In Arabian Nights, a Caravan of Moroccan Dreams
[My father] would be … leaning forward cupped in a grand leather chair, fingertips pressed together, sunlight streaming in through French doors behind. “Clear your minds,” he would say. “Close your eyes. Listen to the sound of my voice.”
Tahir Shah‘s search for the story in his heart draws him into memories of his father’s tales and encounters with Moroccan storytellers. The tale travels from story to story between glimpses of Moroccan culture, Shah’s daughter’s fifth birthday party, an inspirational meeting at the grave of a stamp-collecting friend, and a recurrent dream of a flying carpet ride.
A Father’s Story Time
Then the voice began, soft as silk, precise, calm…”Once upon a time…” Within a moment it had pulled us in, taken over, and we were lost in its realm. That was it. My father never told us how the stories worked. He didn’t reveal the layers, the nuggets of information, the fragments of truth and fantasy. He didn’t need to—because, given the right conditions, the stories activated, sowing themselves.Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights
Aunt Tabby in the Storyteller’s Tradition
“Sit with me on the sofa,” Aunt Tabby directed. She put her arm around Shimshek.
“Now close your eyes and see,” Aunt Tabby began. Shimshek closed her eyes. She was no longer on a sofa in a city apartment or in Turkey. She was far away, on a path beside a lake…
I am flattered to discover that my fictitious Aunt Tabby is similar to Tahir Shan’s masterful story-telling father.