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44 What Heaven Ordains Must Surely Take Place T O L D B Y G E M I L A L E V I T O I T A Y Z I M R I N Once the queen of Sheba came to visit King Solomon. He sat next to her and entertained her. One day, the queen said to King Solomon, “I believe in the God of the Jews. There is only one thing I cannot accept. I think that someone who wants to get married should go find his bride himself.” “You’re wrong,” replied King Solomon. “One’s destiny is determined in Heaven.” “I don’t believe that.” “I won’t give you an answer now,” said Solomon. “You’ll have to wait eighteen years.” What did he do? As is well known, every year all the kings would come to King Solomon to hear his wisdom and then go back home. After they had left, King Solomon summoned the king of the demons, who came running. “What do you want, Your Majesty?” “Go bring me a tree that was planted in the time of Adam.” The king of the demons took his demon horde and uprooted the tree. Its roots were bigger than a large room. On King Solomon’s orders, the king of the demons summoned demons to dig among the roots and make a sort of room there. All the newspapers published an announcement that King Solomon was interested in purchasing a six-month-old girl. If someone had too many children and wanted to get rid of one, he could sell her to the king. There was a man who had many children and was dying of starvation. He had a six-month-old daughter. “You know,” he told his wife, “I saw an announcement by King Solomon: If someone has a six-month-old daughter , the king will pay a lot of money for her.” “My heart won’t let me do such a thing,” replied his wife. But their life soon became much harder. Again, the father raised the 356 44 / What Heaven Ordains  357  The beautiful Queen of Sheba and wise King Solomon. idea with his wife. This time she agreed. The father took the little girl to the palace and asked the guards to admit him. He took the child to King Solomon. “Give this man a lot of money,” he instructed his servants. Turning to the father, he added, “Come to me every month to receive your pension.” Then he gave his servants their orders. “Put the child in the room and plant the tree in the spot from which it was uprooted. As for you,” he told the king of demons, “I charge you to watch over the infant. Bring her food every day, as much as she wants—milk, cereal, and everything else, three times a day.” They put a carpet in the room. The girl lived there, alone with the wild forest creatures. She became like a wild thing herself, with long hair. Three times a day, the demons brought her food. Some years later, a certain chieftain resolved to abdicate in favor of his son, because he was very old. But first the son sailed off to learn new things. One day, the ship cast anchor, and everyone crowded into the boats to go ashore. While they were ashore, the young man strolled off. In the meantime, the rest of the crew returned to the ship and sailed away. The young man was left alone, with food for only one day. When that ran out he was at a loss for what to do. Taking hold of a plank, he went down to the water’s edge. Maybe he could reach some place where there was food and not die of starvation. All day long he floated. In the evening, he reached a cove where there was a little fresh water. He ate a bit of grass, climbed up into a tree, and fell asleep. Now the demon who was responsible for feeding the girl had been given clear instructions: “If you see one, take food for one; if you see two, take food for two. And if you see three, take food for three.” Accordingly, that day the demon took two loaves of bread and dropped one of them on his way to the girl’s chamber. When the young man climbed down from the tree, he saw a parcel on the ground...


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