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كتاب ألف ليلة وليلة – Scheherazade

A_Nights

These fanciful, sometimes brutal tales, revel in the art of storytelling. The underlying suggestion of the Arabian Nights is that a fantastically precious jewel exists which, when it comes into contact with people, actually changes them. The jewel is the magnificently powerful art of story. There may not be any better examples in the world of how art, trickery, magic and craft can swirl together and form a world that every reader and listener wants to enter. Regardless of the situation presented in any particular Arabian Nights story, the assumption contained in the story is that life is always worth living and that human endeavor, along with human weakness, is a wonderful and fascinating thing to behold: a powerful mental connection between the ancient civilizations of the East and those of the West.

•→http://peterindia.blogspot.in/a-thousand-and-one-arabian-nights_.html

The Arabian Nights stories are some of the world’s great treasures. They have existed for thousands of years, consisting of tales told in Persia, Arabia and India. The Arabian Nights (also known as The 1001 Arabian Nights) have inspired writers world all over with the ancient […? ] story.

These stories convey the great sense of adventure, truth, fantastic imagination, justice, and faith embodied by the great civilizations that contributed stories and ideas to the collection.

The Arabian Nights include fairy tales, fables, romances, farces, legends, and parables. The tales use a sweeping variety of settings, including Baghdad, Basrah, Cairo, Damascus, as well as China, Greece, India, North Africa and Turkey.

Long ago a famous dynasty ruled Persia. Sultan Schahriar was a great King who ruled the kingdom. He had a wife whom he loved more than everything in the world, and his greatest happiness was to surround her with splendour. But, after several years, he found that she hasn’t been loyal to the Sultan. The Sultan could not bear this. He killed his wife. From that day, he made his Grand Minister bring him a girl, get her married that day evening and kill her the next day.

Scheherezade

The whole kingdom was shocked at this attitude. The grand-vizir himself was the father of two daughters, of whom the elder was called Scheherazade, and the younger Dinarzade.  Scheherazade was highly intelligent and extremely beautiful.

One day,  “Father, I have a favour to ask.  Will you grant it to me?”

“I can refuse you nothing. Tell me my dear.”

“I am determined to stop this barbarous practice of the Sultan’s, and to save the girls from this awful fate.”

“It would be an excellent thing to do, but how do you propose to do it?”

“It is you who have to provide the Sultan daily with a new wife, and I request you to permit me to marry him.”

“Have you lost your senses? Don’t you know your fate if you marry the Sultan? 

“Yes, my father, I know it well, and I am not afraid to think of it.  If I fail, my death will be a glorious one, and if I succeed I shall have done a great service to my country.”

“It is of no use, I shall never give consent, even if the Sultan plunges a dagger in my heart, I will never agree.»

But Scheherazade was very stubborn and got her father’s approval.

The grand-vizir reached the Sultan’s court to tell the matter. The Sultan was shocked.

“How have you made up your mind to sacrifice your own daughter to me?”

“Sire, it is her own wish.  The sad fate that awaits her could not hold her back.”

“All right, make the arrangement.»

The minister takes the news to his daughter, and she was overjoyed.

«Father, do not worry. You will  never repent for this action of mine.»

The marriage was arranged and Scheherazade married Sultan. Sultan was amazed with her beauty. The moon was shining brightly and the breeze was warm in the Persian skies.

«Scheherezade. You look very pretty. You’re also highly educated, but still why do you want to choose this option?»

«Your Highness, it’s a great honour to die in your hands, even if it for a day…»

The Sultan smiled.

«What are your hobbies in the free time?’

«I love  […? ] for the young and old. I’m popular in this area for that.»

«Is it?»

«Your Highness, if you wish I will tell you an interesting story.»

«All right. The night is very calm and peaceful. Tell me a story. Let me hear.»

Scheherazade started with her first story . . .

