The wounded heart of the Sultan Shahriar didn’t know any mercy. Betrayed by his beloved wife, he hated all women in the world. Every day he took a new wife into his bedroom and every night, their heads were cut off. It was a strange way to protect himself from the pain in his heart again. A search of a new wife became an unsolvable problem for sultan’s vizier during the time. Anxious parents hid or sent away their daughters as far as possible from the cruel governor. The vizier started to worry about his own life when almost no young women left. One of his two daughters, Sheherazade asked his father to make her the new Sultan’s wife. At first, the worried father refused to satisfy his daughter’s desire, but she convinced him she had a very genius plan.
Sultan Shahriar had a beautiful wife. She was his only wife and he loved her more than anything in the world.
But the sultan’s wife took other men as lovers. One day, the sultan found her with another man. He was very angry and cut off the man’s head. Then he cut off his wife’s head too.
From that time the sultan began to hate all women.
‘From today,’ he said to his vizir, ‘I’ll marry a new wife every day. She’ll stay with me for one night. Then the next morning, I’ll cut off her head. So no woman will hurt me again.’
The vizir had to find a new wife for the sultan every day. But this was a very difficult job. Every family was afraid. No girl wanted to be the sultan’s wife for one night and then die. Fathers began to send their daughters away.
The vizir too was afraid. ‘What will happen to me?’ he thought. ‘I can’t find any more girls. Perhaps the sultan will kill me too.’
The vizir had two daughters. One of them, Sheherezade, was beautiful and very clever. One day she said, ‘Dear Father, please do something for me. It will make me, the sultan and the people very happy.’
‘I would like to make everybody happy,’ said the vizir. ‘What is it, my daughter? Ask, and I will do it for you.’
‘Give me to the sultan. I will be his wife,’ answered Sheherezade.
The vizir’s face turned white. ‘Never!’ he said. ‘The sultan will kill you. I can’t do that. Please don’t ask me.’
‘Please do it,’ answered Sheherezade. ‘Everything will be all right, you’ll see. I want to be the sultan’s wife.’
The vizir put his head in his hands. He was very unhappy. He loved Sheherezade very much and he didn’t want to do this thing. But Sheherezade asked again and again, and in the end the vizir said sadly, ‘All right, my daughter. But I don’t understand. Why do you want to throw your life away?’
Sheherezade went to her sister, Dunyazade, and told her everything. Dunyazade began to cry, but Sheherezade said, ‘Don’t cry, dear sister. I don’t want to die. Everything will be all right, you’ll see. But you have to help me. I want you to sleep in the room with the sultan and me. Wake me up one hour before morning. Say to me, “Please tell me a story.” That’s all…