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

The Sons of Sultan Bey

Ali gazed at the young woman in astonishment, and all the more so when she rose out of the water to greet him, and settled on the rocks. She commanded that wines and fruits be brought for the youth's refreshment. Then she asked him his name, and he replied, "My name is Ali and I am a son of the Sultan Bey."

She said, "I am the Bride of the Sea. Here you are my guest."

She sent her servants to bring tools and they struck off the shackles binding his wrists and feet, and she commanded her maidservants to rub oil upon his wounds. Prince Ali gazed at the Bride of the Sea, and he saw that she was beautiful beyond all earthly beauty, and also that she was kind and gentle.

Yet he said, "I go to marry the daughter of the Sultan of the Hejaz. She is the loveliest and the finest princess on earth, and now you dazzle me with the beauty of the sea."

The Bride of the Sea said to him, "I know of her. Though her beauty is famed far and wide, what do men know of her heart?"

Prince Ali said, "Is not what is in her heart that which is shown in her face?"

Said the Bride of the Sea, "You shall go and see her, yet you shall go in disguise as a girl, that you may see her heart."

The Sea-Bride sent her maidens to recover the golden ring from the wreck of the ship, and she returned the ring to the prince. She said, "Turn around three times, then go to your beloved."

Ali turned around three times and he was amazed, for he found himself a girl. The sea-maidens took him by the arm and swam with him to the surface of the sea. They mounted him on a dolphin and said, "This dolphin shall be your steed; ride him to the Hejaz."

Ali rode the dolphin until the shores of the Hejaz came into view. Yet he wept, for he thought, "Now I am a girl and only the Bride of the Sea can turn me back into my proper state!"

The girl Ali reached the shores of the Hejaz and he went to the palace of the king.

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