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usual with Khash Mehal and his eldest son, the heir apparent, to pay the usual morning visit, with presents, and the queen was sad, but said nothing. In the evening all was as usual. The general, who loved the queen his mother, and was beloved by her, had come, as was the custom; and, on the next New Year's day the general came early to his mother's court to present his gifts, and to offer his congratulations, and stopped with her, not going, as was his wont, to visit the king also. The king noticed the absence of the general, and asked about it, and they told him,' He is with the queen his mother.' The king waited for him to come all day, but finding he did not, and fearing that some family intrigue might be formed against him, for the English were daily threatening—so it is said, at least he came towards evening to pay his usual visit to his mother.
The queen had been lying down, and when she heard he was come, she went and lay down again, and ordered her attendants to tell the king she was lying down as usual, and would not be disturbed. He waited some
time, and then went away, and we hastened to tell the queen. On hearing this, she arose But the king had only gone round, and entered her apartments by another way, and before any news could be brought, himself entered the room where she was, the female guards not daring to prevent him. 'Did you not tell me his majesty had gone?' she asked of her attendants on seeing him, and for some time she refused to speak to him, or to receive his present. But at length she relented, and conversed amicably with him, and all was as usual, except that she would not recognise or acknowledge Khash Mehal at all.
On the last New Year's day before annexation, the king came with his eldest son so early that the queen was not ready to receive him, and he was kept waiting a short time. She certainly had great weight in the kingdom, and was highly esteemed both by the English resident and by the nobility for her virtue, prudence, and wisdom. Perhaps it was on this account the king strove so much not to offend her.
MINOR RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS AND FASTS.
THE fast of the Ramazan was rigidly kept at the palace. For thirty days, sometimes in the hottest months of the year, nothing was allowed to be eaten or drunk from sunrise to sunset. Women who are in the family-way, and who are nursing, are exempted from this rigorous abstinence in the Koran, but no exceptions were made in the queen's court. Nor meat, nor drink, nor the hookah, was permitted for those thirty days, from sunrise to sunset. As soon as it was proclaimed from the minarets that the sun was down, the long day's fast was first broken by a pinch of salt, and then a long draught of water, or sherbet, or some cooling drink, previously prepared, was brought in and partaken of. Eating, drinking, and prayers filled up the night, for we all slept as much as possible in the day,
to get over the long day's fast as pleasantly as possible.
On the first appearance of the moon after the fast of the Ramazan, the feast of the Ede commenced. It is a day of joy and visiting of friends, and mutual congratulations. New clothes are worn and gifts are given and received. At the great musjid we had a grand service at nine o'clock in the morning on the Ede day, to which the queen always went, and returned home to partake plentifully and joyfully of the favourite dish of the season, semay (a kind of vermicelli), which was boiled in milk, with dates, pistachio nuts, and spices to flavour it an excellent dish when properly prepared. The queen always warned us on the morning of the Ede to abstain from angry words, disputes, and quarrelling during the whole of that day. On that day especially all should be peace and harmony and thankfulness. The children too got presents of toys on the Ede, and in the evening the gardens were lit up, and, with fruit and flowers and music and dancing and singing, the hardships of the Ramazan were forgotten.
The Bukra Ede (Ede of the goat), celebrated some days after the Ede, is in remembrance of Abraham having been about to sacrifice his son Ishmael, when the angel stopped him, and threw down a goat from heaven for him to sacrifice instead. It was not his son Isaac he was going to sacrifice, but Ishmael-is it not all written in the Koran? Well, when the goat fell, it so happened that it fell on a fish and a locust, and killed them both; and hence a fish and a locust are the only two animals a good Mussulman can eat, without having them first killed by cutting their throats. The queen used to explain all these things to us, as we waited on her. She was learned as a moollah.
On the Bukra Ede every good Mussulman must eat the flesh of a goat, if he wishes to get into Paradise. The queen liberally supplied us with goat's flesh on the Bukra Ede, and besides that had two camels killed, so that every servant of the household might get a small portion of camel's flesh to eat. Those who sacrifice and eat camels on