THE BUTTERFLY THAT STAMPED (PART 1)
This is a story — a new and a wonderful story — a story quite different from the other stories — a story about the Most Wise Suleiman-bin-Daoud. There are three hundred and fifty-five stories about Suleiman-bin-Daoud; but this is not one of them. It is the story of the Butterfly that Stamped.
Now listen carefully!
Suleiman-bin-Daoud was very clever. He understood what the beasts said, what the birds said, what the fishes said, and what the insects said. He understood what the rocks said deep under the earth; and he understood what the trees said. He understood everything; and Balkis, his Head Queen, the Most Beautiful Queen Balkis, was nearly as clever as he was.
Suleiman-bin-Daoud was strong. On the third finger of his right hand he wore a ring. When he turned it, Djinns came out of the earth to do whatever he told them.
And yet Suleiman-bin-Daoud was not proud. He didn't like to show off, and when he did he was sorry for it.
Once he tried to feed all the animals in the world in one day, but when the food was ready an Animal came out of the deep sea and ate it up. Suleiman-bin-Daoud was very surprised and said, "O Animal, who are you?"
And the Animal said, "O King! I am the smallest of thirty thousand brothers, and our home is at the bottom of the sea. We heard that you were going to feed all the animals in the world, and my brothers sent me to ask when dinner would be ready."
Suleiman-bin-Daoud was more surprised than ever and said, "O Animal, you have eaten all the dinner that I made ready for all the animals in the world."
And the Animal said, "O King, do you really call that a dinner? Where I come from we each eat twice as much between meals."
Then Suleiman-bin-Daoud said, "O Animal! I gave that dinner to show what a great and rich king I was, and not because I really wanted to be kind to the animals. Now I am ashamed, and it serves me right."
Suleiman-bin-Daoud was a very clever man. After that he never forgot that it was silly to show off; and now the real story part of my story begins.
He married nine hundred and ninety-nine wives, besides the Most Beautiful Balkis; and they all lived in a great golden palace in the middle of a lovely garden with fountains. He didn't really want nine hundred and ninety-nine wives, but in those days everybody married ever so many wives, and of course the King had to marry ever so many more just to show that he was the King.
Some of the wives were nice, but some were terrible, and the terrible wives quarrelled with the nice ones and made them terrible too, and then they all quarrelled with Suleiman-bin-Daoud, and that was terrible for him. But Balkis the Most Beautiful never quarrelled with Suleiman-bin-Daoud. She loved him too much. She sat in her rooms in the Golden Palace, or walked in the Palace gardens, and was truly sorry for him.
Of course he could turn his ring on his finger and call up the Djinns and they could turn all those nine hundred and ninety-nine quarrelsome wives into white mules of the desert or greyhounds or pomegranate seeds; but Suleiman-bin-Daoud didn't like showing off. So, when they quarrelled too much, he only walked by himself in one part of the beautiful Palace gardens.
One day, when they quarrelled for three weeks — all nine hundred and ninety-nine wives together — Suleiman-bin-Daoud left the Palace and among the orange-trees he met Balkis the Most Beautiful. And she said to him: "O my Lord and Light of my Eyes, turn the ring upon your finger and show these Queens that you are the great and terrible King."
But Suleiman-bin-Daoud shook his head and said, "O my Lady and Delight of my Life, remember the Animal that came out of the sea and made me ashamed before all the animals in all the world because I showed off. Now, if I show off before these Queens, I'll be very ashamed."
And Balkis the Most Beautiful said, "O my Lord and Treasure of my Soul, what will you do?"
And Suleiman-bin-Daoud said, "O my Lady and Content of my Heart, I will do nothing like that."
So he went on between the lilies and the roses that grew in the garden, till he came to the Camphor Tree. But Balkis hid among the tall irises and the bamboos and the red lilies behind the Camphor Tree, because she wanted to be near her own true love, Suleiman-bin-Daoud.
Presently two Butterflies flew under the tree, quarrelling.
Suleiman-bin-Daoud heard one say to the other, "How can you talk to me like this? Don't you know that if I stamped with my foot all Suleiman-bin-Daoud's Palace and this garden here would disappear?"
Then Suleiman-bin-Daoud forgot his nine hundred and ninety-nine quarrelsome wives, and laughed, till the Camphor Tree shook, at the Butterfly's words. And he held out his finger and said, "Little man, come here."
The Butterfly was very frightened, but he flew up to the hand of Suleiman-bin-Daoud, and he said very softly, "Little man, you know that all your stamping wouldn't bend one blade of grass. What made you tell that awful lie to your wife? I am sure, she is your wife."
The Butterfly looked at Suleiman-bin-Daoud and saw King's clever eyes, and he put his head on one side and said, "O King, she is my wife; and you know what wives are like."
Suleiman-bin-Daoud smiled and said, "Yes, I know, little brother."