¤    ¤    ¤

The story of how these tales came to be told is a most wonderful tale in itself. Indeed, this story not only provides the context for all the other stories, but, it comprises the fundamental food upon which the others are sprinkled as spices…  Listen & read ↓  [Intermediate]

Once upon a time in Ancient Arabia, there was a Sultan who had a splendid harem of over 500 young women who all belonged to him just as animals might belong to a person of our day. And blessed by the injunctions of his religion and culture, they were there for his pleasure, all picked for their beauty, charm and special gifts of dancing and singing. And of all the beautiful concubines the Sultan had a favorite, one whom he loved to dally and sport with more than all the rest. 

One day word was brought to the Sultan that the hunting was excellent and he desired to go on an expedition for some sport outside the walls of his palace. So elephants and gun-bearers, supplies and cooks, beaters and hunters, horses and dogs and a legion of men were assembled to go with the Sultan on his hunting expedition.

He was to be away almost a fortnight. But after only a week of hunting, although he loved the excitement of the hunt, the Sultan began to miss his favorite concubine and the sweet pleasures of the bed. He thought it would be a great idea to steal back secretly into his palace and surprise his chosen girl for a night of delicious love. He had his swiftest horse brought to him and taking only three men set out back for the palace. Arriving in the evening all unannounced, he stole into his inner chambers with his three guards without anyone knowing that he was there. But as he came to his bedroom where he had spent so many delicious nights with his favorite and he flung open the door he found the object of his desire in his bed with a black eunuch.

They both flung themselves to the floor and piteously cried for mercy. But the Sultan’s eyes grew red with anger and he flew into a rage. In an angry voice he called for both of them to be seized and for the eunuch to be tortured slowly to death, and for his concubine, he didn’t even look at her. His heart had been spoiled and its doors were now shut. He told his guards to gather together the harem, to take all of them to the wall above the river and then in front of all of them to put the young woman in a burlap bag with three cats from the palace and throw them in the river to drown.

From that time on he lived as one betrayed by life and especially as one who had seen the source of that betrayal as a woman. Indeed all the women of his harem, for he felt surely they were all in this together. From that time on whenever a girl was called to be his companion for the night she was never seen by her sisters again, for after he had made love to the girl he had her killed. 

All the girls lived in utter fear of the Sultan and the atmosphere in the palace became one of a graveyard.  There was no real happiness, not a soul dared to show delight nor humor nor joyous laughter. Whenever a girl was chosen to spend a night with the Sultan, she knew it was to be her last night alive. All her sisters in the harem comforted her knowing that this was to be their fate as well and all suggested ways of pleasing the Sultan and perhaps pleasuring him so exquisitely that he would be compassionate towards her and let her live.

Whenever a new girl was brought before the Sultan, he told her to undress and come to bed with him. Each young girl sought to do his bidding in such a sensual beautiful seductive delightful eager and alluring way praying that she would please him with her beauty and charm alone, that she would pleasure him so well that he would not kill her. But none of them ever returned. 

One night the Sultan chose a concubine by the name of Scheherazade to come to him. She heard that the Sultan had chosen her as he watched the girls bathe from behind the carved screens, where he often came to pick his companion for the night. She knew that her life was now in immediate danger. She knew that tonight was to be her last night alive unless she could please the Sultan. She wondered whether she would ever see her young friends or family again. She knew that unless she did something extraordinary tonight, many more, indeed all of the young girls who lived within the harem, would die. 

That evening a Full moon rose in the east and sweet scented jasmine wafted through the shutters of the palace windows. The Sultan lay on satin sheets on his huge bed. Frankincense, myrrh and camphor filled a room lit only by candles. Scheherazade was brought in by the eunuchs freshly washed and the door was closed behind her. She looked at the Sultan. He lay on his bed and looked at her. Not a sound could be heard from anything or anyone. She bowed before him. He continued to look at her as at something but not at someone, as a man might look at something he pitied and yet loved. 

