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Tales of Abu Nuwas - Setara's Genie

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.

As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.

While relating the fantastical accounts, the old man grows to admire the spice girl, and vows to find a way to help her. Listening to the stories of evil genies, demons, flying horses, dragons, viziers, princes, pirates, and nomadic raiders, young Najda finds her salvation with the help of Abu Nuwas.


Seeking adventure, the bored girl finds herself kidnapped by mountain raiders who promptly throw her into a cave. She is to be a sacrifice to appease the demon who lives within. She soon discovers that it is not a demon in the dank cavern, but a genie seeking a new master. Basit, the djinn, decides Setara will do nicely as his new mistress. But there's always a catch when one finds herself in possession of a genie. There are rules, after all, Basit claims that prevent him from solving all her problems for her. He will only help her when she discovers the solutions to her predicaments.

Weeks after Setara escapes from the clutches of a band of raiders, she decides she’d better return to the cave, where she had been held prisoner, to see if the raiders had captured some other poor soul. She summons her djinn, Basit, to guide her back to the cave. Setara, Basit, and Sheik, her dog, return to the cave where she was held captive. They find someone in the cave, but not a prisoner as they expected. Setara, Basit, and Sheik take on the raiders again to help a very lonely demon named Azizah find a new home. Kairav, the water demon, takes a liking to Azizah, and the demoness settles into a cave overlooking his pool.

After taking care of Azizah, Setara discovers a beautiful new horse in her father’s stable. Hasib, the Sultan’s Horse, is lucky to meet Setara, a girl with resources, to help him find and rescue his lovely mare, Habiba. Hasib is not quite in control of his magical abilities, so obviously needs some help. Setara calls on Basit, her two demon buddies, and Sheik, her faithful, but not too bright, dog to help Hasib in his quest. The adventurers must find the stolen horse and confront a band of merciless pirates.

After the fighting and rescues are done, Setara finds herself bored yet again. She decides to pay a visit to her demon friends, Azizah and Kairav. Finding them missing and with suspicious footprints leading into the tunnels beneath the mountains, she and Basit must investigate and wend their way through the caverns. They come upon the two demons in a furious fight with Azhi Dahaka, the Dragon Demon whose blood created the flying, fire-breathing warhorse Hasib. Setara, Basit, Sheik, and the mare Rosetta must fly to the Sultanate of Semidor to save their friend, Hasib, from death by dragon fire. After a dangerous airborne battle, the friends discover that Azhi Dahaka is the long-lost great great great (and more greats) grandfather of Hasib. In any case, the dragon demon’s blood was infused into Hasib’s ancestors to create the fire-breathing battle horses.

Soon after, Setara rides her flying mare Nasreen to visit her friends, the demons Azizah and Kairav. She calls for her genie Basit to appear, but nothing happens! Another genie comes instead to tell her Basit is missing. Setara, her demon friends and Sheik, the faithful hound, must find the hidden tomb of the Great Vizier to seek help. Setara and the demons are placed in grave danger on their mission. Setara must overcome her deepest fear to save herself, her companions, and to rescue Basit from a trap set by an evil genie seeking revenge on the the Vizier.

Having lived in the plains her entire life, Setara gets an urge to go on a sea voyage. Asking her genie, Basit, to make arrangements, she soon departs for the teeming port city of Gamaal. A meeting with an old witch sets her on a dangerous course toward pirates, slavery, and rescuing Basit once again. In the end, she discovers she was fated to meet a powerful Prince. Little did she know the old witch had steered her to him with a stolen amulet. Setara returns the amulet to the Prince, and he assists her and Basit to return home.

While taking her winged mare, Nasreen, for a flight, Setara saves a mute stableboy from Slavers only to find he has a curse on him. She, Kairav, and Basit must go to sea to discover the boy’s true identity, the son of Poseidon and heir to the sea kingdom. Setara and her friends help the merboy overcome his evil uncle’s dastardly plans to usurp the throne for himself.