Why Arabian nights?

Inspiration

Drowning the Sands of G’desh was inspired by the Old Testament and Arabian Nights. Both books have an incredible amount of unique stories which are not often mimicked in American culture. In my own faith walk, the church focuses on a few stories which you get to know very well. Arabian Nights is boiled down to the animated movie (and now live action), and that Sinbad miniseries, starring Sinbad.

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Background

Do you know the story of Scheherazade? Arabian Nights starts with a sultan, Shah Zaman, and his brother, who discover their wives regularly cheat on them. They go on a quest to see if any woman can be faithful, and a woman forces them to have sex with her, while her djinn (genie, but not the funny blue one, more like Jaffar but without a lamp) husband sleeps close by. At this point, Shah Zaman decides all people cheat, and there is only one way to guarantee women keep their vows.

Decapitation.

So every day he gets married to a young virgin, Biblically gets to know her, and then executes her. Good job, Shah Zaman, you really know how to make people keep their vows….

Eventually there are no women left who are pleasing to the eye. He has either cut their heads off, or their families fled the city knowing what would happen if they stuck around.

Except for his vizier. Despite the vizier’s pleads, his lovely daughter Scheherazade stays in the city and offers herself up to marry Shah Zaman. Once they get married, she tells him a story, and he loves it, and notes it’s too bad he’ll have to kill her in the morning. So she created cliffhangers. And every night he would want to hear the ending, and the following day she would give the ending and a new story. This is the premise for the anthology which is Arabian Nights.

A Thousand Magical Tales

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The stories are numerous. It’s not a small book. There’s a great deal of magic throughout, as well.

A talking monkey gains great wealth for a layabout. The monkey, for all the wealth he bestows upon the lazy boy, asks only one thing. There is a woman he must marry. What are the plans of the monkey to have such an odd request for incomprehensible wealth?

There’s a magical horse which captivates a king. For one of his daughters, the king can keep the horse, but this is a great insult. The king still considers the proposal.

If a man can seduce a woman, he uses magic. Should a woman seduce a man, she uses magic. There is no system to the magic, but if anything happens which seems incomprehensible, it is magic.

The Djinn

Ifrit was my introduction to the djinn. In Final Fantasy, he is a powerful summon. often times, he is an unwilling servant. In Final Fantasy XV, he’s straight out malevolent.

The djinn are spirits, sometimes demons, who can take several forms. Elements, primarily fire, are the signature of a djinn. They are fickle and devious, but at the same time there are stories of alliances between man and djinn.

You should read it!

I highly suggest reading Arabian Nights. Not all of the stories will be your cup of tea, but if it was enough to keep Scheherazade from decapitation! Sorry if that was a spoiler.

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