Tales of generous men are manifold but among them that of HATIM is the most famous of all. It is said that once upon a time Hatim was travelling in the slum areas of Muflis Ganj where hunger and penury was rampant. The generous Hatim distributed clothes and Ashrafis to the poor so that they may eat and clothe themselves. But in the same Muflis Ganj there was Munir Shami, the Prince of Kharzaman who did not want money or clothes. Hatim asked him what was it that he could offer him as a gift. The Prince replied, “I came here sometime back and happened to see the daughter of Shah Saudagar Barzukh, taking a bath in water falls. It was here that I saved her from the clutches of a gang of robbers and having fallen in love at first sight proposed to her. She refused to say anything and ran away leaving me wondering at her behavior. I followed her to her father’s place where I learnt from her father that he suffered from a curse given to him by a fairy. Hatim took upon himself the job of lifting the curse. So he went to The Shah Saudagar and asked him what the curse was and how he could lift it.
It was due to a heinous sin of the Saudagar who cast his evil eye on a fairy named Gulnar, who turned into stone and cursed the Saudagar that his daughter also will turn into stone at the time of her marriage. But the Saudagar learnt from astrologers that if the seven riddles were solved by any person the curse would be lifted and the stone statue will return to its original form of the fairy.
“Inshallah”, said Hatim Tai, “I will go to the ends of the World to solve the Seven Questions. Please let me know them, but on condition that if I solve them you will give your daughter in marriage to Munir Shami.”
When Shah Saudagar accepted the condition Hatim started with his companion Nazroo on his great adventure to solve the seven riddles first of which was:-
“What I have experienced once, I want to experience again”
Hatim and Nazroo came to a tree from which heads of girls were hanging like fruits. They became water-nymphs and their chief Shola Pari began to entice Hatim to make love to her. She took him and Nazroo to her beautiful under-water palace where Nazroo was surrounded by other nymphs. But Hatim did not fall a prey to the pranks of Shola Pari. He was magnetically drawn to a throne which the nymph was using for those persons with whom she got tired. When Hatim occupied the throne he was immediately thrown out of the water but there the girls were again hanging like fruits from the tree and a man stood near it in rags shouting “What I have experienced once. I want to experience again.” He was one of those with whom Shola Pari had got bored and had thrown out. Hatim got the solution of the first riddle and the statue of Gulnar Pari returned to normal to the extent of her head. “The solution to the second riddle would naturally bring her back to life further” thought Munir Shami while Hatim went on to solve the second question.
“Do good deeds and throw them in water”
Nazroo and Hatim come to the Magic Woods where they are surrounded by Forest Giants but fortunately they are saved by a Fairy who looked very much like Gulnar. Hatim is amazed to find that she is Husna Pari, the twin sister of Gulnar. They fall in love. Husna Pari shows them the way where they would find the solution of the second riddle. They find an old man there tied to a tree and mercilessly beaten by some robbers. Hatim and Nazroo save him and find the words written everywhere “Do good deeds and throw them in water”. “What is the meaning of this?” asks Hatim and he is told that these were the very robbers whom the old man had led successfully when he was young but it did not pay him at all and these followers of his tried to kill him when he was persuading them to do good for others. He found that the small good deed which he did while feeding the fish brought him salvation. As a result of Hatim’s success Gulnar got her wings back.
“You shall reap as you sow” were the words found written on a rock when Hatim and Nazroo proceeded further. Before they could think of anything they were captured by men having bear’s heads and they took them to their Queen. The Queen asked a number of questions to Hatim who very boldly answered them. Thereupon the Queen set him free but he insisted on knowing the secret of the words written on the rock. The Queen had her face veiled. She took off the veil and Hatim to his surprise found that she had a bear’s face too. Actually she was Princess Gul Badan but because she had killed a young she-bear while hunting, she suffered from this curse. Hatim found out from her that if her blood was sucked by a person without meeting death she would be free from the curse. He immediately volunteered to extract the poisonous blood and succeeded in restoring the Queen to her former self.
While Hatim was after solving these riddles he was not aware of the fact that Gulnar’s sister Husna Pari who had saved him from the Forest Giants had fallen in love with him. So when she started interfering with the talk between Princess Gul Badan and Hatim out of misunderstanding and jealousy Hatim pulled her up and it became evident to her that she was under a misapprehension as he treated Gul Badan like his sister. Hatim promised Husna Pari that as soon as he finishes solving all the seven riddles, he will marry her and then proceeded to solve the forth question. But unfortunately Shah Parizad the father of Husna Pari had seen them together. This according to him was wrong for a fairy and hence he arrested Husna and imprisoned her in a bottle. Then he created a tiger by magic and ordered him to attack Hatim. Hatim however, fought back and killed the tiger. But ultimately Shah Parizad succeeded in capturing Hatim and Nazroo.
In the meanwhile Shah Parizad’s son became blind and the doctors told him that they could do nothing about it. Hatim came in and said he would try to do something which could bring back the eyesight of the child. Hatim, who believed in prayer more than any medicine on earth, prayer to God and as a result the Prince got back his lost eye-sight. “True and pious persons are always thrice blessed” was proved to be true and Shah Parizad who was trying to fool Hatim by shouting the slogan to mockery was penitent. Now the duty of bringing the news from the Mountain of Needa was the next question to be solved and Hatim started towards the same. On way he came across a jungle tribe where all the people were sad and dejected. Hatim asked them why it was so and got from the community every month as his food. Nobody could do anything about it. But they said that the way to kill him was written out on a pillar but since all the people were illiterate nobody could read it. Hatim read it and found that if he could cut off the pig-tails of the giant, he would die. He undertook to do this work also and hence when the Giant called out Nazroo as his food. Hatim went inside the abode of the Giant and cut off his hair. The giant fell down and all were happy.
Hatim was to find out the secret the pearl as big as an Ostrich egg and also the secret of the Magic Kingdom of Hammam Baad Gard. As a matter of fact these were two questions but Hatim did not know where to find their answers. But fortunately he met Prince Meher Yawar who told him that originally he possessed the Pearl which was stolen from him by the Wicked Magician Kamlak. The Pearl was really priceless because anyone in possession of it could see anything and anyone in it. Kamlak saw beautiful women in it and kidnapped them to make them his slaves.
Hatim decided to go to the Magicians and get back the Pearl or break it into pieces so that no one could use it again for any bad purpose. Nazroo who also accompanied him blurted out that Husna Pari was in love with Hatim which enraged the Magician as he himself as he himself intended to make a slave of her. He, therefore by an evil trick put Hatim in a torture chamber and showed it to Husna Pari. Husna Pari ran to save Hatim from the torture but her powers failed in the Palace of the Magician. Here Nazroo had his own way and he escaped from the chamber and also rescued Hatim who headed on to break the Pearl and smashed it into pieces. Then he went to the Secret Chamber followed by the Magician and a terrible fight ensued. Husna Pari also went there and the fighting continued on the top of the Magic Tower. There Hatim saw the parrot in which was lying the secret of the death of the Magician. Hatim had studied the writing on the wall of the Secret Chamber and had known about the parrot so he threw the Magic Dagger at him and killed the parrot as a result of which the Magician lost all his strength and fell down from the tower. His death solved the two questions simultaneously and Hatim had completed his job.
Husna Pari and Hatim, Nazroo and Nazira and Prince Munir Shami and Husnabanoo all were happily joined in holy wedlock, although Husna Pari had to face a rigorous test of burning her wings according to their custom before marrying a human being.
Long live the name of Hatim of Tai the Prince of Yaman and his spirit of Generosity, Benevolence, Truth and Justice.
(From the official press booklet)