|Shaharazade and the King, Chapter 2 (of 2), Part 1 (of 2)|
by Julian X  /  scripts  /  8 Oct 2007
The title is simply "Shaharazade". It runs 34 pages.
It tells the rest of the framing sequence of The Arabian Nights, continuing from the previous chapter. In this second and final chapter, Shaharazade saves the day, offering her body up to the king, but really using it as bait so that she can seduce -- and educate -- the king in how to love again. It is a splendid story, and it certainly puts the lie to feminist myths of lack of female power: Shaharazade's influence may have been indirect, but she saved a city by using distinctly feminine traits.
In fact, Shaharazade's name means "city-saver" and her sister Dunyazad's name ambiguously means "world-saver." As the younger sister whose own tale isn't fully told, we may read Dunyazad as representing the future. Perhaps we are invited to imagine the path taken by Shaharazade as a means of achieving world piece -- an idea far less ridiculous than it sounds.
This chapter has three inset stories: two told by Shaharazade's father the vizier and the last told by the narrator of the legendary end of the unfinished tale.
1. A large shot of Shaharazade studying from books. She is beautiful, a muse, but she is studying like an academic -- or a monk. Caption #1: "Shaharazade knew poetry by heart." Caption #2: "She had studied history, knew wise sayings, was knowledgable and wise and refined."
2. A shot of Shaharazade with her family: the vizier and her young sister Dunyazad. A natural shot, not anything posed -- just a shot of the three in the same panel. Caption: "Her father was the vizier of king Shahrayar, and she had a younger sister Dunyazad."
1. Shaharazade speaking with her father, the vizier. She's demure, polite. Caption: "One day, she came to her father with a request." Shaharazade: "Father, I would like you to marry me to the king, that I may either succeed in freeing the people or else die like the rest."
2. The vizier replying to his daughter, upset. The vizier: "Foolish girl, don't you know how many wives I have executed for him? One each morning, Shaharazad. If I give you to him, he will sleep with you and ask me to kill you the next morning, and I will have to do it, since I cannot disobey him."
3. A close-up of Shaharazade responding. Shaharazade: "You must give me to him, even if it kills me."
4. The vizier, concerned but fairly calm, putting his arm on her shoulder, lovingly, as he speaks to her. The vizier: "Daughter, what compels you to thus imperil yourself?"
5. Shaharazade responding, her head down, bowed to her father yet unbending in her decision. Shaharazade: "I will not bend, by Allah."
1. The vizier growing angry at his daughter, who still has her head bowed respectfully.
2. The vizier, now furious, responding to his daughter. The vizier: "Daughter, 'he who misbehaves ends up in trouble.' And 'he who considers not the end, the world is not his friend.'"
3. The vizier moving from furious to sad.
4. The vizier speaking again, now more sad than angry. He's waving his finger in old man fashion. The vizier: "I am afraid that what happened to the donkey and the ox with the merchant will happen to you."
5. Shaharazade responding, looking up at her father with respect. Shaharazade: "Father, what happened to the donkey and the ox and the merchant?"
6. The vizier responding: "Well, daughter..."
Page 4: Inset Story 1 Page 1
As with the last chapter, the inset story here should be illustrated differently in order to visually designate it as a story-within-a-story.
1. A large shot of a nice farm in the countryside, copious camels and cattle, as well as servants. Picturesque, Arcadian. Caption: "This wealthy merchant lied in the countryside and labored on a farm. He owned many camels and herds of cattle. He employed many men, and he had a wife and many children."
2. A shot of the merchant, sitting on some hay among a group of animals. The merchant is silent, listening, smiling contentedly. Caption: "This merchant had been taught the language of the beasts, but on the condition that if he revealed this secret to anyone, he would die."
Page 5: Inset Story 1 Page 2
1. The merchant outside the farmhouse, peering inside at an ox and a donkey who are exactly as described in the caption. Caption: "One day, as he past, he overheard a conversation between an ox and a donkey who he kept at the farmhouse, tied to adjacent troughs."
2. The ox speaking to the donkey, who is lying comfortably as the ox describes here. Ox: "I hope you are enjoying the comfort and service you're getting. Your ground is swept and watered. They feed you sifted barley and give you clean, cool water to drink."
