Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange by Malcolm C. Lyons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Here comes another set of tales originating from the desert sands of the Middle East. Written along the lines of 1001 Arabian Nights, comes a collection of 18 tales found in Istanbul. The stories were written in Arabic and may have been written before the Arabian Nights collection. The stories themselves were incomplete in certain cases. Prior to launching into the tales the author or translator gives a little bit of a painfully long scholarly dissertation that analyzes the stories you will read.
The author/ translator notes that women are portrayed in a rather cunning trickster like manner . The Jews and Christians while having their religion as praised as decent are themselves written about in both positive and negative characteristics. Several of the stories feature Harun Hrashid , looking for a tale in Baghdad. He does drink and go about on his river boat in the Tigris and Euphrates River. Some of the tales feature beggars both as victims nd con men. Jinn feature larges in this set of tales as do travels by ship to islands on the Indian Ocean. Some of the tales take their travelers all the way to far out places like China and India.
The first story talks about two kingdoms owned by the same king . His son travels to th second kingdom and finds himself imprisoned wrongly by the vizier. The vizier gets his just deserts when the prince is free. The second tale is about the son o a quadi who parties away his inheritance and has to sell his beloved slave girl to survive . Later he wants her back and goes through all manner of adventure to retrieve her. The third tale tell the plight of six unfortunate beggars and how the sultan redeems them for telling a tale. The strange stories go on and on.
Several titles were missing and so they just use the first line of the story as a title. Almost all the stories strt with a prayer to Allah the most compassionate. While most of the stories had value and were entertaining some were really hard to follow sometimes switching scenarios with out warning and all of the sudden you are dealing with different characters and different scenes. The dampened my enjoyment of the tales. As all of you know giving a summary of a collection is rather tedious and difficult so if reading about the Jin and their world of the desert sand you may well find that this book is written for you.
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