Once upon a time in ancient Turkey there lived a pasha who had one son. He loved him so much that he let the boy mess around without making himself useful.
One day the prince was playing outside with a ball out of boredom. When he saw an old lady walking with a pitcher, he couldn’t help but throw the ball at the pitcher. It fell to pieces on the floor. The woman did not dare to say anything about it, because it was the son of the Turkish pasha. So she ran off to get a new pitcher. And again the young prince smashed the pitcher. But the woman said nothing. When the prince threw the pitcher out of the woman’s hands for the third time, she had had enough. With her fist raised, she exclaimed, “You will be punished by falling in love with the silent princess.” Then she disappeared.
Years passed and the prince began to think about the event more and more and longed for the silent princess. Eventually, the boy became seriously ill. The pasha sent for all the doctors from the country, but no one could tell what caused this strange disease and how the boy could be cured.
“How did your illness begin, my son?” the pasha asked one day. Then the boy told him what had happened all those years before and what the old woman had said to him. The father then gave his son permission to find the silent princess.
It was a difficult journey with many setbacks. A year had passed when he finally arrived at the palace of the silent princess. She was the daughter of a sultan and wore seven veils. She was said to be the most beautiful woman in the world, but no one had ever seen her. She didn’t say a word. Whoever got her to talk got to marry her. Many princes had tried, but none had succeeded. And all had to pay for their attempt with death.
The prince, who was head over heels in love, understood that it was very dangerous, but it didn’t stop him. At the market near the palace, the prince found a merchant who had a nightingale with him. The bird sang so happily that the prince stopped to listen and asked the owner if he could buy it from him. The prince took him to the inn where he was staying. That evening the prince lay agonizing over how to make the princess speak. Then the nightingale whispered in his ear: “What makes you so sad, my prince? I’ll help you, don’t worry. Do exactly as I say and everything will be fine.”
That evening the prince knocked on the sultan’s door with the request to speak to the princess. The sultan allowed it and the prince was taken to the princess’s room. There he hid the nightingale behind a large candlestick, just as they had agreed. The prince began to tell about his adventures, but the princess did not flinch. Then a voice came out of the candlestick and said, “Well, now that the princess doesn’t seem interested in a conversation, I’d like to talk to someone. Shall I tell you a riddle?”
“Yes, please,” replied the prince, just as they had agreed.
The nightingale began, “Once upon a time there was a princess who could not choose from three brothers whom to marry. That’s why they had to be tested. The smartest of the three was allowed to marry the princess. They were given six months to prove which of them was the smartest. Six months later they would meet at an agreed place. The eldest was delighted. “I think I will win the princess, because not everyone is able to travel half a year in one hour.” The second brother had learned to see from a great distance. The youngest brother had learned to bring the dead back to life. All the brothers felt they were entitled to marriage. The middle brother shouted, “Let’s see what is happening in the palace right now. He sat cross-legged and closed his eyes. “Oh no!” he cried. “The princess is very ill, she is dying!” “I can bring her back to life with a cure!” said the youngest brother. The eldest brother said, “Make the mixture and I’ll bring it to her in no time!” The mixture was made and the eldest brother was just in time to save the princess with the medicine. Now my question to you, Prince: “Which of the three brothers won the princess?”
“I think the one who made the medicine,” said the prince. “But if the middle son had not seen from a distance that the princess was seriously ill, no one could have married her,” cried the nightingale. And so a heated conversation ensued. Until the princess suddenly exclaimed: “Oh, fools! Don’t you see that it is the eldest who was entitled to the princess, for if he had not had the power to reach the palace in time, the remedy would have been useless!”
At the sound of the voice of the princess, the servants ran to the sultan to tell him about the miracle that had taken place. The sultan rushed to his daughter, who understood that she had been ambushed. So the princess kept her mouth shut again, but made it clear to her father that the man who wanted to be her husband had to get her to speak three times. The prince quickly tucked the nightingale under his coat unnoticed and left the palace.
