I was listening to the radio today when a mention of Shahrazade from the Arabian Nights came up. Shahrazade, to remind you, was the wife of a king who was notorious for marrying virgins, sleeping with them then murdering them the next day so they wouldn't betray him. To avoid this fate, her plan was to entertain the king with an engaging story but not finish it. The king allowed her to live another night to discover how the story ended, but after she told him, she would begin another and so managed to escape death. It set me thinking about what the ingredients are that make a mundane story engaging when told by a master story teller. Any thoughts?