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THE THOUSAND AND ONE
HUMBUGS.

EVERY BODY is acquainted with that enchanting
collection of stories, the Thousand and
One Nights, better known in England as
the Arabian Nights' Entertainments. Most
people know that these wonderful fancies are
unquestionably of genuine Eastern origin, and
are to be found in Arabic manuscripts now
existing in the Vatican, in Paris, in London, and
in Oxford; the last-named city being particularly
distinguished in this connection, as
possessing, in the library of Christchurch, a
manuscript of the never to be forgotten Voyages
of Sinbad the Sailor.

The civilised world is indebted to France
for a vast amount of its possessions, and
among the rest for the first opening to Europe
of this gorgeous storehouse of Eastern riches.
So well did M. GALLAND, the original translator,
perform his task, that when Mr.
WORTLEY MONTAGUE brought home the
manuscript now in the Bodleian Library, there
was found, (poetical quotations excepted), to
be very little, and that of a very inferior kind,
to add to what M. Galland had already made
perfectly familiar to France and England.

Thus much as to the Thousand and One
Nights, we recal, by way of introduction to
the discovery we are about to announce.

There has lately fallen into our hands, a
manuscript in the Arabic Character (with
which we are perfectly acquainted), containing
a variety of stories extremely similar in
structure and incident to the Thousand and
One Nights; but presenting the strange
feature that although they are evidently of ancient
origin, they have a curious accidental bearing
on the present time. Allowing for the
difference of manners and customs, it would
often seemwere it not for the manifest
impossibility of such prophetic knowledge in
any mere man or menthat they were written
expressly with an eye to events of the
current age. We have referred the
manuscript (which may be seen at our office on the
first day of April in every year, at precisely
four o'clock in the morning), to the profoundest
Oriental Scholars of England and France,
who are no less sensible than we are ourselves
of this remarkable coincidence, and are equally
at a loss to account for it. They are agreed, we
may observe, on the propriety of our rendering
the title in the words, The Thousand and One
Humbugs. For, although the Eastern
storytellers do not appear to have possessed any
word, or combination of parts of words,
precisely answering to the modern English
Humbug (which, indeed, they expressed by
the figurative phrase, A Camel made of sand),
there is no doubt that they were conversant
with so common a thing, and further that
the thing was expressly meant to be
designated in the general title of the Arabic
manuscript now before us. Dispensing with
further explanation, we at once commence the
specimens we shall occasionally present, of
this literary curiosity.

INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.

Among the ancient Kings of Persia who
extended their glorious conquests into the
Indies, and far beyond the famous River
Ganges, even to the limits of China,
TAXEDTAURUS (or Fleeced Bull) was incomparably
the most renowned. He was so rich that
he scorned to undertake the humblest
enterprise without inaugurating it by ordering
his Treasurers to throw several millions
of pieces of gold into the dirt. For the same
reason he attached no value to his foreign
possessions, but merely used them as
playthings for a little while, and then always
threw them away or lost them.

This wise Sultan, though blessed with
innumerable sources of happiness, was afflicted
with one fruitful cause of discontent. He
had been married many scores of times, yet
had never found a wife to suit him. Although
he had raised to the dignity of Howsa
Kummauns* (or Peerless Chatterer), a great variety
of beautiful creatures, not only of the lineage
of the high nobles of his court, but also
selected from other classes of his subjects,
the result had uniformly been the same. They
proved unfaithful, brazen, talkative, idle,
extravagant, inefficient, and boastful. Thus
it naturally happened that a Howsa
Kummauns very rarely died a natural death,
but was generally cut short in some violent
manner.

At length, the young and lovely reefawm
(that is to say Light of Reason), the youngest

* Sounded like House o' Commons.

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