3. The ox, looking in pain and dejected. Ox: "I, on the other hand, have to plow in the middle of the night."
4. The ox, with a yoke on him, clearly in pain and being driven at night. Ox's narration: "They clamp the yoke on my neck and they push me all day under the whip, driving me until my sides are lacerated and my neck is flayed."
5. A shot of the ox in the farmhouse, enduring the conditions he describes. Ox: "They feed me beans mixed with mud and hay mixed with chaff. They leave me to lie in urine and dung."
6. The ox and the donkey together in the farmhouse, talking. Ox: "All the while, you do nothing but give the merchant an occasional ride for a brief errand."
Page 6: Inset Story 1 Page 3
1. The donkey laughingly replying to the ox. Donkey: "You ox harbor no deceit and, being sincere, you exert and exhaust yourself for others' comfort."
2. The ox being fed, enthusiastically butting about with his horns and kicking his hoofs, just as the narration describes. Donkey's narration: "You endure your torture at the plow and, when the plowman brings you back and ties you in, you butt all about wit your horns, kicking with your hoofs, bellowing for your beans."
3. The ox eating his beans vigorously. Donkey's narration: "And when they toss them to you, you eat immediately."
4. The donkey speaking to the ox. Donkey (first balloon): "Next time, don't eat or even touch those beans, but instead smell them and draw back to lie down on the hay." Donkey (second balloon): "If you do this, life will be kinder to you."
5. The ox replying, sincerely and religiously. Ox: "Thanks for the advice and may Allah note it well and keep you safe from harm."
6. Another shot of the merchant outside the farmhouse, peering inside at an ox and a donkey. Caption: "All this the merchant heard and understood."
Page 7: Inset Story 1 Page 4
1. The plowman taking the ox from the farmhouse. Caption: "The next day, the plowman took the ox and worked him."
2. The ox collapsing as he's struck while plowing. Caption: "When the plowman struck the ox, who lagged behind, the ox fell on his belly."
3. The ox, near collapse and looking damaged, still plowing at night. Caption: "Another strike brought the ox up, but he kept falling and getting up until nightfall, when the plowman took him home."
4. The ox, looking withdrawn as he's being fed. Caption: "The ox did not bellow. The ox did not buck. The ox did not kick the ground. Instead, he withdrew away from the trough."
5. The ox, laying down in the farmhouse, ignoring the beans piled nearby. Caption: "The plowman, astonished, brought the ox beans, but the ox only sniffed them and lay back down."
6. An angled overhead shot of the plowman looking down on the ox in the morning, with the circumstances of the ox exactly as the caption describes. Caption: "The next morning, the plowman arrived to find the trough still full of beans and the ox on his back, legs in the air."
Page 8: Inset Story 1 Page 5
1. The merchant replying to the plowman. The merchant is smiling wily. Caption: "The plowman took this news to the merchant, reporting the ox's weakened state." The Merchant: "Go take that wily donkey, then, and work him at the plow."
2. The plowman putting the yoke on the donkey in the farmhouse. The donkey looks totally horrified and dejected. Caption: "The plowman did just this, putting the yoke upon the donkey."
3. An illustration of the caption, the donkey looking totally exhausted -- and humiliated to be actually doing this. A wider shot, illustrating the scene. Caption: "He drove him with blows until he finished the ox's work."
4. A close-up on the exhausted, horrified donkey. Caption: "The ox's sides became lacerated, his neck flayed, barely able to drag his legs beneath his body lumbering from exhaustion."
5. The plowman returning the exhausted donkey to his home in the farmhouse. Caption: "At nightfall, the plowman returned the donkey to the ox, who had rested all day."
Page 9: Inset Story 1 Page 6
1. The rested, overjoyed ox standing before the exhausted, humiliated donkey in the farmhouse. Caption: "The ox stood up to greet him." Ox: "Good evening! Today was wonderful, and I have you to thank. May Allah bless you!"
2. The donkey, exhausted and dirty. Caption: "The donkey seethed with anger, but made no reply." Donkey (thinking): "This is my miscalculation. If I don't find some way to restore the ox to the field, I will surely die."
3. The donkey resting, resigned, while the ox seems overjoyed and celebrating. Caption: "The donkey laid down, while the ox ate and farted and continued to bless him long into the night."
