The daring were punished. They were punished with exactly what they wanted, and found out the paucity of their imagination and desires.

It was near midsummer when the djinn arrived in Baghdad. He promised to each person, exactly what they wanted, the one thing. There were no rules, no catches. This was no monkey paw to wish upon, but a djinn in all his smoking glory, blue fire leaping from his eyes and his ears, red lightning visible from his mouth when he spoke, and a long rumbling thunder when he laughed at those that came to make their wishes.

The wise walked away. The humble people, the date farmers, the people with market stalls. The weavers, and the bricklayers. They walked away, and were wiser for it. It was the rich, the powerful, the ambitious. The daring. They came to the djinn and asked for the thing that they wanted, and they received it. And they were punished for it.

No mortal punishment, that would have been too mean and small. A great jeweler asked for the greatest emerald the world had ever known. And he received it, a massive sparkling thing, the deepest green with veins of blue like a far off sea. There was not a single flaw, and it took the light of the sun and spun it. And the jeweler looked at it and fell to his knees and wept. This was all he wanted? This, a single stone? Not a kiss from his long dead mother? Not something greater? Not something more?

But the jeweler had what he had thought he wanted, and was punished. Great generals, and viziers came from afar. Rich men, princes, they came too. And each was given what they asked, and realized how little it all was. And then the sultan came to the square. The square cleared, so no one ever heard what the sultan asked for. But he never walked out.


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Galen over 10 years ago

I love the moral in this, and the humble people. Great image with the jeweler.

DoctorMikeReddy over 10 years ago

When I wish - on a birthday cake, a shooting star, etc - I always wish for the same thing: "May I get only what I deserve." It seems the Sultan was the only one who truly wished for what he needed. Lovely story.

X-Himy (joined almost 12 years ago)

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