Nights 499 to 531: Shamsa Takes Flight

499—531 The story of Janshah

Near the end of Buluqiya’s story, he meets a hermit sulking in a cave, who begins a narration of his own. Thus we are presented with the tale of Janshah. This is another narrative that, like the Karim framing story, bears many of the hallmarks of a classic The Arabian Nights tale, while still presenting us with a novel storyline. This time, the innovation is a human/jinn romantic adventure, which has yet to appear in the collection.

Janshah is a fêted prince, who one day goes a-hunting with his father and their mamluks. Janshah rides after “a strangely coloured gazelle” that leads him to the seashore. Down on the beach, he spots an island he wishes to visit, and so they commandeer a fishing vessel to take them there. Of course, they are blown off course by a gale, which serves to separate our wealthy protagonist from the comforts of his father’s kingdom.

From there, Janshah encounters many strange lands and inconveniences. This includes a nation of apes who insist that he stay and be their king; and a valley of giant ants. He becomes embroiled with a dastardly con-man who tricks him into stealing treasure from a giant bird of prey, and eventually winds up in a great castle as the guest of Shaikh Nasr, king of the birds. Continue reading “Nights 499 to 531: Shamsa Takes Flight”