Trickery, Greed and the Princess
Once upon a time, in the faraway land of Kashmir, there was a curious traveller who found himself completely captivated by the renowned beauty of a princess. The traveller, who had journeyed near the palace in a bustling city, had managed to amass a sum of seven hundred rupees through his clever trading and bartering skills. His heart was set on catching even the slightest glimpse of the princess, for her fame had spread far and wide.
Through a helpful attendant of the princess, the traveller stumbled upon a secret. It was said that the princess was willing to reveal one of her delicate fingers in exchange for a mere hundred rupees! Overwhelmed by his desire to see the princess up close, the traveller eagerly agreed to the terms and handed over his hard-earned money. The princess gracefully extended the fingers of one hand and then revealed two from the other, draining the traveller of his precious savings.
Filled with regret and sorrow, the traveller lamented his actions as the night descended upon the city. The following morning, a compassionate passerby noticed the traveller's distress and could not bear to see him in such despair. With a kind heart, this stranger offered the traveller a piece of land and advised him to sow melons upon it. The stranger's wise counsel was to distribute the ripe melons as a charity in the name of Haramzada Thug, a mischievous character known for his antics.
Following this newfound guidance, the traveller gave away the majority of his bountiful melons. It was at this precise moment that Haramzada Thug himself appeared, wondering how he could be of assistance. The traveller poured out his tale of misfortune to Haramzada Thug, who, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, agreed to accompany the traveller to the royal palace.
As they journeyed, their path intersected with that of a humble shepherd. Intrigued by their quest, they purchased a gentle lamb from the shepherd for a mere rupee. However, when they attempted to slaughter the lamb, they made a comical mistake and used the wrong side of the knife, causing the lamb to let out a pained cry. Startled by the commotion, the princess herself observed the spectacle from her palace. Amused by their foolishness, she ordered her attendant to step in and slaughter the lamb on their behalf.
The trio's misadventures did not end there. As they tried to remove the lamb's skin, Haramzada Thug and the traveller once again found themselves in disagreement. Their confusion caught the attention of the ever-patient attendant, who intervened for the second time and completed the task for them. Undeterred by their previous follies, they then attempted to cook the meat by placing a cooking pot upside down over a blazing fire. Alas, the meat refused to cook properly, and the trio complained loudly.
For the third time, the compassionate attendant came to their rescue, skillfully cooking the meat to perfection. But their peculiar behaviour continued. They decided to break the cooking pot to retrieve the cooked meat, which caused the attendant to intervene yet again. He deftly removed the meat from the broken pot, placed it in a bowl, and served it to them with a smile.
And then, oh dear, they claimed that they never ate with their own hands and were accustomed to being fed by their wives! Touched by their simplicity and entertained by their antics, the princess couldn't help but be charmed. She immediately instructed her attendant to bring the pair, along with their belongings, into the grand royal palace.
Once inside, the princess herself took it upon her regal self to feed one of them, while her kind attendant attended to the other. But there was a problem - they had no bedding, and the night air was cold and unforgiving. The duo, fearful that their noisy complaints might reach the ears of the sultan and lead to their execution, caused quite a ruckus.
Intrigued by their uproar, the princess couldn't resist but inquire about the cause. The traveller and Haramzada Thug explained their plight, confessing that they were used to sleeping on warm, cosy beds and were unable to rest in the cold. Filled with empathy, the princess swiftly made a decision. She allocated a portion of her own luxurious bed to one of them, while her attendant did the same for the other. It was a gesture of kindness that touched their hearts.
But wait, there's more! The mischievous Haramzada Thug, always up to something, rose with an announcement. He declared his intention to perform the call to prayer, a sacred duty usually reserved for pious individuals. The attendant pleaded with him not to do so, knowing the consequences that would follow. Haramzada Thug, however, insisted that if he was forbidden from performing this act, he would demand a hefty sum of one thousand rupees.
To the princess's dismay, she found herself compelled to fulfil Haramzada Thug's unusual request. She reluctantly handed over the requested sum, amounting to one thousand rupees. With this exchange, the tale of the traveller and Haramzada Thug in the royal palace came to an end.
Haramzada Thug, true to his word, handed seven hundred rupees to the traveller, keeping the remaining three hundred for himself. And so, with pockets slightly heavier, the pair bid farewell to the palace and ventured back into the world, their hearts filled with stories to share and memories to cherish.