Story of Shahryar and Shahzaman – Alif Laila
The country of Persia was also like Hindustan and China and many kings were under it. The king there was majestic and very brilliant and was dear to the people because of being just. That emperor had two sons, in which the name of the eldest boy was Shahryar and the name of the younger boy was Shahzaman. Both the princes were virtuous, brave, patient and modest. When the emperor died, Shahzada Shahryar ascended the throne and gave his younger brother, who respected him a lot, the kingdom of the Tatar country, Gave army and treasure. Shahjaman was ready under the orders of his elder brother and for the management of the country, Samarkand, which was better and bigger than all the cities of the world, became his capital and started living comfortably. When they were separated for ten years, the elder wanted to send someone and call him to him. He ordered his minister to call him and the minister left with great fanfare after receiving this order. When he reached near the city of Samarkand, hearing this news, Shahjaman left his capital with an army to receive him and after reaching outside the city met the minister. He was pleased to see her. Shahjaman started asking for the well being of his brother Shahryar. The minister bowed down to Shahjaman and told the condition of his brother.
The minister was the supreme obedient of Emperor Shahryar and loved him. Shahzaman told him that brother! I was very happy that my ancestor sent you to pick me up. His command is my top priority. If God so desires, I will go with you in ten days, preparing for the journey and appointing my representative in the government. All the arrangements for food and drink for you and your army will be done here. So you stay at this place. Therefore, arrangements were made for food and drink etc. at the same place and they stayed there.
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On this occasion, the emperor made preparations for the yatra and appointed his trusted minister in his place. One evening he left his wife, who was very dear to him, and took his servants and companions from Samarkand and reached his camp and started talking to the minister. At midnight, he wished to meet the Begum once again. He reached the palace alone by hiding the most. The Begum did not even suspect his arrival; She was sleeping with one of her frivolous and ugly servants.
Shahjaman had come thinking that the Begum would be very happy to see him. Seeing her sleeping with another man, she was paralyzed for a moment. After recovering for some time, I started thinking that if I have lost my sight. But even after looking well, when I found the same thing, I started thinking what a misfortune it is that I have not even come out of the defense wall of Samarkand city and such an act started happening. He started burning in anger and took out his sword and hit his hands in such a way that both their heads were cut off and came under the bed. After this, he returned to his camp after throwing both the bodies in the pit below the back window. He didn’t tell anyone about the night.
On the next morning the army started moving. Everyone else with him was happily crossing the road, but Shahjaman used to be sad remembering his wife’s sinful deeds and his face turned pale day by day. All his journey was spent in this trouble.
When he reached near the capital of India and Shahryar heard this, he came with all his courtiers to pray for Shahjaman. When both reached near each other, they got down from their respective horses and hugged and after asking each other’s well-being for some time left with great ceremony. Shahryar accommodated Shahjaman in a palace that had already been decorated for him and overlooked the garden. The palace was big and welcoming to the kings. Then Shahryar asked his brother to take a bath. After taking a bath, Shahjaman put on new clothes and both the brothers sat on the stage of the palace and talked for a long time. All the courtiers stood in their respective places in front of the two emperors. Even after lunch, both the kings kept talking for a long time.
When the night was long, Shahryar left his brother in the hospitality house and went to his palace. Shahjaman again mourned and kept rolling on his bed shedding tears. He hid his sorrow in front of his brother, but as soon as he was alone, the same sorrow came upon him and his pain increased as if he would leave by taking his life. He could not forget the misdeeds of his wife even for a moment. He would often wake up with a hi hi and always take cold breaths. He could not sleep at night. In this sorrow and worry, his body slowly started dissolving.
When Shahryar saw his condition, he thought that I love Shahzaman so much and care so much for his comfort and convenience, yet always see him immersed in the ocean of mourning. I don’t know whether he is worried about his kingdom or gets separated from his wife. I called it here and threw it into mourning in vain. Now it would be appropriate to send it back to Samarkand after understanding it and giving the best gifts so that its misery can be removed. Thinking of this, he sent the valuable things of the country of India to Shahjaman by putting them in the plates and to make him happy, he got various types of games and spectacles done, but Shahjaman’s sadness did not decrease but kept on increasing. Then Shahryar told his courtiers that he has heard that after two days’ way from here there is a dense forest and there is good hunting, so I want to go hunting there; You guys also get ready and come with me and ask Shahzama to go too because hunting will take his life and his mind will be happy. Shahjaman requested that I am not feeling well, so forgive me for going hunting. Shahryar said – it is good, if you want to live here, then stay but I have prepared, I go for hunting with my own servants.
