Afro-Asian Narrative Texts for Second Year Students
The Young Head of the Family (China)
There was once a family consisting of a father, his four sons, and his three daughters-in-law. The three daughters-in-law, that is, the wives of the three elder sons, were recently brought into the house, and were all from one village a few miles away. Having no mother-in-law with them in their new home, and being lonesome and homesick for their former families, they constantly bothered the old man by asking permission to visit their former village. Vexed by these continual pleas, he set himself to invent a method of putting an end to them, and at last gave the young women permission in this way: "You are always begging me to allow you to go and visit your mothers, and thinking that I am very hard-hearted because I do not let you go. Now you may go, but only upon condition that when you come back you will each bring me something I want. One of you shall bring me some fire wrapped in paper, the other shall bring me some wind in a paper, and the third shall bring me some music in wind. Unless you promise to bring me these, you are never to ask me to let you go home; and if you go and fail to get these for me, you are never to come back." The old man did not suppose that these conditions would be accepted, as they were difficult to understand, much less to fulfill, but the girls were young and thoughtless, and in their anxiety to get away did not consider any of that. So they made ready with speed, and in great glee started off on foot to visit their mothers. After they had walked a long distance; chatting about what they should do and whom they should see in their native village, the high heel of one of them slipped from under her foot, and she fell down. Owing to this mishap they all stopped to adjust the misplaced footgear, and while doing this the conditions under which alone they could return to their husbands came to mind, and they began to cry. While they sat there crying by the roadside a young girl came riding along on a water buffalo. She stopped and asked them what was the matter, and whether she could help them. They told her she could do them no good; but she persisted in offering her sympathy and inviting their confidence, till at last they told her their story. At once, she said that if they would go home with her she would show them a way out of their trouble. Their case seemed so hopeless, and the girl on the water buffalo seemed so sure of her own power to help them, that they finally went with her to her father's house, where she showed them how to comply with their father-in-law's demand.
How can the first daughter-in-law bring back fire wrapped in paper? How can the second daughter-in-law bring back wind in a paper? How can the third daughter-in-law bring back music in wind?
For the first, a paper lantern would do. When lighted, it would be a fire, and its paper surface would encompass the blaze, so that it would truly be "some fire wrapped in paper." For the second, a paper fan would suffice. When flapped, wind would issue from it, and the "wind wrapped in paper" could thus be carried to the old man. For the third, a set of chimes would provide music in the wind. The three young women thanked the wise child, and went on their way rejoicing. After a pleasant visit to their home village, they took a paper lantern, a fan and a set of chimes, and returned to their father-in-law's house. As soon as he saw them approach he began to vent his anger at their light regard for his commands, but they assured him that they had perfectly obeyed him, and showed him that what they had brought fulfilled the conditions required. Much astonished, he inquired how it was that they had suddenly become so clever, and they told him the story of their journey, and of the girl that had so fortunately come to their relief. He inquired whether the girl was already betrothed, and finding that she was not, he engaged a go-between to see if he could arrange for the girl on the water buffalo to marry his youngest son. Having succeeded in securing the girl as a daughter-in-law, he brought her home. The father told all the rest of the family that as there was no mother in the house, and as this girl had shown herself to be possessed of extraordinary wisdom, that she should be the head of the household. Some happy and prosperous years passed, the young wife bore many children, and all fared very well in the household.
The Empty Pot (China)
Y royal proclamation, the Emperor of China announced a contest to decide the next
heir to the throne. The Emperor was old and had no son, and because he had been a plantlover for years, he declared that any boy who wanted to be king should come to the palace to receive one royal seed. Whichever boy could show the best results within six months would win the contest and become the next to wear the crown. You can imagine the excitement! Every boy in China fancied himself likely to win. Parents of boys who were talented at growing plants imagined living in splendor at the palace. On the day the seeds were to be handed out, thick crowds of hopeful boys thronged the palace. Each boy returned home with one precious possibility in his palm. And so it was with the boy Jun. He was already considered the best gardener in the village. His neighbors fought over the melons, bok choy, and snow peas that flourished from his garden. Anyone looking for Jun would probably find him bobbing between his rows, pulling out new weeds, moving one sapling over to catch more morning sun, transplanting another to the shade. Jun carefully carried the Emperor's seed home, sealing it securely in his hands so it wouldn't fall, but not so tightly that it might crush. At home, he spread the bottom of a flowerpot with large stones, covered the stones with pebbles, then filled the pot with rich black moist soil. He pressed the seed about an inch below the surface and covered it with light soil. Over the next few days Jun, along with every boy he knew and hundreds he did not know, watered his pot every day and watched for the telltale unfurling of the first leaf as it burst through the surface. Cheun was the first boy in Jun's vilage to announce that his seed was sprouting through the soil, and his announcement was met with whoops of excitement and congratulations. He bragged that he would surely be the next emperor and practiced his royal skills by bossing around the younger, adoring children. Manchu was the next boy whose tiny plant had emerged from his pot, then it was Wong. Jun was puzzled - none of these boys could grow plants as well as he! But Jun's seed did not grow. Soon sprouts emerged from pots all over the village. Boys moved their plants outside so the baby leaves could bask in the warmth of the sun. They built stone fences around their pots and zealously guarded them from mischievous children who might accidentally - or not so accidentally - topple them over. Soon, dozens of sprouts in pots throughout Jun's village were stretching out their first leaves. But Jun's seed did not grow. He was confused - what was wrong? Jun carefully repotted his seed into a new pot with the very best and richest black loam from his garden. He crumbled every ball of soil into tiny particles. He gently pressed in the seed, and kept the top moist and watched the pot every day. Still Jun's seed did not grow. Strong, powerful stalks soon emerged from the pots cared for by other boys in Jun's village. Jun was thrown into despair. The other boys laughed at him and started to mockingly say "as empty as Jun's pot" if there were no treats in their pockets, or if they had just finished their bowls of rice. Jun repotted his plant yet again, this time sprinkling dried fish throughout the soil as fertilizer. Even so, his seed did not grow.
