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Night of Nights (Noche de las Noches)

Fishburn and Hughes: In Arabic, Laylat al-Qadr, 'night of density', 'night of majesty': a night towards the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, believed to be a holy night in which the Koran descended from heaven via the angel Gabriel. On this night the gates of the heavens open, angels descend to bring greetings to mankind and all prayers are answered - even salt water is believed to become sweet: 'Better is the Night of Qadr than a thousand months' (Sura 97:3). The Garden of Forking Paths: the one night 'at the middle of the Thousand and One Nights refers to 'the story of the king and his son and the damsel and the seven wezeers'. This, the framework story of a cluster of tales reflecting the original framework story of the entire book, concerns the skilful telling of tales to delay an execution. According to Lane, it starts at Night 567, ending with part of Night 606, and tells of a king who was enraged with jealousy when his favourite concubine alleged that his son had tried to seduce her. He gave orders to his Wezeers to put his son to death, but they, fearing that he would afterwards repent and blame them for not having dissuaded him, tried to divert him from his purpose by relating numerous tales. A similar story is told by Burton concerning a demon, or Ifrit, in Night 602. Borges alludes to this night of self-revelation when the king hears his own story related in one of Scheherazade's tales as 'magic among nights', and speculates on the unlimited possibilities of such interpolated repetitions (see Other Inq. 45). Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius; The Garden of Forking Paths