aladdin (Nights CCCCXCII DLXIX) and three others not found in Galland's version... Continue reading book >>

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