Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales , at sacred-texts.com
Unhappily, however, the Padishah was taken ill and died, in spite of the attention of the most skilful physicians and learned hodjas of the kingdom. Bitter lamentations ascended from the whole serai, but they availed nothing. A stately mausoleum was built and the remains of the late ruler laid to rest within; then the Shahzada, who was in his twenty-fifth year, ascended the throne.
Years passed away, and being one day somewhat indisposed he resolved to seek change of air by making a tour with his lala. Not overburdening themselves with luggage, they mounted their horses, halting not until they had accomplished a day's journey. They continued their onward course until they reached a spring in the midst of a wide plain. The bubbling water was partly hidden by trees; the meadows around them were covered by sweet-smelling flowers. It was like a smiling garden, and the ice-cold water of the spring was refreshing and reviving. When the Padishah, who since his father's death had grieved continually, saw this, he said to his lala: "I am charmed with this place; let us sit down that I may lave my feet in this cooling stream and afterwards rest." The lala was encouraged to hope that the loveliness of this spot would assuage his master's grief. They sat down, drank coffee, and lighted their chibouques. Throughout the evening they heard the songs of nightingales, and so agreeable was the spot that they found it hard to leave it. "I must stop here some days longer," said the young Padishah, "for surely this delightful place is without compare in all the world." The lala agreed that it was indeed delightful, yet as it was in the desert they could not well remain there at night. "Then for the present we will remain tonight only," said the Padishah; "but in a few days we will come here again."
After they had been sitting some time, the Shah arose and walked to and fro. "Inshallah," he said, "I will have a kiosk built here, where I may pass my summers." While speaking, they saw in the distance an old man approaching with a jug in his hand. Presently he came up and filled his jug at the spring. The Padishah's curiosity being excited he exclaimed: "O father, who are you and whence do you come?" The old man answered: "At half an hour's distance is a kiosk belonging to a maiden called 'Little Hyacinth.' This spring also is hers. She comes here every year to spend three days. Forty Dews guard her. How did you dare to come here? I advise you to depart quickly before you are observed, or you will be put to death."
Though alarmed, the Padishah was also curious, and asked the old man who this maiden was to live in such a place, guarded by forty Dews. The old man smiled, and repeated his warning. "I am sorry for you," he said, "but you must hasten away from this neighbourhood." The Shah, however, would not give in. The old man observed the remarkable beauty of the youth. Surely there could not be a handsomer man in the world? He was as beautiful as their Hyacinth as like as one half. apple is to its corresponding half. Therefore he now said: "young man, at one hour's distance, behind a high mountain, dwells the mother of the Dews that guard the maiden. Go there and seek her protection, and ask her how you may see Hyacinth."
The Shah determined to follow the advice of the old man, and set off with his lala. In due time they crossed the mountain, and there saw a sight that might cause the stoutest heart to quail. A Dew woman, tall as a minaret, sat in the valley, one leg upon the mountain and the other stretched out before her. She chewed a piece
of resin as large as a house, and the sound made thereby could be heard two miles off. When she breathed she caused a whirlwind which blew up sand and earth; and her arms were eight yards long. The two men were so frightened and bewildered that they were hardly able to greet her as "Mother," and embrace her as they had been instructed. They managed the feat, however, and the old woman answered: "I should have crushed you like flies if you had not embraced me and called me Mother. Who sent you here?" Trembling from head to foot the Prince replied: "O Mother, at a well we met an old man, one of the servants of Little Hyacinth, who warned us to come to you if we would escape death. O Mother, how looks Little Hyacinth? Since first I heard her name I have had no peace, and I must see her."
"Little Hyacinth is of wonderful beauty," answered the woman. "Her equal does not exist on earth. Many have attempted to see her, but none have succeeded, though nearly all of them have died for her. I have forty sons who guard her kiosk by day and by night. They never allow so much as a bird to approach her. Put the idea out of your mind; otherwise you will die, and that would be a pity."
