Folk-lore of the Holy Land, Moslem, Christian and Jewish, by J. E. Hanauer , at sacred-texts.com
THE contents of this chapter are practically identical with Mejr-ed-dìn, vol. i. ch. i., though it is here derived from the lips of an Arab Khatìb.
P. 5. The idea of the great serpent is analogous to that of the great Midgard-snake in Scandinavian myths.
P. 6. Behemoth and the great whale.--This is apparently drawn from Talmudic sources. Thus we read in Bava Bathra, fol. 74, col. 2, R. Judah said: Everything that God created in the world He created male and female. And thus He did with Leviathan the piercing serpent, and Leviathan the crooked serpent He created them male and female. But if they had been united, they would have desolated the entire world. What, then, did the Holy One do? He took away the strength of the male Leviathan, and slew the female and salted her for the righteous (for the time to come, for it is said: "And he shall slay the whale or dragon) that is in the sea" (Isaiah xxvii. 1). In like manner with regard to Behemoth upon a thousand mountains, He created them male and female, but if they had been united they would have desolated the world. What then did the Holy One do? He took away the strength of the male Behemoth, and made the female barren, and preserved her for the righteous for the time to come." The Moslems, in like manner, believe that the meat of a great bull and a great fish shall furnish forth the feast of the righteous on their entry into Paradise.
There are, in Rabbinical writings, many similar allusions to the great ox and the great fish or sea dragon.
P. 7. Eclipses of the moon.--On the 6th of October 1903, we had the good fortune to bivouac within the walls of the famous palace of Meshetta in Moab. While the sun was setting the moon was eclipsed, and a more magnificent spectacle, in surroundings so beautiful and so solitary, could hardly be imagined. Even the impassive Arab servants, most of whom had been long in European service, were impressed, and crowded
together with exclamations of surprise and, perhaps, fear. The lady of our party went to remonstrate with them because they had taken a cock from out of the fowl-crate and were whipping him . . . they alleged "for making noise"; he also had been surprised by the phenomenon, and had crowed. One added, "The people at home, who know no better, will be killing cocks and beating drums . . . this," pointing to the rival pageants of sun and moon, "will frighten them." Professor Euting then recited the "Sûra of the Daybreak," cxiii., which seemed to meet the needs of the case; the men expressed their satisfaction, and the cock was restored to his family. (Dr Spoer's "Notes on Bloody Sacrifices in Palestine," vol. xxv. pp. 312 ff. of Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1906, and page 104 of vol. xxvii. 1906).
P. 9. The mother of devils.--For the Jewish notions on this subject see Bodenschatz, iii. ch. x. pars. 5-7, pp. 169, 170.
P. 11. Origin of ghouls, etc.--For Jewish notions (which are also current amongst other orientals) on this subject, see Bodenschatz, iii. ch. x. par. 3, and Wünche, "Bibliotheca Rabbinica, Midrasch Bereshit Rabba," p. 94, and Edersheim, "Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah," Appendix xiii. Section III. par. 1., also note 41 of "Tales told in Palestine," by J. E. Hanauer, edited by H. G. Mitchell (Cincinnati: Jennings & Graham. New York: Eaton & Mains).
P. 11. Cain and Abel.--Kabil and Habil, or Cain and Abel, with their two sisters were the first children born to Adam and Eve. Adam, by Allah's direction, ordered Cain to marry Abel's twin sister, and that Abel should marry Cain's (for, it being the common opinion that marriages ought not to take place with those very near akin, such as their own sisters, it seemed reasonable to suppose that they ought to take those of the remoter degree, but this Cain refused to agree to, because his sister was the handsomer. 1 Hereupon Adam told them to make their offerings to Allah, thereby referring the dispute to
[paragraph continues] His determination . . . Cain's offering was a sheaf of the very worst of his corn, but Abel's a fat lamb of the best of his flock. Allah having declared His acceptance of the latter in a visible manner, Cain said to his brother, "I will certainly kill thee." Abel was the stronger of the two, and would easily have prevailed against his brother, but he answered, "If thou stretchest forth thine hand against me, to slay me, I will not stretch forth my hand against thee to slay thee; for I fear Allah, the Lord of all creatures." So Cain began to consider in what way he should effect the murder, and as he was doing so the devil appeared to him in human shape, and showed him how to do it, by crushing the head of a bird between two stones. Cain, having committed the fratricide, became exceedingly troubled in his mind, and carried the dead body on his shoulders for a considerable time not knowing where to conceal it, till it stank horribly; and then Allah taught him to bury it by the example of a raven, who, having killed another raven, in his presence, dug a pit with his claws and beak, and buried him therein. Another tradition is that Cain was at last accidentally slain by Lamech with an arrow, when the latter was hunting at Tell el Kaimûn, near the Kishon, at the northern foot of Mount Carmel. (See Sale's Koran, pp. 76 and 77, text and foot-note. Chandos Classics.)