Six month's passed. The day approached when the boys were supposed to bring their plants to the palace for judging. Cheun, Manchu, Wong and hundreds of other boys cleaned their pots till they shone, gently wiped the great leaves till the green veins glistened, and prepared themselves by dressing in their finest clothes. Some mothers or fathers walked alongside their son to hold the plant upright as he carried the pot to the palace, to keep the plant from tipping over. "What will I do?" wailed Jun to his parents as he gazed out the window at the other boys joyfully preparing their triumphant return to the palace. "My seed wouldn't grow! My pot is empty!" "You did the best you could," said his father, shaking his head. Added his mother, "Jun, just bring the emperor your pot," said his mother, "it was the best you could do." Shame-faced, Jun carried his empty pot on the road to the palace, while gleeful boys carrying pots tottering with huge plants strode to his right and left. At the palace, all the boys lined up in rows with their blossoming plants and awaited judgment. The Emperor, wrapped in his richly embroidered silk robe, strode down the line of hopeful entrants, viewing each plant with a frown. When he came to Jun, he scowled even more and said, "What is this? You brought me an empty pot?" It was all Jun could do to keep from crying. "If you please, Your Majesty," said Jun, "I tried my best. I planted your seed with the best soil I could find, I kept it moist and watched it every day. When the seed didn't grow I repotted it in new soil, and I even repotted it again. But it just didn't grow. I'm sorry." Jun hung his head. "Hmm," said the Emperor. Turning so everyone could hear he thundered, "I don't know where all these other boys got their seeds. There is no way anything could grow from the seeds we passed out for the contest, because those seeds had all been cooked!" And he smiled at Jun.
The Four Friends (India)
NCE upon a time there were four dear friends, a Crow, a Rat, a large Turtle, and a Deer.
Every day in the heat of the noontime sun, the four of them liked nothing better than to gather by Turtle's pond in a cool shady place, and spend the long afternoon together discussing matters of philosophy, poetry, art and nature, and sharing their thoughts on all matters. One day, three of the friends -- that is, Turtle, Rat, and Crow -- gathered at the usual noontime hour by Turtle's pond, and waited for Deer to arrive. But she did not. After awhile they became very much alarmed, and worried that she might have come upon some sort of accident. They determined to go in search of her. Crow flew up into the air to see what discoveries she could make. To her horror, she saw at a distance poor Deer caught in a Hunter's net! Crow immediately flew back to the pond to share the terrible news with Rat and Turtle. You may be sure all three friends were terribly upset. "The four of us have always been friends," said Turtle. "We can't just let poor Deer face death at the hands of some hunter. No! There must be some way for us to save her." Crow said, "You know, Friend Rat can chew through the net that binds her foot and set her free! Friend Rat, I must carry you to Deer, and right away, too, before the Hunter returns and finishes her off!" "Yes, of course," nodded Rat. "Why wait? Let's go at once." So Crow carried Rat in her bill and delivered him to the place where Deer was trapped. Immediately, Rat started to chew upon the net that held Deer's foot, and had almost set her free by the time -- who should arrive -- but Turtle! "Turtle!" cried Deer, "Why have you come here? You are so far now from the safety of your pond. I'm afraid you've put yourself in terrible danger." "Alas!" replied Turtle, "I could not stay at home knowing that you were in danger." "Oh, friend Turtle," said Deer, "your coming here troubles me more than the loss of my own freedom. For if the Hunter should happen to come at this very moment, what would you do to escape? For my part I am almost freed, thanks to Rat, and I'll run away; Crow will fly to safety; Rat will dive into any hole; only you, who are so slow of foot, can all-too-easily be caught by the Hunter." No sooner had Deer spoken these words than the Hunter appeared. Deer, already loosened from her trap, ran away; Crow flew upward into the sky; Rat slipped into a hole; and, as Deer had said, only the slow-paced Turtle could find no safe place to hide. When the Hunter arrived, he was surprised to discover his net torn and the deer gone. Annoyed, he looked about to see if he could discover who had done him the mischief. Then he noticed Turtle.
"Oh!" said the Hunter, smiling at Turtle. "Very well, I am glad enough to see you here. It looks like I shall not go home empty-handed after all. My deer may be gone, but here's a good-sized Turtle, and that's worth something, I'm sure." With that he took up Turtle, dropped him in his sack, threw the sack over his shoulder, and trudged off. When the Hunter had disappeared into the woods, the three friends came out of their hiding places. Oh, how they cried about the unhappy turn of events for poor Turtle! At last Crow said, "Dear friends, our moans and groans will do Turtle no good. We must try to think of a way to save his life." "Well yes," said Rat. "And perhaps there's a way after all. Crow, if you fly upwards, you'll be able to see exactly where the hunter has gone to. Deer, if you run forward and overtake the Hunter, and then let him see you, surely he'll lay down his sack to run after you (and don't call me Shirley!). That will give us enough time to rescue poor Turtle." "That's not a bad idea," replied Deer. "In fact, if I pretend to be injured in one leg, as I easily could have been from having worked free of his net, and then run limping by at a little distance before him, that will encourage the Hunter all the more to follow me. I'm sure I could draw him a good distance from his sack. Then you, friend Rat, will have enough time to chew the string on the sack and let poor Turtle out." Everyone agreed to the plan. Immediately Deer ran before the Hunter, limping and appearing so faint and feeble that the Hunter was sure she would be an easy mark to catch. Setting down his sack, he ran after Deer with all his might. But as soon as he approached her, the cunning creature burst into a full-fledged chase, until she had dragged him deep into the woods. Then out scampered Rat, who gnawed the string that tied the sack. At last Turtle was free! Off he scrambled and hid himself in a thick bush. Finally the Hunter, tired of running, gave up on catching Deer and returned to his sack. "Well," he said, approaching the sack, "at least I have something safe here: A Turtle is not nearly as fast as that stupid Deer. And even if you were," he said to the sack, "your legs couldn't do you any good tied up in my sack." When the Hunter found that his sack was torn, and besides that, empty as well, he was much amazed, and thought himself in a place of hobgoblins and ghosts. He could not believe that a Deer should free herself out of his strong nets, then by and by appear hopping before him, and make a fool out of him, and then a Turtle, a poor feeble creature as everyone knows, should break the string of his sack by himself and escape! Struck with panic and fear, he ran home as if a thousand spirits were nipping at his heels. Safe at last, the four friends congratulated each other on their escapes and declared anew their everlasting friendship.
