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Arabian Nights Stories

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Arabian Nights - Introduction

"Arabian Nights", a short form of "The Books of a Thousand Nights and a Night" is a collection of 1,001 Arabian stories that have been heard for many generations before they were recorded on paper. These stories have been compiled for over a 1,000 years by various authors, translators and scholars, though an original script has never been found. Its several versions date between 800-900 AD.

The only common text among them its beginning - the Persian Sultaan Shahariyaar and the queen Shaharzaad. This tale was first found in "Hazaar Afasaaney" (1,000 stories). But surprisingly there is no physical evidence of existence of this book. Some record only a few hundred tales some all 1,000 tales, and some more tales.

Well known stories from this book are "Allaadeen", "Alee Baabaa and Forty Thieves" and "Sindbaad the Sailor".

These stories have sometime been told and heard as folk stories during the reign of Khaleefaa Haaroon al-Rasheed who lived in Bagadaad between 786-808 AD. His Vazeer was killed by the Khaleefaa in a very cruel way, nobody ever knew why.

Its first existing Arabic printed version, published by the East India Company in 1814, is available in Calcuttaa. A second volume was released in 1818. Both volumes have 100 stories each. There are two more versions of its translations by Edward William Lane (1838-1840) and Sir Richard Burton (1885-1888). Lane's version excludes the vulgarity, while the Burton's version includes it.

These stories, presented here, have been adapted from various sources. Since there are many stories and many sources, it is difficult to chase whether they are genuine or not, but a special care has been taken to select their sources and they are listed with the stories. All the sources do not give these tales in one single order; moreover some stories are overlapped while others are different.

Most of the stories are written in old type language and difficult language, thus they are difficult to read them. That is why those stories are presented here in simple English language to be read more widely. Since the main theme of all the stories is the same, the overlapped stories are not duplicated here. They are just referred here to wherever they are written first, but if they are differently given, they are given at both the places with a cross reference.

Its tales include all kinds of stories - love stories, tragedies, comedies, poems, Muslim religious legends, fairy tales, parables etc. Many stories include Jinn, magicians and legendary places. Its most stories are interwoven with other stories. Why? To know the reason read its Prolog.

1. "More Stories from the Arabian Nights"/ As translated from the Arabic by Sir Richard Burton. Associated Booksellers. 1957.
2. "The Arabian Nights" translated by Edward Lane (1841) and Andrew Lang (1898) are in the Public Domain.
3. "Aladdin and Other Tales from the Arabian Nights" / Alfred A Knopf. 1993.
4. Adapted From Candlelight Stories. These stories "The Arabian Nights" translated by Andrew Lang (1898) is in the Public Domain.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 06/03/13