Shishu Sansaar | Arabian Nights Stories-4

Arabian Nights Stories-4

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Story No 80-1/3

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80-1 - The City of Brass (1 of 3) :
Moosaa Travels to Bring Satans in Flasks

Once there was a Caliph at Damascus of Syria, known as Abd al-Malik bin-Marvaan. One day he was sitting in his palace talking with his Sultaan and kings, the talk took a turn towards the legends of past people and the traditions of Lord Solomon (David's son), on that Allaah bestowed Lordship and dominion over men and Jinn, and birds and beasts, and reptiles and the wind. The Caliph said - "The Lord bestowed special powers on Solomon that he could imprison Jinn, Mareeds and Satans in flasks and stop them with lead and seal them with his ring."

Taalib bin-Sahal said - "O Caliph, My father told me about my grandfather that once he took a ship for Sikiliyaa or Sicily and when he sailed it, he came through an adverse wind which drove them out of their course and brought them after a month to a great mountain in one of the lands. But where was that land, they did not know. My grandfather said - "We came there in the darkness of the night; and as soon as the Sun rose, we saw naked black men coming from a cave. They did not understand a word of what we said to them. No one of them knew Arabic and their king was also of their own kind.

As soon as they saw the ship, they came to the shore, welcomed us and asked about us. We told them all about ourselves and he said - "Do not worry at all, you are safe here. No human being has ever come here before you, but do not worry, you will return to your country safely." Then they entertained us for three days. They gave us meat of wild birds, fish and animals. On the fourth day they brought us on a beach so that we can go back to our country. There we saw a man casting his net to catch fish and when he pulled it up, there was a flask of copper in his net, stoppered with lead and sealed with the signet of Solomon.

He brought the vessel to the land and broke it open. There came out smoke and we heard a terrible voice saying - "I repent, I repent, pardon me." Then the smoke turned into a huge giant and that giant also vanished from our sight. We asked the King about this, he said - "He was one of the Jinn whom Solomon shut in this vessel and cast into the sea. Our fishermen often brings out such bottles, which when are opened, there comes out a Jinn who seeing that Solomon is alive, and can pardon them, asks his pardon."

The Caliph Abd al-Malik said - "By Allaah, I also wish to see some of these Solomonic vessels." Taalib said - "O Caliph, It is in your power. Send for your brother Abd al-Azeez bin-Marvaan, so that he may write a letter to Moosaa bin-Nusair, Governor of Morocco, to take a horse to mountains about which I spoke to you and fetch as many of such vessels as you have in your mind to." The Caliph liked his idea, so he asked Taalib to be his messenger to Moosaa, and that he would take care of his family in his absence. Then he wrote a letter to his brother Abd al-Azeez, his Viceroy in Egypt; and Moosaa bin-Nusair, his viceroy in Morocco about his travel to look for Solomonic bottles; and left his son to govern his land. He sealed the two letters and gave them to Taalib. He gave him money also for the journey and provisions for his family.

So Taalib set out for Cairo, where its Governor gave him a guide for Upper Egypt, where Moosaa, son of Nusair, was ruling. When he heard about Taalib coming to him, he welcomed him and advised him to take Sheikh Abd al-Samad on his journey for he was the man of knowledge and experience. So Moosaa sent for him. Taalib said to him - "O Sheikh, Abd al-Malik bin Marvaan has ordered me to do thus. I have only small knowledge of that land, but you know it very well, so will you go with me to do the Caliph's job?"

The Sheikh said - "Sure, But you should know that the road to there is very long and difficult." Moosaa asked - "How far is it?" "It is journey of two years and some months for going and the same for returning and the way is full of hardships." So Moosaa appointed his son Haaroon as Governor to take care of the land. Sheikh Abd al-Samad asked Moosaa to take 1,000 camels laden with provisions. Moosaa asked, "Why?" The Sheikh said - "Because we will pass from the desert of Cyrene, which is very big, four days journey long. There is no water, no sound, not a soul to be seen and hot winds always blow there."

So Mosaa took 1,000 camels laden with provisions, 2,000 cavalry and set out under the guidance of Sheikh Abd al-Samad who was leading them. The party proceeded first in inhabited lands, then in ruins, then through frightful lands. Thus one year passed. One morning, the Sheikh found himself in a land he did not know. Moosaa asked - "What should we do now?" Sheikh said - "It seems that we have wandered from our road. The stars were hidden by cloud so I could not guide myself." "Where are we now?" "I don't know." Moosaa said - "Then take us where we went astray." "I just cannot."

An Unknown Place

So they left everything on Allaah and went on. They walked till noon and they came to a wide place. They saw something on the horizon, high and black and from whose middle some smoke was rising in the sky. They made up to this and when they came near it they found that it was a high castle. It was built of black stone and its door was of China steel. Round about it were a thousand steps. Moosaa said - "How is this place without inhabitants?" Shekh said - "Allaah has saved us from frightful lands. Once we were journeying in this land and straying from our road we came to this place. This is the City of Brass. Between this place and your destination there is two month's journey. But you should be at the seashore because there are facilities of water etc. to live here. Let us go and look upon the palace and its beauty."

So Moosaa went up to the palace with Sheikh and his people, and coming to the gate, he found it open. There was a tablet at the doorway on which were engraved Ionian characters in gold. They read the engravings and then entered the gate. They came to another gate where also were written some verses. They read those verses too and walked forward. The whole palace was empty. In its midst stood a large pavilion with a dome rising high in air. There were 400 tombs around it built in yellow marble.

This pavilion had eight doors of sandalwood, studded with the nails of gold and stars of silver and inlaid with all kinds of precious stones. Then they came to a place where a table was lying on which was written, "At this table, have eaten a thousand kings blind of the right eye, and a thousand kings blind with the left eye, and a thousand kings blind with both eyes, all of whom have departed the world and have gone to tombs and catacombs." Moosaa wrote down all this information and left the palace.

Then they proceeded again for three days and then they came to a high hill. There stood a horseman of brass. He held a spear in his hand. Its head was very shiny and on it was written, "Who comes to me, if you do not know the way to the City of Brass, rub the hand of this rider and he will turn around and presently stop; then it will take the direction; and to whichever direction it will take, go to that fearlessly, it will take you to the City of Brass without any hardship." So Moosaa rubbed his hand, its hand revolved like lightning and stopped in one direction. So Moosaa took that road and after crossing a wide tract came to a human figure like pillar of black stone.

He had two great wings and four arms, two of them were like human arms, and the other were like lion's paws, with claws of iron. It looked like somebody had sunken up to the armpits. He had a third eye in the middle of his forehead. Seeing it people got afraid and started fleeing away that Moosaa asked Shekh - "What is this?" "I do not know." "Go near him and ask him, maybe he will tell you his case." Sheikh said - "By Allaah, I am also afraid of him." Moosaa said - "Do not fear, because he is hindered from you." 

So Shekh Abd al-Samad went near him and asked him - "O Creature, What is your name, what are you and why are you in this manner?" He spoke - "I am an Ifrit of the Jinn Daahish, son of al-Aamash, and I am confined here by Allaah." Moosaa asked him - "Ask him why is he in this shape?" So the Sheikh asked him of this, and he replied - "My story is very strange. It goes like this ...

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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 07/14/14