The Faqir and the Princess

There was once a Faqir who used to go begging from house to house. One day he went to the king’s palace and began begging for alms in his usual manner. Hearings the Faqir’s voice, the king’s daughter came to the door and offered him charity with her own hands. The princess was very beautiful, and no sooner had the Faqir set eyes on her than he fell in love with her. So when he left the palace, the visited the shrine of Loe Zwan, and prayed: ‘I am very poor. I have fallen in love with the king’s daughter and would like to marry her. I can not give you anything in return, but if you are willing to grant my prayers, I am willing to lay down my life for you.’

Loe Zwan heard this prayer and decided to put the Faqir to the test. That night the saint appeared to the Faqir in a dream, and said: ‘You must go th the king and ask him for his daughter’s hand in marriage.’ So the Faqir set off for the king’s palace. There he introduced himself and greeted the king. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said.

‘And peace be with you too,’ answered the king. ‘What is ti that brings you here?’ ‘You have a daughter and I have come to ask for her hand in marriage,’ the Faqir replied. The king looked the Faqir up and down disapprovingly. ‘What should I do with him?’ he said, turning to his vizier. ‘I suggest that you order deep well to be dug,’ said the vizier. ‘Tell the Faqir that he can marry your daughter when he has filled the well with diamonds. Since he could never do such a thing, you will be rid of him once and for all.’

The king instructed his guards to dig a deep well, and when they had done so, he said to the Faqir: ‘If you can fill this well with diamonds, I will give you my daughter’s hand in marriage.’

When the Faqir heard this, he visited the shrine in once again, and said: ‘Master, I asked the king to give me his daughter’s hand in marriage, but he told me that I would first have to fill a well full f diamonds. What can I do? I am utterly penniless. Please can you help me?’

The voice of the holy man answered: ‘Tomorrow morning, go to the king and tell him to look in the well. When he looks, he will find it full of diamonds.’

So the next morning the Faqir once again presented himself at court and addressed the king: ‘Now will you allow me to marry your daughter? I have fulfilled your condition: the well is full of diamonds.’

When the king and the vizier went to examine the well, they were amazed to discover that it really was full of diamonds. Then the king turned to the vizier for advice. ‘What am I to do now? I can not give my daughter to this man.’

‘Have seven well dug,’ replied the vizier, ‘and tell him that one well is not sufficient, and that he must fill all of them with diamonds.’

The king had seven wells dug, and said to the Faqir: ‘If you can fill all these wills with precious jewels, you can marry my daughter.’

For the third time, the Faqir went to the shrine of Loe Zwan. ‘O holy master,’ he prayed, ‘please fill the seven wells with precious jewels, otherwise the king will not give me this daughter.’

Loe Zwan appeared to the Faqir in a dream, and said: ‘ shall go to the king myself and speak to him.’

That same night Loe Zwwan lifted the king’s bed into the sky, then woke him up, and said: ‘Why do you refuse to marry your daughter to the Faqir?’

When the king looked around him and discovered that his bed was suspended in the sky far above the ground, he was terrified. At once he asked for God’s forgiveness, touching each ear with the right hand to ward off evil, and began pleading with Loe Zwan to bring him back to earth: ‘If you bring me back to earth again, I not only promise to give the Faqir my daughter but also my kingdom.’

So Loe Zwan told the king to close his eyes. The king did as he was told, and when he opened them again, he found himself lying on his bed in the palace. As soon as the Faqir came, the king ordered the mullah to perform the marriage ceremony. Then he arranged for his daughter to e transported with the Faqir in a fine palanquin.

The first thing that the Faqir did after kissing his new bride was to rake her to the shrine of Loe Zwan. He made her wait in the palanquin and entered the shrine alone. He then took out a shrp knide and cut off his head, thereby fulfilling his vow.

The princess’s brother, who knew nothing of his sister’s marriage, was returning from a hunting expedition. As he was passing the shrine, he decided to go in and pray. Just as he was about to enter, he saw his sister in the palanquin. He was overcome with wrath. ‘You have put us all to shame. You have come here to meet your lover,’ he said.\

The princess tried her best to explain. ‘Today my father married me to a Faqir, and after the marriage ceremony, my husband brought me to the shrine, he left me here while he went inside. I have been waiting for him for some time, but he has not come out yet.’

Learning that his father had given his sister’s hand in marriage to a common Faqir, the price grew even more furious. So he drew his sword, entered the shrine, and killed himself.

Meanwhile, the princess waited and waited, and wondered what had happened. ‘First the Faqir went in and never returned,’ she thought, ‘and now my brother has done the same,’

When the princess entered the shrine and saw the Faqir and her brother lying dead on the floor, she was stricken wit grief, and she too decided to kill herself. She had picked up her brother’s sword, and was about to cut off her head, when she heard a voice: ‘Princess, do not kill yourself. Take the severed heads of these two men and place them close to their bodies.’

The princess was so upset and confused that she put the Faqir’s head on the prince’s body and the prince’s head on the Faqir’s body. She covered them with her veil and prayed to God to restore them to life. Then she lifted the veil and the two men rose to their feet. This is my wife,’ said the Faqir’s head. ‘This is my sister,’ said the body to which it was attached.

The prince and the Faqir were about to start fighting when a loud voice said: ‘Be quiet!’ The voice then addressed the princess: ‘Cut off both heads, and place each head o the correct body.’

The princess asked the two men to lie down. Then she cut off their heads, and placed the Faqir’s head on the Faqir’s body and the princes’ head on the prince’s body. She then covered the two bodies with her veil and prayed to God to restore them to life again. God restored them to life. The prince asked God’s forgiveness and returned to his father’s palace. But the Faqir and the princess remained in the shrine.

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