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Story No 42

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42 - The King of Persia and the Princess of the Sea
This story has been given in the book titled, "Stories from the Thousand and One Nights" also - the Story No 93 "The Story of the Jullaanar of the Sea". The stories of this book are given in Section-5 in this collection. In that book the King's name has been given as Shaah Zamaan and his kingdom's name has been given as "Khursaan".

There was a King in Persia. He was very glorious, but he had no son. Once when he was sitting in his court, a merchant came there from a far country. He sent the message that he wanted to see him on some important matter. The King ordered to bring him in. When came, he said to the King - "Sir, I have a slave who is so beautiful that you will surely marry her." The King ordered him to present her. When the King saw her beauty, he immediately got ready to marry her. Both got married at once. She was assigned the room next to the King's and the King ordered his maids to adorn her in the richest robes, in the finest pearl necklaces, the brightest diamonds, and the richest precious stones whichever she liked.

The King's capital was on an island and his palace stood on the seashore. After three days the King got a message from the slave that he could visit her. As she was sitting on a couch, she heard somebody walking in the room so she turned her face to see who it was. She saw it was the King but she did not welcome him, rather turned her face to the other side. The King thought that this might be because she was not educated properly. The King went near her and tried to talk to her but she would not reply. The King got surprised at this. He asked her what the matter was of her indifference, but she wouldn't reply. They ate food in complete silence.

After the food, the King came out of the room and inquired her maids whether they had heard her voice during the last three days. They said - "No, We have asked her several times if she needed anything, but we have never seen her lips open. We don't know if this is because of pride, sorrow, stupidity, or dumbness." Thus one year passed and she still never spoke a word.

Then there was much rejoicing in the country, as the King had a son from his dumb wife, and thus the King got his heir. The King again requested her to speak something on this occasion. At this the slave began to smile a little. Seeing her smiling he got very surprised and happy and hoped that she would speak something.

Then to the King's utmost surprise, the slave spoke - "Sir, I want to say so many things to you, but I do not know where to begin. Let me first thank you for all the favors you conferred upon me. I had thought that until I have a child from you I will never love you and will never speak to you, but since I have a child now, I will love you." The King said to her politely - "It is the greatest joy you have given to me." And the King was so happy that he left her and asked his Vazeer to distribute 1,000 pieces of gold to poor, hospitals, holy men etc.

The King came back again to his wife and asked her the reason to keep silence for such a long time. The queen said - "I was always thinking of my people and whether I would be able to see them again or not." The King said - "But you should be happy that you are a wife of a King." The queen said - "Whatever the slave is, no King on earth can control her thoughts. But when the King will come to know that this slave is no inferior to the King himself, he can quite understand her sorrow."

The King asked her - "Are you a royal blood? Please tell me everything about yourself - your parents, your name, everything." The queen said - "My name is Gulnaar (rose of the sea). My father, who is dead now, was the most powerful King of the ocean. He left his kingdom to my brother Saleh. We were living happily when a neighboring Prince invaded our kingdom and defeated us. My brother said - "I may not regain my kingdom, I don't care for myself, but I wish to see you married before anything happens to me. In this situation I don't see any sea Prince to who you can marry, so I will be very happy even if you marry a Prince of earth. I can give you everything I have and I am sure anybody will marry you."

Hearing this I got very angry and I said - "I will not marry any earth Prince in any case." Still he persuaded me saying that the earth kings were not inferior to the ocean ones. So I came to the Island of the Moon. A man came there and took me to his house. He tried his force on me but could not succeed, then he decided to sell me. He sold me to you. If you have not treated me well, I tell you the truth, I wouldn't have lived with you for so long. Therefore I hope, you will treat me as a Princess not as a slave."

King got very surprised to hear her account and that she was the princess of the ocean, he asked her - "I wish to ask, how is it possible for you to live or move in the water without being drowned?" Gulnaar said - "We can walk on the surface of the ocean as easily as you walk on the land; and we can breathe in the water as easily as you breathe in the air. Water never wets our clothes, so whenever we want to visit the land we don't need to dry our clothes. We don't need any ride to go here and there in water. We can just reach anywhere instantly. I can tell you thousand and one mysteries of the ocean, but at present I wish to send for my mother, cousins and my brother. They will be happy to see me married to such a great King." The King said - "You are the queen, do whatever you like. If you need anything for them, tell me so that I can arrange those things for them. Just look through the lattice the manner they arrive."

