Iranian stories and fables (141)
Welcome to another episode of Iranian stories and fables. Just like the previous programs we first take a brief look at the precious collection of The One Thousand and One Nights stories. This section is followed by the story of the Monster and the Businessman. We hope you’ll enjoy the program.
In the previous programs we talked about different themes in the stories of the one thousand and one nights and we said that the most important of those themes is the issue of wonder. We also said that though the circumstances change during the course of time in these stories, the characters are stable and unchanging. People in the stories of the one thousand and one nights remain the same from the beginning to the end of the story. What is important and common in all such stories is the good taste and the hidden wonder in the stories.
Researchers believe that the stories of the one thousand and one nights follow a kind of Islamic art. They opine that the stories of this precious collection are the manifestation of a divine fact in human community.
Here we wrap up our discussion on the collection of the one thousand and one nights stories and continue the program with another episode of the story of the monster and the businessman. Keep us company until the end of the program.
As a reminder we said that once upon a time there was an experienced businessman who took a trip to a faraway land. After a long time of traveling, he was tired and took shelter beneath the shade of a tree. He also took out some bread and dates to have his lunch. As he was eating the dates, he threw the dates’ seeds on the ground. However a horrible monster appeared above his head, blaming the businessman for throwing the seeds on his chest and his child’s chest. And the worst thing was that the monster took out his sword to behead the businessman. The poor businessman who had nothing to say surrendered but he said that he had several sons and had to divide his properties among them before his death. Therefore he asked the monster to let him go back home and accomplish the task and then come back to the monster. The monster agreed. The businessman came home, told his sons the entire story, divided his properties among his sons, and went back to the monster after one year. The businessman sat beneath the tree like the first time and started weeping for his destiny. After a while three old men arrived and asked the businessman the reason why he was crying. The businessman told them the reason for his sadness and it was decided that if each of the old men tells a wonderful story to the monster that he likes, the monster would refuse to behead the businessman. The first and second old men told their stories and the monster liked it. And now it was the third old man’s turn to tell his story.
The third old man who owned a horse went to the monster to tell his story. He said:
“Oh the king of monsters, I have a story which is more wonderful than the two stories you have already heard. Let me tell you the story and if you liked it, forgive the businessman and spare him.”
The monster agreed.
So the third old man said:
“Oh the king of monsters, this horse is my wife! I went on a journey and came back home after one year. I realized that my wife had a relationship with one of my servants. And as my wife saw me, she stood up, took a jar of water, read out a spell on the water and sprinkled the water on me. Then I changed into a dog and she took me out of home. While I was roaming in the streets I reached a butcher. The butcher gave me some bones and I ate it. At night the butcher took me to his home. Over there the butcher’s daughter said: “Daddy, why have you brought this man home?” The butcher answered: “I haven’t. Who is the man you are talking about?” And his daughter said: “This dog is a man who has been transformed into a dog with his wife’s spell, but I can transform him into his early shape.”
The third old man continued his story:
“The butcher asked his daughter to transform me into a human being. So the girl brought a jar of water, put a spell on it and sprinkled the water on me and I changed into the man I was. I thanked the girl and I asked her to change my wife into a horse. She gave me some water and said: “Upon seeing your wife pour the water on her and she will change into whatever you want.” So I took the water, went home, and I poured it on my wife, wishing her being a horse.”
The monster who was shocked by hearing the story asked the horse whether it was true and the horse shook her head in confirmation of the old man’s words.
So, as the monster enjoyed the third old man’s story, it forgave the businessman and the latter went back home happily.