Once upon a time, there was a heaven like place in Southern-West Jammu Kashmir which is now known as Azad Kashmir. There were millions of trees that had grown on the yellow and green land. The blue rivers passed the grey mountains and it was so peaceful. Amongst the trees and the lovely scenery was a palace. The most stunning palace a person could ever wish to see. In the palace lived King Mobeen and his beautiful wife Sadia. It was a tiny unknown kingdom where both Muslims and Hindus lived.
King Mobeen was like a lion. He was strong, fearless and passionate. He had fair skin with pure black hair as well as big dark brown eyes. He had a long thin nose and a thick black beard. He was a very happy man and would often be joking with Queen Sadia. His laugh was so loud and contagious the servants could hear him in other rooms of the palace and begin to laugh.
Queen Sadia was beautiful. She had soft light olive skin with dark brown hair. Her eyes were an unusual shade of blue; they reminded King Mobeen of the rivers that flowed through his land. She was like a swan. She was graceful, elegance, dignified and gentle. Sadly, while Queen Sadia was giving birth to their only child she died. She scarified her life for the sake of her only daughter who was named Maariyah.
Meanwhile, there was an evil jinn named Zara who appeared in human form. She was gorgeous. She was desired by all men because she was attractive. She was fair skinned as light as snow and her eyes were glistening but were unusual as they were the colour of fire, yellow and orange. Her hair was golden brown, long and luscious. People could not but stop and stare. Her feet, belly and arms were covered in henna. She wore jewels from head to toe. In the sun her jewels would shine so bright. She seemed so innocent and looked angelic but she was wicked. She was spiteful, devious and was only interested in herself. The reason Zara was so beautiful was because she had killed previous Queens and Princess' and stole their beauty using her dark powers. Zara could only kill the Princess' and Queens when they had turned 16 years old or older because that is when they show their true beauty and become women. But Zara really hated Queen Sadia as she was meant to marry King Mobeen but he was not interested because he could see past her beauty and saw her wicked heart. However Zara could not harm Queen Sadia because her special necklace that she wore. It was made to prevent evil spirits harming her. The necklace was made of wool so that it would not stand out. Queen Sadia's last request was that her Daughter, Princess Maariyah, would be given this necklace on her 16th Birthday.
Fifteen years later, Maariyah had grown into a beautiful young Princess. She looked like both her mother and father. She had dark brown hair like her mother and dark brown-eyes and fair skin colour was like her father. She had a side fringe that lead to two extremely long plaits. She was slender and pretty. She wore traditional Princess clothing with gold jewellery to accompany it. She had small bright eyes. Maariyah was respectful and polite just like her mother. But she was brave and fun loving like her father. She would often climb up the side of the palace without the King knowing. She would wander around the palace grounds and woodlands to play with the animals. Maariyah loved to sing and dance to traditional music and had a great future ahead of her. Princess Maariyah was completely unaware of the past relationship of her mother and Zara.
"Morning Princess Maariyah," a maid whispered after the King had instructed her to wake the Princess up. And though Maariyah was highly irritated by her wake up she decided to try and cheer herself up by singing joyful songs.
She got on with her busy day of learning her difficult languages and traditional music instruments along with the hour she decided she'd had enough an decided to hide in her room until she was found by the guards.
That night the full moon was lighting up the sky. So Princess Maariyah sat on her balcony gazing at the sky. Next her balcony was a wooden fence. Maariyah wanted a better view of the moon so she decided to jump and balance on the fence so that she could see it clearly. As she did that her father, King Mobeen, had entered her room to bid her goodnight "Maariyah," called the King. She turned to face him. He smiled at her in astonishment. "How did you manage to get onto that fence without hurting yourself Maariyah?" he asked. "Practise" as she replied, she showed a scar on her right leg from one of her earlier trials where it had gone wrong when she was younger. "Father," she spoke softly, "What happened to my mother?" "I think it's time for bed now Maariyah," he said as he turned away and begin to walk towards the door, "Good night". The Princess always wondered why her father never explained what had happened to her mother and why it brought him great sadness.
Zara had had enough of waiting for this Princess. She decided that she would plan a terrible earthquake before the Princess had turned 16. She planned to kidnap her and take her far away. "Shame on you Sadia! HAHAHAHA! I will take your precious daughter! MHAHAHA! I will have my revenge!" Zara shrieked! She laughed maliciously throughout the night.
The sun was warm the next day so Princess decided to stroll down to the pond in the palace garden. Suddenly, the ground began to shake. Once the King realized it was an earthquake, he shouted, "Maariyah! Come inside quickly!" Princess Maariyah began to run towards her father whose arms were stretched out waiting for her, so that he could protect her. It was too late. Zara had swooped in and took Princess Maariyah to a place that can only be described as hell.
