Azad and The Wily Girl :
Azad was a young and handsome merchant and he traveled extensively. More than any other country, he liked Basra. Because the people over there were nice and friendly. The food was good and the inn where he stayed was spacious and airy. Moreover, the customers over there were honest too. They never bargained or stole anything.
One day while he was in the shop, a pretty maiden visited. She bought some fancy items. While leaving, she had forgotten to take her bulging money bag! At once, Azad ran after her and handed over the bag to her. The maiden thanked him.
“Please check whether your belongings are intact,” he told her. The maiden just opened and closed it, saying that they were untouched.
“What is your name?” she asked in a musical voice.
He told his name to her.
“Good,” she smiled, “I am Mumtaz - daughter of the Wazir!”
“Oh, God!” Azad exclaimed “I never knew that.”
The maiden smiled and left.
Since then, she kept visiting his shop. Their friendship gradually developed.
“Are you married?” she asked one day.
“No. I am yet to find a suitable match! I am looking for an intelligent, pretty and
kind maiden like you!” said he.
“If so, do you find me suitable?” she asked.
“Yes, I guess so!” he replied.
This open-hearted conversation further strengthened their acquaintance. They decided to get married. In the evening time, Azad closed his shop and went to meet Mumtaz. Their
meeting took place daily!
Mumtaz had a younger sister by name Noorjahan. She was as ugly as a toad! So, she developed a hatred feeling for Mumtaz. One day, she spotted Mumtaz and Azad talking alone. She felt jealousy.
She went there and shouted at her sister. She even threatened to tell their father about it. It rattled Mumtaz! She knew if her father, the Wazir came to know about it, he would behead Azad. So, Mumtaz pleaded to her sister not to tell their father.
“Listen Noor, I know you care for me. But we don’t do a wrong thing. We are planning to get married. It may take some time. Until then, please keep it a secret!” spoke Mumtaz politely.
Noorjahan went over there the next day before Mumtaz could arrive. She spoke nicely to Azad. Meanwhile, she had dropped her diamond chain in his pocket!
Then she went back and told her father that her diamond chain was lost! Then Wazir
alerted the ministers and guards who in turn informed all the jewelers.
After reaching home, Azad was shocked to see the costly chain in his pocket! He wondered how it reached his pocket. But couldn't find any answer. He kept it under the bed. In the meantime, his money had thinned down. That was because he had closed the shop every evening to meet Mumtaz.
One day, he decided to sell the chain. He took it to a jeweler. The jeweler who had
been alerted by the guards detained Azad and secretly sent a message to the guards.
They rushed over there and whisked Azad to the Wazir.
Azad pleaded his innocence. But the Wazir brushed all that aside “If as you say that someone had slipped it in your pocket, why did you not report it at once? Why have you been keeping it all these days and why did you try to sell it now?” he shot a stream of questions. Azad could not find any answer.
Meanwhile, Mumtaz learnt about it. It did not take long for her to guess that it was her sister who played this mischief. She went and told the truth to her father. It annoyed the Wazir.
He summoned for Noorjahan, “You are a disgrace to our royal family, Because of
your cunning act, I was about to punish an innocent merchant. I have made enquiries
about Azad. People here say that he is a noble man.”
“I don’t want to see your face ever. Get lost,” he ordered the guards to keep her
under house arrest.
He apologized to Azad. The following week, Mumtaz and Azad got married.
Azad and The Wily Girl
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