What does The Arabian Nights have to say about contemporary politics?

Trump supporters

434—436 The pilgrim and the old woman

Last week, I briefly mentioned the tale of ‘The Pilgrim and the Old Woman’ (Night 434) and her preference for liberty over a tyrannical ruler:

What is your country like?’ she asked. ‘We have spacious and roomy houses,’ he told her … ‘I have heard of all that,’ the old woman said, but tell me, are you subject to a sultan who rules you unjustly and if any one of you is guilty of some fault, the sultan seizes his wealth and ruins him, while if he wants he can drive you from you house and uproot you?’ ‘That may well be,’ the man replied, and the old woman said: ‘Then by God, that delicious food, that pleasant lifestyle and those pleasures, when combined with injustice and oppression, are deadly poison, while our food, eaten with safety, is a theriac.’[1]

I had to look up the word ‘theriac’ – it means an antidote to venom. So in summary, the woman is saying that one should free oneself from tyrannical laws… even if it causes a huge drop in the standard of living. Continue reading “What does The Arabian Nights have to say about contemporary politics?”