The following illustration by Léon Carré supposedly depicts a passage from a story in One Thousand and One Nights. I am searching for the title of the story the artwork was intended to illustrate. Preferably, I am hoping to be able to confirm the specific passage of the story associated with the illustration. Illustration by Léon Carré

2 Answers 2


This picture can be found in the book Illustrations du Livre des Mille et Une Nuits, by Léon Carré and Mohamed Racim. This book reprints the illustrations that Léon Carré made for Les Mille et Une Nuits, and also gives the one or two paragraphs from the story that they illustrate (from the Jean-Charles Mardrus French translation).

The text accompanying this illustration is from the tale L'Histoire de la Princesse Boudour, which is the same tale as The Adventures of Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess Badoura.

The French text is:

Alors Kamaralzaman songea à aller s’embarquer. Il fermât la porte du jardin, prit la clef avec lui, et courut en hâte au port, alors que le soleil était déjà bien haut, mais ce fut pour voir le navire, toutes voiles dehors, emporté par le vent favorable vers la haute mer.

La douleur de Kamaralzaman, à cette vue, fut extrême; mais il n’en fit rien paraitre, pour ne pas faire rire a ses dépens la canaille du port; et tristement il reprit le chemin du jardin dont il était devenu, par la mort du vieillard, le seul héritier et le seul propriétaire. Aussi, une fois arrivé dans la petite maison, il s’effondra sur le matelas et pleura sur lui-même, sur sa bien-aimée Boudour, et sur le talisman qu’il venait de perdre pour la seconde fois.

The English translation (Google translate with a few improvements on my part) is:

Then Kamaralzaman thought of going on board. He closed the garden gate, took the key with him, and ran in haste to the port, although the sun was already quite high, only to see the ship under full sail, impelled by a favorable wind towards the high seas.

Kamaralzaman's grief at this sight was immense; but he did not show it, so as not to make the rabble of the port laugh at his expense; and sadly he returned to the garden of which he had become, by the death of the old man, the sole heir and sole owner. Once he had arrived in the little house, he sank onto the mattress and wept for himself, for his beloved Boudour, and for the talisman he had just lost for the second time.

This illustration does appear to refer to these paragraphs. You can see the disheartened Kamaralzaman returning from the port, the ship sailing away behind him, and some of the "rabble of the port".

The remainder of the text of this French translation does not appear to be online, but there are English translations available. The relevant section of one of these, the Richard Burton translation, goes:

At daybreak the ship’s captain and some of his sailors knocked at the garden door and asked for the passenger who was to embark.

“I am he,” said Camaralzaman, who had opened the door. “The gardener who took my passage is ill and cannot see you, but please come in and take these jars of olives and my bag, and I will follow as soon as I have taken leave of him.”

The sailors did as he asked, and the captain before leaving charged Camaralzaman to lose no time, as the wind was fair, and he wished to set sail at once.

As soon as they were gone the prince returned to the cottage to bid farewell to his old friend, and to thank him once more for all his kindness. But the old man was at his last gasp, and had barely murmured his confession of faith when he expired.

Camaralzaman was obliged to stay and pay him the last offices, so having dug a grave in the garden he wrapped the kind old man up and buried him. He then locked the door, gave up the key to the owner of the garden, and hurried to the quay only to hear that the ship had sailed long ago, after waiting three hours for him.

It may well be believed that the prince felt in despair at this fresh misfortune, which obliged him to spend another year in a strange and distasteful country. Moreover, he had once more lost the Princess Badoura’s talisman, which he feared he might never see again. There was nothing left for him but to hire the garden as the old man had done, and to live on in the cottage. As he could not well cultivate the garden by himself, he engaged a lad to help him, and to secure the rest of the treasure he put the remaining gold dust into fifty more jars, filling them up with olives so as to have them ready for transport.

Note that the picture is not as good an illustration for this version of the tale, since here the ship has sailed long before Camaralzaman (Kamaralzaman) reaches the quay, so it should not be visible in the background.

  • Thank you so much for your detailed answer. Jun 7, 2023 at 18:50
  • Is it Camaralzaman or Kamaralzaman then? Jun 11, 2023 at 22:28
  • @SnackExchange: The original is in Arabic, which is not written in our alphabet, so the spelling is up to the translator. It's also been translated as Kamar al-Zaman and Qamaralzaman.
    – Peter Shor
    Jun 11, 2023 at 22:42
  • @SnackExchange: I just noticed that your comment might have been intended to point out that I used the wrong spelling when referring to the Richard Burton translation. I did, my bad, but I don't think it's worth editing.
    – Peter Shor
    Jun 11, 2023 at 22:48
  • @PeterShor Why can't I see the image posted in the question? Sometimes it exists in the question body and sometimes it isn't! (When reloading the page). Even when it exists the imgur sites can't be reached. Jun 11, 2023 at 22:49

A reverse google image search leads to this page: https://magiachisel.ru/KartyTaro/Skazka1001.aspx?skz=60&pg=11#60 which claims the illustration is for "The Story of the Two Princes El-Amjad and El-As'ad", which is itself a part of "The Adventures of Prince Camaralzaman and the Princess Badoura"/"The Tale of Qamar al-Zaman". Namely, the passage it illustrates is:

At this point in the Narrative, Scheherazade noticed that morning was approaching, and, as usual, fell silent. And when the two hundred and fifteenth night came, she said:

Amjad exclaimed loudly:
"How I was afraid of our separation!"
And he descended from the mountain, entered the city, walked for a long time along its streets, and finally came to the market. And he asked the people what the name of this city was and who its inhabitants were, and they answered him:
"This is the city of Magi, and its inhabitants worship fire."
Then he, having bought something to eat for himself, went to a secluded place and sat down there to refresh himself.
And he thought again of his brother, and could not help crying, and ate no more than was necessary to keep the last breath of life in him.

or, in the Richard Burton translation,

When it was the Two Hundred and Thirtieth Night,

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that when Amjad awaited his brother As'ad till mid-day and he returned not to him, Amjad's vitals fluttered; the pangs of parting were sore upon him and he poured forth abundant tears, exclaiming, "Alas, my brother! Alas, my friend! Alas my grief! How I feared me we should be separated!" Then he descended from the mountain-top with the tears running down his cheeks; and, entering the city, ceased not walking till he made the market. He asked the folk the name of the place and concerning its people and they said, "This is called the City of the Magians, and its citizens are mostly given to Fire-worshipping in lieu of the Omnipotent King." Then he enquired of the City of Ebony and they answered, "Of a truth it is a year's journey thither by land and six months by sea: it was governed erst by a King called Armanus; but he took to son-in-law and made King in his stead a Prince called Kamar al-Zaman distinguished for justice and munificence, equity and benevolence." When Amjad heard tell of his father, he groaned and wept and lamented and knew not whither to go. However, he bought a something of food and carried it to a retired spot where he sat down thinking to eat; but, recalling his brother, he fell a-weeping and swallowed but a morsel to keep breath and body together, and that against his will.


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