Long, long ago, when kings ruled kingdoms, a king led a blissful life with his queen and their seven daughters.

The king once summoned all his daughters and asked who provided them food and with whose permission they ate. Except his youngest daughter, all six daughters answered that the king gave them food and that it was with his permission that they ate. On the other hand, the seventh daughter replied that God was the one who fed her and that she ate on her own and not with anyone’s permission.

Visibly upset with her answer, the king and queen decided to send her away from the palace. The king ordered his subjects to take the little princess in a palanquin and leave her in the jungle. The servants carried out the king’s order and left the palanquin in the middle of the forest. Not panicking, the princess prayed to God and decided to sleep in the palanquin for a while. When she woke up in the evening, she found a plate of food and a jar of water inside the palanquin. Thanking God for this unexpected meal, she ate the food and went back to sleep in the palanquin as night set in.

When the princess woke up the next morning, she saw a beautiful palace with a breathtaking garden in the middle of the woods. Surprised to see this palace in the jungle, she walked around the garden. Several servants rushed to greet her and took her inside the palace. The palace looked more magnificent than her father’s castle. She asked the servants about this mysterious palace. To this, the servants replied that this palace had been built by God for her and that they had been sent to serve her. Once again, she thanked God.

Meanwhile, the king was informed about the palace in the middle of nowhere and how his youngest daughter was leading a life of comfort there. It dawned on him that what his daughter said was indeed true and that it was God who gave everyone everything in the world.

The days passed by. The king decided to sail to a remote kingdom on a friendly visit. He asked his six daughters what they wanted from that faraway land. They asked their father to get them jewels, silk, sarees, and clothes. At that time, the thought of his seventh daughter occurred to the king. He wanted to know what she wished for, so he sent one of his servants to ask her. When the servant visited her, the young princess was busy praying. The impatient servant conveyed the king’s message to her. As she did not want to be disturbed in the middle of her prayers, the princess told the servant, “Sabr”, which meant that he needed to wait.

The naïve servant took it as the princess’ answer and informed the king that his youngest daughter wanted him to get Sabr. Determined to fulfill this wish of his pious daughter, the king left for the other country. After getting everything his six daughters needed, the king decided to head back home. The boat, however, refused to sail in the sea. That is when he remembered that he had not gotten anything for his youngest daughter. He sent one of his servants with four thousand rupees to go get Sabr from the bazaar. The sellers at the bazaar told him that they did not have anything called Sabr. However, they did tell the servant that their king had a son named Prince Sabr.

So, the servant went to see Prince Sabr and told him that their princess wished for her father to buy the prince for her. Prince Sabr gave the servant a little box and told him that the king needed to give the box to the little princess. The prince also added that only the princess was to open the box.

After making it back to his country safely, the king sent the box to his seventh daughter. The young princess opened the box and found an elegant little fan inside. Excited, she swayed the fan from right to left with the fan’s face facing outward. To her surprise, Prince Sabr appeared before her.

Looking at the handsome prince, the princess expressed her desire to know more about him. The prince explained how her father had come to their country and had tried to get Sabr for his daughter. When the servant came inquiring about Sabr, the Prince had given him a box with the fan and asked him to give it to the king’s youngest daughter.

Prince Sabr explained to the princess that turning the fan with the right side facing outward would make him appear at once. However, if the fan was to be turned with its right side facing inward, the prince would disappear. After chatting for a while, the prince asked her to use the fan with its right side turned inward to make him disappear from her palace.

A month went on. One day, when Prince Sabr proposed to her, she immediately wrote to her parents and six sisters about their wedding. With the blessings of the king and the queen, she was married to the prince. While the king and queen were happy about their daughter’s marriage to the man of her dreams, their six daughters were rather livid at how their sister had decided to tie the knot when they were all still unmarried.

On the princess’ nuptial night, her six sisters volunteered to prepare her bed. Jealous of her marriage, they spread glass powder on the side of the bed where Prince Sabr was supposed to lie. To their joy, their plan worked as the powder made the prince sick. Unable to withstand the excruciating pain, he asked the princess to turn the fan with its right side inward so he could go back to his country.

The little princess missed Prince Sabr. Every day, she would turn the fan with the right side facing outward, but Prince Sabr did not show up. She cried her eyes dry as she did not know where the prince lived and what had become of him.  One night, she dreamed of Prince Sabr lying weak and sick on his bed.  She decided to go looking for him.  She dressed like a yogi and went looking for Prince Sabr on her horse.  When she reached another jungle at night, she halted under a tree with her horse.

At midnight, she woke up from her sleep.  She heard a parrot and a mynah involved in a rather serious conversation. The parrot told the mynah that Prince Sabr got very sick after his sisters-in-law spread glass powder on his side of the bed.  The parrot added that no doctor could cure the prince and that no medicine could alleviate his pain.  When the myna asked the parrot how the prince could be cured, the parrot answered that anyone who slept under that tree must take some soil from there. They would then have to mix the soil with cold water and rub the mixture all over Prince Sabr’s body.

The princess decided to spend the remainder of the night under the tree as well. When she woke up, she collected some soil from under the tree. After riding on her horse for a long distance, she finally got to the country where Prince Sabr lived. Everyone there told her that it was futile to try and cure the ailing prince. The princess, however, said that she was a yogi with mysterious powers that could heal the prince. She went to the king and told him that she had a cure for his beloved son.

After getting permission from the king, she mixed the soil with cold water and applied it all over Prince Sabr’s body. This went on for three days and three nights. The treatment worked gradually and the prince was normal after a week.

The king wanted to shower the yogi with gifts, for he had cured his son.  Disguised as a yogi, the little princess asked for Prince Sabr’s ring and the handkerchief with his name on it.  Prince Sabr gave these things at once to express his gratitude to the mystic.

After getting back to her palace, the little princess dressed up beautifully in her royal clothes. She then took the fan and moved the fan with its right side facing outward. Prince Sabr appeared in the blink of an eye. He told her that he had fallen very ill and that a yogi had miraculously healed him. Showing him the ring and the handkerchief, she told the prince that she was the yogi who had healed him back to health. The princess also told him about her dream and how she had traveled as a yogi in search of him. She even mentioned how the conversation between the parrot and mynah had helped her cure him. Both grateful and touched, the prince embraced his loving wife.

…now that you’re here

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Kalai Selvi, Folk Tale writer at Ameya

Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at kalai.muse@gmail.com to know more about her.

Folk tale adopted and abridged from The Project Gutenberg.