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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Julnar the Sea-Born & her Son, King Badar Basim of Persia

Updated: Jan 21


Badar Basim and Jauhereh


A long, long, time ago, in Khorasan, lived King Shehriman - childless despite a hundred concubines. One day, he encountered a merchant with a stunning slave girl. The king, captivated by her beauty, offers to buy from the merchant, but the merchant gifts her to the king. He showers the merchant with gifts and entrusts the damsel to his tire-women for care. In seclusion, Shehriman attempts to converse with her, but she remains silent. He indulges her with feasts and entertainment, spending a year in blissful union. Desiring an heir, he implores her to speak, torn between passion and the need for a successor.


One day, the slave girl joyfully reveals to King Shehriman that she is carrying his child. She also explains how the child is the reason she can now speak. Grateful, the king distributes alms to the poor and returns to embrace her She introduces herself as Julnar, Girl of the Sea, narrating a tale of exile and lost family. Overwhelmed with love, the king offers his kingdom's resources to reunite her with her family. Julnar recounts her difficult journey from the sea to the land and expresses gratitude for the king's affection. She proposes that her family be present for the childbirth, assuring the king of their reconciliation and revealing her true identity. The king, moved, agrees to confirm her words to her family and pledges his continued kindness and support.


Julnar, revealing the wonders of the underwater world, showcased her mystical powers to King Shehriman. Through incantations, she summoned her family from the sea, including her brother, a radiant young man, and five damsels resembling her. Overjoyed, they reunited at the palace. Julnar recounted her journey, and her brother proposed she return home. Fearing losing her, the king anxiously awaited her response. Julnar, expressing contentment, affirmed her love for the king, stating that leaving him would lead to both their deaths.


Her family, understanding, offered her the choice to stay or leave. Julnar chose to remain with the king, intensifying his love for her. During a feast, her family expressed discomfort about not meeting the king, and tensions rose. Julnar reassured them and informed the king, who anxiously awaited the encounter. Julnar's family, initially angered, eventually resumed the feast. Julnar, acknowledging the king's love, informed him of the situation, and he expressed gratitude. King Shehriman fostered bonds with Julnar's family for thirty days. Grateful, they left for their homeland, and the king bid them farewell honourably.


Julnar gave birth to a son, bringing immense joy to the childless king. The city celebrated for seven days. Julnar's family returned for the naming ceremony, and collectively, they named him Badar Basim. Amidst the joy, worry arose when Julnar's brother, Salih, took the child into the sea. The king, fearing for his son, was comforted by Julnar, and Salih returned safely. Salih explained their protective methods, ensuring the child's safety in the sea, and unveiling the family's magical abilities. The king, enlightened, rejoiced in his son's safety and marvelled at Julnar's family's wonders.


King Shehriman, proud of his son, witnessed Badar's graceful ascension to the throne. In a grand ceremony, Badar took the throne, receiving pledges of allegiance from the city's dignitaries. Approaching his duties with diligence and justice, he garnered love and respect from his subjects. Under Badar Basim's rule, Persia experienced an era of peace and prosperity. A year into his reign, Badar expanded his influence, proclaiming peace in surrounding regions, with his compassion reaching far and wide. Then came the question of an heir, which Julnar and Salih discussed amongst themselves.


Upon hearing Salih's description of Princess Jauhereh, Julnar's interest sparked, envisioning a match for her son Badar Basim. With Badar feigning sleep, Julnar encouraged Salih to share more about the princess's lineage and virtues. Salih praised Jauhereh's sweetness, grace, captivating eyes, and charm, depicting her as a splendid match. Revealing that Princess Jauhereh hailed from the prosperous sea kingdom ruled by King Es Semendel, Salih detailed the underwater realm's splendours.


Convinced of the compatibility, Julnar expressed satisfaction and pledged to pursue the princess's hand for her son, promising to spare no effort or wealth. Pleased with Julnar's commitment, Salih hoped for joy and prosperity in both kingdoms. The two discussed the plan to approach King Es Semendel and secure his approval for the union. Unbeknownst to Badar, destiny was setting the stage for a tale of love beneath the sea.


Upon hearing Salih's description of Princess Jauhereh, Julnar confirmed their acquaintance from childhood and expressed her belief in the princess's worthiness for her son Badar. Salih, cautioning about the sea king's temperament, advised not revealing the matter to Badar until they sought Jauhereh's hand in marriage. Julnar agreed, deeming Salih's judgment wise. Badar, overhearing their conversation, fell passionately in love with Jauhereh, keeping his emotions concealed.


