The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
THE PADISHAH'S DAUGHTER AND THE YOUNG SLAVE
by Klavdia Ulug-zadeh
Padishah had a grownup daughter who was so proud and conceited that she
sent away all the matchmakers who came to seek her hand in marriage. Noe
of the suitors was good enough for this Princess. then her father held
counsel with his viziers and said to them:
it not time the Princess got married?"
viziers tried to find a man like that in their own city, but no one
measured up to the Princess's demands. The Padishah himself then set off
on a journey to other towns. He rode for a long time and finally came to a
wide river. On the bank squatted an old man with a beard that was long and
green like sea-weed, he had on a green robe, and had a green staff in his
hand. He was writing something with a black pebble on white pebbles which
he then threw into the river.
Padishah rode right up to the old man and asked him what he was writing on
those pebbles and why he threw them into the water.
foretell people's future. Whatever I write on a white pebble which I then
throw into the river will come to pass."
you foretell my daughter's future? Who is destined to become her
husband?" asked the Padishah, and told the old man about his proud,
conceited daughter who refused to marry anyone but the handsomest and
strongest young man in the world.
old man smiled, wrote something on a white pebble, threw it into the
river, and said:
daughter will marry neither a pauper not a labourer, she will marry a
no! It cannot be!" cried the Padishah in alarm because he remembered
that he did have a slave working in his household, he was a young man and
the best worker in town, but a slave he was!
Padishah hurried back home, and all the way he was thinking about how to
avert that terrible disaster from his daughter. The moment he returned to
his palace, he called his viziers together and told them what fate had in
store for the Princess.
unto us, woe! That wretched slave intends to marry my daughter! What am I
"Chop off his head" replied the viziers promptly.
the poor young slave heard that he was to die, he pleaded and swore that
he did not have the slightest desire to marry the Princess.
he has the impudence to refuse the Padishah's daughter?" cried the
sly viziers. "Off with his head for such impudence!"
the Padishah agreed with them.
very, very old and very, very wise man lived in a small hut not far from
the palace. He was so old that he could no longer walk. When he heard
about Padishah's cruel order, he begged his neighbours:
put me on a white felt rug, pick it up by the four corners, and carry me
to the Padishah."
did so, and when they brought him to the palace the Padishah asked the
advise have you come to give me, old sage?" asked the Padishah.
Padishah, you are free to do what you will with your servants,"
replied the old man. "Send your young slave to the end of the world,
give him any order you can think of, only don't execute that innocent
Padishah ordered the young slave to be brought into his presence.
you, wretched slave!" he said to the young man. "Go and find for
me two precious pearls the size of walnuts with a moonglow inside them. If
you find them I'll grant you your life, and give you your freedom besides.
If you don't find them, I'll order your head to be chopped off."
poor young slave merely dropped his head in agreement, and set off to find
those unheard-of pearls, the size of walnuts and with a moonglow inside
wandered about the land for many a day, he suffered cold and hunger,
people laughed at him, and he all but collapsed from weariness. And then,
one day, he came to the river on the bank of which squatted an old man in
a green robe, with a long green beard and a green staff in his hand.
young man bowed to him and asked: "Can you tell me where I can find
two precious pearls the size of walnuts with a moonglow inside them?"
are as trusting as a chile, I see," replied the old man. "I know
who sent you and why. Oh well, I've got to help you. Stay here on the
bank, and wait for me."
this, the old man in the green robe stepped into the river and vanished
from sight. Suddenly the green weeds, floating on the surface of the
water, parted and out came the old man. He climbed on to the bank and from
the skirt of his robe poured a whole heap of large pearls on to the
ground. All of them had a moonglow inside them.
them and return to the Padishah," said the old man.
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