The Ninth Statue | Arabian Nights

The Ninth Statue

Hundreds of years ago, Sultan Mustafa ruled a kingdom called Nasra in Persia. The people of the empire were proud of their sultan. He was a kind ruler. There was peace and prosperity all around the kingdom. The sultan had a faithful and loving wife. They led quite a happy life, except for one sorrow. And that was that they had no children!

“I have all the wealth in the world. But even with my entire wealth, I cannot buy an heir to my throne,” the sultan would murmur. His only desire was to have a little child. With his wife, the sultan offered many prayers and asked for favors from the almighty. Then, at last, one day, the queen gave birth to a baby boy. The whole kingdom rejoiced.

The sultan and his queen called their baby boy” Zakir.” Years flew by. Zakir grew into a handsome young man. He got all the love and care from his father and mother. As a person, Zakir was wise and generous. He also learned warfare. “Now my son is a perfect heir to my throne,” thought the sultan. And one day, the sultan declared Zakir his Crown Prince in a simple ceremony.

Days passed by in happiness. But one day, misfortune befell, and the sultan died of a sudden illness! Zakir buried his father in a lavishly decorated tomb. After this, he became the new ruler of the kingdom. He was always kind and fair to his citizens.

One night in his sleep Zakir had a strange dream. He dreamt that his old sultan’s father was telling him to dig up his grave. “I want to show you something very important, son!” said the sultan in Zakir’s dream. Zakir suddenly woke up, disturbed by the strange dream. He went to his mother and told her, “O Mother, I dreamt of the father, and he was asking me to dig up his grave.”

“But that’s not a good thing to do, son. Digging up the grave is a dishonour to the dead. How can you insult your father?” said Zakir’s mother, getting disturbed over the dream. “What to do, mother? If I do not follow my father’s orders, even that would mean an insult to him,” said Zakir.

So, he decided to dig up the grave and find out what his father was trying to tell him in the dream. Early next morning. Zakir went to his dead father’s grave, and he carried his spade with him. After paying respect to his father, Zakir began digging his grave. He was getting curious as his spade worked fast.

The grave was dug open. Suddenly, he saw some stairs leading down the grave. Zakir peeped in. There was a corridor inside.

Zakir was surprised. “Let me see what is down the stairs?” he thought. Slowly, he entered the corridor. There was complete darkness. Walking through the darkness, Zakir came upon a cave. The cave contained gold, emeralds, diamonds, and other precious stones.

“We are already quite wealthy. I am sure my father was not pointing towards this treasure in my dream. There must be something else more precious than this,” Zakir thought. He searched every nook and corner of the grave. “I must get something really unique and interesting,” he mused, and he kept looking on.

At last, Zakir saw eight lovely sculpted female statues in one corner. They were made of shimmering gold from head to toe. The statues wore gowns that were set ablaze with emeralds. On their heads were crowned that glittered in the light.

They had long golden hair. In their hands, they held magic wands sparkling with diamonds and rubies. The most striking thing about the statues was that each one was the perfect replica of the other. The statues were arranged in a row.

Zakir had never seen such a thing. He was amazed. Suddenly, he noticed a scroll on the forehead of the eighth statue. It was an ancient scroll with a message that read: “There is a ninth statue that can be found in this kingdom.

It is even more beautiful than the eight that are here. And it is more valuable than any of the other eight statues.” Zakir thought, “I must seek and find this strange statue. Maybe, my father wanted me to search for this statue.” And so, he immediately set out in search of the ninth statue.

As soon as he came out of the cave, he saw an older man standing in his way. Seeing Zakir, the older man came close. “Ah, Zakir, at last, you are here! I have been waiting for you,” said the old man. “How do you know me, O gentleman?” asked Zakir with surprise. “Hahaha! That’s a long story. I will tell you sometime later,” the old man laughed. “Now that you are here don’t delay. Make your father’s dream come true.”

“What was my father’s dream? How can I make it come true?” asked Zakir. “Do as I say,” replied the old man. Then he gave him a mirror and said, “this is no ordinary mirror.

It has magical powers. Only the loveliest maiden can see her image in this mirror. No other image will be reflected in it. Now take this mirror and go around the kingdom. Show it to all. But choose only the one whose image this mirror reflects. And that lady is the true maiden.”

Zakir took the mirror from the older man. Then he asked, “Inside the cave, on the scroll, I read about the ninth statue. What about that?” “The true maiden is the ninth statue,” the old man said and disappeared. Zakir set out in search of the faithful maiden.

One by one, he combed all the households in his kingdom and showed the magical mirror to the girls. But none of them reflected their faces in it. Zakir was getting desperate.

One day, he was on his usual search. As he passed by a house, he heard a maiden singing in a sweet voice. The voice was so melodious that Zakir could not take his ears off it.

He stood outside the house, glued to the stairs. “Perhaps it is the most beautiful voice I have ever heard,” he thought. When the song was over, Zakir waited for a while, hoping to get a glimpse of the girl singing.

And there she was … on the window brushing her long hair with a slight golden brush. Never before had Zakir seen anyone so lovely. After a few moments, Zakir returned to his palace.

He called upon his most faithful servant and asked him to get all the information about the lovely maiden. The servant instantly set out. In an hour, he returned and told Zakir that the girl was the daughter of a nobleman.

The next day Zakir approached the nobleman and said, “Would you please allow me to meet your daughter?” “That’s an honor to me, my lord. The ruler of the kingdom has come to my house. I am overwhelmed,” said the nobleman. He called for his daughter. And running, she came the epitome of beauty standing in front of Zakir.

Zakir talked to her for a while. Then suddenly, he lifted the mirror in his hands and held it right in front of the maiden. Needless to say, the magical mirror reflected her charming face. “So, this beautiful reflection is the ninth statue the old man was talking about,” mused Zakir. He instantly fell in love with the young maiden.

“I ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage, O nobleman,” Zakir said to the girl’s father. And the nobleman was delighted to give his consent. Zakir then took her to his mother and said, “O Mother! She is the one whom my father wanted me to marry.” His mother blessed them, and they were soon married in a grand ceremony. They lived a happy and long life.

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