Once there was a little girl, the daughter of a sultan who received, as an Easter present from her father, the gift of a fabulous jewelled egg.
The little girl loved her egg so dearly and it always made her smile when she saw it which made the Sultan very happy.
But, one day, the little girl woke to find that the jewelled egg had been smashed into pieces and she went to her father, the Sultan, crying, “Father! Father! Someone has been in my room and smashed my jewelled egg to pieces”.
The Sultan was outraged when he heard this, “Who could have done such a thing? And how could my guards have allowed such a rogue into my dear daughter’s bedroom?”.
The Sultan called all of his guards into his throne room and questioned them, “Who was guarding my daughter’s bedroom when this terrible crime occurred?”, he asked.
A guard called Hassan stepped forward and bowed, trembling, before the Sultan, “It was I, your majesty”, he confessed.
“Well, Hassan, did you see the wicked person who entered my daughter’s room and smashed her egg?”, asked the Sultan testily.
“I did not”, replied Hassan, sadly, “I only heard the egg break and then your daughter crying from inside her room. Forgive me, oh Sultan!”.
But the Sultan was not a forgiving sort of man and, shaking with rage, said that if he could not behead the villain who had smashed his daughter’s egg then he would certainly behead the foolish guard who had allowed the intruder to break in and, despite begging on his hands and knees and pleading for mercy, Hassan was led off to the Sultan’s dungeons to await execution.
The next morning, as the cock crowed, Hassan was led out into the courtyard of the Sultan’s palace where a black hooded executioner was busy sharpening his axe and, weeping, Hassan was forced to lay his neck upon the chopping block.
“For the crime of allowing my daughter’s jewelled egg to be broken”, said the Sultan sitting on his throne of judgement, “You shall now have your head chopped off”.
And the executioner raised his axe high over the neck of Hassan ready to swing but, just then, his little daughter, who was sitting in a little miniature golden throne beside her father and feeling quite sad that her father was going to execute Hassan, who she liked very much, looked up and, pointing a tiny finger towards the sky said, “Look, father! Look!”.
Looking upwards, the Sultan saw a jewelled golden bird flapping round and round in a circle and then the jewelled bird swooped down and perched upon the neck of Hassan.
“That must be what happened to my egg”, said the Sultan’s daughter, “It wasn’t broken by anyone. That bird must have hatched out of it”.
“Oh, how marvellous!”, remarked the Sultan, “A flying jewelled bird. It will be a most suitable pet for the daughter of a Sultan”.
But then the bird spoke, “I do not think I want to stay in the palace of such a brutal Sultan”, it said, “I would rather fly away south and join my jewelled flock who glint in the African sun”.
“Oh no, daddy”, begged the Sultan’s daughter, “Please, please make it stay!”.
So the Sultan had to promise that he would no longer be so brutal and execute people for such trivial and minor things.
Hassan was now exonerated and given his freedom and, in return, the jewelled bird lived with the Sultan’s daughter in the palace and made her very happy indeed.