The Arabian Nights: The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad

“Curiosity kills the cat” as the old saying goes. The same thing did happen in the story The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. Curiosity of the men who entered the house of the three ladies of Baghdad put their lives at risk by trying to know what they are not supposed to know. Although there had been a sworn statement between the ladies and the men, the latter broke the contract and faced the consequences. However, curiosity, if done correctly, can also be a source of something better than expected.

The Porter and the Three Ladies in Baghdad

In the story, seven men were in the ladies’ house. They were a porter, a Caliph and his companions (Wazir and swordsman), and the three Kalandars. At first, the men and the ladies were merry-making. Moments later, there came two bitches chained on their neck that the eldest of the ladies slapped and tortured in front of the men. This aroused interest from the men but they just let it pass. Later on, they saw the portress (one of the ladies) playing the lute but to their surprise, she reacted terribly and passed out after tearing her dress. The men saw the marks of the rod and whip in her back and again it added to their curiosity.

It happened three times and the men were greatly astounded save the Caliph’s minister. They reacted, thinking that they can easily overpower the ladies, and caught the ladies’ attention. The eldest asked about the commotion and the porter was tasked to tell the truth: they wanted to know what’s going on. But the ladies and the men had agreed beforehand that they must not talk things that are not of their concern least, they face the unpleasant. To the ladies’ command, 7 huge white and black men came out of the closet and tied the men. Now, because of curiosity, they had their lives in danger.

Being curious can be both beneficial and risky. “Curiosity kills the cat” as the old saying goes. In this case, the men, especially the Kalandars, ended risking their lives because of their curiosity. We can blame them because they failed to comply with the contract. They were already told that they must not talk about things they’re not concerned with and they agreed.

The men should have listened and did as what they were supposed to do. However, curiosity had been beneficial in the sense that it created chaos in the story. If the men didn’t react, the story would have been boring. Also, another good thing is that it lengthened the story. The characters involved, especially the Kalandars and the ladies, ended sharing their stories.

References
The Porter and the Three Ladies of Baghdad. Retrieved November 7, 2007, from http://xahlee.org/p/arabian_nights/an5.html