The Dowry of the Rag Picker's Daughter

~ A Short Story by Andre Norton

dowery of the rag pickers daughter 1988


Synopsis ~

The rag picker Muledowa finds a beautiful woman's robe hidden in the midden pile, brings it home and orders his ugly daughter Zoradeh to repair the huge rent in the front of it. Meanwhile, the wizard suitor of the Caliph's beautiful daughter Jalnar is becoming insistent that she appear at the betrothal feast wearing the pearl-encrusted robe he had given her as a betrothal gift. Rebelliously she had ripped the front of the robe and ordered her chief maidservant to hide it in the rubbish.

Zoredeh, after many tedious hours, has managed to restore the gown so the rent is almost invisible.  Wistfully, she tries it on, wanting to just once wear something besides the rags her father allows her.  Meanwhile back at the palace, the wizard is becoming quite insistent and the Caliph orders his daughter to show up wearing the beautiful pearl-encrusted robe.  She blames its loss on one of her female slaves seeking revenge for being punished over a trifle.  So the Caliph orders the robe tracked down and brought to the palace along with whoever stole it.  So Muledowa and Zoradeh (still wearing the beautiful gown) are dragged to the palace.  Zoradeh is ordered to change clothes and Jalnar to put on the gown, whereupon her features change to resemble Zoradeh's "djinn-given" face, and Zoradeh is suddenly beautiful.  Turns out the wizard had bespelled to gown to reveal the inner character of whoever wears it. ~ SL


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • Arabesques: More Tales of the Arabian Nights (1988) Edited by Susan Shwartz, Published by AvoNova, PB, 0-380-75319-7, $3.50, 258pg ~ cover by James Warhola
  • Arabesques: More Tales of the Arabian Nights (1988) Edited by Susan Shwartz, Published by Pan, PB, 0-330-30506-9, £3.99, 324pg ~ UK printing ~ cover by Melvyn

 Write-up from the back of UK edition of Arabesques ~

"Pretend," says Susan Shwartz, "that you recline an huge cushions and rugs brighter than stained glass, and that you sip snow-cooled sherbet in a palace somewhere between Samarkand, China and Hindu Kush..."

Some of the greatest names in fantasy have combined to produce this bewitching anthology in the tradition of the 1001 Nights.

The exotic spirit of old Arby is recaptured and embellished by such distinguished writers as Larry Niven, Judith Tarr, Gene Wolf, Tanith Lee and Andre Norton. Abounding with awesome stories of djinn, enchanted rose bushes and even a journey on an erotic flying carpet, they are an exquisite addition to the timeless treasury that has fascinated generations.

    ix • Editor's Note (Arabesques: More Tales of the Arabian Nights) • essay by Susan Shwartz
    [xii] • The World of the Arabian Nights (map) • interior artwork by Jeanne Gomoll
    1 • Tales Told at Ramadan (introduction to The Tale of the Djinni and the Sisters) • essay by Susan Shwartz
    6 • The Tale of the Djinni and the Sisters • (1988) • shortstory by Larry Niven (variant of The Tale of the Jinni and the Sisters)
    20 • The Tale of the Rose and the Nightingale (And What Came of It) • novelette by Gene Wolfe
    42 • Foolish, Wicked, Clever and Kind • novelette by Tanith Lee
    73 • The Caravan's Tales (introduction to Memoirs of a Bottle Djinni) • essay by Susan Shwartz
    76 • Memoirs of a Bottle Djinni • shortstory by Jane Yolen
    82 • An Eye for the Ladies • shortstory by Esther M. Friesner
    101 • Truthseeker • shortstory by Nancy Springer
    117 • Toward the Realm of Jade (introduction to The Dowry of the Rag Picker's Daughter) • essay by Susan Shwartz
    121 • The Dowry of the Rag Picker's Daughter • novelette by Andre Norton
    136 • Kehailan • shortstory by Judith Tarr
    155 • The Elephant In-Law • shortstory by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough [as by Elizabeth Scarborough]
    173 • Tales of the Mongol's Guards (introduction to The King Who Was Summoned to Damascus) • essay by Susan Shwartz
    177 • The King Who Was Summoned to Damascus • shortstory by Melissa Scott
    196 • The Truthsayer • shortstory by William R. Forstchen
    214 • The Banner of Kaviyan • shortstory by Harry Turtledove
    233 • The Consolations of Philosophy (introduction to The Lovesick Simurgh) • essay by Susan Shwartz
    236 • The Lovesick Simurgh • shortstory by M. J. Engh
    245 • Afterword: Ramadan, Again (Arabesques: More Tales of the Arabian Nights) • essay by Susan Shwartz
    251 • To Learn More About the World of The Arabian Nights (Arabesques: More Tales of the Arabian Nights) • essay by Sandra Miesel
    255 • About the Authors (Arabesques: More Tales of the Arabian Nights) • essay by Susan Shwartz and Larry Niven and Gene Wolfe and Tanith Lee and Jane Yolen and Esther M. Friesner and Nancy Springer and Andre Norton and Judith Tarr and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and Melissa Scott and William R. Forstchen and Harry Turtledove and M. J. Engh and Sandra Miesel


  • A Century of Fantasy 1980-1989 (1997) Edited by Robert Silverberg & Martin H. Greenberg, Published by MJF Books, HC, 1-567-31156-3, $8.98, 342pg ~ cover by Wayne D. Barlowe

    1 • Introduction (A Century of Fantasy 1980-1989) • (1996) • essay by Robert Silverberg
    4 • The George Business • (1980) • shortstory by Roger Zelazny
    13 • Lindsay and the Red City Blues • (1980) • shortstory by Joe Haldeman
    29 • A Pattern of Silver Strings • [Cerin Songweaver] • (1981) • novelette by Charles de Lint
    51 • The Quickening • (1981) • novelette by Michael Bishop
    80 • Remembering Melody • (1981) • shortstory by George R. R. Martin
    98 • The Unicorn Masque • (1981) • novelette by Ellen Kushner
    122 • Instant With Loud Voices • (1982) • shortstory by Alan Dean Foster
    133 • Not Our Brother • (1982) • novelette by Robert Silverberg
    154 • Beyond the Dead Reef • [Quintana Roo] • (1983) • shortstory by James Tiptree, Jr.
    172 • Wong's Lost and Found Emporium • (1996) • shortstory by William F. Wu [as by William Wu]
    186 • Laugh Track • (1984) • shortstory by Harlan Ellison
    207 • Dead Run • (1985) • shortstory by Greg Bear
    233 • The Boy Who Plaited Manes • (1986) • shortstory by Nancy Springer
    247 • Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight • (1987) • novelette by Ursula K. Le Guin
    276 • The Dowry of the Rag Picker's Daughter • (1988) • novelette by Andre Norton
    294 • The Edge of the World • (1989) • shortstory by Michael Swanwick
    310 • Lost Boys • (1989) • shortstory by Orson Scott Card
    329 • The Wishing Game • (1989) • shortstory by Larry Niven


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