In Arabian Nights: A Caravan of Moroccan Dreams [Tahir Shah] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Named one of Time magazine’s Ten Best. Named one of Time magazine’s Ten Best Books of the Year, Tahir Shah’s The Caliph’s House was hailed by critics and compared to such. Tahir Shah, who has described his exotic adventures in Peru, India and The interlaced stories of the Arabian Nights serve as a model for.

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For Idries Shah, the great 20th-century author and collector of Sufi stories, the surest way to understand a country was by listening to its tales. Like a secret door leading to a hidden garden, the words “once upon a time” opened on arabiann an inner, parallel world. Shah’s son Tahir absorbed his father’s magical narratives throughout his childhood. He understood that the ancient stories acted like an instruction manual to the world, that they nigyts wisdom, and that one day he in turn would pass them on to his own children.

Four years ago, Tahir Shah decided to rescue his young family from “ordinariness”. He sold their “microscopic London apartment with nothing outside but grey skies and rain” and bought a vast, dilapidated and haunted riad in a Casablancan shantytown. The story of their first year in Ahah is told in his joyful and resplendent The Caliph’s House. This new book, In Arabian Nights, takes up the narrative, following Shah as he escapes from the builders and exorcists to explore “a land ablaze with vitality, history and culture: At the heart of the journey is his hsah for stories, above all for the special one hidden inside himself.


Morocco: true stories

Shah inherited from his father five reinforced boxes of books labelled Stories: Valuable, Handle with Care. He delves into them, retelling many of the sublime teaching narratives amassed by his father in Tales of the Dervishes and other collections.

He travels from forest to mountain, Fez to Tangier. He meets astrologers, superstitious bee keepers and a Marrakchi raconteur whose family has told stories on the same corner of Jemaa el Fna for nine generations. He encourages an entrepreneur to finance a new generation of travelling storytellers and give back to Moroccans their traditional culture.

He throws open his house – much to the distress of his supremely tolerant wife Rachana – for epic, all-night literary sagas.


One evocative episode involves a long trip to the far south of Morocco. He presses Shah to travel to the Sahara and gather a small sack of rock salt. The Berber’s granddaughter is about to be married and traditionally salt has been used to purify the wedding garden. Shah readily accepts nighst request, both for the sake of a good yarn as well as for their friendship.

He leaves his family, travels on trains and buses for days, encounters humble Moroccan hospitality and a sand surfer from Iowa. He drinks “memory water” from a sacred spring it tastes like sewage. He sleeps in the open desert and watches the stars. On his return to Casablanca with the salt, his Berber friend asks him what he learnt on his journey.


Shah relates the story of his adventures, and the lessons learnt. The favour I asked you was less a favour to me and more a favour to yourself.

You are a different man than you were seven days ago. In Arabian Nights is a book filled with love, respect and responsibility for family, country and story-telling.

It is rich in personal anecdote, supernatural lore coat your doors with honey to exorcise jinns and absurdity carry a sieve in the souk to avoid being troubled by salesmen. Above all this book is a homage to Shah’s father, carrying forward the Sufi tales which have been fastened to their family for generations.

Some 10 years after Idries’ death, Tahir now passes them on not only to his own children, but to a new generation of Western readers. In Niggts Nights is his finest work to date, and earns him a place beside his father as a gifted storyteller.

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