THE TARKHAN'S DAUGHTER AND THE BOOK "YUSUF AND ZULEIKHA"

In olden times one Bashkort tarkhan* had a beautiful daughter. Wilful and capricious, she did not love anyone, was cross and vexed with everyone. Father could not find a man she would accept as her husband.

Having pity on the tarkhan, one old Khadji* gave him the following advice:

"As the story runs, there is a book of love ?«Yusuf and Zuleikha?» in the kingdom of Mysyr in Egypt. The one who reads this book, finds his or her beloved."

The tarkhan jumped at this proposal, he summoned the mullah* Rysbai, who was known for his adroitness, and ordered him to set forth to Mysyr and not to come back without the book about Yusuf and Zuleikha. "I will pay all the travel expenditure, only try and come sooner," he was admonishing the mullah.

So the latter made for Mysyr. He was given the book of love, only not to take it away but read right in the palace. " If you have no time to read it through today, you can take it tomorrow morning," they told him.

The mullah did as he was told. He was reading the book the whole day and learning it by heart, and of an evening he put it in its place. Night by night he was recording the pieces he had learned. In the course of seven days and nights he memorized the whole book and thoroughly wrote down its contents from start to finish. Having expressed his hearty gratitude to the rulers of the kingdom of Mysyr, he left for his homeland.

As soon as he got back home, the mullah handed the cherished book of love to the tarkhan's daughter. The girl started reading, forgetting her meals and sleep. Having read the book through, she plunged into deep sweet sleep. In her dreams she saw a handsome veget and she fell head over heels in love with him. Not so much as she herself but her father was overwhelmed with joy at such a turn of events. "What gift do you deserve for your service from me?" he asked the mullah. "I need not any gifts," answered the mullah. "Only let n read the book I have learned ?«Yusuf and Zulcikha?» in summer yaylyaus* and houses ana I will be quite satisfied."

The tarkhan lapsed into thinking, then he said: "Ask for something else, for 1 cana agree to that. Otherwise all the young men and girls will find their sweethearts and enjoy their living to their heart's content."

But Rysbai-mullah stood his ground. And listening to his recital of the verses from that wonderful book of love, the tarkhan in the long run came to a decision to change his mind. The main cause of this was the following reason given by the mullah: "If we do as you will, my tarkhan, your daughter won't be able to meet the wonderful yegct she saw in her dreams, and she will die of grief and sorrow. It is insufficient that only your daughter saw the yeget in her dream, it is of vital importance that he would see her and fall in love with her. And then he will find her. Without having read or heard the book about Ytisuf and Zuleikha, he won't be able to do this."

The envious tarkhan could not but agree. And Rysbai-mullah was wandering from village to village, from house to house and reciting the legend of Yusuf and Zuleikha. He became renowned among the people, a welcome and longed-for guest. His name was known to everyone and everywhere. Soon the yeget, the prince charming of the tarkhan's daughter's dreams, saw the tarkhan's daughter in his dream and fell head over ears in love with her. As it happened, eventually, he crossed the Ural mountain ridges, and having suffered thousands of tortures and privations, found his sweetheart at last. Thus the two young hearts joined together.