In which the Gift of Stories continues: a tale of pomegranates
The Magic Pomegranate (Iran)
Once there were three brothers who loved adventure.
One day they decided to go on a journey, each one to a different country, and to meet again on a certain day ten years later. Each brother was to bring back with him the most unusual magic he could find on his travels.
Ten years later, the brothers met again. The eldest brother had a magic mirror. The middle brother had a magic carpet. And the youngest brother had a magic pomegranate.
The oldest brother said, “Let me look into my mirror and see what I can see.” When he held up the glass, he saw, in a far-off kingdom, a young princess lying ill in bed, near death.
“Quickly, dear brothers, get on my magic carpet and we’ll fly there!” said the second brother. In moments, the three brothers arrived at the far-off kingdom.
In the royal palace of this kingdom, the King, whose daughter lay ill, was grief-stricken. He had sent for every doctor in the country to cure the princess; but they had all failed and there was no hope left for the princess. Finally, the King had sent a messenger throughout the country saying, “Whoever can save my daughter, the princess, will have her hand in marriage!”
The youngest brother approached the King and asked, “May I try to cure the princess?”
When the young man saw the princess, he took the pomegranate from his pocket, cut it open with gentle care, carefully cut each kernel from its place, and then fed the juicy red kernels to the princess. In a few moments, the princess felt stronger, and the color returned to her cheeks. Soon, she sat up in her bed, fully restored to health.
The King was overjoyed. He hugged his daughter and, turning to the three young men, he announced, “The man who saved my daughter will marry her.”
The three brothers began to quarrel, each one claiming to be the one who should marry the princess.
The oldest brother said, “If it were not for my magic mirror, we would never have known the princess was ill in the first place. So, since I discovered this first, I deserve to marry the princess.”
“But, brothers, It was because of my magic carpet that we could arrive so quickly,” argued the second brother. Otherwise, the princess would have died. I deserve to marry the princess.”
Then the youngest brother said, “It was my magic pomegranate that actually healed the princess. I deserve to marry her.”
Since the three brothers could not decide which one should marry the princess, the King tried to decide. He looked at the three clever young men, but he could not decide who deserved to many his daughter.
The King finally turned to the princess and asked, “Who do you think should marry you, my daughter?”
The princess answered simply, “I will ask each of them a question.”
She turned to the oldest brother and asked, “Has your magic mirror changed in any way since you arrived in this kingdom?”
“No,” replied the oldest brother. “My mirror is the same as always, and I can use it to see anywhere in the world.”
The princess then asked the second brother, “Has your magic carpet changed in any way since you arrived in this kingdom?”
And the second brother answered, “No, my carpet is the same, and I can fly anywhere on it.”
Turning to the youngest brother, the princess asked, “Has your pomegranate changed in any way since you arrived in this kingdom?”
And the youngest brother answered, “Yes, princess. My pomegranate is…gone.”
The princess turned to the three young men and said, “I will marry the youngest brother because he performed the greatest good deed—because he gave up something of his own.
The brothers and the King all understood the wisdom of the Princess. A lavish wedding was arranged for the princess and the youngest brother.
After that, the King appointed the princess and all three brothers to become his royal advisers.