“Come on sister! Tell the king about the Tale of the Fisherman. The previous stories are nothing compared to it”, cried Dinarzad. “Alright alright sister, but you have to promise me not to spoil anything in it. The story goes like this”:
There once was a fisherman who was extremely jealous of all his fisherman friends. Whenever he caught a big fish, his friends caught larger ones. One day, burning with anger, the fisherman decided to put an end to his losing streak, and derived a plan. He would invite all his friends on a fishing trip to the top of Mount Hebi, show them his “favorite” fishing pond, and sneak away. Little would his friends know that inside this pond harbored the great serpent king, who would undoubtedly eat them alive. The fisherman would then return to his town, create a story about a serpent attack, and gain fame by being known as the one who survived. The plan was seemingly flawless, and the next morning, he and his friends gathered their fishing gear and headed out for Mount Hebi. When they reached the pond, the fisherman told his friends to start fishing, while he would go for firewood. About five minutes later, the fisherman heard the loud screech of the serpent off in the distance, and smiled. He waited for another ten minutes, and started heading back to the pond. When he reached the pond, the fisherman was flabbergasted.
But dawn broke and morning overtook Shahrazad, and lapsed into silence. Then Dinarzad said, “Wow! I wonder what the fisherman saw!” Shahrazad replied, “What has happened in the story so far is nothing compared to the story I shall tell you tomorrow night. It is a shame that I must die without completing this incredible, fascinating, marvelous, and breathtaking story.” Dying with curiosity, the king replied, “There is nothing on earth that can keep me from hearing the rest of that story and find out what happened to the fisherman's friends. Once I do, I will kill her the very next morning like I did so with the previous women.” The king then headed out to deal with matters in his kingdom, and Shahrazad was left alone with her sister. “In no time, the king will forget to put me to death, as he will forever be captivated by my stories.”
The Ninth Night
The following night, Dinarzad said to her sister Shahrazad, “Sister, hurry and continue the fisherman's story. I am sure the king is dying to hear the rest.” Shahrazad replied, “With the greatest pleasure”:
I heard, O happy King, that the fisherman saw his friends, not dead, but in conversation with the great serpent king. The fisherman joined into the conversation, and this is what he heard. “Oh noble fishermen, I greatly thank you for help. Who knows how much longer I would have lasted if you hadn't removed the diseased fish from the pond. As a token of my gratitude, I bestow upon you the trident of fortitude. May the road ahead rise up to meet you.” And the serpent resided back into the water. The fisherman, still in a state of shock,...