Esther 1: A Cinderella story

Once upon a time, when the Persian empire stretched from India to Ethiopia, King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I), decided to throw a grand festival to celebrate himself. So for six months, the capital of Susa was filled with barkers and tourists and pickpockets and everything had a carnival air. To close the festival with a bang, the king held a week long feast in his palace gardens for everyone–noble and poor commoner alike. The gardens were decked with white curtains and velvet hangings on silver rods and marble pillars. Sumptuous couches of silver and gold rested upon walks tiled with precious stones–porphyry, amethyst, mother-of-pearl, topaz, garnet, everything imaginable. Wine flowed into silver and golden goblets–as much as a man could wish to drink.

The women had their own feast in the gardens of Queen Vashti’s palace. 

On the last day of the feast, the king, “merry with drink,” commanded his seven eunuchs to fetch Queen Vashti so all his guests could bask in her beauty. But the queen refused to ogled by a bunch of drunk men. This enraged the king. So he asked his seven equally drunk wise men if the queen was right in her refusal.

No, sire, hiccuped one. For when word of this gets around, women all over the kingdom will start disobeying their husbands!

They all banged their goblets on the table in agreement, sloshing wine everyone.

If y’ listen t’ me, sire, slurred another, you’ll divorce that shrew first thing tomorrow and fin’ a wife tha’ll lis’en!

Even after relatively sobering up in the morning, this advise still pleased Ahasuerus so much, that he booted Vashti to the curb, and had the divorce proclaimed in every language and in every corner of his kingdom.

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