The Magic Horse (Iran)
I N ANCIENT PERSIA, the New Year was celebrated at the beginning of spring. At that time a grand feast was observed throughout the land, and at the royal palace, artists, natives and strangers were invited to present their finest skills or treasures to the king. If the king was pleased, he would grant them a fine gift. Near the end of one of these feasts, a traveler came before the king and presented a beautiful, artificial horse, richly decorated. "I flatter myself, sir," said the stranger, addressing himself to the king, "that your majesty has never seen anything as wonderful as this." "Any capable artist can create a horse such as this one," frowned the king. "Sir," replied the traveler, "it is not its decoration, but its use that makes this horse so exceptional. On his back I can ride through the air to the most distant part of the earth, in a very short time. I can even teach anyone else how to ride the magic horse." The king was interested. "On that mountaintop over there," he said, pointing to a mountain over ten miles away, "there is a palm-tree of a particular quality, which I happen to like. Go, if your horse is as fast as you claim, and fetch me a branch of it." The stranger mounted his horse. Turning a peg in the neck, away he and the horse flew. Within 15 minutes he returned with a palm branch in his hand. He laid it at the king's feet. The king was impressed. At once he asked to purchase the horse. "Your Majesty," said the traveler, "the artist who sold me this horse made me swear that I should never part with him for money." "What would it take then?" demanded the king. The stranger replied that he would gladly give the horse away if his majesty would only bestow on him the hand of the princess, his daughter, in marriage. When the royal courtiers heard this extravagant request, they burst out laughing. Young Prince Firouz Shah was enraged, even more so when he saw his father, the king, looking thoughtful, as if he were seriously considering the offer. Stepping up to his father, Prince Firouz said, "Forgive me, father, but is it possible you can hesitate a moment what answer to make to this insolent fellow? Can you bear to think of degrading our royal house by an alliance with a traveling salesman?" In truth, the king was worried that if he refused the marriage request, then another king could get the magic horse. He asked his son to examine the horse carefully, and report his opinion of it. The prince approached the horse. The traveler came forward to show the prince how to manage it, but the haughty young man was in too great a fury to listen. Leaping into the saddle, he turned the peg.
In an instant, the horse rose into the air, with him upon it. The stranger was terribly alarmed when he saw the prince fly away on the magic horse before he had learned how to manage it. He threw himself at the king's feet, and begged the king not to blame him for any accident which might happen to befall the prince, since it was his own carelessness that had exposed him to the danger. At once, the king realized the danger of the prince's situation. He cursed the stranger and his fatal horse, and ordered his officers to seize him and carry him to prison. "If my son the prince does not return safely," said he, "in a very short time, your paltry life, at least, shall be sacrificed to my vengeance!" In the meantime, Prince Firouz was carried through the air with breathtaking speed. Soon he could scarcely see the earth at all. He tried turning the peg the other way, but when he did, the horse only rose further from the earth. He was greatly alarmed and began to regret his pride and anger. He turned the peg every which way but nothing worked. On examining the horse closely, he at last discovered another peg behind the ear. On turning that peg he soon found that the horse started to descend. As he drew near the earth, he realized it had already become already dark. Spotting a rooftop higher than all others, he landed the horse upon it and dismounted. Hungry and tired, he groped about and found he was on the roof of some large building. At last he came to some steps. Climbing down the steps, he found a door, then a light. He saw a number of guards asleep on pallets, with their swords lying beside them. This, along with the fact that this was the highest rooftop in the land, convinced him that he must be in a palace. He knew that if any of the guards awakened he would be in great danger, so he decided to quietly climb the steps back to the roof, and to sleep for the night in a dark corner, then before dawn to leave on his magic horse before anyone woke. But the princess had already been awakened by the sounds she heard on the roof. She instructed her guards to find out what had alighted and to bring the trespasser to her at once. The guards roughly brought the prince before her, and he fell on his knees. "Forgive me, princess, for awakening you," he said. "I am the son of a king, and one who has taken an entirely unexpected adventure, the particulars of which I would be happy to relate to you." The lady was the daughter of the king of Bengal. Many of her attendants by this time were awakened also. The princess told Firouz she would be glad to hear all about his adventure in the morning, but for the present asked him to withdraw. At the same time she ordered her attendants to conduct him to a chamber, and to supply him with food and refreshments. The next day, the prince remained a guest of the princess. Over the next few days the two of them got to know each other, and it was not long before they fell in love. One afternoon the prince said to her, "Ah, my princess, everything seems different now. I was thinking about that scoundrel who tried to trick his way into the royal family. He was a no-good louse to be sure, but he may be in prison or even executed on my account, when I know that I jumped on that horse before he had a chance to show me how it works." The princess said, "Are you thinking of going back now?" "Will you come?" he asked. The princess of Bengal was glad to agree. The next morning, she left a note so none would worry and they left at daybreak to the roof where the horse still remained. Prince Firouz helped the princess to alight. Turning the peg, they were out of
sight before any attendants in the palace were stirring. In thirty minutes the prince arrived at the capital of Persia. He landed at the prison. Indeed, the stranger was imprisoned there, and nearly beside himself since his execution was scheduled to take place the very next morning. The prince took the princess on his magic horse to a cottage in the woods not far from the palace. "Stay here while I go see my father," he said to the princess. "I'll show my father I'm well and urge him to hold the execution of the fellow who brought the horse. Most of all, I want to tell my father all about you, and I'm sure he'll prepare a suitable reception at the palace to welcome you." He explained to her the particulars on how to operate the magic horse, in the event she might need to flee for safety while he was away. Indeed, danger was lurking even as they spoke. A thief behind the bushes had overheard their conversation, all of it. "What luck!" he thought with glee, "a princess alone and a magic horse! I'll take her to the Sultan of Cashmere, who is seeking a bride, and gain a handsome reward." The thief waited for the prince to disappear into the woods, then sprang on the princess, mounting the magic horse, and holding her securely in front of him. Overjoyed at how easy it all was, he turned the peg exactly how he learned to do it, and the horse immediately rose into the air. Astonished was the prince on the ground to hear the alarmed cries of his lady love, circling overhead, as the magic horse dipped and dove from inexperienced hands, and he could do nothing about it. He cursed the kidnapper with a thousand curses. While the king was overjoyed to see his son, and at his request ordered a stay of execution for the seller of the horse, he understood why his son must leave again so quickly. The prince put on the clothing of a dervish, and determined never to return till he had found his princess again. The sultan of Cashmere was very impressed with the Princess of Bengal. Her distress at her kidnapping only added to her natural beauty. The Sultan delivered the promised reward and escorted the princess to his palace. He directed his attendants to bring the horse after them. The princess hoped the Sultan of Cashmere would prove honorable and reasonable and would return her to her beloved prince of Persia, but she was much disappointed. In fact, the next morning she was awakened early by the sound of trumpets and the beating of drums, which echoed through the palace and city. When she asked the cause of this rejoicing, she was told it was to celebrate her marriage with their sultan, which was to take place later that day. Desperate, there was only one thing she felt she could do. She rose and dressed herself carelessly, and in her whole behavior appeared to be unbalanced in her mind. The sultan was soon told of this strange development. When he came to visit her, she put on the appearance of frenzy, flew at him, and this she did every time he came into the room. The sultan was much disturbed, and offered large rewards to any doctor who could cure her, but whenever any doctors approached, the princess would fly at them, too, and beat her fists, so that all began to lose hope for her recovery. During this time, Prince Firouz, disguised as a dervish, had been traveling through many provinces, full of grief, and uncertain which way to go to find his beloved princess. With nearly all hope gone, he rested on a rock. Then who should happen to pass before him but the seller of the magical horse, more tattered looking than ever, whom his father had apparently released from prison.