Nevertheless the Shah implored: "Deign to help us, Mother, and I will repay you." He begged so long and so humbly that the Dew-woman softened at length, and changing the lala into a broom and the Padishah into a tobacco-box, which she put in her belt, she set forth and in three strides was at the kiosk. She now took from her pocket a handful of sand, strewed it about the floor, and said to the transformed Shah: "Fear nothing. At present the Dews are all asleep. Go straight to the chamber wherein the maiden lies sleeping. Do nothing more, however, than take the ring from her finger and bring it to me." The Padishah took courage and entered the chamber where the maiden was sleeping. What a sight met his gaze! The choicest words could not accurately describe the maiden. Her arms glistened like turquoises, and as she lay in bed she looked truly like a houri from Paradise. His
eyes were dazzled by the sight of her, and he almost lost his presence of mind. However, remembering the words of the Dew-mother, he drew the ring from her finger and hastened back to the giantess. She picked him up, and in three strides they were back at her house, where she changed him into a jug and set him beside her. Waking from sleep next morning the maiden observed that her ring was missing from her finger. "Where can I have put it? she mused. "Perhaps it has fallen down somewhere." She searched the kiosk, but in vain she sought it in the garden, equally in vain. Then she called the Dews and questioned them, but they did not know. The maiden was angry and scolded them; so they went in forty different directions to seek the missing ring, but failed to find it. After, wards they went to their mother and asked her whether
Click to enlarge
He kissed her cheeks
she knew anything about it; but their mother answered them: "Have you lost your wits? Can anyone enter the kiosk so long as we are here? Who knows? Probably the frivolous girl has dropped it somewhere." And she sent her sons away.
When she awoke next morning, Hyacinth observed that now one of her earrings was missing, Very angry at this second outrage, she sent for the old man, who, though he well knew what had happened, answered: "My daughter, no bird flies over here, no caravan passes, no snake crawls here. That you have been robbed is impossible; perchance the rings fell in the grass when you were walking. I will seek, and if I find either or both I will bring them to you."
With such words he attempted to calm the maiden. She was not so easily satisfied, however, and said: "Those are mere words. It is certain that some one has entered my chamber and stolen my jewellery." She then made the Dews understand that if anything further happened to her she would know what to do. Throughout the day she was exceedingly angry.
At the Shah's earnest supplication the Dew-mother took him again to the kiosk, but forbade him to do more than kiss both cheeks of the maiden and return quickly to her. Full of joy, the youth entered the chamber. But the maiden, owing to her excitement, could not sleep and was gazing round her. As soon as her eyes lit on the handsome youth she was overcome with rapture. He, however, thinking she slept, kissed her
cheeks, and was about to depart when she clasped him in her arms, saying: "Darling of my heart, how came you here? Fear not; I am yours. I have now found that which I have long sought." The Shah could hardly believe his good fortune, and overcome by the maiden's loveliness, he swooned away. She brought him to consciousness with rose-water, and they talked with one another until daybreak.
Then said the maiden: "Henceforth I am yours and you are mine. I will never part from you although I cannot leave this place. If you love me, remain here." The Padishah replied: "O my Sultana, I am a king. When travelling one day I saw a spring in this neighbourhood and resolved to build a summer residence near it." Then he told her all his adventures. "If that is the case," said the maiden, "let us go to your capital city for our marriage and afterwards divide our time between your country and mine." Calling the Dews, they all went together to the Dew-mother, and the maiden said: "O Mother, we have found each other, and we go hence. May Allah bless and protect you"
The Dew-woman replied: "Go safe and sound; but send me forty sheep daily or you will not prosper." "We owe you so much," said the Padishah, " that I will gladly send the forty sheep daily, and your sons shall continue to guard this place."
Thus they departed, and in due time arrived in the Padishah's capital. The whole serai turned out to welcome them home. The Grand Vezir was summoned, and the betrothal took place. Then followed forty days and forty nights of revelry and rejoicing, and on the forty-first their union was solemnized.
They lived together in perfect harmony and bliss to the end of their long lives, partly in the Padishah's realm and partly in Hyacinth's kiosk; and never once did they forget the daily toll of forty sheep to the Dew-mother.