Monday, April 20, 2015

Dear Queen Scheherazade

To, 
Queen Scheherazade, 
C/o Sultan Shahryar, 
Sultan of Persia (borders stretching up to India and China), The Thousand and One Nights Stories


Dear Queen Scheherazade,

Accept my congratulations on being anointed the Queen of Persia. 

Your predecessors, numbering more than a thousand, did not live to see the morrow. You would have followed in their inglorious footsteps, were it not for your brilliant plan.

Cuckolded by his wife, the Sultan decided that all women were inherently unfaithful. His beloved brother had also been betrayed, reinforcing his belief. And so the Sultan decreed a just punishment. For years he married a new virgin each day, consummated the marriage (couldn’t miss that, could he?) and had her beheaded in the morning. Until the day he ran out of virgins. 

Your father, the Grand Vizier, was at his wit’s end, fearing for his own life. You offered yourself as a bride. He pleaded with you, now fearing your inevitable fate, but you had an ace up your sleeve. 

And so we have the rich tradition of the Arabian Nights Tales.

I am amazed at the felicity with which you recounted those stories, weaving magic with your words, even as the threat of death loomed over your head.

And the lifesaver was the cliffhanger. Where you stopped, always at dawn, forcing the Sultan to let you live for one more night that you may finish the story.

You capitalized on the lifeline, wrapping up one story and launching into the next, stopping at the edge of the tale, at the tipping point, as dawn broke over the horizon.

I’ve always been in awe of you. Your ability to draw your Grand Audience into your spell until time meant nothing, while he hung on to every word.

He is one with you, with your story. Nothing else matters. That is the principal power of the story.

Long before the dream of writing first possessed me, I was captivated by your skills. I’ve subconsciously measured the skills of every other storyteller against the yardstick set by you.

A story must make the reader step within its confines, until the boundaries between the story and the reader are blurred, and they are one with each other. As it should be.

After 1001 nights, you ran out of stories, and you told him so. But your stories had changed the Sultan. For a good story never fails to wash over us.

Imagine the relief of the Sultan’s subjects, knowing their daughters are safe, thanks to you. You took on the risk of marrying the Sultan, when you needn’t have. Your heroism, in the face of grave danger, potentially saved thousands of other women.

What stories you wove! People of the land and of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the land and sea, all throwing their collective might into your conjuring.

Every element of your story was in sync. Characters and plots, wrapped in beautiful prose, the whole thing held together by the magic of your voice.

Your stories forced the Sultan to have a change of heart.

Thank you, O Queen.

He is a lucky man, that Sultan.







12 comments:

  1. Nice post, and a great choice of subject for 'Q' day!

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  2. I am going to have to put these stories on my 'to read' list. Read some when I was younger, but remember little of them. Think I'll sit here and listen to the music at least.

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  3. I read the Thousand and One Nights Stories as a child. My post has reminded me that I need to re-visit that magic too.

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  4. Scheherazade was one clever cookie. I too read it as a child - you piqued my interest to read it again.

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  5. Suzy, I too am planning to revisit all these characters after the Challenge is over.

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  6. I haven't read Arabian Nights...must do now.

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  7. Hi there - Visiting from the A-Z Challenge. BTW, I gave a shout out to your blog on my 'Q' post for today on FictionZeal.com. :)

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  8. I haven't read Arabian nights either. But I have watched the serial :) Will read the book soon :)

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  9. And of course we learn unfaithfulness is a crime worse than murder.

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  10. Was wondering who your Q subject will be, and it lived up to the interest :)

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  11. How amazing it was to be lost in that magical world of the kings and queens and all that fantasy world!! Takes me back to my childhood!

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