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The three calenders
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In the Arabian Nights,  Scheherazade tells several stories about   three calenders – men with shaved head and beard, only one eye, who are the sons of kings.

A calendar is a time-keeping device.   You calender cloth or paper to smooth the surface.   A colander will drain your cooked macaroni of excess water.   A calendrer used to be someone who calendars cloth.

But what was Scheherazade talking about? I don’t think it’s “prince”: there is the suggestion that the men were hiding their identity.   Was this a religious occupation?


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The OED offers the following:

calender, n.2
Forms: Also kalender.
Etymology: Persian qalandar, of unknown origin.

A member of a mendicant order of dervishes in Turkey and Persia

And one of the quotations is:
1724 Arab. Nights (1812) I. 35 There are three calenders at the gate..they are all blind of the right eye.

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Harvey ‘Big Daddy’ Pollitt: What’s that smell in this room? Didn’t you notice it, Brick? Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?


Hmmm.   Cat on a Ht Ton Roof was set in the hot and humid South, so mendacity must be a form of mold, and everybody known dervishes for their whirling, so mendicant dervishes would be moldy dancers?   I tell you, one hardly needs a dictionary! (GD&R)

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