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- The Arabian Nights Entertainments Volume 1 - 1/114 -
The Arabian Nights Entertainments;
One Thousand and One Stories, Told by The Sultaness of the Indies,
To Divert the sultan from the execution of a bloody vow he had made to marry a Lady every day, and have her cut off next morning, to avenge himself of the disloyalty of his first sultaness, &c.
An accurate account of the customs, manners, and religion, of the Eastern nations.
In Two Volumes. Vol. I.
Contents of Volume I.
The story of the genius and the lady shut up in a glass box The fable of the ass, the ox, and the labourer The fable of the dog and the cock The story of the merchant and genius The history of the first old man and the bitch The story of the second old man and the two black dogs The story of the fisherman The story of the Grecian king, and the physician Douban The story of the husband and parrot The story of the vizier that was punished The history of the young king of the black isles The story of the three calenders, sons of kings; and of the five ladies of Bagdad The history of the first calender, a king's son The history of the second calender, a king's son The story of the envious man, and of him whom he envied The history of the third calender, a king's son The story of Zobeide The story of Amine The story of Sindbad the sailor His first voyage His second voyage His third voyage His fourth voyage His fifth voyage His sixth voyage His seventh and last voyage The story of the three apples The story of the young lady that was murdered, and of the young man her husband The story of Nourreddin Ali and Bedreddin Hassan The story of the little hunch-back The story told by the Christian merchant The story told by the sultan of Casgar's purveyor The story told by the Jewish physician The story told by the tailor The story of the barber The story of the barber's eldest brother Of the second Of the third Of the fourth Of the fifth Of the sixth The history of Aboulhassan All Ebn Becar and Schemselnihar, favourite of caliph Haroun Alraschid The story of the amours of Camaralzaman, prince of the isles of the children of Khaledan, and of Badoura, princess of China The history of the princess of China The story of Marzavan, with the sequel of that of the prince Camaralzaman The story of the princess Badoura, after her separation from prince Camaralzaman The story of the princes, Amgrad and Assad The story of prince Amgrad and a lady of the city of the magicians The sequel of the story of prince Assad The story of Nourreddin aad the fair Persian
To The Right Hon. The Lady Marchioness D'o, Lady of Honour to the Duchess of Burgundy.
The great kindnesses I received from M. de Guilleragus, your illustrious father, during my abode at Constantinople some years ago, are too fresh in my mind for me to neglect any opportunity of publishing what I owe to his memory. Were he still alive, for the welfare of France, and my particular advantage, I would take the liberty to dedicate this work to him, not only as my benefactor, but as a person most capable of judging what is fine, and inspiring others with the like sentiments. Every one remembers the wonderful exactness of his judgment;--the meanest of his thoughts had something in them that was shining, and his lowest expressions were always exact and nice, which made every one admire him; for never had any man so much wit and so much solidity. I have seen him, at a time when he was so much taken up with the affairs of his master, that nobody could expect any thing from him but what related to his ministry, and his profound capacity to manage the most knotty negotiations; yet all the weight of his employment diminished nothing of his inimitable pleasantness, which charmed his friends, and was agreeable even to those barbarous nations with whom that great man did treat. After the loss of him, which to me is irreparable, I could not address myself to any other person than yourself, Madam, since you alone can supply the want of him to me; therefore it is that I take the boldness to beg of you the same protection for this book that you was pleased to grant to the French translation of the seven Arabian stories that I had the honour to present you.
You may perhaps wonder, Madam, that I have not since that time presented them to you in print; but the reason of it is, that when I was about putting them to the press, I was informed that those seven stories were taken out of a prodigious collection of stories of the like sort, entitled "One thousand and one nights." This discovery obliged me to suspend the printing of them, and to use my endeavours to get that collection. I was forced to send for it from Syria; and have translated into French this first volume being one of the four that were sent me. These stories will certainly divert you, Madam, much more than those you have already seen. They are new to you, and more in number; you will also perceive, with pleasure, the ingenious design of this anonymous Arabian, who has given us these stories after the manner of his country, fabulous indeed, but very diverting.
I beg, Madam, your acceptance of this small present which I have the honour to make you; it is a public testimony of my acknowledgment of the profound respect with which I am, and shall for ever be,
Your most humble and most obedient servant,
There is no occasion to prepossess the reader with an opinion of the merit and beauty of the following work. There needs no more but to read it to satisfy any man, that hitherto nothing so fine of this nature has appeared in any language.
What can be more ingenious than to compose such a prodigious quantity of pleasant stories, whose variety is surprising, and whose connexion is so wonderful? We know not the name of the author of so great a work; but probably it is not all done by one hand; for how can we suppose that one man alone could have invention enough to make so many fine things?
If stories of this sort be pleasant and diverting, because of the wonders they usually contain, these have certainly the advantage above all that have yet been published; because they are full of surprising events, which engage our attention, and show how much the Arabians surpass other nations in compositions of this sort.
They must also be pleasing, because of the account they give of the customs and manners of the eastern nations, and of the ceremonies of their religion, as well Pagan as Mahometan, which are better described here than in any author that has written of them, or in the relation of travellers. All the eastern nations, Persians, Tartars, and Indians, are here distinguished, and appear such as they are, from the sovereign to the meanest subject; so that, without the fatigue of going to see those people in their respective countries, the reader has here the pleasure to see them act, and hear them speak. Care has been taken to preserve their characters, and to keep their sense; nor have we varied from the text, but when modesty obliged us to it. The translator flatters himself, that those who understand Arabic, and will be at the pains to compare the original with the translation, must agree that he has showed the Arabians to the French with all the circumspection that the niceness of the French tongue and of the times require; and if those who read these stories have any inclination to profit by the example of virtue and vice which they will here find exhibited, they may reap an advantage by it that is not to be reaped in other stories, which are more fit to corrupt than to reform our manners.
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