Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales , at sacred-texts.com
While they were engaged in recovering their arrows darkness came upon them, and not only was the search for the arrows futile, but they could not even find each other.
The youngest, how ever, espied a small light in the distance, and as he was benighted and unable to find his way home, he went in its direction. In course of time he came to a serai, around which forty men were gathered. Accosting them and asking what they were doing, he was answered: "We are robbers who for many years have been trying to get into this serai, but so far
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we have been unable to accomplish our purpose." After some investigation the young man discovered a place where he could scale the wall. He climbed up, and when he had reached the top he invited the others to follow him one by one. As they came up he cut off their heads and threw their bodies into the courtyard. When all the forty had been destroyed in this manner he entered the serai and began to wander through the halls and corridors.
While engaged in this manner he came upon three rooms, in each of which was a beautiful maiden asleep. These he disposed of in his mind, intending to marry one himself and give the others to his elder brothers. Then he stuck his handschar in the door of the apartment occupied by his chosen one and departed.
Morning broke and found him near the spot where his arrow had fallen. All three arrows were eventually recovered, and as it was seen that the youngest brother had shot the farthest he was set upon the throne with suitable pomp and ceremony.
On the morning following the youth's adventure with the robbers, the old Padishah of the serai arose and found the handschar sticking in the door of his youngest daughter's apartment. He attempted to withdraw the weapon, but could not. He called his servants, but they had no better success. Then he issued a proclamation that whosoever should be able to withdraw the handschar from the door should receive the Princess in marriage. Suitors came from many lands, but none could be found to pull the weapon from the door. Only the three brothers remained, and these were now invited to come and test their strength and skill. First the eldest tried but without success; the second brother was equally unfortunate; but when the youngest grasped the handschar he released it without apparent effort and replaced it in its sheath.
Then said the Padishah: "My son, my daughter is yours." "But I have two brothers," observed the young man. "Then they shall have my two eldest daughters," rejoined the Padishah. The triple marriage
ceremony was performed forthwith, after which the three brothers with their wives mounted their horses and rode away.
As they went along something came like a lightning-flash from the cloudless sky, tore the maiden from the lap of the youngest brother, and disappeared with her. It was a Dew; and the forty robbers whose heads the youngest brother had cut off were his servants, who had undertaken the task of carrying away the maiden at the behest of their master.
Now the young man said to his brothers: "Go home with your wives, and when I have found mine I will follow you." With these words he parted from them to prosecute his difficult and dangerous enterprise.
Wandering up hill and down dale, over forest and meadow, he met a Dew-woman, the mother of the Dew who had carried off his bride. When he saw her he was afraid and said to himself: "She will surely cut me to pieces." Nevertheless he approached her with apparent boldness, embraced her, and accosted her as "Mother." "My son,"
returned the Dew woman," whence do you come, and whither do you go?" He informed her of the object of his journey, and the woman said: "The Dew who bore away your wife is my son, who has for years been seeking an opportunity to carry her off. It will be very difficult to take her from him, but nevertheless you can try. Go the way I will show you, and you will meet my elder sister. Greet her from me, and perhaps she may be disposed to help you."
The youth accordingly set out; and when he found the Dew-woman's elder sister, he embraced her, addressed her as "Mother," and delivered his message. Afterwards he recounted his trouble and begged her aid. This Dew-woman now dispatched him to another elder sister, who might be able to help him.
Again he set off, came to the eldest sister, and having exchanged greetings, related his trouble and begged for help as before. The old woman then said: "It is a hard task to reach the Dew's abode, but I will tell you of a means whereby you may succeed. Seek a certain place by the sea shore and wait there for a space of forty days. Once only in that period the young sea. horses come to the shore.
Take a skein of wool in your hand, and should you succeed in catching one of the creatures bring it here. We will then feed it and train it for forty days, after which you may mount it and it will convey you wheresoever you desire to go."
At these words the youth mounted the horse and set off directly for the abode of the Dew. Arrived there they found him sleeping. When the Princess saw her husband she cried: "O my Shahzada, now is the time to rescue me and to escape for when the Dew awakes he will kill us." Quickly the Prince seized his wife, lifted her beside him on the horse's back, and away they went.
After they had gone, the Dew's horse neighed and woke the sleeper, who locked round and saw that the maiden was missing. Like a lightning-flash the Dew bestrode his horse and gave chase.
