One Thousand and One Nights

collection of Middle Eastern folk stories

One Thousand and One Nights is an old cycle (or group) of stories that mostly come from Arabia and Persia, and a few also from India, Central Asia and China. All these stories were later collected together. There are different layers of the stories:

  • Uppermost is the story of Queen Scheherazade who needs to entertain her husband, the Sultan or King Sheheryar, or she would be put to death.
  • The next layer is made up of the actual stories, such as Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Aladdin and the Magic Lamp, etc.
  • In those stories, there is often also a narrator who tells the story.

It is similar to 101 Nights, also known as The Book with the Story of the 101 Nights, another Arabic story collection. The collections only have two stories in common - “The Ebony Horse” and “The King’s Son and the Seven Viziers,” popularly known as “The Book of Sinbad.”[1]

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