P. 12. Burial of Adam.--A Christian tradition to the effect that Adam was buried with his head resting at the foot of Calvary, and that he was reawakened to life by some drops of Christ's blood trickling on to his skull at the Crucifixion, may be traced back to the time of Origen in the second century.
P. 13. The nâkûs.--The nâkûs is a plank or a plate of metal which is struck with a mallet to announce the time of service. When the Moslems under Omar Ibn el Khattab first took Jerusalem (A.D. 637), the use of church-bells was prohibited, but the nâkûs was allowed because Noah, by Allah's command, used one thrice a day to call the workmen employed on the ark, and to attract people to hear his warnings of an approaching judgment. When the Crusaders took Jerusalem in 1099 A.D., bells were reinstalled in the churches. One of the complaints made by the Latin Patriarch against the Knights of St John, was that they disturbed the services held in the Church of the Sepulchre, by ringing the bells of their great church close by. The church bells throughout the Holy Land were silenced when the Crusaders were finally driven away in A.D. 1292, but they had ceased ringing in Jerusalem when the city fell into the hands
of Saladin, October 2, 1187. In 1823, we are informed by a traveller of the period that the only bell in the city was a handbell in the Latin Convent. Since the close of the Crimean War, many large church-bells have been hung up and are in constant use in various Christian churches in Palestine, though the writer remembers the time when a great riot took place amongst the Moslems at Nablûs because a small bell had been put up in the Mission school in that place.
P. 14. The donkey and Iblìs in the ark.--Presumably to pay the donkey out for this meanness, Iblìs whispered in his ear that all the females of his kind had been destroyed; whereupon the unfortunate beast made so terrible a noise of lamentation that the Evil One was scared and made haste to comfort him by adding, "But there is one left for you." At that the donkey's noise subsided in one long "Ah!" of relief. This is the origin of the donkey's braying. (I have the story from a friend in Egypt.)--ED.
P. 15. The ’abâyeh, or ’aba, is the wide, coarse, outer garment worn by all classes in Palestine, and on occasion adaptable to other uses. See Deut. xxiv. 13; Amos ii. 8; P.E.F. Quarterly Statement, 1881, p. 298. The fables concerning Og are doubtless derived from Rabbinical sources; see article "Og" in Smith's Bible Dictionary.
P. 17. "The ark informed Noah that here the Beyt el Makdas would be rebuilt." Cf. "Uns el Jelìl." Cairo edition, vol. i. pp. 19-22.
P. 17. Marriage of Noah's daughter.--This story is a very common one. There is a version of it given by P. Baldensperger in one of the Quarterly Statements of the P.E.F. The tomb of one of Noah's daughters is shown at ’Ellar in Southern Palestine, and another, it is said, at, or near, Baalbec.
P. 18. Job.--In the fourth Christian century many pilgrims used to visit the district east of the Jordan in order to see and embrace the dunghill on which Job sat and scratched himself in his day, and even now there may be seen at the ancient sanctuary called "Esh Sheykh Sa’ad" in the Hauran, the famous "Rock of Job," which modern research has shown to be a monument commemorating the victories of the Egyptian monarch Rameses II. Besides this, there are in Western Palestine at least two "Wells of Job": one on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, the other, the well-known Bar Ayûb, in the Kedron Valley just at the point where it is joined by the traditional Valley of Hinnom. This well is a hundred feet
deep, and contains an unfailing supply of water, a great deal of which is carried in skins to supply the needs of Jerusalem. A few steps east of this well, under a ledge of rock, in which may still be seen the vats used by the fullers of antiquity, 1 is a small opening. It is the entrance to a cave which, according to peasants of the neighbouring village of Siloam, was once the dwelling-place of the Patriarch.
