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Some Girls: My Life in a Haremby Jillian Lauren
The Shah’s wife was unfaithful to him, so he cut off her head and summarily declared all women to be evil and thereby deserving of punishment. Every night the Shah’s grand vizier brought him a new virgin to marry and every morning the Shah had the woman executed. After too many of these bloody sunrises, the vizier’s eldest and favorite daughter asked to be brought to the Shah as that night’s offering. The grand vizier protested, but his daughter insisted, and this daughter was known through¬out the kingdom for her powers of persuasion. At the end of the day, the Shah married the vizier’s daughter while the vizier wept in his chambers, unable to watch.
At first, the daughter’s wedding night was indistinguishable from the wedding nights of the other ill-fated virgins who had married the Shah before her, but as morning approached, the Shah’s newest wife began to tell him a story. The story had not yet reached its conclusion when the pink light of dawn crept around the edges of the curtains. The Shah agreed to let the woman live for just one more day, because he couldn’t bear to kill her before he learned the story’s end.
The next night the woman finished that story, but before the sun rose over the dome of the palace mosque, she began another, equally as compelling as the last. The following one thousand and one nights each concluded with an unfinished story. By the end of this time, the Shah had fallen in love with the woman, and he spared her life, his heart mended and his faith in women restored.
This is, of course, the story of Scheherazade. It’s the story of the storyteller. We lay our heads on the block and hope that you’ll spare us, that you’ll want another tale, that you’ll love us in the end. We’re looking for the story that will save our lives.
One thousand and one nights—nearly three years. That’s about the span of this story. Will you listen? It’s almost morning.
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