Monday, May 14, 2007

1450 to 1455

The Arabian Nights' Entertainment (continued)
"Tale of the First Calender." When his father dies, a prince's right eye is pulled out by an evil vizier. He becomes a calender and tells his story.

"Tale of the Second Calender." Robbed, turned into an ape by an evil genius, he is disenchanted by a sultan's daughter who kills the evil genius, but who dies in the struggle. A spark from the conflict destroys the right eye of the calender. He is kicked out of the kingdom and tells his story.

"Tale of the Third Calender." A lodestone draws nails from his ship. The king meets ten princes, each with their right eye knocked out. Left in a castle, the king can visit any room but one. He succumbs to temptation and a horse flies him to Baghdad. With a whisk of its tail, the horse knocks out the king's right eye as it has done with the ten princes who were also guilty of curiosity.

"Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves." Ali Baba, a woodcutter, sees a band of robbers enter a secret cave by saying "open Sesame." He becomes rich. The robbers try to catch Ali Baba by hiding in jars. They are outwitted by his female slave Morgiana who kills them by pouring boiling oil into the jars where they are hiding. Ali Baba's brother tries to enter the cave, but forgets the magic words. He is locked inside. He says, "Open Wheat," etc. He is caught and killed.

"The Seven Voyages of Sinbad." First voyage: Island turns out to be a whale; fire wakes up the whale who dives under. Second voyage: Desert island. Valley of diamonds. Merchants use meat to stick to diamonds. Eagles swoop down and pick up the meat. The merchants scare the eagles who drop the meat. Sinbad escapes the same way, on a piece of meat carried away by an eagle. Third voyage: encounter with Cyclops. Fourth voyage: marries. Buried with her corpse. Loots the graves of diamonds belonging to the dead and returns home wealthy. Fifth voyage: Rocs sink ship with huge stones. On desert island, Sinbad throws stones at monkeys who throw coconuts in return. Encounters and kills the Old Man of the Sea, a seemingly harmless man who climbs onto Sinbad's shoulder and will not climb off. Sixth voyage: Visits the island of Serendip (Sri Lanka). Climbs to the top of the mountain where Adam was placed after being expelled from Paradise. Seventh voyage. Corsairs sell him into slavery. He shoots elephants and discovers a hill covered with tusks. He is set free.

"Magic Carpet." King Solomon's magic carpet. Green silk. Throne and all types of forces placed on it. A canopy of birds screened it from the sun. Traveled.

1453. The Hundred Years' War that has continued off and on since 1377 ends in France with the expulsion of the English from every place except Calais which England will retain for more than a century.

1453. England's Henry VI has his first episode of insanity.

1454. Some 28 musicians inside a huge pie perform at the Feast of the Pheasant for the duke of Burgundy. A Mother Goose rhyme about "four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie" will commemorate the event.

1455. England's Wars of the Roses erupt in a civil war that will continue until 1471 between the houses of York and Lancaster.

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