cape from it through repulsion. I have not seen any stone which could
be said to hold vinegar in repulsion. But I have (of a stone) which does
not enter the vessel in which there is vinegar straight, but displaces itself
from the vinegar and with a slight movement avoids it.
We will now extend our discourse to stones which are themselves
well known by name but whose products and characteristics are not well
Galen says that, when rubbed upon a whetstone, it displays a red
colour; hence its name. Names like hajar 'asali and hajar labani are also
derived from their shavings. It is also called hajar al-damm (blood-stone).
'Utarad bin Muhammad Hasib's book, the Manafi' al-Ahjar (Benefits
of Stones) details descriptions of such stones, but he has mixed up these
descriptions, with practices of exorcism amulets, and quasi-magical practices. Therefore he has reduced his credibility particularly with respect
to the shell of which the Sughd make the shavings. In their book called
Tubusta, they say that the stone whose cutting is yellow keeps one safe
from evils and provides comfort to the heart. The red kind is meant for
good results from deeds; the kurrathi (leek-like) kind makes for anxiety,
agitation and commiseration, while the black kind is poisonous, and
ought to be avoided. About the stone whose cutting bears a different
colour with respect to the stone itself, it is observed:
If its cutting is white, it is good for industry and business. It is an
antidote to the wounds inflicted by arms and does not allow wounds
to fester. If the cutting is pinkish in hue, it is an antidote to grief
and sorrow. The green kind removes fear and makes one feel safe. A
white stone having veins of another colour running through it is good
for the pustules of the mouth and pain of the molar teeth.
The people of Zaruban have this to say:
The hajar al-'awz which resembles khamahan, if rubbed upon a stone
with water and if it turns the water red, is used for making the hair
long and for inducing heavy sleep if it turns the water black, and for
gold-plating if the water does not undergo any change.
All sustenance and help is from Allah.
THE DEPILATORY STONE
It is said that Bakht Yashu' found a stone which was enclosed in a
sealed box. His slave, Busil (Basil) was asked about it. He said he would
not disclose the nature-of the stone until the Caliph made a solemn and
binding promise that he would have him sent to Rome, since he would