Thestory of “Fisherman and Jinni” and “Ensorcelled Prince” sharea lot in terms of themes, characters, and rhetorical effect. Theybegin with sadness, but end in joy and teach the readers theimportance of being wise as the main characters of the story aresaved by wise actions. Suffering and trickery has been wellelaborated throughout the tales. Thus, this story shows that life isfull of suffering and we can end it by being wise.
Tobegin with, the “Tale of the Fisherman and Jinni” is a framestory in itself and there are additional tales that break from it(Burton, 2010).They add another dimension to the original tale, and the intertwiningof the stories expresses much that can be learned from the culture ofstorytellers. In the story of the Fisherman, we learn that his dailyjob was fishing before he met with King Sultan who married one of hisdaughters and made the son the head of the treasury while the lastdaughter was betrothed to the Prince in the “Tale of EnsorcelledPrince,”(Burton, 2010).
Therhetorical effect that the author tries to bring out is making theworld a better place as both these stories begin with sadness, buttheir end is desirable to the Fisherman and his family, and thePrince and his people. “The Sultan and the Prince abode at home inall the solace and the delight of life and the Fisherman became therichest man of his age, and his daughters wived with Kings, untildeath came to them,”(Burton, 2010).
Furthermore,the stories present a description of these people as curious, butwith a different twist. The curiosity in the “Tale of Fisherman andJinni” almost led him to death while in the “Tale of EnsorcelledPrince” it led to the salvation of the Prince and his people. Whatsaved the Fisherman from that sudden fate was his wit, which showedthat even the humble of all could outsmart even the powerful beingsby critical thinking (Burton,2010).
Theimportance of clear thinking is also replicated in the story of“Ensorcelled Prince,” when the King tricks the witch to believethat it was her beloved making demands to save the people and thePrince by lifting the enchantment.
Furthermore,these two stories are connected by the character and the presence ofthe Fisherman in both tales, who is followed by the King to find outwhere he got those pieces of fish. Thus, the King met the PetrifiedPrince out of curiosity of Fishman’s livelihood. To elaboratethematic relationships in these two tales, I will use two themes.
TheTheme of Suffering
Inboth stories there is suffering, which is supported by the lives ofthe main characters. For instance, in the story of the “theFisherman and Jinni,” the author begins by preparing the reader fora sad story when he starts with this statement, “it hath reachedme, o auspicious King, that there was a Fisherman well stricken inyears who had a wife and three children, and withal was of poorcondition,” (Burton,2010).
Ithad been a custom that the Fisherman would go fishing and only casthis net four times. This day he did cast his net and was joyous thathe had caught something, but in the three instances there was nothingmeaningful. In his fourth cast, he caught a shiny yellow cucumbershaped lamp, which was hard fastened. He thought to himself perhapshe would sell it to the brass bazaar. His curiosity drove him to openthe lamp, which was sealed by King Sulayman (Solomon), son of KingDavid, with his knife (Burton,2010).
Afteropening, he was surprised that the jar was empty, but soon after, avaporized Ifrit (Jinni) came out of the jar. Its presence terrifiedthe Fisherman. What would unfold was unfortunate to the Fisherman.The Jinni had promised that whoever frees it for the first time, itwould give so much wealth, but none did, after that time had passed,it promised itself that whoever free it, it would grant three wishesand no one did (Burton,2010).
Finally,it came to a resolution that whoever freed it, it would kill him/her,but give him/her the choice to choose the way he/she wanted to die.This became the twist of the story when Fisherman had thought that hehad become lucky, it turned out that he had met his executioner.Also, suffering is reflected by the fact that the Jinni craved forfreedom for centuries and centuries as it was imprisoned in that jaruntil it despaired. After it came out of the jar, it thought thatSulayman was going to kill it. This shows that it had been chased,captured, and imprisoned symbolizing torment (Burton,2010).
Onthe other hand, in the story of “the Ensorcelled Prince,” thereare many elements of suffering. For instance, the Prince realizedthat his dear wife was cheating on her with a slave, he tried to killthe Negro, but her wife’s beloved survived. As a consequence, thewife mourned for three years while the husband suffered the lack ofher attention (Burton,2010).
