The Girl who Married a Derwish

Once there were two brothers. One was a rich merchant who was well-known to everybody. The other was a poor man who had only a loaf of bread to eat and one shirt to wear. Now this poor man had one daughter and one son in his family in addition to his wife. And the rich merchant also had a wife, a daughter and a son.

The son of the merchant wanted to marry, and he said to his mother. It is time that I married. I want you to find me a bride so beautiful that there is no one more beautiful.

Every day his mother would put on her ‘aba and go to the great houses and the important families searching for a bride. At one house the womenfolk asked her, Why do you seek for a bride among stran¬gers? You have the daughter of your husband's brother who is very beautiful. She is suitable for your son.

But the mother said, I don't visit them. Who runs after the poor?

They said, You'd better go and take her for your son because there is no more beautiful girl in the world.

The mother followed the advice of her friends and went to the house of her poor brother-in-law. She had with her some diamond ear¬rings of great value which she intended to put on whichever girl she found satisfactory. They would be the sign of engagement, just like a ring.

Well, you know, the brother's family was poor and the merchant's family was rich, and a poor person .is excited when a rich person comes to his house. When the wife of her husband's brother came to see her, the poor woman said, You are coming to your own people; may your path be smooth. Welcome, welcome! What a surprise! Who showed you the way? Please sit down and rest. You deserve more than we can offer you. And she said many things in praise of the rich man's son and daughter and wife.

The rich woman answered, Well, mother, I just thought I would come to see you.

The poor family had meat on hand for supper, but they were so busy with their guest and enjoyed her company so much that they didn't cook any supper and forgot about the meat. They served a sweet drink and other things. When the merchant's wife saw how beautiful the daughter was, she didn't wait to tell her son and her husband, but got out the earrings and put them in the daughter's ears, for her beauty astonished her and filled her with wonder. When the merchant's wife went away, the poor woman said, Go in peace; in the protection of Allah. And they said good-bye with all possible courtesy.

The merchant's wife went to tell the story to her son and hus¬band. She expected them to be pleased, so when they came home she told them the good news. But they were not pleased at all. They beat their hands together and said, How could you do such a thing? We don't want those poor people. When we see my brother and his own in the street we turn off into another street. How could you do such a thing as to give them those earrings!

But the daughter said, Why Father, what's the matter? If one's brother is poor, should one brother not know the other?

He answered, Of course we don't want anything to do with him. It is a silly nonsensical idea.

The poor man, the father of the daughter, said to his wife that evening, If they don't fool you and come tomorrow and take the ear¬rings from the ears of your daughter, I am not who I am. When has my brother ever spoken to me?

And the son said, When has my uncle ever talked to me? When has he ever greeted me? How would they ever take your daughter for their son? Good - we are strangers to them because we are poor.

But the mother said hopefully, They would never do such a thing as to take back the earrings.

They said, Well, wait till morning and see whose word is made good, yours or ours.

The wife of the merchant woke up in the morning and sent her servant to the house of the poor man to say, My mistress says, - about the earrings, that she has not yet settled a final price for them in the market. The Jew wants more money for them than she wants to give, and she wants to return them because they cannot agree on the price. This was the excuse they had thought up.

That poor woman! What could she say? She thought of the words of her husband and son the night before. She took off the ear¬rings and put them back in the box and said, Please take them, my good woman. May your blessings increase and the blessings of Allah he on you.

So the merchant's wife went to her son and husband and said, Here, take the earrings. I have gone against the girl and against her rather and her brother and her mother.

The rich man and his son chose for themselves a bride from the family of a rich merchant, and they said, We want her even if she is not very beautiful. You see, they wanted wealth and fame more than beauty. So the wife went and put the earrings in the ears of the daughter of the rich merchant.

The son of the poor man heard about it and said, Did you see how they fooled you? They have put the earrings in the ears of the daughter of such and such a merchant. They left us and insulted us because we are poor. But the honour of one brother is the honour of the other. They did this so that other people would laugh at you. On top of the fact that among men around the city they don't speak to us, neither the father nor the son, they have played this joke on you. What did we tell you? Now look, I can no longer walk the streets of the city and see my uncle and his son. It would kill me, so I am going away from this city.

The father and the mother and the daughter said, Never. Don't say such a thing. But he was so down-hearted and nervous that he was in a mood to kill himself, so he left them and went away. He walked and walked and walked.

In the desert he met some mounted police and with them there was a man dressed like a derwish who said, My son, what are you doing here at night?