After the departure of Shahryar, Shahjaman closed the doors of his residence from inside and sat at a window. From there the garden of the royal palace was visible. Shahjaman began to amuse himself with the chirping of fragrant flowers and birds. But even after being entertained by the beauty of the house and the garden, he would continue to be hurt by his wife’s misconduct.
When evening came, Shahjaman saw a thief open the door of the palace and the Begum of Shahryar came out with twenty other women. They were all adorned with exquisite clothes and ornaments and came into the garden believing that everyone had gone hunting. Shahzaman hid in the window and began to see what she was doing.
The maids took off the cloaks they had put on and left the palace. Now his face was clearly visible. Shahjaman was surprised to see that out of the twenty whom he had thought to be women, ten were male. The ten of them grabbed the hand of the maid of their choice. Only Begum remained without a man. Then Begum gave her voice, ‘Masood, Masood’. At this, a smart Nebshi young man who was waiting for her orders came down from a tree and ran towards the Begum and grabbed her hand. I cannot describe the shame of what those eleven negroes did to the ten maidservants and the Begum. In this way, he kept on walking in the garden till midnight. Then the Begum and the twenty men and women who came with her, after taking a bath in the garden, put on their clothes and the thieves entered the palace by the same door as they had come, and Masood also went out by climbing the wall of the garden.
Shahjaman was very surprised to see this incident. He thought that not only am I sad, my elder brother is more sad than me. Though she is very powerful and splendid yet unable to stop this misdeed, then why should I grieve so much. When I came to know that this vile act happens very often in the world, I am futilely drowning myself in the ocean of grief. Thinking of this, he left all worries and started living normally. Earlier his hunger was gone, now he woke up and started eating various kinds of delicious dishes and enjoying music and dance etc.
When Shahryar returned from hunting, Shahjaman welcomed him very happily. Shahryar showed him many hunted animals and said that it is a matter of great regret that you did not go hunting, there is a place of great joy. Shahzaman used to happily answer everything of the emperor. Shahryar thought that even on his return, Shahjaman would be immersed in sorrow and grief, but on the contrary, seeing him happy and satisfied, he said, ‘O brother, thank God that I saw you happy and free from disease in a short period of time. Now I ask you one thing with a promise, you must tell that thing. Shahjaman said, ‘Whatever you ask, I will definitely tell.’
Shahryar said, ‘When you came here from your capital, I saw you immersed in the ocean of mourning. I took many measures to please your mind, got you done various games and spectacles, but your condition remained the same. I thought a lot about what could be the reason for this misery, but could not understand any reason other than that you are sad about the separation of your wife and you are worried about the administration. But what happened now that made your sorrow and worry go away?
Shahjaman remained silent on hearing this, but when Shahryar repeatedly asked the same question, he said, ‘You are my master, you are older than me; I will not answer this question because it is a matter of shame.’ Shahryar said that till you do not tell me this, I will not be at peace. Shahjaman was compelled to describe his wife’s misdeeds in detail and said that I used to be sad because of this.
Shahryar said, ‘Brother, you have told this very surprising, impossible thing. It is very good that you killed such an adulteress along with her lover. No one can call you unjust in this matter. If I were in your place, I would not have been satisfied with killing one woman, I would have killed a thousand women. Tell me, how did this grief go away when I went out?’
The Shahzaman said, ‘I am afraid to say this lest you should be more saddened than me to hear this.’ Shahryar said that brother, you have increased my anger by saying this; Now I will not be able to rest without listening to it, so definitely tell this thing. Being compelled, Shahjaman told the whole condition of Masood, the ten maids and the Begum and said, I have seen this incident with my own eyes and have understood that there is wickedness and sin in the nature of all women. And man should not trust them. Seeing this whole incident, I have forgotten my sorrow and that is why I appear healthy and happy.’
