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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Behram Khan and Gul Andama

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

A rather enthralling of love and war where the fates of a Roman prince, a Chinese Princess, and a Pakistani Djinn intertwine.

In ancient Rome ruled a King who had been heirless for several years. However, his wishes were fulfilled when his time came. He was blessed with a son just as he was reaching his ripe old years. The newborn prince was named Behram, after the god of war, Mars.

Prince Behram grew up to be everything and more than his father, the old king, had wished and hoped for. Courageous, chivalrous, honourable and wise, he was a swordsman of unmatched skill, an excellent archer, and an equally brilliant military strategist. He earned a place in the highest echelons of the imperial army at a fairly young age. Although he was barely a man, his opinion and his skill were equally respected.

Once, it so happened that Behram set off to the forest to catch some game. Deep inside the forest, he came across a dilapidated tower. Deciding to explore it, he went inside. What he stumbled upon inside left him in awe. Upon the altar stood a statue of a most beautiful woman, carved from the finest marble and crafted by the deftest of hands.

As he stood there, staring and admiring the statue, an old man hobbled into the room. The old man was a hermit. He told Behram that the statue was Gul Andama’s, a princess of a kingdom far, far away in China. She would make a public appearance one day every month, and on that day, thousands of people, including men, women and children, gathered around the palace to catch a glimpse of the beautiful princess. Captivated, Behram immediately set off to look for her.

A few days into the journey, Behram came across an orchid. Exhausted from his travels, Behram tethered his horse to a tree, slumped down in the shade of a large tree, and fell asleep. What he did not know was that the orchard belonged to Saifoor, King of the Jinns.

Saifoor sent his son, Shamaas, to kill the intruder. However, Behram bested Shamaas in battle. Impressed and mildly annoyed, Saifoor was surprised to see a human with such mettle. He asked Behram to help him fend off a giant which was preying on fairies in the Saifoor’s Kingdom of Koh-e-Kaaf. Should he succeed, he would get anything he asked for.

Behram fought the monster giant, and everyone was happy. Before Behram continued on his journey, Shamaas took his dagger and chopped off a lock of his hair and handed it to Behram.

“Keep this with you,” he said. “If you ever need me, burn a strand, and I shall appear to your aid,” Shamaas promised.

Behram continued on his way. He fought another war in the Kingdom of Bulgaria, to settle matters after the death of a Bulgarian prince with the help of Shamaas and his Jinn army.

As Behram reached China, he saw that Behzad Khan was waiting, ready to attack, at the city walls of Gul Andama's city. He decided to wait until nightfall. Under the cover of darkness, he burnt a strand of Shamaas' lock of hair. Shamaas appeared, and, on Behram's command, he brought a huge army of jinns.

The battle began, and thousands of soldiers in Behzad's army fell, one after the other, to a foe invisible to them. As the battle was just about to end, Behram found himself in the thick of the mist. He faced Behzad head-on. Once he took Behzad's head, he put it on a pike, disguised himself as a beggar, and snuck into the city walls. He left the pike before the palace walls with a note: "Taken by Behram for the Love of Gul Andama".

Behram patiently waited outside the palace walls where Gul Andama was said to appear. At dawn, the Kingdom woke up to find the dreaded invading army dead. The siege was declared over, and Behzad's head was taken to the King.

A mass search was ordered to find the man who had saved the Kingdom. As Behram had hoped, Gul Andama gave a public appearance and announced that she was appearing for the man who had saved her father's kingdom and her people's lives.

Meanwhile, following the uproar about the missing prince, the news of Behram's victory against Behzad Khan's forces reached Rome. The imperial army and a celebratory procession set off to China to bring Behram home.

Behram waited for his generals to arrive before presenting himself to the king. A great feast was held in his honour. After listening to Behram's narration of the extraordinary events of his journey, the King agreed to accept Behram's offer of marriage for his daughter.

Gul Andama happily accepted Behram as her husband. The newlyweds returned to Rome, where thousands lined the streets to welcome their valiant prince and the legendary princess.


 

Commentary: The story is believed to have Arabic and Persian origins; thus, naturally, the characters take up different names in different variations.

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