- What do you believe the demon symbolizes in The Story of the Fisherman and the Demon?
The Demon symbolizes the King who is hateful to all women. He was cheated on by his wife he feels that the best way to gain revenge for his hurt is to sleep with a different women every night and the next morning have her put to death before she has the chance to hurt him. When the Fisherman freed the Demon from the jar he immediately intended on putting the Fisherman to death and not looking at the bigger picture of how grateful he should be to the Fisherman. The fisherman represents the innocent girls who are being killed by the King. The Fisherman was fishing at his usual fishing hole with a family at home. When he accidentally caught the jar that held the demon inside. Lucky for the Fisherman he is an excellent story teller like Shahrazad. And was able to distract the demon and manage to get him back in the jar. He shared the following stories with Demon while he was back in the jar expressing why he would not release him.
The Tale of King Yunan and the Sage Duban
The King Yunan was afflicted with Leprosy, which no one had a cure for. A sage called Duban was able to heal the King. The King was very grateful to the sage which caused the Kings Vizer to grow jealous over the sage. The King Yunan is a representative of the King Sharayar who has an illness of his wife cheating on him. The Sage is Shazarad who has come to heal the King.
The Tale of the Husband and the Parrot-
A jealous husband had a very beautiful wife. One day the husband went to a bird market, and brought home a parrot. When the husband left on a journey the parrot told on his wife and her husband. This is similar to the King whose wife cheated on him as well.
After the fisher man shared these stories with the Demon. He makes a deal with the Fisher man that if he is set free he will make him the richest man in the world and he won’t kill him. The fisher man agrees. The Demon takes the Fisherman to a lake where there is a variety of different colored fish that the fisherman is to catch and take to the King. He does so and the King gives him a great deal of money in exchange. The Kings cook, cooks up the fish and when doing so a maiden appeared and then the fish turned into ashes. They showed the King of his mystery and the King decided to go find out what made this happen. He headed to the lake. The King arrived in a castle where he found a man made of half human flesh and half stone. He was weeping in the corner of the castle. The King asked him how he got that way. And the former King of the castle shared his story with him. The Kings wife had betrayed him (As did King Shahrayar’s wife). He found his wife had snuck around on him at night. He thought he had killed his wife’s lover but he hadn’t, and his wife turned him to stone and whips him every day. The King decided that he would help this former King of Stone. So he lay where his wife’s lover lays and tricks her into doing as he says acting as her lover. The King who embarked on this journey to find the mystery fish found what he was looking for and also helped out the half man half stone, King. The same as Sharazad is trying to help King Sharayar to recover from his illness and trying to save other girls lives at the same time. In every story there is an allegory found all tying back to Sharazad and the King Sharayar.
I love how you described the entire story. I also remember thinking while I was reading the Thousand and One Nights how very clever Shahrazad was. She had her character’s CHARACTERS telling stories. Way to keep the king hooked!
Each story seems to further the ideas Sharazad is trying to get the King to think about. These ideas are instrumental in the King being able to change his mind about killing his wife.