A Bit Of Bedroom Wisdom


The biographer Ibn Khallikan tells the following amusing anecdote about the Abbasid caliph Al-Mu’tadid (المعتضد بالله).  He lived from about 860 to 902 A.D.  The story makes the point that one must be decisive in matters of love and seduction.  To hesitate with a beautiful woman can be ruinous.

In the year 894 the caliph took as one of his wives a woman known to possess, according to Ibn Khallikan, “both wit and beauty to an extreme degree.”  She is known only by the nickname of Katr an-Nada (Dewdrop).  One day the caliph was relaxing with her in a special room reserved for their use only, which no one else dared enter.

After drinking some wine, the caliph handed Dewdrop the wine goblet and then promptly fell asleep in her lap.  She, expecting a bold physical initiative on his part, was not pleased.  And she let him know it.  She lifted his head from her lap and placed a cushion under it, and then left the room to sit in the court-yard of the palace.

The caliph soon woke up and found himself alone in her bedchamber.  Rising, he found Dewdrop in the court-yard, and said:

Have I not given you a special mark of honor in choosing you as my private companion?  Have I not given you the most special token of my affection, and withheld the same from the other women in my harem?

And with all this, you still put a pillow under my head and leave me hanging as you did?

To this Dewdrop made the following response:

Commander of the faithful!  I am fully aware of the special favor you have granted me.  But long ago my father taught me an important lesson.  And it was this:  do not sit with those who sleep, and do not sleep with those who sit.[1]

By this she meant that beautiful women have no patience for those who do not know when and how to advance the cause of love.  There is a time for sleeping, and a time for loving.  When the time for the latter has come, one must act without delay.



[1] Biog. Dict. I, p. 549; entry for Khumarawaih