When I was a little girl, I used to beg my elders for stories. One story my father often told me on summer afternoons after lunch when I was supposed to take a nap. Today’s writing prompt “The city in the sky” brought this story to my mind, particularly since my father passed away on June 28th (this Sunday). This is how he would tell the story:
“There was once an Emperor whose Vizier had a very intelligent daughter. The Emperor had heard many people sing her praises but he wanted to test her for himself. He summoned the girl to his presence and said that he would give her a difficult task that would determine if she was indeed as wise as it was claimed. He ordered her to build a grand palace which should neither be on the ground nor in the sky , but somewhere in between. All the courtiers marveled at this and thought that the Vizier’s daughter would never be able to find a solution. The girl, however, was unfazed. She opened a window and called to the birds. Parrots, crows, swallows and sparrows all came to do her bidding. “Build me a house not on the ground and not in the sky. Bring bricks and mortar ! Bricks and mortar,” she told them.”
As my father repeated “Bring bricks and mortar” a few times, i would nod off to sleep. The next time when I asked for this story, he would start at the beginning and I would be asleep when the bricks and mortar stage was reached. I grew up and out grew stories but never did find out what happened at the end.