Arabic Folktales

Based on what we’ve read so far, I see one major difference in Arabic folktales versus ‘Western’ folktales: sexuality.  In 1001 Nights, the King’s brother catches the king’s wife having sex with a servant.  Though sex is mentioned in the likes of Grimm and Perrault, it is never very explicit: the most risque of the bunch is the version where we see a list of the clothing that Little Red Riding Hood removes.  In 1001 Nights, on the other hand, the King’s brother basically witnesses an orgy that goes on for hours and hours, where they “couple and carouse;” when they are done, the man “dismounts from the bosom” of the Queen.  In this tale, sex is not avoided or subverted in the slightest.

A major similarity between Arabic tales and Western ones is religion: though they praise (arguably) different Gods, both praise and make reference to him frequently.

Thus, while they do differ greatly, there are also similar themes of religion and morality.


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