There were a husband and wife who had seven daughters. The father used to go to the mountain every day, and every day he found and shot seven hill-partridges and he came back and divided them amongst them all.
One day the husband said: "Wife, I am going to take the girls away with me somewhere and lose them, so that every day you and I may have the seven partridges for ourselves." "Very good," said she. Then he said to his daughters: "Come, let us make an excursion to the mountain to-day to gather sesta."
So they started out and went with their father to the mountain, and there he ran away from them and went off. Thus the girls were turned adrift and went their way.
Now every day the father went to the mountain as before to shoot partridge, but despite all his efforts he was unable to shoot a single one, for they were the daily food allotted to the girls which God had provided for their sustenance.
Now hear about the girls. They went on and on till they came to a place where they fell into the hands of the evil Div, Alla Zingi. At night they sat down, and Alla Zingi, intending to eat the girls up when they went to sleep, cut off his foot and put salt on it to keep himself awake. After some time he called out: "Who's asleep and who's awake?" The eldest of the maidens replied: "All are asleep, only Tamti is awake."
"Tamtl, my child, what's the matter with you?" asked he. "Father," said she, "I want seven horses with saddles." The Div immediately produced them, hoping that if she were satisfied she would then go to sleep, and after a while he again said: "Who's asleep and who's awake?" - "All are asleep, Tamtl is awake." - "Child, what do you want now?" - "I want seven large bags of jewels." These too he produced, in fact, whatever she asked for he provided, but still she would not go to sleep.
Again he asked: "Now, what do you want?" and she said: "I want ten loads of salt, ten loads of needles and cobbler's awls, and ten loads of syrup and ghee." These were all forthcoming, then he advanced towards her and said: "I will not stay my hand till I have tasted your blood."
But Tamti had contrived to waken and warn her sisters, and the girls mounted their horses and carried off the jewels and treasure and fled. And as they fled they scattered the salt and the needles and the awls on the road behind them and galloped on as hard as they could go. Alla Zingi came along behind them in pursuit, but when he came to the skin of syrup he put his mouth to it and drank till he was sated. "It is very sweet," said he, thinking it was Tamti's blood which he was drinking from her body, and then he followed on after the fugitives.
They crossed over some water on their horses, and when he came to the edge of it: "Tamti, my child," he called, "where am I to cross over to you?" "Put your foot on that white stone," she replied. But it was really a piece of white foam, and when he put his foot on it he at once sank down into the water and it carried him away, and he disappeared and arrived in Hell.
Now the seven maidens, having no scarcity of jewels and treasure, dressed themselves in men's clothing, and went on to a city and took up their abode in it as wealthy strangers, and in the daytime they used to go out and walk about looking at the bazar. Now the King of that country had seven sons, and it chanced that these princes made the acquaintance of the seven strangers, and one day they made a wager together.
"If we lose," said the Princes, "the horses and accoutrements of all seven of us will become yours, and if you lose, you yourselves, with your horses and accoutrements, will become ours." So they went off to play a game of ball. Now there is a difference between men and women, and seven times the King's Sons carried the ball off the field, and seven times the maidens failed to hit the ball. So they lost the wager, and their horses and accoutrements and they themselves became the property of the Princes.
Then they sat down together, and the strangers told the secret of their hearts, saying: "In truth the facts about us are these." Then the seven King's Sons married them and took them to themselves as wives, and they all settled down to enjoy themselves.
Now all this time the girls' father, go out as often as he might, could not shoot a single partridge, so he said: "The birds were the provision made by God for the children. Come, wife, let us go and look for our daughters." Then they turned their backs on the town and their faces to the desert and set out, and proceeded for several days and nights, until it befell that they came to the city in which their daughters were.
Suddenly they came along to the foot of a castle and passed on. Now the young wives were sitting over the gate, and they looked out and recognised them. One of them said to the others: "Sisters, our father and mother have arrived and gone on into the town," and they despatched men after them, saying: "Take those two persons and find them a lodging somewhere, and bring them supper." The messengers went off and said to the couple: "Our mistress has given orders that you are to come with us, and we are to provide you with a lodging." And they took them and gave them a place to live in, and brought them bedding and supper.
Then when it was morning they directed them to go to the baths, and after that the messengers provided them with suits of clothes, which they put on, and brought them to the castle to their mistresses. "Do you recognise us?" asked the girls. - "No, how can we tell who you are?" - "Well, we are your daughters whom you turned adrift, thinking, it would seem, that God would cut off the daily food of any one whom He had once created." Then one of the daughters asked: "Father, have you shot any partridges?" and he replied: "No, not one."
After this they all lived by themselves in peace and comfort.
The story is ended.