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ments, singing, dancing, clapping hands, and whirling round and round like a top as they passed. In about an hour they returned. The crowd was now immense, and the countenances of many exhibited signs of the most intense exaltation. In front of the procession came four flags of green, white, and black, the flagstaffs being surmounted with a double crescent of metal. Behind these marched a number of dervishes from a distance, dancing with all their might, and performing their most fanatical and fantastic pranks. They were naked to the waist, wore a tall, conical cap of drab felt, and were the vilest and most savage-looking creatures I ever saw. Two of them carried long iron spikes, the head of which was a ball as large as an orange, and with many chains attached to it. The sharp end of this instrument they struck with great violence into their cheeks and eyes, and so deeply that it hung suspended without being held by the hand. I know not by what trick this is performed, though I have often seen it done, and have carefully examined the instrument. Two others had long, spindle-like spikes thrust through the cheeks. This was a fact, and I saw it done by a dervish in my own house; but he had long before made holes through his cheeks, which had healed up, like those in the ears for rings. These his bushy beard completely concealed. After these savages came four more flags; then two very holy dervishes, riding on small horses. They pretended to be altogether absorbed and wrapped up in devotion, prayed incessantly with their eyes closed, and took no notice of the vast and tumultuous crowd around them. The frantic people prostrated themselves on the ground before them, kissed their broad stirrups or the flags, but most of all the two pilgrims, who now made their appearance, and seemed to be fagged out, and in danger of being kissed to death.
Just at the entrance into the open medân, south of the city, a long pavement of boys was formed in the following manner: the first lay on his face, with his head to the south; the next with feet to the south, and so on, heads and feet, to the end of this living corduroy causeway, the people crowding them as close to one another as possible. A dense wall of spectators on either side made a lane, along which the two dervishes actually rode on top of the boys from end to end. I stood directly above them, and saw the operation fairly performed, and saw the boys jump up again apparently unhurt. My own Moslem servant was one of them, and he assured me that the sheikh's horse was not heavier than a cat. The thing is not difficult to explain. The boys were close together, the ground soft and sandy, the horse small, his shoes flat and smooth, and he walked as if treading on eggs; and yet many of the lads, I have ascertained, were really bruised, and some seriously injured. The whole scene, however, was demoniacal in the extreme. It is called Douseh, and is accompanied with a multitude of magical and superstitious ceremonies.
There is now, or was until recently, in Cairo, a magician called 'Abd el Kāder el Mugraby, who performed wonderful feats of magic, so like our modern mesmerism that I must ascribe to him the priority in this species of witchcraft. I have conversed with gentlemen, both English and others, who give the most extraordinary accounts of their interviews with this man. But, lest they may have exaggerated, or, perhaps, might not wish to figure in such society, I will refer to Mr. Lane's book. His account is abundantly full, and undoubtedly authentic, and throws light on the matter in hand.
In preparing for the experiment of the magic mirror of ink, the magician first asked for pen and ink, a piece of paper, and a pair of scissors, and, having cut off a narrow slip of paper, wrote upon it certain forms of incantation, together with another charm, by which he professed to accomplish the experiment. He did not attempt to conceal these, but said that the object in view was accomplished through the influence of the first words—Turshoon and Turyooshoon-which were the names of two genii, his “familiar spirits.” Here is the translation:
Turshoon, Turyooshoon, come down,
MAGIC MIRROR OF INK.
the prince and his troops ? Where are el Ahhmar
ye servants of these names. And this is the removal, and we have removed from thee the veil, and thy sight to-day is piercing-correct, correct.
Having written these, the magician cut the paper containing the forms of incantation into six strips. He then explained that the object of the latter charm was to open the boy's eyes, and make him see into what is to us the invisible world.
