Prince Behram and the Fairy Bride
Updated: 4 days ago
From the mountains of Kif came down Safeyd, the King of Giants, to visit the kingdoms
beyond his, and beyond the veiled. Wandering around the land, he decided to take a stroll through a forest. He saw a small party of huntsman giving chase to a deer. The young lad leading the party was strikingly handsome, and Safeyd felt something for him deep inside his bones. Safeyd was struck and felt like he would never know contentment in his life unless he possessed the boy. After following them around for a while, Safeyd learned that he was Prince Behram.
Safeyd shape-shifted into a beautiful mare, with snowy skin, and a neigh like thunder, and crossed paths with the prince every now and again to grab Behram’s attention. Struck by the beauty and the finesse of the mare, Behram gave the orders to capture it. Safeyd, graceful and docile, waited till he was saddled and bridled. However, as soon as the prince hopped onto the mare’s back, Safeyd galloped far, far away, so quickly that the world seemed to whoosh past Behram, and stopped when he had taken the prince back to his palace in his kingdom.
Safeyd tried his best to appease Behram by showering him with favours, treasure chests, full of gold coins and precious stones, lot’s of servants, the finest clothes, and magnificent chambers.
Eight days later, Safeyd came to Behram and told him, “I shall now leave you for eight days. I have to go and attend my brother’s wedding. You, however, will remain here. But I am giving you this key. It will allow you to visit the palace patio. No one has seen it till today, apart from myself, so when you go, go alone, and remember to lock the door again when you return.” Handing Behram the keys, he set off for his brother’s palace.
The following evening, Behram decided to go see the garden for himself. It was beyond anything that he had ever imagined, let alone seen! Beautiful fountains, bubbling into pools, lined the edges of the garden, and a pavilion of jasper, inlaid with precious stones stood in between. The trees bore sapphires, rubies, and emeralds for fruit. As he sat down, he watched on as the fountains threw up a glistering, golden spray, which made the most enchanting reflections in the pools. Just then four milk-white doves flew onto a tree, and took the shape of four fairies, as they settled by the edge of a tank of clear crystal water. Their beauty left Behram a little dazzled.
The fairies undressed, and daintily dived into the tank with a plop, and began to bathe. As they were bathing one of them said, ” I had a dream, in my dream, I saw that one of us will be parted from the rest.”
They stepped one by one out of the water and robed themselves. It so happened that the prettiest fairy from the four, Gulab Bano, could not find her clothes. Meanwhile, the others, having finished dressing, turned themselves into doves again and flew away. She called out to them, “It is what has been written for me. We part here, and we shall never meet again. My destiny awaits me here.” She looked around, and her gaze became fixated at the pavilion, where Prince Behram sat on the steps. She fell in love with him at first sight, she felt as if her heart was no longer hers. Now, it was the prince himself who had stolen the fairy’s clothes and hidden them. He had seen her, and she had caught his eye. He knew that if she got her clothes back, she would take the form of a dove, and fly far, far away from him. He offered her another dress and looked away as she dressed. The two lovers remained in the garden for eight days, till Safeyd returned.
Upon seeing huge chains which hung from his waist, Behram began to tremble with fear. Safeyd reassured the prince saying, “Why do you fear, do you not own all I possess?” Anyhow, the giant ordered the musicians to play, and girls to dance to the tunes, to try to beguile the young prince, and to lift his spirits. Behram could not see the dancing girls, although he could hear the tunes. “Do you see them?” asked the giant. “I do not,” replied the prince, “the girls and the musicians are invisible, but I do hear the music, and I hear the tinkling of anklets.”
“I will give you some antimony, it belonged to our king, Hazrat Suleman. Bring it close to
your face, and allow it to touch your eyes.” Safeyd told him. Prince Behram obeyed, and
suddenly, he saw the whole place filled with troops of dainty maidens, performing exquisitely to the music of Rabab’s and Tabla’s.
Now, Gulab Bano, the fairy Prince Behram had fallen in love with, happened to be Safeyd’s wife. Despite knowing everything which had happened, Safeyd told Behram, “Take Gulab Bano, and take everything which belongs to me if you wish.” for that is how much Safeyd loved Behram. Behram took the fairy for his bride, and they began to live happily together in the palace Safeyd had given Behram.
One day, the fairy felt homesick, so she asked Behram, “Please let me go and visit my
parents, I miss them very much. I promise to come back to you.” So the prince returned her fairy robes to her, and she turned into a dove, and away she flew. When her parents found out that she had fallen in love with a mortal, and married a child of a man, they became furious.
They imprisoned her in a cramped-up house, in a gloomy subterranean city. Time went on and on, but Gulab Bano did not return. Behram began to pine for his beloved, and his sorrow began to weigh down on his shoulders. Safeyd too, grew melancholic and sad seeing his youthful, cheery friend so desolate When Behram could no longer take the pain of separation, he pleaded with Safeyd. “I must follow her, I need to find her, I shall not return without her.” he cried.
