“Yeah. What do you mean? We all helped find her. Without my art, her location would not be known,” said, Mario, the one with special powers who could find lost things and tell the future.
“The archer physically found my daughter and showed bravery. If my daughter were to be in a tight situation, I am sure he will be her protector,” declared the merchant.
“Hey. I could’ve done it too. It’s just that you didn’t ask me,” said Mario.
The merchant still insisted that his daughter would wed the archer, and the two men were taken away. They angrily entered a bar.
“Let’s kill him. If we kill him, we can marry her,” reasoned Mario.
“Yeah, let us. But both of us can not marry her. Only one of us can,” Adam said.
They both looked at each other, knowing what the other thought. After an awkward laugh, they both mutually agreed to abort the plan just by looking at each other. Both men had a great time, drinking, singing, and yelling at the archer as if he was with them. After fighting for the bill, they slowly walked out and parted ways. Mario stumbled and slept at a tree not too far from the bar, and Adam almost reached his house, but fell and passed out in front of a big mansion.
Night passed and the men were awakened by women.
“Oh, Dear! Tell Father that a man has died in front of our mansion,” said Alisha to her servant in a worried voice. The servant quickly went to tell her master.
Alisha stood looking at the man and thought, “What a handsome man. It is a shame he died so young.” Just then, Adam slowly woke up, and shook his head. Alisha was surprised and told him to come in her house to recover.
“What a kind woman to let a stranger in her house,” Adam admired in his mind. After eating some food, Adam left.
As the days went by, Adam could not help but think about Alisha’s pure, kind heart. Every time he thought of her, he felt guilty because he believed that he still loved the merchant’s daughter. In order to forget about Alisha, Adam was intent on carving a big horse. He would give the merchant's daughter this horse, and she would love him so much, she would marry him. Yet, every day he carved, a different tool would break. This required him to go to the market to purchase a new one and he had to pass Alisha’s house every time.
One day, he passed Alisha’s house on his way to the market and she greeted him. She invited him to drink tea, and in he went. Adam watched her every move like a hawk. He longingly looked at her and came to his senses.
“I must go,” said Adam.
“But you haven’t had a sip of tea yet. You must have some tea. I made it myself,” replied Alisha.
Adam took a sip of tea and briskly walked out. Alisha bid him goodbye in a cheerful tone. Hearing her soft voice pulled at his heart. He desperately wanted to run back and hold her hands, but his legs continued walking. Adam repeated, “Don’t think,” in his mind and ran into someone. It was Mario.
“Adam, my friend! How are you doing? Still not talking to that girl?” asked Mario.
Both men met each other several times after that night at the bar. Adam talked about Alisha once and Mario never let it go. Mario would bring her up in every conversation, and Adam would briefly daydream about her every time.
Adam ignored Mario and told him that he had to get a tool to carve his wooden horse. While Adam looked at the tools, a light bulb turned on in his head. Adam would do the same thing Mario always does. On the same day Adam met Alisha, Mario said he met a girl too.
Adam teased, “So, how is Sara?”
Mario was surprised, but collected himself and coolly said, “She is well, but it is not the time to talk about her and me. Let’s talk about you and Alisha. Just tell her you like her. If you did that to begin with, you wouldn’t have wasted so much money on tools. By the way, I already know that you two will end up together.”
Adam was furious! He quickly said, “How can you say that? The merchant’s daughter is not married yet. I can still murder her future groom and take her for myself.”
Mario reminded Adam that he could tell the future and left. Adam replayed what Mario said in his mind. It echoed in his brain, “…you two will end up together!”
Adam found the tool he needed and bought other things. He went on his way home. Remembering what Mario said, he said to himself, “If it is true, let me hear ‘horse carver’ when I pass Alisha’s home.”
Adam slowly approached Alisha’s home and heard “Horse, Carver! Oh, Adam.”
Adam stopped in his tracks. He asked Alisha if she said ‘horse carver.’ She explained to him that she was telling her brother, Carver, that there was a horse in the book. Adam was disappointed. Alisha, seeing his disappointment, invited him to drink tea again. Adam pondered, smiled, and nodded his head. Instead of wanting to flee, Adam felt calm because he realized that he cannot go against fate.
Adam walks over Carver and continued telling him animals where Alisha left off, and Alisha served him tea, tea that he will drink until the last drop.
(Cup of tea: Web source)
Author's Note. The story is inspired from a story, The Merchant Whose Daughter was Lost, in the Tales of a Parrot. In the story, three men, each with a talent, wanted to marry a merchant's daughter. The daughter went missing and all three men used the talents, yet the one who actually retrieved her got with her in the end. I felt bad for the two men who were cheated, so I wrote a story about what happened after the original story. Originally, I wanted to write about how both men met their future wives, but after developing so much on Adam, I had no space to write about Mario.
Bibliography. Tales of a Parrot by Ziya'al-Din Nakhshab; link to reading online.