"This is quite marvellous!" exclaimed the Caliph. "Now! Let us hear some stories!"
The first story concerned a man and a woman who were very, very sad - for they were poor and stupid and not very beautiful. But a woman did appear to them and she dressed them in new clothes and changed their hairstyles and they were very, very happy.
"Well that's not really much of a story, is it?" said the Caliph.
But then a second story began. And this one was about a man who was very sad, for his house was falling down and his garden was overgrown - for he had no ability to tend it, for a reason that was never explained. And another man did appear to him who conjured forth slaves, and they mended the house and completely redesigned the garden - and the man was very happy.
"It's missing something," remarked the Caliph.
But then a third story began: and this was about some people who prepared a feast - so they did - and guests arrived.
"This is pathetic!" grumbled the Caliph. "This stuff has absolutely no story, it has no meaning, it has no passion - these people can't even act. I am inclined to compare it to wallpaper, which we have recently invented, only I'd say that the wallpaper was actually more interesting!"