The following day, the trio visited the bath, partook in wine and food, and later went to the garden. Badar, overwhelmed by love, lay under a tree reciting verses expressing his profound emotions for Jauhereh. Salih, astonished by Badar's sentiments, sought his confirmation on hearing the conversation about Jauhereh. Badar affirmed, expressing his intense love for her. Salih, alarmed, proposed seeking Julnar's permission before pursuing the proposal. Badar, fearing refusal, insisted on proceeding without informing Julnar, shedding tears at the thought.


Despite the concerns raised by Badar's grandmother about the sea king's temperament, Salih, recognizing Badar's determination, prayed to Allah for guidance and help. He then presented Badar with a protective seal ring engraved with divine names, shielding him from sea perils. The duo submerged into the sea and reached Salih's palace. Badar greeted his grandmother, assuring her of Julnar's well-being.


Salih, recounting Badar's love for Princess Jauhereh and his intent to seek her hand in marriage, faced the wrath of his mother. She warned about the sea king's obstinacy, having rejected previous suitors. Salih, undeterred, proposed presenting lavish gifts to Jauhereh's father and emphasizing Badar's virtues. Despite his mother's apprehensions, Salih resolved to fulfil Badar's desire, even at the risk of his own life. The mother, while cautioning against harsh words, reluctantly consented to Salih's plan, acknowledging the challenging nature of the task.

 

Salih, accompanied by Badar, presented precious gifts to King Es Semendel, expressing the desire to marry Princess Jauhereh to Badar. The king, scornful and incredulous, questioned Salih's sanity. Salih defended Badar's worthiness, citing his royal lineage and virtues, challenging the king's objections.


Enraged, King Es Semendel ordered his men to seize Salih, who narrowly escaped to the palace gate. There, he found over a thousand armed warriors dispatched by his mother to aid him. Informed of the situation, they confronted the king's unprepared forces, leading to the defeat of Es Semendel's party. Salih and his kinsfolk captured the king, binding his hands behind his back.


Upon learning of her father's captivity and the chaos in the palace, Princess Jauhereh fled to a distant island and sought refuge in a tall tree. As the conflict unfolded between Salih's forces and those loyal to King Es Semendel, some of the fleeing servants encountered Badar. Unaware of the ongoing turmoil, Badar, fearing for his safety, attempted to escape and coincidentally ended up on the same island where Jauhereh sought shelter.


Collapsing in exhaustion beneath the tree where Jauhereh concealed herself, Badar, enamoured by the sight of her, praised Allah for a flawlessly beautiful creation like her. Recognizing the princess, he decided to approach her, introduce himself, and inquire about her situation. When he rose and addressed her, Jauhereh confirmed her identity, revealing her escape due to the conflict and uncertainty surrounding her father's fate.


Badar, captivated by Jauhereh's beauty, proposed marriage, unaware of her deceitful intentions. Jauhereh, feigning reciprocated love, convinced Badar to descend from the tree and expressed her desire for him. However, she harboured resentment for the troubles caused by his presence and sought revenge. While embracing him, she invoked a transformation, turning Badar into a beautiful bird. Jauhereh then instructed her slave girl, Mersineh, to take the bird to Thirsty Island and leave him there to perish.

 

Mersineh, conflicted by Badar's beauty, decided to spare him and left him on a lush island instead, deceiving Jauhereh about his fate. Badar, now in the form of a bird, awaited his destiny on the newfound island, still oblivious to the deception plotted against him.


King Salih, unable to find Badar or Princess Jauhereh, returned to his palace, seeking answers from his mother. She revealed that Badar had fled upon hearing about the conflict with King Es Semendel. Distraught over Badar's disappearance, Salih dispatched scouts throughout the sea and beyond, but they found no trace of him. Julnar, growing weary of waiting, descended into the sea to visit her mother's abode.


Learning of the events, she mourned for her son and grew incensed at Salih for taking Badar without her consent. Despite her grief, Julnar decided to return to her kingdom, fearing disorder in her absence. She entrusted the search for Badar to her mother and vowed not to forget him, as his well-being was paramount to her. The world seemed narrow without him, and Julnar, weeping and mournful, returned to her realm, anxiously awaiting news of her beloved son.


King Badar was captured by a fowler and taken to the king's palace. The king, captivated by the bird's beauty, decided to keep it. Despite offering food, the bird did not eat until the king himself started eating, and the bird consumed the same food. The king, amazed by the bird's behaviour, called his wife to see the extraordinary sight.


The queen recognized the bird as King Badar Basim, enchanted by Princess Jauhereh. The queen revealed the story to the king, expressing her dismay at Jauhereh's actions. The king, angered by the deception, vowed to free Badar from the enchantment and cursed Jauhereh. The queen instructed the king to say to the bird, "O Badar Basim, enter this closet!"


