The story of the first fakir – Alif Laila
First the fakir stood on his knees in awe and said, ‘Beautiful, now listen carefully how my eye went and why I became a fakir. I was the son of a great king. The emperor’s brother i.e. my uncle was also the owner of a nearby kingdom. My uncle had a son my age and the other child was a daughter. I used to go to my uncle’s place every year as per my father’s orders and used to stay there for a month or two. My friendship and affection with my cousin increased greatly due to such visits several times.
‘One day I saw that my cousin was extraordinarily pleased. He entertained me more than ever, made me delicious food and entertained me with various games and spectacles. Then he said to me, ‘After you left last time, I have built a palace very quickly and very beautifully. It’s night now, I want to sleep, then I’ll show you the new palace. But the condition is that you take an oath that you will not tell this secret to anyone.’
‘I was pleased to do so. He got up and went and brought a beautiful woman with him in no time. Neither did he tell who this woman is, nor did I ask about her. The three of us sat down and started talking here and there and started drinking wine from the pots. After sometime my cousin said that let’s go from here. He told me that you go to the cemetery with this woman and wherever you see a new tomb with a dome in the cemetery, then understand that this is the entrance to the same palace. You both go inside the dome and see my way.
‘I came out with hand in the hand of the same woman and walked towards the cemetery. It was a moonlit night, so we had no difficulty in finding a new tomb with a dome. When we went inside the dome, we saw that the prince was standing alone with a lime basket, a jar of water and the necessary tools. When we reached, he dug up the ground with a shovel. There were stone blocks under the soil, which he took out and kept aside. A door appeared under the stones. When the door of the door was raised up, a wooden ladder appeared to go down.
‘My cousin now told the woman that following this path will lead to the door which I mentioned to you. Hearing this, the woman got down from the ladder. The prince also went after him. Before leaving I told me that I am grateful to you for the hard work you have done for us, but now I bid you farewell. Yes, for God’s sake keep this a secret. I asked a lot where are you going and what is all this happening but he did not tell anything, only said that by putting soil on the door, level the ground and go back by the same path you came.
‘Forcibly I went back to my uncle’s palace by putting soil on the door. I was in a state of hibernation after getting drunk and my head was hurting, so I went to my room and slept. When I woke up in the morning, remembering the account of the night, I was very worried and also wondered whether what I saw in the night was a dream or a truth. I told a servant that you go and see if my brother has got up and changed his clothes or is he still sleeping. He returned and told that he was not in his bedroom at night and no one even knows where he has gone, so his servants and relatives are very worried and no one can understand what Do it.
‘I also got very worried about this matter and I went to the cemetery again. I spent the whole day searching for the dome tomb but could not find it. Similarly, for four days I went to the cemetery to look for my brother, but nothing was found about him or his house.
‘Beautifuls, it is also necessary to mention here that in those days my uncle, that is, the king there, was not in the capital for many days because he had gone on a hunt. It was too late for his return so I was very upset. I wanted to go back to my father’s kingdom. I told the minister that this time I have been here more than usual and my father will be worried about me, so I am leaving, you should tell him this when the emperor comes. The minister himself was very worried because there was no news of any search for the prince. I myself could not tell him anything because the prince had made me promise not to say anything.
‘When I came to my father’s capital, I saw a large army around the palace. On seeing me, the soldiers took me captive. I asked angrily what do they do, then one of the chieftains said, ‘Prince, this army is not yours but your enemy’s. After the death of your father, the minister has taken over your kingdom. He has ordered to arrest you and said that wherever you meet you should be caught. Now you have come to us by your own destiny.
Saying this the chieftain took me to the tyrannical minister who was now sitting on the throne. It is easy to understand how much pain and guilt I must have felt. That evil spirit was my enemy from the very beginning. The reason for this was that in childhood I was very fond of slingshot. One day I was standing on the roof of the palace with a slingshot when a bird came out flying from the front. I hit him with a slingshot. Coincidentally, that piece of stone hit the same minister’s eye as he too was walking on the roof of the building adjacent to him. His eyes exploded. When I came to know, I myself went to him and apologized to him for the unintentional crime. He didn’t say anything but he never forgave me and was always on the lookout when he would get the opportunity and take revenge on me. Therefore, when he saw me helpless and incapacitated, he got down from the throne in anger, remembering the old thing, and hurriedly came to me and put a finger in my right eye.
‘He didn’t just do that. He locked me in a cage and ordered the executioner to take it out of the city and kill it and cut its body into pieces and feed it to the birds and animals. The executioner came out of the city on a horse and took away the cage in which I was locked on another horse. There were other servants to help him. Going into the forest tied my hands and feet and took out a sword to kill me. I started weeping very humbly and begging for life and reminded the executioner that he had eaten my father’s salt for years. At last the executioner took pity on me. He left me and said, ‘You leave this country immediately. Do not turn your face towards this side even after forgetting. If you come here you will be killed, I will also get the death penalty.’
‘I did a great favor to the executioner and thanked God lakhs and lakhs, even though my eyes were lost; But life has been saved, it is better to be Kana than to be dead. I was in a bad condition with hunger and thirst and eye problems. I was not able to walk. He hid in the bushes of the forest during the day. Slowly hiding and hiding in the night, walking slowly on unknown paths reached his uncle’s capital in several days. When I told my uncle the whole situation of my misfortune, he started eating like a leftover and said, ‘Who will be more unfortunate than me. What was less saddened by the disappearance of my son was the news of the death of my brother, whom I loved more than my life. Where do I find my son now?’ And he cried for hours remembering his son for a long time.
