Halad and the Serpent (an original Arabian Night)
Long ago, before the age of Prophets, when there was much wickedness in the world, there lived a mighty and terrible line of kings, who held consort with wizards and evil sorcerers. By the dark magic of their courtiers, these kings' dominion grew to exceed over full half the known world, and there was no other power in the kingdoms of men who could oppose their rule.
So great was the appetite of this evil court, that its first king imposed a terrible tax upon the land, demanding a one-half share of every crop and flock and herd within the kingdom. When his subjects could not fulfil this tax, he would seize from them their lands, their riches, and to those who had neither, their own wives and children, for his court’s hunger for slaves was equal to that of its greed for meat and grain. Such was the rule of this first king, and his son and grandson after him.
In those times, there lived in what is now Jeddah a young man by the name of Halad. There was no Red Sea in those bygone yea