“In ancient times there existed in the country of Serendippo,in Far East, a great and powerful king by the name of Gieffer. He had three sons who were very dear to him. And being a good father and very concerned about their education, he decided that he had to leave them endowed not only withgreat power, but also with all kinds of virtues of which princes are particularly in need.”
The king travels throughout the island in order to provide thebest tutors for his sons.He found a number of scholars, each specialized in a differentfield.He entrusted the training of his sons, with the understandingthat the best they could do for him was to teach them in sucha way that they could be immediately recognized as his veryown.
The three princes are endowed with great intelligence.They became highly trained in the arts and sciences.When the tutors informed the king of his sons’ achievements,he was skeptical.He summoned his eldest son and announced that he wishes toretire to a monastery and that his son should succeed him as aruler.The eldest son politely refused, insisted that his father iswiser and should reign until his death.The two younger sons also refused.
The king was astonished by the wisdom displayed by his sons.He decided to send them on a prolonged journey so that theycan acquire empirical experience.He summoned his sons and giving the impression of beingangry and disappointed because they have disobeyed him,banished them from Serendip.They started their peregrination and moved out of hiskingdom until they reached the kingdom of a great andpowerful emperor, Beramo.
Misfortune befalls the princes when a camel driver stoppedthem on the road and asks them if they have seen one of hiscamels.They have not seen it but they have noticed signs thatsuggests a camel has passed along the road.The princes mystify the camel driver by asking him if he lost acamel that is blind in one eye, missing a tooth and lame.The camel driver, impressed by the accuracy of thedescription, immediately hurried off in pursuit of the camel.
After a fruitless search, and feeling deceived, he returns tothe princes, who reassured him by supplying further info.The camel, they say, carried a load of butter on one side andhoney on the other and was ridden by a pregnant woman.Concluding that the princes have stolen the camel, the driverhad them imprisoned.It was only after the driver’s neighbor finds the camel thatthey were released.
The princes were brought before Emperor Beramo, who askedthem how they could give such an accurate description of acamel they have never seen.The princes had brilliantly interpreted the scant evidenceobserved along the road.
blind on one side ~ grass had been eaten on one side of theroad where it was less verdantmissing a tooth ~ there were lumps of chewed grass on theroad the size of a camel’s tooth, which may had fallen throughthe gaplame ~ tracks showed the prints of only three feet, the fourthbeing dragged
one side of the camel carried butter ~ ants had attracted thissideone side of the camel carried honey ~ flies had attracted tothe spilled honeyrider ~ woman: near the tracks where the animal had kneltdown, had imprint of a foot was visible ~ urine was noted, the 2nd prince wet his fingers with itand he felt some sort of carnal concupiscence ~ pregnant: third prince noted nearby handprints, hadhelped herself up with her hands while urinating
Emperor Beramo was so astounded by the princes’ sagacity inthe matter that he invited them to be his guests.He was convinced that they were blessed with the powers ofprophecy when they divine that one of his counsellors isplanning to poison him.He told them a strange story about the Mirror of Justicewhich revealed the guilty ensuring peace and tranquility.The mirror was stolen and taken to another land and came tothe possession of a Virgin Queen.Beramo urged the prince to retrieve the mirror.
Their task was complicated by a giant upright hand that hasappeared upon the sea near the queen’s capital and terrorizingthe inhabitants.They decided to bring the mirror to the shore and orient ittowards the hand.As a result, the hand started to clutch at animals rather thanhumans.The queen was reluctant to part with the mirror as it nowprevents further human loss.
The daunting challenge for the princes is to subdue the hand onceand for all.The princes arrive at the queens capital and proceed to the beachto confront the hand.The eldest realizes that it is a symbol illustrating that if five menunite for a single purpose, they can conquer the world.So he held up his hand with only the second and third fingerserect, demonstrating that it is an error to believe that five unitedmen are necessary, when only two would suffice.The giant hand disappeared forever beneath the sea and the queengracefully surrendered the mirror.
When the princes return the Mirror of Justice to Beramo, theylearn of the catastrophe that has befallen the emperor in theirabsence.Beramo has fallen in love with a beautiful slave girl calledDiliramma, who one day questioned his honor in public.In a fit of rage, he had her bound and abandoned in a forest.The next day, Beramo was filled with remorse and ordered asearch for his paramour.No trace of her was found, leaving Beramo ill with sorrow.
Witnessing the emperors suffering, the princes advisehim to build seven beautiful palaces and to reside ineach one for a week.In addition, the best storyteller in each of the sevenmost important cities of the empire is to be broughtinto his royal presence to recount a marvelous story.
Over the weeks, in his various palaces, Beramo listens withappreciation to six of the stories, his health steadily improving.While listening to the seventh story, about a ruler who spurns hislover, Beramo suddenly realizes that it concerns Diliramma andhimself.On being questioned, the storyteller revealed that he knowsDiliramma and that he is searching for her lord to tell him that shestill loves him despite his act of cruelty.Overjoyed, Beramo sent for Diliramma and they were reunited.
Beramo asks the three princes how they conceived such aneffective remedy.They told him they recommended seven different palaces to bebuilt so the variety might cure the root of his illness, insomnia.As no trace of Diliramma had been found in the forest, theyrefused to believe that wild animals had eaten her.Therefore they suggested that storytellers be summoned fromafar in case news of her might be received.
As Diliramma had been discovered in the forest by atraveling merchant, who took her far away, theirstrategy turned out to be precisely correct.The princes return to Serendip, and the story ends withthe three wise sons of King Giaffer becoming threewise rulers.
Upon Giaffers death, the eldest son succeeded hisfather as King of Serendip.The middle son returned to the land of the VirginQueen, married her and became king.Emperor Beramo, who has a daughter, sent for theyoungest son and offered her in marriage. Soon afterthe wedding, Beramo died, and his son-in-law becamelord of his empire.