He spoke «Take off your clothes»

She took a step forward radiant and strong in the acceptance of her fate. She addressed him:

«O Great Sultan it is said that the beauty of a woman is one of the delights that has been given to man by God. Do you know how this gift was first given and why? Do you know who the first woman was and how she looked and why God gave her to the man? Do you know the story of their first night together and what became of them?»

The Sultan heard the words of the concubine Scheherazade and sat up a little and looked at her. He was intrigued. None of the girls had ever came to him like this. Most he knew were scared, scared to death, and they sought only to please him immediately with their beauty and feminine charms. Here was something different.

«Tell me this story and then we will make love» he said

And so she began. . . . . .

Scheherazade began a story that started high up in the mountains of the heart and like a small spring burst forth in such happy and delightful purity that the Sultan was absorbed in its flow and turns and twists and delights and adventures so that the whole night went by like a single moment of pleasure and the sun had begun to lighten the sky in the East and she had still not finished her story…

The Sultan both pleased and delightfully exhausted from listening bade her go to sleep and told her to continue the story the next evening. The next evening was much like the first, except the story became more interesting and was still not finished as the sun lit the minarets of the Sultans palace and again the Sultan bade Scheherazade go to sleep and he would continue the story the next evening. And again and again and again, the evenings passed in story and for season after season, year after year, night after night until A Thousand and One Arabian nights had passed and Scheherazade noticed that the Sultan had changed in his disposition. He was able to feel again beyond his hurt and he was able to trust and appreciate and to laugh and to marvel at the wondrous story that was spread out before him and he began to marvel at the wondrous life that was spread out before him. And he felt remorse for what he had done to the young sisters of Scheherazade, and his heart softened and he fell in love with the one who had been the bringer of this gift in the world for him. And he married Scheherazade and made her his sweet wife and the harem was set free from the threat of death and the palace once again came to life and the land and the people blossomed under the wise and compassionate rule of the Sultan and his consort, Scheherazade.

¤  Sir Richard Burton, translator  [1850]Scherez

THE STORY OF KING SHAHRYAR AND HIS BROTHER
THE TALE OF THE BULL AND THE ASS
THE FISHERMAN AND THE JINNI
THE TALE OF THE ENSORCELED PRINCE
THE PORTER AND THE THREE LADIES OF BAGHDAD
THE FIRST KALANDAR’S TALE
THE SECOND KALANDAR’S TALE
THE THIRD KALANDAR’S TALE
THE ELDEST LADY’S TALE
THE TALE OF THE THREE APPLES
TALE OF NUR AL-DIN ALI AND HIS SON BADR AL-DIN HASAN
THE CITY OF MANY-COLUMNED IRAM AND ABDULLAH SON OF ABI KILABAH
THE SWEEP AND THE NOBLE LADY
THE MAN WHO STOLE THE DISH OF GOLD WHEREIN THE DOG ATE
THE RUINED MAN WHO BECAME RICH AGAIN THROUGH A DREAM
THE EBONY HORSE
THE ANGEL OF DEATH WITH THE PROUD AND THE DEVOUT MAN
SINDBAD THE SEAMAN AND SINDBAD THE LANDSMAN
FIRST VOYAGE OF SINDBAD HIGHT THE SEAMAN
THE SECOND VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SEAMAN
THE THIRD VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SEAMAN
THE FOURTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SEAMAN
THE FIFTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SEAMAN
THE SIXTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SEAMAN
THE SEVENTH VOYAGE OF SINDBAD THE SEAMAN
THE LADY AND HER FIVE SUITORS
KHALIFAH THE FISHERMAN OF BAGHDAD
ABU KIR THE DYER AND ABU SIR THE BARBER
THE SLEEPER AND THE WAKER
STORY OF THE LARRIKIN AND THE COOK
ALADDIN; OR, THE WONDERFUL LAMP
ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES

◊  ◊ → CONCLUSION  ↓  [Read & Listen]  (Advanced)

