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

The Seven Stages of Roostem

Oulâd told him that the Deevs watched and feasted during the night, but slept during the heat of the day, hating (according to our narrator) the sunbeams. Roostem, as he advanced, saw an immense army drawn out; he thought it better, before he attacked them, to refresh himself by some repose. Having laid himself down, he soon fell into a sound sleep, and at daylight he awoke quite refreshed. As soon as the sun became warm, he rushed into the camp. The heavy blows of his mace soon awoke the surprised and slumbering guards of the Deev-e-Seffeed; they collected in myriads, hoping to impede his progress, but all in vain. The rout became general, and none escaped but those who fled from the field of battle.

When this army was dispersed, Roostem went in search of the Deev-e-Seffeed, who, ignorant of the fate of his followers, slumbered in the recess of a cavern, the entrance to which looked so dark and gloomy that the Persian hero hesitated whether he should advance; but the noise of his approach had roused his enemy, who came forth, clothed in complete armour. His appearance was terrible; but Roostem, recommending his soul to God, struck a desperate blow, which separated the leg of the Deev from his body. This would on common occasions have terminated the contest, but far different was the result on the present. Irritated to madness by the loss of a limb, the monster seized his enemy in his arms, and endeavoured to throw him down. The struggle was for some time doubtful; but Roostem, collecting all his strength, by a wondrous effort dashed his foe to the ground, and seizing him by one of the horns, unsheathed his dagger and stabbed him to the heart. The Deev-e-Seffeed instantly expired; and Roostem, on looking round to the entrance of the cavern, from whence the moment before he had seen numberless Deevs issuing to the aid of their lord, perceived they were all dead. Oulâd, who stood at a prudent distance from the scene of combat, now advanced and informed the hero that the lives of all the Deevs depended upon that of their chief.

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