Khudadad and His Brothers | Arabian Nights

Khudadad and His Brothers

Once, in a prosperous kingdom, there ruled a sultan. He had three queens but no heir, and this was the cause of his worries. While the Sultan was sleeping one night, a fairy appeared in his dreams. “O Sultan, give the seeds of pomegranate to your queens, and they will surely give birth to your sons.” The Sultan woke up. “Ah, there is some hope,” he said with a sigh of relief.

The following day, the Sultan went to his three queens and gave them pomegranate seeds to eat. In time, two of the queens were blessed with sons. But the third queen was not. “You are inauspicious,” the Sultan snapped at the third queen and banished her into the deep forest. After a few days, the third queen gave birth to a son in the woods! She named him Khudadad.

Days went on, and Khudadad grew up in the forest. He became an unmatched fighter. One day, he asked his mother about his father. “The Sultan is your father, son.” But he won’t believe you if you say that. “He hates me,” said the queen in a sad tone. “Don’t worry, Mother. “I will win the Sultan’s heart first and then tell him who I am,” said Khudadad.

He decided to join the Sultan’s army. So, the brave young man took leave of his mother and became a soldier in the military. He started displaying his valour right away. Soon, Khudadad led the army to many victorious battles. He became a favourite of the Sultan. “Young man, you deserve a place beside me,” praised the Sultan. He appointed Khudadad to a higher position in the court.

Now the two princes in the kingdom have become jealous of Khudadad. “Father gives him undue importance,” they would mutter. One day, they went out hunting. When they did not return till late in the evening, the Sultan got worried. He sent his soldiers in all directions to search for them. But they all returned barehanded. Finally, the Sultan called upon Khudadad and said, “You are my last hope, Khudadad. Fetch my son back safe. And if you fail to do so, never show me your face again.”

Khudadad set out in search of the two princes. The young man came deep into the woods, braving the thick horny bushes and the scary animals. Suddenly, he spotted a beautiful maiden sitting under a tree. When Khudadad went close to her, he found that she was weeping. “Who are you, young lady?” asked Khudadad. “I am the princess of Cairo. A wicked giant has captured me. “He must be around,” the maiden sobbed.

“Don’t worry, Princess. I shall fight against the giant and free you,” said Khudadad. “No, no, he is evil and ferocious.” Don’t come to this side. Otherwise, he will capture you too. “Run away for your life,” the princess warned. But Khudadad hid behind a tree and waited. After some time, the giant came growling.

Khudadad was well prepared. He attacked the giant. The giant gave a mighty blow to Khudadad. But ultimately, Khudadad excelled in fighting skills and killed the giant. “Now you are free, O princess,” smiled Khudadad. “Thank you, young man.” But there are many others held captive inside the giant’s cave,” the princess pointed towards a mountain. Khudadad instantly freed the other prisoners too. And there, among the other prisoners, he found the two princes. “Let’s go home.” “Sultan is quite worried about you,” said Khudadad.

“We are grateful to you, Khudadad,” said the two princes. They felt sorry for being jealous of him. Khudadad then escorted them to the palace. “Here are your two sons, O Sultan,” said Khudadad. The Sultan was glad to see them safe. “Do you know you have a third son, too?” asked Khudadad. “Third son! Where is he?” the Sultan was puzzled. “Right in front of you, O Father. I am your third son… by your third queen whom you left,” replied Khudadad. He was banished mercilessly.

The Sultan then was reminded of his merciless acts towards his third queen. “I am ashamed of what I did. Forgive me, son,” said the Sultan as he hugged Khudadad. He immediately sent for his banished queen. Meanwhile, Khudadad told him all that had happened in the forest.

He also told the Sultan about the princess of Cairo. “I wish to marry her, Father,” Khudadad pleaded. Just then, the third queen arrived. She was reunited with the Sultan. The Sultan also consented to Khudadad’s marriage to the princess of Cairo. Soon, they got married in a royal ceremony. And together, they lived happily ever after.

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