  NOW during this time Scheherazade had borne the King three boy children, so when she had made an end of the story, she rose to her feet and kissing ground before him, said, «O King of the Time and unique one of the Age and the Tide, I am thine handmaid, and these thousand nights and a night have I entertained thee with stories of folk gone before and admonitory instances of the men of yore. May I then make bold to crave a boon of thy Highness?» He replied, «Ask, O Scheherazade, and it shall be granted to thee.» Whereupon she cried out to the nurses and the eunuchs, saying, «Bring me my children.» So they brought them to her in haste, and they were three boy children, one walking, one crawling, and one suckling. She took them, and setting them before the King, again kissed the ground and said: «O King of the Age, these are thy children, and I crave that thou release me from the doom of death, as a dole to these infants. For an thou kill me, they will become motherless and will find none among women to rear them as they should he reared.»

When the King heard this, he wept, and straining the boys to his bosom, said: «By Allah, O Scheherazade, I pardoned thee before the coming of these children, for that I found thee chaste, pure, ingenuous, and pious! Allah bless thee and thy father and thy mother and thy root and thy branch! I take the Almighty to witness against me that I exempt thee from aught that can harm thee.» So she kissed his hands and feet and rejoiced with exceeding joy, saying, «The Lord make thy life long and increase thee in dignity and majesty!» presently adding: «Thou marveledst at that which befell thee on the part of women; yet there betided the Kings of the Chosroes before thee greater mishaps and more grievous than that which hath befallen thee; and indeed I have set forth unto thee that which happened to caliphs and kings and others with their women, but the relation is longsome and hearkening groweth tedious, and in this is all-sufficient warning for the man of wits and admonishment for the wise.»

Then she ceased to speak, and when King Shahryar heard her speech and profited by that which she said, he summoned up his reasoning powers and cleansed his heart and caused his understanding revert and turned to Allah Almighty and said to himself: «Since there befell the Kings of the Chosroes more than that which hath befallen me, never whilst I live shall I cease to blame myself for the past. As for this Scheherazade, her like is not found in the lands, so praise be to Him who appointed her a means for delivering His creatures from oppression and slaughter!» Then he arose from his seance and kissed her head, whereat she rejoiced, she and her sister Dunyazade, with exceeding joy.

When the morning morrowed, the king went forth and sitting down on the throne of the kingship, summoned the lords of his land, whereupon the chamberlains and nabobs and captains of the host went in to him and kissed ground before him. He distinguished the Wazir, Scheherazade’s sire, with special favor and bestowed on him a costly and splendid robe of honor and entreated him with the utmost kindness, and said to him: «Allah protect thee for that thou gavest me to wife thy noble daughter, who hath been the means of my repentance from slaying the daughters of folk. Indeed I have found her pure and pious, chaste and ingenuous, and Allah hath vouchsafed me by her three boy children, wherefore praised be He for his passing favor.» Then he bestowed robes of honor upon his wazirs and emirs and chief officers, and he set forth to them briefly that which had betided him with Scheherazade and how he had turned from his former ways and repented him of what he had done and purposed to take the Wazir’s daughter, Scheherazade, to wife and let draw up the marriage contract with her. When those who were present heard this, they kissed the ground before him and blessed him and his betrothed Scheherazade, and the Wazir thanked her. Then Shahryar made an end of his sitting in all weal, whereupon the folk dispersed to their dwelling places and the news was bruited abroad that the King purposed to marry the Wazir’s daughter, Scheherazade.

Then he proceeded to make ready the wedding gear, and presently he sent after his brother, King Shah Zaman, who came, and King Shahryar went forth to meet him with the troops. Furthermore, they decorated the city after the goodliest fashion, and diffused scents from censers and burnt aloes wood and other perfumes in all the markets and thoroughfares, and rubbed themselves with saffron, what while the drums beat and the flutes and pipes sounded and mimes and mountebanks played and plied their arts and the King lavished on them gifts and largess. And in very deed it was a notable day. When they came to the palace, King Shahryar commanded to spread the tables with beasts roasted whole and sweetmeats and all manner of viands, and bade the crier cry to the folk that they should come up to the Divan and eat and drink, and that this should be a means of reconciliation between him and them. So high and low, great and small, came up unto him, and they abode on that wise, eating and drinking seven days with their nights.

