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Above and beyond its juicy ingredients, however, the tale's central message focuses on the working of destiny: each human being has a predestined fate that he or she has to fulfill, whether consciously or unconsciously, whether intentionally or not. So the tale of "Wardan the Butcher, the Woman, and the Bear" con- tains several of the ingredients that make a fascinating story.
But does this story of sex, crime, and magic belong to that fabulous and world-renowned collection called The Tales of the Thousand and One Nights- the collection that in English is known as The Arabian Nights or, as I will simply call it in the following, the Nights? The tentative answer to this question is both yes and no. No, because the above tale has been translated from a work dealing with the history of the Fatimid rulers in Egypt whose author, a certain Ibn al-Dawadari, lived at the beginning of the fourteenth century CE.
Before telling the tale, Ibn al-Dawadari mentions that he found it in a book for Sex, crime, magic, and mystery treasure hunters. That book in turn relates the narrated events to the reign of the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim, a ruler who was in power at the beginning of the eleventh century CE.
The tale's documented history thus goes back at least some seven centuries, and its protagonist - the butcher W ardan - is even said to have lived about a thousand years ago. The tale's supernat- ural context makes us understand that the tale is history only in a wider sense.
It embellishes a certain ruler's image while simultaneously supplying a wondrous and fascinating explanation for a certain location that is still known to the tale's present audience. The tale does not even pretend to be historically faithful; it is rather a ben trovato, or history as it "might have been. Meanwhile, the tale does not belong to the usual suspects of tales from the Nights that would be published in the popular editions.
Given its provocative content, it is particularly unlikely that the tale would ever be included in any of the innumerable selections addressing children and young adults. With their highly repetitive selections of tales from Galland's Nights, these editions certainly shaped the popular perception of the Nights as a collection of fairy tales more than the "complete" or even the "scholarly" ones.
Considering the above outlines of the tale's origins, various questions come to mind: How did the fantastic tale of "Wardan the Butcher, the Woman, and the Bear" end up in the Nights? Since when was it included in the Nights, and from which source did the compilers of the Nights copy it? Why did they judge it suitable for inclusion in the Nights? More generally we might even wonder: Why was it necessary to "compile" the Nights? Was there no complete and finished version of the collection available?
Or otherwise: Why would it have been necessary to fill up an unfinished or incomplete version with tales from different sources so as to make it complete?
In the following, these questions will guide the reader through the complex history of the Nights. By referring to this specific tale every now and then, the present chapter will discuss the origins of the Nights and the genesis of the collection as it is widely known today- a collection of tales of mystery and magic or, if you like, of fairy tales.
At this point we need to remind ourselves that fairy tales are a European, a Western, and at best an Indo-European genre. Even though fairies make an appearance in various tales of the Nights, the fairy as a wish-fulfilling character is not a standard persona in the Nights. If we speak of fairy tales in the Nights, the term rather denotes a tale in which the supernatural, often a human being endowed with supernatural powers or a supernatural creature, intervenes in human matters.
This intervention can work to a character's advantage, as in the tale of Wardan, but often it leads to damaging consequences. A first attempt to fathom the role of fairy tales in the Nights must discuss our knowledge about the collection's genesis and early history. The actual origin of the Nights is not at all clear. Even though the Nights are mentioned in Arabic literature as early as the tenth century, available testimony does not supply more than a vague outline of the characteristic frame tale.
In its full version, this frame tale tells us about two brothers, allegedly kings of the Sassanian dynasty, the last Iranian dynasty that ruled Iran before the Islamic conquest. When the younger brother prepares to visit his elder brother, he bids farewell to his beloved wife. However, since he has forgotten something important at home, he returns unexpectedly only to find his wife engaged in extramarital sexual activity.
Having killed his wife and her lover, he falls into a deep melancholy when he reaches his brother. Since he does not divulge his secret, his brother remains in the dark about what happened to him. One day, however, when the elder brother is out hunting, the younger brother watches his brother's wife and a number of her entourage engage in a sexual orgy. Realizing that he is not alone in his affliction and that his brother's misfortune is even greater than his own, the younger brother regains his good spirits again.
