Folktale: The Child of the Physician & the King of Snakes

The Son of the Physician and King Snake

Part One

There was a very educated physician, who died and left his wife and son, when the son was older his wife named the child according to the will of his father, Hassee′boo Kareem ′ Ed Deen ′.

When the child went to school, and learned to read, his mother sent him to a tailor to learn the trade but failed. So after that, he was sent to a blacksmith, and he failed to learn this trade as well. After that he tried many other businesses but could not learn any business. Finally his mother said, “So stay home for a while” and this seemed to suit him.

One day he asked his mother, what business his father did, and she told him he was a very great physician.

“Where are his books?” he asked.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen them,” replied his mother, “but I think they are at the back. Look and see may be you can find some”

So he looked for them a little bit and finally found them, but they were badly damaged by insects, and he picked up a little bit of learning from those books.

Four neighbors approached his mother and said, “Let your son come and we will go into the forest and cut down the wood.” It was their business to cut firewood, load it on donkeys, and sell it in the city for fuel.

“Well,” he said, “tomorrow, I’ll buy him a donkey, and then you can go with him.”

So the next day, Hasee’boo, with his donkey, left with the four men, worked hard, and made a lot of money that day. This went on for six days, but on the seventh day, it rained hard, and they had to sit under the rocks to avoid being wet.

Hassee′boo sat alone in the corner, and, having nothing to do, picked up a stone and began knocking on the ground. He was shocked to hear the sound of a vacuum coming from the ground and called out to his colleagues, “It looks like there is a hole down here.”

People digging a hole
People digging a hole

When they heard him knock again, they decided to dig in to find out what was causing that void; they did not dig too deep before they encountered a large hole, like a well, which was filled with honey all the way to the top.

After that they did not cut wood anymore, they directed their efforts to harvest honey and sell it.

With the intention of harvesting honey as soon as possible, they told Hassee’boo to go into the pit to harvest the honey, which they put in containers and send to town to sell. They worked for three days making a lot of money.

Eventually there was a little honey left in the hole, they told him to scrap it while they were going to take the rope for pulling him out.

But instead of bringing a rope, they decided to leave him in the pit, so that they could divide the money among themselves only. When he had gathered all the honey left, he called for a rope, he did not get an answer. When he was alone for three days in the pit, he finally knew without a doubt that his companions had left him.

The four men went to his mother and told her that they had separated in the forest, heard a lion roar, and never saw her son or his donkey again.

Her mother, cried bitterly, the four neighbors pocketed part of her son’s allotment.

Back to Hassee’boo.

He wasted no time in walking around the ditch, wondering what the end would be like, eating the remains of honey, sleeping a little, sitting and thinking.


On the fourth day, in this condition, he saw a scorpion fall to the ground, a giant, and kill him.

Suddenly he thought, “Where did this scorpion come from? There must be a hole in the ground. Anyway I will look for it ”

So he searched until he saw light in a small crack; he took his knife, dug it out, until he made a great hole through which he could pass; he went out, appeared in a place he had never seen before.

He saw the way, he followed it until he came to a very large house, whose door was not locked. He went inside, he so doors of gold, locks also of gold, keys made of pearls, nice necklaces that were expensive and luxurious on the reception room, and a resting chair covered with a fine blanket, where he sat and slept.

He found himself lifted from the lounge chair and placed on another chair. “Do not harm him; wake him up slowly, ”when he opened his eyes, he found himself surrounded by many snakes, one of whom was dressed in beautiful royal colors.

“Hello!” he exclaimed, “Who are you?”

“I am Sulta′nee Waa ′ Neeo′ka, the King Snake, and this is my house. Who are you?”


Part Two

“I’m Hassee’boo Kareem Ed Deen.”

“Where are you from?”

“I do not know where I came from or where I am going.”

“Okat do not worry about it; let us eat; I think you are hungry, I am hungry ”

Then the King Snake commanded, and some of the serpents brought forth delicious fruits, and they ate, and drank, and talked.

When they had finished talking, King Snake wanted to hear Hasseeboo’s story; he told him all that had happened, and then he began to hear the story of his host.