By constant pinpricking the youth endeavoured to increase his horse's speed. The horse himself was in despair. "O my Shahzada," he exclaimed, "my father is coming; he will surely catch us." At this the Prince buried the pin up to its head in the horse's body, and the brave animal made a frantic effort to reach the Dew-mother. As soon as she saw them she shouted: "Now you have nothing further to fear; otherwise he would have caught you both before this and torn you to pieces. You can now depart with your wife, but forget not to send me a man every day. If you fail in this, I shall visit you at night while you sleep and devour both you and your wife."
In the meantime his brothers awaited their arrival. They rejoiced to see them both, and celebrated their homecoming with forty days and forty nights of feasting and revelry.
No wonder that in the midst of all this merrymaking the Prince forgot one day to send a man to the Dew-woman. The result of this negligence was that the Dew-woman appeared that same night, as the Prince and his wife slept; she carried off the bed with its occupants, and next morning they woke to find themselves in her clutches. The Prince's despair was deepened by the melancholy reflection that the misfortune was due solely to his own thoughtlessness. The Dew-woman, moreover, reproached him for his ingratitude, and made preparations to eat them both. He wept and implored her mercy so piteously, however, that at length the Dew-woman pardoned him on condition that he should repair the omission as soon as he arrived back home. Promising to do so, they were set at liberty. While on the way home, being tired, they sat down to rest, and the Prince, with his head on his wife's knees, fell asleep. Suddenly the Dew appeared and carried off the Princess before the youth was sufficiently awake to make any attempt to prevent him.
At the bottom he found himself in a garden containing many trees and flowers, so magnificent and delightful that he imagined himself in Paradise. He saw also innumerable birds, which, as soon as they observed him, flew at him, crying: "O son of men, why have you come to us, and what do you want here?" Immediately the Shahzada turned to the Padishah
and related his grief. "O youth, how was it possible for a son of earth to penetrate here?" demanded the King of the Peris. The Prince pointed to the bird that had carried the water, and the Padishah beckoned it to him, saying: "Take this youth wherever he wishes to go. Should misfortune befall you, exclaim but 'My shah!' and I will deliver you."
The bird took the Prince on its back and flew away with him direct to the place where the Dew lived. They delivered the Princess, and flew up with her to the seventh heaven. The Dew followed, but he could not find them, and so went back disappointed.
The danger now being over, the bird flew down with the youth and the maiden to the well, and conducted them before the Padishah, who addressed the Prince as follows: "If henceforth you will be known as Shah Meram and your wife as Sade Sultan, there is no cause for fear; but beware of using your former names by mistake." The youthful pair took careful note of their new names and departed on their homeward journey.
Arriving there by good fortune in safety, they celebrated their wedding a second time by forty days of feasting and revelry.
On the forty-first night the Dew penetrated to their sleeping-chamber, picked up the Princess, and was carrying her off again, when she woke up and shrieked: "Shah Meram!" "What ails you, Sade Sultan?" demanded the Prince. At these words the Dew was turned to stone, and in the morning he was carried out and set up for a statue by the pond in the garden of the Palace.
The Shahzada and his Princess took their daily walks in the garden, and often sat down by the pond. Sometimes they forgot the Peri-Padishah's warning, and called each other by their original names, when the stone Dew split and cracked. Seeing this, however, they quickly repaired their fault by addressing each other as Shah Meram and Sade Sultan, which caused the stone to close together again, so that the Dew was not delivered from the spell upon him.
One day when they were sitting by the pond the stone statue split asunder, and to their amazement they saw the Dew step forth. "Oh, woe is me, Shah Meram!" shrieked the Princess; and the Shahzada, instead of sprinkling the stone with water, drew his handschar and attacked the Dew. The latter grasped the youth round the waist and was about to carry him off when the Prince cried: "O Sade Sultan!" Immediately the Dew was changed again into stone and fell into the pond, the water of which was dyed with blood.
A few days afterwards they were again sitting by the pond and looking at the stone, when there appeared the dervish the Princess had seen in her dream. "If you had done exactly as I told you," he said, "gold and diamonds, and not blood, would have come from the stone. Beware of saying, 'Had we only done so,' lest the Dew even now appear again and carry you off in such wise that you may never meet any more."
When the dervish had disappeared the Shahzada said earnestly: "Let us henceforth shun this place, O my Sade Sultan, for if we should by chance forget again, there is no further prospect of deliverance." So they forsook the garden for ever. Blood continues to flow from the stone and the pond is quite full, but beyond the garden the Prince and Princess pass their lives in happiness and peace.