The Arabian Nights Entertainments HTML version

The Story of Two Sisters Who Were
Jealous of Their Younger Sister
Once upon a time there reigned over Persia a Sultan named Kosrouschah, who
from his boyhood had been fond of putting on a disguise and seeking adventures
in all parts of the city, accompanied by one of his officers, disguised like himself.
And no sooner was his father buried and the ceremonies over that marked his
accession to the throne, than the young man hastened to throw off his robes of
state, and calling to his vizir to make ready likewise, stole out in the simple dress
of a private citizen into the less known streets of the capital.
Passing down a lonely street, the Sultan heard women's voices in loud
discussion; and peeping through a crack in the door, he saw three sisters, sitting
on a sofa in a large hall, talking in a very lively and earnest manner. Judging from
the few words that reached his ear, they were each explaining what sort of men
they wished to marry.
"I ask nothing better," cried the eldest, "than to have the Sultan's baker for a
husband. Think of being able to eat as much as one wanted, of that delicious
bread that is baked for his Highness alone! Let us see if your wish is as good as
"I," replied the second sister, "should be quite content with the Sultan's head
cook. What delicate stews I should feast upon! And, as I am persuaded that the
Sultan's bread is used all through the palace, I should have that into the bargain.
You see, my dear sister, my taste is as good as yours."
It was now the turn of the youngest sister, who was by far the most beautiful of
the three, and had, besides, more sense than the other two. "As for me," she
said, "I should take a higher flight; and if we are to wish for husbands, nothing
less than the Sultan himself will do for me."
The Sultan was so much amused by the conversation he had overheard, that he
made up his mind to gratify their wishes, and turning to the grand-vizir, he bade