Bahram Shah was a skilful hunter. Each time after hunting, he would brag about his courage. The Shah had a beautiful odalisque (female slave) named Fitneh. The odalisque would never praise Bahram Shah’s hunting skill. When asked, she would say:
– But this is not mastery, it is rather a practice. You have so much hunted that you became accustomed to killing a bird in its eye.
Finally, Bahram Shah got angry with the odalisque and, having called the warlord, ordered to chop Fitneh’s head off. The warlord left, saying “O.K.”, but then changed his mind. He said to himself: “Bahram Shah loves Fitneh very much. Now he gave this order because he was angry with her. When he settles down, he will grieve.” Therefore, be brought the odalisque into his own home.
It was a three-storied nice mansion. Fitneh started to live there.
The warlord had a lot of cattle. Once one of the cows in his herd gave birth to a calf. Fitneh very much loved the calf, with a white spot on the head. Every day, she would take the calf up to the veranda on her shoulders to feed, and then would bring it down. The calf had got accustomed to Fitneh. It grew bigger and bigger with each day, and became heavier. As the calf became heavier, Fitneh too got extra strength.
The warlord had guessed the odalisque’s intention. Once he invited Bahram Shah to his mansion. After the feast, the warlord said to Shah:
– A very nice girl lives in my mansion. Each day, she takes a big bull on her shoulders up to the veranda, without a pause, and takes no rest.
Bahram Shah did not believe what he said. The warlord ordered the housemaid to tell Fitneh to bring the bull up. Fitneh covered her face with a vail.
She took the bull on her shoulder and brought up to the veranda.
Bahram Shah said:
– This does not mean that you are strong. Apparently, you have got accustomed to this since the time the bull was a little calf.
– It is very strange. So, lifting a bull is from habit, but hunting is from skill?
Saying this, the girl took the vail off. Bahram Shah knew her. He hugged her, brought to the palace and married. And the warlord was rewarded with valuable gifts.
Based on Nizami Ganjavi’s
“Seven Beauties” poem