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Or at least this is part of Scheherazade’s spell – the idea that she walks around with an entire library in her head is often rather wildly attributed to her. She presumably means for us to compare her to the amazing Tawaddud, but she has actually an entire day between each night in which to desperately cobble together her next instalment. I picture her scratching about in musty texts and rummaging amongst already thoroughly-depleted manuscripts. “Oh shit, I’ve used the device of the roc four times before – will he buy it again?” She does not know, of course, that there need be only one thousand and one nights. She must go on the working assumption that the king has to be satisfied indefinitely, until one of them finally drops. Moreover, there is nothing to say that Scheherazade will be relieved of the burden of having to recite ever more dazzling stories once her husband has formally repealed his wife-killing policy. The whole point of his power is that it is capricious and that his word can always change.

The Character of Scheherazade” (February 2017).

This is another illustration for Tychy‘s forthcoming series on Robert Louis Stevenson’s More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter (1885). Unfortunately, this series seems to get ever more forthcoming as the months wear on.