PrEm Ji

CALIPH AND THE MAID  (Short story)





Long back, it was the city of gardens, riches and peace.

The reign of Caliph Harun al Rashid, they say, it was the golden times of Iraq…

A beautiful maid was recruited for housekeeping in the Royal Palace. She was from a very poor family, and her only asset was her stunning beauty. She knew that better than anyone. One day, around noon, she entered into the King’s chamber. For the first time in her life, she watched the most expensive things in the world. Deep in her mind, she made a quick comparison between the King and her.

‘Sad, I am just a broom stick,’ she sighed and started cleaning everything. At last, she was busy replacing the silk bed covers. 

\'O! God! How smooth is this bed!\'

That bed was made up of the feathers of Royal Swans.

But, she had an uncontrollable wish… just to lie on that… only for a couple of seconds...

Poor girl looked around…

\'O, nobody is there in the vicinity!\'


The Caliph, returned, very tired, after a long session in the court, was shocked to see his maid in deep slumber, that too on his expensive royal bed. He slapped on her face in uncontrollable anger.

She cried aloud in pain… Her red cheek began to swell… She then started laughing madly in an uncontrollable manner!

‘Strange woman,’ the King thought… 

‘Why did you laugh? If you don’t answer, I will cut your throat right now,’ he pulled out his blood thirsty sword.

‘Pardon me… Your Majesty…\' she knealt before the Caliph. \'You have punished me with such a slap, just for sleeping \'only once\' on this bed. But, every-day you sleep on the same bed… I couldn’t control my laughter, by thinking how many more slaps would be reserved for you by Allah!\'

King Harun al Rashid left the Royal palace on the very moment, and later he became a great Sufi. She too had accompanied him.


Abdul, a boy of seventeen, was busy reading the story from the Arabic text book of a school girl sitting next to him, in that crowded bus.

\'Stop the bus...\' he cried out loud...

Somehow, he managed to alight from the bus amidst that wide expanse of that lonely desert.


He sat under the cool shade of a date-palm tree…

One ripe date fell on his lap…

\'Grace of Allah!\' He put that date in his mouth.

The timer on his belt bomb was busy running down 60...59...58…57…56…55…

‘You are that eternal sweetness,’ the desert breeze murmured in his ears.