Even after hearing this, Shahryar could not believe the statement of his brother. He said in a furious voice, ‘Are all the wives of our country adulterers? I won’t believe what you say until I see it with my own eyes. It is possible that you are confused.’ The Shahjaman said, ‘Brother, if you want to see for yourself, then do so by ordering to hunt again. Let us go out of the city with both of you army. Stay in your camps all day long and come quietly in this house at night. Then surely you will see with your own eyes the whole business that I have told you.’
Shahryar accepted this and ordered the courtiers that tomorrow I will go hunting again. So on the next morning the two brothers went hunting and went out of the city and stayed in their camps. When night came, Shahryar called the minister and ordered that I am going for an important work, you should not let any army man go from here. After that both the brothers came to the city secretly riding on horses and before dawn came in the same window of Shahjaman’s palace from which Shahjaman had seen the whole scandal. The thief door of the palace opened just before sunrise and after sometime the Begum came out from there with her same female negroes and came to the garden and called Masood.
Seeing all this condition – which is neither worth saying nor hearing – Shahryar started saying in his mind that hey! Lord, what a disaster it is that the wife of a great Nripati like me should be such an adulteress. Then he said to Shahzaman that it would be better that we leave this fleeting world in which one moment of joy is the other of sorrow, and leave our countries and armies and spend the rest of our lives in other countries and talk about this abominable trade. Don’t say anything to anyone.
Shahjaman did not like this thing, but seeing his brother’s very sad condition, he did not think it right to refuse and said, ‘Brother, I am your follower and will obey your orders completely. But I have one condition. When you see someone suffering from this misfortune more than yourself, return to your country.’
Shahryar said, ‘I accept this condition of yours, but I think that no man in the world will suffer like us.’ Shahzaman said, ‘You will come to know this very well if you have traveled a little bit.’
So both of them hid and walked on a deserted road to one side of the city. After walking all day, he sleeps by lying under a tree at night. On the next morning he went further than there and while walking he reached a beautiful garden which was built on the bank of a river. Dense and big trees were planted far and wide in this garden. Sitting there under a tree, they started relaxing and talking.
After a while, both of them were very frightened and trembled after hearing a terrible word. After some time I saw that there was a crack in the water of the river and a black pillar started coming out of it. He became so high that his upper part disappeared in the clouds of the sky. Seeing this incident, both the brothers became even more frightened and climbed a high tree and sat hiding in its branches and leaves. He saw that the black pillar started moving towards the bank of the river and came to the bank and got transformed into a great terrible monster. Now both of them panicked even more and sat on another high branch. When the demon came to the river bank, he saw that on his head was a big and strong lead box with four locks of brass.
The demon came to the river bank, lowered the box from his head and placed it under the same tree where the two brothers were hiding. Then he opened the four locks of the chest one by one with the four keys hanging from the waist. When the box was opened, a very beautiful woman came out of it, who was adorned with the best of clothes. The demon looked at the woman with love and said, ‘Dear, you are unique in beauty. It’s been a long time since I brought you away on your wedding night. You have been so spotless and loyal to me all this time. I am getting very sleepy right now so I want to sleep near you.’ Saying this, the monster with a terrible shape was sleeping with his head on the woman’s thigh. His body was so huge that his feet were touching the water of the river. While sleeping, the tone of his breath was becoming as if the clouds were thundering. The whole atmosphere was vibrating with that sound.
Once by chance, when the woman looked up, she saw both the brothers hidden in the leaves. He signaled for both of them to get down. Realizing his purpose, the fear of both increased further. Both of them begged him with a gesture that let us hide on the tree itself. The woman slowly took off the demon’s head from her lap and placed it on the earth and got up, giving them patience and said that there is nothing to be afraid of, You come down and sit near me. She also threatened that if you do not come, I will wake up the demon and he will kill both of you. Hearing this, they were very scared and came down silently. The woman smilingly grabbed both of them and took them under a tree and asked them to have sex with her. At first both of them refused, but then fearing his threat, she did whatever she wanted with him. After this the woman asked him for each of his rings. Then he took out a small box and asked them, do you know what is in it and for what? He said, we do not know, you tell me what is in it. The beauty said, In it are the signs of those who have had a relationship with me like you. These were ninety-eight rings and by meeting your two, it became a hundred. I have done such arbitrariness a hundred times even after such a close watch of this monster. This evil demon is so attached to me that even for a moment he does not separate me from himself and with great care keeps me at the bottom of the sea, hiding me in this lead box. But even with all his cunning and defense, I do whatever I want and all the arrangements of this poor man go in vain. Now understand from my condition that when a woman is enamored, no one can stop her from rape.
