There was once a man who had a son called Malik Ibrahim, and he also had three hundred tumans. On the day when he was about to die he made a statement of his last wishes. "Son," he said, "it is my last wish that you should go to the Advice-Monger and buy advice from him and do whatever he tells you." Having spoken thus, he departed from this world.
After some days Malik Ibrahim said to himself: "I must comply with the last wish of my father," so he took the three hundred tumans and went off to the Advice-Seller. "Man," said he, "I have one hundred tumans, and I will give them to you if you will give me a piece of advice."
Then he brought the money and paid it over, and the wise man said:
"Don't go out when there are clouds in the sky in wintertime," and then he said no more. "I'll give him another hundred tumans," thought Malik Ibrahim to himself, "and buy another piece of advice from him." Aloud he said: "I have yet another hundred tumans. I will give them to you too."
He brought them out and paid them over, and the Advice-Monger said:
"Whenever you see a pigeon, a hound, and a cat for sale, buy them, whatever the price, and keep them with you and take good care of them," and he said nothing more. Thought Malik Ibrahim to himself: "Good, I'll give him this last hundred tumans as well," and he brought them out and paid them over to the Advice-Seller, who said:
"Never tell to any one the advice you have got, and never let an outside woman enter your house," and he said no more.
After the lapse of some time it was the winter season, and Malik Ibrahim arranged with some other men to travel to a certain place. Now on their road there was a difficult and dangerous mountain like the mountain of Zerda. His companions came to him and said: "Come, let us be off."
He made his preparations for starting, but then he thought: "It's all very well, but I have paid a hundred tumans and bought a piece of advice, and I have bought three pieces of advice for three hundred tumans," and he looked towards the south-west and a little scrap of cloud was visible. "O sirs," said he, "put off your journey to-day. We'll start to-morrow morning." But they said: "The weather is fine now, if you are coming, come along and let's be off." "I'm not coming now," answered he, "you can please yourselves." "Well, we're going," said his friends.
With that they went on their way till they came to the . head of a pass. There they saw that a cloud had come up, and the weather broke and it thundered, and a snow-storm burst on them. The unhappy travellers lost their way and perished there and then.
But Malik Ibrahim stayed the night where he was, and when morning came the sky cleared and the air became warm and pleasant. He set out and started up the mountain, and found that all his three friends had perished in the snowstorm. He went up to them and examined them, and each of them had a hundred tumans in his bag. He took the money and went on to the place for which he was bound.
Thus he saw that one piece of advice had been proved sound. But for it, he would have gone with the others and perished with them; as it was, he had not only reached his journey's end in safety, but he had also recovered the expenditure he had incurred in fees to the Advice-Monger.
He remained there for some days, and one day a man turned up who had a pigeon, a hound, and a cat to sell. The advice he had bought occurred to his mind, and he asked: "Friend, what is the price?" "Three hundred tumans," said the owner, "neither more nor less." Other people had said: "Friend, what is the good of a hound, a pigeon, and a cat at a hundred tumans apiece?" and hitherto the owner had been unable to find a purchaser. Malik Ibrahim, however, quickly paid the money and took the animals to his lodging. The bystanders all said: "This man has gone off his head! No sensible man would pay three hundred tumans and buy worthless advice," but he himself knew that the animals would prove useful some day.
He paid no end of attention to them, and looked after them very carefully. At last a time came when he had no money left to meet his expenses. "O God," said he, "what am I to do? I have no friends and I do not possess a thing, and my animals are in straits." That night, however, he had a dream and saw a ring lying about. Now the peculiarity of the ring was that by it you obtained whatever you asked for.
It was the ring of His Majesty King Suleman. You have only to perform ablutions as before prayers and say: "O Your Majesty King Suleman, I have such and such a desire, bring it to pass!" and forthwith it comes to pass. And the ring is wrapped up in a scrap of green cloth, and if you undo it the ring gets lost.
When he woke, Malik Ibrahim rose and went to an old camping-ground, and saw a scrap of green cloth lying there. He picked it up and looked at it, and saw that it contained the ring, and, carrying it, he went joyfully back to his animals, and performed his ablutions, and said: "O Your Majesty King Suleman, I want a fine house, a brick of gold, another of silver, and some leagues of cultivated ground all ready-made." That very instant they appeared.
He took the pigeon, the hound, and the cat into the house, and himself went out for a walk. All of a sudden he found himself at the foot of a castle. It was a fine and noble castle, and in it there was a maiden with a face like the moon, and some persons of high degree had come to seek her hand in marriage, but she would accept none of them.
Now she happened to be sitting in the castle looking out, and when Malik Ibrahim looked up and saw her he lost his senses and his heart stood still. Immediately the lady veiled herself. Now he was a handsome young man this Malik Ibrahim, and he was also very godly, obedient to the Divine will, and pure of heart, and as soon as the maiden saw him she fell in love with him.