Once upon a time there lived, in a small cottage among some hills, a woman with her son, and, to her great grief, the young man, though hardly more than twenty years of age, had not as much hair on his head as a baby. But, old as he looked, the youth was very idle, and whatever trade his mother put him to he refused to work, and in a few days always came home again.
On a fine summer morning he was lying as usual half asleep in the little garden in front of the cottage when the sultan's daughter came riding by, followed by a number of gaily dressed ladies. The youth lazily raised himself on his elbow to look at her, and that one glance changed his whole nature.
' I will marry her and nobody else,' he thought. And jumping up, he went to find his mother.
' You must go at once to the sultan, and tell him that I want his daughter for my wife,' he said.
' What ?' shouted the old woman, shrinking back into a corner, for nothing but sudden madness could explain such an amazing errand.
' Don't you understand ? You must go at once to the sultan and tell him that I want his daughter for my wife,' repeated the youth impatiently.
' Butóbut, do you know what you are saying ? ' stammered the mother. ' You will learn no trade, and have only the five gold pieces left you by your father, and can you really expect that the sultan would give his daughter to a penniless bald-pate like you ? '