He answered, I was upset and couldn't stand the city any more so I am going away.

The derwish said, Tell me all about your troubles. The son of the poor man told the whole story just as it had happened. The derwish said. Will you give me your sister in marriage?

Allah put a great affection for the derwish into the heart of the poor man's son and he said, Come with me right now and I'll arrange it for you.

The derwish said, I'll make the marriage agreement now and I'll come to see her every night. The son of the poor man agreed.

They returned to the poor man's house and knocked at the door. The father and mother and daughter ran to receive the son for they had only that one son, and said, O father, thank Allah you have re¬turned.

The son said, If you make a marriage agreement between this man and my sister right now, I'll stay with you. (Allah put the thought in his hear.) If you don't let her marry now I'll go, away and you'll
never see me again. I'll go away to a distant city.

Because they were so worried about the son, they agreed to the marriage and the daughter said, Yes, I went to marry the derwish. They made the marriage agreement and the derwish went and slept with the girl. He left with the dawn.

Every morning when they woke there were fifty misbah (gold pie¬ces) under her pillow. The fifty became one hundred, the one hundred became one hundred and fifty, until there was a large sum. The der¬wish said, Take the money for yourselves. It is yours. Every morning you will have fifty gold pieces. Buy your neighbor’s house and repair it Buy furniture. This money I leave for you, and if you need more "II increase the sum.

The father looked at all the good houses in the neighborhood and bought one. He knocked down the surrounding houses. What would have taken a month he finished in half a month. They rebuilt the house and furnished it while the merchant's family were busy preparing for their wedding. Soon it would be the night of the wedding which would be celebrated at the merchant's house.

The wife of the merchant said, Although we didn't take your brother's daughter, let us invite them to the wedding.

The merchant agreed, Yes, invite them.

The derwish said to his wife, Your uncle's son is going to marry, and, if they send their servant to invite you, give her this present. And he gave his wife a gold brooch set with beautiful precious stones. Give this to the servant when she comes to invite you. Accept the invitation, and tomorrow I will send you a carriage, beautifully decorated, and you will ride in it with your mother and servant to go to the wedding. I give you permission.

The servant of the merchant came to invite the wife of the poor man and his daughter. She couldn't find the house for the old house was gone and a new house stood in its place. She went asking for the house of Ali, the poor man, saying. My eyes, my heart, please tell me where the house of Ali, the poor man, is.

The neighbors said, Don't say the house of Ali, the poor man. Say the house of Ali, the king. That is his house.

The servant went to the house and knocked at the door. It was opened by a servant. The merchant's servant said, Is this the house of Ali?

The other servant said, Yes, will you please come in.

The wife of Ali came down and said, How do you do, mother? How are you?

The servant said, My grandmother says, Please come tonight to the wedding of my son.

The wife of Ali said, We shall be pleased to do so and may bless¬ings be heaped upon you. The servant observed the house with its fine furnishings, and the mother and daughter who were wearing gar¬ments that were rich and rare. When the servant was about to go, the mother gave her the fine brooch as a present.

The servant returned to the house of the rich merchant and his wife asked, Did you invite the family of the poor man?

The servant said, Yes, grandmother, I invited them, but you are the poor people. They are not poor.

The merchant's wife exclaimed, What are you saying?

The servant said, Here is the present they gave me because I took the invitation to them.

The wife said, Where did you go? Did you go to the wrong house?

The servant said, Wait a minute. Don't get excited. The neighbors showed me the way to the house of Ali, the poor man, who is now Ali, the king.

The father came home with his son, and the mother told them the story saying, I don't know who has married the daughter of your bro¬ther. See what she

They said, Postpone the wedding tonight. Send word to the house of the bride that it is not an auspicious hour. We have business to attend to. Leave it for another night. We will not have the wedding tonight. Let us find out if this rich person is our cousin really, and who has taken her.

That night the carriage of the derwish came and it was beautiful - very beautiful - with two black slaves, very big, sitting one on this side and one on that. They knocked on the door and said, Please come. We are here to take you to the house of the bridegroom. The mother came down, and a servant and the wife of the derwish. They sat in the carriage and drove off. Trot, trot, trot.

The wife of the derwish went up the steps and the merchant's family saw that she was a very beautiful young bride. They asked, O mother, who married you? Who married you?

She answered, A certain derwish. A derwish.

They asked, A derwish? From where?

She said, From Allah. We don't know him. He comes to me at night. They were very much surprised.

Then the wife of the derwish asked, Don't you have a wedding here tonight? Where are all the guests? Everything seems very quiet.

