1001 Nights

1001 Nights (pp. 556-577)
Cole Beshears, Austin Williams, Garrett Smith
The Story of King Shahrayar and
Shahrazad, His Vizier's Daughter
 King Shahrayar is the ruler over a large peice of land; and his
younger brother, Shahrazad, was given a small territory.
 King Shahrayar missed his brother, so he sent for his brother to
come and see him.
 Shahrazad accepted the invitation, but the night before he
would journey he caught his wife in bed with a kitchen boy.
 He was outraged and killed the cook and his wife.
 Upon reaching his brother's palace, Shahrazad was sad and
disheartened. His brother thought he was homesick and
sought out to send his brother home happy with many deer.
 Once King Shahrayar left, his brother witnessed the King's wife
and sex slaves have a massive orgy form the tower he resided
 His brother's misfortune raised Shahrazad's spirits, for he saw
that he was not the only man that was done wrong by a
 He tells his brother after the King questions him, and they
embark on a journey for "the love of our Supreme Lord." They
said they would return if they found anyone with a larger
misfortune than them.
 In their journey, they happened upon a massive demon. The
demon had captured a woman on her wedding night,
locked her away in a box, and protected her in the ocean.
The demon came out to rest and released the woman for the
time being. While the demon was resting on her lap she
spotted the two brothers.
 She then, proceeded to make them have sex with
her. After she was satisfied, she took each of their
rings to be added to her collection of 98.
 The brothers found revelation in this, for the demon
has had tremendous misfortunes.
 They return to the city. The King kills his wife and all
of his slaves. He decides to get a girl each night,
sleep with her, then kill her the next morning.
 After a while, the town's people become upset. The
vizier (main state official under the King) has a
daughter, whom desires to try to calm the King.
The Tale of the Ox and the
 There was a wealthy merchant who lived in the countryside and
labored a farm. He was taught the language of the beasts on the
condition that he would never reveal his secret to anyone or he
would die. While sitting with his son one day he overheard the Ox
complain to the donkey about his poor living conditions and work.
The donkey told the ox the reason for his poor living conditions was
his actions, and if he acted in a different way he would have it
easier. Following the donkey’s advice, the ox lagged around at
work and refused to eat his nasty beans. The plowman asked the
merchant, who knew what was going on because of his ability to
speak the beast’s language, what to do. The merchant suggested
to the plowman that he should take the donkey out to finish the
ox’s task. When the donkey returned from the hard labor the ox
began to thank him for his advice. The donkey however, felt bitter
about the situation and realized he should not have helped the ox
and that he must find a way to put the ox back to work.
The Tale of the Merchant
and his Wife
 The merchant over heard another conversation between the ox
and donkey. The conversation was of the donkey telling the ox
that he heard if he continued to follow his advice that he would
be slaughtered. Clearly the donkey made this all up simply to put
the ox back to work. The merchant laughed at the conversation
and his wife asked him what caused his laughter. The merchant
told his wife that if he told her he would die, but she still insisted
he tell her anyways or she would leave him. The merchant
agreed to tell her and began to prepare for death. Before telling
his wife, he over heard another conversation between his dog
and a rooster. The dog asked the rooster if he knew about what
was happening and the rooster began to say that the merchant
was foolish and to escape death he should beat her. So the
merchant beat his wife and she no longer wanted to know what
he laughed about.
Merchant and the Demon
 A wealthy merchant traveled to a different country and on
his way back he stopped at an orchard and began to pray
and eat. After eating a date (some sort of fruit), he threw the
pit thinking he had done no wrong. Shortly after, a demon
appeared and threatened to kill him. Confused as to why he
was being threatened, the merchant asked the demon why
he wanted to kill him. The demon replied by saying when he
threw his pit it was like a stone and hit his son, which killed him.
The demon would not let the merchant, so the merchant
accepted that he was going to die but asked for some time
to visit his kids. The demon gave him a year to visit his kids and
write a will. After the year was up the merchant returned to
the orchard and began to pray waiting for the demon to
 After a while an old man approached the merchant asking
him what he was doing in such a haunted place. The
merchant explained to the old man his situation. The old man
promised he would not leave the merchant until he saw what
happened between him and the demon. Two other old men
also approached asking the same question and the
merchant told both of them what had happened. Both of the
old men also agreed to stay with the merchant and the first
old man until the demon came. When the demon finally
appeared he grabbed the merchant. The first old man began
to beg the demon for mercy by kissing his feet.
The First Old Man’s Tale
 He was loyal to his wife but never got any kids., then
got a mistress and had a beautiful baby. The mistress
died and the son ran off. Sheppard Gets fattest cow
for butchering and it cries every time before he is
about to cut it, cuts it due to peer pressure from wife
and it ends up being just skin and bones. Second
time was a bull but this time did not listen to his wife
and spared the bull. Finds out the bull is under a spell
and the bull is actually his son. The shepards
daughter says she will turn him back if she can marry
him and put a spell on the woman who put a spell
on the son. Granted 1/3 life.
The Second Old Man’s Tale
 Three brothers trade in for a business and two loose all their
money and one still has the trading items and trades in goods for
6,000, puts half of it in the ground incase they loose it and the
other half for their trading adventures. Third story- a peasant girl
begs the king to marry so he does out of pity, gives her nice
things. Marries her and has sex to consummate their marriage.
the brothers get jealous of him being able to be a merchant so
well and plan to kill him, and ended up throwing them in the sea
at night. Wife says she has to kill the brothers ends up punishing
them for ten years. Granted 1/3 life
The Third Old Man’s Tale
this man goes off on journey and comes
back to find his wife cheating on him with a
black slave. When the wife knew she got
caught she cast a spell on him to make him a
dog. Runs to the butchers shop butcher takes
him home and his daughter uncast the spell.
The husband then goes back and cast a spell
on his wife to make her a mule that he has
with him right now.
 There are many elements that could serve as a
discussion question this week, but at the risk of
touching off a gender war, since there is a
significant female character in each of this
week's readings, what do these works say about
the role of women in medieval society? How do
you think that role is defined and or perpetuated
by the shift in values from the ancient world to
the medieval world?
Discussion Thought
 Roles of women changed. Seemed to be looked
at at more of a respected human but still a low
respected human. It seems like women are
evolving slowly in a power sense to become as
equal as men.

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