THE BEGGAR IN THE HAREM by Leonid Solovyev
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The impudent adventures of Khoja Nasreddin are set in ancient Bukhara -- once a great center of Islamic power. An oriental Robin Hood is this mischievous Khoja who champions the poor at the expense of the rich. He is dreaded and hated by the Emir, the tax-collector and the usurer who never escape his pranks nor apprehend his person; humble folk- the people from the bazaars, the tea-shops, the carpenters, the potters, the beggars -- adore him and protect him, though to do so is blasphemous. In the guise of a beggar or an astrologer he rescues his beloved Guljan from the Emir's harem, he escapes execution by tricking Jafar the usurer to take his place, he insinuates himself into the position chief wise man and recommends the diminution of taxes, he is even offered the job of His Chastity, the Chief Eunuch, which he graciously declines. Khoja is a lovable and witty rapscallion with a social conscience and is rendered with justice and care by his biographer, Mr. Solovyev who is, incidentally, a Soviet writer. For an evening of fun with a democratic message, readers of satire, humor, or folk tales should not miss this one. Somehow, Seven Gothic Tales kept recurring in memory. It might have that appeal.

Pub Date: July 24th, 1957
ISBN: 1596544678
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace