Historical Tales and Anecdotes of the Time of the Early Khalifahs/Anecdote of Misun


]i T ISUN, the daughter of Bdhdal * was married to ^^ Muiwiyah, and he brought her from amongst the wandering Arabs into Damascus. But she sorrowed exceedingly for her people, and at the remembrance of her home; and one day, whilst he was listening to her, he heard her reciting, and saying :

A hut that the winds make tremble

Is dearer to me than a noble palace ; And a dish of crumbs on the floor of my home

Is dearer to me than a varied feast ; And the soughing of the breeze thro' every crevice

Is dearer to me than the beating of drums ; And a cameFs-wool Abih f which gladdens my eye

Is dearer to me than filmy robes ; And a dog barking around my path

Is dearer to me than a coaxing cat ;

  • I think Bdhdal is a mistake. I find that other authorities

speak of Mtsiin as the daughter of Ydhdak, of the tribe of Kalb. She had an excellent genius for poetry; and at Muiwiyah's command took her son Yezid (Miiiwiyah's successor) with her mto the desert, among her own relations, in order to inspire him with poetic sentiments.

t The long loose cloak of camel's wool which is to this day worn by the Bedawin Arabs.


And a restive young camel, following the litter, Is dearer to me than a pacing mule ;

And a feeble boor from 'midst my cousinhood Is dearer to me than a rampant ass.

And upon hearing these lines, Mii^wiyah exclaimed, " The daughter of Bdhdal was not satisfied until she had likened me to a rampant ass ! ** And he ordered her to be packed off again to ber family in the desert.