‘ His constant cries broke my patience. I was not capable enough to keep the promise I had given to my cousin. So I narrated the whole story to my uncle which I had seen that night. The uncle was relieved to hear this and said, ‘Son, you are right. I also came to know that he has built a domed tomb i.e. Mazar near here. He could be there. But he did not tell this secret to anyone. Disguised as night, my uncle and I came out of the garden gate of the palace and reached the cemetery. I was surprised to see that we found the grave in no time. Maybe I couldn’t reach the right place when I came alone.
‘I immediately recognized the grave. We went inside the dome. The iron door, under which the ladder had gone, opened with great difficulty because the prince had closed it firmly by applying lime etc. from inside. When the door opened, first uncle got down and then I went. After going some distance, he saw that there was foul smelling smoke in the door. When we went ahead, I saw that there was a beautiful seating area and there were many lamps giving enough light. There was a tank in the middle around which food items were kept. But the place was completely deserted. Then we saw that there is a platform on one side and after that there is a room with a curtain on the door.
‘Uncle climbed the ladder to the platform and lifted the curtain and went inside. I also went backwards. We saw the prince lying on a bed with the same woman I had seen earlier. But there was such wrath of God on him that both had become black like coal. It was as if someone had thrown them alive into the blazing fire and took them out and laid them on the bed before they were reduced to ashes.
‘I got goosebumps seeing this, but my uncle was not at all distracted after seeing this. There was no sign of sorrow or surprise on his face. Yes, his anger was increasing.
‘ He spat on the prince’s face and said, ‘Unfortunately, you have found misery here, you will find more in the hereafter.’ Even then, his anger did not subside, so he took out the shoe from his feet and hit the prince several times in the face. I said in anger, one, I feel sorry for the death of my brother in the same way, then you are insulting him when he dies. What crime has he committed that has fueled your anger so much?
‘ The king said, ‘Son, you do not know what the story is. This man deserves much more condemnation and punishment. This prince was obsessed with his real sister since childhood. When both were small, I did not pay any attention to their words, considering them as children. But when both grew up, the intimacy between the two remained rather increased. Now I wanted to stop their relationship. I put tight guards that the brothers and sisters would not come in front of each other. Had the prince alone been a misadventure, the matter would not have progressed further, but this unfortunate girl turned out to be even more despicable than that. She used to yearn to meet her brother. Although they did not openly come in front of each other because of my strictness, but their attraction towards each other did not diminish in their hearts.
‘Therefore, in consultation with her sister, the prince specially built this secret house for himself so that both of them could visit as soon as they got the opportunity. When I went on a hunt, the prince got the opportunity and somehow brought his sister out of the palace and brought her here so that she would always be here with her. That is why he also brought a lot of food items here. For a few days these people must have lived happily with each other, then there was a divine wrath on them and both of them got the due reward of their sin.’
Saying this the king’s anger turned into sorrow and he started weeping and mourning the death of his son and daughter. I also started crying with him. We cried for a long time. Then he put me on his chest and said, ‘It is good that these sinners are dead. Now you are my son and my heir.’
Then my uncle and I started weeping remembering the deceased prince. After sometime we climbed up the ladder and came out after closing the door and pouring soil on it. When we reached near the palace, we saw that the sky was being filled with dust from the running of the horses of the soldiers and the ears were being torn apart by the sound of the war eagles. It was learned that the same minister of my father, who had usurped my kingdom, has also climbed my uncle’s kingdom with a large army. My uncle’s army was less than his army. His army captured the capital and the palace without any difficulty. My uncle tried his best to defend his authority and jumped into the battle field. Still he did not succeed and was killed in battle. Even after his death, I continued to face the enemy and stood in the battlefield for some time, but when I saw that I was completely surrounded, I thought of running out. A chief of the minister’s army recognized me and
‘The first thing I did when I left the battlefield was to have my beard and mustache trimmed so that the enemy could not recognize me and put on mystic’s clothes. Then he went out of his uncle’s kingdom by taking great pains through unknown paths. Then he roamed in many cities as a fakir. Wandering around, I reached the capital of Rashid, the most majestic, merciful, humble, just caliph. My intention was to reach Udarmana Caliph’s service and tell my tale of sorrow. But when he reached this city, it was late evening. I went ahead worrying that if I got a place somewhere, I should make arrangements to spend the night.
‘After some distance I found this second fakir. He greeted me. I replied to his greeting and said that you also look like a foreigner like me. He said that yes, I too have just come to this city. While we were talking, this third fakir also came and greeted both of us and sat down. He also said that I am a foreigner and have just come to this city. Since we were in the same disguise and all three had the same condition, we decided to live together like brothers and go together wherever we go.
‘We got absorbed in worrying about where to spend the night because none of the three of us knew any of the residents here or had ever come here before. By our luck, we came to your door while roaming around. We will be forever grateful to you for making us happy with food and entertainment. This is my account which I have narrated completely.’
Zubeida said we have forgiven you and you can go. But the fakir said that if you give permission, then I should also sit on one side and listen to the story of Rama of both my companions, and I should also listen to the past of these three merchants. After that I will leave your house. Zubeida allowed him to sit aside and listen to the accounts of others. He went to the worker.