300px-Ferdinand Keller - Scheherazade und Sultan Schariar (1880)

Scheherazade and Shahryar

One Thousand and One Nights, also known as the Arabian Nights is a compilation of Persian, Indian, Egyptian, Arab and Mesopotamian folk tales.

The tales involve traditional stories, filled with fantastical creatures such as ghouls and djinn, sometimes incorporating historical figures, sorcery and magic.

Some famous tales in the Arabian Nights include Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor

Framing Narrative



The framing story of the One Thousand and One Nights is that of Shahryar and Scheherazade.

The story begins with Shahryar, a Persian king, realising the infidelity of his brother's wife and, soon after, that of his own wife. After executing their wives, they convinces themselves that all women are the same. Shahryar orders his vizier, sometimes named Jafar, to search for virgins. Shahryar marries these virgins for one day, before executing them the next morning, before they can betray him. Eventually, all the available women in the kingdom have been either executed or have escaped, except for Jafar's own two daughters, Scheherazade and Dunyazad.

170px-John Frederick Lewis 004


Scheherazade offers herself to Shahryar and begins to come up with stories to keep him entertained and prolong her life. To this extent, Dunyazad advises her to begin a story each night. Correctly anticipating the king's curiosity, Dunyazad's trick allows Scheherazade to finish the previous story and begin a new one every night, keeping her alive for one thousand and one nights.

Though there are many different endings, all have Shahryar pardon Scheherazade and, usually, Dunyazad marrying Shah Zaman, Shahryar's brother.

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