Moreover,suffering is also shown by the fact that the slave did not die andthe Prince’s wife fed him soup for many years wishing that he wouldbe well. While all this is taking place, the Prince had been turnedinto half stone, not dead nor alive. “By virtue of my egromancybecome thou half stone and half man whereupon I became what thouseest, unable to rise or to sit, and neither dead nor alive,”(Burton,2010).
Furthermore,the Prince would be scorched with lashes and tortured. “And everyday she tortureth me and scourgeth me with a hundred stripes, each ofwhich draweth floods of blood and cutteth the skin of my shoulders tostrips,” (Burton,2010). Asthe Prince describes his story to Sultan, he cries as he commemoratesthe fate that had befallen him. Also, the people suffered as theywere turned into fish as their liberty had been taken away from themand confined to a fate of living in water.
TheTheme of Trickery and Deception
Secondly,there is a theme of trickery in both stories. In the “EnsorcelledPrince Tale” the Prince falls into the tricks of his wife severaltimes. For instance, the Prince overheard the maids saying that “nay,more, cloth she does not drug every night the cup she giveth him todrink before sleep time…? So he sleepeth and wotteth not whithershe goeth, nor what she doeth but we know that after giving him thedrugged wine…”(Burton, 2010).
Thus,every night the wife tricked the Prince into drinking the wine, whichshe had already drugged. After realizing this, the Prince waits forhis wife to give him the wine, which he pretends to drink and fallfast asleep. Furthermore, when the wife realized the Negro had beenwounded, he tricked the Prince that he was mourning for his familyand requested to build a tomb, which she instead used to tender forher loved one, the Negro (Burton,2010).
Additionally,when Sultan frees the people, the Prince, and kills the witch, hetricks the witch to believe it was his beloved that was makingdemands and he suffered because those people were being tormented andif he did save them he would also be free. As a result, he does aspell, which lifts the curse on both the Prince and people. Afterthat, Sultan strikes the witch in the chest twice killing her(Burton,2010).
Onthe other hand, in the “Tale of Fisherman and Jinni,” theFisherman contemplates how he will save himself from the proclaimedfate of Jinni. Thus, he tricks the Jinni to get back in the pot byclaiming that he does not believe that it came out of the jar. As theJinni tries to prove it was in that jar, it returns, and Fishermanquickly fastens the lead that had a seal of Sulayman that preventedit from escaping (Burton,2010).
"Iwill never and nowise believe thee until I see thee inside it withmine own eyes" the Evil Spirit on the instant shook and becamea vapor, which condensed, and entered the jar little and little, tillall was well inside when lo! The Fisherman in hot haste took theleaden cap with the seal and stoppered there with the mouth of thejar,”(Burton, 2010).
Thus,from the analysis of the two stories, we learn that they are frames,which the author uses to pass the message of the importance of beingwise by using an example of the Fisherman and the King. The Fishermanafter freeing the Jinni finds himself in a very complex situationdespite being honorable in his deeds, which forced him to actdiligently. On the other hand, the King uses his wit to save thepeople and the Prince from the enchantment and ends up killing thewitch. Furthermore, we learn that these two characters exhibitsimilar attributes such as curiosity, which in one case almost led totragedy while on the other it led to salvation. Moreover, these twostories have themes of suffering and trickery, which has shadowed thetales from beginning to the end. The Fisherman is introduced as apoor man who struggles a lot to make a living. On the other hand, thePrince story is a lament from beginning to the end. The Prince isbetrayed by his wife. Subsequently, the wife mourns for long for herloved one until she discovers that it was the Prince who did put herlove in such situation. As a result, she turns him into half stoneand half man unable to move where she tortures him and scourges himwith lashes until the King came to save him. Thus, these two storiesshow the importance of being wise to end suffering.
Burton, R. F.(2010). Thebook of the thousand nights and a night, volume 1[Kindle]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3435?msg=welcome_stranger