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THE SEVEN WISE PRINCESSES by Wafa’ Tarnowska

THE SEVEN WISE PRINCESSES

A Medieval Persian Epic

By Wafa’ Tarnowska (Adaptor) , Nilesh Mistry (Illustrator)

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-84148-022-3
Publisher: Barefoot

The 12th-century Persian Sufi poet Nizami lived in what is now Azerbaijan, where his grave is still a place of pilgrimage. This collection of related tales, based on his epic poem Haft Paykar, recounts the story of Shah Bahram, who is taught and inspired by seven princesses from faraway lands. Bahram constructs a pavilion for each of the princesses, in their colors and inspired by their planets. He visits each on the appropriate auspicious day of the week, and listens to each tell a story. On Saturday, Bahram dresses in black and visits the Indian Princess Furaq in the pavilion of Saturn, where she tells the tale of one who loses paradise for a moment of impatience. On Sunday, he dresses in yellow for the Greek Princess Humay, surrounded by daffodils and sunflowers, and learns from the tale of an emir who fears marriage—with good reason. Bahram continues through the days of the week and the tales, each one ripe with symbolism and rich in color, aroma, and vision. The illustrations, inspired by Persian miniature painting, are sumptuous and exquisitely detailed. The stories themselves each have a hero who needs to learn a particular virtue, and usually end in kisses and marriage. Exotic in tone and a pleasure to look upon. (Folklore. 10-14)