Once there lived a rich farm owner. In his farm, there were many cattle. The merchant happily lived with his wife and children. The merchant had a unique capacity to understand the language of different animals. The unique talent was the blessing of a sage. However, the sage had warned the merchant against revealing the secret to anyone. He had cautioned him that the disclosure would bring death for him.
The farm owner would often enjoy the conversation between the animals of his farm. One day, he overheard the conversation between the bull and the donkey of his farm. The bull was saying to the donkey, “How lucky you are! You do not have to work hard like me. You get good food and clean space to live. Whereas, I face all the hardship of the life. I have to work in the field tirelessly from dawn to dusk. And, at the end of the day I get dry fodder as my food. I often suffer ill treatment from the field worker at the working time. My shed does not get proper cleaning. Thus, I have to spend my nights in dung filled shed. My life is the tale of misery.” The tears rolled down from the eyes of the bull.
The donkey said, “O bull! Your present condition is the result of your own foolishness. You are always willing to work. Even if you are tired, you stretch yourself to work more. You are not well fed, because you accept and eat whatever leftovers are thrown in front of you. Now I am giving you a piece of advice and you follow it. Tomorrow when the herdsman comes to take you for fieldwork, you pretend to be ill and do not get up. When they bring dry fodder for you, turn your head and refuse to eat. If you follow on it, you will lead a comfortable life like me.” The bull promised the donkey to act according to his advice.
So on the next day, when the herdsman came to take the bull to the field, the bull pretended to be ill. The herdsman returned to the master and informed about the bull’s sickness. The farm owner who had already heard the conversation between the bull and the donkey, asked his man to plough the field with the help of donkey instead of bull. Hence, the herdsman returned to the shed, took the donkey and went to the field. He then put a yoke on donkey’s neck and began the work. Whole day he made the donkey work in the field. The donkey had no habit to work so hard. He often stopped and would get canes on his back as a punishment. Throughout the day, the donkey worked under scorching sun. By the evening he was numb tired. Anyhow, he dragged himself to the shed. His whole body was paining due to work and punishment. He was angry and regretful for giving the uncalled for advice to the bull.
However, the bull enjoyed the leisure that day. He did not have to work. Complete day he enjoyed his food and kept on lying. When the tired donkey returned to shed, the bull thanked him happily for giving such a wonderful advice. But the donkey was repentant for giving such an advice, which proved dearer for him. He did not utter a single word.
The bull said further, “Dear friend with the grace of your kind advice, today I enjoyed a comfortable day. Tomorrow also I will stick to your advice.”
Hearing this the donkey hurriedly said, “No – No, don’t repeat it again. I have heard our master instructing the herdsman that if your illness continues and you refuse to eat and work, you should be sold to the butcher. So when herdsman comes to take you for work, go forth right with him, else you’ll die in the hands of butcher.”
The bull got scared and agreed to follow the donkey’s advice.
The farm owner and his wife were standing out of the shed. The master who had capacity to understand the animal’s language laughed aloud to hear the donkey’s changed recommendation.
The master’s wife who was unaware of their conversation found her husband’s laugh very strange. She asked her husband, “What made you laugh so loudly?”
The master tried to evade his wife’s query with some excuse. But wife was not satisfied with her husband’s evasive answer. She remained adamant. Seeing no way out, the master said, “Listen, if I disclose the reason for my laugh, I would certainly die. So please do not ask about it. But then, the wife was even more curious to know the reason. She said stubbornly, “Now you must tell me, why did you laugh! It seems you laughed at me, that’s why you are hesitating to reveal it.”
The farm owner unsuccessfully tried to convince her but his vain wife callously refused to understand his problem and believe his words. When the relatives, neighbours and village Kazi heard about it, they too tried to discourage her. But she was not worried for her husband’s life. She said to her husband pointedly, “You’ll have to reveal the secret. I don’t bother even if it costs your life.”
The farm owner was helpless in front of his aggressively dominating wife. He felt his death sure. He came out of his house sadly and walked up to his farm. Suddenly he heard the dog of his farm saying to the cock, “Today is the dark day for all of us. Our master is going to die.”
The cock asked, “Why is he going to die?”
The dog said, “His wicked wife is insisting to reveal the reason for his laugh. Today he is going to reveal the secret and now his death is sure.” The cock replied, “If this the reason for his death then he should die. He has no right to remain alive, if he cannot control his one wife. Look at me! I have my fifty female mates. They all are well under my strict control. They all obey me. If today our master is going to die, he is dying because of his own foolishness and incapability.”
