- , BARMECIDE'S FEASTAccording to the "The Barber's Story of his Sixth Brother" in the Tales from the Arabian Nights, Barmecide is an illusion, particularly one containing a great disappointment. The story begins in Baghdad, where a member of the Barmecide family decides to amuse himself. He invites Schacabac, a poor, starving wretch, to dinner. Having set before him a series of empty plates, the Barmecide asks, "How do you like your soup?" "Excellently well," replies Schacabac. "Did you ever see whiter bread?" "Never, honorable sir." When illusory wine is offered, Schacabac pretends to be drunk and knocks his host down. Barmecide sees the humor in the situation, forgives him, and provides him with a sumptuous meal. A Barmecide feast is an empty pretense of hospitality or generosity. One who offers false and disappointing benefits is a Barmecide. The adjective Barmecidal means unreal, illusory.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.