"We must keep them in order," said the Butterfly, "and she is always quarrelling with me. I said that to quiet her."
And Suleiman-bin-Daoud said, "I think it will. Go back to your wife, little brother, and let me hear what you say."
Back flew the Butterfly to his wife and she said, "He heard you! Suleiman-bin-Daoud himself heard you!"
"Heard me!" said the Butterfly. "Of course he did. I meant him to hear me."
"And what did he say? Oh, what did he say?"
"Well," said the Butterfly, "between you and me, my dear, he asked me not to stamp, and I promised I wouldn't."
"Oh!" said his wife, and sat quite quiet; but Suleiman-bin-Daoud laughed till tears ran down his face.
Balkis the Most Beautiful stood up behind the tree among the red lilies and smiled to herself, for she had heard all this talk. She thought, "If I am clever I can save my Lord from these quarrelsome Queens," and she held out her finger and whispered softly to the Butterfly's Wife, "Little woman, come here."
Up flew the Butterfly's Wife, very frightened, and Balkis told her in her soft voice, "Little woman, do you believe what your husband has just said?"
The Butterfly's Wife looked at Balkis, and saw the Most Beautiful Queen's clever eyes, and said, "O Queen, you know what men are like."
And the Queen Balkis put her hand to her lips to stop her smile, and said, "Little sister, I know."
"They get angry," said the Butterfly's Wife, "over nothing at all, but we must quiet them, О Queen. If it pleases my husband to believe that I believe he can make Suleiman-bin-Daoud's Palace disappear by stamping his foot, I'm sure I don't care. He'll forget all about it tomorrow."
"Little sister," said Balkis, "you are quite right; but next time he begins to boast, take him at his word. Ask him to stamp, and see what will happen. We know what men are like, don't we? He'll be very much ashamed."
A. Answer the questions.
- What did Suleiman-bin-Daoud understand?
- What did he wear on the third finger of his right hand?
- What happened when he turned it?
- What did he try to do once?
- What happened with the food?
- Why did the animal come out of the sea?
- Why did Suleiman-bin-Daoud want to give the dinner for all the animals?
- How did Suleiman-bin-Daoud feel?
- How many wives did Suleiman-bin-Daoud have?
- Where did they all live?
- What did the king's wives often do?
- Which of his wives never quarrelled with him?
- What did Suleiman-bin-Daoud do when his wives quarrelled too much?
- What did Balkis ask Suleiman-bin-Daoud to do?
- Why didn't he want to show off before his wives?
- Where did Balkis hide?
- What did the butterfly boast of?
- How did Suleiman-bin-Daoud react when he heard the butterfly's words?
- How did the butterfly explain his lie?
- Why did Balkis decide to talk to the butterfly's wife?
- What did the butterfly's wife think about her husband's words?
- What did Balkis want the butterfly's wife to do?
B. Prove that:
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud was clever.
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud was strong.
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud didn't have enough food to feed all the animals in the world.
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud understood that it was silly to show off.
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud did something he didn't want to do to show that he was the King.
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud's life in his palace was often terrible for him.
- Balkis was sorry for Suleiman-bin-Daoud.
- Balkis wanted to be near her husband.
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud was amused by the butterfly's words.
C. Fill in the words:
wives, tears, Djinns, ring, food, feed, bend, take, happen, stamp, show off, quiet, disappear, married, ashamed, quarrelled, quarrelsome, proud, terrible
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud was clever and strong, but he wasn't …………………………… .
- One day he wanted to ………………………… all the animals in the world, but an animal came out of the sea and ate all the ………………………… .
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud was ………………………… ; he understood that it was silly to ………………………… .
- Suleiman-bin-Daoud ………………………… nine hundred and ninety-nine wives.
- Some of his wives were nice, but some were …………………………, and they ……………………… all the time with each other and with Suleiman-bin-Daoud.
- One day Balkis the Most Beautiful asked him to turn the ……………………… upon his finger to call the ……………………… and punish the ……………………, but Suleiman-bin-Daoud refused to do so.
- Soon after that he heard one butterfly say to another, "If I ………………… with my foot all Suleiman-bin-Daoud's Palace and this garden will………………………… ."
- Of course, the butterfly knew that his stamping wouldn't ………………………… one blade of grass.
- He said it to ………………………… his wife who was always quarrelling with him.
- Sulei¬man-bin-Daoud laughed till ……………………… ran down his face.
- Balkis wanted to save the king from his …………………………… wives.
- She asked the butterfly's wife to ………………………… the butterfly at his word, ask him to stamp, and see what would ………………………… .
D. Learn the words of exercise C for the dictation.
E. Retell the first part of the story.
F. Tell the first part of the story from the point of view of:
a) Suleiman-bin-Daoud; b) Balkis; c) the butterfly; d) the butterfly's wife; e) the sea animal.