It is said that Ayûb was a Rûmi, a Greco-Roman descendant of Esau, 2 and that his wife's name was Rahmeh (Mercy). She, rather than her husband, is the bright example of human patience. A few years ago an Arab woman of the Orthodox Eastern Church disagreed with her husband and went for advice to a priest, who bade her take example from Job's wife.
P. 19. El Hakìm Lokman.--The greater part of the thirty-first sûra of the Koran is a record of wise sayings of Lokman. (The following anecdote is related in the larger "Kâmûs" (Dictionary) of El Bistani: "A certain man asked Lokman, "Did I not once see thee keeping sheep?" He answered, "Yes." "Then how didst thou attain to this degree of greatness?" Lokman answered, "By speaking the truth, restoring the pledge, and refraining from talk on matters which do not concern me."
P. 20. Danger of sleeping in the fields where yellow melons grow.--In order to prevent such accidents, in the occurrence of which they implicitly believe, the fellahìn who have to watch the melon-fields are said to eat a great deal of garlic, and to strew bits of that rank vegetable around their beds. The smell is said to be an effective protection, not only against snakes, but also the evil eye.
P. 21. Benj = Bhang, Indian hemp or hashish, figures in Eastern tales, and with effects more wonderful than those of chloroform. This story of Lokman is given in a different version in "Tales told in Palestine," under the title of "El Hakìm Risto."
Various editions and translations of the fables of Lokman have at different times appeared in Europe. The most recent that I know of is by A. Cherbonneau (Paris: Hachette & Cie. 1884).
P. 33. The rite of circumcision.--Sarah, in a fit of furious jealousy, is said to have sworn to imbrue her hands in the blood
of Hagar. In order to save the life of the latter, and yet to enable his wife to keep her solemn though savage oath, Hagar, at Abraham's suggestion, allowed Sarah to perform upon her the rite of circumcision, to submit to which has, since then, become a "sunnah," or traditional and religious custom amongst Mohammedan women. (See Mejr-ed-dìn, vol. i. p. 46.)
P. 35. The patriarchs said to be not dead but living.--The tomb of the patriarchs at Hebron is very jealousy guarded against intruders who are not Moslems. Very few Christians have ever been admitted even into the courts of the Haram; the first in modern times who was allowed to enter being the Prince of Wales (now King Edward VII.), who visited the Holy Land in 1862.
Even Mohammedans are forbidden to descend into the cave below, which is generally supposed to be that of Machpelah, lest they should disturb the patriarchs and their "harìm", who are conceived of as living in a state of sacred "keyf," or "dolce far niente." A couple of hundred years ago a Mohammedan had the temerity to enter the cavern. He suddenly came upon a lady who was combing her hair. It is supposed to have been Sarah herself. She threw her comb at the audacious intruder and hit him in the eyes. He was, in consequence, blind to his dying day.
It is also related that when Ibrahìm Pasha took Hebron about seventy years ago, he likewise attempted to penetrate into the mausoleum of the patriarchs, and had an opening made through the masonry enclosing it, but that, just as he was going to enter, he was taken seriously ill, and had to be carried away unconscious.
An old tradition, which has been traced back to the time of Origen, in the second century, says that the cross on which Christ suffered was, at the Crucifixion, planted at the head of Adam's tomb, and that some drops of the Saviour's blood, percolating through the soil and the fissure made in the rock by the earthquake that then occurred, touched Adam's skull and revived the progenitor of mankind to life. 1 He led the band of
saints, who, as the Gospel relates, rose from the dead after Christ's resurrection, and entering Jerusalem, appeared unto many. The origin of this legend seems to have been a misunderstanding of the texts Ephesians v. 14 and 21; 1 Corinthians xv. 21, 22; 45, 47.
