Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January 7: If He Yawned, She Lost Her Head! (Vol. 16, pp. 5-13)

This is our first introduction to Scheherazade, the master storyteller who saved her skin by amusing the sultan, King Shahriyar, with her tales. It seems the sultan has a bad habit of beheading his bride from the night before. By keeping King Shahriyar's interest with her stories as to induce him to defer putting her to death, Scheherazade managed to escape the axe for a thousand and one mornings.

"Stories from the Thousand and One Nights," the translation of 42 pieces in this series from a much larger collection, contains such tales as "Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp," "The Voyages of Sinbad," and "Ali-Baba and the Forty Thieves." These are familar to most people, but in their original form, they are tough reading.

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