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Renaud de Villecroix, nephew of Emperor Charlemagne, journeys to Bagdad to assure Caliph Haroun-al-Raschid that pilgrims to the Holy Land will not disrupt the lives of those who dwell in the Mesopotamian Desert. En route, Renaud rescues Princess Scheherazade from Bedouin bandits and escorts her to Bagdad. By the time they reach the city, they are lovers; Scheherazade must abandon Renaud, however, to join the caliph's harem. She competes with two rivals in tests of wisdom, beauty, and courage, and is chosen to wed the caliph. Jealous of Scheherazade's triumph, Shirin, who is the choice of Grand Vizier Zaccar, arranges for guards to find the princess and Renaud together in the harem of the caliph; the faithless bride is subsequently condemned to death. When Renaud offers to sacrifice himself in her place, the caliph agrees but further humiliates Scheherazade by throwing her to the beggars. Again rescued by Renaud's men, the princess and Renaud flee into the desert, but after suffering thirst and fever, they are forced to return to Bagdad. Touched by the lovers' devotion, the caliph frees Renaud on the condition that Scheherazade be the caliph's bride. When Renaud helps to quell a rebellion fomented by the traitorous grand vizier, the mortally wounded caliph releases Scheherazade from her vows and blesses the lovers.