P. 41. Pilgrimage to Mûsa's grave.--The writer was some years ago informed by a native Jew that he had been told by his late father that the latter had been informed by a Moslem sheykh that the annual Mohammedan pilgrimage to the traditional tomb of Moses had been instituted by the early Moslem conquerors of Palestine, in order that, in the case of disturbances in Jerusalem amongst the Christian pilgrims who come thither in order to celebrate Easter, a strong body of armed believers might be in reserve and within call in case of necessity. Whether this statement is correct I cannot tell; at any rate, the Neby Mûsa pilgrimage generally coincides in time with the Christian Easter festivities.
P. 41. The stones of the place should be lit for fuel.--The limestone at Neby Mûsa is bituminous, and somewhat combustible.
P. 45. "The tower still bears his (David's) name."--This tower is situated just inside the city, near the Jaffa Gate. It is often called the Tower of Hippicus, though its base measurements agree more nearly with those of Herod's tower Phasælus.
P. 49. The Kharrûb.--The Carob-tree (Ceratonia silique), said by tradition to have furnished, in its pods, the locusts which the Baptist ate; and also the husks on which the swine, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, were fed.
P. 50. Stones left unfinished at the death of Solomon.--These stones are generally called "Hajar el Hibleh" or stone of the pregnant woman, from the belief that the work of cutting and carrying them had been assigned to female jinns in that condition. One such stone is pointed out in the south wall of Jerusalem, and another huge block, on a hill-top near Hirsha, is said to have been left there by a jinnìyeh who dropped it when she heard the welcome news of Solomon's death. (See Clermont Ganneau's "Archæological Researches," vol. i. 69.)
Like Abraham and El-Khudr, David appears sometimes in
order to protect the Jews. Some instances will be mentioned in Section II. in connection with legends possibly founded on facts.
p. 51. Dhu’lkarnein.--See Sale's Koran, Chandos Classics Edition, chap. xviii. pp. 224-225 and foot-notes.
P. 54. Elijah's cave on Carmel.--For other particulars concerning this place and the " treatment " here practised, see Dr Thomson's "The Land and the Book" (1886), vol. i. p. 329 ff.
P. 62. Simon the Just.--It seems now to be conclusively established that this was Simon II., and that Josephus (Antip. Book XII. chap. ii. 5) was mistaken in identifying him with Simon I. G. (See Derembourg, 47-51; Dean Stanley's "Jewish Church," vol. iii. p. 247.)
P. 62. The thirty-third of ’Omer.--That is the thirty-third day after the fifteenth of Nisan and the second of Passover, when a sheaf (’omer) of barley was offered to God in the Temple as the firstfruits of the coming harvest (Lev. xxiii. 10). This eighteenth of Iyyar is also celebrated as the anniversary of the disappearance of a plague in the days of Rabbi Akiba. (See Friedlænder, "Text-book of the Jewish Religion," 27, and note 34, "Tales told in Palestine," p. 219.)
P. 62-64. Compare 3 Mace. i. 28, 29; ii. 21-24; with Dean Stanley's "Jewish Church," vol. iii. p. 248.
69:1 Allah ordained that Hawa should produce children in pairs, a male with a female, in order that some restraint of decency might be imposed on mankind from the outset. It was forbidden for a son to marry his twin sister. Cain, enslaved by the beauty of his twin sister Abdul Mughis transgressed this commandment, and eventually murdered Abel, to whom she was promised. To prevent such havoc being wrought by woman's looks, it was from that time forth decreed that all females having reached a certain age should go veiled. A popular variant of the above.--ED.
72:1 The existence of these vats so near the well is one of the reasons for believing, as many do, that Bìr Eyyûb is the En-Rogel of the Old Testament.
72:2 An Arab subject of the Greco-Roman Empire.--ED.
73:1 A Maronite Christian once told me a story, beginning with the burial of Adam and ending with the Crucifixion, which lasted a whole summer afternoon. It included the subject of this note and also that of the foregoing chapter, yet seemed homogeneous. Melchizedek was, I remember, a leading character. He buried Adam, carrying his body an unheard-of distance to Jerusalem, and kept appearing and disappearing mysteriously throughout the narrative. The narrator assured me he had found it all in a great book in the library of a p. 74 certain convent in Mount Lebanon; but, as he could not read, I suspect the assurance was only to impress me, and I had been listening to a whole cycle of folk-tales.--ED.