It is said that a certain goldsmith had a daughter who was very beautiful. As her father did not wish to give her in marriage to anyone, she asked him to have a boat made for her. The boat was built and decorated, and she took six virgins of like age with her and went to the river to bathe. A prince with a vazirzada (vazir's son) happened to pass by, and the goldsmith's daughter, seeing him, hid herself in her vessel, forgetting, however, to take her comb and hair combings with her. The prince, seeing the comb and combings, fell in love. He went to his father and told him that he was dying for love of a certain woman whom he had seen on the banks of a river ; he asked that a vessel should be built so that he could go in search of her. The vessel was built, and the prince sailed to the town where the goldsmith's daughter lived.
The governor of the district had issued orders that travellers must always stay in the serai (caravanserai) appointed for the purpose. The prince and his companion arrived at the house of a gardener in the town, and asked for permission to stay there, which was refused. The vazirzada gave the gardener two mohurs, and then they were allowed to remain.
During talk one day the gardener mentioned that he took (every day) a garland to the goldsmith's daughter. The prince said that he would also make a garland to be taken to her with that of the gardener. The prince made his garland beautiful with jewels and other precious things, and, when it was taken to the goldsmith's daughter, she asked who was the maker of so rare a thing. The gardener replied that it was a certain person who had been put up in a particular serai. The goldsmith's daughter then sent word, with her greetings, that she would go to see him at a certain time.
The vazirzada roused the prince accordingly, but, when the time fixed drew near, the prince fell asleep, and the girl, as proof that she had come, left a leaf upon his forehead. The vazirzada enquired about her coming, but the prince replied that she had not come, although he had awaited her the whole night. The vazirzada, however, saw the leaf, and knew that it had been left as proof of her coming. The companions then begged through the gardener for a second interview, and a time was again fixed. She came according to promise. The lamps were lighted, and a stranger saw the woman and prince together and reported it to the governor, who had ordained the punishment of death for such an offence.
The governor ordered a guard to take charge of the criminals. The vazirzada heard of this, and immediately ran to the bazaar and bought some sweetmeats, which he himself in female disguise took to the serai. The men posted round at first would not let him go in, but he begged so hard, even giving them sweet-meats, that at last he forced his way in. The goldsmith's daughter then disguised herself in the dress worn by the vazirzada and went out with the empty sweetmeat dishes, the vazirzada sitting down near the prince. At daybreak a search was made, but no woman whatever was found in the serai, and the informant was punished as untruthful.
After a few days the vazirzada disguised the prince in a female dress, and took him to the goldsmith, whom he asked to lodge in his house this sister (the disguised prince), until the return of a prince to whom she was betrothed. The goldsmith at first refused, but his son induced him to agree that the apparent damsel should stay with his daughter for five days. The daughter was delighted, as she recognized the prince. She dug a pit, the mouth of which she covered and strewed with a little dust. Her brother, coming to see the guest, fell into the hole, and she buried him by heaping over him the earth. She then allowed the prince to go away, telling her father that her brother had eloped with the guest. Search was made, and presently the vazirzada and the prince (in male attire) came to the gold-smith and demanded the return of the lady, of whom the prince was said to be the husband.
The goldsmith offered many excuses and entreaties in vain, and a claim was formally made against him. The parties appeared before the governor, who heard them and decided that the goldsmith must give his daughter in marriage to the vazirzada's brother-in-law in recompense for the missing woman. The goldsmith's protests were disregarded, and his daughter was handed over to the travellers, who took her to their vessel. They sailed to their home, where on their arrival drums were beaten.
Source: Sir Lucas King., Sherani Folktales
Picture Credits: The Mughal Gallery