Months went by. The search for Princess Maariyah seemed pointless as they had looked everywhere. The people had given up hope for her return. But one day, as the King was wandering the grounds of a local forest on his horse. He saw a body laid next to a stream. He approached the body and said, "Salaam." No one answered. He ordered one of his servants to turn the body over. As the servant did, he realise there in front of him laid his missing daughter. He jumped off his horse and caressed his only child. The servants carried the Princess back to the palace and she rested until she was better. They had a big party to celebrate her return.
Far across the Kingdom in a small village lived an old woman with her daughter Rifat. Rifat was intellectual, kind, sweet and respectful young lady. She was fair skinned with dark brown hair and eyes. She had a long thin face and a long thin nose with diamond shaped eyes. She enjoyed exploring the wonders of the forest that she visited regularly. On this particular day Rifat's mother had asked her to milk the cows, feed the chickens, tidy up the yard and prepare the evening meal. As she went along with her chores for the day, she needed to get some water from the local stream that ran through the forest. As she collected the water, she knelt next to the stream and sang. Her friend was also collecting water for her family so Rifat placed her pot on the ground and they both sang and danced together.
Meanwhile, a Prince from Afghanistan named Shah was riding his noble steed. He was on his way to the palace but had decided he would venture into the forest to hunt instead. He was tall and handsome. He had black curly hair and was well built. His horse was galloping through the woodland, jumping over logs and dodging in and out of the trees.
Rifat and her friend stopped and looked toward where they could hear a horse running towards them. They could see that a person was riding the horse was armed with an arrow. Her friend ran to the safety of the trees but Rifat had to collect the pot which was filled with water. Prince Shah could see a distressed animal near the river and he decided this one was his prey. He aimed his arrow at the animal. The animal was trapped between the arrow and a sturdy tree. The Prince towards it and as he got closer he realise that this may not be an animal after all. He realised he had caught a girl and her veil had been hit with the arrow and led her to be stuck to the tree. She was struggling and trying to pull the arrow out until she realised it was too late. That whoever had aim the arrow was on their horse and right beside her. This stranger pulled out the arrow. Rifat turn around to face him. This was the first time she saw his face. She was speechless and didn't move. She believed that she loved this man, though she knew nothing about him. But she suddenly remembered her mother's clear warning about the dangers of strangers, so before he had a chance to speak to her, she ran and hid behind a tree. She stood still and could still see the stranger and his horse. He had got off his horse and began moving around. Rifat was curious to see what this man was doing but knew not to go towards him. After the man had got on his horse, he looked around and off he rode into the distance. Rifat waited. She looked around and approached cautiously. On the sandy ground this man had left a message for her, it read; "O beautiful maiden, please meet me here tomorrow" She was extremely happy. She picked up her full pot of water and rushed home. She couldn't stop thinking about this gorgeous stranger.
At the palace, King Mobeen had been patiently waiting for the Prince to arrive. "Salaam, here I am my King," Prince Shah bowed as he greeted the King. He continued, "Dear King, I can not marry your daughter Princess Maariyah. I have fallen in love with someone else." The King was shocked and outraged. "You will marry Maariyah. It has been arranged and you must marry her. It is stated in the law." The King had arranged a huge buffet to welcome to Prince but all the Prince could think about was the beautiful lady he was to meet the next day. The King had arranged entertainment for the Prince. The Princess had decided that she would fool the King and dress in appealing clothing with a veil to disguise her face and dance with the Prince. As she danced with the Prince, the Prince could only imagine dancing with his true love and beautiful stranger because he was so blinded by love. On the palace window's the sound of rain was loud as the weather was so bad that evening.
The next day, Rifat had decided that she would go to the forest to meet her unknown lover. She waited for him to arrive. As he approached, she could sense that he had bad news. He explained, "It has been arranged that I am to marry someone…" Before he could even finish his sentence, Rifat ran away. She was so upset and thought he was trying to make her look a fool.
That evening, Rifat's mother could see that something had truly upset her daughter. She was deeply concerned so asked Priyanka, a Hindu lady who was a close friend of Rifat, to come and see if she could help. As she was talking to Rifat, outside the window they stopped as they could hear a drum approaching which usually meant there was some news about to be announced. Rifat and Priyanka looked out of the window inquisitively. Bang! Bang! Bang! "Good people of this kingdom we have great news of an upcoming celebrating! This evening there will be a Royal Wedding. The marriage of Prince Shah and Princess Maariyah! " exclaimed the King's guard. Rifat couldn't believe what she had heard. Rifat's mother was shocked and decided this would be the right time to unveil a family secret. She sat Rifat down and began to fill up with tears. "What's wrong mother?" Rifat asked. "Sit down my beautiful child. I have something important to tell you." Rifat sat at the feet of her mother and rested her head upon her mothers lap. "You have become a wonderful young lady and I know your real mother would be proud," she said softly. "I knew this time would come. You know that you were brought here by the angel. The angel saved your life as the earthquake happened just before Zara planned to take you, you fainted and an angel took your place in the evil Zara's plan. But she didn't realise she was tricked as she didn't know it wasn't you because the angel changed your appearance slightly. The angel protected you and gave me the blessing of looking after you till this moment came. You are Princess Maariyah." "But if I'm Princess Maariyah who is it whom is said to be marrying Prince Shah?" she questioned. "I believe it is part of the evil Zara's plan. She wants to destroy the kingdom and this is the perfect opportunity to accomplish it. You need to hurry and get there in time. Your father will know the real you because you have never met Prince Shah he won't know the difference."
