As she was escorted into the tent, she saw the sultan reclining comfortably in the thickly cushioned iron chair
. He barely took notice of her as he chose dates that a servant was presenting to him in a silver bowl. With the slightest wave of his jeweled fingers, the servant bowed and rushed out of the tent. She lowered her eyes as he studied her for some time before finally saying, "I am given to understand that you are skilled at the telling of stories." She quickly nodded without looking up. "Very good," he said. "You may begin."