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A Story From: Saudi Arabia
Read Time: ["16 to 20mins"]
For Ages: 8 to 10yrs.

Whatever suitor brings back the best gift in a year will win the princess.
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Retold by Elaine L. Lindy. ©2006. All rights reserved.


This retelling is a blending of two stories from Saudi Arabia and Russia, with a smidgeon from a Serbian folk tale. The story motif of "who gets to marry the princess" is prevalent in folk literature throughout the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Typically someone other than the female makes the choice; an ending where the female makes the choice is rare. In the version from Saudi Arabia, referenced below under "Other Versions," the three princes save the princess' life by using a crystal ball, a flying carpet, and a magical healing orange; the princess chooses to marry the third prince who delivered the magical healing orange because it was the only magical item that was fully consumed and gone. In this retelling, the magical healing orange was replaced with a vial of magical healing ointment (the smidgeon from the Serbian version). This revision enabled the story to flow toward a different ending - one from a Russian folk tale. In the Russian version, also referenced below, the three suitors consult a wise man who determines that the woman is the one who rightly decides whom she will marry, and for that insight she selects the wise man (who's magically restored to his youth). Thus, in the above retelling based on the Arabian tale, a Russian character is woven into the tale to deliver the ending.