Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-1
|Arabian Nights Stories-1|
|Story No 3-4-2/9|
The Story of the Second Qalandar
The second Qalandar started his story - "Madam, To tell you, how I lost my right eye, I will have to tell you the story of my whole life. When I was a baby, I was very clever and intelligent. As my father knew this he paid attention to my education. I learned reading, writing, then Quraan, history, poetry, geography and other subjects. But what I liked most was to write Arabic characters. Soon I mastered this and reached as far as India.
When the Sultaan of India saw such an strange interest in a young prince, he sent an ambassador, laden with rich presents, for my father to visit his court. So we started for India. After the travel for a month we saw a lots of dust coming towards us. We found that it was because some 50 robbers were coming towards us. We were about 25 people, so there was no use of fighting with them, we just tried to tell them who we were and where we were going. They had no business with our information, so after a brief struggle all of our followers were made prisoners. I got a chance so I rode on my horse and ran away very fast until the horse died because of a wound.
I was in a new country but I didn't know it. Luckily I was not wounded much, so I walked the whole day and came to a cave in a mountain. There I ate some fruits, which I had gathered on my way, and slept. I wandered around for the whole month not knowing where I was. Then one day I saw a big city in front of me. I was so happy to see the city thinking that once more I will be in the midst of the human beings. My condition was very bad - my body became black, my clothes were torn and my shoes were torn so I had to throw them.
I entered the city, and asked a tailor about where I was. I told him my whole story, but what he told me only increased my trouble. He said - "Be careful, whatever you have told me, never tell any other one because this country's king is your father's greatest enemy. He will be very happy to have you in his power." I made up my mind that I will obey the tailor. He gave me some food to eat which I ate with great pleasure. Then he offered me his own house to stay which also I gladly accepted.
After a few days when I had recovered from my hardships, the tailor asked me if I could do something for living. He knew that in our religion even the princes had to learn some profession to work in their bad times. I told him that I was a grammarian and a poet but my main interest was writing. He said - "It is of no use here. It is better that you put on a short coat, go to woods and cut the wood. By this way you will be able to earn some money, and wait for your better times. I can provide you with the axe and a rope."
I didn't like to do this work, but there was no alternative, so I accepted it. The next day he introduced me to some poor wood cutters. I went to the woods with them and on the very first day I cut lots of wood to get a fair amount of money. Gradually I became more skilled and in time I returned all money to the tailor that he had lent me.
It was after a year, that I went a little farther than the usual place to cut the wood. There I saw a long stretch of green grass spread to very far away. I started cutting wood there. As I was hitting my axe on a root of a tree, I saw an iron ring there and after removing some earth from the ring, I found a trap door there. I opened it and went down. I found that I was in a very big palace. It was brilliantly lighted as any other palace above the earth. There was a long gallery. A very beautiful woman was coming in that gallery.
I walked fast towards her and bowed to her. She asked - "Who are you, a man or a genie?" I said - "I am a man, I have nothing to do with Genie." She asked - "But how have you come here? I have been living here for the last 25 years, and I have never seen any man here before, you are the fist man I am seeing now." I was very impressed by her beauty so I politely said to her - "First I am very grateful for this meeting, which is not only a consolation for me in my sorrow, but I may make you happier too." And I told him who I was, and how I happened to be there.
She sighed and said - "You are right, I am a prisoner here. I am the daughter of Ebony Isle. My father married me to a cousin of mine, but on the very day of my wedding a Genie snatched me from there and kept me here. For a long time I wept and wept. I could not tolerate the Genie to come near me, but now I am used to his presence. I have lot of clothes and jewels. He comes to visit me every 10th day since I have come here; but if I need him any other time, I have to touch a Talismaan which is hung in my chamber. Now he will come after five days so till then you may be my guest."
I was so much attracted to her that I did not refuse her offer. She guided me to a bath and gave me rich clothes to wear according to my rank. Then we ate most delicate food in her very best room. Next day after eating the dinner, I could not resist myself and asked her to return to her world with me. She said - "That is impossible, but I will be happy if you stay here with me. You may visit the forest every 10th day. The Genie is very jealous kind and will not tolerate that a man should come to visit me."
I said - "Princess, You are falsely afraid of the Genie. I will break his Talismaan and I will kill him." The Princess foresaw the consequences and asked me not to touch his Talismaan. She said - "If you will touch it, it will ruin both of us. I know him much better than you." But the wine I had drunk, gave me a kick and I kicked the Talismaan. It fell down and broke into thousand pieces.
As my foot touched the Talismaan, it became dark all over and a fearful noise was heard. The palace shook to its very foundation. I got scared, I asked - "Princess, What is happening?" She was worried for me, she cried - "Run for your life or you are lost." I ran towards the trap door leaving behind my axe, but I was too late. The palace opened and the Genie appeared. He asked the Princess angrily - "What is the matter that you sent for me like this?" She replied quickly - "I was feeling pain in my heart. I wanted to take this little bottle and I slipped and fell against the Talismaan. That is all." Genie cried - "You are a liar. Then how did this axe and shoes come here?" She said - "I have never seen them here before. You might have picked them up on the road unknowingly while coming here." At this the Genie beat her. I could hear Princess' groans. In this time I had taken off my rich clothes and put on my old clothes. I opened the trap door, came out in the forest and went home.
My friend tailor was worried about me, but I didn't tell him anything about my adventure. I was very sorry for my actions. At the same time the tailor came to me and told me that an old man was standing on the door and he had brought my axe and shoes. He picked up them from the road and had brought them to me asking my address. I should better go and speak to him myself. I was speechless and my legs trembled. Before he asked me the reason of this, the old man entered the room with my axe and shoes.
He said - "I am Genie - the son of the daughter of Eblis, Prince of the Genie. Are these not your axe and shoes?" Before I could reply anything, he lifted me up and dropped me on the earth. He stamped his foot and we found ourselves in the same palace in front of the Princess. She was lying on the floor. He asked her - "Is this man your lover?" She said slowly - "I don't know him, I have never seen him before." The Genie said - "You are the cause of all his sufferings." "Why I should be the cause of his suffering, when I don't know him?" Genie took out his sword and giving it to her, said - "Then come and cut his head off." The Princess said - "I am too weak to hold this sword, and even if I am strong, why should I put an innocent man to death?"
Then he addressed me - "If she is stranger to you, then take this sword and cut her head. I will free you." "Certainly" - I said and made a sign to the Princess to not to worry. But I flung open the sword on the floor and said - "I am a coward that I cannot kill even a woman who is unknown to me and who is already half dead, I do not deserve to live. I surrender to you, but I cannot obey you." Then the Genie took the sword and cut off one hand of the princess. Seeing this I got unconscious.
When I regained my consciousness, the Genie said - "I could have killed you too, but I will not kill you, I will not turn you into a dog, or an ass, or a lion or a bird. Tell me what you would like to be?" I said - "If you want to spare my life, spare it altogether. Pardon my crime as the best man forgave his neighbor who was envious with him."
Contrary to my hopes, the Genie liked to hear the story of these two neighbors; and Madam, as I think you will also like to hear their story. If it may please you, I will tell you that also."
Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 09/19/13