The Project Gutenberg ebook of Flowers from a Persian Garden and Other



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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Flowers from a Persian Garden and Other
Papers, by W. A. Clouston

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Title: Flowers from a Persian Garden and Other Papers

Author: W. A. Clouston

Release Date: October 26, 2005 [EBook #16949]

Language: English

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FLOWERS PERSIAN GARDEN ***

Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net

“The smiling Garden of Persian Literature”: a Garden which I would describe, in the Eastern style, as a happy spot, where lavish Nature with profusion strews the most fragrant and blooming flowers, where the most delicious fruits abound, which is ever vocal with the plaintive melancholy of the nightingale, who, during day and night, “tunes her love-laboured song”: … where the voice of Wisdom is often heard uttering her moral sentence, or delivering the dictates of experience.—Sir W. Ouseley. FLOWERS


FROM
A PERSIAN GARDEN,
AND
OTHER PAPERS.



By W. A. Clouston,



AUTHOR OF ‘POPULAR TALES AND FICTIONS’ AND ‘BOOK OF NOODLES’; EDITOR OF ‘A GROUP OF EASTERN ROMANCES AND STORIES,’ ‘BOOK OF SINDIBAD,’ ‘BAKHTYAR NAMA,’ ‘ARABIAN POETRY FOR ENGLISH READERS,’ ETC.

LONDON:
DAVID NUTT, 270, 271, STRAND.
MDCCCXC.



TO


E. SIDNEY HARTLAND, Esq.,



FELLOW OF THE SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES; MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL OF THE FOLK-LORE SOCIETY, ETC.



My dear Hartland,

Though you are burdened with the duties of a profession far outside of which lie those studies that have largely occupied my attention for many years past, yet your own able contributions to the same, or cognate, subjects of investigation evince the truth of the seemingly paradoxical saying, that “the busiest man finds the greatest amount of leisure.” And in dedicating this little book to you—would that it were more worthy!—as a token of gratitude for the valuable help you have often rendered me in the course of my studies, I am glad of the opportunity it affords me for placing on record (so to say) the fact that I enjoy the friendship of a man possessed of so many excellent qualities of heart as well as of intellect.

The following collection of essays, or papers, is designed to suit the tastes of a more numerous class of readers than were some of my former books, which are not likely to be of special interest to many besides students of comparative folk-lore—amongst whom your own degree is high. The book, in fact, is intended mainly for those who are rather vaguely termed “general readers”; albeit I venture to think that even the folk-lore student may find in it somewhat to “make a note of,” as the great Captain Cuttle was wont to say—in season and out of season.

Leaving the contents to speak for themselves, I shall only say farther that my object has been to bring together, in a handy volume, a series of essays which might prove acceptable to many readers, whether of grave or lively temperament. What are called “instructive” books—meaning thereby “morally” instructive—are generally as dull reading as is proverbially a book containing nothing but jests—good, bad, and indifferent. We can’t (and we shouldn’t) be always in the “serious” mood, nor can we be for ever on the grin; and it seems to me that a mental dietary, by turns, of what is wise and of what is witty should be most wholesome. But, of the two, I confess I prefer to take the former, even as one ought to take solid food, in great moderation; and, after all, it is surely better to laugh than to mope or weep, in spite of what has been said of “the loud laugh that speaks the vacant mind.” Most of us, in this work-a-day world, find no small benefit from allowing our minds to lie fallow at certain times, as farmers do with their fields. In the following pages, however, I believe wisdom and wit, the didactic and the diverting, will be found in tolerably fair proportions.

But I had forgot—I am not writing a Preface, and this is already too long for a Dedication; so believe me, with all good wishes,

Yours ever faithfully,


W. A. CLOUSTON.
Glasgow, February, 1890.

CONTENTS.



FLOWERS FROM A PERSIAN GARDEN.



I




Sketch of the Life of the Persian Poet Saádí—Character of his Writings—the Gulistán, or Rose-Garden—Prefaces to Books—Preface to the Gulistán—Eastern Poets in praise of Springtide

II




Boy’s Archery Feat—Advantages of Abstinence—Núshirván on Oppression—Boy in terror at Sea—Pride of Ancestry—Misfortunes of Friends—Fortitude and Liberality—Prodigality—Stupid Youth—Advantages of Education—The Fair Cup-bearer—‘January and May’—Why an Old Man did not Marry—The Dervish who became King—Muezzin and Preacher who had bad voices—Witty Slave—Witty Kází—Astrologer and his Faithless Wife—Objectionable Neighbour

III




On Taciturnity: Parallels from Caxton’s Dictes and preface to Kalíla wa Dimna—Difference between Devotee and Learned Man—To get rid of Troublesome Visitors—Fable of the Nightingale and the Ant—Aphorisms of Saádí—Conclusion

ORIENTAL WIT AND HUMOUR.



