The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1 Page-456

The Book Of The Thousand Nights And A Night, Vol 1

A plain and literal translation of the arabian nights entertainments

[FN#652] The blind in Egypt are notorious for insolence and violence, fanaticism and rapacity. Not a few foreigners have suffered from them (Pilgrimage i., 148). In former times many were blinded in infancy by their mothers, and others blinded themselves to escape conscription or honest hard work. They could always obtain food, especially as Mu’ezzins and were preferred because they could not take advantage of the minaret by spying into their neighbours’ households. The Egyptian race is chronically weak-eyed, the effect of the damp hot climate of the valley, where ophthalmia prevailed even during the pre-Pharaohnic days. The great Sesostris died stone-blind and his successor lost his sight for ten years (Pilgrimage ii., 176). That the Fellahs are now congenitally weak-eyed, may be seen by comparing them with negroes imported from Central Africa. Ophthalmia rages, especially during the damp season, in the lower Nile-valley; and the best cure for it is a fortnight’s trip to the Desert where, despite glare, sand and wind, the eye readily recovers tone. [FN#653] i.e., with kicks and cuffs and blows, as is the custom. (Pilgrimage i., 174.) [FN#654] Arab. K�id (whence “Alcayde”) a word still much used in North Western Africa. [FN#655] Arab. “Sullam” = lit. a ladder; a frame-work of sticks, used by way of our triangles or whipping-posts. [FN#656] This is one of the feats of Al-S�miy� = white magic; fascinating the eyes. In Europe it has lately taken the name of “Electro-biology.” [FN#657] again by means of the “S�miy�” or power of fascination possessed by the old scoundrel.