Then the King shut himself up with his brother and related to him that which had betided him with the Wazir’s daughter, Scheherazade, during the past three years, and told him what he had heard from her of proverbs and parables, chronicles and pleasantries, quips and jests, stories and anecdotes, dialogues and histories and elegies and other verses. Whereat King Shah Zaman marveled with the uttermost marvel and said: «Fain would I take her younger sister to wife, so we may be two brothers german to two sisters german, and they on like wise be sisters to us; for that the calamity which befell me was the cause of our discovering that which befell thee, and all this time of three years past I have taken no delight in woman, save that I lie each night with a damsel of my kingdom, and every morning I do her to death. But now I desire to marry thy wife’s sister, Dunyazade.»

When King Shahryar heard his brother’s words, he rejoiced with joy exceeding and arising forthright, went in to his wife, Scheherazade, and acquainted her with that which his brother purposed, namely that he sought her sister, Dunyazade in wedlock, whereupon she answered: «O King of the Age, we seek of him one condition; to wit, that he take up his abode with us, for that I cannot brook to be parted from my sister an hour, because we were brought up together and may not endure separation each from other. If he accept this pact, she is his handmaid.» King Shahryar returned to his brother and acquainted him with that which Scheherazade had said, and he replied: «Indeed, this is what was in my mind, for that I desire nevermore to be parted from thee one hour. As for the kingdom, Allah the Most High shall send to it whomso He chooseth, for that I have no longer a desire for the kinship.» When King Shahryar heard his brother’s words, he rejoiced exceedingly and said: «Verily, this is what I wished, O my brother. So Alhamdolillah- praised be Allah- who hath brought about union between us.»

Then he sent after the kazis and ulema, captains and notables, and they married the two brothers to the two sisters. The contracts were written out and the two Kings bestowed robes of honor of silk and satin on those who were present, whilst the city was decorated and the rejoicings were renewed. The King commanded each emir and wazir and chamberlain and nabob to decorate his palace, and the folk of the city were gladdened by the presage of happiness and contentment. King Shahryar also bade slaughter sheep and set up kitchens and made bride feasts and fed all comers, high and low; and he gave alms to the poor and needy and extended his bounty to great and small. Then the eunuchs went forth, that they might perfume the hammam for the brides, so they scented it with rose-water and willow-flower water and pods of musk and fumigated it with Kakili eagle wood and ambergris. Then Scheherazade entered, she and her sister Dunyazade, and they cleansed their heads and clipped their hair.

When they came forth of the hammam bath, they donned raiment and ornaments such as men were wont prepare for the Kings of the Chosroes; and among Scheherazade’s apparel was a dress purfled with red gold and wrought with counterfeit presentments of birds and beasts. And the two sisters encircled their necks with necklaces of jewels of price, in the like whereof Iskandar rejoiced not, for therein were great jewels such as amazed the wit and dazzled the eye. And the imagination was bewildered at their charms, for indeed each of them was brighter than the sun and the moon. Before them they lighted brilliant flambeaux of wax in candelabra of gold, but their faces outshone the flambeaux, for that they had eyes sharper than unsheathed swords and the lashes of their eyelids bewitched all hearts. Their cheeks were rosy red and their necks and shapes gracefully swayed and their eyes wantoned like the gazelle’s. And the slave girls came to meet them with instruments of music. Then the two Kings entered the hammam bath, and when they came forth, they sat down on a couch set with pearls and gems, whereupon the two sisters came up to them and stood between their hands, as they were moons, bending and leaning from side to side in their beauty and loveliness.

