It is Fairy Tale Friday! I have been living in that fairy tale world—no electricity, no air condition, no electronics—during this past week. I am thankful to have it all back! Fairy Tale Friday is a weekly meme. Please also visit my co-host, Literary Transgressions.
How the Fisherman Tricked the Genie: A Tale Within a Tale Within a Tale (by Kitoba Sunami):
A poor fisherman on the Arabian Sea keeps throwing his net out, but each time it comes up empty. He decides to try three more times before giving up. On the third try, he catches a heavy brass bottle. When he opens it, an angry genie appears. The genie has been cooped up so long in this “cage” that he only wants revenge! He tells the fisherman to prepare to die! The fisherman warns the genie that he will be punished by Heaven and Fate if he commits such an injustice. To illustrate his point, he tells two stories of revenge that are all similarly connected. The pig-headed genie is still not convinced. Where reason does not prevail, a trick exploiting the genie’s vanity does.
How the Fisherman Tricked the Genie is written in the spirit of the famous medieval tales of the Arabian (or 1001) Nights. Artist Amiko Hirao uses pastels to capture that ambiance and reflect key parts of the story. I love layered narratives. The storytelling of this tale is clever and witty, aptly illustrating the dangers of vanity, revenge, and dishonesty. By using the story framework, the reader realizes emotionally and intellectually: Good deeds must never be repaid with evil. I recommend this picture book for ages 8 and up.