I




Man a Laughing Animal—Antiquity of Popular Jests—‘Night and Day’—The Plain-featured Bride—The House of Condolence—The Blind Man’s Wife—Two Witty Persian Ladies—Woman’s Counsel—The Turkish Jester: in the Pulpit; the Cauldron; the Beggar; the Drunken Governor; the Robber; the Hot Broth—Muslim Preachers and Misers

II




The Two Deaf Men and the Traveller—The Deaf Persian and the Horseman—Lazy Servants—Chinese Humour: The Rich Man and the Smiths; How to keep Plants alive; Criticising a Portrait—The Persian Courtier and his old Friend—The Scribe—The Schoolmaster and the Wit—The Persian and his Cat—A List of Blockheads—The Arab and his Camel—A Witty Baghdádí—The Unlucky Slippers

III




The Young Merchant of Baghdád; or, the Wiles of Woman

IV




Ashaab the Covetous—The Stingy Merchant and the Hungry Bedouin—The Sect of Samradians—The Story-teller and the King—Royal Gifts to Poets—The Persian Poet and the Impostor—‘Stealing Poetry’—The Rich Man and the Poor Poet

V




Unlucky Omens—The Old Man’s Prayer—The Old Woman in the Mosque—The Weeping Turkmans—The Ten Foolish Peasants—The Wakeful Servant—The Three Dervishes—The Oilman’s Parrot—The Moghul and his Parrot—The Persian Shopkeeper and the Prime Minister—Hebrew Facetiæ

TALES OF A PARROT.



I




General Plan of Eastern Story-books—The Tútí Náma, or Parrot-Book—The Frame-story—The Stolen Images—The Woman carved out of Wood—The Man whose Mare was kicked by a Merchant’s Horse

II




The Emperor’s Dream—The Golden Apparition—The Four Treasure-seekers

III




The Singing Ass: the Foolish Thieves: the Faggot-maker and the Magic Bowl

IV




The Goldsmith who lost his Life through Covetousness—The King who died of Love for a Merchant’s Daughter—The Discovery of Music—The Seven Requisites of a Perfect Woman

V




The Princess of Rome and her Son—The Seven Vazírs

VI




The Tree of Life—Legend of Rájá Rasálú—Conclusion

ADDITIONAL NOTE:

The Magic Bowl, etc.


RABBINICAL LEGENDS, TALES, FABLES, AND APHORISMS.



I




Introductory: Authors, Traducers, and Moral Teachings of Talmud

II




Legends of some Biblical Characters: Adam and Eve—Cain and Abel—The Planting of the Vine—Luminous Jewels—Abraham’s Arrival in Egypt—The Infamous Citizens of Sodom—Abraham and Ishmael’s Wives—Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife—Joseph and his Brethren—Jacob’s Sorrow—Moses and Pharaoh

III




Legends of David and Solomon, etc.

IV




Moral and Entertaining Tales: Rabbi Jochonan and the Poor Woman—A Safe Investment—The Jewels—The Capon-carver

V




Moral Tales, Tables, and Parables: The Dutiful Son—An Ingenious Will—Origin of Beast-Fables—The Fox and the Bear—The Fox in the Garden—The Desolate Island—The Man and his Three Friends—The Garments—Solomon’s Choice—Bride and Bridegroom—Abraham and the Idols—The Vanity of Ambition—The Seven Stages of Human Life

VI




Wise Sayings of the Rabbis

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Adam and the Oil of Mercy

Muslim Legend of Adam’s Punishment, Pardon, Death, and Burial

Moses and the Poor Woodcutter

Precocious Sagacity of Solomon

Solomon and the Serpent’s Prey

The Capon-carver

The Fox and the Bear

The Desolate Island

Other Rabbinical Legends and Tales


AN ARABIAN TALE OF LOVE.




ADDITIONAL NOTES:

‘Wamik and Asra’

Another Famous Arabian Lover

APOCRYPHAL LIFE OF ESOP.




ADDITIONAL NOTE:

Drinking the Sea Dry


IGNORANCE OF THE CLERGY IN THE MIDDLE AGES.



THE BEARDS OF OUR FATHERS.



INDEX.



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