“Then,” said King Snake, “my story is long, but you will hear it. Many years ago, I left this area and went to live in the mountains of Al Kaaf ’, to change scenario a bit. One day I saw a stranger coming and I said to him, ‘Where are you from?’ He said, ‘I am just wandering in the wilderness.’ ‘Whose son are you?’ I asked, ‘My name is Bolookee′a. My father was a sultan; when he died I opened

The Prophet
The Prophet

a box, inside it there was a bag, which inside had a small brass box; when I opened it, inside there were inscriptions wrapped in a piece of woolen cloth, and it was all the attribute of a certain prophet. He was described as a wonderful, wonderful man, and I wished i had a chance to meet him; but when I did get near to reach him, I was told that he had not yet been born. So I decided to stay until I saw him. I left my city, left all my possessions, and wandered off, but I still did not see the prophet. ‘

“I asked him, ‘Where do you think you will find her, if she is not yet born? Maybe if you had King Snake water, maybe you could keep living until you find him. But there is no point in talking about this; the water of King Snake is far away. ‘

‘‘ Then ’he said,‘ Goodbye, I must keep wandering. ’I said goodbye and he left.

“Now it came about that as soon as the man got up to Egypt, he met someone else who asked him the same question, ‘Who are you?’

“I am Boolokea, who are you?”

‘“ My name is Al Faan. Where are you going?’

‘“ I have left my house, I searching for a prophet.

‘‘ H’m ’’ said Al Faan; ‘I can give you a better job than finding someone who hasn’t been born yet. Let’s go find King Snake and he will give us medicine. Then we will go to King Suleiman and get his rings, we will be able to command the genies and order them to do whatever we want. ‘

“Bolookeea said, ‘I have seen King Snake in the mountains of Al Kaaf.’

“All right,” said Bolookeea, “let’s go.”

Al Faan wanted Suleiman’s ring so that he could be a great magician and own genies and the birds of the air, while Bolookeea only wanted to be able to see the prophet.

As they were leaving, Al Faan said to Bolookeea, ‘Make us a cage to attract King Snake to come in; then we will close the door and carry him upstairs. ‘

“Okay,” said Bolookeea.

They made a tent and put in a cup of milk and a cup of wine, and brought it to Al Kaaf; and I, as a fool, went in, drank all the wine and I got drunk. Then they closed the door and locked it and left with me.

“When my mind came back to me, I found myself in a dungeon, carried by Bolookea, and said, ‘The children of Adam are not good. What do you want from me? ’They replied. ‘We want the medicine to be put on our feet, so that we can walk over water on our journey whenever it will be needed.’ ‘Then’ I said, ‘Just go.’

“We went on until we came to a place with a lot of trees; and when the trees saw me, they said, ‘I am the medicine of this,’ ‘I am the medicine of that,’ ‘I am the medicine for the head,’ ‘I am the medicine for feet,’ and one of the trees said, ‘Whoever puts my medicine at his feet , he will walk on water. ‘

“When I asked people they said,‘ That’s what we want ’. They saw this medicine as a very useful thing.

“Then they brought me back to the mountains and set me free, and we parted.”

“When they left me, they continued on their way until they reached the sea, put on the medicine and walked. Many days passed, until they approached King Suleiman’s palace, where they waited until Al Faan prepared his medicine.

“When they came to King Suileman’s part, he was asleep, he was being guarded by a demon, his hand resting on his chest, and the ring was on his finger.

“When Bolookeea approached a genie said to him,‘ Where are you going? ’And he replied,‘ I am here with Al Faan; he will take the ring. ’‘ Get out of here ’the genie said; ‘Get out completely. That person will die ‘

Part three

“When Al Faan finished his preparations, he told Bolookeea, ‘Wait for me here.’

“He lifted himself up believing in the power of his medicine, grabbed the ring again, a strong wind blew him away and he burned to ashes at the same time.

“When Bolookea was looking at all these events unfolding the voice said ‘Go your way; this unworthy creature is dead. ‘ He then decided to cross the lake again, put medicine on his feet, walked over, he continued to wander for many years.

“One morning he saw a man sitting down and said to him, ‘Good morning,’ and the man replied.

Bolookeea then asked him, ‘Who are you?’ And he replied ‘My name is Jan Shah. Who are you? ’So Bolookeea told him who he was and asked him to tell him his history. The man, crying and smiling constantly, insisted on hearing the story of Bolookeea first. When he heard it he said;

“Okay sit down, and I’ll tell you my whole story from beginning to end. My name is Jan Shah. My father is Tooeegha′mus the famous sultan. Every day he went to the forest to hunt animals; One day I said to him, “Father, please let me go with you to the forest today,” but he said, “Stay at home.” I cried bitterly, cause I was his only child, his beloved, he could not bear my tears, he said, “Well then, we will go. Don’t Cry”

‘“ Then we went into the forest with many servants; When we got to the place, we ate and drank, and then everyone went hunting.

