Tale of Kamar al-Zaman  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Tale of Kamar al-Zaman is featured in Anthologica Rarissima: The Way of a Virgin is a tale from the 1001 Nights.

King Shahriman had a son, Kamar al-Zaman, who "grew up of surpassing beauty and symmetry," but was unwilling to marry. For this he is eventually cast into prison. A similar fate has befallen Princess Budur, daughter of King Ghayur, Lord of China Islands and Seas, and for a similar reason. The maiden is pictured as one "than whom Allah hath made none fairer in her time with cheeks like purple wine...lips as coral...breasts like two globes of ivory, from whose brightness the moons borrow light, and a stomach with little waves as it were a figured cloth...with crease like folded scrolls, ending in a waist slender past all imagination; based upon back parts like a hillock of blown sand, that force her to sit when she would lief stand...."

Two genii, Maymunah, a woman, and Dahnash, a man, now come into the story, the former as a champion of Kamar, the latter as Princess Budur's. After a long dispute as to the rival charms of Prince and Princess, they convey the latter to

[1]: The Thousands Nights and a Night, translated by Sir Richard F. Burton, and printed by the Burton Club for private subscribers only: Lauristan Edition, limited to 1,000 numbered sets. As the story in the original is of considerable length, we have summarised portions of it, retaining in its entirely that part of the text which will appeal most to the bibliophile. The paragraphing, also, is in many cases our own.




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