Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/445

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[No. 37.] Title of Story.— Sultan Majnun. Dramatis PersonaB.— Sultan Majnun.— His wife.— Their seven sons (youngest

called Sit-in-the-Kitchen). — Women.— Headman. — Slaves. — People. — Bird.

— Sultan's cat, or Nunda.

Abstract of Story — (l) Sultan Majnun married uncle's daughter, who bore him seven boys. Sultan made great fruit garden ; also planted one date- tree, going there three times daily. Sultan's children went to school. He disliked seventh child for staying in kitchen among women. After beating him, let him go his own way. — (2) When date-tree bore fruit, sultan was glad. — (3) Told one son to watch dates, who caused slaves to beat drums, till the cold made the boy go to sleep, when bird ate the dates. Youth awoke, and wondered what excuse to make to sultan. Eesolved to tell the truth. Went to father, who was sitting on baraza with five sons; told him he had good and bad news ; bad that the dates were eaten, good that he had returned safely. Father dismissed him. — (4) When date-tree bore fruit again, sultan sent another son to watch it. He read Koran, then fell asleep, when bird came again and ate dates. At daylight headman came and woke youth, who, seeing dates gone, felt ill with dread and loss of wits. Then he left, and met man sent by father to cut the dates. Told him they were not yet ripe. Father was vexed with him on his return ; sent him away, and promised wedding feast of three months to the son who should watch dates till he tasted them. — (5) After many months tree bore much fruit ; then eldest son of four that were left went, ate food, and also fell asleep, when bird took dates as before. Headman woke him. When he saw no dates he felt as dead, and would not face father ; but at last went and told him all, when his father banished him. Sultan promised beautiful wife and four months' feast to him who should gather the dates when next ripe. — (5) Next son went to watch, riding round the garden, heard guinea fowl cry and went after it in vain, when bird came and ate all the dates. Wept bitterly at seeing this, because at loss of promised gifts. His angry father bade him in scorn dress himself as a woman and seek a husband, and so he went away. Sultan waited till date-tree again bore fruit. — (6) The two sons were sent to watch, bonfires were lit in garden, then storm came. Slaves ran away, sons lay down to sleep, and bird ate dates. In the morning father sent servant to headman, who took him to the sons, who re- turned to father, and he bade wife dress them as women, and would have nought more to do with them. Date-tree bore still more fruit, and sultan grieved he had none. — (7) Seventh son, who lived in kitchen, offered to watch it, but parents laughed at him. PTe went, slept well, then chewed Indian corn and grit till bird came. Bird said, " There is no one here ; " and, as he alighted on the tree, the youth caught his wing. Bird flew to great height with him, begged him to leave it, but the lad would not because his father and all the people would see him and be glad. Then bird flew

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