I just read the last page of "Arabian Nights." I mean to say I read all of the preceding pages, too- not just the last page. But, hear me now: that story is crazy-town. I mean totally nuts. I'll try to summarize it for you now, because I'm that kind of stand-up gal.
There are two brothers, both kings, who live in different kingdoms. The older one sends word to the younger one that he'd like to see him. "Bring all your stuff and travel on over this way, bro'!" he says. Essentially. Delighted, the younger brother packs his stuff and heads out with a group of people, leaving his wife at home.
Oops! He forgets something at home, so he turns around and goes back in his castle to get it. I can't remember what it was, but he felt he needed it. Lo! (The word "lo!" appears a lot and I like that.) Lo! The king finds his wife in bed with a man. A black man! Lo! Lo! And it wasn't really a bed. It was like a carpet on the floor or something. Seems like a king could have a real bed, but okay.
While the older king-brother is out hunting, the younger brother looks out his bedroom window and sees the older king-brother's wife walking outside with 20 of her attendant ladies. They go to a fountain and all start taking their clothes of and the younger king is like, Lo! But then he notices ten of them are actually dudes disguised as lady-attendants. Lo! Lo! The ten real ladies and the ten dudes disguised as ladies get it on. Lest you worry about the wife of the king, she also gets it on by yelling some kind of whooping call into the air and Lo! Another chiseled black man come scampering down from a tree and hops right on her. Everybody goes to town for a bit and then the process reverses itself. Chiseled black man runs up the tree, ten dudes re-disguise themselves as ladies, ten ladies get their clothes back on, and the queen does the same. All go back inside.
Well. You can imagine that the younger king was at a loss for words, having just witnessed this. It did put things into perspective, though. He suddenly didn't feel so badly about his own situation and decided to keep what he saw to himself.
Older king-brother returned from hunting and found his younger brother suddenly in good spirits. The color was returned to his face and at dinner, he ate a shit-ton of food. The older king was all, "What's up with you? How'd you get better all of a sudden?" And the younger one was all, "Oh, man...don't ask me that. Ask me anything but that." So the king asks again and they go back and forth in this way for awhile. It's crazy talk.
Finally the younger king says what he saw, and let me tell you, the older king goes nuts. He kills them all. Lo!
The two kings, deciding that all women are sneaky whores, take off for the forest with the plan of never returning. "We don't need no sneaky whores!" And certainly there aren't any in the forest. Or are there?...
So the Ifrit takes the lady out, but he gets really sleepy and falls asleep on her lap. Not sure how, what with his giant sky-sized head and all, but okay.
The lady catches sight of the two kings and is all, "HEY! HEY YOU TWO! Come down here and have some fast-sex with me while this Ifrit is sleeping, or I'll wake him up and make him kill you!"
Say what? Do what? You want us to....what?
They weren't so into the idea. In fact, they were terrified, but she persisted. So, they scampered down the hill where they were perched and proceeded to argue about who was going to go first. "I'll only do it if you do it first!" one king says to the other. "No way, man. I'm not going first. You do it." This goes on for some time and the lady gets really pissy-like.
"Look! Commence with the love-making now or I'm waking him up! I swear to Allah!" So one king, I can't remember which one, quickly goes to town. Then the other one does. This all happens in like a sentence or two, so don't go looking for anything spicy.
The lady's all "Yeah, so he thinks I'm all pure and only do it with him. Lo! This is how I get back at him. Secretly!" Daaaang.
Well, this pretty much sealed the belief that all ladies are sneaky whores, and they can't get away from them no matter how hard they try. So, back to their castles they go! And, they have a pretty smart plan: One king will take a virgin bride, do his business that night, and then kill her the next morning, only to get a new virgin bride that day. See? No more lady-trouble!
But, lo! In due time all the virgins have been done-it to and killed, except two sisters. And their dad was all, "Oh, no! Uh-uh. No way. You girls are NOT going to go get made love to and killed the next morning. No you are not!" And he tells them some story about a dude who understands what animals say and it's a long story and it ends up with the husband beating the tar out of his lady in a closet. "See? That's what I'll do to you if you go to the king! Ah-hah!"
But, lo! These ladies were defiant and a little on the awesome side, if you ask me. And they had a plan. One would marry the king, and the other would show up at bed-time all like, "Hey, if you're going to kill my sister tomorrow morning, could I visit?" And the king would be all like, "Sure." And the sister would go, "So, my sister [her name's Sheherezade, by the way, which is one sweet name, if you ask me] is so good at telling stories. Could she tell one, please?" And the king would be all like, "Okay." And the sister started telling some crazy-ass story that went on and on but it was fun to listen to. But, lo! She didn't finish it by morning, so the king had no choice but to say, "Damn it. Okay. Here's what we'll do. I'll keep you alive until tomorrow so I can hear the rest of the story." The story-telling sister was like the pretty lady Paul Harvey of the Arab world.
This went on for 1,001 nights. Lo! I'm only on night three, but let me tell you, this is some good and crazy story-telling. One dude married his cousin and she couldn't have his baby, so he got some concubine lady to do it. The cousin-wife was all "Bitch!" and she turned the lady and the son into a cow and a calf. Then she sold them to the husband and had him butcher the cow. His own wife! Stone-cold crazy!
There are more Ifrits and deals being made and sneaky whore-ladies galore. I couldn't make this stuff up.
Okay, I could. But I didn't.
If you are looking for a 500+ page summer read 1) you have too much time on your hands, 2) you've come to the wrong place, because this is a blog and there are not 500 pages here, and 3) I'd recommend reading The Thousand and One Nights. I'm reading the 1850 translation by Sir Richard Burton. But not this one: