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Bad Tempered Princess

2006-07-13 21:28

  There was once a Sultan who had a very beautiful daughter named Salma. Salma, however, was a bad-tempered girl. Even her father and her mother were scared of her when she was in a bad mood. She would scream and pull off her hair when she was in a rage. She would throw tantrums and fling things at one and all when the fit of anger was on. To make matter worse, she was very proud. Hence no prince was willing to marry her.

  Once a charming Prince named Jehangir expressed his desire to marry her. The Sultan was in favor of this alliance and consented to it. But Salma rejected Jehangir's proposal outright because he had not praised her beauty expressively enough. He had only said, “I believe we will make a happy couple.”

  A few days before Princess Salma's seventeenth birthday, a handsome young man with long hair and a beard came to the Sultan's palace. He had heard of the beauty of the Princess and wished to paint her portrait. When Salma was told about it, she said, “I shall allow him to make my portrait only on one condition. He should paint me exactly as I am. All I want is that he should do full justice to my beauty.”

  When the artist met Salma, he accepted her condition and promised that he would paint her exactly as she looked. But he would do portrait only if she promised him two things, “My first condition is that nobody shall be permitted to see my painting until it is completed,” he said. He Princess agreed. “The second condition is that the painting will be displayed only at your next birthday party. I myself shall draw the curtain and show your portrait to entire gathering.”

  Salma was flattered. The idea of her portrait being unveiled on her birthday before a high society audience seemed quite romantic! She felt triumphant, bursting with pride and self-importance.

  So the Princess sat for her portrait. She was all dressed up. She had her hair done in special way. She wore her best and most expensive ornaments. She tried her best to look sweet and cute. The artist worked on her portrait for several days. The Princess, however, didn't mind the strain or inconvenience.

  Finally, the say of the unveiling of the portrait came. Nobles and ladies, gorgeously dressed, gathered in the palace hall for the great occasion. Everyone talked of Princess Salma's portrait. A Huge curtain covered the portrait.

  When all was ready, the artist came forward. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, the long wait will now be over. You will see the portrait of the Princess in a moment. The Portrait is life-like. It shows the Princess as she looks like.” So saying, he drew aside the curtain and displayed the portrait.

  There was a gasp of shock when the curtain was drawn. The picture showed the Princess with her long hair in disorder and a terrible scowl on her face. The contortions of her mouth, the nose and the eyebrows made her look quite devilish.

  When Princess Salma saw the painting, she screamed in disapproval. She felt that the artist had deliberately painted her in dark colors. But most people attending the party had seen the ugly side of her face at one time or the other. They praised the artist for presenting the true likeness of Salma. “This is exactly how her image is fixed in our minds. Whenever we think of her in her absence, this is the expression on her face that we recall, ” they said.

  The Princess was stunned to hear these remarks. She could hardly believe her ears. She said to herself, “Am I really so bad looking? Does my temper make me look so ugly and forbidding?” She felt miserable and repentant. She was ashamed of herself.

  As the nobles crowed round the portrait, the artist walked up to the Sultan and said, “Forgive me, Sir, for not revealing my identity. I am Prince Jehangir. Your daughter had once refused to marry me. She was very proud of her beauty then. I wanted to burst this bubble of vanity. I thought I would succeed in winning her if I tried to cure of her vanity.”

  The Sultan complimented the Prince on his praise-worthy effort. He said, “You have done me a great favor today, Prince Jehangir. My daughter had learnt the lesson of her life. I am sure she will not pride herself on her beauty or lose temper again.”

  He was right. Princess Salma had undergone a great transformation that evening. She never again lost her temper. She soon married Prince Jehangir and became the sweetest tempered and sensible wife in the whole kingdom.

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