Monday, March 18, 2013

OMANI FOLKTALES: The King and His Wazir

{photo of the Jail in Nakhl fort by Andy from Andy in Oman}
Once upon a time in the lands of Arabia, after the time of Ibrihim (Abraham) but before the time of Sulaiman (Soloman) there lived a King who had a wise and good Wizir (Advisor). This King liked the thrill of the hunt and spending months in the desert with his falcons and seeking the prize horns of the desert oryx, elephant, and gazelle. His hunting party would often wander far from their lands into places of strange peoples seeking game and adventure.

One day as the King was hunting, he accidently cut himself across his hand with the blade of his knife.

"The good of Allah is this," said the wise Wizir, which enraged the King.

"What good is there in the King of your people being wounded!" cried the King until he turned red, and ordered his men-at-arms to tie and seize the possibly treacherous Wizir.

When the men returned to the Kingdom, the poor Wizar, already sorely-treated after being a prisoner on the long march home, was thrown into a cell of the King's fort's prison. The cell was dark and dank with the putrid smell of urine. Here the Wizir was chained and shackled to the floor.

"The good of Allah is this," said the Wizir, to which all those who overheard him took him to be crazed.

Months later, the "Majnoon" [crazy] Wizir forgotten and left to rot, hunting season was once again upon the land, and the King took his men at-arms to the edges of his lands. It was here that a great evil befell them.

A people with cruel and wicked Gods/Idols came and seized the King and his small band of men and brought them to their Shaman. Since the King was considered the highest among them, they decided to sacrifice him to their idol. But as the Shaman was about to cut the wrist of the King to spill his blood on the stones the Shaman saw the scar left by the day the King had cut himself and the Wizir had said there was a blessing on that.

"This one is not good," The Shaman told his people, and the King's head-man-of-arms was sacrificed instead.

The King and his men later escaped [though that is another tale in itself] and as soon as they came back to their land the King himself went to the prison to release the Wizir and thanked him, and the man was reinstated to his former positition.

Only years later, as the King lay on his deathbed, did he remember the Wizir's words as he had been thrown into prison.

So the King asked his faithful Wizir, "What good had it done you that you should have spent a year in a prison? Your position was no greater than before? Your health much worse?"

The Wizir smiled then, and the wrinkles in his face seemed soft. "It was a blessing for me. For if I had not been thrown into the prison, I would have been among your favourites still."

"And so?" enquired the King.

"Then I would have gone with you, and when we would have been taken, and after you would have been rejected before their craven Idols for your wound, they would have spilt my blood instead."

When the King died, the Wizir said, "the good of Allah is this," and the people knew then the wisdom in this.

Some say the prison was the Pre-Islamic ruins of where the foundation of the fort of Nakhl is laid. That remains historically questionable.

1 comment:

Boxie said...

I really like this story.