The Story of King Shahrayar and Shahrazad, His Vizier's Daughter King Shahrayar is the ruler over a large peice of land; and his younger brother, Shahrazad, was given a small territory. King Shahrayar missed his brother, so he sent for his brother to come and see him. Shahrazad accepted the invitation, but the night before he would journey he caught his wife in bed with a kitchen boy. He was outraged and killed the cook and his wife. Upon reaching his brother's palace, Shahrazad was sad and disheartened. His brother thought he was homesick and sought out to send his brother home happy with many deer.
Continued Once King Shahrayar left, his brother witnessed the King's wife and sex slaves have a massive orgy form the tower he resided in. His brother's misfortune raised Shahrazad's spirits, for he saw that he was not the only man that was done wrong by a woman. He tells his brother after the King questions him, and they embark on a journey for "the love of our Supreme Lord." They said they would return if they found anyone with a larger misfortune than them. In their journey, they happened upon a massive demon. The demon had captured a woman on her wedding night, locked her away in a box, and protected her in the ocean. The demon came out to rest and released the woman for the time being. While the demon was resting on her lap she spotted the two brothers.
Continued She then, proceeded to make them have sex with her. After she was satisfied, she took each of their rings to be added to her collection of 98. The brothers found revelation in this, for the demon has had tremendous misfortunes. They return to the city. The King kills his wife and all of his slaves. He decides to get a girl each night, sleep with her, then kill her the next morning. After a while, the town's people become upset. The vizier (main state official under the King) has a daughter, whom desires to try to calm the King.
The Tale of the Ox and the Donkey There was a wealthy merchant who lived in the countryside and labored a farm. He was taught the language of the beasts on the condition that he would never reveal his secret to anyone or he would die. While sitting with his son one day he overheard the Ox complain to the donkey about his poor living conditions and work. The donkey told the ox the reason for his poor living conditions was his actions, and if he acted in a different way he would have it easier. Following the donkey’s advice, the ox lagged around at work and refused to eat his nasty beans. The plowman asked the merchant, who knew what was going on because of his ability to speak the beast’s language, what to do. The merchant suggested to the plowman that he should take the donkey out to finish the ox’s task. When the donkey returned from the hard labor the ox began to thank him for his advice. The donkey however, felt bitter about the situation and realized he should not have helped the ox and that he must find a way to put the ox back to work.
The Tale of the Merchant and his Wife The merchant over heard another conversation between the ox and donkey. The conversation was of the donkey telling the ox that he heard if he continued to follow his advice that he would be slaughtered. Clearly the donkey made this all up simply to put the ox back to work. The merchant laughed at the conversation and his wife asked him what caused his laughter. The merchant told his wife that if he told her he would die, but she still insisted he tell her anyways or she would leave him. The merchant agreed to tell her and began to prepare for death. Before telling his wife, he over heard another conversation between his dog and a rooster. The dog asked the rooster if he knew about what was happening and the rooster began to say that the merchant was foolish and to escape death he should beat her. So the merchant beat his wife and she no longer wanted to know what he laughed about.
Merchant and the Demon A wealthy merchant traveled to a different country and on his way back he stopped at an orchard and began to pray and eat. After eating a date (some sort of fruit), he threw the pit thinking he had done no wrong. Shortly after, a demon appeared and threatened to kill him. Confused as to why he was being threatened, the merchant asked the demon why he wanted to kill him. The demon replied by saying when he threw his pit it was like a stone and hit his son, which killed him. The demon would not let the merchant, so the merchant accepted that he was going to die but asked for some time to visit his kids. The demon gave him a year to visit his kids and write a will. After the year was up the merchant returned to the orchard and began to pray waiting for the demon to appear.
Continued After a while an old man approached the merchant asking him what he was doing in such a haunted place. The merchant explained to the old man his situation. The old man promised he would not leave the merchant until he saw what happened between him and the demon. Two other old men also approached asking the same question and the merchant told both of them what had happened. Both of the old men also agreed to stay with the merchant and the first old man until the demon came. When the demon finally appeared he grabbed the merchant. The first old man began to beg the demon for mercy by kissing his feet.
The First Old Man’s Tale He was loyal to his wife but never got any kids., then got a mistress and had a beautiful baby. The mistress died and the son ran off. Sheppard Gets fattest cow for butchering and it cries every time before he is about to cut it, cuts it due to peer pressure from wife and it ends up being just skin and bones. Second time was a bull but this time did not listen to his wife and spared the bull. Finds out the bull is under a spell and the bull is actually his son. The shepards daughter says she will turn him back if she can marry him and put a spell on the woman who put a spell on the son. Granted 1/3 life.
The Second Old Man’s Tale Three brothers trade in for a business and two loose all their money and one still has the trading items and trades in goods for 6,000, puts half of it in the ground incase they loose it and the other half for their trading adventures. Third story- a peasant girl begs the king to marry so he does out of pity, gives her nice things. Marries her and has sex to consummate their marriage. the brothers get jealous of him being able to be a merchant so well and plan to kill him, and ended up throwing them in the sea at night. Wife says she has to kill the brothers ends up punishing them for ten years. Granted 1/3 life
The Third Old Man’s Tale this man goes off on journey and comes back to find his wife cheating on him with a black slave. When the wife knew she got caught she cast a spell on him to make him a dog. Runs to the butchers shop butcher takes him home and his daughter uncast the spell. The husband then goes back and cast a spell on his wife to make her a mule that he has with him right now.
Discussion There are many elements that could serve as a discussion question this week, but at the risk of touching off a gender war, since there is a significant female character in each of this week's readings, what do these works say about the role of women in medieval society? How do you think that role is defined and or perpetuated by the shift in values from the ancient world to the medieval world?
Discussion Thought Roles of women changed. Seemed to be looked at at more of a respected human but still a low respected human. It seems like women are evolving slowly in a power sense to become as equal as men.