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he Story of the Fisherman is part of a much larger collection of folklore and literature popularly known as the Arabian Nights or The One Thousand and One Nights. The stories originated from ancient Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian sources collected over hundreds of years during the Islamic Golden Age, that is, from the eighth to the thirteenth centuries. These stories reflect the enormous, highly civilized Islamic world that existed at the time. And it was a time when a traveler could wander through an extensive portion of the known world speaking Arabic, studying and praying in mosques, and being a stranger yet sharing a familiar culture.



There is a frame story common to all the editions of the Arabian Nights that involve the ruler of the Persian Empire, King Shahrayar, and his bride Shahrazad. The core scene is the bedchamber of King Shahrayar. His new bride for the night is Shadrazad, daughter to the king's own vizier. She is one more virgin destined to die at sunrise after spending just a single night in the king's bed. The king has sworn to work his way through all the virgins of his kingdom, putting each to death the following morning because his former queen (and therefore all women, in his view) was without virtue. So he decreed that the young women in the kingdom would pay the ultimate penalty for their queen's transgressions.

The Arabian Nights is a collection of stories told against death. Starting with the frame story of Shahrazad and King Shahrayar, the stories unfold, stories within stories, many of them with the intention of prolonging the life of the one telling the story. This present book, titled The Story of the Fisherman, is typical of the Arabian Nights stories in that it is a series of stories tucked within the opening story.
 
For this edition, illustrator Brian Bowes (brianbowesillustration.com) has transformed Shadrazad's narration into a panorama of imposing images setting before the reader a visual extravagance of place and time and character. Mr. Bowes is the former Illustrator Coordinator for San Francisco North & East Bay Region of the Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators (SCBWI). He is an illustrator, graphic designer and art instructor. Once printed, the illustrations are hand colored in a French method called pochoir where paint is applied with a brush through cut-out stencils.

This edition of The Story of the Fisherman has evolved both as a story of words and, at the same time, a story told in graphic art form. Due to the accordion nature of the binding, the book can be opened to display the story in images and the reader will discover visual connections between the linked illustrations.
 
The illustration on the front and back covers is based on an illuminated page from a Koran made for Sultan Uljaytu Hamadan in 1313 by Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Hamadani.


The Story of the Fisherman is published in an edition limited to 117 numbered copies and is signed by the artist Brian Bowes. The book is 80 pages with 18 illustrations including the illustrated title page and measures 9 7/8 tall x 8 5/16 wide and is printed on Lettra from Crane & Co. and hand bound at the press. The Story of the Fisherman is taken from the Arabian Nights and is translated by Edward William Lane (1801-1876). The price is $775.
 
Orders may be placed by telephone, email, fax or letter. Please include $15. for shipping and appropriate tax for California residents. Book dealer and institutional discounts are applied.

The Story of the Fisherman for $775