The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night - I
For this revised edition of The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night all names of persons and places and all Arabic words retained in the text have, where necessary, been compared with and corrected by Macnaghten’s Calcutta Edition of the original (1839–42). As the object of the present translation was in the first place, and still is, to parallel Dr. Mardrus’ ideal of a simple and un annotated version of the complete work for the entertainment of the casual reader, the system of transliteration adopted here, though it gives a consistency lacking in my first edition and in the French of Dr. Mardrus, has been simplified almost beyond the approval of scholars. I have taken this course because I have been assured by experts on the subject that the Anglo-Saxon eye, when reading for pleasure, invariably shies at and side-steps any foreign word decorated with diacritical points or such sound-signs as ‘(for ‘ain) and’ (for aliph). The long vowels are marked in order that the reader may have some idea of the rhythm intended, but all other signs are omitted lest they should spoil his enjoyment of the text. Such a simplification allows, of course, of misunderstanding; it does not, for instance, show that Abu Ishak, Harun’s musician, should be pronounced Is-hak; but such occasional losses seem, when we bear in mind the purpose of the translation, more than counterbalanced by the gain in ease of reading and to the eye.