When he informs his brother about the events, the latter kills his wife and her entourage, and both brothers set out on wanderings in search of a faithful wife. One day, the two fall prey to a woman who is kept by her demon husband inside a chest, so that she will not betray him. Even so, when the demon is sleeping with his head on her lap, the woman blackmails both men into having sex with her, as she has previously had with a large number of other men. Finally realizing that women's wiles are endless, the brothers return home.
Meanwhile, they draw different consequences from their experience.
While the younger brother makes a vow of celibacy, the older brother takes to marrying a new wife every day, only to have her killed in the morning. When the kingdom is almost depleted of marriageable women, the vizier's daughter Shahrazad Scheherazade promises to reform the king.
She marries him, but before the king falls asleep at night, she has her sister or her maid Dinazad invite her to tell a tale. At the break of day, the tale is not yet finished, so the king permits Shahrazad to live on until she can finish the tale. This continues for a total of one thousand and Sex, crime, magic, and mystery one nights. When Shahrazad finally presents a number of children to the king, he admits that he has been reformed and promises to end his ruthless practice.
Referring to this frame tale, modern analytical research has variously argued for the collection's Indian or Iranian origin.
A commentary to the holy scriptures of the Jains mentions a tale in which a royal concubine tells a story or a riddle to the ruler for several nights, usually delaying the story's ending to the following night.
Shahrazad's action in the Nights thus echoes a stratagem already known from ancient Indian literature. Analogies in ancient Indian literature have also been documented for the story of the demon who keeps his human wife imprisoned in a chest and for the story of the man who understands the language of animals, a tale the vizier narrates to prevent his daughter from marrying the cruel king.
One of the major obstacles in determining the relation of these texts to their later versions in the Nights is, however, the difficulty in dating early Indian literature.
Be that as it may, ancient Indian literature abounds in tales of extramarital sexual activities. And since the narrative compilations of pre-Islamic Iran draw to a certain extent on Indian precursors, this argument might to a certain extent also be valid for the early version of the Nights.
The collection's Iranian origin is corroborated by two short passages in tenth-century Arabic sources. More or less agreeing with each other, Ara- bic historian al-Mas'iidi died 9 56 and Baghdad bookseller Ibn al-Nadim died mention a Persian book named Hezar afsitn- a title that can be translated in English as "A Thousand Wonderful Stories," or in Arabic as Alf khuritfa.
The collection's frame tale as sketched by Ibn al-Nadim is identical to that of the Nights as we know the work today. An additional argument for the collection's Iranian origin has been seen in the fact that the frame tale suggests an Iranian context. King Shahriyar whose name means "hero" is said to belong to the Sassanian dynasty. Shahriyar's brother Shahzaman whose name means "king of the period" is introduced as the ruler of the city of Samarkand in Middle Asia.
Furthermore, the name of the collection's narrator, Shahrazad, is also Ira- nian, meaning "of noble appearance or ancestry. Arabic translation of the Iranian original is known to exist. Ibn al-Nadim even men- tions having seen various manuscripts of the work. It is quite unfortunate for us that he did not bother to supply any details, since he regarded the col- lection's tales as dull and boring. The collection's Persian origin is also men- tioned by a certain 'Abdallah b.
Additional scribbling on the sheet of paper dating to the year serves as a convincing argument to date the fragment of the Nights to before that date. This evidence indicates that the originally Persian work had already been translated into Arabic before the eighth century CE. Moreover, the "striking examples of the excellencies and shortcomings, the cunning and stupidity, the generosity and avarice, and the courage and cowardice" of human beings the narrator is asked to tell in the fragment indicate a content that does not converge with the later Nights in which, after all, tales of magic play an important role.
