Thursday, September 24, 2015

Week 5 Storytelling: The Story of the Third Old Man

(The Sultan, Scheherazade, and Dinarzade listening to stories)
My sister had just finished telling the stories of the first two men who were asking the genie to spare the man who had accidentally killed his son. Upon hearing the first two stories, I could tell the Sultan was eager to hear the third. However, my sister did not know the third story. Fearing for her life, I knew I had to do something!

"But Sire! I know the story of the third old man! Please allow me to tell it since my sister, Scheherazade, has never heard it!"

"Of course, do tell," said the Sultan.

And with that, I began the story of the third old man...


There was once upon a time a man who was a rich Sultan. He was very happy and had a wonderful kingdom and family. However, one day a wretched old beggar found her way to the palace.

"Please help me," she said, "for I am poor and have no shelter for the evening."

The palace guards called for the Sultan at once. Looking down upon the woman, he initially was not going to let her stay. But you see, the Sultana had followed him to the palace door and immediately felt sorry for the poor old woman.

"Please, Sire," she begged, "let her stay. She seems so hungry and cold. We have so much wealth and warmth to spare. What could one night hurt?"

The Sultan could not deny his wife anything. So he decided to let the woman stay. He ordered the guards to have her bathed and adorned in silk. She was also given some gold so that she might start her journey elsewhere the following day. The old woman was very grateful. However, as she lay in her chambers that night she became increasingly bitter towards the Sultan and the Sultana.

They have so much here and I have so little. They gave me the bare minimum to get by on when they could have given me much more. Why, they think I am just a lowly beggar not worth anything. I'll show them. I'll take everything from them and more. 

And with that thought, the woman started to plan.

The next morning after breakfast, the woman thanked the Sultan and Sultana for their kindness and headed out. She set out for the four caves that were home to many genies. After a long day's journey, she found herself at the foot of the first hill. She called to the genie who was said to make his home there.

"Oh genie! Hear my call!!! If you are there, help me for I have been treated so poorly by the Sultan and his wife. I seek your guidance to exact my revenge!"

The genie upon hearing this appeared. Now you see, genies can be nasty little creatures and the thought of seeking revenge on someone always sparks their interest.

"Poor beggar woman, I hear you. Please... I implore you to tell me more about why I should help you seek revenge on the Sultan and his wife."

The woman spun a very believable tale about how the Sultan and Sultana ridiculed her and refused to feed her or give her shelter. She told him about how they had locked her up and only allowed her to be bathed and put in silk right before she left because they wanted to keep up appearances for their subjects. She told him about the night of torture they put her through.

"Your story is very touching to me. I hear your plea for revenge and I would help you take it...However, the story you told me is not true. You were treated well and you were even given some gold to help you find a place to stay for the next few days. I do not take kindly to liars."

So you see, genie, once upon a time I was an old beggar woman who was given a second chance by a very kind Sultan and Sultana. I became greedy and tried to pull one over on a powerful genie. And with that the genie turned me into an old, decrepit, little man and cursed me to forever wander the Earth in search of a place to call home. I am never allowed to stay at a place for more than one night. Would you agree that this story is a marvelous tale and that I should also be granted the third part of this man's punishment? 

"Yes..." the genie agreed. And with that, the genie allowed the man who killed his son to live. 

"That is the end of the story of the Third Old Man. Sire, did you like it?"

"Yes I did!" exclaimed the Sultan.

"Wonderful! But you see, my sister, Scheherazade, has one that will top it! Do you care to hear it?"

"Of course!" said the Sultan.

And with that, Scheherazade began...


Author's note: This is the story of the Third Old Man from the tale Arabian Nights. In Arabian Nights, a Sultan is wronged by his wife and then he has her killed and decides to take one woman from his kingdom as his wife every night and have her killed the following morning. The grand vizir's daughter, Scheherazade, is clever and cunning and begs her father to allow her to be the Sultan's next wife. She comes up with a plan to keep herself alive and asks that her little sister, Dinarzade, be allowed to sleep in their chambers since Scheherazade is set to die the next morning. Just before dawn, the sister wakes her up and asks to be told a story. However, the story is never finished and the Sultan is so intrigued he allows Scheherazade to live another night to finish it. This is one of Scheherazade's stories. She tells of a man who crosses a genie by accidentally killing the genie's son. He is set to be killed in one year's time, but three old men come to his aid with crazy stories. Scheherazade tells the Sultan that she does not know the story about the third old man, but that she knows another crazier story. I chose to tell this story by having Dinarzade chime in and tell it to her sister and the Sultan since her sister did not know it. 

Bibliography: The Arabian Nights' Entertainments by Andrew Lang, illustrated by H. J. Ford (1898).


  1. I love stories where greedy people get what's coming to them in the end. The woman would have been much better off if she had just accepted the help she got and been happy. Granted, maybe the Sultana could have helped her more - maybe offered her a job or something - but, that's not the story. Your writing it was well done and it was a nice read!

  2. Karisa, I enjoyed this story! I like that we had the same idea of using a story to tell a story, like for mine, I created it with a bedtime story frame. Kind of like.. storyception haha. Anyways, I like the background behind this story and how storytelling is saving Scheherazade’s life. Like Kirsten mentioned, this story was a great example of how greed will ultimately result in ruin. Great job! I hope to read more of your stories in the future.

  3. This was a very interesting story! I did not read the original story, so I appreciated the summary in your Author Notes. It looks like you did a great job with re-telling it. The story was also great! You spaced out your story well, which believe it or not most people do not, so awesome job! My only critique is that there are a few typos, but that always happens to me even if I read my story many, many, times. So, no worries. Great story!

  4. Nice job! I read the Arabian Nights unit as well. I have to say I was really confused reading this because I didn’t remember this story. It made a lot more sense once I got to your author’s note! This was an interesting take on the story having the sister tell one for once instead of always listening. She can’t chime in too much though or the Sultan won’t need to keep Scheherazade alive!

  5. This was a very good story. I think that your Author's note is really good and it really helped me see what you had done differently. I thought that your idea of showing us one of the character's thoughts was very good and helpful it gave us a better insight. Like I said this was a good story to read. Good job!

  6. Hi Karisa,
    This is completely irrelevant to your story but, I LOVE your blog template... it matches my computer and phone background. On to your story! I loved that this story is about "karma" in a sense. I loved that it was a story within a story. I tired that in one of my storytelling posts once.... not my cup of tea when it comes to writing them, but I love reading them! You author's note was really insightful and helped me understand the original story and how you changed it. This was a really well done story and I look forward to reading more of your stories in the future. You portfolio looks really good and I will be coming back for more for sure! Great job!

  7. I like how you put the story within a story, within a story. I was surprised to read that the stories mentions that genies are nasty and love to get revenge. I was not aware of this. All I can think of when I think of a genie is the genie from Disney's Aladdin. I have yet to read Arabian Nights but this story has sparked my interest. The Sultan took a wife every night then killed her in the morning? That is insane. Crazy how these stories develop. You did a great job writing this story. Your dialogue had a good flow and was easy to follow. You did an awesome job! Keep up the good work