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Lang - The Arabian Nights

Lang - The Arabian Nights

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Published by Rebecca D. Joseph

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Published by: Rebecca D. Joseph on Jan 18, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Arabian Nights
Lang, Andrew
Novels, Young Readers
About Lang:
Andrew Lang (March 31, 1844, Selkirk – July 20, 1912, Banchory, Kin-cardineshire) was a prolific Scots man of letters. He was a poet, novelist,and literary critic, and contributor to anthropology. He now is bestknown as the collector of folk and fairy tales. The Andrew Lang lecturesat St Andrews University are named for him. Source: Wikipedia
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The stories in the Fairy Books have generally been such as old women incountry places tell to their grandchildren. Nobody knows how old theyare, or who told them first. The children of Ham, Shem and Japhet mayhave listened to them in the Ark, on wet days. Hector's little boy mayhave heard them in Troy Town, for it is certain that Homer knew them,and that some of them were written down in Egypt about the time of Moses.People in different countries tell them differently, but they are alwaysthe same stories, really, whether among little Zulus, at the Cape, or littleEskimo, near the North Pole. The changes are only in matters of mannersand customs; such as wearing clothes or not, meeting lions who talk inthe warm countries, or talking bears in the cold countries. There areplenty of kings and queens in the fairy tales, just because long ago therewere plenty of kings in the country. A gentleman who would be a squirenow was a kind of king in Scotland in very old times, and the same inother places. These old stories, never forgotten, were taken down in writ-ing in different ages, but mostly in this century, in all sorts of languages.These ancient stories are the contents of the Fairy books.Now "The Arabian Nights," some of which, but not nearly all, are giv-en in this volume, are only fairy tales of the East. The people of Asia, Ar-abia, and Persia told them in their own way, not for children, but forgrown-up people. There were no novels then, nor any printed books, of course; but there were people whose profession it was to amuse men andwomen by telling tales. They dressed the fairy stories up, and made thecharacters good Mahommedans, living in Bagdad or India. The eventswere often supposed to happen in the reign of the great Caliph, or rulerof the Faithful, Haroun al Raschid, who lived in Bagdad in 786-808 A.D.The vizir who accompanies the Caliph was also a real person of the greatfamily of the Barmecides. He was put to death by the Caliph in a verycruel way, nobody ever knew why. The stories must have been told intheir present shape a good long while after the Caliph died, whennobody knew very exactly what had really happened. At last somestoryteller thought of writing down the tales, and fixing them into a kindof framework, as if they had all been narrated to a cruel Sultan by hiswife. Probably the tales were written down about the time when EdwardI. was fighting Robert Bruce. But changes were made in them at differenttimes, and a great deal that is very dull and stupid was put in, and

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