Therefore, we presume that different versions of the Nights might already have existed at an early stage. We do not know when or for what reason the thousand-and-first night was added to the thousand nights of storytelling the collection is said to last. At any rate, the change in title follows a schema that is already attested in Arabic literature of the tenth century.
This content only begins to reveal itself with the oldest preserved text in a fragmentary manuscript dating from the fifteenth century. The manuscript consists of three volumes and contains the text up to the beginning of night , breaking off in the middle of the love story of Qamar al-Zaman and Budur. The stories or cycles of stories of this old manuscript are today regarded as the core corpus of the Nights.
Most of these stories share two features. First, their content links them to the frame tale, since the characters in the tales have to tell stories in order to save their own lives or rescue another character, just as Shahrazad does in the frame tale. The ability to tell a story thus I94 Sex, crime, magic, and mystery becomes tantamount to survival or life.
One after the other, three old men pass by and each of them convinces the Jinni to spare a third of the merchant's life in exchange for the wondrous stories they tell. Second, several of the stories in the old manuscript are not told in a linear manner. They rather constitute diligently structured complex narratives changing between various layers that are, in their turn, told by different narrators.
This feature is particularly evident in the "Story of the Hunchback," with several layers of embedding. The Nights thus present themselves as a story told by an anonymous storyteller in which Shahrazad tells a story in which somebody tells a story that frames the story of yet somebody else.
In terms of genre, the stories of the old manuscript are tales of unusual and wondrous events, and several of them involve magic. The story of "The Fisherman and the 'Ifrit" together with its sequel story of "The Semi- Petrified Prince" mentions a sorceress who has transformed the inhabitants of a certain city into fishes of various color by putting a spell on them; moreover, she has petrified the lower half of her husband's body since he had mortally wounded her demonic lover.
The stories of the three old men embedded in "The Merchant and the Jinni," as well as the stories of the second and the third dervish and "The Story of the Lady of the House" embedded in "The Porter and the Three Ladies," tell of the temporary or permanent transformation of human beings into animals. The dynamics of several tales, and not only those involving magic, result from illicit sexual activity, whether real or imagined.
Just as sex and crime play a major role in the frame tale of the Nights, so they do in the embedded tales.
The main genre of the core corpus of the Nights is thus not the fairy tale or tale of magic, but rather a didactic tale in which magic serves to teach proper behavior in various unusual, and sometimes outright fantastic, circumstances.
Since the text addresses the inherent messages of its tales to the king, the Nights are at times regarded as a mirror for princes- a literary genre whose best-known representative is the originally Indo-Persian collection that in the West is known as The Seven Sages of Rome.
When talking about the Nights after the stage of the old manuscript, we need to distinguish which Nights we actually mean. On the one hand, this intervention established a European tradition of the Nights that was cultivated in numerous translations and adaptations and that resulted eventually in transforming the Nights into a playground for European fantasy.
Founded on previous Arabic tradition, this European tradition would regard a liberal embellishment of the Nights as legitimate, even up to and beyond the point of recognition.
On the other hand, Gal- land's translation created a growing demand for Arabic manuscripts of the collection. This demand, in turn, contributed to the establishment of a new family of manuscripts whose repertoire would be enlarged from a variety of sources. Both strands of tradition would take the core corpus of tales as documented in the fragmentary fifteenth-century manuscript for granted.
The old manuscript was the one that Galland was able to use for his adapted French translation of the Nights, the very translation upon which the Nights' immortal fame in world literature is founded. Galland's version of the Nights was published in twelve volumes between r and I7I7. Since Galland had previously translated the tales of Sindbad, the sea-faring merchant, he had taken the liberty of inserting those tales into his translation, a decision that had already been made by some of the Oriental compilers of manuscripts of the Nights.
When Galland's manuscript material was exhausted, his audience asked for more of the tales they had come to love. Galland responded to this request by continuing his Nights with tales from a source that was altogether unconnected to the Arabic manuscript tradition of the Nights.
