Stories From Arabian Nights - Adventures Of A Prince

 Adventures Of A Prince

The king of Egypt sent his greetings and goodwill to an Arab king. In return, the emperor decided to despatch his son to deliver a message of goodwill to the foreign king. The prince, along with his bodyguards, set out for Egypt. He carried a variety of gifts loaded on mules. But when they happened to pass by a range of hills, a gang of bandits came galloping towards them. "Look here, we are royal emissaries heading for Egypt!" shouted the prince. "We care not!" the bandits shouted back and fell on the party, slaying the guards and driving the mules away with them. The prince jumped off his horse and fled. One of the bandits hurled his spear at him but narrowly missed him. The prince walked through the desert for days and at last, reached a small town. He found an old tailor seated in his shop. He went up to him and greeted him.

"You seem to be a stranger to this place!" observed the tailor. The prince sat down near him and narrated his story to him. The tailor said, lowering his voice, "My son, never reveal your identity to anyone. Know that the king of this land is an arch-enemy of your father. He would not spare you if he comes to know who you are!" The prince thanked the tailor for the information. "I must earn my livelihood. I know many languages and am well versed in the law. Can I get a job here?" The tailor laughed. "My son," he said, "nobody in this town has any respect for languages or law. They know only one thing, to earn money by hook or by crook." The tailor introduced the prince to some woodcutters. One of them gave the prince an axe on loan. The prince accompanied them to the forest every day to cut wood. He maintained himself with the money he earned by selling wood. He continued to live in a corner of the tailor's shop. One day he went far into the forest and decided to fell a very old tree. Upon going closer to it, he cast his look at the dark hollow of the tree. It looked as if something glittering was there at the bottom of the hollow. He stepped into the hollow and found it to be a metal cover. He removed it. Down went a passage with marble steps. Quite surprised, he descended along with the steps and soon stood inside an enchanting castle. He peeped into room after room until he saw a charming young lady lying on a velvet sofa. The lady gave out a cry in surprise and joy when her eyes fell on the prince. "I see a human being after years!" said she.

"But who are you and how are you here?" she asked. The prince told her his story and said, "I am sure, I am talking to a nymph." "Oh no, I'm as human as you are. I am a princess. On the eve of my marriage, a terrible ogre kidnapped me. He has kept me a prisoner in this underground castle, although he supplies me with everything I might need. Once every ten days he visits me. I am under a spell and that is why I can never escape!" said the princess. "How many days are there for his next visit?" asked the prince while being sumptuously fed by the princess. "Six days," said the princess. "But there is that drum. If I beat the drum, he will appear any moment. But who would wish to see the rogue? I have never used the drum. He is very much annoyed with me that I never call him." "What right has that brute to keep you as his prisoner? Let him appear and I shall put an end to him!" shouted the prince and lifted his axe to beat the drum with it. "Stop, please!" shrieked out the princess. But the prince's axe had already shattered the drum. "What did you do?" cried out the princess. Sense dawned on the prince a bit too late, when there was a deafening sound and the earth parted and a gigantic figure emerged. The axe fell off his hand. 

"Fly away dear, fly away!" whispered the princess. The prince climbed the staircase and escaped. Soon after he was back in his lodge, someone knocked on his door. He opened the door and saw a fellow standing with an axe. "I found this axe lying in the forest. Other woodcutters told me that it belongs to you. Is it really yours?" "Yes, indeed, but..." "Ha! Ha!" The prince looked up at the roaring laughter. The fellow changed into the terrible ogre that he was and took hold of the prince and dragged him to the open. The prince swooned away. When he came back to his senses, he was inside the underground castle. Before him sprawled the princess, her legs and hands bound. "At first I thought that she has called me because she liked me. But when I found the axe here I knew somebody had intruded, but she would not confess it. So, this is her reward!" The ogre at once killed the princess. The prince shut his eyes in horror. Then the ogre dragged the prince out of the castle and flew away holding him and descended on an island and said, "I do not intend to kill you. I shall change you into a baboon or a donkey or an owl. Say what you would like to become!" The prince was at his wit's end. "Since you cannot choose I choose for you!" So saying the ogre cast a spell on him and changed him into a baboon. He then flew away, leaving him on the island. 

A few days later a ship lay at anchor off the island. The baboon hopped on to its deck. "Kill it!" shouted the mariners. But the baboon reached the captain of the ship in a leap and shed tears placing its head on his feet. "This creature seeks my protection. Nobody can kill it!" announced the captain. Something unexpected happened. The king of the island had lost his wise minister. He sent a group of heralds with a scroll to meet every educated man, native or foreigner. Each of those met was to write down a line or two on the scroll. The king would find out from the writings who was the wisest man and appoint him to the post of his minister. When the captain and the leading members of his crew had written whatever they could, the baboon snatched away the scroll. "He will spoil it!" shouted several voices. But the captain who had somehow developed a different idea about the baboon, said, "Wait and let us see what it is doing!" Though the prince, after becoming a baboon, had lost his speech, he had not lost his capacity for writing. He wrote a few couplets.

When the heralds returned to the king and showed the scroll to him, he said, pointing at the baboon's writing. "Here is the wisest man. Dress him in the ministerial robes and bring him at the head of a procession!" "Your Majesty, he is only a baboon!" said the heralds. "How dare you joke with me!" growled the king. "Your Majesty, this is no joke. We have never known anything more surprising. But the fact is, the writer is a baboon!" said the heralds. "Is that so? Very well, bring him in the manner we should have received a chosen minister," said the king. So the baboon was purchased from the captain. He was dressed gorgeously and brought in a procession. The people of the island who lined the road were greatly amused. The king, after reading some more passages which the baboon wrote, was satisfied that he had met the wisest creature in the world. He carried the baboon into the palace and summoned his dear daughter. He wished to introduce the amazing animal to her. The princess came running, but at the sight of the baboon, she stopped and drew the veil over her face. "Must you feel shy before a baboon, my daughter?" the king asked with some surprise. "Father, this is no baboon, but a young man under a spell." "How did you know?" "Father, my old nurse, who is no more, knew many charms. She passed them on to me. I can instantly know when one is under a spell." "Do you know how to liberate him from his spell?" asked the king. "I know. That of course will mean my having to give a fight to the terrible ogre who has cast the spell on him. But I will dare it because I understand that this young man has been reduced to this condition in his bid to save a young lady from the ogre." 

The princess brought a cupful of water and recited an incantation on it and said, looking at the baboon, "If God has made you a baboon, remain a baboon. But if you are a baboon because of someone's mischief, become what you truly are." Then she splashed the water on the baboon's face. It trembled and changed into a man. But the very next moment, with a deafening sound, there appeared the ogre. "Who is there to undo what I had done?" he thundered forth. Then he changed into a lion and rushed upon the princess. At once the princess tore a hair from her head and uttered an incantation and blew on it. It changed into a sword. She struck the lion with it and beheaded it. The lion's corpse burst into flames and sparks and it reduced to a heap of ashes. The prince was saved by the princess. The prince left the island thanking the princess, promising the king that he will return with a lot of gifts as a sign of goodwill and returned to his kingdom. 

For Audio Story Check Below:

For More Bedtime Stories  Click Here