She kissed the old lady on her head and ran towards the Palace. The old woman's tears were streaming down her wrinkly face. She had looked after this young girl for months and felt amazingly close to her as if they were mother and daughter.
The real Princess Maariyah jumped on a horse from the local farm and galloped towards the Palace. Priyanka had overheard the conversation from before and decided to help. They had little time so they were focused on the job. The weather was dreadful. The rain beat down on the girls and the horses.
Meanwhile, Prince Shah was preparing himself in a dressing room. He was clothed in his Groom outfit and ready for the wedding. So there he sat, looking in the mirror. He looked extremely unhappy. In the room opposite, his uncover bride was pleased with herself and her plan seemed to be unstoppable. "Once I marry with Prince, I will rule over Jammu Kashmir and Afghanistan" she wickedly laughed to herself.
The girls were getting close as Princess Maariyah horse fell over and was stuck due to the thickness of the mud. Priyanka knew that her friend had to continue so they swapped horses and Princess Maariyah continued with her quest.
She arrived at the Palace gate which was guarded by two strong men. They wouldn't let her in at first until she persuaded them by giving them her gold jewellery in order for her to have access. She pretended she wanted to watch the wedding. The celebrations had started just as weaved her way through the crowd. She managed to get to the front when she exclaimed "No, this celebration cannot be successful!"
King Mobeen recognized the voice so he turned and looked at the young girl stood out amongst the crowd, but did not recognize her face. She said, "Father, it is I, your daughter, I am Princess Maariyah."
He turned and looked at the Princess who was seated at the throne who was actually Zara in disguise. But she too claimed to be the real Princess.
"Father," said the real princess, "Look". She showed her father her right leg which she showed him before the earthquake when he entered her room one night after she had climbed onto the fence.
"You are my daughter!" the King cried. The King believed her without any doubt in his mind. Zara screamed in anger, "No! This can not be happening! You died…You died!"
Everyone in the Palace had heard what she had said. Princess Marriyah looked towards the traumatized groom and realised that this was the man who met her in the woods who she had fallen in love with. He too was pleased to see her when he had realised who he was meant to marrying.
During this time, Zara had changed back to her true appearance; the evil jinn. She had cast a spell and the weather had become extremely dark and stormy but the Palace suddenly erupted into flames. It was as they imaged hell would be. Everyone panicked. People were rushing around to find an exit.
Zara screeched, "You will die. I will be the most beautiful lady in the world!"
Princess Maariyah replied, "No. It is not possible. Evil will not triumphant! I know that you killed my mother. She will get her revenge."
They began to fight but Zara was too powerful. Prince Shah removed his Groom cloak and took out his sword. He ran to Maariyah side and she grabbed hold of the sword with him and they pushed the sword into Zara's evil heart at the same time as Zara casted a deadly spell on Maariyah. She shrieked. As she did, she died and disappeared.
Maariyah's face changed back to how she originally looked. It was her 16th Birthday. Prince Shah kneeled beside her and tried to wake her up. He put his face in his hands and he whispered, "She's dead." King Mobeen blamed himself.
The next morning everyone in the Kingdom came to pay their respects and say their last goodbyes to the deceased princess. The people were extremely saddened by their lost. Her friend Priyanka was crying. The Prince was heartbroken. King Mobeen was depressed. He remembered that he promised his late wife, Queen Sadia, that he would give her the wool necklace on her 16th birthday. The King was so upset that he called Prince Shah over and gave him the necklace and explained that he was to put the necklace on Princess Maariyah. He placed the necklace round her neck and everyone left the room. They all were still inside; until they noticed the sun had come out.
The King was sat on his throne and the Prince next to him. The crowd of people were stood around mourning. All of a sudden, the crowd gasped and parted. The Prince and King lifted up their heads to see what all the noise was about. They couldn't believe their eyes. Princess Maariyah was walking through the gap towards her father and lover. They couldn't believe the goodness of their God to them. Prince Shah ran towards her. They were united at last. She explained to him and her father what had happened and that she met her beautiful mother. The family and Kingdom celebrated. Prince Shah and Princess Maariyah got married the same day. The Kingdom rejoiced.
And they all lived happily ever after!