Once upon a time there was a time when there was no one but God.
Every morning when the boy was going for his lessons to the mulla he used first to pay a visit to his colt, and at noon when he came back he used to go and have another look at him before he went in to have his lunch.
One day when he came home and went to see the colt he found him crying, and said: "What are you crying for, Qeytas?" "Your father's wife is planning how she can kill you," answered the colt; "to-day she has cooked some ash and put poison in it, and she means to give it to you to eat so that you may die." "Don't cry, I won't eat it," said the Prince.
When he went into the house, he said: "I say, I'm hungry to-day, though!" His stepmother said: "Well, we've cooked some nice ash to-day, run along and take some." "I don't want ash," he said, and went back to the mulla.
Next day when he went to see Qeytas he found him again in tears. "What's the matter now?" asked he. "To-day your father's wife has cooked a pulau and put poison in it, so that you'll eat it and die." "Not I," said the King's Son. "Well," said the colt, "be careful. When they put the dish down, watch what part of it your stepmother helps herself from, and take your own mouthful from the same place, but on no account put your hand on the side next you." The Prince ate his lunch safely, and went back to the mulla.
The following day he found the colt crying again, and once more he asked: "Why are you crying now?" - "Your father's wife has dug a well in the middle of the hall passage, and in the well she has fixed all kinds of swords and daggers and weapons of war, so that when you walk over the top you will fall in and be killed." "Don't you worry about me," said the King's Son, "I won't walk along the middle of the passage, I'll keep close to the wall."
So the boy escaped for the third time, and his stepmother was very angry, and said to herself: "There's only one thing to do. We must find some means of killing that colt." She pretended to be very ill, and went to bed and rolled herself up in the bed-clothes, and sent for the King's Chief Physician. When the doctor came, she told him: "My plan is to kill the colt, Qeytas. You must say that the only remedy for my complaint is the fat of Qeytas, and that nothing else will do any good."
In the morning when the Prince came back from the mulla he found the colt crying worse than ever: "Well, what's the matter this time?" He answered: "Up to now your father's wife has been plotting to kill you, but now she is trying to kill me, and if she does, who will there be to warn you and save your life?" "That's bad," said the boy, "what had I better do?" - "When you go in, the Shah, your father, will say to you: 'Give me that colt of yours, my son, and whatever you like to ask for I shall give you in exchange.' Then you must say: 'I'll give him to you with pleasure, father, on this condition, that you put all your royal robes on me and your crown on my head, and bedeck Qeytas with all the jewels and costly things in your treasury, then I shall mount him and ride him three times round the house, and when I dismount you can take the colt away and kill him.' "
When the boy got home the King said: "The doctors have prescribed the fat of Qeytas the colt for our invalid. Give the horse to me, and I shall give you in exchange whatever you wish." The King's Son answered just as Qeytas had told him to, and they proceeded to obey his instructions. The news came to the ears of the stepmother, and she was in great delight, and chuckled: "When once we've killed the horse it won't be hard to finish off my stepson."
Then they put all the royal robes on the young Prince and the crown on his head, and they adorned the colt with all the jewels and treasures and costly things in the King's treasury. Up sprang the King's Son, and rode Qeytas three times round the house. At the end of the third circuit the horse rose in the air and flew off, and no one in that country saw the colt or his master again.
They flew and they flew till they came to a town. There the colt alighted near a garden, and said: "Now you must put on my back the royal clothes and the crown, and I shall fly away for the present. Then find a bit of old sheepskin and pull it over your head, and put on a set of very old clothes. Now in this garden is a castle, and the King's youngest daughter lives here. Go and knock at the garden door, and when the gardener comes to open it for you, say to him: 'I am friendless and out of work, and have no one to care for me, let me come and be your son. Give me work to do here and I'll help you.' Now pull a lock out of my mane and put it safely in your pocket, and remember whenever you want me you have only to put one of my hairs in the fire and I'll come at once." So saying, he vanished.
Everything happened just as Qeytas had said. The gardener opened the door and accepted the strange boy as his son, and there the Prince stayed and worked in the garden. One day he was feeling weary and lonely, and he put a hair in the fire. Immediately Qeytas appeared, and the Prince put on his crown and his royal robes and mounted the colt and began riding round the garden, for there was no one but himself in it. Now the King's youngest daughter was sitting in the castle, and she happened to look out. What was her surprise to see a youth as beautiful as the moon on her fourteenth night, riding round the garden on a horse! Not with one heart, but with a hundred hearts she fell in love with him, and said to herself: "Now, what may this be? Is he the son of a king or a perl's child, or what sort of a being can he be?"
Scarcely had she seen him properly than he dismounted, and the horse, with all the royal trappings, vanished into the air, while the youth put on his old clothes and pulled the bit of shabby sheepskin over his head. "What does this mean? What can it be?" wondered the girl, and she sent to fetch the boy, and asked him: "Who are you?" "I am the gardener's son," said he. "What's that thing on your head for?" - "I am scald-headed," answered he. "Nonsense," replied the Princess, "stop this fooling. I saw you in those royal clothes you had on, and I saw the crown you had on your head. If you will only tell me the truth of the whole story, I'll be your wife."