Presently they brought forward Scheherazade and displayed her, for the first dress, in a red suit, whereupon King Shahryar rose to look upon her and the wits of all present, men and women, were bewitched for that she was even as saith of her one of her describers:

     A sun on wand in knoll of sand she showed,
Clad in her cramoisy-hued chemisette.
Of her lips’ honeydew she gave me drink
And with her rosy cheeks quencht fire she set.

Then they attired Dunyazade in a dress of blue brocade and she became as she were the full moon when it shineth forth. So they displayed her in this, for the first dress, before King Shah Zaman, who rejoiced in her and well-nigh swooned away for love longing and amorous desire. Yea, he was distraught with passion for her whenas he saw her, because she was as saith of her one of her describers in these couplets:

     She comes appareled in an azure vest,
Ultramarine as skies are deckt and dight.
I view’d th’ unparalleled sight, which showed my eyes
A summer moon upon a winter night.

  Then they returned to Scheherazade and displayed her in the second dress, a suit of surpassing goodliness, and veiled her face with her hair like a chin veil. Moreover, they let down her side locks, and she was even as saith of her one of her describers in these couplets:

     O hail to him whose locks his cheeks o’ershade,
Who slew my life by cruel hard despite.
Said I, «Hast veiled the morn in night?» He said,
«Nay I but veil moon in hue of night.»

Then they displayed Dunyazade in a second and a third and a fourth dress, and she paced forward like the rising sun, and swayed to and fro in the insolence of beauty, and she was even as saith the poet of her in these couplets:

     The sun of beauty she to all appears
And, lovely coy, she mocks all loveliness.
And when he fronts her favor and her smile
A-morn, the sun of day in clouds must dress.

Then they displayed Scheherazade in the third dress and the fourth and the fifth, and she became as she were a ban branch snell or a thirsting gazelle, lovely of face and perfect in attributes of grace, even as saith of her one in these couplets:

     She comes like fullest moon on happy night,
Taper of waist with shape of magic might.
She hath an eye whose glances quell mankind,
And ruby on her cheeks reflects his light.
Enveils her hips the blackness of her hair-
Beware of curls that bite with viper bite!
Her sides are silken-soft, that while the heart
Mere rock behind that surface ‘scapes our sight.
From the fringed curtains of her eyne she shoots
Shafts that at furthest range on mark alight.

  Then they returned to Dunyazade and displayed her in the fifth dress and in the sixth, which was green, when she surpassed with her loveliness the fair of the four quarters of the world, and outvied with the brightness of her countenance the full moon at rising tide, for she was even as saith of her the poet in these couplets:

  A damsel ‘twas the tirer’s art had decked with snare and sleight,
And robed with rays as though the sun from her had borrowed light.
She came before us wondrous clad in chemisette of green,
As veiled by his leafy screen Pomegranate hides from sight.
And when he said, «How callest thou the fashion of thy dress?»
She answered us in pleasant way with double meaning dight:
«We call this garment crevecoeur, and rightly is it hight,
For many a heart wi’ this we brake and harried many a sprite.»

Then they displayed Scheherazade in the sixth and seventh dresses and clad her in youth’s clothing, whereupon she came forward swaying from side to side and coquettishly moving, and indeed she ravished wits and hearts and ensorceled all eyes with her glances. She shook her sides and swayed her haunches, then put her hair on sword hilt and went up to King Shahryar, who embraced her as hospitable host embraceth guest, and threatened her in her ear with the taking of the sword, and she was even as saith of her the poet in these words:

     Were not the murk of gender male,
Than feminines surpassing fair,
Tirewomen they had grudged the bride,
Who made her beard and whiskers wear!

Thus also they did with her sister Dunyazade, and when they had made an end of the display, the King bestowed robes of honor on all who were present and sent the brides to their own apartments. Then Scheherazade went in to King Shahryar and Dunyazade to King, Shah Zaman, and each of them solaced himself with the company of his beloved consort and the hearts of the folk were comforted.