“Why so gloomy?” asked the nightingale, as soon as they were safely outside. “Everything went just right. We’re going back tomorrow and don’t worry, you just have to trust me.”
The next evening the prince paid another visit to the palace and placed the bird by the window, the bird skipped undetected to the top of the pillar. Again the prince started to talk and the princess didn’t make a sound. Then the prince went to the window and said, “Well, pillar, the princess doesn’t seem to want to talk tonight. Maybe you do?”
And the pillar spoke back: “I’m sure you’re interested in an interesting story I’d like your opinion on. Once upon a time there was a woman who was so beautiful that every man fell in love with her. That’s why she couldn’t choose from all those men. But one day she found that she was getting older and that she had to choose someone now. She had three ex-lovers to choose from. So she came up with a plan. They weren’t all that smart, so she wanted to test the men. All three were invited. The first man found the woman crying by a grave in her garden. “Something terrible has happened,” she said, sobbing. “My father passed away two nights ago and I buried him in my garden. But I found out he was a wizard and he’s not dead at all. You can save me by wrapping yourself in the white robe I carry here in my hands and lie in the grave. If he hasn’t come back in three days, then he’s lost control of me and I’m released from him. The man was honored that she had confided in him and wrapped himself in the cloth and sat down in the grave.”
“The second day the second man came to the house and found the lady sobbing. She told him that her father was a wizard and that he would probably leave his grave if not stopped by a stone. She asked him to watch over the tomb and hit it if there was any movement in the tomb. On the third day, the third man also found the woman crying. She told him that a wizard had thrown her father out of his grave and taken his place. The man immediately ran to the grave, pulled the first man out and ran after him. The second man who was so taken by surprise by the whole thing that he did nothing at first. But then he threw the stone at the two men without hitting them. When the first man’s white robe fell off, the men saw that the woman had fooled all three of them. Tell me, prince,” said the nightingale, “which of them would the woman marry?”
“That would be the second man I think,” said the prince.
“No, no, it should be the third man who made the most effort for the lady,” said the bird. A fierce discussion ensued, until the princess interrupted the quarrel.
“How can you talk such nonsense? Have you ever thought of all those days when the first man lay in the grave, with the threat of a stone over his head?” cried the princess. “Of course he should be the husband!”
It was not long before the news reached the sultan. But he couldn’t agree to a marriage until his daughter spoke for the third time. The next evening the prince entered the palace for the third time with the bird hidden under his coat. The bird disappeared into the folds of the velvet curtain. The young prince talked to the princess as usual without expecting a single answer.
The curtain began to talk to the prince: “Once upon a time there was a carpenter, a tailor and a student who lived together in a little house. One night the carpenter could not sleep. Instead of tossing and turning in his bed, he decided to carve a statue of a girl from a piece of wood. When he went back to bed, he must have fallen asleep. But the carpenter wasn’t the only one who lay awake that night. The tailor couldn’t sleep either, and when he got up to get a drink in the room, he saw a pretty girl standing against the wall. He liked her so much that he made her a beautiful dress that night. When she put on the dress, the tailor was satisfied and his restlessness was gone and he went back to bed. When morning came, the student got up first. He also saw the girl and immediately fell in love. He walked over to her and fervently wished that she would live. His wish came true and the girl came to life. Now all three men were in love with the girl and each of them wanted to marry her. And now, my prince, I ask you who should marry the girl. It seems to me that the carpenter had the most right to that.”
“Oh, but it’s the details that make life attractive, so I think the tailor would be the right choice for her,” cried the prince. Again the princess forgot her tacit intention and cried aloud: “How stupid are men, it is the student who has brought her to life. Who else should marry her?”
And as she spoke, the seven veils fell from her, and there stood the most beautiful princess the world had ever seen.
“You won me over,” she said with a smile, and they married soon after. They lived happily ever after. They had many children and the old woman looked after them, which gave her great joy and a wonderful life.