Thousand and One Nights, also called The Arabian Nights' Entertainment or simply The Arabian Nights, is a sprawling, centuries-old collection of tales. In the English-speaking world, it is the best-known work of Arabic stories.
The framework of the collection is that a king named Shahriyar, distrustful of women, had the habit of taking a new wife every night and killing her the next day. A resourceful young woman named Shahrazad had a plan to end the deadly tradition. After
The origins of Thousand and One Nights are unknown. The oldest bit of Arabic text dates from the 800s; the first lengthy text was written in the 1400s. None of the early Arabic-language texts contains exactly the same stories. Scholars have identified Persian, Baghdadian, and Egyptian elements in the work, which seems to have developed over the years as an ever-changing collection of fairy tales, romances, fables, poems, legends about heroes, and humorous stories. The stories that are best known in the English-speaking world—those of Sinbad the Sailor, Aladdin and his Magic Lamp, and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves—do not appear in all editions of Thousand and One Nights.