Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Arabian Nights - Book Review

These days it's very tempting to pick up books from Anjali's shelf which seem far more interesting than the ones in mine. So I picked a slim version of the Arabian Tales and enjoyed reading and rediscovering 'Alladin and the Magic Lamp' and 'Alibaba and the Forty Thieves' along with some more.

The first thing that struck me upon reading the two tales that I thought I knew very well was that I only had a faint outline of the story in my mind and that the stories were full of twists and turns that I had forgotten. Also realised that they were full of Princesses who were married off to the worthies at the drop of a hat, several allusions to black magic or supernatural powers, hidden treasures and gold, and certainly death to the villains. Another interesting feature is that there is considerable violence in these childrens tales - people cut up in half, Alibaba's brother is actually quartered and hung, death by pouring boiling oil into jars where the robbers are hiding and several such. It only reinforces my theory that children seem to love violence and gore judging by the popularity of these stories.

I enjoyed the last story a lot though - of a merchant who leaves a jar of olives in the custody of his friends but hidden under the olives are thousand gold coins. The friend takes the goal coins and replaces them with fresh olives and says that he has been given olives and that was what was still there. How a young kid solves the tricky case brings a nice end to the story - which ends in a hanging of course!

Overall, glad I read them. 

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