Yes, they said. After we had invited you the wedding was post¬poned until next week. Nothing has happened so far. But what of it? Now that you are here, let us spend the evening together. Supper was prepared and the female relatives from the two families sat down to the meal.

When they had finished, the son of the rich merchant came in. He saw the daughter of his uncle and she pleased him greatly so he said to his mother privately, I want this one and I don't want the other one. Tomorrow I will raise a case against the derwish on account of my cousin, and I'll have her divorced, and I'll take her myself. He didn't say this before his cousin, but he said it to his father and mother. Later that evening they escorted the guests, the family of Ali the rich man, to their home.

The derwish came at night and asked, Did you celebrate the wedding and take the bride to the bridegroom?

She said, No, they have postponed the wedding till next week, but they said that my coming was all right, and that, since I was there, we should have supper together and enjoy ourselves.

He said, Tomorrow they are going to raise a case against me. She cried, Why is that?

He said, Your cousin wants to marry you. He wants to divorce you from me. What is this derwish? Is he going to eat you? Is he going to hurt you? I came first.

She answered, You are my soul. I would give up my life for the dust from your feet. If he didn't take me at first, why should I take him now?

The derwish said, Anyhow, you will be taken before the sultan, and you can say whatever you want, whether you want me or your cousin.

The morning came, the case was raised, and the wife of the der¬wish was taken to court. She told them, For the sake of Allah, I don't want my cousin. Why did he give me earrings for one night only and send for them the next morning and take them away again, and go and become engaged to someone else to whom he was about to be married and for whom all the trousseau and preparations were made? My cousin became engaged and invited me to his wedding. I don't want the son of my uncle. I married the day after he took back his engagement gift. This man, my husband, is one about whom I know nothing. He comes to me at night and leaves while it is still night, but I am faithful to him.

Then the sultan asked that the case be tried before him. He said, Bring the case to me. There was a curtain between the sultan and the wife of the derwish who stood with her uncle and cousin. The sultan said, My daughter, that derwish, - we don't know if he is a jinni or a human being. He comes to you at night and goes by night. You'd better take the son of your uncle. He is a young man, gentle, fine ¬looking. I shall divorce you. In spite of you I'll divorce you.

She answered again, For the sake of Allah, believe me. My uncle, and his wife, and his daughter, and his son, and his betrothed, all to¬gether are not equal to the dust from the feet of my husband. My life is his and I am content.

The sultan asked, Aren't you afraid of him?

She answered, No, I am not afraid of him.
Perhaps one day he will wrong you, said the sultan.

She answered, Let him wrong me. I will not change my mind. Then the sultan asked, If you should see him in the daytime would you know him?

She answered, Yes, I'd know him.

The curtain had been pulled aside a little as the sultan talked to her and his hand could be seen. He asked, I knew you would know him, what description can you give us of him so that we can bring him to you in the daytime?

She answered, Well, I should say that your hand resembles his hand.

He exclaimed in surprise, Huh! How can that be?

She said, Exactly. Your hand which is showing and which I see, O Sultan of Time and the Ages, your hand and his hand are the same. r don't know if you can bring me a man in the daytime whose hand resembles your hand.

Then said the sultan, I am your husband. He drew the curtain aside completely and said, I am your husband. I took you secretly for the sake of your brother who was going into exile by night, roaming in the desert, and I said to myself, I wonder if he will give his sister to me. And he had confidence in me and gave you to me. I felt sorry for that young man there. I am your husband. And now you can pass judgment and I will do whatever you say should be done to your uncle and the son of your uncle. Whatever you command I will have done to them at once. At that time her father and her brother, stand¬ing nearby, understood that the sultan was her husband Her uncle and the son of her uncle were standing there trembling, not knowing what judgment she might pass on them. The sultan said, Whatever you decide shall be done to the two of them right now.

She said, No, I will not punish them. They may have done wrong, but I will not do wrong. For the sake of Allah, let them go free.

The uncle and his son returned to their home alone and exhausted, and the wife of the uncle said, What's the matter with you?

The uncle said, When we left the court we were granted new life in this world. If one word, hang, had come from her lips, they would have hanged us, both me and my son, but, glory be to Almighty
Allah, her husband is not a derwish, but the sultan.

But the father and brother of the wife of the sultan returned to their home proud and happy because they had discovered who the husband of their child was, and the son puffed out his chest and said, Are my cousins sultans, or is it the husband of my sister who is the sultan? They were too proud to take my sister, and see how Allah provided for her.