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Main > Libyan folktales > Fairy tale "The Sons of Sultan Bey"

The Sons of Sultan Bey

LONG ago in Libya, the Sultan Bey had three sons and their names were Hussein, Hassan, and Ali. When they were grown to the flower of youth, and when they were finished with schooling and with books, and were trained in the arts of war, so that no man could stand up against them either with sword or with spear, the Sultan called his sons to him.

Said the Sultan: "My beard is white and my arm grows weak. In the course of time, I will die and one of you will replace me. Therefore I will now hold a test to see which of you is the fittest to sit as Sultan in my place. Each of you will go out and travel and bring back that which you find in the world. And from that which you bring back, and from what you relate of your travels, I will judge you. Therefore take horses and depart, and may you all journey in health!"

The eldest son Hussein took his horse and saddled it. He summoned servants and slaves and baggage animals, and he set out. He traveled and traveled through the world until he came to the Hill of Arafat. That night, he pitched his tents and slept with his servants by the hill. In the night a magical creature known in those parts as a Jinni (you may know it as a Genie) came out of the Hill of Arafat, awoke him and saluted him. The Prince sat up and his heart filled with fear, for he saw the Jinni, great and ugly and terrible, standing beside his bed. But the Jinni said, "You are my guest tonight, O son of Sultan Bey, and can a Jinni harm his guest? I regret I have no feast to prepare in your honor. But I bid you to partake of my gold, for this hill is full of gold, and I am its guardian. I will give you as much as you can carry away with all your servants and all your animals."

The Jinni took the Prince to the hill, and showed him a great door that opened to a tunnel, and the tunnel led to caverns that were filled to the very top with gold. The Prince called his servants and commanded them to drop all his baggage and abandon it, and he commanded them to load every camel, every donkey, every bag, and every horse with gold.

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