The King’s Son and the Ogress

There was once a King’s son who was passionately fond of hunting; and his father had charged one of his Viziers to attend him wherever he went.

One day, the prince went out to hunt, accompanied by the Vizier, and as they were going along, they saw a great wild beast, whereupon the Vizier said to the prince, ‘Let’s go after the beast!’

So the prince rode after the beast and followed it, till he was out of sight. After awhile, the beast disappeared in the desert, and the prince found himself alone, not knowing which way to turn.

Then he came upon a damsel, weeping, and said to her, ‘Who are you?’

‘I am the daughter of one of the Kings of India, and I was journeying through this country, with a company of people, when sleep overcame me and I fell from my horse, not knowing what I did. My people did not note my fall and went on and left me; and now I am alone and bewildered.’

When the prince heard this, he had pity on her case and took her up behind himself and they rode on, till they came to some ruins; when she said to him, ‘O my lord, I wish to rest here.’ So he put her down, and she entered the ruins and stayed there till he became impatient and went in search of her.

He then saw that she was an ogress, and heard her say to her children, ‘O my children, I have brought you to day a fat youth.’ ‘O mother,’ answered the children, ‘bring him to us, so we can eat him.

When the prince heard their talk, he trembled in every nerve and turned back. The ogress came out after him and finding him terrified and trembling, said to him, ‘Who do you fear?’

And the prince said, ‘I have an enemy, of whom I am in fear.’ Because the prince had realized that the Vizier had lured him here on purpose.

‘Didn’t you say that you are a King’s Son?’ she asked, and he answered ‘Yes.’

‘Then,’ said she, ‘why don’t you give your enemy money to appease him?’

He replied, ‘he will not be satisfied with money or anything else, only with my life; and I fear him and am an oppressed man.’

‘If your are as oppressed as you say,’ rejoined she, ‘ask help of God; surely He will protect you from your enemy and from the mischief he wants to do to you.’

So the prince raised his eyes to heaven and said, ‘O answer the prayer of the distressed when they call on you. Turn away evil from them. O my god, protect me from my enemy and make him turn his back on me.’

When the ogress heard his prayer, she departed from him and he resumed to the King his father and informed him of the Vizier’s conduct: whereupon the King sent for the latter and put him to death.