Mr. Lane had prepared, by the magician's directions, some frankincense and coriander-seed, and a chafing-dish with live coals in it. These were brought into the room, together with the boy, who was placed on a seat, with the magician before him. Some frankincense and coriander-seed were put into the dish, and then, taking hold of the boy's right hand, the magician drew in the palm of it a magic square, and wrote in it certain Arabic numerals. In the centre he poured a little ink, and desired the boy to look into it, and tell him if he could see his face reflected in it. The boy replied that he saw his face clearly. The magician, holding the boy's hand all the while, told him to continue looking intently in the ink, and not to raise his head.
He then took one of the little slips of paper inscribed with the forms of incantation, and dropped it into the chafingdish upon the burning coals, and, as he did this, he commenced an indistinct muttering of words, which he continued during the whole process, excepting when he had to ask the boy a question, or tell him what he was to say. The piece of paper containing the words from the Koran he placed inside of the fore part of the boy's cap. He then asked if he saw any thing in the ink, and was answered No; but, in about a minute after, the boy, trembling and affrighted, said, I see a man sweeping the ground. When he has done sweeping, said the magician, tell me. Presently the boy said, He has done.
The magician again interrupted his muttering to ask the boy if he knew what bairuk (flag) was, and being answered yes, desired him to say, Bring a flag. The boy did so, and soon after said, He has brought a flag. What color is it? said the magician. The boy replied red. He was told to call for another flag, which he did, and soon after said he saw another brought, and that it was black. In like manner he called for a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh, which were white, green, black, red, and blue. The magician then asked him, How many flags have you now? Seven, answered the boy. While this was going on, the magician put the second and third of the several slips of paper, upon which the forms of invocation were written, into the chafing-dish, and fresh frankincense and coriander-seed having been repeatedly added, the fumes became painful to the eyes. The boy was next desired to say, Bring the Sultan's tent, and pitch it. This he did, and about a minute after said, Some men have brought the tent—a large green tent; they are pitching it; and presently added, They have set
Now, said the magician, order the soldiers to come and pitch their camp around the tent of the Sultan, which was done immediately. The magician, putting the fourth and fifth slips into the fire, said, Tell some of the people to bring a bull. The boy gave the order, and said, I see a bull; it is red; four men are dragging it along. At his command they killed, cooked it, and then ate it up before his eyes. They have done, said the lad, and are washing their hands. The magician then told him to call for the Sultan, and, haying done so, he said, I see the Sultan riding to his tent on a bay horse, and he has on his head a high red cap; he has alighted at his tent, and sat down in it.
Desire them to bring coffee to the Sultan, said the magician, and to form the court. These orders were given and obeyed. The magician had put the last of the six little strips of paper into the chafing-dish, muttering nothing but the words of the written invocation, except on two or three occasions, when he said, If they demand information, inform them, and be ye veracious.
Here ends the long preparation, and it certainly was magical enough. All was now ready, and Mr. Lane proceeded to
test the boy by a variety of questions, the answers to which were often strikingly correct, but he does not seem to have been as successful that time as at some others which have been described to me. I have never heard any thing like a satisfactory explanation of this matter, and have none of my
There are magicians in Egypt now, as there were in the days of Moses, and their achievements fill a reflecting mind with very serious thoughts. This description of Lane covers the whole series of magical forms and ceremonies practiced by others, for other purposes, with but slight variations.
I asked one in Sidon whether these names, Turshoon and Turyooshoon, were known and employed by him, and he said they were. In short, this whole subject is involved in no small mystery. It exercises a prodigious influence on Oriental society, and always has, and merits a thorough examination. The boy evidently saw just such scenes as are depicted in the wildest stories in the Thousand Nights, and I suspect that this very art was in greater perfection then than now, and that the gorgeous creations of that work were, in many cases, mere verbal pictures taken from the magic mirror of ink.
But our conversation is running deep into the hours of rest, and the subject is almost boundless. We may meet with it again. Let us now seek protection from Him who slumbers not, both from actual evil, and from hideous visions of the night, while we resign ourselves to “Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep.”