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?
The OED offers the following:
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.
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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