The Three Oranges and the Kind Sultan (3)

Photo courtesy Erwan Hesry, Unsplash!

This wonderful story is adapted for English Language Learners from a very old Moroccan tale.

ONCE there lived a kind and good Sultan who loved his people and tried very hard to care well for them. However, for 3 years there had been almost no rain and all the fruit trees stopped giving fruit. This made everyone sad and so the wise Sultan said, “Let everyone sing everyday and play music! The trees will be filled with your joy and will give fruit again.” And so the people began to sing every day and play music.

     Soon, something very wonderful happened.  Small clouds appeared in the sky at the end of each day and sent a gentle rain to the earth. By the time the fall came, all the fruit trees in the land were filled with sweet, beautiful, ripe fruit.

     Now there lived one poor farmer who thought to himself, “I should show my gratitude to our Sultan for his care for us!  Thanks to his wisdom we have all this good fruit.” As soon as he finished saying the words, the farmer went out to his field of orange trees and found the three biggest oranges he could find. They were HUGE and a beautiful shade of bright orange.  “These three,” said the farmer, “I will give as a gift to the Sultan,” for everyone knows that 3 is a symbol of perfection.  

     So the poor farmer put the 3 oranges in a beautiful basket filled with dark green orange leaves. He called his young son to him and said, “You must hurry to the house of our Sultan and give him this gift from our family.”  The boy took the basket and ran off as his father had ordered him to do.  It was a very hot day and after an hour of running, the boy wanted something to drink, but there was no water to be seen anywhere.  The boy looked at the basket of oranges and thought, “Our good Sultan would not want me to die of thirst! He would understand if I took just one orange and ate it.” And so the boy took the smallest orange and ate it so quickly that not one sweet drop of juice fell on his kaftan.  It was the most delicious orange the boy ever remembered eating.

     After another hour of walking, the boy could see the towers and minarets of the city in the distance and the Sultan’s large home.  But even though the boy was so near to the end of his journey, he thought he would die of hunger if he didn’t eat something. The boy looked at the basket of oranges and thought, “Surely, our good Sultan would not want me to die of hunger! He would understand if I took just one orange and ate it. I will give him the biggest orange and take the smaller one for myself.”  As fast as you can say “Abra-kadabra” the boy ate the second orange and hurried off to the Sultan’s house.

     When he arrived at the gate, he told the soldiers he had a special gift for the Sultan from his father.  The guards went off to tell the Sultan and then came back and told the boy to follow him.  But when the boy saw the kind face of the Sultan he began to cry and told the Sultan all the truth, how he had been bad and eaten two of the Sultan’s oranges.  The Sultan smiled at the boy and said he was forgiven.  But then the Sultan said, “But how did you manage to eat two such big oranges and not spill even one drop of juice on your kaftan?”

     “Oh, it was very easy!” replied the boy. “I did it like this! And then he picked up the third orange from the basket and ate it in one mouthful.”  

     The Sultan laughed very hard and ordered his guards to fill the boy’s basket with pieces of gold to take back to his father in thanks for the three oranges.

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - April 2022 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us: