Arabian Nights Redux

San Cassimally
3 min readJul 24, 2022


Cover designed by Enrico Harvey

The book has just been published by Create Space and is available on Amazon.

Many of the stories in the collection have appeared on Medium. It is available in print and will shortly be a Kindle item as well.

A collection of seventeen stories from the Arab world, as one would expect to hear from the hukkawati or market story-tellers in Arab towns, told with humour and insight into the human condition, with themes, from love, religion, hypocrisy, jealousy, friendship, brotherhood, wealth, and spanning ancient times to the modern age.

The most famous chef of the age is challenged by the Empress to produce the best biryani in the world if her beloved daughter is to attract the attention of the Prince from Azerbaijan whom she is besotted with, but will his giddy sidekick succeed in spoiling his attempt?

When the Caliph discovers that his son and heir is gay, can even Emperor Akbar’s wily adviser Bilal find a way out?

Baghdad’s richest man’s wife dies in childbirth and he wants to get rid of his sumptuous palace at any price; why will no one want to buy it?

The sinister Emir Mohammed Bin Rasheed, MBR, is shocked that his name does not top the Forbes’ list of the richest man in the world, and when he learns of the planet of diamonds he vows to work on its appropriation.

Oom Medjool is a Nubian widow with gifts of healing, and when she does not respond quickly enough to a summons from the palace to treat the Caliph she is condemned to death. Only the Caliph’s son stands between her and the axe.

When small pox is ravaging Baghdad, will a father and daughter medical pair save the people with the technique of variation, or will the accusation of sorceress be made against her?

A villainous coffin-maker and his lover, a quack healer plan to eliminate a hard-working and capable doctor because she is too good, making coffins and visits to her fake counterpart unnecessary.

When the story-teller recognises that people have heard the story he plans for them, he decides to change horse in mid-stream, with unexpected consequences.

A Caliph becomes besotted with a girl working in a bordello, but when she refuses his advances, even his proposal of marriage, there must be a reason. This is a love story in the best operatic tradition.

Two jealous neighbours play tricks on each other with an earth-shattering new discovery emerging.

A rich merchant keeps his wife locked in their mansion, guarded by a fierce eunuch. The poor wife expects to be rescued, but how?

A Caliph, gnawed by remorse cannot sleep, and when nobody can find a cure for his insomnia, Emperor Akbar’s adviser Birbal agrees to step in.

In Old Baghdad there lived a poet and dramatist called Shaikh Asbeer, but he has mysteriously disappeared a long time ago. Then many years later an English bard called Shakespeare is making a name for himself. Could they be one and the same person.

The falafel seems to have been invented accidentally, and is so much appreciated that even the Caliph gets to hear about it.

An oil-rich monarch buys a castle in Scotland, and on a visit, he engages the services of an escort. But getting her in the bedroom is a complicated affair.

A man with four wives needs to divorce one of them if he needs to marry a fifth one.

Although they are twins, each of two brothers each decide to ruin the other.



San Cassimally

Prizewinning playwright. Mathematician. Teacher. Professional Siesta addict.