The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

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Old Woman Who Was Saved by a Gazelle

The wonderful gazelle killed a seven-headed snake and freed the slaves imprisoned in this house. Even my master the sultan owes his riches to the gazelle. Because of the gazelle, he married the sultan’s daughter.

But when he became a rich sultan, he forgot the gazelle.

One day the gazelle became sick. He called me, “Mother!”

“Here, my son.”

“Go and tell my master upstairs that I am very ill. Tell him that my body aches badly. I have no single part without pain.”

I went upstairs and found the master and his wife sitting on a marble couch spread with a soft cushion. The sultan told me to make a red millet gruel for the gazelle. His wife thought that was unfitting, but he insisted on treating the creature like a beast.

The gazelle’s condition worsened. Blood flowed from his nostrils when I gathered him into my arms. He said, “Mother, I shall die, for my soul is full of anger and bitterness. I am ashamed that I did good things for a master who has repaid me with evil.”

At that point, the sultan’s wife instructed me to cook milk and rice, but it was too late.

The gazelle turned over on his side and died.

Old Woman Who Was Saved by a Gazelle in The Gazelle, Violet Fairy Book

If this gazelle were a person, what kind of person would he be? Allow an image to come to mind of a suffering person who has gone unrecognized and unrewarded. What would you say to this person who feels the way the gazelle feels about himself?