[Go back to The History of the Sultan of Hind]
A fisherman's son having in company with his father caught a large fish, the latter proposed to present it to the sultan, in hopes of receiving a great reward. While he was gone home to fetch a basket, the son, moved by compassion, returned the fish into the water; but fearful of his father's anger, fled from his country, and repaired to a distant city, where he was entertained by a person as a servant.
Strolling one day in the market, he saw a Jew purchase of a lad a cock at a very high price, and send it by his slave to his wife, with orders to keep it safely till his return home. The fisherman's son supposing that as the Jew gave so great a price for the cock it must possess some extraordinary property, resolved to obtain it; and, accordingly, having bought two large fowls, carried them to the Jew's wife, whom he informed that her husband had sent him for the cock, which he had exchanged for the fowls.
She gave it him; and he having retired, killed the bird, in whose entrails he found a magical ring; which being rubbed by his touch, a voice proceeded from it demanding what were the commands of its possessor, which should be immediately executed by the genii who were servants of the ring.
The fisherman's son was rejoiced at his good fortune, and while meditating what use he should make of his ring, passed by the sultan's palace, at the gates of which were suspended many human heads. He inquired the reason, and was informed that they were those of unfortunate princes, who having failed in performing the conditions on which the sultan's daughter was offered them in marriage, had been put to death. Hoping to be more fortunate than them by the aid of his ring, he resolved to demand the princess's hand. He rubbed the ring, when the voice asked his commands: upon which he required a rich dress, and it was instantly laid before him.
He put it on, repaired to the palace, and being introduced to the sultan, demanded his daughter to wife. The sultan consented, on condition that his life should be forfeited unless he should remove a lofty and extensive mound of sand that lay on one side of the palace, which must be done before he could wed the princess. He accepted the condition; but demanded an interval of forty days to perform the task.
This being agreed to, he took his leave, and having repaired to his lodging, rubbed his ring, commanded the genii to remove the mound, and erect on the space it covered a magnificent palace, and to furnish it suitably for a royal residence. In fifteen days the task was completed; he was wedded to the princess, and declared heir to the sultan.
In the meanwhile, the Jew whom he had tricked of the cock and the magical ring resolved to travel in search of his lost prize, and at last arrived at the city, where he was informed of the wonderful removal of the mound, and the ereftion of the palace. He guessed that it must have been done by means of his ring, to recover which he planned the following stratagem. Having disguised himself as a merchant, he repaired to the palace, and cried for sale valuable jewels. The princess hearing him, sent an attendant to examine them and inquire their price, when the Jew asked in exchange only old rings. This being told to the princess, she recollected that her husband kept an old shabby looking ring in his writing stand, and he being asleep, she took it out, and sent it to the Jew; who, knowing it to be the one he had so long sought for, eagerly gave for it all the jewels in his basket.
He retired with his prize, and having rubbed the ring, commanded the genii to convey the palace and all its inhabitants, excepting the fisherman's son, into a distant desert island, which was done instantly. The fisherman's son, on awaking in the morning, found himself lying on the mound of sand, which had reoccupied its old spot. He arose, and in alarm lest the sultan should put him to death in revenge for the loss of his daughter, fled to another kingdom as quickly as possible. Here he endured a disconsolate life, subsisting on the sale of some jewels, which he happened to have upon his dress at his flight.
Wandering one day through a town, a man offered him for sale a dog, a cat, and a rat, which he purchased, and kept, diverting his melancholy with their tricks, and uncommon playfulness together. These seeming animals proved to be magicians; who, in return for his kindness, agreed to recover for their master his lost prize, and informed him of their intention. He eagerly thanked them, and they all set out in search of the palace, the ring, and the princess.
At length they reached the shore of the ocean, after much travel, and descried the island on which it stood, when the dog swam over, carrying on his back the cat and the rat. Being landed, they proceeded to the palace; when the rat entered, and perceived the Jew asleep upon a sofa, with the ring laid before him, which he seized in his mouth, and then returned to his companions. They began to cross the sea, as before, but when about half over the dog expressed a wish to carry the ring in his mouth. The rat refused, lest he should drop it; but the dog threatened, unless he would give it him, to dive and drown them both in the sea. The rat, alarmed for his life, complied with his demand: but the dog missed his aim in snatching at the ring, which fell into the ocean.
They landed, and informed the fisherman's son of his loss: upon which he, in despair, resolved to drown himself; when suddenly, as he was going to execute his purpose, a great fish appearing with the ring in his mouth, swam close to shore, and having dropped it within reach of the despairing youth, miraculously exclaimed, "I am the fish which you released from captivity, and thus reward you for your generosity." The fisherman's son, overjoyed, returned to his father-in-law's capital, and at night rubbing the ring, commanded the genii to convey the palace to its old site. This being done in an instant, he entered the palace, and seized the Jew, whom he commanded to be cast alive into a burning pile, in which he was consumed. From this period he lived happily with his princess, and on the death of the sultan succeeded to his dominions.
[Go to Abou Neeut and Abou Neeuteen; Or, the Well-intentioned and the Double-minded]
Scott, Jonathan (1754-1829). The Arabian Nights Entertainments. London: Pickering and Chatto, 1890. 4 Volumes. Project Gutenberg.
1001 Nights Hypertext. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. The texts presented here are in the public domain. Thanks to Gene Perry for his excellent help in preparing the texts for the web. Page last updated: January 1, 2005 10:46 PM