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Magic Carpets in Different Cultures

Ever since first humans casted their eyes towards the sky, we always dreamed of flight. This desire took various forms: from makeshift wings to flying brooms. It can be safe to say that magic carpets are the most beautiful transportation method, exclusive to Middle Eastern culture. However, enchanted rugs have, in fact, appeared in the legends and myths of numerous nations and not always as fables.

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Magic carpets appear most often in Arabic tales, with the most notable example being One Thousand and One Nights. In one of the stories set in Indian city of Bisnagar, prince Husain acquires a magic carpet which teleports its user rather than flies.

The king Solomon, known from the Bible, was famous not only for his wisdom, but also a glorious flying carpet that was sixty miles long and equally wide. There are two different versions of how the king acquired it. The first account claims that the Queen of Sheba gave Solomon the flying carpet as a proof of her undying love. However, the disinterested king gave the flying carpet away to one of his many courtiers. Other version, which serves as a cautionary tale, says that the carpet was a gift from God. As Solomon’s pride grew and grew, God decided to punish the king. When the carpet was mid-air, it shook, and as a result, (bez ‘the’) 40000 men sited on it fell to their deaths.

Flying carpets appear in Western culture, although not as often. In one of Russian folktales, an old witch known as Baba Yaga gave one to Ivan the Fool among other magical trinkets which were supposed to help this folk hero in his quest. Mark Twain’s last short story Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven written shortly before his death in 1910 talks about Captain Stormfield’s death and travel to Heaven. Upon realizing that he accidentally arrived at the wrong part of Paradise, Captain used a magic carpet to transport himself where he should have been in the first place .


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