The Arabian Nights [Fiona Waters]


 

Retold by: Fiona Waters (2002)
Artwork Illustration by: Christopher Corr
Publisher: Pavilion
Edition: Hardback 2002
Category: Tales
ISBN: 1-84365-003-7

After he got his faithless wife executed, King Shahriyar took vow to marry everyday. He sent his brides on the next morning to be executed because he was afraid that he would fall in love with them as he did for his first wife, who he had loved so much. He kept doing this until only one girl left. Her name was Sheherezade, the daughter of King’s Grand Vivier. To keep her head upon her shoulders, every night Sheherezade told a bedtime-tale to the King with her soft and melodic voice, and she stopped it in the middle of a sentence when sun rises so that the King could do his Royal duty. Because the King was too curious about the ending of her tales, he kept postponing her execution one morning after another when Sheherezade told as much as one thousand and one tales (hope by now you know this is about 1001 tales, hehehe). My favourite tale is “Wonderful Bag”.

During the bazaar time, a thief stole an unattended bag witnessed by a stallholder. Looking at the opportunity to also owning the bag, the stallholder tried to take the bag and claimed it to be his. Arguments and fights couldn’t be prevented thus to solve the matter, the Caliph asked both of them to describe the contents of the bag. The thief started to lie followed by more lies of the stallholder. Their lies were so great that it included any possible items in the world such as flying carpet, silver flute, wine from Egypt, several dancing girls, blue mosque of Istanbul, spouting whale, fierce Turkish soldiers and so on… until the Caliph could not stand it anymore and he stopped them. Then he opened the bag! Of course there were no such things inside the bag. Before the Caliph said anything, the stallholder said very quickly

“A thousand, thousand pardons, greatly revered Caliph. I see I have been quite mistaken. This is clearly not my bag. I must depart with all due haste to find my own bag with its most valuable contents” (p.69).

After saying that he immediately went out of the court leaving the thief to his fate. Moral of the story: when you know you are wrong immediately avoid the problems! This stallholder is also deceitful but yet very clever, hehehe… (Ngeles-nya pinter!)

I chose to read this thin but colourful book and to cherish my childhood memory. This book is a collection of several “One thousand and One nights” tales. There are 9 tales told on the book, some are: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, The Man Who Stole the Gold Dish, Prince Agib, Sinbad and the Island of Elephants. This choice is indeed prompt to refresh my (assignments-jammed) brain and to refresh my memory about some of the famous tales that I may have long forgotten.

The book is very colourful and it made me feel happy just by looking at the illustrations. If the picture was depicting someone who is crying, the tears will flow like a fountain or the rain! Very cute! The way the author re-tells the stories is quite different with those I read from Indonesian versions of 1001 tales. I found some of the explanations used (unnecessary) exaggerate wordings (berbunga-bunga-red).

On the first several stories, quite often she inserted “reminders” in brackets such as “(Shahriyar was very fond of tales, you should remember that)” (p.7) or “(You must remember he had just had a very great fright)” (p.25). Perhaps to make it more sensible or to help when parents reading the stories to the kids. But again, these are tales. I don’t really care if they make sense or not. Imagination is what counts! This book is definitely a keeper ;) Liked it!

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