This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Saturday Rave: A Thousand And One Posts.

But surely, you will say, with your usual perspicacity, it's a thousand and one nights?

And so, of course, it is. But as it happens The Word Den has reached its a thousand and first post, hurray, and so this seems a suitable time to pay homage to the wondrous Scheherazade.

According to Sir Richard Burton, Scheherazade:

"...perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of bygone men and things....She had perused the works of the poets...she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred."

We all know Scheherazade's story. The Persian king had developed a frankly deplorable habit of killing his wife every day after their wedding night, and Scheherazade, in order to stop him, volunteered herself as his next bride.

File:Scheherazade by L. Bakst 08.jpg
Léon Bakst.

During the wedding night, Scheherazade began to tell a story, but (as of course you know) she stopped half way through. So the king had to let her live for another day so he could find out what happened in the end.

And after a thousand and one nights...

Ah, but most of us don't know that bit nearly so well.

After a thousand and one nights Scheherazade tells the king she has no more stories. By then he's fallen in love with her, of course, and - here's the really important thing - he's been made a kinder and a wiser man by Scheherazade's tales.

And that's the reason he makes her his queen.

Mikhail Fokin and Vera Fokina in the ballet Scheherazade. 
Glass plate negative.
Mikhail Fokin och Vera Fokina i baletten Scheherazade.
Fokin & Fokina, Stockholm 1914

Rimsky Korsakov wrote the music for the ballet of Scheherazade's story, and, probably because I'm a children's writer, my favourite part of the music is The Young Prince and The Young Princess:

Scheherazade is a great, great heroine of stories. She told them, and she was the heroine of one herself, and she showed the power, delight, and importance of them.

And, best of all, although she spilled all those treasures before us, there are far, far more than a thousand and one tales still to be told.

May we be perpetually blessed with their delight.

Word To Use Today: thousand. This word has hardly changed in a thousand years. The Old English form was thūsend.


  1. Congratulations on your 1001 posts!
    A mighty deed indeed!
    And a wonderful post to celebrate it with!

    1. Thank you so much, Jingles. It's been nearly always fun, and certainly always a privilege, to share the joy of words with people from all over the world.

      You've all been brilliant company.

  2. Whaaa! Sally! How did I miss this??

    (sorry - I haven't been around much recently)

    I would have announced this on my FB group. I still will actually. A bit late, but there's a saying about that, right?

    Brilliant. Well done you : o )

    1. Thanks so much, Ed. If you knew how long I spent trying to think up a good post to celebrate reaching a thousand!