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King Solomon

Solomon's daughter.
How Solomon's daughter found her husband.

by Ilil Arbel, Ph.D.

King Solomon's favorite daughter was of mysterious origin. She had no mother in the court, and some say she was the daughter of the Queen of Sheba, left to Solomon care, while the queen took her twin brother to be her heir in Sheba. The princess was extraordinarily beautiful, clever and sweet, and Solomon planned a bright future for her, probably as the consort of a king of an allied country.

Solomon read the stars each night, and much of the future revealed itself to him clearly. To his dismay, the stars told him that his beloved princess would marry a poverty-stricken young man. The circumstances were not made clear, and in his desperation to change fate he decided to hide the princess in a faraway retreat. He explained the circumstances to the princess, and she trusted her father and consented to follow his plan.

In the middle of the Mediterranean, on a tiny uncharted Island, the king erected a huge tower. The tower had no door, and only one spacious and luxurious apartment at the top, with windows facing every direction so as to be comfortable and airy. The king stocked it with every comfort -- scrolls to study and read for amusement, elegant furnishings, supplies for the needlework she did so well, a harp to accompany her lovely voice as she sang. The princess could go up and stroll on a roof garden, watered by the spirits of the ocean that served the king. Each night, a mighty eagle, Solomonís trusty servant, brought her food for the next day and checked that all was well with her health and happiness. The princess was lonely, but not unhappy, and though she missed her father and her friends, wisely waited to see what time would bring. The king promised that he would visit her every six months.

Meanwhile, the young man destined to marry the princess sailed the Mediterranean. He was a particularly handsome and well-educated young man, the son of a wealthy and well-respected merchant of the town of Acco. On behalf of his father, the young man commanded a ship laden with silk and tea from China and traveling to the faraway land of Sepharad. But this was not one of firmís ships, manned by the usual trustworthy employees. The firm was unusually busy that year, and the merchant had to hire a ship and its own crew for this trip. Midway, the crew mutinied, took over the ship and its cargo, and put the young man into a tiny boat to drift away with only a little food and water.

Thanking God that at least the sailors did not kill him, the young man drifted for a couple of days. One evening, his food and water almost gone, he spotted a tiny island in the distance. Trying to row with his hands toward the island, he suddenly saw a giant eagle hovering over him. Terrified, the young man looked into the monsterís eyes and realized that human intelligence and kindness gleamed in them. Recognizing a miracle, he allowed the eagle to gently lift him and carry him straight to the towerís roof, where a vision of a beautiful young woman stood waiting. It was love at first sight for both.

After bathing and eating, he told the princess how he lost all his money and was now a poverty-stricken man with no land and no prospect of returning to his fatherís home. The princess understood that this had to be the man mentioned by the stars, and that the will of God was stronger than all the plans her father could fashion. They decided to marry in the old way of writing the contract with their own blood, and await the kingís visit.

When the king arrived for his promised visit, he could not be angry or dismayed by the fact that his plans were thwarted. King Solomon was the wisest man that had ever lived, and he knew that from time to time, he must humbly recognize that he was only a man and Godís will was greater. Besides, the young man may not have been a king of a neighboring country, but his poverty was only temporary, his lineage respectable, and he could rise to great success. Besides, he was a great scholar and quite handsome -- qualities which would probably be passed to his son or daughter, obviously soon to be born. And it is well documented that Solomon was very fond of babies.

Midrashic legend.