Back out of the inset narrative -- and back to our usual style.
1. The vizier, gesticulating in old man style, speaking to Shaharazade. The vizier: "And you, daughter, will likewise perish out of your miscalculation."
2. A close-up on steadfast Shaharazade. Shaharazade: "Father, you must give me to the king."
3. The vizier responding. The vizier: "If you don't desist, daughter, I will do to you what the merchant did to his wife."
4. Shaharazade responding to her father. Shaharazade: "And what was that?"
Page 11: Inset Story 2 Page 1
Back into the inset narrative and its different style.
1. The merchant and his wife spying into the farmhouse at night, exactly as the merchant did by himself before. Caption: "Now, the merchant and his wife had gone out in the moonlight to the stable, and there again the merchant overheard the two."
2. The donkey and the ox talking inside the farmhouse. The donkey looks sly, manipulative. The ox looks content, na´ve with happiness. Donkey: "Say, ox, what're you going to do tomorrow morning when the plowman comes?"
3. The contented ox responding, looking utterly happy. Ox: "I'll stick to your advice, lie down, and puff out my belly."
4. The donkey looking alarmed, faking, trying to get the ox upset. The ox is in the shot and looks curious, still happy but just a little bit concerned. Donkey: "Neigh! Don't do it! Don't you know what I heard our master say to the plowman?" Ox: "No. What?"
5. The donkey looking alarmed, lying, trying to get the ox upset. No need for the ox in the shot. Donkey: "He said that if the ox failed to get up and eat, he would call the butcher to slaughter him and skin him and make meat of you and make a mat of your skin!"
6. The ox shocked, with big eyes. Donkey (off-panel): "Tomorrow, you had better eat and look alert, lest they cut your throat and skin you."
Page 12: Inset Story 2 Page 2
1. A close-up shot of the merchant, his mouth open wide in a laugh that consumes his face. Caption: "At this, the merchant laughed loudly."
2. The merchant and his wife. The merchant is still chuckling, while his wife is inquiring, insecure and concerned. Caption: "His wife did not understand." Wife: "What? Are you laughing at me?"
3. The merchant talking with his bitchy wife. The Merchant: "No." Wife: "Then tell me what you're laughing at."
4. Another shot of the merchant talking with his bitchy wife. The Merchant: "I cannot." Wife: "And why is that?"
5. The merchant, now looking very concerned, talking with his stern, bitchy wife -- who is now getting up to leave and is tearing up. The Merchant: "I do not want to die." Wife: "I swear by Allah that if you don't tell me, I will leave you."
6. The wife running off in the distance, emotional, leaving the merchant in the foreground. Caption: "She went back to the house, crying."
Page 13: Inset Story 2 Page 3
1. The merchant peering in on his wife, who is weeping. Caption: "The next morning, she was still crying." The Merchant: "Damn. Why are you crying?"
2. A close-up on the wife, weeping, looking up in pain at her husband. Wife: "Why can't you tell me why you laughed?"
3. The merchant, amazed, replying. The Merchant: "Wife, I can tell you, but if I do I shall die."
4. The merchant talking with his weepy wife. Wife: "I insist that you tell me and will not be dissuaded." Merchant: "Even if it kills me?"
5. The wife, now looking dejected, insisting through her tears. Wife: "Even if it kills you, I insist."
6. The merchant staring at his wife, trying to determine if the wife is really serious.
7. The same shot from the reversed perspective -- I leave it to you to determine which perspective should come first.
8. The merchant, deadly serious, replying. Merchant: "Then summon the family."
Page 14: Inset Story 2 Page 4
1. A shot of the merchant, writing a will on a desk with witnesses present. Very official. Caption: "He summoned legal witnesses and wrote a will."
2. A shot of the merchant freeing his slave-girls, who are beautiful. They are being led out of the building, and they look confused, utterly unaware of what they're going to do or where they're going to go. Caption: "He freed his slave-girls."
3. The merchant speaking to a large congregation in a hall on the merchant's property. Caption: "When their children, parents, relatives, farmhands, and neighbors arrived, the merchant told them he was about to die."
4. An illustration of the caption, with everyone weeping but the merchant. Caption: "He bid goodbye to his family. Everyone began to weep, and the whole house became a place of mourning."