"And where, I may ask, is the magic horse?" he said with a smile. "Has it proved as unpredictable a item to you as it did to me?" The two sat and shared their troubles. In the way of telling tales, the scruffy man related a story of a princess from Bengal had become mad on the day of her wedding with the Sultan of Cashmere. As he described the circumstances, a flicker of hope lit the prince's heart. Could this princess of Bengal be the same lost love he sought? The prince determined to find out. Arriving at the capital city of Cashmere, he put on the clothes of a doctor. Presenting himself before the sultan, he claimed that he could cure the princess. "First," said the pretend doctor, "I must see her where she cannot see me." So he was led into a closet, where he could watch her through a hole in the door. She was carelessly singing a song, in which she mourned her unhappy fate. "Yes!" he thought, trying to contain his excitement. "It is my bride!" When he left the closet, he told the Sultan that indeed the princess could be cured, but he would need to speak with her alone. The Sultan agreed. As soon as the prince entered her room, she began to rave at him in her usual furious manner, at which point he held her wrists and whispered urgently, "I am Firouz, the prince of Persia." The princess stopped raving at once, and the attendants withdrew, delighted at this proof of the doctor's abilities. In more whispers, the prince shared his plan with her. Then he returned to the Sultan. The pretend doctor shook his head, and said, "All depends upon a mere chance. You see, the princess, a few hours before she was taken ill, must have touched something enchanted. Unless I can obtain that something, whatever it was, I cannot cure her." The Sultan of Cashmere remembered the horse, which was still kept in his treasury. He showed it to the imaginary doctor. On seeing it, the young man said, very gravely, "I congratulate Your Majesty. This indeed is the magic object that enchanted the princess. Let this horse be brought out into the great square before the palace, and let the princess be there. I promise that in a few minutes she shall be perfectly cured." Accordingly, the following morning the magic horse was placed in the middle of the square, and the supposed doctor drew a large circle. He placed around it chafing dishes, with a little fire in each. The sultan, with all his nobles and ministers of state, watched with great interest. The princess was brought out with her head covered in veils, and led to within the circle. The pretend doctor placed her upon the enchanted horse. He then went round to each chafing dish and threw in a certain powder, which soon raised such a cloud of smoke that neither the physician, the princess, nor the magic horse could be seen through it. At that instant the prince of Persia mounted the horse himself. Turning the peg, while the magic horse rose into the air, he called down: "Sultan of Cashmere, a bride's heart must be won, not purchased!" The same day the prince of Persia and his beloved princess arrived safely at his father's court. Their wedding was immediately celebrated with the greatest splendor that had ever been seen in that land and they lived happily ever after.
Ali Cogia & the Merchant of Baghdad (Iraq)
Over a thousand years ago, in the reign of the famous Caliph Haroun al-Raschid, there lived in Baghdad a merchant who needed to travel on an extended journey. He sold nearly all of his household goods and rented out his home. The only thing left for him to do was to find a safe place to leave his private treasure - one thousand pieces of gold. Finally, he decided to put the thousand pieces of gold into a large jar and cover the gold with olives. When he had closed the mouth of the jar, he carried it to a friend of his, who was also a merchant, and said to him, "You know, my friend, that in a few days I plan to depart on my journey. I beg you to take charge of a jar of olives, and keep it for me till I return." The merchant promised that he would, and in an obliging manner said, "Here, take the key of my warehouse and set your jar where you please. I promise you shall find it there when you return." Ali Cogia's journey was extended much longer than he expected. In fact, he was seven years absent from Baghdad, when he finally decided to return. All this time his friend, with whom he had left his jar of olives, neither thought of him nor of the jar. One evening this merchant was supping with his family and the conversation happened to fall upon olives. The merchant's wife mentioned that she had not tasted any for a long while. "Now that you speak of olives," said the merchant, "you remind me of a jar that Ali Cogia left with me seven years ago. He put it in my warehouse to be kept for him until he returned. What has become of him I know not, though when the caravan came back, they told me he had gone to Egypt. Certainly he must be dead by now, since he has not returned in all this time, and we may go ahead and eat the olives, if they are still good. Give me a plate and a candle. I will fetch some of them and we'll taste them." "Please, husband," said the wife, "do not commit so base an action; you know that nothing is more sacred than what is committed to one's care and trust. Besides, do you think the olives can be good, after they've been kept so long? They must be all moldy and spoiled. Besides, if Ali Cogia should return and find that they had been opened, what would he think of your honor? I beg of you to let them alone." Nevertheless, after supper, the merchant entered the warehouse, found the jar, opened it and found the olives moldy. But to see if they were all in the same condition to the bottom, he shook the jar and some of the gold pieces tumbled out. The merchant noticed at once that the top only was laid with olives, and what remained was gold coin. He immediately put the olives into the jar again, covered it up, and returned to his wife. "Indeed, wife," said he, "you were in the right to say that the olives were all moldy for I found them so, and have made up the jar just as Ali Cogia left it. He will not notice that they had been touched, if he should ever return." In the days ahead the merchant thought only about how he might appropriate Ali Cogia's gold to his own use, and yet escape detection in case his old friend should return and ask for the jar. The next morning the merchant went and bought some olives of that year, and then secretly went and emptied the jar both of the old moldy olives and of the gold. Then, filling the jar entirely with new olives, he covered it up and put it in the place where Ali Coglia had left it. About a month later, Ali Cogia arrived at Baghdad. The next morning he went to pay a visit to his friend, the merchant, who expressed great joy at his return after so many year's absence. After the usual compliments on both sides on such a meeting, Ali Cogia asked the
