Once upon a time men were so cruel as they are today. One of them was particularly rich and evil. He used to sleep every night with a new wife from his harem, and the next morning she was sent to die.
One day he asked for one of his wives, a nice young girl called Scherezad. Contrary to the others, she never seemed to be in a rush to climb to the rich man’s bed and have his attention. She took her time. That’s how she could understand that after a night with the sultan all women disappeared for good.
The day she was called to spend the night with that cruel man, she knew that the only way to survive would be through cleverness. They had an enjoyable dinner and afterwards engaged in conversation. Scherezad picked a subject to start a story, maintaining the man so interested that he kept asking for more. Suddenly, Scherezad told him:
“Excuse me, sir. We do have to stop for now!” and she opened the windows so the man could see that outside was already bright.
“What about the rest of the story?”
“Well, if you don’t mind I would like very much to tell you how it ends later this evening!”
He accepted and that’s how it happened the first of a thousand nights.
When we were children nobody told us that all those nights of telling stories to the sultan represent three years of a lifetime, and in three years a lot may happen: an old sultan may get older and weaker and a young storyteller girl may become wiser and wiser to the point of taking charge of the sultanate. As I believe in happy endings, I always imagined Scherezad ruling a happy country where cruel men had no say at all.