Arabian Nights: Middle-Eastern Folklore

Dina Sarayra 9/15/2021
Arab Culture

It is not common that certain stories make it to historical books. The kind of world literature that lecturer’s and teachers teach students in schools. The Arabian Nights is a work of art that is one of the best influences by the Arabic and Islamic world. This contribution sheds light on so many life lessons through a number of different stories in one set.

The Arabian Nights Book: What is it Exactly?

Simply put, The Arabic Nights is not one story, but many different ones. This is called a “frame story” where you add the accounts consecutively. They come in many forms as well. This includes comedies, love stories, poems, fables, erotica, adventures and so much more. You must have heard of the adventures of Sindbad, the beautiful Shahrazad, Aladdin or Ali Baba.

The Thousand and One Nights is Alf Lela Wa Lela

This is in direct Arabic translation. There are many tales of the Arabian Nights. They merge many types of ideas and genres together in one. The traditions in the stories are all specifically coming from Middle Eastern Islamic heritage and traditions. There are so many things that people see in these works. This includes mythical creatures and magical moments. The term genie is of Arabic origins, pronounced /jinni/.

The folklores of the 1001 Nights have people talking until today. They are studied and taught in many prominent universities around the world today.

The Fisherman and the Jinni: A Tale from The Thousand and One Nights

This story is quite an interesting one as it sheds light on some important things in life. A poor fisherman trying to make a living for this family is suffering. He finds a genie which he sets free. Magic starts to happen from there.

We don’t want to ruin the story for you, but we’ll go over a number of story highlights.

This fisherman makes four fishing casts every day. On this particular day, on his fourth cast, he finds this pot with a genie inside. Of course, King Solomon trapped the genie in the pot centuries ago. The Jinni, in revenge, decides to kill whoever frees him. The smart fisherman is able to convince him to go back into the pot. In doing so, the genie manages to convince the fisherman back that he won’t do anything to him once freed again.

He keeps his promise. The poor fisherman becomes poor no more through a sequence of events.

The story goes on to include a sultan, a pond, and very special fish.

What We Can Learn From This

There are numerous frames used in the story which makes it interesting to a whole new level. Two anecdotes are within the story told by the genie and the sultan. This creates a nice twist and definitely a lot of interest in the story for the reader.

The fisherman proves that even though is poor and small, he can outsmart evil. To an extent, there is goodness in the genie. However, there is evil there as well. If it wasn’t for the fisherman being smart in tricking the genie back into the pot, he would have died. There many situations where we are going to be small and easily destroyed. This poor fisherman is telling us that sometimes you work your way out through the uttering of the right words.

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