Moments ago, I finished The Blood of Flowers and I just can't speak highly enough of this book. I'm not sure there's ever been another heroine with whom I've related more intimately than the main character of this novel.
She is never named, in honor of the countless anonymous artisans of Persian carpets throughout the centuries. It takes place in Iran during the 1620's (During the reign of the great Shah Abbas) and follows the story of a young woman from the country who creates her own career as a carpet designer, but makes many mistakes (especially in regards to love) along the way as she struggles to find her own self-respect.
A number of ancient Persian tales are interspersed throughout the novel and each one begins with the phrase which is the title to this post. The author says that it's a rough English translation of an Iranian phrase which is basically used as "Once upon a time..."
Isn't it amazing that the truth of what we feel and believe and how we hope to find our ultimate callings can be told in a story that is set hundreds of years ago, in a land far away, where an entirely different religion is followed? I think I might write a letter to the author to tell her how much her book meant to me.