When morning morrowed, the Wazir came in to the two Kings and kissed ground before them, wherefore they thanked him and were large of bounty to him. Presently they went forth and sat down upon couches of kingship, whilst all the wazirs and emirs and grandees and lords of the land presented themselves and kissed ground. King Shahryar ordered them dresses of honor and largess, and they prayed for the permanence and prosperity of the King and his brother.

Then the two sovereigns appointed their sire-in-law, the Wazir, to be Viceroy in Samarkand, and assigned him five of the chief emirs to accompany him, charging them attend him and do him service. The Minister kissed the ground and prayed that they might be vouchsafed length of life. Then he went in to his daughters, whilst the eunuchs and ushers walked before him, and saluted them and farewelled them. They kissed his hands and gave him joy of the kingship and bestowed on him immense treasures, after which he took leave of them and setting out, fared days and nights till he came near Samarkand, where the townspeople met him at a distance of three marches and rejoiced in him with exceeding joy. So he entered the city and they decorated the houses, and it was a notable day. He sat down on the throne of his kingship and the wazirs did him homage and the grandees and emirs of Samarkand, and all prayed that he might be vouchsafed justice and victory and length of continuance. So he bestowed on them robes of honor and entreated them with distinction, and they made him Sultan over them.

As soon as his father-in-law had departed for Samarkand, King Shahryar summoned the grandees of his realm and made them a stupendous banquet of all manner of delicious meats and exquisite sweetmeats. He also bestowed on them robes of honor and guerdoned them, and divided the kingdoms between himself and his brother in their presence, whereat the folk rejoiced. Then the two Kings abode, each ruling a day in turn, and they were ever in harmony each with other, while on similar wise their wives continued in the love of Allah Almighty and in thanksgiving to Him. And the peoples and the provinces were at peace and the preachers prayed for them from the pulpits, and their report was bruited abroad and the travelers bore tidings of them to all lands.

In due time King Shahryar summoned chroniclers and copyists and bade them write all that had betided him with his wife, first and last. So they wrote this and named it The Stories of the Thousand Nights and a Night. The book came to thirty volumes, and these the King laid up in his treasury. And the two brothers abode with their wives in all pleasaunce and solace of life and its delights, for that indeed Allah the Most High had chanced their annoy into joy, and on this wise they continued till there took them the Destroyer of delights and the Severer of societies, the Desolator of dwelling places and Gamerer of graveyards, and they were translated to the ruth of Almighty Allah. Their houses fell waste and their palaces lay in ruins and the kings inherited their riches.

Then there reigned after them a wise ruler, who was just, keen-witted, and accomplished, and loved tales and legends, especially those which chronicle the doings of sovereigns and sultans, and he found in the treasury these marvelous stories and wondrous histories, contained in the thirty volumes aforesaid. So he read in them a first book and a second and a third and so on to the last of them, and each book astounded and delighted him more than that which preceded it, till he came to the end of them. Then he admired whatso he had read therein of description and discourse and rare traits and anecdotes and moral instances and reminiscences, and bade the folk copy them and dispread them over all lands and climes, wherefore their report was bruited abroad and the people named them The Marvels and Wonders of the Thousand Nights and a Night. This is all that hath come down to us of the origin of this book, and Allah is All-knowing. So Glory he to Him Whom the shifts of Time waste not away, nor doth aught of chance or change affect His sway, Whom one case diverteth not from other case and Who is sole in the attributes of perfect grace. And prayer and peace he upon the Lord’s Pontiff and Chosen One among His creatures, our lord MOHAMMED, the Prince of mankind, through whom we supplicate Him for a goodly and a godly end.

¤ Edgar Allan Poe →The Thousand-And-Second Tale of Scheherazade ←
♦ → «Scheherazade» ↓ [Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov]

… Vienna Phiharmonic ⇑ conducted by Valery Gergiev _ 2005

← Michael Fokine (ballet)

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