While all fairytales have certain elements in common, Arabic fairytales, specifically “1001 Nights,” have a crucial stylistic difference that set them apart from other stories we have read in this class. Stories such as the ones written by the Brothers Grimm are usually short and to the point. These stories are a quick tale that always ends in some sort of moral. “1001 Nights” is structured as stories within stories, all set within a frame story.
At the forefront of the story, a king has been deeply wounded by his now dead, cheating wife. As a way to remain married the king decides that he will take wives, and when he does he will them the morning after the wedding night. In an effort to stop the problem, the daughter or the king’s advisor, decides that she will marry the king and tell him stories every night and leave him with a cliffhanger so that he will want to hear the rest of the story. She adds in the stipulation that she will only tell the stories at night.
She structures the story so that while she is still telling one, she starts another. This way there are multiple stories to keep track of, and she continues to keep the king’s interest. All of the other stories are contained in the larger story, called the “frame story,” which is the last story to end.
This stylistic difference makes Arabic tales vastly different from the tales of other nations. Whereas most other fairytales are short and contain a lesson, Arabic fairytales, specifically “1001 Nights,” have a much more complex structure.