Arabian Nights week 8
- Exploring, got lost at sea
- Ship wrecked on lodestone island
- Has a prophetic dream, not to mention name of god
- Carries out the steps, is almost saved by another man of brass, but utters name of god at last moment
- Washes up on an island, spies people digging to a trapdoor
- Fill chamber with supplies, old man leaves a beautiful boy there
- Ajib meets boy, hears he is prophesied to kill the boy
- Forms friendship, but kills him by accident on the fated day
- Eventually leaves the island, comes across city in the desert
- Ten young men, each missing an eye. They do pennance.
- Eventually, Ajib asks for their story. Ram and rukh to go to sandalwood palace
- Spends a year of pleaure there
- Women leave, tell him not to open door of red gold
- He does, on the last day. Finds a flying horse, which takes out his eye and returns him to the house of one-eyed men
First woman, the owner
- Three sisters, two half-sisters
- Elder two sisters repeatedly swindled by husbands
- Youngest sister goes on trading trip, finds city with people of stone
- Gets lost in palace, eventually finds a man reading the qur'an
- He tells how everyone was petrified for refusing to convert to Islam
- She proposes marriage to the man.
- The sisters, jealous, threw the couple overboard. He drowned.
- Knowingly rescues a jinni, who rewards the woman and curses the sisters into dogs, the woman to beat them knightly
Second woman, the keeper
- Rich widow, asked by poor woman to attend her daughter's wedding
- Meets the daughter's brother, love at first sight, married, but with oath of never looking at other men
- Going to buy cloth, has a piece of her cheek bitten off
- Husband questions her, threatening excessive collective punishments, eventually threatens to kill the woman
- Old woman intervenes, the keeper is beaten and expelled
- The husband's house is destroyed
- Marriages all round, justice served, happily ever after
Notes and comments
- Initally claims to be a stranger tale than what told before. is this true? Would these stories have worked better in a different order?
- Automaton with written charms: connection to Jewish golem?
- How much of Ajib's story is fate, how much his own doing?
- Is the relationship between Ajib and the boy friendship, romantic, sexual?
- Repeat of motifs of women living alone, debauchery
- Door of red gold: reversal of gender of typical story (woman's curiosity is punished)
- Did you enjoy the descriptions of the wonders in the rooms?
- Is there a moral to this tale? (e.g. note 96, p. 142, that curiosity is ungodly)
- Change in power dynamics: now the caliph demanding the truth
- Another change: assertive woman
- Another change: she obeys instructions, and has good fortune
- Undefined oath: look at men, talk to them, what is forbidden?
- Is such an oath reasonable?
- Another victim of fate. Did she break the oath?
- Destruction of the husban's house: do you miss any explanation?
- What do you think of the tidy resolution of these tales?
- Imposition of status quo: people must be married, women subservient.