Here is a list of my favorite three stories from the first half of Arabian Nights. That’s it. It’s as far as I’ve gotten. I’m working through the second half, and my reading speed is picking up, as, with all things, the more you do it, the faster you do it! I just made myself laugh because I took something innocent and made it dirty. This is in no particular order.
1. The Tale of Scheherazade
It’s the whole reason for the story. How could it not make the top five?
A Sultan finds out his wife is cheating on him with the chef slave. He is angry and goes to hang out with his brother. They find out his brother’s wife is cheating on him with a slave. They go on a trip. A woman forces them to sleep with her while her Jinni husband is sleeping right there.
All the sex of Game of Thrones without the violence.
The Sultan believes no woman is capable of having integrity, so he kills his wife, marries a woman, “goes in unto her” (you know what he means), and kills her in the morning so she can’t cheat on him.
The kingdom is soon devoid of women. Those who could afford to travel left, and those who couldn’t, got married and died. Now it’s also the violence of Game of Thrones.
Soon the only women left were his vizier’s children. The vizier bids they flee, but his daughter, Scheherazade, says, “I’ve got this.”
So every night this woman tells the Sultan a story, hooking him on a nearly three year journey. Because she’s clever and captivating.
Lesson of the story? Don’t cheat and make sure you have three years of stories cued up.
2. Abu Mohammad Hight Lazybones
This tickled me because my nephew has a joke. What do you call a skeleton who doesn’t work? Lazybones.
That aside, the story is a rag to riches story of a kid, Abu Mohammad, who would not move. He laid in the courtyard of his family, and his mother gave him food and drink. Then the father died and the wife continued to begrudgingly dote.
Finally there was a merchant leaving to China. His mother said give the merchant some money so he can buy something and the no good kid could make some money.
Now this was a guy so lazy that when the summer sun was overhead baking him, he would not move. So he had his mom put on his sandals, get him up to stand, and them walk him to the boat.
The merchant, so taken by the story of conquered laziness, agreed to spend the kid’s money. So he used it to buy an abused ape. Which ended up being basically a demon.
I won’t give more of the story, but it involves breaking curses, magical cities of the jinni, deception, and love in the time of arranged marriages.
3. The Tale of Prince Sayf al-Muluk
I consider it the far more interesting story that is just like Sinbad. A king visits King Solomon, is blessed by God, goes home and finally has sons. The eldest, Sayf, is made king. Sa’id, the second eldest, is made is wazir.
Sayf sees a tunic he has and falls in love with the image on it, which he finds out is a jinn princess. So he does the same thing anyone would do when they find out the woman they lust after could be benevolent or eat them: he mounts an epic quest across the globe in order to find princess.
On the way, his crew gets waylaid on numerous islands where everything wants to eat them. Then he rescues a woman who is friends with the princess jinn and they meet.
Now is my favorite part. The guy is kidnapped by other jinn (who he wronged in his journeys), and the grandma to the princess says get back the human or bring back every jinn involved in his kidnapping so she can slit their throats. That is a terrifying grandma.
Anyway, what is your favorite? I look forward to getting through more of the stories.
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