Sunday, September 23, 2012

My first posting to a Librivox project

Here is my first submission to a project that I've become involved in to make an audiobook out of Volume 7 of Sir Richard Francis Burton's "THE BOOK OF A THOUSAND NIGHTS AND A NIGHT" (a.k.a. "Tales of the Arabian Nights").  The three evening's tales that I'm reading here (nights 667, 668, & 669) revolve around a love story between an Arab king and a Persian princess, and include magical flying genies and horrific battles between Arab and Persian armies.  Buckle your swashes, crank up the Rimsky-Korsakov, and have a listen, if you like.  Note that you might want to first read the synopsis that I wrote (see below), because it's a little hard to follow, since you're jumping right smack into the middle of a multi-entanglement soap-opera, already underway.

Summary of night 667's tale:
King Gharib, an Arab monarch, is journeying west back into his lands after considerable adventuring in Persia.  He asks the two Marid genies that are in his service to fly back east to the Persian realm of King Sabur, especially to find out how all is going with his beloved -- King Sabur's daughter, Fakhr Taj.  While flying east, the genies (Kaylajan and Kurajan) pass over a large army headed west toward the Arab lands.  They investigate, and learn (much to their surprise) that the massive army has been sent by King Sabur "to slay [King] Gharib and all who company him"!  The Marid genies wait for the army's general, Rustam, to go to bed in his tent, and then magically transport him and his bed without waking him, delivering the sleeping general before an indignant King Gharib.  Rustam is submissive, calling for the blessing of the Persian sun-god to be upon Gharib, whereupon Gharib quickly accomplishes the conversion of Rustam to Islam and grants Rustam the post of a generalship in his army.  Rustam then delivers the news that King Gharib's beloved, Fakhr Taj, was secretly ordered to be put to death by her father, the Persian King Sabur, after Sabur had flown into a rage at the fact that the princess had been deflowered by Gharib.

Summary of night 668's tale:
King Gharib immediately leaps into vengeful action, engineering an invasion of Sabur's lands to "lay waste his realm!"  He sends Rustam ahead with an army to begin the fight against the invading Persian forces that had so recently been led by Rustam himself.  Rustam completely routs the Persians in a surprise midnight attack, and some Persian troops survive and flee back to King Sabur.  When Sabur hears what has happened, he puts his son, Ward Shah, in charge of leading an offensive against Gharib's army.  But the next morning, before the Persian army has been set in motion, King Gharib and Rustam instead mount an attack on the Persians.  A bitter conflagration rages between the two armies until day's end, when the Persians retire to a defensive position at their city gates, and the Arab army arrays its tents just outside the city in preparation for the next day's battles.

Summary of night 669's tale:
The engagement of the next morning is begun by Rustam himself, who rides out in between the armies and challenges the Persians to produce their best fighter to have at him, one on one.  After Rustam dispatches the Persian champion (in a particularly messy fashion), the Persians fully engage the outnumbered Arabs.  King Gharib and his two Marid genies then take things personally in hand, leading the Arab forces to an overwhelming victory, which ends with the conversion to Islam of all the people in the conquered Persian city.  King Gharib has the defeated King Sabur brought before him and tortured, and Sabur confirms that he ordered the secret execution of his daughter, the Princess Fakhr Taj.  But when the two would-be executioners are brought before Gharib, they confide that they disobeyed Sabur's order to kill the Princess, instead setting her free out of pity and bidding her to flee.

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