The Story of Prince Sobur

Once upon a time, there resided a merchant blessed with seven daughters. One day, he posed a question to his daughters: “By whose fortune do you sustain yourselves?” The eldest to the sixth daughters replied, “Father, I depend on your fortune.” However, the youngest daughter boldly asserted, “I rely on my own fortune.” Enraged by her apparent ingratitude, the merchant decided to test her claim.

Without hesitation, he commanded his palanquin-bearers to transport the youngest daughter to a distant forest, leaving her alone with nothing but her work-box filled with needles and threads. As they journeyed, an old woman, the nurse of the youngest daughter, intercepted them and insisted on accompanying her. Moved by the daughter’s pleas, the old woman was allowed into the palanquin.

In the heart of the dense forest, the palanquin-bearers deposited the girl and the old woman under a large tree as night fell. The tree, sensing their vulnerability, offered refuge. It opened a hollow within its trunk, shielding them from the looming threats of the wild beasts that prowled the night.

That night, the forest’s inhabitants, including tigers, bears, rhinoceroses, elephants, and buffaloes, tried in vain to harm the pair as they sought shelter within the tree. At dawn, the wild creatures retreated, leaving the merchant’s daughter and the old woman unscathed.

Witnessing the tree’s sacrifice, the young girl expressed her gratitude by applying mud to its wounded trunk. To alleviate their hunger, the tree advised sending the old woman to buy food in the nearby city with the meager five cowries found in the work-box.

Following the tree’s guidance, the old woman purchased khai (sweets) from a kind confectioner using the cowries. The tree then bade them to spread the Khai around the nearby tank. Little did they know that scattering the khai around the nearby tank would set in motion a series of events leading to their fortune.

As peacocks descended upon the tank to devour the scattered khai, their vibrant plumes began to fall. The merchant’s daughter collected these feathers and ingeniously crafted beautiful fans, which she sold in the city, quickly accumulating wealth.

With the tree’s further counsel, the merchant’s daughter engaged workers to build a magnificent house, turning the once desolate surroundings into a flourishing garden with a newly dug tank.

Meanwhile, misfortune struck the merchant, his wife, and their six daughters, causing them to lose all wealth. Reduced to poverty, they lived near the palace built by their youngest sister. Struggling to make ends meet, the merchant decided to work as a laborer on the tank.

One day, as the youngest daughter observed the laborers from her palace, she spotted her impoverished parents and sisters approaching. Overwhelmed with emotion, she invited them inside and revealed her true identity.

Empowered by the newfound wealth from their youngest sister, the merchant and his family were able to rebuild their lives. Encouraged by their success, the merchant decided to embark on a trading journey to distant lands.

However, when his ship refused to move, the merchant realized he had forgotten to ask his youngest daughter what she desired as a gift. Desperate to discover her wish, he sent a messenger.

Misinterpreting her prayer for patience (Sobur) during her devotions, the messenger returned with the message that she sought an item named Sobur. The ship finally set sail, but the merchant struggled to find Sobur during his travels.

In a distant kingdom, Prince Sobur, hearing of the merchant’s quest, presented a magical fan with a looking glass, believing it to be Sobur. The merchant returned home with the gift, and the youngest daughter, discovering its powers, unintentionally summoned the prince.

Captivated by each other, they fell in love, got married, and began a life together. However, the jealousy of the six sisters led to a tragic event when they attempted to end the prince’s life. Poisoning his bed, the prince suffered excruciating pain.

Undeterred by the separation, the merchant’s daughter, disguised as a Sannyasi, embarked on a journey to Prince Sobur’s kingdom. Along the way, she saved the offspring of divine birds from a serpent, earning their gratitude.

Learning of the prince’s ailment, they offered a cure using magical means. After a miraculous healing process involving water, milk, and a special powder, the prince recovered. Refusing any reward except a ring, the merchant’s daughter returned home.

Later, she revealed her true identity to the prince, and they lived happily ever after in his kingdom, overcoming adversity and building a family filled with generations of joy and prosperity.