Last week I noted how much I enjoyed the way the tale of Buluqiya tries to describe the almost-infinite, and to invoke a sense of the overwhelming scale of God’s power.
In a lecture, Jorge Luis Borges (discussed previously in relation to these tales) made a marvellous point about the title A Thousand and One Nights, which itself alludes to the eternal:
I want to pause over the title. It is one of the most beautiful in the world … I think it lies in the fact that for us, the word thousand is almost synonymous with infinite. To say a thousand nights is to say infinite nights, countless nights, endless nights. To say a thousand and one nights is to add one to infinity. Let us recall a curious English expression: instead of saying forever, they sometimes say forever and a day. A day has been added to forever. It is reminiscent of a line from Heine, written to a woman: “I will love you eternally and even after.”
— Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights (Faber and Faber, 1986), translated by Eliot Weinberger from Seite Noches (Fondo de Cultura Economica, 1980)