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117 117 How the Queen of Sheba Became Queen362 Zuhayr ibn ʿAbd Shams, of the Banū Ṣayfī ibn Sabaʾ al-Aṣghar: he was killed by Bilqīs, daughter of Ṣayfī.363 The cause of this was that he was a king who ruled despotically and overbearingly; he used to deflower women before their husbands , just as ʿImlīq had done.364 But when Bilqīs reached adulthood, she said to her father, “This man has dishonored your women! Go to him and say, ‘I’ve got a daughter who has become nubile. There is nobody among the people like her in beauty and attractiveness!’ Then, if he says to you, ‘Send her to me!’ you must say, ‘The virginity of the daughter of a nobleman like myself is not taken except in his own house!’” The father went to him and said all this to him. When Zuhayr said, “Send her to me!” he said what his daughter had told him. Zuhayr replied, “What about entertainment for me and the followers I am bringing along?” He replied, “I am very capable of entertaining the king and very pleased to do so; it will be an honor for me and a favor from the king toward me!” Zuhayr agreed to come to him, something he had done for nobody else. The father went home and decorated his house; he decorated three rooms in the most ornate fashion of his day, and he made everything ready for the king’s entertainment . Then he went to Zuhayr and told him that everything was ready. Zuhayr mounted and rode to him. Bilqīs had hidden a number of her kinsmen, with their weapons. When Zuhayr entered the first room he was amazed by what he saw. Then he entered the second room, which was even more beautiful. Then he entered the third room, where Bilqīs was, all decked out in her jewels and robes, in all her beauty. When he lay down on the bed, having sent his guard and his soldiers outside, and having ordered the door to be locked (he had some vassal princes with him), she said to her own men, “Come out!” They came out and killed him. Then she sent for one of his vassals and courtiers , calling all of them one after the other, upon which they would kill them; whoever was summoned thought that it was the king who called him. This went on until she had them all killed. Then she called for her father and his people. She left the room and came to them, saying, “This evil man had dishonored your 118 118 118 118 Prose women and made you infamous among the people: God has relieved you of him! Now choose yourself a king, anyone you wish.” They all said, “No one is more worthy of this than you!” So they made her their queen and she ruled over them, until the matter of the hoopoe and Solomon (peace be upon him).365 ...


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