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Main > Arabic folktales > Fairy tale "The Seven Stages of Roostem"

The Seven Stages of Roostem

Roostem, hearing the noise, started up and joined in the combat. The serpent darted at him, but he avoided it, and, while his noble horse seized their enemy by the back, the hero cut off its head with his sword.

When the serpent was slain, Roostem contemplated its enormous size with amazement, and, with that piety which always distinguished him, returned thanks to the Almighty for his miraculous escape.

Next day, as Roostem sat by a fountain, he saw a beautiful damsel regaling herself with wine. He approached her, accepted her invitation to partake of the beverage, and clasped her in his arms as if she had been an angel. It happened, in the course of their conversation, that the Persian hero mentioned the name of the great God he adored. At the sound of that sacred word the fair features and shape of the female changed, and she became black, ugly, and deformed. The astonished Roostem seized her, and after binding her hands, bid her declare who she was. “I am a sorceress,” was the reply, “and have been employed by the evil spirit Aharman for thy destruction; but save my life, and I am powerful to do thee service.” “I make no compact with the devil or his agents,” said the hero, and cut her in twain. He again poured forth his soul in thanksgiving to God for his deliverance.

On his fourth stage Roostem lost his way. While wandering about he came to a clear rivulet, on the banks of which he lay down to take some repose, having first turned Reksh loose into a field of grain. A gardener who had charge of it came and awoke the hero, telling him in an insolent tone that he would soon suffer for his temerity, as the field in which his horse was feeding belonged to a pehloovân, or warrior, called Oulâd. Roostem, always irascible, but particularly so when disturbed in his slumbers, jumped up, tore off the gardener’s ears, and gave him a blow with his fist that broke his nose and teeth. “Take these marks of my temper to your master,” he said, “and tell him to come here, and he shall have a similar welcome.

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