What happened after all the tales were told in The Thousand and One Nights?
Poe, of course, has it that, on the night of her marriage to the Sultan, that is, on the thousand and second night, Scheherazade met her end recounting a preposterous tale regarding Sinbad. To put it briefly, it involves Sinbad’s ship being swallowed by a whale and a God so angry he leaves Sinbad to rot inside the whale. The tale so incensed her husband, the Sultan that he ordered his bowman to shoot her through the heart.
If this was indeed how her tell-tale heart betrayed her, I can only assume that Poe neglected to mention what happened when Scheherazade met her sister earlier that evening.
“All this story telling is terribly fatiguing,” she declared. “I don’t know if I will be able to stay awake tonight.”
“What you need, dear sister, is a holiday.”
“Then perhaps, dear sister, you can help me.”
Accordingly, a plan was hatched. Scheherazade’s sister spent the night, that is Poe’s thousand and second night, with the Sultan and so met her end from the bowman’s arrow.
The following night, which would be, by my reckoning, the thousand and third night, when the Sultan came to bed, he was surprised to find Scheherazade again beside him.
“Why,” declared the Sultan, “it must have been a dream. What story have you got for me tonight?”