I spend plenty of time speaking and writing against injustice, prejudice, corruption, and environmental stupidity – including my own contributions to those sorry states. But I’d be an ungrateful wretch if I didn’t call out the good and the beautiful. There’s so much to be grateful for, if we actually pay attention.
I set out to find 1001 reasons to be optimistic. That’s how many nights it took Scheherazade to soften the heart of the king. When I reached 1001 on April 13, 2014, I knew the search was not over. I had become addicted to hope. So the search continues. Drop by any day, and you will find something new.
Together we can soften our hearts and put humanity on a healthier path.
The story that launched the blog
There was once a king of Persia who discovered his wife had taken a lover. He ordered her executed and swore he would take a new consort every night. Certain all women were unfaithful, he vowed he would order each new woman strangled after only one night with her.
Each day the sultan’s grand vizier was forced to execute one woman and supply another. So when his eldest daughter Scheherazade asked her father to make her the sultan’s consort, the vizier was horrified.
Scheherazade, who had read widely and remembered it all, insisted. She told her father, “I am aware of the danger I run, but it does not deter me from my purpose. If I die, my death will be glorious; if I succeed, I shall render my country an important service.”
The young woman had a plan. When her father delivered her to the sultan, she asked her new husband a favour. She wanted her sister to sleep at the foot of the bed so as to say a last farewell.
An hour before dawn, as Scheherazade had planned, her sister asked her to tell her one last story. The sultan gave his permission. Scheherazade spun a story so enchanting that when she broke it off unfinished, so the sultan might attend to his prayers and then hold a council, the sultan decided to postpone her execution by a day. He had to hear the ending.
Each day that followed, Scheherazade once again captivated the king with a new tale, always stopping before the ending. Each day he put off her execution so he could hear the end of the story.
After 1001 nights, Scheherazade told the king she had no more stories to tell. By that time, she had softened his heart. He was in love with her and made her his queen.