“Have you made your decision, are you sure you want to go?” Safeyd asked him. “I can no longer live,” said the prince, “without her.”
Safeyd gave the prince three things to take along with him on his journey - an invisible cap, King Suleman’s antimony, and some of his hair as Behram set out on his journey. After several days, the prince arrived at the subterranean city, only to find it clouded with darkness. Unable to find his way, he rubbed his eyes with the antimony. Lo, behold! Every nook and cranny, every path and track appeared into his view. Upon asking a few passers-by’s the whereabouts of Gulab Bano, he found out that she was imprisoned in a lofty tower with one hundred iron doors.
The prince made his way to the tower and put on the magic cap. The cap not only made him invisible, but it also made the hundred iron doors fly wide open! He ran inside, with his heart racing, thrilled at the thought of seeing her again, his princess, his fairy, his Gulab Bano. He took off his cap once he was inside, and rushed into her arms. They remained together for many days.
However, a woman can rarely ever keep a secret. It was not long before Gulab Bano
whispered to some of the maids who she liked, to give the good news to her friends, and how good fortune had walked to her, even in the midst of banishment. The news began to spread like wildfire, and soon reached the ears of her father. He put together a party of giants, and headed straight to the tower, only to find the prince and the fairy fast asleep in her bed.
Horrified, they decided to finish the prince off for good. and cried: “Come, let us kill him!”
The hue and cry aroused the prince from his slumber. Judging the gravity of the situation, he whipped on the magic cap and turned himself invisible. He then held a lock of Safeyd’s hair over the flame of an oil lamp.
As the smoke rose, a thousand squadrons of giants appeared at once, as did Safeyd himself. A fierce battle followed, but the enraged and humiliated father was forced to surrender, and give up his daughter to the prince. After that, Safeyd, Prince Behram, and Gulab Bano happily returned home in triumph.
As it had been a few years since Behram had been away from his kingdom, he had begun to feel a little lonely without his people and felt homesick. His longing grew and grew, till he became determined to go back home. Although it made Safeyd very sad, the giant king allowed the prince to leave with the fairy princess.
Gulab Bano transformed herself into an enormous bird, and the prince mounted on her back, between her wings, and within a few moments, they had arrived at the capital of Behram’s kingdom.
There the prince disguised himself as a hermit, while the fairy changed into a dove. Then he entered the city and called on his old nurse. The old woman recognised the prince at once! He warned the prince that one of the vizier's had seized the kingdom and was ruling in the king’s stead.
“And where are my wives?” asked Behram.
“He took three of your wives for himself. For her disobedience, the fourth has been
imprisoned in a pit, where she bore a son. She is fed the leftovers of his hounds.”
The fairy had taken her real shape for the time when the Prince was staying with his nurse. One day, news reached the palace, to the illegitimate king, that a woman who possesses grace, elegance, and beauty unlike any other woman on earth had been seen at the lodgings of the old woman.
Without a second thought, the evil King rushed to the dwellings of the nurse and seized
Gulab Bano. “Come with me at once!” he ordered her.
“Oh, King! Allow me to change my clothes first.”
The King nodded. Leaving him waiting by the door, Gulab Bano entered her bedroom and put on her magic dress. As soon as she donned her special outfit, she shape-shifted, taking the form of a beautiful dove, and flew out of the window. She flew as fast as her little wings would carry her, far far away, whilst the King returned to his palace vanquished and confused.
When Behram returned to the lodgings of his nurse, he inquired, “Where is my wife?”
“She is gone.” the woman informed him. “The vizier came to take her away.”
Without a second thought, unaware that Gulab Bano had escaped, in his fury, Prince Behram took out a few strands of the giant’s hair and held it in a flame once again. Instantly, thousands of giants armed with clubs and swords rushed to his aid. The city was taken, the vizier and the three wives who had been disloyal to Behram were put to the sword. The fourth wife was restored to her place as the Queen. Behram lived in the palace, ruling justly, in the companionship of his fourth wife. Although he was always good and kind to her, his heart yearned for Gulab Bano, the fairy princess. He began to wander around his city, the forest, and the palace, as melancholy overpowered him. People had begun to say that he is nearing madness. He searched in vain for the woman who was the love of his life but had flown to the house of her parents only to never return.
On the other hand, Deo Safeyd also grew tired of his longing for his friend, so he set out to look for Prince Behram. Once he found Behram’s kingdom, he whisked Behram away to his palace, where he also brought back Gulab Bano, to him. Behram recovered from his madness, and spent the rest of his life happily ever after, sometimes with Gulab Bano in the mountains of Kif, and sometimes in his capital with his faithful wife. But at last one day, he left his mortal wife for good and never returned home again.