An Arabian Night: Nazin’s Dream by Garon Whited is a very short (17 pages) story which was selected by OnlineBookClub as its Book of the Day for 29 January 2017. It is a free download for everyone from Amazon, no Kindle Unlimited subscription required.
Nazin was a poet and suffered what may be a poet’s disease, he was in love. The love of his life, Jezira Shadda, was also in love but her great love was gold. When Nazin had it, she loved Nazin; when he didn’t, she moved on to other clientele. Nazin had never really had any gold of his own, it all came from moneylenders. When demands for repayment came, Nazin had no way to repay them. His day job as a beggar wasn’t going to pay the bills. He could do nothing else but beg due to his ceaseless pining for Jezira.
To end his life seemed like the only option so he took the few coins he had and sought the help of the local pharmacist. Nazin was looking for a painless chemical way out of a miserable existence. Providing such a potion was very expensive; there was no way the penniless Nazin could afford it. But he was such a great poet, his poetic pleadings impressed the pharmacist to help him. Nazin received a vial of poison with the warning that he should exhaust himself to the point of near death before drinking the limited supply, otherwise he would just wake up with a bad headache.
Nazin took the vial of poison to an abandoned temple, drank the mixture, and woke up with a bad headache and a great thirst. Spotting a bottle in nearby rubbish, he thought there might be something left in the bottle to drink. No luck, this was just a bad day. He threw the bottle against the wall, it broke, he went back to an exhausted sleep. He awoke to find a jinni (genie, djinn) fanning him and waiting to grant him a wish. Nazin had only one wish and that was to find love and be loved. There was one big problem. Djinn, not being of this world, don’t know what love is. Nazin would have to explain to the jinni exactly what he wanted so the jinni could grant the wish.
We may wonder about Nazin’s skill as a poet because the jinni spent a thousand and one days trying to get an idea of what love is from the words of Nazin. The jinni talked to other djinn. That was useless for the reason stated above. There was going to have to be some sort of compromise or workaround. What the jinni and Nazin agreed to make up the rest of the story. It’s 17 pages, it’s free, and I won’t give up the ending.
There are some moral lessons stated throughout so this could be an interesting story to read with younger children. Doing so would introduce them to a different form of language, it is not difficult or demanding although some terms would have to be explained. Chances at parent-child bonding are seemingly less in the internet age.
And here is a great passage for readers who want to be writers. Keeping in mind Nazin is a poet, the jinni commanded Nazin write down as well as possible the concept of love. The jinni would take the written explanation to other djinn in an attempt to come to a solution for Nazin’s problem, The djinn would not abandon Nazin; it was a point of honor. The jinni’s gift of freedom had to be repaid by the granting of a wish and Nazin had only one wish. Whited describes Nazin’s effort with this: “Nazin wrote. He wrote for day after day, week after week, in prose, poetry, and song. What else could he have done? He was gripped by the power of the jinni’s command, and it ignited the fever that comes when the words demand to be set free.” (loc 155-157).