‘“ My seven slaves and I went on our way until we met a beautiful deer, chased him to the sea but did not catch him. When the deer got into the water, my four slaves and I took a boat, the other three returned to my father, chased him to a point where the beach became invisible, we captured him and killed him. Suddenly a great wind blew that caused us to lose our way.

‘“When the three slaves came to my father, he asked them, ‘Where is your master? They told him about the issue and the boat. He cried, “My son is lost! My son is lost! ” he returned to the city and wept for me as if I were dead.

‘“After a while we came to an island with many birds. We got fruit and water, ate and drank, and at night we climbed trees and slept until morning.

‘“Then we went on board the boat to the second island, and, when we saw no one there, we gathered fruits, ate, drank and climbed into the trees as before. During the night, we heard animals crying and screaming around us.

‘“ In the morning, we left as early as possible, and came to the third island. As we were looking for food, we saw a tree with many red fruits that looked like streaked apples. As the night progressed some of the monkeys came, who seemed to be pleased to see us, and brought us all the fruit we ate.

“At that moment, I heard someone say,” Let’s make this our Sultan. ” Another said, “For what purpose? They will all run away in the morning. ” But the third one said, “It’s not like we’re breaking their boat.” In fact, as we started to leave in the morning, our boat was wrecked. so there was no other option but to sit there and be entertained by those monkeys, who in turn loved us dearly.

‘“One day as I was walking, I came to a large stone house that was written on the side, ‘Anyone who comes to this island will find it very difficult to leave, because the monkeys want to find someone to be their king. Looking for an escape route, he will think there is no way; but there is one way out, which is in the north. If you go that way, you will meet a great wilderness, where there are lions, leopards and snakes. You must fight them all; if you defeat them then you will be able to move forward. You will come again to the great wilderness, which has the great size of a dog; their teeth are like those of a dog, and they are very fierce. You will have to fight these, and if you defeat them, there is no other obstacle along the way.”

I threatened and chased him away
I threatened and chased him away

“I shared this information with my subordinates, and we came to the conclusion that, since we could die, we should risk our lives to seek our freedom.

‘“Since we were all armed, we left; we came to the first wilderness, and we fought, and two of my helpers were killed. We went to the second wilderness, and fought again; my other two assistants were killed and I escaped alone.

‘“ After that I wandered for days, living on whatever I had, until I finally came out of the city, where I stayed for a while, looking for a job but could not find one.

‘One day, someone grabbed me and said,‘ Are you looking for a job? ’ “Yes, I’m looking for a job” I said, “Let’s go then” said the man; we went to his home.

When we got to his house he took off the camel’s skin and said, “I’ll put you in this skin, and a big bird will carry you to the top of the mountain there.” When he gets you there, he’ll tear this skin off of you, then you’ll have to chase him and then push down the precious gems you’ll find there. When you have pushed them all down, I will come down from the mountain. ”

‘“So he put me in the skin; the plane carried me to the top of the mountain, and he wanted to start eating me, so I jumped up, threatened him and he left, and I pushed down a lot of gems. Then I called to the man to bring me down from the mountain, but he didn’t answer me, and he departed.

“I was devastated, but as i continue to struggle, finally, after many days in the jungle, I came to a house that was all by itself, and the old woman who lived there gave me food and drink which helped me to feel energetic again.

‘“ I stayed there for a very long time, and the old lady loved me as if i was her child.

Part Four

‘“ One day the old lady left, and she handed me the keys, pretty much told me that I could open any of the doors in the house except one which she showed me.

“When she left, of course, the forbidden door was the first door I went to open. I saw a large garden where there was a stream flowing through it. Then three birds came down and sat on the edge of the stream. They immediately changed into three very beautiful women who went on for a bath. When they had finished bathing, they put on their clothes, and, as I continued to look at them, they changed into birds and left.

‘“I closed the door and went on my way but I that day i had no appetite to eat, and I wandered around here and there in that house. When the old lady returned, he noticed something was wrong with me, and asked me what was wrong. I told her that I had seen those women and i have fallen in love with one of them too deep, and if I won’t be able to marry her it is best i die.

‘“The old lady told me my needs could not be met. She told me that the three women were the daughters of a Sultan of genies, and their home was a three-year journey from where we were.