merchant to return him the jar of olives which he had left with him, and thanked him for having kept the jar safely for all this time. "My dear friend," replied the merchant, "your jar has been no inconvenience. There is the key of my warehouse. Go and fetch your jar; you will find it where you left it." Ali Cogia went into the merchant's warehouse, took his jar, and after having returned the key, and thanking his friend once again for the favor, he returned with the jar to where he was temporarily lodged. But on opening the jar, and putting his hand down as low as the pieces of gold had lain, he was greatly surprised to find no gold pieces in the jar. At first he thought he might perhaps be mistaken, and to discover the truth, he poured out all the olives, but without so much as finding one single piece of gold. For some time, he stood motionless. Then he cried out, "Is it possible?" Ali Cogia immediately returned to the merchant. "My good friend," said he, "be not surprised to see me come back so soon. I know that the jar of olives is the same one I placed in your warehouse, but with the olives I put into the jar a thousand pieces of gold, which I do not find. Perhaps you might have used them in your business; if so, they are at your service till it may be convenient for you to return them. Only give me an acknowledgment of my loan to you, after which you may repay me at your own convenience." The merchant, who had expected that Ali Cogia would come with such a complaint, was prepared with an answer. "Friend Ali Cogia," said he, "when you brought your jar to me, did I touch it? Did I not give you the key of my warehouse? Did you not carry it there yourself? And did you not find it in the same place, covered in the same manner as when you left it? And now that you have come back, you demand one thousand pieces of gold. Did you ever tell me such a sum was in the jar? I wonder you do not demand diamonds or pearls! It is easy enough for you to storm into my house, make a crazy accusation, insult me, and tarnish my good name. Be gone!" These words were pronounced in such passion that those in the warehouse started to gather around. Neighboring merchants came out of their shops to learn what the dispute was about. Ali Coglia shared with one and all the injustice done to him by the merchant, and the merchant continued to hotly deny any wrongdoing. Ali Cogia speedily summoned the merchant to court. To the judge, Ali Cogia accused the merchant of having stolen his thousand pieces of gold, which he had left with him. The judge asked him if he had any witnesses, to which he replied that he had not taken that precaution because he had believed the person he entrusted his money with to be his friend, and always took him for an honest man. Then the merchant made the same defense he had before, saying that though it's true that he had kept Ali Coglia's jar in his warehouse, he had never once meddled with it. The merchant swore that as far as he knew, the jar contained only olives. Once again, he strongly objected that he should be brought to court on the basis of such unfounded accusations. He proposed to make an oath that he never had the money he was accused of taking, and to swear that he did not so much as know such a sum ever existed. The judge agreed to take his oath. After the merchant swore his ignorance of the entire matter, the judge dismissed the case for lack of evidence. Ali Cogia, extremely upset to find that he must accept the loss of so large a sum of money, returned to his lodgings and drew up a petition to seek justice from the Caliph Harun al-Raschid himself. He forwarded his petition to the officer of the palace, who presented it to the caliph himself. The caliph told the officer to notify Ali Coglia that an hour would be scheduled for the next day for the complaint to be heard at the palace. The officer was also told to notify the merchant to appear. That same evening the caliph, accompanied by the grand vizier, went disguised through the town as it was his custom occasionally to do. On passing through a
street, the caliph heard a noise. He came to a gateway through which he saw ten or twelve children playing by moonlight. The caliph heard one of the children say, "Let's play courtroom." As the affair of Ali Cogia and the merchant was widely discussed in Baghdad, the children quickly agreed on the part each one was to act.
The children will solve this case. How will they do it? How would you do it?
The pretend judge asked the make-believe Ali Cogia to speak. Ali Cogia, after bowing low, related every particular and begged that he might not lose so considerable a sum of money. The pretend judge turned to the merchant and asked him why he did not return the money. The child playing the part of the merchant gave the same reasons as the real merchant had done, and quite heartily, too. Then he also offered to give an oath that what he had said was the absolute truth. "Not so fast," said the pretend judge, "before you give your oath, I should like to see the jar of olives." The child playing the part of Ali Cogia bowed low, walked away and in a few moments returned. He pretended to set a jar before the judge, telling him that it was the same jar he had left with the merchant. The supposed judge turned to the makepretend merchant and asked him to confirm that it was in fact the same jar, which he did confirm. Then the judge ordered Ali Cogia to take off the cover, and the pretend judge made as if he looked into it. "They are fine olives," said he, "let me taste them." Pretending to eat some, he added, "They are excellent, but I cannot think that olives will keep seven years and be so good. Therefore we must call before this court some olive merchants, and let me hear what is their opinion." Two boys, posing as olive merchants, presented themselves. "Tell me," said the sham judge, "how long will olives keep fit to eat?" "Sir," replied the two merchants, "no matter how great the care taken of them, olives will hardly be worth anything the third year, for then they have neither taste nor color." "If that is so," answered the judge, "look into that jar and tell me how long it has been since those olives were put into it." The two merchants pretended to examine and to taste the olives, and told the judge that they were new and good. "But," said the judge, "Ali Cogia himself said he put them into the jar seven years ago." "Sir," replied the merchants, "we can assure you they are of this year's growth, and we will maintain that any olive merchant of repute in Baghdad will say the same." The pretend judge pointed an accusing finger at the merchant. "You are a rogue," he cried, "and deserve to be punished!" The children then concluded their play, clapping their
hands with great joy, and seizing the feigned criminal, they pretended to carry him off to prison. Words cannot express how much the caliph admired the boy who had passed so just a sentence, in an affair which was to be pleaded before himself the very next day. "Take notice of this house," said the caliph to the vizier, "and bring the boy to me tomorrow, that he may appear in court with me to try this case himself. Take care also to remind the real Ali Cogia to bring his jar of olives with him. And bring two olive experts as well." The next day Ali Cogia and the merchant pleaded one after the other at the palace before the boy, whom the caliph had seated on the throne beside him. When the merchant proposed his oath to the court as before, the child said, "It is too soon. It is proper that we should see the jar of olives." At these words Ali Cogia presented the jar and placed it at the caliph's feet. The boy asked the merchant whether this was in fact the jar that had been left in his warehouse for seven years, and the merchant agreed that it was so. Then the boy opened the jar. The caliph looked at the olives, took one and tasted it, giving another to the boy. Afterwards the merchants were called, who examined the olives and reported that they were good, and of that year. The boy told them that Ali Coglia had said that it was seven years since he had put the olives in the jar. Therefore, the boy concluded, the jar must have been tampered with since that time. The wretch who was accused saw plainly that the opinions of the olive merchants would convict him. He confessed to his crime, and revealed where the thousand pieces of gold were hidden. The fortune was quickly located and restored to Ali Cogi. The caliph sternly told the merchant that it was good for him that he decided to confess and to return the gold; that otherwise he would have received one hundred floggings in addition to his sentence of ten years in prison. The caliph turned to the judge who had tried the case before and advised him to take a lesson from the child so that he would perform his duty more exactly in the future. Embracing the boy, the monarch sent him home with a purse of a hundred pieces of gold as a token of his admiration.
