The Arabian Nights Entertainments

The Arabian Nights Entertainments - Milo Winter This is a compilation of tales of jinn and sorcerers and bold adventures come from India, Persia, Arabia, Egypt and Mesopotamia. They're framed as being told by Scheherazade, the newest bride of Shahryār, a ruler who after finding his first wife committed adultery had been killing a succession of wives after their wedding night. Scheherazade tells her husband a new tale every night, breaking off at dawn unfinished and thus postponing her execution another day. The entertainment continues for 1,001 nights, by the end of which Shahryār decides to spare her life. I remember as a child considering that frame tale romantic, of course as an adult I can only find Shahryār monstrous. But the tales themselves still enchant. From what I can gather from the introduction and online sources, the genesis of this work is complex. The earliest versions with a small core of perhaps 200 stories derived from a collection of Persian fairy tales is thought to have first appeared in the early 8th century, with the earliest extant fragments of manuscript from the 9th century. Over the centuries stories were added to the core until they reached that number of 1,001. ("Complete" versions such as that by Sir Richard Francis Burton run to 10 volumes). But different editions have different stories included, different versions. The first European translation (into French) was in 1704, but it's thought the tales might have spread through Muslim Spain and influenced earlier works such as Boccaccio's Decameron and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, both of which feature collections of tales within a frame. This ebook edition from Project Gutenberg with illustrations by Milo Winter is just a small selection of the most famous tales: "The Story of the Merchant and the Genie," "The Three Calenders, Sons of Kings, and the Five Ladies of Bagdad," "The Story of the Three Sisters," "The Historic Fart" (Yes, really), "The Story of Aladdin, or, the Wonderful Lamp," "The History of Ali Baba, and oth the Forty Robbers Killed by One Slave." "The Story of Sinbad the Sailor," Alas missing was the favorite tale of my childhood: "Abu Kir the Dyer and Abu Sir the Barber." Still, magical, in a readable translation, with a chance to see the source of the iconic Sindbad and Aladdin. If I had a djinn at my service, I could wish for more stories and better formatting, but you can't beat the price!