Anahita’s Woven Riddle
Author: Meghan Nuttall Sayres
Anahita is a nomad teen aged girl living in early 20th century Iran who loves riddles. She’s also just a little too independent and innovative for her time and culture which causes dissent and trouble within her tribe. One day her father tells her that the Khan, an older man who’s had three wives all of whom have died under mysterious circumstances. Anahita is horrified and has absolutely no interest in marrying this man, but her father is under pressure by the Khan.
Anahita manages to convince her father and the mullah of the tribe to allow her to have a contest in which she will weave a riddle into her wedding carpet. The man to guess the riddle will have her as his bride. This causes more trouble within the tribe as well as jealousy. Why does Anahita get to choose her husband? Why is she so willful? The angry and overbearing Khan is determined to have Anahita and threatens the tribe with one thing after another, even going so far as to block their water which they desperately need. Anahita’s contest goes on however and the suitors start trying for her hand. There are three interesting men in particular vying for Anahita’s hand in marriage – a schoolteacher, a shepherd, and a prince.
Anahita’s Woven Riddle is an incredibly beautiful story rich with Persian culture. The descriptions of Anahita’s everyday life are so detailed and colorful. You can feel yourself on those mountains and hillsides, see the carpet she is weaving, smell the sheep and feel the wind.
I’m fascinated by the art of weaving so I loved the descriptions of her traveling with a caravan into the markets and picking out dyes for the dyemaster of her tribe.
Anahita’s Woven Riddle is a completely engrossing, different and fantastic tale. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in expanding their world, learning about the history and culture of another land or anyone who just loves a good story.