The classic and riveting tales in The Arabian Nights is perfect for a read aloud for the family or an independent reader for your middle or high school homeschooler. Here are some ideas to enhance these tales for your older child:
The Arabian Nights, also known as The Thousand and One Nights and known in Arabic as Alf Layla wa Layla, is a collection of fables, fairy tales, romances, and historical anecdotes of varying ethnic sources, including Indian, Persian, and Arabic oral traditions.
Falling between the Byzantine Empire and the Rise of Islam, The Arabian Nights is a classic selection of tales, suggested as a prerequisite to Medieval Europe and the Early Reformation.
Here are the stories recommended for you to read from this story collection, as well as the questions to accompany them.
The Story of the Merchant and the Genius
1. Define genius as it is used in this story.
2. Why do you think the man went back to meet his fate and see the genius after a year? What does this tell you about these fantastic tales, The Arabian Nights?
The Story of the First Old Man and of the Hind & The Story of the Second Old Man and of The Two Black Dogs
Explain the significance of the humans and animals in both of these stories. Keep in mind that these are old Arabian folk tales. Explain what you think the morals might be in these stories.
The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor-Read Voyages One through Seven
It is thought that the Sindbad stories date from the 9th or 10th century. They form part of the compilation of eastern stories known as The Arabian Nights. For a thousand and one nights, the beautiful maiden Scheherazade tells stories to the King Sharyar in such a way as to capture his interest so that he will want to hear the tale continued the next evening. If she fails to keep the King interested in the stories, she will be executed in the morning. In the Sindbad tales, the scene is set when a rich merchant (Sindbad) overhears a poor porter, who is also called Sindbad, complaining to Allah about the injustice suffered by the poor people in the world. In the tales, the rich Sindbad tells the poor Sindbad how he became rich through a series of seven incredible voyages.
Essay Question: In what ways were all seven of Sinbad's journeys similar? Which one was your favorite and why?
An African wizard has knowledge of an enchanted cave which houses a magical lamp. Through his crystal ball, he discovers Aladdin, a vagabond who is down on his luck, as he happens upon the cave and the wonder which exists within. When the wizard rides to Aladdin to demand the lamp of him, a struggle ensues, and a Genie emerges from the lamp to come to the defense of Aladdin.
The issues of power and authority are at the forefront of many of these tales, including Aladdin. Describe in short essay form how power and authority are represented in Aladdin. Also, watch Disney's Aladdin and compare and contrast the movie and the story you read. Please write your comparison/contrast in essay form, roughly 1-2 pages, typed.