The Dream of Good Fortune
from The Arabian Nights, dramatized by Paul Sills
1 This drama takes place long ago in the Middle East. The main character, Luqman Ali, lives in Baghdad, which was the center of Islamic civilization during the period in which many of the Arabian Nights stories are set. In the play, “Luq” is an abbreviation for “Luqman Ali.” He travels to Cairo, in Egypt. [Note: the characters in this play also act as narrators, setting the scene by talking about themselves in the third person.]
2 Luq: Luqman Ali, a poor but honest dung sweeper, lived in the alley of the tanners, off the street of the potters, in the heart of the great city of Baghdad.
3 Wife: He and his wife had nothing in the world but an old iron stove, and barely enough to eat.
4 Luq: But still they did not despair in the mercy of the Almighty. One night Luqman Ali and his wife lay down to sleep, and he had a dream.
5 Angel: An angel appeared with a message: “Luqman Ali, alley of the tanners, off the street of the potters, in the city of Baghdad—Dear Luq, Go to Cairo, and there you will find your fortune.”
6 Luq: Luqman Ali awoke his wife and told her of his strange dream.
7 Wife: Go back to sleep, my love, it was only a dream.
8 Angel: Luqman Ali, go to Cairo, and there you will find your fortune.
9 Luq: Wife, wake up; the angel came again and told me to go to Cairo, to seek my fortune.
10 Wife: If it happens a third time, you’ll have to go.
11 Angel: Luqman Ali, are you still here? Go to Cairo! Your fortune awaits you there.
12 Luq: I go! I go! Wife, awaken—I must go to Cairo. And so Luqman Ali set off on the road to Cairo. Through hot desert winds—sandstorms—cold nights. Luqman Ali traveled the
road until, weary and sore, in the shimmering heat, he saw the great city of Cairo. Tired and not knowing where to go, he took refuge in the courtyard of a great mosque, where he lay down to sleep.
13 Thief: That night, a thief entered the courtyard and broke through the wall of an adjoining house.
14 [A woman screams offstage. The THIEF returns to the courtyard, hits LUQ, and runs off.]
15 Luq. Stop, thief! Stop, thief!
16 Chief of Police. The chief of police . . .
17 Lieutenant. And his lieutenant . . .
18 Chief of Police. Arrived at the scene, and they found Luqman Ali, and thinking him to be the thief . . .
19 Lieutenant. They beat him with their clubs and dragged him off to jail.
20 Chief of Police. Who are you?
22 Chief of Police. Where do you come from?
24 Chief of Police. What brings you to Cairo?
25 Luq. I had a dream . . .
26 [The LIEUTENANT squeezes LUQ’s nose, sending him to his knees.]
27 Chief of Police. What are you doing in Cairo?
28 Luq (rises). I had a dream…
29 [The LIEUTENANT squeezes his head.]
30 Chief of Police (waving the LIEUTENANT away). What brings you to Cairo?
31 Luq (again on his knees). I had a dream. An angel appeared to me three times in a row and told me to go to Cairo, where I would find my fortune.
32 Chief of Police. And what did you find?
33 Luq. I got arrested and beat up.
34 Chief of Police. It hurts too, doesn’t it? Dreams mean nothing. We all have dreams. You fool! That’s the trouble with you people. Superstitious. I had a dream only last night:
An angel came to me and told me to go to Baghdad, to the alley of the potters, off the street of the tanners, to a little old shack, and there under an old iron stove I would find a
treasure. Did I go? No! I stayed here doing my job. Here, take these dinars and get out of here.
35 [So LUQ sets off to his home in Baghdad. He “dances” back to Baghdad, calling “Wife, wife.” They move the stove, find the treasure, and adorn each other with jewels. She kisses his nose.—“Owww!!!”—Fade Out.]
 tanners . . . potters: Tanners are people who make animal hides into leather; potters are people who make pots and dishes out of clay.
 mosque: a place of worship for followers of the Islamic faith.
 dinars: gold coins used in ancient Arab countries.