From The Boundaries Of Persia

Explore the shrewd and witty minds of ancient Arabia!

Kavya Muralidharan
The Festember Blog
3 min readAug 18, 2018


A compilation of the middle eastern folktales from the Islamic Golden Age, these series of stories were narrated by the ingenious and quick-witted Shahrazad to rebuild the trust that King Shahrayr had lost in women. Every episode turned into a quest, ending in a cliffhanger to arouse excitement for the following day.

Source: vecteezy

Long back in the days of yore,
The huge expanse of the Persian Empire
Lay under the thumb of King Shahrayr;
And Shahzaman, his brother,
Had Samarkhand in his power.

Both brothers betrayed by their wives,
Their faith in women thoroughly wiped out,
Started marrying every virgin of the state.
And Jafar, the vizier of Shahrayr, fulfilled his sovereign’s ambition
To execute her at the crack of dawn.

The practice persisted for a prolonged 1001 nights
Until there were no more virgins left in the province,
Except for the vizier’s two beautiful and clever lasses.
And the elder, Shahrazad, volunteered to marry the emperor
Against her father’s desire.

Queen Shahrazad. Source: Pinterest

She requested the monarch to let her bid farewell
To Dunyazad, her younger favourite,
Who secretly suggested her to narrate
A tale each night with a cliffhanger ending,
To survive till the next morning.

Shahrazad heeded her sister’s words
And narrated a new story each night,
Which ran on till the break of daylight.
She vowed to complete it on the night that followed,
With the story having the king captivated.

King Shahrayr engrossed in the queen’s tales. Source: Pinterest

The intriguing stories of Shahrazad
Drew into it fascinating characters,
Ranging from the cowardly to the courageous;
Portraying the poor and indigent,
As well as the wealthy and opulent.

The idle Aladdin, who accomplished all his desires
By rubbing the magical lamp,
Spotted after passing through places, dark and damp.
Ali Baba, the woodcutter, who overheard
From the forty thieves, their secret place of souvenirs.

Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. Source: Pinterest

The sailor of Baghdad — Sinbad, who narrated
His seven voyages so wondrous,
To Sinbad, the porter so penurious.
Each story interwoven into a marvelous another,
Cascaded over 1001 nights of adventure.

After three victorious years sans execution,
When she was able to utter no more,
Shahrazad anticipated the Emperor’s order.
But with the King’s trust in women rekindled,
He fell in love with Shahrazad.

The King decided to make Shahrazad his Queen
And transformed his province into one, serene.

The 1001 Arabian Nights. Source: Pinterest