Queen Gulnaar then asked a maid to bring a fire pot, and when she had gone after keeping it there, she took out a piece of aloe and put it in the fire. As the smoke rose up she spoke some words which the King could not understand, but he was watching with interest what Gulnaar was doing. As she finished her words, the ocean began to get disturbed, and there came out a matured lady and a handsome young man, and some other people. Gulnaar rushed to welcome them and they were also very happy to see Gulnaar.

Her mother said to her - "Dear daughter, We are very happy to see you after long time, now tell me, are you happy?" Gulnaar told all that had happened since she left the ocean. Her brother said - "Sister, Now you may come back to ocean if you like because I have won over that Prince who won us." The King who was seeing all this from hiding, got scared to hear this that now Gulnaar might leave him, but she did not do so. She said - "Brother, I cannot break this agreement now. I am not talking about the agreement between a slave and her master, because it would be easy to return 10,000 gold pieces that I cost him; but about the agreement between a wife and a husband who has no reason of any complain. He is a very nice King and we have a son also, Badar. I am sorry to bother you to come here from the deep ocean to tell you all this and you to see me after such a long time."

Gulnaar asked her maids to bring food and asked them to eat. At the same time they thought that they had entered the palace of a stranger, how could they eat a stranger's food without paying their respect to him, so they felt embarrassment and their eyes glowed like fire and they breathed flames from their nostrils and mouths. Seeing this the King got surprised and fell down. Gulnaar came there and consoled him and said - "They are very impatient to pay their respects to you, so I think you may come out and honor them with your presence." As Gulnaar came out with the King, her relations fell on his feet, the King raised them up. Gulnaar's brother, Saleh, said - "We are very happy to see the honor you gave to my sister. We have no better way to thank you for all this except by wishing you a very happy long life, prosperity and satisfaction." Then all ate food and went to sleep.

Next day the maids brought the Prince and Saleh started playing with him. While playing with him and tossing him in the air, he jumped into the sea through the window. Seeing this the King gave a hideous cry and thought that he wouldn't see his son again, as he was drowned in the sea. Gulnaar understood the king's mind. She consoled him - "You need not to fear for anything, because he has the same characteristics as his uncle. He can live in both places." But the King could not recover until he saw his son again.

King Saleh said - "Wasn't Your Majesty afraid when I jumped into the sea with the Prince" The King accepted the fact, "Yes, I was." Saleh again said - "But you might have not noticed that I read some words over him before taking the plunge into the sea. In fact those words were the same which were engraved on the seal of Solomon - the son of David. We do the same to all children who are born in our regions. By virtue of those words, they can live on earth also. Now he can live in both places."

Then he gave the Prince to his nurse and took out a box which he brought from his kingdom during this short time he disappeared. It was filled with 300 diamonds, as large as pigeon's eggs, and 300 rubies of extraordinary size, 300 emerald wands half a foot long and 30 strings of pearls each 10 feet long. He gave that box to the King and said - "Sir when our sister first called us, we didn't know where she was, or whether she was married or not, that is why we came empty-handed. But now I beg you to accept this little gift of our obligation for the love you have shown to our sister."

There was no limit of surprise of the King at the sight of so much riches in such a little box. He just exclaimed - "What? Do you call it a small gift?" And said to Gulnaar - "Your brother has put me in great confusion. Please permit me to refuse his present." Saleh said - "I am very obliged that Your Majesty thinks this present so extraordinary, but we have so many mines that we can produce such gems in abundance, therefore please accept them just as the token of our friendship." The King got silent at this.

After a few days they asked the King to leave for their own kingdom. The King requested them to visit their daughter frequently so that she doesn't feel lonely. Promising thus they went to their own kingdom.

End of Story No 42



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 09/19/13