The king ordered Badar to enter a closet, where the queen, veiling her face, used certain words over a bowl of water to break the enchantment. Sprinkling the water on Badar, she invoked the names of God, asking him to return to his original form. As she completed the ritual, the bird transformed into a handsome young man. Badar expressed gratitude, acknowledging the power of Allah.


The king, curious about Badar's intentions, asked him about his plans. Badar requested the king's assistance in preparing a ship and a crew to return to his kingdom, fearing the loss of his rule in his absence. He shared the details of his past and his mother's likely distress over his disappearance. The king, moved by Badar's charm and request, equipped a ship for him, and Badar set sail. After ten days of smooth sailing, on the eleventh day, a violent storm struck. The ship was wrecked, and all aboard drowned, except Badar, who clung to a plank for three days until it washed ashore near White City.


The city seemed deserted, with waves crashing against its walls. Attempting to approach, Badar faced aggressive mules, asses, and horses on the beach. After circling to the city's back, he found it empty. Perplexed, he encountered an old grocer at a shop, who, amazed by Badar's tale, welcomed him and offered food, cautioning against potential dangers.


Badar sailed with the king's ship for eleven days, facing a storm on the eleventh day. He met a shipwreck and he clung to a plank for three days until it washed ashore near a white city. Aggressive mules, asses, and horses on the beach hindered his landing, but Badar swam to the city's backside. To his surprise, he found the city deserted. Spotting an old grocer, Badar shared his story. The grocer explained that the city was under the control of a sorceress named Queen Lab, who enchanted men into animals. Badar, disturbed by this revelation, remained cautious yet stayed with the grocer, who offered him food and safety.


The next day, Badar reported the queen's attempts to bewitch him to his uncle, who provided him with barley to thwart her enchantments. Badar returned to the palace, where the queen plied him with wine. In a drunken state, he confirmed her suspicions about his anger. The queen confessed her past love and revealed her ability to transform into a bird to be with him. Despite her admission, she professed her love for Badar.


The next morning, Badar feigned eating her parched grain while secretly consuming his uncle's barley, rendering her enchantments ineffective. When she ate his barley, he sprinkled water on her, commanding her to transform into a mule. Badar took the enchanted mule to his uncle's shop for condemnation. Advised to leave the city, he rode the mule until he encountered an old man. Their journey was interrupted by an old woman desperate to buy the mule, offering a large sum. Despite his initial refusal, Badar reconsidered, and handed the she-mule to the hag.


The old woman turned out to be Queen Lab's mother. With a sprinkle of water, Queen Lab reverted to her human form. Badar tried to escape, but the old woman summoned a gigantic Ifrit, terrifying him into submission. They flew back to Queen Lab's palace, where she condemned Badar for his deceit and promised retribution against him and the old grocer. She transformed Badar into a repulsive bird, caged him, and deprived him of sustenance. Despite her cruelty, one of her servant girls secretly provided Badar with food and water.


The kind-hearted damsel secretly informed the old grocer about Queen Lab's actions. The grocer, determined to overthrow Queen Lab, summoned an Ifrit with four wings and planned to make the damsel the new queen. The Ifrit carried her to Queen Julnar of the Sea, and she delivered the news that King Badar Basim was captive to Queen Lab.


Upon receiving the information, Queen Julnar, accompanied by Jinn tribes and sea warriors, swiftly flew to the sorceress's city. They destroyed the town and palace, eliminating the unbelievers. Queen Julnar, eager to find her son, found Badar as a bird. After sprinkling him with water, she commanded him to revert to his original form. Badar transformed back into a man, and a joyous reunion took place. Queen Julnar, along with her family, thanked Abdallah for his aid, and he was rewarded by marrying the damsel who brought the news.


Now that Queen Julnar had regained control of the city, Badar expressed his desire to marry. His grandmother and uncle’s daughters pledged to help him find a suitable match. Each went on a quest to various lands, and Queen Julnar sent her Ladies-in-Waiting on Ifrits to survey cities. However, Badar insisted on marrying Princess Jauhereh, the daughter of King Es Semendel, whom he considered a jewel.


When Es Semendel learned of Badar’s wish, he graciously agreed, and officers were dispatched to fetch the princess. After flying to the palace on Ifrits, they returned with Jauhereh. As soon as she saw her father, she embraced him. Es Semendel informed her of the marriage to King Badar Basim, and she accepted the arrangement willingly. The Cadis and witnesses were summoned, and the marriage contract was drawn up. The city was decorated, drums beat in celebration, and all the townsfolk rejoiced. Badar and Jauhereh were united in matrimony, and the festivities continued for ten days. The newlyweds lived happily ever after.

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