The Princess of Yemen
Kept securely rolled inside the flying carpet by day, Abdulla knew the magic stick would arouse no suspicion: A wondrous device, extendable, like the sloughed skin of a desert cobra, a transparent circular stone set in either end. “Herdsman, follow its vision every time the Flaming Orb sinks into the west,” the indolent Prince Ali Ababwa had instructed. “Far, far to the south, across the sands of Arabia, beyond the Holy City of Medina, you must follow the vision and return my kidnapped betrothed unto me. With silver shall you be rewarded. And may mighty Allah protect you, for so it is written.”
And so it came to pass that Abdulla the Herdsman had set out from the oasis of Majma'a, the flying carpet which was to be used to bring them back slung behind the camel's fine damasked leather saddle, and the magic stick concealed within it. And every dusk, before pitching his goat skin tent for another freezing night beneath the starry desert skies, Abdulla trained the magic stick as Prince Ali had taught him onto the southern horizon. And every dusk she came to him, an unimaginably beautiful girl at the farther end of the magic stick, staring tearfully out to the north from some far distant citadel rampart.
Until finally the failing light was lost altogether, and the vision faded, and Abdulla's secret dreams would begin.
Finally after countless adventures Abdulla and Prince Ali Ababwa's favorite camel, Hasan, drew up at the gates of the impoverished mud walled city of San'a. Posing as a foreign emissary in the fine clothes Prince Ali had loaned him for the purpose, Abdulla was soon able to bribe himself a private interview with the captive Princess Fatima. The magic carpet - 'a diplomatic gift' - along with the magic telescope still concealed within its folds, he carried up to her high apartments upon his own shoulder.
And such was her beauty, and the kindness of her fair eyes, and the ease of her manner, that poor Abdulla, dropping to his knees, found himself all but rendered speechless. “Your Highness, I come to take you back to your betrothed, Prince Ali Ababwa, who awaits you at the oasis of Majma'a, for so it is written. A flying carpet, Your Highness ...”
Smiling she held up a hand. “This I know, for as you say, so it is written. Many, many passages of the Silver Orb have I waited. But I bestow my love only upon him with the daring and courage and determination to fetch me out from this horrid place of unwelcome custody. Arise now good and noble Abdulla, and fly us from hence to my royal father's palace at Basrah.”
And thus it was that Abdulla the Herdsman and the Princess Fatima married, and built a family of three fine and honorable sons, and three beautiful and dutiful daughters, and lived out their days in happy and loving contentment of one another ever more.
For so it was written ...
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