Description of the Tale:
Tale's Author: Fairy tales and legends from Africa.
Name of the Tale: The Handkerchief
Fairy-Tale's Genre: Domestic
The People of Country: Africa people.
Zakia was a beautiful and clever girl. She lived with her father. She was so clever that her father always asked her advice. 1 But once he did not ask her advice, and
Zakia was very angry! This was when the king asked the girl's father to let him marry her. Zakia's father did not tell his daughter about that and said to the king:
"Oh, my King, my daughter will be very glad to marry you!"
But Zakia was not gJad. "No, Father," she said, "no, no! I will not marry and love a man whom I do not know."
"Oh, my dear daughter," said her father. "If you don't marry him, he may be very angry! But he is very good and clever. Oh, please, do as I say!"
At last Zakia said:
"All right. I'll marry him. But the King must learn a trade. I'll marry him only if he does so. One day he may lose his throne,2 and what shall we do then? We shall be poor, we shall die of
hunger. Go to the King and tell him my wish."
Zakia's father went to the king and told him his daughter's wish. And the king smiled and said:
"Your daughter is not only beautiful but very clever, too. I'll be glad to do as she asks. I am sure that we shall be happy together."
So the king began to learn the trade of a weaver. Soon he could weave a beautiful handkerchief, and he sent it to Zakia as a present.
"If she likes my present, she will marry me, I am sure," he thought.
Zakia liked the handkerchief and said, "Now I see that he loves me."
In a month they married and began to live happily. Zakia often helped the king with her clever advice.
One day the king came to his wife.
"I want to know my people," he said. "How can I learn3 what they think? How can I learn what they want?"
Zakia thought for a minute and then said:
"My King, if a man wishes to know another man well, he must live with him, or meet him often. I think you must put on the same clothes as our people have and meet them in the streets of our city."
"I like your advice," the king said, and the next day he was walking along the streets with two of his ministers. Then dinner-time came.
"We shall not go home for dinner" the king said. "Let us go to a cafe where people eat."
So they came to a small caf6 in a little street. But when they came into the room, the floor slipped away beneath their feet,4 and they found themselves under the floor. They began to shout, but nobody came to help them.
"A nice welcomes for the King! Where are we? And why are we here?" said the king angrily.
Suddenly they heard a laugh, and they saw the ugly face of an old man above them.
"Ha! Ha! Ha! In three days I shall kill you, and your meat will make a nice dish for our cafe. Everybody likes our cafe for its very good dishes! Ha, ha, ha!" With these words the man went away.
"Let us tell him who we are when he comes back," said one of ministers.
"Oh, no," said the king. "If he knows that, he will kill us today. Give me time to think."
And he sat down by the wall and thought.
Some hours later the ugly man came back to them.
"Here is some water for you to drink. But I shan't give you any food. You are fat enough."
Then the king said:
"If we must die, we must. But I want to tell you something. You may get much money for it."
"I like money very much," said the ugly man. "Go on! "e
"I am a weaver and the King's wife likes my work very much. I shall weave a handkerchief, and you will take it to her. You will get more money for it than for the good dishes in your caf6, I am sure."
The ugly old man brought down a loom and thread,7 and the king began to work. He made a beautiful handkerchief for Zakia. The old man took the handkerchief and went. to the king's wife with it. It was. not easy to get to her, but at last the servants let him in.a
"I have a very beautiful handkerchief," said the old man to the king's wife. "Look at it, please. A good weaver made it. Will you buy it?"
Zakia understood at once that the king was in trouble.9
"Yes, it is a very beautiful handkerchief," she said. "I like it, and I'll buy it."
Zakia bought the handkerchief, but she told her servants to follov/ the old man, and she followed the servants on horseback.10
They came to the caf6 and went in. Zakia waited in the street. Very soon a fight began in the cafe. At last the. king and his two ministers were free. They came out of the cafe.
"My dear Zakia," said the king when he saw her. "You have saved my life. I love you more than anyone in the world!"
Zakia was happy to hear these words, and the king and his wife went home.