‘“ I told her to hell with it. I will do everything to find her to be my wife, or just die. Finally she said, “Then wait until they come again, you will hide and then steal the clothes of the one you love the most.”

‘“ I waited for them and when they came again, I stole the robe of the youngest, whose name was Sayadaa′tee Shems.

Beautiful women bathing in the river
Beautiful women bathing in the river

‘“When they came up out of the water, the youngest woman did not see her clothes. I came out and said, “I have them.” “Ahh” and she pleaded, “Please give me those clothes, they are mine, I want to leave.” But I said, “I love you so much, I want to marry you.” “I want to go to my father,” she replied. “You can’t go,” I said.

‘“Then her sisters got up and left, and I took her to my house, and the old woman married us. She told me not to give her the clothes I had taken but to hide them; because if she finds them she will escape and return to their home. I therefore dug a hole in the ground and hid them.

‘“One day when I was away from home, she managed to find the clothes, dug them up and put them on; She then said to the servant i gave her, “if he really loves me, he will find me ”she flew up and went away.

‘“When I returned home received news about this, I was heart broken and very worried, went on looking for her for so many years. Eventually, I came to a town where someone asked me, “Who are you?” I replied, “I am Jan Shah.” “What’s your father’s name?” “Taaeeghamus.” “Are you the one who married our daughter?” “Who is your daughter?” “Sayadaatee Shems.” “That’s me.” I said with a ton of happiness in me.

‘“They sent me to their daughter and she took me to her father and told him I am her husband; and everyone rejoiced.

‘“Then we thought it best to visit our old home, and her father’s genie carried us for three days to our home. We stayed there for a year and then returned, but not long afterward, my wife died. Her father tried to comfort me, and he wanted me to marry his other daughter, but I refused, and to this day I still cry. That is my story. ‘

“Bolookeea went away and struggled until he died.”

Then Sultaanee Waa Neeoka said to Hassee’boo, “If you leave and go back to your home, i know you will come back to hurt me.”

Hassee′boo assured and said, “I will never be persuaded by anyone at any point to harm you. Please let me go home ”

“I will let you go home,” said King Snake, “but I am sure you will come back and kill me.”

“Why, I can’t imagine being so ungrateful,” Hassee’boo exclaimed. “I swear I can’t hurt you.”

“Then,” said King Snake, “keep this in mind, when you go home do not bathe in places where there are many people.”

And he said, “I’ll remember.” So King Snake let him go away, and he went back to his mother’s house, and was glad to see that she was not dead.

Unfortunately, the Sultan of his city became very ill; and it was decided that the only thing that could cure him was to kill King Snake, boil him, and give him as soup to the sick sultan.

For reasons only know to him, Vizir ordered all men in the city to bathe in public and gave these instructions: “If a man comes to bathe there and seem to have a mark on his belly, seize him and bring him to me.”

When Hassee’boo stayed home for about three days, he forgot the warnings of Sultaanee Waa Neeoka, and went to bathe with other people. Suddenly he was captured by the soldiers and brought to Vizir, who requested him, “Take us to the house of King Snake.”

“I don’t know where the house is,” said Hassee’boo.

“Bind him” Vizir commanded.

So they bound him and beat him until his back was paralyzed. When he couldn’t stand the pain he cried out, “Let me show you his residence please.”

So he took them to the house of tKing Snake and when he saw them coming, he immediately said to him, “Did I not tell you that you would come back to kill me?”

“What would I do?” Cried Hassee′boo, “Look at my back!”

“Who hit you so hard?” asked King Snake.

“It’s the Vizir and his men.”

“Then I have no hope. But you must carry me yourself. ”

As they were leaving, King Snake said to Hasee’boo, “When we get to your city, I will be killed and cooked. Vizir will give you the first broth, you should not drink it; put it in a bottle and store it. The second soup is important that you drink it, it will make you a great healer. The third soup is the medicine that will cure your sultan. If Vizir asks you if you drank the first soup, tell him, “I drank it.” Then take the first bottle and say, “This is the second one for you.” Vizir will drink it, and immediately after drinking he will die. Our revenge will be accomplished then.

Everything happened as King Snake said. The Vizir died and the sultan recovered, and Hassee’boo was loved by all the people as a great renowned healer.

If you enjoy stories about large snakes, here is the other tale that also involves a big snake “Folktale: The Beggar Called Hamdani (Haamdaanee)“.

For more forktales click here!

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