Halen Stratton illustration
Illustration from a similar story in Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Helen Stratton, illustrator. London: Blackie & Son, 1903.

Image source

Today’s tale comes to us from India. It’s a love story, but does involve fairies, actually kind of unusual in fairy tales.

Dorani, daughter of a man who sold scents and essences, is the most beautiful young woman in the land. She is also good friends with a fairy and sings along with her for Indra, the king of the fairies. Dorani has lovely long golden hair that smelled faintly of roses, but it’s heavy, so one day, Dorani cuts off a tress, wraps it in a leaf and lays it in the river. I understand wanting to cut your hair, but I don’t quite get why she had to put it in the river, but of course the prince finds it and falls in love with her based on her hair. That’s even beyond love at first sight, but he’s sure he will die if he can’t marry the girl the hair belongs to.

The King find Dorani and sets up the wedding. Dorani’s one request is that she spend each day at the prince’s home, but each night return to her father’s. The prince agrees, just happy to have her as his wife. Soon, he tires of the arrangement, however, since all the time she spends at his house she sits on a stool and says nothing. Thanks to a powder the gardener gives him, the prince becomes invisible and follows Dorani one night. He discovers that each night she goes on a magic stool with her friend to sing at the fairy court. The next day, he tells Dorani all he saw, explaining it as a dream. The same thing happens the second night, he follows her to the fairy court, the magic stool wobbly with his added weight, but in the morning, after telling all he has seen, she speaks and asks him why he followed her.

‘Because,’ replied the prince, ‘I love you, and to be with you is happiness.’

The following evening, Dorani asks that the prince not follow her so he doesn’t, but the stool wobbles even more since she has now spoken to her husband. That evening Dorani sings marvelously and the fairy king offers her a gift. she requests the magic lute, which he sadly gives her, but says she can never return because what more will she expect after haven been given such a lavish gift.

The next morning Dorani asks the prince if he dreamed anything the night before and he replies that he only dreamt of their future happiness. That night, Dorani does not return to her father’s home.

‘Never again, my lord, never again would I leave thee!’

So the prince won his beautiful bride; and though they neither of them dealt any further with fairies and their magic, they learnt more daily of the magic of Love, which one may still learn, although fairy magic has fled away.

I love this story. In the end, true love is the only magic worth learning. Isn’t that sweet, and so different from a lot of the tales I’ve read.

And, by the way, David, I think both fathers here are pretty good. The King finds Dorani for the prince and arranges the wedding. Dorani’s dad tells the king of her request to spend nights at her own home, even though he doesn’t understand why she insists on it.

This story is from Andrew Lang’s The Olive Fairy Book, first published in 1907. You can find the whole story on-line in at least a couple of place, one of which is at Stories to Grow By. It also has a couple of cute illustrations done by kids.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.


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