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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Nightingale in the Mosque - The Story of the Sultan's Youngest Son and the Princess Flower o' the World"

The Nightingale in the Mosque - The Story of the Sultan's Youngest Son and the Princess Flower o' the World

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The next day a youth in rags whom nobody knew entered the mosque to pray and instantly the Nightingale began to sing.

A messenger was sent running to the Sultan with the news that the Nightingale was singing. The Sultan hurried to the mosque but by the time he got there the beggar youth was gone and the Nightingale had stopped singing.

"Now that I'm here," cried the Sultan, "why does the bird not sing?"

The Dervish, swaying his body gently back and forth, made answer as before:

"Let him who found the Nightingale come to the mosque and then the Nightingale will sing."

Thereafter every day when the beggar youth came to the mosque to pray the Nightingale sang, and always when the Sultan approached the beggar walked away and the bird stopped singing. At last people began whispering:

"Strange that the Nightingale should sing only when that beggar youth is near! And yet the Dervish says it will not sing unless he who found it comes to the mosque! What can he mean?"

Report of the beggar youth reached the ears of the Sultan and he went to the Dervish and questioned him.

"Why do you say that the Nightingale Gisar will not sing unless he who found him comes to the mosque? Lo, here are my two sons who found him and the bird remains silent, yet people tell me that when a certain beggar comes to the mosque he sings. Why does he not sing when I and my two sons come to pray?"

And always the Dervish made the same answer in the same sing-song voice:

"Let him who found the Nightingale come to the mosque and then the Nightingale will sing."

Soon a terrifying rumor spread through the land that a great Warrior Princess called Flower o' the World was coming with a mighty army to make war on the Sultan and to destroy his city. Her army far outnumbered the Sultan's and when she encamped in a broad valley over against the city the Sultan's people, seeing her mighty hosts, were filled with dread and besought their ruler to make peace with the Princess at any cost. So the Sultan called his heralds and sent them to her and through them he said:

"Demand of me what you will even to my life but spare my city.

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