Chance brought him into contact with the Syrian Maronite Christian Hanna Diyab, who narrated to him a total of sixteen stories, ten of which he published. It is exactly these tales, in particular the tales of "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp" and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," that determined the ensu- ing European and international perception of the Nights as a collection of "Oriental" fairy tales. To repeat, even though Galland presented Hanna's tales as an integral part of an "authentic" Arabic collection, Hanna's tales did not belong to the repertoire of the Nights before Galland included them in his version.
It was Galland who transformed those tales from the oral performance of a gifted Syrian storyteller into the acme of the Nights, while never disclosing the tales' actual provenance to his audience. Still today, when asked about their memory of the Nights, even educated readers would usually name the tales of Aladdin or Ali Baba and would be perplexed if informed that these stories were only introduced by Galland and never belonged to the Arabic tradition of the Nights.
It is important to stress this point again and again, since over and above the scholarly concern of I96 Sex, crime, magic, and mystery studying the history and genesis of the Nights, Hanna's tales are those that suit the European notion of a fairy tale best. In particular, the tale of "Aladdin and the Magic Lamp" follows the well-known fairy-tale pattern of "rags to riches" in that a boy from humble origins wins the favors of the princess and with the help of a magic lamp commanding a potent Jinni eventually becomes rich and powerful.
All this happens to him quite unde- servedly, thus conforming to the European notion of the fairy tale as a genre that makes the protagonist's and, by extension, the audience's wishes come true. Since we do not have any traces of the tale's original version as told by Hanna, it has been presumed that Galland's reworking of Hanna's perfor- mance owes to Galland's own individual experience, since he himself rose from humble origins to the status of professor at the prestigious College de France.
Magic as a means to the hero's undeserved success also plays a major role in a number of Hanna's other tales. In the tale of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," the poor woodcutter overhears the magic formula giving access to the robbers' treasure in the cave.
In the tale of "The Ebony Horse," the magic flying horse constructed by a Persian magician plays a major role. And in the tale of "Ahmad and the Fairy Peri Banu," even a proper supernatural fairy makes an appearance helping the hero to over- come his adversaries.
Beyond the scholarly discussion of provenance and authenticity, Hanna's tales satisfied the audience's expectations of what an Oriental tale should be like in terms of attractive strangeness and subliminal familiarity.
To put it plainly, the audience appreciated familiar narrative concepts in an alien garb, thus laying the foundations for the appreciation of the Nights as a collection of "Oriental" fairy tales.
Even though Galland consciously mystified the origin of Hanna's tales, his method of including tales of an originally extraneous origin in the collection follows an age-old practice that had already been applied by the Arabic compilers of the Nights for many centuries. The textual history of the Nights before Galland strongly suggests that complete manuscripts of the Nights in Arabic had not been available at least since the date of the oldest preserved manuscript dating from the fifteenth century.
As a matter of fact, we do not even know for certain whether "complete" manuscripts of the Nights in Arabic ever existed. The core corpus of tales preserved in the oldest known manuscript appears to have been stable. Beyond the core corpus, different compilers added tales from a broad range of sources in their effort to present a "complete" version; that is, a version that would actually cover a total of one thousand and one nights of storytelling, as the collection's title promised.
This method of compilation had already been in vogue before Galland, but after the tremendous success of his translation it gained a different dimension. Since such manuscripts were in demand, even though they did not exist, it was a matter of course for them to be produced. Both before and after I Galland, the Arabic compilers of these manuscripts took recourse to their traditional narrative heritage as it is preserved in numerous works, whether they be anonymous or written by authors known by name.
Numerous tales, fables, and anecdotes were added to the collection's fragmentary corpus, and it is here that the tale of "Wardan the Butcher, the Woman, and the Bear" comes to the fore again. Tales of magic and mystery had been a substantial ingredient of the Nights from its inception.
