ARAB NIGHTS 1– NGÀN LẼ MỘT ĐÊM
'Well?' said the sultan. 'What happened next? What was behind the door?'
'Sir, there's light in the sky,' said Sheherezade. 'You're going to kill me now!
'But you can't stop there.You have to finish the story.'
Sheherezade is beautiful and clever. She also knows many wonderful stories. Night after night, she tells them to Sultan Shahriar. She always stops in an exciting place, so he wants to hear the end of the story. She knows stories for a thousand and one nights. The Arabic name for these stories (Alf Leila wa Leila) means The Thousand and One Nights.
The stories in this book are very different. Some are sad and some are funny. Some are exciting. We meet many interesting people — an unhappy young man, a clever servant girl, a boy judge, a stupid barber and forty bad thieves. The stories aren't new, but you can find the same people in the world today — a young man in love, a good friend or a clever young boy.
Everybody enjoys a good story, and before the days of television and cinema stories were very important. The stories in Tales from the Arabian Nights are very old. People in Europe first read them in French between 1704 and 1717. They don't come from one place, but from many different countries — the Middle East, India and Pakistan. At that time Europeans didn't know much about the countries in the Middle East. So these stories were very strange and exciting, and they opened a wonderful new world.
Chapter 1 The Sultan and Sheherezade
Sultan Shahriar had a beautiful wife. She was his only wife and he loved her more than anything in the world.
But the sultan's wife took other men as lovers. One day, the sultan found her with another man. He was very angry and cut off the man's head. Then he cut off his wife's head too.
From that time the sultan began to hate all women.
' From today,' he said to his vizir*,' I'll marry a new wife every day. She'll stay with me for one night.Then the next morning, I'll cut off her head. So no woman will hurt me again.'
The vizir had to find a new wife for the sultan every day. But this was a very difficult job. Every family was afraid. No girl wanted to be the sultan's wife for one night and then die. Fathers began to send their daughters away.
The vizir too was afraid. 'What will happen to me?' he thought.' I can't find any more girls. Perhaps the sultan will kill me too.'
The vizir had two daughters. One of them, Sheherezade, was beautiful and very clever. One day she said,' Dear Father, please do something for me. It will make me, the sultan and the people very happy.'
' I would like to make everybody happy,' said the vizir.' What is it, my daughter ? Ask, and I will do it for you.'
' Give me to the sultan. I will be his wife,' answered Sheherezade.
The vizir's face turned white. ' Never!' he said. ' The sultan will kill you. I can't do that. Please don't ask me.'
'Please do it,' answered Sheherezade. 'Everything will be all right, you'll see. I want to be the sultan's wife.'
The vizir put his head in his hands. He was very unhappy. He loved Sheherezade very much and he didn't want to do this thing. But Sheherezade asked again and again, and in the end the vizir said sadly, 'All right, my daughter. But I don't understand. Why do you want to throw your life away ?'
Sheherezade went to her sister, Dunyazade, and told her everything. Dunyazade began to cry, but Sheherezade said,' Don't cry, dear sister. I don't want to die. Everything will be all right, you'll see. But you have to help me. I want you to sleep in the room with the sultan and me. Wake me up one hour before morning. Say to me,"Please tell me a story."That's all.'
The next day, Sheherezade went with her father to see the sultan. The sultan was very surprised. Why did the vizir want his daughter to be the sultan's wife? But Sheherezade was beautiful and the sultan was very happy with her. So he married her.
That night, Sheherezade said to the sultan,' Sir, please can my sister stay with me tonight — my last night ?'
' All right,' said the sultan.
Nobody slept that night. The sultan always slept badly. Sheherezade was excited and Dunyazade was afraid.
One hour before morning, Dunyazade spoke.
' Dear sister,' she said,' please tell me a story.'
So Sheherezade began.