5. The merchant's wife talking to her parents, who are there for the meeting. The father is pleading. Caption: "The parents of the merchant's wife approached her and begged her to desist." Father: "If he were not serious and didn't believe he would die if he told you, he wouldn't have done all this." Wife: "I will not change my mind."
Page 15: Inset Story 2 Page 5
1. A wide shot of the merchant sitting outside the henhouse. He looks sad but resigned, sort of like a monk. A dog is trolling up to the henhouse. Caption: "Well, daughter, it so happened that the farmer kept fifty hens and a rooster, and as he pondered how to reveal his secret he sat near the henhouse, which a dog was visiting."
2. An illustration of the caption, with the rooster coming down on a hen to hump her. Caption: "The rooster was beating and flapping his wings, jumping on one hen after another, finishing with one and jumping to the next."
3. The dog watching the rooster hump away, acting a bit crazy. The Dog: "No-good rooster! Aren't you ashamed to be doing that on a day like today?" Rooster: "What's so special about today?"
4. The dog talking to the rooster, who's leaping onto another hen. Dog: "Don't you know our master and friend is preparing to die? All of us are mourning for him while you clap your wings and jump from one hen to another. Aren't you ashamed?"
5. The rooster humping away as he replies. Rooster: "Stupid master! He should take an oak branch and beat her!"
6. The rooster jumping off the hen and jumping onto another. Rooster: "Beat her mercilessly until he breaks her arms and legs and she cries out, 'I no longer want you to tell me or explain anything.'"
7. The rooster landing onto another hen and humping away. Rooster: "He should beat her until he cures her for life, and she never opposes him again in anything."
8. The merchant outside, listening in. Rooster (off-panel): "If he just did that, he'd live in peace, but he doesn't know how to manage."
Page 16: Inset Story 2 Page 6
1. The merchant entering his house with an oak branch in his hand. Caption: "Well, Shaharazade, the merchant overheard all this and took an oak branch before going inside."
2. The merchant beating his wife, who holds her hands up defensively. Think of the wife-beating scene in The Godfather. Caption: "He beat her mercilessly on the chest and shoulders and kept beating her until she cried for mercy, screaming." Wife: "I don't want to know anything!"
3. Another wife-beating scene, now with the wife fleeing as she's being hit. Wife: "Leave me alone! I don't want to know anything!" Caption: "He beat her until he got tired."
4. The bruised wife cowering before her husband, the merchant, at some later point. Her parents are among others nearby, all of whom look happy. Caption: "From then on, the wife was penitent, the husband having learned good management, and mourning turned to celebration."
Back to the main narrative.
1. The vizier speaking to his daughter, waving his finger like an elderly father. The Vizier: "If you don't relent, I will do to you what the merchant did to his wife."
2. Shaharazade responding, undetered. Shaharazade: "These tales don't deter me. If you like, I can tell you many such tales."
3. Shaharazade continuing, looking her father in his eyes. Shaharazade: "Beat me if you must, but in the end, if you do not give me to the king, I will go to him by myself and I will tell him that you have refused to give me to him."
4. Shaharazade continuing, now looking down slightly, afraid to directly meet his gaze. Shaharazade: "That you insulted him and said he was unworthy of his daughter."
5. The vizier staring at his daughter, his arm raised to hit her.
6. The vizier, arm down, dejected before his daughter. The Vizier: "Must you really do this?"
7. Shaharazade in close-up. Shaharazade: "Yes, I must."
1. The vizier walking to the palace in a wide, narrow panel. Caption: "The vizier, exhausted from debate, went to the king."
2. The vizier kissing the ground before the King Shahrayar. The vizier isn't even looking up as he speaks. Caption: "He kissed the ground before him and told him about his daughter." Vizier: "I will give her to you this very night."
3. The king looking down at the vizier on his knees. Shahrayar: "How is it that you would do this, knowing that, by Allah, I will ask you to put her to death tomorrow morning and that, if you refuse, I will have you put to death too?"
4. The vizier responding. Vizier: "My King, I have told her all this, but she insists on being with you tonight."
5. Shahrayar smiling.
6. Shahrayar speaking. Shahrayar: "Go and prepare her. Bring her to me in the early evening."
subscribe to site or just to scripts