Two Grains of Sand A Valentine's Day Story from Iraq
It HAPPENED THAT a great and hot wind sprang up from the west. The very skies were blackened with sand, and the face of the sun was hidden from the world. A young traveler was making his way over the desert, and he knew not where to go and which way to turn. The sandstorm was so strong he could not even see the ears of his horse. He thought, "My only hope is to go with the direction of the wind. If I stop, the poisonous wind will burn my lungs, and my body will be covered by sand. If I go in any other direction I will surely lose my way and die." So he covered his face with his headcloth and went in the direction of the wind. In time, his horse found a tower. "At last!" he thought, much relieved. "Here is shelter from the evil wind!" So he and his horse entered the cool, dark shelter of the tower. As he was brushing the sand from his eyes and hair, he heard a voice. It said, "Are you human, or are you Genie, or are you an evil spirit of the wind?" The man, whose name was Ali, replied: "I am human, what are you?" Then, before his eyes there arose a young woman, moon-faced and rose-sweet, slim as the young palm, and her glance pierced the heart of Ali. She said, "I also am human, but I am lost in this storm. I was blown by the wind, and I don't know where to go for fear of the poison-wind and the dread wind spirits flying in the sky." Ali said to the young woman, "Here we have shelter until the poison-wind dies down. But tell me, what is your name?" The young woman answered, "As to my name, I shall tell you nothing concerning it. As for you, I must not talk or have conversation with you, since I am a maiden and you are a man." Ali greatly desired to learn the girl's name and to talk with her. He led her to the door of the tower and pointed to the howling clouds. He said, "The whole of the air is full of sand, and there is no space in which there is not a particle of sand!" The maiden said, "Yes, it is indeed so!" Then Ali asked, "Does one grain of sand fear another grain of sand and avoid contact with it? Rather, the grains of sand have no fear from one another as they are blown about by the wind. You and I are but grains of sand blown together by the wind. We cannot fear one another nor can we avoid one another, for this is our fate." The young woman saw that Ali spoke the truth. She said, "My name is Salma, and I am daughter to Hussein." Ali and Salma spent the day in wholehearted conversation, while the storm blew with the greatest of furies. The hours passed by quickly, and it came about the Salma and Ali both fell asleep. When Ali awoke, the world was dark and Salma was gone. He rushed to the door of the tower, and saw that the wind was still and that the storm had passed. When he tried to follow Salma's tracks in the sand, he lost them.
Ali grieved, though he was not willing to weep. He worried, "She is a daughter of the Arabs, and the Arabs are as numerous as the grains of sand in the desert. Where, then, shall I find Salma, daughter of Hussein, amongst these millions? For she did not tell me where she lived. Two grains of sand may come together in a storm, but now they are parted and what shall bring them back together?" Ali wandered throughout the land, questing and searching for the young woman Salma. Such was his grief at her loss, that he did not even stop to comb his hair or cut his beard. He asked inevery town and village, "Does Hussein live here and has he a daughter Salma?" Yet none answered him and his men thought him mad, for they thought, "There are hundreds upon hundreds of men named Hussein and hundreds upon hundreds of maidens named Salma. What can we know concerning the maiden he seeks?" So Ali wandered from town to town and from tribe to tribe. He could do no work nor engage in any occupation, since he could think only of his lost love. One day, as he wandered thin and weary, on his horse which had also become lean and hungry, the rain came to the world, and a river rose and burst over its banks. Ali and his horse came near to drowning in the floods. Seeing a mound in the distance, he swam and plunged through the mud with his horse until he reached it. He fell forward with his lungs near filled with water and his stomach faint from lack of food. He was near to death by the mound, but a young woman plunged into the water and saved him and his horse. Imagine Ali's amazement to realize that the maiden who had saved him was Salma! She looked into Ali's face. She smiled and said, "When two grains of sand are blown together by the wind, the wind only blows them apart. But when two grains of sand can find one another again, they stay together forever after, nor do they ever part."
Two Brothers (Hebrew/Arab)
ONCE THERE WERE two brothers who inherited their father's land. The brothers divided the land in half and each one farmed his own section. Over time, the older brother married and had six children, while the younger brother never married. One night, the younger brother lay awake. "It's not fair that each of us has half the land to farm," he thought. "My brother has six children to feed and I have none. He should have more grain than I do." So that night the younger brother went to his silo, gathered a large bundle of wheat, and climbed the hill that separated the two farms and over to his brother's farm. Leaving the wheat in his brother's silo, the younger brother returned home, feeling pleased with himself. Earlier that very same night, the older brother was also lying awake. "It's not fair that each of us has half the land to farm," he thought. "In my old age my wife and I will have our grown children to take care of us, not to mention grandchildren, while my brother will probably have none. He should at least sell more grain from the fields now so he can provide for himself with dignity in his old age." So that night, too, he secretly gathered a large bundle of wheat, climbed the hill, left it in his brother's silo, and returned home, feeling pleased with himself. The next morning, the younger brother was surprised to see the amount of grain in his barn unchanged. "I must not have taken as much wheat as I thought," he said, bemused. "Tonight I'll be sure to take more." That very same moment, his older brother was also standing in his barn, musing much the same thoughts. After night fell, each brother gathered a greater amount of wheat from his barn and in the dark, secretly delivered it to his brother's barn. The next morning, the brothers were again puzzled and perplexed. "How can I be mistaken?" each one scratched his head. "There's the same amount of grain here as there was before I cleared the pile for my brother. This is impossible! Tonight I'll make no mistake - I'll take the pile down to the very floor. That way I'll be sure the grain gets delivered to my brother." The third night, more determined than ever, each brother gathered a large pile of wheat from his barn, loaded it onto a cart, and slowly pulled his haul through the fields and up the hill to his brother's barn. At the top of the hill, under the shadow of a moon, each brother noticed a figure in the distance. Who could it be? When the two brothers recognized the form of the other brother and the load he was pulling behind, they realized what had happened. Without a word, they dropped the ropes to their carts and embraced.