After this she came to her place with their rings. He again put the demon’s head in his lap and signaled to both of them to leave. The two left from there and when they had gone a long way, the Shahjaman said to his elder brother Shahryar, ‘Look, this woman is fulfilling her heart’s desire in spite of such security and tight arrangements. See also how much the demon has faith in her and how much he was praising her flawlessness. Now you can justly tell whether this poor man has more misfortune than us. We found what we were looking for. Now we should go to our respective countries and not marry any woman because hardly any woman is sinless.
Thus Shahryar acted according to the instructions of his younger brother and from there both went to the capital of Shaharyar. After three nights they reached their armies. Shahryar did not want to go hunting any further and returned to the capital. Going to the palace, he ordered the minister to take the Begum and give him the death penalty. The minister did the same as per the orders of the emperor. Then Shahryar killed ten adulterous maidens with his own hands. After this, Shahryar thought that he should take such a solution that after marriage, my Begum could not get the opportunity of misdeeds. So he decided to get married at night and get Begum killed in the morning. After that he sent off his brother Shahzaman. He went to Samarkand with his army with the priceless gifts given by Shahryar. After the departure of Shahjaman, he ordered his Prime Minister to bring the daughter of a feudal lord for marriage. The Prime Minister raised the daughter of a rich man. Shahryar married her And after spending the whole night with him, in the morning ordered the minister to take it and kill him and for the night again bring the beautiful daughter of a chieftain for my marriage. The minister killed that begum and in the evening brought another emir’s daughter and the next day took her and killed her too. Similarly Shahryar married the daughters of hundreds of noble chieftains and got them killed the next morning. Now it is the turn of ordinary citizens. At the same time, the word of this heinous injustice spread everywhere. There were voices of mourning, anguish and weeping throughout the city. Somewhere the father used to cry eight-eight tears on the death of his daughter, somewhere the girl’s mother used to eat behind her. The parents and relatives of the girls who were still surviving used to be very sad. Many people left the country with their daughters and settled in other countries. Somewhere the girl’s mother used to eat the leftovers. The parents and relatives of the girls who were still surviving used to be very sad. Many people left the country with their daughters and settled in other countries.
The minister there had two unmarried daughters. The name of the elder was Shehrzad and the name of the younger was Duniyazad. Shehrzad was more intelligent than his sister and friends. Whatever she heard or saw in a book, she never forgot. She was also proficient in the quality of conversation. He memorized the stories and poems of many ancient sages and was proficient in composing prose and poetry himself. Apart from all these qualities, he also had a unique beauty. One day she told her father that I want to tell you something but you have to obey me. The minister said, if your words are acceptable, then I will definitely agree. Shehrzad said that it is my determination that I should stop the king from this injustice which he is doing and make the parents of the girls who are still left worry-free.
The minister said, ‘Daughter, how can you stop this massacre. What remedy can you have to end this injustice?’ Shehrzad said, ‘It is in your hands. I ask you to marry me with the emperor.’ The minister started trembling on hearing this and said, ‘Daughter, have you gone mad who is talking such nonsense. Don’t you know the king’s vow? You talk thoughtfully. How will you stop the emperor from this injustice? Will waste his life in vain.
Shehrzad said, ‘I know the king’s vow very well, but I will not give up this idea in any way. If I am killed like any other girl, I will be liberated from this mundane world and if I dissuade the emperor from this tyranny, then I will be able to do great benefit to the residents of my city.’
The minister said, ‘I cannot accept your wish in any way. How could I knowingly put you in such a dire situation? It is strange that you ask me to do the stuff of my death. What father would be like that who would even think of doing this for his beloved child? You may not love my life, but it is not possible for me to paint my hands with your blood.’ Still, Shahrzad stuck to his insistence and was an aspirant for marriage.
The minister said, you are making me angry unnecessarily. Why do you want to die? Why are you so angry with your life? Listen, whoever does any work without thinking, he has to repent later. I am afraid that your condition may not be like that of a donkey who lived happily but was in misery because of stupidity. Shehrzad said, tell me this story. The minister told the story.