Tales From Algeria: Part One
There was once an honest merchant in the place that used t
be called Avriga. The man has three daughters. Aicha was the
youngest and cleverest of the girls. She had studied
ilmerramli, the art of reading the future in the sands of
the earth (Geomancy). Aicha also became adept in the art of
fencing with the Arabian scimitar. Indeedm she developed
many other martial and magical skills. She possessed
astonishing beauty and eloquence, as well as knowledge of
the old poetry.
Aicha's father had great confidence in her. He left all his
money in her care whenever he had to go on a journey for
business. No thief could steal from her. Once a thief came
at night and tried to force open the door of the house.
Aicha awoke and cast a spell on him. He could no longer move
and had to stand immobile until police came to chain and
Another night, two armed thieves penetrated the house. They
were confronted by Aicha, swinging her scimitar before her.
The two burglars drew their long swords and attacked the
girl, but she was too quick for them. In a few moments the
two criminals had slumped to the floor where they lay,
bleeding to death.
The fame of Aicha's beauty spread far and wide. Even the
king heard of it. He sent a message to the merchant. The
king announced that it was his wish that the merchant's
daughter become the consort of his son, Prince Aslan. A date
for the engagement party had already been fixed. Aicha
wanted to refuse the arrangement, but her father prevailed
upon her to accept. Being the prince's father-in-law would
be a boon to his business, he believed.
Finally Aicha agreed, but only on condition that the prince
wear a golden ring that she would send him. Explaining that
the woods surrounding the king's estate were swarming with
ogres and other evil spirits, she asked the prince to ride
out and destroy them.
The prince agreed to wear the ring and go into the forest.
Though he never said so openly he was truly frightened of
the evil creatures that lived there. In the forest he
encountered a veiled soldier, who seemed young and rather
short. The frightened prince attacked and battled the
warrior (not knowing that it was, in fact, his fianc‚e in
disguise). Aslan was soon vanquished.
The mysterious soldier let the prince live. In exchange he
took Aicha's ring from the prince's finger. When Aslan
returned home, Aicha had just arrived at the court. Aslan's
father noticed at once that the ring was missing. "How did
you lose it?" the monarch demanded.
"I don't know
how. I just lost it," the tearful prince lied.
Then Aicha produced the ring. She told the king all that had
happened: "Prince Aslan is a liar and a coward," she
Of course, the prince did not want to marry a girl who
called him such names. So he broke off the engagement. Aicha
did not deplore his decision.