Select the desired text size
story of wali dad the simple hearted.
Start of Story
As soon as the merchant was gone Wali Dad made up his mind that there
was only one honourable way out of the shame and distress that he had
created by his foolishness, and that was--to kill himself. So, without
stopping to ask any one's advice, he went off in the middle of the night
to a place where the river wound along at the base of steep rocky cliffs
of great height, and determined to throw himself down and put an end
to his life. When he got to the place he drew back a few paces, took a
little run, and at the very edge of that dreadful black gulf he stopped
short! He COULD not do it!
From below, unseen in the blackness of the deep night shadows, the water
roared and boiled round the jagged rocks--he could picture the place
as he knew it, only ten times more pitiless and forbidding in the
visionless darkness; the wind soughed through the gorge with fearsome
sighs, and rustlings and whisperings, and the bushes and grasses that
grew in the ledges of the cliffs seemed to him like living creatures
that danced and beckoned, shadowy and indistinct. An owl laughed 'Hoo!
hoo!' almost in his face, as he peered over the edge of the gulf, and
the old man threw himself back in a perspiration of horror. He was
afraid! He drew back shuddering, and covering his face in his hands he
Presently he was aware of a gentle radiance that shed itself before him.
Surely morning was not already coming to hasten and reveal his disgrace!
He took his hands from before his face, and saw before him two lovely
beings whom his instinct told him were not mortal, but were Peris from
'Why do you weep, old man?' said one, in a voice as clear and musical as
that of the bulbul.
'I weep for shame,' replied he.
'What do you here?' questioned the other.
'I came here to die,' said Wali Dad. And as they questioned him, he
confessed all his story.
Then the first stepped forward and laid a hand upon his shoulder,
and Wali Dad began to feel that something strange--what, he did not
know--was happening to him. His old cotton rags of clothes were changed
to beautiful linen and embroidered cloth; on his hard, bare feet were
warm, soft shoes, and on his head a great jewelled turban. Round his
neck there lay a heavy golden chain, and the little old bent sickle,
which he cut grass with, and which hung in his waistband, had turned
into a gorgeous scimetar, whose ivory hilt gleamed in the pale light
like snow in moonlight. As he stood wondering, like a man in a dream,
the other peri waved her hand and bade him turn and see; and, lo! before
him a noble gateway stood open. And up an avenue of giant place trees
the peris led him, dumb with amazement. At the end of the avenue, on the
very spot where his hut had stood, a gorgeous palace appeared, ablaze
with myriads of lights. Its great porticoes and verandahs were occupied
by hurrying servants, and guards paced to and fro and saluted him
respectfully as he drew near, along mossy walks and through sweeping
grassy lawns where fountains were playing and flowers scented the air.
Wali Dad stood stunned and helpless.
'Fear not,' said one of the peris; 'go to your house, and learn that God
rewards the simple-hearted.'
With these words they both disappeared and left him. He walked on,
thinking still that he must be dreaming. Very soon he retired to rest in
a splendid room, far grander than anything he had ever dreamed of.
When morning dawned he woke, and found that the palace, and himself, and
his servants were all real, and that he was not dreaming after all!
If he was dumbfounded, the merchant, who was ushered into his presence
soon after sunrise, was much more so. He told Wali Dad that he had not
slept all night, and by the first streak of daylight had started to seek
out his friend. And what a search he had had! A great stretch of wild
jungle country had, in the night, been changed into parks and gardens;
and if it had not been for some of Wali Dad's new servants, who found
him and brought him to the palace, he would have fled away under the
impression that his trouble had sent him crazy, and that all he saw was
Then Wali Dad told the merchant all that had happened. By his advice he
sent an invitation to the king and princess of Khaistan to come and be
his guests, together with all their retinue and servants, down to the
very humblest in the camp.
For three nights and days a great feast was held in honour of the royal
guests. Every evening the king and his nobles were served on golden
plates and from golden cups; and the smaller people on silver plates and
from silver cups; and each evening each guest was requested to keep the
places and cups that they had used as a remembrance of the occasion.
Never had anything so splendid been seen. Besides the great dinners,
there were sports and hunting, and dances, and amusements of all sorts.
On the fourth day the king of Khaistan took his host aside, and asked
him whether it was true, as he had suspected, that he wished to marry
his daughter. But Wali Dad, after thanking him very much for the
compliment, said that he had never dreamed of so great an honour, and
that he was far too old and ugly for so fair a lady; but he begged the
king to stay with him until he could send for the Prince of Nekabad, who
was a most excellent, brave, and honourable young man, and would surely
be delighted to try to win the hand of the beautiful princess.
To this the king agreed, and Wali Dad sent the merchant to Nekabad, with
a number of attendants, and with such handsome presents that the prince
came at once, fell head over ears in love with the princess, and married
her at Wali Dad's palace amidst a fresh outburst of rejoicings.
And now the King of Khaistan and the Prince and Princess of Nekabad,
each went back to their own country; and Wali Dad lived to a good
old age, befriending all who were in trouble and preserving, in his
prosperity, the simple-hearted and generous nature that he had when he
was only Wali Dad Gunjay, the grass cutter.