Today Saba is holding a pair of shoes. They look like boys shoes! Everyone is puzzled by looking at them.
As usual they enter the little cottage and sit on the Persian rug to hear what is new that day. Once the freshly baked bread is served by Bibi, she starts the tale of…..
The prince and the poor boy’s shoes
Once upon a time there lived a young boy with his mother in a remote village. Every day he used to walk for miles to earn money and bring food for his mother. He worked in a bakery, where at the end of each day he would be given the leftover of the bread that hadn’t been sold.
The boy’s shoes were so old and worn-out that they hardly protected his feet from the cold. One day after cleaning the shop he was getting ready to go home, when he suddenly saw a pair of pure leather shoes in the storage behind the shop. He asked his master if he could have them since they seemed to be his size.
The master refused to give the shoes and told him not to tell anyone about it. So the boy finished cleaning the shop and the old brick oven and set off to walk home. It took him quite a while to reach home as it was very cold and wet. By the time he reached home his feet were quite sore and cold and he couldn’t feel them anymore.
After a simple dinner he went to bed to rest his tired feet and legs. Half way through the night he woke up with a noise, right at the entrance of their little cottage. He jumped out of bed and looked through the window. Outside it was pitch black and he couldn’t see anyone or anything. As he was going back to bed he heard another noise. He thought someone was knocking at the door. He slowly went back towards the window and peeked out cautiously. He noticed a squeaky noise at the door. As he looked more closely he saw the pair of shoes that he had seen in his master’s shop.
That night he slept like a rock, feeling so pleased that he didn’t need to worry about the cold feet any more.
The next day he set off for work with great energy, happily whistling while walking. As he reached to the shop, he saw his master waiting for him at the entrance. He looked quite angry and disappointed.
The boy had no clue why his master was angry. He walked closer to say hello.
“Good morning Sire.” Said the boy.
“How dare you to even come close to my shop.” Shouted the master “you are nothing but a thief”!
“Beg your pardon Sire, I don’t understand”
“You don’t understand? How could you say that to my face?” said master with a louder voice.
As he was getting louder and louder everyone was gathering around the shop. Thinking that the boy has stolen something they took him to the king’s palace, where the thieves and criminals were always taken to be taken to the high courts.
The prince was practicing his horse riding, when he saw the people bringing the young boy through the gates.
“What is happening?” said the prince.
“This boy is a thief and has stolen something from his master.” One of the men said.
“What has he stolen?” asked the prince.
“He has stolen the shoes from his master’s shop”.
“I did not steal them. They were left outside my house.” The boy shouted.
“Outside your door aye?” laughed the men at once.
The prince was staring at the shoes, while asking the men to take the boy inside the palace.
“Please leave him here. I will take him to the court rooms” said the prince.
When everyone had left the Prince took the young boy inside the palace.
“Tell me the truth, where did you get these shoes from”? asked the prince.
So the young boy told the whole story and how he got the shoes.
“These were my shoes that I had left by the river when we had gone hunting last year.” Said the Prince. “I had been looking for them since then. They are quite precious as they belonged to my great grand-father”.
So the young boy and the prince became very good friends. The mother and his son never went hungry again.