Yuuki & the Tsunami (Japan)
F OR AS LONG as people can remember, the shores of Japan have been swept from time to time by enormous tsunamis. These awful sudden risings of the sea are caused by earthquakes or by underwater volcanic action. The story of the boy Yuuki is the story of such a calamity. Yuuki lived with his family in the village. His grandfather, who had passed away several years before, had taught Yuuki much about raising rice crops, solving disputes, and a great deal about the ways of the world. His grandfather had been the most respected and wealthiest resident of the village - its headman. Now Yuuki's family cultivated the enormous fields of rice that his grandfather had passed on to them. Yuuki's village was nestled by the shore below a small mountain. One day, Yuuki was playing on top of the small mountain, watching the preparations below for a festival that was going to take place very night to celebrate an wonderful rice crop. All of a sudden, Yuuki felt an earthquake beneath his feet. It was not strong enough to frighten anybody, but Yuuki, who had already felt dozens of shocks, thought it was odd - a long, slow, spongy motion. The houses below, by the sea, rocked gently several times, then all became still again. Soon after, Yuuki noticed something even more strange. The sea darkened all of a sudden and it seemed to be rushing backward, toward the horizon. The sea was actually running away from the shore very fast, leaving behind wide stretches of beach that had never been exposed before. With a gasp, Yuuki suddenly remembered the words of his grandfather. His grandfather had told the boy how his own father's father had told him that just before a terrible tsunami, the sea suddenly and quickly rolls backward. Yuuki, his breath heavy, ran down the mountainside to warn the people of the impending danger. Already many had run to the beach to witness the spectacular new stretch of ribbed sand. "Get back, get back!" shouted the boy. "There is terrible danger!" "What are you talking about, Yuuki?" laughed one person. "Look at all the great new shells on the beach!" "No, no! You don't understand!" cried Yuuki. "You must run away! Up to the mountain! Everybody!" But no one would listen to him. They all laughed in his face and carried on romping in the new sand and watching the sea roll backward even more. Desperate, Yuuki could think of only thing to do. He lit a pine torch and hurried with it to the fields. There hundreds of rice-stacks stood golden and dried in the sun. He touched the torch to the edge of each one - hurrying from one to the other as quickly as his legs could carry him. The sun-dried stalks instantly caught fire; the strengthening sea breeze blew the blaze forward. Soon the stacks burst into
flame. Yuuki, terrified, ran after his friends and family calling, "Fire! Fire! Everyone run to the mountain! Quick!" The people hurried from over the beach, like a swarming of ants, though to Yuuki's anxious eyes the moments seemed terribly long to him. All the while, the sea was fleeing even more quickly toward the horizon. The whole village was moving up the mountain now. The growing multitude, still knowing nothing, looked horrified at the flaming fields and at the destruction of their homes and their livelihood. "Yuuki is mad!" cried one of the boys when they had all reached the top. "He set fire to the rice on purpose: I saw him do it!" "Yuuki, is this true?" said Yuuki's mother and father, frowning deeply. Yuuki hung his head. Just then, someone cried, "Look!" At the edge of the horizon a long dim line like the shadowing of a coast where no coast had even been - a line that thickened as they gazed, that broadened in the way a coast-line broadens when one approaches it, yet much more quickly. For that long thin line of darkness was the returning sea, towering like a cliff, and raging swiftly toward them. "A tsunami!" shrieked the people. Then all shrieks and all sounds and all power to hear sounds were annihilated by a nameless shock heavier than any thunder, as the colossal swell struck the shore with a weight that sent a shudder through the hills, and with a burst of foam like a blaze of sheet lightning. Then for an instant nothing could be seen but a storm of spray rushing up the slope like a cloud, and the people scattered back in panic from the mere menace of it. When they looked again, they saw a white horror of sea roaring over the place of their homes. It drew back, tearing out the land as it went. Twice, three times, five times the sea struck the land and ebbed, but each time with surges less strong. Then finally, the sea returned to its normal place and stayed there, though still raging, as the sea will do after a hurricane. On the mountain for a long time no word was spoken. All stared speechlessly at the desolation below, at the wreckage and debris that was scattered over what was left of their village. "I'm sorry I burned the fields," said Yuuki, his voice trembling. "Yuuki," said his father softly. "You saved us all." And the villagers swept up Yuuki and raised him into the air. "We were going to celebrate our rice harvest tonight," said one, "but now we'll celebrate that we're all still alive!" And they cheered with relief and admiration at the brave Yuuki, who that day had saved over four hundred lives.
The White Tiger (Korea)
Long ago in a village near the Kumgang Mountains in Korea there lived a young boy. His father had been missing since he was a baby, and the boy knew very well the reason why. An enormous White Tiger still lived in the Kumgang Mountains who had tormented the village for years, coming down to prey not only on horses and cattle, but even on the human beings who lived there. Years ago, his father, who had been the finest hunter and gunman in the land, ventured into the Kumgang Mountains to shoot the White Tiger and to save the village. He had never returned. When the boy was still small he already decided deep in his heart that when he grew up, he would be the one to shoot down the tiger that had overpowered his father. As soon as he was allowed, he trained rigorously with the gun and became almost as good a gunman as his father had been. When he was fifteen years old, the boy went to his mother and said, "Mother, I'm ready now to set out for the Kumgang Mountains to find the White Tiger and defeat him. Please, let me go." The mother did not want to lose her son, too. With tears in her eyes, she said, "Even a famous marksman like your father was lost to the terrible White Tiger. Please, son, quit dreaming about such nonsense and stay safe here at home." "Don't worry, Mother," the son cried. "I shall find the White Tiger, I know it!" Finally the mother said, "Very well, as you wish. But first let me ask you one thing. Your father used to have me stand with a water jug on my head. Then he would shoot off the handle of the water jug from one mile away without spilling any water. Can you do the same thing?" When he heard this, the young son immediately tried to match his father's skill. He had his mother stand one whole mile away, with a water jug on top of her head. He took careful aim, but missed. So he gave up his idea of going to the mountains and instead, practiced three more years with the gun. After three years, he tried again. This time he succeeded in knocking off the handle of the water jug on his mother's head without spilling a drop of water. Then the mother said, "Actually son, your father was able to shoot the eye out of a needle from one mile away. Can you do this?" The son asked his mother to place a needle in a tree trunk. Then he walked back for one mile. Taking careful aim, he let go a shot, but missed. Once again, he gave up the idea of going to the Kumgang Mountains and settled down to another three years of practicing even harder. At the end of three years, he was 21 years old by that time, he again tried the same trick. This time, with the crack of his gun, the eye of the needle fell to the ground. Now in fact, what the mother had told her son about the amazing feats his father used to be able to do, were all lies. The mother had thought that if she told him impossible tales about the father, that the boy might give up his crazy idea of seeking the terrible White Tiger. But now that he had actually succeeded in performing each of the feats she told him her husband could do, the mother could not help being impressed with his determination. So she gave permission for him to leave for the Kumgang Mountains. The son was thrilled. He immediately set out. At the foothills he came across a small inn. An old woman, who was the innkeeper, asked the young man why he had come. He told her that his father had been a victim of the White Tiger years ago and that he had practiced for many years to avenge his death.
