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One Thousand and one Nights

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Underlying Power

One thousand and one nights, one thousand and one moral stories. The story of The Thousand and One Nights is a unique tale that teaches simple morals throughout the many stories within the main story. This tale is about a clever women that saves herself, as well as the women in her kingdom, from being put to death by the king. She does this by marring the king and telling him bedtime stories every night that lead into the next day. She would purposely not finish the story, to leave him interested in the ending which eventually saves her life, and the women in her kingdom, day after day. Not only does the main story have a lesson to be learned, but the mini-stories also have simple morals to be learned. The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey taught discretion when involving yourself in business that isn't yours. The lesson to be learned from The tale of the Merchant and His Wife is to be careful of what you ask for. The story of The Thousand and One Nights held one very important moral value that teaches the power of women. The story illustrated that even when women didn't hold positions of power, they were still capable of destroying or saving a kingdom. This power is shown by the king's first wife, the demon's wife, and Shahrazad (the priest's daughter).

The power to destroy was shown by King Shahrayar's first wife. Even thought she may have not known that her actions may lead to the destruction of a kingdom it ironically ends up that way. As told in the story:

Then the ten black slaves mounted the ten girls, while the lady called, "Mas'ud, Mas'ud!" and a black slave jumped from the tree to the ground, rushed to her, and, raising her legs, went between her thighs and made love to her. Mas'ud topped the lady, while the ten slaves topped the ten girls, and they carried on till noon. (1571)

King Shahrayar's wife did all of this within the palace gates while the king's brother watched from one of the palace towers. Finding out his wife's actions not only caused him to put her and the other slave girls to death, but to make this vow: " He then swore to marry for one night only and kill the woman the next morning, in order to save himself from the wickedness and cunning of women,"(1575). This powerful vow would eventually wipe out the kingdom that he was ruling over. The wife never would have imagined she had so much influence on one person. The king's wife's actions was the cause of this vow that was made.

The story of the demon and his wife also show the power of women. The power illustrated here is the power that she has over two kings. She knew that they would be afraid of the demon, and used their fear to her advantage. As said in the text:

Then she lay on her back, raised her legs, and said, "Make love to me and satisfy need, or else I shall wake the demon, and he will kill you." They replied, "For God's sake, mistress, don't do this to us, for at this moment we feel nothing but dismay and fear of this demon. Please,



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