Sheherazade and Shahriar

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Many, many years ago, there was a large kingdom. The kingdom stretched all the way from Persia to China. It then crossed the borders of China into India where the holy Ganges flowed. For early four hundred years, this prosperous kingdom was ruled by a royal dynasty.

The kingdom reached its zenith under a particular kind-hearted and just king who was also an able administrator. This king had two sons. These young princes were named Shahriar and Shahzaman. They loved each other very much. After some years, the just king died of old age and soon enough, Shahriar, the elder son took up the throne. He declared Shahzaman to be the king of great territory which was an area of the Persian Empire.

In due time, Sultan Shahriar took a beautiful woman to be his Sultana. He decked her up in the choicest of precious jewels. He loved his Sultana more than his own life. But after some years Sultan Shahriar came to know that his wife had been unfaithful to him. She was also a very disloyal woman. As he was a just king like his own father, he followed the just way. So he sentenced his wife to death as was the custom of the land. He ordered his Wazir to carry out this cruel task.

For many days after that, the Sultan mourned of his wife. Then, in his anger, he decided that all women of the world are disloyal. To avenge himself, he started a cruel practice. Everyday he wed a new girl and put her to death the next morning. Each time the Wazir was appointed for this task and he had to obey the Sultan's order half-heartedly. All the citizens of the Sultan's kingdom were angry and grieved with this.

One day, the Wazir's elder daughter Sheherazade said, "Father, the Sultan's cruel ritual is not liked by anyone. I think I can put an end to it."

"Dear, that would be wonderful! All of the women and even the people of the city will be ever grateful to you. But how will you do this?" asked the Wazir.

"By marrying the Sultan." Sheherazade declared. The Wazir was shocked. Then tears welled up in his eyes. "Dear daughter, you know what fate awaits you the morning after the wedding. I can't kill my daughter with my own hands."

But Sheherazade persisted and the Wazir gave in though with a heavy heart. The Wazir went to the Sultan and told him that his daughter wished to be his wife. The Sultan was surprised but agreed to the marriage because he knew Sheherazade was a very beautiful girl.

The next day, the Sultan married Sheherazade in grand fan fare. As a gift in marriage, Sheherazade asked her father to let her sister Dinarzade accompany her to the palace. At night, Sheherazade addressed Dinarzade, "Dear sister, I'll ask the Sultan to let you stay with me tonight. Just before dawn, you must wake me up and ask me to tell you a story. Then I'll start my plan."

"But how will that save your life?" asked Dinarzade.

"Just wait and see," said Sheherazade with a smile.

When the Sultan came, Sheherazade said, "Your Majesty! tonight is the last night of my life. I request you to let my dear sister Dinarzade, sleep with me."

The Sultan agreed. Early before dawn, Dinarzade woke up Sheherazade and said, "Dear sister, one last time will you tell me one of those fascinating stories you know?" "A story," exclaimed the Sultan.

"Yes, I know many stories. Please let me tell a story as my last wish." the Sultan agreed again.

Sheherazade then started telling stories which went on for one thousand and one nights. They were so interesting that the Sultan could not kill his wife before learning what happened next.

Thus, the clever Sheherazade began her story.
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Copyright: Proverb ©

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