Story From Arabian Nights - From The Pit To The Throne

 From The Pit To The Throne

Long long ago, in a certain village lived a nobleman named Abu Sabir. He was the headman of the village. Abu Sabir was courageous and intelligent but what is more, he was an ardent believer in God. He had this absolute faith that if one prayed to God and depended on Him for everything, God will never let one down. One day an officer of the Sultan was killed near his village. Those who killed him were bandits and they fled. But the Sultan's wrath fell on the villagers. His soldiers came and plundered the village. Abu Sabir's house too was not spared. "You should meet the Sultan and tell him how your forefathers had served him. His soldiers ought not to have done to you what they did," Abu Sabir's wife told him. "Indeed, the Sultan has been utterly unjust. But I need not take any step in this regard. He will suffer the consequence of his wickedness in due course. He cannot escape it," said Abu Sabir. 

A spy heard this and reported to the Sultan. Furious, the Sultan himself rode into the village and drove Abu Sabir, his wife, and their two sons out of their house. He then ordered their house to be burnt down. Abu Sabir's wife wept. But said Abu Sabir, "Have faith in God and have patience. He alone can set things right." They were walking along a lonely road when a horde of brigands fell upon them. The family carried nothing valuable. But the brigands led their two sons away. They intended to sell them as slaves. Abu Sabir's wife broke down. Abu Sabir tried to console her and knelt down and prayed to God for rescuing him from the unfortunate situation. By sunset, they could see a village on a river. Abu Sabir asked his tired wife to wait on the river bank and he went into the village to look for shelter. A man riding a horse stopped near Abu Sabir's wife. She looked charming to him. "Whoever you be, I'll like to marry you. Come with me," said the man. "For heaven's sake, leave me alone. I am married and my husband is nearby," replied the lady. "In that case, I should not tarry here. I must go but be sure, not without you," said the rider. He got down and at the point of sword compelled the lady to get onto the horse. Then he rode away along with her. "Kidnapped!" is the word the lady had been able to scribble on the sand. Abu Sabir read it upon his return. He wailed and walked aimlessly like a mad man. By morning Abu sabir was in a town. The king was constructing a new apartment near his palace.

A large number of slaves were at work. The king's men caught hold of Abu Sabir and obliged him to join the laborers. A few days passed. One day a laborer fell from the top rung of a ladder and broke his leg. He cried with pain. "Have patience," said Abu Sabir. "Patience and Prayer are always rewarded." "But I have already suffered much. How long to wait?" asked the man in his agony. "From the very bottom of a pit one can rise to the throne if God so wishes," replied Abu Sabir. It so happened that the king was just behind them. Abu Sabir's comment annoyed him. "From the bottom of a pit to the throne, eh? It seems quite easy! Good. We will be pleased to throw you into a pit so that you can ascend the throne!" said the king. The king's bodyguards caught hold of Abu Sabir and threw him into a pit that was inside the palace. It was a dungeon which the cruel king sometimes used for punishing those with whom he was displeased. Some food was thrown into the dungeon every day. Days passed. Abu Sabir was forgotten.

The king, who was a tyrant did not know how unpopular he had grown. One day there was a sudden rebellion among his ministers, courtiers, and the commanders of his army. The king was killed. Years before that the king had thrown his only brother into the dungeon. He had died. Now the nobility rescued Abu Sabir from the dungeon and mistaking him to be the king's brother, made him the king. Abu Sabir's first work was to comb the kingdom for bandits and brigands. He led the army himself and captured several gangs of them. With one gang he found his lost sons. He put the gang to death. He was riding by a village when he saw a rich man whipping a woman in the street. Abu Sabir galloped forward. A glance at the woman was enough for him to know that she was his kidnapped wife. "Why are you whipping her and where are you leading her?" asked Abu Sabir. "She is my wife. But she does neither speak to nor look at me. She is absolutely useless to me. I am going to sell her as a slave," replied the man, terrified at the sudden confrontation. "You wicked fellow! She is not your wife! For your sins you surely deserve death!" shouted Abu Sabir.

His guards took hold of the trembling man. Abu Sabir ordered him to be beheaded. Arranging to send his sons and wife to his palace Abu Sabir led his army against the Sultan who had unjustly driven him out of his village. The Sultan was defeated and killed. Abu Sabir annexed his Sultanate to his kingdom. Back in the palace, Abu Sabir called a conference of all his ministers, commanders, and noblemen and said, "Friends, you must be thinking that I am no less of a tyrant than the previous king, who, you think, was my brother. But let me tell you my story." Abu Sabir revealed who he was and why he destroyed the gang of bandits and killed the man who was whipping a woman and also why he attacked the Sultanate and killed the Sultan. "My friends, they deserved to be treated in this way. Bearing untold agony in my heart I waited with patience for my chance. I have only done justice when the chance came. None of them deserved any mercy," he concluded. The people marveled at his patience. Abu Sabir ruled for long as a just king.

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