Therefore, similar tales offered a natural choice for poten- tial additions to the fragmentary manuscripts. From the numerous sources the compilers exploited, many of which cannot be identified, a so far lit- tle known work of history appears to have played a special, if limited, role.
Nyn proton ek tis italikis dhialektou metafrasthen, kai typois ekdhothen para [tou] Pol[yzois] Lamp[anitziotis] New Halima, i. Arabian Myth- ology , containing narrations and happenings very peculiar and fascinating, composed in the Arabic dialect by the eminent Dervish Abu-Bakr. Translated from the Italian and printed by Pol[yzois] Lab[anitziotis]. Vienna, vol. The Aravikon Mythologikon was a great publishing success. Until the end of the nineteenth century it experienced at least fifteen reprints in Venice and Athens , , , , etc.
Some of the reprints bear dif- ferent titles, and some fragmentary editions of isolated stories appeared as chapbooks. There are no data available for reprints of Nea Halima. In consequence, its text is quite distant from whatever Arabian original.
This had, in fact, already been the case for its French or Italian mediator; moreover, the Greek translation is quite distant from its mediators. As for the Days, two of the 19 stories in the original collection are missing, as is the end of the frame story.
The Arabian Nights in Greece Besides the divergence in quantity, some important alterations in quality were also introduced. Sec- ond, the text is presented without the division into nights. And third, the main characters appear under different names: Some of these new names have remained very popular in Greek tradi- tion until today. As for Sindbad, the Arabian equivalent to Ulysses, he is still known as Sevah the Seaman even if that implies an uncon- scious etymological pleonasm; see Trikoglidis — The new names were also retained in various other translations based on Galland and pub- lished in the nineteenth century cf.
Kehayoglou The second large Greek translation of the Arabian Nights was published by Vlassis Gavriilidis in It contained a more complete text and replaced the first one on the market: Halima itoi Hiliai kai Mia Nyktes, aravika dhiigimata. Ekdhosis oikogeneiaki Halima, i. Thousand and One Nights, Arabian novels. Family edition.
Gav- riilidis, This translation was first published in continuously paginated fascicles that were subsequently bound in volumes.
One of the main characteristics of this edition is its rich decoration with woodcuts drawn from the French edition by Bourdin — Moreover, the translation contains a vivid language — or, better even, a creative recasting. It was obviously prepared by a well-known writer of the period, probably Alexander Papadiamandis —; see Ke- hayoglou While the edition of was reprinted in seven volumes in , data for further reprints are not available.
The only Greek translation prepared directly from an Arabic text is the product of Greek diaspora in Egypt. This translation still deserves a prominent place in Greek literature both for its precision and sumptuousness.
Metafrasis Kosta Trikog- lidhi apo to gnision Aravikon keimenon. Translated from the original Arabic text by Kostas Trikoglidis. I Vassiliou, vols. Epilogi apo tis Hilies kai mia Nyhtes. Metafrasis apo to aravikon keimenon K. Trikoglidhi Halima. A Selection from the Thousand and One Nights. Translated from the Arabic text by Kostas Trikoglidis.
Eleftheroudakis, reprint in 7 vols. Iridanos Edi- tions, — Trikoglidis was educated in Alexandria where he spent twenty years of his life. According to his detailed afterword he began his translation in with the assistance of an Egyptian scholar who was also his mentor. At first, he com- pleted about five-eighths of the text according to the Bulaq edition. He then continued on his own, consulting an unspecified contemporary Cairo edition.
By he had completed the whole translation in the formal, archaic form of the Greek language katharevousa.
Following this, he revised the text adapting it to contemporary spoken Greek. The cultural kinship between Greece and the Orient probably supported the development of a style faithful to the original, as it allowed the exact rendering of integral expressions as well as of everyday habits and features preface by Voutieridis in Trikoglidis — Trikoglidis translated the whole of the Nights into Greek.
Unfortunately, his translation has never been published in its entirety. The published part in- cludes about half of the stories considered as canonical — i.
