The Arabian princess Pash'Pashan was so beautiful that anyone
who saw her face instantly burst into flames. Only her mother and father
were spared, for they had grown used to her looks when she was young.
However, so as not to endanger other people, the princess Pash'Pashan
always wore a long veil that covered her whole head.
One day, the king told princess Pash'Pashan that it was time she married a prince. In those days, princesses pretty well had to do what their fathers said, but the princess Pash'Pashan did not want to get married, not even to a prince.
"Surely I should not have to marry any man who cannot look upon my face?" she asked, as she shined a spoon.
"I suppose that's only fair," agreed her father.
The very next day, three princes came to woo the princess Pash'Pashan. The first prince was a famous scientist.
"No-one can possibly be that beautiful," he announced, so the princess Pash'Pashan removed her veil and he burst into flames. (Although he was famous, scientists do not know everything).
The second prince was a brave warrior. "Ha! I am not afraid!" he laughed, so the princess Pash'Pashan removed her veil and he also burst into flames (but did so very bravely).
The third prince was an artist. As soon as the princess Pash'Pashan saw him, she forgot all about not wanting to get married, for he was very handsome (and rather cute).
"Show me your eyes," he said, and he drew her eyes.
"Show me your mouth," he said, and he drew her mouth.
"Show me your nose," he said, and he drew her nose.
Soon, he had drawn her whole face, a bit at a time. He looked at the finished portrait, but only felt slightly warm, because it wasn't quite as good as the real thing. However, it was close enough for him to get used to her beauty, so when the princess Pash'Pashan finally removed all her veil, the third prince did not burst into flames. Instead, he married her.
It's a good job the scientist didn't think of looking at her under water.
Illustration by Roy Bartle
21st January 1999: sbos2.htm