The dog asked the cock, “What do you think, how our master should bring his ill tempered wife on the right track?”
The cock said, “He should take a solid stick and should thrash her sound. This remedy will certainly make her obedient.”
The farm owner realised the wisdom of cock’s word. All his gloominess vanished. He took a solid stick, went to his wife, called her in the bedroom and there he gave her a solid, sound beating. Frightened by her husband’s changed behaviour, she begged his pardon. She vowed not to trouble him again and promised that she would never ask the reason for his strange laugh.
Then on the master’s aggressive and stubborn wife turned into an obedient and well-behaved wife.
Shahrazad heard the story but remained adamant on her decision and even threatened to go to the king by herself, if not sent by her father.
The helpless Wazir had no choice but to comply. He apprised the king about his elder daughter’s wish to marry him. The king was very much surprised to know about it. He asked, “Doesn’t she know the fate of my brides?”
The Wazir replied, “Your Majesty, my daughter is well aware of the fact. Even then she insists to marry you.”
The king was amazed to hear this. He discouraged the Wazir from marrying his daughter to him. At last, he also bowed down to Shahrazad’s strong determination and agreed to marry her. The beautiful Shahrazad arrived at the king’s palace in an elegant bridal gown. The precious jewelleries adorned by her were adding to her immense beauty. Strong fragrance was coming out of her body. Her beautiful face looked bright with confidence.
Shahrazad accompanied her younger sister Dinarazad to the palace. Below coming to the royal palace, Simhrazad said to Dinarazad, “O dear- sister, tonight you stay with me . when clock strikes midnight, you’ll insist me to tell a story.” Dinarazad listened to Shahrazad’s briefing and nodded her head in affirmation.
When Shahrazad appeared before the king, he was stuck by her extraordinary charm. Despite his hatred for women, he was unable to remove his eyes from her pretty face.In the evening, Shahryar was married to Shahrazad.
As per Shahrazad’s instructions, Dinarazad came to Shahrazad at midnight. She said, “Dear sister! Every night, I sleep after listening a story from you. Tonight is the last night, when I’ll be able to hear a story from you. Please tell me an interesting story, which can help me in sleeping.” Shahrazad sought permission from Shahryar to tell her sister a story. The king readily agreed. Shahrazad began her story. The story was beautiful. As the story proceeded, so it increased in the excitement. Shahryar, who was also listening to the story, was so much bound by the exciting tale that he did not realize when the night had ended and the bright dawn arrived. When the story was on its climax, Shahrazad said, “Dear sister, please forgive me for not be able to complete this story. Night is over and so is my time on this earth. Soon I’ll be killed as per the custom.”
The king was completely engrossed and was very much curious to know the end of the tale. He said, postpone your death till tomorrow. Tonight, you can complete your wonderful tale.” Saying this, the king moved out of the chamber.
When the day ended and darkness spread, the two sisters again sat together. The king, who was extremely curious to know the remaining story also sat with them. The wise Shahrazad ended the story beautifully. Dinarzad then demanded her sister for another story, as the night was yet to pass. So was the charm of Shahrazad and of her story that the king himself was keen to listen to another story. Shahrazad started another story and again left it incomplete at its climax when the day broke. The king again postponed the killing for the new day in order to hear the remaining story. The clever Shahrazad got the lease of life for one more day. With the fall of the night, she resumed the story and after the end, she started another story and again left it incomplete in the morning when the story was at the point of great interest. Shahryar postponed thekilling for one more day.
It went on for a thousand and one nights. The wonderful stories had the right balance of joy, adventure, wisdom and courage. The king stayed with Shahrazad for thousand and one long nights. He was so much impressed by her extraordinary charm, gentleness and wisdom that at last he accepted that he would no longer live without her. He started loving her from the depth of his heart. Her love and dedication removed all his malice and bitterness towards women. He accepted and announced her as his queen.
He then advised his brother Shah Zaman to many Dinarzad, who was parallel to her sister in beauty and wisdom.
Later on, Shahryar commanded the royal scribes to pen down the wonderful stories told by Shahrazad.The stories were named as ALF (ore thousand) LAILAH (nights) or The Arabian nights. These world-famed stories are full of adventure, strangeness and fiction.