Trikoglidis also abandoned the division into nights. Some of the stories in his translation had never before been translated into Greek. Actually, the published part might contain more original plots than the sheer numbers indicate, since Trikoglidis must have selected at least one from each group of the stories that occur in more or less identical form within the collection.
From this group of six stories only two have been published in Greek. The seventh volume contains three stories that were not part of the original corpus of the Nights: Syntipas i i panourgies kai i mihanorrafies ton gynaikon. Translated by Kostas Trikoglidis from the Arabic edition. Ganiaris  reprint Athens: Iridanos Editions, Even though that collection and its embedded stories are included in the prin- cipal Oriental editions of the Nights, their history in the Greek language has been independent, as a Greek version of Syntipas already existed in the elev- enth century.
With the addition of these stories, the total number of stories from the Arabian Nights translated into Greek comes up to Only Sindbad remained Sevah, as his name was so well established in the Greek language that it was difficult to introduce a different one Trikoglidis — Hilies kai mia nyhtes. Metafrasi — Epilogi Stavrou A. Vlachou epimeleia Aggelou S. Vlachou Thousand and One Nights. Translated and Selected by Stavros A.
Vlahos [edited by A. Hermeias, We can thus safely assume that any influence of written versions of the Nights in Greek oral tradition is due to the European translations, in particular those by Galland and Burton.
The only Greek translation prepared directly from an Arabic text comes too late to interfere decisively with oral tradition. Kaplanoglou However, the most important observation concerning the Greek trans- lations is related to the fact that at least half of the main corpus of the Nights has never been published in Greek translation. This gap could probably be filled with the publication of the unpublished part of the Trikog- lidis translation.
Written Literature and Orality The exchange between Greek oral tradition and Oriental tradition neither be- gins nor ends with the Greek translations of the Nights. Well before the Euro- pean translations from Arabic, oral channels of transmission existed. These channels must be considered in a mutual perspective.
On the one hand, traces of classical and Hellenistic Greek literature and culture have been detected in the corpus of the Nights see Chauvin ; Macdonald ; Horovitz ; Grunebaum On the other, Greek folklorists usually consider the long Ottoman occupation an influential phase in the exchange between Greece — and the Balkans in general — and the Orient. While, during this process, Turkish culture may to some extent have transmitted its own imagery through the Arabian tales, the effect of direct Arabic influence on Greek tradition is considerably lighter.
Meraklis In this respect, prominent Greek folklore scholar Georgios A. Already eighteenth century travelers in Greece observed that kind of narrative kinship which they largely attributed to an Oriental and Arabic heritage de Guys Nikolaos G.
Politis — , the founder of Folklore Studies in Greece, also referred to those analogies in one of his early studies in discussing a motif from the Odyssey Politis Politis avoided committing himself to any particular origin instead preferring to explain the phenomenon by a model of three traditions communicating with each other: In general, the distinct cultural background of each era affected the thematic loans as well as the style of narration ruling the various translations.
As a case in point, explicit references to sexual intercourse are extremely rare in Greek oral tradition where meaningful standard expressions are preferred in- stead. Papachristophorou In contrast, oral folktales such as the majority of the reg- istered Greek ones, opt for an everyday type of speech avoiding complicated expressions. In a similar vein, Greek folktales would extend their length by ad- ding episodes, whereas tales in the Nights turn to describing details or deviate into poetry see MacDonald The distinction between Greek folktales and stories from the Arabian Nights relates to both narrative style and cultural specifics.
At the same time it is in accordance with the mnemonic procedure of remembering and retelling folktales as well as the maintenance of an interior rhythm during the time of narration. Another possible reason for the stylistic differences between the Nights and Greek folktales is the socio-historical context of the two corpora.
The registers of the Greek folktales here referred to originate from traditional agricultural communities of the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries. This means that the narration was clearly posited in the framework of an acceptable social behavior according to the rules of those communities.
