Dec 07, 2016 15:14 UTC

As you might remember in the recent weeks we discussed the precious collection of the One Thousand and One Nights stories. In this edition we continue discussing this book.

And as you also remember we narrated the Egyptian story of Abu Sabr and Abu Qeer from this collection. In this episode we continue the rest of this story.

Marie Lahy Hollbecque, French author, believes that the One Thousand and Nights is the greatest global literary work much greater than the Indian epic Ramayana in expansion and diversity, much more wonderful than the Scandinavian Prose Edda, and more precious than the Manual of Epictetus.

 Some analysts, however, believe it is merely a means for amusing people.

At any rate, he who reads the book deeply can get a different sense. Also the number and diverse subjects of this book have made it like an encyclopedia.

In one of the stories of the book the character Shahrzad has narrated all the details of her era. In fact this book is brimmed over with human life as well as the past events, the kings' attitudes and people's customs and traditions along with presentation of artistic works.

The book One Thousand and One Nights takes the reader to different environments and locations making him familiar with different ethnicities.

These stories are a mixture of different views. On one hand they carry naïve superstitious conceptions which are very primitive and on the other hand they include deep theories of Gnostics and philosophers.

One Thousand and One Nights is nothing but the position of human community and as Marie Lahy Hollbecque says: "One Thousand and One Nights is the mirror that reflects the world."

Actually the main goal of this book is to draw the attention of the reader and teach him in different ways. This goal is represented at the end of the book.

In this book, Shahriyar after the one thousand and first night decides to teach his brother what he has learnt. He then orders his men to edit the stories, poems, proverbs he has learned from Shahrzad, so that he could recite them for his brother.

And here we leave the discussion for next week and skip to the story of Abu Sabr and Abu Qeer.

We said that once upon a time there was a dyer and a barber called "Abu Qeer" and "Abu Sabr" respectively and their workshops were located adjacent to each other in Alexandria. Abu Qeer was an imposter who told lies while dying people’s fabrics. Once, someone sued Abu Qeer because of his tricks. However, Abu Qeer escaped the court ruling and left for another city along with Abu Sabr to start a new life. Therefore they took a ship to another land. On the ship Abu Sabr cut the passengers' hair and they gave him food instead. This was while Abu Qeer spent days and nights dangling around and eating from the food Abu Sabr brought for him. Getting off the ship, Abu Sabr and Abu Qeer went to a caravansary where Abu Sabr became sick because of the hard jobs he had done. Seeing there was no food left, Abu Qeer stole some coins from his brother and went to bazaar. And now the rest of the story.

Abu Qeer went to bazaar, bought new clothes and started roaming in the city. After a few hours he realized that the people of the city were wearing either white or black clothes. He also went to a dyer's shop and found all the clothes there black.

Inside the shop Abu Qeer untied the shawl around his waist and told the dyer how much he had to pay to have his shawl colored.

The dyer told him the price but Abu Qeer retorted:

"This is too expensive. In my city we paid much less than this to dye our clothes."

He then told the dyer:

"Now tell me what color will my shawl be dyed?"

Surprised by Abu Qeer's question, the dyer said:

"Well it's quite clear that it will be black."

Abu Qeer then said:

"But I want it red."

The dyer reacted:

"I don't know this color. What color is that?"

 Abu Qeer said:

"So make it green."

The dyer said that he didn't know green either.

 Abu Qeer said the names of all colors but the dyer didn't know any of them.

Finally Abu Qeer told the dyer:

"Give my shawl back. I'll take it to another shop."

The dyer said:

"In my city there are forty dyers who don’t know any color except black and white."

Abu Qeer continued:

"So let me teach you how to make colors so that you'll get rich."

However the dyer said:

"We don’t employ strangers."

Abu Qeer said angrily:

"So I'll open a shop for myself."

The dyer said back:

"You can never do that because we dyers won't allow you."

This time Abu Qeer went out and found other dying shops to discuss the issue. However all of them had the same answer as the first dyer.

Angry and frustrated, Abu Qeer went to the king.

In the palace he told the king:

"Your Majesty! I am Abu Qeer, a passenger from another city. I am a dyer and I know colors which your fellow citizens don't. Colors like orange, red, yellow, green, blue… I suggested your people to teach them making these colors but they didn't accept. Now I am here to complain."

The king thought for a minute and then said:

"Ok, I give you a shop and money to start your business."

The king continued:

"And if other dyers came to complain to you, give their names to punish them."

After that the king called the best architects of the city and told them:

"Go after this man and build him a shop from the best materials wherever he likes."

The king also gave Abu Qeer royal clothes along with a thousand gold coins, two servants, and a horse with golden saddle. He then told Abu Qeer:

"I also order my men to build you a large and beautiful house."

Soon a great shop was built in the center of the city for Abu Qeer with four thousand coins granted by the king to Abu Qeer to start the job.

Abu Qeer then bought all the means and material he needed and started the job.