A magician comes to Baghdad and notices that a young cook is pale from lovesickness. The cook explains that Caliph al-Mu‘tadid has a daughter who will not accept any suitor, but the cook sees her every Friday when she goes through the bazaar and past his shop to go to the bathhouse. He has fallen in love with her.

The magician has him collect objects for a spell, and summons a jinn whom he commands to bring the princess to the cook's bedroom at night. Over the following nights, the cook and the princess stay together, but this results in pregnancy and her father finds out. He puts a sack of millet on her bed and then follows the trail of millet to the cook's house. However, when the caliph approaches the house, the magician surrounds it with water so he can't get in. The cook and the magician agree to appear in court, but when the caliph tries to have the cook executed, they keep cutting off other people's heads instead. The caliph finally understands that he can't fight the magician, and agrees to have the cook marry the princess.

The magician then brings out a cauldron full of water. The vizier jumps in, and is transformed into a mermaid swimming in the sea, who is forced to marry a fisherman's son and bear seven children. He emerges from the cauldron as himself and tells his adventure to the caliph, the magician, and the cook. The caliph dives into the cauldron and finds himself in Oman as a cook's servant. He becomes a broker and tries to sell a jewel, but is arrested and sent to the gallows. On the point of execution, he emerges from the cauldron and tells his own story. They all laugh at the stories, and the cook and the caliph's daughter get married.


  • This story comes only from Dom Chavis' version of the Arabian Tales and related sources.
  • In a much longer and more elaborate version, the characters are given names. The cook is Simoustapha and the princess is Ilsetilsone. The genie is named Jemal after a former servant by Simoustapha. The story also features the queen of Ginnistan, Setelpedour Ginatille, whose first name may derive from Sitt El Buhur. Her father is Kokopilesobe (Satan) and her chief counsilors are Bahlisboull (Beelzebub) and Asmonchar (Asmodeus).
  • Al'Mu'tadid's daughter's visits to the bathhouse are reminiscent of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp and Kamar Al-Zaman and the Jeweller's Wife.