Their rules would in- clude a sense of economy, and the resulting modesty would permit a certain degree of diversion only for jocular narratives, even though there again de- tailed descriptions would not be tolerated. In other words, laughing about a jocular narrative is more due to the signified than to the signifier. These stylistic arguments affect all of the tale-types dis- cussed below.
Therefore, the amount of registered Greek variants in the following table above all indicates the dissemination of a given tale-type in the Greek ter- ritory before The Arabian Nights in Greece No. AT No. None 60 vol. None 75 69 vol.
On the other hand, only a few of the tales belong to those popular in Greek tradition with more than 20 registered variants while not regularly corresponding to a translated story from the Nights. The quantitative evalu- ation suggests that the Greek translations of the Nights are not a main point of entrance into Greek oral tradition for those tales.
The Forty Thieves, AT Independently of a high or low dissemination of the Greek variants, some of the plots and themes have evolved in unexpected ways in Greek tradition. Search for the Golden Bird. In the Greek variants, several elements are not represented, such as the lower maternal origin of the third son or his mar- riage with two or three princesses during his adventures.
A major difference in the Greek vari- ants of AT The Animal Languages is the fact that the laborer has received the gift to understand the language of the animals from a grateful snake. This motif is also known from Greek mythology in the story of Melampous. Instead of AT A: The Greek variants of AT The Entrapped Suitors, corresponding to three stories from the Nights Chauvin: In the Greek texts, faithfulness and faithlessness are described in the same contexts and become extremely confusing in very similar plots.
Here, we recognize a process common in oral tradition, especially jokes and gossip, to consistently confuse truth and falsehood in order to veil deviant social beha- vior Papachristophorou The motifs related to the clever peasant girl Mot.
J Here the debate of the couple consists of a codified dialogue, quite dif- ferent in each variant, or in the intelligent way the girl divides a roast chicken for the members of her family according to their status such as in AT The Wise Carving of the Fowl. Apart from the clever argument, however, the two plots differ so much that they can hardly be considered as two variants of the same tale-type.
Dissimulated inversions of certain themes are indicated by Greek variants of AT In the Greek texts, the daughter of the sea refuses to speak to her human husband un- less he tells her about her origins. Julnar in the Nights, on the contrary, breaks her self-imposed silence herself in order to tell her human husband about their forthcoming child and explain her own origins. It is a standard motif in the Greek variants of tale-type AT Through the motif of the supernatural wife, tale-type AT is affiliated with types AT The Mouse Cat, Frog, etc.
As Megas has shown By further adding to the above-mentioned tales tale-type AT The Four Skillful Brothers, which is connected to the same story by the in- troduction of the three brothers who have fallen in love with the same woman, four tale-types from Greek oral tradition are in close connection with the tale from the corpus of the Nights.
The archery contest serves as an alternative introduction for two more tale- types in the Greek corpus, AT and AT Tale-type AT also pre- serves a considerable amount of points in common with the Arabian tale. Megas The animal form of the supernatural wife is also a dominant element in the Greek corpus of AT A: The Quest for the Unknown, even in those vari- ants that contain an alternative introduction.
There, the hero is of low social condition, usually a fisherman, and the supernatural bride appears in the form of a turtle he has captured in his net. According to Megas f. This form of the tale-type is so popular in the Greek corpus 32 out of 80 and so similar to the three stories from the Nights that it can be considered their Greek equivalent. These variants are close to the Greek legends about fairies with the only difference that the quest for the lost wife is successful.
The alliance with a fairy always brings the hero to a position of power and wealth, a develop- ment that is in accordance with the legendary benefactor effect of the alliance between fairies and human beings. Another persistent narrative element in those stories is the attachment of fairies to their children that is typical for fairy legends in general.
Loans from legends appear to be quite common in the stories and tales we have examined on this occasion, revealing a more complex level of affiliation with this genre of orality, a suggestion enhanced by the kinship of the fairies of Greek oral tradition with the Nymphs and the Moirai Fates of Greek mythology Papachristophorou