The old innkeeper then said, "Ah, yes, I knew your father. He was the greatest gunman in all the land. Why, he stopped here at this very inn, many years ago, before venturing into the Kumgang Mountains. Can you see that tall tree over there in the distance? Why, your father used to turn his back to that tree and then shoot down the highest leaf on the highest branch from over his shoulder. If you can't do the same thing, how can you expect to defeat the White Tiger?" The hunter's son, when he heard this, said he also would try. He placed his gun over his shoulder and took aim and shot. But he missed. He knew then that he still wasn't ready, and he asked the old innkeeper to let him stay with her a while. From that day, he kept practicing shooting over his shoulder at the tree. After three more years, he was finally able to shoot down the highest leaf on the highest branch. Then the old innkeeper told the hunter's son, "Just because you can do that, it still doesn't mean you can outshoot your father. Why, your father used to set an ant on the side of a cliff and then, from a distance of three miles away, he would shoot that ant off without even scratching the surface of the cliff. No matter what a fine gunman you may be, certainly you can't match that." The young man then tried to do what the old innkeeper said his father had done. Again he failed at first and had to practice three more years. Like the young man's mother, it turns out that all that the old innkeeper had told him had been made up because she, too, only wanted to save his life. But the hunter's son, not questioning her once, had practiced until he could do the tasks she said his father had done. The old innkeeper was filled with amazement. "With your skill now, surely you will avenge your father's death." So saying, the old innkeeper prepared a bag with many rice balls for him to eat along the way. The hunter's son thanked her and started out along the path leading into the heart of the Kumgang Mountains. The young man pressed deeper and deeper into the mountains. For days and days he wandered through the wilderness. After all, the Kumgang Mountains have twelve thousand peaks and stretch over a vast area, and he had no means of knowing just where the White Tiger was hidden. So he wandered on through the vast mountain ranges. One day, while the hunter's son was seated on a big rock nibbling a rice ball, a ragged old woman stumbled up to him and said, "Excuse me, sir. Could you spare an extra rice ball for me?" The hunter's son handed the old woman several rice-balls, which she ate ravenously. Then the old woman said, "We don't see many strangers this deep into these mountains. What brings you here?" When the hunter's son explained, the old woman shook her head vigorously from side to side. "Nay, good fellow," she said. "Forget about shooting the terrible White Tiger. He is too quick. As soon as the tiger desires to pounce, his next prey is gone. From one day to the next, we never know whether we are going to survive to see the morrow. You are a young man. You ought best to leave these mountains at once and go back home while you're still alive!" Then the hunter's son replied that no, he would not be persuaded to leave. He described how hard he had practiced for so many years, and that now, with his skill, he knew he could smite the White Tiger after all. "Well," sighed the old woman, "if you are so sure, then you should know that the only way to shoot the White Tiger is to shoot him when all you see is but a white dot on the horizon. If you wait a single moment too late," here she shook her finger, "or if you miss your first shot, believe me, all will be will be lost for you." The old woman left. The hunter's son immediately took to scanning the horizon until he was entirely familiar with every curve and shadow on each mountainside far and wide. Thus he waited for hours, his gun at readiness. While the sun was setting, a single white dot appeared in a fraction of a moment on a distant mountainside. No dot had been there the moment before, the young man was certain of that. Instantly, he fired at the white dot. His heart pounding, he raced toward the mountainside where he had aimed his shot. And there he came upon the felled White Tiger, nearly as big as a mountain itself. It
had collapsed with its mouth open, ready to swallow its next prey -- him! Astonished by its size and thrilled that he had actually defeated the legendary beast, the son stepped into the dead tiger's throat. Inside the tiger's mouth, he followed a black tunnel. Eventually, he came to a vast room as large as a fairground. This was the giant White Tiger's stomach. Then the young man came upon an unconscious girl who lay huddled in a heap. The young hunter took the girl in his arms and nursed her until she awakened. The girl looked into his face and thanked him with all of her heart. She then revealed that she was the daughter of the king's highest advisor, who was famous in the capital city. The young girl told him how just the night before, the great White Tiger had stolen her away while she was washing her hair outside on the veranda of her home. Suddenly, the two of them heard what sounded like a human voice. Puzzled, they groped in the dark toward it. When lo! The voice belonged to an old man crouched in the corner. Who was it but none other than the boy's father! He had survived all these years inside the White Tiger's stomach on the prey swallowed by the great beast. The father and son rejoiced in having found one another at last. Then together with the young girl, the three of them escaped through the tiger's mouth and found that they were in the middle of a large field. The young man skinned a portion of the tiger, for he wanted to take home as a remembrance the beautiful white tiger-skin. Taking the young girl by one hand and his father by the other, he proudly returned home, where his mother was waiting for him. Words cannot describe her joy to see not only her son come safely back home, but her long lost husband, too! Then the young hunter took the maiden to her home in the capital city. Her father cried tears of joy to see his daughter returning safe and sound. In gratitude, her father welcomed the young hunter into his family to become his daughter's husband and to be heir to his name and fortune. The young man's mother and father proudly attended their son's wedding day. And the young man and his bride lived happily ever after in the grand mansion of the king's highest advisor.