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The Tale of al-Barrāq Son of Rawḥān and Laylā the ChasteA bilingual edition and study$
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Marlé Hammond

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266687

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266687.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

The Tale of al-Barrāq Son of Rawḥān and Laylā the Chaste: A Translation

The Tale of al-Barrāq Son of Rawḥān and Laylā the Chaste: A Translation

Chapter:
(p.37) 2 The Tale of al-Barrāq Son of Rawḥān and Laylā the Chaste: A Translation
Source:
The Tale of al-Barrāq Son of Rawḥān and Laylā the Chaste
Author(s):

Marlé Hammond

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266687.003.0002

The romance between al-Barrāq and his cousin Laylā unfolds against a backdrop of internecine Arab military skirmishes, where al-Barrāq proves his valour as a warrior. Laylā’s father reneges on a promise to allow the cousins to marry and accepts a proposal from an Arab king. Meanwhile, a Persian king, Shahrmayh, also desires to marry her. Laylā is abducted by a stooge of King Shahrmayh named Burd, who imprisons and tortures her. Laylā then recites a poem in which she describes her suffering and calls on her kinsmen to rescue her. Her poem is overheard by a sympathetic servant and conveyed to al-Barrāq through a series of messengers. Al-Barrāq then appeals to his fellow Arabs to rally to Laylā’s rescue. United, they nearly defeat the Persians, but they are vastly outnumbered. The Arab armies retreat, leaving al-Barrāq alone in enemy territory. Al-Barrāq, through a combination of ruse and might, succeeds in slaying both Burd and King Shahrmayh, frees his beloved from captivity and returns with her astride his horse to Arab lands. At the tale’s end, al-Barrāq and Laylā marry, and it is discovered that she is a virgin, despite all the threats to her chastity.

Keywords:   Al-Barrāq, Laylā the Chaste, Lukayz, Shahrmayh, Burd

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